Friday, March 30, 2018

The Month of March

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
 the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,
 who comforts us in all our troubles,
 so that we can comfort those in any trouble
 with the comfort we ourselves receive from God
 (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).

There are two extra special days on the calendar for me in March. One is sweet. The other, bittersweet. March 19th is sweet. The day my daughter was born. She is special and precious, just like all my children. But five days prior to celebrating Tess' birthday (year 15 -driver's permit time), the 14th hits which is my first son's birthday and what would've been his 23rd. This day has now become sweet and bitter since his passing away over three years ago. I have reason to rejoice in both birthdays, but celebrating a life not here isn't as easy nor as fun. I do celebrate the gift of Clark David, it's just a different kind of celebration. 

Prior to the 14th, the 10th also filled my calendar with my middle son, Tucker ('s), senior prom. Each March I'm filled with various emotions anyway because of their birthdays within five days of each other and then the prom four days before that stirs more emotions and memories inside my mind! God knows what's best though. He's already designed each day with me in mind (and you) and where He wants me to be (and you). I'm glad He fills days with many exciting, happy times to counterbalance the sadder more lonely times filled with lost dreams, regrets, and distant memories (and longings for Clark David).


I thought this birthday may be the one I don't post anything. Nothing had really come to mind to write. Well, nothing in particular. Unendingly I'm reminded of his absence by countless thoughts that I want to get out, however I don't want them to be forced just for the sake of writing. I want God to initiate and use it as He sees fit. As I've mentioned, my passion is to write the story God has put in my heart as to what happened to Clark David through my eyes, but it just hasn't come to ink yet. It seems God keeps saying "wait."

 A couple of days prior to March 14th this year, as I reflected on that day, a picture came to mind. My family's long time friend, Wendy, met us at one of Clark David's favorite restaurants this time last year to help celebrate and remember his life. Little did I know she would show up with a cake in his memory. I quickly noticed the Bible verse of "2 Corinthians 1" written on it. Upon returning home and settling in I looked up the verse. I had read it and heard it many times before and even recited it to others, but it wasn't until the cake picture popped in my thoughts did I think to read the chapter more closely. This is what I felt the need to write about. As previous posts have mentioned, God continues to send blessings (messages) through my trial to reveal Himself and this time it was delivered on a cake. As I meditated on the text and pondered all God has done in my life and what He is still teaching me, His plan and purpose became more clear...

So, my plan was to share what God was showing me through that Scripture and post it on his birthday, but God had other plans that day... 

I was glad to have the privilege of having breakfast with Michael, one of Clark David's close friends on the 14th. It was a special time and blessing! The rest of the day was devoted to other obligations, then dinner with my husband, Tess, Tucker and his friend Maddy in memory of Clark David's birthday. Later, as I was thinking of retiring for the night, I mentioned to Tess that I just didn't think I would have time to do a blog post for his birthday. She looked disappointed and I could tell had been looking forward to it. 

Tess didn't know it at the time, but she encouraged me with her words and spurred me on. I started writing that night and now as March is coming to an end,  I've literally had an ongoing post in my head as God keeps revealing things to me to this day. That's nothing new though; my whirling thoughts aren't just reserved for March. They usually stay at the forefront of my mind since Clark David's been gone. I guess that's why I want to get them out. Though therapeutic for me, my intent in writing any of these posts is to journal my faith journey. God has reminded me several times, it's not the length of my life that matters, but the impact I make and the legacy I leave behind. As I write what God reveals, and I know He puts those thoughts there, He will use them. If I write for an audience of One, or two (my daughter) it's worth the time and effort. I trust He will take care of the results. I keep thinking it's really too late for all this this month. March of 2018 is almost gone! My mind says,"You repeat yourself too much, you can't stay focused, you're too detailed, you share too much, people have their own lives and don't care, you aren't good at articulating your thoughts, it's too difficult, it takes too much effort and oh, with the length of your posts you're breaking blogging rules (I don't know if there's such a thing, but I'm guessing there is), but God keeps prompting me and saying trust Me, listen to Me, it will be right and right on time. By the way, I just happen to mention to Tess the  negative thoughts I had and she said, "Mom, those are just all lies from the Enemy." She's right, they are. She has seen the powerful force of the Enemy. That's where all the battles start and rage on, in the mind (which reminds me of Clark David's story that prayerfully will culminate one day).

March 14
I stayed up late writing and the next morning as I flipped over one of my daily devotional calendars, Streams in the Desert by L.B. Cowman, it read: Christ is building His Kingdom with the broken things of Earth. People desire only the strong, successful, victorious, and unbroken things in life to build their kingdoms, but God is the God of the unsuccessful--the God of those who have failed. Heaven is being filled with Earth's broken lives, and there is no "bruised reed" (Isaiah 42:3) that Christ cannot take and restore to a glorious place of blessing and beauty. He can take a life crushed by pain or sorrow and make it a harp whose music will be total praise. He can lift Earth's saddest failure up to Heaven's glory. --J.R.Miller

The above devotional inspired me. It's all the more reason I felt compelled to write.

In 2 Corinthians 1:3-11 Paul was writing to the Christians in Corinth. The Living Bible states it this way, 'What a wonderful God we have -He is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the source of every mercy, and the one who so wonderfully comforts and strengthens us in our hardships and trials. And why does He do this? So that when others are troubled, needing our sympathy and encouragement, we can pass on to them this same help and comfort God has given us. You can be sure that the more we undergo sufferings for Christ, the more He will shower us with His comfort and encouragement...in our trouble God has comforted us -and this, too, to help you: to show you from our personal experience how God will tenderly comfort you when you undergo these same sufferings. He will give you the strength to endure. I think you ought to know, dear brothers, about the hard time we went through...we were overwhelmed and feared we would never live through it. We felt doomed to die and saw how powerless we were to help ourselves: but that was good, for then we put everything into the hands of God, who alone could save us, for He can even raise the dead. And He did help us, and saved us from a terrible death; yes, and we expect Him to do it again and again. But you must help us too, by praying for us. For much thanks and praise will go to God from you who see His wonderful answers to your prayers..."

Last August, God led me to a blog post by Vaneetha Rendall Riser (danceintherain.com) titled, "What it Means to be Held." She talks of how a song by Natalie Grant, "HELD," written about her son (who happened to die on the same month and day as Clark David), was so instrumental in "seeing purpose in my suffering was more redemptive than I ever imagined. Though it didn't take away the pain, it did take away its sharp sting. Knowing that God was using my loss made it a little easier to endure." It helped her see how God uses all of our suffering for our joy and His glory. She says God has also met her as she talks to others who have experienced their own suffering. She is often tempted to shy away from sharing because she doesn't want to relive the agony. It's often less painful to stay on the surface with struggling people. It's easier to remain detached. But inevitably when she does that, she leaves emptier and more burdened. She says I know how much it meant to me to talk to others who had walked similar paths...She went on to say, just talking to them gave her hope for the future. What I loved was the following paragraph that summed up 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, "God uses us to comfort one another with the comfort that we ourselves have received from God. It is both a privilege and a responsibility. And as we tell others of God's faithfulness in the midst of trial, it reminds us afresh that God will never forsake us. Though we may walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we never walk alone." I also found a post with the same title dated 3.27.14 which said, "At the same time, when I am willing to shoulder another's burden, my own load lightens. Perhaps it's because Jesus is carrying both of us. So when I meet someone who is in the midst of a storm I've weathered, I need to be vulnerable. To initiate the conversation. To share my experience and listen to theirs. I can offer hope. Show them that God is sufficient. Offer evidence that they will heal, survive, and even thrive. I hear others asking the same questions I did: Will I make it through? Will the aching ever stop? Will I laugh again? The Lord has held me in my grief and comforted me through all my trials. And because of His tender care, I am able to encourage others who are suffering. And when I do, I myself am healing. I get stronger. I gain courage. I feel joy again."

From reading 2 Corinthians 1, I recalled the above journal I had written down in November of last year and went to find it. Those words tied in so well to what God was speaking to my heart already and what I felt He wanted me to share. I too want to see redemption as it relates to his death, in a big way, but God is teaching me that redemption is in so many small things. I am seeing that more and more. I am to DREAM SMALL. I heard that song by Josh Wilson just this week and was amazed again by how God speaks to me through lyrics, "There's nothing wrong with bigger dreams, just don't miss the minutes on your way to bigger things, 'cause these simple moments change the world, so dream small, don't buy the lie you gotta do it all, just let Jesus use you where you are, one day at a time, live well, loving God and others as yourself, find little ways where only you can help, with His great love, a tiny rock can make a giant fall, so dream small." A perfect song to go with this post and prom story below ;)  I see differently, to what my suffering and growth is producing. God is comforting me, is strengthening me, is helping me, is making me strong, and is making me brave. And with that comfort, He enables me to bring comfort to others. I am receiving God's comfort and hopefully giving it in return.

As I have walked through the valley of the shadow of death, God has given me a more compassionate heart, a heart that tries to encourage others, or just be available for someone, to reach out a helping hand, or share in their sorrows. Sometimes I'm prompted to initiate a conversation to share parts of my life story. On the outside all might look fine, so I know it's encouraging for others to see God's faithfulness. As I share, hearts are eager to hear how God is carrying me through and they are open to share what's going on in their lives. The conversation gives me an opportunity to remember them in prayer too. It's the prayers of fellow believers that continue to help in my healing. I am forever grateful for that! God has shown me as I reach out and do life together we're both encouraged which spurs us along in this journey of life.

 Jill, a friend of mine, recently asked me to join a 13-week video GriefShare (griefshare.org) group. She and I became friends after I reached out to her when her son was killed in a car wreck. Her son and Clark David actually graduated together so it hit close to home. Upon receiving my letter, she shared that she had prayed God would send someone that would understand. I happen to be that one. Not to say I don't still struggle, I definitely do, but I joined the class to be an encouragement to Jill and the group because as the verse on the cake reminded me again, the God of all comfort has comforted me in all my troubles and because of that I can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort I have received from Him. It was a blessing to meet others who are walking a similar road and hear their stories. It was beneficial for all of us. Though heartache is not a happy topic, much joy comes out of sharing your sorrow with those that have a heart to understand and listen. Tears sometimes flow, but God gives us tears for a reason, just like laughter, and by the way, there's no reason to apologize for those tears. The tears that fall, many times when least expected, are a source of healing and make my vision clearer. One thing I've heard more times than I can count since my experience is that people don't know what to do to help a person going through a difficult time. This is not only a great resource for a grieving person or someone experiencing any type of loss, but helpful for someone in understanding what a grieving friend or loved one is going through and how to minister to them.


While reading in 2 Corinthians 1, I continued reading further until I came to these verses:
   
I am hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed (2 Corinthians 4:8-10).

These words have comforted me in my grief and made me think of a question I've been asked many times, "How are you?" I know it's a cultural thing, but when you're grieving it hits you differently. This question is heard many times a day whether going through grief or not. We've all asked it and still do, but I've noticed (maybe you have too) it doesn't matter your situation, sometimes people ask that without even really meaning it or aren't even aware of what they've asked because they keep on walking or attend to the next thing never intending for a reply. Our culture has grown so accustomed to that question and many times it's just a form of a rote greeting, but it's those few people that know you're in a trial or still struggle that ask, "No, really, how are you doing?". I don't get that much anymore, life goes on and my life should be about pointing others to Jesus and drawing attention to Him not me. I must decrease and He must increase. Some people, however do genuinely want to know how does one deal with the death of a child and want to know how's life going? I've been asked twice this month, "How are you really doing?" I appreciate those genuinely concerned and would say, "With God's help through His Word and the Holy Spirit, He alone comforts, sustains, and supplies me with strength and abounding grace. Through my deepest grief, He has been the nearest and has taught me the most. Therefore, I want to extend that same comfort He has given me and point others to the One that can be their Helper and OVERCOMER. I am hard pressed on every side, but I am not defeated because I have hope. ALL MY HOPE IS IN JESUS. I have a way of escape because with my last breath I will be FINALLY HOME. I am perplexed, but definitely not in despair because I know all God's promises are true and He is coming to ransom His redeemed. I am persecuted because I share in Christ's suffering, but I am never abandoned. He never leaves me alone. I am struck down, but not destroyed. It's Christ who picks me up and gives me a firm place to stand and makes my steps secure. I will not be moved. I WILL NOT BE SHAKEN. Because I have Christ I am able!

 These verses also reminded me of prom night and what happened when time came for the group to head out to dinner. Tucker and his friends were leaving the photo shoot area and his friend, Josh, unintentionally bumped up against a knee-high tall hurricane glass globe that stood over a candle on the walkway; right in the way! I was standing right next to Josh as it fell over and crashed and broke into many pieces and slivers. He looked up and said, "They shouldn't have put that there!" I couldn't help but laugh and shake my head. Thankfully, Barbara, a friend of mine was standing close by and she and I started trying to clear the area. While she went to get a broom people were walking by unknowingly stepping on the glass, not paying a bit of attention or even seeing the shattered glass until the crunching of the sound underfoot caught their attention, but then kept walking right on by. I helped as she swept up all the broken glass and discarded it into the trash...

DREAM SMALL
The next day I received a picture from Josh's sister, Brooke. Her dad, Steve, had candidly captured me helping Josh put on his mask for picture taking. I stared at the picture. I thought about the happenings of the day and saw how God had placed me right where I needed to be to lend a hand and be a small part. The theme of the prom, "masquerade" came to mind and the broken glass. Life many times is like a masquerade. As the dictionary defines it, a disguise or false outward appearance; a charade; to put on a deceptive appearance; a pretense. We all put on our masks in life to masquerade our pain and we are good at it. We try and hide behind all of our brokenness and want everyone to think our lives are fine, good, all nice and tidy when really, we are all living some sort of broken and if we aren't (which is highly unlikely) we will be soon. That's life. Ups and downs. Now I'm not saying we should go around all doom and gloom, but sharing our lives, as I mentioned above, helps us understand each other. It shows we're real, not trying to live behind a mask. IF WE'RE HONEST  and open our heart to others, we sometimes see others have some of the same struggles we do and we feel better knowing we don't walk alone. But we can have more comfort in knowing God sees and HE KNOWSHe doesn't walk on by unaware. He's right there beside us eager to lend His hand and help pick up all the broken pieces and shards of our lives. All the shattered parts of our heart and soul. And our souls are shattered because of sin and are in desperate need of reconciliation. God can fix all of that too when we trust in Him. Because He is God, nothing is wasted in Him. He will put back together what has been completely splintered. He alone is faithful (to the unfaithful). He picks us up and remakes us. He is making a beautiful masterpiece to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. "Hold on" I "hear" Him say. "I'm not finished yet. You will see and understand soon. You are BEAUTIFULLY BROKEN and that's what I use to build My Kingdom."

Which reminds me of today, Good Friday, the day Jesus was broken and spilled out for us.There was not one thing "good" about that day (Matthew 27:32-56; John 19:1-42; Luke 23:26-43; Mark 15:21-41). But God....uses all the evil and broken! It was "good" because three days later, He would rise and appear to many (Matthew 27:53; Mark 16:9: Luke 24:1-8; John 20:1-30). He is risen. He is alive! And He is coming back soon...it's not over (Revelation 1:7)...
THE KING IS COMING! Are you ready?


Prom 2018 - Tucker & Maddy
Tucker & Maddy
Happy Birthday, Tess!

Prom - March 2013
Alex & Clark David
Prom- March 2013
Alex & Clark David
Clark David's passing has caused me to think differently, eternally. I'm more aware of God's hand in everything! It takes awhile to see that God uses everything, even my children to teach me and conform me to His Son's image. I look forward to seeing my Savior and Lord, and want to share His message of hope. I'm grateful God is using Clark David (each of my children) to teach me so much through this heartbreaking separation. I have this feeling as if I'm "forgetting" Clark David if I don't post something. I know I won't forget him nor anyone who loved him, but as the weeks, months, and years pass by his memory continues fading, more rapidly it seems. No one forgets a special someone, that's just how feel. It's therapeutic to me to write and a way I can keep his memory alive. As the song WRITE YOUR STORY says, I asked God to make His mark on my heart. As long as there's breath, my story is still being written and so is yours. I pray He make His mark and write His story on your heart.

Happy Birthday!
I miss you so much!
I love you, Clark David, more than you could've ever known!!!
But, you are experiencing how great you are loved by your Creator and that alone comforts me.




I'm grateful for the many friends and family who send me notes of encouragement, special messages, and prayers for my family on these harder days, and it comforts me greatly to know Clark David's life is remembered. Tears come and go. They are God's love language to us and He catches them all and holds them in His bottle. He keeps track of them (Psalm 56:8). They are important to Him. I'm grateful that my trials have caused me to long for Jesus' appearing and given me a closer relationship with Him. I have Heaven to look forward to where there will be no more sadness, tears, pain or separation and no more goodbye's. My tears don't come as often. Oh they're still there and swell when I least expect it, like now as I write, but they remind me of how much I love and how much I am loved by my heavenly Father.

To God be the glory great things He has done!

 God's using my suffering to advance His Kingdom.These trials make me a partner with Christ in His suffering. I share in His suffering so that I may share in His glory (Romans 8:17; 1 Peter 4:13). I pray I will walk in a manner worthy of His calling on my life (Colossians 1:10; Ephesians 4:1).
He continues healing me...

Psalm 145:17-21
The Lord is fair in everything He does and full of kindness. He is close to all who call on Him sincerely. He fulfills the desires of those who reverence and trust Him; He hears their cries for help and rescues them. He protects all those who love Him, but destroys the wicked. I will praise the Lord and call on all men everywhere to bless His holy name forever and forever.




YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

If you are battling with depression, addiction, or suicidal thoughts, please know YOU ARE NOT ALONE! You are not weak for admitting your need for help! You are not a burden to anyone! Don't believe the lies in your head! YOU ARE LOVED, but more importantly, you are loved by God, your Maker. Help IS available. Choose to talk to someone, share your feelings and get help!







Sunday, December 24, 2017




Blue Christmas and The Longest Night


Thursday, December 21, was winter solstice (winter equinox) which is the shortest day and the longest night of the year. In the Western Christian tradition, "Blue Christmas" is a day in the Advent season of  preparing for Jesus' birth, that commemorates the longest night of the year. On this night, some churches hold a service that honors people who have experienced loss. It's a service of remembrance and hope, reflection and prayer. It emphasizes Jesus as the Light of the world, (wikipedia.org). So long ago, the birth of the Savior of the world brought Light in the dark, dark night. John 1:5 claims, "The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it." 

As I attended this service in my hometown with family and friends and my family and I lit a candle in my son's memory, looking at all the flames aglow that once represented life reminded me of the Light that shines in the darkness of this evil world, but that darkness (death) has not overcome it. Though so much in the world is getting more ungodly and dark, that's when the Light shines even brighter. Like when a broken earthen vessel held up to the light exposes the cracks and allows the light to seep through, so it is with human life, the more broken you are the more light that can shine through... 



 Lighting the candle also put my mind on pause briefly as I remembered my longest, darkest night and how God brought me "songs in the night" (a plan for future post) which was the beginning of my yet unknown, journey to understand the death of my son. God has since showed me it must first get dark for Him to give me a "song in the night." The long winter days of life are not at all enjoyable, but oh, so necessary to see God's perspective and appreciate the cross, the message of hope, and eternal life like never before.

David, in the Bible, is well known for being a man after God's own heart. What few realize is how closely this characteristic is related to the way he repeatedly paid attention to loss and disappointment. Two-thirds of his Psalms are laments. He ordered the people to join him in singing a lament after Saul's death (2 Samuel 1:18). David understood how indispensable grieving is to spiritual maturity and depth (emotionallyhealthy.org).

"Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me. Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me" (Psalm 23:4). David encountered many dangers in the field as a young shepherd boy, but His trust in the Lord kept him steady. He knew the Lord would lead him. God was his source of hope. To know hope, one first experience times of hopelessness.

Jesus, our example to emulate, lamented. It tells us in verse 35 of John chapter 11, Jesus wept. If Jesus, the Son of God wept even knowing that the resurrection was coming, how much more should we need to grieve in our disappointments? There is a time for rejoicing yet also weeping. God's love language of tears is a gift to us to benefit us in many ways, but we sometimes shy away from it and sadly are even told not to. 

For many people the Christmas holidays are a lonely, sometimes very difficult time. A loved one has passed from this life to the next, others have lost relationships, marriages have not withstood adversity, jobs have been lost, and diseases are being fought. A service like Blue Christmas allows a specific time to be set aside to recognize and pay attention to certain losses while at the same time remember the power and goodness of God and His gift of life (emotionallyhealthy.org). It is a time of encouragement and hope to focus on all God's promises and know that we are never alone and He gives us others to walk with us through this journey from mourning to joy.

It's hard to believe this is the fourth Christmas without Clark David. I still shake my head in disbelief, but that doesn't mean I am stuck here in my sorrow or not moving forward. Pain and tears is not a sign of a life without joy. It shows I have loved and still do. Am I sorrowful? Yes! Am I rejoicing? Yes! Just like Paul said in 2 Corinthians 6:10, "sorrowful, yet always rejoicing."

Clark David's classmate (Connor Strickland) whom he did not know I don't think, passed away two years and three days after Clark David was laid to rest. I became friends with his mom, Jill. She doesn't know how God has stirred my affections for Him through song and how He comforts me with music, but she shared a song with me just this week, "The Sweetest Gift." How appropriate. God used Jill to deliver a new song to me and give me the comfort and strength I need this Christmastime. It's so comforting and encouraging to know God doesn't want us to walk alone. "No Man Is an Island" as the song says and God gives us flesh to do life with so we can help walk each other Home as we go through the "Hills and Valleys"of this journey.

Thank you to Jon Schmidt for sharing your painful, dark night as God comforts others with the story of your daughter Annie (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0yFXfAGl17Mhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0yFXfAGl17M) And thank you to The Piano Guys for recording this song that shares some of the sentiments I've pondered in my heart that you so beautifully put to music.



Thank you Father, God for sending Your Son down from Heaven to become flesh and dwell among us, empathize with us in our weakness, die for our sin, so we could put our hope in You and You can be our Peace when we trust in You. The sweetest Gift.

Quiet my heart Lord and keep leading me through this valley and back into the light of eternal hope. Thank You for giving me a fresh sense of peace and hope this Christmas as we celebrate the birth of Jesus!
Thank You that You are always making all things new (Revelation 21:5). 


Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel...God with us (Matthew 1:23).

I pray for those that will read this that God will reveal Himself to you, He will be your Comforter in dark times, you will trust in Him with all your heart and not lean on your own understanding, but acknowledge Him in all your ways so He can make your path straight...you will fear the Lord... which will bring nourishment to your soul
 (Proverbs 3:5-8).

Listen to this message of hope through music by clicking on yellow words that are links to songs.





YOU ARE NOT ALONE! If you are struggling with life and your purpose, addiction, or suicidal thoughts, seek help, talk to someone. Life can be difficult, but people do care and will listen. You are not weak. Cry out to God. He will come to your rescue. Help is available. Make the right choice...choose life. 








Wednesday, November 22, 2017



I KNOW...


It's always good to be reminded of the truth we know...

Truth needs repetition because we forget so easily.

The Living Bible says in 2 Peter 1:12-15, I plan to keep on reminding you of these things even though you already know them and are really getting along quite well! But the Lord Jesus Christ has showed me that my days here are numbered and I am soon to die. As long as I'm still here I intend to keep sending these reminders to you, hoping to impress them so clearly upon you that you will remember them long after I've gone.

I have a letter I treasure. It's filled with truth I like to be reminded of. It uses the word "know" 14 times. Written three years ago and originally kept folded in my purse as a reminder of God's love, it now hangs on our refrigerator because it testifies to God's faithfulness to me as He knows my thoughts before I do and what I need. As I recently straightened the area of papers, I came across it and reread it, as I had not in over two years. The tears that flow each time I read it are evidence of loving. Loving deeply makes it hurt deeply, but even tears have purposes and each one brings with it a little more healing.

As, I mentioned in a previous post, God has revealed so many things to me during this trial and many blog posts ideas have been partially jotted down either on paper or in my head (hence the therapeutic desire I think to get them out) in hopes to share what God has shown me. Also, to give hope and comfort to others including my family and leave a legacy for my children so they may see God's hand in every aspect of life. Just today as I was writing this, a friend texted me asking for the blog address in hopes to help a struggling friend. I know when I pray and follow His prompting, the consequences of how He may use it are left in His hands and nothing is wasted in His hands.

So as another Thanksgiving approaches, with any holiday or day for that matter, I tend to look at what's missing. I always will, but to remember what I had and have helps change my focus. Having recently read the aforementioned letter, I pondered some of the many things I have to be grateful for and some of the things I know...

Foremost, I'm grateful for forgiveness! I'm grateful that after the fall of mankind in the garden so long ago, God made a way to reconcile His creation to Himself (John 3:17).

I'm grateful He so loved all the people in the world that while we were still sinning He allowed His only Son, sinless Son, to endure an excruciating death to pay for our sins past, present, and future so we might spend eternity with Him (John 3:16;Romans 5:8).

I'm grateful God made a way to accept this free gift of salvation if we just believe and surrender our life to Him; take up our cross and die to self as He did (Acts 16:31; Job 22:21-22; Mark 16:16).




I know all these things based on Scripture, what God's Word says and He doesn't lie (Numbers 23:19; Titus 1:2; Hebrews 6:18).

I know I am a sinner (Romans 3:23).

I know the blood of Jesus covers all my sin (1 John 1:7).

I know it's by grace through faith that I have salvation and it is a gift of God (Ephesians 2:8).

I know grace and peace will be multiplied to me in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord 
(2 Peter 1:2 NIV). The Living Bible asks the question, "Do you want more and more of God's kindness and peace? Then learn to know Him better and better. For as you know Him better, He will give you, through His great Power, everything you need for living a truly good life: He even shares His own glory and goodness with us!" (2 Peter 1:2-3)

And we (I) know that the Son of God has come, and has given us (me) understanding so that we (I) may know Him who is true...(1 John 5:20a).

We (I) know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son...(Romans 8:28-29).

I know the Lord is near the broken-hearted and saves the crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18).


Less than 24 hours after receiving the horrific news of my son's death, my friend and sister in Christ, Beverly Poston, was led by the Holy Spirit to write what was on her heart and graciously emailed it to me and my husband. I was filled with emotion upon receiving it. She will never know how God used that to minister to my shattered heart and comfort the broken parts. 

I know I'm grateful for God's lovingkindness to me through family, friends, and brothers and sisters in Christ.

I know I'm grateful for Beverly...

Below is the letter filled with BLESSINGS I continue to be grateful for:


October 7, 2014 

Dear Beth and Chad:

I know I cannot say anything that will help you right now and that I have no idea how you feel. But I do know how I feel and that the Lord has impressed upon me the need and desire to tell you these things.

I know Clark David Heaton is in Heaven with our Lord. I know that deep in my soul and the Lord has given me great assurance this is true.

I know that Clark David was a gift from God to my immediate family and to all who knew him.

I know that Clark David always made me smile; that he gave me joy and comfort.

I know that I loved having Clark David in my home, that I loved waking up in the morning and finding him on the couch or in Richard's bed. That I love having him sitting at the breakfast table.

I know that Clark David was always polite and courteous to me.

I know that Clark David was loved by all of my family.

I know that Clark David loved the Lord and that he had the love of Christ living in him.

I know that I want so badly the opportunity of telling him all of these things.

I know that he has impressed upon me the need to love a little harder, a little stronger.

I know that he has brought me a little closer to God and that the days to come will be a little different and a little more important because of having had Clark David in our life.

I know that I love you, Chad and Beth, and want to hug you and Tucker and Tess and take all the hurt away from you.

I know that I am your friend and sister in Christ and that you can call on me.

Love, Beverly Poston


Grief is the price you pay for 
loving someone. --Zig Ziglar


This Thanksgiving as I reflect on what this day means, it also reminds me of the song my children and I used to sing when they were much younger, "Count Your Blessings." If we stop to count our blessings and name them one by one, it won't take long to see just how much we are loved and adored by God and all He has done for us. If we could grasp His immeasurable love for us (Ephesians 3:17b-18), we might see the trials of this life have been filtered through His loving fingers for reasons we can't yet see. 
We don't deserve anything in this life, but death (Romans 6:23). There is nothing good in any of us apart from Jesus Christ (Romans 3:10). But God lavishes His love on us by providing a way through His Son (John 14:6). That is something to be grateful for!

What I know is minute, compared to the all-surpassing knowledge of our omniscient God and what 
HE KNOWS...

"We may faint and we may sink
Feel the pain and near the brink
But the dark begins to shrink
When you find the One who knows..."


"That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day." 
(2 Timothy 1:12).

I know my Home is a place I've not yet been before, but I know what awaits me there. Jesus is there and that's all I need!
I'm grateful for the gift of eternally living with Jesus and all His children where everything is made new, perfect, and right. 

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. John 14:3
But, as it is written, "What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him." 1 Corinthians 2:9


What do you know and what are you grateful for?


As God has stirred my affection to Him through music, my story continues to be easily shared through songs. Colored, capitalized words are links to those songs.



YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

If you are battling with depression, addiction, or suicidal thoughts, please know YOU ARE NOT ALONE! You are not weak for admitting your need for help! You are not a burden to anyone! Don't believe the lies in your head! YOU ARE LOVED, but more importantly, you are loved by God, your Maker. Help IS available. Choose to talk to someone, share your feelings and get help!





Friday, October 6, 2017




Brokenness...Butterflies...Beauty...and Blessings



It's hard for me to believe its been seven months since my last post, but God's timing is always perfect! Just when I think I will get back to writing, something happens. Life happens! The Enemy happens! Me happens! All that gets in the way. Or so I think it does. Well, it does, and that's why I have to stay connected to the Holy Spirit living within me and allow Him to control me. Starve my flesh nature and feed my Spirit nature, by renewing my mind daily, focusing on Him, seeking Him first ( Matthew 6:33). Denise, a dear friend, texted me this week, "God IS faithful when we focus on His will rather than our own...that's the daily...hourly...minute by minute struggle." God tries to keep telling me I must see all life's "interruptions" as divine appointments. And remember the quote I memorized, "It's not life and its difficulties we must conquer, but the self in us." God orchestrates everything and He wants me to see Him in everything. He uses all these things to help me pass His tests. Just now my daughter came in the room to show me some slime she was making. She said, "Mom, am I interrupting your thoughts?" (I laughed inside and thought oh, that's a constant in life. The phone, the dryer, what someone did or didn't do, said or didn't say, whatever it may be, God is in control of it all and trying to teach me something, but when will I learn? I can see why people go away to a quite location to write! ;)). So, instead of telling her I was busy, I looked at the newest creation of slime she'd been creating. It was a pretty hue of yellow and as she walked away I turned to look out the window and a beautiful yellow butterfly flitted by. God in everything! Always right on time, but when I least expect it. Am I looking for Him and seeing His love for me? Am I allowing Him to mold me into who He wants me to be? Or am I too focused on me leading me?  I passed that test, but will I pass the next? 



I'm not sure who this may help, (if anyone) if it's just me than that's okay because it does. It's definitely therapeutic. As I've trusted the Lord in the midst of my brokenness. He has put so much on my heart and I want to share it and leave the rest to Him.




Before March 16, 2015, I really didn't care for butterflies that much. I never wanted anything with a butterfly on it. That changed! Tucker (my middle son) and Tess (the youngest and only daughter) know that and now point them out to me! :) 



Five months after the death of my first born son entering his heavenly Home, his earthly birthday March 14, 2015 arrived. Two days later, the headstone for his spot in the Earth was ready to be set. The second hardest day of my life. I will spare all the details here (I get on some people's nerves I'm so detailed ;)), but it was a very difficult but special time. As I walked around the cemetery waiting for the men to finish and for it to dry, I stopped at a friend's relatives grave and noticed the beautiful fresh flowers covering it. I noticed a butterfly land by my feet. I gazed intently at it and then it fluttered away. . .

As I returned home and checked the mailbox (most of the cards had stopped coming by then) there were two cards addressed to me. The first one was from another dear friend, Karen. She didn't have a clue what perfect timing. It was meant for Clark David's birthday, but it was delivered by the hand of God right when I needed it the most! A word from the Lord to help comfort my hurting heart. The second card, to my surprise, was a pink, blue, and gold card in the shape of a butterfly of all things. Inside I would find another message delivered by God through Linda Miller that read, "When I don't know what to say, I say "Praying for you today and I am." Underneath, Deuteronomy 2:7. I immediately went to look that up in my Bible and it read, "The LORD your God has blessed you in all the work of your hands. He has watched over your journey through this vast wilderness. These 40 years the LORD your God has been with you and you have not lacked anything." I was amazed! I had never read that verse before and it's definitely not one you see printed on things. Only God knows how much I needed that verse, still do, and how His Word carries me through this vast wilderness; this unsettled, uncultivated region of death and suicide. The what if's, should'ves, and could'ves grew dim by meditating on that verse. Even though that verse is speaking to the Israelites, it still applies to me today, and God was proving to me "I lacked nothing." Even though I don't completely understand God's will, He supplied and is supplying me with everything I needed and will need to be who He has called me to be. I've mentioned God's messages to me in previous posts and this was the beginning of His butterfly blessings to me.

April 3, 2015, the four of us traveled to the Tennessee Aquarium. We visited the butterfly garden and while there, a butterfly landed on Tucker's finger. Tess was jealous and wanted one to land on her too :) It was a funny moment and funnier what Tucker said, but I took a quick picture. Of course at the time I didn't know to tap the screen on my phone to make it focus, so the butterfly is a little blurry, but I never noticed it's broken wing.



 Last year, October 6, 2016 at 6:14 p.m. I had another encounter with a butterfly. It landed on a beautiful purple butterfly bush that hours earlier was dropped off at our home by the Thompson family in memory of our separation from Clark David. It was so thoughtful of them and meant so much to me and how timely; it's blooming today :) After closer observation, I noticed its wing was also damaged. That got me to thinking. These butterflies are similar to people's lives. Their lives are pictures of ours really (Google it and see the articles). Spiritually speaking, we are entangled in sin by birth (Psalm 51:5), like being wrapped up in a cocoon. If we accept Jesus, we are born again, our "chains fall off" and we are set free; like breaking free from the cocoon when the timing is perfect for the pupa to become a beautiful butterfly. But as 1 Peter1:6-7 states, if necessary, we will be grieved by various trials so that the tested genuineness of our faith...may be found to result in praise and glory to Christ.

In the season of sorrow, God has shown me He has to break us to remake us. This love relationship with Jesus is like our relationships in life. There's a lot of good and sometimes a lot of "bad." It's a HARD LOVE! What we see as bad, God sees as good. He sees what it has the potential to produce. Most of us are living broken lives. If we aren't now, we will be. That's just how God designed life. HILLS AND VALLEYS. If we let Him have control of everything, God will use all of it for our growth, then we'll be able to help other people thrive (fly) even though we ourselves are damaged (flying around with an injured wing). It's been said a person cannot be used significantly by God until he's been hurt deeply. Those that cement themselves to God when troubles come are being made into something beautiful to be used by God to advance His causes. Sadly, others get trapped, (never freed from the cocoon) caught up in the ways of the world and never quite escape its grip. They die spiritually and are never truly who God designed them to be, however those that live spiritually are being made new. God's specialty...making all things new (Revelation 21:5).

I asked Chad (my husband) to plant the butterfly bush close to the garage, a spot I could enjoy seeing them come(see Rainbow Surprise post to further explain). Last year, after I took the picture at the top of this post, I noticed a butterfly fluttering around in the garage (the last place I saw Clark David). In our almost nine years here, I'd never before seen a butterfly in the garage. As I gently guided it outside, I stopped. God reminded that this beautiful yellow butterfly, His creation, was whole. No brokenness. It was flawless and free! Just like Clark David now, completely whole,
FORGIVEN, FLAWLESS, and FREE...
MADE NEW;
what we all are or can be in Christ Jesus.
He makes THE BROKEN BEAUTIFUL.



"You are my salvation, I will not fear. You're the strength of my life, I won't fear. You hold my head up. I'm alive in You again. I'm made new.

As this song, Hard LOVE says, "A part of you has to die to change...you've gotta burn your old self away. Hold on tight a little longer. What don't kill you makes you stronger. Get back up cause it's a Hard LOVE. You can't change without a fall out. It's going to hurt, but don't you slow down, get back up, 'cause it's a Hard LOVE. You know the situation can't be right and all you ever do is fight but there's a reason why the road is long. It takes some time to make your courage strong. Hold on tight a little longer...it's a Hard LOVE. When the wolves come and hunt me down I will face them all and stand my ground 'cause there's a fire burnin' in me. They will see my strength in this love I'v found...
It's a HARD LOVE!




God stirs my affections toward Him through music. The story He continues writing on my heart, we share together through songs. Only He and I understand those thoughts, but listen and you may hear Him speak to you too. My story, written through song, can be heard by clicking on highlighted words.



For our present troubles are small and won't last long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don't look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever
(2 Corinthians 4:17-18 NLT). 

We wait in hope for the LORD; He is our help and our shield. In Him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in His holy name. May Your unfailing love be with us, LORD, even as we put our hope in You (Psalm 33:20-22 NIV).


Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD (Psalm 150:6).



YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
If you are battling with depression, addiction, or suicidal thoughts, please know YOU ARE NOT ALONE! You are not weak for admitting your need for help! You are not a burden to anyone! Don't believe the lies in your head! YOU ARE LOVED, but more importantly, you are loved by God, your Maker. Help IS available. Choose to talk to someone, share your feelings and get help!









Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Are You Robed and Ready?


I see you dressed in white, every wrong made right, I see a rose in bloom at the sight of you...
Oh, so PRICELESS...


I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For He has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of His righteousness...

Heaven at Last... FINALLY HOME!

As I listened to Jack Graham's radio message last week entitled "Heaven at Last," he was reminding his listeners, Heaven's where the party is, not here like some may think. Heaven is not a place on Earth. The best thing of Earth is just an appetizer of Heaven. The very best yet awaits, but do we eagerly await it and the One who will make it the greatest thing we've ever experienced?

Graham's message also reminded me we won't be counting birthdays anymore.
Today, I can only think of what it represents to me and my family. Today is Clark David's birthday. He would've turned 22.  That no longer matters in Heaven. What matters is because of his spiritual birthday seventeen years ago, he is celebrating in his heavenly Home. I'm blessed to have been able to be his mom for nineteen years. God is the giver of every good and perfect gift
(James 1:17).

Heaven is beyond our imagination, but it's not beyond our contemplation. Snapshots of Heaven are given to us in Revelation through John when he was on the island of Patmos. Snapshots cannot compare to what it will actually be like. The Bible instructs us to set our affections on things above (Colossians 3:2). Jesus said to store up for yourselves things in Heaven (Matthew 6:20). He taught us to pray, Lord, Your Kingdom come. Knowing for certain where you're headed, to a life with Jesus in Heaven, makes this life all the better. It has the potential to give you a proper perspective and a passionate, bold reason for living here. We should embrace and eagerly expect eternity now. In Christ, we're already seated with Him in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 2:6). We should be anticipating our life with Christ every single day and looking for His return. Our hope of getting there should be like a little child expecting Christmas morning.

C.S. Lewis said, "I must make it my aim in life to press on to that other side and to help others do the same. Do you think about Heaven? Do you teach your children about Heaven? Do you even talk about it? We ought to speak of this wonderful place that is being prepared for God's children, often. There will be a new Heaven and a new Earth, a new Jerusalem (Revelation 21:1-2). A heavenly city, a community, filled with homes (John 14:2).

Our hearts usually long for home. No matter how great life is, there is an eager expectation, an excitement for the believer about going HOME. Even though you may have grown up in a place that wasn't thought of as a heavenly home, but more like Hell on Earth, the heavenly Home will be everything God intended the home and the family to be with all good and no bad at all. The point in life to the believer is Heaven is Home. You won't be leaving the party early or leaving anything behind when you pass on because the party is not here, but in Heaven!

There is rejoicing in Heaven with the angels when one sinner comes HOME (Luke 15:7). Clark David exited the wrong way, but God permitted it because He loves His children that much and He has ultimate control. We don't understand God's ways, but He is God and we aren't (Isaiah 55:8). He forgives all His children at the cross. CALVARY COVERS IT ALL. If we ever doubt His love for us all we have to do is look to the cross and that says it all, oh

Randy Alcorn said, "The day I die will be the best day I ever lived." We think so much of here is what's important. I'm seeing life so differently and realizing more and more each day how important it is to keep my focus on living in light of eternity. As Jack Graham says, Heaven will not be a long, boring church service. It will be a long, glorious worship experience. No sorrow, no disturbances, no more tears, and no more pain because no more sin. Sin is the curse that causes so much pain and grief. Sin will end and the waiting for anything will be over! A place where there is no time means no more impatience. 

Even in death there is life. God has called me through this devastation to tell others what He has done in my life and what He can do in yours. When you lose something or someone whatever it may be, it can change your perspective in a positive way if you turn to the Lord for help. His supply of mercy, grace, and peace is always in abundance. No one likes to be broken, but I'm learning that's how God remakes us. He is taking the broken things of life and remaking them into
He is making all things new (Revelation 21:5).

As I reflect on this day and what it means to me, I'm grateful for salvation and eternity in Heaven where there is only Greatness and Light. I'm still looking up everyday, waiting to hear that trumpet sound when the dead in Christ will rise first and we believers will be caught up in the air with the Lord to be with Him forever (1 Thessalonians 4:16). It will be a GLORIOUS UNFOLDING.

If somehow I could relay my thoughts to you, Clark David, I would tell you this: my heart aches to see and hear you again, for you to make me laugh. I love you so very much and you are missed! You're missed many times a day and thought of more than that. I know your pain is gone, but I'm left with mine (and everyone that loves you is too), but that's what keeps my focus on the only One who can bear my burden. I'm not healed, but I'm slowly healing by looking to the Great Healer and Comforter. He comforts me in many ways. He sends so many messages to me and speaks to my heart in so many different ways as I look for Him in every aspect of my life. Whether it's through nature, pink surprises, stories from others, love of people, special cards, Scriptures, or music,  He is always at work. When I least expect it, He surprises me again. His surprises come packaged in ways I'd never imagine. At Christmastime, He even led me to a picture of someone who must be your twin while I was watching television at two in the morning. I wasn't feeling well and went to watch a prerecorded Sunday message and I hit pause. To my astonishment, in front of me was an image of you! I was amazed. The person's hand and arm even reminded me of how you would hold yours up while singing in the kitchen. God's always making everything new. Even my memories. He was letting me know you're praising Him. There's no doubt in my mind, God allowed me to see that to show me that's what you're doing now, praising and singing to the Lord. And you aren't minding the wait. You don't know there is one.




The New Living Translation Bible says, I am overwhelmed with joy in the LORD my God! For He has dressed me with the clothing of salvation and draped me in a robe of righteousness. I am like a bridegroom in his wedding suit or a bride with her jewels (Isaiah 61:10).


"I see you dressed in white, every wrong made right...irreplaceable, unmistakable, incomparable



Are you robed and ready?

Jesus IS coming back...Have you accepted His free gift?



Music continues to bring solace to my healing heart.
My message through song is highlighted through links by clicking words in all caps.

"I waited patiently for the Lord; He turned to me and heard my cry...He put a new song in my mouth..." (Psalm 40:1-3).

We wait in hope for the LORD; He is our help and shield. In Him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in His holy name. May Your unfailing love be with us, LORD, even as we put our hope in You.
Psalm 33:20-22 

Psalm 63:3
Psalm 84:11
Psalm 86:12


If you are battling depression, addiction, or suicidal thoughts, please know YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
You are not weak for admitting your need for help! You are not a burden to anyone! Don't believe the lies in your head! You are loved, but most importantly, YOU ARE LOVED by God, your Maker. Help IS available. Choose to talk to someone, share your feelings, and get help now!