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, ( 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 (

"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 ( 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 ( 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 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


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'm also grateful for that which I know...

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

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 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 not much at all compared to the all-surpassing knowledge of our omniscient God and what 

"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 and I know what awaits me there. 
I'm grateful for the gift of eternally living with Jesus and all His children!

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.


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,
what we all are or can be in Christ Jesus.

"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'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'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...

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).

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...

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!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

A Heavenly Anniversary

Anniversaries. These are days that mark special times in our lives and our nation that we celebrate or commemorate something or someone. Some of these dates we anticipate with excitement and pleasure, other days, not so much . Dates that were once marked with happy times are remembered by broken vows or unfulfilled dreams while other dates become unpleasant reminders of horrific magnitude. We don't like to be reminded of days filled with sadness or devastation that changed what once was. One thing is for certain, these dates are unavoidable. Days on the calendar can't be erased. We have to go through each day that we're given, but we can try to change the way we respond to them. Whether the event is scheduled or yet unknown, until it happens determines its individual significance. For instance, the infamous 9/11 date. If that happened to be your wedding anniversary and you lost your spouse or he was severely injured, that day has taken on a different meaning and is now seared in your mind not just as the day you married, but the day your life changed in a completely different way.

October 6, was just another day to me until I married and I added my father-in-laws birthday to my calendar. However, in 2014 that all changed when my oldest son passed from this life to the next. This date was one of those unscheduled unknowns. I mean if you've lived long enough you know unpleasant things will happen, but you just don't know what will happen or when the trouble will come. Another thing is for certain, God's Word promises trouble will come (John 16:33). That's why we must be prepared so we're able to withstand the heavy storms of life (see post "When The Storm Hits").

God's Word says take every thought captive (2 Corinthians 10:5). As year two comes to a close, my mind naturally turns to thoughts of reliving unpleasant memories. Satan, the adversary, accuser, and father of lies, who masquerades himself as an angel of light would like nothing better than to cause me despair. But, my faith and hope is found in nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness, therefore by the Power of the Holy Spirit working in my life, I am more than a conqueror and must quickly change my negative thoughts into positive, God focused thoughts. Today, that "SAME POWER" will equip me to renew my thinking, Yes, I'm separated temporarily from him and my heart still aches, but I will look at this day as the day of Clark David's heavenly anniversary, year two. Only God knows how much longer we all will have to endure the hardships of life on this Earth, but in Christ, it's only for a little while longer (1 Peter 1:6). I'm choosing to celebrate this heavenly anniversary as the day "THE GOD OF ANGEL ARMIES BY HIS SIDE", escorted him into glory to forever be with his Savior. God's angels lead him to WHERE THE LIGHT IS and carried him into the arms of Jesus. I see him dressed in white, every wrong made right,...oh so PRICELESS and FLAWLESS!

As I've mentioned in earlier posts, God has put many messages on my heart that I pen for my family and want to share with you about the ways He has comforted me. So today, I want to share a story that happened about two years ago that I hope gives you a new pleasant memory. When I posted, "Return to Glory" last year it became way too lengthy (I have so much to say I could write a book) to include so I saved it to share today.

God used Clark David's love for Alabama football to send me a message last year. When basketball season arrived, much to my amazement God gave me another message of comfort. This time it was Clark David's love of basketball. He was fascinated with LeBron James. He followed him whether he was a Miami Heat or Cleveland Cavaliers player. People from the previous generation tried to tell Clark David that Michael Jordan was the best, but there was never any convincing him of that. In 2014, the Sports Illustrated cover title read, "I'm Coming Home." LeBron announced that he was leaving the Heat and returning home to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Clark David wasn't here October 30, 2014 to watch the most hyped homecoming since Odysseus sneaked into his palace again (article courtesy of New York Times). It was the most anticipated season in the team's history as they hosted the New York Knicks. LeBron stared out at the fans in pregame and went Dorothy on them: "There's no place like home." If you're a fan, it was an event not to be missed. The next morning, as I was exiting the kitchen to take his brother and sister to school, just 25 days after he left us, I stopped in my stride as I heard the morning news say about LeBron, "The prodigal has returned home." His favorite basketball team, his favorite basketball star, LeBron, had returned back to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Instantly, I repeated, "the prodigal has returned home" (thinking of the irony of that statement).  Indeed, the Lord's PRODIGAL was Home. My prodigal. As I prayed for Clark David the last time the morning of October 6th, I asked the Lord a bold prayer request. I just never would've thought it would turn out the way it did. I know the Lord answered my prayer! It just wasn't what I ever expected. God reminds me, it's not about what I have planned, but what God allows for me which is best. Yes, it was sin, like any other sin, for Clark David to take his life, but God doesn't categorize sin. All sin, in Christ, is covered under His BLOOD, past, present, and future. I wanted the prodigal son Bible story, but God allowed a different plan. His days were numbered no matter what and nothing could thwart that (Job 14:5). Clark David did come back, one final time. I believe he was drawn back to his earthly home not because of what it was, but because of what it represented. Unconditional love, comfort, a place of his own, safety, and rest. Sounds a bit like Heaven to me. He is in his permanent HOME! And I'm confident he would say, "There's no place like Home."

Like I mentioned, this story happened almost two years ago. So, I bought a new book July of this year called "Angels" by my favorite pastor, Jack Graham and in September I finished reading it. I knew I liked this man. He had similar thoughts of mine. I was so surprised to read the final few pages of the book and see in bold, "We All Just Want to Go Home." Here's what he wrote:

In the summer of 2014, LeBron James stunned the sports world with his announcement that he was leaving the Miami Heat --which he had led to two NBA championship titles -and was heading back to his hometown of Cleveland, where he'd spent seven seasons prior to heading to South Beach. At the press conference he held on the eve of his first season there, he'd intimated he was going to spend a very long time in Florida, that he and teammates Dwayne (D Wade as Clark David called him) Wade and Chris Bosh were going to win not three, four, or even five championships, but many, many more. Analysts believed the "big three," as they were called, were still poised to do just that, even as LeBron started packing his bags. In an open letter he released to announce his rationale for heading back to Cleveland, James wrote, "I have two boys, and my wife, Savannah, is pregnant with a girl. I started thinking about what it would be like to raise my family in my hometown. I looked at other teams, but I wasn't going to leave Miami for anywhere except Cleveland. The more time passed, the more it felt right. This is what makes me happy."
The short answer as to why a superstar would leave the very team that would net him the most future victories, and in the shortest amount of time, is this: That superstar wanted to go home.    
Surely at some level, you and I can relate. We know what it's like to be on an extended trip and then to be reunited with our pillow, our bed: It feels so good to be home. We know what it's like to fall into the embrace of loved ones we haven't seen for quite some time: It feels good to be home. . .
We're all trying to find our way home, aren't we? We're all sojourners making our way home.
We all long for the sun to sink, as the old hymn goes, and the race to be declared run, for the strongest trials to have passed and for our triumph to have begun. "Oh, come, angel band!" our hearts cry out, "come and around me stand. Oh, bear me away on your snowy wings to my eternal home." which is exactly what the heavenly host will do, if we believe Luke 16. There we find a beggar named Lazarus who lived his earthly life covered in sores, and yet who, upon his death, was escorted to Heaven by an angelic accompaniment supplied by God (v.22).
When we breathe our last breath--and we will--and we speak our final words--which we will--and we say good-bye to this world, we can be assured that God's glorious angels will deliver us right to His side. Death has no hold on the believer! We will live in His presence,accompanied by the saints and angels for all eternity. 
I have made it through year two! It's hard to describe, but what seems like just moments ago he left sometimes seems like so long. It hasn't been easy, but Jesus never promised this life would be. He has promised me His Holy Spirit would be my Comforter and Helper though and He is by my side. He hasn't failed me and because I know He doesn't lie, withholds no good thing, and all His promises are true, He won't fail me ever (Psalm 84:11). Two years isn't a long time in the scope of eternity, but when someone you love is gone it is. Do I miss him? Terribly, but would I trade how God has been glorified and how it has changed my relationship with Him? No! This time of great testing God has allowed me to journey through has taught me about where my focus should be and what I should be doing while I wait. The longing for my son is changing more every day to the longing for my heavenly Father. The many tears have washed MY EYES AND OPENED THEM to see more clearly. Everything is about God and His Kingdom! Scripture mentions many verses about Heaven and thinking on heavenly things. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things (Colossians 3:2) and storing up for yourselves treasures in Heaven not on Earth (Matthew 6:20). I've heard it said before, "Those that are so heavenly focused are of no earthly good." When I first heard that, I was confused. Why would the Bible mention Heaven so much if we weren't supposed to think about it? Maybe it's because many churches these days don't talk about where believers are going or sing about Heaven enough and our minds become desensitized, therefore think less about it. So, just last week I heard a radio broadcast and the pastor was giving a message on Heaven. After mentioning the very quote I had heard about Heaven he then said, "I disagree with that statement. It should be stated, "Those that are the most heavenly focused are the most earthly good." His message helped me understand we have to change our way of thinking. When we change our perspective to God's perspective we see more clearly what our purpose on this Earth is. We must be about our Father's mission and tell others what He has done for us, He can and will do for them too!

So you can say Jesus is...

My Victory!

I love you more than you know, but JESUS LOVES YOU the most!

Highlighted or capitalized words are links to my story through song.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Suicide. A word that brings nothing good to my mind. A word that I wish was not in my vocabulary. It's a word no one likes to hear much less say, yet it's something that needs to be talked about more. It is a national health problem. And, like other diseases is no respecter of persons. People die from suicide just like any other organ disease, yet with this illness society tends to blame the victim. Imagine getting blamed for having cancer. The alarming statistics report that each year over 42,700 Americans die by suicide and with the stigma surrounding it the numbers are estimated to be higher due to underreporting. Men die by suicide 3.5 times more often than women. It's the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, however the 2nd leading cause of death for ages 10-24. In Alabama alone, it's the 3rd leading cause of deaths for the same ages. Untreated depression is the leading cause of suicide. It's also one of the leading causes of preventable death in the nation. Let me repeat that. Suicide is one of the leading causes of preventable death in the nation! Most struggling victims reach out to someone first, but because so many are unaware of the warning signs and unintentionally don't take them seriously, the cries for help sadly go unnoticed.

National Suicide Prevention Week started, September 5th this year and goes through the 11th with World Suicide Prevention Day, Saturday the 10th. The official website of World Suicide Prevention Day 2016 can be visited at Many people will light a candle at 8 p.m. to honor those that have lost their lives to suicide and hopefully remember the survivors by praying for them. I was unaware of this until it affected my family almost two years ago. In correlation with this year's theme, "Connect, Communicate, Care", I hope to connect and communicate with you that you are not alone, people care, and you can get help. What matter's most is you are loved by God and He cares! The great Physician can and will help heal your deep hurts. It's okay to not be okay! There are many other people that are experiencing or have experienced similar struggles, but because of the associated stigma and shame they may feel, many don't know what to do and suffer in silence. Instead of being just a surviving mother of teen suicide, I am trying to use my platform to thrive and help others so one less friend or family member will not have to experience this deep grief and heartbreak that impacts so many lives in its wake. You may know someone who is battling with depression or will be in the future and hopefully you can be informed to help them. 

If we're honest, so many people struggle daily in silence because:
 "Truth is harder than a lie, the dark seems safer than the Light and everyone has a heart that loves to hide, I'm a mess and so are you, we've built walls that nobody can get through, yeah, it may be hard, but the best thing we could ever do is bring your brokenness because love can heal what hurt divides...If We're Honest. (click to listen)
There are many advocates/foundations working on the front lines to help bring awareness and proper education to help those in crisis. Even though this information was not put in my path when I needed it, I want to pass it along. We can all learn from each other. I appreciate and would love to personally thank people who are trying to put others needs ahead of their own and are becoming better not bitter due to their hurt. Clark Flatt is one of those people and Nick Saban graciously used his clout to help him achieve his goals. Flatt has triumphed so to speak in turning his tragedy into the good of helping many others by trying to save lives. His 16 year old son became a statistic of the "Silent Epidemic" of youth suicide his website states. In trying to come to terms with what happened, he began researching youth suicide. Over 100 young people this week will become victims he writes and many times it can be prevented and that's what The Jason Foundation is all about. I personally learned of his story when watching the news last March (watch Nick Saban talk about youth suicide prevention and how 2 calls from Nick Saban kick-started legislation to prevent youth suicide). After some prompting from Alabama Football Coach Nick Saban, Governor Robert Bentley signed a bill into law making Alabama the 18th state to pass the "Jason Flatt Act" (Saban-backed suicide prevention bill becomes law in Alabama). The new law requires teachers seeking certification to go through additional suicide prevention training to equip them with information to help better identify and assist at-risk youth for suicide. I believe students need to be equipped as well or more so than teachers, and one way to start is by downloading the free app on The Jason Foundation website to educate youth (more below).

Rick Warren, Pastor of Saddleback Church and bestselling author, is another one of the many people making a big impact on mental health/suicide prevention. Warren's son died to suicide and he is now calling the Church to begin a long road of clearing misconceptions about mental health and taking the plight of the suffering seriously. "I'm certainly not going to waste this pain," Warren said. "One of the things I believe is that God never wastes a hurt and that oftentimes your greatest ministry comes out of your deepest pain. I remember writing in my journal that in God's garden of grace, even broken trees bear fruit." In March of this year, Saddleback Church hosted The Gathering on Mental Health and the Church, which was a day long event to raise awareness and spread information regarding the truth about mental illness and how the church can positively get involved. He says, "It's amazing to me that any other organ in your body can break down and there's no shame and stigma to it, but if your brain breaks down, you're supposed to keep it a secret" (, "Rick Warren Says the Church Needs to Get Serious About Mental Health"). Rick's wife Kay Warren is also an advocate to suicide prevention and has turned her pain into trying to inform and help others. You can follow her on Twitter (@KayWarren1) and visit her website (

Anthem of Hope ( is a non-profit orgainization devoted to helping those battling brokenness, depression, self-harm, suicide and addiction find hope through community and support. This group is dedicated to providing multiple avenues of support for those in need. Their 24/7 crisis line and mobile application are only two of the many ways they plan to provide help to those in need. You can follow them on Twitter

Jamie Tworkowski is another advocate of suicide prevention. In an article titled, "It's Time to Remove the Mental Health Stigma," in Relevant Magazine ( he discusses why World Suicide Prevention Day matters. The writer of the article states that the tragedy of someone taking his or her own life is multiplying. For those of us who believe God made people in His image, this is a crisis. Tworkowski has spent the last decade trying to fight this crisis. He's the founder of the global non-profit, To Write Love on Her Arms, and the best-selling author of "If You Feel Too Much." Each year they build a campaign around a statement: Two years ago it was "No one else can play your part," and last year it was "We'll see you tomorrow." This year their campaign is based on a statement from a book called *Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig. Essentially, they're inviting people to finish the sentence, "I kept living because _______."  You can follow Jamie on Twitter (@jamietworkowski) and read the full article to find out more.

A book I was given not long after my son passed away entitled "Melissa", written by Frank S. Page, President of the Southern Baptist Executive Committee, was so helpful. Even though painful at times, his story and the courage he had to share his story has helped me tremendously and many others as well. The book has letters sprinkled throughout written to someone who might be considering suicide. He also shares a helpful video message on suicide and depression on his website (

I am grateful God has put these people and stories in my path to help me on my journey. Maybe, in Heaven one day soon, I will be able to thank some of them.

In the wake of National Suicide Prevention week, I came across an uplifting article posted on Twitter by (click to read) about an Alabamian sharing his suicide survival story. I hope it encourages you or someone you know that there is life beyond depression and help can be found.

Like I mentioned above, what matters most is God's love towards you. Choose to believe God loves you! If you are a Christian, a born-again believer, it's very important to see yourself the way God sees you. Your view of yourself will determine your future. You are part of God's plan and He has a purpose for you. "Long before He laid down the Earth's foundations, He had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of His love" (Ephesians 1:4 MSG). 

As Rick Warren states in Daily Hope -This is How God Feels About You, "God looks at you and He loves you simply because He made you. The Bible says that the entire universe was created simply so God could create the human race so He could love us. We are the focus of His love, unlike anything else in creation. We were created to be loved by God. If you ever grasp the profound truth just shared and let it sink into your soul, you will never again have a problem with insecurity or low self-esteem. Because when you realize that God created the entire universe just so He could create the conditions so that human beings could exist so He could create you and love you, it will take away all those feelings of insecurity. God created you in order to love you. The most important thing you can know is that truth. And the most important thing you can do in life is to know and love Him back. That's the number one purpose in life. The tragedy is most people go through their entire life missing the purpose of it. They know all kinds of things - stock quotes, sports scores, who's on the cover of People magazine - but they don't know God. You may know about God, but do you know Him personally?" 

Do you have a friendship, a love relationship with God's Son, Jesus Christ? If you don't, that is the most important choice you will make. Turn towards Him and He will show you your purpose and worth. Jesus said, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." (John 14:6)

 "You make your choices, your choices make you."-Jack Graham

Choose to serve the Lord (not self, like we're all prone to do).

"But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve...But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD." 
Joshua 24:15

*I'm not familiar with the contents of the book mentioned above, Reasons to Stay Alive, but because I believe in the living God who is the Creator of life, the reason to live is to to glorify Jesus Christ (life is not about me)! "For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain." Philippians 1:21

"Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved..."
Acts 16:31

I encourage you to research The Jason Foundation website at, read his story, learn how and where to get help,and how you can become more informed to possibly help someone else. Download the free app on your phone, (a great tool for young ones and teens) which explains how to "get help now", "how to help a friend", "warning signs", and "resources for help". Because suicide is now part of my story, I feel with the proper education of teachers, students, and parents, many can be prevented. Much has been done, but there is still more to do and educating students and their peers about this growing crisis is key. Share this with a friend and maybe you can possibly help a friend in need.