Tag Archives: strength

Dear God.

Sponsoring a child is a huge decision, almost as big as having a new baby or getting married. How will I know if we pick the right one? What if something happens and we can’t continue our sponsorship? What then? This is a giant step and my brain is telling me no but my heart is screaming yes. I know it’s the right thing.

The boys are excited about helping out another child. They’ve been trying grasp what it’s like to not have education or food or water or shoes. All of those things we take for granted. They’ve already asked about sending him (they’re certain You will lead us to sponsor a boy!) toys to play with. And maybe some books.

The big thing is that I want to be able to show him (or her) You and to show Your love. I get stuck because I know I snap at my boys sometimes. I almost feel as though I’m not a good enough role model – not yet. I hope we’re always growing in Your word and showing your love for others. God, I don’t know what You have planned but we are taking this next step. Jumping in feet first and trusting You to keep us above water.

Most importantly, Heavenly Father, please protect the child, whomever he or she may be. Wrap your loving arms around him or her and never let go.

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Since I am in Christ.

I discovered this list several months ago and it’s been sitting on my dresser ever since. I’m going to post it all here and gradually through the next year come back to it for topics to discuss. There’s a lot here but I challenge you to copy/paste this into Word, print it, and tape it to your bathroom mirror. Read it every single day. Especially those days when it seems things cannot get any worse.

Since I am in Christ, by the grace of God:

I have been justified – completely forgiven and made righteous {Romans 5:1}

I died with Christ and died to the power of sin’s rule over my life {Romans 6:1-6}

I am free forever from condemnation {Romans 8:1}

I have been placed into Christ by God’s doing {1 Corinthians 1:30}

I have received the Spirit of God into my life that I might know the things freely given to me by God {1 Corinthians 2:12}

I have been given the mind of Christ {1 Corinthians 2:16}

I have been bought with a price, I am not my own; I belong to God {1 Corinthians 6:19-20}

I have been established, anointed, and sealed by God in Christ, and I have been given the Holy Spirit as a pledge guaranteeing my inheritance to com {2 Corinthians 1:21-22, Ephesians 1:13-14}

Since I have died, I no longer live for myself, but for Christ {2 Corinthians 5:14-15}

I have been made righteous {2 Corinthians 5:21}

I have been crucified with Christ and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. The life I am now living is Christ’s life {Galatians 2:20}

I have been blessed with every spiritual blessing {Ephesians1:3}

I was chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and without blame before Him {Ephesians 1:5}

I have been redeemed and forgiven, and I am a recipient of His lavish grace {Ephesians 1:7-8}

I have been made alive together with Christ {Ephesians 2:5}

I have been raised up and seated with Christ in Heaven {Ephesians 2:6}

I have direct access to God through the Spirit {Ephesians 2:18}

I may approach God with boldness, freedom, and confidence {Ephesians 3:12}

I have been rescued from the domain of Satan’s rule and transferred to the kingdom of Christ {Colossians 1:13}

I have been redeemed and forgiven of all my sins. The debt against me has been canceled {Colossians 1:14}

Christ Himself is in me {Colossians 1:27}

I am firmly rooted in Christ and am now being built in Him {Colossians 2:7}

I have been made complete in Christ {Colossians 2:10}

I have been spiritually circumcised {Colossians 2:11}

I have been buried, raised, and made alive with Christ {Colossians 2:12-13}

I died with Christ and I ahve been raised up with Christ. My life is now hidden with Christ in God. Christ is now my life {Colossians 3:1-4}

I have been given a spirit of power, love, and self-discipline {2 Timothy 1:7}

I have been saved and set apart according to God’s doing {2 Timothy 1:9, Titus 3:5}

Because I am sanctified and am one with the Sanctifier, He is not ashamed to call me brother/sister {Hebrews 2:11}

I have the right to come boldly before the throne of God to find mercy and grace in time of need {Hebrews 4:16}

I have been given exceedingly great and precious promises by God by which I am a partaker of God’s divine nature {2 Peter 1:4}


A Thankful Heart | Day 7.

I know I’ve said family already but for today I want to focus on my children:

Eman & ZigZag

There are no words to express all of the emotions that go along with Mommyhood. It’s a whole new world that is constantly changing. If you have more than one child, the milestones reached with the oldest are not necessarily how things will happen when the youngest reaches those same milestones. It is amazing to me how incredibly dissimilar yet alike my boys are. They both have fairly happy dispositions most of the time. Yet, even when they’re happy there’s such a difference of expression from one to the other.

I have learned more about myself in the last seven {and a half!} years than I’ve probably learned in the last thirty combined. New ways of teaching, giving, receiving. There just aren’t words enough to express how much I love these little dudes and how drastically they’ve changed my life {for the better!}.

ZigZag will make up little songs that say, “I love you Mommy” in them.

Eman will come up as though he has something very serious to say and then wink at me before giving me the biggest hug.

To quote the movie Something’s Gotta Give “They make me want to be a better person”.

I just love them!


A Thankful Heart | Day 5.

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Today I am thankful for technology.

We use technology for so many things – life saving equipment, photography sharing, communications, etc. So often we use it that we don’t even realize it anymore. The word technology contrives images of computers and smart phones but there’s so much more than that.

With the use of technology I’m able to snap pictures of my boys, load them to my computer, and either upload them to Facebook or email them globally. With a few clicks of the mouse images are sent around the word. Literally. It still kind of blows my mind how fast things travel in today’s society.

Families who are rarely in the same state {or even country} can communicate easier today than ever before – phones, online chat services {think Skype, Facetime, & other such companies}, and of course there’s Facebook.

It amazes me the advances made in technology just during my lifetime. Computers have gone from being these ugly monstrosities to these handheld devices about the size of a magazine. Mobile phones have gone from these massive blocks that plug into the car to these slim-lined, smaller than your palm, fits in your pocket size gadget that most parents now use to appease their children.

Oh and then there’s GPS in nearly everything – cars, computers, phones. Nice little tracking devices that not only give you directions when you’re lost but help people find you if necessary.


Resurrection Day.

We celebrate Valentine’s Day as the “Day of Love” but have you ever given any though to the greatest gift of love ever shown to man?

John 15:13 says – 13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

I don’t know about you but I honestly don’t have too many people in my life I’d die for. My boys and a few other family members and that’s truly about it.

Jesus laid down His life for us – people He didn’t know, strangers, so that we would have the chance for eternal life.

Not only did He give His life, He willingly walked into the worst torture ever known to man. In Bible times a typical punishment was to either be scourged (brutally beaten) or crucified but never both – Jesus went through both.

The week before (what we typically celebrate as Palm Sunday), Jesus rode a donkey into town to people praising Him and bowing at His feet with palm branches. He ended that week on a cross, buried in a tomb, fighting Satan so that we wouldn’t have to. He had the power to call down 12 legion angels to save Him (a legion = 1000) and yet, He didn’t. He knew what He was getting into.

He had already made His choice.

The following depiction is something I copied from this website and is very, very difficult to read.

The physical trauma of Christ begins in Gethsemane with one of the initial aspects of His suffering – the bloody sweat. It is interesting that the physician of the group, St. Luke, is the only one to mention this. He says, “And being in agony, He prayed the longer. And his sweat became as drops of blood, trickling down upon the ground.”

Though very rare, the phenomenon of hemathidrosis, or bloody sweat, is well documented. Under great emotional stress, tiny capillaries in the sweat glands can break, thus mixing blood with sweat. This process alone could have produced marked weakness and possible shock.

After the arrest in the middle of the night, Jesus was brought before the Sanhedrin and Caiaphas, the High Priest. A soldier struck Jesus across the face for remaining silent when questioned by Caiaphas. The palace guards then blindfolded Him and mockingly taunted Him to identify them as they each passed by; they spat on Him and struck Him in the face.

Condemned to Crucifixion

In the early morning, Jesus, battered and bruised, dehydrated, and exhausted from a sleepless night, was taken across Jerusalem to the Praetorium of the Fortress Antonia. It was there, in response to the cries of the mob, that Pilate ordered Bar-Abbas released and condemned Jesus to scourging and crucifixion.

Flogging first

Preparations for the scourging are carried out. The prisoner is stripped of His clothing and His hands tied to a post above His head. The Roman Legionnaire steps forward with the flagrum in his hand. This is a short whip consisting of several heavy, leather thongs with two small balls of lead attached to the ends of each. The heavy whip is brought down with fill force again and again across Jesus’ shoulders, back and legs.

At first the heavy thongs cut through the skin only. Then, as the blows continue, they cut deeper into subcutaneous tissues, producing first an oozing of blood from the capillaries and veins of the skin, and finally spurting arterial bleeding from vessels in the underlying muscles. The small balls of lead first produce large, deep bruises which are broken open by subsequent blows.

Finally the skin of the back is hanging in long ribbons and the entire area is an unrecognizable mass of torn, bleeding tissue. When it is determined by the centurion in charge that the prisoner is near death, the beating is stopped.

The half-fainting Jesus is then untied and allowed to slump to the stone pavement, wet with His own blood. The Roman soldiers see a great joke in this provincial Jew claiming to be a king. They throw a robe across His shoulders and place a stick in His hand for a sceptre. A small bundle of flexible branches covered with long thorns is pressed into His scalp.

Again there is copious bleeding (the scalp being one of the most vascular areas in the body). After mocking Him and striking Him across the face, the soldiers take the stick from His hand and strike Him across the head, driving the thorns deeper into His scalp. Finally, they tire of their sadistic sport and the robe is torn from his back. This had already become adherent to the colts of blood and serum in the wounds, and its removal, just as in the careless removal of a surgical bandage, cause excruciating pain – almost as though He were again being whipped, and the wounds again begin to bleed.

The walk to crucifixion

The heavy beam of the cross is then tied across His shoulders, and the procession of the condemned Christ, two thieves and the execution detail, begins its slow journey, The weight of the heavy wooden beam, together with the shock produced by copious blood loss, is too much. He stumbles and falls. The rough wood of the beam gouges into the lacerated skin and muscles of the shoulders. He tries to rise, but human muscles have been pushed beyond their endurance.

The nails of crucifixion

At Golgotha, the beam is placed on the ground and Jesus is quickly thrown backward with His shoulders against the wood. The Legionnaire feels for the depression at the front of the wrist. He drives a heavy, square, wrought-iron nail through the wrist and deep into the wood. Quickly, he moves to the other side and repeats the action, being careful not to pull the arms too tightly, but to allow some flexion and movement. The beam is then lifted in place at the top of the posts and the titular reading “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews” is nailed in place.

The pain of crucifixion

The left foot is pressed backward against the right foot, and with both feet extended, toes down, a nail is driven through the arch of each. As he pushes Himself upward to avoid the stretching torment, He places His full weight on the nail through His feet. Again there is the searing agony of the nail through His feet. Again there is the searing agony of the nail tearing through the nerves between the metatarsal bones through the feet.

Crucifixion – the medical effects

As the arms fatigue, great waves of cramps sweep over the muscles, knotting them in deep, relentless, throbbing pain. With these cramps comes the inability to push Himself upward. Hanging by His arms, the pectoral muscles are unable to act. Air can be drawn into the lungs, but cannot be exhaled. Jesus fights to raise Himself in order to get even one short breath. Finally, carbon dioxide builds up in the lungs and in the blood stream and the cramps partially subside. Spasmodically, He is able to push Himself upward to exhale and bring in the life-giving oxygen.

Hours of this limitless pain, cycles of twisting, joint-rending cramps, intermittent partial asphyxiation, searing pain as tissue is torn from His lacerated back as He moves up and down against the rough timber. Then another agony begins. A deep crushing pain deep in the chest as the pericardium slowly fills with serum and begins to compress the heart.

The compressed heart is struggling to pump heavy, thick, sluggish blood into the tissues – the tortured lungs are making a frantic effort to gasp in small gulps of air. The markedly dehydrated tissues send their flood of stimuli to the brain. Jesus gasps, “I thirst.”

Crucifixion – the last gasp

He can feel the chill of death creeping through His tissues. With one last surge of strength, He once again presses His torn feet against the nail, straightens His legs, takes a deeper breath, and utters His seventh and last cry, “Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit.”

Apparently to make doubly sure of death, the Legionnaire drove his lance through the fifth interspace between the ribs, upward through the pericardium and into the heart. Immediately there came out blood and water. We, therefore, have rather conclusive post-mortem evidence that Out Lord died, not the usual crucifixion death by suffocation, but of heart failure due to shock and constriction of the heart by fluid in the pericardium.


Haiti. One year later.

230,000 people dead.

http://www.haitinews.net/

http://www.cdc.gov/haiticholera/

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=cholera-outbreak-haiti

http://progressinhaiti.org/

http://tri-statedefenderonline.com/articlelive/articles/5660/1/Haiti–One-year-later/Page1.html

I know the one year anniversary of this tragedy was nearly 2 months ago. I’m flabbergasted at the amount of destruction.

Between Haiti and Japan and Egypt I wonder if we’ve stretched ourselves too thin but then I remember some things the Bible says:

* Go into ALL the world and lo I am with you ALWAYS (No go, no lo!!)

* Whatever you do unto the least of these you do unto Me.


One Year.

Tomorrow marks the one year anniversary of a very devastating time for our community.

One word – Meningitis.

Even now that wound is so very fresh. That thought of, “that could have been my child” is still forefront in each parents mind more often than not.

I can’t even begin to address the rumors my son was coming home from school with on a daily basis immediately following this tragedy. Things such as, “they cut Jeremiah’s legs off with a chainsaw” or “we’re all going to die” or even “if it’s not in a bottle I can’t drink it because it might make me sick”. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

I remember that day very vividly.

I was at work, a new office job in Tulsa, with my best friend and sister-in-law when my phone rang. A good friend of mine, who never calls because all of our communication is via text, was on the other line so of course I answered it.

All I heard from that conversation was, “Two kids at the school have died. You might want to pick up your son”. I don’t know how I made it through that conversation. Tears streaming down my face, I walked into my best friends office and handed her the phone. I remember asking her to call my ex-husband to pick up E-man from school and to find out what was going on. I sat on the sofa in her office crying, wanting to hug my children but in no shape to drive, listening to her as she called the school and my ex-husband and I’m not sure who else trying to find out what was going on.

I left work early that day. As soon as I was able to drive that is.

We ended up in the ER with ZigZag that night, running a fever over 102 degrees. More than a little stressed considering the circumstances of the day. The ER doctor was great and checked ZigZag for meningitis just in case. It was Roseola.  It came out in conversation that he didn’t think it was meningitis but he’d already had one patient die from meningitis that day and he didn’t want to lose another. It was a rough day for him too.

The children who died still have siblings in our school. And you can hear little whisperings amongst the students from time to time. They remember. They know that their friends, Andrew and Shuache, should be here playing with them and planning birthday parties and slumber parties and Spring Break festivities. But they are not here.

Jeremiah improved so much faster and greater than the doctors expected, even at their highest hopes for him. He still has a long road but he’s proved himself to be a fighter.

I do know there has been some talk about whether to commemorate this anniversary with a tree planting or something of the sort but the general census is that it is still too fresh in the students minds to do so. However, I know the daily moment of silence done every morning in the Oologah-Talala Lower Elementary will carry special meaning tomorrow.

 


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