Saturday, January 5, 2013

My One Word for 2013...BREATHE

My blog has been a lonely place....haven't visited in over a year.
The last time I dropped in was to declare a word for 2012.

I failed at being intentional. but. God. succeeded. He always does.

2012 was a difficult year filled with death of loved ones, near death of my mom, a chronic condition for one of my sweet babies, and questions unanswerable. The pain started in early January and it seemed to roll down hill from there. It seemed we couldn't catch a break. Friends and acquaintances even asked the "how do you get out of bed in the morning?" type questions. And. I. wondered...why do I?

When pondering the answer; the story of Elizabeth Elliot and the death of her martyred husband came to mind and the words..."do the next thing."
I did the next thing. With encouragement from friends and prayers that sustained me. I did the next thing. And. I made. it. through.

I failed at being intentional in the ways I had planned. Health. Longer quiet times. BUT I succeeded in being intentional about the things that really mattered. Embracing each day. Counting the joys of every ordinary moment. Knowing that God is not counting my minutes, but measuring my motives when I come before Him.

I like this one word for the year thing. 2013 makes the third year I have embraced a word.
 2013 may be the year I need it most.

One thing I noticed last year as I. did. the. next. thing....I sometimes had a hard time breathing. I don't mean breathing in and out. Though, a few of our moments were punctuated with that...hard to breathe and hear the words; "I'm sorry Cheri, your Aunt Tina is gone"(at 46), "Jim (husband of my precious cousin) has gone home to be with Jesus" or  "your mom has a brain tumor" or "your baby has type 1 diabetes".  Hard not to gasp and think your heart will explode inside your chest. Hard to breathe.

Webster gives several definitions for the word breathe. The definition that struck me?
To feel free of restraint. of restraint....say that with me! Sounds wonderful does it not?

Galatians 5:1: "For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery." and Psalm 150:6: Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!

When one truly breathes in the Word of God. They breath out praise. And. Praise sets us free.
My blog "friend" Ann Voskamp has blessed me and so many others with her encouragement to be thankful in everything. The beautiful. The ugly. It is a challenge to be thankful in the ugly. But. It changes you.

It has been a challenge to breathe and to do the next thing many days. But. oh to be free from restraint. To live  the freedom Christ died for me to live. To BREATHE!  Fear and angst have taken up residence to long. False guilt and empty regrets have whispered in the ear long enough.

It is time to breathe in His Word so I can breathe out His Praise and fully live in His freedom. Bring Him Glory in this new year and every one He gives after.

God has placed goals on my heart. One goal (Jess, you will be happy!) is writing. So. Maybe my blog will not be so lonely this year!

Oh....and why do I get out of bed in the morning?  My children make me! ;)

Saturday, December 31, 2011

A New Word for a New Year...

I've been following Ann Voskamp's Holy Experience blog for a few years now and I am always challenged and encouraged. Last year I embraced her idea about naming your year. It is an intentional way of embracing the new year...a way of growth...change.

As 2010 came to an end, I was feeling hopeless about the future in many ways and so I chose the word HOPE, it seemed to be the word God kept placing before me. I embraced it and HIS hope embraced me. I'm not saying 2011 was all daises and sunshine ...there was a fair amount of storm clouds and rain...but Jesus has given me His hope...the kind that may look bleak...but the plan is mine and my (Jesus) plans are always good (Jeremiah 29:11). When the plan is His, there is always hope for a bright future. I struggled for a while with placing hope in the right therapy or the right book or the right diet....some of those things work and work well, but in the words of one of the people involved in K's is amazing the progress she is making with the small amount of therapy she receives...that's God! Yes! He has shown me this year that all the hope I need for anything in life comes from Him and Him alone. K is so smart and she has the most awesome big sister and can I not have hope. The Lord has blessed me far beyond what I could have ever dreamed....and I have HOPE...God's hope , not man's!

I posted this on my Facebook page a few months back, it sums up how God has molded and changed my heart this me hope using His people and His Word to shape and change me: "Being a special needs mom can be can make your pride flare can make you feel hopeless...if you don't keep your eyes trained on the One who wrote your story. I will admit there are times I have watched other families with their little ones and looks peaceful...easy...."why can't that be...." And then I stop myself (on the good days) and realize their journey is not mine...and not theirs. Our journey is good and watched over by a merciful and sovereign King....a King who loves us...calls us...equips us...for where we are and where we are heading."

Our journey is good and I can trust it to and have hope in the One who gave it to me in the first place. 2011 was a year of Hope and because of my intentional focus on His Word and striving each day Hope will follow me into 2012! " Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe in him, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. " Romans 15:13

I loved naming my year and so I have been thinking of a name for entered my mind...we can all probably relate...hurts...betrayals...bring a nice amount of distrust with them...but the word is not sticking for me....for some reason the Spirit keeps leading me to the word intentional.

Webster defines intentional as "doing by design, purposeful." I know why I am being lead to this word...I have always struggled with purpose. I have gifts, talents, and beautiful blessings....but I sometimes feel I am just drifting along...haphazardly using these gifts, enjoying these blessings...when I am meant for more. I want my life to bring Glory to my Savior...maybe being intentional about the things He has set before me is a good place to start. Being intentional about taking care of the body He gave me, being intentional about the ministry He has set before me, being intentional about being content, being intentional about loving and nurturing the family He has given me....yes...intentional is the word for 2012.

"Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. 16 Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers." 1Tim. 4:15-16

Being INTENTIONAL is active, much like seeking HOPE is active. Active, in that, it is a daily striving toward what Christ died for us to live...a purposeful, hope filled life!

Monday, June 20, 2011

An Anniversary and A Birthday!

This week brings with it the one year anniversary of Kenzie's diagnose. On Wednesday, one year ago... I heard the word Autism fall out of a neurologist's mouth. My world was forever changed. On that day, as I spoke of in an older post, I felt like I was in the midst of a storm....and I was. On that day and many since, God in His sovereign grace reminded me of the conversation between Christ and his disciples when they were in a storm on a lake...."where is your faith?"
Where is your faith, Cherie? Have I not always been faithful? Will I stop being faithful now? The rain fell outside my car that day as the tears fell down my checks...Kenzie was happily playing in her car seat. I was falling apart...I was questioning why...I was wondering...was it something I had done...or....not done?
I so wanted to change it all for her...
still do some days....
A year has passed...she is talking....saying no ...a bit to much for my taste...but talking!
God has remained faithful...just as HE promised...and her therapy has been provided for each month!
We have an awesome support team, made up of family and friends who love her and our family and lift us in prayer often...who help when they can and some even have expertise in the Autism field...that is so God!!
I have learned alot about myself and alot about my Jesus.....He never gives up on me...even when I feel hopeless...He will never see Kenz as different or an Him she is what she is...beautiful and precious!! A treasure!! I have learned to lean on Him...not my skills or understanding.
I am stronger and gentler....I am a better woman, a better wife, and a better mom.

I may never have a full understanding of why God, in His sovereignty, allowed this path for our family, but I know we are all better...stronger....because of this path.....for that I say thank you.

Along with this day later comes the birthday of our sweet Princess....our baby will be four!!!
I am one blessed mommy....both of my babies bring me such joy and I am daily thankful for them.
Kenzie is full of energy and can sing like a bird. She loves rhythm and when she dances she says, "look, mommy, I dancing!" She is tenacious about the things she loves and she often tells us about those passions....;)!
She has worked so hard with her therapist and teachers and us and is using full sentences, writing her name with some assistance, knows all her letters and sounds, and counts objects to 20!!! I am a bit proud of her, if you cannot tell!!
I did not plan autism for her, I certainly did not dream it for fact I feared the disorder and would not speak of it....
as if!!!
But our plans are not always HIS plans ... Kenzie always says Jeremiah 29:11 each night before sleep (along with the other three verses she is currently working on). It always reminds me that His plans are always better...even if we don't understand.

Kenzie, baby we LOVE you more than I could ever explain in a blog post....we love you just the way God created you....we love your spirit and the way you give great hugs and kisses
....we love how you love your big sister...and how you always say your Bible verse before going to sleep. We love that you are a girly girl, who often insists on wearing a "pretty dress".
We love the Miracle that you are....Happy Birthday my sweet, precious little girl and thank you God for allowing us to raise this beautiful child. Thank you.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Why I Haven't Been Writing...

holy experience

Overwhelmed....with life. So much to be thankful for and yet finding myself focusing more on the things that rub...wrong. Focusing on past hurts, focusing on future worries, focusing on the whys of life....why am I not using my counseling degree at a "real" job, why does my baby have autism, why does any one's baby have autism, why am I not content EVERYDAY, and why can I not MOVE FORWARD!?

What ifs serve no purpose.... but to suffocate with fear. Yet I find myself there....forgetting that my "what ifs" are covered by a loving and sovereign God. Forgetting that He indeed has great plans for my family, for my children, for my husband, and yes, for me. Knowing it....and yet not fully believing it some days. Knowing...I should know better...I have a degree in knowing better! :) Knowing that I need to stand ...say no more to the lies, no more to the not more to the worrying what others say or think...knowing....but believing I can do it...that is the rub.

Can I do this? NO......BUT, Jesus...He can...I know...I believe He can and so I will splash my gratitude...mixed with tears... here on this screen and... down on my knees. I will do the next thing and stand against the lies that have been flying....I can't do this...but HE CAN...and HE WILL.

I am so grateful for: 101-110...
101. God's forgiveness and continual faithfulness...
102. God's provision for three more months of therapy for little bit.
103. My baby's five! FIVE!

104. Friends who pray even if they have no words....
105. Awesome birthday party celebration with friends and family.
106. Precious mommy daughter moments...hugs and reading books together.
107. Sweet memories...
108. Beautiful Fall mornings.
109. My back porch swing....and quiet moments there.
110. Hot tea...with milk. ;)

Here is to a day focusing on Sovereignty and not what ifs!

Monday, September 20, 2010

What Shall I Wear?

After reading a post on Facebook, masks have been the topic of thought lately. Not the type worn by some at the end of October, but the ones I put on as I travel throughout my day. There is the professional mask, the "I'm great mask", the "brave" mask, the "I've got this" mask, and multiple others I pull out as needed........
I am deeply convicted by this realization.
There was a time in life, when asked about masks...I would have responded...throw them out, burn them (along with the boxes you have placed yourself in), but now....I have re-accumulated quite a few. How did I get such a vast wardrobe of fake? How did I get here?
Don't mishear me...for most of my life I owned a huge box filled with many false masks...some ugly...some beautiful....but...false....ALL OF THEM!
But Christ took me to a place (both literal and figuratively speaking) where He set me free from all of that....burned them....and the box. The butterfly was set free.
So why create new ones? Why climb back in the cocoon?
Searching...pondering...why....FEAR. It is the only thing that makes us create a mask or build a box. FEAR. Fear of what others will think, fear that we will be rejected, fear of the unknown, fear ...that God does not really care.....FEAR.
If we wear the mask (the right one), no one will ever know....but we know...and He knows.
Fear cripples, fear kills....and I....I want to live! Really it is time to build a bonfire...get on my face before my Saviour and ask Him to help me out of this cocoon.... again....I want to fly again....
Live each moment, love strong....without fear of ANYTHING. The beauty Christ fashions in my heart is the only wardrobe I need. I am grateful for His mercy...I am grateful....
holy experience

Grace....Mercy....the option of living without a is slowly arriving....sweet, precious moments with my family...little girls learning to swim and so proud of themselves....praises to our King for His faithfulness. Faith, not fear......

Monday, September 13, 2010

1000 Gifts...Keeping the Count!

holy experience

Ann Voskamp over at Holy Experience just spent a few days in Guatemala. Meeting her Compassion child and embracing a people and culture not her own. It brought back memories of my time in Brazil....empty eyes...longing for something they could not identify...but something I had...Christ. A way of life so foreign from my own...better in some ways. Simple. But formal school for the village children, no air conditioned homes...dirt floors...floors that were swept each morning, no TV, no indoor water...the bathroom...a hole in the ground. BUT such joy for those who found what they were REALLY looking for...those who found the answer...those who found Jesus. I will NEVER forget the joy...I was changed by it...I am thankful for the memory and the way it has shaped me. I am thankful for so much...
79. A friend who recognizes my passionate discontent and recommends a book. :)
80. Hurt that is healing with time and love.
81. Clean the house.
82. The opportunity to work a bit while the girls are at school.
83. Clean dishes...surprise from my honey.
84. Friends who climb right down in the ditch with me when I fall in or climb in (whatever the case may be.)
85. My oldest snuggling up and saying, "I love you it time to get up now?"
86. Autumn is arriving...and with it Fall flowers...
87. Hugs from my mom.
88. Dreams getting closer...
89. Gifts I can use to give back, bless, and love others....
90. My Jesus...He is my longing...and the days I fully take that in...those are AWESOME days.

May I encourage you to slow and count the gifts....

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Kindness of Strangers and Friends

How to say thank you?
Baby Be Blessed sponsored our little one for the month of August and many of you gave generously to support Kenzie in her ABA journey. I would like to say thank you by letting you know what ABA is doing for her and our family.
We have seen great results in our little one! Her speech has greatly improved since starting ABA therapy and we are noticing more and more words each week! She is better able to cope with her sensory issues and we have so much hope for her future. When a parent hears the word Autism, so many negative images come to mind and if not guarded; hopelessness can overwhelm.
However, God has been overwhelming me with His faithfulness and love through this whole process. He has used many of you to bless us beyond what words can truly convey. You have blessed Kenz financially, but also you have blessed us with encouraging words!
Ari's mom...what a blessing!! In the midst of your own journey...blessing those around you with what you have...I am honored to "meet" you!
Many of you I will never meet this side of heaven ;(some I call friend and some are family), but you ALL allowed our Saviour to use you to bless a little girl, who is quite simply... AWESOME!!!
Autism brought negative images, but as one mom said, I am now starting to see the blessings that come with the struggle. The blessing of knowing that God is faithful and in control. The blessing of knowing that my little girl is perfect...just. the. way. she. is! Knowing that her future is one of promise of hope...because my Jesus...He promised...and He always. keeps. His promise.
So how to do you say thank you?
Words do not convey the feelings that rise up in my spirit when I think of your kindness, your generosity, your love....just know that you are putting feet to your faith and that your Creator...He is well pleased when we put into action what we know to be right!
To further thank you, I am going to strive to give where I can give and love where I can love. Thank you for being a part of that push in my life.