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He Knows What He’s Doing

 Remember when your hope is lost and faith is shaken

Remember when you wonder if you’re going to make it.

There’s a hand stretched out through your deepest doubt.

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We can’t pretend to see the ending

Or what’s coming up ahead

Don’t know the story of tomorrow

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But we can stay close to the One who knows.

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We can trust our God

He knows what He’s doing.

Though it might hurt now

We won’t be ruined.

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He’s holding onto you and me

And He’s never going to leave.He is with us.He is with us.

Always. ALWAYS.

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There is purpose

There is meaning

In everything

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We surrender to His leading

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He wants nothing more than to have us close.

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Our faith is sealed

Our hope is real.

Come what may

We’re not afraid.

He is with us!

Always!

-song from the album Love and The Outcome

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Somehow when one sees the giant sculpting of our Creator; one knows without a shadow of a doubt that He is totally capable of caring for every detail in our lives.

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No matter that we have no idea what breathtaking event awaits around our next corner. He will be there and He really does have a plan.

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Our lives are not just random events strung together.

We are incredibly loved.

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We went to Glacier and for Father’s Day. I’ve been saving up money quite awhile for something special and I couldn’t think of any better way of spending it then giving my wonderful guy a little paid vacation. He has worked so hard and sacrificed so much for us all over the last years.

We stopped beside Going To The Sun Road with Heaven’s Peak in the background for a little family picture.

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I wish we could have actually glimpsed into heaven for awhile but the clouds soon rolled in over the Rockies. We just carried our Wildflower Girl in our hearts and lived in the moment and enjoyed the wonderful clear mountain air scented with pine and glacier water.

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This spot reminded me of what I imagine the Alps  look like. I could picture Peter and Heidi from Heidi herding their sheep, picking wildflowers and eating bread and cheese with swigs of fresh goat milk.

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The spray of clear fresh water would dance over us and Kobe would squeal with delight.

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All I could think as we drove through such incredible VAST beauty was the song, “How Great is Our GOD!!!”

Rest my soul. Rest and worship.

There is no reason to fret about tomorrow. He’s got this.

My mind has been spinning me in circles lately and I am weary of worrying and wondering and waiting and questioning if God is even listening. I’m weary of missing Kierra and not talking about it more and I’m weary of not WANTING to talk about it more. And I’m afraid that everyone will TRY to talk to me about it and I have no idea if i even WANT to talk about it. (I hope no guys have to read this ‘mad woman’ scramble of thoughts. LOL)

Grief is so very contradictory for me. I did not know that feelings of sad and happy, hate and love, can flow so near each other. (Perhaps hate is a bit of a strong word but right now I can’t think of a better one :) I HATE missing Kierra but I LOVE how much I love her. Sadness and happiness intermingle until they become so entangled you can scarcely survive without either one of them. Then comes the moment of fear when you know memories and the life that was yours  is slipping away and a new chapter is breaking and you are paranoid  you can’t go back but more paranoid to move forward and totally paranoid to hold still.

And it was in a moment like this that I heard the song play that I typed above. It called my heart to God and His unfailing Heart of Love. Answers do not need to come in tidy packages with a specific map to show the way. They come by simply trusting. And moving one step forward at a time. Knowing that God will most likely surprise you with more joy and heartache then you ever imagined. And knowing it will totally be worth it. Because He has an absolute GLORIOUS plan in mind! and He will NOT RUIN His children!

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23 Questions To Ask Your Child

Sometimes I wonder what is going on in my three year old’s brain. I’ve never had a three year old that can actually tell me what they are thinking.
As close as my connection to Kierra was (aw. I still don’t like that was word.) I was usually guessing when it came to what she actually thought of me. Her snuggles and brushes of lips on my cheek and little purrs let me know she loved me. Very much. But she could never let me know in English language. We have alot of catching up to do someday!

I read a book to Kobe the other day that made me so upset I nearly threw if across the room but since I expect more of him then that, I better hold myself to the same standards. It was a lovely illustrated older hardcover explaining how God loves you. Normally I would have loved it except this is a bit like it read….
“How do you know God loves you?
He gave you two strong legs to run.
He gave you hands to help your mommy.”
Ditto ditto ….more of the same through the whole book. It made me very upset! Because if God did not give you the ability to run, does that mean He doesn’t love you? Most defiantly NOT!! He loves you exactly the way He made you.
And that got me to thinking along the more grownup thoughts of how we explain Gods love to our children. When they are very young I think Gods love is shown through us primarily.

Acceptance. Patience. Affirmation. Direction. Consequences. Hugs and kisses. Time.

Kierra’s last physical therapist was a mommy of two darling boys. Recently she posted these questions to ask to your child. I thought they were totally worth sharing! I was amazed at Kobe’s answers and it gave me a clearer view of how he views me. His view of me right now will effect his view  of God someday!

So here they are….all 23 and remember…no prompting your child on right or wrong answers;) I did have to reword them a bit by asking in  first person instead of ‘mommy’. And he did get tired of thinking :)

1. What is something mommy always says to you?
2. What makes Mom happy?
3. What names Mom sad?
4. How does Mom make you laugh?
5. What was your mom like as a child?
6. How old is your mom?
7. How tall is your mom?
8. What is her favorite thing to do?
9. What does your mom do when you’re not around?
10. If your mom becomes famous what will it be for?
11. What is your mom really good at?
12. What is your mom not really good at?
13. What does your mom do for a job?
14. What’s your mom’s favorite food?
15. What makes you proud of your mom?
16. If your mom were a character who would she be?
17. What do you and your mom do together?
18. How are you and your mom the same?
19. How are you and your mom different?
20. How do you know your mom loves you?
21. What does your mom like most about  your dad?
22. Where is your moms favorite place to go?
23. How old was your mom when you were born?

Just as these answers are not right or wrong…(its all about a child’s perspective) so our love for our children will not all look the same. Our children are individual little people who will not tolerate being put in a tidy box. At least most of them won’t:)

Just as God has given them different personalities He has also blessed some with health and others struggle all their life to reach out and hold your hand.

God loves them equally the same. He loves us exactly where we are as well. He doesn’t love us BECAUSE we can run and play. Not because we are talented or wealthy. He loves us simply because He is our Father and we are His child.

I discovered Kobe feels loved when I talk to him and play with him. That he thinks my favorite thing to do is work. And that my favorite place to go is Florida. My favorite food is even salad.

So here’s to playing, listening, and talking more. Here’s to showing him God’s love cannot be earned or handed out as a specialty club card for certain individuals. It’s a free gift with no favorites because everyone is the favorite child.

Here’s to thanking God for the blessings of speech and health and suntanned cheeks and sky blue eyes.
A

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childhood of simple joys, wishful thinking, and still picking flowers for Kierra

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The Colors Of Joy

There is new life all around us. Nature bursting at the seams with birdsong and lilacs and green grass and fruit blossoms. Shy buds opening slowly, unfurling tender blooms. 
  
 

Tiny herbs lifting fragrant savory green heads toward the sunshine.

  
And a table for two that My Love surprised me with for Mother’s Day.

  
True beauty is not having everything perfect but seeing past the imperfections to the blessings tucked into the bursting life that transforms the brown. It’s in loving the joy tucked into corners of life. Welcoming  happiness into your front door.

  
Painting by the River with your paint loving son.

  
And although you have no idea what you are doing with the water colors, the beautiful mess they make is joy in itself. And you feel like an artist.

  
Real joy is sitting quietly watching these two together.

  
And somehow, I eke up joy in thinking of Kierra’s joy in Heaven. Not the giddy funny type of joy. Not a joy most people recognize as joy. Just a deep deep feeling that mingles with saddens and loneliness and comes out in pure white peace.

  
I wish you a blessed Spring!

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The Winged Ones

I wonder if there are birds in Heaven. I wonder if they are more exotic then any winged one ever spotted in the history of the world. I bet they are.

Tonight we grabbed our bonocs and bird book and a little snack and headed out to do some bird watching. Freeze Out Lake is just a few miles from our house. And yes, it’s named Freeze Out since it quite often freezes solid in the winter.  Shallow acres of water that lie in wide open spaces of  ranch land. Cat tails and marshy areas make it a perfect bird habitat. We’ve been crazy busy the last while with spring clean ups and spring activities and dawn to dark schedules. Bird watching is a super relaxing way to spend a perfect Sunday evening.

I married a very handsome guy who has been bird watching since childhood. He amazes me. I see a flash of fowl and He identifies it before I can even comprehend if it was a hawk or a starling :)  and I mean names like Lesser Scoop and Marbeled Godwit and American Avocet. Yeah….I’m lost already and I just got back from a night of watching these amazing creatures.

 Kobe’s friend gave him a little pair of bonoculars and He carries them all around like a little explorer. I should have lived in Montana long enough to know to remember Kobe’s boots when we head out for wild life watching:) I still haven’t discovered the master trick of toughening up a sweet sensitive little boy….so until then we’ll do our best to take it slow and let life teach him that he won’t die from a tiny scraped knee :)

  
      Nature is so full of Gods amazing artsy creations! Stephen identified over thirty birds and Kobe and I saw some beautiful creatures we didn’t even know existed.


I think we need to go again real soon…..all those lovely bird songs are enough to soothe any soul! You really need to hear a Western Meadow Lark, see wild Pelicans scoop into the water, watch Blackneck Stilts, like mini Flamingos, stalking their prey and sit quietly in enthrall wander of the Cinnamon Teal’s amazing rich colors all blended into a gorgeous deep coat of feathers. I wish we had given Kobe a middle name of Teal :)

When we got home we found a tiny sparrow, lying too quietly in our flower bed under the big living room window. Kobe had to keep going outside in the dusk to check on the ‘poor bird’ .  I thought of all those happy flitting winged creatures over Freezeout Lake tonight and this tiny one lying so cold and broken and it didn’t seem fair. Then I remembered Jesus’ words while He walked on earth among death and coldness and heartache.


“Not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. And the very hairs of your head are numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God then a whole flock of sparrows!” Matthew 10

I love how He said those simple words….”So don’t be afraid.” We don’t need to fear this life or our certain death. Or the glorious return of our Saviour. We don’t need to fear about what will happen in the near or far future. What will happen to mankind when perverse nature rules and violence and sin take the upper hand. What will happen if sickness is not healed and bills do not cease and hearts are still broken. He sees every little and big thing in our life.

We are so valuable to His heart. So very very valuable.

He holds OUR hearts in His scarred hands

our names etched into His palms

“My Saviour holds my treasure

And He will walk with me!”

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When God Sends His Love

I’ve been sad the last few weeks. Just a rather lonely sad.
Not to worry….there is no one to fault for this:)
There is just a sad ache that wants to hover over my heart. Sometimes this old world has too many aches and pains for our dusty humaness. Its those
days that I try to apply Gods grace in fresh ways and remember that His strength is made perfect in my own weakness of spirit and heart.
The other morning after working night shift, I stopped at Albertonson’s to quickly check for one little item. As usual, I didn’t grab a cart or a basket since I planned to be in and out in a flash. But there were good sales staring me in the face on my first steps inside the door not to mention coupons for milk! So I grabbed a basket and hurried through the store. I was super weary and so very ready to get home to my comfy house. I was juggling a basket, a gallon of milk and a treasured pack of chicken breast when a kind faced gentleman stepped over to me.
He was dressed in clean well worn navy work clothes with the name Frank (i think;) sewn in deep gold script over his left pocket space. He had clean cut salt and pepper hair with a beard . Wire rimmed glasses fit nicely to his inconspicuous face.
“I’m going your way.” He stated kindly. “What may I carry for you?” His open  gesture showed two fingers missing from his right hand and my mind briefly wandered.
I did a double take of him as he stood a respectful distance away waiting patiently. And I suddenly realized how very tired my arms were and how my legs felt so heavy. Trains of thoughts ran through my brain in split second synchrony.
Was he a stalker?
Did he actually mean what he said?
Couldn’t i handle it alone?
But if he OFFERED…why not let him?
I decided to take his offer.
“You may take this.” I  smiled, handing him the milk.
He carried my chicken breast too. And I set off to find my last item.
“I want to thank you for letting me help you.” He stated simply. ” I ask lots of people if I may help them. Usually no one let’s me. They’re all fine on their own.”
I realized if I had not been so weary, I would likely have brushed him off as well with the trite “I’m fine.”
We walked to the front of the store making a bit of small talk. When we reached the checkouts, he kindly placed my items on the belt .
“Thank you so much! God bless you!” I told him.
He just smiled and turned his back to walk away.
I wish I had the presence of mind to see if he vanished. I wish I knew who he was and why he chose to carry a strangers groceries.
But I do know i felt so very very blessed.
It felt like a confirmation from God that He really cared about me and my day. That in my physical weakness He would always give me enough strength . 
I was reminded to believe that His grace is enough. Always enough.

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Whether I am slogging through the grocery store, chasing my three year old or missing our daughter… God is there…only a whispered prayer away…and when that seems hard to believe , He might just send me an angel gentleman named Frank.

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Partakers Of His Suffering

 

How deep the Father’s love for us,

How vast beyond all measure

That He should give His only Son

To make a wretch His treasure


How great the pain of searing loss,

The Father turns His face away

As wounds which mar the chosen One,

Bring many sons to glory


Behold the Man upon a cross,

My sin upon His shoulders

Ashamed I hear my mocking voice,

Call out among the scoffers


It was my sin that held Him there

Until it was accomplished

His dying breath has brought me life

I know that it is finished


I will not boast in anything

No gifts, no power, no wisdom

But I will boast in Jesus Christ

His death and resurrection


Why should I gain from His reward?

I cannot give an answer

But this I know with all my heart

His wounds have paid my ransom

I attended a woman’s retreat recently in the lovely area of Flathead Lake. Bracing mountain air, whispers of wind in pines, snow capped mountain peaks, and delightful lakes tucked in surprising valleys. 

  

The theme of the retreat seemed to fit well with this Easter weekend. 

Partakers of His suffering….called to Holiness.

When I think of holiness I often think of something beyond my grasp. Something only found in Heaven or the inner sanctuary of the tabernacle. Something I can never attain to. 

I learned that holiness comes from simply giving my life to my Creator. I learned that suffering brings us to Christ….that we might be partakers of His holiness.  I have so much to learn on this subject yet. And part of me wants to hide my face and not look into the depth of it.

 Because it might hurt. And it DOES hurt.

 Because it seems so contrary to my human nature. 

Because I feel so unworthy of a holy, loving God reaching out His grace to me.

We had some wonderful speakers that spoke of pain and holiness and allowing suffering to change us into what Christ longs for us to experience. When we give everything in our life over to Jesus and ask Him to use us for His glory, He sometimes takes us to places we think are absolutely unfair and ridiculous and asking WAY too much of us. I know….I hate to admit that’s how I’ve felt already. He gave His LIFE for me….nothing is too much to give back to Him. But in my human mind, I hold up all kinds of restrictions and requests and appeals and think I know what would glorify God the most and how He should run my life. 

One quote in particular stood out to me ” God does not judge me by the outcome of my circumstances, but by my faith” -Wendy Good

In other words, life may not go AT ALL as you planned. You may have the absolute BEST plans laid out and you are just waiting for the Lords blessing to come pouring out on your amazing plans….and they fall apart. This does not mean God was not in your plans. It doesn’t mean He doesn’t care about you.

As Wendy shared…”we don’t get to pick if we have a happy marriage” 

(yes, we do everything in our power to make it happy, but it’s up to our partner to make it happy also)

We don’t get to pick if our children die. ….

If we are healthy and talented…..

“But we can believe that the life we are living now…

God has a plan for it.

We are not living a messed up alternative.”

And that frees us to live to the fullest. To leave our hurts at Jesus feet. To tell Him about them and trust Him to bring glory to His name …to ‘use our body as a living sacrifice’ . To take our pain and the circumstances we did not ask for in our life and use it for some greater glory. 

Here’s a bit of my testimony. You can paraphrase it to your own situation in life…

Psalm 119:26

“I told You my plans

(Healthy children. Putting roots down and raising a family)

And You answered

(Incurable genetic disorder. Moving across country and trying to find where God wants us)

Now teach me Your decrees!

(What do you want of me, O God?)

Help me UNDERSTAND the meaning of Your commandments and I will meditate on Your wonderful deeds!”

(Look for spots of Life that have Glorified Him and brought PRAISE to His name!)

  

Just as Wendy brought out…sometimes we let our young children win a game of checkers and sometimes we let them lose…it’s not about the winning or losing….God cares more about OUR CHARACTER then if we win or lose.” 

He really DOES have a greater glory in mind.

 It’s not easy to live this life of giving myself and my Loved ones and my plans to God. But I just KNOW it is worth it. I just KNOW Kierra would agree with me! :)

Praying for peace to your heart.

Pray the same for mine? :)

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To Dream Again

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Three years ago, my friend dedicated this photo to me with the words…

“God loves lining up the details in our lives…”

Three years ago. This was us.

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Living in the hospital. Kierra fighting RSV.

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Spending every moment we could together as a family. Finding joy in small things like smiles and beautiful silky hair.

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Our lives didn’t feel very lined up at the time. It was more like an unending bad dream. We clung to God and hope and getting through the day and not worrying about much else. Straight lines of what God had in mind for us flooded us instead like a typhoon rain with no guarantee that it would end any time soon. Questions swirled around our very existence and we wondered what God was thinking. Or if he was even paying any attention at all to our daughter.

Three years later I look back and still don’t understand everything God had in mind for us. But I know one thing for certain.

In Christ alone, my HOPE is found!

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He never turned His back or walked away through my questions and tears and fears and grief. He sent rainbows of every description over the past year since Kierra ran to Jesus.

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there”s a tiny piece in this one away out in the distance.

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Bits and pieces of rainbows shone through the showers this year more then I’ve ever seen before. Even double rainbows spread amazing arches. It was like God was holding out His hand. Convincing  me He really DID have a plan. Assuring me that I could trust Him.

Today I sat in the Pediatric unit of the very hospital I was in 3 years ago to the very day. But this time I was tapping away on a computer, doing more learning in becoming an CNA.  I know without a shadow of a doubt that God really IS lining up details in our lives.

As I drove over the wide open spaces toward my first interview with the director of nursing the other week, I wiped tears from my eyes. My heart was so peaceful. So bursting with peace. I could nearly feel God’s hand on my shoulder helping me the last two moths. I could feel Steve’s support and love encouraging me to keep learning and going and trusting God when studying got difficult.

But at the same time, I wept for what might have been. For what was five years ago. A mommy heart waiting to meet her daughter. Ready with so many dreams and hopes and exciting things to do and teach and experience in life.

One of my biggest struggles in having a child with severe health issues and in having to say Goodbye too soon was coming to grips with my broken dreams. I felt like because my dreams were shattered, that they didn’t mean anything. That God had a bit of iron in His hand to break my heart. The very heart He had created  that had dreamed of having sweet children for as long as I can remember. Why couldn’t I be the one who didn’t especially dream of kids? Who wasn’t crazy over babies and toddlers and sippy cups and blankys?

Why would God give me a dream only to break it?

Was it safe to ever hope for anything again? Maybe I should just expect my husband to die, our house to burn down, and my son get  bit by a rabid raccoon. I may as well have terminal cancer too. Expect nothing and you will be happily surprised.

But God actually doesn’t work that way. I’m His child. He loves me enough to pull me up out of my funk and get me looking at the cup half full. He gives me family and friends and encouraging rainbows and a husband who loves Him too.

I still don’t have answers to my questions. But I do know one thing. It almost hurts to admit it. But it was so real to me that day, that I have to share it.

I was living a dream.

To you who are huddling with broken dream fragments clasped in your bleeding hands….there is HOPE. You don’t have to feel it right now. But turn your heart toward the sunshine and eventually the warmth and healing of our Son will do an amazing work that even you can’t comprehend right now.

Because driving to an interview that day, my stomach tied up in knots, i realized something

I truly was dreaming again. And I didn’t even know it. I was LIVING a dream. I was experiencing a dream come true! And I hadn’t even planned on it. I was being given a chance to work at a hospital., To help hurting people. To touch finger prints of God all over the hard of this earth.

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I was having a dream coming true that had been buried so deep in me that I scarcely knew it existed.

Somehow, the torrential rains of the last years were slowing. There was hope.life.dreams coming from them.

The details were lining up and though they still didn’t look all neat and tidy to me yet (i’m a woman with emotions that jump all over…so will they EVER look lined up exactly straight? i doubt it!) I know that from God’s point of view He is lining them up to create a pattern of beauty.

 It hurt to realize I truly was living a dream…

because I lost a dream…

But maybe that’s the mystery The Dream Giver will reveal someday when He wipes away the tears from our human eyes and we SEE His glory!

And HIS DREAM.

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