Gathering Stones: It’s a Diamond

There are so many other stones that I have collected for the Alter of Remembrance.  A friend told me that she saw the makings of a book in the gathering of my stones.  So I will, I will write a book on transitioning and the gathering of stones, after my two books on children/families are published.  But as of right now I’m gathering a diamond, the final stone I will write about before I stand on the altar.  God impressed in my heart that PI Family Camp, these next two weeks, will be my altar.  I will be on the mountain top like Abraham and Isaac.  I am excited to see what God will do in and through me during this time.  I believe my trust in Him will be challenged. I will let you know how the process of standing on the altar of remembrance and offering myself afresh as a living sacrifice goes!

But for now let’s talk about the DIAMOND!  This is a rock of remembrance for my marriage, my husband and how God loves me through Randy.  It is an incredible blessing to me.  

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Gathering the Slippery Stone of Time

Time keeps on slipping, slipping, slipping . . . (a line in an old song).  During transition time is critical and time seems to always be slipping, slipping away.  Matter of fact, it is quite humorous that this blog is on time and I am two full days late at getting it up. 🙂  The next stone that I am taking to the Altar to stand on is time.  

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Gathering & Celebrating the PRICELESS Stone of 50 years with God

This month 50 years ago, as a six year old, tagged as shy, I gave my life to Jesus.  I asked Him to clean my heart and to make me forever His.  My dad would bring an old mattress that was hidden under my bed in to the living room.  Sometimes we would do gymnastics, sometimes we would have Bible stories, but this night we were watching Billy Graham on TV.  When Billy Graham asked for those that wanted to give their lives to God and have Jesus cleanse them and to live with God forever, my tender heart was pierced.  I gave my life to Jesus that night.  The next Sunday I couldn’t wait to walk down the aisle and show everyone I was His. And being baptized was the icing on the cake!  It was a first act of total obedience, pushing past all my fears.  I couldn’t put it into words but it was real and it took! This was not expected or normal for me – I was told I was shy (I really hate that word).  I marched down the aisle with my eyes on my pastor to the song, “No Turning Back.”  As a six year old I told the Lord that would be our theme song.  “Though none go with me, still I will follow.  No turning back.”  And as a six year old I received the keeping power of grace to walk these 50 years without ever turning back!  That is a big cause for celebration to me.  I am collecting the Stone of Keeping Grace.

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Gathering Stones: Kids All Grown – They are Solid Stones

This May marked the year that our youngest, our baby girl, graduated from the university.  She graduated from Dallas Baptist University, Suma Cum Laude in a degree of Elementary Education with various certifications from what is considered one of the top universities for Education in the US.  Then just yesterday she signed her contract to teach at Terrell ISD, just south east of Dallas.  Today as we travel she is debating living arrangements. —- All grown up!

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Gathering That Little But Very Heavy Stone

How can God use something straight from the pit of hell?  Alzheimer’s or Dementia affects people in various ways.  Some revert to a child and gentle, some become the complete opposite of their former self – where they were sweet, grumpy, or some like my mom, become fearful, delusional, and wander.  Horrible fear fuels their behavior is sometimes violent.  This is my perspective on  the journey I had with my mom in her last years.  I cannot speak for my dad, Randy, my brother or my kids.  We were all changed in various ways.  This is just my story with my mom and God.

Last week’s blog, I honored my mom and who she was in my life and many others.  This week I am strive to be even more transparent and let Jesus shine through some of my weakest moments.  This stone is very small but very heavy.  It could seem insignificant in contrast to a lifetime of living, but any event, any moment in the hand of God can become monumental.

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Gathering the 1st Stone – My Mom

The early part of this past May, my mom died, went to be in the arms of Jesus, after a bout of Alzheimers!  The 1st stone I am gathering is my life with her, my relationship with her, how God used all that she was and all that she wasn’t to shape me and bring me to the promise of His Kingdom in my life.

I am actually going to collect two stones dedicated to my mom.  The first is before Alzheimer’s, the second is after Alzheimer’s.  I want to be honoring of her and at the same time transparent.  I am praying that I accomplish this and you can take some of what I learned, apply it to your specific situations and reach higher in God.

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Gathering Stones —- God’s Presence Makes a Way

So as I was asking God about how to ‘survive’ all the transitioning in my life right now.  I felt like He took me again to Joshua as they started transitioning into the promised land.  They were to purify themselves which we talked about, but they followed after the presence of God.  When the priests carrying the ark of the covenant, the presence of God, touched the water, the water rolled up on itself a long ways off and let the Israelites walk across.  So I think of two things:

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Gathering Stones —- before the first step

My feet are unsure, the river is swift and the stones slippery!  How do I get across these rivers without falling, getting soaked, scraped up or swept away in the currents.  I see where I want to go, but there is a lot of maneuvering and obstacles between here and there!  Several times I while hiking, I have found myself at a river crossing. 

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A Trip of Nostalgia – Little Seeds Grow Bigger Than Life

Randy and I just arrived in the Czech Republic (Czechia).  This is the place where missions was planted in the heart of our whole family.  This is where we as a family were ruined forever for the Kingdom.  Our world got smaller and our hearts got bigger.  Normal would never look the same again What a great time to acknowledge God’s goodness and remember His works.  So lets take a nostalgic walk down memory lane. (Old picture – the 1st team we led to Kadan with some Czech leaders & friends –  a life changing trip!  Team members, do you recognize yourself?)

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Tag You’re It – No Touch Backs

Kids playing tag in the yard just makes me smile.  Often you hear a voice rise above the laughter, “Tag your it!  No touch backs.”  That phrase “No touch back” ensures the person who was formerly ‘it’, a secure time to run away before he is tagged again.

As Randy and I ventured into parenting our ever changing, ever growing children, we found ourselves in a continual game of “Tag! No touch backs!”  Every year we would encourage the kids to take on more responsibilities, more self discipline, more self-control.  Maturity is the act of being responsible.  We knew we couldn’t just dump responsibility on our kids.  We had to train them to carry responsibility little by little, getting stronger in character, critical thinking, strategy, and maturing as people with each added responsibility.

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Release the Warrior Within

This is an excerpt from my new book, Playing Around in PrayGround, that is presently in edit, soon to be published.

According to John Eldredge in his book, Wild at Heart, there is a warrior in every little boy. I agree with John Eldredge.   We need to train and release these young warriors for battle in prayer, emphasizing that Satan is the enemy and Jesus is their Commander in Chief!  These young warriors can be heroes for the whole world as they fight for the Kingdom.  Likewise, in the heart of every little girl, there is the heart of a future mother.  A mother is the fiercest of warriors when her children are threatened.  We need to nurture the hearts of these little girls to love people as God loves people.  They need to be angry at what the enemy does to God’s children and potential children.  We need their ‘mother bear’ claws to come out toward the enemy.

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IF We Enter Into Their World, They Will Readily Enter Into Ours

Kids all over the world, in every situation of life, have a longing to PLAY!  In an earlier blog that is posted in the navigation of  Perspectives, I wrote on the the Language of Play.  It is true, I have seen it.  Every four years PI designs a Family Camp where we invite leaders from the 20 different nations in which we partner to join us for a week of encouragement, refreshing, relationship building and corporate worship of God.  They bring their children. Obviously, the children are speaking different languages and it sounds like waves of indistinguishable sounds, but they all speak the language of play.  They soon cross all barriers of nationality, skin color, language, size, background; it all disappears as they play!  

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Dream Big! Have Faith! Work Hard!

In a child’s mind, he/she can become a super hero with just the donning of a cape and a mask.  Dreaming is natural to a child.  Nothing is out of reach.  Faith is unquestionable.  Believing in the supernatural, believing anything is possible is the way their mind processes.  If they can imagine it, it can happen!  Work is not seen as a hardship but rather an honor.  They want to ‘be’ like their heroes!  And their 1st heroes are their parents.  They will develop the attitude we portray to them about work.  They WORK hard in their play kitchens fixing dinner, or can break a sweat and then burst into tears if the lego tower they WORKed  so hard to construct is toppled over by a careless playmate.  

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Boundaries Bring Freedom

When God gives you three children that not only have three distinct personalities but actually three distinctly different cultures within themselves, the cookie cutter parenting is not going to work.  I think this is why I realized that ‘methods’ don’t work.  Each of our kids have unique ways of interpreting life and relating to the world around them. – different cultures.   We concluded that God designed each to be powerful and useful in His Kingdom.  How were we as parents to steward these ‘forces from God’, so that they could be creative and not destructive?  The picture we got was of a raging river.  As long as the river stays within its banks or boundaries, it can be productive, bring life, fun, power but if it overflows its’ boundaries it becomes destructive and harmful.  Here we were with three raging rivers to steward for the Kingdom of God, how was this to look?  What boundaries were for all and what boundaries were for each child?

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Parenting FROM a Place of Identity

God says in Proverbs 20:11, that even a small child is known by his actions . . .  And in Proverbs 23:7, as a man thinks, so is he.  I cannot find much distinction in the Bible between our actions and our identity.  Instead I read things like, out of my heart, my mouth speaks, that when people habitually lie they are called liars and so on.  The big Grace is that God can change our identity when we become His child, a new creation.  We heard a teaching from Ray Vander Laan how that in a practicing Jew mind, the schma ( . . . Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your strength. ) is not something they do but rather who they ARE.  It is their identity!  Maybe there really something to this parenting FROM a place of identity!

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Living Our Legacy – Learning to Parent from One of the Single Most Sad Verses in the Bible

King Hezekiah had just gotten a word from the Prophet that he would die soon.  He ‘turned his face to the wall and cried out to God for mercy.  He brought to God’s mind how he had lived righteously before the Lord.  Before the Prophet had left the courtyard, God told the Prophet to go back and tell the King that God would add 15 years of peace to his life.  But after that Hezekiah’s sons and daughters would be carried into captivity and become slaves.  At the hearing of these words, Hezikiah responded in a very religious way of, ‘so be the will of God.’  The Bible reveals that the whole while Hezekiah was thinking, “at least it won’t happen in my lifetime.”  To me 2 Kings 20:19 is the single most sad verse in the Bible.  Hezekiah had no thought of legacy, no true fatherly heart for his children, no lifestyle of discipleship; only religion and self-protection and comfort.

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On the Edge But Still Tying Up Loose Ends

We once had a friend who was a world champion in speedwings.  He would jump off cliffs with a kite strapped to his back!  Beautiful, amazing, scary!  I am sure that I am about to take that type of leap with God.  All around me I hear voices declaring the year of breakthrough!  Randy has an incredibly insightful word on the “Sons of Breakthrough”.  I am chomping at the bit.  Exactly what God says i am not to do.  He tells me in His Word, not to be like a donkey that has to be bridled!  But I know that He has had to bridle me.  HMMM – I am a donkey?

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Bringing the Waves of Hawaii Home to the Desert of Texas for 2017!

Kauai met Randy and me with 18-23 foot waves on the North Shore.  These waves boasted of unrelenting crashing of ominous power, beauty, and deafening rolls of thunder.  We learned to heed the local’s wisdom that ‘knew’ the ocean and its’ giant hands of the  plummeting anything in their grasp to the ocean bottom.  They were marvelously amazing and I wondered what God was saying to us through His creation.

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Same Song (Empty Arms), Second Verse (His Kindness Leads to Repentance)

DISCLAIMER:  This is ‘my’ testimony about the loss of ‘our’ baby and what God said to ‘me’.  I believe that God uses what happened to me as a clear picture of the importance of forgiveness and a clear conscious.  Please don’t read your or your friends situations into my events, just open your hearts to see Jesus amidst tragedy.  🙂

After the doctor performed a cleaning procedure on me, he entered my room and tried to explain what had happened to our baby.  Probably due to frustration at my blank expression to all his medical jargon, he stated, “It is as if something ate your baby.  The amniotic fluid is there, the placenta is there, but no baby.” (statement referred to in previous blog, “Empty Arms . . . “)  Although his words may seem harsh to you, I hid them in my heart and God used them for healing later.

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From Empty Arms to Making God Smile

Soon after Randy and I were married, I became pregnant.  Due to some wrong responses from us to some events at the church that we were on staff at the time, my baby died in the womb.  I began to miscarry.  The Drs. decided to do a DNC procedure to clean my womb.  After the procedure, the Dr. told me that the amniotic fluid and placenta was there, but no baby.  He said, “It’s like something ate your baby.”  (I’ll explain this comment in the next blog).  And he sent me home to heal, physically, emotionally and spiritually.

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