Joy in the journey!

Joy in the journey!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Wild Abandon....Here I Come!

I was off and running in the crisp cold air this morning....with one thing on my mind.....thoughts about the New Year. There is so much emphasis on New Year’s resolutions...and we know how those go. As I ran this morning I kept thinking about what my year held, and what the next year holds. For some reason my mind kept going back to a story I read in my devotions this morning.

It was about a 17 year old girl who worshiped the Lord with wild abandon! Every Sunday she would be raising her hands, dancing with delight with the light of Jesus shining out of her eyes. She was wholeheartedly worshiping the Lord. The more mature, sedate believers were worshiping God as a refined, upscale kind of way. The young girl's mother would grab her and pull her back to her seat but the young girl didn’t care. She wanted to praise God. So her hands stayed in the air and she clapped and sang loudly as she worshiped Him with abandon. The young girl turned out to be a 2 year old trapped in the body of a 17 year old. She was autistic. She hadn’t learned that her style of worship should please and impress people. Her worship hadn’t been tainted with religious pomp and circumstance. She didn’t pay attention to the people around her or worry about what they might think of her. Out of her childlike relationship with her Savior, this young girl just gave Jesus everything she had.

Do I have this childlike relationship with the Lord? Have I become too grown up to receive what Jesus has for me? Too dignified to respond as spontaneously and wholeheartedly to Him as a child would? I don’t want anything blocking me from hearing His voice more clearly. I want to worship with wild abandon. After all that is what Jesus does over me! He dances over me with singing! Praise and Worship is near and dear to my heart. It was traveling in groups across the country, and singing praise and worship through music ministry, where I received so much healing in my life. It gets me right to the heart of my Savior. This year I want to worship and serve the Lord with wild abandon. I want to love Jesus with a child like love that goes straight to His heart. I don’t want to be a sedate believer.

I have seen a glimpse of Jesus in ways that have been astounding this year through some trials and hurdles that came our way, and I want to tap in deeper. His Holy Spirit is what carried me through when I humanly could not. It was miraculous to say the least.

Whatever 2011 holds, I want to always be reminded of that young girl....praising her Savior with wild abandon. She had a glimpse of heaven. Who can get that glimpse and not stand still?

As I finished my run....I began to run with my arms raised up and a dance to my step. I am excited! I look forward to 2011 whatever it holds. I face it with wild abandon, and know that in His presence....whatever comes my way....He will be smiling over me, and will carry me through to victory. It will be a glorious year in His presence.

2011 Here I come!

Friday, December 24, 2010

It's Christmas Eve. My dogs are snuggled at my feet, and the Christmas lights are twinkling, as I am up early with my morning cup of coffee. As I sit here looking at the gifts under the tree, I am taken back to the events of the year. I think about the precious friends I made, the relationships that were established, the victories I walked through with my friends and family, the tears we cried together, the prayers we prayed, and memories we made.
I had a sweet conversation with one of my dear friends last night, and as we talked I was just so thankful I had her. She has always been there to pray with me. She has always been so faithful to be there through every season. I have been so blessed with such wonderful friendships this year.

It was a year filled with hurdles, but I have to say, it was a year with more blessings because of those hurdles. I met people I would never have met. I grew stronger than I thought was even possible. I thought I would come to the end of this year saying to myself...."wow, that was just a very tough year, and I'm ready for it to be over." That's not what I am saying. This year was a gift. It was a gift that showed me that the real gifts are not those under the tree. It is life, it is my precious friends who I am so thankful for, it is my Mom and Dad who are with me here to celebrate, it's about my loving husband, and my children who I's about family. Most importantly... it is about Jesus....the lover of my precious Jesus.
He loved me so much that he came into this world in such a humble way. In a stable, born in a manger (with a lot of poop and bad smells around!) I think about how hard it must have been. But He did if for me. Quite frankly, that blows me away.

My friend and I were talking about our favorite Christmas carols last night. We came to the conclusion that "Oh Holy Night" was our favorite. It sums it all up. What a Holy night it was. A night divine! A night that changed the world...a night that is why I am even here....sitting by this the quiet of His presence.
So as I sit here quietly in my spirit....I am thankful for the many treasures God gave me this year. They don't require wrapping paper, they don't have any assembly required, and they don't need batteries. These gifts will be here for years to come......they won't be given to good will or thrown away, and they won't break. They are eternal. I have never treasured these gifts more than I do this year. My Jesus.
May you all bask in the wonderful gift of Jesus this Christmas and treasure those eternal gifts He gives through friends and family. The treasures that last an eternity.
Merry Christmas

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Live out loud.

I saw my precious elderly neighbor walk slowly with her cane, to the curbside to get her paper this morning. It was then that my mind filled with special memories of yet another neighbor. We call him Mr. Bob. Mr. Bob lost his wife years ago and lived by himself. I have learned more things from the life of Mr. Bob. Life changing things.....he lived out loud.

Every morning without fail very very early, you would find Mr. Bob walking to each house, picking up the newspaper, and taking it to their front door. I have watched Mr. Bob do this for many years. I watched him as he walked briskly to each door, then after hip and knee replacements, he walked with a cane to each door. The final weeks of his life, Mr. Bob had his walker, and he was determined to get each paper to each door. Some days it would take him hours....he just started earlier. I have seen him walk through rain, snow, sleet and hail get that newspaper to the door. I always loved my conversations with Mr. Bob. He always, and I do mean always had a smile on his face and exuded joy. I offered to help him on days I knew he was going very slowly and knew he was hurting. (Although he would never admit it) He would always tell me he was fine and loved doing this, it brought him joy. I asked about his determination to do this everyday. He said to me “Lisa, It may be a very small thing, but over the years I have learned that it is not by what you say that reaches most people, but how you live. I want to live out loud...I want to love out loud...without saying a word.” He then went on to tell me that he prayed for each house and their family as he put each paper by the door. He said to me that over the years he has reached more people for Jesus without saying a word....just living what he believed. The thing I remember so vividly about Mr. Bob was the light that you could see and feel in his life. His eyes beamed. He always had a wave for every passing car. Many times I could hear him singing and whistling as he was delivering papers. It was hard to see Mr. Bob pass away recently. He was 87 years young when he died. Oh I so loved that man. He was like a grandfather to the neighborhood. It was a sad day, the day Mr. Bob went to be with Jesus.

As I took Holly for a walk this morning, I saw all the papers out with frost on them. A sight that I was not used to seeing. Oh how we miss Mr. Bob. It was then that I saw my sweet elderly neighbor walk ever so slowly to the curb to get her paper. Holly was carrying her leash in her mouth and promptly ran over to my neighbor, dropped her leash, and picked up the paper. At first I was chasing after her thinking....Holly was going to scare my precious friend. It was then that I just heard the Lord say to my heart....let her go....listen Lisa,’s your turn. I was like HUH? So I stopped, watched Holly go get the paper in her mouth and she walked that paper up to the front door and she waited for my neighbor to get to the door. My neighbor was delighted! She was so happy and said this made her day. She was laughing and waving her arms with excitement. Holly handed her the paper with her mouth, and wagged that tail with more joy than I have ever seen. Holly knew....she knew! Me? I was standing in the street, mouth open, tears streaming down my face, watching my dog literally be used by God! Sounds funny huh? It was my turn. It was my turn to live out loud. I got it. And God used my dog to help me “get it.”

We would take over where Mr. Bob left off. We just finished getting the papers on our street, took them up to each door, via Holly and her happy tail. She had the time of her life. And you know what? So did I. Mr. Bob was right....this was fun. It gives me time to pray for each house, each neighbor, and have more time to just listen. Mr. Bob is up there in heaven I know smiling. I kind of think he prayed for this before he went to be with Jesus. He lived out loud....I want that too! I am happy Holly and I can follow in his footsteps....literally.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Home Sweet Home

I just read my sister’s blog.....she amazes me. Her blog was about “home”. I was sitting there reading it shouting “yes!” I think this time of year really hits “home” for a lot of people. What is home? I have to quote my sister on this one because I feel exactly the same way she does:

Home is an important place--especially when it's cold outside. It's somewhere that I know I'll be warm and safe, but it's more than that. It's where my family is. It's a place where I can hang around in my pajamas, forget about putting on makeup and no one will vote me off the island. I have a lifetime membership with this clan--warts and all.”

I remember as a little girl going to camp. I was so homesick I thought I would die! I remember the embarrassment of having the camp counselor call my parents to come and pick me up. It was humiliating but I will never forget laying in the back seat after they picked me up, and feeling complete peace.... knowing I was going home. It was worth the embarrassment. To this day I have the expression “I am having one of those I want to go home from camp moments”.

As precious as my home is to me, I am realizing more and more that home is truly where my heart is. Our family has faced a multitude of transitions and hurdles this year. Seeing my son move to Nashville and my sister move to Canada were big hurdles for me. Mom’s cancer, Skipper’s retirement, and my health issues this year caused our family to go through even more transition. At one point I felt like this was the worst season of my life. I felt like I had been punched in the gut and couldn’t breathe! I was having a “camp” moment. I felt lost!

Then the Lord so sweetly showed me that it wasn’t these times that defined my was His presence in my heart that was my defining “safe place”.

This time of year can bring “home” to a whole new light. Family and home can represent complete joy and safety for some, while for others it represents pain, abandonment, hopelessness and loneliness. I have a burden on my heart to pray for those who are hurting during this time of year. I know God wants to be that safe place and redefine “home” for them.

One of my favorite songs is by Bryan Duncan, “When I think of home”. Here is one of the verses:

“There’s a saying: your home is where your heart is....My heart believes its true,

and my home’s so far away. But the seasons and the scenery keep changing, So I’ll make my home with you, ‘Til I’m finally home to stay.

When I think of home, When I’m tired and feeling homeless, I come to you....

You’re where my heart is.

I will end on this quote from my says it all.

Family is powerful. It's the vessel that God chose to usher Jesus into the world when it was very cold and dark outside. Even though Jesus is now preparing a forever-home for me in heaven, His Spirit lives inside of me here on earth and I'm never separated from His presence. No matter what changes, no matter where I go, the presence of God is always with me. That's my real home--that's my happy place.

I want to post my sister’s blog address: Her blogs are amazing...

I often steal quotes from her. Thank you Julie! I want to be like you when I grow up!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Heaven came to visit today.....

The holiday season always brings me such joy. I am always taken back to the days when I was a little girl and my grandma would be baking away in the kitchen. She always had a pot of boiled custard, peanut brittle, and divinity in the making. I remember she always had straight pins in her collar where she could easily get to them as she sewed missions clothes for the little children who had none. But today the memory that stood out in my mind was a song she would hum. She hummed many songs under her breath everyday. She loved the Gaither’s. I used to call those songs she sang “old people songs”. But was one of those “old people songs” that brought heaven very close. I think heaven is closer than we realize. Days like today, I am convinced of it. The pain from this surgery has been more than I expected. It’s been a time of complete surrender to the Lord to know....He’s got it....He will take it for me...and I can rest. Feeling a little discouraged with the recovery process....I plugged in my ipod this morning before I started reading and a song came on....did I put it on there? I didn’t remember doing so. But immediately the harmony resounded.....oh that beautiful harmony that is rarely heard these days in songs was my Grandma’s favorite song.

Shackled by a heavy burden,

'Neath a load of guilt and shame.

Then the hand of Jesus touched me,

And now I am no longer the same.

He touched me, Oh He touched me,

And oh the joy that floods my soul!

Something happened and now I know,

He touched me and made me whole.

Since I met this blessed Savior,

Since He cleansed and made me whole,

I will never cease to praise Him,

I'll shout it while eternity rolls.

He touched me, Oh He touched me,

And oh the joy that floods my soul!

Something happened and now I know

He touched me and made me whole.

I smiled as I sang this song over and over and over....I know Grandma was singing with me. And I know she was smiling at me as I sang at the top of my lungs this “old people song” I used to tease her about.

This year has opened my eyes to so many things in the heavenly realm. When faced with the fragility of life, and how quickly things can’s that complete surrender to Jesus....that brings us so close to His heart that you can feel His breath on your face. I have had many friends walk through tragedy this year....I have seen hearts break. But at the other side of it all, I have seen heaven come down in ways I never dreamed possible.

I closed my eyes after the song was over.....took a deep breath, and then realized.....I could take a deep breath. Before the was too painful. I breathed the deepest breath I could breathe and filled my lungs with air that didn’t hurt! I wiped the tears away.....knowing that in this few minutes singing.....heaven really visited me my room, with my Grandma....and angels were singing with her. His healing touch.....His healing presence.....left me speechless.

He touched me, Oh He touched me,

And oh the joy that floods my soul!

Something happened and now I know

He touched me and made me whole.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Jesus Loves Me....this I know.

Once again I am sitting in my bed with my laptop recovering from hopefully my last surgery! I have my dogs snuggled up with me and a husband that is the best nurse ever! I am thankful.

This journey has been quite a journey. And you know I can look back through this year and see God’s handprints all over the place. We are never promised a tomorrow, and I have realized more than ever to savor every second of today. God’s peace is there in the dark places. Many of my friends have faced tragedies this year, and I have seen God meet them in such a precious way. It truly is the peace that passes all understanding. What would we do without that precious peace! Peace is not the absence of affliction, but the presence of God.

We are entering the holiday favorite time of year. I am one of those people who decorate very early. Nothing like eating Thanksgiving dinner by the Christmas Tree! Since I had this surgery so early, I decorated even earlier than usual. I had the most precious friend help me. Emma Hardin, you made decorating day a day I will never forget! I finally found someone who loves the holidays as much as I do! Fun, joy, baking, decorating, and silly dances filled the day! I am so thankful.

I have had a lot of time to reflect, and pray during all this recovery time. It’s been so good for me. I have fallen in love with Jesus in a whole new way. I will not think of 2010 as a year of hard journeys, but as a year where I saw Jesus in ways I never dreamed. It was a year of seeing huge miracles. But mostly it was a year where I felt His presence in the midst of the storm.

They said when I came out of anesthesia this time from surgery I had my arms up in the air and was singing “Jesus loves me”. Yep, peace is not the absence of affliction but the presence of God. How many times have I sung Jesus loves me throughout my life? Many. But this year the reality of how very much He truly loves me....soaked in.

He loves me enough to carry me when I can’t walk, see for me when my sight is blurred, dance over me with singing, when I can’t dance. He lifts me up when I can’t jump the hurdles, carries me when I am under anesthesia and holds me close, and blesses me with such beautiful friendships to pray with me and be an extension of His arms when I need them. I have learned that some days when there is not a song in my heart....sing anyway. Jesus always gives me a new song to sing.

Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.....Little ones to him belong...they are weak but He is strong......Yes Jesus loves me....Yes Jesus loves me...

Yes Jesus loves me....the Bible tells me so.

Sing that song today.....sometimes it’s the simple little things, that make profound differences in our heart. Jesus loves you.....really really loves you!

Friday, October 8, 2010

As I sat on the doctor's table realizing my shoes didn't match....I just laughed. A year ago, that would have sent me running home to get the right ones on my feet. But now? Nahhh I think I'll go with it all day. I have learned to not sweat the small stuff this year. Mismatching shoes would definitely fall into that category. As the doctor came in to check me out, I saw the grimace on his face when he looked at me. I was like "Ok,'s small stuff right?" He said I was not healing correctly and he would give it a few more weeks to keep doing what he was doing to fix it, but if it was not doing better....more surgery. But wait! I have another surgery in November before Thanksgiving! That would mean 4 surgeries in 3 months. I want to be in the fruit of the month club, not surgery of the month club! I sat there looking at him and I just laughed. Didn't know what else to do! I heard the Lord whisper in my ear...."regroup or regret have a choice." HUH? That didn't make sense to me. But now it does. I am a planner! And I love the holidays so much it is not even funny. I start decorating for Christmas November 1st! This was not in my plans! In fact this messed up my plans! It was then I realized....I don't want to regret the things I do in life and the choices I make. I want to savor the seconds because it can all change so fast. I don't want regrets. I needed to regroup.
I looked at my calendar, layed hands on it and prayed. "Lord....if the things on this calendar go as planned...Hooray! If they do not, you plan them out in a way that will be glorious! The plans may change, but it will all be good. I will trust you." If surgery is on your calendar for me to get be it. If you choose to heal me miraculously....Hooray again! I trust you. COMPLETELY trust you.
This year of Mom's cancer journey and my surgery words can adequately describe. Growth in ways I never expected. Relationship with Jesus like I never knew before. Amazing things can happen in truly dark places. His light makes those dark places so brilliant. There are things seen there that we would never see otherwise.
So as I walked out of the Dr's. office with my mismatched shoes on....I smiled to myself, knowing God has it all in His hands. I felt His sweet presence. I have learned that peace is not the absence of affliction, but the presence of God. I felt peace.
I am planning on decorating for Christmas November 1st, and I am planning fun parties with the kids. If God has other plans....I know they will be amazing! He has never let me down. His calendar is filled with glorious things for me! If it took this journey to get me to this place with was worth it.
Now, up to the attic to start unloading the Christmas wreaths! YES!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Heavenly Novocaine

Whoever questions whether there is a God or not and how amazing his power is, should have been on my run with me this morning with Holly. We started our run and about 10 minutes into it Holly got in front of me and braced (what service dogs do when a partner is needing support to get up) I almost fell over her. She never does this on our runs. I was frustrated at her after about the 5th time she did it. Why was she doing this? It was out of her character! It then occurred to me that she may be trying to get me to turn around for some reason. Was she warning me? So I turned around and sure enough down the street came a HUGE german shepherd and a pit bull. They were coming straight for us. As they got closer I saw foam out of both of their mouths and teeth showing. Uh, not a good sign. You know, it is in moments like these you wet your pants and then your life flashes before your eyes. I felt an adrenaline rush like never before and I pushed Holly behind me and I was going to take them on! Uh, another yeh right.

I looked quickly around all sides for their owners, I thought about running, no time....we were stuck. Holly got back in front of me as soon as I pushed her behind. She was trying to protect me with everything in her. I finally was the one in front when the german shepherd went around to her head and got her neck in his teeth. The pit bull got her from behind. I started kicking and pulling....and knew this was not going to end well. One of us was going to be chewed up! They had a grip of death on Holly and they were not going to let go. Then all of the sudden I just yelled as loud as I could....IN THE NAME OF JESUS, LET GO NOW!!!! JESUS HELP ME PLEASE! And believe me, the neighborhood heard that scream. I think all of heaven and earth heard that scream. All of the sudden the dogs dropped. OK, now when I say they dropped, it was like they were shot with Novocaine. Like nothing I’d ever seen. By this time my legs were shaking so hard Holly really WAS holding me up. She was calm, she was now in front of me braced. I was saying under my breath....about a million “thank you jesus’s....” We stepped over the dogs...and we ran like we never ran before. I got to the curb and checked Holly out...she was not bleeding, her hips were ok. That alone was a miracle! A neighbor ran down to meet me and said it was a miracle we made it out of that one alive. She asked me how I got the dogs down. I said “did you hear my scream to Jesus? Well it worked!” Her mouth was hanging open.

I looked down the street and the dogs had been retrieved by 2 people. They were on leashes now and kind of wobbly. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Oh, if I could have seen from heaven’s point of view all that was happening at that very would have blown my mind! God’s hand, His angels, His arms.......protecting all the way....stopping those dogs in their tracks and laying them down. Thank God for heavenly novocaine! I have thought about this event all morning long. I have thought about how immediately at the mention of the name of Jesus....He was there. I have replayed it over and over and over in my head.

Holly is laying under my feet as I type this. She was my brave angel today....she tried to warn me many times to turn around, but I didn’t. Next time....I’ll heed the warnings.

God’s faithfulness blows me away. His protection, His provision, His miracles to be there through it all....are mind boggling. I had a conversation with a person the other day who was a friend of a friend. He was challenging me of God’s existence. We talked for hours! I truly believe if that young man had been with me today. There would be no question in his mind.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

"Shall we dance?"

It’s been 8 weeks! Eight weeks since my surgery and I got the Dr.’s “OK” to run again! My running shoes were beckoning me to get out there again and get back to my normal daily runs. As I tied up the shoe laces anticipating that great adrenaline rush I had not felt for 8 weeks, I realized I had a new outlook on it all. A new excitement to just enjoy!

As I began the run....I got so excited to be out there again, I just began to do a victory dance as I ran. My arms up in the air, a skip to my step, and a few turns with some groove moves here and there kept me going....:) I heard a voice in the distance say “MOMMY, what’s wrong with that lady?” I knew this little girl’s mother, and heard her mother come out to see, and replied with a chuckle to her daughter “Carly, that’s just Lisa....she does happy dances!” I slowed down to listen to this conversation and heard Carly ask if she could do one too! By this time I was by her mother and said I’d love Carly to join me! So we danced.....and we danced, and we DANCED! And passers by were quite little old man walking by even waved his cane around with a groove like none I’d seen. By the time it was all done we had a group of neighbors, laughing, and dancing their own jig with us! Some quite hilarious, but that made it all the more wonderful!

On my run home from my wonderful dance with Carly....I felt the smile of Jesus just radiating....He was dancing too! You I look back on that dance in my neighborhood....he brought to my attention....”Lisa, think on all those dancing with you.....” I stopped in my tracks.....I knew all of the neighbors dancing. One lady was a precious care taker of her terminally ill husband; one just said goodbye to her son going to Iraq; one had a prosthesis from an injury from the war, and was dancing away as best he could; one lady just lost her mother; one man had just had a heart attack 2 months earlier and was struggling with depression. I knew every single one of these people....and their stories all filled with such HUGE hurdles.....They made my hurdles look so small.

When I got home I had a message on my phone from the lady taking care of her husband. I speak with her frequently. She thanked me for the dance. She said she got a glimmer of how we need to dance in the dark times, and thank God for the little things in life. It may just be a little dance....but it’s a dance. It’s a light that can spread in a dark situation. She was crying at this point......and so was I. We had a chance to pray together on the phone. I just love her so much! Once again.....God teaches me.

Look at what one dance can do! Do I look for those dances in the dark times? It’s been a summer of many hurdles for our family. From my Mother’s cancer, to my health scare and surgery, to saying some hard goodbyes, and seeing my sister move to Canada. These were hurdles, but the lessons I have learned I would not trade for the world. I have learned to dance! And I am learning how to dance over hurdles. I may not win a track competition for hurdles, but I know I would have more fun than anyone else in the competition! Isn’t that what God would love us all to grasp onto anyway? It’s not about the’s about how we go through that journey that makes us stronger! Jesus gives us the “dance”! He gives us the grace to hurdle in spite of how high that hurdle is. Loneliness, Pain, Rejection, Disease, Grief, Anger, Broken marriages, A lost loved one, Addiction, Low Self-Esteem, whatever that hurdle is.....God

not only has a way over that hurdle, but one that will even surprise you! I am learning that the biggest hurdle in my life is really not so big when Jesus is right there on the other side ready to catch me. If I don’t eloquently dance, or leap over it....if I fall flat on my face....He catches me and finishes the race with me.....dancing! I finish victoriously!

There are days I have no dance in my step.....days I would love to give up and have a pity party...but I have found that all it takes is putting one step in front of the other, crying out to Jesus for His help, and He takes it from there. Before I know it that one foot in front of the other....has turned to into a dance. The breakthrough has begun.

If it’s a dance from the heart, a dance from the soul, or a physical’s a dance.

It’s a place of letting go and letting God. It’s such a precious place to be.

Shall we dance?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

When your tears are your prayer

I was thinking about a precious lady I met years ago on one of my singing tours who had just been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. Her heart was broken, she was paralyzed with fear. I remember during ministry time she came up to me and fell into my arms sobbing...she then whispered in my ear....”I don’t know how to pray those big worded prayers that God hears, so what do I do?” I remember holding her face in my hands and telling her those tears were her prayer, her hearts cry was a prayer that went straight to the heart of Jesus. I am always taken back to that time when no words come....only the cry of my heart. God has never failed to hear that cry and come running to my rescue. Some of the greatest miracles in my life came when all I could say was “Jesus help!”, or when tears took over and words couldn’t come. Those tears were all I had.....God knew. Oh and did I mention that the precious lady I got to know that evening is serving God today....cancer free! ....He hears the cry of your heart, and He will coming running....He will answer....a miracle awaits!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

"Merry Christmas" in June!

I treasure my morning talks with my sweet Mother. My Mother had such a special relationship with her mom. I remember growing up knowing that at around 7:30 every morning they would be on the phone, making sure the other was ok. I never thought much about those daily conversations until my sweet Grandmother went to be with Jesus. I missed those calls, and I know my Mother longed for that phone to ring, and to hear my Grandmother's voice. I thank the Lord that I now have that same relationship with my Mom. Our calls are like clockwork, every morning I hear her voice, and her encouragement for the day just blesses my heart. The journey of her cancer has made those calls even more special to me. Her faith has never wavered, her passion for Jesus has only grown...and she daily inspires me. Today we talked about how much we have learned through this journey together. We have learned more than ever that life is truly a gift. Everyday is a gift to be treasured. When I got off of the phone, in my spirit I saw wrapped presents everywhere! Beautifully wrapped gifts with delicately tied bows of all colors. And I ever so gently heard the Lord say to my heart....."It's Christmas today!"

Do I wake up every morning anxiously ready to open up a new gift hand delivered by my Savior, or do I just sit on the side of the bed looking at all the gifts and go on about my day not receiving what He gave me that day.... a gift...a new gift! How many gifts have I missed because I was too focused on things that were so petty. How many times did I say "Why Lord?" when all the time He had the answer right there in front of me....I just didn't open it up and find it! Do many of my gifts have dust on them? Isn't it amazing what we learn in the hardest times of our lives? I have learned so deeply during this incredibly challenging season of my life.....that life IS a gift! I don't want to leave one gift unopened.....He put them there just for me, to help me, to guide me through each and every day of my journey.
His passion for me is indescribable. It reminds me of how I used to be on Christmas morning when I wanted the kids to hurry and wake up so I could give them their gifts and see the delight on their faces. I couldn't wait to hear the squeals of delight! I think I got more joy than the kids did! That is how Jesus feels about me!

It may be July 16 but in my heart it is December 25th. It's Christmas! A day to open up with excitement, with delight, with passion! This day is to be if it were my last. Life is so very fragile. So today as I unwrap the gift of today that is before me, I hope you will join me! Let's be like kids on Christmas morning, let's enjoy this day and all that God has waiting for us! I can hear the giggles now, and most of all I can see the indescribable joy on my savior's face as we receive from Him all He has for us. What a wonderful Savior I serve!
Merry Christmas!

Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is God's gift, that's why we call it the present.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

"The Joy of the Lord is my strength!"

As I sit here in my bed, recovering from major surgery, I am reflective, and grateful. Grateful that I just got the great news that all test results, biopsies, and pathologies came out perfect. I love the word benign! It is from heaven to hear those words! This rest time has given me time to write, to put down on paper thoughts I don't want to forget. Thoughts that have shaped my year.

This year has been filled with many life changing events that have affected my entire family.
One of my favorite phrases is "I may not like what I am going through, but I love what I am becoming because of it."

This year has taught me things that will forever be etched into my spirit. I have learned to never say never. As I sat by myself in the waiting room with the doctor telling me that my mom was filled with cancer....I felt God's grace holding me up. As I had to be the one to tell my father, that his precious wife had cancer...God's grace held me up. As I was told I would need immediate surgery and it was the same surgery my mother had only weeks previously....God's grace held me up. Those of you who know me know how precious my mother and father are to me. In my mind they would live forever. When I got a glimpse in a split second that life was so very fragile, and what I would walk through with my mother would be a difficult first thought was "Lord, I can't do this!" His response to me was "Lisa, not only do you have the strength to do this, but you will find joy in this journey that has been placed before you." What? Are you kidding me? He wasn't. Not only have I found joy in some very hard places, I have found laughter....much laughter. I see the things that matter in life, and have learned to focus on those things. Life is short. Getting caught up in petty issues takes away the time that really matters...focusing on what is important.
I have also learned to quit asking the Lord, "why?" Some things I may never know the answer to, but I know His plan is good, and I know that what He sees as the entire picture, may be very different that what I see. His puzzle pieces of my life fit perfectly in place. My use of hammering each piece into place doesn't cut it. His picture is perfect. So I have learned to lay the hammer aside, take a deep breath and trust. Little by little I get a glimpse of the amazing puzzle He is creating in my life. The pieces of my life that were the hardest are some of the most important pieces in my life puzzle.
I have begun to catch a glimpse of the vastness of God's greatness this year in more ways than I can even begin to express. I have been blown away by that glimpse and realize I have only scratched the surface. He is my passion!
So for today as I am on my 3rd day after surgery, recovering....I am finding joy in the very deep place of His presence. This joy doesn't come from people, or things, or comes straight from the heart of Jesus. I pray everyday for those who are hurting to be able to tap into that life sustaining joy and walk boldly and freely through the journey that awaits.
We were not promised that we would never face hard times, but we were promised He would be right there with us, holding us, loving us, and filling us with the grace we need to walk through the journey.....with joy! The joy of the Lord truly is my strength! Neh. 8:10
I hope you have a joyful week this week, and I pray that you belly laugh! Oh those belly laughs just feel so good! Laugh away!!!!