Godstoppedby

Thursday, January 11, 2018

THE TRUTH OF BIRDS AND BUGS

One day last summer, two of my grandchildren were here. I was watching them while their parents were at work.
During lunch, Gavin was looking out the kitchen window and yelled excitedly, "Look at that bird! It's killing and eating something"
I went and looked; there was a bird, smashing something green. Then he said, " I think it's a praying mantis!"  I hoped it wasn't. We've been seeing lots of them the last few summers, and I hated to think there was going to be one less. I looked again, and he was right; there was a bird beating a bug to death and eating it at the same time. It was a mantis.
I felt a little bit bad about it, because we enjoy seeing the mantises on the house and around the yard. But, it's the way of nature; everybody eats. Some get eaten.

The LORD often speaks to me through His creation. Do you recognize the different ways He speaks to you?

Praying mantises are so named because of their posture when they're sitting and waiting for lunch to come by. They hold their front appendages together like a person holding their hands together in prayer. They also sit this way when you happen upon them and study them, and they quite often study you right back. I think their name should be spelled "preying"mantis, because that's what they really do.

I had been watching some videos by Jennifer Eivaz, a well known Christian speaker and author. She and her husband pastor a church in California, and she had just taught on the praying mantis, and how it represents a praying prophet. It's a strong reminder to pray when we see one of these insects on our front door or screens or plants, and that we can prophesy when we are praying instead of only petitioning Him for things. You can watch her on YouTube if you're interested.  She quoted Job12:7 which says, "Just ask the animals and they will teach you, ask the birds of the sky and they will tell you." I love this, because I actually do talk to the animals that show up in my yard, and I talk to the birds at the feeders and in the trees. So I asked the LORD what he had to say about what I had just seen. And He stopped by and said,

             "THE ENEMY CANNOT KILL YOUR PRAYERS,
                         BUT HE CAN KILL YOUR PRAYER LIFE"

WOW!!! That hit the mark perfectly. It spoke volumes to me about prayers that have been prayed and have yet to be answered. It also spoke volumes regarding whether I pray or not. If I agree with the voice of the enemy, and stop praying because he tells me my prayers are weak, or that I'm wasting my time, it's never gonna happen, I pray wrongly, everyone else prays better, etc. and so on, then he CAN kill my prayer life. And if you listen to that nonsense, he can kill yours too.

So today, if you're reading this, and you have listened and agreed with the father of lies, come OUT of agreement with the voice of the accuser, and get your prayer back on! You can do it, and God is on your side, just like He's on mine.

Blessings to you, and I hope your spirit is renewed today by the One who loves you best of all.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Between the Now and the Not Yet....

I don't hear this phrase used very often anymore, but it's a truth in our lives; yesterday, today, and probably tomorrow. This line of thinking was provoked because I was reflecting on Adam's upcoming birthday; he'll be twenty-eight years old in December. There's something in the waiting-and-not-finished-yet in this fact.

As I mull over this great event that will happen in a few weeks, I'm a bit melancholy. On the one hand, I'm so happy that he's doing okay, and especially that he's still here with us. On the other hand....

At this age, Adam could have a college degree. More than one, if he wanted or needed them.
He could have been married at this age. He could have had one or more children. (I could have been a great grandmother!) He would probably be driving and have his own home, whether an apartment with friends, or a house with his wife and children. He would be working and providing for himself, and his family. He could have traveled across the country or around the world. He could have served our country in the military. He could have run a marathon or two. Or biked along the I95 corridor to raise money for his favorite charity, or hiked the Appalachian trail.
Maybe he would have been a teacher. Or an architect. Or a mechanic. Or a small business owner. He might have been a carpenter or a plumber or a banker or a doctor. The list is endless, but it doesn't matter. He isn't any of these things; will never do any of these things. This is the pain of the families of children with disabilities.

We don't talk about it because let's face, who wants to hear it?  Most of the time we don't even want to think about it. It's depressing. There's nothing that can be done about it. There are no comforting words that will make everything alright. There is no salve to heal these wounds. If we do try to talk about it, we often can't speak because of the tremendous emotion that sits right behind our eyes and in our hearts, and we don't want it to come tumbling out, out of control. If the dam breaks, it's hard to build up the wall again. This is a glimpse into our world. This is an invitation to look, to try to understand something you hopefully never really have to understand.

So what was this all about? Oh, right, the now and the not yet. Everything I just wrote about is the now. It's our reality. It really stinks sometimes. But not all the time.

In the now is also a loving family; a child who tries his hardest to communicate, to keep up with others as they do everyday things like walking and talking. Parents and grandparents who do their best but mess it up plenty of times, sisters and brothers and cousins and aunts and uncles who are in and out of the picture in the day-to-day of life, but always in the picture because they're family. It's Adam's smiling face, his gusty joyous laughter, his hugs and his jokes, his endurance in suffering, and his love for anyone who is nice to him. This is the good, the sweet, the precious, the needed; the reality all the time, even when the bad times come.

We're in between that now, and the Not Yet, which is what we long for. We long for the day when there will be no more pain for him, no more surgeries, no more G.I. bleeds, no more meds, no more watching from the sidelines because he's not able to participate. No more being left out because he doesn't fit in. We long for the day of healing. The Not Yet. We hold on to hope that the Not Yet will become the Now. We hope it is going to be this side of heaven. We don't want to hear the platitudes about God's purpose in Adam's suffering. It's there, we know it's there, but being told this does not comfort us, it just reminds us that you don't know the whys anymore than we know the whys. And I have learned not to ask that question, because there isn't an answer when I do.

So we, at least I, hold on to the hope for the Not Yet. God stopped by today as I was pondering all of this and reminded me that "Faith is the substance of things HOPED for, the EVIDENCE of things not seen. " I'm so glad He did. I really needed the reminder about faith, and what it really is. It isn't something I can stir up, it's something I receive when I hold on tight to Jesus, when I reach out for strength to get through a difficult day, week, month, year. It's there for me when I forget it's there for me, because God is faithful.

Thanks for taking the time to read this post. I'm sorry if it made you sad, but we don't dwell in this place. We visit it from time to time, mostly avoiding it and looking at the good we have. And life is good. We are truly blessed. We just look forward to the fullness of that blessing that is in the hand of God. Don't you? 

Friday, August 18, 2017

Story Time. Any one want a story? If not, don't read this. 😁
Some time ago, last summer, I believe, I was driving and saw a dog running in the middle of the service road on Sunrise highway. I stopped my car. I tried calling to the dog, but it was scared and wouldn't come. A car hit it. I waved at oncoming traffic and tried to get them to stop. They wouldn't. Two more cars hit the dog. Luckily for the dog, it was small, and each time it was hit, it went under the middle of the cars and was tumbled over a few times. 
I tried and tried to get traffic to stop, and finally made advances into the roadway, waving my hands wildly. Someone stopped. Then other stopped. I was able to pick up the poor stunned little chihuahua mix, and get him to the side of the road, and up on the grass. Traffic resumed, and they were flying by so fast. 
NOW WHAT. I went to move my car as it was blocking the side street. When I came back, the dog began to growl and snapped viciously at me. He was so scared, and hurt. I sat down near him, but not too close. Then someone pulled over and stopped. A young black woman got out of the car and wanted to help. I warned her about the dog, and not to get too close. He showed his teeth to make the point. I told her there was a 24 hour vet just west of where we were, and since she didn't want to drive around the block, she RAN down the service road to the office. Unfortunately, they were closed. In the meantime, a young white woman pulled over to help, as did an older black woman. Lots of people were slowing down at this point, but no one else stopped. 
"How can we help?" The older black woman called 911. She couldn't hear the police because of the traffic noise, so she handed me the phone. I gave them my name and the address, and they dispatched an officer and an animal rescue worker. 
While we waited, one of the women sat on the ground with me. I was praying for the dog.
The police came, and then the rescue worker. I explained the situation, and warned the worker to wear gloves to handle the dog. It had calmed down considerably by this time, but was still wary. 
I told them I would drive the dog to the emergency animal hospital, as the worker didn't know where it was and I did. I just asked him to put the dog in one of my large shopping totes, so I would be able to handle him safely. He did, and put him in the car for me. 
They told us all how kind we were. I hugged and thanked every one of my helpers. I prayed for provision, and when I got to the vet, I was told that there's no charge for bringing in an injured animal that isn't mine. I just had to surrender it. 
What's the reason for the story today? 
It illustrates how well people who don't know each other can work together for a common cause or interest. 
1) Sometimes when someone is hurt, the one who causes the pain doesn't care or is too self absorbed to stop and help or take responsibility. 
2) Sometimes when we try to help, the victim is so stunned by their pain that they might let us help, but then turn on us. We need to stay close, but give them space as they work through their pain.
3) Others can and will help, and race doesn't matter.
4) Sometimes we need a professional or someone with different talents to help. 
5) Be grateful for all helpers. Someone may have a solution that you didn't think of. 
6)When we take our eyes off ourselves, we can work well together. 
7)God sends help in many ways. 
Apply this in your own life and situations, and see how often it's been true for you as well. You might be pleasantly surprised.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

THE CHILD WHISPERER


She worked in the banking industry for many years. She began as a teller, and was good at figures and balancing her drawer, never short, with few, if any errors. After a short time, she became their teller trainer. From there she moved up to be a manager of three branches, and then a vice president.
She had her own clients, and some were there and stayed because of her excellence in customer service. When the bank sold and changed hands and policy, she decided to retire.

One of Ann's friends from the bank had also retired, and was working part time for the local school district. She loved her job because she worked at her convenience; on call for substituting when classroom aides took a day off. Say yes when you want to work and no when you don't. It sounded good to Ann, and she decided to try it.

There's a screening and interview process, and Ann was told she was "overqualified" but they were glad to have her. They didn't know if she'd last because she might be bored. "Bored would be nice", she told them. She was hired after her screening and started working with the younger children, in the classes for children with special needs. The  administration had no need to be concerned; she was far from bored. She was learning many new things. She liked it. A lot. So much so that she rarely said no when they asked her to work. It was so very different than the banking industry; she had not anticipated just how much she would love her new job.

After a couple of weeks, Ann was called to the principal's office for a meeting. She couldn't understand why; had she done something wrong and was she was getting detention, she joked. But in reality, she knew what the meeting would be about. They wanted her to work for them full time in one particular class. The children there are all on the Autism spectrum, and she was a perfect fit for their classroom. She was kind and patient. She didn't get upset or lose her temper when difficult things happened in the room. And she made a difference in the overall climate of the room. The children worked well with her and liked her. She thought about the job offer and decided to accept. Everyone was happy about that; she was a welcome addition to the team.

Recently, there was a very difficult day for everyone. All the children were out of sorts. Some were "melting down". Some were yelling, some generally uncooperative. For one boy, it was just too much, and he was lying on the floor and refusing to get up. For twenty minutes. He was over stimulated and had simply gotten to the melting point and refused any help or intervention. Ann sat by him and talked quietly with him, and when he was unable to deal with that as well, she began to pray.

After a time, a wonderful peace descended on the room; the children began to settle down. The child on the floor decided to get up. Ann told me that it was "thick in there; I don't know how else to describe it". I knew exactly what she meant. Sometimes the Presence of the Lord comes so strongly when we pray that it really does feel thick; like honey, is how I describe it. His Presence is sweet and powerful, peaceful and strong. I love it. Apparently, so did the children in her classroom. I often say that many in our special needs community know God in ways that we can't begin to imagine; that they're in touch with Him in ways we don't know because He stays close and they're so sensitive in so many ways that they just know Him. It's quite remarkable when you begin to see this. It completely changes your perspective on spiritual matters with them. I've begun to expect to see them move in things of the Spirit of God. Ann does too.

When things had calmed down in the classroom and order had been restored, one of Ann's co-workers walked over to her and softly said, "You're the Child Whisperer." Indeed she is.

God stopped by and brought His peace in the midst of chaos because one of His children stopped to pray. And pray. And pray until something happened.  Isn't He so good?



Saturday, June 3, 2017

Yesterday I was shopping, and as I was leaving the store, I was stopped by one of the guys who was selling home improvements. I stopped to listen even though we don't need anything, and if we did, Paul would do most of it himself or hire one of our friends. I let the guy go through his talking points, and even though I kept telling him that we didn't need anything, and that my husband wouldn't let them come for the free estimate, he kept talking. I was very patient. I let him try again. and again. He tried once again and then I said to him; "Nope. Now it's my turn." He just stopped talking and looked at me. He didn't know what to say for a moment.
I asked him his name, to be sure I had gotten it right, and he asked me for mine. Then I asked him how he was feeling, and he said he was fine. Back okay? Yeah, so far. I told him not to say that and to just expect the best. He smiled. Then I asked about his job and where he wanted to go, was he in school, did he want more than what he was doing now, and he said he really liked the company and planned to stay with them and wanted and go further. I offered to pray for him, and he said sure. And then I asked him if he knew Jesus. He said he did. I started to pray for him and mentioned the name of Jesus, and asked God to bless him.  He kept eye contact with me the whole time. Then he said that he didn't really know Jesus, and was raised Muslim. He said that he knew about Jesus, and that his girlfriend talked about Jesus all the time. He said he wasn't really any faith, that he was more of an Agnostic. 

So I told him a bit about who Jesus is, that He is God's son, and that he is God. And I told him that Jesus loves him and died for his sins, and for the sin of all people. When I did this, I could see that it hit him in his spirit. He actually kind of drew himself up and back a bit, but was totally engaged with what I was saying. I told him that there is a heaven, and that Jesus made the way for us to go there. He said that he had never heard that before. So I said that it's because no other religion has a God who would die for them to make a way for them to heaven and himself. We talked a little bit more, but I had to leave as it was almost time for Adam to get home. 
Then, as I was leaving the store, there was a  young man at the door. He was checking receipts to make sure you had everything you paid for. He was very friendly and happy. I asked a few questions, and he told me about his girlfriend, and that they were only dating for a few months, but that it felt like they had known each other for years. He said they were so happy together.  I asked a few more questions, and he said that they had already talked about marriage, and wasn't that crazy. I didn't think so, and told him that sometimes you know right away. He protested a bit and said that he was still in college, has lots ahead of him, and I agreed, but said that didn't mean she isn't the one. It just means not yet. I made a few attempts to offer to pray for him, but he was so in love he couldn't hear me. 
So, another time for him. It's all in God's timing, isn't it? 

I left the store and headed home. I asked the Lord to please let me get home before Adam. I thanked him for the time I spent with these two young men, and asked him to speak to them. I asked him to reveal himself in dreams and visions to the first one. I believe he will. I got home about five minutes before Adam did. 

I had just brought two bags of groceries into the house when Adam's bus arrived. And they were early. Isn't God so good? I got to talk about Him with someone who had no idea of how good He is, and still got home in time for early Adam. Please say a prayer for these young men; and that I will see them the next time I shop at this store.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Divine Appointments

Two weeks ago, after church, we were going to be at our daughter's home for dinner. I went home, dropped off Adam and fed everyone lunch, and left for the store to get dessert. I said I would be right back. An hour later, I finally made it. I had a few unexpected appointments to keep.

As I turned the corner and passed the local McDonald's, I saw a man take the cover off the garbage can and start digging through it. I can't even explain how I felt. I turned the next corner and pulled into the parking lot, intending to give him a couple of dollars. Before I could call him over to my car(he was starting to move away, the Lord said, "Give him ten." So I dug through the bills in my wallet and found a ten dollar bill as I was calling to him to come over. My heart was hurting as I watched him come closer.
His clothes were rags and his hair was long and severely matted. I knew he was homeless, and I wondered how long he was living on the streets. I had never seem him before. As he came up to the car, I handed him the money, and he smiled a giant smile at me. He had a slice of lime between his teeth (which I knew he had found as he rummaged through the can because I saw him put it into his mouth), but that didn't hide the happiness at all. He didn't really speak, just nodded and made some happy sounds. He took the money and turned away quickly, looking to the people in the drive up line who might have something for him. I saw a woman hand him some change. He was moving quickly and I prayed he'd find a place to live, and that I would see him again. I drove on to the store.

As I got out of my car, I saw a woman talking to someone in one of the handicapped parking spaces. She walked away, and the woman in the car was looking down at the ground and seemed very confused. I went over to ask if she needed some help. She was parked in the striped space, which indicated the unloading zone for wheelchair vans. She told me that the other woman had told her she couldn't park there, and this poor lady couldn't understand why. After several explanations on my part about the faded lines, she finally told me that the woman had said she couldn't park there at all because it was for vans only. That isn't true, and I told her so. I have handicapped parking privileges for my grandson, and I know it is just a courtesy to leave it for vans. She needed parking and the other lanes were all full. People are so unhelpful sometimes. However, she did need to move into the designated space in order to avoid a ticked, because the lined spaces at not for parking. As I helped her to reposition her can, a truck came rushing up to get into the space. I stopped him and told him this lady was parking there, and he didn't have a permit anyway. So he backed up and into a space in the lanes across from us.

I stood at the car chatting with the woman, and she and I had church. She shared with me, I shared with her, and we praised God. She insisted on giving me a gift. She had two beaded necklaces in the car and insisted that I must have one of them. I tried to decline, but she wouldn't hear of it, so I chose one and thanked her. As we were finishing out conversation, a man came up to the truck parked next to her(the one who had tried to take her spot had moved next to her at this point) and was cursing and slammed the driver's side mirror on the truck. I asked "What did you do that for?" and he was screaming that the driver had backed into his SUV. Joan and I both told him that we were there the whole time, and didn't see that at all. He insisted and drove angrily away, and we prayed for him and his wife, who looked very uneasy. Joan (for she had told me her name by this time) took down his license plate number, and then we walked into the store together. She felt it was important to give the plate number to the driver of the truck, but we didn't see him. I hugged her and left her to do my own shopping and get home, as I was already late.

When I came out of the store, the driver of the truck and his son were getting ready to leave, so I told them what had happened. I could tell he was intoxicated. A woman came over and accused him of hitting her car, said there were witnesses and was quite upset. He became rather aggressive with her, and tried to drive away. She, another woman and I all kept talking to him and trying to keep him from leaving. Other cars were trying to get through, so this guy couldn't leave. He really had hit her car, and he knew it. Her car had white paint all over the damage, and his truck had blue paint on it from her car. We all stuck it out until he reluctantly gave her his insurance info, and then left. The woman thanked all who stayed around to help her, and then we all left.

This was a most unusual afternoon. I often smile at and speak with people I've never met, but this is truly the first time it was such an intense experience.

The next week, I ran into Joan again, at a different grocery store. I went up to her car and introduced myself to her again. She remembered me but had forgotten where we met. We chatted for a few minutes and exchanged phone numbers. We're both wondering what God has in mind for us; we think He orchestrated our meeting and are looking to see why He did.

I'm praying for the man at McDonald's. I haven't seen him again, and I'm hoping he finds someplace safe to stay, and gets enough food to eat. I feel like I should have maybe parked my car and spent some time with him instead of just giving him money for food. Maybe we'll meet again one day.

All this is in response to a prayer of my heart that I'll make a difference when I see something happening that isn't right. God answered in a very unexpected way on a very regular day.








Wednesday, December 17, 2014

I Worked On This Before, But I Just Can't Finish It

 I have found that raising typically developing children has many challenges; raising a child with challenges has changed me more than raising my three girls ever did. Adam has shown me "Jesus with skin on" better than anyone else I have met. He loves unconditionally and does it so well. He will forget your name but never forget you. He will ask you the same thing over and over again, but never get mad at you for reminding him that he just asked you that.  When he does this, he is either not able to process your response, or he's stuck in a loop and can't escape it. He doesn't hold it against you when YOU can't remember that HE can't remember that he asked you that already. He doesn't resent you when he asks you your name and you tell him, "You know my name." He does get upset though, because he doesn't know and that's why he asked you.
 He lives with pain and mostly doesn't complain. He has multiple surgeries and doesn't hate the doctor that cuts into his body so often. In fact, he loves him. Our beautiful special needs children are indeed a testimony to the darkness that there is a Kingdom of Love, and a few of its residents live and  love and battle from the time they're born to bring the light of that Kingdom to the earth. 
I think I'm done tonight. This is a sensitive spot and I think you get the gist of what I'm saying. No need to press any further.