Your grace abounds in deepest waters!

Chance’s courage and the impact his story has on people never ceases to amaze me, and to me that shouts exactly where that courage is really coming from… Jesus. Chance is one of the most perceptive people I know (a gift from above) and he can spot the one who is hurting in a crowd. Chance is more prone to walk towards people who are hurting, believing he can make a difference, than he is to turn away from them in fear of them negatively influencing him. As a mom, that is hard and that is where the enemy likes to creeps in to fill me with doubt and fear. I am humbled by that thought when I think about Mary and I can’t even imagine what she felt watching Jesus.

Chance has gone to a Bible college where he knew no one in a remote part of Colorado, an hour away from the nearest gas station and cell phone service. Chance has gone to Bible College in California where he knew no one again but had every convenience within his reach. Each of his semesters at Bible College have been some of the hardest times of his life and he has the scars to prove it, some are visible and some are not. And being honest, I misplaced my hope. My hope was that being at a Bible College would enhance Chance’s walk with the Lord, which is wrong. My hope should never be in a setting or a circumstance but in the Lord himself and the truth He has given to us. Chance has stumbled a lot in his walk with the Lord, but honestly who hasn’t? Who of us could cast that first stone? I used to get depressed when Chance would stumble because I listened to the lies of fear, doubt, and what-ifs. Now I watch and wait expectantly for the Lord’s glory each time he stumbles, because just as we are faithful to stumble, the Lord is faithful to pick us back up, dust us off and whisper “Let’s try this again”, no matter how many times it takes. He knew each day of our life and each mistake we would make before we took our first breath and yet here we are.

Today, I stand firm behind my son and his decision to stay in California all on his own. I have missed the majority of opportunities the Lord has given me to stand firm behind Chance, but not this one. Not because I am naïve and believe he won’t stumble again, but because I know Jesus is right there with him to help him back up when he does. He will be moving to his new home today, where he is renting a room with people I have never met. Yes, they could very well be a ‘bad influence’ for Chance BUT Chance could also be a ‘good influence’ for them, and really what would worrying about that do for me? Is the God I have faith in not bigger than this? For the God I have faith in, ALL things are possible. Nope, not gonna worry, not this time – not for this momma – been there, done that and got nowhere, FAST! Nope, instead I choose to put my hope in the Lord, to keep my eyes on HIM even if the worst storm ever builds around me and I stand amazed at the courage the Lord has given Chance to step on shaky ground where he knows he may fall, because I KNOW that come what may, the Lord NEVER FAILS, NEVER GIVES UP, and HIS GLORY will be seen.

Below are my favorite parts of the lyrics in the song above and these are the truths I cling to!
‘Your grace abounds in deepest waters, Your sovereign hand will be my guide. My feet may fail when fear surrounds me, You’ve never failed and You won’t start now – so I will call upon Your name and keep my eyes above the waves! Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders, let me walk upon the water wherever You would call me, take me deeper than my feet could ever wander and my faith would be made stronger in the presence of my Savior. ‘

My hope is in the Lord and His glory is all around us if we open our eyes to see it.

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Journal Entry 6/20/13

Hallelujah Billboard Recreate

Good Morning Papa!  I am thankful that Your whisper was loud this morning 🙂  So many thoughts and praise and so little time.  I pray You will stretch time this morning.

Thank You for the Jesus Calling devotional this morning….

“I speak to you continually.  My nature is to communicate, though not always in words.  I fling glorious sunsets across the sky, day after day after day.  I speak in the faces and voices of loved ones.  I caress you with a gentle breeze that refreshes and delights you.  I speak softly in the depths of your spirit, where I have taken up residence.  You can find Me in each moment, when you have eyes that see and ears that hear.  Ask My Spirit to sharpen your spiritual eyesight and hearing.  I rejoice each time you discover My Presence.  Practice looking and listening for Me during quiet intervals.  Gradually you will find Me in your moments.  You will seek Me and find Me, when you seek Me above all else.”

THANK YOU PAPA!  That TODAY in the verses listed is my FAVORITE verse, Jeremiah 29:13.  Thank YOU Papa for opening my eyes to see and ears to hear a new verse that I love and how it makes me think of my youngest when he was just 3 years old shouting “HALLELUJAH” out of nowhere.  The beauty is I am pretty certain he did not hear that word from anyone in our family – possibly daycare but most certainly not from family.  I have wondered A LOT about what made him say that at that exact moment on that exact freeway on that exact trip to Chicago…. And then, my heart walks in step with You when I recall what happened seconds after he said that out of blue, and I KNOW IT WAS ALL YOU!  I love how You gave all of us in the car confirmation that “Yes, that is what the child said”  Praise You Papa!  Praise You for making sure none of us would miss that moment or that none of us could forget it.  For mere seconds after my sweet child said “Hallelujah” we all “happen” to glance to our left.  And there, sitting back off the freeway we were on was a billboard with a blue background and a small white dove in the lower right hand corner and all it said was Hallelujah.  That one word filled the billboard.  At the time I knew the word was spoken in church but I didn’t know what it really meant or when or why it was said.  I thought it was so cool when it happened but it would be years before that treasured moment in time would sink deep into my heart.  It took seeking and find you Papa to realize what a rare gem that moment was.  I have often said to my child “I wonder what God whispered to you that made you say that.”  Then today I read a verse that gives clarity to the story.

Matthew 21:15-16  “The leading priests and the teachers of religious law saw these wonderful miracles and heard even the children in the temple shouting “Praise God for the Son of David.”  But the leaders were indignant.  They asked Jesus, “Do you hear what these children are saying?”  “Yes” Jesus replied, “Haven’t you ever read the Scriptures?  For they say ‘You have taught the children and infants to give you praise.’

Psalm 8:1-4  “O Lord, our Lord, Your majestic name fills the earth!  Your glory is higher than the heavens.  You have taught children and infants to tell of Your strength, silencing Your enemies and all who oppose You.  When I look at the night sky and see the work of Your fingers – the moon and the stars You set in place – what are mere mortals that You should think about them, human beings that You should care for them?”

What amazing love You have for me to make Your presence known to this blind mother and by grace opening my eyes to Your wonders!  ALL GLORY TO YOU FATHER!  THANK YOU!!

Change is coming…

While reading in Jeremiah and Ecclesiastes this morning I was led to pray for my boys and my husband with boldness and confidence that my prayers and proclamations would be heard. My prayers would be heard because my heart was repentant. The plank had been removed from my eye! Without fear, I share my prayers and proclamations from my time at Papa’s feet ….
Lord, this morning I lift up my youngest son to You. Holy Spirit, guide this prayer of mine. I pray he learns early in this life what Solomon realized at the end of his. I pray he will not clutch at foolishness while seeking wisdom. I pray he will understand that obtaining everything men desire is meaningless apart from You! Papa, I pray he will know without doubt that true joy and pleasure are only found in You. I pray he will eat and drink the fruits of his labor and clearly understand and appreciate these fruits as gifts from You. I pray he works at everything he does as if he is working for You so that when fruits come he will KNOW WITHOUT DOUBT that he worked for You and the rewards are from You. I pray You will give him eyes to see early in his life that EVERYTHING apart from You is without meaning and joy and that pure satisfaction comes from You and NOTHING apart from You! I pray this understanding will be given to him while he is young so that his life will be spent in close, constant communication with You. I pray the dreams You have given him and for him will become clear at a young age and that he will be able to find satisfaction and fulfillment from living Your will for him. I pray with every breath he takes, the enemy will flee because Your power and will are present in his life. I pray You will bless him and keep him. I pray You will smile upon him and be gracious to him. I pray You will watch over him and give him peace. I pray he will spend each day of his life knowing without doubt my love for him and more importantly that he will see my love for him as a small sample of Your vast, all encompassing, unending, unconditional, never failing love for him. I thank you for my little hallelujah boy!!
I lift up my oldest to You, Papa. I thank You this morning and know You are at work restoring the years the locust have eaten in his life. He is so VERY precious to You and You know what an emotional hell he has lived thus far…. BUT, You Lord have begun the restoration. You will take both of our failures and struggles and use them to bring unimaginable beauty from them. Tears will flow from our eyes of awestruck amazement over Your love and grace. It is no longer a time to tear, but is now a time to mend. It is no longer a time to be quiet but is now a time to speak. It is no longer a time for war but is now a time for peace. It is no longer a time for chasing the wind, but a time of realization that true joy and satisfaction are ONLY found in You, Papa. Now is the time for what has happened before to happen again. Now is the time for Your light to shine, revealing Your glory. What was lost will now be found! What the enemy tried to destroy, You will restore for Your glory. What the enemy sought to tempt with, will no longer be a temptation because what was dirty has been made clean. The lies of condemnation will no longer be heard for there is no condemnation in Christ. Hope has come and it is in You, Jesus. You have prepared me fully to be blown away by the glory I am about to see so that when I see it and when others see it we will stand in awe and amazement at Your power alone to make what “seems” impossible, possible.
I boldly proclaim in Your name Jesus, that I will be Your hands and feet to my husband. I will be the wife he needs by following the Holy Spirit’s guidance. I will deny my flesh for it’s only purpose is to please my selfishness. Thank you Papa, for my husband. Thank You for eyes to see him for who You created him to be and I pray for strength in helping him see that person for himself. I pray my husband will receive the blessings that come from my time spent at Your feet. I pray he will experience You above and beyond anything he has ever seen or heard about You. I pray You ignite and set his heart ablaze to know You for himself, not what others have taught him about You. I pray he will set sail on the biggest adventure of his life… seeking You!! Why do I get giddy with excitement over him taking this adventure of seeking You for himself? Because WITHOUT DOUBT… I know it to be a proven fact and promise that when he seeks, he will find You! What was planted, will be harvested, as soon as the seed breaks through the shell that is hidden in darkness and searches, for himself, the Light that gives what is needed, leading to growth.

In Jesus’ Powerful Name I Pray,
Amen!

What you can’t see in a picture….

Ok, so tomorrow I am guest posting over at www.ilovedevotionals.com and for the last week I kept thinking I am writing a guest post and I haven’t posted on my blog since last year.

Bottom line is God didn’t finish His work in me, He didn’t quit leading me, and my desire to share what He has taught me didn’t fade……I’ve just been paralyzed or distracted….. Again!  But for the last week the following has been on my heart to share, so here it goes…

chicago 2003

This is a picture of me and my boys that I posted last week for Throwback Thursday on Facebook.  It is one of my favorite pictures for several reasons, one of which is because if I had a rewind button I would love to go back to that very moment in time.

I look at that picture and I see positives, like my face with fewer wrinkles and my hair that was actually colored by professional.  I see my extremely observant, caring, worry wart so young and innocent and I see my little encourager full of joy and happiness.  I have so many good memories from this trip!!

Sadly, I also know the negatives that aren’t seen in this picture.  I remember the selfishness that was hidden inside me.  I was a self centered mom with rottenness in my heart.

Honestly, I could give you a huge list of things I wish I knew then or things that I would have done differently but the ONE thing that would have ACTUALLY made a difference would have been if I had surrendered my life to Christ.

I knew about Jesus then…. but really know Him, not even close.  I had no imaginable idea of what I was missing out on.  I loved going to church when I was a little girl, truly loved it.  I even met my husband at a church.  But going to church and KNOWING Jesus don’t always go hand in hand.  It is possible to have one without the other.

Jesus changed everything for me!  EVERYTHING!!  So now when you see me with wrinkles and gray roots that are long over do for coloring…. Smile and know I am no longer chained to appearances.  Please don’t get me wrong there is nothing wrong with taking care of yourself and your appearance, but just like some things become addictions for some and not others; when I focus on my appearance, vain and selfish thoughts come more readily and I start focusing more on me and that is a road I don’t even want to look in the direction of again.

Speak Truth Today…..Regardless

Flood me with unexplainable peace Papa, please!

I feel guilty for saying that yet I am so desperately longing for peace.  I don’t have a child in the hospital and I don’t some weird disease so that fact that I long for peace for myself weighs heavy on my heart.  How twisted is that?  If I had a ‘good’ reason for having this gray cloud hovering over me I wouldn’t feel guilty.  Yes, the enemy is playing tricks with me again.  I hear You whisper ‘This gray cloud is real Ellen.  You are hurting and just because you don’t understand how or why doesn’t make it any less real.  This is a battle, a real battle that is really going on inside you!  Don’t worry about what others will say and don’t pretend everything is okay when it’s not.  Just because you are hurting with a hurt that is not visible to the eyes doesn’t mean it is a figment of your imagination.  Today I want you to focus on speaking the truth regardless of how you ‘appear’.’  Then I wonder how I answer truthfully the simple question of ‘how are you?’…. once again You whisper ‘speak the truth regardless of how you appear’.  I feel like I am not thankful for the blessings You have given me because I am filled with unexplainable sadness.  I’m a mess!  I am blessed beyond measure and I have been set free so why do I bring this heavy baggage around with me?  More importantly, how do I set it down and walk away from it?  I don’t like this cloud Papa but it is here and You know it is here and though I don’t understand why I have to trust You love me and know what is best for me.  Thank You for constantly revealing Your love to me!  Thank You for love me just as I am – a big mess!  Give me strength just for today to believe in Your love for me and my family.  Give me the strength to focus on the unseen and trust You are holding my family in the palm of Your hand.  Help me trust You are capable of redeeming my stupid choices… as well as those that Mark, Chance, or Seth makes!  Help me BELIEVE nothing is impossible for You!

Gray Cloud

A gray cloud is hovering over me Papa and I feel it soaking into my skin, it wants to consume me and the light You placed inside me. This is not like other times when the gray cloud is triggered by something that has either hurt or upset me. This cloud has been building my whole life. I feel the evil surrounding me and yet I hear Your whispers cut through the fog when I ask where are you Papa. This is the strangest feeling. To know the evil one has encircled me and yet I can’t say I am afraid. I am numb almost and I am not sure that is a good thing. I know this is big and I know this is going to hurt and when I think of the hurt I feel myself becoming reluctant.  Every fiber of my flesh screams avoid the pain, just sink deep into the fog and you won’t have to face the pain, BUT my spirit whispers you must face the pain or you can’t be healed.  My faith is being tested; do I trust You, Papa?  Do I trust you to navigate me through these foggy waters where I can’t “see” anything but the fog surrounding me?  By the very definition of depressed (an unwarranted and prolonged condition of emotional dejection), I have been depressed for quite some time.  I have hidden and ignored it – sunk behind the fog so that others wouldn’t find out.  The only time I would let someone else know something was wrong was when something had happened that the normal response would be for me to be upset, but the rest of the time I put a smile on my face and then on the inside sunk deeper into the fog.  I don’t need medication to deal with this and I have the perfect Counselor already.  At this point I just have to acknowledge I am depressed and have been depressed for a long time.  The evil one is so cleverly tricky shouting ‘If you let people know you will make them question if God really exists because if there is a God why are you depressed? Doesn’t He promise peace and joy?”  so I put a smile on my face and only spoke what was going on, on the inside, within the pages of my journal – never to anyone else.  But the truth of the matter is I can’t answer why I am depressed which by its own definition reveals I am depressed.  And today I choose to listen to the whisper that I am deeply loved and together Papa will bring me through the fog… but for now it is best to sit in the fog because He has some things He wants to teach me here and the only thing He wants me to do is to seek His face and trust He is here in the fog with me, holding onto me.  On Friday Chance sent the following verses to me and I will repeat them over and over until they cut through the fog…

Isaiah 41:10 “So do not fear for I am with you.  Do not be dismayed for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you.  I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Joshua 1:9 “This is my command – be strong and courageous!  Do not be afraid or discouraged.  For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”… even in the fog of depression Ellen!

On Friday I also read Isaiah 66:9 paraphrased by author Ann Voskamp and found hope in it… “God doesn’t allow pain unless He’s allowing something new to be born.”… once again Papa – Your promise that You are doing something new in my family.

BREAKING THE SILENCE

For over two and half years I have written only to God in my journal.  I want to be intentionally transparent so I am going to start sharing what He teaches me or places on my heart or what I am working through emotionally, physically, and spiritually because maybe, just maybe, there is someone who needs to know they are not alone.

I journal to process, analyze, and understand my own thoughts. I journal to welcome God into my thoughts – not that He doesn’t already know those thoughts, but more as a way for me to acknowledge He knows them and ask for His help.  I journal in hopes that someone along the way will read and really understand who I was.  I don’t hide my journal, I don’t keep it under lock and key, but I don’t usually share what I put in it… unless asked. I guess I want someone to really understand me but maybe not now while I am still alive because I don’t want to own up to the thoughts I record to the people who see me on a regular basis.  And I ask myself why???  Why not be transparent??? We all have scars on the inside.  But the honest answer is it is SCARY to let those who love you in on your internal struggles much less people you don’t know but I want to be intentional in becoming transparent.  I mean really if we were all transparent it wouldn’t be so scary!!