Vintage Market Design

Vintage Market Design

About Me

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God does have a sense of humor, after years of infertility, we adopted 2 beautiful babies, I later had the "surprise baby"! In the very spare time I have, I love to decorate, paint, and make all kinds of things. I do repurpose old furniture and custom paint furniture for clients. I work with all types of vintage items. I love to make our house a home. I like to see how others do it and share what I do also. Contact me at alittlecountryhouse@gmail.com if you are interested in any products I have posted or if you are local to Atlanta and want a furniture face lift! Love your old junk again!

Friday, November 22, 2013

3 Dressers Done 3 Ways



 I was given 3 dressers from a client, 2 were very old and one was in poor shape, but I love making stuff good again so this was total satisfaction. She had a massive, wood dresser in her master that has a huge mirror attached, heavy wood etc...the other 2 were from her husband's childhood and I did those masculine for her teen son.  Here they are, restored glory....enjoy!



first chest, turned sporty TV stand!



golf is the theme for the teen golfer!

stripped orange wood top, opted for ebony stain
to go with black body...cream knobs and lettering

i love this top! ebony wood, yes please....



I like this for myself....


too orangey, dark and heavy for her room...

you will get new hardware too!



Hello Lovey.....

Light, bright, and airy and feminine...
Girls, it's your room too, don't be afraid of
elegant...He really doesn't care....

this is much more my client's personality...

new, oil-rubbed bronze hardware...

a new/old mirror hanging above is  also more suitable here..
                                             This room got a little bigger just from this change....
                                   


look 3, bachelor chest

chose color, graphite, not deep black, softer black

distressed with ebony stain wash...
kept old hardware cause I loved it...



Linking up here!



Furniture Feature Fridays

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Pallet Love



I have been inspired by all the pallet stuff on Pinterest and decided to put my spin on some pallets. I thought these could be cool for a lake house or in front of a fireplace or hanging on a large bare wall.....My hubs found me a couple of larger size pallets and I made a template of a deer silhouette I liked on Pinterest. I did one with a deer and then I did the lake letters and background on the other and my hubs painted the canoe. I have sold the canoe but we can make more! I have a few more designs I am experimenting with so, I will share those later. Thanks for looking!


Maybe put this on front porch for Christmas!

or fireplace screen...

or in a boys room.....or back  porch/deck/wall hanging

Friday, November 1, 2013

Captivated





31 days of Women of Authenticity has ended. If you took the time to come here and read any of these posts, Thank You! You were a part of this too!  As I look back over the past 31 days, I am beyond words. A challenge to write and stay on topic for 31 days turned more into a personal journey than I could ever have imagined. It feels like a revival in my heart. I am so glad I listened to God's prompting. Reading the stories of all these incredible women have been inspirational and healing.  For each journey revealed could not take place with out His hand, could not find a resolve without His hand, and could not impact others without His hand. He has been real and touchable during this series in ways I have not seen before. Every trial and tribulation and triumph over obstacles can only be credited to His work in the life of each person, who shared here. If I did not know Him before, there is no way I couldn't now. If you did not know Him before, you have met and seen his works full well. The main point I have taken away from 31 Days goes back to this verse,
    Romans 8:38-39
    For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
  I want to thank each and every woman who participated and agreed to be vulnerable for God's glory and work in the body of Christ. You are all so precious and beautiful and gracious. It was a privilege to work with you on this. To explore authenticity in the lives of these women, is to meet the one who made us authentic. A reflection of Him. To be a daughter of THE KING, is the greatest thing we could ever be. He is irresistible and captivating. He has captivated us......










If you have missed any of the 31 Days series click here for all the links to each days posts!

31-days-of-women-of-authenticity.html

What did you take away from 31 Days?

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Vulnerability

Sherry Lewis gifted me with one more of her honest and thought provoking writings on this 31 Days. She has given a spiritual wisdom and perspective that helps us to reign all of these beautiful stories into one commonality, the gospel-centered life.


31-days-of-women-of-authenticity  here is the link if you missed any of the 31 Days Series!

The topic of authenticity is in lots of conversations these days. It’s definitely been a theme in many Christian circles, but also in the secular world. Its been said that Millennials are looking for authenticity when looking for a church. As consumers, as church-goers, as students, as voters, this generation is looking for authenticity and marketers are capitalizing on that.  

Does anyone really value inauthenticity? Surely not. No one is drawn to phoniness. No one values dishonesty in a relationship (I don’t think). At the root its because authenticity is not just a value, but a need.

Now, sometimes “authenticity” and “vulnerability” are used interchangeably. While they are in the same category, they have very different meanings as well as implications. According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, the word authentic is defined as “real or genuine, not copied or false”, while vulnerable is defined as “capable of being physically or emotionally wounded.” We should be authentic with everyone, but vulnerability can and should be reserved for those with whom we desire a relationship. In a way, one hinges on the other. You can be authentic without being vulnerable, but it’s pretty difficult to be vulnerable without being authentic.

How can you be authentic but not vulnerable? Think about the people who boast in their authenticity but are too fearful to let anyone get really close to them. I’ve seen Marilyn Monroe’s famous quote on lots of facebook walls. You know the one, “I'm selfish, impatient, and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I'm out of control, and at times hard to handle. But if you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as h@*l don't deserve me at my best.” She was being authentic but what I see under that thin veneer of confidence is fear- a fear of rejection.

Some people feel like the remedy for this fear and insecurity is to keep telling yourself, “You’re enough.” Enough for what? The world tells us that when we aren’t feeling good about ourselves, we should just think happy thoughts. So, we’re trying to hide our true selves from others while thinking happy thoughts. But, sadly, those happy thoughts don’t last very long so we try to numb the negative emotions with food, alcohol, shopping, medication, maybe even pornography. According to researcher Brene’ Brown, we are the most obese, addicted, in debt and over medicated generation in U.S. history. You can’t numb these negative emotions without also numbing the positive ones: like joy, peace, love and happiness. It’s a destructive cycle. It doesn’t work.

Again, the biggest hindrance to vulnerability is a fear of rejection, especially if you’ve experienced repeated rejection over the course of your life. We long to be known, really known, with all our weaknesses and failures, cellulite and wrinkles, and still be loved and accepted. No wonder we’ve been burned by rejection over and over again. What human can see us, and all of our “junk”, and still love us unconditionally? Very few. And the thing is, no other human, not even we, ourselves, sees all of us. But there is One who does. The One who made us. The One who sees all and knows all. He sees our hearts and like the oncologist who is about to give us the bad news that the cancer has metastasized to every part of our body, He says, “Dear One, its much worse than you think.” 

We are much worse than we ever thought. Our selfishness runs deeper, our pride runs wider, our inadequacy is off the charts. We even have a difficult time looking at it and really accepting ourselves. God looks on it and says, “You are not enough.”……… What?! Why would God say that? He is supposed to believe in me. He is supposed to think I’m great. Really? He continues and says, “But My Son is enough. He has met all the standards. He has followed all the rules. He has resisted every temptation. He has remained perfectly adequate…. for your sake”.  That’s why Jesus came. He didn’t come to save a healthy, clean perfect world of people. He came because of our severe need for help and redeeming. Jesus sees our hearts and He offers ultimate acceptance and love.

So, for the person who doesn’t have a relationship with the Creator of the World through faith in Jesus Christ, He is the answer to all your fears. You can be known and loved and accepted by the only One who really matters, the only One who gave you life and the only One who can take it from you. Look to Him, confess your need for Him, your sin against Him and ask Him to forgive you and replace your weakness with His strength, your failure with His perfection.

For the believer, the gospel has to speak into our need for vulnerability as well. To live in close, intimate gospel community with other believers, we have to remember that we have already received our identity and acceptance by our Father. We don’t have to fear not receiving it from our sister. Let’s stop accusing others of not being authentic enough. Let’s stop fearing that others will not accept us. Instead of being insecure and defensive, let’s rest in the love of Christ. Rather than demanding acceptance and grace from others, let’s give it freely. Our vulnerability invites others to be vulnerable and results in intimacy and true community. What am I afraid of? My brother or sister in Christ will be disappointed with me at some point, but what does that matter when El Shaddai is in love with me? What do I need to protect myself from? I am complete, I am whole, I am secure in the redeeming, all sufficient love of Christ. The assurance of His love brings freedom so that I can be vulnerable with others, loving and forgiving them freely as He has loved and forgiven me.  

Jesus gives us the ultimate example of vulnerability. He didn’t just come into this world taking a risk that He might be physically and emotionally wounded. A risk implies that there is only a possibility in a negative outcome. Jesus came, with joy, knowing there would be rejection from those He loved, but He laid down His life in spite of it. He was freed to give of Himself without fear, without reserve because He had the ultimate love and approval from His Father.







Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Julie's Story



I am so glad Julie is sharing her struggle with us. Every story is different and God works and weaves so differently with each woman. Julie went down a similar path as me, but with some very different obstacles. I have always seen her firm in her faith. I have loved watching her with her precious family and I am proud to call her friend. If you have missed any of this series, please check out the link below and go to our introduction, there you will find a link to each story that has been shared over 31 days.


31 Days Women of Authenticity


                                                               Julie's Story


 After our first year of marriage we moved to Georgia and started to think about starting a family.   We traded in the sporty two-door car for the four-door family car and started moving forward with our plan.  Our plan, don’t you know God finds humor in us thinking we are in control.  Unfortunately, this girl likes to be in control and God has to remind me (often) that HE is in control, not me. Getting pregnant was evidently not as easy as I thought, or at least this was the case for me.  I worked at a school and was asked daily if I had children, which of course led to the why questions.  I finally started answering, “Tell God.”  That shut people up pretty well.  After years (11 to be exact) of not getting pregnant, we moved forward with testing and surgeries.  The last surgery showed that I had stage 4 endometriosis.  The endometriosis was so bad that nothing could be done.  When I woke up from surgery, I remember the look on my husband’s face; he does not hide his emotions very well.   I was told that I would never get pregnant on my own and a total hysterectomy was suggested.  What? Never conceive?  Really God?  Needless to say, we were devastated.  We didn’t talk much about it at first.  I think we were both in shock.  I was referred to an infertility specialist to see if anything could be done.  He was not optimistic to say the least.  He told me that due to my age (36), and health, that IVF was my only option and even with that, I had less than 8% chance of conceiving.  Wow, not the news we expected to hear.  It seemed like everyone, but me, was pregnant.  The young, the old, the single… you know how it goes.  God, why not me?  Do you not trust me?  Am I being punished?  Satan loves to put these doubts in our minds.  Question God, who do we think we are?  But let’s be honest, we all do it. My husband and I prayed for clear direction between adoption and IVF.  It was such a battle and so many crazy thoughts go through your head.  One evening we decided to meet with my parents and spend time praying about what direction to pursue.  I remember my Dad saying that He and my Mom really felt like we needed to do IVF, that they had a real peace about it.  My husband and I really prayed that we would have that same peace, and eventually we did and our sadness turned into joy and expectation.  We finally had the peace that passes all understanding.  You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you,
because he trusts in you.  (Isaiah 26:3) During the process of IVF it was if we knew the outcome, before we really knew it.  I tried to explain it to the doctor, and he just didn’t get it.  He kept telling me I needed to be realistic.  Well, God did show him..... the IVF took and I was pregnant.... with TWIN girls.  I had a fairly good pregnancy.  My water broke at 32 weeks and I was hospitalized to try to stop the labor.  I had such a peace.  The neonatal specialist came in to talk to me about all the “what ifs.”  I told him the girls would be just fine, that they were going to come out kicking and screaming.  Funny, he told me the same thing other doctors had told me, that I needed to be realistic.  You know, doctors can really be downers.  I went into full labor at 33 weeks and had caesarian delivery, and the girls were just fine.  They were small, 4lb 6oz and 4lb 7oz, but no real health issues.  I was in the recovery room waiting anxiously to see them.  After what seemed like hours in the recovery room, the nurse came in and I could tell that something was wrong.  Was it the girls?  God, you can’t let anything happen to them.  No, it was me.   After two days of testing, blood transfusions and numerous doctors in to see me, they determined that I had cardiomyopathy (congestive heart failure).  Again, the look on my husband’s face told it all.  I could see on his face that he thought I was going to die and leave him with TWIN GIRLS.  How quickly that perfect peace turned in to question and doubt.  These girls were a true miracle and now you are going to let something happen to me??  I told you that this girl has a little trouble letting go of control and I felt totally out of control.  I was not able to see my daughters for days and there were things that I wish I could have changed, but I was reminded once again that God is in control.  He has a plan and often it is different than our plan, but HE IS IN CONTROL.  And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28) How true this is.  We KNOW that ALL things, period!  My daughters are vibrant, healthy, full of life little girls and my heart has healed.  I had a year of testing and cardiologist visits with all my blue haired friends (always the youngest patient by about 20 years) and after a year, I was able to come off all of my cardiac medications and to date, my heart is fine.  God is good, even when we are on our knees crying out to Him, He is good.  His ways are always best, regardless, and we have to trust Him.   
A couple of things that I have learned ( I’m still learning):
1.       Being a woman of authenticity is a work in progress.  God is continually working on me, and that’s a good thing!  When your life is going too good, you better check yourself.     
2.       Tell God how you feel and be honest!  Too many times we try to pray “spiritually” forgetting God knows our heart.  We can put on our mask for everyone else, but we can’t hide from Him.  Proverbs 13:12    
3.       Everyone has a story, something in their past that they wish they didn’t experience.  Let it be used for the glory of God.  You never know the impact you can make in someone's life.  Beth was an awesome example to me, and I hope I have been an example to others who have struggled with infertility.    
4.       Don’t hold on too tightly.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Linda's Story


 Linda in spanish means beautiful or lovely. This may be the most difficult, yet most important story of 31  Days. This is where the rubber meets the road on putting yourself out there and being vulnerable, for God's  glory.  Sadly, this is not an uncommon suffering  in our culture, but this story is a picture of His restorative  power. If this helps one person who has gone through  this same valley, then Praise to the Lord.
 Linda, your name is perfect, for you truly are a beautiful person. Thank you for sharing this.


                                             
  • The Little Girl In Me
    In the late spring of 2010, my husband Paul and I were honored to attend the graduation at Union Grove High School. I had anticipated an exciting evening with our best friends. Their daughter was like one of our own. I got kinda dressed up, heels...jewelry... if you know me, then you know I love clothes, makeup, shoes and all the accessories a girl can wear! I had looked forward to being with our friends, and just celebrating this wonderful time in their lives! We found our way to our seats in the stands overlooking the football field. I am a short girl, being only 5'2, I wanted to be sure I could see over the crowd. So, naturally when the stadium began to fill, I found myself looking all around. I am a people watcher as well, and can't help but take notice of everyone around me. As I looked across the crowd of people... my eyes met the gaze of another. A man. Our eyes froze for a second just looking at one another and then I quickly looked down. I couldn't believe it. Could it be him? My heart was racing ...but, I looked back again and his eyes were still on me. I quickly looked away again. I wanted to look back again to be sure...but every time I looked at him, he was looking at me. OH, please no....I just couldn't look at him again. I just felt so sick at my stomach. I wasn't 100%, but I am pretty convinced that this is the man that had sexually molested me when I was 7, 8, 9, 10 years old. He had been my sister's husband. My brother in law, He would come into my room at night and I would wake up with him in my bed....with his hands on me. 
    As I sit here at this high school graduation, I am not sure how much time passes, but I lose all sense of it. I miss the calling of some of the names of graduates. I look over to my husband Paul, and catch his sweet blue trusting eyes looking at me. He smiles so sweetly at me. He is sitting a couple of people down from me and I want so much for his comfort. I looked down at my shoes...my cute black ones and my painted toenails. I recall just a few hours ago...Paul telling me how pretty I was in my white Capris and high heels. I suddenly do not feel so pretty and feel myself sinking away....wanting to hide or disappear. I look at Paul again and he is laughing at something our friend, Scott has said. He has no idea the raging storm that now consumes me.....nor do I want him to know. I have been very good at hiding this secret. I haven't spoken of this to him or anyone, in a very long time. I never even told my sweet mama. She went to her grave not even knowing that this had happened to her baby girl. I could never find the words or my voice. I carried this secret with me and NEVER told a soul until I was 15 years old. Then at that time, I had FINALLY found the strength to tell my sister, what her husband had done to me, only to discover that she didn't believe me.... and that was it. But....I WAS JUST A LITTLE GIRL. I buried it, DEEP inside my soul. I pretended it NEVER happened. I pretended that it wasn't me that it had happened to. I was okay. I would have to be. I would NOT allow myself to think about him, the hurt, the fear or the SHAME that it had caused me. I don't think I ever even prayed for God to help me with it. I didn't need to. I was okay..... It didn't happen. Until now. All of a sudden, I cant quit thinking about it. I watched him get up and walk out from the graduation. I knew he couldn't touch me, scare me or have any power over me. He cant hurt me now.... so you would think. The following days, I am consumed with all these thoughts, horrendous memories and flashbacks. Things long forgotten...but not forgiven. The night of the graduation, we left to go celebrate. I did not tell my Paul.... Or my best friend. This is a wonderful time in their life. I will NOT allow my ugly past to rob us of the joy in this moment. This is THEIR moment. So, I get out my shovel, and I bury it deeper. For the next week, I just try to cope with it. Alone. I tried my best....to just be okay. 
    A few weeks later I attended a christian women's retreat. It was titled Cowgirl Up, How to Capture Those Wild Thoughts, and led by Jena Forehand, and OH MY GOODNESS. For heaven's sake, I had no idea what God had in store for me. That Friday night after the first session, I was in my room with my girlfriends and for the first time, I felt the liberty to share what happened at the graduation. My friends were so sweet and encouraging. They shared their own experiences, heart aches and what God has done in their lives. GOD was opening the door for MY HEART and tearing down the wall of hurt I had built up. Little did I know....The flood gates were about to be opened.
    At the retreat on Saturday morning, during the second session, Jena's daughter sang a song and it had a line...." I just want my soul to be satisfied" and tears started to flow. and flow. and flow. Jena began her session and every word seemed like it was for me. How sin or hurts can affect your life and cause shame. I realized for the first time that I had never been able to say......MY BROTHER-in-LAW sexually molested me. I could not form the words, much less speak them. Why? There should be NO shame in that for me! I did NOTHING wrong! I was an INNOCENT LITTLE GIRL. We returned home on Saturday afternoon from the retreat. My Sunday School teacher, Brother Stan, had ask me to give a testimony in Sunday School the following morning. I did, but still could not fully share what was happening within me. I sat down and felt like a failure. Bro Stan began his lesson from Matt 6. I am reading along, "Do not be anxious for nothing...not what you eat...or drink or for YOUR BODY". I looked down at the verse and it was as if the words were in LARGE BOLD print and I saw my tears start to fall on the page of my bible, right on top of the words.....YOUR BODY.YOUR BODY. YOUR BODY. I thought MY BODY?? My little girl body. Jesus...you wouldn't have allowed this to happen to my little girl body would you? I looked back up at Bro Stan...he is still talking ...teaching about fear....I see his mouth moving, but I cant hear his words. Tears are streaming down my face. I look down at the page. YOUR BODY....my body. more tears. quit crying Linda...I tell myself ...but..... I was just a little girl. I think about the testimony I just gave moments ago, and the retreat this past weekend. Now I am mad at myself. Jena Forehand had told us about the shame that came when we been wounded. Why couldn't I say it? I didn't testify and tell them that my brother- in-law molested me! Is it because I am ashamed?!?! I should have said it! I have nothing to be ashamed of. I was just a little girl. Tears are flowing. Bro Stan is teaching on fear. Matt 6 ..." look at the birds.....He cares for them....aren't you worth more than them"? what about me?....Jesus...what about me? what about the little birds? you watch over them....were you not watching over me? I was but a LITTLE girl. more tears. In these moments, I start thinking and my mind is racing....am I mad at GOD? Do I have unforgiveness in my heart? Does God hear my prayers? Can I forgive the man that did this to me? Is he still doing this to other little girls? could I do something now to stop him? what if I had done something a long time ago? Maybe I could have saved someone from being hurt. Again, more shame. more and more tears. Quit crying Linda. It couldn't come soon enough for me. alter time. I wanted to run there. fall there. For the first time, I go to the alter and pour out my heart. I ask GOD to help me. I asked him to forgive me for not coming to Him with my hurt. To forgive me for questioning Him. I asked Him to forgive me for being angry with Him. I asked Him to give the strength to look at my pain and for Him to somehow get glory from it. I asked no one else be hurt by this abuser. I asked Him to help me find forgiveness for my brother -in- law and to help me figure out where to go from here. I left it all there on that alter and then asked Him to help me get up and walk back to my seat because....I had NO strength left in me.
    The following week I met with Bro Stan and his wife Ms Jacki. They were both very sweet and encouraging. They connected me with a counselor and I began talking. Only with the help of Jesus, the little girl in me finally cried, regained back her voice and her power over evil. Not only that but, the little girl in me told on her nasty ole brother in law.
    It has been over three years now and one thing I know for sure, no matter what, even through everything .... I know that my Jesus loves me. I know that He sent my sweet Paul to me when I was just 15. He knew I would need someone like him...so sweet and tender, kind and patient. My Paul was a gift for me...I am convinced of it.

    Isaiah 61:1 & 3 - The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me......to bestow on them a crown of BEAUTY instead of ashes. Can we allow the The HOLY Spirit to take the ashes of our life and make them BEAUTIFUL....beauty for ashes? What man (satan) intended for evil, God intends for good.
    Isaiah 61:3 - They will be called oaks of righteousness,a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor. LINDA will be called strong, with deep roots, an oak of righteousness, that the LORD planted deep within her before she was knit together in her mother's womb, and is now growing up and out to be a display of His splendor....His glory (essence) revealed.....
    Thank you, Jesus......

Monday, October 28, 2013

Carley's Story


Carley is a woman of true biblical wisdom. She has the best perspective on illness of anyone I have known. This will speak to many going thru the trial off being sick and learning to rely on Jesus. Thank you Carley .




On January 26, 2006 I heard the words that many people fear, “you have cancer”.
To be honest, even though my mom had breast cancer, I truly had never thought about
it happening to me. Yet when I found a lump in my breast that night somehow I knew it
had happened to me. I hoped, of course, that I was wrong. My husband and I prayed
and talked and submitted our fears to the Lord that night. The next day I called and set
up my appointment with the gynecologist and amazingly they could see me that day.
So we went in for the appointment even though it wasnʼt my doctor who could see me
and we were told to give it two weeks to see if it goes away. Joe said we werenʼt
leaving without setting up an appointment for a biopsy and we were not going to wait
and see. Amazingly the doctor checked downstairs with the department that does the
biopsy and because it was a new facility they were not yet booked way out like normal
and they could see me right then. So I had a biopsy done and then left to go home and
face a normal day of tending to the needs of a 6 year old and 4 year old. I talked to my
mom who told me that not only did she have breast cancer at age 36 (my age exactly)
but both her great aunts had had it as well and had eventually died from it. My fear and
anxiety doubled! The likelihood of me having breast cancer had just increased!
Genetic testing had become more prevalent and would help us to know the severity of
the actions that we should take so I immediately began the process of getting tested.
Two days later we received the call that the biopsy results were in and my lump was
malignant. I later would find out that I had stage 2b breast cancer. Not the worst case,
by any means, but not the best case either. And because we eventually found out
through the genetic testing that I had the breast cancer gene we would take extreme
measures by way of treatment to make sure that we had done everything humanly
possible to eradicate this disease from my body.
In the weeks that followed it felt like we were doing emotional gymnastics. It was
exhausting and draining yet there was an adrenaline that kicked in and gave us stamina
to go through all of the doctor visits and phone calls and communication to friends etc.
that took place. Itʼs a very weird feeling to know you have this life altering disease in
your body yet you feel fine and look fine. So many wonderful people came around us at
that time and gave us tremendous support in every possible way. We were amazed at
the Body of Christ and how it can truly minister to the other members. In all of those
moments I felt an extreme sense of Godʼs perfect peace even in the midst of so much
struggle and confusion. This is something that is hard to explain to someone who
hasnʼt experienced it.
Only a few weeks earlier I had been reading a book by Larry Crabb called “Shattered
Dreams” in which I now see that God was sovereignly preparing me for this trial. In my
journal written sometime in December I had taken note of the three lessons of
brokeness described by Mr. Crabb. Little did I know when I was writing them just how
much God would cause me to cling to these truths in the next two years. Lesson one:
“The good news of the gospel is not that God will provide a way to make life easier.
The good news of the gospel, for this life, is that He will make our lives better.” Looking
back I see that my life is so much better because God allowed me to go through
struggles and trials that I might see Him and experience Him. It WAS NOT easy. It
WAS good.
Lesson two: “When God seems most absent from us, He is doing the most important
work in us.” This does not logically make sense, does it? That God would allow me at
times to feel His silence and suffer in it does not feel loving. There have been countless
times in my life where I can relate to this feeling. Going through postpartum depression
when I didnʼt know that that was what I was going through, trying to be a good mom to
two young boys close in age with a husband who is gone a lot ministering to the needs
of other needy people, feeling the numbness of chemotherapy and experiencing its
volatile effects on your body. In those moments I had to cling to what I knew to be true
yet didnʼt necessarily feel. Knowing that faith as described in Hebrews is ” being sure
of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” And holding God to be true to
His word when I read Psalms 145:17-18 “ The Lord is righteous in all His ways and kind
in all His deeds. The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in
truth. He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him, to all who call upon Him in truth.”
And Isaiah 54:10 “For the mountains may be removed and the hills may shake, But my
lovingkindness will not be removed from you. And my covenant of peace will not be
shaken, says the Lord who has compassion on you.” Knowing Godʼs word and reading
Godʼs word became very necessary to me.
Lesson three: “It isnʼt always good to be blessed with the good things of life. Bad times
provide an opportunity to know God that blessings can never provide.” This isnʼt what
my human nature wants. I want it easy and yet I want the wonderful fulfilling life that
comes from faith and trust in God. I am so convicted by this statement written by David
Shepherd, “To have faith in better circumstances, even in God creating better
circumstances, is not true faith. I want to be the kind of man (woman) who can watch
every dream go down in flames and still yearn to be intimately involved with my friend
the King...” I saw in these hard times that I did very much just want better
circumstances. I donʼt like pain. I donʼt like to feel lonely or sad. And I also donʼt like to
submit myself to God and His will and way if it is not in sync with my will and way. At
least I donʼt like it initially. But there is nothing greater than experiencing the intimacy
with God that comes through trial and struggle. I have always admired people like Amy
Carmichael who seemed so Godly and I long for that kind of faith and trust yet I cringe
at the thought of living the life these kind of people live because it if full of suffering. The
question that I must continue to ask myself is, “Do I want God for Himself or do I want
Him for what He might do for me?”
My experience of suffering through cancer and treatment revealed to me that many
times my faith IS in better circumstances and my focus and hope is on that, not on
having an intimate relationship with the God who made me and sent His son to die for
me. Having that is what makes the Christian life abundant and good.
It is now 2013 and I have been cancer free (to my knowledge) for almost 7 years.
There are many more details of my experience and how God worked and what He did
that I could spend much more time elaborating on. I will save those for another time if
opportunity allows. But suffice it to say the after two years of surgery (I had a bilateral
mastectomy and then a year later had a hysterectomy due to concern about ovarian
cancer), chemotherapy for 5 months, radiation every day for 8 weeks, reconstruction
and rehabilitation, God saw fit to give me more time on this earth to be a wife to my
husband and a mom to my kids as well as daughter, sister, friend etc. I have been
granted more time and I learned through this experience just how precious that is.
There are days when I long to go to heaven because life here on earth feels too hard
and is so flawed but I find myself very grateful to have so many wonderful people in my
life and so many blessings. And I pray that whatever trial or struggle the Lord may have
for me still to come that it could be said of me what Paul prayed for the Thessalonian
people, “that our God will count you worthy of your calling, and fulfill every desire for
goodness and the work of faith with power, so that the name of the Lord Jesus will be
glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus
Christ.” I Thess. 1:11-12.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Jewell


My dad's mom is Jewell. I feel the need to give her much deserved credit for praying for our family to know the Lord. Jewell was not anyone you would pick out of a crowd. Not particularly stylish nor witty ,nor culturally astute.  She was very intelligent and saw things in practical perspectives. She was always kind and helpful. She had 3 children and lived  in a very modest house. She worked hard all her life to help provide for her family. She was a praying woman who knew The Lord as her savior. Jesus was clearly most important to her. This fact left a legacy for all of us. Jewell was fervent in her prayers, that her  family would one day be saved. She always talked about Jesus and even though I wouldn't listen or appreciate her conversing about Him, it did stick in my mind. Later when I trusted Christ as my savior, I remembered things she had said. I think there are family  members including me, alive today because of her prayers. I just have thought of her so much over the years, even more since she went to be with the Lord. I thank her for being the simple ,real ,God fearing ,and praying woman she was. This is her lasting impact on us. We love you Jewell.


Proverbs 31:28-31
Her children rise up and call her blessed;Her husband also, and he praises her:
“Many daughters have done well,But you excel them all.” 
Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing,But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.
Give her of the fruit of her hands,And let her own works praise her in the gates.




Saturday, October 26, 2013

Sweet Honey


Honey is the most precious girl. Yes, her name is Honey, and it suits her so well. She is another Thai friend. She became a believer though the Campus Outreach Ministry in Thailand. She and her friend Sano (Snow), whom you met in this series, minister to the Thai students there. She is obedient to bringing the gospel to her people. Please pray for God to help her in her ministry and her health. Here is her story:


So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison. …” 2 Corinthians 4:16-17.

Hi, my name is Honey. I want to share with you what the Lord has been teaching me and a special prayer request.  I was diagnosed with lupus when I was 15 years old. I have been on steroid treatments for the last 15 years. Around my sophomore year in college I started having chronic hip pain. This was around the same time I heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ and became a Christian. This began my long road of learning to trust Jesus with all my suffering.

The steroid I have to take can cause vascular necrosis, which means it can destroy bone tissue, especially in the hip joint. Last week I went to see the doctor for a check up on my Lupus disease and also x-ray my hipbones because it hurt on my left side when I walk. When the doctor saw the results of the x-ray film, she suggested for me to get an operation on my hip bones or replace them. This was very scary. She gave me time to think about it and referred me to an orthopedic specialist.

From this situation I felt nervous and scared about operating. How many days that I have to be in the hospital? How many days will it take to recover after the operation? Will the insurance will cover all expenses? I tried to stop what I was thinking and tell myself to calm down. After that, I prayed and thanked God for this situation. I asked myself, “Who is God? God is sovereign. God knows everything and He will prepare me for everything too. He reminded me of His promises and how He had always been faithful to me in the past.

Psalm 46:10
“Be still, and know that I am God.
    I will be exalted among the nations,
   I will be exalted in the earth!”

Isaiah 12:2

“Behold, God is my salvation;
 I will trust, and will not be afraid;
for the Lord God is my strength and my song,
 and he has become my salvation.”


A few days later I went to see the orthopedic doctor. After he looked at the x-ray film he said that I  didn’t have to have a hip replacement but he suggested that we drill instead both the left and right side. Drilling holes in the femural head will allow increased blood flow so that the area can heal a bit and hopefully aleviate some pain. After this procedure, I will be able to walk normally but must be very careful in the first 14 days. Drilling is a much better option for me than operating. Because if I operate now and get a new hip, I will need to operate every 10-15 years! I’m too young for a new hip! J

God has continued to show me that He will always take care of me and that I don’t have to worry about the future. He is my Good Shepherd! I’m thankful for the ways that God has used this disease to change me to be more like Jesus. God has work for me to do, to tell Thai people about Jesus and to serve Him with my whole heart! God is allowing me to be used for His glory and by His strength. I am a weak person, but when I am weak, I am strong- because of HIM!

Please pray for :

-          I will have the drilling procedure on November 2, about 8 pm. Please pray that God will give wisdom and strength to the doctor. Also, please pray that I will heal quickly afterwards and that God will provide for all the medical expenses.
-          Please pray that God will give me strength and that my heart will rest in Him. I believe He is always with me, He holds my hands and will lead me through this time.
-          Pray for many opportunities that I can give Him glory through this situation.

Thank you so much.

Love,  Honey

Friday, October 25, 2013

Jessi's Story

I have known Jessi since she was a teenager and have witnessed what a great woman of the Lord she became. She has a servant's heart and it spills over onto all those around her. Her sweet family are a testimony to her walk with the Lord. I am thankful she is sharing her heart with you on a difficult experience, but what a blessing she is to others because of it.


First of all, I’m honored that Beth has chosen my “story”. When she asked me, I thought, sure! Then as I thought about it, I thought people won't think I have a “story”. So many people have gone through REAL stories. REAL pain. REAL loss. Well, my story was pain, loss, rejection and brokenness that was all very REAL to a 12 year old little girl. It is called Divorce.

The year was 1992. I had a normal life. Grew up in a Christian home with great parents and a younger brother. Lived the life that other people envied. We were in church every time the door was open. My parents served in the church wholeheartedly, as my dad was a youth pastor/pastor for 15+ years.

Well, as most of you know, being in the ministry is a battle. Satan is out to seek and destroy people trying to win souls for the Kingdom. That’s exactly what he did to my “perfect” family. I loved family. I loved everyone together all the time. I loved church. I loved growing up in the youth group and watching my dad/parents lead. But, something was missing. And in the missing parts, Satan snuck in. Satan started his “murder” (I call it a murder b/c that’s exactly what it is) slowly on my daddy/family. My parents went through years of struggle that finally wore down to disaster. I started noticing there were problems probably around 10 years old, the age of my oldest daughter. My parents were always pretty good at keeping things quiet from us kids, but I definitely knew something wasn’t right with the arguing that went on and I would worry. I remember the tears lying in my bed at night and the prayers I would pray. I would pray so hard and beg God for my parents to not get a divorce. I thought to myself, “this can’t happen to us because my daddy is a preacher”. I thought in my little mind, we must be safe.

 My prayers were not answered in the way I asked, but I do know that God had a plan. Did I suffer through His plan? Absolutely! Am I above suffering just because I’m a Christian? Absolutely not! Does God give us more than we can handle at times! Absolutely! For HIS glory. Have I learned more about Christ’s Fatherly love in my life because of all this pain? Oh yes. “What exactly have I learned?”, I asked myself.   I learned that God is faithful.  I learned that HE offers peace, healing and second chances.  I learned that HE chooses what we go through in this journey, but we have to make the choice on how we walk through it.  


 Did I always walk it right? No way. I struggled once I hit about 10th grade. Regrets, bad decisions, anger, depression and a no care attitude were all evidences/results of my grief. My mom carried me through all that grief, without her knowing it at times. She was my rock through those dark days always offering words of encouragement and scriptures. I saw her studying scriptures many nights, staying faithful and just getting through.

My dad and I went through many ups & downs during those teen years, but are closer now than ever. I forgive him. He’s the dad God chose for me. 2 Cor. 12:9 says “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” What have I learned? Forgiveness. Grace. Mercy. Unconditional Love. I want to show more of this to my husband and children. God LOVES my daddy. I have never given up on him and I never will. We have all learned so much through this “murder” that took place in our “perfect little Christian church-goin family”. What have I learned? Satan is out to destroy mine too. I am NOT safe from his schemes no matter how many times I march my little family in that church building. I must be suited in God’s full armor at ALL times. Satan wants nothing more than to destroy my marriage which WILL in turn ultimately destroy my children. There is not a day that goes by that I wonder how my life would be different if my parents were still married. What would it be like if they loved each other? What have I learned? SHOW my kids that I love their daddy. Show and give my kids the confidence that we are committed to one another. Do we argue? Absolutely! What have I learned? My children have to see their parents work through and resolve conflict. And at the end of the day, their daddy and I love each other so much.  In Ephesians it says “Be angry without sinning. Don’t let the sun set on your anger.” I feel in my heart that those words were written to us so that our children don’t have to go to bed with any insecurities about mom and dad.

This life experience is a gift. So, thank you Satan. Thank you for helping me have a DEEPER love for Christ and for helping me CHERISH the meaning of family/marriage the way God intends for it to be.  Thank you, Satan, for making me work that much harder with a “I won’t give up” mind set of my marriage. We have 3 precious little people that were given to us as a gift and are counting on us! They need their mommy and daddy strong and in love.


I love my story. I DO have a story. God is continuously teaching and working in me and I am learning so much. I try to live life very grateful for every pain/regret I’ve endured, because it all has helped me constantly work at being a better mom and wife that HE called me to be. I am learning more about Christ’s character. It’s worth it all. Thank you Jesus.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Devoted to Prayer


Michelle is my older sister, best friend, and has been my mentor for raising children to know Jesus. She is also a prayer warrior. I have always relied on her faithful prayers for me and my whole family. Her words of wisdom on prayer are so true. I know many of us get overwhelmed and can struggle in this area of our walk, but it is the most important thing we have as believers. Thank You Michelle for praying fervently for others!


                                                                Devoted to Prayer

I was going to write about my journey of raising our five children over the past twenty seven years.  As a matter of fact I had finished writing it, but this morning I believe the Holy Spirit is telling me to write about prayer. So I am going to share with you what God has been doing in our life through prayer.

I did not become a Christian until I was twenty nine.  Once I became a Christian the Holy Spirit gave me a longing for studying God's word with a deeper understanding of WHY and most importantly HOW he has planned the rescue of  ALL families who choose to follow him .  His Word speaks to my soul; it is truth to my spirit.

I had spent my life listening to the world and had become very unsatisfied with all I was hearing.  But God's word satisfied my spirit like nothing ever before, as Hebrews 4:12 says: "For the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart." Up to this point in life I had hardly finished a book. To say I didn't have a passion for reading was an understatement.  Now me? A love of reading?  This was definitely a "God thing" , because before becoming a Christian I never read a book...none....nada! Over the years now I have read many (again God thing!)  books with quite a few of the subjects having been about prayer.

As a result I have felt moved to pursue prayer in a deeper and more meaningful way. More often than not, I let the business of this life and the cares of this world get in the way.  Of course I prayed for my children and my family as well as  for others when they would ask, but I would go for long periods without prayer and with NO passion or consistency for those outside of my inner circle. Along the way  I learned the reason for this lack of discipline in my prayer life.  I am a sinner in a fallen world and it doesn't come naturally for me to pray.  I struggle in a BIG way! But through studying about prayer I learned it's natural to struggle. The christian life is a struggle and as a matter of fact scripture says:" in this world you will have trouble, but take heart! I have overcome the world" John 16:33.

The past few years have been quite a struggle financially and one of our Children went through a very painful divorce but like all our struggles God used this that we might not rely on ourselves but trust in the one who created us. So I am thankful for my momentary troubles IF they make me more like Jesus, The body of Christ should look different than the secular world but sadly most of us don't! I believe one of the biggest problems in my life is lack of prayer.   I have felt the need to respond to his call for me to be different, to stop settling for the status quo! 

God's word talks about prayer in the KJV over 500 times so there is much to say about this subject. Proverbs 15:8 says:" the sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, but the prayers of the upright are pleasing to him." My desire is to please my Savior. In 2 cor 1:3-9 Paul talks about comforting us in all our troubles through the prayers of many and about delivering us from our suffering through the prayers of many. I have always loved this scripture and been so encouraged by it. Ephesians 6:17-18 says: "Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God, and pray on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests." 1Thes5:17 says:" pray without ceasing", Eph 6:19 says:" pray at all times", Romans 12:12 says: "rejoice in hope, persevering in tribulations, devoted in prayer." These are just skimming the surface of all the rich and wonderful instruction of prayer in Gods word!

So Scott and I decided to talk to a wonderful man of prayer Marshall Chambers whom we had known for many years. We were helping  some friends move and Marshall was there so I told him what God had laid on our heart.  We felt God leading us to start  a prayer group in hopes of becoming more devoted to prayer both personally and corporately within a body of like minded believers. Marshall replied; he had just started one in hopes of getting more people involved with prayer. How personal is our God? It was an immediate answer to prayer!   We did join their group and its been truly life changing for us both.

God has been so working on my heart, breaking it and making it tender for the needs and people I am praying for. We are praying for the lost and the sick and families being torn apart, young people being led astray by sin and the world, so many suffering people!  We are praying for our pastors and Bible teachers in our church, for the truth of God's word to be proclaimed with boldness and accuracy. We are praying for the Holy Spirit to bring revival in our church and our country. We are praying for missionaries and church plants all over the world. The list gets bigger everyday and the needs are infinite.

And you know what else has been happening? I'm hearing what God is saying to me about my sinfulness, my pride, my untrusting spirit, my looking for the world to satisfy me and my needs when I should be trusting the sovereign hand of God and his will for my and my family's life. He's breaking my heart over my sin, but also the sin that hurts so many others, the sin that separates us from God and destroys families and destroys lives! God's telling me to pursue holiness (got a long ways to go!) and giving me the desire to do it more than ever before. He's showing me that we live in a society that pursues happiness with a vengeance, but you know what? The only people who will ever be truly happy are those who are holy (set apart for God's use), because holiness makes us happy, and NOTHING else!


We recently took a long road trip to see our son, Christian who's away at college and Scott and I were able to pray together for a couple of hours on the way up there and again on the way home and you know what? It was one of the sweetest times I have ever spent with my husband and it was so good for us and our relationship! I long for more of that with Scott and my Lord. Think about it , prayer is our communication with God. We know about God through the scriptures, but we know intimacy with God by spending time with him through prayer. The essence of prayer is the expression of our dependence on God through requests. And its not just his will that we ask him for things, its his delight, how amazing is that! I want to be devoted to prayer, its what God tells the church to do and I believe with all my heart that if we were obedient to that call it would change the world! It sure is changing me!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Kristi's Story

Kristi is such a vibrant, fun, and beautiful girl, but when you get to really know her, you are overwhelmed by her love for Jesus and her love for people. What an awesome combination! She has a way of taking you in and making you feel loved, like Jesus loves. She is an ambassador for the Lord.


The Greatest Love Story

I remember the evening that I was asked to give a testimony and to share “my story” during this 31 Days of Women of Authenticity.  I was honored that my precious friend cherished what God had done in the life of my family. My heart has been blessed beyond measure.  However, I immediately felt a tremendous burden to evaluate my own level of authenticity.  Are there levels of authenticity?  Is there a finish line? Have I even started the race?  As the days passed during the month of October and “my day” was approaching, the Lord spoke to my heart in a tremendous way.  I realized that the closer I would try to draw to Him, the less authentic I became.  However, my sweet friends, that is a gift.  The gift of knowing that you are nothing without Him, is an eternal gift of knowing that you have a Savior that will carry the burdens for you, and it is only THROUGH him that you become authentic.   I want to share the Greatest Love Story I know.
When I was 19 years old, a growing, thriving church with a tremendous burden for lost souls witnessed to me and shared the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Little did they know that the Holy Spirit had been working on my heart for many months.  I called a friend one Saturday evening and asked if she would go to church with me the next morning.  She agreed and at the close of the Sunday morning service, I could not reach the alter fast enough and virtually fell on my face to invite Jesus into my heart to become my Savior.  It was at that very church that I met my soul mate.  We just celebrated 22 years of marriage!
After being married 15 years, we finally gave birth to our daughter.  It was with many tears that we welcomed this little blessing.  God gave us such a sweet gift after years of infertility and miscarriages.   We felt as though we had completely conquered the ability to wait on the Lord…..until she was 2 years old.  Apparently, we had so much more to learn.  When our daughter was just 2 years old, my husband lost his job.  No need to worry?  The Lord is in control and he will provide.  However, just 4 months later, I lost my job.   We were now struggling to earn money as independent contractors with very little success.  It became difficult to focus on work because every afternoon my husband developed low grade fevers.  Test after test, gall bladder removal, back for more tests and still no answers.  Approximately 4 months after my job loss, we were told that he may have cancer in his kidney.  The daily, uncharacteristic symptoms of Stage 1 renal cell carcinoma that he had been having virtually stopped when the Lord led us to the Doctor that eventually found the cancer.  The symptoms were the blessing because they made us continue to question and seek answers. It was there all along, but the Lord revealed to us that we are to seek. Seek him. Seek comfort and guidance. 
I wish I could say that I immediately felt a calm wave of assurance and peace rush over me after the doctor told us that he had a tumor in his kidney.  How long had it been growing? Is it cancer? Has it spread?  I truly screamed out to the Lord at that point and wondered why he would wait 15 years to give me a baby and then take my husband.  My precious husband.  How could I do life without him?   The one that was built for me?  What was the purpose and why was THIS God’s plan?
We were told by the doctor that he would lose his entire kidney and the biopsy would be done after the surgery to determine if it was cancer.  A biopsy while the kidney (and tumor) was still in the body might cause the cancer to spread if it was indeed cancer.  Weeks of waiting for the surgery and the impending biopsy left me wandering how to act, think or how to continue being a wife and Mom. I began to pray.  This is where I learned that I don’t carry the cross.  My Savior does and he loves me.  He loves my family and I truly learned that in whatever situation I am in, I will be content.  Even if it meant losing my everything.  Driving down the road one afternoon, there “He” was like never before. The Lord answered my prayer and the Holy Spirit comforted me in a way I had never known….EVER.  I finally knew what it meant to be content in HIM and trust his perfect will for my life.   His presence was nothing like I had ever known.  
The job losses, the cancer or the disruption in our life and home wasn’t really part of the lesson.  It’s not even OUR story.  It’s a lesson of trust and it is completely HIS story.  We began this journey almost 5 years ago and are humbled by the one who loves us most.  We tried so hard to be private with these things, but were faced with the reality that God was going to be a part of the beginning, the middle and the end.  Because really….it is HIS story.  It is HIS love story to us.  He loved us enough to carry us through, comfort us beyond our imaginations and bring honor and glory to the kingdom of God through it all.

It will be 5 years this December since we began this journey.  My praise is that my husband is cancer free and the Lord is restoring our life according to His will.  I can’t say that I want to go back through it all again, but neither of us would trade the presence of God in our lives and the honor of watching Him work in the lives of others through this testimony.  He loved us enough to use our lives to bring honor to him. Can you think of a greater love story? 


You can view more 31 days stories here: 31 Days Women of Authenticity

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Joni's Story



It is important for me to say, I have been hanging on to Joni' s story for awhile. I don't know why, but it was a prompting from the Lord.  Last night, I was deciding what would go up today and God made it clear, post Joni for the 22nd. I texted her last night to let her know. She told me, that today is Andrew's birthday. Wow......I was blown away. I did not know when his birthday was, but Jesus does and He wanted the Perry's to know, he hasn't forgotten.
Joni Perry. I think of incomparable strength and dignity and courage when I hear her name. Mostly I am in awe of a graciousness that flows out of her. Here is her story.




Andrew was two years and nine months old when he left us.  I was thirty-six.  Derrill and I had been married for seventeen years and we had five children.  Andrew was the baby, and when he came along, he completed our family.  Like the icing on the cake.


July 24, 2004 was a typical hot summer day in Georgia.  We were enjoying the day at a pool party, celebrating the birthdays of  two young sisters.  While the kids swam, Derrill and I watched from the side of the pool.  After lunch,  Derrill joined them, and I watched Andrew, Aaron, and Allie jump into their daddy's arms over and over.  Earlier in the summer, we had vacationed in Daytona Beach, Florida.  Andrew had not yet learned to swim, so he wore swimmies and a life vest in the pool and in the ocean's edge.  That day, however, we left the life vest at home and let Andrew swim in just his swimmies.  The oldest birthday girl and her cousin had learned a dance to a song from Grease, and they wanted to perform for us all.  We sat down and watched for a few minutes.  All eyes on the adorable dancers, no one noticed Andrew slip off his swimmies and jump back into the pool. 


Derrill saw him first.  When I turned around I saw Derrill holding Andrew in front of him, panic all over his face.  I asked, "What's wrong?  What happened?  Is he choking? Is he drowning?"  "Drowning," he answered.  "Then we've got to do CPR! Lay him down," I said.  A precious granddaddy calmly came over, took Andrew from Derrill and began CPR.  A neighbor came to help him.  I found out later he was a registered nurse.  I knelt in front of Andrew as they worked, praying and talking to Andrew.  I saw Derrill kneeling near the fence, praying.  Andrew was lifeless.  I heard someone on the phone with 911.  They must have taken the kids inside the house.  Only Autumn, our first born, was there.  She was like Andrew's second mom.  She sat in a lounge chair near us, crying.  I got up once or twice, went to her, put my arm around her and told her to pray.  I prayed all the way to the hospital.  I prayed over Andrew in the emergency room.  I begged God.  I knew he could, believed he would.  But he didn't.


I didn't know what to do.  I didn't know how to grieve.  July 25 Unbelievable.  Unbearable.  It is, at least once every ten minutes, not real.  It is like nothing I have ever experienced before.  It is a road I have never traveled.  I don't want to walk this way.   August 3 Yesterday I woke up very sad.  Today I woke up filled with anger.  I went for a walk.  As soon as I started walking, tears began flowing and I cried the whole time.  Then, as suddenly as the tears began, they stopped.  Now I'm numb.  August 4 Everything looks the same, but NOTHING feels the same.  I'm sorry, Andrew.  We'll never forgive ourselves.  August 5 Is this just in my mind?  I long to hold him so much that my arms ache.  August 9 I miss him more as each day arrives.  I miss him.  I don't know if anyone understands.  I REALLY miss him.  August 11 Eighteen days.  I have never mourned the loss of anyone so close to me. I'm not exactly sure how to describe it.  I feel like the shock and numbness have eroded away somewhat, and now I miss Andrew so bad that I could die.  What was I supposed to do with all of these feelings?  Where could I find peace that passes all understanding?  How could His grace be sufficient to get me through this?



I had to learn to live without Andrew and learn to live with a broken heart.  Grieving was a process that I had to go through.  I began telling myself that I am not the first person to have lost a child, and if they could do it, so can I.  I kept going for Derrill, Autumn, Ashlyn, Allie, and Aaron.  It was the hardest thing I have ever done, but in the days and weeks to come, that turned into the years, I learned so much about who God is and how much He cares.

 

I needed Him more than I have ever needed Him, and He did not let me down.  I could hardly find the words to utter a prayer.  I tried to read the Scriptures, but found it difficult to concentrate.  I wish I could explain how that in the midst of my pain, I had peace.  I can not explain it.  But I know He was with me.  I know now that's when others were praying daily for us and I have to believe that's when the Spirit within me prayed for me. 


Romans 8:26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness.

We do not know what we ought to pray for,

but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.


Then there was music.  It seemed to connect my heart to His.  He was very near to me when I listened to music. There were certain songs I played over and over.  Mostly praise and worship songs and songs that my choir sang.  My mom had given me a cd of Pachelbel's Canon in D.  I played that cd the most.  While the kids were at school and Derrill was at work, I would listen to music. I would cry while doing the dishes.  Ask God why.  Cry and fold a load of clothes.  Tell Him how much I hurt and how mad I was.   And as I drew near to Him, he drew near to me.  One difficult day at a time, God healed my broken heart.  Sometimes I took one step forward then two steps back, but He walked with me every step of the way.  


Psalm 145:18  The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.


Psalm 3:3 But thou, O LORD, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head.


I thank God I did not go through it all alone.  I am extremely grateful for the wonderful people who walked with us along the way.  I don't know how we would have made it without our family and friends.  If I learned one thing, I learned that people who are grieving need other people.  And not just the first week.  For months and months.  I don't remember so much what people said, but I remember the things they did.  They waited in a line that wrapped around the outside of the funeral home just to see us.  They filled the church the day of the funeral.  They brought meals and gave us gift cards to local restaurants.  They cleaned the house and did the laundry.  They sent cards to say how much they cared.  They prayed for us, cried with us, and grieved with us.  They called to check on us.  And most of all, they haven't forgotten.  They still think of us on Andrew's birthday, Christmas, Mother's Day and Father's Day, and July 24. 


Not a day goes by that I don't think of Andrew.  Part of me is missing and our family is incomplete.  But, I have learned to live again.  To laugh again.  I used to count the days by how long it's been since Andrew has been gone.  Now, I count  how much closer I am to seeing Andrew again.  Today, I am eight years and three months closer.  I can hardly wait to see him again.