Tuesday, February 13, 2018

hidden....

I'm ready to turn forty in just four short months.  I am ready because my thirty's have been brutal to me.  It has been by far the most challenging, excruciatingly painful decade of my life.  My thirty's hold so many memories of self destruction, anger, strife, identity crisis, marital problems, divorces door step more than once.  Weight gain, PTSD, therapy, medication, sleepless nights, and overwhelming sorrow.  

Today during a conversation I found myself saying all of that in one sentence.  "I'm so ready to turn forty, as my thirty's were brutal, and by far the worst decade of my life".  As soon as I said it, I felt HIM tug on my heart, "Dear Heart, I know this rainy season has kept you from sunshine, but take heart Dear Heart, I'm here, and the sun is shining in your life again.  You've made it, keep clinging to ME, and come sit with ME for a while as I take you back to all the goodness hidden in the darkness that needs to come to the light for you to see all that you've forgotten."

Here's what HE reminded me of this afternoon of all HIS goodness that happened in my thirty's.  When my thirtieth birthday rolled around, I found out that I had been chosen to be my now nine year old son's mama.  D and I were shocked as we had three daughters, and were convinced that we would have another girl.  Much to our surprise and complete delight HE blessed us with our first born son.  

When I turned thirty-two I began to seek answers as to WHO I was, and what HIS gifts were in my life, and how I was to use them. ( previously I was completely self destructing as I didn't understand how to tell my story, all I knew was the pain I had endured, and desperately needed validation for my pain)  HE led me to a new church where I met with one of the Pastor's and began a spiritual gifts evaluation.  After two weeks, a test, and counseling, I learned that mercy, discernment, and wisdom were my top three.  I also learned that prayer, and teaching made the top five.  When he said prayer, I was like, "oh no way, I hate praying."  Yes seriously, I said that.... a little back story, I never liked to pray in public, out loud, and never felt as if though I really understood how to pray.  I felt inadequate with my words, and that my prayers didn't make any sense.  I was nervous as to what other people would think if they heard me pray.  So naturally when he said prayer, I was horrified and pushed the thought as deep down as I could.

When I turned thirty-three I started attending a church I left during a particularly hard learning rainy season of life,  There I found myself signing up for a prayer class.  Yes, me, Heather, who hated to pray was signing up for prayer class.  It was there that would learn and understand how to be an intercessor to prayer.  It was also when I would learn that D and I were expecting once again.  I was shocked to put it lightly, and felt strongly that I needed to pray for the precious little life in my womb.  

I began to pray, and dream what life would be like as a mama of five, and just as soon as I began dreaming, it was only a few short weeks later that I would learn that I suffered a subchorionic hematoma (placenta detached) the baby had survived but needed to be on bed rest, and start progesterone injections.  I was devastated, but so determined that the baby would be HIS miracle in my life, and that would be a part of my story that I would share of HIS goodness (afterall.... I was faithful.)  

Two days later in my bathroom with D holding tight to me, I suffered my second miscarriage.  To say I was devastated would be an understatement.  I was crushed, confused, and couldn't understand WHY HE had allowed us to lose once again.  I mean I got why when I was twenty-five I miscarried, I was newly in FAITH, but not really walking with the LORD yet, but now, I was so dedicated, so committed.... well at least I thought I was.

When I turned thirty-four I was in the middle of my pregnancy with Seth.  By far the hardest pregnancy I had at that time.  I was on progesterone injections twice weekly, and to be honest too terrified to become attached to my baby, as what if I lost him, how could I possibly survive yet another loss, another heartbreak in my life?  So for the first four months of my pregnancy, I cried daily, and asked HIM why.... why now, how could I ever be a good mom to a baby that I was too terrified to love, to embrace, to dream for.... much less to pray for.

Slowly as each month passed the danger months and when I was able to stop the injections, I started to breathe.... to dream..... to pray.  I would dream of the days where my boy's would be outside playing together, racing cars across the kitchen floor, taking bubble baths, and laughing at all the water that washed the bathroom floor for me.  I dreamt of the nights of tuck ins, stories, cuddles, and kisses good night.  I dreamt of them dating, the girls they would bring home to meet their Mama, their wives, their children.  I dreamt of sports they would play, and the hair pulling moments I would endure as a mom of boys.

If I'm being honest that last paragraph hurt to type, as it's been awhile since I went back into those memories of praying, dreaming, hoping, and anticipating life with my two boys.  As by now you know, or maybe you don't that sadly my hopes, dreams, and prayers have all gone unanswered as sadly D and I lost Seth just two days before his second birthday.  His death was tragic, devastating, and obliterated me.  On Sunday October 19, 2014 we laid to rest Seth's earthly body.... along with our hopes, dreams, and prayers for our precious son, and our life as we knew it with two boys.

When I turned thirty six, I was deep into my discovery of who HE is, and was dedicated to writing and posting on this very blog daily.  HE was taking me through so many challenging moments of forgiveness, and little did I know was preparing me, teaching me HIS promises, planting, and deeply rooting HIS word in the deepest part of my heart, as little did I know just how much I would cling to HIS promises.

I have often said that nothing could have prepared me for 4pm October 13, 2014, but if I am being honest, HE did, HE has, and will continue to do so.  I say this because since the worst day of my entire life, I have learned that HIS love SEES so much farther than I ever could. I have realized that HE loves me so much that HE took those two years prior to Seth's passing to prepare my heart so that I would know WHO HE is, and WHOSE I am, and it was after Seth's passing, the next three years that I would fully experience, and discover what it means to be HIS.  

When I turned thirty-seven I was expecting our daughter Joy, and we had just moved into a new home.  Double the blessings was the motto of our lives.  I found myself being able to breathe in our new home, yet I was still struggling to do.... to think..... to be....... all which led me to therapy, treatment, medication, and slowly HE began to work in the depression, anger, jealousy, PTSD, and the most overwhelming sorrow I've ever known.

When I turned thirty-eight I was deep in the ocean of grief.... the darkness was all around, and all I could SEE was a glimmer of light, a glimmer of HOPE, of which I clung to.  HIS lighthouse.....was my lifeline.   I was terrified of drowning, and was in horrendous pain from all the suffering that my family and I had endured.  I was too afraid to be HOPEFUL for our future, as it seemed that even though we were already suffering, life was getting harder, our family was hanging on by a thread, and when I looked around I didn't recognize any of us.  I felt like it was all just a dream.... the worst nightmare.... and I was begging for HIM to come wake me up.

This past June I turned thirty-nine, and that is when I really began to experience the breakthrough that I had been praying for.  I remember slowly feeling more like myself as my brain didn't hurt anymore to think, and I finally felt like being domestic, (prior to that time I couldn't have cared less about how my house looked on a daily basis, feeding my family meant ordering out, and as long as my family knew where things were in the house, I didn't care where things were stored.)  Within three short months I was fully independent from medication and treatment, and found myself leaning in and pressing into HIM for help.  I began to realize that my story was a survivor's story, a story of surviving the fall from the jagged cliff, plunging into the deepest darkest ocean of pain, sorrow, and agony.  A survivor who clawed her way onto the distant shore......only to have the tides of grief sweep her back out into the ocean.  Clawing, her way back, finally making it back onto the shore, and slowly with HIS help standing.  A story of a wife and Mama of six who fought hard to live and not give into the horrendous circumstances of her life.  A story of triumph that no matter what happened to her, she didn't give up, she clung to JESUS she placed ALL her trust in HIM, and HE helped her learn to stand, and to BE HIS light as a SURVIVOR ON THE SHORE.

As I sit here typing my story today is, I have learned that the tides of grief will still drag me back into the ocean from time to time, but I can TRUST, I can know that HE is there helping me, filling me with HIS TRUTH, overwhelming me with HIS peace, and drenching me in HIS grace as I learn to live with the grief that ebb's and flows in my life.  I am learning that HIS mission, HIS purpose for my life, is to take me into the hidden places of me to SHIINE HIS light so that I will live out HIS purpose, HIS plan for my life.  I am learning to embrace all the things that the enemy banks on to break me, to allow HIS grace to uncover, to help, to guide, to teach, to lead me to BE HIS LIGHT as a SURVIVOR ON THE SHORE for those who find themselves clawing their way to the distant shore.  

Thinking back to my conversation today leaves me feeling grateful, for HIM loving me enough to speak HIS TRUTH into the deepest part of my heart, and revealing all that has been hidden
I am overwhelmed by how patient HE is with me, and waiting for me to SEEK HIM as HE reveals all that which has been buried deep within me.  I am thankful that HE is my REDEEMER, HE IS ALIVE in me, and HE is continuing to do HIS GOOD WORKS within me.  

My Dear Brothers and Sisters in CHRIST JESUS,

I pray today that if you find yourself lost, alone, confused, wondering how in the world did you get to where you are.  I pray that you will seek HIM, and let HIM take you on an amazing journey of discovery as HE uncovers all that has been hidden deep within you.  I pray that as HE does you will SEE and experience just how much HE loves you.  I pray friends, that if you find yourself in a place to hurt to move, to think, to do, to be, I pray that you will feel HIS presence as HE encompasses you in HIS love.  I pray that you will feel HIS overwhelming peace, and you will know that HE is there, waiting for you, and all you have to do is breathe..... breathe and know Dear Ones, HE loves you.

Always with so much love, compassion, prayers, and understanding,

Your Sister in CHRIST JESUS,

~ Heather 






Sunday, February 11, 2018

anchored....

"We have this hope as an anchor for the soul"  Hebrews 6:19

It is not lost on me that in my darkest hour of the impending darkness that would cover our home, our family, our life, our very existence that HE reminded me of a promise that I had learned just two short years before.  On the night of Seth's passing my mind was racing as to how..... why..... what do I say.... how do we tell them their baby brother died?  The silence in the long (10 minute) drive home was deafening.  It was as if the whole world swallowed us whole, and though life was going on around us, we were living a nightmare that we just couldn't wake up from. 

My tears had stopped as I tried to think of what to say, and when my words failed, HIS HOLY SPIRIT began to speak for me through song.  Instead of crying out my anguish, the words flowed from my heart, "my hope is built on nothing less, than JESUS blood and righteousness, I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly trust in JESUS name.  CHRIST alone, CORNERSTONE, the weak made strong in the SAVIORS love, and through the storm HE is LORD, LORD of all."

 The memories of that night flowed through my mind...... and captured my heart in this very thought.  HE loved me enough to teach me of HIS promises so that when my darkest hours were upon me, when I felt as though I would die from the pain, agony, and sorrow I endured, I would cling to HIS promise that with HIM I would always be anchored.

If you are on social media with me either on Facebook or Instagram there is a hashtag that HE has placed on my heart to use whenever I am sharing what HIS promises look like in my life, how HE has helped me in surviving the loss of my son, and overcoming the grief, living with the sorrow, finding JOY in the heartache, all because I am #anchoredinhishope.

To be honest when I first started using that hashtag, I didn't realize fully what it meant.  I mean sure I knew partially what it meant for me, but really it wasn't until this morning that HE took me to the next level of what HIS promises mean for my life.  HE is leading me to the next steps of how to share my story of being anchored.  Today HE is asking me to share the ways in which HIS promises have filled me with HIS BLESSED ASSURANCE.... CERTAINTY.... that in HIM, with HIM there is always HOPE.

HE is reminding me of the past three years where I have clung to HIM.  My prayers full of tears, asking why, how, and what now.  HE's heard my cries of anguish in the disbelief that this is my life, that Seth's life here on earth is just over, no warning, no time to say goodbye, just over.  HE is telling me that HE has been there every single step of the way when someone has questioned me how I could possibly go on, or for the people who've worried that I would give up.  HE knows how frustrating it has been for me to defend myself, proving myself, explaining myself, and HE is letting me know that today it's not my job to defend, rather share HIS promises, and when we remind ourselves, eventually HIS promises will go from our ears, to be embedded deep in our hearts. 

HE is letting me know that it's not so much about me sharing all my struggles anymore, rather WHO HE is in the storms of my life.  I mean after all I'm human, so of course there is trouble in my life.  HE is telling me that it's time that I share what it means to be anchored in HIS HOPE. 

For the past eight days I have participated in a thirty one day prayer challenge for my husband.  To be honest with you when I first started praying I was like, "finally I'm going to get HIM to change my husband."  Ha!  Oh man I should have realized that humble pie that I would be eating.  It didn't take long for my selfishness to take over in my prayers, and on the second day my heart was wrecked at first in a bitter.... jealous way.... and it wasn't until I fully surrendered to HIM and allowed HIM to work in me, did I SEE and know what it mean to really pray for HIS will for my husband, and not me just making "suggestions."


As I was taking notes during today's message I felt HIM speak deep into my heart about if I am able to share about HIS promises, and how I clung to them in the past three years of surviving and learning to live again with a piece of my heart living in heaven, then why is my soul so downcast when it comes to the other struggles in my life?  Had I not realized that HE wasn't going to just be there for helping me learn to live with the loss of my son, rather HE cares so deeply for me, that just as HIS promises kept me anchored in my darkest hours, HIS promises are there for me in every.single.aspect. of my life.  That NOTHING in my life goes unnoticed by HIM.  That HE SEES farther than I ever could, and I NEED NOT to worry about a thing, no matter how bad I am hurting, or worrying, HE is there, and HE is with me always.  This my friends is #anchoredinhishope.


HE is letting me know that even though I SEE my problems as worldly and not as dire as losing my son, and healing and recovering from having my heart shattered, by now surely I will have learned that HE is WHO HE says HE IS!!!  HE DOES what HE PROMISES!!! HE IS FAITHFUL!!!! HE IS UNSHAKEN!!!! HE IS UNCHANGING!!!  HE IS MERCIFUL!!!  HIS LOVE IS UNCONDITIONAL!!!  HE IS OUR HEALER!!!  HE WILL MEET EVERY SINGLE NEED!!!  HE IS ALIVE!!! When we cling to HIS PROMISES, friends that is when we are ANCHORED in HIS HOPE!!!!

In being #anchoredinhishope I can tell you that HIS WORD IS TRUE!!! 

"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." Psalm 34:18


Friends, I know this to be true, as I have lived this for the past three years of my life.  I can tell you that there were months where all I could do was cry out, "I hurt"  and HE responded, "I know I am with you."  


"My tears have been my food day and night, while people say to me all day long, “Where is your God?” Psalm 42:3


For the longest time I remember thinking, "will I ever stop crying?"  I felt as though crying would be what I was going to have to do for the rest of my life.  That HE made me this emotional mess of a person, and my journey would be that of tears.  I can honestly tell you my tears lie just beneath the surface, however I can now endure daily living without falling apart.  That is not to say that I'm not easily stirred when it comes to all that I have endured in losing my son.  However because HE has been there with me, catching all of my tears, and giving me, filling me with purpose for my pain, HIS glory SHINES through me, and I am able to share that even though I still cry, it's not of pain or anguish, rather its tears of reverence, memories, and love for HIM and for my sweet Seth Daniel.


"He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds." Psalm 147:3


It was during my time in the ocean of overwhelming, sorrow, sadness, anger, depression, and the deepest grief I've ever known that I clung to HIS promises, HIS PROMISE that HE would never leave me nor forsake me.  It was then that I told myself that I could do this, I could endure this suffering, as I knew HE would redeem me from my anger, my strife, my agony, my suffering, and it wasn't a matter of if, it was always when.  That's not to say that in my weakest moments with the enemy taunting me to give up, that surely I couldn't possibly keep trusting HIM, after all HE took away my son, HE broke my heart, and HE doesn't love me or care about me.  It was in those moments that HE taught me about RIGHTEOUS ANGER, and I learned to pray for strength to endure whatever was happening, whatever steps I needed to take for healing and recovery I could do, I would do.  All because HE had deeply rooted HIS PROMISES in my heart that kept me #anchoredinhishope.


I could probably write for another ten hours of all the ways HE has helped me and has kept me from letting go.  What I will end with today is this, friends HIS word says it best 


"No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  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." Romans 8:37-39

My Dear Brothers and Sisters in CHRIST JESUS, it is my prayer that HIS word will be an infallible source of comfort, wisdom, and discernment that will teach, lead, and guide you to run your race, to fulfill you purpose as a part of HIS mission.  Friends I pray that if you are growing weary, that you will cling to HIS PROMISES, speak them, meditate on them, and proclaim them for your life so that you to will be  #anchoredinhishope.  I pray that HIS word which is full of stories of triumph, hope, perserverence, will encourage, uplift, and cheer you on to keep your eyes on JESUS so that you will finish your race all for HIS glory.  Friends, take heart, HE is with you always, and will NEVER leave you nor forsake you.  HE is with us always, as we bravely, courageously, with hearts abandoned risk the cliffs and the oceans to tell the world about JESUS.

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,  fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." Hebrews 12:1-3

Always Dear ones,  with much love, prayers, compassion, and understanding,

Your Sister in CHRIST JESUS,

~ Heather 













Wednesday, January 31, 2018

tears of reverence.....

If you have been following my blog since the loss of my son, you will know the significance of the song "Cornerstone" and what it means to me.  If you haven't it is the song that I sang in our truck on the drive home to tell Seth's siblings that he was now with JESUS.  It was 8pm, and D was driving, the truck was eerily silent, and all I could do was sing, and the first song that came to mind was "Cornerstone."  "My hope is built on nothing less, than JESUS blood and righteousness.  I dare not trust the sweetest frame but wholly trust in JESUS name.  CHRIST alone Cornerstone, the weak made strong in the Savior's love.  Through the storm HE is LORD, LORD of all."

Nothing could have prepared me for the storm that we were driving into, and just how long the storm would last.  As the weeks unfolded, the shock and horror of that fateful day were like daggers to my raw shattered heart.  As the months passed, the wound still raw started to heal for a few moments at a time.  I went from crying every hour, to every two hours, to the day where I went a full six hours without crying.  Then crying because I made it six hours without crying, and it felt like I was leaving my little boy behind.  Then as the months turned into years, I found myself walking into the third year without Seth.  The raw wound had finally healed, but just beneath the surface lay all of my sorrow, hurt, and pain that I must live the rest of my life here on earth without my son.  

Three years ago I began to cry tears of agony, which led to tears of anger, and onto tears of sorrow, leading to tears of memories, and now I have reached a new level of tears and those are tears of reverence.  Last Friday night during worship we sang "Cornerstone" and instead of crying from tears of memories of the worst day of my life, I cried tears in knowing that the words of the song were TRUTHFUL TRUTH FILLED, as they are so very TRUE for my life.  I cried because in thinking about just how far I have come in healing and recovery I know it is ONLY because of HIM.  I cry because of HIS unconditional love for me.  

I remember crying when the next phase of healing came in the form of medication, and just how betrayed and angry I felt that it wasn't enough to lose my son, deal with his loss, and the utter devastation that my family had gone through.  The living nightmare that was our daily reality, the harsh words, the criticism, the frustration that I wasn't better, had accepted yet, hadn't moved on, hadn't chosen JOY and happiness.  I was angry, frustrated, and pretty much hated everyone and everything.  I remember crying when people would call me out on my anger, as if though I had offended them personally, which was never my intention you see when you live in darkness like I have, living in the deepest ocean of grief and sorrow you don't really care how anyone else feels, or single anyone out.  Any and all people who smile, have happy moments you find yourself hating them, jealous of them.  It wasn't as if though I chose to hate people individually, rather I hated everyone equally.  Nothing personal, other than my pain, which to me was so devastatingly personal, and couldn't talk about it well, or explain it well, which left me feeling frustrated, angry, bitter, and alone.

For months the anger was so deep within, that is until I was completely exhausted from hating everything and everyone, being angry, and bitter, the jealousy was wrecking any semblance of peace that I so desperately needed.  Finally I cried out to HIM to please take away all of this anger that was destroying me, and fill me with HIS peace to endure, to heal, to recover, and please ask HIM to please show me the way and the steps that I needed to take in order to move forward in my life.

It most certainly wasn't easy, in fact in ways it was more difficult, as in weaning off my medication was proved to me the most challenging thing I faced.  As the medication masked my feelings, didn't allow me to feel the magnitude of everything that was going on around me.  Stepping back into my role as Mama and wife proved to be overwhelmingly challenging, as so much had happened and transpired in my three years of basically being checked out of being in a daily routine as Mama and wife.  Slowly though, through HIS loving SOVEREIGN hand HE led me through the steps that I needed to take to heal, and recover, and before I knew it I finally felt well enough to stand at my kitchen sink and do my first load of dishes for the first time since before Seth died.

Washing dishes was only the beginning.  Next came laundry, and that was a daunting task, and overwhelmed me as I wondered how in the world I ever managed it before. Finally with the help of my loving husband, I learned how to manage that, as we still tag team it today.  Next came make a grocery list, learning to cook again, how to multi-task in the kitchen was incredibly difficult, as my mind was still learning to process during pressure situations.  I say pressure as the kids are hungry, and demanding, and whew, praise JESUS for HIS grace.  One of the hardest things I had to relearn in cooking was chopping and prepping, as I hadn't realized just how much I had forgotten how to do.

It shouldn't have been such a surprise to me, as when I went to drive shortly after Seth died, I had to relearn how to drive my truck.  So in dealing with PTSD I have learned to give myself grace in relearning things that I once knew, and being thankful that just because I did something someway before, didn't mean that I couldn't do things differently.  So much in fact that when I look at myself now, I'm NOTHING like who I was then.  From the way I wear my hair, my makeup, my clothes, my writings, my prayers, and my tears.  Though I still cry tears of sorrow, and memories, most of my tears today are tears of reverence.

I cry not because of how different my life is, rather I cry because of WHO HE IS, and WHAT HE HAS DONE for me in this journey of loss.  I cry because HE is sharpening my mind to do what HE has called me to do, and for the fact that HIS unfailing love is giving me the strength to continue on to persevere through each new test, trial, and storm that I face.  I cry because I know that even though I am facing challenges, I know that HE is with me every single step of the way.  I cry because even when my world is spiraling out of control in my mind, I know that HE is SOVEREIGN and is in control, and all I have to do is lean into HIM, and press into HIM for courage and strength and wait on HIS perfect timing.  

Today my tears are of thankfulness for HIM allowing me to remember my sweet Seth Daniel in my dreams.  For the past two days and I've had dreams about Seth as a tiny baby.  Dreams of which have both awoken memories that have been kept lovingly by HIM until I was ready to remember.  Today I am so grateful for my LOVING HEAVENLY FATHER WHO knows whats best for me, and WHO'S light is shining on me, in me, and through me to share of all of HIS goodness and what HE has done for me.

My Dear Brothers and Sisters in CHRIST JESUS,  I pray today that you will know that if your heart is breaking, that you will know HE is with you.  HE is holding you, and waiting for you to cry out to HIM.  I pray that you will find yourself someday on your journey crying tears of reverence as you are able to look back an see how far HIS love has brought you.

Always my sweet friends, with so much love, compassion, and understanding,

~ Heather 

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

eclipsed....

If ever I begin to wonder whether or not HE's still working in me and through me, behind the scenes where I can't see, writing, walking through my future before I even get there, HE always shows up in the biggest way.  What seemed like a normal conversation with my brother yesterday, found me this morning searching for answers, and for HIM showing up, meeting me right where I was in letting me know exactly what my heart has been wrestling with.

I should know by now that though I think I'm just going to have a light hearted conversation full of laughter with my brother J, HE always shows up, and joins our conversation.  Never do we have a talk that doesn't include, prayer, struggles, and sharing WHO HE is with each other.  Telling our stories of what HE has done, is saying in that moment, and will do in our future our conversations are of us cheering each other on.  It's truly remarkable, as we didn't start off our life like that together. So much in fact that being close couldn't have been further from the truth of our childhood.

J and I are two years apart in age, and both of us equally have had our share of tragedies.  He has walked through some of the darkest hours of anyone I know, and he has been there for me as I have walked through mine.  He has found love, and has built a great life for himself, and most importantly he has found JESUS, and has been saved from this broken and fallen world.  HE has equipped J to be a part of the 5% in my life.  

Five percent in my life are the people who are able to say the things that are hardest for me to hear, but who love me, and know that HE only wants what is best for me, and will follow HIS lead and speak straight to my heart, which usually wrecks me in the most glorious of ways.  Though there are times where it takes me a while to receive what is being said to me, and when I finally do, I find myself feeling more loved, more wanted, and more cherished.

Yesterday was no exception in hearing what I needed to hear, but not necessarily what I wanted to.  I began to share with him about how I keep getting tripped up on the circumstances of my life.  I shared my struggles of losing sight of HIM, and when I do, I fall flat on my face, and usually make such a mess of things.  I was frustrated at my lack of focus, and that is when he said "HIS light is all around us, in the darkest places, even in the most deeply hidden of spaces, HIS light is SHINING, and HE is our LIGHTHOUSE, never can we ever go so far that we can't look up, look out, look back and SEE HIS LIGHT.  We get so wrapped in our lives, that we forget the Author, the Creator of our lives."  

Our conversation continued with me telling him how much I struggle telling my story.  As if though its just so full of tragedy, and that is when J said, " tragedy yes, but don't forget, TRIUMPH, your story is TRIUMPH over tragedy."  He went on to encourage me that it's not about the tragedy that makes my story, it's about how it's been only through HIM that I have survived, that I have TRIUMPHED.  We said our goodbyes, I love you's, and hung up, and then I pretty much laughed at the thought of me triumphing over anything as I only feel like a hott mess.

All night J's words echoed in my mind, and little did I know how HE would use J's words to speak straight to my heart this morning.  I only had my phone and my journal with me, as I typed in the google search bar.  What does the bible say about triumph?  There I would be led to an article written by a sister in CHRIST about how to awaken Trust, Truth and Triumph within.

"Why is it that the slightest crisis can so easily eclipse our heart?"  There it is right there, man those words resonated with me, this is what my struggle is.  So many times I wake up, ready to face the day, to walk the day with HIM, and then BAM!  Crisis enters our home in the form of sibling rivalry, disrespect, and sometimes just plain crabbiness.  Whatever it is, it distracts me, and before I know it my heart, and my mind become eclipsed by my circumstances.

Not really sure what that statement even meant, I began to seek HIM to SEE what HIS word says about that as I would soon find out that having my heart and mind eclipsed means to lost sight of HIS light shining all around me.  This morning HE has led me a journey of what happens to me when I allow my circumstances to overshadow HIS light.

This very thought breaks my heart, as that is the furthest thing I want to happen, as I know that without HIM I wouldn't have survived any of my darkest hours without HIM.  That even when I didn't yet know HIM, HE was there working on my behalf.  Writing the most beautiful story of Salvation, Redemption, and Rescue in capturing my heart.  My story of HIS unfailing love encompassing me in HIS unending grace, renewing, refining, restoring, and rebuilding my TRUST in HIM, and CONFIDENCE in WHO HE IS, so that I will remain CONFIDENT in WHO I am, as I now know, and have experienced WHOSE I am.

This morning HE is taking me into HIS word, showing me the scripture that HE rooted so deeply in my heart, so that in times where I lose sight of HIM, I can remember and know WHO HE IS, and what that means for me, for my life, my story, that HE is bigger than my circumstances, and with HIM and through HIM, even when I find myself eclipsed all I have to do is cry out to HIM, look and SEE that HE is there with me, and HIS light will SHINE on me, in me, and through me to continue on my journey towards wholeness with HIM.

" For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

HE is letting me know that I struggle so much with HIS word, and fully trusting HIS word, because in my humanness I fail, and sometimes refuse to fully render all of my HOPE and TRUST in HIM, and for HIM.  HE is wanting me to know that HE knows, and wants me to realize and ask myself this question, do I trust HIS pace, HIS process, HIS timing?

YIKES!!!  Wow, do I wish I could say YESSSS without any doubt, worry, or fear, but then that would mean that I don't need HIM, and well because I so desperately do, I won't lie to myself and say yes, rather I will pray, "LORD JESUS help me to fully render all of my TRUST and HOPE in YOU."

I have to be honest that it's been almost seven hours since I wrote that last part.  As soon as I typed that, prayed that, HE led me straight into HIS word, HIS heart to SEE what HE was really asking of me.  

"My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart  you, God, will not despise." Psalm 51:17

For the first time in six years I found myself struggling to what HIS word was saying, so I decided to google it to see what someone else's take was on it.  Nothing could have prepared me for what I was about to learn.  HE is wanting me to know that when I sin.... it breaks HIS heart.  HE is telling me that HE knows I'm sorry for when I sin, yet instead of rendering my heart completely, I keep strong with the flesh in making excuses as to why I've sinned.  HE has revealed to me that even though I "think" I'm really sorry, I haven't had my heart broken from my sins.  HIS word today is teaching me that until I am heartbroken over what breaks HIS I won't be able to fully put my TRUST in HIM, as in keeping myself from surrendering fully to HIM, I won't be giving HIM my whole heart.

Just knowing that makes me cry inside as I so do want what HE wants, but there's just one teeny tiny problem.... I am soooooo human.  Thankfully as I have learned HE is so full of mercy, grace, and love.  I feel today as if though I need to be telling myself, "Fasten your seat belt Heather, this is going to be one wild ride."

I so desperately want to TRUST HIM, yet I keep falling into the same trap of losing sight of HIM, as I get too comfortable in my life, living as though my only purpose is to be a mom and wife.  I become eclipsed by my wants and needs, and my families wants and needs.  My daily routine of laundry, cooking, cleaning, shopping,watching tv, all distract me, and in those distractions come even more things to distract me, and drag me even further away from HIM, and HIS calling for my life.  

If I really stop to think about what I waste time thinking about, doing, and talking about, sheesh..... I'm embarassed.  All of it leaves me feeling so low, as I NEED HIM, yet I waste every gifted minute I am given with HIM.  Okay so not every minute, yet since this New Year I've vowed to seek more of HIM, so there will be so much more of HIM and so much less of me.... oh and did I mention I'm a slooooooow learner?  

I often wonder what HE must think of me as HE SEES me become eclipsed and SEES me fall hard on my face, and watches me try to fix things my way, and become frustrated and cry out, "why LORD, why have you forsaken me?"  To which HE reaches down, picks me up up and dries my hott mess face, and lets me know it's not that HE's gone anywhere, I've just allowed myself to become eclipsed.

HE is teaching me this morning, that HE knows how much I struggle, but that HE doesn't want me to focus on the struggle, rather focus on what HE is telling me, and doing what HE wants me to do.  HE is wanting me to know that when I seek HIM, HE is more than ready to teach, lead, and guide me in my journey so that I will then be able to experience the GLORY of HIS presence.  HE is telling me that HE knows what I need for each step I'm going to take, even when it's something that catches me off guard, HE is NEVER caught off guard.

"Teach me your way, Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name." Psalm 86:11

HE is once again reminding me of a song that I often sing while doing my daily routine as a mom and wife, so that I don't get caught up in anger that I'm doing the same thing over and over each day.  HE is wanting me to know that it's not because HE wants to punish me by playing that song in my heart, it's because HE wants me to learn it, and wants me to understand how imperative it is that the song will become the cry of my heart.

"Create in me a pure heart, O God,  and renew a steadfast spirit within me." Psalm 51:10

"Create in me a clean heart O GOD and renew a right spirit within me.  Create in me a clean heart O GOD and renew a right spirit within me.  Cast me not away from THY presence O LORD, Take not THY HOLY SPIRIT from me.  Restore unto me the JOY of THY salvation, and renew a right spirit within me." 

My Dear Brothers and Sisters in CHRIST JESUS,  friends it is my prayer that my story is an encouragement to you that no matter what you may be facing today, that you will know that you are never alone.  I pray that whatever you are facing today, that you will seek HIM and rend your heart to HIM, and allow HIM to work in you and through you.... even if it hurts, as in my experience of being HIS daughter is that when it hurts, is where HIS love needs to soothe that hurt, that ache.  I pray that if you are feeling like a hott mess, then pull up a chair, grab a cup of coffee and breathe as you are in great company.  I pray that you know that if ever there is a way I can pray for you, or you are in a need a friend, know that you can always email me, or comment and I'd be honored to communicate with you. I pray today that if you find yourself eclipsed I pray that you will come to know the HIS mercies are new every morning, and HIS grace is sufficient, and when you are ready HIS light will be shining bright for you, all you need to do is look up and SEE.

 Always my dear ones, with so much love, compassion, and understanding,

Your Sister in CHRIST JESUS,

~ Heather 




Sunday, January 28, 2018

never without HIM.....

Telling my story is one of the hardest things I've ever had to do.  So much in fact no matter how many times I tell it, it doesn't get any easier.  What I mean is each time I tell my story, though I am thankful for HIS mercies being new each morning, and HIS unfailing love relentlessly pursuing me, a fear that strikes my heart each time is this, what if... what if the worst thing were to happen to me again, what if once again I will become a victim, continue to be a victim, and what if I will always fear victimization?  

This thought came to me this past week while at a friends house.  It was 7pm and I was on my way to get groceries, and realized that I also needed to fill my cars gas tank.  I was going to be alone, and suddenly I dreaded not grabbing one of my kids to run this  quick errand with me.  Dread consumed me, as I knew that I wouldn't make it there and home without putting gas in my car.  Simple task, yet it held such tremendous fear.  Fear of being alone at night, vulnerable in the dark, what if LORD, what if the next horrible thing lurked in the shadows for me?  

Fear was rising up in my throat as I began to pray and ask for strength, protection, and vision to SEE beyond what I could SEE with my own eyes.  I prayed that I would have the courage to do this seemingly simple task as I made my way to the gas station.  I'm happy to report that nothing even remotely exciting, terrifying, or the like happened at all, as I successfully put a full tanks worth of gas in my car.  What did happen though was HE poured strength into me to stand tall, and not fear the night, as HE assured me that HE was with me.  When I got out of my car the fear was so overwhelming for me that I even contemplated only putting in five dollars worth.  Thankfully with HIS strength also came HIS wisdom that if I was going to face this fear of the dark, the unknown, I needed to face it all the way, and complete the task to the fullest. 

This is just one of the examples of fear that rules over my life.  Fear that the enemy has kept me trapped in, Fear that has knocked me down and out, and has kept me from getting back up again for quite a while.  Fear that has kept me silent, afraid to speak, afraid to move, as if somehow that would start a chain reaction to bad things happening in my life again. 

Today while sitting in church I felt HIM say to me, "I am with you always"  it was as if though HE was reminding me that I didn't need to fear, as no matter where I go in my life, no matter what trials, tests, and storms I may face, no matter the cliffs, the oceans that I encounter, the darkness that threatens to consume me, all of what I face is NEVER without HIM.  

HIS Daily Teachings today has been HIS Blessed Assurance that  I am NO longer a slave to the fear of victimization.  HE has lovingly reminded me through songs of worship that I am HIS child, and that even if, or when bad things happen, I'm NEVER alone, nothing that I face will ever be without HIM.  HE is wanting me to know that even though I am weary from grief, HE is promising that HE will always be there for me, HE knows how tired I am, and how I wish so badly in my own human understanding that I could conquer grief, today HE has let me know why thats not really what I need, rather I need to press in and press through to HIM and allow HIM to work in me and through me, through my grief, to reach the last, the least, and the lost.

HIS loving reminder today to me is this, though I will never conquer grief in this life, I wouldn't want to, as if were to accomplish that, then I wouldn't need HIM, and since I know that this is HIS purpose for my life, to SHINE HIS light as a Survivor on the SHORE for the brokenhearted, I know that I the only way to reach people in the darkness, is by letting HIM teach, lead, and guide me to BE HIS LIGHT, and in knowing that I know that I will NEVER be just a victim, rather I will be  SURVIVOR, and when my time on earth here is through, I WILL BE MORE THAN A CONQUEROR, and WOW what a GLORIOUS DAY that will be!!!  

While worshiping today tears welled up in my eyes, but never fell. The more I sang the more tears welled up, and I realized that the reason why I wasn't crying is because my emotions weren't of sadness, rather of TRUE JOY, as I have survived, HIS mercies have been made new each morning for me, and HIS grace, HIS love, HIS joy, HIS peace, have all carried me through my darkest hours, and have led me safely to the distant shores, shores of the shipwrecked, the shattered, the brokenhearted.  The souls who live with heartache, who live one day at a time, sometimes one hour at a time, and though each of us find ourselves pulled back into the ocean by waves of grief, HE is there, always bringing us safely to shore.

My time spent in the ocean has taught me about WHO HE IS, and WHO I am, and has sustained me with HIS promises for HOPE and a future, of which I have clung to in the times where the fear that had a vice grip on my heart almost won.  Yet no matter how strong the fear was HIS love, HIS perfect, unfailing, relentless love pursued me, captured me, and rescued me.  With each step of total dependence I took with HIM, HE led me even further into the ocean that is without borders.  

Today HE is wanting me to know that fear of abandonment is very real in my heart, and though I don't really speak of it, HE knows and HE want me to live with HIS BLESSED ASSURANCE that HE is with me, and there will NEVER  be a single moment of my life that I will be without HIM.  HE is telling me that I need to let go of fear, and worry for today, tomorrow, as to whether or not HE will provide, as HE's already been through today, and HE has walked through my tomorrows.  HE is reminding me that my life has already been written, on purpose, for HIS purpose, all for my good, and all I have to do is surrender, seek HIM, and and TRUST HIM that HE has amazing plans for my life.

This all seems pretty easy, however I am so human, and in my tiny human brain and understanding, I worry, I fret, I fear, I covet, I want, I need, I.... gosh I'm completely self centered when it comes to me,  I want new clothes, the food I want, the makeup I want, the stuff I want, me.... me..... me.....  I cringe writing that all out.  Thankfully HE created me, and knows how self centered and focused I am, and is letting me know that HE has a plan, but it will take sacrifice from me, sacrificing my incessant wants, and allowing HIM to provide for my every need.  

I know this, I've lived it from time to time, yet foolishly I forget WHO HE is, and forget that I can't buy happiness, stuff won't fulfill me, won't fill this void that grief has created, and all it really does in knock me off the path that HE is leading me on, and each time I find myself lost, I have to start all over again and learn to focus on HIM, and letting go of me, myself, and I.  

My greatest stronghold is stuff, as that is how I have grieved the loss of my son.  Not just stuff for me, but stuff for those I love, those who are hurting right along with me.  Though I am getting better about praying about the desires of my heart, I am still struggling with trusting HIM completely and in knowing that HE led me straight to hear a message of HIS word to tell me, HE knows, HE'S with me always, and even though I think I am, I feel I am, I am NEVER without HIM.

  "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?  Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?  “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.  If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?  So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.  But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." Matthew 6:25-34

Today my Dear Brother's and Sister's in CHRIST JESUS, it is my fervent prayer that if you find yourself in need, I pray that you will have the courage to seek HIM, and allow HIM fulfill your needs, that are designed specifically on purpose for you.  I pray that you will have the courage to let go of doing things your way, and allow HIM to teach lead and guide you on the path that HE has chosen for you.  I pray that if you are struggling in the darkness, I pray that even though you may feel alone, I pray that HE will cover you in HIS presence, and all you will experience is relentless, unfailing love, so that you will be able to SHUT OUT, SHUT UP, and SHUT DOWN, the lies of the enemy who's sole purpose is for you to feel abandoned.  I pray that you will come to know JESUS as I know HIM, and know that when you accept HIM in your heart as your LORD and SAVIOR that you will experience more love, more peace, more grace, and even more mercy that will help you work through the trials, tests, and storms of your life.  I pray that you will be encompassed by HIS peace, and that you can begin your journey of joyful dependence.

Always my dear friends, with so much love compassion, and understanding,

Your Sister in CHRIST JESUS,

~ Heather 

Saturday, January 27, 2018

equipped through heartache.....

The circumstances in my life have once again brought me to my knees.  So much this past week I have cried.  Cried from tears of sorrow for not only losing Seth, but losing each of us.  Our relationships with one another, with Seth, and the heartbreaking changes that our family has had to accept, and learn to live with in facing the daily challenge of coping with heartache..... living with heartache has been the most challenging thing for me as a mom and wife.  

Last Tuesday the guest speaker at MOPS was a pastor's wife, and mom of four.  She was talking about the importance of self care, and soul care for mom's.  Self care as in eating healthy, exercising, getting plenty of sleep etc.  Soul care in doing what makes you happy, and makes you feel alive.  She challenged us to think about those things, and all I could do was cry, and die a little more inside as I so desperately wanted to have normal struggles.... which to me means having absolutely NOTHING to do with heartache.

I began to write my desires down on paper, pleading with GOD in my heart, please send someone to share her story, and with that I felt HIM speak deep into my wounded, weary, aching heart.  "Oh Dear Heart do you not SEE, do you not realize?  I AM equipping you to BE that someone.  You Dear Heart, when you seek ME, I WILL teach, lead, and guide you to share what soul care for the mom who lives with heartache looks like,"

That should have been enough confirmation for me, however because I am a slooooow learner HE led me straight to church last night, to the same chair I sit in week after week, and right there in my brokenness HE met me.  The message was about RISE UP, TAKE COURAGE, words that made me weary just hearing, let alone thinking about.  When the message was over an alter call was made to anyone who needed prayer, it was as if though I couldn't get there fast enough. With tears drenching my face, my hands, my clothes, and the floor, I cried the most I have in church since the day I said goodbye to Seth.

I don't really know who prayed for me, or what they even said, all I knew in that moment was that I finally felt free enough to cry it all out.  As the song continued, I look up and saw the stage, the spot where Seth's casket was placed, and I remembered that final moment before they closed it that I was able to kiss my sweet little Sethie goodbye forever until we meet on the bridge into forever.  I remember feeling so defeated, and cheated, and just completely overwhelmed that everything that I had done prior to Seth's death still didn't prevent him from dying.  

This morning as I sat at my desk writing out my pain, I felt HIM say to me, "I know you are weary from sorrow, sadness, pain, and strife.  I SEE you struggle as the waves of life knock you down.  I SEE you get knocked down, and I want you to know that it is I that reaches down and helps you back up.  Do you, Heather, not trust ME that I will pick you back up? Have I not proven to you that I AM trustworthy?  Do you still view ME as a taker, the ONE who asks of you, and never replenishes what I ask you to let go of?  Do you still view ME as the ONE WHO broke your heart, who abandoned you?"

Words from my heavenly FATHER that wrecked me this morning, as my heart has tried so very hard to be accepting of all that has transpired, and TRUST HIM with everything, yet here I am once again falling to pieces, drenched in tears, worry, fear, and overwhelming doubt.  It is overwhelming to me that HE knows what I am thinking even when I don't have the courage to admit it.  HIS words leave me saying "Yes LORD I feel so confused as to why YOU allowed so much pain to be inflicted upon my family."  

To which I felt HIM say "I know that it is so hard for you to live with the memories of the day Seth died.... Trust and know Dear Heart I will help you tell your story.  MY light will SHINE in you and through you and that light will be shone in the darkness of grief, sorrow, sadness, loss, and will teach, lead others how to live with their own heartache.  All of this will be for MY GLORY.  I will equip you as you lead others to healing in sharing WHO I AM and what I have done for you, and will do for them. I know Dear Heart that you are weary and just want this to be over, but TRUST me Dear Heart that I have a plan.  MY plan is to carry you through this heartache, teach you to soar above your circumstances, to BE MY warrior.  I have created you to BE the ONE whom teaches others to walk and to live with heartache in a humbling, and honoring way.  I will give and restore my purpose, my mission, my plan for your life to LIVE out with seeking, and proclaiming JOY in the Heartache.  TRUST ME Dear Heart that I working on your behalf and SEE that I am doing a new thing in you and through you, as you Heather are MY BELOVED,CHOSEN,LIGHT SHINER and my most PRECIOUS MASTERPIECE.  You MY daughter have been designed by ME to lead the last, the least, and the lost, in this broken and fallen world.  Never again will you have to feel abandoned, as I am with you, and in choosing to follow ME, you Dear Heart will lead other's to that revelation as well.  TRUST in ME and REST always in ME Dear Heart I have you, and I'M with you always."

Today while driving home from taking my daughter to work, I turned on pandora radio station and a song that I had never heard came on.  Quickly I decided I didn't want to listen to it, and hit the forward button to skip it.  Several times I pressed it, and each time it refused to skip it.  When I stopped pressing the button, I realized I must of needed to hear the song, and by the time it finished I was a mess of tears, and was completely humbled in knowing that HE knows whats best for me.

"Masterpiece" by Danny Gokey
"Heartbreaks a bittersweet sound
Know it well It's ringing in my ears
And I can't understand
Why I'm not fixed by now
Begged and I pleaded
Take this pain but I'm still bleeding
Heart trusts you for certain
Head says it's not working
I'm stuck here still hurting
But you tell me
You're making a masterpiece
You shaping the soul in me
You're moving where I can't see
And all I am is in your hands
You're taking me all apart
Like it was your plan from the start
To finish your work of art for all to see you're making a masterpiece
Guess I'm your canvas
Beautiful black and blue
Painted in mercy's hue
I don't see past this
You see me now
Who I'll be then
There at the end
Standing there as
Your Masterpiece
You're shaping the soul in me
You're moving where I can't see
And all I am is in your hands
You're taking me all apart
Like it was your plan from the start
To finish your work of art for all to see
You're making a masterpiece
You're making a masterpiece
Heart trust you for certain
Head says it's not working
You're making a masterpiece
You're shaping the soul in me
You're moving where I can't see
And all I am is in your hands
You're taking me all apart
Like it was your plan from the start
To finish your work of art for all to see
You're making a masterpiece
You're making a masterpiece
I will be your masterpiece
My Dear Brothers and Sisters in CHRIST JESUS, it is my greatest desire, and loudest cry of my heart for each of you to know HIM as I have come to know HIM.  To know and TRUST that when we seek HIM with all of our hearts, HE will meet us right where we are.  To know that in our brokenness HE is there, ready to restore, renew, refine, and rebuild us to stand up RISE UP and TAKE COURAGE.  I pray that my journey of becoming equipped through heartache will be encouraging for you in whatever your circumstances may be.  Friends I don't have all the answers, but I walk with the ONE WHO does.  TRUST HIM, cry it out, shout, scream, and let it all go, as HE knows, HE's there, and HE cares and when your ready HE will lead you on your journey of becoming equipped.

Always my dear friends, with so much love, compassion, grace, and understanding,

Your Sister in CHRIST JESUS,
 
~ Heather