Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Resolution? How about a life changing revelation?

I really don’t like the phrase “New Years resolution”. I’ve probably made hundreds of resolutions over the years. I’m sure I have made more than I have kept. I’m sure that I have made some that I had no intention of keeping. I know that I’ve made some that were broken before the first day of the new year was over. I have also made some several years in a row.

I made them with good intentions. I meant well. I wanted to do better. But the truth of the matter is, I need to make more than just a resolution for the new year. I need to be making a resolution that is life changing, not just year changing. A new years revelation. A life changing revelation.

I need to be focusing on what I can do to change my heart. Change my desires. Change my choices. Change me.

One of my favorite passages of scripture is found in Jeremiah 29:13-14.

“And You will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the Lord.”

My desire for my life in 2010 and beyond, is to be a seeker of God.

A true lover of and diligent seeker of God.

I want to know Him deeper and seek Him higher. I desire to know Him more intimately. I want to learn how to apply His Word to my life like never before.

I want to focus on embracing His plan for my life. Embracing it even when the circumstances are adverse. Learning to change ‘me’ during those times instead of expecting God to change the circumstances.

I want to focus on what He is teaching me and then surrendering to where He is leading.

I want to search the scriptures and find truth. Truth that speaks. Truth that convicts. Truth that changes.

My hearts cry is to be captivated by God. Be a true seeker. Walk in His ways. Keep His commandments. Love like God loves.

Oh, I want to be found by Him. I want His presence to consume me. To overpower me. To overwhelm me.

I pray that 2010 will be a year that God’s church rises up. A year that the people of Christ begin to let our voices be heard. A year that God speaks to us and we listen. A year that we take what He is speaking and we put feet to it. I pray that we will be true seekers of God. True seekers of the Truth. True lovers of the Word.

It’s time to seek the Lord!

“Sow for yourselves righteousness; Reap in mercy; Break up your fallow ground, for it is time to seek the LORD, till He comes and rains righteousness on you.” (Hosea 10:12)

Oh, Lord, as I seek You, consume me. Draw me close. Find me.

In the grip of His precious Grace,

Saturday, December 26, 2009

CHRISTmas among the chaos....

Mikaela and Nana

Megan, Rod, Mikaela, Melissa


Mikaela, Eli, Mercie

Sawyer, Bryton
Anytime our crew gets together, it is quite entertaining to say the least. Our "crew" consists of Jimbo and myself, our 3 daughters, 2 sons-in-law and 5 grandchildren whose ages are 7,4, almost 3, almost 2 and 9 months. The combination of all the above makes for something that I lovingly call "JOYFUL CHAOS". Ha!
There are generally several different conversations or discussions going on at the same time. Voice levels are usually louder than what the term 'inside voice' dictates. You can count on at least one child fussing. One child crying. Another child screaming - either in anger or pain... Most of the time as a direct result of the actions of another cousin.
Someone is always hungry. Or thirsty. Or needs to go to the bathroom. Mercie and Sawyer compete for diaper changes.
Mikaela is the nurturer of the bunch and trys to keep the peace between Bryton and Eli, who seem to tie up at least once every get together. They do love each other, but the 'boy' in them really comes out when they are together...
There are usually 2 grandkids competing for Nana's lap or Papa's arms. The presence of 1 child in either place automatically signals time for a stampede of the other children to do the same. Inside voices rarely follow when this event takes place..
But there is one thing that is always present, even amidst the seeming chaos. There is one thing that will always prevail and that is LOVE. Love for family. Love for each other. Love for our Savior.
As we all gathered in the living room around the Christmas tree, Megan began to read the account of Jesus' birth from Luke. As she read, Mikaela, Eli and Bryton acted out the events of that special night. It was so precious and it really helped them to fully grasp what took place and to really understand why we celebrate Christmas in the first place.
The presents that were piled under God's tree (as Bryton calls it), were most certainly not the focus of our celebration yesterday. In fact, the presents were the very last thing we did. And although we did enjoy opening our gifts, we made sure that Jesus was at the center of all we did.
As the gifts began to be unwrapped, it looked like it was snowing wrapping paper and ribbon. Paper was flying, children were laughing. Everyone was oohing and aaahing. "I love it!", "thank you!" and "it's perfect!" could be heard all around the room by kids and grown-ups alike.  Faces lit up with joy. Smiles abounded and hearts were touched.
The room gradually grew quiet. The commotion ceased and the tree was empty of presents. In about 30 minutes time, it was seemingly over. The gifts had all been given. Hopes and expectations had presumably been met. Needs and wants were certainly taken care of. 

For all intents and purposes,  that part of Christmas was over. The part that we so painstakingly prepared for. The part that we agonized and fretted over. The part where we 'spent more than we needed to'.  The giving and receiving was over. Or was it?  Perhaps giving and receiving can take on new meaning for the coming year. How about giving more of ourselves and receiving more of God?
We may not have accomplished that last year, but now it's time for us to focus on how we will do this year different. How will we make 2010 better than 2009? How will we change our attitudes. Our actions. Our intentions.
It is time to assess any damage done in 2009 and make a game plan to recoop losses for the next year. It is time to focus on making 2010  a year that counts.
A year of sacrifice.
A year of Joy.
A year of hope and miracles.
A year of knowing Him better.
A year of hearing Him speak. Obeying His commands.
A year of walking the walk.
A real Jesus year.
We need to celebrate the birth of Jesus every day of our lives. His birth is where it all began. He came so He could die, so that we could live.
Jesus - He is the reason for not only the season.
But for Life.
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Never before and Never again...

"And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger..." (Luke 2:7)

Never before and never again would there ever be a birth quite like the one that took place that night.

All of creation must have sensed something special was about to take place. There surely was expectant electricity in the air foretelling an impending and miraculous occurance.

The sky was probably clearer and more vibrant in color.

The stars surely shone brighter and twinkled with such amazing brilliance.

The glory of the Lord beamed radiantly from that stable to the far reaching ends of the world.

A Holy sigh most likely reverberated through the heavens and echoed the emotion of awe and sweet release.

The Baby that was born that night was...

the Christ child
the Savior of the world
the Breath of Heaven
the Messiah

As angels proclaimed the arrival of Jesus, the sky was illuminated with the brilliance of the glory of God.

Their angelic voices rang clear with such grace as they sang praises to the King.

"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men"

"OH, what amazing worship occured that night as God came near. All of creation probably stood with arms wide open and head lifted high.

Praising God the Father, for God the Son.

Faces tilted toward heaven, eyes closed, with nothing less than sheer joy etched on each expression.

God was made manifest in the flesh.

The shepherds departed. The people marveled.

Mary pondered....

Jesus was glorified. Jesus was praised.

What glorious splendor.
What sweet mercy.
What amazing grace.

That sweet Baby born in Bethlehem.... was perfection. Redemption. The Word.

A child of Peace.
A child of  Hope.
A child bearing the fingermarks of God.

May we be ever thankful for the birth of God's Son. For without the birth, there could have been no sacrifice made on the Cross. No redemption for our sins.

No Grace could have taken place.
No Mercy could have been shown.
No Truth could have been found.

We worship His majesty, His divinity, His holiness.

We worship Him. Jesus. The Son of God. Savior of the world. God.

Merry Christmas!!!!


Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Immeasurable Love of Christ.

"...that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height - to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God"
( Ephesians 3:17-19)

The love of Christ is immeasureable.

The breadth of His love extends to all people.

The length of His love extends to the lowest of our human need.

The height of His love extends to the highest heaven.

Christ's love for us covers all dimensions. The love He has for us surpasses all knowledge. His love for us transcends everything we can comprehend or imagine.

He loves us with an everlasting love. An unconditional love. A perfect love.

His love gives us roots to plant deep so we can be firmly grounded in Him.

Firmly grounded in His Word. Firmly grounded in His love. Firmly grounded in our faith.

He loves us with an indwelling love. He abides in us and gives us the ability to love others.

"We love Him because He first loved us" (1 John 4:19)

Because of His love -

We keep His commandments.(1 John 5:2)
We love others. (1 John 4:7)
We have no fear. (1 John 4:18)
We are His children. (1 John 3:1)
Because of His love for us -

We can experience victory over sin and death through the shed blood of His precious Son.

I pray that during this time of year, we keep our focus on the baby in the manger. The birth of our Savior. The Christ-child.  I pray that we long to draw nearer to Him and yearn for the deeper things in Christ. May the love that God has for us, cause us to love more. May we keep the season all about the Son of God. Let's celebrate the gift of Jesus. Emmanuel. God with us.
Father, thank you for loving me. Thank you for the unending, eternity reaching, unconditional love that you showed all mankind on the cross. Thank you for loving me when I am unloveable. Help me to love others. Help me to love like you love. Thank you precious Lord for loving me well. You are awesome and mighty and powerful. You are my everything. You are indeed the reason for the season.

CHRISTmas..... it's all about JESUS!


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Do you know why Christmas is so special?

"For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord"  (Luke 2:11)

Many, many times in our lives we have told our children the true meaning of Christmas.

But have we actually shown them the true meaning? Are we pointing them to the cross? Are we leading them to the manger? Are we telling them about the birth of Jesus and His life?

It's so easy to say that Christmas is all about Jesus. But if we aren't backing it up with tangible evidence are we really accomplishing anything? If we stress to our kids that it's not about the gifts, but then we have the presents stacked high up under the tree, are we being truthful? If we tell them that it's better to give then to receive, but then we don't give, aren't we being deceptive?

When my 2 year old grandson, Bryton, asked his mother the other morning, "Mama, do you know why Christmas is so special?", it's because she has asked him that question many times lately as she is trying to teach him that Christmas is all about Jesus.

So when Ashlie's response was, "Why do YOU think it's so special Bryton?", he was able to say, "because it's Jesus' birthday!"

He knows that because she has taught him. And we do need to teach our children. But it isn't just enough to teach them in word only. We have to show them. They need to see evidence that it is truly all about Jesus.

They need to see us doing for others.

They need to see us putting Jesus first.

They need to hear the Christmas story every chance we get and especially on Christmas morning.

They need to see Jesus being the focus of all we do and say.

They need to see...

The only way they will ever 'get it' is by example.

We have to show them why Christmas is so special.

We need to show them that Mary was blessed. That Joseph was obedient. That God sent His Son.

We need to show them that a Savior was born. That a tiny baby was brought forth that bore the fingermarks of God. That the glory of God came down.

We need to show them that love grew. That grace came. That mercy fell.

We need to show them Jesus. The Christ child. The Messiah. Emmanuel.

Jesus came to this world to save us from our sins. He became sin that we might be delivered from it. He came to redeem us with His precious blood. He came to grant us forgiveness and take away our bondage. Jesus came that we might taste of eternal life. Abundant, overflowing, amazing life everlasting. Jesus came to die. For me and for you.


That is why Christmas is so special.


Friday, December 11, 2009

No Regrets?

There have been many times in my life that I have allowed regret to build a wall between me and God. I fail so often in my Christian walk and then I fail to let God apply His mercy to those failures. Sometimes it seems as if the harder I try to live a life of sanctification and holiness, the harder it is to succeed. I feel like each step I take forward results in at least 2 steps in the reverse direction.

My determination to live a life pleasing to Christ seems to bring out obstacle after obstacle. My eagerness to be all that God has called me to be seems to be an open invitation for the enemy to close in.

I feel  like I am in a constant battle against my flesh. I feel  like there is an on going war with my sinful nature.

I have learned that I have to stay alert at all times to the schemes and manipulations of the enemy. I need to be on constant guard against the mind games that satan likes to play.

But the main thing is that when I DO fail, I have to learn to forgive myself. For some reason, I find it easier to forgive others than to forgive my own self. But I have to remind myself that God applies that same precious blood to my own sin just as He does to others.

Colossians 3:13 tells us, "Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so also you must forgive"
That includes ourselves. When we neglect to forgive ourselves we allow regret to move into our lives. Unfortunately, when regret moves in, it brings distraction with it. And distraction moves in with a vengence bringing all sorts of baggage with it..

Our focus then becomes on what we did wrong. Our focus becomes our failure. Our focus becomes "us" instead of God. Our focus becomes regret.

Regret steals the JOY that our Father intends for us to have. Joy that comes through our salvation. Joy that comes through the shedding of that blood of Christ on the cross. Joy that comes through Jesus. Joy that Christ wants us to have!

When we repent, God wipes that slate clean. It doesn't leave behind the fingerprints of regret. Only the fingermarks of sweet mercy and forgiveness.

Oh, Father, help me to learn how to forgive myself when I fail you. Help me to lay those failures down at your feet and ask for sweet forgiveness. Help me to allow that forgiveness to penetrate deeply in my spirit and help to me bask in the Joy of knowing my sins were covered at Calvary. May I arise from the place of repentance more determined to live for You. More purposed in my walk. More passionate for my Savior. I love you Lord and I praise you for all the blessings you have bestowed upon my and my family. You are my JOY!


Melissa had a good check up yesterday. Her platelets are up to 165,000. Her hemoglobin is up to 10.0. He said when it gets to 12 - 15, then she will begin to have more energy and not be so tired. She is still a little jaundiced. Her bilirubin is still fluxuating in the 3's. It needs to come down to .4 and he said that once her other liver enzymes begin to stabalize, then that will happen. Her AST liver enzymes that were in the 300's are now 52 and almost normal. I didn't realize how sick her liver really was! She was also holding 18 pounds of fluid that is now gone.

I continue to praise God for the miracle that her performed in my child. I also am so thankful and grateful to all the prayers that everyone has lifted up on her behalf. Continue to pray. She goes back to the doctor on the 22nd and hopefully that will be the final visit!


Monday, December 7, 2009

Now there stood by the cross....

"Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother..." (John 19:25)

The cross

Mary's baby
Fully God
Fully Man

His mother
highly favored
a virgin

There stood by the cross... His mother

Oh, Mary, did you know?

You would be highly favored and blessed among woman?

You would conceive of the Holy Spirit and bring forth a Son, Jesus?

That precious baby you birthed would the King of kings?

Mary, did you know that the angelic toddler you nurtured would one day be Lord of lords? 

That his first faltering steps would be the beginning of the walk to the cross?

That the little boy you watched grow in wisdom and stature would be the Savior of the world?

That your Son would perform miracles and wonders?

Mary, did you know that your precious child would be the deliverer for all?

That he would be betrayed, beaten, mocked and crucified?

Once, you stood by his cradle watching, rocking and filled with joy.

Then you stood by the cross watching, helpless and filled with pain.

How your heart must have been aching...

Your heart and Your Son.

Both wounded and bleeding.

Both betrayed and dying.

Both broken.

Your beloved Son... God's beloved Son..

Oh, Mary did you know?

That He would one day reign victorious? Seated at God's right Hand.

He is mighty to save.
God with us.

"Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother..."

"Jesus, I praise you for what you accomplished for me on the cross. I thank you for the sacrifice you made and the pain you bore. Thank you for loving me and becoming the redemption for my sins. I am so unworthy but I am ever so grateful. You are merciful and mighty. I praise you for who you are. I praise you for what you did. Thank you for salvation. Thank you for the cross."


Thank you for your continued prayers for Melissa.
 She is still very weak and very tired. She is still juandiced. We took her back today for blood work and hope to have results tomorrow. Her doctor called today to check on her. We will also go back Thursday for blood work and to see Dr. Parker.  He said this could take a month to get her completely back on her feet. We appreciate your ongoing prayers for her!


Thursday, December 3, 2009

There is no place like home!

"In my distress I cried to the LORD, and He heard me" (Psalm 120:1)

As I am sitting here tonight in my own house, on my own couch, I am looking at my daughter laying on the love seat and my heart is full of gratitude. There is definitely no place like home.

I am so thankful to my precious Savior that He showed her mercy this week. I am thankful that He showed her glorious love this week. I am thankful that He gave her a glimpse of His splendor and restored her health. I am so thankful that He reached down and touched her and healed her.

He showed up and showed Himself mighty. He showed up and bestowed marvelous grace on the life of my daughter. He showed up...

In the midst of the storm, as I cried out to Him, he heard me. He heard the cry of a hurting and frightened mother. He heard the cry of one of His children and was there. He gave me comfort and peace. He tucked me away in the cleft of the rock. He gave me strength when I thought I had no more. He gave me renewal when I thought I couldn't hang on. He covered me with His wing.

He gave me a Word. A Word that I gripped so tightly I still see the imprint of it on the palms of my hands. A Word that I want to be ever mindful of as I realize the magnitude of what He did for me and for Melissa. For all of us.

May I never forget what He did. May I never forget the miracle He performed.

I find myself tonight in a state of brokenness. I realize how unworthy I am of what He did for me. I realize how pitiful and wretched I am. I realize that He gave me what He didn't give Himself. The life of my child. That is a very humbling thought.

Precious Lord, I thank you so much for the healing that you ministered in Melissa this week. You have restored her and renewed her. You have brought her from sickness to health. You have delivered her from the enemy. You have surrounded her with your glory and your grace.

Lord, help me to live my life in a way that is pleasing only to You. Help me to walk worthy of Your calling. Help me to always seek Your presence. May I always be an instrument for your glory.

In the precious name of Your Son Jesus, Amen


Melissa was discharged today around noon. Her platelets were up to 119,000. Her bilirubin was 2.4 (he wanted it lower but was satisfied that it had gone down.) Her hemoglobin went from a 6 to an 8, so he was satisfied that it was on the upward swing as well. Her liver enzymes are still high and she is still very swollen, but he is confident that it will continue to go down as she continues to heal.

She has 2 appointments next week for more blood work and to see the doctor. All four doctors who were part of her case came to see her before she left. They were all so nice and hugged her and were so happy that she was doing so well.

She is very weak and very tired. She has about a month of recovery ahead of her. I am watching her like a hawk!

Thank you so much for being such great prayer warriors and friends. I felt the prayers and the love so much! Keep praying that she continues to heal and regain her strength.

In Him,


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

He just continues to Pour out Healing!

"Ah, Lord GOD! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for You." (Jeremiah 32:17)

This is the face of a happy girl. She had her 2nd dose  of 4 Malarone pills last night and other than nausea, she had no other problems. She will get her final 4 pills tonight and then her blood work in the morning.

The Lord has just continued to pour his blessings out to us and we just continue to stand amazed at His goodness. Dr. P came by with her blood work results from this morning. Dr. W from the trauma ER room came up to check on her today as well.

Ready for some awesome, amazing, wonderful news? You want to see how the power of God and prayer has just worked mightily in the life of my precious daughter?

* Liver enzymes down to the double digits (previously in the triple digits)

* Billirubin down to 2.9 (from 16 originally)

*Platelets up to 91,000! (a far cry better than 11,000)

* Blood smear that shows number of parasites in the red blood cells? Zero! You read that right. There are no parasites present in her red blood cells. None!

Today she is resting better. She still has an excrutiating headache and they are supposed to finally give her something for it since her numbers are headed in the right direction. She has had lots of nausea today, but is doing so much better.

The doctor said when her billirubin comes down to in the "1's", then she can go home as long as all the other numbers are still holding good. We are hoping that the blood work in the morning will show this so we can leave this place and go home!

The Lord continues to show Himself mighty. He continues to hold us close. He continues to bring healing and restoration. We just give Him all the praise and glory for what He has done in Melissa's body. We exalt Him for His majesty and His love! He is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. He is our all in all. He is God.

"You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world." (1 John 4:4)

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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

He was There.

"No weapon formed against you shall prosper..." (Isaiah 54:17)

Melissa had a pretty good day yesterday. She was laughing and talking a little and even ate a little lunch. We had a pretty peaceful and uneventful day.

Around 5 PM she received her 4th and final dose of Artesunate. They brought it early so they could give her the first round of Malarone 4 hours from that point. Thus began the downhill slide. Nausea, vomiting, fever, chills and pain.

By 8PM she was hurting in her upper stomach feeling a lot more pressure than she had been. The liver and spleen are pushing against the ribcage and causing discomfort and she was afraid it was worse. She got really scared thinking something was wrong.

The nurse sumoned the on-call doctor and he came down in about 10 minutes. Not impressed with him. Not even mildly. He was rude, uninformed, and immediately said the wrong thing to this mother and her 23 year old daughter.

"A famous cardiologist went on a hunting trip to Cameroon and got malaria and died" is what he said. I looked at him and said, "Well, thanks for that..."

The nurse look horrified that he would even say that. Then he wanted to know all about who diagnosed her and all and didn't really get to the point of the problem. The nurse helped explain things better when he left. Apparently since the hemoglobin was down, it can cause the cells in the liver and spleen to swell a little more. But she assured us that she was OK. It is a vicious cycle right now. But she did help us feel better.

At 9PM they gave her the starter dose of Malarone which consisted of 4 pills. She will take 1 pill tonight and 1 more pill Wednesday night and hopefully go home Thursday or Friday. If her numbers keep going in the right direction.

Almost immediately after the dose of Malarone, she began vomiting and Melissa's spirits plummetted quickly. For the next 3 hours I had to pray, quote scripture, sing, rub her back and rub her arm.

I had her close her eyes and told her to picture Jesus at the head of her bed reaching down and touching her.

Reaching down and breathing healing into her body.

Reaching down and breathing new life into her spirit.

I could feel Him. He was there.

I began singing softly. "He is here, hallelujah. He is here, Amen. He is here holy, holy. I will bless His name again. He is here, listen closely. Hear Him calling out your name. He is here. You can touch Him. You will never be the same."

I text my friend and had her sing with me. Melissa fell into a peaceful sleep for awhile. I was afraid to stop or even move. So I sat and sang and sang and sang..... And the tears flowed.

I felt Him. I welcomed Him. I leaned back against Him and I melted in His embrace.

When Melissa woke this morning, she thanked me for stroking her head. I told her it wasn't me, but her Savior.....

Once again, He covered us. Once again, He tucked us safely in the cleft of the rock.

Praise you sweet Jesus. I love you ever so much.

Update for this morning -

**Liver counts a little higher (but not to worry says Dr. P)
**Platelets ??? 51,000!!! Yes - they are steady coming up and that is a good thing! Dr. P teased her and told her she was getting way too many... ha! only 74,000 to go!
**Potassium low - so she got a wonderful and tasty potassium cocktail which promptly made her sick....
** We are out of ICU! Yes! She is in her own room! Thank you Jesus!

She is resting well this morning. A little nausea and very weak, but in good spirits. Nothing like a touch from Jesus to perk you up!

Thank you so much for the prayers!


Monday, November 30, 2009

Clutching a Word from My Lord

"For I will restore health to you and heal you of your wounds, says the Lord" (Jeremiah 30:17)

I came across this verse last night several times in several different places. I felt the Lord speaking that particular Word to me - for Melissa.

I quickly grabbed hold of it and clutched it tightly to my heart - almost willing it to penetrate deeply and permanently in my soul.

Craving a Word from my Savior, I received this one and ran like the wind with it. Almost afraid it would get away. Wanting to keep it in my grip. Wanting to tuck it away safe and secure. My Word from My Lord.

These last few days have found me waiting, watching and wondering.

Yet they have found God working.

I've been fearful..

He's been faithful.

As I've been seeking comfort and searching His Word...

I've found Him.

Or maybe He found me.

When I am afraid, I need to trust. When I am uncertain, I need to believe. When I am doubting, I need to repent. When I can't, I need to remember He can.

I clutch the promise of His Word firmly and bury it deep in the confines of my heart.  Holding it close. Resting in it's deep assurance. Relaxing in His presence.

Taking hold of the glorious gift he offers. Jesus. I just keep hanging on to Jesus. Ready for the restoration and healing that I know is coming.

Update: Melissa was sick through the night and began running fever. It rose above 101 around 5 AM and they packed her in ice. It hasn't gone down much, but it hasn't gotten any higher. Praise Him for that! Her color is much better! Her eyes are losing that beautiful golden tint - Ha!

Ready for the good news???? Her platelets went from 11,000 to 22,000!!! Oh, praise God!! He is so good!!! We are still about 100,000 short, but we are headed in the right direction. I know that He gave me that Word last night about her healing. I cried out yesterday and said, "Lord, I just need to see her numbers rise - just a little!" He granted me this glimpse of His splendor. He granted me this glimpse of His glory and His might. I give Him all praise and glory and honor! He is SO good.

She gets her last dose of Artesunate tonight at 8 PM. Then she will start oral meds tomorrow. Hopefully if her platelets keep rising, she will move out of ICU to a regular room! The nurses told her she has the sweetest spirit and I told them it was just the Lord in her. May He be glorified in her life.

Thank you for your prayers. We can feel each and every one. You just can't imagine how it lifts my spirits to see you praying and to read all the scriptures you send me. I am writing each one down!

In His Grip and

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Melissa - a miracle in the making.

"But indeed for this purpose I have raised you up, that I may show my power in you and that My name may be declared in all the earth" (Exodus 9:16)

Surely, the Lord has a purpose for my precious daughter. I know that He didn't call her to the mission field so the enemy could strike her down. He called her so that His name could be exalted above all names. He called her so that He could show Himself mighty in her life. He called her that she might be strengthened in His love and made a purposeful and passionate woman of God.

He is taking her through the fire, but walking beside her. He is taking her through the rivers that won't overflow her. He is holding her, guiding her, carrying her and comforting her. She will emerge from this trial stronger and more passionate. She will emerge more confident and more caring. She will emerge renewed and restored.

Thank you precious Father, for the miracles you have performed in her life so far. Thank you for what you are doing in her life right now. Thank you for what You will do in her precious life in the future. You will raise her up and You will receive all the glory that You so richly deserve.

Melissa got her first dose of Artesunate last night around 8 PM. She had no adverse reaction. This was the first of 4 doses she will receive of this IV push medicine and then she will start on an oral medication for 3 days (not sure of the name yet). They got the results of her blood work from last night back and her platelets are down to 11,000. Of course, I had a look of pure panic on my face, but Dr. P assured me that he wasn't worried. He told me NOT to worry. He told me if he was worried, that he would tell me. He said that she would not begin to make more platelets until her liver begins to heal. He did say her billirubin was down to a 10, so that is a GOOD thing. Melissa also says that she doesn't feel as much pressure under her ribcage so maybe that is an indicator that the swelling in her liver and spleen is down.

The nurse came to the ICU waiting room to get me at 6:30 this morning. Melissa had quickly spiked a fever of 105 and they were putting her on the electric water cooling blanket. It took an hour to bring her fever down to 104.5. Another hour and a half to get it to 103.3. It finally came down to 101.2 about 10:45 am and they turned it off. Within 5 minutes, it was back up to 101.5 and they had to turn it back on. It was several hours before it came down to under 100 and so far it hasn't gone back up. She had her first temperature under 99 around 8 PM! Praise the Lord! He is mighty and awesome.

God has shown me so many times these last few days just how wonderful He is. He has shown me just how mighty and powerful He is. He has shown me that He will never leave me. Never forsake me. Never take His hand of love off of me.

He has carried me. He has covered me. He has shown me that Melissa is His baby. Melissa is His creation. As much love and care He showed when He formed her, He shows just as much love and care now as He takes care of her.

We are still just playing the waiting game. The doctors aren't sure when we can expect to begin seeing improvement in her numbers. This is uncharted territory for all involved. If I stop and think about it too much, I can really get myself worked up and then the tears just come. I have to remind myself that God is in control. He already knows the outcome. He already knows what tomorrow holds. I don't have to worry about any of it, because He has it taken care of. All I have to do is trust Him.

She received dose #3 around 8 PM tonight and will get the 4th and final dose of Artesunate at  8PM tomorrow night. They are drawing blood every 6 hours checking her levels. I am just anxiously awaiting the good news of her increased platelets and her decreased billirubin. I am believing God that it will happen soon. I am holding on to His Word. I am holding on to Him.

 Please continue to pray! I appreciate each one of you more than you can ever imagine. Melissa says thank you for praying! We love you all so much.

In His Grip, Beth

(Her temperature was 104 at 8:30 am)

Ashlie came to visit and brought Bryton....

And little Sawyer...


Saturday, November 28, 2009

Melissa.. Malaria... My God the Healer.

“Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails” (Proverbs 19:21)

Where Melissa is at right now, is certainly not listed in her plans. She is currently settling into a hospital bed in ICU. Since returning from Africa 10 days ago, she was feeling OK for about 6 days and then has had several days of running fever and having some intestinal issues and just getting weaker and feeling worse. So, yesterday I took her to the ER in our small town.

After 5 hours and lots of blood work and consults, the doctor in Oak Grove was 99% sure that she had ‘complicated or severe Malaria’. The doctor on call is from the Philippines and is familiar with Malaria, which is a good thing. By looking at the blood smear, she was pretty certain that’s what she had. That along with the enlarged liver, high billirubin, enlarged spleen and a very low platelet count (25,000 at that time) helped her to confirm the diagnosis. Our little small town hospital couldn’t keep her because of the platelet issue, so they transferred her by ambulance to a hospital in Monroe (60 miles from our town).

We arrived about 7:00 PM last night and spent all night in the trauma room waiting for a bed in ICU. We were in the ER trauma room until about 3 PM today, when we finally got word that a bed was available. She got no rest last night. WE got no rest last night. Her fever kept spiking - at times to 104. They are having a hard time with fever reduction due to these facts. The Motrin can cause bleeding, which with her low platelet count (now 19,000), would NOT be good. The Tylenol is hard on her liver so that isn’t an option either.

They have definitely diagnosed the malaria and I think have correctly identified the strain. They have been unable to find Quinidine which is an old medicine - they have looked all around this area. There is another medication available, but it is not as effective and since she has the extreme complications, they don’t want to go that route. They have started her on Doxicycline for the time being, just to help while they are waiting for the good stuff to come.

She has an extremely bad headache. She has severe aching all over. She is nauseated. She can't eat. She has a hard time resting. She feels terrible. I feel terrible. There is nothing I can do but hold her hand and brush her hair and talk to her. Pray with her. Try and make her laugh. Try and keep her from crying. Try and keep ME from crying.

They have been in touch with CDC hoping to secure the medicine from them. We just got word that the medicine they found, Artesunate, is on the way now. It is in the air on a Delta flight from Atlanta and will land in a few minutes at the Monroe airport. The pharmacist will pick it up and she will get her first dose in about an hour. Everyone at the hospital is very intrigued by her case. Several nurses have gone down to look at the slides of the parasites on the blood smear. She is the talk of the hospital. I can hear people talking about it all night and all day…. Not sure that is a good thing.. Everyone that comes in asks, "are you the girl with Malaria?"

The medicine they found has not been used in the US. It has been used in India, Africa and other parts of the world. It is not yet approved by the FDA for use here, but Melissa agreed to be part of a clinical trial. She had NO other recourse. They couldn't find enough of the Quinidine to even administer 1 dose. It is a little scary. The side effects aren't so great. The alternative isn't so great either. There are no guarantees. But I do know that we prayed about it and left it in the Lord's hands and this is what He ordered. We are OK with it. God is in control. He is on the Throne and her daddy and I fully trust that He knows best for Melissa. As much as we love her, we know that He loves her even more..

I wish she was anywhere but here. I wish that I could make this all go away. I hate watching her hurt and be afraid. I hate seeing the fear in her eyes. I hate seeing the pain on her face.

I am leaning heavily on my sweet Lord. He is upholding me and sustaining me. He is the one whom I put my trust. He is the one whom I find my rest. I am so thankful for a God who loves and who protects. Who lifts up and strengthens. Who covers and carries.

I know that regardless of the circumstances, He is here with me. He is here with Melissa. I feel His presence. I feel His touch. I feel His love. Without Him, I would be a total basket case. Instead I am just a little basket case... Just kidding... Sorta...

We covet your prayers, and I will keep you updated. Please pray for the medicine to be effective. For her platelets to rise. For her liver and spleen to heal. For there to be no serious side effects.

Love you all SO much,


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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Do we Reverence the Sanctuary?

"You shall keep my Sabbaths and reverence My Sanctuary: I am the Lord"
(Leviticus 26:2)

reverence (def.) - a feeling of profound awe and respect.

Do we reverence the Sanctuary?

When we approach the sanctuary, are we filled with an overwhelming sense of awe? Are we humbled beyond belief with a deep respect for the House of God?

Or do we approach it without much of a thought at all. We just pull open the doors and walk in and begin talking with everyone we meet and then just saunter off to Sunday School in a totally irreverent state of mind. Chatting with friends along the way. Just boppin' along without a care or thought. Not really fully aware of what we are doing. Just walking by habit to the same room. Same people. Same routine...

Has church become just another routine? Something we just DO and we forget to stop and think about why we do it?

When we enter into the House of God. When we walk in the doors, we are entering into a place that is designated for the worship of our almighty Lord. We are entering the blessed and holy sanctuary of God. We are entering a place where we will meet with God.

As we walk through the doors, a HUGE sense of awe and respect should overpower us. A sense of abundant thankfulness. A sense of honor and humility. We should sense His presence and be blown away.

In reality, the first place that ought to draw us is the altar. The altar of God. Where we give thanks. Seek direction. Search our hearts. Cry out. Draw in. Praise. Worship. The altar of our Lord.

Once we have prepared our heart, then we would be fully ready and available for the Holy Spirit to move mightily. We would be soaked in the realization that we are in the Holy Sanctuary of God. We are truly in His presence. We have come to meet with Him and He is here!

What a privilege to be in the House of the Lord.

What an honor to be able to worship freely.

What a blessing to have a church house to gather in.

Precious Father, help me to never again take the awesome privilege of worship for granted. Help me to approach the church and sanctuary with a new respect and a new sense of awe. Help me to fully comprehend that when I walk through those doors, I am walking into Holy Ground. Your House. Your Sanctuary. Your Holy temple.

Thank you, Lord for the ability and freedom to worship. Thank you for your church. You are awesome and amazing. You are mighty and powerful. You fill me with wonder and delight. I love you sweet Lord. I honor and adore you. May I always reverence Your Sanctuary. In the sweet name of your precious Son, Jesus. Amen.


Monday, November 23, 2009

Happy 7th Birthday, Mikaela!!

"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above...." (James 1:17)

Happy 7th Birthday, Mikaela!!

How can it be that 7 years has passed since we welcomed you into this world? It seems like only yesterday, we were eagerly awaiting your arrival.  Anticipating nervously and excitedly. Not knowing how I could actually be watching my first baby have her first baby. Not really knowing what it would be like to become a grandparent. Not fully understanding how I would feel once you were born.

And then there you were. You emerged and I was in love. Instantly...Fully... Wonderously in love with a 7 pound 10 ounce little bundle of sweetness. An angelic, precious, beautiful baby girl. I could barely comprehend what had taken place.

You had just initiated me into the awesome world of being a grandparent. A world that I never dreamed would be so amazing and rewarding. I was thrust into "Nanahood" and never has there been a more perfect fit. I think I was born to be a grandmother! Thank you, Mikaela for that.

You have grown from a tiny little baby into an amazing young girl. You have the sweetest little spirit. You love people. You are a giver, even at such a young age. You have a heart that just shines for Jesus! You gave Him your heart 5 months ago. I give God all the Glory for that!

Your smile lights up the room. Your giggle is like music to my ears. I love to hear you sing for the Lord. I love to see you care for your little brother and sister. I love how you help your mommy because you love her so. I love to hear you tell your daddy you love him. I love your hugs and kisses. I love you.

Mikaela - You have brightened up my very existence. You have made me and your Papa so proud! We love you. We cherish you.  We are proud to have you call us Nana and Papa.

Happy 7th Birthday, my little Ladybug!

Her proud and very blessed parents - Megan and Rod.

Little brother Eli and baby sister Mercie

Her cousins Bryton and Sawyer were surprise guests. They arrived from Colorado without telling anyone they were coming! This Nana was overjoyed!

God has certainly blessed me. I give Him all the praise and honor due Him.


Friday, November 20, 2009

Self-sufficient or God-dependent?

"I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot" (Revelation 3:15)

The sin of self-sufficiency can reek havoc in the lives of Christians. We can allow ourselves to become so comfortable in our own selves and circumstances that we can forget how much we need Jesus.

We can become so accustomed to our own 'affluency' that we tend to convince ourselves that we accomplished these things on our own. Too many times it takes a God-ordained crisis in our life to jerk our focus off of ourselves and back on to Jesus.

Sinful pride can rear its ugly head in the blink of an eye. "Look what I did" can be part of our daily vocabulary instead of "look what the Lord has done".

It is so easy to cloak ourselves with a false sense of security. We wrap it around us like a cozy blanket and snuggle up in the warmth and comfort it provides. We snuggle in the security of our jobs. Our family. Our health. We snuggle ourselves right into the lukewarm lifestyle that prevents us from passionately pursuing God and righteousness.

We can become content in what WE have accomplished instead of seeking what HE wants to accomplish through us.

Our consuming fire for Christ becomes a smoldering ember at best.

The Laodicean believers had become lukewarm. They had become comfortable in their own wealth and blinded to the actual state of their wretchedness. God told them to open their eyes that they might see. He called them to repentance.

He is doing the same for us. Our security doesn't lie with our jobs, family, friends, church or our health. Our security is solely in the hands of God. He is our sufficiency. We are affluent with the grace and mercy of our Lord and Savior. He is calling us to be a consuming fire for Him.

He is calling us to get out of the lukewarmness of our lives and be hot. Put our total trust in Him. Give Him control over our lives. Turn our self-sufficiency into God-dependency and allow Him to work His way in us.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Melissa is Home!

Melissa's last few days in Africa. Time spent at the hospital and at the clinic.

Arriving at the airport. Her plane was supposed to be on time. Showing on time. NOT on time. She was almost an hour late. At 5:00 I was getting anxious. Made for a little bit of a nervous wait. I was getting quite restless. But finally at 5:25, they landed.

I was so glad to see Melissa get off the plane. She was wearing the typical muslim dress that she had to wear while in Cameroon. I thought she looked adorable. We loaded up and she was soon sleeping peacefully for the 3 1/2 hour ride home.

Thank you, Jesus that my sweet girl is home. Thank you, Jesus for covering her. For protecting her. For growing her. For loving her. Thank you for everything you do for me. My girl is home.


Monday, November 16, 2009

Echoes and Whispers of His Presence

Coming into God's presence.

Pouring out my heart. Searching the scriptures. Seeking direction for our prayer time.

Interceding on behalf of those in need of healing, restoration, a touch.

Listening to God speak to us individually and collectively. Being a unified body of Christ.

Seeing where we have been and where we are going.

Deep calls unto deep.

The more I learn, the more knowledge I desire.

The more I seek, the deeper I want to go.

The more I find, the more I want to search.

The closer I get to Jesus, the closer I desire to be.

Oh, to be in His Presence.

Where there is peaceful exhilaration, comfort and joy.

Where the quiet speaks. Where the deep beckons. Where I feel His touch and sense His Spirit.

God, You have enlightened my understanding and opened my eyes to such awesome Truths.

You have revealed my chains of bondage and caused my soul to tremble.

Shame threatens to blanket my being with an overwhelming sense of failure.

Yet... the Sanctuary resounds with echoes of Mercy and whispers of Grace.

From my inner depths there emerges the victorious shout of an overcomer. Joy bubbles forth. Humility bows low.

I feast on His Word. I savor it's sweetness. I know He is good.

I come into His Presence.

Friday, November 13, 2009

And we are changed...

The purpose of God's discipline is changed behavior.

Ouch.. that truth hurts. There have been many times when God has chastened and disciplined my sweet little self and guess what?

My behavior did NOT change. You know why? Because I didn't really heed the discipline. I didn't really take to heart what the Lord was teaching me. Sad, but oh, so true.

There have been times that I knew without a shadow of a doubt, that God was speaking to me about a needed change on my part. A change of behavior.

I even whole heartedly agreed with Him that I need to make a change. It was something that I had been wrestling with myself about already. I had recognized that when it came to this particular emotion I was feeling - I was wrong. Plain and simple.

I knew I was wrong. I knew I needed to do something about it. I even went so far as to confess it and ask God to forgive me for it.

But that's right where it stopped. I didn't carry it one step further. I failed to get to the root of the problem and dig it up. I dealt with it at the surface level and left the roots in the ground, ready to spring up at the slightest watering. My behavior hadn't changed at all. Not one bit.

I wasn't willing to totally relinquish control of that problem to God. I was more consumed with my desire than I was with the Lord's. I was steadily convincing myself that I was justified in my thinking. I was at an impasse with God. Therefore, I would never truly experience true spiritual transformation until I gave Him complete control over that area.

I had failed to recognize the encounter I had with God. The encounter where He was gently guiding me to do what was right. To do what He was leading. To do His will.

I was just allowing myself to continue in that wrong attitude - allowing the chains of bondage to suck a little tighter around me!

It wasn't until I allowed the truth to penetrate deeply in my soul that I faced it squarely and honestly. I had to give it over and let go of it completely. Be submissive to God.

I am not really sure why I chose to hang on to that which threatened to keep me from going forward with God. Perhaps pride. Rebellion. No matter what the reason - it was plain 'ole disobedience.

I am thankful that God is patient and loving. He extended mercy to me. He ever so gently led me to the foot of the cross where I laid that behavior at His Feet.  And I left it there. Never to pick it up again. Praise you, Jesus.

"Commit your works to the Lord, and your thoughts will be established" (Proverbs 16:3)