Tuesday, September 25, 2012

a beautiful thing

"But God demonstrates His own love
for us in this: while we were still sinners,
Christ died for us"
(Romans 5:8)

As I glance back at the course of my life, I stand in complete awe of the generous grace that God has bestowed upon me time after time. He has reached down into pit after pit and pulled me up, setting me back on solid ground. And He always does it with such love and such sweetness. He never acts like He tires of it, but I know He does. I know it must frustrate Him, especially those times that He pulls me out of the same pit more than once. 

He has put the broken pieces of my life back together so many times, I wonder if the lines might begin to show on the outside where He has glued me together over and over. I wonder how in the world I can even stay intact. 

Only by His grace. And His tender mercy. And His unending love. Oh, how I love Him.

Only God can take all those broken pieces and turn them into a masterpiece.

Only God can hold those jagged pieces in His hands and see the beauty for which they were created.

Only God can cradle those broken pieces in love and then start the process of remolding them into something usable for His glory.

Broken pieces. Shards of my human frailty. A shattered life. The aftermath of trying to do this thing called life on my own. Trying to do things my way. Playing by my own set of rules.

It never works that way. I don't know how many times I have come to that realization only to fall back into the same trap and the same cycle of sin. Flesh takes over and I crumble once more. Crumble into a heap of broken pieces that seem unfixable. 

I am so thankful that I am a child of God's. That in my weakness, He is strong. In my failures, He is the victory. I am so thankful that He loved me before I was even born. And that He continues to love me now.

This Christian walk is a daily walk. It is a battle against our flesh day after day. We have to purpose in our hearts to follow Christ and obey His commands. Follow Him and walk in His ways.

Our focus has to stay on Him. Unwavering and steady. When we allow ourselves to be distracted by the world, we put ourselves in danger of stumbling. When we do stumble, the quicker we become aware of it, the quicker we can repent of it and seek forgiveness for it and get ourselves back on the right path with Him.

It is a gorgeous thing that God  can look at a handful of brokenness and see hands full of purpose. He gazes at the pieces in His Hands and sees beauty. He see wholeness. He see what we are on our way to becoming. What He purposed and crafted us for. He sees what He desires for us.

You see, our precious Lord is a restorer. A redeemer. Our Master Potter can mold us, even in our broken state, and form us into a beautiful vessel. One that can be used for His glory. And that is a beautiful thing indeed. 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

oh, how He loves

I can't even imagine living my life without my sweet Lord. I don't know how people make it through any given day if they don't have an intimate relationship with Jesus.  I depend upon Him for every breath that I draw and every step that I take. He is my strength. My rock. My refuge. He is my all in all and I love Him so.

When life gives us detours that we don't really care to go on, it is so comforting to have a Savior that will walk beside us as we are forced to veer off the path we thought was set before us. As we head off in a different direction than we had originally set our sights on, Christ is so gracious to walk that path right in front of us and lead the way. Even when I don't understand the detour, wherever He leads, I will follow. Even though it isn't the way we would have chosen to go, it is the right way because it is His way. 

The beauty about a relationship with Jesus is that He is always in control. Even in the midst of the storms of life, we can rest assured that He will be walking that road along side of us. Leading the way. Preparing the path. Giving us the strength that we need to climb those hills that seem to be lurking around every curve of the road. He is so good.

I love that He knows me so well. I love that when I cry out to Him, I can know He hears me. I love that when I wind up face-down on the carpet sobbing my eyes out to Him in my frustration of life's turmoil, I can feel His arms wrap me up and embrace me so lovingly. I can pour my heart out to Him and He cares. I can bare my soul to Him and He understands. 

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

I can be sure of His love for me. Oh, praise His Holy name for that! If I don't have anything in this world except the love of my Savior, I have enough. His love is everything to me. His love covers and protects. It embraces and it envelopes. His love is all-consuming and all-encompassing. 

I am so grateful that even in my wretched state, Jesus loves me. In my frail humanness, He is forgiving and kind. As I try so hard each day to live my life to be a sweet savor unto Him, I know that He is rooting for me and that He is bestowing grace upon me each step of the way. He is for me. I can feel it. 

I need Him so. Sometimes my need for Him gets pushed to the side and I get a little too confident in my own self. I daresay we all fall victim to that trap at one time or another. It is those times that God allows trials to come that cause us to fall on our faces in humility and repent of such foolishness. Without Him, I am nothing. I know that. I sometimes forget that. But He is so sweet to gently remind me of His Sovereignty and His Authority in my life. 

I don't ever want to travel this life's journey without Him beside me. As we journey together, I feel His presence and I draw strength from Him. Each breath I take is only because He has given it to me. As I put my faith and trust in His Word and in what I know to be true, I am humbly drawn to the foot of the cross. That is where I find comfort. And strength. And power. And love. That is where I find healing.  

"Who is he that overcometh the world, but
he that believeth that Jesus is the 
Son of God?" 
(1 John 5:5)

Thank you, Lord for the promises in your Word. Lord, I thank you for the healing that you have begun in my   sister's body. As we hold tight to our faith and we look not to evidences but only to the power of your spoken Word, give us strength and hope based on the authority of your scriptures. We praise you for the mighty work you are doing in her even now and we will give you all praise and all honor and all glory when the fruition of your mighty miracle in her life is made manifest. 

I love you my Jesus, with all of my heart and all of my strength and all of my might. You are my everything.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

taste and see

"Now that you have tasted that the Lord is good"
1 Peter 2:3 (NIV)

"If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious"
1 Peter 2:3 (KJV)


I love the word 'gracious'. It means merciful, kind, compassionate. I love that the KJV uses that word to describe my Lord, because my sweet Savior is so gracious to me. He has shown me so mercy and so much compassion in my life. He has graced me with immeasurable kindness over the course of my walk with Him. He is good. And I have tasted that goodness time and time again.

As I think about my close relationship with my daughters, I am so overwhelmed at the goodness of God. He has blessed me with precious girls whom I love with all my heart. And the depth of their love to me blesses me. It is so amazing to have grown daughters that want to be with their mother. I talk with each of them every day at least once but usually multiple times. I don't see Melissa often because she is living in Boston for this season in her life. When my other girls are home and not off working, we see each other almost every day. I consider them my very best friends and I am thankful to my Lord for gracing me with them.

As I think about my sweet mother, I am so thankful that she is the one God picked out especially to be my mom. I couldn't ask for a better mother. She loves me unconditionally. She always encourages. She always uplifts. She is never judgmental. I feel like I can tell her anything and I know that she will always be right there if I need her. For the past 18 years, she has fulfilled the role of both mother and father, since my precious daddy went home to be with Jesus. She has shown such strength and such grace since that time and I know that the Lord has been the one to do that through her. I am thankful to Him for gracing me with a fabulous mother.

I taste His goodness when I see my amazing grandbabies. Each one is so dear to me and each one fills my heart with such joy! I love being a Nana. It has been so fulfilling to me and has caused me to rejoice in that role over and over. I love being close to my sweet grandchildren and being able to be a big part of their lives. I love talking about the Lord with them. I love teaching them scriptures and hearing them recite the ones they are learning at home. I love reading bible stories to them when they spend the night, even when we read the same ones over and over again. I love saying the blessing multiple times at meals because they each want to say it. I love seeing the smiles on their faces even when those smiles are smudged with dirt and grime. I love getting hugs and kisses from them and I love to see the excitement on their faces when they see me drive up in their driveway. I love it when it is time for me to go home and they don't want me to leave. I just love them all so much and I am so thankful to God for gracing me with them all. He is so gracious.

I have tasted His goodness with the close relationship I have with my sister and my brother. I love them both so much. I am the only one in the family that doesn't live in Shreveport, so I feel out of the loop sometimes, but a simple phone call or text from them makes me feel right back in again. 

I have tasted His goodness these past few weeks as I have seen Him uphold my precious sister during her chemo treatments. He has made them bearable so far. He has protected her from serious illness. He has kept her fever from being high enough to demand an ER visit. He has filled her with Hope and is keeping her in the cleft of the Rock. He has carried her and he has shown Himself to her and He has been her strength and her shield. She has tasted His goodness and so therefore it graces me in abundance. 

I have tasted His goodness as He has so blessed me with a godly husband. He is my favorite preacher and I love spending time with Him. We go our separate ways a lot during the week as we go about our daily responsibilities, but when we make it home in the evenings, we enjoy each others company and he is always quick to take me to eat or even take me shopping if I ask him to. He is so good to me and has been good to me for 28 years. God has graced me with him and I am so thankful for that.

I have tasted His goodness this past week in the study of His Word. I have been blessed through the scriptures as I have found so many precious nuggets of truth in my searching these past few days. I love coming across a verse that I have read many times before and suddenly it is revealed to me in a new and fresh way.  Such grace for a thirsty spirit and such compassion for a hungry soul. 

God is gracious to those who love Him. He is so sweet and He is so gentle in His love for us. His compassion overwhelms me. His mercy astounds me. His sweetness amazes me. I have tasted and I have seen that the Lord is good.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

the Promise Maker

"As His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness,
through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue,
by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises..."
(2 Peter 1:3-4)


What is a promise? According to James MacDonald in his book Always True,' a promise is the assurance God gives His people so that they can walk by faith while they wait for Him to work'.

The waiting is hard. But thankfully our God has given us many promises in His Word that we can cling to and stand on and get assurance from during that difficult time. His promises are true. We can cherish them and we can believe them and we can hold fast to them as we wait for God to bring them to fruition in our lives. God's Word is always true.

We know His Word is true because we have experienced it. We have tasted His goodness. We have seen His mercy and grace in our lives time and time again. We can hold tight to His precious promises because we  know the Promise Maker and we know that He is Truth. Over and over in His Word, we see evidences of His promises holding fast to those He gave them too. We, too, can have those same assurances.

The more we seek Him, the more we will find Him. The more we find Him the more we will love Him. As we fall deeper and deeper in love with our Savior, the more we will dig deep into His Word. As we dig deep, we will discover promise after promise and we will be able to receive them and make them our own as our faith grows.

"Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God"
(Romans 10:17)

God's Word is real. It is imperative that we read it and study it so we can know it.  And once we know His Word, we can begin to stand on those promises and begin to experience His power. We can trust His sovereignty. We can lean on His authority. We can take our Lord at His Word. He is a promiser by nature and He keeps all of His promises. Praise you, Lord.

"What then shall we say to these things? If God is
for us, who can be against us?"
(Romans 8:31)

He is our Defender and our Helper.

"I will never leave you nor forsake you"
(Hebrews 13:5)

"Stand firm, and see the salvation of the LORD...
The LORD will fight for you, and you have
only to be silent"
(Exodus 14:13-14)

Our faith walk will only grow stronger as our faith is tested. Our relationship with Jesus will only get more intimate the more we seek to know Him. Our seeking sometimes is most evident  in our times of testing. God uses those times to teach us and to grow us and to make us like Him.

Several things we can know. Our God is faithful. His promises are true. He will never leave us nor forsake us. He will fight for us. 

As we wait for God to work in our lives, we can walk hand-in-hand with the Promise Maker and the Promise Keeper. If our God is for us, indeed, who can be against us...

Friday, September 7, 2012

No one fights alone!

(my beautiful sister waiting to begin her 2nd chemo treatment)

As I walked with my sister and my mom down the quiet halls of the hospital, the first stop was the lab. The lab admissions clerks already recognize her and soon will know her by name. Sobering. 

After she was finished with all the blood work, we headed to the cafeteria for a quick cup of coffee and a coke as we waited for her next appointment with her oncologist. Even as I type that word, it still surprises me. Catches me off guard a little bit and gives me a little bit of righteous anger... ha!

My morning had consisted of much time in prayer. It seems as if I talk to the Lord constantly these days. We have numerous conversations throughout the course of each day and I am consciously trying to spend much of that time in listening mode. I so desire to be 'quick to listen' as I am learning in my study of the book of James. Help me, Lord.

I depend upon the Lord for each breath I draw these days. Some mornings the reality of all this hits me like a cold and icy wind and I immediately call upon Him. He is so sweet. He quickly binds up  my wounds and applies His Healing balm to my spirit. He reminds me that He is God. That He is Sovereign. And that He cares. For me. For Cari. For my mama. For us all. He cares. Thank you, Lord for that.

This morning was no different. Upon waking, I felt the dread of the day surface. Dread of facing some things that I had thus far been able to keep myself distanced from. Dread of acknowledging certain facts of this journey we are on.  And as I reached for His Word and opened the sacred pages of scripture, He spoke.

"Therefore I will look unto the Lord; I will wait for the God 
of my salvation; my God will hear me"
(Micah 7:7)

He will hear me. My precious Savior gave me a Word that I so desperately needed. A timely Word that my heart required. His Word is always fresh. Hot off the pages, spoken by the Holy Breath of a very Holy God.

He is so good. He takes us from strength to strength. Gives us just what we need at just the right time. Enables us. Empowers us. Walks right beside us. Oh, yes, He is so good. 

Even as we embark on a journey that none of  us wants to go on, He is there. He has been our provision up until now and He will continue to be that in our lives. He has given strength to us in our weakness. He has given comfort to us in our pain. He has healed. He has restored. He has been our all-in-all.

As we head to the 7th floor to see her doctor, I can feel the tension begin to rise up within and I whisper a quick plea to God. I immediately feel His peace descend upon me. I steal a quick glance at my mom and I can tell that she is fighting the same demon and I pray for her as well. Every now and then I can see the anguish on her face as she watches her daughter for signs of pain and fatigue. I can't feel or know what she is going through, but as a mother to three precious girls, I can imagine it is heart wrenching. I know as a sister, it is extremely painful to see and acknowledge. And I can see that pain in my mama's eyes of  the reality of your child going through something that you can't put an end to. 

After the doctor does his thing, we head to the chemo/iv infusion area of the hospital and my sister is now getting her chemotherapy treatment. My heart hurts for her having to endure this, but I am so very thankful that she is able to receive it. I am so grateful that there is something that they can do to bring her into remission. I am also so thankful for the HOPE that I see etched on her face. He is our HOPE.

From the very beginning of the journey, God gave me several Words specifically for this trial. The first one was 'New Life'. I am clinging to that promise. I am trusting Him and believing Him for a HUGE work in her life. A huge healing. A huge restoring. A huge harvest that will come from the manifestation of His glory that is to come. The second Word he gave me was VICTORY. As I stood in for her during our healing service several weeks ago and was being prayed over by one of our deacons, the tears just being pouring down my face. I could feel His presence and the sweet whisper of God's voice said, "tell Cari to turn to the last page of her journal and write the word VICTORY'. Oh, yes, Lord, I will tell her! And I did. And she did...

I am holding fast and tight to the voice of God. I am believing for a miracle and I am clinging to His precious Word every day. He will give my sister the strength she needs to walk this walk. He will carry her from strength to strength. He will provide for her as He sees her in need. He will walk beside her and He will fight for her. Because in the Christian walk we are on, No one fights alone. Praise you Jesus!!

"The LORD your God, who is going before you,
will fight for you..."
(Deuteronomy 1:30)

(bracelets to support Multiple Myeloma that her office at Red Ball Oxygen purchased)

Saturday, September 1, 2012

digging deep

The deeper I go, the deeper I desire to go. To know. To seek.

Hungering for more.
  Searching the scriptures and devouring His Word.

Finding new truths and uncovering wonders.
New revelations.

Hidden in the glorious depths are treasures,
the very wonder of Him.

The voice of God speaks within my spirit.
A fresh Word.
Fresh Grace.
Fresh Mercy.
Fresh Truth.
Words that pierce hard and go deep.

As I read, I feel His tender care of me. He wraps me in His embrace. I feel His Holy Hands holding me in His eternal and secure grip.

Dwelling in the safety of His arms, I feel the power of His presence.

He cradles me gently. Tucks me under His wing and covers me. 

He blankets me with Love.
Love so amazing.
So undeserved. 
Yet so welcome. So needed. So cherished.

Seeking His glory.
Searching His Word.
Expecting His voice.
Encountering His presence.

Knowing without a shadow of a doubt that He is God.


Please continue to pray for my sister and drop by her site and encourage her.

Basking in the joy of grandchildren who are home for a little while before heading back off to work. Oh, how I love my sweet babies.

Sawyer and Bryton


Look who is 1 year old! Laylah Beth has grown up way too fast.

Cute pic of Mikaela and Mercie - sisters and friends.