Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The Path of Surrender - Dinner #78

SURRENDER . . . Submitting to the Lord Jesus for His honor and glory.  Giving to God a little more of your life.  Learning to give Him your moments and your days.  LETTING Him be Lord.  LETTING Him direct your steps.  If you’re under conviction, it’s about going down to the altar, or lowering your head and your heart in the pew, as soon as that invitation is given.  It’s about doing that task that God impressed upon your heart to do – writing that letter, baking that meal, giving that tract.  It’s about constantly telling the Holy Spirit “yes”,
even if sometimes in your human nature, you’re inclined to say “no”. “Yes, Lord, yes, and yes, and yes, once more.”

Do we daily SURRENDER that day to Him? We have no way of knowing if that one day might be our last.  Are we seeking to glorify God with the time He has given to us?  One very overwhelmed evening, in college, I was speaking with a godly lady from India, after a church service.  I was explaining to her about how swamped I was with projects, and assignments, and upcoming tests, and she told me a valuable lesson I have never forgotten.  “Every morning, when you wake up, give to God your day.  Pray, and ask Him to help you do only what HE wants you to do in that day – what HE wants you to accomplish.” That helped me in college, it helped me in my days of teaching in a Christian school, it helps me now in motherhood  . . . “Please help me Lord to do what YOU want me to do today.  I surrender THIS DAY to you.”  Because if you turn your moments, your hours, your days, over to the Lord, in so doing, you are surrendering to God your life.  You are allowing His Holy Spirit to lead you.  You are allowing GOD to be in charge.  Because WE might think it most important that we clean our house, that we get caught up on laundry, or that we mow the lawn.  I recently saw a devotional quote on Facebook that read: “Sometimes the interruption is the assignment.”  Sometimes that unexpected, that tends to frustrate or annoy, is exactly what God wanted in your day. Are you willing to say, “Yes, Lord!” when it comes?

Ephesians 2:10 declares, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”  Are we following the daily assignments that HE has for us?  Amid the changing diapers and the washing the dishes, are we pausing to write that encouraging letter to someone, or to make that meal for someone sick, when the Holy Spirit prompts us to?  Hebrews 3:13 says “But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day . . .” Don’t put it off . . . Don’t miss out on what God could do with your life!

I think this is an area of surrender, that we don’t often consider in our lives.  As a teenager, we might feel comfortable with giving Him “our life”, in general, but do we hand over to Him the days? Or the hours, even? 

The Bible speaks much about our day – about viewing our day through Heavenly eyes. 

Ephesians 5:16 advises us to make sure that we are “Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

And the book of Psalms, in particular, has one beautiful thought for us, after another:

Psalm 35:28 “And my tongue shall speak of thy righteousness and of thy praise all the day long.”

Psalm 71:8 “Let my mouth be filled with thy praise and with thy honour all the day.”

Psalm 145:2 “Every day will I bless thee; and I will praise thy name for ever and ever.”

Psalm 71:15 “My mouth shall shew forth thy righteousness and thy salvation all the day; for I know not the numbers thereof.”

Psalm 96:2 “Sing unto the LORD, bless his name; shew forth his salvation from day to day.”

Psalm 74:16 “The day is thine, the night also is thine . . .”

Psalm 90:12 “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.”

     You see, it isn’t about us – it isn’t about just dishes, and dusting, and grocery shopping.  Now those things ARE important – they ARE often a big part of our God-given role as a woman and as a homemaker.  But sometimes God would use our hands to complete some blessed task, or He would use our lips to pray some sincere prayer, or He would use our mind to think some creative idea, and we miss out, because we have not allowed Him to have full control of our day or of our lives. You may have been saved for decades, but if you haven’t been allowing Christ to be Lord in your life, I want to encourage you to let the Holy Spirit be in charge.  God’s will for our days is so much better than anything we could plan for ourselves!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Not Listening - Dinner #77

     After church, today, I took a photo of myself beside our van tire. Yep! You read that right! LOL! 

     You see, the devil has been trying to feed me his lies, all week.  “It would be more profitable for you to get a job than to homeschool your children.  You’ll never be able to pay your bills and save enough to be on deputation full-time.  You aren’t going to have enough gas to even make it to the next church meeting.  You’ve sold 1/3 of your furniture for nothing.  Your books are in boxes and your clothes are in suitcases for nothing.  You’ll never make it to Indonesia.  You’re wasting your time.  You’re not cut out for this.  If you DO finally get there, you’ll be too old to learn the language.  Your kids will succumb to every disease known to man.  Your marriage will fall apart.  You’ll fall flat on your face, and end up coming right back to the States.” Whew!  Does he ever want to hit us hard!  The spiritual warfare is REAL, My Friends!

     And when God sends me a sweet little “smile “ from Heaven, I’m going to rejoice in it! Even if it means bending down beside our van tire, and taking a photo.  Because, you know what, My Friends?  The Lord allowed me to discover something, today.  If you pull out your magnifying glass, you’ll see it, too. That tire of ours was “Made in Indonesia”! SMILE!  We are driving around on wheels that were made on the other side of the world, as we seek the prayer and the financial support we need to go there, ourselves! SMILE!  God is good! And He will get us there – for it is He that hath called us!  Psalm 57:2 “I will cry unto God most high; unto God that performeth all things for me.”

     The devil wants to battle our minds, and leave us too discouraged to take another step forward. He wants to leave me too fearful and “weary in well doing” (Galatians 6:9), to do anything more for God.  How easy it is to believe his lies!  But oh, how grateful I am that we serve a TRUSTWORTHY God! The Bible tells me, that “God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (II Timothy 1:7) That is His promise to me.  The Bible says, “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”  (Isaiah 41:10)  That is His promise to me. 

     This morning, as we sang the hymn “Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus”, the words reached into my soul:
“'Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to take Him at His Word
Just to rest upon His promise,
Just to know, "Thus saith the Lord!"
Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
How I've proved Him o'er and o'er
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
Oh, for grace to trust Him more!”

     When the devil fights us long and hard, God is there.  “And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.” (Psalm 9:10) “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God . . .” (Psalm 42:5) Satan is nothing but the “Father of Lies” (John 8:44), and by God’s grace, I’m not going to listen to him! I’m going to continue to place my faith and my hope in GOD! “In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God.  Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah.” (Psalm 62:7-8) Please make us strong, Dear God!  Please help us as we continue to “fight the good fight of faith” (I Timothy 6:12)!  Will you please continue praying for us, Dear Brethren In Christ?

Saturday, July 15, 2017

The Gift Of Summer - Dinner #76

     I headed back towards the tree line, in our yard, after I laid the girls down for their nap, this afternoon.  We had used their sand pails from the beach, to gather items from a little “nature walk”, and my oldest daughter, Brooklyn, had discovered a pretty wildflower, we wanted to identify. Of course, there were gnats, and bees, and other undesirable insects, but the sunshine felt wonderful.  Upon my “return journey” – flower photo now successfully on my phone, for future “Google research” – I thanked the Lord, once again, for this awesome summer. 

     Sometimes my heart still sinks at the realization that I have no newborn to care for, but the gift God has handed to me this summer is a “non-nursing” summer – a summer with four little toddlers, preschoolers, and school girls. This is the gift that God has chosen to give us this year, and I have opened it – embracing it to the fullest.  The Library’s Summer Reading Program . . . Every night of VBS . . .  “Summer Lessons” on flowers, water, baseball, and birds . . . Trips to the park . . . A children’s play. . . An afternoon picking wildflowers . . . Water balloons, birthday parties, river exploration, and even a day at the beach . . .

     With missionary candidate school now behind us, I realize, more than ever, that I will not always live in a house with a huge backyard at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains – but for now, we will ENJOY it!  We will love seeing the deer walking through the grass.  We will take our sand pails and fill them with items from our nature walks.  We will identify birds, and pick flowers to put in little cups of water on my kitchen counter. We will tend the little memorial garden for Joshua, and watch the seedlings burst into full bloom.  Later, we may be in a camper, or a trailer, or a hotel room, and, by God’s grace, I will ENJOY those days, too!  Determined to be thankful . . . Determined to embrace the gifts that God places in my hand . . . for He “daily loadeth us with benefits.” (Psalm 68:19).  Are we looking for them?  

     In Psalm 31, David writes “Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men!”  Being quite a petite woman, myself, I picture those blessings of goodness as wrapped presents on a top shelf.  God has “laid them up” for me, and I sometimes need to stand on a stool to reach them.  He has “laid up” so much goodness, and so many blessings for you, too, Dear Sister in Christ!  Are you reaching for them? Are you looking for them? Are you willing to see them, all around you, every day? When you open the “gift of summer”, in your own home, what do you find? Where has He intentionally placed YOU? May you thank Him for it, and embrace it with joy! 

     Is my life carefree? Absolutely not . . . There are more stresses and concerns now, than ever! More things to prepare, to plan, to ponder . . . I’m taking my children from a lovely little spot in the Shenandoah Valley, and headed towards 17,000 tropical islands on the other side of the world! We are changing the course of our lives forever, because GOD has changed it for us!  And there is JOY in serving Christ! There are blessings EVERY DAY! “For thy lovingkindness is before mine eyes: and I have walked in thy truth.” (Psalm 26:3) What “lovingkindness” from the Lord, do you have the eyes to see, in your own home, today? What blessings lay all around you? Healthy little ones? Food in the pantry? Air conditioning? A library, just around the corner? “I will sing unto the LORD, because he hath dealt bountifully with me.” (Psalm 13:6) My encouragement to you, this evening, is keep those blessings “before your eyes” – open those gifts – and ENJOY these blessed summer days!

Monday, May 1, 2017

This Mother's Day - Dinner #75

     Happy May 1st! Wow . . . When did that happen?!  I’ve been a pregnant Mama during so many Mays, in our marriage – but not this May.  This Mother’s Day, I won’t be feeling morning sickness, or experiencing the discomfort of Braxton Hicks, or finding myself only a week away from actual labor . . . I’ll be thanking God for my 4 little girls, and thinking fondly of my little boy in Heaven . . . I’ll be praying for God’s continued healing of my “Mommy heart”, and for more physical healing, as well . . .
     You learn so many things when you walk down the road of a 2nd. Trimester miscarriage . . . One is how very long it can take your body to “go back to normal” . . . It can be rather rough, rather painful, and rather emotional, as you face the sometimes daily reminders that your womb is empty.  Your heart may have healed SO much – you may have “come SO far” – but, physically, you’re still just “not there” yet . . .
     But God can give you grace, God can give you strength, and, sometimes, God can even take you to the other side of the world! Yes! We were ABLE to go to Indonesia! SMILE! And oh, what a blessed trip that was!  God truly “grew our heart”, and gave us His joy and His peace, in being there!  Now, here we are, back in the States, and ready to continue our training! Our week of “candidate school” is in June! And in the meantime, we’ve been working on everything from prayer card photos, to a video presentation script, and answering questions about our trip to Indonesia, in-between. SMILE!  We’ve been cuddling our girls, and making a special point about “family time”, while finishing goals for our homeschooling year, and thinking in the back of our minds about packing things up and selling certain pieces of furniture . . .  
     My heart is on “cloud 9”, and my heart is in a whirlwind, and, yet, “my heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed . . ..” Psalm 57:7
     This is certainly a time in our lives for letting Christ be all that we need, and for realizing He is enough!

Hebrews 13:5 “ . . . be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

   In a devotional I read, recently, a missionary wife said, “Sometimes we aren’t content because we look back to see what ‘we’re missing’.” It made me think about Lot’s wife, who was more concerned for what and who she’d left behind, than in fully obeying God. 

“ . . . look not behind thee . . .” (Gen. 19:17) “But his wife looked back . . .” (Gen. 19:26)

“And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:62)

     Do I worry about the future? Yes, I worry! But I pray I don’t “look back!”  By God’s grace, we keep moving forward.  By His grace, we persevere. My hope is in “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” (Hebrews 13:8)  And He is “all I need” . . . 

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Hopeful Thinking - Dinner #74

    In January, I found myself so often clinging to verses about healing, rest, and comfort.  In February, there were many verses on having hope and not fear.  Psalm 16:9 preciously linked the two, in my heart“ . . . my flesh also shall rest in hope.”  There can be many fears after a miscarriage, regarding future pregnancies.  There can be many fears concerning cutting-ties with a family’s income, and starting deputation.  There can be many fears about taking your little ones to the other side of the world.  But God’s Word reassures me that I can “Trust in him at all times . . . (and) pour out your heart before him . . .” (Psalm 62:8)  God knows my heart; He knows my fears.  Because of Christ, I can be counted as one “Who against hope believed in hope . . .” (Romans 4:18) Even when things seem doubtful, I need not fear. 

     Romans 15 has some powerful verses for an often-pessimistically- practical person, such as myself.  You see, sometimes “being realistic”, can be the enemy of “having faith” or “having hope”.  The Bible says,  “ . . . that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.  Now the God of patience and consolation . . . Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.”  He is the “God of patience and consolation” and “the God of hope”, and He wants ME to “abound in hope”!

     How do I come by such hope?  Do I muster it up within myself and just seek to become a more optimistic “it will all work out” kind of person?  No! Psalm 146:5 declares “Happy is he . . . whose hope is in the LORD his God.” My hope is founded in my Savior!  “ . . . that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope” (Romans 15:4) My hope is founded in the Word of God! “ . . . that ye may abound in hope through the power of the Holy Ghost.” (Romans 15:13) Such abounding hope comes through the power of God’s Holy Spirit! I cannot be thus hopeful on my own. 

     Acts 4:13 says, “ . . . and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.”  By my actions and my words, do my husband and my girls know that I’ve “been with Jesus”? Or do I live a life of fear and trepidation? Is there any kind of difference, when I emerge from my quiet time with God?  Have I left all fears aside, and emerged a more HOPEFUL person, because of WHO my hope is founded in?  “ . . . until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to every one that is to come.” (Psalm 71:18)  If we do this – trusting God for deputation, for future babies, for our finances, etc. – even our daughters may see God’s strength and His power in our lives. 

     In Psalm 71, David declares, “But I will hope continually . . .” Hope and not fear! This is a SPIRITUAL resolve! Not a mustered-up will-power, but a determination founded on the right things – God Himself, His Word, and the power of God’s Holy Spirit. 

     Thinking on these things, in recent months, I compiled a list before the Lord.  This is from my heart, Ladies.  This is my prayer:

·         I will hope that God will give us life and not loss . . .

·         I will hope that we will be safe on the road during deputation . . .

·         I will hope that we will raise the support to go to Indonesia . . .

·         I will hope that my blood sugar issues will not hinder us . . .

·         I will hope that we will still have homeschooling and parenting successes, while on the road . . .

·         I will hope that our children will make many friends all over the U.S. and the world . . .

·         I will hope that Brandon and I will stay romantic and fiercely in love, amid the challenges . . .

·         I will hope for strength in my weakness, peace in my fears, and victories on every side . . .

·         I will hope for good attitudes, gracious words, and God-given opportunities to be witnesses of God’s love and of His work in our lives . . .

·         I will hope that others will desire to love and reach Muslims, because of God’s call on our lives . . .

And most recently . . .

·         I will hope that the flu leaves our household very soon! SMILE!

With God’s help, “I will hope continually, and will yet praise . . . (Him) . . . more and more.”

And “I will go . . .” (71:15) I will go overseas with the Gospel of Christ, because my hope is in Jesus Christ!

“For thou art my hope, O LORD GOD: thou art my trust from my youth.” (71:5)

“ . . . God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty . . .” (I Corinthians 1:27)

“Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea . . .” (Psalm 46:2)

I WILL hope . . . I WILL go . . . I WILL NOT fear . . . Spiritual resolve and hopeful thinking . . .

We ALL need hope in our lives.  “Happy is he . . . whose hope is in the LORD his God.” (Psalm 146:5)

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Healing & Trusting

Ecclesiastes 3:4 tells us that there is “A time to weep . . . a time to mourn . . .”  It is hard to explain all that God has brought us through during the past six weeks . . . In some ways, these weeks have been some of the longest in my life . . . The ups and downs in spirit . . . Such waves of weeping and peace . . . Feeling strong, and then feeling weak . . .  But, as our Pastor preached on, New Year’s morning, our Lord has left us His Comforter!  (John 14:6) And how thankful we are, that He did!  Psalm 71:21 declares, “Thou shalt . . . comfort me on every side.” And how faithfully He has done that!  Through His Word, through the prayers of His people, through song . . . Psalm 147:3 “He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.”  This month of January has been a month of learning about God’s precious healing – a time like I have never known in any other stage of my life.  So many afternoons, I’ve sat on my bed, with my Bible, a hymnal, a journal, and a ladies’ devotional book, and felt God re-wrapping the bandages on my heart.

Isaiah 53:4 “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows . . .” My Lord KNOWS, and He CARES . . . Through the alternating gloom and sunlight, I can pray the words of the beautiful hymn, “When life’s dark maze I tread, And griefs around me spread, Be Thou my Guide; Bid darkness turn to day, Wipe sorrow’s tears away, Nor let me ever stray From Thee aside . . .”
Sometimes, I have been much weaker than I expected to be – both emotionally and physically.  But I try to say, along with the apostle Paul, “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities . . . for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” (II Cor. 12:10) I do thank God for these past several weeks in our home – even with cold viruses, and the like - snuggles and school with my girls; special projects and memories; being spiritually comforted, healed, and fed . . .
Even as our Healer, God knows best.  The Bible tells us, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.” (Isaiah 55:8)  This was my verse for Joshua, since the very first day we knew we were pregnant with him. In my human mind, despite our grieving and our physically recovering from a delivery of this kind, I thought we would be on a plane headed for Indonesia, come January or February – but that does not seem to be our Heavenly Father’s plan for us.
Psalm 143:10 “Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good . . .”

Psalm 145:9 “The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.”

Psalm 145:17 “The LORD is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works.”

Even when we do not understand . . .

Our support for this trip was raised in a remarkable amount of time. Brandon had an approval for all the vacation days he needed.  We were at a good point in our pregnancy for safely flying that distance, and everything appeared fine . . . But then we found out that God had wanted our little boy in Heaven with Him, and everything changed . . . As most of you now know, we found ourselves delivering him, shortly before Christmas.  It became necessary to cancel our original tickets, because three weeks later was not nearly enough time to recover for such an important flight, half-way around the world . . . Then we encountered the paperwork, and the phone calls, and the emails, as we tried to get things sorted out with our travel agency.  Our host missionary wife had to suddenly make an unexpected trip back to the States, for an unknown duration . . . And present world events began making it more unsafe to fly with certain airlines or to have lay-overs in certain countries . . . The emotional strain has been difficult.  Every time we’ve thought, “We can go!”, God has said “No!”, and every time we’ve thought, “We’re ready now!”, God has said “Wait!”  But the Lord is GOOD, and His “. . . tender mercies are over all his works.” Even when we do not understand . . .

Ecclesiastes 3:11 promises us, “He hath made everything beautiful in his time . . .”  God knows!  Perhaps, we will be on a plane, only a couple of months from now! Or, perhaps, we will have to wait until after missionary candidate school . . .  Or, perhaps . . . “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.”  We must surrender every detail to Him. 

Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

Even Joshua’s death . . . even our trip plans needing to be changed . . . ALL things – our verse for our wedding and our marriage still working itself out in our lives . . .

I have been reading through the book of Joshua in my Bible, this month, while thinking about the man of God we named our son after.  Joshua 1:13 says, “. . . The LORD your God hath given you rest, and hath given you this land.”  I believe with all my heart, that, just as God has been giving us His rest, He will also, one day, allow us to actually set foot in Indonesia. But it will be in GOD’S TIMING, and not our own . . . SMILE! 

When the Israelites came to the Jordan River, God gave them a dry path, right in the midst of it.  With water held back, on either side, they knew the path they should take, and it was dry and plain to them.  In the book of Psalms, David prayed, “Teach me thy way, O LORD, and lead me in a plain path.” (Psalm 27:11) This is where we currently are, My Friends – feeling God’s healing, finding God faithful, praying for feet that are ever-ready to step into “the brink of Jordan”, and waiting to see God continue to do wonderful things in our lives.  

We thank God for the encouraging prayers and words of His people – We thank God for EACH OF YOU! God Bless.

With Our Love in Christ,



Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Saying Goodbye - A Mother's Testimony

     There is so much about this type of grief that can’t be shared, but my heart longs to write . . . has always needed to write, during the emotional moments of my life.  What I CAN tell you is that the labor was long, and difficult, and tearful.  I can tell you that my husband was wonderful, and went through every step of this tragic journey with me.  I can tell you that people were praying for our family on every corner of the globe, and that we felt God’s Presence, His grace, and His strength, in a way we had never known before.  And on Friday morning, December 16th, 2016, Our Little Boy, Joshua David Kelley was delivered.  He was very small – his face not quite as fully developed as we had imagined – but his tiny legs, and knees, and feet, his arms and his hands, were precious.  Mommy kissed his feet several times before she told him “goodbye” . . . I kiss our Charlotte’s, now, and think about those sad kisses, every time.  How VERY grateful we were to God that we had our sweet girlies to come home to! Whenever they give us a hug or rub our backs, it heals us.  Whenever they smile, or giggle a contagious giggle, it heals us.  Whenever they ask a child’s question about the loss of our baby, or about heaven, it heals our hearts to answer them. 
     A Methodist church group in the area, evidently donates blankets to the hospital for sad deliveries such as ours, and we received a purple one.  It is a soft blanket, that, for now, still smells like the hospital.  The familiar smell and sounds of that floor made me weep when we first walked up to the registration desk, but now the smell of the hospital on that blanket brings me comfort.  I’ve been sleeping with it, lately . . . maybe to somehow help the Mommy heart that would have been snuggling a newborn . . . And we have the most precious wind chimes hanging in the kitchen – “Forever In Our Hearts” wind chimes that friends in college sent to us, after they learned of our sad news.  Joshua never made a sound, but those wind chimes do, and it, too, heals Mommy’s heart.
     On Sunday, I tried to rest the remainder of the day, but my heart craved the blessing of sitting in church and hearing the Christmas hymns being sung.  I was so thankful to be there with our family, even for just the morning service.  The girls wore their Christmas dresses – Jacqueline’s was a special sparkly present from Grammy & Grampa – and Charlotte got to ride in her new front-facing car seat for the first time. She must have felt like she was on the rocket ship from the “Little Einstein” shows, because she automatically began saying “pat-pat-pat-pat” for the take-off. J Even amid our grief, we smile and we laugh.  Only God can do that, Dear Friends!  I pray that none of you ever have to go through such a horribly dark tragedy as we walked through, this past week, but if you do, GOD IS THERE!  And you have no idea how beautiful those valleys can be, when He is by your side! 
     This past Wednesday night, I stayed at home and rested, in anticipation of labor the following day.  I’ll never forget how in the quiet peacefulness of those hours alone, I was able to listen to instrumental music and stitch a little blanket outfit to put on our baby.  The photo of it makes my heart smile.  It was what he was wearing when we said our sweet goodbyes.  Only God can make such moments beautiful.  From the delivery and the precious farewells, to all our memory-making for Little Joshua, to our hugs and family moments with our girls, and even anticipating a special Christmas – How we thank and praise the Lord for such unforgettable days!  He is our Rock and our Fortress, and He is good! Please always know that, Friends! We have been walking through the “valley of the shadow of death”, and God is here!  My husband and I are going through that valley together, and are becoming more in love with each other than ever before.  There is no anger in our grief – Our God is trustworthy! And how He sweetly sends His comfort our way! People from church have brought us meals and washed our dishes; have even offered to help us wrap our Christmas presents . . . I will never, ever forget this December . . . And that is why I desired so to write to you all, and to share . . .
     Psalm 145:2 declares, “Every day will I bless thee; and I will praise thy name for ever and ever.” Every day . . . not just the good ones . . . Even on the day your body refuses over and over again to accept the sorrowful fact that you are being forced to go into labor . . . Even on the day you hold a very tiny, lifeless body in your hands, and have to say “farewell” . . . Even on the day you come home from the hospital with no little newborn to cradle and kiss . . . EVERY day . . . Psalm 55:17 “Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice.”  No matter when the tears come, God is there.  He loves me so much that he even keeps every tear in a bottle (Psalm 56:8).  “ . . . yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast.”  (Psalm 57:1) He is the “God of all comfort” (II Corinthians 1:3).  Do you know my Sweet Savior?  Have you trusted Him to save your soul?  Romans 5:8 says, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”  He stretched out His arms, when He died on the cross for your sins and mine, and His arms are still open for you to run to, today.  Romans 10:9 promises us, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
     This peace that we know in our trial and our tragedy?  That isn’t something you can find in a medication, or in a counseling book, or even in the sweet reassurance of a friend.  Our peace comes from GOD, and YOU can know His peace, as well! His salvation “full and free” is available to ANYONE who calls upon Him in sweet, childlike faith.  I pray that if you know Him not, that you will trust in Jesus Christ, today! 
     Do you know why this Christmas Season can still be bright in our sorrow? Because I have not “lost” our Baby Boy . . . This Mommy knows exactly where to find him. J We shall see you again, Little One – because Heaven is our home.