Showing posts with label God Moments. Show all posts
Showing posts with label God Moments. Show all posts

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Red Hat

Several weeks ago, my older sister, Elli, shared this testimony with me. I asked her if she would be willing to share it with the readers of my blog, and I've been humbled and blessed by her transparency. I pray that it blesses you as well. 

The Red Hat

It was a normal day in mid-August when the doorbell rang. I was watching a movie and trying to soak up a tiny bit of mid-day pleasure towards the end of a summer that had turned out to be a grueling test.

This was the summer I felt my life unraveling, falling apart at the seams and fading into disrepair. It was a summer that forced me to make choices: between life and death, between lifting myself up out of the pile of self-loathing or staying there to drown in sorrow and disappointment, between doing the hard work of staying committed to my family or choosing to serve my own selfish whims and desires, between dwelling on a past full of missed opportunities or deciding to take hold of the possibilities tomorrow has to offer and push through the manure and mud, like a flower being birthed out of the soil.  

The choices were not made in one particular single moment, but after allowing myself several weeks of moments. Sometimes these moments included self-destructive behaviors and really ridiculous arguments with people I love the most. Other times I decided to walk for hours so I could have the space I needed for self-examination and an honest evaluation of who I was and who I wanted to be. 

In these moments, I realized that I hadn’t prayed in a very long time.

In fact, I hadn’t gone to church for most of the summer and when I was there, I insisted that we sit up in the balcony, where we could hide from all of those presumably happy people in the congregation. The dreaded question, “How are you?” would smack painfully across our cheeks if we drew near to anybody. 
I filled a seat in misery, mostly tuned out and feeling lost. 

I really wondered if anyone could see that in my eyes…and furthermore, I wondered where God was. Where was He as we thought our business was failing, as our bank account was being drained and we were struggling to keep our home and keep our children’s lives running normally? 

Where was He as I contemplated whether I would continue being a part of this household, this marriage or this life? Fear and anxiety had quietly filled up my soul over the months and now I doubted if God could really see me, if He was invested in my life. I had begun thinking those ideas were just the product of hype, produced by a flamboyant pastor and a room full of enthusiastic people. 

I believed that as part of the collective body of believers, He probably had my name written down somewhere, but was He interested in me personally? Did God truly hear my thoughts, know my dreams and sorrows, was He really even there? 

Somewhere, during these life challenges (which I know that everyone faces in some form), I had abandoned hope. Like a balloon that slowly, imperceptibly loses its air through a tiny hole, my desire to believe in myself and put forth the efforts that make a family thrive and make life valuable had quietly leaked out.

So, in those weeks of moments, I made a choice. I started to pray again, however feeble my attempts were. 

I asked God for a sign, proof that He really was there. If He really could see me and He really heard me, I wanted to know without a doubt that He was truly invested, and interested in my little life. This sign had to be specific, and unlikely; something that only I would think up and ask for. 

I figured that nothing should be too difficult for God, so I chose the most random thing to cross my mind: I asked for the sending of a RED HAT from my Aunt in California.

After several weeks, I had all but forgotten about the “test.”  

And that is when the UPS man unassumingly brought a box to my doorstep from my aunt in California. 

I let it sit next to me on the couch for quite some time before I began to open it. 

Slowly, I pulled out a can of Mauna Loa macadamia nuts, some gift wrapping supplies and ribbon, a package of cute cupcake papers and other miscellany. 

Then finally... I opened a large plastic bag and found it.  

A RED HAT! Just as I had requested.

God was real. He heard me and invested in my life. God chose me. He responded to ME!  

I still fear that people will think it a coincidence or just plain silly, so I share the story with few people, but I carry the hope gained by this event within me every day.

I share it every time I smile at my children or laugh with a friend, or love on my husband and think of our future together. 

I now know, that even in our times of failure, we are not alone; God is walking beside us. And I know this because God loved me enough to listen to my strange request. He greeted the prayers of a broken-down and hurting woman, with the gift of a RED HAT.


Thank you, Jesus, that we never, ever walk alone.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Multitudes on Monday... almost Tuesday

Jesus, today I am thankful 

15. For babies, who are no longer really babies, speaking words to me. Real words, real thoughts, but spoken with a little baby lisp. "Yeth, Mama, eat, eat!" 

16. For remembering suddenly to look into Little League and discovering that TONIGHT is the last night to register. Try-outs are tomorrow, and I didn't fail him. 

17. For the Jesus Storybook Bible on sale this weekend, which is ministering to me more than any sermon as I read it to my boys. 

18. For friends reading One Thousand Gifts alongside me. 

19. For changing my heart and giving me direction about where I'm supposed to be serving. 

20. For friends who have cows, and fresh milk

21. For homemade buttermilk made from that milk

22. For internet recipes 

23. For blog comments that make me laugh

24. For baby Brielle, whose name means 'God is my might' and sounds like a breath of heaven. Desperately missed. Her life was not in vain. 

Monday, February 28, 2011

Multitudes on Mondays~ One Thousand Gifts of Praise

You remember that scene from Office Space where he's sitting in his little cubicle and that lady walks by and says "Uh oh, looks like someone's got a case of the MONDAYS." 

I'm tired of having the Mondays. Of grumping and groaning and feeling discouraged because the merry-go-round is starting again. 

My friend Melissa recently turned me onto a blog that is new to me called "A Holy Experience," and all I can say is that reading it truly feels that way. Like my heart expanded just in the short time I was there. You know that full feeling you get when God breathes something into you, inflating you a little more, increasing your buoyancy so you can ride a little higher through life's waves? That is how her blog made me feel. 

She has inspired me to start conquering Mondays by marking it with moments of praise for all the things my Heavenly Father has done and is doing in my life. My 1000 gifts starts here.  

1. Blogs that bring meaning to my life, encouragement, and inspire me to stop walking my way through the race and to press on.

2. Parents who will come and stay the night at my house with my four little boybarians so J and I can attend a conference. 

3. Flowers in a vase

4. Snow swirling outside while I am safe and warm

5. The sound of my husband resting so deeply, I can hear him snoring down the hall

6. Playing a game with Haydn, and the smile on his face

7. Reading a story to Grey while he wraps himself around me like a lemur

8. Green paint in the bathroom

9. Tim Kimmel and Grace Based Parenting

10. Tapioca pudding

11. A counter full of dirty dishes, because we ate today

12. A three-year-old who managed to get his toothbrush stuck inside the motor of my treadmill. That took skill.

13. elderberry tonic for my little sickies

14. Water on dry ground. A trickle that wets the dust, becomes a stream, and carves the way for floods. I've been dry for a very long time. 

Were you afraid I'd post all 1000 today? Baby steps, my friends. If you want to be blessed, or to participate in Multitudes on Mondays, click the button at the top of this post. 

Happy Monday :)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Lesson Learned

As we coasted up to the stoplight, I noticed there was a man sitting on the curb holding a cardboard sign.

My first reaction wasn't very kind.

I was annoyed that no other cars were there to create a buffer between him and me.

I was uncomfortable because I wanted to read his sign but I didn't want to make eye contact with him.

I wasn't sure if my kids would notice him, but I hoped they wouldn't.

Then one of my sons asked, "Mom, why is that man sitting there?"

My oldest child, who I forgot can read, proceeded to interpret the sign for  everyone.

 "Out of Work. Need gas, and food. Anything helps." 

My stomach knotted a little bit as conviction set in, and I could see the wheels turning in their little minds.

"Mom, we should help him. Do we have any food?"

"No, boys, I don't have any food."

"Well, do you have any money?"

My boys were now looking at me expectantly. I sighed inwardly. I was sure the light would turn green any moment and let me off the hook.

It was the longest red light I've ever sat at. I finally realized it wasn't going to turn until I looked in my wallet.

Amazingly, I had six dollars.

The light was still red. No more excuses.

I rolled down the window and said, "Sir? I have some money for you." He had to run across two lanes to get to me, and his fingers were icy cold when he took the money.

I said "God bless you," and he went back to his spot. The light turned green.

As we drove away, my son said happily, "Mom, that was really fun helping the poor."

And that's when I realized, the lesson wasn't for my kids. It was for me.

"Jesus said, "Let the children come to me. Don't stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children." Matthew 19:14

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Testimony in Progress

It's hard to be a testimony in progress. It requires a lot of faith to share something you're struggling with and haven't yet found victory in. You have to have the faith to say "Even though I'm mired down in the middle of the bog, I'm believing that God knows the outcome of this situation and it's safe to give him the glory for it in advance." 

There was a time last spring where I was ungrateful, discontent and bitter. I was dissatisfied with my life and was closely examining every aspect of it, trying to figure out how I was going to fix it. I was praying for my marriage, but I was angry with God and my faith was lukewarm, so my prayers were almost a challenge. Sort of like "I don't think you can fix this, but you're welcome to try." I challenged Him while I was standing in the laundry room knee deep in dirt-encrusted blue jeans and stinky socks, and in that moment I heard God's still small voice speak very clearly. 

 He said "I am able to do exceedingly, abundantly, more than you ask or imagine." Eph 3:20

He said "come to me, all you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest." Matt 11:28

He said "you can do all things through Christ, for he gives you strength." Phil 4:13

He said "take captive every thought, and make it obedient to Christ." 2 Cor 10:5

Those words, and meeting with Godly women who allowed me to be transparent without judgement, is what set me free. 

This year I learned that my marriage is a gift, and when I treat it as anything less I become the bratty kid who tears open a present and then shrieks "This isn't what I wanted! You got it wrong; where's the receipt so I can return it?" 

Who am I to tell the God of the universe that He got anything wrong?

God's grace did a work in my heart, so now I am able to say, "This gift is absolutely perfect. I cherish it. I adore it. I will protect it, and never let it go." 

Last weekend some friends of ours blessed us with tickets to the Weekend to Remember marriage conference. We spent two days together, were blessed and encouraged, and came home to a spotless house courtesy of my mother. The conference really just confirmed in my heart the amazing work that God has done in me, and for me, in the last six months. 

The points that resonated the strongest for me were:
  • Marriage is not static. It is always moving, like water, and if couples are not intentionally moving toward oneness, their marriage will drift toward isolation. Some of the loneliest people in the world are married. 
  • Marriage is a living picture of the intimate relationship between Jesus Christ and His followers. No matter how bratty the bride, Jesus never threatens to with-hold his love or divorce her. I'm so very thankful for that!
  • You must receive your spouse as God's gift to you. Even the wrong choice in spouse can become the right choice as He brings all the resources of heaven to bear on your relationship. 
  • Respect is a choice to receive your husband in spite of his weaknesses. This choice empowers your husband to become the man God created him to be. In other words, I need to DUCK so that my fat head is not in the way when God is trying to impact my husband. 
  • Humility is the key that unlocks the floodgate of God's grace. "...God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble." James 4:6
If you need to get realigned with your spouse and put things back in perspective, I highly recommend A Weekend To Remember. They are held all over the country. I'm so grateful for the good friends who blessed us with tickets to it, and I look forward to praying about who we're supposed to buy tickets for next year so we can "pay it forward."

You know, the 'Fess Up Friday list is always easy for me, because I know how to laugh at myself. It's a lot harder to admit the things I'm really struggling with. But if there's anything I've learned from walking through the muck this year, it's that struggling in silence is the surest way to drown myself. 

"Therefore, make it your habit to confess your sins to one another and to pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective." James 5:16

I get it now. 

Monday, August 23, 2010

He Is Rest

When I wrote that last post I was feeling pretty discouraged and stressed. But, as one of you sweet girlies wrote in your comments, He is rest. When you cannot find it anywhere else, you can find your rest in Him. I've been meditating on these two verses, and they have really helped.

"From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I." Ps 61:2
"Then Jesus said, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28

This past week it was good to just take a step back, turn off the phone, close out my email, let the things that are truly important rise to the top and the others sift to the bottom, and talk some things out with Jesus.  I appreciate so very much your prayers and love. I felt it. My vay-cay is over and we are again chuggin' right along. I'm doing good, no worries!

But lest you think I was sitting around meditating all week, here's a quick recap:

We picked more strawberries and got them "put up."

I hired a neighbor girl to babysit for two glorious hours so I could escape to Goodwill, where I got some BIG THINGS which you will hear about in future posts, and some little things that thrilled my 

Jarrod and I attacked the nightmare that is our garage and got some random piles of crap stuff moved around. After I finish painting the BIG THINGS from Goodwill we will finish putting the rest of it away and get some cupboards installed for organizing. It's going to be glorious. 

We played in the sprinkler out front while Daddy worked in the garage.

Until one of the sprinkler heads blew off like the launching of a rocket and we had a geiser in the front yard. That sort of put an end to sprinkler time, and the shrieks were heard round the world. 

I had some good chats with Rowan at bedtime. His prayers usually involve spiders and/or potty gum. Nothing like the faith of a child to get things back in perspective.

I did some baking, because Banana Bran Muffins make everything better.

I followed my kids around with the camera and took some pictures that make me happy.

We escaped to the woods as a family yesterday, after going out to breakfast, and spent some time exploring.


Wow, you can get a lot done when you are resting. Love you guys!

Monday, August 16, 2010

I'm on Vay-Cay

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42but only one thing is needed.f Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:41

Hello, my name is Kira, and I'm a Martha. My heart is burdened by many things, some important, some not, and I am taking a little break from the blogging to sit at the feet of the One who can help me with it.

So, I won't be blogging this week, but I would appreciate if you would say a prayer for me if you think of it.

Thanks friends,


Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Guardian Angels

I had a scary experience last night. We were at a friends house for a BBQ and they have a large inflatable slide that has sprinklers at the top so it becomes a waterslide. All the kids were playing and the baby was toddling around on the grass. I saw the older kids dash to the other side of the yard and I watched Rowan walk over to the slide and try to climb up, but I didn't stop him because I figured he would just crawl up there and splash in the little bit of water at the bottom of the slide. I was talking with a friend and out of the corner of my eye I saw a weird splashing on the slide. I couldn't see Rowan though. My heart dropped and I raced over there to find him on his back, completely submerged in a pool of water that had gathered at the base. He couldn't turn himself over. I have this image seared on my brain of his blue eyes round with terror, looking at me from under the water and his little mouth opening and closing and his arms and legs flailing. I grabbed him up and hung him upside down and pounded on his little back. I don't know if that's the right thing to do or not but I couldn't think of anything else. It took about 12 seconds for him to finally take a breath and it was the longest 12 seconds of my life. 

He cried, I cried. I held his little body so tightly and the first thought I had was this verse from Matthew 18:10 that says "For I tell you that their (guardian) angels always see the face of my Father in heaven." All last night and this morning when I replay it in my mind, that verse comes up to the surface and I am so thankful. So thankful that even when my back is turned, my kids are protected, are watched over. That doesn't mean nothing bad will ever happen to them, but I have peace in remembering that verse, that Jesus has put an angel there to watch over them. 

It was a close call, but Rowan is fine. When we got home we were exhausted. We got all the boys in bed and while I was brushing my teeth I hear Jarrod exclaim from the other room. 

"What's the matter?" I asked. 

"There's a grasshopper in our bed." 

"A real grasshopper?" 

"Yeah, a real grasshopper." He held up a little plastic cup filled with grass and a lid with poked holes. I heard him go down the hall and ask Haydn about it, and Haydn's little voice saying,

"Oh! There he is, I've been looking for him." 

It was an eventful day at our house. 


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