Monday, December 13, 2010


It would have appeared that God himself was personally involved in the details, because nothing could have gone quite like this had it not been for His hand fully at work. The job offer came out of nowhere, from a resume that had been submitted nearly 18 months ago. My son was so excited, thrilled, walking on air to have a job back in the field he so loved.

“Mom you have no idea how hard I’ve been praying that God would help me find a job, this is so unbelievable!

Because of the job and its close proximity to our home we took my son in with some pretty firm boundaries and expectations.

You have to stay clean, and we’ll give you two weeks to find an apartment or boarding house. We’ll get you to work, but you’ll have to pursue a ride once you move.”

Within days we found the perfect apartment, once again it was so evident that God was at work. The apartment would be three miles from us in one direction and three miles from his work in the other.

I had never been so filled with hope.

Hope: “ the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best”

It had been so long since I had such a sense of hope for my son. I was walking on a mountain top. Could it possibly be that finally he was turning a corner? Away from addiction, away from those connected to his addiction. On to a new life, one that the rest of us just consider normal. But for him, it was a new hope a new chance to move on.

Sunday came and he willing came to church with us, he was grinning from ear to ear as he went from person to person to tell of his new life. He too was full of hope.

Monday as I picked him up from work a sense came over me that something wasn’t right.

My boss was kinda grumpy today, not sure what that was all about”

Then the text came from the boss… "no work tomorrow I’ll call you later for the plan for the rest of the week”

Something didn’t feel right, I kept trying to let it go, to shake it off and grab hold once again to the Hope I had found. But that knot in my stomach just kept growing. By Tuesday evening it was apparent to me that something had happened and what made it very clear was the state my son was in when I got home. It was obvious he was on something. My heart sank and that Mountain Top Hope sank just as deep as it had been high.

He had been fired, not for drugs, but because he couldn’t stop using his cell phone during the day. Texting, phone calls, he had been warned, he didn’t, couldn’t, wouldn’t heed the warning. I keep forgetting that he’s not just an addict its more than that, he has a mental illness.

So many times I’ve said to myself “if he can just stay clean he can have a life, he can move on”

But here I am faced once again with the other side of the equation. The side that promises to rob him of even more, even if he stays clean. My sense of hope plummeted to the point of despair. The tears just didn’t stop flowing. For two days I cried continuously.

Over and over in my heart I heard God say…

“If I bring you to it, I will bring you through it… Do you trust me?”

Do I trust you? Really, really. I trusted you, I thought it was you that gave him the job, that it was you that got him that apartment… it had to be you, there was no way it was him. What is happening? What God do I need to see in this, tell me now please because I don’t want to feel this badly again. This pain, these tears, how much more? My silent rantings before God took on a desperate frenzy. ( I think I understand a bit how Job must have felt)

And then it came, not right way. But in those wee hours of the morning when sleep just won’t come, or stay.

Don’t hope in a job to change him, put that hope in Me. I the Great I AM am the only one who can give true hope for real lasting change.

“Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (Isaiah 40:30-31, NIV).

These words came to my mind as I cried out to my God for a renewed hope, a hope that is deep and steadfast, that nothing can knock it off its mountain. A Hope that is eternal not temporal.

"Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; but her leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit.” (Jeremiah 17:5)

This is the Hope I want to have, one with deep roots, that no matter what comes I have placed my hope in the one who can sustain me and my son no matter what comes. Loss of job, mental illness, addiction. There will always be hope IF I place my hope in God.

Today as I have written this a got a call from my son…

>Mom I can’t be home for Christmas, I’m going to go into a holding place so I can get into North Cottage” (can I tell you just how HUGE this is… it’s HUGE! This is a God sized HUGE!)

God my Hope is in you! I’m digging the roots down deep and holding on to Your HOPE!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Meeting

Over the last year I have driven countless miles back and forth to Rehabs, well known and long established. These visits consisted of not much more than a 30 minute visitation routine with my son. We’d chat about the food, his roommates or maybe the current sports game. There was always the litany of promises about coming home and staying clean. Three or Four days later after he had detoxed, I’d make the drive one more time to bring him home. It was becoming an endless circle that was going nowhere.

Finally when he “sectioned” himself in September, the endless circle came to an end. There were no visits during the three weeks he was there. A few phone calls, but no visits, one of the calls came with a question…

“Mom will you come to a family meeting”

Now this was a first, a family meeting with a counselor.

“Yes of course we’ll come”

A day or so later his counselor called to set the appointment. Daniel seemed truly interested in my son’s well being and in his success. We would meet on Wednesday night.

All day I wondered what this meeting would be like, what would we hear.

We arrived at the appointed time, and sat in the long locked hallway waiting to meet Daniel and my son. A knot grew in my stomach as I waited to see him.

Would he once again try to manipulate us?

Would I cave in?

Would I be strong?

Lord God give me your strength, give me your wisdom to know what to do, how to respond, help me to listen and to show love.

I silently prayed.

A tall middle-aged man approached us and introduced himself as Daniel and we were asked to follow him. We stood and began the long walk through many locked doors, each time Daniel swiping his card to gain entry. Five, six locked doors later we were pointed to a door way to a small conference room. This last hallway we walked through it was apparent these were the patient’s rooms, two or three beds in each room,

White sheets

White blankets

White walls.

I quickly scoured the rooms for some semblance of my son’s existence there. As we entered the conference room, Daniel said, “we just came through your son’s unit.” My mother’s heart already knew it to be so.

I asked “will he be joining us?”

"Eventually", Daniel said.

He sat there with a huge file folder with my son’s picture on it, thick with all kinds of documents. Had it been passed from Rehab to Rehab or was this just from the last three weeks, I wondered but never asked. He began by asking us “tell me your story”

I didn’t even know where to begin, what actually constitutes the beginning? We rambled for what seemed like an eternity re-living the past 11 years, moving from heart ache to heart ache. Loss upon loss, rehab story after rehab story till now. To the current line we have drawn in the concrete that he could not come home again. Our marriage was being strained; our little boy needed to stay safe and didn’t need to see his big brother live like this anymore.

A hard solid line.

No longer is one drawn in sand that can get blown away by manipulation or fear but one that is solidly formed.

"So where does he go from here? What are his choices? Are there choices?"

Daniel told us our son had chosen to go to a Sober House in the town just next to us. He chose this over a Half Way house. The Half way house comes with more rules, but with more helps. The sober living is less structured and with very few helps and with a price tag. One my son could not afford completely. Daniel also felt there was more of a risk for failure in a sober house because of the freedom attached to it.

Yes we would try to talk him into the Half Way house we told Daniel; obviously it would be the better choice.

A few minutes later my son walked in the room, after hugs and the “its so good to see you” the hard stuff began…

Daniel with my sons permission began to tell us about the hard work he had done, that most of the men could never get the place he had, he had began the emotional piece of his recovery. That he felt he found that place in his life where it all spiraled out of control and drugs were the only answer to cover the pain. As my son through tears uttered the words of shame and deep wounding tears filled my eyes.

I knew. I knew this would be the place.

My heart hurt deeply for him as he choked back the pain.

“let it out baby, let it out, It’s ok, I’m ok, your loved, so loved, to hell with who your father is or isn’t’, you are my son! Rick has longed to be your father, let him, let him in”.

Words of “Rick please forgive me for never letting you in” tumbled out of his mouth as he sobbed. The awful deep pain, spilled out, finally released.

In those awkward quiet moments I prayed in my spirit

heal my son, Lord I lift him up to you; heal my son” .

The meeting ended, his choice stayed with the sober house, which would begin two days later. He was transported to the sober house calling me that he had arrived and would I bring him some supplies.

Of course, I’ll stop to get you some things and be there after work”

30 days have passed, he’s still sober, he asked to get moved to a different sober house as there was drug activity in the house and he wanted nothing to do with it. The new house has more structure, more rules.

The meeting gave my heart hope, that he may just make it. That God will indeed heal my son, and his life will be a testimony that God can use to show His glory and His redemptive power.

"Oh Lord let be so."

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Clearing out the Selfish Heart

Two Sunday’s ago the adult Sunday school class I’m attending challenged us to read I Corinthians 13 every day for the next 30 days. Reading a familiar text over and over again can cause one to think twice about the task, but God clearly had something in mind and I needed to take this challenge.

I began the 30 days with prayer asking God to open my eyes beyond the norm, beyond what I thought I knew of this chapter to what He wanted me to see.

let me repeat that

Don’t ask God to reveal to you such things unless you’re ready to really see them.

That first week I read the whole of the text but God stopped my pondering those first few days to use the first three verses to clear away my human efforts of pleasing God. Or so I thought…

but it was more about pleasing myself.

1If I speak in the tongues[a] of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.

God spoke directly to my spirit “make sure your not just talking the talk” How many times have I spoke well, spoke His word, gave His truth but I was acting out of a self righteousness, and there was no love? Anytime that it was about me, and not about His love it meant nothing, it was nothing but noise. An awful noise at that

2If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.

This one bit me hard… a few years ago God had revealed to me that I do in fact have this gift, the gift of prophecy and it’s a gift that can be used to puff oneself up quite easily. By stating that I have such a gift, it means I have a God given ability to edify, exhort, and comfort (I Corinthians 14:3); and to help build up or strengthen; So with that, if I do any of that without pointing to God, or doing so applying His love, I truly am nothing. Most likely I’ll come across as some harsh know it all. I must have Christ’s love in me, to pour it out along side this. How many times have I used this gift the wrong way, God revealed to me that I am guilty of such and again a time of confession before Him to clear it out, to begin again with love, His love.

3If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames,[b] but have not love, I gain nothing

Am I giving out of a heart of love or am I giving so others will know I gave something, maybe even something big. This too hit me hard, I was convicted of a time I did just that. I had to ask God to forgive my attitude, my selfishness and to please see my gift now as being given in love. It’s never too late to change your heart and let love be the motive.

These three verses were hard! If you haven’t done so, pray them before God, ask Him to use them to clear out the selfishness from your heart. To replace it with His love, a deep, all consuming, unconditional love.

Thursday, September 30, 2010


I had no clue what the term “sectioned” meant. I understand its use when you’re talking about an orange, but not how my son used it. He called me Monday morning and told me he was going to section himself before the courts on Tuesday. After our conversation I went to my computer to find out what he meant. What was he about to do?

Section 35 in the MA General Laws allows a family member or oneself to appear before a judge and ask for ones child, spouse or oneself to be “committed”. Due to alcoholism/drug abuse and conjoined with the fear of the person to be committed harming one’s self or someone else.

Whew… the process scared me, I’m sure it must have scared my son as he submitted to such a thing. Matter of fact as he stood before the judge and admitted to his drug use/abuse and his inability to remain clean I was told he broke out in a sweat, in fear of the unknown. Once the judge heard him, he granted his “section”, the court guards came;

handcuffed him, placed him in shackles and put him in a holding cell until a place could be found in a long term program.

I heard nothing from him after 1:00PM on that day. Just before he entered the court room he called me to say
I love you mom…I know I’m doing the right thing”.

Yes you are baby” is all I could choke out.

He said he’d call me as soon as he could to let me know where he ended up.
Later that afternoon I heard from my niece, she had gotten a message from him through his friend that was with him at the time of the section. He was going to be placed in a program but did not know where. I hung up the phone and the choked back emotions from earlier just poured out of me. I sobbed most of the ride home.

The call came at about 9AM next morning, my son called to let me know where he was and what I could bring him;
5 t-shirts
5 pairs of socks
5 pairs of underwear

No clothes? What are you wearing? I asked.

Just scrubs are all we’re allowed for the first 5 days. I can’t have any real clothes till I’m in the next step. And mom, I can’t have any visitors either.
Ever? I responded.

No, just not until the next step”.

Ok… I said only to myself, I can deal with that. Not that I need to be there every waking minute, because that quite frankly is exhausting in and of itself. But a mom needs to see they’re child’s face every once and again. I’m that way with my two other adult children. If I haven’t seen them in awhile I make every effort to make a date!

After work that day I headed to the location of the program, I knew exactly where it was, yet had no clue that that is what was in those buildings. And they are just 5 miles from my home. (Unlike the other facilities that he has been in that have been a 45 plus minute drive each way) As I pulled up to the building I had no clue where to go, what door would be the one I should go into, they were all the same with no labeling.

White doors no windows…

As I climbed out of my car two women came out of the building, I so didn’t want to ask for help because that would mean telling them my son was in there. But I did, the kindness on their faces helped me as I choked out the short version. I was pointed to the door right in front of my car. No long walk carrying his underwear… good.

I entered into a very sterile environment where doors lock behind you with a thud and a loud buzz. I was asked to take a seat and that someone from his unit would be right with me. Unbeknown to me the very wall that the chair I sat in, my son was on the other side sitting in a chair against the same wall. As I logged in his belongings;

5 t-shirts
5 pairs of socks
5 pairs of underwear
one pack of cigarettes
and 11 dollars in cash

a wave of nausea swept across me and again that choked felling came over me. The woman doing the intake looked up at me and said…

”I did your sons intake yesterday…such a nice young man. You did good momma, you did good.”

I thought I would break down and sob like a little baby right then and there. But instead I let out a slow exhale to keep myself from breaking down. I smiled back at her and said
he is a good boy, he just needs to get through this

Moments later I was heading out the door with an empty suitcase, stumbling back to my car filled with more emotions that I can even get down on paper. I hear someone knocking on a window…

did I forget something…

I look over my left shoulder back at the door I just came through.. no window, I look to my right and there, standing in the window leaning on the very wall I had just been sitting against was my son…. waiting on his side of the locked doors to receive his belongings. I blow him a kiss and mouth “be good”, he blows me one as well and gives me the thumbs up sign.

Just past him I see another face in the window, it’s a face I recognize from somewhere… I look at the older man with what must have been a look of familiarity I look back at my son then again to the older man. I think he too realizes I think he is familiar. Someone inside the room must have called my son to collect his belongings because he steps away from the window… the older man looks at me for one more moment our eyes locked on each other, then he reaches up and slowly pulls the window shade down.

I climb into my car and start the engine… while pictures of recent memories start to fill my head…

I remember him…

I back the car out of the parking spot and begin the climb up the hill to get back out on the street when it hits me…

He was there at the very first detox program my son was in. He was in his early 60’s, he had been in and out of programs most of his adult life battling addiction. I remember my son telling me all about him the day I picked him up. I had to pull the car over I was nearly convulsing with sobs as I prayed in my spirit

Not my son Lord, Not my son” Break the cycle of addiction… break him free from the demons that have ensnared him. Oh God please I beg you heal my son.

These last 10 months have been such a difficult journey. The fear of the unknown can eat away at you if you let it. I have had to hold fast to Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future
. I have prayed that over my son and claimed its truths to quiet my anxious heart. I prayed it over and over again that night. Committing Him to God, lifting Him to the one who Heals.

I don’t know what these next months hold, but I do know the One who holds them. He holds me and He holds my son, and He holds the man in the window.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Standing Firm in Tough Love

This weekend was difficult as I was faced with my son’s homelessness. His addictions and behaviors have burned yet another bridge for him, this time he lost much himself as a few of his things were thrown out on the street, and the rest he hasn’t been able to retrieve.



Two emotions that tug at a mothers heart when her child is in need. Knowing that my child is struggling with these things nearly buckled my resolve. Standing firm in the moment when the call came “mom can I just stay there tonight”. Knowing full well that one night would have turned into two, then a week, maybe a month. And all that we have chosen to guard against would have come crashing down on us once again.

The phone slammed down on us as we said “I’m sorry but you just can’t

Numerous calls came, calls we would not answer. About 30 minutes later, the next call came and he said “I know I can’t stay but can you help me, I’m going to go back to a rehab and I will need a few things”. Relieved that our resolve to hold fast when my heart strings were pulled taunt and ready to break gave my heart a lift.

Yes, I can help you with that, but I couldn’t let you back here, because it wouldn’t have been good for you or for us” I said. “I know mom, I know I need to do this to get my life back on track

Back on track… where did it go off track? How did it go off track? If only I could answer those questions. If I could trace back to the very moment that the first choice was made to delve into the world of drugs, gangs, stealing, and all that has followed after it. I would go back in time and hold him so tight that he couldn’t go where ever it was that he went.

But there is no such thing as a “do over”. We don’t get to go back and rework the mistakes or retake different steps. We have only today, with its current 24 hours of promise. No more, and sometimes less. What he will make of this 24 hours is what is important, and what I contribute to it in the form of tough love applied firmly, or cowardly.

( Yes I must admit that yesterday while the phone calls came one after the other I hid in the basement. It was my only recourse as my mother’s heart was breaking. It was the only way I could keep from answering the phone. ) I am so very thankful to God that in my time of wavering He was there (in the basement) with me, helping me hang tough. Just as He must have the night His son, begging in prayer on his knees...

Please if it’s at all possible, take this cup from me” (Matt 26:39 my paraphrase).

He understands what it is like to have your son ask for what seems like a sensible request…

"really Father do I have to go to the cross, isn’t there some other way"?

"Mom why can’t I stay just one night?"

Sensible requests, but had God not shown tough love you and I would not be able to have entrance into His presence. And If I don’t show tough love, my son may end up standing before God sooner than I want to think.

Lord Help me to do the hard stuff, to love just as you did that night your son came to you. Help me to see beyond the moment and see what is at stake. Help me to stand firm.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Deep Well

John 4: 7 - 15
7When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, "Will you give me a drink?" 8(His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)
9The Samaritan woman said to him, "You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?" (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.[a])
10Jesus answered her, "If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water."
11"Sir," the woman said, "you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his flocks and herds?"
13Jesus answered, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."
15The woman said to him, "Sir, give me this water so that I won't get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.

Much like the Samaritan women, I desire to be filled with the living water. A water so satisfying that once you have been filled with it you will no longer thirst for anything else.

I know that I have drank of it, its liquid sweetness has quench my soul so many times. There have been those times of deepest despair over loved ones, or times of loneliness where its depths have kept me afloat. Where that spring inside of me seemed to reproduce itself until I felt full and refreshed.
But here I am in a desert, dry, hot and seemingly unending. I know intellectually that the spring of living water still exists within me, and yet I think it has sunk somewhere in a deep chasm unable to flow up and outward.

A number of years ago we had dug a shallow well for our home. The well was nearly 35 feet deep and we had hit a slow spring. Within no time the well seemed to sustain ten feet of water at all times, even with our family of 5’s constant use of showers, dishes and laundry. But after 6 months of use, the well went dry. No matter how many times we would prime the pump we could barely get enough water to wash the dishes by hand. After a few weeks we realized we had to abandon that well. Its shallow spring had dried up in the awful heat of the summer. Its source not deep enough or plenty enough to be sustained.

We went Five long months between wells. During that time I lugged dishes back and forth to my parents house, we showered there and I did my laundry there, until we could afford to have an Artesian well drilled. We learned a valuable lesson about not drilling the deep well the first time.

I still remember the day we had the Artesian well drilled. I was so excited!!! I couldn’t wait to turn the faucet on or take a shower! The drill went 345 feet into the ground before it found a vein of water and the water it found came up at 60 gallons a minute. A Gold Mine! There was nothing like it in the summer. Coming from those depths it was COLD and refreshing. Never again did we run out of water, and the only time we had to re-prime the pump was when it got hit by lightening. The well drillers came in, replaced the motor and once again fresh cold water came from its depths. The water… it never dried up, it was there. It just needed a new way to get pumped out.

Thank goodness I’m not like the first well, shallow and easily drained completely dry, never to be of any use again. The well of Living Water in me right now has gotten hit by lightening so it seems. My motor burned up, but its refreshing sustaining life giving supply is still there. It’s the gap in time, waiting for the new motor to kick in, so its cool sweetness can once again course through my spirit that has me constantly on my knees pleading with God to let it begin. He lets us go through these dry times so we will know just how deep the well is. That it’s supply never runs out, to maybe remind us that shallow wells (shallow faith, shallow Christianity) can never compare to the deep well of living water he places inside of us.

Come Lord Jesus, replace the motor with a fresh anointing of your Holy Spirit and let the waters flow.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Letting go of the Prodigal

The roller-coaster ride of the past year has taken its toll on my heart. The havoc that my son’s addiction has wreaked on our family has hit a wall. So many times we have waved a magic wand over the pain and losses we have endured.

Poof… all gone.

Pushing aside the anger, and dusting it over with forgiveness, making every effort to live at peace, to offer another chance… and another…and another.

We verbally tell ourselves that the new items that have come up missing are just “things” we can replace things. He’s still alive, he wants to stay clean; he promises he won’t go back, he’ll get our stuff back. The stuff never comes back, it never gets replaced, and the tangled realities of staying clean and alive are constantly on the cusp of extinction.

I have wrestled for so long with this mother’s heart that just can’t let go of her son.

Much the same way the father in the story of the Prodigal must have. He must have seen it coming, the son becoming restless and dissatisfied with his life, looking for a “better one” or just to do it “my way”. How that father’s heart must have broke when the son demanded his share of the inheritance and his wanting to depart immediately. All that the father had worked for, built, planted, watched over to be divided, cashed out and handed over to a young man who wanted to squander it.

My heart too has broken, so many sweet things that were treasured by us, are now gone. Gifts, tools, toys, money, so very much money has walked away with the son who just has to live his way. Some of which was to be his inheritance, some of which was meant for his siblings. Such sadness has gripped me over all the losses. It’s hard to avoid it now. I’ve had to let go of him, my hands are completely open and have given him over to himself.

My greatest fear … will I be able to be like the father of the prodigal… when he finally hits bottom and truly desires to put it all away, wins over the addictions, gets real help and wants to come back to his family, Will I be willing to run when I see him far off to greet him? My hope is that God will ready my heart, that He will let me know when it is time to fling off the hurt, and run…

John 15: 20…"But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.”

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


By the above title you are probably worried that I’m about to jump into some dissertation of Levitical Law. Not to worry I will spare both of us from such an undertaking…

For many months God has been prodding me to write on a very difficult subject, and last night He revealed to me that He has brought me to a place where I can start this, a place of absolute trust in Him. At first I thought it was just that I have distanced myself from the pain enough not to shed gallons of tears over yet another difficult time. Yet last night the whisper of His voice telling me, it’s not distance you’re experiencing, its complete trust in me in this matter. A place I never thought I’d get to.

It only makes sense to back track a bit to bring you up to speed to how I got to this place of absolute trust, so get your cup of coffee, tea or cold drink of choice and sit with me for a bit.

November 2009 seems like a life time ago, but it was then we discovered that my 22 year old son was addicted to heroin. He’s not been a model child, so this isn’t some “High School Honor Roll, Star Athlete goes to drugs” story. This has been a long painful decline that crashes into a drug addiction that you think only happens in Hollywood.

It was a rainy Saturday, my son had been gone for a few days, and for some reason my husband and I had decided to re-arrange his room. We started to take the bed apart so we could move it and there between the mattresses was a hypodermic needle.

My head started whirling in twenty different directions as I started putting all the puzzle pieces together, his excessive need for money on a daily basis, things had started disappearing, my silverware draw was becoming deplete of spoons, and there were those spoons I had found in the garage with burn marks on them… a hundred thoughts and fragments of conversations and observances came crashing around me and I fell in a heap on the floor sobbing uncontrollably for what seemed like hours.

These last nine months have been a roller coaster of Rehabs, Detox, fighting with Insurance Companies, finding programs that would take him, promises, failures to keep promises, more things missing, another trip to detox and yet another. I could fill numerous pages worth of text with all that has taken place, and one day I will write that book. But for now I will bring you back up to today, to last night after 5 months of being “clean” hence the title of this writing, to the phone call I received at 5:03pm at which time I heard the following

“Mom, I need you to bring me to the hospital.”

This was not the first time I had heard those words, but it was the first time I had heard them without having to beg him for days to get help. Baby steps… maybe

On the ride to the hospital he said “why did I go back? I was doing so good, why?” somewhere inside me my heart broke for him as he struggled with this, but I also heard a voice telling me; he’s in my hands, he’s always been in my hands.

Me and God have struggled over who gets to fix my son. It’s been a tug of war in true biblical Joshua fashion. I must tell you these past five months of “clean” it has been a delight to put down the “rope” and not feel like I had to tug it back from God. He (God) has proven Himself faithful to me countless times on my son’s behalf and as I dropped my son off at the hospital last night at 6:30pm I felt no need to pick the “rope” up. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that God, the Great Physician had him in His care.

Trials will come, over and over again; the same trial may befall you. Yet each time it comes God is there, waiting for us to put down the “rope”, to trust Him completely. I praise Him this morning as I have NO desire to fix my son; my desire is to let God fix Him, in His time, in His way.

Unclean… and only God can make Him clean.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Isaiah 11: 1- 3

1 A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
2 The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him—
the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and of power,
the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD -
3 and he will delight in the fear of the LORD.
He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes,
or decide by what he hears with his ears;

The last 10 chapters of Isaiah have been a hard read, the harshness with which God dealt with Israel and Judah can give even a well seasoned believer a fresh fear of God. Finally in Chapter 11 a positive prophecy and a promise. After all the Lord had allowed the Assyrians to do to them, they were a mere “stump” cut down and seemingly lifeless. But The LORD wanted them to know that even though the Assyrians and others had come to bring judgment, God would still use them and bring forth life from them. And what a life that would come. This scripture foretells of the life of Christ that would come from the “Line of David”, the “House of David”, and “the stump of Jesse”.

I still sit in amazement that God would send forth his Son through a human like David, the life of David is far from perfect, his life story could make for a bestselling romance novel, or even a “thriller”. And to make it even more amazing, this life of David comes out of a “stump” of a people, who had been cut down. If you look at David for his humanness, you can’t imagine that he’s much better than the stump. But there’s a difference. David continually desires to follow after God. His heart is torn after he sins, and he pursues a “right relationship”. So out of that heart comes a new life, the promised One. The One whom God would send forth filled with His spirit. Christ, God in the form of a man, would bear His wisdom, His understanding, His counsel, His power, the very power that would later raise Him from the dead. This miracle of God in the flesh would come from a seemingly abandoned “stump”. There is nothing like it. Life from what once was dead. A miracle that can only come from the very hand of God.

God longs to do such miracles in our lives too. To bring life, new life where there once was death. Without the breath of God breathing new life into our spirits we will be nothing more than a cut off stump, abandoned, covered over with weedy growth. And who knows what may come from the “stump of Susan” now that His life has been breathed into my spirit. Or from the “stump of YOU”.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Isaiah 10

“By my own powerful arm I have done this.
With my own shrewd wisdom I planned it.
I have broken down the defenses of nations
and carried off their treasures.
I have knocked down their kings like a bull.
14 I have robbed their nests of riches
and gathered up kingdoms as a farmer gathers eggs.
No one can even flap a wing against me
or utter a peep of protest.”
15 But can the ax boast greater power than the person who uses it?
Is the saw greater than the person who saws?
Can a rod strike unless a hand moves it?
Can a wooden cane walk by itself?

The arrogance of the King of Assyria is about to get him into trouble. Little does He understand that The Sovereign Lord has used him for His purposes to get the attention of Israel. But this King thinks he’s the one in control, that his armies have done this because of his might, his wisdom.

How many times are we just like him? He shouts out numerous “I” statements with a trumped up haughtiness: “I have done this” “I have broken down the defenses” “I have robbed their nests”. And ends with a “No one can touch me”. Not once does he acknowledge the God who used him as a tool for His purpose. All too often we act like this King. We take credit for how wonderful our lives are, or for the talent we may have or for how well our children have turned out. Or for how successful our ministries are, or how big our congregation is. Lest we forget we are merely a tool in the Masters hand.

How foolish it would be for the ax to take credit for the hard work and sweat of the lumberjack. For the ax can only cut down the tree while held firmly and swung in the mighty grasp of the lumberjack.

And can a saw take credit for the beautiful cabinet built by the carpenter? Can it plan out the cuts? Can it follow the line, matter of fact can it draw the line? Can the hammer place the nails in the cabinet to put it together? Or even choose where the nails will go?

All of this sounds pretty silly, we KNOW that an AX cannot cut down a tree without someone holding on to it and doing the swinging, and the same for the SAW and the HAMMER. The question is do we understand that we are like the AX, the SAW and the HAMMER. That we are a tool in the Masters hand to be used for His purposes, and we should never take credit for the beautiful work He longs to accomplish through us. Lest He puts us down and picks up another to finish the task. Remember to give Him the glory and the praise!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Isaiah 9

2 The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death [a]
a light has dawned.
3 You have enlarged the nation
and increased their joy;
they rejoice before you
as people rejoice at the harvest,
as men rejoice
when dividing the plunder.
4 For as in the day of Midian's defeat,
you have shattered
the yoke that burdens them,
the bar across their shoulders,
the rod of their oppressor.

Each of these three verses speak of a difficult task; walking in the dark, planting a field and waiting, being oppressed.

Walking in the dark may seem easy as you feel your way along the wall in the middle of the night, when you need to use the bathroom. That walk is one you’ve taken many times over in the day, the floor is familiar. But what about a prolonged season of darkness, in unfamiliar territory? Would you have the same confidence, could you get to your destination without fear and frustration. What a relief when the light gets turned on and you can see! Your journey now is filled with a light step and a joy in your heart.

Many years ago now my dad rented a field and he and my cousin planted it. I can remember many Saturdays as a family going to that field, weeding and watering it, it was very hard laborious work. And I can assure you none of us liked it. It was hot and dirty work. But I can still remember the excitement the day we harvested all the potatoes. There was an abundance of them! Digging them up was the best part, we were all shouting “Look I think this one is the BIGGEST”. A true change of heart over the previous work.

No one likes being oppressed, the weight of it on our soul feels like it could crush us in an instant. I’ve been there, I’ve felt oppressed on every side, the very life inside you feeling like it has been sucked out. Just a few months ago I went through a short season of oppression, I know the burden it comes with. And when it was lifted, when I was prayed over by a friend it felt like I could walk on air.

Each of these speaks of a joy that comes, a joy that comes after a great distress. There is a stark difference between the weight of the distress and the light of the joy! And these are just earthly joys, Isaiah 9 tells us an even greater joy is coming:

6 For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, [b] Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

The Prophetic announcement of Christ is the GREAT JOY! A joy that is of spiritual depth, not earthly. It will be even greater in weight, then those described in the previous verses. But keep this in mind… the JOY still comes after distress. For its when we know of our great loss without Christ, THEN experience Him in all His fullness as Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace will we know the true JOY!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Isaiah 8

11 The LORD spoke to me with his strong hand upon me, warning me not to follow the way of this people. He said:
12 "Do not call conspiracy
everything that these people call conspiracy [f] ;
do not fear what they fear,
and do not dread it.
13 The LORD Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy,
he is the one you are to fear,
he is the one you are to dread,

Fear can be an overwhelming emotion. It can paralyze you from moving forward on any front. It can keep you from enjoying life, friends, family and God. We can struggle with all kinds of personal fears never mind getting caught up in the fears of others.
The media calls us from nearly every major tv channel announcing gloom and doom, death and destruction in every state, and continent around the world. There’s enough bad news on any given day that could cause us to fear walking out our doors.
But instead of fearing all that, a healthy fear of God is what I choose. This past week in the bible study I’m doing we talked about just that. I’d like to post a few paragraphs I found most helpful:
Anointed Transformed Redeemed – Week 3 – Day 5 – “Beth Moore”
“A healthy fear of God draws us toward Him. An unhealthy fear of God draws us away from Him. A healthy fear of God bows to His holiness and obeys His precepts but all the while is compelled like a magnet to the source of its fascination. It seeks Him like hidden treasure. It stretches and strains to peer into His perfections. It yearns to be captivated by His beauty from so near a place that it becomes beautiful too. It longs to approach the One who dwells in unapproachable light. To know the unknowable till faith turns to sight. To be ruined for every other contesting love.
Unhealthy fear runs from God and recoils at the thought of trusting Him. It associated Him more with pain than praise. It sees Him as an angry god to appease rather than a wise and holy Father we need to obey but whom we can also trust. Unhealthy fear associates the glory of God solely with the agony of man. It believes that His gain always means our pain. Oh, if we could only comprehend that His gain cannot fail to also be ours, whether or not pain is involved in the worthy process.
God can never do Himself right and do His children wrong. God’s glory and goodness are inseparable. We’re scared to live fully surrendered to God because we’re afraid It will kill us. If only we understood that any part of us crucified in doing His will becomes a hotbed of resurrection power. Where we die to self, the Spirit of Christ is raised in us. “

A healthy fear of God is one of the things I am discovering as I read through Isaiah, and I feel its one of the things we are missing most. With a proper awe and wonder of Who God is, we will find ourselves less afraid of what this world shouts to us, and safer under His wing that we could have ever imagined.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Isaiah 7

3 Then the LORD said to Isaiah, "Go out, you and your son Shear-Jashub, [b] to meet Ahaz at the end of the aqueduct of the Upper Pool, on the road to the Washerman's Field. 4 Say to him, 'Be careful, keep calm and don't be afraid. Do not lose heart because of these two smoldering stubs of firewood—because of the fierce anger of Rezin and Aram and of the son of Remaliah. 5 Aram, Ephraim and Remaliah's son have plotted your ruin, saying, 6 "Let us invade Judah; let us tear it apart and divide it among ourselves, and make the son of Tabeel king over it." 7 Yet this is what the Sovereign LORD says:
" 'It will not take place,
it will not happen,

I am always amazed in Scripture when God seeks out evil men to change their hearts and their circumstances. Here we have Ahaz an evil King who worshiped the idols of Molech, and through the prophet Isaiah God brings him a message; “calm down, I’m here, don’t be afraid, trust me I’m telling you this great travesty that these to weaklings are planning will not happen, it will not take place”. How cool is that! God brings a message of peace and victory to a man who is not even interested in Him.

Ahaz wouldn’t trust God. He held onto his fear and his people followed suit. The very people God longed to call His own wouldn’t place their hearts in His hands, If the king of Judah and the people of Judah had put their trust in the LORD, they would have had the peace of God in this conflict. Why was it so hard for Ahaz to do this? Because he didn't see the situation the way the LORD did. Ahaz looked at Israel and Syria and saw a terrible threat. God looked at Israel and Syria and saw two stubs of smoking firewood. To the LORD, they were all smoke and no fire!
The interesting thing here is that God offered Ahaz both “peace and victory” all he had to do was trust. He was even invited to prove God worthy by asking for a sign.
10 Again the LORD spoke to Ahaz, 11 "Ask the LORD your God for a sign, whether in the deepest depths or in the highest heights."
12 But Ahaz said, "I will not ask; I will not put the LORD to the test."

I think Ahaz was not only evil but was crazy! Don’t you wish God would do that for you. I would love to hear Him say those words to me “Susan I know your struggling with trusting me, ask me for a sign, you name it, I’ll bring it and then I know you will trust”! Instead Ahaz says “no thank you… all set” The Victory comes because God said it would and He didn’t change His mind (which He could have; He could let Judah fall but He chose to give them the victory for His greater plan). Ahaz thinks he had victory because of some backdoor deals he makes, but the truth still stands that God ordained it. Ahaz loses the blessing of being “established by God”, Judah gets the victory but the people including Ahaz don’t get the peace God promises.

As I have struggled with trusting God, this chapter has so loudly spoken to my spirit. God clearly has told me… Susan I’m still going to do what I’m going to do, for I have planned it before the beginning of time. I have victories for you, and I will give them whether you trust me in them or not, and I want to give you my peace in the them too, for victories can only come after a battle, so you can go on not trusting me to bring you through them, or you can “'Be careful, keep calm and don't be afraid. Do not lose heart” and have my peace in the battles.

I will choose both! The peace and the victories! How about you?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Isaiah 6: 1-7

1 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2 Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. 3 And they were calling to one another:
"Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty;
the whole earth is full of his glory."
4 At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.

This chapter of Isaiah has been so huge to me. How do I write about “and the train of His robe filled the temple”. As I have pondered this while I was away on vacation, those descriptive words took on a life of their own in my spirit. I don’t think we (and I include myself each time I use the word “we”) can ever understand while we are here on planet earth the full Majesty and Awe that Isaiah is trying to explain.

A number of years ago I was in England and was able to stand outside of Buckingham Palace, staying long enough to see the changing of the guards. It is an event filled pomp and circumstance in the fullest sense of the word. In that one moment I believe I understood just a bit of what the word “Majesty” is all about.
“Majesty: regal, lofty, or stately dignity; imposing character; grandeur, supreme greatness or authority; sovereignty: (usually initial capital letter ) a title used when speaking of or to a sovereign. Christ in Majesty, a representation of Christ as ruler of the universe.” ( From )

These few verses have spoken so deep to my spirit, as it has helped me begin to take a different perspective of His greatness. You see as the week went on I seemed to have this feeling of great agitation that I could not explain. It was starting to wreak havoc on my much needed tropical vacation. And it wasn’t until Wednesday evening that I understood why I was in such a funk, I was seeing myself just as Isaiah did when he said in verse 5:

5 "Woe to me!" I cried. "I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty."

I too felt the need to lie prostate before the King Eternal and admit my sinful human state, as in my spirit I saw Him afresh as King, all powerful, full of awe and wonder. God spoke so clearly to me that He himself had atoned for those sins, and that I as His daughter can approach the very Throne of Grace just as Isaiah had after his lips were touched with the live coal. For after that Isaiah was pure before God and was sent forth as an instrument of His will.

6 Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7 With it he touched my mouth and said, "See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for."

How I praise Him for taking me through this process, even for the agitation I felt as I came to realize just who I am; a sinner, standing before the King Eternal oh how thankful I am that my sins have been atoned for, not from a live burning coal, but by the gift of Jesus who took my place on the cross. Praise Him!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Isaiah 5:18

As I have read and re-read this passage, This one verse just keeps jumping out at me no matter which version I read it in.

18 What sorrow for those who drag their sins behind them
with ropes made of lies,
who drag wickedness behind them like a cart!

Can you picture it, person after person passing by pulling behind them a cart full of sins, tied to them by cords of lies. Carts piled high with bitterness, rage, malice, stolen goods, a murdered body or two. And the cords are made of "self incrimination, self deception, words of deceit, and tied tight to the cart with the very lies of Satan. Lies that refuse to free you; and all that sin that keeps piling up in the cart.

If we could just see with Spiritual eyes, what would we see passing us by? Would it cause us to have hearts full of compassion for the lost, for those who have no clue what they drag behind them and what ties it to them. Would our hearts be moved to tell them of Jesus, of the one who came to set them free of all the sin the carts are full of. Or would we just close our eyes because we don't like what we see? Would we not be willing to approach out of fear or out of "religious superiority". How much better to show them where they can pull those carts, to the foot of the cross, empty their contents and leave them there. Set free finally of the stench and bondage of sin.

Open my spiritual eyes Lord to the lost around me, help me to guide them to you!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Isaiah 5

There is so much in this text that I think I’ll take it in two parts, Verses 1 – 7 today and the balance of the text tomorrow.

Isaiah 5: 1&2
1 Now I will sing for the one I love
a song about his vineyard:
My beloved had a vineyard
on a rich and fertile hill.
2 He plowed the land, cleared its stones,
and planted it with the best vines.
In the middle he built a watchtower
and carved a winepress in the nearby rocks.
Then he waited for a harvest of sweet grapes,
but the grapes that grew were bitter.

Throughout Scripture the “Vineyard” is used many times in teaching. In the New Testament we are encouraged to remain “in the Vine” and to produce good fruit, and pressed even further to produce much or abundant fruit.

John 15:5 5 "I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

Here in Isaiah the Vineyard story goes sour. The vineyard Owner spends much time preparing the way for the vines, clears the stones, selects the choices of vines to plant his vineyard, fences it in, places a watch tower in the middle to keep the wildlife out that might try to come and rob the fruit as it grows. But something strange happens, how do choice vines planted in the riches of soil become “wild (sour) grapes”?

Isaiah 5:5-7
5 Now let me tell you
what I will do to my vineyard:
I will tear down its hedges
and let it be destroyed.
I will break down its walls
and let the animals trample it.
6 I will make it a wild place
where the vines are not pruned and the ground is not hoed,
a place overgrown with briers and thorns.
I will command the clouds
to drop no rain on it.
7 The nation of Israel is the vineyard of the LORD of Heaven’s Armies.
The people of Judah are his pleasant garden.
He expected a crop of justice,
but instead he found oppression.
He expected to find righteousness,
but instead he heard cries of violence.

"O you that profess to be his people, what more could Christ have done for you? What more could the Holy Spirit have done? What richer promises, what wiser precepts, what kinder providences, what more gracious patience?" Has it been so with us? Have we rewarded the Well beloved thus ungratefully for all his pains? Have we given him hardness of heart, instead of repentance; unbelief, instead of faith; indifference, instead of love; idleness, instead of holy industry; impurity, instead of holiness?" (Spurgeon)

The grapes in Isaiah’s prophecy are the people of Israel who resisted the hand of the God. They chose their own way over His, they chose rebellion and idols over the love and protection of God Most High. When God created us He gave us hearts that could make choices, and minds that could reason because He wanted a people who chose to love Him, chose to obey Him. He didn’t create robots. Though He gave them the best that He had to offer, God eventually gave them what they wanted; to be set free to do as they will, and in that freedom the selfish heart lost its original beauty, and its luster and fragrance He had given it. The wild (sour) grapes that they became were pungent and foul before Him. And seemingly once again the garden/vineyard He created would in essence be shut down.

Throughout Scripture God provides an environment to have a relationship with His people, and time and time again we muck it up.
• The Garden of Eden; shut down and locked up, Adam and Eve cast out.
• The world He created then populated, turns to evil and not to the God who gave them life, Noah and his family are ushered into an ark along with two of every kind of animal, the rest, lives are taken in a flood.
• He travels day and night with the people of Israel in a pillar of fire by night and cloud by day, eventually instructs them to build a temple so He can dwell with them forever, and once again the relationship is cast aside for SELF, and God takes His Cherubim and heads back to His throne in heaven.
• He comes in the form of a baby, grows to become a man who would walk among us, give His best in the way of miraculously healing the sick, feed the hungry, teaching the Truths of His Father, and He would be despised and rejected, hung on a cross by the ones He came to save.
• Over and over He pursues us for relationship, offers us Himself, the best of the best. The choices of intimacies, and continually the ones He created reject Him.

He is willing to prepare the soil (our heart), to plant the choicest of vines there, (the salvation gift of Christ) to place a watchtower in the very heart of us (the Holy Spirit) and prune us so that we produce abundant fruit. (Sanctification). What will become of our vineyard? Will it produce good and abundant fruit? Or will we muck it up with our rejection of the Master over the vineyard?

Friday, April 23, 2010

Isaiah 4

(from the Message)
2-4And that's when God's Branch will sprout green and lush. The produce of the country will give Israel's survivors something to be proud of again. Oh, they'll hold their heads high! Everyone left behind in Zion, all the discards and rejects in Jerusalem, will be reclassified as "holy"—alive and therefore precious. God will give Zion's women a good bath. He'll scrub the bloodstained city of its violence and brutality; purge the place with a firestorm of judgment.
5-6Then God will bring back the ancient pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night and mark Mount Zion and everyone in it with his glorious presence, his immense, protective presence, and shade from the burning sun and shelter from the driving rain.”

Whew finally something good! The first three chapters of Isaiah were pretty rough and here we have a sweet promise that God will restore that which He purged, He will give them a lush land and feed them from the abundant produce! He will cleanse them and call them ‘holy’

From David Guzik’s Commentary:
“ but in the days when the Branch of the LORD reigns, the distinguishing mark of all, including the daughters of Zion, is that they shall be called holy.
i. Holy does not mean "super-spiritual." It does not mean sinless perfection. It does not mean spiritually superior and obnoxious. It means a life, a heart, a mind, and a body that is genuinely separated unto the LORD. It is a life lived apart from the thinking and heart of this world, this flesh, and the devil, and lived apart to the LORD.
If we are really born again, we want to be washed, have the presence of the LORD, and enjoy His protection. Many people only want the LORD's constant presence and protection. But He doesn't grant those apart from His cleansing.”

I want to be called Holy, I’ve been called a lot of things in my past; bitter, angry, resentful, and vengeful. But my heart longs to hear “you are Holy as Christ has made you holy”. What first had to take place is that I willingly submit all of these things I just listed. Give them over to the one who came to purify me, to wash me and cleanse me so that I could be made Holy. His promises can never be mine if I’m not willing.

I find Guzik's statement that we want His presence and His protection, but don’t touch my sin, my idols, my right to do what I want to, so very true. We as a people who call ourselves His have fallen so far off the mark. Maybe it’s time we fall on our faces before Him, and with outstretched hands finally give over the part of us that we have not wanted to relinquish, that final idol that keeps us from completely worshiping Him in truth.
Come… be washed by His purifying fire like never before, give over all your sin, hold nothing back and know that in the end He, the Branch of the LORD will call you Holy!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Isaiah 3

Matthew Henry's Commentary on Isaiah 3 states - "a warning to all nations not to provoke God; for if they make him their enemy, he can and will thus make them miserable."

Yesterday my focus was on the very splendor of God, that if we could only see Him in our minds eye, our awe of Him only would keep us at His feet and away from the very desire to collect idols that we adore.

In this chapter I see Him as Sovereign, as The LORD of Host who is our stay and our foundation. He is our bread of life and our living water, and yet here in this chapter He talks about removing the very physical sustenance we depend on.

vs 1 See now, the Lord,
the LORD Almighty,
is about to take from Jerusalem and Judah
both supply and support:
all supplies of food and all supplies of water

He is not just the Lord, but “the LORD”, ruler over all and ruler of all; Sovereign. Because of sin; The LORD allows for calamity, famine, leaders to fall, young to rise up and use profanity against the elders.

vs 5 People will oppress each other—
man against man, neighbor against neighbor.
The young will rise up against the old,
the base against the honorable.

It’s not too far of a stretch to see our society today right here in this text. We as a country have turned our backs on the very God who is our stay and our foundation. Just as there were a few who were righteous and Gods words of protection are over them, so I pray that His protection is over those righteous in Christ Jesus today.

vs10 Tell the righteous it will be well with them,
for they will enjoy the fruit of their deeds.

If God is who He says He is, and He will do what He says He will do, if this Truth was spoken over Judah and Jerusalem, we can surely know that He will not wink at our sin either. Not as a Nation and not as those who say they belong to Him. God seemingly had no problem clearing the decks in this text for a people He had called His own. He willingly removed from them food, water, leadership, and direction because of their sin, their desire to live in a state of Sodom, where their will and their desires became the god. Not the God who called them His own.

There is no box big enough that contains our God, we cannot just equate Him with love; and remove from His character Justice. Or only see Him as our provider and not see Him as the one who also takes away. He is a jealous God who will do whatever it takes to bring our focus and our adoration to Him. He loved Judah and Jerusalem enough to remove everything else from them so that they would look up and see the one who loved them more than they ever understood.

What could it be in my life or yours that brings us to our knees to see Him High and Lifted Up, to know Him in all His fullness. To know him as LORD.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Isaiah 2

Twice in this chapter a very powerful statement is made that caught my eye. It is first stated in vs 19

Men will flee to caves in the rocks
and to holes in the ground
from dread of the LORD
and the splendor of his majesty,
when he rises to shake the earth

then again vs 21

They will flee to caverns in the rocks
and to the overhanging crags
from dread of the LORD
and the splendor of his majesty,
when he rises to shake the earth
(Emphasis mine)

I don’t know about you, but the awe of this statement fills me with a true fear of the LORD. When a statement is repeated like that it means we best sit up and take notice, obviously the writer is wanting us to know it’s importance by repeating it.

This passage reminds me of Ezekiel 10 where the Spirit of God departs the temple. The majesty that is described in the text, how God’s Glory Filled the place, and the pomp and circumstance with which He left. I don’t think we get just how awesome He is.

Or in
Daniel 7:9
As I looked,
thrones were set in place,
and the Ancient of Days took his seat.
His clothing was as white as snow;
the hair of his head was white like wool.
His throne was flaming with fire,
and its wheels were all ablaze.

I don’t think we spend enough time focused on just who God is. Or on the place of Honor in which He resides, or that we water down the importance of the very Throne of God. That statement “and the splendor of His majesty when He rises to shake the earth”, gives me such a picture my mind can barely comprehend. Close your eyes for just a moment, go there with me…

Can you hear the crackle of the throne all ablaze as the Ancient of Days, the God above all gods, rises from His throne, as He stands with eyes full of judgment to “shake the earth”. Time after time He has plead with us to rid ourselves of sin, to no longer allow the idols of this world to grab our hearts away from Him, the only true God who deserves our worship and adoration. As He extends His hand to shake the earth, where will you be? Running for the caves or safe in Christ.

I challenge you to take the time to pour over the word, search it for places that describe Him in all His Glory, Power and Majesty. Take a look at yourself in view of Who He is, and if you come away unchanged, then I suggest you start running for the caves.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Isaiah 1

This morning I started reading through the Book of Isaiah. God has impressed this on my heart as of late and so I began. I have now read chapter 1 in five different translations and read through Matthew Henry’s Commentary. I am struck dumb with the heaviness and disgust God feels for our sin and our practice of religion. Each translation I read the verbiage was strong and struck a hefty punch with its pungent tones. A few examples

Isaiah 1 (Holman Christian Standard Bible)
13 Stop bringing useless offerings.
I despise [your] incense.
New Moons and Sabbaths,
and the calling of solemn assemblies
I cannot stand iniquity with a festival.
14 I hate your New Moons and prescribed festivals.
They have become a burden to Me;
I am tired of putting up with [them].

Isaiah 1 (New Living)
13 Stop bringing me your meaningless gifts;
the incense of your offerings disgusts me!
As for your celebrations of the new moon and the Sabbath
and your special days for fasting—
they are all sinful and false.
I want no more of your pious meetings.
14 I hate your new moon celebrations and your annual festivals.
They are a burden to me. I cannot stand them!

And this is just two of the translations. These are some pretty hard words from our God. He wants nothing to do with our religious practices. He longs for hearts that love Him, that desire to be in relationship with Him. Forget the brunt offerings, and the incenses, they are a noxious stench in His nostrils.

This coming Sunday the Body of believers I belong to will walk through the process of a Solemn Assembly, one of the things in verse 13 that God says He despises when done for the mere practice of a religious festival. Preparing my heart for this, allowing for a contrite spirit, one that has been softened by Him, ready to participate in the repentance process of corporate and personal sin, has been a very difficult process.

Last week I began “tanning” at a tanning booth as my husband and I are going on a tropical vacation in just a few weeks. If you’ve ever been in a tanning booth, there is not much to do in there. So it seemed to me a good place to pray. I will tell you that my experience in the tanning booth, standing before God, unclothed, with my hands placed in handles above my head has been the most intimate of prayer times. I have spent time laying prostate before God in prayer and yet this was something so much more. My heart was prepared for the Leadership Retreat we had as we prepare the way for the Solemn Assembly.

It is my utmost desire to relinquish ALL forms of religious practices and lay my heart bare before Him, to trade my crimson robes for His that are as white as wool. I like what verse 27 has to say and it is what I long for: 27 Zion will be restored by justice; those who repent will be revived by righteousness.
Looking forward to being revived by His righteousness!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

"I'm Ready"

Yesterday we heard on the news about Upper Big Ranch Mine in West Virgina that had collapsed trapping many miners and killing 25 instantly. One of the many who’s life ended was Benny R. Willingham. Benny was just five weeks from retirement. His daughter, Michelle McKinney, says he was looking forward to a Virgin Island cruise, but was also prepared for death.

"He talked about it all the time. He said if the Lord come and got him, he's ready," she said Tuesday as she clutched a photo of her parents and their youngest grandson. "He was a family man and he loved the Lord. We know where he's at, but we still want him to come back."

Just five weeks till he retired; and possibly a Cruise of a life time! I know my parents didn’t start traveling until my dad was near retirement age. They had 6 daughters and a home to care for; there was never any extra funds to take such a vacation. This may have also been true for Benny.

Yesterday I heard an interview that aired on K-love; it was Benny’s daughter Michelle and what wasn’t in the quote that the paper carried was that he wasn’t living “for” retirement, He lived for the one who loved Him more then he could ever love the thought of retirement. Benny’s words say it all; “If the Lord come and got him, he’s ready”

Matthew 19:16-24 (Today's New International Version)
The Rich and the Kingdom of God
16 Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, "Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?"
17 "Why do you ask me about what is good?" Jesus replied. "There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments."
18 "Which ones?" he inquired.
Jesus replied, " 'You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, 19 honor your father and mother,' [a] and 'love your neighbor as yourself.' [b]"
20 "All these I have kept," the young man said. "What do I still lack?"
21 Jesus answered, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."
22 When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.
23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, "Truly I tell you, it is hard for the rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for the rich to enter the kingdom of God."

Here we have a rich man who’s interest is peaked about heaven and what Jesus is offering. He seems hungry to know; “What must a man do…” but as Jesus relays to him what he can do, I can in my minds eye see this rich man’s heart sink, “sell what I have and give to the poor” Now Jesus didn’t tell Him he had to give it all to the poor, but just to give to the poor. This rich man couldn’t handle the “sell what you have” part, so he never truly heard what Jesus had to say, in the end he can’t walk away from all that he has to follow Jesus, so he walks away from Jesus.

Benny’s statement made me think of this passage as here we have a coal miner who willing put his life in dangers way each day to provide for his family and evidently his local church. And maybe it’s that danger that helps him understand that life is not what you accumulate; or that nest egg for retirement, or that long awaited vacation. Life is today, today am I ready if Jesus should decide to come and get me? Would I say “please not yet Jesus… I want to see my son grow up, or my grandbabies graduate, or maybe your close to retirement like Benny, and Lord please let me enjoy my “golden years I’ve prepared and planned so well for this.

What is it your living for? Jesus? Or all that you have and hope to accumulate or do? I want to be like Benny and say “If the Lord come and get me, I’m ready!”

Thursday, March 25, 2010

She Speaks 2010

Last year I attended my first She Speaks Conference, by Proverbs31Ministries in North Carolina. It was an intense learning experience both in speaking to a small audience and in pursuing what God would have for me. I left there with a definite calling on my heart to pursue Ministering to Women. While there God gave me;

Isaiah 41: 9 & 10 9 I have called you back from the ends of the earth, saying, ‘You are my servant.’ For I have chosen you and will not throw you away. 10 Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.

As I prayed that Saturday night for Him to make His call clear to me, this verse was waiting for me in the prayer room with my name attached to it. I wept that God would consider me a useful tool for Him to place in His hand. As a woman who has gone through divorce, I had felt that God could not or would not use me; or if He did it would be limited. The first sentence of that verse brought me to my knees before the very lover of my soul as He spoke His love over me. I felt that He had at that very moment called me back from the very ends of the earth and placed me in His victorious right hand.

Since my first conference I have started a blog. The tools I came away from She Speaks with have truly been an asset in my ministry. What God has given me in my spirit has flowed out in a manner I never would have thought possible. I desire to grasp more of what She Speaks has to offer to continue to reach people with His story, a story that He continues to wrap around me. The workshop that has helped me the most was Wendy Pope’s; the resources she gave for using the Word accurately in preparing a lesson, a devotional or for anything I write has been paramount.

This year has confirmed the call God has placed on my heart; as in late fall I became the head of Women’s Ministries at my church. The tools I came away with have helped me in facilitating bible studies, teaching adult Sunday school, and planning my first Women’s Conference.

We have also gone through tremendous financial difficulties over the past year. In fear of not being able to make good on my commitment to She Speaks, I have by faith submitted my registration and am relying on the One who has called me to make it possible. Which is why this scholarship is so important to me; for more information on this years scholarship go to

If God is placing a desire in your heart to Minister to Women, to speak or write about His truth and Love I encourage you to join me and about 600 other women on July 30th thru Aug 1st in Concord, North Carolina for the 2010 She Speaks Conference. Please follow this link for more information

Friday, March 12, 2010

The Faith of a Friend

I just came through a two day period of absolute oppression right out of the pit of hell. My heart was weighted down with what felt like 50 pound sand bags. The sadness was bone marrow deep and I could not shake it. Sleep would not come no matter how hard I tried, or prayed. The following day was filled with endless tears, if I tried to talk about what was hurting; I felt like I could not breathe.
For weeks I have been claiming victory over a matter, I have lifted it up to God, believing Him for His perfect timing, and knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that He is Sovereign, and he has a plan. I knew this to the very core of my being. I had been walking in His peace and resting in Him. So what happened? How did I end up feeling like I had been hit by a Semi full of doubt and guilt, hit so hard I felt I would need hospitalization. I felt my emotional life was about to have a crash course in “men in little white jackets”.

I had just come from visiting my adult son who is in a dual diagnosis clinic; he had been doing very well and shared some of his “work” with me. He had been able to express himself in Art Therapy and I found it very uplifting and hopeful to see him be able to express his emotions. He wanted to shared a song from his m3p player with me, I'll do the same with you...

Call Me” by Shinedown
Wrap me in a bolt of lightning
Send me on my way still smiling
Maybe that's the way I should go,
Straight into the mouth of the unknown
I left the spare key on the table
Never really thought I'd be able to say
I merely visit on the weekends
I lost my whole life and a dear friend

I've said it so many times
I would change my ways
No, nevermind
God knows I've tried

Call me a sinner, call me a saint
Tell me it's over I'll still love you the same
Call me your favorite, call me the worst
Tell me it's over I don't wan't you to hurt
It's all that I can say. So, I'll be on my way

I finally put it all together,
But nothing really lasts forever
I had to make a choice that was not mine,
I had to say goodbye for the last time
I kept my whole life in suitcase,
Never really stayed in one place
Maybe that's the way it should be,
You know I've led my life like a gypsy

I've said it so many times
I would change my ways
No, nevermind
God knows I've tried

Call me a sinner, call me a saint
Tell me it's over I'll still love you the same
Call me your favorite, call me the worst
Tell me it's over I don't want you to hurt
It's all that I can say. So, I'll be on my way

I'll always keep you inside, you healed my
Heart and my life... And you know I try.

Call me a sinner, call me a saint
Tell me it's over I'll still love you the same
Call me your favorite, call me the worst
Tell me it's over I don't want you to hurt
It's all that I can say. So, I'll be on my way
So, I'll be on my way
So, I'll be on my way

I can’t even explain what happened to me, tears fell from my eyes, as for the first time I felt like I could hear his pain and sense his feelings of rejection. It was as if those feelings were transferred on to me and bearing them was too heavy for me. My son sensing my distraught kept apologizing for making me cry. I soon found myself walking down the hall and as we embraced to say goodbye I thought for sure if I didn’t leave soon I would be finding a bed down the hall myself.
Once in my car I wept so hard I thought I could not breathe, this feeling stayed with for nearly 24 hours. My spirit was so oppressed with guilt; what had I done Lord that you have put this on my son. Why is he suffering with this mental illness and drug addiction? I could hear nothing from God, no word of condemnation, nor a word of relief. I spent my day saturated in sadness and guilt.

Late that afternoon a phone call came from my friend Gayle; I saw her number come up on the caller id at my office and I picked up the phone; she asked me how I was doing and a flood gate of emotion opened and once again I was rendered unable to breathe or speak. With difficult pauses I was able to state my heart was being ripped from me and I couldn’t even explain it. She walked beside me in spirit as I tried to put in words what I was experiencing, we both agreed that this was oppression and she prayed over me.

I wish I could tell you that I claimed scripture through the day, prayed endlessly to be released. I did not, I could not. I felt paralyzed just like the man in Luke 5 who could not himself come to Jesus but had to be carried.

Luke 5:18-20 (New International Version)
18Some men came carrying a paralytic on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. 19When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus.
20When Jesus saw their faith, he said, "Friend, your sins are forgiven."

My dear friend carried me in the spirit of prayer to the feet of Jesus for release from this oppression. Jesus in his wonderful gift of grace released it; the power of the evil one was defeated at the cross and it was defeated in that moment of prayer. I am so very thankful for a friend who loves me and loves the Lord, who is not afraid or unable to carry a friend to the feet of Jesus, to stand in the gap as the men in Luke 5 did to see a friend healed.

God has always been faithful; and He continues to show me that He is. Even in being oppressed by the evil one He showed me His strength is greater than anything the evil one can throw at me. I am finding rest in the One who is able to do more than I could ever ask or hope for. And in this instance I was unable to ask, but God… was still able! HE is worthy of all my praise and adoration.

Friday, March 5, 2010

A Mothers Pain – God Sees

Genesis 21:14 – 21 “Early the next morning Abraham took some food and a skin of water and gave them to Hagar. He set them on her shoulders and then sent her off with the boy. She went on her way and wandered in the desert of Beersheba.
15 When the water in the skin was gone, she put the boy under one of the bushes. 16 Then she went off and sat down nearby, about a bowshot away, for she thought, "I cannot watch the boy die." And as she sat there nearby, she [c] began to sob.
17 God heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, "What is the matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies there. 18 Lift the boy up and take him by the hand, for I will make him into a great nation."
19 Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water. So she went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy a drink.
20 God was with the boy as he grew up. He lived in the desert and became an archer. 21 While he was living in the Desert of Paran, his mother got a wife for him from Egypt.”

This has always been one of the hardest stories in the Bible for me to read. The pain a mother endures over her child is so heart wrenching. A mother’s love for the child of her womb is deeper then the very depths of the ocean. We mothers would do nearly anything to save our child from calamity, serious health issues, the snare of the evil one.

Hagar’s reaction could be every mother’s reaction. We set out with the very best of intentions to care for our children. Even if we have no clue what we are doing or where we are heading. Hagar and her son were sent packing after an incident and I’m sure she was bewildered as to where they would go or how she could possibly care for this growing boy. When the water runs out and exhaustion and dehydration set it; the child is too large to carry and Hagar herself mostly likely is also in a weakened state. She helps her boy lie down in the shade and she moves away a bit to cry. Both mother and child weep; neither wanting the other to hear. But God hears them.

As a mother of a child (young man now) in crisis I have always related to Hagar. Hagar’s son was never really accepted as the heir to Abraham, and as this scene plays out in Genesis 21 Sarah has had her fill of Hagar and her son. And both were pushed away. In this Chapter of Genesis the name that Hagar uses for God is “El Roi” The God who Sees. I am so very thankful that God sees everything. He heard her sons cries and responded. Oh the hope that should give us, I know it is a hope that I cling too.

Without going into a lot of detail, just know that I feel her pain. My son’s life has been racked with rejection, mental illness, and drug addiction. At this juncture of his life, this mother is sitting under the tree at a distance crying, while her son is under another doing the same. Unlike Hagar who didn’t know God until he revealed Himself to her that day, I do know Him; and I am crying out to El Roi, My God who sees.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Getting Real

The last 4 weeks as I have worked through the “Seeking Him” workbook (by Nancy Leigh DeMoss and Tim Grissom) it has been some of the hardest work I’ve had to do.
As I seek personal revival in my spiritual walk one of the themes that keeps hitting me is that I have to “get real” about where I am, where I’ve been and with what I still struggle. Not an easy endeavor I must admit. Staring at my-self in the mirror of Christ has been a stark contrast to where I thought I was. Let me share just a few of the first “getting personal” questions from week one;
• Do I love what God loves and hate what He hates?
• Am I willing to sacrifice whatever is necessary to see God move in my life and church (time, convenience, comfort, reputation, pleasure and so on?)
• Am I more concerned about what God thinks about my life then what others think?

I thought I loved what God loved and hated what He hated, but as I dug into what that looked like I was sadly mistaken. There were a number of places that I knew I sat on the fence, and even some places where I had to say… no… not that! So I climbed down off the fence, got on my knees before God, opened up my clenched fists and said “I don’t want this anymore” I want what you want, please take this and cover it once and for all with your Son’s blood. Help me to never look for it again. For I want to be like you, to love what you love and hate what you hate.

Sacrifice… again another word that hung heavily on my heart. Am I willing to give my time? I do. That one I could say a hearty yes to… but sometimes the time required isn’t convenient. I have to say that I have grumbled at the amount of time this revival process is taking, has taken out of my life, away from my beloved and my little man. And as it has gotten down and dirty with what God is calling me too… there is no way I could say it has been comfortable. Matter of fact it has been ugly and it has hurt. And just when my reputation has gotten to a place where I feel like I can hold my head up… God is calling me to completely humble myself. To admit that my first baptism at the age of 10 was a farce, that for 30 years I talked the talked but I wasn’t walking the walk. I carried the name Christian around like it was a name tag you wore. That if I’m honest, I got real about an intimate relationship with God 6 years ago, on my knees sobbing like a baby on my kitchen floor. That memory is burned into my heart. Twice now I have felt the call on my heart to “again” go through the waters of baptism… this time though… this time will be because I want to follow Jesus! not my friends.

I can honestly say that here in the 5th week of this process I can truly say I don’t care what others think about me, I care about what God thinks about me. I want what He wants, and I am willing to sacrifice for Him. I will submit and be re-baptized, because Its Him I want to please.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Hit

It was about 4:30 am on a September morning in 1996. The phone rang with that eerie sound that only a call that early can make. As I guardedly picked up the phone and said hello; in a rush of panic it was my sister telling me my parents house had been hit by a car. That the oil tank, furnace and water main in the basement had taken the hit and there was 200 gallons of oil spilled and water was gushing all over the basement floor. An awful smell had filled the house as well as an oily vapor. My parents bedroom was on the first floor and the hit happened right there in the side of the foundation under their room. Both of my parents had been thrown from the bed in the impact. And my dad was having difficulty breathing… “come quick” was the last thing she said and she hung up.
I threw on some clothes and headed to my parents in the dark of that early morning. It was a 17 mile drive and I had no clue what I would find when I got there. As I approached the intersection just before the house there were fire trucks, police cars, ambulances, reporters. I was stopped by the police, as I explained I was family, they said “there has been a toxic spill we cannot let you drive down there, there could still be an explosion”. I was gripped with fear that my family home would go up in flames, but I parked right there and got passed the officer and headed to my family. Mom, Dad, and three of my sisters were on the neighbor’s lawn; half the neighborhood had been awakened and all were pajama clad watching this scene unfold.
This devastation happened in a matter of seconds when a drunk driver came speeding down the street at over 100 miles an hour and could not maneuver the slight curve in the road. The car hit the neighbors porch first then into the side of the stone foundation. As I stood there and looked at this old 1973 Maverick sticking out of the house, with nose buried right up to the windshield I wondered how the young man survived. He made it out of there with a broken leg and broken nose. Minor compared to what could have happened.
When I compare the devastation of my parent’s house to our spiritual lives I have to agree that I can just as quickly be destroyed, beaten down, crumble before God. Life happens and it’s trials and difficulties can come in the twinkling of an eye. My spiritual foundation can take a hit when; those I love and trust assail me with insults and innuendo, slander and gossip, divorce and abandonment. When the Dr’s report is one that says… “This is terminal”. Or my child is rebellious beyond comprehension or succumbs to drug addiction that I never saw coming. That is if my spiritual foundation is based on religion and works, neither of which matter much in the grand scheme of our sufferings. There are not enough good works, liturgy or behavioral modification plans that will keep any of these things or worse from coming into my life.

Luke 6:48
"48He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built."

My parents house was built in the early 1900, the foundation was field-stone. The hit it took that day sent those stones flying across the basement, literally there were huge stones scattered everywhere, and there were small stones that even ended up in the dryer on the exact opposite side of the basement. Older foundations like that one cannot withstand that kind of impact. Today’s concrete foundations are built with reinforcement rod throughout; its thickness’s are consistent and can withstand much.
I not only want a house foundation that will take a hit, I want, need, have to have a spiritual foundation that can too. The practice of religion is not, nor can it ever be a foundation that will withstand life’s hits. Jesus is the Rock on which we are to build our Spiritual foundation. Matt 16:18 tells us that Jesus is the Rock Peter is to build on. Likewise we are to do the same. Jesus is our Righteousness, without Him, anything we do is nothing more than wood hay and stubble (or field stones).

1 Corinthians 1:30 &31
"30It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31Therefore, as it is written: "Let him who boasts boast in the Lord."

After the accident at my parent’s home, the foundation was rebuilt, the house was lifted up and a NEW foundation was laid. One that was up to code (for 1996 anyway). With that, the floors which had their sway before, now lay level. The New Water meter and piping didn’t leak so the water bills were accurate and the New Oil tank, furnace (yes that too was destroyed) kept the house warmer and ran more efficiently. (as well as the new dryer).
Trials and sufferings come at times to knock down the old foundations of fieldstone, (religion, works etc) so that the Master builder can come in and give us a NEW Foundation. HIM. So that when the HITS come and they will, we survive in His strength and power. Let Him rebuild your foundation, put away anything that is not of Him for it won’t take the Hit.