9 YEARS OLD!!!

Lewis 9th birthdayLast Thursday, on the 26th of October, My little boy turned 9 YEARS OLD!!!

We celebrated last week with gluten-free yummy cupcakes for his class from Small Cakes bakery right down the road, and a night out at yotopia with a cup of many different flavors of frozen yogurt, where Lewis wrote a huge birthday cake with candles and his name on the blackboard where we were sitting.  Next a Ninja night at his Karate Center, which is amazing, and finally today, a trip to the Donut Shop and Airstrike, as well as seeing his soccer coach at Warren.  Even one of his karate instructors sang him Happy Birthday last night 🙂

This year, as I contemplated Lewis’ birthday, I thought about his birth, I thought about him as a toddler, I thought about his diagnosis at 6 right before his dad deployed…I thought about the hard year that lie ahead, I thought about the past year and a half since the deployment was over.  Several thoughts came to me.  But, WOW was the biggest one!  Wow!  This is one AMAZING KID!!!  He has been though so much.  And most doctors who know about autism would say, a deployment is NOT GOOD.  TRANSITION is NOT GOOD.  DIVORCE is NOT GOOD.

How on earth could this kiddo be doing so well?  That is what I want to write about for this 9th birthday.  It is so very clear to me that God’s grace has literally carried this little boy. During the deployment, God provided and delighted us with activities over and over in gymnastics, boy scouts, AWANAS, ABA therapy, and a soccer league. During the move to Ft. Gordon on Valentine’s Day, I thought about a mid-year move to a whole new duty station, area of the country, and school.  He blew my socks off!  No problem!  Thank God we moved to a good school.  The kids love it.  And during the divorce, Karate, Boy Scouts (now he is in Trail Life), UPWARD Soccer, AWANAS, and now UPWARD BASKETBALL.  He is currently an advanced green belt in intermediate level Karate and just brought home all A’s and 1 B + for his first graded report card.  I love doing homework with him, I love seeing his delight in reading books, I love seeing his memory for Scripture and his LOVE for Jesus.  His discernment is growing now to where he can tell between lies and truth and I love that.

Here are some of the STRENGTHS I want to highlight in Lewis:

Becoming a great communicator!

Remains sweet and sensitive

Love for Logic

Goal Setter and Achiever

Self-Motivated Most of the Time

Hard Worker Most of the Time

Great memorizer

Increasing obedient heart

Wonderful, tender-hearted brother

GREAT SENSE OF HUMOR

WONDERFULLY, ENDLESSLY CURIOUS!!!

 

I am celebrating YOU today Lewis.  I couldn’t have imagined how far you would come, but believed with all my heart that God would get you there.  And He has.  I pray with all my heart that you can continue to believe that All things are possible with God and embrace the great plans He has for you with a grace-soaked heart.  You are a masterpiece and made PERFECTLY the way you are. We couldn’t imagine you any other way.

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Abiding Faith

This is a season where God is growing me deeper in my faith.  I love that despite the plans of the evil in the world, nothing can stop the Lord Almighty.  I love God’s WORD!!  I love that when someone smiles at me pretending to be friendly, all the while plotting evil in his heart, I open God’s Word and He reveals this person’s heart to me to WARN me to not trust!  How could we possibly navigate this world without Christ?  Without the Word?  Without the Holy Spirit?

Every attempt at evil is thwarted by God for those who love Him! One of my favorite stories of the Bible is the one of King Saul and David.  David had done only good to Saul all his days, but Saul was so very jealous of David that every time David was blessed by God and succeeded, Saul only became more exceedingly jealous, until after great success in battle, David came home to realize Saul’s jealousy, and being wise, he kept himself on guard, and while coming to play music to calm Saul’s troubled soul, Saul threw a javeline at David to kill him and David was able to dart away from it and escape.  If you read the story further, you discover Saul’s intense jealousy and how Saul tries to kill David over and over again only to be thwarted every single time by the Lord.

I love that my days are numbered.  I will go only when God says I will go.  I feel as though the Lord has promised me a long life of blessing and peace and will put me in a position to love and bless my children all my life.  This promise is so sweet to me right now.  I thank God for it.  I know I will go only when He has chosen for me to go.  There is deep comfort in that.  And honestly, my life has had sweet moments here on earth, but many, many hard ones…and heaven will look so sweet to me in my old age.  My right now, at 35, I feel as though God has much work to do in and through me.  His passion in me will not be put out.

Doesn’t it feel like some things or people threaten to quench your fire or passion?  I have had times in my life when I felt so full…and during this season of my life, it is a constant refilling by the Lord that is getting me through my weeks.  He FILLs, the World DEPLETES.  He FILLS, my circumstances DEPLETE.  And you know the most wonderful thing about it?  He NEVER STOPS FILLING.

My heart is SO VERY FULL tonight, only because God has me encouraged. The thought of Him as He DELIGHTS to FILL me up makes me smile.  It is never too much for Him.  He knows we need it.  He delights in doing it.  All the more reason to PRAISE YAWEH.

As I have stated before on my blog, there are two goals on my heart right now to accomplish.  To goals I have felt the Lord pressing on my heart amidst many different tasks.  One is to run a marathon.  Will you all please pray for me as I run 5-7 hours next Saturday, the 4th of November?  I was deeply touched two weeks ago as a older friend from PWOC offered to come watch me run in Savannah!  And as my Great Uncle and Aunt open their home and hearts for me to stay with them and drop me off at the start line.  Truly, as I couldn’t find my last marathon, I cannot tell you how nice this is!!  I am excited for the time I will get to spend with my Uncle and Aunt whom I haven’t had the chance to catch up with in some time.  There is so much I want to ask them and write down before it is too late.  There is so much I want to know.  And I will have 5-7 hours to think and pray during my marathon, so I am excited for the time to do that.

Please send me prayer requests as I run and pray.  I am thrilled I will have so much time to pray.

My other goal is to write a book.  Honestly, I have already started writing one, but my mind jumps to another, and then another.  I think I have a ton of writing to do.  I am most looking forward to finishing my work.  I feel as though it will be deeply fulfilling to me and I hope a blessing to my children as well. They will get to know their mommy’s heart through my books.  They will know the truth about what I think, what is important to me, all about my faith.  No question will go unanswered.  I hope it is my legacy to them….to fill them with information, with TRUTH, with a mommy’s heart that was bent on preparing the way forward for them…to teach them to strive to meet their goal’s, by God’s grace, and to never quit.  For them to KNOW ME.

I have been thinking about this point as I write this blog tonight.  Isn’t that why God left us the BIBLE?  Didn’t He know that Satan would throw us so many lies about Him?  Isn’t that what the Enemy did from the very beginning in the garden with Adam and Eve?  God calls him the Father of Lies.  The Bible was given to us ultimately, I believe, for us to KNOW HIM.  Yes, it is our guide.  Yes, it convicts us of our sin.  Yes, it is a historical masterpiece.  Yes, it is evidence of creation, how we began, a moral guide.  BUT, ULTIMATELY, our loving Father wanted us to know a few things.  FOR CERTAIN.  He wanted us to know WHERE we came from, WHOSE we are, WHAT He thinks of us, WHAT HE did for us, WHAT we should do, WHERE we are going, and ultimately, WHO HE IS.  He wants us to know Him.  God created us FOR HIM.  I was made for HIM.  To know Him, to enjoy HIM, to glorify HIM.  My life is not my own.  And so…He gets to choose when I go to heaven.  Thank God that my salvation is secure.  Thank God that I will ride on wings like eagles to my final resting place in eternity…to which I commit, wholeheartedly to pray for all my beloved from a place far above.

If some of you think I am getting a tad bit sappy, please know that I am thinking about this right before I spend an entire day running in just ONE week. 🙂

Truly, I am not ready yet!  I am glad my marathon is here now.  I am glad I get to run it.  I am thankful for a body which has cooperated so far in my training.

I praise the Lord who will strengthen me as I run.  By His strength and grace.

 

Stuck

I’ve never been in a place like this before….I’ve never had so much responsibility on my shoulders day in and day out, with life generally being quite hard, and has been hard for quite some time, with the future only getting harder.  In my mind, I imagine so many different possibilities, jobs I can have where I can still put my children first, every trail I chase ends in a dead end, either because of divorce proceeding regulations, the time I have to get to my job which doesn’t coincide with taking the kids to school, the time I have to pick Emma up (2pm) which coincides with the worktime of pretty much any job I can get, and the kids important after school activities, which means I cannot do anything in the evenings either…take classes, teach classes at the Y.

My faith has never been more important to remind me that God has a plan, that He is the ultimate provider, that He sees every single thing I do.  It is hard to see someone else get to pursue their dreams, while you constantly lay down your own, it is hard to know that I am totally being taken advantage of, it is hard to realize that other people don’t always have the sensitive conscience that I do…they just don’t care or give themselves liberties because of selfishness.  BUT GOD.  What would I do without my faith?  In a season like this…and I KNOW there is a light at the end of the tunnel…and hopefully, it’s a short tunnel, I could not survive without God’s continual voice and guidance to me. When I don’t hear him, I seek him, when I don’t feel Him, I pray I might feel Him more.

Like Beth Moore, I have realized that I am desperate for God.  We all are, but I know that somehow I was created with a huge desire to KNOW HIM.  I’m thankful for this everyday, I know that nothing in this world can satisfy me…really more than a few minutes at a time, or maybe a few days at a time, but rather God created me with a need for HIM.  And if that need is not met, just like anything else in life, where a need goes unmet for any decent amount of time, a problem arises.  The need has to be met.

I left this entry in the Sacred Marriage category because I wanted to remind myself I am betrothed to Christ.  And He doesn’t leave needs unmet.  But we have to do our part.  We have to pray, we have to seek, we have to search for Him around us.

I want Jesus to be the sweetest thing I have ever embraced.  The problem in my personal life is that I encounter people or situations that tempt me to lose my joy or to get angry…to deplete the full tank that just got filled up. They are reasonable things to make one angry.  Foolishness or apathy or laziness or ignorance can be upsetting.  I am learning to take all of these things in stride and just pray.  That’s what I did last night when I was told something that really is upsetting.  Not knowing things that are very important to know and being given a different answer every time is upsetting!!  I can look at the words spoken and dissect them and get angry because they don’t make sense or know that they could change the next day.  I can think of all the hardships that will come my way and all the hardships that have come my way.  It is in these moments where I cannot be a bonzai tree of faith, but I must grow deeper to know, God has a plan.  There are no concrete answers to cling to.  BUT, I must remember that God is sovereign and that He is in control…He can work things out in my favor no matter what, for I am a Child of God.

I am getting off subject a little here, but I’ll come back around at the end: What if there were no God?  Goodness knows, that is such a scary thought.  Sometimes, I think people buy into the atheist theology because they cannot fathom a God who allows such evil to occur all around us.  Others have a partial view of God where He is unable to do much about the evil in the world.  I think of a God who holds back so much more evil, who truly is in control, and allows Satan to work only at His nod.  Satan cannot do anything without God’s permission.  I think too, our minds are so understandably focused on the here and now of this world, but if we could see the overall perspective of life, not just life on earth, but eternal life in heaven, it truly would change our minds about so many things.

What to do about the evil in the world for today? Pray. And be sanctified by God’s Word, so that we might not bring any more evil into the world.  God meant for us to be family here on earth.  God is able to meet all of our neediness.  God delights in His people, we are his prized possession…but what truly brings Him joy?: When His children walk in TRUTH.

When we are stuck…and we will get stuck in this life…whether by having to make a choice and we cannot find which direction is best to go (I’ve searched MANY right now and none of them are quite the right fit)…or by being stuck in our wrong attitudes….we can get unstuck by delving into the TRUTH, memorizing the TRUTH, thereby getting the TRUTH soaked in our bones, to quote Beth Moore again, and applying the TRUTH to our lives.  TRUTH lifts us up out of the miry pit!!

NOW…are we unstuck and ready to go?  I am ready.

 

 

 

 

Just smile.

Life simply goes by much easier as we mulch on the beautiful seeds God has planted in our hearts, whether verses, promises, beautiful moments, truths we love, incredible memories…some days are filled we these and we can smile big…other days we smile knowing that circumstances can go up and down, feelings can be a false guide at times, but the Word of the Lord stands together and God’s promises stay true. I’ve come to really appreciate the quiet strength and peace God gives me and other friends who rest in Jesus.

Just Smile reminds me that it is a genuine, authentic smile that should grace my lips just because I am a child of God.

What is your passion?

I’ve always loved this world.  However, sometimes, if not properly expressed, our passions can get us into trouble.  But, I think the thing I fear the most is to not live my life passionately for something…that I would just wonder through life without any real goals to impact the world around me…or even to live my life without any personally significant achievements.  As a young girl, age 8, I had a list of achievements I wanted to reach in my lifetime.  I remember I made the list all on my own and my age was listed as 100 and I had listed on that paper all that I wanted to accomplish and at what age…I handed it to my dad and he gently said to me…”Dawn, this is assuming you will live to be 100!”  I sadly erased my age at the top of the page and put down 80, but left all my goals to accomplish the same, just closer together in age!  Ok, I guess I was a series planner from the beginning!  I’ve often thought about, as I have held all sorts of jobs/positions throughout my life, what my true passions are and how I wanted to use them.  I realize now that God has made masterpieces of all of us and we are wonderfully complex creations!  The truth is I can do all sorts of different jobs, but what am I truly passionate about?  What will keep me coming to work with a smile on my face?

Some things  I have learned about myself:

I love people.

I love solving problems

I am an analytical person.

I love to teach.

I love to make a difference in the world and in people’s lives.

I love to write.

I love putting different puzzle pieces together.

I love learning about God and ministering to other people to embolden the Truth’s of God’s Word into their hearts and minds.

I love learning.

I love encouraging others and being encouraged by others.

I love adventures.

I love seeing God’s power and presence in my life and the lives of those I love.

~~~~~

 

Jump forward to three passions God is continuing to put on my heart right now.  TEACHING. RUNNING. SCHOOL.

I am teaching swim lessons to kids at the YMCA right now and loving it.  I love seeing their enthusiasm and seeing them learn.  I love teaching them a very important life skill and maybe even helping save their life someday or someone else’s by imparting water safety skills to them. I love believing that I am making a difference by investing in the next generation.

I am running and swimming my heart out right now and still feel like it’s not enough to prepare me for this marathon coming up in only ONE MONTH!!!

The Lord is putting a passion that has kind of been buried in the lost dreams section of my heart.  I have felt called to serve my family day in and day out for 9 years now and as much as I have loved caring for them, I believe it is time to tap into those untouched dreams….that are waiting to be explored in my heart.  This year, I sense is preparation for one and maybe two of those dreams to be discovered and employed!  I have always loved English and teaching and have discovered an amazing company called Oxford Seminars that sends teachers all over the world to teach English.  The company regularly sends families along with the teachers overseas and this is a major decision on the table in my family right now that is being covered in prayer.

I am thankful, by God’s grace, my kids are doing AMAZING.  In school.  At home.  At their activities.  I really am so in awe of how well they are doing.

I am thankful for God reaching deep down in my heart to pull out and dust off some dreams in my, well, honestly, broken heart that seems to feel a little too scared right now to dream…it has been checked into survival and anchor gear for about two years now.

I am reading a very timely book that is PERFECT for me right now.  During the year of my unexpected separation and succeeding quick divorce, I read UNINVITED, by Lysa Terkeurst along with a “Love Worth Giving,”by Max Lucado and “Steadfast Love,” by Lauren Chandler. They were PERFECT for that year.  Now, a year after an unexpected tragic turn of events…a situation I had absolutely no control over (despite how I tried), God puts a new book in my hands…Rescuing the Girl (She’s STILL THERE), by Chrystal Evans Hurst.  It is all about how after casual drifts or tragic shifts in our lives make us lose track of the girls we once were…and we find ourselves OFF COURSE.  How true for me!  Her words echo my own,  I couldn’t have said it better.  It felt as if every dream I had ever dreamt came to an end this past year.  “What next?” kept echoing in my mind over and over…I felt like I was frantically searching, trying to come up with a reasonable plan to provide for my family, as I was given two years .  Two years of monetary support.  It does seem sometimes that people have control over our lives, whether by influence or money…but I have learned that only God has real control!  Thank God for that!  I have prayerfully sought last year to finish my first semester of grad school, to substitute teach, and now to teach classes at the Y, while making certain my children were doing OK.  They were my first calling.

Last year’s school pictures looked somber at best.  I knew the kids felt sad, from what was happening, but also from words that were carelessly said to them that hurt so much…although their cute smiles could easily hide their sadness on the outside.  Kids are so resilient.  But, they also are so perceptive.  I wanted so much for this year’s school pictures to reflect the hard work that God and I had done together to encourage them, build them up, and help them feel secure and hopeful for the future.  Thank-you Jesus, this afternoon, I got their fall school pictures and all 3 are incredible..HUGE, BEAUTIFUL SMILES!! For me, they serve as a reminder…WE ARE DOING OK!!

Between activities and on the way here and there, we listen to sermons together.  We read our bibles every night, I teach them and train them up in the way I sense the Lord leading me, they are engaged and thriving at school…I could not be more proud of them.  Yet, each day I realize there is a foe out there and we are still on the battlefield.  I try to stay alert and aware and help my children stay loved, secure, and ready to do what is right and good.  Thank God they are receptive, thank God they are on board.  I pray my heart out and thank God He has unrelenting mercy and grace over us.

All of this is a background to say…are we ready?  Are we ready for me to go back to work full time next year?  That’ll be my last year of support and a great year to transition into full time work while still having some income.  One of my dreams for my kids was to take them overseas like I was when I was growing up and to have them go to international or private schools.  It has been a dream I literally gave up on…until lately, a spark…a tiny one started flashing in my heart.  I have found a means…but God must make the way!  I know I have the talent, the ability, the passion….my kids are beyond themselves in excitement to go overseas as well, to perhaps Korea.  I sense God telling me to take action.  BUT, ROADBLOCKS always seem to pop up when life gets starts to look promising.  As I said before, one of the things I love, is to see God’s power displayed in the lives of His children, according to His will.

Thy Will be Done. I am praying tonight that God make a WAY if this is HIS WAY.  That He give me strength, power, favor, and perseverance to make a dream come true if it is indeed the dream He is planting on my heart right now.  How exciting!

I love that my relationship with the Lord is never dry, never dull, always exciting…and you know, it is predictable too…I can always count on His Steadfast, UNFAILING Love.

PASSION.  Jesus had it undeniably, unashamed.  People called him and still call him all sorts of names.  A Fanatic.  Crazy.  Delusional.  But, you know what.  The Bible says one day…every knee will bow, every tongue will confess that HE IS LORD. So, the same people who ignorantly say all kinds of false things about Jesus…will one day bow and declare Him as Lord and King.  Now, that’s victory!!  I love how Jesus is quite unaffected by what people say about Him.  He heard it while on earth, He suffered at the hands of the worst, and He still hears all of what people think and say….but heaven and earth will someday pass away, however HIS WORD remains.  Jesus remains.  His Kingdom REMAINS.

So, whatever I do, whatever I say, let it be to be a part of His Kingdom that is unending.  That will be my lasting legacy.  To be a part of God’s work in Kingdom building. I hope that Oxford Seminars is a stepping stone to my work in taking a part in building God’s Kingdom. But, may God’s infinite Wisdom be my guide.