Thursday, August 5, 2010

Appendectomy Joys and Lessons Learned

"Why me Mom?" This is a question I heard several times this week. The healthiest of my children, who has never had to visit the ER, woke up in pain Sunday am and by the end of the day she had been operated on to remove her appendix. Jessica was in shock to find that her very first visit to the ER included surgery and a three day hospital stay.  This was a great learning time for Jessica and our family

We were exhausted from an 11 hour day sitting in the ER waiting for tests, results, and for the surgeon to finally take Jessica for the appendectomy. But those long hours taught us some valuable lessons. My son, Justin, learned to be more patient and that he CAN survive without the internet, Nintendo, or PSP to entertain him. It was a good lesson for him to learn and I pray he will continue to learn it as time goes on. Marissa, my oldest, learned that she doesn't like to see her sister in pain and that she is pretty sure she does NOT want to be in the medical field when she grows up. :-) So, I guess her chosen path of culinary school was reaffirmed this weekend. Mark and I learned not to assume that our children are exaggerating their pain level! We thought she just had a stomach ache and if she had not insisted that her Daddy understand how bad she was hurting, life could have been much worse. We learned that Jessica had a deeper faith in God than we thought. And Jessica learned the most lessons.

She learned that even when you pray and you expect God to answer a certain way (in this case no surgery, no appendicitis) and he answers differently, it is still under His control and His ways are best even when it doesn't make sense. Jessi also learned that she truly is loved by many people. See, like all young people (ok, make that MOST people) she though she was not really cared for by anyone outside of her immediate family. She was shown differently. We received so many calls and texts from our church family as the day progressed and people heard about her situation. Then she received several visitors who brought her favorite things; Dr. Pepper, Oreos, and BK Chicken Sandwich. She got flowers from our church and pastor. In fact, she was blessed to have him come and pray for her, not just once, but twice while she was in the hospital.  She learned that she is tough and can survive unknown situations with a wonderful prayerful attitude. She learned that although her brother and sister can bug her to death sometimes, they were shook up by her pain and suffering and truly do love her.

We are finally home and able to rest more comfortably. And we are still learning lessons each day. This has definitely brought Jessi and I closer than we were. Constant attendance to her every ache, pain, and needs helped Jessica to know I truly do love her and that she is more important to me than (and please do not misunderstand this statement) church, the music department, and busy schedules. Those are all great things but Jessica and our family is more important. I was able to ensure they all knew that this week. ILC had had a choir clinic this last weekend and the choir was singing both services Sunday. When Jessi had to go to ER, I dropped everything, arranged for someone else to take care of the altar call and evening service, and ran to her side. I learned that lesson too. I am a true mom who will do whatever needs to be done to make sure her babies are taken good care of.

Appendectomies are scary events, but with God on our side, we endured, learned, and won the prize: a closer relationship with each other and God!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

A Servant's Heart

With my children being home-schooled, they do not get much exposure to the "world" and it's sad estate. That being said, they also don't get much opportunity to be a witness to the "lost." We have a tendency to be confined to our little box of home and church. This bothers me as I want to be a soul winner (and yes, I know that I my primary goal is to "win" my children) and to see my children become soul winners. How do we accomplish that in our "limited" exposure?

One way is to find something that puts us in direct contact with people who may be hungry for God. So, my children and I have decided that we need to more diligently pursue a servant's heart. Now we are looking for ideas for being a servant to our community. We will be doing some research over the next few weeks to find something we can each do individually, as well as something we can do as a family. I feel strongly that this will help my children to be more thankful for the blessings they have in their lives and will help develop them into giving and generous people.

Whatever we find to do, we pray God's blessings on the endeavor. We want to help, be a blessing, and walk through any open doors in which we can minister, witness, and win souls who are hungry for more of God. I truly believe we will learn more about ourselves as we grow through servant-hood. My prayer is that my children become less self-involved and more like Jesus. I also pray that we will encounter someone, even if it is ONLY ONE, who wants to know Jesus and get to see them receive the Holy Ghost and become an integral part of the body of Christ, the Church.

Please keep us in your prayers as we start this journey of self-discovery, learning to humble ourselves, and outreach.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

A Night of a First

My beautiful, gorgeous, shy, scaredy-cat daughter had a first last night!

Back at the end of January, Marissa told me that she wanted to sing a special...not a solo with the Youth Choir....a solo for regular church services. WHAT? This is the girl who doesn't want to stand on the front row of our 50 voice choir. WHAT? She told me she wanted to sing a song called "It's My Desire"; not the one in the Sing Unto The Lord songbook but another song on an album we got at Christmas.

So, fast-forward to the end of February when I and Sarah made the calendar for March. Sarah was going to schedule someone who has a great voice but doesn't believe in herself too much yet to sing a solo for the March youth service. In discussing the calendar, Sarah told me that she wanted to schedule the young lady but was afraid that the girl would bail on us. So, we put Marissa on that service.

When Marissa found out, she said, "Okay. But I think I might want to do a different song." I was shocked that she didn't do what we thought the other young lady would do!!! Marissa chose "Rend" by Jimmy Needham and we practiced, changed the key, discussed her voice, discussed her diction, etc. She sounded good and then it was time to go to church for the scheduled Youth service.

As the service progressed, Marissa got more nervous and more nervous. She kept looking at me and saying, "I don't think I can do it, Mom." We prayed with each other during the song service and I kept encouraging her to just do her best. Then it was time to go onto the platform...we started forward only to have Marissa turn to me and say, "I can't. I can't." I hugged her, put my arm across her back, propelled her forward, and said, "Yes, you can." We got onto the platform. Marissa went into a hallway off the side. I told her to get back in there and she said, "I am going to run away." LOL I asked her, "Who are you singing for? The audience or Jesus?" She answered correctly and said Jesus. Then it was time.

She walked nervously across the platform to the pulpit (which is HUGE and helped "hide" her...) picked up the mic, and started to sing. She told me later that she freaked out a little when she heard herself through the monitors and that was why she had pulled the mic away for a second. She also pointed out that she muffed the words on the first chorus.

BUT she DID it. She sang her first front of 200 people or so...and she did well. Very well for a shy, scaredy-cat. In fact, I think the scaredy-cat part of her personality is getting removed slowly through each time she conquers her fears and allows God to use her for His glory!!! Yep, I have a feeling we will be seeing a more confident Marissa in the future and hearing more of her God-given beautiful voice!!

Oh, and the song she sang was about rending your heart from the world. Allowing yourself to become a broken vessel to be used of God. And Pastor Booker preached about what a difference a line can make when it comes to the World of Sports. He taught about tearing away from the worldly things and focusing on God. How cool is that to be in tune with the leading of God the first time you choose a song and sing a solo????

Yup, I am a very Holy Ghost proud mommy!!!!

Sing for the Lord, Riss....Don't get caught up in the "applause"....Be careful to stay in tune with God's anointing and give Him all the glory!!!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

RIP Layla Grace Marsh-Lessons Learned

Yesterday my daughter, Marissa, came across a blog, , about this incredibly beautiful 2 year old princess who was fighting Neuroblastoma. The pictures of this precious jewel are incredible. Especially the photos that the family was able to have done just before Layla got really bad. We read the entire blog, 10 months worth of posts, in one sitting (no, we do NOT normally do things like this) and shed many, many tears. The smiles she shared with her family and friends are incredible. She was a fighter and a VERY smart little girl. There are video clips of her showing her incisions, getting tickled by her daddy and laughing the most precious laugh, and telling her mommy just how she felt about bedtime during one hospital stay.

This morning we found out that little Layla had gone to be with Jesus.

My heart is broken for the Marsh family. I keep thinking about how I would be feeling if this had been one of my children. I truly feel that God has used this little girl and her family's wonderful but painful journey of her life to remind me that the world doesn't revolve around me, my family, my church, my immediate surroundings. There is a great big world out there where so many people are hurting, dying, losing loved ones, and suffering through their own trials.

I am burdened anew for deeper prayer and intercession for the world. Marissa has been deeply affected as well and is determined to pray more. Mark and I spoke this morning for a while about how so many recent developments, circumstances, painful trials, and physical ailments have been directing us once again to the throne of God. I am not saying that we haven't been just isn't enough any more. God is wanting more of us. And I believe it is because of His soon return. His people, His church need to be in intercession for the lost and hurting so that they too can come to know Jesus in the fullness of truth.

If you get a moment, remember Layla's family during this dark hour of sorrow. And take a little longer to pray for others as well. Pray for my family and me too, please!

God bless you, my friends. I am praying for you!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Making Old Memories Become New, Revised Versions

The following was copied from my friend Bekki's blog. It fit my thoughts for the evening and I wanted to share it with you.


“Forgiving does not erase the bitter past. A healed memory is not a deleted memory. Instead, forgiving what we cannot forget creates a new way to remember. We change the memory of our past into a hope for our future.” -Lewis B. Smedes

We must be careful with our words, with our actions, with our choices, and with essentially everything we do...lest it create a memory of pain and grief; a memory that cannot be erased by forgiveness. Yes, healing can occur but in the recesses of our mind, the memory will live on. If not dealt with properly through forgiveness, true repentance, and a new way of looking at the hurt, it WILL come back to haunt you and try to steal the peace forgiving had brought.

I am reminded of a story that my sister shared with me recently. I will not go into details about the circumstances but a very, very terrible thing had happened in a family. It resulted in jail time for one member and immense bitterness from several others. It resulted in a blended family being torn apart by the bitterness and ugliness of the betrayal. Yet, in the midst of this tragedy was a person who admitted their wrong, paid their due to society, all the while, leaning on the everlasting Father whom they had come to know after the offense had occurred. This person lived for God the whole time they served their 5+ year sentence.

After the sentence had been served, the person tried to reconcile with the family only to repeatedly be rejected because the other family members were so bitter And then one night, the person came to the church for a special service and this time the sibling who had been so tragically hurt by the person, came to them, took them by hand, and together they went to the altar. They knelt together and prayed. Healing took place that evening. Forgiveness was offered and received, not only from each other but also from God.

By the end of the altar call, the whole family had joined these siblings and were weeping and praying together. A family healed. But the memory of the offense will live on and could come back to hurt them again...if....they don't surrender their bitterness and their futures to God. To look back won't help them now. They must look forward to see what God can do through them to help others who face their same dilemma. In other words, create a new way of remembering and let God take care of the future.

If you have experienced hurt and have painful memories of the past, I challenge you to talk with God, surrender your bitterness, and then go to the offender and offer them forgiveness. Make a new future of HOPE...don't let the devil steal your joy because of a painful healed, renewed, and grind the devil under your feet as you walk in a glorious future of reconciliation, restoration, and joy.

Saturday, January 2, 2010


Happy New anyone who still is interested in this blog after such a long dry spell (4 months!!) :-)

2009 is gone and a new year has begun. We had a wonderful time visiting with family this last week and got home in the wee hours of today. Driving home was an interesting experience.

I haven't driven in fog for several years now. Luckily, we have missed most of it in our cross-Cali travels. Driving last night, we encountered a very heavy fog along the I-5 corridor. It was so heavy that I was driving 45-50 mph at times. I could see taillights of cars that flew past us but only for a few seconds as they quickly were swallowed up by the fog. As it got thicker, I was praying constantly and it would lift slightly for a few moments. Then it got super thick and when the kids noticed how slow we were going, they finally noted the fog. They immediately got worried and I told them just to pray and ask God to lift the fog for us. Within less than a minute of them doing so, the fog lifted and never returned! The kids were so excited to see instant answer to prayer! Thank you, Lord for doing so and increasing their faith!

This morning as I recalled the events of the evening, I thought about how life mirrors this story. So many of us go along through life seeing clearly and trusting God to see us through. Then we encounter a "foggy stretch" and can't seem to find our way. Some, like the speed demons who flew past us last night, keep trucking and hoping that they won't hit anything in their path. They barrel through life with little regard to the fact that they can't see clearly. Some make it through without incident. Occasionally, the fog hides obstacles until it is too late and a crash occurs. Some come out of their wrecked situation damaged. Some survive with minor scratches and have a new respect for life. Some don't survive and perhaps even take innocent lives as a result of their crash.

Then you have those like me who slow down and realize it is time to call on God to see them through to safety. The fog slows them down and makes them look at life more carefully. And when God, as He ALWAYS does, brings them through to the other side, their faith is renewed and their eyes see more clearly than before. They avoid wrecked lives by fully relying on God's promises to protect them and guide them.

I pray that in 2010 when foggy situations arise, I will be reminded to slow down, call on my Father, and allow Him to lead me through to a new understanding and a clear view of the road ahead.

May God bless and keep you in His hand throughout the coming year.