Sunshinelittleone's Blog

All about my love for the Lord

He is gigantic…

Our Lord Jesus Christ

Our Lord Jesus Christ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.” James 1:2-3

Before I developed a deep and loving relationship with Christ Jesus, I would have scoffed at the notion of considering it pure joy when I faced trials. I used to run screaming from trials.  I spent a great deal of time burying myself in self-deprecating behavior, trying desperately to cover up the pain or frustration with something (seemingly) tangible.  I would mask the ‘problem’.  But the mask is always lifted and the problem still exists…unless you are in tight communion with the Lord Jesus.

I am learning to rely on Jesus to fill me with His joy in all circumstances.  Praying the Fruit of the Spirit has been instrumental in helping me to really concentrate on the gifts of the Father.  When praying in the Spirit, our trials become opportunities to see God’s amazing grace and goodness.  He prepares a table in front of our enemies. He equips us to handle all situations and trials.

I have to take my cares to the Lord immediately.  I mustn’t wait for the issues to become problems too great to deal with.  I know through prayer and petition, the Lord is ever-present.  He is always with me, encouraging me in His will to seek Him in all of life’s trials.  I am eternally grateful.

We serve a God who delights in being in all the details.  He is real and present.  He cares deeply for our every need.  He answers our prayers-the desires of our hearts, in His will.  He gives us exactly what we need…sometimes what we need may first come as a trial.  Trials encourage our faith.  We are given the blessing of His guidance when we face hardships.  He is always alongside us.  He never leaves us or forsakes us.  He is, as Caroline said last night, GIGANTIC.  My four year old explained to me that God is so big, He fills everything…our hearts, our homes the world.  She gets it…she has blind faith that the Lord is always with her.  She is learning to depend on Him in all circumstances.

I am learning to be thankful in all circumstances.  I am learning to come to the Lord with empty hands, ready and willing for Him to fill them with His mighty strength.  I am learning that trials are merely a way of growing me closer to the Lord.  He always has a perfect solution.  He always carries me through.  I can ALWAYS find a reason to be grateful.

Father God,
You are so GIGANTIC.  You fill the hollow spaces of my soul.  You fill my life and my home with your greatness. Thank you seeing me through every circumstance.  Thank you, even when I am not filled with gratitude, for loving me fully, completely, and unconditionally.  In Jesus’ mighty name, Amen.

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Church today…

Spring run-off Waterfall made by hillside run-...

Spring run-off Waterfall made by hillside run-off after spring rain. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From time to time I like to write about my church and the sermon and basically the gratitude I have to Him for leading us to KPC.  He is amazing in His blessings…

 

I have a seven year old rock band wanna be…a rock band for Jesus.  I stood behind my little worshiper as he gave it all for the Lord.  He worshiped from the top of his head to the tips of his toes.  Joy was exuding from him.  THANK YOU GOD FOR A SON WHO FEELS YOUR JOY AND ISN’T AFRAID TO LIVE IT OUT LOUD!

Then, Avery WALKED up on the platform to share the testimony of miraculous healing that had JUST taken place!  He was suffering horribly from a series of medical procedures for his back, leaving his legs and body in complete direpair.  He recently spent a few days in the hospital where he experienced full paralysis of his legs…complete paralysis.  He left the hospital, in a cab, against medical advice.  This morning as he knelt on a prayer mat he felt  ‘somethin’ happenin’.  He stood up on new legs.  He walked up to the platform with as little as a cane assisting him. This man was supported on all sides, physically and spiritually, by a group of men not so long ago.  He put his faith in the Lord.  My friend Helen remarked “How many Averys have I missed?”  I am starting to wonder the same for myself…but God is good and we have met an ‘Avery’ or two , I am sure…I hope.  If not, I pray the Lord shows me who He needs me to love.

As we passed the offering plate a group of amazing performers lavished the congregation in an AWESOME bluegrass hymn. (My favorite kind).

THEN!!! Pastor Nate invited us all to meet Jeremiah Crane.  I praise the Lord for the delight this young man shares for the Lord.  Listening to this dear soul; changed my life indelibly.  His gratitude for the abundance of ‘spring rain’ the Lord has poured over him…into him, was palpable.  I know Jeremiah’s momma and I think she is an extraordinary woman.  I am blessed to have witnessed the goodness of pouring life and the WORD into the life of a child.  WOW!

Church was awesome today.  It felt like a revival.  I pray for one!  I know the Lord is doing something incredible!  In Jesus’ name! Amen!

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Twenty years…

Sunset over mountains

Sunset over mountains (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the alien, giving him food and clothing.” Deuteronomy 10:18

The Lord is always faithful to His promises.  He does defend the fatherless.  He has defended me. The past twenty years have found me fatherless. But, my heavenly father has guided my every step.  He has never left me or forsaken me.  He has carried me.  He has held me tight in His loving arms.

On April 28th, 1992 I came home from school to learn that my father had gone home to be with the Lord while I sat in US Government.  It wasn’t a complete shock, he had been sick with cancer for nearly two years.  A year and a half longer than the doctors had predicted.  We were given the gift of 18 months. The Lord gave us those days to prepare for my dad’s home going.  While we knew that he would soon leave us, his passing was profound nonetheless. When someone so close to you dies, you can feel the ache in your heart. I had hoped that feeling would ebb with time.  It is still palpable.  The ache is for very different reasons now.  There are still days when the news of his passing rings loud in my ears and I feel like I am hearing it for the first time, but mostly the ache is for what I can’t not share with him now…my sweet husband (who he would have totally approved of! Two little children who share so many of my dad’s amazing qualities.  What a blessing from the Lord…a glimpse of the one I loved so much and miss so deeply!)

I miss him.  The Lord has blessed me with sweet memories.  He has given me a son whose smile and eyes remind me of my dad…a little boy who has an insatiable curiosity like his grandpa.  He has blessed me with a little girl who could tromp around in nature, all day, like her grandpa…who isn’t afraid to bait her own line, like her momma!

My dad embodied the role of fatherhood so well.  He was suited to parent. He was fun and adventurous. But most of all he listened well and loved even better. He allowed me to confide in him.  He never judged or condemned me; he just always listened.  He provided me with a safe place to land.  He was the world to me.  I have spent the past twenty years trying desperately to honor his name and memory.

I imagined this day coming.  Twenty years.  I imagined it wouldn’t be so hard.  But it is.  And I am thankful.  I am thankful because the hurt reminds me of the deep love I had for my dad…for that I am eternally grateful.  I had 17 precious years with a man who loved me so well.  I am thankful because I embody so many of his qualities…inside and out.  I am grateful because I was blessed to have a father who was also my best friend.

Today’s gratitude…

  1. A dad who taught me to love fully and deeply
  2. My dad’s hazel eyes, similar to the color of Max’s
  3. His laugh, that even after all these years I can hear in my heart
  4. His encouragement
  5. The strength he pulled out of me
  6. The wisdom he shared with me
  7. The life he lived
  8. My mom
  9. Today…because I have precious memories that sustain me
  10. Heaven

 

Dear Heavenly Father,

I am grateful beyond word for the opportunity to have loved such a wonderful man. I thank you for making him my father. I thank you that you took him home and that someday we will be reunited in Heaven.  Thank you father for the blessing that was Dale Rowell.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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Being the prodigal…

The Return of the Prodigal Son

The Return of the Prodigal Son (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal says the Holy One.  Lift your eyes and look to the heavens; Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host on by one, and calls them each by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.” Isaiah 40:25-26

Today my gratitude is in the Lord alone.  Oh how He lavishes me in His amazing grace.  He called me out to follow His call.  He loves me unconditionally…He created love.

I remember looking into the night sky during a car ride home and asking Rick if he could believe that the Lord who created the heavens also created us.  And Rick replied that the amazing thing wasn’t the stars He created but rather that He created us to enjoy them.  We are His pride and joy.  He created us for His own delight. I am grateful.

Just as the Lord never loses a star, He NEVER loses His children.  We are the meek and tender sheep of His flock.  When we do go missing He seeks us, searching in earnest for us to return.  WOW!  I am humbled by the way He loves me.

I am so thankful to the Lord for my life.  I look back on the days and years I spent wasting time; doing things that, now I know, grieved His heart.  But, He never turned His back on me; He carried me. The whole way.  He carried me even when He knew that I was self-destructing.  He lifted me into His mighty arms and held me from danger and trial far too great for me to handle alone.  The amazing part is that He did it so mercifully.  He waited for His prodigal to return.  He welcomed me home with opened arms.

My return was a jubilee.  And while I am not proud of the woman I was before Christ, I am forgiven.  When I accepted His wounds and scars; He forgave me. He wiped my slate clean.  He bathed me in His grace.

I am thankful beyond measure for the work the Lord is doing in me.  He has given my life purpose.  He speaks softly into my heart, encouraging me to do the things that will delight Him.  He equips me when He calls me to step out of my comfort zone.  He lavishes me in His love and mercy and grace.

I give thanks and praise to the Lord.

  1. The Cross
  2. The path I walked
  3. The mistakes I made
  4. My perfect Heavenly Father
  5. Agape love
  6. His mercy
  7. His forgiveness
  8. His rebuke
  9. His delight
  10. All of His creation

Father,
You know my every fiber.  Thank you for saving my life in so many ways.  Thank you for loving me and being a perfect parent.  Thank you for never forsaking me.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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Thankful for the rain….

Big Grass and Stormy Sky. This tall grass is g...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We praise the Lord in times of happy.  We exalt Him when our lives are storybook or fairytale-like.  But what about when the rains come and we are drowning in misery or discontent?  When our lives seem to hard to handle…we find it hard to spend time PRAISING HIM.  But…we need to.  It is what draws us closer to our Creator.

My dear friend received some unwanted news yesterday.  Her husband’s job is being eliminated.  His last day will be June 1.  This is not the time to be jobless, and by human standards, it surely doesn’t seem like a time for gratitude and thanksgiving.  But that isn’t how my friend and her family look at the hard eucharisteo.  They find gratitude in everything.  I like that she’s my friend, she encourages me to seek gratitude.

So, while some may spend their days bemoaning their circumstances, my friend spends her days finding the beauty, with out-stretched hand to the Lord, in EVERYTHING!

My prayer, of course, is that her husband finds a job swiftly.  I pray that his skills and ability will be honored by a future employer.  I pray that the Lord will be glorified through their situation.  Mostly, I praise God for my friend and all of her circumstances.  She is a fine example of a woman after God’s heart.  She seeks His face and His hands and His feet to guide her along.  I am grateful for her life.  She is an amazing woman of God.

Today I offer thanksgiving for…

1. My friend
2. Praise in times of want
3. The perfect job out there for Mr
4. Budgets
5. Jehovah Jireh
6. Rain
7. The hard eucharisteo
8. The hand of God that is always ready to hold ours
9. Debt-free living
10. Dave Ramsey  www.daveramesy.com 

Father,
We give you thanks and praise for always knowing the perfect plan for our lives that we may glorify and exalt you in all circumstances!  Thank you for my friends and their faith and gratitude!!!  In Christ Jesus, Amen!

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Fix your eyes on Him…always!

dishwasher woes

dishwasher woes (Photo credit: tidefan)

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2

I am not always great at fixing my eyes on Jesus; especially when the circumstances seem purely human.  I am trying my very hardest to focus on Jesus and to offer perpetual thanksgiving. Such is the case with my current situation involving a newly delivered (or not delivered) set of appliances.

I am joyful because we have the resources to replace our twenty year old fridge and dishwasher.  They have served our family well and it is time now they retire.  So, off we went to purchase replacements.  Patiently waiting two weeks for delivery.  Yesterday morning the kindest delivery man walked into my kitchen and immediately, without hesitation, proclaimed that the dishwasher I ordered will not work with the electric and plumbing placement that suited the former appliance.  I took a deep breath.  I stared into the gaping hole in my kitchen cupboard and felt no resolution in sight.  I pressed in deep…fixing my eyes on Christ.

The old me, the lady without the constant presence of Jesus in her life, would have immediately fallen apart and been not only frustrated with the company I ordered from, but the poor messenger (i.e. delivery guy). I would have ranted and raved about how ‘they should have known at the store’.  But, surprisingly, because my eyes were fixed on Christ, I calmly accepted the situation and started praying for a resolution. I immediately turned to Facebook (a great resource for immediate response to urgent questions) found a great referral for an electrician and went back to the appliance store to find a new dishwasher.  Enter Christ…

I asked the Lord to bathe the situation in His goodness and perfect will.  Yes, He is in ALL the details of our lives!  He reigns supreme over EVERYTHING!

The electrician told me he could be out the next day to fix the outlet issue!  And!!!  The delivery of my new dishwasher will be on Thursday (awesome because I have 50 women coming to my home on Saturday!).  Praise God!  And that is exactly what I did.  In the middle of the appliance section of The Home Depot, I stood, hands lifted to Heaven praising the Lord and thanking Jesus for His perfect timing.

See, God knew that the dishwasher wasn’t going to work in my home, He knew this long before the old appliance died.  He knew that I would give witness about His faithfulness and provision…right there in the appliance section.  He also knew that I would have a new testimony to share.  And I do…I share with delight how the Lord is in all things…especially when we fix our eyes on HIM!

Fix your eyes on Christ.  Don’t for one moment think that He doesn’t care about dishwashers or outlets, He does.  He cares about YOU and your life.  He wants to give you endless opportunity to exalt Him and raise Him up for His amazing, unending faithfulness…in EVERYTHING!

So today I will give thanksgiving for…

  1. Deep sinks for washing a day’s worth of dishes
  2. The resources to purchase new appliances
  3. The ability to fix my eyes on the Lord in all circumstances
  4. Witnessing His goodness at all times, anywhere
  5. Chris, the delivery gu,y who was kind and patient
  6. The manager at Home Depot for kindly discounting my new dishwasher and installation for my trouble
  7. Facebook (really??? Yes, it is a perfect medium for quick response!)
  8. Dishes to wash…because it means we have food to eat!
  9. My new fridge
  10. God’s perfect timing

Father,
Thank you so much for being in the details.  Thank you that I may depend on you in all circumstances, no matter what!  I am blessed to be a Child of God.  Thank you Lord for each and every opportunity to glorify YOU! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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The gift of friendship…

Love heart uidaodjsdsew

Love heart

“God is love.  Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.” 1John 4:16

There is nothing so sweet as the LOVE of God.  I am learning that when we love in Christ, we are able to love fully.  I am also learning that no matter the distance, whether time or space, God will honor our relationships when we offer them up to Him.

I have a dear friend.  She is one of those people who the moment I meet I knew we would always be friends.  Her son and mine were in kindergarten together.  Our meeting was brief and hurried.  It was at my son’s birthday party. At Chuckee Cheese.  On a miserably busy Saturday morning.  Although brief, I knew it was special.

My friend loves well.  She is an encourager. She gives her heart so freely.  She loves the Lord and I know she has a very special relationship with Him. She depends on Him to fill her with LOVE.  It makes loving her so very easy.

Our time together is rare as she and I both have very, very busy lives, but the moments together are precious and anointed.  She is a kindred spirit.  I am grateful to the Lord for her life, it is a blessing to all who love her.

She is in a season of trial.  Someone she loves deeply is suffering.  I wish I could wave a wand over the pain and erase it, but God is using it for something bigger. That’s what He does.  He uses the hard eucharisteo to build our strength in Him.  He allows trial so that we may feel His ever-present, unconditional love.  He is LOVE.  He gives us seasons of hurt so that we may be filled with thanksgiving and praise for His steadfast strength and endurance. He always gets us through.  When we are able to stand in the storm, unwavering in the Lord’s presence, we are bathed in LOVE.  Trusting that He will create life out of what is broken is knowing that He is LOVE.

I love my friend.  As I write this, I pray she will read and feel loved.  I pray she sees this as a love letter to the Lord and her…for I am eternally grateful that He has lavished me in the beauty of our friendship and that no matter what she is dear to my heart.  I look forward to the day, God willing, when she and I have so much time together we won’t know what to do with ourselves. But until that day…I will praise Him for bringing her into my life and tenderly placing her in my heart.

Today I will give thanks for…

  1. My friend
  2. Trial and suffering
  3. Friendship that stands the test of time
  4. Chaotic, messy birthday parties
  5. Long walks around the neighborhood
  6. Little boys
  7. Hard eucharisteo
  8. Love
  9. God’s perfect plan
  10. Hope

Father,
Thank you for the gift of friendship.  Thank you for the love you pour over us and into us daily. Thank you for making beauty out of ashes.  Thank you for my friend. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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The stroke…

Heparin

Heparin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5b

Ten years ago today I was in the ICU.  I had suffered what is commonly referred to as a ‘mini-stroke’ or a transient ischemic attack (TIA).  It was by all definitions terrifying.  I was 27 and newly married.  I imagine the last phone call my husband wanted to receive was one that said his wife was being taken to the ER.

Arriving at the hospital in time, the doctors were able to administer a drug that was coined a ‘clot-buster’.  The medication quickly rann through my body destroying any clots in its path.  I was whisked away to have MRIs, CTs and various other non-invasive procedures.  Again, it was determined I was suffering from a stroke.  But why?

God is perfect in His plan.  Little did I know that the events of that sunny April day would be life giving.  The tests showed that I have a blood protein disorder.  This was discovered as neurologists spent hours and hours trying to figure out why I had experienced this medical emergency.  As a woman of child-bearing age thick blood does not lend to healthy pregnancy. Blood supplies life.  When a woman is pregnant her blood is what gives life to her womb.  If the blood is in poor supply to the uterus, the embryo has no chance of becoming a fetus and then a baby.  But, in 2002 we didn’t know this.

I was sent home with little to no side effects save for a bit of weakness on my left side, a little trouble with word recall (still affects me today) and the oddest of all…I could not, for the life of me, recognize Abraham Lincoln on the face of the penny.  Funny how our brains work.

In 2004 I became pregnant with our son Max.  When I went for my first appointment my doctor, who is amazing and I am eternally grateful for the way God works in him, realized that the blood protein deficiency I have would never allow me to carry a baby full-term.  In fact, without some kind of medicinal intervention, I would probably lose the baby.  He sent me to a maternal/fetal specialist.  I was put on Heparin (a blood thinner) for the duration of my pregnancy (then again when I was pregnant with Caroline).  The Heparin insured that my blood would give life to my womb.  Praise God!

When I mention to people that I had a stroke, they are in awe and troubled. It grieves their hearts to think that a woman so young would suffer something that is perceptively an older person’s ailment.  But GOD is good!  He allows trial for very specific purpose.  I thank Him every day for that TIA.  I am grateful beyond measure for the gift of having a few days of discomfort for a lifetime of joy sharing in the lives of my two precious miracles!

So here are my thanksgivings for today…

  1. Modern medicine
  2. Max and Caroline
  3. Life
  4. Dr. Bell, Dr. Mallenbaum and EVMS
  5. My husband and his strength and courage in the Lord
  6. The sweet nurses in the ICU who lavished me in love
  7. Abraham Lincoln
  8. The complete recovery of my weak body
  9. The story that I can share
  10. Oxygen

Father God,

You are perfect and sovereign.  Everything that happens in our lives you redeem.  Please forgive me when I do not sing praises of thanksgiving to You.  You are the God of miracles!  I thank you for my life!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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Living in gratitude…..

I will give praise and thanksgiving to the Maker of heaven and earth.

Pastor Nate Atwood of Kempsville Presbyterian Church (kpc.org) is doing a sermon series on gratitude.  If you have a moment I encourage you to take time to click on the link above and watch today’s  message.  Pastor Nate gave us a homework assignment: Make a list of gratitude.  This concept is based on the book 1000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp (aholyexperience.com).  If you don’t have it-buy it and read it, the book will change your life!

I am going to be writing my list on Sunshinelittleone and would love to see your lists too!  I always welcome comments…especially when they are in thanksgiving to the Lord.

My List…

1. Waking up to the sound of rain on my window.  A sound we have not heard since April 4th.

2. Two children obediently getting ready for church without too much reminding!

3. A husband who loves well, works hard and LIVES for the Lord.

4. A night spent with friends celebrating life.

5. Chocolate icecream

6. Delight in the eyes of a cubscout receiving much deserved awards for hard work and dedication!

7. The smell of a baby’s head…the best scent this side of heaven!

8. Knowing that my prayers will be answered in His perfect timing and will.

9. The ability and talent to write for the Lord

10. The opportunity to pray for a wounded soul…someone distant from Christ.

11. The sweet and faithful followers of Sunshinelittleone….thank you!!!!!!!!!!

I pray you are filled with the Lord and that His gifts are immeasurable in your life.  Look around and open the gifts He is lavishing you with.  You may be in a season of trial and heart ache, there are still gifts!! We serve a God too good not to give us something to be thankful for each day.

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To my sweet little girl

The art of mothering a daughter, I am convinced, is an act of strict obedience to the Lord.

I cannot express the delight I feel each time I look into the beautiful blue eyes of my sweet Caroline.  I am taken aback by her alabaster skin and her auburn locks.  She is by all measures created in the image of Christ.  And while I marvel at the beauty He has bestowed upon her, I am desperate every day for Him to fill me with patience and grace as I parent this fiery little redhead.

She is four.  Her independence is palpable.  She is capable and willing.  I claim her willfullness for righteousness.

I am understanding more and more what my own mother went through parenting me.  I was a willful and capable child.  But, I didn’t have Christ when I was a little one.  Caroline does.

Caroline, with every fiber of her being, loves Jesus.  She is learning to repent when she is unkind or disobedient.  She asks Jesus to help her when she feels sad or discouraged.  She delights in the gifts He blesses her with, giving thanks for books from the library, free lollis from the bank.  She has been heard praising the Lord when she finds toys or treasures she has misplaced.  She loves the Lord.

And while she is building a relationship with God, she is still a four year old who gives into her sin-nature frequently, which in turn brings out my sin-nature.  I am learning to lean on God wholly as I mother this tiny treasure.

I am discovering that Caroline and I are uncannily alike.  Maybe it’s a girl thing, or a mother-daughter thing, or a ‘two women living in the same house’ thing.  Whatever the cause of our discord, God redeems it all.  He makes our paths straight…leading directly to Him and His divine counsel.  He is so faithful to show us how to honor Him while we honor our relationship with each other.  He guides us so sweetly to forgiveness, repentance and love.  He is LOVE.

Caroline and I have a love that grows deeper and stronger with each  moment.  We are learning to navigate the waters of our relationship.  We are trusting God at the helm.  He is ever-present.

And though we may not always get along, we always find our way to our Savior. With Him as our beacon, we are able to love one another fully.

I will continue to delight in the sweetness of my Caroline.  I will continue to praise the Lord with thanksgiving for the gift of my beautiful daughter!

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