Tears on my Math homework and other insurmountable obstacles

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Tears on my math homeworkDo you remember 7th grade Math? I sure do. And 8th, and 9th, and 10th and 11th, where I believe to this very day that my Math teacher was the antichrist. I used to wish Mr. So and So would get hit by a cab as he walked the streets of New York. Not that he, “walked the streets,” but you know what I mean.

I remember finishing an insanely long problem in said 11th grade Math, and after having gone through 4 or 5 pages of notebook paper I wrote a little victory note to my teacher at the bottom. I felt victorious because even though it was an extensively complicated problem and ALL work had to be shown, I had done it. I had completed the task. His note back to me? “All those pages and you still got it wrong.” No lie.

This is why I’m not a doctor… too much Math.

Age and brain atrophy have impeded my ability to help my 7th grade son with his Math homework. Thank God he has a fabulous teacher, smart friends, and Google.

But I’ve got my own obstacles to face. And I have a fabulous teacher, too. He is always in class. He never sends a sub. He lets me come early and stay late. He lets me make up tests. He even gives extra credit. He is the answer to every problem, no matter how complicated.

He is my very present help in time of need (Psalm 46:1).

Oh God, I thank You for You!

Get to the table

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Get to the tableIt makes me laugh the way God talks to me. I’m sure the Hollywood bigwigs did not anticipate their movies being blog material, at least not this kind of blog. But for this girl, movies are ripe for the picking.

Psalm 23 says that God will prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. I have felt the embrace of that scripture before when it seemed like the world was against me, but today, a dear friend pointed out another aspect that tweaked my thinking. She told me the Lord showed her that the enemy there is not necessarily a human enemy, but anything that may be blocking our way or causing us pain… sickness, financial strain, relationship problems, fear, whatever it may be that is keeping us from freedom and victory in this life.

You see, no matter what problem we may be facing, there is a table set before us that has answers. That table has bread if we’re hungry and medicine if we’re sick. It has what we need to survive… kind of like the cornucopia in the Hunger Games. Except we won’t get killed on the way to the table.

The table is there, and it is set for a feast. But the feast will never be consumed unless we get there. We have to do something. We have to walk up to the table and pull up a chair. We have to accept the gifts. They are not dropped in our laps, they are spread out in front of us, but it’s still up to us to get to the table.

Draw the line

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Draw the lineJohnny and June walked the line. Last night, I had to draw the line. They say trouble comes in threes, and while I do not subscribe to sayings like that, I have experienced a painful windfall of troubles. I got shingles, my precious mother-in-law went to Heaven without my permission, my heating system went caput, my dog got very sick, and a couple more unmentionable issues from which I will spare you the details but caused me major consternation. These storms hurt my body, broke my heart, scared the crap out of me, and attacked my finances.

Last night I got mad. Mad at the devil. Because that is who brings things meant to steal from us and bring death and destruction into our lives. Why?

Because we let him. Because bad things happen. Because we live in this fallen world. Because a lot of things, but we can fight back.

That’s not to say that I don’t pray over my family and believe God in many, many areas all the time, because I do. But last night I reached a moment where in the spirit realm, I drew a line. I told God where I stood and I told the devil where I stood. I pointed arrows of scripture and fired them. And then I thanked God that this storm and future storms were dead in their tracks.

The Bible says we perish for lack of knowledge, (Hosea 4:6) and God knows sometimes I’m very slow to realize I’m under attack and it’s up to me to engage in the fight. But I engaged and I won.

God wins. We win. And I’m not letting anyone forget it.

Preachers and TOMS

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TomsOh Branson, my Branson… how I love thee. As I walk around Branson Landing, the restaurant and shopping area where I’m staying for our ICFM Directors retreat, I am keenly aware of two things: 1. Jackie is not here. 2. This place is marketed toward 40-60 year old women. The anchor stores are Chico’s, Lane Bryant, and Black House/White Market, my personal favorite. Plus, there’s a big Bass Pro Shop to keep the men happy, and a smattering of Aéropostale and Hot Topix type spots for the kidlets. What’s not to love, I ask you?

Tonight is dinner and a show with some of my favorite people in the world; ministers of the Gospel. Pastors, traveling ministers, music leaders, and trusty support people, like me. We love God and we love the ministry, and we have the battle scars to prove it.

I am honored to be a part of this group of people. They have given and given, and then they give some more. The Bible says, How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news. (Isaiah 52:7) In honor of that scripture, I am treating myself to some Toms, because these boots definitely weren’t made for walking.

Pup-date

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Sammy boyThe leftovers are foiled up, the pies are decimated. I slept deeply and awoke to a flood of dog pee. Sammy is taking medication that makes him extremely thirsty, so he’s drinking more than usual. And polite little man that he is, he did not want to disturb my food coma to tell me he needed to go outside.

I have much to be thankful for, including the health of my dog. Your prayers worked. Samson is home and recuperating from a gnarly intestinal malady. He is on special food and meds but we are expecting a full recovery, in Jesus’ name. His little shaved paw and bony back are heartbreaking, but his cuddles are priceless.

What would we do without our Bubbas?

Thank you, my friends, for your prayers. I am so very grateful.

A prayer for my puppy

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If you’ve read this blog more than once, you are probably aware of my second child, my furbaby, my bubba… Samson. Sammy is our 4-year-old American Bulldog who brings more love and joy to our family than you can imagine.

Our bubba has been in the vet hospital this week with an unknown issue in his tummy. He has been submitted to lots of tests and tomorrow he will undergo a more invasive endoscopy to take a look inside. My apologies for than unpleasant imagery.

I have prayed for my puppy a lot. I have also questioned myself and my faith on whether you can believe God for healing for a pet. I have mulled on this for days and a smarter person than me, a more theological person, could educate me thoroughly, but here’s what I know.

God cares about what I care about. The Lord will complete that which concerns me. Psalm 138:8 I care about the health of my dog, and I love him very much.

My hands and my prayers carry power. …They will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover. Mark 16:18 I have laid my hands on him and prayed the prayer of faith.

The power of Biblical agreement is boundless.  …If two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. Matthew 18:18 I have many people close to me standing in agreement that Sammy is healed.

I do not care how God does it, but I believe that His healing work has begun in my puppy. I will take him for his tests tomorrow, they will get to the bottom of it, they will successfully treat him, and he will come home, safe and sound.

And God will get the glory.

Happy Birthday, Daddio

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DaddioIt’s my Daddy’s 65th birthday today, and I am grateful for him. I’m grateful for his love, his prayers, his believing in me, and his faith in me. I’m grateful for his love of my husband and son. I’m grateful for his words of wisdom. I’m grateful for his heart for God and people. I’m grateful for his anointing. I’m grateful for his steadfast faithfulness to his family. He has watched five little girls grow into strong women who serve God. Christi, Jordan, Olivia, and Chloe and I are blessed to call him Daddy.

Those who fear the Lord are secure; he will be a refuge for their children (Proverbs 14:26 NLT).

My Dad is a rock.

Happy Birthday, Daddio. I love you.

Peace in transit

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Peace in transitThe other day I opened the door to Jackie’s linen closet, and the fragrance of Tide, and Bounce, and Downy enveloped me in a cloud. The woman’s laundry smelled amazing. Sometimes I could smell her fabric softener out in the driveway on big laundry days. I made a mental note to check out what flavors she used and to duplicate them. I want my laundry to smell like Jackie’s.

Since she passed away, I’ve been wearing Hypnose, a perfume by Lancome. She wore it for years and it makes me feel close to her. Smell is such a powerful sense. The memories it evokes can stop me dead in my tracks.

Transitions like these can be brutal. Moving, divorce, death, job changes… all these things can feel like a slow drowning. But they don’t have to. God can help us during these times. And He wants to. We have only to ask.

Psalm 46:1 says He is our ever-present help in time of need. And if we seek Him, He will envelop us in His presence, like Jackie’s cloud of Tide and Downy. If we seek Him, He will whisper our names into the ears of those He can count on to listen and pray. If we seek Him, He will give us peace in transit.

Words charge your life

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Words charge your lifeThey say actions speak louder than words… and while that’s true, it’s also true that words pave the way for your actions. When you put something out there with your words, your actions are bound to follow it up. That’s just the way it works, even if we don’t like it.

I told Jaxon that I would come watch something on the computer in a couple of minutes and when I said those words, I “put it out there.”

Guess what?

He held me to it… even though I did not really want to watch a YouTube video of a guy connecting 240 batteries and making a giant spark of electricity between alligator clips.

The moral of this story is, words are powerful. Words charge your life. And words can change your life. Proverbs 18:21 says it very plainly: Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.

Be careful how you use them.

Kleenex and Nobel Prizes

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photo(41)I have a running list of people I want to thank for their extraordinary kindness to me personally during the days surrounding Jackie’s funeral. People all over the world sent condolences to the family and to Terry. People sent flowers and food. People are so amazing and wonderful, but the ones who keyed into me specifically touched my heart in a way I honestly can’t describe. Words are inadequate.

I was sitting on Terry and Jackie’s dining room floor and we were talking about the order of service for Jackie. My brain was very close to critical overload and I felt tears welling up. Valaree was watching me and she touched my arm and asked me if I needed some water. She laughed at me later when I told her how much it meant to me. But that kindness and sensitivity was so what I needed at the exact moment I needed it. I was able to take a breath, regroup, and focus on getting our job done.

Liz Williams touched my arm and brought me water at the visitation.

I guess I looked really thirsty this last week.

Johnathan stayed by my side faithfully in case I melted down or fell over.

Lynn went down to Utica Square to pick up shoes for me because they didn’t have my size at the mall.

Jennifer applied apocalypse-level waterproof makeup on me… twice.

Jaxon’s teachers and coaches were beyond kind and understanding.

Text messages beeped in all day and night with love and prayer and support.

God used His people to minister to me when I was hurting. And God used His people to lift me up so I could help lift up the Mize family.

God uses people. I’ve talked about this before; God uses people because we’re all He’s got. (You’re the best God’s got) We are His ambassadors, we are His Christians, His Christ-like ones.

The person who brought me a bottle of water and a handful of Kleenex may not deserve the Nobel Prize, but a group of people from all over the world who supported a family in need, that group, they deserve jewels in their crowns.

I’m very grateful for the outpouring of love I have received through these days. And I have a renewed sense of responsibility to be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit in how to help people when they are hurting. Jackie would be very proud of that.