Friday, April 19, 2013

Biscuits and Black Shirts

My daughter is always amazing me with what she can do just like the Lord does.  Here is my Gem for this week :)

Usually one day a week I spend time at my Mother's after work.  Mother, Gem, and I just talk, laugh, cook, crochet, play outside.  We are usually doing what the little one wants to do, lol.  Tonight we baked.  We made biscuits, YUM!  Who doesn't love a warm flaky biscuit with lots of butter on it?!?!  Baking is not like savory cooking.  You have to follow the basic recipe in order for it to turn out correctly.  If you don't add the right things, baking powder for example, your biscuits will not rise and have all that fluffy goodness.  No Salt and they have no flavor, they are bland.  No fat, either shortening or butter, and they will not flake like an excellent biscuit does.  (Yes, I said Shortening!  If your gonna do it, do it right!)  You must follow the recipe.  Now, baking with a 23 month old complicates things a bit, lol, but I wouldn't trade it for anything.

We are all poised and ready to start.  Gem in her chair so she can reach the counter, spoon in hand, Mother with all the ingredients, and me in the middle to man, excuse me, woman the bowl!  Carefully we measure everything, and let Gem pour the flour in, then the milk, and her and I stir, stir, stir, BUT not too much, a good biscuit can't be over mixed.  All done mixing, and we ready the counter for rolling out the dough.  Flour here and there, on noses, and cheeks, on the floor, and in our hair, three bakers we be.  We carefully roll out the dough, cut the biscuits, put them in the pan, then right in the oven, Oh I can't wait!  DING!  Let me just say, bakers we three make some pretty excellent biscuits :)  I find such joy in being with each other, teaching each other, and seeing what kind of mess we can make next.  I would not trade these moments for anything.

Me seeing what the Lord can show me while baking biscuits is all together amazing, and delicious.  I can see how my recipe is my Bible.  Everything I need to know about walking with Jesus is in that book.  Three generations standing together reminds me how important fellowship is.  How we can all learn things from each other no matter where we are in our walk.  How love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, and faithfulness are our ingredients the Lord gives us to use. (Galatians 5:22)  Rolling out the dough and cutting it, though tough on the dough, is necessary to form it into what it will become.  If we are willing the Lord will do the same for us.  He will knead us, and form us into what he wants us to become, more like Jesus.  Finally, baking it in the oven.  Seeing the dough rise, and hold it's form under the heat, then turning golden brown, and beautiful to look at, as only a biscuit can.  The Lord might let us feel the heat sometimes.  He might put us in the oven so our faith in Him and His Word can hold us together.  Once that is finished, we become tasty, and beautiful.  We offer something the world does not through Jesus.  We become the salt of the earth.(Matthew 5:13)  I would not trade that for anything.

Following the Lord's recipe for our lives is not easy, in fact it's quite hard.  Having family and friends to stand by us while we walk, to support us while we get rolled out and cut.  To give us a drink of cool water when we feel like we are baking.  Then enjoying the reward for everything the Lord has done for us at the end of it all.  I would not trade that for anything. 

After we were finished, I looked down to see my once black shirt now white with flour.  What a beautiful picture of how the Lord covers our sins making us white as snow, or in this case flour. (Isaiah 1:18)  I would not trade that for anything.

Peace, Love, and God Bless!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Fingerprints of God

Steven Curtis Chapman’s song Fingerprints of God always brings tears to my eyes, especially when I look at my little Gemma.  For those of you who don’t know me personally let me catch you up on the last 5 years.  My husband and I bought our first house, I became a Jazzercise instructor, I’ve had 2 miscarriages, I had a baby, and in the last 6 months I’ve been diagnosed with 2 different types of cancer.  October 1, 2012 I received the diagnosis of Malignant Melanoma from my dermatologist.  I had a mole behind my right ear become larger during my pregnancy, and when I went in to have it taken off my doctor said, “It looks angry, but it will most likely come back as nothing.”  She said this because it was not a typical looking melanoma.  It wasn’t odd shaped, or uneven, and it wasn’t black.  It was round, large, and red.  I was referred to our local cancer center where I had surgery to excise an area around the cancer site to make sure there was none left on the skin, and they removed 3 lymph nodes to make sure it had not gone internal.  Praise God, thank you Jesus it had not!  From the cancer site behind my ear all the way down to my collar bone I had 8 total lymph nodes total show up.  Since they only took 3 they are following me every 4 months with ultrasounds on the remaining lymph nodes.  February was that first follow up appointment.  During the ultrasound they found a 1cm nodule on the right side of my thyroid.  After seeing that and not liking the way it looked they had me come in for an ultrasound guided needle biopsy.  Those results were positive for Papillary Thyroid cancer.  Here is my gem for the week.

Having 2 miscarriages and 2 kinds of cancer within 5 years is faith shaking stuff.  I remember thinking after the miscarriages, “Why do women who do drugs, and drink, and abuse their babies get to keep theirs and I don’t!”  I was angry, depressed, broken, hurt.  I was blaming myself for losing those babies.  It had to be something that I did because my God wouldn’t let that happen to someone who loved him.  Or would he?  In my pain I was seeking comfort from somewhere.  Then a good friend of mine sent me a book that turned me back to the Lord’s word.  Psalm 139:13-16 says…
13For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.

After reading that I had to ask myself, “If all the days ordained for me are written down before I ever came to be, then that has to apply to my babies too, right?”  Next question, “If 8 weeks and 6 weeks is all those babies were given to live, then what was their purpose in my life?”  For a good bit of time I didn’t know what their purpose was.  I was still angry and trying to blame something or someone.  My marriage during this time was not what it should be, and I was taking out my anger on my husband.  Getting into all those details is a whole other blog so I won’t go there right now.  Angry and hurt I still kept looking back at the Word and finally one day the Lord revealed to me what purpose those babies had.  I had never had anything happen to me where I really needed to rely on the Lord.  Yes, I did devotionals and went to church and such, but to really need the Lord is something different.  He showed me that I needed to go to Him, that He was what I needed.  He didn’t create my husband to give me what I need, that is His job.  He showed me that even if all I ever had is Jesus and my husband that is enough.  I learned a lot during those days.  It makes me think of the Israelites wondering through the desert.  God needed to get me where he wanted me before I came into the Promised Land. 

Getting diagnosed with cancer with a little baby to take care of was a whole new mountain for me.  My husband and I were driving back from North Carolina when I got the call from my dermatologist.  They told me I had Malignant Melanoma and made an appointment for me to come in and talk.  I hung up the phone, told my husband, who was driving, and we lost it.  We had to get off the road so we pulled off at a little gas station somewhere in South Carolina.  We cried and called family and friends, and had a little melt down.  We bought some pop and got some junk food before we got back on the road again.  For those who know me, you know I had potato chips and Smarties, lol.   As we were pulling out there was a tow truck that had backed in near the entrance of the gas station.  I remember it was an older Chevy truck that had been turned into a tow truck.  It was maroon with gold glittery cursive writing on the hood.  It said, “In Jesus’ Name.”  I took a deep breath and let all those lessons I learned from the miscarriages flood back into my mind again.  “Ok, Lord, you are in control.  You have given me a husband, and a Gem.  You let this cancer come into my life.  Use it, I’m yours.”  Twenty minutes later I get a call from my Pastor to pray with me.  I love my church!  I was put in contact with another woman who was going through Melanoma too.  We prayed with each other and praised with each other when everything came back clear on both of us.  God is so good.  This time when I got the call that I had thyroid cancer the first thing my husband and I did was pray.  I’m realizing that the Lord will take us through a desert or have a whale swallow us to get us where He wants us to be, and once we’re there He will throw us into a fire so we can be a witness to others for His Glory.  (Daniel 3) 

I can see God’s fingerprints on my life these past 5 years.  I can see his hands working to make me more like Jesus.  This made me realize that as a follower of Jesus I leave his fingerprints on things too.  When I speak to my husband, when I touch my baby, when I hug my mother, when I laugh with my sisters, I leave the fingerprints of God with how I live. 

“Just look at me
I’m a wonder in the making
And God's not through
In fact, He's just getting started!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

"Mommy, Mommy."

If you’ve had the privilege of having babies you might have had people tell you how much your life is about to get turned upside down.  I used to laugh inside when people told me that.  I used to think, actually, my life is about to get turned Right Side Up.  Having Gem has been such a blessing in my life, my husbands, my family, and my friends.  She truly is a Gem, yes, I know I’m her Mother so of course I’ll say that, but it really is true, lol.  Please enjoy my Gem for this week. 

When you have little ones about you expect to get woke up in the middle of the night.  When Gem was younger she would cry to wake me up to her needs.  Now she calls out “Mommy, Mommy”.  My husband told me one day that he thought it was so adorable how she calls out my name like that.  I wasn’t in one of my more graceful moods and my response to him was, “Yeah, adorable, let’s see how adorable it is when she calls out Daddy, Daddy at 3 am.”  Let me tell you, the Lord let me experience that one night a couple months ago.  I giggle about it every time I think of it.  We hear movement on the baby monitor, and I’m ready to hear her say “Mommy, Mommy…”, but, BUT this time she says, “Daddy, Daddy” I know I must have had an evil grin on my face when I rolled over to my hubby.  “Hey, that’s YOU!” I said nudging him ever so gently on his leg.  Oh how I enjoyed every second of that, lol!  Now if you ask him he’ll tell you I totally pushed him out of bed, but don’t listen to him, I ‘ever so gently’ did it, lol!  He was very graceful at this point.  He didn't say anything to me, or get up all huffy puffy.  He just got right up and went to his little girl.  How sweet that is in my memory of that night. 

I remember the first time Gem slept through the night.  I woke up about 4am in a panic.  “Something’s wrong!”  I thought.  "My little girl hasn’t called out for me tonight."  I check on her and she is fine, all snuggled up with her blanket, so peaceful.  I take a deep breath and head back to bed.  When you are used to getting up with your little one it’s a nice gift to get a full nights sleep, but looking back on that I wonder if the Lord does that with us.  I wonder if he looks at us and says, “Something’s wrong! My child isn’t calling out for me anymore.”  Have you ever gotten to that point?  Where you’re not calling out to the Lord anymore because you are all grown up, and don’t need his help?  I know I have, but Praise God he is always there for us when we do call on him.  Praise God that no matter what we are going through He can handle what we have to say.  It DOES NOT matter what it is.  He can handle our anger, our tears, our fears.  What’s important is that we are calling out to our Father in heaven.  When we are doing that He will, like my husband did, go to his child. 

My life truly has been turned right side up since Gem was born.  I am so honored that the Lord would pick me and my husband out of everyone that has ever lived and everyone that ever will live.  The Lord picked us to be her Mommy and Daddy.  How sweet that is in my life. 

Peace, Love, and God Bless!