Saturday, September 3, 2011


At 6:18am I received a text message from a friend letting me know that her daughter had passed away at 5:20am. It was a text I had been expecting and dreading since she had called me 6 months prior to inform me that S. had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer and it was terminal.

I prayed for S. daily. Though I had never laid eyes on her, I prayed fervently. I prayed for physical healing and I prayed it would occur here--in this world. I wanted the doctors and those who were in charge of her care to witness a miracle so big that they would be in complete awe of God and unable to give credit to anyone other than the Lord Almighty. I wanted her to live! Instead--God allowed me to witness a miracle that will forever change my life and reminded me what living really is.

Because of privacy and names, I do not feel as though I can lay out the entire story here, in public. But, what I can say is this.....

2 weeks ago nobody was sure about S's salvation and this morning--Jesus welcomed her home. God used a series of Divine appointments and true Providential orchestration to reconcile His daughter back to Him.

6 months ago S. had only a month or so to live, but she continued to take one breath after another. She stood at death's doorway more times than her family would care to recall--only to be completely lucid the next day. Nobody understood why--until 3 days ago.

3 days ago S. encountered the messenger God sent to her. A daughter of Christ unafraid to share the Gospel with a dying woman she hardly knew. A woman who understood the desperate need for S. to turn her life over to Christ. A woman who had left just a few days earlier weeping for S's lost soul. A woman who led S. in the sinners prayer and placed S's hand in Jesus'.

S. may have passed from this world on Saturday, September 3rd, but truly she died 3 days earlier when she became dead to her sins and asked Christ into her heart. 3 days later, God raised her from the cancer-ridden body that held her captive in this world and crowned her with "love and tender mercies."

There were several times in the past month when I cried out to God in frustration because He had not healed S. and this morning, while I prayed for S's family, I felt the sting of tears brim my eyes as God gently reminded me that S. was truly healed. He had answered my prayer just as I had asked--just not in the way I had asked. Praise God! Once again I was left with what I already know and often forget--His ways are not my ways. His ways are higher than mine.

I am looking forward to meeting S. face to face someday as we stand before the Throne of Grace.

"For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone,
declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent and live!"
Ezekiel 18:32

"He redeems me from death
and crowns me with love and tender mercies."
Psalm 103:4

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Doesn't Matter How Far They Are.....

Friday, August 12th Samantha turned 20 years old. Monday, August 15th she moved out of our home and into her new place. heart was not quite ready.

I had not allowed myself to really think about Samantha leaving home. I knew it would be hard and it would be an adjustment, but I also knew it was part of the growing up process and I was fairly certain I was prepared for it. Quite frankly, there had been many days over the past year when I was looking forward to the day she would get her own place. Not because I was anxious to have her out of the house, but because she seemed unhappy living at home and I knew she wanted to spread her wings. I remembered being her age and wanting the same thing. Even though I loved my parents and got along with them very well, I couldn't wait to be out on my own. I knew Sam was feeling that same itch and the only way it would get scratched was to leave.

As the weeks leading up to her move began to shorten I could feel myself kicking and screaming within. Sam and Josh are both graduated, Sam is getting ready to move, Josh will be joining the Marines and Jordan is starting high school. How did we get here, God? Is there any way I can have a re-do? I think I can do better. I can be a better parent. I will spend all of my time with them and not take any of it for granted. If only I had known time would go this fast I wouldn't have wasted so much of it. Please God....please......

While our God is a God of 2nd chances, there would not be the one I had requested; Monday came and my little girl went. As I drove alone with her stuff in the back of my car the realization swept over me--our relationship would never be the same again. It might be stronger, it might be weaker, but it would never be the same.

Jo and I stayed with her and helped her unpack and then we just sat and talked for a bit. The truth was--I didn't want to leave. Finally, I knew it was time to go and told Sam that we needed to leave. She responded by saying "You're just going to leave me here?" and I smiled and said "Well, yes. This is your new home." She sighed a bit and I could tell it was just as hard on her as it was on me. We walked outside and stalled with a little small talk--then I gave her a hug and the tears began to fill my eyes. As we pulled away I could see that she was crying as well and it took everything I had to drive away.

Shortly after I got home Sam sent me a text that said "I miss you already!" I knew how she felt. As I looked around the house there were reminders of her everywhere. While she hadn't lived in this house all of her life, she spent the majority of it here. As a matter of fact, one of my favorite pictures of her was taken when my parents bought this house and Sam came with them. She was about 3 years old. Since that time these walls have seen her celebrate approximately 14 birthdays, have several sleepovers, accept Christ, prepare for 2 proms, nurse her heart when it's been broken, graduate from high school, and grow into a beautiful young woman.

I miss her. But, I know she is where she is supposed to be. I am proud of her beyond words and cannot wait to see what God does in her life. She is only 20 minutes away and will be home every Saturday, but to my heart--it may as well be around the world. Of course, God likes to keep things in perspective for me.

After dropping Sam off a friend of mine, Sue, sent me a text wondering why we don't have Bible study on Friday. I told her it was Sammie's birthday party and when she responded she misspelled Sammie's name. So, I poked fun at her by sending the same misspelled name back. Sue apologized and said she had been in kind of a fog lately. She said she had Skyped with her daughter that morning and that she was really missing her--her daughter is working in a Christian school in Indonesia for 2 years.

I was immediately reminded of how fortunate I am and told Sue that I could not imagine what she was going through since I was shedding tears just leaving Sam 20 minutes away. I expected her to say "Yep! Be fortunate that your daughter is here and not around the world! At least you get to still see her!" But she didn't. Instead, she showed grace and compassion and sent me these wise words....

"But when they don't come home at night, doesn't matter how far they are."

So true my friend!

Lord, thank You for my beautiful Samantha. I love her more than words can express. Please watch over her and comfort her as I know this is harder on her than it is me. Also, thank You for keeping things in perspective. I am thankful that Sam is not far from home right now. I just don't think I could handle that...yet. Neither could she. Of course, You already knew that, didn't you?! You really are so good, Lord. I also thank You for the friends You have place in my life. You always know which one to use at just the right time. I pray that someday I would be a blessing to them as they are to me. I love You, Lord. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.....

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Your Blood Speaks a Better Word.....

I have so many things to record that I am not sure where to start. Abraham was right for stopping in his tracks and building an alter right then and there when he wanted to remember how far God had brought him. Yet, many times when I have sat down to write...the words simply weren't there. How can I put into words what God is doing?

The restoration between Amber and myself, and the fact that He used a baby to bring it about, fills me with such awe and wonder that I can scarcely understand it. He allowed the two of us so many intimate moments while we were at the hospital that now our relationship feels as though we were never apart. The cracks in our relationship that were once wide and gaping are no longer visible to the naked eye. Instead those cracks have been sealed with grace and love and bonded by an infant who has stolen our hearts.

When I look into Amber and Brenden's faces I often forget that there is no blood that holds us together. Instead, we are bound by our hearts and the Holy Spirit. She doesn't have my eyes and he doesn't have my smile. Yet, God has been gracious to allow such a strong resemblance that that those who do not know us well believe we are related by blood. And, truthfully we are. We are related by a blood stronger than that which runs through our veins. We are bound by the blood of Christ....a blood that runs deeper, wider, higher and longer than any blood found in our mortal bodies.

God used a baby to restore my family, but why that surprises me I do not know. Long before He restored my family He used a Baby to restore His. A Baby born to parents He did not share blood with, but He shed blood for. A Baby who stole the hearts of many....including my own.

Thank You, Lord.....

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Dear Eddie....

Do you know that her best friend is Victoria? Vic is one of the very few people that she opens up to completely.
Do you know that kids flock to her? Not just kids she knows, but all kids, random kids in grocery stores.
Do you know that she wants to work with kids? No. Not teaching. She wants to be a children's pastor.
Do you know she is afraid to tell you that because she is afraid you will make fun of her or make her feel as though she is a disappointment?
Do you know that every time she looks at a picture from her 8th birthday she points out the fact that you told her she looked "pregnant" in that dress?
Do you know that your daughter feels like she is second, sometimes third and fourth, in your life?
Do you know that she has cried herself to sleep after getting off the phone with you?
Do you know that she believes that you feel as though she is a "mistake"?
Do you know that her favorite color is purple?
Do you know that she has a great sense of humor?
Do you know that all she has ever tried to do is please you? Even if it meant not being herself!
Do you know that she will spend the rest of her life trying to undo the damage you have done?

Do you know that he is excelling in C.A.P.? He has promoted every 8 weeks and that is very rarely done!
Do you know that he is a hard worker and comes in whenever they call him?
Do you know that he is completely in love with his new nephew and totally spoils him?
Do you know that he loves kids and will be an incredible daddy someday?
Do you know that he has an awesome sense of humor?
Do you know that he loves playing online video games and would love to play with you?
Do you know that choosing to stay with me was one of the hardest decisions he has made?
Do you know that he almost chose to go to USC just because you wanted him to and he wanted to make you happy?
Do you know that when you told him he was no longer your son that it broke his heart?
Do you know that he hates it when you treat him like he is the favorite child?

Do you know that neither one of your kids ever wanted money from you? They simply wanted their dad to love them and be proud of them. Do you know that neither one of them feels that from you?

These are the things that I want to say to you, but can't. It is no longer my place. Our children are adults and this is their battle. The sad thing is....if you were to read this list you wouldn't feel bad, apologize to them or try to change. Instead, you would allow it to be an excuse to cut them out of your life for good. And, I will not give you that excuse!

Lord, You know my heart--and it is hurting for my kiddos. I am thankful that they have a Father in Heaven who loves them no matter what. Every child deserves that kind of unconditional love. Please help Eddie to grow up and be the parent that You have called him to be. And, help me, too. I certainly have made my own share of mistakes. It is only because of You that I am the parent I am today...and I still have lots of work. I pray Eddie finds You, Lord. In the name of Jesus Christ....I pray. Amen....

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

May 22, 2011

Welcome to the world......
Brenden Hal Rodgers
Born at 7:27pm
5lbs 11oz
19.8 in

After being born at 34 weeks, this sweet little guy spent a week in the N.I.C.U. at the Nebraska Medical Center. He was expected to be there for at least a month, but God had other plans!

So many intimate moments to share......soon!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

May 14th, 2011

It was harder than I anticipated. The culmination of 18 years welled up in my eyes as I watched the PowerPoint share the story of my baby boy becoming a man. And, once again I wondered....where has the time gone?

I glanced over at him throughout the ceremony. His chiseled face and tall stature scarcely resembled the little boy I once held in my arms. But every now and then he would smile and I would catch a glimpse of that sweet, baby boy--and I would feel the sting of tears once more.

I knew this graduation would be harder. Not because I love Josh any more than I love Samantha, but because I understand that my time with this child is limited. I know that within a year my little boy will no longer be mine to hold, but will belong to the United States Marine Corps--and in this world, in this time of war, I understand that every moment is precious. However....I also understand that this boy was never truly mine. He was, is, and will always belong to God and it is into His hands alone that I will release him.

My prayer for you, my son, is that you will fall in love with Jesus Christ the way He loves you. I pray that you will know and understand, to the best of a human beings knowledge, the depth and breadth of His love. I pray that you truly believe "The task ahead of you is never greater than the Power behind you." I pray that regardless of where you go, or what you do, you understand that God is always with you and that even when you drift far from Him...He is always waiting for you to return. I pray that despite being in the Marines and having a chain of command to report to, that you understand your true Commanding Officer is Jesus Christ...and that you report to HIM daily.

Finally, it is my prayer that you know that I love you more than words could ever express. Raising you has been an honor and a privilege and I wouldn't trade it for anything in this world.

Lord, thank You for this boy! I pray that I have raised him in a way that has honored You...even though I know there were plenty of times my attitude, heart and mouth did nothing of the sort. I pray that no matter which roads he travels he will ultimately travel the road that leads back to You! Please watch over him and protect him, Lord. In the name of Jesus...Amen

Friday, April 8, 2011

Not-So-Little Man

On March 22nd my little man turned 18 years old! As I reflected on the day of his birth I remembered just how badly I wanted a son. I already had Samantha and I longed for a little boy. The doctors were pretty sure I was going to have a boy, but wouldn't give me a 100% guarantee. Still, I knew.

The labor and delivery were pretty rough, but when I saw Josh for the first time I was completely in love. I remember fearing that I wouldn't be able to love him the way I loved Samantha. I already loved her so much that I just couldn't imagine loving another child. However, his chubby cheeks and turned up nose melted my heart and I knew this boy was going to hold my heart in his hands. And, he still does.

He has grown into an amazing young man with a perfect balance of book knowledge and street smarts. His sense of humor can send me into hysterical laughter at the most inopportune times and, my one of my favorite things about him--he can be a bit O.C.D. While I am not always proud of my own O.C.D. tendencies, I love seeing myself in him. A reminder that no matter where we are--there is always a piece of me with him and vice versa.

We have walked some tough roads together and we have walked some tough roads apart. I have cried out to God on this child's behalf more times than I can count. Yet, we have a God ordained bond that binds us regardless of distance--physically or emotionally. I praise God for that bond every day as I am painfully aware that it is only by His grace that it exists. Paths that were taken could have created a gap so wide that it could have never been bridged.

My son is now a not-so-little man. He is graduating in a few weeks and will join the Marines shortly after. I will continue to cry out to God on this child's behalf more times than I can count as I learn to let him go and watch him navigate this life without me by his side.

I love you more than you know. Someday, when you have children of your own, you will understand the depth of my love for you. It has been my honor and privilege to be your mommy and I am so thankful God chose me for you. I pray that you will love God with everything you have and allow Him to shape you to look more like Him every day. Nothing you will ever do in all of your life will ever be as important as following God. I love you Buddy!

Thank you for my son. He has brought me great joy and great heartache throughout the years--and I wouldn't trade a moment. Thank you for the bond you have given us and for watching over him. I know he is safe because of You and You alone! Please continue to protect him in every way and grow him to be a strong spiritual leader for his own family someday. I love You, Lord. In the name of Jesus Christ I pray.....Amen.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Healing and Restoration

Last year Amber asked me to walk her down the aisle when she married Kellyn. The request took me by surprise and completely off guard. Amber and I had not spoken much and frankly, I was still quite hurt by all that had transpired when she left our home. I thought I had forgiven her, but as the day of her wedding approached it was clear that I had not. I looked upon her wedding day with dread instead of excitement and even though I was happy for her--my heart was hard and I remained distanced emotionally. The big day came and went and we even got together once after the wedding when they opened presents, but I felt no connection. I made a few feeble attempts to stay in contact by texting her a few times, but truthfully--I just did not desire a relationship with her. Too much had happened and I did not see how we could ever recover.

In October I heard, via Facebook, that Amber and Kellyn were expecting a baby. I was happy for them and I think I even managed to send a "Congratulations"--also via Facebook. Sam and Jo were both really excited and kept talking about being 'Auntie's', but I just stayed quiet. Amber did not seem to want me in the picture or she would have called and, to tell the truth, I was glad she didn't. Even though I still thought of Amber as a daughter and I missed her deep within my heart--I was done.

Then, last month God began to speak to me about grace. He began to show me that when Amber lived with me I often showed more grace to strangers than I did to her--my own daughter. Yes! Amber was a handful; she was untrustworthy, obstinate and disrespectful. She hurt my family and I deeply, but she still deserved grace and compassion. How many times have I hurt God deeply? Yet, He still shows me grace and compassion. The truth is, I expected Amber to have the same walk with God that my other girls had--despite the fact that she had only been in a Christian home and Christian church for a couple of years. With every mistake she made and every lie she told I tightened the reigns on her and refused to let up. Eventually, it became unbearable for both of us. As God continued to reveal this to me, I knew what He was calling me to do--and it was not going to be easy.

I sent Amber a text and asked if she was going to be in town and asked if I could take her to lunch. She told me that she would be in town the following week and said she would like to have lunch, so we set the date. However, the day we were supposed to meet everything went wrong. I was struggling to finish a couple of assignments for school and I was having a hard time finding a time I could meet with her. Thankfully, she was very flexible that day and we were able to meet a little later in the afternoon. Looking back I can clearly see Satan's handiwork in trying to prevent the meeting, but God is so much bigger than that!

We met for lunch and were face to face for the first time in almost a year. I had Sam and Jo with me, so we had some lunch and made some small talk. Then, I asked Jo and Sam to wait in the car so I could speak with Amber alone. I looked her in the eye and explained what God had been speaking to me and I asked her forgiveness. She graciously accepted the apology and apologized to me, too. I told her that I wasn't apologizing so that I could be a part of her life, but strictly to seek forgiveness. However, I also told her that I was not opposed to being a part of her life and that I would love to be involved with her and the baby as much, or as little, as she wanted me to be. I was amazed at the fact that she seemed happy to have me in her life, but more so--I was amazed at how happy I was to have her back in mine.

We have spent several days together now. She came to town two weeks ago and we had lunch and went to a play after church. Then, yesterday she came to church and we went to lunch again and went to Walmart to look at baby stuff. After Walmart, Amber picked up Kellyn and they went to the movies with Sam while I went to small group. After small group Amber, Kellyn, Sam, Josh, Jo and I played Monopoly with Brett and Heather and for the first time since 2008 all of my children were together--laughing and playing. My heart was full.

I am truly amazed at the love God has given me for Amber. Our relationship is still under construction, but it is being built on a solid foundation of love, trust and forgiveness as God heals the wounds of our past and restores our future. I am in awe of Him--as always.

And--I'm going to be a grandma!

Lord, I am humbled. I love You.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Sammie updated her blog!!! Actually, she has 'secretly' been blogging and finally decided to let everyone in on it. My guilt trips finally worked! YES! Mother's guilt....there's nothing like it:)

Just click on this link: A Christian Teenagers Life

Love you Sammie!!!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Better Half..

I have always thought the term "better half" was funny in relation to a spouse--especially since it is generally used towards the wife, not the husband. The term seems to indicate that one part of the couple is better than the other and, well, it is just comical.

Last week as the girls and I were heading to the city for girls day, Jordan informed me that the young man she likes had went to the Valentines Day dance at the middle school the previous night. I asked if he had a good time and she said she hadn't talked to him and that he hadn't text her in a couple of days. I teasingly asked her why he didn't invite her--knowing that he didn't because she is not allowed to attend school dances. I should have known better than to open that can of worms, but the top was popped and Jordan began to plead her case.

Jordan has wanted to attend school dances for the past couple of years, but I have remained firm in my stance against them. One of the perks of working with the youth is that they trust you and open up to you about many things--one of them being the goings on at middle school and high school dances--and it is not pretty. However, when you are fourteen years old, home schooled, and the boy you like gets to go to the dance....well......

Jordan began her persuasive speech by informing me that she had spoke to another home schooled girl who attends the middle school AND gets to go to the dances and SHE said the dances were really good and that NOTHING bad EVER happens there! Knowing that my response would cause Jo years of therapy for having the ONLY mom who doesn't allow her child to attend school dances--I carefully reiterated my reasons for being the meanest mom on the planet, but cheerfully told her she could look forward to going to the Jr./Sr. Proms. She was not very happy.

I have been a single parent for most of my parenting years and typically--I do not mind it. But, it is during times like these when I really miss having an earthly partner to back me up. Then, Jo's phone vibrated and she received a text message that reminded me that I am not alone in this.

Jo picked up her phone to read her message and said "Wow! That's weird! John just sent me a text message and we were just talking about him." I chuckled and agreed that it was strange and encouraged Jo to ask him how the dance was without her. His reply caught both of us off guard--"You don't wanna know!" I immediately thought he had went to the dance and met some girl and was getting ready to crush my daughters heart (clearly I still have some trust issues, but that is for another post) and I could tell Jo was slightly apprehensive in pressing the issue. Nevertheless, she did persist and John sent a text that said the police were called to the middle school dance due to fighting and drinking. While it didn't dawn on me right away, the realization suddenly came upon me--Jesus, my Husband and Partner, was stepping in to help parent His child. Jordan may have been able to argue with my decision based on hearsay, but when faced with the truth--she had to concede that the decision I had made was the right one.

As I pondered the unfolding of events that day something dawned on me--Jesus is my Better Half--literally. While most couples throw that phrase around jokingly, I speak those words with a heart that is both, humble and grateful. I love the incredible intimacy in which my Savior, my Husband, reveals Himself at just the right time--always when I am at the end of me.

Thank You, Jesus....for loving me the way You do.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentines Day....

This is a re-post from 2008, but it is just as true today as it was then....maybe even more so......

Since I have no 'earthly' husband, you would think that Valentines Day wouldn't mean much to me. You would be right.....most years. This year is different, though. I have a desire to celebrate this day of love. Well, who wouldn't when their husband is the King of Kings? So....I have decided to list all of the reason's my 'Heavenly' husband is better than an 'earthly' husband on Valentines Day (and every other day for that matter:)

1) My Conversation Hearts don't say dumb things like 'Will you be mine?'. They say things like "you are fearfully and wonderfully made" (Psalm 139:14)

2) Instead of a dozen roses, He has given me an entire planet filled with trees, flowers, and wonders. (Genesis 1:1)

3) I don't have to stand in the card section for an hour looking for the 'perfect card'. He hears the whisper of my heart (Luke 16:15)

4) In lieu of a box of chocolates, He has promised me treasure in Heaven. (Matthew 6:20)

5) He doesn't bring me a stuffed bear holding a heart that say's "I love you". Instead, He gives me living, breathing creatures to enjoy......(and not have to dust:). (Genesis 1:21)

6) I don't get diamonds, but He did place the stars in the sky for me. (Psalm 19:1)

7) He gave me my favorite perfume: the Aroma of Christ (2 Corinthians 2:15)

8) We don't go out for a fancy, expensive dinner. Instead, He gives me daily bread to nourish my body and soul. (Luke 11:3)

9) He carries my burdens instead of giving me massages. (Psalm 68:19)

10) He loves me so much......He died for me. (Romans 5:8)

And, when I pick a daisy and pluck it's petals, I never have to say "He loves me not". I get to say over and over: He loves me, He loves me, He loves me, He loves me.................................

Thank you Jesus for being a faithful, loving, caring, devoted Husband. I love you!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Imprints on the Heart

It has always seemed funny to me how somebody can suddenly pop into your mind for seemingly no reason. Tonight, as I sat doing my Church History homework, that is exactly what happened. As a matter of fact, this particular girl has popped into my mind frequently for the past 26 years.

I remember the first time I saw her--I was in 9th grade and in my freshman year of high school. She was a senior and definitely one of the most popular girls. She was tall, blonde, slender, and beautiful. She had delicate features and yet, there was nothing very delicate about her. She was outgoing, bubbly, and appeared full of self confidence--you know--everything I wasn't. She was a stark contrast to me--the awkward 9th grader who felt like a duck out of water. This girl seemed to have everyone eating out of the palm of her hand.

It was Spirit Week in October of 1984 and the seniors called themselves the Senior Spirits. They wore white ghoulish costumes and ran through the school displaying all the spirit of a senior class enjoying their last year. Lisa was no exception. She happily displayed her 'Senior Pride' by participating in every activity and standing out as a definite leader. I remember watching her and being totally captivated by her presence.

Shortly after Spirit Week were class elections and it came as no surprise to me that she was running for Senior Class President. I don't know whether it was her nickname or what, but everybody was referring to her as "Toast". As a matter of fact, her entire campaign was centered around the word. I had no idea what it meant and frankly, I don't know if many people did, but it didn't seem to matter. "Toast" was plastered all over San Lorenzo High School and so was Lisa's face and name.

Then, one afternoon Lisa and I had a chance encounter and although I do not remember all of the details, what I do remember is the realization that Lisa was as beautiful inside as she was on the outside. As this captivating girl who 'ruled the school' crossed the path of an awkward freshman, she took a moment to flash a smile and say "Hi! I'm Lisa!". I smiled and introduced myself and couldn't imagine why she would even take the time to say hi to someone like me. But, I walked away feeling a little more special that day.

A couple of weeks later, in late November, there was a buzz around the school. Something wasn't right. The air was thick and the mood was somber. Nobody was talking loud, but people were definitely talking. As I walked through the halls some people were crying and others looked as though they were lost. Then I heard the news--Lisa Monzo was missing. She was last seen walking in the rain on the railroad tracks behind the school. She was on her way to work, but never made it. There was speculation around the school as to who had been with her last and suddenly everybody's lives were turned upside down. The school was filled with police officers as they questioned Lisa's friends and warned us to stay in groups and not to walk alone.

I couldn't believe it. How could this beautiful girl, so full of life, have just vanished? It's something you read about in the paper. It's something that happens at other schools to people you don't know and have never talked to. It definitely doesn't happen to girls like Lisa who, just a couple of weeks ago, took a moment out of her time to talk to someone that most people would have ignored.

Approximately four days later my mom woke me in the middle of the night to tell me that they had found Lisa's body--she had been raped, strangled, and left under some brush next to the railroad tracks. I remember gasping and saying "No!" and as I laid back down to go to sleep I felt my body begin to shake. It felt as though the wind had been knocked out of me and I knew sleep would not come that night. The day we met played over and over in my head like a broken record and I just could not believe that I would never see her smile again. However, with each passing year the wounds of that terrible loss for our school began to heal and by the time my class graduated in 1988--I seldom thought of her.

Over the past 26 years I have thought of Lisa often. I did not know her well--as a matter of fact, I did not know her at all and now, I can hardly recall her face that I once could not get out of my mind. But, what I will never forget is how she made me feel. Because of the way Lisa chose to live her life, she will forever be a part of mine. She left an imprint on my heart that the span of time can never erase.

I continue to grieve for her, but no longer as a young girl stunned by something so tragic and heinous, but as an adult woman with children her age. My heart breaks for the woman she was never able to become and for the dreams she was never able to fulfill. As I think back to her vibrant personality and the impact she had on those of us who went to school with her, I can't help but wonder what kind of impact she would have had on the world. Unfortunately, we will never know.

Tonight, as I did my homework and Lisa came to my mind, it dawned on me that I have never really shared this story. I have seldom spoken of her and on the rare occasion when I have told her story I have chosen not to share mine. Instead I have held it close to my heart--like a secret between lost friends. Somehow--tonight was different. I wasn't sure why, but for the first time I had a desire to share this part of my life. I am sure there are some who would say it is meant to bring closure to a painful part of my past, but I believe it is quite the contrary.

Even though Lisa has crossed my mind throughout the years I had almost forgotten about our encounter that day and the way she made me feel, but as I reflected on that day so many years ago God reminded me of something.....

People may forget what I look like or what I have said, but they will never forget how I make them feel--and I need to be careful about the imprints I'm leaving on the hearts of others.

Thank You, Lord for bringing Lisa to my mind tonight and thank You for that brief encounter so long ago. I pray she is with You Lord and that someday we are standing next to each other as we stand around Your throne praising You. I also thank You for using her to remind me of the impact I can have on someone's life--no matter how brief or long my time with them is. Help me to make others feel the way Lisa made me feel that day--special and important. I love You, Lord and I am constantly in awe of how You choose to teach me lessons. In Jesus' name...Amen!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Power in the Shower

For several years I spent my mornings praying in the shower. In a house that was busy with the hustle and bustle of a morning routine, the shower was my only solitude. It was a wonderful way to start my day--I emerged from the shower feeling refreshed physically, mentally, and Spiritually. However, as homeschooling slowed down the morning pace and, especially after I left my job, my morning meetings with God became less frequent--until they stopped altogether.

This morning it dawned on me how much I miss those mornings. I miss hearing the kiddos running around and getting ready for school and all of the little conversations that took place. But, more importantly, I miss my quiet time with God. Even though I try hard to find quiet time throughout the day to spend with Him--it's not the same. The truth is--our lives have changed. We no longer have to spring out of bed and into action. As a matter of fact, often our days are spent in pajama's as we do our school work. That is one of the perks of schooling at home. However, this morning as I prepared to take a shower I felt a strong desire to spend time with God in our old meeting place.

I emerged from my shower this morning feeling refreshed and invigorated after spending some much needed alone time with my Savior. I laid some things at His feet that I had been holding onto and found a familiar comfort as the water washed over me in my make-shift Sanctuary--and I walked away with the realization that this would be the most important part of my day.

My life has changed dramatically over the past several years, but there are some things that need to remain the same--and my morning time with God is definitely one of them.

Lord, I loved our time together this morning. I love You.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Welcome Home...

I love vacations! I enjoy being away from home and sleeping in hotels. I don't know if it is the knowledge that there is a maid who will come clean up my mess or just a change of scenery, but either way--I love them! Even short hotel stays are exciting to me. Perhaps I just need to get out more:) However, what I love even more is coming home. Even though I may dread the end of a trip once I get close to home I can feel the excitement of familiarity begin to wash over me. I begin to daydream about sleeping in my own bed and being surrounded with the things that help make our house a home. The most luxurious hotel room could never compete with warmth and comfort of my own home.

I have been under the weather for the past week and because I have a hard time concentrating when I am not feeling well, I have not been reading my Bible. Last night, as I got ready for bed, I had an overwhelming desire to spend time in the Word of God. I picked up my Bible and turned to where I had left off a week ago--1 Thessalonians 3. I had only intended to read a chapter because I was exhausted, but once I started I just could not stop. I felt a warmth of familiarity wash over me and it took me only a moment to realize that God was welcoming me home.

As I settled in to sleep I was overwhelmed by His presence and in awe of how readily He awaits us. I thanked Him for drawing me close and for making His familiar Word feel fresh and new--and I thanked Him for always being there to welcome me home when I have been away.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Goodbye 2010...Hello 2011

As I reflect on 2010 it feels as though it went by so quickly--like it was a mere flash of the camera. There are various snapshots of events that flood my mind, like: Samantha's graduation, our family vacation at the lake, Jordan's 13th birthday(and official entrance into the 'teens'), the Beth Moore conference with my Bible study group, and Josh's surgery and Civil Air Patrol promotions. Many of those events held both laughter and tears, but each one is cherished as 2010 ends and 2011 begins--and as I continue to reflect I am amazed at how God has worked in my life.

2010 found important friendships strengthened and other ones dissolved as God revealed the importance of having godly women in my life, but exercising caution as to who those women are. God has taught me that emotions cannot be suppressed forever and that showing emotion does not equal weakness. He also taught me that age has no meaning in His Kingdom as He used a young girl to show me the importance of listening to others and to help mend the strained relationship between my youngest daughter and myself. Above all--God used 2010 to help heal my heart of deep wounds that occurred the year before. Even though they continue to hurt at times, I can feel them closing with each passing day. It is a new year! The old has gone and takes with it anything I am willing to let go of.

In 2011 I choose to let go of past hurts. I choose to focus on the people in my life who love me and encourage me and take any focus off those who don't. I choose to be a better friend and to love others the way Christ commands me to. I choose to listen more than I speak and to not take out my frustrations on my family just because I know they will love me no matter what. I choose to take time out to notice the little insignificant things that mean more than I realize. Most importantly--in 2011 I choose to seek Christ with my whole heart and to not get caught up in the temporal things of this world. I choose to be set apart for the life God has called me to and focus on the path He has been leading me down.

Lord-Thank You for 2010 and all that You taught me and allowed me to experience. The slate feels so clean with twelve fresh months ahead, but as You have shown me tonight--those months go by quickly. Help me to stay focused on You and Your will.