Binding wounds

Do you ever feel like with the pressures of life you simply can’t take anymore? You’re weary and worn. You have no fight left. Whatever hurt you, death of a loved one, illness, job loss, wayward children, financial problems, divorce, physical or emotional abuse, this is good news for you. God will not only heal you’re broken heart, He will bind up your wounds. That doesn’t mean that, at times, the pain of your suffering will not come to mind and it doesn’t mean that you will never feel the sting of its pain again. It simply means that he will bind them up for you so that it doesn’t hurt as much when the binding is pulled back.

Have you ever had stitches or watched as a doctor sews stitches?

When Ryan, now 27, was 3, I received a call from his preschool teacher that he was injured from falling off a swing. He hit his chin and it split open. Stitches would definitely be required.

As the doctor began assessing the depth of injury, the first thing he did was pry it open as far as he could. Ryan screamed in pain but once it was fully opened, the injury was not as deep as we initially thought.

Next, he cleaned the wound thoroughly to remove any bacteria and particles that may be lingering. This process, too, caused Ryan discomfort. It wasn’t the seering pain he felt as the wound was completely opened but he winced and whined as the antiseptic cleanser was administered.

Finalky, he began the stitching process. Since the wound was more than just surface level, it required two layers of stitching.  This part bothered Ryan the least. His hurt was being bound. What had been ripped and torn apart was now being put back together.

Friends thats exactly how God heals our brokenness our broken hearts. The problem is most of the time when he starts to peel or pry open our hurt to see how deep it is, we pull away.  We scream because it hurts too much. The hurt is way too deep and we would prefer if He would just quick-fix us.

There are no quick fixes where there is brokenness. Trust me!  I’ve tried and failed miserably.

If you want God to bind up your broken heart, allow him to work from the inside out. Allow him to pry open the depth of your hurt, clean it out and then bind it up.

Ryan will always have a scar from his injury, in the same way, our hurts and headaches leave scars but they no longer hurt.  They are reminders of our hurts and Gods amazing grace!

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A defining moment

Merriam-Webster  says that a defining moment is a time that shows very clearly what something is really about.

What happens when  you find yourself falling short of the goal or expectation that you and others place on you?  Do you give up?  Do you give in to the failure or do you rise above your disappointment and try again?

Last year on February 12, to be exact, Amy was competing at the NCHSAA State Championship 1A/2A.  She was seeded 2 and fully anticipated finishing 1st or 2nd. Through her warm ups it was evident she was tight, not relaxed and rushing her throws.  I was attempting to relay information to her, mostly through hand gestures, because we weren’t close enough to talk to her. All we could do was watch and hope and pray.

She delivered her first throw.  Then her second.  Then her third. None of her throws were terribly awful.  The throws just weren’t hitting the distance she was capable of throwing.  She was just trying too hard and not relaxed.  The good news was she was in the finals and had three more throws.  Her next three throws were much like the first three.  She finished the day in 4th place.  A very disappointing 4th place.  She asked me not even to take a picture.  I don’t always listen.  Regardless of her finish, I was proud of her and I knew in time, she would see it as a blessing.

Angry. Hurt. Disappointed.  She felt as if she’d let everyone, coach, teammates and us down.  She definitely had let herself down.  I think for a few minutes, maybe more, she even contemplated foregoing the sport she’d grown to love.  She certainly wasn’t loving it at that moment in time.

She didn’t even want the medal but I kept it anyway.

As soon as indoor season was over, outdoor season began.  She had a new outlook and new goals.  A new determination and better work ethic.  She was finally beginning to see that her loss was actually a motivator to perform at a higher level.

Stress still plagued her.  I couldn’t quite put my finger on it but I knew something was wrong.

On the drive home from her first track meet, which arose the “mama bear” in me, (maybe a story for another time) she again was disappointed in her performance. She had finished 2nd in both the shot put and discus.  She does not like to lose. She’s highly competitive. Once again I found myself listening to,  “I should just give up.  I should just quit.  I’m just not good enough. ”

I reminded her, “Amy, you know that Cale’s invitation for you to be on the team at WCU is still on the table.  He sees potential.  He thinks you’re good enough.  I know you weren’t convinced after your visit but maybe you should reconsider.”

I left it there.

A week or so later she made her decision official.  She was going to WCU.  She was going to be a collegiate athlete.

She continued to compete and performed well.  She finished 1st in shot put and discus at Regionals.  Then she went on to finish 2nd in shot and 1st in discus at the NCHSAA State Championships.  She still fell short of the goals she had set for her but she certainly overcame the defeat and dissatisfaction from the indoor season.

She hung her new medals on the rearview mirror of her car, and mysteriously the 4th place medal found its way out of the cabinet and into the car with the other ones.  At that moment, I knew what had been, to her, one of the hardest days of her life, would be one of her most defining moments.  A moment that clearly defined her character.

We all have times when we fall short of expectations, either ones we’ve imposed on ourselves or ones others have set before us.  The key in overcoming our feelings of defeat and failure lies in the attidude of how we respond.  Initial progress may seem slow; however we must press on and keep on.  The choice is really ours.  We can overcome or we can be overcome.  It all depends on our response.

John Wooden says, “The true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching.”

 

 

About me…and why I write

Before I go any further in my blog, I think there are a few things that you need to know about me that will help you to better understand me and why I write.

First of all, I was born in Brevard, NC a small town in Western North Carolina.  After my dad’s death, my mom remarried and we moved to Columbus, NC, another small town. After  small stints in the Charleston, SC area and Bremerton Washington, I moved to Hendersonville, NC in 1992 and have been here ever since.  Clearly, I am a small town girl and the mountains are my home.

It is no coincidence that God has placed me in the mountains because each time I look at them, I am reminded of how much they resemble my life and my walk with Him.

I have been married for 22 years and my husband is the big personality. The one everyone in the room wants to be around. He’s magnetic.  He’s quick-witted and quite the comedian. He’s very spontaneous. He never changes.  He is the same regardless of who’s around.  He’s also direct and never shies away from confrontation. I am one very lucky gal and he’s definitely a keeper.

I have four amazing children, three boys and one girl and I adore them all.  Each one is uniquely different and I can hardly wait to share the lessons I’ve learned through having them.  And there’s also the fluffy, white Sammy dog.  He is currently dubbed “mom’s favorite child”  and there may be some truth to that accusation….maybe.

Writing for me has always been a release.  It’s an easy way for me to express my feelings and then draw a conclusion to what I am feeling.  Honestly, I can’t begin to number the times  writing has actually helped me see things from a totally different perspective.  I love to write and it has been a passion of mine since 7th grade.

The main reason for starting this blog is because over the past couple of years I have been approached by several of my friends who’ve asked or suggested that I start a blog. While I was very humbled and flattered,  I wasn’t sure if it was the right thing to do. As I began to pray over it, God kept tugging at my heart.  I kept reminding him of all of my inadequacies and He kept reminding me that delaying obedience is actually disobedience.  It took two years for me commit. Yes, I am stubborn.

The thing you need to know is that I am not doing this for any reason other than to bring glory and honor to God.  You see his word tells me that, “We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which he prepared in advance for us to do.”  Ephesians 2:10  (I will discuss in another blog.)  If this is the thing that he has prepared for me to do, then it’s my responsibility to comply.

My prayer is that you will find encouragement and hope.  I also want you to know and see that I am perfectly imperfect and it is only by God’s immeasurable grace that I am where I am today.  Without Him I would be nothing.

Always on His mind

This wasn’t the blog I planned to write.  In fact, until this morning, my plan and thoughts for the next few blogs didn’t relate to this one but I read a statement this morning in my devotion and I just can’t shake it.  In fact, I believe it’s something that most, if not all, of us need to hear.

Right now I know a lot, and I mean a LOT of people going through tough times.  Friends who’ve lost loved ones or are facing losing loved ones.  People who are battling cancer or other illness.  Dear ones who are going through marriage, family or financial struggles.  You name it and I probably know someone who’s facing difficulties.

Honestly, I have my own struggles too and maybe that’s why I was so impressed when I read this:

“He could have removed Himself from the cross but He chose not to! He chose to contain His power. Why? Why didn’t He save Himself from the mockery of hell itself?

He stayed there for you … because YOU were the joy set before Him. You were on His mind while He hung on Calvary’s cross.”  Carol McLeod

I don’t know about you but this certainly speaks to the very core of my heart. I am His joy and he thought of me!  My frailties, imperfections and sin didn’t keep Jesus from enduring the cross, they kept Him on the cross.

This is why and how He can relate to us even more. Not only did God become flesh and dwell among us but on the cross he felt every pain, every sorrow, every bitterness..everthing that we would ever feel and He stayed there and endured the cross because He values and loves us that much. He views us as His joy because He desperately wants to be our joy, especially in our hardest struggles.

One of my favorite songs sums it up perfectly

Verse 2
You didn’t want heaven without us
So Jesus You brought heaven down
My sin was great Your love was greater
What could separate us now

What a wonderful Name it is
What a wonderful Name it is
The Name of Jesus Christ my King
What a wonderful Name it is
Nothing compares to this
What a wonderful Name it is
The Name of Jesus
What a wonderful Name it is
The Name of Jesus

What a Beautiful Name
Words and Music by Ben Fielding & Brooke Ligertwood

 

All in a day

On Sunday, like usual, we drove to Greenville for church. (Yes, we drive 50 minutes to go to church. I will tell you why in the next post)

Before church we always go out for breakfast. Our customary stop is Tommy’s Country Ham House. If you haven’t been, trust me, you should go.  You will not be disappointed.

After church we decided to go downtown to  Falls Park to walk.  We had been walking about an hour when I suggested we sit down. Luckily we found an unoccupied park bench in the shade and started to people watch. Terry looked at me and said, “How long have we been walking?” When I told him an hour he replied, “No wonder my legs were getting tired.” We rested for a few minutes and decided it was time to head home.

When we arrived home, I started prepping for dinner. As I was finishing chopping potatoes, Amy said she wanted to go practice throwing.  She asked if we wanted to go. Terry was content to sit on the couch with Sammy. Obviously, I was not going to turn down an invitation to go with her.

We arrived at the field, only to find the fence locked.  The only way in was to climb the fence.  I’m standing there looking at the fence thinking to myself, “Oh, I’m not sure about this.  I’m not even sure I can do it.”

Amy was reading my mind. “Mom, it’s the only way in.  You’ll have to climb   Here let me show you.”  She said and climbed the fence with ease.  It was my turn.  It was comic but I managed after about 4 minutes. Whew.  I made it.

Once over the fence, Amy discovered that the throwing implements were not left in their usual place.  We had to climb the fence again.  I thought I would go first because in my mind, I thought it would be easier.  Not.  I didn’t make it the first time; however I did the next time.  I realized Amy was video taping and snap chatting the entire episode.  By the time we got in the car, I was laughing so hard, I was doing the “squirrel laugh” It’s the name my kids have given my laugh.  Normally when it happens anyone who hears it laughs too just because the sound is funny.

As I finished getting dinner ready, Alex and Amy were howling at Terry.  Amy had convinced him to do some snap chatting.  If you don’t follow her, you’ll just have to trust me.  He ain’t right.  He’s like a little kid and says the darndest things. For example, his face was in a rocket ship, and he said, “Oh, I’m in a rocket ship getting ready to blast off. Whee!”  Unfortunately, my description pales in comparison to watching the video for the full effect.

After dinner, we were still laughing over Terry and his silliness. Alex looks at me and says, “How did y’all meet anyway.”

“It’s on my other blog.  Didn’t you read it?” I said

Amy pipes up, “You have another blog?”

“Yeah, but it’s old.  Didn’t keep it going and I’m going to eventually transfer those stories to the new one.” I replied.

“So, are you going to tell us the story?” Alex asked.

Terry chimed in, “Let your mom tell you the story.  She remembers it better than I do.”

As we sat there and I shared our story, I realized I love it more.  It reminds me how fortunate and blessed I am.  I am humbled to I realize how intricately God was weaving our hearts and lives together before we met.

I was also reminded of the sermon we heard from Brad earlier in the day:

“Built to Last”

  • Nothing lasts by accident
  • Everything has sacrifice involved.  It is not cheap
  • It’s never built alone

At the end of the day, we had come full circle.  We had worshipped together.  We walked together. I climbed a fence and Terry blasted off in a rocket ship. More importantly, we laughed together.  Here we sat, at the dinner table as the day ended, with our precious children sharing our story that started 23 years ago. It’s a day that will be etched deep in my mind for a very long time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sweet and sour all at the same time

 

One afternoon about 10 years ago  when Matthew, now 25, was a teenager, he was eating a bag of sour patch kids. I asked him for one and then another. After the second one, I looked at him and said, “You know what I like best about these are they are sweet and sour all at the same time. “
It wouldn’t be until a few years later that my “sweet and sour all at the same time” would transcend into a much different meaning.
Let me explain. In June of 2010, Matthew joined the US Navy and in August of 2010, Ryan also joined the US Navy. Within a period of nine weeks our family of six quickly became a family of four.
It took a bit of adjustment but Alex and Amy were keeping us, especially me, hopping.
My other solace was knowing that both boys would be spending at least 18 months in Charleston at the Naval Weapons Station for their nuclear training program. They would be close by and in one of my favorite places.
As time marched on, both boys were picked up or chosen to further their training, which meant another six months in Charleston.
At the end of ELT school, Matthew was picked up to be a staff instructor, another two years. Oh, happy day!
However, at the end of Ryan’s ELT school, his orders would send him to the USS Pittsburgh in Groton, Connecticut.
In late July of 2013, Ryan packed his belongings and headed to Connecticut. That’s when my “sweet and sour” changed. No longer did I like that fact that everything was sweet and sour all at the same time. I didn’t like it at all. While  I could feel excitement and joy because Matthew would be in Charleston. I felt sadness because Ryan was leaving and had no idea how long it would be before I would see him again. The family dynamics were completely changing. I didn’t like it.
Then in November of 2014, Matthew’s orders sent him to Hawaii. He would be attached to the USS Columbus.
Within a few days of Matthew’s departure, Ryan’s boat left for a six month deployment.

Matthew’s boat wasn’t very active at first. His work load was crazy but the boat stayed in port. Then one day, Matthew called tell me he was going on a 3 month deployment and 45 minutes later Ryan called to say he was back. This has been the story ever since, and at times both gone at the same time. Sweet and sour all at the same time.

One thing I’ve learned is that my emotions can be all over the place but my emotions do not have to control me. They do not keep me from moving forward and continuing to live. I have a choice. I can either allow my emotions to control me or I can cry out to the Lord and ask Him to help and deliver me from my emotional roller coaster.
I’ve had countless people say, “I don’t know how you do it.” I simply say, “I don’t. God does.” What I’ve learned through all of this is that when I admit I can’t and ask for His help; He can.
His word tells me that there is “nothing that is too hard for Him.” Jeremiah 32:17
And my favorite go to verse is Colossians 1:17 “He is before all things and in him all things hold together.”  If the entire universe is held together by Him, the. He can certainly hold me together.