In Christ Alone….To My Beloved Sister…

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There is a song that grips my heart every time that I hear it. I still remember where I was the very first time that I heard it many years ago. It is In Christ Alone. I have copied the lyrics below.

In Christ alone

My hope is found

He is my life, my strength, my song

This cornerstone , this solid ground

Firm through the fiercest, drought and storm

What heights of Love, what depths of Peace,

When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!

my comforter, my all in all

Here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone who took on flesh

Fulness of God in helpless babe

This gift of Love and righteousness,

scorned by the ones He came to save,

Till on that cross as Jesus died

The wrath of God was satisfied;

For every sin on him was laid

Here in the depth of Christ I live

There in the ground , His body lay,

Light of the world by darkness slain

Then bursting forth in glorious day

Up from the grave he rose again!

And as He stands in victory,

Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me

For I am His and He is mine

Bought with the precious blood of Christ

No guilt in life, no fear in death

This the pow’r of Christ in me,

From life’s first cry, to final breath.

Jesus commands my destiny

No pow’r of hell, no scheme of man

Can ever pluck me from his hand

Till he returns or call me home

Here in the pow’r of Christ I’ll stand …..

I sit and watch my older sister laying in a hospital bed in ICU almost lifeless. There are tubes coming and going, multiple medicines being administered, bells and whistles going off, nurses coming and going and loved ones standing around not knowing what to say to one another. Each one of us feels a different kind of pain. We look at her with a different set of eyes, different experiences and history with her. We are drawn together because of her. We are drawn together because we all love her.

This is a glass window into my heart, into the very depth of what I am feeling right now at this very moment. IT WAS NOT SUPPOSED TO TURN OUT LIKE THIS!!!! I want to scream so bad because my heart is breaking. I open my mouth and nothing comes out. I am angry and heart broken all at the same time.  I cry by myself, when I’m alone. Pride tore us apart, pride kept us apart, her illness brought us back together and the love of Christ gave me a heart to love her as if nothing ever happened. I cannot image the physical pain that she is in. She’s my only sister. This world is cruel Lord. It was cruel to You and it is cruel to us.

Death. We cannot escape it…everyone…everything dies. Many people anymore describe religion as a “journey.” The apostle Paul described a relationship with Christ and this life as a race. At the end of his life he tells Timothy that he won the race and that he fought the good fight.

I want to be selfish and have my sister stay here with all of us and continue to fight the cancer that has invaded her body. She is so tired. I am in awe with her that she has fought as long as she has. I am inspired by her strength. She fought and fought and in the fight she rededicated her life to our Savior Jesus Christ.

No one around her wants to talk about this possibly being the end of her life. I don’t want to talk about it. God only truly knows but if I were able to say anything to her I would tell her this…

Your “journey” is about to catapult you to a place beyond your wildest dreams. Jesus is waiting for you. This is what you have been training for here on Earth. This is what the hope you had in Jesus was all about that one sweet day you would be with Him, in His presence and you would be able to see Him as He really is. This is the beginning. It is not the end of life because your life is eternal! You did it! You conquered death. You have been fighting this whole time to keep your body alive when Jesus bought your soul for all of eternity. Now you can really live. You are free! Close your eyes….take a deep breath….now jump! When you get there save a place for me because I will be coming soon. I love you….I love you…I love you….your lil’ sis’ ~Missy

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The Hope of Moore, OK

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I am not one that boasts about the things that I do nor am I boasting now but I would like to share with you my experience of being in the mist of the devastation and tragedy of a place called Moore, OK.

Moore is a town of roughly 50,000 people. I do not know what the place looked like prior to May 20, 2013 but I know what it looked like a month later on the one month anniversary,June 20th.

I went with a team of 7 from my church. An amazing group of people. The time that we worked together was, in my opinion, not long enough. I did not want to leave but family and other responsibilities was calling each one of us back to our homes. I don’t think that I am speaking out of turn when I say that each one of us left a little piece of our hearts in Moore, OK.

One experience in particular was working for a home owner named Moreen. She was a beautiful African women who carried a British accent with such class and grace. I could listen to her talk for hours. We helped clear her property and clean out her possessions from within her home in preparation for demolition. Her house from the outside seemed to be salvageable but what was unseen was that the foundation had been compromised and her home was on a list to be taken down and discarded. She would not rebuild and was not sure if she was going to stay in that area. She was not bitter. In contrast her smile was contagious and the joy that she permeated from herself made you want to be around her. Through out the course of the day when she was among our group she said two of my favorite words, “But God!” “But God” she said, “He has a plan in all this.” Oh, what two beautiful words…But God… Our time with her was coming to an end and as we said our goodbyes and walking to our van she hollered these words, “Please do not forget me in your prayers.” This grips me to the core because I have not been diligent in my prayers for her. I go on with my own life tending to my own family. It is so easy for us to leave someone who has been affected by a devastating blow and quickly forget them days later.

Another day that we were there we drove around one of the neighborhoods that did not have one house left standing. We saw a lady going through some rubble where her brother-in-law’s house use to stand. We told her that we couldn’t do much but we had rakes and shovels and able bodies that where willing to help. She explained that her brother-in-law was diagnosed with stage 4 prostate cancer and that the cancer has spread to other parts of his body. The family was unable to pay someone to bull doze the pile of debri that use to be there home and move it to the curb in order for the city to pick it. She has been doing this labor intense work herself with some help from other ministries and neighbors. We were more than eager to jump right in and help. So we began with shovel in hand little by little putting what once use to be someone’s home to the curb for removal. In this process the sister showed us a video that the news did on her family and in that video there was a small child shoveling what use to be there home. I asked her who the small child was and her response gripped my heart! This young girl 8 or 9 years old came with her mother from Shawnee, OK. They too were hit by this devastating tornado. When asked why they came to more there response was “Shawnee is O.K. but Moore needed our help.” Can you believe that? A young girl leaving what she knew because there were people that was worse off then she was. Tears just fill my eyes when I think about that.

I observed multiple houses that declared “God is still good!”, “Jesus loves you”, “The tornado took our home but can’t take our heart.” These were sprayed painted on the houses that may have a wall left or half a roof. This is the cry of Moore, OK. These are the people that live here.

The memorial for the 7 young souls that lost there lives at the elementary school will be a sight that will forever be burned in my mind. A line of volunteers t-shirts have made a wall on the fence guarding the 7 precious cross’s that bare the name of each child. To be there…to be there…as tears fill my eyes I can’t fully explain what it is like to be there. It is an overwhelming feeling that captures the inner most part of your heart. Each cross has a plack and engraved is each child’s name. I cannot tell you how many times I read there precious little names and thought of my own children. Anguish for the reality of the terror that these children and the one’s that survived must have faced. That day many parents dropped there children off at school never to see them again. No more bedtime stories, or goodnight kisses, no more little faces staring at you in the morning waiting for you to open your eyes and wake up, no more play dates, and mommy dates, no more hugs and little whispers that say, “I love you mommy.”

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Moore, OK…Many lives there will never be the same…BUT GOD…is your strength, your comfort, your very present help in time of need. There is no other. God is the HOPE of Moore. The HOPE that they will rebuild, they will be restored, they will heal and that life does move forward. Jesus Christ is the HOPE of Moore and it is evident with the writing on the wall of many of the homes. Another one being “Jesus Saves”. I cannot think of a better way to end that with these words, “Jesus Saves, He is the HOPE of Moore, OK.”

You have one life. Do something.

To Lisa whose driving quickly enhanced my prayer life. Your heart to “help people” is amazing and I am so blessed to be able to call you my friend. To Genie whose gentle quiet spirit and love for things pure is to be admired. You and I are truly kindred spirits. To Tony who most of the time was quiet but when you spoke everyone listened. I enjoyed working with you my friend. To Jim who made me constantly laugh. To Carl whose child like faith is inspiring. May the Lord bless you with all wisdom as you continue to seek Him. Your faith is contagious. To Gordy who joined us while we were there. You quickly became one of us and it was a pleasure getting to know you. And last but certainly not least my precious daughter, Jamie. I am so very proud of you. Your heart to serve will take you many places as you seek your Lord and Master, Jesus Christ. Always follow after Him.

Not for one moment…

Sword_and_Shield_original_by_angelfire7508I don’t think that I have seen the sun in days. If  it has been sunny I haven’t noticed. All I see is a grey sky. I walk outside and take a deep breath the cold February air fills my lungs. I exhale slowly. Today will be full of many battles. Most of them are in my own mind. Most battles aren’t won over night. They take time, strategy and a commitment. Even when those things are in place there is something needed that is even more important. Let me rephrase that, there is someone that is needed.

Today is going to be grueling. I am so in tune to this particular battle because I seem to fight it so often. The enemy knows when I am wearing down. I am usually aware of his coming. I can hear him approaching. Most days when I hear him approaching I turn and run away; not today. Something inside me is telling me to holdfast and stand my ground. He is within range now I can see him waving his banner. Loneliness has waged war and he is not alone. Today he brought Rejection with him. I want to run but for some reason I cannot move. I am frozen in fear. I feel the wait of the two as they approach. It is almost more than I can bear. They mock and ridicule me. It is too much and I fall to my knees. My struggle is great and I cry out to my God. They laugh and they scorn, “Where is your God?”

“I am right here!” His voice was like thunder! Loneliness and Rejection trembled with fear. They knew they were finished.  They were quickly taken away by the power of His glory. With a gentle hand He lifted me up and wiped my tears. “I am always here for you.” He said, “I will never leave you or forsake you. The battle is not yours but it is Mine.” He then wrapped His arms around me and filled my heart with His love. It was in that moment that I realized that throughout my whole entire life He has always been with me. He never left me…not for one moment.

Father God, I come to you in the name of my Savior Jesus Christ. I praise You for who You are. No matter who rejects me, mocks me, ridicules or spreads lies about me You hold me close. You speak Your truth to me. You vindicate me. You rescue me out of all my troubles. It is for Your name sake that You would think of me. It is Your loving kindness that You brought me out of a dark place. It is because of Your heart that You would send Your Son to die for the whole world so that each one of us could have a relationship with You because of the sacrifice that Jesus made for us. It Is so the whole world may know that You are God. The One and only! Amen.