flashthoughts

FACEBOOK GROUP COVER - IN CHALLENGESThere are no presents under our tree;
However, HIS PRESENCE fills our home.
Our lives are full of the gifts
He’s been giving us all year long.

I jotted down that little poem in a note app on my phone Christmas morning. I thought maybe there would be more to go with it. I’ve been praying about it since then and, as I sat down this morning to see if I was supposed to elaborate on it, I felt it was complete. I mean, it really does say it all.

For some who may not truly understand, though, I will try to explain just a tiny bit here in this post.

My heart was FULL on Christmas Day just remembering how God has blessed us throughout this past year. There were a lot of changes in our lives – happy changes, sad changes, just changes in general.

In January – wait, let me back up to last December 1st, because that is when Mom got her lung cancer diagnosis. Okay – then, in January, Frank was approved to go in Bullock Correctional Facility as the Assistant Chaplain.

February 20th – God sold our house in Atmore and let us know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, we were moving to Union Springs EARLIER rather than LATER. (We had been thinking we would move in the summer – AFTER I finished my commitment to my HIPPY job)

March 10th – We moved to a rental house in Union Springs – totally provided by God because, when our house sold in February, we had no idea where we were going to stay! I would leave on Sundays and go back to Atmore to stay with Mom at her house through Thursday each week, until my job with HIPPY ended May 11th.

March 17th – He showed us the house that would become our home – even though we had no idea how He was going to do it. He did – and it became officially our home May 11th!

May 6th – Mom was promoted to Heaven.

June 14th – Jessica found out her Dad had passed away, probably the night before, suddenly and very unexpected!

August 13th – MYA MARIE KITTS was born and Frank got to be in the delivery room! She has brought so much joy and love into all our lives these last 4½ months!

Soooooooo – you can see why my heart was so full on Christmas Day and why I mostly spent the day simply reflecting on all the wonderful gifts God has given us throughout the year. Like the peace He gave when He called Mom home – it happened pretty much just as she had always said she’d like for it to happen. Sure there are days I miss her really bad; but, I know where she is and that I’ll get to see her again, so I refuse to allow myself to get caught up in the sadness. I allow myself a good cry now and then, when it hits, but I do not allow it to linger on and on. Mom wouldn’t want me to do that.

It hurt watching my baby girl go through losing her Dad only a month after losing the only Granny she ever really knew. But, again, I am glad she also has the Peace our Father gives and I know she is doing okay. She is as great a mother as I always knew she would be, by the way! She is so wonderful with Mya – it just thrills my heart to watch her with her own baby girl!

I believe the gifts of PEACE in our losses and NEW LIFE in our family have probably been two of the most cherished gifts He has given us this year and my heart is, indeed, full!

Now, let’s enjoy the last few days of 2018 and see what wondrous things He will do in 2019!

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I CHOOSE JOYSunday night (Dec. 23rd) as I lay down to go to sleep, thoughts of the day were whirling around in my head of all the different emotions I had gone through. I should have gotten up and written them down then; but, I didn’t. I sensed the Lord was giving me the words to sort it all out; yet, I still refused to get out of bed to write it down. The last thing I remember thinking was, “I choose joy!” and then I was waking up at 3:15 a.m. Now, here I am, at 12:14 Tuesday morning, and I feel He may be giving me a second chance.

I couldn’t quite put my feelings into words Sunday. I couldn’t even figure out WHAT it was I feeling. One minute, so many different things at once; the next minute, nothing! I felt pretty good Sunday morning. I sang in a choir cantata with people I had met only two weeks before! My husband, daughter, son-in-love and granddaughter were able to attend and that made it even nicer. After church, we all went to eat lunch together, which was also great! Any time spent with even part of our family is a good time! (My husband had been to Urgent Care the day before and found out he nearly had pneumonia! He got a couple shots and started medicine when he got home, so the fact he was feeling better enough to attend church Sunday morning was incredible in itself!)

This same church was having a special, candlelight service Sunday evening and I felt led to attend. (Hubby felt he needed to stay in out of the night air, due to his illness, and I agreed – even though it made me sad he couldn’t go with me.)

Mom moved to Heaven this year – May 6th, to be exact. Maybe I cried through nearly the entire candlelight service because I was missing her, maybe it was because I was thinking how much she would enjoy a service like this, if she were still here. Again, I don’t know. I only knew I couldn’t stop the tears. I DO miss my Mom. There have been many times I wanted to pick up the phone to call and share something with her, only to remember I can’t do that anymore. Mom and I were very close, we liked the same kind of shows/movies on television; we loved going to singings together; we enjoyed LIVING together, which was incredible! When I remarried in December, 2013, Mom and I didn’t necessarily talk or see each other every single day; but, we didn’t let more than a couple days go by without at least a phone call. We only lived a couple blocks from each other, so we still saw each other often! Yes, I’m sure some of my feelings Sunday came from really missing her and that is okay!

What would not be okay, in my opinion, is to WALLOW in those “poor, pitiful me” feelings! Why? Because those feelings, while perfectly natural in short time increments, are what the enemy can use to cause deep depression and wanting to withdraw from everything and everyone around me! Not to mention, my Mom would tan my hide good if she knew I was spending time wallowing in self-pity and feeling sorry for myself because I miss her! (and, if you’re too young to understand what “tan my hide good” means, ask someone older than you – LOL) Like I said, she would definitely understand me missing her – she had times when she missed my Daddy terribly – but, she also wouldn’t allow herself to “wallow” in those feelings.

So, as I lay in bed Sunday night, trying to sort out all my feelings, I kept coming back to JOY! Does choosing joy mean I am happy and smiling all the time? Definitely not! It means I CHOOSE to remember my joy comes from the Lord and is part of the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), unlike the joy of the world, which comes from “the fleeting pleasures of sin” (Hebrews 11:25). By remembering this, the enemy no longer has a hold on me and I remain FREE!!!

Yes, it’s okay for me to miss my Mom and have days where I cry over the craziest, silliest, out-of-nowhere things; but, I will not allow myself to stay there and wallow in it – for these reasons:

  • God sent His ONLY Son to live on this earth in a human body so I could have relationship with Him
  • Jesus loved me enough to be willing to die on the cross for MY sins, even though He was completely innocent
  • I know Mom would NOT like it one little bit and absolutely would NOT approve – she wouldn’t want me to STAY sad, she would want me to be HAPPY for the many years we had together

We all grieve in different ways and grief is a perfectly normal thing to go through when we lose someone we love – especially someone we were very close to! I just don’t want to allow the enemy to use that grief to bind me! Yes, grief can become a chain used by the enemy, if I allow it.

So, on those days when I’m feeling a little sad, I allow myself to feel sad; but, I also stay in constant prayer on those days, reminding myself to CHOOSE the Joy of the Lord and not get caught up in or overtaken by my “feelings” of grief. The devil would like nothing better than for me to allow that to happen because he can not stand for me – or anyone else, for that matter – to be FREE!!! However, the (sad for the devil) truth is that I AM free! (John 8:36)

What will YOU choose each and every day – no matter what your ‘feelings’ are? I hope you CHOOSE JOY 🙂

SEARCH ENGINEYou may be wondering why I am asking such a silly question. It actually came out of my quiet time with my Father this morning. Let me explain…….

I was sitting here, having my quiet time with the Father, and I found myself on the subject of prayer. I had seen many prayer requests on Facebook yesterday and was asking for His will to be done in each situation.

Then, I began thanking Him for giving me the gift of prayer. Let me just share straight from my prayer journal. “Thank You for giving me the gift of prayer. A way to not only talk TO You; but, a way to talk WITH You. In fact, I think sometimes my prayers should be more about LISTENING to You and for You and the only way for me to be able to do that is to get back in Your Word so I will know what and when You are speaking to me.” It was at that moment when He began to speak.

Jeremiah 33:3 came to my mind. It says (in the NIV), “Call to Me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” He ‘gave’ that verse to me and my husband a few years back as we were praying about something and He just seems to keep it in front of us a lot! However, this morning when He brought it to my mind, He showed me something He has never shown me before. Yes, I have read it in this version many times; but, today is the first time He spoke to me about one word in this passage – UNSEARCHABLE. He made that word stand out.

Here’s what I felt Him speak to my Spirit about that word. In this day of “Googling” everything for answers, ONLY HE can give me – and you – the truly important answers! Even as I am typing this to share, He has reminded me of something I have said in the past, when talking with someone about the answer to something. . .”Hey, just Google it. Google knows everything.” OUCH! Yes, I said it in jest and we laughed about it; but, maybe I should have followed it up with something like, “But, seriously. I’ll pray with you about it and we’ll see what God says”.

Yes, I’ve said “Google is a wonderful thing” before and, YES, it most definitely is a wonderful tool we can use. However, when it comes to the important things that our Father wants us to know, HE is the only search engine that we will be able to conduct our search on and come up with the correct answers. Sometimes His answer isn’t always what we want it to be – that’s when we have to remember His Word to us in Isaiah 55:8, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, declares the Lord.”

So, for ‘earthly’ answers, please continue using the Google search engine. However, when it comes to matters of true importance in life, remember to use the GOD search engine. You may not always get the answer you want; but, then again, sometimes even Google doesn’t give you the answer you want. Am I right??? I can promise you this: the answer you get from God will ALWAYS be because HIS PLAN is ALWAYS the BEST PLAN for you 😊

DISCONNECTEDOn August 26th, my husband and I attended a church about 35 miles from where we live. The next day this was part of a post I made on Facebook, “It’s so exciting and it feels wonderful to be “connected” again. I truly didn’t even realize how ‘DISconnected’ I had been feeling until Sunday! It’s gonna be great being in a life group again!” I had actually shared that – about realizing I had been feeling ‘disconnected’ – the night before, with some of the ladies from this church. I had no idea God was about to take me on a “journey” of the word, Disconnected!
Today, the message was about “Living Disconnected” because of how we all tend to be on our phones with social media, etc. or binge-watching Netflix or whatever. But I felt God speaking to me on a whole different level about this word, disconnected, again.I feel that I’m disconnected at this season of my life not because of electronics but because God moved us.
Some days, like today, things happen – like the message – that make me too aware of how disconnected I feel. I don’t even want to get still to take a nap, because it allows my mind to go where I don’t want it to go. No, I’m not upset about our move. I love our new house. I love being close to my daughter and her family. I especially love that my husband is serving in the prison he has wanted to serve in ever since he went into prison ministry. Please understand that my feeling disconnected has absolutely nothing to do with my husband. I couldn’t ask for a more wonderful, Godly husband who, every day, gives me a teeny, tiny glimpse of just how much God loves me!
I honestly believe God moved us when He did because He knew that, as hard as it is being here, it would be even harder being back there. He knew I wouldn’t be able to handle having to drive by Mom’s house every day, knowing I couldn’t stop and talk to her.
I can remember in my past, sometimes thinking, “I wish I could just run to the store real quick and not run into anyone I know”. Now, I wish I COULD run into someone I know. I don’t know ANYONE, so I never have to worry about that. Now it only serves as a reminder that I am a stranger in a strange land and, even as I typed that, God spoke to my Spirit – that is how I SHOULD feel no matter where I live in this world. He doesn’t want me to get comfortable in a place I don’t belong. This world is not my home, I’m just passing through! Older people (like me – LOL) will remember that song. Maybe I was getting too comfortable where I was and that’s why He had to move me. I mean, I know He has certainly been moving me way out of ALL my comfort zones over the last few years; but, this is the BIGGEST move He’s made yet, in my life. I am farther away from my family and friends than I have ever been before!
I know He has great things ahead for me; but, I’m not even gonna lie – some days it just HURTS to feel so isolated and alone and this is one of those days. It’s made worse because I can’t even pick up the phone to call Mom and talk it out with her the way I used to when I was having a rough day. I honestly believe she was my absolute best friend in the world for the last 26 years or so!
I know God has a purpose and a plan in all this. I just need to seek Him more so He can share with me, in His time, that purpose and plan. I still love Him. I still trust Him completely. I will continue to seek His face. On days like today, I will allow the tears to fall so they can cleanse whatever it is that needs cleansing and, tomorrow, if God chooses to wake me, I will take forward steps and keep moving and seeking Him!
“and He gives Kathryn the power to live, to move and to be who she is. ‘She is His child’.” Acts 17:28 CEV

ALONE - 2I was a single Mom for MANY years, so trust me when I say I understand where some people are coming from, especially women, when they talk about being “bound and determined” to “make it on their own”. These words were actually spoken to me recently and, as I thought about them, I felt God speaking to my Spirit. I am here to share it.

Making it “on your own” means you are paying your own bills and taking care of your family without any outside help. That’s all well and good and admirable; but, can I be honest and share this with you?

The truth of the matter is this: God never intended for any one of us to walk this road alone and “do it on our own”. I’m not talking about not being able to pay your bills, now – I’m talking about we are designed to do life TOGETHER, walk this journey of life WITH each other.

Now, I’m not a ‘water’ person. I don’t know how to swim, so I really don’t care for the beach or ocean or pool or whatever. That’s why I find it rather amusing that God put this example in my Spirit. I guess that’s how I also know it was definitely Him, because it certainly wouldn’t be MY first thought – LOL

Think about it: If you were in the middle of the deep water, drowning and someone came by in a boat to rescue you, would you seriously tell them, “No, you go on without me. I’m bound and determined to make it to the shore on my own.”? I certainly hope you wouldn’t!!! Then don’t turn down the Lord when He sends friends along your path to walk this journey WITH you – no matter what that might look like!

It might be someone offering to keep your kids while you and your spouse (or just you, if you’re a single parent) have an enjoyable day or evening. It might be someone offering you a ride to the grocery store or doctor’s office or church or anywhere else – REALIZE that, if they offer, it’s because God moved on their heart and asked them to do it. Those are the kinds of things I’m talking about. Don’t allow the enemy – or yourself – to use PRIDE to get in the way of a blessing God wants to send your way. Remember this, you may not feel you ‘deserve’ or want the help; but, if God has moved on someone’s heart to make the offer, don’t you think He also has a blessing in store for them for being OBEDIENT and listening? When you refuse to let others bless you, you could be interfering with not only your blessing; but, theirs, as well.

I just read this in an article and it goes along with exactly what I was trying to say here: “God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness…” (Genesis 1:27). Ever wonder who God was talking to? God, by nature, is Trinity. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God’s very nature is relational. And since we were created in his image, we were made to be in relationships!

In other words, we were made to DO LIFE TOGETHER 😊

One last thought – I mean, let’s be totally honest, even those who “think” they are ‘doing it on their own’, aren’t! Why? Because not one of us can even get up in the morning unless God sees fit to give us another breath. Without Him, I can do NOTHING; WITH Him, I can do ANYTHING – you know it’s true!

This was originally written and posted by me on May 7, 2018 on Mom’s Caring Bridge site. I am copying and posting it here so it will be easy for me to find in the future.
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MOM AND DAD - MINE2Our Mom started dancing on streets of gold last night, sometime between 6:50 and 6:55. She knew we were all there, except for two military grandsons, and, I believe, she knew we were all going to be okay 🙂 One of those grandsons, she got to see and talk to via Facebook messenger video call on Saturday and the other one will be able to make it here later today.

Our Mom knew she was loved by many. The enemy, most likely, thought this cancer would take a lot of things away from her; but, what it actually did, was show her just how many people loved and cared about her. She was continually amazed at the number of people who came by to see her or called to check on her or let her know by posting or messaging her on Facebook, just to see how she was doing. Our Mom touched many lives, some of which she never knew about, this side of heaven. But, she knows now!

Our Mom was granted her request of not wanting to be a “burden” to any of her children. Admittedly, SHE seemed to think she was being a bit of a burden during her doctor appointments and treatments after her diagnosis; however, I assure you (as we all did her), she most definitely was not. Through it all, she was able to continue to get around her house, even though it would take all her breath sometimes, until just a week or so ago. Then, she was mostly in her recliner, but would still get up to use the bathroom. When I (Kathryn) had to leave this past Thursday to go back home, she was still talking and joking and Alice (my sister) said she was the same Friday. Even on Saturday, she was able to talk on Facebook messenger. Late Saturday night, I believe, is when everything began to change. So, in reality, the time she could not respond to us, was extremely short! That is why I say she was granted her request. Because, while none of us (her children), would have thought of her as a burden, SHE would have felt she was.

Our Mom was truly a beautiful lady, from the inside out, and I’m glad God chose to let her see a “glimpse” of just how special others thought she was before He welcomed her home.

We all know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, the second she took her last breath here, the next second she was dancing on streets of gold with her Savior and with our Daddy. How can we be sad about that? We can’t and we aren’t. Does that mean we haven’t shed tears? Heavens no – it just means the tears are because we are missing her already! But, we have this assurance: we WILL see her again one day – IF we have accepted Christ as our own, personal Savior, too.

We will be going in a few hours to make the arrangements for the CELEBRATION of Mom’s life and we will let everyone know those arrangements as soon as we do. HOWEVER, we need to let everyone know this up front – Mom said she didn’t want her funeral to be a sad occasion. She wants lots of praising, rejoicing, the Word of God given AND an altar call for anyone present that may want to give or recommit their life to Jesus! So, don’t come expecting sad and dreary – come ready to CELEBRATE!!!

BRAVE CHOICESOne year ending, a new year beginning. How will I end the old year? How will I start the new year? I could choose to be sad or angry about some things that happened in the year ending or I could choose, instead, to focus on the good and be happy and joyful. I could choose to let sadness or anger carry over to the new year or I could choose to let the happy and joyful carry over instead. Life really is about choices and not just yearly choices. How we look back on our YEAR, I believe, is mostly determined by the choices we make DAILY throughout the year.

You see, every day I am faced with choices to make and so are you, whether you accept the responsibility or not. Admittedly, some choices are because of things I have no control over. Sometimes things happen I certainly didn’t ask for – like sickness or someone else’s behavior or losing a loved one – the fact remains, it is my choice how I deal with what is thrown my way.

Do I always make the correct choice? I’m human, of course not. One thing I have noticed, though, is that since I have asked Jesus to help me recognize when I’m feeling “some kind of way” by my own choice, He has made it easier for me to correct my choice.

This past year, my husband and I made an effort to recognize and write down at least one blessing every day. I’m happy to report that we did it! Sometimes, if a day was really long and we were extra tired, it didn’t get written down in our “Blessing Jar” book until the next morning; but, I’m happy to report, we have an entry for every day of 2017!

I’m also happy to report, as I look back on the listed blessings, the ones at the beginning of the year are pretty much all I remember about those days. We chose to focus on our blessings, so the blessings are what we remember! It was a daily, intentional CHOICE!

Obviously, more recent daily blessings are still ‘tinged’ with things I wouldn’t necessarily have chosen to be going through and, yet, it is still my choice how to handle these things. Also, as more days go by, some of those things I can remember now, I won’t remember later – I will only remember the blessings listed.

As most of you know, on December 1st, my Mom was given the diagnosis of cancer and on December 26th (my daughter’s birthday) she was told it is Stage 4 and not curable, but, possibly, treatable. I could choose to be sad about this ‘report’ or I could choose to continue to put my trust in God for her complete healing. I could choose to look at 2018 and think, “this could be the year I lose my Mom” or I could choose to look at 2018 and say, “This could be the year God stuns the medical field once again by totally and completely healing my Mom!” I choose to focus on the miracle coming Mom’s way!

I may have the rudest, meanest, most hateful neighbors (I don’t – LOL) that, in my “humanness”, I could convince myself it is easier to just not like them and treat them the same way they treat me – or I could make the choice to show them love every chance I get and, whether they ever change or not, know that I did all I could to show them Jesus through my actions and words to them.

I can choose to let stress overtake me and blame it on a demanding spouse, children, job or any number of other things. Truth be told – it is my choice to either allow or deny stress in my life. Think about it? Where do you think stress REALLY comes from? The enemy!

Is it easy to make some of these choices? When I first became aware, it most definitely was not easy! However, as I said earlier, since becoming aware and asking God to help me in this area, it has gotten easier over the years. Easier in the sense that I recognize much quicker now when I am making the ‘wrong’ choice. What is the right choice and what is the wrong choice? You can answer that by how you are feeling, sometimes even physically. For instance, if you are feeling stressed, ask yourself why and most likely you will realize it’s because you are choosing to be stressed and allowing other things control in your life that have no business being in control. Give that control back to the Lord and let Him take care of it. He will 😊

Sometimes, in fact, I would even venture to say MOST times, the right choice is the hard choice, at first. We like to feel we have control of everything, when, in reality, probably the only thing we have control of is our choices. Does that make sense?

CHOICES – A word I’ve used quite a bit over the last few years and, yet, He gave it to me in a whole new light a few days ago. I knew it was to be my one word for 2018; however, I couldn’t seem to make myself sit down and capture all the thoughts swirling around in my head.

Then, yesterday, I saw a friend’s post on Facebook asking, “What’s your 2018 WORD?”. So, I commented my word was CHOICES and began reading some of the other comments. In doing so, I saw where my friend had posted a link to a site (Dayspring) and said, “If you don’t have a word, I would be interested to see what you get here”. I decided to click the link and just see what it would give me as my “word”. The word it gave me? BRAVE

2018 - MY WORD

I immediately realized it fit perfectly with the word I already knew I had been given, so my word for 2018 is not only CHOICES – it is BRAVE CHOICES!

So, those hard choices I was talking about a couple paragraphs ago? They are hard; but, they are the BRAVE CHOICES!

I am going into 2018 the same way I have gone in to the last few ‘new years’ – taking it one day at a time. After all, we aren’t promised our next breath, so why try to think of all that could happen over the next 365 days? Let’s just take this one day at a time and, daily, let’s make the BRAVE CHOICES! I’m in. Are you?

P.S. If you don’t have a word for 2018 (or if you do) and would like to see what word you are given, click here to go to the link I mentioned earlier:

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