flashthoughts

Posts Tagged ‘Faith

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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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
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:

BANDAIDYou know when you have a bandaid somewhere on your body, how “they” always say, “Yank it off fast and it won’t hurt”? If so, then you discovered, after the first time you tried it, “THEY” LIED!!! However, even knowing that, we still try it every time, right? I know I do.

Maybe I have been applying that same ‘logic’ to the recent events in my life. My Mom was recently given some news that no one likes to receive. I have been so busy with work and helping get Mom to different doctor appointments that I have been thinking, “Just say it really fast, keep moving and it won’t hurt” – truth is, though, I was lying to myself. It still hurts – BAD – but I haven’t really had time to just sit down, slow my mind and truly process what is happening to/in my Mom. So, now is the time to say it slowly; to get my thoughts sorted out and think about the road my Mom has found herself on.

My (pause) Mom (pause) Has (pause) Cancer (pause) Lung Cancer (pause) – There, I said it s-l-o-w and I’m still trying to let it soak into my brain, my entire being, actually.

I find it amazing how incredibly deep simple words can hurt. I have a friend who, a few weeks back, asked for prayer for her own Mom and said she couldn’t even say the word because it was too surreal and hurt too bad. I remember thinking, “Bless her heart. I can imagine.” Let me tell you right now, NO! I could not imagine!!! I had absolutely no idea!!! God is teaching me a lot just through that simple statement. We – maybe I should just say I – am so quick to think I can possibly imagine the awful way some situations can make others feel. This has definitely taught me to NEVER think I could, in a million years, imagine someone else’s pain! I did not have a clue how my friend felt, until I found myself trying to utter the exact same words – My Mom has cancer.

I realize, in trying to write about this, that my thoughts are scattered and all over the place. I started to apologize for that; but, decided I shouldn’t have to. The point of this writing is for ME to try to settle all these weird, unexplainable feelings going on inside me; therefore, I should feel free to simply write as it comes to me. Maybe I’ll try to go back and re-read this before I actually post it and TRY to put it in some kind of “order” and maybe I won’t. I mean, after all, nothing about this is in “order”! My Mom is 81 years old and has ALWAYS been in great health! I mean, sure, she would get the occasional cold or flu; but, basically still in great health! Cancer isn’t supposed to happen to MY MOM!!! Right, Lori? I know you know what I’m talking about! To be honest, cancer isn’t supposed to happen to ANYONE!!! So many people get mad at God when an illness, like cancer or anything else life-threatening, attacks someone they love – or them, for that matter – when the truth is God had nothing to do with it. WE (HUMANS) are the ones that are responsible. WE are the ones that sinned. From the first sin of Adam and Eve right up to my sin of today – SIN is what brought all the disease and sickness into the world. GOD, IN HIS GRACE, HELPS US THROUGH IT!!! Why do some get healed on this side of heaven and others get healed on the other side? I don’t know. I’m not God. It’s not for me to decide or to know. I only need to know that I can trust God to do what He knows is best and I will ALWAYS trust that!

Okay, so I have no idea where that last paragraph came from or why it is in this post. Apparently, someone needed to hear it or the Holy Spirit wouldn’t have poured those words through my mind and into my fingers as they typed.

It truly is a hard thing to see my Mom have to go through what she is going through: having such a hard time breathing that it makes her weak. So weak that, for a couple of days, she didn’t even feel strong enough to change out of her night clothes. She was using all her energy just to try to breathe! The tumor in her lung is pressing down on her bronchial tube to the point that the bronchial tube is almost completely closed – meaning, she is, basically, breathing with one lung! At all her doctor’s appointments, she was asked if she had oxygen and, each time, we told them no; but nothing seemed to get done about it. Until her appointment with her oncologist. True, we were a bit aggravated at not being seen until almost 2 hours past her appointment time; but, when he DID see her, he not only asked about the oxygen, when he found out she didn’t have any, he made sure it was ordered and in the process of being on the way to her before we left! She got her oxygen the very next afternoon and I believe it has really made a difference. I went by to check in with her the day after she had gotten it and she was already looking like she felt better. In fact, she said she had already done more that morning than she had in a while!

So, yes, it’s, possibly, going to be a long road to great health again and it will be hard to watch; but, watch it I will and will be right by her side, as much as is possible for me to be there, because I do have faith in God and I do believe He allowed her to get what she thought was a bad sinus infection so she would go on to the doctor so this could be caught as early as it was.

Through it all, something a friend said a few months back, has really stuck with me and I definitely agree with it. When he found out he had esophageal cancer, he said, “People call cancer the ‘big C’; but, I say it’s the LITTLE c because CHRIST is the BIG C”. Now, I may not have gotten that quote exactly right, but I DID get the important thing right – cancer is the little c and CHRIST is the BIG C and the little c MUST answer to HIM! Right, Bob?

I also know it was no accident that the Lord had me start studying in James last month. I simply read a few scriptures – sometimes only one – each morning and study on what they mean. This morning, I read James 5:14-15. I will share here exactly what I shared in my journal:

James 5:14-15 (my version)

 Is anyone sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them, anointing them with oil in the Name of the Lord. Their (the elders) faith prayer will heal the sick and the Lord will make them well and will forgive those who have sinned.

 Notes from my Life Application Bible: While verse 13 was referring to any kind of suffering – not necessarily physical illness – verse 14 IS referring to anyone who is physically ill. People in the church (Christians) are NOT (or should not) be alone. We should be able to count on others for support and prayer. The elders should be on call to respond to the illness of any member and the church should be sensitive to the needs of ALL its members.

The faith prayer is not referring to the faith of the sick person, rather, it is referring to the faith of the people praying! GOD HEALS, FAITH DOESN’T and ALL prayers are subject to God’s will; but, prayer IS part of God’s healing process.

My prayer:   Father, thank You for allowing me to be part of Your healing process by my prayers and my faith in You! Please help me where I am weak in this area and have the Holy Spirit “nudge” me to pray for someone the very minute they ask. Even if we are in the middle of a store, remind me to pray for them RIGHT THERE! Thank You for loving me so much that You are willing to include me in Your process and plan. I love You 😊

This post may not be for anyone but me – and I’m okay with that, because it has definitely helped me get some feelings sorted out. Thing is, it seems like every time I feel I’ve written something ‘just for me’, He still manages to use it to help someone else, too. So, that is why I continue to share. Love y’all!

christmas-every-day-i-wishAfter reading my devotions this morning, as I do every morning, I began to write in my prayer journal. I say it has turned into more of my “thanksgiving journal” than my prayer journal because, most days, I’m simply thanking Him for various things. Lately, most of my actual prayers are not written – for a few different reasons. This morning, however, turned out to be a little different. Oh, it started out the same – my usual “Good morning Father! Thank You for waking me this morning” then I wrote the words “Christmas Eve” and, after that, I really didn’t even know what I was writing until I finished and read back over it. I felt I should share it and I hope it will touch at least one person’s heart and/or life. I am going to simply share exactly what is written in my journal:

Christmas Eve – the day before we celebrate the day of Your earthly birth – when You chose to put aside Your glory and Your Heavenly home to come and dwell among us AS one of us! My mind is hard-pressed to even BEGIN to comprehend the depth of Your love for ME! There are no words and, even if there were, I don’t know that I would be able to get them down on paper. I feel so inadequate and extremely unqualified to even try – so I pray and I ask You to help me live my life in a way that portrays and conveys what there are no words for – a love with no explanation – a love that can not be explained – a love that only You can give! I want my life to be a life that points others to You and honors You in a way no words can and a life that brings glory to Your Name! Without You, I am nothing and worth nothing; but, WITH YOU, I am unstoppable!

Help me to share the TRUE gift of Christmas every minute of my life – every second You give me breath; for I can not even take a breath without You filling my lungs with air! Help me to remember every day I have is a rare and precious gift FROM You and how I choose to use it is my gift TO You. I want to always be able to give You a lovely gift at the end of every day and, without Your help, even that isn’t possible.

My heart is truly overflowing this morning as I look back over this past year and remember all the wonderful “gifts” You have given me:

  • time spent with family & friends
  • growing love from & for my husband
  • a daughter making her way back to You
  • FREEDOM from my fears

and so many more! With You in my life, I truly can have Christmas every day, as can anyone else!

Thank You for all You have spoken to my heart this morning and, for all I have asked this morning, I ask it in the Precious, Holy Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth! I love You 🙂

I was cleaning out folders in my e-mail today and I came across one called NOTES. I don’t even remember making that folder so I clicked to see what was in it and I found a poem that I had started writing on Aug. 20 of this year. My heart was heavy that day, though I didn’t {and still don’t} know why. I have days like that where my heart feels so sad and I’m crying but don’t know why. I began reading the poem and as soon as I got to where I had stopped, He immediately gave me the last two lines. How fitting that I found this today.

I know why my heart is sad today. A sweet, sweet lady who was a friend to me and many others was, as her daughter put it, “promoted to Heaven” this morning. Please be in prayer for her family and friends.

A PRAYER FROM MY HEART

 I sit here with tears streaming down
Tears I don’t fully understand
Unless I’m feeling the hurt
Of my loved ones across this land

 In my heart I feel such an ache
It seems it would explode
If I tried to hold back the tears
So I’ve learned to let them flow

 I’m sick of the enemy’s tactics
How he pokes and sneers and jabs
Thinking he’ll have the last laugh
He doesn’t care who he nabs

 He does his best to destroy
All we know and love
We’d best fall on our knees
And cry out to the Lord above

 I know that I have failed
Haven’t really done my part
I need to spend more time in prayer
Crying out to God from my heart

I come now and ask forgiveness
From My Father, He’ll freely give
I ask Him to keep me close
And help me for Him to live.

 Kathryn Champion
08-20-12


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