Made to Love My Church Family

Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.”
– Ephesians 5:19-21

Lord, how grateful I am to You for creating a church family! And for allowing me to be a part of one! And a part of the church family worldwide… also known as the family of God! Family in Christ! A part of YOUR family! ❤ I am so grateful to call You, Father! I am so humbled for Jesus to be my Brother! ❤

I am just as grateful that You allowed my son to grow up always knowing church family! To allow Him to grow up knowing hymns instead of rock music. Even though He heard it at home, He grew to love God’s music. Thank You for allowing Him to learn You, Your Word, and allowing me to glean from His learning. Thank You for His heart to teach His mom.

Thank You for allowing all of the fellowship, the unconditional love and support, the unexpected relationships, and a world of people who are also so in love with You too! Who never grow tired of loving You! Who delight just to think on You, Your Word, Your People, and Your hymns. Souls who do not waver from Your word because they know the value of discipline… an honest and tough love! For our good!

Thank You for all of the Vacation Bible Schools, the many memories, the children’s plays, the children I have been blessed to fellowship with in the nursery, to teach in school and the many forms of church classes, the bus rides, and the abundance of memories with children singing Your songs with such sweet sound and sweet smiles!

Thank You for the many times You have sent someone to minister to me and Anthoni, and the rest of my family. Thank You for those who have been there during loss, births, marriages, divorces, moves, tragedies, celebrations, showers, storms, and so much of life. Thank You for those You have allowed to think of me when I have had health issues. Thank You for the church body!

Thank You for the ladies bible studies, the ladies Sunday School, ladies events, ladies banquets, ladies retreats, and the countless ladies outings and friendships… sisters for life!

Thank You for men of God! Godly men! Men who genuinely love You, serve, You, Worship You, OBEY YOU, testify of You, sing of You, preach of You, and that have shared the wisdom, knowledge, and teaching with my son! Living out being a man of God for my son to learn by example.

Thank You for the missionaries and evangelists! Serving You wherever You send them. Trusting in You to provide! Thank You for the years You gave me to send cards, notes and encouragement to hundreds! I WAS THE ONE BEING BLESSED! Thank You for what they taught me about depression… the biblical truth! Thank You for their preparing me in knowing what my son would suffer and go through. Thank You for what that teaching did for ME in my own struggle with clinical depression… as a child of God.

There are not enough thank Yous when in comes to being a part of church family! But I give You the ones You have allowed to come to mind! I love You, Father God! I love Your church! And I absolutely pray church family!

I look forward to being a part of the biggest church family ever when I get to heaven! What a day that will be! ❤

Inspiration: WGWM Study Notes, Week 2 Day 5

A Week of Loss

A kind and loving person died today.
Her name was Jessie.
Her dog Jubilee is going to miss her so much.
This was their last picture together.
58852754_10156193511708365_1033950128823599104_nJessie had fought a long battle with cancer.
After winning a couple of rounds, she lost the last one today.
She was a very kind and giving person.

One of her last two posts included this picture below:
Be good to people for no reason.58796889_1132628666861112_6811418897065967616_nI cannot credit the picture to its creator because it was one of those Facebook pictures that got passed around without being properly credited. However, it describes her very nature. That was how the Lord blessed me with meeting her. I cannot tell of that generous act that she did as a total stranger because when she was being so benevolent, her greatest wish (next to helping someone in need) was being anonymous… truly anonymous. I am choosing to honor her the way she wanted it. It truly brought her such joy to give, and just as much joy to watch from a distance as the blessing blessed! If a person insisted on giving back to her, she insisted to give by passing it on.

In Memory of you, Jessie!
Thank you for letting God use you!
Hug Jesus for me! See you soon!

 


On Tuesday a member of my stepdad’s church family was buried. I cannot give too much information because she took her own life and there is concern the “ripple effect” is not over. This same family had lost her sister last year to a car accident. This family has a tie to our family in that there was a child born years ago to a member from each side but were never married, and the one from our family passed away years ago. This church family is extremely close as well. My son grew up in this church. I still take my stepdad each week. He has been there over 50 years.

Lord, be with this family
and the church!


And then there’s dear Kathleen,
who happens to be my Great Aunt.
She died just over a week ago
and buried last weekend.
Kathleen-Coxie1

When I first met her, neither one of us knew we were related. We worked together at a Christian book club warehouse. We found out when I told her she reminded me so much of my grandmother and that they had so many things in common (singers, played the same instruments, both had families that worked on the railroad, Her name being Kathleen and my grandmother’s was Kathryn). When She heard the name, she shouted and hugged me. She had been married to my grandmother’s brother, both of whom were long passed.

Yet if Kathleen were to tell you her favorite memory, it would most certainly be when she gave me a prayer cloth to give to my son Anthoni. Anthoni was in 10th grade of high school when the doctor’s told me he had bone cancer. I was a 35 year old single mom living alone, and had just lost my dad around the same time. I myself had just been told I had a Lupus test come back positive and was being referred to a rheumatologist (although no one at work but my boss knew this, and that was only because she took the call and then brought the phone to me).

Anthoni’s orthopedic specialist told me he wanted to do surgery to confirm his diagnosis. My friend Irene (who I miss so much) was sitting with me in the surgery waiting room when the doctor came in and confirmed that both he and his colleague had seen the cancer, but wanted to biopsy a piece of the bone before they decided if they needed to remove just a piece of the bone or a section of the bone. He wanted to be safe, but also wanted to avoid unnecessary additional surgery to place something in Anthoni’s arm to support the bone where there would be a huge hole. They would have to wait on pathology to give them that answer.

When Kathleen and my coworkers found out they were so broken for me. Just weeks before they had witnessed me being so sick that one of the men asked why I didn’t just go on home, and the ladies told him I had to work because I had a sick son at home with no one to help. Anthoni was so sick that he needed an Rx and some cough medicine. The insurance paid for his Rx, but not the cough medicine. All of them pitched in together and had my boss insist I take it. It was exactly what he needed to get well! Praise God! When they heard about the bone cancer and the surgery, Kathleen immediately ran to the break room and ran back shouting for me while waving a white handkerchief.

She told me it was a prayer cloth. While I did not believe in them, I did not want to offend Kathleen. I was grateful for her heart, and the fact that she was obviously one serious prayer warrior. When I took it home, my 16 year old bible scholar son informed me that it was actually referred to in the bible. :O

“And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: so that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them.” – Acts 19:11-12 KJV

I was completely surprised to say the least! So Anthoni put it in his wallet as an act of appreciation, and faith in prayer. Kathleen was so excited when I told them a week later that the doctor had let us know the pathology showed it was actually a fracture that had healed in a way they had never seen before. They were saying it was not bone cancer after all! I asked, “But I thought both you and your colleague had seen it with your own eyes while his hand was open during surgery, and confirmed it was cancer?” 

“We did!” He exclaimed. “We are completely surprised at the results! Let’s just keep an eye on it. If it does not grow or simply goes away, we will go by the pathology.”

Kathleen said in such a delightful soft tone, “What cancer?” She smiled as she said, “It was the prayer cloth!” I could not argue with her and did not want to. As a mom I wanted to first obey the doctor in giving it time to see, but I was praying that it was the miracle we needed. It was! 🙂

Kathleen was delighted to have introduced me to the prayer cloth.

This is a much longer post than I thought I would write in the beginning. I was just going to honor Jessie by sharing that quote. While downloading and uploading, the Lord brought me across Kathleen’s picture. She was a much needed smile. It has been such a sad time for me for awhile now. Jessie’s loss just added to it. I’m also sad because I do not know if she got to see my card I sent her on Wednesday.

If you stayed with me this far into the post I will be honest with you. I have been struggling with depression much longer and harder than I mention… and I do mention it.

The saddest part is that I cannot share this on my FB because family argues so much. I certainly cannot share anything personal. It is so sad because the majority of those I’ve known through my life to have troubles or trauma, it is well over 50% family related. I would even say 90%. This is so opposite of the picture Jessie shared!

Jesus told us…

“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” – John 13:34-35 KJV

I’m so grateful that God allowed Kathleen and my coworkers to be so kind to me, my son, and my family when my dad passed. I am so grateful He allowed me to meet Jessie through her kind heart. And I am most grateful to have known the kindness of God!

Love and miss you, Kathleen!
Hug Gran and Jesus for me!
I’ll be home soon!

 

Late Christmas Cards

Lord, I love how I can go to the mailbox the days after Christmas and still be delightfully surprised with Christmas cards. I had an early therapy appointment that had left me so depressed, so I am glad you had me check that box. What a very welcomed greeting of love and encouragement from a dear church family friend.

IMG_20171229_040938

I even had one from my dietician coach (or at least the program), but it was still a pick me up regardless. It made me think on my coach and smile.

IMG_20171229_040840

And a card from a missionary family that I cannot mention by name, nor where they are serving. The fact that they took time out of such busy and dangerous times to send a greeting… just overwhelms me and convicts me in a way I cannot describe.

IMG_20171229_041735

My Spirit had really been crushed at the blow of reality and it’s unrelenting smack in the face. Being suckered punched by life can easily dowse the Christmas Spirit when we allow ourselves to be distracted. Having to accept more and more limitation and changes is a fact of life. My church friend, my dietician team, and my precious missionary friend have their own daily lives. But they picked up a card, wrote my name along with a quick note, sealed it, stamped it, and mailed it.

This may not mean any thing to some people, but it made my day! Feel free to keep’em coming! 🙂 Hear a prayer from my heart to Yours for each one to be safe, blessed, and loved on. Thank you for allowing these cards to arrive in your perfect timing.