He Needs A Blanket

“We could take him a blanket. To keep him warm, Mom,” the child giggles. “Why else would he need it? But, Mom, you know how cold he gets. If we let him go without a blanket, he’ll get sick. We can’t let him down. Why are you looking at me like that? You look so sad. It’s o.k., Mom. All we have to do is take him a blanket. It’ll be all right.What do you mean he’s gone?” The child smiles and cheerfully continues. “No, he’s not. He’s just asleep, but he needs a blanket. Let’s take his favorite one, the blue one. He’ll love us for it. No, he’s not, Mom. He’s not gone. Come on, I’ll show you where he is. Don’t forget his blanket.”
The mother takes the child to her brother. The child jumps out of the car and runs eagerly to her brother’s side. She spreads out the blanket, on the ground, covering every inch of the freshly dug dirt. She talks to her brother.
“Hey, Brad. I thought about how cold you must be and talked mom into letting me bring you a blanket. She wasn’t going to let me at first, but I told her you would need it. Look, it’s your favorite one, the blue one. I remembered how you said it always kept you warm. Oh and look… shhhh… don’t tell Dad, but I snuck his big blue pillow to you, too. Remember how you always waited for Mom and Dad to leave every morning, just to savor an extra hour or two of laying your head on it? You always said it made you feel better. I hope it makes you feel better now. I can’t believe they left you out here to freeze. They know how cold you get. If you get sick and die, I’ll never forgive them. I love you, Brad. I miss you so much. Please come home soon.”
The mother, with her head hung low, stands beside her child. As tears roll down her cheeks, she wonders how she’ll ever help her child to understand she’ll never see her brother again because he’s already dead.

1991 Written by Gail Brookshire
(published in Flight, Spring ’95, page 45)
(by the grace of God)
This little short story was written when I had lost a dear 19 yr old cousin to suicide.
I had no idea at the time that so many of the details would be so relatable to the loss of my baby brother who was killed 16 years later at the age of 37.

30 Posts Challenge: Follow Up

30 Posts Truth Challenge BadgeHi Guys! Just wanted to share with all of you who came along my journey of posting 30 true aspects about myself that you may not know… the AWARD from our dearest Fatima aka Splendor In Embers! Praise the Lord for using her to challenge me… in many ways!! Wanting to encourage someone I love and care about blessed and encouraged me!

By opening up myself to sharing truths with others, we spoke on these things below:
1. Introducing myself
2. Me and God
3. Me and Writing
4. Me and Anthoni
5. Me and Foster Care, part 1
6. Me and Foster Care, part 2
7. Me and My Fireworks
8. Me and Anxiety, part 1
9. Me and Anxiety, part 2
10. Me and Anxiety, part 3
11. Me and Depression
12. Dying to Self
13. Friday the 13th (A Blessed Day)
14. Designed to Follow
15. How a Devo Becomes A Poem
16. The Devo Poem
17. “Crucify him! Crucify Him!”
18. I Mourn, I Grieve (Edited)
19. What Makes Me Happy
20. River Baptism
21. I Love to Sing Hymns
22. God Speaks, I Listen!
23. Bearing One Another’s Burdens (as a Prayer Warrior)
24. A Friend Loveth at All Times
25. I’m a Very Private Person
26. My Fear of God
27. Ripping Your Heart out
28. My 2017 Solar Eclipse Experience
29. One Last Aspect
30. Challenging You

Along this journey, the Lord used His whispers, His nudges, and His many resources for encouraging me! Lovely A and her Self Care Challenge was a part of those resources! There are others I can’t mention, but you know who you are. Thank You for letting God use you to help me “fly” within God’s gift of life. And what would I do without InnerManTheatre… my patient son for his feedback and tech support (and Anita!).

I praise Him for each of you who took to read  (while patiently waiting for me to learn my way), for reaffirming His whispers (with your likes and follows) to be meant for more than just myself. Your comments allowed God to fill my cup with blessings. And the Awards! So unexpected! All crowns to lay at His feet! God bless you, Lovely A!

My Dearest Fatima, How grateful I am to God for you! For your challenge! For your heart. Please know I am praying for you and your precious family as often as God allows. You’ve always been dear to our family! You ARE family! Thank you for my AWARD!

If you are interested about this Challenge, you might be delightfully surprised to know that you do not have to wait for someone to nominate you, as I have read some of you have for quite some time. You only have to accept and post. See for yourself her 3 rules posted here. Praying for each of you! God loves you! ❤

Unfortunately Right (Texas Flooding update #2)

Four days later, and unfortunately the expectations were right in that the death count went up from 9 to 19 (well last I saw on the news late last night). 6 of them were 2 grandparents with 4 great grandchildren in a van together. A son was the sole survivor.

Another loss in that count was an officer who was on h  is way in the early morning hours to help others. Also a well known and loved coach who had been a part of helping to rescue others. 

This devastation continues as the waters are still rising in some areas. Rivers and different waters have to take their course in going downstream, which adds more water to lower areas already flooded.

 I’m not sure why, but the National Guard and other Official Rescue teams coming to help stopped ALL rescues from continuing after dark, regardless of the urgency. I understand the threat. It’s just hard after watching local volunteers save thousands because they still went out after dark (as untrained rescuers).I thought our military trained for such things.

Another unfortunate right is the looting that unfortunately is happening. Some things are down right evil. News reports were warning and reassuring at the same time that individuals were going to homes impersonating immigration officers to enter and rob homes.

The good news is that Harvey is finally moving out of the area, and weakening considerably. There are also several different fundraisers and donations nation wide, including celebrities and major companies putting forth millions. Please continue to pray for Texas, Louisiana, and all those affected by Harvey, and on the way to help.

Calm In The Storm

Lord, what a dark night… a dark and dreadful night… but it was not my dark and dreadful night. I was blessed with warm and dry shelter. Those stranded in the dark and cold muddy waters were living this nightmare, along with their rescuers. Yet I could not leave that screen. I could not leave them. Especially when it was just volunteers left to help. The night was getting late after so many had been waiting for so long, and much more rain was on the way. The reservoirs and levees were going to release water to try to save them from collapse, yet there was no guarantee they wouldn’t anyway.

As I watched this for hours, my heart and blood pressure were up. I could hear voices saying stop worrying, it wasn’t good for me, worrying wasn’t going to help the victims. I prayed as I saw each rescue, and heard each group plea to help those still stranded. And those children, Lord, with little infants! How could I possibly leave that screen knowing children and babies were out there? I tried to reason that rescue efforts would take days. I knew I couldn’t stay awake like that anymore. That made me realize a lot of things.

When I was younger, my anxiety would NOT let me rest if I heard of turmoil. In some ways that was good. Others would ask me to stay with them through tragic times, or ask me to sit with their family or friend. Reliable and strong were the most common words I heard. But that was all you giving me the strength. At other times it seemed like a curse or a heavy weight to carry, that was absolutely taking me under.

Tonight, Lord, I felt calm in the storm. I was not less concerned, but I could feel my anxiousness give way as soon as I even began to worry. It felt so calming. That is the word that comes to mind. There’s nothing wrong with being calm during a storm. If volunteers were not calm they could not rescue. At times a rescuer is challenged by a frantic victim who becomes life-threatening. This made me pray for the volunteers.

Remaining calm allowed me to think… remembering being rescued in storms a couple of times… as a child… as a disabled adult (close to bed ridden)…  watching my mom suffer night and day for months… unable to ease her pain… expected to sleep in my bed right beside her… knowing any time she could pass. How cruel to close my eyes and supposedly my ears to her pain so I could sleep. If it weren’t for your grace and the medicines you allow, I would have not remained calm to do what was being asked of me.

You allowed these medicines to keep me calm, pray, and absolutely trust you. I just grabbed my color journal and calmly waited as I listened and learned. Sometimes to the news. Sometimes to you showing me all kinds of things about myself, and how far you and I have come. At one point, while in prayer you allowed me to fall asleep. In the past I would have felt like a monster, but now I understand I am human. You made the medicine and the calm feel like good friends. It was nice… to have good friends, and to feel good about it instead of feeling guilty.

There are many things I have absolutely no control over. I must choose to trust you. Thank you for the calm in the storm. You remind me of Matthew 8:23-26.

And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him. And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep. And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish. And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.

 

 

30 Posts Challenge: #30, Challenging You

Can you believe it, Guys! We made it to 30! Took me long enough, huh! To be honest… I wasn’t so confident I would finish. I can procrastinate, give up, or feel defeated. As you may have read, I was closed off to the world pretty good. I had become so afraid of it. Afraid of living. Those last words were the strongest truth behind doing the challenge.

I was doing an online bible study when I saw Fatima (Splendors in Embers) post her hospital stay after her suicide attempt. I was so concerned for her because I’ve known her since she was in preschool. At first, I was surprised… not just because we didn’t know each other’s personal life like that… but because I was having my own struggle.

I was not in a hospital, but I could not encourage her with lies I was not believing myself at the time, or not willing to LIVE by. I was afraid someone deep in depression would see through anything I post… be further burdened… more encouraged to leave her babies better off without her. And a very selfish part of me, afraid she could expose me… ruin my plans… or talk me out of them without even knowing they were there.

As I did pray for her privately, the Lord led me to do 2 things… 1. Let Fatima know I was praying for her… 2. Let my own therapist know my struggle. With God’s help, I did both. In my struggle, I was avoiding commitment so nothing could hold me back. I knew my faith would not play yoyo with my peace of mind. I was taking my time to be sure.

I began to do Fatima’s challenge using my WordPress to post. With thoughtful prayer I opened my privacy settings on Facebook and WordPress. I told no one so I could close them if need be. When I finished the aspects, I would close everything back. Yet I found myself curious of a self care blog. After I signed up, I realized commitments! But Lovely A had the Lord whispering in her ear… Don’t think of it as commitment.

Before I knew it I had a new friend in Australia, Staffordshire, and Dublin. God’s whispers were heard around the globe, and responded to, and shared. His whispers were no longer just for me. The same thing was happening on my Facebook, my Group page, when I went to church, when I ran into a friend. God used Fatima’s blog. And the patience of someone who listened and kept me from flying. He too had God on His side.

Having said this long post, I challenge you… to open up… to trust… maybe even take Fatima’s 30 Truth Posts Challenge. You can read here below her 3 rules. https://splendorinembers.wordpress.com/2017/06/03/you-are-challenged-do-the-30-post-truth-challenge/
1. Let her know you’re going to do it.
2. Create 30 Posts in whatever media you choose.
3. Let her know when you finish.

Most importantly I encourage you to open up to someone if you are struggling with your darkness. I know I have been vague with the specific terms, but if you are contemplating giving up you know exactly what I am talking about. There is hope… even if it’s just in another day! The Lord made that one too!

30 Posts Challenge: #27, Ripping Your Heart Out

It’s hard ripping your heart out when you believe you have found love… the love of your life. When the only reason you are walking away is because God tells you this is not the one. If there were not that reason, everything would be perfect. At least that’s what you think… because the world is telling you so. Your heart is telling you it is. But Christ, who is your first love insists it’s not love He has chosen for you. There is nothing wrong with this person as a friend, but the love that draws you in is not of God.

The Lord says clearly, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?” – 2 Corinthians 6:14 KJV. You have believed in Christ so long, you no longer recognize words that deceive. Confusion sets in because the one who is sending these mixed messages is Satan himself. By the time you hear James 2:19 warning “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble”, Satan no longer bothers with you. Your heart is so filled with a false sense of love that you don’t even realize you are waist high in quicksand.

This love… why is it so wrong? Especially when it is so strong? This person is not a bad person. You know God loves them. You know He died for them. You’ve heard them say God told them to be good to you before they lose you. Why is God asking you to rip your heart out? to rip theirs out? what if there is never love again? Christ has such little room in your heart with you pushing Him out with each plea to live in this fairytale that is misery in disguise… for both of you… when it is not what God wants. You are so persuaded by the world’s idea of love and the overwhelming consensus that this is the one for you that you do not remember that if Christ is not in it, then it is not of God, and is not love. If you had listened to God in the beginning, you would not be confused. You would not have another soul wrapped up in the same false hope.

Suddenly, as your head is just about to go under, you see a hand and recognize it to be yours. What has gotten your attention was the feel of a rope. Your first Love is throwing you a lifeline, trying to save you from your self destruction. The little bit of Christ still in your heart reaches out for the rope. Christ pulls it, even with you looking back. He holds you as you cry. He know what it’s like to know love and lose it… and by His grace He just rescued her. He lets her know He understands her need for love, to be wanted, to be thought of as special, to have someone be protective, and to feel that love make them smile. He promises there will be love again. Even if He is that Love. Christ shows you the loss of love was worth the sacrifice, just like He thought you were on cavalry.

30 Posts Challenge: #26, My Fear of God

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.” – Proverbs 9:10 KJV. God tells us the wisest thing we can do is fear Him, and He promises that knowledge of the Holy One will be understanding. It is not a tyrannical fear of someone who wants our first born thrown into a fire. It is a reverent fear in recognition of His omnipotent sovereignty.

I love God with all my heart, mind, soul, and body. I humbly fear Him as He rightly deserves. Having said that, I must be honest that I struggle with unhealthy and unfair fear of Him at times. Sometimes I believe it comes from our church preaching fire and brimstone, making me afraid that Satan was waiting to push me in the lake of fire. On top of this my mom would tell us Satan or God was coming in the night because of whatever we did to make her mad. But Jude 1:22-23 tell us “And of some have compassion, making a difference: and others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.” God deemed I needed both.

There is also the fear of losing someone or something I love. I lost my first hero, my granddad, when I was 8. He saved my life when I fell out of a car, but I could not save his. Shortly after his death, my siblings and I were put into foster care. I tried to figure out what I did wrong to my granddad, my dad, my mom, and God to make them mad. It seemed ever time I got close to someone they either died, moved, or were simply gone. I used to think God got mad if I loved someone more than Him.

I believe God used those times to teach me to love Him above all others because He gave me those who loved me and that I loved. Secondly, He taught me to cherish time with anyone, whether a friend, family, or lover, or whether for an hour or years, by thanking Him for those persons. As I became thankful, it seemed I had a season of gain in love, friendships, and a growing family. Our dysfunctional family became a healthy family.

But then losses started coming… often… and personal. The more people you know and love, the more people you have to lose. It’s just the cost of living… at least that what depression tells me. My God tells me it is His blessing to have loved… and what feels like loss… is gain. I’m the one losing. My loved one has gained new life… eternal life. I would never drag them back into this wretched and evil life, just to worry about them experiencing death again because “I” suffer.

The losses pour the poison of depression into my wounds. The grief chokes at my hope. But I know someone who knows my loss. He lost His Son to save my life, and the lives of family & friends. He watched His Son die a cruel death, and be mocked as He suffered. Yes, He resurrected His Son. But His Son suffered His own loss of friends & family.

We often forget about God suffering, watching His Son die. We don’t count it the same for a God we do not know, to suffer cruelty and heartache, to watch His only Son die! We forget Jesus wept as His friend Lazarus lay in the grave. Yes, Jesus did resurrect Lazarus. But there is one other death that gets overlooked that was cruel and heartless.

When I have cried to Jesus about my Lazarus not coming back (my baby brother Charlie who was killed at 37), He reminds me of His beloved Cousin John the Baptist who was beheaded because of a jealous woman, a prideful and lustful man, and a temptress of a daughter. John’s head was served on a platter as a party favor in a room of laughing people. He was NOT resurrected. Matthew 11:11 and Luke 7:8 both say, “Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist.” So my Jesus knows exactly how I feel to have lost beloved family in a cruel way, where someone stood and laughed as he laid dead, the same someone who played a role in his death. But I know Jesus will look after my brother as His Father looked after John till He got home!

I know this doesn’t really address the fear in the way I can struggle with it. But there are a few things that scripture tells me that I cling to when my depression or anxiety, and sometimes both try to choke the life and hope out of me.
1. Satan is the Father of Confusion. “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.” – 1 Corinthians 4:13 KJV
2. Jesus knew what anxiety felt like when HE took on human flesh to experience what we experience. “And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” – Luke 22:44 KJV
3. My lack of understanding everything is not God failing to keep His promise. He allows me to understand Holy things about Him… which includes His awareness of my tendency to fear. All over His word He says Fear not, Be not afraid.
4. Lastly, trusting in the love and grace of my Savior Jesus Christ, the one who has felt and understands anxiety, loss, grief, fear… brings me a whole new promise from God. “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:7 KJV. When I fear because I don’t understand everything about my God and His will, the love of Christ will give me peace beyond all understanding. I believe this because I’m blessed to experience it every day of my life. It’s hard to explain, but even in “feeling” fear or hopelessness, I do still have His peace!