Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Pain Is Productive; Courage Turns to Encouragement

The last 6 years of our lives has seem to go at a snail's pace yet speed faster than a jet plane. Discouragement sets in; courage lifts us out. Our eyes wander from the cross to the darkness of the deepest pit. Yet, still His grace finds us.

Discouragement hit lately. The asking, "What if....." Wondering where the next leg of this journey will lead us.

But I am so thankful to the Lord that He helps us fight. Each time we fear, He reminds us He knows the outcome already and will be with us to face it. Each time we stumble in our own rebellious responses, He gently prods us back to His embrace. Our God is so good.

Recently I was able to write a brief synopsis of our journey in a pro-family magazine, called Above Rubies. As I wrote, I prayed. I prayed for the words to convey truth and honesty, yet humility and love. I prayed for those reading it. I asked the Lord to use it to encourage others going down the same path that we had traveled...and still are.

I have received emails from hurting parents. I have felt their pain. I have prayed for them.

I SEE!!!

I see how God does this thing. How He uses our lives to intersect with those going through similar pain. He shows such grace by using His clay pots. Some of us are cracked from such heat and the feelings of being dropped, although I personally know, I have never been out of the Savior's hand.

Wherever you may find yourself, friend; in whatever trial you are surrounded with, know He is there with you. Look around and see. There are others hurting like you are. Sometimes we are blinded while sitting in the heat, but at some point we must use the pain to encourage the body of Christ.


Monday, April 13, 2015

A Beautiful Touch To Your Morning With Your Savior

There is nothing better than to open the Bread of Life each morning. But, if I could add one thing to make it better, it would be to commune with the Lord in the midst of his creation. Whether I am sitting out back on my deck in the sunrise mornings, or on vacation in the mountains or at the beach, taking in the beauty of His gift to us adds a dimension to His glory!

Miriam Drennan has helped us to revel in this by writing the book, Devotions From the Garden. The photos are unbelievably awe-inspiring. They are true photos from nature. On each day she uses the topic of gardening to bring about a spiritual concept to our daily walk with Christ. It is thought provoking and exceptionally beautiful. This is a beautiful addition to a study through the Word of God. She adds personal contemplation, prayers and encouragement through the beauty of God's creation.

As part of the booklook blogging network, I received a free copy of this book.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The Waiting

It arrived yesterday. I finished it today. I couldn't put it down.

Wow! Wow! Wow!

The Waiting, written by Cathy LaGrow, is a MUST READ! This heart wrenching story will stir every emotional bone in your body. Adoption is a subject close to my heart. Minka, also known as Minnie, is raped at 16 years old. She found out she was pregnant.

It was 1928.

Mrs. LaGrow is Minka's granddaughter. She writes this amazing story of love, betrayal, pain, loss and redeeming love in beautiful fashion. It is the story of a mother's pain in placing her baby in another mother's arms to raise and love, and then leading her life for a total of 96 years with this secret. Minka relies on the Lord for each day she lives and lives each day to her fullest. But still with a hole in her heart. Until that day, 80 years later when mother and daughter meet. As I read this book I couldn't help thinking about God's sovereignty. How He allowed this beautiful meeting to occur all those years later. How he orchestrated the events of both of their lives to flow strong with love and guidance from Him.

As I read the last chapter, I bawled my eyes out.

What a beautiful testimony of love! You feel the very heartbeat of this mother!

Whether you are an adoptive mother, birth mother, adoptee, or none of these, this book will inspire you to love better, to be thankful and to hold family closer than ever.

As a part of the Tyndale Bloggers Network, I received a free copy of this book.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

A Journey Through Depression and Life

Most of us have heard of the name Sheila Walsh. I grew up listening to her music. Some 20 years later she tells her story. Her life memoir of pain, hurt, grief and triumph. She was Loved Back to Life; thus, the name of her most recent book.

Sheila Walsh grew up in a troubled home but was given the gift of singing. So for many years she masked her pain with a smile and performing and in turn being loved for her music. But in the process losing herself and plunging to the depths of despair. Loved Back To Life is her journey from the most painful parts of life to finding true peace through Jesus Christ. Though she claimed to "know Jesus" she truly found Him once she surrendered her facade. And came to grips with His love, not man's. 

When dealing with the subject of depression, there are many controversies in Christian circles, but her balance of medication, counseling from God's Word, and facing the spiritual facts of sin, redemption, and grace was refreshing.

Whether you find yourself facing depression or just wanting to understand  others who do, this is a great book to pick up and read. 



Wednesday, March 18, 2015

I Had a Son Named Elisha

Ten years ago today, a 10 month old little boy was placed in my arms.

We named him Elisha.

He was a special needs baby who desperately needed a loving home. He was cross-eyed and had kidney failure. He couldn't turn over or hold his head up. But instantly, I was his mom. For the first time in my adoptive mothering I held him next to my bare chest and attempted to nurse him. I envisioned taking him to therapy, as I had done with some of my other lambs. I knew from experience love could conquer so much and his life would never be the same. His smile lit up his face. He had cute little dimples. His new family did nothing but dote on him from the time we brought him home from South Florida.

But our life was never the same.

On the third day of becoming his family, we received a dreaded phone call. Our attorney called to let us know that his birth mother called and changed her mind. (Florida Law states that if a baby is over 6 months old, she has 3 days to change her decision.)

My world crashed down around me. I held my dear Elisha all night and wept, not understanding why. Some dear friends took our older three children the next day and I said goodbye to my precious son, whom I had already born from my heart. My dear love took him and his possessions and met our attorney at the train station to hand him over to the woman who bore him. Mr. Cartwright had the perspective that I wish I could have had. As he handed my sweet Elisha to her, he spoke to her kindly and compassionately. He told her that there is Someone Who knows her pain. Someone Who gave up His only Son to death.

For Her. For Elisha. For the world.

And then proceeded to give her the Gospel message.

Days passed. The tears were fewer. Until 2 weeks later.

I received a telephone call from a detective. The words pierced my soul. My hands were shaking. "I am calling in reference to the death of an infant that has previously been in your care." WHAT!!!???!

Yes, Elisha was dead. Stories did not add up and there was an investigation of possible foul play. Pain ripped through my heart. The ending and outcome of this part of our story is still unknown. I never heard back as to what occurred.

On the other hand, I became angry. No, not a soul knew, but my own. I wrestled and wrestled. God was patient. I learned so much through this difficult time.

There are times in our lives when there are no answers. There is no understanding as to why. But one thing I learned is God is still to be trusted. Elisha is in a much better place than he would have been for the rest of his young days. I don't know why God chose to take him home. Even if someone else made the human decision to end his life, God still was sovereign over it.

Today as decisions need to be made concerning other things in my life, I can still trust my Creator.  I know pain seems so strong. But God's grace and love is stronger.

Who knows? Maybe the woman who carried Elisha and gave birth came to know my Savior through all of this. Though we will never know, GOD IS TRUSTWORTHY!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Wordless

Lately, I have had few words for this blog. I have had few words for my conversations with my Lord. I have had few words to share with others.

But, yesterday I had a play date with a new friend. Our kids played while we talked. Something that doesn't happen all too often. Just adult convo. She poured out her heart and cried tears and I looked over to my memorial wall. I told her the brief but detailed story of our last 6 years. Some of those memories make my stomach hurt and my throat close up.

But as I continued to relay our life story, I REMEMBERED!

I remembered all the amazing "coincidences" that occurred. I remembered all the mercy. I remembered the grace gifts to my boy-man. I REMEMBERED!

And I needed to.

I so often forget and need a nudge to jog this memory. 

Thank you sweet friend.


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

A Warrior's Faith - A Book Review

God's sovereignty on display.

That would describe the latest book I read. Robert Vera, author of A Warrior's Faith, describes the life events of a Navy SEAL, Ryan Job.  It's a memoir of a friendship that came to be through a series of tragedies in Ryan's young life. 

Many times when you read a biography about someone's life, it is merely that. This book is not. You live beside Ryan Job as he fights in Afghanistan and is severely wounded. You follow him as he perseveres through blindness. And you see him get stronger. But one other thing you see is an endearing friendship that grew each day. Ryan and Robert become that "friend that sticks closer than a brother."

One strong thread that is entwined in this story is the journey of the author himself. I love reading stories of others that cause one to remember. The ways and will of God are seen so clearly. Though not all producing the outcome we as humans would want, nevertheless, we see God's grace, mercy and moving hand. His providence is a key factor as well.

Ryan Job was a man, a fallen man, yet a man willing to be used by God in many other's lives. Robert Vera, is a man, a fallen man, on a journey of redemption, forgiveness, and seeing God for Who He is.

And because, all we as humans, share in suffering, this book will encourage you no matter what station on the road of life you find yourself. Truly, a MUST read!

I received a free copy of this book as part of the booklook blogging network.

Friday, March 6, 2015

An Anniversary and 2 Birthdays All Rolled Into One

A couple of weeks ago, Mr. Cartwright and I sneaked away for a long, much overdue, one on one time. We spent 8 days away. All to ourselves. It was fantabulous! Our destination was Savannah, Georgia. Did I say we were all alone? Life issues, heavy burdens and distractions were put behind us for a time and we were able to focus on each other. It was so wonderful. Something we had never done in 20 years of marriage. Did I say we were all alone?

Savannah is a beautiful city; one of many historical sites. We love history and it definitely was the place for us. The downtown historic district is the largest in the United States. It is a 2 mile by 2 mile square of beauty and wonder. Most of the buildings and structures are the originals from the 1700's and 1800's. There were many sites from battles fought in the Revolutionary and Civil Wars.

This is the oldest African Baptist Church in the United States. The first all slave church.



The following pictures are all historical landmarks, though some are museums, some are residences and some are businesses.














The hubby and I took one day to endulge his love of golf. He played 18 holes while I drove him to each hole, crocheted a bit and took in the beautiful scenery.




On Saturday, February 14th, we drove 45 minutes to Hilton Head, South Carolina. It was a beautiful drive and we enjoyed more historical sites.



We couldn't resist seeing the Atlantic Ocean.



We sat on a bench behind the following picture and had to take a snapshot to show our little dog lover.


This silly poodle just watched everybody go by. It was so funny.


We then visited Mitchellville, the first town exclusively for freed slaves.




Where this marsh lays was the place of a very important battle in the Civil War.
The people of Mitchellville helped fight against the confederates with the Union Army.











This is the site of Fort Mitchell.




We then had a beautiful Valentine's Day Dinner at Nick's Steak and Seafood. It was precious. We were the youngest couple there. It was beautiful to see the older love birds doting on each other.


We are so thankful we were able to get away from life. It hit us straight on when we got back to the Ponderosa. We are thanking Jesus for the much needed renewal.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Overwhelming Fear and Grief...But God

If you are feeling as I am today. Fearful. Shaky. Angry. Anxious. Distant from God.

Then please listen to this.

God knew I needed it.

Now my bottle of tears is overflowing again. But God actually knows how many I've cried.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Unveiled Wife - a book review

When I chose this book to be my next read I had not idea how it would profoundly speak to me. As I write my thoughts today, I intend to be straight-forward, yet tactful.

 Jennifer Smith writes The Unveiled Wife with true courage. She tells her journey through tears and fears, but what I appreciate most of all, is her courage to call sin what it is. There is truth to pain and hurt, but how we respond to those things will dictate whether we truly are living for God's glory or just living through the pain. Mrs. Smith's initial love story of how she met her husband and their love for the Lord was beautiful, but it became ugly pretty quickly. In one or two words, I would say idolatry and expectations were what I sensed right away. Probably because I have struggled with those things myself.

She delves right in to their wedding, honeymoon and thereafter, expressing candidly the struggles they had in their intimacy. Physical and real struggles that seem to have no answer. As she describes these times, I think most women can relate...maybe not to the physical pain but to the wedges, no matter how different they are, that are put up between a man and his wife. Jennifer helps the reader to see that these walls are sin and how coming to the cross and understanding the importance of intimacy with the Savior are linked hand in hand.

Every women should pick up this book and read it. Personally I have read the practical books on the journey for a man and a woman after marriage, but to hear this beautiful story and how God used all of it, even the ugliness for growth and change. To be more like Christ.

That's my review on the book, but I would like to add a bit more personally.

To put it bluntly, men and women are very different in their sex drives.  I feel that women need a firm talking to about loving their husbands in this important way. Saying yes, as much as possible. Now, I understand there are times when it is not possible, or even times when the husband is abusive or there are sin issues that need to be confessed and dealt with. But, I am amazed at how infrequently many Christian women love their husbands in this way. With all of the temptations around our guys in this culture, let's lavish them with our love and bodies. And above all else remember this:

1 Corinthians 7:5 "Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control."