My life has been a journey full of twists & turns, highs & lows. Honestly, I'm not sure I could really define where I'm headed. But one thing I'm learning, the journey isn't all about the final destination but more about how we travel. And fulfillment is found in all that we learn & experience as we journey, not just getting to the end of it. I can't even imagine making mine without Christ before me, behind me, and beside me...

Saturday, February 4, 2012


"...Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water."
 Hebrews 10:22 NIV
   She was blinded by a country doctor's desperate remedy for a cold when she was only six weeks old. Nothing could retrieve her sight. "Poor little blind girl..." were words she may have heard again and again, but Fanny J. Crosby turned her tragedy into a triumph. Though she had every human reason to be discouraged, she rejoiced in faith. "Blessed Assurance" was only one of more than 8000 songs she wrote in her lifetime. Her blindness only made her stronger and more certain of her faith. She heard the melody a friend wrote one day, and immediately these words poured out of her--her own story in song: "Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine..."
     As soon as I could mimic the words and find the pages in the hymnals, this one became one of my very favorite hymns. I may have only been 5 or 6 years old but some songs just captured my heart even though I didn't really know why. I remember those Sunday night sings so well. I would sing those words with all my little girl might, "This is my story! this is my song! Praising my Savior all the day long!..." I must have been quite a sight. This skinny little freckle-faced girl... 
     I could pick a thousand songs that mean a lot to me, but if I had to pick one that has endured through my whole life, it would be this one. Just as Fanny Crosby rose above her blindness to grasp the assurance of her unfailing faith, I grasped the heart of those words in the darkest or saddest moments of my own life. When I was down and out as a little girl, I didn't choose from the sounds of the Loretta Lynn and Patsy Cline vinyl records that my dad played so often. I chose those songs I loved best on Sunday mornings and especially Sunday evenings when the congregation--even little girls--could choose the hymns. 
     I look now at the words of "Blessed Assurance" and realize why they have held my heart captive my whole life. "Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine..." No matter what was taken from me--as a little girl, a confused teenager, an overwhelmed mom, or totally lost grown woman on my own at forty--no one, and I mean NO ONE, could take Jesus away from me. Even when I myself tried to push Him away or run from Him, He took me in His arms and reminded, "You are Mine, and I am Yours." And oh! When I held on to His words, my tears and troubles just evaporated away
     "Perfect submission, perfect delight...Angels descending, bring from above, echoes of mercy and whispers of love." When I couldn't see right and wrong or understand what was happening, I found hope in crawling in Jesus' lap and giving Him my heart...and my hurt. As a little girl, I would crawl into the dark mustly laundry hamper (I was a strange little kids sometimes!) and Jesus would meet me there and just hold me tight. I didn't understand what "submission" was back then, but I knew it MUST this way of letting Jesus hold me while He made the world go away for awhile. And when I was in that laundry hamper, I did just that. I submitted... Without trying to prove anything to anyone, I surrendered to Him with a sincere heart... Well today, I don't fit in the laundry hamper anymore (obviously), but there are still times He draws me close and holds me, echoing mercy and whispering love to my soul.
     "Perfect submission, all is at rest. I in my Savior am happy and blest. Watching and waiting, looking above--Filled with His goodness, lost in His love." It's hard to think why I would even want to hide in a hamper full of dirty old clothes but when Jesus took hold of my heart in there, He washed my "inside" dirty laundry clean. Nothing else mattered, and I really was happy and blessed. I would even fall asleep amid that pile of dirty clothes completely at peace and at rest. Even today, in surrendering my very worst to Him, I find myself in Him and He in me. I remain happy and blessed--whether my tough circumstances change or remain the same.
     "This is my story, This is my song! Praising my Savior all the day long..." When I was so little, I remember belting those words out as loud and as strong as I could in that church pew. My heart would pound with love for my Jesus, the friend of children. I don't think anyone could have shut me up if they tried. It's ironic how Jesus always said we should come as little children to Him. In human reason, it just doesn't make sense. As children, there's so much we don't understand, even more we just can't put into words, and so very little we can do. But when Jesus comes down and speaks to a little child's heart, she doesn't question--she just knows and responds without abandon, "Jesus is mine and I am His."
     No matter what I had done or what I had been through, Jesus was ALWAYS my blessed assurance. I didn't understand a lot in those days, but I understood that one truth. Today in my church, we don't sing the song nearly as much as I would like but when I hear it, those words still fill my heart to overflowing. No matter what I've done or what I've been through, He reminds me that He is still my blessed assurance. Because He has held me so close throughout the years, His blessed assurance truly IS my story and my song. He's held me through all the darkest moments. When I couldn't see, He made a way for me. "This is MY story, this is MY song..." so yes, for all He is and all He has done, I will praise Him all my life long.

Thursday, February 2, 2012


    Written December 28, 2011--the night before Alice Madeline was born. My attention was turned elsewhere before I posted it.... But remembering my thoughts that night and seeing how Brittany has settled into motherhood, my sentiments are still the same...

    In just a few hours, my baby girl will become a mom. It's been quite a year. None of us expected what this year held. The year had barely begun when my children lost their father. And now it ends with a new life just beginning as little Alice Madeline makes her grand debut tomorrow. 
     Honestly, I'm a little overwhelmed--a lot overwhelmed. Just as I'm beginning to think I've got a handle on this thing called "life," it changes. Overwhelmed isn't always a bad thing though. I've seen my daughter grow more in this one year than seemed possible. She has fought and endured, overcome, and pressed on. She lost what was most precious and embraced love and treasures yet to come. I'm amazed at the woman she is becoming. And I'm overwhelmed as I realize what is yet in store for her--the pain, fear, responsibility, tears, and unending joy that comes with being a mom. I'm overwhelmed because I know that in these next hours, her whole life changes as Alice comes into her life. There is no turning back.
     My whole life I have heard that old warning that always comes with a knowing chuckle, "You'll pay for your raisin'!" I never quite understood it. I guess I never quite appreciated the sentiment. It's as if one generation finds joy in knowing that the next generation will suffer the same struggles and worries and troubles that they have endured. And I've decided I don't want my daughter or my sons to "pay for their raisin'." If I could wish anything for my daughter, I would wish that she would be at least twice the parent I've ever been.... That she will not make the same mistakes I made or have to make up for her own mistakes growing up. I hope that she will have more patience and wisdom and love than I had... That she won't stay up nights worrying and wondering what she is doing wrong as a mom. I wish...I pray that she keeps the confidence and assurance that she will be the best mom she can be... And that if or when her own children rebel or seek their own independence, she will know that no matter what they do or choose, she has given them the tools to survive and the weapons needed to fight the battle they will face.
     The truth is that I believe she will be a great mom. She may not do things the way did them. (Actually, I hope she does things better than I did.) She may have different ideas about child-rearing than I had or generations before me had. But you know what? That's ok. Different doesn't mean wrong. I just pray that I can be there for her whenever she needs me yet know when its time to get out her way so she can be the parent God has created her to be. I pray that she comes into her role as mom with confidence and joy. That fears will subside as she walks in the strength and wisdom that I know Christ will provide in this brand new journey and that her "raisin' " never costs her or brings her doubt or regret but instead, I pray her "raisin' " only makes her stronger. Daughter, the best is yet to come...