Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Eleven More Days.....






I thought you'd enjoy seeing a couple of photos from the beach.....

Tonight ends the story I have been sharing......for the next 10 days, we will be in celebration mode. We intend to celebrate Hope's life with a "BANG" each and every day. She can't even fathom the fun that is getting ready to hit her little life. Her brother and sisters have been busy planning some pretty crazy stuff! But now, for the rest of the story:
"Peter, I want to answer your comment regarding your opinion that it might not be "fair" for the handicapped to live in a world with those who are not handicapped. First of all, you must know that I do not create the human race to be "fair". I create with one sole purpose.....to draw all men to me. Second, for the "special ones" that will ironically be called "handicapped" by ones who are actually spiritually handicapped, I choose only souls who have a predisposition toward serving Me recklessly.....ones who love Me with abandon."
And to make His point even stronger, Father shifted His entire body to face Peter straight on.
"I choose only the ones I know will count it as an honor to live as a "special one", My most feisty angel, "Do you even know the reward that will be awaiting them in the Kingdom that is to come?" Then, looking down at Hope with eyes full of emotion, Father said: "The reward that is awaiting these that are so very precious to Me is so supreme it is inconceivable to even you....their recompense transcends anything you have ever witnessed or considered. The first shall be last in My Kingdom that is to come......and the last will become first".
Father proceeded to hug Hope tighter and tighter as He spoke about His love for the "special ones".......it seemed as if she might "pop" from all of the squeezing. Finally, her eyes opened wide, she saw Who was holding her, and she wrapped her arms around His neck and giggled with glee. Father spoke so tenderly toward her, "That's right little soldier, you are fighting a good fight. I am so proud of you!" It was obvious Hope knew Father quite well.
Father plopped Hopey into His lap and looked down into her gigantic green eyes. "Hope, do you have any idea how successful your four year old life has been?"
Father's words spoke directly into Hope's soul.....she understood with clarity every word He was speaking to her:
"Your daddy hear on earth......he thought he had the world by the tail until you came along, little one. He is now learning how to lean on me .......because of you! And your mommy, she is quite a story......she thought she had Me all figured out and was ready to push her "religiosity" onto anyone who would listen. Your entrance turned her life upside down. As a result, she threw out all of her head knowledge and is finally seeking me with her heart".
Hope took in every word. Her short chubby fingers holding tight to Father's:
"Your brother, Caleb, and your sisters, Lydia and Natalie, love deeper because of you. They readily welcome all people with disabilities into their lives without question. Your grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins....they have been changed too. They whole-heartedly pray with renewed faith.....for you! But Hopey, what will really surprise you, is this:
Father removed His hands from Hope's tiny fingers and placed them on her head. Immediately, Hope was filled with a vision of the hundreds of men, women, and children who had prayed for her during her four years of life. She could clearly see each face and hear each and every prayer that had been lifted to the Father on her behalf.
"I'm saving all of them, Hope, each and every prayer, in beautiful bowls.....in heaven".
And little four-year old Hope, with her extra-chromosome and all of the "abnormalities" that go along with it, began to feel those prayers. As the prayers flooded her soul, she raised her hands up as high as they would reach, lifted her eyes up to Father's and laughed a heavenly laugh. She just kept laughing, and Father joined in. For the benefit of the twelve angels who were seated in the room with them, Father opened their minds and allowed them to "see" the hundreds of prayers pouring over little Hope. And all twelve became believers in God's plan for the "special ones" in that moment. They saw the miracle with their own eyes, and understood how God was planning to use the weak to confound the wise. It would happen, and it was going to be great!
Finally, after the final prayer had completely covered Hope, Father took her little hands and put them down by her side. Then He delicately took her head and returned it to His shoulder. Within seconds, she was sleeping soundly once again.
"This one, beloved, goes into battle every day with a smile on her face and joy in her heart." He patted her back, stood and walked quietly over to her crib in the adjoining room. He kissed the top of her head, "You keep marching little soldier.....Father loves you so much", then he placed her in her crib. He found her favorite blanket and covered her body, then found Elmo to tuck beneath her arm. Standing over her bed was the proudest parent in the universe, so pleased with His little one, taking time to allow every detail of her face to imprint in His mind. He walked away and joined the others.
"It is time to return....." And before He could finish the sentence, they found themselves standing before the mysterious door once again.
"You have now received all of the knowledge you needed before the war of Earth ensues. Be warned, there is a blood-thirsty demon named "Molech" who will seek to brutally kill all of the "special ones". One of Molech's strongest forms of rhetoric will be called "freedom of choice", and it will be carried out through a dangerous weapon called "abortion". Once Enemy realizes the "special ones" are not a mistake, but actually an important part of My plan, he comes after them with a bitter vendetta."
And with that last remark, Father announced:
"Jesse, go get the books and get ready to write, the time has come at last!"
"And you, Mighty Angels who lead the twelve angelic tribes from the twelve points of the Universe, go gather your warriors, develop battle plans, and be passionate about the souls of man. Keep in mind that man can only see a small part of the whole picture, so be patient. I am very much involved in all of "The Happening" and am with you always".
As the angels began to depart, Father swung the door wide open and shouted with so much force the Earth trembled:
"LET THERE BE LIGHT!!!".....the battle began that day.
As Father's light entered the earth, bringing what was once dead to renewed life, He sang: "This little light of mine, I'm going to let it shine.....let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Twelve More Days....

Chappy spoke with Hope's surgeon while we were in Florida. He was on his way to Africa for a mission trip, but took time to call us. He feels "98% certain" he can technically perform the work that needs to be done on Hope's heart with accuracy. Big Praise!!! The question is how Hope's heart will respond to the surgery......and how Hope, herself, will respond.

Our family meeting began tonight with Hope acting wild as a bear cub. She was playing games with all of us while the kids were trying to talk about their day.....standing up on the couch, throwing her leg over the back, acting like she was going to leap over......knowing she would "get a rise". Chappy would jump up, yell "stop", and reach to grab her, but before he could get to her, she'd plop back down on the couch and giggle until her sides were splitting. The kids and I would burst out laughing with her, but Chappy, still unaware she was "playing him" continued saying: "Don't do that again, Hope". She did the same thing over and over and over. Finally Chappy said, "Off to bed"......I don't think she was finished playing, but Daddy was. He was a nervous wreck thinking she might leap off the back of the couch and really hurt herself. She is a smart little somebody and LOVES to play games. It was a hoot to watch!

Chappy, being leader of our home and extemely concerned about how we are all processing the open heart surgery that is drawing near, changed the mood of our family meeting once Hope had been safely put into her bed. He posed this question:

"Melanie, how would you react if things didn't go well with Hope and she didn't make it through the surgery? Have you thought about it? Do you think we need to talk about it as a family?"

What????

So, our evening quickly turned from insane laughter to puddles of tears....Chappy trying to prepare his family for the worst while still hoping against hope for the best. Chappy is always a "glass is half full" person, so it alarms me when he shows doubt. Teasing, I frequently accuse him of being in denial......tonight I found I prefer"denial" a whole lot more than "let's try to deal with what could come".

My answer to his question???

God assures us He will not to give us more than we can handle. He knows, just like I know, that losing Hope would be too much for me. She is tightly intertwoven into every fiber of my being; literally, she is part of all of me. Some parents love their children, but other parents LLLLOOOOOVVVVEEE their children. I fall into the second category. I do not see how I could allow my baby girl to be put in the ground. No! Likewise, I don't see how I could allow her precious body to be burned and her ashes put into a jar. Louder No! It is not her time to die. She will make it through this surgery and she will live. Period.

That was my answer. Correction, that IS my answer!

I don't know if my answer is a good answer or even a "right" answer. By the way, what is a good answer to that kind of question? For all I know, maybe Chappy didn't really want an answer, but only wanted to pose the question to guage everyone's reaction....to see if we'd even thought about the possibility. Nonetheless, the question was asked and I gave an honest answer. Friends, don't misunderstand me.....I know that God is in control. Trust me, I know. However, what is my choice? The way I see it, my only choice is to "FAITH"! Verb.

Daily I am intentionally visualizing myself in the hospital waiting for the good news that Hope has made it through surgery. I see myself in the hospital room caring for Hope while she recovers after surgery. Then, I picture myself walking out those automatic doors with her in my arms....into the parking garage at the hospital.....going home. I am owning THAT scenario, and I am faithing it with all that is in me. For the next 12 days, I will not even remotely consider another outcome. The surgeon will be ready. Hope will be ready. I will be ready. Everyone else better get on board. We are going to ride on the healing train straight to Vanderbilt Hospital, but we are only there for a short stop over. That healing train is carrying us right back home. The "J" train!

I hope I am getting loads of Amens from you. I want every praying warrior faithing with me on this. Believing. Accepting no less. I am shouting it every moment I am awake on the inside. I am standing for Hope's life and will not be pushed down. I may be smiling on the outside when you see me, but know that I am a momma bear on the inside who is protecting her wounded cub with everything she's got. If faith has anything at all to do with Hope's healing, feel sure, my little bear cub will leave that hospital with a heart that works. Praise the Lord!!!

I'm going to finish my story tomorrow.....I think you will all love the way the story ends. I know I do. But tonight, I feel like I have written what was meant to be written.

As a family, we just finished marching, but as soon as I finish typing this post, I am going back outside and I am going to march again. Hands raised. Trusting Father. Looking at the clear sky tonight full of stars and being reminded He is there. If I have to march 1000 times over the next 12 days to gather up as much faith as my body can handle, I will do it.....wearing a path around our house. Full of the Spirit!!! Letting Him wash over me!!! Wearing the armor!!! Knowing this is a battle!!! Knowing the victory is already His!!!

Love to all of you!!!

Monday, September 28, 2009

We are back!

We just returned from our weekend getaway. To us it was more of an escape. On the way down, we all agreed we would put Hope's surgery out of our minds and focus on having a great time together. Thankfully, we were successful. When we returned home this evening, we were overwhelmed by the emails, cards and letters that greeted us. Thank you to all who have shown such an outpouring of love to us. Truly, your prayers are being felt. As a family, we feel revived and ready to fight for our little one. Now, more of the story:

"Shhhhh.....she is sleeping.....be very quiet", was all Father said.

He leaned over the crib, lifted little Hope into His arms, looked into her slumbery face and rocked her gently as He sang: "This little light of mine....I'm gonna let you shine.....This little light of mine.....I'm gonna let you shine....." He hummed the rest of the tune as He moved Hope onto His chest, tucking her tiny head up under His chin and onto His right shoulder. Bouncy brown curls hung over His left hand that was being used to brace her unstable neck. He swayed back and forth while kissing her soft chubby cheek. The only sounds in the room were Father's song and Hope's gentle snore.....totally relaxed in the arms of Her Savior.

Father motioned for the twelve to follow Him into the next room where He found a comfortable place to sit on the sofa with Hopey. He propped His feet up on an ottoman and told the others to find a seat. In a hushed voice, Father began:

"All of mankind will be marked. Angels and demons will see the marks, but they will not be visible to humans. Those who choose My path will bear My mark.....and Enemy will mark those who have chosen him".

"I would be willing to bet Enemy will have no use for those who bear his mark. However, he will wreak havoc on those bearing Your mark, Father," John thought out loud as he rolled his eyes in disgust.

"On the contrary, Enemy will work diligently to make sure the lives of those who bear his mark are ones full of worldy pleasures. In fact, that will prove to be one of his more successful strategies".

The house was quiet and the room dark except for the glow of the full moon and stars that were shining through the windows. A fluffy cat with white paws padded into the room, jumped onto the couch to sit close to Father and began to purr. Father, still cradling Hope, removed a hand from Hope for a few seconds to pat the cat and then continued:

"On the special ones, like this little one sleeping in my arms, I place a visible mark for everyone to see. You remember when I removed them from the others in the heavenlies to speak a special mission over them, don't you?"

The twelve recalled the words they had heard Father speak over the souls He had removed from the others. It hadn't made any sense to them then, but maybe it was all going to make some sense to them now.

"The special ones will have a distinguishable look.....charming almond-shaped eyes will be the most readily identifiable quality."

"All of the angels have almond-shaped eyes, too, Father," spoke up John.

"So they do. I love your eyes", Father beamed.....obviously pleased with His creation.

"Come to think of it," John snickered with the realization that had just dawned on him, "little Hope kind of resembles an angel".

They all shook their heads in agreement with smiles.

"In a way, she is like an angel. I'm glad you noticed the similarity", nodding toward John, "Angels were created to serve Me and show My glory. The special ones are created for the same purpose. But, dear ones, they are not angels. They are completely human; they simply have a unique calling. That is what I want to explain to you now."

Father took time to explain how mankind would not be created equally.....some would be given strong healthy bodies while others would never walk......never see.......never hear.......never speak. Some would grow to adulthood, marry and have children of their own while others would never have the ability to live independently. Some children would even die.

"But Father, why would you create imperfection when your standard is perfection?", Thomas asked.

"Oh, Thomas, I did create them all perfectly before calling them to their specific tasks. Think back to when you watched me remove the chosen souls from the souls of the others. Before removing them, they were just like the others. From the multitudes of created souls, I chose the ones I would set aside to call my special ones."

"I'm not sure I would want to be one of the souls who is called out to be 'special' ", remarked Peter, "I believe if I were human, I would want to have a very strong body and a strong mind. I wouldn't want to be handicapped in any way. Somehow it doesn't seem fair that the inflicted must live among those who are not inflicted."

Father looked down at Hope who was still resting peacefully in His arms. Thoughts flooded His mind.......the trusted obstetrician who had suggested she be aborted, the uncertain childbirth where Hope came dangerously close to death, her first open heart surgery when the respirator became plugged and her heart stopped completely, and now......a third open heart surgery only days away. While everyone, including His angels, saw a weak body and a slow mind, Father saw a soldier......a soldier with a bright smile.....a soldier that kept getting up every single time she was knocked down. And then He cuddled her even closer to Himself.

(To be continued.....)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Happy Anniversary Chappy!!!

Today is mine and Chappy's wedding anniversary. In our years of marriage, we have been through a lot. He married me in 1996, when Caleb had just turned 2. I had been in an abusive marriage, and was still a broken individual. He swooped into my life, gathered Caleb and me into his arms, and has loved us more than we could have ever imagined. In 1998, Lydia was born. Caleb had been praying for a sister "with red bows in her hair" and saving money for a long time. He told us he thought a sister would cost about $40.00 and became very resourceful in planning ways to earn money. Lydia....our little lovey. Then, in 2001, Chappy and I traveled to Russia to adopt Natalie Grace. She had been abandoned in an orphanage, and we traveled across the globe to give her a family. She wiped the dust off of her feet from the orphanage, joined in our family and has been Lydia's closest friend. In 2005, Hopey was born. At the time we had no idea what a gift Hope's extra chromosome was going to be......God used Hope to break us into a million pieces and put us back together "His Way". Then, in 2008, we adopted our red-head, Charlie, who also has Down Syndrome. In addition, in 13 years, we have been through many custody battles with Caleb, many surgeries with Hopey, have lived in 5 different homes (4 different cities), have lost all of our grandparents, Chappy has defeated Melanoma.....and the list goes on. Through it all, our we have grown closer and our love has grown stronger. Our marriage......the blessing of my life. Thank you Chappy!!! I love you!!!

Now, more of the story:

"Since my standard is perfection, and man cannot be perfect until he is in total surrender to me, a big problem is created.....the penalty to that problem is death, also established as part of my irreversible plan. Big decision: obey me through two simple commands of loving Me and loving others and have eternal life OR disobey me through choosing selfishness and deceit and die."

Father pointed up to the space above them and continued:

"Look to the heavens with me".

As the twelve looked up, knowledge poured out as they watched the sky transform into a type of ultra high definition screen before them.....with Father, they reclined back and watched the spectacle before them......thousands of animals led to slaughter, rivers of blood flowing from the sacrificial altars.....a vivid, real-life picture of the brutality of sin's substitution. The twelve were now able to comprehend: sin = death; blood required to cover sin.......

"I became sin's substitution once and for all for mankind. No more slaying of animals, no more blood needed, no more guilt. It all ended with my sacrifice, forever. Enemy will never see it coming. In his obsessive, tunnel-vision quest for power, he forgets I am the creator of all things....including death. Enemy, he has no creative power at all, so it is easy for him to forget about that kind of power. Enemy begins to believe that death can actually finish me; then, three days after the cross, when I conquer death and rise up from the grave, Enemy realizes it is his end that is drawing near.....not mine."

The picture in the sky closed as Father sat up and brought His hands together. He stood and told the fire to stop burning. The twelve stood with Him.

"I am showing you these things, because you need to have a glimpse of what is ahead of you. The battle you are entering will not be an easy one. Each of you will be responsible for preparing your warriors....developing battle plans to fight Enemy and his demons. Enemy wants to take as many of my children down with him as he possibly can. Prayer will be one of your most useful weapons when it is used. When a believer chooses to pray, my power will literally enter into both you and the believer to accomplish extraordinary purposes that are in line with My plan. But I have another secret weapon too, and I want to show you an example of how it works......c'mon, let's take one more trip. This time we are going to visit the year 2009.....a little town called Franklin, TN......

Friday, September 25, 2009

Found a Computer!!! UPS Store....YEH!!!

I am thrilled to be in sunny Florida. After two weeks of solid rain and gloom in Franklin, TN, the sunshine is literally like a great big dose of "joy juice". Loving it and drinking it in! We even met two new prayer warriors today on the beach. After watching Hope attack the waves for an hour, they offered her a float. She, however, preferred attacking the waves......not running to them then running away from them.....running to the waves, getting knocked down by them, laughing and running into them again......over and over and over again.....mouthfuls of salt water, hair covered in sand, but managing to keep her glasses on. Hilarious. Amazing that God would put us on the beach at the same time with a couple of His praying saints? Amazing that God would put me in a library in Clanton, AL with a prayer warrior? I'm beginning to see a pattern.

For Hope, I want to blog for the full 30 days. So, when the "mother board" on our lap top crashed yesterday, I felt pretty defeated. Again, the Father has provided. I have had to use a bit of imagination and make more of an effort, but He is going to bless it all. I know He will. So, all the things the enemy has thrown into our path lately.....a leaky upstairs bathtub, a leaky downstairs shower, a broken kitchen faucet, a neighbor who is complaining to the homeowner's association about Hope's Love Shack, etc.......all of that junk the enemy throws our way to try to get our focus off of the mission.....prayer.....isn't going to work. God just keeps adding the praying warriors. He knows our needs ahead of time and provides! Praise Him! We're marching in the sand.....

More of the story:
Father spent several moments thinking of all of the human race He had created and chosen to call His own. Some He would gift with musical abilities that would rival even the most heavenly sounds made by the choirs of angels; and others, He would gift with architectural skills to build great mysterious pyramids, modern sky scrapers, and even ornate castles on secluded islands. Some would become doctors, others teachers.....some missionaries, others farmers. The many unique giftings He had in store for His children were too immeasurable to count. He looked forward to beholding man's creative uses of them.....another chance to use their "free will".

The twelve watched Father closely and instinctively knew He was thinking of His children. They were growing accustomed to the sparkle in His eye when they were on His mind. They still had so many questions, one in particular. Andrew was the one who finally asked:

"Why do you have to die, and why are your children the ones who betray you?"

Father answered: "I know how troubling it must have been for you to see me hanging dead on a cross....but it is necessary for you to know. And although this will be difficult for you to believe, Enemy actually falls right into my trap when I die on the cross. Everything that is to happen has been perfectly ordained by me. Remember, nothing catches me by surprise....not even my own death on an old wooden tree".

Father reclined back on His elbows, looked up into the vastness of space that surrounded them and began to explain:

"Because man was created with free will, he was created with the propensity to choose his own way over mine......sin. My standard is perfection, but this is a standard that is too high for man to attain without Me.....but it is important for man to learn this lesson on his own through trial and failure.....this way it sticks."

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Enemy is such a jerk!! Not going to let him get us down, though!

This weekend is our wedding anniversary, so as a family, we are getting away! When we return, we'll have 13 more days until Hope's big day. I wish I had time to list the things that have gone wrong over the last few days, but I don't. None of it has been accidental. Enemy is trying every sneak attack he can muster to use against us. He will not succeed. This morning, we packed our laptop to take with us so I could keep in touch with all of Hope's praying warriors. It crashed. It is completely fried. Wouldn't even turn on. So, here we are, on the road, using a computer at a library in Clanton, Alabama. It took us forever to find a library, and when we got here, there were 3 people ahead of me waiting. Each could use the computer for an hour. Guess what Father did? He provided. The librarian ushered me back to use one of the employee computers....just so I could write all of you today. Turns out, she is related to the folks at Shuff's Music in downtown Franklin. She is like a part of home. What Enemy intends for evil, God turns around for good. Thank you, Lord!

I want you to know that we are wearing our Battle Attire----knowing the battle is going to increase as we draw nearer to October 12th. With all of the prayer warriors at work, Enemy will surely call for more warriors of his own. Thank you for continuing to pray. We know what he wants.....Enemy always wants to steal, kill, and destroy. Father, He is the One I am standing with.....trusting Him completely to carry us. Because my time on this computer is limited, I'm only going to add a little more to the story. I will try my best to find another computer once we arrive at the beach. I am praying the time away does everyone good.

Here goes:

"John was eager to ask a question, and God knew it, so He stopped talking, turned to John and said: "Ask whatever you will".

"You said you will be with man always....throughout his life. Does that mean man will see you and talk with you the way we do?"

"Of course it does", Peter spoke up, "Man will see Father the way we do----right, Father?---you just saw Him with His twelve students".

With kindness, Father raised His finger: "Just a minute, Peter. Do you remember the limits I told you about earlier? One of those limits that I have put into place is that man will not be able to see Me and will rarely hear My voice. This part of our relationship will be called FAITH. I plant a piece of Myself into each human, I set rules in place that cannot be altered, I choose Prophets and teachers to teach man about My ways, I show Myself through the miracle of creation every day, and I speak to all who will hear Me through love letters I give to them. Man will call My letters, The Bible. I will woo them, and call to their hearts constantly; many will come to me. Once they belong to me, once they have surrendered their free will to Me, nothing will ever be able to break us apart".

As Father spoke of those who would choose Him, He could see them all in His mind's eye....though not yet "created" physically, they were very real already. He knew them all by name, their likes and dislikes....every detail. So great is His love for them.

(to be continued)---I typed fast....only had a few minutes, so forgive typos.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Day # 12....More of the Story!

John of Judah was first to speak; he raised his hands to his face and moaned, “No…..Father, no. Please tell me this is not what is to come in the future!”

"Watch" was all Father said.

For what seemed like an eternity, the twelve stood with Father and watched the scene before them. Some cried, other just shook their heads in unbelief. Their minds could not wrap around the scene in front of them at this moment. Finally, Father broke the silence:

“I don’t operate in future, present, and past, John, I live in all times and all dimensions at once. For me, this is just as current as our discussions in the assembly earlier. This is a means to an end and it is what must happen to bring about My plans”.

Thomas was next to speak: “How do you deal with this? How are we to deal with this? I have never witnessed such violence and hatred, and it is against You!”

“We must join the fight and save Father! This moment, it is up to us to make this right!” Peter was pumping his fists and screaming his words after getting over the initial shock of seeing Father hanging on a wooden cross.

“You will all be a part of this time, Peter. You will be a part of all that is to be. Do you remember when I told Thomas I had named a special human after him and chose Thomas to be his guardian angel?”

They all nodded.

“I have done that for each of you. The twelve humans that are named for you are my students during my time on earth. Each of them remind me so much of you. Look, there you are John. You are standing guard over my disciple, John, while he is comforting my earthly mother at the foot of the cross”.

“Oh, my Lord”, John sobbed, “this is too much to bear. Why are You on the cross, and why aren’t the angels coming to Your rescue?”

“I want to fight for you, Father, can’t I?”
cried Peter with more anticipation and emotion than he could hide.

“Stop Peter, stop and think. The angels are not standing around the cross choosing not to rescue Me. They are obeying my authority. During this time, each of you will obey My authority as well. Surely you know I could save myself if I wanted to. My purpose and goal in this time is death. My death. I came to earth in the form of man to have fellowship with man, to live among My children, to teach them, and to remind them of My promises. I also came to die for them.” As Father spoke the words, the earth quaked, and the Savior on the cross, who was also Father, dropped His head. “They need me, and My love for them runs so deep, I am willing to give all of myself for them.”

“Why not destroy Enemy and His legions once and for all? Without Enemy, your children would never turn away from you”, remarked Thomas, though his eyes were still on the scene before him…..Father hanging limp on a cross.

“Thomas, do you think I did not know one third of my angels would turn from Me and follow Enemy? Do you think I was caught by surprise?”

“So you created them to fall away from you?”, Thomas asked out of complete confusion.

“Goodness, no. I created all angels with the capacity to make a choice…..follow Me or follow your own way”, even Father was now looking at the cross before Him. He saw His earthly mother, Mary, weeping and holding his feet in her hands. “I put that same power of choice into mankind, my children”.

“But why, my Lord?” Thomas asked the question in a shout that startled the others eleven angels standing with him.

“If I created angels or mankind without the freedom of choice, I would never experience true worship, love, or relationship with those I create. Think of it this way, Thomas, if you love me because you have been created with no other option, then you haven’t really loved me”.

In this moment, the angels began to learn something brand new about the One they served. Before them, they watched a display of love they could never have imagined. He had given all He could give……for love.

Thomas, voice trembling from the understanding that was now washing over him, said aloud to no one inparticular: “Without Enemy, there is no choice”.

“Beloved, walk with me three days into the future and let me show you a picture that will take the gloom off of your angelic faces”.

The twelve closed their eyes once again and followed Father three days into the future. When they opened their eyes, they could see and hear a new scene before them. Father was in a room, alive and well! They each felt immediate relief. Their bodies relaxed, they hugged one another, and even laughed out loud. Once they calmed down, they stopped to listen:

“Go ahead, Thomas, my disciple and friend, touch my hands and my side….it is really me….I have risen”. Eleven of the twelve angelic leaders laughed as they looked toward their counterpart, Thomas of Gad.

“Father was right, Thomas, the one you will stand guard over, Thomas the disciple, is very much like you”.

“Shhh, Peter!”, said Thomas, “listen to what is happening….Father has returned to life! This is a most inappropriate time for jokes.”

The room where the disciples were now standing, speaking with their risen Lord, was very plain and simple, but it was filled with such incredible light from Father, it became a place fit for royalty. It was as if the walls and floor knew the King of Kings had arrived, and chose to decorate themselves in worship, taking in Father's light and splashing it all over the room. The disciples couldn't seem to see the light, but they, too, were covered in it.

Trying to make sense of anything that was being spoken in the room was difficult, because all of the students were speaking at once. Father, the risen Lord, patient as ever, was smiling and attempting to answer each question. While the others were intently watching the scene, John of the angelic tribe, Judah, walked over to Father:

“How did you return to life?” John whispered as he put his arm through the arm of Father’s, pulling Him close to himself, “We watched you die just a few moments ago”.

“There are so many things you have yet to learn about me. Be patient, and remember, My ways are not your ways”.

John again, pleading to Father this time: “Could you try to help us see?”

The twelve angelic tribal leaders heard John's plea; they gathered around Father to listen.

“I’ll explain, but I’m going to need your full attention”. No longer in the room with Father and the twelve students (called disciples), the angelic leaders found themselves on a beach, seated around a fire, planets of all shapes, sizes and colors dipping, spinning and bobbing overhead, and an ocean of water splashing onto the shore. Father was seated with them.

“Now”, He said, “this is better”. And in the quiet of the ocean setting, with a gentle breeze blowing around them, Father began to speak:

“I am Creator of all things. I am and have always been; I was not created, and there is none other like me. Before I create, I set rules, or limits, for the thing I am creating. I never go against My Own nature, so once these rules are established, they are for all time. For instance, in the world you have been shown, man walks on the ground. Man is held down by gravity, which I created. This is the rule that is set in place, and I will not change it. If man is to go from one place to another, he will be bound by gravity. You, however, are not bound by that rule. You have been given the ability to transport through space and dimension. That is the rule I established for you, and it, likewise, will not change.”

The light from the fire flickered onto the faces of the twelve gathered around Father. No one stirred. They wanted to take in every word Father spoke:

“You will be a part of creation story I have just shown you. Soon, the earth, which you have seen inhabited by Enemy and his followers, will become something new and wonderful. Man, crown of the earth, will be given charge of everything that is living on the earth. Man will also be given a list of rules to follow. These rules are not intended to bind man or deny him, they are meant to instruct him on how to have an abundant life. Blessings have been set in place to be poured out on those who follow My ways; conversely, consequences have been set in place for those who choose not to follow. I am fair. I do not make my children guess how to live, I instruct them, teach them, and send them help when they ask for it”.

Father searched their eyes to make sure they were following His words. Pleased with their attention, He continued:

“Enemy has also been given boundaries. Over time, as humanity progresses, he will figure out the powers he may use and the limits he will have. For instance, he is not allowed to bring a great deal of evil upon one of mine without coming to ask my permission first”.

“Father, why would you allow Enemy to bring even one moment of evil against any one of your children?” John interrupted.

“Hmmmmm.”, Father sighed. “That is a very good question, John, and I am glad you asked it. I will answer your question with a question. How does a man grow and mature to become all he can be without trials and temptation?”

“To me, it would seem man would love you more and have a more abundant life without being plagued by Enemy”, Peter added.

“Actually, quite the opposite is true. If given a perfect world, without trial and temptation, man would begin to think of himself as god. He would never have the need to lean on Me or to seek Me out for answers to his questions. The world, then, would be full of self-indulgence, pride, and worship of oneself”.

Father paused for a few moments, gathered another piece of wood, and placed it on the fire. He then continued:

“To put things simply, I have created two paths for man to follow, My path or Enemy’s path. Contrary to what man might create in his own mind, there is not a third path. In every thought, decision, word and deed, a path is chosen. Each moment of a man’s life is truly monumental. He will make many mistakes as he proceeds through his life, but through those mistakes, as long as he turns toward Me and seeks My path, he will grow. Through growth and maturity, he and I will have relationship. Will it be difficult? Of course. It will even be difficult for Me. No parent wants to watch their child make mistakes or get hurt. But it will be worth it in the end, when all that is to come has finally come to pass. What need not be overlooked is that I will be with man always. Throughout this time, man will never be alone. I will be the shade on his right hand”.

(The story will continue……..)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Day #11....The Story Continues

The other dimension, the one where Enemy is supreme ruler, is dark, void, and full of wickedness. Millennia before, Enemy, along with his legions, had been cast into this obscure dimension, was given full authority over it, and was left. The door to the outside was slammed shut and locked by Father.

Time in complete solitude had caused Enemy to become bored, and he had also grown more and more angry, but he continually reminded himself that his time would come. Even though he wasn’t fully aware of Father’s plans, he knew Father was busy developing a game where he would play a major role. He spent each moment waiting, pent up emotions ready to be unleashed on this plan of Father.

A created being, Enemy had many appealing qualities. No other being ever created had the wisdom, cunning, and beauty that had been given to Enemy. Enemy prided himself on these characteristics. He made adoration of himself a regular event. His minions, on the other hand, were not too bright. They had brute strength, and most were very mischievous, but none displayed the wisdom that Enemy had.

Only days ago, a window had opened within Enemy’s dimension, called Earth, to the outside. For the first time since being cast to Earth, Enemy was given sight and sound to the outside. In response, Enemy called for an assembly, gathering the leaders from each of his twelve tribes for a meeting to discuss what he was now calling: “The Happening”.

So, from the twelve corners of the Earth, he gathered the leaders from the twelve demonic tribes: Zeus, Hera, Athena, Poseidon, Appollo, Artemis, Demeter, Hermes, Aphrodite, Ares, Hephaestus and Hestia. (One of many attempts Enemy has made to copy, thereby counterfeiting, the Almighty. Since Father has twelve angelic tribal leaders, Enemy must match Him by having twelve demonic tribal leaders of his own, a part of Enemy’s strategy.) They all traveled with haste and were now assembled, bowing in reverence to Enemy as he took a seat on his throne.

“All rise”, spoke Enemy. As one, they stood. Secretly, as Enemy looked about the assembly, he wished there were more brains in the group, but for now, brawn, mixed with an enthusiasm for mischief, would have to suffice.

“Our time has come, soldiers. The battle for what rightfully belongs to us is about to begin. You have pleased me with your performance thus far. Each of you has managed your tribal stations well. You have waited and watched for our enemy, Father, to return to us. He is returning soon. Come, follow me.”

The soldiers followed their captain to a place where he stopped to point up high, into the void that surrounded them, to an opening. They gasped with disbelief. After such a long time, the twelve were looking through a window and seeing home again……wait, stop, fight the thought…..they were seeing what used to be home. They deserved that home, not the darkness they had lived in for so long. Vengeance filled their bellies, and it showed in their faces. Enemy noticed and was pleased.

“I’ve been watching and listening intently while waiting for you to arrive. My secretary and chief assistant, Molech, has successfully taken notes of “The Happening” since the window to the outside opened. At first, there was a lot of talk going on between Father and His weakling followers, but lately something more has been brewing. I believe Father is up to something. Here is what we have learned thus far:

Enemy read the notes to the twelve, watching them as he took needed breaths. He could see the anticipation mounting. Yes, soon they would have work to do….within their reach was a new earth where they would be set free from constant quiet and darkness…….light and color would again touch their eyes…….the sound of music would tingle their ears…..warmth would kiss their skin……exotic smells would fill their nostrils……and they would finally taste the blood they had dreamed of. The incredible expectancy was almost too much to bear.

Their fantasy was awakened with a thunderous CLAP! and a voice that shook the earth, Enemy shouted: “THIS IS A TRAP, YOU FOOLS!”

The twelve recoiled at the sound. Enemy continued:

“Father is reeling us in with talk of beauty, light, sound, touch and taste. Do you really think this plan of His is about us? No. Before I was thrown out of His heaven, I turned to Him and said: “You need me. If given a choice, and if given time, all of your supposed creation would turn to me and I would be their god”. I’ll never forget His face as he lifted me and carried me to this disgusting pit. There was something in His eyes…..I knew a time would come when He would set a trap for me, a trap for all of us. Well, the time has finally come. However, what Father has discounted, my pets, I will use to my advantage. Time in solitude has given me time to think and has made me much wiser. Father has not had the luxury of quiet isolation as I have had. I will beat Him at this game of His and will destroy His plans completely. In the end, Father will bow to me; I will be god over all!”.

“I don’t know about you, Artemis, but my muscles are primed and ready for a fight”, Zeus murmured while Enemy was still speaking, “there are a few angels that I would like to smash wide open with my bare hands”. Artemis responded with a thumbs-up. Zeus continued: “Enemy has chosen Molech as his right hand man, however, soon Enemy will see that it is I he can trust”. An evil smile swept across the sculptured face of Zeus. The smile soon ended, however, when a second thunderous CLAP filled the space!

A voice sounded again, but this time, it was Father. As He spoke a door swung open before them:

“LET THERE BE LIGHT!” And there was light. Everywhere. Beautiful light. Father’s glory had entered their space.

“Here we go, fellas, I told you He was up to something. Let the games begin. I hope you have planned to stay awhile longer, because we have some strategizing to do. Let’s see if we can figure out what old Father is up to, then let’s beat Him at His own game”, Enemy spoke as he laughed a sinister laugh. Even the demons around him turned to stare; the hair on their necks rose when he growled: “This will be a new game. We will use our strength, for certain, but we must also use our wits. You will have to listen to my orders and follow them precisely. For those who falter will be replaced immediately. The torture that will await those who commit the sin of insubordination will be worse than any nightmare you have ever dreamed. I am god, this is my earth, and all will obey me!”

Enemy and his twelve called for more demons to gather with them. They quietly watched all of “The Happening” unfold before their eyes:

After five days, days were of course created when light was separated from darkness during Father’s creation miracle, the Almighty swooped into a spot on the new earth that had been left bare. With His own hands He began to build a home in that bare spot…….a beautiful home, full of flower gardens, vegetable gardens, lakes, and tasty fruit trees. He then called out to all kinds of animals and asked them to join Him in the garden. The animals ran to Him, and He took time to pet each one. The animals wagged their tails, the birds tried to out sing one another, and the fish jumped for joy from the lakes that surrounded them. The grass swayed and bowed beneath Father’s toes and the wind swirled around and hugged Him. Father’s eyes sparkled with joy as He put the final touch on the new garden: a fence and a gate to border it. The new home was perfect.

On day number six, Father reached down to the earth with His bare hands, scooped up some mud into His fingers, and formed the body of what was to be the first man. As He molded the new man, all of creation watched in silence and awe. Next, He retrieved the man’s soul that had already been created from the heavens above, carefully placed the soul into the newly formed body and breathed life deeply into the nostrils of the new man. The man’s eyes opened, and Father giggled. Then the man giggled. Father took the new man up into His arms and rocked him back and forth as he whispered: “I love you. I love you so much. I will love you forever. Nothing will ever separate you from my love”.

All of heaven watched the event. In fact, God had invited every angel to a “Creation Party”. The event had lasted 6 days, and the partiers were getting tired. Father looked around and saw that everything He had created was good. With a sigh, He announced: “Let’s all rest”. So on the 7th day, everyone rested. Adam, the new man, curled up into Father’s lap and spent wonderful time with Father that day. Father told him about special plans He had for him. He instructed Adam gently on how he should live and about unseen dangers that surrounded him. But mostly, Father spoke to Adam about His love for him. Adam relished every moment. Then Father, resting His head on Adam’s head, soaked in the new moments with His first-born of man, drinking in every detail about the child He now cradled in His arms.

So, on the seventh day, worship was established. Not in a cathedral, in fact, the first worship service didn't happen in a building at all, but in Adam's new home, with true intimacy, just he and Father. God loved the day of rest so much, He established it that day in the garden for all generations that were to come.

Enemy had been watching the event unfold over the seven days of creation, and so far, the game was not at all what he had expected. This seemed too easy. Enemy looked at the poor sap now lying asleep in the arms of God and formulated a plan: “I can make this man called Adam love me. I can be his ‘daddy’ and offer him more than God could ever offer him. I’ll offer him the whole world if that is what it takes to get what I want.”

While Enemy was still contemplating his plan, in the distance he noticed Father was doing something to Adam’s side. Was he removing something? Then, He watched God gather up more mud and form another man, but this one looked noticeably different from the first. God again called toward heaven and retrieved a soul, He then put the soul into the form along with the piece he had removed from Adam, and breathed the breath of life into the motionless body. Like the first-born of man, this one awoke with bright eyes. Again, the Almighty laughed aloud with delight. He awoke Adam from his slumber and introduced the two. Adam was so excited to see this other human. He heard God call the new one: “Eve”. Enemy was surprised at Adam’s immediate infatuation with Eve. His plan then shifted…..in that moment, he decided he would use Eve in his scheme against God.

As days past, Father told many things to Adam and Eve. Enemy, along with his minions, crafty and sly, crouched in hiding around the threesome and heard the life instructions as well. Father offered much freedom to his two children, but strangely, He had given them a steadfast rule to follow. For the first time, He was actually stern with His voice when He told them: “You may eat of anything in your home, for it is all good for you. However, dear ones, do not eat of the tree that is in the center of your garden.”

Enemy needed to hear no more. Later that same evening, he exclaimed: “This is going to be so easy, I’m going to take care of it all by myself”.

And he did. He tricked the woman, Eve, into eating of the forbidden tree. And when she told her husband, Adam, what she had done, Adam chose to disobey Father too. On this day, separation from Father entered the new Earth. As a result of the disobedience, an animal was slain, because Father needed to teach them a rule that had been established: sin = death. So, the first animal was sacrificed as a substitution for the lives of Adam and Eve to cover their sins. And for the first time, Enemy, Molech, the twelve demonic leaders, and all the other demons who were presently in hiding watching "The Happenng" saw BLOOD! And they were thirsty for it. Especially Molech.

Molech rubbed his hands together and licked his lips with a long pointed tongue: "Enemy, as your chief assistant, if it pleases you, I will place myself in charge of gathering blood. My heart is pounding, and I've never felt the excitement I feel right now looking at the thick, red liquid."

"Molech, I hereby entrust you to this mission. You will now be known as Molech, The Blood Gatherer", enemy said as he shook hands with his chief assistant.

Zeus watched the exchange between the two and contemplated in his mind how he could overthrow Molech and become the chief god under Enemy. What he didn't know was that Molech no longer cared about his position of authority under Enemy. He had found his new calling, one that was overtaking him, a passion for blood.

The skin was taken from the slain animal, and Adam and Eve were clothed and put out of the garden, just as Enemy and his followers had been put out of the heavenlies so long ago. The gate to the garden was closed and locked. Adam and Eve were forced to leave their home and would no longer be allowed to eat from the Tree of Life that had been placed in the garden for them. Now, they too, would experience death. Life changed drastically that day.

The first shot of war had been fired and had successfully hit the desired target. The passageway to other dimensions was opened before Enemy and his minions once again. The war with Father had begun.

But just before this time of beginnings, the heavenly angels, the twelve leaders from the twelve tribes, were still having discussions with Father about His plans. They very much wanted to know what the future was going to hold for them. What the Enemy would not count on, and what he could not possibly comprehend, was the sovereignty of Father. What the angels would soon learn is Father had already planned for all things that were to yet come.

“Father, what are we to expect now? You have created millions of souls; we have seen them before our own eyes. Do you believe they can be trusted with your plan of what is to come?”

”Yes, Peter”.

“You have told us so little. We know we have been preparing for a great battle with the fallen ones, however, will we also be at battle with the created ones?”

“In a way, yes, Peter”. Father seemed troubled by the statement.

Father then walked over to the souls who were being kept safe for the bodies they would eventually inhabit. With care, He selected several to set aside. As He held them close to Himself, He said aloud: “Hello, Special Ones”.

The twelve who were gathered watched as Father spoke over the souls who had been set aside from the others. They heard every word He spoke over the souls, the plans He had for their lives, but none of it made sense to them. They watched intently as Father kissed each soul and then placed them back from where He had drawn them out.

He then turned to His twelve: “You are the mightiest angels in all of the heavens. You are powerful leaders for sure, and you have been chosen to lead your armies in the battles that are to come. However, even you do not have the power that I have just given these souls today. They will be the greatest in my Kingdom that is to come.”

“You have instructed us to approach You with boldness, Father, and I wish to say, with utmost respect, I simply do not get it”, spoke Thomas of Gad with utmost concern. “I listened intently as you just spoke, and from what I heard, if those selected have been chosen to be your leaders, then we are doomed for much trouble. Are you quite sure you have given this sufficient thought?”

Father chuckled out loud, slapped His knee and said: “Thomas of Gad, I have created another whose name shall also be called Thomas. You will be guardian of him while he is fulfilling his purpose in his time. I have named him after you, because of my great love for you. I look forward to your opinion of him in the future”.

The gathered just looked at one another. They, too, had heard the Father’s Words spoken over “The Special Ones”. Was anything going to make sense to them anymore?

While they were questioning, Father walked toward them, wrapped His big arms around each of them, one at a time, taking them up into a heavenly embrace before placing His hands on their shoulders. Over each, He spoke these words: “I believe in you, be strong and of good courage. I will not call you to any task you are not prepared for. You are ready to lead your men into the battle that is upon us”.

After the final blessing, a door appeared before Father. He did not open it, but turned toward his twelve and began to explain: “Once I open this door, everything changes. I have a surprise for you. I have decided to give you a gift before I open the door. This gift will empower you and prepare you for what is ahead. Close your eyes with me and receive my gift....believe…..trust me and focus completely”.

After each had reached the needed level of faith required to receive the unexpected gift from Father, He commanded them to open their eyes. And when they opened their eyes, this is what they saw……..

Monday, September 21, 2009

Day #10.....The Story Begins

I have a story to share. I would like to believe the story has been given to me by the Father. I hesitate to say I know it has been given to me by the Father, because in telling the story, I do not want to offend Him or any other Believer in any way. Nonetheless, I intend to share the story.

This journey is not easy. I have good hours and bad hours instead of good days and bad days. Sometimes I feel so close to God I get caught up in my trust toward a Father who only gives good gifts to His children.....things that are best for them. In that excitement, I "faith" Him completely and find praise easy. At other times, the demon of dread comes slinking in around me, taunting me, reminding me. These times are difficult, and during these times, praise is not so easy.....praise becomes more of an act of obedience.

This blog has offered me the opportunity to chronicle the 30 day journey to Hope's open heart surgery. In the next several days, I plan to write the story that is on my heart into this blog. It is a story of Hope, but the readers will have to wait to see how our little Hope ties into the tale. With that being said, here is the beginning:

Once upon a time, in another dimension, thousands of years ago, before earthly time and space, before day and night, when only the mighty warriors, called Angels, had been spoken into existence by the Almighty, a special race of those who would eventually become “human” was established. The establishment did not take on body form in the beginning. The spirit was formed first.

We enter this dimension, not called a day since day was yet to be set down, when the Almighty, affectionately called “Father” has called a formal assembly of the leaders from each of the twelve Angelic Tribes: Gad, Asher, Benjamin, Simeon, Judah, Naphtali, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph, Reuben, Dan, and Levi.

The first two to arrive were Thomas of Gad and John of Judah.

“Have you heard, John of Judah, what we are to expect to learn at this Assembly?”

“I’ve only heard Father has formed something new and spectacular that will confound the wisest among us”, John answered, “but will ultimately play a role in bringing about His ultimate plan for all that is to be”.

“Dear friend, what could confound us any more than what we still are unable to understand? At the last Assembly, when Father showed us the souls of those he calls man, I became most worried and concerned. I can’t fathom how He manages to know the millions by name. There are so many. I worry chaos is to come as soon as His plan is set into motion," replied Thomas in a most uncomfortable manner.

“I have no trouble understanding how Father recalls them by name, Thomas, after all, He remembers each detail of all He has created. I, on the other hand, cannot perceive why He created the souls with the free will to choose whether they will love Him or hate Him. One third of the angels have already turned their backs on Him and have fallen to the Enemy. Surely He doesn’t expect any more from the souls of the ones He is planning to call Man. Once those souls are joined together with the bodies He is molding for them, our true battle will begin.”

While they were still speaking, three other Angelic Leaders, Peter of Zebulun, Andrew of Issachar, and James of Asher entered through the illustrious crystal gate that led into the area called the Assembly. The colors of purple, pink, and yellow penetrated through the crystal gate and shined exquisite light throughout the Assembly.

Of the three, Peter of Zebulun spoke first: “Thomas of Gad, did I overhear you correctly? Are you doubting the acts of Father again?”

“Like you, Peter of Zebulun, I am a follower of YahWeh, I but I still have occasional doubts. I find it difficult to believe God will be able to manage the millions He has created when it is their time to enter the new world that is to come.”

“But Father is powerful, all-powerful. And He is perfect. His plans are also perfect. If He has established it, it will be so. We must believe Him at all cost or we will be no better than those who have fallen”.

Before Thomas of Gad could reply, the trumpet sounded the Assembly into order. This was the customary signal used to announce all twelve leaders had completed their travel from the twelve points of the universe and had successfully gathered into their seats. All were seated, that is, except the five who had been too busy in conversation to notice the arrival of the others.

With haste, the five took their seats along with the others. Every seat in the Assembly was identical, except for the name each bore; each chair was engraved with one of the twelve tribal names. The seats, made of pure gold by Father’s own hands, had also been fashioned with 3 symbols. In times past, when the angels asked the Almighty what the symbols were, He simply replied:

“To the left is a lamb…..for I am the lamb. To the right is a lion…..for I am also the lion. In the center is a cup……for many will drink of me, beloved, and never thirst again”.

Having never seen a lion or a lamb, the angels did not ask any other questions. They loved their chairs and cherished the gift that had been hand-made for them by their Father. To them, no other object held as much value.

A hush fell over the Assembly as the presence of God entered the place before Him. Through the gate and down the aisle the Creator of the Universe marched, and onto His throne, before them all, He took His seat. As He passed those gathered, they stood to their feet, heads held high. When Father took His seat, they each bowed to one knee, dropped their heads and clasped their hands underneath their chins. With one voice they sang:

“Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty”…. Their voices filled the Assembly as they sang and worshiped their King. The gathering of the twelve had seen the Father on countless occasions, but meeting Him again was always an emotional event filled with many tears of gratitude, hearts full of love, and adoration beyond compare.

After the worship, Father called the Assembly to order. To an angel of small stature standing toward the back of the assembly, the Creator called:

“Jesse, the Assembling of this moment has officially started. Please enter the notes of this meeting into the Book of Knowledge of the Future”.

Then, turning to the leaders of the twelve Angelic Tribes he said: “Beloved ones, please rise and take your seats”.

Jesse, the angel of records, had been waiting patiently with pen in hand for the order to come from Father. Carefully, and with great reverence toward the contents, Jesse removed the Book of Knowledge of the Future from the special chest that all the books of God are kept in. Keeping records, Jesse’s only job, was what he enjoyed doing more than anything. To serve Father gave him joy without measure. As Father spoke, Jesse began to write:

“My beloved, it warms my heart to see each of you gathered here in this moment. Before we begin the meeting, I want to say how much I adore every single thing about each of you. You serve me well. I think of you constantly.” And, God began to cry. “I am God, Creator of all things, including love; however, even I cannot adequately express with words the love I have for each of you”.

Even though the angels experienced this outpouring of love from Father each time they saw Him, the Words spoken by God to them filled them with great passion. As one, they lept to their feet, jumped up and down with arms raised and shouted their love back to the Father. They each said different things, but God heard each word and took it all in as one takes in the fragrance of a flower. He closed His eyes and allowed Himself to breath in their love and praise offerings to Him until He was made full.

With a nod and warm smile, the Father lifted His arms. In response, the twelve took their seats, faces still beaming from the experience they had just had with their great lover, eager to know the secret God intended to share with them:

“Beloved, I have gathered you together from the twelve points of the supreme universe to unveil a plan to you. This plan involves each of you and many from your tribes. This plan involves space and time, and will climax by impacting the lives of the souls you were shown at our last assembly. It all begins……..”.

At this same moment, in yet another dimension, in a place far distant from the Holy place of Father, another was listening intently as the Almighty spoke. This being was also god and ruler. He made no physical movement as he darted his eyes to the one seated to the right of him. In a whisper, almost as soft as a breath, Enemy spoke: “Write down every word He says”.

(To Be Continued)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Day #9.."Bless Those Who Curse You"

"We may not want a child to start on life's uncertain voyage if the prospects are clouded. When this can be known at a very early age in the voyage, we may still have a chance to make a fresh start. This means detaching ourselves from the infant who has been born, cutting ourselves free before the ties that have already begun to bind us to our child have become irresistable. Instead of going forward and putting all our effort into making the best of the situation, we can still say no, and start again from the beginning".
[Peter Singer, Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University and part of President Obama's health care team, referring to Down Syndrome. Professor Singer has also argued that it should be legal for parents to decide to have their disabled infants killed up to 28 days after birth.]


"We love our Bobby Labonte and the WWF/ We love our Swaggart and Haggard,/ and we love the W., the president/ There's love all around us/ Our church friends are doing well/ And the little mongoloid children/ will keep 'em all from hell."
[From Bruce Hornsby's new album: "Levitate"...making fun of Conservatives and taking a dig at the pro-life movement's stand for the disabled (mongoloid children).]

"Indeed it has been concluded that compulsory population control laws requiring compulsory abortion could be sustained under the current Constitution"
[John Holdren, Science Czar]

"In my opinion, the moral thing for older mothers to do is to have amniocentesis, as soon during pregnancy as is safe for the fetus, test whether placental cells have a third chromosome #21, and abort the fetus if it does. The brain is the last organ to become functional."
[UNC Chapel Hill Professor Albert Harris]

Incidence of Down Syndrome babies: 1/733

5, 000+ babies are born every year with Down syndrome

92% of women that are given a pre-natal diagnosis of Down syndrome choose to abort

It is believed without abortion, the incidence of having a child with Down Syndrome would be somewhere between 1/150 or 1/100 (the same as having twins).

Most babies with Down syndrome are born to parents that were NOT given a pre-natal diagnosis

80% of babies with Down syndrome are born to women under the age of 35

"New tests expected to be introduced next year will offer a simple blood test that poses no risk to the fetus and delivers a definitive diagnosis of one of more of the genetic variants of Down syndrome -- trisomy 21, translocation, or mosaicism," the journal reported. The development of these new tests will almost surely make the practice of prenatal screening for Down syndrome more widespread. "
[The above paragraph from an article: Will Babies With Down Syndrome Just Disappear? by R. Albert Mohler, Jr. on the eradication of Down Syndrome through blood tests that will be routinely offered to all pregnant women to determine if their unborn child has Down Syndrome.
Positive Tests = abortion.]

These are just a few quotes and statistics I am throwing out to get a point across.....hopefully having a "shock" affect on those who take the time to read them. While Hope is going to fight the battle of her life on October 12th, every individual you see with Down Syndrome (or another disability) is being pursued for battle every day of his or her life. The battle is being fought on the grounds of "sanctity of life". The battle is being fought with a powerful weapon called "perfectionism".

The enemy uses whoever he can to attempt to tear down the priceless gift of life that was given to EVERY human by The Creator. Every day, as parents of the disabled, we must remind ourselves that we do not have to enter the battlefield. The battle for our special ones was won on the Cross! Each day, friends, we have victory! Our special ones have hope for a future in Glory where they will be made first in the Heavenly Kingdom! Where they will be given many crowns to lay at the feet of the King of Kings. What a glorious day that will be.

So today, our prayer needs to be for those who don't yet know The Truth. Only The Truth, The Savior, can set them free. I truly believe when the world sees with their own eyes, the joy, peace and depth of love that comes from our special ones, the "light" enters.....unexpectedly.....and eventually, the light will overtake the darkness.

We march tonight for Hope....and in marching, we also march for our little red-headed Charlie who also has Down Syndrome, and for all the disabled and parents of the disabled who have taken the time to reach out to Hope over the last several days:

"I run (or march) straight toward the goal to win the prize that God's heavenly call offers in Christ Jesus." To all of the "special ones".....Keep Marching!
Phil. 4:13
We love you!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Day #8...This Video Says a Mouthful!!!

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The kids do this with Hopey all of the time; I wanted you to see the special joy she receives when she is being hugged and kissed by her big brother and big sisters. God is so good. Her little light keeps shining.

Day #7...A Message From Hope



I'm a little girl with quite a story,
Made in Father's image for His glory.

Many would say I'm just a mistake,
but no accident does my God make.

He allows me to see things that most don't see,
Beautiful angels are all around me.

My first smile must have been a big deal,
The angels shouted when they saw it....they did, for real!

When I took my first steps, of course they were there,
Holding me up with most tender care.

I dance, and they love to come dancing with me,
We spin, raise our hands, setting our spirits free.

With my family, I bow my head to pray,
The angels know what my heart wants to say.

You should believe me; these things you should know,
Psalm 91 will tell you it is so.

Your prayers I have seen with my very own eyes,
I know the prayer is coming when the messenger flies.

First, to God the prayers are brought,
He saves them in bowls in a special spot.

Then He says to the messenger, "Go right away",
"Tell Little Hope my power is coming her way".

Then "BOOM", His power enters my space,
It makes me wanna run all over the place.

The power of God is a wonderful thing,
Peace, Healing, and Knowledge it always brings.

So thank you to all who are praying today,
God is using your prayer in a most special way.

To touch my spirit and boost my heart,
Manifesting His plan.....He's made me a small part.

The bigger part of His plan involves you,
Through my imperfect body, He's showing something new.

Faith can move mountains, and grace covers all,
But from these two things the "Kingdom Secret" falls.

The secret was written by the great Author above,
A big Romantic He is......He created love.

When you take the time to love the lowly like me,
You warm our Lover's heart a million degrees.

"Whatever you do for the least of these.....you have done it for me!"

I Love You All!!!
Hope

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Day # 6....Our Little Light

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"This Little Light Of Mine"......That pretty much sums Hopey up. She is definitely a little light. I've already mentioned before, Hope isn't speaking yet. She just turned 4, and we are still waiting on our first: "Mommy", "Daddy", "I love you". If she says "Mommy", I will have to be mopped off of the floor. I will completely melt.

It is interesting to live with a little person who knows exactly what she wants but can't speak. We do sign language as much as possible, and she knows close to 50 signs. Problem is that she only uses the sign language when it suits her. Most of the time, she doesn't want to bother with thinking through the sign for "drink", "eat", "movie", "I want" or "please". Instead, for instance, she pulls me by the shirt or arm over to the kitchen and bangs on the refrigerator door or the pantry door..... OR she gets a Barney video, brings it to me and then goes and plops herself in her chair in front of the tv with a big grin. She has figured out the easy way of getting what she wants. And, apparently, she has trained her family quite well, because we all serve her like she is a queen.

I've thought about all of this more frequently over the last several days, probably because I want to hear her verbally say "Mommy" so badly. (I REALLY want her to say "Mommy" before October 12th.) Hope communicates with me perfectly without words. She says "I Love You" all of the time with great big bear hugs, loud smoochy kisses and gigantic grins that cover her little round face. She communicates "I'm happy" with laughter, "I'm sad" through her tears, and "I'm mad" with a mouth that turns wrongside out (you'd have to see it to believe it). She even communicates "Mommy" each time she chooses me over another in the family. So why is it that I want to hear words?

I've been that way with God, too. "I want to hear words, God!!!" Tell me you love me. Tell me everything is going to be ok. Tell me....tell me.....tell me. I can imagine Him rolling His eyes as I am typing this post wondering if I am really going to accept that it is much more meaningful to be shown love through actions than to have received love via the spoken word.

What I have found on this "Hope journey" is I give Hope much more of my attention because she doesn't speak. I have to watch her and study her to really know her and connect with her. Unlike a person who doesn't spend a lot of time with Hope, I can tell her sick cry from an "I'm tired" cry.....I know the difference between an "I'm not able to do this" grunt and an "I just don't want to do this" grunt.......If Hope had the ability to speak, I wouldn't have to spend so much time "learning her". Maybe this is why God doesn't speak audibly very often. I know I have never heard His audible voice. Maybe He wants me to really "learn Him".

One way I can "learn God" is through Creation. Creation didn't stop with "In the beginning....". Creation is still in motion. For example, God spoke: "Let there be light!" Then, in obedience, the light popped into action and never stopped. From a book I read years ago, and have not forgotten: "Light travels at the speed of 186,000 miles per second. At the time of creation, God called into existence more than 16 billion miles of universe within a 24 hour period. Scientists say the universe is still expanding at the speed of light......there are galaxies millions of light-years away" (Your Spiritual Authority by Charles Capps). The day I accepted His plan over my own, God looked at me and said: "Let there be light". From that moment, my light was meant to shine forth.....moving, expanding, reaching, touching, creating. Webster tends to lean toward defining the word "light" as a noun. I bet God considers the word to be a verb.

To close, today was a rainy day. There was not much to do besides stay in the house all day. So, we stayed in and sang "This Little Light of Mine" about 50 times. At least. Hope loved every minute of it. Even in singing and dancing with Hope to a simple song, God is teaching me. As I watched Hope get so excited spinning, dancing, and moving her arms to the music that she couldn't stand it, I saw the Lord in her light. I felt joy. I smiled and laughed. Wonderous light radiated from her little dancing body and landed right on me. Before I knew it, hours had passed and I had not even thought of October 12th. Amazing? God.

"Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven".

Still marching.....marched through puddles tonight. It was glorious!!! Thank you, again, mighty prayer warriors. I have each of you pictured in my mind, standing strong all around little Hopey. You have been a light to us this week. You have blessed us more than you'll ever know.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Day #5.....Big Brother's March For Hope




























Caleb, Hope's big brother and hero, almost 15 years of age, has asked if he could share his heart with all who are praying for Hope......Caleb's love for Hope is a special thing. They have been buddies since she was just a tiny baby. He has a tenderness toward her that continually touches my heart and all those who see him with her:

Hi, I'm Caleb. I'm scared for Hope. I'm scared that God might take her away to benefit His plan. There are so many things I love about my baby sister, that I would miss like crazy. I love getting up and seeing the bright smile on her face as she's running through the house shouting at everyone. I would definitely miss getting hit by a green bean flying across the table after she has just rocketed one at me, and then the look of innocence following the flying vegetable. I would miss throwing my food back at her to make her laugh. She loves it. The real challenge with Hope is trying to catch her glasses when she gets tired of them and throws them across the room. They have landed in my mashed potatoes and gravy several times. I love carrying Hope on my shoulders....even though she enjoys beating me on my head when she's up there. I tickle her to make her giggle and get a kick out of the way she steals my guitar pick to strum my electric guitar when I'm playing. Most of all, I love staying up late, holding her in my arms, and watching tv with her until she falls asleep. We do this alot. This is what I would miss most.


Alot of people don't understand how such great gifts can come in imperfect packages. You don't have to have a super wrapped up, pretty package to have a great gift. What really matters is what is on the inside. And Hope is beautiful on the inside. I get angry, and sometimes want to tell people off, when they give Hope a strange look and think they are better than her. But Hope doesn't care. She doesn't understand. She's just being Hope.



If I could change anything about Hope, I wouldn't, except I would make sure she had a good heart. I dread the heart surgery so much to where I just can't even comprehend that Hope could die in the surgery and I would never be able to spend another moment with her on earth. I'm just praying that God will work a miracle and that Hope will be fine after surgery. I hope she will be just like she is now. I love the song: "There is hope for me yet.....because God won't forget.....The plans He's made for me.....There is hope for me yet". I can't imagine God's plan for my life wouldn't include Hope being in it. For 4 years, I have dreamed of being Hope's coach in the Special Olympics. I want to teach her how to run a race. When she gets into trouble around the house, she can run quick as lightning. It's shocking how fast she can run. I think she could blow away all of the competition in the Special Olympics some day. We could come home with a gold medal. God knows this is my dream.



I want to share my heart for Hope tonight, but it is so hard. How do you write about someone who comes into your life and flips it all around? Before Hope, I looked at the whole world differently. I looked at every day as a time to go out and have the best time I could without a worry in the world. Now Hope has taught me there is more to life than just having fun. There are people, like Hope, who need our help and prayers. I took my life for granted and I think that is what alot of people do everyday. Hope will never have the chance to do things that most of us do all of the time. I don't take things for granted anymore. I'm thankful for the mind and body I've been given and want to do my very best in everything I do, because I know my sister would love to have the opportunity to do things I do, but she will never have the chance because her body and her mind won't let her. I want my life to matter for her. Everyone always says I'm Hope's hero, but the truth is, she is mine.


I am so proud of Hope and love showing her off to all of my friends. I've even named her the "chick magnet". I guess what I would want everyone to know is kids with Down Syndrome are still kids. Things don't come as easy for them, but they give a 110% in everything they do. If you see a kid with Down Syndrome, don't look away. Say hi. Be their friend. They will adore you.


Please don't forget my sister and all of the joy she has given everyone who has met her. Don't just say you'll pray to say it. Really mean it, because my sister needs a miracle. God still does the unthinkable. It is not too late for Hope. Thank you for praying. Keep on marching with us. We are going to get our miracle.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Day # 4....This Will Blow You Away!

God spoke to my heart today; I have no doubt I have heard from the Father. I don't know how I am going to type as fast as my mind is working, but I'm going to try:

I want to start this post by giving some background. For those of you who don't know me, I have loved the Lord with all of my heart my entire life. I can't remember a time in my life that I haven't wanted to please Him with all of me, until 6 months ago. For the last 10 years, my husband, Chappy and I have held a family meeting and Bible study each night in our home. During this time, the kids are welcome to voice anything on their minds while having our full attention. After our meeting and Bible study, we always end with prayer. Our prayer and message has most often centered around the scripture that says: "He searches the earth for those whose hearts are fully committed to him." Chappy and I continually ask the children: "Are we going to be a family He is searching the earth for? Are we going to be a family He can use?"

As I've shared before, when Hope was born, we began an even deeper prayer and faith journey in praying for her heart and believing for healing for her heart. So many verses are clear that if a believer has faith, mountains will move.....not might move, but will move. As a family, we claimed those scriptures, have memorized most all of them, and have spoken them in prayers daily over Hope. After 4 years of faithful prayers for Hope, 2 open heart surgeries, we were told in January she was going to have to undergo a 3rd, probably much more serious, open heart surgery. I cannot relay to you the anger I felt that day! I felt abandoned by God! A person came to my mind that day, a person who is lost, and I thought.....Hope is going to have to suffer, and it is so this person will find the Lord. I remember the thought very clearly. I also remember thinking to myself: "Oh no you don't, God"...... and I stood up to God and spent 6 months, literally, reading every book I could find that explained why He is not real.....why Jesus is not the Messiah, and why Christianity is a big hoax. This is the honest truth. I then embraced those books and made them my Bible.

From January through June, I refused to speak to God. When someone prayed, I would not bow my head or consider closing my eyes. I would not listen to Christian music and we ceased the nightly Bible studies and prayer time we had been doing faithfully as a family for over 10 years. Chappy was angry too, not as angry as me, but he was more than ready to give God a break after getting Hope's January heart news.

In early July, I began to soften a little bit. The children were missing church, prayer and Bible study. We never shared any of our bitterness toward God with them, so I'm sure they were wondering what was going on. To make them happy, Chappy and I started going to church again. Immediately, God brought 3 new friends into our lives who have little ones with Down Syndrome. They attend this church, and we began hoping to see them at church and often sitting with them. God is so sneaky. Pretty soon, Chappy and I found ourselves looking forward to going to church again to see these families.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago, when Pastor Steve Berger entered the church on Sunday after preaching his son, Josiah's, funeral on Friday. Chappy and I were at church that Sunday. We hadn't come to hear Pastor Steve that day, we had come hoping to see our new friends. Little did I know, that God was going to shove Himself back into my life on that Sunday. However, before telling you what happened, I want to go back even further, to my 20th week of pregnancy with Hope.

Pastor Steve's heart was probably crumbling on the Friday he preached Josiah's funeral service. My life fell apart on a Friday too. At my 20th pregnancy week, I found out Hope had Down Syndrome, a stomach defect, brain lesions, and a serious heart defect. On that day, I was told she probably wouldn't live to be born. Through the weekend, I cried out to God in complete despair, opened my Bible and begged Him to show me His plan. That weekend, we decided to name our little unborn baby girl, Hope, because the Doctors had given her no hope. (Each time we speak her name, we speak God's hope over her. Love her name.)

So, on this particular Friday, my life fell apart, and on the following Sunday, we attended church. Chappy and I scooted in at the end of a pew that Sunday near the front. I had never seen the woman that I sat next to, we made eye contact and gave brief nods, but that was about it. This particular church, it is near Gallatin where we were living at the time, rarely plays hymns; however, this Sunday, they played the hymn: "On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand.....all other ground is sinking sand, all other ground is sinking sand". That song resonated with my soul, and I sang the words at the top of my lungs and wept as I sang. I cried so hard I was shaking, but I kept singing.

The lady next to me put her arm around me and asked if I was ok. I told her no and explained the news we'd been given. She told me she is a part time nurse at Vanderbilt and would be praying for our little Hope. Fast forward the reel to Hope's 2nd open heart surgery 18 months later, this nurse, Kelly, was one of Hope's nurses. Accident? No. We spoke of our one and only meeting at church that fateful Sunday. She had been praying for our little Hope and wondering what had happened to her. Meeting her again was a true blessing.

Now, back to Steve Berger and Grace Chapel Church......Steve preached Josiah's funeral on a Friday.....and he entered the church sanctuary the following Sunday morning just when the song: "On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand" was beginning to play. Steve raised his arms....actually pumped his arms.....toward heaven and shouted the song from the depths of his heart with tears streaming. Then, I broke. On that day, in that moment, God brought back the memories in a flood.....and my will broke. Chappy knew. He put his arm around me and knew.

Since then, I have repented. I put the "anti-Christian" books away and read 3 Christian fiction books right away....."The Oath" by Frank Peretti, "Lunatic" by Ted Dekker, and "Elyon" by Ted Dekker. I opened my Bible again and poured myself back into His Word. I made a choice to believe. It was a "free will" choice. I wanted Him to audibly speak to me to prove He was real.....He didn't. I wanted Him to send an angel to visit me to prove He was real.....He didn't do that either. It all came down to a choice. Hope of eternity or no hope at all. I chose hope. And, the best news is, once I opened my heart again, the Lord met me there.

Fast forward the reel to last Wednesday, the day of Hope's heart cath.....that evening, nurse Kelly, the same nurse Kelly that I had met in church over 4 years prior, popped her head into Hope's room to ask if I needed anything. She didn't remember me this time, but I remembered her. I chose not to say anything to her, because I understood why this "part time nurse" had again showed up in my life. God was letting me know He is in all of this. He was reminding me: "On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand". At the exact time Kelly popped her head in the door, I was alone in the room holding Hope in my arms in a rocking chair taking in all of the news I had received that day.....a 3rd open heart surgery, an aneurysm on her heart......etc. I looked up and answered that I didn't need anything. When Kelly was out of sight, I said aloud to God: "I know, You are here with me and You are asking me to stand on the Rock".

The Sunday prior to Hope's catheterization, we had a birthday party for Hope. At the party, I was discussing Hope's upcoming catheterization and potential surgery. I told another mother that I knew why Hope was going through this valley.....I told her about the lost person. The same lost person I had thought of in January.....the same lost person who still needs a Savior.

God works in mysterious ways. Late last night this was confirmed to me through an email. I received this email from a person I have met only one time.....months ago. She is a friend of a friend. Although I had met this woman one time, and have had no contact or thought of her again, over the last few days, she has been on my mind and I knew I would hear from her and even told Chappy a few days before receiving her email that I would hear from her. AND, crazy as it sounds, I already knew what her email was going to say before I even read it. Imagine how I felt when I read her words:

Here is part of the email she sent:
i would love to write more, but for now the Lord wanted me to tell you that He is going to use your sweet little angel to bring _________(named the lost person) to a greater knowledge of Himself. I'm sure that you would really just like to have your sweet hope healed ---even by human hands that God uses, and perhaps you could care less about the soul of a lost man. but I can tell that from reading your blog that you know that it is God's glory at stake and as painful as it is that He would use our closest loves to further the Kingdom, "He searches the earth for those whose hearts are fully committed to him."

Part of my reply was this:
to answer your question as to whether I "could care less about the soul of a lost man"......wow. Would I be willing to lay down the life of my own child to save another? That pretty much puts into perspective what God did when He sent Jesus, doesn't it? I'm not God.

I went to bed after talking about all of this with Chappy for about an hour, knowing God's hand is at work in all of this..... No escape. Chappy posed the question: ".....where is the free will in this?" Just before he asked the question, I had already asked the same question in my heart and had immediately received an answer: "We have free will. We have a choice to get on board with God's plan and go with it.....or we can do what I have done for the last 6 months, be angry with God and be of no use to Him, or anyone else, at all". We both went to bed with all of this weighing on our minds.....searching God......wanting to hear from Him.

This morning I took Hope to preschool (2 days per week from 8:30am - 12pm). For some reason, I dressed her in a little green smocked dress that has a school bus and school children around the neckline. She looked like a doll. I didn't know this was school picture day, because Hope was absent all last week due to surgery, so I was elated to realize I had dressed her perfectly for the day. We went into the classroom and were immediately told about a little fella who seemed to be getting sick. The teachers wanted to give me the option of whether I wanted to let Hope stay and risk her getting sick or take her on home to be safe. I decided to take her home. One of the teachers walked out with me and said she wanted to see if she could pull some strings to go ahead and get Hope's picture taken before we left.

We walked to the area where school pictures of what looked to be a kindergarten or 1st grade class were already being taken, and were told we could "cut line" with Hope. The teacher of the class we "cut" walked over to me and said: "Your little girl looks like my sister". I asked, "Your sister has Down Syndrome?" She replied: "Yes, and she is 40 years old. Due to a serious heart condition, she wasn't supposed to live, but she did". This teacher knew nothing about Hope's heart condition, so I began to tell her as I cried. She hugged me and said she would pray for Hope. Accidental meeting? No. I now know God was softening me for what He was preparing to reveal to me.

Hope smiled for her school pictures (can't wait to see them), then we left to take Lydia to her homeschool tutorial classes. On the way, she was refreshing her memory for a science quiz she will take today, Hope was listening to a Sesame Street DVD, Natalie had fallen asleep in the backseat with our little black schnoodle, Trudy, Charlie was asleep in his carseat, and I was left with my thoughts. I began to pray and listen for God's voice.

Above, I mentioned reading 3 Christian fiction books after getting back on God's path again. Today, God brought one of those books back to my mind. I finished it weeks ago, but it has come to mind several times, because I didn't completely get it. The book is "Elyon", and it is #6 in a series called "The Lost Books" (I read everything Ted Dekker writes). In the book, to be saved, believers must dive into a thick, copper-tasting, red-colored lake, swim deep, suck in the water, and drown. When reading the books, I understood the message Ted Dekker was trying to get across with head knowledge, but today, in the car, I understood it with my heart.

God met me in my Honda mini van. Isn't it wonderful how the King of the Universe can meet us in the silliest of places. He isn't on any time constraint, He's just waiting until we have time to hear Him. He spoke clearly to my heart and told me to drown. Then, in my mind's eye, I visually saw the red lake that I had read about, and it all came together for me.

For years, I have begged God to make me that believer He is searching the whole earth to find....the one who is committed.....one He can use for His purposes. For years I meant it with all of my heart. Today, I finally realized, He has found me worthy of a task. He searched and chose me, my family, little Hope.

There is a red lake in front of me, and He is not asking me to take a swim.......He is asking me to dive in with arms spread wide, to swim with all of my might to the depths of the blood-filled lake, the lake that is red because of HIS sacrifice, and then, when I have gone to the very depths, to suck in and fill my lungs with it until I drown. He is asking me to put Melanie completely to death. Drown her. Get rid of her. And suck Him in completely with reckless abandon. Not worrying about the consequences. Not worrying about the details. Eager to trust. Eager to "faith". Eager for whatever He has in store.

What was Abraham asked to do? I'm no Abraham, but I can say, if God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son, then why wouldn't He ask "plain old me"? He would, and He is. Don't misunderstand me, God hasn't told me that Hope is going to die so this other lost person will come to Him. I'm not saying that at all. The lost person I've been speaking of still has a choice to make; even though I know for a fact God is "romancing" this person to Himself and has been for some time.....using many believers who have been plopped into his life. Chappy, Hope, and I are just 3 of many.

I am saying this.....actually my soul is shouting it: He is asking me to completely abandon myself to His will, so that I am willing to give him everything.....including Hope. THIS, He can use. The dilemma I have had for the last 6 months over Jesus has been all of the healing scripture that offers healing to those who believe. I spent many moments (I am unproud of) shouting at God that He is a liar.....telling Him that His Word is not true. I threw those healing scriptures back in His face and told Him it is a pack of lies invented by men. I crucified Him. The One I said I would NEVER not believe in, I turned on, spat on, whipped, and crucified. I put Him in a grave, rolled a stone to cover it, and I left Him to go on my own to the desert.

I spent 6 months in the desert. He was silent. I wasn't. Occasionally, I would still find myself screaming at Him like a nutcase, reading every book I could find that spoke against Him, daring my husband to turn on a Christian radio station when I was in the car with him.....

Then, on that Sunday morning, thinking the Jesus in my life was dead, crucified, and buried......He rose again. When the song: "On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand" played, He rolled the stone away, left the grave in my heart I had buried Him in, and He hugged me. I felt it. And I hugged Him back. I had missed Him so much.

Does He offer healing for those who believe? He certainly does. Does He move mountains for those who believe and are called according to His purpose? Yep. Is His word true? You bet. But in the wonder and mystery of Who He is, there is something so much deeper than: I'm going to read scripture, pray, believe with all of my heart and get my way. That "deeper" is what He is teaching me. That "deeper" I could never have learned had I not gone into the desert alone. He knew that. It was part of my journey too.

So, I wrote a couple of days ago about the beautiful package that I am to open on October 12th. The package that holds God's plan for Hope this time around. Today He is preparing me for the celebration party. Just like Queen Esther was "beautified" before going before the king, God is preparing me by making me more beautiful in order to meet Him and receive the gift He has wrapped for me. Before I can open that gift, I have to take a swim in a red lake, in fact, I have to do a swan dive into the lake, then I have to dive really deep and suck in. I have to drown.

Still at His feet......still praying with all of my heart for my baby girl.....still believing...still marching!