Monday, September 28, 2015

Faith, it ain't determination.

I guess this pretty much all started last year.  Life has taught me to be a worrier and a planner, especially when it comes to finances.

I prayed this small (big) prayer that I didn't realize would still affect me today.

God, please help me learn to trust you.

Trust number one:  get off of SNAP benefits and WIC.

We did.  And God has always provided more than enough food for our household.  That seemed like a big order to fill for a family of ten.

Trust number two:  give an offering over and above your tithe.

We did.  It seemed like all was crazy when all of a sudden, my workload slowed down, my husband's job started bouncing his checks and paying him late (and God told me to tell him to quit his job), and we lost my daughter's disability.

And then my husband got a new job with a huge pay raise and benefits, I saw a massive business income increase, and our daughter's disability returned.

Trust number three:  Buy your family good things. 

Oh, how I don't like to spend.  But God told me to start buying my family things they want and good things for them, and stop worrying about the money end.  I did.  We've built a lot of memories over the last year, and we've always had more than enough.

Trust number four:  Quit your job.

This year, we've seen more debts pile on than we can imagine, not from intentionally accumulating debt, just crazy circumstances (a car accident, a heart attack, etc.).

We keep trying to save money, and the money has to keep going out the window for necessary things.

And now, God showed us our house.  It's big enough for our family of ten, and it's within our budget.  It's right smack dab near our church.  That was no small thing for my big God.  It's five bedrooms and two bathrooms, in a nice neighborhood.  We're moving in T minus two months.  We had a plan in place about how we would save the necessary money to be able to move.

But God just has to go and interrupt that and throw a wrench in those plans.

God's been speaking to me, and it's about resting in Him.

I guess it started about a month ago, about the time we entered into Victory Christian Center's School of Supernatural Ministry.  They've been speaking over us that we're risk takers.  We were asked what we were willing to give up over the next nine months as we pursue Him.  "Not my job, God," I thought.  "I need to keep working for my family."

Gently at first, like a heartbeat, I've heard God beating out, "Rest.  Rest.  Rest."    And then, a reminder of a passage I read about entering God's rest from Joshua chapter one.  This book has much meaning in our lives, as God has spoken to us much about our land of promise, our inheritance being the city of Houston through the entire book of Joshua.  It began with a prophetic word soon after my father-in-law passed away from Bishop Tony Miller in Oklahoma City that caused God to ask us to give away everything we had, pack up our family and what we could in our van, and get to Houston.  No place to live, and no church family, but we came.  And God provided abundantly.  He gave us nice things, nicer than I would have certainly bought, and we paid not a penny.  He even paid us to move to where we live now.

A few class periods ago, we were challenged to listen to God and hear what lie we've been believing and what the truth is.  My lie?  That I could not trust him in ALL areas of my life.  God's truth?  Let go of your business, because I want to provide.   I've seen you working hard, supporting your family, through all of your husband's job losses, through him feeling like I was telling him to not work.  But I want you enter into My rest, because I love you, Rachael, and I care about the depths of your inmost being.

*Screeching Record*

Wait.  What, God?  We're supposed to move in two months.  We have bills to pay.  How will we ever afford that?

A chuckle.  Rach, I want to provide for you.  It's why you guys can't seem to save money, even though I am abundantly blessing you.  I want to give you guys your house.  I want you to rest. 

Okay, God.  I'm going to need some confirmation.  Did I really hear that from You?

I'm reading our book for the month for VSSM by Bill Johnson, When Heaven Invades Earth.  And I read that "Rest is the climate that faith grows in.  It comes out of the peace of God.  What is restful for us is violent to the powers of hell.  That is the violent nature of faith." 

And then, I start talking to my husband about this.  As I'm talking to him, he tells me I cannot quit my job because he hasn't heard this from God himself, and red warning flags are going off everywhere.  Except that something tells me it's his fear talking.  Okay, God.  I'm going to need Your help here.  So I tell my husband out of respect for him, I'm going to keep working until he hears from God.

And then the worst imaginable thing happens.  I start crying.  In front of my husband.  I really don't like to do that.  I was trying so hard not to cry,  but my husband, he encourages me to tell him what was on my mind.  The next words out of my mouth, well, they were nothing but God. 

I'm so tired, my heart cries out.  I need to enter into God's rest.  I need to minister to our children.  I need to get our house in order.  God has seen my faithfulness in working, and I need to rest.  I need to rest in His presence.  I know this doesn't make sense.  Nothing God tells me makes sense at first.  And that's how I know it's Him.  But He wants to provide for our house.  All the while, the tears are flowing, and nothing I can do will stop them. 

And my husband says, "Okay.  I heard your heart.  I agree.  You need to stop working." 

It's later on that he tells me he's just afraid.  He had a plan, and God just derailed it.  He's relied on me to help make the ends meet.  It's scary. 

But by our quick obedience, we just gave God an opportunity to bring heaven to earth.  In heaven, there is no lack, so we're going to laugh in joy as we see God's hand provide for us until He tells me to work again.  In the meantime, I am going to spend time soaking in His presence.  I am going to sleep a lot more.  I just cannot wait to see what God will do, all because this time, my faith can't be determination that will make things happen.  This one is all God. 

Am I a bit shaken and scared at the thought of having to trust God this much?  Yes, my flesh hates this.  But my spirit knows it's necessary to grow my faith.  I want to be an all-out risk taker, where determination no longer drives my life, but faith does.  Faith just moved my Abba's heart.  I can't make this move happen.  I can't make our bills get paid.  But God will.  And that's enough for me.

Monday, May 25, 2015

He wrote me this letter...

Okay, so it was a Facebook post for the entire world to see.  But it's made every tear, every heartache, every moment of brokenness, every prayer so very worth it.  I wouldn't have seen these words even a year ago.  Yeah, this is big, guys.  Never in my entire life has my Superman made me feel so loved and honored.

Dear Rachael,
You have given me a lot to smile about over the last seven years. I know I have been a challenge, but I am grateful for the challenges that you have given me. I am so thankful that you never gave up and you kept on persevering. Where others walked away and gave up you stood there toe to toe with me against all kinds of adversaries. You have brought lots of smiles and laughter to my heart. I cannot ever thank you enough for the encouragement that you poured into me. I am so grateful for your love and strong willed determination to see me grow in the things of God in spite of the trials and the hardships that I dealt with. I have watched you grow in the things of God. I am glad that I played an integral role in that. Seven years ago, God used me to introduce you to things about the Kingdom of God and then like an untamed thoroughbred take off in all the things that God has for you. One of things that makes me love you more and more each day is how you get ahold of things and then I watch you just take off. I love that you throw caution to the wind and jump in head first. Even when you are afraid, you don’t let it show. To me you are the standard of a Proverbs 31 woman. My heart trusts in you because of the God in you. Looking back seven years ago and looking ahead to the next seven years and beyond my life would be an empty and void if I did not get to live it with you.
You are my Wonder Woman; I love you with all my heart,
Happy 7th Anniversary
Your Superman

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The Untitled Project

I've probably start, stopped, and rewritten this post several times as I've processed what happened with my husband's second heart attack.  And I'm still processing.  I'm just going to be real here.

I have a new found admiration for every family member that has to sit with anyone they love in the hospital.  They are the ones that have to fight for that one they love in that hospital bed.  In my case, it was fun because my husband was totally drugged and was saying things like, "Awww, you're so sweet to me."

Did I have my Daddy God to lean on?  Absolutely.  What I found out is that people I thought were friends really weren't when it got down to walking the talk.  One person out of hundreds actually showed up in person.  One.  Know what I needed that week?  Real, actual people.  Those who will come sit with me through hours of waiting while my husband was in surgery.  Someone who would have offered to check in our kids while I was at the hospital, maybe taken them some meals.  Someone who would have reached out with a hug to me and said everything was going to be all right.  It would all be okay.

I just learned those willing to go that distance don't often exist.  And I'll admit, I'm pretty disappointed in my circle of so-called friends.  Everyone worries about that person in the hospital bed, forgetting on the opposite side is someone they love having to drop everything and care for that someone they love dearly.

Let's not forget the hospital staff themselves.  If there's one thing I can say to the hospital my husband was in is that they really, REALLY, need to get on the same page with hospital policies.  Being told one day, yes, I absolutely need to stay with my husband from a hospital administrator after being told by a nurse that I couldn't stay the night, and then the next, being told by yet another nurse I couldn't stay at the hospital overnight and sleeping on a waiting room floor, knowing my husband was going to have a second surgery the next day... that was more upsetting to me than anything else.  The nurses don't even realize how much work I saved them staying in the hospital with my husband. 

And now, my husband is back at work after being fully released by his cardiologist, and now, because someone up high seems to think my husband had open-heart surgery (he had a cath procedure to place stints), they're not letting him work OT, which puts even more stress on me to work to make up for the difference. 

Am I angry right now? You bet.  I am angry that my husband hasn't taken care of his health all these years, though I am proud of him for changing his eating habits and adding exercise.  I am angry at the hospital staff.  I am angry because I just can't seem to get a break from working, when I need for things to get paid off so we can get out of debt.  I am angry at God because I feel like He's letting me down right now.   I am angry for all those people who say, "Yeah, I"m your friend," but don't show up when it's really needed.  I'm angry. 

So there, God.  I've laid it down on the table.  I know you know how I feel, but I have to ask you what you're going to do to show up and keep your covenant of faithfulness to our lives.  I have to know.  I have to see your hand working here. 

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Dear Pam

My dearest Pammy,

You died today.  Those are three of the most difficult words for me to type, because with it, it brings finality to that dash that lives between the moment you were born and the moment you died.

Your husband said you died peacefully, as well you should have, because in our many talks, I wanted to make absolutely certain you knew Jesus as your savior.  So I know that all of heaven rejoiced the moment you arrived, fully healed, fully whole, and I'm sure you were overwhelmed as Jesus enveloped you with a bear hug like only He can give, and you felt His love and joy permeate your spirit.  In that vivid picture in my mind, I can totally rejoice and feel great excitement for you because I know you're healed.  I wouldn't be surprised if you told me He had chocolate ice cream ready and waiting for you.

But back to that dash called your life.  What you did with it, as I reflect on it, I am grateful to be a small part of it.  I say small because you were a lot larger than life.  I don't think you even realized the countless lives you've touched.  But I quickly saw it, as I watched the messages pour into your Facebook page.  I saw it when I walked into your hospice room, your mom snuggled up with you in bed, fiercely loving and protecting her daughter, tenderly stroking your face.  I saw it as I watched your husband wrap his arms around you as you talked about needing to go to bed.  I saw it as you wrapped your arms around his neck and peace poured over you.  I saw it in every moment we were able to hang out.  In those moments that I wanted to bless you, and you instead blessed me.  I saw it in your Facebook posts, encouraging others that sat in the chemo room at the hospital.  Even your team of doctors knew it.

You carried a light inside you that was God's gift for the world.  There was always just that something about you that a stranger on the street could spend five minutes with you and that person would walk away feeling like they were loved and that they mattered.  Words of affirmation, totally your love language.  Quality time, totally your love language.  Still to this day, my daughters love your nail salon.  If mom was going to Miss Pam's, everyone wanted to come. 

You touched my life in such a way that your death is hitting me hard.  Nothing more so than just because I'm going to miss your very presence.  No more talking at 2:00 a.m. because neither one of us could sleep.  No more time spent on  We really did spend a crazy amount of time on there, trying to find us a house.  No more talking about matters of the heart.  No more talking about your chicken pot pie recipe or any other recipes.  No more sitting there chatting, drinking our HEB Texas Pecan coffee from your Keurig, watching our kids run around together, playing or napping on the floor.  No more trips to the NASA Space Center together, and no more Mexican food green sauce at Moreno's.  It's the littlest things I will miss that were really big things.

Neither of us wanted your life to end because of cancer, especially not you.  Yes, it's a reminder as women that we need to make sure we get yearly mammograms.  But even more so, it's a reminder to make sure we all know who Jesus Christ is, and that we've accepted His free gift called salvation.  You were young.  Perhaps it's easier to deal with death when you know the person is old, and they've lived a full life.  But then again, you lived a full life in all of your 29 years.  I know I don't need to worry about Tanner, Jacob, and Aubree.  I know God's got them, and they're going to be okay.  I know you're a part of their great cloud of witnesses, cheering them on as they run their races. 

And now, you're a part of mine.  Thinking about that makes me smile.  And I hope you've met my dad by now, because he's quite ornery and fun to be around.  As I wonder what you thought about your mansion in heaven, I can't help but smile at what your reaction must have been.  I smile at the thought of you being introduced to colors you've never imagined here on this earth, wondering how you can get a nail polish in that color. 

We're going to celebrate that dash soon as we lay your earthly body to rest.  I'm going to smile, and I'm going to probably cry.  I'm going to listen as others share stories about how you've so profoundly impacted their lives.  You are so worth celebrating. 

I love you, girl.  And I just miss you. 

See you again soon :)


Monday, November 17, 2014

It's being made new...

Over the past week, I've felt this void in my heart that some wives have felt before. You know the one.

Does my husband love me?

So I've turned to my Daddy God to fill this need. He awoke me with songs in my head like, "Arise, my Love" and "You're Beautiful." I know how much He loves me all the way to my inner being.

This void, though, this ache, this longing still filled my heart.

Does my husband love me?

"Yes," he says. "With every bone in my body and ounce of my blood."

Good answer, Superman. :)

Still heart aching.

And then, my husband stopped to pray over me yesterday, which is one of the ways he makes me feel loved and cherished.

All the people in the world can love me, but there is nothing like my husband's love being shown to me. There's nothing like God loving me through my husband.

And today, I know my husband loves me.

The Promise Keeper

Good night KISS from Heaven:

I hear His whisper...

"I long to be more real to you than life itself. My promises are more faithful and true than you have ever imagined. The power of My Word has sustained you through your life and holds you near My heart. Even now your heart beats because of My promise to you when you were conceived -- 'You will LIVE.'

"I call you to walk upon the water of My Word, to trust in My promises more than sight or human skill. My Word is your strength and I have never failed to keep every promise I have made to you. My Word is more tangible and real than anything you see, for all that you see has been made by My Word. All things are held together in space, on earth, and in you, because of My Word of power. I call you step into living by faith in My Word and let all that distracts you fade away.

"Believe all that I have spoken to you about your family. I will complete the beautiful work I have begun, trust in Me and rest in My promises over you and those you love. Believe all that I have promised you concerning your finances. Am I the God of Abundant Supply? Do I not provide for the birds, for the animals of the field, and for everyone of My sons and daughters? For you are the most valuable and costly part of all My creation. Sacred blood dripped from the Tree to show you My love for you. If I have given the blood of My Son to redeem you, will I not also give you everything you need as you walk with Me?

"Speak My promises over your life. Read the Words I have promised you in My Holy Book and make them real by faith. Place your hands upon My Word, for they are tangible, and trust in Me-- I will not fail you, for I am your Father and Great Shepherd. Speak My promises over your family and over every need you have this day and you will see the deliverance of your God! Believe when all around you is contrary, for then you will demonstrate the power of faith. I have rewarded everyone who comes to Me in faith. My reward is My promise completed and My presence sealed upon your life. Rise up in a new wind of faith this day and you will not be disappointed. Take the steps that I call you to take, believe as you hold My promises, and the miracles will flow into you. Faith is the victory that you need, My promises are the seeds of that victory. Overcome in faith and you will see with your eyes the Kingdom of Heaven before you."

Hebrews 3:12-14 The Passion Translation"So search your hearts every day, my brothers and sisters, and make sure that none of you has evil or unbelief hiding within you. For it will lead you astray, and make you unresponsive to the Living God! 13This is the time to encourage each other to never be stubborn or hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. 14For we are mingled with the Messiah, if we will continue unshaken in this confident assurance from the beginning until the end."

Friday, November 14, 2014

Knowing the Power of Sonship

This is straight from The Passion Translation's page on Facebook last night. In the midst of where I am, I am posting this right here on my blog, because it's for me. Just so I don't forget about it and can come back and read it.

Good night KISS from Heaven:
I hear His whisper...
"I will give to you a new heaven and a new earth. I am the God who makes all things new. I will renew your heart and spirit this day to know Me as the God of Heaven. My presence, My Immanuel, lives in you. Where My presence abides it is heaven. What makes the heavens full of glory is My presence, for where I am, glory is found. Living within you this moment is the heavenly glory that I given to My sons and daughters. Many look away to heaven and fail to embrace eternal life within. For everything that makes heaven real, lives in you, My child.
"The heavenly reality will be made clear to you. Soon, all that is around you will become nothing more than trinkets compared to the glory that is within you. My endless grace has opened a fountain within you, pouring satisfying streams into your thoughts, your emotions, your very soul. This grace-fountain will be the source of life, heavenly life, within you. Love, joy, peace-- is My presence in your soul. Fill your heart with My words and more of heaven will flow into you. Never say, 'I am rich and in need of nothing,' for that is the boast of the Laodecians who must come to Me and buy gold, so they can be truly rich.
"Heavenly life is My portion which I share with you today. Have I not seated you in heavenly places and enthroned you as My overcomer at My right hand? All that I am I give to you, My heaven-born child. Receive yet more and drink of the water of Life that flows from before My eternal throne. Drink deeply of the substance that pours from Me. Heaven's gift is yours this day.
"Let your mind be renewed and brought into a heavenly perspective. I have you taken your true life and it is now hidden in My realm of glory. Set your eyes and your affections on heavenly things and watch the healing of your heart be complete. I have a heavenly eye salve that will cause your eyes to open to the brightness of My glory within you. I have pure white robes to place upon your inadequacy and weakness. I bring My children into My courts as they see what I have provided for My household. As My children praise Me I open greater doors into glory. Come into My world, for I have come into yours. Seek My face, forsake your habits of passivity and stir your heart to come into the heavenly chamber. For I am the God who makes you new, strong, and courageous."
Psalm 26:6-8 The Passion Translation
When I come before You, I’ll come clean,
Approaching Your altar with songs of thanksgiving;
Singing the songs of Your mighty miracles.
Lord, I love Your Home, this place of dazzling glory,
Bathed in the splendor and light of Your presence!