Amazed

Reflecting on God’s mysterious ways. This week, I was helping my youngest, who is how a freshman in High school, with her History homework. The assignment was to write about the story behind the song “Amazing Grace”. She had to research the life story of John Newton, all his trials, and the emotion behind the song, and then pick a stanza from the song and analyze it using examples from his life. God took three of my favorite things, Music, History, and my child, and put them together to speak to my heart.

We learned about how after his mother died when he was 7 years old,  Newton turned from the faith of his mother and rebelled, running from God, drinking heavily, and how he was enslaved, beaten, betrayed, and then became a captain of a slave trade ship. We learned how through the course of his life, Newton faced death multiple times, be it due to storms at sea, or sickness, and how God used these extreme trials to draw Newton back to his faith. We saw how Newton’s life was redirected as he went from slave trade captain to minister, and a voice against slavery in the abolition movement.

The stanza my daughter chose to analyze was this….

Amazing grace!

How sweet the sound That saved a wretch like me! 

I once was lost, but now am found; 

Was blind, but now I see.”

and here is her analysis….

Amazing grace, what is so amazing about grace? To me, grace is mercy, or kindness that is undeserved or unearned. Grace is amazing we do not deserve it, and we can’t earn it because God gives it freely. How sweet the sound; grace that we do not deserve and cannot earn is like music to a hurting soul.

         That saved a wretch like me! A wretch is a bad or very unpleasant person. John Newton was an excellent example of a wretch. He was punished for desertion. He was so terrible as a crew member that one of the crews he served with chained him up, starved him, and sold him into slavery. After he was rescued from slavery, instead of trying to stop the slave trade, Newton became part of the slave trade. Despite the fact that he did so many terrible things in his life, God still heard his cry, and saved him.

     I once was lost, but now am found; In the early years of Newton’s life, he was lost. He was running from the faith he had learned as a child before his mother died. In the later years of newton’s life he became a minister, sharing his story of how God found him and saved him. Was blind, but now I see. Newton spent many years as an active part of the slave trade, transporting slaves and supporting the industry. He came to see how evil slavery was and started to speak out against it, describing how horrible the conditions on the slave ships were, and worked to help stop slavery.”

As I reflected on all of this, I began to look back over my own life. In my teen years, I rebelled against my parents, and ran from the faith of my youth. I started drinking heavily in college, found myself in an abusive relationship with no hope of escape, gave in to all sorts of temptations, and for a long time, ignored the still small voice in my heart. Through all of this, God never once abandoned or gave up on me. He sent two dear friends to show me a way out of the abusive relationship. I joined the Marines , and while at Boot Camp, I cried out to God for strength as I tried to recover from deep emotional abuse scars at the same time I was going through Boot Camp. It all became too big for me, and at one point, I actually told my Senior Drill instructor ” I quit, I want to go home”. I am forever thankful that instead of letting me quit, she pushed me harder. I hit bottom and I cried out, and God met me.

After Boot camp, I went through a period where I returned to my wild side. My young, renewed faith was still there, and I heard the still small voice, but I was not completely ready to stop drinking, and to give up my wild ways. In this time in my life, broken, damaged, recovering from abuse, God brought a young man into my life who would forever change my world. This young Marine would become my husband. He didn’t run from my scars, but promised to stand by me, to hold me through the nightmares, to love me through my fear, to patiently wait as my trust was restored, for when we met, I no longer trusted anyone in the male gender except my daddy.

Grace is truly an amazing thing. As I look back over everything from my past, all the trials and snares that God has brought me through, I find myself in complete awe and wonder that God never once gave up or abandoned a wretch like me.

It wasn’t until after my husband and I were married, that I once again hit bottom. I sank into a deep depression, to the point I intended to end it all, to take my own life. A phone call to my unit from my husband landed me on suicide watch, and forced me to cry out once more to God, to turn back to my faith rather than ending my life. This was the point at which I found my faith, and never again turned away from it. Sure, I have moments when it wavers, when doubts and fears creep in, but I was no longer lost.

Since that moment, I have grown as Trials and storms continue to come. Two of my children diagnosed on the autism spectrum has depend my reliance on God for strength, wisdom, patience, and so much more. Mountains and struggles in my marriage has taught me how to pray for my husband, and more importantly, how to pray that God change ME. I stopped praying ” Lord, Fix HIM”, and started praying that God make ME the wife I need to be.

I am starting to realize that much like God used Newton’s time in the slave trade industry, He is using my abusive past. He has given me opportunities to help other women break free. He is using my stories to help my own daughters navigate the dating world, to help teach them what red flags to be aware of. I have watched my girls grow into strong, self confident young women who love deeply, and who are years ahead of where I was at their age in the ” I am happy with who God made me to be” aspect. This is a concept I didn’t grasp until well into my 30’s. I listened to my youngest thank me for sharing my stories with her and teaching her that her value comes from God, not from some boy.

I once was blind, running scared, broken and damaged….

but now, I am found, loved, beautiful….

I once was lost and alone, but now I am found. I am not perfect by any means. I still have days when the scars of my past haunt me, when I struggle and doubt. The difference is, Now I know how to combat those negative voices. Amazing Grace indeed, that pulled me from my darkest hours and carried me through the trials and snares, even when I was unaware, unwilling, and rebelling.

I will never look at this song the same way again…..It was written by the former Captain of a Slave ship, and God used it in my own life to remind me how He rescued me from the slavery and captivity of abuse.

**I went to You Tube, to find a video of Amazing Grace to end this post with, and found this one….and as I watched it, I got chills, and also learned some amazing interesting facts about the melody that goes with the Lyrics, and So, I will leave You with this….**

The Garden of my Heart

This is How my day began….

 This was My Status on Facebook this morning:  “struggling to quiet the negative committee in my head today…feeling like I am gonna snap and say something I will regret if somebody pushes the “do not push button”…..

From the time I woke up this morning, the Negative committee in my head has been shouting. Reminders of past hurts, Negative things people have said about me, doubts about my parenting, doubts doubts doubts. The kids woke up fighting with each other, and the downward spiral continued. It was like a Big Ominous Dark cloud was hovering over our house. As I sat working through the war waging in my head, combating each negative thought as it surfaced, I found myself standing at a Crossroads….

This was the resulting Facebook Status: “Is it better to lock one’s heart away, to protect it from pain, perhaps to “shut down” or like in Once upon a time, rip one’s heart out to avoid heartache…or to love to the fullest, to experience life with all it’s joys and heartbreaks, to accept the pain and understand that when You let people in, they will at some point hurt you because nobody is perfect. The crossroad has been reached, the paths make no sense. Become a hermit and Hide from everyone?…no, that would surely be death , slow, painful, lonely death. Keep going on the path currently traveled, letting people in, giving and looking for good in all? Not sure that is right either. Too much pain, seems naive. That leaves the 3rd path; Guarded, careful steps. Accepting the pain, forgiving and learning to not be too trusting, without growing bitter and cold. Praying through a Mountain of negative thoughts today….”

Life has thrown many curve balls my way, and more than a few land mines. Things meant to tear down, to break a person, to destroy. There are many reasons I should not be sitting here typing this. The list of reasons why I should be bitter and angry is long. The argument for hiding away from the world is a strong one. Locking my heart away forever, shutting out all but a VERY limited few certainly LOOKS like the best path. That being said, I have learned enough about myself through the course of this journey called life to know that to lock my heart away is not the answer. It would enable bitterness to take root. It would slowly kill the creativity and compassion that I have grown to realize I need.  It is also becoming clear that the current path is not working, in fact it has become dangerous. I have realized I have been too trusting, that looking for the good all the time is  Naive, and there are people who will take advantage, who will use and abuse such trust and kindness. The 3rd path seems to be my best option. It is FAR from the easiest, and in fact it is probably the hardest. It means accepting the pain, and working through it. It means forgiving, and refusing to let the poison of bitterness take root. It means continuing to be a part of the world, to keep giving, to continue to feed the compassion and creativity that I thrive on, while guarding my heart and making sure that I don’t allow myself to be used.

As I continued to work through the jungle of thoughts in my head, The positive thoughts began to regain control of my mind. As I prayed , my focus changed. I began to remember who I am, that I am important, that I am not worthless. I was reminded that I am here for a purpose, and locking myself away will not accomplish that purpose.  I was reminded of the Parable of the bags of Gold.

Matthew 25:14-30 (NIV)

The Parable of the Bags of Gold

 “Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them.  To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag,each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey.  The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more.  So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more.  But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. “After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.’ “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ “The man with two bags of gold also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two bags of gold; see, I have gained two more.’ “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ “Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’“His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed?  Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest. “‘So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags.  For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.  And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

To lock myself away, to Not use the Talents I have been blessed with, would be the worst thing I could do. I have been blessed so that I can bless others.  The trials I have overcome have enabled me to be there for people facing similar battles. And so, I will continue to capture life’s beauty one Photo at a time, and I will continue to share my thoughts, to write when I can.

This was the Facebook status that came from the shift in perspective:

“It’s not you who creates insecurities in your mind; it’s others who plant that seed. It’s you who waters that seed and allows it to grow.”

It’s about Perspective….will we feed the negative thoughts an allow them to take root and grow? or do we combat them with Positive truths. what we choose to give power to is what will grow and thrive.

{Philippians 4:4-8 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.}

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It all comes down to a Choice….Every day, sometimes more than once a day. Will I focus on the negatives, on the hurts, the fears, the doubts? or will I choose to hold on to the positives, to focus on the blessings in my life. If You give something root, it will eventually begin to grow. What will You grow in the garden of Your heart and mind? I choose to weed out the bitterness, resentment, fear, doubt, hate, anger, rejection, jealousy, and make room for love, compassion, peace, hope, faith, joy, trust to grown. Some days , like today, are harder than others. This is after all, a fight.  I am reminded of a couple of quotes…, one I have said a lot recently, to a dear friend…and one apparently I need reminding of tonight….

“Promise me you’ll always remember:

You’re braver than you believe,

and stronger than you seem,

and smarter than you think.”

― A.A. Milne

“I’m quirky, silly, blunt, and broken. My days are sometimes too dark, and my nights are sometimes too long.

I often trip over my own insecurities. I require attention, long for passion, and wish to be desired.

I use music to speak when words fail me, even though words are as important to me as the air I breathe.

I love hard and with all that I have… and even with my faults, I am worth loving.”
– Danu Grayson

You Matter

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Voices screaming in my head
reminding me of things said
“You are worthless”
“You are broken, a Failure”
“You can’t do anything right”
negative thoughts rise to the surface
This is a daily fight

A new voice grows louder day by day
it started as a whisper
“You are important”
“You are beautiful”
“You Matter”
is what it has to say

Each day, a choice
a decision to feed which voice
Each moment a struggle
suddenly ,like a gasp of air
“It is perfectly Ok to admit that You are not ok”

The inner conflict continues on
yet a new outlook dawns
“You matter”
“It’s ok to hurt”
“Your feelings…Matter”
“It’s ok to cry”
“Your story matters”

Tears may still fall
inner strength creeps from hidden shadows
deep inside the depths of heart shattered
the survivor brushes off the dirt
and takes the first steps
all because someone said
“Your life matters”

~~Rachel E. Brown~~

July 12,2013

A Legacy of Love, a Lifetime of Prayer

*Note , This may seem scattered and random, and should have been posted in April. For reasons hinted at in “Regaining Strength” , i never finished it, but am posting it now, because…even in it’s raw, scattered form, needs to be said. and besides, since when is grief ever “neat and organized” anyway?*
There is a group of people in my life who never gave up on me…
even through my wild rebellious years as a teenager,
no matter how angry I got, or how far out of control I spun,
They never stopped loving me, never stopped praying for me….
This is for them….
My Grandparents,
My Godparents,
my Mom and Dad ,
my siblings
The entire Jones/ Handy Family ( in my heart my 2nd Family).
I know that without all the love and non stop prayers,
my life would be totally different than what it is today,
and I thank God daily for blessing me with so many people who made sure I had firmly grounded roots,
but still gave me wings so I could soar….
The adults gave me roots and wings…
The kids filled my childhood with Friendship,
LOTS of memories,
They say there are people who leave footprints on your heart…
These are people who have left more than footprints…
This IS my Family, and I am Forever Blessed and Thankful….
Thankful for the Love,
the Laughter,
The memories,
the Friendship,
the Prayers and so much more…

Ok, this is for all you people who avoid the Camera,or hide behind it instead of putting yourself IN photos….
myself included…
There are people who love You who will want Photos of you to look back on when You are gone.
Don’t make them wish they had more Photos to cherish.
Finding myself wishing i had more of two special people in my life, both of whom has already left this earth.
This Photo is the only one I have, that I KNOW of….
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My Goal from this point on is to put ME in more photos with my kids….with the people I love.
This week has been one of reflecting, remembering, rejoicing, and mourning.  On Thursday (April 11,2013), I wrote this on Facebook ” As The Lord prepares to call a Precious Very Special Lady home, My heart cries, and rejoices at the same time. You see this dear Lady is my Godmother, and played a HUGE Role in my life. Her Love and Prayers, even when I was being unlovable are part of why I am the woman I am today……I Can’t help wondering if she knows how deeply she impacted my life. I regret not telling her often enough…and though I can’t make it to NY, I want to say THANK YOU, I Love You, and will never forget you!”
April 13,2013: At approximately 12:30 this morning my Godmother, Janice Handy went home to be with the LORD. She was a wonderful, gracious lady and taught us all very well how to survive in the world, but mostly how to live a life of faith. She fought the good fight, she won the race. She sees Jesus face to face. She was one of the Most Influential women in my Life and I am Thankful and blessed that my Parents chose her and her husband as my Godparents.
She leaves behind 25 grandchildren and 48 great grandchildren, three who predeceased her. She leaves behind a legacy of faith.
My Godfather went to be with the Lord my Senior Year of High school. At approximately 12:30 this morning My Godmother Joined him. When I think about the legacy they left, the Impact they had on my life, I count myself Very Blessed.
To Quote My Friend, Their Granddaughter, Jennifer: “My grandfather once felt that he was going to leave nothing behind for his family when it was his time to pass away. In reading all the posts here today, it is obvious that money cannot buy what he & my grandmother left behind. In the 65 years since the day they married, they had 6 children, who in turn had 25, who in turn have had 48. 3 of these met Jesus before they did. Most of these know Jesus as their Savior. Keith & Janice Handy were successful in passing on their faith and their love of family. What could be better than a legacy like this? I should be so blessed to do the same. “
They Truly Built a Household of Faith.

Only a Boy Named David

A Year and 2 days ago, I got a text message from my brother, David, to pray. It is hard to grasp that David T. Camp left this world almost a year ago, but the events of June 2010 changed my life forever.

Here is an excerpt from what I wrote three days after David Camp was called home to the Lord:

On Weds. June 16,2010 at 2:47pm I received a Text message from my youngest brother who is an EMT saying that someone we know was badly injured in a Car wreck. being Human, a part of me immediately started to worry as my mind raced as to who it could be, but  also began to pray. I prayed for whoever it might be, and I began to pray for my brother. As I prayed, my sister called me and told me who ….David Camp, the Youngest son of the Pastors of my family’s church in Upstate NY, and a close friend of our Brother’s. It is no coincidence to me that BOTH of the young men I was praying for that Day are named David…One was fighting for His life…and one fighting to save His life. As I Prayed, the story of David and Goliath came to mind. (You can read the full post HERE )

The song I Kept hearing as I prayed a year ago, came to mind again today as I read my brother’s status on Facebook…..

“a year ago today, things were normal, a year and 2 days, the tones drop for an mva, and there’s no going back. you are missed DTC, you may be gone from this earth, but you roll on every call I go on bro”

Only a Boy Named David

“Only a boy named David
Only a little sling
Only a boy named David
But he could pray and sing
Only a boy named David
Only a rippling brook
Only a boy named David
But five little stones he took.

And one little stone went in the sling
And the sling went round and round
And one little stone went in the sling
And the sling went round and round
And round and round
And round and round
And round and round and round
And one little stone went up in the air
And the giant came tumbling down.”

I am quite certain that when my Brother started the Pray for David Camp Group on Facebook a year ago, he had NO Idea the impact it would have, that over 7,000 people from all over the world would come together, whether they knew David Camp or not, and stand in the Gap for the Camp Family. The Impact stretched from the USA, to Rwanda, to China, to Kuwait, all over the world; We saw lives changed, Faith restored, Relationships mended. Ultimately God gets the Glory, but he used two young men named David to Rock the world, He continues to use these two young men in ways NONE of us ever could have dreamed. One of them still walks among us, serving as an EMT. The other is dancing in Heaven, but His life-song lives on here on earth.

1 Timothy 4:12 (New International Version)

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an
example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.

1 Peter 2:9 (New International Version)

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

Rest in Peace, David Thomas Camp ~1989-2010

Faith Deployed….

I had responded a few weeks ago for a chance to review a book called “Faith Deployed, Daily encouragement for Military Wives” by Jocelyn Green ,and had been eagerly awaiting the arrival of my book  since I got a response that It was on its way.  I Follow the Faith Deployed’s Facebook Page, and her blog as well, and find alot of encouragement from both places.

When I first found out I was going to have the chance to review this book, a voice in my head said “what are you thinking?! look at all those yet unread books on your shelf” As a Military wife, and mom of three kids, one with special needs, finding time to read without interruption is a luxury…and a rare one at that! As I sat down and opened “Faith Deployed, Daily encouragement for Military Wives” , I was instantly impressed with how easy it was to read. Each story is 2 pages, starting out with a Bible verse and ending with a Prayer. A Daily Dose of God’s Love and Truth , matched with a short story from Military life.

Right away I found myself encouraged, and at the same time realized that there were things I needed to face in my life. The Mixture of scripture passages, a story, and thought provoking questions and a short prayer makes each segment like a daily dose of encouragement for the challenges , emotional struggles, and battles a Military wife fights…and not JUST when dealing with deployments and separation either. Here is an excerpt from the Introduction: “If you have ever felt overlooked and undernourished as you strive daily to meet the needs of everyone around you-in a culture that largely does not understand your stressful lifestyle-this book is for you. Faith Deployed: Daily Encouragement for Military Wives is not a guide to long-distance relationships or a how-to on navigating through the military culture. It does not offer “ten easy steps” for an easier, painless life. Instead, through squarely addressing the challenges you face, Faith Deployed will equip you to respond biblically to the daily struggles that threaten to wear you down.”

“The Foundation of this book is the unchanging Character of God. Our Hope is not tied to shifting circumstances, but is anchored in the person of Jesus Christ”

Military life is full of “Hurry up and wait” , we have to learn to be “Semper Gumby” (Always flexible) while still balancing kids, school functions, jobs, housework, and life in general. Thankfully we have a solid rock to stand on when our faith rests in Jesus. This Book is a refreshing reminder that we are NOT alone, and is presented in a way that is manageable to read, a true daily dose, with questions to think on through the day, and a prayer to go with each segment.

If you get nothing else from what I have said here, read this….If you are a Military wife,  I HIGHLY encourage you to get this book!! If you are a Civilian searching for that perfect gift for a Military friend….This is IT!!!

For More Information, Please go to the Faith Deployed Website

Faith Deployed: Daily Encouragement for Military Wives won:

  • Bronze Medal, spiritual/religious category, Military Writers Society of America (award presented in Pittsburgh on Oct. 2, 2010)
  • Bronze Medal, inspirational category, Branson Stars and Flags Book Awards (award  presented in Branson, Mo., Nov. 6 )
  • The book’s Web site, www.faithdeployed.com, won third place in the blog category this year from the Evangelical Press Association, too.

A Mother’s Heart

Struggling with a lot this morning. I know that God never gives me more than I can handle, and I know He will give me the strength I need to get through , yet my heart is screaming out “HELP!” . I am Thankful that God knows something I don’t about myself, because on my own strength I could not handle being a Military wife AND the mother of a Special needs child. I am having one of those weeks ( well two weeks really) where I just want to throw my hands up and say “I can’t DO THIS anymore!” As I was looking online for a poem to share with a friend who is fighting a Battle with the school board for her beautiful Daughter in a wheelchair (http://www.wsfa.com/global/story.asp?s=12959788), I found I was also reminding myself that I CAN get through what I am struggling with. My Faith is in the Lord, and He will supply my needs.

“God doesn’t give children with disabilities to strong people: He gives them to ordinary, everyday people, then He helps the parents to grow stronger through the journey. Raising a child with special needs doesn’t TAKE a special family, it MAKES a special family.”

~Author Unknown~

There are those in my life who for whatever reason can’t, or wont see past my son’s disability…or they blame me for it entirely…I have heard it all….I am a bad mother….Oh he is just spoiled….I don’t love him enough…..you name it, I have heard it, and as He gets older, it gets worse IF I listen to the negative voices around me. I CHOOSE to focus on God’s word, and I CHOOSE to lean on HIS strength. He has blessed me with a Family that is made up of more than just “Blood relatives” but friends who have come into my life who see PAST the disabilities, PAST the meltdowns, they see my SON…a wonderful Blessing, a joy to know.

I started this day out at 4am as I packed my husband off to another weekend away from home….He was gone last weekend too….and then I cried myself back to sleep…only to be awakened to my three children SCREAMING at each other….and my mind asked “why me?” There are other reasons why I am struggling this weekend that I really don’t want to get into here…..just suffice it to say, that my “Poor me” pity party hit HARD yesterday….my birthday….as I found myself looking at the waves crashing around me from all the storms in my life, rather than focusing on Jesus, and I found myself sinking.

As I surfed the web looking for the poem I wanted to share with my friend, I discovered I was finding things that encouraged me as well….things that reminded me that my Faith rests in God, and God alone!

Here are some of the encouraging poems I found……
HEAVEN’S VERY SPECIAL CHILD
A meeting was held quite far from Earth!
It’s time again for another birth.
Said the Angels to the LORD above,
This Special Child will need much love.

His progress may be very slow,
Accomplishments he may not show.
And he’ll require extra care
From the folks he meets down there.

He may not run or laugh or play,
His thoughts may seem quite far away,
In many ways he won’t adapt,
And he’ll be known as handicapped.

So let’s be careful where he’s sent,
We want his life to be content.
Please LORD, find the parents who
Will do a special job for you.

They will not realize right away
The leading role they’re asked to play,
But with this child sent from above
Comes stronger faith and richer love.

And soon they’ll know the privilege given
In caring for their gift from Heaven.
Their precious charge, so meek and mild,
Is HEAVEN’S VERY SPECIAL CHILD.

by Edna Massionilla
December 1981
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

One Flaw In Women
Author Unknown
By the time the Lord made woman,
He was into his sixth day of working overtime.
An angel appeared and said,
“Why are you spending so much time on this one?”
And the Lord answered,
“Have you seen my spec sheet on her?
She has to be completely washable,
but not plastic,have over 200 movable parts, all replaceable
and able to run on diet coke and leftovers,
have a lap that can hold four children at one time,
have a kiss that can cure anything from a scraped knee
to a broken heart-and she will do everything
with only two hands.”
The angel was astounded at the requirements.
“Only two hands!? No way!And that’s just on the standard model?
That’s too much work for one day.Wait until tomorrow to finish.”
“But I won’t,” the Lord protested.
“I am so close to finishing this creation that is
so close to my own heart.She already heals herself
when she is sick AND can work 18 hour days.”
The angel moved closer and touched the woman.
“But you have made her so soft, Lord.”
“She is soft,” the Lord agreed,”but I have also made her tough.
You have no idea what she can endure or accomplish.”
“Will she be able to think?”, asked the angel.
The Lord replied,”Not only will she be able to think,
she will be able to reason and negotiate.”
The angel then noticed something,and reaching out,
touched the woman’s cheek.”Oops, it looks like you have
a leak in this model.I told you that you were
trying to put too much into this one.”
“That’s not a leak,”the Lord corrected,”that’s a tear!”
“What’s the tear for?” the angel asked.
The Lord said, “The tear is her way of expressing her joy,
her sorrow, her pain, her disappointment, her love,
her loneliness, her grief and her pride.”
The angel was impressed.”You are a genius, Lord.
You thought of everything!Woman is truly amazing.”
And she is!Women have strengths that amaze men.
They bear hardships and they carry burdens,
but they hold happiness,love and joy.
They smile when they want to scream.
They sing when they want to cry.
They cry when they are happy and laugh when they are nervous.
They fight for what they believe in.They stand up to injustice.
They don’t take “no” for an answer when they believe
there is a better solution.They go without
so their family can have.They go to the doctor with a
frightened friend.They love unconditionally.
They cry when their children excel and cheer when their friends
get awards.They are happy when they hear about
a birth or a wedding.Their hearts break when a friend dies.
They grieve at the loss of a family member,
yet they are strong when they think there is no strength left.
They know that a hug and a kiss can heal a broken heart.
Women come in all shapes, sizes and colors.
They’ll drive, fly, walk, run or e-mail you to show how much
they care about you.The heart of a woman is what makes the
world keep turning.They bring joy, hope and love.
They have compassion and ideals.They give moral support
to their family and friends.Women have vital things
to say and everything to give.However, If There Is One Flaw In
Women,It Is That They Forget Their Worth.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~And This…..is the poem I started out the day looking for……

The Special Mother
by Erma Bombeck 

Most women become mothers by accident, some by choice, a few by social pressures and a couple by habit.

This year nearly 100,000 women will become mothers of handicapped children.

Did you ever wonder how mothers of handicapped children are chosen?

Somehow I visualize God hovering over earth selecting his instruments for propagation with great care and deliberation.

He observes, He instructs His angels to make notes in a giant ledger.

“Armstrong, Beth; son. Patron saint…give her Gerard. He’s used to profanity.”

“Forrest, Marjorie; daughter. Patron saint, Cecelia.”

“Rutledge, Carrie; twins. Patron saint, Matthew.”

Finally He passes a name to an angel and smiles, “Give her a handicapped child.”

The angel is curious. “Why this one God? She’s so happy.”

“Exactly,” smiles God, “Could I give a handicapped child to a mother who does not know laughter? That would be cruel.”

“But has she patience?” asks the angel.

“I don’t want her to have too much patience or she will drown in a sea of self-pity and despair. Once the shock and resentment wears off, she’ll handle it.”

“I watched her today. She has that feeling of self and independence that is so rare and so necessary in a mother. You see, the child I’m going to give her has his own world. She has to make him live in her world and that’s not going to be easy.”

“But, Lord, I don’t think she even believes in you.” God smiles, “No matter, I can fix that. This one is perfect -she has just enough selfishness.” The angel gasps – “selfishness? is that a virtue?”

God nods. “If she can’t separate herself from the child occasionally, she’ll never survive. Yes, here is a woman whom I will bless with a child less than perfect. She doesn’t realize it yet, but she is to be envied. She will never take for granted a “spoken word”. She will consider a “step” ordinary. When her child says “Momma” for the first time, she will be present at a miracle, and will know it!”

“I will permit her to see clearly the things I see…ignorance, cruelty, prejudice….and allow her to rise above them. She will never be alone. I will be at her side every minute of every day of her life, because she is doing My work as surely as if she is here by My side”.

“And what about her Patron saint?” asks the angel, his pen poised in mid-air.

God smiles, “A mirror will suffice.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



I will close this post with a song by Amy Grant. Amy Grant’s music has been a part of my life since my teen years….from “Father’s eyes” to “El Shadi” to “Stay for a While”. My Brother and Sister and I sang “Friends” the weekend before I left to join the Marines. Her new song “Better than a Hallelujah” has become very special to me…It has helped me as I grieve the loss of my friend David Camp, as I pray for His Family and his Precious Courtney, and it helps me on days like today, when My heart is shattered and I wake up in tears…..

God loves a lullaby in a mother’s tears in the dead of night •
Better than a Hallelujah sometimes •
God loves a drunkard’s cry, the soldier’s plea not to let him die •
Better than a Hallelujah sometimes

We pour out our miseries, God just hears a melody •
Beautiful the mess we are, the honest cries, of breaking hearts •
Are better than a Hallelujah

A woman holding on for life, a dying man giving up the fight •
Are better than a Hallelujah sometimes •
Tears of shame for what’s been done •
The silence when the words won’t come •
Are better than a Hallelujah sometimes ••

We pour out our miseries, God just hears a melody •
Beautiful the mess we are, the honest cries, of breaking hearts •
Are better than a Hallelujah
Better than a church bell ringing •
Better than a choir singing out, singing out

We pour out our miseries, God just hears a melody •
Beautiful the mess we are, the honest cries, of breaking hearts •
Are better than a Hallelujah