Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Missing Christmas...and Wishing You A Happy New Year!! Also, a NEW Urgent Prayer Request

"Hope deferred maketh the heart sick:
but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life."
Proverbs 13:12
(KJV)

A beautiful Nativity we spotted outside a church in Maggie Valley, NC
I sit here tonight, feeling a bit melancholy.
Don't get me wrong.
I am beyond thankful.
More grateful than I could ever hope to put into words.
But, still kind of sad...deep inside....
knowing Christmas is over!

I love it so much.
Because we were away from home for so much of the fall season,
we ended up getting started late in our preparations for Christmas,
so I guess I felt a little bit cheated...
like it sort of passed us right on by before we could relish it enough.
By the time I got into it really good, it was Christmas Eve,
there was lots of crumpled wrapping paper all over our living room floor,
the gifts were all opened, and it was all over!

I don't mean to complain.
Truly I don't.
There are so many people who are dealing with so much pain and heartache,
this seems so trivial to even mention.
It is just that we look forward to Christmas all year, then, in a flash,
the thing hoped for becomes what was.

I am so thankful Zach still feels the magic.
He still gets SO excited!
He had a ball.
After we celebrated and exchanged gifts with dear loved ones,
Zach started his birthday celebration!!

Our little man is now 14 years old!
Can you even imagine?

I do NOT know how we got here.
It has sped by way too fast.
I want time to slow down.
I want to savor these moments.
But, as I try to hold on to them, they pass so quickly and subtly through my hands,
and I find that I am powerless to make them stay.

On Christmas Eve, we decorated his birthday cake together.
He later told me it was the happiest part of his day, 
which said a lot, since opening presents was included in that.
It took us a quite a while, but we got it just the way he wanted it.
Actually, he did it mostly all by himself..while I watched and encouraged him.
I didn't do too great on the writing part and sort of ran the "d" and "a" in "birthday" together.
Oh, well.
He's so sweet....he didn't seem to mind.


Zach is quite the artist and loves to draw.
The best part was being together and having Kevin close by working from home.

So, another Christmas and birthday are past.

The letdown happens, and we miss what was,
all the while knowing we have to pick up and keep going.
Life goes on.
That's just the way it is.

Now we face the ending of another year.
Honestly, I don't ever remember living through a "shorter-feeling" year.
Is it just me, or did it just buzz past faster than a speeding bullet?
It feels like we just sang "Auld Lang Syne" and said "hello" to 2014,
now we are singing it again, saying "good-bye" to 2014, and feeling like it was one, big blur.

My "one word" for 2014 was RESTORATION.
I started out this year with a bad case of pneumonia and some other health issues.
What followed were several months of illness and trying to get back on my feet.
I am so thankful to the dear Lord for the restoration He brought to me this year,
and I am ending the year in a much better place than I started it,
to God be all the glory.

The lull during the week between Christmas and New Years is a time of reflection
and contemplation.
It is a week that I spend trying to reconcile so many mixed emotions, such as....
trying to recover from the letdown of Christmas being over and past,
thinking back over the year that just went by,
a sense of gravity as I realize another year is coming to a close,
and a sense of wondering what the new year will bring.

Mom used to tell me that every year that passes brings us one year closer to eternity.
I don't mean to sound morbid or to be discouraging in any way.
but the older I get, the more I just seem to think about this type of thing
and the more I realize that many of the things I have heard Mom and Dad say so many times through the years really are true.
Nothing drove that point home to me more than when I stood by both of their dying bedsides,
saying good-bye to them for the final time.

God willing, if the sun rises again tomorrow, it will usher in a new day of a brand-new year.

What kind of year will it be?
Only One holds the answer.

As I linger in retrospect and reflect over 2014,
there are so many precious memories and recollections of good times.
Through all of the sickness and things we have been through,
we have proven time and time again that God is faithful.
I am SO grateful for another 365 days of life.
How I praise God that we were still here..in the land of the living...
watching the ushering in of another year!

As I look ahead, I wonder if the new year will unveil a mystery in our lives.
Let me explain.

In June of 2014, while away on vacation in the mountains,
a stirring began inside of me.
It happened in the middle of the night.
I was awake and could not sleep, no matter how hard I tried.
This usually means that God is wanting to share something with me,
and no matter how sleepy and tired I feel, it is always SO worth the effort to crawl out of bed
and either hit my knees or find a comfortable spot...and just listen.

Kevin and Zach were sound asleep in our hotel room,
and not wanting to disturb them, I crept quietly to the only private spot I could find.
You guessed it.
The bathroom!
I sat down on the edge of the bathtub and turned my face upwards,
begging God to talk to me...to reveal what it was that He needed me to know.
As I sat there, I was overtaken by uncontrollable weeping,
as my hungry heart and inquiring mind began to hear and understand the voice of God.
As we communed there, some time during our conversation, the stirring began...
a sort of what I have come to call "spiritual restlessness"...
like something was up ahead, and I needed to be aware of it.

It wasn't an eerie feeling.
I wasn't afraid.
It was more of a sense that imminent change was coming,
but along with that sense, an assurance that it would be a good kind of change.

I ended up talking to the Lord for around two hours before I felt our visit was over,
and I could leave what had become a sacred spot and return to bed.

It was precious.
I have revisited that time in my mind so many times.

After we got back home from vacation, the stirring continued to churn inside of me.
Tonight, on New Years Eve, it still does.
I have pondered it and questioned its meaning so many times.
The odd thing is that Kevin and Zach began to feel it, too, shortly after I did.
It has increased, at times, to the point of almost frustration,
because it is hard to feel a stirring, yet not know what you are being stirred to do.

One of the most frustrating points came on the afternoon of July 17th.
Zachary and I were in our back yard having a heart-to-heart talk,
when Little Mr. Wisdom began to spew his typical sage-like words.

"Mama, maybe we should put out a fleece.
Maybe we should set a time of two weeks and ask God that if this is not real
to please take away these feelings, and if there is something to it,
that we will still feel this way when the two weeks are over."

It didn't take me long to agree with what he suggested,
as I weighed the value and wisdom of his words.

So, we prayed right there...together...and we asked God to show us His perfect will.
To take away the feelings of "stirring" and "spiritual restlessness" from us if we shouldn't feel this way, and to let them remain if these feelings were coming from Him.

After Zach and I prayed that day,
three experiences happened during that two week waiting period that I will never forget.
They were profound and extremely telling,
further confirming that these "feelings" we are experiencing are not just whims.
That the stirring that started in June is real, and it truly is from God.
By July 31st, we knew, without a shadow of a doubt.
We had our answer.

Accompanied by the "sense" of imminent change, Zachary had a sort of vision,
that involved a door up ahead of us.
The vision actually happened before my hotel conversation with God,
but when we sat down and talked about it all, we realized it correlated perfectly.

A few things have happened between July 31st and today that have sort of hinted
at the reality and fulfillment of our "stirring", but nothing has been completely definitive.

So, we wait.
And we seek His will.
And we trust His timing.
And, I hate to admit this, but I squirm.

I just want to know now, you know?
I want to know what "this" is.

Is this how Abraham felt?
Concerning his situation, Hebrews 11:8 says,
"By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went."

Jesus' words in John 14:29 have come to hold so much meaning to me.
He said,
"And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass,
ye might believe."

God has let me know, in no uncertain terms, that He will let us know when He wants us to know.
Not a moment sooner.
The door will be revealed, and it will open, in His time, not ours.
All the complaining, frustration, and trying to rush God is to no avail.

God has His Own timetable, and He is in no way obligated to reset it or adjust it to line up with mine.
He sees the end from the beginning, and everything He does is orderly.
I could mess the whole thing up...in a heartbeat.
He knows this.
He, in His infinite wisdom, will allow things to fall into place the way they are supposed to,
without my interference.
Down deep, I thank Him for that.

I think waiting on God is one of the hardest things to learn and come to terms with in the Christian life.
Knowing something is coming,
 knowing He has promised it,
then not seeing any sign of the fulfillment of that promise can be so disappointing.
"Hope deferred maketh the heart sick..."  Proverbs 13:12

As His children, we tend to be like our own children.
You know how it goes when you tell them something is up ahead...
that you are going on a trip,
that it will soon be their birthday,
that a fun event is coming up.
Once they know it is coming, it is the only thing they can think about.
They incessantly ask the same questions over and over and over again...
"Are we there yet?",
"Is today my birthday?",
"How long until Granny gets here?", etc.
 Their frustration ends up causing you...and everyone else in the picture...to need lots of patience!

That's sort of how I feel right now.
The only difference between me and the little child described above is...
I have no idea what "this" is.
I just know it is out there...waiting for us,
and God will unveil it when He sees that we are ready and the time is right.
Perhaps He is still preparing us, healing us, restoring us,
 and giving us time and a chance to catch our breath before He requires "it" of us.
Maybe we need more time beside these still waters.

The other night, as I experienced one of my more frustratingly baffled moments,
Little Mr. Wisdom struck again.

"Mama, it is in times like this that you have to trust.
God just gave me something.
Do you know what trust is?"

I said, "What is it, Zach?"

Smiling, in his typically charming way, he replied,

"It is....
To
Rely
Upon
Strong
Truth."

It was one of those jaw-dropping moments.
I just stood there, folding laundry, dumbfounded and thinking about what Zach had just said.

God is so faithful to speak straight to my heart through the lips of this boy.
It happens all the time.
I am SO thankful for him and to watch him grow in grace 
and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

To Rely Upon Strong Truth.

This is what trust is.
Such a profound revelation.
So needed by me.

Sometimes, truth is all we have to rely upon.
There is nothing tangible.
No written contract.
No audible voice.
Nothing concrete to look at.
Just a promise...spoken, still and small, to the inmost part of the spirit.

So, I face this new year with a sense of "guarded" hope.
Will "it" happen this year?
Will "our door" open in 2015?
I have no idea.
I just know I have our Father's promise,
and I am learning what it means to TRUST.

As you face the new year, with all of its uncertainty and mystery,
I hope you feel the courage to TRUST....
to rely upon the strong truth that He will never leave you nor forsake you,
but will walk with you always.
May you know that every step you take will be ordered by Him.
May each day of the new year bring peace, renewed courage, and every, single thing you need.
God bless you, my dear, precious friends.
Thank you for another year of loyal reading and fellowship here.
I appreciate every comment you have left behind,
every email you have sent,
every time you have picked me up when I really didn't feel like plodding forward in this blogging journey.
Thank you for holding my feet to the fire,
for taking the time to listen to what He has laid upon my heart,
and for reminding me of what He has called me to do.

From my heart to yours,
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!


*******************************************************
A NEW Urgent prayer request just came in that I wanted to add here.
I am attaching the exact words from the email I received.

Please pray for Baby Oscar!

"I have a favor to ask.   Our grandson's wife, Emily, is in labor at University Hospital, was admitted yesterday as an emergency.  Baby is not due until Jan. 16th.  Doctors said that the baby is very small and has not been receiving enough nutrients from the placenta.  She was induced last night and is still in labor.  There are some other possible concerns about the baby.  Could you ask the "Charity Community" for prayers?  Emily and most of the women in her family went to Seton.  The baby's name is Oscar! They need to take the baby soon.  We area all so worried. Thank you."

UPDATE 1/1/2015 @12:17 PM
PRAISE REPORT from Baby Oscar's Great Grandmother!!!

"Good news!   Baby Oscar entered our world screaming at the top of his lungs at 11:15 this evening!
There was an "army" of doctors and nurses ready for any kind of an emergency for mother and baby.
Oscar was 2 weeks early and weighed in at 4lbs-8oz, a few tufts of red hair (like his dad), and excellent Apgar score of 9 (meaning cried at birth, color pink, etc).  Unfortunately, he will not be able to sleep in his mother's arms tonight.  Will be in the neonatial intensive care unit for further evaluation. Cannot thank all of you enough for your prayers and concerns.  Please continue to pray for this precious little family until the doctors have finished their assessment of the baby's condition.

Gratefully,


Great Grandma Mary and Baby Oscar"

Linking up with...
The HomeAcre Hop

22 comments:

  1. Enjoyed this post. Sending you an email about it.
    Love ya

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    1. I look forward to reading it..it is always such a dear blessing to get a letter from you. Love you!

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  2. Cheryl, do I have words? So much of what you have talked about resonates in my soul, too. We have talked about this, for I know the *spiritual restlessness* you speak of. In some ways, since turning 60 (!!) this year, I have at times felt a bit panicky. What if I'm too old to do whatever "it" is that I seem to have this longing for? Here's something I've thought about...In 2012, God gave me the word DIRECTION as His *theme* - and I was so sure that He was going to reveal the "it" - the ministry, the bigger footprint, the whatever. At the end of the year I felt Him tell me that what He had revealed was indeed a direction. But not a direction as in a "way" to go, but rather an instruction in "who" to go after. What He had taught me was the the "direction" was, "Follow Me closer."

    I say this only to confirm Zach's God-given insights, and your heart's sense that God's preparation work is also "it" - and that the following of Him closer with increasing trust is truly a direction to go.

    Having said that, I will say that I also sense a new horizon coming. As I have shared with you, we have not met by accident. Whether we do something together or apart, I know that God will use each of us in His way, in His timing. But, He WILL use us. I know that your *door* is there, and the walking through of it is imminent, I believe. Trust Him with confidence.

    "Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin..." (Zechariah 4:10, NLT)

    Remember, the framing of the house and all the internal stuff - plumbing, electricity, etc - must be completed before the house can be built. Your foundation is sure, built on the Cornerstone, and He's finishing up the *insides*! Very soon, the real building will begin!

    Happiest New Year, dearest friend. Let's start it by holding hands of faith across the miles, and looking toward the SONshine. May we be patient in the waiting, never missing the lessons of this time.

    GOD BLESS!

    (Oscar!! Adding him to my list. But what a praise report!!)

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    1. Thank you so much for your words, support, and encouragement, dear Sharon! I LOVE that verse...sometimes the smallest beginnings evolve into some of God's greatest miracles. I know you have been experiencing similar feelings, and I just wonder what God is up to this year? It will be interesting to walk this path with you and see the great things He is going to do!! Happy New Year, and God bless you, sweet friend!!

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  3. Cheryl, Happy New Year and congratulations to you on your new addition! I just want to thank you so much for your devotion. It Totally ministered and spoke to me, so much! Thank you so very much!!

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    1. So thankful you were blessed, Melody! I trust the Lord blesses you with a wonderful new year!!

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  4. Thanks for the lovely post!! You are such an encouragement to me!! Happy New Year :)

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    1. Dear Jo! And you are to me, too! I am anxious to try out your Mom's lasagna recipe. Thanks so much for sharing it. Happy New Year to you, too. :)

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  5. Praise God for Baby Oscar! Prayers for him and his family.
    Love ya

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    1. Yes, praise God for answering another prayer! He is SO faithful. Love you, too, sweet friend. :)

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  6. Thank yiu for sharing your walk with God and I a sure in due tine you will get the answer.
    We are all in such a way waiting for what God will do with our lives and we just have to take it one day at a time.
    Happy New Year and we continue praying!

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    1. Yes, in due time...how true your words! You are right, we are all waiting on God in one way or another, and Jesus told us not to be anxious about tomorrow. I have to remind myself of that often!! Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving kind encouragement behind. God bless you!!

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  7. Wow what a year you might have up ahead of you, may God bless you as you continue to TRUST in Him. You have an amazing young man there to, what a blessings. Thanks for sharing at Good Morning Mondays. Blessings and wonderful to hear about baby Oscar may he continue to improve and be in his mothers arms quickly.

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    1. Thank you so much, Terri, for your dear, kind words and encouragement. I appreciate you so much! God bless you in a special way. :)

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  8. Happy New Year Cheryl!
    Visiting from a Little R n R.
    Christmas Season always goes by so quickly! I love the excitement of little ones and the family Time together.
    Glad to hear baby is ok.

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    1. Thank you so much for your visit and for leaving encouragement behind! God bless you in the new year. :)

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  9. I love what your son came up with for TRUST. I can relate to this in so many ways regarding our infertility and adoption journeys. Thanks for sharing this with us for Tuesday Talk! - Jess
    www.sweetlittleonesblog.com

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    1. Oh, bless your dear hearts! I am so sorry you have dealt with the infertility issues...I can surely understand what you have felt and gone through Thank you so much for your sweet words left here! God bless you both!! :)

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  10. Cheryl, your son Zach is being used by the Holy Spirit in prophesy. His words are full of wisdom and I am glad you are heeding them. Not all Christmas times are exciting, but I do pray that your new year will be blessed. Thank you for sharing your awesome post with us here at “Tell Me a Story.”

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    1. I couldn't agree with you more, Hazel. I can feel the Holy Spirit in him speaking to me so many times. He has been doing this for several years, and as he grows and matures, the messages become more profound. I trust your new year will be blessed, too. You are such an encouragement to me. So thankful to be walking this faith walk with you. :)

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  11. I feel like Christmas went by too quickly as well. Having Caleb right before the holiday season definitely sped everything by. I'm excited for next year when I can start teaching him the true message of Christmas! I hope you have a very happy New Year!

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    1. Aww...that is so sweet, Susannah! You will have so much fun walking through all of the stages that are ahead of you with little Caleb! Having a baby is one of life's most precious, sweetest joys! God bless you..thank you for stopping by!

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