Friday, August 29, 2014

Eleven Ways To Identify Your Life's Calling (& Update on Max & Makeya)

"Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths."
Proverbs 3:5,6

I believe God has a specific plan for every person He creates.
I don't believe any one of us are here by accident or coincidence.
At the onset of the conception of a life, 
I believe God already knows the course He intends for that life,
and His specific thoughts concerning its path are already in place.

"Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee;
and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee,
and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations."
Jeremiah 1:5

"Before I was born the Lord called me; from my mother's womb He has spoken my name."
Isaiah 49:1 (NIV)

I also believe that the way to true happiness, contentment, and fulfillment
is by coming in line with God's intentions and following them in obedience.
When one is out of God's will and purpose, there is an underlying restlessness
and lack of contentment that cannot be satisfied by any other means.

He created us with a free will, so we do not always follow His intended path 
or adhere to the direction and individual plans He has set in place for us.

It is up to us.

I find it sad that there are people who go through their whole life
never really living up to their full potential or finding that unique path God has chosen for them to walk.
They never feel quite fulfilled,
even though they may find success in many facets of life.
At the end of the day, there is always that deep-down stirring that tells them that they are not quite
doing exactly what they are supposed to be doing.

I think we have all felt this and can relate to what I am trying to say.

True wholeness comes when we have surrendered what we think is best for us to God
and when we have whole-heartedly decided to relinquish control and allow Him to lead.

It isn't easy turning loose of the reins.
We think we know best.
We think we know what we do best,
when all along God sees our full potential capacity
and parts of us that can expand and grow in ways we would never have dreamed.

In seeking God's will for my own life and in finding myself in very perplexing circumstances,
He has opened my eyes to things I never saw before.
I wanted to share some of those thoughts here, in hopes they might help someone else who is standing at the crossroads or feeling there is more to their life's picture than they have yet begun to see.

What are you called to do?
Why are you here?
What is your purpose?
Your life's calling?
God's rationale in creating you at exactly the time He did?
Your unique, individual reason for being brought to the Kingdom, "for such a time as this"?  (Esther 4:14)

It is my hope and prayer that answering these eleven questions will help
you identify what it is that God may be calling you to do
and help direct your thinking towards His perfect will and the life plan He has carved out for you.

1.  What type of work do you like to do?
You know...the work that just lights you up and makes you come to life.
The task that makes you feel great and stokes a deep-down passion inside of you.
The duty that you are most zealous about and can't seem to get enough of.
The work that you need no compensation for doing...
that the actual doing is its own reward.
Consider the thought that God may have placed those likes in your heart for a reason.

2.  What task(s) are you good at doing?
What comes easiest to you?
What seems to flow from you effortlessly?
If it comes that naturally, it is an inborn, God-given talent.
An innate gift that He instilled in you at birth.
He specifically gave it to you to set you on the right path.
The ease with which you accomplish this is a sure-fire sign that this is something you need to consider.
This is the thing you are supposed to be doing.
This is where your true beauty shines through...
it is the purpose for which you were born.

3.  What kind of work earns you the most compliments?
Sometimes, other people can recognize our calling before we can.
They can see things we fail to notice about ourselves.
We would be wise to listen to their input and take heed to their praise,
not becoming proud or puffed up over it,
but using it to open our eyes to what God may be trying to tell us through them.

4.  What gives you the most peace?
At the end of the day, as you reflect over things you have done,
what kind of work made you feel most at one with God?
What gave you the deepest sense of having pleased Him?
What task(s) drew you closest and most widely into His presence?

5.  What are you most comfortable doing?
Let's face it.
If it tears up your nerves every, single time you do it,
if you are continually feeling sick to your stomach before doing it,
it is more than likely not what God is calling you to do.
I'm not talking about normal "stage-fright" or expected, natural pre-jitters.
I am talking about walking around under an oppressive cloud that completely robs the joy
from every other single element of your life.
I am talking about it consuming your every thought and making you perpetually unhappy.
This is not what being in the center of God's perfect will feels like.
Believe me, if you are this miserable place,
He is trying to tell you something.
It is time to take notice and get alone with Him,
seeking Him with your whole heart for an escape route and re-direction.
I am not saying you will always feel comfortable doing what God is asking you to do.
There will be trepidation, and you will be stretched and asked to leave your comfort zone.
But, it should be a "healthy" fear of failing Him and a sense of respect for Him,
reliance and dependence upon Him,
and a desire to please and satisfy Him....
not an overwhelming sense of never-ending misery and constant dread.

6.  What do you dream of doing?
Did you ever think that God may have placed the seeds of those dreams in your heart
in the first place?
Did you ever consider that maybe those dreams were actually and purposely put there
for the sole purpose of directing your life steps?
Psalm 37:4 says, "Delight thyself also in the Lord, and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart."
If you are 100% into serving God, if pleasing Him brings delight to your inmost being,
did you ever stop and wonder if maybe He put those desires there?
That maybe they are not self-driven desires, but God-planted dreams to point you in the right direction
of His perfect will for you?
It is a beautiful thing when God's plans and your dreams completely agree.

7.  What have you wanted to do for the longest time?
I'm not talking about your bucket list of things you want to accomplish before you die.
I'm talking about those childhood far back as you can remember.
What was it back then that you admired the most?
We all take rides on ships in the night...
passing fantasies that quickly lose their appeal
and trial runs that soon reveal we aren't cut out for the long haul.
But, dig deep.
What is that nagging thing that keeps coming back to you over and over...
that thing that came to you longest ago and still brings a sense of excitement
every time you think about taking a step in that direction?
If it has lingered and simmered in the back of your mind for this long,
there may be something to it, and it is worth seeking God's will about, at the very least.

8.  What fulfills you most?
Fulfill means:  to measure up satisfy.
What satisfies your need for feeling you have measured up to your potential?
Think about it.
The task that makes you feel most fulfilled when you are finished....
that convinces you that you have done something that really mattered...
that made a difference....
that satisfied your need to feel useful and necessary and even important.
Everyone needs to feel that they are making the contribution they were put on this earth to make.
Until you do that, nothing else will quite fill that longing deep inside for accomplishment.

9.  Who do you most admire?
Not saying that all of us can be a Billy Graham or reach the stature of the ones we most admire.
But, what is it about that person that you find so admirable?
Is it what they do?
Is it a characteristic?
What draws you to them?
Why do you look up to and respect them?
Give it some thought and ask God to show you if there is a Divinely-appointed reason
for your esteem for and regard of them.
He may be calling you to follow a similar course.
He may have placed that person in your life to serve as an example
and light a fire in you in order to set your thoughts towards a particular path.
The idea is worth exploring with Him alone in prayer.

10.  When have you felt most sincerely respected by others?
You know...those moments when it wasn't about self-glory,
but about earning the true appreciation of someone else for the selfless effort you had put into something.
It is important that our life work be valued by at least one other person beside ourselves.
To earn that, is an immeasurable gift.
Think back over your life and try to recall a moment you felt that something you did
gleaned genuine validation from another person.
Chances are, God permitted the right person to be there at the right time
to bestow affirmation that we did the right thing and were walking His designated path.
Not that we should do what we do with the sole purpose of pleasing other people.
That will never happen all the time and is a fickle, unreliable, untrustworthy, inaccurate gauge.
Mom used to tell me that you can please some of the people some of the time,
but you will never please all of the people all of the time.
To try is a senseless, exhausting, disappointing endeavor and a complete waste of time and energy.
But, there is within the heart of every one of us, the need to feel at least one other person's respect.
It is important.

11.  What most builds your self esteem?
Not your pride, not your ego, but your true sense of valuing yourself
as an important part of God's grand design.
What makes you feel most a part of that design?
What makes you feel that you really matter?
That your life is important?
What contributions have you made that convinced you that only you could have filled that particular need?
Let's face it, we need to feel good inside...about ourselves.
If the whole world applauds our efforts and accomplishments,
it won't matter if we do not have within a sense of self-worth
and the sweet assurance that we are indeed doing His will and fulfilling our life's mission.

Look for the clues, my friend.
God has a particular purpose for your life.
There is a Divinely-appointed reason that you are here...right now...
right where you are.
You may look around upon your current circumstances and feel you are on a dead-end street.
That there is no way path available to reach your full potential for God.
I beg to differ with you.
Where this is GOD, there is a way.
And God is everywhere, even in the darkest, most impossible dungeons of hopelessness and despair.
He wants to use you....
your life,
your past experiences...the good, the bad, the ugly, and the unmentionable,
your talents...yes, you have them,
your skills...He has enabled you to develop them to this point,
and your uniqueness....there is no one else quite like you.
No one else can fulfill your purpose.
No one else can reach your inner circle...not in the way you can.
No one else will do.
Only you.

Life is short.
Way too short to sell yourself short.
To settle for less than God's best for your life.
To drift along, aimlessly, then pass off the scene, never having reached your full potential,
never having accomplished God's intentions for you,
and never having found the deepest sense of the joy in knowing
you lived out your whole reason for being on planet earth.

If you are on the wrong path, turn around.
You are allowed, you know.
God allows any and all points along the way.
All you have to do is follow His lead.
Get quiet.
Shut out the noise, and listen to His still, small voice.
Watch the signs He places in your path.
Be aware of His presence.
Make necessary adjustments as He points them out and at every given opportunity.
Do what you need to do to search for Him with all your heart.
Discover His perfect will for you,
then take the necessary steps to bring yourself in complete alignment with it.
Then, stay the course, my friend.

He will walk with you every step of the way,
He will never leave you,
and He will, at life's end, lead you ever safely to the other side...
fulfilled and happy in knowing you fulfilled His reason for creating you in the first place.

If video doesn't load, click here.
(Again, I apologize for any offensive images or advertising.)

God bless you as you search for His perfect will.
May you find it, follow it, and completely fulfill it.

Please continue to pray for 2 year old, Max Brown.

They have not yet been able to insert the trach,
due to chronic ups and downs in his body temperature.
Yesterday, his fever stayed down,
and they have scheduled him for surgery on Tuesday, September 2nd.
Please especially pray for him on that date.
6 year old, Makeya is doing SO well!
She is learning new things every day and continues to improve, PRAISE GOD!
Even though the doctors say neither of these children will ever walk again,
we are still believing God for a Divine-intervention miracle for both of them.

If  anyone would like to send the Brown family a card of encouragement,
please contact me, and I will provide the mailing address to you, individually.

If anyone would like to make a monetary donation to this family,
there are two ways to donate.
1.  An account has been set up for this purpose at a local bank.

Please mail donations to:

Citizen's Deposit Bank & Trust
P. O. Box 9
Vanceburg, KY  41179
Please write "For Brown Family" on the memo line of check.
2.  You may donate online by clicking HERE.

Most of all, please continue to lift them to our Heavenly Father in prayer.

(To read previous posts about the Brown Family,
 and 3RD UPDATE,
and 9TH UPDATE.)

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Eleven Homeschooling Tips (& Update On Max & Makeya)

"And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:
And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up."
Deuteronomy 6:6-7

#11 In the Titus 2 Series

After struggling through 12 1/2 years of infertility anguish,
Kevin and I are SO abundantly blessed and eternally grateful to be parents.
We could never, in a million years, give God anywhere near enough praise
for the amazing, immeasurable gift...of Zachary.
We thank the dear Lord every, single day for him
and for allowing us to be his Mama and Daddy.

Homeschooling Zachary is, without a doubt, hands-down, one of my favorite parts of life.
I have no shadow of a doubt that this is what God has called me to do.
It is one of the most precious and dear callings of my life, 
and I am ever so grateful to be living in this season.
It was never even a choice for Kevin and me.
We just knew...from day one...that this is the path God wanted us to follow.
Zachary is absolutely worth whatever it takes to do this.

I think my most cherished part is just having that one-on-one time with him each day.
I actually look forward to the school year starting.
Even though, it is sad that another summer is nearly behind us,
and I am struck once again with the reality of how quickly he is growing up,
I am still happy to welcome a new season and a new school year.

We always wait until after Labor Day to start our school year.
We don't take as many breaks throughout the year,
and we try to be finished before or around the first week of June.
This way, he gets a full three month summer break,
like Kevin and I used to enjoy way back when we were in school.  
That seems like a long time ago!

I think they make it so hard on kids these days....just my opinion...
and we just prefer to do it this way.
It's just how we roll around here.

So, as we are still enjoying our last few weeks of summer break,
I wanted to share a few, little tips I have learned during our eight years of homeschooling so far.

#1.  Start each day with prayer.
I know this should be a no-brainer,
but this is one we've learned the hard way.
We absolutely have a smoother day,
and we start off in the right spirit and frame of mind,
when we enlist Heaven's resources by unlocking the door through asking for God's help...first.
He is always near and always faithful to see us through.
On days we do not seek God's assistance, we struggle unnecessarily.

#2.  Add Scripture to each school day.
We are blessed to use the Accelerated Christian Education curriculum.
I cannot say enough good about it.
Of course, it is not without critics, and there are those who find it flawed,
(and, yes, we have found errors in score keys...SO frustrating!),
but, as a whole, we are very satisfied with it.
The thing I love most about it is that it is chock-full of God's Word.
They break it down into 12 packets (called P.A.C.E.s) in each of the 6 subjects each school year,
(Math, Social Studies, Science, Word Building, English, & Literature),
and in each packet, Zachary is required to memorize a Bible verse.
That is 72 Bible verses he is memorizing per school year!
He is absolutely hiding God's Word in his heart...
Words that he will be able to call back throughout life as he needs them.
This is invaluable to Kevin and me...and will be to him, too.

#3.  Carve your own path.
Don't worry about what everyone else is doing.
You can become dizzy trying to keep up with other homeschoolers,
their curriculum choices, 
their individualized schedules,
and their methods of teaching.
Do what works for you...and for your child(ren).
Every child is different, and so is every parent.
Be unique and unapologetic for being that way.
No one knows your child(ren) like you do.
Seek God's guidance for what will work best, follow His lead, and go for it.

#4.  Stick to curriculum that makes you comfortable.  
I am not one who likes to dabble in combining a mish-mash of curricula.
I'm not saying this is everyone else's preference.
I am just saying it is mine.
 To me, it is confusing to mix curriculum.
I know others who are perfectly capable of doing this, and it works great for them.
I say, more power to them.  :)
Again, stick to what makes you comfortable.
If you are at ease combining 2 or 3 or 4 or more formats, then, by all means, 
do what works for you and your household, without feeling the need 
to adhere to anyone else's standards or personal preferences.
The path is difficult enough.
Simplify it when possible.
We started out with A.C.E. in Kindergarten, because I attended several A.C.E. schools
while growing up, and I was familiar with the format and liked it.
We decided to try it with Zachary, and he ended up loving it,
so we stuck with it all these years.
Not saying I won't and don't supplement with books and other resources 
that are complimentary to and supportive of what he is already learning.
But, as for our basic curriculum, we are both comfortable with this, so we stick with it.
I don't even delve into researching other avenues for two reasons....
1.  My philosophy is, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
2.  I become confused and stressed out when I am given too many choices....
what can I is just a hang-up of mine, 
so I avoid putting myself in that position by not attending curriculum fairs 
and over-researching other choices.
We are content and thankful.
Try to reach your own place of contentment, whatever that may be, then stay there, 
regardless of what everyone else is doing or who advises you to follow their lead.

#5.  Approach homeschooling gratefully.
I know this is not the easiest choice you could make.
Tackling the responsibility of your child(ren)'s education is a daunting task.
It looms up before me sometimes like an insurmountable feat, 
and one for which I feel extremely inadequate and incapable.
I lean hard upon GOD and His wisdom and strength....every, single day.
When you feel overwhelmed, don't give up.
Remind yourself how precious it is to be granted the gift of this privilege.
Praise God for each moment you are blessed to sit by their side(s)
and be in complete control of what is being embedded into their pure minds.
Do you realize how valuable this is?
To know that you are the filter God is using to keep out the trash and deceptions?
Thank Him that He chose be their guardian, to direct their thought patterns,
to instill His love, mercy, and grace.
How very blessed we are!
And, you will find that if you are grateful, they will be, too.
More lessons are caught than taught.

#6.  Expect hard times.
Let's face it.
It's not all peaches and cream.
There are moments of extreme frustration,
overwhelming anxiety,
and overflowing tears.
Last year in 7th grade, Zach and I both struggled so much with math.
Honestly, I remember sitting there one morning at 2:00 am,
still trying to figure out what I was doing wrong.
Come to find out, there was an error in the test key!
But, I didn't find out until the next day.
I cried...hard...feeling completely unequal to the task and like such a complete failure.
There will be moments like these...I can assure you.
Those of you who are veterans are screaming, "Amen!".
I can almost hear you!
If you brace yourself ahead of time and acknowledge the reality of hiccups,
you will have a much more peaceful day...and school year.
Be prepared for opposition.
You will not always be applauded for your decision to homeschool.
There are many naysayers, skeptics, and critics.
There are the liberal-minded who believe we are all a bunch of fruit cakes.
Do you care?
Does it matter?
At the end of the day, who is truly accountable for what is allowed and not allowed into your child's realm?
This may not be the most popular path,
it may not be the path of least resistance,
but, if God has called you to it, it is the path for you,
and you will never walk alone.
And truly, do we really need anyone else's approval?
Who are we really trying to please and serve anyway?

#7.  Know when to take a break.
There have been moments I have been in tears, Zach has been in tears,
and God has whispered to me that it was approaching the boiling point,
and we needed to give it a rest.
Just walk away from it all.
To continue to sit there and torture yourselves is just too much.
Let it go....for a time.
It will be there waiting for you when you get back.
Go do something fun...either together or apart...but leave the school setting....
even for 15 minutes.
Take deep breaths.
Seek God's help.
Come back refreshed and renewed and ready to tackle the challenge again.
  No one is holding you to a strict schedule.
Thank God for that.
Do what you need to do to make it through each school day....
no matter how long it takes or who does or does not approve of your methods.
Who is raising this kid anyway?

#8.  Insert laughter into each day.
Make it a point to laugh...and to make your child laugh.
Lighten up...on yourself...and on them.
Making it fun gets the job done.
Be silly...and goofy...and comical.
Lighten the moment and lighten the load.
I can't tell you how many times Zach and I have burst into uncontrollable laughter,
after particularly trying moments in which our strength and determination were sorely put to the test.
Go easy on yourself.
Don't sweat the small stuff.

#9.  Be flexible.
Don't be so dead-set on keeping to your schedule or routine.
Use a pencil, instead of a pen, when making lesson plans.
I know it is important to stay focused and on track,
but, don't be opposed to shaking things up a bit.
There is more than one way to learn.
Instead of sitting inside doing Science, why not take it outside for the day?
Sit and listen to the birds you are studying about.
Lie down in the grass and watch the cumulus cloud formations, instead of just reading about them.
Grab a bubble wand and a jar of bubbles and head outside to watch the wind scatter them.
Take a safe walk with your child(ren) to complete your physical ed. requirement.
Enlist their help and make hanging laundry on the line a family home economics and living green project.
Turn on the garden hose and give the dog a bath together, putting those animal science lessons to use.

Zachary's lizard-on-a-string-leash project...
(Yes, he is very careful not to harm them and to turn them loose when he is done...
I'm sure they are never quite the same, though!)

And when (not if) interruptions occur, believe me, they will....
unexpected visitors who are truly clueless about the 180 school day per year requirement,
aging parents who need immediate attention,
friends who call on you for help, etc....
just relax, and remember, God's thoughts are far above ours,
and He always knows what is best.
The work will get done, and you will survive.
Don't allow your plans to interrupt God's purpose.

#10.  Seize the moments.
Children grow up way too fast.
One day, these homeschooling days will be memories.
Talk to some Moms who wish they were still in your shoes.
One day, you will miss this...
so don't miss it now.
Give it your full attention.
Be in the moment.
Live in now.
Turn off the phone.
That includes cell phones.
Leave your laptop in the other room...unplugged.
Look your child(ren) in the eye.
Thoroughly convince them that they are absolutely the most important thing in the world to you....
that nothing on earth is more precious or dear than sitting there giving them your full,
undivided attention, spending those moments...with them.
Nothing speaks "I love you" louder than that.
Don't ever, ever allow them to believe that homeschooling them is a drudgery to you.
Don't forget how precious one moment with them truly is.
Thank God that you are the one who is blessed to hear them call you "mama".
Thank Him that they are here...with you...being taught from a heart full of love,
instead of by a stranger in a crowded classroom.
Use this close, one-on-one time to really connect with them.
Let them talk to you.
Listen with all your heart.
Don't interrupt.
Let them finish emptying their hearts.
Love them matter what they do or tell you.
Recognize that you are molding their future by the way you handle things now.
Take advantage of every moment to love them,
to teach them, to instill God and His Word into them, 
to shape them into the person He wants them to be.

#11.  Be fearless.
God hasn't give you the spirit of fear, 
but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
(2 Timothy 1:7)
Don't approach homeschooling fearfully.
Don't worry about messing up.
You will.
It is a fact of life.
Accept it.
It's okay.
Don't try to fit into anyone else's mold.
Make your own niche, and stay in it.
Blaze your own trail.
Be courageous.
You can do this.
What you are doing is a sweet-smelling offering to Almighty God.
This is what He has called you to do.
And you are doing it well, my friend.
Don't focus on yesterday's mess.
Apologize if you need to.
Children are people.
They have feelings.
They deserve apologies, too.
Can I just tell you how many times I have had to tell Zach I am sorry?
I once told Kevin that I think Zachary is the most apologized-to child on earth!
By me, that is.
Kevin has to say, "I'm sorry", a lot less frequently than I do.
Learn from it, clean it up, and walk on.
Be the person you want your child to become.
If you want them to learn manners, treat them mannerly.
If you want them to show respect, respect them and their space, privacy, and feelings.
If you want them to understand God's amazing, covering grace...shower them lavishly with it.
If you want them to say I'm sorry when wrong, acknowledge your own wrongs to them.
If you want them to be grateful, show appreciation for all they do.
If you want them to forgive others, quickly forgive their wrongdoings.
Don't be afraid to be human with your child.
They need to see that and to know that it is okay to feel.
Cry when you need to.
I'm not saying we should burden them with adult-sized problems
or tell them all that is in our hearts.
I am saying that they need to see that Mama cries, 
but she picks herself up by the bootstraps,
smiles through her tears, 
keeps the faith,
and carries on....
not allowing fear to hinder her from her goal.
If you plow through this with courage, so will they.

Enjoy the journey, my friend.
It will be over all too soon.

May God bless us all with a happy, healthy 2014-15 school year!

(To read #1 in this series, entitled "Eleven Ways To Bless Your Husband", click here.
To read #2 in this series, entitled, "Eleven De-Cluttering & Organizing Tips", click here.
To read #3 in this series, entitled "Eleven Steps To A Stronger, Happier Marriage", click here.
To read #4 in this series, entitled, "Eleven Things To Remember During Infertility", click here.
To read #5 in this series, entitled, "Eleven Ways To Make Your Home More Peaceful", click here.
To read #6 in this series, entitled, "Eleven Ways To Be More Frugal, click here.
To read #7 in this series, entitled, "Eleven Steps To Inner Peace", click here.
To read #8 in this series, entitled, "Eleven Times To Be Quiet", click here.
To read #9 in this series, entitled, "Eleven Reasons I Am A Stay-At-Home Homeschooling Mom", click here.
To read #10 in this series, entitled, "Eleven Ways To Reduce Cleaning Stress", click here.) 
Please keep praying for the Brown family...
especially 2 yr. old Max.
He has been battling an infection and fever, possibly caused by the breathing tube,
 and had to be put in isolation.
Thank God, the fever is down, and he is now off isolation.
He is opening his eyes and communicating by shaking and nodding his head.
Makeya continues to progress and was able to be
taken outside for a ride around the park by Steven & Shyla
and even got to go shopping in the gift shop!!
God is hearing...please keep praying!!!

If  anyone would like to send the Brown family a card of encouragement,
please contact me, and I will provide the mailing address to you, individually.

If anyone would like to make a monetary donation to this family,
there are two ways to donate.
1.  An account has been set up for this purpose at a local bank.

Please mail donations to:

Citizen's Deposit Bank & Trust
P. O. Box 9
Vanceburg, KY  41179
Please write "For Brown Family" on the memo line of check.
2.  You may donate online by clicking HERE.

Most of all, please continue to lift them to our Heavenly Father in prayer.

(To read previous posts about the Brown Family,
 and 3RD UPDATE,
and 8TH UPDATE.)

Thursday, August 21, 2014

UPDATES - Baby Obed & Max Brown - 8-21-2014

"Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you:
not as the world giveth, give I unto you.
Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."
John 14:27

A couple of updates I wanted to pass along to all of you faithful, compassionate prayer warriors....

I heard from Baby Obed's Daddy, Travis today.

Here is a recent picture of the little cutie-pie.

Again, I was brought to tears and thanksgiving by his words.

"We just got back from the Cardiologist appointment and she prescribed him two medications (one is a diuretic to remove fluid building up in his lungs and the other to help minimize potassium loss) as she said he has some retraction in his chest and neck when breathing.  She said this is all normal for his condition and without these symptoms, she would be very concerned as that would mean he has a SERIOUS lung problem.  “So these signs are GOOD signs!” she kept saying. J

She still feels that the surgery won’t be necessary for another couple of months as long as he’s still gaining weight.
Thank you again for your prayers and concern."

While I was thankful to hear this news, I was even more blessed by what he said next...

"I just wanted to let you and the others know that we have had nearly 20 ultrasounds throughout this process. All of them except one was performed during the pregnancy.  It wasn’t until after birth that they mentioned “Malposition” versus “Transposition”.   With each ultrasound, I would pray “LORD, this is just another one added to the total of ultrasounds, and if it’s Your will for him to be healed, this would be irrefutable evidence that ONLY a miracle has taken place…”

Our family truly covets your prayers and those of everyone following Obed’s story.   God is working miraculously through Obed’s life.  My wife and I quickly learned how limited we are in this and can only sit and be amazed at what God has done, is doing, and will continue to do through Obed and our entire family’s life."

I didn't realize how irrefutable the evidence really is!
God allowed all of those ultrasounds to happen to fully establish that Baby Obed's vessels were truly transposed in utero.
God absolutely corrected this while he was in the womb,
allowing His glory to be revealed through this little guy!

While I was slightly disappointed that the doctor found ANY symptoms at all,
my faith is not diminished.
I fully believe, with all my heart, that He will completely heal anything that is malfunctioning,
and this child's miracle will continue to expand and touch hearts all across the world.
Even though the surgery to correct vessels that are malposed versus them being transposed
is less extensive, I am still asking God to heal him without the need for any surgery at all,
if it is His will.

Please continue to pray for God to completely heal this precious baby.

(To read previous posts about Baby Obed, please click HERE, and HERE, and HERE.)

I wish I could say that the news from little Max Brown's direction was as encouraging as Baby Obed's.

Sadly, his lung has collapsed again.
Contrary to what I posted earlier, they have been unable to do the tracheotomy.

Shyla posted this...
"Tom. is the decision day.
We meet with the surgeon team and all the doctors and a bunch of other people to talk about putting the trach in.  They are also going to put a feeding tube in his belly.
Tom. is the day we have to make the decision if we want it done or not.
But as of right now, it is our only option to get him to rehab and home."

I can't begin to imagine the fear in the hearts of these parents right now.
Every time it seems he is heading in the right direction,
something happens to impede his progress,
and now they are reaching the point of these types of decisions needing to be made.

We serve the God of miracles, Who is not hindered by our limited scope of vision.
He inhabits eternity, and, from His viewpoint, He can see all things.
No matter what happens in this situation, we know without a doubt that 
He is absolutely holding sweet Max in His nail-scarred hands.
He is always in control, and He always has a perfect plan for each life.

As I cried tears for two separate reasons today....
tears of joy when I read Travis' email,
and tears of sorrow when I read about Max,
it hit me how much comfort the Brown family can draw from Baby Obed's miracle right now.
Because actually seeing what God CAN do fills the heart with hope.
Watching His power be revealed increases faith in His ability to do the impossible.

The lives of these two little boys have somehow, by the orchestration of God's Almighty plan,
been intertwined and woven together....
within the confines of these posts.
I don't know exactly how God does what He does or how else these two separate lives 
could or would have otherwise been intersected.
For some reason, God chose this to be the location...of their mingling.

I can't help but believe that there is a Divine purpose at work here.
God uses all circumstances to bring glory to Himself...even the bad ones.
Sometimes, it is hard for us to see first.
Other times, He opens our eyes and allows us to see the purpose.

Click HERE if video doesn't load.

Please pray for Shyla, Steven, & the grandparents as they face the uncertainty of tomorrow.
Pray for wisdom for the medical staff and these precious parents.
Pray that healing will take place, and God will send peace.
Please continue to pray for healing for 6 year old Makeya, too.
Thankfully, she continues to do well and to adjust to her rehab surroundings.
Pray that God will heal the paralysis and enable her to walk again.

If  anyone would like to send the Brown family a card of encouragement,
please contact me, and I will provide the mailing address to you, individually.

If anyone would like to make a monetary donation to this family,
there are two ways to donate.
1.  An account has been set up for this purpose at a local bank.

Please mail donations to:

Citizen's Deposit Bank & Trust
P. O. Box 9
Vanceburg, KY  41179
Please write "For Brown Family" on the memo line of check.
2.  You may donate online by clicking HERE.

Most of all, please continue to lift them to our Heavenly Father in prayer.

(To read previous posts about the Brown Family,
 and 3RD UPDATE,
and 7TH UPDATE.)

Many thanks go out to each one of you who are helping to pray for Baby Obed and for the Brown Family.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

PLEASE Pray for MAX BROWN!! - 8-19-2014

"The Lord is my Rock, and my Fortress, and my Deliverer; 
my God, my Strength, in Whom I will trust..."
Psalm 18:2

(For those of you who are not familiar with or have not been following this story,
please click HERE to read the original prayer request.
You may also click the many links on the right sidebar to read updates.)

My heart is so heavy to have to share more bad news.

I come to you, faithful readers and prayer warriors,
to ask once again that everyone please stop when they read this 
and say a prayer for little 2 year old Max Brown.

He is not doing well.
His left lung has collapsed, and they had to put him back on the ventilator.

UPDATE at 6:28 am...
Max's lung has opened back up, (praise God!),
but he is still having trouble taking deep breaths.
They are going to do a tracheostomy.

This is definitely not what we were all hoping for,
but hopefully, it is just a small glitch, and things will even out for him.

God has done SO much for this precious family.
We know He can do all things and move any mountain.
We have to have faith and keep praying,
and, at the same time, keep our hearts and minds open to His will.
We know God does all things well, and He absolutely knows what is best.

There was some good news yesterday about Makeya, 
that I also wanted to pass along.

This is the direct post from the grandmother...
(from yesterday)
"Makeya is now in rehab.
They have had her up in a wheel chair.
They measured her today for her chair, and she already has it.
They let her get used to her new room, but tomorrow she will have a long day, 
'cause they told her that it will be therapy all day.
Shyla was able to hold Max today.
He is waking up more, but he is still weak.
They still have him on BiPap.
His oxygen level keeps going up and down.
Please continue to pray for my babies."

Today, after the above post was written, Max's lung collapsed, and they had to re-insert the ventilator.

Please pray for comfort for little Makeya, also,
as she has started to wonder where Quinton is.

I received this heart-wrenching post written by the grandmother the other night.
With her permission, I am sharing it here...

"Just wanted to share something with everybody...I cannot sleep without thinking about it....something that touched my heart so much and I mean SO while I was visiting Makeya...well before I even got there Shyla told me that Makeya wanted to know where Quinton Shyla had to tell her that GOD wanted him to come and live with him and that Quinton has wings now.....well when we got there ...we were there for a little while when she told us that Quinton was in heaven and that he had his wings...she even told her sister about it...when the nurse came in to put medicine in Makeya's IV it hurt...well I explain to her that when she started hurting like that to pray to GOD and that he would help her with that and I also told her that Quinton would always be with her , setting right there on that shoulder of hers when ever she needed him....well to get to the part that touch my heart so much....Shyla called about a hour ago and said mom do you know what Makeya just said out of the blue and this is what this little 6 year old girl said "I just felt God checking in on me" GOD is real and I am so glad that my MAKEYA can feel him..."

This is beyond heart-breaking.

It is circumstances like these that are near-unbearable...
that are painful, to the point of being unendurable, and completely overwhelming.
It is times like these we need a place to run and hide.

When I read updates like these, all I can think of is Psalm 61:2.

"From the end of the earth will I cry unto Thee, 
when my heart is overwhelmed:
lead me to the Rock that is higher than I."

Oh, how blessed we are to know that there is a Rock higher than us!
Higher than the medical professionals.
Higher than the mountains of our hurt.
Higher than the height of our pain.
Higher than the waves in our oceans of tears.
There is a Rock.
The sweet, ever-faithful, always-consistent, eternally-strong Rock of Ages!

He bids us come to Him....
for refuge, for shelter, for comfort, for rest.

"Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden,
and I will give you rest."
Matthew 11:28

He is there.
Like a rock.

Where would we turn in times like these, if we had no Savior?
If there were no Rock to lean on, to draw strength from, to stand upon?
In life's shifting, changeable, undependable sand.
On life's tossing, turbulent, unreliable sea.
We need an anchor.
Something steady to hold to.
To cling to.
When everything else around us crumbles.

Every person reading this carries a cross of their very own.
Whether it be heartbreak, grief, abandonment,
disease, addiction, divorce, sick loved one(s),
financial distress, persecution, wayward child(ren),
loneliness, rejection, betrayal, disappointment, embarrassment,
guilt, shame, fear, bitterness, bondage, confusion, or a million other possibilities.

Crosses become heavy to bear the longer they are carried.
We all need a Savior...a Redeemer...a Friend who will walk beside us and help bear our load.

There is a Friend Who loves you more than anyone else ever has.
A Friend Who carried a cross of His very own...
and Who also had to have help in bearing its weight.
A Friend Who waits, patiently and gentlemanly, on the sidelines of your life.
All it takes to get Jesus' help is for you to cry out to Him.

Click HERE if video doesn't load.

Tell Him your problems.
Explain your situation.
Call on Him.

He is there.
He is listening.
He loves you with an everlasting love.
No matter who you are.
Regardless of what you've done.
In spite of how many times you've refused His help.
However far you've strayed.

Cry out to Him, my friend.
Invite Him into your circumstances.

In times like these, truly He is our only hope.

If  anyone would like to send the Brown family a card of encouragement,
please contact me, and I will provide the mailing address to you, individually.

If anyone would like to make a monetary donation to this family,
there are two ways to donate.
1.  An account has been set up for this purpose at a local bank.

Please mail donations to:

Citizen's Deposit Bank & Trust
P. O. Box 9
Vanceburg, KY  41179
Please write "For Brown Family" on the memo line of check.
2.  You may donate online by clicking HERE.

Please pray hard for Max.
And please continue to pray for Makeya, also,
along with Shyla, Steven, the grandparents, and all others who are walking this difficult path.

God bless you for your faithfulness to pray and reach out.