Silence

Can you ever remember giving someone the silent treatment?  Maybe when you were unhappy with how they treated you or when their words hurt you, you retreated into silence, ignoring them and the problem like it would just disappear?  Maybe you aren’t the silent treatment giver, but are married to someone who gives it or are friends with one who utilizes this tactic… let me just say on either side of the fence, in my opinion, silence is not fun.

Silence puts people on alert.  It causes people to sit, think, toil, ponder and  analyze what may happen next, who will cause the bomb to explode and what ramifictions will come from all of it.  It is stressful and in many ways tormenting under these circumstances.  Granted, there are times when this mama’s ears enjoy some silence, so she can read her Bible, talk to her hubby without interupption or sip coffee in quiet, but I am suggesting times when someone diliberately isn’t speaking to you on purpose. #bahhumbug

While reflecting on how I have had the silence treatment inflicted on me, I stopped and thought about the period of time God was silent.  Yes, the God of the universe chose to be silent.  He did not speak for 400 years.  The Old Testament ends with the prophets sharing what I call “wake up” calls and then nothing.  There is a gap  between the Old Testament and New Testament when nothing is recorded, because, well, God wasn’t talking.  He was silent.

Every year, I ask God for one word for me to cling to, hold onto, live out and uphold through my next year.  It is something that he laid on my heart to do two years ago as I was praying into the new year.  My first word was “preparation.”  I never knew the depths of what that would be and where I would be today as a result of “preparation” that year in my life, marriage and ministry.  Last year, God gave me the word “captured.”  To be captured by his love, captured by his grace, captured by the plans he had for our family- and boy were we ever.  Doors that we weren’t expecting to open, opened!  Avenues we didn’t plan to travel because of road blocks, removed!  It was a remarkable journey through 2012.    So, why do I bring those two words up?

As I was reading theologians perspectives and gleaning information about the years of silence, I felt like fireworks went off in my brain.  The 400 years that God wasn’t talking, did not mean he wasn’t moving, that he wasn’t preparing for something or that he had his eyes of his children.  You see, God was still orchestrating what was happening.  He wasn’t removed from the throne or on vacation for 400 years.  No – no – no!  He was preparing his greatest outpouring of love, when the light of the world would step down into darkness.

 Now in the sixth month [after that], the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee named Nazareth, To a girl never having been married and a virgin engaged to be married to a man whose name was Joseph, a descendant of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, Hail, O favored one [endued with grace]! The Lord is with you! Blessed (favored of God) are you before all other women!”  Luke 1:26-28

God had to wait for the apponited time for his plan to come to pass.  There were people he had purposed for such a time as this.  The silence was not God sitting in a corner angry, mad and turning his back on his people, but instead it was him preparing the greatest outpouring of love on his people.

 “And while they were there, the time came for her delivery, And she gave birth to her Son, her Firstborn; and she wrapped Him in swaddling clothes and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room or place for them in the inn.”  Luke 2:6-7

Mary was captured by the love of the Father that he sent in the form of a baby.  Zachariah was captured by the love of the Father when his son was born and he named him John, knowing that he was the one to prepare the way of the Lord (Luke 1).   What love the father has lavished on us, so we can be called his sons and daughters!  Out of the silence, preparations were made so that love could come down into our darkness and shed light, so that we may be captured, not captive, of the love that God has for me and for you.

We sit on our couches and watch the news and think, “Why so much evil?”  Lord, the shootings, the innocent lives taken, the broken families and the increase of kidnappings, sex slave rings – Lord, it is too much!  Why?  And while it is hard for our brains and hearts to sync and understand sometimes, especially when it is happening to us, if nothing bad happened, we would have no reason to run into the arms of our Father.  We would have no reason to be captured by the love sent from heaven and born as a babe in a manger.

Maybe “evil” has visited your life through the death of a loved one, an unexpected tragedy, a hurt greater than you have ever experienced and it is carried in your heart and you say, “Why?” but there is just silence?  While the hurt will be there and the longing for the loss to be gone will be carried in your heart, in that silence, God is preparing something, something that will capture the hearts of many at an appointed time.  We may not see it for a long time coming, but it is coming.  He is coming!  May our eyes focus on what is yet to be….

Lord prepare our hearts to be captured by your love.  Help us to keep our minds still and ease our anxiousness as we await your love that is coming again from heaven into this dark and broken world.  May we not FOCUS on what is, but on what will be one day!  May we wait with anticipation of your great plan revealed and carried out in our lives.  Lord let us FOCUS on you and not on what this world has become.  For you are you great and your plans are great, there is noone else like you.

“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” Matthew 24:35

Be Merry

Tis the season to be jolly, right?  You read the greeting cards, see the advertisements, observe the storefronts and sing the songs.  It is the season to be merry to share joy and capture happiness.  But as I read those words and have even uttered them myself, I wonder what if we were to do more than be merry, but be like Mary.

Be Mary.  How can we be Mary?  We can’t actually become Mary and we can’t be a clone of Mary, but we sure can look to her for modeling what it is like to worship the King.  Mary didn’t waste time with little details, she grabbed hold of the biggest detail in her life and made everything else going on fade into the background.

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him.  She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he said.”  Luke 10:38-39

Mary sat at the Lord’s feet.  She wasn’t busy tending to one thing or another, but she stopped what she was doing and sat at his feet.  How many of us regularly sit at the feet of Jesus?  How many of us are guilty of not giving him two minutes out of our twenty four hours to just sit with him?  Life has so many demands on us, yet, shouldn’t we, as children of God, spend time sitting with Him?  I think about my own children who love to sit next to me on the couch and I mean squish their bodies as tightly next to mine as they can, if not plop themselves on my lap.  Something about touching me makes them feel closer to me.  There is something about sitting closest to the one we love and just touching, listening, hearing and being in their presence that makes everything seem okay.  My kids get that, do I? Do you?

When my life is chaotic, my schedule is running wild with appointments and activities, it is vital that I spend time with Jesus.  In his presence I find peace.  When I sit with him, my doubts disappear, my hope is revived and my strength is renewed.  Without time with Jesus, I am depleted, disarrayed and fragmented, but time spent with him keeps me collected.  How about you?  Do you find that when you are out of sorts or out of balance with your schedule and devotional time, you are more scattered brain, the patience tank falls towards empty quickly and your anger heats up faster than normal?  I can relate.  We need to be like Mary so we can be merry.  When we unplug from our life source, our functionality decreases and our joy deflates.

Mary didn’t just sit at his feet though, the Bible says she listened.  This sitting with Jesus business isn’t one sided.  We don’t just sit there and offer up all of our prayers and then walk away, because more times than not, Jesus has something to say back to us.  Sometimes he wants to whisper and share with us, too, and sometimes we need to say nothing at all, just listen to what he wants to speak to our heart. 

Mary let the distractions go.  She let the busyness fade into the background and took the time she needed in Jesus’ presence.  Read what happens in this story, next:

“But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made.  She came to him and asked, ‘Lord don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”  Luke 10:40

What do you think Jesus did?  He replied, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed.  Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken away from her.”  Luke 10:41-42

And there is the word in its truest form, chosen.

The bottom line of how to be merry and be like Mary is about a choice.  A choice to let distractions fade, a choice to take time and sit with Jesus and a decision to listen for his voice.  It all comes down to the one word which Jesus himself uttered: chosen.  This week, this month, as we choose to be merry, will you choose to take time to be like Mary and sit at His feet?

In case you were wondering…

Hello, friends.  Many of you may be wondering, “Where’s Michelle been?”  Well, I am here and quite okay, just have had a lot going on.  Just wanted to let you know that I miss you and I miss writing, too.  Life has just been a whirlwind since last January and well, I am just plain tuckered out.  

But, just to let you know, I am planning on getting back in the groove of things and writing as the Lord leads.  I’m holding on to his promises and clinging to my life verse: Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished, Luke 1:45.

Just wondering if there is anyone or anything you have let slide by in your life?  Maybe today is the day to reconnect, send an email, make a phone call or start again.  I’m picking up my pencil and starting again, how about you?

It’s Not About Me, Don’t be Negative, Progress.

A blog inspired by a conversation with two godly girlfriends over fried zucchini and a few glasses of lemon flavored water and ice tea.  I don’t get out to have a lot of these “girlfriend” dinner dates, but I thoroughly enjoy them when I do.

It is amazing how perspectives can be so different.  Husbands and wives seeing the same thing, yet, their perceptions are different.  We can both look at one color on the same palette and yet one says, “Eggplant and the other says purple,”  or we can hear our children bickering and yet, one parent sees one child’s point of view while the other can understand the rivalry sibling’s point of view.  Perception, it is how you see things.

Our perception as a Christian needs to be, “It’s not about me, Lord, but you.”  We go through our days with these things filling our brains: My list to do; I need to do…., I can’t do all this alone, I, I, I.  Our schedules, calendar and plans throughout the day revolve around “Me doing something…”  and thinking about this makes me say, “I need another cup of coffee.”  Of course, we rationalize and say, I am doing it for the kids or my husband or others, but the bottom line is this: Do we make our days about Him?  Do we include him in decisions about which things we say yes or no?  Do we ask God, ” Is this your will?”  Or do we say, “Yes,” because we can look like we are doing the right thing, be applauded by man/woman or put on a committee to feel prestigious?

I don’t want my life to be about me, but Him, how about you?

There is a balance we need to find.  When we say, “Yes,” to too many things and not the things that God wants us to, we become unbalanced.  Our attitudes start becoming rocky, our smiles become less curvy, our patience is tattered and our joy is stuffed in the messy closet with the door closed.  This all reminds me of a story I heard in a Sunday School class: God asks a young man to carry a rock up to the top of the mountain.  The young man says, “Yes, Lord. I can do that for you.”  As the boy travels up the mountain, he runs into other people who ask him if he will carry their rock up, too.  Being a kind and generous man, he replies, “Yes.”  But something happens as this young man continues to travel.  He becomes tired and weary, the load is really heavy and he begins to doubt that he can make it to the top.  God shows up along the way to see how he is doing.  With a negative attitude and a grieved spirit he says, ” I cannot handle this load you have given me.”  To which the Lord replies, “I simply asked you to carry one rock.”

Perspective.  God gives each of us a load to carry, we call that our purpose.  But how many times have we choose to carry  things that sounded good, seemed good and were good,  when God gave us a specific task load to carry?  How many of us are worn out, tattered and have negative attitudes because the stuff in our wheelbarrow to carry up the mountain is to heavy?  And how many wheelbarrows are to heavy with stuff that wasn’t what God intended for us to carry?

You say, “But there is no one else to do it?”  Then let it sit until the right person comes along to pick it up.  You say, “But then the children won’t have VBS if I don’t do it,” but how will you know unless you set it down and see who God sends to pick it up.  A common rebutle is, “But I have always done this,” yet, God has called you to do something specific that you cannot do if you are busy doing this other stuff.  God has equipped you and given you talents to carry out a specific task.  We cannot keep adding to our cart what we think we ought to do, we need to focus on what God has called us to do!  If God has called you to teach, then teach; to preach, then preach!  If he has said serve, be a servant and if has said greet, then greet!  But let us do what God,  who has deemed the steps for us has called us to do and not what man thinks we ought to do.  We are pushing forward, pressing on, making progress in a race that leads us to be with Him face to face.

I don’t know about you, but when I get there I don’t want to have this conversation:

God: Welcome, Michelle

Michelle: Praise the Lord! Bless you Lord.

God:  Did you do what I asked you to do?

Michelle: Lord I did A, B,C, D….Z

God: Wow.  But is it what I asked you to do?

Michelle: I fed the children, took in the orphans, helped the widow, cleaned the church, baked for the bake sale, organized VBS, donated shirts, etc.

God:  All that is very well, but I asked you to do ______.  Did you do it?

Michelle: (quiet)

Selah.

We can do many good things.  There are many good things that need done.  Sometimes there are seasons when we pitch in more and do more because there is no one else (I understand quite well,  my husband served on two different staffs for approximately 10 years in all).  But, in all the busyness, filling in and picking up pieces, don’t lose focus on what God has purposed you to do.

Your steps are ordered.  There is an end to the race.  This life is not about us, but rather about completing what He has predestined us to do.  Everyday is a step of progress towards fulfilling that purpose before He comes and takes us to our eternal home.  Where are you on the journey?  Press forward friends.  Your Prince is coming, be ready.

“But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” Exodus 9:16

Check out this video as you worship, pray and reflect on this devotion today:  Give Myself Away

“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.” Proverbs 19:21

Jesus Was on the Boat

Sometimes silence is golden.  Like for this mom, when I have three kiddos, a work schedule, an extracurricular activity schedule, a homework schedule to juggle – I crave silence like a piece of chocolate. A small piece, just enough to satisfy the craving.

But I have found that I don’t like silence either.  Silence between friends.  Months or even days without communication.  Silence between spouses.  I love my husband and enjoy talking to him, so if things are “tense” or there has been a period of silence, I don’t like it.  Something about that silence disturbs me and sends my emotions into a roller coaster and I wonder if it will come off the tracks.  Spirals of rejection, jolts of doubt, steep inclines of, “What could I have done different or better….” that kind of  roller coaster.  Maybe it is just me, but something tells me, it happens more often behind pretty smiles and curled hair than we like to admit.  We may look all together, but meanwhile there is a tornado of emotions circulating.

What do we do with this?

Jesus told the storm, “Quiet!  Be still!”  (Mark 4:39).

Here is how the day unfolds up to the storm.  Jesus says to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” (Mark 4:35).

Note to self: Jesus was directing their day.  He knew where he was taking them.  My husband in January felt the Lord tell him it was time to pack up and move.  We weren’t moving states away, but we were moving away from what had been normal for the past ten years.  Moving far enough way that we would need to find a new church, schools, ball leagues, dance schools, etc.  But just like the disciples, Jesus was leading.  We knew in that moment and today that Jesus was leading us to the place he wanted us to plant ourselves, the place where he has drawn boundary lines for our feet.

“The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.” Psalm 16:6

“Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat.” Mark 4:36

Jesus climbs in the boat with the disciples.  Let’s remember who the disciples are – fishermen.  They weren’t leisurely fishing type of people, fishing was their livelihood.  They knew the waters, the streams, the ins and outs of fishing.  They were familiar with the land and territory.  They understood weather, when to come in and when to go out.  They also weren’t afraid to get in the boat and drive Jesus, the Son of God, across the water to the place he wanted them all to go. They were secure in what they knew (knowledge) and in whom they trusted, Jesus (wisdom).

I climbed in the boat to move with my husband.  We loaded up all we had and came just as we are.  There is nothing fancy about us.  We don’t have special “bells and whistles” to offer, except that we know Jesus and heard his voice and followed.

“A furious squall came up and the waves broke over the boat, so it was nearly swamped.  Jesus was in the stern sleeping on the cushion.  The disciples woke him and said to him, ‘Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”  Mark 4:37-38

Okay – so let’s recap.  Jesus is sleeping.  There is this furious storm that comes up and is rocking the boat, drowning it in waves.  The fishermen – the professionals – are terrified.  They must not have seen it coming, they either missed the signs or it came out of nowhere.  Either way, they are afraid and think they are going to drown.  Wow.  Have you ever heard God say, “Go.”  You follow like a good son or daughter of the King.  On your way to the place Jesus has told you to go, something happens – a storm shows up and you think, “I’m going to drown, we will never make it.” 

God gives dreams.  You hold this dream, a door opens, you step through.  God says pack up and go.  You oblige.  You are moving along and a wave crashes over you, such as silence or loneliness.  Let’s be honest, we think, “Really? I am just doing what you asked. Really? Will I even make it to that place where I am to set these faded tan feet?”     The answer is yes, you will.  The truth is waves from storms will rise and try to stop you on your way.  Waves such as: discouragement, loneliness, depression, fear and even guilt.

I think it is somewhere in the storm that we are defined.  Will we sit there, grip the edge of the boat just waiting for death to drown us in the waves from the storms or do we go and seek our Master and say, “Don’t you care if we drown? Come help me.”

How did Jesus respond?  “He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, ‘Quiet! Be still. Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.”  (Mark 4:39)

I don’t know where you are on your journey, maybe you haven’t gotten in the boat to leave one land for another, maybe you already have and you have landed at your destination or maybe you are in the middle of the water… but wherever you are, we can count on one thing, when we call on Jesus he will answer us.  He is with us always, even in silence, loneliness, depression, discouragement, fear and guilt.  If we go to him, he will calm the storms in our lives.

“I am leaving you with a gift–peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.”  (John 14:27)

Be the Olympian

The Summer Olympics in London have been a huge hit in our house.  Many conversations and discussions, cheers and excitement surround our living room as this family of five relaxes together.  I’m sure over the next few blogs I will share some of these insights, but something happened during the track and field Olympics that has not left my mind and heart. Something beautiful.  Something to be cherished.  Something to chase.

Each Olympian practices for years to come to this one event, the pinnacle, the climax of their career to take home the gold. Hours of devotion and training, mental preparation and vigorous exercise dedicated to one moment in time to try and be the best in the world.  As I watch night after night, no matter the sport, I find this common theme: endurance, persistence, character and hope.

 “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings,because we know that suffering produces perseverance;  perseverance, character; and character, hope.”  Romans 5:4

That wasn’t all I caught this past weekend.  Something I sniffed out was even sweeter.  As I watched Sonya Richards-Ross run her 400m race, the cameras found someone in the stands watching, intently, her husband.  Her husband is not just anyone.  He is Aaron Ross, an NFL football player for the Jacksonville Jaguars, formerly a player for the New York Giants.  Aaron’s team is currently in training to prepare for the upcoming NFL preseason.  However, his coaches allowed him to take a three day reprieve to travel to London to watch his lady in the moment of her lifetime.  Did you catch it?

He gave up time to go and be her cheerleader.  I am sure she has spent countless hours watching him run the field.  She has endured a long vigorous football schedule so he can be the best.  She was there cheering him on to do his best for the Superbowl.  And here he was doing it in return.  Love in action.  He was an Olympian husband.

So often, women find themselves, whether stay at home moms or work force moms, battling depression, discouraged and just feeling that life is, well, mundane.  Thinking I had so many dreams.  I wanted to run the big race.  I wanted to further my education.  I wanted to  (fill in the blank!)  But things happen and our schedules hold too much to juggle and we just let those things slip away.  But what if the people we loved most, the men in our lives, our husbands, got behind us and cheered us on.

Here is a lesson we can learn from Aaron Ross, off the field:

– He knew his wife’s dream.  He knew that winning gold meant a lot to her and he wanted to be there to see it all unfold.

– He prioritized his marriage.  He let her know that what she was doing mattered and it was important to him.  He gave up his dream for a few days to see hers come to fruition.

– He celebrated her success.  His fist pumps in the air after her qualifying match sent emotions throughout my body.  I thought how awesome to have a husband cheering her along.  How honored and loved she must feel!

-He did not just tell her to go do it and provide a means for it.  Nope!  He participated in it.  Conversations at home, discussions over phones and around dinner tables.  Talks before and after meets.  Encouraging her along the way.  He was an active participant, not just a sponsor.

Maybe him being there wasn’t a big deal to you, but I thought it was a big deal.  An Olympic gold medal big deal.

I can personally say that when I have had a big “to do” such as my first conference ever publicly speaking to a group of 300, my husband was there and not just for the “big event.”  He was there from the birth of  the dream.  He listened to my concerns, he rebounded my discouragements and pushed my limits to more than I thought was in me.  When I felt lead to try something new, he did not hold me back, but rather helped to cover the possibilities and find the best course on the map!

Bottom line, whether its you or your husband, for that matter, best friend, parent, brother or sister, get on board to cheer them on from the start – and not the start line of their final race, but from the moment they speak their dream.  Encourage them.  Check in on them.  Love them.  It takes endurance and perseverance.  It is easy to just give up, throw up our hands and walk away, but when those who love us are there beside us believing in us and we put our trust in God to carry us through, all things are possible.

Love in action.

“You finally did it, you finally did it, babe,” he told her. “Enjoy the moment.” – Aaron Ross

Bravo, Aaron and Sonya Ross.  Your love and devotion to one another is inspiring.

“So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband”  -Ephesians 5:33

Out of the Mouth of Babes

They asked Jesus, “Do you hear what these children are saying?” “Yes,” Jesus replied. “Haven’t you ever read the Scriptures? For they say, ‘You have taught children and infants to give you praise.”  Matthew 21:6

As I read this scripture, I could not help but reflect on how many times, God has used my children as an instrument of His Word.  From living their lives out loud for Jesus to sharing His Word with others.  It has been an awe-struck experience on many occasions.

Today is my oldest child’s, Samuel, birthday.  He is nine years old.  Time surely flies.  I can remember finding out I was pregnant and holding him for the very first time.  But when I reflect on the life of Samuel, what I hold on to most is God’s promise for his life and what he is already doing in Samuel’s life.Image

When Samuel was 3 years old, he had awoken from a nap and brought to the kitchen table for a late Sunday afternoon lunch (or early dinner).  As he was quietly sitting there, his little mouth opened and he said, “Mom, guess what Jesus told me?”  As any mom or dad would do, I responded while my hubby listened, “What honey?” excitedly expecting he had learned something that morning.

Let me preface it with this:  It was a Sunday afternoon.  We had church service that morning and he was in a preschool Sunday school class.  I am expecting to hear what he learned about today in his class.

Samuel, responded, “Jesus told me I am getting a baby sister.”

As I choked on the piece of steak  I was chewing and my husband spit out water, I said lovingly, “Oh, no honey, mommy and daddy are not having any more babies.  We have you and your brother and we don’t think we need anymore children.”

Samuel went on eating and nothing more was said or thought of this conversation.  I figured someone else was pregnant in the church and they were having a baby, so Samuel, at age 3, just figured it was his mommy too, because that must be what mommies do.

6 weeks passed and well, that special time never came.  Our test came back positive and yep, we were expecting a baby.  Samuel insisted Jesus told him it was a girl.   He believed it with all his heart.  Me, however, I doubted it would be a girl, I was two for two on boys. I prepared Samuel’s heart the weeks leading up to the ultrasound to find out the sex of the baby, that the baby could possibly be another brother.

Sadly, I never gripped the promise and believed it wholeheartedly, that Jesus wanted to give Samuel and his brother a sister and us, daughter.  I doubted.  Samuel believed.  God held to the word he spoke to and through Samuel, we were having a baby girl.

Pretty cool, huh?  To be a three year old who hears the voice of Jesus, shares it and believes it, never doubting.  At age three, we believe our mommies and daddies, because they look out for us and know what is best for us.  We do not doubt their intentions.  Mommy at age twenty-eight, doubted and did not believe what was spoken was true.  How guilty are many of us for not believing something God spoke to us whether through a dream, another person or the Word?  Oh, hearts, why do you let us forget what our God Almighty, Master, Savior has spoken?  That he intends to prosper us, not harm us, give us hope and future (Jer. 29:11) that he fulfills his promises as we obey him!

That is not all that Samuel spoke that particular year.

On a different afternoon, Samuel awoke from a nap and said, “Guess what Mommy?”  With my eyes dancing at my precious son and the corners of my mouth lifted in a heartwarming smile, I replied, “What honey?”  Samuel said, “Jesus told me that we are going to call my sister, ‘Princess!”  I chuckled and lovingly said as I brushed his thick brown hair as he sat on my lap,” Oh, honey, we might call her our princess, but we are not naming her princess.”  Samuel looked up at me and said, “Jesus said so.” Then jumped off my lap and went about playing with his toys.

Later we went to my mother’s house for a visit and my grandmother called.  She told me she either had a dream or in her prayer time had heard God speak about my baby girl in womb.  Her words were that I was to name the baby Sarah.  I quickly went to the computer and searched the internet for the meaning of the name.  Would you believe my eyes when I read, “Princess.”

Today, I celebrate my son, Samuel’s ninth birthday.  He has been a delightful joy to raise.  I am proud of the young man he is becoming and honored to watch all that God is doing in his life from the time of his birth.  This story is just one of the many of God working in his life.  What better way to celebrate him than to share something God has done through him.  I look forward to watching him run the race that God has laid out before him and cheering him on along the way.

” I press on toward the goal unto the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 3:14