Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Big Bang Theory

Here I sit, waiting for the gentleman outside to finish installing a new window in our car due to the fact that the old one was shot out last weekend. Yep, apparently we live in the ghetto and had no idea.

It's amazing what an act so small and insignificant can temporarily do to your outlook on life. By the time the cops left last Friday morning I had the house sold, my kids homeschooled, and all of us living in a commune surrounded by barbed-wire fence. Luckily, my voice of reason (a.k.a. Jason) reminded me it was only a BB gun, and it was probably just a couple of teenage kids out for some kicks. Just like that, my blueprints were put on hold and I halted the scenes in my head of sewing Little House on the Prairie dresses for my daughters and arranging their marriages.

(It's a good thing for our offspring that they have at least one rational parent. If it were up to me our poor children would have found themselves living in a bomb shelter, wearing oxygen masks, and having mastered the art of Tai-Kwon-Do long ago.)

I think I'm raising my kids in the wrong decade. Or the wrong century. Everything worries me these days. This world is a scary, scary place with absolutely no guarantees. I can't stand knowing that I can teach my kids all the right things to do and say, teach them to never take candy from a stranger, teach them how to stop, drop, and roll, teach them how important it is to always wear their seatbelts, etc., but at the end of the day their fate is out of my hands.

And it doesn't make matters any easier having to raise two girls (possibly three?) in this day and age. It seems as if Jason and I always need to be on the defense with them, especially when we think about preparing them for the future. It feels as if the things that could potentially harm them have more severe consequences than if they were boys. I could be totally off on that, I'm not sure. Raising boys to me seems like a different sort of responsibility, one where they need to be taught how to avoid becoming part of certain situations, where with girls it seems like they need to be taught how to get themselves out. I have horrible visions of dark streets, keg parties, and cars with naughty boys that fill my head when I think of what their future could hold if we don't do our job in properly instructing them on how to make wise life-choices.

And these are the reasons I cannot watch Law and Order, or scary movies, or the news, because every thing I see in front of me I internalize and convince myself will become my story, or my family's story if I let my guard down for even an instant.

I'm not even really sure where I'm going with this. I'm just feeling a little uneasy after our house was targeted and attacked by a gang of hardened, vicious criminals a couple days ago.

This is the kind of vulnerability that will make me crazy if I let it.

I've spoken before on how I have to make a conscious decision to surrender my children to Christ everyday, knowing that ultimately their lives rest in His hands, but today I just need a little extra assurance.

Maybe this is why I find myself here, writing to you all. Do any of you have any Scripture you could share with me? Any wise words the Lord has laid on your heart when you are faced with fear? Something that would strengthen my resolve to trust that God is in control?

Any help with this matter would be greatly appreciated. My sanity and sense of reason appears to be lost and gone away, and is not showing signs of returning anytime soon.

And, on a sidenote, if you happened to be driving past my house last Friday and saw anything suspicious, please don't let me know. For now I think I'll just tell myself that a semi-truck happened to drive by and a big stone was thrown horizontally from it's path directly into the center of our car window with enough force to shatter it's glass into millions of pieces from thirty feet away. This could happen, right?


Dear Lord in heaven,
I pray this day on pins and needles. You know me well, and You know this is a state I often find myself in when I allow myself to think about all the potential dangers that exist in this world.

You know that my family's health and safety is everything to me, and You see how I constantly try to ensure that they are well protected and cared for.

But You also see straight through this into the heart of the matter, and that is how I have a really hard time turning their fate over to anyone else, even You. I want to shelter them, hover over them, and hold their hands as they cross every street, into every new situation, for all time.

Help me to overcome this need to keep them to myself and to fiercely protect them from this world around us. Help my hand to let go of theirs and firmly place their fingers in Your own. I know, deep down, that nothing will happen to them that You do not allow, but sometimes (like right now) that just doesn't seem assurance enough. Forgive me for my doubt, and my distrust, and my decision to overlook the love You have for them in lieu of my own ideas for how to keep them safe.

I said it in my last post, Lord. They are Yours. They are Yours. They are Yours.

Instead of me internalizing what the world puts in front of me, help me to internalize this.

In Your Name I pray,

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Birthday Girl

My darling Dana,

How is it possible that you turn four years old today? When I think back over my life, four years of any other part of it seems as if it lasted a long time. But these last four years of being your mother have gone by with lightning speed. I wish there was a way for me to force things into slow motion. For me to capture and hold forever all the things you do today, things that I take for granted, things which I will realize how much I enjoyed when it is too late, and they have disappeared.

The first thing that comes to mind is the "Dana Wiggle". Anyone who knows you well knows what I speak of when I refer to this. Whenever you are deep in thought, concentrating on something, or listening intently to someone you have a tendency to sit up straight and wiggle your buns back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. It's hilarious, and so precious.

I also think of your vocabulary, and how no matter how much it grows and expands with every day that passes there are certain words which you are determined to say a certain way. Your Daddy's and my favorite one is how you consistently call potatoes, tomatoes. Even though you can recognize and identify tomatoes from a mile away (because of the way you completely loathe them), you still insist on calling any form of potatoes a tomato. There's also "melisin" for "medicine", "last day" for "yesterday", "probally" for "probably", and a whole new set of lyrics for your Bible Songs CD that you love to sing at the top of your lungs as we're driving along. I also find it hard to keep a straight face when you tell me, as you're crying for being put in the "naughty corner", that I broke your heart, and God's going to be mad at me. You are a little girl to be treasured.

It's hard for me to come to the grips with the fact that you will be leaving my constant care soon as you head off to school. I will have to make a conscious effort on a daily basis to let you go, as all I want to do is to keep you here with me always. It has been a joy mothering you almost all day, every day for the last four years, and the thought of anyone else having influence over your life and your decisions scares me. I know that is probably (probally?) the wrong attitude to take, it's just I've never had to trust such a valuable possession of mine into the care of someone else for more than a day or two a week, and then it's always been me leaving you with your grandma's.

(You do know how to write your name now, and I've thought about drafting up a contract and having you sign it stating that you will never intentionally hurt anyones feelings, you will never lie, cheat, or steal, and you will always do what I tell you, but I have a feeling it may not hold up in a court of law. So I will continue to do my best to trust that the values your Daddy and I try to instill in you everyday will be carried out into the world with you.)

My prayer for you today, on your birthday, is simply that you feel loved. You are so blessed to be surrounded by a huge number of aunts, uncles, grandparents and cousins who love you and only want the best for you. Add that to the unconditional love of your Daddy and me, and compound that by infinity for the eternal love Jesus has for you, and you should never have to search anywhere else to know that you are held sacred in the eyes of many.

Stay true to yourself, my little sweetheart. Keep your tender heart open to the people around you, dare to try new things, explore this world around you with excitement and anticipation of what's to come, and know that you are being prayed over and protected with every step you take. I promise you that for as long as you walk this earth you will never be alone.

I love you, Dana Jae. Thank you for opening places in my heart I never knew existed, and filling them with your smiles, your hugs, and your love for me. I pledge to you to never take your love for granted, and to do my best to help you fulfill the purpose Jesus has for your life. There are great things in store for you if you trust Him and follow Him, and I will eagerly await the pleasure of witnessing His plan unfold for you.

You are joy to me.

With all my heart,


Dear Lord in heaven,

I pray this day for our sweet Dana. You did a wonderful work when you created her, Lord. She is sensitive, and kind, she is full of smiles and laughter, and above all she is a girl who loves to love.

Lord, I ask you for the wisdom to raise her to be the person You have made her capable of being. I'm afraid of messing her up, afraid of squashing parts of her I don't see or understand, and afraid of not doing her justice when it comes to parenting her. I know I will fail her many, many times over in the years to come. I ask today that my errors will not limit who and what she can become, but that Your presence in her life will overshadow any mistakes I will make.

Through it all, help her to know in the very depths of her soul that she is loved by You. Help her to understand that no matter what hurts may befall her, whatever heartache heads her way, whatever times may come where she doesn't feel good enough, that she is valued by a King, and made for a purpose by Your very hands. This alone will allow her to overcome anything this world may put in her path.

Please be with those of us to whom You have entrusted her. Show us the best ways to nurture her, to guide her, and to support her. Help us to know when to step in and when to step back, when to push her to continue and when to trust that she's done all she can do, when to lift her up and when to let her fall. These are all things which You alone know the answers to, please continually share them with us so that we may in turn point her back to You.

She is Yours, Lord. And I will trust that because she is Yours, You will do everything in Your power to make sure she grows up with a deep understanding of this. I will rely on You to be there for her in the ways that we cannot, and to fill those places inside her with Your spirit of mercy and grace. All I ask is that you just let us know what we can do to help.

Thank You for our wonderful daughter. She is our blessing with no bounds.

In Your Wonderful Name I pray,

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Love, Loss, and Life

To the father of my children:
Dearest Jason,

After I had already fallen in love with you I was introduced to a part of you I had not yet seen. The first time I saw you interact with your students I was completely captivated and moved by the ways in which you related to them, strived to understand them, and desired to give them the best of yourself so that you could bring out the best in them. If it wasn't clear to me before then, I knew in that moment what a wonderful father you would make someday.

You have not only proved me right, you have done so in leaps and bounds more than what I ever could have envisioned possible. Today your children adore you. They squeal with joy at the sight of you. They race to you. They feel most at home and most secure in your arms. They try to be just like you. And rightfully so.

I have the privilege of being witness to a whole different level of fatherhood through you. I am able to stand on the sidelines, watching as you give yourself to your children, over and over again, every single day. You give them your time, you give them your wisdom, you give them your endless hugs and kisses, you give them moments of sheer, belly-aching laughter, you give them your undying adoration and affection, and you give them to God.

They do not yet realize how blessed they are to be raised under your Christian guidance and love, but I can promise you that someday the daily decision you make to lift them up and hand them over to Christ will reap rewards you've never dreamed possible. The only person who loves them more than you is our Lord, and the gift you give to them everyday by offering them back to Him is unmatchable. They will thank you for this someday, and respect and love you even more then they do now.

I can't imagine raising children alongside anyone other than you. I fall in love with you more and more every time I see you being their Daddy. You make this family whole, you keep this family centered, and you give me the opportunities and the know-how to be a better mother. I have learned much from watching you and the gift you have for working with children. What a blessing it is to see you sacrificially and lovingly giving everything within you to our own.

Happy Father's Day, my love.

To the father of me:
Dear Dad,

Today, more than any other day thus far, I am so grateful for you, the man who raised me. Dad, with every day that my children grow older, and with every new obstacle I face, I gain a new appreciation for the ways in which you brought up me and my siblings. Cyndy recently told me of a time when she was a teenager, and she was giving you a hard time about things she wanted to do in her life which you didn't approve of. You told her that you couldn't simply back off and let her do what she wanted because someday you would be held accountable to God for the way you raised her.

This made so much sense when she relayed this story to me, because that is exactly the philosophy you followed with all of us. You always kept your mind and heart focused on being the kind of father that the Lord commissioned you to be. Regardless of the tough times we put you through, regardless of the times it would have been alot easier to just give in to our whims and desires, you relentlessly and passionately sought out the wisdom of God everyday in the decisions you were to make as a father, and you did all you could to make sure they were in line with His will for our lives.

Dad, sitting here right now, I miss you more than ever. Beyond wanting to touch you, to see you, to hear you, I have so many questions for you, so many answers I seek, so much wisdom I feel was taken with you that I want to be privy to. But I will trust that if I dedicate myself to being the type of parent you were, one who was on his knees everyday for the sake of his kids, God will honor and bless my family as He did yours.

I wonder sometimes about how certain people inherently know that they were made to be doctors, or ball players, or pastors. Did you know, Dad, that you would find much of your calling here on earth in being a godly father? Were you ever aware of how much your kids would end up loving you? How much every single one of us would strive to be like you? You remain our ultimate role model, and we were blessed to have you in our lives to learn from for as long as we did. You are missed, desperately missed, and loved beyond measure. Until the day we die, we will be thankful for your life and the ways in which you continue to inspire us and point us to Christ.

Happy Father's Day, my treasured Dad.

To the Father of all:
Dear Lord in heaven,

I pray this day thankful for all the wonderful father's you have placed in my life. But most of all, I am thankful for You, and the role of Father you play to me and to those You have chosen to give to me.

You, Lord, are the Father who will always be near me to help me raise these children. You love them, more than I ever could, and all I have to do is trust in this and I can feel the pressures of parenthood fade into the background.

You are also the Father that will never leave me nor forsake me, a truth I cling to as I go through these days without my earthly father to hold on to. You love me, You cherish me, You adore me, and You only want the best for me, just as any wonderful father would.

Help me to turn to You always for the wisdom and guidance I need to bring our children up to know You. I cling to the promise You make to us in John 15:7, where You tell us that "If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be given to you". All I want in this life, Lord, is for our children to love You and desire to follow You.

Thank you, Lord, for the assurance that You will be a perfect Father to them, just as You have been to me. You are all we need.

Happy Father's Day, my precious Savior.

In Your Name I pray,

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Father's Day, 2009

I have felt it closing in on me for a few days now. It all started during my sister's garage sale when I saw someone buy my Dad's umbrella, and tears from nowhere sprung to my eyes. It continued the next day when I went to grab the phonebook and saw a directory printout with his name and information on it and a lump immediately formed in my throat. And I almost lost it completely Sunday morning in church when I opened a card that a dear friend of mine had left in my mailbox to let me know she was thinking about me this week.

Father's Day is coming... and for the first time this year I have no father to wrap my arms around and thank for being such an awesome Dad. All I have is this empty place in my heart that his smile and his gentle ways of loving me used to fill.

I couldn't even make it through the first sentence of that card on Sunday (sorry, Betty!), as I knew if I read one more word of it I would turn into a puddle on the floor. It's still sitting in my Bible, waiting for me to open it, to read it, to face it. I simply don't have the energy needed to deal with the grief I know is waiting for me just around the corner. I don't know how I'm going to make it through the rest of this week, with the realization that at the end of it I will be falling headfirst into the one day a year which reminds me, with no apology, that I am without a father. That my siblings are without a father. That we don't have our Dad here to celebrate.

A couple days ago my 22 month old daughter looked at my computer screen where there was a picture of my Dad, pointed her chubby little finger at it, and simply said, "Papa". It broke my heart. It took me a minute to recover my composure and force a couple deep breaths before I could answer her back, "Yes, honey, that's your Papa". I was so moved, and so grateful that three months after his death she still knew who he was. I was blown away that in the short time she knew him he had made that much of an impact on her tender, impressionable little heart. All I could think of was how thankful I was that she had been given the opportunity to know his love, to feel his love, and I prayed with all that was within me for God to grant her the ability to remember his love, and to somehow be shaped by the fleeting few months she had in his presence. I prayed that his goodness and compassion would have the chance to be rooted deep within her, as it has had the chance to be rooted within me and the rest of his children and grandchildren.

After these thoughts of Eliza's and his relationship passed, my mind immediately turned to the child inside me who will never have the opportunity to know his or her Papa. With the first glimpse of that reality I felt my brain literally shut down and my heart go numb. The pain was too great for me to bear. I cannot go there, the sorrow is of a capacity I am unequipped to handle. I will be forced to face that darkness later, I can't do it today.

And now, as I sit here, I can't help but be brought back to last year's Father's Day, when my family gathered together to celebrate my Dad's life. We presented him with a bound book compiled of all the words from his Caring Page website, which documented his journey since the day he was diagnosed with cancer. It included within it's covers all the journal entries, all the guestbook messages, and a personal letter from each of his five children. We spent the evening rejoicing over his hard-earned status as a survivor, marveling at how he had beat the odds, and recounting all he had taught us throughout his battle. It was a good day. He had tears in his eyes as he paged through his gift, reliving again the moments that had brought him to that minute, and we had tears in our eyes as we watched him. That moment was so much bigger than us. Looking back it seems even bigger still.

This Sunday will be difficult. I am fortunate that I share my life with another amazing father, my husband Jason, who deserves every ounce of recognition this day offers for the job he does with our daughters everyday. I am going to try my hardest not to take anything away from this day for him, because he has earned the honor of knowing that he is loved, and respected, and appreciated as well. But I am also fortunate that Jason will not begrudge me the sadness this day will have hovering around it's edges. He knew my father well, and he loved him deeply. This Father's Day he, too, will be mourning the loss of a father figure in his life. As will my sisters, and my brother, and all of their spouses. My father always said that the thing he took the most pride in, the greatest gift ever given him was having ten wonderful children who loved the Lord. Come Sunday every single one of us will be feeling the void his absence has left us.

We miss you, Dad. You are loved and remembered every day.

Dear Lord in heaven,

I pray this day not knowing what to pray. I am so sad, and dreading Sunday, when I know that the grief I feel now will be magnified infinitely, and felt in the very depths of my soul.

It's days like these, Lord, where I can't help but ask You why he's not here. I wonder if You forgot how much we needed him here, and if You underestimated the anguish His death would cause us every day of our lives.

But at the end of these thoughts I still will choose to trust You, because the alternative is unthinkable. Though this pain is hard to bear, I will trust that You took him home for a reason. Someday we'll have the answers, Lord, we all find peace in that.

Please be with me and my Dad's other nine children this week. Give us the tools necessary to cope with this first Father's Day without him. Help us to grieve in a healthy way. Help us not be too overcome by his loss but instead comforted knowing that he's spending this day with You, his own Father. Let us see a glimpse of his day with You, and a glimpse of our own future where every day is Father's Day.

We miss him so much, Lord. Please rain down upon us your comfort and peace in these next few days as his loss will be in the forefront of our minds. Help us find solace in each other, in our memories, in our knowledge of where he is, and in You.

Thank You, for the gift that he was to our lives. Thank You for his love for You, and his passion for passing that love down to his children. Thank You for giving him an endless capacity of love, and kindness, and compassion for each one of us. Thank You for blessing our lives with his own. There was no greater father to be had by us all.

Thank You, Father, for the father you made him to be. We are all grateful for Your relationship with him, and will carry with us the rewards of it for the rest of our days.

In Your Name I pray,

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Low Battery

Dear Friends,
I just wanted to address the few of you who have recently commented that I no longer update this site as much as I used to, and also those who have possibly noticed as well and wondered why.

I want to assure you that it's not that I don't think about doing it, as quite often throughout my day different topics or ideas come into my head that I get excited about sharing with you. And it's not that I don't want to do it, as my desire to write down the happenings in my life and the different ways God is revealing Himself to me has never been stronger. It's just that I am simply too tired to do much of anything these days other than the bare minimum of what is required of me.

I think with summer finally upon us (finally!), my girl's wanting to spend every waking moment outdoors, with trying to prepare for our next baby, not sleeping well, and being eight months pregnant I am zapped of any extra energy I would normally have. It sounds terrible, but lately when my daughters go to bed instead of delving into my devotions and trying to listen to what God wants to say to me I plop down on the couch, hope my husband will take pity on me and bring me a snack, and pick up the closest magazine. (Or, if it's the appropriate night, turn on my all time favorite TV show, "So You Think You Can Dance". No judging, please!)

This does make me sad, as I can feel the toll this new lazy, tapped out lifestyle of mine is having on my relationship with Christ. I tell myself that He'll understand, that He knows how tired I am, but even I can see right through that flimsy excuse to the heart of the issue.

Even with all the outside influences going on in my life, I still need to keep my priorities straight. Namely, He comes first, and everything else (even incredibly awesome reality dance show competitions) should come in a distant second.
So, I'm going to try. I'm going to try to put my priorities back in order, with Him at the very top where He deserves to be. I don't know how regularly over the next six weeks before Baby Alberda #3 decides to make his/her appearance I'll be able to update this site, although rest assured with all the emotions I have regarding Father's Day and the birth of our baby approaching you will probably still have ample time to get sick of me, but I promise to do my best. Like I said, the desire is there, it's just sometimes the energy is not.

Please stick with me, continue to send me emails with prayer requests, and know that at the end of the day this site still belongs to the Lord and if He wants me to share something on it, I will obey. And any prayers for me for increased liveliness and pep over the next six weeks would be greatly appreciated!

Much love,

Dear Lord in heaven,
I pray this day a little overwhelmed both physically and mentally. There seems to be alot of things pressing in on me from all sides, and often times I want to escape it all, and just rest.

You are a God who controls all, Lord, help me to find my rest in that only. When I am tired, when I am weary, when it is the end of the day and all I want to do is sit down with my feet up and my brain switched off, give me the desire to instead get on my knees with my head bowed and turn everything over to You. I never want to be so caught up in my everyday happenings that I forget that You should be in the center of it all, and recognized and praised for wanting to be there.

You have blessed me, Lord. Everything in my life that wears me out are all wonderful gifts from You. You have given me a roof over my head, steady work to go to, a wonderful family to tend to, and even a crazy dog to give me some comedic relief. You have been good to me. Help me to view all these things which surround me as the blessings You intended them to be when You brought them into my life.

Give me strength, Lord, and give me the endurance I need to be the godly woman You have called me to be.

I love You, Lord.

In Your Name I pray,

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Point Well Taken

I want to extend my most sincere apologies to anyone who happened to be near me in Meijer's this morning that had to witness my daughter throwing up her cereal and banana breakfast in the middle of the aisle. And all over herself. And me. And repeating the process again in the parking lot.

While this was less than amusing at the time, I think it was God's tongue-in-cheek way of pointing me back to Him, and reminding me that no matter how much I want to control everything, I just simply cannot.

Last night during my devotions I strayed, as I have been doing quite often lately, from focusing on Him and what an awesome God He is, to me and my laundry list of worries. It was almost embarrassing, really, the things I was choosing to spend my time talking to Him about, when I hadn't even bothered to concentrate at all on the ways in which He is at work in my life, and in the lives of others around me, and on the many areas I should be seeking wisdom and guidance as to how to become a better disciple of His. Nope, at one point I think I may have even prayed that Dana and Eliza's upcoming birthday party goes well, and that I find the time to get some things ready for a garage sale. My list was specific, my list was long, and my list was all about me.

And while I know that we can bring all of our concerns and worries before Him, I'm pretty sure it came across as more than a little selfish of me to run through my roster, say a quick prayer for safety for me and my family for tomorrow, and then say amen. It's no wonder that this morning I found myself knee-deep in my daughter's Cheerios, lamenting over the fact that nothing in my life goes as planned, that I can't even get my groceries without calamity ensuing, and woe, woe, woe is me. I needed something to happen to wake me up from the pity-party I was in the middle of throwing myself, and nothing short of me losing control when my daughter lost her breakfast was going to grab my attention.

(Ironically, upon my return to the store a little later, minus said sick child, this verse was read in my car over the airwaves:

Matthew 6:34 "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of it's own."

Thanks, Lord, I can take a hint!)

So, today it is my goal to make no mention of my earthly desires and fears when I talk to Him, but rather just focus on how He is God over all, both the big things and the small.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got some laundry to finish.

Dear Lord in Heaven,

I pray this day humbled. I know that You have greater things for me to spend my time being concerned about, and yet I still allow myself to concentrate on the ones that amount to nothing at all. Help me to find a balance between bringing everything before You in prayer, and letting the small stuff go. Help me get back to using my time with You to learn more about You, to thank You for everything You are to me, to confess where I have fallen short on my walk with You, and to only ask for the things which will bring glory to Your name.

I'm becoming overwhelmed with the inconsequentials again, Lord, and I need some perspective. Keep my gaze steady on You, and let everything else fall by the wayside. My walk with You is the only thing that will make a difference in this lifetime, help me keep that pathway clear.

I love You, Lord, and am thankful for the creative ways you continue to get my attention. I know I am stubborn, and I think it's great that You know it too, and are still willing to work with me. Thank You for not giving up on me.

In Your Wonderful Name I pray,

Monday, June 8, 2009

Pray It Forward

Dear Friends,

A long time has passed since I've sat here writing to you, and I very much miss the release that communicating with you via this website consistently offers me. Life has been very busy lately (good busy), and it has been difficult to find the time to write anything. I also haven't felt led by the Lord to share much, and I don't ever want to force myself to write words that are not directed by Him.

And actually, I was hoping that for today, instead of focusing on my life and it's ups and downs, I could direct you to a fellow lover of Christ who desperately needs prayers.

I have known Lindy VerBeek since we were in kindergarten. I have memories of riding our bikes to school together in grade school, exchanging "Sweet Valley Twins" books with her in middle school, attending dances with her in high school, and "starring" in a commercial for her business a few years back. Today Lindy has a wonderful husband, a five year old daughter, and seven month old twins. She also just found out she has an aggressive form of breast cancer that has spread to her lymph nodes.

You can find out more about her story here, a blog she set up to keep her friends and family up to date with the latest news as she begins this fight against cancer.

As you know very well by now, the word "cancer" is a word which has effected my life in a way no other word has. It angers me, it saddens me, and it overwhelms me. Lindy's story is one that strikes home for me on many different levels. Not only does it pain me to hear tell of another person I know and care about who is now locked in a bitter battle with this horrible disease, this is happening to someone who has a life very similar to my own. It's impossible not to put myself in her shoes as a thirty-something mother of three young children with high hopes and expectations of many years to come with my spouse and children. These shoes are ones that would fit all too well.

As a result, everyday I find myself pleading with God to spare her of the trials which accompany ridding one's body of cancer. The words she writes in her blog contain terms that are far too familiar to me, and it makes me ache to hear her using them in reference to herself. Again, it doesn't seem fair. No one deserves cancer, but I have an extremely difficult time accepting it when I hear that it has struck someone so young, with so much to do, with so many people depending on her being around for a very, very long time.

Which is where we come in. I know from first-hand experience the miracles your prayers can produce. Those of you who were with me for my father's battle with cancer prayed him through hard times, physical pain, emotional anguish, and spiritual lows. You are all fighters, warriors, and soldiers for the Lord. You hold fast to the simple truth that prayer changes things, and you enter into the warzone armed with that knowledge and the trust that our Lord hears every word, and every name, we call out to Him. I have witnessed you at your best... relentless, unwilling to surrender, marching head-on, ready and eager to storm the gates of heaven with your requests.

This ability to lay it all on the line for someone in need is being called upon today. Lindy needs you. Though she may not know you, she needs people like you who have unfaltering faith in a God who is so much bigger than her cancer. She needs people to come out in droves to the foot of the throne and pray for strength, for energy, for time, for freedom from fear, and most of all for complete and total eradication of this disease from her body. There are many survivors out there, and I have complete faith that if we put our trust in the Lord and His Almighty healing power Lindy will be able to count herself among them.

She's a good woman. She loves her friends, she loves her family, and she loves her God. Please join me in praying that she will be able to love them from here for years and years to come.

Dear Lord in heaven,

I pray this day for Your daughter, Lindy. I can only imagine what these last few weeks have done to her on every level, the toll they have taken on her, and the scars that this cancer has already left on her life. Please give her strength. Give her strength to fight, and also the strength to be present in the day to day lives of her husband and children. Allow her to see You at work in every moment. Give her evidence of You and Your complete sovereignty over this situation. Bless her faith in You. She has already shown repeatedly how loving You can usher peace into a life that has been shaken by the unknown and the unexpected.

I ask today not for Your will to be done, but that Your will be to cure her. Ultimately, Lord, you know I trust that whatever happens will be done for her best and Your glory, but for now, please, just cast this cancer out of her body. Make a miracle out of her. Save her from this fight, without putting her through the fight. Use her to demonstrate Your complete power over a disease that has claimed the lives of so many people. Show Your power, Lord, You alone are mighty to save.

I ask these things humbly, ever-trusting in Your perfect plan for Lindy's life, yet also knowing that You loom larger and more powerful than any sickness thrown her way. Be near to her today, and tonight, and every time she needs to feel Your presence. Protect her husband and children from fear, and let them feel Your comforting arms enveloping them when Lindy is unable to wrap them up in her own.
Hover over this family that loves You. Shield them, guard them, stay near to them. Be so close to them they never have to look for You, but can sense Your presence everywhere, all the time.

I pray this day in confidence, knowing that I pray to a God who is in control, a God who is incapable of making a mistake, and a God who loves Lindy and her family more than any of us could ever know.

In Your Powerful Name I pray,

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Feelin' Groovy

I have nothing profound to say today, nothing that's been bubbling beneath the surface waiting for the moment I can sit down at the computer and let it all out, nothing of any consequence whatsoever, and it feels great.

And it's all thanks to you.

The last two days have been dramatically different than the few that had proceeded it. I feel peaceful, happy, and more like myself than I have in a long time.

There's only one explanation, and that is God answers prayers. I cannot begin to tell all of you how grateful I am for the emails and comments that have been gracing my Inbox in the last 48 hours, packed full of words of encouragement, Scripture, empathy, support, love, and most meaningful, the promise to lift me and my family up to the throne. I am humbled by the care you continue to show for me.

So thank you. Thank you for your help in bringing me to this place of calm. Thank you for using your precious time in the presence of our Lord to speak my name before Him. Thank you for trusting that He hears you, and in response will tend to me and those around me. We serve an amazing God, one who promises to love those whom we love in His name. Thank you for loving me enough to entrust me to Him, there is no place I'd rather be.

As I sit here today, pondering the undeserved gift of all of you in my life, I wish there was a way for me to thank you individually, and in person. For now, just know how grateful I am for each and every one of you. You have allowed the Lord to use You in wonderful ways, and I am reaping the rewards. You guys are awesome.

I end this post with warmth in my heart, and a renewed sense of the Lord's presence in my life. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for this incomparable gift.

Dear Lord in heaven,

I pray this day overwhelmed by the compassion of these people who surround me in times of need out of their love for You. You have such good people down here, Lord, You must be so proud when You see them sacrificing their time and energy to go to battle for another one of Your own.

Thank You for blessing me with these friends and confidantes. If I may, Lord, I ask that You bless them today in some way, large or small, as a way for me to say thank you to them. Let them see a glimpse of You so they, too, can be reminded of what a great and loving God we serve. You are like no other, and they have chosen to recognize and put their faith in this, trusting that You are a God who listens and responds.

I ask you to love and bless them a little extra today, as they have so graciously and willingly done for me.

In Your Name I pray,