24 December 2015

Use Me

Not "Why me?" but "Use Me?"  Through the many tears I have shed in the past few months my prayer has been for God to use me so that this pain that we are in isn't for nothing.  I feel like I asked my fair share of "Why me?" when I was diagnosed with cancer.  The truth is that just by asking that question it reveals the selfishness that remains in me.  Why not me?  Why am I not constantly just praying even pleading with God to use me in spite of me?  So, this Christmas season will you join me in asking HIM to "Use us?"

So, right now our circumstances are hard.  We lost both of our Dads in just two months.  I feel like I haven't even started to mourn my Dad's death and now we are faced with David's Dad passing away.  I wish I knew why.  I would love to know now how God will use this.  Meanwhile I am selfishly praying that God is not preparing my family for worse, but will give us opportunities to minister more effectively in our community and world.

As I try to look back over our 2015 I see so many joys and blessings, but I am still focused on the losses and the hurts. We took our kids to 3 funerals for 3 great men that we all miss.  My sister's father in law that my kids also called Papa (he loved so big he made my kids think they were kin to him too!), My Daddy 10/14 (Pappy) and David's Dad 12/14 (Grandpa).  I am forcing myself to reflect on the good so I can make sure to not miss how God worked in our lives this past year.  The kids are growing and learning and tackling new challenges on a regular basis.  They are excelling in school (6th and 2nd now!) and devouring books like crazy!  They are memorizing math facts and scriptures.  They are singing and playing sports with a focus on praise and sportsmanship.  They gave up birthday presents from their friends to collect for charity.  We made memories!  We laughed and cried.  We asked questions and are learning to trust His plan.  Psalm 105:4 says, "Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always."

We went to Disney World, Nasa, several 5K's, our first Relay for Life, the Beach (our 10th summer to vacation with my parents in Port A), and Six Flags.  James' flag football team took 2nd in the Arlington City Finals and Kirstyn won more blue ribbons than I can count for playing piano.  She sings every chance she gets and is in 2 choirs and on our church KidsRock praise team!  She even talked her music teacher into putting in extra work to enter the Macy's acapella challenge.  James is in advanced placement classes and constantly has us in awe of random facts that he has learned.  David has worked way too many hours and has been honored as his dealership's "Hardest Charger".  I'm still fighting Brain Cancer (stable!), teaching Body Pump, and selling insurance.  I had the opportunity to share some of my cancer story for a video and a professional did my makeup!  I'm praying for more opportunities to speak and share my heart.  I am in BSF.  Last year we studied the life of Moses and this year we are in Revelation.  David and I are leading a young marrieds connection group at our church again this year... we are learning more than they are!

Labor Day weekend we took the kids to see the movie War Room and saw how Miss Clara had a prominent place in her home where she wrote down answered prayers.  She kept a constant reminder of how God really does hear us.  We came home and cleaned out our hall closet and made our very own War Room.  We challenged each other to stop giving God our status updates and start really praying with strategy.  It warms my heart to see the kids writing names of their friends on the whiteboard and checking off answered prayers.  We are constantly looking as a family to find a need to meet rather than a battle to fight.  As we enter 2016 with heavy hearts I am praying Psalm 4 over my family.

Answer me when I call to you,
    my righteous God.
Give me relief from my distress;
    have mercy on me and hear my prayer.
How long will you people turn my glory into shame?
    How long will you love delusions and seek false gods?
Know that the Lord has set apart his faithful servant for himself;
    the Lord hears when I call to him.
Tremble and do not sin;
    when you are on your beds,
    search your hearts and be silent.
Offer the sacrifices of the righteous
    and trust in the Lord.
Many, Lord, are asking, “Who will bring us prosperity?”
    Let the light of your face shine on us.
Fill my heart with joy
    when their grain and new wine abound.
In peace I will lie down and sleep,
    for you alone, Lord,
    make me dwell in safety.
Merry Christmas from our family to yours.  Praying you can find JOY in Him this season no matter your current circumstances!
*Photo credit to our waitress at Campo Verde in Arlington and our awesome shirts by my friend Eric over at www.TheShirtPrinter.com

I'm crossing my fingers and pushing publish.  It is hard to proofread through tears and my grammar and spell check guy is at work today (on Christmas Eve)... some people are getting a new Infiniti tied with a big red bow!