Falling…

My cousin, Jeff Hubbard is a Toronto firefighter and my son Josh is studying to become one. You better believe that I pay attention to any news of six-alarm fires. Firefighters are the first responders to many 911 calls and they must be prepared for anything. I’m especially glad that they are trained to react automatically, based on what could be happening, in a myriad of circumstances.

A couple weeks ago in Toronto, a massive six-alarm blaze erupted – requiring the help of 125 firefighters to control it. The Toronto Sun reported that the most terrifying moment came when two firefighters who were battling the fire from a neighboring building slipped and disappeared into the flames.

Protocol dictates in these types of situations and upon hearing a “mayday” call, everyone jumps to do what they have been trained to. Not what they think they should do, not what their gut is telling them to do – they jump to do what they have been trained to do.

This is what I want you to catch. It’s training that was relied upon in the 25 to 30 minutes that it took to rescue the two firefighters using hoses; and its by training ourselves, that we learn to rely on what we know about God and the promises found in His Word. Then…we too are lifted out of the pits that we fall into.

I love the passage in Psalm 40:1-3 which says, I waited patiently for the LORD; And He inclined to me and heard my cry. He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, and He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; many will see and fear and will trust in the LORD.

God always has a rescue plan and it’s thought out perfectly from beginning to end. When we send out a “mayday” call He is not surprised and He does not have to figure out the next course of action. We are the ones who need to be trained to wait patiently for Him – knowing that He will hear our cries. I’ve learned that this kind of trusting is not always automatic but it should be. It is all too easy for us to be overwhelmed by life’s temporary circumstances. However, it’s in those moments especially that we must rely on our training.

Just last week, I stumbled around and fell into a pit and I wondered why I felt alone in my battle, why my friends were not noticing that my light wasn’t shining as brightly or that tears were close to the surface. You know why I was thinking those thoughts? I just forgot my training. Temporary amnesia set in and I forgot to rely on what I know to be true about God and His promises. I forgot to be open with the people He has brought into my life to walk alongside me, and I forgot that as Christians we are not to focus on circumstances because we walk by faith and not by sight.

When we grow weary or encounter a dry spell, it is critical that we follow our training and not our feelings. I found this David Wilkerson quote and it really encouraged me to press on. Dry spells always follow mountain top experiences or times when we have been blessed by God. The Lord teaches us things about His nature by the trials we endure here on earth. If you are on dry ground you are on your way to a great miracle. Dry ground is a pathway to the Promised Land. It’s on dry ground that the enemy is defeated and the wheels of pharaohs’ chariots fall off. Dry ground is where Jesus reveals Himself to us. God has promised that out of dry places NEW LIFE will spring up.

Just as brave firefighters rescued their comrades from a burning building in Toronto, you and I need to expect great rescues. He always has a plan and He also wants to use us to rescue those He’s placed on our path – encouraging them to wait patiently for the One who sets our feet back upon the rock every single time that we fall.

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Hungry For More…

I sit at my desk this afternoon and look out the window at the gently falling snowflakes that are quickly covering the grass and landing on barren branches. I’m thinking that if nature could talk today, it would speak of its hunger for spring’s sunshine and summer’s sprinkler.

What about you – what are you hungry for? I’m not talking about your favorite food. I’m talking about that deep insatiable hunger that should be driving us to believe for more, to reach for more and to press on until it is satisfied. I am learning that in order to make positive changes we must feed the right hunger.

You know what I mean, we’ve all experienced driving hunger before but then little by little we become complacent and content to stay where we are – forgetting that He is beckoning us to hunger and thirst for more righteousness.

When I was 30, I hungered to be thin again and so I worked hard and I lost 50 pounds (which I need to do again to lose 25:). When I was 34, I hungered to have another baby (my youngest son was 10) and I convinced my husband that we needed a fourth child and darling Hannah was born. When I was 41, I hungered for the health of my granddaughter Mia from stage 4 cancer and now she is 6 and cancer free. Today at 47, I hunger for hunger. Lord, give me a hunger for more of you. More of your plan unveiled, more of your power, more of your thoughts, more creative ideas for what you’ve called me to do. I just long for more hunger.

Revisit with me the story of the woman with the issue of blood in Mark chapter 5. The Scripture tell us that she had hemorrhaged for 12 years and that she had endured much at the hands of physicians – spending all that she had. After all that, she was no better and in fact she had grown worse. I can only imagine how she hungered to be well – to be free from this affliction. In those days, she would have been considered “unclean” and it took a mammoth hunger and courage for her to make her way to the crowded street where Jesus was passing by. It must have been even harder for her to reach out and touch the hem of His garment – believing that just touching Him would be enough. Immediately, she felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction and immediately Jesus felt power leave His body. He stopped and asked who had touched Him and His disciples must have thought He was crazy to ask such a question in the midst of a crowd. Then, the woman came and fell at His feet and He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your affliction.” Notice He didn’t say “my faith” He said “your faith”.

I will never forget a day in June of 2006 as I held Mia and listened as her oncologist told me that the end was near. She was at Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto for a stem cell transplant and her entire GI tract was hemorrhaging into her diaper. The Doctor said, “Mam-ma (Grandma) there isn’t a surgeon in the world that would contemplate going in there to cauterize an entire GI tract. She’s losing blood as fast as we’re putting it back in. The chemotherapy has done this damage and there is nothing more that we can do.” As he left the room, tears began to pour down my cheeks and for a brief moment I gave in to the feeling of hopelessness. Maybe this was really it – we had fought such a good fight and we had hungered for her healing. I had always felt that victory was at hand but maybe the miracle was that He was taking her to heaven. Many other children in treatment with Mia were already there and I told God that I would not be angry or bitter if He took her to live with Him.

However, as I pondered these thoughts, I felt the Holy Spirit well up inside of me and as she lay across my lap I raised my hand to heaven and I said, “Jesus, I know that if I can just touch the hem of your garment this bleeding will stop. You did it for the woman in the Bible and I believe that you will do it for Mia, so I am touching your garment believing for this bleeding to stop in your precious name.” Then, a sweet nurse named Leanne came into the room and gently touched my shoulder saying, “Mam-ma, I’ve watched you pray over this baby for weeks and we are not going to lose her now. You get her back into the bed and I’ll get the cold water and washcloths to take down her fever.” With renewed hope and a deep hunger for Mia to live, we went to work with the washcloths.

I called everyone I knew to pray and by the time my daughter and son-in-law arrived that night to relieve me of my shift, the bleeding had completely stopped. The oncologist came back to check on her and with a shocked tone said, “There is no medical explanation for this bleeding to have stopped.” I wept but they were tears of joy this time because I had indeed touched the hem of my Savior’s garment.

Again, let me ask you, what are you really hungry for today? Is it a better marriage, physical healing, financial breakthrough, weight loss, weight gain, more of Jesus. Whatever it is, if you press on in faith and believe with expectant confidence that you will have it, you will receive it. I find it ironic that He is the one that can give us a “real” hunger and yet He is the only one that satisfies our hunger.

But it’s up to us to act boldly on what we know. In Luke chapter 5, Jesus didn’t tell the fish to jump into the boat – He told Simon to let down his net for a catch. Simon had to act on what He was told by Jesus and he had to physically let down his net – trusting that the waters he had been fishing in all night catching zip – would now deliver some fish. We too have to act on what we know about Jesus and His promises in order to see His purposes fulfilled in our lives.

Here is a list of 10 positive statements that I am saying everyday in 2011:

  • The joy of the Lord is my strength
  • With God all things are possible
  • The Lord is my refuge, my strength, my rock, my fortress and my deliverer
  • I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me
  • I abide in the shadow of the Almighty
  • No weapon formed against me can prosper
  • The one who lives inside of me is greater than the one who comes against me
  • Every organ and cell in my body flows with life and health
  • The Lord shall increase us more and more – our children and us (Psalm 115)
  • He has set before us life and death and we choose life – loving the Lord our God and obeying His voice

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” Matthew 5:6


Looking Ahead…

I am a list maker. I use lists for groceries, to meet writing deadlines, for house chores, and yes for New Year’s dreams. For me, the list is a simple reminder that brings focus. Last Sunday, my church handed out little cards with blanks for three things to believe God for in 2011. We did this last year too and as I looked at last year’s list, I see that two have been fulfilled and I still believe for the third one. It’s going on my card again this year and I will stand in faith believing that God will make it happen in His timing not mine.

That’s the catch – timing. We don’t always tap into God’s clock but we often want Him to follow ours. All the good intentions, the good habits and the discipline are to help us grow.  But when things don’t happen as we think they should, we tend to look back and wonder where we went wrong, where we fell off the track, where we missed the mark.

I’m wondering if it’s just that we want to rush when our Lord wants to forge. He wants to form us with concentrated effort and yes just like a metal smith there is sometimes heating and hammering to get us to spend a bit more time on the foundation instead of rushing ahead to what we’re not ready for.

Over the past months, my husband and I have been heated to what we thought to be our melting point and then just like a splash of cool water, the Holy Spirit soothes our souls and reminds us with gentle clarity that God is at work. Tomorrow is 2011, and we must look ahead with enthusiasm – knowing that He is at the helm – opening doors so that we can walk in blessing and increase in every area of our lives.

Two weeks ago, my dearest cousin who is diabetic got a small blister on her toe and within days she lost that toe. I admit to weeping and wondering why God just didn’t heal the toe. (It’s really crazy when we think that we know better than He does:) When I went to see Mary Lynn this week, I wasn’t sure what to expect and I prepared myself to be strong for her as she had been for me so many times. But, as I hugged my dear sister (which she is to me) I could actually feel strength. In spite of the circumstances, she was radiant – there was not one ounce of “poor me – I lost my toe and spent Christmas in the hospital.” As I gazed at her beaming face, I saw Jesus – His tranquility, His power, and His peace that passes all understanding. Then I felt the familiar nudge of the Holy Spirit and I said, “Lovey, you look wonderful and what God is telling me is that from this day forward we don’t look back. We are only to look ahead – standing firm in faith believing that blood is flowing to every part of your body and that your foot is healing beautifully in Jesus’ name. The future is bright Mary Lynn because He is in control of our lives and we will only look ahead with confidence.” She said “Amen” and I knew she was remembering all of the moments that she had stood in faith beside me believing for Mia’s miracle. It is a precious gift to have history with others and to walk out of  life’s valleys with confidence. The two of us had been here before and once again, with our Savior, we would emerge victoriously!

Today, on this last day of 2010, I encourage you with this thought. Don’t look back at the lists of yesterday but fix your eyes on the brightness that lies ahead.

Together we look to 2011 with…

  • Bigger dreams than ever before
  • A giant reach for values and goals that are obtainable
  • Unwavering trust in His amazing plan no matter what comes our way
  • A bold walk seeking His will, His way
  • Obedience to embrace God’s timing and
  • Great expectations for the New Year!

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” Romans 5:1-5 (NIV)


Embracing the Season

Christmas is upon us and I am embracing the season and all that goes with it. Yesterday, my husband and I shared a lovely Christmas lunch out with friends where we joked and laughed – enjoying the gift of togetherness. Today, my cousin stopped in for a visit with her craft bag to entertain my grandchildren. She also delivered our favorite Christmas dinner rolls (that can only be purchased in Sarnia, Ontario) that we’ve enjoyed on many Christmas days for the past 25 years! Tomorrow, my daughter Hannah and I will visit friends – sharing shortbread snowflakes that took Hannah a few hours to decorate. Thursday, my parents will arrive to spend Christmas with us and then it all begins…

Up until now, the shopping, the crowds, the lights, the tree, the food, and the gatherings of family and friends have all been part of the experience and the tradition that I’ve come to love and expect over the years. I’ve heard a few “bah humbug” comments about how commercialized and costly Christmas has become. And I suppose if that is what one is looking at – that is what one will notice. But for me, the celebration of Christmas is a symbol of God’s great love for us and it certainly cost him a lot more than it ever costs us!

In a world where so much is changing quickly, I am inclined to simply appreciate the fact that some traditions never change, and Christmas is definitely one of them!

Long lines – think of all the great conversations you’ve had with perfect strangers:)

Gifts – gifts are wonderful, especially when we are more excited about the ones we give, than the ones we receive. I love seeing the faces of my adult children that still light up when they open their yearly Hallmark ornaments that I started collecting for them when they were little – now these ornaments grace their own trees.

Decorations – it is just fun to change the “look” of your home for a month – shiny gold balls, twinkling lights and the old fashioned Santa’s hanging on my tree remind me of my dear aunt Penny who started my collection over 20 years ago.

Concerts – every year we look forward to the festive Christmas concert at church where we gather to rejoice at the Savior’s birth – never tiring of the carols or the marvelous story.

Delicacies – preparation of the foods that we usually only make at Christmas – tangy meatballs, my mother-in-law’s fudge, baked brie, my mom’s pie, colossal shrimp, ham, turkey, scallops, shortbread and more…

Amidst the hustle and bustle of these next few days, take a moment to notice the meaningful traditions you have started for your family. They will be carried on long after you and I are gone. Yes, ‘tis the season to be busy but ‘tis also the season to be still and know that one starry night long ago – He came near.

I can’t wait to gather my family together later this week to do what we’ve always done through the sharing of love, the giving of gifts, and the realization that many babies have become kings but only one King became a baby!

Because God so loved us – He gave His only Son to quiet our hearts, to calm our spirits and to guide our steps. As you embrace this Christmas season, may His perfect peace and matchless love abound to you and yours!


It’s All In The Name…

When I was 11 years old, I lived in Panama, Central America with my missionary parents. Panama is a beautiful tropical country with pristine beaches – some with dark black sand. You can only imagine the heat that is generated from those black beaches near the equator.

One sweltering afternoon we were at the beach and I was standing in the ocean up to my thighs, talking with my mother who was next to me. Before I knew what was happening, a wave hit me and I went under the water – pulled by the undertow.

I vaguely remember hearing my mother as she yelled, “Jesus, Jesus” in Spanish. As I was tossed and turned under the ocean, flashes of life went through my mind. I remember thinking that I must be drowning. So… when I felt strong arms around me, I really thought they belonged to Jesus.

Well, the strong arms around me did belong to Jesus – but not to the Jesus that lives in heaven:) You see, that afternoon a man named “Jesus” (a common Spanish name) was napping on the beach. He was awakened when he heard my mother screaming his name and he quickly saw what was happening. I am told that he dove into the ocean several times before he found me and carried me to the beach.

That day, the fact that the first words out of my mother’s mouth in a crisis were “Jesus, Jesus” saved my life. And today the name of Jesus is never far from my lips. Ponder for a moment the number of times we have called on His name and the number of times He has rescued us – I have certainly lost count.

I often think about Peter’s understanding of the power in Jesus’ name. After denying Christ and repenting for doing so, he was left with a clear understanding of what Jesus’ name represented and he learned to rely on that power – proclaiming the mighty name of Jesus for the rest of his days.

The name of Jesus gives us authority for…

  • Asking in His name
  • Seeking deliverance in His name
  • Declaring in His name

When Peter brought healing to the lame man in Acts 3:6, it was in the name of Jesus and that this man rose up and walked. The Acts of the Apostles were all done in the name of Jesus and these dedicated men were very bold in stating that their authority was in His name alone.

At the age of 5, I asked Jesus to come into my heart. At the age of 11, Jesus heard my mother’s cry and a man named “Jesus” saved me from drowning. At the age of 47, I know that the name of Jesus soothes my sorrows, heals my diseases, and it drives away all my fears – because it’s all in the name!

 


The Nudge To Opportunity

You know the drill. We get up at 6 a.m. throw some make-up on, make breakfast and lunches, grab a travel mug of coffee and hit the road for the drive to school. When the car door shuts, we wave to the kids and exhale – knowing we’ve made it through the first leg of the day.

Now…the drive to work is heavenly – literally. In my car, the next 30 minutes are God’s and mine. We talk, I sing at the top of my lungs and I ask Him what He’s got planned for my day and what He’s doing with my life. Yes, sometimes I admit to wondering if He knows…

Isn’t that a ridiculous thought – wondering if our all-knowing God knows what He’s doing with my life? I think it’s more about, “Lord, can you really use me to accomplish your purposes here?” I can’t see past the next corner, are you sure you want to use me? Then, just as uncertainty whispers that maybe He should use someone else, His spirit wells up inside of me and I am empowered to act. Now instead of questioning, I’m racing toward the next big bend – anticipating an opportunity and praising Him in the process.

This blog is one of those opportunities for me. I have always thought I would like to share my ponderings but then uncertainty whispered, “Who cares what you think Marta and what makes you think that others would want to read your prattle? (Now there’s a word you don’t hear very much:)

But not long after this little conversation, God nudged me to take the first step and this is what I felt He was saying, “Marta I don’t need you to write so that I get more glory. I need you to write so that you can see me more clearly. Don’t worry if people read it or not – this is another way for you to see me at work in every area of your life and you need to declare with your hands the mighty works of my hands – because clearly I am here. As you have sought me, I have drawn near and I will draw nearer still.” Wow… after words like that, who could ever wonder if God knows what He’s doing with their life.

You should know, that I am in the midst of really trusting Him for some pretty big miracles this month and that uncertainty has literally been pounding on my door. But because of His promises and His tenderness toward me I press on relentlessly – anticipating that He’s at work and that the opportunities will come – not because I’m perfect but because I’m perfectly loved!

What about you? Are you wondering what God is doing with your life? Start watching for opportunities and when they knock on your door and you feel the sudden nudge of His Spirit welling up inside of you – just go for it! In our obedience to pursue the God-given opportunities, He will accomplish His purposes through us!

“The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”  Deuteronomy 31:8

“You have made known to me the path of life. You will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” Psalm 16:11


Mia’s Miracle Part 2 – A Silver Lining!

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “every cloud has a silver lining” and I’m sure you’ve probably had your own share of clouds. Over the past years, I’ve learned that when the clouds come, it’s critical to control our thoughts and our speech. There is incredible power in our words and if we act and speak optimistically, even amidst the darkest clouds – we will find the silver lining.

“Your love is faithful, Lord, and even the clouds in the sky can depend on you.” Psalm 36:5 (CEV)

As you read in Mia’s Miracle entry, God has been incredibly faithful to my family. That’s because He specializes in taking the darkest clouds in our lives and then He gently filters His light through every aspect of them to dispel the darkness and fulfill His purposes! What man intended to be the destruction of Joseph, God intended to save an entire nation. When cancer threatened my granddaughter, God had a plan to show my family just how important it is to get God’s Word to thousands of children – not just Mia.

It is no wonder that two years after Mia’s illness, when the Canadian Bible Society approached my husband and me to create something that would be Bible engagement for kids, we accepted the challenge wholeheartedly. We had already seen first-hand what the Scriptures could do in the life of a child, and we were eager to create something where other children could be influenced by God’s Word.

Because they are passionate about getting God’s Word to the next generation, CBS initiated the online world of YAHERO – where more than 6,000 children have already visited as virtual Bible explorers. To date, more than two million dollars have been invested into this project and for two years we have worked alongside a team to create this world where kids can play safely online and become engaged with the Bible in a format they already love and understand. Let’s face it – we parents are the digital immigrants – children are naturals in this online environment and so there needs to be a Christian alternative.

YAHERO www.yahero.com is reproducing the truths that God wants established firmly in children’s hearts and we’re using Scripture to do it! We know from our own experiences that children are alive spiritually, humble, sensitive, teachable, trusting and naturally faith-filled.

My husband Dale and I feel blessed to have been used by God to create the first Bible-based online virtual world for kids. God has an amazing way of weaving the paths of his children together to accomplish His purposes on the earth and we are thrilled to be partnering with ministries and organizations like The Canadian Bible Society, the PAOC, Faith at Home, Winning Kids, FaithLife Financial, the Assemblies of God, Tyndale House Publishers and others to get God’s Word to kids.

Here are some things that you can do to help YAHERO:

  • Check it out and share it with all the kids in your life www.yahero.com visit the resource section to see our videos etc.
  • Write to info@yahero.com to request Free Trial Scratch Cards for your friends and your church
  • Pray for all of the current Yaheroes and all those that are still to come – that they will become engaged with God’s Word while having incredible fun
  • Pray for the YAHERO team that God will give us creativity to create exciting quests and games for kids and that He will bless the work of our hands
  • Check out the ministry and awesome resources from Mark and Maria Holmen www.faithathome.com who are passionate about sharing YAHERO and the principles of Deuteronomy 6 with families

“These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.” Deuteronomy 6:6-9 (NIV)

In closing, let me share a sweet moment with you…

As you begin to know me better, you will see that my journey has not always been gentle. But you will also see clearly that I have never walked alone. The creator of the universe, the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, the One who is mighty to save has been with me every step of the way – dispelling clouds and uncovering silver linings.

A few nights ago I heard a little voice calling from downstairs, “Mam-ma, Mam-ma (rhymes with Grandma), will you come and lie down with me – Olivia’s sleeping and I need you.” (My daughter and her family are living with us for six months until their house is built) I peeked my head into the room and gently pulled back the covers, crawled in and wrapped my arms around darling Mia – our little miracle. I told her how precious she is and how much Jesus and Mam-ma love her. I told her that God has such a wonderful plan for her life and then together we thanked Him for making her “all better”. I rubbed her back and I prayed that every cell in her body would flourish with health forever and then she asked me to quote her “hospital” Psalm, which is 121, and so we said it together. Then, as if remembering the nights when we snuggled on a cot in a hospital room, she asked me to sing the “Mam-ma song” a fun little ditty that I made up:) As I sang, she snuggled in as close as she could get and peacefully drifted off to sleep – and once again I was enveloped by the silver lining!


Mia’s Miracle…

Okay – buckle up because this is a long one! There is just no good way for me to give you the short version☺ For those of you who have either already heard this story or actually walked on this journey with me, I’m sorry but you are going to hear it again.   I will never cease to praise Him and I must share the story with those who have not yet heard.

I have learned that God’s Word is life’s most powerful anchor. It comes to us from the one who gives life and makes our lives meaningful. His Word speaks deeply into our souls and it is what sustains us during life’s most difficult moments.

In 2006, my family found itself stranded somewhere between faith and despair. At 17 months of age, my granddaughter Mia was diagnosed with a stage 4 cancer called neuroblastoma. This cancer affects approximately 65 children per year in North America. Within days we could see the result of large tumors pressing on her eyes and face and we were terrified.

I’ll never forget the day when my 22-year-old daughter and I met with the chief oncologist at McMaster Children’s Hospital for the prognosis report.  He used words like, widespread metastasized disease, lesions from the top of her head to the bottom of her feet, the cancer was in her bone marrow – it was everywhere. He said the pathology report indicated only a 10% chance that this cancer would even respond to treatment and then he told us that we should prepare ourselves because she probably would not see her second birthday.

I admit that as I hugged my weeping daughter, I felt defeated; this Doctor had just told us that there was virtually no hope for Mia to recover. But then God’s spirit welled up inside of me and I said, “Dr. Barr you do all that you can medically, and we’re going to trust God for a miracle.” He shook his head and said, “Oh Grandma, this is a pediatric oncology floor, everyone in here wants a miracle.”

I knew in that moment, that this was just the beginning of a battle where we could either cower in fear or stand firm in faith. I remembered two other things that day. One is a magnet on my fridge that says, “Women are like tea bags – you never really know how strong they are until they get into hot water.” Well, we were in some hot water and with the help of our God; we were about to learn just how strong we could become.

The other thing I remembered was the Bible story of a young shepherd boy named David who faced a giant named Goliath. David trusted that that the battle was the Lord’s and he stood firm in faith – knowing that God would deliver Israel. For the next 14 months of in-hospital treatment, my daughter, son-in-law and our entire family banded together to face a giant called cancer and we too stood firm in faith.

Bravery beads are given to oncology patients throughout North America for every needle poke, surgery, blood transfusion etc. In 2006, Mia gathered enough Bravery beads to fill five long necklaces.
• 134 beads represent blood transfusions
• 6 beads represent chemotherapy treatments
• 12 beads represent radiation treatments
• 1 silver bead represents a stem cell transplant at Toronto’s Sick Kids Hospital

It was in the darkest moments that we found our strength in God and in the fact that hundreds of people were accepting the burden to pray fervently for Mia’s Miracle.

During that time, we spent countless hours pouring God’s Word into Mia’s young heart. My cousin gave me a CD of a man reading Scripture and when Mia could hardly speak, she would point to the CD player and say, “man” We quickly realized that she preferred the “man” reading Scripture to other children’s CD’s that we had been playing for her and we began to play the “man” night and day.

We watched as God’s Word literally fed her spirit and miracles began to happen. Little by little tumors began to disappear, her surgeon was able to get the entire primary tumor out of her abdomen, the stem cells they infused into her system created new bone marrow, and she didn’t lose her hearing and her sight as they warned us she could.

Today, Mia is six years old and in grade one. I’m thrilled to tell you that she is completely free from cancer (Thank you JESUS!). Her oncologists say there is no medical explanation and they continue to be amazed every 6 months when her tests come back clear.

Yes, she is still listening to the “man” reading Scripture to her at bedtime and she is a living testimony to what God can do when we stand firm in faith – not just believing what we can see, but knowing what we believe about God and the amazing promises found in His Word.

I’d love to hear from you! If there’s a time in your life where God has intervened in a miraculous way – share your journey and inspire others in the process!

Part two of Mia’s Miracle – A Silver Lining will follow on Monday.


Back to Basics…

Before posting this entry, I was hoping to have found a photo I remember seeing of me as a 4-year-old in my jammies – kneeling to pray. My dear mother has been searching for the elusive photo all day to no avail, so I’ve decided to fly without it – you get the picture:)

As a little girl, I actually remember kneeling to pray every night. But then as I got a little older, my Mom or Dad would come into my room to tuck me in and we’d just pray while I was lying down. I don’t know why the kneeling stopped – it just did.

I didn’t pray less and I’m not inferring that He heard less because I wasn’t on my knees. However, 43 years later, His still small voice has told me to get back on my knees by the side of my bed morning and night – and the results have been amazing.

  • I have more energy even though I’m getting up earlier
  • My prayers seem more fervent and heartfelt – I’m going boldly to His throne of grace and bowing humbly and I tell Him this every time we meet
  • I am encouraged in my spirit – and lately I’ve had reason to feel discouraged
  • My heart feels tender and my attitude is sweeter
  • I am more excited about serving others – I tend to be a server but now I long to go the extra mile

I can’t explain it and I really don’t feel compelled to try. I will only guess that it has something to do with my posture before God. I’m not suggesting that He hears my prayers better if I kneel – only that something seems to happen when I posture myself before Him humbly. Maybe it’s more about the posture of my heart but nonetheless, it hasn’t hurt me to be back on my knees!

Or possibly this is just one of the basics worth revisiting. It’s been good for me and now I wouldn’t miss the time on my knees with Him for anything. But I’m curious to know if this is just something He’s asked me to do, or if it’s something He may be challenging others to do too.

So…ponder this thought and let me know what you think – getting back to the basics may be the best thing we ever do!


Being Her…

In my ladies Bible study, we’ve been studying the Proverbs 31 woman. I’m sure I can’t be the only one who has thought that this woman is an impossible act to follow. In fact, I admit to not really wanting to read that chapter more than once:) But through the study, I’ve learned that if we think like that we don’t stand a chance of growing into what we could be. Think about it, if we can’t follow HER example why would even try to follow Jesus?

There’s no point to being a follower or envisioning what could be, if such great examples discourage us on our journey. So…I’ve decided to adopt a new stance on this Proverbs 31 gal and I am actually trying to imitate her – laughing in the process.

She…

  • Lives life with intent to do good always & influence those around her
  • Is transformed inwardly so it’s natural for her to build up her house
  • Makes good choices automatically – lots of practice
  • Has an eager attitude to go the extra mile
  • Sets the tone in her household & girds herself with discipline
  • Tackles tasks as if she’s doing them for God not for man
  • Speaks life to her family – she’s worthy of their confidence and trust
  • Willingly makes sacrifices so her husband can fulfill his calling
  • Uses creative skills to make financial contributions to her household
  • Has people in her life to help her – she doesn’t accomplish everything alone
  • Sees that God’s vision for her life is attainable

Her in a bathrobe…

It was a normal morning, I got up early, had my prayer time, grabbed a shower and plucked grandson Owen out of his crib in the next room, before he woke up Dale. My daughter and her family are living with us until their house is built in February. So…there are nine of us here – yes, it’s a bit chaotic:)

I hear Sarah getting the girls up, I change Owen’s diaper and he immediately points to his high chair and grunts – typical male:) I give him half a banana and start in on the lunches. He inhales the banana and so I start throwing things on his tray – mostly lunch foods I’m packing. A red pepper stick, a piece of cheese and a cucumber – not really breakfast food but he doesn’t care – he’s hungry!

Then, I remember I have blueberries in the fridge and he loves them, so I go to get them and the container falls – blueberries are all over the kitchen and wobbling into the family room. Just then, Hannah’s cat sees little balls all over the floor and she begins stepping on them and batting them around. Olivia comes up the stairs all ready for school and says, “Mam-ma why did you throw blueberries on the floor?” I sigh and ask her for her help to pick them up. She giggles and starts to re-fill the container. I pause, look at the floor, listen to Owen grunting for more food and I don’t much feel the Proverbs 31 gal.

Okay, I had the discipline to get up and the good intentions to care for my family but the tone in my kitchen was escalating and there were more smashed blueberries on my floor than in Livvy’s container. I clearly had a choice to make. So…I started to laugh – popping blueberries into my mouth faster than Olivia could pick them up. (The 5-second rule gets moved to 60 if you’re at home.) We kept at it and before Sarah got up the stairs, the mess was gone, eggs were scrambled and Owen was finally full.

I share this story to encourage you because even though we are trying – stuff happens. Blueberries spill, kids are always hungry and we must learn to appreciate the opportunities to get back up and try again. Remember, just two short chapters before Proverbs 31, the writer says, “Where there is no vision, the people parish.” (KJV) If we try to live our lives without a vision of what could be, we will always wander and we will always wonder what we would have achieved if we could have been HER.

Guess what girls? We are HER – just in process. The power to choose well, with vision and an eager attitude lies in OUR hands!

Can you share a Proverbs 31 moment gone wrong? Did you try again?