Tuesday, December 28, 2010

"Things Pondered"


Luke 2:19 "But Mary treasured up all of these things and pondered them in her heart."

Mary had been through a 9 month whirlwind. An angel had appeared to her informing her that she was going to have a baby even though she was a virgin. Not only was she going to have a baby, but she was going to give birth to the Messiah, the Promised One, The Savior of the world. The baby within her womb would one day save her (His mother) from sin, death, hell and the grave. Just a tad bit overwhelming don't you think for this young virgin? Can you imagine how fast those 9 months passed by and can you imagine the emotion, the wondering, the dreams of what this new life would be like? She was giving birth to the King of Kings and yet on the night of His birth she found herself in a stinky barn surrounded by animals. I am sure this was not what she had imagined. Where is the purple cloth, where are the servants, where was room service? "Come on people this is the King I am giving birth to." After a night of rejection and labor pains Mary held in her arms the answer to EVERYTHING. Suddenly NOTHING else mattered. It ALL made sense. The very touch of this baby in her arms, the star, the angels singing Hallelujah, the shepherds who came to see and then left to tell, all of this and it suddenly made sense to Mary. There was so much to ponder. There was so much to treasure. Every detail, every circumstance, every trial was suddenly seen as a blessing. As she looked into those clear eyes, held those precious little hands and snuggled that perfect baby she knew that this purpose was much bigger than what her human mind could comprehend. That is when her faith took over. Her hope was placed in this baby. She treasured ALL of these things in her heart. Why did she treasure them? Why the need to ponder? I don't know about Mary, but I have felt the need to treasure this week and ponder. I have been treasuring the event of the last 2 weeks in my heart and I have been pondering God's plan and His will concerning them all. I will confess that in those moments that I forget to treasure and ponder I begin to doubt. I have seen the very hand of God and experienced His peace, His healing and His comfort and yet when I let my guard down and choose not to treasure and ponder I am tempted to worry, fret and fear once again. WHY? HE is real! HE has met me at my point of need and yet I doubt that He will do it again. When I continue to treasure all of these things, thank Him, praise Him and ponder all of this in my heart, there is no room for doubt or fear. Mary had a lot to treasure. She treasured(regarded as precious) the events that had already taken place. She could see the hand of God on each and every detail. Oh what a treasure that was. Then she pondered.(to think about carefully before deciding or concluding, to appraise, to reflect.) She was reflecting on all that had happened and all that was to come as the result of this perfect baby. May we continue to treasure all that He has done and ponder His purposes. He is alive, He is active in our lives and He loves us so very much. JESUS!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Evidence of Faith


Faith has been defined as "complete confidence in a person or plan." Our faith is in the Lord Jesus Christ. Our complete and total confidence is in the person of Jesus and in the plan He has for our lives. For 32 years I have talked about my faith in Jesus and at times I have been asked to allow my faith to have feet. At the age of 25 I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer and I have been watching God work out His plan for me in this area for over 12 years. Even that did not require the faith that I have been asked to practice this week. When your greatest fear becomes reality the only thing you can grip is the complete and total confidence (faith) that you have in the Lord Jesus Christ. Hebrews 11:1 "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." The substance of things hoped for or the assurance of things hoped for. The only hope we have is in Jesus. On Friday when I was told my 11 year old had a brain tumor I knew that NOTHING I did could make Matthew better. I couldn't will him better. I couldn't hug and kiss his boo boo and make it go away. My only hope was to place my son in the hands of Jesus. As Matthew was being wheeled back into surgery the thought occurred to me that I was sending my child down the hall with a TOTAL stranger. A man I had met less than 12 hours ago and I was giving him permission to cut my son's head open, drill a hole in his skull and work with instruments inside of his brain. What kind of sense does that make? I put my confidence and trust in the hands of a total stranger just because he "said" he was a doctor. I never asked to see his credentials. I didn't even have references. I just took him at his word. I "hoped" he knew what he was doing. Physically that is exactly what I did, but my true faith was not in this doctor who proved to be remarkable. He is merely a mortal man and he can and does make mistakes. As Matthew was being wheeled into that operating room I was placing him into the hands of the one to whom he belongs. I released my grip and placed him back into the hands of his Father. Matthew has never been mine. He has been on loan. I am a steward for a time. How long? I don't know. Longer than this world could promise last Friday. If my faith had not been in Jesus Christ I would have clung to the under rafters of that hospital bed and left claw marks down the hall as they pried me away from his side. Instead I kissed his head and released my grip and again placed my complete and total trust in Jesus. Faith with feet. Jesus asked me to walk the faith that spills forth from my mouth. When you have had to face your greatest fear, what is left to fear? It is easy to "say" you trust Jesus. It is easy to "say" that our faith is in Him. It is easy to "say" that He is in control and that He works out all things for our good. It is all easy to "say" but living it out and living it out in the midst of the fire seems much more difficult, but it doesn't have to be. If I can place my son into the hands of a stranger with a drill and a knife then I can place all of my children, all of my circumstances and all of my everything into the one that I have known so intimately for 32 years. I can trust in the one who has a long list of credentials and references. My trust and complete confidence is in the one who has raised men from the dead, performed many miracles and who He himself was raised from the dead. My faith is in Jesus. My complete and total trust and confidence is in Him. Where is your trust today? Do you trust in man? Do you trust in circumstances? Trust today in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is able and He is worthy.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Guest Post From My Brother


After receiving an e-mail from my brother last night sharing with me his thoughts and heart over the last few days I asked him if he would be a guest on my blog today. His message was such a blessing to me. I hope you enjoy it.

“You oh Lord alone are lifted high, the shadow of your wings is where I hide. I stand in awe I live life to bless you I sing a new song a song of the RESCUED, light of the world shine in my heart like the rise of the dawn. In this hour my heart is filled with trust, because there is no power or wonder like our God. You whisper, the oceans calm, you reach out, I stand in awe I live life to bless you, I sing a new song a song of the RESCUED, light of the world shine in my heart like the rise of the dawn. I am amazed, Lord who I am I that you are mindful of me, but angels bow down and heavens declare that you are my God.”


Matt and Monica asked us to sing praises during Matthew’s surgery on Saturday morning. This is the song God placed on my heart. I couldn’t remember the name of the song or who sung it. But the chorus was repeated over and over in my mind and soul during and after Matthew’s surgery. Even as we drove home Saturday night all I could sing in my heart was this chorus. As we were praising God for the miracles (notice that is plural) that He performed over the past few weeks to get us to this point I really stood in Awe of what He had done.


I stand in awe at the miracle of a doctor ordering an MRI for an 11 year old boy with headaches, when standard procedure is not to. I stand in awe at the last minute cancellation that put Matthew in an MRI machine two weeks before he was scheduled to be there which essentially saved his life.


I stand in awe at the body of Christ. That when called into action for one of their own showed up bigger and with more impact than any of us imagined. I stand in awe at the sheer number of people praying for my 11 year old nephew. People that we didn’t even know, people that we didn’t think really prayed, people from all over the WORLD lifting up healing in the name of Jesus for our precious nephew. I stand in awe at the man at church who I barely know that told me while praying for Matthew Friday night the Lord spoke to his Spirit and told him the tumor was not malignant and that Matthew would make a full recovery.


I stand in awe at God’s grace, providence and mercy that was shown to Matt and Monica who after hearing a parent’s worst nightmare were able to compose themselves enough to seek God and be strong for their son. A situation that as a parent I would assume I would not be able to function. I stand in awe at their composure and calmness during the surgery. As I sat with them in the waiting room it was evident that our God had calmed their spirits and they knew Matthew would be okay.


I stand in awe at my nephew, Matthew who handled himself in the most amazing way. His attitude, his composure, his selflessness were all such a work of the Lord in him. He never cried, he never questioned, he never seemed fearful. I stand in awe that an 11 year old has the courage to say “If I die, it’s okay, I know where I am going”.


Lastly I stand in awe of the God that we serve. His ways are not our ways, His thoughts are not our thoughts and that’s okay. I know that He is so passionately in love with each one of us that we need not worry. He will always have a plan and those plans are already done. I know that as our family surrounded Matthew Saturday night for a word of prayer that God spoke to me very clearly. He told me not to worry about Matthew. There is more work for him to do on this earth. And that Matthew is not going anywhere until his work is done. Praise the Lord!!


Michael


Monday, December 20, 2010

84 hours later...

84 hours ago I was told my son had a brain tumor. Tonight I am home listening to him laugh, joke, play and carry on with his brothers. It is music to my ears. I am amazed at the work of God's hand. Friday at 11:30 my greatest fear became a reality and GOD met me right where I was and gave me an opportunity to live out the faith which I teach and share with others. It has been an incredible 84 hours. Never before have I felt the presence of God in my life like I have these past few days. He has held me, he has cradled me, he has been my rock and my fortress. As I look at my precious Matthew tonight I am amazed that just 62 hours ago he was in the middle of brain surgery. Does that child above look like he just had brain surgery? I want to share with you specifically how we have seen the hand of God in so many details during the last few days.

Wednesday, December 15 - Matthew had a bad headache and because I needed a Dr.'s excuse for school we made a visit to the Dr. that afternoon. The Dr. ordered an MRI "Just to cover all the bases." GOD'S HAND

Thursday, December 16 - The MRI office called and said they had an opening and could get Matthew in 2 WEEKS EARLY. GOD'S HAND! I figured if we did the MRI I would not have to cook dinner because we would be out and it would be late. My selfishness???? No GOD'S HAND

Thursday, December 16 - As we prayed for the MRI results, Matthew prayed, "God may your will be done and give us the grace to accept whatever comes." GOD'S PREPARATION

Friday, December 17 - As soon as the Dr. told us about the tumor I sank into my husband's arms and was a mess. As people began to pray my strength was renewed and He carried me ALL the way. Immediate relief and peace came over me. GOD'S PEACE

Friday, December 17 - I could not sleep. Not wanting to let one moment pass without being covered in prayer I would not allow myself to rest. A friend on the other side of the world e-mailed and said, "While your American friends are sleeping, know that your friends in England are praying." Other reports came in of those in 5 different countries praying as well as friends here that God awakened. People were praying around the clock. I was able to rest. GOD'S PROVISION

Friday, December 17 - My in-laws were here to keep the other boys. I was at peace knowing they were well taken care of all weekend. (They wanted to be with us, but were willing to keep our hearts at peace by staying here with my boys.) My parents wanted to be in Birmingham with us and were praying asking God to provide a way. A friend showed up at the door with an monetary gift and said, "The Lord told me to give this to you." They were able to come right then and stay until Sunday. GOD'S PROVISION

Saturday, December 18 - The Dr. informed us that after seeing the 2nd MRI we had caught this JUST in time. Had we waited much longer Matthew would have been in REALLY BAD trouble. GOD'S TIMING

Saturday, December 18 - Considering my husband is a pastor, we are usually the ones there for others during surgery. In God's sovereignty he had OUR pastor (Bro. Al and Mrs. Kem) in Birmingham on an overnight date. They were with us during surgery. Only God could have ordained that. GOD'S COMFORT

Saturday, December 18 - The Dr. said Matthew's brain was a perfect canvas for the surgery and he was done in half the time he had told us it would take. GOD'S HAND

Saturday, December 18 - Matthew had prayed that he would not lose all his hair. They only shaved 2 small patches away. Just before surgery, my daddy told Matthew he would need a yamekah to cover those patches on on his head, so as they wheeled Matthew down the hall for surgery he began to sing Adam Sandler's Hanukah song. "Put on your yamekah, cause here comes Hanukah." I knew then God had answered another one of his prayer requests and he was not scared. (As an added note, when Matthew returned from surgery he said, "I hope all the people in this hospital don't think I'm Jewish.") GOD'S HAND

Sunday, December 19 - Matthew was doing so well, they took the brain drain out 2 days early. About an hour later his face became HUGE with swelling. I called people to pray. Before the Dr. could make it to the room it had decreased in size by half. GOD'S HEALING POWER

Sunday, December 19 - Matthew had prayed that God would use this to grow our church closer together. This morning our precious church pulled together and handled EVERYTHING we had left undone and everything that had to be done in our absence. Not to mention, they came together Friday night right after we got the news and corporately prayed for our precious Matthew. GOD'S UNITY

Monday, December 20 - Matthew has not had a headache since surgery. As a matter of fact he stopped taking ALL pain meds including tylenol and motrin on Sunday morning. His vision has become crystal clear once again. To the Dr.'s surprise he was doing so well he came home 2 days early. GOD'S HEALING POWER

Monday, December 20 - Sweet friends are blessing our lives beyond what we could imagine. GOD'S PROVISION

Monday, December 20 - 84 hours later....I SIT IN MY HOME WITH A CHILD WHO IS WHOLE AND WELL. A CHILD WHO SHOULD NOT BE HERE TONIGHT. GOD'S MIGHTY HAND HAS BEEN UPON HIM AND HE IS HEALED. Yes, he still has a brain tumor. He might always have a brain tumor. I heard him just a minute ago say, "Caleb, dude take it easy on me, I have a brain tumor." He might have a brain tumor, but he is here when according to the time table of man he should not be. God has used these 84 hours to accomplish more in our lives than you could ever imagine. If you walked into our home tonight you would have no idea what we have been doing for the last 84 hours, but my prayer is that because of the testimony and this time of faith building in the refiner's fire, you will forever see a difference in the Hawkins family. FOREVER WE ARE CHANGED BY HIS FAVOR AND HIS GRACE. WE BLESS HIS NAME AND WE PRAISE HIM.

We have had people ask what they can do for Matthew during this time. If you have put your faith and trust in Jesus then share it with someone else and live out your faith with boldness, FAITH and reckless abandonment. If you have never trusted Jesus with your life I want you to understand that HE is the only thing that has gotten us through this. We are not strong, we are not special, we are not amazing. We are helpless. We have depended on our Jesus to carry us through. If you have never given your life to Him, that is what Matthew would want you to do. He said, "If it means seeing people come to faith in Christ I would take another brain tumor. And the gifts aren't bad either." (Hey, remember he is only 11.) His desire is for you all to know Jesus and not just to know Him, but to follow Him and seek Him above ALL ELSE. Matthew's prayer and his confidence is that this situation has not been in vain. He know God has a plan for it and he can't wait to watch it unfold.

84 hours later...I am changed, I am humbled, I am thankful, I am clinging to Him tighter than every before and I am trusting Him to continue to do great and mighty things FOR HIS GLORY.

"The Good, The Bad and The Truthful"

We have shared our every thought and every emotion with you thus far. There has been good, there has been bad and there has been truthful. Here is a little from the heart of Matthew tonight.

Matthew has not complained not one time. He has not once asked why me or even cried in fear. He has been the picture of a young man covered in grace and strength by his Heavenly Father. Tonight and I were sitting here in the hospital room talking and he said, "Mom, sometimes I want to pray that I will wake up and all of this will have been a bad dream, but I know that would be selfish." I assured him that it was ok for him to feel that way.
I've had the same thoughts. He said, "I feel like I will never be normal again." I assured him he would NOT be normal again. "Matthew, you have been forever changed by the testimony of your faith and healing. Your life will never again be the same, but it will be better." "Yes ma'am I know and I know it is not in vain." "Matthew, let me ask you a question. If just ONE life was changed, if only ONE person came to faith in Christ because of your testimony would you do this again?" Without missing a beat he said, "Oh, yes ma'am." Tonight I am praying for that ONE. I am praying for that ONE life to be touched by his faith and love for Jesus. Tonight my sweet Matthew needs your prayers. He continues to smile and embrace this place, but there are hard days ahead and hard news to come. Tomorrow threatens to bring some news that might be the most disturbing to Matthew so far. Tomorrow we find out about his future where sports are concerned. He is nervous to hear what the Dr. has to say, but he would walk it all again for ONE. My friends, please share the testimony of our amazing Jesus and His grace, strength, love and healing power. If only for ONE.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

He Meets Us At Our Point Of Need

The Dr. came in this morning and said Matthew was doing amazingly well. To quote, "He could not be doing any better." He came back and pulled the "brain drain" out and said we would be on our way home tomorrow. We were rejoicing and being tube free Matthew decided to take a bath.(That's my boy) As he got up and walked towards me I noticed what appeared to be something the size of a grapefruit protruding from the top of is temple to the bottom of his ear. I called for Matt to look. He took one look and said in urgency "Quick, get the nurse." When Matt feels urgent about something, then I know it is serious. The nurse came and in and they called the Dr. from the OR. At that moment I was scared to death. All I could do was pray and call on others to pray. I looked at my watch and realized everyone I knew was still in church. I called my brother's cell phone. They were in the middle of worshipping but Diane stepped out and grabbed the call figuring it was urgent due to the timing. I expressed to them our concern and they called on their prayer team and they prayed. I called 2 friends from our church and as word spread and people prayed the swelling began to go down immediately. My friends, GOD ANSWERS PRAYER and He says PRAY WITHOUT CEASING. In fact, by the time the Dr. came in the room the grapefruit had become an orange. The Dr. said he didn't see this much, but unless the swelling was in the area of what we call Matthew's pressure valve (the whole in his skull) then we didn't need to be too worried. I honestly thought the fluid was building back up and his face was going to explode. It looked that bad. God has continued to meet us at our point of need at every turn. Each and every detail has been covered by His almighty hand.

We have been excited today to share our faith with 2 of our nurses. We rejoice in the fact that they too are believers in the Lord Jesus and we were able to share our testimonies with each other. It was such a sweet time of fellowship and encouragement. Our prayer is that Matthew has no complications during the night and we can go home tomorrow. We are also praying that God would quickly bring those across our path that we need to share with, minister to and encourage, however it sounds as if we will be coming back quite often for check-ups, MRI's and other testings so hopefully this is just the beginning of a new mission field for the Hawkins family. I would prefer not to minister while admitted again, but a visit every few months would not be so bad.

Matthew is ready to get home and start hugging and thanking everyone for praying and praising on his behalf. We were reminded again today that our Christmas could have been very different. But God in His sovereignty has walked before us, carried us and provided the grace for each step of this path we are on. We remain humbled and thankful. This is not the end, but only the beginning.

A MORNING OF PRAISE!!!!

We are singing loud praises this morning. Around 5:00 they took Matthew in for a C-T Scan. The Dr. came in shortly after and said that Matthew was doing PHENOMENAL. So well in fact that they might be sending him home tomorrow. The Dr. is amazed at how well he is doing. The C-T scan showed that the swelling in his brain has gone down significantly, his ventricles are going back to normal size and the fluid is draining properly. His vision is getting so much better and his eyes are looking brighter and more open. They even came in and removed what we affectionately call his "brain drain." So many things to rejoice in this morning. We continue to praise Him and give Him ALL the GLORY. We stand amazed at the favor God has chosen to show our family. GOD IS ABLE TO DO ALL OF THIS AND SO MUCH MORE. I am not surprised at what He has done, but I am THANKFUL!! As my brother prayed last night as we had a family time of thanksgiving and praise, "God, most of all we thank you for sparing Matthew's life." There is so much to be thankful for and the praises continue to flow. THANK YOU ALL FOR BEING SUCH AN IMPORTANT PART OF THIS TESTIMONY AS YOU HAVE ALL PRAYED AND PRAISED WITH US. Family of God....This is not just Matthew's testimony or the Hawkins' testimony, this is OUR (the body of Christ) testimony!!! You have all been a part of this testimony. ultimately it is the TESTIMONY OF JESUS CHRIST. THE MESSAGE OF WHAT JESUS HAS DONE. Sing with me..."To God be the glory great things He has done, and great our rejoicing through Jesus the son, who yielded His life an atonement for Sin and opened the life gates that all may go in. Praise the Lord, Praise the Lord, Let the earth hear His voice, Praise the Lord, Praise the Lord, Let the people rejoice. Oh come to the Father through Jesus the Son and GIVE HIM THE GLORY, GREAT THINGS HE HAS DONE."

Saturday, December 18, 2010

"He's Got It Covered"

Last night I could not go to sleep. All I could do was pray. I knew that I needed to rest at some point yet sleep would not come. Around 3:00 my phone beeped and it was a facebook message from a friend saying, "While your American friends sleep, know that your friends in England are praying." I was released and I knew that God had it covered. He had placed His prayer warriors all over the world. Today I have reports from friends in Chile, China, Brazil, Mexico, England and Jordan. They have been praying and praising. God took care of scheduling the intercessory prayer. Oh what comfort that has brought to my heart. If I even began to list the states where people were praying we could be here all night. Matthew said earlier, "Isn't it neat to think that this morning people were praising God ALL OVER THE WORLD at one time." I am hoping to compile of list of the songs God laid on the hearts of His people to sing and make Matthew a CD or the praises that were lifted up while God was guiding the hands of his Dr. Matthew also said, "Mom, I think the reason I have done so well is because all of these people have prayed and have PRAISED God." Not to us, but to your name be the glory!!

The Battle Is Won!!

He is out of surgery and doing well according to the Dr. This was a text book case. THIS TUMOR IS NOT MALIGNANT. Continue to sing HIS praises!! HE HAS WON THE BATTLE!! His peace continues to reign in our hearts! THANK YOU PRECIOUS FAMILY OF GOD FOR INTERCEDING AND WORSHIPPING WITH US.

Now Matthew can begin his hospital ministry!

And The Praises Begin...

As Matthew is in surgery I want to start pouring out the praises. We found out this morning when we met with the Dr. that there was a considerable difference in the MRI within the 48 hours time span between the 2. The Dr. said had our Dr. not caught this when he did Matthew would have gotten in trouble really fast. Praise 1 - GOD'S TIMING IS PERFECT AND HE HAS BEEN LAYING OUT THIS SCHEDULE. Praise 2 - DR. BLOUNT SAID THIS IS A TEXT BOOK CASE. THE TUMOR IS ONLY THE SIZE OF A BABY LIMA BEAN. Praise 3 - MATTHEW HAS BIG PASSAGE WAYS IN HIS BRAIN THAT MAKES THIS PROCEDURE MUCH EASIER. (We knew he had a big brain.)

We are singing and praising this morning. Matthew is AWESOME! We will let you know more when the Dr. comes out. We are hopeful! So now we want to get down to the business of why he sent us here. Pray for ministry opportunities!!

Please PRAISE!!


As I sit here NOT SLEEPING, but seeking answers from my Father I have a request for you my precious friends. Tomorrow morning as Matthew is in surgery I want to ask that you all sing praises to God and worship Him during the surgery. We have prayed for Matthew. God has heard our hearts and He knows the outcome. I was reminded tonight of King Jehoshaphat and the Word He received from the Lord...

Jehoshaphat, I have a word from the Lord. Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not your, but God’s.” (Paraphase: So tomorrow, get up and march down there to where they are. Now they are going to be climbing up in pursuit of you, but) “You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you. Do not be afraid or discouraged, go out to face them tomorrow and the Lord will be with you.”

I love the picture in this next verse, "Jehoshaphat bowed with his face to the ground and all the other people fell in worship before the Lord." Can't you see the relief? He just fell on his face in worship and praise to God. And as they did this God led them into a time of praise. As a matter of fact, the next morning when they went out to meet their enemy, they were clinging to the promise that God had made to them, but Jehoshaphat had resolved that he did not want this to become about him so he kept them focused. He appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying “Give thanks to the Lord, for his love endures forever.

Matthew is quite adamant that he does not want this to be about him. He wants to see God being glorified and praised. We are facing what feels like a vast army to me. God has revealed to us through His word that He has already bore our sickness, or sorrow and our sin on Calvary and by those stripes we are healed. We are called to praise HIM! When HE is lifted up, He will draw all men unto Himself.

Jehoshaphat chose to Worship instead of worry. Matthew has chosen to worship instead of worry.

Jehoshaphat knew that when we put the focus on God by worshipping, we take the focus off of ourselves and our circumstances. It is impossible to worry, fret and fear when you have entered into the presence of God, because those things are not of Him and in His presence they cannot abide. Worship also turns our hearts towards God and off of our circumstances.

I have shared this story before, but it always seems to touch my heart. This is not the first time Matthew has been faced with uncertainty...

Matthew is our 11 year old and he has SEVERE allergies. Matthew says “Paul had a thorn in his flesh, so why not me?” Matthew has many bad nights, but one particular night that stands out to me was about a year ago. Matthew was having trouble breathing and his eyes were giving him fits. As I tucked him in we talked yet again about God’s purposes and how He works out all things for our good and His glory. Matthew was feeling a little defeated spiritually and physically miserable and asked if he could sleep in our room. His daddy thought he would do better in his own bed since it has all the protective allergen covers, so I tucked him in and went about my nightly duties. As I walked past Matthew’s room this is what I heard in his precious, tone deaf, off key whisper of a voice...How can I keep from singing Your praise?How can I ever say enough?How amazing is Your love?How can I keep from shouting Your name?I know I am loved by the King And it makes my heart want to sing" Tears began to stream from my eyes and I froze and listened to this precious young man sing praises to Jesus until he fell asleep. He didn't liay awake questioning why him? He did not cry or sulk or worry about tomorrow or wonder what his next allergy attack would hold. HE PRAISED! "How can I keep from singing your praise?" God used this incredible young man of God, who I am privileged to call my son, to remind me to praise Him in ALL circumstances. Matthew and Jehoshaphat know the same truth. Worship trumps worry and they praised.

In verse 22 we see that as they began to sing and praise, The Lord set ambushes against men that were invading them and they were defeated.

So, instead of praying tomorrow during Matthew's surgery I ask that you crank up the volume of those voice boxes and sing praises to God. Bless HIS name. Sing of HIS goodness. Rejoice in HIS presence. HE will do the battle. HE will fight the fight. Please praise HIM with us and watch the MIGHTY hand of our God at work in this situation.

ALL FOR HIM AND FOR HIS GLORY!!!

Monica












Friday, December 17, 2010

"Humbled and Clinging"

I am humbled at the moment for many reasons. I'm humbled and thankful for the family of God who has come together to pray for our precious Matthew. Thank you will never be enough, yet at the same time I know this is why HE binds our hearts together through the unity of His son. I am humbled that God would entrust such an opportunity to us as a family. Wow! I never thought this would be me. Why? Because I am weak and I would crumble and yet HIS strength is perfect when our strength is gone. He carries us each step of the way. That is where the clinging comes in. That is all I can do is cling. Let me back up and let you know what has happened in the last few days. Matthew has been suffering from headaches for a couple of months. They have been getting worse and more frequent. We honestly had chalked it all up to allergies, but Wednesday when my tough as nails son who never cries was crying in pain we took him to the Dr. The Dr. was not concerned and thought it was just pre-teen migraines, but wanted to cover all of our bases. God had placed an urgency in our hearts to go to the Dr. and placed a thoroughness in our Dr. to make sure it was all covered. We were scheduled for an MRI the week after Christmas. God made an opening yesterday and MRI called us and wanted to see him at 4:00. Still having no reason to be alarmed we had the MRI and went out to dinner. This morning we got a rather urgent call from the Dr. wanting to see Matt and I together without Matthew. That is never a good sign. We went in and heard what at the time in my opinion was the worst case scenario. "Matthew has a mass in the center of his brain. At this time we do not know if it is cancer or not, but it is causing fluid to build up in his brain and spine and left untreated can be fatal." Punch me in the stomach. I couldn't breathe. I went numb. When he walked out of the room I lost it. All I remember was Matt holding me up and praying (thanking God for HIS strength.) Shortly after Matt began to make phone calls and word spread and our brothers and sisters in Christ began to pray. It was as if a blanket began to literally cover over my whole body. I could feel the covering of prayer. It swept over me and God began to provide strength and peace. We checked the boys out of school and took them home to share the news with them. Joshua took it the worst. He cried. He doesn't want Matthew to lose his hair and he offered to save him a piece of pizza. Caleb, being Caleb, drew a picture of Matthew's brain with a big spot in the middle, hugged him and said, "Well, you've been a good brother." This is how Caleb deals with things, he makes us laugh. Matthew was stunned for a moment and then began to joke it off. I think he was in shock. As we got in the car, per our Dr.'s orders that this was serious and should be handled TODAY, Matthew began to share with us some prayer requests. "Mom, as people pray tell them to pray for this. Tell them to pray that I can have a ministry to other children there who are sicker than I am. Pray that if I lose my hair it will grow back fast. Pray I don't die, but if I do please know that I am not worried about that. Pray that I won't be scared. Pray that God will use this to build my testimony and show me how to use it. Pray that God will use this to grow our church closer together and most importantly closer to God."

Never once did he ask us to pray that God would take it away. That is what I have been praying, or maybe even demanding in my heart. Matthew is in great spirits and he keeps finding ways we can learn and grow through this. You know as a mom that is humbling. I am the speaker. I am the one who writes and yet he is the one who really gets it.

As I sit here typing Matthew is in a 3 hour long MRI. Only one parent could go back and he chose Dad. He knows who can handle the stress. I sit here interceding on his behalf and humbled that God would bless me with such a son. He is amazing. He is not mine. He is HIS! That is harder to say today than it ever has been. I don't like letting go of that mommy grip.

We will know more later tonight, but right now we are looking at surgery around 8:00 in the morning. They will not be removing the tumor at this time. They want to go in and basically make a bi-pass valve for the fluid in his brain. The tumor has caused his brain not to drain correctly. This bi-pass will hopefully relieve the pressure. They are not making promises, but they are trying to get us home by Christmas. Christmas...the holiday seems not so important at the moment, yet the reason we celebrate is ALL we can cling to. We are praying, we are praising, we are singing and we are scared. I teach about overcoming fear all the time and yet I have been on the ups and downs of that very sin all day long. What outweighs that fear however is the peace that comes in knowing that HE knows all things. He sees all things. He has a plan for THIS!!!! I would not have chosen this, but then again who am I to choose? We desire HIS will above all. I am reminded as I type with tears what Matthew prayed concerning himself. "God have your way and give us the strength to accept whatever that is." I would walk this for Matthew if I could, but I can honestly say I cannot think of a better child to be entrusted with this trial. He is pointing to Jesus through it all. He is clinging to Him and he is sharing with every nurse and Dr. we meet. He is telling them that he is not scared because HIS church is praying.

Thank you for your continued prayer and be encouraged. Matthew is!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

"I Want To Live Again"

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Christmas officially begins at our home when we can visit with George Bailey and the other townspeople of Bedford Falls. Even mean old Mr. Potter is a welcome sight at our house this time of year. This is one of those movies that feels like it has been a part of your life forever. I honestly can't remember the first time I saw it. My husband on the other hand has a very vivid memory of his first introduction to George Bailey. Matt grew up in a military home, with his dad out to sea on occasion and his only sibling 5 years older than him. Matt was a good, sensitive kid and has always loved his mother dearly. He recalls one afternoon during the Christmas season when he walked in the den and his mom was watching a "black and white" movie. As most young teenage boys, he was not interested, but because he loved his mom and wanted to spend time with her he sat down and the rest is history. This is his all time favorite movie. He can quote it, he owns and dominates the trivia game and he has even referenced this movie in sermons on occasion. The story of George Bailey is not that different from "our" story if you really think about it. At some point in our lives we all wonder if we are making a difference. Do I really matter? Would anyone even noticed if I wasn't here? What if my life was different? What if I had never been born? Isn't there something I could do that is bigger than this? I have asked one of more of these questions from time to time. I've never had a cute, chubby angel named Clarence, in long johns, drinking a flaming rum punch, trying to earn his wings come and show me how silly my thought process is, but the Holy Spirit within me has spoken louder than Clarence ever could. God is faithful to remind me that when we are sold out for Him and living according to His plan for our lives it does not matter how the world views our success or even how we view our success, but all that matters is our obedience to Him. Sometimes life can seem mundane and we can fall into the trap of thinking "is this all there is?" When our Heavenly Father is saying, "Look at ALL there is." He is ALL we need. At the end of this movie George Bailey says over and over again what has become my favorite line of the whole movie..."I want to live again. Please God let me live again." My question for you and for me this Christmas is are we really, truly LIVING the life God ordained in eternity past for us to live or are we pining away the days in regret and bitterness wishing our lives had turned out differently. Choose today to LIVE for Him and find the abundance of Zhu Zhu's joyous petals in your pockets. He came, He has come so that we might have LIFE abundantly. I WANT TO LIVE AGAIN!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Welcome To Our Traditions


Welcome to our home this Christmas!

This Christmas I decided to do some things a little differently. I wanted to rearrange some of our Christmas decorations, but I was quickly out voted by 4 precious little boys who have grown to be very sentimental and who thrive on tradition. I never realized how much until this year. They remember just how we decorate everything, what songs we sing while decorating, what movie we watch as soon as the decorations are put up and the fact that as soon as the decorations are up it is time to each clementines and white covered chocolate pretzels. I was a little disappointed at first that my boys would not let me be creative and do some new things with our decorations, but the disappointment quickly subsided and I was overjoyed that they care so much about our family tradition. With great joy I followed the traditions that apparently Matt and I began 15 years ago. It is the prayer of my heart that the vision of our home at Christmas will not be the only legacy that my children cling to so tightly, but that the love of our Savior will always be just as important and just as much a part of their lives as the twinkling lights they remember each Christmas. Our home is always a fun place to be, but there is just something about celebrating our Savior's birth with all this bling and fanfare that makes our home a retreat, a haven, a magical, peaceful place to be. We welcome you to our home this Christmas!


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