Loving Jesus

I've been facing the fiercest storm of my life. My infant grandson is awaiting a heart transplant. It's been a journey that is full of questions, pain, tears, and intense fear. As a Christian, I know that fear is not supposed to be a part of my life. I'd be less than honest if I didn't admit that I fight off that emotion daily...hourly.

It's been a time of intense prayer that almost never ceases. God has been faithful. He calms me when I need it most, sends the perfect people to encourage me, and I've been blessed with peace even while the storm continues to rage. I've searched my heart for every scripture I've ever hidden there and they are taking on a deeper meaning. (Now I really understand that verse!)

Today I considered how tightly I've been clinging to my heavenly father and admit that this has been an almost bittersweet time. My faith is taking on a level of real like I've never experienced. He's the vine, I'm the branch, and I'm hanging onto to Him with all my might.

I wonder what will happen when this storm passes. Will I spend some time praising him for restoring my grandson to full health and then carry on with my life? Will I fade back into my so-so prayer life and get lazy about spending time in the word? I pondered that for a while and I talked to the Father about this. I believe He is enjoying our current deeper connection because He created me to commune with Him. If I'm only going to cling tightly during times of fear, why would He stop the storm?  (I'm not saying that He won't. This is merely a rhetorical question,)

As I prayed, I realized that there are two times when we tend to cling a little tighter; when we are afraid and when we are deeply in love. When we love someone we want to touch, hug, and kiss. We like to be very close to the people we love. With a sad heart, I realized that I have not been loving Jesus nearly enough, and with tears in my eyes, I repented.

I don't ever want to stop clinging to Him.  For now, I hold on because it's dark and I'm afraid, but I vow to continue holding Him after the clouds part and the sun is shining again. I love you Jesus.

Fierce Love

In my human mind, I don't dare think I can possibly grasp the full nature of my God. While reading the Old Testament I am often shaken by the harshness of God. Did He really need to destroy the entire earth with a flood? Did He really need to kill all the firstborn sons of Egypt?  When I read of these incidents, it's hard to think of Him as loving.

Then, I remember that God provided a way out.  He told Noah how to build the perfect vessel to house his family while they waited out the storm. He gave the Israelites  instructions to mark their doorposts with blood so that the angel of death would pass over their homes. He was indeed harsh, but he saved those that would listen and obey.

Often, unbelievers they will insist that if God were loving then he would never send anyone to hell.Yet, once again, he provides an escape. He gave us Jesus and in return he only requires that we honor the gift.

Today, I am thankful that my God is both strong and loving. His anger is for a moment and His mercy never fails. I pray that I never take that for granted.

I'm a Christian and I'm Not Apologizing

There was a time when Christians had a voice. It was expected that our leaders would be believers. Our forefathers prayed publicly. Our money was engraved with "In God We Trust" and no one thought twice about it. Businesses were closed on Sundays and families attended church.

Today, life is much different. Prayer is no longer part of most public events. Christians are not nearly as respected and are increasingly painted by the media as hateful, intolerant, and arrogant. We are considered odd for believing in a leader that we have not yet seen.  We're told that our views are silly, outdated, uneducated, and our beliefs are a sign of weakness.

As a new believer, I was very open about my faith, but eventually, I learned to be silent. I thought I was being wise and respectful of others. Lately, I've come to realize that this was not the motivation.  If I were truly honest with myself I would admit that I have hesitated to openly share my opinions because I feared being rejected. I didn't want to be perceived as someone with silly beliefs or as someone who hated people who didn't live according to my personal views.

I'm happy to say that I've come to my senses. While I understood that the media had launched a PR assault against evangelical Christians, what I didn't realize was that I fell victim to this myself. At some point, I started to believe the message they had been peddling. Somewhere, in the deepest parts of my mind, I feared that it was true; maybe I was silly, outdated and my views were lacking love. The knife was cutting both ways-- nonbelievers receive validation for their unbelief and at the same time, some Christians are starting to feel ashamed. That shame bullies us into silence.

Recent events in my life have stripped away all the fear of rejection and my boldness is back and exponentially increased. You see, my baby grandson was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect and nearly lost his life as he waited for a heart transplant. I've walked through the valley of the shadow of death and clung to my God with all my might.

I can honestly say that I am full of love for all people; I don't hate a single person on this planet. My views are not outdated, they are timeless, my faith is  tested, and my God didn't fail me!

I may not have yet laid my physical eyes on Him, but I KNOW who my God is!  I KNOW HE'S ALIVE!  I will no longer walk in shame and fear. I'm sad that it took a serious situation with my infant grandson receiving a heart transplant to bring me to this reality, but none the less, I'm glad I have arrived.  I'M A CHRISTIAN and I will not apologize!

A Very Personal Request

Nine months ago, I became a grandma. Nolan joined our family and took his place as the first grandchild and the first nephew. We simply adore him.

Around the age of five months he stopped gaining weight. Mom tried all the normal strategies but couldn't seem to get him to eat enough. About six weeks ago, he was admitted to the hospital. During some exams it was 'accidentally' discovered that Nolan's heart is enlarged. At first, we were told that this was a manageable condition and he'd be fine.

A few weeks later, we learned this was simply not the case. Nolan's heart declined dramatically and he was medically transferred to Children's Hospital. Within a short time, Nolan was added to the list to receive a heart transplant.

Today, he is stable and waiting for his new heart. He doesn't look like a baby awaiting a heart transplant. He plays, he's babbling, and he smiles when you least expect it. He has his bad moments, like when they are sticking him for bloodwork, but overall, he's a strong baby.

My request is that you would keep him and his family in prayer. Mom and Dad are at his side constantly. They each took an unpaid leave from work and will be with him throughout this journey. While we are anxious for Nolan to get his healthy new heart, we are also broken when we consider the family that will face a horrible loss and then make the decision to donate organs that will save lives. Please keep them in prayer as well.

For updates on him and his progress, you can visit his Facebook page.