Wednesday, February 24, 2010

I am waiting Lord...keep me close!

I know that my heart is beating, but there are times when I feel as if I am not an empty shell.  We were picking out the grave stone for Kaydence this morning through the funeral home( it is a pink heart with her name in the middle and on the back...her verse(John 9:1-3) and under the verse..."Sissy") and the man who helped us shared a little of his personal story.  He had a little boy who passed away and he talked about going through some of the same things we are going through now.  He talked about how he felt afterward and ended up striking a cord with me.  "It's kind of like you are numb" was what he said, and I knew exactly what he was talking about.  There are times when I wish there was some kind of feeling inside of me, but it ends up feeling more numb instead.  Here lately, I have been feeling something inside of me at moments; and is incredibly hard to explain...but I'll try.  Over the last few weeks, I have been experiencing what my father calls a wrestling of my spirit.  I have been going the direction I have always gone with everything, but there are moments when my spirit wants to go a different direction.  This brings a whole new meaning to being led by the Spirit of Jesus.  In those moments...the feeling I have inside of me is so strong that it makes me want to run away from where I am.  The last place I felt this was in my office- yesterday- during a training that my boss was doing with the team about telemarketing.  I felt such a strong wrestling within my spirit that I couldn't even focus while I was in there.  I have a strong feeling that God is trying to get a hold of me about something He is wanting me to do, but I don't know what it is.  I have been praying a lot over the past few weeks about what is going on inside of me and waiting on the answer from the Lord.  I would like to ask for your prayers on me as I continue in this particular journey.  I know that God has something very exciting around the corner for our family, but this waiting game is pretty hard.  I have a sense that I need to say "Yes" to Jesus...but I don't know what I need to say "Yes" about.  My guess is that He is wanting me to spend some time with Him for now and I will find out- when it is time- what it is He is wanting me to do.  When you have the Spirit of Jesus inside of you and are going a different direction than what He is wanting to go, the feeling is unexplainable...I can't be expressed in words.  Please keep me in your prayers tonight if you think about it.  May God be with you all...thanks for all that you do.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

What does your mirror look like?

"The word of the Lord came to me: "Son of man, you are living among a rebellious people.  They have eyes to see but do not see and ears to hear but do not hear, for they are a rebellious people." Ezekiel 12:1-2

We are all given the right equipment to follow after the Lord.  We have eyes to see and we have ears to hear, but we go our own way and are rebellious.  It takes a certain kind of heart to be able to listen to the voice of God.  It is like a mirror, says C.S. Lewis.  The sun has no favorites when it comes to shines on everything that is on its path.  The sun cannot reflect itself off a dirty mirror as it will be a distorted image.  The only mirror that can reflect the sun in the way it really is would be a clean mirror.  We often find ourselves as a dirty mirror, wondering why God isn't communicating with us.  What we really need to do is look at the attitude of our hearts to see if there is any rebellion that may be hardening us.  God knew the people in the passage above were hard, but God still wanted them to turn to Him.  One thing I noticed in the rest of Chapter 12 is a the repeating of a certain thought:

"They will know that I am the Lord,"
"Then they will know that I am the Lord"
"Then you will know that I am the Lord."

God is constantly doing things to help you to see Him better.  We are taken through moments in our life that you might call, "mirror cleaning" moments.  These moments are there to help us to be able to reflect the Life of God more clearly.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

I have been spending quite a bit of time lately on the couch...well...sleeping that is.  Micah has been in our bed the past few nights because he hasn't been feeling all that well.  When he becomes unconcience, he can not control his limbs and for some reason they come flying my way.  I made a vow the last time he slept with us and I got about 45 minutes of sleep never to let that happen again.  He was in our bed two nights ago and let his arm go right into my face- he reminded me of the vow I made and I was on my way to the couch.  I think he is feeling much better tonight.  As I walked in from band practice, he seemed to be his old self- wanting to play ball and wrestle with his Daddy.  I have been experiencing a wrestlessness in my spirit lately and am in the midst of trying to figure out what is going on with it.  I will often find myself during the day wanting to spend time with Jesus instead of working, which makes things very hard.  You should never have to feel guilty because of spending time with Jesus, but when you cheat your work to do can understand where the wrestless spirit is coming from.  Please pray for me as I try to figure out what it is God is trying to tell me, and that I may be sensitive enough to the Spirit to listen.  I know that, sometimes, in the face of trials you find a much deeper aspect about yourself that never seemed to exist before...almost like an awakening.  I ask that you also keep the rest of our family in your prayers as we continue to grieve.  Thank you for all your support and love along the way.  We love you guys!   

Monday, February 15, 2010

A long time coming...and a lot of hard work!

"The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender."  Proverbs 22:7

This is a verse that Dave Ramsey uses to get a point across during his 91 days of Financial Peace University.  Anyone who knows me also knows how much I absolutely appreciate everything this program has done for our family over the past 4 years.  There have been several times we have looked at situations we were in and thought to ourselves: "What in the world would we have done if we had not learned how to manage our money the way God intended for us to?"  I am here today- 4 years after we began our journey into financial health- to say that WE'RE DEBT FREE!!!!!!!!!!!!  People get to scream that to the mountaintops when they call into the Dave Ramsey show...we don't feel the need to shout it to the mountaintops, but we thought it was something worth celebrating.  We still have our mortgage to pay off, but that will be in the works to finish early.  They call this "Consumer debt" free.  I never fully understood why people were able to call into the show and yell that they were debt free if they still had a mortgage, but I'll go along with it.  Anyway, we have been working the system pretty hard over the past 4 years and have looked at all the numbers.  We have payed off a grand total of $39,500.  Some things- like the medical bills- we paid off in full once we received the bill; and others...we had to finance, but paid off early along the way.  We are very thankful for Dave's ministry to the financially hurting and are proud to call ouselves one of his success stories.  The verse at the top is very true to the core.  "...the borrower is slave to the lender."  There were so many things that we couldn't do because of our bondage to the finance company.  We were able to pay all of our bills- by the grace of God- but we weren't able to do anything further.  During these past 4 years, we have also been able to do some things that are pretty incredible for other people.  I will not give you any details as you may have been one of them that we did something for and I don't want anyone to figure it out...we like to be private in our giving as much as we can.  I have had this crazy idea that I have not yet been able to accomplish to this day, but hope at some point, I can be a huge blessing to someone.  There is an auto mechanic around the corner from my house that we have used when we needed to get our cars fixed in one way other another.  The idea I had was to take $1,000 cash to the manager and see if there was anyone that was struggling to get their car fixed because of finances and I wanted to go ahead and take care of it for them so they wouldn't have to finance anything to fix their car.  I wouldn't want to meet the person, I would just want to help them out- knowing that God will give them a huge blessing because of it.  I also had other ideas of paying for someone's groceries in front of me at the store, or maybe even something as small as paying for someone's gasoline at the pump...just to give them a good day.  I think that if you really want to be radical in sharing Jesus with the world, you have to do things that people don't see very often- if at all...and maybe even don't understand.  The thing can't do things like this when you are in bondage with your finance company.  Every month you are making payments is a month you can't do something else with that money...something that could change someone's life for the better.  I remember Hilary and I laughing when the class began at things that Dave was saying in the videos.  You're going to take the money we have now and show us how to make it go further...Yeah Okay...I'll believe it when I see it!  We were eating our words when we started having more money at the end of the month.  Maybe there's more to this stuff than what we thought.  If you haven't ever been though an FPU class...maybe it's time you went.  We are a testimony to what it can do- if you're serious about it.  I hope you all have had a wonderful day today.  On a different note, we have an appointment this Thursday morning to pick out a head stone for Kaydence.  I don't know exactly what it is going to look like, but I do know that it will be some shade of pink.  I miss her today pretty bad.  I don't necessarily wish she was here with us as much as I wish we were there with her.  That day will come...and what a day it will be.  Thanks for all your prayers and support...still! 

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Is this what you have to offer me?

"A thousand times I've failed
Still your mercy remains
And should I stumble again
I'm caught in your grace
Your light will shine when all else fails
Never ending
Your glory goes beyond all fame
Your will above all else
My purpose remains
The art of losing myself
In bringing you praise
Your light will shine when all else fails
Never ending
Your glory goes beyond all fame
In my heart and my soul
Lord I give you control
Consume me from the inside out
Lord let justice and praise
Become my embrace
To love you from the inside out"

Some of you will see the words above and automatically go to a worship song that is very well known around the world...and you would be right.  I was listening to the radio several months back and during an interview with a local radio personality, the writer of this song explained where the song came from and the story touched my life as I listened to it.  This man had been through some rough times in his life with drugs and things that were pretty far from God.  He turned his life over to Jesus in the back of an Ambulance on the way to the hospital.  He was later in a room- writing a new song that he was going to bring to his record company to put on a CD and release to radio.  He had opened his bible to the book of Palms and had written this catchy tune from some words he found in was a very marketable song that could have easily been released quickly to public radio.  He had packed up his stuff and was on his way out the door when God stopped him dead in his tracks.  Is this what you have to offer me?  I saved your life...and this is what you have to bring to me.  You came from a dark moment in your life where you were on drugs and very far from me and I saved you from all that...and this is what you bring to me?  The song writer sat back down and pulled his guitar out- the song above is what ended up coming out.  You can't fool God!  He knows when you are giving Him your best...and He knows when you are not!  There was a time when I was a social drinker- about four and a half years ago.  I mean...after all...nowhere in the bible does it say that you can't drink alchohol- I rationalized to myself each time I did it.  The friends who really know us now would probably be very surprized by this piece of knowledge, but it's true.  I was in training with Humana in Phoenix, Arizona and was talking to a person there who was a non-christian and he saw me with the drink in my hand.  What he said stunned me and made me think about what I was doing...who I was really following.  He said, "I know you say that you are a follower of Christ, but how are you any different than I am?"  It was at this moment that God stopped me dead in my tracks and presented the same question to me that He presented to the song writer, "Is this what you have to offer me?  I have saved you from some pretty horrible things; and this is the life you bring to me?  This is the Thanks you give me?"  Nowhere in the bible does it talk about the social drinking of alchohol being wrong, I said to myself...over and over and over again.  The real question I was asking was this: How much can I live for myself and still make it into Heaven.  It may not be alchohol with you- or even the writing of a may be something else all together...but I am wondering if God is tugging at your heart...asking you the question about the life you are living: "Is this what you have to offer me?"

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

We need you now more than ever Jesus!

Sometimes, the deep part of your heart cries out and just wants to say, "What about me?"  We got the news today that Hilary's Grandmother passed away and it hit like a ton of bricks.  A call in the middle of the day...with really no warning at all that she was going to go at this moment.  I know that she was a believer, but that doesn't make it easy for those who are left behind.  As we have made it through the first month of Kaydence being gone, there have been many people who will find out about her death and then try to console us by talking about where Kaydence is now and how happy she is.  They talk about her walking and talking in person with Jesus...they talk about her not having to wear that silly trach anymore...they talk about her being able to sing and dance and walk and talk.  There is a part of me deep down...the selfish part...that wants to cry out sometimes, "What about me?"  I know she is happy and I know she doesn't have to suffer anymore and I know she gets to walk and talk with Jesus in person...but she isn't here with us...and we are left in this world gone wrong.  There has never been a point in my entire life that I have longed for Heaven more than in this time we are in right now.  I long to be in the safe arms of the One who died for me.  I long to be in a place that is "Right" in every sense of the word...a place of no loss...a place of no sadness.  There are times when I catch a glimpse of what it must be like to be in Heaven...these are the times, I believe, when I am doing the perfect will of God.  This of coarse is not all of the actually is probably not even most of the time, but there is a glimpse.  In a perfect moment of Obedience, when you know beyond the shadow of a doubt that you have done something God wanted you to do, you see this little glimpse.  You aren't sad, and you don't feel like you have sacrificed anything.  You just feel...right!  When the Apostle Paul says, To live is Christ and to die is gain, I have to say that I understand just what he is saying a little more today than yesterday.  To live, means to do the will of God and if you end up dying within that will gain in your death.  Paul knew that he could lose his life at any moment for sharing the gospel, but it didn't matter to him at all.  If he shares and he lives, he has done the will of God and lived to share it again to more people.  If he dies because of his relationship with Jesus...he will find himself in the safe arms of Jesus....never to leave.  We are leaving for Iowa on Friday morning and will return to Tennessee on Tuesday, so we would appreciate your prayers on us as we go.  Thanks for all your prayers along the way and beyond.  We love you guys!  If you would...pray for us specifically on Monday- what would have been Kaydence's first birthday- I know it probably won't be an easy day for us.

Monday, February 1, 2010

I hope that never happens again!

I was in a house with a lady and there was a group of people there with us.  Her husband had a pretty big issue that really needed some prayer and so they chose me to do the honor.  We had been talking for a while, so I guess they knew what kind of person I was and that is why they wanted me to be the one who prayed for him.  They felt like my prayers might have a better chance at getting answered, since I was closer to God than they were.  I felt like I could do what they wanted me to do..after all...I do enjoy praying and I believe that prayers are answered every day.  Our family watched as many upon many prayers were answered with Kaydence along the way, so I know the impossible can happen through God's hands.  I wandered what the problem might be that a man would need prayer, so I was intrigued at what I might see when they brought him out to me.  When the man came out into the livingroom- where we were all setting there- I saw something I have never seen in all my life and probably will never see again...I hope!  The man was tall and had a set of old blue overalls on.  I could tell that he was a farmer back in the day- he just had that look about him.  The issue that he had was that he had no face.  I never did find out what had happened to him, but he was just skin to cover anything.  What I saw had taken my breath away, but I knew that the man needed some prayer, so I decided to go at it with the most confidence I could come up with.  The man's wife wanted us to stand in a circle as we prayed for her husband, so I was the lucky one who ended up holding his hand.  I didn't know what to pray, so I just started and let the words come to me as they came.  After just a few seconds into my prayer the man held up his hands in the air- which took mine with him and the next thing I knew...he took his right hand and started picking a wedgie out of my bottom.  As if that wasn't enough...he took that same hand and started rubbing my left bottom cheek.  Wake Up...Wake Up...Wake Up Bryan- I told myself.  When I came into conciousness, it was actually Hilary's knee that was rubbing against my left bottom cheek and I started laughing.  It was the middle of the night last night and after I told Hilary about the dream, we both sat there laughing pretty hard at what happened.  I still have one question that has been burning in my mind.  I understand what caused me to think the man was rubbing my bottom( Hilary's knee), but what about the wedgie?  Hilary has some explaining to do?