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The Final Chapter

For eight years I have been praying, asking God to write the final chapter of my sickness saga. Earnestly, I have asked God to give me His words to pen miraculous, inspiring closing lines to this Lyme story. Kindly, I have requested that He tie up this crazy journey with a beautiful restoration bow to bring Him glory.
Despite praying, begging and pleading with God to write those precious words, that isn’t where He has taken my life’s story. The ink He pours into my pen continues to be that of pain. Every time He opens a new page it reveals another scene of suffering.
I must be honest, while waiting for healing I’ve become weary. When my tired hand have become too heavy I’ve struggled to pick up my pen and questioned if God has a happy ending planned for me at all. As I’ve been witness to the healing testimonies of others I’ve even asked God, “When will I get my own healing story to share?”
And the sweet, gentle Spirit of my Heavenly Father keeps responding, “Dear Daughter, I’ve already written your story. Don’t you see it? The healing is in your heart.”

“By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has completely healed him, as you can all see.” Acts 3:16

For eight years God has faithfully been penning His healing story in my heart. As often as I surrender my life before His cross and my hand before His blank page, He breathes words of restoration into my empty pen and pours out a story of His glory to tell.
By the blood of God’s Son, Heaven’s perfect Lamb, my heart has been healed. The miraculous, life-changing, transformative power of Jesus Christ has healed me and now I am new.
That is always the very best healing story.

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Icy Conditions

My digits are frigid.
This isn’t new news. All ten of my fingers have been trapped in layers of invisible ice for the past eight years. Freezing hands is a chilly side effect of chronic Lyme disease and to be expected at my low weight.
Despite many attempts to bring warmth to my cold fingers they remain stubbornly icy and stiff. In their deepest freeze my whole hand turns blue with translucent white fingers and yellow tips. Even when the temperatures outside are warm and the sun is shining my hands cannot escape their bone chilling condition. My fingers simply refuse to thaw.
The inescapable predicament of my fingers’ frozen condition is one I am powerless to change. Until my health is restored and the Lyme battle won, I am trapped in a body with terribly cold hands.
But thank God I am not trapped in a body with a bitter, cold heart.

At the foot of the cross the deep freeze of my heart is broken and warmth is restored to my soul. Because Jesus is alive my heart is not doomed to a fate of inescapable, impenetrable ice. The moment I seek the Spirit of God He is faithful to thaw me by the radiant warmth of His love and grace.
The Son of God’s perfect love is the only power on earth that can break through the thickest layers of my stone cold heart and restore Heaven’s everlasting heat.

In the presence the Lord of Life and Love my frigid heart is made new and kept eternally warm.

“If anyone confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. And we have come to know and believe the love that God has for us. God is love; whoever abides in love abides in God, and God in him. In this way, love has been perfected among us, so that we may have confidence on the day of judgment; for in this world we are just like Him.” 
1 John 4:15-17

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Remarkably Intact

Mom’s prescription sunglasses have been found and the story is nothing short of remarkable.

The sunglasses in question went missing five years ago. Mom’s Elizabeth Arden tortoiseshell frames vanished without a trace. To this day, the circumstances of the disappearance remain vague. It always has been a very mysterious case of missing corrective lenses.
After much futile searching Mom gave up on ever finding her beloved prescription sunglasses with the perfect tint of sun blocking protection.
In due time the lost sunglasses were replaced and the ordeal was soon forgotten.
Until yesterday.
It was underneath a bright blue sky and warm sunshine that the discovery was made. I was seated in the passenger’s seat as Mom pulled the car into the driveway. That’s when a glimmer of bright light caught my attention. Something shiny was reflecting from the bare branches of the front yard’s large fruit tree. I squinted to ensure my eyes weren’t playing tricks on me but there they were. Mom’s pair of missing Elizabeth Arden tortoiseshell frames balancing on the bare branches of the leafless tree.
The glasses that my Mother lost in 2013 survived five winters stuck in the tall tree. They were battered by winds, beaten by rains and covered by historic snowfalls yet they lost not a single lens or arm. The glasses have been found, remarkably, completely intact.

Dear friend, take heart because in Christ, the lost can always be found. By the Almighty hand of God that upholds by the power of the Risen tree of life, the lost are always found remarkably, eternally intact.

 

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Isaiah 41:10

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Prom Memories

My senior prom dress was fit for a princess. It was my fairy tale dream come to life.

The elegant ball gown was painted in pale pink and sunset hues. From the moment I put it on I knew it was the one. The lace bodice was embellished with sequins and beads stitched in a floral design. Layers of tulle floated elegantly to the floor. Every detail of the dress was perfect. Never before had I felt as beautiful as I did while wearing that breathtaking ballgown.

But the circumstances of my prom night were far from a fairy tale. Disappointments and relationship letdowns had cast a sad shadow on the end of my high school career. I wasn’t feeling much like getting dolled up or going to a dance.

But then I recalled the dream dress hanging in the closet. That dress was too gorgeous and too perfect to be left hidden away and unworn. In that moment I had a decision to make. I could choose to stay home and let defeat win the night. Or I could choose to step into that perfect princess dream dress, go to the prom and dance.

I choose to put on the dress and dance…and I’ve never regretted the decision.

A decade has passed since my senior prom and many of the memories from that night have faded away, but the lesson I learned the moment I stepped into my dress has stayed with me to this day.
Whether I’m wearing a gorgeous ball gown with matching high heels or I’m caught in stretchy pants with memory foam sneakers, I have the Spirit of the Lord residing in my heart.

Heaven’s most glorious gown that hung on the cross rose again to defeat death and conquer my every grave. The love of Christ is heaven’s gown too gorgeous and too perfect to be hidden away. United with His victorious life, the garment of His love can be mine to wear in all circumstances and on all occasions.

The Spirit of the living God compels to wear the dress of His perfect love, go forth in His joy and dance.

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Stand Tall

All of the daffodils are covered in snow.

The first of spring’s flowers were just beginning to bloom when a ferocious storm rolled in. When I saw the snow I was sure the delicate yellow buds wouldn’t survive. Even in the best of conditions daffodils never flower for long but this year the buttercup petals barely had three days in the sunshine before they were smothered in dense, heavy snow.

After being whipped by winds and flattened by weighty precipitation, I was sure the fate of the flowers was sealed. Certainly the fragile buds would have succumbed to the storm. The beauty of their flowery display would have been cut short.

But, miracle of miracles, the daffodils are still standing tall!

The yellow baby buds of the perennial are still affixed to their thick green stems. In spite of the storm, the bulbs have remained firmly planted and the roots have not been shaken. The blooms have been upheld. The flowers have been sustained and the buds have endured.
The daffodils are alive!

Dear friend, if today you feel like a delicate daffodil being toppled by a ferocious storm, do not lose hope. Look to the daffodils and take heart.

Planted in the eternal soil of “the way, the truth, and the life” your future is secure.

The Almighty hand of God that gives life to the daffodils can uphold your delicate blooms, too. You need not fear the wind. Do not worry about being crushed beneath the snow.

In the strength of the Lord you will be upheld. Because He lives you can stand “strong and courageous” in spite of the season’s storm. 
Rejoice, precious daffodil, because you have been made truly, eternally alive with the resurrected Christ.

Rooted in His risen life, united with His eternal, you can stay strong in hope assured that, when the snow clears, you’ll still be standing eternally tall.

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Surrender the Toast

The bakery bread on the kitchen counter was white but I preferred sprouted – or at least whole wheat. The offerings before me were fluffy with plain refined flour. There wasn’t a single nutty, seedy grain in sight.

For years I passed by this particular bread and reached for my own personal supply instead but on this particular morning I’d run out. I was craving eggs and toast but had yet to restock my whole wheat bread. At first I thought I’d settle for only an omelet but while beating the eggs it became clear that just an omelet would not do. They needed a side dish. As my morning eggs sizzled they begged me to give up my sprouted resistance and surrender the toast.

Once slice of white bread served as my white flag as I surrendered my toast. Under the heat of the electric element it toasted to a perfect golden brown.

In that moment of freedom my nose was met with the aroma of fresh bakery bread awhile my heart was met with the sweetness of surrender. Feasting in the glory of freedom I enjoyed my piece of simple white toast and didn’t miss sprouted grains one bit.

Even in the simplest of circumstances surrender is sweet. When the will is submitted and preferences are put aside, the spirit of Christ will always provide a bountiful feast. The most satisfying nourishment is experienced in His presence and savored in His love.

At His table, God has prepared a place for me and He has set it with surrendered toast.

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Happy Birthday to…Me

Tomorrow is my birthday and it terrifies me because I have so little to show for my twenty eight years of life.
The list of my documented accomplishments ends at high school graduation but, please, don’t ask me to find the actual diploma. That record went missing long ago.
Early twenties milestones are also noticeably absent from my timeline. I passed through them without wearing a cap and gown again and I never have received another diploma. Which is no great loss since I probably would have lost the record of it anyways.

But other milestones have been harder on the heart to miss.
Missing marriage, never even having the chance to hold onto documentation of that union, left a hole in my story that I had hoped would have long ago been filled. By now I thought I’d have a baby’s birth certificate or two in my possession. And, actually, I should but I lost Pippy’s and Molly’s birth records within months of obtaining them.
At least I had hoped for a testimony by my twenty eighth birthday. A miraculous healing or miraculous book deal, perhaps? During these ten years of mysterious illness and missed milestones I had hoped God would have erected his own unique stone display upon my empty life. At the very least I had hoped that by this birthday I would have a clear, understandable diagnosis to help define my obscure, unconventional life.
But tomorrow I turn twenty eight and all I have to show for it can be found in my second grade writing journal. On February 6, 1997 I wrote “One day I was bored. I imagined I opened windows to other worlds and I found a friend.”

In Mrs. School’s 2nd grade class I wrote the story of my life. In the faded green paperback “Level One” journal that miraculously survived in my Mother’s basement for 21 years, I have the most precious documentation from my past twenty eight year. That one entry tells my entire testimony. My whole life is summed up in those simple words.
All my life I have been bored, unfilled and searching for something to satisfy me. So I have opened up windows into other world and I keep finding my friend, my Savior, my Lord.
I keep finding Jesus.

Everywhere I go, I find Jesus. At every missed milestone my Savior is there. At every closed door, I am shown greater glimpses of His glory. At every window I have opened desperately hoping to discover other worlds I have found all I will ever need. I have found my life, my friend, my Salvation. I have found Jesus and in Him my life has been found.

Tomorrow is my birthday and I have the greatest treasure to celebrate. I have Jesus and twenty eight years of God lovingly, graciously, tenderly carrying me closer to THEE.

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Goats Gone Astray

If you ever needed assurance that the lost can be found look no further than these two goats.

goat turnpike

The dramatic and rather peculiar saga began when a farmer’s goats went missing. Escape goats on a farm are not unusual but it was where this pair escaped to that baffled the farmer.

Suspended 150 feet up in the air on the side of a Pennsylvania turnpike interstate highway bridge, a patrol officer spotted two stranded goats. Their hooves were balancing on an 8 foot wide steel beam while a river rushed below. The daring pair of barnyard animals didn’t appear to be all that alarmed by their circumstances. They appeared unaware of the deadly consequences of their highway adventure.

Imagine the farmer’s alarm when he received the telephone call from the state police. They had found his lost goats and rescue team was already on the scene to deliver them to safety.

Two hours and one crane later, both little goats were successfully off of the bridge and back on the farm. The rescue made national news headlines. The ending was a happy one. The goats made it back home safe and sound.

Little goats need not fear that they are ever too lost to be found for our Heavenly Father sees every single child who has wandered far from home. Although we all have behaved like goats and gone astray, not one is outside of God’s power to reach and rescue. He came to save us all.

God deployed His eternal Rescuer, His Son, Jesus Christ, to deliver every lost goat on His wings of infinite love and grace. Found at His Cross and redeemed with His new life lost goats are rescued and returned home safe and sound.

By the power of His amazing grace and mighty hand of deliverance, God’s precious goats are saved everyday. Don’t take my word for it, just look at the goats on the road.

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Just Stay Still

“Just stay still.”

This should have been easy instruction to follow if it hadn’t been for the assaulting banging and pounding of the MRI machine. The technician’s voice was gentle and reassuring but I knew the noisy reality that was soon to come. Being still only sounded simple until the machine turned on.
After tucking me in under a blanket and fitting my ears with gigantic headphones, the technician pushed the patient table into the scanner’s tube as I mentally prepared myself to “just stay still.” I tried to move myself into a comfortable but it was an impossible task. The machine left little room for repositioning and the technician left little time. Before I knew it I could hear his voice speaking in the headphones. “Ready?” he asked. I confirmed that I was as ready as I’d ever be. “Just stay still,” he said.
I held my breath as the machine began thumping. The sound was low and steady at first, as if a drum were beating off in the distance, but within moments the thumping turned to banging. First the racket seemed to be coming from the left, then the right. Then the whole machine shook violently before it stopped.
This cycle repeated as hundreds of snapshots were taken of my abdomen and pelvis. With each scan the banging and pounding was startling and remaining motionless was a challenge. I desperately wanted to stay still, knowing that the results of the scan dependend on it, but my body’s natural reaction was to flinch at every assaulting sound.
The test was only halfway completed and my ears were already ringing. Staying still was exhuasting and I was getting weary when all of a sudden I heard a faint click in my headphones followed by a familiar voice.
“Doing alright?” the technician asked. His voice was sweet and serene, a welcomed interruption from the constant banging. “Just stay still,” he reminded me one more time.
A moment later the scans resumed. They were as loud and disruptive as ever but something was different about the sound. Inside, I had peace. The assaulting banging no longer troubled me. For the next thirty minutes the pounding continued and I didn’t even flinch. It were as if God’s voice were all around me saying, “Just stay still.”
Consumed with God’s presence, every disconcerting sound of the magnetic scanner faded away. God’s hand was keeping me steady and being still became effortless and easy. In every pounding I could feel His steadying power. Even while under the seige of the machine, I experienced rest. With His Holy Spirit, every sound echoced harmonies of His serenity and peace.

Forty-five minutes later the test ended and I exited the examination room free from the assaulting sounds of the machine but in my ear I can still hear a gentle voice speaking peace into my heart. From the voice of my beloved Savior I’m still hearing Him say, “Just stay still.”