His Great Faithfulness cont….

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Faithfulness doesn’t come in prepared boxes with perfect labels, proper tags and on my timetable. Faithfulness with a capital F means that it is delivered with a handcrafted touch by the Creator of the Universe. Still so mysterious this Creator is to me. While one side of my life seems to be laid barren and wide open to the elements of the world. The other side is being painted colors of beauty inexpressible and hard to express the thankfulness I have to put into words. His packages are full of goodness to us. Trusting the Goodness of God is something we must wrestle our fickle hearts into full acceptance.

Years ago in 2008. I just had my son David and the flood in Cedar Rapids ravaged our house. Again it was a moment in time of one side of my life being laid bare and exposed to the prowling wolves and the other side so full of the glory of God wrapped up in one little boy. Through that trial and testing I heard the Lord say to me:

I am breaking the bondage that is in your house. I am breaking the bondage in your relationships. If you will say “Yes, Yes! to me.” I will build your house and I will build so much more. 

I said Yes! Life is so different now than it was then.

So while our financial situation is in shambles and we await what the Lord will do to show Himself strong on our behalf. My dear sweet Sarah got engaged this past Saturday. Her sweetheart Jon, who had his eye on her since she was 15. After 2 years of hanging out, 1 year of no talking and parental “take a break” enforcement and 1 year of dating. Over the summer while she was away at a camp internship he asked her Dad if he could marry her. So this day that I am writing is the day! He took her to a pumpkin patch. It’s cloudy and a little rainy.  She loves fall colors and it’s afraid of playing in the rain. He told her that he got two free tickets to a corn maze for today but was upset it was going to rain. She smiled and said, “I love the rain, we can wear our boots!” She always sees the upside. He has helpers hiding in the wings. They will set up a beautiful spot to pop the question and secretly take photos of the moment with a photo shot afterward.

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I can see how God in His Faithfulness is doing something good. She is marrying our Pastor’s son. The character of this family is truly God-breathed humility. I have come to love them all so much. I have learned so much from them. The love of God in them is something to be admired. Everything I had prayed for in a young man for my daughter is exemplified in Jon Furrow.

When Sarah was growing up I would say to her, “when you decide if you are going to date a boy I want you to remember 3 things”

  1. Watch how he treats his mother. That tells you how he will treat you one day.
  2. Pay attention to who he chooses as his friends.  That tells you a lot about who he really is because the bible says you become like your friends.
  3. Listen to how he talks about other people. That will tell you if he is a kind person.

All through high school she measured boys up to this list and would pass them by after evaluation. So imagine my shock when she was 16 and finally decided she had one she might consider. After Jon had told her he liked her and wanted to be intentional about “one-day” dating she was deciding what she thought about him. I asked her what she like the most about him. I was waiting for “he is tall or super cute!” Her first response was “What I like the most about him is he hugs his mom anytime she is near and I have never heard him say an unkind word about anyone!” Then she said “He is funny and his smile. He has the best smile.”

Today is the first day of a whole new life for her. I pray that as God has been Faithful thus far He will continue to be Faithful to them as they prepare and ready a space for a union of two hearts.

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2017 What a year! and its not over.

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In January, our church leadership team attended a retreat. We stayed in a nice hotel with a big cozy bed and we got away together as a team. It was a truly refreshing time.

In session 1, we re-evaluated our 2016 year and how we were doing in our souls. I rated my year and soul as a 9.  I felt that I had run the race well that year and I was joyful on this inside. However, I had 3 things I was still carrying in my heart.

  1. A desire to see my husband move on to new work.
  2. To see our HYC teens go to a deeper level in the Lord.
  3. To lead the leaders I lead well in a greater capacity.

What I felt the Lord was saying to me for 2017 was to: Keep balanced and Follow Him!

In session 2, we were asked to speak words of encouragement to our fellow members. I remember feeling surprised by Trent saying “I believe in Starla Smith. You are a really good youth leader.” Trent was the newest member of our group. He was interning at the time with the youth group and worship team. He has since joined us. I am truly grateful to have him and his wife at our church. They are true blessings and wonderful gifts to our church from God. We also took time to pray for each other and speak words of prophecy and what we see in each other. This was spoken over me: My banner of you is FAITHFULNESS!”  You are a leader of leaders and a revivalist. Dig the well deeper. The Lord wants to take you to a place that will surprise you.

That month we started the teens at HYC on spending time in the silence with Jesus. We started with just 30 seconds. Digging the well deeper!

In February, I began to feel a trembling in the air. It was as if the Lord was beginning to shake the foundations of my life. I sensed an uneasiness. My mind was distracted. I couldn’t focus very well on the main things but I had no trouble dining on facebook, news and other mental junk. I began to feel the tendrils of fear creep in, particularly the fear of what other people think. This is the slippery slope to sin for me. When my heart begins to tremble in this way. I know the enemy is in the room, God is up to something new and I had better get my eyes on the Lord or the enemy would take me out with his old stinky bait to my soul.

 We have to remember the enemy has NO power, so he has to come to us with lies to convince us to use the power Jesus gave us, against ourselves!

In March, I started a Lent study. I could sense that I needed to be close the Lord. What better way than to walk with Him in remembering why He came to save us. It was a beautiful time in the Lord. Then sometime in the middle of the month, my husband hurt his knee at work pretty bad. He was still on partial unemployment. They were not quite back to work full-time.  He ended up not being able to return to that job. I had been praying for years for him to find new work. That wasn’t quite the way I would have liked it to happen. He was in a lot of pain and it still is not full strength. The shaking in our life continued as the Lord talked to me about my pride, my need for control and how I like to think I got this!

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I can’t control the waves. I know I can’t. And yet, when life presents those walk-to-the-edge-of-the-jetty opportunities, I’m game. I get “brave,” then act as if I can control what happens next. As soon as something gets uncomfortable—like those waves crashing a little too high for my liking—I want to take control. It seems like this is all God wants to talk to me about these days: control, and my lack of it. And my continual persistence in trying to prove to Him that I’ve got everything under control, thankyouverymuch. But I don’t.So I constantly find myself returning to Him, confessing those moments when I grasp for the reins, then gently allowing His Word, His voice, to remind me that me being out of control isn’t all that bad. Because in reality, He’s been in control all along. Admitting my lack of control is just an admission of what’s true: God controls all the things. Nothing is out of His grasp or view. Not oceans or governments, the weather or my heart. I’m never really flailing or falling—I’m held, kept. No matter how chaotic life feels, the waves will not overtake me. The One whose hand stretched out over the ocean waters—the One who created them—can surely calm them (Isaiah 23:20; 48:13). Nothing moves without His knowledge.I can’t stand before the sea and tell the waves which way to roll. But He can. The same power that raised Christ from the dead is at work in my life (Romans 8:11). I can’t heal my own heart, save the lost, right the wrongs, or calm the storm—in me, in my home, or in the world. But He can. And He does. Because He holds all things together.

In April, I continued with my Lent study. I learned so much and God was so sweet to me. But to be honest, I was worried because the unemployment would run out and husbands knee wasn’t healing very quickly. I was holding on the promise I had heard in January “My banner over you is Faithfulness!” We had previously bought my husband’s dream car in November of 2016. We discussed over lunch whether this is something we would do. I had been praying about it and heard the Lord clearly say “say yes, let me deal with the rest!” My husband had said a few other things at the lunch he had been dreaming of us driving together in this car. He wanted a new job. He wanted to quit smoking after 20 years. I remember smiling on the inside but holding my breath. April 28th we took possession.  It is a canary yellow, 1965 Chevy Malibu SS. This car has been the tangible wheel my husband holds onto when he too worries about what is going to happen. This car screams God’s promise is ‘He is Faithful!’

My father in law is always bringing some odd thing over to the house to share with my husband or my son. This time it was a weird little pod that he thought was an empty bee nest. It wasn’t. It was a loaded preying mantis nest. We had hundreds of baby preying mantis in our kitchen. I have learned when weird things happen like that to look for meaning. God often has spoken to me in these odd moments. This time was no different.

Mantis is from the Greek word Mantid meaning prophet seer. It is a symbol of stillness and Patience. It was very clear to me that the Lord was sending me a word to see. I was going to need to cultivate stillness and be patient. I had no idea at that time how much I was going to need that.

In May, I started a new devotional from She Reads Truth and trying to get some kind of Sabbath into my life. That was not an easy process. Our world will give us a raise if we work 7 days a week. Gotta work, work, work, and hustle. But that was not the life I wanted. In January at the retreat, I heard “to keep it balanced and follow the Lord.” I was beginning to see that balance required stopping, resting, and stillness. And I had no idea how to do that! I don’t know how to throw my mind into neutral. I don’t know how to stop working at it, doing more, looking for answers, finding ways to save myself. I am always on go mode in my mind, always! I was beginning to go into survival mode and God showed up speaking more to me. I was feeling ragged. I wasn’t about to quit and bow out. I was at worship practice. We were singing the song “Good Good Father” and I had been choking back my emotions all day. I was barely hanging on when the lyrics “You are perfect in all of Your ways” totally undid me. I ended up crying my eyes out with my face buried in a friends chest.

 I am walking a test and trial. I have been calling on the Lord for relief. How long? God, How long until I am out of this waiting room? Then, I get that one song for church on Sunday that challenges my faith in this moment….
Ripping at my foundations.
Rocking my pillars.
This song called me deeper into that place in my heart…Challenging me…. Do I really believe what I am singing right now?
Yeah… Totally undid me.

Then the Lord gave this monkey minded girl a nugget to help for finding Sabbath…stillness…. He said, “Abiding in truth is an active stillness.” That month was also the month my husband found new work. We were thankful. It was great pay and it was work he enjoyed doing. His dream of being in new work had come true and he also quit smoking cigarettes. Life was good.

In June, I found myself in a mental and emotional funk. It’s strange and stupid how you can get what you have been asking for (husband finally had a job) and then boom you just go on back to lala land.  I have about a month of emptiness in my journal where I had been writing every day. I was becoming increasingly more angry and frustrated with life. It is like I forgot how to keep it balanced. I started ignoring my need for quiet and stillness. Life got emotionally unfun at my house. Then I suddenly woke up to the fact that I am more prayerless that I care to admit simply because I was even trying to control prayer.

I am not a gimme pray-er! I pray what I think is possible. I don’t like to seem needy, so I don’t ask for much. But God wants me to understand that I can’t base my prayers on what’s possible if I intend to pray to the God of “nothing is impossible.” Prayer becomes a limit when I’m praying what is possible. I have not because I ask not. I am a thank pray-er. Thankful for what is. Pointing out what is and has been but I don’t “speak what is not as though it was.” That takes a level of faith. I think it is because I feel that I should be content so that I will not complain but more than that I also will not be disappointed if “whatever it is” doesn’t show up.
I see I am in a dilemma of “settle for is versus faith for more.” That song Waiting Here For You has got me thinking. This is not the time to be content with what is. The atmosphere is ripe with fruit and anticipation. This is the time to be expectant. The Lord of all creation knows our hearts He has saved us and He’s loved us and if faith can move the mountains, the mountains will move if we come with expectation while we’re waiting with Jesus.

I would come to understand this strange and false type of “be content” keeps me from what the Father wants to give me. It’s just another facet of a survival mode that I have been living since I was a kid. This is a chain and I was fighting for the freedom Christ came to give me.

In July, it was by far the hardest month. On July 3rd one of my oldest friends husband suffered a burst blood vessel in his brain. He was airlifted to the University Hospital for surgery to remove part of his skull to relieve pressure on his brain. He hasn’t been the same since. Then the day I was set to leave for a 4 hr. drive to take my youth group to camp my husband called me and said: “they just fired me.” I was stunned. All I could say was it will be ok. I lied to a friend in a moment of fear. My feeling got hurt by another. I literally didn’t write a thing in my journal that month. But when I look back on my Facebook page we spent a lot of time distracting ourselves from reality. We took drives in the car, visited friends, ate out for dinner. I think I was trying to be positive. I was trying to hang on. I was trying to walk by faith. Really I had just given up on holding on to the promise. I was just done. Then the Lord broke through my walls:

What I hear the Father saying:
In this season, even today’s business (busy-ness) requires agility, not adaptability. Adaptability means to stop and allow alterations and that is not what is needed at this time, that was in the last season. Agility is the ability to move in a certain direction with readiness. In your day-to-day tasks and your occupation, even when the cares of this world and the anxiety within come Be Agile To be agile means to be light-footed and quick to be graceful when you have been hurt and disappointed by others. Be ready to perceive others with mercy and grace. Learn to move into petitioning the Lord for your needs and to pray on behalf of those who hurt you. Engage your mind with the word of God to overcome your emotions and be still. If you will be loving and kind you will reap the reward. Choose to have the Father’s Heart above your own rights. Love and bless even those who look right through you as if you are not there. And I, the Father will accelerate your path. It’s time to go higher don’t get stuck in the distractions.

He pretty much snapped me out of my trance. Thank you, Lord, for your Faithfulness.

In August, My kids and I go camping every year with my sister and my mom. It is always a much needed time of rest and time away. I received a little reimbursement check from the youth camp trip. It was literally all the money I had to go on the trip. Everything else had to pay bills and car gas. Before I left I was asked if there was anything I could use for my trip. I said, ” No, I do not need anything.” They pressed me a little more saying ” I would like to bless you.” But I still said, “No, I am good.” This person knows me pretty well and rebuked me for not accepting their blessings and choosing to live in survival mode. I stopped refusing. I can see now that the Lord had to use a close friend and a frying pan to break me out of my “I can do this on my own and I am content with what is.”  I had no idea that the Lord was about to take me out of my comfort zone and through test and trial he would use His people to bless me and my family. We liked being the people to help others. This other side on the receiving end is not an easy place to be. The fear of looking weak and needy is a type of prison of the heart. God grace is amazing. That month I learned to ask Him and He answers. I struggled with being in need.  He blessed us with groceries, school supplies, clothes and a haircut for my son’s school year, people handed us money that helped us pay bills. Grace will take you places hustling can’t! My husband was still out of work and was working in the garage doing small engines. I was working but no amount of work could make up the deficit that God filled.

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Maybe the reason we struggle with looking those with NEED in the eyes is that we don’t want to admit that we have NEED too. Jesus fulfill – You are Faithful!

Don’t ever doubt Jesus’s ability to provide. Pray! Ask for what you need. Then watch Him show up through His people with joyful hearts.

Why don’t we pray and ask more?
It’s not because He doesn’t answer.
It’s because we believe that having need is weak.

Our self sufficient, don’t need anybody culture drives a prayerless generation. We pray when we are down, cause it is then that we look up and admit we are in need.

Philippians 4:19 my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in Glory by Christ Jesus

In September,  I laid awake one night while my mind was telling me that ‘I was lonely.’ It told me a story of how I don’t have any true connection friends. Isn’t it just like the enemy to come in the night and speak lies to get you to agree with him and leave off knowing that last month the Lord proved Himself Faithful, God hears you and His people love you. I remember laying there thinking “I am not alone. God is with me. He is closer than my breath.” Just then I took a deep slow breath thinking to myself “Christ came to fill the room, to fill even the whole house so that o one would fell as Mary and Joseph did that there is no room for them.” Where does loneliness come from? For me, it is rush and task. Rush stops me from finding time for eye to eye. Task skips over moments of delight. This month I have really worked at Sabbath. Resting and Abiding. I have been doing things that create for me, delight. I started walking more. Listening to books and taking time to write. Something that I desperately need in order to make sense of life, unplug my heart and sort of my soul. I spend intentional time with my family. I am finding peace in the waiting. And yes we are still waiting. No employment yet. But God is good.

I don’t want to just survive anymore. I want to fly. For me to fly I have to find Him in the waiting! So take courage my heart, stay steadfast my soul. He’s in the waiting!

We shoot for happiness but it is suffering that forms us and has the most potential for creating in us real change. What is your reference point for what is good? If yours is not God, then yours is constantly moving. Where ever you find yourself hiding, those are the places God wants you to stop building shelters to cover yourself and rather stand in the light of His glory and grace, fully assured HE’s got you! BE FREE! Be COURAGEOUS! You can let it be redemptive or you can hide in fear! We often think that if we know Jesus we are guaranteed to feel UP all the time. The truth is we are guaranteed mountain tops and valleys and that is how we grow!

Listen, we are not meant for scarcity we were made for abundance!

We haven’t made it out of this valley yet. But one thing is for sure. God is Faithful!

PS: Also, we are up to 3mins. and 30 seconds of silence with Jesus at HYC. What a sweet time we have with the Lord. This month we started Core groups. Our leaders now lead their own small groups. YAY! Leading leaders well means that we are training them to lead others well.

 

FEARLESS, FAITHFUL, FORWARD,

Starla Smith

Remembering…

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This is me, Amy and my sister Joy. We recently got together camping in the Ozarks after Amy moved back to California. It was a wonderful time of being together. 4 years ago my friend Amy started a fight and won the battle through the grace of God – that battle – breast cancer! Today I remember- I repost. It is a good thing to write the things we go through, painful as they are, down. Life happens and time distances from pain and struggle, the memory fades. But God’s faithfulness endures forever. Today I REMEMBER HIS FAITHFULNESS. 

– Oct 8, 2015

INTRO

When your friend has breast cancer…what do you do?

You stand alongside! …or should I say you WALK!

This year we walked with AMY at the 21st Annual Especially for You Race Against Breast Cancer Walk. She is there in the center bottom with the pink scarf and gloves on.

This is what Friendships of Love is about….

Standing together

Supporting with love

LIVING TOGETHER….doing LIFE TOGETHER.

I have been writing her story through my eyes as a way to process what was going on. It is from the perspective of someone who is watching another go through cancer and with her permission I want to share that with you all here. Not to toot my horn or say oh look at what I did, but as a testimony of what & how God takes situations that look like destruction and can bring something good through it.

ALONGSIDE  BREAST CANCER

There is a Lump

Amy called to say that she was having a biopsy. I thought to myself “Oh, ok they will check it out, it will be nothing and all will be well!“ When I got this news my mind went into an automatic protect mode. I blocked out all the possible bad stuff. I didn’t know anything after all. She hadn’t gotten any results.There wasn’t anything definite, even though I knew her history. Her mother died from breast cancer when she was in her teens. I couldn’t even image what that was like for her. I could imagine that just having a lump was enough to scare the hell out of her. So what do you say when you don’t know? I said “don’t freak out, you don’t know anything yet?” I was hoping and praying that she would not have the diagnosis that her mother did. I knew that was one of her biggest fears. So we waited….

The Diagnosis

I got a call from my sister. I was on the treadmill at the gym, doing my routine thing. Joy said “She called me, its cancer.” She said “you have to call her, she going to your house, are you home.” I wasn’t! My sister lives 4 hours away. The urgency in her voice was telling me that she needed me to be her arms for Amy. I headed to my house. In the car I prayed “Lord I don’t know what to say, I have no words, Help me!

Amy was already there when I called. I said “I’m coming! I’m almost there! She was crying and understandably upset. I pulled up. I can still see the look on her face. She was shocked, stunned, afraid, lost and angry all at once. I opened my arms and she fell into me. We just stood there for a minute. I thought to myself what do you say when you don’t know what to say. I didn’t know what to say. I don’t know how this feels. I never have been here before. I just knew in that moment I wasn’t going anywhere. I was walking this thing through with her. So I said “I’m so sorry! I don’t have any words.” This really was a strange thing for me. I am a blogger. I write. Words are what I do. Words had always been my friend but that day they failed me. How is it that I didn’t have any? Really I didn’t have any and it was through this honesty that I found was absolutely what she needed. I was able to be as vulnerable as she was. We went in the house and sat down at my dining table. All I remember her saying is “THIS SUCKS!” And she cried. My mind was racing for words and they slowly began to flow. I remember saying “you will get through this!” “Don’t count yourself out!” It isn’t easy to hold on to hope when you don’t know the answers. I could just imagine if it were me how I would be feeling. I tried to stepped into her shoes. Feeling the thoughts she may have been feeling like – am I going to die, what’s going to happen, who’s going to help me, what about my daughter? I could feel the fear clouding over her.

When your friend gets a diagnosis like that you feel helpless in a way. Prayer becomes your friend. You find yourself checking your own breast for lumps in the middle of the night. The fear creeps in on your thoughts. You think of all of the what-ifs and you wonder what will happen. None of us know what the days hold. We get dealt the hand in life we get. We can’t change that. However we can do something called: Cultivate Hope! That is what I set out to do for Amy. 

Week after diagnosis

The week after diagnosis was a whirl wind for Amy. Appointments lined the week. The initial consultation appointment is where they gave her a general run down of what is going to happen, really this is the appointment that is to break you in for the shock of information overload. She got a book about her cancer. It was an inch thick with many chapters to read as she goes along. They gave her a general overview of what would be happening from that point through going to chemo. Your mind can only handle so much information. The appointment was so broad that you left feeling like you could at least breath, I think it made it a little easier when going through the more detailed appointments because you were able to chew a little bit now and had something to link to later.

She also met with a genetic consultant the same day. The worry with Amy was that she had a genetic disposition to cancer. This genetics consultant made a family tree, sadly there where many in her family that had died of cancer just not all of the same kind. They took blood and we waited for the results. The fear was the she was a carrier of a genetically passed cancer. The statistics were that if the test was positive her daughter would have a 50% shot of not getting this. That was a weight that Amy was struggling to carry. The next day she would visit the oncologist and the surgeon. By the end of that day she was pretty well worn out. She was trying to be strong to hold herself together. One thing we (my sister and I)  did was allow her to cry. We cried with her, but we didn’t let her stay in that place. We also made her laugh. I took up sending her a daily email. I wanted to make sure that while she was at work she had something to think on. I sent bible verses, quotes of encouragement, funny pictures, fun things she could do with her daughter. I would surf the net and whatever popped out that said in my heart “AMY” I would send it to her.

One of her tests returned from the oncologist that said she was positive for something called HER-2 which meant that her cancer would not respond to hormone repressing drugs. It also brought on fear about the genetics test. A high percentage of people that have HER-2 also have the genetics test results as positive. The waiting really was one of the worst parts. The not knowing is enough to tear a person apart inside.

I was sitting at lunch with another friend and my grandma when I got the text. It said “NEGATIVE!” I could have cried in that moment. Amy would keep her ovaries and her daughter was clear of genetically passed cancer. It was such a moment of relief. I was so thankful.

Her Choice

Amy decided that the best choice for her was a double mastectomy. She met with her surgeon and he agreed with her that, that would be a good choice for her. Amy’s mom died of breast cancer. She was in remission when the cancer returned. Amy didn’t want to leave the option of cancer returning to her breasts. Not having a double mastectomy meant that she would have a daily worry that her cancer could come back. Amy opted to leave that worry with her breasts in the operating room.

Amy’s choice tested my resilience. My insides hurt for her having to make this terrible and yet lifesaving choice. Her bravery and strength was simply amazing. From this side of it, to give your own selfish opinion is not what is needed. I wanted her to have a lumpectomy. I understood her choice intellectually. It was emotionally, I fear and I would see Amy struggle with thoughts of “Am I less of a women without these parts.” I struggled within myself with worry about how she would feel. I couldn’t hold that weight of worry.  And I refused to.  I had to remember that I have a God. A God I could cast my cares upon  and focus on the fact that He had called me to love and serve her. How do I know? I know because she is in my life. My heart was compelled to uphold her through Him. I knew that He would hold me and in turn would hold her through me. Watching her make the daily choice to not let the fear and worry consume her was strengthen to me.

Amy’s step mom asked me a few days before surgery if I would help Amy with sponge baths since she wouldn’t be here. I agreed. My mind swirled with seeing her scars, seeing her beautiful lifesaving scars. I thought about washing her feet and her hair. Just the thought of serving her that way was deeply spiritual for me. I imagined humming songs of praise as I washed the feet of my friend. Perhaps how Christ may have washed His disciples feet. My heart was ready for this task.

The night before her surgery I went over to her house and talk about the details of the next couple of days. We talked about where her daughter would be, and last minute things that needed to be done. I wanted to know what she wanted so that I could help make that happen.

The Choice to walk

Amy was already signed up to do the Race against Breast Cancer a month before her diagnosis. I thought “how uncanny that is!” She didn’t know that the Race she wanted to be a supporter to would become a part of her support also. My sister and I were talking on the phone about doing this walk and setting up a team. I called Amy to see if she would like to do a team. She said “Absolutely!“ I marveled at her courage. So I got online only to find out that the team deadline was two days past. I am not easily swayed or one to give up. So, I emailed the director. I told her that our friend was diagnosed the previous Wednesday and that she wanted to do a team. I asked if that was possible. She wrote back enthusiastically willing to help us. The schools had not sent in their paper work yet. We had until Tuesday. It was Friday and it was also a three day weekend. I walked into the Especially for You Race against Cancer office with 28 team mates paperwork. Team Houtz was born.

Surgery day

I sent her good morning uplift, it was a photo that said “Be calm & trust Jesus.” We were all up at the hospital at 9 am. I didn’t really know what to do. I knew I wanted to be there but I didn’t want to impose. I don’t know why I felt that way. I know that my presence to her is friendship not inconvenience. After thinking about it some, it is simply fear that would keep me away, so I chose love and went to the hospital. I am glad that I did. I met Amy’s dad Gary. He was going to be here to help Amy for a couple of weeks after the surgery. I let him know that he could call me anytime if they needed anything. He appreciated that. They took Amy in to the prep room. I went in first. I told I would pray and that it would all be ok. I would see her when she woke up.

After Surgery

The doctors came out and said that the surgery went well. They took three lymph nodes for testing but said they looked good and that they were very optimistic. We went to her room after she was settled and she looked good. The next day I went to the hospital around 5 in the afternoon on Friday. They were getting ready to release her to go home. I told her I would meet her at her house. It was time for a hair wash.

Servant’s Heart

She was slow moving but doing very well when she arrived at home. She was interesting in having her hair washed. I got to wash and brush her hair. She thanked me and I told her I would be back the next day. I left her house thinking about the women who washed Jesus’s feet with her tears. I thought about how He said “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” and I was determined to do that for my friend. I thought about how my sister washed my Sister in Law’s hair after her brain surgery. In my mind, I was so thankful to do for Amy what another did for my Sister in Law. 

I came over the next day knowing I would help her get into the tub with a few inches of water and help her wash up and I also washed her feet. I wondered if it would be weird but it was such a spiritual moment for me. We laughed and talked about how we will never forget this moment. Our silly sides came out and we joked, making the moment easy to be in. I was so thankful to be in that bathroom. So glad to just be a friend. To be hands and feet.

A moment with Amy’s Dad

After the bath, Amy was in her room. I walked in the kitchen and Gary said “ I really want to thank you for all you are doing?” He was choking back his emotions and said “ being so far away during this time has been really difficult….I don’t know what I would do….if…..my daughter” I said “ I know…its hard. You have been here before.” He looked at me and said “ yes…her mother.” I said “ it is understandable…its going to be ok and you know what when you aren’t here, I will be!”  And with that he gave me a big hug and said “ thank you!”  I wanted to easy his thoughts and emotions. I let him know what I would have wanted someone to let me know if I lived so far away through something like this. I reassured him that there would be people helping her through this. I would be here helping her through this. As a parent you want to do everything you can and when you can’t, well I can imagine it feels a bit helpless.

Salvation

A week before the walk Amy attended Church with us. She had come a few times before. I was glad to see her there. After church I was driving her home and she said  “ You know what? I really like that fact that the Pastor came over and talked to me after I raised my hand.” I said “ What? You did that?? You asked the Lord to be your Savior?” She said “ Yep, I did that!”

I was so HAPPY!!! and even happier for HER…what a journey and testimony she will have through this!!

The Walk

photo-2

On October 2nd we walked with Amy. We stood together with her. I made bracelets to thank those who put their hands to work for her during her time of need.I want these people to know that what they did was a wonderful gift to my friend. That their deeds do not go unnoticed by others. That there hearts where lined up with the heart of God who sends His Angels to take care of us.  

The day of the walk was beautiful and cold but our hearts were warm with love for our friend.  Our purple shirts each had identical logos on them with a statement that rings true.

WHEN WE DO LIFE TOGETHER – HOPE HAPPENS !!

Fight with your friends!!

That is what you do when you are friends….

you fight the down side of life with the upside of friendship and love.

Amy she starts chemo on Oct.12th.

She will be baptized the following Sunday.

Through this all …

God has shown His hand of Goodness

and His message of HOPE.

Oct. 7, 2011

Starla

Feeling the spring clean…

Rearranged my shelf with my favorite things.

Art work from my son – that colorful cow

Art work from my Poppy – the colorful bubbles

Plaster work from my Poppy – the orange and yellow faces

Wood carving from my Poppy – the giant wood ear

A picture of me and my sister

My little owl and blue bird from my friend Marcy

Faith — With God all things are possible

My Willow Trees – Sister plaque and Free bird girl

a little gen box and 2 little statements:

~friendship warms the heart~

~ Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path~

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