Monday, October 12, 2015

Way bigger plans

One thing God showed me when I was in my season of being single is that he had big plans for me, plans bigger than I've ever dreamed He would use me for. He used our pastor at the time to confirm what He said.

My husband and I have also had a connection with Isaiah 54 from different perspectives.  My husband even preached a "bigger and better" sermon on this passage:

Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes. For you will spread out to the right and to the left; your descendants will dispossess nations and settle in their desolate cities. (Isaiah 54:2-3)

We were sharing with a woman at church yesterday about our vision that God would bring in so many children into our house that need healing, especially kids that have no families, much like he and I felt like growing up, that we didn't have a family, even though we did.

She said, "You do know that your house isn't big enough, right?" She also told us to write down what we left when we came from Oklahoma City to Houston, some of which were heirlooms, because he would restore that to us and then some.

On my husband's heart:  his library of books.

On my heart?  My sons.  I left part of my heart there with them, and my heart was so broken and still is that I don't see them so much. How I miss my loves.  I left my rocking chair there that my dad gave me when I was pregnant with Hunter that I cherish greatly, especially since it came from my dad, who is now with the Lord.  I miss my vinyl verses on my walls and the crosses. I miss having comfy couches and places to hide while I spend time with Him.

So I'm soaking with my kids this morning, and I'm experiencing the love of God. And that's when he let the secret out. We knew he had just shown us our house close to our church.  I was wondering how we could make our house bigger to accommodate more children. That's when he showed me we would own every house on the block except for the one right across from us. Those people are called to be grandparents to the kids. He will bring us people who are like-minded in their heart for kids who had a rough start in life and don't have families. Each house will have families and stability, and then the kids could go to their grandparent's house to do grandparent-y kind of stuff.

He even said our daughter, Sienna, would be healed the day of her 18th birthday, and she will join with us in this ministry to love children much like herself.  Sienna is going to be an amazing wife and mother to many children. All of our children will have the option to join us if they choose, but it's okay if God has other plans for them.

I know it's Him because I can't for the life of me figure out how that could possibly happen.  It's him because of the joy and praise that is welling over in my heart.

So when I try to worry about how just our day-to-day expenses will come, he is more than enough. He is our source of all things. He knows we need medicine, we need food, we need gas, we need money for our insurance and electric bill, as well as debts paid off.  If I don't keep myself lost in Him, I start to worry. Abba, let me become so lost in you that I know you're there to provide for us.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

You were never alone, Rach. Never.

I don't like it when the past comes up, especially when I don't really want to deal with it.

But there's more that needs to come up.

Alone. Ouch. Pain. Burn.

You were broken, and so was I.

Nothing can separate you from my love.

I never left you alone.

No more fear.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Faith, it ain't determination.

I guess this pretty much all started last year.  Life has taught me to be a worrier and a planner, especially when it comes to finances.

I prayed this small (big) prayer that I didn't realize would still affect me today.

God, please help me learn to trust you.

Trust number one:  get off of SNAP benefits and WIC.

We did.  And God has always provided more than enough food for our household.  That seemed like a big order to fill for a family of ten.

Trust number two:  give an offering over and above your tithe.

We did.  It seemed like all was crazy when all of a sudden, my workload slowed down, my husband's job started bouncing his checks and paying him late (and God told me to tell him to quit his job), and we lost my daughter's disability.

And then my husband got a new job with a huge pay raise and benefits, I saw a massive business income increase, and our daughter's disability returned.

Trust number three:  Buy your family good things. 

Oh, how I don't like to spend.  But God told me to start buying my family things they want and good things for them, and stop worrying about the money end.  I did.  We've built a lot of memories over the last year, and we've always had more than enough.

Trust number four:  Quit your job.

This year, we've seen more debts pile on than we can imagine, not from intentionally accumulating debt, just crazy circumstances (a car accident, a heart attack, etc.).

We keep trying to save money, and the money has to keep going out the window for necessary things.

And now, God showed us our house.  It's big enough for our family of ten, and it's within our budget.  It's right smack dab near our church.  That was no small thing for my big God.  It's five bedrooms and two bathrooms, in a nice neighborhood.  We're moving in T minus two months.  We had a plan in place about how we would save the necessary money to be able to move.

But God just has to go and interrupt that and throw a wrench in those plans.

God's been speaking to me, and it's about resting in Him.

I guess it started about a month ago, about the time we entered into Victory Christian Center's School of Supernatural Ministry.  They've been speaking over us that we're risk takers.  We were asked what we were willing to give up over the next nine months as we pursue Him.  "Not my job, God," I thought.  "I need to keep working for my family."

Gently at first, like a heartbeat, I've heard God beating out, "Rest.  Rest.  Rest."    And then, a reminder of a passage I read about entering God's rest from Joshua chapter one.  This book has much meaning in our lives, as God has spoken to us much about our land of promise, our inheritance being the city of Houston through the entire book of Joshua.  It began with a prophetic word soon after my father-in-law passed away from Bishop Tony Miller in Oklahoma City that caused God to ask us to give away everything we had, pack up our family and what we could in our van, and get to Houston.  No place to live, and no church family, but we came.  And God provided abundantly.  He gave us nice things, nicer than I would have certainly bought, and we paid not a penny.  He even paid us to move to where we live now.

A few class periods ago, we were challenged to listen to God and hear what lie we've been believing and what the truth is.  My lie?  That I could not trust him in ALL areas of my life.  God's truth?  Let go of your business, because I want to provide.   I've seen you working hard, supporting your family, through all of your husband's job losses, through him feeling like I was telling him to not work.  But I want you enter into My rest, because I love you, Rachael, and I care about the depths of your inmost being.

*Screeching Record*

Wait.  What, God?  We're supposed to move in two months.  We have bills to pay.  How will we ever afford that?

A chuckle.  Rach, I want to provide for you.  It's why you guys can't seem to save money, even though I am abundantly blessing you.  I want to give you guys your house.  I want you to rest. 

Okay, God.  I'm going to need some confirmation.  Did I really hear that from You?

I'm reading our book for the month for VSSM by Bill Johnson, When Heaven Invades Earth.  And I read that "Rest is the climate that faith grows in.  It comes out of the peace of God.  What is restful for us is violent to the powers of hell.  That is the violent nature of faith." 

And then, I start talking to my husband about this.  As I'm talking to him, he tells me I cannot quit my job because he hasn't heard this from God himself, and red warning flags are going off everywhere.  Except that something tells me it's his fear talking.  Okay, God.  I'm going to need Your help here.  So I tell my husband out of respect for him, I'm going to keep working until he hears from God.

And then the worst imaginable thing happens.  I start crying.  In front of my husband.  I really don't like to do that.  I was trying so hard not to cry,  but my husband, he encourages me to tell him what was on my mind.  The next words out of my mouth, well, they were nothing but God. 

I'm so tired, my heart cries out.  I need to enter into God's rest.  I need to minister to our children.  I need to get our house in order.  God has seen my faithfulness in working, and I need to rest.  I need to rest in His presence.  I know this doesn't make sense.  Nothing God tells me makes sense at first.  And that's how I know it's Him.  But He wants to provide for our house.  All the while, the tears are flowing, and nothing I can do will stop them. 

And my husband says, "Okay.  I heard your heart.  I agree.  You need to stop working." 

It's later on that he tells me he's just afraid.  He had a plan, and God just derailed it.  He's relied on me to help make the ends meet.  It's scary. 

But by our quick obedience, we just gave God an opportunity to bring heaven to earth.  In heaven, there is no lack, so we're going to laugh in joy as we see God's hand provide for us until He tells me to work again.  In the meantime, I am going to spend time soaking in His presence.  I am going to sleep a lot more.  I just cannot wait to see what God will do, all because this time, my faith can't be determination that will make things happen.  This one is all God. 

Am I a bit shaken and scared at the thought of having to trust God this much?  Yes, my flesh hates this.  But my spirit knows it's necessary to grow my faith.  I want to be an all-out risk taker, where determination no longer drives my life, but faith does.  Faith just moved my Abba's heart.  I can't make this move happen.  I can't make our bills get paid.  But God will.  And that's enough for me.

Monday, May 25, 2015

He wrote me this letter...

Okay, so it was a Facebook post for the entire world to see.  But it's made every tear, every heartache, every moment of brokenness, every prayer so very worth it.  I wouldn't have seen these words even a year ago.  Yeah, this is big, guys.  Never in my entire life has my Superman made me feel so loved and honored.

Dear Rachael,
You have given me a lot to smile about over the last seven years. I know I have been a challenge, but I am grateful for the challenges that you have given me. I am so thankful that you never gave up and you kept on persevering. Where others walked away and gave up you stood there toe to toe with me against all kinds of adversaries. You have brought lots of smiles and laughter to my heart. I cannot ever thank you enough for the encouragement that you poured into me. I am so grateful for your love and strong willed determination to see me grow in the things of God in spite of the trials and the hardships that I dealt with. I have watched you grow in the things of God. I am glad that I played an integral role in that. Seven years ago, God used me to introduce you to things about the Kingdom of God and then like an untamed thoroughbred take off in all the things that God has for you. One of things that makes me love you more and more each day is how you get ahold of things and then I watch you just take off. I love that you throw caution to the wind and jump in head first. Even when you are afraid, you don’t let it show. To me you are the standard of a Proverbs 31 woman. My heart trusts in you because of the God in you. Looking back seven years ago and looking ahead to the next seven years and beyond my life would be an empty and void if I did not get to live it with you.
You are my Wonder Woman; I love you with all my heart,
Happy 7th Anniversary
Your Superman

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The Untitled Project

I've probably start, stopped, and rewritten this post several times as I've processed what happened with my husband's second heart attack.  And I'm still processing.  I'm just going to be real here.

I have a new found admiration for every family member that has to sit with anyone they love in the hospital.  They are the ones that have to fight for that one they love in that hospital bed.  In my case, it was fun because my husband was totally drugged and was saying things like, "Awww, you're so sweet to me."

Did I have my Daddy God to lean on?  Absolutely.  What I found out is that people I thought were friends really weren't when it got down to walking the talk.  One person out of hundreds actually showed up in person.  One.  Know what I needed that week?  Real, actual people.  Those who will come sit with me through hours of waiting while my husband was in surgery.  Someone who would have offered to check in our kids while I was at the hospital, maybe taken them some meals.  Someone who would have reached out with a hug to me and said everything was going to be all right.  It would all be okay.

I just learned those willing to go that distance don't often exist.  And I'll admit, I'm pretty disappointed in my circle of so-called friends.  Everyone worries about that person in the hospital bed, forgetting on the opposite side is someone they love having to drop everything and care for that someone they love dearly.

Let's not forget the hospital staff themselves.  If there's one thing I can say to the hospital my husband was in is that they really, REALLY, need to get on the same page with hospital policies.  Being told one day, yes, I absolutely need to stay with my husband from a hospital administrator after being told by a nurse that I couldn't stay the night, and then the next, being told by yet another nurse I couldn't stay at the hospital overnight and sleeping on a waiting room floor, knowing my husband was going to have a second surgery the next day... that was more upsetting to me than anything else.  The nurses don't even realize how much work I saved them staying in the hospital with my husband. 

And now, my husband is back at work after being fully released by his cardiologist, and now, because someone up high seems to think my husband had open-heart surgery (he had a cath procedure to place stints), they're not letting him work OT, which puts even more stress on me to work to make up for the difference. 

Am I angry right now? You bet.  I am angry that my husband hasn't taken care of his health all these years, though I am proud of him for changing his eating habits and adding exercise.  I am angry at the hospital staff.  I am angry because I just can't seem to get a break from working, when I need for things to get paid off so we can get out of debt.  I am angry at God because I feel like He's letting me down right now.   I am angry for all those people who say, "Yeah, I"m your friend," but don't show up when it's really needed.  I'm angry. 

So there, God.  I've laid it down on the table.  I know you know how I feel, but I have to ask you what you're going to do to show up and keep your covenant of faithfulness to our lives.  I have to know.  I have to see your hand working here. 

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Dear Pam

My dearest Pammy,

You died today.  Those are three of the most difficult words for me to type, because with it, it brings finality to that dash that lives between the moment you were born and the moment you died.

Your husband said you died peacefully, as well you should have, because in our many talks, I wanted to make absolutely certain you knew Jesus as your savior.  So I know that all of heaven rejoiced the moment you arrived, fully healed, fully whole, and I'm sure you were overwhelmed as Jesus enveloped you with a bear hug like only He can give, and you felt His love and joy permeate your spirit.  In that vivid picture in my mind, I can totally rejoice and feel great excitement for you because I know you're healed.  I wouldn't be surprised if you told me He had chocolate ice cream ready and waiting for you.

But back to that dash called your life.  What you did with it, as I reflect on it, I am grateful to be a small part of it.  I say small because you were a lot larger than life.  I don't think you even realized the countless lives you've touched.  But I quickly saw it, as I watched the messages pour into your Facebook page.  I saw it when I walked into your hospice room, your mom snuggled up with you in bed, fiercely loving and protecting her daughter, tenderly stroking your face.  I saw it as I watched your husband wrap his arms around you as you talked about needing to go to bed.  I saw it as you wrapped your arms around his neck and peace poured over you.  I saw it in every moment we were able to hang out.  In those moments that I wanted to bless you, and you instead blessed me.  I saw it in your Facebook posts, encouraging others that sat in the chemo room at the hospital.  Even your team of doctors knew it.

You carried a light inside you that was God's gift for the world.  There was always just that something about you that a stranger on the street could spend five minutes with you and that person would walk away feeling like they were loved and that they mattered.  Words of affirmation, totally your love language.  Quality time, totally your love language.  Still to this day, my daughters love your nail salon.  If mom was going to Miss Pam's, everyone wanted to come. 

You touched my life in such a way that your death is hitting me hard.  Nothing more so than just because I'm going to miss your very presence.  No more talking at 2:00 a.m. because neither one of us could sleep.  No more time spent on  We really did spend a crazy amount of time on there, trying to find us a house.  No more talking about matters of the heart.  No more talking about your chicken pot pie recipe or any other recipes.  No more sitting there chatting, drinking our HEB Texas Pecan coffee from your Keurig, watching our kids run around together, playing or napping on the floor.  No more trips to the NASA Space Center together, and no more Mexican food green sauce at Moreno's.  It's the littlest things I will miss that were really big things.

Neither of us wanted your life to end because of cancer, especially not you.  Yes, it's a reminder as women that we need to make sure we get yearly mammograms.  But even more so, it's a reminder to make sure we all know who Jesus Christ is, and that we've accepted His free gift called salvation.  You were young.  Perhaps it's easier to deal with death when you know the person is old, and they've lived a full life.  But then again, you lived a full life in all of your 29 years.  I know I don't need to worry about Tanner, Jacob, and Aubree.  I know God's got them, and they're going to be okay.  I know you're a part of their great cloud of witnesses, cheering them on as they run their races. 

And now, you're a part of mine.  Thinking about that makes me smile.  And I hope you've met my dad by now, because he's quite ornery and fun to be around.  As I wonder what you thought about your mansion in heaven, I can't help but smile at what your reaction must have been.  I smile at the thought of you being introduced to colors you've never imagined here on this earth, wondering how you can get a nail polish in that color. 

We're going to celebrate that dash soon as we lay your earthly body to rest.  I'm going to smile, and I'm going to probably cry.  I'm going to listen as others share stories about how you've so profoundly impacted their lives.  You are so worth celebrating. 

I love you, girl.  And I just miss you. 

See you again soon :)