Letters

I’ve been going through old emails lately. Reminiscing. Reminding myself of the hell I’ve been through and the miracles I’ve been blessed to receive. I’ve been rehearsing the faithfulness of the One who walked with me through the fire and … Continue reading

Trust the Process

While talking to a friend yesterday about God and promises He has yet to fulfill, God shared something with me that I want to share with you! Picture yourself as a hungry child in your parents’ kitchen. Are you concerned that you won’t get fed? Are you worried about how your parents will provide for you? For most of us the answer to those two questions is no. We weren’t concerned. In all honesty, our thoughts didn’t go beyond, “I’m hungry.” We trusted that our parents would meet our need. We didn’t need to know the process; we just trusted that if we were hungry we would get fed. Now, picture yourself as a hungry child in your Heavenly Father’s kitchen. Do you trust God’s process? Do you trust that you will get fed? When you have a need, bring it to your Heavenly Father with the expectation that your need will be met. Trust His process.

Let’s meditate on this truth from Philippians 4:19 today, “And this same God who takes care of me will supply all of your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.”

You will be fed!

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To my Family

I’m proud of us. I’m proud of where we came from and where we’re going. I’m proud of us for sticking together even though together may look a little different than it once did. I’m proud of us for persevering.

We’re stronger than we once were and even still we’re growing stronger day by day. We’ve been tested and tried and we’ve come through to the other side. We’ve endured and we continue to endure because that’s who we are and that’s what she taught us.

We’ve come a long way since the day we stood together and said goodbye to the woman who made us who we are, the woman who held us all together; our rock, our hearts, our strength, our all in all.

We’ve continued living even when life didn’t seem to have meaning. We’ve continued loving even through the hurt. We’ve continued on as a family even when the bad days seemed to outnumber the good. We’ve carried on and we will continue to carry on.

We must remember that day three years ago as we stood together and sang over the woman who sang over us countless times in our lives. We must remember that she rejoiced over us, she comforted us and she always stood by us. We must remember the legacy that she left is found in each of us, it continues on in the way we live our lives. Generation after generation the love, the strength, the wisdom, the faithfulness – it all carries on. What she left us is us; it is who we are today because of whom she was. We must always take that with us into everything we do and everywhere we go and we must always remember the choice we made three years ago; the choice we made to bless the God who gives and takes away. To bless the God who chose in His infinite wisdom and omniscience to call home our wife, our mother, our grandmother, our great-grandmother.

We chose to declare that whatever may pass and whatever lies before us, we will continue to bless the one who gives and the one who takes away. To continue standing as our world was crumbling around us. To pick up the baton of faith that our Barbara passed on to us so that one day we too may pass the baton to the next generation. We chose to yield to God’s sovereignty and trust that His plans are always good and fruitful and just. We chose to submit to God’s will and to carry on. “Whatever may pass and whatever lies before me, let me be singing when the evening comes. Bless the Lord O my soul, O my soul and worship His holy name. Sing like never before O my soul I’ll worship His holy name.”

Three years later as I reflect on the events of that day and the days after, another song comes to mind.  A song of hope and resilience, a song that exemplifies our family and grandma’s legacy.

“This world has nothing for me. This life is not my own. I know You go before me and I am not alone. This mountain rises higher. The way seems so unclear. But I know that You go with me so I will never fear. I will trust in You. Whatever will come our way. Through fire or pouring rain. We won’t be shaken. No we won’t be shaken. Whatever tomorrow brings together we’ll rise and sing that we won’t be shaken no we won’t be shaken. You know my every longing you’ve heard my every prayer you’ve held me in my weakness cause You are always there. So I’ll stand in full surrender it’s Your way and not my own. My mind is set on nothing less than You and You alone. I will not be moved. Whatever will come our way through fire or pouring rain we won’t be shaken no we won’t be shaken. Whatever tomorrow brings together we’ll rise and sing that we won’t be shaken. No we won’t be shaken. We will trust in You. We will not be moved. We will trust in You and we won’t be shaken.”

I love you all,

Aimie

For Moms Like Me

This simple statement speaks volumes. At the end of the day, my kids don’t need all of the emotional baggage that comes from my “need” to be a perfect mom. They shouldn’t suffer because of the unrealistic expectations I put on myself and sometimes on them. They need, they deserve, me at my best. They deserve an intentional, engaged, caring, strong, happy, peaceful, wise mom. A perfect mom? Not likely. The best mom I can be? Absolutely! Praying for all you mamas out there. God’s grace is sufficient!

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21 Day Prayer Challenge – Take 2

It’s been over a year since I abandoned the 21 day prayer challenge for my sons.  After my grandma died I just couldn’t go on.  Like so many things in my life at that time, I gave it up.  Everything around me fell apart when I lost my grandma and I just couldn’t find the strength to put it all back together.  It has taken me this long to even think about picking up where I left off.  Even now, my heart hurts at the prospect of continuing this prayer challenge.  My grandma was so proud of the mom that I am and of my passion for prayer and heart for God.  So while this prayer challenge makes me miss her even more, I know it’s something that I need to finish; if not for myself or my boys, for my grandma.  Even though she’s gone, I still want to make her proud.  So on April 1st I am going to start the 21 day prayer challenge again, starting at day 1.  I think this will be good for me, theraputic even. 

Celebrating the Holidays with Cancer

It’s a new year and what better way to kick it off than to feature a guest writer! I pray that you’re filled with hope as you read Cameron’s story of his wife Heather’s healing. Remember, with Jesus, anything is possible!!

The best time of the year for me has always been the holidays.  I always enjoy seeing my family and friends, giving thanks for our many blessings, and continuing our family traditions.  After seeing our daughter Lily being born in August of 2005, my wife Heather and I were ecstatic about the holidays. We talked endlessly about continuing certain holiday traditions with Lily and beginning new ones that our family would enjoy for years.  Our planning was quickly put on hold three days before Thanksgiving, when my wife found out that she had cancer. It was hard to handle a 3 ½ month old baby and my wife’s mesothelioma diagnosis at the same time.  I didn’t know much about this form of cancer, but what we learned soon after made me realize that our once bright and hopeful future now looked very uncertain.  I hoped for the best, but all along, I was preparing for the worst. We still came together for Thanksgiving, and we tried our best to celebrate the holiday as usual.  Heather’s family celebrated both Thanksgiving and Christmas with us because we would soon be headed to Boston for Heather’s treatment.  After having our holiday meal, I had to endure the conversation I had been dreading for days.  This conversation consisted of how Heather’s family would be able to help us through this crisis financially.   We discussed all of our finances, which bills Heather’s family would pay for us, and even Lily’s childcare decisions.  Heather and I both had jobs before our daughter was born, but once we started dealing with the mesothelioma, our financial situation worsened.  New expenses that we never imagined were piled on, and we knew we would soon be down to a single income once Heather started treatment.  We were barely making it by as it was, and we would not be able to stay afloat for long.  The discussion left me ashamed and embarrassed, through no one’s fault but my own. I never expected to spend my Thanksgiving this way. After many years, I finally understood what this day really meant to me.  During the time I sat at the table discussing all of my family’s personal information, I felt ashamed and overwhelmed.  When in actuality, I should have noticed the love that I received from my family.  My family did not hesitate to help us in every way that they could.  They were willing to make incredible sacrifices of their own to ensure our well being. I did not see this for many years because I was blinded by pride, but now, years later, I see how very lucky I was.   In addition to helping us through this time, our friends and family also prayed endlessly for Heather’s health.  Heather’s mother, especially, prayed as much as she possibly could, and told Heather that God had told her that this disease would not take her life.  
Despite the odds that said otherwise, we clung to that hope throughout that holiday season and the months of treatment that followed. This holiday season, I realize how thankful I am for my family, friends, healthy daughter, and the chance to continue to make new family traditions.  
Despite the odds, Heather was able to beat her cancer with the help and support of our incredible family and friends. Mesothelioma has not been a part of our lives for over six years, and we’ve been able to enjoy many wonderful Christmases together.  We hope that our story of success against cancer can be a source of hope and inspiration to all those still fighting this holiday season.

To read more by Cameron please visit his website:
http://www.mesothelioma.com/blog/authors/cameron/

His Love Endures Forever

This is for you, Caitlin.  Thank you for encouraging me to keep writing even when it hurts.

It’s been three and a half months since my grandma passed and maybe a month since I have seen a yellow butterfly.  I feel like I’ve been abandoned for good and it hurts. I’ve spent the past month begging God to:  show me more butterflies, to shower me with his love, to open my eyes to wonderful things in his law and to remind me of my grandma’s continued love and presence in my life.  God is faithful to answer His children. Last night, I had my very first dream about my grandma since she passed. I don’t usually remember my dreams, but I remember this one. Grandma came to me as I was crying for her. She just appeared out of nowhere, like a messenger from above. I can’t picture her face now, but I see her hands and I felt her presence. In my dream, I watched as she pulled a small piece of paper out of nowhere and lovingly wrote, “Psalm 118:3”. Even now, I can still see the words so beautifully scrawled on the small, gray scrap of paper. I would recognize the handwriting anywhere. It’s the same handwriting on all of the birthday cards and recipes she gave me over the years. It’s funny how something as simple as someone’s handwriting can bring you back to another time and place. Her handwriting brings me back to happy times, times when she was still alive. When grandma had finished writing, she gave me the slip of paper and then she left as quickly as she had come; and I was once again alone with my sadness.

When I woke up this morning, all I wanted to do was see my grandma and feel her arms around me; I miss her hugs.  I wanted to breathe her in and just be near her. But instead, I sobbed in the shower and cried out to God. These days my prayer time consists mostly of crying and talking to my grandma. This morning was no different. As the water ran over my face and intermingled with my salty tears, I told my grandma how much I miss her and I begged God to make things better. Again, my Father answered and over the sound of my cries I heard, “I love you,” and I saw the scrap of paper that grandma had given me in my dream, with Psalm 118:3 written on it in the handwriting that I love so much. Though this act of love from my Heavenly Father didn’t take away my pain he was answering my tear-soaked prayers. He was sending me word of His unfailing love. After my shower, I looked up Psalm 118:3, it reads:  “Let the house of Aaron say: His love endures forever.”

What an awesome and mighty God I serve. How humbled I am that not only does He see and hear my pain but He answers me. This verse that the Holy Spirit gifted to me through a dream of my grandma is God’s way of reminding me of His unfailing love and His continued presence in my life. Even though things are dark and gloomy right now, His light will always shine on my family and me. He loves us and He will never leave us or forsake us because He promised and my God is always true to His promises and loving toward all He has made. Psalm 118:3, written in my grandma’s handwriting, is just a sweet reminder of a God who knows me intimately and loves me on a deep and personal level. A deep enough level to know that all I really wanted was a little bit of my grandma’s love and attention. All I really wanted was to know that she is still with me. So though I still hurt so deeply and though I know that this is not something that will pass quickly, I am still so thankful that God gave me this dream, this verse and I find such peace in knowing that no matter what, I will always have His love.

Before & After – A New Mindset

“Rejoice in hope, endure in affliction, persevere in prayer,” Romans 12:12.

In the midst of the battle with death, with fear, with sickness, with cancer…

♥ I rejoiced in hope.  The hope that I had in God’s ability to heal and save.  The hope of my prayers being answered.  The hope of my faith producing the outcome I desired and believed I would receive.  The hope of another miracle. 

♥ I endured in affliction.  I endured through the pain of my life changing.  I endured through the pain and helplessness of seeing my loved ones suffer.  I endured through the exhaustion of the fight.  I endured through the emotional trauma of watching a loved one go through chemo.  I endured through the season of hardship.  I endured because of the hope to come; the healing I knew was coming.  The healing that was promised to my loved ones, to my family, to me.  I endured because of hope. 

♥ I persevered in prayer.   I persevered in prayer when I was tired.  I persevered in prayer when things looked hopeless.  I persevered in prayer because of my faith in God and his healing power.  I persevered in prayer because I believed God’s word to be the truth.  I persevered in prayer because faithful prayer brings miracles; I needed a couple.  I persevered in prayer when I was tired.  I persevered in prayer when I didn’t feel like praying.  I persevered in prayer because faithful, persistent prayer moves the hand of God.  I persevered in prayer because my loved ones needed it.  I persevered in prayer because God requires it.  I persevered in prayer even when it felt forced.  I persevered in prayer because I needed God to come through for my family and me.  Because I needed something from him…

Since grandma’s passing…

♥ I rejoice in the hope of glory.  I rejoice in the promise of eternal life.  I rejoice in the promise of seeing grandma again.  I rejoice in breaking free from the curse.  I rejoice in all that awaits me in Heaven.  I rejoice because my suffering is not in vain.  I rejoice in God’s grace and love.  I rejoice in Jesus’ sacrifice. 

♥ I endure in the affliction of grief.  I endure in the face of doubt.  I endure through my heartache.  I endure through crippling fear.  I endure through confusion.  I endure through the battle of keeping my faith.  I endure through this new season of questions without answers.  I endure through this learning process.  I endure through these growing pains.  I endure through the pain of seeing my family torn apart.  I endure through the pain of broken-ness.  I endure through my Father’s discipline.  I endure through blind rage.  I endure through hopelessness.  I endure through rebellion.  I endure through the, “why me’s?’.  I endure because I have no choice…

♥ I persevere through the temptation and hurt so that I can continue to pray.  I persevere through the doubt and confusion that have been brought on by unanswered prayer.  I persevere in the face of failure.  I persevere in the direction of a new faith.  I persevere in my relationship with God.  I persevere through the pain of reading the Bible and going to church.  I persevere in my walk with God.  I persevere in keeping my heart and mind open to the truth of God’s word.  I persevere in listening to God’s voice.  I persevere in keeping my spirit open to God.  I persevere in my family relationships.  I persevere through the struggles of daily life.  I persevere so that I will overcome.  I persevere because God promised me hope and a future and he promised me good.  I persevere because the alternative is quitting and I won’t quit.  I persevere in my journey to know God more.  God won’t give up on me and I refuse to give up on him.  I persevere because I know that God is still good.  I know that he still loves me.  I know that he will never leave me or forsake me.  I persevere because I know that God has a plan that is far beyond my realm of understanding.  I persevere because this is the life I am called to.  I persevere because Jesus did and he is my role model.  I persevere because I am not called to an easy life.  I persevere because those who hold on until the end will reap a harvest of blessings in Heaven.  I persevere in prayer because prayer is communication with God.  Without God my life is meaningless.  Without God I am lost.  I persevere in prayer because I know that God is the only one who will heal my heart and restore my family.  I persevere in prayer because my grandma would want me to.  I persevere in prayer because I miss my grandma and she is with God.  I persevere in prayer because I want to know God more.  I want my faith to grow, no matter how painful it is.  I want to be who I am called to be.  To go where I am called to go.  To fulfill my destiny in Christ.  I want all that God has for me and without prayer that is impossible… 

Maybe this is what it’s all about.  It’s about spiritual growth.  It’s about gaining godly wisdom and understanding.  It’s about the purpose of trials.  It’s about the outcome of suffering.  It’s not all about me or what I want.  It’s not about my plans, my hopes, my desires.  It’s about the life God has called me to.  It’s about the Kingdom of God and the greater good.  It’s about the life to come, not this one.  It’s about storing up treasures in Heaven and not on this earth.  It’s about salvation.  It’s about getting free of myself and my “junk”.  It’s learning how to let Christ strengthen me so that I can do what he has called me to do.  It’s about living for him, by him, and with him.  It’s about being salt and light in this world.  It’s about obedience and surrender.  It’s about what God wants.  It’s about his master plan.  It’s about dying to myself and being alive in Christ.  It’s about so much more than the here and now.  It’s about change and transformation.  It’s about fighting for faith and fighting with faith.  It’s about a new kind of trust, a deeper and more secure trust.  It’s about a new me.  It’s about letting God use me.  It’s about the process and what it will produce.  It’s about giving myself to God – honestly and completely and not looking back.  It’s not about what I can get from God but what I can give to God.  Ultimately, it’s all about God, not Aimie.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:  The old has gone, the new is here,” 2 Corinthians 5:17!

 

Yes & Amen

I found this draft from June of 2012. Just about a month after my grandma died. Re-reading it, I can’t help but think how crazy it is that one one unanswered prayer caused so much uncertainty. How one unanswered prayer felt like such a failure. How it rocked my world. How it made me question everything I had known. Crazier still, God didn’t get offended by my questions. He didn’t write me off as ungrateful. He didn’t rudely remind me of the healing miracles He had previously blessed me with. He didn’t remind me of the 5 extra years He had given grandma after her first diagnosis. No. Instead He comforted me. He loved me. He strengthened me. He answered me when I called and sat quietly by my side when I didn’t want to talk. He mended my heart. He was gentle and kind. He let me cry and scream and throw fits and ask questions and demand answers. He let me ignore His love. He let me grieve how I needed to grieve. And when I needed Him he was always there with just the right words and gestures. He was faithful.  And I am thankful.

“For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come,” 2 Corinthians 1:20-21.

How many promises have you made me, God?  Are the promises you have made me the promises that you have made to all of your children?  Are they the promises in the Bible?  Promises of protection, provision, love, strength, courage, healing, joy, strength, hope?  Are they promises that are freely given or promises that are contingent upon me doing something?  Like having faith, praying, believing, being obedient?  Have you given me specific promises?  Yes.  How are all promises, “yes,” in Christ?  I don’t understand.  Through Jesus, the “amen,” is spoken; does this mean it is answered through Jesus?  Does that mean victory comes through Jesus?  My victory brings you glory.  Does my failure bring you glory?  Yes.  But how?  Because of Romans 8:28?  Because I can’t see the big picture but you can?  Because my suffering produces eternal blessings?  Because I am able to help others because of my pain and failure?  Because my failure is room for you to move on my behalf?  Because you never call me to do anything that I can do without you?

I am your anointed.  My family is your anointed, Lord.  Your seal of ownership is on us.  It is within us.  Your spirit is alive in us and we are covered in your son’s blood.  We are covered.  Your spirit in us is a deposit of what is to come in Heaven?  Of the comfort and peace and love that is awaiting us?  Of the hope that is ours in eternity?  Because we are yours we are promised eternity with you, free from the curse.  We are promised life abundantly.  Are the promises of the Bible applicable in Heaven?  Does the Bible speak of eternity more than the present?  Does the Bible speak of eternity when it speaks of all the good things, all the plans?  Am I to be so eternity minded that I don’t pay attention to this life?  Am I to believe that all of this life is to be hard and full of suffering and we are only to be rewarded and comforted in Heaven?  Why then, do we pray?  Why have faith?  Only to please you?  Can we not move your hand?  Does our faith not move you?  What about the people in the Bible?  What about those who changed your mind?  What about those who prayed and received?  What about the times we prayed and received?

Help us to understand.  Help me to understand.  Open our minds.  Open our hearts.  Speak to our spirits.  Comfort us.  Strengthen us and give us peace.  Love us completely.  Let our heart healings begin in earnest.  Protect us and provide for us.  Hold us together so we will not be ripped apart.  Rebuild us into something better.  Give us wisdom, Lord.  Give us understanding.  I am begging you.  And strengthen and build our faith.  Build our trust in you.  Give us hope that will not fade with the trials of this life.