Archive | January 2009

EXPECTATIONS, PERCEPTIONS & WORSHIP

I’m 58 1/2 years old.  I should have learned this before now.  But I didn’t.  But I know now.  Expectations & perceptions.  Don’t have them.  Don’t trust them.  Except for 1. 

Don’t expect relationships to stay the same.  They change. 

Don’t expect your Church to look a certain way, maybe the way you want it to look.  It won’t.

Don’t expect your jobs to stay the same, or if they do, to satisfy you like they once did.  They won’t.

There is only ONE thing that stays the same.  One thing that never changes.  And that is Our Heavenly Father, Our Jesus, Our Holy Spirit.  They never change.  They always stay the same.  That I can count on.  They love me the same now as they loved me when I wasn’t walking with them.  They love me in a way I still can’t really comprehend.  They will never leave me.  This relationship with them will never change.  What awesome peace that is!

PERCEPTIONS:  The other thing I should have learned by now.  Don’t trust my own perceptions.  They can be so deceiving.  So don’t even go there.  Just go to Jesus, and ask Holy Spirit to show me the truth.

WORSHIP:   I was reading in John 4 today.  Jesus told the woman at the well that Abba Father is ‘seeking’ worshipers who worship Him in spirit and in truth.  Jesus said that!  And Jesus know what He’s talking about!  So…… my Abba Father, who I long to please, is ‘looking for’ certain type of worshipers.  Those that worship in spirit and in truth.  How I wish I really knew what that looked like.  Worshiping in spirit.  Worshiping in truth.  I THINK that means being real.  I THINK that means not necessarily worshiping with any part of your BODY, but with your spirit.  Lifting my spirit up to God.  My heart.  I wonder:  when I’m playing the songs the Lord has given me, when I’m singing and playing my guitar, all by myself in my living room, singing to Him…… is THAT worshiping in spirit and in truth????  And then I think about if I really ‘saw’ God, if I really got a ‘glimpse’ of Him, how could I even lift my head, left alone hold my guitar, or remember the chords I was playing, or sing a song?  How could I do anything but be totally swept away?  And so I understand that I DON”T really understand about worship.  I guess I can go through the motions.  But I pray that I will learn how to ‘be swept away’.  Holy Spirit, please teach me how to worship in spirit and in truth.  Holy Spirit, I also ask you to protect and annoint the worship leaders at my Church, in fact ALL worship leaders at every Church.  My friend, Julie told me that Satan, before he was thrown out of heaven, was in charge of worship, and that’s why he hates worship so much.  That’s why he is intent on making sure we DON’T worship in spirit in truth.  So I pray for our worship leaders, and I ask you to protect them.  Maybe there’s times I don’t especially LIKE certain types of worship, but I confess that it is wrong for me to have that type of attitude.  YOU have placed them there as our worship leaders, Lord, if YOU didn’t want them there, You could certainly remove them.  So, I choose to have the attitude You want us to have about ALL our leaders, and I acknowledge their leadership, knowing that YOU are Sovereign, You are in control.  Thank you Abba Father.

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John 3:27

“No one can receive anything unless God gives it from heaven.” 

As I read that passage this morning, I was contemplating on all that God has given me:

  • He placed me in my mother’s womb, and then in a very special family, and because of that family, I am who I am.
  • He sent an amazing man, Al, to be my husband.  A man that for that past 40 years has been devoted, committed and shown me what unconditional love is all about.
  • He gave me 4 amazing children.  And now 4 amazing grandchildren.
  • He has brought such amazing people into my life over the years.
  • MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL, He has given me His salvation.
  • He gives me this amazing relationship, where He guides me, teaches me, speaks to me, loves me.
  • He gives me songs.
  • He gives me stories.
  • He’s given me an amazing Church, a place where I can be with other men, women and children who are madly in love with Him.
  • He’s given me an amazing home, and amazing little town on a river to live in and a job I love.
  • He’s given me His grace.

………… I could just go on, and on, and on, and on, and on…….

Thank you my Abba Father!  Thank you Jesus!  Thank you Spirit!

ON BEING A GRAMA

I want to introduce you to my grandchildren:

hugging-mr-no11

ANGEL

CALEB:  jacob-caleb-richard

 the-quittems

MY TWO STEP-GRANDCHILDREN, HOLLY AND CODY, WITH MISSY, PAT AND ANGEL AT ANGEL’S BAPTISM

 

First Came an Angel, Then Came a Baby

 

by Sue Hellman

I looked up the definition of Grandmother in the dictionary and found Grandmother defined as, noun. The mother of one’s father or mother; a female ancestor.

That’s it???? I couldn’t believe it. Being a grandmother is so much more. Apparently Mr. Webster never asked Mrs. Webster how she would define ‘grandmother’. If he had, I think the definition would read something more like, Grandmother: noun. Important person in the life of a grandchild, yet does not have to do anything special, except be there; Grandmothers don’t have to be smart, only be willing answer a variety of senseless questions; Grandmothers spend their days playing, reading and loving their grandchildren. The sparkle in her grandchild’s eyes when she enters the room, is her delight. Being a grandmother is like falling in love—if you haven’t experienced it, you can’t imagine how fantastic it is.

I have loved and lost a grandchild, spent countless days praying and hoping for a grandchild, and then hoped and prayed some more. This is the story of God’s redemptive miracle of love given and received, wrapped in the form of a baby.

Unable to conceive after five years of fertility drugs and surgery, my daughter, Missy, and her husband, Tim, were thrilled when a young, expectant mother, who was unable to care for her child, asked them to adopt her baby girl. Believing this was the answer to many prayers, our family waited anxiously for the baby’s birth. Janai was born on December 17, 2001. When I held Janai for the first time, something magical happened. Though she was just a few hours old, it was as if this little baby knew me and I knew her. I had never experienced anything like this before, even with my own children. I watched her grow and I loved her with my whole heart for six months. Then she was gone.

Janai didn’t die, but she left our family and we were devastated. Unaware that Missy and Tim’s marriage was in trouble, our family was stunned when Missy announced that she was divorcing Tim. Despite our family’s best efforts to dissuade her, in June 2002, Missy left Tim and returned Janai to her birth mother. My heart was shattered—broken in places I never expected would be healed again. The hurt, anger and betrayal from my own daughter tormented me for months as I tried to resolve what I was powerless to change.

As usual, it comes like a crushing wave.  Breathing becomes labored and suddenly everything around me is gone, as if I’m falling down a well and I can’t see anything but darkness.  I had heard her on the radio.  Some woman.  She was describing her grandaughter.  She said that little girl has enabled her to see colors she’s never seen before, and to hear sounds she’s never heard before.  She asked the DJ on play a song by Stevie Wonder.  The songs was, “Isn’t she wonderful?”  You can hear the love, the wonder, the awe, the pride, the fulfillment in that Grama’s voice. 

I struggle to breathe.  I feel the hot sword enter my heart.  As I squeeze my eyes shut to fight back the hot tears, I wonder:  WHY?  Why did that beautiful time have to end?  How could something so impossible, happen?  Here I am again.  Back at the beginning.  How is this supposed to work?  Will I ever get used to this?  Will I ever be able to avoid the pain?  I fear the answer is no.  So I tuck the pain away.  I know it will come back and visit me again, probably suddenly, unexpectedly, as now.  But for now, I’m putting it to bed.

Then I see a rainbow.                        (poem written in 2005)

Over the next few years our relationship slowly healed, as we learned to extend and receive the gift of forgiveness. I came to understand the tremendous pain and internal conflict my daughter had been in. Like the Biblical story of two mothers, when King Solomon ordered the baby cut in half, and the real mother sacrificed to save the child, Missy sacrificed her relationship with her family to save Janai from the bitterness of divorce. Missy let Janai go, knowing that Janai’s birth mother loved her and was now able to care for her.

Missy married a man named Pat and eventually gave her life back to the Lord, yet continued to struggle with infertility. Meanwhile, Pat also came to know the Lord and their lives began to change. In 2004, a one-year old boy named Omar came to live with them when his mother, a drug addict, was facing a jail sentence. We called him Sunshine because of his ability to bring a bright smile to all of our faces. We expected Omar would become a member of our family. I loved Omar, but tried to guard my heart. But the thing about grandchildren—I considered him my grandson—is they have the ability to grab those parts of our heart that we try to keep hidden and stuffed. When Omar had been with our family for almost a year, Omar’s mother, now rehabilitated, wanted him back. There was nothing Missy and Pat could do. Hearts breaking, in May 2005, they drove Omar and all his possessions to Oklahoma and left him with a mother he no longer knew. But God’s grace covered the situation and today, Omar is doing well with his mom. Missy and Pat are his godparents and remain in contact with him.

Years went by. Missy and Pat continued to pursue adoption, while Missy remained unable to conceive. There were times when circumstances looked hopeful, imminent even, to adopt a baby—the nursery was prepared and paperwork ready for signature—then at the last possible moment, the biological family would change their minds. It was a horrible experience—getting hopes up for a baby, then hopes dashed. Each loss was another devastating blow added to a series of disappointments.

Then in December 2007, Missy and Pat received an unexpected phone call. There was a baby in Iowa. She was two months old. Her name was Angel.

I remember when Missy told me. I didn’t expect anything to come of this news, there had been too much disappointment and loss for any expectations. Missy and Pat drove to Iowa to meet Angel. The authorities told them that the process would take time and not to get their hopes up for Angel to be home with them by Christmas.

But God had a different time schedule in mind. All the paperwork flowed, the authorities were in their offices and the door was opened for Angel to legally be adopted by Missy and Pat on December 17, 2007—exactly six years to the day of Janai’s birth!

And so Angel was home. Home for Christmas. To be honest, I must tell you that I tried to guard my heart from falling in love with Angel, but every time I was with her, and to this very day, she captures another part of my heart, that I willingly surrender.

Then in March of 2008, we received more wonderful news. After ten years of infertility, when it seemed hopeless that Missy would ever conceive, God opened her womb. Missy was pregnant!

My Christmas miracle is God’s redemption of all of our lives—broken family relationships and broken hearts healed. He sent a little baby named Angel into our family, an angel who brings us tremendous joy. Soon another baby will join our family, a baby born in December, a month that God seems intent on redeeming for us.

The Lord inspired me to write this song, which I often sing to Angel. It is a story of our Christmas miracle—a reminder of the greatest miracle of all, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

First Came An Angel, Then Came A Baby
First came an Angel, then came a baby! What an amazing story to tell!

 

She’d been waiting for such a long time

to be a Mom her womb it cried

And just when it seemed she’d run out of time

a baby named Angel came into her life!

Yes, a baby named Angel she needed a home

Angel became theirs, it’s where she belonged

suddenly came more good news

God had opened up her womb! A baby would be joining them soon!

Now as she holds Angel on her knee

inside of her a baby is growing

She thinks of a girl named Mary

who long ago experienced a similar thing: First came an Angel, then a baby!

To Mary an angel had come

He told her about the promised one

the One who is God’s own son!

And she would be the mother of this one!

A baby named Jesus, the Promised One!

First came an Angel, then came a baby! What an amazing story to tell!

NOTE:  This story was written before Caleb was born.  Caleb was born on December 17, 2008!!!!!   God continues to redeem that day for our family!

Psalm 105:1-5

This is why I decided to start my own blog: Psalm 105:1-5

Psalm 105:1-5  says,

     “Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim his greatness.
      Let the whole world know what he has done.
      Sing to him; yes, sing his praises.
      Tell everyone about his wonderful deeds.
      Exult in his holy name;
      rejoice, you who worship the Lord.
      Search for the Lord and for his strength;
      continually seek him.
      Remember the wonders he has performed,
      his miracles, and the rulings he has given….”

I can do that here.  I can tell about the things He teaches me every day.  I can testify on how He changed my heart.  In 2000, I was a former USDA loan officer, who was just finishing up a 4 year paralegal college course and working on a USDA governmental task force our of Washington, D.C.  Then suddenly, after nearly dying, my life direction, focus and occupation changed.
     God began inspiring me to write songs.  They would just come into my head as if I were seeing them on a big screen.  Out of the blue I got the idea to buy a guitar.  I had never played the guitar before.  My son taught me a few chords.
     Now, three years later, I have written over sixty songs, to music.  There are songs that praise God.  There are songs that cry out to Him.  Recently I found some old journalling notes from 1998 and 1999.  At the time, I was receiving counseling for depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress due to childhood issues.  My counselor told me to go home and write a story- anything that came into my head.  “The Little Red Crab” was born, the first of 19 stories of animals and ojects with human emotions and personalities, endearing little characters trying to overcome their fears. 
     You will meet some of these characters in this blog.

     So I decided to start my own blog.  Here I will share my songs and stories.  Here I will share how I hear the Lord speaking in my life.  I will be real and I will be honest.