Living for Christ

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

In Memory of Johnny

The unbelievable had happened - every parent's worst nightmare. One of Dustin's pledge brothers in the Delta Tau Delta house was found dead last weekend. Alcohol poisoning is suspected. When Dustin called to tell me, I felt like someone knocked the wind out of me. "NO! It can't be!!" my heart screamed. As he went on to describe what had happned, I felt sick.

The mom in me started lecturing Dustin about the dangers of alcohol. "Nothing good comes from drinking" "Young people want to act like it's normal and everyone does it - but it's a destroyer, I told him!! Probably not what he needed to hear but this is my fear in sending him out on his own. One bad choice can be costly - in this case the highest cost of all - a precious life.

Johnny had come to Indiana on a scholastic scholarship from clear out west - Tucsan AZ to be exact. He and Dustin had started out as roommates so I had been fortunate to know him from our visits to Wabash College.

My heart goes out to the Smith family and to the Wabash community - especially the men of Delta Tau Delta. None of their lives will ever be the same. Johnny touched alot of lives in a short time. He was well liked and will me greatly missed.

Only God can heal the pain and give us strength to go on. In Romans 8:28, one of my favorite verses, He gives us the promise of using all things for the good of those who love Him. Times like these it's hard to imagine good from tragedy. But we must not put limits on God's goodness.

Father, please wrap your loving arms around the Smith family and all those who loved Johnny. We are grieving Lord - we do not understand. His life was too short and he never got to accomplish his dreams. His parents will never get to see him graduate with the degree he hoped for. They will never get to see him marry and have children of his own. His brother will never get to share those things that meant the most to him - those special times between brothers. His pledge brothers will never get to hear him sing or call him "dump truck Johhny" again. We only have the memories and the images that are forever written on our hearts. Lord - please give strength, peace and hope to those who mourn. And give us patience to see the good only You can bring from tragedy. Let Johnny know he is loved beyond Words. IN Jesus Name - Amen

Monday, September 15, 2008

Adjusting Fine

I cannot believe it's been so long since I last posted on here. So much has happened in that time! The biggest change in my life is the "Empty Nest" change. My son graduated from high school in May and is now living a couple hrs away at college.

I shed so many tears during his senior year and thru the summer. So many "lasts" as he finished his football season, basketball season, track season etc. But the good news is - there are so many "Firsts" to begin. He chose a great college, Wabash, ranked 12th in the nation and we couldn't be more excited for him. Of course. I miss him terribly and can't begin to imagine how he grew up so fast. But I am mostly very proud and excited for him. Nothing stays the same, and of course I would not want him to live at home and be dependent on us forever - but moving into the next phase of life is always unfamiliar and uncertain. It is hard to not worry when I know he will be faced with so many decisions and pressures; things of the world that want first place in his mind and heart. The one thing that gets me thru each day is knowing God has a wonderful plan for Dustin's life. A plan to prosper him and not to harm him. Plans for a hope and a future. So, as I finish praying for him each morning, and night, and in the night, I have peace knowing that my God loves Dustin even more than I do and is aware of every single thing taking place in his life. He knows where he is leading him and he knows how to get him there. My role has changed. I'm still his mom, and always will be. But instead of cooking for him and doing his laundry and making sure he has his homework done and gets to bed on time etc - I must pray. I must pray and trust God. And so I will...I do.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

God Speaking

I have a new favorite song that God led me to find on Saturday. It's one of those songs that you are drawn to and love from the first note. The melody is beautiful but the real message and meaning is in the lyrics. Isn't it funny how someone can write a song that echoes the thoughts of others so perfectly. This song does that for me. It says what I have learned and believe from the bottom of my heart.

God Speaking
By Ronnie Freeman

Have you ever heard a love song that set your spirit free?
Have you ever watched a sunrise and felt you could not breathe?
What if it's Him?
What if it's God speaking?

Have you ever cried a tear that you could not explain?
Have you ever met a stranger who already knew your name?
What if it's Him?
What if it's God speaking?

Who knows how He'll get a hold of us?
Get our attention to prove He is enough
He'll do and He'll use whatever He wants to
To tell us, “ I love you.”

Have you ever lost a loved one who you thought should still be here?
Do you know what it feels like to be tangled up in fear?
What if He's somehow involved?
What if He's speaking through it all?

Who knows how He'll get a hold of us?
Get our attention to prove He is enough
He'll do and He'll use whatever He wants to
To tell us, “ I love you.”

His ways are higher. His ways are better.
Though sometimes strange,
What could be stranger - than God in a manger?

Who knows how He'll get a hold of us?
Get our attention to prove He is enough
Who knows how He’ll get a hold of you?
Get your attention to prove He is enough.
He'll do and He'll use whatever He wants to
To tell us, “ I love you.”

God is speaking, “I love you.”

When I listen to this song it makes me think of so many things. I think of the time I sat in church and cried for the first time and couldn't explain why but just felt God's presence so much and knew I was supposed to be there right then. (April 1988) I think of all the other times I am moved by something and cry and can't explain why but I feel close to God right then. It's God's Spirit touching me and opening my heart to His presence. It's also proof that He is making my heart more tender and loving, like His.

I think about how He used the birth of Kristin and all her disabilities to draw me to Him. It was the hardest thing I ever went through but it caused me to search for God and for the meaning in it all. That is what caused me to get in His Word and study and learn Who He is - the best thing I have ever done.

God does use the unexpected to draw us to Him. He works in ways we could never predict to open our eyes and ears so we can see and hear Him. He does it this way so we will know it is Him.

My favorite line, "What could be stranger than God in a manger?" It makes me think about the people of that time and how they reacted. Even though many knew the prophesies about the Messiah - they didn't even recognize when He had arrived. Why? Because God did it in a way that was meek and humble. A way they did not expect. How many times has God been at work in my life and I didn't recognize Him? How many times do I have my ears shut when He whispers, "I love you"?

Father, thank you for this song. Thank you for Ronnie Freeman who wrote it and for Mandisa who sings it so beautifully. Thank you for the talents you have blessed them with and the way You touch others thru those talents and draw them to Yourself. Lord, forgive me for the times I miss what you are doing because I am expecting something so unlike You. Forgive me for my selfishness and how I get caught up in things of this world and lose my focus of You. I praise You for how you have worked through unexpected circumstances in my life to show yourself to me; to prove over and over that you are all I need. You are an amazing God who works in strange ways that are always what I need. Thank you for loving me so much. Thank you for coming into this world - in a stable - and leaving on a cross, so that I could know You - know Your love, grace, mercy and forgivness. Thank You for speaking to us all. Amen

Job 37:2-5
Listen! Listen to the roar of his voice, to the rumbling that comes from his mouth.
He unleashes his lightning beneath the whole heaven and sends it to the ends of the earth.
After that comes the sound of his roar; he thunders with his majestic voice. When his voice resounds, he holds nothing back.
God's voice thunders in marvelous ways; he does great things beyond our understanding.

To listen to this song go to

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Looking At The Heart

Today I started a new Beth Moore study called, "David, 90 Days With a Heart Like His". The passage that stood out to me today was 1 Samuel 16:7, "But the Lord said to Samuel "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." I must admit, I often judge by the outward appearance. Even though I know and believe with my whole heart this is wrong, I find myself forming opinions by the appearance of others.

In this study I was encouraged to think of when I have felt intimidated, less than someone else. Haven't we all had these feelings? Isn't it because we tend to size others up and view them by the standards the world has set upon us? The world says women should all strive to keep looking young. We should fight those wrinkles, Only young and attractive people are desirable. Men are encouraged to keep their hair, have muscles, drive nice vehicles. The requirements go on and on.

But God does not look at the things men look at....the Lord looks at the heart. So isn't that how we should learn to look at others too? This brought to mind my daughter Kristin. It always bothered me that throughout her short 10 1/2 years of life, she was treated differently because of being judged by her outward appearance. She was different than "normal" children. She was puffy, her mouth hung open, her teeth were odd shaped and miscolored. She had a tracheotomy and often had secretions spewing from it. She couldn't hold her head up by herself - she didn't have much tracking motion with her eyes and she couldn't respond to activities normally at all. I will never forget something one of the nurses said to us when Kristin was still in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit. We had inquired about something and she didn't know the answer to. She went on to explain that she wasn't that familiar with Kristin because she usually took care of certain other babies. But that day some other nurses had arrived before her and were able to "choose" who they wanted to care for and she got who was left. I don't think she really realized all that she revealed to us in the statement, but it cut deep and still hurts today.

I was thinking about that today and realized that is just one more lesson God allowed me to learn thru Kristin's precious life. Then it made me realize that maybe I didn't learn it very well after all. I realized I'm much too worried about what others think and that must come from how I judge others.

Lord, forgive me for looking at outward appearances and judging by the world's standards. Help me to see thru your eyes and to reach out in love. Let my heart reflect that of Jesus. May others feel accepted and welcomed because of how I respond to and treat them. May I have a heart like David, that is chasing after you. Thru Jesus I pray, Amen

Monday, February 05, 2007

Superbowl Champs!!

Excited! Thrilled! Elated! Joy! Relief! Satisfaction! These are just a few of the emotions I have been feeling since the end of the Superbowl victory last night. And what a game it was. There was no lack of excitement from beginning to end, with the conclusion I have dreamed of since 1995.

I admit I have only been a Colts fan since 1995. That was the year I began taking a real interest in the game of football and especially the NFL team called the Indianapolis Colts. That was the fall my daughter was in Riley hospital and my husband and I would watch the games from her hospital room.

I have a unique and special husband. He has so much patience with people and it's because of him that I was able to learn enough about football to love and appreciate the game. As we sat in the hospital rooms watching the games, I could ask him questions about what was going on and he would always explain in ways I could understand.

Those were the days of Harbaugh and Siragusa and they had a great year almost making it to the Superbowl. After that season, I was hooked. My love and passion for the game has grown each year since. The fact that my son started playing youth football in 1998 and is now a junior in high school and still playing and my husband being the offensive coordinator for our high school team has added to my passion.

I have had many good reasons to love and support the Colts through the years. They have put together a team of great guys starting with the owner Jim Irsay taking over after his father's death in 1997, to obtaining RB Marvin Harrison in 1996, QB Peyton Manning in 1998 and coach Tony Dungy in 2002. We have had sad moments of losing great players to other teams and exciting moments of adding new members that have really brought success - such as this year's additions of kicker Adam Vinatieri and RB rookie Joseph Addai. But the men who stand out the most to me and the ultimate reason I love this team so much is the many men of faith we have representing our city and the NFL.

Tony Dungy has had so many opportunities to live his faith before our nation and show how Jesus makes a difference in his life. My heart broke with him and his family last year as they had to deal with the unexpectant death of their son, James. It was such a blow - a devastation that they were able to accept because of faith. I have had the opportunity to read about the faith of Dallas Clark, Hunter Smith, Jeff Saturday, Tarik Glenn, Ben Utecht, and others who use their fame to witness to others. To me, that is what makes them champions. They have the "it's not about me, it's about Him" attitudes.

God bless all of you. You inspire me and give me the real reason to cheer - "Go Colts!!"

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Superbowl XLI

Being a Colts fan, I have been on a high the past two weeks. Being a Christian, I have also been on a high the last two weeks. The history being made goes beyond anything I've ever seen in my years. I believe it goes beyond anything the human eye can see at all.

Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith are the first black coaches to go to the superbowl. That is amazing and unbelievable to me. The fact that skin color makes a difference in the eyes of humanity at all has always been quite unbelievable to me. I am thankful that God created us all different and yet loves us all the same. Each one of us is created in His image to live the plan He has for our lives. Which brings me to my next point.

These two coaches have a strong faith in Jesus Christ. I have had the privelage of hearing them confess it over and over on national TV all week. Their faith is the very essence of who they are. I got an email yesterday that shows a full page ad that was run in USA Today. Tony Dungy is quoted as saying, "The inspiration for my coaching model comes from Jesus himself." And Lovie Smith is quoted saying, "At a young age I called on God to help me. I have leaned on him ever since." Underneath their pictures and these quotes there is another quote which reads, "On Sunday one of us will be a world champion. We may have reached the ultimate goal for a football coach, but we know there is more to life than football. Even when you have achieved the ultimate, something better lies beyond. As pro football coaches, we are also men of faith. A faith that drives us ever day to seek excellence. A faith that comforts us even in the worst of times. A faith that assures us that when we are walking the sideline, we are walking with God. We would love to tell you more. Visit www. for stories and videos from real people who have discovered that there's more to life than just living."

Wow, these men are such great men of faith. It has truly been a blessing for me to hear them interviewed and to hear the responses from the media all week. There has been nothing but good feedback from every single one of them. These two men are different,-they live their faith and because of that God is being glorified. Oh that does my heart good.

Oh Lord, how you bless my heart. Thank you for Tony and Lovie and the faith you have given them. Thank you for putting them in the position to witness to the world. I pray your protection over them Father. May you be their armor to protect them from every evil that satan throws at them. I know he wants to see them fall - he would like nothing better than ruining their testimonies. But you Lord have promised to never let us be tempted beyond what we can bear and always giving us a way out. May they be in Your Word each day, putting on Your full armor to take their stand against the devil's schemes. May their faith continue to grow stronger and their lives shine strong to draw masses to You. Thank you Father, for your Son Jesus. Thank you for sending Him to die in our place. Your love, mercy and grace are beyond anything we can ever understand and completely beyond our deserving. We stand amazed at Who You are. May our lives be used by You and for You. Through the precious name of Jesus I pray - Amen.

"In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." Matt. 5:16

Thursday, November 09, 2006

A Year Ago

It's hard to believe that a year ago today we were holding our precious daughter as she went to be with Jesus. So many emotions - so many memories. But so much to be thankful for. Yes, we miss her every day, but we would not want her to be back here with us - that would be selfish. We just look forward to being with her - to being with the Lord. I love to imagine what her life is like now. I know my thoughts don't come close to how wonderful it really is. I know Jesus prepared a very special place. One thing I wonder about often, is how much she knows about us. I struggle sometimes with earthly thoughts. We often hear how she is looking over us now. But I don't really think that is true. I think some things are limited only for God to do. We know from scripture that when we go to be with the Lord there is no more sadness or tears and I just don't see how you could look down here and not be sad. But possibly God allows her glimpses. I often pray for God to tell her things from me and to give her hugs and kisses from me. Of course I don't know if he allows this - but I know his ways are perfect. I don't have to know all the answers, because I know enough to be at peace. I know God's love is perfect and I know she is with him. I know she is whole and that she isn't suffering anymore. I know I don't have to worry about her and that I will be with her again. I so look forward to getting my first hug and kiss from her and hearing "I love you mommy" for the very first time. I never experienced those things in her 10 years of life, but that's ok too because God's thoughts and ways are higher than ours and what he allows is what we need. I will close with one of my favorite songs from Watermark called Glory Baby:

Glory baby you slipped away as fast as we could say baby…baby..
You were growing, what happened dear?
You disappeared on us baby…baby..
Heaven will hold you before we do
Heaven will keep you safe until we’re home with you…
Until we’re home with you…
Miss you everyday
Miss you in every way
But we know there’s a
day when we will hold you
We will hold you
You’ll kiss our tears away
When we’re home to stay
Can’t wait for the day when we will see you
We will see you
But baby let sweet Jesus hold you
‘till mom and dad can hold you…
You’ll just have heaven before we do
You’ll just have heaven before we do
Sweet little babies, it’s hard to
understand it ‘cause we’re hurting
We are hurting
But there is healing
And we know we’re stronger people through the growing
And in knowing-
That all things work together for our good
And God works His purposes just like He said He would…
Just like He said He would…
I can’t imagine heaven’s lullabies
and what they must sound like
But I will rest in knowing, heaven is your home
And it’s all you’ll ever know…all you’ll ever know…