Sunday, May 12, 2013

Cry Out and I Will Answer

When our friends Brandon and Mandy were expecting their fifth child, Brandon had a dream a couple of months before their baby was born.  He knew it was more than just a dream.  Brandon shared it with my husband, Mark, but chose not to share the details with Mandy in order to protect her from fear.  In the dream, their baby had just been born, he was seated in a specific spot in their bedroom, and something was very wrong.  The situation, which was not clear in the dream, was life or death.  The message in the dream was clear… “if you cry out to Me, I will answer.”

When the time came, Mandy’s labor went smoothly.  Molly Jo was born peacefully in the water at home, with Brandon supporting her.  But quickly their midwives noted that Molly Jo was not breathing.  Hastily, they had Brandon cut the cord, got Molly Jo, and started giving her chest compressions and oxygen in a mask.  For at least twenty minutes, they worked hard breathing for her and removing amniotic fluid from her lungs. 

Mandy and Molly Jo
Right after the birth, when it was clear Molly Jo was not breathing, Brandon found himself in the exact same spot in the room where he had been in the dream, living what he had envisioned.  He cried out passionately to the Lord as Molly Jo was being worked on.  Meanwhile, Mandy was embraced by supernatural peace and knew that the Lord would save Molly Jo.

A little side note here… the midwives had not been told of Brandon’s dream.  But as one of them cared for Molly Jo, she heard from the Lord the exact same message that Brandon had received earlier… “if you cry out to Me, I will answer.”  The midwives were certainly crying out as they worked on Molly Jo!

The Lord did answer.  After twenty minutes, He breathed life into Molly Jo, much to the joy of everyone in the room (thus, the addition of “Jubilee” to her name)!  I love to remember this miracle whenever I gaze upon sweet Molly Jo.  She is a reminder of His tender love, in the good times and the bad.  He is faithful.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A Knock On the Door

It’s been a long time since I’ve enjoyed writing a post.  On those rare occasions that I cannot sleep, I often feel the Lord impressing on me a story to share.  Tonight, for some reason, it is an old story that I have wanted to write, but never did find the time.

In the Fall of 2002, Mark and I lived in San Diego, California with our two young boys (Pierce – 2 ½; Jaden – 6 months).  Mark worked as an electrical engineer at Intel, and found himself at an interesting crossroads with his career.  When Mark was a bachelor, he put in long hours at work with little consequence.  Once we married, however, and especially after we started having children, the expectations grew to be unreasonable.  Mark’s work/life balance was painfully off-balance, to the tune of being expected to work 80 hours per week.  He began to seek the Lord constantly in prayer regarding the situation, and interestingly, things at work grew to be ridiculously painful.  It became clear to Mark that he was to quit.  Interesting, considering that his goal prior to this season in life was to work his way up the ladder to become a VP at Intel.

In December 2002, we visited friends of ours in Houston.  Knowing that Mark planned to quit in the Spring, they joked that we should move to Houston and purchase a lot in their neighborhood.  They recently built a new home on a golf course, and empty lots lined their street.  This joke held no temptation for Mark, but I actually found the idea rather appealing.  I spoke with him within the next couple of days regarding the many benefits to moving to Houston (cheaper cost of living, living near good friends, support with home schooling, etc.).  He was not impressed… at all.  But he said that he would pray about it, and he was open to my staying a bit longer in Houston to research building a home on a lot.  You could say he was humoring me  : )

Things seemed to fall easily into place regarding the home we would want built in Houston.  When Spring arrived, we had one foot invested in building a home on a lot across the street from our good friends.  It was a low risk to Mark, because pulling out meant little money lost.  He was happy living in our home in a beautiful valley in San Diego.  Moving to Houston still held little appeal, but he was faithful in prayer, asking for confirmation.  He planned to quit in April, as he felt the Lord was leading him clearly in that area, but he had no idea what was around the corner regarding career.  There was no reason – yet – to move.

One Saturday that Spring, Mark lined up a few different realtors to interview them regarding selling our home in San Diego.  Once again, he was just speculating – simply doing his research.  A heavy, closed door regarding moving to Houston would be a great relief to Mark.  But if the Lord knew better, Mark would certainly follow.

Mind you, our home was not on the market.  There was no ‘For Sale’ sign in the yard.  Mark was simply talking with three realtors, one interview lined up after another, at our kitchen table.  During one of the interviews, the realtor shared with Mark a story about a home in our neighborhood.  The home was not for sale, but someone knocked on the door asking to buy it, and the house ended up being sold to them.  In the midst of this story, exactly when the lady said the word “knocked,” there was a knock on our door.  Not the ringing of a door bell.  A knock.  Mark got up, answered the door, and was in shock to hear a man expressing interest in seeing our home -  to possibly purchase it.  Mark motioned to the lady at our kitchen table, to express that he was currently talking with a realtor and would have to get back with him.  The man expressed that he, himself, was a realtor.  He explained that he had a client that may be interested in our home.  And beyond that, he and his wife were interested personally. 

After viewing our home, his client was indeed interested, which irritated his wife because she was interested in our home!  Short story - a contract was signed within three days for them to purchase our home (wife won, client lost!).  No fees, mind you, because he was a realtor and took care of the paperwork himself.  Also, Mark asked that the sale of their home not be contingent, which the realtor had no qualms with.  Mark was blown away.

With little doubt that he was not only to quit his job, but also to move to Houston, Mark willingly went through the motions to move our family to a hot, humid, flat city with plenty of traffic.  Obedient to the promptings God gave us, his nervous stomach didn’t follow suit as easily, and he threw up that first night in our new home in Houston.  He laughs about that now, as we’ve been so incredibly blessed by God’s redirection in our lives.

In the Fall of 2003, fires tore through San Diego, burning down homes in our old area and altering the beautiful views of that valley that we lived in.  Mark pondered the sad timing of that tragedy with awe.  Looking back, we also wonder that if we had stayed in San Diego, Mark most likely would have taken another high-tech job (leading to more work/life imbalance) through connections with friends, rather than start the family business that the Lord led him to in Houston.  Not to mention, we couldn’t have afforded to survive financially in San Diego, with its cost of living, running our family business. 

The Lord works in mysterious ways.  We find that the directions He has us take often look ‘crazy’ to the world.  But if we follow, we find ourselves on a beautiful path.  We’re thankful that He intervened in the details of Mark’s career, which has altered the dynamics of our family dramatically for the better.  We marvel at the confirmations He gave us along the way, including that perfectly timed knock on the door.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Cardinal

I'd like to share the Lord's involvement in our lives regarding our recent move.  It always amazes me how He works in the details of our lives -- in details that would seem to be trivial to the Creator of the universe, like moving from one home to another.  I'm thankful He loves us just that much.

When we moved to Houston in 2003, we moved across the street from good friends of ours, in a golf course subdivision. A few years later, our friends ended up moving to Colorado. Also, the backyard was small and we weren’t allowed to walk on the golf course. And if our trash can was in the wrong spot, we’d get a letter. J We longed for a home on some land in a country setting, so the children could play outside and dig in the dirt. But the years passed without our pursuing it, as we watched the economy slow down and homes sit in our neighborhood with ‘for sale’ signs in the yards.

Last November (a year ago), Mark and I were blessed to have some prophetic words spoken over us by an older couple that we’d never met before. They prayed over us and shared four things that they felt the Lord was impressing on them about us. They were all right on – concerning the baby we were expecting, a ministry the Lord had placed on both of our hearts, an upcoming time of confusion, and about our desire to move. Regarding that, they said, “we’re getting that you’d like to move to a new home. Not out of state or anything, but a different home. You’ve been cautious for a long time. The Lord wants you to know He’ll be in the details.” Wow, that was encouraging to hear! We had been cautious, so it was nice to have that invitation.

That week, I got online and set up a simple search on a real estate site. Not many homes came across my email, because I made the search pretty specific - over half an acre, one story (or no bedrooms upstairs), etc. In early March, a home came across that looked interesting. We called a real estate agent that friends of ours liked, and set an appointment to see the home that weekend. The night before, I prayed and asked the Lord for a confirmation. Knowing that we could love the house, but He could have a different home in mind for us, I wanted His guidance. I hadn’t thought about a specific confirmation, but a cardinal came to my mind when I paused in my prayer. So I prayed that while we viewed the home, we would see a cardinal if it was the right home for us. I hadn’t seen a cardinal in two years, and that was when we were out of town on a camping trip. So, that was my fleece (Judges 6).

The next day, we pulled up to the home and I joked with Mark as I got out of the car “let me know if you see a cardinal…” (I hadn’t mentioned my prayer to him yet). The house was just right as we walked through it. At one point, I looked out a back window, and a cardinal flew down and landed on a bird bath in the back yard. I called my son Pierce over to see it, and Mark as well. I shared my prayer with them – how exciting to have a confirmation!

We weren’t doing things in the typical order – but we hurriedly did months of house projects, decluttering and cleaning in about a week and put our home up for sale. Knowing that the Lord would be in the details, we figured a sale would be quick and easy. We decided it'd be best for me to take the children to my parents’ home in Louisiana for a few weeks, to allow the house to stay in order and sell. How funny to think that things would be quick & easy. If we’d really thought about it, we’d have known that things may just be very difficult and slow, because that builds character! Seven stressful months followed, with many house showings, while homeschooling five children and having a new baby. During that seven months, we faced very difficult times with our business. Three times stand out in our minds when buying a home looking downright impossible. By human wisdom, we would have taken the ‘for sale’ sign out of the front yard. Yet each time, we watched the Lord clear the obstacle. How sweet to have a confirmation in order to keep us on the path we were on.

All the while, it was amazing that the home we found didn’t sell out from under us. At one point, the owner (who was also a realtor) found that the agency that sets up showings was denying all showings on the home! Our realtor joked with her that her clients were really praying about the home, so we had a lot of power on our side. The other realtor joked back, “well, tell them to stop praying!”

Eventually we had a reasonable offer from a sweet family that wanted to buy our home, and we were able to close on both homes exactly 7 months after listing our home. Mark & I are still looking at each other in wonder – we can’t believe we’re here – in the ‘cardinal’ house! The Lord truly was in the details, and He used the slow, challenging process to build our faith and teach us more dependence on Him. He is faithful – always.

- Rebecca

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Hearing from Him

As I was driving to meet with some friends to pray together, this song played on the radio - – which I’d heard many times before, but never paid attention to the words. At one point, the words became crystal clear to me and seemed to be spoken straight to my heart.
I arrived at my friend’s house, and there was a good time of sharing and prayer.  Much of what my friends had for me in reply to what I shared seemed pertinent to the section of the song that stood out so strongly to me. I shared that perhaps the Lord spoke something to me on the drive over which tied in to what was being revealed. They asked what, and I explained about the song, and I sang the section that the Lord highlighted for me:

“ a couple dents in my fender - a couple rips in my jeans. Try and fit the pieces together, but PERFECTION is my enemy. On my own I'm so clumsy, but on Your shoulders I can see, I'm FREE to be me.”
At that point, a friend reached behind her and grabbed a sheet of paper. On her drive over (1 hour and 45 minutes in traffic!), she had heard the same song, and the Lord impressed on her that the words were meant for me (that specific section that I had just sung!). There it was – scribbled on her paper (quite scribbled, because she wrote it while driving – ha!!)... the exact section of the song! How amazing to have the Lord confirm His encouragement to me. He is incredibly kind. : )

I'm a child in this journey, but I'm so glad that my ears are opening and I'm learning to recognize His voice. I hope this story speaks to you in some way!  He is VERY real - He is CRAZY about you - and He does speak and move in powerful ways.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Trusting Jehovah Jireh

My wife and I sat in our bedroom staring at each other. Everything just seemed to continue to grow worse and worse. Money was getting way too tight and we had already cut the fat out of our spending. We had just purchased a new home by the skin of our teeth last month. While I had only been at my job for little less than a year, it was a company I enjoyed being at and was perfectly suited to my skill set. I was going to have to find a higher paying job. My wife worked at a company that she loved for the past three years, but if I wasn't able to move up in pay quickly she would have to leave it completely. We both sent out a multitude of resumes and applications. I quickly received a response for a position where I could make a lot more money than my current paycheck. I went in for an interview and found out it was a sales position with a very well established company. The thing is I’m not a sales man. I do tech support for an Internet hosting company. While I’ve tried in my past to do sales, it’s never worked out. The information I received about the company seemed like a great way to start a new path in my life and better provide for my family.

We were again at a place where we had we had no choice, but to trust whole-heartedly in God and His plans for our lives. We chose to fast for a day while we prayed for wisdom on what to do. Should I leave my current position that I’ve been at and well suited for or should my wife leave her job that she had been at for three years? There was so much that had happened in our life recently that it felt that God had really stripped us of everything that was not of him. We had been put on the burning alter multiple times to have the fat burned off only to leave an acceptable offering to Him. This had lead us to the place where we knew a decision was more about his wants for us than for what our simple wants and desires were.

The fast had begun and we had come to the day when it was time to tell my company I was leaving or turn down the new job. The plan was to wait until lunch and go talk to the people in HR, but strangely enough they called me in before I could get to them. As I entered the head of HR’s office I noticed my supervisor was in the room as well. It felt a bit like high school again, but unlike high school I couldn’t think of a reason I would be called in. They sat me down and began to inform me that the company I had applied for called to check my resume and references with my current position. I began to figure that I was going to be let go for looking for a new job and not informing them. They asked me why I was leaving and I honestly replied, “The money. I have a wife, two children and a new mortgage and I need to make more money. I really like what I do and this company, but the needs of my family have to take precedence.” They looked at each other, asked me to step outside, and after a brief pow-wow called me back in. I was beginning to assume that God had made his choice and that a new career was in my very new future, but historically speaking my ability to figure out God’s plans for my future are not too great. My supervisor began to tell me how I was a great asset to the company and that a promotion was already in the works for me, which would include a raise, and that my year review was coming up, in which my performance warranted another raise. They asked me if I would stay if they offered me both of those raises right away, as they would be mine if I stayed. There it was. God at work. I stepped outside, called my wife to let her know of the offer and confer with her which wasn’t a long call, then came back and accepted the 15% raise and coming promotion.

My wife and I had made a choice to put everything in God’s hands and then to simply follow the path he laid out. Sometimes it feels the road doesn’t appear until our feet hit the ground, which shouldn’t surprise us because He’s God. He is Jehovah Jireh. There is a song where the lyrics speak of birds singing of how not to worry and how everything would be okay. They may seem like ridiculous lyrics, but they’re so true. It’s a musical reference to Matthew 6:26:

“Look at the birds. They don't plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren't you far more valuable to Him than they are?”
Every day is a reminder of how we are to put everything we are in God’s hands and it is only by following His plan do we succeed and every now and then we get a few rewards along the way.

- David & Cindie

Thursday, July 30, 2009

God Hears; God Heals

I recently got home from an unexpected trip to Colorado. Russ, my older brother, was on his way home to Amarillo with his family after visiting our parents in Evergreen. As they were driving through Colorado Springs, they had to stop due to traffic. Debris in the road caused a chain reaction of people hitting their breaks. As Russ checked his rear view mirror to be sure the cars behind him stopped, he saw a motor home veer out of traffic onto the right shoulder of the road. As the motor home came up on the shoulder next to Russ’s car, it hit a sign and burst into flames. Russ knew he had to do something. He pulled his car forward and out of traffic in front of the fiery vehicle and ran back to help the man as Tracy and the kids, still in their car, started to pray for protection. Tracy said Si, their oldest son, told her not to worry, that his dad would be alright.

Tracy and Si could see Russ as he ran into the fire at the driver’s door. He was not able to get the door open, but the window was open and Russ was able to grab the top of the door frame and peel it down and out to force it open. Fighting flames that were fueled by a gas tank in the motor home, Russ’s next obstacle was the seat belt. He was able to get the shoulder belt around to the back of the man, but the lap belt was still holding him in. Russ said he was unable to release the belt and was asking God for help. A police officer came in with a knife and cut the lap belt. Russ, along with others who had come to help, was able to pull the man to safety.

The chaos of the scene must have been amazing. Tracy talked about the sounds of cars hitting car parts flying. She thought something had hit them, but their car is undamaged. There were 6 other cars that were involved in accidents due to this one that was still burning. A police officer came and evacuated Tracy and the kids from their car in case the fire spread their way. They were pulled to safety away from where Russ was.

I can’t imagine the all of the events that unfolded during this time. Lots of very scary moments that must have happened so fast but felt like they would never end. Russ was with the man and did talk with him and was able to get a response, right after he was pulled out. At some point the firemen saw Russ and told him to sit down.

The paramedics and firemen were tending to the victims, Russ included. A fireman went to Tracy to tell her about Russ’s injuries and then talked to the kids about their daddy. Tracy said he was very kind, sensitive and straight with them. He told them that Russ had been burned on his face, arms, and hands and that they would be transporting him to the hospital. Tracy was to follow the ambulance to the hospital in Colorado Springs. (He was later transported to the burn unit at University of Colorado Hospital in Denver)

Tracy is an amazing woman. She gathered her children and prayed. She told the kids that God is a God of healing and would heal their dad. As they drove, Tracy had Breck start calling people and asking for prayers of healing.

News of Russ being injured with burns to his face, arms, and hands went out and people all over started to pray.

God hears prayers! God protects the righteous! God heals his children!

I arrived to the University of Colorado Burn Unit less than 24 hours after this all happened. The burns on Russ’s face were gone! The burns on his arms were gone! His eyes were fine & his lungs were clear! Praise God!

I believe firemen know what burns look like. I can’t believe a fireman would tell a family that their husband and father had burns that were not really there. I can believe that our God would use an ambulance ride to heal those burns. Whether He healed Russ in that ambulance or protected him in the fire (OR BOTH) I praise God for the miracles of the weekend.

I believe God used Russ to save this man, Jose Fernandez, from the fire. I believe God protected Russ from the chemicals and flames, and healed his burns on his face and arms. I know the burns on his hands will be used to testify to people of Jesus’ love for each of us.

I am so proud of each of my nieces and nephews. Brently, Breck, Si, Jake, Braid, and Asher, are all incredible young people. The events that took place in Colorado Springs on July 25th were huge and each of these kids rose to the occasion with beautiful poise. Tracy is such a great example of a Godly woman, wife, and mother. Her strength and faith are immeasurable. Then there is Russ…of the burns, the blisters, the singed hair, the bandages, the stories and memories of the events…what sticks out to me right now as I write his name is his face…His expression of compassion, tenderness, grace, and love when he was asked what made him run to a burning car and he answered “because Jesus lives in my heart”

I would like to thank you for lifting Russ up in prayers. I ask that you continue to pray for healing for his hands. I would like to ask that you add Jose Fernandez and his family to your prayers. He is in stable but critical condition. He is 75 years old and burned on almost half of his body. He is in the Burn Unit at University of Colorado. He is surrounded with family who love him. A son and grandson came to visit with Russ in the hospital. They told Russ that he had accepted Christ about 3 months ago and was baptized. They are all very sweet, gracious people and need your prayers through this very difficult time. When I spoke to them on Monday, after the accident, they said that they are holding on to the idea of having him home for Thanksgiving to carve the turkey.

I would like to thank you for lifting Russ up in prayer. I ask that you continue to pray for healing for his hands and for God to be glorified through all of this.


Friday, June 19, 2009

A Love Note in the form of a Free Car

My faith in God started as a child, in Someone I couldn't see. This was important, because "...without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him" Hebrews 11:6.

But over the years, as my faith has grown and I have walked with Him, I've been blessed to see and experience things so that even by sight, there's no possibility of denying He's real. That's one of the reasons I started this blog. I so desire to share some of these stories from the past that have just blown me away, because He is so intimately and powerfully at work in the lives of those who are surrendered to Him. However, in this busy season of life I'm in, raising four children and expecting #5, I haven't been able to post many of the stories from the past that I'm itching to!

For now, I'd like to share a little story from this week (because I just can't keep it in!). Recently, I shared the story of our friend David, who has come out of a very troubled past. His transformation - out of drug use & selling and psychological struggles - has been radical. But accepting Christ does not bring about a rosy, trouble-free life, of course. Life is a battle - it's simply good to know where to draw your strength from for it. Lately, David has struggled with depression, as well as being out of work and the loss of their car.

David's father made an offer that he was willing to pay $3000 for a car. So, David and his wife, Cynthia, started searching for a used car, but $3000 still didn't seem to be enough to find anything except junk. And then there would be the issue of where to find the money to insure the car.

On Sunday (five days ago), I decided to post David & Cynthia's needs for jobs & a car on several local homeschooling loops I'm a part of. I didn't ask for a freebie, I simply mentioned that $3000 was what they could spend on a car. But I did pray and ask God, "Would you please just GIVE them a car?" What a great encouragement that would be to them!

We've received several good job leads. Then, Wednesday night, I received an email from a lady who is new to one of the homeschooling loops (I've never met her). It said:

"Hi Rebecca,We have a high mileage 1999 Camry that is in excellent mechanical condition (even new tires & will have a new battery) that my husband was contemplating selling because it wasn’t being used. We feel God has asked us to donate it to David & Cynthia. I think we could have it ready by Sunday if they are interested. You can email me back or call me at xxx-xxx-xxxx.Thanks, Xxxxxxx" - excuse the x's, I'm respecting their privacy : )

Because a car is being given to David & Cynthia, David's father is now willing to pay for 6 months of car insurance for them.

WOW! We're all feeling very thankful over here, and pondering the mystery of God, who hears our prayers and asks strangers on our behalf to do a good work for His glory. He is GOOD! He is good through the good and bad in life - by the way - He's just always good to walk through anything with!