Please excuse the under renovations !

Sunday, April 24, 2011

To You

To My Sweet Little Boy,
  Today we would have celebrated our first Easter together.  I would have dressed you up like a handsome little man in the adorable outfit that now hangs empty in your closet.  We would have went to church and celebrated this beautiful Resurrection Day of our Lord and Savior.  Your daddy and I would have been overjoyed watching you hunt for Easter Eggs in our yard and would have shared some yummy treats together.  We would have celebrated the wonderful life that God had so richly blessed us with.  I wanted so much to celebrate you.
   Unfortunately for reasons beyond my control, you are not with us now.  I still mourn your loss, but I know that God still takes care of you.  He still holds you even though I can't any longer.  I love you my dear child, more than I could have possibly even dreamed of loving a child.  You are forever a part of me.

Love you always,

Saturday, April 23, 2011

By Grace Alone Giveaway - Winner Announced

LOL at the expression on my face in the screen capture.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Divine Grace

Grace....where do I even begin?  When questioned about grace, most Christians would give a blanket answer about the gift of God's grace and how that makes their salvation possible.  While this is very true, as you might have figured, I'm no ordinary Christian with a blanket answer.  I feel impressed to share my personal experiences with grace.

Webster's defines grace as (noun)
1 a : unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification b : a virtue coming from God c : a state of sanctification enjoyed through divine grace
2a : approval, favor graces> b archaic : mercy, pardon c : a special favor : privilege grace, shall rule his heritage — Rudyard Kipling> d : disposition to or an act or instance of kindness, courtesy, or clemency e : a temporary exemption : reprieve
Whether we realize or not, we all first learn grace from our mothers; mothers who gave us their all when we had nothing to give back in return.  Mothers (and I'm speaking about those who are truly mothers, not just by biology) personify grace not only in terms of discipline matters, but also emotionally. From them we learn to deal with our thoughts and emotions, how to have compassion and love for others and how to go to others for help when we need it.  In those beginning years, a child teaches their parent things as well.  Children move mothers to seek for God's grace and in turn teach their child.  Bottom line....mothers teach us grace by example.

If you are a member of my generation, chances are you either are from a home of divorce/single parent or had someone very close to you that was from one such home.  My parents split up when I was around age 13, which is a very pivotal time in a young woman's life. I was always an old soul and mature beyond my years, but no amount of maturity can prepare a young teen for a life of brokeness.  I know that the situation was not in my realm of control or responsibilty, but that didn't change its effect on me.  I imagine that I've blocked out most of the memories of that time for a reason, but what I do remember is feeling lost.  

I was looking for that grace that I'd been taught about at church.  Grace was a concept to me at that time, but not a reality. Often times we have to experience something before God can teach us.  We humans are quite stubborn...well I am anyway.  I fought back at God pretty hard for several years.  All throughout those years He granted me the grace I needed though; showing me the whole time how God's grace differs from human grace.  I didn't know it at the time, but looking back I can see many times when His divine grace covered my complete stupidity.  I was reckless with that grace and I pushed those limits far too often, yet somehow He held me tightly and never left me.

Shortly after high school, I got married, which was no small miracle.  I'd said for years that I would never repeat my parents mistakes.  *chuckles* I thought that meant that I'd be single for the rest of my life and have children either by adoption or IVF  (yes I had a "plan" even then). I won't go into the whole story, but the short version is that after getting married I was suddenly very ill.  I went through many doctors, hospital stays, medications, treatments and sadly lost pregnancies before discovering that I had PCOS.  PCOS had been with me all along, but I didn't recognize it till it had taken a toll on my body and almost striped me of my sanity.  God's grace alone spared my life.  There were many times when I was so sick that I wanted to die.  I didn't have the drive to even live the life I'd always dreamed about.  Depression and illness had me bound.  

I was bound until that one day....the one day that God showed me what His grace for me meant.  I was delirious with pain and the stress of it all was actually inducing random seizures.  Many memories are fuzzy of that time, but I remember this one day plainly.  I was laying on my bed and I heard my husband calling my name.  He was trying to bring me out of one of my 'spells'.  I could hear the fear in his voice, but I couldn't shake the loosing control feeling that swept over me.  Miraculously strength came to me out of nowhere and I was able to sit up.  My vision had been blurry that day, but suddenly I had clarity in one circular area above the door that led to my bathroom.  I don't remember why but my husband went and opened that door.  As he joined me at my bedside, my focus went back to that spot on the doorway.  Plain as day I saw a very small, child size being peaking around the top of the door.  Granted my brain was still coming around from a seizure, I do believe this was a God-inspired moment and the being was in fact an angel.  I watched as this little angel came through the doorway.  I remember that I felt so loved at that moment. An incredible flood of peace filled my soul and I felt as if I'd been rescued from the middle of the ocean.  I never heard anything audible and no the ground didn't shake or light didn't blind me from above.  The only thing I saw was a child size angel who smiled at me.  The being had light brown shoulder length hair and eyes that sparkled.  But oh the smile....the smile was what let me know that God was not finished with me.  He had granted me that grace again to make it through this difficulty.  This time God allowed me to feel His grace.

To quickly finish this bit of my story, that was the last day I ever had one of those seizures.  Shortly after that day, I was able to take control back from the doctors for my healthcare. With God's guidance, I purged my body of the medications that had caused me such harm.  Within a year of that day, I was back to the road of recovery, but only because of God's grace.  This was nothing that I did.  See we don't earn God's grace and we can't replicate it either.  No word that I've ever encountered could adequately describe such a grace like God's divine grace.

There's a lot more to my story; more times of joy and many more times of sadness, grief and loss.  There are many unknowns in my life. But there's one thing I'm always certain of....God's wonderful undeniable Grace carries me through every moment.  When I get caught up in my thoughts and feelings, I need only to think back to the lessons about grace that God has allowed me to live.  I pray that you don't have to live out the same sort of life lessons that God has chosen for me, but if you should find yourself deep in the land of no-mercy, I pray that you will recognize this amazing grace we are celebrating at this time of year.


"But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me"  1 Corinthians 15:10 NKJV  

Sunday, April 17, 2011

By Grace Alone - Review

A few months ago I was sent an invitation to do some product reviews for (in)courage and  Dayspring.  I sent my choice and application in and hadn't heard a word from them.  Honestly I'd forgotten all about it until I found a lovely surprise in my mailbox late last week.  Here's what came to my home to review...
Photo Directly From the Product Page

This beautiful set designed by Melissa Reagan came all individually wrapped.  The necklace and earrings were in nice black velvet bags.  The bracelet came in a small box.  As you can see each one features the "by Grace alone" stamping based on 1 Corinthians 15:10.  The back of the necklace is inscribed with the scripture reference.

My initial reaction (after the surprise of course) was how nicely this set was made.  The scripture was right on time and I've been meditating on that particular passage most of the week.

Positives: It's nice and sturdy, but not too heavy.  The metal is smooth and has a handmade quality to the edging.  The metal doesn't smell at all, which is personally a huge issue for me.  I've worn the necklace for several hours at a time and there's no sign of any discoloration to my skin.  The earrings hang about mid-neck on me, so they are a decent size dangle. The welds on the bracelet seem to be very solid. I especially love that the necklace can be worn with either side facing out.

Negatives:  The bracelet didn't even come close to fitting my wrist.  In fairness, I do have a large wrist and don't normally wear bracelets.  The earrings are not heavy, but they are heavier than I usually wear for earrings that dangle.  I might wear these to church or to dinner for a few hours, but take them out when I got home.

In Conclusion:  If you are looking for a nice gift set for yourself or someone special, I'd encourage you to consider this set as well as the many others you'll find at Daysprings.  It was a pleasure and an honor to have the opportunity to review this set.

Oh and here's a coupon code to help if you decide to purchase.  Receive free shipping on $25+ order. Coupon code: shipping25 through 06/09/2011

Photo Directly From the Product Page

GIVEAWAY:  Since I'm not able to wear this beautiful bracelet, I'd like to pass it along to one of you. Here's a couple ways to enter.

1) Leave a comment below about how the grace of God has impacted your life. (I plan to write on this later this week. )

2) Become a blog follower with Google Friend Connect  (in the right hand bar).  You can follow either this blog or my creative blog Creative Radiance Designs

3) Follow Creative Radiance Designs over on Facebook.

Simply leave those in a comment below.  Drawing will be closed Friday April 22nd at Midnight EST.


Disclosure: I was provided the above products for free with only the request to share my thoughts about them with my blog readers.  I'm under no obligation to give a positive review of the product or the company.  These words are my honest opinions.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Winter

A friend of mine wrote the following statement in a recent blog post. "I couldn’t open up my bible because I was too distracted with all that was running through my head. I couldn’t sit with Him in adoration for fear of breaking down and crying. It was too much to bear." I was so inspired after reading this that I just had to write about my own personal struggle.

I identify well with this statement, but haven't been honest enough to write about it yet.  It's been a long process of healing for me and I'm just now able to sit through a church service without balling my eyes out.  I'm slowly getting back into the Word too.

I've never experienced a time like this before; a time filled with complete hopelessness and confusion. It was more than a time filled with various emotions, but a state of mind fueled by pure pain and agony.  I don't believe I ever questioned God about why He allowed this to happen.  More so I questioned how it all could happen.  I questioned my own connection with God and even my sanity.  There were many moments when I felt that I could never go on in the same way again. It was truly as if someone had ripped out part of me and tossed it out. Vulnerable and alone are two words that don't carry enough meaning to describe what I was feeling.  Loosing a child in this way has been much harder than having one of our biological children die inside of me. I NEVER thought I'd be able to say something was harder than loosing my children, but that's now a dark reality.

I don't feel guilty for not being able to read the Word or spend quality time with Him. God knows when our hearts are burdened down beyond what we can bare. Yes we should go running straight to Him immediately, but there are times when this vessel of clay is too fragile to move. I've been in that very fragile state, not just afraid to move, but unable to move.  Grief is very powerful, but it's also very necessary.  If I didn't allow myself to grieve and cope, there's no way I'd be able to continue, much less keep a healthy relationship with God.

So where does this all leave me now, well I'm beginning to come out of this dark time.  I'm now able to turn to God throughout the day just like I use to and scripture now has meaning to me again.  I see Him everywhere I look.  The physical spring has now come and so has my spiritual spring.  So long winter...I'm ready to grow and move past the cold and death of winter.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Life As I've Known It

As I wrote in the last post, life has been dramatically different for me over the past few months.  I took an online hiatus in August because our home was finally blessed with a child.  We picked up our dear sweet 18 month old from a very abusive situation one hot rainy August evening.  It was very sudden and completely unplanned, but quite possibly the highlight of my entire life.  This little boy filled our hearts and our home very quickly.  We were in hopes that we'd get to give him a permanent home.  We'd spoken with various people in social services about adoption and thought we were well on our way there.  Unfortunately on Valentine's Day, only a few days before his second birthday, social services called me into their office under the false pretense of discussing some paperwork but instead took our beloved little boy away from us.  We were understandably devastated and completely heartbroken.

We know that he was given back to his biological mother and taken to a local homeless shelter. She had nothing for him and he only left with the clothes on his back.  I can't let my mind think about it too much now, but the thing that tore me up the worst was knowing how confused he must have been.  My husband and I were the only stable parents he'd ever known.  We were his parents for a little over 6 months and as a mother I hurt deeply for him, along with my own personal pain.

Just as quickly as we became parents, we weren't parents anymore.  I still consider myself that little boy's mother, no matter what biology says.  I'll always hold his heart in mine, just as I have for the many other children who've came and left our lives.  There have been many dark days and nights since he left us, but God has began healing my heart again.

I hope to be able to share my joys as a mother in the coming weeks.  There are lots of memories that will cherish till the day I die.  Being that little boy's mother, no matter how short lived, was the greatest experience of my life.


"But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me"  1 Corinthians 15:10 NKJV

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