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Not Before, Not If, But When

Isaiah 43:2 says, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you…”

Not before, not if, but when.

Brenda and Todd

I will never forget the day when my six-year-old son, Todd, walked into the room and said, “Mom, I might die when I’m young.”  I said, “Todd, don’t say that; I don’t want you to die when you’re young.”  He calmly replied, “Well, if God wants me, He wants me, and there is nothing you can do about it,” and he walked out of the room.

Just a few weeks after his sixteenth birthday, his words proved to be true.  After a seven-month battle with a rare cancer, Todd met his Savior face to face. (Today, May 10,2018 is the 5 year anniversary of Todd meeting Jesus face to face)

It’s one thing to say you trust God and agree He is good when life is going according to your plans, but it’s another thing to say that and believe it when the storms of life rage around you. What we believe about God in the storms of life reveals what is truly in our heart. After my son died, the Lord had a lot to show me about what I honestly thought about Him versus what was true about Him.

I had always assumed if I prayed, God would answer my requests—you know, like I had my own personal genie. When Todd was first diagnosed with cancer, friends, family and even strangers immediately prayed for his complete healing. Everyone thought Todd’s recovery had to be God’s perfect plan—it was unfathomable to accept anything less.

After my son succumbed to cancer, I was devastated. The peace I had at the beginning of Todd’s diagnosis seemed to depart, and I no longer understood a God who didn’t answer my prayer—a request that seemed to have been so reasonable—a boy is sick and near death; he should be healed. I questioned if He was good and if He even listened to my prayers at all. When I finally stopped fighting against His plan and sat still before Him, He began to reveal Himself to me. In the process I stopped looking at Him through my own eyes—what I thought He should be like—and began to look at Him through His Word. I learned that the Lord never promised to fulfill my man-made plans, but He did promise to be with me through trials, and He promised comfort and provision. He was true to His Word because when we received Todd’s cancer diagnosis, even though it was devastating, God’s peace was there for our family and especially for Todd just like He promised. It was a peace I had never personally experienced.

Psalm 23:8 says, “Oh taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!”

His goodness isn’t based on whether or not He gives me what I want. He is good because His Word says He is good. He promised to hear and answer my requests…but according to His will, not my will.  He cannot act contrary to His Word.

How I miss my precious son and honestly wish God had chosen to let him live, but I choose to trust in a Master plan that I cannot see or understand. I still believe God is good, and I will never forget his undeniable presence during Todd’s illness and death. I have a promise from the Lord that because Jesus died on the cross to take the penalty of our sins and because Todd had trusted Jesus as His Savior, that he is alive and well today in the presence of the Lord, and I will be reunited with him one day.

After Todd died, several people encouraged me to write a book about our journey. I definitely felt the prompting of the Lord to do so, and I told the Lord that if He would help me, I would share all the ways God had taken care of us during the most devastating storm of our lives. I wanted to show others that even though our trial was devastating, God used people to bless our family and walk with us and to be the hands and feet of Jesus. I wanted to have a tool to place in the hands of someone else who might have to walk this difficult journey. I felt compelled to show others that if God allowed them to pass through the fire or the flood, He would be with them—He promised and He fulfilled that promise to me. How can I not share this amazing story?

To purchase a copy of Your Eyes Saw by Brenda Lurtey and learn more about this amazing story, see the links below. To contact Brenda you can find her on FB or email her at brendalurtey4@gmail.com

Amazon (paperback and Kindle editions), Barnes and Noble (paperback and Nook editions), iBooks, Advantage Books, and Ingram (wholesale distributors only)

A note from Kim (AKA Midlife Domestic Goddess), Today my heart is heavy for all those who have lost a child. Mother’s Day is just a few days away and I can not imagine how hard it will be for those who know the pain of loosing a child. Today I am going to ask that you would say a prayer for Brenda and for all those who have lost a child. 

I can not imagine the emotions Brenda will feel today. As stated in the post, it is the 5 year anniversary of Todd going to meet Jesus face to face. But today is also a day of celebration for their family. They will watch their daughter graduate from high school today and it will be a very proud moment for Brenda and her husband. I wanted to give a heartfelt thank you to Brenda for sharing her story and I hope today is filled with so much joy as they celebrate with their daughter. To learn more about this beautiful story your can order a copy of Brenda’s book in the links above. Have a blessed day, Kim  

 

 

 

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Thanksgiving is not just about the turkey

A few years ago, we invited our friends to join us for Thanksgiving and I learned something very important. Although my friend is an amazing cook, I told her I would do the turkey and the main dishes if she would handle the dessert. “Are you sure you don’t want me to cook the turkey?” she said. I was excited to use my grandma’s roaster so I told her I had it covered.

The two of us began to plan the table decorations, and between both of our houses, we set one of the most beautiful tables I have ever seen. “Everything is going to be just perfect,” I told myself. I was going to make a Thanksgiving dinner to be remembered.

Sometimes the best-laid plans go sideways. Thanksgiving morning the comedy of errors began. As I set the turkey in the roaster pan, another friend told me, “You need to add water because if you don’t it will burn.” I questioned that, but then again, what did I know. I had never used the roaster before and cooking is not exactly my gift. An hour later the turkey was steaming, not roasting. The legs looked like they were going to fall off. Help!FullSizeRender

I tried to call my friend, who was also my neighbor, but she was not home. Her husband told me she was at our other neighbor’s house. In a panic I called, and when my neighbor answered the phone, I said, “I have a turkey emergency!” Within minutes, I had three women in pajamas standing in my kitchen. The first thing they said was, “Why is there water in here?” As one of them tried to lift the turkey out of the pan, she said, “You didn’t get everything out of the inside.” I had looked in the wrong end apparently. There I stood in my kitchen in tears as they tried to fix the turkey.

My friend, the amazing cook, said, “Let me take it to my place and cook it because I have a new electric thermometer.” Out the door the turkey went. Silently I cried, as I put the roaster away. I wanted so badly to cook the “perfect turkey” so I could have the “perfect dinner” to go with the “perfect table”. A few hours later my friend called to tell me the turkey was done. “Are you kidding me? It can’t be done yet,” I said. “We are not going to eat for a while.” Her response was, “My thermometer says it is.”

As we were getting everything ready to serve dinner, my husband began carving the turkey. I will never forget the look on his face as he informed us that it was not cooked all the way through. The turkey was then cut into pieces and placed on the barbecue. The poor thing was steamed, baked, and barbecued before it made it to the table. My “perfect dinner” was not perfect. Then again, maybe it was better than perfect.

I had put so much emphasis on the “perfect dinner” that I forgot what Thanksgiving was all about. It took a turkey to put things in perspective for me. As we sat down for dinner, we gave thanks and spent an evening filled with laughter about the stupid turkey. What mattered more than anything was the fellowship that took place around the dinner table. Too often we get so wrapped up in the production of the meal that we forget the reason behind Thanksgiving. Looking back, it was a Thanksgiving to be remembered. Maybe it wasn’t what I had originally envisioned but I am glad that it turned out the way it did. That day has become one of my favorite memories.

Now I am not saying I still don’t go a bit overboard on my table but I have learned that family and friends are more important than the turkey. Last year the same family came over and we shared what we were thankful for as we ate our dinner. We played Bunco and the room was filled with laughter. As I watched my friend hold her grandson, I gave thanks that she was responding to her cancer treatment. I had learned a lesson in what was truly important.

This Thanksgiving, don’t get so wrapped up in the table decorations, the “perfect turkey”, and all the other details that you forget to really enjoy the day, instead make memories that will last a lifetime. Take time to give thanks, and remember, Thanksgiving is not just about the turkey.

Also Posted on The Whatever Girls and on Living Better 50 Magazine.Whatever-Girls-ButtonLB50ContributorSQ

 

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We Are Made For More

Screen Shot 2014-11-20 at 7.01.52 PMWelcome back to Dirt, Trucks and Faith…Seeing Jesus through the eyes of young men.

My next guest writer is Steve Wallace.

Sometimes I think about how it’s hard for us to let God have control.  We fail to see that when he’s in control all things work together for our good.  We seem to always get stuck on the little details that discourage us from what’s really important. Doubt is created and when we question ourselves on things that are so small, they pull us away from the center of Gods influence.  I put off getting baptized until this year. All together it was a series of events that led to my hold out. Josh my brother was baptized at a young age and I was ready to follow in his foot steps but the pastor that I wanted to baptize me fell ill with cancer and didn’t make it.  More opportunities came. My younger brother Noah was baptized and I would see my friends in school getting baptized. I saw that some, not all, were only doing so merely to please their parents. So time went on…1002450_10151456945756567_1684370869_n

Many things in life can lead you different ways. I wanted to have an “ah ha” moment. I wanted God to show me the way through a miraculous adventure where my faith would be solidified and I would come to my wit’s end so that the truth would be made crystal clear.

This is my story…..

Not all stories are the same. I have had some crazy adventures, near death experiences, I partied with rock stars, journeyed far and wide but the moment that I was chasing never came.

My faith would go in and out, I fell back and forth between chasing the life of pleasure and avoidance of all the pain. Luckily, I never strayed too far but I also never truly committed

I had a ski injury a few years back, I would like to say I was doing a big trick or dropping a cliff but that wasn’t the case. I was on the most dangerous place on the ski mountain, a cat track…Some how I thought it was a good idea to plant my ski pole in the snow and that lead to me I impaling myself on it. I didn’t do it intentionally; I just didn’t think things through. I went to a few doctors and finally I made it to a 4Physical Therapist in Walla Walla who helped get me back to full health. His name was Manford and he was a strong man.

To this day he had one of the strongest handshakes I can remember. Manford was fighting cancer during my rehabilitation and we had countless talks of life and God. After I left Walla Walla I heard that his cancer had come back harder than ever and he was on his deathbed.  I went to see him but when I got to this house there was a sign that said no visitors. I called his phone and his wife picked up, I asked if I could see Manford and she told me, “no”. I started to lose hope and then I heard a week voice with a strong purpose say, “Let him in!” Manford’s wife sighed and said, “You can come in for a few minutes”.  When I was inside I saw my friend’s body had withered but the strength had not left his hands. The fight was still in his eyes. We talked for a few moments but it was hard for him to speak. I will never forget the last thing he said to me. He said,

“Whatever you do. Make God numero uno. Number one! And everything will be fine”.

I thought about that a lot and I could feel a change coming. The change came when I was on a trip to Arizona to surprise my grandfather for his 79th birthday.  We had a few good talks about life and what the important things are. My Grandfather shared what thinks are the most important thing:

  1. A vertical relationship with god.
  2. Find a good wife
  3. Find something where you’ll never work a day in your life.

One of the days we were talking, baptism came up. He asked me a simple question that made all the 3sense in the world. He said, “Are you planning on getting baptized?” I said, “yeah I’m planning on it, just some things have come up and stuff”. He then replied, “Do you think I’d still be married to your grandma if I put her off the way you put Jesus off?”

To me it was as clear as a bell. My priority was way out of line.

I hadn’t been baptized and I really didn’t have a good reason why not. Sometimes you can know something to be true but never commit to it and it can pass you by.  For example, you can plan an entire vacation to Hawaii, know exactly what you’re going to do with a full and detailed itinerary but if you never buy the tickets to go you will never get there.

Same with God, he’s offered you a gift. A gift is something that isn’t deserved. It’s not a something you can buy it can only be received.  It’s yours if you want it.

I don’t think I ever thought I would go the other way and not believe in God. I’ve always believed very strongly and probably prayed more than a lot of people because I try some crazy stuff from time to time. But I never made it a priority and that was the biggest factor. Once I made it a priority things started to happen. I started having meetings with my pastor 2-3 times a week and soon I was being baptized.

41359_425075766566_5109188_nI have learned It’s easy for us think about all the problems in front of us. We should rest assured that God has our backs. Put your best foot forward and know that you are special. I like to spend time thinking about what Jesus went through to give us chance at salvation. That helps me see the bigger picture and appreciate what’s the most important choice we can ever make. Giving it all to God and accepting the gift he wants to give us.

WE WERE MADE FOR MORE!

-Steve Wallace.

Be sure to check out Steve’s site at Huroic Clothing Co.