Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Sheltered by God's Leading and a Giveaway

I looked at that handsome face one more time, kissed him on the little mole between his eyebrows, and told him the next time I would kiss him would be in Glory.  In faith, I turned and walked away, knowing that my  Savior would lead me.  ~Terri M. Stellrecht 

For those of us who have lost children, our minds hold on to that "last moment" we looked into our child's face.  My last moment was of a tiny sleeping face.  I rocked Sarah to sleep and laid her in her crib. For Terri Stellrecht that last glimpse was looking into the face of Trent before they closed his casket.

On Friday, February 18, 2011, God did the unthinkable in their lives in choosing to take Rob and Terry's 12-year-old son, Trent, home to heaven in a skiing accident.  Terri says, "It is only considered the unthinkable because our plans are not God's plans, and our ways are not God's ways."  In her book, How My Savior Leads Me, Terri tells the story of their tragedy.

Terri's book wasn't an easy book for me to read.  It tugged at the place in my heart graced by Sarah's memory.  But even in a heart-place occupied by the sunshine of a dark-eyed angel it brought memories of the first few months of my personal tragedy, and gently reminded me I'm not alone.

Terri's writing included contrasts -- from a point of one of the greatest pains a parent can face, to another of following Jesus through the grief journey, rose an arc connecting them in the form of a rainbow. It's an honest story of struggle, of a mother's grief, but most of all, a reliance on the leading of our Savior. Everyone's grief journey is different, but a central truth runs through them all -- either you choose to trust God or you turn your face from Him.

Whether you are walking your own journey or know of someone who is, I believe Terri's book will touch every reader.  She has provided a signed copy for me to give to one of my readers.  Simply leave me a comment if you wish to be entered in the giveaway.  I'll choose the winner next Monday. You can read more about Terri's journey at her blog, Where My Savor Leads Me.

One of the songs used at Trent's funeral was Casting Crown's Praise You in This Storm. Terri's book authentically offers the pain of the storm -- while documenting her praise through it all.

And I'll praise You in this storm,
And I will lift my hands,
For You are who You are
No matter where I am.
And every tear I've cried
You hold in Your hand;
You never left my side.
And though my heart is torn,
I will praise You in this storm.

* * * * *

A Simple Desk Reminder
Perfect for Sheltering

1. Cut tagboard for the back the size you choose.
2. Copy hymn, All the Way My Savior Leads Me, to heavy paper.
3. Tape song to back.
4. Type, print and back words, add glitter sugar and glue to    hymn.
5. Glue picture and color blocks (I used a square and circle).
6. Glue crocheted lace and crinkled seam binding ribbon to bottom.
7. Decorate. I used chiffon flowers, paper leaves, crocheted heart and a black button
8. Punch hole in right top. Using three shades of ribbon, tie bow through hole.
9. Wrap Terri's book with the desk reminder with tissue, tying with ribbon.  Stick a sprig of lavender in the bow.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Sheltering from the Heart

Envy is the art of counting the other fellow's blessings instead of your own. ~Harold Coffin 

Stepping on the pedal to help fill her bear.
One of the fun activities I was privileged to share with Morgan was a trip to Build-a-Bear.  She was just sure she wanted to build-a-monkey, but when a pink bear caught her eye, it was love at first sight.

I love our Build-a-Bear store because those who work there are so upbeat, yet gentle, with the children. The boy who helped us handed Morgan a heart for her bear.  "Rub the heart on your side so she's always by your side.  Rub it on your back so she will always have your back.  Rub it on your heart so she will give you lots of love."  After a kiss and a wish, Morgan tucked the heart in her bear.

As I stood there and watched, I found myself wishing we all had a heart like the bear does.  Always by our friend's side, always having their back and always giving lots of love.  God intended for our hearts to be full of love for each other.  But with the inherent nature of Adam and Eve's sin, our heart is divided. Jealousy of others keeps us from having a true friend's heart.  Jealousy of money, of social status, and marriage contentment.  Jealousy of body figures, achievements and talents.

Conversation while waiting for birth certificate to print.
I do not mean for this to condemn my readers. Believe me, I am searching my own heart to make sure this sin is not seeking entrance. It's one of the enemy's favorite tools. Now the works of the flesh are evident...jealousies...of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God (Galatians 5:19-20).

Jealousy is being resentful towards another for their successes.  It is an unrest of the heart connecting with a discomfort in the pit of the stomach.  Jealousy discolors our joy, disturbs our peace, and destroys our friendships.
Jealousy affects our health.  Peace of mind means a healthy body, but jealousy will rot your bones (Proverbs 14:30).  Depression, sadness, and sometimes even anger result from our jealous feelings.

Auntie was taking pictures of 2 of her favorite people
There are ways we can change this malady of green eyes:  1) Make a list of all your blessings.  It's hard to be jealous of another when we see all the ways God has blessed us.  2) Get your eyes off yourself and do something to bless another.  There is nothing more satisfying than focusing on someone else.

You know that my "go-to" verse is Philippians 4:8, (Brothers and sisters, think about the things that are good and worthy of praise. Think about the things that are true and honorable and right and pure and beautiful and respected.) but if you memorize the words, internalize the meaning, and put it into practice, you will find those jealous feelings Satan is trying to sneak into your heart will disappear from lack of nourishment.

Cherish your friends.  Be thankful they are different from you.  Stick to their side, make sure you have their back, and give lots of love.  That's the Build-a-Bear way -- a true, Godly friend's way.

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