Monday, January 28, 2013

Dancing with Demons

I waltzed with evil last weekend.  I looked it in the eye, face to face.  And when it wouldn’t let me go, I watched as God threw it off the dance floor.

Matt and the girls had gone to a Magic game that Friday night with our church family and weren’t expected home until close to midnight.   There’s nothing that I dislike more than being home alone.  There‘s a fear that seems irrational, but is ever present.  I turned every light on downstairs, including the television, and I was working on my laptop.  Punkin was upstairs asleep and it was well into the night. 

I had recently started working on a project dealing with angels and demons.  I had chosen this night to write and research, knowing I‘d be able to concentrate.  I was in the middle of typing a sentence detailing spiritual warfare when the electricity went out.  One second I was surrounded by light, the next I was in complete, utter, suffocating darkness.  Without the TV, I was left in total silence.  I immediately began praying as my heart rate accelerated beyond what I thought possible.  I jumped up and ran from the counter to the couch, the table to the counter.  My home had become a ballroom.  I was begging God to turn on the lights, begging Him to help me find my phone for light. When I finally found it, I was able to locate a lighter and candles.  I haven’t known fear like that before.  I knew when I decided to take on a project about demons that I would be attacked spiritually.  It was something that I didn’t want to acknowledge, but I knew it in my heart.

I lit all the candles I could find and placed them around the house in a circle.  Even a small amount of light in a world of darkness meant everything to me.  I sat at my front door, where I could see every room in the house.  I had my car keys with the alarm, my phone and a knife.  And I sat there, praying. 

At first, I didn’t believe what I was seeing.   No one would.  It was moving so slowly.  I closed my eyes several times, willing it away, telling myself that I wasn’t crazy.  But I’d open my eyes and it was still there.  It was across the room, about eight feet away from where I was sitting.  It had a shape - a head, shoulders - but not clearly defined.  It was a shadow on the floor, inching away from me.  I looked around to find the source, but there wasn’t one.  The only light in the house were the flickering candles.  I prayed like I have never prayed, saying “Jesus” over and over, knowing the power in His name.  I continued to pray and watch until the shadow crept away, completely disappearing near the couch, and I was left in a dark room where the small amount of light seemed to be more than bright enough. 

I called my neighbor next door, asking if she was home in the dark, too. I don’t know her very well so when she offered to come over, I was surprised.  We talked for quite a while.  She told me she had been struggling through some personal issues and I told her I would pray for her.  I had invited her to church before and she didn’t accept, but that night she told me she would like to come on Sunday.  And she did.  And she was saved that same morning.

My friend in the back part of our neighborhood lost power for a few seconds.  We lost power for over two hours. 

Evil exists in our world, it’s all around us.  But Good will overcome evil if we’re wearing the right armor for the war.  Good and evil battled it out over me last week and Good won. 

I think about the things we do every day - what we watch, what we read, what we listen to, how we speak. Evil wins the small battles in our lives over and over again with the choices that we make. 

And if we aren’t careful, when we invite evil into our world, we might just be inviting the demons to dance.

Friday, July 16, 2010

After an hour and 10 minutes in the waiting room at the Doctor’s office, I was losing all mannerisms of my Christian self. My foot started tapping uncontrollably, my arms suddenly folded themselves in front of me and I was just willing someone at the front desk to look over at my very unhappy face.

I finally stood myself up and marched myself over to the nurse’s station. Remembering to at least attempt to hide my anger, I blurted out, ‘Have I been forgotten?”

Moments later, I was ushered into another waiting room. I should have realized my wait would continue when they gave me a locker to put my belongings in, along with a key to wear around my wrist. For the test I was waiting for, I wasn’t permitted to wear deodorant. It occurred to me on my way toward my third hour of waiting that the other women in the area weren’t permitted to wear deodorant either. My purse, along with my Lady Speedstick I was beginning to obsess about, were locked away in Locker #3. Another hour passed.

My anger and frustration made me emotional and I fought not to feel panicked. I was ready to tell the tech, “I stink and YOU DESERVE IT!”

I was finally called in and just like that, it was over. I liberally applied the Secret spray I found in the changing room, and ran out of the office. I was free, energized and ready to tackle what was left of my day.

Sometimes it feels like we’ve been forgotten. We’re waiting for what feels like an eternity to get some attention. Please! Notice that I’m here! Life is packed full of waiting. We wait for test results, a job, the real estate market to turn around, a relationship to heal, our spouse to change, our child to find their way, our financial situation to fix itself, to see our loved one’s face again. Waiting stinks. But in the wait, we must remember that we will never be forgotten.

All the while, we sit with the key to open what will be our ultimate peace. We have His Word at our fingertips. We just need to apply it. Liberally.

Isaiah 40:31

But those who wait on the LORD
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.

Waiting with you,


Friday, July 02, 2010

I’d always been so afraid to listen for God’s voice. I was terrified He would tell me that my daughter would get sick, or we’d have to give up all our money and live like paupers. It wasn’t until Rhyan was diagnosed that I found myself crying out to Him, with nothing to lose, desperate for a word. Not long after we were told Rhyan was deaf, I was sobbing to Him – take my ears, take my sight. Anything, Lord. Just not my baby. I felt it in my soul, it was time to Be Still. For the first time, I recognized His voice whisper over my heart …

It’s going to be OK.

Just that simple. And I believed.

A few weeks ago, sitting in the doctor’s office with Evynn, I watched her Doctor look over her chart. The look on his face was familiar and panic seized my heart. ‘She fell off the chart in her height. I’m going to order some tests.’ Immediately, I was transported back to all we endured with Rhyan. Hospital visits, tests, diagnoses, insurance. Waiting. I cried out to God, again. ‘No more, Lord, please. No more. Not my baby.’ And, again, I heard His whisper…

It’s going to be OK.

The thing about trials and pain is that they are stepping stones toward God. Rhyan’s deafness, and our decision for her to have a cochlear implant, made us stronger. We grew closer to each other, closer in our faith. Closer in our relationship with our Father. Our past tribulations are like a mirror for us to reflect on and see where God’s hand was in our past. He was faithful and true when He told me that night that everything would be Ok. I believed then, I’ll believe now.

One child is deaf, one child is small. One child I have to draw close to me for her to hear my voice. One child I will be able to hold just a little bit longer. When we’re hurting, when nothing feels right and we don’t feel like we can go on, we can let our Father draw us close to His side so we can hear His voice. And we can let Him hold us just a little bit longer.


Thursday, June 10, 2010

My child is not-so-subtly slipping into her rebellious years. More often than not, her response to me is, “Why!?” After a particularly combative day, I looked her in the eye and said,

“Because I said so!”

She looked at me for a moment and then turned around and did what I asked. The four words I vowed to never speak as a parent turned into a freedom I could never have imagined. I couldn’t stop from smiling.

A few days later, I heard my Father whisper a command over my heart. I was feeling quite combative and said, “Please, no, Lord. Why today?”

Because I said so.

Ouch. As I turned from my disobedience, I was quite positive He was smiling. I’m very good at rationalizing and procrastinating. I can be very rebellious and question Him with my desire for solid answers. But sometimes we aren’t supposed to know the answers. And sometimes the answers only come when we obey. Either way, those words spoken by God are a promise that He knows the answers, and that’s all that matters.

Because I said so. When we allow them, they are words that bring a freedom we could never have imagined.


Thursday, June 03, 2010

I don’t know if you’ve ever had one of those days where ‘quiet’ kept running from you. I found myself chasing ‘quiet’ the other day while Evynn was chasing me. It was a game of tag and no one was winning.

I finally turned to Evynn and said, “I NEED TIME TO MYSELF!”. Just a couple minutes away from the ‘I wants’ and the ‘I needs’. PLEASE!!

When I knelt down to look Evynn in the eye, she stared back into mine and said, “Mommy, I see me in your eyes”. She was looking at her face reflecting in my eyes and I saw my reflection in hers. It immediately went straight to my heart. When she looks at me she will always see herself. I mold her. I shape her attitudes, her temper tantrums, her sense of humor, her anger, her patience, her laughter. And I will ultimate shape who she will be in this world.

I will have plenty of time to catch quiet. And then it will break my heart. So, when my daughter chases me, I will let myself get caught. When she wants to give me a hug, I’ll never say no. And when she wants me to hold her, even if I’m tired and needing some time to myself, I will try my best to remember that my time to hold her will end way before my arms are ready.

As the Perfect Parent, our Father will never run from His children, He’s the One chasing. He doesn’t seek alone time or quiet, He desires conversation. When we need to be held, He is there with His arms outstretched. And when we take the time and allow ourselves to be ‘caught’, my prayer is that others will forever see His reflection in our eyes


Sunday, April 11, 2010

As the year progresses, changes continue to take place rapidly. Jillian H., or Jillian number 2, is scheduled for surgery on June 11. She will have her second implant and all her parents love and hard work will have paid off. Rhyan’s Hope has been privileged to take part in what will always be exciting and miraculous. We’ll keep you informed on her surgery and recovery.

Paige received her Freedom processor on Thursday and she is scheduled for a mapping on Wednesday to ‘turn it on’. Paige is the little girl that was wearing the large body worn processor for most of her 8 years of life, and will now enjoy the life change of wearing a small, sleek behind-the-ear processor that will barely be noticeable – to others or to her.

We have been in contact with Nemours hospital in Jacksonville regarding surgery for our next candidate, Azaryah. A few weeks ago, Rhyan’s Hope received a $10,000 donation toward Azaryah’s second cochlear implant, and we’re so excited to see how God will use this little girl through the generosity of others.

The update is that God is still working in His amazing ways. Children are hearing and beating the odds. And we remain in awe.

With much love and gratitude,

Rhyan’s Hope, President


Saturday, March 06, 2010

Quite often I think of how much I would love to follow Rhyan throughout her day. I would take her backpack from her and carry it on my shoulders. I would open doors for her, as most seem so heavy. I would make sure she had her glasses so she could see clearly. I would encourage her when her work was hard and hug her when she did well. I would kiss her face for no reason at all. I would direct her to sit on the opposite side from the girl that picks her nose and calls her names. I would guide her to play with the boy that makes her laugh and isn’t afraid to be her friend. I would comment on her art and marvel at her creativity. I would run along side her in the mile run, cheering her on. And at the finish, I would pick her up and swing her around in my arms. I would point out others that were in desperate need of a smile or kind word. I would hold her hand every chance I was given. At the end of the day, I would again carry her burden. And, finally, I would take her home.

When I signed up for the Marathon, I was conflicted and troubled. Was it really worth it? Did running a race really matter to Him? What does God care about these details of my life? When my knee started hurting and I was faced with the realization that I might not be able to run after all, I assumed that it really was pointless to Him and I was getting what I deserved. The Wednesday before the race, my knee wasn’t better. Doctor visits were proving worthless and medicine wasn’t working. I had quite a loud temper tantrum. My injury, my hopes, my desires – all of them were out of my control. It wasn’t until my meltdown that God lovingly convicted me of the sin that had been in front of my face all my life. Sin that I had never really noticed, but had wrapped it’s tentacles around my entire world, reaching out and touching every person around me. Tentacles that would one day wrap themselves around my children and reach out to those that they will come to love. Control. I had to be in control of every aspect of my world. If it wasn’t my idea, it wasn’t a good idea; when I was ready to go, everyone else should be, too; the girls couldn’t leave the house unless they were in coordinating outfits; if something interrupted my plans, it was going to ruin my day. As of last Wednesday, I am officially a recovering control-freak.

The Friday night before the race, I lay in bed praying about all I had learned about myself and my human frailties and how the race unveiled it all. I heard God speak to my soul, /Was it worth it? Do you think it matters? /The peace that descended on my heart was my answer.

I can’t follow Rhyan every second of every day. But, God can, and He does. And He follows each and every one of us. When we allow Him, He takes the burdens from our shoulders and carries them on His back, He opens the heaviest of doors that we would never manage on our own, He adjusts our eyes that they might rest on Him, He encourages us when we work hard and holds us close to tell us so, He reigns His blessings down on us like kisses to our face, He directs us away from boogers that are disruptive in our lives and guides us to be with friends that aren’t afraid to love us, He marvels at our creativity and the artwork of our personalities, He runs alongside us in our every day races and cheers us on, swinging us in His arms at the finish line, He points out those that need our help and He holds our hand all through our days. He carries our burdens until the very end. And then, at last, He takes us home.

In the end, the Lord carried me through 26.2 miles, injured knee and all. I know it was a miracle. I felt the prayers. He cares about the details of our lives, I know that with all that’s in me. He cares because the details are the palettes filled with the vibrant colors that He uses to paint our big pictures.

Was it worth it? Did it matter? Yes, Lord. Always.