*Spoiler Alert* One's a tearjerker! Haha, I can't help but grin at that because if you're reading this and you've ever read ANY of my blogs it wasn't so much of a spoiler alert as it was a simple reminder - you're probably going to CRY. But hopefully you'll be encouraged and uplifted through it all too.
And can I just say, Thanks for reading this. I always wonder who would read this when I write something but I'm often told how my blogs effect people and I'm just glad someone thought enough of the fact I wrote something to take the time to read it. So I thank you sincerely.
#1 A Dream to RememberOkay first off, I want to share with you one of the most breath-taking things that has happened to me in awhile. It literally stopped me in my tracks and I haven't been able to share it with one person I don't think without sobbing. **I've already had to stop and wipe crocodile tears from my eyes and I'm haven't even started yet** I was reluctant to share this initially because I didn't want to jinx it but then I'm reminded we can't jinx God's promises in our lives.
About a month and a half ago I received a text out of the blue from a friend. It started out saying "I dreamt of Owen last night. . . " I was blessed already because it always means so much to me whenever I hear that Owen is still in the thoughts of others - I don't know why I fear that his memory will disappear completely or that it will be as if he never existed. I know there's an enormous crown in heaven that proves otherwise but it just means the world to me to know people still love him and think of him. So already her message was enough to make my day, but she went on. " . . . He was so happy, all smiles and giggling away. He was so handsome . . ." Of course he was I thought. Of course he was smiling and happy - he isn't hurting, he doesn't have seizures, every breath every moment isn't a fight, of course he's happy, he's with Our Heavenly Father, he's home. Of course he's handsome - he was so beautiful. Of course it was Owen and then when I needed nothing more in this message, there it was - a message of love and hope. ". . . and he said he had a present for you."
Wow. I was smiling but tears were falling by the bucket full. And isn't it awesome that God counts every single tear we cry - he loves us that much - just had to throw that in there too. So, I thanked her for sharing that with me and then as if realizing it was all okay with me and not too upsetting she went back and elaborated on it all. She said in her dream he walked up to her and she knew it was him and she started crying, she hugged him and told him "your parents love you and miss you so much" to which he responded, "I know but I have a present for them" then he smiled and ran off. I know it was just a dream but for me it was a reminder that he's safe and happy and it was a reminder that God has wonderful things in store for us. More than anything else it was a message of hope and God's faithfulness - for me.
Here's the actual message
# 2 A Day to RememberSo my 2nd moment to remember is really very personal but worth sharing (I think).
Do you ever have moments where you really feel like your life matters to someone? Well, not just someone but to God?! I know my life always matters to God but sometimes don't you feel so small in the mix of it all. In the grand scheme of things I mean, don't you ever think who am I in the grand scheme of things? What difference does my life make in this world? Well, I do and I'm not THAT deep of a thinker so I know that there are others who question it too. Sometimes I wonder what we're all here for, what's it all for, but I know - it's all to bring glory to God. Well, every once in awhile we get these amazing moments where we know without a doubt in the world that our life matters in the grand scheme of things. Last Sunday was one of those days for me.
First of all, those of you who have been on my facebook page, or my photography page know how much our recent Mission Banquet meant to me and so many others. I believe God called me out to do something for this family. I'm reminded of the scripture, "To whom much is given much is required." And that's how it is for me. Many would say look at what all was taken from you, Jerica, but I don't see it that way, look at what God gave me, look at what he entrusted to me, a precious sick child, one who needed so much in such a short amount of time. He chose me and he gave me a wonderful support system and a community who loved our son and took care of us so that we could be with him everyday. So, anyways, I got involved and I found my own way to give back to this family. In doing so I was the one who was blessed. I got to meet this incredible family and I got to see the heart of this amazing mother. I spent a short amount of time and energy in missions because I chose to help this missionary family. I would say it came full circle Sunday at our church service but it won't truly come full circle until they are back in Spain serving the youth of Europe and winning hearts over to Christ. But for me Sunday was the day we found out how successful it all was - in terms of raising the money to send them on their way. I stood in complete awe as our Pastor and his wife presented the check to this family and that alone would have made my day. It was beautiful and amazing and God was all over it. Prior to doing my "Making Memories for Missions" fundraiser I had spoken to Mrs. Anna once. I made a point to introduce myself at our women's bible study group. There are a lot of us women and I just hadn't had a chance to meet her until then. God had already planted a seed in my heart to do something to help her and her family but I didn't know what at that time. Well, looking back on it all this whole situation was like watching a room full of dominoes falling one by one all set in motion by a story shared with us from our Pastor's wife. That got the first tile falling then I got involved, then I just had to do a family shoot for this family, then I fell in love with them, their story, and their heart for missions, then we had the banquet, then I cried with Mrs. Anna - her on stage and me in my seat as her family was presented with a check for $50,000 - almost twice what they needed, then God and Mrs. Anna blessed my heart. I was on top of the world coming out of that service - it was awesome - the banquet the night before had left me so proud of our community and empowered by what a group of like-minded people can do when something really matters to them. And then God took it just one step further. As Mrs. Anna and I were chatting for what I'm sure will be one of our last conversations before she returns to Spain, she said I need to tell you something but I don't want to upset you. Well, if you know me I was like "Oh no, what is it? She hates her pictures? What did I do? What is it?" But with tears in her eyes she said, "I just wanted to let you know that I just know God is going to fill your arms again."
God is so good. That's all I know to say about it. And then as if that wasn't enough for one day, I mean so much good jam packed into a morning service at church, it happened again that day. Later, while finishing up a "Making Memories for Missions" photo shoot, a guy who I didn't know prior to that shoot, who hadn't been involved in planning or purchasing the photoshoot, who had no idea I was doing the shoot for missions, spoke prophetically into my life too. Twice in one day?! Man, it is GREAT to be highly favored!!! It was so sweet. He was the nephew of my client who had booked the session and he stuck around afterwards to tell me what God was getting ready to do in my life. Did I mention that this was a day worth remembering?!
# 3 A Prayer to RememberOkay and finally the reason I was actually logging on to blog tonight (which may pale in comparison to the others but maybe not). Have you ever had one of those moments where a kid puts you in your place or teaches you a lesson - maybe even a lesson you already knew but needed to be reminded of? Well, that happened to me today and left me laughing (albeit scratching my head a little too). So here's how it all went down.
Currently, as many of you all know I'm working with the summer enrichment program at our church. So today I thought I'll teach my students an important lesson and take advantage of an opportunity for myself as well (it's not as self-serving as it sounds - or, well, maybe it is?)! So, I call all my little girls around me and I explain to them that God hears all our prayers but when a child prays it really touches his heart and a child's prayer is very powerful. I wanted them to understand how much God loves them and how he really hears them. I explained how sometimes we want something really bad and we just have to ask God for it (not like a toy or money but BIG things, important things). Do you see where I'm going with this? Yes, I had innocent little children pray for me on the premise that their prayers are VERY powerful! So, sweetest thing ever, eight or ten little girls hands on my belly (oh and one very curious little boy) asking God to "put a baby in my belly." I know right?! Precious! Precious in His sight as well as my own. I wish ya'll could have seen it, or heard them, using their own little words to ask God for a baby for me. So, then (and this is where I got schooled) I asked a couple of the girls if they said their prayers every night. And then I mentioned to them that if they remembered when they were praying that they could ask God to give me a baby. Well, one of my sugary sweet little girls says to me, "You can't put two babies in your belly silly, we already asked him for one, you can't have two at one time."
SMACK! In my face!
She showed me the faith of a child, in her eyes it's done because she asked for it, so asking again would just get me two babies instead of just asking again (like added insurance) for what it is I want.
In doing so she reminded me of a story I heard once about laying your troubles at the cross and leaving them there - stop picking it up and trying to carry it around all the time. I'm telling you she really taught me a lesson, this little five year old. Sometimes we just need to trust God and then . . . wait! That's powerful stuff too!
So like I said this was a lot crammed into one blog but I hope you got something out of it, hope, inspiration, encouragement, a SMACK in the face, anything. And when you experience these "Moments to Remember" that help you SEE that you are highly favored in God's eyes I hope you'll document them in some way so you don't forget them either!
Til next time,