Happy 4th of July, Brave Fighter!

Seasons change in life.

Things change and shift, reflecting different pictures.

For a season of my life The Star Spangled Banner was one of my most favorite songs to sing. Today, I don’t do too much singing publicly, but I still sing. God bless my children and my hubby for all my singing they listen to around the house and in the car!

I remember singing this song for the first time in 8th grade choir. And then, my sophomore year of high school I was asked to sing this song at a basketball game.

Like I always did, I showed up with my accompaniment track, on a cassette tape in those days, and I sang the National Anthem at my first high school basketball game. Afterward, a coach encouraged me to do it next time without the music!

What?!

I could never sing without the music! That felt so naked!

The next few times I still brought my accompaniment, but then one random time I put on my big girl panties, pun totally intended, and I belted it out acapella.

I sang this song so often that one particular time I got finished, walked over to the student section where I planned to eat the hot dog waiting for me that I purchased right before I sang, and my friends said, “What happened? “ I had no idea what they were getting at. I mean, I would remember for sure if I cracked or flubbed. I’ve done that more times than I can count. But this instance I felt it went rather smoothly. Then one of them said, “You skipped straight to the bombs!” How funny! I didn’t even realize until that point that I had missed an entire stanza!

Time has changed very much. In the video you’ll notice my sweet Ruby Sue on the floor behind me and the kids’ cats moseying around, but as different as the picture looks, this is still one of my most favorites.

There is something about “the fight.” Something about a “perilous fight” and “our flag” still there that stirs my heart and my spirit.

We all face fights. We face unimaginable moments of hardship and difficulty, but we come from a people who are fighters.

I am so proud to be an American. Not just today on Independence Day. I am grateful I was born in this United States of America and have inherited the history of this country and my family.

We are a young country. We have many flaws in our past and our present. Something I can relate to and identify with personally.

But we are fighters. We are the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Brave.

Brave is a word that has more definition, meaning and value to me than I can expand on in this post which I intended to be short and sweet.

But brave is something I connect with.

Brave is what the nurses called me in the burn unit during bandage changes.

Brave is what I tell myself when I’m standing on the brink of what I feel like I most certainly will fail at in my own ability.

Brave is what I tap into when I write posts, write this book in the making, show up to take care of NICU babies, step out on a limb to pray with someone I don’t know, parent my children each day, because honestly people, sometimes they scare me, and to record this song to share with you. Gracious that took lots of brave for me.

But just as we come from fighters. We come from so much more. Brave fighters.

I Timothy 6:12 NLT Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you, which you have declared so well before many witnesses.

Psalm 27:14 NLT Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.

Happy 4th of July, Brave Fighter!

I pray this post spoke to you. Did you know I’m writing a book?! Would you join me in supporting these endeavors by subscribing to our blog and sharing with your friends and family? We can’t grow with out you.

Happiness Doesn’t Happen

Do you ever wonder what it takes to just be happy?  Some days it can feel like such a struggle.

My friend Jenn Baxter asked me to write a guest post for her site, and it’s a topic I felt led to cover when sharing my story with her readers.  I hope you follow the story to her site to read the article and look around to see how Jenn is touching lives through her journey and online home.

Thank you for allowing me to share with you and for being a part of our online family here!
❤ Heather

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Heather, what more could make you happy?

It was a desperate question my mom asked as we sat on my bed looking in to a closet full of clothes, shoes and accessories.  “Not stuff, Mom.  Stuff can’t bring happiness.

I was only sixteen, but I had already concluded that trips to the mall, a brand new car and hosting parties with friends couldn’t fill the emptiness inside.  The void was far too vast for material, superficial things.  Happiness was a state I was battling to attain.

The battle began nine years earlier, when my world tragically changed on a country dirt road.

……….Read The Rest of The Story at LiveAFastLife.com

All You Care to Eat

When it comes to vacationing, we’re all geared a little differently. Some are drawn to the mountains and snow, some to the beaches and sand, some to museums, some to amusement parks, some cruising on the ocean blue, and some enjoy hitting the open road wherever it may lead them. And then there are those who enjoy it all.

Over the last seventeen years, Brandon and I have had a bit of variety in our get-out-of-town trips. We’ve hit a few big cities visiting museums and seeing shows, we’ve enjoyed a cruise (no surprise Mickey was on the ship—we just love that mouse), we’ve soaked up sun on a few beaches, and we’ve continued to feed our Disney addiction, cultivating one in our children, with return trips for fun in the parks.

Whatever it is we have planned for vacation, one feature is always at the top of our list— where we’ll eat!

I realize not everyone may look forward to food as much as we do, but stick with me. Even if you’re not a passionate eater, there’s still something here for you too.

On our recent vacation to Disney’s Aulani resort on Oahu, we enjoyed a character dining experience called Menehune Mischief at their Makahiki restaurant. Oh my! The food!

Our family tried to remember all the different items on the buffet. There was mac and cheese, watermelon, pineapple, cantaloupe, ham, chicken tenders, a salad bar, pork lion, pizza, ahi tuna, teriyaki chicken, stuffed tortellini, potatoes, sushi rolls, salmon, shrimp, crab legs, prime rib, apple cobbler, mud pie, cheesecake and more! Now is the time I should admit that this was the list of items consumed by our family alone!

I’m not proud to say, but I walked out of there so stuffed I felt sick. The buffet said, “all-you-care-to-eat.” Growing up, I always thought a buffet was all-you-can-eat. But it didn’t matter, because there was what seemed like an endless feast before me, and I enjoyed every last bite. Especially the crab legs!

You may be wondering what this has to do with anything. I want to thank you for hanging in here with me to find out.

While there were many, many people who partook of that meal, I ate as if it were prepared just for me. I wanted to try a little bit of everything. (And seconds of some—like the crab legs.)

And I came hungry. In anticipation of that meal, I had been chintzy with my intake the entire day. I wanted room to receive of all the goodness that was going to be set before me.

Could you imagine going to someone’s home for dinner, walking in and seeing a buffet of dishes they prepared for your visit? Now, could you imagine seeing those beautiful dishes, the heart and excitement of the one who prepared it for you, and then choosing to only eat a protein bar?

I eat protein bars. And I eat them for nourishment, not for delight. A buffet is pure delight. It goes beyond meeting the basic nutritional need, and adds enjoyment to it.

Are you with me?

It’s exactly the same thing God does for us.

He has prepared a feast for us!!! The buffet has every good thing you can imagine—peace in the midst of problems, trust facing the unknown, joy in the presence of sadness, comfort, security, courage, strength when we feel weak, grace for our mistakes, hope when times are hard, happiness after hurt, and much, much more!

Can you imagine walking in, seeing a buffet with those items and deciding not to get a plate?

We do it a lot. We walk around hungry, burdened with the trials of this world, all the while the Lord is inviting us, “Come sit down with Me, take in My plan. Take in what I have prepared for you. Get close to Me and you will smell the aroma of what I have in store for you.”

When it comes to an all-you-care-to-eat buffet, you may want to be a little more conservative than I was, but when it comes to receiving from your Heavenly Father’s buffet, get a plate, a big one, because He has so much goodness prepared for you!

Psalm 23:4-6 NLT
Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for You are close beside me.
Your rod and Your staff protect and comfort me.  You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies.
You honor me by anointing my head with oil.  My cup overflows with blessings. 
Surely Your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.

Join me for a Women’s Night at Coweta Assembly of God this Sunday November 6th at 6pm as we dig in to the words we need to receive, repeat and those we need to rebuke in order to walk in the label the Lord has given us. All are welcome to attend. And if you know a teenage girl, bring her along too!

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Abandoning the Imperfections

Let’s talk about comfort zones. Or risk zones. Or danger zones. I feel like there are signs regarding all three just sitting here composing this post.

The thing is, I’m willing to stretch myself to share my experiences, feelings and thoughts to encourage others as the Lord directs me, (see that comma? It’s the contingency mark to this situation), I’m willing to stretch myself as long as it’s not too far outside the comfort zone and as long as I don’t merge over the line into any risk or danger. Let’s keep it relatively safe and dignified.

Well, I’m nearly one hundred words into this and there’s a photo attached, therefore, I’m already very much outside the comfort zone.

Over the last fourteen days my requests for the Lord to speak the next post into my heart have returned quite silent. I wanted to set this particular one on the back burner and share it another day. Okay. Possibly never. It wouldn’t be the first post I’ve written that I never published. But above my dignity is my desire for Him to use this blog to encourage and inspire others when they need it most. In order to receive the next one, I must be obedient to share this one. This post is my abandonment of self for His glory. This post is my David-moment, dancing with all my might.

2 Samuel 6:14-15, 20-22
Wearing a linen ephod, David was dancing before the Lord with all his might, while he and all Israel were bringing up the ark of the Lord with shouts and the sound of trumpets.
When David returned home to bless his household, Michal daughter of Saul came out to meet him and said, “How the king of Israel has distinguished himself today, going around half-naked in full view of the slave girls of his servants as any vulgar fellow would!”
David said to Michal, “It was before the Lord, who chose me rather than your father or anyone from his house when he appointed me ruler over the Lord’s people Israel—I will celebrate before the Lord. I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes. But by these slave girls you spoke of, I will be held in honor.”

For most of my life I dreamed of the day when medical advancements would remove my scars. In nearly three decades, that day hasn’t come.

In that time I’ve given much effort to covering my body and hiding my scars. No matter how many years and how much I’ve grown I’ve never got used to people staring. For the most part, when people see me they don’t notice my scars too terribly much because of my clothing. Actually, some don’t realize the extent of my injury. Until…..

Until I wear a swimsuit.

My backyard is a safe place surrounded by people who know me and love me, and while yes, they do obviously see my scars, they see me first. A public place is just the opposite. People don’t know me, therefore, they see the scars first. The looks could be categorized as curious or puzzled, but the expression I receive is negative and uncomfortable.

I’ve even experienced a couple individuals sharing those very thoughts with me. One random lady came up to me in the grocery store asking if she could pray with me for the Lord to take my scars away. Another was a man who went to our church attributing my scars to a lack of faith. I think Taylor Swift could have also been inspired by the super-spiritually-detached when she sang Shake It Off. In those situations there’s nothing else to do. Just go your separate ways picturing Olaf in your mind when he said, “he’s crazy.” (You should totally click here and watch the short clip.)

These instances explain why a baggage of inhibition accompanies me every time I put on a swimsuit, including recent events when our beach-loving family went to Hawaii for this year’s vacation. But as if it wasn’t enough to merely go in my swim shorts and tankini, the Lord challenged me with my very own David-moment….take pictures in a TWO PIECE!!!

And that’s only one part of the story (as you know, there’s always more than one part).

The other is that it is October. It’s been a couple months since this body has seen sun, especially my torso! So there I was, out on the beach for the first four days of our vacation, for the very first time in my entire life wearing a two-piece in public! While there was never any strolling along the beach, I was jumping hurdles of insecurities just sitting there in my lounge chair.

The third part of the two-piece swimsuit challenge was the day we actually took the photos. We got to the location and snapped a few photos in my dress. Nice, peaceful, no-people-around place. No. Not a soul. God honoring my obedience, right? Well, maybe Him challenging me more. It’s the only reason I can conclude as to why the moment that I was just pulling my dress off here came a wedding party! A WEDDING PARTY!!!! You’ve got to be kidding me! Talk about a test of commitment. I nearly bailed. And nearly vomited.

So why do it?

While I was incredibly inhibited I envisioned the image as a very powerful illustration of not only survival, but of overcoming. The Lord put it in my heart to share these scars for the power they portray. His power. There is a story in them. A story not about me but all about the evidence of His faithfulness.

This location the photographer chose with the black rocks and crashing waves made me feel brave. Brave enough to stand there and share my vulnerability, the imperfections I prefer to hide believing there are others who relate to doing the same thing. Believing that God truly can place some beauty in what’s damaged.

We have so many things about ourselves that we don’t like, but that we can change. It gives us ambition, hope and joy pursuing self-improvement. But what about the things we can’t change?

I’m not happy with my body, but I’m happy with me. Growing up damaged on the outside motivated my development of who I am on the inside. My goal was for people to see me, not my scars. When we’re standing in an elevator, or the grocery line, or even at the pool, people merely see our shell. And we know, the pretty shells are the ones we search for on the beach. No, I’m not happy to have scars. I don’t love my body. But I am happy and love who God has made, and is still making, me to be. It is possible to be happy, even in what we can’t change.

This was one of the most uncomfortable and yet most meaningful things I’ve ever done. It felt serene. It felt sacred.  It felt liberating.

It’s my hope this speaks a message to your heart, like what it spoke to another girl on the beach. Brooklyn was quite aware of the unwanted attention during my time tanning. One afternoon she came to walk the short distance with me from the chair to the water. I noticed her effort in blocking my view walking into the ocean. I said, “Thanks Brook. You’re amazing.” She replied, “I think you’re amazing.” Is it because I am, and have been, amazing? No. She of all people knows that’s not true. I think it had more to do with the courage to be seen when I really wanted to hide.  That’s a message I’m honored to live out before my kids.

For fellow burn survivors, those with psoriasis, vitiligo, rosacea, surgery scars, breast reconstruction, varicose veins, stretch marks, and any other imperfection, take it from my daughter, you’re amazing! And you feel nothing less in your own David-moment glorifying the God who brings you through it! This photo is for you.

*thank you to Anthony Calleja for his talent and heart in capturing this message
*thank you to Athleta for swim wear for all women, for everyday-life women
*The song I sang during these moments- You Make Me Brave

As Your love, in wave after wave
Crashes over me, crashes over me
For You are for us
You are not against us
Champion of Heaven
You made a way for all to enter in….
You make me brave
You make me brave
You call me out beyond the shore into the waves
You make me brave
You make me brave
No fear can hinder now the love that made a way

Mark your calendar to join me for a Women’s Night at Coweta Assembly of God on Sunday November 6th at 6pm as we dig in to the words we need to receive, repeat and those we need to rebuke in order to walk in the label the Lord has given us. All are welcome to attend. And if you know a teenage girl, bring her along too!

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Inspiring Change

“I can’t feel my legs! I can’t feel my legs!”  It was Olaf’s sentiments after falling down a mountain on a pillow of snow, although we know they weren’t his legs.  It was also my sentiments after cracking down on these few extra winter pounds.  I’m not talking major body transformation.  I’m talking about a little more than the treadmill routine after those snow days that the kids and I ate cookie dough and then warm-right-out-of-the-oven cookies, or those brownie’s for Sunday night’s Once Upon a Time, and that little dish of ice cream before bed some evenings. Oh how quickly those habits make the jeans a little snug!

From my experiences of battling with the scale, I resorted to giving myself a weight range. It’s my healthy place. I set a four-pound fluctuation zone. This allows me some room to enjoy my little indulgences. And it keeps that dreaded basic bathroom piece out of the equation….the mirror. We can’t always trust the reflection we see there. I remember; those days when I was burying my insecurities and fears in a banana split and then hugging the toilet till I had purged all remaining content. Having this distorted perception that if I could be thin enough, I’d compensate for the ugliness of the scars.

How ever did I overcome that darkness? The most important component to my healing was my greater desperation for God. Every time I lay in the floor cramping from an overdose of laxatives or my throat burning from vomiting every nutritious item, or contending the voices of what I’d allow myself to eat after denying myself reasonable food; I would cry out to God. I asked so many questions. And in every moment I knew He was with me. Then I had some mentors, who I will share in a future post, speaking His Word, praying with me and helping me to redirect into a healthy lifestyle. Finally, I got professional help. Yes, I write that with a little humor, but in all seriousness, it was an imperative element to my road of healing.

For these reasons, it is important for me to be mindful not to go under, nor to go over that four-pound weight range. It can be my slippery slope, which takes me back to the challenge, “How thin can I get?” And this isn’t about a number; it’s about being healthy.

And this is why I want to introduce a woman dear to my heart. She is the face behind www.heathersblessedjourney.com. If it weren’t for her, I don’t know if I’d have ever had the courage to get off the ground in this endeavor of writing.

I met Rhonda Lawes in August 2010. I wasn’t sure we’d know each other very long. I was in her Pharmacology class at The University of Oklahoma. Each day I prayed God would provide for me to be successful. Her class was by far the most challenging I have ever taken.

When reviewing our results after our first exam, I didn’t anticipate the highest grade, but with the notes I had taken and the amount of time I had studied, I expected a decent grade. You can imagine my disbelief when I saw a “72.” Professor Lawes didn’t know me well, but she read me like a book. I was barely holding the tears back. She encouraged, “Remember, this is the first test you’ve ever taken in nursing school. It’s different. Don’t judge your success on this first test.” Because of my grade, I was required to have a one-on-one meeting with her. The result of that meeting was a broader view, a different approach and ultimately a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

I took away far more than a nursing degree. I stepped away with a woman who would become my mentor and my friend.

Shortly before graduation, Rhonda spoke into me with one question, “Have you ever thought about starting a blog?” I brushed it off almost as quickly as she asked. She nudged, “Well, pray about it. Take a few months to write and see what you come up with.”

Nine months later she came to my house and introduced me to this new world of reaching people by setting up www.heathersblessedjourney.com.

Rhonda was instrumental in my transformation from student to nurse. But she didn’t stop there. She continues still, investing into my life, challenging and sharpening me in areas I thought were incidental, but she identified as God given gifts, speaking and writing.

IMG_0572

Rhonda and me January 2015 a blessing on my journey

To watch her is to be impressed. She’s one of the most brilliant people, a published writer, a passionate professor, and still a learner, continuing on in her own studies to attain her doctorate degree. She’s even more compassionate. To know her is to love her as she genuinely cares and connects with students, patients and the numerous audiences she presents to. Not to mention, her outgoing personality, which blows all other characteristics out of the water. People love to be around her!

There’s so much to Rhonda Lawes.

Her latest journey touches my heart and inspires me to be a better me. And it’s not only her success that’s so inspiring, but that it’s another avenue for her to help others.

Rhonda had a similar battle with the scale. Some people would put our experiences in different categories, but they’re not. Both come from a place of desperation. Both are crying for help. Rhonda gathered the courage and changed her life.

“I’ll give this one more try. If this doesn’t work I’m just going to buy a bigger coffin. I can’t take one more failure,” were the words she shared with me after she set out on her journey. The example of strength was given the day she walked into the gym and hired a trainer. She had a ruthless pursuit for change, not just in the physical form but beneath the surface, desiring mental training too.

Screen Shot 2015-04-04 at 11.32.48 PM

her journey started with a step of faith ~ a step of courage ~ a determination for change

Talk about brave! This woman faced every insecurity, every potential for failure, every ounce of doubt, every instance of comparison, and she did it again and again and again!

Less than a year down the road, my amazing friend has dropped over ten sizes. She’s broke through the walls, like the one she hit nine months in at 100 pounds lost. Her training is lifestyle now. Real change; down a total of 130 pounds since she started. In the process of transforming her look into a picture of health and strength, her spirit has grown even stronger!

Every chance I get to spend with Rhonda Lawes leaves me feeling sharpened spiritually and intellectually.

I am inspired by her discipline, courage, strength and compassion, and I pray you are too!

I Timothy 4:8 NIV 

For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.

Lawes.Headshot

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It Is Time

“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” Walt Disney

There are few things I enjoy as much as I enjoy “walking right down the middle of Main Street USA,” grabbing a hot dog at Casey’s Corner and watching the three o’clock parade in Magic Kingdom. It’s like stepping into Bert’s painting the way Jane and Michael did with the one who is “practically perfect in every way,” Mary Poppins. However, there is a part of Disney World that doesn’t feel quite so magical to me. It’s the roller coaster rides.

“Cautious” is the word. Or maybe it’s “scaredy cat.” The scene is a bit similar to when Brooklyn was attempting to walk on her own. She wanted to walk, but she wanted something to hold onto, even if she didn’t need it to balance. I tried to supplement a sharpie marker for my finger, but she didn’t “fall” (pun intended) for that. For the longest time, she’d cruise along with my index finger barely within her grasp. She was just too cautious to let go. The same goes with roller coasters and me. I want to ride with the group, but it’s the unpredictable course, the unexpected turns and surprising drops that almost make me bow out. I know, that’s why people ride, but “thrill” is not in my vocabulary. “Family memories” is though.  So I gather up the nerve and ride anyway. When the ride is over, I’m always glad I got on.

How many rides do we skip because we don’t have the courage to experience the unexpected? When is that little something in our grasp keeping us from having the courage to let go and take those first steps? What do we miss in life because we don’t have courage?

In my time recovering from surgery, the Lord whispered into my heart repeatedly, “It is time.”

“But I went to nursing school to be a nurse.” I felt Him speak that He gave that to me.

“But I have these beautiful children who I’m always so busy with.” I felt Him speak that He gave them to me too.

Then there’s my sweet husband, but the Lord gave him to me as well.

What I really wanted in life is what I thought I’d never have, my husband and my children. I have all I ever needed with them.

“It is time, it is time;” the message stirred in my spirit.

Yes, it is time.

This foolish plan of God is wiser than the wisest of human plans, and God’s weakness is stronger than the greatest of human strength. I Corinthians 1:25 NLT

We want to be right where God wants us to be, when He wants us to be there. His plan is wiser than all others.

The place He’s calling me to be, took me back to the place where it all started on April 27th 1988. It was the ditch where I laid, my body burning; my brother dead. It was the scene of a horrific accident. This course of life changed.

That ditch. That place of tragedy, photographed for its symbolism of triumph!

Here I am, stepping on the ride. Here I am letting go of what’s in my grasp that I can feel and see and know.  Here I am silencing the “what if’s” and “hows.”

Steps of courage: setting a three-year time line to write a memoir of this journey

Steps of courage: sharing with others through speaking opportunities

Steps of courage: developing brochures to capture who we are, our past speaking experiences and testimonials

Steps of courage: seeking options for where our online home should be

Steps of courage: sending our story to different publications

Steps of courage: asking for your prayers and requesting your support in following this blog, sharing it with friends, and connecting us with others to share our story publicly

These things which God has done must be shared. “To God be the glory for the things He has done!” Sharing what He has done gives hope. Giving of ourselves brings encouragement. Telling our stories inspires, sharpens, motivates.

What has the Lord done in your life that could make a difference in another’s?  We all have a story to tell.  Whether it’s to forty or four thousand, whether it’s over coffee or in a presentation, we make a difference when we share where we’ve been.  That may look a little different for each of us, but make no mistake, it still makes a difference!  So take those steps of courage with me when God opens the door.

In the next few weeks I’m going to be sharing some people with you who have inspired me. These individuals are courageous in being who God has called them to be, and encouraging to all who have the privilege of knowing.

This journey has unexpected turns, twists, and curves. But when it’s over, I’ll sure be glad I got on.

“Decisions are not always easy…especially ones that are life changing. Faith gets you founded. Courage gets you moving.” Pastor Steve Lee, Coweta Assembly

If you know of an occasion where I could share my story,                                                                       click here to complete and submit the form.

View More: http://malloryhallphotography.pass.us/heathersblessedjourney

“shout unto God with a voice of triumph” — my back is to the ditch where I was injured– thank you to Mallory Hall Photography for telling the story with her lens! http://www.malloryhallphotography.com

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Let It Go

Have you seen the Disney movie Frozen?  If not, I highly recommend it.  The story line has a strong emphasis on family and the power that comes from a family’s love, how the love for each other can change a situation.

Chances are the dynamic vocals of “Let It Go” come to mind.  This is a phrase I’ve uttered many times, but over the past several weeks, it comes out to the tune of the song.  The kids sometimes roll their eyes, but with a smile.  It’s fun. Gets the message across.

Besides the melody, I really like the lyrics.  For someone who desires others to have a positive opinion of me, which boils down to the fact that I prefer people like me, this song has a bold message of assurance and confidence.

The fact is, sometimes we offend people without any intention.  Sometimes speaking our thoughts, sharing our experiences or stating our values, upsets others.  But that fear can’t control us.  Sometimes we have to let it go, and trust God that He knows our hearts and weighs our motives, despite “what they’re going to say.”

I have much admiration for an individual who stands for what he believes despite what others say.  My family and I have had the privilege of knowing this man over the past nearly 15 years.  And while we had countless opportunities to see his heart through our time serving together in youth ministry, it was his sensitivity expressed to us in our own time of need that personalizes the depth of his character and his compassion.

In 2005, my husband and I made a difficult decision for him to quit working in order for him to assume a full-time focus on finishing his engineering degree.  It was his goal to become an engineer and chipping away at it class by class appeared that it was too far out of reach.  Since I carried the health insurance through my job with my Dad’s business, we felt it would be good buckling down and committing it all to achieving this goal.

Brandon started the semester on August 22, 2005 and my Dad passed away quite unexpectedly on August 29, 2005.  Before long, we were selling his business and paying out of pocket for our health insurance.  By November 2006, our savings was approaching depletion and Brandon’s projected date of graduating had been pushed back in result of an advisor’s neglect to detail.  Brandon was sending out resumes, going on interviews, attending career fairs, but nothing was happening.  We knew that come January 2007 we would either have to pay our $900+/month health insurance or our mortgage.  Considering my medical history, it was a scary choice to make.

One Sunday morning, my husband grabbed my hand and stepped out to the altar.  We needed prayer.  We needed the Lord to work on our behalf.  And the person who came to pray with us was Markwayne Mullin.  I have to tell you I said in my heart, “Lord, not him.  He has absolutely no clue where we are right now. “  But how humbled and touched I was when we walked away.  I can only imagine the difficulty for my husband to share our situation with him.  But Markwayne prayed with such intensity, such compassion, and such faith.  You would have thought that he was down to the wire financially.  He put himself in our shoes and prayed for an answer as if his life were to be changed by it.

So you’ll know the conclusion, my husband received a job offer about a month later.  He was able to start December 28, 2006.  Our health insurance never lapsed, and we were able to make our mortgage payment as scheduled.  God provided for us and strengthened our faith through that season.

As for Markwayne, he has become a Congressman and occasionally I read his Facebook posts.  I have no idea what prompted me to read some of the comments on one of his recent posts, but I did.  And while I shouldn’t have been surprised, I was.  Why?  Because I know him.  And I know that he isn’t who some people say he is.  But I also know he can handle it.  God has given him an assurance and confidence to do what the Lord has called him to do.  And I admire that immensely.

Sometimes the comments of others are cold, but don’t let it get to you.  Let it go.  Don’t let the fear of what others say stop you from being you.  God knows who you are.  He knows your heart.  Let’s buck up and carry on!

Joshua 1:9

This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

*click here to see the trailer for Disney’s Frozen

*click here to see the sing-a-long of Let it Go

*click here to visit the site for Congressman Markwayne Mullin

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