“God is with us through it all.” Becki Crain

20 years ago, in March of 2000, my friend Becki Crain died.   

I met Becki in 1992.  We were in a mom’s bible study, that had 5 women in it.  We all brought our children to the study. At the time, I just had one child, and Becki had 2. Eight years later, I would have 4 children, and Becki –5 children.

As time went on—Becki and I became close friends.  We shared our lives with each other.  We prayed together.  We encouraged each other in our faith.  We were both stay at home moms, and we were trusting God to take care of our families financially and in every way.  Becki used to be a teacher and she taught me how to teach my oldest son how to read.  We started our homeschooling journey together. 

  Becki and I laughed together.   At the end of her life, we were still laughing together.  If she were still alive during this time, I guarantee, we would be laughing together.

I learned so much from Becki.  She believed that God’s word was truer than how she felt, truer than anything.  She believed in God’s love and goodness, even when her life was being taken from her.

She found out she had cancer when she was 5 months pregnant.  The doctors wanted her to start on chemotherapy while she was pregnant, but Becki didn’t think they had enough research –and she wouldn’t risk the baby’s health. 

She died 5 months after her baby was born.   She went over to Germany when her baby was 3 ½ months old for experimental treatments.  They did not work.  She flew back home, saw her baby again, and her family and friends.  I saw her again, and within 24 hours, she was gone.

During the time of her cancer, I got to see the Body of Christ at work in a way I never had before.  I was in a mom’s bible study and the women in it helped me with bringing meals to Becki and her family, and cleaning her house. Becki was not in this Bible Study and these women did not know her.

These women helped me raise money for Becki’s medical expenses, by having a huge garage sale.  The local Christian radio station let us advertise the sale on their radio program.   Hundreds of people donated things to sell at the garage sale.  Hundreds more came to the sale. 

My local church allowed us to have the sale at the church.  This was not Becki’s church.  But I learned—that “We” are all the church.  The church is not a building.

People who did not know Becki sent money.   I saw so many, many, many people show their love and care.  

This outpouring of love, helped me so much when God took Becki home. 

God is love.  God is love.  I got to see this love working through His people.  I literally got to see God’s love. 

 Becki is seeing that love, and feeling that love, all the time now.   Becki was the one who told me when she was fighting cancer, “When you face the thing you fear the most, you realize you have nothing to fear, for God is with you through it all.”

When my son died, I remembered her words, and I thought of how true they were.  God was with me through it all.

As we go through this time in our world history, I want us to remember those words.  They are true words—and we can cling to them.

Perhaps, you know someone who has this virus.  Perhaps you are grieving someone who has died of this virus.  Perhaps you have this virus. 

You do not have to fear — God is with us through it all.  God is love.  He cares for you.  Death cannot separate us from His love.  Nothing can separate us from His love.

So Be Encouraged!!

The Gift of Grace

This is the story of the week my son Sean died, and God carrying me through that week. I share it to give hope to those who need God to carry them through their own crisis right now.

Encouragement for you!!

When I brought my firstborn home from the hospital, I taped
a poster next to the changing table that had visual instructions of how to
change a diaper, how to give a bath, how to take care of the umbilical
cord. For the next few weeks, every
single time I had to do one of those things I would study that poster as if it
held the secrets of the universe.

When my first born was a few months old, he stubbed his toe,
jumping in a jumping chair. I bawled my
eyes out. I was devastated with his
little injury.

Forward 21 years—I was preparing to teach a class, (for a
homeschool co-op), my husband was home from work, and Sean, our sixteen-year-old
was leaving to go for a bike ride. Sean
wanted to be a bike racer, and frequently went on training bike rides.

My husband is a…

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All My Fears Were For Naught

Fear – It can do funny things to you.  When I was 46 years old, I gave birth to my fifth child.  When I was pregnant with her, I was afraid.  I knew the statistics, and they weren’t good.

Chances were this child would have something genetically wrong.  There was a possibility that I would die – but since that possibility exists with each child born, I wasn’t as concerned with that statistic.  I tried to ignore these fears and continue with life.  

We were in the middle of remodeling our home, and since my husband is a builder, our home was also going to be on the Parade of Homes.

I was homeschooling all the rest of our four children, in the middle of a remodel, while being pregnant, with morning sickness.  

And I was afraid.  My fear would pop out at the most inappropriate times for me.  I would be at a gathering of friends and would start crying.  I was mortified.  I hated crying in front of others.  Now – I have cried so often in front of others—it doesn’t bother me at all.

What is the point of this story? 

I had my baby.  She was healthy, and perfect, and all my fears were for naught.

All my fears were for naught.

Right now, we are all in lock-down.  We are seeking to be safe from the COVID-19 virus.

There is a great deal of uncertainty.  There is fear of the unknown.  There is anxiety.

 I am concerned for how the shutdowns are affecting people living on the edge economically.  What is this doing to them?   Will businesses be able to survive?  What will our country’s future look like?

Again – there is fear.  There is uncertainty.  There is anxiety.

During the Great Depression in our country, Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “There is nothing to fear, except fear itself.”

Fear makes people do crazy things.  We have all seen people do crazy things during this time. 

The opposite of fear is faith.  One can still fear and have faith at the same time.  Faith is not the absence of fear.  Faith is just choosing to believe God and do what He says.

God tells us to love our neighbor as ourselves.

God tells us to love Him, first and foremost.   Many of us have put our security in money.  Money has been our God.   During this time, we can repent of that, and ask God to be the One we worship first and foremost.

Perhaps, that is the true point of this time, to return to the One who made us and gave us life.

He has said, “Cast all your anxieties upon Me, for I care for you.”

I believe that when this time is over, it will be clear that, “All our fears were for naught.” I believe this—- because in the words of Becky Crain, who died of breast cancer at the age of 36, “When you face the thing you fear the most, you realize you have nothing to fear, because God is with you through it all.”

God is with us through this all.

So Be Encouraged!!

Faith and Fear

This is a short, less than 5 minute video, of Jeff Struecker, the soldier who lived through the events featured in the movie, “Black Hawk Down”, talking about “Faith and Fear”. In this time of Panic–facing the unknowns– this is worth watching!!

There is no reason to Panic — Is there?

Today my husband took my daughter shopping and my daughter came back all a buzz about how the stores were sold out of toilet paper, and other basic supplies.   It seems that 2 cases of the coronavirus, in our state, is cause of major panic, colleges and schools closing, and stores being wiped of supplies right off the shelves.

Friends and family are posting articles on facebook on how to prevent getting this virus.  People are panicking because they don’t know much about this virus.

This is what I find curious about us as human beings.  We live on a ball that is hurtling through space, we live with people dying all the time, with the threats of tornadoes, or hurricanes, or earthquakes.   The flu season just killed thousands and thousands more than this Corona virus is expected to kill.

All of us literally face death, every single day.  But most of us, are oblivious to this.  We go about our lives, going to school, or work, or whatever, acting like we are going to live forever.

We don’t think, “I am going to die.  It could be today.”

But below the surface—it is there—the knowledge is there.

So– it should not be surprising to see people react and panic when something – like the uncertainty of the Corona-Virus brings that knowledge to the surface – that we are all going to die,—and that day could be coming sooner rather than later.

I hope that as people are faced with this truth, that they will consider these truths as well:

God loves us.  Jesus came to earth to die for us, so we could live with Him forever.  He did this because God wants us to know Him, and our sin was stopping that from happening. When Jesus died, He died for humanity’s sins, one perfect divine death to pay the penalty for all our sins and give us the gift of a relationship with God.   This gift needs to be accepted by each person individually, for that person to experience God’s love and forgiveness and experience a relationship with Him.

“For as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to be called, children of God….” John 1: 12

“The testimony is this, God has given us eternal life, this life is in His Son, he who has the Son, has eternal life…..” 1 John 5: 11,12

“This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent. ” John 17:3

If you would like to receive Jesus, you can do so by expressing your faith through prayer. 

“Lord Jesus, thank you for dying on the cross to pay the penalty for my sins.  I open the door of my life and receive you as my Savior and Lord.   Please make me into the person You created me to be.  Thank you for this gift of a relationship with You.  Help me to listen to You and Your word and to follow You.”  Amen

Once you have made this decision, Jesus will come into your life as He promises:  “Behold, I stand at the door and knock, if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him…..” Revelations 3:20

He will never leave you.  “…I will never desert you nor will I ever forsake you.”  Hebrews 13:5

You will have eternal life.  “For God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

Knowing that we are God’s and He is ours, will make a difference in our lives.   No reason for panic.  No reason for distress.  But also, no reason to go back to being oblivious.  We can be aware of what others are going through.  We can reach out and help in our spheres of influence. 

We can be unafraid!! 

So Be Encouraged!!

Click here for resources on Jesus’s death and resurrection.

mothering is discipleship

This is a great blog written by a young mom in the thick of parenting younger children. I just love the encouragement she gives, and I hope you will love it too!!

Castleberry Hearts

I snapped this photo a couple weeks ago at the end of a busy day. In that moment my heart was weary from the mothering tasks of the day. When I came around the corner to this scene, my heart was so refreshed.

I stood at the corner and listened as Grant read to the kids, explaining to them about the Tower of Babel. He was asking them questions and telling them about the sin of those people, wanting a life lived for their own glory.

He was discipling our children.

In that moment, the weariness of the day seemed to wash away and I realized I had gotten caught up in the doing and lost sight of my true calling.

It can be easy for me at times to do that. To get caught up in the tasks I need to complete. And when I do that, I often…

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Words are powerful!!

My sons used to say, “Word!!”, when they agreed with me, (or agreed with anyone), and wanted me to know it.  They would do a fist bump and a little dance when they said “Word” as well.  I can still see them, thinking they were so hip, and it cracks me up.  However, I don’t think it was an accident that they used the word, “Word”.

 Words are powerful.

My Aunt wrote on the inside of the cover to a book she gave me when I was 9—”to the girl with the Miss America smile”—and I imagined myself the recipient of the Miss America Title.  I still have that book.  I still smile at the words my Aunt wrote.

My mother told me what a nice job I did scouring the kitchen sink, and I never failed to do it when it was my turn to do the dishes, hoping for that praise again.  (My mother did not disappoint – she frequently praised me for this and other things. 🙂 )

Words are powerful, life-giving things. 

God “spoke” the world into existence.  In John it says, The Word is God, The Word was God and the Word has come and dwelt among us.  What power!!  What life!!

Words have power.  Words are life-giving.

We take great care in naming our babies—finding names with beauty, with meaning, with quality, with character—to provide our children with the same things.  We want them to have lives with meaning, quality and character—and beauty.

On the flip side, Words have power in a negative way.  I can still remember some of the mean things’ others have said to me over the years.  I bet you can as well.  Words can tear at our souls.  Words can even tear out our souls.

Words are powerful things.

As a Mom, words have more power than we know.  Our words carry more weight than we know.  How do I know this?  I have a Mom.  Think of all the things your mom has said to you over the years, the encouraging things,  and the not so encouraging things—maybe even things that were said in passing – that hurt and stung—that she may not have known her words hurt you—but because she is your mom, and you want her approval—they did hurt, they may still hurt.

I have hurt my children with my words—times I know I hurt them, and probably many more times, I am unaware I hurt them.

A few years ago, one of my children brought up an incident that happened years before, when I had said something in frustration and anger.  I had apologized after the incident, but my words were still hurting my child.  I apologized again, and we hugged and cried and hopefully some healing took place.

Words are powerful, life-giving things or powerful, demolishing things.

I write this, realizing that I need to be active in using words to encourage my children.  I need to look for things to encourage them about with sincerity and honesty.

I also need to be mindful of what I am saying.  Because I am a parent, my words have weight.  I need to be careful when I speak.   Even years after, I have spoken, my words can cause damage, or they can bring life. 

Words are powerful, life-giving things!!

 You are a mom!!  Your words matter!!  You matter!!  Your children matter!!  Your husband matters!! 

The Giver of Life, The Giver of Words wants to empower us to speak life-giving words.  He wants to bring healing to our lives, and our children’s lives.  He wants to bring forgiveness.  All we need to do is say the word, “Yes”!!  Or in the case of my boys, that word would be, “Word”!!

 So Be Encouraged!!