Thursday, June 11, 2020

CODE BLUE



My family and I had gotten into a semi-normal routine.  Hospital during morning hours until after doctors rounded, back to the Ronald McDonald house for playtime and nap with Caleb, dinner, then we would go back to the hospital to say goodnight and pray over Isaiah.  This particular day was no different.

We had just finished dinner and drove over to the hospital to say goodnight to Isaiah.  We walked into his hospital room smiling and talking, and within moments of us arriving, every machine in his room began beeping.  His oxygen levels were fading.  The nurse came in trying everything she knew to help, yet all she did was to no avail.  My heart began racing, palms sweaty, and knees wobbly as I heard the words Code Blue.  I could not panic because I was holding our older son Caleb in my arms.  Within seconds, the room was filled with doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists, and techs.

I walked out into the hall with Caleb because I could not watch.  It was like watching really scary moments in  a movie where you cover your eyes because you don’t think you can handle seeing it, but you peek through your fingers every once in while only to cringe or scream.  I was pacing back and forth and praying, loudly might I add.  My eyes were going back and forth from the attending doctor’s face and my husband’s calm stature in the room.  My husband stood with such calm and confidence.  Our baby was flat lining, yet my husband remained calm.  And somehow his stature, helped me in keeping my composure instead of  falling apart at the seams.

I will never forget that moment.  I was completely full of faith and fear all at the same time.  This was a real-life encounter with the prayer in Mark 9: 24: Lord I believe, help my unbelief!  I was full of faith while “shaking in my boots.”  As I was pacing in the hall; I still heard the beeps, I saw the look of concern on the doctors’ faces, I saw my husband’s calm demeanor, and I saw my son who I held in my arms while praying and pacing.  So many thoughts were running through my head:  Lord Isaiah cannot die, I can’t handle it, Caleb cannot be traumatized by watching his little brother die, his death will not bring you glory.  And verbally my prayer was, God, I know you did not bring him this far to let him die now. God you are all powerful and you will complete this miracle!

Finally, after taking an X ray and reviewing it, the problem had been spotted.  Isaiah’s breathing tube had slipped out of place, so therefore, it was not doing its job.  The doctors said he had been breathing on his own, and because he was not fully ready for that, he became overworked and tired.  They replaced the tube with a new one and the beeping stopped.  I was able to let out a huge sigh of relief.  It seemed as if that code blue lasted for an awfully long time, but in actuality from the time of them calling a code blue to them replacing his tube, was only about seven minutes or so.

Fast forward to date.  That same little baby who was laying in that incubator fragile, extremely sick, and flat lining, is the same little one year old who is full of joy, energy, and life.  I watch him tackle challenges head on every day.  He is a living and breathing testimony for his doctors, therapists, me, and I’m sure many others.

As I ponder about that code blue, I began to think of the dreams and aspirations that I thought were dead.  Just thinking about that day gives me hope and proves that God’s promises never fail.  No matter how lifeless your dream may seem, God can turn it around with your cooperation and honesty.  Be honest with Him about your fear while believing that He is able to do exceedingly and above all we ask or think. 

Isaiah is living proof that a code blue is not a death sentence.  Now is the time to dust off those dreams, goals, and aspirations and watch God honor His promises.  This is the reason why I write, in hopes of encouraging someone that God is with them and there is always a reason to move forward. As you read this, I pray that the very power of the Resurrection of Christ be endowed upon you and your God given gifts and talents.  May the God of the whole universe be made known to you in a more personal and relevant way during this season of your life.


Thursday, May 21, 2020

The Danger of Silence, The Power in Love


The other day, while making a particularly important phone call, my three-year-old son, Caleb, asked me if he could climb up on my shoulders.  I was in mid-sentence with the person on the telephone, so I did not answer him. He asked me once more, and again, I did not answer him. In this instance, it was not resonating with Caleb that his dad and I had given him instruction on his behavior when we had to take a phone call.  We have told him more than once not to be loud or ask us anything while we are on the phone.  I am sure many parents can relate to this.  On this day, I had been on hold for what seemed like forever.  I had finally gotten through to a live person to handle some time-sensitive business.  The very moment I began speaking to the person on the other line is the exact moment Caleb began doing exactly what I had already told him not to do. He then looked up me with a smile on his face, speaking aloud, okay I can do it.  At that moment, I realized that my toddler took my silence or lack of response as permission to do something that I did not agree with.

As I have pondered instances like this over the past couple of weeks, I realized an important and valuable lesson:  there is a real and tangible danger in silence.  When witnessing social injustices, deliberate oppression, blatant racism, and the list can go on, silence can be perceived as approval and/or agreement.  In my opinion, many can be in such an individualistic mindset, that if a situation does not directly affect them, whether they agree or not, silence is the choice they make.  Others may be fearful or just despise confrontation, therefore, the choice of silence is made.

I am reminded when Jesus confronted wrongdoers, in a very stern and some may say aggressive way, when they were buying and selling in the temple.  Matthew 21:12-13 states:  Jesus went into the temple and threw out all those buying and selling.  He overturned the tables of the moneychangers and the chairs of those selling doves.  He said to them, “It is written, my house will be called a house of prayer, but you are making it a den of thieves!”  From what I know and believe to be true, Jesus loves all people, yet he hates sin.  His actions and words were against the wrong that was being done.  He witnessed people turning God’s house into something that it was not meant to be, so he spoke out.
I have begun to think of how my sphere of influence through the years might have been affected if I was more vocal about my convictions about injustice, hate, etc.  As a follower of Christ, I have a deep longing to see others experience His love in their situations, communities, and even globally. 
Through my personal experience with my two sons, I have become their greatest advocate.  If anyone does or says something that is not in their best interest, it is my call to protect and defend them.  Though it does take a daily shifting in thought, my neighbor should receive the same courtesy.  The way I defend my neighbor versus my sons will look different, but it is still love in action.  I may offer prayer and/or material assistance, while using my voice in my sphere of influence to help bring about a change from wrong to right.

Currently, many are suffering due to no fault of their own.  There are mental health challenges because of the global pandemic, there is social unrest due to racially motivated crimes, and economic and financial challenges are reaching far and wide, even in the great United States of America.
My questions are:  What would it look like if those of us who say we are Christ followers become the solution the world is looking for?; What if we spoke out about injustice, while still loving those bound by hatred?; What if we used our word to eloquently speak the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the hope of seeing true conversion in the hearts of people?; What if we stopped placing the responsibility of solutions on others, and bear the burden ourselves?

Keep in mind, these are just my thoughts.  I really believe that God is all powerful.  I really believe that He hears our prayers.  I really believe that I have been endued with power by the Holy Spirit.  I really believe that LOVE never fails (1 Corinthians 13:8).

I wrote this blog just to provoke some thought.  I encourage you to look through the lens of love and act accordingly.  Let us have the hard conversations, with the resolve of love being the goal.  We have been silent long enough. Let us love, let us heal, and let us provoke change.

Friday, May 1, 2020

Moment of Transparency



A year ago, my husband and I made the decision for me to stay home with our children.  I was in unchartered territory.  Not only was my newly born, 4 months premature baby, fighting for his life in the NICU, but I was preparing for some major life changes as a mom.  Our older son Caleb turned two years old, five days after his younger brother unexpectedly arrived.  As parents, my husband and I were beginning a major faith building journey.  Difficult is an understatement as to how things would be for the foreseeable future.

As a mom, who had just experienced a traumatic birthing experience, I was emotionally and hormonally unstable.  The way my body was responding seemed to be completely out of my control.  I cried so much that I literally could not catch my breath on several occasions that first two weeks.  I was eventually diagnosed with postpartum depression, and my OB told me she would be concerned if I did not experience the symptoms, I was having with all that happened with the birth of my younger son, Isaiah.

I can honestly say that once Isaiah was in the NICU, I did not expect what would happen in the days ahead.  Our family was basically living at the hospital, and eventually, the Ronald McDonald House.  We are so grateful for everyone who encouraged us and gave to us during that time, but boy was it hard.  Trying to raise a two year old without living in his own home, trying to be there for your newborn who was fighting for his life ( and at one point we were told he was not going to live), my husband working and trying to be there for me and his sons, and then making the decision for me to stop working and stay home with our kids.  With the situation, it was a no brainer for me to come home, but I would be lying if I said I never questioned the decision or even longed to work at times.  Professionally, though my workdays could be difficult at times, it was highly rewarding when seeing such progress being made by the children I worked with.  I enjoyed creating behavioral plans, amending plans, and being a part of a team to help special needs children reach their fullest potential at school and within their communities. All of a sudden, I went from a working wife and mom, to staying “home,” yet not being home.  I wondered if I was being an effective parent and a supportive wife. 

Fast forward to recently.  Our son Isaiah turned one year old on the 19th of April and doing well.  Our son Caleb amazes us every day.  Last night right before I tucked him into bed, Caleb began asking me what he needed to do to be saved.  Now, just some background information for you, we have been teaching him scriptures, or memory verses as he calls them, since he could talk.  We include him in family prayer time and praise and worship, and he has always been in awe when watching his dad lead worship at church or on television.  When he started telling me that he wanted to be saved last night, I knew he understood by the way he was asking.  Immediately the scripture, do not let anyone despise your youth, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity (1 Timothy 4:12), came to mind.  Right there, in his bedroom floor, I was honored to lead my son in the prayer of salvation.  As I pondered on this momentous occasion all night, I cried happy tears, and God used this as confirmation to me that I am right where I need to be in this season.
God is faithful to His Word, and He hears our prayers.  My husband and I have been praying since Caleb was in my womb that our children would begin to serve the Lord at an early age.  I am still in awe of God and how my newly three-year-old son received salvation with understanding. 

As I close out this blog, I want to encourage anyone who might be re-thinking where they are in life, standing in faith for their children, or waiting for a prayer to be answered.  Know that God is faithful to His Word. It is my prayer that your faith does not fail and that He will give you the desires of your heart in due time.  I John 5:14-15 says, this is the confidence we have before him: If we ask anything according to His will, he hears us.  And if we know that he hears whatever we ask, we know that we have what we have asked of him. Be blessed, and I am excited to hear many testimonies of God’s goodness and faithfulness.





Saturday, March 14, 2020

Just One Mom's Perspective



With all that has been going on with the threat of the pandemic with COVID-19, I decided to put my thoughts into this blog.  First, I want to say that I am a believer and Jesus Christ is in whom I place my trust.  Over the past year, my faith has been tested and strengthened with my youngest son literally fighting for his life for several months.  It was not easy watching him look helpless and so fragile, knowing there was nothing I could do to help him.  This is the place where my husband and I found ourselves having to really lean in on the very Word of God and trusting Him with everything.  With that being said, I just wanted to give my point of view on this COVID-19 threat.

I am the mom of medically fragile children, and my second son was born so early that not only his immune system has to recuperate, but his lungs are very fragile.  It is in my daily routine to stay away from large crowds, avidly wash my hands, and if I happen to get sick, I must wear a mask to protect my children from catching anything.  All the precautions that have been mentioned by the CDC and healthcare professionals are all things that are the NORM for my family.  I will say, my faith is rooted in Jesus Christ, and I will also say that using wisdom and taking proper precautions are important.  For example, when my son was in the NICU, although he was inside an incubator, and though we couldn’t always touch him, we still had to wash our hands when entering his room, and if you were sick, you were not allowed on the floor.  Truth is, germs are real, and they are dangerous for those with compromised immune systems.  So, as we placed our trust in God who was the only one who could heal our child because the doctors basically told us there was nothing else they could do, we watched the miraculous unfold right before our very eyes and we diligently followed the rules of the NICU.  I have seen some posts on social media where some have made statements that alluded to if you allowed COVID-19 to affect your behavior, then you must not be in faith.  In my opinion, and I am just a mom with medically fragile children, I wholeheartedly believe that you can be in faith and take proper steps to ensure you and your family stays safe.

For my family and I, panic has not been a response for us in the recent events.  However, I will say that frustration set in for me when trying to buy my children’s necessities.  I had to drive to a minimum of seven stores just to find the right baby formula and pampers.  Being that I haven’t been taking my kids out for much lately due to it being flu season, I didn’t know how bad it really was.  I witnessed people filling up three and four baskets worth of food and beverages.  I have never been inside a grocery store where all the water, toilet paper, paper towels, meats, and baby wipes were all gone.  I am not exaggerating; I think my jaw dropped just a little bit.  As I pondered on this, I began to think about the early church and how they shared all they had with everyone.  No one lacked anything.  Then I thought, what a wonderful opportunity the church has amid the craziness and panic.  We are the receivers of such abundant grace from God, and this is such a grand time where we can literally influence our various communities by sharing the love of Christ in deed and word.

As I end this blog, I want to pray for those who can’t shake the feeling of panic or fear.  I pray that you have such an encounter with Jesus that His peace rests in your mind and your heart.  I pray for those who are sick that God intervenes on your behalf.  May the love of God and the joy of the Lord be your strength as you continue to place your trust in Him.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Self-Love is Important Too




Shortly after the new year, I decided to do some much needed self-evaluation.  I realized for the past several months that I’d been living in such a reactive state, that I hadn’t taken the time to truly process all the major changes that have taken place in my life in less than a year.  I gave birth to our youngest son at 26 weeks, and we were told he was not going to make it after he caught a very dangerous infection.  As a result, my husband, our two-year-old son, and I were basically residents at the hospital.  Our normal way of doing life had been immediately disrupted.  In a blink of an eye, I went from being a working mom and wife, to staying home.  My husband and I went from being parents of one to two sons with the youngest being medically fragile that he would need intensive in-home services for a while.  With that being said, I finally sat down to do some reflection and really allow myself to process what has been happening the past nine months or so.
This time, I chose to do my self-evaluation a little differently that I ever have.  Instead of thinking of who or what I am not or what I don’t have, I looked into God’s word and looked at myself through His eyes.  The picture attached to this month’s blog is the first list I wrote of who God says I am.  Seeing myself in that way allowed me the opportunity to challenge myself, leave room for correction through the Holy Spirit, and to be open to allow God to heal me in my areas of insecurities and fears.
In the days shortly after such introspection, I was able to write a thorough list of attainable goals for the year with timelines.  I was also challenged to begin to get back to doing some things just for me, without guilt.
This past Saturday, my husband was adamant about me taking the day for myself.  He was very specific in letting me know that it was a day for me to be pampered and just have fun.  Initially it was hard for me to leave the house, because there is always something to do.  Toward the day’s end, I was so thankful that my husband insisted on this happening and took care of the kids and the house for the day.  It was the BEST thing for me.  In that time, I realized I had not had a day for me since April when our youngest son was born.  I’d been so busy caring for others that I neglected my own self-care.
In honor of February being he love month for so many, I am not only choosing to display love for Jesus, my family, and friends, but also for ME.  This means treating myself sometimes and actively engaging in doing those things God wants me to do that is not attached to being a wife and a mother without feeling guilty.
At this time, I want to encourage anyone who might be feeling less than, stressed, tired, misunderstood, etc., to look at yourself through the lens of God.  I pray that as you do, that you will be showered with His love for you and that His joy is your strength.  May God give you wisdom and strategy on creating balance in your life, and may His grace sustain and push you into actively fulfilling your purpose here on earth.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Toxic Relationships



Over the past year or so, my attention has been drawn to many social media posts about toxic relationships.  Most of the posts I’ve seen are related to letting the toxic people go in their lives, cutting them off, or simply disregarding those people.  On one hand, I totally get the reasoning behind this because no one wants to continuously be hurt by someone.  For some reason, seeing these posts would always make me uncomfortable.  So, instead of just scrolling from post to post, I decided to really do some introspection regarding the subject. 

The first thought, and very uncomfortable might I add, that came to my mind is that I am, and I have been the toxic person in relationships.  I have been the one who has gone back on promises, not kept my word, been unforgiving, been untrusting, prideful, saying things intentionally to hurt others, and bent on being right regardless of the costs.  For a while, I have felt shame, guilt, and regret due to how I just described myself above. 

Let me say, that I am guilty of being an overthinker much of the time.  So, bear with me with this blog entry.  Recently, I’ve had a renewed hunger for God.  However, with that hunger came thoughts like the ones mentioned above that tried to keep me from spending as much time with Him as I should.  I was replaying many of the times where I’ve mistreated, lied to, distrusted, and flat out dismissed God due to my circumstances, state of mind, and own selfish desires.  As I pondered on these things, I began to realize that God does not hold any of those things against me.  He still longs for a relationship with me.  If we were all honest, we all have been the toxic one in our relationship with God.  However, no matter how many times we mess up, He is consistent with loving us and accepting us back into His arms.  I was reminded of Peter in the bible who betrayed Jesus three times.  The more I thought about it, he was one of the closest people to Jesus and he still messed up.  Betrayal is such a harsh word and action, yet Peter, who loved Jesus so dearly, still betrayed Jesus because of outward circumstances.  Though Peter committed this awful thing more than once, Jesus was right there loving Him and still allowed him to be a representative of the Kingdom of God.
This is such a great reminder for me because I completely despise getting hurt by others.  My habit is to shutdown or distance myself from those who hurt me whether it be intentional or unintentional.  I am reminded of a time some years back when I was so withdrawn, and honestly depressed, that I unintentionally hurt some of my closest friends.  I would give my word about something and not follow through, and I just was not there for some of the most important times for them in the manner I should have been.  Though the hurt was unintentional, I was still the toxic person. I’ve apologized and been forgiven, yet my toxicity resulted in the relationship never being the same. 

So, as you can see, I have been on the side of being a toxic person.  And truthfully, I have been on the side of not really forgiving others who have been toxic in my life.  It is ironic that we have the capability to sometimes quickly identify and dismiss toxic people in our lives, but we desire forgiveness and understanding when the toxic person is us.  At least, that is how I think about it.
As I’ve pondered on this subject, I understand that if I don’t work on my relationship with Christ, how can I expect to be a person free of toxicity in my relationships as a: wife, mother, sister, and friend.  At this point in my life, I am making the conscious decision to receive God’s forgiveness and grace.  Because of His grace and not in my own strength, I will become more connected to Him which will spill over into my earthly relationships. 

I am truly thankful that God didn’t dismiss or throw me away.  He has been patient and compassionate with every sin, mistake, and misstep that I’ve made.  I am overwhelmed with His love for me.  My thought process now is to really seek God on teaching me how to see EVERY PERSON through the eyes of Christ.  I plan to extend grace and pray for those who hurt me.  Please do not misperceive what I am saying, some relationships are completely unhealthy, and I do get that distance is necessary in some situations.  However, I will make the conscious effort to take a leap of faith in extending grace to perceived toxic people, because they may be the very people that God wants to use mightily.  I do not want to miss an opportunity to BE LOVE to someone that they might have an introduction with Jesus Christ.

It is my prayer that if you are reading this, you receive God’s unwavering and unfailing love for you.  I pray that we are ever in remembrance of the grace extended to us by Christ and that our hearts are molded and shaped by the Word and the very love of God.  I pray that this year, will be a year of new beginnings, great leaps of faith, and gracious blessings. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Tis the Season





As we enter this holiday season, I realize there are so many of us dealing with difficult circumstances, grief, or just may be having a hard time.  From my perspective, the holidays can be really hard when dealing with the loss of a loved one, dealing with seemingly hopeless situations, such as critical illnesses, or for some, even financial hardships. 

Around Christmastime, my husband and I have decided that we will get our children a couple gifts while ensuring they understand why we celebrate Christmas as a family.  A few days ago, I asked my two-year-old son what he wanted us to get him for a Christmas gift.  He looked at me with a huge smile and his eyes twinkled with joy as he said excitedly, “I want a Christmas tree and a Christmas hat!”  Such a simple request from a child who has been through so much this year.  He’s had to adjust to so many changes with a new baby brother who was born early and was in the hospital for nearly four months.  He has tagged along with us to doctor appointments and, at times, he must wait for the simplest things because we have to tend to his brother.  As a mom, sometimes it hurts my heart because I want both my boys to have the best of me and I don’t always feel that I am doing that.  But nevertheless, my two-year-old son is full of joy and loves his family so much.
Over the past several months, I have learned a great deal from observing my kids.  My older son (2 yr. old) has this disposition about him that when he hurts himself in any way, he will ask me or his dad to pray for him, or he will pray for himself.  Immediately after the prayer is complete, he says with enthusiasm, “all better now!”  He then resumes playing or whatever he was doing as if he never hurt himself.  My youngest son has been fighting to live since he was born in April of this year.  Recently he caught a virus that really affected his breathing, (even with being supported with oxygen at home).  One evening, his heart rate and oxygen level dropped and even when we turned his oxygen up as far as we could at home, nothing was changing.  I called 911 and he was transported by ambulance to the hospital.  As I watched him, as awful as I know he felt, he had a smile on his face.  Even the doctors and nurses were surprised at how happy he was.

I have this desire to be more like my boys when faced with worry or difficult situations: to be able to have so much peace that I can smile in the worst of circumstances.  Also, once I pray about a matter, that I will truly know and behave as if God has answered my prayers even if I don’t see the manifestation yet.  In all honesty, I am not there yet, but I strive to be.  There have been many moments this year that I have worried so much about my son in the hospital that I found it difficult to even find the words to pray.  Even knowing that God answers prayers, I still found myself trying to figure out how and when God would heal my child.  I tortured myself with wondering what I could have done differently while pregnant, although I knew there was nothing I could have done.  I am thankful that my husband and I were surrounded with people who prayed and fasted for us and our children, and for those who loved on us consistently. 

As I was thinking about these things, I was reminded of this scripture: but He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you[My lovingkindness and My mercy are more than enough-always available-regardless of the situation]; for [My] power is being perfected [and is completed and shows itself most effectively] in [your] weakness.” Therefore, I will all the more gladly boast in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ [may completely enfold me and] may dwell in me.  So I am well pleased with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, and with difficulties, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak [in human strength], then I am strong [truly able, truly powerful, truly drawing from God’s strength] 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (amp).  This scripture helps me remember during those times of distress or feeling ill-equipped and overwhelmed, I can trust that is the time that God’s strength will pull me through.  I could probably write a book on all the times I can remember when I had done all I could, or there was nothing I could do, and God has never failed to assure me of His presence.

If you are reading this and are dealing with difficulty in your life, it is my prayer that you can sense God’s presence in the midst of it.  I pray that God’s peace will calm you and that the Holy Spirit will comfort you.  I pray that in your weakness His strength, power, and anointing will consume you and that you will rest in Him. In Jesus’ name, Amen.


CODE BLUE

My family and I had gotten into a semi-normal routine.   Hospital during morning hours until after doctors rounded, back to the Ronald Mc...