Parent like God

Looking back at my life from time to time, there are moments I can tell you I have seen God. There are times I can tell you I have questioned God and have also felt like I have been alone without God. It doesn’t mean he doesn’t care . However it’s just the opposite.

As parents you try to let your child gain independence slowly. You want them to be able to care for themselves one day, but you also don’t want to teach them “how to” all in one day. God does that too.

So when you let your child dress themselves in clothes that don’t match, or you let them choose their hairstyle, you are teaching them how it is to make choices. God does this as well. He lets us get up and choose everyday to worship him or not. Or better yet, how we will. Will it be a song or a verse today? Prayers of praise or will we ignore him? Whatever we choose, he allows us to do.

Then you have times as parents were you have to allow them to be tempted to see if they remember what you taught them. Maybe it’s a simple, “Don’t Chase the ball if it goes out of the fence” rule- or maybe it’s much harder than that. Even as children we know what we should and shouldn’t do. So again, God does this with us. But he allows us to be tempted. He allows us to choose what we think is right and wrong…

We won’t always make the right choices and he knows that. He loves us enough to hold us and tell us that we can choose better next time.

I know that right now I may not be an “Earthly” parent right now, (because my son is in heaven), but one day I hope to parent like God. Full of love. Full of forgiving grace. Teaching right from wrong. But until then I will try to let God parent me… because I want him to use me in great ways, not just for the small stuff.

– Marli Wright

How did I survive?

June 11th changed my life. A moment in time that at times for me stands still. It’s funny that the world still turns around even when we cannot. I remember thinking back a year ago from today, “Things will never be normal. I will never move forward. I cannot survive this…” . And in the moment in time I couldn’t. In that moment in time, my heart was shattered in a million pieces and stopped beating all together. As cliché as that sounds, it’s the truth. Time was non existent, breathing wasn’t possible, and speaking- words would not form… In that moment in time, everything I prayed for, dreamed of, longed for, disappeared.

They say when you have a child, it’s like having your heart on the outside of you body. That is true in every way imaginable. How do you survive when your heart gets broken? How do you get up and sort through the rumble you once called life? How do you survive?

When you walk this journey Many will stop and say, “Your so strong! I don’t know how you do it.”. Truth is you don’t have a choice. It’s either keep crawling or stop breathing. Either one is painful. When you walk this mangled road of grief, you meet a few people along the way. Some people meet your where you are. They see you coming through the gate and they wrap their arms around you. Others you slowly stumble upon down the road, but however you meet people – it’s a blessing. No other person on earth can imagine the pain like they can. And to those women I’ve met; I thank you. Your prayers & support have kept me going when I thought I couldn’t make it.

Since Rhett’s birth and passing I have been digging into God’s word for answers. If you seek him, he will seek you; however his words may not be what you want to hear from time to time. I have and do still go through many stages. For example; complete disarray, unable to focus, or unable to comprehend. Some days I get angry, frustrated with people or even God, and feel guilty. Some days you feel ok, normal even, and then you feel horrible for feeling better with yourself. I remember a friend of mine telling me, “It’s ok to smile. Rhett would want you too.”. A simple task…yet it seems so difficult to do. You have to unfortunately go through these steps to get to Gods healing.

Why does it take so long for God to heal us?

Well… I feel like it’s because we push him away. He always wants to heal us ASAP, but we want to be mad at him. Slam the door in his face, kinda mad. We want dwell upon it, drag it out per-say, point fingers and tell everyone it’s not fair. And it’s not! It never will be; but there comes a time when we have to stop pointing fingers at God and start looking in the mirror.

He plainly tells us that the devil comes to “Kill, Steal, & Destroy.” -( I’ve written about that in a past blog.)- He told us that we will always have problems. You maybe a christian and think- “Well I’m supposed to be exempt from every bad thing of this world.”. I wish that was true…. And if I was honest I thought that way too. At one point I told God how I thought this should have went. How Rhett’s story should have went. I wanted to “re-write” it my way. That’s not how the story was supposed to go. I remember praying to God telling him things like: “But I’ve went on mission trips, told others about you. I’ve fed hungry children. I’ve witnessed to others. I’ve been to church my whole life. I sing in church. I volunteer when needed. I teach Sunday school. I’ve taught VBS. I help in the nursery . What bad have I done!”…. Seems logical right? Well rich or poor- your house can still burn. Why? Because fire doesn’t discriminate and neither does the devil.

So how do you find peace in the storm?

It’s not easy; but you have to start a system. You have to get into a habit of waking up, reading your Bible, actually being real with God about your feelings, and trying to stand on his promises. It’s not easy, because the waves will hit and you will fall. I have fallen so many times that if I had spiritual scars you could see I’d be covered in them. And then you have to realize that sometimes you have to be Still and let God carry you and do the work. I’m a hands on person, so for me it was hard to let go and let God…but when you have nowhere to look but up; you don’t argue.

While on my search for answers; I went to the normal people you think of… Job. He was tormented for God, and if you read the book of Job it’s depressing. Job was real with God. He told him how he felt; he even asked the hard questions. So I decided to as well. When you ask God the hard things, you get real answers.

So I began to dig deeper. I found King David, Sarah, Elizabeth, Hannah, and some other people who wasn’t named but their story was told… They all lost children or was barren. They all had the same questions I did… “Why me?” …. Their stories was for me at this point in time… My story, will be for someone else in time…. My suffering will one day be looked at as a victory, I hope, from God. David laid his child to rest and then threw a party. Seems crazy…but his response was true. “If I go too him he still will not come back. Yet I will rejoice that he is in heaven.” (I’m paraphrasing 2 Samuel 12:22-23.)

Sarah had a child at the age of 90,(Genesis 17). Elizabeth had a child in her old age,(Luke 1). Hannah had to give her son back to God after she prayed so hard for him, ( 1Samuel 1.). And last but not least the woman who was so deep in grief she stole a child to claim as her own, ( 1 Kings 16:22-38.).

Their stories, their storms, was to help me thousands of years down the road. They never would have imagined that; yet neither do I.

When we first told the world about Rhett, I used a verse (Isaiah 49:16) “For I have your name written on the palm of my hand.” . Little did I know how true that would be. You see; he seen what was to come- when we couldn’t. He knew Rhett’s purpose in this world, on this day of June 11th. I still don’t know what it is, but in Psalms 119, it tells us that even if we could understand we wouldn’t. His ways of thinking are so much greater than ours that on Earth we cannot wrap our minds around it. There will come a day when we get to heaven that we will see what he sees, but today we have to walk by faith.

Trusting in the Lord is hard. It was hard even for the disciples and they had Jesus in front of them. I read this morning (Luke 6:46 or so) about two houses that was built. One was upon a rock- Sturdy and firm. The other built upon the sand-looked fine, yet shaky. The storms of life came and house on the rock stood firm. Yet the house on the sand fell. Looking back I didn’t realize that building a house on the rock was important. Sure some walls fell, the roof caved in, but the structure stood. I’m glad to know , looking back- that God was within the storm. If my house was on the sand, I can’t even imagine what else could have happened. Where I would be today. How I would have survived… But I’m here today because God has carried me through the valley of the shadow of death. He has held my hand in the rain. He had told me it’s ok to sit and be still when I’m hurting to bad. It is ok to smile and rejoice because there is a season for everything. You see God is real. And although you look at me and may say, “but your child is still gone.” – I agree. He is gone from this world. A world of sin, pain, and tears. However like every parent here wants a perfect child, wants them to know Christ, I can say mine does. He is perfect, free from sin, free from pain. Yes, I hurt still- But isn’t it our jobs as parents to protect our children from the pain of this world? So here I am…Standing… God has my son, and I have done my job as a mom. I carry the pain so he never has to. I cry his tears so he never had to hurt. I gave him life, yet he showed me how to live mine. So as the quote says, “and yet here you are living despite it all.”. Here I am, living, because God cares.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with grief, you can reach out to me through my blog page, personal, or Remembering Rhett’s Love Facebook page. Prayer changes people and situations. Believe in him for he is greater than our worst fears. Please pass this along.

God bless you,

Marli Wright (Angel Mother of Rhett Alec)

Consider the Birds

In a world filled with stress, sometimes it’s hard to stop and admire God’s workmanship. As Sadie, (my dachshund), & I enjoyed our Saturday outside; many of my little birds Paid is a visit. Eating from the feeders hung nicely on the fence; the perched them not phased my our presence. Some chipped, some coo’ed, and some whistled. They did not seemed stressed out or afraid. As I sat on the porch, I was reminded of a verse in Matthew 6:25-26.

God cares for the birds of the air and every living thing. He cares for the grass, the deer, and other creatures unknown. They do not worry if they have a home, food, or water. They know the maker of heaven will provide.

In the parable Jesus spoke, it finally dawned on me. In order to fly freely, one must give their cares to the one who can carry the load. God knows our troubles, trails, wants, and needs. He knows what worries us, keeps us up at night, our fears, and our hurts. And just like the birds; He promises to care for us.

Are we greater than the birds? Yes. God loves all of his creations ; but he loves us more. That is why he died for us. You see we must give our all to God. Our hurts, our tears, our futures, our dreams, and our everything. We can not do anything without God. If that was true the Philippians 4:13 would not be needed, but Instead its States:

“I can do ALL things through CHRIST who strengthens me.”

It doesn’t say, “through my boss”, “Through my pastor”, and so on- but through Christ.

So as I sit and enjoy this wonderful weather, listening to my doves coo, and others flock to the feeders. I too sit as the birds do. Waiting to be told where I may fly to next. Where’s my next journey and what may it involve; but wherever it is- I will not be worried. God will make a way. He is the ” Way Maker. ” I don’t know if my wings will work, I don’t know how to soar, but with God as my guide- I will be unstoppable.

Cast your cares upon him, be free of your stress, and listen to the birds today. If he can care for them- he can take care of you.

Unlocking Your Potential

Have you ever heard the term, “Unlocking your full potential.” ? I have often seen it written on posters in school hallways, signs by college enrollment offices, and of course through the occasional Facebook scroll. I never thought that quote or saying fit me very well. Not until I was handed a key that started unlocking doors to my potential.

It sounds cliché when you talk about how God places people in your path durning certain seasons of your life. However; it’s very much true. As many of you know me or my story; and for those who don’t I’ll sum it up. For the past 9months I have been living on Earth with out my first born son, Rhett Alec. As a first time mom, you have such high expectations. You anticipate the late nights, teething, sickness, first words, first of anything really, crawling, walking, and first birthday parties…. But when it’s all ripped away from you- all you really want is that first cry….. That first ear ringing cry into this world…. All the other first fade away after that; especially if it’s never heard.

Through it all, I find myself here writing to you today. Being honest with the world… It’s not as easy as it seems. If we all were honest we would want to live our lives as we do on Facebook. Perfect, happy people, all the time. Unfortunately that’s not how real life works. I’ve been in a slump, a rut, lost on a dead end road at times. Grief does that. It does funny things actually. And if you’ve never experienced grief in some way, shape, or form- it’s hard for you to understand theses words. Through it all, through all the pain, I’d do it all over again in a heartbeat- just to hear his…. Many Mother’s I have came in contact with say the same thing as well.

It’s easy for me to sit behind my fake smile, my cell phone, hide in my house, or in my flower garden and tell you I’m all ok…. but somedays that’s not the case. You see somedays I wake up, laying there looking at the ceiling, asking God Why this had to be my life? Why me? You have the wrong person. I’m not strong, I’m weak. Why me? Often times I get no reply, but sometime I have days like today. Sometimes God shows me and reminds me that I am not alone in this grief. They say it takes a village to raise a child. Well I think it takes an army to get through this world when walking through grief. Which brings me to my next point.

This very morning: I was already over today and it was still dark out. I couldn’t find my glasses, any lids to go on my husbands gatorade aide bottles, I had tax’s to file, things to pick up, brakes to be put on, and my emotional state was at an all time low. I was feeling the Weakest of the weak. Laying there I only could utter, “Can you even hear me anymore God?”. Feeling helpless I began my day; I had no other choice, after all Things have to be done. After running my errands, I get a text- “I have something for you” from basically my second mother. Having some extra time in my day, I made the loop and swung in to pick up my gift.

As I open it, she begins to tell me the story of this simple key. She and her daughter knew I liked keys and thought it was a cool gift. Taking a second: look it had the word “Strength” stamped onto it. Smiling she goes on about how she thought that was me and it was perfect. She checks out and the lady asks her if she knew the story behind it. Saying no, the lady proceeded to tell her. The key she bought was made my homeless people who needed a job. Each key has a word on them. Then you pick a word out for that person or yourself; helping them “unlock” their potential. When they feel that their potential is unlocked they can pass it on or so forth. I don’t know if I’ll ever see myself as this “strong warrior” that others do, but on days when I’m at my lowest; I’m amazed at how God can take something as small as a simple key and show you how loved, thought of, and lifted up you can be.

As I look at the new key around my neck; I think back to that day, (6.11.17-6.12.17) . The day my world stood still. Somehow, someway, God knew I would be able to make it on this journey. I also think of how hard our little guy fought to live for 13 hours, but also of all the memories we had the 37.5 weeks prior to his coming. He got his fight from somewhere. I’m just grateful for friends, family, strangers, and so many others who lift me up in ways they never will understand how. I’m also grateful that God doesn’t take our negativity to heart. That he is a true and just God. He has never left me. He is always with me… Even on days I feel like I can’t do it anymore.

Maybe you or someone else needed this today. Share it, comment, and enjoy. I don’t write because I want followers or likes; I just do it because everyone in the world has a story and a hurt. Your not alone in your journey. Reach out to someone. Better yet! Reach out to God, even if you can’t even say much at all…

If you want a key like the one in the photo: you can go to the link below.

The giving keys (A pay it forward company)

Classic Key Necklace

#thegivingkeys

2018: I want to do it all!

As we rang in the new year, some of us made “resolutions” for ourselves. “Read more”, “diet”, “be more open minded”; and so on…but do we ever really keep these goals? Most of the time we don’t. We forget what we told ourselves we wanted to do in about a week or so. Why is that? Do we get side tracked? Or is it because we try to do it all on our own?

Matthew 19:26 says, “Jesus looked at them and said: “with men all things are impossible- but with me all things are possible.”

All things… not a few, not one of the top five: ALL.

It’s been 7 days now since 2018 has started, and many of us have already allowed fear, doubt, and failure enter our lives. Although I welcome 2018, I cannot allow myself to forget love, hard lessons, blessings, and trails that God has brought me through.

2017 wasn’t what I expected. 2017 holds a lot of pain that will be with me for a life time. 2017 also brought me joy & love. It taught me about healing, grace, Love, and how big our God actually is. 2017 is a year I won’t ever forget. The year our son was born. And the year he gained his wings… it pushes me out of my comfort zone so far that I don’t even know where it is anymore. And I’m kinda glad for that. God knew the storm was raging. That’s why he was there to anchor me.

In 2017 I was like Humpty Dumpty… (Yes the nursery rhyme). I was sitting on that wall just enjoying the sun… Until I fell down and shattered. All the kings horses and all the kings men- (in my case: doctors, words, family, friends: etc.)- couldn’t but Humpty together again…. but that’s not where my story ended! Mine goes like this:

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall. Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. All the kings horse men and all the kings men couldn’t put Humpty together again- but Jesus can!

You see I couldn’t fix anything. I was trying to fix every thing on my own. Then I shattered even more…. Can you imagine an egg falling off a wall? Egg shells everywhere! You can put that back together… That’s what it felt like for myself… But God knew that I would fall. God knew I would need him to pick every tiny piece of me and put me back together again… He knew that I wouldn’t be able to. He also knew That in time, I would allow him to help me. “For you are the potter and I am the clay.” He molds us in his image.

So yes I welcome 2018. I welcome it because I’m not the same me as last year. I have grown so much that it’s odd for me to realize at times. But I decided that I wouldn’t make resolutions this year, because they always get broken. This year I decided to stay out of the comfort zone. If you don’t get out of the comfort zone you can’t grow… Sometimes even a plants need to be repotted. We are the flowers in Gods garden. He knows what we need. He knows when we need to be moved, watered, and even have weeds pulled from around us… It may hurt at times, but remember light always shines through the darkness eventually.

So as 2018 starts – remember what ever you decide to do- let God lead you. If I try to do it alone- it’s impossible…but if God helps me- it’s always possible.

Happy 2018! Let’s allow this year to be God’s year for us.

-Marli

Giving: John 3:16

Last Sunday as I was sitting in church our pastor was preaching on the subject of giving… As I sat their I truly thought, “What more do I have to give? You have our son, my future, my dreams, my memories I wanted to make, what more God do I have to give?”. I know what your thinking- “I can’t believe she talks to God like that..” I’m not being rude to God. He has big shoulders he can handle that. If he couldn’t he would have told us to cast our burdens upon him, now would he?

Many times we think God can’t handle our thoughts and problems, so we water down our prayers and say what we think God wants to hear… First off he wants the truth. True feelings. I have yelled at God, been angry with him, cried to him in deep sorrow, gave thanks and joy to him, and I have questioned him. I have learned that in life we truly need to tell God how we feel like we would a friend because he wants that close relationship with him. I know it seems disrespectful, and I’m not saying disrespect God. I’m saying talk to him like normal don’t sugar coat it.

So back to my question to God,(sorry I got sidetracked), “What more do I have to give.” In an instant he answered me…

“…I know you feel betrayed, your hurting; I understand. I gave (lost) a son too…”

Take that in for a moment….

During this time we focus on gifts to give, what others think, am I giving enough? Happy Birthday Jesus and Christmas with the families… but what if we truly just sat here and took the time to think about what God actually gave…

As parents on earth or of an angel, you’d give anything for your child not to hurt, not to want, not to do without. I know when Rhett was being airlifted Shawn & I both pleaded to take his place so he wouldn’t have to hurt or fight- we wanted to fight that battle because we LOVE him so much… When you consider the Love we have for our children, times that by a million or so and you may come close to the live that God had for his own son & for us. What did God give? Can he really relate to us? Our pains? Our losses? …. yes… That’s why it’s so important to rely on him.

As I sat there thinking about what God gave , I found myself repeating John 3:16. The more I repeated the more I came to finally understand it… How sad that it was my first verse to learn and it has taken 25 years to truly understand.

“For God so LOVED the world, that he GAVE his ONLY SON, that whosoever calls upon him would NOT perish but have EVERLASTING life.”

God,(Jesus’s father/our father), loves this world he made. Loved it with everything he possibly could and for God that’s a lot. And because he loves us so much, He gave up his only son…. That’s the part that gets me… I have lost a son. The pain that comes with that is unbearable. I didn’t think it was possible to feel your heart break in half, but I have felt mine break into millions of pieces. Knowing what I know now, I feel Gods pain & that’s how I know he feels mine.

He Gave us his son… He knew his plan for his life. He knew he was being born this season to died later on. And he done this out of Love. So when we call on him for forgiveness, when we are in pain, when we are scared, when we thank him, when we just want to talk- he could be their. He done this so we could live forever with him like his son is now, like my son is now….

So as I sat their , listening about giving, instead of throwing myself a pity party, and saying I can’t give anymore, look what you took, look what I can’t do and give anymore because I’m fresh out- God showed me that Love is all you have to give.

And the easy thing about love is it’s free. It’s not always easy to give though… It’s the most free gift, yet hardest give to part with. When you give Love-your not guaranteed love back. Love can be a smile, a text, hugs, food given, cards, anything. Take the time to love someone this holiday season.

God gave us his son, because of Love. And I learned from my son that love lives on forever. Love is powerful. Maybe your going through a loss, illness, etc and you are asking God – “What more Can I give you.” Don’t give him anything but Love. That’s all God wants from us. Love him like you would your Mom or Dad. That’s what parents truly want from their children. We are Gods children. Have you loved him lately? Talked to him? Remember he doesn’t need protecting- God holds the world in his hand- he can hold you. He’s strong enough for that. Don’t hold back. Cast your cares, hurts, questions upon him, allow God to love you.

This season the greatest gift is Love. Share a little…

Merry Christmas & God bless!

Thank you,

Marli ❤️

Understanding the Trial

“We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.” Acts 14:22

Understanding. It’s something that human beings want so badly. To “understand” life, to understand “death”, to understand the “unexplainable”. I have found that when walking this unexpected road of life that “true understanding” is a fantasy world.

You see even in the Bible God tells us we will never understand His ways, His whys, His nows, His plans; yet we still ask daily like a toddler wanting a piece of candy- for understanding. God tells us that even if He sent understanding to us; we wouldn’t understand anyways. He’s not calling us dumb- he’s saying we would never be content on this side of heaven.

As many know this year has been a hard one. When expectations of a joyous happy family and child were what we imagine; God had a different plan. A plan I won’t ever understand until heaven. A plan that one day I may seem slivers of whys, but never the full picture. It’s like putting a puzzle together, but some pieces are missing no where to be found. You can see part of the photo; but because those pieces are gone you will never see the full photo. That’s how Gods understanding will come to us on Earth.

As a Christian we are supposed to see grief and tribulations differently than the rest of the world. This however does not immune us from the other feelings that we as human have to experience. Anger, sadness, despair- they happen. Yes, even in a Christians life.

Look at Paul; even though he was shipped wreck on a island, bitten by a snake, in the cold and rain, and all he wanted to do was go home because he knew the route that should have been taken but the driver didn’t listen- Paul still got mad with God. Paul did not want to be in Malta.

Paul asked what more must he go through after being shipped wrecked and bitten by a snake. I would have asked that too, in a matter of fact- I have many times. Do I think God gets mad as us for asking? No, I don’t think he does. He knows our ways of thinking can never understand this life or it’s whys. So what do we do about it?

Well, that is the part I’m learning. What to do after the whys, after the answers God allows you to know, but what now?

I’ve been to doctors and appointments for test and answers. Sure they can tell us somethings, but the rest have been pointing straight to God. For every “I don’t understand” I hear it’s a scream from God saying- “It’s me! It’s part of the plan!”. I don’t understand a lot of things; but I don’t know how one can walk this road of grief and not see signs pointing to God. At times it’s like God is waving a sign in front of me saying, “I know all the whys. I know the answers. Trust me. I know.”

And that’s when you get a reality check of God himself. We read about others feeling his presence and knowing who he is, but unless you allow yourself to truly trust God you won’t understand what I’m writing about. It’s a moment when you literally hand yourself over to God saying, “Ok, I’m done making choices. I’m done trying to figure out why and how. Take it. I trust you with my life.” In that moment you’ll start to understand things that seem impossible to understand. Contentment is what I’m talking about. Accepting the whys. Not understanding them- But just accepting them.

“As you do not know the path of the wind, or how a baby is formed in a mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the world of God, the maker of all things.” Ecclesiastes 11:5

So your probably thinking, “So that’s it? Just accept and go on?” No grieve, look for understanding- and in time God will slowly allow you to understand things- but you do have to realize there maybe some answers you won’t get here on Earth.

So what do you with all your “whys?”

As I was reading a study I’m doing right now, it touches on this. I found it helpful when I thought about it for awhile. I would like to share it now from the book, “Grieving the Child I never knew, by: Kathe Wunnenberg” .

It says: “It’s interesting to note in the book of Job that, in response to 16 whys, there are 59 who’s, which refer to God. So the next time you ask Why? About loss or unanswered questions, consider changing that ( Y ) to an ( O ).”

So that’s what I done this morning. I thought of the “who’s”.

Who came into my life that has helped me so much because God put them their? Who have been helped through this process that I may never know. Who is just now allowing themselves to grieve because I am allowing myself to, and they feel as if for once they can to? Who has came to Christ because I’m talking about a child that God sent and then took back but through our story has saved someone? Who… who is just now reading this and is finally accepting that God is God and his plans are bigger, so trusting him isn’t so bad after all…. Who?

That’s why I decided to write again, is for one “who”. If one person can get closure, or closer to God- then my writing is not in vain. God said his word will never return void. So I may never understand the every Why I write down, dream up, or cry about…but for every why there’s a who… And I can name about five who’s, that have helped me so far- and I hope that God will use this test- to make a testimony. That Rhett’s short life will not be remembered in total pain- but as joy and hope for ourselves and others.

It’s what you decide to do with your grief and pain that matters most. You can hurt forever, and you will- but you can allow God to take that pain and help you sorrow no more. Sure, days and waves of grief will hit- but God will pull you from the deep waters into his boat and take you to shore where joy is, and remind you that your strong, that your doing good, that most of all your loved by Him himself, your child or loved one, and others around you on Earth and He will sustain you….but most of all- He never leaves you alone.

You won’t ever understand the trail; but if you trust God- He will help you be content with the trail.

Thank you & God bless.

-Marli

Lessons in the Storm

With all these “storms” hitting America and other places, I think we understand impacts of storms. Wether it’s hurricanes, tornadoes, wild fires, etc; we know that they will leave an impact. We just never know how bad, big, or small of a mark it will leave behind. Our lessons in life is like that as well… Only difference is at times it’s more like a pop up shower or an urgent evacuation in which we didn’t prepare for; but it’s how we conduct ourselves that matters. It’s what God teaches us that truly molds and shapes us into who we are supposed to become.

The Bible explains life like this: God is the potter and we are the clay. He molds and shapes us into a new piece that he is creating. But like all artists or creative beings, we strive for perfection. And if you are making a vase and it isn’t coming out how you want it to look- you discard the clay, flatten it, and start a new… That’s our lives. God isn’t a God who sits in heaven saying, “Look Marli’s life is going to well- let’s destroy her world… Angels destroy her.” That’s NOT the God we serve. And if you think it is you may want to reevaluate God. Yes, God allows you to hurt. Yes, He does not answer every prayer. Yes, he allows thinks to happen to good people. Yes, he allows people to go to Hell- but what you don’t understand is the pain he feels with you. My dad told me this about parents: “If your not making your children mad half of the time than your not parenting right.” As mean as you may think it sounds, it’s true. Yes, I have gotten mad a time or two at my parents; because they wouldn’t let me go and hang out with friends, or let me drive places alone, or had me text every time I got to and left a place: but they were doing it for my safety. They been there done that and they knew what might could hurt me. They taught me what’s right and what’s not- morals- and respect.

Just like your Earthly parents allowed you to get hurt by that ex boyfriend or girlfriend that broke your heart, or allowed you to do something that they knew wouldn’t hurt you but would make you see that they were right, God does that to. He sees a larger scale than even your parents see. Even I seen for my own son. God sees everything. To be honest he knows when your storm is about to hit, just like the meteorologist do on the weather channel. He does prepare you inch by inch without knowing it however.

Even in the storm that’s raging in my life now, God is here and was there from the beginning. Looking back I can see little signs that stand out to me know saying, “I knew and was slowly helping you and you never knew why.”. Even Rhett’s baby announcement wasn’t a coincidence. I choose the verse Isaiah 49:16, “For I have written your name in the palms of my hands.” He knew Rhett’s name, his plan, his purpose, what was going to take place, and how he was going to leave a mark… I however didn’t know all that at the time, but I seen that verse as a comfort, and looking back at that to now I still do; because not only is his name written in his hands; he’s holding Rhett in his hands. Does that make the hit of the storm any less painful? No….and it never will: But now I am left with the question of, “How will I let this painful storm impact my life?”.

I could become horribly miserable, depressed, turn to bad things, let the Devil win, & never see or think positively again. OR: I could let this go and allow God to carry me, teach me to walk again, learn to become happy in the sorrow, help others, and show love . I refuse to allow the death of our son become a bad memory… Yes I’m hurting. Yes I long for him: so does my husband. Yes there are days I feel like I cannot find one good thing- but then she shows me something so simple it cheers me up just a tad. I’m cleaning up what the storm left behind just like the victims of Harvey and soon to be Irma. After the main part hits and tears up everything it still brings rains, floods, and winds- but eventually there will be sunshine. Until then you have to evaluate the damage done and see what ware going to make of it.

God has shown me love. A love that is hard to write about. He showed me through our son, what true, deep-love was. You see we lost our son- but so did God. God lost his son, Jesus when he died on the cross. He grieved. He hurt. So why can’t he understand our pain? He can, many just never see it that way. God hurts with just- just as your mom or dad or you parents hurt when you can’t help your children when they hurt. God feels that to. That’s why he wants to carry us. That’s why he is there in the mist. But as parents know sometimes your kid wants to be left allow or there is not helping them. All you can do is pray, hold them, and let God. We had to learn this the hard way. No one stands in line or signs up for this type of hard lesson. I know we didn’t. Some would say we drew the small stick of life, better luck next time… did we? I don’t think so. It’s part of our life plan unfortunately, and whatever your storm is is part of yours. This pain is real. This pain hurts. It isn’t fair. It isn’t fair that good people have to die: infants, Christian friends, daughters, sisters/sons, moms/dad’s: and the list goes on.

There is one thing that I can tell you: God sees you through it. Don’t give up on God because you can’t see him- or because a tragedy has happened. Storms come and go. We all have a time limit. We are like a vapor – here today and gone tomorrow. Our son was here for 13hours and he left marks on many many people in such a short amount of time. Others are here longer maybe 40, 60, 80, 100 years. Others just hours, months, days. God holds every name in his hand- and if your saved you will and can rest in knowing everything will be ok. One day, he will come back- and there will be no more tears, pain, sorrow, murders, death, sickness; sin. It’s forever and ever and I once was afraid of it- now I embrace it. God knows tomorrow. You have to let him prepare you slowly for your storm. Will you? It isn’t fun and I can tell you wether you want to be hit by life or not you will receive a storm. I don’t know how large it will be or the damage it will cause. I don’t know if it’s death of loved ones, sickness, or other things – but how will you let it impact you? God lets you choose that. He lets you choose how you want it to impact your life. If you choose God – he will guide you through the damage bringing you out of the flood zone in a boat to shore.

I’ll end with this that again my dad said:

“Wake up every morning and thank God for the breath he gave you. Try to be content in where you are in life, what you have, and what your going through. Try to live as best you can for God and he will do the rest. Trust him and don’t worry; Gods got this. It may not be in 2 years, 10 years, or when ever you want it to happen, but when he sends you a blessing: you’ll appreciate it more than you ever thought you would.”

I choose to be the pencil in Gods hand. I choose to let him use my bad days, my storm, and my life for his glory. Even though I worry at times; he has the road map- and I’m gonna let him drive.

Hope this helps,

Marli

Walking through a Valley

The 23 Psalms: Most of us memorized it as kids & some of us cling to it; but never in my soon to be 25 years of life did I ever think I would be living it.

Many of you know how the being of this Psalms goes; if not here is the first part.

Psalms 23:1-3

“The Lord is my shepherd;

I shall not want.

He makes me to lie down in green pastures;

He leads me beside the still waters.

He restores my soul;

He leads me in the paths of righteousness

For His name’s sake.”

For many of us in our lives there was a time or a place you can remember being close to God. So close you talked to him as a friend. Most of the time people feel closer to God after being saved, baptized, or a rough time in life. For me I remember reading this a brushing it off. I knew God was my savior. I knew God has a plan for me, that He loves me, and protects me; but little did I know that I would come to understand this Psalms so much it would become personal….

You see this first part for me comes second in my life. And I know what your thinking, “This lady has lost her mind.”. Yes maybe I have… Although this is the first part of the Psalms as David wrote; it doesn’t come first in my life like I imagined. Yes I knew about God. I trusted him, or I thought I did. I prayed, I sang about him, I tried to live a life for him as best I could; but I was missing the point of this passage.

It wasn’t until Shawn and I lost our son that I realized what David was truly talking about… Many people forget that David lost a baby too. Many of his prayers and Psalms are written about heart ache and grief. And I never understood why I loved Psalms so much until now… God was preparing me to understand what David was writing about. He was teaching me that going through the motions of life isn’t what he created us for. That trusting Him half way wasn’t what he was asking from us. And just like every other Christian on the planet; I thought I knew God. I thought I knew the Shepherd…and I did to an extent.

I heard the stories of Christians loving God so deeply that they had no fear of this world. I have heard and seen a few who could pray like no other, like they were talking to an old friend. Even though I prayed for that; never in a million years would I understand that God was trying to prepare me for the valley. All those years I was in the mountain top. And believe me it’s easy to praise God upon the mountain top. God is so near and you can see his love and grace just pouring down like rain, but it’s simple, it’s easy, it’s repetitive. It’s easy to get caught up into a routine. Praising God on the mountain is easy, but I was about to enter the second part of the passage.

Psalms 23: 4-5

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

I will fear no evil;

For You are with me;

Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;

You anoint my head with oil;

My cup runs over.”

I was coming off that mountain top, to walk into the valley of the shadow of death…. and unlike the Psalmist; I was in total fear. My husband and I was facing our deepest fear… There is no preparation you could ever imagine to prepare you for your worst nightmare. As we entered into the valley- I remember thinking, “God your the great healer. You can fix anything. You can move mountains. You can do miracles. We need one.” That just wasn’t his plan. My husband and I entered into the valley unwilling. We wasn’t ready for this path, but God never leaves you nor forsakes you. So one step in front of the other, we walk. We walk through the valley of the shadow of death, and the more we travel the less I fear. Sounds crazy right? Well once you face your greatest fear in life and God proves that He is bigger- you lighten up a bit. Yes there are days I worry. I worry about the unknown. I get scared of our future for my husband and I, but then I’m reminded of who’s in control. You see that never verse says “For You are with me;

Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” When God walks beside you, he shows you true and real peace and comfort that I cannot explain in words. Yes you have to allow God to comfort you; which sounds crazy but once you go through something like this you being to understand. There are some days I just want to sit and not take a single step forward. I want to feel the pain and the hurt and God allows me. He never forces me to get up and keep moving. In those darkest days, I understand his genuine love. I understand the shepherd’s ways and his comfort.

Although I haven’t made it to the table which he has prepared for me, I do face the enemy I will be in the presence of when I do make it there. Many of us think of the enemy as our earthly enemies. People who have harmed you or hurt you with words and such; but that’s not what he is talking about. This enemy is Satan and his little friends… Jesus talked about this enemy in the New Testament telling us he comes to “steal, kill, & destroy.”. Just because we are Christians doesn’t make us immune from having bad things happen to us. That’s something I have had to come to learn. When you follow Christ you have a bulls eye upon your back from that moment on. Life won’t be easy and never did God once promise that it would be. He did however promise that he would travel with us on every journey we take and would never leave our side. That is why we will understand what it means to be truly filled with God where our cup will run over.

Last but not least the last verse.

Psalms 23:6

“Surely goodness & Mercy shall follow me;

All the days of my life;

And I will dwell in the house of the Lord

Forever.”

I once heard someone say that they had two angels protecting them and their names were “Goodness & Mercy.”, and that’s something I believe as well. Angels are real. God created them to help us along the way of life. Just think of them as part of your “squad”. They always have your back along with God. And it says they will be with you all the days of your life. Which means until tomorrow, or until your 105. The part that I look forward to the most more than ever is that last verse. “And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever….”

I use to be scared of death even though I knew I was going to heaven. I use to dread hearing about the rapture or people talking about how they can’t wait for heaven. I didn’t understand it fully and I still have dreams and goals. It wasn’t until this journey I realized what the hype was all about. No pain. No tears. No hurt. No more loss! Heaven is where we get to worship God forever in perfect peace and joy. We get to worship God as if we are always on our mountain. We will never have to travel into another valley again. We will never have to face another enemy again. That is were we will be made new, perfect, and we reunite with our baby: loved ones: friends: and other believers on Christ. In other words it’s like church camp without the drama and forever.

So why am I explaining the 23rd Psalms to you ? Because I have and am walking in the shadow of the valley of death. I am learning to fear no evil. And right now I can feel God leading me beside the still waters. You see I didn’t take the same path David took. My path started from the middle of this Psalms, and I feel like there is someone out there who is entering into a valley. Let me tell you God is there. He didn’t bring you into the valley to hurt you, punish you, or leave you. He still loves you and is with you. You may not understand why your here, but you don’t have too. Just hold God’s hand and walk with him. Small tiny baby steps, giant leaps of faith, it doesn’t matter you pick the pace. He will lead us through this and you too may can help someone else out with your story. He uses every broken piece of our lives for his glory. All you have to do is be willing. Don’t just take my word for it, put him to the test. Ask God to walk with you. Read his promises. I can’t make you know what I know now.

I’m going to end this with a song called hills and valleys by : Tauren Wells. You can listen to it anywhere but here’s some of the words

“On the mountains, I will bow my life

To the one who set me there

In the valley, I will lift my eyes to the one who sees me there

When I’m standing on the mountain top, didn’t get there on my own

When I’m walking through the valley end, no I am not alone!

You’re God of the hills and valleys!

Hills and Valleys!

God of the hills and valleys

And I am not alone! “

You are not alone.

~Marli

Heaven’s Stain Glass Windows 


Have you ever seen a stain glass window or a beautiful mosaic art piece? They are beautiful, colorful, & broken pieces of glass placed together to form something amazing… We too are like mosaics and stain glass windows… 

In order to make one of these beautiful pieces of art work, one must first break the glass pieces. To be broken…fragile like glass…that’s how we are in this life. We never know what will break us or even why it broke us. It maybe a person in your life that over time has steady hit and hit you with words and emotions that you can no longer take anymore that shatters you. It maybe a path you was for sure you would get to take; but something else happened. Or maybe it was a death of a loved you whom you loved more than anyone can ever imagine or understand, and it happened so fast, so sudden, and the grief sets in that shatters you. But to make something beautiful one must first be broken, just like a mosaic or a stain glass window. 

If you’ve ever broken something on the floor, you can’t immediately jump up running to clean it. If you do you will leave pieces that you will later on find with your bare feet. You have to approach the mess slowly to make sure you sweep every tiny piece of glass up so later on you don’t get cut. 

That is the same way when we are broken. We often times want to run away from the problem, deny that it happened, or place blame… but if you do that your leaving shards of glass behind only to be found to cut you deep and push you into an emotional attack of some sort. Instead we must “Be still”, and look at where the pieces have fallen. Then slowly allow God to sweep up every tiny piece that had fell so that when we step out in faith later we won’t get cut as bad. It will feel like a splinter instead of a deep wound. 

Just like the mosaics and stain glass windows, it takes time and patience to piece one of those beautiful art works together. Each tiny shard of glass is hand crafted, hand glued, hand picked and placed in a certain way to make a picture perfect mosaic or stain glass. And that is just what God does. When we allow him to sweep up our broken heart, he starts placing the pieces back together; but not in the way we want him to- but in the way he wants to make our life look like. It may look like a mess to us, but to him we are beautiful messes. That’s the thing with art… You can never see how the finish product will look like until the artist is finish and steps away from the canvas. 

God sees your brokenness. He wants to pick you up and put you together in such a way that when people look at you all they see is his beautiful handy work. And just like a stain glass window he wants to shine his light through us to show the world his colors, his goodness, his mercy, even in our brokenness… He makes beauty out of ashes… 

So maybe your suffering today. You don’t know why God is having you to stand still. Maybe you think he has left you to grieve alone or to figure this one out because he’s busy. That’s not the case.  He’s trying to make sure he gets every tiny shard of your heart that has been crushed by whatever it is your facing and to piece you back together in a way that is so beautiful you can hardly imagine it…. Hang in there. Don’t give up. He hears your prayers and he has seen your tears, he’s healing you piece by piece.(2Kings 20:5) And before you know it he will have light shining through you and you will be reflecting his light to show the world that he heals and redeems; even through sorrow, death, grief, pain, and more. 

Be still and listen to him. He has a plan and his ways are good, (Jeremiah 29:11).  Hold on to his promises and speak the desires of your heart to him like a friend. Draw near to him and he will draw nearer to you. He will carry you and comfort you- only if you allow him to.  We are God’s stain glass windows in this thing we call life. It’s the only way unsaved, hurting/broken, depressed, (etc.)- people can see heaven’s blessings through our lives. He may not be finished with you and you may have to wait longer than you want to, but maybe he’s getting more glue- or waiting for you to finish drying before he shows you off to the world. Peace is coming- even in the eye of the storm. Don’t give up yet. Lean on the everlasting arms. What else do you have to lose? 
~Marli