Pursuing the abundance of a closer walk with Christ

Posts tagged ‘Jesus’

TBI and Us or IN ALL THINGS


March is TBI Awareness Month.  The picture of a brain was a difficult puzzle given to us at the Cr3ative Expressions Support Group meeting to help us focus. It  stumped me,  but Rachel, my daughter who sustained a brain injury, was the first to finish hers in the group and then worked on my unfinished puzzle at home as pictured here in less than one minute. GO FIGURE!?

This post features a poem written and recited by me for the Cr3ative Expressions TBI Support Group.

TBI and Us (or IN ALL THINGS) Page 1

by Virginia Cradlebaugh

The Fourteenth of July, Two-thousand-one,

Was a perfect summer’s day.

Dad, Mom and Rachel, our quaint family,

Drove the car Medina’s way.

It certainly wasn’t our desire,

Nor was it God’s plan or will,

To end up in a ditch, rammed by a car,

By one who had almost killed.

Dear Dad was knocked out and sustained whiplash,

The wreck crushed Mom’s vertebrae.

Rachel unresponsive, had been thrown ’bout,

In earnest I bowed and prayed.

Just passing through, A father and son came,

It wasn’t a coincidence.

The son was a doctor and brought his bag,

Just right for her circumstance.

Shallow she breathed and blood flowed from her ear,

From a sleep she might not wake.

On pins and needles I hovered nearby

Continued to pray for her sake.

The father spoke to me with words of peace,

My son will guard her with care.”

I watched the Life-flight take Rachel upward

My heart heavy with despair.

Page 2

I know you see this, you know everything,

What gives?”, my query to Him.

In a clear, audible voice I discerned,

A verse that should be a hymn.

And we know that IN ALL THINGS God works for

the good of those who love him,

Who have been called according to His purpose.”

Not once, but twice I heard this.

Romans Eight: Twenty-eight I’ll not forget,

No more questions would I implore.

IN All THINGS had arranged for the best place,

that Rachel’s care could afford.

I knew that Jesus held her close to his heart

Carried in His arms as a lamb.

For three days I battled in prayer prostrate,

The outcome was in God’s hands.

The Lord gave to me a gift of faith,

Great peace in my heart remained.

IN ALL THINGS the doctors came with the news,

The pressure too much for her brain.

Page 3

A last ditch effort was made to save her,

An operation on her skull.

In deep freeze the bone was carefully placed,

Till the swelling came to null.

ICU struggled hard to bring her through,

Tweaking meds both day and night.

Two weeks later came her fifteenth birthday,

ICU joined the delight.

The next day by ambulance we left Metro,

To a Rehab on the hill,

The intensive, extensive care she needed,

IN ALL THINGS, this was God’s will.

From a vegetative state she made progress,

As a young babe would learn new things.

The trache and g-tube removed paved the way,

To swallow, eat, and dress; what blessings!

Her drawn up limbs placed in casts to straighten,

Walking remained a hurdle.

Staff pressed her on with many therapies,

At times it seemed slow as a turtle.

Page 4

For months I longed to hear Rachel’s sweet voice,

She spoke to her nurse the name Tex.

God is good, she remembers and does speak,

It was more than I could expect.

The next week she recited the Lord’s prayer,

Her faith in God had remained.

She quoted Psalms Twenty-three, I welled with tears,

And friends from church did the same.

Discharged before Christmas she returned home,

OUT-PATIENT Care was her need.

Edwin Shaw, Children’s, next Akron General.

Her favorite was PT.

From wheelchair to walker, then a gait belt,

But without a cane she’d move.

Fifteen years recovering a TBI,

It was God who helped her improve.

Midway through this long TBI journey,

Dad underwent neck surgery.

For two weeks he felt much better, UNTIL,

A blood clot sent him to Glory.

Page 5

Each year in Autumn we grieve his absence,

Support and prayer bring us through.

There’s a void in our life which only he filled,

One day we’ll all meet, it’s true.

In mysterious ways our God does work,

In wonders and miracles too.

IN ALL THINGS, challenges are for our good,

To God all glory is due.

I’m sure there are struggles we too have shared,

relating to a TBI

Care giving, therapies, doctors, and falls,

IN ALL THINGS on God rely.

Seeking His Kingdom


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Bible reading is different than using a devotional written by authors whether it is published by a denomination or as an individual featuring the author’s name.

I use a devotional, but I also like to open my Bible and begin reading God’s Word; whatever I open to or what I am impressed to read.

Isn’t it wonderful to have scriptures illuminated in the early part of your day?

Today, I opened to DO NOT WORRY. It is written in red letter, which means, Jesus is talking.  I have heard many a sermon given from the passage of Luke 12:22-31. But did I learn from any of them?

I admit, I do think too much. A lot of energy is wasted thinking about the list of to do’s; which include repairs to the house, chores, shopping for necessities, ordering scripts or calling for new ones, scheduling appointments and keeping them, family, care giving duties, exercise, menus, writing and what I should be doing next.

Did you see anything in the aforementioned list that mentions seeking His Kingdom? No. The swirling cloud over my head amounts to worry. A mountain of stuff with a load of stress piled on instead of sitting at the feet of Jesus.

I’m glad the Lenten season is underway. It is a time of seeking His kingdom first, in the middle, last and even during the night when not sleeping is the case.

It is a time of repentance and each person’s area of life that needs change and growth is different.

It is a time of refreshing and renewal.

It is a time of walking more closely with Christ, keeping in step with the Spirit and accomplishing His purpose.

Staying on course in seeking Him first will lead to an enriched celebration of the Resurrection of Christ.

The answer to the habit of worrying about the distraction of responsibilities is given in the last verse of the passage listed above-“But seek His Kingdom and these things will be given to you as well.”

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God bless your Lenten Season! 

 

 

Shine Your Light


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They say things come in three’s and for the third time in a few days, I’ve been impressed with specific illumination for the year 2017.

“In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Mathew 5:16 NIV)

What does that involve?  Are there specific things you must do so others will see your light? Is my light shining bright enough or does it flicker here and there? These are some of the questions I have thought about relating to the repeated theme.

I first heard the prompt to shine your light when a friend called my cell while I was in the grocery store on December 31st, 2016.  She announced that she was a great-grandmother of a baby boy and that she wanted to pray for me. She prayed specifically that I would be in the right place at the right time doing the right thing to glorify God and added a request not normally used in her prayers for me:

That I would shine my light and point others to Jesus.

Would you believe within a half hour, I did exactly that?

I put the groceries in the trunk, entered my car, sat behind the wheel and prepared to head home when I noticed a young lady in the car parked in front of mine, was upset. She mumbled a few things and slammed a door, then proceeded to look on the ground for something she apparently dropped.

I said a prayer for her and looked over in her direction again before I started my car. She was shining a light from her phone that not only was dim but too small to see well enough to find the item she lost.

I reached for my cell phone, pulled it out of my purse and pressed the LED flashlight app on the home screen. I walked over and offered to help her search.

She seemed relieved to have some help and commented how bright it was as she continued to search for a key.

She explained her predicament, “It must have dropped off the key chain after I opened the car door. My grandmother is waiting for me to pick her up and I can’t do that until I find the key to start the car!”

I tried to reassure and comfort her with the fact that I had just prayed for her before I came to assist her with my light. I empathized with her plight of being in the middle of an anxious frantic search. I told her, “These situations don’t get any easier as you get older. I still have moments where I get upset when I misplace something that I need and have to stop and pray for help.”

She searched again on the ground and rummaged through the numerous bags laying on the front and back seats and rear floors. It wasn’t until the third time going over each step since losing the key, that she finally found it.

“Thank you, Lord”,  I exclaimed as I looked up. I then said to her, “He answered prayer!”

She replied, “Heaven knows.”

She thanked me as I returned to my car.

I wished her a Happy New Year and paused in prayer once more before starting for home.

There have been more occasions to shine my light since the encounter with the young lady who searched for a lost key. And there is more than just shining your light applications that come to mind when reflecting on this story.

Basically, I want to list additional suggestions that I have been challenged with and that we as Christians can do to shine our light for Jesus.

 

  1. Stay plugged into the source to become brighter. Loving God with all your heart mind, soul and strength is essential.
  2. Pray without ceasing. Pray for: our leaders, others in need, the sick, our military, our schools, family, loved ones, neighbors, missions, unsaved people and your own personal list.
  3. Meditate on God’s Word. Read a devotional, start a Bible reading plan or write a Devotional yourself.
  4. Avoid listening to or initiating Gossip.
  5. Be slow to speak, quick to listen and slow to anger.
  6. Be who God created you to be and ask for His help to keep moving in the direction He is pointing you to go.
  7. Speak the Truth and balance it with love.
  8. Praise God for His answers to prayer and count your blessings.
  9. Do your good deed for the day as God opens an opportunity to help a stranger. Little random acts of kindness preceded by prayer cause you to glow outwardly and inwardly with His love.
  10. Eliminate complaining. If you find yourself falling short in this or another habit/s, as I have, ask forgiveness and begin again with items 1, 2 and 3.  God is merciful to forgive and help us grow into becoming more like Christ. Staying close through humble communication and obedient submission is key.

 

 

Maybe your list may look differently than what is posted above or you have a few things to add that would be helpful.

Be encouraged with the hope of a great new year filled with wonderful opportunities to connect with others and help them pursue a closer, abundant walk with Christ.

We are both privileged and blessed to partner with the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Shine Your Light!

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There is Room in My Heart for Thee


manger

How well we know the Christmas story, since wee ones our ears have heard.

About God’s Son born in a manger, no room was found according to the Word.

 

Today as we celebrate His Birthday, a familiar hymn rings out the reason for God’s Gift to all mankind.

The song written by Emily E. S. Elliott is named;

Thou Didst Leave Thy Throne

The chorus reads:

 O Come to my heart, Lord, Jesus; There is room in my heart for Thee

But when you read through to the last verse and stanza written below, the chorus changes.

 

Thou didst leave Thy throne and Thy kingly crown when Thou camest to earth for me;

But in Bethlehem’s home there was found no room For Thy holy nativity

O come to my heart, Lord Jesus; There is room in my heart for Thee.

 

Heaven’s arches rang when the angels sang, Proclaiming Thy royal decree

But in lowly birth didst thou come to earth, And in great humility.

O come to my heart, Lord Jesus; There is room in my heart for Thee.

 

Thou camest, O Lord, with the living word That shouldst set thy people free;

But with mocking scorn, and with crown of thorn, They bore Thee to Calvary.

O come to my heart, Lord Jesus; There is room in my heart for Thee.

 

When the heaven’s shall ring and her choir shall sing At Thy coming to victory.

Let Thy voice call me home, saying, “Yet there is room; There is room at my side for thee.”

My heart shall rejoice, Lord Jesus, when Thou comest and callest me for me.

 

Not only is there room in my heart for the precious gift of God’s only begotten Son, but there is room at his side. 

And we will rejoice when He comes and calls us home.

 

The more people who make room in their heart, the merrier!

And, there is always enough room at His side for one more.

I hope you are rejoicing in His indescribable Gift.

If not, I hope you soon will be rejoicing.

 

Merry Christmas!

 

 

Happy Birthday!


Today, in this crazy backwards world, it would be rare to hear of an individual stating that they are celebrating their Spiritual Birthday. It was on this day, August 23rd, 1998, that I was delivered from a 26 year addiction. An addiction that I am glad to be free of. I was miraculously delivered from tobacco.

Research shows it is one of the most addictive substances. That is why I know it was and still is a miracle. I had no desire to return to the habit in all these 18 free years!

I could not quit on my own, though I tried many times and as many different solutions that I could think of to stop.

It happened at an altar of prayer. I asked a dear Pastor to pray with me after the church service that morning.

But, before the miracle, came one defeated woman asking, seeking and knocking. The night before, I said to God, “God, You parted the Red Sea, You raised Your Son, Jesus, from the dead, where is my miracle? If you don’t help me with this bondage of addiction, I will be lost forever!”

I would not recommend being so bold as to ask in the manner that I did almost two decades ago, but I was desperate.

God is so good. He didn’t turn away from my unholy way of asking. He mercifully saw my heart of despair and had compassion on me.

After praying, I could feel the bands of thick, heavy, rusted, iron bracelets pop off my wrists! I felt lighter than air. I thought, “There really is a magic carpet and I’m riding on an invisible carpet ride of Jesus!”

Then, there was a thick force shield, like the holograph-type you may have seen in a Star Wars film or some Sci-Fi movie, that went completely around me in circle fashion and nothing could penetrate it. No longer did I have the urge to puff on one of those cancer sticks!

Jesus broke the chains of  my slavery to cigarettes and set me free in a way that defines who I am forever.

I am His child, saved from the penalty of sin that He bore on the cross as He died for me. Free to love and serve Him. Free to worship with out the hindrance of  something that was between us. Free to receive the abundance of His love and goodness as I daily walk with Him.

Yes, I am able say that I am 18, because it was eighteen years ago that I was delivered and set free. I was born again, and am a new creation indeed!

“So if the Son sets you free, will be free indeed.” John 8 36 (NIV)

Thank you, Jesus, for your mercy, grace, love, sacrifice and for delivering me from sin and addiction.

I hope you find these words to be encouraging. If you have a story of a miracle that Lord has done in your life, feel free to share it here.

 

 

Wedding Ready


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Dreams of distinction are worth taking the time to discern.  Have you awakened from a dream filled with hope and joyful expectation? A dream so vivid it seemed real and you thought you were alive because you could feel emotions, see vibrant colors and experience a physical environment.

Such was the dream I had a few nights ago.

I was standing in the middle of a room or chamber built of dark brown rustic timbers, similar to the the wood used on the interior of my garage and on the inside of the walls of my house .(I can’t imagine why the family that built the house I live in would use such beautiful wood to insulate it let alone adorn the garage with it.)

I was wearing a mantle of golden yellow satin and was getting dressed to be married. My mother(who is in Heaven) brought me a piece missing from my outfit, but I thought, this little thing isn’t going to cover my body. It was binding like a tube top and she helped me put it over my head.

Like magic, the dress turned into a beautiful soft hand stitched yellow silk gown with an empire waist, a designer dress that was the only one of its kind. Flowers of lavender and periwinkle blue suddenly appeared in a showering fashion, decorating the draped fabric. There were pleated folds on the front and back of the garment causing it to stand out from the bodice. It reminded me of a nun’s attire from the 50’s or the pleat in military jacket.

I looked at myself in a mirror and made the remark of how it must be a designer dress because it hid all my flaws and made me look the size I would like to be.

Now I was ready and waiting to go in! I was getting married, but not just me. Many were going in to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. To be joined forever more with the Bridegroom, Jesus! Yet I was elated, happy, excited, full of joy! I felt what a bride would feel on her wedding day. I Was Getting MARRIED and I anticipated the celebration with an abundance of emotion.

And I had to wake up! I liked this dream so much I told several people about it the next day. I think this is a prelude type dream of what is to come. And I know the Bible says we will be given white linen robes to wear in Heaven, but in this dream, I wore a dress hand made and designed for me.

Wedding Ready is a daily walk with Christ, trusting in His Saving Grace, abiding in His love and waiting for Bridegroom, Jesus, to come for His Bride, The Church.

 

The picture above of white flowers are the sprays of Mock Orange or Virgin’s Bower from my back yard, a Sweet Bay Magnolia leaf stem. and the red rose bud from my brother’s rose bush.

A New Heart Of Song


Art Heart

I’m forgiven, all sin is gone

I’m forgiven, held the past too long

This day is new, I live in you

I’m forgiven, give glory to God

 

At times my past came to haunt me with shame

For trespasses done though Jesus did save

The secret’s surrendered-under His blood

It flowed to the sea forgotten by God

 

I’m forgiven, all sin is gone

I’m forgiven, no burden I don

In love and peace I stay all day

I’m forgiven, give glory to God

 

Does someone have a sorrowful soul?

Of sin you committed a long time ago

Believe in His word, it’s true what it says

Just forgive yourself and go on in His stead

 

You’re forgiven, all sin is gone

You’re forgiven, held the burden too long

This day is new, now live in His Truth

You’re forgiven, give glory to God

 

Perhaps there’s a soul who needs to be free

The wrong in your life, it binds and deceives

Confess and repent, make a one-eighty

Jesus died for you, won the victory

 

We’re forgiven, all sin is gone

We’re forgiven, a new heart of song

This day is new, we live in His truth

We’re forgiven, to praise and serve God!

 

Dear Readers,

I hope this poem-song blesses you. It is a testimony of God’s work  in my life and of how much He loves you and me.

 

 

 

 

 

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