Reading in Revelations this morning, I was humbled to the point of tears. The kids will be up soon and I don’t want you to miss this so I’ll make it quick.
Your prayers aren’t just hitting the ceiling. (I know sometimes it really does feel this way, doesn’t it?)
No, my sweet friend. They are being purposefully collected and placed in a bowl of precious gold and placed before The Lord.
Now to some this may seem über religious. To some this may sound just plain weird.
But to me, it makes my heart swell. It reminds me I am not forgotten. It makes me realize just how important my prayers are to the King of kings and God of my salvation. That He is never too busy to hear my prayers. This isn’t like a collection of mail at the post office waiting to be sorted. Ohhhh no. This is a sacred collection that is so beautiful and held close to God’s heart.
I’m not sure what brings you to your knees today, whether it be the illness of a loved one, overwhelmed by life, depression, divorce, death of a child, pain in your body, job security, financial struggle, or simply feeling like a piece of paper being blown around in the wind.
But this I KNOW – you are so precious to God. He loves you SO much; more than you will ever know. He paid the ultimate price by sending His one and only Son to take our place on the cross.
Trust Him. You may not understand the storm you are facing, but know that the One who calms the storm sometimes finds it necessary to simply calm His child. There’s so much peace to be found in the arms of Jesus!
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6
Wherever life finds you today, I pray you are overwhelmed with God’s unconditional, unchanging head over heels crazy love for you.
He treasures the prayers of His children just like we as parents treasure the words and artwork of our children. Except His fridge doesn’t get full, He pulls out the bowls of pure gold and holds on to them to answer in His timing.
You are SO loved. ❤
Live Life Unscripted,
Please help me welcome Nancy Montoya! She was the first mommy-friend who reached out to me when my husband and I were traveling with his nursing job. It landed us in the beautiful town of Pueblo, Colorado and she was the smiling face who greeted and instantly befriended us at church. She’s such a beautiful woman of God, inside and out!
Nancy is a loving wife and mother of 4 beautiful girls. She is such a selfless individual and her positive perspective, despite fighting for her daughters life time and time again.
Me: It’s so exciting as a woman to discover there’s a precious life growing inside of us! Tell us about your pregnancy with Lily.
Nancy: I was a clueless 17-year-old when I became pregnant with Lily. We didn’t know while I was pregnant that she would be born with disabilities. We first found out when she was 3 months old. Her not being born perfectly healthy hadn’t even occurred to me. I was more concerned about how my life would change and how I would be able to give her the kind and loving home I had growing up.
Me: You and Jacob got married and soon after, found out some terrifying news as new parents. The doctors couldn’t believe she was even alive. What a miracle baby! You said you didn’t know anything was wrong until she was 3 months old. What happened?
Nancy: Initially we had noticed her eyes weren’t tracking and I thought she may be blind. Then she suddenly began dropping weight. My mom actually had a dream where Jesus appeared to her and told her to bring Lily and I to the hospital. We went to the hospital the next day and were completely stunned.
Her doctor came in and said a phrase I will never forget. With tear filled eyes he said “the outlook is pretty grim” and began to explain that Lily was born without most of her left and middle brain. As a result she was missing most of her optic nerves, her pituitary gland -the master gland- her hypothalamus and other parts of her brain. He was amazed she was alive and did not think she would survive and at best be, for lack of a better word, a vegetable. I cannot put into words the mind shattering, soul crushing, heart breaking feeling that became my reality.
Me: Girl, I can’t even begin to imagine. As a mother, my heart breaks for you! Were you and your husband believers at the time?
Nancy: It was 9 pm, an hour after visiting hours were over, and Jacob and I who were not saved looked at each other and simultaneously said “we need God”. Not 30 seconds later the pastor of my church knocked at our door. He was there to pray with us and for Lily.
We accepted Jesus and in that moment I had a revelation about the absolute power, purpose and provision of God. I was overcome by His peace and was able to just completely rest in the knowledge that He has already dispatched my help before I ask for it and that He alone holds my baby’s future. And when I have nothing to give He is more than enough. I have been fortunate enough to operate in that understanding from that moment forward.
Me: I love it that you found Christ in the middle of your greatest trial. How awesome is that?! With the challenges Lily faces on a daily basis, were you at all fearful to have more children?
Nancy: I have an autoimmune disease called ulcerative colitis that became active about a month after Lily was born. For years I was so consumed with her constant care, but years later when her health became stable, I weeped for another child. My disease kept this dream from becoming a reality.
One night after being particularly upset, the Holy Spirt woke me up with a whisper – “read 1 Samuel.” I read of Hannah who wept before The Lord for a child and The Lord opened her womb. I took this as my promise from God.
A year later at a revival in Lakeland, Florida we were worshipping in the alter when an evangelist from Africa we had never met grabbed me fe behind and said, “The Lord says it is your time to have another child. You do not have to fear. Your disease will not be an issue. You will be healthy and the baby will not have any of the struggles Lily had.”
We stepped out in faith on that word and a week later I was pregnant! Evangeline was born healthy and I have been the healthiest during my pregnancies. God is so good!
Me: I have chills reading this. Wow, wow, wow! What a timely word from The Lord! What would you say you have learned through this journey?
Nancy: I have learned that it is easy to truly lay my burdens at the feet of Jesus. That there is a peace that comes from true brokenness before the Father. That I can do nothing good in and of myself and only God in me brings forth love and life. And that I am blessed to have been so broken that I got to experience complete and utter reliance on the Father for my every moment.
Because it is so easy to believe the lie that we have things under control and we are doing just fine all by ourselves. The truth is we need to be desperate for Him everyday. We need Him to direct our paths. We need His strength and His peace and His hope and His joy. Because those things from any other source are fleeting. They will not endure. We can only truly obtain them and sustain them if they have come from the Father. His faithfulness and provision is ever evident in my life. And I am just so grateful to have been freely given such a perfect love.
Me: Such a beautiful brokenness. Your story is such an amazing picture of grace and mercy. Even at your lowest, God lifted you out of the pits of despair and showed you His loving kindness in a way you had never experienced before. Absolutely incredible.
What advice would you give to someone going through a difficult situation right now? And how has your perspective changed everything?
Nancy: I would say that living in victimhood is a choice. And as Christians we are not exempt from a pain free life. On the contrary, Jesus told us “In this world you will have trouble, but take heart for I have overcome the world!”
When living through the darkest nights we all have a choice to make. Will I let this defeat me and rob me of the peace and joy that was freely given to me? Or will I cling to the promises of my Father and trust that He will deliver me, restore me, protect me, provide for me and help me?
God is good to keep His word. And His word says He already overcame everything that could ever attempt to overcome you!
Thank you so much, Nancy, for sharing your heart with us! God has truly blessed you with a beautiful family who have learned together that perspective changes everything.
We still have one more story with share with you! Don’t miss out! Check back this weekend to hear from Jessica Shonebarger about how God held her during one of the scariest storms in her life.
Share this with a friend if you were encouraged today! Remember – perspective changes everything!
Life Life Unscripted,
Tonight, it happened. Enjoying spending time with our 5-year-old making a tree frog out of a toilet paper tube, and I find myself being critical of her. She’s so proud of her solid green frog she’s painted, glued together and drawn a face on and I’m judging it. How…could…I…
This little Jesus-loving-girl who has stolen my heart long before she made her grand entrance into this world made something beautiful. She was so excited to see the finished product and smiling because I let her search Pinterest to choose the perfect tree frog to construct. And in my mind I was trying to make it better, as if I wasn’t convinced when she gave it her stamp of approval.
Kendyl is such a unique child. Her love for Jesus and people truly leave me speechless. It definitely magnifies the scripture in Proverbs 22:6 that says “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.”
We pray for ambulances and firetrucks that are speeding past us with sirens blazing down the highway. If someone’s car is broken down on the side of the road, she pipes up from the backseat asking if we can help them. A lady at the flea market dropped her purse and contents went flying everywhere. My hands are full of our lunch trays and drinks but Kendyl ran to her rescue – without batting an eye. I cannot tell you how proud I am to have the honor of being this girl’s mom.
You see, I’m a perfectionist. I get it honest. I’m a grammar freak and almost OCD with some things, and it drives me batty. I’m constantly trying to find ways to improve things and I must be heard. Kendyl, my darling mini-me, has inherited the same genes. Help..us..Lord..
But one thing God spoke so heavy to my heart through such a simple homework assignment – you can’t live your issues through your children. How many times are we guilty of pushing our kids to the limit? Then what? They’re broken and feel like they don’t measure up to our high standards. And if they can’t measure up to Mom and Dad’s standards, will they ever feel they can measure up to God’s?
One thing life experiences have taught me, God is an individual God. He cares so deeply about every intricate detail of our life. He knows our likes and dislikes, successes and failures. And He uses our children to convict our hearts when we need a little work around the edges.
Can I be transparent with you today? I’m not perfect. I was really hard on myself today for the thought of trying to push my way on Kendyl. Trust me, God caught me before I did. I asked her if she wanted to add anything else to it and she smiled happily and said, “Nope!” Before I could open my mouth to interject my thoughts, it was as if God gently placed His hand over my lips and quieted me.
I don’t want to break my children of their God-given abilities and talents. Just because your child may do things a little differently than you doesn’t mean their wrong. I’m not talking major moral issues here. I’m simply saying don’t make an ant hill into Mt. Everest.
I pray God keeps me humble in this area. He’s teaching me that I can’t make her into a better kid version of me. She’s not me. God created her in His image just as He did me, but she’s a different person. I have to let her be herself and pray God shows me how to help mold her into the little God-girl He’s created her to be.
Have I said I’m proud to be her mom? I love this girl. God knew what He was doing when He blessed us with this little spunk muffin. I know you’re proud of your little rock star too. Let’s hold these little hearts gently. They get damaged so easily.
Live Life Unscripted,
Us on Easter Sunday ❤