Through the Valley
of
Serenity
Our Family's Miracle Journey
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July/August 2008

                                        July 2008


July 13, 2008
Reni has picked up a new thing.  She loves to tell 'Knock, Knock " jokes.  Every morning she crawls over me and knocks on the head board of our bed.  "Knock, Knock" she says,  "Who's there," I reply with a yawn.   "Neni,"  "Reni who,"   "Neni Burk"  Hey,  I didn't say she was good, I just said she loves to do it.   :)

July 14, 2008
God has been dealing with me my entire life about the compassion of the Lord.  But more so recently.  When I as just a girl maybe three or four, I loved playing with baby dolls.  I would treat them just as if they were real little babies.  One day as I was playing, I came across a can of Skoal tobacco,  Anyone who knows this stuff, knows that it can be a little too warm for the sensitive mouth of a child.  However, as a child I only knew that it was something new and interesting to try.  Being the good mother that I was, I first gave my little baby a pinch, because that's what mommies do, they feed their babies first.  Then I placed a large pinch in my own mouth.  Well, it didn't take long until I started to feel the burn.  I immediately started running around screaming.  My mother came to my rescue.  But I wouldn't allow her to touch me, I kept saying, "No mommy my baby, my baby's mouth is burning."  She had to clean out my doll's mouth before I would allow her to touch mine.  That is the first time I can remember feeling the compassion of the Lord.  Many years down the road when I was in high school I can remember forgetting my lunch money and having to go the day without eating.  By the time I made it home I felt like I was about half starved.  From that moment on I couldn't stand the thought of anyone going hungry.  So many times I can remember giving away my lunch money and doing without myself.  I would have rather gone hungry than to know anyone else had to.  Recently, I made an incredibly stupid mistake.  I was in a hurry and wasn't thinking.  To  make a long story short (actually to make me look less like an idiot), I had a pot of boiling water and steam explode in my face.  The first couple of days the pain was unreal.  I ended up with several second degree burns that covered my face, neck, chest and right wrist.  The night of the incident I was lying in bed unable to sleep because of the pain.  But all I could think about where people who had suffered more severe burns and most of all, the souls who are in Hell at this very moment, burning for all eternity.  My heart ached for them. I began to weep and cried most of the night for the suffering of others.  Now, I am not boasting for I believe the compassion I feel has absolutely nothing to do with me!  But it is only the kind of compassion that can come from God within me.  You see, love is selfless and God IS LOVE.  I truly believe that we as humans are incapable of true love without God in us.  The flesh in me would have thrown down my baby and ran for a drink of water, God in me said "Help my baby first." The flesh in me would have said, "I'm sorry your hungry, but this is all I have and I'm hungry too." God in me said, "Take it, I'll do without."  The flesh in me would have wept for my own suffering, and I did, but God in me wept for others as well.  The flesh in me would have been relieved to have a healthy daughter again but would have just left the past in the past.  God in me wants to take the experience and help others.  I began to think about Jesus and all that He went through.  There is nothing that we could go through that He hasn't already been through. He knows our suffering.  The Compassion that God gives us is nothing but a mere snowflake in a world covered in snow compared to the compassion Jesus feels for us.  He wants so much to take away all of our pain and suffering.  I believe that Jesus is standing there with his hands stretched out holding everything that he will ever need and all we have to do is reach up and take it, but we choose not to.  We choose to stand there and suffer until our hearts are harden and we can no longer feel the compassion of the Lord.  Let me ask you this, how long has it been since you have felt selfless compassion for another?  How long has it been since you were able to look past your own suffering and see someone else's pain without judgment?  Has your heart been harden by pain that you refuse to hand over to Jesus? I incline you to search your hearts! Let go of all that makes you bitter towards another.  Let go off all the things that hold you in bondage of selfishness.  Then reach up and take your healing, cure or deliverance from the hands of Jesus.  Reni's heart was physically harden.  There are so many people whose heart is spiritually harden, but the result is still the same: DEATH.  Let God soften your heart, the way He softened Reni's.  Then allow God to fill it with compassion for the ones who hurt you.   This is the Healing of God!  We must forgive and truly love, for God to forgive us.  Jesus is waiting there with His hands stretched out.  All you have to do is receive!
"Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger  and clamour, and evil speaking be put away from you with all malice: And be ye kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.  And walk in love as Christ also hath loved us,,"
 Ephesians 4:31-32 and 5:2

July 15th 2008
Today, I caught Serenity in the kitchen with one of my pots and a cup.  She was filling the cup with water from the refrigerator, carrying it across the room and dumping it into the pot. She had already made several trips because the pot was nearly full.  I just had to laugh when I saw the trail of water that covered my floor.   She has also figured out how to open the child proof lock on the cleaning cabinet.  It's a really good thing that I made the decision to keep all the non toxic things up front and the harmful things way in the back.  She squirted her brother with the safe stuff.  It has also taken me all day to do one load of dishes in the dishwasher because she keeps opening the door during the cycle. She stuffed the toilet with toilet paper as well.   Her energy over the past few weeks has me in awe.  Nobody would ever know what she's been through if not told. 
She is a typical toddler, except on overload because of the extra fight God placed in her.   She may keep me on my toes, but I wouldn't have it any other way.  I praise God for the way things are! 

July 16th 2008
Inspite of Serenity being so very ornery, she has managed to also become quite a little lady.  She loves clothes.  Her face just lights up every time she gets a new outfit.  But most of all she loves dresses.  Recently she has refused to wear anything but dresses.  Then once she's all dolled up she will politely hold the ends up with her hands  and turns full circle as if saying."Look how pretty I am."  She is also learning to use her manners.  When I hand her something, she says "Thank you."  I will tell her "Your welcome,"  Then she says, "YOUR welcome"
Yes, such a feminine polite little angel.  Then it happens! She does something she's proud of and she holds up her hand,  looks at her Dad and says,"High Five!"  Well, you can't win em' all.  :)

July 17th 2008
Today our prayers are focused on another baby.  Mason Sanders is just an infant and is stuck in the PICU right now.  He has some form of bacterial infection and the doctors aren't sure what is causing it at this time.  The antibiotics they are trying have not been working.  Please remember this family in your prayers.  Our family's hearts go out to them in their time of need.  We have been there.   I know that the first initial reaction might be, "Why me? or What did we do to deserve this?"  I pray that the family knows " this is not God punishing them for things that they did or did not do.  Quite the contrary, it's because of this world that we live in.  Adam and Eve, because of their sin, destroyed God's perfect will for us for a time.  But Jesus came to restore that which we had lost.  Things of this world sometimes cross our paths but the word of God says that through Jesus, we have overcome this world.  God will turn around what Satan has meant for harm, and use it for the good of those who love Him.  Satan wants to destroy us but Jesus wants to deliver us from his destruction.  Know that this is not God's fault and this is NOT your fault!  If the holy spirit is revealing things to you and you feel conviction,  it's because He wants you to come to Him with a pure heart.  To ease your conscience and redirect your focus,  Get it under the blood and move on to receive healing.   Welcome the spirit with your praises.  I know that this is hard right now, (only those who have been there really understand just how hard this is)  But your praises welcome the spirit of God and where God's spirit is welcomed, the things of this world CAN NOT be.  Start out by just saying. "Father we praise you that you sent your son Jesus to Heal our son." Then begin singing worships songs.  Next know the authority that God has given us.  His word says that He gives us the keys to the kingdom, what we bind on earth is bond in heaven, what we loose on earth is loosed in heaven.  Bind that sickness off of his body and loose God's healing power.  When you are so caught up with concern, it's sometimes hard to find the words to pray. So Here are some prayers based on scripture to speak over him that may be useful. 

"Masons body, we speak the Word of Faith to you.  We demand that every internal organ, cell and tissue perform a perfect work, for you are the temple of the Holy Ghost; therefore we charge you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the authority of His Holy Word to be healed and made whole in Jesus' name." (Prov. 12:18)
"Father, we resist the enemy in every form that he comes against Mason.  We require his body to be strong and healthy, and we enforce it with your word.  We reject the curse of the world and we enforce life in his body."(James 4:7)
"Mason's immune system grows stronger minute by minute.  We speak life to his immune system and death to every foreign virus or bacteria.   The same spirit that raised Christ from the dead dwells in him and quickens his immune system with the life and wisdom of God, which guards the life and health of his body."
"Thank you Jesus that you bore Mason's sickness and carried his pain.  Therefore we give no place to sickness or pain. For God sent His word and healed Mason." (psalm 107:20)
"Thank you Jesus that you have given Mason abundant life.  We receive that life through your Word and it flows to every fiber of his being, bringing healing and health. (John 10:10 John 6:63)
"Mason will not die, but live and declare the works of God." (Psalm 118:17)
Check out our faith page for more scripture.

Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with this family.  We want the family to know that we are always here to stand with you in faith and prayer.  We are not only praying  but as always we are PROCLAIMING the victory that we have through Christ Jesus!  PLEASE contact us anytime, day or night, for any reason at ALL.  We truly mean that!
WITH MUCH LOVE AND CONCERN,
The Burk Family

July 18th, 2008
Like all girls, Serenity LOVES to talk on the phone.  Whenever she hears the phone ringing she takes off running, yelling "I get it!"  If I answer it before her she interrupts the conversation by nagging, "I talk, I talk."  Well this morning,  in order to save some time, I just went ahead and handed her the phone to begin with.  She said, "Hello?  Yes, Thanks for calling.  Mama's in the bathroom."
 I grabbed the phone and blurted out, "I'm not in the bathroom!" It's a good thing that it was just Tommy calling to check in.  :)
Speaking of bathrooms, I thought that I might tell you about Reni's first full conversation.  She loves her brother Elijah.  They play very well together.  Well they were sitting down on the floor playing with their toys when suddenly Eli began to sniff a little.  After a few sniffs he said, "Reni, did you poop?"  Reni very proudly said, "Yes."  Then she asked, "Ligah, do you poop?"  Eli stated, "Yes."  Then Reni asked with her head slightly tilted to one side, "Ligah, do you need a diaper?"  Eli honestly answered, "Ya, sometimes."  Then Reni added. "Ohh, that's Nasty baby!"
What a wonderful first conversation memory!  Don't you agree?

I just received news about the Sanders baby.  The new antibiotic they are trying now has seemed to stabilize him.  They said he's not any better, but the good news is he's not any worse either.   He has pneumonia, a rash that covers his body, and his feet are swelling. PLEASE continue to remember him in your prayers.   I will continue to update you  as I hear news.

July 19th, 2008
The more people who view this site, the more I am finally understanding my calling (Besides being a wife and mother)  The compassion and experience God has given me is to be used to bring hope and encourage others. For sometime I have felt this fire burning in the pit of my stomach as if in anticipation of something big happening.  I knew that God wanted to use me.  I just wasn't sure how.  I still believe that I am suppose to finish my book, and that will come in time.  However, in just the few days this site as been online, I have already been blessed with the opportunity to help others struggling with their own valleys.  Through our testimony we have been able to encourage them and ultimately help them grow in faith.  I can not explain the feeling this brings, to know that God is using our testimony to further His kingdom.  It somehow makes me feel complete.  It makes our struggles seem worth while.  I want nothing more than to bring glory and honor to the name of our Heavenly Father!  He has ALWAYS been so very good to me.  Everything we are or have is because of Him and His mercy, grace and love.  I feel honored to be a servant of the King.
"The eyes of your understanding being enlighten; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints." Ephesians 1:18

Serenity dumped a bag of grapes on the floor and threw her brother's tooth brush in the toilet!  I haven't heard  anything new about little Mason, but I'll keep you posted.  OH SERENITY!  Gotta Go!

July 20th, 2008
Serenity had a very big day.  She helped Mommy decorate for VBS.   All tuckered out, she went to sleep early.  I sat a long time, rocking and just staring at her.  The peaceful breaths she takes now still amaze me. 
"The Lord will PERFECT that which concernth me: Thy mercy, O Lord endureth forever:"
Psalm 138:8

July 21st, 2008
I have a praise report of my own.  On the 14th, I mentioned that recently I had an accident and ended up with several second degree burns.  The morning after the incident I awaken to a very scary image in the mirror.  I had several blisters above my right eye, on top of my nose, surrounding my mouth,  and  several covering my chin, neck and  chest.  My face was black from my nose down.  I couldn't feel my lips or the skin that surrounded them.   Because the skin was so tight I couldn't open my mouth very wide at all.  I also had a large burn on my right wrist.  Like any woman, my main concern was my face and possible scarring.  For the first couple days I worried about this.  Then finally I came to the conclusion that there was nothing I could do about it, worrying wasn't going to help.  I was just going to have to trust in the healing power of our Heavenly Father.   I made up my mind that God was going to turn it around for the good of me.  It was going to be my own special spa treatment.  There are women who spend a lot of money to have the dead skin and hair chemically burned off their faces.  Granted, this way was quite a bit more painful ( I wouldn't recommend it ), but on the plus side it was a lot less expensive.   God cares so much for us, even the little things that concern us.   This morning while looking in the mirror, I noticed the blisters had healed, the red blotches had faded, the peeling had stopped, and my face looked normal again.  Except for one minor detail, my skin feels much softer.  :)   God is so good!  Because He loves us so much, He always honors our trust and faithfulness.  After being reminded of this time and time again, now I often wonder why I ever wasted time worrying in the past.  He is ALWAYS in control and He ALWAYS comes through!

July 22nd, 2008
I have been busy with VBS.  So Serenity has been spending  a lot of time with Nanny (my mom).  Today, she gave Nanny a big scare.  Reni managed to unhook and escape her latched car seat while they were driving down the road.  I've said it before and I'll say it again. There is nothing that little girl can't accomplish.  She has been running her poor Nanny in circles this week.  However, like her mommy,  Nanny wouldn't have it any other way!  She just gives her lots of extra hugs and kisses.  It serves as a reminder that God never does anything in a small way.  He always gives us far and above what we could hope to ask for.  Great is our God!

July 23rd, 2008
I asked Serenity what she wanted me to write in the Journal today.   She started singing, "Jesus loves me,"  well her version anyway.  She starts swaying back and forth singing, "Jesus loves me, Bible tells me so."  Then she flexes her muscles and shouts at the top of her lungs, "He's Strong!" 
I often wonder how many times during those critical moments of her life, she came face to face with Jesus himself.  I wonder, does she remember Him holding her hand, talking to her, making her smile?  Does she personally remember just how Strong He really is?  I know that  she has always been fascinated with pictures of angels.  She will just stare at them and actually talk to them, as if she's expecting them to reply.  Before Serenity's third heart cath, God gave me a vision while I was praying for her safe return.  In this vision, I saw Serenity laying on the surgical table with the surgeon directly above her and there were many, many angels throughout her room. There were two guarding the door,  one for every nurse, one that stood directly over Serenity's head and the doctor had two, one on each side of him guiding his hands.  I can still vividly see the angels with their cupped hands over his guiding them as he began to cut.   I held on to this vision throughout her surgeries knowing that I was not trusting any mortal man with the life of my daughter, but I was trusting God.  God does not make mistakes.  I knew that she would come through.  I know that Serenity felt their presence.  She felt the comfort and security they brought.  She knows what angels look and feel like.  The only question I have is how long will she remember?  I pray she never forgets their touch, their scent, the sound of their voices.  I pray she always remembers Jesus, her best friend, sitting beside her bed and holding her hand.

July 24th, 2008
V.B.S was awesome tonight!  There were many kids that came to the alter just weeping under the  conviction of the Holy Spirit.  Our little Gracee even went forth to ask Jesus into her heart, making her mommy Very happy.  She has done this before, but up until now I don't think she was old enough to fully understand the commitment she was making.  I think now she's finally grasping the concept.  Unlike one little toddler a few years ago, when told that Jesus lived in his heart, started pulling at his chest, screaming , "No, No, Get him out!"  We had to explain to him that there wasn't actually a tiny little man living inside his vital blood pumping organ.  Kids are so funny!   Well, Serenity just dumped out her Sunny D all over herself and the floor.  So I guess that's my cue!

July 25th, 2008
While cleaning the house, I managed to lose sight of Reni for a few moments.  This is never a good thing.   Fortunately, it didn't take long to find her.  I walked into my room just in time to see her hanging from the canopy on our bed.  The little monkey loves to climb on things.  This is what I saw.
                   Whee!  Just hangin around

July 27th, 2008

V.B.S came off as a big hit again this year. We had a big blowout party  with hot dogs, nachos,  a Jupiter Jump, dunk tank and pony rides.  Reni was able to go.  She had a blast! She rode her first pony.  As soon as she stepped outside, she starting yelling, "Horsey, Daddy, Horsey!"  Her friend Jeremiah took her for a ride.  She was also able to get up close and personal with VBS Bible buddy Sparky!  She had a wonderful day!

  Pure Bliss! Just my pal Sparky and me!

 July 28th, 2008
 Mason Sanders  was suppose to get out of the hospital today, but his white blood cell count was still very high.  Please keep praying for this baby.  
John 10:29 "My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand."
Proverbs 4:20-23 "My son attend to my Words, incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life to those that find them,  and health to all their flesh. Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life."
God is still and Always in control.  Thank you Jesus for the healing power that flows through his body as we speak Your Word over him!  Mason is healed and made whole in the name of Jesus!

July 29th, 2008
Mason was transferred to another hospital and finally the doctors have agreed on a cause for his illness.  They have diagnosed him with Kawasaki Disease.  It is a disease that causes the blood vessels to swell.   It is very rare! They only see about 20 cases a year.  They do not know what causes it, but Praise the Lord they do know how to treat it.  They said we should see a remarkable difference in his condition in the next couple of days.  However, He is not completely out of the woods yet, so please continue to pray for him.  Right now we are just Praising the Lord for giving wisdom to those doctors. 
"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him." James 1:5

July 30th, 2008
Five of the songs that touched our hearts while walking through Serenity's valley were picked to be played on our local Christian radio station today.  All the kids thought that it was pretty cool hearing mommy's name on the radio.  Serenity recognized a few of the songs.  When she first heard them, she smiled and quickly nodded her head as if saying, "Hey I know that."  Then she started swaying back and forth while clapping her hands.  It was just too cute for words!
Serenity also managed to find one of her daddy's permanent markers! Check out the nice artwork on her face and arm.  Apparently, She's thinking about becoming  a tattoo artist.  Oh NO Reni! Mommy and Daddy won't have that! :0
                     What did I do?  I pretty!

                                                                August 2008

August 1st, 2008
 For the last several months we have been standing in faith believing for the healing of  Granton Bayless, a baby who was diagnosed with SCIDS.  As always God has remained faithful to His promises. Granton has experienced so many miracles and his family continues to give God all the Glory. This baby has held such a very special place in the hearts of many, especially mine.    Today while I was cleaning house and thinking about him, words of a poem started to flow.  So I sat down at the computer and began to type.  Within only a matter of minutes, I finished this poem for him.  The more I read it, the more I was reminded of our walk with Serenity.  So many of the words that I wrote from him, spoke to my heart as well.  So I thought that I might share it with you.


Through the Eyes of Granton

 By: Dana Burk
Through the eyes of others, I lay sleeping and still

Sickness overwhelmed me, a body so ill

Eyes of friends and family peered with grief

Health of youth stolen by blessings one thief

Doctors and nurses offered little hope

Mommy and Daddy found it hard to cope

Standing firm on the Promises they found

God’s Holy Word echoed with sound

Through my sleeping eyes, I saw angels bliss

Each one offering a heavenly kiss

I giggled as they circled my bed

Planting their kisses upon my head

I watched in awe at each one I would meet

I laughed even harder when they tickled my feet

Jesus was there sitting at my side

Telling the angels where to glide

We laughed together as we watched the show

He held my hand and never let go

Pain from sickness I did not feel

Sustained by God, A touch so real

Through my open eyes I soon would see

Mommy and Daddy waiting for me

Excited to tell them about the fun I had

I didn’t understand why they looked so sad

Patiently, I waited for the doctors to say

Mommy could hold me, what a wonderful day

Snuggled in her arms feeling her warm embrace

I saw tears of joy upon her face

As the days go on, sorrow begins to fade

Life fills the bed death once had laid

By the Stripes of Jesus, I am healed

Through it all, God’s Glory revealed

Through the eyes of Jesus, He saw my pain

Suffered and died, for my sickness was slain

Through His eyes, Death He sees no more

Through His blood our suffering He bore

Cleansed from sickness now my eyes see as well

By His death, all fullness in life shall dwell

In a moment of weakness, to our knees we fell

Through my mouth,  a mighty testimony to tell

August 4th, 2008
Life is always busy at the Burk home.  Just not always news worthy.  Serenity has spent the last few days picking on her brother and getting her way.  You know normal things.  Elijah, who is two and a half will be playing with a toy and Reni who is a year younger, will think "hmmm that looks like fun."  So she will walk over grab it out of his hand, whack him over the head with it, then sit down to play.  She's learned how to hit, pinch and bite. Despite our ramblings about her already having a lifetime of ouchies and never needing to punish her, she has spent quite a bit of time in the naughty chair this summer.  Elijah usually just takes it.  He is so protective over her that he would never hit her back, no matter how much she picks on him.     Yesterday after church the kids played on the slip n slide for awhile.  Reni loves that!  She loves anything that has to do with outside.   It doesn't matter how hot it is or how long she's been out there.  She always screams when it's time to go in.  She will usually run up on the porch, grab a hold of the railing, scream "NO!" and then hold on for dear life.  I literally will have to pry one finger at a time off, until she's free.  She has an amazing grip.  The strength in her tiny little body amazes me!  On a softer note, She has been saying I love you for awhile, but here lately she says it all the time. She says it first thing in the morning, while I'm changing her diaper, when I fix her breakfast, lunch, dinner. Sometimes she will just stop in mid play mode to run into the next room and say,"I of you Mom!" But her favorite time is before bed time.  We will be rocking in the chair, preparing for nighty night or a nap and she will look up at me and say. "I of you Mom."  I will say, "I love you too Reni!"  Then about a minute later she does it again, "I of you Mom."  We do this for quite awhile until she tires herself out.  So she may be a little rough at times but she is still full of love.  At the current moment she is running a low grade temp.  It is nothing to worry about, just a virus she caught from her sisters.  But she is pretty attached to mommy right now, literally!  We have decided to declare today just "Hold Reni Day."  These kind of days are not very productive, but they sure are ones to treasure!

August 6th, 2008
At night when I'm trying to sleep, my mind likes to wonder a lot.  I find myself pondering over life's little mysteries.  I have always known that God works both in the natural and the physical.  I know that Jesus explained a lot of spiritual things by using parables of the natural.  However, just recently I realized how much everything is connected.  Take the sun for instance, the sun gives life to every living creature on earth.  We absorb it's energy directly into our bodies.  Without the sun, there would be no physical life.  Sun = Life, no sun = death.  Now looking on the Spiritual side, the same goes for the Son of God.  We obtain our strength directly from Him.  Without the Son, there would be no Spiritual life. Son = life, no Son = death.   I believe that God has given all His creations both a physical and a spiritual side. Even His only begotten Son had both physical and spiritual aspects. To everything there is a cycle and to everything there is a spiritual meaning. Take a look around you, everything that God has created think about it for a moment.  Watch the trees as the sway in the wind, with their branches held high, they are constantly bringing praises to their maker.  Even when change comes and their leaves begin to fall like tears covering the ground.  Their bare branches continue to praise.  Watch the animals as their instincts take over and the predators attack their prey.  This is the same way the enemy stalks us.  He watches from a distance, waits for one to stray from the flock, then attacks the weak and alone.  We could learn the entire Bible by just watching God's creations.  How could anyone ever doubt the existence of God? His Word says we have no excuse not to believe.
"For the truth about God is known to them instinctively. God has put this knowledge in their hearts. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made. His eternal  power also and divinity: so that they are without excuse." 
Romans 1:19-20

I keep forgetting to mention that Mason went home last week.  Last I heard he is doing very well.  Thank you to all that prayed.  Our God is faithful!

August 8, 2008
Serenity is trying to potty train.  It is so cute.  She will go into the bathroom and sit on her little potty chair.  Then she will make it sing.  Swaying back and forth she sings along, "Toilet paper, toilet paper,  on a roll, next to me. I can have a few squares, maybe one or two squares, how bout three.  Hooray for me!" She will then actually go to the bathroom, grab some paper and wipe her bottom.  Then she stands up and claps for herself.  She only has one small problem.  She does all of this fully dressed! She cries when I suggest she does it without her diaper.  She's afraid to put her bare bottom on the seat.  But I guess it's a start.  She's not even two yet.  So she's well on her way. 
The older girls are having a sleep over and Reni is having a blast spoiling their fun.  She just follows them around, interrupting all their secret plans.  We are having a hard time keeping her off the top bunk bed in the girls' room.  Tommy put a board up and blocked the first couple of steps.  This worked for a while, but now she has learned that she can climb upon the bottom bunk first and reach the steps from there.  She is a handful!  She has also learned a new favorite phrase, stop it or as she says "Bop it"  She loves telling everyone to "Bop it," especially her Dad.  Her daddy loves to tease and aggravate her, so throughout the house you can always hear her tiny little voice saying, "Bop it Dad!"  Then she runs to me pointing in his direction and says, "Mom! Dad Bop it!"  So I'll have to tell him to leave her alone. Of course he just laughs and starts pestering me! :)
Well the older girls and their friends are literally beginning to tie each other up. They're playing cops and robbers or something.  So I guess, once again that's my cue to enter back into the world of reality! Oh, a mother's job is never done! Praise the Lord for that! It would be pretty boring otherwise!

August 10th, 2008
John 10:4  "And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him; for they know his voice."
I can't remember a time when I didn't know the voice of God.  My mother tells me the story of when I was just a small girl, barely past the age of a toddler.  One day full of curiosity I asked her, "Mom, what does God sound like?"  She said, "Just ask God to talk to you. You will know His voice when you hear it."  A few moments later I returned with a giant grin, I said. "I know what God sounds like Mommy.  He is that tiny still voice inside here."  Then I pointed to my heart.  My mom smiled very proudly and said, "Yes Dana that's right."
Throughout my life there have been many times when I have been sound asleep and suddenly awaken by the sound of my name.  In a sleepy daze, I would raise completely out of bed, looking around at those fast asleep, I would answer, "Yes Lord?"  These are the times that I knew I needed to pray.  This has always been a very natural thing to me.  During our journey with Serenity, I heard the direct voice of God many times clearly.  I never questioned whether it was God or not.  I just knew!  There are many people who do not understand this and I can't explain to them how I know.  I just know it's Him. 
I have often thought about the face of God.  However, I have never been able to put of form to His face. I think about the face of God being the very essence of the miracle of His creations; a new born baby, flowers in the spring, butterflies in the summer, the unconditional love of a mother, the heart felt vows and devotion of marriage. Jesus has the physical face of God.  However, when I think about the form of God the Father, all I can picture is this amazingly bright white light, representing His glory. A light so bright that it would make a nuclear blast seem like a flickering broken light bulb; Even that comparison dramatically fails. I don't have any proof of an adequate description of God.  All I have is the certainty that when my eyes finally behold His magnificent face , just like His voice, I will know it's Him and that's really all that matters!


August 11th, 2008
I think Serenity has been hanging around her brothers and sisters too much!  I caught her playing in the cabinets today.  She had a bottle in her hand and was dumping its contents all over the floor.  When I yelled, "Serenity No!"  She quickly dropped the bottle and exclaimed, "It wasn't me Mom!"   Hearing those words with that innocent expression, it was very difficult to contain my laughter!
Now, a few hours later, I have had a revelation. I think I have pinned down the bad influence.  I just found Serenity and Elijah playing in the toilet.  Elijah was squeezing  tooth paste into the water while Serenity used the hairbrush to stir it.  Before I could even utter a word, Eli dropped the tooth paste and blurted out, "Wasn't me Mom, Reni do it." Then Serenity immediately followed his lead by handing me the brush shaking her head. "Wasn't me Mom, Ligah do it." Then they walked out of the bathroom hand and hand, confident they were both safe from the wrath of Mom.  This time I could not contain the laughter. 

August 12th, 2008
                         We went to school! Do we really have to take a picture too?
Today was the first day of school for our oldest three.  We have one in Kindergarten, Second grade and Fourth grade.  They grow up so fast! On the day they are born, you think you have so much time to enjoy them and then you blink and suddenly years are gone.  I often think about the few months of their lives that we missed.  Months of dinner times, homework help, bedtime conversations, I will never get that time back.  I know that Serenity needed us and we didn't have a choice, but it's still hard.  Looking back now, I really don't know how I made it through.  Until that time, I had spent every waking moment with my children. Being a stay at home mom, I was there when they woke up. I was there when they went to sleep. Normally, I couldn't even handle leaving them for a couple of hours without being completely consumed with their well being.  I know that it had to be God's grace that carried me through.  God's grace and God blessing me with such a wonderful, giving family.  I am so very thankful for my sister, and my brother and sister in law.  They completely rearranged their lives to care for our children.  They each had several children of their own. So I know that it was not easy to care for my four.  But they did it anyway and with a cheerful heart.  I think my oldest three thought that it was just one big slumber party for the first couple of weeks. They made trips back and forth between the two families every few days. They really enjoyed playing with their cousins.  However, as the weeks went on it became harder and harder for them to cope. As hard as it was for them, I think it was even harder on Elijah.  He was only a year old at the time and had just given up nursing only a few weeks before. He was literally used to being attached to his mommy.  Then one day she was gone.  His entire world was turned upside down.  He was really the one I was concerned with the most. I still find myself trying to make it up to him. I was more concerned with Elijah, but I missed them all.  I can remember laying in bed at night crying because my heart ached for them.   I missed their laughter and their unique way of thinking.  I missed rocking them and the smell of their hair as their heads rested on my chest.  I even missed their bickering.  I missed just being there! Today, I am so grateful for each and every moment I spend with all of my HEALTHY children. Our experience made us appreciate life so much more. I realize that time is so very precious and shouldn't be wasted on the cares of this world.  Every breath you breathe should be used to tell or show someone that you love them!!

August 13th, 2008
God, who never lies had promised the Israelites the land flowing with milk and honey.  All they had to do was believe that He would give them that which He had promised.  However, when the report of the spies was in, they chose to believe the negative. 
"And they told him and said, We came unto the land whither thou sentest us and surely it floweth with milk and honey; and this is the fruit of it. Nevertheless, the people be strong that dwell in the land, and the cities are walled and very great; and moreover we saw the children of Anak there. The Amalekites dwell in the land of the south; the Hittites , and the Jebusites, and the Amorites, dwell in the mountains; and the Canaanites dwell by the sea, and by the coast of Jordan. And Caleb stilled the people before Moses and said Let us go up at once and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it. But the men that went up with him said We be not able to go up against the people for they are stronger than we." Numbers 13:27-31
"And all the congregation lifted up their voice and cried; and the people wept that night. And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron;  And they said to one another, Let us make a captain, and let us return into Egypt. Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the congregation of the children of Israel.  And the Lord said unto Moses, How long will thine people provoke me? and how long will it be until they believe me, for all the signs I have shrewed among. Because all those men which have seen my glory, and my miracles, which I did in Egypt and in the
wilderness, and have tempted me now these ten times and have not hearkened to my voice; Surely they shall not see the land which I sware unto their fathers, neither shall any of them that provoked me see it;  But my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed me fully, him will I bring unto the land whereinto he went; and his seed shall posses it.  Numbers 14:1,2,4,5,11,22-24
"And the Lord spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying How long shall I bear with this evil congregation, which murmur against me? I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel. Say unto them, As truly as I live, saith the Lord, as ye have spoken to mine ears SO WILL I DO UNTO YOU." Numbers 14:26-28
Caleb received the land through his belief that God would keep His promises. God let the others have that which they believed as well. Many suffered for their lack of belief in the goodness of the Lord. 
I have been thinking a lot about the power of our belief.  Every promise God has ever given to us is received by faith, or the true belief in our hearts of these things.  It is how we receive Salvation, healing and deliverance of any kind.  God promises us blessings, but we must have trust and faith in Him to receive them.  Throughout the bible, God tells us that we can have that which we believe. Mark 11:23 ",,but shall believe that those things which he saith come to pass, he shall have whatsoever he saith."  Proverbs 23:7 "For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he." From the beginning of our creation, God has instilled the ability in us to have that which we believe.  If He had not, we would be unable to receive His Salvation.  Now just as we are able to receive God's blessings by our belief, Satan has taken this God given ability and perverted it for his benefit.  Think about fortune tellers, who time and time again have claimed to predict the future. Sometimes the evil things they claim come to pass. We know that their predictions are not of God, but rather the demonic form.  The bible talks plainly against their idle babbling and not to hear, believe or listen to them. So where do they get the little power they have? They obtain that power through our belief in their words.  First we listen, then we speak, then we believe. Our belief releases all the demons in hell to come and bring those things about.  That is why it is imperative to speak and dwell on positives things.  The more you speak something, the more you believe it to be true. "We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written. I believed, and therefore have spoken; we also believe, and therefore we speak." 2 Corinthians 4:13  If you speak negative things, then you start to believe those things that you speak.  If you believe them to be true.  They will come about.  You receive as you believe!  If you believe in the goodness of the Lord, you shall have His blessings, Mercy and Grace.   The Israelites had two reports to believe.  If they had believed God like Caleb, they could have went in to possess the Land.  But they chose to forget the power of God and believe the negative reports.  Be careful of your beliefs for they have GREAT power. For this reason Satan tries so very hard to destroy our faith.  He is constantly whispering negative words in the ears of God's children.  He is hoping and waiting for you to believe these things. For he knows that the moment you start to believe him, he has a chance to destroy God's perfect will and purpose for your life.  A God who never lies has promised us blessings, Salvation, Healing, Deliverance! We obtain these things by believing Him and His Word.  I know with all my heart that if we had chosen to believe the doctors reports, We would not have Serenity today.  We have her because we held on to God's promises. We believed with our whole heart that she was healed. God said it therefore it is! We all have a choice.  As for me and my family,  We choose to believe the report of the LORD! A land of milk and honey is waiting, whose report will you believe?

August 14, 2008
Hi! Yum! My favorite!
Serenity just wanted to say, "Hi." She also wanted to show you her favorite horsey.  She fed him ice cream today.  He didn't like it as much as she did. :)  We will end with the scripture that blessed me today. All should live by these words. 
"Rejoice evermore, Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. Quench not the Spirit. Despise not the prophesyings. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil.  And the very God of peace will sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it. Brethren, pray for us.  Greet all brethren with a holy kiss. I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read unto all the holy brethren. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you  Amen."                 
1 Thessalonians 5:16-24

August 15, 2008
"O Taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man that trusteth in Him."  Psalms 34:8
I'm taking a moment to ponder this scripture.  To taste the Lord, what exactly does that mean.?  When you taste something you consume it.  It becomes one with your body. Not only do you consume it, but you savor the flavor thereof. Blessed is the man that trusteth in Him. We have to trust in the goodness of the Lord to receive our blessings.  I believe that in order to trust the Lord fully, you have to first become one with Him, savoring the very essence of Him.  One translation reads, O Taste and see the Lord is Sweet.  This reminds me of the sweet aroma that is manifest by the presence of the Holy Spirit.  A sweet, sweet smell that can only be sensed when you have been within the strong presence of the Almighty.   I want to bask within the presence of the Lord every moment I'm on this earth.  I want to not only taste Him but savor Him.  So that I may never forget the sweet sweet flavor of His goodness!  For within His goodness is Victory in all things. 
"We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair. Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down but not destroyed; 
2 Corinthians 4:8-9
 
"Now thanks be unto God, which is always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savor of His knowledge by us in every place.  For we are unto God a sweet savor of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish."
 2 Corinthians 2:14-15

August 20th, 2008
Revival has been going on this week!  The move of God has been SO very strong.  We arrive early and over three hours later, we do not want to go home. As the Evangelist would say, I've been "wrecked" the last few days. I have just been basking in the presence of the Holy Spirit, weeping, laughing and praising.    God has been revealing to me more of the calling on my life and the lives of my family. I am so excited as I continue to grow spiritually and become that which He has created me to be.  I have also had several prayers answered to which I have been praying for years to come to pass.  God is always faithful.  He keeps His promises at His appointed time.  I can't not express the overwhelming joy I feel as my family moves forward in God's plan. It is our desire to bring Glory to our Heavenly Father is everything we do.  With our words, we speak for His glory!  With our steps, we walk for His glory. With our breath, we breathe for His glory and Honor ONLY.  Answering God's call and bringing Him Glory in ALL things is my sole desire.  For this I pray, Whatever may come, know this, God will be Glorified through His plan and calling on my life.
"If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister,  let him do it as of the ability which God giveth; that God in all things my be glorified through Jesus Christ,  to whom to praise and dominion for ever and ever, Amen."   1 Peter 4:11

August 21st, 2008
We are still having a hard time keeping Reni off the top bunk of the girls' bed.   If their door is open even a crack, she finds a way into their room and immediately runs for the ladder.  I've told the other kids that if they see her climbing to yell at me. Because I don't want them attempting to carry her down. Well, throughout the day, you can hear one child or another yelling, "Mom, Reni's on Kayleigh's bed." So I drop whatever I'm doing and run in there. A few minutes later, "Mom, Reni's on Kayleigh's bed." Again I run in there, closing the door behind me.  Again a few minutes later, "Mom Reni's on Kayleigh's bed."   This has become a very routine thing.  So routine in fact, that Serenity has found it to be a pretty fun game. Now the moment she starts climbing the ladder she automatically will yell, "Mom, I Kayleigh Bed."  Then with a very ornery grin, she waits patiently for Mom to drop everything to rescue her. 

August 22, 2008
A couple of nights ago I had a dream.  A dream that seemed so very real.  In my dream I was laying on my bed and a saw an angelic being hovering over me.   He spoke to me saying, "From death into life."  Then instantly I felt a surge of air shoot into my body.    Just as a balloon filled with helium rises into the air, I became so very light and weightless.  An overwhelming peace surrounded me as I was able to look down upon my body. I saw myself floating above my bed with this amazingly bright light surrounding me.  I know this sounds strange, but I was so full of life that I was breathing without actually taking breathes. Everything that I needed to live was already inside my body. The feeling so was incredibly awesome.  I was just so full of joy, peace and life.  I would have been content to just stay there and float forever.  But then suddenly I was startled and I fell back onto my bed. 
For the last few months I have had a hard time breathing due to allergies. However, even after I awaken I was able to breathe freely without any struggle at all.  The dream seemed so very real.  But I didn't quite understand it's meaning.  So yesterday I asked God for revelation knowledge.  I knew that if He was trying to convey something to me that He would reveal it.  So I opened my Bible and read this scripture first. "But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. Romans 8:11  Now the word quicken means "bring life to or make alive."  Then He led me up to Romans 8:6, "For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.  Then to Romans 8:10, "And if Christ be in you the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness." And then to Romans 8:16 "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God;"
Before I had always linked these scriptures to discussions on the rapture. I am now and always a 100 percent believer in the second coming of our Lord.  However, last night I saw something else for the first time.  God led me to some others scriptures as well that have to do with another topic.  I don't quite understand their significance yet.  But I know it will be further revealed to me at His appointed time.  As for my dream, I believe God was trying to convey to me the power of His life that comes when we become Spiritually minded and pure through sanctification. Without this dream, I never could have fully understood just how powerful the life is that flows through our bodies because of Christ Jesus dwelling within us.  I truly believe that when we walk fully in it, we could bring the life of Christ  to not only everything we lay our hands upon, but also, dare I say it, everything we walk past.  Smith Wigglesworth was a man that actually walked within this realm.  God raised over 20 people from the dead through this man's ministry. People would be healed and fall under the conviction of the Holy Spirit just by him entering a room. That is how strong the glory of God was upon him. For but a brief moment while I lay sleeping, this is the kind of power I felt.  I believe this comes from the life that dwells in us because of Christ Jesus. The same spirit that raised Christ from the dead, dwells within us. Of course, to behold  this much of God's glory takes great sacrifice and it is not obtained over night. I am no where NEAR this now, nor do I personally know anyone who is.  But wouldn't it be awesome to some day walk in that kind of authority.  To behold that kind of Glory, always knowing who you are in Christ. So that you might bring His healing power to everyone you come into contact with, without even speaking a word. How awesome would that be?  I hope I didn't freak anyone out with my dream, but I truly believe it was from God and I wanted to share it.  This dream also goes right along with the calling that God has been revealing to me this past week during revival. I'll explain more on that tomorrow. God is so very awesome!  He never ceases to amaze me! 

August 23rd, 2008
During our journey with Serenity, I found myself having an amazing compassion for the ill.  I found myself being drawn to those needing healing, especially children.  As the days go on, this feeling only grows stronger.  I have known for a while that God was going to use me in this area.  I just wasn't sure how.  I have been using our testimony to encourage people, however I felt like there was more to it than just that.   
I didn't tell anyone because, I have been asking God to confirm to me what I already knew was there.   This past week during Revival, He did just that.  The evangelist, a man who knew nothing about our testimony, nothing about my family, nothing about me or the desires of my heart, told me things that only God could have revealed to him.  He spoke a healing ministry over me. Then afterward he prayed for me.  While praying,  God gave him a vision of me walking down a hallway of a hospital.  As I was walking He saw God's Glory surrounding me.   As I passed each hospital room, he saw people coming up out of their beds, completely healed.  He said the presence of God was so strong that I didn't even have to speak.  He said he didn't know when this would happen.  He was just sure that some day it would. Of course this word brought tears to my eyes. I know that it came directly from the throne of God.  For it confirmed EVERY thing I had been feeling in my heart.  It is such a mighty desire for me to grow as close to God as I can. A desire to fully understand my calling.  A desire to bring Glory to my Heavenly Father.  I have longed for so long to be completely sold out to Him.  I crave more and more of His anointing.  I constantly crave His presence! I find myself constantly seeking after His wisdom and guidance. I just want more of Jesus and I want everyone to feel the way I do. 
Okay, so this prophetic word happened Sunday night.  A little more detail was revealed on Monday and Tuesday,  Wednesday night I had that dream.  Thursday God revealed the meaning of that dream, which by the way, when I woke up that night I was completely lost concerning it's meaning.  It wasn't until I asked God for revelation knowledge and read those scriptures that things began to click.  If it hadn't been for the Holy Spirit I never would have put those things together.  Anyway,  Everything has just been kind of falling into place this week. Now I believe that God did use this particular servant of His to confirm what God himself had already laid on my heart. I have no doubt that He is a true man of God.  He is very in tune with the Spirit.  I believe that with my whole heart. However, make no mistake about it I will never take any man's word on Spiritual matters.  I will continue to go where God leads me.  I will speak what God tells me.  I will check and double check God's word to back up every move I make.  That's just smart!  I insist everyone do the same. There is no other option! (1 John 4:1)  Believe no man whole heartedly, but hearken only unto the voice of God. No true servant of the Lord will ever be offended by this, including me. Well, now that I've explained a little more and eased the curiosity of a few of you, I'll go to bed.  Don't worry I'll try not to have any more freaky dreams. :) My husband slept right through the last one.  He made a joke earlier that he didn't even realize I had left him alone to hover over the bed. LOL   For those of you who might be a little slow, it was a dream, I didn't really hover.  Well, at least I don't think I did. :)  I'll end for tonight by saying, Wherever God leads me, whatever my calling, whatever I'm doing, know this; God will be receiving ALL the Glory.  For this is my sole purpose, to bring Glory to the Father!

August 25th, 2008
This weekend, Tommy and I took all the kids to the mall!  As always, this was quite an experience.  However, this time it was even more interesting than usual. They were tired because of the long week of late Revival nights. For those who don't have kids, being tired always has the opposite effect them.  They were bouncing off the walls.  We were chasing them in and out of the clothes racks.  The older ones were beating each other up.  So Tom and I were constantly pulling them off each other.  They were whiny and cranky.  When they couldn't do anything else, they would just spin in circles.  Every store we went into, people would just look at us with pity in their eyes. We usually get lots of compliments on how well behaved our children are.  We didn't get any this weekend. :)  The funniest part though, had to be when we made the mistake of walking through the toddler section at Dillard's.   Serenity's eyes grew really wide when she saw all those pretty dresses.  She started saying, "Oh cute, Mom."  Then she would spot another one and point. "Oh, cute Mom!"  Then another one. "Mom, cute!"  As we continued to walk by without stopping, she began to scream.  "Pretty! MOM! Pretty!"  When I didn't respond, She started working on her Dad, "Daddy, Pretty!"  That's all it took, we stopped!  Tommy and I have decided that we are just going to have to start expecting a financial miracle from God now.  Because if she is this bad before the age of 2, I can only imagine our clothing expense when she gets to be a teenager. Of course, the fact that Daddy can't say no, doesn't help. :)  Anyway, it's needless to say, we crashed into bed as soon as we made it home.  Tommy mentioned the fact that he has a whole new appreciation for me! He can't imagine having to take all of them somewhere by himself.  I told him, "You just do what you have to do to make it through the day. You do your best and God takes care of the rest." :)

August 27, 2008
"Wherefore let him that thinketh he stand, take heed lest he fall."
1 Corinthians 10:12
"Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder, Yea all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility, for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.  Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time." 1 Peter 5:5-6
One of the most important and sometimes hardest things to do in order to be used of God is to remain humble. Every day we must strive for Christ like perfection.  Being human,  it is impossible to be perfect like Christ.  Therefore, every day brings us a new challege.  God is always revealing to us new imperfections.  If we are truly standing within the grace and will of God, we have no time to compare ourselves to our fellow brethern. For it takes every moment of our day, striving for perfection ourselves. If we are looking for imperfections of others, we have failed to remain faithful in cleansing our own hearts.  Once that "more holy than thou" attitude begins to surface, we should immediately fall to our face before God.  This is a sure sign that the enemy and NOT our Heavenly Father has been at work in our hearts. It requires repentence.  God will always bring Glory to HIS name, not the name of any man.  He will reach out to those struggling, not turn His back on them or bring shame to their names.  God within you, will not see someone as being a "lesser" Christian but rather as someone that needs guidance, prayer and love. 
I desire so much to be used by God in a mighty way.  For this reason, I remain in the word and check my heart daily. I pray that I always remain humble.  I pray that I never become judgemental, but forever show love and guidance inspired by the Holy Spirit.  This is my prayer for others as well.  And for those who are being persecuted for their beliefs now or in the future, know this; "Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf." 1 Peter 4:16

August 29th, 2008
God really blessed Tommy during Revival.  He also blessed me tremendously just by blessing my husband.  Many of my heartfelt prayers were answered last week.  I am so very thankful for all that God has done and is doing.  During the first night of Revival Tom was slain in the Spirit.  He was out for several minutes without even a twitch or flicker. During this time, God was performing a transformation beyond human comprehension. When he was finally able to rise to his feet, he came up with an incredible hunger for God.  Thank you Jesus!  That night on our way home, the first song that came on the radio, was one that spoke directly to his heart.  We had never heard it before, but Tommy said it was exactly the way he was feeling at the time.   If you are listening to our other media player, press pause and play this one.  So you can get the idea of just how He felt that night.  It's awesome.  Thank you Lord for answered prayers and that all of your children are "Never going back to Okay!"




Journal continued on page Sept 2008

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