Through the Valley
of
Serenity
Our Family's Miracle Journey
Your Subtitle text
More on Our Faith


Over the past year, I have written several journal page entries that give deeper insights into our faith.  Some people have mentioned that they enjoy reading these.  They often return to old pages specifically looking for encouraging words.  With months of pages to choose from, they can sometimes be difficult to find. So for your convenience I have created this page as a collective space specifically for inspirational journal entries. If there is an entry you would like to see on this page that I have overlooked please drop me a line. 

I will continue to copy entries onto this page as I write them.  But they will appear on our regular journal pages first... along with all the fun family stuff. So don't forget to check out our current journal page for new entries.  Thanks, Dana



January 4th, 2010

       How important are the words we speak?

"Then an angel of the Lord appeared to Zacharias, standing on the right side of the altar of incense. him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him.
  But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John.  And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth.  For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb.  And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God.  He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ‘to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,’and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
  And Zacharias said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years.”
  And the angel answered and said to him, “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and was sent to speak to you and bring you these glad tidings.  But behold, you will be mute and not able to speak until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words which will be fulfilled in their own time.
Luke 1:11-20



How important are the words we speak?  Important enough for God to shut the mouth of an unbeliever! God knew the importance of John the Baptist!  John's birth was crucial to His plan for Jesus.  Zacharias' heart was filled with doubt.  God knew that if that doubt were to be voiced, it could stop His plan from unfolding.  Therefore He physically shut Zacharias mouth until the day when Zacharias declared his baby boy... John!

There is POWER in our words!   For we were made in God's image and He spoke the entire universe into existence! We can move mountains just by speaking the name of Jesus!

"For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says."  Mark 11:23


We can have whatever we say when we believe!  And the more you speak something the more you believe it to be true! God has given us the power to have what we say... be it positive or negative! If we continually voice the negative reports, just as the Israelite children, we will have what we say!

"And the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying,  “How long shall I bear with this evil congregation who complain against Me? I have heard the complaints which the children of Israel make against Me.
Say to them, ‘As I live,’ says the LORD, ‘just as you have spoken in My hearing, so I will do to you:"   Numbers 14:26-28


Same goes for those who give voice to God's Holy Word! When we speak God's promises over our lives.  God unleashes a multitude of Angels to come and bring those things about! So...

                      How important are the words we speak? 
                                 Well... that's depends...
       How important is a move of God in your life?




September 25th, 2009


                 The Importance of Repentance:

God in His ultimate wisdom never ceases to amaze me. He knows the future... He knows all.. Every day is planned. Every day He is in preparation for the next. Today He is preparing you for what you will need for tomorrow... or a year from now... or even 50 years from now. How awesome is our God?

When I was about 18 years of age, I told a lie to my mother. It wasn't just some slip of the tongue kind of lie. I actually looked her straight in the eye and lied through my teeth. For a few years, I often thought about it and felt bad, but NEVER said anything. Then after awhile, the conviction lessened, I began thinking about it less and less. For several years I hardly ever thought about it at all. Then when I was expecting Serenity... about 6 or 7 months along, God suddenly reminded me about my little lie. I soon became consumed with conviction. Every time I would speak to her, I became tongue tied. I would feel sick to my stomach. Each time became harder and harder to look her in the eye. The the dark hours of the night I began crying out to God... begging for His forgiveness. But I couldn't receive a peace! Before long, I knew what I had to do... I had to confess to my mother.

The thought of telling my parents scared me. It has always been SO important to me that both of my parents are proud of me. I didn't want to disappoint them. I didn't want them to know that I had let them down. A few more days passed, and the conviction grew stronger and stronger. Finally, I made a trip to their house to confess. I stayed for a couple of hours... trying to come up with the courage to speak, but failed. As I walked to my car that night, the burden overwhelmed me. Never in my life, had I ever felt conviction so strong. I turned around to see my mother walking back toward the house and I called out to her. Immediately I broke down and confessed with tears streaming down my face. "I lied to you." I spent the next few moments bawling my eyes out as I confessed every little detail. Once everything was out in the open, you know what she said? She said... "I've known that all along" It wasn't a big deal to her. What WAS a big deal, was the fact that I felt bad enough to confess after all those years. That night she developed a deeper respect for me. A few months later, Serenity entered into this world.

In hindsight, I can see God's reasoning for my confession. He was preparing me for the long road that laid ahead of me. He was preparing me to be a mighty prayer warrior. Few people truly understand the importance of repentance. Few people truly understand the importance of praying with a pure heart.

"For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God. And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight." 1 John 3:20-22

In order for us to have the confidence of God answering our prayers we MUST have a guilt free conscious. Now of course, we all make mistakes every day. But there is a HUGE difference in making honest human mistakes and outward blatant sin. There is a difference in slipping up and harboring a hidden sin within your heart. So many people use the excuse... "I'm only human." as a scapegoat to do as they please... not realizing they are hindering God from moving within their lives. We must STRIVE toward Christ-like perfection. We MUST make EVERY effort to become perfect. We will never reach that goal, but we MUST strive toward that goal. A pure heart takes a DAILY effort. "Lord, reveal my faults on this day, so that I can correct them. Then forgive me Lord" With the obvious sins there MUST be a true heart felt repentance. Repentance is more than just asking for forgiveness

Repentance: Turning away from sin by changing one's actions to obey the teachings of Jesus Christ. The repentance process consists of feeling sincere regret or sorrow for doing wrong, confessing the sin(s), asking for forgiveness, making restitution for any damage done, and promising not to repeat the sin.

Throughout the bible God gives us examples of the importance of repentance, but one in particular has always hit me like a ton of bricks.

"If I regard iniquity in my heart, The Lord will NOT hear. But certainly God has heard me; He has attended to the voice of my prayer. " Psalm 66:18-19

God requires a prayer of repentance before He will even HEAR our other petitions! Therefore, a powerful prayer warrior requires a pure heart.

Before Serenity's birth God was already preparing me to become a worthy prayer warrior. After her birth, we made every effort to remain within God's good standing. I NEVER even DARED to ask God for her healing without first asking for forgiveness. "Lord, if I have knowingly or unknowingly stepped out of your will on this day, Forgive me, that I may come to you with a pure heart." Every time I prayed, I first searched my heart. Once my conscious was clear... then I proceeded with my petitions of healing.

Yes.. God never ceases to amaze me. He goes before us preparing our way.... as long as we are obedient to listen, we can NOT fail. God knew how Serenity's story would end. He planned her healing before MY existence. He knew every detail that would need to fall into place. All the way from placing the Charles Capps book into my hands months before her birth (that helped me understand faith in depth)... to purifying my heart. God planned everything! He KNEW that I had to reveal EVERY hidden sin. If I had not been obedient to the convicting power of the Holy Spirit, I am most certain our story would have turned out differently. I Praise a loving, mighty and Patient God... who never gave up on me!





June 5th, 2009
                                   Choose Life!
               

"I call heaven and earth to witness against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying God, and holding fast; for that means life to you and length of days, so that you may live in the land that God swore to give to your ancestors, to Abraham and Sarah, to Isaac and Rebekah, and to Jacob and Rachel." Deuteronomy 30:19-20

I believe this scripture stands true for us today. Even as born again Christians, every morning we wake up and make a choice... Am I going to trust God today.... Am I going to walk by faith... Am I going to believe the negative reports of this world or Am I going to believe the TRUTH? (God's Holy Word)

Every day we make a choice to walk within the blessings of God or to walk within the curses of Adam and Eve. We make a choice. I believe that we can live in the land God swore to our ancestors... even while here on this Earth. I believe that we can live a life of abundance... physical and spiritual. I believe that we WILL encounter trials (it is promised) but I believe we can ALWAYS walk in Victory!

As you can read in Numbers the 13th and 14th chapters,  the Israelite children were also handed a choice. God swore unto them a land flowing with milk and honey. He delivered them out of Egypt. He performed miracle after miracle, supplying all of their needs. It should have been so simple to trust God. It should have been an absolute "NO BRAINIER" that God would fulfill His promise.

Yet, once they arrived, many chose to believe a negative report. The spies were sent out...The walls are so tall, the land is surrounded on all sides. It's impossible....blah blah blah. The people were faced with circumstances and became fearful. We're gonna get slaughtered! Let's load up and head back to Egypt!

Only a handful trusted a God who can NOT lie! Caleb did not ignore the height of the wall, nor did he deny the mighty forces on each side. He simply picked up his armor...God said it therefore it is! Let's Fight! The land belongs to us. We WILL win!

All were God's children...All were promised the same land. Yet only a handful entered in. Caleb received his promise land because he chose to believe God's report. He placed his trust fully in God! He chose life!

How many times have we acted as the doubtful multitude? How many times have we gave up on the promises of God because it seemed too impossible? How many times have turned our eyes toward the circumstances instead of focusing on the Deliverer? How many times have we been handed a negative report and laid claim to it?

We are promised many blessings, but we must HOLD FAST to God's promises. Even when things seem impossible. We must NEVER doubt God's goodness or ability! We must be confident in Christ! Last time I checked, the Word said to come BOLDLY to the throne of Grace.

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16


Caleb was bold in his faith. He did not turn and run from his fight. He knew alone he was far too weak, but he was not relying on himself. He was relying on the promises of God! He KNEW that greater is He that is in us than he that is in this world!
(1 John 4:4)

We are to be bold because we are to be confident of who Christ is and what HE accomplished for us! We must know who we are in Christ....

We are MORE THAN CONQUERORS! (Romans 8:37)

Every day we are faced with two reports... the report this world has to offer (eternal damnation, poverty, sickness, divorce,etc) or God's report! We are faced with two choices... life or death. We can have eternal life... life in our finances...life in our health....life in our marriages! We can live in a land flowing with milk and honey or we can choose to live in the darkness of this world.

Every day we make a choice! Today will you choose life or death? Once the reports are in...Whose report will you believe?




June 11th, 2009


"Not to us oh Lord, but to YOU goes ALL the Glory for your unfailing Love and faithfulness." Psalm 115:1

It's no secret that God loves to be glorified. For it's through His glory that we come to know His saving grace. It's through HIS Glory that we learn to completely rely on Him. His Glory is what catches our eye. His Glory is what draws us closer.

But so many times we tend to deny God His glory. So often we deny Him Glory for healing...I had some awesome doctors!
We often deny Him glory for our protection.. I was just lucky.

We are so ready to give anyone or anything else God's credit. That's why sometimes, we have to hit rock bottom. We have to go past the point of possibility... So credit can be given where credit is due.

Have you ever read the story of Gideon?  It's an awesome story found in the sixth and seventh chapters of Judges. Gideon was facing one of the most powerful armies... the Midianites. Not only were they powerful, but they were numerous as well. The word tells us they were thick as locusts and their camels could no more be counted than sand on the seashore. Can you imagine facing an army of that multitude?

There were times when Gideon became fearful. But God promised him Victory and he remained obedient. He started out with only 32,000 troops. If that wasn't impossible enough...22,000 became fearful and left. Then God took it a step further...
"The Lord said...There are still too many, take them down to the water and I will sift them for you there."

God wanted to receive ALL the glory for the Victory. He was leaving no room for doubt. Gideon was soon left with only 300. Yep I said.. 300 men facing an army compared to sand on a seashore. How many of us would have said...NO WAY! This is far too impossible.. Many of us today would have denied God's promise of Victory. Many of us would have accepted defeat. But not Gideon. He was faithful in listening to the voice of God and with the Lord's encouragement...He pushed through.

Now wait this story only gets more interesting. What weapons do you think they took with them? Spears? Swords? Nope! They had empty jars, torches and trumpets. Yes.. I said trumpets. They went in facing one of the most feared armies, with 300 men carrying trumpets. Surely they're setting themselves up for their own slaughter? Right?

Nope again. "When the 300 trumpets sounded the Lord caused the men throughout the camp to turn on each other with their swords." God remained faithful to His promise of Victory. Gideon was Victorious because he remained obedient and fully trusted in a God who can NOT lie.

While going through our valley with Serenity. We went from the possibility of a slightly routine heart surgery...(good thing we have good doctors)...to a very difficult and extremely dangerous heart surgery...(good thing they're sending us to better doctors)... to no surgery can save your daughter's heart..(Lord, what are we going to do now)...God wanted ALL the Glory. He had to take us to a place where ALL we had was His promise of healing.

Sometimes we have to hit rock bottom before we fully rely on God. Sometimes God has to remove all obstacles before He can receive His glory.


For the more impossible it seems....
The more Glory God Receives!


The problem is.. most of the time we (myself included) give up too easily. We focus on the circumstances.... instead of God's promise of victory. We see the fierce multitude of the enemy and we become fearful. "Oh, it must not be God's will." Sometimes we miss God's perfect plan because we fail to be obedient and trust a God who can NOT lie.

Do you remember back in 95 or 96... the first Holyfield vs.Tyson fight? Not the one of the infamous ear bite..but the first one.
I remember it well because I knew the outcome before the fight ever started.

Holyfield being the less fit underdog declared victory by God's hand. He boldly professed God was on His side. Tyson on the other hand,  just mocked his declarations.

I dished out the $50 for pay per view and invited all of my friends over to watch. For just as I'm sure that the Titanic had to sink when so many said.."Not even God can sink this ship." Holyfield HAD to win that fight! If Tyson would have won, our God would have appeared small to millions of unbelievers. THAT WILL NEVER HAPPEN...GOD WILL NEVER APPEAR SMALL!


Gideon and Holyfield won their battles because they openly placed all their trust in God! And...

"As the scripture says, Anyone who places their trust in Him will NEVER be put to shame." Romans 10:11

We may hit rock bottom. We may have plenty of reasons to become fearful. We may be left with NOTHING except a promise of God to hold on to. But as long as we are fully trusting Him...A promise is ALL we need!

We serve a God of miracles... A God of Victory....
A GOD OF GLORY!

"Therefore whether you eat or drink, whatever you do...Do all to the Glory of God." 1 Corinthians 10:31



May 27th, 2009
"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6,7


God's Word tells us to be anxious for nothing. Yet so many times in our lives we become engulfed in the cares of this world.

"Lord, I need this in my life or I must have that. I need it and I need it now!"

Soon it becomes all we can think about. Our prayer time is consumed with that one concern. We forget to offer Him praises. We forget to worship. We forget our relationship entirely.
Then... when these things fail to happen, we are quick to blame God or assume that He just doesn't care. "Oh well, God must not love me enough. If God really cared about me then He would have answered my prayer."

The first commandment plainly tells us "Thou shall have no other god before me." This commandment isn't strictly referring to other religions.
A god is anything that we choose to exalt or place as a higher priority over our creator.

We can have many "gods" in our lives: Money, food, jobs, relationships, addictions. When we become anxious for these things, we in turn, stop God from moving in the situation. For God Loves us too much to allow anything to hinder our relationship with Him.

When Serenity was struggling to survive, her life became a god to me. It was all I thought about....all I cared about. The status of her health consumed me. If you've read her story, then you know it wasn't until God asked me.."Would you still love me?" that I learned how to completely surrender her into His hands.

Just as Paul taught us.. we have to "learn to be content in whatever state we're in" (Philippians 4:11) For it's when we are truly content that we are fully trusting in God. Once we fully trust God, then our faith becomes pure. Faith moves the Hand of God.

I knew it was God's will to heal my daughter, but I had to become content with whatever decision He made. I had to say.. "Yes Lord, I would still love you! I would still serve you and hardest of all... I will still Praise you!" Immediately after those words left my lips, God's assurance came. From that moment on, the peace that surpasses all understanding guarded my heart. I knew but I knew but I knew just as I know the color of my eyes... I knew my daughter was healed and no word, action or deed was going to change my mind. With His peace came pure faith and God's hand soon moved mightily in our midst.

So we are to be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with THANKSGIVING, let our requests be know to God.

How can we give thanksgiving during our time of need? Simple..when we are a child of God, and when we are truly doing our best to strive toward "Christ like" perfection, Then we fall under the shadow of the almighty (Psalm 91). We our sheltered within the wings of the ultimate protector. The enemy can NOT bring anything into our lives that God does not allow. So if God allows it... then we also know this promise...

"And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28

We have a promise of Victory! We have a promise of blessings! We know God loves us and is doing His best to perfect His chosen vessel. (James 1) So why should we become anxious, or impatient? Why should we worry?

We shouldn't!

Here's a tip I have learned...the sooner I allow God complete control and fully trust Him with every situation... the sooner I become content in whatever state I'm in.... then the sooner I obtain Victory and God receives His glory!

We are to offer our prayers to Him. Then be obedient to His commandment to...

"Be still and know that I am God!" Psalm 46:10

So be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication let your requests be made know to God, then...

"Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart: wait, I say, on the LORD."  Psalm 27:14



April 22nd, 2009

My wonderful blogger friend, AKA Bella's mother Susie Ferrick, wrote a post on her blog entitled "Expectant Hope" In this post she included the definition of hope, "confident, expectancy."
I found a version that makes it even more clear...
 "to expect with confidence"

Contrary to popular belief Hope is NOT defined as merely "wishful" thinking. Hope is actually looking in expectation toward the future with confidence that something WILL be obtained!

Once you understand the true meaning of the word Hope, suddenly the biblical definition of the word Faith is seen from a completed different perspective. For

"Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" Hebrews 11:1

Actually this scripture is saying...Faith is the substance of things EXPECTED!

Every blessing Christ died for is received by Faith! This is the Spiritual law that God set forth into motion. Just as there are physical laws of gravity or such, God has set forth Spiritual laws as well.

You see, Love has already moved the Hand of God. Compassion has already moved the hand of God. Because of His love and Compassion for us, God sent His only begotten Son to die for our Redemption.
(John 3:16) Christ has already laid the foundation for all of our blessings. He has already provided a solution to every problem we have on this Earth! Now that the solution has already been provided, God's hand is moved ONLY by Faith!

Our problems will not move the hand of God...if they did everyone would be problem free! Our whining does not move the hand of God. The only thing that will move the Hand of God, (spiritual law) is our faith in His already given provision.

When you are thirsty you ask for a drink. When someone answers by providing you with a glass of water, do you continue to ask for that said water, or do you simply reach out your hand, receive it and say thank you? The same goes for God's blessings, (salvation, healing, prosperity ALL provided on the cross) God has already provided, now it is up to us to receive His blessings!

Every day, people put their faith in things of this world. We have faith in complete strangers while driving down the road, for we EXPECT them to stay within their lane. We have faith in the pharmacist at our local drug store, for we EXPECT him to give us the right medication. We have faith in airplane pilots for we EXPECT them to come to work sober. Yet we fail to have faith in the one Being who controls ALL of these happenings. We fail to EXPECT God to bless His children. We become fearful and fail to EXPECT God to protect us! We become ill and fail to EXPECT God to heal us! He has promised us time and time again. The word says He is a God who can not lie. (Titus 1:2) He has sent forth a guideline on how to receive His blessings...obey His commandments, righteousness through the blood of Christ, and BELIEVING HIM!

Need salvation? Ask and ye SHALL receive! Expect it! Need healing? Expect it! Prosperity in ALL areas? Be obedient to God and EXPECT IT!


Does this mean we will not have trials? Absolutely NOT. The Word tells us in James 1 to consider it all joy. Within every trial there lies a lesson for us to learn. I can not even begin to tell you all the lessons we learned during our journey with Serenity. I am a completely different person than I was three years ago. I have a deeper understanding of faith, I have a closer relationship with Christ. God taught me how to COMPLETELY surrender to Him and rely on Him ALONE for ALL of my needs! He even used what satan meant for harm and not only healed my daughter, but also healed many relationships within my family! For those who love God and are called according to His purpose, He will bring our good and His glory out of EVERY trial (Romans 8:28)

God is our Heavenly Father. Just as any good parent knows there are times when we must allow our children to endure hard times. For this is the way, they learn, build character, become the person we hope for them to be. In our own way we are trying to perfect our children. However, once that little light bulb goes on and they learn their lesson, we are always there to bail them out. If this is the kind of love we have for our children, how much greater is God's love for His. For God IS love! (1 John 4:8)

Don't most of us EXPECT our earthly parents to take care of us? We EXPECT them to be there if we need healing, or provisional means. Even more than our earthly parents, our Heavenly Father wants to bless us! He does NOT want us to suffer! He LOVES us more than our human minds can even comprehend! So shouldn't we always EXPECT HIS blessings! You receive as you believe!!!

Remember we may endure trials....


"But thanks to our God who gives us Victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. " 1 Corinthians 15:57-58

My Savior did NOT shed His blood in vain! My Savior did not take His stripes in vain! My Savior had a reason! My Savior had a purpose! My Savior Died to set me FREE! And my Savior DID the same for YOU!

"Have Faith in God" Mark 11:22 (Have the substance of things EXPECTED in God)


July 24th, 2009

"And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it shall obey you." Luke 17:6

So many look at this scripture and bring forth the fact that the mustard seed is the smallest seed. It's true that faith starts small and God will always give us what we need to help it grow. However, did you also know that the mustard seed is a PURE seed? Faith can not be corrupted with worldly views. Faith can not be compromised with doubt. In order to grow, faith MUST be PURE!

I know that I must sound like a broken record. Some may be tired of hearing me talk about faith. However, God has laid such a burden on my heart to understand what it means to fully trust Him. I am not claiming to know it all. I just merely have a hunger to understand more. So when I come across those who completely misinterpret even the basic concept of the word. It bothers me! I become consumed with wanting to help people understand.
Everything God has to offer is received by faith. Therefore, the key to receiving God's blessings is fully understanding faith. Because of the compassion God places in my heart, I want to see EVERYONE blessed! Yet, so many miss out on God's blessings because they "think" they are truly believing... When in actuality they are being double minded.

One of my absolute biggest pet peeves is the phrase..."Hoping for the best but preparing for the worst." This has GOT to be the biggest oxymoron to ever cross the lips of a believer. Now, We go back to the definition of hope... "to expect with confidence." If you are EXPECTING the best... you are NOT going to be preparing for the worse. If you are EXPECTING a bright and sunny day... do you carry an umbrella with you all day long? If you are CONFIDENT that your brand new car will start.. do you call a friend and say... " I may need a jump start. Standby just in case."  No! because no one who is TRULY HOPING for the best EVER prepares for the worst.

Once again the biblical meaning of faith... "The substance of things hoped for. The evidence of things not seen." Hebrews 11:1

Faith is EXPECTING a promise of God even when your eyes can't see it's outcome. EXPECTING something despite the circumstances.

If you are truly standing in faith for a miracle healing... you are not going to make funeral arrangements. If you are standing in faith for God to save your marriage... your not going to retain a lawyer.

A few years ago I read a story... A woman was a devoted Christian. She loved and served the Lord with all of her heart. Her husband, on the other hand, was running from the call God had on his life. He wanted nothing to do with her or her God. One day he told her their marriage was over and left... pledging to NEVER return. The woman knew that even though the bible does indeed give a couple of allowances for divorce, it is NEVER God's perfect will that a family be destroyed. So she prayed. She prayed daily and EXPECTED God to answer her prayer. Every night she went about her normal routine. She would cook dinner and set TWO places at the table. Then she would sit down and stare at the door... waiting for him to come home. After their normal dinner time had passed she would go ahead and eat without him. Then the next day she would do it all over again. Friends would come over for dinner and she would set and extra place. They would ask.. "Are you expecting someone else?" She always replied, "Yes.. my husband! God is bringing him home and I want to be prepared." Now the friends all knew that the husband wanted nothing to do with her. So they pitied her... thinking she was in some horrible state of denial. However, their unbelief didn't affect the woman's faith. She continued to trust God. For months, the woman was genuinely disappointed each time his seat remained empty. Then one night, as she sat down at the table and stared at the door, the knob finally began to turn. The husband to whom she hadn't spoken in months, walked nervously into the house. He was sure he was going to have to beg and plead for her forgiveness. Yet, the woman simply smiled and said.."Welcome home... Supper is ready." Together they ate. He later went on to have a flourished ministry for God.

Faith is Expecting! Faith is KNOWING without seeing. Faith is PREPARING FOR THE BEST because you are EXPECTING THE BEST. If this woman would have said.. "Well I'm believing that God is going to save my marriage... but I better call a lawyer 'Just in case' " She might have missed one of the greatest blessings of her life. She might have missed God's perfect will.

When the doctors made Serenity's future seem grim, my parents went out and bought her a diamond heart necklace. Now they didn't buy a tiny baby necklace. No.. they bought her an adult necklace. This necklace was a step of faith toward the bright healthy future, we knew God was going to give her. It remains put up until the day she's old enough to wear it.

A person who says... "I'm hoping for the best but preparing for the worst." is living a double standard. They are claiming to have a spiritual view but in reality are thinking carnally. They are being double minded. What does God's word say about the double minded?

"A double minded man is unstable in all his ways. "James 1:8

And an unstable man will surely fall!

That's why the Word also tells us to have faith as a child.
"Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein." Mark 10:15

A child does not reason things out. A child just BELIEVES. If you were to tell a child the sky is green. They would grow believing the sky was green until the day they were old enough to reason it out. A child never doubts the truth. A child's faith is PURE. Just as a child, we must be free from all doubt. Just as a mustard seed, our faith must be PURE!

"And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it shall obey you." Luke 17:6



February 6th, 2009

"..... as God hath dealt to EVERY man the measure of Faith."
Romans 12:3b


I once heard a minister speak on this scripture. He was preparing a sermon and God kept leading him back to this verse. He thought.. Okay God, your word says you have dealt to every man the MEASURE of faith, but how do I explain to them how much the measure is. Is it a lot, a little that grows over a period of time, how much is THE measure?

He said immediately three little words came to mind...."It's always enough."

I thought, Wow... how very profound!

Instantly I was taken back to our journey with Serenity. God was always handing me my little "faith boosters."
(for example Reni's ticklish feet described in her story.)Every time I thought that I might just completely break down and lose it. God was always there giving me what I needed to hold on. Those little baby steps that some how catch our eye, is His way of lifting us to a new level of faith.

We ourselves can not make it in our own power, but God's Grace carries us. With every step He is lifting us higher and higher until we reach that mountaintop. When we keep our eyes focused on Him, the very moment our faith seems weak, we can call out to Him and He will send the little boosts we need to make it through. Whether it be someone with encouraging words, a scripture brought back to memory, an answered prayer, or just simply opening our eyes to see His miracle unfold.

It doesn't matter who we are, when our eyes are focused on Him, our faith is "always enough!"


Take Thomas, one of the twelve disciples, for example. I know most people give this story a bad rap. They look at it like Thomas was something less than what a disciple should be because he needed confirmation. I, on the other hand, see a completely different side to this story. I see a Savior who loves us so very much that He is willing to give us whatever we need in order to believe. Jesus did not shun Thomas for his doubt. He simply replied with,
"Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands: and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side; and be not faithless, but believing. "John 20:27


Yes blessed are those who believe without seeing, but if you need to see... then so be it. Come so that you will not be without faith.

God wants us to have faith strong enough to believe Him for all the blessings He has promised us. He knows that sometimes we need a personal confirmation and HE IS NOT OFFENDED BY THAT.

Sometimes we need Him to answer us personally. We need Him to reveal Himself in a mighty way. Sometimes we just need to see His scars and that's okay! He meets us at our own level of faith, then boosts us to a higher level until we reach that mountaintop.

God hath dealt to every man THE measure of faith. The measure... meaning there's only one measure. We all are capable of moving mountains. We are all capable of Victory in every situation in our lives! We can not do it in our own power, but Thank God that when we choose to place the measure of faith in Him...

It's ALWAYS ENOUGH!



April 28th, 2009

"But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?" James 2:20

This scripture is NOT saying we are saved by works? Quite the contrary it is actually saying that if we are saved by faith....we will perform works. True Faith bears Spiritual fruit!

In Romans 4 it clearly states that Abraham was NOT justified by works but was justified only by his faith. His faith was accounted for righteousness.
"Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law." Romans 3:28
Also, "That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Christ Jesus; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith." Galatians 3:14


It all about faith! It's all about what we choose to put our belief in. However there are two types of faith... a dead faith (without works) and a LIVING Faith!

It isn't enough to just say "I believe...I believe... For James 2:19 says, "the devils also believe and tremble."

How does faith work? Galatians 5:6 "...faith works by Love"

Without Love faith is dead!

According to scripture, Jesus is the way the truth and the life! (John 14:6)
When we accept Jesus Christ as our personal Savior we become a new creation, old things are passed and behold All things become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17) We become one with Christ! There is no greater love than the Love of Christ! Plain and simply put... Living Faith bears Christ like fruit. (Love, obedience, selflessness, etc.)

For God is Love (1 John 4:8) Therefore Living Faith works by Love!

The Kingdom of God also works in the field (pun intended) of sowing and reaping.
(Galatians 6:7)
We can take a step of faith by sowing seeds toward a blessing of God.

We were faithful in sowing seeds for Serenity's healing. During our prayer time we would ask God to reveal the seed we needed to sow, " Lord, I know according to your word that you suffered for Reni's healing. We stand firm on your promise that she WAS healed on Calvary! Now what seed do I need to sow in order for it to manifest?" Once God revealed our seed then we were obedient to His words. We also named our seed! "Lord, your word says that when we are obedient to sow, we will reap a bountiful harvest. Right now, Lord I am bringing forth this seed in faith to receive Your promise."

Every seed may be different! God instructed my parents to fast. However, for Tom and myself our hearts revealed something different. We began sowing seeds for Serenity's healing by witnessing, blessing and praying for other families in similar situations. You see, usually the seed that you will need to sow, will be the toughest thing for your flesh to let go of. God uses trials to help us become more Christ like, to strengthen us spiritually (James 1). In order to do this, we must rid ourselves of the flesh.
Everyone has problems in different areas of their flesh.

As parents, it's our responsibility to ensure the health and safety of our children. When your child is fighting for their life, it is so easy to become engulfed in your own burden. It's instinct to the flesh to become wrapped up in our own selfish pleas. You become consumed with the thought, I must help my baby, Lord save MY baby!

All the while, a mom is sitting on the other side of a paper thin wall crying over her dying child because she doesn't even know HOW to call out to God. No matter how difficult your situation is, there is always someone whose situation is MORE difficult. For, there is
always someone who doesn't have the comfort of believing in the healing power of our Lord and Savior.

In order to become more Christ like we MUST become selfless! We must TRUST God enough to lay aside our own problems! For this kind of trust truly is LIVING faith! (If we are totally consumed with our issues are we really walking in faith? Remember faith is EXPECTING something WILL be obtained! )

God opened our hearts and our eyes to see the suffering of others. We used this insight as an opportunity to witness! We placed Serenity into the hands of our Heavenly Father, and focused our compassion on other patients and their families. Even though, Tom had been without work for weeks, we blessed several families financially. We gave out of our need! (Yet God always sustained us.  The more we gave to others the more God gave back to us. It's impossible to out give God!) We spent time spreading the gospel to those needing Hope. We prayed fervently for the children of others. We made the decision to step outside of our pity bubble and allow God to direct our steps. We tried to seize every opportunity. We tried to become true servants of Christ. We did all of this, while speaking healing scriptures and proclaiming health over Serenity. We never let go of the promise God had given our daughter, we just reached out to help others hold on to theirs as well.

We must allow our flesh to die out, place our situations entirely into God's hands and embrace others with His love. Faith without works is dead! However, when we choose to combine our belief with sowing selfless seeds toward healing and prosperity, God ALWAYS brings forth life!



March 15th, 2009

       The Power of Prayer: An Act of Faith

Does prayer really change things? ABSOLUTELY!!! Let me say it again....Does prayer really change things? AB..SO..LUTE...LY! We should never underestimate the power of prayer. Take Elijah for example, he prayed that it would not rain and it did not rain for three and a half years. Then again he prayed and the rain showers came and the land once again become fruitful. (James 5: 17-18) Prayer most certainly moves the hand of God. It is a powerful tool when used in connection with God's will.

God moves by faith! Every blessing that we will ever receive is received through faith! All the way from our very salvation to the smallest of blessings! We receive them all by faith.
Prayer is an act of faith...for if you did not have faith in God...you would not pray. Prayer is an act of faith therefore prayer moves the Hand of God.

It is true God is omnipotent. He knows all. He knows how every situation will turn out. Which also means, He knows whether or not we will be faithful in doing our part.

Do you remember the story of the woman who touched the hem of Jesus' garment. She knew that if she could just touch him she would be healed. She didn't say, "if I touch him he might decide to heal me?" NO! She KNEW she would be healed. Within a multitude of people who were pushing, touching, and tugging on Jesus. He felt her touch. Why? Because her faith actually drew His healing power from Him. Jesus replied, “Who touched me? Someone deliberately touched me, for I felt healing power go out from me.” "Daughter be of good comfort, for thy faith has made thee whole; go in peace" (Luke 8:40-48). We have to be open to receive God's blessings. We have to BELIEVE that we WILL receive them. When we pray we have to EXPECT God's promises to be fulfilled in our lives.

There have been times in my life when I've been awaken in the middle of the night, knowing that I needed to pray for a particular person. Out of obedience I prayed. Later I would find out that particular person was in a terrible car accident and miraculously walked away, or had a relapse in an illness but somehow made it through. These were all incidents of the power of prayer. On the other hand I have experienced a couple of people who died very suddenly and I never felt led to pray for them. Why do you ask? Simple...it was their time to go. When we feel the need to pray it's because God is wanting to move in a certain situation. He is wanting to make a change! Our faith filled prayers are the instruments He chooses to use! Prayer is a POWERFUL thing!! It should never be taken lightly or spoken in vain.

We must expect God to answer our prayers and we must EXPECT Him to do that which He has promised according to His Word. It's all about our belief! Just like the Israelites I talked about in this blog entry (also posted on August 13th of our July/August journal page). All of the Israelite children were promised a land flowing with milk and honey but only a few received God's promise. Why? Many lost out on God's promised blessing because of their presistant unbelief. Many chose to believe the negative report of the spies. Caleb, however, received the promised land because even though the circumstances said something else, he chose to believe a God that can not lie. He did not see the worldly circumstance! He chose to only see God's promise laid out before Him. He chose to believe the report of the LORD! We too must CHOOSE to believe.

There are nearly 100 times in the Bible where Jesus said, "I tell you the truth! I tell you the truth!" The circumstances in this world often SCREAM out worldly facts. But Jesus said, "I tell you the truth!" "I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you" Matthew 17:20
"Whatsoever you ask in my name, that will I do that the Father might be glorified in the Son!" 1 John 5:4. We have to ask....then believe He will do just as He says!

If we doubt even for a moment...we have already lost the battle. "For verily I say unto you. That whosoever shall say unto this mountain be thou removed, and be cast into the sea, AND SHALL NOT DOUBT IN HIS HEART, but shall BELIEVE that those things which he saith comes to pass; he shall have whatsover he saith. " Mark 11:23

We pray according to His will, we ask in the name of Jesus, and we BELIEVE our prayers are answered. We EXPECT the promises of God to be made manifest in our lives.

When his disciples failed in delivering a boy from an evil spirit, they asked Jesus why and Jesus replied "because of your unbelief" Even Jesus when visiting His home city, would not perform miracles because of the city's abundant unbelief. (Mark 6:1-6)

Sometimes we get so caught up in the Almighty being that God is, we tend to forget that He is also our Heavenly Father. He only wants what is best for His children. He does not want us to suffer, not even in this world. That is why Jesus said, " And now I come to thee: and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them they word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray that thou should not take them out of the world, but that thou should keep them from the evil. They are not of this world, even as I am not of this world. Santify them through thy truth, thy word is truth. " John17:13-17 . We do encounter the things of this world. However we are governed by a different truth than worldly truth. We are governed by a GODLY truth. A truth that offers us VICTORY in all aspects of our life.

Satan would love for us to believe that it may not be God's will to save, deliver or heal. He would love for us to believe that prayer is not effective. His battle DEPENDS on whether or not we buy into LIES! He wants to destroy our faith. Corrupting our faith or placing our belief in his lies is what hinders us from God's blessings. Satan is the one who wants us to suffer. He's the one that wants to keep us in bondage. Jesus came that we might have life and have it more abundantly. (John 10:10) Christ came to save, deliver and heal. That's why we must HOLD ON TO God's promises! We must HOLD ON TO THE TRUTH!

If you do not believe in the protection of God. I incline you to read Psalms 91. For a thousand may fall at my feet and 10, 000 at my right hand, but it shall NOT come near me. No plague shall come nigh my dwelling. For God has given His angels charge over me to watch me in all my ways. We have protection as the children of God!! God allows trials in our lives to perfect the vessel He has created us to be (James 1). But we belong to Him, He loves us and He remains in control. And he says do not fear the things of this world for "For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world; and this is the victory that overcometh the world, EVEN OUR FAITH." 1 John 5:4.

It's a given, that God's first and foremost concern is our salvation. There are times when he uses situations to bring salvation to someone and/or their loved ones who might not have received it otherwise. There are times when He delivers us from unknown circumstances in our futures they could eventually overwhelm us. In these circumstances He grants us the ultimate healing of going home to be with Him.

God's omnipotent wisdom and mercy knows the very best for us. Sometimes He answers prayers differently than we expect. But WE NEVER DOUBT HIS GOODNESS! WE NEVER DOUBT HIS ABILITY and WE NEVER DOUBT HIS WORD WHICH DECLARES UNTO US.....BY HIS STRIPES WE ARE HEALED!

"Pray at ALL times in the Spirit, with all prayer and entreaty. To that end, keep alert and watch with strong purpose and perseverance, interceding in behalf of all the saints. And pray also for me, that utterance may be given me, that I may open my mouth to proclaim boldly the mystery of the Gospel. For which I am an ambassador in a coupling chain Pray that I may declare it boldly and courageously, as I ought to do." Ephesians 6:18-20

"....For the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." James 5:16



March 18th, 2009
I've been asked on a few occasions, "What's the point? What's the point of telling Serenity's Story?"

I can not express the compassion God has placed in my heart. I can not put into words the magnitude of it's affect on my life. There are times when it completely overwhelms me. There are times when I lie awake in bed and just cry for those I have never even met.
Now I'm not talking about just feeling sorry for someone or pity. I'm talking about compassion, the feeling of truly wanting to make the situation better! True compassion can ONLY come from God!

When we were in the PICU and received Serenity's diagnosis of Restrictive Cardiomyopathy, my husband and I wanted to know exactly what we were up against. So we made a trip to the hospital's computer lab to do some research. We spent hours trying to find just ONE positive sentence to hold on to. We tried to find just one MEDICAL hope. It all came down to Transplant or death...and even then the outcome was not very comforting. Underneath was a list of all the possible side effects of a heart transplant then stated even IF she survived the transplant, she would need another a few years down the road, then another one a few years after that. The medical prediction of my daughter living a long fruitful life was not good!

If it had not been for our hope in Jesus, there would have been NO hope at all. From that moment I vowed that the next time a mother had to type in those dreadful words, She would find at least ONE positive story! At least ONE testimony of Hope to hold on to! Even if our daughter endured a heart transplant, her story WOULD be a positive one and God WOULD receive ALL the Glory for it!

A few months ago I received a comment from a mother in California who was stuck in the hospital awaiting her son's heart transplant. She was also doing some research on Restrictive Cardiomyopathy and came across Reni's website. She wrote, "Serenity's story gives me so much hope and has helped to strengthen my faith. Thank you so very much for posting her story and being open enough to share your journey."

That's it folks....That IS the point!

That is the reason what I feel compelled to SHOUT our story from the mountaintops. That is the reason why I want to scream..."GOD HEALED MY DAUGHTER...GOD HEALED MY DAUGHTER and HE CAN DO THE SAME FOR YOU!" It's an excitement that fills me. It fills the pit of my stomach. It burns within me like a consuming fire! I want to share the good news! I want people to know MY God is a God that saves, delivers and Heals. I want everyone to see the goodness of the LORD that I know!

The compassion God places in my heart doesn't just stop with children facing heart transplants. Oh NO! It goes far beyond that! It goes from the most difficult form of cancer or birth defects to the simplest colds or conditions. God's healing power stretches far across ALL sickness, whether mind, body or spirit!

I want EVERYONE to receive God's blessings. When faced with someone who is not willing to receive the message of hope. I can hardly contain my sorrow. I feel like my spirit has been completely broken and I just want to grab them by the shoulders and shake them. I have found myself alone at night weeping and crying out to God..."Why won't they believe.. Why won't they believe." In the stillness of my prayers, I am reminded that we ALL have a choice. We can not make everyone believe. Not everyone will receive ALL of God's blessings. Not everyone will even receive God's salvation. There will be those who will parish.

However, I am also reminded the intense sorrow that overtakes me, to the point where I can barely function and I suddenly have a revelation. This tiny bit of compassion that God gives me, is merely a drop of rain in His own Ocean of Love. Oh how He must feel to see His children parish! How frustrated He must become when they choose NOT to accept His blessings!

You see, this blog is not about me or my family. Serenity's website is not about promoting her, as cute as she may be :) No...it's about doing what I feel God is calling me to do. It's about spreading a message of Hope to a dying world (physical and spiritual). It's about quenching this fire of compassion burning within me. It's about making a difference in a Godly way.

Not everyone will receive the message of Hope! Not everyone will be open to receive the blessings Jesus has provided. But if one person's life is made better because of our story...then our journey has fulfilled it's purpose!

It's ALL about God's Glory! So that others may see the HOPE we have! So others may witness Goodness of the LORD in their own lives.

You want what we have? All you have to do is ask...then Believe!



June 2nd, 2009

"Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous fall." Psalm 55:22

This scripture is such an awesome promise. Just as every promise of God, it is so straight forward. God never leaves any room for doubt. There are NO maybes, mights or could be. Just plain and simple... do this and I WILL do this!
"Cast your cares on the Lord and He WILL sustain you. He WILL NEVER let the Righteous fall."

As a mother of five, I LOVE doing things for my children. I take great pride in caring for them... for a couple of reasons;
One... I love them more than life itself and it warms my heart to nurture them... and two.. I want things done RIGHT! If I do them myself first hand then I know the job is efficient.

Our little arrangement would work out fine. Except... my children are just too independent... especially Serenity.
Reni's favorite words are... "NO! I do it myself."
I can not tell you how many times we have had this conversation...

"Serenity, what are you doing? I already did it for you."

"NO! I do it MYSELF."

Big sigh " I guess you have to learn...Okay, do it yourself."

A minute later, I either go behind her and redo it or she comes crying.."Mommy, help me!"

Either way... I'm stuck doing whatever it is at least twice and we both end up frustrated.

Just like Serenity, I also like to do things myself. So many times I have become burdened down with the cares of this world. So often I have suffered grief. I have carried sorrow. I have felt broken, depressed, lost. There have been many nights when I have cried myself to sleep. So many times I have just wanted to give up. The burden seemed too heavy. I felt the weight of a load impossible for me to carry.

Looking back now, I wonder... Was Jesus looking down on me shaking His head saying..."What are you doing? I already did that for you."

For God's Word says..
"Surely He bore our griefs and carried our sorrows." Isaiah 53:4

Why must we insist on doing everything ourselves? We KNOW that we will never be able to do it as well as our Lord. Yet... we insist on trying anyway.

"I'm strong enough! I can carry this heavy load!"

Then soon after, we become overwhelmed... we begin to crumble and we must call out for help.

"Lord, Help me!"


How frustrating it must be... constantly doing everything over and over again.
Yet... Jesus is always patiently waiting to pick up the pieces and mend our broken hearts.


Once we finally make up our minds to cast our cares upon Jesus, He's always ready to wrap His arms around us and shower us with a peace that surpasses all understanding. (Philippians 4:7)

Do we not realize He already holds every tear in His hands? He counts each drop and not one tear is overlooked. He knows our suffering. He knows our sorrow. Do we not realize, He LOVES US! He HAS already provided healing for our mind, body and spirit. He has already provided an answer to every problem we have to face. He has already provided a peace to guard our minds and hearts.

We just have to call out His name!

We just have to lay our cares on the alter and say..."Lord... I give this to you."

Then let go...Completely LET GO...and walk away!

Yet for most of us, even after we make the decision to walk away, we tend to come back. Satan begins to whisper into our ears. "He doesn't want your burden. He doesn't care about you. He has more important people to care for" We know he is the father of lies. We know he is incapable of telling the truth. Yet, we listen to him anyway. So once again, we pick up our burden. This time feeding it with self pity, more worry, and more depression. Before long our burden is twice as heavy as it was before.

All we have to do...is place our complete trust in God. We have to KNOW that He loves us. We have to EXPECT His blessings, EXPECT Him to take care of our burdens. We MUST completely surrender our own will. We MUST completely trust our Savior. We MUST NOT look at the problem but rather focus on the Deliverer. God rose Peter up above his storm. Peter walked on water until his eyes began to wander. Once he started looking at the winds around him, he began to sink. No matter how strong the storm, no matter how big the burden...We MUST keep our eyes focused on Jesus! Problem SOLVED!
.

"Lord, you will keep in perfect peace, him whose mind is stayed on you. Because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever. For in the Lord is everlasting strength."
Isaiah 26:3-4

God has promised to wipe away every tear... mend the broken hearted...bring peace in the storm...heal every fiber of our being. Nothing is too great for our Savior. No pain, physical nor emotional, is too severe for His hand to numb.

"Surely He bore our griefs and carried our sorrows."Isaiah 53:4

Don't leave Jesus standing there, shaking His head.... "What are you doing... I already did that for you!" Instead..

"Cast all your cares on Him for He cares for you."1 Peter 5:7





Website Builder