Choices of the heart when no one else is looking....

You never know what consequences your life will have from that one moment, when you are in darkness or weariness or being tempted to fear or giving up, and you decide to trust the Lord, to hold His hand, to believe and extend grace. This is where messages of integrity are made--when no one but the Lord is looking. And yet it is where the integrity of your soul is built--the integrity you have--the decisions you make, the work you do because it is right, fit, and godly and will make a difference. This is the life out of which your message will flow to the world.

I was reminded of this yesterday through a sweet friend. I never knew that those countless nights when I was alone in the dark with the Lord, that my heart's cry would become useful in the life of another. This sweet mom encouraged me to be even more faithful in my alone moments!
She has three little ones, who like mine, have middle of the night illnesses. I had 3 out of 4 asthmatics and all of mine, for years, bordered on hospitalization, ruptured ear drums, surgeries and thousands of sleepless nights for me--I was so tired, at times, I thought I had a dread disease. Yet, when tempted to despair, He taught me to go to HIm, to sing little hymns in the middle of the night, to worship as I cuddled and rocked and served--and learned to push away panic. 
And this became a message that spoke to a sweet friend in the middle of her sleepless nights.
Here are her words, 
"I have three small sick children...10, 7 and with croup, one with Strep, and the other with upper respiratory "stuff"...been to the E.R. already this week....As I am awake each night comforting my children with cold cloths, and back scratches, and ice chips, I hear your voice first in the words I've read throughout your books of the many fearful, sleepless, tiring nights you encountered with sick children....I learned to seek the comfort of My God, and SOOO wanted to know Him during these times, the way that you seemed to know Him....


So, I do hear your voice first, comforting MY HEART, and reminding me to cry out to the Lord...and then comes HIS tender...comforting me to overflowing to then enable me to comfort my more succumbing to fear...what a gift...
How sweet her words were to me yesterday-- to keep me going where I am right now!
I could never have known that my faithfulness in the nights, in the tender, vulnerable, bone-tiring moments, feeling small and insignificant--my heart looking upward--would become the basis of comfort for others. 
Your courage is not just for your family, but for all those God will bring in your life--"We comfort those with the comfort with which we have been given in our trials." So, keep working on your own story of faithfulness--it will become your message of integrity.
On this note, one of my sweet gifts from the Lord is finding other women with deep souls, who so generously and skillfully use words to encourage and shape me. One such is Elizabeth Foss. She is a lover of family, children's books, good food, great thoughts and Jesus. I loved this post about the struggle in the midst of an already difficult week with a myriad of children, getting them to church and then seeing the Christmas moment through the eyes of her precious little one. Brought tears to my eyes! Enjoy 
So great to hear from so many of you. Thanks for all the prayers for us and our ministry--it means so much and I do so want to see the Lord work mightily in families in 2010. If you have a spare moment, please pray for my sweet children-especially Nathan as he goes back to LA with only one month of wages left in his pocket! We continue to live a life of faith as a family with so many, many issues on our plates--yet, I have learned so much about staying in the safe place of joy and trust this year. He is so good---more on that later!
I know we delight God's heart, to seek Him together and to ask Him to work mightily in and through our lives and children this year. Grace and peace to you all! and may the strength of the Lord fill you today!