an abundance of joy...if I choose to see it...reaching 1000 Gifts!!!!

Ah arrived carrying a soft and gentle spring rain seeping deep into the earth nourishing the roots of  all living things. Everything looks greener and plush, filled with the hope of a scrumptious or beautiful future depending on the plant, food or flower.

The blueberry bushes are bursting with little beads of goodness and the blackberry bushes are engulfed with the white flowers that will lead way to plump berries in a month or so. The kale leaves reach out like huge hands waving gently "I'm so good for you...pick me" as I walk around the garden.

There are many things to be thankful for this morning, if I choose to see them. If not, then it's just weeding and watering to be done. No joy, just drudgery.

I was reading my daily scripture and stumbled upon a passage that slammed into my heart and answered a prayer I have been bringing to the Lord for some time now.

"Therefore it is necessary that of the men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us—beginning with the baptism of John until the day that He was taken up from us—one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection.” Acts 1:21-22

I took that verse in for a few moments mulling it over in my heart. Then I read the morning reflection that accompanied it in The Word Among Us:

"The world is still waiting to hear—both about the power of the resurrection and what Jesus is doing today. And that’s why God calls every one of us to be a witness to some aspect of God’s life. God has worked in each of our lives in specific ways so that each of us can reveal something unique about who he is. Matthias witnessed the resur­rection, and was chosen to tell about that. But surely you have seen some­thing of who God is! Surely you have experienced his presence in a way all your own. Whatever it is, that is the “resurrection” God is calling you to proclaim.
Few of us will stand in a pulpit or on a street corner. But wherever you are, you can share what you know. Remaining peaceful in chaotic situ­ations speaks volumes about who Jesus is and what difference his life in you makes. Refusing to take offense, no matter how liberally it is offered, tells of a life steeped in forgiveness. Sometimes, too, your witness will be in words, as you announce Jesus’ power to heal, deliver, and forgive. Don’t sell your­self short. You are just as important today as Matthias was two thousand years ago!"

Ahhh...the call to reveal the truth of who God is and what work He is doing in my's much harder than you think you know. To come to this place and not only share the good but share truthfully all the ups and downs, the struggles with faith and culture. The struggles with my weight and writing. DO I really have something of value to share or do I do this so you all will be my personal cheering section? Do I write for the glory of God or do I do so to answer a deep seeded need I have for approval and love.

Yes...these are things my heart struggles with. After all that has happened in recent weeks, God has been quiet during my prayer time and it has been hard and frankly exhausting for me to work my way through the emotional upheaval caused by Courtney's recent medical drama.

And yet...God is present and giving some very clear direction...or so it seems...

To be a witness for God's love not only in words but in deeds...that is the walk away from this screen and truly, deeply live the Gospel in the real world, bringing back snippets and snatches to encourage and inspire.

It's not ME who does this mind you...I am just NOT that good. Seriously...not even close.

It's Jesus through me and my family's unique situation that speaks of love, forgiveness, healing and grace.

During my prayer time He started yelling in my heart...

Let go Mary and TRUST that I have your back. Let go and feel safe in the knowledge that the plan I have for you...not Courtney, not Jonathan, not Jerry...but YOU alone is good and will bear great fruit...TRUST ME with every fear and old habit...Let go and Let me carry you to where I need you to's going to be better than anything you can imagine...TRUST ME!

Yes, I said yelling...God can yell you know. Especially when you have a very thick Irish skull like mine as well as having hardened my heart just a bit to keep the pain and uncertainty from sucking me down a very deep dark hole.

God does not appreciate a hardened heart my friends...nope...not at all.

I have to say HE sounds a little like my Dad on the sidelines at one of my brothers football games...let me tell you...that's Thunderdome loud my friends. I have been begging Him for weeks to give me very clear direction in what I needed to be regards to my purpose here...not my children's or my husbands but just me...then the yelling started...I think I woke a sleeping!

So now He has quite a bit to say and I have to go forward trying to accomplish all He is asking of me.

How exactly does one do this with the Infinite Creator screaming at you from the sidelines?

I suppose one foot in front of the other as always. I need to rely less on the chocolate and more on the ONE who created the chocolate, keeping my eyes on heaven and imagining myself there with Him having accomplished all He needed me to. I need to stop listening to the doubt in my mind and keep my eyes on the goal line.

This journey called Life is never an easy thing...but there are gifts of great joy amongst the insanity...if I choose to see...

#788 - my mother who has taught me everything there is to know about
family commitment, empathy, compassion and unconditional love.
I am blessed beyond measure to be your daughter Mom.
Gifts #775 - #1014!!!!
* sparkly new washer and dryer
* Miss Betsy, Aunt Bobo and their team of angels that made it happen
* clean sheets for the bed
* clean towels for the bath
* lemon scented bleach
* homemade detergent
* stain remover
* a clear floor and NO dirty laundry
* a freezer full of home cooked goodness
* the grace and mercy to arise each day not knowing what is to come
* the miracle of a new hope and a new life with our daughter
* the miracle of modern medical intervention
* Dr. Z ans Dr. S who worked diligently without ever giving up to keep our Courtney with us a little while longer
* my dear husband who is challenged by change...he embraced it fully and continues to walk with joy

#795 -  Grilled meat and veggies...and the man who made them...

* the smile on my sons face when I said "Yes".
* the struggle to let go that brings waves of humility as my son continues to grow into the man God is calling him to be
* the nurses and staff at Georgetown University Hospital who cared so beautifully for me and my daughter, never once giving up.
* a group of writer's who made me cry and then cry again in grateful praise for their love and gratitude
* my friend Sharon who told me to breathe, then do it again for three days straight
* margarita's and at a time
* words that move people to action
* silent prayers that lift 
* a church community that loves with abandon 
* my mother who has taught me everything there is to know about family commitment, empathy, compassion and unconditional love. I am blessed beyond measure to be your daughter Mom.
* Courtney's smile 
* her excited yelp when dinner is about to be served
* Courtney's laughter and genuine joy for the simple things
* my friend Christine who is a ray of sunshine no matter how many clouds are in the sky
* my friend Maria who steadfastly answers God's call in her daily life, even when she wants to be somewhere else completely, she stays and loves...
* my friend Q who TRUSTS God with everything in his life...and I mean EVERYTHING! He teaches me what "to walk in faith" really means. 
* grilled meat and veggies and the man who made them
* Jerry at the Society of Military Historians Convention - pure bliss- for him...

mother and son...God is good...
* a movie on a Sunday after noon with my son, just us, lots of laughter.
* Noah's smile on his First Communion day
* Lilo the dog and her sweet temperament
* watching a dear friends daughter graduate and meet her exciting future
* nap time on a rainy Monday
* scripture that leaps from the page and actually makes sense
* that God cares enough to scream at me
* my life and all the insanity I create in it - may to always lead me to HIM!

Head on over to Ann Voskamp @A Holy Experience to be inspired once more