Thursday, July 24, 2008

Like a Rhinestone Cowgirl...

I am really not a rhinestone kind of girl, but you wouldn't know that by the looks of me these days. Right this moment I have 20 rhinestones glued to my fingernails and toenails. And it's all for Jesus. Let me explain.

For Mother's Day, this past May, Jeff and Bryan gave me a gift certificate to have my nails done. I was pretty excited because this is something I really love to do, but often feel guilty spending the money for it. Anyway, after the certificate was used up, I was in need of a "fill in" (you ladies will know what I mean), so I went to a nail salon that was closer to the house just because. yeah, right. This was a divine appointment.

The girl who worked on my nails that day started a conversation about my family. I shared about Jeff and Bryan, and I told her we were in the process of trying to adopt from Vietnam. She is from Vietnam. Coincidence? I think not. This started a huge discussion about the whole adoption process which finally led to the question "Why would you go to Vietnam to get a baby?". I answered her honestly, "Because we really feel like that's where God wanted us to go. I don't know any other way to explain it". She was stunned, telling me that it was unbelievable that God would tell anyone to go to Vietnam. She then pointed out that she was wearing a buddha necklace. She told me that she and the other ladyd working there worshipped buddha, and she asked me if I believed in him. I said no; she asked why. So, I told her that my God was the One True living God,and that was something she could not say about buddha. She changed the subject, and it was time to go.

For my next visit, I prayed so hard before going in, for God to give me the opportunity to start a new conversation. I was put with another girl named Kelly. To be honest, I was disappointed, but I walked to her station. Much to my surprise, she said "I was hoping you would come back. Tell me more about your God". We had a wonderful conversation about how God loves everyone, no matter what our backgrounds are or even if we love Him back. She asked me about how I talked to Him, and we talked about prayer. Finally, she said "So pray for me", and I told her I would. She said, "Do it now".

So we prayed right there. It was beautiful.

And all the while, I kept telling her to do more things so I could stay longer. I got the pedicure too. Then I agreed to let her paint a flower on my toes. I didn't care. I just wanted more time to talk to her.

For my last visit, she added a design to my fingernails too. All the while we prayed together and talked about what it meant to follow God. She asked me so many questions. She was shocked when I said that God wanted me to be her friend even if she didn't believe in Him. We talked about God's commands to love our enemies, and she asked if I loved her. When I said yes, she asked if I was gay. Seriously.

Today I had another appointment. I was nervous when I went in, wanting the chance to talk some more. She started some small talk, often telling me that "nothing in life is free". When I didn't respond the way she had wanted, she finally said "You are supposed to say that your God is free. I want to talk about His free gift!". She asked what it meant when I had told her that God's love for us is a free gift if we will just take it. She asked how I could "know" someone I couldn't see. She asked me if going to church meant knowing God, and I explained that it was part of it, but not everything. We talked about how you can know about God but not really know Him personally. I explained it like us getting to know our husbands and spending lots of time with them. The more we know, the more we love. And after all these years, we still are learning new things. I even told her that the Bible tells us that our relationship with Christ is like a marriage. She didn't like that one, asking me if I was polygamous :) She was open, honest, reflective and searching for Truth.

As we talked, she got excited, and she told me "Today I will give you something special for your nails". I briefly envisioned tiny buddhas on my hands and feet. But, she gave me flowers made of tiny rhinestones glued together. Yeah, baby. I am blinging. 4 flowers made of 5 rhinestones each = 20 rhinestones.

I feel sort of odd walking around with this much glitter on me. But every time I look at these little flowers, I think of Kelly, and I pray for her. She is searching for Truth. I know the Truth, and it has set me free. I told her today about my salvation experience, and I asked her if she was interested in knowing more. She said yes, but then she also said that her husband would be very angry if she learned more about God, and so would the rest of her family. We stopped talking then. She's my friend, and she was getting scared. I don't want to force her into anything. I want her to know I genuinely care for her.

I can't wait to see what she'll put on me next time! I guess I will be blinging all summer long.

Monday, July 21, 2008


I just wanted to let you all know that Gary passed away early this morning. I just spoke with his wife. She is with her minister making arrangements for his funeral service.

They removed the life support yesterday morning, and Suzie said that although she knew this was coming, she still was not prepared. She kept saying that she had hoped for a miracle here on earth. However, she then pointed out that he got a miracle after all, because he is now with God in heaven.

There is a peace in knowing that he is not suffering anymore. There is a peace in knowing that when he took his last breath here, he was immediately in the presence of God for eternity. As believers in Christ, we have the ability to grieve with hope because this life is not our forever home. There is more yet to come, and it is the best!

Please pray for Suzie as she begins this journey of life without her husband here. Pray for each of their children as well. He leaves behind a legacy of a great big family that loves him dearly, along with many friends as well. I feel honored to have spent time with some of them this past week. I regret that I did not have the chance to know this man before. I have a feeling I missed out on a blessing.

Thanks for your prayers. I know they are felt.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Here is how you can pray

Yesterday I visited with the family of the gentleman I last posted about. As of now, he remains in the ICU in a coma. They were meeting together as a family to decide what to do. Basically they were given the option of having him on a feeding tube and with a trach in a nursing home indefinitely or taking him off of life support. That's a decision no one should have to make. Please pray for the Daniels family. Suzie (his wife) is such a sweet woman and is being so brave and strong. Pray for strength for her in the next several days. I can only imagine her pain. It was an honor to sit and hold her and cry together. I wish I could have known her husband; she only had wonderful things to say about him.

Today, we received some disheartening news. Our adoption agency sent us an email telling us it was "highly unlikely" that we would get our referral in time to bring Ellie home. I cannot begin to tell you how hard that was to read! But let me say this: we are not giving up. We are leaving our dossier in Vietnam until the last possible minute, expecting God to answer our prayers for our little girl. He may choose not to, we know. As I have said before, if that happens, He is still God, and we will still praise him.

Your prayers are vital to us. They strengthen us and encourage us, and well... we could use that right about now.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Live life to the fullest

I am a firm believer that there are no coincidences. I believe that things happen for a reason. I also believe that sometimes we never know what the reason may be... at least for a long time. Sometimes I think God just chooses to put us somewhere to be used, and we have to trust the He sees the big picture. I had one of those kinds of situations this weekend.

Saturday morning, I took Bryan to the church for a hike with the youth group. On my way home, I was the first to come upon a three car accident that had just happened (well, at least the first to stop). Honestly, I stopped because I saw a guy holding a little girl on the side of the road and crying. I rolled down the window and asked if everyone was okay. He said "Everyone in our car is, but I am not sure about him. He hasn't gotten out yet" and pointed to a truck that was nose down in a ditch and smoking horribly.

I parked the truck and got out to take a look. I couldn't get to the driver's door at all, since there was a deep trench underneath it. I went around to the passenger's side and had to crawl through the window to get to the guy. He was bleeding from the mouth profusely, and more importantly, he was not responding at all. No pulse. No breathing. No life. The man was dead.

I am not going to go into all the details of what happened. Suffice it to say that it was the most horrifying thing I have seen, and I was scared to death. I don't know how I remained calm at the time other than to say it was God. I did chest compressions for him as best I could with him sitting up (there was no way to move him at all until all the rescue squad got there because of the position of the truck). Once EMS got there, I was able to assist them and helped with the breathing via the ambu bag. In the end, we finally got him out and into the ambulance where they did CPR for about 20 minutes before taking him to the hospital. From there, he was transferred to UK hospital and is now in the trauma ICU in a coma.

Scripture says " For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, authorities and powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realm" (Eph. 6:12) I feel that. Ever since Saturday, I have battled the "evil" that has spoken to me "you should have done more Holly. You should have breathed for him". I didn't breathe for him before EMS arrived. I admit that I was scared. I saw the blood, and I was scared. I know that's how I am trained; I have to use precaution. But then I hear "you should have had a barrier with you, then he would be okay". The truth is that we will never know if that man would be okay or not if I had breathed for him as soon as I got into his truck. Today in my prayer time, I just confessed to God that I wished I had been able to do more; I want that man to be able to walk out of that hospital and live an abundant life. That may never happen, I know.

All of these thoughts bring me to this conclusion: we have to live with an eternal perspective. I've said it here before, but never have I been more aware of it than now. We are not guaranteed another minute. Make the most of the here and now. Live with your heart focused on the prize of our forever Home with the Lord. Take in each moment. Love your family without hesitation. Love your neighbor as yourself. Live with purpose. I know I am.