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Entries in Husband (6)

Friday
May082009

Longing for my children...

Have you ever longed for children? I have. I never, ever imagined NOT having children. I don't wish that kind of longing, waiting, hoping, trying on anyone. When Tom and I got our minds around the fact that we wouldn't be able to have our own babies, we turned to adoption. The problem was that abortion had been legalized and so putting your baby up for adoption no longer the first option for so many. In those days, the waiting list for a baby was 6 years AND if one of you turned 40 during that 6 year period, you could not get on a list. Since Tom and I couldn't get on "the list" we fixed our minds on private adoption. That meant telling everyone you knew to tell everyone they knew that Tom and Sally Hall wanted to adopt a baby!

One April day, our pastor got a call from another pastor and it seemed there was a young Christian couple, from Christian families who had made a mistake and were looking for a Christian home for their baby. OH, what a glorious day that was! Our dream of having children was going to come true and we would not have to suffer one more day of that longing, emptiness and shame....yes shame. The months that followed were filled with anticipation. Me, I give myself totally over to everything. Tom, bless his heart, tried to hold me back for my own good! He kept encouraging me not to decorate the baby's room and buy furniture because "anything could happen." Well, of course nothing was going to happen. This was a dream come true and life just couldn't be that cruel. Somewhere during the social services home study that had to be done, contacting of attorneys and all the other preparations necessary for adoption, we began to think of the baby as a girl. In fact - against Tom's better judgment - we named her....Hannah Jo. Well, from that moment on, I began to visualize Hannah' Jo's life and our life with Hannah Jo. About a month before she was to arrive, of course I broke down and bought her some clothes. I mean if she came early we'd have to have clothing for her and for the plane ride bringing her home! And, she would need a bed. Shortly after the few cute outfits were purchased and the bed ordered, we found out that the young couple didn't think they wanted to put their baby up for adoption anymore. But, there is always hope and until there is no hope.... The day that Hannah Jo was born all hope ended.

We looked into other options but it was all so painful. So, we put this dream in the hand of our God believing that if He wanted us to have a baby He could bring us a baby. The years that followed were difficult. It's not easy when your dreams are shattered. It is painful to have a mothers heart that longs for the children she will never have. Mother's Day was always especially painful and it is extremely awkward when all the mothers are asked to stand. Sometimes it would hurt so bad it would literally take my breath away.

Precept Ministries International plays a huge role in my healing. Because of this ministry, I learned how to study the Word of God for myself. And, in learning how to study the Word of God for myself, I developed a deep and intimate relationship with the God of the Word. I can know and understand God's heart. Isn't that amazing? And, I know God's heart for ME. So as feelings come, sadness creeps in, the lies of the enemy bombard - I can take up the truths of God's Word and use them to encourage and remind myself, and do battle with the enemy. It is a miracle of God that Mother's Day no longer bothers me and that most of the time Hannah Jo's birthday comes and goes and I don't even remember it!

A few years back several of the teens in my church were graduating and I attended. It was awesome to watch these teens. But, as I sat there my spirit became downcast within me and I began asking the Lord why - what was wrong with me. The Lord brought to my mind that Hannah Jo was somewhere graduating too. I sat there a little stunned. By the time I got home, I was really sad. The next morning, I got up and was talking to the Lord about it all. The one thing I just couldn't figure out was where all the emotion was coming from as I thought God had healed me. I remember saying to the Lord "I thought we were past this!" That day the Lord revealed SO much to me. I learned that you can be healed and yet still mourn the loss of something. You see, I guess I thought that if you were healed of something it meant you never got sad about it. SO not true! As I stood in my kitchen that morning this is how my conversation with the Lord went....

Okay Lord, so we couldn't' have our own children but - adoption! Surely there was one baby on the face of the earth that we could have adopted. We just wanted to adopt.


I heard the Lord speak into my heart
"I know Sally, I have children I want to adopt too."
No longer did the pain take my breath away but the realization that God had just shared His heart with me took my breath away. As much as a human could, I understood the longing of God's heart. Yes! He does have children He wants to adopt into His family and His longing to do so is INTENSE. So intense, He sacrificed His Son - His one and only Son in order to adopt children. Truthfully - that's hard to get my mind around.

The day that God shared His heart with me became the day I realized on a much deeper level the importance and privilege I had of being a spiritual mother. To help God adopt children into His family and be used by God to grow up His children spiritually. WOW! This intense longing I have in my heart for the people God puts within my reach is from Him. He has given me a mother's heart for them and I am so grateful! I long and ache for them, I'm willing to fight for them - I'll do whatever it takes for them to possess what they have in Christ and to know experientially their Creator as Father.

While I truly believe I have experienced the longings of a mothers heart toward her children, I've not known what it was like to receive the love of a child. Until recently - this past January actually. During the past few years, I've had the joy of working for God together with 3 very precious women. I've loved them as spiritual daughters. I can't really tell you that I've done all that much spiritual mothering because I think I learned far more from them than they learned from me. But, God did give me opportunity to come along side of them, cheer them on and I believe the ability to see in them what He sees in them. On a special night in January, they loved on me. And, I felt something I have never felt. It was different than receiving the love of a husband, a parent, a sister or family member. The love they showered upon me reached some place in my heart that had never been reached. Is this what it feels like to receive the love of a child? God is amazing!

Do you know what it does to the heart of God when we love on Him? Do you know that we touch places in the heart of the Almighty that only you and I can touch. No one else can take that place in God's heart that is reserved for me and for you. All the children in all the world cannot fill that place. It doesn't mean that God loves me more or you less. It just means that each and every one of us has this special place in the very heart of God. God longs for you and God longs for me. I believe God expresses His heart so beautifully in Isaiah 30:18 when He's talking to His children. They are not just words but God's very heart! He says he longs and waits for us. Pause and think about that! Oh, I want to bless the very heart of God today by showering Him with my love. I want to touch the places in God's heart that only I can touch. Amazing....truly amazing.

Therefore the Lord longs to be gracious to you, And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you. For the Lord is a God of justice; How blessed are all those who long for Him. Isaiah 30:18

Sunday
Dec212008

Tom's home!

Tom left Chattanooga last Thursday morning and arrived here in time for dinner that evening! As a token of my love and "welcome home honey," I made his favorite comfort foods: meatloaf and his mom's recipe for macaroni & cheese.

It has been wonderful having Tom close. Friday it snowed all day and he worked from the office here at home. Normally his talking on the phone and "doing business from home" would be a huge distraction for me in my own work, but sharing the space with him on Friday was wonderful! Even though we had to go in separate cars this morning because he was teaching the new comers class during third service, it was wonderful sitting together in church, singing together and listening to the word of God together! He came home with a bad cold and cough but even these sounds (especially at night) don't bother me. They are a wonderful reminder that he's here - next to me. Yes, absence has made the heart grow fonder!

I thank God for Tom and these moments we have together. God has given to me the awesome privilege of being Tom's wife. God has declared me Tom's helper suitable. WOW! I acknowledge that only God knows how I can be a help and only God can give me the ability to be a helper. Amen? But, I am so grateful for the opportunity to try and keep trying! I've learned so much from Tom. God has gifted him with leadership skills and abilities and with a deep and genuine love for people. It's a beautiful thing to watch! This makes the times we are apart a little easier because I know he's doing what God has created him to do and he's doing it for God's glory. For almost 7 years, I prayed that God would (1) Put Tom in a place where he could wake up every morning knowing that he was created for that moment. That, with every fiber of his being, he would understand that God had used all of his life experiences to bring him to that very moment and that God had created him to accomplish the work set before him; (2) Find male friends who loved God's Word, were passionate and committed to the study of God's Word and who would challenge him in his faith and hold him accountable; and (3) Be given more time to study the Word of God inductively.

Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine God would call him to Precept Ministries - the inductive Bible study people. Honestly, how can I even take credit for the prayers prayed? God surely put them on my heart knowing what He was going to do. Tom's loving his new job. And this, blesses my heart. It will also warm my heart while we are apart during the winter days to come.

Thank you God for Tom. Fill him to the fullness of You! Strengthen, empower and enable him to further Your kingdom. Continue to give him a passion and a hunger for your Word, a love for your people, and a willingness to lead forward for Your great name sake and glory- no matter what. All glory, honor and praise to You. In Jesus Name - Amen!

Saturday
Nov222008

Feelings

For so many years, what I felt became my truth. I don't know if that makes sense or not, but if I felt alone then that became the truth I believed. Believing I was alone impacted how I acted or behaved. Since my husband's job required that he do a lot of traveling (309 days the first year of our marriage) and because I have lived hundreds of miles from my family for most of my marriage, I have felt alone - A LOT. Feeling alone has caused me to cry and feel sorry for myself. Because I didn't like being alone (and it's always about me), I would feel frustrated, anxious and eventually angry at my husband for leaving me alone so much. Feelings of anger would cause me to try to manipulate him, other people or situations. I would take up hobbies, bad habits and the pursue the things of the world just so I didn't have to feel so lonely and worthless. Yes, worthless. You see, being left alone a lot must have meant I was worthless, unlovable, and so on. I also felt forgotten and abandoned by God. Yep, what I felt became my truth.

While my husband is flying in today (hallelujah), he'll be leaving after Thanksgiving and I won't see him again until Christmas. I miss him! And, having him gone just brings up all those old feelings. Here I am all alone again. There he goes starting a new adventure again - without me (we've moved 6 times and he's always gone ahead). Today, I'm also struggling with some new feelings. But you know what? I can actually take up the WORD of God - which is absolute TRUTH and use it to sort through my feelings. It's awesome and I am so grateful to God for this change in me.

The TRUTH is certainly not what I feel. In fact, rarely does what I feel even line up with the word of God. Amen? The Word of God is absolute truth. What God says is MY reality even if it flies in the face of what I feel and can see.

Right here, right now - I am exactly where God wants me and my husband to be. The economy doesn't surprise God. Our being separated doesn't surprise God. God knows exactly when (of if) our house will sell. God even knows when we'll move and where we will live next. Isn't that amazing? Isn't God awesome? He is in control and to that I shout glory be to God and hallelujah! The truth is: This is the day which the Lord has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24

Tuesday
Nov042008

For you have not passed this way before

This past Sunday, I wrote my husband the following letter and I asked him to read it this morning - after he got into his car to begin his drive to Chattanooga, TN.

Dear Tom:
As the waistband clings to the waist of a man, so God made you to cling to HIM that you might be for Him a man for His renown, praise, and glory.
So, as you embark on this great work for the Lord, I pray you will cling to God and guard your love for the Lord above all else. As God sent Joshua into the promise land to take possession of all God would give to him and to God’s people, He knew that Joshua had never done anything like that before and God would require Joshua to be totally dependent upon Him. In fact, it would require that Joshua cling to God. Joshua would need to listen, obey and be very careful “to do.” I believe the instructions given to Joshua relate to you, your calling and the days ahead. So I pray them for you and pray that these truths give you direction, strength and confidence. I have personalized the following verses and included a few key Hebrew definitions! They are from Joshua 1, 3 and 22.

> Arise and go...I have called you. No man will be able to stand against you. Just as I was with Moses (and Joshua) I will be with you and will not fail (slacken my grip on you) or forsake (loosen, relinquish) you. Be strong (to be bound fast; attached to) and courageous (alert physically, mentally) for you shall accomplish this work. Only be strong (to be bound fast; attached to) and VERY courageous (alert physically, mentally); be careful to do according to all the law...do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success (the process of thinking through a complex arrangement of thoughts resulting in wise dealings and use of good practical common sense) wherever you go. This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous (bring success) and then you will have success (the process of thinking through a complex arrangement of thoughts resulting in wise dealings and use of good practical common sense).
> Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble (dread, fear, break, be terrified) or be dismayed (shattered, broken, fall apart) for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go....go possess the ministry which the Lord your God is giving you to possess it. (1:5-9)
> ....for you have not passed this way before (3:4)
> Consecrate yourself (set yourself apart for this holy work), for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you." (3:5)
> ...but you are to cling to the Lord (22:8)
> ...take diligent heed to yourself to love the Lord your God (23:11)

I love you with all of my heart.

Monday
Nov032008

Betwixt and Between

I love watching the Olympics and this year I especially enjoyed the relay races. God has brought those images to mind several times during these last few weeks. As Founder and President of Truth for Women (http://www.truthforwomen.org/), I had the precious joy and privilege of running the first leg of the race. Several weeks ago, my race came to an end and it was time to pass the baton. It was seized passionately and successfully and off "my girls" Jessie and Kim went. As happens in a relay race, their pace increased and mine slowed. Now, I am standing and watching them take off without me. I am filled with excitement for them, I am cheering them on in their race, and I am left wondering what I am suppose to do next.

Tomorrow my husband leaves to drive to Chattanooga, TN to begin his new adventure with the Lord as the Executive Director of Precept Ministries. Tomorrow morning, I will stand and watch him drive off. I am and will be filled with excitement for him and cheer him on in his new adventure. And, I will be left wondering what I am suppose to do next.

It's called betwixt and between. Sure, absolutely - there is a ton of stuff to do while betwixt and between. All important and necessary stuff like show and sell the house, clean out all the "accumulation," get medical records, pack up the belongings, and so on. But today as I stand in this betwixt and between place and I think of watching my husband take off without me and I see "my girls" taking off without me, old feelings and new feelings come flooding into my mind. And, I ask myself: How often have I been overwhelmed by the flood of feelings produced by the ups and downs of life? My answer: Too often!

For so many years, what I felt was my truth. Today, I understand that if what I feel does not line up with the truth from the Word of God then it's a lie straight from the pit of hell designed to discourage, destroy and/or rob me of living in the center of God's will for my life right here, right now - even in the midst of the betwixt and between. I cannot deny my feelings but I can put them into perspective - God's perspective. So, I can choose to TAKE UP the Word of God and USE it to "fight these feelings!" Will I?

Your testimonies also are my delight;
They are my counselors. Psalm 119:24