Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Sweetappe-Clarke Family

I am a rose of Sharon, a lily of the valleys.
As a lily among thorns, so is my love among the daughters.
As an apple-tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among the sons. Under its shadow I delighted to sit, and its fruit was sweet to my taste.
He hath brought me to the banqueting-house, and his banner over me is love.
Stay ye me with dainties, refresh me with apples; for I am love-sick.'
Let his left hand be under my head, and his right hand embrace me.
I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, by the gazelles, and by the hinds of the field, that ye awaken not, nor stir up love, until it please.'
Hark! my beloved! behold, he cometh, leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills.
My beloved is like a gazelle or a young hart; behold, he standeth behind our wall, he looketh in through the windows, he peereth through the lattice.
My beloved spoke, and said unto me: 'Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.
For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone;
The flowers appear on the earth; the time of singing is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land;
The fig-tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines in blossom give forth their fragrance. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.
O my dove, that art in the clefts of the rock, in the covert of the cliff, let me see thy countenance, let me hear thy voice; for sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance is comely.' טake us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vineyards; for our vineyards are in blossom.'
My beloved is mine, and I am his, that feedeth among the lilies.
Until the day breathe, and the shadows flee away, turn, my beloved, and be thou like a gazelle or a young hart upon the mountains of spices.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Laugh at the days to come....

She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. Proverbs 31:25 NIV

Today I am praying that God allow me to have the vision to be able to "laugh at the days to come". Right now to be honest the days to come look like a nightmare, they are uncertain, they may be painful. It is so difficult for me to allow God to comfort me when times get tough. Work, family, school everything is up in the air right now. Nothing feels secure or stable. God, please allow your peace to wash over me. Let me rest in the promise of who you are and the good you are working in me. Father, you are enough, though I am not.
I leave my worry, anxiety, children, relationships, struggles with you. Today is your day, the day you have made for me and it WILL be good.

Monday, August 3, 2009

August winds....

My children are not typical or "normal". We often get neighbors concerned looks as we walk by, they are loud, full of energy and spirit. Both my daughter and son are on the autism spectrum. Everyday is both a challenge and a joy. I am so thankful that our new home and the space to run and play has made a huge impact on them. They are happy, making friends and living with such joy. It really makes my heart soar. Every day I try to make a special memory for them, but in doing so they make unforgettable memories for me. God blesses me each day by my children, they are my angels. Wishing you a day of memories and fun with your family!

My "Word" for the day:
Never let loyalty and kindness leave you!...
Write them deep within your heart.
Then you will find favor with both God and people,
and you will earn a good reputation.
~ Proverbs 3:3-4 NLT

Childhood's days pass all too quickly,
Happy memories all too few;
Plan to do that special something,
Take the time to go or do.
Make a memory with your children,
Take the time in busy days;
Have some fun while they are growing,
Show your love in gentle ways.
~ Elaine Hardt

Sunday, August 2, 2009

"Faith is the refusal to panic."

So, I guess I've been in the midst of a Faith crisis. Maybe I am always in the midst of a crisis of faith? I feel like the past two years have been the desert of my life. I've been walking in circles trying to figure out what God is doing. I'm usually not one to whine about my life but girlfriend things have been ROUGH! Just trying to keep my kids happy, healthy, safe is enough to bring me to my knees these days. These are the things that I am realizing. Not because I want to but because God is revealing to me these things... in a painful and difficult way sometimes.

#1 I am in love with Seth.
I fear for all my fighting it, (Ask Seth, I have fought it) I am totally and completely Seth's. He is exactly what I never thought I wanted. He is sensitive, gentle, loving, tender. Not at all what I have ever been attracted to but what God always wanted for me. Coming to the conclusion that God knew me better then I did is both a good thing and something that causes me to want to hit my head against my desk repeatedly. Why oh why does it take me so long to learn the hard lessons of life? Trust me Josie, says God and I say...but, God... and I wonder why it takes me so long to get where God wants me to be?! Seth is my best friend, has been my best friend, sometimes even my only friend. Finally, when I stop begging for love it shows up in the shape of a friend I've had for 8 years. Thank God for the blessing that is Seth. I'll really try not to mess this up.

#2 I have a problem with Anxiety.
I am meditating on this scripture for help. Proverbs 12:25 says Anxiety is the heart of man causes depression, But a good word makes it glad. My good word is the bible. I am making a promise to myself and God to read my bible daily no mater what. I will not let the things of this world make me anxious. I shall not complain about my circumstances. Griping and complaining ultimately reveal my lack of faith. God has not forgotten me, he knows what he is doing. I shall not let these thoughts out of my mouth or even entertain them in my head. "Internal conversation expresses discontent and dissatisfaction with the present." (Psalms 42:5)

#3 I have serious control issues.
I will with great faith move forward with God's leading and control over my life. I am done trying to control. I have a tiny control issue when it comes to my life. If you know me, you know this. I can't control everything and every one's feelings, I've tried. I can at this point only do my best to glorify God in everything I do. I am a very transparent person. I will be the first one to say that I have made some very big, very stupid mistakes but usually it was because I didn't want to follow God's plan for my life rather be in the drivers seat and let God tag along. Maybe it is my quick approaching 30 or maybe it is just the building number of mistakes I have made but I am giving up control. God use me. 1 Chronicles 4:9

Maybe you are dealing with your purpose, or control or maybe just struggling with anxiety? Be bold in your prayers to God for his guidance and discernment. He alone can free you. He has started a good work in you, He will finish that good work.

Be glad for all God is planning for you. Be patient... and prayerful always. Romans 12:12 TLB

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Moving on Up!

Here it is..... (drumroll please)
new house

We are starting to pack and we should be all moved in by the end of the month!
Ruby is so excited to have a pink room and Ryan is happy to be so close to Grandma and Papa. I'm so thankful that God provided us with a safe place to live where I know the kids will be happy. Thanks to everyone who have been praying for us!

"I'm sticking with God. I say it over and over again- He's all I've got left. He proves to be good to me and to all who passionately wait and diligently seek Him. It's a good thing to quietly hope for help from God.
- Lamentations 3:24-26 (The Message)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

When the going gets tough...

the tough go back to bed?
When it rains it pours... and the roof and ceiling of your house fall in?
Things are moving in fast forward right now for me and the kids.
We are looking for a new place to live.
You would think that finding a place would be easy but it isn't.
Please pray for us and we find a new home to live in and move.
I know that God is working to provide us with health and safety with this move something that we need right now.
Until that day I'm thankful for tarps that keep us dry.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Sister You've Got it All!

Wow, I guess I fell off the planet for a bit. Didn't I? It wasn't that I didn't have anything to say. I think just too much to say and unable to make anyone really be able to understand it. Well, God told me to blog it today. He said girl speak, some people need to hear this. The past year has been a roller coaster of faith for me. I knew as I was driving to Steve's childhood home after I had just got a text message that Jessie had found mom dead that life was feeling very unstable and unfamiliar and I better hold on tight. We went into shock and it just didn't go away. Steve shut down. We couldn't bear the pain and the loss.

Just a few weeks after Mom Sweetapple died Ryan's preschool teacher informed me that she thought Ryan was autistic or at least showing autistic characteristics. We took Ryan in for testing and low and behold not only Ryan but Ruby was also showing signs. Impossible. Then, even more shock. Steve is tested and he is also diagnosed Autistic among other things. So, in just two months we lost Mom Sweetapple and I gained a household full of Autism. Then December hits and I lost my grandma Creech (my dad's mother). It was again hard but less a shock. I talked to her about Jesus and held her hand as I believe he took her to be with him. I sang "Amazing Grace" and "White Christmas" at the funeral and thanked God for the gift of his son Jesus in a manger in the same week.

Months went by as I tried to educate myself on Autism, get the right diet, find the right specialist, yet nothing made the impact that I prayed for. Steve became more angry, frustrated, retreated in his own world. I tried everything I knew to pull him back. The grief was overwhelming most days for all of us. During the summer I started to get sick and weak. So weak sometimes that I couldn't do much more then get out of bed. I decided to had to see a doctor. It was becoming obvious something was really, really wrong. I couldn't really ignore it anymore. Whispers and concerns of possible cancer, leukemia, blood disorders, bone marrow transplants started swirling in my head. I was almost too weak to pray. I was tangled in fear. I started getting infusions because my blood count and hemoglobin were scary low. Three times a week I went to a hematologist oncologist to get infusions.
Then September came and Steve had a pretty bad car accident. It seemed like things got much worse. I'm not even sure anymore it was an accident. I continued to pray. God had to so something big.

The leaves started to change with Fall and then God called home my maternal grandmother. "Grammy". Again I sang. This time "On Eagles Wings", her favorite. We buried her on Halloween. Again I couldn't cry. Grammy was strong. I knew where Grammy would rest eternally. No tears were necessary. I was becoming numb to the loss.
In November my veins were starting to take a toll from all the needles and poking. My levels were still low so I got a medical port put into my chest to flow directly into my heart to make it easier to have the infusions.
I was assigned a wonderful nurse named Mary who would come to my house and help me do treatments. Thank God for her. She has been a continued blessing. Steve was so distant at this point that he couldn't take care of me after the surgery. I am pretty sure that is the point where my heart started breaking. What was God doing? When was he going to show up? How?
As I started to feel better from the frequent treatments I decided that I would fix everything at Christmas. I was going to get my kids and Steve everything they ever wanted and they would be so happy that everything would just be back to "normal". Ok, well whatever normal was.
Well, in playing God/Santa I failed. Can you believe that? Neither my husband or my kids had the miracle I thought I could make happen or force. If possible it made things worse.
In January Steve and I were somewhat forced to separated. The details of how are not really important to the story. But, now things seem to be getting better for him. I think life, being my husband, working, my business, the kids were just all to much for an Autistic man dealing with finding out he is in fact Autistic and living with loss and grief.

I'm in a place I never thought I'd be again. Still trying to raise my kids, still trying to inspire, create, love, dance. I've given everything to God once again. I do mean everything. I don't have the answers. I don't know everything. I can't fix everything. I can't make everyone happy. Only he can mend the pieces of this brokenness. Only he can be the artist to take all this mess and turn it into a masterpiece.
One thing I know for sure, God is speaking and I am listening. I couldn't see him then but now looking back I can see the faith in between the grief and loss and sickness. It wasn't me holding it together. It was him holding me together. How many times could I have fallen apart? Crumbled? But, somehow I'm stronger. He is making me stronger!

I don't know if there is any hope for my marriage with Steve. That is up to God. But, I do know that God will always be with us, with me. He is the bridegroom and I am truly his bride.
I will never, ever again doubt a loving and awesome God. I pray that my relationship with him and with others is His work, His love, His purpose. He is my all in all.
I hope this blog that I just wrote gives you hope for your life. I hope it shows you God working in all things in every moment, every breath of your life. Don't for a second forget him. Don't for a moment let this life and this world rob you of the beautiful truth. It is written. And, if for a moment you do happen to forget, then close your eyes and ask him to remind you. He will. He has for me.
Happy and Blessed Lent, (count your blessings)
In his love and peace,

Lord, help me not to fear, for You are with me; I need not be dismayed, for You are my God. You will strengthen me and help me; You will uphold me with Your righteous hand. (Isa.41:10)