Tuesday, May 30, 2017

A hope and a future

Declan Fisher,

I can't believe it's already been a year!  But at the same time I can't even remember a life without you in it. 

We all know what a miracle you are. The story's been told far and wide.... your momma was not supposed to be able to have babies... losing your sibling just a few months prior gutted her and left her battered... then came you.  Beautiful,  smart,  PERFECT you! 

You are the answer to her tearful prayers. You fill her arms and her heart. But dear Declan you are a miracle to me too.

See this last year life has been TERRIBLE, more painful than any other I've endured. Hope has been HARD to find. Miracles have not yet come. So often this past 12 months I have been at the depths of despair and there has been you.  Your baby soft sweetness... your blond newness... This past year,  I would feel hopelessness CRUSHING my soul, and then I would remember your momma sobbing, from the depths of her soul ACHING because she would never know what it felt like to be a mom. And now here. you. are. Miraculously,  amazingly,  incredibly you.  are.  here.  When you shouldn't have been.... when doctors said you couldn't have been... YOU. ARE. HERE. and at the depths of my worst pain I would think.... God did this.  God brought Declan to Cori. He can take care of my heart break too.

Declan Fisher... you are so much more than a baby.  You are so much more than my sister's full arms.  You are hope.  You are possibilities.  You are dreams come true.  You are a FUTURE. 

Thank you for keeping me afloat this past year, Declan.  I love you dearly!

Happy birthday! 
Auntie Jami

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord , plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Jeremiah 29:11

Monday, May 29, 2017

Know Him and make Him known

A few months ago I claimed this as my family's Mission statement:

Know Him and make Him known

I think from before we even started a family, from before we were even a couple this was my goal for life. But a few months ago, I consciously claimed it to my children and John. This is our official mission statement. These are our only goals in this life:

*know Jesus
*make Jesus known

All my life choices... all my decisions... I want them to filter back to this....

But sometimes life just doesn't LOOK like what you thought it would look like. Sometimes the pieces are scattered all over the floor and they make no discernible image. Sometimes words like cancer, and guilty, and unfaithful shatter the image we have of what our life was going to be like. I've been there. In fact for about a year and a half now, my tent's been pitched there. In this wilderness... where I keep looking around thinking THIS is MY life?!?!? How can that BE??? Even though the Bible constantly disproves this notion, somehow I keep thinking if you love God, if you follow His decrees, if you dedicate your life to serving Him and doing His will then things should go your way. But they don't always.  And in fact often in Scripture I see the opposite... for Joseph... for Job... for Jesus!

Recently in one of the particularly dark shadows of this valley we're in, I stopped... I looked around at the UGLY filth and thought how can this awful landscape be my life. Then right there, midthought the Holy Spirit spoke to me. And I looked around again at the ugly... the waste... the broken parts... and I thought, here, at the bottom of this outhouse pit do I know Him? YES! Possibly more intimately than ever before. Am I making Him known? YES! Over and over... blow after blow... sitting here on this hardly inhabited island waiting for the Lord to send a search plane to rescue us... I am SCREAMING my belief that eventually HE will have HIS way. No matter how dark and desolate this gets, I will NOT stop saying HIS WILL BE DONE. So yes... this IS my life. The ugly... the broken... the awful.... if those things are making me know Him and I'm making Him known... it's. my. life.

I realized life's ick... Satan's attacks... these potholes along the way.... they don't matter.... what matters is that my mission statement stays true:  know Him and make Him known.

The things that happen along your road to Heaven are not what's important.  Don't let them define you! It's your mission.  It's your journey. Those are the things that matter.

I want to know Christ....
Philippians 3:10

Thursday, May 18, 2017

The Glad game

With Declan toddling toward the basement stairs,  I shouted,  "Is the door open?!?!" The second I heard the answer, "Yes!" I was off the couch, bounding towards him.  With him just steps away from the opening to the basement, I caught him as BLINDING PAIN shot through my body. I didn't really even see the piano bench I had leapt over, but my heel sure found it. My foot came up underneath the bench, and I kicked the edge with the back of my heel and ruptured my achilles tendon. I'm a hero! I saved a baby from falling down the stairs! But now I need surgery to repair my achilles tendon.

It's been a rollercoaster since that fateful Monday night.  Tuesday I was in so much pain I cried most of the afternoon. Yesterday, I was on an endorphin high because I kept thinking, "He could have REALLY been hurt! And I stopped him!" Today I've been teetering on the edge of depressed discouragement.  As if we don't already have enough trials we're trying to withstand over here! Won't we make a pretty picture me scooting in on a knee walker to John's upcoming kidney surgery. #gimmeabreak

It was in the midst of REALLY starting to feel sorry for myself that I remembered the Glad Game. You know from Pollyanna. She wanted a doll so bad but instead got little crutches. Her dad taught her that in every situation you can find something to be glad about.  They were glad that Pollyanna didn't need those crutches.  Thus began the Glad Game.

So tonight instead of wallowing in my sorrows I'm going to play the Glad Game.

I'm glad that:
*Declan Fisher O'Brien didn't fall down a flight of stairs.
*We have great health insurance.
*I love the doctor we found.
*Not only will my doctor repair my ruptured tendon, but he'll remove this deformity thing on  my heel that has given me two decades worth of tendonitis.
*My bosses are SO supportive.
*My job is very flexible.
*Because I work-at-home, I will be out of work less than 2 days.
*Because I am such a taskmaster my children are fully capable of running this house in my absence.
*John takes such great care of me.
*My office, my bed and a full bathroom are all on the same level.
*(and what you all kept telling me when we moved into this dream house) our house is only two blocks from the hospital!

So surgery bright and early Monday a.m. I'm not gonna lie I'm pretty terrified.... about going under anesthesia and having to give myself shots after surgery... but hey there's that Glad Game again.... I'm glad I have so much pain in my foot and a ton of horrible drama going on in my personal life to distract me from those fears. 

Did I do that??

Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 

Wednesday, May 10, 2017


Today it hit me.... maybe all the prosperity people are right... see I've long had a problem with those who preach the message that "God wants you to prosper!" Because that's not what I read in my Bible... that's not what I've seen working it's way out in my life or the life of my friends... but today I thought maybe those people are RIGHT.  Not about the prospering part but at least about the positivity behind it. 

Let me back it up a bit in case I lost you.... the very first time I had a mammogram I had to go back for additional tests to rule out something nefarious. I remember the fear in the pit of my belly... I remember trying to convince myself, "God's got this." But I remember STRUGGLING too because see I know that sometimes children get cancer, sometimes daddy's don't come home,  sometimes it doesn't all work out like a fairy tale,  and those times God is STILL in control.

So now fast forward back to where I was before.... today I was driving down the road and it HIT me... like a Mack Truck crashing into a VW bug... what if they're RIGHT.... What if believing God is gonna heal you,  rescue you,  provide for you is what it is really about... then it doesn't matter if the rescue EVER COMES.... What matters is you NEVER gave up hope... cuz the ONLY thing we can do in the face of a hurricane ripping through our lives is TRUST in the only One who controls the outcome.

See the outcome isn't ours to do.... what got us here can't be undone.... how we'll deal with a... b... or c... not the question.  What's ours... the ONLY thing God calls us to... often the only thing we CAN do.... is BELIEVE.

So maybe these prosperity people who tout this God WANTS you to live in health and wealth mantra... maybe they have actually got it RIGHT.  Because they refuse to entertain any other possible outcome but one where God REIGNS in the end.

Just a lil food for thought....

The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him;
Lamentations 3:25

Saturday, May 6, 2017


Last night John and I watched the movie Lone Survivor. I'm not sure I can in good conscience reccomend the movie.  It's quite brutal.... the gore of war... the LANGUAGE of soldiers... most of all the TERROR that one day that could be MY military-loving boy doing that.  It was pretty intense!  I feel like my ears need to be washed out with soap after all those cuss words, and I stopped the movie at one point to BEG my child NOT to choose that path.  However, that SECULAR, brutal movie had a message for my soul.

I'm pretty sure these aren't going to be spoilers. Heck,  the title of the movie pretty much tells the end,  right?...even if you never heard the story of this group of Navy SEALs...  But just in case,  I'm warning you... this blog will give away parts of the movie.

The mission of this group of SEALs is compromised, and they have a choice before them.  Basically they can choose to do the morally right thing which will be HARD, or they can save their own butts and save their mission by doing the wrong thing.  Their leader chooses the moral high ground with DISASTROUS results. And here's where my sermon began. Sometimes doing the right thing has UNPLEASANT results. Sometimes the moral high ground is rocky and FULL of Taliban soldiers with RPGs. BUT just because you suffer HORRIBLY doesn't make the moral high ground a wrong choice. Right is ALWAYS right, even when it's hard. Sometimes doing the right thing just makes the enemy RAGE against you even harder. But it is ALWAYS good to choose what is RIGHT and even if you lose for choosing it, if you honor God by choosing right you will win in the end.

At one point in the movie all four of these SEALs are wounded.  They have tumbled down not one,  but TWO rocky mountain sides. They've been shot.  One guy was shot in the BACK OF THE HEAD. Another guy had all the fingers on one hand shot off. BUT. THEY. STILL. KEEP. GOING. They NEVER quit. They're trying to reach flat ground so they can more easily fight the enemy. They get separated from one guy, and the Taliban catches him. These men...  battered, bruised, shot, exhausted.... do you know what they do?  They don't turn tail and run. They don't write their guy off and save themselves.  They TURN AROUND and start pushing back UP THE HILL to save their guy.  AMAZING! INCREDIBLE! This goes WAY beyond being a hero.  But yet isn't this what Christ is calling us to EVERY day. Lay down our lives to show Jesus to a dying world in the hopes that we might save just ONE man.

The movie was superbly meaningful to me.  I wept. I learned. I was inspired.  And I just want to say,  "Lord, I will keep choosing right.  No matter how wrong this world thinks I am. I will NEVER stop doing what You are calling me to. No matter how hard Satan rages against me. I will persevere!"

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him.
James 1:12

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Hannah Beth...

I still remember the moment just BEFORE I heard the doctor say, "It's a girl!" In that moment BEFORE,  I heard you cry and tears sprung to my eyes as I thought,  "My baby is here! My baby is healthy enough to cry!" It. Was. The. BEST! Now don't get me wrong,  the moments that have followed have been pretty great too... a girl... oh a GIRL! with all the pink and bows and pom poms I can handle.

On this day as we celebrate you turning 11 years old,  I can hardly figure out where the years have gone! Oh how I long for the days of kissing your curly head while you nursed and picking you up to carry you wherever you needed to go. You are such a big girl now... almost as tall as I am! It makes me sad how fast time is flying. Yet at the same time,  I am IMMENSELY proud of the young woman you are becoming.  Kind and Christlike indeed!

I see my tender heart in the things you do.... when you cry because someone else got hurt... when you give of yourself to help someone else.... and I'm proud and terrified at the same time. Hannah Beth, loving this deeply will hurt you so much.  Caring for others when they snub you and judge you will break your heart.  But Baby Girl, don't you change yourself because of that! Don't stop loving even when you're wrongly accused.  Don't stop being kind when people lie about you.  You keep being like Jesus no matter what life throws at you!

Hannah this may sound harsh,  but I don't really want a life of happiness and ease for you, because I've realized a life of happiness and ease it not what will make you more like Jesus. I want you to have a life that leads you closer and closer to Him each day.  My prayer is that you'll love Him more than you did yesterday, every. single. day.

Thank you for making so many of my dreams come true.  I'm so grateful for all the sparkle you bring to my life. 

Happy 11th Birthday,  Princess! Enjoy your day!

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Proverbs 31:30

Monday, May 1, 2017

Choosing peace...

The question on my heart this morning: Is God is okay with "blocking" or "de-friending" people?

On one hand, He has called us to love the unlovable and shutting ourselves off from people who are difficult kinda defeats the purpose of spreading God's love. But on the other hand, I have had a relationship or two where God has CLEARLY told me, "You are done.  Wash your hands and walk away."

I guess the best answer I have for this is:

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
Romans 12:18

I think that almost all of the time God wants us to embrace the difficult people in our lives.... to reach out in love to those who rub us the wrong way... to live at peace with everyone.  I think once in awhile God may give us permission to let go... to shake the dust off our sandals... to let someone else be Jesus to that person who's hurt us again and again. But I don't think that happens very often. 

I think it's similar to being angry. The Bible says over and over and over again: control your anger. Yet most of us just love to use that ONE time Jesus got angry as our example instead. Because it's easy. It's easy to let our anger fly... its easy to avoid people who hurt us or make us uncomfortable.

I guess if the list of people you are cutting out of your life is longer than a couple you might want to rethink the validity of that choice. I don't think God wants "blocking" people to be our norm.  For me, I think that I'm just gonna keep on trying peace no matter how much it hurts.  Because I don't really care to be pain free, but I desperately WANT to be like Jesus.

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