There are several chapters in Closer Than Your Breath where I talk about parenting. The pain I’ve walked through during the trials and tribulations of my children (their lives and their journey) has been deep and the cause for much consternation about my part in it. I am far from a perfect parent (is there such a thing?). The raw sharing of my experience is only to help others get a real picture of my life and that I’m not kidding when I say I understand the devastation and heartbreak of pain. I recently heard from Beth M. who shared that the book “gave me some insight about myself and my parenting” and that “I have also realized that in some ways I almost idolized my children because I loved them so much. I protected them so much that it’s hard for my daughter now that she is an adult”.
I’ve asked the Lord, as Beth’s daughter is now an adult, to use the words in the book to strengthen her resolve to share life in a different way with her daughter. I pray, too, that they might use what I’ve shared as a spring board to help the two of them grow in their relationship with each other -- and to chart new paths as not just mother and daughter but as friends as well.
Please share your heart with me. I’d like to know if Closer Than Your Breath struck any chords with you.
I am so honored that people have not only taken the time to read Closer Than Your Breath but have also shared with me how the book has encouraged them. It’s my prayer that when people read the words God gave me, they will also find hope in what I’ve shared. Even though I know that it’s 100% God’s faithfulness, it still astounds me that He’s chosen to use me as a mouthpiece to give hope.
I continue to ask Him to use this book to help others find a bright light…the bright Light…in their future. No, actually in their present! Even in the smallest things. I recently heard from Donna whose father has been in the hospital and whose mother is having some health challenges. As she was leaving for the hospital to stay with her daddy, she knew she also had to go to a doctor’s appointment with her mother that day. Feeling a little weak in her physical, emotional, and spiritual strength, she headed for her car early in the morning. “It was dark and as I started to get in my car, there was something that was illuminated in an odd sense. I look down and there’s a penny!!! I thought about your chapter about pennies. I picked it up, said a quick prayer, and I’m trusting God and I have assurance everything is in his hands and control!!”
If you’ve read Closer Than Your Breath, you know that pennies have played a special role in my healing and in the reassurance I’ve needed on my journey. I included a chapter in the book called “A Penny’s Worth of Grace” and the Lord even amazingly gave our pastor a poem by the same name to read at our wedding ceremony and during the renewal of our vows. I’m so thankful that Donna found a connection to that story in her own real life challenges (even if for just one day). It’s my call-out to God that you’ll find something in this book to help you…even if it’s just 60 seconds of hope!
Here’s to God’s richest, deepest, brightest and best blessings on you and yours!
I am so thrilled to let you know that I will have the pleasure of being a guest on Angie Austin's show "The Good News" Wednesday (5/28) at 2pm and again at 5pm (MT). Please listen.
This program was recorded last week and I know you'll love the interaction with Angie--She's just fantastic!
Here are the details:The Good News With Angie Austin
The show airs M-F from 2p-3p on 670am KLTT/Denver
and from 5p-6p on 810am KLVZ/Denver.
Listen on radio, online or on smartphone with the "tune in radio" app www.angieaustinradio.com
810am KLVZ http://www.810klvz.com/
670am KLTT http://www.670kltt.com/
560am KLZ http://www.560thesource.com/
I pray this radio show brings more people hope through Closer Than Your Breath.
Let me know what you think!
An amazing event happened this Memorial Day that reminded me of a couple of chapters in my book, Closer Than Your Breath.
A long-time friend of mine became a grandmother. That’s pretty amazing in and of itself because in my thoughts, she and I both are still of childbearing age!
It’s so exciting to celebrate with this sweet family… there are lots of proud Facebook posts with pictures of the precious new grandson…the one that stood out to me is supposed to be featuring the grand godmother holding the new baby. What caught my eye and my heart, however, is what was going on in the background. Just as this baby was born, so was his mother! His grand entrance birthed her as “mommy”. How amazing is that?
In the pic, Mommy is supposedly just off to the side taking a drink, recovering from childbirth and healing. But there is no doubt, she has her eye on her prize. She is no longer just a daughter or wife or sister or friend. She is now a mother never again to be the same.
I remember my own first days as a new mother. There was a pride in me and a change is me. I instantly became a fierce mother bear in ways I had never known before. And my body knew instantly what to do as well. All of a sudden my breasts were the feeding station, the life-giving sustenance for this precious angel God had given me. Nothing inside of me...or outside as well...has ever been the same. I was ready at any moment to do whatever it took to take care of my little one. My baby had become the most important person in my life. First and foremost, everyone else took a back seat.
In the chapter Closer Than Your Breath, and in another called More Than Your Children, and also in Idol = Idle, one of the best lessons that we can begin to teach our children right out of the womb is that “you, little one, as adorable as you are, and as much as I love you, are not #1 in my life and never will be. In order for me to be a good, healthy mommy for you and in order for me to give you everything you need to the best of my ability, your Heavenly Father will always be ahead of everyone in my life. Even you.”
WOW, that sounds harsh, doesn’t it? It feels totally unnatural. Because what can be more natural, more God-given, than the love for your own child? The Bible lays it out pretty clearly though. Anything that we think about more than Him is quickly on the way to becoming what we worship, what we idolize.
The truth is that you are going to be totally and completely mesmerized by this little person who made you a mommy today. But THE very best thing you can begin to learn right now is to always keep your relationship with your Father God first. You’ll have to work on that because baby boy has probably already captured your heart. It’s easy to see in a new mommy’s eyes from the start. Seek Him first. Keep Him first. It will make you a better mother and him a better man. As wonderful as these present moments are, the future starts now.
The Facebook celebration reminded me of the words the Lord gave me (now in Closer Than Your Breath) warning about idols and reminding us of the great hope He brings when we give all glory to Him. We have plans for our children but it is HE who has the best plans. And He loves them even more than we do!
I think it’s quite interesting, aggravating actually, ok, downright infuriating, that just as I’ve stepped out on the water to give folks HOPE in the writing of Closer Than Your Breath, some pretty severe things have happened. Actually I guess that I should have been surprised if everything had gone along swimmingly. I think it’s a boot camp as such to see if I’m really serious about what I’m doing or if I’ll cave under my own pressure of “life”.
There’s a chapter in the book called The D Words. In it I talk about a conversation that God and I had one night a couple of years ago after one of our daughters left our home to go to her father’s house, a place I didn’t believe to be healthy for her. In my extreme worry as her mother, I had worked myself up into a frenzy and left my trust in God that He has her life in His hands somewhere in the dirt.
In the writing, I give a list of words that start with a D that Satan was using to taunt and traumatize me. When I realized what was happening, I heard God come back with His own list and it was quite astounding as I heard His promises to me.
Life is hard. I’ve got some trials going on in my life that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. When someone you love struggles with addiction, it is one of the most heart-wrenching, terrifying, and exasperating, seemingly never ending (and sometimes truly never ending) experiences of a lifetime. Or several lifetimes. I hate it. It makes me want to spit when I hear people talk about there being nothing wrong with legalizing pot. And I live in Colorado which makes it doubly hard when it’s legal and the stores taunt me as I drive around the city.
This week was especially trying for Doc and me. We found ourselves back in the throes of helping our daughter as she walks a path that I cannot even fathom. It seared me down to the core again. I felt all the fears and anger and complete shock that this disease from the pit of hell had, one more time, reared its demonic head. Of course it had! Just as the Closer Than Your Breath had been released and we have been hearing from people who, in their own pain, have found comfort in the words God has given me for mine…and now yours.
I put on a brave front for several days when I stood with her. In reality though, I have been pretty freaked out, terrified that we were going to lose her. As a human being and as a mother, I have good reason to be. The horrible paths that addiction takes a family can crumble even the strongest in the faith much less me. I’ve cried. I’ve asked for prayer. I’ve been confused and scared that we were making the wrong decisions for and with her. I’ve been in shock and I have been downright exhausted. I have wanted to run screaming down the road and never come back.
Satan has really slammed this in my face. I just did a radio interview that hasn’t even been aired yet. It was wonderful and fun to talk with this show host about the great hope that I want to give and give and GIVE.
“You can’t even give hope to your own daughter,” Satan threw this in my face. “What kind of hope can you give when your own child is in the challenge of her life?! You’re not capable of saving someone you gave birth to! What kind of mother are you?! You are a dope.”
Good try, enemy of my soul and of my daughter’s. Good college try. But here’s the truth of what the God and Creator of the Universe revealed to Doc and me today as we prayed.
We’ve struggled this week. Yes, that’s the truth. We’ve felt derailed, debunked, defrauded, dismantled, disillusioned, deprived, destroyed, disregarded, decapitated, drugged, declawed, debarked and dehoped. We’ve been afraid that we were going to see the death of a dream that I am passionate about…giving you the promise of HOPE and a great future that God has for you no matter what your life situation.
Here’s the truth. I am more determined than ever to follow through on this call God has on my life! I will not disintegrate into a ball of tears, fears and desperation just because there has been a pretty big challenge placed in front of me. I’m asking God to deploy all the angels of Heaven He deems necessary to destroy the works of the evil one and that He will enable me to continuing giving His hope to anyone I can who is hurting.
If that means decreeing and declaring it to you if you’re willing to listen, then I will do it. I have decided to dig my heels in.
When Satan says there’s no way, I will say “How dare you threaten what God’s called me to do! You’ve messed with the wrong mother and the wrong daughter of God.” Whatever lie the devil may be telling you, defeat his plans to destroy your life. Determine to press in hard to what God says; He has plans to give you great hope and a dazzling future.
No matter what, don’t you DARE give up or give in!
And I won’t either. In my life and in my daughter’s life, YOUR will be done, Lord. On this earth as it is in Heaven. Your will be done.
The last chapter God gave me for Closer Than Your Breath is called Commando Jesus. His hands and His strength are sometimes all we have in our pain and struggles.
I just shared that story with a mother hurting over her son. She doesn't think she'll hear from him this Mother's Day. The first time ever. Her heart is breaking. She said she felt a lightness and will remember the "boots" when fear or thoughts of failure come to taunt her.
These words are not my own.
Sometimes 60 seconds of hope is all it takes to save a life. I've been there. Commando Jesus is on my heart because it's helping me. Sharing hope is why I wrote this book...to help others.
On this Mother's Day, if you're not hurting but know a mother or anyone who is, please share my book.Www.closerthanyourbreath.com.