Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Valentine’s Day Dilemma

Are you one of the many people that get so excited about Valentine’s Day? Do you plan your adventure weeks in advance? Do you make reservations for that ‘special’ place? Buy the finest chocolates? Or surrender to Kay Jewelers’ sensational, awe-inspiring commercials declaring that you should love your “angel” “enough” to buy her the “finest” diamonds?

Okay, if you’re like me, you just threw up a little. Or a lot. 

I’m not trying to be a bummer.  I don’t tend to throw discouragement out to others, but I have to say that even as a married gal, this makes me nauseous. Married couple: What happened to the vows you made? “Love, honor, and cherish, ALL the days of my life?” Single people, why does Victim X have to shower Victim Y with gifts to show love and care? Do you fall victim to this dilemma like so many others? It is really no dilemma at all.

We tend to abuse the word love all the time. I love pie. I love my shoes. I love my car. I love my job. And the list goes on. Love is not typically used with its true meaning in mind. 

English Teacher Response: Love is a verb, not a noun.
*love (verb) (used without object), loved, loving.
21. to have love or affection for another person; be in love.

©©©But TRUE LOVE is a noun! ©©©

*agape (noun) [ah-gah-pey]
1. the love of God or Christ for humankind. (the gift of Christ is the noun here).
3. unselfish love of one person for another without sexual implications; brotherly love

Love is when we wake up not really wanting to do something for the other person (because we humans can be selfish), but we do it anyway. Love is when the odds are against us, but we overcome—together! Love is when we pick up the phone to say “I’m thinking of you, and I just wanted to take some time to talk to you” (out of our crazy busy days!) Love is when we kiss boo-boos, say goodnight prayers, and read devotions with our spouse, our children, or our significant other (a telephone or Skype makes this possible!) Or possibly the hardest: when we say things (out of love) that the other person (husband, child, or friend) may not want to hear, but it’s from our heart, and it makes him or her a better person.  It’s called “iron sharpening iron.”

Colossians 3:12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
He’s just saying be generous, show some true concern, throw in some tenderness, persevere and don’t give up, but don’t brag about your actions. He did not say do these things only one day out of the year that has conveniently been turned into a commercialized holiday.

God gave us the best “Valentine” ever when He sent Christ:

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 
So in all honesty, Christians, why are we not showing the love of Christ every single day? Or, to those who are not Christians, at least, love for humanity? Christ came as an eternal sacrifice, and sometimes we make no effort to even acknowledge Him (I know I am guilty!)

I know this is not popular among the masses, but true love is keeping others (every person: those we love and those we love but may not like very much) from danger. Personally, I consider hell to be a major danger and tragedy. We will all spend eternity somewhere: As the old saying goes: “Would you like smoking or nonsmoking?”
So my Momma used to always say, “You can’t have John 3:16 without the follow-up verse.”

John: 3:17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 

So if Jesus didn’t come to “condemn” the world, why do WE do it every day? We judge constantly, whether we realize it or not (no matter who you are!) During Sunday’s message, my pastor said, “We catch ‘em, He’ll clean ‘em!” That pretty much sums it up. NO sin is greater than another or smaller than another. PS… there is no ‘little white lie’ for those who were wondering.

This is what Valentine’s Day currently represents: Commercialized money-sucking insanity.

This is what Valentine’s Day should represent:

“…I trust in God’s unfailing love forever and ever.” Psalm 52:8
And only Christ can give that to us all the time, but we sure can strive for it EVERY DAY!
Happy LOVE people every Day!©©©©©©©©©©©©©©©©©©©©©©©©
In case you’re interested, Valentine’s Day originated as follows:
©It started in the Middle Ages.
©It’s actually a day recognizing Christian martyrs.
©Spring came in the middle of February: Basically, the animals got their “mate” on.
©The actual card giving started because lovers wrote letters to each other
(Romantic, yes. Lost art, yes! I think modern technology now sends you a text message. BOO!)
©Chaucer mentioned this in Parliament of Foules:
"on Seynt Valentynes day,/Whan every foul cometh there to chese [choose] his make [mate]."
Now you know. Show someone your love for them this 
Valentine’s Day, 
but don’t stop. Show them every single day that you have breath.

Saint Valentine's Day information credit goes to:
and some from the English Literature degree in me.
*Definitions are from

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Mission Impossible?

My year started off just fine in January 2013, and then the phone rang.

2:30 a.m.: The phone rang. I slept. 
2:32 a.m.: The phone rang. I slept.
2:34 a.m.: The phone rang. I slept.

Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

5:00 a.m. The phone rang. I sat straight up in my bed, and my heart sank like an anchor thrown off a ship... a BIG ship.

GAHHH... I missed the call. Who is this number? Why have they tried to call me every two minutes? And why haven't I heard the phone?

----My husband was working midnight hours at a shipping facility during the Christmas season. I was having great difficulty getting to sleep until about 1:30 a.m. every single night, living on about 4 hours of sleep per day. -----

Another number popped up on my phone, and I missed it, so I called it back immediately. 

"Mrs. Donica?" The man's voice said. 
"Your husband's been in an accident and is at the hospital heading into surgery." 
"Oh dear God." 

Why had I not heard the stupid phone? My heart sank further as if I were wading through quicksand. We had celebrated one year of marriage in November 2012. Dear God, we were still newlyweds. Don't you remember? 

After what seemed like an eternity to get to the hospital, the first 14-hour surgery took forever. My husband was moved to the ICU unit, and I finally was able to see him. I spoke to the doctors who told me, "He's lucky to be alive. He's lucky to have his legs. He's got a long road ahead of him." All I could say was "We don't do 'luck' at our house." 

Thank God, we do not do luck! 
We do faith. We do blessings. We do miracles. We do thankfulness

Of course, I will tell you straight up, I was scared. I felt so rock-bottom. Rob and I have been given a marriage of fire trials from Day 1. We knew going in it wouldn't be easy, but we knew with God as our foundation, we would persevere. 

And that's exactly what we've done. Persevere. With God's goodness and faithfulness, we have been blessed beyond our wildest imagination. Thankfully, Mr. Donica (aka Mr. D.) is a strong man :) He was in good physical-shape when the tractor-trailer literally crushed him against the dock. 

With a crushed right leg, a broken left femur, a severed popliteal artery, and much loss of blood, God kept His hand of provision on Rob by keeping him out the 'shock' zone, so that he was able to tell the medical team all of the necessary information, since I was obviously not waking up to the phone. 

The two days in ICU were long, for me anyway. I prayed. I prayed more. I prayed until I finally fell asleep at some wee hour of the morning. My daughter was able to go home with some of our close church family, and I knew she was taken care of completely. On the 3rd day, Mr. D. awoke out of his anesthesia stupor, and said, "I'm hungry." Praise God for hunger! What a day of true thankfulness for me. I was grateful to the core of my being that I was not a widow. We had a heart to heart soon after. He told me, "I've been dodging God's call on my life for almost 20 years, and I can't run from Him anymore." Yep, he's the witty 'punny' one. (My husband started back to school in August 2013 for seminary.)

Throughout the coming months, time seemed to pass quickly, pass slowly, and so forth. Rob was making amazing progress, talking to others about his injury, and witnessing about the love and faithfulness of Christ! We experienced rehab facilities, a few that were horrendous, and one that was a huge blessing! We have made friends along the way, we've been humbled by our church family and the outpouring of love they show each and every day! 

The day that my husband walked for the first time after the accident was scary, yet amazing. 

After all we had discussed with the orthopedic surgeons, as well as the trauma doctors and nurses, this was something I wasn't ready for, but God apparently was. I felt like a four-year old trying to torment a momma: My line of "what if's" were ready and waiting for my Comforter. “What if…he doesn’t heal? What if…he isn’t able to walk without crutches, a cane, or help? What if… But God just wanted me to be still and wait.  

“Those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
-Isaiah 40:31 

Now, let me be real. I’m not a patient person. (Insert giggle for those who know me.) I just want God to hurry up, and then the orthopedic doctor said it best… “We’ll just have to hurry up and wait.”

ARRRRrrrrGGGgggHHHhhh! Okay, Lord, I’ll wait. So in the meantime, some awesome people were taking care of my daughter and our critters at home. I knew they were all in the absolute best hands! Blessing after blessing came flowing from my heavenly Father. I look back and think “WOW!” He put so many people in our path that truly loved on us, and we are forever grateful.

Mr. D.’s drive and perseverance helped me to keep pushing through those tiresome days. He finally came home in April of 2014 from the rehab facility. I was on edge even more, especially with crutches involved along with bathroom gear, back stairs, and the list goes on. Don’t get me wrong. I know that God is in control. I just happen to like to help Him: A LOT! Of course, He doesn’t need me, but He also gave me the Momma Nurture gene. I tried, without babying Mr. D., to make sure that he didn’t fall, had anything he needed, and rearranged whatever was necessary.

As of this month, January 2014, he is walking without a cane or crutches (as you can see in the photo). The goal (that initiated the photograph) was to walk Crowder’s Mountain before the accident anniversary came. Mr. D. is a true testament to God’s healing power. He is not and will never be 100% until he is done with this life, but he is making the most of his circumstances. I’m so thankful that God chose to leave Mr. Donica here for me to continue to love, honor, and cherish.
JANUARY 2014: Crowder's Mountain
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships,in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10
This journey has been difficult, but with God's amazing grace, His strength, and His direction, life is finally getting back to our "new normal." We are still in the midst of several battles, but God is in control, so no matter the outcome… we win. Mission impossible? Not with God on our side!

I pray that all who read this will see the sunshine through the clouds.
~Mrs. D.

SHOUT OUT: I know that God places instrumental people in our lives to help us weather the storms, stay afloat in the flood, and shine light into the darkness. For this, I am so thankful for my family, friends, church family, and the unknown angels He placed in our path. I can never thank you all enough to show how much you mean to us!