Wednesday, December 16, 2015

'Tis The Season....

Tis the season to be...sick..fa la la la la la la la la!

Our son in law began his first round of chemo. So for the next 16 weeks he will be in a fight to kick this cancers butt! Thankfully after a week in the hospital, he was released on Monday night. We as a family are teaming up to help raise funds to help Sarah and Jason cover their medical cost. Our son Jordan just announced he will be doing a marathon next fall and all proceeds raised will go towards Jason's medical fund. He is now looking for sponsors to join him in this great opportunity! The other opportunity is their Go Fund Me account. Please share their Go Fund Me page with others! An update has been added to keep everyone in the loop so that you can pray for his specific needs ....Keep Praying!  We welcome any fund raising ideas you have, so please don't hesitate to message me.

Here are the two links that will be supporting Jason and Sarah with any medical needs :

Go Fund me!!!!

Marathon-Team Jason!

Monday night we found ourselves back to the hospital. This time with our daughter. Diagnosis...flu! Finals week and flu do not make for a great week! I'm sure after a few days of bed rest she will be back to her spunky little self. The thoughts of the flu in our home around this most wonderful time of the year is not something I have been dreaming of! Or desiring! Especially with Jason's immune system being compromised. Until all the babies are in the clear from this flu bug, there will be no "To grandmother's house we go!" for Sarah and Jason.  I do not like this season right now. However with each season comes change and each change prepares us for the next season. A season to embrace life, lifting my eyes to see God move and perform miracles. To know the love He has for us. To live each day as though it were our last. To love others without condition. Learning to see the beauty in all this. Truthfully...It's all about Jesus anyway! He is the giver of life.  He is the one who gives us hope and a future!

Thank you all for praying with us! Though our eyes may not see the BIG picture yet...I do know our God is faithful and He does have a great plan!

So until this storm is over...We are going to keep praising Him!   Hallelujah!!!!!

Friday, December 11, 2015

Good Good Father !

Many days walking the road of faith can be a difficult task. Just being a mom to my crew fills my life with endless pulling and tugging. My heart so full that my mind and body can't keep up. A good good full though. A road I walk as my Father draws me deeper into my walk with Him. Sometimes I need a good reminder of His faithfulness.

Here is a post I wrote on my Facebook wall a few days ago....

I have seen many prayers answered in the nearly 50 years that I have been alive, many great and small. Those small ones always amaze me the most! Yesterday I was praying for someone, asking the Lord to really encourage them and show them how great He is. How He really does love her and has her future in His hands. Well He did! Something as simple as a recognized song to brighten her day in a place where it was so unexpected! He is a good good Father! So, don't discount those small prayers.They really do matter!

From the moment my children were born I have prayed for their future spouses. I thought my heart was full with my 9...but my oh my! I really hate the in-law word because we have gained some amazing kids! I think of them as my own.They have come into our family and embraced the chaos with love and a little mercy thrown in there. They have a place in my heart right along with our own children. I sure hope they know how much I love them!

These past few weeks our family has begun to walk the road of a cancer diagnosis. I say "our family" because when one walks, we all walk! Our daughter and her husband are beginning their second year of marriage with a Stage 4 Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma diagnosis and are starting with his chemo treatments this week. With endless days of doctors visits and hospital stays, these two have continued to serve without skipping a beat. Never missing one moment to show God's love to others and impacting lives that will last for eternity. I hope this medical community is ready for this duo!

Sarah and Jason have served our community and their families with endless hours of giving and selfless open handed love! Even in this illness, they continue to be the servants that they have always been. Now we all have been given a chance to serve them, to show them that same love. I have watched as friends and family have gathered together to pray, give and love in any way they can. With an illness of this magnitude comes great need. A fund has been set up to help them with medical cost so they can fight this disease. As most of you know they were in the process of interviewing for a promising job out of state with a church. Most of their plans for this next year are now on hold until Jason is well and God says go!  

Here is a link to their Go Fund Me account that has been set up to help with medical cost and any needs they have. To help free Sarah to help and serve her husband. 

More than anything please continue to pray for Sarah, Jason and the Holcombe/Webb families. We are eternally grateful for all you are doing to be the hands and feet of our good good Father!

GO FUND ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Dear Young Bride...

One thing I always stress about is...Did I prepare my children enough for adulthood? I remember being a young bride at the age of 18.Though my vows were meaningful and true... I'm not really sure I understood the totality of them all! After 31 years of marriage I'm just beginning to understand what each of them truly entailed.Most brides think they have an idea of what a grand adventure of  marriage really looks like.However in reality, until you step across that threshold, the real view of becoming one is so much more than one could imagine!The in sickness and in health becomes real and the beauty of serving one another turns those ideals into reality.This past week our daughter...a new bride...has been placed onto a road of reality. A road chosen for her. A road that she lovingly walks beside her groom as they face the road of cancer together. Each marriage will experience a trial or two at some point along the way. I know my husband and I have had our fair share and I'm sure there will be many more. I wish I could take this part away from my children! But I can't! For whatever reason God has chosen Sarah and Jason to walk this road. To experience total dependence on Him.To look upon His face and see peace and rest.To see His hand work mighty miracles.To see Him turn their mourning into dancing!

Dear Young Bride....
I was thinking today how blessed I am to have you in my life! I have felt and watched you grow from the very beginning of your infinite soul. Raising you has been a grand adventure with all the ups and downs of life. I have always said you were by far my easiest child to raise. Although,we have had our moments. I can laugh about them now! Your quiet spirit and your loving soul are a beauty that shines through your giving hands. Watching you love others through your daily living makes my heart smile! Guiding you from childhood into adulthood carried a great responsibility and weight upon my heart, with hopes that I had prepared you enough for life. I guess a fear all moms carry with them until they breathe their last breath. A trust I have to place at the feet of our Father in Heaven,that He has perfected you to travel the journey ahead.

Well...Life happens and dreams change. God guides and He provides. He walks us through our darkest days and celebrates with us in our grand adventures. This past week has been no surprise to our Heavenly Father. You have been thrown into the in-sickness part of your marriage vows a lot sooner than any bride would expect, really never considers during the early days of her marriage. But here you are on this grand adventure! A road, a journey that is preparing you for a future unknown. A part of marriage I wish I could have prepared you for sooner. A part I wish I could make go away. But a time in your life that one day will all make sense. A dark time that you will be able to smile upon one day and say....Now I see!

Sarah... You are a blessing to your husband.  I believe God has been preparing you all along for this very moment. He has equipped you and given you all that you need to walk the path before you. He has not left your side! He has placed others beside you to lend a helping hand or encouraging words to build you up. Keep your eyes upon Him for He is perfecting you and making you into that great jewel!  Though the in sickness part sucks right now and the nights become very long, one day you will understand and that joy will return!

This chapter came to mind for you today. Sing praise to the Lord and give thanks for one day soon you will be dancing!

I love you so very much,

Psalm 30.....

1         I will extol You, O Lord, for You have lifted me up,

And have not let my foes rejoice over me.
Lord my God, I cried out to You,
And You healed me.
Lord, You brought my soul up from the grave;
You have kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit.[a]
Sing praise to the Lord, you saints of His,
And give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name.[b]
For His anger is but for a moment,
His favor is for life;
Weeping may endure for a night,
But joy comes in the morning.
Now in my prosperity I said,
“I shall never be moved.”
Lord, by Your favor You have made my mountain stand strong;
You hid Your face, and I was troubled.
I cried out to You, O Lord;
And to the Lord I made supplication:
“What profit is there in my blood,
When I go down to the pit?
Will the dust praise You?
Will it declare Your truth?
10 Hear, O Lord, and have mercy on me;
Lord, be my helper!”
11 You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness,
12 To the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent.
Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever

Sunday, November 22, 2015

A Journey Unknown....

I remember Sarah sharing with me about this young man she had met..."Mom, he's the male version of me!" she said, That statement couldn't have been more true! Except that he would always walk in our door ready and willing to help with dishes or whatever I needed help with! Large family probs! I have seen nothing but a heart to serve in this young man since the day we met. More than three years later, I see that same heart!

 One year ago our family celebrated as Jason and Sarah tied the knot and joined our families together! This fun loving tattooed goof ball of a young man is now my son in-law and calls me mom! I have watched as they have served our community as youth ministers and poured out their lives to show others the love of Jesus. I have watched as they have loved our family and made themselves available whenever I needed help. Yes...They are more alike than the "Mom he's just like me" statement could have ever explained!

Now it's time for us all to show these two the love of Jesus and serve them....
This past week our daughter and son received some unexpected news, a diagnosis of Lymphoma. Tomorrow Jason will begin a few medical proceedures to get him on his way to good health. Though this journey may be frightening with all the unknowns, we serve a God who has every detail of Jason's being already in the palm of His hand! He is Jehovah Rapha...the God who heals!

What you may not know is Jason and Sarah were in the middle of an interview process with a church out of state. That is now on hold. Please be praying for their finances as well as Jason's health. Please pray for our daughter Sarah, that God would equip her to be Jason's greatest cheerleader during this journey. Please pray for our familes as we team up to serve them however we can with love and support.

All of their needs as well as this diagnosis is not a surprise to our heavenly Father! Sarah and Jason's futures were surrendered at God's feet the day they chose to follow Him. So together the journey sickness and in health. This jouney is and will be a testimony of the grace and love of a Father who loves Jason and Sarah more than we can comprehend.

Thank you all for your prayers! During this week of "Thankfulness" I am thankful for each of you!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

His plan...His ways

I remember being one week past my due date. Had I not had BP issues, he may have stayed put a little while longer. More time to grow and mature. After a twelve hour labor and delivery, we met our 8lb and 8oz. baby boy! The first boy in my family in over twenty years. My stay was 3 days but that baby boy earned himself four more days of sunning under the lights.Tiny sun goggles and many heel pricks. Bilirubin levels too high to go home. I thought my heart would just break right out of my chest!
All my plans and visions of how our going home would play out...gone! First time mom and I'm sitting on my hospital bed in a puddle of tears. Being wheeled out of the hospital with empty arms and thoughts of leaving him there at the hospital, was the hardest part of this new road of adventure. I should have known this was an indication of how his life would play out.

When you pray for something you better be prepared for however God chooses to answer you. I thought I was prepared! I will say sometimes God's answers to prayer aren't exactly what I envisioned. Honestly, His answers can make me angry. Truthfully, they sometimes suck!

Baby boy was finally released from the hospital and came home to a well rested new mama.Honestly that extra four days were a blessing! He grew up to be an amazing young man who has done many remarkable things. We have sent him off on many adventures (4 to be exact) to cultures beyond our borders.

Saturday as we said "See you later" my heart broke once again. I thought I had prepared myself...I thought wrong. All day fighting back the tears. That was a very short ride to the airport! An even shorter check-in-time. As we turned to say "See you later" I couldn't even look at him. Fear I guess. A little anger at how God answered our prayer for a job. That was the best "See you later"hug I have ever had! Knowing it might be over a year before I get another one made this moment really difficult. I was a blubbering mess walking out of that airport (hospital). Those old feelings of walking out without my baby were just the same as 29 years prior. Except he's now a 29 year old  6'3 big guy. Then God had to go and remind me that he would be fine and His ways and plans far exceed Justin's mother's plans. Four days...Two years, it's all the same when your life is in the control of a mighty God who does great things at our request.

Once again we have left him to adventure into a land unknown, to become all that God has called him to be. To soak in all the rays of life, to heal and to grow. To pour into others as a servant,mentor or whatever title he may carry.

 Although I will miss him terribly, I will rest in knowing he is exactly where he should be. Yes...God's plans far exceed my plans. Good thing, because Justin will get to hang out with a bunch of amazing third grade kids in an unknown culture who will rock his world!

I'm sure he is going to rock theirs!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

In His time....

Our first born. That cute tree hugging kid of mine is leaving the nest! Flying on a jet plane onto his next adventure!

They tell you...Choose a major. Choose something you like to do. You can be anything you want to be! At least that was how it use to be! I wish that dream was still true!

I never had a chance to go to college. I guess that's why I push my children to pursue a degree in something. Anything. When they do, I become their biggest cheerleader! Even making them attend their college graduation, all the while they had no desire to do so. of my kids actually didn't want to walk for one of the most desired schools here in Georgia. He did it anyway, just for me!

Degree earned and the waiting game began. Waiting for that hard earned degree to payoff. We waited. Months turned into years. Maybe you should get your Masters degree in that field they say?! So off he went. Overseas for a year. Degree earned. We wait. Thinking a degree digging in the dirt would lead to that treasured job,We prayed and waited on the Lord to answer our request. At what point do you say...God I will do anything, just give me a job...a full time paying job?!

When you are raised in a big family, you kind of become good at working with kids.  Even though his degree was far from working with kids, his part time/ full time job has been just that. Countless hours of after school and summer camp for the last 10 years. That's a lot of little lives he's impacted. Honestly...He's really good with kids! I hear the stories and see the little notes these kids shower upon our children. This summer we have 4 kids working the summer camp program at our local rec center. If you ever want to change the world or be changed yourself...go work with kids! They will bring an end to all that selfishness that lies beneath your heart. They will push you beyond all reason. However, at the end of that very long day, their unconditional love will push you to wake up and do it all over again the next day!

I'm not really sure where he gets his travel bug from. Right out of high school he spent over three months in Africa. Countless mission trips and one year pursuing his degree in Israel. This young man has seen many beautiful places and experienced countless different cultures in his young life. Now it's time for the next adventure. Except this time will be a paid FULL time job! Working with kids! Overseas...halfway around the world!

From bucket brigade to teaching English to school children. Not what he had planned but what God has ordained for his life. When you lay your life at God's feet don't complain when He does something amazing with it! You never know what God is going to do when you lay your life at His feet!

We thought this opportunity wasn't going to happen. Our son had almost given up hope when the final email came.This was my Facebook post the day he received the final proposal... There's nothing like the end of a very long journey waiting on the Lord to answer a prayer! Often in ways we least expect. He is God .His ways are perfect. His plans are flawless. I am thankful.. 

I am thankful and teary-eyed at what God's plans entail. I have watched many years of discouragement turn into an amazing opportunity! Two years to impact the lives of school age children. To live in an unknown culture as he lives out the plans God has laid before him. It's so amazing that God has placed a few of his friends at that very same school. Even God's plans have extra added bonuses!

Our family has been greatly encouraged by this long awaited answer to prayer.

Never give up hope! Pray without ceasing! You never know what God will do when you lay your desires at His feet!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

To see her heart....

One more week of school here in the Holcombe house. I am a little excited to finally sleep past 6am! Maybe. As I get older I'm finding that my inner time clock is a creature of habit! Oh for the days of sleeping until noon! I think that is a past that will never be revisited!

As the school year closes our kiddos are bringing home their endless piles of past assignments. Many I just flip through, mostly because I'm rushing to get to the next thing on my very long to do list. Many times missing little nuggets of gold. This particular day I was running on empty and moving at a snails pace. Really in need of a pick me up moment of encouragement.  As I flipped through Kenzie's papers I came across this writing assignment. Just a few weeks after Mother's Day and I'm still receiving little notes of love! Except this was a little different.

A few days before while riding in the car, I had been a part of a sweet what I thought was a random conversation with Mackenzie. Mom, You love me when I am bad. When I am happy. When I'm... and endless list of when I'm. They weren't questions but statements. Facts that she had come to realize about my love for her. Then I receive this beautiful page of a second graders thoughts on why her mom is the best.

My mom loves me the way I am in my heart....

Wow...she really understands what I have always tried to portray to my children! No matter how much they mess up, are good or bad, ugly or cute, their heart is where I look to know the true them. The beauty of the inner being that was entrusted into my care. The outside vision of them doesn't always match with what I see when I look at their heart. I guess in some ways this helps me to shower more grace upon them...even when they don't deserve it!

I can't tell you how much I needed that note that day. The tears flowed as I felt my Father say...Yes, I love you that very same way! I love the way you are in your heart. Past all your mistakes,ugliness and sin. Just like you are!

In my opinion...My God is the best because He loves me the way I am in my heart!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Oh the places she will go...

Today, after 29 years of endless years of car seats....We are car seat freeeeeee! The emptiness in our car is a little sad. exciting for this new road our family will walk!

I never planned to have nine children. However I did promise myself  I would never have a baby after the age of 40. In true Mackenzie fashion 1 month before my 41st birthday I gave birth to our 9th child. Three weeks early after weeks of ultrasounds and endless doctor visits, our little caboose made her grand entrance!

Since that day she hasn't slowed down....I am not getting out of child rearing easy! Mackenzie will make sure of that!  A challenge I will always cherish!

I guess being the youngest of nine, God knew she would need a little spunk. That spunk would give her the survival skill that she would need to get through life. Head strong and more than likely a natural born leader. Not a shy bone in her body. She has no fear and  in some strange way behaves as though she were a teenager. Her love for her brothers and sisters is amazing to watch. Her love for her niece is even more amazing! With another niece coming in just a few months I'm sure this will be a journey I don't want to miss!

 Where did the time go? 

Youngest of 9
Born in the month of January
Lover of Chick-Fil-A
Loves her niece Reese
Still loves our morning snuggles before the day begins
Hates to sleep in a room alone
Loves art
Head strong
Loves to eat pistachios with her brother

This little girl has brought life and love to our family. She has kept us on our toes. Filling us with pure exhaustion! I can't help but think of all the amazing things God has planned for her life. The people she will meet and the places she might go!
Mackenzie Claire you were given to us to be a blessing! A blessing you are! I pray that whatever God has planned ,you will give it your all and share that sweet smile with everyone you  meet. I can't think of a finer person to walk me to the end of child rearing with. You have given me strength on days when I just couldn't seem to find it. Your smile has brightened everyday that I have been blessed to see it. Your morning snuggles makes my days so much better!
Happy Birthday! 
I love you!
PS...I will walk with you on the day you graduate from highschool!