Friday, February 24, 2017

Mind Full of TIME

Ecclesiastes 3:1 "There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven---."

What do people say about time?

"TIME flies when you're having fun."

"There is no TIME like the present."

"You are 'behind the TIMES' with that thinking."

TIME out, TIME served, crunch TIME.

TIME is money!

In the nick of TIME.

Save TIME.

TIME is of the essence...

It's only a matter of TIME.

What was that last one? ...Only a matter of TIME? Until what?

Solomon tells us, until your "appointed TIME, your event under heaven."


Time flies.Ten years have whizzed by since that day my husband walked through the corridor to find me exiting the chapel in that out of the way hospital--to meet me---broken heart to broken heart, my oldest friend on one side of him, my younger son on the other.

The words at the moment, time shattering and for my moments to come, timeless.

"He didn't make it...He died."

Time stands still.

Since that TIME, I've pursued with every beat of my own heart... to make TIME count,

Double TIME...Well actually... triple TIME, for God, Timmy and myself.


If you know me, you know I like things that symbolize, commemorate, honor; I'm a collector of keepsakes of TIME well spent.

This last Christmas, we purchased a faux Christmas tree--the first of any larger-sized, focal-point tree we've had since Tim passed away into God's Light, 10 years ago. We happened on it--the right TIME and place. The perfect skinny shape, size and price, it fit perfectly at the bottom of my staircase. After Christmas was over, New Year's Day past, all the decorations tucked away, there stood my cute,  snowy, glittery tree.

A Valentine's Day tree, I thought. It will commemorate that holiday and Tim's 10 years in Heaven--a good excuse to leave it up!  

So, I did just that, giving it and me...more TIME. After a few visits to the Dollar Tree (love that place), and a few things I've had over TIME, Timmy's Love Tree came together. For such a TIME as this, 10 years since his passing, a tree with roots of Love and branches that sparkle like Heaven shines, standing for the memory of our son in this anniversary month.


What does ten years feel like? Like it just happened?  Yes, some days. The TIMES I have spent with God in healing and listening and reading His Word are immeasurable. In one quick moment, I can hear from the Lord and be uplifted and inspired the whole day. In other TIMES, I miss him so much I feel it physically. God is with me in both situations. TIME marches on, and moves closer to my own homecoming, my own appointed TIME. The cliche, TIME heals, may just give distance, a distance one has learned control in, but I can testify that TIME spent seeking God is what truly brings healing.

So, I make TIME to give Him glory for all He bestows, lavishs on me,  to bring me comfort and insight through all this TIME.

I believe God is pleased with how I have used my TIME to get to know Him more intimately, in ministry, my story, to make Him known.


Life is TIME consuming, especially with all the ways we get caught up in,  to waste TIME. I am encouraged by scripture which tells me:

Psalm 90:12 "So teach us to number our days that we may present to Thee a heart of wisdom."

Ephesians 1:9-10 "He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the TIMES, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things upon the Earth, in Him." As a plan for the fullness of TIME, to unite all things in Him, things in heaven and things on earth."

11 Corinthians 6:2  For He says, "At the acceptable TIME I listened to you, and on the day of salvation I helped you. Behold now is the acceptable TIME; behold, now is the day of salvation." 

Father God, thank You for the TIME allotted to me to craft my writing skills and use them to give You glory. Help me Lord to fill my days, not with regrets but with anticipation of what You have in store for me. Thank You for my precious TIME with my son Timothy, even those really hard TIMES. Your will is good and perfect and I trust You in all things. Lord, for those whose days are numbered, (and that is every one of us), help us to draw closer to You and manage our TIME wisely, to include You in our day so that You can pour out Your blessings You have stored up for us. Lord, we do not know when our TIME is, nor do we know the appointed TIME of Your appearance again, but Lord, You ask only that we believe in Your earthly TIME as our Savior and Your Heavenly Time as our Father. Because we trust You, Your plans are good for our welfare and our future. Lord, thank You for the Eternal Time we will have with You in Heaven, for that is our Hope. Amen.

Better Is One Day ~ Kutless 

Timothy B. VanTilburg 
DOB 9-25-1980
Reached Heaven 2-27-2007 

Friday, February 10, 2017

Courage, Dear Heart #love4lexi

Psalm 73:26 "My flesh and my heart may fail, but my God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." 

A young teenage girl, the middle daughter of three lovely daughters from a local family, lies in a hospital bed, kept alive by a machine, awaiting a bittersweet miracle. She needs a heart transplant now. Her name is Lexi. Her favorite color is purple. She loves the Lord.


Everyone is thinking about hearts. It is February after all. #love4lexi

A community is praying for Lexi,for her family, for this miracle. #love4lexi 

Her classmate and local phenom basketball player, LaMelo Ball dedicated his 92 points scored in one game to her this week. That made national news. #love4lexi. 

As I walked onto my high school campus (work) this morning, the signs were everywhere. BULLDOGS SUPPORT LEXI, #LOVE4LEXI 

She attends the other high school (Chino Hills High) across the valley. 

Huge prayer circles formed on both her campus and ours. Students bow their heads and hold each others hands, crying out to God for one of their...our own. She is everyone's #love4lexi. 

A family waits and prays; sleepless, drained, anxious, hopeful, fearful, faithful, and loved, held up by strength from the God they know is good and loving as well as caring family, friends, neighbors, church body and strangers. 

...and I hear the words from many, because it is a fear of every parent to ever have to sit, pace, wait in the darkness of things, to watch their own son or daughter suffer, to know the odds, to place every ounce of their own heart, blood, soul and faith in their Heavenly Father and rely... out of default on the Holy Spirit to do your bidding because the numbness sets in, articulation is foggy at the least, adrenaline keeps our own breath too real and our thoughts and dreams... too intense. 

those words..."I can't imagine how (the family) they are feeling."  

And I don't answer that one, because this time... it is not about me. Let it always be about Love. 

What I do know is that this is a family who knows the Lord, wherein lies their hope. What I do know is that God is good and His will is Good and Perfect. If Lexi lives, His will is Good and Perfect, if Lexi does not, His will is Good and Perfect. God's plan is good and perfect. Lexi is a miracle in the making. Lexi's purpose is for God's glory. 

And so we pray for Lexi, her family and for our own hearts. #love4lexi. 

The world's heartbeat skips and flutters away from a Holy place of surrender, but one heartbeat struggling, makes us catch our breath and refocus outside our own body. One hand joins another, one ball is continually passed to another, and lives touch other lives and Lexi touches ours as we bow our heads and hearts to a sovereign, loving God. 

And if we tell one another that God is love, and if we SHOW one another that God is Love and if we hold onto one another and encourage each because God is Love and if we humble ourselves before Him and allow Him to Love us too, we can know that God is Love, that He is good as we pray for His will, pray in His will.  #love4lexi. 

It still hurts, because love hurts too. Jesus experienced all the emotion of love, the deepest of hurts so He can love us in the deepest, most perfect way and then heal our own failures by teaching us how to love like Him. Though some things remain a mystery, His love is the portion of our heart that sustains the hope within us and gives us that eternal perspective-- a love-light seen through the gaps of our own the broken places. 


Father God, we humbly come before you and ask for divine strength and healing for this young girl struggling to regain a heartbeat. We understand that one heart will be taken so that one can live. We pray for Your will in this. We ask for this family of faith, for your comfort and mercy in all the unknown days to come. May Lexi's life always be for Your glory and for our own reminder that our time is never promised but what IS promised...Your Love that is everlasting and Hope that heals. #love4lexi, #pray4lexi, Amen. 

Friday, February 3, 2017

A Passionate Life

Proverbs 4:23 "Watch over your heart with do diligence, (guard) for from it flow the springs of life."

♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡   Did you know it is Heart Health month?  ♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡  *

The brain is really the organ in charge of our thoughts and actions. Our heart, our life pumping, blood delivering hub, gets the romantic attachments, the icon shape, and sometimes the blame for when things happen--either for the good or not so good emotion- based actions. 

But really, that is, again, our thought processes, our decision making brain and all our input into it. 

I think the author of Proverbs is referring here to our passions--where our input comes from. 

Watch what you become passionate about. Be careful how much time is devoted to other things and not spent with God. (balance). What messages from the world are you listening to more intently than the Word of God? 

What are your priorities concerning your spiritual growth? 

To watch over something, to guard, indicates that there is an expectation that something may be lurking, may be ready to attack, may be wanting to steal away, slowly yet with intent, filter into our thinking and our passions. And so begins the dilution, the compromise, the passionless, unmarked, dimmed Christian life. The world bombards us with many ideologies, temptations, smart phone apps, social media, Super Bowl know. But God gives us all we need to guard against it. 

Sometimes, it is subtle-- all the busyness of everyone these days, yours truly included. 


A challenging end to January going into February, my writing and ministry partner has been hospitalized for almost 3 weeks now.  I've had to do some things without her. My heart and my brain hurt for my friend; and it is only human that feelings and thoughts build. It is in community, in strong friendships and in prayer where the Holy Spirit Commanding Guard stands ready to help us keep the beat going. Her faith and love for me--  heart medicine for encouragement and my strength. We soldier on to continue in our mission, a passion for story-telling and sharing within our community to discover and connect similar passions,  and just maybe, in our obedience, spark an eternal passion. God is so good. 

When we are overwhelmed with everything that is not of God, our life-giving, God reflecting spring just may begin to dry up, become bitter-tasting, and/or reflect a lot of other things, not the face of Christ. 

Christ is what gives our hearts life. His heart, his blood, his grace IS our life spring. 

So why wouldn't we want to guard that, cover it in prayer, protect it with accountability partners, bathe it in His Word and His truth? 

I know what I am passionate about. My family. I love them and I am loved and through our trials and our victories, our passion increases, our faith endures. I am passionate about keeping my son's memory alive in me and in others, for the hope of Heaven. The Word of God. It sustains me, oxygenates my blood and gives me life. Writing. I write for His glory. My friends. Like-minded, authentic, praying friends who want more of God and want to grow together, share His insights together. Creating in nature and art. To use the gifts He's given me and keep active, to see the beauty of His promises and know His grace when I seek Him and spend time being still, listening to His passionate, love-filled, guiding whispers, His wise leading. 

Oh, and then there are those butterflies. My heart's passion is for God and from it flows the life-giving passions that I pray reflect Him in all He gives me to do, to be in this world for His eternal Kingdom. That is worth guarding and protecting until the day He takes me Home.  ♡


Heavenly Father, thank You for giving us both a brain to think, to choose, to know, to reason with. Thank You for giving us a heart, our emotions, to feel love, pain, forgiveness and grace. With both of those, sin entered the world and my own life. But because of Your own plan, and Your own love, You--The Creator, the two are connected. Love and Wisdom from You are life-sustaining and eternity-giving. Without Your sacrifice,Your grace, worldly passions disappoint, end, change and/or keep us spinning on a hamster wheel with no hope, no eternal purpose. Thank You Lord, that You are a passionate God for us, so passionate, You gave Your only Son so that I can be full of purposeful passion for more of Your own heart and have a passion for others. Help me Lord to be the best reflection of that passion, even and especially when my own emotions are challenged and my mind is drifting. May You guard against my heart and my brain from receiving messages of doubt and fear, for they are not from You. How thankful I am to be a child of God because You chose to be passionate for me. Amen.