Sorrow and Joy Can Dance Together

Many people ask me how it feels to have Taylor’s wife, Michelle, and friends moving on in life, marrying and having children. The answer to that is very complicated to understand and explain but I’ll try with this oxymoronic truth: In Jesus, sorrow and joy can dance together.

Romans 12:15 says, “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” Somewhere back as a little girl at church, I learned this and believe God knew one day I would need this verse impressed deeply in my heart. As I went through life, I tended to deeply feel the sorrow of others and like most, found it easy to enter into joy with others.

When Michelle, started dating one of Taylor’s best friends, Paul, this verse was again immediately impressed upon my heart. When they were engaged, we came together and all agreed to honor Michelle’s first marriage to Taylor and second marriage to Paul. In all of Taylor’s friends’ celebrations in the last five years, I have allowed myself to cry for the loss that Taylor isn’t here to celebrate with us and didn’t get to experience life events his friends can. In each instance those tears of loss were always mixed with tears of joy as I saw new life and love blooming, perfect gifts from God. More than that, I was honored and blessed to be invited into their joy and celebrations.

Recently, God took me to a new level of understanding in this truth. Paul and Michelle were blessed with a baby girl, Emma. This little angel has stolen my heart and the hearts her parents, grandma’s, and many others. She is a charmer and a flirt one minute and is not afraid to tell you what she wants the next; cute and spunky define her well. I’m also unbiased and convinced she is highly intelligent and God has great plans for her life. Watching her grow and learn is amazing. (I always say if every home had a baby in it, we wouldn’t need any other form of entertainment).

Emma Carla 20171009_094912

Last month, Paul and Michelle invited our family to join their family at Emma’s baby dedication. At this special ceremony, they did something very simple but so meaningful with a moment of silent prayer as the pastor asked us all to lift up all the couples and newborns to the Lord, asking Him to show his deep love to these children that they would, one day, receive His incredible love and gift of eternal life. As we each prayed this privately in our own words, the silence took my breath away as I felt the loving power of those prayers bringing hope and joy to our spirits.

After prayer and the parents returned to their seats, the worship team led us in a beautiful song I hadn’t heard, Reckless Love by Cory Asbury. The first line caught my heart, “Before I spoke a word, you were singing over me.” Maybe this was not the intent of the song writer, but in that moment, those two phrases showed me God preparing Emma’s life long ago. Before time began, He planned for beautiful Emma specifically to be born to Paul and Michelle with their DNA and her darling personality.  He also knew our son would be a part of their story and we would be a unique family abundantly blessed by her little life.

As I began listening to more of the song, the Lord pushed my imagination to see a bit of Heaven. While I’m not sure what our loved ones see from the other side, (Hebrews 12), I could almost see Taylor dancing around the throne of God in worship, reveling in the immense reckless love of his Creator and Savior. I could see our son smiling and looking down on us with his clear-eyed vision of truth and eternity – a bit cloudy to us on earth. He now fully understands God’s sovereign plan for all of us – Paul, Michelle, their families, Gary, me, our other kids and now, Emma. Without complicated earthly emotions, our Heaven-dwelling son gets it: God planned Emma’s life before time began and is rejoicing along with us in God’s sovereign plan. Taylor knows this new sweet life is an amazing gift that will be a joy to watch as it blooms in God’s love and blesses us along the way.

This summer, I’m looking forward to another joyous occasion as we are honored to be hosting with Gary officiating the wedding of Taylor’s closest friend, Jamison, who is marrying one of our daughter’s closest friends, Emily, in our backyard, where they all grew up with our children. I’m praying God might give Taylor a glimpse of that happy day, which he prayed for six years ago. I will shed some tears missing his presence at this new celebration but will shed even more happy tears for the new journey and new life of another couple in our story.

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Does the Light Live Past Christmas?

Christmas - New Year 2017-2018

“When you wake up every morning, aren’t you just so excited and grateful that Jesus came to die for you?” My friend, Nancy, asked me this question at a Christmas concert a couple weeks ago. She had asked this same question to a group of ladies who had been followers of Jesus for many years and they all sadly replied, “No”. I thought for a minute and replied, “Since our imperfect son went to be with God’s perfect Son, I am very grateful every morning.” But do I always live out that gratitude and excitement throughout my day?

God had already started a joy work in me over Thanksgiving as I stepped into a deeper and more intentional prayer life. However, Nancy’s question reminded me that no matter what is going on around me or if the rest of my peeps aren’t walking in joy, I don’t really have an excuse for not living a second by second life of gratitude and joy, walking with the anticipation of eternal life and an abundant life on earth.

This year I have meditated a lot on the response of the people surrounding Jesus’ birth. The Christmas story is full of wonder in all the characters, but my favorite verses in the Christmas story are of the shepherds. I love reading it in the Message as it captures the humanness of the ragamuffin characters God chose to announce it to first.

Luke 2:15-19 The Message

“As the angel choir withdrew into heaven, the sheepherders talked it over. “Let’s get over to Bethlehem as fast as we can and see for ourselves what God has revealed to us.” They left, running, and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. Seeing was believing. They told everyone they met what the angels had said about this child. All who heard the sheepherders were impressed.”

Probably tired from a long day in the fields, they didn’t just mosey on over to find the Messiah, they ran and told everyone, even amazing Mary!

My cousin, Missy, was recently doing a study on this and shared this powerfully  interesting Bible history trivia.

“Bethlehem was a Levite city and the shepherds in the surrounding area were charged with raising the “first born male lambs, perfect and without blemish.” To accomplish this, when certain lambs were born they would put them in a specific cave wrapped in swaddling clothes so as not to thrash about and be hurt. So, when the angels said the baby will be found in a manger wrapped in swaddling clothes, they knew exactly where to go to find Him AND they knew the significance of the perfect I AM being born!”

The shepherds knew they would be free from the burden of the law and it would be fulfilled in their Messiah, in their lifetime! I’m sure every day after this, they woke up, ecstatically free knowing their Messiah had come.

I am sitting here in my favorite room in my house to have one last morning with the Lord watching my Christmas tree lights. On the left is a mess on a misplaced chair, the last remaining re-positioning of my office moved to make room for our daughter to return home. Praise God! On the right are the boxes to pack the remaining ornaments away until next year and in the background, the mantel lights are not quite as perfect as they were last week, a kind of frazzled joy still shining.

I was reminded this morning as I stepped into this room that despite the messes in my life the light still dawns every day and when focused on this, the messes in the darkness are minimized. A check in my spirit reminded me of my friend’s question and prompted me to develop a constant habit to recognize this light every day in 2018, without the Christmas tree reminders. Will I let this light live through me past Christmas?

January is typically a time for us to reballance our lives, physically, mentally and spiritually. I will be taking a break from social media. My plans are to go even deeper into this Messianic Joy, getting to know my Messiah more and focus on relationships that aren’t distracted by my phone. And, I will be praying for all you, my friends and family, that the light will dawn brighter in your lives too.

If you would like to send prayer requests via Messenger, or through this blog, I would be sincerely happy to add you to my list this month.

Have a radiant 2018!

In His Embrace,

Carla

 

Because of Three Drummer Boys

Little Drummer BoySometimes God kisses us in a way that involves so many facets of our life it is hard to describe. I’ve wanted to write about this for three weeks but didn’t know what direction to go. As I’m starting this blog, the two constants I see in this story are that #1 God gives us each other to connect and lift each other up, and #2 while in that state, as we lift others up, we get our eyes off our self and new life is poured into us as we pour out to others, which becomes a circle of love that can only be explained by God.

I’ll start at the beginning…When Taylor died, my new friend and cemetery buddy, Susan, told me about her “Ryan Tree”. They set it up each year and add a new ornament in honor of their son. I loved that idea, so I bought a little “Taylor-Woodsy” tree that stuck out of a cabin and started that tradition for our family.

After four years of buying ornaments, the little tree was looking floppy with the big ornaments I chose, and I wanted to put all Taylor’s childhood ornaments on it, so this year I got a tall skinny tinsel tree from Walmart. This new shiny tree stands in our family room so everyone can see it in the busiest part of our home. Photo ornaments, and all the kids’ baby’s first year ornaments, along with Taylor’s, grace this sweet memory tree and Josie has added a couple of hers along with her candy canes, making it not just a signature of the past, but a reminder of our new life and making new memories to cherish.

In October, I hit a new low emotionally. In four years, two of my four parents and a couple friends had recently died along with our son, then in September, our niece took her life. Even with the strong faith I have, I felt helpless to do anything about my depression. I found it difficult to even pray. Trying to grow into a festive Christmas spirit with my elementary music students as we prepared for our December program, I tried to climb out of the pit I was in.  What happened next was part of the key that turned my heart around as God splashed renewed joy over my heart.

This year, my second graders are singing Little Drummer Boy in our Christmas program. As we started practicing in October, I realized I did not have a Drummer Boy ornament for Taylor’s tree. From the womb, a drummer, he used to walk around our home as a little tike, before he got his drum set, singing the same line over and over, “Rum pa pum pum, Rum pa pump um.”

Being the most logical ornament to find for him, I sat down on Ebay and began looking for our 2017 ornament. Noticing the many Drummer Boy ornaments were from Hallmark and dated, I considered all the years that might be available.

“What year should I pick?…Why not his birth year, 1989!”

Not thinking there would be a 1989 for me, I hit search and there was one! I immediately purchased it and at a very reasonable rate! When it arrived, attached was a sweet note from a woman named Sherry. I sensed from her wording, she shared my faith, so I decided to email her, thank her and tell her why this Little Drummer Boy meant so much to me. Two days later, she replied and that started a circle of prayer and love that has evolved into this blogging.

To start with, Sherry told me her husband is a drummer, making it extra special. She then explained how glad she was that we got the ornament and then briefly shared why she was selling so many items. After her husband’s job loss and the news of their almost-four-year-old grandson being diagnosed with a rare disease, she decided to sell her “new” items in their home to help pay for expenses.

I began to pray for this family and it took my eyes off my losses and gave me purpose to pray for life to be poured into this family. As I prayed for them, my prayer life began to return and I became more intentional about praying for others in my life. Into November, I found life begin to return in my heart and mind. I’ve experienced this before but had forgotten how wonderful and healing it feels to get my hands off my wounds so God can heal them as I reach my heart and hands out to others to help them.

After asking more questions, I found that this family has been through a tornado of events, literally! It started with the Illinois tornado of 2013 (the same year our son died) and progressed from there with many more major disappointments. My heart aches for them yet I sense a strength in my new friend that I know can only come from Jesus.

I’ve prayed and asked the Lord how He wanted me to help them further. While I’ve purchased another item, I decided the most logical way is to ask all my friends to pray for a miracle for them and also suggest you look at Sherry’s E bay site. Maybe there is something you need for a gift this Christmas! She sells new things at great prices and has excellent ratings, that I can attest to. Right now, she has a lot of darling Christmas items, collectibles, including Dickens Village items, and some classy shoes, clothing and accessories, plus she is adding more every week. https://www.ebay.com/sch/garsher/m.html?_nkw=&_armrs=1&_ipg=&_from=

The way God works through each of us is amazing. Sherry and her “Drummer Boy” husband sacrificed their special “Drummer Boy” ornament, not knowing how deeply it would bless me as I remembered my “Little Drummer Boy”. I got my eyes off myself and began praying which led to a deeper prayer life, which led to joy returning to my heart and life! I love how God connects us in His tapestry that only He can create!

I challenge you to look beyond your current pain and ask God who he wants you to touch next and expect something sweet!

1 Thessalonians 5:10-11 – The Message

Whether we’re awake with the living or asleep with the dead, we’re alive with him! So speak encouraging words to one another. Build up hope so you’ll all be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind. I know you’re already doing this; just keep on doing it.

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MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM THE WOOD HOME!

Hummingbird Kisses

Peggy's hummingbird photo

Photo by Peggy Ware

God kissed us in many ways in the days prior to Taylor’s burial and memorial. This excerpt from my book shows God’s compassion in that sharp immediate grief and the continued compassion with a little miracle kiss He gave me today in my dulled grief.

Friday, July 26th was Taylor’s burial and over 100 people attended. His amazing friends and brothers, those who had been his groomsmen, were the pall bearers, including his friend Trevor Powers who had quit his world music tour to attend. Such a sacrifice of love overwhelmed me. Taylor and Michelle’s marriage counselor, John, who had also married them, came home from a long trip to help with the burial and memorial. He and his wife, Pauletta, spoke, and our godson, Josh, lead us in a couple songs of worship. Deciding against a casket flower drape, we loved Pauletta’s idea to hand out red roses for people to place on the casket after they shared stories of Taylor. Many shared fun anecdote’s and touching moments that started healing in our hearts. Stories were dying down and it was evident we were going to be leaving soon.

Sitting under the canopy tent resting in the quiet for a moment, we suddenly saw a hummingbird hovering over the flowers on the casket. It looked over the span of all the people, seeming to look into our families’ eyes, then flew part way into the congregation under the tent, stopping and looking, then moving to the back doing the same before it flew off. Everyone gasped in awe with no words to respond at the precious beauty of that moment.

The funeral director, cautiously stepped up to the microphone, clearing his throat, “I never speak at memorial services, but I have to say something. In all my fifteen years of doing services at this cemetery, I have never once seen a hummingbird up here.”

We all knew it was another kiss from God.

At this writing moment, four years later, I have had a really hard time with physical grief memory. My body aches the same way it did the week our son left. The week of Taylor’s death anniversary, two weeks ago, I had not seen a hummingbird on our feeder all summer, although Angie and Josie had seen a couple. I asked the Lord if he could please let me see one sometime this year. From the next morning on, I have seen one every day. The last few days I have been sick and extra heavy in my heart. This morning, I opened the sliding door to let our dachshunds out. Sticking my head out to see what the temperature was, a hummingbird was less than two feet away from me looking directly into my eyes!  God knew I needed a big kiss today. He is so good!

ON THE BRIGHT SIDE OF THE JOURNEY

 

PERFECT SCENERY FOR IDAHO BLOG

DUSTY ROADSIDE BEAUTY

Most of my Facebook friends watched our dead van dilemma this past week at the end of our Inzane Valkyrie Motor Cycle Rally in Billings, Montana. Now the rest of the story…

After 5.5 hours of sleep in two days and eight hours of roller-coaster decisions trying to decide to fix our car or buy a new one in Billings, we headed home, a day late, to Boise in a newly purchased van. Louise, Raymond’s wife rode shotgun with me driving, and her brother-in-law, Merle, minus his out-of-order Harley (left in Billings), rode in the seat behind me. On Valkyrie’s, leading our pack, were my man, Gary, and his biker buddies, Greg, Dave, and Raymond – Louise’s husband. We were still reflecting on the bright side to our challenging previous day: My car incident, we all believe, quite possibly saved Merle from having a roadside problem or worse with his Harley.

That stressful day behind, tired, yet eager to get home and see some never-seen-by-me-Idaho scenery along the way, I joyfully set off toward Boise. Our friend Greg, an ingenious mapping navigator and adventurer chose a route that was faster and more scenic than the other Eastern Idaho highway routes available. Our drive was filled with stunning beauty and fun. Getting to know my friends better with delightful chatter was uplifting and helped the time pass.

Journeying through from Bozeman and West Yellowstone, the Gallatin River Valley and the Caribou-Targhee National Forest, we then meandered and headed towards tiny Dubois, Idaho. Soon, we found ourselves staring at a dirt road. Unsure of the trail ahead, the guys asked a passing rancher how far the road went. Still uncertain from his vague answers to their questions, we pushed on through the new adventure.

There were times I would start to grumble at the rough road worried about the boys eating dust, then I would see the spectacular scenery and divert my attitude. Despite wondering when it would end, we enjoyed the amazing God painted ranch-land and more chatter. After twenty miles of beauty mixed with dust, we stopped at the end with paved road ahead, black angus milling around the ditches. Just before stopping, we noticed two young women carrying backpacks, obviously exhausted, who were also ending the twenty-mile journey on foot. Getting out of my car, I grabbed my phone to capture the scenery I had longed to photograph over the previous three hours. We all walked towards the girls, Dave getting to them first to ask about their adventure.

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Kelsey and Chardonnay had started from the Mexican border in April and were traveling the Continental Divide up to the Canadian border! https://wanderingchardonnay.wordpress.com/ These young ladies touched our hearts in a special way as we heard their stories as they reflected perseverance and fun determined spirits. After listening to anecdotes from these precious girls, taking photos, and sharing snacks with them, we drove off, amazed at our crossing paths. As we contemplated our two-day journey, I realized if my car hadn’t broken down when it did and we had not been detained a full day, God not only saved Merle from an uncomfortable situation, but his perfect timing provided a moment in the middle of nowhere for us to meet some amazing young women accomplishing a daunting task.

When we are on the rough roads of our life journey, we wonder if times of struggle will ever end. This week he reminded me that the rough road is part of the journey and adventure but he is faithful to give us times of respite and treasures along the way.

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BEAUTIFUL ENDING TO A FUN WEEK!

Grateful for Chains?

Philippians 1:12-14 NIV

Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly.

Sitting in my hotel room, alone in Montana, this morning, Sunday, June 25, 2017, while waiting for Gary to arrive, I was contemplating working on my book, but just can’t seem to get my brain or my spirit around it. Doubting if I should even finish this book or just focus on other things and people in life, I struggle to think then pray.

Jesus, would you please direct me and show me how you want me to spend my time this morning?

Receiving word, very early today, that the sister of Taylor’s high school girlfriend was killed in a car wreck, leaving two small daughters, I wasn’t sure I could write. Tragedy hits again in the wake of the loss of my friends, Travis and Debbie, all within one month. Overwhelming chains weighing on my friends’ families.

Praying. Phone calls with just love and mourning together. Text messages of love. More tears for all.

Knowing I just need Jesus, I open my Bible, and can’t see to read, so missing a few sermons from church, I log on to my church’s website sermon audio files and try to pick one I missed. If I can’t read the Word of God, I can listen to it. Wanting to choose the most recent, instead logic (God) tells me I should pick the first one I missed, even though the title, Gospel Chains didn’t sound interesting or pertinent, since I’m not in prison. (Yes, I am dense sometimes).

Listening to Rodd Ritchie speak on our chains in life and how God uses painful situations to share his love with the world, I begin to reflect on my circumstances and was strengthened in my resolve to write to encourage others who have gone through the same things I have. While I am at peace with losing a child, and learning to have peace with a hurting grieving family, I spend tons of time in doubt about my purpose in all this pain.

Why my story; so many others have gone through the same thing? I’m not a trained journalist! Do I have what it takes? Why do I want to share this story? Are my motives right? Am I sufficiently pointing people to God? Why am I doubting Christ in me?

So, as I’m listening to this sermon, encouraging strength returns as I hear of other stories of pain where God has used tragedies to share his love – Dr. Kim from South Korea, Paul in prison, among others, friends and family my pastor knows. These people didn’t plan to share their stories elaborately, nor was it them who caused the seeds of their stories to grow in the hearts of others. They just loved and shared – period!

Each time, someone loses a loved one, my heart breaks again for them with the same pain I felt when Taylor died. While it can exhaust me at times, it is not a bad pain, but a blessing of love that I know only comes from God as his compassion must pour out of my heart into theirs. God, personally, and many others poured this same love and hope into me to prepare me for loss as I grew up and others after Taylor went to heaven, so it is a totally natural thing to pass it onto others.

Listening to this sermon, I reflected on my hope shared in the current losses of others and I also realized, how God did this again with someone who wasn’t currently hurting. Last night, I walked into the hotel restaurant alone. While I am pretty comfortable eating alone with my phone, it is usually an awkward situation for many, especially those watching us who dine solo, thankful it is not them. Another lone woman cautiously asked me if I’d like to join her. Always up for an adventure, I thanked her and moved to her table as others in the restaurant smiled watching a stranger showing kindness towards me.

We shared our vastly polar reasons for being in Montana; me attending a motorcycle club convention with my husband and she, a keynote speaker at a convention. As we talked, I could see she was an intelligent highly educated veterinary professor with logical analyses of life. I didn’t sense we shared the same faith or interests, yet we found interesting conversation as I listened, fascinated with her line of work. She calmly, yet passionately explained how her job works, caring for students working with large and small animals at her university. We discussed all my last five crazy dogs, their temperaments and maladies with humor and laughter. My potentially lonely evening turned into a fun learning experience for me with a new friend, despite our differences.

Near the end of our meal, we exhausted the animal world and moved on to our families which always leads to the passing of our son. When giving a picture our beloved children, I brought Taylor up lightly but she asked for a bit more information. Within about five minutes, I shared Taylor’s passion and hope, thus my hope and some of the good that has come out of our loss. Surprisingly, this seemingly emotionally guarded woman teared up. I was touched by her compassion, but felt I needed to stop talking about me. After a bit of silence, I asked about her family. She shared and then it was time to part ways.

Who knows how much of a seed of hope for now or in the future will take root in this woman’s life from my brief story. Throughout my life, others shared their hope in the midst of their chains and thus gave me hope, courage and strength when I needed it most. So, today, my confidence was strengthened that sharing love and hope from the chains of life with this woman, I planted a seed of hope in God in her life. God is the one who will make it grow, I just share God’s story in my life.

So, what chains in life are holding you down? Have you found purpose in your pain in sharing with others? It doesn’t have to be written in a book. Like this morning, just crying with a friend who lost her granddaughter. Like last night just mentioning a short story of hope from your life with a random stranger. For my precious friends in deep loss right now, don’t try to process what you need to do, just rest in Jesus and he will open doors for you to share as you walk this journey.

That voiced, onto writing a book about hope to share with others. I won’t worry about it being well done today, my editor and God will help with that. All this from asking Jesus to direct my day. He is so faithful…

 

Mothers’ Day Prayer for My Children

Praying Scripture Over My Children

I have learned over the 30 years of parenting that praying for my children, especially as adult children, accomplishes more in their lives than lecturing them. My prayers have not been just for salvation during their lives but for abundant life in Jesus on earth. I believe in the power of intentional prayers and have seen many answers from praying scripture over my kids.

Two friends have asked me to share my Armor of God prayer I began to pray over our kids weekly this year. So for my wonderful children, Shawn, Angie, Josie, Drew, Bethany, Michelle, Paul and their new little one. I’m praying this for you all, thankful this Mother’s Day for each of you.

I’ve included Ephesians 3:16-21 which I’ve prayed since their early teen years and had etched on the back our family bench over our graves next to Taylor’s.

Ephesians 6:10-17 NIV (Italics mine).

The Armor of God

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 

Lord I pray my children (name them) will always recognize and take hold of your strength and mighty power in their lives. I pray they will put on your full armor to stand against the enemy and his minions.

I pray they will see who is the real enemy, (not those in their conflict), and use this armor as you meant it to be used. I ask that you remind them to trust you with all you have equipped them to fight these battles. Help them know that most battles are won standing still in defense, with your armor, praying while you fight the battles for them.

14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, 

 I ask that you remind them to stand firmly with truth in front of their eyes and that your truth is not clouded by deception, desires and the world. I pray your truth will be highlighted with your glory in their eyes so there is no doubt of your reality.

with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 

I ask that you remind them of your righteousness given to them from the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross and that they walk as ones right with you, in honor as a child of the One True King.

15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 

Lord, help them to walk in your shoes ready to share the gospel of peace with everyone they meet. Whether it is in word or actions, may all those they meet sense your love and ask from where their peace comes.

16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.

As the enemy attacks and seeks to destroy and bring doubt in the trials of life, help them lift up their shields of faith with eternal unseen eyes that will eliminate these flaming arrows, knowing you will win the war with them.

17 Take the helmet of salvation 

Please let them be ever confident in the gift of eternal life which they have accepted from you. Let them always be conscious of this amazing gift and walk in the light that comes from your resurrection power.

and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

 I ask that they desire your Word and that the truth taken from your Word throughout their lives will be on the tips of their tongues as they use it in battle and share it in love with others to be able to give an answer to those that ask from where their hope comes.

Ephesians 3:16-21 NIV

Finally, Lord,

16 I pray that out of his glorious riches you strengthen my children with power through your Spirit in their inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in their hearts through faith. And I pray that they, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that they may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

 

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