Quiet Moments can Change Your Perspective

It’s been a busy few months! I haven’t done much writing and honestly I have rushed through my morning quiet times, prayed on the run and kept a pace that if I am honest; I am just not comfortable with how it’s been going. Lots of changes, transitions and at least one or two small meltdowns and today I found myself sitting quietly in the early morning pouring my heart out to the Lord. I began prayer time as I normally do. Acknowledging who God is and sharing my gratitude, praying for family and others. Then I was reminded of Saturday. Saturday was a good day, informative, helpful even. It also presented me with a challenge for which I wasn’t sure I was ready.

Long story, short: I spent some time bouncing it off my sweet and patient husband, questioning my reluctance about the challenge and vocalizing some sentiments about my life that I have scarce allowed myself to consider and have never shared out loud. Needless to say, it was emotional but was also healing. Honestly, they were the type of things I would only share with the Lord during my prayer time. As I spent time with Him this morning, I realized I had never entirely shared those things with God; so I did. It was very cathartic and healing. Then, as I opened my Bible and wondered where I should read this morning, Psalm 113 came to my mind. I think someone had mentioned it yesterday, so that is where I began. What a beautiful reminder of who He is and how much He loves us!

Psalm 113: 1-9 (Message)
“Hallelujah!
You who serve God, praise God! Just to speak his name is praise!
Just to remember God is a blessing—now and tomorrow and always.
From east to west, from dawn to dusk, keep lifting all your praises to God!
God is higher than anything and anyone,
outshining everything you can see in the skies.
Who can compare with God, our God, so majestically enthroned,
Surveying his magnificent heavens and earth?
He picks up the poor from out of the dirt, rescues the wretched who’ve been thrown out with the trash,
Seats them among the honored guests, a place of honor among the brightest and best.
He gives childless couples a family, gives them joy as the parents of children.
Hallelujah!”

God is gracious and loving, and He is enough! He can handle our concerns, our frustrations, and even our meltdowns; small or large. In fact, I truly get the idea that when we do share them with Him, it is almost as if He says, “I know, thank you for being honest and sharing them with Me. I knew you were struggling and longed for you to tell Me; to share your heart and your concerns with Me. Now, we can begin to work it out.” God made each of us to be unique, one of a kind. We all share commonalities, but we are each uniquely created and uniquely gifted with the capacity to grow and change when yielded to Him. As we grow and change in Christ, He will take us from glory to glory.

“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. ” (2 Corinthians 3:18 ESV)

 

 

Then my eyes crossed the page to Psalm 116. As I read this encouraging Psalm, my heart was full! He hears our voice and our supplications. He inclines His ear to his children! Yes, even when we feel the cords of our circumstances, challenges, or even death choking us; when in sorrow and distress, He knows. He cares! We can always cry out to our Heavenly Father! He hears us; He answers!

David describes God this way: “I love the Lord because he has heard
my voice and my pleas for mercy. Because he inclined his ear to me,
therefore I will call on him as long as I live. The snares of death encompassed me; the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me; I suffered distress and anguish. Then I called on the name of the Lord: “O Lord, I pray, deliver my soul! Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; our God is merciful. The Lord preserves the simple; when I was brought low, he saved me. Return, O my soul, to your rest; for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you. For you have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears,
my feet from stumbling; I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living. I believed even when I spoke: “I am greatly afflicted””
(Psalm 116:1-10 ESV)

In Him, may you find grace, encouragement, and peace as you go through your day!

Trusting God

Today, actually yesterday now, has been a gloriously challenging day! Why? My husband and I had to say goodbye to our furry friend of almost fifteen years from 444 miles away. Now as the day has closed and I prepare to close my eyes, I find my mind running at warp speed as my body begs for rest.
I find myself tracing God’s hand through our experience and realizing now more than ever that when I can not understand the reason things happen the way they do that God is still in control, and He always works things out for our good and His glory. I also find myself wondering why this lesson is one that it seems to keep coming back around.
Just a brief backstory, Cinnamon (our Pomeranian) came to live with us as a wee puppy in September 2001. She was quite precocious and lovable at the same time! Eighteen months later, a quieter more sedate Abby joined our family and Cinnamon adopted her as her baby. This past fall we had to limit Cinnamon’s use of our deck and stairs due to failing eyesight. Being a creature of habit, she, however, decided to sneak away and go up the stairs. She misstepped which resulted in a very long fall for such a small dog. We were surprised and pleased when she recovered as well as she did.
Fast forward to a couple of months ago. We were invited to participate in a powerful leadership conference along with a group from our church. As we began to make plans to attend, Cinnamon’s health deteriorated. The vet exam determined she had an infection, but her heart was strong, and she had a lot of life in her. Again, she seemed to rally. We knew she would need more personal care than a kennel would be able to give if we were to go out of town for the conference; so we prayed “Lord if you want us to go, help make provision for Cinnamon’s special care needs.” If He opened a door, we’d go; if not we would go another time.  He opened a door, and we knew she and Abby would receive wonderful care.
Yesterday (Thursday) the conference began and back home, Cinnamon began a battle for every breath. Our sweet friend called about an hour before it began telling us Cinnamon had taken a turn for the worse during the night. She compassionately took care of Cinnamon for us for the next three hours. Sadly, we have to say goodbye to our long-time companion.  We find peace from knowing our friends were lovingly caring for her. Even so, I wonder about the timing and wish we had been there for Cinnamon; not that it would have changed the outcome. In fact, God in His wisdom may very well have orchestrated the timing. Perhaps it was to help ease the blow of the loss a beloved pet or to teach us to be gracious and accept the help of others to carry our burdens. Is it possible it is just life, and it was not part of His plan? I suppose that is possible as well.
Whatever the case, I am reminded that God is faithful, and He is good even when circumstances would challenge that in our human understanding! He redeems our lives and our circumstances when we allow Him to. There will be no more questioning or blame here. If or when regret at not being there tries to creep in, I will rest in Him and not in my understanding. I resolve to trust Him and His timing beyond my understanding and in knowing this, I will find peace as my heart grieves. I will choose to remember that He is faithful and He is my peace and my joy even in the midst of troubling or hard circumstances.  His grace is always sufficient!!

May you also find in Him grace, peace, and joy! Blessings to you this day!

Be Encouraged

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This scripture is one of hundreds of favorites! It is a reminder that our Heavenly Father does not miss a thing. Just as He chose Israel, we are also told we are chosen. He has a purpose and plan for every one of our lives but when difficulties and trials come along we can forget. Sometimes we will wonder; does God see what’s happening? Does He hear our cries? At times it may feel God is far off and distant; He is not! Sometimes when He is silent we can wonder if God is still near; He is! More times than not when I feel any of these, the truth is I am tired or impatient. I want things to happen in my timing rather than in God’s timing. I want to know what I don’t know about the situation. I just want the difficulty to be over.

Thankfully, God knows our hearts. He also knows we are humans and we have weaknesses. Psalm 3:14 reminds us, “For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.” His Word also reminds us that even when we are faithless; He is faithful. Paul told us in 1 Coriinthians 12 that God’s grace is sufficient and in our weaknesses, He is strong! Jeremiah 29:11 and the verses following are a great reminder that our Father knows us; He loves us. God has good plans for us and for our future! He’s not sitting up there idle even when it might seem that way to those of us down here. His timing is perfect and God is always working things out behind the scenes. Romans 8:28 tells us that God works all things for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. Notice it did not say all good things but that all things (even the bad things) can be worked for our good and His glory.

We will always have trials and troubles as long as we walk this earth BUT God is able to help us whatever comes into our path, if we are patient and allow Him to work. In the end, He will redeem it and use if for our good and His glory. Does that mean we will like what we sometimes must walk through? No! What it means is we will not have to walk through it alone and He can and will redeem it and use it to refine us into a better person in the long run. It may not be in our time frame, but it will happen in His perfect timing. I can say with complete honesty, every trail I have struggled with (in hindsight) has worked to make me who I am today. There have been many struggles that I just wanted to go away. There have been great, seemingly senseless losses of loved ones. There have been trials that if you’d asked me then my remark would have been, “I will not survive this!” Do I want to repeat them? NO! I can say with all certainty and confidence looking back on those times that I NEVER walked alone even when it felt as though I did. God never abandoned me even if it felt like it. Lastly, everyone of those experiences have culminated in who I am today and have solidified my faith; taught me to face my fears; and given me hope to go forward and walk this path no matter what the world or the enemy throws my way!

Our God is faithful! He will never leave or forsake His child! Feelings lie and say He has, but He will not!

Courage to Remember and Not Draw Back

Greetings, 
      I am sad to say it’s been quite a while!  Normally when I write, it is about something I feel that God is teaching me or what I am learning as I walk through an event or situation in my life. Lately, I have been in a weird place and I just could not figure it out or even define it. In my estimation it made no sense.  Perhaps the reason It has been so difficult to define is because the basics of my life are pretty good. God has been gracious, merciful and loving to me; my marriage seems to be better that ever; I have a great family, wonderful adult children, and the blessing of seven super cool grandkids not to mention extended family and wonderful friends formed over the years. For all this I am deeply grateful!!
 
     After some avoidance, in the way of reading mind-numbing fiction to escape reality; some mild retail therapy and much contemplation, soul-searching, praying; and just a minute or 129,600 to actually put it all together and figure it out; I have determined that my heart is broken!  Yes, my heart is crushed!!
 
     I don’t know if you’ve noticed or experienced this, but it seems the last few months everything is speeding up. Time seems to evaporate right in front of my face. The world seems to be spinning faster and changing at extraordinary rates. Fighting in the Middle East, Christians being martyred for their faith, earthquakes, jail breaks, senseless murders, child abuse, spousal abuse, humans being abducted and trafficked and harmful addictions of every kind. Let’s not even get into all the political news and the warring between people groups. 
     
     We have gone from a place of live and let live allowing each man to be responsible for their own beliefs and actions; agreeing to disagree civilly and continue to treat each other with respect and love. Now it seems the majority or at least the vocal majority have adopted the ideology that if you are of a differing opinion that me, you should be trampled and some believe eliminated. Any differing opinion now indicates in the eyes of many that the person not only fears you but also hates you and therefore is a criminal and deserves to be punished by whatever means the offended one deems appropriate. This is truly sad!  In the effort for every people group to be treated ‘fairly’, special privileges are granted for one that in turn minimalizes the other or squashes their voice.  In the end, everyone is hurt. How would Jesus respond?  
 
      Did I say I am heartbroken?  Particularly close to home is the political correctness of attacking people of the Christian faith. The thing is, if you happen to be in the boat with me, it should not come as a surprise…Jesus plainly said that those who choose this life will be mocked and hated because of Him; Jjust as they mocked and hated Him.  Will we respond as He would?
 
      What was once considered good, wholesome and right is somehow becoming classified as evil, offensive and is villainized; conversely, many things that were once kept secret because they were considered harmful, dangerous, and wrong are openly celebrated. Seriously, one look at headlines, social media and other media outlets is all it takes and it’s not just the big stuff. Again, the Bible prophesied that this would happen, we should not be surprised.  
 
      Here is where  courage to remember comes in, bet you were wondering if I’d ever get around to the point of the title…
 
 
Hebrews 10 tells us:
       “Remember the earlier days when, after you had been enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings. Sometimes you were publicly exposed to taunts and afflictions, and at other times you were companions of those who were treated that way. For you sympathized with the prisoners and accepted with joy the confiscation of your possessions, knowing that you yourselves have a better and enduring possession
So don’t throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you need endurance, so that after you have done God’s will, you may receive what was promised. For yet in a very little while, the Coming One will come and not delay. But My righteous one will live by faith; and if he draws back, I have no pleasure in him. But we are not those who draw back and are destroyed, but those who have faith and obtain life. (‭Hebrews‬ ‭10‬:‭32-39‬ HCSB)
 What is the cure for a broken heart?
 
 Remember!
 
     You have been enlightened…You choose a new way in Jesus.
 
     You have been through struggles before!
 
     It’s not your first time in tis place and most likely not your last…
 
     Choose joy; even during these times, find Joy in Christ as your refuge!
 
     Hold tight to your confidence and find that confidence in Jesus Christ and 
          God the Father through the power of the Holy Spirit!
 
     You may struggle and suffer for a short while here, but you will receive a 
           greater reward according to His promises!
 
    He is coming back, and He is victorious! Revelation 5:5
 
    We who remain faithful share in that victory.
 
    He takes pleasure when we do not draw back.
 
    We obtain life when we refuse to draw back!
 
   Lastly, Remember what Jesus said…
Matthew 22: 37-40 Jesus said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them.”
May His grace and peace be multiplied to you!!

Wonder of Wonders

Lord my God, You have done many things—Your wonderful works and Your plans for us; none can compare with You.  If I were to report and speak of them, they are more than can be told. Psalm 40:5

     Oh how wondrous that  God seeks out opportunities to develop in us an intimate relationship with Him. Have you ever taken a trip through the Bible looking at the back stories of all the ‘heroes’ and ‘heroines’?  The one thing they all have in common is that they were totally human; flawed; made mistakes; made dumb decisions; and they had times of doubt! Basically, they were very much like everyone of us. God still sought them out and He loved them greatly. God did not give up on them when they floundered; He remained faithful to them even when they failed! This is proven true from cover to cover both under the old covenant and in the new. His Word, from beginning to end is a great love story. From creation, He has lovingly sought after us, pursued us. We may get lost in all the struggles, battles, history and fail to see the gentle thread of His pursuit of mankind but it is always there weaving it’s love story. Many times we get focused on the story and miss God. Some of us question why God acted as He did; question His motives, His kindness. For example, why did He allow a people group to be destroyed or enslaved? We often fail to be objective or see the whole picture but only see from our human perspective and understanding.

  • For example, when I was a fairly young girl my Mom took me to see Gone with the Wind on the big screen. I may have been about seven or eight. First, to be clear, I am in no way comparing any character in the movie to God but my focus for this purpose is how we can get so focused on the story, whether our own or someone else’s, that we fail to see the whole picture. My take away from Gone with the Wind as a small girl was this: Rhett Buttler is a giant monster! He rejected his wife, pushed her down the stairs, hurting her and loosing their baby, and killed his little girl Bonnie Blue. He was a monster and I hated his character. My opinion was framed by my young mind and small understanding. I did not see the big picture, I only saw the most obvious problems and those weren’t seen from a place of understanding. I felt sorry for Scarlet, not seeing the part she played in how her life was going. I was crushed about Bonnie Blue and if he hadn’t bought her the pony and encouraged her in her riding, she would have lived. I loved Melanie’s character, she was so gentle and sweet.  Then I watched it on T.V.  As a  young woman, my  perspective changed pretty dramatically. I could see Scarlet’s flaws and how a good bit of the things that happened to her were related to her own behavior. I saw Rhett in a slightly different light and realized he was not all bad. Some of his actions were out of hurt and rejection. I saw his love and dotting with Bonnie Blue. I was able to see that sometimes Melanie’s sweetness and kindness was actually indulgence that in time caused her pain and grief. Some would note it as weakness rather than indulgent love for her friends and family. Everything looks different, when you see it from a different perspective and I bet if I rented it today, my perspective would be different from the last time,

Now, back on topic. 

       A good example of God’s pursuit of people is Abram (later Abraham). Abram lived in an area where it was the practice to worship false gods, yet Abram did not worship the gods of his family and God was pleased with this. God called Abram to leave his hometown and to go to a place that God would show him. Abram agreed. He set out with blind faith in God and followed His request. Abraham walked in faith with God and is listed as a hero of faith in the book of Hebrews. He listened to God and was very obedient to God. Abraham is well know for his faith in Christianity, among the Jewish culture (his own people) and even in the Muslim culture. Abraham is a famous Bible character; he was also human. He had fears and doubts, at least where man was concerned. Just one example:  not once but twice, out of fear he said Sari (Sarah) was his sister, not his wife. Because of this, the king he feared and his people experienced punishment because of the Kings interest in Sarah.  My, point? Abraham’s mistakes did not stop God from pursuing him and having a relationship with him. It did not hinder God’s plan or negate God’s promises to Abraham.

  • God still made Abraham a great nation!
  • God still blessed Abraham!
  • God still made Abraham’s name great!
  • God still made Abraham a blessing to others!
  • God still blesses those who bless Abraham’s descendants!
  • God still curses those who curse Abraham’s descendants!
  • Jesus was was brought forth through the seed of Abraham!
  • Today, in Christ, we are considered the seed of Abraham!

     God never failed Abraham or his descendants. God kept every promise! God’s ways are wondrous and so much higher than ours! His love is a pure love that never fails even when we mess up. It is said by some that even our failures and sin cannot disappoint our God because He is all-knowing. Before we were born-before the foundation of the earth, He knew us. All our days were written in His book before one of them came to be. Psalm 139.  Wonder of wonders, He desires us, chooses us. He loves us, He forgives us and makes us His own. He is ever faithful. Even when we cannot see or understand His ways and His purposes, He has a plan and it is a good plan. We may question it’s goodness or His goodness because we just can’t see or understand the bigger picture. Lord, we do believe, please help our unbelief!  Please give us eyes to see and ears to hear the wonder of wonders, Your amazing love for us!

May His grace, peace, love and joy overwhelm you this Christmas and New Year!

Days of Grace-Day 20

      Grace, defined as unmerited favor by some; a gift of something we did not earn or deserve others will say. A little surfing the net, here are a few of the definitions I found:

  •       Beauty of Form
  •       Good Will
  •       Favor rendered by one who need not do so; indulgence
  •       To give beauty, excellence or charm to
  •       Divine love, protection; freely given
  •       Excellence or power granted by God
  •       Effortless movement
  •       A condition of protection or sanctification by the favor of God
  •       Reprieve, pardon
  •       Mercy

      It has been twenty days since I felt challenged in my spirit to study this word grace.  Many people of faith observe Lent each year. Lent is a forty day period leading up to Easter, the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the tomb.  According to About.com Christianity, it is a time of “fasting, repentance,  moderation, and spiritual discipline” that is observed by some but not all Christians. I was not very familiar with Lent though I had heard numerous friends over the years talk about giving something up for Lent or fasting.  Being curious, as it approached and I was around their conversations, I studied the concept. As I said earlier, I felt a still small challenge to focus each day on Grace. As it happened, when I looked at the calendar it was Ash Wednesday, which is the traditional starting day. I counted the days and determined it would be forty-five days and then Easter. So here we are on Day 20.  So far it has been an interesting journey for me and hopefully for those who have been walking it with me via this blog.

      Today’s grace verse comes from Acts 11: 23. On day 18 and 19 we looked at Stephen. After his trial and sentence, he was killed and persecution broke out among the followers of Christ’s teachings. Despite persecution, the church grew in strength and number. There also arose some confusion about the differences between the Jewish believers and the Gentile believers that were coming into their fellowship. Peter had a vision in chapter 10. Actually, he had it three different times.  Peter was perplexed and just after the last vision, some men came looking for him. They had been sent to Peter by a man named Cornelius so that they could request that he come to Cornelius’ home. Cornelius was a God-fearing centurion and a gentile (those who were not of the Jewish nation).  Peter accepted his invitation and went to him; there Peter told Cornelius and all his household and people about Jesus.  The Holy Spirit moved in power and they all believed and received the Holy Spirit. Next they were all baptized and this was the beginning of the gospel going out to the gentile nations.  Their cultural difference is what began the confusion previously mentioned. Questions over whether or not they were free to just follow Jesus or would have to conform to the Jewish traditions as well were the topic. Peter returns to Jerusalem and hears about the questions and concerns. Peter tells them all about his visions and all that had happened while he was with Cornelius. He told them how the Holy Spirit had moved in power and how they had received the Holy Spirit and then requested to be baptized right away. Peter said to the Jewish believers, “Therefore if God gave to them the same gift as He gave to us also after believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God’s way?”  When they heard this, they quieted down and glorified God, saying, “Well then, God has granted to the Gentiles also the repentance that leads to life.” Acts 11:17-18  This ended the confusion and questions from within  for now but the persecution from outside continued. The believers were now scattering because of the persecution of the church. Some scattered to Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, speaking the word to no one except to Jews alone.  Others went to Cyprus and Cyrene speaking to the gentiles (Greeks) preaching the gospel of Jesus.

Acts 11:21-23  (NAS) “And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a large number who believed turned to the Lord. The news about them reached the ears of the church at Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas off to Antioch.  Then when he arrived and witnessed the grace of God, he rejoiced and began to encourage them all with resolute heart to remain true to the Lord.”

      Because of the work of the Holy Spirit, the obedience of Jesus,  and  gracious hand of His  Father; salvation, freedom, healing and deliverance was not just for the Jewish people but for all people. Secondly, due to the persecution many went out from Jerusalem into different areas spreading the word, remaining faithful to God and bringing many people to the realization of what was available by living a life for Christ. Once again we see the Grace of God abounding in His people lives even in the middle of trials and struggles. Stephen paid a high price but he graduated into God’s presence. Persecution came and caused chaos and havoc, yet if we look closely… We have seen examples of good will, Peter going to Cornelius. Possibly, that would even be considered indulgence; favor rendered by one who need not do so…but God. We see divine love and protection as people leave their home and are scattered. We also see excellence, power granted by God in the movement of the Holy Spirit. There is good will, mercy and reprieve handed to Cornelius’ household and to all the gentile people. We see God’s grace extended, His kingdom expanded and His glory revealed to all people and it is marvelous in our sight!

Grace and peace to you!

Days of Grace- Day 18

     As the early church grew, so did the needs among the people as they would in any growing population. This group of like-minded believers were made up of both Hebraic Jews and Hellenistic Jews, the difference being their language and their culture. The Hebraic from Hebrew and the Hellenistic from Greek language and culture.  The Hellenistic people were concerned that their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution and brought it to the attention of the Twelve.  They summoned all the disciples and held a discussion as to what to do in order to more effectively serve the needs of the widows and those who had needs.  Clearly this was very important, but so was the continuance of ministering through prayer and the Word. One should not be neglected for the other, so they gathered together to choose seven men full of the Holy Spirit, with a good reputation, and full of wisdom.  They would be put in charge of food distribution, serving and making sure those in need were no longer neglected.

     The disciples selected Stephen, Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas and Nicholas. Now they were set apart for this purpose by going before the Apostles for prayer and the laying on of hands. With this concern now addressed, the Word of God continued to be taught and the number of followers continued to grow in Jerusalem.

    Today’s grace verse focuses on one of these men, Stephen. We know that Stephen was one of the men chosen to oversee serving by the disciples which indicated that he was of good reputation, wise and full of the Holy Spirit. The first we hear of Stephen is in Acts 6:5 and we are told Acts 6:8: “And Stephen, full of grace and power, was performing great wonders and signs among the people.” One would look at this and believe that Stephen was a good man, living his life, serving God and the people around him, and he was. There was just one problem, some men from the Synagogue of Freedom could not bear the wisdom and Spirit of what he was speaking. They not only stirred up an argument against Stephen, they incited some people against him, drug him before the Sanhedrin and encouraged false witnesses to testify against him. Press pause on Stephen’s story…

     “Where is the grace in what happened?” I am tempted to ask. Maybe you have been tempted to ask that same question. We all have times in life when we are living the best life we know how; juggling maybe, but keeping it balanced and steady, then out of the blue a “suddenly” moment happens. One minute all seemed perfect…ok maybe that should be all seems normal and then suddenly it’s not. If we live long enough, we all have these “suddenly” moments. Some are small; others much bigger. The question is what do we do with those moments? How do we survive false accusations? How do we get past a betrayal? What do we do with a big loss; when we feel as if the world is against us; when hopelessness threatens us?  The questions are endless when a “suddenly” moment happens and the answers in that moment are few. Often we either go on blind instinct or shut down for a while until we begin to be able to process what has happened.

     Personally, I have experienced a number of “suddenly” moments, some were unexpected losses. I would love to be able to say I have handled them well  but it wouldn’t be true. What is true, however, is there was always grace because whether or not I realized it at the time God was always there with me! His Word says He will never leave us or forsake us, and His Word is truth. I might not “feel” Him there or that His grace is with me but that doesn’t change the reality. Looking back on those times, the ones best navigated were the ones that I neither shut down, nor acted on instinct, but those that I hit my knees and immediately turned to God in prayer.  There grace met me. It was the times that I immediately turned to Him being totally helpless in the situation that I found the strength to take the next breath; the next step.  Being told that my Mom had died suddenly when she was in good health and still young; seven years later to the month, my Dad gone suddenly-no major known illness-just gone in a moment; still I will say… He has never left or forsaken me.  Where He is there is grace and His grace is always sufficient!

     Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My gracious favor is all you need. My power works best in your weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may work through me.  Since I know it is all for Christ’s good, I am quite content with my weaknesses and with insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.  2 Corinthians 12:8-10

Celebrating a Blessing

  Bless the Lord, oh my soul and all that is within me Bless His holy name!! For Lord, there is nothing too big for You! You never leave or forsake us and Your ways are always good!  You have a purpose and a plan, a reason for everything that You do and it is always for our good and for our best!

   This morning I awoke from an unusual dream. I am not sure why but in the context of the dream I was very anxious and alone standing near a doorway. A strong yet ethereal hand reached out and drew me toward and then through the doorway and I hesitantly took hold and followed. At the other end of that arm was what I presume to be my Savior… the presence of total and complete love, like no earthly love was all around and overwhelming. It was a place of perfect peace, joy and total well-being, like nothing I have ever experienced. This sense carried over into my waking moments.

    As I carried on my morning, within about an hour, I received a phone call from an Emory phone number. It was my doctor with the results of a CT scan I had yesterday. A little back story, in May my primary physician had me have a test to access my heart because my parents both died from sudden heart attacks at a fairly young age.  This test resulted in finding an aortic enlargement. The finding knocked the breath out of me; I knew instinctively that this was actually what is known as an aneurysm. I also, was very aware how dangerous and life threatening this condition could be and a specialist should be consulted. I did and had additional testing which lead to the repeat CT yesterday and this morning’s phone call.       

     In the meantime, we have been praying for healing and many have joined us!  Before I go any further in my story, I want to explain my thoughts on healing and the Healer. I believe in a Sovereign God, the Creator of all that exists. He is all-knowing, all-sufficient and again Sovereign. He knows best. I fully believe He heals and not always in the same way. Sometimes it is instant, other times progressive. I believe He uses doctors if He desires and in some cases, our healing may be to enter His presence and our heavenly reward if we are His children.  I don’t believe illness is His desire for us but a result of a fallen and broken world because when Jesus walked the earth, He went about healing all who were sick and oppressed.  He desire is for our wholeness: spiritually, mentally, physically and emotionally!! He came to set us free and restore what was lost because of the entrance of sin into the earth and we have a choice to make, simply to accept what He offers or reject it. He sets before us life and death, blessing and cursing and asks us to choose life. (Isaiah 61-1-3)(Deuteronomy 13:19)           

     Today, my doctor is puzzled at the differences in the two scans. Based on his words to me, I doubt they normally see the decreasing of an enlarged aorta, but I am rejoicing. My CT results, according to the report, show the aorta at 3.8cm at its greatest dimension which he said was considered normal in some people.  I am standing on the belief that the Lord, Himself is healing this and that what began as a reading of 4.2cm has reduced to 3.8 and will continue until the artery is exactly the size it should be whether that is right as it is or a lesser measurement! I am so grateful for faithful prayer warriors who have lifted and continue to lift me up before the throne of Grace, for evidence of answered prayer and most of all to my faithful and gracious God- Father, Son and Holy Spirit; for the One who never leaves or forsakes us; goes before us; walks with us; and who is our rear guard!

     Would I feel the same had the news been different? I believe I would. Why? Because He is able to do exceeding, abundantly above and beyond all we can ask or imagine. Would I still believe in His goodness, absolutely! Why? Because He provides the availability of medical management of this problem and surgical repair options. Besides, as much as I love my family and friends and  as much as I enjoy living, loving, and serving in this life; I know Who holds my future  and life as we know it here on earth is but a shadow of the real life that awaits in His everlasting Kingdom!!