Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Another Masterpiece

We went for a walk last night, trekking nearly two miles along sidewalks within view of a lake whose name I cannot recall.  After walking our quiet river road for so many months, it was fun to shake things up a bit.   We were meeting and greeting people continually, stepping to the right so dogs and their peeps could pass by, sharing hellos and smiles as protocol or foot traffic would allow.  It was delightful!

Around halfway we stopped on a bridge to view a waterfall and beautiful sunset, where I quietly gave thanks for such a time as this.  Standing on either side of me was our oldest daughter and our granddaughter.  Two years ago this was unimaginable.  Only God.

We are once again on the road, this time waking up in Wisconsin where we are visiting our daughter Bethany, SIL Kevin, two grands, Evan and Abbi, and our grand dog Tucker.  We are nestled in their warm and inviting home that vibrates with love.  On their dining room wall mirror is written,  "Make every day your masterpiece".   It is a great reminder on how to do life.  

 We cannot make up for the years lost.  We cannot erase the countless times we were not there for our family.  The special moments, events, or "firsts" in all our grands lives that passed by while disease held us captive.  There are not enough "I'm sorry's " to cover the loss.  The whys will never be answered.  I expect we all have whys that go unanswered.  We cannot change what was.

What we can do is embrace and treasure the moments we do have.  What we can do is take every moment anointed by God and soak in it, grateful and never taken for granted.    Whether it is three generations of women enjoying a sunset,  or the everyday mundane that makes up part of living.  

This morning as I wait for others to greet the day, I am reflecting and giving thanks for yet another masterpiece.  Only God.

Monday, August 18, 2014

In Quietness and Trust

As most of you know, Joel and I were both healed from Lyme Disease and other conditions over two years ago.  Joel's healing took place instantly.  As our friend LInny says, it was a microwave healing after Joel and I watched a teaching on God's will to heal.  Some of my healing was microwave, some has been more crockpot (slow cooker) style ~ a process.  A lot of inner healing had to take place first at God's insistence.   A few symptoms remain, which I believe will also leave.  Recently one symptom I usually battle on a small scale, returned with a vengeance and has been speaking loudly.  It will remain nameless, as I don't want to shine a spotlight on it.  But suffice to say, I am so grateful for the prayer warriors who have been on their knees and standing in agreement with us, just like Aaron and Hur held Moses arms up when he needed support.  Joel and I have been praying and commanding as believers, and keeping our eyes on the Healer and His promises. We know the outcome.  We know that no name is above the name of Jesus.  The battle is won because I walk in victory.  according to His Word.  We all walk in victory thanks to Jesus.

For reasons we do not understand this battle sometimes ramps up between 12 and 2am making it hard  to sleep.  Anxiety creeps in as I remember the past and how difficult it was to deal with.  It is during these times that we put our focus on how BIG our God is and not how big our problem is.  No weapon formed against us will prosper.  

Today as we did our private study time before coming together to have devotions, Joel said to me, '"I have a verse for you!"  (concerning the symptom).  He began to read Isaiah 30:15.  As he read, I smiled and felt the love of God envelop me.  You see, this verse and I are old time friends.  It was December 13, 2012 that God first brought this verse to me.  Just one week later when I went to the first Sozo Ministry session for inner healing (as directed by God), one of the women intercessors in the session with me said, "I have a verse for you from God.......Isaiah 30:15. " I knew then that God was using this ministry for healing.  Once again this morning, God reminded me of His presence and promises.  Joel did not remember the importance of this verse for me, but God did.  Only God.

This verse is written on my blog page, and I wear it on my wrist.  I wear a bracelet made by Ann Voskamp's son Caleb that says, "in quietness and trust shall be your strength.".  It is a daily reminder of where my help comes from.  It is a daily reminder to rest in the knowing what I know that I know.  God's promises are real.  We all can lean back and rest in Him trusting when it is hard to trust.  Resting when it is hard to rest.  In the stillness we keep our eyes on Him.  Our Savior.  Our Healer.

I love how God uses Scripture to speak to us.  It is His LIVING Word.  It is a weapon of warfare as stated in Galatians.  It heals as stated in Proverbs 4 and Psalm 107.  Let us never underestimate the power of His Word in every situation, in every circumstance, in every sickness, every symptom.  Especially with the enemy.  We fight the enemy, who has come to steal, kill and destroy.  But why has Jesus come?  To give us life and to give it more abundantly.  Hold that promise tight!

We can stand on His Word in quietness and trust, knowing the same power that raised Jesus from the dead resides in us giving us the strength to prevail.  God is more than willing to remind us of His promises.  Whether through your hubby, God's written Word, or that gentle whispering Voice within.

In quietness and trust.......

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Saturday's Scribbles

We are enjoying another Saturday in yet another great week of nice weather.  I think we have only used the air conditioner 4-5 times this whole summer.  Nice!  We could use some rain, and the forecast tells us we will have plenty of chances for that next week.  For now we are enjoying the dryer heat, temps in the high seventies, and evenings cool enough to require my Woolie )wool comforter) in the early morning hours when the cool winds come in our open windows.

We have seen our mama and her two fawns this past week while walking. The triplets are no longer visible, so we are thinking one did not make it or the triplets moved on and another family has taken their place.  Joel has also gotten in a couple of bike jaunts but now that he is working he is not out on his recumbent as much as he would like.  One of the days he went biking he found an old chair and brought it home for the back deck.  Looks great with a big pot of flowers sitting on it!

We have been spending our evenings watching two conferences on healing, one which we had planned to attend in person.  We have watched a few teachings from the Voice of the Apostles conference in Florida, but find that the Charis conference speaks to us more this year.  Being they are on Mt standard time, we have been staying up a bit later which is catching up with me!  The conference ended last night so expect we will go back to our regular routine now.  We had trouble hearing the speakers some nights, so Joel hooked up a couple of old computer speakers to my laptop.  It is a blessing to have a fix-it man for a hubby.

Speaking of laptops, Joel purchased a refurbished Lenovo this week and has spent a great deal of time learning to master it.  He is the first to admit he gets a bit obsessed and out of sorts until he feels he is managing it and it is not managing him!  He needs the laptop for his new Interim.

Speaking of that, it seems to be going well.  He has been helping the secretary to learn new, easier ways of doing her job with the bulletin, etc.  We both headed over there Thursday afternoon for a few hours.  Mostly he works from home, but he will have "office hours" one day after next week. 

I found a recipe for Banana ice cream on Facebook and this week we made that.  It was pretty good considering it is made with only frozen banana slices whipped until they become soft and creamy.  We made too much though, as after a couple of days it lost it's creamy texture for a grainy one.  Good to know.

Banana Ice Cream 

A couple of weeks ago one of our dining room chairs broke for the gazillonth time so we decided to start looking for a new dining room set.  The one we have we bought 16 years ago for $180.00!  New.  Needless to say we are not finding anything like that now.  We want a good solid wood....and most of what we found cost the price of our first car or more. Yikes!  At this time we are still pondering whether to purchase a large table and 6 chairs that we use mostly when we have company, or just shelf it for now.  I am finding it hard to purchase anything since I started reading the latest kindle book I downloaded.  More on that later!

Yesterday we went to the farmer's market and picked up more strawberries.  They are sooooo good.  We like to shop with our favorite vendor, a Vietnamese family of 10 who farm south of our fair city.  The older kids help out, and are so polite and nice.  And beautiful.  All so strikingly beautiful on the inside and out.  One of the girls was telling us they lost 9/10th of their first strawberry crop due to the heavy rains that came in early June I believe.  Her words spoke loudly when she said, "But God will provide.  He always does.  Amen.
Speaking of God, I have been reading a new Kindle book, "Where The River Runs:  How A Forgotten People Renewed My Hope In The Gospel" by Kelly Minter.  It is a fascinating book about how the people she encountered along the Amazon River completely changed her life.  Three chapters in and I am having the same old feelings that come with every book I read on missionaries and mission work.  Called to be less and do more.  And oh my goodness, we are so very spoiled here in America. Here is one example:  The mission group she goes with stay on a boat that travels the Amazon.  The leader asked how many people can stay on the boat.  The answer says it all:  "Well, if they are Brazilian, 35.  If they are British, up to 24.  But if they are American? 12.  Yep.  Enough said.  Joel told me he is going to ban me from reading any more books about missionaries or the people they serve!   Ha!  It is an excellent book, laced with humor and spiritual insights.  It will challenge you and it will change you.  Great read!

So what have you been up to? 

Until next time..........

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Radical Grace In Parenting

"This parenting gig is an experiment in radical grace
and the work of every parent is
 to fully give (love) to the child. 
And it’s the work of every child
to fully forgive the parents."
Ann Voskamp

Our oldest son has a great sense of humor.  He banters with us during phone conversations and yesterday's short call was no different.    I was talking to him about his dad being "obsessed" with figuring out his newly purchased refurbished laptop.  He was spending hours to get everything the way he wanted it...feeling some sense of control I expect.  I went to bed with him on the laptop....I woke up to him downstairs on the laptop!  I expect even if it takes 50 hours, he will be bonding with that piece of technology until he feels he has mastered it.  This is typical when he is dealing with something new.

Matt's response had me laughing.  "So that is where I get it.  Hmmmm  That is what I will tell my kids.  Don't blame me, blame your grandparents!"  He went on to say, "I have come to it late in life, but this blaming the parents is not such a bad thing!"  (giggle)

I can giggle at this, not because we were such great parents, but because I know he forgives us for the mistakes we made as his parents.  That is important, not so much for us, although it feels great, but for himself.  Unforgiveness sucks the life out of people.  Whether we are dealing with parents, others or even ourselves.  Unforgiveness and the blame game may be reasonable and understandable, but it is not Spiritual.  Forgetting might not be an option, but forgiving would be a necessity.  For healing.  For yourself and in obedience to God.  He knows what He is doing, trust Him. 

And laugh.....the way our son has laughed at those traits he picked up from mom and dad and the many mistakes we made....The way he speaks, with a twinkle in his eye, of using his parents as a buffer with his own kids.  Coming from a place of grace.

"Laugh that you lived and dance that you dared
and inhale that it all happened —
and it all was grace."
Ann Voskamp

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Washed By The Water

There is a chorus that keeps running through my head from NeedToBreathe, a music group......

"Even when the rain falls...
Even when the flood starts rising...
Even when the storms come....
I am washed by the water."

Our world seems to be rocking off its axis right now. Chaos reigns.  Iraq, Sudan, Ebola, Hurricanes, floods, drought, suicide.  The headlines are screaming at us day and night and we can almost taste the fear as brokenness and calamity cross over our personal boundaries from all directions.  We can become weary of the assault.  We need a center.  We need Christ.  It takes effort, but we need to stand in the eye of the storm where His stillness steadies us as He pours out His Word like rain.

"Let me pour down my Word on you like rain"
Deut. 32:2

We need Living Water.  To be washed in Living Water.  Cleansed by His blood.  Shielded by His love.  Empowered by His Word.  Saved by His sacrifice.  Jesus.  Jesus.  Jesus.

There are times when I wake in the early hours and my mind wants to ignore the body's cry for rest.  Taming the mind can be a full time job!  It comforts me to speak scripture in the hours before dawn.  His Word poured over me like rain.  But often what lures me back to sleep is to just whisper aloud over and over....His name.  Jesus.  Jesus.  Jesus.  Setting the world aside for His name.

We are washed by Living Water.  Made clean.  Refreshed!  Made whole.  Restored!  We need not fear the world's brokenness.  We need not fear death.  We need not fear the storms.  We are washed by the Water.

Monday, August 11, 2014

What Rises To The Surface?

While in South Dakota my sister Jan retold a story I had heard before about our dad.  My uncle Carl was the sheriff of Deadwood SD back in the fifties.  I remember him as a stern, no nonsense kind of man.  Sometimes he would deputize his brother Bill, our dad, to ride along with him and help out.  As the story goes, our Uncle stopped some kids one night for mischief.  He was going to bring down the arm of the law on them but my dad, a softie at heart, talked him out of it.  "Oh, Carley," he said.  "They are just kids...let them go."

 Law and grace.

I heard another story about an upscale church where everyone dressed to the hilt on Sunday.  One Sunday a man came into the church wearing jeans, old boots, and a denim shirt.  He sat up front listening intently to the sermon.  Later the pastor received several notes speaking to the man's attire.  The next week the man returned so the pastor told him he needed to pray about how he should dress for services at the church.  The third week the man came back, dressed the same....shirt, jeans, and well worn boots.  The pastor confronted him saying, "I thought you were going to ask Jesus what you should wear here!"  The man in the jeans replied, "I did.  But He told me He had never been here so He did not know what the dress code was!"  Ouch!

Law and grace.

Joel told me a true story about a farmer who invited a new family to go to church on Sunday.  When the family arrived for services, the youngest boy told the farmer he had new jeans to wear!  The farmer quietly spoke to his own family telling them to go change out of their Sunday best into some clean jeans.  He did not want the new family to feel uncomfortable their first week at services.


Law and grace.  We definitely need both, and especially when it comes to keeping others safe, but too often we let the rules of man get in the way of the Living Grace that came to earth.  Jesus.  Remember the Samaritan woman?  Remember the healing He did on the Sabbath?  Grace.  So much grace and love.

I watch online the services and conferences that take place in Bethel church out in Redding CA.   One (of many) things that impresses Joel and I about this Redding church is that they preach so much grace. They teach, speak, live, and breath love and grace.  For real. Their focus in on bringing others to Christ.

We watch another ministry online and they speak grace, too, but they also criticize how others worship, and call the "seminary" the "cemetery".  They are very Biblically sound, but they also speak against others or make fun of other denominations.  Both speak Biblical truths and both are conservative in their thinking, but in our opinion, only one leaves their critical spirit at the foot of the cross. 

Law and grace.

It is often difficult to find the balance needed.  The law was fulfilled with Jesus and we have a new covenant to live by.  Yet Jesus gave us laws to follow too.  We need law laced with grace or grace laced with law!  We are tempted to judge, to let our critical spirit rise to the surface.  It is so easy to look down on others instead of up at Jesus.  Oh, Lord, let the love of Christ rise to the surface in us.  Hear our prayer..... and remind us to ask ourselves what rises to the surface?