Saturday, April 11, 2015

Saturday's Scribbles

It is another Saturday, and the sun is shining once again.  It has been a roller coaster ride in our corner of the world this past week with weather and with our health.  Snow, sleet, rain, and sunshine have all come to visit, but not stay long.  Today it is calm, and everything is finally returning to normal, which is really a matter of perception, isn't it.  I could reflect a long time on the definition of normal!

Last Saturday Joel was so ill, I knew it had to be God who would get him through Easter Sunday.  Well, God did more than just get him through!  Joel took 5 naps Saturday, used essential oils and aspirin and headed to bed with a fever of nearly 102, hacking, chills, aching, and just plain feeling awful.  He did ask someone to help him with liturgy on Easter since he was coughing so much, but he strongly believed he would be better in the morning.  At 4am he woke up soaked in a sweat as the fever finally broke.  It seems 4am is his time.....that is what time he woke up when he was miraculously healed 3 years ago!  The cough subsided, the fever and pain left, and the energy returned.  We were all amazed to watch him run around on Sunday, keeping the service moving, and preach a great sermon!  Only God!!!  He even went for a walk Sunday afternoon.  Yippee!!

We had a nice time with our daughter and family here.  Enjoyed being with the grands, and I loved having someone to sit with during worship.  I miss that the most on Sunday.  For dinner we had pork and ham, mashed potatoes and gravy, and fruit salad,  with strawberry shortcake for dessert.  We were able to put deck chairs out and sit in the sun, go for a walk, and enjoy the fellowship with family.  Nice.  They headed home Monday morning and we walked again, and putzed to keep from missing them, but by that night I was feeling a bit off.  Tuesday, Wednesday, and most of Thursday I was under my Woolie (wool comforter) in PJ's, going through a box and a half of Kleenix, and heading to bed by 8pm.  Friday I felt like I was coming back to the land of the living and today I am able to type sentences that make sense (giggle) and go for a short walk.   It will be warm enough to open windows and get the fresh air in and germs out.  Seriously, this has been a challenging season of sickness here and we are so over it!

Now that we have told people we are going to Gold Canyon, we are learning how small our world is as so many winter there or know others who do!  It seems half the Midwest heads to Arizona when the snow is high and the temperatures are low.  Wonder how many visitors we will have?!

Next Saturday Joel and I will be doing a seminar on healing at a Lutheran church in a small SW Minnesota town.  A lot of people in their area battle Lyme Disease and a few wanted to hear our Lyme stories of healing.  It is one of those....a retired pastor heard Joel preach one Sunday a year ago about our healing and he told his daughter whose whole family battles Lyme.  She called Joel, and then she told their pastor......he told the church council and they approved us coming.  We will have a morning session, lunch, then an afternoon session ending with a worship and healing service.  It is both exciting and a bit scary since this type of format is new for us.  We have spoken at a luncheon, and we taught a 9  week Bible Study on healing at a church Joel was doing staff support for last year.  God has given us another opportunity to share our stories and speak His Word on healing. so we will do so.   Yippee.

Someone might be thinking, "Hmmm How can they speak on healing when they both were so sick with influenza.  You may think, see, this proves God does not want everyone well....but even in sickness, we believe God wants us well.  He does not choose who will be healed, and who will not.  He does not punish us with sickness, nor put it on people so it can be used for His glory.  If that is true, why go to a doctor as that would be going against God!  We stand on what we have learned, believe, and have experienced on healing no matter what comes our way.  Sickness does not come from God.  It is the devil who has come to steal, kill, and destroy!  We live in a broken world.......  Enough preaching, now Renee......move along!

Speaking of preaching, I watched a guest speaker at Bethel this past week who made me not only smile but giggle.  She is 84 years young and was such a vibrant woman as she spoke about God's Word and the power within.  With her red hair blazing, she preached in her jeans and turquoise cowboy boots.  What a hoot!!!  I loved it....Seriously, 84 is not so old...come about Abraham and Sarah....Moses.....

I have been reading a couple of light mysteries by Monica Ferris while under the covers this week.  It is all I could manage, but it has helped pass the time and occupy my mind.  I certainly watched less TV and fewer teachings, but ramped up the praise music.  My favorite CD right now is "We Will Not Be Shaken" by Bethel Music.  How did you spend your Easter?

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

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Sometimes The "Why" Questions Get In The Way

"If asking questions does not lead you to Jesus, then stop asking questions."  I heard this quote while watching a Sunday service, and it resonated in me since I am one who is always asking the questions "Why"  Or "What"  The answers I seek in the asking, can take me away from Jesus and into myself.  I have known this, but I still struggle with the questions.  When it is God I am asking, it can become a matter of trust.  There it is again.  Trust.

When we heard this sermon online, Joel and I both thought back to a time just 7 years ago, when he went through a season of doubting God.  We had purchased a house in the town where Joel had taken a new call at a Lutheran church.  We looked for 6 months and then settled too quickly on a house that turned out to have a hidden chemical smell.  We put thousands of dollars into making it a house I could tolerate with all my allergies, and sicknesses, but I still could not live there.  We had sold our other home right away, but the deal fell through, (thank you Jesus) so we were able to move back to our old home an hour away and Joel commuted for 3 years. We had two house mortgages for 17 months. which was very challenging.  I was very ill with the Lyme and the treatments were costing us a great deal of money out of pocket.  Then we were in a terrible car accident and both of us took ambulance rides to the hospital.  Joel ended up with 6 months of chiropractic work and also having to borrow a car until ours could be fixed.  He also had emergency eye surgery on BOTH eyes in Mpls. MN 2 hours from our home.  It.  was. tough.  With the long commute, sometimes sleeping on a sofa in his office nights, taking care of a very sick homebound and often bedbound wife, doing all the shopping and most of the cooking,  and trying to manage as senior pastor at a larger congregation........he was exhausted and unbeknown to him, fighting Lyme Disease himself.

He began to doubt if God cared.  He asked God all the why questions and in the process of using his human reasoning, he began to doubt not only God's plan, but if God really existed.  He opened the door to the enemy when he took His eyes off of God.  One day as he was driving to the church he asked, "Okay, God, do you really even exist?"  As soon as he asked that question, he thought....'Well, that is dumb.  I am wondering if God exists and asking God Himself if He does!" 

The questions stopped and the doubt ended. The gratefulness began, and through 3 more very tough years where we both were extremely ill, Joel was on disability, and our days consisted of medications, herbs, hours of chair sitting, and long hours of sleep, he did not dwell on the "Why" questions.  We kept our eyes of Jesus praying and believing He would provide one day at a time.  And He did.  We can look back now and see how God wove blessings into our lives in the midst of the storm.  We can see provision, strength, encouragement and prayers from others, and healing.

Proverbs 3 tells us to trust in the Lord with all our heart and not rely on our own understanding.  There it is....our own human reasoning.  That is what kept the disciples on the Emmaus road from recognizing Jesus.  Human reasoning closed their eyes to what they were seeing before them, the risen Savior.

Not always, but often the why questions end up separating us from our Lord.  Pastor Eric Johnson says, "The space between us and Jesus gets wider when we use human reasoning"  We lose sight of Jesus. Our relationship with Jesus is more important than having the answers to all our questions.  We need to be aware that sometimes the "why" questions get in the way.  In trusting our Lord, we are more able to recognize Jesus on our own Emmaus roads.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Saturday's Scribbles

I like to start out my Saturday's Scribbles posts by talking about the weather.  We are weather nuts around here, partly because Joel comes from generations of farmers, and partly because he had his bachelor's degree in meteorology and was a weather forecaster for the Air Force back in the day.  When I was bound to my sofa with illness, I would sometimes watch the weather channel and think about all those places they mentioned.  I never imagined I would some day feel well enough to leave my home again and travel.  Thank you God.

Speaking of travel, my sister Janelle and her whole family went to Hawaii for her 60th birthday.  The family wanted to take her there to celebrate!  What a special time for them.  Joel and I have Hawaii on our bucket list.  When we came back from The Philippines we switched planes there, but we did not get out of the airport area.  With 4 kids, 2 of which were not yet American citizens, and 9 pieces of luggage  (we rode on a military plane), we spent a great deal of time going through customs!  So we would love to go back some day to see the islands.

We are at the end of Holy Week and to make it a bit more challenging, Joel and I have both been fighting sickness.  Again.  Nasty influenza came back to visit.  Joel still had services Thursday and Friday night and he will be at two tomorrow morning.  Easter is here, and worship must go on!  I can remember when he preached from a chair because he fractured his hip.....and once with a fever of 102.  I have done the liturgy for him in the past when he was fighting sickness...God always provides .....His strength and Joel's determination are a great combination, even though it has hit him hard today and we are speaking to the mountains, using essential oils, and he is drinking the tea that helps but everyone hates.  It is gingerroot, cayenne pepper, garlic cloves, lemon and honey to sweeten.  It has a powerful kick to it.  We gave it to our sick son-in-love once and he asks us if we were trying to kill him!  He had to admit, though, that it helped.

Our second oldest daughter, son-in-love, and treasures will arrive this afternoon for the weekend.  Even with sickness stinking up the atmosphere they wanted to come, so the grands could hear Papa preach before he leaves this last Interim position.  We certainly have mixed feelings as the days pass by and the end of 35 years as an ordained minister draws near.  Of course he could end up filling in on Sunday's in Arizona, but it's not on our agenda right now.

Krispy Eggs

I saw a recipe for Krispy Eggs on Facebook, so made a few for the grands.  It has been 20 years since I made Rice Krispie bars and it may be another 20!  I filled half an oiled plastic egg with the mixture and put chocolate in middle.  I filled the other half of the egg, pushed them together and held it firmly and that was it.  I removed it from the plastic and had an egg shaped bar!  Hope they taste good.  

Praying you all have a blessed Easter worshipping and celebrating our Risen King! 

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

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Who Do You Say You Are?

Joel and I were watching Kris Vallotton preach online at Bethel the other night, and he shared a story about a period of time in his life when he was going through a tough battle.  He went to speak to a person on the pastoral staff at Bethel church who listened intently as Kris poured out his heart.  When he was finished speaking the pastor said to him, "I have a book I want you to read.  It is a book that will speak to your situation."  Kris said, "I will read anything if it will help."  With that response the man gave him the title of the book, "The Supernatural Ways of Royalty".  It is a book that Kris Valloton had written himself!  Then this man said to Kris, "You have forgotten who you are.  You have forgotten Whose you are.  You are royalty.  You are a son of the King." 

This story is one I can relate to.  Over the past 3 years God has been teaching me more and more about who I am.  Whose I am.   God wants us to know who we are in Christ because.... "We will always act out who we believe we are.  .....When we know the name the Lord has given us, we can live out that identity.  We tend to reproduce what we feast our thoughts on."  These quotes are from the book.  It is sitting on my end table.

What do we feast our thoughts on?  Deep down inside who do we believe we are?  What comes out of our mouth when we are struggling?  Whose do we say we are?  T he answers are found in what God speaks over us.

Bonnie Gray began to find healing from her abusive childhood, PTSD, and the panic attacks that came on as an adult, when she embraced who God said she was.  His beloved.  She has written a powerful book entitled, Finding Spiritual Whitespace, that is impacting thousands of lives because she listened and internalized who God said she was.  She realized Whose she is.  His beloved. 

The journey is not always easy, but God does not want us to stay stuck in those places that cause us to lose sight of who we are.  Maybe they began in childhood....maybe they began with what other people we loved spoke over us as adults.  The lies whispered, the words manipulating and confusing, the emotional and physical pain inflicted.  There is so much that can come against the true identity of who we are.

Or maybe it is what we speak over ourselves that limits us.  There is a tendency out there to believe that as Christians we need to think of ourselves as lower than the lowest. That humility means degrading yourself or speaking only about what a sinful person you are.  Maybe it is time to remember who lives in us.  Who empowers us.  Who calls us His beloved.   The One who encourages us to look in the mirror and see how awesome we are because of Jesus.

Do we see ourselves as God sees us?  Sons and daughters of the King?   We are the redeemed.  We are the forgiven. We are can we not be when our Heavenly Father, the Lord Almighty delights in us!  When Jesus lives in us and Holy Spirit empowers us!

It is Maunday Thursday.  A time when Jesus brought together his disciples for the Lord's Supper. A time when the old covenant ended and the new covenant came to life with Jesus, his body....His blood shed for us.  Let us, this day, remember who we are because of Jesus.  Let's remember Whose we are.  Sons and daughters of the King of Kings and Lord of Lord!  To God be the glory.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

He's Got It Covered!

"In quietness and trust shall be your strength"
Isaiah 30:15b

I wear a bracelet that has the same words as above engraved on it.  I put it on about 15 months ago and it is a constant reminder of my need to trust His plan for my life and remember that when I rest in Him I am strengthened. The title of my blog is yet another reminder.  I seem to need more than one! 

You see, I like to have the illusion that I am in control of my life.  It is an illusion, you know.  Life happens to us on a daily basis, with or without our consent.  No matter how hard we try, we are apt to run into a few storms while sailing along the water in our cozy craft. Not our plans, but living in a broken world makes for a few challenges at times.  Whatever we are facing, we can trust God to be in the midst of it all with us.  We can trust He will work out all things together for good, especially when we get out of the way and trust Him to steer our boat.  Reminds me of the song Carrie Underwood sang...."Jesus take the wheel"!

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. 
 In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight. 
 Indeed, do not rely on your wisdom, fear God and stay away from evil. 
Then you will have health for your body and healing for your bones and nerves."
Proverbs 3:5-8
I confess, in some areas of my life trusting God takes effort.  I like answers to all my questions, and I like the plan laid out before me like a map well marked from one destination to the other.  Which brings up our move to Gold Canyon.  To be truthful I don't understand it all.  I don't understand how when visiting there we could feel like we had gone home when it is so far from our family.  I don't understand why God would send us, like Abraham and Sarah, into the desert to a new land.  The path does not look straight when I apply my own wisdom.  Nope.  Sure, it is a great place to visit.....especially in the deep winter of the Midwest.  But asking us to pack up and move there seems a bit radical.  Like Indiana Jones we are being asked to step out into what looks like thin air.  Remember that movie?  Each step he took revealed the invisible path across the ravine.   We believe each step we take forward  will make the path clearer. 

People have questioned our decision.  People have questioned whether we are truly hearing from God.  They have suggested we may a bit crazy believing God has said go and we are going.  Radical obedience on our part feels a bit...well, radical!  A bit west of weird....or just to the right of crazy.  I get that,  and I will tell you something else it feels, it feels kinda scary and sad.  It is sad to move so far away and leave so much behind.  But here is where we acknowledge God with ALL our heart.   Here is where we do not rely on our own wisdom as Proverbs states, but we rely on God's leading.  Here is where we trust Him.
A few days ago as we were meditating, God began to give Joel a message for me.  Here is what Jesus said...

"Trust Me, trust Me, trust Me.  Do not waiver from side to side.  I will bless you.  I am blessing you.  Trust Me, trust Me.  I love you.  I delight in you,  You are no longer a little girl.  Know that I am with you.  Papa God loves you.  Trust Him.  Trust Me.  We've got it covered.  You have passed from death to new life.  Renee, Joel's "Missy", I love you." 
The word TRUST hangs on our living room wall.  Bold black letters on wooden blocks speak to me on a daily basis.  TRUST.  We pray, we TRUST, and then we release it to God.  Trusting His plan will be revealed, His purpose will burst forth.  We trust knowing He is trustworthy, even in our pain or confusion.  Because He loves us.  Isn't that what Holy Week is all about?  His great love for us?

Are there areas in your life where you don't understand what is going on?  Are there areas in your life where you could use some answers or resolutions?  I am thinking we could all list one or two, I know I could name a few more myself.  During the storms, remember what His Word promises.  We are secure in the shelter of His wings.  Remember we are strengthened as we rest quietly in His arms and when we rest, we trust.  It all comes down to a matter of trust.  Remember, He's got it covered!
"Those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. 
They will soar high on wings like eagles. 
They will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint."
Isaiah 40:31 

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Saturday's Scribbles

Good Saturday to you!  We are finally warming up again after getting 7 more inches of snow this past week.  What is up with that?!  Come back Spring!  Come back! 

Celebrating being Lyme free!

Speaking of Spring, I enjoyed celebrating my 67th birthday on the first day of Spring.  Our house was filled with flowers!  Yay!  For my birthday I had asked Joel for some cut flowers...the kind you find at our grocery store florist shop.  Not spendy!  So, to celebrate the day the Lyme died (March 19th, 2012), Joel came home with a big bouquet of Spring flowers.  Lovely.  Then Friday he came with another  bouquet for my birthday.  A short time later a delivery man brought a beautiful orchid to the house from our oldest daughter and her family.  WOW!  Saturday our oldest son and two of our grands came for a visit and brought a lovely vase of daffodils and a sweet miniature rose plant.  So special!  The fragrance is wonderful and everywhere I turn I see signs of Spring. 

Spring has come to our house!

As I mentioned, Saturday our oldest son and grandkids Grant and Greta came for a visit.  They enjoyed a few cribbage games with Papa while I cheered them on, and then we all went out for lunch at Ruby Tuesdays.  Joel had a funeral to tend to on Friday, but several phone calls and texts on my birthday and over the weekend rounded out the celebration.  Life is worth celebrating, and so is every birthday!
Cribbage time!
Joel was so busy this week and the weather was so bad, that we only walked 3 of the 7 days.  I did walk around the house one day for 20 minutes.  That was painfully monotonous!  With the weather warming back up we are looking forward to the river walks ,again, but today we stuck to the streets and sidewalks where the sun has warmed the cement and the snow is gone.

Speaking of sun, moving to Arizona means we will not have a basement, which means we will not have a lot of storage which means it is time to purge!  I have three large tubs of pictures and picture albums I am going through first since they are out of storage already.  I spent 5 hours this week putting together a photo book for our youngest, finishing one for our middle son, and creating one for of our son Kevin in memory.  Now, to go through the thousands of pictures.......  We had a couple thousand of slides that our oldest daughter Beth and our granddaughter Abbi put on a USB flash drive.  WOW!  We can just plug it into the TV and look at those old photos/slides anytime we want to.  What a blessing...and it takes up so little space!  I enjoy having photos in my hand, but we have too many!

Yep, purging.  Packing and purging has begun.  We will take only some of our furniture, and if we have something that has not been used for a couple years it will be sold or given to charity.  How many crockpots does one person need?? 

This morning I have been watching on youtube live stream the Firelight Conference in Australia.  It still is awesome to me that we can tune in l.i.v.e. across the world and worship with others.  Teachings are available with the click of a mouse.  And I can remember when a mouse was just that...a squeaky little gray rodent you tried to avoid!

Joel and I have been asked to speak at a small Lutheran church in SW Minnesota about our healing stories and what we have learned on healing and Holy Spirit.  We will be doing a one day seminar the third weekend of April.  Exciting!

Wednesday noon some friends stopped by for lunch and a short visit.  Joel and Dan went to seminary together and we have been friends as couples ever since.  When I was so ill and then Joel joined the ranks with me, Dan would often call and give support and encouragement as needed.  A true blessing.  A true friend through the good, the bad and the ugly. 

I started reading Jan Karon's latest book but can't seem to get into my favorite character, Father Tim right now.  Too much on my mind and too much purging and sorting to do.  So, I am sticking to short stories in the Guidepost magazines as the days winds down.  What are your reading?  Has Spring come to your corner of the world?

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