Sunday, July 26, 2009

Simple Pleasures

If you wish to read more Spiritual Sunday posts, go to Spiritual Sundays.

My husband Joel has been home resting while he goes through the first few weeks of treatment for chronic Lyme Disease. Being out in nature is very healing for him, so he is spending a lot of his time sitting on our back deck or front porch.

Just this past week Joel was reading on the back deck when he noticed a hummingbird flitting all around the yard. Soon it found its way up onto a branch of our locust tree and he saw a very tiny nest in the tree. With our camera he was able to zoom in on the nest and watch the female hummingbird sit on her eggs. (this photo is magnified 8x).
Joel has spent a great deal of time observing and taking several photos of our resident feathered friend. What joy this tiny little bird has brought into his life during this difficult time. A true gift from a loving God.

Dear Lord,
We are giving thanks today for bringing us joy through nature, and for the simple pleasures that restore our balance and bring healing into our lives. Let us never tire of being a gentle observer of all that you have created.
In Jesus name,

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Leap of Faith

It is Spiritual Sundays time once again. A time to share our faith with others. Speaking of faith, I would like to share a few words by author Elizabeth Gilbert that has given me pause and a deeper desire to share God's love and gift of salvation with others.

"There is a reason we refer to 'leaps of faith' ~ because the decision to consent to any notion of divinity is a might jump from the rational over to the unknowable....If faith were rational, it wouldn't be by definition, faith. Faith is belief in what you cannot see or prove or touch. Faith is walking face-first and full-speed into the dark. If we truly knew all the answers in advance as to the meaning of life and the nature of God and the destiny of our souls, our belief would not be a leap of faith and it would not be a courageous act of humanity; it would just be....a prudent insurance policy."

The entire 11th chapter of Hebrews speaks on faith, but today Hebrews 11:1 comes to mind for me. "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for, and certain of who we do not see....

Thursday, July 16, 2009

A Firm Grip

For the past 25 years I have lived with chronic illnesses. Two years ago my world shifted off its axle when I was told I had Late Stage Neurological Lyme Disease that had gone undiagnosed for 23 yrs. After 2 years of treatment progress has been made, but my doctor tells me I will be fighting this for the rest of my life along with CFS and other illnesses.

In early June of this year my husband, Joel, was also diagnosed with Neurological Lyme Disease. His illness probably dates back 10 years when he was fighting a mysterious sickness for 6 months that was labeled “Post Viral Syndrome” due to all blood tests being negative. Like me, no one ever checked for Lyme at the onset of our illnesses.

We are stunned and finding all this difficult to grasp. Joel is Senior Pastor of a larger congregation and due to my health issues he commutes to work an hour away. He is also my caregiver as I am housebound and mostly live my life from my sofa sanctuary. Our world has been turned upside down and at times I find myself worried about how we will get through this turn of events.

The morning after Joel’s diagnosis God comforted me with the familiar words of Isaiah 40:28-31.

“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is an everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary and His understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, the will walk and not be faint.”

As I clung to these verses and prayed for God’s strength, I picked up The Message to read a different translation, and my eyes were drawn to Isaiah 41 where God is speaking to Jacob.

“Don’t panic. I’m with you. There is no need to fear for I’m your God. I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you. I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you………….That’s right. Because I, your God, have a firm grip on you and I’m not letting you go. I’m telling you, don’t panic. I’m right here to help you.”

It became very clear to me that God was in the midst of our situation, and He wanted to reassure us that we could rely on His promises to be with us.

God being such a loving God, has continued this week to remind us of His promises in Isaiah through devotionals and a sermon I listened to live at Saddleback Church, where Buddy Owens spoke on “desert experiences and how God meets us in the desert, giving us the strength we need to walk through them. He also promises a place of spiritual growth and God will be glorified in it. Isaiah 40:3-5 gives us that promise:

A voice of one calling: In the desert prepare the way for the Lord……And the glory of the Lord will be revealed and all mankind together will see it. For the mouth of the Lord has spoken”.

We do feel we are going through a wilderness experience, but we have already found “streams in the desert” that God has provided which are nourishing us along with way. Joel’s gift of paid medical leave, a wonderful Lyme specialist, an allergy practitioner who is helping us heal, encouraging and faithful friends, my blogging and support groups who understand the journey, and the prayers of our family and friends have all nourished and strengthened us. We are truly blessed.

Throughout all our lives, there are times when we all have desert experiences. We don’t know what the future holds for us, but we do know WHO holds the future. And we also know who holds us in His firm grip. He has promised to not let go. He has promised to give strength to the weary and power to the weak. He will meet us in the desert and not only will we soar on wings like eagles, but God's glory will be revealed!! We are blessed.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Spiritual Sundays

Lately I have been spending quiet time with my Lord and visualizing a garden where I go to sit quietly and wait for God to speak with me. The first time this happened the words "be content" came to mind but I did not want to hear them. I was not content with our current situation and wanted things to change. The second time I heard the words, "Be willing".......Willing, Lord? Willing to be, to do, what Lord? Willing to be content? Today as I visualized sitting in the garden the words that came to mind were..."be silent".

I think know what God is trying to tell me. I need to be content with our circumstances, be willing to let God's plan unfold before us, and accept our tomorrows ...but God, this is not what I had planned! Be silent.

And with the words, be content, be willing, and be silent, Psalm 46:10 comes to mind:

"Be still and know that I am God."

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Friday, July 3, 2009

Encouragement Award

Jan Lyn over at Off The Beaten Path awarded me this "true heart award".

"Those who receive this award are of the sweetest nature. They are kind, friendly, funny, loving, eager to share their love for Jesus with others, and brave in their efforts to reflect Him to this darkened world. They are the kind of folks you're blessed to know, even if it's only in the bloggy-sphere."

How nice of you Jan Lyn. Thank you so much for thinking of me. I would send it right back to you. A blessing you are to everyone who visits you! I would also award this to Lisa at Lisa Buffaloe. I know I can always find serenity, hope, and encouragement interwoven within their love for the Lord expressed in the written word.