Sunday, February 28, 2010

Memorial Box Monday: Out Of The Mouth Of Babes

Memorial Box Mondays were created by Linny at A Place Called Simplicity. Sharing our stories of God's faithfulness during challenging times, are wonderful reminders of God's grace in our lives. If you want to learn more about it stop over at Linny's blog. My Memorial Box Monday posts have helped me to remember God's goodness ~ His faithfulness in all circumstances. I hope they inspire you too.

This week I decided to share a story about our oldest daughter, who will turn 40 this week! When she was 5 years old we were living in The Philippines. We had just adopted our daughter, N. and she had such a severe staph infection that she had boils everywhere. Everyone one of us ended up with a boil or two of our own. Our daughter, B. had a large boil form in the corner of her eye, and it had to be lanced. The physician prepared to do this (without any pain meds) and the nurse held our young daughter down as he stuck a needle right in the middle of it to drain it, and then pack it with gauze. During this procedure B. never moved, but just lay quietly during the whole process.

When the doctor was done he asked B. ~"Didn't that hurt?"
She replied, "No."
"Not at ALL?" he asked.

She said, "No. I knew it would not hurt, because I prayed that it wouldn't."

Out of the mouth of babes. God answered her prayers and the faith of a small child not only glorified God that day, but gave witness to His love and goodness!

I have thought about what I would put in the Memorial Box I am planning to get, and I think it would be gauze. A reminder of how God answers the prayers of His children.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Trust In The Lord With ALL Your Heart

"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." Proverbs 3:5,6

I am writing about fear again this week. I have been looking back over the past few months with a questioning heart. I have been struggling with a health issue and am very worried that the slow winding path that led me to the GYN will result in serious consequences. I look back at my primary care doctor who gave me faulty information after a biopsy. I look back at the symptoms I ignored, even though I stewed about them.......still thinking I had all the right information. I think I knew inside that something was wrong, but did not want to acknowledge it. I trusted the tests, the doctor, the practitioner, and my own intuition and now am finding myself facing a medical procedure that will "tell us more". My sense of peace was destroyed when the GYN stated that the original test was "worthless" and my symptoms could be cancer. All this time later. Here I am with fear not only knocking on my door, but a sense of dismay at all the time wasted. "What if."...and "If only"....have crowded into my mind.

"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."

Unfortunately, I cannot change a thing. It is what it is, and my life is in God's hands. It always has been. Still, fear wants to come in and stay for dinner and blame wants me to beat myself up for letting fear rule in my decisions.

Scriptures have helped me cope with this trial and battlefield in my mind. Letting Satan know he cannot live rent free in my brain has helped. Learning from another blogger an affective tool for negative thinking, I have rejected Satan's whispers in my ear, and demanded he leave in the name of Jesus. Prayer is holding me in place and lest I forget, God tells me in Isaiah 41 (The Message) "Don't panic. I am with you. There is no need to fear, for I am your God. I'll give you strength. I will help you. I will hold you steady and keep a firm grip on you."

I don't know my future, but I do know who holds the future. I am learning so much on this journey already. God is teaching me to let go of my need to be in control, and to let God take the reins. He will definitely do a better job of it!

"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."
Be sure to stop over to Spiritual Sundays to be filled with encouragement and inspiration.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Thankful Thursday Thinking: I Am Blessed

So much to be thankful for here in my corner of the world. Unfortunately, my focus has been on an ongoing uterus problem which involved a enodometrial biopsy and ultrasound in December, progesterone treatment in January, and now a visit to a GYN, scheduled hystoscopy for Monday and the possibliblity of cancer due to the problem not resolving. When worry fills my mind, it is a good time to give thanks for the many blessings around me.

I am so grateful for God's guidance in this process. He has promised to be with me and not abandon me, to hear my prayers. The Bible guarantees we will have trials, but it also guarantees we will not be alone in them. I am very blessed that I can trust and follow God through the good, the bad, and the ugly. Thank you God!

I am so grateful for my sweet husband Joel who is always there for me, encouraging, supporting, praying, calming, and loving me. How blessed I am to have him in my life. Thank you God!

I am so grateful for my loving family! Thank you God!

I am blessed to have a nice home, a cozy sofa sanctuary, and a warm wool comforter to soothe my body and mind on days like this. I am blessed to be near a good hospital with good doctors, and nurses that are well informed and compassionate. Thank you God!

I am very blessed to have the prayers of so many interceding for me. There is great power in prayer! Thank you God!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Memorial Box Mondays

Today I wanted to share the story of how God brought my husband and I together. When I get my memorial box set up, I will put a small ceramic cowboy boot inside to remind me of the most wonderful blessing I have ever received from God....Have I tweaked your interest?

When I was 18 I went to Bible college about 2 hours from my hometown. During one of the weekends for families to visit, my older sister, who helped raise me, came to see me along with her good friend. They both worked at our home church together. They had taken a tour of the small campus and then met me at the commons building. We were standing on the second floor overlooking the commons area below and visiting about their tour.

My sister said to me, "Renee, we met the man you are going to marry!" "What?" I asked. My sister said again, "We met the man you are going to marry. He is such a nice young man. He wants to be a missionary and we can just see the two of you living in Africa and working in the mission field." I was more than a bit stunned and did not know what to say, except to ask, "Who is he?" Just then he walked in the door below...and my sister's friend said, "Oh there he is!" I looked down and saw Joel. Now, my first impression of Joel had not been positive......and my reply was, "He is loud and obnoxious and he wears BOOTS!" (I was a city girl and he was a country boy) They both just smiled and said, "We will PRAY about it".

Six months later we started year after that we were married. We have been married for nearly 42 years and Joel STILL wears cowboy boots! No matter where we have lived ~ in the west, midwest, or across the ocean~ whether he is at home, in the pulpit, or performing a wedding ceremony ~ his boots are always on his feet. I have come to love them along with his western hat, jeans, and denim shirts.

We like to say we were prayed together, and those who are prayed together stay together! God had a plan for good for us.....and our vows began that journey of goodness together. Because of that...and Joel...cowboy boots will always hold a special place in my heart.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Everything We Think

Because I am human and imperfect I confess...........

Sometimes I get very down on myself.....
Sometimes I find myself believing the worst about someone.....
Sometimes I find myself believing the worst about myself.....
Sometimes I let fear or anger THINK for me....
Sometimes I think life is too hard.......
Sometimes I let Satan get into my thoughts.....
Sometimes my negative thoughts push God to the side.....
Sometimes my mind becomes a battlefield.....

Do you ever have the same problem? Our thoughts are powerful in helping or harming us, therefore it is vital that we tame them. From where does our strength come to do so when our mind becomes a battlefield? The Bible says in Philippians 4:8,9 :
"Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable~ if anything is excellent and praiseworthy~ think about such things." A clear answer for us as Christians.

So when thoughts enter our mind that bring us to a place outside of God's desires for us, first of all remember the verses in Philippians, and then take to heart what Maxine says in the above cartoon....."Don't believe everything you think!"

For more inspirational posts, go to Spiritual Sundays ~ Thank you for Ginger and Charlotte for hosting this inspirational blog.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Wednesday Words of Worship

My husband just came home from church. As Lutherans we have a special Ash Wednesday service at the beginning of Lent. Communion and worship unite us as Christians at the beginning of this Holy season. Ashes are put on each person's forehead in the shape of a cross as a sign of repentence, while these words are repeated~ "Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return." These words help remind us that we are mortal and our hope is in Christ alone.

I do miss going to church. I miss worshiping with others. I miss the fellowship with other Christians. Yet, I am blessed. Yes, I may not be able to attend church, but I am blessed. I am married to the pastor! He comes home and serves me communion in my corner of the world. I am able to listen to the service on tape, and hear the familiar hymns of my past. And tonight from my husband's hands I will receive communion and I will hear the words that bring me back to the familiar through traditions well established. Words that remind me that my hope is in Christ! "Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return".

Monday, February 15, 2010

Memorial Box Mondays

Last week I started posting my own Memorial Box Mondays (A Place Called Simplicity) to share my stories of how God has blessed us, and to remind myself of God's love and faithfulness throughout our lives.

Today I am remembering a time when God's answer to our prayers was a strong NO, and how God used that "no" to bless our lives forever.

We were living in Duluth, Minnesota where Joel was a Lt. in the Air Force forecasting weather for pilots. It was 1974 and we "just knew" that God wanted Joel to apply for an early out of the military so he could go to Seminary to become a pastor. We even looked at a house in St. Paul, MN near the seminary, and planned to give the agent an offer the next week. We drove back home, and the next day Joel went in to the base to fill out papers, but the person in charge told him he could not apply for an early out because he had orders to go overseas. He was stunned! He was sent to another office to get more information, and they told he was being sent to The Philippines ~ and when he asked if it was "unaccompanied" or with his family, to his relief it was an accompanied tour. We were very surprised that we were wrong about what God wanted for us.....and that God had not blessed Joel's desire to enter seminary immediately, but we were relieved Joel was not being sent to Viet Nam as the war there was still going on. We left that summer for a 2 year tour in The Philippines. It changed our lives forever in a very positive way, expanding our world and deepening our faith. We brought home many memories we cherish, and two special blessings~ a daughter and son that we adopted while living there! I can't imagine our lives without them. God's plan was certainly best.

I will add a photo of a 1950's house to my Memorial Box as a reminder of God blocking the way for us and opening doors we could not have imagined. By the way, after we left The Philippines, Joel entered the seminary and has been a pastor now for 30 years.

Saturday, February 13, 2010


Matthew Henry was a godly English professor and devotional writer who lived over three hundred years ago. One day while traveling from one town to another, he was beset by a band of highwaymen who mugged him and took all his money. In his journal he wrote this in response to the situation.

"Let me be thankful, first, because I was never robbed before;
Second, because although they took my purse they did not take my life,
Third, though they took my all it was not very much
And fourth, that it was I who was robbed and not I who robbed."
Here is a man with a great perspective on life.
Please be sure to visit Ginger and Charlotte at Spiritual Sundays.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Thankful Thursday Thoughts

As I continue on in a CFS/ME and Lyme relapse, I am grateful for my Woolie (wool comforter) sweet caring husband, and my sofa sanctuary. I am blessed!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Memorial Box Monday

I have been going to Linny's blog, A Place Called Simplicity, for quite sometime now and I always enjoy reading the stories connected to her Monday postings. She keeps a Memorial Box filled with reminders of how God has been faithful to her and her family. Each object has a story that goes with it. One example is a toy shark that reminds her of the time she was bitten by a shark in the ocean, but survived to tell about it. Sometimes it is difficult to see beyond our current circumstances, but by having a Memorial Box filled with memories and reminders of God's faithfulness, we have a visible reminder that we can trust God will work all things out for the best.

I have decided to start my own Memorial Day Monday posts, following along with Linny and many of her fellow bloggers. Today what comes to mind is a situation that occurred while we were living in The Philippines. I will use a Matchbox car to remind me of this event. We were getting ready to go back home to the US after Joel served for two years at Clark Air Force Base, and we were trying to sell our 1969 Nova. Cars were scarce in The Philippines, so we were hoping to find a good buyer quickly. Two men read Joel's ad about the car and wanted to test drive it. He met them in the Barrio nearby and told them they could not drive it, but he would drive them around in the car so they could see what kind of shape it was in. One hopped in the front seat, and another in the back and off they went, with one man giving Joel directions to turn left, turn right, drive here, etc. At one street when they told him to turn, a voice strongly spoke in his head, saying "DO NOT TURN". Joel hesitated and the voice said again, "Do NOT turn". Joel went straight and immediately stopped in a well populated area getting out of the car. The men were visibly upset, but got out and left trying to steal Joel's calculator in the process. Joel then got back in the car and drove home. Joel heard the next day that another serviceman had been stabbed and badly injured by two men who had wanted to test his car and had him drive to a secluded place where they stole the car and left him badly injured. We knew without doubt that God had protected Joel from harm. So today I am putting a matchbox car in my Memorial Box as a reminder of God's protection...even when we don't know we need it!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Fear Not

I live with chronic illnesses and lately I have been spending a lot of time bonding with my sofa. Being in a bad relapse can bring fear to the forefront of my days. Max Lucado's book, Fearless, has much to say on the subject of fear. In one passage he says:

"Fear may fill our world, but it doesn't have to fill our hearts. It will always knock on the door. Just don't invite it for dinner, and for heaven's sake don't offer it a bed for the night!"

The Bible has a great number of "fear not" imperatives where Christ tells us to "not be afraid" or to "not fear", to "have courage", and "take heart". Lucado says Jesus wages war against fear because He knows the power it can have over us. He provides us with the strength we need and gives us what we need to combat fear.

I Timothy 1:7 says, "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, love, and self-control."

Remember, when fear knocks on your door, send Jesus to answer it!

Please visit Spiritual Sundays at for inspirational posts to read.