Wednesday, February 27, 2013

It's All About The One

Today when I checked in on my blogs, I saw another post written by Ann Voskamp.  To be truthful, I hesitated a moment before I clicked on the title.  I was not sure I wanted to head over again to her cyber home because, as of late, her words of shake me to my core.  Her story today did no less.  She shared a story about a man who was on trial for human trafficking.  The judge asked him why he would do such awful things to the girl who had testified against him.  This trafficker smiled.  Read that again.....he smiled and said, "If I was caught I would get a lot less time in prison for selling a girl than I would for selling drugs, and I can kick this girl into submission."

I was done in.  I thought about this girl who had been beaten, sold, and repeatedly raped.  How can another human being, created in God's image after all, do such horrible things to another.  It sickens me that slavery is the fastest growing crime in the world.

I cannot imagine what goes on in the hearts and souls of those caught up in human trafficking.  I went through abuse as a young child by a couple of people.  I was loved, I had a home and a family, but it still impacted my life to a point where at age 64 I am still healing from it.  So I cannot comprehend what it does to these young girls who are sold into slavery and have no one who loves or cares about them.  No escape.

Ann shares a video of Christine Cane, a powerful speaker from Hillsong Church in Australia, who now has an organization to work at eliminating human trafficking in her lifetime. Her own story is filled with brokenness, and with hope and victory. Her focus in on Jesus and what the church can do to spread the gospel and give hope to those who feel hopeless. She speaks little on this video of her work with those enslaved but speaks of keeping our eyes on Jesus, where all change begins. She speaks on doing what God has called each of us to do.  Each of our callings are different and yet they are the same.  They are part of God's plan to save a dying world.

So, we pray, we give, and we do what we can with the passion God has given us.  Maybe it is not for you or me to be focusing on human trafficking, but we cannot deny that the Bible tells us to love one another.  The Bible tells us to care for the widows and the orphans.  We cannot deny that as the hands of Christ we are to reach out and help the helpless, the broken, the lonely, the needy.  God has a plan for each of our lives, a plan for good and not for evil.  He has gifted us to serve Him in a hungry world.  Souls hunger, bodies hunger, minds hunger.  Our call is to be obedient to His instructions and guidance and reach out to someone.  It is all about the one.....and it is all about the One.  Jesus, the One.


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Just Stop For The One

"I tell you the truth,
when you did it to one of the least
of these my brothers and sisters,
you were doing it for me!"
Matthew 25:40

I have felt so broken lately for those who are broken.  My heart aches for the children discarded in Uganda, the babies dropped off like unwanted garments in The Philippines and Mozambique,  and the young daughters who are trafficked in Haiti and Thailand.  I feel such sadness for the hidden poor and discarded in this country.  The young, the elderly, the fractured in mind and soul.  The needs seem endless and overwhelming.  How do we make a difference?

Today Ann Voskamp, over at A Holy Experience, is writing once again about their family's experiences in Haiti where they have gone to offer what help they can.  Through her eyes we are viewing a world that we do not see outside our windows. Today she talked about how, out of radical grace and love, out of knowing how blessed we are, we in turn help others.  They are trying to make a difference. They are making a difference.

Today I also read a post by Linny over at A Place Called Simplicity that brings to mind the suffering of children and the need so many little ones have for radical love.  If you want to get a good dose of radical and laid down love, visit her cyber home and meet her family and hear about their non profit for the orphans.  Your hearts will break for the things that break God's.

Recently I watched Heidi Baker speak about her and her husband's 30 plus years of missionary work in Mozambique and other countries.  Their ministry cares for over 10.000 children, besides the needs of adults too.  They have started thousands of churches and now have a staff of hundreds.  They refuse no child.  The broken, beaten, starving, suffering and angry are welcome. They open their arms, and make a difference. God told Heidi to "stop for the one".....every single one and she is.

There was a time we did see poverty, sex trafficking, hunger, and emptiness outside our windows on nearly a daily basis.  In 1974-76' we lived in Angeles City, The Philippines.  Joel was a meteorologist in the Air Force stationed at Clark Air Force Base.  The Vietnam Nam war was at its peak, and our family of then four flew 18 hours across land and sea to live in a "third world country".  The two years we spent on the island of Luzon changed our lives forever.  We met and became friend with many Filipino people.  We also became aware of the heartbreaking needs of others on a up close and personal basis..  We watched young children dig through our garbage and eat what scraps we threw away.  We saw other children discarded like garbage or parents willing to sell their children to give them a better life.  We saw young women selling their bodies to soldiers so they could live.  We did what we could to help.  We built three houses for three families.  We fed the those we knew with hundred pound bags of rice, and we supplied others with daily needs at times.  I am not patting our backs for a job well done.  We helped, but we could have done more.  We can always do more.

We do not have to go to far aways lands to find the hungry.  When I was going to school to be an Interpreter for the Deaf, I volunteered at a high rise nursing home in Minneapolis, MN. to visit with a woman who was both blind and deaf. On Christmas Day our family of 7 and my mom went down to attend church and visit other family members.  We stopped at this nursing home first and came away in tears because of the attention our family drew.  People were so happy to have visitors on Christmas few did.  So few were getting their souls fed.

Reading these stories and remembering our own experiences today has made me realize how complacent I have self overstuffed with food, things, and comfort.  Over the years I have breathed in and out with my deep desire to help others through missions here or abroad, but today my heart has opened wide again to the suffering of others.

The needs of the broken are so many.  Some visible, like in Haiti or Uganda.......some hidden behind the smiles of our neighbors, in nursing homes,  or those who sit next to us in church.  It can be overwhelming, if we think we must embrace the whole world.  But what if we concentrate on just the one we see.  What if we let God break our hearts with what breaks His??!  All of us can do something!  What if with grateful hearts, we listen to God's voice and just stop for the one.  Whether in Target, our church, or the streets of Haiti.  Just stop and help the one he brings to you.  One at a time....stop for the one. 

Monday, February 25, 2013

Jesus, Take The Wheel

Last night we spent the supper hour at our local urgent care.  I came home with a "powerful antibiotic" and a mix of emotions.  Taking a medication that could cause me as many symptoms as it promises to take away was not part of my plan.  But here I am.

Let me back up three weeks...or maybe a year?  Three weeks ago I started to have symptoms of a UTI.  Watching a live stream at a healing school gave me a word of knowledge for "someone healing from a badder infection" and I claimed that for myself.  By the next day the symptoms were gone. Yippee!  Then the middle of last week they started to return and no matter how much I spoke scriptures, prayed, or commanded the body, they continued to get worse.  Friday the cramping started and by Sunday morning I was asking God  "why" and what to do.  Bear with me, this shared drama has a point.

Two verses came to me as I prayed.  Out of Proverbs 3,   "Trust in The Lord with all your heart........"and my trusty sidekick appeared again....Matthew 11:28-30~ "Come to me all who are weary....."  Late Sunday afternoon Joel and I prayed and waited for the Holy Spirit to speak.  Joel said to me, "We'll, I have been told something strange.  You are to walk to the river and back!"  Hmmmm. Okay, then. In obedience we went walking.  Soon after we returned I went in to the bathroom.  When I came out I told Joel I was seeing bright red.  Lots of bright red.  He said to me, " That is our answer.  I am taking you to urgent care."  Off we went and here I am. This was not the plan.  My plan.   But then, we did ask Jesus to "take the wheel" didn't we.

Jesus definitely directed me to use medication to heal the UTI. I wanted healing through prayer only.  Notice the words..."I wanted"..... I have been focused on one goal the past year~healing...supernatural healing.  Some healing has come that way, other things I am still waiting for.  Some things the body has taken care of and some things, like this infection are healing from medication.  It is not for me to decide the "how" of my healing or the "when".  It is not about me.  Jesus, take the wheel.......

Often Joel and I hear from others that sometimes God heals and sometimes He doesn't.  I have this visual of God picking and choosing which of His children to bring out of disease and each one eagerly hopes that God will hear their quiet internal voice saying......"pick me, pick me!"  Can you imagine only taking one of your children to the doctor for help...picking just one to be healed....and ignoring the others.  Is that a loving parent?  I don't think so.  If God decides who is to die today and who is not, why go to the doctor at all?  Why fight to live?  Wouldn't we be going against God's wishes?

God sent His son to die a terrible death on the cross for our sins and our diseases.  He does not send disease or tragedy.  We live in a fallen world where the devil goes after us, not God.  The enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy.  Not God.  I have few answers. I don't know why everyone is not healed.  I don't know why Joel was healed overnight and I was not.  I don't know why I need to take antibiotics rather than be healed by the power of God.  I do know....oh yes I know with my whole being that Father God loves us all.   I do know His plan is always best and we can trust Him.  I have few answers, but I do have His promises.  Oh, Jesus, take the wheel.

"For I know the plans I have for you says the Lord,
plans for good and not for evil. 
Plans to give you a future and a hope."
Jeremiah 29:11

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Meeting Jesus In The Garden

"For God so loved the world He gave His only begotten son,
that whosoever believes in Him
will not perish,but have everlasting life."
John 3:16

I love to go into the garden of my heart during my devotional time.  I describe these morning visits as a time when the Holy Spirit using my imagination to speak to me.  I lean back, close my eyes and ask for a hedge of protection around me as I listen to the Holy Spirit speak.

In the garden of my heart there is one thing I can always depend on.  Jesus will meet me there.  There has not been one time in two years that He has been absent.  Most of the time as I "enter the gate" He is waiting for me.  There are times He takes off and beckons me to follow...there are times we link arms or hold hands as we walk together in the grass, on a path, or while hiking up a mountain. When I am sad or fearful, I can lay with my head in His lap as He comforts me, sometimes we just rest together.  He "speaks" to me with words or pictures, and sometimes with silence.  He is always with me.
"And surely I am with you always, 
even to the very end of the age."
Matthew 28:20b

About nine months ago when I entered the garden I noticed a big pile of boulders of all sizes to my right.  Behind them there was a cross.  I could only see the base of the cross, but I knew instinctively that this was the cross of Jesus and that here was where I was to lay my burdens.  So, now whenever I enter the garden, I walk over to that area and ask myself or Jesus what I need to lay down.  I have laid down quite a few backpacks full of "stuff".  If Jesus died for all that stuff why would I want to carry it around?  To carry it around would be denying His suffering for my sins and for the sicknesses that come from the enemy.

We are in the beginning of Lent, and when Bonnie from Faith Barista Jam gave us the word prompt,  "Jesus", I could not help but think about my garden visits with Him.  I could not help but think about what Jesus did for us on the cross.  And dying for us would be more than enough wouldn't it?  But..........Jesus also left us the Comforter, and told us that when we invite Him into our hearts He comes!  He dwells in us with His unconditional love.  It is His nature to love and He can be no other way.  This is our Jesus!  Our Savior, our Healer, our Friend, our Defender, our constant companion, our Everything!   Jesus.

There is something about that name
Like sunshine after the rain
Let the Heavens and earth proclaim
Kings and their kingdoms will all pass away
But there's something about that name.

I am linking up with Charlotte over at Spiritual Sundays and with Bonnie over at
Faith Barista . 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Letting God Love Us

"There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear"
I John 4:18a

A couple of weeks ago Pastor Rick Warren gave a sermon on God's purpose for our lives.  He listed several callings we have from God to be able to fulfill His purpose for us.  The number one calling he listed was a surprise to me:  Let God love you.

After listening to Warren's sermon i realized it may be harder than we think, letting God love us.  We know God loves us, but do we fully surrender to His love?   Do we embrace it, trusting Him completely?  Do we see ourselves as a child climbing up on Papa's lap and letting Him hold us tight?

As I have shared in the past here, fear has been an unwelcome guest in my life for as long as I can remember.  Some fears are healthy, they protect us from harm. Others are as this description so aptly puts it:


In certain circumstances, the spirit of fear has held me captive.  I have been told by well meaning Christians that having fear means I don't have faith.  Either or, they say.  For some it is very black and white. God whispered the truth to me a while ago when I came to understand through the wise words of another that the PTS I am healing from brings with it fear and has nothing to do with my faith.  I have a strong faith.

I have learned to discern what is real and what is false evidence when it comes to fear.  For example, two weeks ago I met a man at church, and for reasons unknown to me, this encounter triggered  a strong physical and emotional PTS response that is still demanding attention.   In the past I would been angry at myself for this reaction, wondering why I could not just get over it already.  Have you ever been there?  The enemy would love for us to be caught up in self-destructive thinking, but we know from His Word and from His promises how much he loves us....He sent His son to die for us.  And we know that His love is perfect and drives out fear! Sweet surrender!  When love comes in the front door, fear goes out the back!  It is a wonderful visual isn't it ~ seeing Jesus driving fear out while filling us with His love. 

So, it comes back to Rick Warren's statement about what we are called to do............we are called to LET GOD LOVE US!  That may mean something different for everyone, but the results are the same~ a loving relationship with our Lord as His daughter, His son.  A relationship where we know perfect love drives out fear.  A relationship where we experience how deep and wide His love is as he protects, provides, and cares for us. A relationship where we can trust Him fully and are eager to let God love us.  He is waiting with open arms.

Monday, February 18, 2013

My Work Or His?

"Come all who are weary and carrying heavy burdens
and I will give you rest. 
Take my yoke upon you. 
Let me teach you for I am humble and gentle of heart. 
My yoke is easy and my burden is light."
Matthew 11:28-30 

Entering into God's rest. Last night I typed these words into a google search. What does it mean to enter into God's rest? This is where God has called me for months trust and rest. Enter into His rest. Jesus began beckoning me last fall with Matthew 11:28-30...........and this continued on for many weeks when these verses came to me 26 times from 26 different sources. God has been persistent and I am taking it seriously.

Trust and Rest

In my search I discovered that the dictionary defines rest as being at peace, ease, or leaning into. Hmmmm What a beautiful visual....leaning into God's rest. I kept searching beyond Webster's definition. I clicked and read and clicked and read...looking for something special........and then I came across the "answer" portion of a yahoo question.....the same answer I was searching for had been sought after by others and yahoo, of all places, had posted a response that spoke so strongly I had to steady myself inside. An anonymous reply at that. Whoever wrote this response had a deep understanding that came from experience. Written FOUR years ago, in God's timing I came across it today.  Only God!

This mysterious writer shared, "Entering into God's rest is to rest on the finished work of Christ. It is an inward rest ~ a lifestyle of trusting in God's goodness and resting in the finished work on the cross." Believing and receiving. He went on to say, "When I rest He works in me and through me....when I work, God rests and I am left to my own limited resources."
Because of Jesus' finished work at the cross, we have salvation which includes wholeness, healing, deliverance, protection, and more.  The Greek word Sozo is used and encompasses the whole person.  It is all done for us.  We can rest in it. It is not accomplished by our hands, nor by our works. Jesus already accomplished it all, we need only receive it.  Thank you Jesus...thank you for such a precious gift.

I don't know about you, but I am one who wants to be in charge of when things happen, whether it is plans for my future or healing for my body.  I continually need to return to the Lord my God and trust Him....entering into His rest and getting out of the way so He can fulfill His promises.  I am learning that when I say "Yes, Lord" a big part of that is the trusting and the resting.  Leaning into while entering in.  It reminds me of the chorus of an old hymn
Safe and secure from all alarms
Leaning on His everlasting arms

Thursday, February 14, 2013

God's Love Came Wearing Cowboy Boots

 "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast,
it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking,
it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 
 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 
 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."
I Corinthians 13:4-7

In 1968 my husband Joel and I stood in the front of the church and vowed our love and commitment to each other. Forty-four years of marriage, thirty-four years of ministry, seven children and bunches of grandchildren, have deepened our love.  Add in twenty-six moves, many years of illness, and more challenges than I can list here and I know what holds us together~ God.

When people ask us about our long-lasting marriage, I always respond with a story that goes back to our beginning.  Joel and I met at Bible College in 1966.  We were not friends, nor really attracted to each other at first, but the prayers of others were working behind the scenes.  My older sister and a family friend came to see me during parents weekend.  While touring the campus they met Joel and and chatted with him.  Long story short they told me later that "they had met the man I was going to marry."  When they showed me who it was, my reply was not very nice...."He is loud and obnoxious, and he wears boots!"  They both just smiled and said, "We will pray about it."  They did, and Joel and I walked down the aisle just 18 months later!  By the way, I quickly changed my idea of him......, he has been amazing, and I grew to love those boots that still grace his feet nearly every day.

I have often said that I know how much God loves me because He brought Joel into my life.  He blessed me with a loving, dependable, honorable, optimistic, joy-filled, committed man of God who has taken his calling and vows seriously.  We have shared many adventures and struggled through many trials.  He stood strong as he took care of me for many years of illness from undiagnosed Lyme Disease, while tending his congregation and finding time for our family.  I watched him cook, clean, shop, and pastor a church while tenderly caring for me~~ n.e.v.e.r. complaining.  And when he also was stricken with Lyme Disease we held each other up.  When I was able to, I took care of him and when he was able he took care of me, although much of the work load was on his shoulders.  We cried together, we prayed together, we laughed together, and we struggled together.  I have one visual that remains in my mind from that season of our lives~~  Sitting in our recliners, close enough we could hold hands, while the world went on without us.  Not knowing what the future would bring, we found joy in the simple pleasures of our days. We still attempt to do so.

Last year my husband was healed overnight from Lyme.  It is a joy to see him working again, serving God's people, and living a full life.  My healing has been a process, but it is coming one day at a time and I am so much better.  We still have our chairs close enough to hold hands, but spend a lot less time sitting in them.  My healing journey has also taken me into PTS due to abuse memories that have surfaced.  Once again my sweet husband is by my side to comfort and walk me through the inner healing needed. I am blessed.  We are blessed.

So on this Valentine's Day as I write in response to Bonnie's word prompt "love" over at Faith Barista I am giving thanks to God, who loves me so much he blessed me with Joel ~ my cowboy preacher, my best friend, my partner, my children's father, my tender caring husband, my joy, my Joel. I am so so grateful and blessed to experience God's love through this man of God, who is the love of my life.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Walking Through Lent

"He was wounded for our transgressions
He was bruised for our iniquities (diseases)
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him
By HIS stripes we are healed."
Isaiah 53:5

Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent for many denominations.  Since childhood these 40 days before Easter have been part of my walk with Jesus.  As the wife of a Lutheran pastor, Lent has blessed our lives over the years as we reflect on Jesus and His journey to the cross. Lent has a double focus, a focus on repentance and a focus on the cross and all that God has done for us.  The cross is an important symbol of Lent.  One definition I read said that the cross is a symbol of example, of judgement, of reconciliation and of victory!  Amen!

At the very heart of this season is God's love for us. He loves us so much he sent His only son to die on that Lenten cross.  Jesus suffered a horrible death with the weight of our sins and our diseases upon him (Isaiah. 53).  God loves us that much.

Walking with Jesus brings us through the sufferings to the victory in His life and in ours, too.  It is during times of our own suffering that we are able to draw on Jesus' strength with the understanding that He knows what it means to experience pain....His suffering far out weighed any of ours.  It is during times of struggle that we are able to hold tightly to the promises that remind us of God's love, forgiveness, and gifts. The most important gift of all comes to us at the end of the Lenten season.

Tonight I will begin my walk through Lent by going to Ash Wednesday services, where my husband will make the mark of the cross on my forehead with ashes as a symbol of repentance ~"ashes to ashes, dust to dust".  I will worship and commune, as I reflect on the sacrifice given for me.  For you.   I will give thanks this night for many reasons: because Jesus died for my sins,  because God loves me so much, because repentance comes for me as a sinner, and because for the first time in 10 years I am able to go to Lenten services and worship my Lord without severe consequences to my health.  I am healing.  Thank you Jesus that you suffered and died on the cross for sin and for disease.  Thank you Jesus that victory is ours because you shed your blood for us.  Let me never forget the journey you took to the cross for me.  For us. 

Ann Voskamp is offering a free download for a Lenten Devotional. You can go to her place, A Holy Experience, to learn more and join her online community to walk with Jesus during Lent and throughout the year.

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Waiting Dance

I am not one to look for the devil around every corner, but neither do I deny his existence.  Jesus tells us in John 10:10~
"The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy, 
I came that they may have life and have it more abundantly."    

Ann Voskamp, who wrote One Thousand Gifts, challenges her readers to find the joy, the grace, and the gifts in the mundane and every day moments of life.  I have pondered this week if the enemy, the thief who comes to steal, kill, and destroy doesn't often use the mundane to do his dirty work.  In this verse Jesus warns us of what Satan is up to, telling us that what ever comes into our lives that steals, kills or destroys us, is from the enemy. It is certainly not from our Lord.  He is our Savior who has come to give us life and give it to us in abundance.  Good news!  So, I try not to give the devil too much attention, but look to the second part of this verse that reminds us of where we need to keep our eyes ~on Jesus!!

We also need to remember that we have the power within to send Satan packing.  Both Smith Wigglesworth and Martin Luther share similar stories where Satan literally shows up in the middle of the night......When then each saw him they  are both to have said, "Oh, it only you Satan" , and gone back to sleep.  He has no power, unless we give it to him.  I cannot say I would have responded like either one of them, but I do attempt to tell him to take a hike when I sense him in our lives.

About a week ago Joel and I started praying about our future.  We see Joel's Interim position coming to an end as soon as May, and this past year has taken us down a new path.  As I wrote before, our focus has changed since Joel's overnight healing.  So, we have been asking God to show us HIS plan for "retirement" ~~what we are both loosely calling it.  We really desire to keep serving Him, wearing out and not rusting out.  We have been using words like yes Lord, surrender, more Lord, and thy will in our prayers.  It goes along with a quote I heard recently:

" If you want to know God's will, say I WILL!" 

We have discussed many options and opportunities and one out-of-the-blue surprise.  Of course, nothing surprises God!  We have spent quiet time meditating on what God's purpose is for us now, knowing that God's plan is always best.  We truly want to be obedient to him in this season of our life too~ our autumn years.

Looking back on the week and the challenging situations that we have encountered, we are assured that we are on the right track.  How?  Satan is not happy!   He keeps throwing things our way to distract us, to take our eyes off of Jesus. A disturbing conversation with a loved one............a phone call that unleashes old infection that challenges a healing body.......... an encounter that triggers the residue of PTS within me~ all distractions from our focus.  Remember, he is the thief who comes to steal, kill, and destroy, but also remember that Jesus has come to give us abundant life!  We are making the effort to pay Satan no mind as we exercise our eyes of faith. I love the old hymn....

"Keep your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of this world will grow strangely dim
In the light of His beauty and grace"

With eyes of faith and determination we are keeping our focus on Father God and prayerfully awaiting His direction. We are giving thanks for the mundane, and the small moments of grace that Ann Voskamp writes about in One Thousand Gifts, and we are praising God for the big moments too, because His grace is woven through them all.  We are practicing the waiting dance with gratitude as we listen and anticipate His guidance and direction, expecting His plan  to unfold in His perfect timing.

Today I am grateful for old hymns with powerful words
I am grateful for the privilege of work
I am grateful for new adventures and old familiar places
I am ao grateful for God's promises, all 6000 plus

Looking back on the week in pictures~
Pictures of our granddaughter in her pretty dress at the daddy-daughter dance
Pictures of grandchildren decorating cookies on a no school blizzard day
Pictures of a winter day filled with snow and birds nestling close for warmth
Pictures of our dog Levi awake and alert again


Thursday, February 7, 2013

God Knows What He Is Doing

God knows what He is doing
Trust Him.
I confess, I have difficulty at times trusting what God is doing in my life and the lives of those I love.  I seriously have doubts that certain situations will "work out for our good".  I only see what is in front of me, and at times it is scary.  I know I do not want God to remove Himself from the picture, but I definitely want to join Him in directing traffic!  He needs my help I am certain, or things wouldn't be moving so slow.......or taking what appears to me to be wrong turns. There would not be places where disaster unfolds and pain takes up residence.
God knows what He is doing
Trust Him
 Years of illness eroded the thin layer of trust I brought into my relationship with God.  The death of a son at age 25 added to the erosion along with threats on my husband's life that lasted over 6 years. Life brings with it the good, the bad, and the ugly.  Too many circumstances to name challenged but at the same time strengthened our faith over the years. Over time I learned to trust God one step at a time in every area but one.  Safety. Fear took up a lot of space within my heart when it came to feeling safe in a world where bad things happened to good people.  Where bad things happened to me. The sudden onset of PTS and surfacing memories of sexual abuse and neglect over a year ago shook my world and for awhile increased the levels of anxiety and fear.  And yet..........

And yet............when I look back and remember........when I, like Joshua, build an altar of stones that each remind me of God's love and faithfulness over the years, then I am able to step out and trust God's promises. I am able to look back and see that God is healing me from the past that was hidden deep within, so I can let go of fear and live a faith-full life for Him now. I can believe that God is working all things out for good, no matter what I am seeing in the natural. 

God knows what He is doing
Trust Him

 God blessed me with two words to meditate on this year ~ trust and rest~ it is not a surprise to me because He has been speaking to me for years on trusting Him.  Since I am going to be 65 in a couple of months, it would be an understatement to say it has taken me awhile to step out in faith and believe I am safe when I rest with Him.  He is patient, and continues to guide and bless me along this challenging path.  As I pondered Bonnie's word prompt "trust" I realized that a lot of progress has been made.  "You've come a long way baby!"  Wow!  And I give thanks to God for never letting go of my hand along the way. To God be the glory.  I am so grateful.
There are still circumstances that bring to the surface anxiety and fear and for a moment or a day I wonder what in the world God is doing! The difference is, I know that those old friends no longer have control over my life.  That they are really lies that the enemy wants me to believe.  I need only remember to enter into God's resting place, turn to His Word,  and keep my eyes upon Jesus,  knowing I can rely on His promises, believing that God is with me wherever I go.  Including the hard places.
God knows what He is doing
Trust Him
I am linking up with Bonnie over at

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Just Say Yes: Practicing The Radical Where You Are

Ann Voskamp, author of One Thousand Gifts has brought up the topic of the practice of Radical Christianity the past several weeks over at her blog, A Holy Experience.  As always her words stir up my soul and create a conversation within that brings me closer in my walk with Jesus.

I have morning meditation times that I have shared with my readers in the past.  I visualize going into the garden of my heart where I meet with Jesus, Father God and the Holy Spirit.  I describe these encounters as the Holy Spirit using my imagination to speak to me.

Recently I went into the garden while quietly meditating and Jesus came and took my hand and we started climbing a mountain path.  I looked down and I was wearing hiking boots which tells me from experience that this is going to require strength and determination. I also was carrying a backpack, which usually means that I am lugging some burdens around that I need to turn over to God.   Jesus held my hand and never let go as we climbed up high to an area where we could overlook a beautiful meadow below. I noticed the backpack did not feel heavy, but when we got to the resting place I took it off expecting to let it go.  Instead I sat down and leaned against the backpack using it as a cushion for my body. 

I turned to Jesus and asked him what was in this backpack while opening it myself.  I took out a Bible, and then saw the faces of three Biblical teachers I listen to.  There are actually around seven  I connect to consistently online, but only three were there.  I knew that my Bible and these three teachers were giving me just what I needed to lean on, to rest in, and to learn from. Solid Biblical teaching.  Questions I had were being answered during this quiet time.  Jesus and I sat there awhile longer taking in the beautiful views before heading back.

This past year our lives have changed drastically with my husband Joel's overnight healing.  I bring it up often as it completely shifted our thinking and brought us down a different path that runs parallel to our 44 years together in love and ministry.  This new journey has enhanced, deepened, and challenged us to move out of the beliefs of our long established faith.  Certainly as a Pastor and pastor's wife we had seen healing take place, but a major shift took place within just a few overnight hours a little more than a year ago when Joel was healed. These teachers I saw in the garden are part of that new journey.

We are in many ways practicing the radical in what we believe now on healing.  Physical healing through spiritual means. We have struggled with feeling like a fish out of water and the struggled at times with the doubts that our family and friends have expressed. Yet, we know what we know what we know.  We cannot go back.  How can we go back when my sweet husband was healing overnight from Lyme Disease, CFS, Arthritis, Pre-Parkinson's from Lyme, and thyroid disease.   How can we go back when we have watched him go from being on disability to living a full life in ministry once again.  How can we go back when he can speak to his "mountains' and have the sleep apnea and eye disease be gone, too.  G.o.n.e.    How can we go back when I am no longer fighting Lyme Disease but able to be out and about, no longer continually home bound, but experiencing life as "normal" people do. 

How can we be anything but radical Christians when we have experienced the healing power of our Lord Jesus...the same power that lives within us and raised Jesus from the dead.

How can we do anything but practice the radical right where we are.  God took us to another playing field and we are beyond grateful. In our autumn years God has said, "I am not finished with you yet."
 Let me shower you with a "radical love.  I have so much more for you....just say yes to practicing the radical Christianity that you find in my Word.  Just say yes. to the plans I have laid out for you.  Just say yes.

I am linking up with Ann.......