Thursday, October 30, 2014

God Puts His Super in Your Natural!

Yesterday I stopped over to my friend Linny's blog, A Place Called Simplicity and read a deeply honest and heartfelt post on dealing with fear.  She shared how difficult it was for her to fly alone from Arizona to Uganda. She was immobilized and frightened as she dealt with a life long fear that rose to the surface-- being alone.  But God provided.  Over the years God has released her fears of being alone in her home to flying alone across the ocean.  Letting go became  "an obedience thing" and in obedience she has walked through them all into freedom.  Her story is a wonderful testimony to God's goodness and healing power. 

Over the years Linny has also helped me through my own journey with fear. When she shared yesterday that being alone for her means not being safe......that when you are alone bad things happen to you....  It caught my attention as that is exactly what I unknowingly believed.  God has been healing me from those beliefs and I have been walking in freedom, but recently Holy Spirit has been rooting out more of what needs releasing deep inside, and once again being alone at night has become challenging for me. I know in my heart Jesus is with me.....I understand I am not that little girl anymore.  I know I am safe, and yet my body wants to respond like the child I once was.

Last night Joel was gone for the evening and as soon as I closed up the house the old feelings surfaced.  The key here is that they are old feelings that no longer speak the truth.  They cannot be my focus.  So, I turned on praise music and decided to watch a teaching by Havilah Cunnington at Bethel Church.  I had to laugh when she said she was going to speak about fear!  Linny's post and Havilah's teaching!  Just what I needed......Only God!

2 Timothy 1:7 tells us we do not have a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind.  Notice that fear is called a spirit.  A spirit sent by the enemy to cause us harm.  But the Bible rejects that and tells us we have a spirit of power....the same power that raised Jesus from the dead...right inside us.  And a spirit of love.....and a sound mind!  The Bible says "do not be afraid" at least once for every day of the year.  "Do not be afraid" was spoken to Moses, to Mary, Joshua and more!  Guess it must be pretty common to deal with fears of one kind or another, but out of love God does not leave us unprepared.

Whether you are afraid to be alone, afraid of spiders, elevators, or the dark, God wants you set free.  He knows the power fear can have in our lives and He reminds us to "fear not, for I am with you always."  And He means it.  

Fear is mostly just False Evidence Appearing Real.  It is a spirit.  It is an open door to the enemy.  Fear is used by the devil against us and is not to be tolerated.  Left alone, it just grows bigger until it consumes your life.

Ann Voskamp, who blogs at A Holy Experience, could not leave her home for years due to fear.  It consumed her life.  She still is challenged by it at times, but with God's help and out of obedience she trusts His Word, and is a mover and a shaker in the world.  As Havilah Cunnington said last night,

"When we obey God He begins to put the super in your natural! 

Figured out your fears?  Just remember, when we trust and obey God, He puts the super in our natural.  He sets us free to be who He created us to be!  Only God!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

What You Need When The Ride Is Bumpy

A few weeks ago I found something interesting on "Letterpress word blocks".   I love ordering from Dayspring ~ they send everything FedEx, shipping is free over $50, and they stand behind their products.   With these letterpress word blocks you can create your own words with different fonts and letter sizes.  We knew just the place to hang the art, so we started talking about what word to create.  I kept coming back to the word trust, and Joel was good with that. 

T. r. u. s. t.  Anyone who reads my blog knows that God has been teaching me a great deal about trust in the past few years.  I am so grateful for His patience as we walk this journey together.  Trusting Him requires letting requires entering His rest... it requires obedience,,,it requires stepping out in faith believing He has a plan for good and not for evil.  To give us a future and a hope.  T.r.u.s.t.
The letters arrived just two days after I ordered them. I was excited to put them up but when I opened  the box marked with the "U"  I found a "V" inside!  It made me laugh.....of course there was a V in the U box!  (giggle)   I called Dayspring and within a couple days I had the needed cost to me.

When we first connected the letters for hanging I had them all straight across on the bottom.  But as I studied the hanging more and more, it just did not look right.  Yesterday morning as I looked at them on the wall, I said to Joel, "We don't need to trust God if everything is all in line...nice and straight....everything in place.  BUT we do need to exercise our faith and trust God when circumstances  are unpredictable or out of our control."   Oh, yeah.  So we rearranged the letters and now it looks right to us.  Yes.  Trust is required when there is going to be a bumpy ride......when we are not in control.....when our circumstances look impossible.  When storms rage or we walk through the desert.  T.r.u.s.t.


"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 3:4,5
"In quietness and TrUsT  is your strength"
Isaiah 3o:15b

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Saturday's Scribbles

Good Saturday to you!  We are still enjoying a beautiful warm Fall here in our corner of the world.  Joel was able to go biking with his friend Jack over at Lanesboro this past Monday.  It is about 2.5 hours from here and then they biked 22 miles and drove home again.  Long day, but the weather was great, the sun was shining, and the trees were so beautiful.  They had a good time, even eating lunch in a boxcar diner.

This biking trail goes through several
towns in SE Minnesota

We have been walking in the afternoons this week since Joel has had such a busy schedule.  I walked on my own Monday on our association paths and last Sunday we walked at the state park again on our way home from church.  Winter will be on us soon enough so we are enjoying the fresh air as often as we can.  In fact, windows were open yesterday and expect to do the same today.  I never quite understand when people don't open their least in our corner of the world where fresh air is in abundance.

A pathway of leaves
Still walking in my pink tennis!

Monday night I found out I was called in to jury duty....and was picked on Tuesday morning for selection.  I was questioned by the prosecution and defendant's lawyer along with 21 others. You can read my amusing post on it HERE.  After answering all their questions they dismissed me.  I was relieved since I was scheduled to have eye laser surgery again on Wednesday and did not want to miss that appointment.  For some reason this time it knocked the stuffing out of me and I have been extra tired and a bit off since.  Still active, but liking naps and early bed. 

It was a year ago we were in CT for the conference on healing.  Our two week adventure was orchestrated by God.....go HERE to read about it.  What a wonderful trip it was!  The days spent in Amish the name of that town!  The days at the healing conference ~ awesome!  The cold, rainy, windy day at Niagara Falls...such power in that moving water!  Our marathon day in exciting and fun fun fun!  Yep.  I'm still smiling and giving thanks.

Yesterday the news was so disheartening.....shootings at yet another school......officers shot........Canada's much. violence.  It is tragic, seems to be endless, and is beyond understanding.  It baffles me that so many people are so angry and sick sick sick.  Just need to keep our focus on the One. 

Yesterday Joel brought an extension ladder into the house and climbed up to change out lights and clean the ceiling fan that is about thirty feet up from our main level.  We have a half landing he could put the ladder on.  Joel is not afraid of heights.  In fact he is drawn to them and I sometimes have to beg or threaten to keep him off of really high places!  As I said before, it is the boy-climbing-the-silo that comes out in him.....

The fan and staircase...
clean fan and new lights!

I am starting to organize our photos.....48 years of them starting at Bible College.  I am planning to get them all in order and out of three large plastic tubs and old photo books and into photo boxes....printing a few of our favorites for framing, and continuing in my quest to make photo albums for each of our kids.  I'm on the third right now.  I know that most pictures are digital now, but I am telling you, there is something more intimate about holding a book in your hands and looking at your life in pictures. 

Besides photo organizing and household stuff, the TV, live stream and archived teachings, and lots of praise music on CD and DVD and walking have filled up my spare time this week.  My sight was a bit blurry after the laser so reading was put aside for awhile.  I have been catching up on magazines and trying to read a fiction book I have book staring at for months.  Seriously, I just cannot read fiction anymore.  What is up with that?  So what has been going on in your corner of the world?

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

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Looking Back: Only God!

Joel and Renee
NYC skyline

It was one year ago we packed our van with everything but the kitchen sink, and headed East for a great adventure in faithful living.  God orchestrated that two week trip from start to finish and just like when He sent the ravens ahead for Elijah, He prepared the way for us with each sunrise.  It was a trip I never thought I would make.  No one did.  Only God.

I have been going back over posts I wrote in October and November 2013 sharing how God walked with us before, during, and after this great journey took place.  Having been homebound for 10 years with very little time spent out in the world, this was beyond our imagination or hope....until Joel was healed overnight, and in response I began my journey forward from nearly 3 decades of chronic illness to wholeness and health.  Only God.

We traveled three thousand miles, stayed in hotels for 14 nights, attended a three day healing conference in CT, spent 10 hours in NYC taking the ferry, commuter train, subway, and walked over 5 miles on our marathon tour.  We also went to Niagara Falls, walked the Appalachian trail and Long Island Beach, visited with our oldest and her family at our SIL's sisters in CT, and took in the beauty of 9 states.  We connected in person with Internet friends in CT and NYC.  Only God.

At  the conference on healing we experienced the power of God's presence in amazing ways.  We felt right at home in the Lutheran-Holy Spirit moving-healing church, and we met so many others who were on the same journey as us.  Only God.

We look back on that time as anointed beyond all we could have "asked for or imagined".  It still makes us smile to reflect on each day ----what we saw, what we experienced, what we learned.  We are so very grateful.

So, where are we today one year later?  Joel is still completely healthy, working part time, biking, and more.  He lives this verse in Nehemiah 8:10  "The joy of the Lord is your (my) strength."  He is always surprised that he is 68 years old, and declares he is getting younger every year!  Retirement is not on his radar.....yet.
My journey has been more of a process.  Healing from Lyme and co-infections came immediately, other health issues have been crockpot style.  I am still healing and expecting "more".  Starting last January around the second anniversary of Joel's overnight healing, I began to experience the presence of God in ways that are still hard to describe.  Looking back on those 4 months of a heavy blanket of Holy Spirit "hugs", I realized that a great deal of inner healing took place.  Physical strength has also continued to increase, and so has my ability to be active in and out of the house.  MCS is a thing of the past.  We have traveled several times for weddings, vacations, and family visits.  With all honesty I share that some things have not yet moved forward with my health.  My  eyes grew worse, requiring laser surgery. A second eye drop I took for just 2 weeks, has affected my heart for now.  The eye migraine I experienced recently was no fun.  BUT as we look back on where I was and where I am, we rejoice.  Only God.

 Our great adventure last October was so delightful, it still makes us smile and laugh right out loud.  Looking back on last year's steps of faith are fueling my beliefs today as I keep my focus on Jesus and my faith in what I cannot yet see.   For myself AND for others!  God is amazing.  He is, as my friend Linny says, a mountain- moving, awe-inspiring, miracle-making GOD!  Our adventure last year says it all.  Only God.  Only God!

"My child, pay attention to what I say
listen carefully to my words
don't lose sight of them..
let them penetrate deep into your heart
For they bring life to those who find them
and healing to their whole body. 
Guard your heart above all else
for it determines the course of your life"
Proverbs 4: 20-23

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Jury Duty

Joel and I both were called to be in the jury pool at the same time, so we have been calling in every Monday to see if our particular panel needed to report.  I was told to report to the court house today by 8:30am and was selected to move into the jury "box" for questioning by the prosecutor and the defendant's lawyer.  This was a domestic abuse criminal trial so questions leaned in that direction as twenty-one of us tried to answer openly and honestly what was presented to us.

Secretly I was hoping to not be chosen since I head back in tomorrow for the second laser surgery on my eye and I did not want to rearrange that appointment.  I need not have worried. 

Here is how the questioning went......."Does anyone know a family member or friend or have you yourself experienced domestic violence/assault?  I was one of two who raised their hands, having had two family members that I know of who have experienced domestic assault.

Another question was, "Have any of you ever had any positive or negative experiences with the police?"  Thinking only of our local police, I raised my hand, responding when asked to explain about a suspect the police were chasing who hid in the attic of our garage.  After the police left the area I spotted him leaving our garage.  Two days later he came back with his friends to intimidate me into not identifying him.  Needless to say, the police we involved.

Then this question came up......"Does anyone have a family member who is a police officer?"  Once again my hand went up!  Our son is a police officer.  I was further questioned on whether this would influence my verdict in this case.  I said no, but when we were asked if any "Joe off the street was a witness and contradicted what the police witness was saying, would I tend to believe the police.  I truthfully had to ponder that, since I have a deep respect for the police.  It led further into what would make a police officer a credible witness. 

Soon another question came to light...."Has anyone experienced violence personally?  I asked for clarification  Domestic assault only?  No, any kind of assault or violence.  My response was another question......" Well is it considered assault when someone threatens to kill your husband, the police have to come in your home to defend and protect you, and the threats continue for a long time....."  I was told that they would consider that an assault.  Okay, then.  I raised my hand.

Then came the question, "Have you ever seen anyone assaulted?  Good grief!  I raised my hand one more time.  Seriously I was getting embarrassed......I told how my son and I observed a man beating up his wife in a vehicle in front of our home which was also the church parking lot.  I then said, "Wow, your questions are bringing up all these memories!"   I then explained that my husband was a pastor and these kind of things just happened.  Didn't they?  (I did not even share all the times we have had to call the police)

Then, (I am not kidding) the lawyer for the defense asked, "Have any of you had to call the police to report violence? "  My response???   "And.......that would be me!"  The potential jurors laughed. 

The final thing that got me removed from duty was when they asked if we knew any of the people on the jury.  I did recognize a man who was in our former church.  I said as much, and the man leaned over to smile at me and said, "Yes, Renee's husband was our pastor for many years!"  Giggle....

So there was no surprise when I was dismissed. 

I told Joel the story and he laughed until tears came and he was still laughing 2 hours later.  This adventure got us talking about all the "interesting" encounters we have had in our ministry....with people threatening Joel's life.......seeing violence occur and trying to stop with a threat on Joel's and our family's life for over six years.......the man hiding in our attic......Joel and sometimes myself being called to more than one crisis involving drugs, alcoholism, violence, murder, abuse, etc.  We began to wonder if all pastors and their families have experienced such events in their lives. 

And I began to ponder writing that book my sister Jan keeps telling me to write....I know how it would begin.......

A funny thing happened on the way to jury duty.....

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Saturday's Scribbles

Good Saturday to you!    We woke today to gray skies and chilly temperatures, but earlier in the week the days were beautiful and I took several pictures of the view as we walked around our association out here on the edge of town.  This community originated from one farm house and surrounding fields, so there are still two areas where we can see combines moving through the fields and the harvest being brought in. 

A view of the man made pond and grounds of the
original farmstead
A view of the river road from the walking path
Just look at the jet lines in the!
Isn't this a cute mailbox?
Colorful bush on our property
Last Sunday after lunch we left for Dubuque Iowa.  Three hours later we arrived at the hotel and conference center where the pastors retreat was taking place.  Dubuque is located on the Mississippi River and among other things, one of the ELCA seminaries is located there.  The weather did not cooperate for anything outdoors....heavy rain prevailed, but we did take the designated Monday afternoon off and visit a downtown bookstore, eat out with friends, and get in a good nap!  There was a speaker who was brought in from Chicago's headquarters that was extremely difficult to listen to or understand.  All head and no heart.  I wrote about it on Thursday.  Our restoration time was found mostly in the worship.  It was based on the Psalms and soothed the soul......and the service on Monday night at Wartburg Seminary was amazing.  There is nothing like a church full of pastors singing.....I could not help but be still just to take it in.  We headed home again Tuesday afternoon, ready for our own beds.  We have stayed in three hotels in two weeks, and I think we are ready to stay home for awhile....

Wednesday afternoon we headed to church for their Fall Festival and Potato Feed.  The meal includes homemade pies too.  This little church had about triple their numbers attend.  I helped with the craft area and enjoyed that very much.
Thursday night I had a very scary incident which turned out to be an "eye" migraine.  It came on suddenly...the right corner of my vision was all neon blue and white lights which moved and vibrated.  I could not see Joel's face completely or read...words and parts of letters were invisible.  Needless to say, I freaked out by this.  We prayed first and then discussed going to ER.  When we were heading out, it stopped just as suddenly as it had started.  We talked to Holy Spirit and went to bed....I actually slept quite well but woke up pretty anxious.  I put in a call to the eye specialist and he called back at supper to tell me that it was an "eye migraine".  No harm, always benign.  Probably triggered by the laser surgery and others stressors.  He said, "If it happens again, just sit back and enjoy the light show.  It will be over in 20 minutes!"  Okay then.  I cannot say I am quite over the experience.  Darn scary.

Yesterday we went to purchase Halloween candy.  We need to get 7 bags of it to take care of all the kids that come through our neighborhood.  Good grief.  It is not my favorite holiday...ok, it does not even make the list, but I tolerate it.  We avoid TV the week of, and enjoy the little ones as they come to the door trick or treating. 

Today we are heading out in search of pumpkins for the steps of the porch.  Joel is finishing up some painting after repairing the back door trim and I am catching up on ironing.  Truth be told, I like ironing!  Crazy, huh?  There is something about getting rid of all those wrinkles....Joel knows how much I dislike wrinkles....and baggy knees on pants .....giggle....

Tonight we will have pancakes with blueberries, fresh strawberries, and coconut whipping cream...We were able to still get everbearing berries at the Farmer's Market.  Delightful to have fresh picked berries in mid October!

We are watching our usual live stream teachings and TV shows, although we are finding The Mysteries of Laura too crude for our liking.  We will give it another go, before we decide.  Reading has been off the radar this week except for blogs and devotions, etc. What has been going on in your world? 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Seeking Spiritual Whitespace

This past Sunday afternoon through Tuesday noon Joel and I attended the Northeast Iowa Synod pastors retreat in Dubuque Iowa.  It was the first time I went, so I was looking forward to the retreat and meeting some of Joel's colleagues.

My expectation was that we would be engaged in what Bonnie Gray calls "spiritual whitespace"  A time of rest and ways that bring you peace and joy and healing. 

There was a speaker from Chicago's ELCA headquarters whose list of accomplishments and degrees took 5 minutes to read!  She lived and breathed academia, and for six hours over 2 days we took in her lectures.  I am not a theologian, but I was not the only one who found her fascination with research and presentation of Jesus as male and female a bit, actually more than a bit unsettling.   For me it was also frustrating and definitely not relaxing.  It was hard work for my brain to stay engaged.  I speak from my heart first and run it through my brain.  She spoke from her brain.

On day two I looked around and observed other rostered pastors, spouses, and staff.  Were any of them waiting for the point to be recognized, and how to apply this information to ourselves and our congregations?  Many had their iPads, tablets, and phones in hand.  Some were checking emails and Facebook (yep), others were taking notes.  I was making an effort to stay focused.

Don't get me wrong, there is a place for this kind of learning, although in all honesty, you could not pay me to sit through it again!  What kept running through my head was the question..."Is this a retreat or continuing education?"  In my opinion, there was nothing restoring or healing about those hours spent on hard chairs. 

In search of spiritual whitespace, I began to look forward to the worship times.  A man named Richard Bruxvoort Colligan led worship with Psalms set to music, using guitar, banjo, and drums.  It was beautiful, as we sang David's songs of lament and praise.  He would engage us in deep breathing, prayer for those on our left and right, and have us sit in silence until it became almost uncomfortable.  In these morning and evening moments, spiritual whitespace existed.  Moments to restore, rest, renew.  Moments to connect with Jesus in intimacy, One on one.   We also attended a service at Wartburg Seminary.  There is nothing like hearing a church filled with pastors singing.  Oh my the power in their voices!  Great food for the soul. 

Reflecting back on these days, I realized that no matter the circumstances, we have the opportunity to seek out and find spiritual whitespace, as we did within the beautiful music, the powerful church service at the Wartburg chapel, and even while swopping stories of our first years of ministry with friends over a meal.  Seek and ye will find.....  God waits patiently for us, in nature, in church, in our living rooms, even in hotel conference rooms.  He longs to give us nourishment for the soul.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Saturday's Scribbles

It is Saturday in our corner of the world and Fall has been sharing it's beauty with us up here in the upper Midwest.  Leaves are showing off their vibrant colors, the geese are on the move, and even the deer seem to be out in numbers, if I go by the four that were in our yard yesterday.  It is time to add a few pumpkins to the gourds and mum plant, fall decorations, and more that we enjoy seeing.  Don't you just looooove Fall??

We have walked this week most every day, although we did avoid the river road a few days after reading in the paper that a mountain lion was spotted out by the YMCA.  Seriously.  I enjoy the deer and wild turkeys, and even a coyote does not bring me concern,  but mountain lions? 

Our Gerber Daisy plant presented
us with one more beautiful bloom! 

Mum's the word!

This past week the neighbor noticed a crack in on of our trees near his property line.  It was big enough to cause concern and worst case scenarios to run through our heads.  We called a tree service and after he checked it he told us he could rearrange his schedule and come early the next morning to take care of it.  Evidently he felt it was a hazard he came and cut off a big chunk of the tree, saving the rest.  Joel enjoyed watching the process and would have loved to join in! 

Friday I ended up having last minute laser surgery on my eye in the hope to lower the pressure.  I have been on a beta blocker eye drop for years, but a second kind of drop was added and caused me some serious heart palpitations that I am still recovering from.  So, the surgery was the next step....even though we had prayed and the pressure was down, I believe God told me to say yes to this procedure.  It was offered right on the spot by the eye specialist (who is great) and it was over in a matter of minutes. I go back in two weeks and if it has worked he will do a second session with the hope that I can be off all drops in the near future.  Yes!  It is the only medication I use so I would love to toss it out.

We head out tomorrow for another short trip.  This time we are going to a pastors conference.  This is the first time I have gotten to go, so I am looking forward to it, although I am happy we will spend only two nights in a hotel and then home to our own beds again.  I think after this trip we will be staying closer to home for awhile.

I read a fiction book this past of those read-for-hours-and-finish-in-one-day books.  (Joel was gone for 12 hours) Now I am back to reading "My Heart The Holy Spirit's Home" and watching some Biblical teachings on healing, etc.  I also ordered a new CD, "You Make Me Brave" from Bethel that was recored live at their womens conference.  It is wonderful!  We have found a couple of new shows we are enjoying.....Madam Secretary is great!  So is NCIS New Orleans (so far) and then there is The Mysteries of Laura which had us laughing.  Speaking of that, Last Man Standing is a nice comedy too.  What has been getting your attention?

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

Friday, October 10, 2014

I Won't Hesitate

Then I heard a loud voice shouting across the heavens,
“It has come at last— 
salvation and power
and the Kingdom of our God, and the authority

of his Christ.
For the accuser of our brothers and sisters
    has been thrown down to earth, the one who accuses them
    before our God day and night.

 And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb
    and by their testimony. 

And they did not love their lives so much
    that they were afraid to die.
Revelations 12: 10,11

Wednesday morning I read a post written by Lisa Buffaloe about her healing from Lyme Disease.  I have been reading Lisa's posts for several years and find her writing both inspirational and encouraging. Like many with Lyme, Lisa battled this terrible disease for years.  During prayer one evening she heard Jesus speak to her as she felt heat move from her head down to her toes.  She knew she was healed.  It was then a matter of walking out that healing. Take a minute and read her story....

I have had a similar experience~ some of my healing came instantly, then inner healing with Holy Spirit at the lead took me on quite a tumultuous journey of restoration.  The rest of my physical healing has been a step by step process. That "rest of my healing" has been the hard part.  There are days I become discouraged.  

Wednesday was one of those days. Then God spoke to me through Lisa's words, and I realized I needed to pick up my mat one more time and walk forward.  I needed to rebuke the devil for whispering that I wasn't doing this healing journey the right way.   That old "I am not enough or doing it right" rising up it's serpent head hissing lies that tried to remove from my heart the "It is written" words of God.  In obedience I need to share my story.  All of it.

Because God has done amazing things in my life.  Because the powerful presence of God on me through Holy Spirit is part of my story, even if it makes others uncomfortable.  I share all my story because it gives God glory.  I share because it encourages others.....and me.  Because my Healer has led others to tell me, "God wants you well" ......"You are so faithful, don't give up!"  Because God's Word tells me Jesus already paid the price.  Because I believe in all His promises.  Because I love Him and He loves me......because of this and more....

"I won't hesitate to share what has happened ~ what God has done.......and promised."
Lisa Buffaloes

Oh God!  I won't hesitate to share just because I am afraid of looking foolish.  I won't hesitate to share just because I am still standing firm for some of my healing to be released.  I won't hesitate to share just because my broken past still plays a part of my present. 
Today I picked up my mat and walked forward by having last minute laser surgery on my eye to reduce pressure and get me off the beta blocker eye drop.  We had been praying for pressure to drop and it had, but I felt God telling me to say yes to the Dr.'s suggestion, whatever it would be.  It was not the path I envisioned,  but in obedience I said yes.  This, too, is part of my healing story.

So, I won't hesitate to share what has happened ~~what God has done and promised........Like Lisa and Bonnie Gray~ Faith Barista, and every single one of us, our stories are HIStory too.  He wants us to write speak live shine a light on what He has done and what He has promised. I will not hesitate.  It is my promise to Him.  I won't hesitate.

I am linking up today with Bonnie for Spiritual Whitespace Thursday.  Her book, Finding Spiritual Whitespace is well worth the read! 
Spiritual Whitespace Linkup

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

It Is Well

"It Is Well" 
Kristine DiMarco
Jesus Culture

Joel and I were sitting in the home of an older family member when I noticed a strong odor of something chemical or musty that permeated every breath I took.  I could not identify it, but the old need to protect myself rose up and I quietly put my hand over part of my nose and mouth hoping to avoid an exposure.  It was in that moment, in the midst of conversation that I heard the quiet voice of Jesus say to me, "Do you trust Me, Renee?"  

Do you trust me?  So simple, and yet so complex....the question....and the answer.......  In that moment I had a choice to make.  Did I trust Jesus...did I trust that I was healed of reactions to chemicals and other odors.  That I was no longer that girl in the bubble.  Down came my arm and I laid my fear at the feet of Jesus.  I gave thanks to the Healer for setting me free from that yoke of slavery. And all was well.

Late last fall, we went on a two week trip out East to a conference on healing.  We searched for a natural spring along the way because a dear friend was instructed by Holy Spirit to tell me to drink from a spring.  Long story, short......we felt strongly that out of obedience I needed to do this.  God directed us to a natural spring on Amish land, and this never-lived-on-a-farm girl freaked out.  It was not what I expected....I was worried about getting bacteria...or parasites...or......  After more prayer and some stern words from Holy Spirit, I drank.  It was not easy, but I knew it was a matter of trust.  "Do you trust me?"  It was also a matter of obedience, and the bonus?  The UTI's I had dealt with for 9 months have been gone since that time a year ago.  Wow. 

Some "Do you trust me" situations are more challenging than others.  One recently had me in knots.  I have pondered His guidance and I have questioned whether we have heard Holy Spirit speaking.  I have read that we can hear three voices...our own, the enemy's or God's.  And sometimes we get it wrong. Sometimes when the answer seems illogical, we tend to think it cannot be from Jesus, but look how many times in the Bible Jesus did illogical things.  He turned water into wine.  He spit on a man's eyes and they were healed.  He fed thousands on one boy's small lunch.  This is where discernment with God, and prayer come together, when in the natural the answer looks illogical.

Yesterday morning I listened to the worship song above which I found on blogger friend Deb's Sunday post.  "It is Well", sung by Kristine DiMarco.  The song spoke to my heart deeply.  Later in the afternoon, while talking with God, I asked for confirmation on what I felt He was telling me concerning my current situation.   With a trust issue at hand, I asked that this song I had listened to for the first time that morning, be one of the worship songs on Bethel Church that day.  I have watched their services for a very long time and never heard them sing it.  A few minutes later I turned on the morning service (which is afternoon here) and walked into the kitchen to get lunch going.  Less than 5 minutes later I heard Brian Johnson begin the first words of the song!  I began crying, humbled by God's love and response to my untrusting human request.  I am not ready to share yet the situation that has had me struggling, but I know Jesus is asking once again...."Do you trust me?" while patiently helping me out along the journey!

Do you trust me?  Have you heard those words from Jesus?  Most of us have.  Does He challenge you to step out in faith?  While following Jesus, there will be times in all our lives where we need to answer this question. It is not always easy or clear, but we have God's promises to rely on.  It will be well.  It is well.  Always.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Saturday's Scribbles: Vacation Adventures

Hello from our corner of Iowa where temperatures have plummeted to highs in the forties, and strong northwest winds have blown in chilly fall nights.  Last Saturday was hot and humid, this Saturday leaves are falling and so are the temps.  Well, I guess it is expected with September behind us!

Speaking of September, on Thursday the 25th we left home and headed up to Owatonna MN where we watched our 12 year old grandson Noah play football.  His team lost, but he played his position well.  After eating out with our son Mark and his son Noah, Joel and I stayed in a hotel in town for the night. 
Father and son
Guess which one is in the cowboy hat?
Isn't the sky beautiful?
Grandson Noah

Friday morning we headed up to the Twin Cities meeting friends, Dave and Deb Grant at the church he pastors in Bloomington, just a mile or so from the Mall of America.  After a great visit we went to the Mall of America for lunch at Ruby Tuesday's.  It was not on Joel's bucket list to ever go to the Mall, but he survived!  While living in NW Minnesota we met the Grants who were serving a church in the area.  After a short chat, I asked if Dave was part of the Grant missionary family.  He is.    Seems our church helped support their family when they were missionaries in Brazil!  When I was 13 or 14 I remember standing in front of our church's bulletin board looking at their family of mom, dad, and 5 boys and wondering what it was like to be missionaries in a far off land.  A dream took hold in my heart to one day be a missionary in Africa.  It was not to happen, but what fun to become friends with "one of the Grant boys" and his wife and family.  Only God.

Dave and Joel
Deb and Renee
After lunch we headed to the Mpls/St. Paul airport to pick up my sister Jan.  We were attending a wedding on Saturday, and she flew in from Kansas for the event.  It was great to see her again.  We checked in to the hotel in a St. Paul suburb and then went out for supper with Jan and her granddaughter Katie.  We all enjoyed a good visit with my sister Jo (Gr. Jo to our kids) before she went off to the grooms dinner.  Around 8 that night there was a knock on our hotel room door and a someone from the hotel gave us a gift bag filled with bottled waters, candy, granola bars, and microwave popcorn!  Seems when Joel was visiting with the desk clerk our battle with Lyme Disease and Joel's healing story came up and they responded with a gift bag.  How nice.   It was a long day, so by nine we were tucked in bed watching Blue Bloods on TV. 

Jan, Jo, and Renee

Saturday morning breakfast, more visiting, and greeting our family as they arrived kept us busy until we left for the ceremony.  It was a beautiful wedding with my brother Todd looking dashing as he walked his daughter Erica down the aisle to her waiting groom, Chris.  The reception was held in the Stillwater Library on a huge patio overlooking the river.  I believe they served around 250.  Lovely time and great fun to see everyone and give our grandchildren extra hugs. 

Renee and Joel at wedding
Sunday morning around 30 gathered for breakfast.  Of course Joel talked our sister-in-law Jeannie into skipping with him down the hotel lobby.  What a character he is!

Joel and Jeannie doing the
cross-over skip!
After lunch most of our family headed for home, but we went with our one daughter and her family and Mark and Noah to Cabelas.  We said good-bye to Mark and Noah there and then headed to Five Guys for lunch with three treasures and their parents before we parted for WI. 
St. Croix River
We stopped in Hudson WI on the St. Croix River which is a big tourist area.  We found an art festival on the river so went for a walk and then spent time at the festival listening to some funky fun music.  From there we went farther north to Taylor Falls WI, which is a place we used to visit with our kids in the late 80's.  It is a beautiful area made mostly by glaciers.
Glacier "potholes"
River view from a walking bridge
When we left Taylor Falls we headed to Amery WI where we met long time friends Lana and Roger for supper.  From there we followed them back to their beautiful cabin/house in the woods on Balsom Lake.  We had made plans to spend a couple of days with them before going home to Iowa.  I first met Lana in 5th grade and we have remained friends for 55 years.  We had a good time visiting, laughing, crying, and playing games.  We did some sight-seeing and were able to purchase 3 gallons of Maple Syrup for this coming year's supply.  (We use it in place of sugar).  Joel and Roger were able to see how the processing works, and where they tapped their trees, etc. Joel helped Roger lay sod one morning and Lana and I went for a walk.  Such beauty there in the woods, although this tick avoiding lady did not walk on grass much at all. I took a ride in their Ranger down to their lake access which was fun! 
Lana and Roger's backyard
Riding in the Ranger
 Ranger driver!
Renee and Lana
Dressed for winter!  Lana is
always cold...I was overdressed...
but it felt good that cold fall morning
in north country!
We left their home in the woods Wednesday morning and headed back to the Twin Cities.  Our next adventure was to spend three hours at IKEA shopping and having lunch.  I even ate half a cinnamon first (seriously) since 1985.  It was delicious!  Driving south to Iowa we stopped at a huge Cabelas where I finally found a nice pair of winter boots that are wool lined and have felted wool tops.  We arrived home for a late supper.  There is "no place like home", right Dorothy?  It did feel good to be back home again and sleeping in our own beds.
Today Joel is off to Rendezvous days in MN.  It is his one day a year he takes fully for himself and he deserves it!  He comes home tired, happy, and smelling like wood smoke!  I am home catching up on the ironing and the teachings I missed the week we were gone.  We woke up to 34 degrees so the fireplace has kept me toasty and Bill Johnson is enlightening and encouraging my faith as I finish this post on our week of new adventures.  Life is good, and we are so blessed to enjoy each day we open our eyes.
Until next time..............