Tuesday, March 31, 2015

He's Got It Covered!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Saturday's Scribbles

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

Celebrating being Lyme free!

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

Spring has come to our house!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

He's A Good Good Father

Recently I was in a conversation with someone and when I had finished sharing briefly about Joel's overnight healing, their response to me was, "Well, God must really love Joel."  Even though this conversation took place months ago, it has not been easily forgotten.  Mostly because I was so stunned by the response that I did not argue the point with this person.  I did not get to say....God. loves. everyone.  With a perfect love.  He does not love some more than others.  That is a lie from the devil.  Period.

When Joel was healed overnight and 3 months later the doctor had examined him, and affirmed the Lyme, arthritis, thyroid condition, and others health issues were all gone, her response was, "Well, Joel is a pastor so God would heal him."  That was three years ago and it sounds as bizarre to us now as it did then.  Yet another lie that God plays favorites.

God loves us so much He sent His only Son to die on the cross for the sins of the world.  He carried our burdens, our diseases, our sins on that cross.  The suffering He endured must have been horrible.  We cannot imagine.  How can we not believe that He loves us, warts and all.

God does not cause bad things to happen to us.  He does not want us to suffer.  Some people believe that they have been given the burden of sickness to carry for the glory of God.  Some people believe that when a child dies, God needed another angel in Heaven.  Some people believe that God punishes us with disease and death to teach us something.  Does that sound like a loving God to you?

Joel is not well because God loves him more that others.  He is not well because He is favored by God as a pastor.  A child does not die because God pointed the finger at them and said today is your day to die.  If that were true, why would people even go to doctors?  If God decides every day who will live and who will die, then why fight cancer or heart disease if it comes?  It must be from God, right?  Wrong!

We live in a broken world.  God has given us a free will.  The covenant with Adam and Eve was broken with the first bite of the "apple"  God does not go back on His Word, so He sent His Son to earth to give us a new covenant of love and forgiveness and eternal life with Him.  That's how much He loves us. 

I don't deny we are tested, stretched, and shaped by God. But I will never believe He wants His children to be abused, neglected, forgotten, sick, and dying.  He wants us to have a full life fulfilling His purpose here on earth. The enemy, our broken world. and the sins of others cause the pain and death we see around us.

I don't begin to have all the answers.  Even though I believe God's plan is for good and not for evil, I feel confused and wrapped up in the mysteries of God on a daily basis.  I have plenty of unanswered questions, but here is what do I know.  God is Soverign.  He is Love.  He forgives. He delights.  He is a good, good Father.  When we pray for healing and someone is not healed I do not look to God as the one who came to "kill, steal and destroy".  I look to Him as the One who came to "give us life and give it to us abundantly".  I don't blame the person, judging their level of faith.  I don't feel shame when I don't see full healing in my own life.  I turn to the Word, I listen to His Living Word and His promises and I focus on them.   And I remember He is a good, good Father.  That is Who He Is!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Journeying To A New Land

Since our return from Arizona, we have spent a great deal of time and energy in prayer and meditation with God.  Why?  Because this trip was life-changing.  God had already told us 2015 would be a "pivotal year" and we were beginning to see some of those whisperings from God come to pass.

Late last summer I began to hear God telling us we would be moving next fall.  It is always iffy to put a specific time on God, it usually does not come to pass in our timing......but that is what I believed I was hearing.  Joel was not wanting to even go there yet, so we waited.  Then when he was ready to pray about it, he also heard the same message.  The problem?  We had no idea where God was leading us.  None.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding. 
In all your ways acknowledge Him
and He will makes your paths straight." 
Proverbs 3: 4,5 

In October Joel shared with me that he felt we would have answers to our questions after our trip to Arizona and we needed to be patient in the waiting.  I am not so good with waiting!  We had been seriously considering going out to Woodland Park CO to Bible college, so both of us were thinking this may be where our answer would be revealed.   After visiting the school, attending classes, and attending the worship and healing service there this February, we came away with an answer~ a strong no for Charis.  We were sad, but by the time we got back to Iowa we realized that God had something else in mind.

Since returning home, we discovered, much to our surprise, that we felt very comfortable in Gold Canyon AZ.  It felt like home.  Strange.....  We wanted to make sure it was not a reaction to the good visit we had there with my sister and BIL, friends, or the new adventures we were experiencing.  We spent many hours talking, discerning, etc.  During that time God was working behind the scenes.

We knew that we were looking for a new kind of ministry, we knew that God had been speaking to us about moving, and we knew we were praying to surrender to His plan for this season of our lives. We did not know it would involve moving nearly 2,000 miles away from our family.  We thought we would be re-visiting Gold Canyon, but God is asking more.  We are saying yes to moving to Gold Canyon.  And we believe God will bless our plan to come back for our family gatherings, some special events, and hopefully part of the summer.  Kind of like being reverse snowbirds.  It is a "one step at a time" process we continue to pray is guided only by God.

All the moves we have made over the years were directed by the military and then by God.  As a minister Joel's purpose was laid out and so was a welcoming community every time we relocated.  This will be a new adventure with our new purpose yet to be revealed!

We have prayed, asked for confirmations, laid a fleece that was filled and filled again, and have had countless conversations with each other and with the Trinity.  Now we take a step of faith.  I saw a graphic on InCourage that really spoke to us.  It tells how I feel as we free fall with God into a new season.

Gold Canyon is the most eastern suburb of Phoenix.  It is nestled against the Superstition Mountains and foothills.  It is an unincorporated city of 10,000 that doubles it's size in the winter.  Mesa is 20 minutes away.  It is filled with cactus, desert, and lots of animals.  Some welcome, some not so much.  It is also filled with houses.  Lots of houses.  For these two Midwesterners, it will be a big change.  We have lived in New Mexico, Utah and Montana, so the west is not new to us, yet we know this will be something completely different.  Most importantly, we are leaving our children, in-loves, grands, and most extended family behind.  After 19 years in one place we are heading to a new land. 

Superstition Mountain at Gold Canyon

I expect to be sharing our journey here as we, like Abraham and Sarah, pick up and move at an "older" age.  We keep asking God to slam the doors if we are being misled, while at the same time giving praise to God as He moves us forward.  One step at a time.

Speaking of that, Joel will be done at Faith Lutheran in mid July.  We plan to put the house on the market by then, and when it sells, we will buy the house God brings to our attention.  He has it all worked out.  It is a matter of trust.  We are on a journey to a new land, and even when we have considered the cost, we have to move forward in what we feel is obedience to God. We are excited, we are sad, we are apprehensive.  Okay, okay, I am the one who is apprehensive.  We are saying "yes" to what God is asking, and believe all things will work together for good according to His plan.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Celebrating The Day Lyme Died

It was three years ago today we called Andrew Wommack's prayer ministries and asked for someone to stand in prayer with me for the Lyme and co-infections to be gone from my body.  A woman named Rachel prayed with me.  To clarify that, she spoke to the mountains in my body.....27 years of Lyme bacteria that had entered every organ, tissue, bone, and nerve, slowly destroying my life.  Antibiotics and herbs could not kill it all off.  But prayer did.  Rachel spoke directly to the Lyme, cursing it and commanding it all to die in the name of Jesus.  She spoke to my body commanding it to rise up and be healed in the name of the One who gave authority to believers.  She spoke scriptures over my body, and she praised Jesus the Healer for the weight of sin and sickness He carried on the cross for us.

That day the Lyme, Bartonella, Babesia, and Ehrlichia died.  How do we know?  For the next three weeks while the bacteria died and left poisons behind, I was in horrible pain.  If you know anything about Lyme, you know that die off is worse than the daily living......It is called "herxing".  Two months later my two doctors confirmed that the Lyme was gone.  Praise Jesus.

Are all my symptoms gone?  Not yet. My full healing has been a process.  More crockpot style than microwave, like Joels.  But the crockpot healing has also released me from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Multiple Chemical Sensitivities and allergies, thyroid disease.  Bringing my chronically ill body back to full health has taken me through a season of inner healing too.  A journey guided by Holy Spirit.   Seeking healing has brought me into a closer relationship with God and Jesus, and amazing life-changing encounters with Holy Spirit.  All ordained by my Papa God.  The One who delights in me.  In you.

Thinking back on the many years of horrific pain and sickness that are behind me, brings me to my knees in gratefulness for where I am today.  What we have learned about healing and Holy Spirit has taken us out of our comfort zone and into a life God has ordained.  We can never go back to our old way of living or thinking.  We have experienced the "something more" that Catherine Marshall talked about in her book of the same title I read over 40 years ago.  It has wrecked us.  And we love it.

So, today we celebrate the day I was healed from Lyme and it's nasty friends. Today we celebrate the day the enemy lost a big, long battle in my body.  And we celebrate the freedom that has come with Jesus.  We celebrate the victories yet to come.  We give praise to the One who holds our every moment!

I am linking up with Bonnie over at Faith Barista


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

His Real Momma!

Our son, Mark, three and a half years old, was sitting between Joel and I in the front seat of the car.  We were on our way home from church and his three other siblings at the time were in the back seat listening as I talked to him about his behavior that morning. 

With defiance in his beautiful brown eyes, he said boldly, "You cannot tell me what to do.  You are not my REAL mom."  As he finished speaking his little decree, he watched to see how I would respond. You see, while we were living in The Philippines, we adopted Mark when he was just 5 months old.

I took a breath and from the deep Momma place inside me, I spoke.  "Mark, I held you, I fed you your bottles, I helped you learn to walk, I changed your diapers, I protected you, I loved you and I still do.  That is a real as it gets! 

Christmas 1975
Momma and Mark

That feisty little boy is now a grown man of 40 who is a director in a Christian recovery ministry, helping addicts and alcoholics transition back into the world.   We have watched over the years how God has walked with Mark through the good, the bad, and the ugly.  I am his proud and loving Momma.  Grateful, so grateful to God that he is our son.

When we started to adopt children of other races in the mid 70's , it was still unusual and controversial.  We knew with all our hearts and without doubt that adopting was part of God's plan for our lives, but others were not sure.  They did not understand that God had planted this strong desire in us to adopt. 

I can still see myself at age 11, in the small storage area off the bedroom where I kept my doll bed and seven dolls.  Periodically I would take them out and play with them.   They kept me company and were like friends for me.  I always loved babies, and I ended up being a mom to seven children.  One day when I was thirteen an African missionary came to our home in SE Minnesota for a visit.  I can remember thinking, as his momma held her beautiful black son, "I will have a son like this little one some day".  Sometimes God instills His plans in our desires even at a young age.

Sometimes doing what God calls us to is controversial or radical.  Sometimes God instills an "inner knowing" inside us to bring forth His plan, even if it seems unusual or beyond our understanding.  And sometimes when these desires come we  just know that we know that we know that no matter what, God is in the midst of it.  And from His goodness comes amazing gifts, like our son Mark. 

For Mark's milestone birthday, I have been putting together a photo book of his life so far, with a small journal filled with memories to go along with it.  Looking at all those pictures from the past. has brought a smile to my face, joy to my heart, and so many memories back to the surface.  So many stories that make up our history and God's story, too. 

The story of how God brought Mark into our lives is amazing and totally orchestrated by God starting back within myself as a child.  It reaffirms to me how important it is to listen and surrender to God's plans for us.  Yes, I am his Momma....and I am as real as it gets!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Saturday's Scribbles

It is yet another Saturday morning here in our corner of the world and I am using only one word to describe our weather this week.  Fantastic!  We have been in the 50's and 60's, the snow is mostly gone and the ice jams have left the river.  We even opened windows to bring in the fresh air. With an extra hour of daylight added to the warmer weather, we are opening our arms to Spring!

Speaking of warmer weather, we have been able to walk outside along the river the past 6 days.  Nice.  Makes such a difference when we are not confined to the mall for walking.  I'm grateful for the mall in the dead of winter, but doing a happy dance now that we can be outside again. 

Speaking of happy dance, I have finally shaken that virus and am back to having energy to walk every day and do what needs to be done without a lot of resting going on.  I am only walking 1 to 1.3 miles right now, but adding more steps daily.  My hot pink tennies are back in action!

Joel has had an extremely busy week again with services Sunday and Wednesday nights, a pre-baptism meeting and a pre-marriage session.  He has always said Easter is much busier than Christmas.  Guess it is true even when he is working part time!  Add to that several hours over several days that he worked on our taxes.  He finally finished yesterday and got them to the accountant.  Yippee. 

I have been Spring cleaning this week.  Cleaning and purging.  Our cleaning lady is battling kidney cancer.  She is having radiation now, after one kidney was removed, so she is unable to work.  We are thinking she will not be back to work for a very long time.  We hired her when I was too ill to do any housework and Joel did not have time and then he himself was ill.  We are able to maintain the house fine now,  but the time it takes certainly affirms to us that we need a smaller house!  Prayers continue for Ruth to be restored to health.

With Easter just a few weeks away, I have been remembering the many places we have worshiped on Easter morning.  Certainly, Joel's 35 years in ministry took us to a variety of churches in Montana, Minnesota and Iowa.  Eight years in the military carried us to New Mexico, Illinois, Utah, Minnesota, and the Philippine Islands.  It is on the island of Luzon where I found myself caught up in my thoughts.  An early 6am service outside at Clark Air Base on Easter Sunday, 1976.  It was already 85 degrees by sunrise, and being outside in the high humidity made it a bit more challenging, but we worshiped as we sat on bleachers filled with others who proclaimed Jesus as their Savior.  A wonderful day, gathered together, and each of us with a baby in our arms and a 5 and 6 year old by our sides.  Okay, officially weeping as I look at this photo.  So blessed.

The family 1976
The Philippine Islands
Speaking of being blessed, I have been watching more teachings from Bethel and Charis.  We take it for granted now, but to turn on the laptop, click a couple buttons, and watch teachers live stream or from the archives is truly a gift.  I love to learn, so I do it daily if I am home.  We also have been watching our usual TV shows, and listening to Bethel's latest CD "We Will Not Be Shaken".  We talked with a couple of the kids and some extended family this week, which always brings joy.  I have been picking up a book once in awhile.   So, how was your week?

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

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Sharing Your Story

I sat across from her at the Wednesday night Lenten supper.  She had struggled to get to the table, but carried her own plate and glass with independence written all over her face.  She looked to be around 80, give or take 5 years.  It seems the older I get, the harder time I have guessing someone's age. 

When she decided to get up for a second helping of the "sooo good lasagna" her spry husband asked if she needed help.  She replied firmly, "No I am just fine.  I can do this myself."  I detected just a hint of a Scandinavian accent behind that slightly irritated voice.  Inside I was smiling. She reminded me of my mother-in=law, who has gone to be with Jesus.  I knew little about this woman, but was soon to learn more. 

When it was just the two of us left at the table, she began to talk about when she was a young woman.  She had gone to nursing school, and after graduating she got on a train from her home in North Dakota and traveled to Billings MT.  From there she had to take a smaller freight train to a town in western Nebraska where she worked at a hospital that now no longer exists.  The train would stop once in awhile to pick up sheepherders along the way.  She went on to tell me that people would come into the local store and buy 100lbs. of sugar, 200lbs of potatoes, flour, etc. to last them the winter, because they would not be able to get out once the heavy snows came. 

She left her home, all that was familiar, and got on a train to a new place where the snow kept people captive on their ranches til Spring.  She stayed nearly two years, until a young man she had left behind, came to ask for her hand in marriage.  The man she said yes to sat by her side at the Wednesday night Lenten supper.  Still sitting by her side so many, many years later as they walk hand in hand in faithfulness to God.

Every created life is a story in the making.  I was blessed to listen to a faithful servant tell some of her story last night.  No matter how short or how long, there is a story that cries out to be heard.  A life that longs to be remembered long after ashes have returned to ashes.

I wrote the above last night.  This morning I opened Ann Voskamp's blog to a post written by Michelle Cushatt who has just written a book called, "Undone".  Going over to Michelle's cyber home, I saw the title of a post she had written Tuesday...."When A Life Becomes A Story".  I just love how God joins people together in the written word.  Everyone God has created has a story to tell.  My story.  Your story.  His story.  HIStory.  Have you shared yours?  To God be the glory!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The Easy Way Or The Hard Way

God has been speaking to me the past couple of days about freedom.  In Christ we have freedom from death, from sin, from the enemy who comes to steal, kill, and destroy.  This I know.  And as my body has healed through prayer and speaking to the mountain of disease, I have felt the truth of Galatians 5:1.  "It is for freedom that Christ set us free. So stand firm then, and never again be burdened by a yoke of slavery"  A yoke of slavery to sickness, to sin, to fear, to the enemy.  It is a verse I declare often to remember where I have been and how far I have come. 

This word freedom, and the scripture that goes with it, are not what I would have thought of to carry us through what is going on in our lives right now.  Yet God has been speaking to me through scriptures, books, and devotionals about freedom.  And today Ann Voskamp's blog post echoed what I had been reading about surrender in Heidi Baker's book, "Birthing the Miraculous".  Surrender and obedience bring freedom. But there is more.....

Ann said, "You were born for freedom.  You deliver into it through obedience."  And then, "No one ever enters into the rest of God by giving Him only half of themselves."   She continued to say, "The soundtrack for misery always is, "I did it my way".  Ann often hits the nail right on the head.  Squarely.

My cowboy preacher, Joel, brought a deeper understanding to me with his definition of surrender. He defined surrender to God as being a struggle when it comes from our body or soul.  But when we know who we are and Whose we are through our Spirit within, surrender releases into freedom.  And we know who we are because God tells us who we are.  We are a child of God.  We are made righteous through Jesus.  He delights over us with singing.  There are endless scriptures that tell us who we are!

Getting back to "I did it my way",,,,,,,,,Discerning what is God's will and what is only ours takes time, and even then we can get confused.   In the daylight hours when the sun is clearing out the cobwebs, it all looks good and right.  In the wee hours of the morning when darkness stirs the soul, doubt and fear can work their way in.  At 4:30 this morning I found myself in such a place......and asked the question, "How is this working for you, Renee? 

As I lay in bed tossing and turning,  I remembered what Jesus had spoken to me in the garden yesterday morning.  If you visit here often you know that I meditate most days on imagining myself in the garden of my heart where Jesus comes and speaks to me.  I call it divine imagining as I have learned over the past few years that 99% of what comes is NOT from me.  It is a precious time with God that I continue to be thankful for.  Joel and I are in the middle of a life changing decision for ourselves, and those we love and care about will be affected.  It has me struggling.  In the garden Jesus showed me an enormous bag on the ground that was moving around like something or someone was inside.  I knew it was filled with the thoughts and feelings of others.   Jesus asked me to give it to Him.  He said to me...."You can do this the easy way or you can do this the hard way." I knew what He meant.  I had a decision to make.   I gave Him the bag, and I did so with a sense of relief.

But at 3 this morning when I was wide awake, I knew I was dragging that bag around again,  and was doubting His direction.  I had surrendered, but only briefly.  So I began to release that worry and sadness I was feeling for myself and our family, as I whispered the name of  Jesus over and over with every breath until restful sleep returned.  It was a matter of trust. 

God wants us to trust Him, people.  If you are a follower here, you know this has been a reoccurring theme in my life.  Trusting Jesus.  He wants us to surrender self and embrace freedom in Him. We do that by remembering who we are and Whose we are.  God desires us to experience freedom and He knows that one of the ways that it is released is through obedience.  And obedience comes from surrender.  Surrender is possible when we know who we are and out of trust we rest in that.  I love this song by Bethel Music that speaks so well of being a child of God.  I hope you enjoy it too.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Saturday's Scribbles

It is a beautiful day in our corner of the world.  The sun is shining, the temperatures are rising and the snow is melting!  We are in the 40's with mid 50's coming Monday!  Yes!  When we left home Thursday morning it was -10 with a wind chill of -20.  When we arrived back home this afternoon it was 40 plus degrees.  Nice.


Speaking of nice, we were able to visit our oldest daughter Beth and her family's home to attend our granddaughter Abbi's school musical, "Mulan".  We went both Thursday and Friday nights, and sat in different spots.  Up close one night, farther back and on the second level the second.  It gave us different perspectives.   The costumes were beautiful and the set designs were great.  These are middle school kids with a talent and love for music and acting, and it showed.  Great job by our granddaughter who was on stage the whole time, speaking singing, etc.  What fun to be able to go, and we were able to be there for our oldest daughter's birthday, too.

Abbi with friends

Proud Grandma and Grandpa
The rest of the week was pretty quiet, lots of resting for me.  Joel headed off to church without me two more times, but tomorrow I will tag along!  So grateful for the warmer weather coming our way.  Spring is just around the corner!  Enjoy your weekend!

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

Friday, March 6, 2015

Free-Fall In Faith

I was looking at a Facebook post recently, and the words, "Free-fall in Faith" caught my eye.  It was a message from  Dr. Brian Simmons, the author of the Passion Translation of the Bible.  When I finished reading, I could not stop thinking about those four words...."free-fall in faith".  So, I did what we all do when curious, and I googled it!   Not much came up except for a story from Guideposts magazine that was about a woman who was afraid of heights.  For her birthday one of her more daring sons surprised her with a special gift.  Skydiving!  When she told him she was afraid of heights, he said, "No you aren't."  "You are just thinking yourself afraid.  Trust God!  She did, and took the leap from a plane, and the rest is as they say.....history.  Certainly considering her sons words helped her step out of an airplane and literally "free-fall" in faith.

There is a Facebook page that I connect with that has as it's title, "I have a mustard seed and I am not afraid to use it".  Oh, don't you just love that?!  The Bible tells us that faith the size of a mustard seed is really all we need. And the facilitator of that page empowers the mustard seed size faith when she/he says, "I'm NOT afraid to use it!

Mom and Bethany

Yesterday was our oldest daughter's birthday.  Happy Birthday Bethany.  I remember when she was first married and living in Minnesota where she and her husband worked.  I read in The Lutheran magazine about a job available at a large church in a Chicago suburb and I encouraged her to apply.  She would be working with a well known woman in our denomination and I felt drawn to tell her about it.   She did not want the job...did not want to move....but she felt The need to apply......after which they asked her to interview on the phone...she did...and then followed that up with an interview in person.  They offered her the job!

Her husband Kevin needed a job in the company he was with in order for this to work out and it was a long shot, except that God was in the middle of it all and when he checked into the Chicago company, he got hired there!  They spent 12 years in Chicago and have fond memories and close friends from that one step of faith.  A free-fall in faith.  God just loves it when we step out in faith and trust His plan. 

Granted, we don't always understand His plan, but we can trust His love for us. There are times in our lives, of which I can think of more than a few, where we felt like we were literally free-falling and had to hang on to our faith,  believing in His love to see us through.  Even though it can be hardI would rather be free-falling in faith that walking on solid ground without my Savior.  During those times when doubt or fear want to take up residence, we need to look back and remember.  God is faithful.  He does love us. He has a plan for good, and we can trust Him.  Even when free-falling in faith......especially when free-falling in faith.  Just remember, you have a mustard seed, and you are not afraid to use it.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Ever On My Lips!

God spoke clearly to Joel and myself this past December that 2015 was going to be a "pivotal year" in our lives, so I was looking for a word to focus on this year that would resonate within His promise.

Psalm 34:1

Then God beckoned me to embrace the word "praise" and I confess..... I was not very excited.  I was  thinking maybe something with more impact, more excitement!   Silly me.  The word did not go away, so in obedience I began to embrace the word....praise.  \o/  

In the first two months of this year praise has become more than a little important on our journey, and we are already seeing signs of this "pivotal year" declaration!  Our trip to 9 states covering 4140 miles was truly life changing.  Joel and I stood together gazing in awe at Superstition Mountain from the patio of my sister and BIL's home.  We stood together in a circle in the home of our friends Linny and Dwight, where with hands clasped we were united in prayer.  We stood together hands raised in worship at the Charis Bible School healing service in CO. We stood with arms around each other at the foot of our son's grave weeping.  We stood together in joy with our grandson Eli.  Pivotal times.  Pivotal times that opened our hearts to praise.  Awe inspired, humble praise for our God and how He works in the details of our lives.

We enjoyed so much about our trip.  Seeing new horizons in Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas.  Seeing the rugged beauty of southern New Mexico and Arizona, the red rocks of Sedona, the sights of Colorado.  We laughed and reminisced with old friends, high school classmates, and my sister and BIL.  We enjoyed the beauty and warmth of Gold Canyon.  So much to be grateful for, and we are.

Coming home, the short nights and long days caught up with me.  The past two weeks I have been fighting a virus that has played a cat and mouse game with my body and my mind.  My daily walk has been temporarily suspended, and I have missed church more than once.  I. hate. it.  It is easy to get into a funk or a place of fear when symptoms similar to my old life show up.  Praise has become one of the ways I am fighting against the crud.  It is not always easy, but it is bringing me closer to God.   Your praise will ever be on my lips, Lord.

Our lives are in a bit of tizzy right now.  We are processing something big, what we believe God is saying to us, and we are asking for confirmation, laying a fleece as Gideon did, and stepping out in faith.  It began a few months ago, but has taken off in this "pivotal year".  When fear or worry comes calling, and believe me they do try, we are working hard at shutting the door, and raising our arms and filling our mouths with......you guessed it~~ praise.  \o/  

I have to admit that as always, God knew what He was doing when He persisted in my focus word for this year.  Praise.  This song from Bethel Music brings our eyes upon our Savior as we bring forth words of healing praise.  Your praise will ever be on our lips, Lord.