Monday, April 24, 2017

Invitations From God

Last week we shared our healing stories with the community church group we are a part of.  They have been gathering for nearly 2 years, but we joined just last fall.  We were asked to share our stories, so we did!

Sometimes it is difficult to look back at those dark times in our life.  Especially when Joel and I were both so sick.  Sometimes I listen to the lies that have me running from what is already gone.  Fear can creep in when I look back on the wrong thing.  Yes, Lyme is evil.  The enemy uses it to kill, steal, and destroy, and it nearly destroyed both Joel and my lives.  But God!  Once we opened our eyes to the revelation of His Word on healing........everything changed.

I'll soon be reading and reviewing a book by Bonnie Gray, entitled, "Whispers of Rest".  Her first book, "Finding Spiritual Whitespace" has helped many people walk through difficult times.  Bonnie was a well educated and successful business woman who suddenly was controlled by panic attacks due to childhood trauma that surfaced.....but God had other plans.  God invited her to open her heart to healing and she stepped out into the more He offered and is now empowering others with what she learned on her journey.  Only God.

My friend Katherine was battling Lyme disease and the many antibiotics, supplements and herbs she was taking did not heal her broken body.  She listened to a teaching about God wanting us well, felt led by God, and took a bold step in obedience ~ throwing out the many bottles lining her counter, relying on prayer for healing.  She is now a mom of 5 beautiful babies, active in her church and community, and doing so well.  She opened her heart and her eyes to seeing God's Word in a new way..........and everything shifted.  She also shared her journey with us and for that we are eternally grateful.

I listened to a woman share her story of how she ended up living in Redding California.  She kept having dreams where she would see a city surrounded by mountains.  She was living in the south and her life was challenging at the time.  She kept seeing this place but had no idea where it was.  She heard about Bethel, decided to go to a conference there, and as she came into the city it took her breath away.  Here was the city of her dreams.  Against any arguments, she knew she was to follow God's calling.  She moved there and attended their school of ministry.  Her life changed at God's invitation.

Recently I shared a story her about how Holy Spirit invited me into "something more" with Him. The many weeks that we walked together in a divine encounter is hard to explain, but I did attempt to do so here.  People may be uncomfortable with what I shared, but God told me clearly that I am not to worry about what others think, or try to please man in anyway.  I am to obey Him.  This is a challenging invitation from God........letting go of what people think.  The need for approval from others.  I can look back and see some of the ways it is beginning to what I what I my creative worship Bible journaling.  Only God.

What is God inviting you into right now?  He is always welcoming us into something!  Whether it is a closer relationship with Him, obedience, a new art, a new land, healing, or more.  We need to be keeping our ears and eyes open to His guidance and direction, His invitation for the more.  Can you hear Him beckoning you into more?

Friday, April 21, 2017

A Firm Grip

  We had been visiting Joel's folks at the farm.  I woke up and went downstairs to find his mom getting ready to cut our son Matt's hair.  I was not brave enough to say anything, but turned around and ran upstairs to get Joel.  He let his mom know she was not to cut our son's hair.  It was long, was the 70's and Matt was sporting a thick mop of hair.  Lots of bangs!  We were very grateful for that hair just a few months later.

Joel, Beth, Matt, and myself were visiting friends in the Canadian bush that summer of 1973.  We had rented a tent camper and were spending a week at their Christian camp in the bush country.  It was a sunny day when we set out to explore, using canoes to paddle our way.  We stopped to eat our picnic lunch on a large rock area.  After eating, our son Matt, age 2, went to play by the water.  Suddenly he fell in and I ran as fast as I could to the water.  He had already disappeared, so I reached down into the water searching, and found his long hair.  I grabbed hold, pulling hard to get him to the surface.  I don't think I stopped shaking for the rest of the day.
Matt age 3

It seems that this lovely picnic sight, with the beautiful water and level rock surface was the top of what continued to be a cliff underneath where currents ran strong.  He was being pulled underneath into an area where we could not reach him when I grabbed him by that thick mop of hair.  How thankful we were that my wariness around water got me to Matt in record grateful we were that Matt's thick blonde hair gave me something to grip when I wrestled with the current to bring him back to the surface and into my arms.  Only God.

A good analogy of how God cares for us, don't you think?  We believe we are in a good place and everything looks great, but there is danger hidden from us.....yet not from God.  He knows what is coming and He keeps His eye on us.  He has a "firm grip" on us as we read in the book of Isaiah.  Our Papa God, as a loving parent, watches over us, often rescuing us when necessary.

"Do not be afraid, neither be dismayed, 
for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."
Joshua 1:9  

"I'll give you strength.  I'll help you.  
I'll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you."
Isaiah 41:10

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Adventures in Africa or Suburbia

My friend, Linny, has used YWAM's (Youth With A Mission) books about missionaries for many years, reading them to all their children.  Recently she talked about one book on her blog, A Place Called Simplicity and YWAM heard about it.  They offered her readers a special price on a set of 5 books, with 10% of the profit going to Linny and Dwight's ministry, International Voice of the Orphan.    There are some great stories about missionaries!

Today I listened to a man share his story on the Hillsong channel.  He and his wife had been missionaries in Saudi Arabia, starting many underground churches during the time that they lived with their family there. They were from India, but felt God call them to start underground churches in a Muslim country.

Years passed, their churches multiplied, and then the government found out what they were doing, and told them they would have to leave the country. The man and his wife sent their kids back to India right away, and they stayed behind to pack up.  Unfortunately, the man was arrested and taken to prison just 10 days before he was scheduled to leave.  He was in solitary isolation for 1 month, interrogated for hours at a time nearly daily, and spent 6 more months in prison before they released him.  He has no regrets because he did what he felt called to do.

It took me back to our days at The Lutheran Bible Institute.  Many of our teachers were once missionaries and one in particular had suffered greatly in a Japanese POW camp.  His fingers were all broken and not re-set so they now bent at angles....he had his finger nails removed too.  As a Christian he suffered greatly for his faith.  He was a faithful man of God who empowered all the students who sat in his classes.

I remembered Gracia and Martin Burnham, who were missionaries in The Philippines.  They were captured by terrorists and held captive for a year.  They survived many difficulties, but her husband died and she was shot when the Filipino military found the terrorists and assaulted the camp.  Gracia and her family loved living in the P.I. and felt called by God to do so.  Their son is in mission work, flying the same kind of plane his dad did.  Jim and Elisabeth Elliot went to South America in the late 50's where Jim and others were massacred by some of the tribe they had hoped to reach.  Later Elisabeth went back with her family to work with the very people who killed Jim.  There son has worked among them also.

Of course, Linny's daughter Emma and SIL are missionaries in Uganda where they take care of orphans with many special needs.  They are in the process of buying land to expand The Gem Foundation.

Joel's cousin, David Simonson, is buried on the land the Masai gave the family.  David and his wife Eunice spent over 50 years bringing Christ to the Masai tribe.  They started the first girls schools also. His wife and I believe 4 of their 5 kids still live and work in Tanzania.  Jim Klobuchar wrote a great book about their story, entitled The Cross And The Acacia Tree.  I am always so blessed by these stories. What courage to follow their calling.   Ordinary people who have changed the world by being obedient in God's plan for their lives.

There are times like today that I still "wish" we had gone into the mission field, but we believe it was not God's will.  God has a plan for every single one of us, and that plan is to help change the world.  It may not be across the may not be as a pastor or a missionary.  It may be as a business man, musician or homemaker.  It may be you are the one in the kitchen serving others at the church....or in a shelter.  Whatever the plan, it is for His purpose.  What is required of us is obedience to that plan, that leading, that purpose.  We are all destined to fulfill His calling on our lives.  Whether on African soil, in the jungles of the Philippines, or in your own backyard in suburbia.  We need only lift our hearts and voices and say..........."Yes, Lord."  The adventures will follow!

Monday, April 17, 2017

He Is Risen!

"As air is in the atmosphere of the Earth, 
glory is in the atmosphere of Heaven.  
It lifts us above the earthly, 
into the very presence of God."
Ruth Heflin

Yesterday was a beautiful day here in our corner of the world.  The sun was shining, the skies were blue and it was warm enough to open doors and windows, as we welcomed in the fresh Spring air.  It was also Easter Sunday, for Christians who celebrate our risen Savior.  Oh Jesus......we love you!

Our youngest daughter and her son went with us to church where we worshiped with friends and raised our hands in praise and gratefulness for God's goodness.  Praising God.......Worshiping our Lord from a place of victory, embracing His presence ~His glory....rejoicing in His eternal gift to us.  Amazing grace.

Sarah and Jonas

Papa and Gr. Na

Yesterday's "He is Risen" service reminded me of a book I recently began reading.   A book by Ruth Heflin, titled "Glory:  Experiencing the Atmosphere of Heaven".  It came about because I have been seeking answers to define more clearly the glory of God.  How do we experience it?  Exactly what is it?  I was reading a book by one of my favorite authors and this woman's name came up.  I googled her, found out she had written several books on God's glory, and the rest is history.

Ruth Heflin was a woman evangelist who did a great deal of teaching on praise and worship.  She makes several great statements in her book.  She believes that the greatest instrument of praise we have is our voice.  That there is greater change that comes about through worship than through any other means.  When we praise God it becomes a time of worship and worship opens the doors to His powerful Presence.  His glory.

For each one of us it may be expressed a bit differently, but the Bible tells us consistently that we need to praise God.  Scriptures tell us that praise is a powerful tool of warfare, that praise opens the doors to God's Presence.  The Psalms are full of praise!  Praise puts our focus on God and off of ourselves.  It reminds us of His goodness.  Praise ~ Worship ~ His Glory....His Presence.

Not only on Easter, but every day of the year, let us give thanks and PRAISE our Lord Jesus!  Lets praise and worship Him, and as you do so, receive His Presence and glory in the the sanctuary.  His is Risen!!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Gelatos, Pigment Pens, and the Resurrection Story

Proverbs 31

About a year ago a younger woman at church shared with me the art work she was painting in her Bible.  I was amazed at the beauty of it, but never thought it was something I could do.  I did not even know that it had a name......"Bible Journaling", nor did I imagine I would find it one of the greatest ways to meditate on the Word. Recently a friend mentioned that she was taking a class in Bible journaling, which sent me researching Google, Pinterest, and more.  The result of that first google search has turned into something delightful for me. The next day I began to freehand drawings in one of my older Bibles.  Taking a verse or verses from the Bible, then creating art on the pages of the Bible, has opened a door for me to a new kind of meditation on God's Word.  It feels like a form of worship.  All of our daily living is a kind of worship, as we work, play, read, connect.  It is all a form of worship as we connect with our Creator.  Today I am grateful for Bible Journaling, not doing this from a place of performance, or perfection ( as you can see!), but from communion with God and reflecting on His Word.

You are a lamp unto my feet
and a light unto my path....

Lately I have received 9 "open door" references, and I have been looking for those doors to open in areas I had already preconceived in my brain.  I quickly realized Bible Journaling is an open door from God that has totally surprised me.  I love it!  It brings me closer to my Lord, helps me soak in the Word, and gives me an expression of worship.  Thank you God!

On a side note, after visiting a few blogs I have come to realize that there are a few people out there who would never write or draw in their Bibles.  Others write all over their Bibles ......and now they draw what they see when reading God's Word.  I am in that latter category and so thankful for this way of visualizing God's Words.

Anyone can do this!  I am not an "artist" but I can visualize what God shows me.  I do need "help" in getting it drawn out so I have used Pinterest and other places to give me something to look at when I draw....I pray and think about what the verse means to me, to others......and then I pick up a pencil to pdraw....then use gelatos (not ice cream) and watercolor and colored pencils, pigment pens, etc.  Oh what fun!

So back to the open doors.....I wonder how many times God has sent me a message and because of my preconceived idea of what that should look like, I miss what He is showing me.....
My chains are gone....
I've been set free......

As I drew what I saw about Galatians 5:1 above, I was drawn back to Holy Week.  A week of great importance in the life of a Christian.  The last days before Jesus was crucified.  As we walk through this week let us sing with praise....let us speak with love.....let us worship in all we do.........focusing on the Resurrection Story........My chains are gone!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

The More

It all began innocently enough.  She sat on her sofa searching for worship music on her laptop. Scrolling down the many videos available her eyes stopped on one by Heidi Baker and Ruth Fazel.  As she touched the keyboard the most beautiful music filled her ears.  Worship music to Jesus,,, soft, mellow, and so so intimate in ways she did not yet understand.

As she stood alone in her living room and sang along, she reached her arms skyward and asked for "more" from Holy Spirit.  More of the Presence in the room, in her body, in her heart.  It began slowly.  A gentle heaviness descended upon her making her move involuntarily.  Soon it was hard to stand so she sat and then it was hard to sit upright so she laid down, letting the Presence of God cover her like an heavy blanket.  A warmth filled her....a peace and sense of contentment and deep love that she longed to hold tightly to.

When this living, breathing blanket came, the Presence moved in.  As days passed there were times her husband needed to help her get around the house, as she continued to be under the Presence of God.  The encounter was at times frightening while at the same time so powerful she did not want it to end.  It was at times confusing while at the same time filled with clarity.  She was experiencing what she did not yet have words for, but knowing it was from God, she surrendered to His will.  Through the encounter, He began the process of the healing she longed for.

Four years later it continues to be difficult for her to describe what occurred during those weeks, as she daily opened her eyes to the glory.  His presence.  Time seemed suspended, yet went by so quickly.  The season of encounter was so intimate, so revealing, so healing as The Presence ebbed and flowed in intensity. doing a graceful dance in her, upon her.  She did not want to live or breathe without it, but slowly the Heavy Blanket subsided and eventually routines returned.  But not to normal.  Nothing could ever go back to what was.  With each sunrise she felt God was with her, but in remembering she could only seek more, ask for more, receive with open arms the More.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Home Is Where Your Story Begins

I looked over a friend's recent photos on her blog and saw a picture of a wooden bird house with one word written below.  Home.  I had just finished writing about "home" and how my favorite columnist Sharon Randall, defines it.

Seeing that birdhouse made me think of the house Joel made that graces our lilac trees in the backyard. A place wrens nest every year.  And our resident duck couple who come to nest in our neighbor's yard each Spring.  They come back to the neighborhood when the snow leaves, and we look forward to greeting them.  Yesterday we heard our residential female cardinal as she sang her familiar song. The same crazy robin seems to be back after a year of reprieve, a day after we had just talked about robins that continually bang against a window ~ maybe talking about it was a bad idea.  And the deer......our neighbor continues to feed them (sigh) and yesterday I went out on our deck and shooed them away, chasing 6 of them out of our yard and away from another neighbor's, where they were raiding his bird feeder.  I like deer......I do NOT like ticks.  Definitely the animals and birds are holding the belief that Spring is here to stay.

Regarding birds, I wondered why certain ones call Iowa home?  Why do they settle here and not head further north?  What calls them to our corner of the world and are they mostly snow birds returning to their "homes" along with their human counterparts?  Dr. Google says that most have a remarkable ability to come back to a particular place.  They may come back to the same back yard, and even the same tree.  They have cues they use to get there.  They are born with genetically encoded routes, timing, etc. in their brains.  Amazing, isn't it!  Only God.

One of our families has been on a great adventure across the sea, and will be soon be back to their own beds at night.  They have no genetically codes to lead them, but I am thinking they will be expressing the "home sweet home" phrase after plane and time changes and so many days of new places and new things.

Home.  Songs are written about it.  Christmas sentiments make us think of that place we each name. We are not like the birds with inbuilt honing devices to draw us back to the place we came from, yet often we are drawn back...........whether your home was a place of the good, the bad, or the ugly, that world brings up images and emotions for each of us.

I expect we all do our best to make our domestic nests welcoming, restful, and a good place to be. We may not always appreciate our home until we are away from it, though.   Looking around our current place of residence today, I am grateful for the familiar.....the sun streaming in the window across the floor....the cozy sofa with my pile of books close by.  The sound of the furnace as it kicks in to take off the chill.......the large windows that bring the outside in and from where I can view nature.....the sounds of my soulmate doing life.   May the place you lay your head tonight, bring you the peace and contentment longed for.  Home.  So many great quotes about it.

"He is happiest whether king or peasant, who finds peace in his home."

" The magic thing about home is that it feels good to leave, and it feels even better to come back."

"Home is where the heart is."

"There is no place like home".

"Home is people, not a place."

"Home is where your story begins"

Monday, April 3, 2017

Welcome Home!

I was reading a post written by my favorite columnist, Sharon Randall, and she asked questions that she asks of many she meets, "Where are you from?"....and...."How do you define home?  It set me thinking.  It has been on my mind in this senior season of our lives, a time of wanting roots while hungering for the more.  Desiring something new while making the effort to embrace what is.  Where is home?  What is home?  Randall defines home as where her people and land I pondered.

Joel grew up on the family farm, 1/8 mile from their country church.  Surrounding him were family and friends as far as the eye could see.  Yet at his mother's suggestion he left home at age 20 and headed down to The Lutheran Bible Institute smack in the middle of a big city.  We met there, graduated, married and headed out and away from anything or anyone we knew.

I moved a lot as a child, from house to house, town to town, state to state.  When I was three I called the car "home".  I expect it was a familiar place for me.  From age 12-18 I lived in a small three bedroom 1950's house with my newly defined family.  I moved in with my older sister and her husband in 6th grade and her children became my siblings while my two sisters remained my sisters. Complicated?  Not for me.  Even though I left home at 18 and have not lived there is 51 years, I can visualize every room, every closet, every corner of that house where I felt safe, loved, and happy. More than a few years ago now, that house was demolished along with many others that stood in a flood zone.  It rests in my memories.

After Joel and I married the Air Force sent us around the country and across the world.  When Joel became an ordained minister we continued to travel to new houses, new churches, new towns.  We enjoyed friends and congregations very much, but always put down shallow roots because we knew what the future held ~ another move.

Our children endured many moves with their parents.  I am not sure where our children call home, since none of them live where we reside.    Is it when we gather as a family once a year, or is is where they live and where each of them has put down roots, bypassing childhood visions of "home", for their people and land where roots run deep?   It makes sense.   Home is where the heart is............

And where does that put us?  We are coming up this month on the 21st year we have lived in this town. Joel has preached in 24 of the churches in the synod.  We have lived in three houses here, the last one for nearly 13 years.  Yet, our roots are still not very deep.  If a stranger asks us where we are from, my reply is "We are from Minnesota, but we live in Iowa for now."  No offense to those we know well here, but we have never felt this was a permanent place for us.

If you read my writings here, you know that this topic of where to call home, defining home, and seeking roots has pulled and tugged on us for awhile now.  Sharon Randall's questions stirred the waters, although to be honest our friends who, too soon for us, will venture out into a new definition of home, have inadvertently got us thinking again.  It does not take much.

So how do we define home?  Familiar land take us back to our hometowns, but we have been gone for over 50 years, only visiting briefly at times.  Mostly for us, home is defined with the people we love and care about.  Remember the siblings that came into my life at age 12?   "Home" has come with texting.  Crazy?  Maybe not so much.  When my older sister broke her back she was isolated often at home.  We all began texting to get information, but it continued on long after with a way to connect. We share pics, talk politics (we all lean one way), pass on information, and just chat.  A way to connect that has given me a feeling of "going home".   Roots run deep with them and my sisters who helped raise me.  Doubly blessed.

Joel and I talked yesterday about Randall's question, "Where do you call home?"  We both feel that home is where we both are.  Together.  There are always family roots that draw us in, on the farm, and in houses that reside now only in our memories.  There is always our family that brings a definition of who we are, and yet with circumstances and miles between,  in this season of our lives we are most drawn to each other.

I visited with the massage therapist today about her story.  I asked here if she has always lived here and she told me yes.  She even bought the house she grew up in and has lived there nearly 65 years.  I tried to fathom that.  I cannot, and honestly, it would not be on my bucket list.  Even thought it is not all roses by any means, I prefer a life of new adventures.  I guess we are all unique in the way we do life and where we live, but are we unique in how we define home?   I think my favorite columnist has it right.....home is mostly about the people we love and for some the land beneath our feet.

Where are you from?  How do you define "home"?  For some it may be an easy answer....for others complicated.  Whether you are are well rooted, or feel the pull and tug of desiring more,  we know without doubt our final home will be a place of continual joy, rest, glory, and Presence.  And when we arrive we will hear our Papa God say....."welcome home!"

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Let There Be Light


It is the first day of April and there is hope that Spring is making it's way into our corner of the world. There is a rumor going around that the sun is coming out to gift us with some natural light.  Seriously necessary after another week of gray skies and damp, cold temperatures.

I did some research and found out that there are an average of 152 sunny days per year in Seattle Washington. That place where rain is as common as the air we breathe.  In our corner of Iowa there are an average of 188.  Joel and I have often said we could never live on Washington's coast where "the sun don't shine"....but our little city is not faring much better.  What is up with that?  Denver has 300 sunny days a year.  Come on!  That is amazing and makes me wonder if all that sunshine is why the cost of living is so high there?  

We can turn on all the lights in the house, (and we have) and we can put on peppy music to brighten the short winter days of drab, but lack of sun makes for lack of sunny in my hubby.  With all the healing that took place in Joel's body, seasonal affect disorder still holds its grip and with this past winter's continual grayness, it took effort to keep his energizer bunny going.  It was obvious to me when we had that one week of warm weather and sunshine in early March.  He was out riding his bike, racking up 80 miles in no time.  Most importantly his energy and his effortless smile were back.  
I have pondered how it must be to live in Alaska where lack of light in the winter is then replaced by lack of dark in the summer.  I expect people and bodies adjust, but then there is the higher rate of alcoholism and depression that goes along with the bitter cold and darkness there.  The strong survive not only the cold and the lack, but I expect the strong just get stronger.

Getting back to "gray skies, nothing but gray skies from now on....."  Some people prefer cloudy skies and melancholy infused artificial light.  It suits them.  We are not those "some people".  We need light!  Let there be light!

Jesus often speaks of light in the written Word.  Light coming into darkness...a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.  Light.  He is described as the Light.  He describes Himself as the Light.  "I am the light of the world.  Whosoever follows me will not walk in darkness."  And just like sunshine bringing out the energy and joy in my hubby, so Jesus' light brings out our joy!  "The joy of the Lord is our strength".  Jesus brings out the best in us, His Spirit empowering us....brightening our inner and outer beings.  Come sunshine.....Let there be light!   Come Jesus come.......Let there be the Light!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

In The Hallway

While scrolling Facebook yesterday morning a quote on Start Your Day With Jesus caught my attention.  "Don't stress over closed doors behind you.  God has NEW doors opening for you if you just keep moving forward."  It caught my attention because I had just read something else about closed doors from Dr. Brian Simmons who writes "I Hear Him Whisper".  He is also the author of the Passion Translation of the Bible.  The title of yesterday's "I Hear Him Whisper" was "The Right Door Will Open".   Then during morning devotions, up popped the closed doors theme once again.  Three times within an hour.

Today I listened to two separate teachings at Bethel.  One on the Holy Spirit and one on the story of Esther.  During each of those teachings "open doors" came up again.  God definitely has our attention.

Sometimes doors open wide, and we are able to see how God has made the way for us.  I remember when our oldest daughter Beth and her husband were living and working in the Twin Cities.  Bethany had been working at a church in a suburb there, when an opportunity for her to apply for a job at a church in Chicago came up.  I saw this opportunity and felt a strong urge from God to tell her about it.  A couple interviews and a job opening for her husband later, and they were on their way to Chicago.....many miles and hours away from us.  There were times I wished I had never seen that want ad in our ELCA's national magazine, but that would have been wrong. This was part of God's plan for their lives, and the 10 years they spent there were life changing.  Only God.

When doors close it can be difficult to see this as God.  A closed door can be discouraging in the moment.  When Joel was stationed in Duluth MN we visited friends at Luther Seminary in St. Paul. Joel knew he wanted to be a pastor, and he knew that there was a good chance he could get an early out of the Air Force.  We were so sure that this is what God wanted for us, that we even looked at buying a house only a few blocks from the seminary.  When we returned from our visit, Joel went in to the base to apply for early out.  Much to his surprise, he was told that he could not apply since he had "orders" pending.  What orders??  He soon discovered he was being sent to The Philippines.........and thankfully, we could all go with him.  That door closed hard, and we went to the P.I. for two years. Those two years were life changing in so many wonderful ways, and brought into our lives two of our children.  What blessings they are.  Only God.  And seminary?  It was still part of the plan.........but when God opened the door.

Sometimes we stand before a door, and we long for it to be open.  We look around for any sign that we are before the right door, holding the right key, any sign that God is hearing us....and we are met with silence or only hear one word.  Wait.  Waiting for the right door to open at the right time can be excruciating.  We find ourselves in the wilderness, which is just a place we don't want to be.  In this place we need to take our eyes off of our efforts and our desires and put them on Jesus. So, we praise Him in the hallway.

We praise Him in the hallway because we know all His promises in the Bible are yes and amen.  We praise Him because He has a plan for us....for good and not evil.  We praise Him because of what Jesus did for us, what He still does for us.  We praise Him in the hallway until the next door opens at exactly the right time.  Even in the hallway we are not alone.   We learn to rest in the hallway, and while we rest we praise Him!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Take A Breath and Stay Calm


When God sends me a verse 3 or more times, I pay attention.  I have been consistently getting "The Lord will fight for you, just stay calm (or be still) from Exodus 14 for a month now.  The seventeenth one found above arrived Sunday night via Facebook and Start Your Day With Jesus.

When this popped up, I showed it to Joel right away, but instead of feeling at peace about it, we both felt a bit apprehensive.  You, see, # 16 had arrived last Wednesday night, right before an eye appointment scheduled for Thursday morning.  The results of that exam were not encouraging and affirmed my feelings I'd had that this verse was warning me of what was coming.  Yeah.....I know....not good spiritual thinking! Just being honest.

So Sunday night this arrived before my eyes just hours before I would be going in for a mammogram on my left breast to see if the "something new" they found last fall had changed.  We took a deep breath and asked Jesus once again to heal the "something" and that they would not find anything at all.

Monday morning the tech took several images of the left and I went to sit in the waiting room.  She came in 15 minutes later and said the radiologist wanted more images.  Ugh.  Been there before........ So after being pinched and twisted and flattened yet three more times, I ended up back in the waiting room. I told God I was getting really anxious and trying not to be.  I then picked up my phone and went on Facebook.  Immediately the picture below popped up.

I felt a sense of peace come over me.  Here was partly what God was trying to tell me with Exodus 14:14.  Even though He has given us the authority to speak healing....we need Jesus ~He is our Healer.  And the verse underneath?  This was the very first promise God sent my way 5 years ago when I began this healing journey from 27 years of sickness, and I still have it taped to my bathroom mirror. Sunday night I had questioned whether this verse was from God...and where was His "yes and amen" promise, and the next morning here it was in print, on social media.  Only God.  Just be calm.....descended upon me.

A couple minutes later an elderly woman came in and sat down in the room with me.  She asked me if I had had breast cancer.  I said yes and she said, "Well, let me tell you my story......." and proceeded to talk about all the horrors she went through and how it started in her right breast and went into the left.....and how many times she battled it and blah blah blah.  I looked at this woman nearing 80 and my thought was......The enemy is using her to frighten me and take away my peace.  I had no doubt. So I found myself tuning her out, quietly refusing to partner with her story.  I went back to focusing on what God had just brought to my attention.  When they came to get me for the ultrasound, I was very relieved to leave her verbal death march.  

The ultrasound tech was friendly and spent a great deal of time with her wand doing its job. We talked about her job, my history an our sore little toes!    As time went by I wondered what was going on as I knew it was taking longer than normal, but before I could ask she said, "Well, I am not seeing anything in the two areas that I am to look at".  After a few more pictures, she took them to the radiologist and in another 10 minutes she returned to tell me I could go.  The extensive testing had been because it had all disappeared!  It was gone.  Only God!  

While laying on the table I had heard God tell me to pray for this young tech.  I was reluctant, but knew I should step out and do so, so when the test was over I asked her if it would be okay if I prayed for her.  She said, "Yes, it would!"  SO I laid a hand on her and prayed several things that came to mind, ending with her hurting toe.  

What an amazing morning it was.  God was in the midst of it all, fighting for me, revealing to me His peace and presence, and giving me an opportunity to pray for one of His kids.  

I am still studying this verse, but have gathered the whole message of the chapter into the pursuit of all God wants me to learn from His message.  I believe God speaks to all of us in unique and special ways.  How does God speak to you?  How does He reveal His presence to you?  Because He is with us.  When a doctor's report is bad and when it is good.  When we sit in a waiting room looking at a tree filled with pink ribbons for cancer survivors, and when the enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy through the words of a hurting woman.  He is with us, fighting for us.  We can lean back, and have Peace present in all our circumstances.  The Lion of Judah fights for us, so take a breath, and stay calm.  

Friday, March 24, 2017

The Shack

A couple of weeks ago we went to the movie, The Shack, based on the novel of the same name by Canadian author William Paul Young.   William Paul Young spent the first 10 years of his life in New Guinea with his missionary parents.  He wrote this book to write down his own perspectives on God and the inner healing that took place in him as an adult, and more importantly as a gift for his family and a few friends.  It was never intended to be public, but God had other plans.  Joel and I purchased the book several years ago and found it a powerful read.

We headed with several from our community group to meet at the local theater where we relaxed in soft red leather recliners to watch this amazing book unfold on the big screen.  Some people find this story offensive or sacrilegious, and get hung up on the fact that Papa God is portrayed through most of the movie by a black woman, Jesus is middle eastern, and Holy Spirit is an Asian woman named Siri.   Joel and I discussed how easy it is to put God in a box, and how frightening it is for some to see Him out of the comfort zone we create around our faith.  Been there myself.

By our standards we found the theology expressed pretty accurate............and does that statement itself not put God in our own box??  What came across in the movie and the book is how much the Trinity truly loves us.  ALL of them loving ALL of us.  In the movie Papa, Jesus, and Holy express how important having a relationship with us is.  Something fully backed by scripture.  Forgiveness is also a theme that runs throughout, along with knowing we are never alone.

I love how God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit are presented, although in our experience Holy is more than a comforter.  Holy is more of a whirlwind and a dynamo in our lives, but since Holy is a gentleman, He meets us where we are.

I can hardly wait to see this movie again.  There are many powerful statements made that resonate, like the one above, as and I am sure we did not catch everything the first time through.  Next time I will bring a pen and paper and more tissue!  Young wrote this particular book from a place of his own deep pain and losses transformed and healed by our Papa God.  I believe that is why it resonates with so many people.  He tries to answer the question, "If God is so good, why is there so much pain and suffering in the world? "   It is a question we all have pondered.

In fact there are many questions to be pondered within The Shack.  When I first read the book, I was not on the journey I am on now in my faith, so while looking back I'm thinking that God planted some seeds in me several years ago with this book .  Seeds that sprouted and grew slowly within. Opening me up to the "something more" I still look for.   He is good about that. He is just plain good.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Scrabble: A Saving Grace

The Scrabble game never left our dining room table the winter of 2017.   It was not that other things did not get accomplished, but Scrabble was the saving grace we turned to as winter blanketed not only our neighborhood, but our souls.  Scrabble was provided by our Papa God out of love,  to distract and even teach us while we spent 1-3 hours a day focused on creating words from little wood tiles.

With the first snow storm we took out the game and began to play.  Our skills were a bit rusty, but over time we improved at making words and adding up points.  Then sickness came to visit, what we called The Coughing Crud....first I went down and ten days later when I was coming back from the dead Joel got hit hard.  Unusual for my "walking in health" hubby.  We were napping, coughing, groaning, and eating a lot of chicken soup.  A. lot.  That sickness from hell forced us to cancel a trip to our oldest and her family's.  Again.  And to add to it all, I broke my little toe. Really??  Then there was the world, which seemed to be in chaos and still is, our country at the center of it all.  We slowly sank into a funk, missing Arizona weather, weary of politics, conflict, and coughing.  Enough said.

The corner of our dining table became a place of retreat.  A place we gathered when the world made us weary.  It was where, I believe, God called us to play Scrabble........letting us know He had other things, important things, covered.  It became almost sacred to us and a daily ritual we are still practicing right along side our devotions, prayers and praise, and writing.

It is not the first time God has brought our focus onto the simplest of things.  In the early 80's when Joel's life was threatened, involving police, courtrooms, and several years of trusting God with the outcome, a bright orange half-grown kitten showed up in our yard one day and decided to stay. We named him Garfield and he provided great comic relief with his antics.  Soon after we brought home a pup named Jake who gave us even more enjoyment during a tough season for our family.
Looking into your own mirror reflections, I imagine you, too, can find times when God intervened with distractions of His own making.

So, during this time, Scrabble gave us a place to focus as we put effort into winning at a board game, even when it did not feel like we were winning at life. Scrabble also opened our eyes to the lens we were seeing through, the emotions that rose to the surface. The game began to reveal how we were responding to this season of our lives, and it came forth in how we played.  God was using Scrabble to peel back the layers and uncover a few things we needed to adjust.  Like our attitudes.  

Scrabble has become so much a part of our routine, that when we were taking care of our three treasures recently we purchased them the game, so we could all play together. Home now, we again returned to the ritual, not yet ready to let go of the board and tiles.  Eager for Spring, but holding on to winter's distraction.  Scrabble.

Isn't it funny how God can use something as simple as a game of Scrabble to bring grace into our lives.  God used a board game, made sacred by Him, to care for us in a season when winter blanketed the ground and our souls.  He loves us so much and cares deeply about the details of our lives, He weaves His goodness into all we do...including a game or two....or twenty...of Scrabble.  

Sunday, March 19, 2017

A Good Age

As I sit tonight and ponder tomorrow's birthday, I find myself in a place of reflection.  I feel the need, once again, to put pen to paper.  Tomorrow I will turn last year in a decade we thought I would never see.  It was 10 years ago I was diagnosed with Lyme Disease after 23 years of battling a mysterious illness.  Our Lyme practitioners revealed my body was dying.....working at only 22 per cent when I first walked in the office.  They could help me live, but could not heal me. Only God could do that.  I remember I was so ill I laid on the floor of the van to get to the Dr.'s office.  Joel told me after my health returned, that he really did not think I would reach age 60.  But, God.  But God had other plans.

In the past decade I have battled cancer twice when healthy cells went rogue and developed into uterine cancer and then a few years later, breast cancer.  It is gone now.  Lyme is dead and gone also, through a healing released in my body by Jesus, our Healer.  I have a new and better life with all the freedoms I experience now.   I. am. still. here.

Sixty-nine is a good age.  An age I find myself grateful to be.  I. am. still. here.  I also find myself deeply desiring 20 more years of life on this earth.  I look forward to great-grandchildren while treasuring each morning I open my eyes.  I still can battle fear of sickness or death, but I counter it with praise for the day I have.  I can name too many friends who did not reach the age of 69, but I can name more who arrived.

Isn't life amazing?  Aren't our bodies amazing?  And our God?  More amazing still!  Tomorrow the sun comes up on a new year and I will rejoice.  Reaching 69 is a gift I will unwrap and enjoy.  I will walk into it with praise, grateful for every wrinkle, gray hair, cellulite bump, and more.  I. am. still. here.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

For A Season

In the last few months I have found my writing to be more about self than inspiration..  Maybe it has always been that way.....and I am just more painfully aware of it.  Maybe I am weary of my own voice.  Lately I am more comfortable sitting in silence than putting pen to paper.......that has turned into an unintentional retreat from the written word expressed here on my blog.

We had a taste of Spring here before winter returned, blanketing and silencing all.  So it is for my writing.........winter is blanketing and silencing.....for a season.  

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Frozen Ground

It is raining here...beating down on winter ground, leaving a small pond in the neighbor's yard and a creek along the side of our house.  Frozen earth beneath keeps the water from above limited in its descent.  Living water unable to penetrate the cold frozen ground.

Yeah.  That maybe says it all.  The Living Water, our Jesus is so often limited by our beliefs, our unbeliefs, our frozen ground.  Limited because the choice is ours....the believing, the unbelieving.  He waits with love in His heart.

What seems like ages ago now, we headed to a one night conference in Minnesota to hear one of our favorite teachers speak about healing.  He asked a question that we are still pondering. "Who is Lord over your life?"  We would all probably answer "Jesus, of course!"  And yet.................I can almost guarantee that we all can uncover little lordships in our lives that interfere with Jesus as the Lord.  Savior?  Yes, but Lord over our fears, our desires, our soul?  Maybe it is related to money, control, security, sickness, children...........Living water finding resistant frozen soil.  It was a great teaching of which I cannot give justice in my written words, but let me suffice to say that we knew THIS is why Holy Spirit wanted us to go.  For the inner us........He likes to shape and change us on the inside, renewing, transforming for His purpose.

A few days after arriving home, I was hit with a virus from hell.  Cuz that is where they all come from.  Coughing, hacking, sneezing, fever, chills, fatigue, weakness, aching, blah blah blah.  Six days and 12 meals of chicken soup, nearly 2 kleenix boxes later, lots of sleep, a continual supply of essential oils and prayer and I am finally recovering.  I asked for prayers from The Knee Team a few days in and quickly developed a fever and new symptoms......failed prayer?  Nope.  This let me know that prayer was having an affect on the body was fighting maybe the virus....but I know prayer is a might weapon of warfare.....  When I was too sick to read, watch TV, talk, or do much of anything, this virus had my attention.  Here was a perfect example of something else being lord of my little life....and over my body.  I felt like crap and distractions were hard to find ~ I succumbed to discouragement.

Today looking behind me, I am able to see how easy it is for our circumstances to lord over us.  So. easy.  This one virus was a small example.  It had me. One little virus had me at it's beck and call, unable to fight.  I remembered the verse God has been sending and I asked God to fight for me, through The Knee Team....through His Son, and I spent my time working at remaining calm, resting.

The teacher we listened to that night had asked...."Are you willing to change lords?  Stop adapting to sickness, or fear, or whatever the enemy is using to lord over your life~~ and turn to Jesus.  We don't deny what screams loudly, we just tell the problem how big our God is.  Jesus loves being our Savior.....He also desires to be Lord over our lives.

What do we talk about more?  The disease.....the symptoms.....the circumstances in our world.......the latest drama unfolding on TV or social media..........OR do talk about the promises of Jesus.  The Word. Who reigns.

It is still raining........the water is by the frozen ground.   Oh Lord, don't let me be frozen to the Truth of Your many promises....Your Love......Your Word.  Melt my heart with Your fire as You reveal these little lords in my life that interfere with you being Lord of All.  Remind me how Big you are and how small my problems are.  Let me whisper.........Jesus.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

"We Are Family"

They gather once a week.  Each family bringing their own personalities to the table.  As food is passed, conversation ebbs and flows, sometimes voices rising in conflict but nearly always with respect. There is an unspoken rule to be present at these gatherings and three members of the family are their in memory ~ two matriarchs and a son who lost his life on the job.  This is family.  Family is always important, and in this case the family business, law enforcement, also connects them.

I love this family.  I love how it works together as a unit, but keeps it's individuality.  Love how it operates well even in their imperfections, because of a firm foundation in faith and love. Through love expressed comes forgiveness, respect, and diversity.  Unity in diversity.

By now you may have figured out that this family I am describing is found on Friday night TV.  Blue Bloods in a show about cops, but it is much more.  The people in this show are portrayed pretty real, as far as how complex family can be.  How difficult.  It is a family drama.  And isn't that what life is about?  Relationships and of course within that, drama.

There is a song our whole family sings at wedding celebrations.  "We Are Family" unites us as we celebrate welcoming one more into the clan.  We don't all live our lives in parallel forward movements, nor do we all agree on such topics as faith or politics, but hopefully we see each other through a lens of love, the way God commands we do.  The way He views us through the Lens (Jesus) of love.  

And isn't that how we all need to see each other?  Not one of us is exempt.  We are required to see others through this Lens, this One that God placed in us as we reached out to Him,

We gather at a table together in our homes, in restaurants, in schools, offices, and places of worship.  We gather, we give thanks, we pass bread, we lift glasses of pure liquid to our lips, and we unite over food and fellowship.  We unite as a family, as a community, a country, our world. Unity in diversity.  

I am not always comfortable with the intensity of the show Blue Bloods, but when the family gathers as they always do, a smile graces my face.  Family.  My heart aches for our family, but it also fills with warmth as I think about their own gatherings around their own tables.  We don't have the privilege of having weekly dinners.  Yearly dinners are all we can hope for, but in our hearts we still sing the song ....."We are family....." and we give thanks for that.

God has given us the way...the truth.....whether with our family or our view each other with love.  It is through His beautiful Lens, Jesus.  Through that lens we are all family. 

Monday, February 6, 2017

Sometimes We Need To Just Hand God Our Warrior Princess Sword

This verse is so persistent in showing up.....Saturday night I was on Facebook and it popped up again.

"The Lord will fight for you, just stay calm."
Exodus `4:14

Sunday it came into my vision in yet another image shared.

Where are we going with this God?  Through prayer and meditation I have come to understand that putting aside the natural/physical of this staying calm and resting business, there is much more to grasp.  Where do we fight from?  A place of fear or a place of victory?  Who fights with us?  And who fights for us?

So Sunday morning I started doing a little google research to see what others had to say about this verse. Tony Evans, pastor and evangelist, had a good article on the topic.   He talked about the story in Exodus 14 where Moses was preparing the people to cross the Red Sea.  Pharaoh and his soldiers were coming behind them and Israel looked to be cornered.  BUT GOD....... When Moses trusted God to fight their battle, the Red Sea parted.  Think about this.  It divided.   Come with me and see it......Water on either side of Israelites high above their heads.....held back by some invisible GOD.  How frightened they must have been to walk into what looked like certain death.  Did they then realize how powerful their God was?!  They must have turned to Him as the earth shook, the water rose, and everything in the natural had to give way for the supernatural!  They learned quickly that no battle is too big for God.  And to watch Pharaoh's men drown in that same sea, shouts of victory must have filled the sky.  Proverbs 21:31 tells us "Victory rests with the Lord!"

I recall a true story about a man named Mike Hesch who had a huge cancerous tumor on his chest. He believed God wanted him well, and he did everything he could to make that happen.  Continual prayers, laying on of hands, scriptures read and spoken, commanding, asking, rebuking.  After years of this he was no better and the tumor was growing.  He then came to the understanding that he had done all he could and needed to just rest assured in knowing that God would take over the battle.  The price had been paid on the cross and he, Mike, needed to just trust what he knew to be true.  Sometimes we need to fight hard against hell, and others times we need to trust God to fight for us.  As he lay on his sofa resting it came to him, "What do well people do?"  He got up and went and washed the windows that day. Thus began his journey to complete healing.  Could this be a good example of Exodus 14:14?

My tendency when I receive a verse like this over and over is to lean to the idea...."what is God preparing me for now?!"  Do I need to get armor ready like Xena, warrior princess?  Not the best excuse is all we have been through.  It kinda keeps me living on alert.  But I don't believe this is God's intention here.  Let me repeat.  This is not God's intention.

The Christian life is often presented as a battle.  It is also an inbuilt part of many of our natures.  In truth, there are plenty of battles we fight as we experience all life has to offer.....and all the enemy brings against us.  We may be battle ready like Xena as we face each day, but maybe we need to consider that one of the best ways we fight our battles is when we rest in God and trust Him to fight for us.  When we stand firm from a place of peace instead a place of fear we are making it hard for the enemy, that ol' deceiver, to make headway against us.  Trusting God gives us the peace to declare, the joy of the Lord is our strength.  Victory is the Lord's!  Sometimes we just need to hand God our sword and rest awhile.

I'm not sure what lies behind God soaking me in this scripture, but I am embracing it.  The love that covers me every time it shows up.  The peace that comes to the surface when I declare it aloud.  The joy I feel knowing how much Papa loves me.  I receive it like a warm blanket, like a sword in my hand, like shoes of peace on my feet

Friday, February 3, 2017


My sister Jan just turned 80.  Looking at the picture below she is the one on your left (just in case it is hard to tell).  It is pretty obvious she looks younger than most 80 year old women.  No offense to anyone in their eighth decade of life.  She looks younger than me and I am 11 years behind her.

 Recently her husband Lanny gave her a surprise birthday gathering in was a surprise because all of her kids and his, along with spouses and a girlfriend came to celebrate with her.  Most of them showed up at their condo door to say...."Surprise!"  She had no clue.  Absolutely none.  She opened the door and there they stood.  She said it took her a while to process........  From all the pictures I have seen it looks like they had a great time celebrating!  As it should be.  It is a wonderful feeling to be surrounded by your people and blanketed with love.

Blanketed with love.....this is what God does for us, too.  And sometimes he knocks on our door and says "surprise".  I can't help but think back about when we first "found" Praise Church here in town.  God knew what was coming and I believe 100% that he sent us there in preparation for the months to come.  We thought we were moving to Arizona, so when we first went to Praise I remember saying to Joel..."Why would God give us this church now when we are leaving?"  Well, of course cancer showed up on a mammogram and the rest is as they say, history.  Was cancer the surprise from God?  Nope.  Nada.  Never.  The enemy attacked me with the cancer, but GOD'S surprise was the provision of His blessings through a church where we could express our love of Christ in the praise music, the charismatic, the prophetic, and especially the healing.   He is always ahead of us preparing the way, fighting our battles, making all things work out for good.  He just loves us that much.

Just the other day Joel was driving back roads to a church and saw for the first time a red fox in a white field along the side of the road.  He loves red foxes.  God often surprises Him with an animal in nature when he least expects it, but definitely needs a love tap from His Father.  It is a way they communicate......through nature.  God telling Joel, I've got this.  Just enjoy the blessings.  Joel was delighted with God's surprise of a red fox greeting his Sunday morning!

Another surprise?  Joel's immediate, one-minute-sick- next minute-well healing.  Recently we celebrated the 5th anniversary of the miracle and I gave him a cute card I had found in Arizona 2 years ago.

Inside it says, "There, all better!  Can I get an Amen!"  It is meant to be funny.....but it was just about the way it happened for Joel.  That fast.  That simple.  A revelation of God's love and Holy's power within us, released.  Healing and Holy gifts.  Wow!   Surprise!  Now go out and surprise others with what you have learned.

Our Papa God delights in surprising us with an abundance of His love blessings all around us.  Some cannot be contained and must be shared.  Some come in the form of a red fox........a place of the prophetic and healing......a gathering of family blanketing you with love.  Look for His surprise blessings on your life today.......they are all around you just waiting to be discovered.  Surprise!

Thursday, February 2, 2017

A Scrabble Education

Joel and I started playing Scrabble this winter to pass the time away as we shelter inside, and it gives our brains a work out too.  We were pretty much going back and forth on who would win until.......  until the time came where I lost 5 games in a row.  It was then I noticed I was not having a great attitude.  My, "I'm happy for you Joel, great game!" was a bit forced.  After game five I was expecting to lose every time I sat before the board. I would not stop playing cuz I'm stubborn, but I was moping and began to speak negatively.  It is not easy to write this......reality bites

I won a game and then lost another.  Last night as I lay in bed after having a pity party for one.....I realized that the game of scrabble was revealing something raw about how I was seeing my life.  How I was seeing myself.  It was not pretty.  I had just spoken in a community group about how we speak life or death with our words,  Two choices there as stated in Proverbs 18:21....

Life    or   Death. 

So what am I speaking?  Part of what I had been saying aloud is that I was not smart enough for this game.  Joel is smarter....thus wins more......and it morphed into what really was getting to me deep deep inside. This past year of health challenges has me believing Joel is healthier....cuz I don't have what it takes to see my full healing.  I have been dealing with some major symptoms and felt I was losing the battle.  IF I believe in full healing for everyone, where was mine?  God wants us well, so I must be blocking the way.  Again, not easy to confess.

Through playing Scrabble I became aware of how I am speaking over myself and thinking about myself.  God has been using a board game to show me what is going on at a deeper level.  Something He wants to unearth and bring out into the light for His healing touch.  He is so loving isn't He!  He never leaves us where we are.  Leave it to God to give me a Scrabble education!

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Absolute Surrender

It began last fall..........the verse showed up in my vision through social media and I wrote my first post about it in mid September.....

"The Lord your God will fight for you......just stay calm."  
Exodus 14:14

This verse had jumped out at me in the questions I pondered.  And then my intuitive daughter Bethany and her family gave us a wall hanging for Christmas that resonated another translation of it.

Thus began God's persistence in bringing His Words to my attention.  Over the past four months that verse has popped up often ~ I' m thinking at least 9 times counting the one from this week that has me putting pen to paper.  

God is making a point, and as much as I don't always like the message I need to embrace it.  Just be still.... you need only be still......and let me fight for you.  

This is difficult for me....being still.   When I was sofa bound I had no choice but to be still in a broken body.  When I was set free, I vowed to never be on the sofa again, so it can be emotionally challenging for me to be still and let go.  Echoes of the past make it hard.  And speaking of echoes of the past, the "be still"l takes me back to the six year old little girl who fought against the abuse to her body.  I would resist, striving to get away, but eventually the strength and size of the abuser would overpower me.  It left an imprint on my brain.  When I could no longer resist, I was still, and bad things happened.

In my mind I know these are lies now, and Sozo has released me from most of the trauma surrounding these seasons of my life.  I know that I don't have to always be the fighter, the resistor, the striver.  I know I am safe now, but at times the old way of survival rises from the grave.  And sometimes my urge to fight my own battles gets in the way of what God is doing.  Just saying............

In the past, when God has sent me the same verses over and over again from different sources, he wants my attention.  I confess many of those times were connected to God trying to tell me to rest in quiet in still in Him. It is what I now describe as "absolute surrender"......words came to me from God as I meditated with Him this morning.  Absolute surrender requires absolute trust.  

Can you relate?  We hear all the time we are to fight to win the race....even Paul tells us that in the battle.  But in truth we cannot do this alone.  I'm sure God is not done showing me what he wants me to grasp from this subject, but today I am holding on to the comforting words that HE is my defender and I can trust Him.  I can lean back in His arms as the "little girl" and be safe.  I can lean back into His arms as an adult and trust Him to fight for me.  I don't need to always be fighting my way out of disease or distress.  God wants me to let go of the old way of living and trust Him.  He wants us all to trust Him with our past, our present, our future.  We look to Him alone.

When we trust God, when we believe His promises, when we understand Jesus as our healer, protector, provider, friend, warrior......then we can let Him fight for us and be at rest about it.  It is not that we stop doing our part, but we learn to stop striving alone, and walk forward from a place of knowing we have the victory through Jesus!  We give Him absolute surrender knowing that He fights our battles and that no one can stop the Lord almighty!   


Saturday, January 28, 2017

Saturday's Scribbles: Who You Gonna Call?

About a week ago we started the morning off with a water issue.  Joel showered and when he got out he noticed water on the floor of the bathroom leaking out from around the toilet.  Yikes....gross.  He came upstairs and said, "I think we will need a new seal or a new toilet."  He cleaned it up the mess, started a load of clothes and............yep, you guessed it.  Water came up the drain.

Our first thought was the issue had something to do with the ice storm, but Joel soon came to the conclusion that we needed Rota Rooter to come to the rescue.  And they did.  Very quickly in fact.  The clog was a tree root that was way out from the house.  They fought with the root....and won!  Water problem solved to the tune of................well, lets just say it was not for free, but worth it.

I love how my husband responds to circumstances that arise.........he just hums his way through them, doing what you gotta do.  He knows his limitations and calls in the Calvary when it is out of his expertise.  That would apply across the board with any major electrical stuff, too.  He learned that lesson way back in the late 1970's.

We lived in a very old house and there was an electrical Joel headed to the basement to fix it.  It nearly fixed him!  As he stood holding what he did not realize was  a"hot" wire in his hands he heard a noise, glanced up and saw the current come down the wire.  He quickly let go just at it exploded and left hot metal melting on his glasses.  Yeah.  That close.

There are things we can do for ourselves, and there are things that require the experts!  I would say that applies not only for things in the natural, but in the spiritual.  It would be why Jesus told us he was leaving us a comforter.  Someone to help us, empower us.  He knew we would need an expert to navigate living life as Christians.  He stated that those left behind would be doing even more than He did.  Well, we would need help to accomplish that!  That is how good Holy Spirit is!

We have experienced Holy showing up so often as we have needed that help.  Never left alone, He waits, we seek, He responds.  It is so great to have Him there for us, isn't it?

So whether in water and electrical issues, or in living life, we have the option to rely on the experts to help us out!  We can pick up the phone and dial Rota Rooter and we can pick up the "phone" and dial God for h.e.l.p.

I think of a line in a silly song from a movie...."Who you gonna call??  Ghostbusters!"  Who we gonna call when life throws things our way?  Holy Spirit!  He cleans up messes, empowers us, comforts us, and yeah.....He truly is a ghostbuster if you need that too!  (grin)

Thursday, January 26, 2017

"The Trip"

Joel and I have been toying with the idea of traveling for a year across our vast country.  Getting an RV and taking off to see all the places we have wanted to see.  Bethel Church in CA is first on the list.  I am sure that this wanderlust is partly due to our good friends making their full time RVing plans for the near future.  Partly it is due to having had cancer a second time and now feeling good again, or maybe it is finding ourselves in the midst of yet another winter in the upper Midwest. Then lets add the gypsy blood that runs through my veins ~ moving constantly as a child....and then while married to an Air Force guy, then pastor.  Moving was part of the "job".

The recent discussions led us to reminisce about our family's big trip.  "The Trip" as we all named it. As a big family with mostly one income, a pastor's income, we did not vacation often and when we did there were more than a few times that we were called back from the vacation due to a death in the congregation.  One time we had to drive all the way back from Montana to Minnesota.  Not fun.

So in the mid 80's we made plans for a trip that would involve a month of traveling.  We found an older pop up tent camper and bought a little 2 man pop up tent besides.  We had our big old station wagon to pull everything and hold the 8 of us and we told the church we would not be coming back for any funerals unless those involved wanted to pay to fly Joel home and back to our location.  There were other pastors who could fill in.  Tough love and needing to putting our kids first.

We took off early one morning ~ 2 adults, 2 nearly adult teens, and 4 other grade school kids,  plus 1 dog.  We filled that station wagon for sure.  The need for an extra tent was obvious with 6 kids and a dog along.

Our camper broke the first night as Joel and Matt were putting it up, but Joel found a way to get it working so every time we stopped at night to rest Matt and Joel would finagle the sides up with effort and muscle power.  It looked a little like the Beverly Hillbillies, I expect, but we made it work.

We traveled through Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, and South Dakota.  We visited a couple of colleges our oldest, Beth, was looking at and stopped to see several friends along the way.  We visited with Joel's Aunt Ruth in Seattle for 5 days of great fun!  Auntie Ruth liked to call us her "Rainbow Family".

I remember one day a car drove by us noticing ALL the kids, different ages and sizes, brown, black, white, tan.  After the car passed us they actually slowed down so we would pass them and they could take a second look!  We decided we should make up a sign that said, "YES, WE ARE ONE FAMILY!"

We seldom ate out, who had money for that?!  We cooked in the camper for breakfast and supper and lunch was sandwiches.  If I remember correctly, we ate out only 3 of 90 meals.  I do remember how delicious the fruit was in Washington state.  Especially the peaches.  So fresh and so sweet....nothing to compare.  We spent quite a bit of time in Washington, the state where I was born.

Of course there were things that were challenging about the trip, but that just makes the story more fun to share.  It was an adventure our kids still talk about.  "The Trip".  Joel and I ponder whether it is time for another such adventure.......It is hard not to think about it as 14 inches of fresh snow lay on the ground and more is forecast for the weekend.  Yeah.......another adventure in faithful living looks mighty good.  Something to rival "The Trip" in the gatherings around our table with the family.  Maybe......but if not, at least it passes the time as we dream away these January days.