Thursday, August 23, 2018

The Worry Chair

"Don't fret or worry.  Instead of worrying, pray.  Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns.  Before you know it, a sense of God's wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down.  It is wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life."  
Philippians 4: 6-7
The Message

Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers.........A good reminder for those of us who make worrying an art form.  

It has been a rough week or two...or three......  The whole eye thing that has had five doctors puzzled wants to steal my joy.  Then radon.  It has been more than a little disturbing to realize that for 14 years we have been breathing and living in radiation gas.  Not cool.  We are trying not to think how much of it weighs in on me having cancer three times.....or the other health issues that could come up for us.  We are extremely grateful for God bringing it to our attention.  

A man trained in venting radon came to our home Tuesday morning.  We are hoping he will be able to take care of it in a day as he thought.  And soon.  He let us know that 7 out of 10 houses in Iowa have high levels of radon.  He told us where he thought it was coming in the most...which is the open area under our stairs that comes into our living space.  It averaged 10 here, but he said in winters it would be higher because of the frozen ground, etc.  Lots of info we are wishing we knew about years ago.  Joel knows the man, from a church where he was Interim a few years ago.  Trustworthy man, which is always reassuring when dealing with something like this.

It has been hard not to put on my worry hat and sit in my worry rocker.  You know, worrying gets you  nowhere....just like rocking in a rocking chair.  Back and forth can be soothing, but it can also wear grooves in the floor, break down the chair, and keep us stuck in fear.  Yeah.  Fear.

When it comes to fear, we either trust God or we try to control our circumstances.  We tend to think worry is helpful.....but it is not.  Ever.  I like what The Message says about it.  Don't fret or worry!  Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers.  From experience I know when I praise God, fear takes a backseat.  God's same old instruction to give praise keeps coming up again and again. I think God knew what He was doing when He gave us praise as a weapon of warfare.  It is not always easy.......and at tim es becomes a sacrifice of praise as the Bible mentions in Hebrews.  

Praise keeps our eyes on Jesus.  Praise keeps our hearts open to hear God's voice.  Praise turns our worries into prayers that we can leave at the feet of our Savior.  Praise shifts the atmosphere around us.  The enemy hates praise., and that makes it a great weapon of warfare.  

God continues to tell me to praise and worship Him, so I am.  It beats the alternative.....rocking in the worry chair and wearing grooves in the floor.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

We Weep For Molly's Family

Central Iowa has been in the spotlight the past few weeks due to a young college student named Molly who went missing in mid July.  Today her body was found in a field.  I cannot imagine the deep sorrow her family is going through.  Sadly, like many others, my thoughts were that at least her family will have closure.   

Around the same time as Molly T. went missing a woman was kidnapped from her home in rural Fergus Falls Minnesota while here four children were at home.  A once convicted sex offender broke into their home and took the mom by gunpoint.  Her ten year old son was able to see and describe the truck that the man drove.  The woman was rescued in another town when a deputy identified the vehicle and stopped the man.  This young woman was Joel's cousin's grandson's wife.  David Simonson was a missionary in Tanzania for 50 years   His grandson was raised in Africa too, but it was when he was living in a quiet rural area near a small town in Minnesota that his wife and children went through this trauma.  How can Africa be safer than America? 

It was just a few years ago that two young girls went missing from a town not far from here.  There bodies were eventually found, too.  But Jodi Huisentruit, who was a newscaster here in our micro-city, went missing over 20 years ago and has still not been found. 

I just don't understand how evil people can be.  How do they get to such a place?  In is difficult to comprehend or understand, isn't it.  Everyone has their thoughts on this I am sure.  I ponder in my heart how much the violence on TV and in video games and movies plays a part in violent behavior.  It cannot be good even if it does not create monsters.  What we watch, what we let our eyes see and our ears hear makes a difference in our lives. 

Today I weep for this family, who had a sweet, ambitious, loving, vibrant daughter whom "everybody loved" and now she is gone.  It was not her time to die.  It was her time to live, but a broken man in our broken world took her life for his pleasure.  God weeps with her family today.  We all do. 

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Saturday's Scribbles: Radon What?

Our world was shaken up this past week.  We found out we have high levels of radon in the house.  A safe level would be 4 and under.  The average here was 10.  Sobering.  We have lived for 14 years with high levels of radioactive gas  .  It causes cancer among other health concerns. I have had three different kind of cancers since we moved here.  Any connection?  Possibly.  We are in the process of getting a mitigater to come and vent the gas outside.  Then our air will be safe aga

The journey to this latest Dahlen drama is a story that has to be shared.  A friend was here and was thinking about all the health issues I have had.  When she was thinking about it, God impressed on here that "She needs to get out of this house!"  She did not want to tell me what she had heard, but she felt God's presence so strong she knew she needed to tell me.  So she did, and I said we would definitely pray about it.

To be truthful, we felt it could be a spiritual problem.  I called another friend and asked her to pray.  She felt God impress on her the word, radon.  Radon?  Yes, radon.  She said, "I think you need to get your house checked for radon!"  She felt so strongly about it she actually called the county health dept. before coming by to pray with us.  The next day they called and the day after they set up their equipment in our home.  Two days later we received the news.  Like I said, sobering.  The good news though is that something can be done to remove it from the house.  

I share this story for several reasons.  One:  radon is everywhere.  Have your county test for it.  If it needs attention, get it.  Life is too precious not to do all we can to make our homes and our bodies healthy.

The second reason I share it is as a testimony of God's goodness.  He used two friends to relay an important message to us.  My health is being affected by the radon here and something needed to be done about it.

The third reason I am sharing this is to keep us aware of how God speaks to us.  Sometimes is is through a word someone gets, sometimes an impression.  Sometimes a physical presence comes with the words to let us know it is from God.  Other times he uses the words of others.  For me I often have visual encounters or God sends me things in threes.   God wants to communicate with us.  All the time.  We need only open our hearts and make the way open to Him.  

We are more than grateful that our two friends were open to hear from God and share the words from God with us.  Our house will be safe for us again and since we plan to sell in the future, it will make it a safe house for anyone who buys it and lives here.  God is good.  All the time.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

A Gift

I know tis an overused cliche, but it holds so much truth.  Every day is a gift.  It is an absolute bloody
gift that I pray I will never forget. It. is. a. gift. Never guaranteed in our broken messuddd-up world.
Over the 70 years I have lived I have seen just how fleeting life can be. My dad died when I was seven. A college friend I spent spring break staying with died soon after in a car accident at the age of 19. Several Bible college friends were gone before there 50th birthdays. And in the churches we have served over the years? Too many died too young.

On a side note, many would say it "was there time"....or God needed another angel in Heaven.  No disrespect intended, but that is just not true.  It is the enemy who comes to kill, steal, and destroy, not GOD!  Jesus came so we could have an abundant life.  Bad things to happen.  People die too soon.  Thankfully we do have the victory so "death has no sting".  Eternal life with Jesus.  Another gift!

So, just how do we live believing everyday is a gift?  Especially when our circumstances weigh on us like those aprons the dentist puts on us before taking x-rays? 

For myself, God has been giving me a message over and over.  Praise Him.  Sing songs of worship.  Rejoice, despite what is going on.  Rejoice.  Love on those you love.  Always let them know how important they are to you.  Forgive each other.  And did I say love on those you love?  That can't be emphasized enough.  I picked up my gratitude journal and dusted it off the other day.  It had gotten waylaid and forgotten.  Writing down what precious gifts have come my way ~ in the form of fresh blueberries, a phone call from our son or daughter, a text from a friend.  Yeah.  Nothing is too small or too big to be remembered when we walk int he knowledge that each day is a gift.  Life is a gift.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Do You Want A Real Internship Or Not?

It was a discussion like we had never had before.  Married 10 years, Joel and I were looking at where his one year of Internship would be located during his third year of Seminary.  We owned an old house, full of bats and things that needed fixing, but it was ours and gave Joel a sense of security.  We were a family of 6 so there were only three places available for our crew to go on Internship unless we stayed right where we were in St. Paul, MN.  One was in far northern Minnesota.  It just did not feel right so we eliminated that one.  The second was a larger church in my home town of Austin MN.  That seemed too easy with family in town and everything familiar around us.  The third option was a 4 point parish in Malta Montana.   A new adventure.  Montana seemed like the right place for us, but Joel was worried about selling our house, that also had a rental income coming in, and not having a home to return to for his final year of Seminary.  Taking care of our family was Joel's priority.  It made sense.

 I can still see us sitting around the dining room table discussing it all one early Spring evening..  Joel, his cousin Luther who was a good friend, and myself.  Joel had his heels dug in as Luther and I encouraged him to consider the opportunity ahead of us.  Finally I said to Joel, "Do you want to have a real Internship or not?  Are you going to let fear get in the way of what I believe is God's plan for us? "

It was unusual for me to hold my ground on something so important, but I truly just knew deep inside that this was part of God's plan for us and He would work it all out.  Joel let out a big sigh as he realized he was letting fear get in the way of trusting God.   He said to us,  "Let's do it."

It did not take us long to sell the house and before we knew it we were packed up and heading with our four kids and two cats to Montana.  Our year in Malta changed our lives forever.  We fell in love with Big Sky Country and the people who inhabited the northern part of the state near the Missouri breaks and Little Rockies.  It shaped our lives and Joel's ministry.

Sometimes we need to step out in faith, when it does not seem practical or make a lot of sense to us or to others.  We step out because we can trust the One who leads us.  His plans for us are always good.  And remember how worried Joel was about a place for us to live his final year at the seminary?  About two months before we would be heading back to St. Paul we received a phone call from a man who was going with his family on internship that coming summer and was looking for someone to live in their home for the year they were gone.  He told us that if we paid the mortgage,  he would give us the profits of that year with us when they sold their home.  We not only had a sweet little house to live in, but made  some money.  God certainly blessed our obedience.  He loves to work things out for good to those who love Him.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

It Is Finished And Off

Today Joel sent his manuscript off to a publisher.  After years of work, months of revising, meetings with an editor/columnist who guided him in the process, and a lot of prayer, his book on his healing has been sent to a publisher.  It can take up to a few months for them to read and decide if they want to publish or not.  If they say no, he starts the process over again or self publishes.  We have no clue what is ahead, but out of obedience to God he moved forward to write, never thinking of himself as an author.  A preacher, yes, a teacher, yes, but a writer?  Not so much.  Yet God......

Joel's book is about his miraculous healing and what he has learned over the past 6 years regarding healing.  It is a story we want our family to remember for generations to come.  We both have taken quite a journey into the world of "God wants you well."  Joel's journey was amazing, as you who read my blog know.  He was healed in the middle of the night from 9 different conditions or diseases.  Doctor confirmed.  Thank you Jesus.

My journey to healing has not been an overnight miracle.  The Lyme and 3 co-infections died, the MCS is gone, the CFS does not control me any longer and an endocrinologist at Mayo told me I did not need thyroid medication after having been on it 27 years.  Yeah.  I had a long time large cyst disappear from my leg, and I have had energy return,, demonic spirits lifted off,. (Yeah, that is real.)  And I have survived three kinds of cancer thanks to the medical world. I keep fighting for complete and full healing because I believe that is what God wants for His kids.

I do have to say that this latest thing with my eye and the strobe lights has caused me to have major anxiety at times as I cope with the fireworks my eyes are producing in response to the retina issues.  There are times I have paused with weariness and wanted to give up.  And then I go back to what I know to be true.  What I have read in the pages of Joel's manuscript, what God's Word tells me.  And I cannot stop fighting.  Sometimes I rest, sometimes I weep, sometimes I rejoice in the circumstances,and I remember that God is faithful and He is good.  I remember that I am still here.  I remind myself that Jesus wants me to have abundant life and is with me.

Joel's story needs to be heard.  So does mine, which is why I have a chapter in the book too.    I know from experience that there are many who receive a miracle or partial healing and more who press in for the long haul to receive their healing. There is mystery and grace in it, and no answer to the whys of it all, but that does not change what God's Word says about healing.

We sent Joel's manuscript off on the Internet with a wing and a prayer today.  God often calls us to do the impossible.  I have heard it said if you can do what you are called to do on your own, you are not thinking big enough.  Joel could not have written this book without God's leading.  It is a new beginning for him and for that we are so grateful.    A new adventure with God in this season of His life.  We rejoice today ~ It is finished and off!

Thursday, August 2, 2018

A Little Country, A Little Rock and Roll

Anyone who knows me well knows that I am a little bit country, and a little bit rock and roll when it comes to the music that touches my heart.  Of course, number one for me is worship and praise music.  So when I can combine worship and praise with country or rock and roll, I am all in.

Lately I have been more than a little challenged by fear as I manage the strange moving strobe lights that appear in my vision when I am in any kind of bright light.   So, when in need of shifting my focus I put worship music on our Bose speaker (from the kids).

This song has been at the top of my list.  I can't seem to hear enough of it.  I told Joel I was   wondering how I could incorporate this song into my funeral when the times comes.  It is for freedom that Christ set us free!

Anyone else feel in need of a good reminder of God's faithfulness?  A reminder of the freedom we have in Jesus Christ, a reminder that victory is already ours.  Eternal life is ours as Christians. 

Each of us have our own kind of worship music that lifts our spirits and touches our souls.  It may be a hymn, a praise song from the 70's or a worship song from today's vast choice of Christian songs.  It all works.  Even when it is a little bit country or a little bit rock and roll.  T!he message is the same.  Jesus is with us, He is faithful, He died for us, He set us free!   Hallelujah !!