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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

LOOKING TO JESUS THROUGH THE PAIN.

 



Just a week ago I was doing okay. Then this week a phone call changed all that... He watched and waited, like a lion hunting a gazelle, for just the right time to pounce and leave me gasping for air. The morning was bright and promising of a peaceful day ahead. Nothing was really planned. I was looking forward to delighting in my kids.  As I remained motionless in my shocking disbelief, painful, bleeding wounds that would take more than a band aid to mend, were heartlessly being penetrated forcing out what I had for so long limped through life carrying.

For months I have been urging my kids to daily put on the armor of God. We have read and prayed the text together.
  "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming  arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God."  Ephesians 6:10-17.

Though I was prepared, I didn't expect him to pick me to attack, using whom he did and how, that day. I kept reminding myself that my fight is not with the person on the phone or with who initiated this, forgetting to pursue peace and to do all things in love. The enemy always puts a little bit of truth in his lies to make them believable. Also, I was reminded of how memory can't be counted on. Time, hurt, and life have a way of distorting it. I was determined to put my focus on Christ Jesus. He knew just how I was feeling. He was not surprised by the hunt. God had allowed it, knew I was strong enough to stand (even if I didn't), and would not leave me. It is during these times that I must choose to walk by faith. Choose to believe what God says. I must know the word in order to know the truth and not be deceived. The battle is the Lord's. I am asking Him to take this mess and restore. He can make it into something beyond what I had ever hoped or prayed for. He is the restorer, the wound mender. He is my healing ointment.

Whatever you are facing, remember, there is a God who created precious you that is on your side. Life is really hard sometimes, but He goes with you through it. He helps you catch your breath and binds up your wounds. The pain can either make you bitter or better. Your choice. I choose better. Oh God, help me to always choose better. If I don't turn to God, who else is there?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

CONTINUE ON

A woman once fretted over the usefulness of her life. She feared she was wasting her potential being a devoted wife and mother. She wondered if the time and energy she invested in her husband and children would make a difference. At times she got discouraged because so much of what she did seemed to go unnoticed and unappreciated. "Is it worth it?" she often wondered. "Is there something better that I could be doing with my time?"
     It was during one of these moments of questioning that she heard the still small voice of her heavenly Father speak to her heart. "You are a wife and mother because that is what I have called you to be. Much of what you do is hidden from the public eye. But I notice. Most of what you give is done without remuneration. But I am your reward. your husband cannot be the man I have called him to be without your support. Your influence upon him is greater than you think and more powerful than you will ever know. I bless him through your service and honor him through you love. Your children are precious to Me. Even more precious than they are to you. I have entrusted them to your care to raise for me. What you invest in them is an offering to me. You may never be in the public spotlight. But your obedience shines as a bright light before me. Continue on. Remember you are My servant. Do all to please Me."           
                                                    -Roy Lessin

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Elisabeth Elliot

Years ago I had the privilege of seeing my mentor, Elisabeth Elliot, talk at a church. A sweet friend had invited me to ride with her. After several years of listening to Elisabeth on the radio, I was going to finally be able to see her in person. I was immensely excited! It was a sweet time. I remember her asking the audience if anyone used a clothes line. Maybe three people raised their hand, including me. She looked over at me in surprise and commented that it was nice to see someone young using one. My hand wouldn't go up if she asked today. My mom would often comment that I was born in the wrong era. Of course I know God has me here now for His purpose. She would say that because I loved to iron and was "old fashioned" in some of my thinking. Four kids later, I just throw a garment in the dryer for awhile to get the wrinkles out. Anyway, I found a paper with notes from that talk to us and I want to share some of it with you. Elisabeth talked about contentment.


Contentment:
What's given.
what's not given.
God gives us what we need!

A. Thank God for what we do have. Psalm 131:2. "But I have stilled and quieted myself, just as a small child is quiet with its mother. Yes, like a small child is my soul within me."

B. Learn to Trust.
Give to God what you are wishing for.
Psalm 16:5. "Lord, you alone are my inheritance, my cup of blessing. You guard all that is mine."
He has assigned me what I have and am doing.
With acceptance comes peace.

1. Complain of NOTHING! Not even the weather.
2. NEVER picture yourself in which you are not.
3. NEVER compare your own lot with that of anyone else.
4. NEVER dwell on wishing this or that had happened or was otherwise
than it was.
5. NEVER dwell on tomorrow.

C. How much is enough?
Am I being a good steward to what God HAS given me?
Study and take inventory of everything in my house.
Get rid of things you aren't using and bless someone else with it.
She said that if she hasn't wore a particular article of clothing in a year, then she parts with it.

There is another sheet to the notes that I haven't been able to find. When I do, I'll post it here. I hope this is helpful to someone. I know it has helped me. She has many books that are worth the read. I am so thankful for wise christians we can gleen from. The heritage she comes from and the one she is leaving is rich in the Lord Jesus.


Friday, February 26, 2010

Vanilla Pudding Cinnamon Rolls

I tried this delicious vanilla pudding cinnamon roll recipe last week and it was a huge hit here and at a friend's home where we sent the second tray, since there were so many. Don't get me wrong, we could have eaten all 24 large rolls, but we didn't need to. Go over to http://mykitchencafe.blogspot.com/ and get the recipe so you can enjoy them, too. I liked that this recipe has prepared instant vanilla pudding in the dough. It makes an extremely moist roll. It is important not to overbake. My oldest son, Daniel ( a cinnamon roll lover!), says they are equivalent to cinnabon at the mall. That is a generous compliment from a picky young man. I would love to hear from you about any really good recipes you have to share.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

"My brothers and sisters, when you have many kinds of troubles, you should be full of joy, because you know that these troubles test your faith, and this will give you patience. Let your patience show itself perfectly in what you do. Then you will be perfect and complete and will have everything you need." - James 1:2-4. When a potter bakes a pot, he checks its solidity by pulling it out of the oven and thumping it. If it "sings" it's ready. If it "thuds," it's placed back in the oven. The character of a person is also checked by thumping. "It doesn't matter, really, how great the pressure is; it only matters where the pressure lies. See that it never comes between you and the Lord - then, the greater the pressure, the more it presses you to Himself..." - J. Hudson Taylor. How it must deeply wound God when we blame Him for our suffering and even turn away from Him. Yes, He allows it, for our good. Many times we unknowingly welcome it by choices we make, compromises, sin, and so on. As a parent I get a glimpse of how it might feel to God. When my child has to face appropriate consequences for a bad choice made that I might have even warned him about, I hurt with him. I want to remove the consequence. My immense love for the child stops me. Love doesn't give the child what he wants, Love gives him what he needs. God loves me so much he gives me what I need. He hurts with me and maybe even more. The consequences can help make me a better person. They can help me learn that I don't want to partake in that sin, again. There are so many degrees of suffering. It may have nothing to do with anything I've done. Who am I to question God? We have been warned that we have an enemy in this world who goes around like a lion looking for someone to devour. He comes to kill, steal, and destroy. Satan would be delighted for us to turn from the very one who can help us during our trials. This life is hard at times and I don't want anyone or anything to keep me from the one who leads me on paths that are right for the good of His name. Elisabeth Elliot once said something like this, "suffering is a gift entrusted to us by the Lord Jesus." He is counting on me. He knows I can do it. The least I can do is suffer a little bit for God after all He has done for me. Shame on me for complaining! My reward will be in heaven. There is so much more that can be said but I have children creating in the kitchen who beckon me. "I know God is on my side."- Psalm 56:9b NCV.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Maybe it's not look at what God has done to heal my situation, but look at how I can walk with joy ( or just walk!) in spite of what is going on in my life. This is a thought I scribbled on paper some months ago. Pain is a common thread in this journey of mine. I can honestly say I'm thankful for the pain. I'm not talking about surface pain that pricks the heart. I'm referring to a hurt that engulfs me like quicksand or knocks the breath out of me. A paralzying kind. Looking back over my life since when I can remember, it was when I hurt that I sought after God. If it were not for the valleys, I would not know Jesus so intimately. I would not trade my life for one of comfort if it meant I would not know God as a friend. Everyone has loss, disappointments, etc. Not everyone has Jesus to walk with them through it. This is a real tragedy. I shudder to think where I would be physically or mentally without the strength and support from Jesus. My prayer to God now is to not waste the pain. Don't allow Satan victory. Instead, God be glorified.
I have asked God many times why I have experienced so much pain. One day he answered through a gal I barely knew. Compassion. I would not have the compassion I have if it weren't for the pain experienced. That seems so obvious to me now. Thank you God for knowing what I need for the plan you have for my life, not what I think I need for the plans I have for my life.
I want you to know I have had numerous blessings in my life, also. I am immensely grateful to God for changing my heart and plans. I am thankful for a God who knows me better than I do and still loves me and calls me friend. He is never too busy to listen, care, help, love, forgive...I could go on. No matter what you are facing you don't have to walk it alone. He is no respector of persons. He doesn't have favorites. What He has done for me and so many others, He will do for you. Just ask. He says to cast your cares on Him, for He cares for you. The creator of the universe and of me and you really cares. Whatever burden you carry, cast it over to God. We were never meant to carry so much that we try to handle ourselves. It hinders us from enjoying the many blessings surrounding us daily. His mercies are new every morning. I will talk some more about this next time.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Ruby.

I had the privilege of meeting Ruby two years ago when I began taking care of her part-time at her home which was a few blocks from mine. Isaac, Isabel and I would go see her for a few hours everyday during the week. It was a sweet time. I am a regretful procrastinator. Being with Ruby has helped me overcome a lot of procrastinating. She would say how she was glad she did all she wanted to while she could. I got to thinking how I take for granted that I will always be able to do the things I do now. Too often the kids will want to work on a project that just doesn't appeal to me or seems overwhelming and I will try and put it off until later in the week. I do make sure we do it because I want to be true to my word, but there are times when it gets forgotten until one of them reminds me we never did it. Ruby delighted in my kids. She would seem to "come alive" when they would enter her home. She would accept the endless amount of flowers and weeds Isabel would pick for her. She observed with interest the bugs, insects or amphibians Isaac found in the yard. She never complained about anything, not even when she was in pain. Whenever I did anything for her she would always say, "God will bless you." I would assure her HE already had. Just being able to help ease her burden a little was an honor I felt God was entrusting me with. Also, I had made a friend. At the age of 88, Ruby went home to the one she loves in November, 2009. I am better for knowing her and look forward to seeing her again.