Letters For the Heart

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This Summer has been at time of reflection for me. I’ve written in previous posts about the twists/turns, the crossroads, influences in my life as well as the trials that come with life. In this time of reflection, I have seen my life divided into multiple chapters of  being molded by my Father in heaven.  It has been a time of grasping the why’s and the how come’s and seeing the pieces of my life fall into place.

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What stirred up this reflection was coming across some old letters/cards from various friends from years pasts. Some of these letters are in an old photo album I came across while Jim and I were cleaning out the attic. Others I just happened upon while cleaning out a drawer.  And, there are those I no longer have but I  have them treasured in my heart.  As I  have read the ones I still have  a memory will leak out of my eyes along with a smile will come on my face and in my heart. What makes them special is the fact that that specific person took time out to write to me, to encourage me and simply let me know they were thinking of me.  Thus, a special footprint of love and friendship has a permanent place on my heart.

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Before social media, cards and letters were a common way of keeping in touch with those you lived a distance away from as well as sending an encouraging note to the neighbor down the street.  Growing up in a Methodist Minister’s home meant moving every four or five years.  I can recall watching my mom sitting down and writing friends from other communities where we had served. As I learned to read and write, she would sit down with me and help me to write certain people from those places as well.

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When I think of letters I think of the Letters of Paul. After his transformation from being a persecutor of Christians to becoming a Believer. Not only did he transform into being a Believer and Follower of Christ, he shared the gospel.  As part of his ministry, he would write letters to fellow Believers encouraging them in their walk with God. He would tell those who were lost about the gift of salvation. He encouraged people like Timothy in their ministry. Not only did he share the gift of salvation and encourage people, he would also have letters of correction written when Believers would begin to lose their focus on the purpose of being a follower of Jesus Christ.

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Just as the old letters I have stumbled on have touched my heart, the letters of Paul have touched my heart in a special way.  There are times when his letters have brought conviction to my heart. Other times, I have experienced healing, peace and forgiveness. Then there have been times when I my eyes were opened to direction just as Paul gave direction to the early believers.

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Once Paul became a believer, he became very passionate about sharing Jesus with others. It is because of his passion that we have these beautiful letters to which I can open my Bible.   These passages are words of wisdom, comfort, guidance and encouragement anytime I choose. As I turn the pages and read, it is like reading those old letters from the past all over again. My heart is touched and the footprints of our Savior walk all over my heart.

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Maybe you have some old cards or letters from years past stored somewhere. I encourage you to get those out and just read through them. They are blessings to be cherished by the heart. These cards and letters may give you opportunity to see how the chapters in your life have fallen into place. I can promise that you will see where God has been at work in your life.

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  Maybe God has recently placed someone on your heart. I encourage you to sit down and write them a note of encouragement. Let them know that you are thinking of them and praying for them. After all, there is nothing better than a praying friend.

Last but not least. I encourage you to read The  Letters of Paul. Maybe you have a favorite of his writings that you like to read. As you read, keep your heart opened for God to leave his beautiful footprints of guidance, encouragement and wisdom on your heart.

“You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men; being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.” 2 Corinthians 3:2-3

 

Until next time, I encourage you to click the link below ( The Words I Would Say)

 It’s my letter to you.

The Words I Would Say SideWalk Prophets

Blessings,

April

 

 

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It’s The Little Details

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God is in the business of constantly molding us.  Take a moment and reflect on things that have happened in the past or even in recent days. As you look back, I imagine you can see God’s hands all over a situation. Maybe some things have fallen into place and you know that the only it could have happened was God at work. God is good! All the time!

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There are some things that have happened in recent days and weeks where I have experienced God’s fingerprints on my life.  Words and stories share with me from my youth by mentors, missionaries I heard speak and friends have been brought back to the forefront of my mind. As these words resonate within me, I can hear and see God at work in my life. I see him involved in every aspect of these words. Words spoken to me years ago are now coming to surface and I sense God has something on the horizon for me. I don’t know what his plan is for me and I just have to trust him.

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God showed me spot on this morning how he is involved in every little detail of my life. This God moment took place as I was seeking a quiet corner to have a little God time and to write out some thoughts God had placed on my heart. In my search for that perfect spot, I was reflecting on all of the new beginnings that I have had over the years. Not only was I reflecting over the new beginnings but I was reflecting how God has transformed me through these events.  I knew I wanted to write about new beginnings and how God transforms a person in the process. Yet, I wasn’t sure of how to put into words of what was being whispered into my heart.

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I found myself seeking refuge in the very hotel lobby of the hotel I had worked in as a youth at Lake Junaluska, N. C. (we are vacationing here this week).  It was the perfect spot. As I began to pull items out of my backpack, I continued to think about the whispers that God was putting on my heart. All the while, still struggling to figure out where to begin.

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Once settled into this utopia of quiet time, I opened my Bible. The Bible automatically fell onto a devotional on the very topic that was being whispered into my heart. Not only did it fall to the perfect devotional but to the scripture that I needed to read and hear God speak to me. As I begin to read this devotional, scripture and have time with God, I turned on my praise music playlist. Of course, I hit the shuffle button on the playlist thus not knowing what song would be played first. Yes, God had decided which song I would hear first. The song was Tenth Avenue North singing, I Need You, I Want You, I love you. Non-the-less, it was exactly what I needed to hear and fit right into the words God wanted me to read.

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During this morning quiet time, God was engaging in conversation with me. My heart had to tune into him to be aware of his presence and guidance. Otherwise, I would have missed an opportunity for God to lead me to words that will help me share the thoughts whispered on my heart.

God is constantly engaging with us. Yet, are we engaging with him? To be engaged in relationship with God means that we have to be in constant awareness of his presence. It also means that we must seek him in all that we do and in all situations.  When we are aware of his presence and seek God we will experience evidence of him at work in our lives.

The pages that opened for me to read this morning were no coincidence.  The praise song that played first was no coincidence. The whispers I heard with my heart prior to this quiet time were no coincidence, either. God knew my heart. In turn, I was tuned to him and was seeking him and everything fell into place.

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Matthew 6:8 tells us that our Father knows our every need before we even speak a word to him. He is constantly whispering to our hearts.  Isaiah 30:21 tells us that ‘our own ears will hear him.’ We simply have to trust him and be open to his leading us.

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It is when we are in tuned to the voice of God and the leading of the Holy Spirit that our Bibles fall to the words God wants us to read. Our playlist will pull up a song that we need for that moment. Or, something from years past will come to mind and resonate in your heart. These are reminders that God is involved in every little detail of our lives.

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In the beginning of this post, I shared that God whispered words  on my heart about beginnings and transformations being a result. I encourage you to stay tuned. There is more to come. In the meantime, I want to close with this quote from my morning devotional.

He is the story. His fingerprints are on every page, His faithfulness is unwavering from beginning to end.

( She Reads Truth Bible/From the devotional: ‘From Beginning to End page 2198)

Until next time, seek God in all you do. Experience God working in every little detail of your life.

Blessings,

April

The Next Step of Faith

“One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, the people were crowding around Him and listening to the Word of God. He saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from the shore. Then He sat down taught the people from the boat. When He had finished speaking, He said to Simon, ‘Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.’ ” 

(Luke 5:1-4 NIV)

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The words Jesus spoke to Simon have become powerful words for me. Have you ever been in a worship service and suddenly you feel as though you are the only one in the room and the speaker is speaking specifically to you? This happened to me as I sat in the closing worship service at the 2016 Women of Joy Conference.

It was Sunday morning and the friends I was with decided we needed to sit on the front row of the closing service. Lisa Harper would be giving the morning  message to a room filled with thousands of women and a few men who were most likely recruited to be the designated driver for this event. I could not wait to hear Lisa speak and enthralled with the idea that I might have a brief opportunity to meet her after the service.

Before Lisa began to speak, she introduced her sweet daughter, Missy whom she adopted from Haiti. After Missy had wooed the group of ladies, Lisa began to speak. She began to talk about how people can feel unclean to the point they feel unworthy to approach God and receive his amazing grace.  Lisa gave several testimonies of people who felt unclean and how God met them right where they were, picked them up and loved on them. Needless to say, these lives were changed for the better.

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As Lisa continued her talk, she expressed how there were people in the very room we were sitting in that had not taken that first step of faith of approaching Jesus and inviting Him in and allowing Him to pick them up, love on them and give them a new hope. Then, she walked across the stage and began to say that there were people there that had taken that first step of faith but it was time to take a next step of faith. As Lisa spoke these words, she looked right at me and pointed in my direction. I felt as though she was pointing right at me and it was only she and I in the room at that very moment.

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Heavy conviction fell on my heart because I knew God had been placing a specific calling on my heart. God had been working on my heart for the last couple of years to mentor other women in their Christian walk.  God would nudge and I would push back. Yet as Lisa said; “there are some of you here that need to take a next step of faith, I knew at that moment it was not Lisa Harper speaking to me but it was God giving me a point-blank call to take a next step of faith.

At the time of this conference and worship service, I was already assisting our Pastor’s wife with leading Women’s Bible Study in our church. I more less followed her direction. Yet, God was beginning to push me out of my comfort zone all the more.  Our Pastor’s wife kept encouraging me in my leadership role and she would nudge me out of my comfort zone.

God’s plan unfolded. May, 2017 our Pastor and his wife took a new call to a new church. The next step of faith was in front of me. My passion for mentoring women in their faith walk became even stronger. Yet, I was shaking in my boots as I began to move forward to keep our Women’s Ministry going during the time of our church’s transition. I knew that being a leader/teacher is a huge responsibility and accountability is important.  Yet, God was nudging me and telling me; “it’s time to take that next step of faith.” 

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Patriarchs and other people of great faith and their stories began to enter my mind. (Read the Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11).  I recollected their questions and how they would try to tell God they were not qualified.  Yet, in the end each were obedient to God and God provided what they needed as they took that next step of faith.

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When I begin my day each morning and take that first step out of bed I can still see Lisa Harper pointing in my direction and saying; “it’s time for some of you to take that next step of faith.”  God reminds me at that moment that he will provide what I need for that day.  As each day comes and goes, I can look back and see where God provided, where he blessed me and where he gave me strength in my weakest moments. ( Philippians 4:13)

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Strength. To me I believe the word strength is the key word when it comes to taking that next step of faith.  In Nehemiah 8:10 we read; “The joy of the LORD is my strength and I will serve him with joy in my heart.”  God will give us the strength we need to put that next foot forward. As we take that next step, we should do it with joy in our hearts because we are honoring God’s call for our life.

Maybe God has placed a calling on your heart. Yet, you meet God with resistance as he pushes you to take that next step of faith. Let me encourage you to take a deep breath, take hold of God’s hand and take that next step of faith. Trust God and cast out your net just as Jesus instructed Simon in Luke 5:4. Then, as each day passes, acknowledge where God has provided. Allow God to be your strength when you think you can’t take that next step. And, as you take that next step of faith, I encourage you to serve with joy in your heart and seek the blessings God has planned for you to receive.

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Faith is when the dots don’t connect but you say, ‘at your bidding’……cast out your net.”

Priscilla Shirer…ARMOR OF GOD Bible Study

My Throwback Thursday

‘For through me your days will be many, and years will be added to your life.’

Proverbs 9:11

It is a Thursday afternoon as I sit down to write this tribute to my son, Drew. In social media it is better known as Throwback Thursday. The day where people share pictures and stories of the past on Facebook.

Not only is it Throwback Thursday but it is the eve of Drew’s thirtieth birthday.  Drew is now a dad himself. He has a precious four-month old baby girl. As he shares the newest things Campbell has discovered and/or things he is doing with her, my mind goes back to  Drew’s childhood.

In these flashbacks, I can see a little boy sitting in his daddy’s lap early in the morning reading the paper and talking together before starting their day.  As Drew got older, these early morning conversations and reading the paper together transpired at the table and eventually with a cup of coffee in hand.  Nowadays,once a week, in the early hours of the morning, I can hear father and son having conversation together with a cup of coffee in hand. The only difference is it is over the phone.

Then my mind goes back to all the trips we took with Drew over the years. The beach trips, the Disney World trips, trips to the mountains and the list goes on. My favorite pictures of Drew on these trips are the pictures of Drew with his dad sitting on the beach planning what kind of sand castle they would build.  As they planned, they would discuss what would be the foundation and how they would form this foundation and build their sand structure. It was all diligently planned out.

Out of these conversations, I think of the advice, the do’s and don’t’s Jim gave Drew. The  most pivotal conversation I remember is the following on Drew’s thirteenth birthday.

Son, you are turning thirteen. The gift I want to give you is an assignment. The assignment is to read the entire book of Proverbs and imprint the wisdom from this book on your heart.” Drew took what his dad said to heart and not only read the book of Proverbs but also memorized quite a few which he has quoted back to us on occasion.

As I reminisce over these conversations and words of advice between father and son, I see where God was guiding a father to guide a son. God guided a father to showing and teaching his son the importance of making wise choices, listening to others and building his life and home on faith in God. Jim wanted Drew to have a solid foundation and relationship with God.

Today, as I write this I have no real advice to Drew.  It is  my prayer that as he watches his little girl grow up to absorb all the moments he can.  I pray Drew takes time to have those early morning conversations with his little girl in his lap that one day will evolve into conversations at the table over coffee.  I have no doubt that Drew will pass on the legacy of love and the foundation of faith that was given to him through the years. It is without a doubt he has Proverbs 22:6 imprinted on his heart and living it out with his daughter.  “Train a child in the way he is to go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.”

Drew- Have a wonderful birthday. This video pretty much sums up the wishes your Dad and I have for you on your birthday  and in the days ahead. We love you and are very proud of you!

 

My Soul Provider

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June 19, 1989 Michael Bolton released the hit song, Soul Provider. This song is about a guy who wants to provide all of his love’s needs. He says he will wait patiently  and will hold their heart in his hand.  Although the song, Soul Provider was and is a good song, this is not about Michael Bolton nor his hit song. (Sorry about putting that ear worm in  your ear. I do hear that chewing gum does get rid of ear worms. )

Christmas Night

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Of recent, I have seen God’s provision at work for me. I don’t mean the daily roof over the head, food on the table and other necessities of life being met but His provision for my soul.  The last month has been a bumpy ride for me. If you read my previous post, Fearless, you will know my mom lost her battle with cancer. Thus, there has been a lot on my mind as I try to comprehend and accept all that has happened.

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There are times when you look back and see God’s provision. In my case, this would be this past Christmas night. Jim and I pull out of the hospital  parking deck of the hospital after spending the day with my mom and having an improvised Christmas celebration with my family at her bedside.  Jim begins to asks me where do I want to eat. Keep in mind it is Christmas Day night and the chances of finding something good to eat open were probably slim. Yet, we were determined to find anything but a McDonald’s or a Waffle House since that had been what we had lived off of for the last couple days.

After passing many exits and scouting for places with their lights on, we find a TGIFriday’s and it is open! We pulled into the parking lot and due to the few choices of places to park  we see that we might be there a while. Jim and I enter into the restaurant and we put our names on the wait list. The hostess tells us it will be a half hour to forty-five minutes before we are seated. We were okay with that as long as we could get a good meal.

Then It Happened

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Jim and I found a place to lean as we waited for our table. To kill some time, we both pulled out our phones to catch up on messages. However, we barely got to the first set of messages and a young man comes up and calls our name and party number. Jim and I were stunned we were getting seated after only ten minutes and there were others ahead of us.

It was within a matter of seconds that a beautiful young lady came up and introduced herself and said she would be our server. As she introduced herself, she looked at us with such grace and said, “can I get you two a glass of sweet tea?” We both nodded in agreement that a cold glass of sweet tea would be much appreciated.

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Our server returned with our drinks and began to take our order. Again, she apologized that it might be a wait due to the crowd and the orders ahead of us. Jim and I told her we were okay and we understood. Yet, in a matter of minutes our food was at our table and it was steaming hot. Again, Jim and I look at each other acknowledging God was looking out for us.

Jim and I  joined hands and said our blessing and began to enjoy the flavors of our steaks and all that went with it. As we enjoyed our meal, we would realize there was something we needed and before we could even ask for the item it was already being brought to our table by our server or her helper. Our needs were met without us having to really ask for anything.

As we left the restaurant, I told Jim we just experienced God throughout the entire time. We both looked back at the sequence of how things unfolded as we enjoyed our Christmas night dinner. I asked Jim  if he thought  that it was odd that our servers knew what we needed or wanted before we asked but yet then again was it odd? We looked at each other and smiled. We knew God had known our needs even before we knew what they were and He provided.

Homesick

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This past weekend marked a month of laying my mom to rest. It was also Jim’s weekend for hospital duty. I dreaded the weekend with passion.  Jim and I live about six hours from my family  in Georgia and about two hours from his family in Louisville. I knew my brother was having a get together for his youngest son’s birthday and Dad would be going to join the fun. On Dad’s way, he would stop in downtown Atlanta to meet up with my son and great-granddaughter for a visit. Knowing all of this was taking place, Jim at work and us not having family here in the town we live, I began to throw myself a little pity party. I was homesick to the point I actually felt sick to my stomach. It was just Smokey {my sidekick and service dog} and me and the house was too quiet.

Trying to keep my mind busy, I would read and attempted to knock out some chores around the house. Yet, the heartache of being away from my family, Jim being at work and it being a month since I said good-bye to Mom, my heart broke all the more. It was one of those get the ice cream out of the freezer with no need to scope  but to only eat it with a spoon out of a container while binge watching Gilmore Girls. 

Jim had called me while on his lunch as he usually does and I told him how my heart ached and the loneliness I felt. He did the best he could to console me but he knew that what I was feeling is only something time and God could heal.

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Then it happened again! God showed up! God provided! about forty-five minutes after I talked with Jim on the phone, a friend sends me a text, ” Are you going to be home around 2:30? We have a cake to bring to you. I replied back that I would indeed be home.

As I finished picking up around the family room, the doorbell rang. I opened the door and there stood a dear friend from church/Bible Study with her mom holding what I consider a very big cake for two people. But it wasn’t the cake that overwhelmed me. It was the smiles on their faces they had as I greeted them at the door. You know the kind of smiles where you don’t just see the smiles but you see the light of Christ in the smiles. Yep, it was one of those moments. Though the visit was short, my spirits were lifted. Again, God provided just what my soul needed.

Sunday Morning

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Sunday morning arrives and again Jim is off to work at the hospital. I get myself up and ready for Sunday School and worship. My heart still working through my grief I knew Sunday School and worship was what I needed.

As our worship came to a close with the Gospel being presented and the altar call, a child of one of the gals in my Wednesday Night Bible Study went up to profess his faith and to request to be baptized. I think this child would have gone on up and jumped into the baptismal font clothes and all at that moment. He was so excited about his new life with Christ! To see that enthusiasm for God warmed my heart. Yet something else happened that personally warmed my heart.

After the closing prayer, this young man and his mom were asked to stand up front at the altar for the church family to congratulate and welcome this young child into the congregation and most of all welcome him into God’s Kingdom of believers. While I was standing in line waiting my turn one of the ladies I had been in Bible Study with began to talk to me and then all of sudden she embraced me with the most loving hug. She began to tell me what I meant to her and how she loved me. At first I didn’t know, how to respond but then I asked if all was going okay with her. We chatted a few minutes as we made our way through the line.

Once I got home, I immediately messaged this sweet gal that grabbed and hugged me. I told her I needed that hug because it had been a rough weekend for me. I told her it was a month to the day that I was sitting in my mom’s funeral.  She messaged me back saying she just suddenly felt the urge she had to hug me. Again, God was at work using someone I knew to bring me comfort and letting me know how much He loves me.

Along with what happened on Christmas Day, the cake and smiles arriving at my front door and the hug at church, I have been leading the study, Redeemed by Angela Thomas-Pharr. The scriptures for the last two weeks have been exactly what I needed. In this week’s video session, she discusses justification, sanctification and glorification of redemption. As she explained glorification, it brought comfort to my heart knowing that Mom is now fully redeemed and she is with her King. It is through my salvation that I will be with her again one day. Does that completely take the homesickness and the hurt that is so raw away? No, but it gives me that blessed assurance of the love and grace God has given me. It reminds me that God is walking with me in this storm and to continue to seek the blessings He puts in my path.

Our Soul Provider

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There may be a time where you are going through life’s storm. You wonder where you will get the strength to take that next step forward. You will have had nothing but Waffle House, McDonald’s, hospital food or whatever else you can find in a vending machine and you long for that hot meal with a glass of sweet tea. Maybe you are sitting at home in silence at your wit’s end indulging in that carton of ice cream while binge watching Gilmore Girls. Whatever the need your soul longs for God is there and He is taking care of those needs. You may not realize it right now but there will be a day you will look back and see that God was providing all along. Those things that happen that some people all coincidence are not coincidence they are divine interventions of God taking care of your soul.

Paul reminds us in Philippians 4:19 that God will meet all of our needs according to his glorious riches in Christ. Matthew 11:28 Jesus says, “Come to me all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.”  Psalm 147:4 says, “He counts the number of the stars, He gives names to all of them. What a blessed assurance that we have a Father who meets our needs, who longs for us to come to Him when we are weary, and just like He names the stars, He knows our name and longs to be our soul provider and holds our hearts in His hand.

Blessings-

Twist and Turns

The Lord is my salvation-whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life-of whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 27 :1

For I am the LORD you God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear, I will help you. Isaiah 41:13

Are there perfect days?

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“We are not promised perfect days but we are  promised A perfect day” is a quote that I have found myself quoting to people often times when they are in the midst of a struggle. Yet, there are days I forget to put this phrase into practice for myself. Yes, I am human. I am not perfect. I have flaws. I have fears. Life has taken my husband, Jim and I on many twists and turns.

The Celebration

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Last November, 2015, Jim and I celebrated our thirtieth wedding anniversary.  To celebrate our anniversary, Jim booked a cruise for us. We were to leave the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Along with booking this trip, Jim surprised me on a Sunday evening at our church’s Thanksgiving dinner with having our pastor renew our wedding vows in front of our church family. He even surprised me with a cake after we renewed our vows. It was a very special evening.

The Storm

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The following Monday Jim comes home complaining of dizziness. We both figured it was his vertigo acting up and with him being a physical therapist he knew what he needed to do to get it settled down.  He tried the typical procedure and he did get some relief. Yet, in the next couple of  days this dizziness would only get worse. On Wednesday, the eve of Thanksgiving, I found myself in the ER with Jim. By this time Jim was so dizzy he could not even stand up. As the ER doctor examined Jim, he suggested a MRI to rule out stroke. Jim tried to talk his way out of the MRI and tried to convince the doctor to treat him for vertigo. Yet, this is one time I sided with the doctor. I knew we were on our way out of the country on the ocean blue in just a few days. At this point, Jim did not have much say other than to agree to have the MRI.

After patiently waiting, the doctor comes in with the MRI results. The doctor asked Jim if he had MS or migraines because there were lesions that only migraines or MS would have on the brain. Jim said he had a history of migraines. At that point, the doctor treated Jim for vertigo, gave us medication for Jim to have on the trip with a promise from us we would follow-up with a physician on our return home.

As promised, we did follow-up with a neurologist on our return home. This particular doctor has been a doctor Jim has worked with for many years. Thus, they know each other pretty well. When we went into the Dr.’s office the doctor asked Jim if he wanted the soft version or just out with what was wrong. Jim said he knew him well enough to just shoot straight with him. The neurologist said Jim had MS. I about fell out of my chair when hearing this news. It was the last thing I expected.

The Twist

The Dragon's Tail

Once the shock wave settled down, the doctor pulled up Jim’s MRI and went over what was going on regarding lesions. As the visit progressed, the doctor went over a treatment plan for Jim. He assured Jim that this would not affect his work and with medication the progression could be slowed down. In the midst of the consultation, the Dr. says that there is a meeting that very evening that we could attend to learn more about relapsing MS. Jim and I agreed we would attend the meeting.

The Blessing

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Believe it or not, Jim’s diagnosis was a blessing for us. For many years I have dealt with auto-immune issues. I have bounced from doctor to doctor trying to find out what was going on. Many times Jim asked some of these doctors to check me for MS but they would shake their heads, “no”.

As the meeting began, the doctor went over the main indicators for MS. The more the doctor talked the bigger Jim’s eyes got. You see, I had all of the main indicators for MS. Needless to say, Jim spoke with the doctor about what I had been through over the years and asked if he would evaluate me.  I went in the following week for evaluation and MRI. It turns out that our prayers had been answered. The mysterious dragon we had been fighting was finally given a name. The name being MS.

Though Jim’s episode and  landing him in the emergency room was scary and his diagnosis caught us off guard, a prayer was answered. For so long Jim and I had prayed to find out what was going on with my health. It is not the way we ‘thought’ God would answer our prayers but our prayers were answered.

There is more to the story.

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Two years ago this coming Fall, God led Jim and I to the church we now attend. Looking back, we see God’s hand in laying the foundation to send us the answer to our prayers. In this church family God has placed a dear sweet friend who is a nurse and has MS along with another friend who is a nurse with a lot of wisdom on this disease. Not only did God lay the foundation of placing these two precious people in our path but he placed us with a very loving church family who have and are walking with us and praying with us.

There are no perfect days but there is A perfect day!

God's timing

Last Fall, Jim and I stood before our church family renewing our wedding vows. In those vows we once again vowed to be there for one another in sickness and in health not knowing in a few days this particular vow would be put to the test.  I do believe this was also a part of God’s divine plan for us to renew our vows so that we would be reminded of what we had pledged to one another in front of witnesses and before him. Thus, when we were given the news we knew what we needed to do for one another.

Today, you may be praying a prayer that you have long waited for an answer. You wonder if God has forgotten you. Maybe you have been told no when asking for an answer. The water is rough right now and you are longing for smoother waters.

Let me encourage you to keep praying those prayers. Seek God in all you do in everything everyday. Count the blessings God gives you every day. Be in tuned to his leading and follow his lead. There will come a day when your prayer is answered. Trust me, it won’t be answered the way you think it will be answered. It may come in the midst of another twist and turn in life. Then, when you get the answer to your prayer, I encourage you to look back and it is without a doubt that you will see where God’s hand had been at work.

There are going to be many imperfect days in the days ahead. Realize it is God molding you more into his likeness, he is wanting you to grow deeper in your relationship with him and preparing you for that perfect day.

It is the imperfect days where I have no fear because I know who walks before me,who walks beside me and behind me.(Psalm 27:1) I know that it is in his time that he makes all things beautiful.( Ecclesiastes 3:11)

Leave in God's hand

Divine Appointment

 

Not A Morning Person

I hate mornings

  It is early morning. Jim and Drew are up reading the paper together and talking current events.  Jim tells Drew to go to the bedroom to see if I am interested in getting up. Drew very carefully tip toes into the bedroom. He approaches the bed like a special forces soldier would approach the enemy. He evaluates the situation of how to approach me. Does he stand at the bedroom door and ask if  I am interested in getting up. Or, does he slowly approach the bed and nudge me awake. If he does the latter, he may not fare too well. Sometimes, it is like waking a bear out of hibernation.  You see, I have never really been a morning person.

Jim heard a comedian one time talking about people who are not morning people. The comedian compared it to being like evolution. First, they get up and they are in the ‘Reptile Phase”.  Thirty minutes later “we have speach”.  By noon, “they are walking erect.” The family knows not to approach them during those primative earlier moments. Instead, non-morning people need time. As the morning progresses they gradually become human. 

Now, do not get me wrong. If I have to be somewhere like a job, classes or event, I will get up. I may not seem human but if I was meant to pop out of bed, we would sleep in toasters. 

Garfield sleep in toasters

The Awakening

Awakening

For the last seven weeks, I have been leading a Bible Study group through Priscilla Shirer’s,  Armor of God.  From the beginning, she has led us through Ephesians 6 and how we need to put our armor on each day. Each week we would learn and discuss a different  piece of armor and how we should put it on and apply it to our lives.

Priscilla goes on through the study about how God can change us from the inside out. When we align our lives with God’s WORD our hearts change. Not only do our hearts change but our desires change and how we live in the world changes.  It is a matter of  putting our trust in God, taking a faith step to where God is calling us into deep waters, and putting our armor on every single day just as we dress for the day.

God Corner part three

As each week has passed, I have seen where my desires have changed.  There seems to be more contentment in my life. Each day I  am excited to see what God has planned for me.

What Is Different?

Change ahead

Several weeks ago I had to go on some very strong medication for an MS episode. This medication really messed with my sleep and appetite. I wasn’t sleeping full nights. Instead, it was like I was taking naps and then I would be up. On these sleepless nights, I found myself moving to the family room to the recliner as not to wake Jim from his sleep. During this time, I found myself doing a lot of talking with my FATHER.  It was through these middle of night conversations where God really began his work on me.

Over time, I was able to go to bed and sleep. However, I still could not sleep all night and certainly not sleep in late. Then, it happened! I woke up at four o’clock AM. And, I didn’t just wake up but I WOKE up! My eyes came open and there was this tug for me to get out of bed. There was anticipation like a kid ready to see their gifts on Christmas morning. Thus, I quietly got out of bed, threw my bathrobe on and grabbed my Bible and went back to the family room. Once again, I was talking to my FATHER.

As the time drew closer to five am, I thought that since I was up I would make Jim breakfast. On this particular morning, he got up (he has always been an early riser) and as he approached the kitchen, he had to check to make sure he wasn’t sleep walking and/or dreaming. The reason he had to check was because he found on the table chocolate chip pancakes, bacon, a glass of milk and orange juice. And, my brother and sisters he found that I had cleaned up the mess I had made while making breakfast. Though he looked a little puzzled, he liked the special treatment and I know he wasn’t thinking; this is nice but it won’t last long. Well, he is still chewing on those thoughts as each morning since he has had breakfast on the table.

Drew and Jim

Our son, Drew usually calls Jim once a week to have their father and son chats. It works well for them to have an early morning phone call and talk while getting ready for work. It is also a tradition they started when we were raising Drew. Every morning, Drew and Jim would get up early (letting sleeping dogs lie) and would have devotional time, read the newspaper together, talk about current events, school and have breakfast together.

On this particular morning, Drew called as he usually does once a week. Jim’s phone rang just we were sitting down to say the blessing.  I told Jim to go ahead and answer because I know how important those phone calls are. As Jim answered he said; um, Drew can I call you back in about fifteen minutes? Mom has breakfast ready and we were just about to eat.  At that very moment you could hear dead silence. I could tell just from what I was seeing on my side of the table that Drew had gone into shock on the other end. I know he was wondering what his dad had done with his mom.

Divine Appointment

Appointment with God

When I look at my life I see a potter at a wheel shaping the clay pot and making changing on the clay pot from time to time. This is what my FATHER had done and is doing  in these last few weeks. This girl who has not been a morning person her entire life. The wife and mom whose family had to plan a combat strategy to wake her is now getting up every morning at 4:30 grabbing her Bible and going to the Family room for her morning talk with her FATHER.

Yes, there have been a couple of mornings where I have been tempted to turn the alarm clock off and roll over to go back to sleep. Yet, the Holy Spirit has a hold of my heart. He has been changing me from the inside out.

The Results

Bible opened

Out of this divine appointment, God has put before me new steps that he wants me to take. Some of these results are as follows:

I’ve become more disciplined in conversations with God and starting my day with his WORD.  My Bible study usually took place later in the day. 

It had been a while since I had really sat down and wrote thoughts of encouragement to share with other. I am back to writing again. Thoughts and ideas are just flooding my mind. 

I have created a prayer wall in my laundry room. There I place the names of my Bible Study group, the church activities, and other prayer request on the wall. During the day, I will retreat in there and have prayer time putting prayer request of others into my FATHER’S hands.

I have a chair by one of the family room windows that I enjoy especially in the Spring when the birds are out and the flowers in bloom.. I have created this little corner in my Family room to be my ‘God Corner.’ It is here where I read, work on Bible Study, write and reflect on God’s WORD.  During these times, I will have some sort of praise and worship music on and all other media is turned off.

God Corner

It is out of these moments of reflection where I have began posting on Facebook in the early mornings little reflections, devotional type things in hopes to encourage someone who needs encouraging. I also post an evening reflection.

God Corner four

Each morning, I message my Bible Study sisters in Christ a scripture, thought for the day and a praise song to get their day going. Since we are doing the Armor of God, I try to send something that fits in with that week’s study.

My desires have changed. My perspective on things have changed. I seem to have more patience these days.

It is also through this divine appointment that Jim and I have become closer as a couple in our faith walk as a couple and individuals. We have shared with one another how we can look back and see the hand of God at work in all that we have experienced; the good, the bad and the ugly.  We become more and more grateful for God’s provision every day.

There are some mornings I am already up before the alarm goes off because I am so excited to talk to my FATHER and see what blessings he has planned for me for the day.

heart and light

And, yes, Jim is still getting breakfast every morning.  Speaking of Jim getting breakfast every morning, my Bible Study group has asked if Jim is suspicious of me  being up early and making him breakfast.  My response was that I think of the seen in the movie, War Room where Tony has come home from business and Elizabeth knows he has been tempted on the business trip but she covers him with grace. Tony is suspicious of her being so nice and switches the dinner plates. I told them I wondered how many times Jim has switched the breakfast plates when I have not been looking in the last couple of weeks.

My Encouragement To You

Heart

 Are you like I was not a morning person. You dread hearing that alarm clock go off in the mornings? Maybe your family has to plan a combat strategy to get you up out of bed. Are you looking for contentment, peace that surpasses all understanding and want to seek the purpose and plan God has for you?

Let me encourage you to start today. You can start by reading Ephesians 6 and learning how to put on your armor every day and step out in faith to fulfill your purpose. Next, make a Divine Appointment to meet with your FATHER every day. Turn off the media, turn on some praise and worship music, open your Bible, open the eyes of your heart and listen to the words God whispers to you. As you begin doing this you will find as time goes on that you are not going to want to miss that Divine Appointment. You are going to be like  a little kid on Christmas morning anticipating running into the family room to see what is waiting for you.

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” Therefore I urge you brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God-this is your true and proper worship. Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is-his good, pleasing perfect will.”

Romans 12:1-2

God is good! All the time!

Have a blessed day!