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Enjoy the Season

Spring had officially sprung! The grass was a lush green, flowers were in full bloom, the clear morning sky held the promise of the warmth of the sun, and the beauty of the season that promised new life was in full force. In the midst of it all, stood a tall oak tree. A gentle breeze created the feeling that autumn was in the air, as the dried brown leaves softly drifted down and littered the ground. The oak was beautiful all the same, standing so strong, tall, and majestic. I thought to myself, Why was this tree only just now dropping its leaves when all the surrounding trees were budding with fresh new growth? 

The tree seemed to be out of season, in comparison to the others standing in its midst. Seeing that spring ushers in budding, blossoming, and new life, it didn’t seem to be doing as well, and it appeared to be off in its cycle of growth. But in actuality, this tree was right where it needed to be in terms of seasonal growth and right on track with it dropping its leaves in the spring, even though most trees experience this months earlier. The tree was healthy and thriving in its own way and timing, according to its original design by its Maker, the God of all creation!

It is easy to fall into the trap of comparison in our own lives too. If you feel out of season right now, instead of getting frustrated or down on yourself, I encourage you to savor the season. Accept yourself, and where you currently are in life. Seek to continue to grow and blossom, by learning something about yourself, and what the Lord is teaching you. See the beauty in the day, and enjoy the time you have been gifted. All things are passing by, nothing stays the same forever. Life is a precious gift from our Creator.

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Hold On

Our tree stood tall, magnificent, and beautiful in the living room. Only the day before, the kids and grand baby had been ripping open Christmas gifts with childish giddy and excitement, in my cute cozy forest home. To my surprise, the following night a storm set in with an unusual amount of snowfall for our area. It was about 12:30am when the house shook and I awoke to a loud mysterious SWOOSH outside. 

A gigantic oak tree had fallen and swallowed up our entire backyard, smashing everything in its path, and stopping just short of the house. The next morning revealed snapped power poles, downed lines, and fallen trees across the snowy roads. Seeing we had no power and no heat, I packed the things that were truly important to me, loaded the car, and drove away. In the back of my head was the idea of possibly never even returning.

When life gets us down, sometimes it seems the easy thing to do is just walk away from a difficult situation. You know, to just throw up our hands. To leave. To start fresh somewhere. To start over. To seek those greener pastures on the other side of the fence somewhere. 

BUT GOD. His Word teaches us not to quit, but to persevere. In spite of life’s curveballs, we are to push forward with the strength we find in a relationship in Christ. Philippians 3:13-14 tells us, “…But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead. I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” It is He that gives us the ability to keep going when we just want to walk away from a challenging life situation. 

Sometimes it takes time to work through or recover from a difficult situation. It can be anything in our life that is upsetting. Whatever the challenge may be, God is what will carry us through and be our strength. All things are passing by. Our life is made up of seasons that are always shifting and changing. Nothing ever stays the same. And when we are struggling and life is hard, if we can just remember that things won’t always be that way, and hold on to the promises of Christ, eventually life lets up and things change up! Phillipians 4:13 tells us, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”

When times get tough there is always something in that season that the Lord is wanting to teach us. The key is being able to embrace that by asking the Lord to reveal what that lesson is. Trust issues, faith, perseverance, overcoming fear or worry, whatever the case may be, I believe there is always a lesson there, within, from the Lord. James 1:2-3 “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.”

Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Anything the Lord allows to happen in our life has a purpose for our growth and the Lord’s eternal plans and purposes for us. James 1:12 tells us, “Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.”

We were out of our house for nine days due to no power or heat. I prayed, searched my heart, and considered other living situation possibilities. Nothing turned up, and I felt the Lord prompting me to return to our home. We did, and it took another two months for a return to normalcy. During that time we were still in the midst of property restoration and clean up. And, no internet! 

My lesson was that of perseverance and some things the Lord wanted to change up for me. With no internet, life was different! He taught me new habits and gave me new hobbies that are actually much better and healthier. Although it was uncomfortable and a challenge, I am so thankful for all the Lord has changed in my life. 

It is spring now and I once again am enjoying our cozy little cottage in the forest. The sun is shining, the birds are visiting, the flowers are blossoming, the trees are budding leaves, and I am living life differently and am much more thankful for all we have here. The Lord is so Faithful and He knows just what we need and when we need it. He also knows just how to reach us so we can learn those lessons He has for us. He is our Father, indeed, and I am thankful we have a Heavenly Father that is looking after us, teaching us, making a way for us, and loving us for who we are and who are not. 1 John 4:16 tells us, “So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.”

When life gets you down and you just want to run in the other direction, trust in the Lord and just how much He loves you. Press into Him. Psalm 18:2 says, “The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety.” And, remember, He wants the very best for you!

For a little extra encouragement and to get stuck in your head, LOL, I have included the link for Toby Mac’s song, Hold On. https://youtu.be/CBVQEt04gxg

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Our Thoughts

“Think good thoughts,” she exclaimed, when I asked what her secret was to living a long and happy life. This was coming from a woman wise in her years. She knew from her 89 years of life experience that it was key to a peaceful and victorious life. She had come to the point in life where she understood the harm that can result when we dwell upon worrisome, fearful, or disturbing thoughts. Our mind is the control center for our body. When our mind is upset so is our body. 

If we can commit our situations to the Lord, trusting Him for His very best purpose in our life, even when things are hard or scary, it will free us to think good and hopeful thoughts in the midst of the storm. If we can walk in peace we will live longer, happier lives. Romans 15:13 says, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” 

According to researchers at Penn State University, only about 8% of the things people worry about come true. This statement by Winston Churchill rings true. “When I look back on all these worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which had never happened.” It is easy to fall into the worry of the what ifs in life. But, when we turn to God’s Word we are told to do the opposite. In faith, we are to think, trust, and expect God’s very best. “But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8

We are actually not in control of our life circumstances, even though we struggle with wanting to be in complete control. We all want a certain outcome in life and we may even have a plan we formulated in our mind to reach that hope or dream. Perhaps we have even played out just what that dream looks like and how it should go! But when things don’t go as planned and life gets uncomfortable, scary, or stormy, we need to remember that the Lord has us.

If we are walking in surrender, embracing all that He is doing, it comes down to a matter of trust. He has His reasons for allowing hard or challenging times, which we just cannot fully grasp or understand while we are in the midst of them or looking at them in someone else’s life. But, Psalm 62:1-2 tells us, “I am at rest in God alone; my salvation comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I will never be shaken.” He is always working things out for good.

In Matthew 11:28-30 we are told, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” We are to keep our focus on God, being confident of who we are as we walk in truth.

If our minds are bent on thinking negative, unhealthy, worrisome thoughts, there is still hope in the transforming of our minds. This can be done through the redeeming power of our Lord as we believe and receive our true identity in Christ. When the mind goes down a rabbit trail of negativity, one thing we can do is STOP and do what I call a TRUTH check. Ask yourself, are these thoughts based on truth or are they based on fear and the what ifs of life? Anything not factual needs to be thrown out and our mind needs to refocus on the truth of God’s promises. I have found the following quote by Andrew Murray to be both powerful and life changing: 

In time of trouble, say, First, He brought me here. It is by His will I am in this strait place; in that I will rest. Next, He will keep me here in his love, and give me grace in this trial to behave as his child. Then say, He will make the trial a blessing, teaching me lessons he intends me to learn, and working in me the grace he means to bestow. And last, say, In his good time he can bring me out again, how and when, he knows. Therefore, say, I am here by: 

1. God’s appointment 

2. In His keeping 

3. Under His training

4. For His time

It is our hope in Christ that sustains us through the storms of life; Those things that don’t set right with us, cause us stress and unwanted drama, things we can’t change, things causing us pain or confusion, or whatever our worse fears may be. We belong to Christ and He is our peace. In Joshua 1:9 it says, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” 

When we belong to the Lord, we can rest assured that He is keeping us for His purposes. 2 Thessalonians 3:3 tells us, “The Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.” Through Christ we can overcome. Those lies from the enemy that are meant to break and destroy us, are just that, for 1 John 4:4 speaks of the victory we have in Christ!  “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” The Lord is with us and He will fight the real enemy through us. We are victorious in Christ, always.

Ephesians 4:1 tells us we are to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which we have been called. If you are a child of God, saved by the blood of Christ and walking in surrender to Him then you are not your own, and, neither are you alone. You belong to the Holy Spirit who dwells in you. And, regardless of difficult situations, God is always there, taking care of you. You will never face a mountain on your own. The Creator of all things is helping you and He is faithful, forever, to the end. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6

We are empowered by God’s Spirit. We are to walk in faith and freedom, not being bound by fear of the unknown. We are to live life fully unto the Lord, following the leading of the Holy Spirit and being confident in His care and chosen purposes for each of us. And, we are to be thinking good thoughts of hope in Christ. We can transform our minds when we focus on the promises of God and stand on the truth, not the what ifs or lies of the enemy. 

Jesus Christ told us in John 14:27, “Peace I leave you; my peace I give you, not as the world gives do I give to you; do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.” Rest and trust in the Lord and He will give you the peace you need right here and now. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7 

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God’s Got IT

Jumping and pulling and playfully barking, the pup pulled on the leash. She was excited and wanted to go play with the dog who was running freely across the green ball field. As I reigned her in, I thought about how we, too, often want to just run off, in pursuit of our own plans and ideas in spite of what is actually best for us.  

It came down to a battle of wills, as this pup was not being obedient. Bottom line, she saw what she wanted and sought to be in control of her circumstance. How often do we pull and tug and press-in for what we want? The will of a dog can be broken. But, what about us? God does not want us to have a broken spirit. Instead, He gives us freedom to make choices in life, be they good or bad for us. He gives us free will, unlike a master and his dog.

Holding back from what we desire is a challenge! Our flesh is really good at demanding what it wants, right… NOW. The power of our flesh can so overcome us that we are incapable of determining the consequence of a choice we are making in the moment. This is why it is so important that we bring everything before the Lord before making a decision. There are many choices to be made in life that demand our attention. We are to walk in obedience with the Lord by first bringing everything before Him. Philippians 4:6 tells us, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

I recently watched a survival reality TV show where the guy got so hungry he decided to kill the little critter that he had befriended. The squirrel had become his only source of companionship on the lonely and isolated tundra island. He had gained its trust, so it would hang out with him and keep him company. He would talk to it as if it were his friend. However, when his hunger overcame him one episode, he killed it and ate it to satisfy his ravenous appetite. The result was him falling to pieces, an emotional wreck. He was so overcome with guilt and misery for eating his only little buddy that he resigned. He quit the game in a puddle of remorse and tears, and went home utterly defeated. 

Psalm 56:8 tells of Christ’s empathy, “You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.” Sometimes I have to chuckle, thinking about my tower of bottles in heaven! But, it also makes me realize how much Jesus cares about my troubles, sorrow, and pain. He never misses a single tear I shed. He is always aware and always there. Nothing is hidden from the Lord. Psalm 32:8 tells us, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.” He has purpose in our hurts and disappointments. Nothing happens to us that is a surprise to the Lord. Anything that happens in a believers life is approved and done with the watchful eye of our Heavenly Father. He never gives us more than we can handle. He only permits what will ultimately be best for us and also bring Him glory. 

So when we are hurting, frustrated, confused, or just don’t understand why we are going through something hard, it is important that we acknowledge who we are before God. We belong to Him. We are the clay that our Potter is molding into something much more beautiful than we can ever imagine. And, that can be a painful process. But, in spite of our discomfort, we are to embrace what He is doing in our life and rejoice in the Lord. We are to be giving God glory in our joyful moments along with times of sorrow, disappointment, and pain. The Scriptures tell us in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

In spite of whatever hardship we are facing we still need to acknowledge the goodness of God in our lives by thanking Him for all the abundantly good things we have and are blessed with. Anything we have is a gift from the Lord. James 1:17 tells us, “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.” Many think that all they have is because of the hard work they have put in during their life to obtain it. Yes, but, ultimately, God is our Provider. He is the One who makes things happen for us and shines His face upon us, making a good way in life. 

Ever feel like you have exhausted all your resources in a situation? It’s like we try this and that, using our knowledge and logic, hoping it will solve or end a certain problem. It can be difficult when we don’t understand what we are to do in a particular situation we are dealing with, even though we are obediently waiting upon Him. We have sought the Lord on it, yet, we don’t see anything happening or feel the Lord telling us what to do. Try as we may, there can seem to be no end or answer in sight! The battle actually belongs to Jesus. To allow for that, we need to get before Him and give Him our problems. We must surrender to what God is wanting to do in our lives, to the will of the Lord.

If we are bringing our issues to the Lord in prayer, seeking Him for wisdom, guidance, and answers, He will work on our behalf. We can receive His perfect peace in the midst of the trials and challenges we face. Isaiah 26:3 tells us, “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” And when we can’t change things and nothing seems to be working, we must continue to press-in to the Lord and wait upon Him for how he is moving in our lives. God is Sovereign. God is Just. God never changes. GOD IS GOOD ALL THE TIME. We are not in control of the situations in our life. God is. There is a point where we need to understand and accept this fact in order to keep our peace. Then, we must walk in faith.

This is a hard season to be in. BUT GOD. I like to look at it as if we have put in our request and know that the Lord is working on it, even though we cannot see any changes. It gives me hope knowing that He is taking care of things and I am not the one that needs to figure things out all on my own. Instead, my focus is to be on Him each day, not the problem, and be faithful in that day for what He asks of me, all the while waiting for His leading and prompting. There is peace in knowing and trusting that the Lord is in fact working all things out for our best good. Romans 8:28 tells us, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

Our life is not a game of chess where we strategically plan our moves until one day we are in check and BAM, life is perfect and it is all that we ever wanted. We have a winner! It just doesn’t work that way. Life is completely unpredictable. Ecclesiastes 10:14 reminds us, “No man knows what is to be.” 

Having a humble heart before the Lord is key if you want to walk in obedience with the Lord. Not our will, but His. We must trust Him with our life and that of those we love, knowing He loves us and wants the very best for us. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” We are here for a purpose. We need to be open to living out the plans the Lord has intended for us. If we are seeking the Lord and walking in obedience then we can be confident in Proverbs 16:9, which tells us, “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” 

So no matter how hard life seems or how overwhelming a situation may be, we are to remember that God is in control and we just are not. No matter how much we so want an answer or understanding, or something to change, it truly is not our call, but the decision of our Maker who knows what we need and when we need it. His timing is always perfect.

Bottom line is, God’s got this. YES, HE HAS ALL OF IT. Whatever you are facing, just know if you are a believer and follower of Jesus Christ, then you are not dealing with IT alone. We are to lay it all down at the foot of the cross in an act of surrender. Not our will, but the will of God in our life. It is a daily surrender. We have to be able to walk in peace even when we are uncomfortable in our present situation. The apostle Paul said it well in Philippians 4:11-13, “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.” 

Even though that green ball field looks inviting, and we can be head strong, let’s not run off and try to take care of things in our own make-sense, selfish, I’m tired of waiting, disobedient kind of way! 1 Thessalonians 5:16-17 tells us to, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” God has a plan and a purpose for each of us, despite the challenges and difficulties we are facing. We are to join Him by embracing all that He is doing, even when we don’t understand and feel uncomfortable. Isaiah 55:8-9 tells us, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways.” And so, we must be patient in faith and trust the Lord for what He is doing. “… What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived, the things God has prepared for those who love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9 The Lord is Faithful, always. Trust in Him. His ways are BEST.

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Safe in His Arms

It was my son’s second semester away at Bible College. I was still adjusting to the idea of him being out of the house, and as we wrapped up our phone conversation, my son shared that he felt the Lord might be leading him to spend a semester abroad, in Israel. Wow, I thought to myself… my boy may soon be living on the other side of the world.

Sure enough, as the weeks rolled by, an application was submitted and my son was accepted into the program to spend a semester abroad studying and touring the Holy Land. I was thrilled, yet, obviously concerned as mothers instinctively are towards their children. Even though this was uncharted territory, I knew if the Lord was calling my son to Israel then he must go. The Lord’s way is always best and I wanted that for my son. He was 18 years old at that time.

The Lord was so kind and graceful. Weeks prior to my son’s departure, He gave my son a confirmation scripture that was passed on to me. This proved to be the promise that I hung to ever so tightly as my reassure from the Lord. The Scripture found it’s place on my refrigerator, and was a constant reminder to me. I had complete peace that surpassed all understanding.

It was interesting the reactions and feedback we would receive upon sharing my son’s plans to live in the Middle East. Some were extremely excited and supportive, and yet others just seemed to shake their heads in disbelief. In their minds, this idea was completely ludicrous due to the element of danger they believe it involved. However, when that happened, I was able to confidently share with them that the Lord was taking care of my son. He had given me a promise.

There had been much talk in the news about dangerous situations occurring in Israel, such as suicide bombers and missile attacks; a commonplace in that faraway land. To some, Israel seemed riddled with deadly terrorist attacks and eminent danger. And there I was, not only sending my eldest son off to live there, but being totally behind him and supportive in his endeavor.

Just prior to my son’s departure, a strange thing happened. It had been a wet February. The ground was saturated from the heavy rainfall. The kids and I had been cozy in our little home, tucked amongst the tall pines. Although the storm raged outside, we felt safe in our warm beds that night. However, in the morning, upon waking, I pulled up the blind that had covered my window throughout the night. To my shock, as we slept, an enormous pine tree had fallen. There was a gigantic hole and the tree roots stood tall. Following the tree trunk led us to the road below, which was now blocked by this towering giant that had uprooted in the night.

What was truly amazing was, had the tree fallen towards our house instead of away, we would have been crushed under its weight as it would have smashed directly onto our home. It was as if one of the Lord’s angels had pushed it away from us, keeping us safe from all harm. And, THAT, resonated deeply within me.

To me, it was the Lord’s way of telling me that HE is our Protector from ALL harmful situations. We aren’t at risk of being in harm’s way because we are in a more volatile area in the world. That really doesn’t matter. The Lord is the One who keeps us safe. We don’t need to leave the country to be in danger. There are dangers while right in the safety and comfort of our own happy homes! Thinking we are safe just because we are in a familiar place, is a false sense of security. Where is our security found? It is only found in the Lord! Psalm 18:2 tells us, “The Lord is my protector; he is my strong fortress. My God is my protection, and with him I am safe.”

So, when the missiles rained down on Israel and the terrorist did attack while my son was living in Israel, I was okay. I had complete peace that the Lord was my son’s Protector. I trusted Him with my son’s life. He gave me a promise through His Word and then backed it up with a visual right on my own property. Every morning, when I lifted that shade from my window, there was the fallen pine tree, a constant reminder to me of the Lord’s goodness and faithfulness in keeping the kids and I safe from ALL harm.

Psalm 121

“I lift up my eyes to the mountains- where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip- he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber not sleep. The Lord watches over you- the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all harm- he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.”

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The Path to Peace

imagesThe traffic had come to a standstill. It was a stifling hot day to sit at a dead stop on the freeway. My teenage son, cell phone with GPS in hand, piped up. “We can get out of this traffic and take an alternate route, mom!” Always up for an adventure with my kids and relieved to hear there was another way home, I immediately took him up on his suggestion. Little did I know, there would be a surprise in this adventure that would abruptly stop us in our tracks and strike a deep cord of fear within me.

The winding roads took us through dry summer fields of gold, neatly manicured vineyards, and quaint off the beaten path towns. Later, we drove through a foothill region with no trees whatsoever. Instead, countryside was dotted with huge white windmills that were being harnessed for power. It was one of those moments in time that I filed in my mind, to remember and hold dear to my heart forever. It was such a happy day. We had the radio blasting and all four windows of the car rolled down. The kids were singing, laughing, and sticking their hands and faces into the wind, and our car was filled with joy.

As we continued to journey on, we drove through wetlands. We crossed many uniquely built bridges that safely connected us to unknown territories. This was all new to us, as we had never ventured into such areas as these before. As we drove, the land we traversed became increasingly remote. The road narrowed to a single car width, resembling a paved bike trail. The sun was now setting, as the road paralleled a huge river. We marveled at the beauty of the sky and the brilliant colors of hot pink, purple, and orange that seemed to reach right down to the fast moving waters beneath it.

Passing other traffic was now only an occasional occurrence. It was a quiet peaceful drive as I embraced our adventure, and marveled at this amazing route my son had come up with to get us home. Gone was the hustle and bustle of heavy traffic and being stuck on the parking lot of the interstate. It was seemingly just the kids and I, and the massive river that traveled with us like a faithful friend.

Nightfall was quickly approaching. Our journey continued as our path twisted, turned, and then came to a stop. Before my eyes I saw an electronic gate with arms. Posted in front of it was a large sign. It read…  Last Ferry 9:00 p.m. Last WHAT?! Looking beyond the gate and sign, I saw what looked like some kind of military boat. The idea of driving my car with my babies onto such a mechanical thing, in order to cross the expanse of the river completely paralyzed me with fear. We had only 20 minutes to make a decision. If we choose not to cross, there would be hours of backtracking on tiny roads into the wee hours of the night and then on top of that, additional hours of freeway driving. I felt I had no choice.

I contemplated. I prayed. I played out scary thoughts of driving my babies onto the submarine looking barge and my car rolling off and dumping us into the swiftly flowing depths of the river. I think what made this so difficult for me was that it was just so unexpected. Never, in my mind, would I have thought I would be challenged to such a strange situation as this! I was alone with my kids with nightfall closing in, and in a strange remote unfamiliar place. I did not even know such opportunities as this existed in my state. And, so we sat, waiting for the inevitable moment when I would drive my car onto this mass that would move us from one expansive shore to the other. Why was I so afraid?

Fear can grip us, and when it does it can stop us in our tracks. Yes, sometimes fear can be a warning and we must take heed. However, not always. Was my fear warranted in this situation? Nope. However, fear is real and when we are afraid, the only way out of that fear is to put our trust in the only One who we can truly count on, the Lord Jesus Christ. And, that is just what I did. I prayed, committed the situation to the Lord, and then in faith, I drove my car onto that ferry. 2 Timothy 1:7 tells us, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”

I’m not going to say I did not still have fear and insecurity as we slowly crossed that river. It was there. But, as we floated across, a peace came over me and I began to enjoy the experience. It was quite amazing! My car was safely locked in place. The kids thought it was too cool! And, it really was! The ferry was lit up and on the horizon was a lingering tinge of orange color in the night sky, along with the first few bright stars. Dare I say, it was even a bit romantic!

Once safe on the other side, I was relieved and flooded with joy. Not just for our safety, but for the entire experience. What seemed so unfamiliar, foreign, and frightening to me was, in actuality, a fun, chance of a lifetime opportunity. The kids and I will always remember that moment in time when we traveled across a huge river safely in our own family car!

We can choose fear in our life challenges, or we can choose faith. When faced with fear there are four things we can do to help us overcome our fear, after first praying about our situation. Always ask for wisdom, discernment, and guidance from the Lord. In addition to  prayer, calmly and logically work through the following:

  1. Identify the fear.
  2. Is it based on truth?
  3. Identify what is true.
  4. Concentrate on the many blessings in your life.

These simple steps can help rule out unwarranted fears that are not based in reality, which will free us up to operate on faith. Hebrews 11:1, tells us that “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”

This testimony about my fear of crossing the river on a ferry with my kids in our family car may seem silly. However, it is a good example of how in life we travel to unknown places and are continually faced with uncomfortable and unexpected situations. Next time you are faced with a decision to make and you are fearful, ask yourself… is this fear based in truth? If you are forthright with the Lord He will make things clear to you. In Matthew 17:20 Jesus tells us, “If you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘’Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.” Yes, we must have faith as the Lord instructs us.

So, while out on the highways and byways of life, I encourage you, when your life path comes to a surprising halt, and you are gripped by fear, choose instead to seek the Lord. He will flood you with His perfect peace and He will lead you and guide you in the way you should go. He is always faithful to those who call on Him.  “The Lord is good to those who depend on him, to those who search for him.” Lamentations 3:25 And, often times, when we are afraid, we need not be. Instead, choose to “be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 You will be glad you did!

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THAT Open Door

open-doors-decorating-ideas-4-833x675Proverbs 16:9 tells us, “The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.” How important it is to allow the Lord to lead us!

To assure we are walking in the Lord’s best way and will for our life, we must be in constant communication with the Lord our God. This means reading His word, taking time to sit at His feet in prayer and worship, and denying ourselves of the things in our life that inappropriately steal away our time with the Lord. If we are not communing with the Lord as we should, we can easily begin to self –absorb our lives with things that are not God’s best way for our lives.

The Christian life often makes reference to an open door. This could be a new beginning such as a career opportunity or a myriad of other life choices. However, just because a door has opened in the believer’s life does not automatically mean it is God’s optimal way.  Often times, an open door will appear to be an amazing choice that seems to make complete sense. But the Bible, our instruction manual for living life, tells us in Isaiah 55:8-9, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” For this reason, the Christ follower must seek discernment and wisdom from the Lord before making such decisions.

How difficult it is when THAT open door is something we WANT. Maybe it is an unfulfilled dream or the desire to achieve a certain accomplishment. Personal gratification and the pride of life are huge obstacles that need to be overcome when seeking God’s best and perfect will for our lives. Our human minds cannot begin to grasp the depth of God’s plans and purposes. His ways are ALWAYS much better and bigger than our own.

What is ideal is when we are able to mesh our heart’s desire with that of the Lord’s. This can be done by a surrender of control and a submission of one’s life to the Lord our God. Sometimes that means denying what we think we want in this life and instead trusting the Lord for His best for us, even if it seems illogical or foolish through the eyes of those looking in and, perhaps. even to ourselves. Faith and trust in the Lord are essential, as Jesus tells us in Matthew 17:20, “For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

What can be tricky is when life is happening and things are moving quickly forward and things seem to be falling into place. But then, a lack of peace sets in that is disturbing enough to cause all forward motion to come to a complete stop. This I believe is a warning from the Holy Spirit, a quickening of our spirit that the Lord uses to get our attention in order to prevent us from making a bad decision or poor life choice that could have dire consequences in our life.

I recently experienced this, personally. It shook me up and stopped me completely. I had been striving hard and was becoming increasingly consumed by my own determination and goals that I had set before myself. I could sense other priorities beginning to slide in my life, along with my strength and peace of mind.

I am thankful to the Lord for His conviction in my life. He has since rerouted and refocused me on the correct priorities in my life. I admit, it was difficult for me to let go of my own selfish thoughts, plans, and pride of life ideas. But, thankfully, the Lord has given me His perfect peace. Surrendering to the Lord is the best place to be in life. “You  will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” Isaiah 26:3 The Lord is my Provider and I trust Him to make a way for me. I am yoked to Christ. “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:30

Letting go of a certain goal or dream in life can be tough, but totally worth it! The Lord always knows BEST.  I am so thankful for the Lord’s amazing love, grace, and mercy. He is the all knowing Sovereign God of the universe. Thank you Lord for your unconditional love! “And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:17-19 AMEN! Go out in peace as you seek the Lord’s best open door for your life. You will be glad you did!

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Breathless!

Struts_00[1] (2)The door slammed shut, grabbing my attention. There, across the room, stood my son, a young man of 14 years old. He was distraught and trying to speak, but all he could say was, “the…” and then gibberish, followed by incomplete thoughts that made no sense. I abruptly ended my phone call and ran to my son. He was shaking and out of breath. He finally pulled together his first sentence. “The hood of the Toyota slammed shut on my hands and I was stuck!” I immediately sat him down, then dashed to get Advil and an ice pack. He quickly swallowed the pain relief pills and we soothed his hand with the ice. I then began to pray, “Dear Lord Jesus please heal my son’s hand…”

He was still shaking as I held his hand to examine the extent of his injury. As I did this, he recounted the incident. He had been under the hood, replacing a valve cover gasket when the hood shock broke. The hood slammed down on him, pinning his left hand. He was trapped and in tremendous pain. He had called out to me, but with the house being tightly sealed, I heard nothing. Thankfully, he had been holding a flashlight with an extended handle on it. It lessened the blow to his hand, and, as a result, was completely cut in half by the weight of the hood. His cell phone was within eyeshot, but he could not reach for it. In his desperation, pain, and panic, his adrenaline kicked in and he was able to partially lift the hood off his hand and slip it out, leaving a large warp in the hood that is now our visual reminder of the incident.

I thanked the Lord my son still had his fingers. But, I thought we would probably be taking a trip to the doctor followed by x-rays in the morning. I dreaded the thought of a possible break or even worse, nerve damage. His hand was pretty banged up and one finger was especially cut and traumatized, plus, he was having trouble moving his fingers. As the evening progressed I watched for swelling and discoloration and asked about his pain level. It was not swelling as I had anticipated and he kept telling me, “Mom, I can’t feel anything.” This led me to believe he may have some kind of serious damage. We continued icing and praying throughout the evening. By bedtime the Advil had worn off and my son still told me he couldn’t feel anything. It was then that I realized what he meant was, he had no pain! The fingers that he could not move earlier were now beginning to bend. We continued to pray and thank the Lord for saving my son’s fingers and for the healing work He was doing. Then, we drifted off to sleep

The next morning, I expected to see swelling and possibly black or blue bruising on my son’s hand and fingers. However, there was none. He had no pain and had almost completely regained mobility in his injured fingers. The Lord had healed his hand! Jeremiah 30:17 says, “I will restore you to health and heal your wounds, declares the Lord.” What an incredible promise. Yes, God, the Creator of the Universe is our Great Physician.

I continue to thank the Lord for His faithfulness in taking care of our son and how our Heavenly Father gave my son the power he needed to get out from under the hood of that car, saved his fingers, and miraculously healed his hand from the trauma of the weighty hood that crashed down on him. I thank the Lord that as His children, we are never alone. He is always with us taking care of us. Joshua 1:9 tells us, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Thank you, Jesus, for your faithfulness, always. Great and mighty is the Lord our God.

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Do Not Be Shaken

long trainOff in the distance, I could hear its roar. I encountered it often on my morning runs. I was breathing heavy as I had started up a hill that now led directly up to the tracks. There, I would meet it face to face, as it would stop me from continuing on my planned course. Being so close to the train always triggered a sense of fear, as years ago the train had actually derailed in this very area. As much as I wanted to, I could not dismiss the thoughts of it possibly derailing and crushing me under the weight of the massive box cars. How often we feel this way when it comes to real issues in our life.

trainsAs the train approached, it was clanking along loudly and rhythmically. It was moving at a rapid pace. The ground seemed to be shaking. Yet, there I stood watching it go by, car after car. I was not going to be afraid. It was a long train and as I stood staring at it, my mind moved onto the spiritual parallels of this train. I knew the Lord was with me and I did not need to be fearful, as a scripture came to my mind. Psalm 16:8 says, “I know the LORD is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.”

TRAINS CAN BE…

Loud

Unexpected

Scary

Trains can be likened to the trials we face in life.

There are the rapid moving Amtrak trains, the lengthier box car trains, and the train that comes to town and just stops and sits on the tracks with its engines running. It does not come and go quickly, but it stays and waits, until given the green light to pull out and move on. Sometimes, these are the most annoying because they are in the path blocking the way and continuing on cannot happened until they move on by. Just as these trains come down the tracks, so do life’s hardships.

Sickness

Financial crisis

Divorce

Loss of a loved one

And, all the smaller miscellaneous things that just happen, like the family dog getting hit by a car, empty cupboards, behavior challenges with the children, paying that inflated energy bill, and the unending consequences of a lost marriage, that can add up to a heavy burden for one to carry alone. But, just as that train, they all have a beginning and an end. And the Lord never gives us more than we can handle.

What are we to do when these trains of life come barreling into our own lives? God’s Word says, “Surely he will never be shaken.” Psalm 112:6. We are to stand firm in our faith, trusting the Lord and resting in Him as the train either comes and goes quickly, lingers on car after car, or sits at a dead stop. We are not to fear nor be disturbed. Isaiah 41:10 says, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” That is an AWESOME promise to us, from the Lord, the Creator of the Universe!

Psalm 16 8

When hardships in life feel as though they may crush us by their weight, we are not to fear. We are not to be overcome. We are not to be shaken. The Lord our God is to be our Strength. We are to keep our eyes fixed on Him, trusting in Him, standing firm in our faith that He will get us through the hard times. When we stand firmly grounded in the Truth of God’s word, we will stand the duration, trusting in our Savior to work things out for our best good and holding onto the promise found in Romans 8:28,” And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

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Keeping the Heart Hidden in God


Only a relationship with our Heavenly Abba Father will fill the human heart’s desire for love. Knowing Jesus our Loving Savior is like no other love.max lucado Be thankful ladies, you are loved by Jesus! He knows what is best for you. Trust Him with your whole heart and life. He has a plan. Stay on your life path with Him, developing into the woman of God HE wants you to be.

If your Abba Father has a man for you in the future, then He will bring him about in such a way that you know he is from your Heavenly Father. It is not up to you to be looking or searching, but keep your focus fixed on Christ as you go about His business getting to know Him better and making Him known to others.

Single ladies, trust in Jesus. Wait upon Him, His plan, and His timing. While you are waiting, grow and blossom in Him and live out the adventure that awaits you as you seek a life with The One True King. Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. ” God’s way is best and it will be well worth the wait!

#IloveJesus#GodisFaithful#JesusismyHusband

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This article, “Keeping the Heart Hidden in God” is protected by copyright. You are free to share the link via social media, but this article may not be copy and pasted in its entirety to be republished and redistributed elsewhere without permission (this includes pasting entire story to Facebook, Pinterest, email, etc.).