And in this season, I choose joy, I choose to be grateful, I choose to look for things to celebrate, to look for the good, for opportunities to love, to live, to enjoy. I don’t know when this season will change, but I’ve made up my mind not to let it stop me from living, from doing what I enjoy, anymore.
If I’m honest, since my husband became sick a year ago, my focus became very narrow. My “job” has been to pray and stay in faith, and to do what it takes to remain at rest in Him, to work fulltime from home and care for Ed. Most days I did well, others not so much as responsibilities sometimes overwhelmed me. I am still walking this journey of faith daily, trusting God to work, and to lead me/help me do all that needs to be done.
But over these last few weeks I became very aware of my lack of joy. And I feel the Holy Spirit is leading me now to pick back up what was laid aside, lost in the difficulties of this past year. So, no matter the season, I am consciously choosing to make room in my life again for painting, knitting and writing. These are gifts the Father wants me to use and enjoy. I will not let the enemy of my soul steal the joy that comes from being creative and the rest and refreshing it provides.
I guess the lesson for me is no matter the season…find joy, don’t let it slip away, and be grateful. Listen for that still small voice of the Holy Spirit. Oh how He loves you and me!
It seems that the Lord has been teaching me about rest for years. I even wrote about it on here back in 2018. Now I am beginning to understand why… Knowing that the fight of faith is truly a fight to remain at rest in Him has become so important in this last 11 months. Our lives were literally turned upside down as we went from working opposite shifts to being together almost 24/7. Illness robbed my husband both physically and cognitively, and put me into the unfamiliar role of a caregiver and advocate. Plus work and responsibilities we had shared were all mine, and I continued to work. Of course family and friends have helped much, for which I am so grateful. But it was overwhelming, and that’s where understanding the importance of resting in Him comes in. Without it, I don’t know how I could have walked through this time.
One night while laying in bed talking to the Lord, he spoke to my heart. “You know how people say to do your best and leave the rest to God?” Yes… “Well, I want you to rest and trust me to do the work.” That really helped me! Whenever I don’t know what to do, start to be overwhelmed, that thought comes to me. I close my eyes and think of it. I choose to rest and trust him to work. I think of how this weapon of rest frustrates the enemy of our souls.
I can tell you that the fight of faith is not easy or a battle for the faint of heart. Sometimes it’s a moment-by-moment choice. Resting in Him means that no matter what the situation or circumstance I choose to believe He is a good God, our loving Father, Healer, trustworthy, faithful, and His Word is true.
I am trusting God to restore Ed to health and to lead us each day. I pray for and expect his doctors and the medicines prescribed to minister to him as helps in the healing process. I don’t understand His timing but I trust Him. I am thankful for faithfilled and faithful family and friends – for all those who are praying and have spoken words of wonderful encouragement. I am grateful for His grace, trusting in His mercy, resting in His love and rejoicing in every victory no matter how small.
There are so many scriptures that God has spoken to us through, I can’t share them all. Key verses I pray for Ed are found in Psalm 23, 91 and 103. They are full of promises of health and restoration.
For me it’s the verses below, and the story of Jesus on the sea in a storm — I remember He is with us in this storm too, and that the wind and waves won’t win. He is still the One who says peace, be still, and in Him we have victory.
Let us therefore be zealous and exert ourselves and strive diligently to enter that rest [of God, to know and experience it for ourselves], that no one may fall or perish by the same kind of unbelief and disobedience [into which those in the wilderness fell]…. Let us then fearlessly and confidently and boldly draw near to the throne of grace (the throne of God’s unmerited favor to us sinners), that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find grace to help in good time for every need [appropriate help and well-timed help, coming just when we need it]. Hebrews 4:11, 16 AMPC
Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully. [Ps. 55:22.] 1 Peter 5:7 AMPC
It took me by surprise as I was led recently to meditate on the story of Lazarus. I found myself viewing it from a completely different perspective. I believe it is because the Lord’s intent was to encourage me through His Word that He sees me, he understands my heart as a caregiver for my husband. And, he wants me to continue to trust and seek Him for victory.
You’ll find the whole story in John 11 and I recommend reading it and listening to what the Lord may speak to your heart. I’ll just share the things that ministered to me. First though, let me recommend that you also read John 10. It’s where Jesus talks about himself as the good shepherd. Knowing Him as that has been critical in my life journey. No matter what, I know I can and must choose to trust and rest in His care. In fact, the whole book of John is a precious treasure filled with His love.
Here is what ministered to me from this story.
In John 14:31 Jesus says that He only does what the Father has directed him to do. He was the sinless son of God, but He was living as a human being directed by the Holy Spirit. He heard and did only what the Father said.
It must have been difficult as he received news of Lazarus “Who He loved” being sick, and having the Father say not to go right then. How many had he already seen healed? And yet, he is obedient to wait for The Father’s perfect timing. He had to let Lazarus, his friend, die. He knew that his sisters Mary and Martha who He also loved would grieve.
Yes, He knew right away that the story would not end in death — quite the opposite. But still, He had to stay where He was for two more days, and He did not reach Lazarus until He had been in the grave for 4 days.
I imagine how His heart ached when he saw the grief of Mary and Martha, their questioning looks and great sorrow. They believed He was the Messiah, but they didn’t understand why he hadn’t come in time to heal Lazarus. The people who came to console them were probably thinking that too. Doubting Him, doubting God was with Him.
He understood their grief. But more importantly, He wanted Lazarus to live! He wanted his life to be restored. He (and the Father) wanted them to believe in and understand that ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE WITH GOD. To take the limits off their thinking. To trust and expect to “see the goodness of God in the land of the living,” even when it seemed like hope was already gone.
Seeing this story from a new perspective ministered to me because I know He loves me and my husband too. It’s been 8 months since he became ill. I am expecting him to be restored to health and I don’t know why healing has not yet manifested. Yes, there have been some improvements, but I am expecting wholeness restored! I am encouraged to trust and expect to see it in the Father’s perfect timing. I hope you will be encouraged in whatever area you need it too.
“So then, we must cling in faith to all we know to be true. For we have a magnificent King-Priest, Jesus Christ, the Son of GOd, who rose into the heavenly realm for us in our frailty. He understands our humanity, for as a Man, our magnificent King-Priest was tempted in ever way just as we are, and conquered sin.” Hebrews 4:14 The Passion Translation (TPT)
“We have this certain hope like a strong, unbreakable anchor holding our souls to God himself. Our anchor of hope is fastened to the mercy seat which sits in the heavenly realm beyond the sacred threshold, and where Jesus our forerunner, has gone in before us. he is now and forever our royal Priest like Melchizedek.” Hebrews 6;19-20 (TPT)
A couple weeks ago I wrote about how it’s easy to let the stuff going on in our lives get to us, and the choices we get to make. What’s been on my mind since then is what to do when it’s hard.
Life can be hard, painful, confusing and exhausting. At times we must deal with and do hard things. We don’t have all the answers, so we must do hard things the best way we know how. And as imperfect humans we make mistakes
It’s hard. My husband of 46 years suddenly became very ill last November with a rare disease and I found myself in the completely unfamiliar role of a caregiver. It felt like I went from a happy marriage with a loving life partner to caring for someone with special needs. Responsibility for his care 24/7, all medical and financial decisions, doctor and hospital trips, bills, housework, laundry…and working full time. I didn’t/ don’t know how to do it all, it was/is hard.
So it’s hard Now what? This is where “the rubber has hit the road” in relation to my faith in Him as “the God of ALL GRACE.” Did I believe the things I had spent years learning about him, or not? The answer is a resounding YES! By God (literally) I refuse to let go of my faith in Him and I am praying and fully expect Ed to be restored to health. Psalm 23, 91 and 103 are where my faith is anchored. Until that happens I am asking for and expecting God to provide all that is needed as we walk through this jouney.
Yes I have cried, questioned, been angry at times but… He is faithful! When I have been too tired or overwhelmed to even know what I need, He is Jehovah Jireh, my provider — He ministers to our needs through family and dear friends in very practical ways — I seriously don’t know we could walk thru this without them! He is Jehovah Shammah, the God who is there – he lets me know he is with me, by written or spoken words and the prayers of others. He is our shepherd and he is leading us through this valley.
What I am learning. I make mistakes – He forgives. In Him I have strength available to do whatever I need to do. In everything to ask for His wisdom, help, leading, answers, favor, and expect it. Not because I am good, but because HE IS GOOD. I must consistently choose to cast ALL of my cares on Him. He wants me to rest — and it’s not possible to rest and worry at the same time. To be gracious to receive help from others — always with a grateful heart.
Whatever hard thing you may be experiencing, I pray that you will know that God is for you, He is with you, He will never leave you, He loves you and nothing is impossible with God.
But after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called us to his eternal glory through Christ Jesus, will restore, support, strengthen, and establish you. 1 Peter 5:10
Our situations aren’t the same, but I imagine that like me many of you are feeling that there is a lot of “stuff” going on in your lives. And it can be easy to let it get to us.
It’s easy to get distracted, stressed out, lose focus, point the finger at others, look for someone to blame, to allow pressures to impact our attitudes. To be unkind and unloving, and to say or do things we would not normally say or do.
But, we have a choice. We get to decide (sometimes moment by moment) whether we will react based on pressure, or respond out of love and faith.
Need help? I do! But thank God (literally), for those of us who have received Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord help is available 24//7. Here are some of the things the Lord has been teaching me:
Be careful what you see, hear, say. Guard your heart, what you let fill your thoughts. For example: if you see social media or news that you find concerning or disagree with – pray and ask the Holy Spirit what to do. The answer may be praying over it, changes to what/how much you view that type of info, or in some cases responding (always in love) publicly or privately.
In every situation, consider what the Word says. Believe it and act on it, it is the will of God. If you don’t know what the Word/the Bible says, fix it by spending time reading it, and asking the Holy Spirit to reveal its truths to you.
Put yourself in timeout. If you are overwhelmed, take a short break (even if its in the bathroom). Close your eyes, speak to the Father, pray in the Holy Spirit, ask him for grace and to fill you with His peace.
Love people. Give them the grace you desire to receive, forgive. Practice a greater awareness of those around you. Look for simple ways to show love and kindness. Pray in the Spirit for them.
Here is some good news to encourage yourself in the Lord.
Come unto Me, all you who labor and are heavily burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me. For I am meek and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. My yoke is easy and My burden is light. Matt. 11:28-30 (MEV)
I leave the gift of peace with you – my peace. Not the kind of fragile peace given by the world, but my perfect peace. Don’t yield to fear or be troubled in your hearts-instead, be courageous! John 14:27 (TPT)
So now we come freely and boldly to where love is enthroned, to receive mercy’s kiss and discover the grace we urgently need to strengthen us in or time of weakness. Hebrews 4:16 (TPT)
Its been a year since my last trip to Israel, with Kenneth Copeland Ministries. The people I met and heard from were precious and unforgettable, as was every place we visited. And I expect to go again some day. If you want to learn more about my 2019 trip, check for the series reviewing each day that I posted over several months after returning.
However, both the land (Eretz Israel) and the people (Am Israel) are always in my heart and often in my thoughts. You may wonder why, so let me share how my love for His land and His people came to be.
It started with music. In the late 90s I was at a bookstore looking through a bargain bin for some new worship music. I found “Under His Wings” by Jonathan Settel. I was intrigued by the song titles, some in Hebrew, so I took a chance. Well wow, the rich voice and anointing on this Messianic Jew’s music blessed me so. Within a few months, I also heard Marty Goetz (another Messianic Jew) perform songs from “He is My Defense.” I listened to this music over and over again.
Fast forward to the 2000 Southwest Believers Convention in Fort Worth, Texas. It’s where Billye Brim shared about The 2001 Solidarity Mission to Israel which would take place in November. It’s purpose was to demonstrate the love of God and Christians to Israel in a 12 day tour. Well, I didn’t know how… but I felt I must go and I made plans. Little did I know that it would be just a few weeks after 9/11, and that we would be the only tour in the land at that time. And although I went alone, I would make some precious friends and hear from some amazing people, like Raanan Levy. It was a privilege to go, a joy to walk where Jesus walked, and to show support for the people of Israel. Our tour guide Michael was visibly moved as we said goodbyes on the last day and I pray his life was changed by the love of God sown while we were there.
I knew when I left that it wasn’t just about the tour, or the people we met. It was about changing my heart forever. It made me hungry to learn more. More about Jesus, more about his Jewishness, more about the old testament and more about my Father. He is the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David…. and because of Jesus I am His.
Since that trip in 2001, God has continued to keep me hungry to learn. I took a class at a local Messianic church to learn the Hebrew Alephbet and bought a book titled, In His Own Words, by L. Grant Luton. It’s amazing, each letter has a meaning, a number, a root word…each is important. I also purchased several books (available from artscroll.com), to name a few: Chofetz Chaim: A Lesson A Day (the laws and sanctity of speech), and commentaries including Mishlei – Proverbs and Tehillim – Psalms, and Chumash – 1st five books of the Torah/Bible.
One of the most impactful learning opportunities has been through Moshe Shorashim. I asked Moshe for permission to share this with you and he agreed as long as I let you know that he is an Orthodox Jewish friend. All these years I have been receiving an email from the Shorashim Bibilcal Book Shop (which I visited on both trips, in the old city of Jerusalem — they have an online store with lots of wonderful items!). And for some time I have been following Moshe Shorashim on Facebook. Moshe is an Orthodox Jew and a wonderful teacher. He has been sharing video teachings for several weeks now, and I hear the heart of the Father in his teaching. Quite often I find myself pondering how what is shared applies to me as a Christian. He also writes for Israel National News.
Another wonderful learning opportunity was through the 2019 Kenneth Copeland Ministries tour last year, and also through Eagle Mountain International Church. Pastor Greg Stephens (who was on the 2019 tour) has a wonderful knowledge of Hebrew and teaches quite often at Faith Foundations on Sunday mornings. I am blessed to watch it via Youtube on the Victory Channel.
So, I love Israel because the Father loves them, and because praying for, loving and learning about Israel helps me to learn about and love Him.
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: May those who love her prosper. Psalm 122:6 NET
I will take you to myself for a people and I will be your God… I will bring you to the land I swore to give Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob – and I will give it to you as a possession, I am the Lord. Exodus 6: 7a-8 NET
I will walk among you, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Lev. 26:12 NET
The Lord is my best friend and my shepherd. I always have more than enough. He offers a resting place for me in his luxurious love. His tracks take me to an oasis of peace, the quiet brook of bliss. That’s where he restores and revives my life. He opens before me pathways to God’s pleasure and leads me along in his footsteps of righteousness so that I can bring honor to his name. Lord, even when your path takes me through the valley of deepest darkness, fear will never conquer me, for you already have! You remain close to me and lead me through it all the way. Your authority is my strength and my peace. The comfort of your love takes away my fear. I’ll never be lonely, for you are near . Psalms 23:1-4 TPT (The Passion Translation)
It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster lately as I have been grappling with the doctors comments on how it may be a very slow and long process before any significant cognitive changes in Ed’s brain happen – and with no guarantees to what that will look like. It has been 6 months and I feel we need to move from survival mode to recovery mode, but it is challenging with the current virus situation and Ed’s compromised immune system.
Then there are days like today where I am so very aware of the faithfulness of God. Ed has no headaches, no pain, no vision issues, very minor side effects from meds. He also pointed out to me last night that his bicep muscles are getting bigger. He is using the walker less and less while at home, instead using a cane and sometimes nothing at all for short distances. His visit with speech therapy today was wonderful – he talked and smiled a lot (more than he has in 6 mo!). He even said it was fun and he is looking forward to next week. And our nights are much more rest-filled these days.
We spoke briefly last night about who we are, people who have faith in God who loves us. We believe the Word is true and nothing is impossible with God. We take his Word seriously, we agree with what it/He says in Psalm 23 — He restores Ed’s soul (his mind, will and emotions). We may not understand his timing, but we choose to rest in his care.
Thank you for loving and praying for us as we stand on Psalm 23, Psalm 91, and Isaiah 53, for Ed to be restored to health.
There are plenty of other things to dwell on these days, but I choose gratefulness. For what is good and true… to be thankful for blessings no matter how big or small… Sunshine, a good night’s sleep, the love of family and friends, signs of spring on this very chilly morning in West Michigan. For a God who loves me and you with arms wide open.
So keep your thoughts continually fixed on all that is authentic and real, honorable and admirable, beautiful and respectful, pure and holy, merciful and kind. And fasten your thoughts on every glorious work of God, praising him always.