Reminding the storm…

But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] shall change and renew their strength and power; they shall lift their wings and mount up [close to God] as eagles [mount up to the sun]; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint or become tired. [Heb. 12:1-3.]
Isaiah 40:31 AMPC

Things have been difficult recently with my husband Ed being ill. I find myself thinking of King David and what he went through and how, and reading the Psalms.

I am reminding myself to tell the storms how big my God is. It kind of feels like a David & Goliath moment at times. Other times I must choose to encourage myself in the Lord, remembering who He is, and that Ed and I are His.

Here are a few scriptures I have read, reminding myself who He is. I hope they encourage you too

He only is my Rock and my Salvation; He is my Defense and my Fortress, I shall not be moved. With God rests my salvation and my glory; He is my Rock of unyielding strength and impenetrable hardness, and my refuge is in God! Trust in, lean on, rely on, and have confidence in Him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts before Him. God is a refuge for us (a fortress and a high tower). Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]! Psalm 62:6‭-‬8 AMPC https://bible.com/bible/8/psa.62.6-8.AMPC

David was greatly distressed, for the men spoke of stoning him because the souls of them all were bitterly grieved, each man for his sons and daughters. But David encouraged and strengthened himself in the Lord his God. David said to Abiathar the priest, Ahimelech’s son, I pray you, bring me the ephod. And Abiathar brought him the ephod. And David inquired of the Lord, saying, Shall I pursue this troop? Shall I overtake them? The Lord answered him, Pursue, for you shall surely overtake them and without fail recover all.
1 Samuel 30:6‭-‬8 AMPC
https://bible.com/bible/8/1sa.30.6-8.AMPC

With my whole heart, with my whole life, and with my innermost being, I bow in wonder and love before you, the holy God! Yahweh, you are my soul’s celebration. How could I ever forget the miracles of kindness you’ve done for me? You kissed my heart with forgiveness, in spite of all I’ve done. You’ve healed me inside and out from every disease. You’ve rescued me from hell and saved my life. You’ve crowned me with love and mercy. You satisfy my every desire with good things. You’ve supercharged my life so that I soar again like a flying eagle in the sky! You’re a God who makes things right, giving justice to the defenseless.
Psalms 103:1‭-‬6 TPT
https://bible.com/bible/1849/psa.103.1-6.TPT

Walking through…

I wish I could remember who taught me this, but I can’t. I am however so very grateful. God has used it many times to remind me that when it feels like I am surrounded by darkness:

1. I am walking THROUGH. NOT building a permanent dwelling place in that place.

2. I don’t have to fear ANYTHING because He is with me, right where I am, and He is the great I AM.

3. He is not just there, He is there to PROTECT, GUIDE and COMFORT me.

This is just one verse from the powerful promises found in Psalm 23. It is a rich Word to meditate on, to consider who He is, and what He does. I believe it never grows old because these words are just as alive with the love of God now as they were when King David wrote them.

Oh how HE LOVES you and me!

Peace

Thinking this morning about peace, and praying for anyone who is struggling today. In Hebrew, peace means wholeness, wellness, nothing missing, lacking or broken. When Jesus was born the angels said, “glory to God in the highest, peace on earth, goodwill to men.” And in John 14, before he went to the cross Jesus said, “my peace I leave with you.” My prayer is that you receive and unwrap His gift of peace, freely offered – take possession of it and don’t let it go. Choose to believe in the love that God has for you, and that He cares for you.

That night, in a field near Bethlehem, there were shepherds watching over their flocks. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared in radiant splendor before them, lighting up the field with the blazing glory of God, and the shepherds were terrified! But the angel reassured them, saying, “Don’t be afraid. For I have come to bring you good news, the most joyous news the world has ever heard! And it is for everyone everywhere!
Luke 2:8‭-‬10 TPT
https://bible.com/bible/1849/luk.2.8-10.TPT

It’s for a season…

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.

My watercolor pallet
My yarn swift and ball winder

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!

The Importance of Rest

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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

I get to…

This is not a place I want to be, but it is where I get to…

  • Be grateful for medical professionals and their care
  • Be thankful that different from last time – Ed walked in here without a walker…and different than the time before that, when a,wheel chair was needed.
  • Be aware and thankful that he was able to answer 99% of the nurses questions
  • Praise God for every bit of gains made in physical strength and cognitive improvements these last few months
  • Praise Him that in answer to prayers the meds only do Ed good and no harm
  • Rest knowing that God is faithful, He is at work in us and for us. He cares for us and takes the cares that we release to Him.
  • Trust that we will see the victory already won for us by Christ manifested in God’s perfect timing.

For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome.
Jeremiah 29:11 AMPC

But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!
1 Corinthians 15:57 MEV

Give thanks to God, our King over all gods! His tender love for us continues on forever!
Psalm 16:2 TPT

Lazarus – a new perspective

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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)

…and it’s hard

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

It’s Easy

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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)