King David & Anne with an “e”

I’m smiling as I write this because it seems both amusing and lovely at the same time. I’m thinking about both King David and Anne of Green Gables.

If you haven’t seen the Anne of Green Gables series of movies with Megan Fellows, I highly recommend it. I’ve been known to binge watch all of them on a rainy or snowy weekend.

The things I enjoy most about Anne are her flair for the dramatic and her sensitive heart. Due to pride she sometimes gets herself into predicaments (some quite hilarious), and is moved to “the depths of despair.” But she also loves with all her heart, as in her relationship with Diana, her “kindred spirit and bosom friend”.

You might find it strange, but as I read the Psalms tonight, it seemed to me that she and King David may be a lot alike. Some of the Psalms are so very dramatic (do to real life situations), but the writing reminds me of “the depths of despair.” Then there are others that clearly reveal a tender hearted man with a deep love for God and how much He loves us. Below are examples, I can almost imagine how they would sound if Anne read them.

He’s the hope that holds me and the Stronghold to shelter me, the only God for me, and my great confidence. 
Psalms 91:2 TPT
Gaze upon him, join your life with his, and joy will come. Your faces will glisten with glory. You’ll never wear that shame-face again. When I had nothing, desperate and defeated, I cried out to the Lord and he heard me, bringing his miracle-deliverance when I needed it most. The angel of the Lord stooped down to listen as I prayed, encircling me, empowering me, and showing me how to escape. He will do this for everyone who fears God. 
Psalms 34:5‭-‬7 TPT

Finding Beauty, Goodness & Grace in Every Season

The peonies are blooming, the end of spring coming and summer is near. Some days are cold and rainy, and then suddenly we have warm and sunny days. Both are needed and beauty is found in fragrant blossoms even as they soak in the rain. Soon the hot summer days will take over and plants change their focus from blossoms to bearing seeds and fruit. The cycle of seed, time and harvest is in motion, it happens every year, just as the Father designed it.

In every season He is always good and He wants to reveal His grace, goodness and faithfulness. Just ask Him. Oh how He loves you and me!

 For the Lord is always good and ready to receive you. He’s so loving that it will amaze you— so kind that it will astound you! And he is famous for his faithfulness toward all. Everyone knows our God can be trusted, for he keeps his promises to every generation!        ~Psalms 100:5 (The Passion Transkation)

A Savior, Strength, a Father’s Help

Sometimes we all need to be reminded… Whatever the circumstances are around you today, whatever the trouble, wherever you are, know this – God is there. Jesus is willing to be your Savior, the Holy Spirit to be your strength, the Father to be your help and deliverance. Just ask, then run into his waiting, out-stretched arms, receive His love and hide yourself in his care. Oh how He loves you and me!

Love & Prayer

This is the most personal thing I have written so far, but I feel led to do it. If you read this and pray, I thank you with all my heart.

It’s almost been 17 months since this journey began for Ed and I. Tonight I am moved to tears by his love. He is unable to do many things YET (like cooking or driving). But tonight he got leftovers out of the fridge for dinner and proceeded to fix both of us a plate and reheat in the microwave ( I recently had surgery and am using a knee scooter so he is helping me.) Sometimes it’s easy to forget how far he has come since last January, and to be overwhelmed by the “waves” of this storm. But for me this act of love was a needed reminder that God is with us, He is for us, He is faithful, He is love and He is working. 

This is Ed on our 45th anniversary, about a month before he became ill. I thought a photo would make this article more personal, give a focus for prayers.

The good news is that as of April 30 he will be on no daily drugs for CNSV. The next thing for him is Cervical laminectomy and fusion of C1-6 on May 10, followed by 12 weeks in a neck brace.If you are someone who prays, please say one for him and those who will perform the surgery and care for him after.

I am adding my prayers too. I am thanking God that according to…
Psalm 103 He heals all of Ed’s diseases
Psalm 91 He satisfies Ed with long life
Psalm 23 He restores Ed’s soul (mind, will and emtions)
And that all medications given are helps to his body and do him only good and no harm. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Oh how grateful I am that He loves Ed and you, and me!

Honoring Women

Photo by Cindy Gustafson on Pexels.com

As the world celebrates women in general, I want to honor those who have impacted me. I have and still am being blessed by many so women of faith. There are too many to name, so instead I will reshare this poem (by one of them).

As you read this I pray that you will hear and recieve the Father’s love for you. Oh how He loves you and me!

Most Precious Treasure

Be encouraged, little Daughter:
Your God is on your side.
Draw near. Bask in My Presence.
Let My Love abide.

Allow My living waters
To wash away each thought
That counteracts My promises
And the life that Christ has bought.

You are My precious treasure
Purchased at great cost,
The sheep that I came looking for
Who is no longer lost.

Arise and shine right where you are.
Let’s join in harmony.
Your world awaits your entrance.
Through you, they’ll soon find me.

I find in you, great pleasure.
You’re the apple of My eye
I promise: I’ll not leave you.
I’m always standing by.

By Roberta M. Spinney; shared with permission.

If you do not know Jesus as your Savior and Lord, simply pray this prayer in faith, and Jesus will be your Lord!

Peace, Rest, Quietness, Strength & Confidence

Photo by Rachel Claire on Pexels.com

The last 16 months have been the most difficult of my life. I’ve been learning to live through what often feels like a storm with wind and waves. Some days it has felt like a roller coaster ride with wild twists and turns, and like going two steps forward and three steps back. With time flying both by or seeming not to move at all.

I haven’t always handled it well or right, but I take comfort that God knows. He knows me. He knew me in my mother’s womb and He is not surprised by any aspect of my life. At times I have felt so very weak, at others very strong – but in both cases I know He is carrying me. With uncertainty all around, He is faithful, and even reminds me of my dreams, and of His dreams for me. He isn’t surprised or worried. He has a plan, He’s always had a plan for me that includes love, redemption, forgiveness, grace, help just when I need it, and wisdom when I ask.

My part is to listen, trust and rest, to believe Him. To stay in faith even when I can’t see the way forward. To cast my care on Him because He cares, to live in expectation that He is working. Sometimes I must remind myself of what Jesus spoke to the storm, and that He is Christ in me, with me, always. I’ll close my eyes and say, “Peace, Be Still,” (agreeing with Him) and I choose to receive His peace.

I read in Isaiah 30 about the rebellion of the people and the graciousness of God, and this verse ministered to me… I am purposely leaving of the last 4 words (“but ye would not”) because I want Him to be able to say of me “and she did.”

For thus saith the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel: in returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and confidence shall be your strength…” Isaiah 30:16

I pray that both you and I will always find in Him our peace, quietness, strength and confidence. Oh how He loves you and me!

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

…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

Finding Joy in Christmas (Past + Present)

2018ChristmasTree

For me, Christmas is a time to show people they are loved, and that they matter to you.  It’s what the Father did — to show His love He sent his precious, beloved son to be Emmanuel – God with us (Matthew 1:23).

As a child of divorce, Christmas was always a multiple-stop experience for my family, and I loved it. I had extra grandparents, and more aunts, uncles and cousins than most kids. I might have complained a little about leaving my new presents at home, but I really enjoyed spending time with family.  My family also visited nursing homes with our church groups each Christmas when I was young.  We sang Christmas songs and gave hugs to the seniors we met, doing our best to show them love.

When my husband and I had kids the tradition continued.  We packed our little ones up and made as many as 3-4 stops at Christmas to spend time with our grandparents, parents and extended family – which for a time even included great grandparents.

We’ve been married 45 years, so over time things changed, naturally. The kids got married and some had kids, grandparents and in-laws moved to heaven and we started just getting together with our kids and grand kids (the best part!)…   We tried to plan around their schedules, and usually Christmas day worked as many had other plans on Christmas Eve.  And, for several years now we have also gone Christmas Tree “shopping and chopping” together, enjoying the horse drawn rides at a local tree farm.

And as a couple, we have also hosted a Christmas Eve open house of sorts for several years… inviting extended family and friends – whoever else could or wanted to come. We made and decorated cookies together, played a white elephant game, played games…just hung out together.  Plus, for all holidays now, we always make sure to invite my mom. She is a treasure that I want to honor and enjoy!

I have great Christmas memories, and this is a favorite – it’s a card from my grandson Dominick a few years ago. It blesses me so!

This year is different. My husband has been ill and quite weak since early November. We are continuing to trust God for a diagnosis and plan for his healing/recovery.  The result though is no tree farm visit or real tree, and no hosting of Christmas events for us this year.  I am grateful our son and daughter-in-law are hosting Christmas this year, but sadly not everyone is coming.  Perhaps its time for a change and perhaps our kids/grand kids will start inviting us (and my mom) to participate in their Christmas celebrations from now on. But I hope we can at least do our Christmas Eve party next year.

BUT FOR NOW… regardless of present circumstances I WILL REJOICE in the birth of my savior, Jesus Christ. And, I WILL BE GRATEFUL for the love and kindness that has been show to us. This includes counting my blessings like:

  • Kids who took the night shift while he was in the hospital – so I could get some sleep in my own bed while they stayed with their dad
  • Pastor’s Keith & Judy who came to the hospital, sneaking communion in with them, and praying with love and compassion for healing
  • Several family, friends and co-workers who provided meals, cleaned our house, hung Christmas lights, raked our yard, and one who took me on the fastest most productive Christmas shopping trip ever (with my favorite coffee included)
  • Neighbors who left Christmas cards, came to visit, volunteered to shovel snow, rescued packages from rain… and are “here when we need them”
  • A boss and work team who have supported my need to work “wherever” and have helped when needed.
  • My mom, son Jon and brother-in-law Jim who have been there for us every week, for one or more days as needed, whenever we needed them.
  • Amazing friends (Shirlee, Cindy, Judy, Lori and others) and my EMIC eGroup who are strong in faith and praying for us, encouraging us with the Word. I can be real with these people – and know that whatever I share, they will always point me back to HIM, to His faithfulness, His truth, and to His love for me and my family.

Truly, because of Jesus, I am blessed to be living a grateful and grace-full life. And, I pray that you will find your joy in Him too this Christmas. Oh how He loves us!

 

Israel 2019: Part 8 – Bethlehem, The City of David, and more

I have found the afternoon of June 1st is the hardest to share. There is much I’d like to say… but I feel the need to be very sensitive.

After leaving the Garden Tomb we drove toward Bethlehem, first stopping for a tasty lunch at an Arab restaurant. Outside of it is where the cute photo with the lamb was taken.  I was surprised to see some large buildings that are part of a Palestinian refugee camp, and to see that Bethlehem is such a large city — not many fields in sight, but I understand the Shepherds Field was there somewhere!

I can’t share about the people we met that afternoon or what they said, because it might put them at risk. But I do ask you to pray for them, for protection, godly wisdom, angelic help — and to pray that more and more Arab and Muslim people are ministered to and come to know Jesus through their ministry.

We started our next day out with a visit to the City of David, seeing the grave sites (including very ancient ones which are in caves at the very bottom), the archaeological finds and then visiting a lovely shop there. You can learn more about the City of David and the shop here.

I’ll share more about June 2nd in my next post. I think its the day I walked the most steps. My fitbit recorded 27 flights of stairs, but it was so worth it.

For now I will close with I Chronicles 15:1  and I Corinthians 6;19-20

And David made him houses in the city of David, and prepared a place for the ark of God, and pitched for it a tent.

What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?  For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

It is amazing that this God, the only true God, whose presence filled the temple in Jerusalem with glory has chosen to make all those who come to Him through Jesus Christ to be His temple, His dwelling place. Oh how He loves you and me!