Tuesday, December 12, 2017

God Knows

For the last two weeks I have been battling with my ulcerative colitis.  Not being able to get out of bed, even unable to concentrate when I read or write. My hands shake, every muscle in my body is weak.  I wasn't able to make it to church this past week.  Fortunately, I have a comfy bed, a room with a tv and a husband who doesn't mind picking up the slack with Brooke's care and now also has to care for me.  Tex has pretty much given up his hopes and dreams to care for us.  It was hard just getting out of bed.  My doctor is trying one thing and then another, friends are offering this vitamin, this elixir, this and that.  Most days I'd just get up to go to the bathroom then back to sleep. You know how we casually say, "oh if I could stay in bed all day, what a treat", well it's not a treat!  I found myself falling deeper and deeper into this dark oppressive thought life.  Fortunately God knew I would be going through this, so months before He began preparing me.  He had me begin my devotional time each morning by first reading all of Psalm 139 and then Ephesians 6:10-18, putting on the armor!  God knew I would need to be reminded that "He formed my inward parts", verse 13, and He can heal them.  Ps. 139 says He knows all my thoughts, He sees me, He understands what I am going through, His thoughts of me are precious to me and there are so many thoughts He has of me that I can't even count them, verse 17.  So as I lay in my room, away from everyone and my thoughts would take me down that dark hole, those verses in Ps. 139 would remind me and comfort me.  He had prepared me for this time.  He began reminding me in  Eph 6 that I have to, every day, put on that full armor of God, even when I don't feel like it, even when I feel like succumbing to the dark thoughts.  I must be ready to do battle.

I am also learning how isolated one can feel when you have an on-going illness.  We are women who are always going & doing, striving & preparing, needing to feel connected, always needing to be a part of whatever is going on; and when we can't, we feel alone.  We question where is everyone and we begin that walk down into that pit that says, no one cares.  Our society and even our churches are great for the quick fix helps.  We are there if you need a meal, help today, a visit now, but if you need monthly or weekly visits, or on-going help, well the interest tends to dissipate.  We go back to our busy lives, we lose interest because we want to see quick results as well.

As I was pondering this thought of aloneness, I could hear my daughter in the next room, she too is chronically ill, always in her bed - alone.  I could hear her singing a Christmas song - all alone her voice sang out and I heard God say "I know", no one else might know but "I know" "I see", "I hear".
As tears rolled down my cheeks I realized that's what I needed to be reminded of.  That even while I may feel all alone, God is still with me.

But there's a lesson to be learned here for ALL of us.  Don't forget those who are alone, can't get out, need extra help.  Stop right now and ask God to put that person on your heart and then give God immediate obedience and do something for that person.  Don't wait, don't hesitate, immediately be obedient.  Include them in your life and you will reap the benefits.

I realized this is my daughters life day in day out for 37 years.  In her room, alone.  I have such admiration for her and a different perspective because God showed me He Knows.  You know how the song "Santa Claus is Coming To Town" goes?  You better watch out it reminds us Santa is
watching.  Well we better watch out as God is watching.  So let's start now, asking Him to show us how we can add love and joy to someones life

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

It's all in the timing

Genesis 18:14 "Is anything too difficult for the Lord?  At the appointed time I will return to you, at this time next year, and Sarah will have a son."

Nothing is too difficult for God, but when we look at our circumstances, the world, chaos around us
through our eyes, through our filtration system, all seems lost.  Despair sets in.  Anxiety fills us up.
How will I get it all done, this is so unfair, look at them!

But God says in the above scripture, "is ANYTHING", not some things, too difficult for God.  What
He's telling us is that absolutely nothing is too difficult for Him to accomplish in us, with us, and
through us.  Aaaahh but the caveat is in the next sentence "at the appointed time".  At whose
timing?  Mine, yours or theirs?  No, it's according to His timing.  Because He is all knowing, only He can say when things will change, when the circumstances will go in our favor.  This is the part
we don't like.  The waiting.  Are we sure God is in control?  Should I not take back the reins?  Should
I not sit in the pilots seat and direct each turn?

Sarah and Abraham laughed when told they would have a son in their very old age.  Personally I
would have fainted!  This seemed an impossibility, but not with God.  After He told them they
were going to have a little bundle of joy, He made them wait, quite a while (the appointed time).
Imagine what that was like.

Timing grates on me.  I want results now, not a year from now.  I want to see fruit from my efforts
now.  That way of thinking means I am in control, not the One who created me.

Timing is so important to God.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Limits or Limitless

Changes when they come can be good or bad.  It's all about perception and choices.  Will these changes limit me or provide limitless ways in which they fulfill and enhance my life? Will these changes provide opportunities for me to be productive?

For several months I've been having health issues.  Those of you who see me are scratching their heads because on the outside I look good.  I've lost weight (a perk from the illness) and I tend to dress up myself when I am down so as to fend off comments like "you look tired", "you look down and
out" (just a few comments the few time I've ventured out without my accessory look as I call it).  Any way these issues have begun putting barriers around the activities I normally do.  I see my life getting more home-bound, having to really plan my available time, choosing even activities at home to accommodate the restrictions my health issues have placed upon me.

I've had much time to think about where I go from here.  Do I let these new limits stop me from a productive lifestyle, or do I seek God and see what HE has for me.  I had many questions for Him: what now? what do I do with the great desire to teach women His Word? How do I not get isolated & forgotten at home (there is a tendency in people to stop being in peoples lives that can't always be out and about (I've seen this first-hand with Brooke).  How do I stay connected God?  You have allowed this time of limits in my life please help to make it limitless!

I started listing my blessings: 1) I have a loving and caring husband who encourages me, waits on me and tries to make my life as fulfilling as possible. 2) If I have to spend more time at home, God has blessed me with beautiful surroundings.  My view as I write this is of a beautiful lush green valley with gorgeous mountains. The quietness of my surroundings is a catharsis to my soul. 3) I have access to wi-fi and telephone so I can still stay connected to people. 4) I have Brooke around me 24/7 to make me laugh. She's got a great sense of humor and looking at her struggles everyday puts mine in perspective.

My time with God is my priority. I know I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. So I choose to look at this time as a time of limitless opportunities. A time of growing in another direction.

But hey, I'm human and I realize I need the power of prayer from everyone to sustain me.  So I am asking you all who read this to pray for me and to pass this along to other believers that know me that do not read this blog.  I am asking for specific prayers:  for God's strength to flow through me-take away the fatigue, pray HE will show me clearly what I'm to do each and every day or hour, and pray for restoration of my body.  Don't forget - Pass this along!!!

My daughter gave me this scripture today  "Then Jesus said, Come to me all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle in heart and you will find rest for your soul. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light" Matthew 11:28-30   See how God has blessed me!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Her Joy/My Pain

June 21,2017

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall.
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the kings horses and all the kings men,
Couldn't put Humpty together again.

We've all heard this children's rhyme and seen the picture of the Humpty Dumpty all full of cracks.
I envision my heart this way.  Broken pieces for the times when I've experienced hurts in my life.  Hurts that have injured my heart.  Then my King (God), unlike Humpty's king, comes along in His timing, and pieces back together my broken heart.  Sometimes it's a quick fix, other times it takes a while for the glue (His Word, His actions) to bring about healing.

The other day I added another crack to my heart.  I heard excitement in Brooke's voice as she related that she was receiving in the mail that day a new bracelet. We weren't at home and she said she was looking forward to seeing if it had arrived.  She mentioned she ordered the bracelet a few days prior through the internet.  She found the perfect Medic Alert bracelet, one that wouldn't tarnish and slip off her wrist.  Last year we ordered one through a jewelry store but it fell apart within the week.  The first bracelet cost us $130 but this one was only $60!

We had been advised in 2011 by the doctors at the Mayo Clinic that she should always wear a medic alert device that indicates "hard to intubate".  Alerting medical staff of the problems that they will enounter while providing medical care.  However, this time Brooke put something new on this bracelet-it read- DNR/CCO.  Do not resuscitate/comfort care only.  C-R-A-C-K - I could feel the crack in my heart occurring and the lump in my throat growing.  I didn't want her to see my tears.

Now I know and put my trust in God's Word that only He knows the number of our days, however, when your 36 year old daughter orders, on her own, this type of jewelry, it hits you like a ton of bricks.  Have you had any of your children do this?  I didn't think so.

My heart was experiencing a hurt. My immediate tendency was to cry out "why"; but because I have felt these cracks before, I quickly let go of that thought and picked up the glue that would begin to mend me. Thank goodness for the Bible app on my cell phone. The glue?  God's Word.  I poured over it, gleaning much.  One place gave me a jolt and brought me back to where I should be:  Habakkuk 3:17-19 "Though the fig tree should not blossom and there be no fruit on the vines, though the yield of the olive should fail and the fields produce no food, though the flock should be cut off from the fold and there be no cattle in the stalls, yet I will exult in the Lord, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.  The Lord God is my strength, and He has made my feet like hinds feet, and makes we walk on my high places."

I am not any different from you.  I cry and wonder if these pains will eventually stop for Brooke.  But with all the sorrow there is also joy and hope.  I can look toward the future with a smile on my face.  I am not like Humpty Dumpty.  I have a King who says He makes me walk on high places without letting me fall.  I will continually hold on to His hand.

Friday, January 6, 2017

The Comfort of Traditions

January 2017

This year my husband is making specific storage cabinets to put all our Christmas decorations.  I am organizing them (which I love to do) before the cabinets are done.  Stockings in one bin, creche's in another, etc.  After 40 years of marriage, I have a lot of Christmas things, but I love them all.  As I am going through all my things, I am remembering who gave me this one, who made that one and I recall specific memories.  This year I realized the stockings we hang are very narrow so the stocking gifts couldn't quite fit into each one.  I mentioned on Christmas Day that next year I was going to retire Trey and Brooke's stockings, which they've had since they were toddlers, and get new ones.  A resounding NO came from both of them.

Sometimes we think our kids (even if they're adults), don't take seriously or cherish these traditions we put so much effort into.  But they do!  My kids, who are no different than yours, have realized traditions bring stability and comfort.  They look forward to traditions because in a chaotic world they bring them peace, joy, and hope.

Don't give up on your traditions.  If you don't have any yet, think of ways you can incorporate some into your families lives - not only at Christmas or thanksgiving. This year I heard women tell me it's too much trouble, or they want their children to focus more on Jesus.  You don't have to give up Jesus because you decorate a tree, bake cookies, shop for gifts, or fill stockings.  We make Jesus a big part of our Christmas.  We read the Christmas story before we open one gift or take one bite of Christmas dinner.  When our children were younger, we would read the Christmas story several times a week before Christmas Day.  We now have our niece, who is the youngest child in our family, read the story of the Candy Cane after Christmas dinner.  We play Christmas games that include bible trivia and along with Here Comes Santa Claus (which always gets laughs), we sing many Christmas Carols about Jesus.

Traditions are good, healthy for the soul and mind.  I hope you're putting some into your families lives.  You will see how your children will enjoy them!  It solidifies a family.

Note:  If you come from a family who never had any such tradition- think of the possibilities you can enjoy.  If you come from a family who had some less than desirable type of traditions, put them behind you and start some new ones.

Monday, November 21, 2016

What Door Will You Choose?

November 21, 2016

Christmas is only 33 days away and a new year fast approaching with only 40 days to go.

I always look forward to a new year.  I like the look of my new calendar on my desk.  Although I have an iphone, I still prefer the old fashion desk calendar with a month at a glance.  The first thing I put onto my new calendar are birthdays and special occasions that I need to be reminded about.  I just love this part!  But the new year also brings a time of reflection.  I look back the previous year and see what I've accomplished; and I ask myself have I been obedient to God's calling or have I squandered my time?

Some times as I look over month after month, I see obedience, then disobedience.  My face goes from smiles to frowns.  This past year I facilitated several bible studies for women.  Each one was a wonderful experience for me.  I met some great women eager to study God's Word.  Looking back over each study I see a common thread, the word "choices" comes up often.  We can choose to do something, like obey God, or we can choose not to.

God's Word tells me "Keep on asking and you will receive what you ask for.  Keep on seeking and you will find.  Keep on knocking and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened."  Matthew 7:7-8  That is effective praying, something Jesus tells us to do often.  But I have to choose if I am going to be an effective prayer warrior.  Will I give Him the best of my time, or give Him my leftovers.

Now a new year is approaching and I want to choose God's way over the world's way.  I want to be an effective prayer warrior, I want to be a true disciple of Jesus.  Matthew 7:21-23 tells me how to be one.  I want to build my life on a solid foundation - no cracks, no wobbling (Matthew 7:24-27) Jesus tells me how to do that.  For 2017, I don't want to be known as a Christian as that word is loosely used now and has so many variations and definitions.  I want to be known as a FOLLOWER OF JESUS!  But every day I must choose - Jesus' way or the world's way.

Now that I proclaim it boldly, I know the spiritual warfare will come; but my plan of action is to keep my eyes focused on Christ, cling to His Word and put on the armor He has for me in Ephesians 6.  After all, who is mightier or more powerful than my God ?!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

New Hope

November 10, 2016

I didn't vote for Barack Obama.  I start out with that firm statement because we just elected a new president, a republican, not a seasoned politician who has made politics their life long job; but we elected someone who gives me new hope for America.  Today I also wrote a letter to the only newspaper we have in Hawaii (shameful isn't it?).  It was titled "New Democrats".  I will share it here for I know they won't print it on the editorial page. LOL

Protestors with deplorable behavior, is this the new democrats?  Talk shows are asking psychologist how to talk to children about this election.  Here is my advice.  Tell them we raised a generation to think that even if they didn't win everyone gets a trophy, and now they want their trophy.  We didn't teach them to work hard for what they want.  We overindulged them with cell phones,ipods,designer this and that.  We taught them not to have respect for authority.  Every time they were reprimanded at school we went to school and stuck up for them not the teacher, that action showed them how not to respect authority.  They saw us as parents, chastise other parents who properly disciplined their children, critized those who stood up for the rights of the unborn child, laughed at people who stood for moral values, calling them uneducated.  Then you take a deep breath, and tell them these protestors who are ranting whimpering and crying today when they didn't get their way,  this IS the
New Democrat. (end of letter)

But when Barack Obama was elected, we didn't get our trophy, and we didn't riot in the streets.  We knew, because we were taught by our parents that in life we don't always get what we want. We were taught we had to work for what we wanted.  There weren't any free rides.  When we misbehaved in school, our parents spanked us and sent us back to apologize to the teacher.  I never heard my parents cuss.  They taught me to have respect for all authority.  They taught me to say please and thank you and to consider myself blessed because I lived in a country where I had many freedoms.  How come we didn't teach this generation the same things?  We have fallen short and now we are reaping what we sowed.  Forgive us God.