Friday, July 29, 2011

Remember ..

Today my heart is heavy for people I love who are suffering in many different ways: depression that feels hopeless, illness that is frightening, relationship problems, marriage issues ... sometimes the burdens of life feel like more than anyone can bear - but then I remember that GOD is bigger.  Here are some verses of encouragement today for all of you who are going through a valley of any kind.  Take heart and turn your eyes to the One Who knows exactly what you are going through and is strong enough to hold you when you don't have the strength to stand.

 Psalm 27:1-5
1 The LORD is my light and my salvation-- whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life-- of whom shall I be afraid? 2 When evil men advance against me to devour my flesh, when my enemies and my foes attack me, they will stumble and fall. 3 Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then will I be confident. 4 One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple. 5 For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock.

Philippians 4:6-8
6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Psalm 27:13-14
I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.  Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.

May each of you my dear friends, be filled with the peace of the Lord even while you walk through the valley.  There is hope and joy because of Jesus Christ.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

I Come to the Garden

This past month has been full of things I never want to experience again. I'm sorry that I really haven't blogged much at all, and to say that life have been crazy would be an understatement. There has been a lot of grief in our lives and decisions that we have had to make that have been very hard. The last 3 days I have hardly felt like I was alive - just waking up and doing what needed to be done, trying to get through another day with as few tears as possible. Thank God that my husband has been with me every step of the way and we have had each other to hold onto when so much that we love has been threatened. Today I noticed that the garden was dry so out I headed to water. As the refreshing water fell on the glossy leaves of roses, and sunshiney faces of snap dragons, and the lady-like petals of geraniums, this simple melody popped into my head followed by beautiful words and before I knew it I was singing in the quiet of the garden. The joy that burst from my very tired heart in that moment was incredible. Even in the very dark times of our lives, dealing with pain physical or emotional, God is there wanting to spend a moment with us to sooth our troubled brow and give us peace and joy in HIM no matter the circumstances. I rejoice in His beauty and goodness - and I choose to rest in His peace tonight.

Take a moment to listen to this hymn - I found this U-tube video and the voice this girl has is perfect for the simple truth in these words.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Hope Deferred

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. Proverbs 13:12

This verse has been on my mind over the past couple of days.  We went to a the doctor on Monday, thinking that we might begin treatment for a curable disease .. and left with more questions and the possibility (based on blood test results) that this is still something I will have to live with for my life on this earth.  What does this mean?  More testing which feels like the story of my life - I'm amazed I have any blood left!  While I have come to a place of being able to live well and function well even though I am not in the body I would have chosen, it would be so wonderful to be free from pain and illness.  I sometimes go back and forth about what to share on this blog and if any of you have questions regarding specifics please do email me at

Anyway: back to hope deferred.  I've had many times in my life where we thought we found the answer - the cure, to take away all the pain I live with day to day.  I've become very acquainted with hope deferred over the years.  I could allow hope deferred (or as my Daddy calls it: death of a vision) to make me a victim and steal my joy.  BUT, that's not the kind of life I want to live today.  I want to live with joy no matter what dream may have just been shattered in my life.  No, not happy happy jumping up and down joy - but quiet peaceful joy that believes that even in disappointment God is holding my hand.  Hope beyond hope that there WILL be a day with no more pain - on this earth or in heaven.   A dream beyond a dream that God will redeem even my disappointment for His glory and that He will use me even in this broken place that I so often find myself. 

Because of the GOD I have hope in, I have every reason to smile and have true joy in my life.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Books I Am Enjoying

I thought I'd take a moment and let you all know some books that I highly recommend for your summer reading!

1.  The Supremacy of Christ in a Postmodern World.
I got this book because I generally love the writings of John Piper (he is one of the main editors) and have been very interested in what respected writers are saying about the current postmodern mentality sweeping the world.  A favorite quote so far:

"Biblical truth contradicts this cultural spirituality, (self-centered and focused on MY path to God rather than on God's reaching down to a fallen creation with salvation to all who will believe) and that contradiction is hard to bear.  Biblical truth displaces it, refuses to allow its operating assumptions, declairs to it its bankruptcy.  Is the evangelical church faithful enough to explode the worldview of this new spiritual search?  Is it brave enough to contradict what has wide cultural approval?  the final verdict may not be in, but it seems quite apparent that while the culture is burning, the evangelical church is fiddling precisely because it has decided it must be so like the culture to be successful." (pg. 38)

2. For Women Only

I stumbled upon this book while staying at my brother and sis in law's house the last week.  Since I have had a lot of extra time on my hands, and since it is a very easy read (unlike John Piper which may take me a few months!) I finished it yesterday.  A lot of the points I have heard before but being reminded of what my husband needs from me as his wife was very good for me at this 2 year point in our marriage!  A great gift for newlyweds or those who have been married a long time but need a little push in the right direction to get their relationship back on track.

3.  Hinds Feet on High Places

I have mentioned this book before when we got home from our camping trip.  It's a book I read as a teen and I am greatly enjoying reading it out loud with my sweet Husband now.  It's in the allegorical style like Pilgrim's Progress and brings out some very good spiritual truths as it follows little Miss Much Afraid on her journey to the High Places.  I greatly appreciate this individual writing of Hannah Hurrard, but as a caution she left her Biblical beliefs later in life buying into universalism and New Age thought.  However, in Hinds Feet on High Places I don't see this shift and still believe it is a valuable book.  (in all my reading I try to accept what is good and BIBLICAL, while throwing out things that are said that may be unbiblical - as Christians we need to always be on our guard for untruth that can come from any direction.)

Happy Summer Reading!  I would love to hear about what you are reading and what you are learning this summer!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Get on with it!

The feeling of being in limbo is no fun - and is a very common feeling for most people, and definitely very common with those of us with constant health issues.  Never quite knowing what is around the next bend and being very familiar with sudden upheavals has a way of paralyzing me.  Or, I guess I should say that it has a way of tempting to paralyze me.  I also think that this stage of life my husband and I are in (being still newly married and in school) creates a lot of that limbo feeling - a waiting for things we are working toward and wanting to be done so badly!  Being on the older side of this phase in life (in our early late 20s early 30s) gives more of a feeling of limbo - everywhere we look our (even younger!) friends are having babies (some of their 3rd already!), buying homes ... and we are just trying to get through each semester without debt!  Having chronic health issues seems to put us in limbo too - never sure what next week or even tomorrow will bring or how I'll be feeling  on a particular day, planning for surgeries and treatments ... it just never ends and every time I have a "bad" day it puts me back a few days and then I have to pick up the pieces and get into a schedule again. 

I've mentioned before that I like to be in control - and that being in pain and this place of life we find ourselves is a very good lesson for me that I am NOT in control one little bit!

So, how do I get through it?  One thing I am learning is that I just have to get back up and get on with life.  It is SO tempting to just give up and lay around watching TV all day long.  When I feel like I want so badly to have a home of my own, to have kids, to have a husband who is out of school, to have health ... I just need to put those things out of my mind because in this moment those things are not given to me.  What I need to do is get on with life.  If today that means that I have to lay low and take care of my health that IS what I need to be doing, if today that means getting out and taking a walk because I feel better - that IS what I need to be doing.  Life is never ever going to be everything we dreamed of - at least not until heaven - but we have the choice every moment of the day to get on with life - the life we have been given. 

I once heard lady who was in her late 20s or early 30s say something that stuck with me.  She was single and so many single people feel this need to know if it is God's will that they be single.  She said, "Today it's God's will that I am single."  Rather than trying so hard to look forward and find a way out of the limbo of being single, she found peace in grabbing onto today and the fact that she was indeed single in that moment.

I don't want to waste one moment being sorry for the situation I am in, or longing for what I have not been given.  I want to grab hold of this moment for the glory of the God Who made it, and live 200% for Him in everything I do!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Soften my Heart

Years ago I used to lead a high school girls Bible study at our small church.  It was a position that was kind of dropped into my lap, and which I will forever be grateful for.  Even though I was a college student and they were in high school, some of my very closest friends came from that group.  A couple of the girls began leading worship songs at the end of each study playing guitar and singing.  The song below became one of our favorite songs which we sang pretty much every week without fail:

Soften My Heart

(Andy Park)

Soften my heart with oil,

Open my eyes to see

Fill me with understanding,

Soften my heart to receive

I want all that You have for me Jesus

All that You have for me

Open my understanding

Soften my heart to receive

I want all that You have for me

Don’t let my heart be fallow

Don’t let my heart be hard

Water me with Your spirit

Soften the ground of my heart

Copyright © 1991 Mercy/Vineyard Publishing. All rights reserved. International copyright secured.

The words to this song sustained me through many years reminding me to give my heart always over to the Lord and to allow Him to work in making me soft toward Him and used by Him. 

Today, I am in a much different situation in my life.  Still feeling kind of isolated in the big city rather than my comfortable little home town on Whidbey Island.  I've been missing ministry to youth, our small church, our family farm etc.  There are many unknowns right now in our life.  Yesterday my sweet Husband and I celebrated not only Independence Day for our Country, but also our 2nd year anniversary of marriage.  All day, I couldn't help feeling like things are about to change in our lives ... again.  Our 2 years of marriage have been characterized by much change (which has been good mostly although hard).  We can't see the future of what the next year will bring.  We don't know the future for my health, for our desire to be parents, for our dream of mission ... sometimes when faced with unknowns I find myself wanting to put up walls around my heart so that it won't get hurt.  I find myself wanting to be hardened so that I won't be disappointed again if my dreams fall through.  But the words to this song remind me to allow my Redeemer Jesus Christ to keep me soft and open to what He will do.  Yes, sometimes that means more hurt, but in the end having a pliable heart in the hands of the God of the Universe is never disappointing from an eternal perspective.

Soften my heart with oil ....  This is my prayer today.