Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Rainbow and the Rose

We saw a double rainbow on the way up the mountain to church last week that took our breath away. When we arrived at the church, I noticed the rose bush had two yellow roses among dormant branches and dead leaves. Stunning! It reminded me that God does keep his promises. Genesis 9: 13,"I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth." The rose reminded that even in the cold winter of life, sometimes God gives us a reminder that there is still beauty; you must only need be looking for it.

Friday, January 16, 2015

When the Days Are Weary

A family member was recently diagnosed with cancer. A newly married wife has been taking care of her new husband who, just a few months ago, had a brain tumor removed. A dear friend lost her husband last year and is working through living without her soul mate. A cousin is struggling with infertility. My dad has been ill the last two years and fighting with Agent Orange poisoning. His physical activity has been really limited and we've had scores of doctors' appointments in the last year. My sister-in-law found out yesterday that she lost another baby, the second in a row, in the early stages of pregnancy. Heartbreak. Sadness. Loss. Everywhere. Does Jesus even care??
s He see?

In talking with my sister-in-law over the loss of their baby (she was 12 weeks along), I could honestly say, "I understand". Two words that I wish I didn't know the meaning of in this situation, but I do know. 'Losing' a child is very tough, no matter what the stage/age. And in knowing those words, in saying those words, and fully meaning those words, I was comforted in that fact that maybe I was helping someone else. That maybe my 'ugly' turned into beautiful -words/help for someone else...bearing one another's burdens gets personal right here.  Listen, this ole' world is harsh. Trials are brutal. Faith is tested. Life is hard. Just.plain.hard. I chatted with a close friend today who, once again, was disappointed by so-called 'Christians' who have no trouble keeping rude comments to themselves. In talking with her today, I wrote, 

"I pray that the suffering will, in time, deliver grace. That you will overcome. That this ..mountain of hurt will be a mountain of not see your life as being amputated and cut off from grace, but for the holes to be a place to see through to Christ..that the ugly, indeed, can be made beautiful."

That's the way we feel sometimes..amputated from grace..My prayer for myself as well is that these burdens will become a mountain of transfiguration. To be transfigured into someone well pleasing in His sight. When asked how we're doing, we say, 'Doing well under the circumstances'...But as a Christian, what am I doing under the circumstances? Especially when we are to be over-comers!

I John 5:4 & 5 "For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that
Jesus is the Son of God?" 

An old hymn came to mind this week in adding up the sorrows and bad news  recently. "Does Jesus Care?" The answer to that is yes. He knows. He hears. He grieves with us. 

"Does Jesus care when my heart is pained
Too deeply for mirth or song,
As the burdens press, and the cares distress,
And the way grows weary and long?
Oh, yes, He cares, I know He cares,
His heart is touched with my grief;
When the days are weary, the long nights dreary,
I know my Savior cares.
Does Jesus care when my way is dark
With a nameless dread and fear?
As the daylight fades into deep night shades,
Does He care enough to be near?
Does Jesus care when I've tried and failed
To resist some temptation strong;
When for my deep grief there is no relief,
Though my tears flow all the night long?
Does Jesus care when I've said “goodbye”
To the dearest on earth to me,
And my sad heart aches till it nearly breaks—
Is it aught to Him? Does He see?"

-Frank E. Graeff

 I Peter 5: 6-11, "Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen."

Friday, January 9, 2015

A Profound Miracle

In my last blog post, I mentioned a young lady named Teresa who was on life support after trying to end her life. She came out of her coma this week and will soon be going home. While we are elated at this news, we are concerned because she is still a broken young woman. We are praying not only for her physical recovery, but for an emotional healing and a spiritual renewal. 

Sunday, January 4, 2015

I Had Fainted ... Unless

"I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord." Psalms 27: 13,14

In light of New Year's Resolutions going around, I have words to remember, instead. 


~I had released the control on my life that I thought I had

~ I had trusted in His heart when I couldn't see His hand

~I had waited on Him and had faith that He would strengthen me

~ I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord

Do we believe to see the goodness of the Lord? Honestly, sometimes we wonder where the goodness is when news comes that a friend's adult child has committed suicide..or tried to. As I write, we are awaiting news on Teresa, a young lady who was a part of my dad's church as a teenager. After she left the church to 'go live her life', her life fell apart. She is on life support tonight and considered brain dead. Tomorrow, her mother has to make the decision what to do with her daughter's life. Teresa's four young children will never see their mother again, unless a profound miracle awaits.  Where is God's goodness then? Today, in talking to ladies in our church, Celia shared her sorrow concerning her first born son who left his wife 5 years ago while pregnant their third child. Rita, as well, shared family stories quite similar to Celia's. Martina's nephew was shot and killed last week.  We beg God for wisdom when our loved ones are diagnosed with cancer. We cry out to him when our own children have health problems and we do not see how God can work this out for His good.  If you listen to the news, horrors abound. Everywhere. At all times. Sometimes, I just want to be numb to it all not see, hear, or feel. It's just.too.hard. Too hard to pray. And what do I pray for? Sometimes I just really have no idea at all. I have no words for the grief. No utterances of praise nor petition. How's that for starting off the new year?? I can't even think to make resolutions for the new year when around me is news of people coming apart, falling apart, staying apart from their spouses...just...apart. Apart from family. Apart from God. Apart from common sense. Apart from the gift of life. 

Recently, a friend of mine sent me some questions regarding Christian life. She asks,
"Reading a book on facing our giants- the book stated to find a mature Christian and ask: 1) how do you personally nurture your relationship with Christ 2) what do you do when you are discouraged?"

In light of bad news everywhere, I don't know how to answer. I don't feel spiritually mature at all when I feel like doubting that God even cares. Or when I don't want to see that He is still good when things go bad. What do I do when I'm discouraged? Cry. Complain. (Don't you? Or is it just me?) And I'm a missionary! A pastor's wife! Am I even allowed to feel this way?? (Hey, King David did all these things and more and he was considered a man after God's own heart...) And yet, "I believe; help thou mine unbelief." Mark 9:24

My husband was preaching from the text in Psalms 28 this morning..vs 1 "Unto thee will I cry, O LORD my rock; be not silent to me. I become like them that go down into the pit."
BE NOT SILENT...Yes..when my lips go silent..when my heart numbs..please, not silent to me. Other verses he expounded on as well. Does your mind ever wander during preaching..or do your eyes gravitate to previously underlined verses and hold there? My eyed 'caught hold' of Psalms 27: 13,

"I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living." 

WOW. And there, in my cold pew in a cement church building in Mexico where the heat did not keep my feet from freezing in my cowboy heart softened. I had fainted UNLESS...I HAD BELIEVED TO SEE....the goodness of the LORD... Again, I say,

"I believe; help thou mine unbelief."

I don't want to faint. I want to see the goodness of the Lord. This new year is full of hope. The new year is full of grace not yet discovered. The new year is full of the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. 

I will not  faint..unless

~I try to take control of my life and make judgments on how God is working

~ I distrust His heart when I can't see His hand

~I am impatient with God's timing in all things

~ I refuse to believe to see the goodness of the Lord in land of the living

No Confidence in Coincidence

December 28-January 2

Sun/Dec28~ 3 Gifts Lingering

:: Quietness of early morning hours
:: Smells of homemade chicken noodle soup throughout the day
:: The spirit of Christmas

Mon/Dec29~ 3 Gifts of Hope

:: While going over finances, we were reminded that we will be debt free this year
:: News that little Saul is feeling stronger 
:: Another day of graces..might there be another? 

Tues/Dec30~ 3 Gifts of Remembrance

:: Jonathan remembered to empty the dishwasher before breakfast! 
:: I was posting on Facebook old childhood photos of growing up in CT. It was fun reading comments from family members in the pictures remembering old times at Grandma and Grandpa's house. 

One of my favorite Great Uncles (Uncle Raleigh) and me

Wed/Dec31~ 3 Gifts Anticipated

:: The end of a year full of hardships
:: E-mail update from a friend I've been concerned about
:: Warmer weather- sunshine--Jonathan and I (and our dog, Zap) went for a walk

Thurs/Jan1~ 3 Gifts Heard

:: Music flowing while working around the house 
:: "I don't mind helping you", from servant-hearted son
:: Laughter..from my own being while deep cleaning the kitchen (a chore left for too long)

Fri/Jan2~ A Gift Outside, Inside, On a plate

:: Warm enough weather in the morning to run errands with Dad before really cold weather set in
:: Central heat - We lived 6 years without it while living in Mexico and I really appreciate central heat and air! 
:: Rotisserie chicken from Sam's club for lunch - always hot, always tasty