Missionaries of a sort…

Rick and I have been talking about ‘missionaries’. I went to a Bible College, now a University and know many who went in to mission programs around the world. In fact we used to tell someone who aggravated us that we hoped God would call them to Africa. It was a far away place and it seemed a reasonable distance to not be bothered with whatever the nonsense was at the moment. Then I grew up!!! Many friends were called to Africa, South America, China, Europe, the middle east. They gave up their lives to Christ to dedicate themselves to ministry of the Gospel of Christ…where He called them. Some of them come back to the states every few years, but once they’re here, they can hardly wait to get back to ‘their’ people. Even those with children who have gone to other mission fields or stayed in the states, they still desire wholeheartedly to be in the place where God has called and placed them.

I’m crying now…we had a mission and thought we were taken out of our service to God by our circumstances. A major stroke and colon cancer for Rick, Lyme disease, spinal stenosis and a bad knee for me, seemed to make our future service questionable. We have a new MISSION and we have just come to recognize it within the last few days. How did we miss it? We were always active and social in ministry; teaching, writing, singing and participating in many different ways while we were able physically. This is a whole different tact and we did not see it until now.

Heavenly Father thank You for Your gracious calling and Your patience while we ‘came to’…

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God is faithful…

In our lives we face things that seem insurmountable, some the consequences of our own actions, and some because we live in a world that is fallen, where sin reigns. The kindness and mercies of God come in many different forms and may not seem “kind” or “merciful” in the moment.

As we turn to His Word and become better acquainted with Him through prayer and submission, we see the picture much differently. Our hearts may be broken, our lives may not look like they did before, but the grace of God is worth much more to us now. We begin to recognize that God’s mercy and love are always drawing us into a closer more intimate relationship. He must be our priority. There is great joy, security and contentment resting in God’s mercy.

Lamentations 3:22 It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.

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You Got Problems???

Today I am again contemplating the problems of the ‘first world’ order. In a ‘third world’ country this wouldn’t even be an issue.

It’s been a couple of very difficult days for me. The pain is intense and I have to keep going. What can I leave out or off to help accommodate my body? I’ve seen this issue addressed before on Facebook and Lyme disease groups. Too much pain or too exhausted to actually either finish or even start a shower.

Rick and I discussed, and often do, at lunch today how our days…9–5 we continue working. Working for him is writing, but he sticks with it. Working for me is the upkeep of the house, the bills, prepping food and making the meals, which are different for each of us. Mine is actually narrower than his. He gets a snack with soup, protein or nutritional drink and a dessert. Lots of different soups with either White cheddar Cheetos or some tortilla chips crushed in his soup. Mine food is a ‘stewp’ made with no fat meat and vegetables, once every 8-10 days and I eat it one meal a day, a salad for another and berries or banana with tea for breakfast and lots of water, alkaline water which I make. As the pain has been intense, I begin more research. The doctor gave me a diet sheet to keep the inflammation at bay, but there are now several more things on that sheet which can no longer be added to my ‘stewp’. . . tomatoes, peppers, celery and I have a fresh batch with all of that in it. So for lunch it was an avocado and rotisserie chicken, tonight a salad.

At lunch we talk about how blessed we are, but how much we want to see Jesus and all our loved ones that have gone on before. We acknowledge that God still has a plan for us and is using us almost daily to touch others in some way beneficial for them and His kingdom come on earth. We are here and we pray for others in much worse straights. Those who have lost loved ones, their health, their jobs, their marriages, and more. So we deal with ‘first world’ problems with a sigh. Another day I will feel better and I will be able to do a shower, even if I have to sit through it. There are millions and millions of people around the world who cannot and do not have facility to take a shower let alone even wash their face. They don’t have a bathroom, they don’t have a house…refugees and poor…God forgive me for whining and I bless your name for Your great goodness to us. You take care of your creation. Some of us just don’t recognize how great You are and are not grateful. Father I am beyond grateful for Your comfort and peace in the pain…the shower can wait.

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I don’t often perceive what might be happening in the circumstances I observe with my eyes. I think that is true of most of us. We tell ourselves a story about the things happening around us. How we perceive depends a whole lot on our inner attitudes, thoughts, how we have trained our reactions throughout our lives.  So our perception depends on what we feed our mind and spirit.

Romans 12:2 tells us… Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Having our minds trained in discernment according to God’s  “Thy will be done,” gives us an edge in perceiving what we may or may not understand. I think it’s giving me pause today in learning to wait to call or not to call, the situation. Being patient to see what is really going on. Listening for the voice of the Lord. You know that still small voice behind us that says, ‘this is what’s happening and this is what you should do or not do, say or not say!’  Isaiah 30.21 paraphrased.

Since our hearts are not always clear of prejudices or attitudes gathered through a lifetime, perception needs God’s wisdom. Sometimes we pray, sometimes we hug someone, sometimes we cry with them, sometimes we speak and sometimes not. Let God’s wisdom reign, as our perception is almost surely clouded by life.

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Being Present…

Our ‘presence’ can be the ‘present’. Yesterday was a day to be present for a friend visiting and staying at my sister’s home in Florida, for a break in the routine of life. My sister called me from Arizona to ask me to head over there and stay with her. I had to go home to get my keys to her home. In the 10 minutes or so before I reached her home, I was told that the friend’s son had been killed in an accident on the way to work at about 5 a.m. back in Indiana. She was finding out as I walked in the door. Needless to say it was a day when God ordained someones ‘presence’ with her, to walk with her and do what was necessary in a time of complete horror and grief. Being a Christian does not insulate us from sorrow. As most of us well know.

The case with this incident is, God used ‘Phyllis’ and her husband Dave to bring comfort to us when Rick ended up in the hospital with colon cancer. I had a friend already there, but I couldn’t leave him to even get a glass of water. They were staying at my sister’s, who I had already notified, and the next thing I knew they were walking down the hall with bottles of water and a bag of healthy and a couple not so healthy snacks, prayers, hugs and their precious presence.

I am grateful to God for letting me be there for Phyllis yesterday as she received the news. She was physically shaking and in shock. I was able to help her by hugging her until she quit shaking and  just being present. “Pack your bag.” “Make your phone calls.” “Your sister has already gotten your airline ticket.” “Come home with me until it’s time to go to the airport.” “I’ll close down the house here.” “There are more tissues.” “We’ll leave in plenty of time to get there.”

Having someone with you who understands and has been through the HARD STUFF of life is invaluable. I have over the last 3+ years found great comfort in those who have walked with us and more than grateful to be able to comfort others by God’s grace.

It’s 3:57 a.m. and I have been awake for about an hour praying for them. It’s cold and icy in Indiana and sleeping is fitful I’m sure, but my heart is with them and the whole family as they walk through this valley. Heavenly Father we ask to give grace, peace, comfort and Your precious ‘presence’ in this unspeakable tragedy.

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Soakin in the Word…

John Piper-solid joys 10/22
Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son . . . (Hebrews 1:1–2)

The last days begin with the coming of the Son into the world. We have been living in the last days since the days of Christ — that is, the last days of history as we know it before the final and full establishment of the kingdom of God.

The point for the writer of Hebrews is this: The Word that God spoke by his Son is the decisive Word. It will not be followed in this age by any greater word or replacement word. This is the Word of God — the person of Jesus, the teaching of Jesus, and the work of Jesus.

When I complain that I don’t hear the Word of God, when I feel a desire to hear the voice of God, and get frustrated that he does not speak in ways that I may crave, what am I really saying? Am I really saying that I have exhausted this final decisive Word revealed to me so fully in the New Testament? Have I really exhausted this Word? Has it become so much a part of me that it has shaped my very being and given me life and guidance?

Or have I treated it lightly — skimmed it like a newspaper, dipped in like a taste-tester — and then decided I wanted something different, something more? This is what I fear I am guilty of more than I wish to admit.

God is calling us to hear his final, decisive Word — to meditate on it and study it and memorize it and linger over it and soak in it until it saturates us to the center of our being.

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Purge with purpose…

This morning I can hardly walk. The ‘spinal stenosis’ has affected the nerves all the way down my left leg. I had to walk backwards when it was most severe and now it wants to drag. The knee pinches in 3 or 4 different places. I hold on to walls and grab my cane or Rick’s walking stick at the worst of it. Can’t just quit living. What has this to do with purging? WELL, the less you have the less that needs attention. Who knew getting older would come to this?

When I was younger and first came to a knowledge of the Gospel and a true relationship with Jesus, I had to purge some behaviors in my life. For instance, lying. If you don’t lie, you don’t have to attend to keeping up a facade. It’s just plain easier to keep life straight if you tell the truth. Now, the truth may not always be pretty or easy, BUT in the long run a whole lot less for the mind to attend to.

Purging our home of things, you know ‘stuff’? I started a couple years ago, but now with more intention. Since taking care of final affairs has become a reality in the couple months since the passing of my mom-in-law, I realize how important it is to plan for the future. The future may be tomorrow, but I’m working on it today.

I have saved all the cards that were given to us since Rick’s stroke in October of 2014. I have picture of all the gifts and flowers on a tech file. I’m going to post a picture with this ‘blog’ if I can figure out how. The stack of cards is actually 2 large gift bags…FULL! If cards were actual physical healing, we would be able to join a circus as the ‘strong man and wife’! Your continued prayers are coveted as we heal and age. We are not alone in our circumstances, and we do pray for those whose lives are in much worse state than ours. We are blessed beyond measure in so many ways, the best of these blessings in friends, brothers and sisters in Christ who pray for us. We do not purge our friends and family…you are our priceless treasures for eternity!

It was a difficult cull…in the bags, in the pile and the keepers! Found my birthday card from Mom Hoover. The one she gave me 3 days before she went to see Jesus.


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