Monthly Archives: February 2011

His Eye is On the Sparrow

I now understand why older people remember past years so well.
They mark them with trials and tribulations.
We are now those people who categorize their life events
 as before, after or during certain trials,
like The Winter with 117 Inches of Snow,
followed by the Flood of ’97,
Miscarriage, 3 Moves in 3 Summers,
The Year We Moved to the Farm,
The Year We Moved to Town and
The Year I was Diagnosed with Cancer,
not in that order.
During another time of severe testing in my life,
I was visited in the waiting room of a hospital by an older Christian woman.
She hugged me and sat with me for a little while.
Then she pulled out this picture.
She felt so impressed to share a certain message with me,
she had ripped this page out of her book on the way to visit me.
As she held out this picture, she read these verses:
Matthew 10:29-31
Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin?
And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will.
But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.
She prayed with me, gave me another hug and was on her way.
I have saved this picture and cherished her care for eight years.
She also taught me something else.
People shy away from comforting others in their sufferings,
because we don’t know what to say.
Mary taught me, you don’t have to say or do a lot
to greatly comfort those that are hurting.
Just listen to the Lord’s leading.

 

 
On the 8th day of our Project Isaiah 61:1 the Lord gave Scott the theme
“It’s a New Day for Hope.”
 
I dug in my Hope Chest and pulled out this picture.
 
Eight years later, His eye is still upon me,
and I am still comforted.

Diversions During Trials

On Wednesday, after two and a half days of our trial,
the kids started to bicker slightly.
I sat down and reminded them that Satan
would love to tear our family apart when we are hurting.
It’s too easy to let burdens pull you down,
instead of letting them turn your gaze up.
I encouraged the kids to be extra patient,
extra kind, extra careful with words.
Jon took action.
He grabbed tablecloths and sheets,
pieces of trim we still haven’t nailed to the walls yet,
my broom handle, and every other stick he could find.
(You might recognize the tablecloths from this meal.)
He constructed a tipi for himself,
in the fashion of the Sioux from North Dakota,

and a Yakama mat lodge from a tribe native to Washington for Rebekah.
The kids spent time reading, playing, resting,
and speaking kindly to one another for the next few days.
I was so thankful for this diversion. 
Often, during the past eight days,
 I reminded myself that as important
 as my work was to help free an innocent man,
I’m still a Mommy.
I made myself stop and play, talk, listen, hug and kiss.
Then I’d go back to my computer and my phone,
and fight for an innocent man.
Yesterday afternoon, the Lord answered our prayers for relief.
My work was over for a time, the outcome is with the Lord
for this first step of the process.
I crawled into that tipi with Rebekah,
watched a movie, ate some Dots that were supposed to be for a Chemistry project,
and thanked the Lord for a diversion and for a  period of relief.

PROJECT ISAIAH 61:1

On Monday, February 14th,
when most of the world was enjoying cards, chocolates and flowers,
a believer very dear to us was arrested on  false charges,
and locked up in jail.
He’s looking at 2 to 60 years
 for a crime he didn’t commit.
We were quickly thrown into the real world,
where Christians can be falsely accused,
their Constitutional rights denied,
and we have to avail every
power in heaven and on earth for justice to be served.

Early on, the Lord gave me a verse in Isaiah as my theme.

I knew I needed to walk in the Spirit.
Morning prayer and devotions with the Lord could not be put aside.
His guidance must be sought first.
Since many people are affected,
much time is spent on the phone encouraging, researching, interviewing,
compiling, praying, helping, talking, praying, crying and praying more.
Because I have older kids, they all immediately pitched in,
without being asked, to help with
housework and meals so I could attend to my work.
On Thursday, I walked outside for the first time in days,
and took a deep breath of cedar-scented air.
It was as if I hadn’t been outside in ten years.
Today, Tuesday Feb. 22nd
by the grace of God,
we’ve made it through eight days.
The Lord has rallied support from many believers to pray,
encourage and help in many little, precious ways.
He has daily spoken to us and given us verses to guide and direct us.

Each time we have felt we are in the bottom of Joseph’s pit,
with no way out,
He showers us with fresh blessing, mercy and grace.

We know some day, by faith,
we will be able to say, like Joseph,

Genesis 50:20

But as for you, you meant evil against me;
but God meant it for good,
in order to bring it about as it is this day,
to save many people alive.

We’re in physical, spiritual and emotional agony
as we wrangle with the immensity of this trial.
But, our faith rests in the Lord.

Each day, we wake and the Lord has given Scott a theme or a prayer.

Today, we are asking for relief.
Each day the complexities and the burdens grow greater
and we are feeling the need for a little relief.

Thank you for your prayers,
we feel upheld by the Lord and His people.

Please, continue to pray.

Our Anchor is Holding

During this past week of severe testing,
we have been upheld by His victorious right arm.
Each day we wake with our ever-present trial,
and His ever-present help.
When we again are stopped by another block in the road,
He helps us to climb over,
walk around,
go through or
dig under.
He has gone before us. 
We look back and see His whispers and His thoughts prepared us,
for such a time as this.
We are not distraught, but hard-pressed.
It seems impossible,
and we plead for miracles.
Praise God that we serve One who specializes in miracles!
Please do not stop praying.
In fact, we ask you to increase.
This has been our theme and we ask you to pray with us:
1.  That the Truth be Found
2.  That the Truth be Told
3.  That the Truth be Believed

A dear sister, Jill, sent the words to this song in a comment.
I wanted to share this quartet with you.
Thank you all for your emails, your comments, your affirmations of love,
your fervent prayers and your silent support. 
We feel them all.
I think this is one of the hardest things we’ve faced.
Many have been concerned and asked about my cancer.
Truthfully, I haven’t thought about it in weeks.
My cancer is nothing compared to this.
Yet,  despite the suffering, many times during each day,
 those of us involved
have broken down in tears of joy and worship,
as we see the Lord reveal His plan to us,
and grace us His presence.
We are like Moses and the children of Israel
 huddled on the shores of the Red Sea,
with the enemy behind us.
But, we know something they didn’t know
as they huddled in terror,
the Lord WILL part the seas,
and we WILL walk through on dry ground.
Until that time,
we endure the storm because
Our Anchor Holds.

When it Rains, it Pours

The other day, I blogged on about my broken heart.
Today, I’m reminded –
When it Rains, it Pours.
I was gathered at the kitchen table with my two youngest children,
praying at the exact time prayer was needed
 for our initial, heart-breaking trial.
The phone rang.
Another trial was born.
A chorus we sing at Bible Camp reverbrated through my soul-
“When troubles and sorrows multiply,
I won’t ask the reason why,
Strength is mine only heaven can afford.
In the arms of sweet deliverance,
gunna’ lay my heavy burden down,
and with my Lord I’ll abide…
When at last my travelin’ days are done,
In the land somewhere beyond the sun,
In the arms of sweet deliverance,
In the arms of sweet deliverance I shall rest by and by.”

We are too tired to weep,
too busy praying to sleep.

We are minute by minute depending on the Lord for strength and deliverance.

The best part of the rains?

They’re followed by rainbows.

We’re living for the promise of the rainbow,
upheld by the victorious right hand of our loving Lord
and strengthened by the prayers of His beautiful people.

Please
keep
praying.

The Lord gave both my husband and I the same verse this morning
when we awoke feeling the burden is too great to bear.

Matthew 11:30
For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

So, we’re learning to lay that burden down,
but still waiting, praying and pleading for
Sweet Deliverance.

When it Rains, it Pours

The other day, I blogged on about my broken heart.
Today, I’m reminded –
When it Rains, it Pours.
I was gathered at the kitchen table with my two youngest children,
praying at the exact time prayer was needed
 for our initial, heart-breaking trial.
The phone rang.
Another trial was born.
A chorus we sing at Bible Camp reverbrated through my soul-
“When troubles and sorrows multiply,
I won’t ask the reason why,
Strength is mine only heaven can afford.
In the arms of sweet deliverance,
gunna’ lay my heavy burden down,
and with my Lord I’ll abide…
When at last my travelin’ days are done,
In the land somewhere beyond the sun,
In the arms of sweet deliverance,
In the arms of sweet deliverance I shall rest by and by.”

We are too tired to weep,
too busy praying to sleep.

We are minute by minute depending on the Lord for strength and deliverance.

The best part of the rains?

They’re followed by rainbows.

We’re living for the promise of the rainbow,
upheld by the victorious right hand of our loving Lord
and strengthened by the prayers of His beautiful people.

Please
keep
praying.

The Lord gave both my husband and I the same verse this morning
when we awoke feeling the burden is too great to bear.

Matthew 11:30
For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

So, we’re learning to lay that burden down,
but still waiting, praying and pleading for
Sweet Deliverance.

Flowers, Chocolates and Tears

On Valentine’s Day, we love to celebrate love. 

We love to celebrate with flowers.
I celebrated with flowers.
My husband of almost 25 years
makes sure they’re a part of our yearly tradition.
Last year I had the energy to write a truly romantic post.
We love to celebrate with special treats.
I celebrated with special treats. 
 My daughter, Gracie, baked and decorated these
and successfully kept them hidden until the holiday.
My husband already had purchased two heart-shaped
boxes full of chocolates we previously feasted on together.
We love to celebrate with loving, sentimental cards.
I celebrated with cards.
 Beka was the Mail Lady, delivering cards with great animation.
We celebrated with special drinks,
toasting our family’s love and devotion with sparkling apple cider.
But this year, my heart wasn’t in it.
My heart is broken and shattered,
but I smiled and kept going
because that’s what Christians do.
We keep going.
We keep breathing.
We keep praying.
The Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words,
when our only prayers are desperate cries for the Lord’s help.
I can’t share the details of our grief,
it involves someone we love deeply,
so we ask you to help bear our burden
and pray
pray
pray
pray
and then,
pray some more.
When going through cancer with my dear friend Kari,
now in my own struggle with incurable thyroid cancer –
I learned a valuable lesson.
You keep going on with life.
You act as normal as possible,
for the kids,
for yourself,
 to keep you busy so you don’t despair beyond hope.
We shared the news  with the kids,
we prayed together, we cried together.
And, we still celebrated Valentine’s Day.
 I was reminded of how painful holidays can be.
The arrows in those cheery red hearts
 penetrated my heart and soul. 
Some pain cannot be covered with chocolates and flowers. 
Sorrow can be so  great we can hardly partake in the joys around.
Yes, even when we are happily married and love our spouse. 
Yes, even when our homes are filled with children we love and adore.

My husband, my earthly rock and fortress,
even defined our sorrow as “too much to bear,”
even though we both know the Lord is in control.
In the midst of sorrows like sea billows,
I know it is well with our souls.
I know nothing can pluck us from His hand,
and nothing can separate us from His love.
This Valentine’s Day we celebrated
love.

Romans 5:5 , “Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”

Romans 8:39, “nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

1 John 4:9, “In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.”

Jude 1:21, “Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.”

With tears and prayers,
we celebrated by
 desperately depending on
the enduring
abiding
eternal
love of our Heavenly Father.

MM Meditation – What God Cannot Do, #2

In May, I wrote a meditation titled What God Cannot Do. Tonight, reading A. W. Tozer’s Paths to Power, I discovered Tozer had a list of his own.

*****
Failure to distinguish the part of God from the part of man in salvation has prevented countless seekers from finding peace, and left whole sections of the church of Christ powerless for long periods of time.
Let it be boldly stated that there are some things which only God can do, and for us to attempt to do them is to waste our efforts; and there are other things which only man can do, and for us to ask God to do them is to waste our prayers.  It is vain for us to try to do the work which can only be done by sovereign grace; it is equally vain for us to implore God to do what has been commanded by sovereign authority.
In the things-which-God-cannot-do category is this:
GOD CANNOT DO OUR REPENTING FOR US:
In our efforts to magnify grace we have so preached the truth as to convey the impression that repentance is a work of God.  This is a grave mistake…God has commanded all men to repent;  it is a work which only they can do.  It is morally impossible for one person to repent for another.  Even Christ could not do this.  He could die for us, but He cannot do our repenting for us.
GOD CANNOT BELIEVE FOR US:
Faith is a gift of God, to be sure, but whether or not we shall act upon that faith lies altogether within our own power.  True belief requires that we change our attitude toward God.
Unbelief is a great sin; or more accurately stated, it is an evidence of sins unconfessed.  Repent and believe is the order.  Faith will follow repentance, and salvation will be the outcome.
ONLY GOD CAN DO:
Among the things which only God can do, of first importance to us is the work of redemption. Salvation is personal.  Salvation is the work of God in the heart, made possible by the work of God on the Cross.
No man can forgive his own sins; no man can regenerate his own heart; no man can declare himself justified and clean.   All this is the work of God in man, flowing out of the work which Christ has already done for man.                    A. W. Tozer
*****

I Saw the Lord’s Breath

 I was driving, praying and crying out to the Lord
concerning trials friends and family are experiencing.
As I entered a small valley,
the glory of the Lord shone around
and I felt His comforting presence.
The gloomy and gray winter fog had lifted, 
revealing the Cascade silhouette.
The bright sun sparkled the grass,
the trees and the shrubs
the Lord had frosted with His breath.
We mark our existence in the cold by exhaling
 a puffy cloud of our breath.
A simple thrill, I still exclaim,
“Look, I can see my breath!”
We can see the Lord’s breath in the cold, too.
Job 37:10
“By the breath of God frost is given…”
.
He had walked before me that morning,
leaving evidence of His nearness on His creation.

The path was marked with His breath,
the leaves showed evidence of His touch.
Evergreens, already an eternal symbol, 
were changed by His presence. 
Flowers crystalized by the the breath of God.
And there I am,
worshipping because He walked before me,
not just in Creation, but in suffering.
As I’m capturing the Lord’s breath,
I’m enjoying the eternal life breathed into me
when I became a new creation in Christ.
Job 33:4
The Spirit of God has made me,
And the breath of the Almighty gives me life.
Did you feel His presence in your life today?

Crooked Places Made Straight

Over the holidays I was having some troubles.
My candles were all crooked,
leaning over like an ol’ woman.
They looked ridiculous and I was afraid they would spill wax
on the gorgeous table-runner my little sister quilted for me.
Yea, she’s in her 40’s, but she’s still little to me.

I found this gem, some kinda’ plumber’s tape,
 in the junk drawer.
I hope we don’t get a leak in our pipes soon,
because I used most of it on the candles.
(No more getting frustrated that hubby puts his stuff
in my kitchen junk drawer.)

Before.
After.
Crooked things made straight.
There’s something even better for making
crooked things straight-
-the Lord God,
our Creator,
our Master,
our Savior.
He turns sinners into saints,
rascals into redeemed and
children of darkness into children of light.
He seeks the lost,
He strengthens the weak,
He seals the saved.
Isaiah 40:b-5a
…”The crooked places shall be made straight
And the rough places smooth;
The glory of the LORD shall be revealed…”

He not only makes the crooked path straight,
He knows our path,
He goes before us,
He walks beside us,
He leads us,
He lights the path,
He picks us up when we fall.
How has the Lord Jesus straightened your crooked path?