Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Get up, try again...

For the past year we have been watching our one year old grandson, Reedley learning to walk.  His ability to fall, stumbled, get up, fall again, over and over and over has finally produced walking up right for longer periods of time with less falling.  There were times when he just screams in frustration when he wants help and it does not come fast enough or times when he doesn't want help.

Taking care of him is a challenge because he is able to get around so well without any fear.  Often, we put up a make shift barrier to keep him confined to one room but his wiggly body is like a mini contortionist, he always finds a way out.

His face shows the wear and tear of any  one year old boy fighting life battles with floor, chairs, siblings, objects. But the smile that burst out through the bruises and bumps is just about as close to heaven as one can get here on earth.

Soon, sooner they we would like, he will run through life,  gaining more knowledge from each fall and tumble, learning how to jump over objects in his way, like superman, able to leap tall buildings.

He'll think he can do it on his own and we who love him know some lessons are only learned by stumbling under the weight of self.  Unknown to him at this time of  his life parents and grandparents are watching out for him.  

Just watching this process has encouraged my heart for there is no age limit to falling and getting back up again.  To Reedley, a fall down a few stairs may be the biggest trial he faces today.  They will get bigger though, the wounds will go deeper and scars are not just for the one year old.


This song is a reminder to this older child of God, that I am not  alone in this journey, He is always watching me.   Sometimes  He put barriers out there to protect me, sometimes He  allows me to fall but He will always be there to pick me up with His promises. 
Romans 8:18 - For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time [are] not worthy [to be compared] with the glory which shall be revealed in us.




Thursday, July 21, 2016

Saved


The pictures is not the clearest but the it's clear enough to give a strong message of how important what New Tribes calls, "holding the ropes" for our missionaries is.  

I wrote several things that came to me as I viewed it and  deleted it.  Why, because I want to hear your response to it.  


Ok, comments please. 

Monday, June 27, 2016

Wisdom on a napkin

Due to our ministry as Member Care Reps we travel a lot which means we eat out a lot.  As we meet with missionaries on home assignment (known as furlough), I gleam a lot of wisdom from each one of them.   As we sit over good food and cup of coffee, I am always looking for something to write on when I leave my notebook in the car. eager to catch a thought I will grab anything and start scribbling.   I no longer trust my memory and have been known to write even on my arm when there is no paper or napkin.

I don't know which couple we were meeting with when something they said caused me to write this down.
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"Work out your salvation, not work for your salvation".   

What a load that phrase lifts off my shoulders for I know I could never work enough to be pleasing before the Lord.  In the working out my salvation there comes failure to be obedient and then I become discouraged.  Th enemy of my soul would like for me to believe God is discouraged with me too.

Recently I read a message from Isaiah 42:2 that blessed my heart and made it easier to "work out my salvation". He is never discouraged because He is God and He knows the work He begun in me He will finish.  God does not, can not, will not fail so He cannot become discouraged when we fail in our progress of growing in Him.


Image result for quotes on working our our salvationHe has known from eternity past where the planets would be in their orbits right at this moment. He has known all along our  government and world would be in this mess, yet He is not downcast or  frustrated or uncertain how things will turn out. In fact, He has not only known these thing, but has ordained them.

I love this illustration:  When a parent stays calm during a problem their children will draw from that. But if a parent  is distressed, whining and fearful  those  children  will usually fall apart completely as they watch their parent come undone.  But a calm, confident, assured  parents speaks volumes to  the children.  Their actions and words  will remind them, it's ok, it will be alright,  do not be afraid,  I've got you,  those children will usually calm down even though the situation might not be the best. 

Our Heavenly Father has no fear about what is happening in your life right now, or in mine.  He is not callous or indifferent, He is utterly confident and competent to fulfill His promise to us, that the work He has begun in us, He will finish.  He will not be discouraged with us.  That calms my soul and brings freedom as I work out my salvation.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Tears Will Never Stain the Streets of That City

  Loss involves change, change involves loss. Loss involves death of one kind or another.  In II Corinthians 4:11 Paul says, For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus sake, so that His life may be revealed in our mortals body.  "Every time we are delivered over to a death of any kind, we encounter a challenge to allow the loss to bring gain for Jesus sake.  

Our Father would never allow our hearts to break for trivial reasons. And He does not want us to waste it either or lose our faith because of a loss. And He does not want us to be in bondage to our loss to where we are rendered ineffective for Christ.  

The life of a Christian is never about sameness. It's always about change. That's why we must learn to survive and once again thrive when change involves heartbreaking loss.  We're being conformed to the image of Christ in our losses.  

"Joy and effectiveness may seem to pause for a while as grief takes it's course, but those who allow their broken hearts to be bound by Christ will experience them again. Our Savior is the God of resurrection life,   no matter what kind of death has occurred in life of any believer."
Beth Moore

Almost daily I am ask how I am doing since my mother died.  I always answer the same, "I am doing well most of the time.  But there are days I will on purpose listen to a song such as the one below to remind me this grief I feel is not forever.    Our tears are a gift from the Father for here and my goodness can I let them flow as I take in the precious truth of songs that remind me my loss is not in vain.   





What song or songs do you turn to when loss enters your life?  

Sunday, April 24, 2016

God Loves Seekers

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People aren't argued into salvation, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't be informed and educated. It also doesn't mean you can't have healthy , vibrant discussions or debates. Just keep in mind that (ultimately) it's God's sovereign power, truth, and love that changes a life. Above all, focus on being an expert in His truth and love. Allow God's Holy Spirit to do the internal arguing and convincing for you. 


Bottom line: We depend on the supernatural work of God, not on our persuasive abilities. Bobby Conway

About three weeks ago I was on a plane heading to Illinois to be with my mother who was dying so my heart was heavy.   I did not pray, God give me a good seat mate, someone I can talk Jesus with for I was in no shape to really talk to anyone.  

Even before we took off the man sitting next to me started the usual conversation one has on a plane when forced to sit close to someone you don't know.  Are you from California?  Why are you going to St. Louis?  Then, I ask the man, why are you going to St. Louis?  What he told me was so interesting I had to ask more questions and soon we begin to get past the first level of getting to know a perfect stranger.  I don't even know when the conversation turned to spiritual things but it did turn.  His interest in science was impressive, especially  as he explained how scientist are  studying "life after death" , and they don't have an answer yet.  But they are sure there is something out there.  The fact they are seeking impressed me, God loves seekers, the wise men were seekers, all who went to hear Jesus speak were seekers.   The man I sat next to was a seeker. 

I am several weeks away from that plane encounter and having time now to look into  some articles on why science is seeking life after death.  Today I ran across an article by John Lennox, an Oxford mathematician, a scientist, a Christian.    He was debating this topic:

                                             Can Faith and Science Coexist?  

"THE MATHEMATICAL INTELLIGIBILITY OF NATURE IS EVIDENCE FOR A RATIONAL SPIRIT BEHIND THE UNIVERSE." JOHN LENNox
First,  I was amazed that I could grasped some of what Lennox was saying in this debate, his vocabulary is enormous.  Second, I am thrilled to know there are Christians involved in the lives of other scientist.  
I probably will never see that gentleman I met  again, but our conversation sparked an interest to seek out information into what does scientist believe about God and the here after?   Here is the bottom line, I want to be able to discuss difference between beliefs and come away from it knowing I was able to honor God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit in my words.   I do not have to prove anything to anybody, I just have to give out truth in love, and leave the rest to God. Not one thing the man said made me doubt my faith in God or believing Jesus is the only way.   "There is something there" and  I know who it is, I know the one who created whats out there.  And in some ways it gave comfort in a time when my heart was heavy knowing I was facing seeing my mother leave this earth.  I stepped into her nursing home room ready to be there for her because God was there for me.  

In this debate John Lennox was defending his belief in God over  the deep issue of  suffering on this earth from a Christian perspective and I love his answer.

 Is there anywhere evidence of the existence of a God whom I can trust with this deep issue? Yes. At the heart of Christianity there is a cross. The central claim of Christianity is that Jesus Christ is God incarnate – which raises the question: what is God doing on a cross? At the very least that shows me that God has not remained distant from human suffering but has become part of it. Furthermore, Christ rose from the dead, which is a guarantee that there is to be a future judgement. This is a marvelous hope, because it means that our conscience is not an illusion, and those who terrorize, abuse, exploit, defame and cause their fellow humans untold suffering will not get away with it. Atheism has no such hope--for it ultimate justice is an illusion.

Wish he had been on that plane and part of the conversation I had.  But God took this heavy hearted simple women and gave her the privilege of talking Jesus with someone.  You know I am praying for this man...he said, I gave him some things to think about.  


Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The Dash


On April 9th we buried my mother.  Culturally where I am from, the family stand to the side of the casket as people file past paying their respect.  Each one spoke quiet comforting words, some even told funny stories about my Mom so there was laughter at times, she would love that.   
  
So many said they were praying  strength for us as we grieved  Mom's passing.  Finally everyone had passed by and was seated for the start of the service.  My husband started it off with a story that made everyone laugh.  I had the honor to tell Mom's salvation story and how that gave me strength to let her go.  Then I shared how so many  try to find their strength in a bottle but the bottle always gets empty.  The Spirit of God never empties us, He stays in our soul and take us to heaven leaving our shell which is all we see in that casket.  The pain of losing a love one varies. For those who have no hope where their love one will go is not a grief that I will struggle with. As Paul said, to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. There will be a missing her grief for sure. 

My nephew gave the message on how our  life is that "dash" on our tombstone.  My mother dash was 89 years.   The dash symbolizes our entire life and we are the only one responsibility for what we do with it.  There is not enough space to write about all my Mom's life contained in that dash.  Even though she wanted to get out of the nursing home she still would give comfort to those around her.  The nurses would always tell me, your Mom is the friendliest person we have here, talks to everyone, what a legacy to live us.    So when she stopped doing that, starting staying in bed, not going to the singing's and the bingo we knew she was in the early process of dying.  Her mind gradually went back to  when her Mom and Dad were alive and it was great place to live for they loved her dearly. 

Of course all this stirs the heart to thinking about my own life, what do I want my legacy to be?  As I watched my son sit by his grandma bed singing old hymns she loved  and  my daughter laying next to her grandma singing to her, stroking her, kissing on her I think I know how my kids will treat me and their Dad when our day comes to leave this earth. 
I read this recently, "Everything I do in this life will be passed on to our children.  My ceiling will be their floor".  And I still have some time left to raise my ceiling.  

Thank you to all who prayed for my Mom, me and the family.  Those prayers brought heaven to earth often in the last two weeks.   


How are you doing in your dash?
   



Monday, April 4, 2016

Serenaded By Angels [Live]

                         

I cannot tell you how many times I have sung the song on this post at funerals,  enough that all my family has ask for it to be sang at their funerals, including my mother.

A few days ago we made the decision for me to go home and be with my mother while she could still know who I was. She is in the last stage of dying, her body is shutting down, hardly talks, eats no more then two bits of food offered her, moans a lot, cries out when the nurses move her. Today the decision was made to start her on morphine so she will be comfortable in this last stage.

Family and friends living in her home town hearing she is close to death stopped by today as I sit with her.  In a hushed voice I tried to explain how she is doing, many cried,  shocked at how fast she went down hill.  Bending down close to her face, each one gave her a kiss and said, I love you Mildred before they left her room.

I received several phone calls from family living long distance with  questions, should I come now,  how long do you think she will last?   Countless times I repeated what the Hospice nurse told me.  As hard as I tried I could not contained the tears from over flowing my eyes. It  feels like I am stuck between two places.     It's in that place my grief resides, wanting her to stay here yet wanting her to go on, to be out of pain.

Hospice has been great at helping us cope with the process of Mom dying.  Her body does not need physically energy that comes from food, the body is too frail to use it. So it's ok for her not to want to eat. .  According to Hospice a different energy is needed now, a spiritual energy.    At this point the one dying literally has one foot in each world, heaven and earth.   As she enters into the last stage of dying certain things will happen that are reserved for the end of life here unless it is a sudden death.

I as sitting right next to Mom as I type this, she is sleeping, not hurting at this moment because of the great meds.   I have watched a person in a remote place die,  no doctors, no nurse, no meds, it's not pretty and it's haunts you for the rest of your life but also brings a gratefulness in times like this because your loved one can have it all

Sometimes I stroke her hair, or  hold her warm hand, knowing soon that warmth will be leaving.  Her frail dress of flesh still holds life and because there is life she knows my voice and tries to open her eyes.  For months now she has been asking to go see her Mom and Dad who are dead.  No matter how deep her sleep is when you try to wake her, she will call out for her Mom.   I whisper in her ear now,   soon Mom you will see them, soon.  Just saying  those words fill me with courage to let her go.   it causes me to pray for God's mercy on her life..let it be quick, don't let her linger around this old earth, don't keep her in the dress of flesh, her robe of righteousness is hanging, waiting for her.

  In a weakened voice she ask  me to stay with her tonight so here I sit, writing to protect my mind and heart.  Somehow it calms me to put my feelings into words. Today my sister in law and I  picked out her burial clothes, talk about how we wanted the service to go,  who would do what.  Tonight I went through her things in her room at the nursing home, cleaned out closets, drawers, threw some stuff away, saved some things for this one and that one, you know those things ones does as we wait for a loved one to leave this world.  I am amazed at the strength God gave me to do that.  Sometimes I sing the song on this post, thanking Him that my daughter, her first Grandchild will be here to sing it.

I think I can stop now, the flow of words are ceasing to come and all that comes to my mind is, pray.