Storms of Contentment


 

Thunder boomed and lightning flashed overhead as I experience the first t-storm in my trailer…though normally I am scared of storms, this one seems peaceful.  Though normally I want to hide under the bed, this time I just typed away to the pitter patter of rain drops on my roof…Perhaps its because I’m finally content in my own little home.  Or simply knowing that God is in control…

 Even my cat has been content…during the last couple of moves, she seemed stress to the point of not eating and/or getting sick; however, since we moved to the trailer, her appetite has been normal and she seems more playful like a little kitten…

 Though I’ve had a few incidents with the trailer like draining the tanks during a downpour (Yeah, that’s my life now…), thinking my fridge was about to go out (just a matter of adjusting the temperature), and dealing with bugs…yeah, I’ll have to find a way to keep really gigantic ants and flies out of my trailer

 Yet, I often worry about these little things…in some ways, I get impatient with them yet I’m working on being patient…because little things happening is a part of life.  I stress and worry about things like getting ready to go back to work…or making a good impression in my new community and church.

 Therefore, I need to let to let worry go as heard on the radio the other day when the DJ quoted the following by CS Lewis (The Collected Letters, vol 3):

Remember one is given strength to bear what happens to one, but not the 100 and 1 different things that might happen…and I’m sure God never teaches us to fear of anything…

Yeah, that’s me…I worry about 101 plus different things and constantly fearful like worried about what could happen as I prepare to start my new job…

 Or most recently…I had an interaction with someone and my analytical mind thought I had done something wrong because I didn’t hear from the person for a few days.  So I became almost physically sick from worry…yet, that was not the case.

 Yeah, I could say I have a right to fear because things have happened in my life…yet, I continue to pass through those valleys and come out stronger each time with the strength God has given me.

 Anyway, what are you worried about?  What can you do to lessen stress and worry in your life? 

According to Luke 12;25 (NIV) “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?” 

As someone who needs to keep stress down due to a health concern, I’m not helping by worrying so I need to let go and turn it all over to God…and not be so fearful about what could happen.  Or just be like my cat as she cuddles with me during the storm…knowing Mama will take care of her like God, the Father, takes care of us…

 Or, like I do, take a moment, sit on the front step, and just enjoy His Creation and the wonders of the earth…meditating on his word with scripture reading and prayer.

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The Son Always Shines in Storms


While writing this blog, I was sitting at one of my favorite parks, which consist of a small lake and a few picnic tables.  Actually, it’s a spot for launching boats; however, I enjoy sitting at this spot while writing, reading, or artwork.  The park is quaint – kind of hard to find – but, once it’s found, its nestled in a forest with tree covered mountains on the opposite shore.  Yet, the atmosphere is relaxing and the air smells so clean out there as people come to fish, boat, or even just picnic.

 

This park is similar to others in my new location…for example, one park appears to be a partially dried up lake but its landscape is breathtaking.  Yet, it waters sparkle in the sunlight, eagles and hawks soar high above its waves, and it stretches from my new town to another town about fifteen miles away.

 

Then there is the breathtaking commute for my job…yes, God has provided a new job and more details are coming…of Mount Rainier, which is about a twenty-minute drive from my new job in a tiny lakeside community…the job even has a peekaboo view of the mountain.

 

So, this is my new home…recently I’ve started a new bible study about rising as a lioness…the book describes being in God’s creation to understand Him and his nature.  Thus I believe I am in the right place, however, before I arrived at this place, it took going through quite a few storms.  Like the death of my husband and facing the possibility of losing my home…yet doors have been opened such as finding a church, new home, and now a job plus another door may be opening soon…one I thought had been closed a long time ago.

 

While writing, storms clouds hovered over the mountains and lake…the occasional downpour would be released from these clouds but it was refreshingly cool and warm at the same time.  Yet, this came after a message at church based on Matthew 14:22-36 about Jesus calming the storm and how Jesus tells his disciples to be courageous and not fear even in the midst of the storms.

 

Thus I was reminded of an old quote I have cherished over the years…even in the midst of storms, the Son is still shining…as the storm started to clear up before I left the still amazingly beautiful park to head for my church’s evening service.

 

So what storms are you facing?  Whatever they are, I’m praying for you and just remember, as quoted in the message, God is growing you and, as I learned since losing my husband, focus on Him as the anchor throughout the storm.

 

 

Praising the Lord as I Hit the Bumps in the Journey


Hello, how are you my friends?  Hope all is well as I write tonight’s blog…

So, as I write this, I will first let you know that I may not write a blog for at least a week as I prepare to focus on a final paper on a passage in the book of Micah for my class on the OT Prophets this week.  Yep, another class is about to end and that will be one more down with five more to go…if I get a chance, maybe i’ll pop in and write a few notes about the final as I discover the Lord’s lessons in this study…

Anyway, as I go through this journey of earning a degree towards a Master in Pastoral Care, I have been hit with a few bumps in terms of my own health and even my husband’s health, which have forced me to cut back my hours at the church but I won’t give it up.  I almost did but God reminded me that He wanted me there and opened my eyes to another option of cutting back hours, which I have, as I face the bumps in my journey.

  • Bump 1:  As for my health, I won’t go into details but earlier this year I was finally diagnosed with diabetes and began treatment.  Currently its just taking a med twice a day as my condition is monitored.  This has forced me to watch what I eat and focus more on natural ways to heal my body.  For the most part, I’m controlling it.
  • Bump 2:  Then, throughout the course of getting routine checkups, a biopsy has occurred with the results to be on the lookout for a concern and be treated for it…no its not the c word, yet, praise the Lord and praising the Lord that it won’t become the c word.
  • Bump 3:  Another routine test confirmed a suspicion – I have partial hearing loss…it took 20 years until I finally got a doctor to really listen and have me tested.  IF something is not right, be persistent with doctors.  Yet, I need to be tested for something else to explain the physical reason why I have partial hearing loss (thought it was from either getting hit by a baseball plus construction at work at the time).  Even need expensive hearing aids!  But praising the Lord that He’s in control…
  • Bump 4:  Finally, yet another issue has been hitting my body that has led to the discovery of low iron and hemoglobin levels – yet another round of tests coming up…yes, I’m still praising the Lord!
  • Bump 5:  My husband has been having circulation problems again and this next week he will be having an angiogram on his hip to determine the extent of lack of blood flow in his right stump…yet I’m still praising the Lord.

Well, to be honest, I haven’t always been praising the Lord – over the course of the last several days, I’ve had my scary moments and even questioned why the Lord would send me on the journey to get a degree in ministry, only to have my health be attacked like this.  Yet, I continue to praise Him even in the scary times and sought both His comfort and the comfort of my husband’s arms and strong encouraging words.

I’ve felt alone because I’ve asked for prayer from people and not getting much response…yet I still praise the Lord and I will still pray for people.  Though the storm clouds seem dark right now, I know the Son is still shining and HE is in control.

Suggestion:  Be there for people as they are going through a rough time…even if you don’t know what to say or do, just a simple I’m praying for you will work.  Being silent only makes the person(s) think you don’t care and the storm clouds seem darker.  Yet that person(s) knows they still have Jesus at their side.

Finally, no questions tonight, but just a wrap up…even if you are still silent with people, you are still loved…as we continue to praise the Lord and put our trust in Him.

The Sun Still Shines and Kickin’ the Devil’s Butt


Years ago, I do not remember exactly what I was doing but I do remember walking out of my home after a dark storm and seeing a rainbow high above in the sky.

Then I was given the following word or thought:

The thunder rolled

Fear came over me

Reminding me that you were

Kickin’ the devil’s butt

Then, all will be at peace

As a rainbow appears

Reminding us of the victory

Even now, we are facing a dark fear as our savings have dwindled, credit cards are maxed (that we can’t pay now) and the dark clouds called worry about finances loom over our head.  Yet, we know God is the victor and He will work this out especially since we want to save our credit to do things for His glory.

Often, we all go through dark periods in our life.  We may wonder if there is hope or if we will be able to come out of the darkness.  Yet even as the darkness is overwhelming, we must also remember that God is in the midst of the dark storm as we are reminded that even as we living under the clouds of adversity, the Son is still shining (I read this somewhere a long time ago but I don’t have the reference).

Even now, we are facing other situations that make our future look cloudy yet even as we face this darkness, we must endure and remember that God is walking beside us and helping us through these dark clouds.  That we must keep believing in Him and know that He is our provide and our victor.

After all, Psalms 20 (NIV) reads:

May the Lord answer you when you are in distress;   may the name of the God of Jacob protect you.  May he send you help from the sanctuary  and grant you support from Zion.  May he remember all your sacrifices and accept your burnt offerings.[ May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.  May we shout for joy over your victory and lift up our banners in the name of our God.

May the Lord grant all your requests.

Now this I know: The Lord gives victory to his anointed. He answers him from his heavenly sanctuary with the victorious power of his right hand. Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. They are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise up and stand firm. Lord, give victory to the king!     Answer us when we call!

I know you’re probably asking – should we as God’s children be free from pain and darkness?  No, it rains on the just and the unjust.  Yet, even as we face these moments of an unsure future, I am glad I have Him at my side and kicking some devil butt and He will be the victor as He gives us peace, victory, and hope in troubling and uncertain times.

So what are you going through that seems dark and hopeless?  Are you scared about the future?  Whatever it is, I’m praying for you that you are able to seek God’s peace and put your trust in Him as He walks alongside you.

Life and Storms


So, this week has been a week of trials and some good.  You often wonder why God tests you to the point of feeling as if you are going to break as you wonder if how much you should continue to have faith in Him.

The trials have included worries about finances as we wonder if our finances will be blessed.  My husband’s health as even tonight he may have had a TIA.  We had tests down this week and wait for the results.  Yet I worry as these TIA episodes are occuring more frequently in the last few months.  Then, his care while starting a new class.

As I start this new class, the webpage for my class does not want to cooperate – it is the only webpage on my computer not working so I was told it was my connection.  Yet, wanting to fix it on my own (and not listening to helpdesk), I decided to do a system restore and see if something was causing the problem.  Taking too long, I stopped the program and managed to crash my computer.  Yep…the computer that has all my important stuff on it and what I use for school  – crashed and burn. After much hair pulling, I found a way to back up all important documents and restored everything through a clean sweep and restore of my computer.

More panic came as I remembered all the software was still packed away along with any registration numbers, etc. for such software.  So, last night was spent worrying about all that needed to be done to find and reload the software.  Thus, this morning was spent climbing over snow tires and other boxes in our storage in search of software.  Managed to walk away with a few scratches and near falls but I survived the adventure and found what I needed quickly.  I was able to restore most of my laptop though there are a few things that need figuring out like how to restore my spare monitor.

These trials and storms remind me that I have a weakness that does not always call on the Lord in prayer.  I must admit I need to do more of it and not go into panic mode.  I need to rely on God more during these storms as my husband, even with not him not feeling well, prayed in the background.

Furthermore, as I fought the depression, I saw these words from a bible study called Girls with Swords by Lisa Bevere:

“Don’t allow the surrounding pressure to depress you or oppress you.  Don’t allow the enemy to cause you to imagine it is an invitation to a beating.  The pressure from all sides is part of a divine plan to mold and fashion you into someone with substance and depth.  You will come out of this womb of tempering, drawing a breath of strength.”

Yes, even during these storms and trials, I need to remind myself that God does have a plan for us and that I need Him and I will not allow the enemy to drag me into depression or fits of panic since I am a warrior daughter of the most high King and He will help me through these storms and out of the “shadow of death” or depression.

In conclusion, as I write this blog and study God’s word, I am feeling that peace and know that God is in control with our finances, my husband’s health, and even when a computer crashes.  Yet, now as I finish this blog, I was tested again and failed when I thought the blog had disappeared.

I won’t end with a question but with a reminder that we will fail at times even during a test yet we still need to focus on Him and submit to God and His will.

Emergency Broadcast Alerts…


Very interesting experience whenever a major storm is approaching our area.  As we watch television, our show is interrupted by an emergency alert signal warning of a severe thunderstorms coming to our area.

At first, I found them interesting since on the west side of Washington state this interruption never occurred.  Our television shows were only interrupted about once a month by these warnings and then it was just a test.

Last night, these warnings came on again and I tried to ignore them after I read that my area would be impacted by a huge dust storm along with a thunder storm.  The storm came as we saw flashes of light from lightening, flicking light and hear the roar of thunder along with the howling wind that even scared the cat, who was quite the cuddle bunny all night.  Then morning came and all seemed well with the world as the sun tried to peak through the remaining clouds.

The only significant impact to us from the storm was that my car will need a bath sooner than expected from the dust storm that left thick globs of mud and debris on the vehicle.  Oh, well, I am grateful that it was not worse as we hear of significant damage throughout the area.

As I prepared for bed, I reflected on these warning signals and how we so often dismiss or ignore them if they seem to be a nuisance.  After all, isn’t a television program more important than these signals?

As I reflected, I realize that we tend to ignore other warning signs, or checks in our stomach, as the Holy Spirit warns us of danger or falling to the temptation of sin.  After all, these warning signs may be an inconvenience to our human thinking; however, they may be guiding us and helping us navigate through life’s ups and downs.

The Newsboys has a great song about the “job” of the Holy Spirit and its warning system – some of the lyrics of the chorus go something like this:

It’s an early warning sign
It keeps my life in line
But it’s so hard  to define, never mind

Newsboys – Spirit Thing

Furthermore, not only do we need the Holy Spirit to warn us of danger, it also instructs us on how to live and helps us remember verses that will help us through life – during both the good and bad times.

After all, according to John 14:26 (New King James Version):  But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you…

Therefore, in conclusion, take heed when you are being warned of danger either through the Holy Spirit or even an emergency broadcast system.  Above all, remember that God is at your side even if you are in danger and He will be there to guide and comfort you.

What warning signs have you been getting through a check in your spirit or even through an emergency broadcast system?  Do you take heed or do you ignore the signs?  Are you in tune to the Holy Spirit so you know what He is trying to tell you?

Even on cloudy, rainy and stormy days — the sun is still shining…


Summer is quickly approaching; however, the raindrops keep falling on the ground around us. Some people love rain and wish they had more; others wish summer would come with less rain. Depends on which part of the country you live in right now, I guess.

Will we miss the rain when we move to Nevada? Perhaps; however, I grew up in a desert like community and I miss the heat and dryness of a lazy summer afternoon.

Recently, I visited my grandparents’ old farm in Eastern Washington. That day, it was raining versus when I normally visit and it is quite hot and dry. Along with a chorus of birds (I wish I had recorded their songs), I was given a view that caused me to choke up. Low clouds clung to the mountains as the residue of rain still lingered on the trees, grass, and other plantation including sagebrush. Therefore, I fell in love with the desert again!

I know it will not always be cool and rainy in the desert; however, as we explored the desert of Death Valley, I was awed and inspired by God’s creation. I thought, I cannot wait until I have the time to paint and raw again because the scenery is worth painting down there. I also realized that I will need to adapt to a new climate. How will I do it? Only time and trials will tell.

Will I miss the rain that falls on the green trees here in the Northwest? Of course, I will; however, I know God will use us to provide relief from the trials of life for people as we minister to them and I’m looking forward to that as much as I’m looking forward to being able to paint again.

What will you miss if you were going on a new journey? What are you looking forward to in life? What trial are you facing for your new journey?

Finally, I was reading recently that even when it rains, the rain is cleaning the earth and making things new. The sun is something to look forward to once the storm is over. Therefore, remember, even as the clouds are spitting rain and its cloudy and cold, the sun is still shining.