Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Probing Prosperity

When I think of prosperity, I think of spiritual prosperity. The type of prosperity that lasts a lifetime, not just a matter of a few short years on this earth. I think of prosperity in the
form of richness. Not richness in money, but richness in the Lord. A value that far outweighs anything else imaginable.

When I think of Prosperity, I am reminded of the three men whom were given certain amounts of money, and each chose how to spend
their share, or to squander their share. How investing was favored and squandering was not.

When I think of prosperity, I acknowledge the wealth of information in God’s word, that cannot come close to any amount if intelligence anywhere.

When I think of prosperity, I think of friendships that seem to last forever, relationships that grow closer as the years go by, and new acquaintances we can always glean a bit of worthwhile
advice from.

When I think of prosperity, I am reminded of the very act of Jesus’ death that provided an inheritance to us like no other!

Prosperity is something that can be evil, destroying everything in its path, and abrasive. Yet, is can equally be as Godly, life-giving and warmly welcomed.

How do you view prosperity? I challenge you for the next 30 days to ponder this thought. “What does prosperity mean to me?” Think it through, answer it honestly, and share with someone else! You will find out what real prosperity truly is.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Plan and A Purpose

I ask myself from time to time as I look around me at the trials and tribulations I am going through, who I am and why am I even here.

* I know I am a child of God because I believe in Jesus and have received His gift of salvation. Acts 16:31

* I know I have received an inheritance because of Jesus' death on the cross for me and He now lives in me. Ephesians 1

* I realize God knew me while I was being formed in my mother's womb. Psalms 139

Once in a while, I still wonder about my existence and place in this world.

Jeremiah 29:11 says the Lord has plans for me, plans not of harm or pain, but to give me a hope and a future. I truly must choose to stand on these words, sometimes daily when the storms get so fierce and I am being tossed to and fro by unmerciful waves. I must believe God has great plans for me and cares about the smallest affairs of my life. He feeds the birds and surely I am more to him than fowl of the air. I am the apple of His eye. I can be secure in His love for me, and I know He will let nothing happen tome outside of His will for my life. With God on my side, what could mere man do to me.

I have all these promises and so many more. Maybe my focus is all wrong. I should be keeping my eyes on the One who created me, not the circumstances I often create for myself. Let me encourage you to do the same. No one compares to Him. Almighty God, King of Kings, Lord of Lords.

What more significance could we ever need?

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Priceless Cost of Patience

My youngest daughter Tiffany, was sharing with me how God was showing her just how much patience He has with her. She sculpts equine and has been working on a very elaborate piece for over a year now. Needless to say, she has felt exhilerated, frustrated, excited and defeated during the course of this entricate project.

She told me just as she forms the clay figure, it often it resists her slightest touch. She diligently works with it, removing ever so gently edges she no longer desires. Tiffany sometimes has to start all over, and often she has wanted to just give up. God showed her how much patience He has with her. Often she too resists and is on edge from time to time. But never does her heavenly Father want to start all over with her. Never does He want to just give up on her. As a matter of fact, He specifically tells her in His Word, He will never leave her nor forsake her.

This reminded me of how impatient I am with others from time to time. How I often resist God's nudging, miss His voice, resist His molding of me, and sometimes feel like giving up on Him when the world comes crashing around me and I feel He is not near or does not care. I Peter 5:7 tells me to "Cast my cares upon Him for He cares for me." How can He mold me and be the Potter He needs to be, when I , the clay, am rebuking His correction? How can He mold and make me into His own image when I am not compliant, cooperative or content in the trials or tribulations He has allowed for me?

I must realize as my daughter Tiffany has, that because it is God Who is the Potter, and thankfully I am the clay, I know these truths. I am fearfully and wonderfully made, I am complete in Him, no one can pluck me out of my Father's hand, I am more than a conqueror through Him Who strengthens me, and I have an inheretance because of Jesus' death for me. WOW!

We truly serve a patient and loving God. One Who will never give up on us!!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

To Praise or Not To Praise

Psalm 150:1 says "Let everything that has breath, praise the Lord."

This is a quote I use often in the signature of my emails I send out each day to family and friends. When I think of everything that has breath, I am reminded of my sweet Lhasa Apso's. I wonder how they praise the Lord. I know the Bible talks about even the rocks praising God. What an awesome concept. Things that do not even have life as we know it praise the Lord. So how much more should we living beings, created by almighty God, His very life breathed into us, praise Him?

I find in days of depression and frustration, it is not easy to praise the Lord. I know He tells us to count it all joy when trials and tribulations come our way, and they do. I try to reflect on scriptures like Phil. 4:4, "Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice."

I remember how Jesus suffered so much and that we should not be above suffering ourselves when our precious Lord and Savior suffered much.

I will often put on praise and worship music to help me enter into the frame of mind I am to have at all times actually. God says "He inhabits the praises of His people." So what better place to be than in the very presence of God Himself? There is no better place to be.

Whether in good times, or in bad, whether during prosperity or poverty, when it shines or when it rains, I must choose to praise God if only because I have breath.

I can be thankful to Him because I am living this day, have a voice to sing praises with, hands to lift on high in adoration, and a heart that beats to the very rhythm of His calling. I will praise the Lord, with everything within me as long as I have breath!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Hard Times in Rough Spots

I recently had the honor of comforting a dear friend of mine going through some truly hard times. As I listened to her sorrow and heard her pain and grief, I could not help but feel the same and cry with her. I know God never promised us joy in every situation, especially those rough spots we get ourselves into.

It seems in our lives, we have our own plans and God has His plans. Of course, just like the straight and narrow road leads to everlasting life and the winding and broad road to eternal death, so it is with plan A from God or plan B from ourselves.

When my husband and I bought our home over eight years ago, we never planned on living the heartache we have since the first winter we spent here in Grants Pass, Oreogn. Two weeks after the rain came, our toilet in our front bathroom refused to flush, the bathtub would not drain, and our horses were standing in knee deep mud in the pasture. During this first year when we went to move furniture around, we found 18 inches of black and green mold heartily growing along three of the inside bedroom walls. We are still fighting this predator to little avail. We tried blaming God, the woman who sold us this house, the real estate agent who helped us purchase this house, and then finally the true culprit, ourselves. We had to finally take blame for the havoc we brought upon ourselves and our children for the past eight plus years.

God says in, Matthew 11:30, "His yoke is easy and His burden is light". We carry heavy backpacks because we have filled them ourselves with rocks or because we do not lay them down at the altar for Jesus to carry for us. In I Peter, God tells us to "Cast your burdens on Him, for He cares for you."

Next time you are going through hard times and are in a rough spot, look unto heaven, meet eye to eye with your heavenly Father, and pour out your heart to Him. He says in Hebrews 13:5, "He will never leave you nor forsake you." Often we get ourselves into rough spots that cause us hard times. Let Jesus lift you out of despair through repentance and confession. He says in
I John 1:9, " If you confess your sins, He is faithful and just to forgive you your sins, and cleanse you from all unrighteousness." Your times of defeat can become times of victory, and the rough spots can be made smooth with a little help from Jesus. Philippians 4:13 reminds us, "All things are possible through Jesus Christ." Be encouraged!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Remember God's Call

It's the deep feeling of servanthood that forever resides in your heart and intensely stirs your soul. Whether full of strength or unimaginably weak, the task must be accomplished!

The man on the street needing fed and clothed, the lonely child without a father gently searching for love, the single mother found at the grocery store fifty cents short for a loaf of bread, a rejected teenager who's only bed is the backseat of a car, the recently widowed man who's suddenly alone in the cold and distant world, an orphaned infant left tragically alone when a natural disaster claims its parents lives, are all circumstances which cannot be ignored, forgotten, or left uncared for.

There is no choice, only the command. Obedience is not an option but is mandatory just as a heart beats, until inevitable death. It wakes you at night to pray earnestly, produces tears for another one's pain, allows for immense happiness in a time of rejoicing and causes extreme sacrifice at all costs even unto an untimely death.

Instilled by Almighty God, gently spoken by Jesus Himself, and birthed by the Holy Spirit, this calling is a substance both tangibly felt and ferociously driven. It is inevitably accepted and acted upon in a most incredible way, leaving your soul satisfied and your spirit uplifted. It's this calling that owns every part of the one that is chosen, imparting an eternal God-given purpose, unmistabley real and devotedly divine.

This calling is what motivates as it intensifies. There is no escaping it. Nor would you want to. There is nothing quite like it in all the world.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Strong Will Survive

One day while I was traveling home from Eugene, Oregon, I noticed several ewes walking along a dirt laden path fenced off beside the highway. Towards the end were a couple of tiny, almost hairless baby lambs running for their lives to catch up to their parents far ahead of them. I noticed the adults were carelessly moving in the direction of the dinner bell I am presuming, yet the lambs seemed to have a mission in mind.It is like they knew they had to keep up or lose out. They were driven by a fierce sense of surviving. How tiny their legs were yet some of them steamed ahead as if running in a marathon. A couple tragically lagged far behind and would stop once in a while to rest. As I watched the strong steam ahead with careful strides quickly narrowing the vast distance between themselves and their parents, the slackers left behind, seemed to almost give up and confusingly searched wearily for another path to take.

This so clearly reminds me of how only the strong will survive in this world. Be it fighting for our physical lives due to illness or disease, emotionally arguing with our dysfunction and the woundings of our pasts, or wrestling vicariously against the powers of hell itself in the here and now.

The Lord said for us to be strong and of good courage, and not to be afraid, for He is with us, Deut. 31:6. And if He is with us, who could ever be against us? Our strength comes from the Lord on high, and it is His strength which will be sufficient in our times of weakness.

The strong will certainly survive, if we remain grounded in Him, putting Him first above all else Matt. 6:33and trusting only in Him. We cannot lean on our own understanding because God Himself is the only One worthy of our trust. People will fail us and betray us, but God will never leave us or forsake us. What reassuring words we can stand on, and keep standing.
Because the strong lambs wholeheartedly run the race without giving up, victory is theirs because and the unmistakable driving force behind them keeps them moving forward, closer and closer to Jesus.

The strong will survive .... and great shall be their reward in heaven.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Silent Sanctuary

In the coolness of the night, the stars shown brightly as a magnificent show in the heavenlies. The crackling of the embers from a fire not yet burned out, reminds me of more solemn days of old. I did not shiver from the low temperatures all around me as the warmth from the fire kept me cozy. I stood with warm vanilla tea in hand, staring at the marvelous scenery all around me. Though the skies were surely dark and the air lightly crisp, I drew a smile amongst tall Evergreens and beautiful Aspens that beheld even the quietest arrangement of this autumn season. A beautiful light danced across the star-filled sky and I watched with wonder as it gracefully fell from one part of the universe to the other. Peace and quiet filled the air as I thought about how this time of rest so fulfilled me and brought joy to my restless heart. Appreciation filled my deepest being and the longing of my heart at that very moment was to be nowhere else but where I was. Contentment was my best friend in the stillness of the silent night. "How thankful I am to be alive this moment", I said to myself. To enjoy the time of solitude beneath the skies that show forth my Maker's sheer brilliance. What a night to remember, to ponder and reflect upon.

Here and now, was all that mattered.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

7 Stages of a Prodigal Mom

For all the mother's out there who ache for their wayward children and long to see them return to the Lord~

Acceptance – we must first accept the fact our children have fallen away from their Lord. Denial, pride, and fear keep us from the truth. It is this truth that leads us to lift our children in prayer, to lay them on the alter and leave them there for God to mold and to make them as He sees fit.

Confession – we must confess areas we have blown it, missed it or turned our heads. God is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us, restore and heal our children as well as ourselves. When we confess our shortcomings to the Lord, we are humbled and God can then begin to do the work He has been waiting to do in us all.

Repentance – repentance is a necessary component of our walk with God. It cannot be exchanged, duplicated or ignored. Just as repentance leads us to salvation, clearing our slate gives us a fresh start which enables God to do a new thing in us and in our families.

Forgiveness – without Christ’s forgiveness, we and our children are lost souls. We must have this key to restore our relationship back to the way God intended it to be. Our hope lies in God alone and with His help all things are possible.

Promises – the promises of God are forever and extend past the gates of Jerusalem. We can stand on the promises of God for our children and our household that all will be saved. Prodigals do return.

Journey – It has been said it is not the destination that is most important but the journey getting there. In the case of eternal life, the destination is of utmost importance, but it is so true that the journey is the path that leads there. Travel wisely.

Victory – the victory is God’s, so let the battle be His as well. David understood the importance of waiting, listening, obeying and standing back to watch God reveal Himself in some of the most miraculous ways. We Mothers would do well to desire the heart of David.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Anticipaition on the Horizon

I'm sitting here no more than 5 feet from my sweet hubby Ken, but how I miss him already. I can't imagine the plans God has for our new journey to Arizona, but I sure do pray they include us being together soon enough.

In only a few weeks, I will help him pack his personal items, clothing, computer, some tools and several other items of his choosing, into his truck to be off on his long journey back to Arizona.....without me. He's going to look for work there since Oregon has not offered him anything that will feed, clothe and provide a home for us. Prayerfully, he will get a job shortly after getting settled in to a motel room in Phoenix.

I will be remaining here atleast until December after I am finish my interns in Criminal Law and finally getting my Juvenile corrections certificate soon. Where the two years of going to college have gone I have no idea, but I really didn't want to finish without Ken around. I remember the Lord telling me, He will never leave me or forsake me as He spoke in Hebrews 13:5 in the Bible. Even when it feels like I am alone, He is with me. When I feel I have no more strength to go on, God reminds me I can do all things through His Son Jesus as told in Philippians 4:13. Since God is always with me and I can do everything in Him, obviously I am going to make it through this trial, but how I wish I didn't have to be separated from my hubby at this time.

I know God is able to keep that which He began and He turns bad things for good to them that love Him and are called according to His purposes. What better promises could I have to remind me God is with me, strengthens me, will protect me and the bad things that come my way during this new journey back to Arizona, will work in my favor, mature me in His ways, strengthen me with His power and maybe, just maybe I will be molded more into His image; a heart's desire of mine indeed.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Simplify for Your Sanity

I have been spending a lot of time around my home trying to simplify things and organize before my anticipated move to Arizona in December. It seems a never-ending task when I look around at all of the stuff I have accumulated. Things from long ago, recently purchased, items given to me by others, special things of great worth and sentiment. It is no wonder I get so overwhelmed with where to put all of these items. It makes me feel insane as I ty to get my mind focused on the enormous job awaiting my devout attention.

I believe God is speaking to my heart about simplifying my life by sorting out the necessary and the unimportant. I have memories, both easily recalled and those that take far more effort to bring to mind. I feel as if one day I will forget everything that meant so very much to me. So I tuck items of any significance away in order to have them at my fingertips when I want to remember and soak up the moment one more time.

I must be thoughtful though, of the quality of my life each day. Looking around at all of this stuff seems to get in the way of my enjoying the moment. Organizing, pictures alone, will take the rest of my life and finding places for everything special to me, puts me in a place of needing a second house just to store everything.

So I am taking my time going through all the special items that I had such great memories for, but sharing many with those that are less fortunate. I am reminded of the saying, "One man's trash is another man's treasure". So true. I have am entire garage to prove this to be true. What is stored in all those boxes, I have no idea, and I definitely have not been enjoying those things where they lay.

For my own sanity I must accomplish this task. Stuff has filled my living space and cramped my style long enough. As today is the day of salvation, it is also the day to sort and send off to another place. Who knows, maybe some of my stuff, might become a memory for someone else and serve a better purpose than sitting in a box simply forgotten.

To simplify, is truly great sanity.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Are We Christians of Compromise?

It seems today the world is filled with compromising Christians. I was one for a time myself. I chose the shots, lived within a comfortable little bubble I seldom left, and narrowed my mind enough to believe God could easily send someone else in my place if I felt unqualified for the job or request He had given me.

God mentions how he detests being neither hot nor cold, and would rather spit those of us that fit this mold, out of his mouth. WOW! Alright, He has my attention now.
The God that loves me, adores me, and sent His only Son for me, would rather spit me out of His mouth? Understandably so.

God tells us if we love Him, we will obey His commandments, But then why is it so easy for us to proclaim how much we love Him, yet it is so hard for us to obey the commands He has given us for our benefit?

As God desires a deep relationship with us and has laid His most prized possession on the line for our sins, past, present and future, why can we not willingly and solely give our lives over to Him to be used by Him in ways He sees best? That would mean complete surrender, oh no! It would mean breaking up our comfortable bubble and possibly changing seats to sit near someone new in church, or reaching out to the cashier in line at the grocery store when we see they have had a bad day, or worst yet, it might mean giving more to our church so that more needs could be met.
Compromise.... that is why. We get to a complacent state in our walk with the Lord and we forget Who it is we serve. Who do we rely upon for our very existence? Who is our ultimate provider, precious sacrifice for our sins and deliverer when we are wronged or in trouble?

I believe this is why God told Moses to have the people erect a monument to remind His children of the great and awesome things He had done for them. And we too, need to be reminded so often, of just how big a God we can look up to, trust in, rely upon and serve.

God gives such simple commands, and yet we stoop to compromise when the going gets tough. Had Jesus taken this approach, we would all be lost to our sins and destined for the Lake of fire. Praise God He did not choose to compromise and He stayed true to His promises. He obeyed, almighty God Himself, to the point of giving up His only Son. His Son that would be mocked by many, spit upon and ridiculed by crowds of people, and denied by those that even call upon His name.

Let the monuments in your mind and the love in your heart motivate you to be faithful and true to God, the creator of this universe and everything in it. Compromise no more because who wants to be spit out of God's mouth anyway?

Friday, September 18, 2009

Covenant Truth in Marriage

What is God’s outlook on marriage?

From Genesis to Revelation, God’s heart never changes, never compromises on the issue of marriage. He enters into the very foundation because marriage was His idea. It was selected as an example of the relationship between Jesus and the church, God’s own people, and Himself. Do we demonstrate this wonderful, sacred relationship to others?

Jesus and the church are compared with one another because of the covenant between God and His people. We base our entire lives on covenant conditions yet we don’t believe our marriages are covenants. Marriage is not a contract, it is a covenant.

When we enter into covenant, we exchange all our goods; we give one another all we have. We pour into eachother unconditionally; all that is mine is yours. It is so important to understand this covenant. There are covenant rules we must follow but there seems to be a slow seduction that ensnares us and causes us to view marriage as no more than an exchange of names on a piece of paper.

Understanding Covenant

At the fall of man our covenant relationship was interrupted. Adam lost the belongings God had given to him by disobeying God and eating from the tree of good and evil. So when Satan tempted Jesus with the things of this world, they really belonged to Satan because of default on Adam’s part. Think about it - relationship was interrupted between Adam and God because he became disobedient and gave up his rights to rule and subdue the earth. At this moment, man entered into covenant with the devil of this earth. Satan became owner of what Adam had previously been given. The exchange was experienced through covenant. God wanted us comfortable in life, but through the fall of man, we entered into covenant with Satan and became his guests here on earth, therefore giving up our rights to being comfortable. Because God is a covenant-honoring God, He had to stick to His own rules.

How could God, through legitimate covenant exchange, redeem man now? It happened at the cross. John 3:16 says, “God so loved the world He gave His only begotten Son, (Jesus) that whosoever would believe in Him, would not perish, (be eternally condemned to hell) but have everlasting life.” God loves us unconditionally, and through marriage, He asks for us to do the same for Him as well as our spouse. The Lord tells us others are won by our testimony, What kind of testimony will we have if we divorce our spouses? No one divorces a spouse they love, but one whom they hate. When God tells us to love everyone, this includes our possibly unlovable spouse. Love is the greatest gift one can give to another.

In Mark 10, Jesus shares the heart of God on the issue of divorce. Verses 2 through 9, Jesus tells the Pharisees the reason Moses said it was alright for people to divorce. It was because of the hardness of their hearts. Not because of sexual immorality, not because of abuse and certainly not because spouses were just not getting along. Jesus said this was not God’s way for marriages. From the very beginning God made man and woman to be joined together permanently in marriage. A man was to leave his father and mother and cleave unto his wife therefore becoming one and said let no man separate what God has joined together.” I wonder sometimes what part of that last command we don’t quite understand especially when a couple firmly says, ‘But what about this or that?’ I think God shares His heart on this issue quite clearly. Moses allowed the people to write a letter of divorce because of the hardness of their hearts, but God says it should never have been so. He hates divorce as spoken in Malachi 2:16. This hardness of hearts flows down from our spouses to our children as well. It is not very often someone who is seeking divorce thinks of what it might mean to their children. Satan is not for marriages and he can care less about your covenant before God or your children’s best interests. He comes to tear down that which God wants to build. What matters most should be what God says on the matter of marriage and divorce. Often we find the hardest thing to surrender is our own personal reasons for divorce. God knows what is best for families and divorce should never be an option if our relationships are right with God.

Adhering to Marriage Covenant

The truth of marriage covenant can only be understood through the clear understanding of what being in covenant with God means. Choosing one sin over another that excludes us from this covenant we made with God and before God reveals we really do not understand marriage covenant. How can we determine which sin will it be that causes us to disobey the Lord’s command on this issue of marriage thus also causing our spouse to sin in this same manner and disqualifying our covenant with God? How can we say to God it is this particular sin that therefore causes us to default on our covenant with Him? When we divorce, do we simply wipe our spouse out of our lives? New spouses, new lives, same covenant; marriage just doesn’t work that way.

We have a tremendous responsibility to love one another as sometimes it is truly challenging. I remember the first 10 years or so of my marriage to my present husband. Selfishness, lust, physical and emotional abuse, adultery, pornography, and unfaithfulness brought my husband and I to our knees. Had it not been for God’s gracious power to heal, strengthen, forgive and restore us and our marriage we would be part of the 60% divorce statistic while planting seeds of divorce into our children’s and grandchildren’s lives and their future marriages. What kind of legacy would we have left them?

If you have been divorced, going through a divorce or thinking of divorcing your spouse, truly repenting and sincerely apologizing to your spouse as well as your children for a lack of love for one another, lack of obedience to the Lord and breech your commitment to the Lord and to the other parent is highly advised. Divorce is not an unforgivable sin and God reminds us there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus as in Romans 8:1. Get back into obedience to Jesus and put the past behind you with a new revelation of what covenant marriage really is.

Eternal issues are at stake involving marriage and divorce. Since all things are possible with Jesus’ help and we are more than conquerors through Him, we must allow God to heal our pain, the anger and sorrows, feelings of betrayal and choose to forgive. Fight for the restoration of your marriage. Stand in the gap for the spouse in conflict and if need be, separate yourself for a time as in the case of violence or abuse in the marriage. God urges us, “When you have done all to stand, keep standing.” Be encouraged! God said He would never leave you or forsake you and He meant it. Embrace your marriage for the covenant it is. Enjoy a deep and satisfying relationship with almighty God as well the one He has blessed you with.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

A Legacy Worth Leaving

During my last visit to see my grandchildren, son and daughter-in-law in Arizona, I realized how important a legacy really is. I understand the importance of belonging, feeling secure in the Lord and knowing who I am in Christ, but something dawned on me like never before. As my own children are growing up and having children of their own, a lasting legacy is being built. Whether intentional or not, it is happening right before my very eyes. A legacy to pass on to future generations is being created by each and every family member. Every parent, son and daughter is helping shape and mold the future generations and a legacy is being born. How each of us contributes to this lifelong endeavor is yet to be seen, but we each have a part in building it and it’s up to every individual being to choose what their share is they want to offer.

My grandson, grand daughter and I were sitting in church and we heard the second half of a profound teaching on residing in the wilderness. Without much consideration I knew Pastor Brown wrote that sermon just for me. I mean, every word he said brought affirmation to my heart and soul that caused my spirit to stir and churn from deep within. For the past fourteen years, I have been honing my skills of moaning and groaning about how much I disliked Oregon, its politics and governmental control. Don’t get me wrong, the beautiful landscape and vibrant sunsets take my breath away every day. But my native home being California and living in Arizona for thirty years of my life, I’ve grown quite accustomed to certain necessities of life. Necessities such as sunlight during daylight hours, warmth in the summer at the very least, rain that gently falls for a few hours and refreshes all living things, gray skies that only occur in remote parts of the world like Alaska and a cool, crisp Christmas with sunny days surrounded by the aromas of mistletoe, pine tree sap and slight pollution-filled breezes from time to time.

I quickly remembered back thirteen years ago when my husband and I moved our four children from Phoenix, Arizona to Williams, Oregon. Now mind you these kids were not excited at all about leaving a large home with bedrooms of their own, a built in swimming pool they swam in seven months of the year, their best friends, aunts, uncles, cousins and a phenomenal grandparent who loved them more than life itself, not to mention the beautiful sunshine they loved playing in 300 days of the year. The move was hard and long as well as tiring, sad and lacking even an ounce of excitement. For me, it was like ripping apart my heart and stomping on it until it quit beating. I had not enjoyed leaving my home church I loved, wonderful friends, and a beautiful home I finally finished decorating to my own taste and likings. But worst of all, I left my family, my earthly family that is. My sister and her husband along with my two cousins and my dear mother were painstakingly left behind.

As the miles lengthened between me and my extended family in Phoenix, I began to feel we were leaving the desert and entering into a wilderness I was not very interested in embarking upon. My family and I encountered a lot of difficulties from losing a beloved pet that accidentally hung and killed itself over the balcony of our newly rented home within just three hours of setting foot in Williams to filling our lives with animals galore in hopes to preoccupy the children and give them something to distract them from concentrating on what all they just left in Arizona. Within a few years, we learned to rough it like the best of them ahead of us and built our own fire, survived on water, canned food and utilized an outdoor commode for three days at a time. At first, the camping adventure was fun and exciting - until we realized learning to survive in the comfort of your own home with no electricity, water resources or heat readily available was a perfectly normal way of life in the heart of Williams, Oregon. Coming from Arizona, this move was more like relocating to a different country, not a state. This was not only a wilderness to me, but a wasteland. Sure, Oregon may resemble heaven on earth with its lush evergreens and abundant beauty, but when you get to the heart of it, there are probably more governmental restrictions than in Washington D.C. itself.

Hearing the words of Pastor Brown from Arizona pierced my heart, shook my soul, and literally broke my spirit. It felt as if my flesh was being crucified all over again. That is exactly what was happening and my stubborn flesh was long overdue for an overhaul. I never thought of staying in a wilderness I couldn’t wait to get out of. Revelation was swift and quick, so quick I had little time to argue. I closed my eyes and set myself in agreement with God. He was ready to do a new work in me and an exciting fresh legacy was about to emerge. More than a journey escaping a deserted land or a wasteland of a wilderness, this new legacy was bought by the precious blood of Jesus, sought by a wife, mom and grandma desiring to leave a worthwhile legacy of love behind and caught by a lowly servant of the almighty God whose heart was ready for pure surrender to her Lord and Savior – Jesus Christ.

The legacy that is to come is one of transformation into the likeness of the Father, full of His abundant blessings and redeeming power. Old has passed away, today…newness has come. I welcome it even in the midst of the dark, dreary and chilling wilderness I currently live in. Legacies live on; leave a worthwhile one while you can.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Death We Us Part

Today, a friend of mine died. She was such a lovely lady, full of love, life and liberty. I can see her smile even now as my heart breaks for her husband, her son, daughter-in-law and grandaughter of only sixteen. How missed she will be. How much love she showed in word and deed. She gave and gave until there was no more to give. Her family adored her, friends were honored to know her and I am certain strangers felt comforted by her beautiful smile and gentle voice as I was so blessed to be called her friend.

I thank you God, for allowing her to come into my life and me into hers. I thank you Lord, we will one day meet again and praise you together as we once did in church. Please strengthen her family left behind and cause them all to look to you for comfort and guidance from here on out. Bring them to You Lord, and show them Your undying faithfulness and hope to go on. Remind them they have friends who love and care for them and are here to help them through this enormous event. In your precious name I pray, Amen.

We miss you Sue Wolf. Be at peace now and enjoy sitting in the Presence of Our heavenly Father, finally.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Attitude of the Heart

A couple of years ago I was in an automobile accident. Nothing very serious, but enough to leave me with headaches, aches and pains in my neck, back and left knee. I not only had to evaluate the condition of my body, but the attitude of my heart.

My husband and I were heading home one night, when an uninsured driver rear-ended us. The driver proceeded to run and my husband chased him down. I think the chase was more exciting than the accident itself. Needless to say, we did get his plate number, only to find out it was a stolen vehicle.

Several times I had to test my attitude towards this man who hit us, then ran, and did not make any attempt to see if we were alright or not. I found myself worrying for the kid on the bike that might be riding next to this man on the way home. I called 911 and unfortunately there were no officers around to apprehend this driver.

When we had calmed down a bit, I kept thinking of the nerve of this man, to hit us and then run. Now our insurance will have to take care of the medical bills and damage to my car I had just bought a month before the accident. I tried to remember that Jesus loves him too, and that he is obviously not just running from the law, but he is running from the Lord and himself as well. I decided to pray for him, not so much to get caught but to get to the end of his rope so that he has nowhere to look but up to God for help. I prayed no one's life would be taken in the meantime, and that this guy would surrender quickly.

This made me think of the times I am sure God is waiting for me to get to the end of my own rope. To look up and stop looking at myself or all around for the help I need. I Peter 5:7 reminds us to "Cast our cares upon Jesus for He cares for us". How often I forget this and walk around for long periods of time, frustrated and feeling so alone. God says His burdens are light and His yoke is easy. How quickly I forget this!

You see, I have been carrying a lot of frustrations and bitterness. I have been filled with defeat and fighting depression for some time now. The attitude of my heart has definitely had a chance to emerge and remind me how frail, lowly and weak I truly am without God. I have realized my attitude definitely dictates my responses to others, as well as influences my relationship with the Lord.

The battle was in my mind, to either get mad at this guy who was on the run, or pray for him. I am sure he needed to know Jesus as much as I had. An attitude adjustment is what I needed. God knows just how to accomplish this through trials and tribulations. Opportunities for the wrong heart attitude to pop up quickly and reveal who I am, where I am going and what my next steps will be.

I am thankful for the test of the attitude of my heart. More often than not I fail, but this time....I passed. I pray I run into this man and have the right words to share with him. Words that will show him the attitude of his heart, and hopefully turn him to a most gracious and merciful God.

Monday, September 14, 2009

To Praise or Not To Praise

Psalm 150:1 says "Let everything that has breath, praise the Lord."

When I think of everything that has breath, I am reminded of my sweet Lhasa Apso's. I wonder how they praise the Lord. I know the Bible talks about even the rocks praising God. What an awesome concept. Things that do not even have life as we know it, praise the Lord? WOW! So how much more should we living beings, created by almighty God, His very life breathed into us, praise Him?

I find in days of depression and frustration, it is not easy to praise the Lord. I know He tells us to count it all joy when trials and tribulations come our way, and they do. I try to reflect on scriptures like Phil. 4:4, "Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice."

I remember how Jesus suffered so much and that we should not be above suffering ourselves when our precious Lord and Savior suffered much.

I will often put on praise and worship music to help me enter into the frame of mind I am to have at all times actually. God says "He inhabits the praises of His people." So what better place to be than in the very presence of God Himself? There is no better place to be.

Whether in good times, or in bad, whether during prosperity or poverty, when it shines or when it rains, I must choose to praise God if only because I have breath.

I can be thankful to Him because I am living this day, have a voice to sing praises with, hands to lift on high in adoration, and a heart that beats to the very rhythm of His calling. I will praise the Lord, with everything within me as long as I have breath!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

My Shepherd of Endless Means

I have read Psalm 23 so countless times but this morning in church, God revealed so much more to me about life than I had ever seen before.

God, being my Shepherd, not only watches over me, but He leads and restores me. Leading me beside still waters causes me to be at peace in my life. As He restores my soul, I am refreshed with God's strength to press on and run the race set before me.

God also is with me so I have no reason to fear any evil. He comforts me as He prepares me for His good works. He anoints my head with oil and I am filled with His goodness and mercy all my life.

As a sheep, I can definitely identify with the characteristics of one being defenseless, wandering, rebellious at times and stubborn for sure. I am for sure a cast sheep as Pastor Mark explained as all of the above and sets itself up for certain disaster. I, too, do this unknowingly and how thankful I am that God is always there to pick me up and dust me off. Isaiah 53:6 tells me I am like sheep and have gone astray. How I truly need my Shepherd.

How lost I feel at times when I lose my focus and forget God is my Shepherd. I try to lead myself, walk around broken and bruised then wonder why I am not much use to the Lord. If I allow God to lead, restore and comfort me I can enjoy God's goodness and mercy all the days of my life and be a blessing to others. Isn't this what life is all about anyway?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Trusting God When It's Tough

“God's way is perfect. All the Lord's promises prove true. He is a shield for all who look to Him for protection.” Psalm 18:30

Clouds like cotton balls and skies of blue surrounded me as I could not help but pace back and forth anxiously asking one question after another. My daughter's instructor was surely growing weary of my incessant interrogation. He attempted to ease my nervous nature and said, “If I didn't think he was ready, I wouldn't let her go.”

Christina had reminded me just days before this flight, that I had trusted God when she moved away from home....this was no different. I watched her plane effortlessly leave the runway.

Once more, I heard God whisper, “Just trust me.”

My daughter, of adventure whom God created, rose high in the sky, alone in a machine made by human hands, flying on the wings of faith.

I realized I could let my daughter go and simply trust the Lord.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Family... what does it mean to you?

I was looking through a group of photos of my family and realized how the years have changed us all in so many ways, except the fact we love hanging out together. Spending time with one another has always been an integral part of our family. From the time our first child was born, people gathered to welcome the newborn and celebrate with us. How memorable this time always was for everyone. For years it was talked about at family gatherings and amongst friends who came to know our family. They always seemed to bring up the closeness we all have with each other. What a treasure this was to hear and see.

Family can mean a lot to many people. It can also stir up feelings of love, joy, and comfort as well as hate, resentment and discord. What does it bring up for you? What are the first things that come to your mind when you even heard the word, 'family?' If the feelings are anything but positive, try and find out why. Do you possibly remember an exact time when the thought of family was the best thought in the world? Or was there a time you shunned even the notion of this word? Maybe you despise even the sound of it as it rolls off your tongue, even now.

Family was meant to bring warm fuzzies to your soul. The thought of a group of people totally in love with one another, willing to lay down their lives for eachother and showing this in all they say and do, is what family is all about. Oh, don't get me wrong. It is not like families never hurt one another, fib to or frustrate eachother. It's just bottom line, we would die for one another. This is what family is all about. Helping at inconvenient times such as what my oldest son, Douglas did for us only three weeks before he moved out of the state. He was all but killing himself trying to pressure wash our back deck, the house itself and the walkway up to our home. He used primer on the walls, replaced trim, painted and polished the exterior of our home. It did not even look like the same house as before he began. Doug also prepped and painted his in-laws house, and managed to go dredging with his little brother in the Rogue River, prepped his brother's Honda Civic for painting including masking everything off, packed his entire house, and did it all with a smile. Or my youngest daughter, Tiffany who no matter what needs she has of her own, she drops them and helps me with my dogs. She doesn't think twice about neglecting something for herself if it means making life easier for me. I could never care for all my dogs without her help, and she knows this. Day after day she wakes up before she goes to work at a ranch nearby, and feeds, waters and cleans up my puppies and dogs so I won’t have to. She wears herself thin before she even sets off to work and tries to rejuvenate in the car on the way to her job, without ever a single whimper let alone a complaint. She's reliable and I know it. Would anyone but family do that for you? If so, they have earned the right to be called 'family'.

Maybe family isn't such a nice word because you don't have one. At one time you did, but now you are as alone as alone could be. For this, I am deeply sorry. But don't let this experience you've had with possibly a parent abandoning you, a sibling turning their back on you, or a relative deceiving you and leaving you with scars you feel will never heal and render you hopeless to enjoy life. There is hope. You can turn the clock back and open your heart once more to family. It can be a friend you have confided in for years and she has shown herself to be trustworthy. Family could be a teacher in whom you depend on for advice and constructive criticism of your work; or quite possibly it could be the cashier at the grocery store in whom you share the hilarious things of the day with.

Whatever you know 'family' to be, cherish them with all of your heart. No one is promised tomorrow. Our future is in the hands of the great Creator. We don't always know what His plans are or agree with them, but we one day will see what our eyes were blind to.

Love like you have never loved before; reach out as if God Himself were standing over you watching. Share fun times, hard times and laughter amongst your family and treasure each and every moment you have with them. All of the sudden, things will be different and they may not be so easily seen. You may have to communicate over a cell phone, or by letters and cards. Thinking you will always have tomorrow is a waste of time and ultimately vain. Life has a way of sneaking up on the best intentions and putting them on the forever never burner. Don't let this happen to you! There is no better way to live than to die with no regrets, This is living to the fullest every single day. Take time to smell the roses, hear the song of birds and get caught up in the beauty of a spectacular sunset. Seize the moment and savor it. Nothing here on earth lasts forever.

So what does family mean to you? How do you describe family and why is it significant or very insignificant to you? Take a moment and visualize family as you ponder its meaning in your life. Family can be one of the sweetest words you know. Family can hold you when you are falling apart, celebrate with you over victories won, cry with you when battles are lost, and love you like no one else can. Family is fundamental and we need one to have the quality of life we yearn for. Family is strong, endearing and supportive as well as loving, kind and comforting. Family can make the difference in your life you never dreamed possible with anyone. Family to me, is everything. God gave me my family and I am so thankful to have the family I do. I am blessed beyond measure, and you can be, too.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

There's Power in the Armor

Today, I am reminded of Ephesians 6:10-13 as Pastor Mark was sharing the importance this past Sunday of putting on the whole armor of God. This scripture tells us to be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood but against principalities, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, stand. Stand therefore, having your loins gird about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith you shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God.

I can recall a time in my life when this verse was never more real to me. I had gotten a call from my oldest son the night before going on a family vacation to California. Doug told me of a dream he had that left his dad, three siblings and myself dead. There had been a terrible accident and we were killed instantly. Funny thing, that same night, I had the same dream. We shared our thoughts of hesitation to continue the vacation, but decided to put on our armor, pray for divine protection and to leave as planned. The next morning, I helped everyone get packed. After we loaded things into our Datsun 510, we gathered around and prayed again for safety and divine protection. As we began our journey south, peace flooded our vehicle as well as our hearts and we put the anxiousness of the dreams behind us.

The vacation was wonderful and we were bringing an abundance of memories and play toys home. My husband's parents had given the kids Odysseys that were in need of some repair but nothing beyond what we could tackle. Attached behind our 2,200 pound vehicle was a 2,500-pound trailer full to the brim with tools, garage sale items and two large Odyssey's home bound for Oregon. Before leaving my parents-in-laws' driveway, we put on our spiritual Armour said another prayer for safe traveling and divine mercy on the road ahead of us.

Most of the trip was behind us and I wondered what had been the meaning behind the dreams since it appeared there was no apparent threat to our safety on this vacation were falsely interpreted. Shortly thereafter, the kids noticed a helicopter overhead. Surprisingly, we watched in amazement as this aircraft hovered almost directly over our vehicle. It was slightly moving ahead along the winding Interstate 5 between the Siskiyou Mountains of northern California and Oregon. A car approaching rather hastily from behind immediately shown in my husband's rear view mirror and I turned to look behind us after I noticed the confusion in my husband's eyes. As I twisted my body around to scan what was happening, I quickly assessed the car racing upon us and realized this vehicle was only a few feet from our car. Suddenly, the dreams my son and I had encompassed my every thought, and all I had time to do was to gaze lovingly at my three children in the back seat. Within seconds, this vehicle on the run became invisible as it began to enter our car from the rear, passing the children, my husband and myself and then finally exiting the front of our car as it continued in our lane. What we all had noticed, was an unrestrained infant lying on a woman's lap in the front passenger seat as the car moved effortlessly through the middle of ours. Everything was moving in slow motion and we had no time to contemplate what to do or make any decisions on how to avoid this catastrophe. As we gazed in astonishment and tears came to my eyes, we watched the vehicle flee rapidly ahead of us while closing the distance between our car and theirs. In a semi-frightened yet bewildered state, we were left trying to make some sense of the event that should have claimed all of our lives, but didn't. We settled down, thanked God for hearing our prayers and for His divine protection on our lives.

So this was the disaster that Satan had planned for our family, but God had intervened and said, “No, I don't 'think so.” This is the power of God seen in our lives today. Power that is equal to no other. It is by this same power we have salvation (I Corinthians 1:18), the ability to forgive sins (Matthew 9:6), are filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8), have power to heal the sick (Mark 3:15), to cast out demons (Luke 1:9) and to resist the devil (James 4:7). Through this power God has delivered us from darkness (Colossians 1:13), His power works within us (Ephesians 3:20) and we have been given a spirit of power, love and a sound mind (II Timothy 2:12). Finally, “Blessing, and honor and glory and power be to Him who sits on the throne, and the Lamb, forever and ever!” May God's power be with us all today!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Surviving the Wilderness

This morning I awoke to my husband informing me that he may not be able to take off work from his new job in Arizona only a month after he is hired. I already accepted the disturbing event that I would be left here in Oregon to finish my interns while my husband moves to Phoenix, without me. One of the first things I told the Lord years ago when the thought of returning to Arizona one day began turning in my head, was that I did not, under no uncertain terms, want to be the last one going to Arizona. Well, I have been praying for God to help me adjust to the fact my husband leaves in less than a month while I am left here to deal with the harsh weather conditions that stir up S.A.D. (Seasonal Affective Disorder) within me and cause my very joints to ache and tighten profusely. Depression lures around my very being and it is literally a spiritual, physical and emotional battle to remain pleasant to every one around me; just ask my friends and family. But the thought of remaining here through snow and ice are almost too much to bear. This freezing wilderness was never on my list of places to visit, settle in or call my home. But fourteen years ago, we came with our four children now all grown, and tried to turn from city folk to country bumpkins and be happy about it. The wilderness we began to adapt to seemed harsh yet there was a simplicity to it that soothed our souls. Whether we were picking blackberries for jam, treading through cool, crisp creeks barefoot exploring the world around us or washing fresh chickens we'd been raising for the past 8 weeks, this wilderness had its ups and downs. But there was just something missing.

I have come to understand the wilderness I am now in is not the wilderness God wants me to remain in, but before He can move me out of it, there are some important lessons I must learn in order to move beyond the emptiness of this place. I realize I need to go in and through the wilderness full of the Holy Spirit and God will bring me out of the wilderness full of His power. Now this is what I want in order to bring Him the glory due His name and bless those He puts in my path.

I learned it is out of order for me to remove myself prematurely from the wilderness God has put me in. In the wilderness God will work out the parts of my character that are not in agreement with His. He will burn up that which does not bring Him glory and literally, if He must, tear apart everything within me that does not love, adore, bow and surrender and glorify Him. Is this not what I have prayed for so many years?

In My Utmost for His Highest book by Oswald Chambers, today’s reading was all about obeying immediately. I spent a lot of time telling my grandchildren this over the past ten days I was visiting them in Arizona, but now it was time for God to bring it home to me, for me and in me. Abraham heard God speak to Him and answered immediately. Abraham did not confide in his flesh and blood, as these things are in direct rebellion to God and hinder His work within me.

Oswald Chambers put is so blatantly, “If God has made your cup sweet, drink it with grace; if He has made it bitter, drink it in communion with Him.” Don’t try to weasel your way out of the difficulty, but invite Jesus in with you that He may have His way and be glorified, you may be grow closer to Him and mankind may become one even as Jesus and the Father are one.

So I prayed this morning for God to help me glorify Him, I asked him to show me how and He did through my reading of my Secrets of the Vine Bible study by Bruce Wilkinson. John 15:1, 2, 5 and 8 says “I am the true vine, and My Father is the Vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not beat fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. I am the vine, and you are the branches. He who abides in me and I in him, bears much fruit… by this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit.” I have decided rather than resisting God’s pruning in my life and complaining about my current circumstances, I will be happy, happy, happy. Then God spoke to me and said, “This is not enough. I want more for you. There is much more for you. Be full of my joy as joy runs deep and steady. Joy, joy, joy; this is what I want for you.” As tears came to my eyes I realized God had bottled every one of them up. He cares about every teardrop that falls from my face and wants me to experience His joy, instead of my sorrow, while being carefully pruned.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Trusting Brings Blessings

For the past few months I have been tested in my trust of God more than just about any other time in my life. Resting, waiting, sometimes not so patiently I will admit, to see His deliverance in certain areas of my life or family's lives. Psalm 37:7 reminds me to rest and wait patiently, to worry not, yet as I trust God it seems this to be the hardest thing to do. My patience runs thin and I do begin to worry and fret. Even though not a day is added to my life when I let myself get ensnared in the enemies' ways of handling life.

The Lord tells me to do good as I am trusting in Him. Hmmm, I am certain being impatient and worrying would not qualify as doing good. Yet, when I seem to be unfaithful and trust not completely, He is faithful to remain God and care for me just the same.

This past weekend my oldest daughter came to visit for a day, unexpectedly but what a wonderful visit we had. I had wished there was a fattened calf in the pasture to cook up a feast with, and a little money in the bank to buy a splendid dessert to share after mealtime. But lo and behold, my younger daughter and hubby walk in with tortillas, enchilada sauce and cheese so I begin to sift through our fridge/freezer to see what I could add to make a nice meal. I did have chicken that I set out on top of my hubby's truck outside to thaw a bit (our microwave broke the night before), and half a tub of applesauce was perfect. We had some leftover salad and I made rice to compliment the enchilada's. A Mexican feast is not what I had in mind for a Labor Day dinner but it worked fine and I was truly thankful for what I had to work with.

I let our doggies outside to relive themselves and what did I see but a full bucket of fruit and veggies sitting outside my door. No note, just a bucket of food that had obviously been picked fresh from a garden. It was like a gift given at just the right time. I smiled, called the doggies back in and emptied the bucket in my sink. Oh my, squash, zucchini, pears, apples and potatoes with dirt still packed in the crevices of each fold! WOW! As I washed each piece I thanked God for supplying our needs and even our wants, the desires of our heart. Unspoken yet important and heard by God almighty. The Lord reminds us to delight ourselves in Him and he will give us the desires of our hearts (Psalm 37:4). That evening we had wonderful chicken and cheese enchilada's, applesauce, fabulous fresh garlic mashed potatoes, corn, Mexican rice and a most scrumptious homemade apple pie.

We were blessed beyond blessed and trusting God seemed such an easy thing to do. God's lovingkindness overwhelmed us as we remained under the shadow of His wings. I had not uttered a word wishing I had more food to make a lovely dinner while my daughter cane to visit. Yet, God had already heard my cry and answered readily. He had spoken to some dear friends of ours who lived quite a ways away and they obeyed His quiet voice telling them to bring us fresh food from their garden. Little did they know what a blessing they were to us that day and still are as I sit enjoying a delicious pear from one of their trees.

If trusting brings blessings and not only to us but to those around us, why is it so hard to trust a God Who made the heavens and the earth and everything that has breath and sits till at His command? Why do I become impatient and worry when my Father in heaven gently tells me to trust in Him, rest and wait patiently? I am sure this part of a daily walk many of us struggle with, but know you are not alone. O' taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man that trusteth in Him, Psalm 34:8. Chew on this for awhile and savor the flavor of His everlasting goodness.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Challenge Yourself to Victory

One year ago my oldest son, daughter-in-law and two wonderful grand-children moved away to Arizona, leaving me a very lonely, sorrowful and devastated grandma. I searched my heart as it broke to leave their sight as I boarded the plane and wept all the way back to Oregon. How was my world falling apart just because I could no longer hug and hold Nathen and Tahlya anytime I want to, or see their adorable faces when I'd look back at them in the car while making our weekly lunch run to McDonald's, or pick them up from Sunday school and feel the warmth of their embraces fill my heart to the brim. I pondered on my feelings, the ripping of my heart as I had to let Tahlya's hand go and hug Nathen goodbye as I turned to stand in line with my ticket. For the life of me, I was shocked at the severance that was going on inside of me at that very moment. My tears were hot and salty and I felt as if I were drowning in them. Looking at Tahlya falling apart made me fell like running away with her and holding her until she could breath no longer. When I saw the look on Nathen's face it reminded me of how I felt watching my mother fly way after her last visit to Oregon before she passed away. Everything in me screamed "NO!", but the reality of it all was that I had to board that plane, leave my sweet son, daughter-in-law grandbabies in order for God to begin a new work within me.

I was reminded of Philippians 4:13, "All things are possible through Christ Who strengthens me." How true that was at that very moment. Without God behind me and Jesus carrying me, I would have broke and remained useless to everyone I knew, including my precious family in Arizona. Upon examining my heart and having many chats with the Lord, I found my priorities were way out of whack. I had given my heart to Jesus in 1984, yet the move of my grandchildren, son and daughter-in-law was able to shred my heart to pieces. How could this be?
My heart belonged to my Savior and I needed to guard it with everything within me, yet I was allowing it to be controlled by offspring of my body. Scary indeed. I had made them the center of my world. So where was Jesus then? I cringed to imagine.

The next several months I contemplated what God had been showing me, repenting as He revealed one issue after another to me. I began to feel a burden lift from my shoulders and knew I was finally getting the point. If He is not the center of my life, challenges such as enduring one of the hardest event's I had ever experienced, would overwhelm me and I would be like water in His hands. I had allowed myself to be poured out and split before Him only to be of no use or of any purpose to anyone. What a shame when I lived with the very Spirit of God within me. I was robbing God, my family and friends as well as everyone God put in my path. I needed to be strong for Nathen, Tahlya, Doug and Jess, but if I was not getting my strength solely from God, even they could not rely upon me for anything.

Surrendering my life to God once again had been a challenge I must admit in the area of letting my grandchildren go, but I knew I had the victory once I re-visited them and while tears flowed and I missed them before I ever made it to the plane, my heart did not break but lept for joy to see them again and I was thankful for the time I had visiting them. Peace fell over me about half way home and I realized life was not over and they needed a grandma to be strong and pray for them until we held each other again in some of the tightest hugs a grandchild and grandma could get into.

Challenges can bring victory to our lives, if only we remember who must remain at the center of why we exist and Who is our source of strength as we are given the desires of our hearts because we have put God first and foremost in our lives.