Life & Breath & Everything Else

FTI graphic Acts 17:25When I was young, I fell off of some contraption I was playing on and lost my ability to breathe. “I got the wind knocked out of me,” as they say. It probably only lasted for a few seconds but I remember it was a scary few seconds.

Getting told you have cancer is sort of like that, only scarier. And it lasts longer.

Our lives are filled with moments like this that seem to come out of nowhere and take us by surprise.

Like the day I learned my sister-in law had lymphoma.

And when I heard of our nephew and niece’s newborn who is currently in the hospital battling a heart condition.

Or when I found out last week that one of our good friends had been diagnosed with leukemia.

In these seconds that feel like hours, everything slows. The heart sinks and the air leaves our lungs as we struggle to make sense of it all.

Then, there are other moments. The ones that remind us of our loving Creator. Soul-transcending times when we are startled by grace. Caught off guard by something so wonderful that we have no choice but to pause and give thanks to the One who made us.

Like the day the Lord mercifully reached down, rescuing my heart and saving me.

And the moment me and my love shared our “I do’s”, becoming husband and wife.

Or all the times during my recent struggles that I’ve encountered the compassion of family, friends and even strangers and realized how truly blessed I am.

I’m reminded of that quote that says, Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

Those breath-stealing moments, they can happen in good times or bad. Either way, they get our attention, opening our eyes to what’s truly important, making us aware that we are alive.

And we are alive because God breathed His very breath into us. So it’s fitting that we should pour out our praise to Him.

That’s what I’m doing now. Thanking God for life and breath and everything else He’s so graciously given. Want to join me?

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Psalm 150:6

Me and the Sparrows

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? Matthew 6: 26-27

There’s been a lot going on at our house lately. A cancer diagnosis for me and, for both my husband and I, the inner turmoil and emotional strain that comes with it.

So, we find ourselves out on our back porch most evenings. Sometimes we talk. Sometimes we say nothing and just watch the birds and the bunnies that seem to enjoy hanging out in our yard lately.

It’s a bit of peace in the midst of our storm to watch these carefree little creatures at play.

I want to be like that. I pray for that.

“God, let fear fall away from me like rain off the feathers of a sparrow. Help me not to worry about the future. Help me to trust that, no matter what tomorrow holds, You will take care of me.”

Below is a song my sister-in-law introduced me to recently. It reminded me that I am secure in God’s loving hands. Part of the lyric says, “If He can hold the world, He can hold this moment.”

Maybe you’re going through a trial of your own. If so, this is song is for you too.

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. Matthew 10:29-31

My Mess and God’s Mercy

FTI The Lord is close to the brokenhearted

So, once again, I was home just a couple of days after surgery and I was a mess – an overwhelmed, distraught, weeping mess. I thought I was losing it!

But…

God proved faithful to answer my cries for help, and the remainder of this post is my testimony to the fact that The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18 (By the way, other than my husband, none of the people mentioned below knew anything of the anguish I had been dealing with, so I knew God was speaking to me through them, giving just what I needed at the perfect time.)

First, he used my husband to counsel and console and pray with me. Every once in a while I’d hear him singing that old hymn….“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning, new every morning, great is thy faithfulness, Oh Lord. Great is thy faithfulness.”

What a privilege to be married to a man of God!

Then, I got a text from a friend with a song that spoke to me of God’s restoration, mercy and redemption, and I felt Him drawing closer to me. If you haven’t heard Clean by Natalie Grant, watch the video below. Wow!

Next, I got a text from my sister. It was a photo of the Grand Canyon and you could make out a faint image of a man standing on the edge above it. She followed with this:

“It strikes me that from our human perspective, we can sometimes feel so small and insignificant relative to seemingly insurmountable obstacles in our path. When we arrive at the very edge of where our human ability can take us, we are reminded that God is with us. He is always with us, offering to carry us with the very hands that carved these vast canyons.”

She added the scripture from Matthew 19:26, Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

A bit later, my husband came to me with something he felt the Lord impressed on him to share with me – a promise from God spoken years earlier would now, through this battle, be fulfilled. He then played a song he just discovered by Lauren Daigle, My Revival, with the very words of that promise in the lyric. Here’s a link to listen. By the way, all the songs I’ve heard are incredible!

As I listened and poured out my heart to my Father, I knew I don’t need all the answers I’ve been struggling to find, I just need Him. His promises are true. I will soar and when I do, “I will soar on wings like eagles,” praising the living God who sees me and hears my desperate prayers and answers with whispers of mercy.

But that wasn’t all. Our extravagant God, who lavishes grace on those who call on Him, decided to send over a couple from our church. They brought food and we visited and they prayed over me.  Then, before leaving, there was another word from the Lord – a clear confirmation of something prophesied over me years ago. I felt His angels all around me – the visible and the invisible ones.

So, at the risk of making this long post even longer, I feel the urgency to share this. With whatever time He gives me on this earth, I want to be a messenger. To tell people about our Lord, speak truth and share grace.

His return is at hand and I believe another Great Awakening is coming. Many will hear the Word, repent of sin and turn to God because they are weary of substitutes. The idols we’ve made will crumble and we will return to our Creator, drawn to His enduring love for us, His infinite glory and the promise of eternal life made possible through the sacrifice of Jesus.

To all who have taken time to read this, I hope the Holy Spirit will translate my testimony into supernatural blessings that are very specific to you so that you will know He is near to you, to save and to help you in your time of need. Truly, His love never ceases and His mercies are new every morning.

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Lord, I pray that it will not be my words but Yours that people hear. Help me, like John, the Baptizer, be “A voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for Him.'” And I pray all those you are calling to follow you, will gladly embrace fellowship with you and find rest from their struggles. Let it be so. Amen!

Fear Not

FTI Fear not quote pic

Fear not. Fear not. Fear not. This is what the Lord keeps saying to me. However, to say yesterday was a distressing day is an understatement. There were multiple conversations with doctors, by phone and in person, with me asking as many questions as I could to help me decide whether to pull the plug or not on my next recommended surgery…which happens to be today.

Did I let fear overwhelm me? Yes. In a major way.

But, as God does, He spoke again. I came home and just wanted to collapse from the weight of it all. But before I settled into the couch, I picked up the open Bible on the table nearby and settled into His word.

I had it opened to the Psalms but there is a devotional text in this particular Bible that had a quote from Isaiah which seems to be finding it’s way to me through various sources. My eyes landed on this:

“For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.” Isaiah 41:13

So, I’m holding onto His hand today and trusting He will help me. If you are going through a trial, this is for you too. God always keeps His promises.

Here’s one of those ways God sent this message to me. This video teaching from Andy Stanley is worth a watch.

 

Can We Trust God Enough to Say “Thy Will Be Done?”

Thy Will Be Done PicI hope what is written here and the song that follows will encourage you today.

 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!  Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:4-7

That’s exactly what I need. Peace. A safeguard from dark, negative thoughts and a gateway to joy.

Matthew Henry, in his commentary of this passage, writes:

“Observe, It is our duty and privilege to rejoice in God, and to rejoice in him always; at all times, in all conditions; even when we suffer for him, or are afflicted by him. We must not think the worse of him or of his ways for the hardships we meet with in his service.”

I’ve been thinking about the statement at the end of that video I shared in my last post…the part about how if he loses his sister, he knows he will get angry with God, but that basically God would understand. (I’m very much paraphrasing and summarizing here.)

I think he is trying to express his belief in God’s relentless love for us in spite of our doubt-ridden hearts. I get that. At the same time, in case anyone is unclear, I think we all understand that turning away from God in our despair is never a real option, because He is our ONLY hope.

I’ve heard it said that our suffering does not nullify the goodness of God. He is unchanging, after all. So, may our grieving cause us to hold tight to Him, to the truth of His word and to the faith He has given us. May we trust Him enough to say, “Thy will be done,” just as Jesus taught us to pray.

This journey the Lord has me on right now is not easy. My surgery is scheduled for this week and It seems fear and anxiety are popping up at every turn. But Jesus promised that he would never leave me and, with His help, I can do this.

Rejoice. Pray. Ask. Give Thanks. Find Peace.

Life is hard but God is here and He is my hope. I’m thankful that, even when things look bad, I can choose to dwell on the good.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Philippians 4:8

I’m listening to and loving this new song by Hillary Scott! It’s a timely message for me and anyone else out there who is facing a challenge in their life. If that’s you, take a moment to watch this and be blessed!

Part of the lyric says this:

I know you see me;
I know you hear me, Lord.Your plans are for me;
Goodness you have in store.
So, Thy will be done…

Are you discouraged? I pray the Lord gives you the peace you are seeking right now. Reach out to Him. He sees you. He hears you. He loves you.