Tuesday, April 29, 2014

A Lesson from Martha

One of the blessings about having a smart phone is that I can listen to dynamic preachers everyday while I am doing my housework or working out in the garden. One of my favorite apps is called "Oneplace". I listen to at least half a dozen programs on  it, from Focus on the Family, to practical preachers like Chip Ingram.

As I shared in my last post, I have really been struggling. Circumstances I find myself in seem to not be getting better, but actually getting worse. I have been frustrated with God, asking Him all the time, "Do I not have enough faith? If so forgive me for my unbelief.". The trouble is I KNOW my God can do anything. He redeems and forgives and restores. He can take the bleakest of situations and turn them around for His glory. He can drop $2,000 checks from the sky. I KNOW all of this. My theology is sound. So why am I struggling so?

I felt like the Lord was telling me this is a WAITING issue. Waiting on God takes a lot of faith. As I listened to Chip's Easter message about Martha, Mary, Lazarus and Jesus, I saw my story in theirs. They begged Jesus to come when their brother fell ill. They knew Jesus could heal him. What was His response? He seemed uncaring as He waited for two more days before heading back to Judea. In the meantime, their brother DIED. Could you get a worse-case scenario? No wonder when Jesus showed up Martha showed her hurt by questioning the Lord.

"Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.", she said.

She KNEW the Lord was capable of healing the sick. I am sure she had witnessed Him giving sight to the blind and and personally saw limbs being restored to their full use. Even after her brother died, she still had the faith to believe and TELL Jesus,

 " But I know that even now God will give You whatever You ask."

What faith! I know that I know God can do anything. But sometimes Jesus makes us wait because only He knows the glory that comes from waiting. More glory. More glory. More glory. That is why I must wait. Oh, what He will do with my story, if I but wait.

The most exciting thing about this is when Jesus said, "Lazarus, come out!" Someday, the Lord will do the same thing for me. I will stand there stunned as I watch the great masterpiece of His perfect Will come together. What those precious sisters must have felt. How they must have rubbed their eyes as their brother, dead, gone and starting to decay, walked from that tomb into the glorious light of the Life-Giver.

So I must wait. Hurting, yes. Not liking my circumstances, but surrendering them to the One who will allow it all to make sense one day.

Oh, how I love Him. Do you? If you are going through a season where it seems to rain night after night and their seems to be no relief, don't give up. Look to Jesus. That same resurrection power that raised Him from the dead is available to us. Is it your child? Your husband? Your church? Your friend? Your job? Your housing? Keep giving everyone and everything back to the Him. He truly cares. He wept for his friend Lazarus. How must weep for our loved ones too. I pray His Spirit comforts you and brings you hope as He has mine.

Friday, April 25, 2014

April News- 2014 "Attempting to Quietly Wait and Trust"

I can't believe it is almost the end of April. We have been so busy. Steve and I were so blessed to have my sister come and stay with the kids so that we could have a get-a-way. We hadn't been on a vacation without kids for over four years. We went to the beach and God blessed us with amazing summer weather (highly unusual for April, usually it is raining side-ways!). I felt very relaxed during the whole vacation. So easy and much, much cheaper. We really needed to reconnect as a couple and I felt that happened.

We are still in the process of buying a house and selling ours. It has been such a faith-journey. We have been waiting on our buyer to start the loan process since January. I have never waited so patiently for anything in my life. But now that we are getting closer to the closing date, I am starting to feel some anxiety. I keep turning it over to the Lord, sometimes five or six times a day. Our closing date is set for June, so we will see what God does. I know God has this, it is just hard waiting on His timing. He keeps reminding me "It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man." -Psalms 118:8. Every time I lack peace, I say this verse. So thankful for my Rhema Word!

The lady we are buying a house from is just precious. We go to church together and we pray together quite a bit. So neat to be buying a house from another Christian and watch God work everything out in His way and His time. We look forward to being closer to our church, the kid's school and my parent's ranch. Also, my Great-Aunt Esther and her husband live right across the street from us! It will be so nice to have someone keep an eye on the place when we are gone and to have a neighbor I can borrow a cup of sugar from. They have already mentioned that they will start making cookies for the kiddos when they come visit them. So sweet!
(I love holding Little William. He has been the "Balm of Gilead" to my soul when I am sad. He loves to snuggle and smile and he is so mellow. He brings back so many memories of my own babies. See paragraph below)

I am a bit sad leaving our house though. God finally gave me the neighbor I have longed to have for eight years. She is a young mom named Ashli, with two children,( Bethany and William) that my kids and I love and adore. Her husband is working much of the time and he is in the military as well. She is a Believer and we pray together whenever there is a need (quite frequently lately). We borrow stuff, watch each other's kids and trade recipe ideas. It is such a blessing to be able to help a young mom out (like let her mow the lawn, take a shower and go for a run. Oh how I remember those days before I had built in babysitters!) We have become really good friends and I am so thankful for her. She watches Lily for me sometimes when I have unexpected appointments. I am enjoying every minute of having her so close by. It is getting me ready to move into a small community where EVERYONE is close by.We have been pretty isolated here so it will be a huge change. I am looking forward to helping my friends out and loving and encouraging them when we do move. But I will very much miss Ashli and her family so much. They are in the middle of trying to buy a house as well, so at least we will only be about 15 minutes away from each other.

(Miss Bethany)

(Jacob and Lily can't get enough of "Little Willers")

Parenting has been tough lately. My children are growing and straining. It is tough to watch sometimes. I try to faithfully give them back to God and try not to panic when I see bad habits creep in or nasty attitudes take hold. They are doing well in school, and I am thankful, but sometimes they talk very disrespectfully to each other. I know this is normal sibling stuff, but it breaks my heart to hear it. I need to make sure I am talking to them respectfully and be the best example I can be and discipline them consistently and pray, pray, pray.

I have been very emotional as I struggle along here. I feel like I cry at the drop of a hat. I go through periods of sadness as we continue to struggle in our parenting. God uses our testimony so much and I have such empathy for other parents who are discouraged as they deal with mistakes their children make. I pray I can make a difference and speak a word of encouragement to them. Although, some days, I am the one who needs encouragement. God is so faithful and has surrounded me with godly people who speak love and hope into my life. They don't judge my tears, they hold me and let me cry. I am so grateful for all of them. My Community Bible Study group has been such a support to me this year, my friends, my church family and my new neighbor. God uses them all in my life at just the right time.

I have been feeling so frustrated with myself. I want to be this person who never doubts God. I want to believe ALL of His truths and promises. I want to stop forgetting them the moment something goes wrong or a prayer goes unanswered. There are certain prayers that I have been praying over and over and over. Years have gone by and if anything some things have become worse. I have been feeling quite discouraged over this. Yet I know that God is working out some amazing things in my life. He has protected me, spoken clearly to me, and provided for me in ways that are unimaginable. I feel guilty that I would ever doubt my Lord. Oh, and when I feel guilty, Satan has an" in" to the backdoor of my heart. I confessed it to my dear, sweet friend and she prayed with me. I will continue to try to take my thoughts captive in this area. Guilt is not of God.

"Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who finds delight in His commands. His children will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed." -Psalm 112:1-2

I have tried to be as real as I can be. I pray that in my weakness, I would be made strong. I pray that by sharing my struggles, you would know that you are not alone. He is with us. Sometimes there needs to be a lament before the rejoicing. There is a time for everything...

"Let them know that it is Your hand, that YOU, O Lord, have done it." -Psalm 110:27

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

More Ranch Memories

Here are a few more pictures of the kids and I at the old Ranch.

Lily and I walking towards the dump. That fence is new. Must be protecting the riparian zone from the cattle.

There is Josh at the dump.


More treasures!!!

The old Ranch house I grew up in. The top window is where Jackie and I's room was.

I took this picture for you, Mom. It shows Grandpa Puffball's maple tree. Many trees were gone, that one remains.
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