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Emotions

The Amazing News I’m Really Excited to Share – Part 5

Aaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh! With fierce appreciation in my watering eyes and quivering lips, barely able to speak, I press one hand to my heart and extend the other towards you. God is immeasurably gracious, and you – you guys are the BEST!

Thank you, my brothers and sisters, for flooding God’s throne room with petitions on my daughter’s behalf. You asked our Heavenly Father for a miracle, and He delivered! If you aren’t sure what this is about, catch up on the story here.

The amazing news I’m really excited to share is that my daughter got the apartment!

Today, we will be moving her into the same complex where we moved her sister a couple weeks ago. The girls can help each other, and my grandkids can play and grow together. And they’ll all be only a mile away from my youngest daughter and her husband.

Next week, when we leave for Arizona, we will have peace in our hearts. We will rest assured that everyone staying behind is settled with roofs over their heads. That has been my foremost request.

I can only attempt to describe how I feel… incredibly humbled, extremely relieved, and so overjoyed! I want to both bow my knees and jump for joy. What a strange and unusual dichotomy it is!

Answered prayer

Make no mistake, this was supernatural! My daughter has issues with her housing and income history which could have – should have – been hard to overcome, especially given the intense competition in the rental market. But God. He saw fit to intervene and answer specific prayer.

“‘Ah, Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you.”

Jeremiah 32:17

I’m so grateful! Thank you, Jesus for the amazing news I get to share! And thank you, my friends, from the bottom of my bursting heart!

If ever I can return the favor, please don’t hesitate to ask. It would be my privilege to pray for you. Is there anything for which I can pray right now?

Categories
Emotions

The Amazing News I’m Really Excited to Share – Part 3

We signed the lease papers for the home in Arizona! It was the ignition which set off the next string of moving fireworks.

Part 3 of the amazing news I’m really excited to share is different.

This is where the grit hit the gravel and exposed all the feels. I know many of you will relate.

We’d been talking about moving for over a year. But that didn’t seem to soften the blow when we told the kids we’d found a house and were imminently going. It suddenly got very real.

A crown made of diamonds and pearls
Photo by Ashton Mullins on Unsplash
Pearls and diamonds come from irritation and pressure

When I say ‘kids’, I’m talking about my 2 oldest daughters. They’ve both been married and have kids of their own. For different reasons, they and their children have been living with us. They are not currently able to leave California, so they need to find somewhere here to live.

My daughters are very different, and they handle stress in opposite ways. One struggles to get going and the other can’t stop. The latter had been on housing waitlists for months, responded to every ad, and done everything she knew to do for herself and her sister, but still had no leads. Her anxiety was so high she was physically sick.

Could the girls move-in together? Possibly. But in addition to handling pressure in contrasting ways, they also live very differently. One is an extrovert who loves to entertain. The other is extremely introverted, and her home is her haven. Their ideal is to live separately, but near each other.

My husband and I believed God had been waiting on the step of obedience, which we had taken.

God wanted us to act upon that which was in our control before He moved on that over which we had none. We had done our part. Now we were trusting Him to do His.

As the girls noted, trusting was easier for my husband and me. We weren’t looking at homelessness in a month. But to be honest, I wasn’t sure the “good” God had in store was the provision we all hoped for. I’ve heard that God works all things out for good. It is a coffee cup cliché. But those words mean something different in context.

“And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

Romans 8:27-28

I did not know God’s will in relation to the next temporal living situation for my girls. All I could truly say with confidence was that God wants them to live with Him for eternity. He wants that so much He sent His Son to die a bloody death on a wooden cross, thereby paying the price for their sin. He died and rose again to offer eternal life to me, to you, to them.

The kicker is this – we each must each choose Him for ourselves.

I firmly believe God is willing to forego our happiness to forge our holiness. Eternity is far more important. My heart is learning to be at peace, even when God allows uncomfortable circumstances in the lives of my children.

Not only that, but I must thank Him for their hardships. If those struggles cause my children to choose God’s will and provision for their lives, then they are blessings of the richest kind. My response needs to be gratitude.

Does that sound harsh? Sometimes it sure feels that way. My mama heart would love to coddle them, shoulder their burdens, and make them smile. But the satisfaction would be fleeting.

God has made promises about the eternal salvation of all 5 of my children.

While God has assured me regarding my kids, He has also alerted me that the road will be tough for some of them. I cry typing that because I love them each fiercely. But the time we have in this world is miniscule and eternity is forever… and ever… and ever… with no end. I would rather sacrifice my comfort, and theirs, in this life to secure it for the next.

So, with all this weighing heavily on my heart, I did what I know to be the most productive thing. I prayed. It seemed like a long time passed. It was actually only days.

My husband was submitting notice and securing bids from moving companies. I was preparing to quit my job. Things were barreling ahead for our move and still my girls had nowhere to go. Emotions were through the roof, but everyone downplayed them so as not to alarm my grandkids.

Lettered blocks spelling the word HOPE
Photo by Lynnelle Richardson on Pexels.com
Hope heals

And then… One daughter saw an affordable listing pop up. She was online at the time and the first to apply. It was a glimmer of hope. Once again, we waited.

The amazing news I’m really excited to share today is that God paved the way for her to move!

I’m still exhaling hard when I say that! Praise the Lord! The paperwork came together, the apartment was prepared, and she signed the lease.

We moved the heavy stuff the weekend before last. She has taken the small stuff in several carloads since. She now lives only a mile from my 3rd daughter and her husband.

And not just that…

The rental agent mentioned that she, unexpectedly, had another available unit. She noticed a last name on her application list matched my daughter’s and wondered if there was any relation. You guessed it! It was my other daughter! This is EXACTLY what we’ve been praying for.

But it isn’t a done deal yet. My daughter has challenges in her rental and income history which are likely to discourage a property manager. It will take a real act of God to smooth it over.

And that takes me back to what I know. God’s definition of the good He is working for all of us is related, first, to our holiness and our eternal home. Although I want to grasp this current housing opportunity, grip my daughter’s (and granddaughters’) happiness, and clench their security, I have no control. I must keep my hands open.

With tears streaming down my face, my hands are open.

Open hands, palms up.
Photo by Kindel Media on Pexels.com
Open hands, trusting heart.

Will you pray with me? Pray for God’s will to be done and appreciated, whatever it is. Pray for my mama heart through this process.

And pray for my girls. Pray for their eternal good. Pray for them to desire God’s will – to love Him and pursue His purpose. Ask that He would rain His blessings – physical, spiritual, and emotional – onto their earthly situations.

Pray that He would allow the heart of the rental agent to be softened toward my daughter’s plight. That she would be approved for the available unit and able to move in before we leave. And that I can move away knowing there is a roof over everyone’s heads. I will keep you posted…

Open hands raised up
Photo by Pavel Danilyuk from Pexels
Release and find peace

My friend, is God asking you to open your hands? Have you been clenching tightly to something only He can rightly handle? Will you give over to Him whatever, or whomever, it is?

Letting go is hard – some might even say impossible. But another piece of amazing news I’m really excited to share with you today, is that all things are possible with God. He is a God who restores. And He wants you for eternity.

You are precious! You are loved!

“Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.””

Luke 18:27

“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.”

1 Peter 5:10, 11
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Reflections

How to Outwit The Obnoxious Old Foe

“Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil.”

Luke 4:1

Jesus knew how to outwit the obnoxious old foe.

He went to persist against the devil so I could resist in His name.

He faced evil so I could flee from it.

He won so I could run.

Satan whispers that its ok to play with temptation, so long as I don’t succumb. But he is the enemy and is already overcome. It is not for me to stay and struggle or fight a finished fight.

Jesus – the winner, gave me – a sinner, the victory over evil.

I’m qualified to call Satan disqualified.

I will not fight a battle that Jesus already won.

How can I outwit the obnoxious old foe?

Walk away.

Refuse (reFUZE) his refuse (REHfuse).

Claim the Name his ear can’t hear

Jesus

I don’t need to outwit the obnoxious old foe.

Jesus. Already. Did.

The devil is a faux foe.

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Devotions Emotions

Struggling with Disappointment

This post is going to write itself because I write it with tears running down my cheeks. It is said that emotion breeds creativity, and I have found that to be true. I’m just going to close my eyes, write from my heart, and tell you that I’m struggling with disappointment today.

I woke up with happy expectation. This is the day I had been looking forward to for quite a while because it had been entirely set aside for the enjoyment of a long-awaited opportunity. It had been circled on the calendar of my heart and anticipated with a child-like giddiness. But, this morning, it quickly became apparent that today wasn’t going to happen according to plan. Disappointment surged in, uninvited and unruly.

I did not want to attend my pity party!

My first reaction was a pity party, which I did not want to attend, so I turned to the only One who could change my heart. God could also change the circumstances, but I didn’t want to be further disappointed if He chose not to. I wanted Him to change my attitude. Quite frankly, this is simply the most recent in a string of struggles with disappointment. I wanted God to show me the lesson I have been needing to learn so that these kinds of situations would not hinder me anymore.

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.”

Proverbs 13:12

Praying it through, I kept hearing this verse, reverberating in my mind. I didn’t acknowledge it right away because it seemed to justify my feelings, not redirect them. But it persisted, so I finally stopped and looked it up. It was the latter part, the “tree of life” phrase, that made me realize what I was contributing to my problem. It reminded me of Psalm 1:3.

“That person (whose delight is in the law of the Lord) is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither – whatever they do prospers.”

Psalm 1:3 – Parenthesis mine, words taken from verse 2

My hope keeps getting deferred because I am misplacing it. I’m hoping in people and services. I’m delighting in the plans I’m making. I am allowing what I want from my days on earth to be too big of an issue. I’m putting too much importance on my ideas and time. If I would prioritize, instead, what God wants from me, what He thinks of me, and what He has for me, then I could roll with the punches much more easily and disappointment would be kept at bay.

“However, as it is written: What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived – the things God has prepared for those who love him.”

1 Corinthians 2:9

People are imperfect and are naturally going to disappoint us. They have hiccups in their days, moments of selfishness, and their own agendas to prioritize. I do, you do, and so do the people we rely on. We need to fix our expectations on Jesus. When we put our hope in Him, our longings will be fulfilled – if not in this life, then certainly in the next.

“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.”

Phil 4:4-7

The tears which were flowing when I started to write have subsided. I have moved my hope to a more secure shelf, so to speak. This doesn’t mean that I don’t feel disappointed today, it just means that I have been reminded that there is a higher authority and I need to place my expectations on the One in charge. I’m in His hands, and His plans are better than mine.

“For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Jeremiah 29:11

If God could make the above promise to the entire nation of Israel when they were in exile, He can definitely pull it off for me and for you. What disappointments are you facing today? They may seem small, or they may be looming large, but I promise the God of the Universe can handle them all. Will you join me in placing your hopes, dreams, plans, and expectations on the One who has the power to manage them for our good and His glory? We will not be disappointed!

“This is what the Sovereign Lord says… ‘those who hope in me will not be disappointed.’”

Isaiah 49:22a, 23b

You might enjoy this related post: I Deserve…

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Conversations Devotions

Not Another User Guide

Please not another User Guide, Operating Manual, Assembly Instruction, or Training Handbook! My eyes gloss over at the very mention of these things lately. Are you with me? I was recently asked to read a safety workbook, and take a test on it, before I could handle a piece of equipment. I read the first few (of 51!) pages several times, trying to bring my brain to a place where it could process the information without context. I quit several times. Can you relate? Sometimes words are just words when there is no framework from which to understand them.

Conversely, I got the chance to handle a new machine in the lab yesterday. My boss explained its purpose, gave me a quick demonstration and then let me operate it. With only a few minutes of hands-on exposure, I understood how it worked, what I could use it for, and why it will be beneficial for what I do every day. As she was walking away, my manager said she’d send me the paperwork for this apparatus. I realized, happily, that this was not another user guide to dread. The difference was that the words had already been brought to life for me this time.

Isn’t this a great real-life example of the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives? Before we accept Jesus, the Bible can be a hard read. Although it is not another user guide, it can feel that way when we try to process it with an inadequate frame of reference. But once the Holy Spirit comes to reside in us, He shows us how it works. He helps us to internalize its truth and illustrates the benefit it adds to our daily lives. He brings living color to the black and white words of Scripture.

“But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”

John 14:26

What is your learning style? Are you, like me, willing to read just about anything provided it is not anther user guide? Or do you enjoy written work instructions? Is there someone in your life who makes the mundane fun? Do you find the Bible boring, or can you see God’s glorious intention for you leaping off the pages and into your soul? How does this resonate with you? I look forward to your thoughts!

“Your call will become clear as your mind is transformed by the reading of Scripture and the internal work of God’s Spirit. The Lord never hides His will from us. In time, as you obey the call first to follow, your destiny will unfold before you.”

Charles R. Swindoll
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Reflections

Appreciation, Esteem, Preference and How to do Love Un-complicated

Human love is complicated because we each esteem and value things differently. For instance, I might appreciate comfort – a fuzzy blanket, a worn in pair of sneakers, or easy conversation. I might even say I ‘love’ those things. You, on the other hand, might have a preference for beauty – a magazine-worthy kitchen, a sparkling gemstone, or someone who looks oh-so-good by your side. You may be said to ‘love’ those things. The love I give is going to be spritzed with the love I esteem, so it will undoubtedly offer comfort, but it may not be pretty. And the love you offer to me will have elements of beauty but may not include the ease I hope for. When we try to love each other this way, the disconnect stops us short. My advice is to STOP! We can’t love each other adequately with our own brands of love! Love is supposed to be unconditional and completely selfless, and we’re told we need to love all other humans this way. It’s a recipe for failure.

But Jesus. He does love perfectly. This is His description of the love He has:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. 

1 Corinthians 13:4-8a.

He has so much of this perfect love for you and me, that when we let Him lavish it on us, it just keeps coming. We open our hearts to be filled and it spills over and out and onto everyone around us. We don’t weary of giving it away because we don’t get depleted. This isn’t love that comes from us, so our pride and preferences aren’t attached. This is freely received and freely given, and its well is bottomless.

Let’s take a breath and stop the cycle of wrapping our desires in boxes decorated with our motives and expecting others to joyfully cherish them. Let’s not expect to be able to fulfill someone else that way either. Instead, let’s open our hearts to Jesus and allow Him to start pouring; and let’s position ourselves so that the overflow soaks everyone around us. There are 3 weeks until Valentine’s Day. How much perfect love can we soak in and splash out by then? Let’s do love un-complicated!