Archive for the ‘God Provides’ Category

I am still getting over being sick and, though I don’t like to be sick, it was nice last week to have a break. I realize perhaps God had given me this one last week to be alone with him, all appointments cancelled just before school was out and kids are home every day. I hadn’t even thought about it, but this was my last week to enjoy being alone with Him. So though I don’t like being sick, I am thankful for my special time with Him.

This past weekend I still wasn’t all well, but I had not walked all week so I really wanted to get out and hike. Even though I felt tired from being sick, it felt really good to get my blood pumping and actually felt like a little exercise would speed my healing. We didn’t have much time so we just hiked down the gas pipeline behind my Dad’s house again, which in a mile leads to a nearby park with wooded trails.  It is really cool how you can hike through the middle of suburbs and neighborhoods through this vast grassy area that makes you feel like you are miles from civilization out in the country.

This day it was really, really hot! Well, it was only 88, which is not unusual for Memphis, but it was the first hot day this year and very humid and we are not used to it yet. Plus this hike is more in the sun, so we were sweltering! We found a couple of ticks from walking through the grass, so I decided to put on the 100% DEET that we had with us. Well, apparently I am allergic, because by the time we got to the park, my legs were red, inflamed, and covered with hives! At first I thought the mosquitoes were really, really bad. My legs looked like they were covered in big welts. But then we realized no one else had mosquito bites, and it must have been the DEET. My legs were on fire and itchy. Plus I still did not feel all well, so I was pretty miserable at one point. We sat down to rest by the lake at the park. I got my legs washed off and took an antihistamine.  As we started heading back, I finally began to feel better as the gentle breeze cooled my legs. What sweet relief it was to have the itching and burning subside.

Overall it was a really fun trip despite getting over being sick, my allergic reaction, and the heat! But it was great to get out after being in the house all week. It felt great to exercise and to explore, and so I’m thankful for our latest adventure through the wilds of Memphis. (Only three weeks to Appalachian Trail Vermont!!)


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The Lord is my Shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He refreshes my soul…  Psa. 23:1

My husband was sick this past weekend, worn down by working so many hours, so we didn’t get to hike very far. My daughter was also sick on her birthday, which was Saturday, so my husband and I decided to just do a short hike at a nearby park. When we got there, we found out that this was the day for their outdoor festival. We just kind of ignored it and headed off for our usual hike in the woods around the outskirts of the park. By the time we made it all the way around and back to the open area in the center, we began to look at some of the booths.

There was one from the Meeman Shelby State Park where we usually do our long hikes displaying an owl and a long (creepy) snake that you could pick up! There was also a petting zoo from Hooker Farms with the most adorable little animals! We thought they was so cute and my daughter loves cute little animals so much that we drove home, got her, and brought her back, even though she was sick. It was her birthday, after all!

We saw bunnies that were so cute and soft. We got to each pick up one and snuggle it! Some of the animals had quite a personality. We met a pig who would come up to you and look straight up his snout at you! No doubt, looking for food! And then there was my favorite animal there, a cute little wooly sheep. He was all fluffy and chubby-looking.  He was very interested in you when you came around and seemed to be very sociable, like a dog.   He would look up at you with a smile on his face!  If you got close to him, he would come right up to you and curiously nose around. He was very responsive and seemed to have quite a personality. We just thought he was the star of the zoo, Mr. Personality! lol

Then I thought of how the Bible says we are the sheep and Jesus is our Shepherd. He is the Good Shepherd who leads us from one pasture to the next to find food and safety for us. He loves our quirky personality. He loves each sheep for its uniqueness, and He knows each one intimately. He cares for each sheep as if he or she were the only one.  And in the end, He leads us safely home. After meeting this sheep with attitude, I’ll never read the stories about Jesus and His sheep the same way again!

Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.  Luke 15:3-7

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I was out for my walk to the neighborhood park yesterday when I noticed how several trees were growing together in one continuous rounded shape in perfect symmetry as if they were one tree.  This way they can get the maximum sunlight possible without growing any bigger than necessary.

And I thought how amazing it is that God designed our earth, where everything works together so well in perfect balance.  God created plants to use the carbon dioxide we expel and to create new oxygen for us to breathe.  What a perfect balance! What if plants created another gas besides oxygen?  We could not live.

When plants and animals die, their bodies decompose to form the soil that nourishes future life.  God has provided all sorts of insects and microorganisms, such as worms, ants, and bacteria to decompose the dead matter to create the soil needed for plant growth.  What  if we did not have these decomposers to create new soil out of dead matter?  Plants would run out of soil nutrients and could no longer grow and produce food and oxygen for us.

Even our planet’s position in the solar system is in perfect balance.  We are the perfect distance from our sun to receive just the right amount of heat and light.  The light nourishes our plants so they can produce food and oxygen for us.  Our distance from the sun keeps our water system in balance.  What if we were just a little too close to the sun?  The oceans burn up and no life can be supported.  Too far?  Our planet freezes.

And because we are the perfect distance from the sun to maintain liquid water on earth, that water has its own balanced cycle, where it evaporates into the sky as clouds and then returns to the earth to water it, always being reused.  Never lost. What would happen if each time we drank water, it was lost and not reusable?  We would run out of water and die.  There are so many other examples I could give but it would be too long here.

It really is amazing how God has created our planet, even our solar system in such perfect balance that it continually sustains life for us to live.  Surely such perfect harmony could not be achieved by accident but was deliberately created for us so that we could live and for the glory of the Creator.  Amen!

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – His eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has made, so that men are without excuse.  Rom. 1:20 NIV84

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20130218-112425.jpgWe went hiking again on Saturday and again had a wonderful time.  It was only 40 degrees, so we were bundled up but soon heated ourselves up hiking.  My husband, who is originally from New York State, wears shorts starting at 40 degrees!  So you can see that is what he wore (crazy!) lol.  And since we have three girls in our family, and he is the only guy, he often ends up carrying around things like flowered backpacks! lol  What a great guy! :)

It has been a rough few years for him.  A couple of years ago the main subject of my blog was about him losing our home-based business of 15 years, having to retrain to be a truck driver, and leaving home to drive over-the-road for a year.  This was hard on our family because up till that time my two girls and I were used to having Daddy home 24/7! The girls didn’t know what it was like to have Daddy going away to work each day, and it was a big change to have him gone overnight most days of the week.

That was a really traumatic time for us.  I missed my earthly husband and God filled the role of Husband for me.  He took care of me and comforted me in a way that I never would have gotten to experience otherwise.  My husband went through several jobs for the next couple of years. By then we had used up our savings and many times we did not know how we would pay our bills.  On paper it just did not make sense that we could pay the bills, but each month, somehow God made it work out.  We were always amazed that we didn’t fail to pay one bill.

My husband is a great provider.  He has worked hard the past couple of years to provide the majority of our income for us.  He has taken really hard, physically demanding, exhausting jobs so that me and the girls can be home, comfortable, and cared for, and I am thankful for his sacrifice for us.

He has been working hard and has been so serious about this responsibility for so long that I think he had forgotten what it was like to have fun and do something enjoyable.  We went camping for the first time in a while last Fall.  We hadn’t been able to go on many trips mainly because we couldn’t afford it, but also because my husband had a physically tiring job and just does not have the energy often to drive to another place on his day off.

But this time we went camping, and I assumed my husband was really worn out by this trip, but he was actually having a really good time!  He was invigorated by being out in IMG_0495nature, by hiking, and living among God’s beauty.  We had the most awesome campsite at Nathan Bedford Forrest State Park in Tennessee. We camped right on the lake which had a sandy/rocky shore that is not to common where we live in Tennessee.  That weekend was a perfect 70 degrees with a nice breeze.   It was really just perfect and such a nice break for him to just have fun and enjoy himself!

Since then with our new goal to hike the Appalachian Trail, we’ve been hiking most weekends.  And I’ve been surprised that he is all for it!  Many times when I’m wishy washy about it, like maybe we’re too tired or we should stay home and be responsible and clean the house or something, he is the one that says, “No, let’s go!!”  So we have been hiking every weekend, and I think he has been loving it!  He’s been having a blast, and actually we all have (except for my 13-year-old who goes begrudgingly! lol).  And it does my heart good to see him finding pleasure in something and enjoying himself!

I am so glad that God has worked it out this way!  The hiking is good for us physically, but I think it is so much more than that, especially for my husband, invigorating, rejuvenating, just plain pleasure in life.  So I am thankful to God for this new goal in our family which has blessed us, but also which especially blesses my husband who so deserves it for how hard things have been for him and how hard he has worked to care for us.  Praise God for His blessings!


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Seek God First

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry…” (Matthew 6:33, 34 NIV84)

This was the very first verse God ever spoke to me through 24 years ago the night I was saved. For the first time I believed that God was real, and I was pouring out of my heart all of my worries. It was almost like I had finally found my long lost Daddy and had stored up so much that I needed to tell him from the 18 years i had lived without him.

Then I started reading the Bible in Matthew, and when I came to that verse above, God spoke to me through a verse for the first time ever! I understood that God was telling me not to worry about all of the myriad of anxieties I was telling him about but just to seek Him and He will handle everything else.

I began writing in my blog again this week and had forgotten how much I love writing about God and getting to share what He is teaching me. I really enjoy it, like it was one of the things He has made me to do. But at the same time I feel anxious that I will not be able to continue to write, and sometimes that anxiety makes me want to avoid the whole thing, thus causing me to miss getting to serve God with the gift He has given me.

So I was telling my sister about this and she reminded me of this first verse that was so special to me. And she is right! I don’t need to worry about it. Here is her advice for the day:

“You just make it your goal to seek the Lord’s sweet and deep love and fellowship with no other intention in mind, and I know He will lead to to write as much or as little as He desires. The pressure is off!!! You know? Seek Him first and everything else is added.”

Amen, sis! :)

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Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me…  Psa. 23:4

The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.  Deut. 31:8

One thing I am learning after everything we’ve been through the past couple of years is that God never leaves me.  Through all of my ups and downs, highs and lows, success and failure, good and bad behavior, He still is with me.  Of course He was here when I chose to give my life to Him 23 years ago and grew with Him as a baby Christian throughout college.  But He stayed with me when after that I got married and subconsciously decided that since I now had my husband, I didn’t need Him any more.  He remained with me even when I was trying to ignore Him.  He continued to pursue me and woo me and call me back, and thankfully He is persistent, because He succeeded.

He was with me the many years after that of married life during my long, gradual restoration to Him and slow growth in Him in which not a lot seemed to happen and you could have called me lukewarm.  But no one else could see what He was doing on the inside.  He had His master plan all along, continuing to lead me where He wanted me.

He was with me five years ago during a spiritual high.  After convincing me that, though I had everything I could basically want physically, I was lifeless and depressed because I had not given Him everything.  Then He amazed me with His love for me.  I just could not believe that He could possibly love me that much.  I still can’t believe it, and it continues to constantly amazes me to the point where it is that which I now am driven to try to convince other people of.  And so I almost couldn’t resist agreeing to give Him everything, with His help, which launched me on the most amazing adventure of my life!  I became amazed and captivated by Him and He was all I could think about.

Looking back, I believe one of the reasons for the previous experience was to enable me to survive the next chapter in our lives.  A couple of years later, my husband lost his home-based business of 14 years.  I’ve written about it many times over the past couple of years!  Our life of comfort that I took for granted was changed forever.  After having my husband home 24 hours a day, what had become the norm for the kids and me, he lost the business.  He trained in the only thing that he knew would be hiring a middle-aged person starting over in his career.  He became a truck driver and drove over the road for the first year.  We saw him very little, and when we did, he was exhausted.  He not only drove 12-14 hours a day but manually unloaded the entire truck, box by box, to the stores.  He worked so hard he could not maintain his weight and became unhealthy. 

 Thankfully he has found other jobs since then that have kept him closer to home.  But the jobs have been difficult and low paying.  Finances, which were always fairly comfortable for us in the past, have now continued to be a challenge.  We have had many months where we had no idea how we would pay the bills.  But amazingly, during the past two and a half years of this uncertainty, every bill has been paid.  God has provided for every need, as promised.

In addition to having my husband gone more often and struggling financially, we lost our church family of nine years, I had to go go back to work after being home for 14 years, and last year we also struggled with an illness with my older daughter that  took a long time to diagnose and created a lot of fear, uncertainty, and eventually led to her being out of school for the second half of the year.  It pushed me to where I had trouble trusting God because it seemed that it was up to me to figure it all out.  Of course it wasn’t.  He had it all figured out.   And God was still with me through our lowest times.

I struggled to trust Him.  I struggled with anger at him.  I doubted Him, His goodness.  I sent myself into despair and hopelessness.  Because once we decide God may no longer be good or trustworthy, our whole foundation for hope and security is shattered.  It is a scary place to be.  But God did not give up on me then either.  He patiently walked with me through my valley of the shadow of death.  He even walked with me when my anger was turned towards Him, holding my hand.  He did not leave, patiently leading me through.

There were times during all this that I just didn’t feel I could maintain a relationship with Him like I should.  I didn’t have anything left to give Him.  There was nothing.  And that is when I found out that He was still with me.  Even when I have nothing left.  He is still there.  And that is the lesson, right?  When all else fails, when my strength fails, my ability to cope, my ability to respond in relationship to Him, my ability to give Him anything at all, He Is.  He is enough.  He is enough to maintain our relationship with Him.  He is our strength.  He carries us.  He is here, always, to the very end of life on earth and then beyond.

It is an amazing lesson that I am learning, His constancy, which is not dependent on me.  What a relief!  Because I’m quite unreliable and inconsistent and emotional.  It gives us such a sense of security.  When I cannot do anything else, He will still be here to carry me through.  Whether I have everything or nothing left, I can rest in the fact that He will never leave me and will carry me through to the end. 

Praise You God for Your amazing constancy, patience, and committment, Your Love, that sees us all the way through this life and when we have nothing left, even picks us up and carries us ever so tenderly.  We love You.  Amen.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, no anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Rom. 8:38-39

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…Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.  Psa. 29:5

These past 2 1/2 years have been hard with my husband losing his business and us struggling financially.  Even though there is not much evidence of it yet, we are learning to believe that God does indeed have good plans for us in that area, and we just haven’t seen the evidence of it yet.  Earlier I wrote how God has given us a little example of how God can bring a really good thing out of a really bad thing.  My 15-year-old was so sick last year that she was out of school for the second half of the year.  But out of that, not only did He do a lot of physical healing in her, but also spiritual and emotional healing as well.  I realize that it was all worth it for how God has changed and healed her.

Today I remembered another way that God has brought good out of bad.  When we lost our business, my husband had to take an over-the-road trucking job.  He went from being home 24/7 to being gone 24/6.  On top of that we lost our church family of eight years.  It was pretty devastating.  It felt like we had lost almost everything.   We tried a different church for a few months, but we never seemed to fit in there.  

Then one day we impulsively decided to try a different church.  Gradually over several months, this church began to grow on us.  Everyone was so friendly.  This was a larger church than our old one, so they had more programs for the kids, but yet they were more friendly.  They seemed to want to know new people, and they also seemed to want to serve.   They pray a lot and seek to do God’s will. 

I enjoy our Sunday morning women’s study.  The women there are like a family.  They share their lives and pray for each other.  I enjoy the teaching, and often God speaks to me through it.  They are friendly and are very willing to include new people, to notice when someone isn’t there, or to care for someone who’s sick. 

I also love our church service.  I love the music.  It is very easy to worship God.  I often run into the service a little harried, on the verge of being late after chatting too long in the women’s class!  But once I’m there and the music is playing and people are singing, it is so easy to slip into worshipping God and to praise Him.  I believe that the Holy Spirit is at this church leading people to worship, to pray, and to love eachother.   It makes me feel so privileged to be part of a church where God is working.

So I realized that I LOVE my church!  I am in love with God, and He has made me fall in love with His church too.  He has given us a new church home, a new church family.  And I also realize that it is another example of how He brings a wonderful good out of a really bad heartbreaking situation.  In fact, while we loved our old church, God has now given us something even better.  Out of the heartbreak and pain, He brought new life, even better life than before.  Isn’t that just like Him???  So now we remember these examples of His goodness and continue to learn to have faith that there is good in store for my husband’s job as well.   

Thank You God for bringing us through some of the heartbreaks over the past couple of years.  You sustained us during that time with Yourself, comforting us and caring for us, providing just what we needed.  And some things You have already healed and resolved and given us even greater good than before.  Help us to continue to trust You and to believe that You are working out a great plan for my husband’s job as well.  And thank You the greatest gift of all, You.  We love You dearly.  Amen.

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