Our Unexpected Journey

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Floyd seems to be growing weary.  I can only imagine how exhausting all these months have been for him.  He is sleeping more.  He hassometimes been asleep when we visit him, but will wake when we walk in.  Now he sometimes sleeps deeply even while we're there.  But he continues with his lovely smiles. 

I have had some sweet visits with him though.  I’ve played worship songs that he seemed to connect with.  He tried raising his good arm when I raised mine in worship, but he's weaker - he couldn't raise it as high as normal.  I’ve held his hand and prayed for him and us.  He smiles and smiles as I share news - and sometimes he tears up as I share some things.  I love being with him.

We are praying for God's grace for Floyd during these days when weariness is creeping in!

This last week I had a "good" day - all day long!  I can't even remember when I last had a fully good day.  I felt "light" and almost giddy.  It was wonderful!!  I kept thanking the Lord all day long.  I hope I'll have more of them.

I was singing a worship chorus about God's goodness, His faithfulness, His holiness - and I began thinking of how I've sung these worship songs all my life.  I've lifted my hands, I've worshipped with my whole heart, and I've meant every word I've sung.

But when you're going through a trial, when everything in you is being tested, when life itself is hanging by a thread - the words you sing take on new depth and meaning!  They're no longer just wonderful words of a song, they become the cry of your heart!

I'm not a song writer, but I found myself grateful for those who write these songs that help us express our hearts of worship and gratitude to Him. The songs are a rich part of my daily conversations with the Lord.

I'm so grateful that God created worship.  It blesses Him that we can express ourselves in adoration - but, much more importantly, it gives us an opportunity to pour out our hearts with our love and thankfulness to Him.  There is something about worship, especially in singing, that draws me in close to His heart.

"Ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.  Ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name; worship the Lord in the splendor of His holiness."  Psalm 29:1,2

"I will sing of the Lord's great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations.  I will declare that your love stands firm forever, that you have established your faithfulness in heaven itself."  Psalm 89:1,2

"Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.  Worship the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful songs."  Psalm 100:1,2

"Exalt the Lord our God and worship at His footstool; He is holy!"  Psalm 99:5

"I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble."  Psalm 59:16

I'm so grateful that I can thank Him for His goodness even on the hardest of days.  Worship is a gift to us.

The "40 Days of Worship" that we are in the midst of has proven to be such a blessing to us as we worship Him!  I hope many of you are able to join us.

The phrase "patient endurance" has caught my attention recently.  I know I'm enduring, but I'm not sure I'm always doing it patiently.  I try!  I've keenly known that I need the Lord to strengthen my heart to handle all I'm walking through.

The need for this kind of patient endurance only comes in very hard, ongoing times of trial.  In smooth seasons - or in trials that are over and done with quickly, we don't particularly need patience or endurance.  But in lingering, on-going hard seasons - we certainly need this kind of grace to make it through.

I've found it helpful to acknowledge to the Lord how hard the trial is for me so that I can receive the full measure of His help.  I've even tried to thank Him for trusting me with such a hard trial.  He must have confidence that I can make it through it if He's allowed it to come into my life.  I ask Him, trust Him, to take the dark and heavy time and bring good and beauty out of it.

The waiting that I wrote about recently is part of the patience.  "The Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore He will rise up to show you compassion.  For the Lord is a God of justice.  Blessed are all who wait for Him!"  Isaiah 30:18

I'm working on learning the lesson of waiting in patient endurance.  A "key" for me has been to constantly focus my eyes on Him, and not allow my mind to drift to the "what ifs" that may be still to come.  I have to rest in God's sovereignty, and keep my heart focused on trusting Him.

Rick Warren says "The more you pray, the less you'll panic.  The more you worship, the less you worry.  You'll feel more patient and less pressured."  

God wants to help us to have patient endurance for the trials He knows we are facing.  He's provided prayer and worship to help us get through them.

"Let your hope keep you joyful, be patient in your troubles, and pray at all times."  Romans 12:12

"The Lord is good to everyone who trusts in Him, so it is best for us to wait in patience - to wait for Him to save us."  Lamentations 3:25, 26

"The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still."  Exodus 14:14

"For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised."  Hebrews 10:36

"You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord's dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful."  James 5:11

"But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved."  Matthew 24:13

Someone reminded me recently of words Floyd had written in one of his blogs.  It certainly applies to our lives right now.  "A testing time in our lives, big or small, is one of the ways God uses to teach us to depend more deeply on Him.  As we go through tests, we discover God's goodness in new dimensions.  We gain confidence that God can and will meet us in the crisis experiences of life."

God has faithfully met me each day.  And He has blessed and encouraged me through the prayers of so many faithful ones around the world!  I couldn't have done it alone.