Our Unexpected Journey

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Floyd is feeling better, but also still sleeping a lot.  On Sat. he had a sweet visit with a friend from overseas.  They had ministered together in the middle east to refugees before Floyd became sick.  He spent time sharing reports from around the world with him.  I know that would have blessed Floyd's heart.

This week 4 friends had a sweet, precious time with him.  They said the presence of the Lord was so strong in the room.  At the end, he gave them a big smile.

I wish I had kept a record of everyone that has visited Floyd.  It's really been quite remarkable!  So many friends from around-the-world have been here.  The outpouring of love and affection has been so special.  And, of course, the dear ones on the Care Team who go regularly is a blessing of immense proportions.

When I pray and ask the Lord for healing or heaven for Floyd, I ask the Lord if it's heaven to please take him gently without a lot more suffering.  It's so agonizing to see him suffer intensely, and not be able to do anything to relieve it.  I'm so grateful that he has improved.

On this "unexpected" journey that we're on, I find that sadness and grief impact my heart at "unexpected" times too.  I had a good example of that this week.  A church here in Cape Town and All Nations are co-hosting a conference this week on reaching the cities.  Floyd has such a heart for the cities of the world, and would have loved to be part of this gathering.  He smiled when I told him about it, and I've prayed with him for the conference.

I had the privilege of sharing for a few minutes in the opening session on behalf of Floyd.  In the midst of that, my heart was suddenly impacted with grief.  The thought raced through my mind that Floyd should be there - he should be speaking.  As soon as I finished, I went outside with tears streaming down my face.

I had no idea this would happen.  It was so unexpected.  But I've been learning that sadness and grief can strike at any time.  I'm choosing to let the tears come, to let the sadness surface as I know it has a healing and cleansing benefit.

For all of us - whatever the sadness and grief is that we might be walking through - it's so important to not bottle it up.....to let it surface and be expressed.  I think that's how God ministers His healing grace to us......in little doses over time.  He keeps cleansing the "wound" of sadness until it's fully healed.  It may take years.  God knows the timetable that is best for each of us.

Jesus can empathize with our sorrow.  He has walked through suffering.  He is able to help carry our grief, and pour His love into our pain.  He wipes away the tears we cry with His love and grace.  He never leaves us alone to cope with the sorrow.

Shortly after all this happened, someone asked to pray for me.  Their prayer was for "unexpected" joy.  I love that, because I've experienced it!  In the midst of all the loss and sadness......there has also been rich joy.  At first when I experienced it I felt guilty for being joyful.  But I've come to realize that it's, once again, the way God in His lovingkindness balances out the "scales" in our lives.  Too much grief and sadness would destroy us - so He compensates with special joys along the way.

The joys come in an amazing variety of ways.  A big smile from Floyd.  A hug from a friend.  A word of encouragement from a friend or even a stranger.  Beautiful flowers.  A stunning sunset.  The majestic beauty of the ocean.  Seeing whales in our bay - which I saw this week.  (It's late in the season, so it was truly an unexpected joy.  God knows how much it would mean to me.)  A song of worship.  A scripture passage that seems to speak right to my heart.  The tweeting of birds out my window.  The list goes on and on.  God knows what ministers joy to my heart, and is continually bringing those joys to me.  Many, perhaps most, of the joys are small.  It would be easy to miss them if we're not looking.

It's been an unexpected journey.  Unexpected events - unexpected sorrow - and unexpected joy.....all held together in the Lord's loving and faithful care.  He is so good and faithful.  He never gives more than we can bear.  He is with us continually.  And He gives sufficient strength and grace to help me keep moving forward.

"God blesses those people who grieve.  They will find comfort."  Matthew 5:4

"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit."  Psalm 34:18

"He was...a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief."  Isaiah 53:3

"Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning."  Psalm 30:5

"When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul."  Psalm 94:19

"This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it."  Psalm 118:24  Even if it's a sad day - I can rejoice in His goodness and faithfulness!

On the days when the grief is there, I know that joy will also come.  It's easy to feel that I'll always be sad because of the weight of things.  But that's not true.  The sad times, the times of grief, are hard, but our loving Father will walk with us through them.  He'll bring good - joy!! - into our lives in ways that only He can.  How grateful l am for His lovingkindness!

We are in spring here in South Africa.  I think it's my favorite season of the year.  I love the variety of greens of new growth on the trees and plants and in the fields.  After our severe drought - and then the "answer to prayer" rains of winter - we have an abundance of spring flowers this year.  The fields, sidewalks, and gardens are full of gorgeous blooms.  It is so pretty!

Everything had been so brown and dead - and now it's green and blooming.  The new life is amazing!  It's a wonderful visual example of the new life God can bring into our lives in His own unique way - especially after seasons of dryness.  I usually pray, sing, and chat to the Lord when I'm driving - and with this spring beauty all around us, I thank Him for His goodness and new life.

I grew up singing Gospel music.  In fact I sang in a girls trio for a number of years.  I love a lot of the songs from that genre.  I've recently been singing one that takes me back to my "roots."  When I played it for Floyd and told him it would take him back to his roots too, he smiled as he listened to it.

The words express what my heart is feeling and singing as I thank the Lord for His goodness and new life.

"That's a hallelujah, that's a praise Him,

That's a glory be and blessed be His name.

Has He been faithful?  Don't it make you grateful?

Every time the Lord has been good to ya, that's a hallelujah.

Every day you wake up God is up to something new,

So go ahead and thank Him for what He's yet to do."

I have SO much to thank Him for.  He is so good, so faithful, and so at work in my life at every level.  It's definitely something to praise Him for and to sing hallelujah for!

"Let them....tell of His works with songs of joy."  Psalm 107:22

"Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you."  1 Thessalonians 5:18

"Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name."  Psalm 100:4

"Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ for the spiritual blessings that Christ has brought us from heaven."  Ephesians 1:3 CEV

There is so much to thank Him for - to sing a hallelujah for, to praise Him for, to be grateful for, and to thank Him for what He's yet to do.  He has been so exceedingly faithful to me and to our family.  I can't help but rejoice and sing His praises......even on hard days!