Our Unexpected Journey

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Floyd had a sweet visit with a dear South African friend this week.  He hadn't seen him in several years, but when he saw him he "lit" up.  He smiled, listened intently as the friend shared, cried a bit, and even seemed like he was trying to talk.  When the friend played some worship, Floyd lifted his arm in worship - he doesn't do that very much these days.  It was a very special time - a sweet gift.  I loved that Floyd got that lovely treat.

I am continuing to thank the Lord for the good report I received from my scan.  It has been such a hard year.  I keep thanking the Lord for carrying me through.

As I look back on the long months of our journey, I realize how God has helped me "navigate" this season.  I truly couldn't have made it without Him.  So much has happened, and so many things have been "thrown" into the mix.  In lots of ways it feels like I've been walking through a giant maze with continuous twists and turns.  (Like the one I have used for this blog.)

I could never have muddled through on my own!  I would have been hopelessly lost in that maze.  But God has held my hand, and directed my steps day by day.

I'm grateful for sweet friends who have helped me survive - especially this last year when I was battling cancer.  I could not have made it without these friends!  I didn't have Floyd, but I had wonderful friends.  I've needed to embrace a new level of humility to be weak and receive help.  I've always been very capable, very organized.  Needing help for the most basic of my daily needs has been a new experience, but my friends have helped me through.

It has often seemed like I would just get through one thing - then there's a new twist and a new difficulty immediately ahead.  The battles don't stop!  But God has been there with each twist and turn, helping with each new battle.  His grace and been abundant.

C.S. Lewis said "God, who foresaw your tribulation, has specially armed you to go through it, not without pain, but without stain."  There's so much truth in  that!  We will have battles, and some of them will be painful - but God will bring us through the fire of battle with no smell of smoke on us.  How faithful He is!

"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you."  Isaiah 43:2

"The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe."  Proverbs 18:10

"The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; He delivers them from all their troubles.  The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit."  Psalm 34:17-18

"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."  Isaiah 41:10

"Do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.  But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed."  1 Peter 4:12-13

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight."  Proverbs 3:5-6

He has straightened my paths in the maze, faithfully holding my hand, and guiding me through each twist and turn of pain and trial.  I am so grateful. 

We seem to live in some kind of bird paradise.  There are so many birds in our area, and so many different kinds.  Large ones, small ones and everything in between.  Very plain ones and incredibly colorful, beautiful ones.  I'm not particularly a bird lover, but you can't help but notice them and be impressed.

One morning I was looking out the window, and on the tree branch were 5 different kinds of birds.  It made me wonder how many kinds we have in our area.  I tried to research it, but couldn't get a specific number.  But it's lots!

The thought immediately went through my mind that God knows all these birds!  He not only created them, but he's aware of them on a daily basis.  His creation is valuable to Him.

"What is the price of two sparrows - one copper coin?  But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it."  Matthew 10:29

If God is aware of each bird that falls to the ground, then He certainly knows what you and I are facing today!!  He loves us.  He knows every struggle we are dealing with.  He knows every hope, every dream, every pain, every sorrow, every decision.  He is holding our right hand, and walking with us through each of these things.  And He isn't going to let us fall.  He'll catch us if we stumble!

As I watch these winged creatures fluttering around, it reminds me of the Father's care for me.  The concerns of my heart today for Floyd, for me, for our family, for our future - God is mindful of all of them.  He's continuing to help me navigate the maze, and lead me safely through it.

"Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not much more valuable than they?"  Matthew 6:26

"I know every bird in the mountains."  Psalm 50:11

"So don't be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows."  Matthew 10:31

I don't need to worry.  I don't need to be heavy hearted.  I don't need to agonize over what is ahead.  My God is aware of every need, and is actively working on my behalf - just as He is watching over every one of the birds I see flying around.

I grew up listening to a song penned by Civilla D. Martin in 1905.  The words are powerful:

"Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come, why should my heart be lonely and long for Heaven and home, when Jesus is my portion?  My constant Friend is He: His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me....

"Let not your heart be troubled," His tender word I hear, and resting on His goodness, I lose my doubts and fears; though by the path He leadeth but one step I may see: His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me....

"Whenever I am tempted, whenever clouds arise, when songs give place to sighing, when hope within me dies, I draw the closer to Him; from care He sets me free; His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me....."

He is watching over me!!  What sweet assurance.