Our Unexpected Journey

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This week Floyd has been content and at peace.  Still quiet, but I think he's okay.  He had a sweet visit with our overseas friends on Saturday.

I'm continuing to heal and recover from my recent surgery - slowly, with a few setbacks, but steadily.  It's so nice to be improving.  I continue to pray for renewed strength and energy.

I've been reading a book about "unshakeable faith in unthinkable circumstances."  It's been encouraging because many of the things that are shared in the book are things I've been learning on our own unexpected, "unthinkable" journey.  It's actually been a sweet affirmation of all the Lord has done in our lives, and all the things He has been teaching me.  He has been so good and so faithful on this journey.

There's a quote in the book from Walter Elliot:  "Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after the other."  That rang so true in my heart.  There have been days when I wondered if I could make it through the day.  In fact, many times I've wondered if I would make it from one minute to the next!  The moments and the days have passed, and now we're past the 2 year mark.  I can't help but wonder all the time what is still ahead.

God's grace, goodness, strength, and faithfulness have helped me to survive all the "short races."  I'm somewhat amazed when I think back over all that has happened.  I know I couldn't have made it in my own strength, but He has been abundantly sufficient.

I guess I've never thought about perseverance too much.  I've had a few occasions in our lives when I've needed it - and God has always helped me.  But the idea of persevering being making it through lots of small things seemed so right.  If I had looked at 2 years on this journey back when it started, I'm not sure how I could have faced that.  But, thankfully, all I had to do was face a moment, a few moments, a day, a few days.....at a time!  I'm glad God broke it up in bite-size challenges for me.

Just the other day when I had my medical check-up, I was talking with the doctor about the previous year.  I've had 4 surgeries and 2 types of chemo treatment.  Thank goodness I didn't know about all that beforehand - but, with God's help, I survived.  Thank you Lord!

One day this week, I woke up feeling like a wet noodle without any energy and with lots of post surgery soreness.  It's certainly a "little" race, but I knew I couldn't even make it through the day without His help.  It gave me such confidence to know I could call on Him for grace to persevere through that low day.

I encourage all you dear ones that whatever you are facing, God will help you get through all the "short races."  He is involved in every detail of our lives, and He will help us through them all.

"Behold, the Lord's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, or His ear dull, that it cannot hear."  Isaiah 59:1

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."  James 1:2-4

"We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope."  Romans 5:3-4

"Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him."  James 1:12

I was talking with a friend recently about things happening in our valley - crime, vandalism, drugs, traffic congestion, and, of course, our water crisis.  She said that she finds herself feeling vulnerable and often fearful.  Then she asked me if I felt that way.

I paused for a moment to think, and then I told her that I prayed a lot, that I had good neighbors, that I had burglar alarms, and that I had a worker that lived on our property several nights a week (that will soon be changing and I'll be alone).  We went on to talk about other things.

But the conversation has stuck with me.  I've reflected on it quite a bit.  I realized that I've definitely had times of feeling very vulnerable, and I've had times of being fearful.  But, thankfully, God has met me when I've felt that way!  If I had to live with feeling vulnerable and fearful, I don't know if I could survive.

A few months after Floyd became ill, we had a break in at our home.  God protected us.  The robbers were scared away, no one was hurt, and there was just some damage to repair.  But it did make me feel vulnerable!  The same thing could have happened, of course, even if Floyd were home.....but I wouldn't have felt as alone.

Each time I've felt vulnerable or fearful, I've turned to the Lord.  He has been so faithful to minister peace to my heart.  He has given me courage, and has reminded me that He has angels watching over me.  He calms my anxiety, and He brings to mind the verses that tell me He's holding my hand.

As I've been thinking about all this, I found myself singing an old song that I sang in church when I was growing up - "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms." 

“What have I to dread, what have I to fear,

Leaning on the everlasting arms?

I have blessed peace with my Lord so near,

On the everlasting arms.

Leaning, leaning,

Safe and secure from all alarms;

Leaning, leaning,

Leaning on the everlasting arms.”

I have no need to fear any "alarms."  He is holding me in His arms!  That song was written in 1887, but the words are just as true today as they were then.  I'm so grateful that I can give any fear, any feeling of being vulnerable to Him - and receive His peace.  I can face any difficulties in His strength.

"Don't be afraid.  Just stand still and watch the Lord rescue you today."  Exodus 14:13

"The Lord is good, a strong refuge when trouble comes.  He is close to those who trust in Him."  Nahum 1:7

"The Lord will keep you from all harm - He will watch over your life." Psalm 121:7

"But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one."  2 Thessalonians 3:3

"God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble."  Psalm 46:1

"I will hide beneath the shadow of your wings until the danger passes by."  Psalm 57:1

We live in a fallen world.  We will face times of feeling vulnerable and fearful because of circumstances around us.  But we can bring those feelings to Him, and rest in His wonderful, safe, and secure arms.  He will minister grace, peace, and courage to our hearts.  Thank you Jesus!