Our Unexpected Journey

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We have prayed for peace for Floyd, and God has answered those prayers.  There were a few weeks when Floyd seemed restless and agitated.  We couldn't see any physical thing to explain it, so we figured he must be discouraged over his situation.  All we could do was love him, encourage him, and pray.  The last couple weeks there is a noticeable change.  He is at rest and at peace.  I think God has been ministering to him.  

One of the therapists this week said that he's been very co-operative.  That has not always been the case. :)  

We have some good friends from the US visiting right now.  We've known them for a long time - Floyd, in fact, married them years ago.  We went to see Floyd together.  He seemed to not know whether to laugh or cry.  He did both.  He cried and cried - and then he smiled and smiled.  It was a very sweet time with him.

Security is a big issue here in South Africa.  Unfortunately there is a lot of crime.  It's fueled by poverty, drugs, gangs, and greed.  Burglar bars on the windows, security fences, neighborhood patrols, WhatsApp security messages, and alarm systems are all part of our life.  We have alarms on the inside of our house - and also "sensors" on the outside to detect movement on the perimeter.

Floyd was very security conscious - especially when thinking of me being here frequently alone when he travelled.  So I feel he took care of me even before he got sick.  I also have very lovely neighbors who help to watch out for me.

In recent weeks, our alarm has gone off 3 times in the middle of the night.  As you can imagine, it's "alarming."  Being rudely awakened and rushing to see what's happening is not the way you want to wake up.  The adrenalin rush makes further sleep almost impossible.

In one of the events, a neighbor's cat had set off an outside sensor.  The sensors are programed to try and prevent this from happening, but the cat must have walked right in front of the beam.  We have a small storage shed, and the other 2 times a small lizard crawled over the sensor and set the alarm off. :(  

As is often the case in my life, the Lord began using these life events to speak into my heart.  What came to me is that we are "on guard" against the "big" issues that can trip us up in our hearts.  Those internal alarms work good for the most part!  But what I really need to be on guard for is the small things.  My thoughts, my speech, my attitudes, my responses - these smaller things are just as alarming and destructive in my walk with the Lord if I'm not careful.

As we've been walking along this unending, unexpected journey, I have been careful to guard my heart in not "blaming" God for anything.  I have chosen trust repeatedly when facing things that I don't understand.

I've relied on His grace to cope with things that are beyond my control.  I have called upon His mercy to have strength to endure.  He has been faithful on every level!

But I do get weary......and I don't want to let my guard down in the midst of weariness.  These little creatures that have set off our security alarms have been a good reminder to me to be careful not to let "little" things in any way impact my walk with the Lord and my trust in Him.  I have my alarm sensors on fresh alert!!

"Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong."  1 Corinthians 16:13

"Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it."  Proverbs 4:23

"Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.  The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak."  Matthew 26:41

"Watching what you say can save you a lot of trouble."  Proverbs 21:23

"Stay alert!  Watch out for your great enemy, the devil.  He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour."  1 Peter 5:8

"The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience.  And God is faithful.  He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand.  When you are tempted, He will show you a way out so that you can endure."  1 Corinthians 10:13

God has been so gracious in caring for me, protecting me, and helping me on this unexpected journey.  But I must do my part to guard my heart.  The alarms of recent nights have been a good warning to not let down my guard in any area.  Even that reminder is part of God's faithfulness!!

As I began my week, I was looking forward to a quiet one.  There were only a few appointments, and nothing "big" was on the horizon for the next few days.  It was a relief, actually, as I've had some intense weeks recently.

Then suddenly, out of seeming nowhere, came 7 "big" things that I had to deal with.  I felt like I'd been hit by a big truck.  Bam!  In just a couple hours my whole week was changed.  It was such a jolt.

My first thoughts were of feeling overwhelmed.  I'm tired.  I didn't want to deal with all these things.  I really was looking forward to the peace and quiet.  It was frustrating and disappointing.

Then my second thoughts were "thank goodness God will help me!  I can't do all this alone."  My heart turned right away to asking for His help.  In fact I thought in the midst of things that change, there are two "unchangables" about God that I am so grateful for - His sovereignty and His faithfulness.

God doesn't get confused.  He doesn't get frustrated when things change.  He isn't helpless.  He isn't at a loss.  He is without equal.  He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  He is infinite.  He is in control.  He has a plan and a way to help us navigate every situation.  I am so grateful for His sovereignty.

And no matter what I ask - how many things I ask, He always comes through and helps me.  His grace is sufficient.  His power is unlimited.  His strength is made perfect in my weakness.  He has an answer to my every question.  He has a solution to every problem.  He doesn't grow weary when I'm tired.  He never throws up His hands and quits.  I am so grateful for His faithfulness.

God takes my hardest situation, my deepest sorrow, my most painful event, my every question and confusion - and He weaves it all into an amazing and beautiful pattern for good in my life.  The tapestry He is weaving of my life is an awesome work of art.  I wish I could see it from His perspective.

In the midst of all I'm going through, He speaks continually to my heart.  His voice comes through sights and sounds, through my thoughts, through impressions into my heart, through the counsel of friends, through His word.  He speaks!  

If we listen, He speaks very loud and clear.  My part is to listen, to be alert and aware of His messages, to be attentive to His word to me.  I know in His sovereignty over my life, and in His loving care and faithfulness He wants to speak to me, to help me, and to guide me.  I'm so, so grateful for these unchangable aspects of who He is!!

"Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart."  Jeremiah 29:12,13

"A person's steps are directed by the Lord."  Proverbs 20:24

"Many are the plans in a person's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails."  Proverbs 19:21

"If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and He will give it to you.  He will not rebuke you for asking."  James 1:5

"For You are my rock and my fortress; You lead me and guide me for Your name's sake."  Psalm 31:3

There are many wonderful unchangables about God - but this week I'm rejoicing in His sovereignty and His faithfulness.  I'm so grateful for who He is!