Our Unexpected Journey

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This week I received news that a good friend, who has been suffering with a severe illness for 11 years, was miraculously healed.  She is well!!  I, along with many others, have often prayed for her.  I am rejoicing with her!  And I'm encouraged to keep praying for more miracles.  God is alive and well and at work!

I keep praying for God's sovereign will for Floyd - be that healing or heaven.  I keep asking for miracles - and I keep telling the Lord I trust Him.  It's a good place to be - in the hands of God!  

The chest congestion that Floyd often struggles with has returned with a vengeance.  He has been quite miserable this week.  A friend who is visiting went to him yesterday, but Floyd was feeling so bad that he really didn't connect with the friend and the carer.  He usually loves these visits.  I hate to see Floyd suffer like this, so we continue to pray for the congestion to be cleared up.

Apart from the horrible congenstion Floyd is at peace.  You can sense it when you're with him.  In my recent visit with him, I prayed again for God's will in our lives.

I recently wrote about the adversities that we go through - and how God helps us through them.  Since then my mind has been pondering on how we can be joyful, happy even, in the midst of adversity.  We can be in the midst of sadness and sorrow - and still be joyful.  I know - it sounds contradictory, but it's not.

For me it comes down to what I focus on.  I can focus on the trials, the pain, the sadness, the things I've lost - or I can focus on who God is, on His goodness and faithfulness in the middle of the trial.  It's something I need to choose.  A friend sent me this picture.

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I love that picture.  We can be happy even if we don't "win."  Not because of the results - but because of how we choose to look at them.  I have found it so important in the midst of hard days to say "thank you Jesus" for the good things in the hard day.  We can be joyful because of our walk with the Lord, because of the hope He gives us, and because of His faithfulness to us on the journey.

There's an old hymn that I've been singing - "Count Your Blessings."  The words say - "count your blessings, name them one by one; count your blessings see what God has done, count your many blessings.....and it may surprise you what the Lord has done."

I have practiced counting my blessings - making a list of them.  It never ceases to amaze me how many blessings I have.....even in the midst of hard times on this long, unexpected journey!  I am still "rich" with blessings.

"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer."  Romans 12:12

"You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.  Instead of the thornbush will grow the juniper, and instead of briers the myrtle will grow."  Isaiah 55: 12,13

"For the despondent, every day brings trouble: for the happy heart, life is a continual feast."  Proverbs 15:15

"Always be full of joy in the Lord.  I say it again, rejoice!"  Philippians 4:4

"This is the day the Lord has made.  We will rejoice and be glad in it."  Psalm 118:24

"Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

"A joyful heart is good medicine."  Proverbs 17:22

"Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things."  Philippians 4:8

I'm grateful for God's joy and happiness in the midst of hard times.  What a precious gift that is to my heart.  I'm choosing to think on His goodness.

As I've been preparing for my biopsy surgery, I have been at peace - until just a couple days ago.  Then I woke up one morning feeling very anxious.  It kinda caught me off guard.  I was on my way to our weekly All Nations staff gathering where they gathered around to pray for me.  It was just what I needed.  I'm so very grateful to be surrounded by prayer.  

The Lord has also been preparing my heart with a verse from Psalm 139:5 - "You go before me and follow me.  You place your hand of blessing on my head."  Another version says "you hem me in.” 

It gives me such sweet confidence to know the Lord goes before me and follows me - He hems me in.  I'm not alone.  He has prepared the way before me, and He comes along behind me.  I'm surrounded.

I sometimes pray for the Lord to put a hedge of protection around me.  I picture in my mind big tall bushes, a hedge, all around me as I go through the day - trusting that God is keeping things from getting through to me.

On Wednesday as I went for the biopsy surgery, I carried this image with me.  I felt the Lord's presence "hemming me in."  The biopsy turned out to be quite painful, but it didn't take long.  I'm sore now, quite exhausted from all that happened - but I'm at peace.  Now I wait for the results.  I'm praying and trusting for "good" ones.

I felt carried through the day.  I kept looking for angels, but didn't see any - but I had some sweet nurses, doctors, and orderlies taking care of me.

"Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side?  You have blessed the work of his hands."  Job 1:10

"Let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them sing joyful praises forever.  Spread your protection over them, that all who love your name may be filled with joy."  Psalm 5:11

"Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all."  Psalm 34:19

"Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by."  Psalm 57:1

"I lift up my eyes to the mountains - where does my help come from?  My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.  He will not let your foot slip - He who watches over you will not slumber.....The Lord will keep you from all harm - He will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore."  Psalm 121

The Lord's presence went before me, followed me, and I felt His peace and blessing with me.  I'm especially grateful for that on days like that when I miss Floyd being with me.  I’m also so thankful for all the prayers that were covering me too.  I'm so grateful!