Our Unexpected Journey

O.U.J. 24.png

Floyd is doing better.  It seems he has had 2 infections.  He's not totally well, but he's much better than a few days ago.  He tries to focus in on our visits, but gets tired easily.  We continue to pray that he will feel better.

I was watching a Hallmark movie recently (I'm a fan of them).  It was about a woman trying to conquer her fears.  She said "when do we stop being a worrier and start being a warrior?"  I thought about that for a while, and realized that's pretty much what I face each day.  I have to step over the worries of all that's happening in our lives, and choose to put my hand in the Lord's......and go to battle to overcome the challenges and fears that I'm facing.  I want to be a warrior!

My mother was a very Godly woman.  She was a woman of prayer and intercession.  She had great faith, and was very generous with the limited resources we had.  She modelled so many wonderful examples of living a life of trust in the Lord.

But she was also a worrier.  It was her weak spot.  I can understand it in terms of things she had to face.  She lived through the Great Depression and the war years.  She lost her first husband, and had to raise 4 children as a single mom in those hard years.  She had lots to worry about!  I'm not sure I could have survived all that.

But her way of worrying made an impact on me.  I've had to work to overcome that in my life.  And on the unexpected journey we've been on, it's been a big test for me.  I'm sure it's why God has highlighted trusting Him to me over and over.  Trust in God protects me from worry!  As I make the choice to trust God, I can't make a choice to worry at the same time!  They contradict each other.  Thoughts of worry may be because I'm not fully trusting God.  Worry can be unbelief in disguise.

In fact, I've found it important to resist the temptation to worry.  When worry tries to creep in, I have to make conscious choices to turn my thoughts and attention to God and His faithfulness.  Often when I find worrying thoughts filling my mind, I realize I haven't given these things to the Lord.  Many times they are "little" things, small issues.  God is concerned about every detail of our lives.  There's nothing too small to talk to Him about.

I was looking over some old sermon notes of Floyd's.  In one of them he said that there are 2 words that make up the word worry - to divide.....the mind.  That's what worry does.  It divides our mind from focusing on trusting God!  And we don't want to be double-minded.  The Bible warns against that.

For every worry we might have, the simple antidote is to focus our heart, mind, and emotions into trusting our wonderful God.  And instead, we can be mighty warriors of trust in God!

"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own."  Matthew 6:34

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."  Philippians 4:6,7

"Then Jesus said to His disciples: 'Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear.' "  Luke 12:22

"Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous be shaken."  Psalm 55:22

Many of us are in the thick of the battle in terms of things we are facing.  We do feel like "warriors" trying to overcome the things we're going through.  I read an anonymous quote (often attributed to Winston Churchill) - "If you're going through hell, keep going!"  We can purpose our hearts to trust God in the midst of the big battles we're facing!  We can push worries away and choose to be warriors of the faith!

A few weeks ago I had a throat infection/chest congestion/cough, etc.  I had to take some meds to get rid of it.  I was so glad when it was gone.  I was fine for about 3 weeks, and then last week it seemed to return with a vengeance.  I now have a raging infection in my mouth and throat.  I'm feeling really weak, worn down, and quite awful.

It's been a bit discouraging to me because I have worked so hard at building up my system and immunity.  We're in winter, so there are lots of "bugs" going around.  I seem to be vulnerable to them.

A couple days ago I was looking through some of Floyd's files trying to find some notes for someone.  I came across a large sheet of paper with only 3 sentences on it - hand written by Floyd.  It said:

"Pain and suffering are God's gifts to us to drive us to Jesus.  In our sufferings we share in His sufferings.  In our shame we meet His glory."

It felt as if Floyd himself was speaking to me in the midst of my being so sick.  I could hear his "voice."  It was very special to my heart.  And it put things back in perspective.  I need to keep my eyes and my heart focused on the Lord - even as, or maybe especially because, I'm feeling weary and worn down.

I'd be the first to admit that I'm not a fan of suffering when it comes along!  But I'd also have to admit that I've seen the "gift" of what God brings into our life through it.  The closeness, the intimacy, the grace, the comfort, the daily release of His sufficiency to help us - those are all things that I don't know how we can experience any other way.  No one can meet us in our suffering in the way He does.  I'm grateful for that gift.

"God met me more than halfway, He freed me from my anxious fears. Look at Him; give Him your warmest smile.  Never hide your feelings from Him.  When I was desperate, I called out, and God got me out of a tight spot.  God's angel sets up a circle of protection around us while we pray.  Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see - how good God is.  Blessed are you who run to Him."  Psalm 34:4-8  The Message

I am running to Him in my physical weakness today.  I am speaking out my trust to Him - opening my heart to receive His grace and strength.  

Our Unexpected Journey

Untitled design-2.png

Floyd is not doing well.  He is battling a chest infection and was pretty miserable this week.  He still attentively listened to everything I shared, but it broke my heart to see him feeling so awful.  

I know it's hard for everyone to understand exactly what Floyd's condition is.  I've tried to explain it, but it's hard to grasp unless you are here with him.  One thing to clarify - he's not in a coma!  He is conscious.  He recognizes us, he listens attentively most days, he seems to understand, and he often responds in some way to let us know he is tracking with what we are saying.  There are, however, some days when he just doesn't "connect" with us.  His attention seems elsewhere.  Because he can't speak to tell us things, we don't always know what is happening with him.  On his good days, he greets us with a big smile.

We recently passed the 40 months milestone for Floyd's illness.  It's a strange thing.  In some ways it seems to have gone by quickly.  In other ways it seems to have been forever.  All we can do is just walk through one-day-at-a-time.  

Lots of my days start off "normal" - calm, peaceful, with things to do that day, but not intense.  And then suddenly, like a light switch being flipped.......things come along that bring storms into the day.  The day becomes stressful and intense in an instant.

I've had some of those days this week.  Each time, I immediately knew I couldn't make it on my own.  I needed God's help.  I needed Him to rescue me in a few situations.  A couple times I've found myself saying to the Lord - "Really?  You want me to have to deal with this?"  He was probably chuckling at my attitude.  I'm glad He is patient with me and has a sense of humour.

I'm learning once again, in very profound ways, that I can't just live on yesterday's grace and on the strength of times gone by.  I need to receive afresh His mercies that are new every morning, and lean into them each day, for each new thing that comes along.  Sometimes I have to receive that fresh grace and help many times a day!

Someone sent me the photo I've used at the top of this post.  I absolutely love it!  When I'm facing something overwhelming, I think of this photo.  "Aslan" is right beside me!!  He will help me get through anything.  I can just picture the mighty "Lion of Judah" standing beside me in the daily battles.

There are so many verses about God "holding our right hand."  Sometimes I stretch out my hand and imagine Him holding it while I speak out promises from the Word of how He'll be with me.  I sense His presence with me in the "battle" of the day.

In the midst of these things this week, the Lord put the word BRAVE on my heart and gave me a simple understanding of what it meant for me:

B - be bold, in the strength of His might

R - be resilient, don't let the storms blow me over

A - be alert, watching for things I need to take a stand against

V - be vigorous, in my pursuit of God's grace

E - be eager to learn and grow

I think these are the things He is asking of me as I hold firmly to His right hand.  I can be "brave" because of His help.  Aslan is by my side!

"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end.  They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness."  Lamentations 3:22,23

"For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, 'Do not fear; I will help you.' "  Isaiah 41:13

"He is at my right hand.  I will not be shaken."  Psalm 16:8

"Nevertheless I am continually with You; You have taken hold of my right hand."  Psalm 73:23

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

"The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still."  Exodus 14:14

Our character will be shown in the great moments, the big moments of life, but it is formed and developed in the small moments.  Each day when I encounter the small things that bring the storms - God is using those "small" things to grow my character.  He is faithful to help me. Certainly my character has been formed and developed over all my years, but it's not over.  I'm still learning and growing!

I've mentioned before that shortly before Floyd got sick, the Lord gave him a word about breakthrough.  He didn't understand what it meant, but he knew it was an important word for him.  Through his illness, we've prayed for that breakthrough.  Maybe we've seen it - maybe not.  Several people have suggested to me some ideas about what it might mean.  I'm still not sure, so I keep lifting it to the Lord.

I've also mentioned often that I trust the Lord.  I trust Him when we don't see the answers we'd like to our prayers.  I trust Him when I don't understand some of the things we are walking through.  I trust Him on good days and on hard days.  I trust Him for Floyd's future - and for mine.

A few weeks ago I was talking with a friend, and he made the statement to me that "trust is better than breakthrough."  Those words grabbed my attention, and I have pondered them in my heart over and over.  I'm sure He is right!

There is probably nothing more important in our walk with the Lord than trusting Him.  Absolute trust - in spite of circumstances, and especially in times when things don't make sense to our limited understanding.  I tell the Lord - over and over, many times a day - "I trust you!!!"  The more I say it, the more it becomes a sure anchor in my soul. 

But I'm fully aware that trust isn't always easy.  In fact, in our walk with the Lord, I think the enemy does all he can to keep us from trusting God because He understands how powerful it is when we do trust.  The enemy tries to sow seeds of mistrust continually.  He whispers lies into our hearts when we don't immediately see answers to prayer.  He tells us God doesn't care when our suffering goes on for a long time.  On difficult days when we're overwhelmed with all we are going through, the enemy will want us to believe that we're on our own.  The enemy doesn't want us to trust God!

The simple reason for that is because trusting God is powerful.  It keeps us steadily on course even when everything in our situation tries to pull us away from God.  Trust keeps us focused on God's promises, His provision, His power.  Trust takes our eyes off our situation and onto looking at our wonderful, faithful Father.  Trust opens our heart to a place where we can receive God's help.

Trust in God drives away fear - any fear we have because of what we're walking through.  Trust opens the door for the promises of God to be alive and part of our life each day.  Trust gets rid of worry and discouragement.  Trust brings strength when we keep our focus on the Lord's power.  I've found trust to be one of the main "keys" for helping me persevere on this long unexpected journey.  And trust is something we can all choose!  

"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

"See, God has come to save me.  I will trust in Him and not be afraid.  The Lord God is my strength and my song; He has given me victory."  Isaiah 12:2

"When I am afraid, I put my trust in you."  Psalm 56:3

"The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and He helps me."  Psalm 28:7

"You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you."  Isaiah 26:3 

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."  Romans 15:13

If you are struggling with trusting God, one of the things that's helpful is to speak out trust in His wonderful promises:

- I trust in your faithfulness.  Deuteronomy 32:4

- I trust in your unfailing love.  Psalm 52:8

- I trust in your lovingkindness.  Psalm 63:3,4

- I trust that you are near to me when I call.  Psalm 145:18

- I trust that you will help me when I'm weak.  Isaiah 40:29

- I trust that you hold my right hand.  Isaiah 41:13

- I trust that you give wisdom.  James 1:5

- I trust that you have good plans for my life.  Jeremiah 29:11

The list is ENDLESS!!!  He has promised to meet our every need.  We can trust Him.

In our situation, I don't know if we'll see the "breakthrough" we want or that we expected.  But I know that I daily see the fruit of trusting the Lord.  He is so good and so faithful!  I have found that, truly, trust is better than breakthrough!

Our Unexpected Journey

Untitled design-2.png

Floyd is continuing to remain stable.  He's had a few coughs, but the dreaded chest congestion hasn't returned which I'm so grateful for, as our cold winter weather is here.  He's been smiley when people have been with him and seems to be at peace. 

He got tearful when I shared some family news this week, but was otherwise peaceful.

I've learned on this journey that there's an area where I need to be careful.  God has met us time and time again.  We've seen Him answer prayer, perform miracles, and be so faithful to us.  And yet, when we face a new trial or testing, if I'm not cautious - I can easily respond with unbelief.  I may even find myself thinking maybe this is too hard for God.  It's really "too big" this time - or I'm asking "too much."

Someone sent me a video of a dear elderly lady sharing her walk of prayer with the Lord.  She referred to this verse: "How oft did they provoke Him in the wilderness, and grieve Him in the desert.  Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel."  Psalm 78:40,41

She said God used this verse to tell her to never limit Him!  I love that.  God is limitless - but we can limit Him in our hearts through our mumblings and grumblings and unbelief like the children of Israel.  I don't want to be like them!  They wandered in the desert for 40 years because of their responses!!  Their complaining didn't help one little bit.  All it did was bring discouragement.

When something seems "too big" - when it feels daunting......the only thing I know to do is to go to the Word and start reading all of God's promises once again.  I've read them before.  I've seen Him fulfil them over and over again.  But when facing new challenges, I go back to them like I've never read them.  I let the truth of His word wash over my soul.  I pray the promises out loud.  I sing them in songs.  I thank Him for how He's fulfilled them in the past.  And I step out in fresh faith in believing Him to meet me in the new challenge.

Holding onto God's promises helps me deal with any doubt that is lurking in my heart.  It strengthens my faith.  It gets things in their proper perspective.  It keeps my eyes on God, not on the needs and problems.  It lifts my spirits as I'm reminded of how awesome God is.

I don't want to "limit the Holy One of Israel."  I want to have an open heart to trust Him, and to believe for new, fresh miracles.

"Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping - believing that he would become the father of many nations."  Romans 4:18

"Nothing will be impossible with God."  Luke 1:37

"Commit everything you do to the Lord.  Trust Him, and He will help you."  Psalm 37:5

"Our Lord is great, vast in power; His understanding is infinite."  Psalm 147:5 CSB

"Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God."  Romans 4:20

"The One who calls you is faithful, and He will do it."  1 Thessalonians 5:24

All too frequently I seem to be facing "impossible" situations - for myself, for Floyd, for our family, for the All Nations ministry.  I MUST keep my focus on God - on His goodness, faithfulness, and promises.  He is totally sufficient for every need.

Every once in a while I think about eternity.  I have to admit that it's a concept that my finite mind can't quite grasp.  Time that is unending - that goes on forever, and ever, and ever, and ever.  I'm so used to thinking in minutes, hours, days (I wrote a book on time management!)......with most things having a conclusion to them - so eternity seems unreal in some ways.  I can't wrap my brain around it.

But it's very real!  We will spend eternity with our wonderful Father!  I don't know what all He has planned, but I'm sure it's good.  Maybe we'll spend the first thousand years just thanking Him for His goodness and worshipping Him.  Like the song says, we can "only imagine."

I remember sitting on the deck of a boat on a lake in Colorado years ago.  Floyd and I were talking with a friend about eternity.  In the dark, looking up at the gorgeous sky, thinking about the universe, contemplating how awesome God is, wondering what it will be like to spend eternity with Him - I was overwhelmed by the beauty and grandeur of God!  I think I had a revelation in that moment of the wonderful gift in store for us after this earthly life.  Someday we'll walk with the saints of old, with friends, family, many loved ones - and we'll bow in worship together before our Heavenly Father.

The verses from 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 certainly take on new meaning when thinking about all this.  "Therefore we do not lose heart.  Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."

I was talking with a friend recently who reminded me that everything we're walking through is preparing us for eternity with God.  In the big picture scenario, this life is just a tiny blip.  It seems so huge to us right now as we're living it out......but in the scope of eternity it's nothing.  And God is using this time to get us ready for eternity.  Everything we're experiencing, every choice we're making, everything in our relationship with Him is all preparation!  Talk about an education - wow!  Most of us thought our schooling was long behind us.  But we're in the "school of life" that is getting us ready for eternity.

I don't know about you, but I want to do my best to get ready!  I've failed miserably at some things, but God is patient and forgiving.  He gives us new beginnings, and He uses the mistakes to help us learn and grow.  He never gives up on us!  He never thinks we're hopeless.  He just lovingly gathers us in His arms, forgives us, and helps us.  He is preparing us each day here on earth to spend eternity with Him.  What an awesome and glorious thought!!  

Through Floyd's illness and my battling cancer, I've had lots of opportunities to think about eternity.  On a number of occasions I thought one or both of us could be moving into eternity right away.  That's still a very real possibility, although I'm not in any hurry!  But thinking about eternity is not a scary thought at all.  I realize we have a wonderful treasure in store for us in spending eternity with our Maker.

But I also realize that I want to be faithful here and now to get ready.  I want to learn every lesson He has for me.  I want to help others get ready.  And I want to worship Him here in preparation for worshipping Him forever......that "forever" that my brain can't quite grasp!

"From eternity to eternity I am God.  No one can snatch anyone out of my hand.  No one can undo what I have done."  Isaiah 43:13

"He has made everything appropriate in its time.  He has also set eternity in their heart."  Ecclesiastes 3:11

"But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.  To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity."  2 Peter 3:18

"So that being justified by His grace, we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life."  Titus 3:7

"This is the promise which He himself made to us: eternal life."  1 John 2:25

"Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honour and glory forever and ever. Amen."  1 Timothy 1:17

Our friend, Pete Greig of 24/7 Prayer International, has an online resource called “The Prayer Course” and in one of the sessions he said - "Your choices, thoughts, prayers, and actions echo in eternity."  Everything about this life goes into eternity.  It's all part of what God has in store for us.  The questions we have, the things we don't understand, the prayers we didn't think were answered – someday we'll look back on all this and see that God was using everything to get us ready to spend eternity with Him.  It certainly gives me a different perspective on my daily life!  I want to get ready.

P.S.  I have recently watched all the sessions of “The Prayer Course”.  It is SO good!  It's simple, clear, real, honest, do-able, and inspiring in the way Pete shares about prayer.  Each session is about 20 minutes long.  I found it such a boost to my faith!  I'm already watching it a second time.  So often I find teaching on prayer makes me feel like a failure.  This is just the opposite - it made me want to jump in and pray as much as I can.  I think you will find it very helpful. 

Click here to see it 

Our Unexpected Journey

Untitled design.png

Floyd has had a quiet week.  He was very solemn and serious when I was with him - attentive, but not very responsive - but completely at peace.  I so often wish I knew what he is thinking.  I'm always grateful for the peace and rest he has.  A few times over these long months there have been times of agitation - which always bring "agitation" to my heart to see him like that.  When he's at peace, I realize what a gift that is!  Thank you Lord.

In my everyday life, continuing to persevere through everything in the daily routine - I am keenly aware that I am dependent on the Lord.  I need Him every hour of every waking day!  I couldn't make it without His grace, strength, help, and wisdom.  I would be so lost without His help. 

The world might think that that kind of dependence is a sign of weakness, but it's actually completely the opposite.  Knowing we can't make it on our own, that we're dependent on Him, is acknowledging where our strength comes from!  Our strength comes from the maker of heaven and earth!!  It's not a negative thing.  It's the most wonderful thing in the world that we can trust God to be our help in all the details of our daily lives.

I am dependent on God in so many ways, in so many areas of my life.  If I'm not careful, it can seem overwhelming at times.  One of the things that helps significantly, is that underneath the cares and needs there is a deep well of joy that He puts in my heart.  I know that might sound crazy!  Heavy problems - and deep joy.  Only God can balance that out and make both possible. In the midst of hard situations, I've found I can even choose joy.  I ask for His "mantle of praise instead of a spirit of heaviness."

Sarah Young in one of her devotionals uses the phrase "joyful dependence."  I like that!  There is a beautiful joy in knowing that we are dependent on Him, looking to Him, trusting Him.  It's not a contradiction.  There is dependency and there is joy - and they go beautifully together!

In thinking of this, I was reminded of a poem.  The author is unknown.  It was found on the body of a soldier at Gettysburg in the American Civil War.

"I asked for strength that I might achieve; 

He made me weak that I might obey.

I asked for health that I might do greater things;

I was given grace that I might do better things.

I asked for riches that I might be happy;

I was given poverty that I might be wise.

I asked for power that I might have the praise of men; 

I was given weakness that I might feel the need of God.

I asked for all things that I might enjoy life;

I was given life that I might enjoy all things.

I received nothing that I asked for, all that I hoped for -

My prayer was answered."

I often ask God for help to make it through some of the hard things in the day.  He graciously answers - and He also gives me joy.  What a wonderful Father He is.  His answers aren't always what I expect, but He is always faithful!

"My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth."  Psalm 121:2

"To give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified."  Isaiah 61:3

"Cast your burden upon the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken."  Psalm 55:22

"I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.  Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for the Lord."  Psalm 27:13,14

"When troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy."  James 1:2

"Let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever shout for joy."  Psalm 5:11

"You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy."  Psalm 16:11

"When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul."  Psalm 94:19

"Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines; though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food; though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls; yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Saviour."  Habakkuk 3:17-18

"Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy."  1 Peter 1:8

These verses are food to my soul.  They are my lifelines into the promises of God.  I am so grateful that He has given us a rich bounty of verses that speak to every need, every situation in our lives.

As we look to Him, He will meet our every need.  He never fails us.  He never leaves us.  He never rejects us.  He never gives up on us.  He never grows weary.  And as we lean into Him, He gives us joy unspeakable!  I am joyfully dependent on Him.

Life in Africa is always interesting! :)  A few nights ago our alarm went off in the middle of the night.  We weren't alone.  Two neighbours nearby had theirs go off too, so something was definitely happening.  All the dogs were barking in the neighbourhood as well.  Fortunately none of us were broken into!

We have a camera that looks out to the field behind us.  I could see something moving, but it was too dark to determine what it was.  I thought it was either a very large animal, or a person kinda bent over carrying something.  The security company came to check our area to see what was going on.

Everything was quiet/no one was around, but they did find a HUGE porcupine in the field - probably with all its quills out, which is why it looked so large on our camera screen.  They are known to roam our area at night.  That doesn't explain the alarms going off, of course, but at least I know what was moving in the field behind us.  I actually wish I could have seen it better.

This whole experience got me thinking about the unseen world around us.  I can imagine in my mind's eye the angels that were watching over us!  There are times when I have sensed God's divine presence and protection.  I'm sure there are many, many times that I wasn't aware that God was watching over us too.  Every night as I lay in bed, I ask God to send angels to watch over me, Floyd, and our family.  I'm so grateful for His constant watch-care - especially since Floyd isn't with me.

There are times when I've been with Floyd and he will look at something beyond me.  He's not "blanking out" - he's very focused on looking at something.  But I can't see anything.  I've found myself wondering if he's seeing angels.  I've prayed for angels to watch over him, and keep him company in his hospital room.  I hope God allows him to see them.  I asked him one time if he was seeing angels, and he smiled.....so who knows.  I'd love to see one (maybe I have and didn't know it), but whether that happens or not I know God sends His angels to watch over us.  They might have been walking right beside that porcupine!

"He will give His angels charge concerning you, to guard you in all your ways."  Psalm 91:11

"God will order His angels to take good care of you."  Luke 4:10

"I am sending an angel ahead of you to guard you along the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared."  Exodus 23:20

"The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him, and He delivers them."  Psalm 34:7

"The Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore."  Psalm 121:8

We were in a bad accident one time in Colorado.  We hit black ice during a snowstorm.  Our car rolled several times and ended up upside down.  With the help of some passers-by, we managed to get out of the car - with only a few bumps and bruises.  When the state patrolman arrived, he asked how many people were killed in the car - he said no one could survive that!  He was shocked when he realized we were okay.  There's not a doubt in my mind that God cushioned our movements as that car rolled.  He was definitely protecting us.

I remember another time when we were traveling with a team across Turkey and Iran.  We had misjudged our time to get to the next town, and ended up stopping late at night to camp in a field to sleep.  The next morning when we awoke we saw a man (or angel?) on a nearby hill.  He said he watched over us all night to make sure we were safe.  I have used a picture from that occasion at the top of this post.  I’m the one right in the front : )  

There have been so many times when family members have been in dangerous situations.  In looking back, we've often thought there had to be angels watching over them, guarding them, protecting them.  I've never seen an angel - many people have......but I'm sure they've watched over me and our family.  I'm very grateful for God's protection!

Our Unexpected Journey

Untitled design-2.png

I had a sweet visit with Floyd this week.  He was so tender.  I read my update about grief and gratitude to him.  Then I started recounting all the things we both have to be grateful for.  He seemed to relate to this - with both tears and smiles.  Then I had a time of prayer for us.  I told him that in my updates I would ask for prayer that he'll be able to see God's goodness in the midst of his hard situation.

I've had to deal with some big stuff this week - things that I'm not familiar with, and that I'm not quite sure how to handle.  On one particular day, I found myself tired and emotionally drained at the end of an intense day.  I had recorded the movie "I Can Only Imagine" recently, and decided to watch it to relax and unwind.

I've seen the movie several times before, but the impact of it always hits me afresh.  REDEMPTION!!  Where would we be without it?  We'd be so lost and hopeless without His redeeming grace and help.  I found myself crying and worshipping at the end of the movie - my heart filled with love and gratitude for the amazing power of redemption.

I thought of all the pain, loss, and suffering that we've walked through on this unexpected journey - me, Floyd, our family (it's not only what Floyd and I have walked through - there are a number of other losses and pain that have happened during this time for our family).......and many of you are walking through similar things in your life.  God is going to redeem each one of those things!  We may see it in our lifetime - or we may only see it in eternity......but we'll see it!

We serve a God who at the very core of who He is, is total love and redemption. Whatever you and I have gone through where there is something that has been robbed from us - He is working to redeem that.  He alone can cleanse the hurt, the sorrow, the weight of what is gone.  He alone can fill us with His strength, His grace, His healing, and His fresh power to keep going.  

And, of course, He has given the ultimate redemption in sending His Son to die for us, to extend total forgiveness to us......the greatest gift of redemption.  We are incredibly blessed to have such a wonderful, powerful redeeming Father.  The truth of this has been washing over my soul in wonderful waves of His goodness.

"He sent redemption to His people; He has commanded His covenant forever.  Holy and awesome is His name."  Psalm 111:9

"He has delivered us...to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption."  Colossians 1:13,14

"Put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love and with Him is full redemption."  Psalm 130:7

"You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good."  Genesis 50:20

"Come and see what our God has done, what awesome miracles He performs for people."  Psalm 66:5

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose."  Romans 8:28

"But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold."  Job 23:10

"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world."  John 16:33

Our wonderful Lord works in our life to give "beauty for ashes."  How awesome our Redeemer is!

I have also recently written about looking for the good in the hard things.  I have a fresh opportunity to do that!  I'm not a fan of winter.  The cold, rainy, windy winter season is rather miserable and discouraging for me.  Thankfully, in between the stormy weather, we have some lovely days of sunshine.  I'm grateful for those days.  And there's no snow to shovel here!  That's definitely a blessing.

As I was reflecting on this season that I'm not fond of, I realized that there are 2 beautiful gifts that we have in winter.......certainly things to thank the Lord for.  One is that all the aloe plants start blooming.  There are lots and lots of aloe plants around - and their flowers are beautiful.  They bloom in winter. :)  They are already so gorgeous.

Another gift is that we have the most awesome winter sunsets.  They are majestic masterpieces, like huge celestial paintings.....and they are at their absolute best in winter.  The colours, and the combination of colours are just stunning.  I stand in awe some nights watching the sun set.  Although it's so hard to "capture" the magnificence, I have used some photos I took at the top of this post.

Seeing these gifts in the midst of the winter weather that I don't like was a good personal reminder to me to look for the good things in the midst of hard, unpleasant things.  As I said before, they are ALWAYS there!

In the J.B. Phillips' translation of James 1:2,3 it says:  "When all kinds of trials and temptations crowd into your lives, my brothers, don't resent them as intruders, but welcome them as friends!  Realize that they come to test your faith and to produce in you the quality of endurance."

I can't really say that I always welcome the trials, pain, suffering, and unpleasant circumstances as "friends."  But I'm trying to see the good in them, the things I can thank the Lord for!  I believe God wants to bless us as we go through the hard times.  He trusts us that we can make it through them!  And He brings beauty to us in the midst of them.

I read a quote somewhere - "Life's burdens are designed not to break us but to bend us toward God."  As we look for the good things in the hard things - it bends our hearts in gratitude towards God!

"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands."  Psalm 19:1

"And God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good.  And there was evening and there was morning."  Genesis 1:31

"The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof."  Psalm 24:1

"And God said, 'Let there be light,' and there was light.  And God saw that the light was good.  And God separated the light from darkness.  God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night.  And there was evening and there was morning, the first day."  Genesis 1:2-5

"When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?"  Psalm 8:3-4

"On the glorious splendour of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate."  Psalm 145:5

I've realized that many times the "battles" in the hard times and situations are not just in what I'm going through, but in my thoughts.  If I let my thoughts run rampant, it can lead me into doubt, fear, insecurity, and unbelief.  But if I bring my thoughts to Him, and choose gratitude and worship - it changes my whole perspective!  I'm so very grateful for all the good, all the beauty He brings into the trials of life!  It's a daily gift from my Father to me.

Our Unexpected Journey

Untitled design.png

I had a sweet visit with Floyd last week.  Sunday was our 52nd wedding anniversary, so we "celebrated" together.  The photo above is from our special day all those years ago.  It feels like ancient history. :)  Lots of sweet memories.

Floyd is doing well at the moment.  His therapist told me that He's having some good movement in his sessions with her.  There have been some cold, wet days here in Cape Town.  We need the rain, so I’m not complaining - but I'm very glad that Floyd has a warm, cozy room at the hospital.  And we are praying the chest congestion doesn’t come back to bother him.  

I dream quite often, but I very rarely remember what I dream.  I wake up knowing I've had a dream, but I can't remember anything about it.  On the rare occasion that I remember my dream, I always check in with the Lord to see if it's from Him.  I recently had such a dream that I know was an encouragement from the Lord.

I dreamed I was driving in a big city - heavy traffic - lots of different highways - very confusing - and I wasn't sure where I needed to go to get to my destination.  I knew where I was headed, but didn't know which roads to take.  As I drove, I saw injustice and unfairness along the way.  I wanted to stop and do something, but I couldn't because of all the traffic.    It was a bit upsetting.  I also had on shoes that made driving very difficult.

But in the midst of all this, someone was with me who was guiding me.  I couldn't see who it was, but I knew him, I trusted him.  He was familiar with the roads.  He kept telling me which road to take, and he was helping me with the lane changes in the heavy traffic.  I was nervous, but I felt confident that He'd show me the way.

When I awoke, I realized it was a picture of my life!  It gave me fresh courage and understanding that I'll make it to where I need to go on this unexpected journey.  Even now, several days later, the details of the dream are so vivid in my mind.  It has been comforting to me that God understands all the decisions and choices I am faced with, and He is guiding me.

Every week, usually a number of times each week, I face decisions that I have no experience with.  I truly don't know "which road" to take.  I feel surrounded with busyness, confusion, choices, unfairness, and it's often painful to manoeuvre because of the neuropathy in my feet.  Each detail of the dream seemed to reflect the reality of my life!

I have carried the sweet encouragement with me ever since the dream.  It has strengthened my heart that God is with me in such a sweet way on this journey.  HE is my guide!!  He is helping me navigate the busy roads.  I couldn't make it without Him.

"Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, 'This is the way; walk in it.' "  Isaiah 30:21 

"The Lord will guide you always."  Isaiah 58:11

"I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you."  Psalm 32:8

"The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in Him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with His hand."  Psalm 37:23,24

"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 

"Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths.  Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long."  Psalm 25:4,5

I love all the ways that God speaks into our lives.  I love that He understands and brings comfort to our hearts - even in the specific details.  I know I couldn't make it on this journey without Him.  I'm so grateful that He is right with me, directing me as I go along.  How faithful He is!  

I read a quote by Prince William of England when he was speaking to the survivors of the mosque killings in Christchurch, New Zealand.  Prince William, of course, lost his mother in a very public way when he was a young boy.  He said, "Grief, if you let it, will reveal who you are."

I've been reflecting on that statement for several weeks.  There is so much truth in those few words.  Grief, hard times, sickness, loss, discouragement, sadness, pain - they all bring out what's inside.....both good and bad.  We can become angry, resentful, bitter, disillusioned - or we can turn our hearts to God and allow Him to help us walk through the hard time.

It's so important in the GOOD times to prepare ourselves for the HARD times!  We all have seasons when things are going well - when life is just good, and there aren't big problems to deal with.  During these times, we need to press into God and dig deep foundations to prepare us for the storms of life when they come.

When hard times do come, we must dig deeper still!  We must dig deep, deep, deep into the resources that God has for us to help us stand against the strong winds of adversity.  Prayer, spending time in the Word, worship, and fellowship with other believers are all keys for helping us dig deep roots.

One of the keys for me has been to keep a grateful heart no matter what comes my way.  Even in the midst of the hardest times, there are ALWAYS things to be grateful for.  If I find it hard to be grateful - I can practice!  Just like I have to practice anything I'm learning to do, I can "practice gratitude" until I learn to do it well.  The more I practice, the better I get at it.  My mother always said to me "practice makes perfect."

When I practice gratitude, I ask God to give me eyes to see all the things in my life to be grateful for.....especially if I'm going through a hard time or a painful time.  I sometimes grab pen and paper and start by walking through our home and listing all the things I have to be grateful for.  Then I think of the world around me - and my family, friends, even acquaintances.  My list usually gets so long that I have to stop because it's taking too much time!!

Practicing gratitude changes my whole perspective on the situation.  The horrible situation doesn't look near as bleak when it's balanced by all the good things I have to be thankful for.  And a heart of gratitude begins to grow inside of me for the next time I need it.

I still have hard days - please don't get me wrong!  But keeping my eyes on Him, trusting Him, and practicing gratitude helps keep things balanced.  And then when any kind of "grief" comes - hopefully good things will flow from my heart and reveal who I am in Him.  

"The things that come out of a person's mouth come from the heart."  Matthew 15:18

"Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer."  Psalm 19:14

"Let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name."  Hebrews 13:15

"Let your roots grow down into Him, and let your lives be built on Him.  Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness."  Colossians 2:7

"Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."  1 Thessalonians 5:18

"Giving thanks always and for everything....."  Ephesians 5:20

"Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honour and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever."  Revelations 7:12

There have been many things to grieve about on our unexpected journey.  From day one there has been a sense of loss - we have "lost" so many things.  But I've seen God fill up those empty spaces with His goodness and faithfulness.  In the midst of the grief, my prayer is that God will help me reveal the joy of who I am in Him.  

Our Unexpected Journey

Untitled design-2.png

I’ve had a sweet visit with Floyd this week.  I got some big smiles, and very purposeful "blinks" to things I was saying.  Overall he was in good spirits, and seemed to be doing well physically.  It was so nice to see him in a peaceful state.  

My new cancer treatment is going well with only a few small side effects.  I'm praying for it to keep getting better.

I recently watched an interview with Corrie ten Boom from many years ago.  Her vibrant testimony was as real and vivid today as it was decades ago.  It was lovely to hear her voice again, and her stories of God's goodness and faithfulness strengthened my heart afresh.  One statement she made brought many memories flooding  into my heart.  She said "nothing is too great for God's power, and nothing is too small for His love."  Wow - so very true!

Just today I was talking with someone about our early days in ministry - especially when we were newly married and in our years in Afghanistan.  We were young, idealistic, and thought anything was possible!  We did some crazy things - but it was because we believed God could do great things!!  And, you know what?  He came through time and time again.  I'm still in awe of some of the things that happened.

We also took our small, everyday, somewhat tiny needs to Him - and saw Him meet us over and over again.  Again, we believed God cared about the little things in our lives as much as He cared about the big things.  I never hesitated to bring the small things to Him - and, again, He came through in wonderful ways.

During those early years a dear man named Dr. Christy Wilson came into our lives.  He "marked" my life forever by how he constantly thanked the Lord for both great and small things in his life.  You couldn't be around him very long before he was offering up thanks to the Lord for something!!  He had one of the most beautiful hearts of praise and worship of anyone I've ever known.

During the last few years I've realized how key it was for my whole life that I met Dr. Christy and learned this lesson from him when I was a young wife and mother.  It changed the way I viewed events in my life forever.  I love to bring the "great" matters to God and ask for answers - and I love that I can share the smallest details with Him and experience His love in them.....all-the-while thanking the Lord for everything that is going on!

I don't think I could have made it through these last few years if it wasn't for the greatness of His power......and the loving care of His Father's heart for the tiniest details of my life.  How wonderful, good, and faithful He is.

"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble."  Psalm 46:1

"I can do all things through Him who strengthens me."  Philippians 4:13 

"No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man.  God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it."  1 Corinthians 10:13

"In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.  For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."  Romans 8:37-39

"But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint."  Isaiah 40:31

For those of us who are in our senior years, there are some things we don't like about growing older - especially all the aches and pains. Some days I feel like I'm falling apart bit by bit.  It's often said that "growing old isn't for wimps," and that is quite true!  But I think it's more than balanced out by all the good things of being older.  I started reflecting on them:

  • The richness of fellowship with the Lord that can only come over time.

  • The treasure of walking through many decades of life with my "gentle giant" and best friend, learning and growing together.....this one gift alone is priceless.

  • The sweet wonder of watching our children grow up and have their children.

  • The wisdom of age - I wouldn't want to go back to being 20 again for anything!

  • The treasure of friendships, especially the life-long ones.  The friendships we have that have come over many years are a priceless gift - something no amount of money can buy.

  • The joy of having seen lots of God's marvellous creation as we've travelled all over the world in ministry.

  • The fulfilment that comes by being able to pass on the things we've learned to the next generation.

  • The wonder of seeing God answer prayers over and over and over again through the years.  It never ceases to amaze me that He hears us and answers the cries of our heart.

And the icing on the cake, as the years go by, is being aware that God "knows the number of our days" and someday we'll join Him for all eternity.

Many of our western societies look down on the "frailties" of age.  Much of advertising is geared to products to help us stay young.  I'm blessed to live in an African culture where age is honoured and respected.  I'm "mama" to even strangers because of my wrinkles and grey hairs.

On the days when something isn't working in my body as good as it used to - I think through this list and realize it's okay.  The scales are more than balanced out by all the precious things God has brought into my life over the years.

And to those of you reading this who are still young - may I encourage you that you have a lifetime of wonder to walk in as you see God bring all these gifts into your life.

"Even to your old age and grey hairs I am He, I am He who will sustain you.  I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you."  Isaiah 46:4

"Those who are planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God.  They shall still bear fruit in old age; they shall be fresh and flourishing."  Psalm 92:13,14

"Therefore we do not lose heart.  Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day."  2 Corinthians 4:16

"Remember the days of old; consider the generations past.  Ask your father and he will tell you, your elders, and they will explain to you."  Deuteronomy 32:7

"Is not wisdom found among the aged?  Does not long life bring understanding?"  Job 12:12

"My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."  Psalm 73:26

"They will still bear fruit in old age."  Psalm 92:14

Life is truly a gift to be cherished.  I'm so grateful for every year I've had!  The "best days of our lives" aren't behind us - they're right in front of us as we live every day to the fullest for His honour and glory....whatever age we are.

Our Unexpected Journey

Untitled design.png

One of Floyd's faithful carers had a visit with him recently that he said was perhaps his most significant of the 3+ years he has been caring for Floyd.  He took one of our All Nations leaders with him.  This man had gone through training with us here in Cape Town, then returned to his home country for ministry.  God has greatly anointed and blessed him.  They now have over 1000 churches, and have discipled believers to the 11th generation.  He had one of his leaders with him.

They thanked Floyd for his heart for Africa.  They assured him that his work has continued to bear fruit even while he's been sick.  They told Floyd that he had given his life to ministry, that his life is not over, so the ministry continues even now.  They commented that prayer brings glory to God, and there are many people praying because of his illness.....so God is being glorified.  Floyd smiled through the whole visit.  I'm sure he was encouraged, and hearing of this visit encouraged my heart too.  

I've now begun some new cancer treatment, so I’m continuing to pray for healing and  that this new treatment goes well and is successful.

I was reading a passage of scripture in my quiet time recently, and this verse seemed to jump off the page as I read it. - 

"Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful."  Hebrews 10:23 

A number of thoughts started coming to mind.  The first thought was about heavy traffic.  The older I get, the more I don't enjoy driving - especially on the freeway.  I'm sure this happens everywhere, but we seem to have some crazy drivers in Cape Town!  I've seen drivers "swerve" in and out of lanes continually - and carelessly.  I get nervous around them, and it's hard to know where they're going because they are constantly swerving.  Our son Matthew moved here to help us when his dad got sick.  It's a wonderful blessing that he drives me to my appointments.  I don't have to deal with those swerving drivers!!

My next thought was about me going along on our unexpected journey.  It seems long.  I get tired.  The "traffic" is often heavy.  I don't know how much further I have to go on the journey.  There are times when I want to "swerve" to another lane - or take an off ramp - or go on a detour.  I find myself not wanting to stay in my lane!

As this verse jumped off the page to me, I knew the Lord was speaking to my heart to hold steady on this journey.  I need to be careful not to let my heart, my mind, or my emotions "swerve" somewhere else.  God has allowed me to be on this journey, and He has been faithful each step of the way.  I need to stay the course and keep going......not swerve somewhere else.

I don't have much choice in terms of the circumstances, but where I find I'm vulnerable is in my thoughts.  I can't let my mind "swerve" or stray to other times, other places.  I must stay focused on where I am right now, and what I'm dealing with.  The visual image of swerving has helped me.  If I feel myself doing that, I grab the wheel and ask the Lord to help me stay steady and focused on what He has in store for me.

The best way I know to do that is to speak out His goodness and faithfulness to me - reminding myself of His promises to help me.  I thank Him for all the ways He has helped me not to swerve.  I praise Him for all the times He's helped me to stay steadily on course.  I speak out my trust in Him.  I declare that my hope is in Him, in His unfailing ways.  Choosing to not swerve, and speaking out my trust to the Lord has been a help and protection to keep steadily on course.

"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."  Galatians 6:9

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

"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

"Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."  Joshua 1:9

"I can do all this through Him who gives me strength."  Philippians 4:13

"It is the Lord who goes before you.  He will be with you; He will not leave you or forsake you."  Deuteronomy 31:8

I'm grateful for the Lord's reminder to keep my eyes on Him, stay steady on the journey He has for me, and not swerve!

During these last few days that have been a bit quieter than usual for me, the Lord has been impressing upon me how important it is to keep joy alive in my heart.  His joy is my strength!  I can't allow circumstances to drag me down.  Hard things come, but I can maintain joy in the midst of the hard things and hard times.

I've been reminded that I can't have joy unless I'm thankful, so worship and gratitude need to be a vital part of my daily life.  In fact, I need to build a "grid of gratitude" through which I view everything else in life!  When I'm thankful, everything else is viewed through a heart of gratitude.

The Lord has also reminded me to be careful in my speech.  If I'm speaking all the time of the hard things, that impacts my heart.  I certainly need to be open, be real, be honest - but I need to be careful to not allow my heart to dwell on the negative things.  I must balance it with gratitude for the good things in my life......of which there are MANY even on the hardest days!

In the same way I guard my speech, I must also guard my thoughts.  If my thoughts are focused on the hard things, that impacts my emotions and I can become discouraged.  I must think on the things that are good!  A help and protection for me is reading the Word.  As I focus on who God is in my situation, my thoughts are filled with worship.

I've also felt Him speaking to me to LOOK for the blessings He has brought into each day.  They're there!  But if I'm focused on the trials, I might miss the joys.  As I find the joys, I can worship and thank Him for each one - speaking or singing my gratitude.  It's amazing how quickly the hard things weaken in their impact on my life as I worship Him for the good things.

These principles about joy are not new to me, but they are certainly helpful reminders as I navigate our unexpected journey.  Joy and sorrow/hardness can be intermingled - it's not a dichotomy.  He has faithfully provided for my every need.  He has given me joy for the journey.

"This is a sacred day before our Lord.  Don't be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!"  Nehemiah 8:10 

"Surely you have granted him unending blessings and made him glad with the joy of your presence."  Psalm 21:6

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

"This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it."  Psalm 118:24

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

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance."  James 1:2,3

"A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones."  Proverbs 17:22

"When I said, 'My foot is slipping,' your love, O Lord, supported me.  When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul."  Psalm 94:18,19

"Restore to me the joy of your salvation.....to sustain me."  Psalm 51:12

"Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we many sing for joy and be glad all our days."  Psalm 90:14

The Joy of the Lord is constantly available to us through God's grace and goodness.  As I focus on His goodness in this day, His joy carries me through the trials. 

Our Unexpected Journey

Untitled design.png

Floyd's condition seems to swing up and down.  One day he seems to be doing fairly good - the next day he seems quite miserable.  A number of friends have written about specific things they have felt led to pray for Floyd.  I find that encouraging.  It reminds me of God's love and care for him in detailed ways.

Floyd continues to be very tender hearted.  As always, I pray for the sweet comfort of the Holy Spirit for his heart.  

We've been having lots of autumn/early winter fog these days in the area where we live.  Sometimes it is so very thick.  Usually it's just there and I can look out and see the almost impenetrable fog.  At other times it is moving right in front of my eyes - big, thick, rolling waves of it pouring in off the ocean.  I feel like I could almost reach out and touch it.  It's quite spectacular actually.

I sat watching it one day through the window and began to reflect on what I was seeing.  As is often the case, my thoughts began to drift to how the creation reflects the Creator.

Most of the time, God is just "there."  I know He's with me, around me, very much present.  I don't see anything in particular, but I rely on the truth of His word that He is with us.

At other times, I can see His hand at work in the everyday things of my life.  I can almost reach out and touch Him.  I can vividly "feel" His presence.  Sometimes it seems like there are "waves" of His Spirit washing over me.

One of the things I have come to appreciate at a much deeper level than ever before in my life is how God sends these waves of His grace pouring into my heart on difficult days.  I wouldn't even know how to count the number of days during the last 3+ years when I wondered if I could keep going.  At times I have felt weak, weary, alone, and my heart has hurt so deeply from the things that have been lost.  When these moments hit, I cry out to God for His grace, strength, and mercy.

Time and time again He has washed over me with His love and grace.  I can't see it like I have been able to see the waves of fog coming in off the ocean - but I have felt His ministry to me, experienced it in every part of my being.  He has been more than sufficient for every need.  He has met me and helped me in the tiniest details of what I've faced.  Now, because of the rolling waves of fog, I have a vivid visual image to go with what He has done for me!

"He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me."  2 Corinthians 12:9

"Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord."  2 Peter 1:2

"Let us then approach God's throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need."  Hebrews 4:16

"Out of the fullness of His grace He has blessed us all, giving us one blessing after another."  John 1:16

"The grace of our Lord was more than abundant."  1 Timothy 1:14 

How grateful I am for the unending waves of His strength, mercy, and grace!  

It would be nice if we knew exactly what God is going to do in some of our life circumstances.  Sometimes we think we know, and then it doesn't go that way.  We're disappointed, maybe even hurt.  Sometimes we get angry.  We can feel like God has failed us or let us down.

I was recently talking to some people who felt they had heard from the Lord......but things didn't go quite the way they thought they would.  When this happens, we're in a vulnerable situation.  I've found myself in this position before.  We need to be extra careful how we respond.

God reveals things to us, but our human thoughts and desires can get in the way.  We have to be so careful to not let our hearts become hard if things aren't what we thought they would be.  We can't always predict what God will do.  We can't control Him.  We can't bargain with Him.  We can't hope or wish things into being.

What we can do is trust!  He is absolutely trustworthy - even when we don't understand.  His ways are definitely different from ours!  If I'm puzzled, disappointed, not sure what God is up to......my response should always be to trust.  I find it helpful to speak it out - to declare it - and to remind myself of what my response needs to be.  Saying "I trust you Lord.  I trust you Lord.  I trust you Lord."  leaves no foothold for the enemy to exploit whatever situation we're walking through.

The challenge for my heart is to trust the Lord whatever comes my way.  It's sometimes easier said than done.  But it's definitely the right choice.  

" 'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,' declares the Lord.  'As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.' "  Isaiah 55:8,9

"You asked, 'Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorance?' It is I - and I was talking about things I knew nothing about, things far too wonderful for me."  Job 42:3

"Oh, how great are God's riches and wisdom and knowledge!  How impossible it is for us to understand His decisions and His ways."  Romans 11:33

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding."  Proverbs 3:5

"He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord."  Psalm 112:7

There is much about our unexpected journey that I don't understand, but my heart has chosen to trust the Lord each step of the way.  He has lovingly, faithfully helped me do that.

Our Unexpected Journey

Untitled design.png

Floyd's condition has gone up and down a bit, but some days he has been really miserable with the chest congestion.  We continually pray for relief from this for him.  The last few weeks I have had some very precious visits with him - some of my best over this long unexpected journey.  It has been a sweet treasure to my heart.  I'm hoping for more to come.

A little while ago I was struck with a violent case of food poisoning.  I was horribly sick for hours.  I was alone, hoping I wouldn't pass out from the trauma that was attacking my body - and calling out to the Lord to help me.

In the midst of all this, I was reminded of the principle I've written about - worshipping God in everything that comes our way.  Laying on my bed in between bouts of being sick, I wondered if I could even do that.  I felt consumed with crying out for God to help me.  I didn't feel like offering up praises.

But I began to interrupt my pleas for God to help me into thanking Him that He was with me.  That I wasn't alone.  That He was right beside me.  That He was holding my right hand.  That He was watching over me.  I thanked Him for His faithfulness.  I thanked Him for sustaining me through so many things the last few years.  I thanked Him that His grace is sufficient for every need - even horrible food poisoning.

The sickness didn't end right there.  I was still sick for a few more hours.  But something changed.  It's hard to describe, but I felt I had overcome something.  I began to experience the reality of what I was praying out.  God WAS right there with me!!  He was helping me and carrying me through something very difficult.

It was a poignant reminder of the power of worship.  It releases something that is mighty.  It's definitely a tool, a gift that God has placed in our hands.  Praise to Him gets us through the trials of life.  He is so worthy to receive our praises in every situation of life!

"For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you 'Do not fear; I will help you.' "  Isaiah 41:13 

"The Lord your God will always be at your side, and He will never abandon you."  Deuteronomy 31:6

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God."  Philippians 4:6-7 

"But for you who fear my name, the Sun of righteousness will rise with healing in His wings."  Malachi 4:2

"I honor you and praise you because you have done amazing things.  You have always done what you said you would do."  Isaiah 25:1

"Because your love is better than life, I will praise you.  I will praise you as long as I live.  I will lift up my hands in prayer to your name.  Because you are my helper, I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings.  I cling to you; your strong right hand holds me securely."  Psalm 63:3,4,7,8 

"Then Jesus said to him, 'Be gone, Satan!  For it is written, 'You shall worship the Lord your God and Him only shall you serve.' "  Matthew 4:10

"Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth!  Worship the Lord with gladness.  Come before Him, singing with joy.  Acknowledge that the Lord is God!  He made us, and we are His.  We are His people, the sheep of His pasture.  Enter His gates with thanksgiving; go into His courts with praise.  Give thanks to Him and praise His name.  For the Lord is good.  His unfailing love continues forever, and His faithfulness continues to each generation."  Psalm 100

"My mouth is filled with your praise, and with your glory all the day."  Psalm 71:8

Even though my body took a while to recover from the experience, my heart was rejoicing in the fresh lesson I learned about the power of worship.  It's a powerful and beautiful tool that God has given us.  Praising Him helps us to live in victory in all of life's circumstances.

Our Unexpected Journey

O.U.J. 44.png

For those of you who have followed us on this 3 year unexpected journey, you'll remember that shortly before Floyd got sick the Lord spoke to him the word "breakthrough" as his word for the year.  It was a clear impression to Floyd's heart, but he didn't understand it.  We talked, prayed, pondered, and sought the Lord together about it - but nothing seemed to be clear as to what that meant.

I've not forgotten that word!  I know that somehow it's tied into Floyd's journey.  Recently, in several different ways, I've been reminded of that word.  A few days ago I went to see the movie "Breakthrough."  It's based on a true story.  I remember hearing about the young man it's based on, but I didn't remember all the details.  I didn't know it was a movie - and didn't know it was showing here - but as soon as I heard about it, I knew I had to go see it.

I worshipped and cried my way through the movie.  What happened truly was an amazing breakthrough.  When I came home, I knew God was speaking to me afresh to keep hope alive for a breakthrough.  I honestly don't know what that means.  As I've said before, it could be healing or heaven.  That is in God's hands.  But I know I need to keep praying for the word that God put on Floyd's heart before he got sick to be fulfilled.  I can trust what God has planned!  I think our part, my part, is to keep praying.

Sarah Young says "the longer you wait for your prayers to be answered, the closer you are to a breakthrough."  We're in a good place as we've been praying and waiting for a long time!

Floyd has been very tender in all my recent visits with him.  He cries at things I share.  He often cries at worship songs I play for him.  He looks good.  He seems at peace.  But his heart is very tender.  Several visitors recently have remarked about the strong presence of the Lord in the room.  I pray for that - and for angels to surround him and keep him company.

One of the things I've been reflecting on in recent days is how grateful I am for the gift of His peace.  I have my plate full of challenges and stresses.  In fact my plate is overflowing!  But in the midst of it all there is a sweet peace.  It's truly a "peace that passes understanding."  It goes against the circumstances, so I know it's clearly from God's hand.  I thank Him daily for it.

Whenever I face my need for direction in determining the way forward, I look for that sweet peace.  I've learned that without His peace, I shouldn't move ahead.  It's always a check or confirmation of how I should go. If there's no peace, I wait.  

His gift of peace doesn't keep us from going through hard times.  But His peace goes with us in our hearts and minds in the midst of the hard times.  Without the deep inner peace that He gives, I don't know if I could have made it these last few years.  His peace has helped me through countless storms.  The one who calmed the stormy seas when He was in the boat with His disciples has calmed the stormy seas all around me over and over again.  Thank you Jesus!

"May the Lord of peace Himself give you His peace at all times and in every situation."  2 Thessalonians 3:16

"The peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."  Philippians 4:7

"The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace."  Psalm 29:11

"There is such a great peace and well-being that comes to the lovers of your word."  Psalm 119:165 TPT

"You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you."  Isaiah 26:3

" 'Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,' says the Lord, who has compassion on you."  Isaiah 54:10

I am so grateful for His gift of peace!

On this unexpected journey we're on, I find God finds ways to touch every area of my life and my heart with special lessons.  I recently had an unusual one.  

I was expecting something to happen, and I thought it hadn't.  It wasn't a big thing.  It was actually very small - a speck of sand in comparison to the big, rocky, boulder type issues going on in my life!  But it touched a tender nerve.  I felt disappointed and somewhat rejected.  But it was such a tiny, tiny thing that I dismissed it.

The only problem was that it kept coming back to my mind.  So obviously the "nerve" it touched was bigger than I thought.  I gave it to the Lord, and confessed to Him that I realized He was wanting me to find my full acceptance, approval, and security in Him.  I actually prayed that prayer quite a few times during the course of the day until I felt like it was truly dealt with in my heart.

Then about 24 hours later, I found out that what I thought was going to happen......actually did happen, but I wasn't aware of it.  I thought it hadn't happened.  Are you following me?  I was dealing with the tender nerve for no reason at all!  Well you can imagine how God started speaking to me.

First of all, I sat down and laughed.  I kinda felt that God might be chuckling at me too.  I allowed something to "get" to my heart for no reason.  I had a good talk with the Lord about all this.  I realized there was a vulnerable spot in my heart that I needed to give to Him.  I needed to let His love for me fill every tiny crevice of my heart so that there was no room left for any feelings of rejection, insignificance, or aloneness to sneak in.

I was surprised at all this, because I went on a long spiritual journey when I was young in dealing with insecurity in my life.  But somehow, someway this small opening was uncovered.  I'm so grateful I could bring it to the Lord and get it dealt with.  I don't want to leave any openings in my heart for the enemy to try and use or exploit.

It also made me thank the Lord afresh for how much He has used this journey to speak to me and teach me things that I need to learn.  It was a very sweet, personal lesson to my heart!  I'm grateful that He didn't leave that tiny "speck of sand" un-dealt with in my life.  How good He is!

"For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus."  Philippians 1:6

"The Lord is for me; I will not fear.  What can man do to me?"  Psalm 118:6

"He will not allow your foot to slip; He who keeps you will not slumber."  Psalm 121:3

"O Lord, you have searched me and known me."  Psalm 139:1

"I find my rest in God alone.  He is the one who saves me.  He alone is my rock."  Psalm 62:1,2

I'm so grateful that God "knows" us, and that He's so faithful to teach us lessons in every area of our lives. 

Our Unexpected Journey

3.png

I know that God is a God of detail......I have only to open my eyes and look around, and I see it everywhere.  But every once-in-a-while something happens that just adds an exclamation point to that!  I've just had one of those "somethings" happen.

I have a favorite pair of earrings that I wear all the time. They have special meaning to me.  A few days ago I lost the very tiny "back" of one of those earrings.  I had been wearing them all day, and I had been to so many different places during the day.  I didn't notice until late afternoon, when I felt that the earring was loose, that the back was gone.

I looked as many places as I could, but it felt very unrealistic to think that I could find it.  I did pray though!!!  I "poured" out my heart to God as I've written about recently.  I told the Lord that in the big scheme of things it wasn't very important, but it would mean a lot to me if He could help me find it.  It's a particular size to fit these earrings, so I didn't know if I could replace it.  It seemed impossible to even see such a tiny piece, much less be able to find it.

Days went by without finding it.  I had been to a therapy appt. that day, and I asked the therapist to look.  She had looked everywhere without success......and then a few days later she found it under a cabinet.  She just "happened" to see it.  It's SOOOO tiny!

You can imagine how my heart was touched by this.  It was a sweet, personal reminder of how God loves details.....of how He's concerned about the details of our lives.  I would have still believed that if I had never found the little gold backing - but it was such a special, personal reminder to my heart.  It was a miracle - not an earth shattering one in terms of what it was - but a special miracle to my heart of God's love and care.  I'm still blown away!!

And if God can help me find that tiny, tiny gold earring back - I keep thinking how much more He can answer the really "important" prayers I'm lifting up to Him.  My faith is encouraged.  My hope is strengthened.  My prayers have increased.  My heart is expectant.

"And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost.' "  Luke 15:6

"'Or what woman, if she has ten silver coins and loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it?"  Luke 15:8

"Why even the hairs of your head are all numbered.  Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows."  Luke 12:7

"What is man that You take thought of him, and the son of man that You care for him?"  Psalm 8:4

"He will not allow your foot to slip; He who keeps you will not slumber."  Psalm 121:3

"The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field."  Matthew 13:44

The God of detail who knows the very number of hairs on our head is also concerned about all the details of our daily life.  The awesome God of the universe, the Creator, is also a personal God!  He cares about each of us.  He hears every prayer we offer up to Him, and He is watching over us.  I'm so grateful for His loving, personal care - and for His answering a sweet prayer that I lifted up to Him.

Our Unexpected Journey

O.U.J. 36.png

A sweet friend who is visiting went with me to see Floyd this week.  We had a precious, tender visit together.  We both shared testimonies of people who have come to know Jesus - some as a result of Floyd's ministry in the past.  All three of us were crying as we thanked the Lord for His goodness and faithfulness.  As I always do when I'm with Floyd, we tried to encourage him that his "voice" still speaks and his life is still fruitful - even though he is still and silent right now.  He always soaks up the encouragement like a sponge.  

We continue to pray for protection for Floyd's heart and mind against the lies of the enemy.......and against discouragement.  

The words to an old chorus I sang in church when I was growing up came to my mind the other day.  "He's all I need.  He's all I need.  Jesus is all I need."

God is enough.  In fact, God is more than enough!  That phrase has been ringing in my mind in recent days while singing the chorus.  As humans we always want more.....or something different.  We are rarely satisfied.  It's the old philosophy of "the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence."  Have you ever noticed how often cows have their heads stuck through the fence eating the grass on the other side?  It's the same as on their side of the fence......but it looks better on the other side.  We humans can be the same in our thinking.

I've found my heart being challenged to thank the Lord for what I have and not want more (even in this time of loss and sickness)......and to concentrate on God being "enough" for me.  When everything is going good - it's easy to think that God is enough.  But when hard times hit, we can wonder if God has disappeared.  He hasn't!  

He is right beside us all the time.  He is taking care of us.  He carries us when we're weak.  He holds our right hand when we're struggling.  He picks us up when we fall.  He meets our daily needs for provision.  He forgives us when we fail and sin.  He encourages our hearts when we're sad.  He gives grace for every need.  He dries our tears when our emotions overwhelm us.  He counsels us when we need wisdom and direction.  

HE IS ENOUGH!  We can't trust our feelings.  They often betray us and make us think we're on our own - or that God has abandoned us.  The enemy will try to whisper every lie he can think of  to make us feel God isn't sufficient.  We must stand against those lies.

There have been whole books written about God's sufficiency.  They contain wonderful and profound truths.  We could feast on them for weeks as we read about all that God has provided for us.  I wish I had the knowledge and skill to write such wonderful books.

But, for me, it comes down to the simplicity of simply knowing that God is enough!  For whatever need I have, whatever situation I'm facing, whatever emotion is weighing on my heart - He is enough.

I am so grateful!

"What, then, shall we say in response to these things?  If God is for us, who can be against us?"  Romans 8:31

"My God will supply all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus."  Philippians 4:19

"God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work."  2 Corinthians 9:8

"The Lord will fulfil His purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever.  Do not forsake the work of your hands."  Psalm 138:8

"I can do all things through Him who strengthens me."  Philippians 4:13

"For nothing will be impossible with God."  Luke 1:37

"The eternal God is your dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms."  Deuteronomy 33:27

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

The Bible is packed full and overflowing with verses about God being enough.  I claim them afresh.  I hold onto them on hard days.  And I thank God that He knows how much we need the reassurance of His word that He is enough!  He gave us all those wonderful verses.

I've never been very good at new languages.  I studied French in high school and loved it - such a beautiful language - but I never managed to speak it very well.  During the years we lived in Holland, I was the worst in our family at speaking Dutch.  I just have a hard time wrapping my tongue around the sounds of new languages.

But during this unexpected journey we're on, I've had to learn a new language.  It's all the medical "jargon."  So many new words and phrases.  It's definitely a language of its own!  In the early days when Floyd was in ICU, I was constantly asking the medical staff to explain what they were talking about!  Even recently I've come across some new terms that I didn't understand.

It's made me reflect on the fact that I'm so grateful God understands us all.  Regardless of what language we speak, what terms we use - He understands.  Every word we say.  Every phrase we use.  Every mumbled communication through our tears.  Every whisper we speak......He listens, hears, and responds to us.  That gives me such sweet assurance.

I have sometimes wished we could go back to the pre-Tower of Babel days when everyone spoke the same tongue.  I think it would eliminate a lot of confusion and misunderstanding!  But thank goodness God understands us and sees what our heart is saying - as well as our words.  

God hears every word we say.  We can pray with that assurance.  He doesn't ignore us, He doesn't put us on "silent," and He never slumbers or sleeps so He's always available.  I take such comfort in knowing that He is always listening.

"In panic I cried out, "I am cut off from the Lord!"  But you heard my cry for mercy and answered my call for help."  Psalm 31:22

"You came near when I called you, and you said 'Do not fear.' "  Lamentations 3:57

"I will answer them before they even call to me.  While they are still talking about their needs, I will go ahead and answer their prayers!"  Isaiah 65:24

"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

"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

When I'm feeling desperate, alone, needing help with something - it is so comforting to know that God is listening to every word I speak and that He understands me completely.  

Our Unexpected Journey

Share hearts.png

We're been having some beautiful autumn days.  We don't get much of the leaf color change here in Cape Town, but we do get some lovely weather......not too hot, not cold/wet/windy yet.  I'm enjoying it before winter comes.

One of the things I'm so grateful for in my walk with the Lord is that I can pour out my heart to Him.  I can openly, honestly, vulnerably, completely tell him everything I am thinking and feeling.  I can tell Him when I'm having a good day, and when I'm having a hard day.  I can tell him when I'm sad, anxious, content, happy, struggling, and wondering which way to go.  My thoughts and emotions can be "all over the map" just during one day. :)

The beauty of it all is that God always listens.  He openly receives anything I have to share.  He doesn't condemn me on a hard day.  He doesn't make me feel horrible if I make mistakes.  He is merciful, forgiving, kind, and loving.  He helps me pick up the pieces and begin again if I don't do something right.  He speaks encouragement into my heart. He shares His wisdom with me when I feel clueless.

I often hear Him whisper into my spirit to "let it all out" and tell Him everything.  There is such a freedom that comes with that - a release that makes me feel lighter for having shared.  I don't have to bottle things up and just try to make it on my own.  There is a wonderful security in knowing I won't be rejected by sharing my heart with Him.  And there is such a wonderful strength in knowing I'm not alone!  He is continually with me, listening to every beat of my heart.

"Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our refuge."  Psalm 62:8

"Pour out all your worries and stress upon Him and leave them there; for He always tenderly cares for you."  1 Peter 5:7 TPT 

"I poured out my heart, baring my soul to God."  Daniel 9:4

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."  Philippians 4:4-7

"So now the case is closed.  There remains no accusing voice of condemnation against those who are joined in life-union with Jesus." Romans 8:1 TPT

"Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail."  Lamentations 3:22

"Those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary."  Isaiah 40:31

"I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God's unfailing love for ever and ever."  Psalm 52:8

There is power in pouring out our hearts to the Lord.  It frees us - and it releases Him in a fresh way to respond to us in whatever situation we're in.  What a precious treasure it is to share our hearts with Him.

Our Unexpected Journey

Untitled design-2.png

The last couple days have been good ones for Floyd, and he has had some visits from members of the Care Team that he hasn't seen for a while.  That always seems to touch his heart.  

My energy levels go up and down.  I do my best to "pace" myself, but sometimes I have a really busy day and then I need recovery time.  My brain always thinks I can do more than my body can do. :)  

Sometimes when people see me - knowing all that I am going through - they are surprised that I seem joyful, happy.  I think they expect me to be "a basket case."  And I could be!  There have been so many "trials" thrown into the unexpected journey of the last 3 years.  But one of the sweet things I've discovered  - is that it's possible to be content in the midst of all the difficulties!  

There's no explanation for that except that it's God's goodness and mercy to me!!  I can't fake it.  I can't pretend to be content.  But God helps me carry the burdens in such a sweet way that I truly can experience contentment on the hard journey.  I've learned that it's okay to be happy, to be content in the midst of hard times.  In fact - it's more than "okay."  I think it's God's way of helping us get through the ups and downs of life.

It's definitely been a learning process.  I've had a wide variety of situations where I've needed to apply this.  And if I ever think I've "achieved" in this area....well, then something new seems to come along to help me grow some more.

In high school I was voted "friendliest girl."  One of the things my classmates said they liked about me was my smile.  I decided early on that whatever came my way in life, I wanted to keep smiling.  God has helped me do that - even on this very unexpected journey!

Keeping my gaze on Him, pouring out my heart to Him, reminding myself of His promises, worshipping Him for His faithfulness - all help me be content even on hard days.  His gentle, tender spirit of peace feels like a blanket covering me as I go through the days.

"I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation."  Philippians 4:12

"Happy are the people whose God is the Lord!"  Psalm 144:15

"God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.  The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress."  Psalm 46:1-3,7

"That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in  hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.  For when I am weak, then I am strong."   2 Corinthians 12:10

"A heart at peace gives life to the body."  Proverbs 14:30

The mandate we were given in the Word to be content in every situation is possible - with God's very present help and grace! 

I was so aware over the Easter weekend, that it's because of what He has done for us through His death and resurrection that we can walk in the contentment I've written about.  I am so very grateful for the price He has paid, and the provision He has given us.

I had a sweet Easter weekend.  I had a special time of taking communion together with Floyd.  I recounted what God has done for us on the cross, sang some old songs, and prayed for us and our family.   I'm carrying a number of things on my heart right now, I chose to use the weekend to press into Him and receive fresh grace for the journey.  My heart was sad, but grateful, for the suffering Jesus walked through on our behalf on Good Friday.  It rained here during the afternoon on Good Friday and it felt like holy tears over what Jesus had had to endure.

Then, I reflected on Silent Saturday of what the Easter weekend means - how powerful it is.  I thought about how despairing everyone around Jesus was on that day.  They'd witnessed His crucifixion, but they didn't know His resurrection was coming.  So much was happening in the spiritual realm on that day, but mankind was mourning - totally unaware of what was about to happen.  It truly was a "silent" day, an in-between day.  Not much is said about it in the Bible except that the guards were watching the tomb of Jesus.  And yet one of the most powerful days in human history was getting ready to take place.

And I rejoiced on Resurrection Sunday that He's alive!  He conquered death, sin, the grave - He won a mighty victory!  My heart sang in worship that He is risen.  The presence of the Lord was so real, so close as I contemplated all this.  I felt I could almost reach out and touch Him.

Someone sent me the picture I have used for this post.  I loved this depiction of the three days of Easter.  I felt I had journeyed through it during the weekend in my heart.

One of the things that the Lord spoke to me is that I need to keep my focus on Him and what He has done for me, what He has provided for me......not just on Easter weekend, but continually as I walk through the things that I'm dealing with right now.  It's easy to be distracted by the details and the cares of life, especially when I'm weary or feeling weak.  Whenever that happens, I need to take my thoughts and my emotions quickly back to Him.

I need to give Him every burden, every care, every need, every single thing that I don't know what to do about.  He is with me and aware of each of these things.  I need to trustingly cling to Him.  He is continually mindful of us.  He is always working on our behalf.

"Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you."  1 Peter 5:7

"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own."  Matthew 6:34

"Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long."  Psalm 25:4,5

"Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand.  You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory.  Whom have I in heaven but you?  And earth has nothing I desire besides you.  My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.  I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge."  Psalm 73:23-26, 28

Through Good Friday, Silent Saturday, and Resurrection Sunday God has provided for our every need.  These three days did indeed change everything.  So much happened in just three short days.  Thank you Lord!  How awesome He is. 

As I reflected on Silent Saturday I thought about the times when it seems like God is silent.  No matter how much we pray, how many times we ask Him a question - it's just quiet.  No answers, no understanding, no direction on what to do.  I'm going through one of those times right now in regard to something I'm asking the Lord about.  I feel the Lord's closeness, I sense that He's with me, but there's silence in regard to what I'm lifting up to Him.

God was silent that day - all of heaven was silent.  But so much was happening.  God was preparing to invade history in one of the most powerful examples of His glory.  It was the dark and quiet before the dawning of His planned victory for mankind.

I've continued to reflect on all this during this week, and thought I'd share some of the things I'm learning.  Although I'm wanting (needing) answers to something specific, I'm aware that God's perspective may be so very different to mine:

 -  He may be working on things to happen or come together before He can show me the way.  I couldn't help but think of how Mary and Martha cried out to Jesus to come when Lazarus needed him.  He delayed.  He was silent - He didn't respond.  But he was preparing the way for a great miracle!

-  He may be wanting to teach me things to prepare me for the answers I need.  He's certainly teaching me more about perseverance!

-  He is most likely wanting me to press into Him more.  That is always a good thing!

-  He's probably getting my heart ready for whatever the answers will be.  I'm actually grateful for that.

-  It could be a matter of timing.  His ways are perfect - and perfectly timed, so I know He'll give me the answers when I need them.

Although it may "feel" silent as I call out to Him, He is anything but silent.  He is continually speaking!  It's just the one question I'm asking where the silence seems to echo.  It's a pressing question.  I can't help but wonder what all God is up to in the interim.

I've realized that my responses during this time are very important.  I can't pretend this isn't happening, so I've been asking God how He wants me to respond.  I'm reminding myself of what I know I need to do:

-  I need to continually choose trust.  When it seems like God is silent, the enemy would love to exploit that and work to create mistrust in my heart to the Lord.  I choose to speak out my trust to the Lord all through the day.

-  I need to examine my heart.  Is there anything keeping me from hearing God?  Have I been obedient to things He's already said to me?

-  I need to keep talking to the Lord.  I need to keep the channels of communication with the Lord active and fully operational!!  Job understood God's silence, and yet he kept pressing into God and declaring the truth of who God is.  And again, out of frustration of not getting answers, the enemy would try to influence me to draw back.

-  I need to dig into the Word more.  Often times that's how God speaks to us, so I need to read what He's already said!

-  I need to be careful and check my attitude.  I can't demand that God speak.  All I can do is ask.  He doesn't owe me anything.  His speaking to me is a precious gift.

-  I need to build my faith in this time by recounting the many ways He's spoken to me in the past!  When I do that, my heart overflows in worship for His goodness and faithfulness in speaking so clearly and personally in previous seasons.

-  I need to listen carefully.  God may speak to me in new ways that I'm not used to.

"My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,"  says the Lord.  "And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine."  Isaiah 55:8

"If I had not confessed the sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened."  Psalm 66:18

"O God of my praise.  Do not be silent."  Psalm 109:1

"I have much more to say to you, but right now it would be more than you could understand."  John 16:12

"Draw near to God and He will draw near to you."  James 4:8

"I will never leave you nor forsake you."  Hebrews 13:5

None of our seasons, our experiences are "wasted."  God is using what I'm walking through right now to draw me closer to Him.  I'm trusting that in the right time He'll give me the answers I need.  He is faithful. 

Our Unexpected Journey

Untitled design-2.png

I had a sweet visit with Floyd recently.  My first time to see him since my surgery.  I finally had enough energy to go to him.  I was blessed with a sweet smile.  It warmed my heart.  I caught him up on all my news, and shared what various ones in our family are walking through.  There were a few tearful moments, some sweet moments of smiles, and I prayed together with him.  The doctor came in to check him while I was there, and said that his lungs are clear and sound good.  I told Floyd that many people are sending love and are praying for him.  I always hope that he understands that, and that he'll be blessed by it.

As I'm continuing to pray and seek the Lord for the way ahead, I've become so keenly aware of how much I need the Lord's direction and guidance.  Corrie ten Boom said that "faith is like a radar that sees through the fog."  I feel like I'm surrounded by fog - information, ideas, suggestions, opinions - all swirling around me.  I'm stirring up my faith, my hope in God's goodness and faithfulness and asking Him to clear away the foggy mists in front of me.

I need His direction and I need His peace.  So often I've seen that the "peace that passes understanding" is what carries me through the hard times.  Without trials, there aren't victories - and yet when walking through the trials it's often hard to sense His peace.  I find I have to continually surround myself with His promises, with verses about His character and goodness, in order to balance out the trials and find peace.  Worship becomes a lifeline in holding onto peace.

When I'm trying to get clarity and direction, it's easy for fear to enter in.  I heard the phrase "don't let fears get in the way of your dreams."  My dream at the moment is to persevere on this unexpected journey.  I find the biggest fear is of making a mistake in the decisions I'm making.  That's where I have to cling tightly to God's hand.  I have to stay close to Him, and stay in constant communication with Him.  My constant prayer is for Him to help me, to guide me, and to give me peace.

"Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace at all times in every way."  2 Thessalonians 3:16

"Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you.  Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul."  Psalm 143:8

"Teach me your way, O Lord; lead me in a straight path because of my oppressors."  Psalm 27:11

"Why are you in despair, O my soul?  And why have you become disturbed within me?  Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him for the help of His presence."  Psalm 42:5

"Therefore I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me."  Micah 7:7

"My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me."  John 10:27

"The righteous person faces many troubles, but the Lord comes to the rescue each time."  Psalm 34:19

He is so faithful to meet us, to help us, and to guide us.  

While I have been praying for the Lord to clear away the foggy mists in front of me, we have actually had some very foggy mornings!  The fog has been so thick - I could hardly see the street just a short ways in front of us.  I know there are lots of houses out there.  I know there's ocean.  I know there are beautiful trees.  And I know there's mountains.  I've seen them all - but I couldn't see them through the fog!  All I could see was the gray, thick, swirling mist.

As I've looked at this scene for a few mornings.....I've realized there's a lesson there.  We know God's ways.  We know His goodness.  We know His character and faithfulness.  We know the truth of His word, His promises.  But sometimes the circumstances of life are like the thick fog.  They cloud the view of what we know is there!  We can't see what's there because of the fog.

I realized that when the foggy situations of life come along to cloud our view - we have to hang on to what we know is really there.  We can't let the fog define our view!  We have to remember what we know is through the fog.

I think this is where faith and trust come in.  My faith has to see beyond the fog to what I know God has provided for me.  And I have to declare my absolute trust in Him in spite of the heavy fog.

I'm doing this daily now!  There is a lot of "fog" surrounding several of the important decisions I'm needing to make.  I'm walking by faith through the fog, and speaking out my trust in our wonderful, faithful God.  He's the One who can dispel the fog and bring back the sunshine.

"We walk by faith, not by sight."  2 Corinthians 5:7

"You are my lamp, O Lord; the Lord turns my darkness into light."  2 Samuel 22:29

"We fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.  For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."  2 Corinthians 4:18

"There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off."  Proverbs 23:18

I need God's help.  I trust Him to lead me.

As I've been praying and seeking the Lord for direction for the decisions I'm making - the process has become heavy and weighty.  My heart has felt burdened down with the bigness of the decisions.

A few days ago as I was praying, I felt the Lord spoke to me that I've become too focused on the decisions......and I need to keep my focus on Him.  I was becoming off balance in my focus.  I remembered that Sarah Young said "gaze at Me; glance at problems."  I think I was beginning to get it backwards.

The decisions are big ones, and the weight of having to come up with answers was constantly intruding on my thoughts.  I have chosen instead to try and keep my thoughts, my attention, my focus on the Lord - while lifting up my need for answers to Him.  It may seem like a subtle shift, but it's an important one!

"We fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.  For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."  2 Corinthians 4:18

"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith." Hebrews 12:2

"We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you."  2 Chronicles 20:12

"You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you."  Isaiah 26:3

"Turn my eyes from worthless things, and give me life through your word."  Psalm 119:37

"I lift up my eyes to the hills.  From where does my help come?"  Psalm 121:1

"My eyes are toward you, O God, my Lord; in you I seek refuge; leave me not defenceless."  Psalm 141:8

When my mind strays to the decisions I'm facing and the problems I'm having to work through, I get my focus back on who God is.....and humbly ask His help with all I'm facing.  It truly helps to look at the hard things in light of how awesome God is! 

Our Unexpected Journey

Untitled design.png

Floyd has had some improvements recently.  His nagging chest congestion has been better - which is a relief to me as he's so miserable when it's bothering him.  The doctors, therapists, and nurses say he is more alert and responsive too.  I’m so grateful for all the prayers going up for him for these things.  It's encouraging to have some good news from his side.

I wondered if last Saturday on the 3rd anniversary of Floyd becoming ill would be a hard day for me.  It turned out to be a tender day, but there was a sweet presence of the Lord with me the whole day.  I shed a few tears - some of sadness, but most were of thanks/worship/gratitude to the Lord for how He has faithfully been with me minute by minute on this journey.  I found my heart was full of worship to the Lord that I haven't been alone - He has been by my side and held my hand, as the Word promises.  I have so, so much to be grateful for.

Recently I have been waking up in the middle of the night quite often.  I've not known if something has awakened me, so I usually lay there listening, waiting.  The first time it happened, I felt a bit vulnerable and alone.  As I started praying, I remembered some of the verses about God being with us in the night......and I felt surrounded with His presence.

It has been a good reminder that He's with us in the night - whether it be the physical time of the day......or an experience that feels like "night."  Waking or sleeping, in the sunshine or night, in good times and hard times - He is always present with us!  He is with us and in charge every minute of every day.  When the "night" comes, it's good to remember that we live in a fallen world - but God is ever present with us.  He never leaves us.  

The Bible is filled with examples of God speaking to men and women at night - so I always listen closely to see if God is wanting to speak something to my heart.  He often speaks a special encouragement into my heart in the night wakefulness.  I keep my pen and paper handy ready to write it down.

"By day the Lord directs His love, at night His song is with me - a prayer to the God of my life."  Psalm 42:8

"He speaks in dreams, in visions of the night, when deep sleep falls on people as they lie in their beds."  Job 33:15

"He who watches over Israel never slumbers or sleeps."  Psalm 121:4

"You can go to bed without fear; you will lie down and sleep soundly.... for the Lord is your security."  Proverbs 3:24,26

"In peace I will lie down and sleep, for You alone, O Lord, will keep me safe."  Psalm 4:8

"I stay awake through the night, thinking about your promise."  Psalm 119:148

"I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches.  Because You have been my help, therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice.  My soul follows close behind You; Your right hand upholds me."  Psalm 63:6-8

He is with me, watching over me in the "night."  I often pray for God's presence to fill Floyd's hospital room too, and to send angels to minister to Him.

He's only a whisper away!  As I whisper His name, He is right with me....any time of the day or night!

Of the 5 surgeries I've had while Floyd has been sick, this has been the hardest one for me to recover from.  I'm just not "bouncing back" very quickly.  I have lots of things that need my time and attention, but I just don't have the strength and energy I need to address them.

So often in the different "seasons" of this unexpected journey, God teaches me new lessons.  I've been feeling that He wants to do that in this season.  The overwhelming impression I've had is that I need to rest - and that my rest is worship to Him.  That is special to me because worship has been such a key part of my surviving on this journey.

The Bible talks a lot about rest.  God rested after His days of creation.  Jesus took time out from the crowds to rest and spend time with the Father.  The prophets of old often went into the desert to rest and hear from God.  God, of course, commands us to take a sabbath rest from our work and labor.

But the busyness of our world is so counter to that.  Rest is often looked upon as a luxury, not an essential.  We are under pressure to achieve, to produce.  Even in my weakened state, I feel the pressure of "doing" all the things that are calling for my attention.

I've been attempting to change my mindset, my expectations.  I'm daily choosing rest - asking Him if there is something I'm supposed to do.  I'm finding fresh intimacy with Him.  I'm worshipping Him as I look at the beauty of His creation.  I'm spending time just "being" in His presence.  I don't know the implications of this for the long term, but I am worshipping Him in rest right now. 

Andrea Thompson in her blog says that "rest in itself is an act of worship because it is surrender.  We are surrendering to God and laying our lives before Him.  It is an act of trust when we set aside everything we know to do and place it before God."

Even in creation when God created man and woman on the 6th day, He didn't put them right to work.  He gave them a day of rest.  I think we might have been inclined to give them a list of everything they needed to do in tending the Garden of Eden.  Maybe there is something for us to learn from that!

The world might want us to think that rest is a sign of weakness in our busy go, go, go world!  But it's not - it's a choice of strength!  It's easy to give in to the pressures.  It takes great strength to stop and take time to rest.

I should point out that we often face weariness in our fast-paced world.  God understands that.  He doesn't despise our weariness, even though the world may look down upon it, even pity it.  God  reaches out to us and gives fresh strength.  After all, Jesus lived on this earth and walked in our shoes.  He understands the things we face.  He gives grace and help.

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."  Matthew 11:28

"He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.  Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."  Isaiah 40:29-31

"The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.  He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters."  Psalm 23:1,2

"Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty."  Psalm 91:1

"My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest."  Exodus 33:14

So instead of fighting my slow recovery, I'm making the choice to rest - to worship Him in this "season" of rest.  I am offering up these days as worship to Him.  I sense He is healing and restoring my soul as I rest - worshipping Him in my rest.

Our Unexpected Journey

O.U.J 1.jpg

Floyd's situation remains much the same.  He is still battling the chest congestion, but he also still tries to smile and be engaged with the carers.  The therapist thinks he is doing well in spite of the congestion.  The hospital staff takes really good care of him, and they love and encourage him.  I'm so grateful for the kind, loving care that Floyd receives.

In this current season of our unexpected journey, I feel like I'm not only clinging to the Lord day-by-day - I'm often trying to make it minute-by-minute.  There are so many things that are impacting my life at the moment.  I seem to have things coming at me from all directions.  

I was encouraged by a devotional that someone sent me from Charles Spurgeon.  He said - "Trials make more room for consolation.  Great hearts can only be made by great troubles.  The spade of trouble digs the reservoir of comfort deeper, and makes room for consolation."

I think that's what I am experiencing.  I would say it a little differently.  Because the trials are numerous and weighty - God's grace and strength, His "consolations," are abundant and powerful too.  The more I cling to Him in the trials, the more I receive His help!  He is truly "sufficient" as the Word says. 

The important thing, though, is for me not to try and make it through on my own strength.  I MUST cling to Him.  I must share my heart, my thoughts, my feelings, my need.  I have to be absolutely vulnerable in expressing my situation.  That allows Him to respond to me out of His absolute ability to help me!  If I try to plow my way through on my own, I'll never make it.  But if I lean into the Lord, He'll help me make it!

I'm calling on Him minute-by-minute to meet me in my need!  He is so faithful to do that.

"My God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus."  Philippians 4:19

"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."  2 Corinthians 12:9

"As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him; for He knows how we are formed, He remembers that we are dust."  Psalm 103:13,14

"I sought the Lord, and He answered me; He delivered me from all my fears.  Those who look to Him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame."  Psalm 34:4,5

"Neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."  Romans 8:39

"Let us have confidence, then, and approach God's throne, where there is grace.  There we will receive mercy and find grace to help us just when we need it."  Hebrews 4:16

I'm so grateful for God's help - and I'm so grateful for your prayers that help me on this minute-by-minute journey.l

I am ever-so-slowly gaining strength after my surgery.  My recovery is definitely slow, but at least I'm headed in the right direction.  I'm very grateful for that.  

Laying in bed last night, I suddenly heard loud booms.  At first I thought it was thunder.  Then our neighborhood whatsapp group clarified that it was the military doing some training exercises nearby.  

As I thought about what was happening, I began to think about the fact that there is "warfare" happening around us all the time.  We just can't hear it or see it.  The "enemy of our soul" is seeking to destroy us continually.  He is especially seeking to undermine our faith and confidence in our wonderful Lord.

There have been times on our unexpected journey when I've sensed the whispers of the enemy.  Times when he's tried to get me to believe that God doesn't care - that God has left me all alone on this journey - that it's "too much" for me to cope with - that the journey will never end or that I'll just slowly wear down under the onslaught.  There IS warfare, a tug-of-war between good and evil that takes place around us.  We just can't hear the "booms" of it taking place.

When I sense and hear these diabolical whispers, I know how important it is to stand against them.  If I let my mind entertain even one little bit of them, it opens the door for the enemy to bring separation between God and me.  I have to counteract them immediately. 

I do that through worship.  I speak the truth of who God is.  I thank Him for His goodness and faithfulness.  I sing songs of praise.  I speak out verses of scripture about God's awesomeness.  I tell the enemy that he's a liar, and I don't receive any of his accusations.  I take authority over him in the name of Jesus.

"Submit yourselves to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you."  James 4:7

"Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world."  1 John 4:4

"Be self-controlled and alert.  Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  Resist him, standing firm in the faith."  1 Peter 5:8,9

"Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."  1 Corinthians 15:57

"O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His lovingkindness is everlasting."  1 Chronicles 16:34

When the "booms" of spiritual warfare come my way, I know the "weapon" I have at my disposal - proclaiming the wonderful goodness and faithfulness of the Lord.  He is truly good all the time!!

This Sat., Feb. 23, is a kind of anniversary on our long unexpected journey.  But it's one I haven't been looking forward to!  It marks 3 years since the day that Floyd first became ill with a rare infection - so suddenly, with such strange symptoms that escalated hour by hour.  I would have never dreamed then that we would find ourselves here 3 years later.  And I certainly wouldn't have anticipated that cancer would return for me during that time - not once, but twice.  There have also been numerous other things thrown into the mix over this time.  What a wild ride this journey has been!

As this day has been approaching, I've been examining what's in my heart - what my emotions are, what I'm thinking.  It's become clear to me that my predominant thought and feeling is hope.  That probably sounds a little strange.  In many ways our situation seems rather hopeless.

But the verse from Jeremiah 29:11 rings in my ears - " 'I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.' "

There is always hope with our wonderful Lord!  I don't know what that looks like.  But hope is still alive in my heart even after this long, roller-coaster ride of a journey.

What has happened to Floyd is probably his worst nightmare.  His "voice" was always his strength.  Being paralyzed, losing his voice and living in a silent world must be unimaginably difficult.  I can't begin to understand how it must be for him.  And yet, he manages to smile when we visit him.  That assures me that God is giving him grace to persevere.  I would even venture to say that there is some measure of hope in Floyd's heart.

I don't know what's ahead for Floyd.  My prayer is one of stating my trust in God's sovereignty, and praying for healing or heaven......trusting that God knows best.  My heart of hope is at peace with the future God has for us.

G.K. Chesterton said that "hope is the power of being cheerful in circumstances we know to be desperate."  I know our circumstances are somewhat desperate, but I have joy and hope in my trust in God.  I don't live with a cloud of doom over my head.  He gives grace to face each day with hope.

God has been so good, so faithful, so abundant in His giving of grace - I have no reason to fear what's ahead because I can see how wonderfully He has helped me each day of this 3 year journey.  He doesn't change, so I know He'll help me with whatever is ahead.  That truth, that fact allows me to keep hope alive in my heart!  He is truly a God of hope!

"As for me, I watch in hope for the Lord; I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me."  Micah 7:7

"Now, Lord, for what do I wait?  My hope is in You."  Psalm 39:7

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."  Romans 15:13

"Why are you in despair, O my soul?  And why have you become disturbed within me?  Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him for the help of His presence."  Psalm 42:5

"We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure."  Hebrews 6:19

"Then you will know that I am the Lord; those who hope in me will not be disappointed."  Isaiah 49:23

Whatever our situation, hard and dire though it may be - we always, always, always have hope in Him!  He is faithful.  He is faithfully walking beside me.

Our Unexpected Journey

Untitled design.png

Floyd has been having some difficult days.  The chest congestion flared up again big time.  He’s been really miserable.  He bravely tries to smile when the carers come, and he tries to be attentive - but he has not been feeling well.  We pray for strength, grace, and healing for him.

As we come upon the 3rd year of Floyd being sick - I realized that I'm weary in some ways on this long unexpected journey.  When I approached the recent surgery, I wondered how I'd do.  I wondered if I'd have adequate strength to bounce back.  I wondered, even, if my body would survive yet another surgery, my 6th.  I wondered if it would take ages to get back to feeling normal.

I was filled with questions.  I faithfully took each one to the Lord.  I "cast the burden" of my questions upon the Lord.  I gave them to Him, and received by faith all that I would need.

About 10 days after the surgery I was feeling quite good.  Everyone, including the doctors, told me that I looked good.  That's always nice to hear after having gone through a complicated, intense 3 hour surgery. :)

I’m so grateful to Jesus!  I feel He sustained me, helped me, carried me - and has been with me each step of the way. 

"Even to your old age I am He, and to gray hairs I will carry you.  I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save."  Isaiah 46:4

"God will supply every need of yours according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus."  Philippians 4:19

"Cast your burden on the Lord, and He will sustain you; He will never permit the righteous to be moved."  Psalm 55:22

"The Lord stood by me and strengthened me."  2 Timothy 4:17

"The Lord is near to all who call on Him."  Psalm 145:18

"They who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint."  Isaiah 40:31

"In all their distress He too was distressed, and the angel of His presence saved them.  In His love and mercy He redeemed them, He lifted them up and carried them all the days of old."  Isaiah 63:9

"You saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a father carries His son."  Deuteronomy 1:31

"He tends His flock like a shepherd; He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart."  Isaiah 40:11

God is so good!  He has truly "carried" me.  He has helped me in Floyd's absence.  He has watched out for me in every detail.  I am so grateful.

Unfortunately after those days of feeling good - I got hit with a bad tummy bug that is going around.  I have been so, so sick!  In the moments of feeling awful and so very weak I have been hanging on to the Lord.

In the midst of hard times, we tend to think that making it through the hard times is complicated.  It's not true!  One of the things that I've learned is that it is simple.  It boils down to several clear, basic things:

- trusting God unreservedly

- standing on the unfailing promises of His word

- choosing to be steadfast in Him, persevering

- continually worshipping Him for who He is - especially in the darkest times

I carefully chose the word "simple," because it is.  It's not some difficult format or puzzle.   But I didn't say "easy."  Making it through hard times can be, well hard.  But when we make the choices above......it gives us a clear roadmap, and then God can give us sufficient grace to navigate the hard times.

I absolutely, positively can't make it through those simple things on my own.  I'm weak.  I'm needy.  I get tired.  I get sick, like this week.  I fail at some things.  But, with His grace and strength, I CAN make it!!  He makes up for my weaknesses and failures.  He holds my hand, and leads the way.  He never lets us down......no matter how many times the enemy tries to whisper that lie to us.  There is nothing we face that is impossible - if we keep our eyes on Him and cling to Him.

"Why are you in despair, O my soul?  And why have you become disturbed within me?  Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him for the help of His presence."  Psalm 42:5

"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

"Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid or terrified.....for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you."  Deuteronomy 31:6

"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

"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

"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

As long as we live on this earth, we'll face hard things.  It's part of life.  But the wonderful thing is that we don't have to face them alone.  He is continually with us!  And no matter what we face, He has good plans for us - plans to give us a hope and a future.

Since it was Valentine’s Day yesterday, I wanted to express my gratitude to the Lord for the wonderful life that Floyd and I have had, and express my love and affection for my best friend and sweetheart. 

We've had good times together - we've had hard times together, but the most important thing is that we've been together!  We've had times when we didn't know where our next meal was coming from, and we've had times when we've eaten in nice restaurants.  We've had times when we had to sleep in our car, and we've had times when we've slept in comfort and luxury.  We've had times when we couldn't even afford a tube of toothpaste (baking soda works!), and we've had times when we could easily afford our toiletries.  Our life together has had lots of ups and downs, but it's been a wonderful, wonderful life.  I wouldn't trade it for anything.

Even in the current season, God is still with us.  He's been good to us.  We've had a great life together.  I thank Him - and treasure the journey I've had with Floyd.  

And still, in the difficulty of our current season, I'm so overwhelmed by God's goodness.

"Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife."  Genesis 2:24

"Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate."  Mark 10:9

"Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away."  Song of Solomon 8:7

"There are three things that amaze me - no, four things that I don't understand:  how an eagle glides through the sky, how a snake slithers on a rock, how a ship navigates the ocean, how a man loves a woman."  Proverbs 30:18,19

"Don't urge me to leave you or to turn back from you.  Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay.  Your people will be my people and your God my God."  Ruth 1:16

The verse from Ruth was part of my wedding vows to Floyd.  I sometimes joked and told Floyd that I never dreamed what I was committing myself to!  I never dreamed all the places I'd go in following by his side. : )

Our Unexpected Journey

O.U.J. 74.png

Floyd had some hard days this week with the chest congestion but thankfully the Lord has answered our prayers and it cleared up in recent days.  

During my stay in the hospital last week I felt so supported & carried by all the prayers of the faithful ones around the world.  I felt “cocooned” in peace.

My recovery is a bit more complicated this time so I am praying for it to go smoothly with no infections.

“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

I’m glad Floyd and I are both in His hands! 

One of the things I find that I have to guard my heart from is looking at how things were in the previous seasons of my life - or from how things are in the lives of my friends.  I am careful to remind myself that this is the journey that God has allowed for my life - and that He has good plans and purposes for it.  He is faithful to help me on this journey, and He is continually with me whatever the journey holds.

It's important for me to find contentment for the journey I'm on.  Sarah Young says that "learning to be content is both a discipline and an art."  I can identify with that.  I must choose to look to God and trust Him.  I must look for Him in the daily events of my life.  And I must look for the "hope" He has for me in my future as Jeremiah 29:11 says.  

I am grateful this surgery is behind me - and I'm looking to what God has on the path ahead.  There is always joy in Him on the journey, no matter how hard the journey might be!

" 'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.' "

"I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go."  Genesis 28:15

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."  Romans 15:13

"Rejoice and exult in hope; be steadfast and patient in suffering and tribulation; be constant in prayer."  Romans 12:12

"All the days of the oppressed are bad, but a cheerful heart has a continual feast."  Proverbs 15:15

"You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence."  Acts 2:28

"For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him."  2 Chronicles 16:9

There are hard things in life at times, but my heart's desire is to stay fully committed to Him - come what may!  He gives grace to do that.  He is so good, so faithful, so kind and just in all His ways.  What a treasure it is to walk with Him.  And He does strengthen my heart!