Tag Archive | grace

Warm Waves

We just returned from our annual family vacation to Topsail Island, NC. Sure, we returned home a little earlier than planned…but, that doesn’t change the blessings that were counted along the way.

We stay on the beach. Not at the beach or near it…on it. The house sits just on top of the dune looking out over the Atlantic Ocean and whole structure sways gently in the breeze. Some may find the motion of a house troubling…I think it’s comforting and soothing- especially at night. The breeze…the sound of the waves…the motion of the home…results in the best sleep I have all year. For a week, God himself rocks me to sleep. High tide laps at the steps that lead from the house to the soft sand. The water this year was so warm and clear; bath water. One particular morning, hubby and I awoke to find sea turtle tracks leading to and from the ocean. A momma turtle had made her way up to our neighbors steps, laid and buried her eggs, and scooted herself back into the ocean. That experience was just one more added blessing…a cherry on top of an already perfect week. This has been our home-away-from-home for three years and will continue to be our place of relaxation and refuge (Lord willing) for years to come.

 

…each cup of morning coffee comes with a spectacular view…

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she came...and went

she came…and went

 

Sea turtle tracks!

Sea turtle tracks!

For 15 years or so, hubby and I have made trip after trip to the Outer Banks and points south during the first week in July. We have never been displaced by a storm…until now. On Wednesday, it became obvious that we were going to have to make the decision to stay or go as Tropical Storm Arthur was meandering Northward for a visit. Hmmm….we were on the beach, in a home that had weathered it’s share of storms, and the locals weren’t the least bit concerned. Frankly, it was a bit exciting! Until, we noticed that the dune in front of our home was just a bit lower than that of our neighbors. In fact, standing under the house – next to the truck- there was an obvious break in the dune that would be perfect for the ocean to come on through and give that deep green Ford a nice warm oceanic car wash…inside and out. A low dune, four children in the house and two grandparents and a bro-in-law who need electricity to fuel the machines that help them get restful sleep were all considerations when we decided that we needed to leave the island.

On Thursday -as Arthur was upgraded to a hurricane- our group decided that it would be best to move inland and start the journey home. Our view changed a bit, but vacation wasn’t over. We soaked in the hotel hot tub and the kids splashed in the indoor pool, got a restful nights sleep (not as restful for me…I missed the rocking motion), and woke up to sunny skies and a cool breeze for the remainder of our travels home.

Our view changed from this…

…to this.

Red sky in the morning...looking face to face with Arthur on Thursday morning.

Red sky in the morning…looking face to face with Arthur on Thursday morning.

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This morning, sitting at my own kitchen table- I opened my prayer journal and saw this…

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God never ceases to amaze me with his perfect timing. Displaced by a storm…yet all in His plan, safe in His hands. Blessed. Yes, each morning is new. His grace and mercy flow freely.

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Encouragement during the race

Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.  Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.  And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds

Hebrews 10:22-24

In my last post, I pointed to this scripture and indicated that “how we may spur one another on” was something that God was really pointing to in my purpose going forward. I had no idea that He’d start convicting me to move on that this morning. I am so glad He did.

Last night, a friend asked how our son did in the 5k over the weekend. I told her that he finished and I was so proud of him, but I was really proud of my husband. He is, what I like to call, a competitive jerk. We both are. When there is a competition between hubby and I (cards, video games, volleyball, marksmanship…you name it) we are…well…boisterous about it. Hubby had been training for this 5k and was looking forward to knocking time off of his last race. Competing against himself. When our son decided that he would run with his Dad, they were both excited.They had already talked about the possibility of getting separated during the race and had a game plan to meet up at the finish line. It was all mapped out- so we thought.

At one point in the race, our son decided to turn back and look for me. I was walking with the dog and his sister near the back of the pack. What he didn’t realize was that his sister’s little legs had worn out early (and the dog saw a rabbit that nearly resulted in shoulder dislocation) and she asked if we could turn back for water. I had given her a pat on the back for her effort and we set some training goals for next time. When my son couldn’t find us he turned and started running with the pack again. Because he had turned around and doubled back, he had run further than most and became tired. When my hubby happened upon him, he was walking and looking for a shady place to rest. Hubby stopped to encourage him. He noticed that our little runner had a shoe untied, so he helped him tie it tight. Then, he sat with him on the curb for a moment of chalk talk. They continued the race together at a slower pace and at one point my son ended up riding piggy back. They both crossed the finish line together. WOW! For those who know my hubby- you know how difficult this must have been for him. When I was telling the story last night- I imagined that he had some teeth grinding and some muffled frustration and it definitely went against everything in his nature to stop his race to walk with our son.

…in HIS nature.

It definitely wasn’t his nature that caused him to stop and spur our son on and offer encouragement. It was God’s nature. I am so very proud of my husband for the sacrifice he made to encourage our son. He threw his goal, race time, competitive nature and himself out the window and focused on that boy. What a wonderful picture.

wpid-20140603_080935.jpgThis morning, when I woke up our son was sitting in the living room watching TV. He is an early riser and always has been. He had already made his bed, ate breakfast, packed his lunch and his uniform was on…he was ready to roll. As I saw him sitting there- a nudge from the Spirit. “Consider how we may spur one another toward love and good deeds.” But, not just love and good deeds…toward God himself. I asked him to turn off the TV and come to the table with me. I start my day with prayer and scripture. When he became a Christian in September, he did a morning devotional as well. While he still prays for his classmates in the morning, he has let his devotional book gather a little dust. When I opened the page to where he had left off, the lesson was  this “If you fall, Get back up”. Ok, thanks for the nudge God.

As I sat there with him, reading- I began to tell the story of how I learned to ride my bike. When I was young, I liked to ride my bike up and down the step on the side of our home. One day, one of my plastic training wheels cracked in half. I never went back to that bike. Later…much later, I set a goal for myself. I wanted to learn to ride a bike before my son. Yes, 30 years later at the age of 34- I finally learned how to ride a bike. My son never knew that about me. So I continued….

When I was 11 I became a Christian. I studied my Bible in church, in youth group, on mission trips and retreats. We were always very active at church and in serving others, but all of my “study” consisted of what I was fed by teachers and leaders. When I went away to college- ALONE- It didn’t take long for the slide…the slow fade to begin. I never got off of the baby food.

in fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.

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I shared with him my shame. It was 18 years before I had my Josiah moment. I returned to the Lord and was brought to my knees. How in the world did I get that far from Him? From the truth? Outside of His will for me? That little boy could see the urgency in my eyes and hear it in my tone as I told him, “Don’t rely on what you are taught in class. You have to spend time with God alone- daily. When you are saved and have that blessed assurance it’s time to RUN…not walk…not sit.”

It’s time to get back in the race.

Drenched by a slow drizzle

One of my friends sent me a text…”when it rains it pours”. It sure seems like that when the rain comes.

The past two weeks have been tough. I could compare myself to Job, but that would be ignorant. While hubby’s company seems to be struggling, he still has a job and we still have a roof over our heads. We have to dig up the front garden so we can get to the foundation to take care of some leaking or seeping there. Last week, our pup was sick and our septic system went into failure. We cannot do laundry and must wait another week until they can come do the perc test…which includes digging up a substantial portion of our front lawn. I cringe at the forecast of rain because that directly affects the root issue. (sigh) Our daughter is not feeling well and we just can’t pinpoint the cause and I have been struggling with a sinus and ear infection. As a matter of fact, we have been in a doctor’s office every day this week except Monday. The timing of the mounting medical expense is not good. After all, this septic thing is not going to be cheap. BUT, God has always provided for us and He is walking us through one step at a time. Until now, I had been taking everything in stride. After all, God is and has been very good to us. There are others around us who are struggling with life threatening illnesses and much larger struggles than the issues I just mentioned. Job? No. I have not lost my whole family…only one very important member.

It was supposed to be Spring Break. We were staying with family and were going to go to the zoo and maybe take in some museums. Yet, one thing after another seemed to de-rail that plan. On Tuesday, I tried to drive home with the kids but couldn’t go through the tunnel because of the pain in my ears and sinuses. The route we chose was so congested due to accidents that we finally turned around and stayed one more night. It was nice. More time with family and another night of antibiotics was just what I needed. The next morning we set out to go to the zoo, but ended up in an Emergency Care place instead. After a lot of tears (from me…not my kids) we finally made some headway and had lunch with a friend. Then I got the call…hubby said when he got home from work, he found our 11-year-old dog collapsed on the floor. He was struggling and things didn’t look good. I put the kids back in the car and we finished our drive. He called again when we got into the immediate area. The vet thought that Muddy had a tumor that had suddenly burst…his body temperature had dropped drastically and we had to hurry. The hardest part…telling our son that we were on our way to the animal hospital to see our dog for the last time. The second hardest part…watching my hubby cry as my son sobbed. The worst part ever…Muddy still had a fighting spirit and was trying to get up off of the floor as we lay there with him. He looked scared. But, I am so glad that this all happened suddenly and he didn’t have to suffer for a long period of time.

One rain drop at a time…a slow drizzle over the course of weeks. Now I am saturated…heavy…sad…worn. Like a sponge that has been completely immersed for a period of time, I need to be squeezed. A hug, maybe. I need God to wring me out. I am thankful for the truth speakers in my life: the ones who point me back to God when I am too focused on my stumbling feet. Especially the one who reminded me that my focus had shifted. I normally try to dwell on the positive and through God’s grace I had managed to remain a Philippians 4 girl.

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, 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.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Yes, my friend was right. I am looking more what is wrong this week and allowing that cloud to cast shadows on the abundance of what is good and right in my life. But, I have to be real with you- I am struggling this week. Walking with God doesn’t mean everyday is happy and sunny. Walking with God means that when it rains, God is the umbrella that gives me protection. Those periods of rain have the potential to result in beautiful growth.

24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

Matthew 7: 24-27

It’s not a matter of if the storms come…it’s just a matter of when. When the rain started falling and the water began to rise I looked down…I guess that’s natural. However, now I choose to rely on Him and not myself; Upon the strong foundation that HE built.

If you have been with me from the start of this blog then you know that I am a mom like many others. God teaches me through experiences with my kids, shows His face in the simplest of places and through everyday experiences. I love sharing those things…the good, the bad and the ugly. Most of those blogs include a positive lesson…something that God has shown me that I need to work on…or some affirmation or empathy. I struggled to write this particular blog today because, frankly, it’s a big downer. I am down but I am certainly not out. It’s time for me to start documenting my blessings more diligently again. Let’s get real-there is not one catastrophic event in this whole post. It’s not pouring…it’s just a slow and steady drizzle.

Then comes a blessing…the first one on the list as I start counting again. A sweet, small voice singing quietly in the back seat of the car. She sings like an angel. Do you know what song she chose?

Nothing could be closer to the truth. Amen.

Please pray for me this week. Pray for our daughter and her tummy troubles. Pray for our family as we try to deal with the loss of our “first child” and fuzzy companion. Pray for hubby as he endures challenges at work and at home. There’s a lot going on here and our sponge is saturated at the moment. Pray that the Lord will embrace our little family and squeeze out some of this heaviness today.

Chosen. Counting blessings on the run

Sunday evening, we were so wonderfully blessed to share a meal and fellowship with another couple and a portion of their family. This particular couple has four kids…most are grown-ish…and all are adopted. As we took some time to get to know each other, we began swapping some stories; some of which revolved around raising our children. The love that this mama has for her kids emanated from her.  In their uniqueness, each holds a special place in their mama’s heart. Their dad shared some of the struggles they had encountered while raising their kids…experiences that many, many parents have shared over time.  Through the twinkle in each parent’s eye…in the moment of parental pride as she told of her son’s desire to “find a woman just like her”…even in the moments when subtle tones of disappointment lingered just beneath the surface as they shared- I could see love radiating from these two. God showed me something that night. Each of the children in this family were chosen. Whatever their circumstances were prior to coming to this family were unknown and irrelevant. They were CHOSEN…each to live as part of a family in this warm home with loving parents. And that is how God sees me. Chosen. Hand selected with unconditional love to be a daughter and the recipient of the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. In moments of pride as He shapes me and molds me in His image and the moments of disappointment when I fail I…His love for me is deep. Deeper than I could ever know. Wow. I sat back into the cozy couch and just listened and watched. The depth of this gift in this moment was just unfathomable.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.  In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ,  to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.

Ephesians 1:3-10

I have no idea what number I am on because I am on the move today. The way I see it is that it doesn’t matter what number I am on when I am counting my blessings…as long as I am still counting! Have a blessed day!

Dinner with an incredible family.

Family game night with my friend and being part of her hike as she is Hiking Toward Home

Date night with my son

Helping her get her hair just so and tying a big bow in the back of her dress so she would be ready for her Daddy date.

Hearing the excitement in her voice…she just loves her brother.

He said she was beautiful and it made her day…big brothers are pretty awesome.

Women who pray

Breathing deeply in the face of adversity…and having no anxiety in the process.

Puppy snuggles

…and the unconditional love and companionship of an old dog

A brief rendezvous with my treadmill. Hello old friend.

Sunshine on a Saturday

A surplus of hand-me-downs

Life Under the Cloud: 1 Corinthians 10

You know those days when you read something you have read time and time again and it hits you in a totally different way? That’s today.

For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers, that our forefathers were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea.

1 Corinthians 10:1

That’s it…it was staggering. I had read those words before, but never heard them that way. It’s usually verse 13 that folks focus in on, but this was profound. They were ALL under the cloud…they ALL passed through the sea. Not different seas…the same sea. You might say “DUH! It was the Red Sea, lady!” Yes, it was- but it’s so much bigger than that.

If you read on, Paul reminded the people that the Israelites all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink…and that drink came from the same rock -Christ (v3). Regardless, they still messed up! In verses 6-10 Paul gives examples of various temptations they fell to and how they were punished as a result. “Do not be idolaters…do not commit sexual immorality…do not test the Lord…do not grumble.” They were all under the same cloud…passing through the same waters- but SOME of them fell to these temptations and some didn’t. The ones who did were punished. There were consequences.

It’s usually verse 13 that people commit to memory:

No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

It’s one that I have committed to memory, too. To me, it means that we are all exposed to the same stimulus (sorry, Psych minor) yet we don’t all respond the same way to the same stimulus. For instance, we are all exposed to sexually explicit images in marketing these days. Some are deeply affected by it and have to make a conscious effort to guard their eyes and some can just walk past and not think twice. Some can smell alcohol and it’s a sweet nectar that they cannot refuse…to others, it’s a disgusting smell that rivals the urine of a horse. It’s all the same stuff…the same temptations. Some are seemingly unaffected and some find it hard to resist.

We are all passing through the same sea; Under the same cloud.

When I read this today, it was in the context of being a Christian. We are all under the same cloud…that column of smoke that led these people through the desert…the Holy Spirit. We all sit under His authority and are led by the Spirit. Even as Christians, some fall to certain temptations that others don’t. But, it is not without consequence.

In verse 12 there is a warning.

So if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!

Just because you are a Christian…just because you have given your heart and soul to the Lord…just because you go to church and sit under an excellent Pastor…just because you follow the Word closely and pray daily…just because you attend a few Bible studies in the course of the week…doesn’t mean that you are exempt from temptation. (If anything, Satan will turn up the heat a notch or two.) If you think that your Christian walk is strong, believe that you are exempt from temptation and your guard is down- you are in danger. All Christians have an Egypt that we have been delivered from. On the journey, some are tempted by old habits and strongholds that have not yet been surrendered.  We are being refined…we are becoming…we all are tempted. Temptations come in all forms…a knee length dress, a scrumptious piece of chocolate cake, a scent, a song, an unnecessary purchase when the money is tight because “it will make me feel better”, a chance encounter with a friend who is still knee deep in old habits,  a drink, a magazine, a male friend who will lend you an ear when your hubby is not available, a friend who whispers in your ear that “you deserve better”,  a juicy piece of gossip or a flashing icon on the sidebar of a computer monitor. The scripture says “When you ARE tempted”-and you will be- you will have the opportunity to take the bait or flee from it.

GOD IS FAITHFUL! Praise the Lord that we always have a way out when we are tempted. We just have to choose it.

Romans 3:23 reminds us ” for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God“. Please remember this…On Sunday, you may be sitting in a row with ten other people- each with a different thorn in their side. If temptation turns to sin, God deals with each of us and there are consequences. Be careful not to judge a person because their sin has a different name than yours. We are all under the same cloud: brothers and sisters in Christ. We all walk through the same sea. If your friend’s foot should happen to turn and slip while walking through that sea- grab their hand and lead them on. I would hope to receive the same grace and mercy; the same helping hand from my friend should it happen to me. Regardless of the temptation that caused me to stumble.wpid-20130624_140640.jpg

This is a picture I took as a storm was moving in. The dark cloud and the brilliant white cloud are so close in proximity…and there’s only a thin strip of blue sky in the middle. There is not a lot of “wiggle room” on the straight and narrow. One step in either direction makes a big difference.

Flag on the play! Life with Interference

Twelve years ago, hubby and I rescued a mutt. He had been beaten by his prior owner and abandoned when the guy was evicted. A friend had taken him in, but couldn’t keep him because they were already at capacity with pets. He quickly stole my heart. He came with a lot of baggage though. He was afraid of hubby, would flinch at the sight of a belt, was afraid to go outside, and cried constantly as he walked around the house. With some basic training, consistent expectations and LOTS of love…he is what I would consider the most perfect dog ever! I can count on him to listen and obey…I can count on him to lay down away from the dinner table when we eat…I can count on him to stop in his tracks if I drop the leash…I can count on a snuggle and a kiss and he knows with all confidence that he will be fed and treated well in our home.

A few weeks ago, we completed the process of adopting another mutt from a rescue. Hubby and I have done this before…it’s a cake walk. Right? There is one thing that we didn’t count on…KIDS. We didn’t have kids yet when we trained our older dog so there was no interference.

When I say, “Don’t approach his crate when he is in there.”

They hear, “Stick your fingers in and make goo-goo noises while squealing ‘he’s so cuuuute!”

When I say, “Don’t talk to him when we enter the house until after he is let out to potty.”

They hear, “Rush right in and say hello…get him all excited so he pees himself before he goes outside.”

He has had a number of accidents inside while they’re chasing him…they leave their stuff out and he’s a chewer…when they get up in the middle of the night- so does he (howling!)…they don’t respect his space. Let’s just say that I have experienced regret a time or two already during this experience.

I could go on…but, the flag has been thrown.

Interference!!

It was much easier to train a dog in a controlled/closed environment without all of this interference.

Unfortunately, our Christian walk can be the same way. It’s super easy to have faith and walk closely with the Lord in a “controlled environment” with Christian friends…during easy times…when all is well…and health is good…when you’re not challenged with interference. We salt our salt and light our light and then, BOOM! Trouble strikes and our knees buckle. (The truth is- buckled knees can be a good thing as long as you end up kneeling to pray.) Oh sure, it’s easy to forgive the man who cuts you off in traffic or the sales person who is rude. God calls us to be a reflection of Him…we are to mirror Jesus in our walk. So why is it that when there’s a flag on the play at home in our marriages or with our close friends- we find it so hard to forgive and forbear?  Bitterness, rage and slander creep in even though we know that the Bible tells us to get rid of that stuff and forgive as Christ forgave us (Ephesians 4:29-32).

“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you. “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that.

Luke 3:27-33

I know we are supposed for forgive…but, I can’t forgive THAT!

I know we are supposed to share…but, I don’t have enough right now!

I know we are supposed to love…but, that girl is testing my nerves and I’ve got no love for her right now.

We tend to “if” and “but”. God just hears excuses…excuses.

Faith in action…living God’s word.

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently in to the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it- he will be blessed in what he does.

James 1:22-25

Challenges strengthen us and draw us closer to the Lord.

Consider it a pure joy, by brothers whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

James 1:2-4

The going get’s tough and with hands in the air -we stop the play…flags flying…Interference! Instead, when these yellow flags are launched into the air signaling “interference” we should use them as markers to highlight the moment. I can think to myself, “Ok, this is the moment to put God’s word into practice. This is the moment that stands out as an opportunity for growth, blessing and a closer walk with God. This interference is an opportunity!” Welcome challenges and advance during trials- instead of sounding a retreat. Press forward.

I can tell you that our home has experienced some serious interference in the past and it resulted in more growth than I could ever express in a blog post. And it was NOT easy…it was very hard. Because it was very hard, the blessings and growth associated with those challenges were bountiful and beautiful.

As for the dog training? The kids are here to stay and so is the dog. We have to put into practice all of those training tools we used for the first dog, while taking into account the new challenges in life. We just have to learn to adapt and overcome…practice and persevere.

muddyCooper

Wide Eyed

A sleepless night…but, this is different. It’s not insomnia. I have no heavy burdens of my own at the moment. The kids are well and I was sound asleep for the three hours prior. Why am I awake? I am still waiting for the answer to that one.
At 1:00am my eyes opened.
I prayed…I prayed for a woman who is 30 weeks pregnant and whose body is fighting/attacking her and this child in ways that perplex the doctors around her. When I prayed for her early in her pregnancy- God assured me that He had already named this child- a boy- and that His hands were on them. As God moves in this situation- the glory will all be His. I pray for her parents and husband as they shoulder a heavy emotional burden. I pray that God will hold their cares and concerns, that He will move them through the days as they care for the siblings and as they pray for the safety and health of their mother, wife and daughter…that’s their little girl.

I prayed…for my sister and her hubby and for the physical and spiritual battles that surround them. I pray that God will clear their minds of distraction this weekend while they are on retreat seeking God’s will for them this year and in the years to come.

At 1:45am I decided to get up and throw some more wood on the fire. There is still a nagging feeling that there is something. Some reason that I am awake…something I need to know…but, what?

By 2am, I had checked Facebook for any urgent needs and found that a mother of 10 is fighting cancer. So I prayed. Then, I started reading where I had left off in Psalms.

There, in Psalms 33 was a reminder. It was a reminder God had given me back in October. At a conference, as music played, I painted what came to my heart that night. Now, this reminder was placed back in my heart during the wee hours of this morning. I want to share that painting with you.

PsalmPaintingbloom

13 From heaven the Lord looks down
and sees all mankind;
14 from his dwelling place he watches
all who live on earth—
15 he who forms the hearts of all,
who considers everything they do.

Psalm 33:13-15

He sees. He knows. He hears. He loves. He cares.

What about us?

20 We wait in hope for the Lord;
he is our help and our shield.
21 In him our hearts rejoice,
for we trust in his holy name.
22 May your unfailing love be with us, Lord,
even as we put our hope in you.

Psalm 33:20-22

I don’t know why I am awake…now at 3:42am…but, to deliver that message.

To the hurting marriage, parent with a sick child, to the mother who is holding on, to the husband who is wrestling with his health and the wife who needs reassurance, to the mom with cancer as she worries about her own future and that of her 10 kids and hubby, to the couple walking in God’s grace- as they push past the aftermath of the addiction that used to hold them captive, to the group going on a mission in another country and the group with a mission in their own neighborhood, to the family of a special needs child, to the person who just can’t seem to find a job; God looks down from heaven and sees you.

Rejoice, trust and hope.