The Day I Touched the Sky

A photo by Eli DeFaria. unsplash.com/photos/qKXnwCIaULI

The other day I spent some time on some much needed “knee mail.” I confessed my broken heart to the Lord. It was messy and let’s just say I could’ve invested some money in Kleenex stock. Yes, the tears came way too easy and I was overwhelmed. What could possibly cause such a deep emotional response from within?

I let my heart touch the sky and released my pain.

In the last four months I lost both my mom, 91, and dad, 94, to Alzheimer’s disease. We were personally involved in their care for almost three years. I don’t know if you’ve been down this road but it’s hard, specific and each parent required different care.

The details were love-driven but the sentiments were often lost in the details and mostly confusing to my parents. What we experienced as a family was challenging and difficult. But I sit here today to encourage you, if you are looking at a similar situation, there’s peace available to you by the measure of God’s grace that goes before you.

I have many stories I’m collecting in a book which will someday help someone, I just feel it. Role reversal in families is often hard, isolating and intense. However, I learned the most about peace of God who offers this peace by going through it. There are seasons in life only experienced by going through it.

“We do what we have to do.” says every mom.

With any big decisions, and we all face them, wouldn’t it be helpful to have a manual of knowledge with all the answers? You know it would. Wouldn’t it be comforting to know you could just “tube it” to get the answers you needed? The world as we know it is asking “Dr. Google” for everything. I am reminded we do have such a resource to help us figure things out what life sets before us.

We do what we have to do because the Holy Spirit helps us.

Jesus said (in His last few hours on earth) it was best and good for Him to leave so the Helper could come and be our advocate. It is good for man to release what he can’t do and find the Help to cover what man can’t do. That’s not to say you don’t have a part in God’s business, you do. You simply trust God has you covered and He is working out things according to His best plan for you and you do the next thing as He leads. God peace protects you from making wrong decisions. I am grateful today HE is my Shepherd and knows what I need, even before I have need of it.

Yes, He’s so good at being God and our good, good Father.  He anticipates needs before you have any needs. Think about this: God who has NO needs meets ALL of yours. And He knows every one of your needs and is at the ready to meet you and show you. So let us fix our eyes, look to the hills, look up and live a vertical life. Let’s reflect His countenance, and meet Him in the morning and again remind ourselves in the evening. Could it be said if we simply live with God, we won’t be fighting the will of God?

Life is a great teacher and I’m taking many notes. (By the way, I heard a preacher say once there’s a special gate in Heaven for us note takers!) With God’s help, He makes the ways of faith known to you and for you. It’s His grace goes before you and secures your mind. It’s His peace assures you when everything isn’t going okay. There’s comfort in sharing with friends and receiving godly counsel. Encouragement can come in many ways, and God loves to use you to help people too. Hard times teach you to lean upon Him and look to Him to help point the way for others in healing and keeping peace.

Keeping our head up is the challenge, as well as fighting discouragement plus trudging through life on our own strength. There are other times when God loves to grow us through situations which cause us to trust in Him in no uncertain terms, with the eyes of faith. When we believe He leads through adversity by His character, then we see the wonder of who God really is. Only God can give this kind of holy assurance to help us let go of the things we can’t control. And nothing can replace such kind of peaceful assurance!

How have you seen God’s peace in your life?

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When you need to change your prayers

Isaiah 43:2  “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.  When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.”

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There was a time in my life that I kept asking God the “why” question.  I was obsessing about what was going on in my life at the time.  Chaos was ruling my thoughts, I knew that God had me in His grip but there was some pretty desperate things going on around me, and creating worry, stress, and concern everywhere I looked.

Then cancer hit our family.  And I added another “why” to my list of prayers to God.  “Oh God, ‘why’ my husband and not me?

I don’t know where cancer hits you, but it hit our family like a Mack truck, just like the one my husband used to drive.  It hit hard, fast and within a few tests.  I was crying out to God literally all the way home one day from his first surgery.  Why God?

“Why God, why my husband and not me?

Why? Why? Why?

“I’m the strong one God, why him?”

God’s response?  “Because I want to prove my strength through your husband.”

When life hits you with this kind of tragedy, you feel like you can’t breathe.  When your entire life is on a “bobsled to Hell”, it’s hard to look up and not ask “why him”, or “why her?”  “why my child?”  How about when everything you know that is safe, familiar and comfortable is ripped from your grip?

It’s difficult to not respond with our “why” questions.

What God showed me was to not ask why but to show me my devotion as my husband’s helper and to give strength in ways that God knew I had.  We came out of that cancer season alive.  We survived that season through the strength that God supplied.  We went through that with many promises of healing, and it was the just one of the difficult seasons of our marriage.

Life is full of tragedies, but God never causes them.  He does strengthen us through each of one of them.  And I have found great strength since that one cancer-filled season.  I go back to those days often, remembering the faithfulness of God who didn’t give me what I wanted but showed me how to meet the needs of our family.

God showed me His Strength to carry on, and the true hope of healing.  Thank you God for hearing my prayers and answering them in a way that only gives you glory.  

A hard place to be

“And 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 9:8-9

Surrender Sunset
Photo credit: Paul Chasusa

Recently, my husband and I celebrated the 20 year anniversary of his cancer recovery.  Actually 20 years ago, the day of the OKC bombing incident, was when his health demise actually started but it was from that first surgery we count as an anniversary of God’s healing measures that He has given to our married life.

Healing comes in many forms and the hardest place for me to be is in a place to receive the blessings of faith.

Usually when you lose something, you also gain something.  Usually when you surrender what you have, you receive more of what the Lord has for you.  Usually though as it is in faith, the Lord often asks you to give up something and requires you to wait for healing, answers, and blessings.  Usually we expect immediate answers, usually.

It’s twenty years later and we are celebrating our anniversary of faith that has helped us persevere through some very hard times with my husband’s health.  We consider him healed from cancer, but because time takes it’s toll on human bodies, we daily deal with the repercussions that cancer has left.

One of the hardest places for me, his wife, to be is by his side as I watch him daily struggle with health issues.  In fact, I know that he will hate that I am writing this to you.  But my purpose to encourage you today is that when you are in a hard place, the one thing that God requires of us is to just persevere.

Why is this so important?  Because our  faith in what we can’t see, will help us get through what we can see.

“I know what this feels like,” the oncology nurse said, “it feels like you are on a bobsled to Hell.”  Knowing that Hell is a real place and that it scared me to death, her words hit on my emotions.  Yes, when you are in the hard place of cancer with a loved one, it feels like you are on a bobsled towards a dangerous hard place.  Even if you are educated and there are cures available for the type of disease you are experiencing.  There is nothing about illness that feels good or safe.

In our faith, we have to be bound to what we know is true, right, and good.  God is at the end of all those words that direct our unseen thoughts towards Him.

Faith affects our thoughts.  Our thoughts also affect our faith.”  Bill Johnson

When you are in a hard place, and I have no idea how this will hit you, I’m here to testify that your faith is what is going to get you through.  It’s simple to start this process of faith…you humbly come before the Lord and say, “Lord, you are able.”  My faith has been shaped in the hard places of our lives and it has helped me persevere many hard places since 20 years ago.

And yet today, I had to come back to my place of simple faith to remind myself that in this hard place I am in right now, the help of the Holy Spirit will help me persevere.  I am thinking differently about faith these days because of necessity and it keeps me deeper connected to my Father’s heart for me.

What I know about life in general is that fear dictates, but it never bears the fruit of the impossible.  The mind of Christ is my inheritance.  I don’t have to beg Heaven for a thing, because my God has freely given me ALL things.  In believing this in every sense, in my emotions, I know that the Lord establishes ALL things through faith.

When you are in a hard place, you find faith that will establish you in the Lord.  How has your faith helped you through a hard place?  Comment below and share your testimony.  We can all be encouraged together.