In This Season

IMG_2061We have a family tradition to celebrate Passover by gathering around our table and sharing a special meal. As we enjoy the meal we remind ourselves of how God rescued those who had followed His instructions to paint the blood of a lamb on their doorposts. You can find this story in Exodus 12:12-13.

This year we enjoyed the week of Easter in late March, but with spring break travel, sports, church attendance, and more … I was sad to see that we were unable to set aside time to celebrate with our traditional Passover meal. Imagine my surprise and joy as I discovered that Passover 2016 was NOT the same week as Easter! Passover 2016 begins April 22. We still had time to celebrate our Passover meal!

When I learned this, I was overcome with a sense of God’s mercy and a fresh falling awe of His second chances. On a piece of paper I wrote In This Season and began to make a list of all the things I needed to talk to God about … current happenings in my family, problems I was experiencing in this season of life, and issues that needed hope, help, and healing.

My list included names of friends and family, sickness and diseases, personal struggles and sins. In black ink I wrote my own sinful attitudes followed by the mindset I wanted to trade them for. I also listed things I am hoping for in the future.

I smiled as I considered the Passover season, and purposefully used a red pen to write over the whole list two words. Big and bold over the whole page in red ink I wrote “I AM.”

As I humbly thanked my Savior and desired to express my love and gratitude, I took a green pen representing growth, and began to write in smaller letters in a diagonal direction some of the verses in Psalm 103… He forgives; He heals; He redeems; He crowns with love; He fills my life with good things; He renews; He gives justice.

As I looked at the page, I noticed that the list I began with … those problems I was experiencing in this season … was almost illegible. What stood out was The Great I AM! I almost shouted in victory as I took a pen and drew an arrow from the small heading “In This Season” and wrote “Passover!”

Will you join me and make a list of your own?

Write down the struggles you are facing in this season of your life. Are there areas in your personal walk with God that have become dormant or stale? Are you ready for the Lord's plow to work on that dry and dusty, fallow ground? If so, write it down.
What about those closest to you? Have they been bitten by the frosty wind of your cold heart? Don't be ashamed to bring these confessions to God.

When you have finished your list, grab a red pen and BOLDLY write "I AM" over all of it. Then praise God with a song of gratitude like the one in Psalm 103.

Thanks to Susan Peacock for sharing her FaithStory today. What’s your story? We’d love to hear from you at http://debbieh@gfbc.org.

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VICTORY!

I experienced what I feel is a SPIRITUAL VICTORY in my life, and I wanted to share it with my GFBC family! I’m sharing it as I spell out the word VICTORY ….

Vicious attack… 

Some of my family members had a misunderstanding with other family members which resulted in hurt feelings, tears, and division within the family.

Insecurity … 

Thoughts kept coming into my head saying, “Maybe I’m the cause of the misunderstanding. Maybe I caused the division in my family. Maybe I should stay away!” Then I remembered the Word of God teaching me that the enemy seeks to divide, destroy, devour. Hmmm, could this be an attack from the enemy?

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

Cries to God for help …

I cried out in my insecurity and feelings of hopelessness to God and asked Him to give me wisdom. “Lord, I don’t know top from bottom, or right from wrong! Please help me discern Your way and Your will,” I prayed.

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

Timing ….

God tells me to rest and to trust Him. I sleep … I awake worried several times but each time I pray again. I whisper the name of Jesus into the darkness of the night …. Finally, I rest!

So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time He will lift you up in honor. ~ 1 Peter 5:6

Overjoyed …

When I awake I have a song going through my head. My spirit sings and I’ve awaken a new person. I am feeling strength … God’s strength! I am able to think clearly. A new plan comes to my mind. Not a plan of separating myself from my family. Instead, I desire to seek peace with my family members. God has answered my prayers.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. ~ Jeremiah 29:11

Reconciliation …

I make a phone call to a family member. We talk through the conflict and we make plans to meet together with another family member to talk more later in the week. This was such a “God-moment” as I realized what could have happened to my family relationship if I had listened to those first thoughts of staying away. What joy I feel as I realize that God is mending the most important relationship I have here on earth – my family relationships!

Yes!

Yes, God’s promises are true! Yes, Jesus does not forsake us in the conflicts of life! Yes, He is faithful!

Be STRONG and COURAGEOUS! Do not be afraid and do not panic before your enemy. For the LORD your God will PERSONALLY go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you. Deut. 31:6

Thank You, Father, for being close to the brokenhearted. Thank You for never leaving us nor forsaking us. You draw near to us when we cry out to You. Teach us to wait on you because we know Your way is best. Thank you for VICTORY … in our home, in our relationships with others, and in our relationship with You. 

God’s Timing is Perfect

Married, beautiful house, dog, and a heart’s desire for a child. That’s where we found ourselves. The doctor’s office became normalcy in our lives. Two or three visits each week … pills, procedures, and no answers left us with broken hearts, uncertainty, and questions.

Would we ever become parents? Why us? Will our marriage be the same if we can’t have a family? Will we be lonely when we are old and gray?  Is it something we have done to deserve this punishment?

At times that’s exactly what it felt like … punishment … torture … pure agony! Our friends were pregnant or already had families …. A simple trip to Wal-Mart could be so tough when you saw a complete stranger pushing a baby in their cart!

My husband and I hit our knees daily begging for God’s peace and direction. This “valley” became our best time together. It drew us together as we recklessly abandoned ourselves to His will. Our hearts were soft, and God was ever so present. Even in the most difficult time, there was a peace I can never describe. At my very last visit when the doctor sat me down in her office and looked me in the eye to say, “This is the end of the road” … There was peace!

God used this time to help us find something we only thought we had … Focus. True surrender.

Proverbs 19:21 ~ “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.”

James 1:27 ~ “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”

The LORD developed our home into a mission field. Our desire was no longer about what WE wanted; our desire was to serve God and love the children he brought into our home through foster care or adoption. The truth in God’s Word about being adopted into God’s kingdom became personal to us as our hearts desire to adopt grew and grew.

Our first two foster sons returned home after seven months of loving them and trying our best to bring healing and Jesus into their lives. The boys returned home new … They both received Jesus into their hearts before leaving our home.

Only SEVEN days later, we were chosen! Chosen to be parents to the child a seventeen-year-old girl was carrying. God’s timing was perfect!

A short SEVEN months later, we discovered that I was carrying a baby girl! One journal entry read, “Sitting here being poked and kicked by baby girl … and watching my baby boy sleep. Overwhelmed by God’s mercy, unexpected blessings, and the gift of life eternal. God is good.”

I experienced a healthy pregnancy and we soon welcomed our second child. God heard our prayers and he is allowing us to parent these two blessings. We thank Him for hearing our prayers and completing our family.

“And let us run with  endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.” Hebrews 12:1-2

“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”  Ephesians 2:10

 

God is TRUSTWORTHY; His plan is GOOD

My mom became a widow when I was seven. She never remarried, and was totally devoted to her three children. SmadewithOverhe taught us right from wrong using tough love. She was my best friend!

My sweet mother got cancer when I was sixteen. God faithfully strengthened her throughout chemo and radiation. Her testimony was one of total dependence on God, perseverance, and determination. She never complained; rather she pointed us to a loving, trustworthy God!

Do not conform To the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what god’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will. ~ Romans 12:2

She was able to attended my wedding, but never met my children. I remembered her faith when our special needs child was born. “Depend on God, Persevere, Be Determined” … Her words encouraged me as I struggled to parent!

During those difficult years, anger and doubt consumed me! But, my mom’s words continued to resonate in my mind. Thankfully, my beautiful daughter lived thirteen years when doctors predicted only a year of life. She expressed unconditional love every day of her life without saying a word!

My God was faithful! I depended on Him each second of every day!

For the Lord said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. ~ 2 Corinthians 12:9

Our lives are in His hands. He desires for us to be dependent on Him and to trust Him. I know now that He is trustworthy. He is in control of life and His plan is good!

You will keep the peace, a perfect peace, for all who trust in You, for those who dedicate their hearts and minds to You. ~ Isaiah 26:3

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