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God, the Designer

sunset-at-britannia-beach-2The threads of the tapestry of my life start long before I was born and go on into eternity.  Through brilliant colour and dark hues, knots and zigzag lines, God is creating a picture that only He could design.  In the Weaver’s design, there are no mistakes. There are threads that remind me that God was preparing me for the tough times before they even happened; threads filled with pain that still bring tears to my eyes; threads that bring back memories that make me smile and bring joy to my day.  Parts of the tapestry seem complete and parts are still being woven into surprising patterns.  The Weaver loves me and I trust Him more and more.

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I remember…

 

Jesus loves me! This I know,
For the Bible tells me so;
Little ones to Him belong;
They are weak, but He is strong.

Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
The Bible tells me so.

“Jesus Loves Me” was one of the first songs I learned in Sunday School.  It was also one of the first songs that I taught my own children.  Anna B. Warner wrote these words in 1860 and more verses were added soon after.  Several generations of children have been blessed by these truths.  When my son was little, his babysitter used to sing this chorus by Kurt Kaiser as an ending to the song:
Oh, how He loves you and me, Oh how He loves you and me. He gave his life, what more could he give?
Oh, how He loves you; Oh, how he loves me; Oh, how he loves you and me.
(Kurt Kaiser, 1975)

I grew up in a Christian home where my parents had a deep trust in and love for God.  So, I always knew that Jesus loved me, but it wasn’t until a summer Sunday evening when I was seventeen years old that  “head knowledge became heart knowledge”.   Instead of just knowing about Jesus, I had a relationship with Him after that.  I had a Friend Who was available to me all day, every day.

Through the years, in trying times, God has sometimes had to remind me of how much He loves me.  One day He whispered the words of Jeremiah 31: 3 to my heart : I have loved you with an everlasting love”.  There are many examples of how events could only have happened they way they did with His involvement. Often He reminds me of His presence through the beauty of nature.  And sometimes, He invites me to rest, cradled on His lap.

As I see people accept Jesus into their lives, I am awe-struck by the transformation that  instantly happens in  their lives — the joy, the peace, the knowledge of being loved with an everlasting love.  And then, as happens in the lives of all God’s children, the stresses and busyness of life pull us away from our relationship with God.  It’s important to put time and effort into our relationship with God.  In those times when God doesn’t feel close, I can trust that God knows where I am and He knows what He is doing.

On the morning of May 14, I read this devotion by Charles Spurgeon, based on Romans 8:17 that states we are “co-heirs with Christ”.  Writing about Jesus: “The smiles of his Father are all the sweeter to him, because his people share them. The honours of his kingdom are more pleasing, because his people appear with him in glory. More valuable to him are his conquests, since they have taught his people to overcome. He delights in his throne, because on it there is a place for them. He rejoices in his royal robes, since over them his skirts are spread. He delights the more in his joy, because he calls them to enter into it.” — Taken from Morning & Evening, a devotional by Charles Spurgeon

Yes, Jesus loves me!!

 

 

Be Joyful

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

I Thessalonians 5: 16-18 were the words that greeted my morning today.  After a few challenging weeks with my health, it was hard to read.  Words like “always, “all, “God’s will” … really??  Today, too??

Often at times like that it is good to look back and remember times that seemed impossibly hard, but then…..  After the end of my marriage, my ex. wanted the money from the matrimonial home.  It took many months for the house to sell.  During that time, I found a home the children and I liked.  However, it was too expensive and didn’t have central air. Having air conditioning was very important living in SW Ontario– plus I was a shift working nurse and needed to be able to sleep during the day.

Months went on and then… suddenly… within 48 hours… a house was sold and a house was bought!!  And yes!!!  It was the same house I had looked at months before.  But now, the price of the home was lower and I had been able to save enough for air conditioning.  Wow!!  Awesome God!!

So,  as I once again remember blessings-past, I can look at those words “always, “all, “God’s will” a little differently.  I think that God “wills” me to remember that I can trust Him, that He is faithful, that I can talk to Him about any and all of my concerns because He wants me to.  God wants to partner with me in my situation.  There is peace and joy in that.

One other thing happened this morning.  As I was thinking about not feeling well and the changes I am trying to make in my life, God whispered to my heart “It has taken much for Me to get your attention to take better care of yourself”.  There is much love from my Father God in those words.  To myself: Breath deeply — often– relax– you CAN do it!!

I don’t know what tomorrow holds, but I do know that I want to do a better job of partnering with God in my health situation.  May I more and more trust Him as I seek His direction and rest in His care.

What are you struggling with — physical, emotional, spiritual??  God is waiting to partner with you.  His love for us is a REAL thing.  Rest in Him.

Afternoon nap anyone??

I can do this!

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There are many times that life feels overwhelming.  Sometimes I’ve taken on too many projects, sometimes I have very poor time management, sometimes there are many demands/requests from others and sometimes I have difficulty setting priorities.  Right now, all this is added to learning how to adjust to a chronic health condition.  There is grief and sadness connected to that, as well as the awareness that God is my healer.
Those who know your name trust in you,  for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.~ Psalm 9: 10.

As I pray about these “nuisance symptoms” that challenge my days, I try to be as honest as I can be as I talk to my loving Father God.  Often, these times help me sort out my feelings. In the physical realm, I have to do my part to maintain my health as best I can.  Finding time for “more rest” isn’t always easy.  Limiting the events I commit myself to, is hard as well.  I had thought that when I was semi-retired, I would be able to get more involved — but I am not able to do that right now.  I want to be useful for God, but am not sure what that looks like some days.
But if I were you, I would appeal to God;  I would lay my cause before him. He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed,  miracles that cannot be counted. Job 5: 8,9

It has been important for me to learn as much as I can about symptom relief.  Dietary changes, how I sleep, increasing my walking times, spending more time at “play” — all these little things help. I pray for more direction and insights through the things I hear and read — and through that “still small voice”.  I also have to be aware of making adjustments when whatever I do doesn’t work for the best. Yes, it can feel like discipline.  I’m thankful for the people who honestly tell me that I’ve “messed up” — done something or not done something that would make a difference.
Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise.  Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails. ~ Proverbs 19: 20, 21

Patience is needed every step of the way.  Patience to evaluate frequently so I can enjoy life the best I am able.  There have been times when I couldn’t work at my job, but I was able to help someone else for a shorter part of a day.  I may not have been able to attend an event, but I was blessed by a surprising connection with someone I hadn’t expected to see.  And always, more time to pray is an awesome, blessed way to influence people and events in His Kingdom by connecting with Father God.
God has heard your prayers and your answer is on the way.  Your times are in God’s hands and He won’t be late. ~ Joyce Meyer

Many years ago (1996), a patient handed me a little slip of paper with two verses on it.  One of those verses was Isaiah 58:11.  She said she felt the verses were for me and my family.  I may not always understand how my loving Father fulfills His promises, but I know His Word is true.  God will meet my needs and water (life) will flow from me to others.  May I walk faithfully in trust with Him every day.  With God, I can do this!  Some days I feel like I am starting all over again– crawling before I walk –living life in a new way.
The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame.  You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.  ~Isaiah 58:18

Your life may not be affected by health changes, like mine.  It may be affected by stress, or grief, or care-giver fatigue or…   Whatever challenges you face in your life, I pray that as you walk with Him, you will feel more and more protected by His loving care.  And that you will be able to find patience to make changes that will help you have joy in your days.  Go with God!

Toxic People

Knowledge is power. ~  Francis Bacon
Please share with anyone you think might benefit from the information in this blog post.  More knowledge may have helped me make powerful changes in my life sooner.

* 9 Signs that  a person is toxic
1. They talk more than they listen
2. They are never wrong
3. Drama follows them wherever they to
4. They force relationships
5. Their experience is the standard by which everything should be judged
6. They often lie
7. They lack tact and general courtesy
8. They exhibit controlling behaviours
9. They love to talk about other people

* 9 telltale signs that toxic people are getting the best of you
1. You talk about them a lot
2. You lose your temper
3. Your self-esteem dwindles
4. You blame them for your behaviour
5. You dread spending time with them
6. You stoop to their level
7. You don’t set healthy boundaries
8. You resort to unhealthy coping mechanisms
9. Your relationship suffers

The Lord is my light and my salvation whom shall I fear?  The Lord is the stronghold of my life of whom shall I be afraid?  Psalm 27:1
Even in the tough times of life, I do not need to be afraid.  The Lord is my strength, my Hiding Place, my Rock.

God, who foresaw your tribulation has specially armed you to go through it, not without pain but without stain. ~ C. S. Lewis
Even though God was with me through the storms of life, there are consequences to the neglect of myself physically and emotionally.  

You see, in the final analysis it is all between you and God.  It was never about you and them anyway.  ~ Mother Teresa
God wants to be first in my life.  Walking with Him  leads me into supportive, caring relationships with healthier boundaries.

He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ  Jesus. ~  Philippians 1: 6
God isn’t finished with me yet. The best is yet to come!!

 

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The articles that the two sets of 9 points were taken from:
Morin, Amy. “9 Signs It’s Time to Cut a Toxic Person out of Your Life”. 15 October 2015. Psychology Today.  Web 16 March 2018

Tout, Terran. “9 Signs That a Person is Toxic”. 21 November 2014. Thought Catalog.  Web 16 March 2018

 

 

Life’s Interruptions

 

I feel kind of depressed today…Do you ever have the feeling that life has passed you by?  Worse than that… I sometimes think that life and I are going in opposite directions. ~ Charles M. Schulz   

I find it too easy to form an idea in my mind of what I think my life “should” be like.  One change.from my original plans was obviously a good change.  Growing up, I dreamed of becoming a teacher when I grew up.  However, in my later teens, I decided to go into nursing instead.  My nursing career has been a blessing to me in many ways.  This brief, almost unnoticeable interruption, led me down a  different path.

A life change that was difficult and I still don’t quite understand, was the end of my marriage.  There have been times when moving forward felt more like trudging forward.  The pain and devastation that comes from a broken family has affected us all.  This interruption was a tearing up of “the plan”.  It was a struggle to start over again with purpose.  

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“What one calls the interruptions are precisely one’s real life – the life God is sending one day by day.” ~ C.S. Lewis

Learning to accept the interruptions God sends into my life can sometimes be challenging.  I say that I trust Him, but I want to understand what He is doing and why He is doing it.  Many times I  pray for a glimpse into the future.  I need reassurance that everything is going to be OK.  And…  often God gives me that reassurance.  I am discovering more and more that even when things don’t happen according to MY plan, all is well.

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“The discipline of waiting build character and besides, rushing the process may lead to a path that misses God’s best.”  Dr. Charles Stanley

Waiting  to buy a new home for the children and I after my marriage ended was a difficult time of waiting.  I hoped for a new beginning, but it was a LONG time coming.  I found a house I liked, but it was to expensive and the house we were living in was not selling.  After almost 1 1/2 years, within a week, one house was sold and another house was bought.  We had a new home! The  house that had been too expensive was at a lower price by then.  God was so abundantly GOOD!!

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Do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. ~ Hebrews 10:35-36

There have been plans/dreams that God  gives me and then I wait and wait.  Waiting can become and interruption.  It can cause a “pause” in the flow if my life.  However, slowly, life experiences are helping me to live each day as He gives it to me, not matter what I think the future may hold.  Sometimes life seems to progress slowly…. and sometimes I can’t keep up with all the changes.  God’s timing is not my timing— and His ways are not my ways.  May I live for Him each day with joy, knowing that His love for me is intricately woven through the tapestry of my life.

If you’re God’s child, remember that your story is marching to an end that is glorious beyond the ability of your mind to conceive.” ~  Paul David Tripp

Feel Like Giving Up?

road-sun-rays-path.jpgFor a while, I have had  health issues that have made me need to make adaptations to the way I live.  Recently, I thought everything was improving, only to have some symptoms return.  This was challenging for me.

About a week ago, I was listening to Jeremy Camp’s song “He Knows”.  The words that impacted me the most were: “Let your burdens come undone..”  I realized that if I wanted life to feel better, I had to DO something — to somehow change “something”.

“Beware of giving up too soon.  Our emotions are not a reliable guide.” (John Piper).  It is very difficult to have complete control  my emotions.  However, I am more able to have control over my actions. I am becoming more aware that my actions can change my emotions.  As I change my focus, my adaptations become blessings because they make life feel better.   I still pray for improvements in my health and for wisdom to make any changes to my lifestyle that might  be helpful.  However, my focus is slowly shifting towards the blessings I have instead of what I don’t have.

1- be confident that whatever is and whatever may be, God will be there.  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

2- give control to God.  The Lord will fight for you; you need only be still.  Exodus 14:14

3- be aware of what my mind focuses onDo 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. Philippians 4:6-7

4- trust the future to God   Forget the former things; do not dwell on t.he past.  See, I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?  I am making a way in the wilderness  and streams in the wasteland.  Isaiah 43:18 

And.. sharing these words by Charles Spurgeon because I couldn’t say it better myself.  “The Christian knows no change with regard to God. He may be rich today and poor to-morrow; he may be sickly today and well to-morrow; he may be in happiness today, to-morrow he may be distressed–but there is no change with regard to his relationship to God. If he loved me yesterday, he loves me today. My unmoving mansion of rest is my blessed Lord. Let prospects be blighted; let hopes be blasted; let joy be withered; let mildews destroy everything; I have lost nothing of what I have in God. He is “my strong habitation whereunto I can continually resort.” I am a pilgrim in the world, but at home in my God. In the earth I wander, but in God I dwell in a quiet habitation. “From Morning and Evening – Feb. 27 (devotional )

A Promise in Troubled Times

pexels-photo-460634.jpegHe who fears the Lord has a secure fortress and for his children it will be a refuge ` Proverbs 14:26

There are so many times in life when I feel powerless as a parent.  I see the struggles my children go through and some of their situations are made worse because of my actions.  Their challenges are sometimes not that different from what mine have been, but I don’t want them to have those tough expediences.

I noticed the above scripture verse for the first time when my children were already grown.  It was a comfort for me.  It gave me hope that my life had been a benefit to my children in troubling times our family had experienced.  It gives an added dimension  to my role as a parent to my children.

This verse reminds me that my first focus needs to be on my relationship with God. This creates a secure fortress.  I’m not exactly sure how  that translates into making a refuge for my children,  but God’s promises are true and I can trust that He will work that out!!  (I think that I get in God’s way too often).

God loves me and my children more than I could ever imagine.  I can lay my burdens down at His feet and lift my hands in praise.

Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.  Praise the Lord, my soul,  and forget not all his benefits—  Psalm 103:1,2