Discouraged Much? Me Too!

I was looking forward to 2018 with great expectations.  This is what I wrote in my journal about the coming year.

The Best is Yet to Come

Best Year Yet

Open Doors

God Encounters

Becoming Eagles

When the New Year arrived, it came in a way that I didn’t expect.  During January and February I became very discouraged. Three major sorrows had come upon me.

Sorrow #1 – I felt sicker than I ever had in my life

I discovered that I was carrying a new child of destiny in my womb. It was a dream come true, and I was elated!  I felt wonderful with my last pregnancy, so I thought this one would be even better.  Wrong!  I had never felt so weird and nauseous before.  I had never thrown up so much before!  I have never had hot flashes and cold chills before.

When I believed that 2018 would be the year that I would become an eagle, I imagined writing more.  So many beautiful God stories were in my heart, crying out to be crafted into words.  Maybe I would even put together a manuscript and work on a book!  For Christmas my husband and children surprised me with a new laptop…OF MY VERY OWN!  I was so surprised and excited!

I also thought I would be able to be more involved at church.  Oh, all the beautiful times of prayer and worship and God encounters that awaited me!

Yet January and February found me sitting on the sofa or sleeping in my bed with a weak body and a fuzzy brain.  It was hard to think about anything except how to avoid throwing up again. I tried to write, but I couldn’t.  Sitting at the computer even for a few minutes made me feel even sicker!  (It still does so this article was a bit of a struggle to produce.)  I didn’t go to church at all.

Sorrow #2 – Finances

God was going do wonderful things in our finances this year.  I was sure of it!  Early in the New Year Chris got promoted to full-time at UPS.  This was amazing, happening more quickly than usual.  However, it didn’t play out so well in real life.  First of all, peak was over, so his hours went from 70 hrs to 50-55 hrs a week.  That is normal, just life at UPS.  However, because of a rule that says all full-time employees have to be paid for at least 8 hours each day they are called in to work, Chris lost the opportunity to pick up 4 hours of air-rate overtime on Saturdays.  This had a significant impact on each paycheck.  In addition, full-time employees have to pay more union dues.  We had less instead of more, and it was feeling like a struggle again.

Sorrow #3 – Lack of Healing

It has been difficult for me to believe in miraculous healing.  I do believe theoretically, but I just haven’t had much experience in my own life.  This year I felt faith arising!  Perhaps this was the time that I would see healing with my own eyes!  We were planning a double foot surgery for Ashlyn, but what if God would heal her first?

I took Ashlyn to a healing room.  It was lovely, and the people were beautiful, and I felt the goodness of God.  Prayers were prayed, but nothing happened with Ashlyn that I could see.

They also prayed for me for two specific health problems.  The following week those two issues became significantly worse. Talk about being discouraged!

One of those issues was varicose veins.  I had bad veins in my right leg since my 4th pregnancy which was 14 years ago.  14 years of no shorts, no dresses.  14 years of feeling rather ugly and old.  Last June I had the worst vein removed and the faulty vein repaired.  It took three days of surgery with local anesthesia.  It required one incision and 58 small holes.  The recovery was more painful than I had expected, and I wondered if it was really worth it.

It was supposed to heal and leave me with a normal looking leg.  Yet I had to attend my daughter’s High School Graduation in baggy, frumpy pants to accommodate the bandages.  I developed a dream in my heart that encouraged me greatly.  My son’s graduation would be next June.  I would attend that important event in a pretty summer dress!

In this New Year, I was so excited to be pregnant without those horrible veins!  No pain, no awful compression stockings!  As this pregnancy progressed, I noticed pain in my leg again.  It was awhile before I realized that it was new veins popping out on the back of my leg.  The leg that still bore 59 little scars.  Slowly the veins traveled down my entire leg.  After receiving prayer, they began to hurt so much that I had to wear a compression stocking.

My beautiful dream had officially died a pathetic and mournful death!

The Sorrows are so small

Now that I am in my second trimester, I can look at my life and see a hundred joys outnumbering those three little sorrows.  I can give thanks for a thousand different blessings each day!!!

Still, I feel discouraged.  If only things were a little different in certain areas.  If only I didn’t feel my faith slipping away.

One Sunday morning during worship I gave my discouragement to God.  Still I wished for my sorrows to be gone.  Then God helped me to realize.

There is something Deeper (than my reality).

There is something more Real (than my circumstances).

There is something more Important (than my discouragement).

Like this baby growing healthy and strong.  Like the delight that God has when He looks at me.  Like the fact that this suffering is nothing compared to the glory that will be revealed in me, the glory that will be revealed in my daughter.  Like my character being formed into the character of Christ.

Like Becoming An Eagle!

I had asked God to transform me into an eagle this year.  To help me to worship Him until the wind of His presence surrounded me.  To help me to stretch out my wings in faith.  To teach me to fly.  To teach me to see EVERYTHING from His higher perspective.

He has been answering my prayer this whole time.  No one ever learns to do something new without practice.  All these sorrows are training me to rise above and SEE!

Your eyes will see the King in his beauty, and the highlands of heaven far away.” Is 33:17 Living Bible

This has been His promise to me.  I have asked Him to help me live in it.  I have asked for a difficult thing…

But it is worth it!

 

P.S. Just a note to all of my followers.  I am so delighted that you enjoy my writing! I probably will not be posting much until August or September when I hope that I will be reconciled to my laptop.  Praying you will bask in all the joys!

P.P.S. Ashlyn’s surgery well very well!  She has been recovering beautifully and I am so thankful.

Heartbroken and Troubled by the Election? Be Encouraged!

 

dsc_0184All I have to do is catch a glimpse of a TV in a waiting room, see a sign in a front yard, talk to a friend, glance at Facebook, click on an article and read it…

And my heart is breaking again…

For my children

For my country

For my church

My spirit cries out to God!  I can hardly articulate my troubled thoughts.  My country seems irreversibly divided.  A great evil has a place of authority and influence in every sphere of culture.  Christians are divided against one another, and many feel no responsibility to affect change in the government. They are content to wait for heaven and don’t seem overly concerned that our nation is going to hell.

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“What about the children?” my heart screams at them!  “What about your own children that will inherit this mess!  What about the children that are being murdered by the thousands every day!”

When I speak out for truth, it seems I invite arguments and attacks.  I want to make a difference.  I want to see God’s healing and righteousness in my country.  But what can I do?

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I turn to God!  I seek His face!  He leads me to read Isaiah 40-42.

What words of truth!

What words of life!

They were true thousands of years ago.

They are still true today.

They will continue to be true forever.

Read His words and let your heart take courage.

While the people rage and conspire and fight…

God is in control!

Is. 40:7-8 …surely the people are grass.  The grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our God will stand forever.

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Is. 40:12-13 Who has else has held the oceans in his hands and measured off the heaven with his ruler?  Who else knows the weight of all the earth and weighs the mountains and the hills.  Who can advise the Spirit of the Lord or be his teacher or give him counsel? 

Is 40:15 …for all the peoples of the world are nothing in comparison with him – they are but a drop in the bucket, dust on the scales.

Is 40:22-24 It is he who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers; who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them like a tent to live in;

Who brings princes to naught, and makes the rulers of the earth as nothing.

Scarcely are they planted, scarcely sown, scarcely has their stem taken root in the earth, when he blows upon them, and they wither, and the tempest carries them off like stubble.

[Men and women fight for power but all God needs to do is blow on them, and the total of their work, time, effort, money, and influence means nothing…and they are gone.  I was reminded of Ecc 3:14 “All that God does will endure.”  All other things will pass away.  I want to join God in whatever He is doing. That is my only chance for lasting significance.]

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Is 40:28 …He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding in unsearchable.

[Aren’t you weary of all this election talk?  Aren’t you weary of the news?  Maybe you are even weary of praying and trying to make a difference.]

Is 40:29 He gives power to the faint, and strengthens the powerless.  Even youths will faint and be weary, and the young will fall exhausted;

But those 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.

[Here is our answer.  Wait on the Lord!  Rise above the circumstances and see things the way He does!]

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Is 41:2 Who has roused a victor from the east [Cyrus], summoned him to his service?

He delivers up nations to him, and tramples kings underfoot; he makes them like dust with his sword, like driven stubble with his bow.

[Isaiah prophesied about Cyrus by name over 100 years before Cyrus was born.  Cyrus was not a Jew, yet God choose him to accomplish His plans.  He used him to conquer the Medes and the land where the exiled Jews were living.  Cyrus brought prosperity back to the land and allowed the Jews to return home.  The “Cyrus Decree” instructed the kings following him to release the Jews to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the walls and the temple and actually provided for the work financially.  Many have heard God saying that Donald Trump will be the 45th president and will be anointed like the Cyrus of Isaiah 45 to accomplish the work that God has him to do in this nation.  If this is true, Trump will succeed despite the opposition because God’s hand is on him. We as God’s people should stand with him and support him.]

Is 41:5-7 The lands beyond the sea [progressives and the Thunder Road Group] watch in fear and wait for the word of Cyrus’ new campaigns.  Remote lands [Democrats and even some Republicans] tremble and mobilize for war.  The craftsmen [Soros and others] encourage each other as they rush to make new idols to protect them.  The carver [Hillary campaign] hurries the goldsmith [liberal media], and the molder [Americans United for Change and others who paid people to incite violence at Trump rallies] helps at the anvil.

“Good,” they say.  “It is coming along fine.  Now we can solder on the arms.”

Carefully they join the parts together, and then fasten the thing in place so it won’t fall over!

[All their efforts, expertise, intelligence, and money can only erect a dead and powerless idol that needs to be fastened to the ground.  When God blows on it, nothing will be able to break its fall!  Their cause will not prevail!  Their work will not endure because God is not in it.  It is true that the idol is energized by the evil powers behind it.  We don’t make war against the people, but the spirits that the people have aligned themselves with (Eph 6:12).  But here is the hope!  The power of the dark spirits WILL be broken, the idol WILL fall, and the people WILL be set free to repent, change, and become champions of God!]

Is 41:8-11 But you, Israel [people of God and America], my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, the offspring of Abraham, my friend…

You are my servant, I have chosen you and not cast you off; do not fear for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.

Yes, all who are incensed against you shall be ashamed and disgraced; those who strive against you shall be as nothing and shall perish.

Is 41:14 Do not fear, you worm Jacob, you insect Israel! 

I will help you, says the Lord; you Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.  Now, I will make of you a threshing sledge, sharp, new and having teeth; you shall thresh the mountains and crush them, and you shall make the hills like chaff.

[Feeling insignificant and small like a worm?  God will use His people to do powerful things to change the landscape of this country!  Jesus has ALL authority in heaven and on earth (Matt 28:18) and He has given that authority to us!  Everywhere we walk, God gives to us (Josh 1:3, Duet 11:24).  Those who do not love the Lord and don’t follow His ways do not have this authority and dominion.  They MAY NOT HAVE OUR COUNTRY!

The day after I read these verses, I read a post by Veronika West that made my Spirit leap within me!  Here is just an excerpt, a word from God to the USA:

“Listen my beloved America, watch for the sickle of Triumph will be used to reap the harvest of seeds you have sown in the past seasons…in this season I shall restore the fortunes of my people…for my beloved America shall not be cut off.”

Veronika saw the face of the future president on the blade of the sickle in the Lord’s hand.

“I prophecy your future president shall carry the mantle that shall make America great once again to the glory of God.”]

Is. 41:17 When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue is parched with thirst, I the LORD will answer them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them.

Is 41:20 …so that all may see and know, all may consider and understand that the hand of the Lord has done this…

Is 42:1-4 Here is my servant [Jesus], whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights;

I have put my spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations.

He will not cry or lift up his voice, or make it heard in the street;

A bruised reed he will not break, and a dimly burning wick he will not quench;

He will faithfully bring forth justice.

He will not grow faint or be crushed until he has established justice in the earth…

dsc_0450[How we long for the Compassion and Justice of the rule of King Jesus to be established here on the earth.  It will most certainly be established, and I have a feeling that Jesus will establish it through us, his church.]

 

Is 42:6-8…I have given you as a covenant to the people, a light to the nations, to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness.  I am the LORD, that is my name, my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to idols.

[Those who are now fighting against God will either perish, or they will see the light and join Him!  We can take courage, be at peace, and join our Jesus in His work that will endure!]

Ordinary or Miraculous?

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We all hope and pray for that divine moment when life passes from ordinary to miraculous.  Yet as I have experienced miraculous breakthroughs in my own life many times, I am struck by how they are always surrounded by the normal, everyday things.  I think most miracles in the Bible occurred on ordinary days in ordinary lives.  The people were still people like us; hot or tired, scared or angry, awkward or confused, obedient or backslidden…with faith and doubt living together in their hearts and minds.  Perhaps they were battling just to keep afloat, yet secretly wishing they could give up and slip into a dark and peaceful oblivion.  And after the heavens opened and the glorious event occurred, there were still battles to fight, details to agonized over, persecution and annoyances to deal with.  There were still journeys as long as a lifetime to be navigated…one step at a time.

I have been reading 2 Chron 14-16 a lot lately.  I am encouraged when I read about how God won an amazing victory for King Asa simply because the king relied on Him.  An army of a million men were defeated before the small nation of Judah!  Extremely perplexing to me, however, was the fact that the prophet Azariah came to Asa and encouraged him AFTER his stunning victory.

“The Lord is with you, while you are with him.  If you seek him, he will be found by you…But you take courage!  Do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded,” the prophet said.

Wouldn’t such a phenomenal victory be enough to show Asa that the Lord was with him?  Wasn’t he already on such an incredible high after seeing the Almighty God answer his prayer, save his life, and deliver his nation from defeat and annihilation?  Why did the prophet come to him AFTER the victory rather than before?

Recently we have had a miraculous breakthrough occur in our own lives, yet we still need many more miracles and feel overwhelmed by it all.  I think I might understand why Asa needed that encouragement.  He probably became king in his early twenties.  He inherited a nation full of idolatry, foreign relation nightmares, and huge needs. He had a kingdom of people with problems, all looking to him for the answers.  Being a man of integrity who sought the Lord, he felt the full weight of the responsibility that he was carrying; to please God and serve the people.  He probably would have rather died in that battle than to turn out to be a lousy king and have the people suffer under his lousy rule.  History tells us that he was a very good king, but he had no assurance that he would be.  He was probably plagued with doubts and concerns…just like all of us!  One miracle was not enough for Asa. One miracle is not enough for us.  In order to take courage, we need the miracle of God dwelling with us everyday, just as Asa did.

Isn’t it glorious that God promised that He would NEVER leave us or forsake us?  Isn’t it mind-blowing that God promised that NOTHING could ever separate us from His love?

The miraculous is ALWAYS at work, in every mundane step of the journey.  We all long for that moment when the power of God becomes undeniably evident.  Yet the miraculous is in the here and now, in the imperfection of ordinary moments.  It was surrounding me this morning as I was lying on the living room floor doing exercises to alleviate neck pain and Coldplay was on in the kitchen and my child was asking if he could have sugar on his oatmeal.  I wanted to just pause and take it all in.  The vastness of the universe, complicated beyond my comprehension, forever expanding, and being held together by His words.  The inconceivably minute details of every one of my cells, burning energy, producing life so I can exercise, listen to music, say, “Just a little bit of sugar on your oatmeal!” , and ponder the unexplainable mysteries of the cosmos all at the same time.  The wondrous is all around us.  The supernatural is on the inside of us…that is…if we have invited Him in.

How much of that miraculous are we missing today…simply because we don’t realize that it is here?  Can I be like a prophet speaking to you, as Azariah spoke to Asa, when I type these words that God led you to read?

Take Courage, the Lord is with you!  And with the Lord, every moment of your life is pregnant with divine possibilities!