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Faces of Love

Today my husband Bill needed help. He’s a wedding photographer and he was 15 minutes away from the venue to meet the bride and groom and he realized he had all of his equipment except for his camera bag. Pretty important for the task of the day. I was on the phone with him when he realized it and he thChristian Writing Ministryought he had to come back home and get it and that would make him very late. I immediately said, I’ll put on my shoes and meet you half way; I was out the door in less than 5 minutes. Well, I realized his schedule and told him forget meeting me half way, I’d bring it to the venue and he should continue and get there on time.

I had purchased a ticket to a movie that was to start at 11:30 and it was 11:00 when we were having this conversation. He had to meet his clients and the photographer who was going to help him at 11:15. He was concerned about me missing the movie. I was not.

He’s my husband. If I valued a movie more than him that would be very wrong. The only response that came to me was to help him the best way I could and deliver what he needed to the venue and let him be on time; not do something half way or not at all. In my mind there really wasn’t a choice to be made. It’s a privilege to help him when and if I can. He comes before everything in my life; except for God.

Bill was incredibly thankful that I would come all the way to the venue and help him. I loved it; because he’s not taking things for granted, he didn’t expect or require or demand that I help him. He was grateful. But to me; I wouldn’t have done it any other way. I was honored to be able to do it for him and I would have felt horrible if I he didn’t accept my offer to help or if I would’ve chosen something above him.

Love who you have in your life with everything you have because time is short, and love has a lot of faces to it and serving each other, helping in time of need; that’s one of the faces of love.


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Broken Toe

brokentoe

One evening, I stubbed my little toe on the kitchen chair really hard. That night any time I moved my foot or the sheet brushed against my foot I’d wake up and heard myself moaning and  saying “Jesus” over and over. After waking several times I remembered I had 5 year old Tylenol 3’s, so I took one. I laid awake for 1/2 hour or so waiting for it to start working. I finally got some sleep.

The next day I started looking on-line for a Dr. appointment.  My husband asked: “what are you  doing…making a Dr appointment?” I interpreted what he said as “really? a Dr’s appointment??” I felt foolish and quit. He had broken his toe many years ago and just taped it together; “doctor’s can’t do anything about it” is what he told me.  So, I didn’t follow through with the appointment; even though I didn’t want to have another night like the night I just had.

For the next week I taped my toes together and tried not to walk much. I only had one pair of shoes (sandals) I could wear and that was only for an hour or two and then it was too much pain. I went barefoot mostly which wasn’t good either. One week later I was still limping, swollen and bruised. I realized I was making it worse and if I kept making it worse, how would it ever get better? We had plans to vacation in Ely in 4 days and I’d have to wear shoes, not just sandals.

I went to the Dr. and she checked it out, took an x-ray and yep, it was broken. So, I came out with taped up toes, pain meds, post-op shoe and orders to use ibuprofen, ice and elevate….yes! It’s going to get better!

I learned I need to go with what I think and feel and not interpret what I think others mean or think – just trust and go with my thoughts and feelings.

I’m learning how something as insignificant as a small toe can affect everything. It has a large influence for such a small body part. Just like me. I might be small and feel insignificant, be unseen (or feel that way) but I am very significant to Jesus and the Body of Christ. Most times I’m in the shadows, covered (like a toe in a shoe) but I’m important and I have influence. I’m small compared to creation but Jesus still loves me.


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Filled With His Light

As a young child feeling alone
I believed a lie and made it my own
It’s true; the things you believe
End up becoming your reality

Believing you’re not chosen; which makes you less
Leads to having a life that’s a mess
You’re going to find what you’re looking for
You’ll find what you believe and nothing more

To change your beliefs; change your mind
Start thinking thoughts that are kind
Give yourself and others some grace
For mistakes in your life; leave some space

Accept and believe the very best
Dismiss the lies and all the rest
You’re chosen, wanted and precious in His sight
Delighted in, loved and filled with His light.

Believing you’re not chosen; which makes you less
Leads to having a life that’s a mess
You’re going to find what you’re looking for
You’ll find what you believe and nothing more

To change your beliefs; change your mind
Start thinking thoughts that are kind
Give yourself and others some grace
For mistakes in your life; leave some space

Accept and believe the very best
Dismiss the lies and all the rest
You’re chosen, wanted and precious in His sight
Delighted in, loved and filled with His light.


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Epiphany

Epiphany

I’m a day dreamer, I admit it. I love to dream, plan and look forward to things. One of my favorite things to dream about in the last 20 years has been where to move when I retire. It started with Virginia, MN or Vermilion and if I could I’d go south; maybe Texas for the winter.  Next I became a Christian and wanted to move to St Louis to work for Joyce Meyer and live there. I visited my Aunt Elsie for the first time in 1997 in Sun City, AZ and my focus changed. I was going to move there! I almost made it there but God kept stopping me.

My husband and I realized that AZ isn’t for us unless we could be snowbirds so we got interested in Boise, ID or Bend, OR. Bend we can’t really afford and Boise has hot temperatures for extended periods in the summer. So, not a good idea.

We just returned from a vacation in Austria and Slovenia and while we were away I had an epiphany. I guess I’m finally old enough to know what I want or maybe I was just open to what God had to show me; I don’t know. I realized that all these years when my thoughts were about weather; I was very wrong. I was so focused on seasons, temperature, humidity and dew point I didn’t see what it was I really needed to be happy. I was looking at external things; environment. Now, I realize it’s not about that, it’s about the inner things like peace, calm, a slower pace and less hectic. Being around people I know and love.

I’m grateful; God not only opens doors but He shuts them too.


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Cancer Scare

Cancer Scare

My sister found out she had a “large mass” on her right kidney. She didn’t have any symptoms and didn’t have a clue it was there. It was kind of a fluke they found it.

She had abdominal pains and went to the ER because she was out of town and it was a weekend. They diagnosed her with a severe bladder infection. During the exam they did a CT scan of her abdomen and that’s when they saw the mass.

When she got back home she went for a follow up with a kidney specialist and he did his own CT scan and verified it was indeed there. He told her it looked like she had kidney cancer! Wow!

It made me think of how quickly things can change. Out of the blue a diagnoses of cancer can come and rock your world and everyone’s world that’s close to you. We are all just fragile humans and our fatality is guaranteed, it’s just a matter of time. Suddenly she was in a whirlwind of tests: bone scans, PET scans, blood work, etc. They found out she has Type II diabetes and started her on a special diet and insulin. We were all praying like crazy and asking everyone we knew to pray too. Please God take this cancer away from her!

My dad and mom are both gone, dad died in 1992 and mom in 2010. I was really close to my mom’s sister and she died in 2011. I’ve been going through many changes with the realization that my generation is now the top of the family tree. The view is much different from up here. I want to end well, I want to live well and with that will come dying well; I hope. But for me I’ve been very aware of this new season of life I’m entering and am trying my best to embrace it. Now, with the news of my oldest sister facing kidney cancer; I again had to look at the reality that comes with being at the top of the tree. It’s our turn. We’re next.

This realization woke me up to the fact that I need to start living out my love for people. Sure, my sister and I have history and it’s not all pretty. We’ve had our issues just like any other family does but the bottom line is that although we may not always like each other; we always love each other and that’s what needs to be on the surface. That’s what’s important. Love needs to win and it always will.

I asked her how I could be there for her, did she want me to come to the hospital and be in the waiting room during her surgery? (She had her kidney removed) Her answer was yes. So, I went. I waited. I prayed. I had to leave early due to a meeting I couldn’t reschedule or get out of at work. This type of meeting is very rare for me but yet it was my reality on this day of all days. I hated to leave. My body left but my mind, soul, spirit and heart were left behind in that waiting room.

During the meeting I got a text that said she was out of surgery and in recovery I was delighted! JOY! I felt lighter and realized what a heaviness I had been carrying. I wondered what heaviness my sister and her husband had been experiencing.

The mass was tested and it was a cyst!! Praise God! He is the ultimate healer and Great Physician. He took the cancer away! I love it when prayer is answered! Even her doctor was amazed. He said he was sure it was cancer. He had never seen a cyst that shape or size before. It had all the characteristics of a cancerous tumor; there was blood flowing through it, it was growing and it was large.

My faith is boosted, God still does miracles and He answers prayer always. Sometimes not with the answer we are hoping for but sometimes we do get the answer we’re hoping for.  I’m grateful for this lesson of the importance of family and showing love and support. Opening my eyes once again to the season of life I’m in and remembering to make the most of who, what and where I am. I have no children of my own and because of this I tend to think I have nothing to leave behind – no legacy; no one to carry on my blood line or traits they’ve inherited from me. But I can leave something behind. There’s more than one way to leave an inheritance. The dictionary includes in the definition of inheritance this: “the inheritance of traits”. I can leave memories, love and faith; pieces of myself (traits) that I’ve invested in and/or shown to others. It’s never too late to start.


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Lessons

Lessons

I’m sitting in front of a campfire and thinking about all the people in my life who invested in me. Most were simple ways, teaching me things I didn’t learn in school; like how to build a campfire, fish, grill and camp. Others taught me how to love; some taught how to love badly. But from each one of them I learned and I grew. Some were fleeting, they came in and out of my life for a season, others were there for the long haul, some are still around. When I was ready, some expanded on the lessons of others. I believe everyone came into my life for a reason, maybe I taught them something too.

There were some things I had to do myself, I had to learn them in my own way and navigate through them alone, like grief, self acceptance, personal boundaries, core values and beliefs. Through these times I had people who stood by me to support me, cheer me on and give me someone to hold on to. I am grateful.

When I was in my 20s I remember saying what I wanted most was to be done learning lessons. I disagree with that now, I want to keep learning and growing, becoming a better version of me. I also want to invest in others, even if it’s in small ways.


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My Hall of Faith

Hebrews 11 is called the Hall of Faith chapter in the Bible. It speaks of people who have gone before us who were filled with faith; extraordinary faith.

Enoch walked so closely with God that he didn’t die; he was taken to heaven by God because of his great faith.

Hall of FaithNoah obeyed God when he was told to build an ark. It had never rained; no one knew what rain was, much less a flood! Noah was obedient and did as he was told; he believed God and had faith that what God said would come to pass. He became an heir of righteousness.

Abraham believed God by going to a place he did not know, He also brought his son Isaac to be offered up as a sacrifice because he trusted and had faith in God. God promised him he would be the father of many nations and his descendants would outnumber the stars in the sky.

These people and more had great faith in God. Some of them died before seeing the fulfillment of the promise God had given them. Who are the people in your Hall of Faith?  I have had several over the course of my life and I am incredibly grateful for each and every one of them. My Grandma prayed for all of us kids; she didn’t live to see us as adults but her prayers carried us and I’m sure they made a huge difference in our lives. I wonder where I’d be if I didn’t have the prayers of my Grandma.

My dad prayed for me everyday, he died when I was 32. I became a Christian at 34.  My mom told me that my dad would tell her not to worry about me because I was going to turn out OK. He knew it because every time he prayed for me he felt peace. God let him know his prayers were being answered. Even though he didn’t live long enough to see the fulfillment of his prayers, he believed and he was obedient.

My mom also
prayed for me everyday. She never gave up on me. We had our moments just like all mothers and daughters do but she never gave up. She did get to see the answer to her prayers. My mom and I were very close when she died.

My aunt Elsie was a Spiritual voice in my life. I visited her every year, sometimes a couple times a year for the last 10-12 years she was alive (she lived in AZ). Every time I was there, she showed me her prayer list at least a couple of times. She prayed for everyone on the list everyday; she prayed for me and my husband every morning and every night. I miss her prayer covering.

These are a few of the people in my life’s Hall of Faith. I recognize them and thank them for the role they’ve played in my life. I thank them for being obedient to God; for praying and not giving up on me.

If you’re praying for people in your life. Don’t give up. God is at work even though you may not be aware of what He’s doing.


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Confused

Lately God hsmall Streets of Stockholm2as me confused. Well, let me re-phrase that. I’m confused because I’m busy trying to figure out God andwhat He’s up to and where He’s bringing me.

Over 6 months ago my husband and I decided to help my friend launch a new church. We took it on as a short term mission project because neither of us felt called to leave the church we were going to which also the place I work.  Within 2-3 weeks God made it clear to both of us that He was calling us to leave our church. I’ve attended this church for 16 years (and on and off for 3 years prior) and my husband had attended for 11 years. We weren’t sure what God was up to but we obeyed. I assumed my job was part of the package and I was to leave it as well. I was grieving leaving my job because I enjoy it and I love the volunteers I serve with. I have at least 150 I oversee and manage.

I started to look for jobs. I came across some I thought would fit my schedule and would work for me. However, I never applied to any of them. It just didn’t feel right in my spirit. Meanwhile, I started helping my husband at weddings. He’s a photographer and had weddings booked every Saturday in June. I got really wiped out and tired. I had no energy and it would take almost the entire week to recover and then it was time to do it again.

July came and the weddings weren’t booked so close together anymore. It was hot and humid for much of the month and again I found I was tired and had no energy. I blamed the humidity.I painted and worked at the space for the new launch church many afternoons a week. Once I painted for 20-25 minutes and was so sore the next day I could hardly move. I began to realize I most likely couldn’t do a job other than the one I had.

During this time, I continued to pray for God to show me my next place of employment. I made a promise to God back when I first got the job I’m currently doing. It was literally given to me. I didn’t apply for it, they just offered it to me. Initially I said no to their offer and they bargained with me, gave me such a sweet deal I realized it was God who was putting the job in my hand.  I promised Him I would hold it loosely and I’d stay until He took it away. I’ve survived numerous staff and budget cuts and I’m still there. I get frustrated at times because God called to leave our church yet it’s difficult to find a new church when I work 3 Sundays a month. I don’t get it.

I kept thinking God was going move me. I would tell myself “I can do anything for five years” and one day I heard back “even do what you’re doing now?” Huh, that was the last thing I expected. I knew it didn’t come from me. I continued to feel that phrase in my spirit whenever I prayed about it.

I went to the Rheumatologist in August and was told my previous blood work showed I’m in a Lupus flare-up. Well, suddenly my entire summer (and winter before) made sense. That’s why I’m feeling the way I am. I told her about my job and asked her what she thought about me getting a different one; she told me “no”, at least not now. She explained that if I had a different job I would most likely be quite sick. She thinks the reason I don’t feel as bad as my blood work shows is because I’ve learned over the years how to rest AND because I have a job that I can work from home – on my couch. I work when I want, for how long I want. small DSC07486_DxO-Edit

About 10-11 years ago my biggest desire was to know God’s voice and hear what He’s saying to me. I realized my prayer has been answered. I clearly know what God is saying to me; I’m never confused about what He says but rather why He’s saying it. I’m incredibly grateful I have learned to recognize and listen to God’s voice in my life. Now my prayer is to relax and quit trying to figure it all out

To Him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear His voice, and He calls His own sheep by name and leads them out. When He has brought out all His own, He goes before them, and the sheep follow Him, for they know His voice.  My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.  John 10:3-4; 27


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Faces of Love

Today my husband Bill needed help. He’s a wedding photographer and he was 15 minutes...
article post

Broken Toe

One evening, I stubbed my little toe on the kitchen chair really hard. That night any...
article post

Filled With His Light

As a young child feeling alone I believed a lie and made it my own It’s true; the things...
article post

Epiphany

I’m a day dreamer, I admit it. I love to dream, plan and look forward to things. One of...
article post

Cancer Scare

My sister found out she had a “large mass” on her right kidney. She didn’t have any...
article post

Lessons

I’m sitting in front of a campfire and thinking about all the people in my life...
article post

My Hall of Faith

Hebrews 11 is called the Hall of Faith chapter in the Bible. It speaks of people who...
article post

Confused

Lately God has me confused. Well, let me re-phrase that. I’m confused because...
article post