God has a Sense of Humor
God has a sense of humor. He gets me in the places I need to be by placing a variety of circumstances in front of me.
I was done with Physical Therapy for my shoulder but was still having pain. There were nights I’d sleep on the couch because it hurt too bad to sleep in bed. The couch allowed me to lean on the back of it which relieved my shoulder pain so I could sleep. I’d been getting massages for my shoulder and they seemed to help for a while but the pain would always return.
I started buying massage coupons for different places through Crowd Cut, Living Social and Groupon; most of them were $39 for an hour. The first coupon I used was for a massage at a Chiropractor’s office which included a wellness exam. I had my exam with Dr. Lindsey, a young, warm, friendly lady. She told me my neck doesn’t have the range of motion that it should. She said x-rays were included in the Living Social deal and asked if I wanted them. I said “sure, why not?” She took x-rays of my neck and my shoulder. She reviewed them with me and my shoulder turned out to be as we thought – no issues in the bone structure. However, my neck has 2 problems and if I do nothing these 2 issues will progress to be a herniated disc in one place and a bone fusion in another. She told me she can’t fix the damage that has already been done but she can prevent it from progressing any further. I agreed to treatment twice a week for 8 times and then taper down to 4 to 6 times a year for maintenance.
With the first treatment I noticed my neck felt better. I didn’t know I had an issue with my neck until I had something to compare it to, I guess. But something else happened with that first adjustment, my shoulder was much better. I was amazed! She wasn’t working on my shoulder but my neck. She explained that the muscle structure around my neck is affected by the adjustment and therefore my shoulder muscles are receiving some benefits as well. With each adjustment my shoulder got better and better. I’m able to do my physical therapy exercises better and am progressing much more quickly toward getting my strength back. The best part is I only experience occasional pain now; most of it’s discomfort more than anything.
I’ve never been to a Chiropractor before and wouldn’t have even thought of going to one. I didn’t know I needed work done to my neck and I didn’t think they could do anything about my shoulder. However, God knew and He knew how to get me there. This is just one more positive thing that came out of my vacation accident. That accident gave me a shoulder injury which led me to physical therapy which led me to massage which led me to the Chiropractor which will lead to avoiding serious neck issues in the future. Amazing!
Faithful With Little
Faithful with Little
We are going to inherit the Kingdom one day:
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.” Matthew 25:34 NIV
Right now the Kingdom is in us and one day we will be in it.
“and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father —to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.” Revelation 1:6 NIV
The story in Matthew 25:14-28 talks about being faithful with what we’ve been given. It says this is what the Kingdom is like.
Each servant was given “according to their abilities”. So, this means that everything we are given we have the ability to handle, the ability to walk through and to be faithful with it and in it.
There were three servants: one received five bags of gold, one received two bags of gold and one servant received one bag of gold. Two of the servants doubled the gold they were given and one servant buried his bag of gold in the ground.
What have I been doing with what I’ve been given? Have I used it or have I just buried it? I notice that each servant was only held accountable to be faithful with what they were given. The servant with two bags was only accountable to be faithful for two bags; not for five. Sometimes I think I would be more faithful if I had different circumstances or different gifts. I’d be more faithful if I could just see what’s going on; if God would just show me. I look around and think I’d be more faithful if I had what someone else has; I compare myself to them and think if I had their background and their experiences or their gifts then it would be easy for me to be faithful. But, I don’t have their background, experiences or gifts; I have mine. God just wants me to be faithful with what I have. If what I have is crummy circumstances then that’s what I have to be faithful with. If what I have is limited vision on where or what’s happening; that’s what I have to be faithful with. I can only be faithful with what I have. I can’t be faithful with what you have, just with what I have.
God can and does use everything in our lives for His glory and our good. But, we need to receive it and choose to be faithful with it. We have to do our part; we have to work with Him. No matter what circumstance we find ourselves in we need to own it, stand on it and walk through it as faithful as we can.
When we are faithful with little, we’ll be given more. The more we receive the truth God gives and tells us, the more He’ll give us and the more He’ll speak.
My circumstances aren’t ideal and I bet yours aren’t either but I’m choosing to be as faithful as I know how to be with what I have; and you can too.
My husband, Bill and I volunteered to serve at the Joyce Meyer Conference back in the first part of June. A week or so before the conference we got our position assignments in the mail. Bill got his a day before mine and he was selected to be an Usher Captain. He asked me what an Usher Captain was and I told him it was like a Head Usher, he would oversee a group of ushers. The next day one came for me and I was selected to be an usher. When I told Bill he felt bad and wanted to call Joyce Meyer’s office and tell them that I should be the Usher Captain instead. He had reasons why he believed that: I do it as a job here in Minnesota; I’ve volunteered for many of her Conferences since 1996 and 10 of them were the Women’s Conference in St. Louis. I told him he got that assignment because that’s the one God wanted him to have and he should accept it. I got the assignment that God wanted me to have and I was fine with it. The funny thing is that this is something that in the past I would have been jealous and felt bad, like I had been cheated and it should’ve been me. I would have grudgingly accepted the position I was given but I wouldn’t be happy. This time was different. I’m different. The accident that I had on vacation in April when the wind pushed me down has really changed many areas of my life; I’m continually amazed at what’s being changed in me.
We reported to the Target Center for Usher’s training and the girl who signed us in asked me if I wanted to be a Stage Usher. I asked her what it was and she explained I would stand on one side of the stage and not let anyone by that wasn’t authorized. I told her I could do that. Pastor Lynn took the Stage Ushers (2 of us) for training. As he trained us he told us that we had the best job in the house. We were to stand on the side of the stage and not let unauthorized people pass and once the worship was over we could go to our seats which were located in the front row. He also said that he never wants to know who his Stage Ushers are until the day of the conference; he wants the Holy Spirit to pick them out. I was chosen by the Holy Spirit! There were many ushers serving at the conference and yet, I was chosen! I was assigned to the left side of the stage and my reserved seat was right next to the band’s reserved seats. When worship was over I went to my seat and the band came and sat in their seats and most of the time Matt Redman sat next to me. Bill was assigned to the back corner of the arena. Needless to say, he was jealous of my position. I am very grateful for a God that loves to bless and reward his kids.
Being chosen means very much to me; I was the youngest of 3 girls and my 2 sisters are adopted. I always believed the lie that being adopted (chosen) was special, it was better. I believed that my parents chose my 2 sisters and they were stuck with me because I came last and they had to keep me; like it or not. Now, I can see how this lie has been turned around to be a gift for me. Because I have lived out believing that adopted is better and more special; the scriptures telling me that we’re adopted, chosen by God to be in His family mean a lot to me. Knowing that I am adopted by God, the Creator of the Universe is the most precious, special gift that He could give me. I am chosen! I am chosen by God! He looked around and He wanted me! And He wants you too. You are chosen by God. We are uniquely loved, cared for, wanted, chosen and special. We are adopted.
It doesn’t get any better than that for me.
To purchase the freedom of (to ransom, to redeem, to atone for) those who were subject to the Law, that we might be adopted and have sonship conferred upon us [and be recognized as God’s sons]. Galatians 4:5 AMP
For He foreordained us (destined us, planned in love for us) to be adopted (revealed) as His own children through Jesus Christ, in accordance with the purpose of His will [because it pleased Him and was His kind intent] Ephesians 1:5
So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” Romans 8:14-16 NLT
And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us. Romans 8:23 NLT
Always Here with Me
“I’ve been carrying you on my back from the day you were born And I’ll keep on carrying you when you’re old. I’ll be there, bearing you when you’re old and gray I’ve done it and will keep on doing it, carrying you on my back, saving you. So to whom will you compare me, the Incomparable? Can you picture me without reducing me?” Isaiah 46:3b-5
“You alone created my inner being. You knitted me together inside my mother. I will give thanks to you because I have been so amazingly and miraculously made. Your works are miraculous, and my soul is fully aware of this. My bones were not hidden from you when I was being made in secret, when I was being skillfully woven in an underground workshop. Your eyes saw me when I was only a fetus. Every day of my life was recorded in your book before one of them had taken place.” Psalms 139:13-16
These verses remind me that God has always been there with me and for me. He was there from conception until birth and he will be there from birth until death and beyond. Even the times in my life when I didn’t see him; he was there.
Looking back on my life there are times I can see very clearly that he was there. Several times I should have died but didn’t because he was there; saving me and rescuing me. I’m sure there are even more times that I won’t know about until I get to heaven.
My aunt always told me I was a miracle baby. My mother had multiple miscarriages and a baby she gave birth to who died in the hospital. She was told she couldn’t have children. They adopted two girls and then were very surprised when mom was pregnant again. Dad and Mom never expected me to go full term, they thought she would have a miscarriage; but here I am! God’s hand was on me in her womb. There have been many times since my birth that I could have died:
When I was 4 years old I had a form of staff infection that was really hard to diagnose.
In my 20’s I did cocaine and my heart would beat so fast and hard but yet I would continue to do it throughout the night.
In my 30’s I had a husband who threatened to kill me
When I was 52 I had an accident; the wind pushed me so hard it made me run and then slammed me into the rocky ground alongside a canyon. I could have easily run right off the edge and into the canyon or hit my head just right on the rocks and died.
Many times, I look back over my life and just see my mistakes and poor choices and I wish I would’ve done it all differently. There are things I regret. But, I know God uses it all, nothing goes to waste and I know all of the things I’ve been through made me who I am today; and I love who I am. I need to quit seeing my past through the filter of mistakes and regret and start seeing through the filter of sanctification and gratitude. I have some really great friends, family and special times that I wouldn’t trade for anything. My job with the city gave me retirement; retirement gave me my job at Open Door and time to be with my mom, get closer to her and help her when she needed someone, I’m so glad that someone was me. I am grateful!
I know I’m alive because God wants me alive; no other reason. And I will remain alive until He calls me home.
Power of Prayer
I’m very fortunate to have grown up in a Christian home; it taught me the power of prayer. Even before I was born I had people who prayed for me. My mother had several miscarriages and a child that died a few hours after birth in the hospital. For those reasons, she was told she was unable to have children. When she found out she was pregnant with me she didn’t expect the pregnancy to go full term. I’m sure all of our family was praying for me in my mother’s womb. Those prayers were very effective because I was born healthy. For the last 15 years my aunt Elsie has reminded me every time I visited her that I’m a miracle.
I know my Grandma, Dad, Mom and Aunt prayed for me daily for my entire life. I’m sure that’s why some things turned out the way they did. Looking back, I can see many times that I should have died but didn’t. I’m sure this protection was because of the prayer covering that I had over my life. Now, I’m 52 and at the top of the family tree; I’m the oldest generation. One at a time, I’ve lost all of the four people that prayed daily for me throughout my lifetime. I miss that; prayer is so valuable. It’s the most important thing one person can give to someone else.
Knowing the value and importance of prayer and being at the top of the tree I feel it’s my turn to provide this daily prayer for the younger generations in my family. The problem is I’m really bad at it, I’m trying but I’m not there yet.
So please, pray for those you love; pray for those you don’t love….just pray! Partner with God and see what kind of protection and miracles you can be part of. You just might be surprised!
It’s been 7 ½ weeks since I had an accident in AZ where the wind was so strong it actually pushed me over onto rocky ground (see blog post “Horseshoe Bend”). I still have some pain and tender areas, bumps and shadows of bruises and I’m in physical therapy for shoulder issues (torn tendon and rotator cuff injury).
Jesus is teaching me about Himself through this experience. I’ve learned that He never wastes our pain, shame, failures or successes; He uses it all. He’s teaching me how to partner with Him in my healing. I need to do my part. He will heal me but He wants my efforts. Doing my exercises, resting and not over-using or re-injuring my shoulder is my part. I believe He is actively healing me right this moment. Even though I’ve been told I may need surgery, I expect to be back 100%. Jesus and I have been through a lot and He’s been there for me even when I had nothing to do with Him. I believe He does things in my life without my efforts but in this instance, He wants to partner with me; He wants my efforts. There are several instances in the Bible where Jesus partners with people to perform miracles and there are times when He performs the miracles on His own. For example:
He turned the water into wine in John 2:7-9a; He partnered with the servants. He had them fill the jars with water and draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet. After the servants had done their part is when Jesus turned the water into wine.
He partnered with His disciples in Luke 5:4-6 when He directed them to put their nets into the deep water and get ready for a catch. Simon didn’t think it would work and told Jesus that they had worked hard all night and hadn’t caught anything. But they would do it anyway just because Jesus asked them. After they put the nets down they got enough fish to fill two boats and the boats started to sink!
He partnered with ten men with leprosy in Luke 17:11-14 He had them go and show themselves to the priests and as they went, they were cleansed.
He partnered with the disciples in Matthew 14:17-19 when He fed 5,000 people from a 5 loaves and 2 fish; He gave the food to the disciples to distribute and then it was multiplied.
After Jesus’ resurrection He partnered with the disciples again in John 21:5-6 when He told them to throw their net on the right side of the boat to find fish. When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.
Jesus didn’t just have wine appear in empty jars, have fish flopping on the shore for His disciples, heal the lepers on the spot or have food suddenly show up in front of people; He partnered with people just like us to accomplish these miracles.
Each day I’m a little bit stronger than the day before.
It’s funny how everything can change in an instant. I had an accident recently that changed me. The second day of a ten day vacation I was at Horseshoe Bend, which is a canyon with a river down below that’s in the shape of a horseshoe. It was really windy the day we were there and at one point the wind just took me away. All I remember is the wind pushing me and I was running as fast as I could to keep up, then a gust pushed me over. I put my hands out to catch myself and I felt a sharp shooting pain in my right shoulder. I passed out and the next thing I remember is sitting up with my husband, Bill helping me. He got me back to our hotel, I washed up and we went to Urgent Care.
I had a large golf ball size lump on the right side of my forehead and on my chin and my right cheek was completely swollen from my cheekbone to my lips. I had raw skin various places on my face and the bridge of my nose was bleeding. I noticed later I had a lump on my right hip and both knees were bruised. I needed one stitch on the bridge of my nose. The Dr. at Urgent Care told us that Horseshoe Bend is dangerous, people die there every year. He was worried I might have (among other things) bleeding on my brain; he told us the symptoms to watch for. Bill told me the place I landed wasn’t too far from the edge; I could’ve run right off the edge of the cliff into the canyon.
It’s true God takes everything in our lives and uses it for good. Immediately, even before I knew that I could’ve died; I noticed I was different; I had a better attitude, I was grateful and appreciative of everything: the beauty of the landscape, my husband, people who worked at McDonalds, etc. I didn’t complain about the pain; I just felt content and peaceful. I value life and the people I encounter each day; I pray I don’t lose that; it’s a gift. I’m so thankful to God that he protected me and had the wind push me down where it did. I feel like there’s a reason God saved me; He’s not done with me yet.
Since we were on vacation we went out in public daily to eat and shop, etc. I noticed when I did, I hung my head and looked down all the time; I rarely looked up at people when I passed by them. When I ordered dinner from my server I avoided eye contact; I guess I felt that if I didn’t see them, then they wouldn’t see me either. I realized I was acting like someone who had been beaten and abused, or handicapped or disfigured. I felt and acted sheepish, I wanted to hide myself.
I found I didn’t care much about how I looked, I didn’t put on make-up because it hurt to take it off, I wasn’t as picky about how my hair looked or how I dressed; I figured people weren’t going to notice that anyway. People didn’t look at me or want to speak to me very much. When out shopping the sales people weren’t as assertive as usual; they avoided me most times if there were others in the store; if I was the only one there they’d speak very little. I noticed when I interacted with people they pretended nothing was wrong; only three people asked me what happened.
Our bodies are funny; both my knees were bruised but they never hurt. Looking at the bruises I know they should’ve been painful but I had too many other places that hurt and maybe my body could only hurt so much; I guess it blocked out the rest of the pain. My bruises grew and my face changed daily; it was ironic because each day I looked a little worse and I felt a little better.
During this time, I realized I hadn’t been praying very much. But, somehow my heart was more open to God and I was changing and leaning into Him. I think He was hearing the prayers of my heart. I was reading the book “Room of Marvels” (which I highly recommend) and in the book this quote spoke to me “the most beautiful stones are the ones that have been tossed by the wind and washed by the water and polished to brilliance by life’s strongest storms” I felt like it was for me. I had just been tossed by the wind literally and I know I’m washed by the water and I’d been through a pretty strong storm.
A week after the accident Bill and I went to Uptown Sedona and walked around. We found ourselves in a store with rocks, minerals and beautiful pieces of art. A woman who worked there, Heather took us around and showed us various pieces and told us the story of where and how they were formed. We came across a case of stones from AZ and I asked about the golden brown/tan/cream colored balls that were displayed. Heather picked one up and exclaimed “aren’t they beautiful, it looks just like a sand storm”. Wow! I had just been through a sand storm and I immediately thought of the quote about beautiful stones. Heather went on to explain they were some sort of sand stone. I talked to Bill about it when we got out to the car and he wanted to go right back in and buy it. I told him we should think about it for a day.
I kept thinking of quote in the book about beautiful stones and what Heather said to us, I felt like God was speaking to me. I wanted to buy something to remember this experience and how good God is to me.
The next day, Bill and I went to Jerome and walked through the galleries and I found the perfect stone, it had the same colors of my bruises and it was very beautiful. The paper that was posted to explain the history of the stone stated the Egyptians and Pharaohs would decorate themselves and carry these stones as a reminder of regeneration and faithfulness. I loved what it stood for. God had been very faithful to me and I was in the process of regeneration. I looked up the definition of regeneration:
1) To reform spiritually or morally
2) To form, construct, or create anew, especially in an improved state.
3) To give new life or energy to; revitalize.
4) To replace (a lost or damaged organ or part) by formation of new tissue.
5) Restored to a better state; refreshed or renewed.
I think in a way, all five of these were happening to me. This made me love the stone all the more.
After visiting Jerome we came back to Sedona and looked at the original sandstone balls. Bill still wanted me to get one but none of them stood out to me. We walked through other shops and found a different stone; it had veins running through it and reflected light in different colors depending on the angle. The paper explaining the history of this rock spoke of protection. We found one we both liked and we purchased it. The lady who worked in the shop was very nice, she asked me “what happened to this soul” and when we paid for the stone she said that it would always remind Bill of the week he almost lost his wife and I added that it would remind me of the protection I received. She was very loving, tender and gentle.
I’m aware of what stones and crystals mean to New Age believers and I’m not buying into that or playing around with it. I’m not relying on the stones to bring me protection; the stones are a reminder of what God has done for me. In the Old Testament people would regularly build altars out of rocks to stand for God’s faithfulness, protection or provision. These stones are my version of an altar, they stand for and remind me of God’s faithfulness, regeneration and protection; of my gratitude and love for Him and knowing that He is not done with me yet.
Some noticing’s: Many times friends and family contacted Bill to find out how I was doing or to encourage us and say they were praying. Bill passed along their care, love and concern but it didn’t translate well, I didn’t really feel it. I felt disconnected and isolated. I wondered why they didn’t communicate directly with me. I still don’t know but it’s changed how I want to respond when someone is injured or hurting; I’ll communicate directly with them and show them love and concern first hand. I hope I’ll be more sensitive to those who are hurt, abused, handicapped or disfigured. I’ve learned much and I know I am loved by my friends, family and most of all Bill and God no matter how I look or what I’m like. I am loved and cared for unconditionally.
One of the many things that I will hold on to from this experience is what Bill said to me the morning after the accident “if you ever think you’re not a strong person, you are”
Where We Focus is How We Live
Yesterday, at yoga we were doing a lot of balancing poses. I’ve learned to do several things to not lose my balance. The instructor usually reminds us to hold in our abdomen, shoulders back and down, glutes tight and ribs lifted. What the instructors don’t always tell you is it’s also really important what you focus on; that’s what helps me the most. I have to quit looking at myself in the mirror and focus instead on either an object in the lower part of the mirror or several feet in front of me on the floor. For some poses I may even need to find a focal point straight down or just a few feet in front of me on the floor. Some instructors will challenge me to close my eyes while holding a pose. Wow! What a huge difference that makes! It throws me off balance every time.
Yesterday while I was doing this I realized this same thing happens in my life. If I’m focused too much on myself, others or the world I will lose my balance. If I close my eyes to myself, others and the world I will lose my balance. But, if I fix my gaze on Jesus I can stand tall, steady and sturdy; perfectly balanced.