Prayer and Peace

Just when I was beginning to think that I was on the mountaintop, looking down into the valleys of all my trials and worries, a new medical test comes along, and boom! There I am, calling out to God for help to get through this one. I awakened a lot during the night, knowing that my EMG is early this morning. Each time, God would bring a praise song to my mind and I would drift back to sleep. It doesn’t help my state of mind that I have had this test before, know that it’s uncomfortable and takes about an hour of pins and electric shocks, simultaneously. Nevertheless, I am trusting God to get me through it without tears of anguish and frustration. The last time I had the test was over eight years ago, after my stroke, so I don’t recall a lot, just the pain and the feeling that it was taking a long time. I think a “long time” is relative when you are in pain that is being dealt out by a machine in the hands of a technician who gently says that it will be slightly uncomfortable. But, just as God has been with me through all the other tests, He will walk with me through this one, too. It reminds me of the wilderness experience of the Israelites. God took them through the wilderness, not around it. So, through this trial I go and I am confident that I will come out the other side, more compassionate for others going through tedious and painful medical procedures.

Fixing my thoughts on God helped me sleep during the night, so I know that fixing my thoughts on Him will help me get through the pain of electricity coursing through my body. Honestly, childbirth does hurt more, so there is that. And I know that my Lamaze breathing helped the last time I had the test done, so I will take deep breaths and with each inhale, I will say a prayer of thanksgiving that I am able to have the test done and a prayer that the test will show what the doctors need to know.

I think that peace comes as a result of prayers, so I am wearing my full armor today, including the shoes on my feet that come from the peace of God’s Good News. As He continues to remind me, nothing will happen to me today that He and I cannot handle together!

Learning to Be God-Confident

During my growing up years, I was shy and so introverted that I often hid away while others socialized. After I got married, I started becoming more confident, first as a wife and then as a mother. I was confident in my ability to make meals, organize schedules and to also teach if the opportunity presented itself. Now, as I am growing older, I am no longer very confident in my own abilities because my body frequently betrays me. I think I am going to walk from point A to point B with no problems but I stumble and fall along the way. God is teaching me to be God-confident, with total dependence on Him to get me where He wants me to go and to do what He wants me to do. I may be getting weaker but God wants me to know that He is getting stronger within me as I let go of my own self-dependence.

It’s an awesome thing to know that I can completely rely on God. There is no fear or anxiety in being God-confident because my heart tells me that He is steadfast and that He will take care of all of my burdens that I have tried to carry all alone.

When Gideon was called to rescue Israel from the Midianites, his first response was that his tribe was too small and he himself was too weak. God doesn’t need people who are powerful and mighty. He needs those who are submitted to Him and committed to making a difference right where they are.

God wanted Gideon to stop looking at what he didn’t have and to take a close look at Who was fighting for him. He wanted Gideon to be God-confident. When we trust in our own abilities, we may fail (and often do), but when we trust in God, confident in His power and willingness to carry out His plan, then there is no way we can fail. If you want to be a winner in all of the challenges that life hurls at you, one of the first steps is to learn to be God-confident!

Don’t Be Afraid

Did you know that the Bible has verses about fear for each day of the year? Yes, 365 times, the Holy Bible tells us not to be afraid and what to do if we are.

Looking around at all that is happening in today’s world, it’s hard not to be anxious. In our study of Revelation at church and then again in my devotional today, I have decided to cling to this verse. I may never be persecuted or thrown into prison or face the death of a martyr. But, if it happens, God has already given me the answer. DON’T BE AFRAID. I don’t know how to interpret the entire verse, whether the ten days is literal or not or whether the church as a whole will suffer great persecution. But what I do know is that God says not to be afraid and that we will receive from Him the crown of life. What is that? It’s the eternal rest with Him that awaits us after our sojourn on earth has ended. However we die, whenever we die, I think that everyone has an element of fear because death is an unknown. But God tells us not to be afraid. Jesus went before us and conquered the last enemy, death, so that we should not be afraid of death but we know that on the other side, the Lord waits for us to give us eternity with Him.

So, this verse seems to be almost a paradox. God tells us not to be afraid but David says in the Psalms when I am afraid. He doesn’t use the word “if” that has the connotation that it may or may not happen. He uses the conjunction “when” denoting that is will happen. And when it does, David has already determined that he will put his trust in God. I think that is good advice for all of us. We need to determine in advance that when we are fearful, we will put our trust in God. God is our stable anchor in a storm-tossed sea and He is the One who places us on solid ground. That is a verse to hold on to…facing death as a martyr? I don’t have that train ticket yet because God hasn’t given it to me, but if I need it, He will provide it and I am confident that He will be with me through whatever the future holds. Like David, I will trust in God.

A Testimony and a Praise

These last few months, I have felt as though I knew what it was like to be the desperate woman who reached out to touch Jesus for her healing. I have been to specialist after specialist and had more medical tests than I knew existed, but the answer to my fainting and dizziness has been elusive. Then on Thursday, I saw a Balance Specialist. If you are blinking and looking again to see if you read that right, I can assure you that there is such a thing although it’s a totally new concept to me, too. My cardiologist had done innumerable tests and suggested I see my ENT to check for an inner ear problem. My regular ENT referred me to a Balance Specialist, a physician’s assistant who is actually a specialized physical therapist. I must admit that I went to the office with a little trepidation, wondering what in the world the new test would be like. This likable thirty-ish young man spent about half an hour with me. First he used some goggle like instrument that made me feel as though I were playing a video game in total darkness. He said that was checking my inner ear and there was no problem there. Then he had me lie down on a table, took my blood pressure, sat me up suddenly and took it again. Voila! An answer! It seems that the med that I am taking for my high blood pressure is a Beta blocker that keeps my heart from speeding up as it needs to do when I change positions. As a result, I get dizzy and if it doesn’t correct quickly enough, I faint. So, I was given instructions to talk to my cardiologist about changing or modifying my medicine. It sounds so simple, doesn’t it? But apparently it wasn’t since I have been to five different specialists since February and not one of them picked up on this problem. Anyway, I still have a few more tests to undergo to satisfy my neurologist but I am delighted to have an answer that seems to be something that can be easily addressed. What amazes me is that God knew all along what has been happening and has kept me right in the palm of His hand. I haven’t been frustrated, angry or discouraged as I am accustomed to getting when faced when plans that had to change. God has comforted me and encouraged me that everything will be okay if I am patient.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that my “word” for the year is TRUST. I set out at the beginning of the year with the goal in mind that I will learn to lean into the Lord, trusting Him no matter what. God took me at my word and is helping me to fulfill that promise.

I would like to think that the worst is behind me, but even if that is not proven to be true, I know that I can completely trust God’s love for me. My health may not be what I want it to be, but my soul is thriving with God.

This is a quotation from a devotional that I read this week. Hudson Taylor had a lot of challenges in his life, yet he could still write these words and mean them with his whole heart. I plan to copy this and put it on a card on my bathroom mirror, just to remind myself that I am still moving forward and God is still with me, fulfilling His promises to me.

What has God done for you lately? What is your testimony of His greatness in your life? Small things, big things, all things. Give God all the glory!

To Gain Peace, Be Steadfast

Most who know me well are amazed that I have not been “falling apart” lately as I go through multiple medical tests weekly, all without really coming to an answer for my medical problems. However, those who know me well also know that I have put my trust in God and my eyes remain fixed on Him. He knows the root of the problem and He has the answer. If He reveals it to a doctor and there is a treatment for it, that’s good. If not, that is okay, too, because He is in control.

That is not to say that I have been enjoying being poked, prodded, stuck and next week, I get electricity coursing through me as the doctors study my brain. No, no enjoyment here, but rather peace in the process. My mind is focused on the Lord, trusting Him to bring this all to an end in His time. I have had to postpone visits with grandchildren and other family, an extended trip with my husband to celebrate our fiftieth anniversary and other plans that I had looked forward to with great anticipation. That is all of little importance to me these days. I know that God is holding me in the palm of His hand and He knows what needs to happen for me to feel whole again. So, I wait, I trust and I keep my eyes on Him. I don’t want to be like Peter and lose my focus so that I start to sink into the deep waters; instead, I am spending more time in God’s Word, talking to Him continually and asking Him to show me what to do next. Trust is an easy thing when there are no tests or trials, but the more trials that come along, the harder it is to trust. I am determined to be steadfast in my pursuit of the Lord, regardless of outward circumstances. I hope that is where you find yourself, too…peacefully waiting for God to act and trusting that in His time, He will.

Deliverance, Trust and Commitment

Please take time to read Psalm 91 and let the verses speak to you as the devotional also speaks truth to your heart.

God’s desire is to deliver us. We just have to be in an attitude of submission and trust in order to receive from Him.

Commit and trust…two very important words for us and to God. He acts when we are committed to waiting for Him and trusting in Him.

May you have a day that is blessed with commitment, trust and deliverance in the Lord.

Of Birds and Trust

We took our young grandchildren to a place called Seaquest today while our daughter was touring Liberty University with her oldest. At Seaquest, there were lots of sea animals and fish, but my favorite place there was the aviary, with all kinds of colorful and tweeting birds. These little creatures did not have to worry at all about being fed because people like us were paying tokens to be able to go in and sit with the birds and feed them. The encounter brought to mind the verse about birds and trusting God.

The birds don’t worry at all; they just trust God to provide for them, even in the winter months when all is mostly barren. Sometimes we fact a winter time in our lives and have to remember to trust in God for our provision. He always comes through, not always when or how we expect but He always provides if we trust in Him at all times. Trust is not always easy, but picture the birds and their total confidence in God during the rough times and the times of plenty. We are God’s crowning creation, so why should we worry about His provision?

My husband and granddaughters enjoying the aviary. Look at those brilliant colors on the birds! God is so creative!

May God show you how much He loves you by providing for you in all ways at all times.

A Prayer

The Holy Bible is filled with prayers, of ordinary people talking to an extraordinary God. Probably the one prayer that is most well-known is the Lord’s Prayer, in which Jesus was asked to teach us to pray. It begins with praise, continues to petition and ends with praise. It is a model for us to follow as well as a prayer to say. I found another prayer today in my devotional and it spoke to my heart.

I hope that this simple prayer of declaring trust for God speaks to you, also. When I am discouraged or just not feeling as close to God as I should, this is a prayer I can come back to, again and again. My soul belongs to God and one day will return to His loving care. For now, it rests in my body and desires to commune with the One who breathed life into me to begin with. I am flawed but not forsaken. I trust God to bring me to the end of my journey, however long it may be, still serving and being taught by Him along the way.

May your day be blessed with fresh insight from the Lord and a walk with Him that instills you with peace, joy and love.

Thankful for Trust

Unfortunately for me, I have spent most of my life trying to be a “people pleaser.” That means that I want people to accept me and what I do, so I try to make choices to please others. Sometimes, my choices are not the best ones for me, as I have learned from experience. However, I have learned and I am learning that I need to be able to totally trust in God who knows what is best for me and loves me just like I am. I don’t have to do anything to impress him or to earn His approval. I already have that. Being able to trust in His unfailing love and acceptance has freed me greatly from the bondage that is wrapped up in man’s opinion. I am learning that freedom. I confess that I am not there yet and that I have to work on it every day, but I am learning and that is good enough for now. I trust that God understands my struggles and meets me right where I am. He is such a good God and I am thankful that I can completely trust Him!

May each of you find the freedom that comes from trusting God’s opinion of you and not that of man. The Lord’s opinion, after all, is the only one that counts. Have a blessed day!