Monday, October 29, 2012

You Are Invited To A Conference

Ecclesiastes 3 (NIV) 1-4
A Time for Everything
There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance…

This last weekend the rains were coming down hard. Although a true Pacific Northwestern is known to not use an umbrella all of the time, the rains this weekend caused quite a few of us to pull them out from where they’d been stored.
The water was high on the roads and windshield wipers were working on high in order to have clear visibility.
In life guilt, hurt, anger, or un-forgiveness can cause the road we are walking daily to be unclear.

Sometimes we can hold onto things we’ve done or someone else did to us in the past and we carry it with us daily. Or we are just plain angry over things in life. Maybe we’ve been hurt or experienced a loss in such a way that we can’t figure out how to take the first steps to get back into the swing of things.

You may have seen these signs around town. If you go to the website you will see that there is some wonderful speakers who will be there to talk over these issues that are on the sign.

I was honored to be invited to hold a session on abortion recovery. Abortion touches lives in many ways. You may have participated in having an abortion, or you may have driven someone to the clinic, you may be a grand-parent, aunt, or sister to the aborted child. Abortion affect lives in a very negative and painful way. Women can live in guilt for years about their decision. They can feel a sense of loss and are unable to mourn after all, it was her choice.

In our short time together I won’t be able to cover all the steps that lead to living a life of healing and forgiveness, but I hope you will leave with tools that can help you get on the road to healing in Jesus.

Sometimes things come our way that break us, but there is someone who went out of His way to redeem us.
I hope to see you at this conference no matter what session you sign up for because there is a time to mourn…a time to weep…and there is also a time to heal…to laugh…and to dance…again.
Click here and go to the conferences website - www.pacificnorthwestwomensconference.com or call 360-901-8675.

 

 


 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Someone Else's Boots


Boots! I love to wear boots during the fall and winter as much as I love to wear my flip-flops during the summer.
When I saw this pair of boots at a consignment store I picked them up to check the size. They were a size and a half to small.

Still…
I put my foot in them and surprisingly, other than being a little tight, they fit. I rushed over to the mirror and admired the way they looked with my jeans. I was really liking those boots.

I was tempted to buy them even though buying boots is not in my budget right now. Times are tight and buying them would have made it tighter.
Still, I battled back and forth, even after my right foot started to go numb from lack of circulation. I just kept stretching my feet hoping to make the tightness go away.

Then a thought drifted through my head. You’re trying to wear someone else’s shoes.
I felt a bit uncomfortable with that and took them off. There was a lady looking at shoes and I asked her what size she wore. It was the same size as the boots in my hand. I gave them to her and they looked great on her and fit too.

She didn’t want them, but still they were made for someone her size, not mine.
That thought hasn’t left my mind since that day.

Not when I went for a walk yesterday and admired the beautiful houses and started to imagine what it would be like to entertain for holiday’s in places like I was seeing.
No, the thought became louder then. You’re trying to wear someone else’s shoes.

I stared down at the sidewalk littered with beautiful red and yellow leaves and didn’t turn my head to the left or the right because of the temptation of envying what these people had.
It’s really easy during struggles to start to desire what is in other people’s lives.

When it seems God’s answer is “wait’ or “no,” it’s easy to become discontent, lose hope, and get frustrated.
Like my Dad said, God’s seems to be testing your faith and you just have to get through the next couple weeks.

It’s easy to say I will follow you God or I believe in everything Your Word says when things are going really good. It’s easy to encourage others, praise Him, talk about Him.
But when that road leads you into a dark tunnel that looks like there is not a light at the end of it that’s when faith is tested. Faith is grown. Faith is made strong.

I often wondered how Paul and Silas sang praises after they were beaten and put in stocks in a dark gross prison after being obedient and telling the world about Jesus. Yes, I know it comes from a faith that was built and from the power of the Holy Spirit within in them, yet it still amazes me they were able to do it.
I mean, they could have said, “Look at where we are after what we’ve done for Jesus. And look at the other believers, home, eating with their families.”

They could have.
But, they didn’t, they sang praises, and in that dark prison cell God did a mighty tremendous work. He saved the guy who ran the prison and his entire family. They were even nice to Paul and Silas.

There are tons of stories in the Bible where people are put in the most terrible situations, and they keep the faith, then God steps in and show His glory.
The most important time for all history is reading about how Jesus is hanging on a cross. Beat to a pulp, nails pounded in his hands and feet, and naked.

He could’ve said, Father, forget it, this is too much for me. Change of plans. Instead, He said, Father, forgive them…
Forgive them?!

Soon after, He died… after all of that, He dies.
But once again, God came in to a dark situation, darker than we can even probably comprehend, and Jesus rose from the dead. He stepped in and showed His glory.

Because of that dark moment… all of us who believe won’t suffer for what we’ve done because Jesus did. He paid the price. He saved us from paying the price of our sin by paying it for us.
So now, while I’m walking down this part of the road that seems dark, and I’d like to wear someone else’s shoes for awhile (although someone’s else’s life may look good, but we all have our own set of problems) I can believe that if Jesus is willing to die for me, and save me for eternity, then He has to have a plan to come in and show His glory.

Believing is where my faith is built. Holding on to who He is no matter how dark times seem is a faith work out.
2 Corinthians 12:8-10

New International Version (NIV)
8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Changes - What Do We Do?

Although I really love Indian summers. I miss the gentle September breezes we normally get as summer turns into fall. A few days this week, instead of gentle breezes, we experienced some October wind. The sun may have been shining, but the air was chilly and the wind was strong. When I walked to my car it was raining pine needles. If they hit my face or head just right it kind of hurt. Pine needles covered my car. Broken branches and leaves blew across the streets. The wind seemed so strong for a while that I hoped none of the trees around my place would fall.

This morning was a different story. I went out for a walk, the air was crisp and cool. The wind had settled down a bit and the pine needles were staying attached the trees.
When the sun rose higher in the sky it even started feeling a bit warm. What a change from one day to the next…

Isn’t that how seasons are though?
Constant changes…even though every year we see the same cycle…each season is different.

Sometimes the changes are beautiful and mild.

 Even in life, changes can be mild going from season to season. Having kids, hair changes to gray, kids grow up and get married, the normal progression of life. It’s expected but it can leave us feeling bare just like a tree that just lost its leaves.

Then there are the changes that come from unexpected things. Like the October wind we experienced that left a mess behind on the sidewalks and streets. Or like storms that tear up the place and a person has to completely restore their life.

This picture is mild next to what some people experience after a big storm. Still, sometimes a continual persistent wind that rips the branches off one by one and causes the needles to fall continuously on a person can be just as damaging.

Causing a person to be frustrated, angry, bitter, disillusioned and struggle in their faith.
 
 This old tree being cut down piece by piece just reminded me of how it feels when the same old problem keeps coming up again and again. No matter what a person does it just keeps coming back again and again. It can be a health problem, relationships, jobs, finances…so many things that can tear at a person day by day leaving them in a place where they struggle to hope, struggle to keep the faith, or battle to hold on to joy. Weariness can set in causing a person to just want to give up.

We’ve been in a struggle for a long time. Whenever it seems we have the answer it turns out it’s not the one for us.

During the entire time, no matter what we’ve been through in the struggle, there has been something else we experienced. A bigger picture of the God we read about in the Bible and hear about from the pulpit. We’ve personally seen God work in ways that have amazed us.
I wish I could say when we get to those points of feeling like we are on an edge of a cliff I respond in a mature faith walking way, but I don’t. The reason, the cliff keeps getting higher and higher.

We don’t arrive at the same place every time the problem arises. No it gets tougher and tougher and we do hold onto what we’ve seen Him do before, but we stand and wonder what will He do now?
I walked down a road the other day that hasn’t been a part of my exercise routine for years. I remembered the trials my sister and I were going through during the times we walked that road. I remembered how God encouraged me with pennies. (And He still does) I remembered how I started being a little more vulnerable while writing my blogs.

God brought me through those trials. I’m at a different place now. Seems the same but it’s different because I’m different inside. My faith has grown and I have some wisdom and understanding that I didn’t have before when I walked this road.
God knows what I need and He’s the provider. He has always been there.

I thought we had the answer to the problem yesterday and was pretty excited, but discovered we don’t have that answer. So, it’s really disappointing.
Now what? There’s not another solution in sight at the moment. I hate waiting. So I’m probably learning patience. I like to know what’s going on, something to work toward. I don’t have that right now.

I didn’t want to write my stories or blog because I was in a bad mood and I thought what should I do this for anyway?
Then I got a phone call inviting me to a conference to be a part of ministering to hurting women and they said I could bring my books for the ladies.

Okay…so I’ll stop pouting and keep writing my stories.
But I didn’t want to write my blog. I tried but…stopped a few times. Who wants to constantly write and show the whole world things that are personal to them?

Then I read a story in my daughter’s devotions. (Aren’t they supposed to be for a child?) About a guy named Naaman and he was an important guy. He had leprosy and his servant girl let him know about Elisha who could heal him. Naaman gets permission from the king to go and see Elisha. Elisha doesn’t even come outside to talk to him but sends a messenger who tells Naaman to go dip in the Jordan seven times and he would be healed.
Well, the Jordan River was beneath a man of his stature, after all he had beautiful rivers back home. He also was insulted Elisha didn’t come out and meet him. So he didn’t do it.

The servant girl said some things that made sense to him and he went back to the Jordan and dipped in the pool seven times and was healed.
Sometimes, we have to get to the place we want to be, following instructions we don’t understand or want to do.

My daughter went to the acupuncturist for her back. (He does not use needles on little kids) She refused to do one of the therapies because she is afraid of it. Sometimes we have to do things that scare us or even hurt a bit to get better.
She did it. And we were all proud of her. She isn’t healed but it helped a bit and in time will hopefully take care of the problem. She has to follow instructions she didn’t understand or want to do.

That’s when I knew I needed to sit down and write my blog post. Because, I’ve heard that my struggles and how God has answered them have encouraged others in their struggles. And I hope with all my heart that whoever reads this will be able to believe more and more in the God of the Bible. To be able to believe in who He really is not who we think He is. And that yes, He is here in our struggles, in our joys, and He is not just something, but someone who has a plan and interacts with His children in a personnel way.
No matter how many times you face the same battle. He is the same God who is there to face it with you. Things in life can wear us down, but He can lift us up.

2 Corinthians 1:3-5 New International Version (NIV)
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 5 For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.

 The story about Naaman and Elisha can be found in the Old Testament, 2 Kings, Chapter 5.