Monday, May 25, 2015

I Remember You...And I Thank You!

I love my freedom! I love being able to choose whatever career I want. To be able to go to the store, choose friends, go from State to State without papers. I love that I can go to church to worship, and nobody can try to force me to do it their way. I love to be able to vote for whoever I want, even though the person I vote for doesn't always win.

I love it! And I value it.

I know the freedom we experience in America doesn't come for FREE. There is a huge price that is paid by many people. Many have given their lives, lost their lives, and had to live their lives with the horrors of the atrocities that they have seen protecting this country and many other countries.

I am very grateful. I thank God for the military our country has to protect us.

My family suffered two losses, first my Uncle Ronnie, who died the year before I was born. He didn't die while in combat, but while serving his country in the military.

And then my Uncle Bobby, my dad's youngest brother, was shot in Viet Nam and died a few days later when I was almost six years old.

Picture by Mary Reinhardt Sand

I was too young to realize the pain my Grandparents suffered, but now as an adult, I have been told of how hard it was for them. Also, being a parent myself, I can completely imagine their pain.

It was also very hard on all of my family members, my parents, aunts, uncles, brothers, sister and my cousins. We all have our story of that time. Its not the best memory.

He was only nineteen. We didn't get the opportunity to know him in his adult years. We didn't get to discover who he would have married or his children. We didn't get the opportunity to see his smile one more time or to say goodbye.

He went with other marines to fight for freedom and to protect those who were being harmed.

Many families today suffer the same loss as my family did many years ago. No matter how many years go by, we don't forget, we don't stop wishing he would have come home and walked, instead of being carried, off the plane. I'm sure other families feel that way too about their lost ones.

Freedom has a tremendous price tag.

There are many families today who are experiencing the loss of loved ones just so we can safely and freely live our lives in freedom and to protect those in other countries who need help.

My prayers are for all of the military and their families, that you would be blessed, feel God's comfort and love. And even though I don't think anyone in the military could ever get paid enough for what they do, I hope that everyone who has or is in the military, would be compensated in some wonderful way.

I can only humbly say....Thank you very much! And God bless you!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Help In The Chaotic Storm

I let out a sigh of relief. Finally, a few moments of peace, to take a breath during a chaotic time in our lives.

I'm sitting at my desk with the window open enjoying the sounds of the birds singing intermittently between the sounds of the cars driving by, and the yard guy’s leaf blower from the senior living place across the street.

I love the sounds of the morning and I’m taking it all in as I pour out my heart on my blog.

Where to start is the big question, since the year 2015 has been quite a year for my family, and extended family. I am seriously considering making money off of 2015 and doing a reality show. 

This year has been like a waiter trying to balance too many plates on a tray as he walks to the kitchen through a crowded, loud restaurant. 

To name a few things we are balancing on our wobbly tray; more than wanted visits to the hospital, unnecessary car issues, relationship adjustments, relationship issues, and quite a few changes to our lives.

All of the things on the list are incredible stories in themselves.

This last week started very promisingly…we had just come off from a weekend of celebrating our anniversary, my daughter’s birthday, and Mother’s day. Monday started with an incredible few hours of talking and walking with one of my sister in laws, I passed my fit-bit goal, did my writing goal, and everything else fell into place also that day.

Tuesday…different story…chaos from the GET GO! On top of that, a relationship issue occurred, had to rush to a doctor appointment, and then we discovered the astronomical amount of money it would take to fix our car, because the engine blew, when an NEW piece malfunctioned after maintenance was done to our vehicle. 

Wednesday, no school, woke up with plans to do all the preparations for my daughter's slumber party that was planned for Friday, instead…my daughter was very sick. And while I took my long awaited shower in the afternoon, my daughter came into the bathroom, frantic, “Turn off the shower. Turn off the shower!” Ugh! I ask why?..and her answer?...because it is pouring into the bathroom below.

I turned off the shower and pulled back the curtain to see water pour out of the toilet onto the floor, into the hallway, and on it's way down the stairs. I stepped out of the shower, into the big puddle of water, in order to turn the water off to the toilet.

After I turned the water off I screamed for towels. We used practically every towel in the house upstairs and downstairs.

A plumber came. A carpet guy came. And in between the flood and their arrival, I finished my shower, got some of the towels in the wash, and moved a bunch of the stuff in the stairwell into our bedrooms. Clutter everywhere!

Meanwhile, I was not the sweet caring mother that my daughter needed to be tending her while she was sick on the couch. I had to apologize later. It's a humble thing to be a parent, the bad side of me comes out to an audience that I am to be an example too. Uh, do as I say?...

Anyway, my daughter spiked a fever, her cough got worse, I then received a text from my sister that she can’t stop dry heaving and had gone home from work. She is the owner of a business of her own and she normally stays at work no matter how she feels.

Over the next few days, my daughters fever is persistent, and so is my sister’s dry heaves. Then a text from my sister…she is going to ER!

Fortunately, the fever breaks and we are able to go to the hospital with the family to see her.
In the midst of everything, is the decisions we need to make about our car, I received some hurting words, and I am just plain…hurt and tired of it all.

I pick up my phone and humbly ask for prayer.

In return I received confirmation of prayers being made for us, encouraging words and devotionals, and a safe place to vent my frustrations and cares through phone calls and text. Knowing my prayer warriors would help take my load to my heavenly Father, gave me a sense of relief.

Sometimes the load is too heavy to carry. Sometimes the road is way too long without an end in sight. It is a wonderful feeling knowing someone is bringing your situation to God in prayer.

Asking for prayer doesn’t mean we are weak, lack faith, or anything negative.

A few Sundays ago our Pastor said (very paraphrased) when we ask another for prayer, we see that person has faith and also see God’s work in their life, and we ask them to use that faith and pray for us, with the hope of God’s work in our life.

Throughout the New Testament, there are many accounts of people praying for each other. And one of my personal favorites;

Ephesians 3:14-21New Living Translation (NLT)

Paul’s Prayer for Spiritual Growth

14 When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father,[a] 15 the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth.[b] 16 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit.17 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.
20 Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. 21 Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.

During all of this, I also went for walks with my husband to just talk, and then I took a walk on my own and listened to music, I prayed about the things going on, and I prayed for the needs of those who were praying for me and others that came to my mind.

After my prayer walk I felt much better and able to deal with things when I returned home. I take comfort that my daughter is doing better now and my sister came home from the hospital after a four day stay. She will have to deal with some things physically, but she is home.

I felt refreshed and ready to go. And then as my friend said, I went from the mountaintop and slid right back down into the valley.

Again, one thing after friends were there to pray and encourage. And then I receive a text that said, God is your front man! Let God plow the path.

What an eye opener! Choas happens, but God STILL has a plan for our lives. 

One of my favorites stories in the Bible is when Peter got out of the boat on a stormy night at sea, his eyes were on Jesus and he walked on water. When his eyes were on the storm, he sank. When he cried out to Jesus, he was there. Then JESUS walked him back to the boat through the storm. Walked with Him through the storm.

I always try to imagine what Peter had to say to his friends when he got back in that boat. What an exciting experience he must have had to be able to walk on the top of water and not sink. 

His friends must have had a million questions. 

I can only imagine when Peter got in that boat, he had learned and experienced the most valuable lesson ever for the life he was about to live as a follower of Jesus; That is when his eyes are on Jesus...he can walk on water...when they are on the storm...he can't.

And I can only imagine his confidence grew in His Lord, knowing that when he failed, God was right there to grab him, the minute he cried out. 

He again experienced God's faithfulness when he failed, the night Jesus was put to death, Jesus included Peter and also talked with him after He rose from the dead, and let him know it was okay.

We still have a long list of things to deal with, but I know God is with us, and the knowledge of the faithful prayers of our loved ones for our situation brings us comfort and strength.

2 Corinthians 1:3-5 New Living Translation (NLT)

God Offers Comfort to All

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ.

I would love to hear your comments on times you’ve reached out for prayer or the things you need someone to pray about.

Oh, and here is a wonderful fact from the Bible…many years ago…Jesus prayed for you and me.

  • John 17:20-21 (NLT)
20 “I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. 21 I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.