"It is He who reveals the profound and hidden things; He knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with Him." -Daniel 2:22
"Do not fear, for I am with you..." -Isaiah 43:5
"...we are not presenting our supplications before You on account of any merits of our own, but on account of Your great compassion." -Daniel 9:18
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Saturday, September 19, 2009

Refreshing Rain

Many look at all the rain we have had the past few weeks as refreshing, some are done with it and ready to move on. Others would love it - if it never rained. That is how people are about trials, tests and tribulation. Many would love to never experience anything bad. But then they are the ones with no root system. They have not allowed themselves to see the rain (hard times) as a blessing and soaked up all the goodness from it.
I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, to the point of asking for more trials. But, God has taught me to look for the good in a bad situation. Through His Word and the Old Testiment and New Testiment stories.
I have not been able to study His Word as much these past few months, since going to work, as I did in the past few years. I am so thankful He made me realize the need for intense study when my last job ended, over 2 years ago. Even before Al was diagnosised, I felt I needed to really soak up some truths from Him. I hope to become more disiplined to find the time to get back to that kind of study soon. I miss it. It caused me to grow so fast and deep. It seemed almost every day for 2 years I would have a WOW! or AHA! or YES! moment with God.
That growth, I hope, is what others see when they look at me. The calm reassurance of knowing that God has got our backs. Whatever it seems to be might not be what is....whatever happens (mostly) is not within our power to control..... Our job is to do the dishes, go to work, study His Word and Obey. Studying His Word is how we learn to obey.
I thank our Lord for the rain in our lives. That He has shown us how to continue on through the rain and even find joy in the midst of it.
I confess that I do not spend much time worrying about the future. Some, but not much. During that first year of Al's illness, we did do a lot of thinking about it, but in a good way. Trying to prepare as best we could. Making wills. Deciding what we would do about this or that. There are still many things to do and plan, but for now, God has given us peace. I dare not spend much time in the future or I would not be able to function in the now.
I lean heavily on my Heavenly Father to get me through each day. I talk to him at work instead when I want to scream at someone. I talk to him at home when I want to scream at someone. I give him my frustrations because they are inappropriate in my life now.
As most of you know, Al spent a week in the hospital last week. He had pneumonia. He was probably okay after about 3 or 4 days, but they don't see many cancer patients here in Waxahachie, so they kept him for 7 days. They didn't really want to let him go home then, but he told them he was leaving!
The main thing that scared them, I think, were that his blood counts were so low. But that is just the way a cancer patient has to live. They gave him blood and stuff, but the effects only lasted a couple of days. By the time he went to his oncologist in Dallas on Monday, they were back down again.
He had his monthly chemo (Cytoxan) last Monday. Didn't feel great for a few days, but is coming around. They say they are going to change his type of chemo again soon. Please pray that it will not have bad side effects and that it will continue to keep his protein levels (cancer cells) low.
In the mean time, we are going to try to do better about being out in public so much. Especially during the flu season. So we will probably not be back to church. I resigned from nursery duty, as the babies carry so many germs. Al resigned from the deacon board because he has not been able to fulfill his duties these past few years. He hoped to be able to get back involved, but it just doesn't seem like that is God's plan. I pray God would show him how to minister to people through prayer and phone calls and whatever ways he can.
We have begun the paperwork to build a house not far from where the farm is. Pray that that process would go smoothly. I want a place where Al will be comfortable and have the room to enjoy these next 20 years!
I am very thankful that God gave me such an optimistic personality. (Some may call it naivety or stupidity) It helps to look for the good in all situations. But then, maybe it is not my personality, but God in me that is so optimistic............
I love hearing from each of you and enjoy lifing up your concerns to God through prayer. If you have issues that are troubling you, let me know. Al and I would love to pray for you. I have been praying for the son of a good friend who emailed me last week. I have been praying for the husband of a friend who also has cancer. I have been praying for a very dear friend who just lost his sister suddenly. I have been praying for a cousin who lost her only son in an accident. I have been praying for a brother-in-law who is needing a heart transplant.
We have been and continue to be so grateful for all the prayers for us. They best gift we can give is to return the favor and lift you up.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Galatians 3:23

"Before this faith came, we were held prisoners...locked up until faith should be revealed." This was one of my devotions this past week.
It is one of 900+ over the past few years that speaks directly to me from God. He uses the devotions that people write (inspired by him-some from centuries ago) to speak truth to us, if we would just be faithful to read them. Just like scripture. And He doesn't just give it to you once, but over and over again, so that you will begin to understand what He is trying to say to you.
Sometimes it is direction, sometimes encouragement and other times attaboys for a job well done.
This devotion and scripture spoke to me about things I have blogged about before. My past and the struggles I had in my younger years. How God was preparing me for the trials of today. That I would learn "God's holy standard through the law and thereby realize my own utter helplessness" in making decisions about my life. That I would gladly learn to live by faith alone. I had to experience, like Paul, being held prisoner. He a physical prisoner, me a mental and spiritual prisoner to the ways of the world. If Paul had never been in prison, he would not have seen God's visions. He was able to inspire others through his writings while there.
Now, I do not consider myself in a league with the apostle Paul, but I hope that my writings would inspire others to deeper faith in Jesus Christ. To encourage others to seek God's personal messages to them through the Word and through daily devotional reading and prayer.
Today's devotion is about strength through testing. Exodus 15:25: "There he tested them." How "God does not want us to be like fragile vases of glass or like greenhouse plants." He wants us to be tested, like steel, to see what we are able to withstand. He wants us to be like storm-beaten oaks, like mountains of granite.... but to accomplish this He must put us through some very rigorous tests.
"Faith cannot be picked from trees like apples....."
I know that my testing days are not over, but as the quote of the day says:
"It is better to weather the storm with Christ than to sail smooth waters without Him." -J.R. Macduff
I thank you all for your prayers and encouragment. Al is doing well.
I am getting used to working full time. Another example of how God answers prayer while using it to strenghten you. He provided this job for me, but He never said that His answer to our prayers would be easy. It has been a struggle some days to learn new things, and keep pace with my responsibillities. I know that I have this job because of the provision of the Lord, therefore, I know it is where He wants me. Because I know this, I can get through the difficult days. It was difficult to wait upon His answer to the job situation. I could have gone out and taken another job that would not have met all our needs, but by waiting upon the Lord to provide, I have the assurance that this is where I need to be, no matter what the difficulties may be.
I ask you to pray with Al and I about our future. Since selling the farm, we want to build a new house. We want to build new so that we know what we are getting. We want things to be as low maintenance as they can get. We are not totally ruling out buying an existing home, but have not found anything that would not require a lot of updating and work.
We have a lot of decisions to make. A lot of prayer time. We want to be where the Lord wants us. The right neighborhood, the right lot, the right builder, the right pool contractor, according to His plans. My desire is for Al to have a place where he is comfortable, has just the right size yard that he feels he can take care of, a garage where he can do projects (as his health allows), a nice, long driveway and a pool in the backyard for therapy and entertainment.
I can't tell you that this is what God wants for us with 100% certainity, but I have prayed about this for many years, knowing we would someday sell the farm. I feel that God is guiding us to this very thing, but I continue to pray for God's direction and confirmation.
Please pray with us, as we pray for you in your struggles. We would very much like to hear from any and all who read this blog. Let us know how we can pray specifically for you. Let us know how God is working in your life. Let us know what struggles you are going through that God has designed to strengthen your faith in Him.
May God richly bless each one of you with a storm to test your faith!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

HELLO!

As Big Tex would say......Howdy folks! It has been a while. So much has changed in our lives since my last blog.
I got a job working for the Ellis County Clerk's office in July. It was a bit stressful at first and is taking some getting used to after not working full time for 15 years. But I feel very blessed to have gotten such a good job with great benefits. Another show of God's love or us, in that He provided what was needed at just the right moment. Knowing I am where God wants me to be gets me through the tough days.
Right after getting the job, we moved to our eldest son's rent house in town. Then Al spent 3 weeks getting everything moved that he had collected over the past 25 years. It was a big job because he was the only one who knew where he wanted most of his stuff. He got rid of some stuff, moved a lot to a friend's farm, and hauled off all the trash stuff.
He had moved a lot of his stuff eariler in the year - anticipating this move. Boy am I glad he did. It would have been too much to deal with all at once. Even he did not realize how much junk he had allowed to accumulate over the years.
Yesterday we closed on the sale of our house and 22 acres. The end of a very great era of our lives. We had great fun at that farm. Youth bonfires and campfires, family parties, shooting skeet, paintball, Krud Wars, water balloon fights, mud wrestling....so many memories. The quite nights, the lovely breezes, the beautiful sunsets.....room to help family members with a place to live when it was needed....
But Al and I are not sad. We are excited. We know that it was all God who found us a buyer. It was the first and ONLY guy who looked at the place. I knew it would be this way because God and I had had soooo many conversations about the sale of our property over the past few years. Even to the point that I knew it would be horse people who bought it. And it was. This couple is about our age and have a Tennessee Walker horse waiting for them to get the place ready. They are going to put on a metal roof (another God thing) and fence the whole thing. I can't wait to see what it will look like.
Guess I will have to take down the picture on this blog and rewrite our profile......
The roof thing - when the house got inspected, that was the only thing they found wrong. It needed a new roof due to hail damage. Insurance would pay and we had a friend offer to put the roof on for free. That was great, but Al would have felt compelled to help and his body just isn't up for that. When the buyers said they wanted to put on a different kind of roof and all we had to do was give them the money our insurance paid - YOU GOT A DEAL! God steps in again.
So now we sit back and get our lives reorganized. Try to get a new rhythm going. We want to build a new house, but are waiting for God's confirmation on who, where, what and when.
Al's health took a bit of a hit with him doing too much (as usual) these past few weeks. But, honestly, no one could have done it but him. He wanted to physically touch every item to know where it was going so he would know where it was. He is a hard-headed German-Italian who has specific ideas about how he wants things done. (Come to think of it - I'm a hard-headed German-Indian who is exactly the same way!)
He had his chemo this past Monday and didn't feel well for a few days, but does pretty well most days. He still has a lot of pain, but that could be, in part, to being so physical. He stays on the pain medicine 24/7 and it helps him to function.
It is hard for me not to be able to go with him to the doctor anymore. It is harder to keep up with what is going on with the cancer. I don't believe they have done any testing to check on how well this chemo is doing with the protein levels. They usually wait several months to make that determination.
Al will have plenty to occupy his time now. With me working, he has to take care of our two girls (dogs) and the house and the groceries and the laundry.... We still have 44 acres to sell.... Next month is the beginning of hunting season, so he will be getting ready for dove hunting, bow season, deer season, turkey season, and every other kind of season..... (I hope he is able to shoot his deer rifle) And when we decide where and what to build he will be needing to inspect the building process on a daily basis...
Our lives have never been dull, so I am trusting God to guide us to the place He has for us in this next chapter. As long as it is filled with love, family and friends - we will be blessed.

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