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Posts Tagged ‘Faith’

Heavy Lifting

How gratified we feel when we can walk further, run faster, increase to a heavier weight – or rise to any other physical challenge we aspire to.

To accomplish such goals, we muster up everything in our power to achieve our desired results.

And we have a great sense of satisfaction when the end result is so pleasing.

Relying on our own strength works well in many instances.

But how do we manage when the challenges we are facing are emotional or spiritual in nature – having to do with relationships, health, work, or family?

I can think of painful circumstances affecting people I know at this very moment….

~a sudden diagnosis of stage 4 cancer

~ sudden rejection by a family member

~a skiing accident resulting in surgery for a broken leg

I’m sure you know friends or family who are dealing with difficulties as well.

How do we search our depths for the wherewithal to face disappointments, worries….and heartaches?

And what recourse do we have when our troubles just seem impossible to bear?

When we can no longer rely on our own fortitude, we can ask God to do the heavy lifting.

He alone can bolster our strength, bring us hope, wrap us in His warm and enduring comfort.

Author Sarah Young continues to inspire me with her words.

In Jesus Always, March 16,  she writes, in God’s voice:

 Close your right hand, as if you are grasping onto My hand. This symbolic gesture helps you feel connected to Me – to My living Presence.

I have tried this, multiple times.

And amazingly, this simple gesture makes God feel very near.

How encouraging it is to know that we have immediate, constant access to God, at any moment.

He never makes us wait on hold, or tell us that we need to do just one more little (or big) thing to access His grace and mercy.

Next time you find yourself wondering where to turn, think of His right hand, extended to you.

Just waiting for your grasp.

Give Him all that encumbers you.

God – and only God – can handle the heaviest weights of all.

For I hold you by your right hand—I, the Lord your God.
And I say to you,‘Don’t be afraid. I am here to help you.’  ~Isaiah 41:13

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IMG_1375I opened my eyes, and there he was.

Quiet, still.

Staring at me.

My saucer-wide eyes were astonished to see such an animal appear in our residential area.

Thankfully I was able to snap a photo before he sauntered away.

My encounter with the Ethereal Elk was brief; but the seconds that passed seemed expansive – and powerful.

During my daily prayer time since he appeared, I continue to remember that moment.

What struck me most was the tangle of ropes that hung from his rack.

Did I imagine that he looked helpless and forlorn, unable to discard them?

I so wish there had been a away for me to take them away.

My thoughts have churned about the jumbled mess that elk had to carry around.

And what God has shown me is that I have my own entanglements that need to be discarded.

Some of my doubts, fears and mistaken thinking have been part of my carry-on baggage for so long that they are in danger of becoming permanent accessories.

It’s time for some serious shedding.

Brené Brown, in her book, Rising Strong, talks about the stories we make up.

 We can actually become trapped in those stories – so deeply that our brains begin to compose a story (however untrue) that we expect to hear. (parentheses mine)

It would be so nice if there were a special “mind conditioner” that we could use to comb through our knotted thinking.

Alas, undoing our wayward thoughts isn’t so easy.

Here’s where we need God’s help.

Courage and determination may start the process, but He is the one who can unravel the twisted ropes in our minds.

And allow us to shed them for once and for all.

Imagine how would it look if all of us walked around with our gnarled strands of “stuff” hanging outside of our heads.

Quite an image, wouldn’t you say?

Indeed, we are all lugging something around that we would love to dump.

Unfortunately, the Ethereal Elk had no choice. He was stuck with his ropes.

But, thankfully, we are not.

I pray that, with God’s guidance, we can all be brave enough to determine what we can dispose of.

And in doing so, enjoy the peace and serenity that result.

 

 

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A Word is Worth Its Wait

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What happens when you discover that wholehearted has become hole-hearted?

Breezing along through the year with wholehearted as my guiding word has been relatively easy – much like I hoped it would be when I chose it.

However, knowing that God has intentions well beyond our imaginings, I knew in the back of my mind that eventually I would have to climb deeper into the word’s meaning.

Descending that ladder reveals a whole different perspective.

Parts of my heart that I thought were full were stuffed with “filler”…useless material that only fluffed things up for appearances sake.

A few holes were discovered, too; they were allowing the good stuff to merely pass through without staying permanently imbedded.

How did my heart get to this state?  Aside from the mileage related to age, maybe its upkeep has been a bit neglected.

(Have I been ignoring those “Maintenance Required” warnings?)

So…what to do?

Time for a cardio tune-up, to say the least!

And where might I go for help with that?

…To God, of course…the original Repair Man.  I can request that He do some diagnostics and give me the analysis of major issues.

Perhaps a transfusion of unconditional love is necessary – or just increasing the flow rate of gladness and joy would suffice.

Maybe a few minor excisions are indicated.

Cutting out some negativity and discouragement would make a definite improvement.

Or how about a procedure that would open up the valves that are clogged with whatever is keeping me from getting closer to God?

A word can have little meaning until it truly becomes a part of your heart.

Dear Lord,

Thank you for revealing how I can become more wholehearted.  I consent to all recommended repairs, knowing full well that I will have to commit to make some changes too. I have full faith in you as my Care and Repair Provider.

These awarenesses have opened my eyes to your intentions, and I am grateful to know you always there, encouraging, guiding, loving.

You alone can make holes become whole.

And your all-knowing guidance is worth the wait.

O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you in all of heaven above or on the earth below. You keep your covenant and show unfailing love to all who walk before you in wholehearted devotion.  ~1 Kings 8:23

Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.

~ Psalm 27:14

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When God Does the Impossible

canstockphoto14219450The conversation went like this….

L: (5 days ago) I am praying for a miracle – that you will get another ophthalmologist to join your mission team in Colombia.

Me: Many people have been praying for this, and we are so grateful – but at this late date, it could never happen.

L:  I am not giving up!

Me: Well, you go right ahead. (secretly thinking, Fat Chance!)

J: (at dinner, 2 days later) I got the strangest email today. An ophthalmologist who found out about our mission project said she wishes she had known, because she would love to come, and is available.

Me: Well, L has been praying for a miracle.  Maybe this is it!

J:  Maybe I should call this doctor and ask if she is serious about this.

Me: (Beginning to think a ray of hope might be breaking through the clouds)  Why not? Nothing ventured, nothing gained!

J: (the next day)  She would love to come, but doesn’t have all of the money to fund the trip. 

L:  Aren’t there any donors you could ask?

T:  Everyone in our circles has done so much already; we can’t ask any more.

Later that day, a conversation with our project director…

J: Well, one third of the trip cost has been provided, thanks to a mission foundation.  And now that I think of it, I recall that there are some surplus funds available from another organization I am part of. (another one third, covered!)

J: (The next morning, 3 days before the project begins)  Can you believe it? She is coming, and excited to join our team! All the arrangements have been made!

I  had goosebumps (and teary eyes) for a few hours after this, in awe of God’s power and providence.  I know He is capable of working out details beyond our wildest imaginations – but me, of lesser faith than my friend, never  believed for one minute that this was possible.

For the addition of this doctor, and for this important lesson, I am deeply thankful. God is equipping our team with the professionals that we need – and preparing our hearts to pour out His love in the weeks ahead as we serve the people of Cienaga, Colombia.

We are wholeheartedly ready.

Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. Do not stifle the Holy Spirit. ~I Thessalonians 5:17-19

We thank everyone who has been praying for our Medical Ministry International team as we prepare for  our eye project in Cienaga, Colombia, and would be grateful for continued prayers during our project.

Special thanks to Lois – prayer warrior supreme… and believer in miracles.

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