Saturday, April 30

"For I know the plans I have for you" declares the Lord

There have been some thoughts in my head and heart lately.  And, I have heard the verse, which is my favorite "life" verse - "For I know the plans I have for you" declares the Lord "plans to prosper you and not to harm you - plans to give you a hope and a future.  You will call on me and come and pray to me and I will listen.  You will seek me and I will be found by you when you seek me with all your heart."  (okay, I may have mixed up or forgotten some part. bit I think I have the main parts!)

In other words - GOD KNOWS the will for my life ~ and HE IS SOVEREIGN and NOTHING that happens is out of his will, or done for my harm.  That is a big one, especially since there are times when I am wondering aloud "God, you really know what you are doing because I just don't get it!!"

Last nite Alvin and I along with two other couples, went to see the Hollywood movie SOUL SURFER which is the story of Beth Hamilton, who got her arm bit off by a shark while practicing in the ocean.  You really should go and see it for yourself.  Within the movie, the verse that I quote above - is also quoted.  Bethany said at one point she wondered about what God was going to do with her life.
I am sure she is not the only one that has wondered that - or has asked God if He really knows what He is doing?

God himself knows that He heard a lot of my ranting and raving along those lines over the past 2.5 years or slightly more.  I am so glad HE IS BIGGER than all my stuff!  O Lord, thank-you!

This week I have had many mixed up thoughts again regarding God's plan and today as Alvin and I were driving home from the land - I voiced it.  I think I started off by saying to him, "okay, I am going to say something and it will sound like I am a horrible person, I know that, but here it is ........................."
And with that I proceeded to tell him some of the deep thoughts I have been mulling around in regards to some emotions/some thoughts/some things that have arisen over this past week that takes me back to losing my firstborn grandson Jay....

Alvin and I were able to talk about it - and as usual with my man, he helps me sometimes "unpack" my thoughts and they usually don't look quite as ugly when he helps me work through them.  God knows all about them, and really, I don't have to speak them out loud to anyone else - but often Alvin or others within my family, are really good sounding boards.  I realize that sometimes I just have to call it for what it is.  Doesn't always look pretty, but it always feels much better to speak it out loud!

So tonight I am thankful for many things ... but mostly for a Saviour who is bigger than my messy thoughts and also unconditionally loving!  He does have HIS plan for ME!!! A plan to prosper me and NOT to harm me.  A plan to give me a HOPE and a FUTURE!!  Thank you Lord God!

Saturday, April 23

Easter Reflections

This past week has been a full one, and a good one.  My thoughts were drawn to "Passion Week" beginning with the sermon Pastor Dave gave at Eastview Community Church last Sunday.  It was based on Mark 10 from the section in verse 35 - 45 when Jesus talked with his disciples and He asked them "what do you want me to do for you?"  and then the story about Blind Bart receiving his sight and Jesus asking him "What do you want me to do for you?"  To which, if you read in chapter 10 verses 46-52 Bartimaeus replies "Rabbi, I want to see."  Jesus says to him "Go, your faith has healed you!"  (New International Version Bible)

This sermon moved me.  I took notes as I normally do.  What do I want Jesus to do for me?  And is my faith so strong as blind Bart's?  (or as strong as the woman who touched the hem of Jesus robe and was healed?)  This was the beginning of my week.  And the beginning of "Passion Week" which represents the week between Palm Sunday leading up to Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday!

Our church invited people to come and go through the reflective prayer stations they set up.  On Monday I went.  It was very quiet.  I was alone and could spend as much time as I wanted.  Part of the first station included time looking at prints on the wall of the foyer.  They are absolutely beautiful - artist is J. Michael Belkin and the series is called Journey with the Messiah.  You can google and see them.  They are stunning.  Monday was good - and I was glad to be able to take the time to go/sit/reflect/journal/pray.

Our care group from Eastview went on Thursday night and went through the reflection/prayer stations.  I found out that each night had a different emphasis on the reflective components and the way the stations were set up.  That way if you went one night - it would be different the next.  Once again, I was blessed by it.

Yesterday Alvin and I went to the Good Friday service at Eastview.  It was a combination of worship team/choir/drama and we were both greatly moved by various parts.  I think the one line that struck me however was towards the end when he said "Jesus went to Hell for you so he wouldn't have to be in Heaven without you!"  WOW.... powerful words.  Powerful truth.  Good Friday - the day that (almost 2000 years ago Jesus died on the cross for OUR (yours and mine - past, present and future) SINS.  He conquered death - grabbing the keys out of Satan's hands!  And tomorrow as we celebrate EASTER we celebrate the fact that HE HAS RISEN!!!  Thank you JESUS!

I will go to church tomorrow - although I will go myself since Alvin has to work.  Once again, I will be reminded of the most amazing thing ever done for me - what love Jesus had for US!!

Tomorrow a lot of the world will celebrate HIS RESURRECTION.  It is my hope and prayer for you - that you will know JESUS and experience his amazing grace!!

As it says in John 3:16  "For God so loved the world that HE gave HIS ONE AND ONLY SON that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life!!"

Sunday, April 10

the week in retrospect

It is Sunday night.  I dropped my sweet man off at the fire hall for his second of two night shifts.  Last night he got no sleep.  Tonight - time will tell.  I am not spending some time sitting in the coffee shop, (you know which one) and taking advantage of the free wireless again.  It is starting to get busier here - as it is now almost 7 pm.  I have enjoyed a big mug of black coffee and tonight it is especially hard to not overhear conversations around me.  You know - it is not as if I WANT to hear them - but they are just there...

It has been a while since I have blogged.  It has been a hard week.  Hard in an emotional way - as I have walked alongside of Alvin as he has processed some extremely hard HARD stuff from work.  Stuff that warranted a text out to our close friends asking them to pray for strength.  A week later, we see how the prayers and support of our friends have helped Alvin walk through the process of grieving (again).

Just not even a week prior I had coffee with my friend Josie - and shared with her some of the deep stuff on my heart - and as we talked over the hard things we have walked through - and the stresses of it all - I think my words to her were something like this "I sometimes wonder what next - and want to ask God - please God - nothing more - we can't take it."  Hmmm....

I am reminded again of what the word says - and I do not have my bible here this time - but they are the words to this effect - that God give us what we need to stand up against whatever comes our way... when it comes He will see us through it."  Honestly some times I just want to say -   but God - what about her - what about him ...  and sometimes when I say that to God - I even have someone in mind!!
WHY GOD does it seem _________ NEVER has anything happen - or anything hard - or anything to go through!! 

But typical of God - MY Lord - and the Sovereign of my life ~ he gently reminds me not to compare my self to anyone else - but to just keep my eyes on him - and he will supply all I need! And he does.  Only GOD.

I have seen God in many ways this week - through people, through circumstances - through the songs I hear outside our window at night as nature stays up! (Geese never seem to sleep).  I have seen God through my little grandson Everett - who loves life!! He makes us smile with his dances!!  I have seen God through the friends who asked "How is Alvin doing..." and "We are praying for you" .... how beautiful the "church" is when we are surrounded by those who love God and love us with His love!
I have seen God this week in some of the people I have processed through my work.  I had one conversation with a guy who gave me a fridge magnet with a Bible verse on it.  Over and over again, I am reminded that God is at work in my life, and in the lives of those around me!  I am thankful.

This week I have worked with amazing co-workers.  We have laughed together.  I have had coffee with friends.  I have had times with my family! (love that so much!)  I have laughed with my husband and cried with him.  It has been a week that is behind us - but one in which we have grown, and I am thankful.

What does the week ahead hold? Tomorrow night I finish up the last bible study at church with the other women.  We have been studying a bible study by Beth Moore since the middle of January.  It has been a blessing! It also means that I will going out of town for three days - on a mobile clinic.  It will be the longest one so far.  Alvin - he is hoping that they will move forward on the house build - and I have a feeling they will!  Our little grandson and his mommy and daddy are heading to Mexico for the week, and we will miss them. 

The week ahead is full - and it is my prayer that we will experience God in many ways along the way.  Through people.  Through places.  Through nature.  Through work.  Through play.   We do not know what the week holds, but one thing I am sure - is that I know WHO holds my week!  It it my prayer that my life with hold the fragrance of Jesus as I interact with others.  Lord, please give me the grace to do so!  May your week hold blessings and surprises with each day too!

Saturday, April 2

the simple things in life

"It seems we seldom allow ourselves time to enjoy the simple things in life:  natural landscapes, great conversation, a comfortable chair, and time to savor that perfect cup of coffee...."
this quote was taken from my coffee cup at Mountain Bean

I think that the people who came up with MOUNTAIN BEAN coffee shops, are onto the same thing that I have been seeking for a long time ~ the "simple things in life".  Who would have thought that my heart's desire is quoted on my take out coffee!!

The simple things in life!  Ahhh.... sometimes I wonder if I even KNOW what it means.  Years ago our care group at the time, studied a book, which in turn prompted us to begin doing mission trips.  I remember that when I came away from that trip - I wept.  My heart was changed.  Each time I do a mission trip - it is changed.  But somehow - years later ~ I am still "seeking".  What does it mean "the simple things in life".  Somehow my life just gets cluttered up with stuff.  It gets bogged down.  It gets stifled.  It gets messy.  And I still - years and years later long for the simple things in life!

I think I do get it, albeit slowly.  I am reading a book called A Thousand Gifts and I have to read and re-read the pages so that their essence soaks into my being.  She encourages me to find the thanksgiving in each and every day - and find 1000 Gifts along the way.  I have begun to record those a few at a time.

I long for the simple life - likely because my nature is one that can get going and caught up in people and places and things very easily.  My walk through depression has taught me alot about saying no to things, and about taking time for my well-being, but I still tend to get moving like a runaway caboose.

And then I hear the simple things in life beckoning me to just curl up on the big old armchair, and to just sit... to just be.  Ah... God is teaching this old gal, slowly but surely.  I am so glad HE is so patient with me!

Today I noticed things like the way the river has broken up and has already risen ...
At night I hear the sound of the geese that are hanging out at the river.  I love sleeping at mom k's condo with the windows open.
Today I noticed how the sun warmed my body - and truly felt like spring.
How the snow has made interesting shapes as the sun has been melting it slowly.

I am asking God to continue to open my eyes to the simple things - to the most beautiful things that I otherwise miss when I am so "busy" running here and there.  Someone once said that "If the devil can't get you down, he will get you busy!"  Yep, I agree.

God is showing me more - he is also "opening the eyes of my heart" to His voice, to his creation, to his presence.  Ah, the simple things in life....  and by the way - they do seem to go well with a great cup of coffee too!