Rebecca Duvall

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Is The Grass Greener?

greener grassHave you ever felt like everyone had ‘more’ or ‘better’ than you? My husband and I have, and were recently about to go down a path that we thought would be beneficial to our family. We felt it was a financial move we needed to make so our family would be better off. I even made the comment to someone, “We need to look out for our family, because no one else will”.

I have to say, I am extremely thankful for Jesus and what He did for me, and you, on the cross. His death on the cross, gave me, and you, direct access to God and the help of the Holy Spirit while hear on earth. When I say direct access, I mean through prayer. We can take all of our questions, concerns or comments, no matter how small or large, to God. We can ask Him for guidance or help with anything! Believing He will answer us. Isn’t that awesome?

Prayer is exactly what my husband and I did as we were mentally preparing for the move we thought we needed to make. I can honestly say, my prayer, which was for clear direction this was His will, not our own, was answered, but not in the way I expected. I was expecting a simple sign, any sign that would show us whether or not He wished for us to stay or go. Instead, I felt conviction. A very uncomfortable conviction.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been studying the life of Moses in the BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) group I’m in. We continually read how the Israelites grumbled and complained over and over again to God. They were thirsty, they were hungry, they didn’t want to do things God’s way, they wanted different food, they didn’t like who God appointed as their leaders, and a few others I’m not mentioning.

As I prayed and worked on this study, God showed me how we’re acting in a way similar to the Israelites. Us thinking we needed to move ourselves to a different place so we could give our family more, was telling God we were not happy with what He had given us. God brought to mind when the Israelites complained the manna was no longer desirable and they wanted quail. God gave them the quail, but so much that they became sick from it. What they thought they needed, they didn’t, and God knew it. What God was giving them was sufficient. What they thought they needed only made them sick. (Numbers 11)

In this weeks BSF study (Numbers 20) Moses and Aaron lose the blessing of leading God’s people into the promised land filled with milk and honey. Moses and Aaron failed to trust God and honor him as holy. When I read this verse, Number 20:12, I became very sad for Moses and Aaron. They had done so much and had dealt with a lot. Then I thought, how could they be so stupid? Why couldn’t they keep it together just a little longer? They were so close!

As I was beginning to get angry with Moses and Aaron, I realized I was acting just as bad as they were, and probably much worse. We were complaining about where God had placed us, as if we could possibly know better. I suddenly felt ashamed and embarrassed of even thinking we knew better than God, what was best for our family or that we could go out and get it on our own. God loves our family and us more than we could imagine or comprehend. God has exactly what we need. We couldn’t possibly get anything better than what He has for us. The last thing we want is to lose a blessing God has planned for our family.

Be still Psalm 46 10

When my husband and I began talking about the blessings we have received from God, I became overwhelmed, seeing God as omniscient and powerful. I realized God has provided my husband and I with a unique life so we’re able to serve Him. We went through a few trials to get here, but I can see how it’s all to be used for God’s glory. We must simply trust and serve as He leads. I find it hard, at times, to be content when the world around me tells me I need more or better. The Lord has blessed my family and I with much. Will you please pray for my husband and I? Please pray that we would remember to be thankful for all we have and act accordingly. Also, that we would look to God for all our needs and desires trusting He will provide.

To answer the question in the title of this post ‘Is the grass greener?’, I strongly believe ‘no’ is the correct conclusion. No matter where you are or what you have, you will experience trials in your life. Some small, with little effort needed to get through. Others can be, and probably will be, life changers that will take everything you’ve got, emotionally, mentally and sometimes even physically. Trust God has you exactly where He needs you and let Him use you right where you are for His glory. Let Him bless you so you can be a blessing to those around you.

My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for all you give us, even though we are not deserving. I pray we would act in a way that shows others we trust You and see You as holy, Amen.

The Blessing In Pneumonia

parting red seaI can’t stop thinking about my BSF group discussions last week and how God directed the Israelites out of Egypt and to the Red Sea. I am in awe of God’s great power. He took them the long way around because he knew coming upon a war would be too much for them and they would run back (Exodus 13:17-18). He knew each of them that well. To think God knows me, and you, that well, and will go out of the way for each of us, because He wants, and knows, what’s best for us. This is so beautiful.

When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea. The Israelites went up out of Egypt armed for battle.   ~ Exodus 13:17-18

Earlier this year my husband found out his body had started rejecting his new kidney. The doctors tried a new experimental drug for this situation, IVIG, to help stop his body from rejecting and ultimately destroying the kidney. IVIG is known to create antibodies that the body should be making. The doctors were hoping the extra antibodies created would help fight off the foreign antigens brought over with the new kidney and then there would be no reason for his body to reject it. This two-day procedure was attempted twice with little then no help.

The doctors then decided to try an additional medication called Rituxan. This drug attaches to certain blood cells, from the immune system, and kills them. The hope is that this drug, along with the IVIG, will help my husband’s body fight off and kill the foreign antigens causing all the ruckus in his body.

(This is completely off topic, but all of this talk about the immune system and killing the foreign antigens made me think of the movie Innerspace.  Here’s the trailer.  It gave me a good laugh. I hope it makes you laugh as well. If I could, I would go in and make peace between the antigens and antibodies fighting in my husbands body.)

 

OK….back to the topic at hand…..

While we were waiting for the Rituxan to be scheduled, my husband came down with pneumonia. This is something that happens to him at least once a year. After the doctors realized this, they decided to put off the kidney rejection meds until six weeks after finishing the medication for his pneumonia. At the time, this was very annoying. This was set to happen at the very beginning of our summer break, and now it was looking like it was going to happen right in the middle of it. We couldn’t plan anything in the beginning of the summer because my husband was sick. We couldn’t plan anything later because he would probably be sick from the new medications. We were all disappointed because we would be stuck at home all summer.

The beginning of the summer was indeed, rocky. Having my husband sick and the kids stuck at home was not a fun thing to deal with. But, after the first few weeks, once my husband started feeling better, we had a wonderful time together simply hanging out. We stayed up late watching movies, laughing and acting crazy, then enjoyed sleeping in and hanging out again. There were a few day trips and shopping excursions, but mostly just hanging out. This was the first time EVER that I didn’t want the kids to go back to school. We had an amazing time bonding as a family over the summer break.

Once the kids did go back to school, we started getting frustrated with the doctors. All we seemed to hear was “we’re working on it and we’ll schedule it soon”. The waiting was so hard. Not knowing what you can and can’t commit to or plan is extremely frustrating. We wanted to get the new kidney rejection meds scheduled and done sooner rather than later. We wanted to get on the other side of it.miracles happen

Thankfully, God knows what’s coming and how we will deal with it. He knows how much we can take and what’s the best way for us to go about it. If my husband did have the new medications at the beginning of the school year, it probably would have been too much for me to handle. Remember, the beginning of the school year was already very chaotic for me. I can’t imagine having my husband sick from meds to deal with on top of everything else. God led us the way that was best for us.

We recently got word from the doctors that my husband has been scheduled for the Rituxan treatment on November 4th. The IVIG treatment, which will be two weeks after the Rituxan, has been scheduled for November 18th and 19th as well. I truly believe this has all been scheduled in God’s timing. What I thought was a pain in my side, my husband’s pneumonia, turned out to be an amazing blessing by God. Time to bond as a family and time to adjust to a rough start to the school year. He leads us on the path that is best for us, which is not always the easiest and shortest. Praise God!

My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for loving and caring for us in an individual and intimate way. I pray we praise you while in the midst of our waiting and uncertain times, knowing you are there leading us through it, Amen.

 

 

God Speaks Life

Denise-MistichDenise Mistich is my guest blogger for today and she is sharing her encouraging story of overcoming depression, something most, if not all, of us have dealt with in some form or another. Wherever you may be today, I hope God speaks to you through this story so you may feel His presence and see His mighty hand at work in your life.

I am fortunate my depression is now just a memory. A memory painful enough to want to forget, yet fuel that keeps me going.

The days and nights I spent in “the dark cloud” seemed endless. I was almost catatonic. My eyes were open, but I could not see. When my friends and family spoke, I could not hear.

I had given up on God and decided Jesus was just a myth. So I had no life. Death was all around me, in me, constantly looming over my head. But, sadly for me at the time, never closing in. It pinned me down and breathed poison over me day and night, relentlessly torturing and taunting. I sat day, after long miserable day, hoping it would finish its work in one fatal blow, doing for me what I could not do for myself. (Thanks be to God.)

When medication, hospitalization, and counseling failed, I quit. I literally laid down to die. I didn’t pray to die, but certainly wished for death to come swiftly. I suppose this was my rock bottom.

I had reached the point where I was so dead on the inside the world to me was silent. Thinking back, I realize it was this silence that allowed me to hear God speak the following words.

“That’s enough.  Get up.  Come on, Get up.  Why are you crying?”

“Get up.  That’s enough.  Don’t you know there are people out there who love you?  What about your brothers?  They love you, dearly.  What about your father?  He loves you, too.”

“No, I’m not talking about your earthly father.  He will not always be there for you.  Where will you be when he dies?”

“I’m talking about your heavenly Father.  He has something better for you.  Now get up, wipe your tears.  You’ve punished yourself enough…”

As He spoke, I got up, dusted myself off and stood tall for the first time in months. Each word literally breathed life back into me and I simply said, “Ok.”

I have been up ever since. I struggled at times and still, depression wants to creep back in now and then. But I can see it coming and I remember it was my response to God’s spoken word that got me out of the darkness the first time. The very same, sustains me.

You see, I have come to realize this response was the last chance for me. I see now that my simple yes was the equivalent to Mary’s  “May it be done unto me according to thy word,” in The Gospel of Luke, Chapter 1. And just like Mary’s response, it would bring life or death, not only for me, but for those around me.

I believe God speaks to everyone.  The book of Hebrews tell us He sustains all things with His word.

It is not a question of whether or not He speaks, it is a question of listening and responding. We have to tune the world out, silence it completely and hear what He has to say. And not just once, but every day of our lives.

Listen for His spoken word, read His written word, and respond, “May it be done unto me according to thy word.”

Your mind will be renewed, your purpose will become clear and you will live to fulfill that purpose. Just look at what Mary brought into the world with this very same response.

Perhaps God is speaking to you now through this article. Or maybe He has spoken to you through a friend or a minister’s encouragement. However He speaks to you, listen, and respond well. You have two choices, life or death. Choose life.

This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. ~ Deuteronomy 30:19-20

On September 18, 7pm EST, I will share more details about my story on The Healing Room radio show.  Dr. Janiece C. Andrews and Margery Phelps will share their stories as well. Together, we will give you some very simple steps to take to begin your healing journey. In the meantime, take some baby steps toward recovery. (Link to radio show:  http://www.blogtalkradio.com/cwa-radio)

When you are depressed, a long list of things to do doesn’t really work. Here are three simple things you can do today that will get you started on your healing journey:

  • Tune the world out for a minimum of 15 minutes today and seek God’s presence. (Do not think about yourself, think about Him.) If you don’t hear anything directly, hang on. It will come.
  • Think of one person you love more than yourself. Perhaps this is someone you haven’t even met. But this someone needs you. Put that person’s feelings in front of your own and cling to life for their benefit.
  • Choose to believe God has a plan and purpose for your life. As He literally said to me, “I’ve got something better for you.”

Denise Davidson Mistich is now an ordained minister and author of Christian books. You can learn more about her ministry on www.spiritual-health-source.com and www.tellmeaboutgod.org. Her book, The Upside Down Heart, is coming soon.

 

Calm To Chaos

calendarThis year was the first time ever I didn’t want the school year to start. I know it sounds crazy, but we have had the most wonderful summer. We didn’t go anywhere fancy like Disneyland, Hawaii or even on our yearly summer trip to Tahoe. We just stayed home and hung out. We had many late nights watching movies followed by many late starts to the day. There was a little shopping here and there, but mainly staying home and connecting as a family. It was a calm summer and I wasn’t bored once! Usually, I can’t sit still and need to be working on something.

Since school has started, we are now on day 17 (not that I’m counting or anything 😀 ), it’s been one chaotic situation after another. I tell you, when it rains, it can most definitely pour! It feels like the kids have been in school for months! Usually, when school starts we slip immediately into a routine. Not this time. I haven’t had two days the same yet. Each day has brought something chaotic, unexpected and unwanted into my day. My calendar is continually changing and I feel like I’m lost in a maze!

The end of last week I snapped! I felt completely overwhelmed and inadequate for what was needed of me. My instinct was to run. Run far far away. This was the kind of overwhelmed feeling that ‘calgon’ couldn’t even fix.

It was the night before BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) training. This is going to be my second year as a group leader. I was literally freaking out! I told myself there was no way I could take on this kind of responsibility this year. There were too many things going on and to many unknowns. I called the BSF teaching leader and told her I couldn’t do it. I had to quit.

She listened to me explain my situation and give her all the reasons why I couldn’t continue to be a leader. She then tried to help me look outside the box at the situation in a couple different ways. That wasn’t helping. It only caused more panic. Then she began to ask me questions.

  • “Did you pray at the end of last year whether or not God wanted you to be a leader again?” My reply “Yes”
  • “What do you believe God’s answer was?” My reply “Yes, I had a very strong desire to be a BSF leader again.”
  • “Do you believe God knew about everything that was going to happen once school started?” My reply “Yes”
  • “Do you think God would have given you that desire if He didn’t want you to be a leader again?” My reply “No”

As I was being asked these questions, I realized I had expected to figure out and deal with each of these chaotic situations on my own. I knew God was there, but I wasn’t looking to Him for any answers. I was acting as if I alone had to work out my schedule, as well as everyone else’s. I assumed everyone around me had expectations of me that I didn’t think I could live up to.keep calm

I then began to remember all of the amazing things God did for me during the previous BSF year. He always gave me special pockets of time to get my study done even when I complained that I didn’t see how I would get it done because I was to busy. But that’s the key; I talked to God about it. Well, not really talk, more like complain and whine. But still, I communicated to God what I was going through and looked to him for the answers. This time I kept it all in my head and tried to figure it out myself. Why, you may ask. Well, I’m not sure, but I do feel like a stupid idiot for letting myself get all worked up about it.

Thankfully, by the end of the conversation I had with my BSF teaching leader I realized I needed to bring God back into the mix. I had some how forgotten to include Him in my chaos. I can’t tell you that things magically got better over night. There are still some chaotic things going on in my life. What I can tell you is, I feel calmer and at peace in the midst of my chaos.

I’d like to leave you with one of my favorite verses in the Bible, Romans 12:12, as our prayer for today, which God has reminded me of recently.

Be joyful in hope (Believe God is there in the midst of your chaos)

Be patient in affliction (Trust God in His timing)

Be faithful in prayer (Always talk to God)

JoyfulPatientFaithful 2

In His Way

holding bookAbout three years ago I heard the gentle whisper of God saying He wanted me to share with others my struggles. He wanted me to write how He helped me overcome my trials as I walked through them. At first, I laughed and blew it off. Yes, I use to do that when God first asked me to do something I’ve never done before. Especially if it’s something I’ve never even considered doing. Then as He usually does, He continued to remind me what He wanted me to do, until I sat down and talked to Him about it.

My excuses not to write my story were endless.

  • I’m not good at writing
  • I don’t know proper grammar to write a book
  • I don’t know what to write about
  • Who cares about my life and what I’m going through
  • I don’t have time to write
  • I don’t know the first thing about writing a book

As I gave God all of my excuses, which I thought were pretty good ones, He continued to tell me what I was to do. Once I finally decided to try, not because I wanted to, but because I wanted to show God how I couldn’t, He either put people in my path, or directed me to people, who would help and encourage me to write.

Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. ~ Hebrews 13:20-21

It’s been an amazing three years! I feel blessed by the many wonderful people God has brought alongside me to complete the task of writing my story. Actually, it’s not just my story. It’s a story about family, marriage and coming to faith. So it’s my family’s story, written in my perspective. Below is the brief description of the book, which you’ll find on the back cover of, ‘In His Way’.

Throughout much of my married life, I lived under the illusion that I had it all together – it was everyone else that needed fixing. Several years into my second marriage my husband, a Deputy Sheriff, became a workaholic and was never home. Meanwhile, I became a volunteeraholic, too busy to face the fact that we had become two strangers under one roof, raising three kids.

God revealed Himself to me through the different women I volunteered with. As my heart slowly opened to God’s presence, my marriage came crashing down around me. As I cried out for God’s help, I discovered my husband’s affair. I found myself surrounded by faithful people who gave me the strength to face the problems in my marriage and the tools needed to begin fixing it.

Over the next four years, my husband’s health deteriorated and he was forced to retire. Through this God continually showed me I was In His Way and then, when He knew He had my attention, He would proceed to show me how to do things In His Way. In the end, what God told me to do, saved my husband’s life, and our marriage. What was broken is now fixed by the grace and love of God.

I wrote this book for God and now I give it to Him, trusting it will be read by everyone He wishes to read it. My hope is that it helps others understand the love God has for them. I hope it turns people to God and the beautiful life He has planned for them. I hope it helps others get out of God’s way so they too can do things In His Way.

My book is now available on Amazon in paperback and ebook (Kindle). If you choose to read it, I would appreciate it if you would leave a review on Amazon. Even if you don’t like it. I just ask that you ask yourself how you would feel if someone wrote that about you before leaving your comment. I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for the encouragement and enabling You give us to step out and be all You know we can be. I pray we each take time to be quiet and still so we can hear Your gentle whisper, Amen

In His Way

Claim It!

Gods-gift-to-usA couple of months ago, I mentioned several CD’s I purchased from a Joyce Meyer Conference in a post called ‘I Fell On My face’.  If you haven’t gotten a chance to read it or can’t remember the details, please click here.  If you can’t remember, don’t worry, I won’t tell.  I had to go back and read it again and I’m the one who wrote it!

I listened to the CD, Speaking the Truth, a few weeks ago.  In it Joyce talks about not only the importance of not speaking negatively, but how we need to speak positively.  For example, we are not to just stop saying things like “I’m never going to get the job I really want”. We are to instead say things like “I am going to have a job doing  _____”.  Insert whatever your dream job is.

We need to claim the desires God puts in our hearts.  I mean God put them there after all, right?  If you’re not sure a desire is from God then you can, should, pray about it.  You can use the meditation technique I talked about in a recent post Sitting With Jesus.  Ask Jesus to reveal His desires for you.  Ask for the desires that are not from Him to be removed.  He will. All you need to do is ask. Then while believing that He is working to make it happen, pay attention to His leading.

“If you have faith in God,” Jesus answered, “truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them.  Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” ~ Mark 11:22-24 (NIV)

After listening to this CD, several times, I became excited.  While driving in the car I turned off the radio and started claiming the desires I have.  The desires I believe God has given to me.  I also thanked God for these desires. I thanked Him from not only filling my heart with these desires but enabling me to carry them out.  I thanked Him for the many opportunities it has already brought to my life and the wonderful experiences I’ve had.

I also said “If any of these things are not from You, then please help me know and remove them from my heart”.  I wished for God to close the door on whatever I might be doing that wasn’t His will for me.  I want to please God, not the world, whatever that might look like.desire

The things I’ve experienced since that day in my car claiming the things I desire that are not as of yet, has been absolutely mind blowing.  AMAZING!  The people God has placed in my life and the conversations I have had are only things that God could have arranged.  I do, and will continue to, claim the things that are not as of yet.  I know God has incredible things for me and for you.  I wait, with anticipation, for the things God is bringing to me. I act, with excitement and a thankful heart, on the things God puts in front of me each day.

I must say again, as I know I have many times already.  Please take time to not only speak to God and listen for what He says in return, but pray with anticipation.  Believe God is working on bringing you to your hearts desires.  Follow His lead and act when He prompts you.  Let God blow your mind!  Claim the gifts God has for you.

My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for being in our yesterday, today and tomorrow. Thank you for preparing us to receive the beautiful gifts you have for us as we go through this life and into the next with You.  Lord, I pray we believe, always, that your love is all we need, Amen

Faith and Hope

By Robert Duvall

faith hope loveFaith and hope are two words that we hear frequently when we are faced with serious challenges. There have been many times in my own life when I have lost my faith and given up on hope. I have taken a hard look back at times when those two words meant nothing to me. Friends and family with nothing but good intentions tried to encourage me during or after a traumatic event with faith and hope and what they said fell on deaf ears. Everyone experiences hard times, health issues, abusive and failed relationships, loss of a family member or friend, financial troubles just to name a few.

For me it was mostly anger and pain that kept me from turning to God to help me through my darkest hours. That’s when my faith was at its lowest, if I had any at all. I also had no hope. It all seemed to me like such a waste of time. I was blinded by anger, hopelessness, anxiety, depression and fear. I know that during those times I treated my family as if they were to blame for what I was going through.

Over a period of 5 years I had suffered 2 heart attacks, near fatal pancreatitis, a stroke and complete kidney failure. To top it off, I was forced to medically retire from my law enforcement career which I had served over 25 years. But one night I had enough. At 3 am I went to my downstairs living room, got down on my knees and gave it all to God. I promised that I would be a better husband to my wife and a better father to my children. I promised that I would rely on Him to get me through this. I stopped the pity party and worked on being positive and faithful. I now had hope.

Things didn’t change overnight but they did improve and continue to get better. I will be plagued with medical issues all my life. I just recently found out that the kidney my wife donated to me to save my life is now in rejection. I will soon have to endure chemotherapy. But my faith is strong and I have renewed hope.

2 corinthians 5 7 walk by faith

Nothing that is good comes easy. Lessons that are painful are the ones you remember. Prayer is so powerful and it does work. Don’t let anything take away your faith and hope. Give it over to God, completely.

My prayer for us today ~ Lord, thank you for the trails you have placed in our lives. I pray Lord that we look for you in the trials of our lives to see the blessings and help that you alone can give, Amen.

Up On The Mountain Top

mountainI recently had an opportunity to spend a weekend with a few friends up in Nevada City.  We found a cute 2 room cottage at the Nevada City Inn.  It was nice, clean and far from home, so it was all good!  Throughout the day we laughed and cried as we shared our stories.  Stories of our past and current frustrations; recent failures;  pain from being hurt; desires for our families; hopes of the future; dreams of what may be.  Each of these stories had a common thread….God.

Later in the evening we spent some time praising and worshiping God by dancing and singing to some of our favorite music.  I think Mandisa’s song Stronger was the theme for the night.

“The pain ain’t gonna last forever

And things can only get better

Believe me, this is gonna make you stronger”

I’m always looking ahead to the next trip, when I’ll get to escape from my daily routine.  Whether it’s with friends on a retreat, a family vacation or alone with my husband.  Then as the trip comes to a close I find myself wishing the experience wouldn’t end.   So much so that I put myself in a negative mood before returning home.  This was definitely the case this past weekend.

At BSF we’re studying the book of Matthew.  This week’s study was on Chapter 17.  When Peter, James and John witnessed Jesus transfigured up high on the mountain.  What an amazing thing to be a part of.  As we discussed at BSF today, I don’t think Peter wanted this ‘mountain top’ experience to end.  So he suggested putting up tents or shelters.  It could have been because he didn’t know what to do and felt the need to do something, but I think he didn’t want this moment with Jesus, Moses and Elijah to end.  But then God steps in and basically tells Peter to stop and listen.  He needed to pay attention to what was going on to help him be better prepared for what was to come.Potter clay

During the BSF lecture today I heard “Mountain top experiences are not meant to be long term, they are simply preparation for what is to come”. I felt like Peter up on that mountain.  Like God was telling me to stop, listen and pay attention when on the mountain top.

I always looked at the mountain top experiences (time away) as time to unwind, relax, have fun and refresh.  I never saw it as a time to learn something and I certainly never wanted them to end.  I can’t get “preparation for what is to come” out of my head.  It makes me excited for my next ‘mountain top’ experience!

Thankfully I’ll be attending the BSF Retreat in a few weeks.  I am definitely looking at this differently now.  This will be more than a time to escape the daily routine of life and connect with fellow BSF believers.  This will be a time to listen.  This will be a time God will use to prepare me for what is to come.  Oh, I am so excited!  Not for the retreat, well, yes, I am of course excited for the retreat.  I’m even more excited to come back to see what God is preparing me for.  To see how I will get to use what I learn.

I refuse to worry about what God might be preparing me for.  Whether it be a difficult trial or an amazing opportunity, I know God will equip, is equipping, me for all I need.

How do you come down from a ‘mountain top’ experience?

My prayer for us today ~ Father God, I thank you for the opportunities to break away from our daily routines. I pray we take time to be still and listen for You during these precious times given to us by You.

Play Time

Last week my husband had to be in San Diego for a doctor’s appointment.  We decided to turn it into a fun trip for just the two of us.  We had 4 wonderful days together with no distractions.  No meetings, appointments, car pools, cleaning or helping with homework.  It was wonderful!

photoThe drive down was long.  I was exhausted from the busy past few weeks so it was nice to sit and relax with nothing to do for hours.  We did stop for breakfast in Santa Nella at our favorite stop, Andersen’s Pea Soup Restaurant.  For many years it was our family tradition to stop there with the kids on the way down to Disneyland.  Although, the past few years we haven’t stopped.  We’re usually in such a rush to get to Disneyland so we could start having ‘fun’ we missed out on the interesting conversation we always have when sitting around a table together.

We arrived in San Diego by mid afternoon.  We had a beautiful view from our room and were able to watch several military boats head out to sea.  The evening was filled with walking around the Gaslamp district.  With so many restaurant choices it was hard to decide where to eat.  We finally ended up at Fred’s Mexican Café.  The food was delicious!  I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys Mexican food.Hyatt Manchester View

The first day of our getaway was heaven!  The second day didn’t start off so well.  Our GPS decided to take us the long way around to the doctor’s office and it was a little confusing to understand where to turn.  So with each turn we missed it had us go further and further out of our way.  Now that I think back to the situation, it’s pretty funny.  However, at the time, it was very stressful.  Robert was freaking out convinced we were going to miss the appointment and acting as if we already had.  It took everything in me not to lecture him about his attitude.  Thankfully, when we arrived at the doctor’s office the doctor was running late too!

The appointment went well and within a few hours we were back on the road, heading for Disneyland!  We spent the next 2 days holding hands while walking around Disneyland.  It felt as if we were in a fairytale.  I experienced Disneyland in a way I never had before.  Being able to look at and experience everything without having children pulling me in multiple directions was magical!  While standing in some of the lines a recording would come on saying something like “…keep your hands and feet in, and please, watch your children”.  We would look at each other and laugh every time, because we didn’t have any with us.photo(2)

A few times while in Disneyland we were asked if we were celebrating anything.  Robert would always tell them we were celebrating how a year ago I gave him a kidney and saved his life.  Each time it opened up the door for us to share our faith with them.  We had some amazing God centered conversations with different employees of Disneyland. It was absolutely beautiful.

I know we each have busy schedules and it’s hard to make time for our spouses.  I’ve learned the importance of spending time together, with no distractions. I also believe God will bless us and our families when we do this.  Whether it be snuggling up on the couch watching a movie, having a meal together, or getting away for a day.  It’s important to take the time to connect.

Remember Genesis 2:18 says The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”

I don’t think we can be the helper God created us to be for our spouse if we are not connected, committed, to our spouse.  I believe spending time together is important.

My prayer for us today ~ Lord, I thank you for creating the man as the spiritual leader and the woman as his helper.  I pray you give us each the desire to fulfill our role in a way that is glorifying to You, Amen

Giving Back

colors of fallNovember is a popular time for giving thanks and stewardship campaigns in churches.  I’ve heard that the attendance drops in churches during this month.  People don’t want to hear about the many reasons they should give their money to church.  I use to completely agree.

Money is a difficult topic to talk about.  Some people live paycheck to paycheck.  They think they don’t have anything to give.  Other people have plenty.  They feel they worked hard for it and won’t give it away with nothing in return.

2 Corinthians 8:12 says “For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have.”  God knows what you have.  As long as you are willing to give of what you have, and do, then it will be acceptable by God.

I do believe we should each give to the church.  I don’t think we should give, tithe, just because the church, oranswers found prayer pastor, tells us to.  I think we should each pray about it.  Ask God to reveal how much we should give.  Yes, tithe means 10%.  Again, don’t give 10% just because that’s what others are telling you to give.  Ask God.  Share with God your hesitations on giving.  Ask God to prepare your heart to give the way He wishes you to.  Then when you do hear from God, step out in faith by giving and trusting He will provide for all your needs and bless you in ways you could not imagine.

2 Corinthians 9:7 says “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

A little over two years ago we were told Robert’s medical pay had run out.  He was going to be medically retired and would only receive 50% of his salary.  We were devastated!  We had no idea how we were going to pay for everything each month.

Around the same time, God was calling us to increase our giving.  We felt God was asking us to quadruple our giving.  We weren’t giving much at the time, but quadrupling it when our income was being cut in half seemed insane.  After praying and talking about it, we decided to increase our giving.  We quadrupled our giving the next month.  What we gave monthly was now what we gave weekly.  We also decided not to worry about our finances.  We told God we believed He would take care of our family’s needs.

mailboxWithin about a month we started receiving unexpected checks in the mail.  One because of a miscalculation on his retirement, another because his sick leave was used incorrectly.  Then we were told we had paid into long term disability and were entitled to monthly checks to help with our monthly expenses.  I know it sounds crazy, but its true!

God blessed us abundantly for being obedient and faithful.  We weren’t filled with worry when we gave.  We gave believing we would be taken care of.  When God put it on our heart to quadruple our giving, it wasn’t 10%.  God knew what we were able to give.  The next year we did increase our giving.  We now give 10%.  Sometimes when extra expenses come up, I must confess, I do wonder how we will manage.  Then I give it to God in prayer and anxiously wait to see how He will provide, because He always does.

My prayer for us today ~ Lord, thank you for the gifts and abilities you provide daily.  I pray we are each the cheerful giver you created us to be, Amen.

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