Archives for February 2009

Messages from the Dark

Any other perpetual calendar lovers out there? I admit to having three scattered throughout my house right now. Guess you could say I’m hooked on them. I look forward to the fresh inspiration they offer me each day — and to finding quotes I can use on the blog! :)

One morning last week, one of the calendar quotes really resonated with me. A couple of hours later, my scripture reading for the day held a verse that conveyed nearly the same message. I knew right away it must be a message worth sharing. Some of us may need it more than others right now, but I feel certain we can all learn from it.

My Whispered Words of Encouragement perpetual calendar contained these encouraging words from Oswald Chambers, early 20th century author and Christian minister: “When you are in the dark, listen, and God will give you a very precious message for someone else when you get into the light.”

Some of my recent days weathering the ongoing crisis with my mother-in-law’s health have been awfully close to “dark” — but could probably be described more accurately as very difficult.

Still, I identified with the message in a special way. I knew the Lord would use these difficult days to allow me to help someone in the future.

Later that morning, I read a verse from God’s Word that echoed what I’d read earlier that day. Jesus told his disciples, “‘What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs.'” (Matthew 10:27) Jesus had been telling his disciples about the persecution they would encounter as they ministered in His name, but I think we can apply the teaching to any dark time we may find ourselves in. The Lord will teach us things — will give us precious messages — that He will one day give us opportunities to share with others.

Just this morning, I jotted a few practical things down I’ve been learning over the past several weeks. As dark storm clouds roll across our lives, let’s listen for God’s messages, whether they be practical ideas or spiritual truths and comforts. Let’s ready ourselves to “proclaim from the roofs” the things God has taught us — whether we proclaim them to a crowd or just to an audience of one hurting person. Let’s let our messages from the dark bring light to another.

What have you learned in the dark that might help someone today?

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-5

*Update: Don’s mom has not had to be admitted back into the hospital yet. Better knock on wood after saying that! :) All prayers still appreciated!

Flickr photo by boboroshi,Creative Commons License

Thanking God…and You

Most of you know during the past several weeks, circumstances with my mother-in-law’s health have pushed us to our limits. I began writing about increased demand back on January 11th, and that post referred to events beginning even two or three months prior to that. God has graciously provided strength upon strength. Earlier this month on the blog, I bragged on Him, but I’ve just got to do it again and offer my thanks as well.

I’ve seen God’s hand in our lives in so many ways lately, but three different days from this past week come to mind today. On Tuesday, I had three errands to run in a short amount of time before I needed to be at the hospital. Once again, I felt God carrying me — not only because He loves me, but also because of the prayers going up on my behalf. I found the closest parking space and no one ahead of me in line at my first stop, an empty drive thru at the second and third stop, and no waiting to pull out into traffic along the way. Smooth sailing. And as I sailed, I thanked God as each blessing unfolded before me.

God’s perfect timing continued when I arrived at the hospital. As I was getting on the elevator, Lyndsay, a good friend of Kristin’s from high school days was getting off. She no longer lives in town, and I hadn’t seen her in a very long time. What a blessing to get a hug from her and chat for a minute. If I had not arrived at just that moment, our paths probably wouldn’t have crossed. Isn’t God good?!

God blessed again on Thursday. Don’s mother’s doctor needed to talk with him about an urgent issue, but Don can be very hard to catch on the phone, particularly this semester. He’s in class all morning long, but he popped into his office at one point and found the phone ringing. It was the doc. Connection made at just the right time. Knowing the chances of that happening, I’d call that a mini-miracle — if you can call any miracles “mini”. See a pattern developing here? :)

Split-second timing made all the difference once again on Friday, only this time it saved my skin. I came within inches of getting hit by a car as I walked across the walkway at the hospital’s entrance. I had my head tucked down against the wind and looked up just in time to stop dead in my tracks as a car whizzed past, the driver peering into the hospital rather than looking for pedestrians. I gasped in horror as did another woman who saw the whole thing. Talk about God’s intervention. I’m still thanking God for that one!

If you’ve ever wondered if your prayers make a difference, let me assure you they do. I have felt them and seen them at work time and again over the past few weeks. How I thank my Abba Father (see my last post) for His tender, loving care — and how I thank you for your prayers on our behalf. They’ve made all the difference.

Does anyone else need prayer right now? Please share with a comment. Let us help carry you!

“He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart…” Isaiah 40:11

*As of this minute (and I’ve learned I can only go minute by minute right now), Don’s mom is back at home in her assisted living facility, but she is extremely weak and feeling bad much of the time. They will try the out-patient infusion treatments beginning again tomorrow.

Flickr photo by kelsey_lovefusionphoto

A Coach and a Daddy, Too

3796854172_9f0ee0c2d8_oDon’t you just love it when life surprises you with something you’ve never seen before? I experienced just such a moment this past weekend. While Don was off work on Saturday and could be with his mom at the hospital, I slipped out of town to tend to a must-do errand and also spend some time with family.

Mom and Dad had gone to Tulsa to see my nephew Gavin’s basketball game, and even though I arrived a little late, I managed to get in on the fun, too. Since our girls never played organized basketball, I had never seen a team of 5 and 6 yr. old boys and girls out on the court showing off their skills — or lack thereof :)

Of course, they all looked as cute as could be, especially one little guy who wore a sweat band and rocked and bounced to and fro, trying his hardest, I imagine, to imitate the big guys he sees on tv. I spent most of my time trying to get a good picture of Gavin in action, but between not knowing the ins and out of my camera yet and my batteries running out, I failed to get the shot I wanted. And speaking of shots, Gavin made a basket — before I got there! Darn!

I soon noticed the coaches running up and down the court with their players, offering direction up close and personal. The expected collisions and falls took place, of course, and it was during one of those that I saw a sight I’d never witnessed before while watching high school and college ball. In the midst of several little bodies that managed to wind up on the floor, one little girl must have needed some extra attention because her coach was quickly on the scene, reaching down to help her. The next thing I knew he gathered her up in his arms and carried her off the court. She wrapped her legs around his waist and clung to him for comfort.

You know, that coach must have been a daddy, too. He may not have been her daddy, but he was definitely a daddy. He knew what she needed, and he gave it willingly. Sometimes all a daddy has to do is reach out a hand to comfort or guide or walk alongside his child. But other times more is needed. Sometimes we need to be carried.

Those of us who have daddies who are there for us, who are willing to reach out their hands to us or even carry us, are truly blessed. I realize not everyone is so lucky. But we are all fortunate on another count. We all do have a Father, a heavenly Father, who longs to fill that role for us. At times in scripture, the name “Abba” is used for God. My NIV Bible text notes tell me that “Abba” is Aramaic for “Father” and expresses an especially close relationship to God. In other words, it’s like calling God “Daddy”.

So the question is, are we allowing God to be more than our coach — more than one who offers direction and encouragement? Are we allowing Him to reach down into our hurts and touch us with His helping hand? Do we let Him pick us up and carry us when we need it? Do we lean into Him and cling to Him for comfort? If not, let’s make that choice today. Let’s let Him be our Abba — our Daddy.

“…but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.'” Romans 8:15b

*Flickr photo by Elizabeth Buie, Creative Commons License

**Update: Yes, my mother-in-law is still in the hospital. Hopefully, this hospitalization will be much shorter than the last one. We’re hoping she’ll be stabalized soon and able to go back to her assisted living home. The plan this time will be to reduce the amount of fluid in her 5x per week infusions and hope it will be enough to help keep the kidney working but not enough to overwhelm her system and cause congesive heart failure. As always, thanks for your prayers!

Praying for the President

My post will be brief today. Unfortunately my mother-in-law re-entered the hospital just two short days after her dismissal with another episode of congestive heart failure related to her renal failure. As always, we appreciate your prayers on our behalf, but on this President’s Day weekend, I also want to urge you to remember to pray for the current leader of our nation, President Obama.

Shortly after his election, I told you about The Presidential Prayer Team in my Nov. 5th post. Today I want to pass along news about another vital prayer team for President Obama that my friend Melinda kicked off in January — the Changing One Heart for Many pro-life blogger prayer team. Members of this team commit to pray for President Obama each Monday asking God to change his heart on the subject of abortion (you decide the length of your commitment). Please read Melinda’s Jan. 21st post for details about the team and other information on this important topic. The “Changing One Heart for Many” button on my sidebar will also take you directly to Melinda’s post introducing the effort.

I pray that you’ll consider joining Melinda, me, and, as of last count, nearly 200 others in earnestly pleading with God to change one heart — one heart that could have a life-altering impact on so many others. Even if you’re just a blog reader and don’t actively blog yourself, hop on over and read Melinda’s Sunday posts for updates, info, and the prayer we can pray jointly for President Obama each Monday.

Won’t you answer the challenge? Won’t you enter the fray? Remember, our prayers can make a difference!

“The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord; he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases.” Proverbs 21:1

Flickr photo by The U.S. Army

A Winner…Plus A Valentine’s Treat for All

Just call me Cupid. What fun to make a date night possible for one of you — and to read your comments about your first movie dates with your current significant others. But without further ado, let me announce our Date-Night Giveaway winner. Lyndsey (lyndseyasu), a Valentine’s treat is coming your way! As soon as possible, I’ll be sending you a gift card to one of your favorite movie theaters. And yes, I feel like Cupid must, fluttering around shooting his little arrows of love :) Hope you and Adam have a wonderful time together!

Of course, I’d love to treat you all to a fun night out with your sweetie, but alas, my budget for love arrows is rather limited :) I will, however, give each of you a little Valentine’s treat right here on the blog.

With all of my “ado” and “alas” talk, I think a little something from a great poet of the past is in order. Please enjoy Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s famous Sonnet XLIII written in 1850:

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace
I love thee to the level of everyday’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with a passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints — I love thee with the breadth,
Smiles, tears, all of my life! — and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

Ah, what love! One of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s lines reminds me of another great love written about by Paul in Romans 8:38-39: For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Ah, the greatest love all. Why not count the ways you love Him today?

*Family update: Don’s mom was released from the hospital yesterday and is back at her home in assisted living. How we thank God for this great blessing! She will now be going for out-patient fluid infusions five days a week, in an effort to keep her failing kidney functioning. Once again, thank you so much for your prayers!

*Flickr photo by Glamlife-studentportal