Monday, March 31, 2008

Trusting God When Life Doesn't Make Sense

Frank & I did trust God in regards to his mother, and thankfully, she is doing much better. She should be out of the hospital on Tuesday. I appreciate chapter 24 because all of us have been through times when life just didn't make sense. I remember a particular time when Tori was in the hospital following her accident, and she had been through a particularly long life-saving operation. Her sister Teresa and I spent the night in the hospital waiting room, along with my granddaughters. Early in the morning, a thief grabbed my purse. I was devastated. I had been through so much already and now all my ID was gone as well as my money. I had been buying hospital food to feed Teresa and the granddaughters. All of the sudden, I had nothing. Life didn't make sense just then. Later in the day, I was on the phone to Frank, explaining what had happened. A stranger overheard my conversation and gave me some money. I asked for his address so I could repay him. He wouldn't give it to me, but his wife finally gave it to me. A week later Frank and I sent him a check for more than he gave me, but he never cashed it. In the midst of my struggle, God sent a generous man to provide my needs. What an awesome God we have! Joel says in this chapter, "He knows how much you can take, and in your times of distress, keep in mind, God is enlarging you. The struggle is giving you strength."

Monday, March 24, 2008

The Purpose of Trials

I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter. We had the kind of Easter that makes chapter 23, "The Purpose of Trials" relevant. We had just returned from a wonderful three weeks in Arizona to learn that Frank's mom had been hospitalized. We spent Easter Sunday driving to Joplin to see her. It was tough for Frank. "Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him." (James 1:12) This verse is an encouragement to me as was the whole chapter in Your Best Life Now. Joel says, "We all face challenges, struggles, and times when things don't go our way......God has a divine purpose for every challenge that comes into our lives. He doesn't send problems, but sometimes He allows us to go through them." In difficult times we find what is inside us. I Peter 4:12 says, "Don't be amazed at the fiery ordeal that's taking place to test your quality as though something strange was happening." God uses trials to cleanse us, purify us, and refine us so that we can become the person God wants us to be. Joel says that God is more interested in changing us than He is in changing our circumstances. Do we have what it takes? Will we trust God to get us through the tough spots? God may be trying to toughen us up a little. Will we soar with the eagles? Joel says that without the resistance of air, an eagle can't soar. Our trials serve to make us stronger.

Monday, March 17, 2008

God's Timing

I stand amazed at God's Timing over and over again, and today is a perfect example. I have referred to my friend Linda in this blog. Her picture is on my fridge, so I can see, remember, and get over the hurdle of losing her, and I was feeling pretty proud of myself last night as I looked at it. There were heart twinges, but I was ok, knowing she was in God's Arms.
Today, I talked to my son on break, and he said, "Mom, I need to read something to you, do you have a minute?" He began reading, and it was such an uplifting letter, written to him when he was in Afghanistan, I believe. At the end of the letter it mentions Jeremiah 29:11, one of my favorite all time verses, and then he said, "Mom, it is signed 'LINDA'!" I lost it. It says: "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 hope and a future." She wrote that out for him when he was just going through some rough waters. My friend is now experiencing perfection.
God's Timing is always PERFECT, and in our imperfect world, we tend to forget that. He always answers, it may be "Yes, No, or WAIT" but He always does, and IN HIS TIME!
I trust that we will wait and watch for His timing in our own lives.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Your Inner self

A lot has happened in the last two months - that remind me of the inner self staying strong. A dear, dear friend named Linda went into the hospital in Denver on the 14th of January 2008 for what she thought/hoped/prayed would be only a 5-7 day stay, with a longer recovery. Over the course of six plus weeks, she fought like a trouper to overcome the six hour surgery, and we thought she was going to come through it, till the 27th of February, and she passed away on the 28th. One of the most telling comments was "She is a FIGHTER, she is going to overcome this!" SO many things happened, almost every weekend we would get a call to pray for her, and quickly, she was incredibly ill, and with God's Strength, that inner woman came through, and would appear to be getting better, and the next setback would hit. So many over the course of the recovery and she just wore out, bless her heart. We will all miss her incredibly. When we think of her, we think laughter. No matter what beset her, kids in the military, deploying, moving, etc, she was able to look on the bright side, pull up her strong inner woman, and laugh at some point. Her inner person is laughing and singing in Heaven today. She was a testimony to all to the end.

I was not here for her Memorial, I flew to Fayetteville, NC to help my son Grant drive back, with his car on a trailer behind a 16 foot Budget van. There was a possibility of being back Friday night, but with delays, and weather, icy roads that caused an overnight halt in Frankfort, KY... we got back on Sunday, and the Memorial was on Saturday, and lasted for two hours, then they had a wonderful time of fellowship after.

My son and I listened to the first 6 Chapters of Joel's next book on CD as we traversed MO and KS Sunday. Joel does go back over a lot of things covered in this book in the new one, but my son at one point said, "Mom, I LIKE this guy."

I will now think of my 'inner woman' standing up when I feel down from now on. There are so many things that try to keep us down. Losing my friend is just the pitts... on the trip I was thinking of things to tell her, then would realize I couldn't.... she used to get such a kick out of my trip excursions, and would share her own stories of her camping trips that she adored. I would shake off the feelings of loss and tell myself to buck up and get on with it... that she is well off now.

My son leaves for his next post in two weeks, Fairbanks, AK. He was pretty shocked when he was told where he was going, but within a short time, he began to look forward to the duty station, however-he may be deploying soon. His inner man is thinking forward to what it holds for him, the new adventures. I have had to tell myself to just "let go and Let GOD" so many times, because I know with God's protection he will be just fine, in fact, I HOPE to go visit him!

There were so many, many statements on the CD that we both identified with, and at one point Grant stated that he knew of someone he would like to have listen to the CD.

I am really, really enjoying this blog, I can relate to the book so much, and one out-of-the-ordinary thing happened at the airport when I was leaving for Fayetteville via Atlanta. I was reading ahead in our book, taking notes, so I could blog when I got to Grant's home, and had closed the book for a moment. A man leaned over, and in a strange tone asked "ARE you enjoying THAT book?" "Well, yessir, I am." "Re-all-y?" he said. "Yes, really. My husband is not a big fan of Joel, but he hasn't read the book, but I AM. I feel you can get anything out of any book, you take what you can use." I replied. He waited a minute, then his nose sort of out of joint, he said "Do you believe in Jesus Christ?" I said yes. He asked a few more pointed questions, then he said, "ARE you a born again BELIEVER?" I looked him right in the eye, and I said "IS THERE ANY OTHER WAY?" He sat back for a moment, then said "There are a lot of other ways you could have answered that, that was good." That was the end of our conversation, he got on his plane, I waited. I continue to wonder what he was really asking me. You can tell it has left me with more questions than answers that I will probably never get.

Thank you, Patty, for inviting me to this blog. It has opened my eyes to possibilities, reinforced beliefs, and lead to some interesting discussions!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Aim High and avoid Disappointment

The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.

Michelangelo said it best. While his message underlies the importance of HOPE I do believe that Chapter 20 talking about disappointment can be, and is for some people, the killer of hope. Without hope we don't even have the ability to dream and without dreams we can't utilize the enormous power of our minds and souls. Set your aim high, work hard, dream hard and let the power of God work his magic for you.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Defeating Disappointments

Greetings from Arizona! I'm spending the next three weeks with Hubby. We just spent the weekend at the Grand Canyon enjoying marvelous vistas.

It's Monday and time to start a new chapter. Chapter 20 is about facing disappointment and defeating it. Joel says, "When you do something wrong, don't hold on to it and beat yourself up about it. Admit it, seek forgiveness, and move on. Be quick to let go of your mistakes, failures, hurts, pains, and sins."

I wonder if Joel doesn't face disappointment over the way his message is received sometimes. Many ministers and some Christians feel like that Joel offers too much hope. Some prefer to live in pessimism. If you never get your hopes up, you won't face disappointment. Right? As absurd as the idea that too much hope can be dangerous is, many people buy into it. Michelangelo said, "The greater danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it." Wayne Dyer, a psychologist turned writer, said, "The danger is not in false hope, rather it is in no hope or low hope, and consequently our objectives and aims are diminished by our beliefs before they can be worked on and materialized." Let's keep hope alive by remembering Einstein's remark, "Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds." The great danger is not in having too much hope, but in reaching what you have perceived as hopeless.