Do You Have Hope In the Darkness?

 

Here I am writing to you from my new space today. We have moved and are still settling in. However, I am writing from my desk where I have a very peaceful environment and space. A true answer to prayer! I’m sharing it with you along with this message because I believe the two go hand in hand. Let me share with you why I think this way.

We have long known that our environment has much to do with how we feel.  That means how our surroundings feel to us, what is going on in those surroundings, the relationships going on in the surroundings, and the messages spoken. So if that is the case, why are we not doing everything we can within our means to make that a priority in our lives, as well as, those who live or come into our environment? Why don’t we make a priority for OURSELVES? We know its value to us and to our future and daily lives.

Enter this present day: with everything that is going on around us, isn’t it even MORE important for us to have a place where we can feel safe? A place where our souls find rest and comfort? It sure is! It makes a big difference in how we think and navigate these times. Today, I have the light shining into my room, candles burning as rememberance of what He has done, a line of twinkle lights lit that just make me happy, a tall glass of ice tea, and surrounded by things I love. I don’t want to have my face anywhere but looking up, and as I do, then God reminds me to look around.  He wants me to see what I have; what He has done for me. He doesn’t want me concentrating on what I witness in this chaotic life around me. I came across a photo I took a few years back. As I looked at it, I felt in my heart that God was reminding me that HE sees in the dark. When the fog of chaos rolls in, when the darkness is more prevalent than the light, He can see where we are in the dark! He knows where I am. He wants to be my light.  He IS Light. I believe He was telling me to look to Him as the Light in the darkness when the times around me seems overwhelming. Where there is light, there is no darkness. You can go into a room that is dark, and when you turn the light on, the darkness goes away and the light enters the room.

So I make my sourroundings a continuation of that message. I always have. I spend a fair amount of time in my home, and now, even more so. Because of that, I want it to be a place of refuge for me, my husband, and anyone else that needs it as they visit, however long that may be. I want them to leave with a feeling peace that tugs on their hearts when their visit ends. I want them to be encouraged and uplifted. They may not even know what it is that makes them relax, but I do. God is here. Jesus is here. The Holy Spirit is here. AND…this house was given to us by God; without a doubt. I feel a little like Abraham and Sarah when they got a child at such an elderly age as they were. They never thought it could happen. But God. He blessed them with a child. I feel the same way. At the age of my husband and I, that God would so graciously gift us with what I feel is the best home we have had yet. Not just the home, it’s surroundings and all, but also what we have been able to do with this home. The sense of peace here. So… I know it has purpose in our lives beyond our daily living. Isn’t that how God is? He wants the best for us.

So trusting Him means that I have to trust Him all the time. Just because we have this wonderful house, doesn’t mean we aren’t going to have troubles. This is where I think we get mixed up. We think that because we are followers of Jesus, that He will then give us rose ladden paths and nothing bad will happen because He will take care of it before it does. Don’t we think like that? Yes many of us do. And so when the storm hits, we are immediately asking God why why THAT happened. He is the same God in the storm as He is in the calm. He is the same God who was with me during skin cancer surgeries as He is when He gave us this home. So… blessing = Nothing bad happens? That is NOT the case. I think we even know it, we just don’t want to reconcile it. That is our darkness. We are thinking about only the room we are in that is dark. But outside that door stands Jesus…knocking. If we open the door, the Light will come in and it’s not dark anymore. We may still have shadows at times to deal with, but He hasn’t left us in the dark without being there with us. Sometimes maybe we get battered and bruised up because we have taken our eyes off of Jesus. My times of feeling distraught is usually when I am looking more at what is going on around me then what He is doing right in the spot where I am; even what He may be trying to work on WITHIN me.

If we believe the Bible is true, we know what’s coming. That means that we need to keep our eyes on Him and let Him direct our lives more than we trying to control it. How, you might ask?

  • Turn off news and Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or anything other means of places that feed your fear base.(Or anger base)
  • Quit following half the places or people you follow, so that, you aren’t bothered or upset by their posts, opinions or reteric if that is causing stress or fear for you.
  • Reading His Word daily. God wins!
  • Reading devotionals and good books.
  • Listen to good uplifiting music.
  • Surrounding yourselves with others who encourage you in these directions.
  • Share what God is doing in your life with others.
  • Continuing to enjoy the places around you that give you peace.
  • An online Bible Study opportunity.
  • Invite a friend over and distance if you are one that feels this is necessary.
  • Take a hike or walk. Stay active.
  • Do some projects that need to be accomplished.
  • Do a car picnic with your family by the water.
  • Not be afraid. Fear is a weapon satan uses to keep us from trusting and having faith. Keep doubt at bay.

It’s not a perfect list, but it can go a long way toward giving you a more peaceful feeling each day. I’m thankful that God has given me ways to keep going and following His path instead of running willy nilly in every direction. Confusion IS fear. Nope, not going there. Satan wants to keep us in the dark; to keep us afriad. But I am much more powerful than his darkness, because I have the Light.  I have Jesus right with me through it all. I can speak out the Word. If I believe it, the darkness and fear leave and He will direct my attention else where to places I can serve or encourage.

Let the Light shine into your dark place. Don’t ever give yourself over to the power of darkness in any situation. If you look at the lead picture in this post, you will see my car sits there. How approprate for the message He gave me since my car is called “The Captain”. The area is surrounded by darkness but The Captain is lit by light and headed into more light as you can see up ahead of the car. That’s my Jesus. Leading me into the light of life. I just have to get behind the wheel and drive where He leads. He wants to pull up to your door today and get right in the middle of your darkness and turn it into Light. A place of light where you can see Him walking it out with you.  Only…you have to actually give Him your hands on the wheel and let Him lead. Jesus isn’t your co-pilot. He is in charge. Too many times, we take the wheel and go where we think we should go, when God wants to take the wheel and give you the ride of your life!

That is why my car is called “The Captain” because I let Him take hold of my hands on the wheel. I pray before I drive The Captain anywhere. I am willing go! I give Him my best effort every where He takes me. I might make excuses here and there along the way sometimes, but He patiently waits while I take a short detour to ask for understanding, and then I get back in the car so to speak. I find it is much better to let Him drive. I’m more likely to get to my final destination that way.

What about you? Do you need hope in your dark place? Do you know and believe He is there with you? It is my hope that this message is a voice of encouragement for you today.  You CAN have hope without fear, and I also want to remind you of what you know…that your hope is with God, not this world.

Until next time…

 

Ever Wanted A Life Map?

 

Today I have some time to write a bit in the midst of unpacking boxes. Sometimes we push oursleves beyond what our bodies can take, and we are forced to rest. So I thought I would write about a couple things on my heart today. It has been a good day to reflect.

A life map...don’t we all have times when we wish we had a map for our life? It would tell us where we are going and how we can get there.  We could even determine how long it might take for us to reach our destination. Why would we want a map, you ask? Because most of us want to know what is going on in our future, and what our life is going to look like. We can’t see where our life is going. But we have certainly seen where it has been and would like a few clues for what’s ahead. Kind of rough for us not to have one of those maps, isn’t it? The truth of the matter is, we don’t get to have a detailed map. We aren’t the captain of our souls. If we could see ahead, It might be something we can’t handle right now, but God will enable us to handle at some point in our future. It may be way to scary for us to see further down the road. Look at it this way…if it’s in your rear view mirror, you can know what your life looks like, but ahead is risky for us. We all have an average of 75 years or 27, 375 days. We are given points in life of: birth and ending with death. If we have found Jesus, then we have a wonderful life touch point to help direct us. It is how we live in between those points that counts the most. We know that. But we don’t often examine it. Each point in our life is very important to our life story and the person we become. Often times, the road we travel is preparing us for a new season; whether it be a long one or a short one. Unfortunately, we don’t have a life map to tell us how long it will be. We have to give Him the wheel of our lives to help direct us.

I don’t know about you, but when I come face to face with Jesus, I want Him to find me doing well; faithful and living my life with adventure and joy. It won’t be because of something I make happen, but because of what He has given me, and the His love FOR me. It will be about how willing I am to be obedient to what God has for me. Our move is a prime example in my life. The hardships are hard. If we had known about some of the hardships in our lives before hand, we may not have accepted the adventure period. However, when we do, He is faithful to bring us back to the road He has set before us. I want Him to find me more dependent on Him for direction in my life, as well as, obedient to His leading. What we would have missed out on if we had let our “moving again attitude” take over what God was going to graciously give us? Wow.

The question: How is God going to find me when the time comes? Does that question stir you up, or challenge you a little bit, as you think about what God is going to find in you when the time comes? Are you ready? Will He find you continually looking, searching, and maintaining an attitude of expectancy? Or, will he find you down in the dumps, feeling disappointed in your life? It could happen anytime, you know. We are seeing in the world around us that life can change in a moment.  A life of change is an engaged life, so stay engaged! Ask yourself, “How will He find me?”.  Ask it often, I do.

What are some of the keys to this kind of living? Here are a few:

  • Be of good personal character. Is it guided by the Holy Spirit, or your flesh?
  • Be diligent.
  • Be eager.
  • Be zealous.
  • Be found in peace.
  • Be determined.
  • Be in total trust of God’s plan
  • Be in a harmonious relationship with Jesus.
  • Be a life long learner.

If we want to have a good relationship with God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, we need to be a consistent, ongoing learner. Ask God for wisdom about who and what you listen to. In these times, we can easily get side-swiped by some off-the-wall teaching, or someone taking the Word out of context. Ask the Holy Spirit to be your teacher.

Another area to consider that will have bearing on your relationship with God is grace. Get your Bible out and read Romans 5:15. Sometimes, we think that if we sinned this much, we get this much grace. But… that isn’t true because as sin increases, grace abounds! If you think about grace as a bath, for example, you would drown. Wow! Jesus wants us, and there is no sin, scandlous act, or darkness, that Jesus won’t give you an exit out of it. How would it be if you had all the grace that God can give you? It covers more than you have ever done. Now that is some good news!

The Captain – the name for my Mini because God is my Captain.

So don’t live in worry and doubt. You may not have a map of your life in front of you, but you certainly can know Who walks your road with you as you travel. He pulls up to the curb of your life, opens the door, and invites you in for the ride of your life! We will have some big curves on our road at times, which means we have to slow down to take those curves, but boy its great when we hit that straight-a-way! We can let the wind blow on our faces and feel the freedom that God gives us as He navigates us through. Remember as a child when you might have rode in the back of a pick-up truck? It was fun and you felt so free being back there. We feel that joy! We can lift our arms through the windows of our life and let the wind catch us and blow our hair straight back not caring what it looks like, and yes, let the laughter bubble over! Yes! We can celebrate that we have a God that cares about it all; everything.

GET. IN. THE. CAR.! Happy adventures!

Until next time,

~JoAnn

 

Practice What I Teach

Hello to you on this stormy day in Washington!

You know, God always allows us to learn a lesson from our daily life if we let the Holy Spirit teach it to us. My lesson over the last couple of days was that I better listen to my own mouth and what I teach and share and apply it to my own life.  Here is the story…

I have shared that we are moving and how God orchestrated this whole move and the selling and purchasing of our new home. Amazing circumstances that He worked out. So here is the rub…after working so hard to get the condo ready for a new owner, we do not get final closing on Monday as planned. So this also pushes the closing on the new home out the same amount of days. This was due to no fault of ours, or the buyer. It was error on the part of realtors, mortgage people, and the association to which should have provided that information. We aren’t the first owners to sell a condo there. So what happens to me? I am ready to kick behind and take names. How irresponsible of them all, let alone how unprofessional. They all blamed each other. Not one person came forward and said I’m sorry this was my mistake. Now, I have to admit to being totally exhausted and my body hurting from all that we have been doing. I try to leave a home better than I found it when possible and so I work hard to do that. However, it bummed me out and I didn’t want to do one more thing within the walls of the condo yesterday. I just wanted to complain about how ridiculous it all was, and could have totally been avoided. The buyer was probably planning on being out of her place where ever it was too and now had to extend it some days.

So…now where did my faith go? Where did my trust in the God who made this all possible disappear to? In this morning of rest, it was made clear. I lost it and replaced it with all the other emotions that do not do me any good. Did He not perform a miracle in this making it Fan the Flame of Changeall happen? Was He less faithful in this the changes than before? Maybe, just maybe, there is a reason we do not see that this delay took place. Maybe it was just to teach me this lesson. It changes the help we can get to move and delays getting our things in the new house, but we are still moving, and still selling the condo. I believe that I was so focused on what we wanted to have happen, that it was all about me. We always pray about various circumstances in our lives, but when God does it His way, which is usually not our way, then we get all fired up and think He isn’t in it anymore. He is. I’m the one that left my faith at the door from a phone call. Boy did I need to fan the flames of my faith!

This verse comes to mind: “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.” Psalm 37:7

Now I don’t think there was wicked schemes going on in this circumstance, but it was definitely the case of someone not doing their due diligence. However, my attitude is the one in question also. The Holy Spirit did a pretty good job of poking me about it too! God is in our delays, keeping us from things we may not know. He is in our sorrow right beside us. He is active in protecting us. I certainly had to have a Holy Spirit “behind kick” to bring me back to where my heart needed to be. I’m not proud of how quickly it went sideways, but I have also learned to come back to the Lord and ask forgiveness a lot sooner than I used to. These experiences are how we learn life lessons. We can be rather dense at times and in our stubbornness, we have to learn the same lessons over and over to understand a simple truth. Would you agree?

Don’t be like me in how I reacted to the delay. Be like me where you come back to God quickly and tell Him that you trust His timing. You trust Him to take care of you. You trust Him to keep you from being lonely. You trust Him to work in the pain. You trust Him in helping you with parenting. You trust Him in your finances. You trust Him to meet your needs. You trust Him in these perilous times. You. Trust. Him. With. It. All.

It’s quiet where I am today at the cabin. God used this morning to speak to me about my attitude while I had no distractions. In order for me to benefit from hearing His voice, I have to be obedient to pivot in my outlook, surrender my emotions and thinking, and turn it back over to Him. Then, in my case, be willing to share my “not so good behavior”, so that, others might identify and be encouraged to give it up to Him also. It reminds me of when I was a child and did something I shouldn’t do and my parents told me I had to go to that person and apologize or ask forgiveness for what I had done. I didn’t want to do that. But they were teaching me that we are responsible for our actions. God was teaching me this morning that I am responsible for how I react. And so, I was asked to share this with you because God wanted to teach me this lesson. I was to be, vulnerable that you might learn from me the way that God can also work in your life.

What do you need to pivot from today? I hope by sharing this scenario, that you too, will find peace in your circumstances. It’s time. Stand strong.

Until next time…

~JoAnn

Moving Out, Moving Up!

 

What a crazy couple months it has been! Do you ever do something crazy and wonder how you are going to get through it, but then, you do? Moving often times means you find things you haven’t taken the time too look at in a while. Pictures, cards, dishes and gifts you have been given as you pack them, and all the many memories that go with them. What a journey it is. Anytime I get tired, overwhelmed, or sore and hurting, I just remind myself of the above title. We are moving out, to move up!!! Today, I took a few minutes to enjoy the garden after the rain. I cut a few of the beautiful peonies that had blossomed! So beautiful!

It has a great significance in my life right now. I know many people think we are crazy to move yet again! But you know what? The qualitiy of our lives mean something. It is important. We have seen that over the last few months. So hubby and I want to have a quality of life that we both can enjoy, and feel the contentment in the home we are going to spend our time in. God has truly blessed us and we have had great joy in deciding how we can give back to the Lord for all His faithfulness to us. I feel that we aren’t just moving into another home, we are moving up! What does mean? It means that God is giving us many of the desires of our hearts in this home. He is moving us up to a new level of faith in this process of selling the condo and buying a house. In these times, it is totally a miracle. He is moving us up a level. Not is “I’m better than you thinking”, but a new level of faith and gratitude. We are streamlining some more once we get there so we can make room in our lives for less distraction. We are focusing on what God has for us since we believe this new home has been graciously given to us from God. We believe He has a plan. I also believe He may be calling me to write. I will so enjoying writing from a place of peace and contentment. God is giving me the place, now it is up to be to use it the way He wants me to use it. For that, I must be a good listener.

I’m even celebrating all the inconveniences…like my mocha that has mysteriously ended up in a packed box, so I don’t get to enjoy that each morning. I lost something else this morning too, but we found it in a carrier that is going to the cabin with us. When I get irritated, I just remember what God placed on my heart…we are moving out to move up! Now THAT is exciting friends!! I can’t wait to get my little studio set up again where ever that might be in this home. I can’t wait to get back into study and reading and learning! I will be greeting you from our beautiful deck and back yard with my morning mocha very soon! In the meantime, it might be from the cabin where we will rest up for a few days and prepare for the next leg of this journey.

So don’t get discouraged my friend thinking that God can’t move in your life in a big way. He sure can! For me, it’s like opening a book that I am excited about reading, and I feel like the story starts to float into the air just enough to cause me to want to turn to the first page! I can’t wait to see the story unfold! Look for it in your life. God wants to do a new thing for you also. Ask Him what it might be. I know for me, I have learned more and more how important my family and friends are to me. They have always been, but I feel a new level is coming there too, as it should. I had a scare with a dear friend of mine this last week, and it reminded me again of how quickly the page can turn and we don’t always know what our Heavenly Author is going to write. I couldn’t be with her, but I Face Timed with her so I could wave and say hello. I left my phone on all night in case she needed to talk. I checked in on her for a few minutes each morning and night, or ask she felt like texting. We stay strong when we get our perspective in place. Don’t take these days for granted, and don’t let it pull you down. Instead, ask Him for fresh eyes, and new way to look at things, protect your mind from what you hear, and focus instead on what God says to YOU. That is where complete joy in all things will come to our body, mind and spirit.

I can’t step along side all of you, but if I could, I would take your hand and walk in step with you and encourage you to dream of the story that God wants to write for you. Don’t miss it. It may be something small, but for you its BIG. It may be something really big that scares you. That’s when you know its God because you couldn’t do it yourself. That is what has happened to us. Only God could pull off finding our home, and THEN turning around and selling a condo in these times, and then do it in time for us to get the new home. See? He has it all planned out, and if we are obedient to do what He asks us to do, we will see miracles and answers to prayer. Open the book and see what happens. He will take you on a journey that is better than any movie you can watch. I’m not super woman. I am just like you. It takes perserverence, but always worth it. Are you ready? Get your pen and pad out and be ready to take down the dream. It is waiting for you…I am waiting to hear also. What is your dream that you are afraid to step out and do, or you aren’t sure what your next step needs to be?

I’m not sure what God is asking of me, but what I do know is, I’m moving out, SO THAT, (my favorite words) I can MOVE UP!

Until next time…

~JoAnn

Miracles Through A “Suddenly”

 

Have you ever had a “suddenly” in your life? I think if you live and breathe this day, you have had a few. We know they can be difficult times, happy times, and surprising times. Even the happy and surprising times can be difficult times also. So once again, it still comes back to what we think and our perspective about it.

If we are willing not to shove it under the rug as nonsense, I think we could clearly see that, as Joyce Meyer has said and written about, “Our mind is the battlefield.” This is surely true. People have been known to come out of horrific situations when their attitude was looking at the positive things in their lives, and living in gratitiude for life. They find the joy in living in the moment.  I love what Austin Kleon says, “Disconnect from the world to connect to yourself.” Think about that for a minute. If we don’t allow the negative things to come into our minds, then we are more open for the mind to see the good that is around us. Lately, the word people don’t want to use is quarantined. Well…maybe we need to quarantine from the news and all the conflicting information we get, and concentrate on everything that is good around us. We are even healthy enough to complain about it.

I just saw today where a friend of mine and her hubby packed up a nice lunch and went out into nature to get away from the house. A couple of chairs, binoculars, lunch and a drink to go into pretty glasses, and her phone to capture the moment. That, my friends, is how to keep doing life. Take the time to live in the moment. I love doing that kind of thing! Makes me happy. Of course, my camera would be along to capture the moment and also anything going on around me. I hope this time is teaching you that there are things we can live without, and still have a quality of life with in our own home surroundings. It’s not ideal, but we might as well make it through with some fun. There ARE safe ways to do it. It refreshes our minds to be able to face whatever life is giving us at the time. Hubby and I do car picnics together during this time. It’s just a fun thing we do to make something unique and fun, rather than, just eating in our car. It’s all about perspective! We toast with our drinks to how God is taking care of us, and thank Him for it.

So with that, I enter stage left… with another move. But in our case, it is more like stage right, because this is the right thing for us now. If you are younger, you may not be able to relate, but if you are in the mid-age range and above, you have lived life long enough to know what is important. Quiet. Harmony. A breath of fresh air. Nature. Family. Gathering. Friends. NO drama. All these things become important and we need to protect ourselves by designing our life in such a way that it becomes fun, luminous, sparkling, lots of laughter, leisure, and relaxation. Don’t let the world dictate to you how busy you “need” or “should” be. God gave us that space in our soul to be filled with the above kinds of things, so that, we can give time back to Him and spend time with Him. Happy soul, happy life!

I have had plenty of suddenlies come up in my life and I know how hard they can be. I have had loss in my life, recent skin cancer surgeries that changed my life, and a few other things like some “sudden” health issues that have tried to crowd their way in to distract me, or make me feel alone, or discouraged. The devil is in full attack mode these days and I’m not about to let him get the best of my thought life taking place in my mind. Nope. I tell those thoughts to take a hike. I know where that leads. I know where it comes from. We have to pay attention to what or who has our attention. When we think about that, it can turn things around.We are making a move that better lines up with the things we know are important to us. We spend a lot of time at home even without the stay at home going on right now. Because of that, we want to totally enjoy our surroundings, have a place to enjoy with friends, relax in nature of our own back yard where I will have a water fountain that delights my heart to hear. We have the space we like. I have a kitchen that I can enjoy cooking and baking in. Hubby still has a place for his books. Because…every day is important to our life and we need to live it well. I’m excited for that. It is worth the hassle of a move, and stress of all the paperwork, and even starting over in a mortgage. I can’t take it with me, but I sure can live well in every moment of this new to us sanctuary that truly has been given to us by God. I believe that. I don’t know what the future holds, but I know Who holds the future. I’m just living the adventure of life each day as best I can. I keep going…

Here is my latest “suddenly”. At our age, we are making yet another move. It’s not fun, it’s a lot of work, and my back just doesn’t carry those boxes around like it used to. But the silver lining is this: we ARE moving and I will leave the condo life to go back into a stand alone home. The reason that is such a big “suddenly” is that we weren’t really planning to do it. However, circumstances where we live gave us pause to review what is important to us. For me, being in a serene setting, nature around me, and choice to do what we like with our home, along with a yard to relax in…that is my bliss. Hubby and I spend a lot of time at home and so where we live and our environment is key to our contentment. I want to live where I thrive. At this stage in my life, loving where I live and family to share it with, is at the top of my list. This move couldn’t have happened without God’s intervention. Selling a home and buying a home isn’t easy in these times. Finding a home and having someone buy it out from beneath you is a constant challenge when you have to sell the place where you are currently living first. So it is not without frustration. Some of my friends have heard some of that frustration over the last month or so. However, it all comes back to laying it down and trusting God to take me through the “suddenly” as only He can. And…He did. He found us a perfect home, with land around us, a wonderful kitchen to cook and bake in, (one of my requests) and a dining room again to all sit and enjoy a meal together. I wanted to be by the water so He gave me a fountain in the back yard to listen to, AND I am only minutes from the water by car. It was also within the budget would preferred. Now that is God performing miracles! Even now as things get tense, I just keep my goal in mind knowing that all of the stress leads to our Bayshore House by mid June. That makes one happy daughter of the King!

I think we can miss the purpose of those “suddenly” moments seasons in our lives. We see only the hardship of where we are in the moment, rather than looking at what God wants to do in us in the future. It takes being aware of what you are thinking and making changes where the “suddenly” opens the door for God to work. We are already praying over this home, that God would be honored within the walls of Bayshore House, and we will always leave a chair at our table for Him to be right in the middle of our lives. You see, honoring Him is the best way to build our trust in Him for all He has done for us, big or small. It is focusing on what is going right in our lives. That leads to gratitude and we can’t think of postive and negative at the same time. We may have to remind ourselves about that when things get tough again. So kick those discouraging thoughts out the door. I can’t think of all I have to pack, getting boxes to storate, and how we will get out this home in 3 weeks. I can’t think about the fact that we have to move twice because the condo closes before the Bayshore House, which we needed. I just can’t go there in my thougts. I can’t think on how I feel. I have to take one day at a time and do what I can for that day. Each day builds on itself, and eventually, I will have it cleared out with hubby’s help and on the way to cabin to breath some fresh air before moving our things from storage to the new home. One day at a time will be my daily prayer.

I enjoy sharing what God does in my life in hopes that it encourages you. Don’t ever think He doesn’t care about what you care about. Here are some pictures to show you how He worked in our life with our new home. This is a blank canvas that I will have a total blast making ours. Don’t let a “suddenly” take the wind out of your sails because God is always in the boat with you. Never doubt that.

Until next time…

~JoAnn

 

Porch Entry Livingroom Kitchen Family Room Laundry Room with skylight Back yard and fountain Back of the house and deck Master Bedroom Kitchen 2nd view Dining Room & entry to kitchen family room Other side of dining room Master Bath walk-in shower Third Bedroom will be office maybe Bedroom Two

Conversations in Prayer

Hello Friends! I hope this finds you all well, and that you are finding staying at home has been good among the challenges of it. Challenge means we are changing in some way. May God help you to do just that for His glory. Let’s take a few minutes together over some coffee or tea! Got it?? Let’s dig in!

Sometimes, we have to get our heart right in order to be able to help others. But it is also good for you to know that we ALL have those times, and it’s ok. I have especially been called to study prayer during these last few months. So my online study group has been looking at prayer. I thought I would share some thoughts on prayer with you here on the blog.

Our emphasis on prayer should not be about how eloquent we are, or that we can recite recitation scripture, but instead it should be the heart behind the prayer. There is no formula or right or wrong way to pray. BUT there are some things we need to consider BEFORE we pray. In the last few years, God has changed my approach to prayer, in that, I come to Him asking for forgiveness first. I know, some say Praise first. Nope. I come to Him asking for forgiveness. Why? Because the Holy Spirit it convicting me through out my life of areas that I need to change, come up higher in, orchange my thought life, attitudes, anger, critical spirit…whatever it is. God also tells me if I have issues with something or someone, I am to take care of that first and then come to prayer. Why? Because our prayers can be hindered by those very things. When I pray in my quiet time, I ask for forgiveness so my prayers aren’t hindered. I don’t have to do that every time I pray because I pray all the time, but I want a clean heart before God as I bring my requests and those of others, to God in my quiet time. Another point God makes is that we are not to think we are “heard for [our] much speaking.” We are not fill our prayer with lots of extra words, or repeating words. Simple words to God in prayer. It can be called fluffy prayers so we sound more spiritual. Not necessary. Enjoy being in God’s presence and hearing His quiet voice in your spirit. Prayer is a dialogue with God, not a monologue of only you talking to God. Listen for His whisper.

In prayer times we can, and we need to:

  • pause for reflection
  • think about what was said
  • ask what God may be speaking to us
  • listening to God’s Holy Spirit
  • worshiping Him in our own way
  • seeking to experience God’s presence.

Why not spend time opening your soul and spirit to listening to God, to experience His presence, and to hear what the Spirit says. Yes indeed… prayer is a dialogue. God wants to hear from you. However, it is also important for you to hear from Him. Be open and honest with Him. Honesty with God is so important to our growth. I had a dear friend that was a pastor’s wife. Wow! I learned a lot from her about prayer. That lady could pray about anything and it was like she had a hot line to heaven. As I have gotten older, I understand that she had established such a personal and deep relationship with God, that she lived it out, where she could ask God for anything, and she would get answers. I understand that relationship now. I remember thinking I wish I had that kind of prayer life. But she kept telling me it is all about relationship. Then, you trust Him with more and more. She prayed down to specifics of the homes they would move to when they would relocate. She would pray for a ride from town back home and I would “happen” to come along. She would get in the car and say that I had just answered God’s prayer for her. There was no happenstance with her.

THAT is what I want, and I want that for you. Trust Him with everything! Know that He loves you so much more than you know and nothing pleases Him more than to hear your voice, crying out, yelling out, whispering, or pleading with Him. Come before Him with a clean heart. Growing up I would sing this liturgy: “Create in me a clean heart oh God, and renew a right spirit with in me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not Your Holy Spirit it from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with your free Spirit.” I pray that each time I come to God in prayer.

Let me ask you a question I asked the study gals. What kind of father figure do you think about when you think about your Heavenly Father? Was your father figure growing up one that had no time for you? Detached? Overly strict? Loved you only when you were good or did good? Manipulative? You see, that matters how you see God. So your experience with God may come from a place of distrust. You may have to escavate your thoughts and heart to see how you are seeing God. Are you willing to give up everything to have relationship with Jesus? Weed out what is keeping you from an exciting time with Him in prayer? Let it be so in our hearts. The longer our acquaintance is with Him, the closer our fellowship is with Him. Our spiritual health depends on our pursuing the Lord and His presence. “He says, ‘Come to Me to stay with Me’.” (Andrew Murray)

We can make real messes at times in our lives when we try to control things instead of trusting God with it. Our pride can get in the way. Evaluate your heart. Taste and see that the Lord is good.” Ps. 34:

Describe which phrases below would best describe how you view God’s goodness.

  • I always trust that God is good.
  • I believe that God is good when life is good.
  • I have a hard time trusting that God is good.
  • It’s easier to believe that God is good to other people than to me.
  • I say, “God is good”, but my thoughts and actions don’t always reflect that.

I have had some great opportunities to practice better thinking and approaches to circumstances, while learning more about myself. Such things as times when I have counted on something, desired something, dealt with frustration, and even a “I don’t want to hear that”, response. And then, I have to go back and apologize to a friend who was trying to be an encouragement to me, but instead my response was, “I really don’t want to hear that”. So what do I know? I know and have learned that I process things by talking about them. It helps me work through them, even if I’m mad. I do that with God in prayer. But then the Holy Spirit convicts me of my attitude and I have to deal with that in myself, or with the person I may have been less than kind to. The Holy Spirit reminds me that God’s thoughts are NOT my thoughts. I have to leave it all in God’s lap…all of it. Then, I trust that He has taken care of me in the past and he will take care of me in the future. Jesus overcame the world so that I have peace and courage no matter what I may be going through. I have to rest in Him…abide in Him. STAY with Him. When I acted like I did above, I certainly wasn’t resting in Him. I acted more like a little kid trying to wrestle myself free of His will and the encouragement He was trying to give me through my friend. So…He dealt with me, and He set me on higher ground to boost my courage to face it all. He renewed my trust that He knows where I am to be and how it will play out.

Your view of God will change as you learn and let God chip off those areas that may be keeping you from God’s best for your life. What chips are you needing to have trimmed off? There is a great quote I heard the other day, “We have the privilege of trusting God.”  ~Joyce Meyer

Maybe sometimes as we think about prayer, we have this idea of God as our buddy, a friend, a feel good sense in our life, all makes sense kind of person, a giver, provider, and all of those feel good feelings toward God. But what happens as we grow in our life and other things happen that don’t make sense to us? It might be the loss of a child, someone you love getting this virus, or death from the virus, or an accident that leaves someone with serious life challenges, or things aren’t turning out the way you thought they would? Then who is God to you? Has He changed because of something that has happened in our life? He is a different God than before?

You see, we can lose sight of who God is, by what we think He is now after we have questioned God about these difficult occurrences in our life. We lose out on that closeness we could have because we are kind of stuck with who we think He is in difficult times. Maybe before you thought God fit in to your life really well and you even talked about what He has done in your life to others. But things happened, and you can’t quite fit Him into the same vision as God was before this happened. So in essence, we are trying to fit God into what He has or hasn’t done before. He was good before this happened. Now THIS, whatever it is, happened and you think differently about God. Before, He was all cool like that. He did for you what you expected, like the fun giver, the helper, provider…all of that. But all of a sudden, you aren’t thinking about Him like that anymore. So our relationship suffers because our prayer has suffered. We lose confidence and less prayer = less relationship.

 It is like when we take a trip, we use a map or maybe we use our phones, but we use those tools to help make our trip easier. So if that is the case, our map is the Bible, and our Compass is God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. If we use our spiritual guidance through God, his Son Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, then we are assured that we can accurately reach our destination; the life that God has promised us. It may not look like you thought, but it IS God’s best for you. It will be the most important gift we receive.

Could this true of you? If so, then you might need to hit the prayer chair or prayer floor, and ask God to begin to show you who He is right now in your life and renew that “right spirit” with in you. BECAUSE…He IS the same yesterday, today, and forever. That means just because things happen, and the devil gets his digs in, that He is still the same powerful all-knowing God who gave up His Son, so that you could always have God just a prayer away. Ask today for God to direct your thoughts, actions, and reactions. Get your tools working for you. Look up, and then look at your map so God can show you the way. Stop and ask directions.

Until next time…

~JoAnn

 

 

The Curve Ball Keeps Rollin’

 

Yesterday was a big day here in the Bungalow! We listed our home and it has now hit the MLS as of last week. It is busy times. We got the condo all staged and it is looking pretty good. But oh my! This gal is sore and pretty tired! Just doesn’t come as easy as it used to. I pray for my body to stay strong and healthy in these times.

When making decisions, we usually base them on what we know at the time. We did in our move from Aberdeen to our current home. But life changes, and that changes us. So with our current situation, we have come to feel that we enjoy a stand alone home more than we enjoy the condo life. That is a hard decision for us at our age again to be making a move. But we are both in agreement to make a change while we can. It’s difficult, but not impossilbe. There will be challenges, especially now. But God…He can do it. He can pave the way. So we trust Him to do just that.

But since I wrote about curve balls, there has been more coming everybody’s way as of late. But I am a firm believer that God knows what is going on and He is in control. We WILL have difficult times and hardships and sickness in our lives. But He is here to help us and walks with us through them all. So each night I pray for good health for others and myself. I pray God will give wisdom to everyone in these times to live out what is required. I also pray that it changes people. Don’t change for today or tomorrow just because you are forced into it by living circumstances. But let’s let this change our hearts. Let’s have more compassion and love for each other. Help each other where we can. Support each other through encouragement. Let it be a life changing experience that is forever a change agent for life in general.

Fan the flame of change!

We have had to dial back and isolate, and it is making some people crazy and antsy. But in reality, this slower life style is what is good for us. We get back to our roots. We now HAVE time to do those things we really enjoy. Do them! Catch up on that good book. Redecorate or change rooms around. Go through closets. Write if you are a writer. Journal this time for future generations to understand how this experience was for you. Self-examine what is important to you. I think this teaches us that family and friends are what counts the most. And we want to have good relationships with both. We have time now…let’s keep that time in the future for them and we will make the future a better place to live for all of us. Why? Because learning from these experiences is what makes the these worst scenarios add value to our lives and give us renewed purpose.

So we are moving forward and hopefully out also! We will enjoy where the Lord takes us next. He always adds value to our lives each time we make the move. It isn’t an easy time to sell a home, so I would ask that you keep us in your prayers.

Until next time…

~JoAnn

Had Any Curve Balls Lately?

If you read the title, then you know the question.  So…have you had any curve balls in your life? You know, those times when your road is going along, you are settled on the where its taking you, and then… BOOM! Here it is, and it hits…that unexpected curve ball!  That is where I am these last two weeks! God has put a curve ball into my slow moving life.  How’s that, you say?  Let me share.

One and a half years ago, my husband and I moved into the condo life in a small community. It’s a community at the base of the mountain range with beautiful scenery and farms. I love eagles and we see them often. Let me explain a bit. We made this move based on the fact that there were some questions about the health of my hubby and they were making an impact on his life. So I wanted to be in a position where he didin’t have to worry much about the care of a home and yard all that entails. So here we are about one and three quarter years into our condo life, and just recently, managed to put up things that had been on our to-do list, and lights up, and even re-decorating a bedroom.  All of this to make it like we wanted. However, it takes special people to live a condo life, and also a special condo to live it out in.  Some love it. Us? Not so much. Oh, we had talked moves, prayed about moves, but decided we would just do what needed to be done to make this more like we wanted. So we started. Then…BOOM! Hubby says, “You know, I have been talking to a few people who have sold their condo here in the complex and they sold pretty quick and at a good price.” “What does that mean?”, I asked him, “Now you are thinking of moving?” That was what he was thinking. Now I would LOVE a bigger kitchen, but just as I was settling into this, now I am taking it all down. Isn’t life just a blast?

So as I write this, I am into a week and a half of packing. And all my moving boxes have long since gone to recycling. I will have had to get those all over again. A storage unit for larger pieces of furniture to be stored in so we can stage the condo. Get it listed right away to be able to make an offer on something we find that we like. Prep the house and stage it for best pictures and best sale. That is not to mention all the paper work required for mortgage and all of that. I do dislike that part because I’m usually responsible for putting all that together. Moving is just not fun!! When I think about it all, I would rather fast pitch that ball right back! But in order to do a move, I must just take one step at a time and take each day as it comes and do all I can to accomplish what needs to be done. I am so fortunate and blessed to have our grandson here this weekend and Monday to help us move things around. Such a great young man to help out his grandparents. Love that boy. We even found time to play the piano together, which delights this heart of mine. Take time for the Pause.

I guess what I’m still learning is that there will always be curve balls. Life is like that. Sometimes we don’t like what we have been given. Some of it requires a lot of work. A lot of energy, and a lot of focus. A good attitude. It is kind of like our faith walk. It too, is requires work, diligence, focus, tenacity, and dependence on His leading. We press on knowing God is walking the road with us. We have to do the same process with the curve ball. Pray for guidance and wisdom to make the right choice of what to purchase, where He wants us to be, and rest in Him for the process of it all. I have to believe He will guide me and help me do get what needs to be done completed. If I fret and get all stressed over it all, it takes the fun out of the adventure. It certainly is an adventure! We have to have this listed to make an offer on another home, and then hope the right home comes along. I know God is able and knows my heart and hubby’s heart to lead us to the home that is our LAST home. I say that with tongue in cheek because I said that last time. So I will pray for the right place, with the items I most desire, just the right buyer for the condo, and a quick sale. Because you see, there are no mistakes with God. He knows all about it. So a curve ball isn’t something that just happens, it is for a purpose. Just as my skin cancer journey is. I always ask Him what I am to learn and give me His purpose for me through it. Isn’t it marvelous that we have God to count on? Most certainly.


So already the Bungalow is looking less and less “JoAnn”. That is good thing because then the new buyer can see how it can fit their needs. A lot of work = a win win for both buyer and us. It is the same in our lives. If we have less and less of “us”, then we can have more and more of Jesus. Isn’t that what we want…to be more like Jesus? It is for me. I hope it is for you!

So over the next couple of weeks if I come to mind, please be praying for the right buyer for the Bungalow, and that the home we are considering will still be available for us and that our offer is accepted. I was a pretty good ball player in school, so I’m throwing the ball back to Jesus, and He is a great Catcher!

Until next time…

~JoAnn

 

 

Influenced by Your Surroundings

My Studio Creative Space

This is a little different post for me, but I feel so strongly that many are living with less and less satisfaction and well-being on a daily basis and need some encouragement. I have found that my surroundings make a HUGE difference in how I feel, and how I handle the challenges and disappointments that come into my life. Do you think that your surroundings play a part in how you feel on a daily basis?

Today, let’s talk a little about how your environment impacts you.  I believe, you may understand that you can influence your mood and well-being. For example, rooms with bright light, natural or artificial, can improve depression and anxiety. It can motivate you to action. A room that is cluttered and messy will probably be someplace you will continue to drop things as you come in the room or entry. However, a space that is cleaned and organized, will motiviate you to keep it that way. It will encourage you to have a new habits of wanting to put things away in their place so it stays that way. Let’s take an entry for example of your home or apartment. Does it invite people to come in?  Does it encourage or discourage interaction among family and friends by the way you set up the chairs or furniture in the room you will walk into? Does it encourage people to sit for a spell? Reducing stress or creating stress is also influenced by your feeling of well-being so how it appears when you come can determine your feelings, as well as, your guests. So… we can see by a couple examples, that this it isn’t just what is going on in the inside of you but also what is going around on the outside of you. How you see your space has a great impact how you feel in your surroundings. All this in turn has impact on your psychological health as well.

Think about this scenario, you have dishes in the sink and on the counter from dinner or maybe even a couple of days, and it bugs you to see it before you go to bed, but you don’t feel like doing it. However, doing it makes you feel like you are accomplishing something, and you will feel better waking up to a clean kitchen the next morning. Or, maybe its city life that makes you anxious and you would rather be in the country, even though friends, and even family members, love the hustle and bustle of the city. Maybe you are like me and the ocean is your happy place. I love the ocean and it does it for me every time. There is the place where I get quiet enough to lean in to hear what God has to say to me. The water and nature do that for me. It may be different experiences for you that cause stress or help you dial down. Looking at your surroundings as you read this, is there good light around your home and work space? Do you like what is around you? Do you like how you feel sitting there in that spot? Your mood is affected by that. What about the dynamics of your surroundings?  Do you thrive in high-pressure, or does it make you shut down? Messy work spaces elevate stress and the feelings of chaos. Do you need to attend to that area?

Here is the bottom line…your surroundings are so impactful to how you feel on a daily, or even an hourly basis. You may be in many different environments during a day. But do something about the ones you can control…your own.  Your surroundings influence your senses such as what you see, smell, touch and hear, and even the colors you have in your surroundings. Color can completely change the whole feel of your room or home or space and paint is inexpensive. All of these areas has influence on how you feel. Just like you love to go to the beach and see a lovely sunset, so it is with the feeling of our homes. It welcomes us in with a feeling of belonging. It is a soft place to fall.

Sometimes, our environment and/or circumstances can dictate what we choose to do rather than what we want to do. Your environment is what is important to YOU. So if you look around and see with new eyes what brings you joy and well-being, and also what makes you anxious, then you can begin to take the first step in making your surroundings special. Gain habits that help you keep that environment. Minimize distractions around you whether it is furniture, too much in the room, or messy areas that need to be tidied up. Items you might need to get rid of or share. You know we hear daily how we can change our lives, but we forget that we have a real need to feel content in the place where we live out that life. First let’s change our surroundings where we can so we are more motivated to make the changes in ourselves, to be used of God.

It is a proven scientic fact that when you have things around you that bring you like, or you see things that bring you a feeling of love, it changes you inside…that feeling of contentment. It increases your endorphins. It changes then how you look at life. It helps us enjoy life more. It motivates you without you having to push yourself. You begin to WANT to have it look a certain way because of how it makes you feel. It may begin with the smallest step like changing furniture around, or adding a piece that helps you organize the space. It may be adding a special item to your space. But the change gives you the sense of accomplishment and that one small step is making some progress toward that feeling of contentment and well-being.

I learned this years ago, and have always set the priorities for our home to be in good order where possible. It feels good to have things in place. When I have too much in a room, I tend to think about it and it is stressful to even have the items. So in the last few years, I have been slowly trying to streamline my home and everything in it, so that, I will have a feeling of calm in my home. I love it when people come in and feel comfortable in my home. That is my goal; to make any guest feel welcome.

So let me share with you how I have done that in my surroundings.

  1. I alway surround myself with items I love. I have surrounded myself with family heirlooms, photos that give me good memories, my Norwegian heritage, music, collections, good books, candle light is often seen in my home, and items given as gifts to me. I love to look at them and remember how they fit in my life story.
  2. I have colors I love that brings me joy. I love reflected light of crystals hanging in strategic places to catch the sunlight. I hope to paint the whole condo at some point, but I’m also open to God opening a door for just the right stand alone home too! He works behind the scenes, so I’m ready. But in the mean time, I am making this environment what we love.
  3. I change the look of each home I have lived in. It is important for me to make it my happy place. I spend a lot of time here. Once again, I also like it to feel that way to others also.
  4. I also include things around me that enhance all my senses. For example: I have a wonderful soft, furry rug that is placed by my bed. I love waking up to put my feet on that rung every morning, and to enjoy it at night as I get into bed. Candle light and the fragrances relaxes me.
  5. I almost always change lights in my home to styles I really like. It isn’t that expensive if you shop around, but it sure boosts the well-being factor to see them up in our home.
  6. I’m a vintage gal, so I love old things and the stories they could tell. Some of the stories I know. Others I do not. But, I am the keeper of that secret story.
  7. I live in a condo that is very dark. In the day time, if I don’t have lights on, especially if no sun is out, it is very dark light almost like evening time. That’s hard for me because I love windows and light. So I do whatever I can to make it lighter and brighter with shades up and the right kind of light bulbs in my lights and lamps. Sounds simple but it can make all the difference. Use of full spectrum lighting can also make a big the difference in the lighting of your home.
  8. I changed my whole bedroom around; moved furniture, changed bedding, new curtains on sale, different furniture that fit better with the new set up, added a few pieces that I love to the walls, rugs in the floor, and I have a room I love to walk into.
  9. I’m a fireplace gal, so I often have it on in the mornings and later at night, with my mocha of course.
  10. I burn candles whenever I can. Something about them…and that light. I grew up in a time where many of my relatives when I was a child, used kerosene lamps for lighting, so it has good memories for me too.
  11. My surroundings start with a quiet time in the morning, with my mocha and fireplace burning and devotions. No better way to start my day. When I am feeling good about where I am, I can so feel the work of God in my life. I’m motivated to be a part of what He is doing around me.
  12. I inspire myself by looking at ways to bring the outside inside. I like to spend time on my patio and that is a place we are working this spring. So I will want to see that space from rooms on that end of the home. I love outside lighting also and hope to do that soon on the patio.
  13. I enjoy the BBQ life and do it often all year long. I really enjoying have that good smell going on a super crisp day, knowing I have a good meal planned. I get to enjoy being outside also. God has made a beautiful world around us. Let’s look to the good things we can see and hear in nature because God has given that gift to us.
  14. I spend time doing what I love. Activities such as music, photography, creating items with photography, drinking mocha from my cup collection, and reading to just name a few. So I have spaces in my home where it invites me into that activity. Nothing better than making music and singing to Jesus at the piano.
  15. I have a couple of essential oils I use every night before getting into bed. They relax me and give me that sense of well-being… and sleep comes. It is something I look forward to. A little step that may seem insignificant, but it can be huge to my well-being. I also have a diffuser so I can bring wonderful fragrances in to my rooms.
  16. My husband and I love to go for drives. It is very enjoyable for me to get out and see what I can see. Getting out to in a different environment, can change up an attitude in no time. I will sometimes just get in the car for a ride with my camera to enjoy the beauty around my area. Or as in our case, go to the cabin and enjoy the outdoors, camera in hand. I also enjoy traveling to Norway and seeing my relatives there and learning Norwegian VERY slowly…well more like turtle pace. But I’m learning.

Are you getting the idea that your surroundings are important for all areas of your life? Can you see how you are affected by the lack of any of these things or can benefit from including them in your life? I have been sharing these types of ideas in photos to encourage others to change their surroundings for many years. Some have been inspired and made the changes and are loving every minute of the changes they made. It doesn’t have to be costly because many things I have done are through thrift stores and selling apps or groups. I have found some great items!

It comes back to the big take away…our surroundings most certainly affect our well-being!! Changing our surroundings changes us. It makes us feel like we can tackle our world. Because we are happier, we feel more motivated to make the changes and live with joy. That in turn gives us just what we need to be Jesus to someone else. It’s an exciting way to live. Life is hard at times, and we need need that soft place to fall called “home”.  We need that place we go to for work every day to be as much of a spot to enjoy as we can make it. Even where we eat lunch, if we are at work, can make a difference how refreshed we are going back to it.

Hit the Reset Button in your surroundings and see what you can change to make your surroundings more like a place that brings a sense of well-being to your soul. I believe you will build an environment where God can really grow you in ways you may not have thought of just by making a place for your soul to be content. I walk into the rooms of my home and feel a sense of peace, calm, and contentment. It always makes me smile. It is exciting when you get started and I would love to see what you do. Please feel free to leave your big and little changes in the comments. Start with one step.

The best way forward in our lives is to start back at the beginning…changes in our surroundings.

Until next time,

~JoAnn

 

Adventures Start Early in 2020

Hello My Sweet Followers! Are you all settled in for this new year of ours?  Do you have some goals in front of you for 2020? I don’t do resolutions, but I do write up goals for myself for the year, and I chose my Word for the year, which I shared with you. I hope you are doing some of the same things because we can’t change very well if we are staying in the same place we have always been. Whitney Caps says it this way, “New growth rarely happens in old places.” In order for us to become all God wants us to be, we need a place where we can learn, grow and thrive in our lives. I pray you find that place this year. I know that God has something good planned, even in current circumstances.

We have had so much snow here in the northwest but we have been cozy and warm in the Bungalow here. It has given me opportunities to read, relax, and enjoy being in the moment. I am listening and playing more music…feeds my soul. Another is one that God is working out even more in my spirit this year, and that is being mindful of the Holy Spirit speaking in my life and stay in the moment I am IN. With that said, here is what I am working out along with that mandate from God.

I have had three times during the time of my skin cancer surgery last October, that a pore has opened and bled. We have been watching it and taking pictures of it also. This week was the third time it happened and so I thought I would go into my surgeon’s office and have him take a picture for my records. His assistant took the pictures, and then told me she thought she would like to have the doctor/surgeon look at it. So I waited for a few minutes only and in he came. Totally awesome since I didn’t even have an appointment. He looked at it and told me since it had shown itself again, he thought he should do a scrape biopsy and send it in to narrow down what might be happening. So he did that and told me I would most likely hear back by Friday. I got a call the next afternoon with a result that showed positive again for basal cell cancer. They were referring me to the same Mohs surgical center that I went to before and they would call to set up a date for me to have the procedure done. I made it through the phone call. Then…fell apart. More because I knew what was going to have to take place, and there is no way to know how advanced it is without the Mohs surgery to determine how much needs to be taken to get clean margins of all the cancer. I could conceivably be in the same position with this side as the other side, and I’m not even healed up completely from that set of surgeries.

The honesty of it is that I was hurt, angry, disappointed, and not just because of the cancer. I had a bit of those same feelings toward God about it. Why? I know what He can do. Nothing is impossible with Him. He is the Healer. I believe that. I believe He can touch me and heal me completely! So why doesn’t He? Why am I having to go through this again?  The answer in all honesty is…I don’t know. We have the habit of always asking WHY before we ask Him what we are to learn. I didn’t want to learn anymore this way. Not EVEN. But apparently, there is a purpose and reason for this to happen.

  • I will first get rid of the cancer which is the number one concern of everyone. So that is a blessing of this whole experience.
  • I am learning about it and how to be my own advocate in areas of health…another blessing.
  • I have seen God work through people to encourage me…TOTAL life blessing. Yes…I see God working.

Once again, I have to ask myself all over again…Do I trust Him? Do I believe He knows what is best for me? You see, He has healed my nose and face pretty well over the last three months. So will He not  do it again? The answer to all those questions is a BIG YES! He will. However, I still have to go through it. I don’t get a pass. He could touch me and heal me first. He could touch me and heal me so it isn’t as invasive as before. But I still have to go through it. And…didn’t He tells us He will never leave us and will walk through it with us? Another yes. So I either believe Him, or I don’t. Fear is a nasty thing and it usually starts the “what if” thoughts.  It can reverse our mindset to negative and more fear. It can dull how we see things. It’s like arguing with yourself. In this case, I believe the Holy Spirit was just reminding me of where my peace lies. It is facing what IS without fear.

Here is something that happened before we left to go to the doctor’s office for the picture. If you have a iWatch you may be familiar with this. But I have my iWatch photos mirrored with my iphone so that whatever my iWatch background is, so is my phone. But that day, I got up and got ready and put my watch on. As I saw it come on, my background image had change to my special cup my son got me for my birthday. (Scars…See previous post a couple posts back). I thought that was weird that it would happen because I hadn’t been in my phone to make any changes. My iPhone image was the same as it had always been but I looked at my watch and it was that cup. I thought it was just an encouragement to me that God has got my back and it made me smile. Later that day, I’m thinking it had another purpose…to open my eyes to how I was to handle what was to come. Because come it did! God has unique ways of working with us and speaking to us IF we are willing to be aware. I have left that picture on my watch now to remind me that what is to come is under His care also. Does this mean I’m all good with it and none of those previous feelings are present? Nope not at all. I just have to turn up the volume of God’s voice in my life over my own thoughts and words, and believe I can do this again, with His help.

I was encouraged to read Hebrews recently and still doing it. There are many “Let us” statements throughout and they will really hit home. I changed the “Let us” to Let JoAnn…” and it has really been impactful in my life. In fact, I have underlined those words where ever they are written in Hebrews so I won’t forget. I have used those over the last couple of days. It really is in how we look at things and what our perspective is. I want more of Jesus and less of me. God wants that for all of us. He is calling us to be strong and walk it out in His strength. Being a Christ Follower should show up in all areas of our lives; all encompassing and never ending. It should be our life style. God is watching. Be faithful in the moment, and the next, and the next. Remember our mistakes are not one and done. So even though I have doubts, or my feelings are determining my outlook, God is right there. He knows all, from the beginning to the end. So if I become weak, He is strong. If I’m afraid, He can keep me calm and help me put one foot in front of the other. He will do that for you too, no matter what you are going through in your life.

Give it all up to him and go ALL IN! I know I’m weilding my sword like a warrior woman! I hope you will do that too this year, so that, you will see goodness in the land of the living this year! God bless your 2020 in ways you have never experienced before.

Until next time,

~JoAnn