christianity

Will I Praise Him in the Storm?

What a couple of months it has been! My mom passed away and just before that I found a lump on my breast, but I put that on hold while dealing with the grief of my mother.

Once we were settled and I could think clearly I pursued getting care in our little town. I had to get medical records transferred and approvals etc. Which was not fun.

Finally I went in for a mammogram and ultrasound. The doctor definitely could tell something was on my breast so he ordered a biopsy. Two days later I had the results. I had an invasive form of breast cancer.

My mind went reeling. How can this be? I breastfed all my kids. Wasn’t that supposed to ward off breast cancer? My thoughts immediately began to spin out of control. Breast cancer runs in the family and I have had two aunts die from it. I couldn’t breathe. My heart was pounding and I was trying to fight back tears. (That didn’t last long.) I clung to my husband.

As we were waiting to tell our kids more thoughts came to mind. Will I have to do chemo? Will they recommend a mastectomy? Is it even curable? So many questions and very little answers at the time.

When we told our kids they were super supportive and offered encouragement in a way I never expected. They rocked it!

After a few days of processing it, I found that I needed to lay it at Jesus’ feet. I had to take it one moment at a time. It felt like a grieving process where the final stage is acceptance.

When we were meeting with the oncologist to hear what the next few steps would be, a flood of emotions swept through me. I didn’t want to be in this exam room – the room for cancer patients. I had no desire to answer all the questions they were throwing at me. I wish I could have lived in denial and not acknowledged that this was part of my life.

But, here we are. Tomb moments. Where there seems like there is no hope. The grave has been closed and there is nothing I can do…BUT GOD!!!

This is where the real testing of my faith comes in. I can speak about faith and saying “All things work together for good for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:28) But do I truly believe that?

Again, tomb moments. Do I believe and trust that God will take this foul thing inside me away? Will I praise Him regardless of the outcome? My prayer is that I will praise Him through the hard times. That regardless of what happens He is still in control. He is on the throne and He will never leave me nor forsake me.

The Bible has been my anchor through this. I love to read but I just couldn’t read any other book except the Bible. I wasn’t able to focus on any printed page except God’s Word. Which is just amazing to me. His Word is life.

We have received some good news of my diagnosis. As of today, I don’t have to do chemo. I just had a lumpectomy and they took some of my lymph nodes to make sure the cancer hasn’t spread. I will get those test results soon. I am sore from the surgery and my throat hurts from the breathing tube. But, I am relieved because the doctor thinks he was able to get the tumor out completely. In about four weeks I will start radiation therapy.

I have so much to be thankful for. In the words of my dad – I get to experience God in a whole new way. Which has been so true. He is close to the broken hearted. He is the God who sees. The God who heals. The God who comforts and gives peace.

Do I wish there was a different path? Sure, but then I wouldn’t be refined into a beautiful vessel. If I can help one person through their fight against cancer then I believe it is all worth it. And yes, I will praise Him in the storm!

Thank you for the prayers and support. It’s been quite the journey.

“Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.” 1 Peter 4:19

homesteading

Why a Vertical Log Cabin?

It has begun! What a few weeks it has been. After my mother’s passing, I needed something to cheer me up and this certainly has done the trick.

We started work on a cabin for our youngest daughter and her husband, which will also serve as a guest cabin! This has been a project my husband and I have thought long and hard about because it is not a normal log cabin with horizontal logs-it is a vertical log cabin otherwise called stockade style.

Why build vertical instead of the traditional way? We have had this question asked numerous times in the past week, so I decided to explain our thinking behind it. There are many reasons why we wanted to build a cabin like this. Here are some of the reasons:

  • The need for large or heavy equipment is reduced or not needed at all because of the length of the logs.
  • Vertical log shells can be built in half the time as horizontal shells.
  • The logs we are using are 10 feet to go from floor to ceiling verses having to use 24 foot logs for the whole length of the cabin. Two people can easily carry the 10 foot logs. (Which is great for us who aren’t as young as we used to be!)
  • Due to the direction of the cracks that may form in a log, virtually none of the cracks in a vertical log home will direct water infiltration back into the home which can happen with a horizontal log home.
  • Windows and doors can be installed directly to the logs with no worries about settling or shrinkage of the walls since logs do not shrink vertically.
  • Wiring can be installed easily between the logs where as with a horizontal log wall, each log has to be drilled to allow the wire to pass through.
  • Last but not least I like to think outside the box and I really like the look of the vertical logs.

I’m sure I will be posting more photos of our journey through this process. It has been great seeing everyone come together and share their strengths in working on this project.

“Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labor.” Ecclesiastes 4:9

family

Be Still…

Photo taken by Tim Mossholder

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1

Sometimes life’s journey takes us on a path we have no desire to walk down. But, when we stop to look along this unwanted road we see things we may never have noticed before.

Recently I had to say my final goodbyes to my beloved mom. Death is a difficult thing for those left behind. However, in the midst of this tragedy I could see God’s hand throughout this journey.

We all have shed tears, had a few laughs, and shared memories. It’s so sad you don’t truly know how much someone meant to people until they are gone.

My mom was someone who was familiar with grief and because of this she helped a lot of hurting people. She was also a prayer warrior. One comment we keep hearing is that many people will miss her prayers and her listening heart.

I am thankful for so many things that God has done over the past few years concerning my mom. God didn’t have to wait until we moved back to Washington from Mexico to take her life. He even waited until our youngest daughter and son-in-law moved back and because of that they got to spend 10 uninterrupted days with her. My son was able to live with my parents while we were in Mexico, which was a blessing all around. They got to experience our son as an adult and help him figure out some adulting things-something they never had an opportunity to do with my brother, who died at the age of 17 to suicide. Our daughter, Storm, came for a visit in July and had a wonderful time helping my mom do housework and just loving on her. My mother couldn’t wait for her 77th birthday and we were able to be there and celebrate with her. Later, As she went into the hospital with the blood clot and things were not looking good, a peace swept over us as we made final decisions. With Covid, we didn’t know if the hospital would let us say our final goodbyes. Then we were told all of the family members present could see her one last time and spend 30 minutes with her. I was so grateful for this! My mother loved vibrant colors and I had to giggle when I walked into the ICU room and saw that she was wearing bright yellow hospital socks! (Thank you to the nurse that put those on her.) Lastly, I am thankful that the hospital let my dad stay in her room until she breathed her last breath. He wanted to be with her until the end. I am praising God for all of these things. He opened doors and let us have some amazing time with her. It reminds me that His timing is perfect.

We all know death is a part of life, but are we ever truly ready to say goodbye? Take the time to love on your friends and family because you never know if you will ever get that chance again.

2 Corinthians 1:3 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 receive from God.

christianity

When Perception Meets Reality

I had a hard truth come to light this week. Realizing I am not where I thought I was in my spiritual walk. I am currently reading the book Absolute Surrender by Andrew Murray and what an inspirational convicting book!

We all struggle with surrender. I haven’t met one person who isn’t stubborn in one way or another. But it’s those times when you realize you aren’t where you thought you were or you weren’t as strong as you believed you were that are difficult.

Looking at Peter’s life in the Bible he is faced with this very thing. Peter tells Jesus that he would go to prison and die for him. Jesus’s response to Peter is that before the rooster crows Peter would deny Him three times.(Luke 32:31-34)

We know what happens next and that is that Peter does, in fact, deny Jesus three times.

But what was Peter’s reaction?

“And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.And he went out and wept bitterly. “ Luke 22:61-62

Peter wept bitterly. Can you imagine looking Jesus in the eye after you denied him and doing exactly what Jesus said you would do? I believe this is the reality moment…the moment Peter saw how weak, how feeble, how unable he was to love the Lord with all his heart, mind, soul, and strength. The reality caught up with his perception. He wasn’t as strong as he thought he was.

However, what’s the good news? Peter found out where he was so that he could move forward. Peter did go to prison and even ended up one day dying for Jesus – crucified on a cross, upside down!

The surrender finally came! The absolute willing surrender…to give up self. To give up the self-life, the self-comfort, self-pleasing, and self-will.

How did Peter do it? “The work that Christ began in Peter when He looked upon him, was perfected when Peter was later filled with the Holy Spirit. The cause of the weakness of your Christian life is that you want to work it out partly, and to let God help you. And that cannot be. You must come to be utterly helpless, to let God work, and God will work gloriously.”(taken from the book Absolute Surrender)

We have to come to the end of ourselves and cry out. We need to realize we don’t have what it takes to be perfect, but when we surrender, the One who is perfect does the awesome work through us.

I spent a few days in utter disbelief and tears understanding that when I surrender I am free from the bondage of self. I am free from putting my own wants before others. I am free from being afraid of what others think. I am free from wanting the things of this world to desiring God’s will above all else, and that my friend, is a fabulous place to be!

“Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2

Thank you Lord for your grace enabling us to be perfected by your wonderful power. May we not look at yesterday but look forward to the work that you are doing and continue to do when we absolutely surrender. Amen.

homesteading

You Never Know…

You never know what an impact you will have on someone’s life. We have had several guests at the cabin lately. It’s been a little crazy and we never know what a day will look like.

Last night I sat down with one of our guests and as the day turned into night I started lighting candles, then the kerosene lantern. The conversation was rich. We talked about life, simplicity of daily living at the cabin, and most important our relationship with God which spills out on those around us.

As we were talking her daughter sat down in the wicker rocking chair and started to express her joy and thankfulness that she was able to come for a visit. She said, “It’s so peaceful here and I feel like I’m living like Laura Ingalls in Little House on the Prairie.” She then said, “I also love how I can talk to your family about anything.” (My heart leapt at that moment.)

What she didn’t know was that I was a little nervous about her family coming because we live a rustic lifestyle. Outhouses, hauling water, heating water on a stove for showers, hand watering a large garden, etc. Although they read my book Beautiful Dependence, reading and experiencing off-grid living are two different things. We can easily romanticize something we read about or see on YouTube.

This family came and got to experience Cherith Brook. They were so grateful for so many things at our little hide away. Why? Because they had just been on a camping/backpacking trip. They were eating MRE packs (Meals Ready to Eat), they had no access to showers, and had to use an outside bathroom with no walls.

By the time they arrived at our place, we had a hot meal for them with ‘real’ food, a warm bed, hot showers, fresh drinking water from our spring, and an outdoor bathroom with walls!

Thankfulness is the key to contentment in life. Here, I was concerned that our property would be too rustic. It ended up being a luxurious get away and a place to refresh as they continued their ‘outdoor’ adventures for the next few days.

Again, you just never know what’s going to happen or what an impact you will have on a person’s life. I think of Jesus and how one conversation changed so many lives…the blind man, the woman at the well, the lame man, etc. One conversation. One small moment in time can change a person’s life for all eternity.

Eph 4:29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.