The other day I was trying to get rid of the weeds and bramble around the cabin. I was using a large tool that got extremely heavy the longer I pruned. Doing the job became more of a chore than what I had planned.
Once I was finished I turned around and noticed I hadn’t gotten the thicker sticks close to the ground at all. I was trying to make sure they were removed so no one would trip over them. I cut some more. I Looked again and thought, wow changing my perspective and looking from a different angle I could once again, see how poorly I had pruned.
This got me thinking about when God prunes me. It hurts to be pruned and when I think God has nothing more to get rid of, I can see more areas that need my flesh removed. He is faithful and continues to remove the ugly things in my life that trip me up. Granted this takes time and He knows exactly when and what to prune at the moment I need it. If He were to do it all at once, I would not survive. But, in His omniscience He knows as I grow and mature, I can handle the next pruning.
I now realize pruning is much needed and as the ugly things of my life disappear, I know one day I will be a beautiful tree producing godly fruit for all to partake of.
God is everywhere and He shows me biblical things daily. What has He shown you lately?
“A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit.” Matthew 7:18
Why is it easier to pray for healing for other people rather than for yourself? Recently I had to come face to face with this when I received the cancer diagnosis. We put out a call for prayer and I knew I had several prayer warriors praying for me.
As the days wore on and emotions were raging, I felt like I should pray for myself. Sounds simple enough. I’ve often prayed for things in my life. But, this time was different. I struggled. I couldn’t find the words. I had fears and doubts. Thoughts crept in, “What if I pray and God doesn’t heal me?” Is it because of sin in my life? Is it lack of faith? Or the hard truth that maybe my time on this earth is finished?
I didn’t know where to even begin. So, I cried out. The tears flowed. How many times have I prayed for people with cancer without a second thought that God could heal them? So many times…but this time I lacked the strength. The desire was there but I was fumbling.
As I cried verses began to come to mind, “Jehovah is near to the broken-hearted; and saves those who are of a contrite spirit. “ Psalm 34:18…”
And immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief.” Matthew 9:24
Then the reality hit me. God was just waiting for my true heart to shine through. It wasn’t about a grandiose prayer full of scripture and flowery words. He wanted the tears. He wanted my anger. He wanted my thoughts-the good and the bad. He wanted to exchange my fear and anxiety for life.
The words began to pour out of me. Yes, I prayed for healing. But, just like Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, I ended it with “Not my will Father, but Your will be done,” Matthew 26:39
A few weeks ago I went in for another test to see where we were at with the cancer. I had my surgery back in October and this was the first glimpse of my left breast since then. Did I have scanxiety? (Its a real thing.) Yes, but somehow I knew the results were going to be good.
Sure enough, there is no more cancer! I am cancer free! Some would say it’s because of the surgery, or changing my eating habits. I believe God healed me as a result from everyone praying. And I give all glory to Him!!!
Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! Psalm 34:8
“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.
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.
It’s been a little over a month since we left Mexico and moved back to Washington. Many things have happened in this time.
I have had to work through and process quite a bit. Some things I expected, others I had no idea I would be experiencing.
Recently the small town we moved from in Mexico was ravaged by fire. When I heard the news I couldn’t believe the damage that was happening. I had received a text from my mom saying that our daughter, Sarah and her husband were safe from the fire and were in the states. My mind started whirling. What was she talking about? Fire? What fire?
You must understand that we don’t get texts at our cabin easily. We have to hike out to a place on the property that we call our “phone booth” which is an old stump about 1/4 of a mile from our house. This particular day we were headed to town and we hadn’t checked any of our phone messages because we knew we would soon have cell service. Once we arrived in town we started receiving more and more texts. Then I received a message saying that one of the homes we lived in, in Mexico was completely gone due to the fire.
I couldn’t believe it. What was going on? I immediately tried to get a hold of our daughter to get more information and to make sure she was, in fact, alright. After several tries we finally got a hold of her. She and her husband were definitely safe and weren’t planning on going back to Mexico for a few days. My mama heart was trying to reign in my emotions and trying not to freak out. I had to give it to God and remind myself that He is in control. There was nothing I could do. I had to pray.
Pretty soon we started seeing photos of the devastation. We saw a photo that showed our daughter, Storm’s little casa was still standing, which is amazing because it was constructed out of wood. We heard reports of homes being burned and others completely unharmed. We continued our prayers for the next several days as the winds picked up and we were getting reports of other fires happening within the area. I thought of all of our friends there, my students, my family.
Then I thought, “God, we were just there. Why now?” I don’t have the answer to this, but I know that God’s timing is perfect and that He uses all things for His glory.
Needless to say, We are loving being back at our cabin and the rest has been very good for us. We have done ministry in some form or another for 20 years – the last 15 have been more intense ministry. Now that we are at the property it’s been great to just take in the fresh air, sunshine, and each other. We have had God divine appointments there and have had several opportunities to minister and pray with those in the area. Ministry doesn’t always look the same, which I believe is a good thing. We are still loving the one in front of us which is what we are all about.
We do travel to my parents home once a month and our church that is close by has hired my husband to do maintenance whenever he is available, which is fantastic.
We were recently blessed with some more solar panels. We are excited to install them especially as winter approaches and our small unit that we have been using doesn’t charge the batteries enough this time of year.
It’s been fairly easy getting back into the groove of living off-grid. I love the simpler lifestyle and the fact that we don’t have access to the internet or technology to waste our time. Things are very intentional on the mountain. Conversations are deep and sometimes silly.
I’m sure I will be processing what we have experienced in Mexico for awhile and I don’t know what that will look like. I have had many moments of tears, but I know that God sees each one and I take comfort in each day that I get to breathe a breath.
“The SovereignLordis my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights.”