July 11, 2018
Shakespeare wrote "What is in name?", but lately i was thinking "What is in a word"...
Just two short words. On their own they do not mean much, but choosing to use one rather than the other has made a great impact on my life.
So is the first word and Too is the second. I really struggle with these two. Somehow they are on the opposite spectrums of each other. They represent two very different viewpoints. This is quite amazing if you think about it. So and Too.
As i was scrolling through a forwarded devotional i was literally (and literary) stopped in my tracks. The spoken word is a very powerful thing. It can destroy, build up, shatter, praise, help, etc. As we all know swearing is never good, lashing out at someone never helps, but as i read this verse in Jeremiah a fresh meaning struck me.
"If you repent, I will restore you that you may serve Me; if you utter worthy, not worthless words, you will be My spokesman."
Worthy not worthless words.
I started listening to myself. What were the words i used most during the day? Well, it turned out it was TOO. Yes, you read right, TOO.
This was me....This is too hard Lord! This is too much! Too terrible, You expect too much of me, too, too, too.
Really worthless. Every time i used Too, I was whining. Complaining. Blaming.
And this is where SO comes in. As soon as i wanted to say TOO, I replaced it with SO. Because like it or not my circumstances had not changed one single bit, in fact it got worse. But the way I was speaking and thinking had to change! This is how it sounded now....
This is so hard, Lord.
I immediately realised that So was aWorthy Word. If i use "This is so hard", i was stating the facts - denial won't work! But for me that complaining and whining edge disappeared. I was now coming to God for comfort, help and understanding. A huge difference. When i used Too i stopped there. I was just complaining. But by using So it immediately went into me asking help or wisdom or just to be held. And i could go on filled with fresh courage.
So and Too was just the beginning. Words have consequences - even the ones i speak quitely to myself....and So i turn once again on a new level to a Father who knows and cares and loves.
July 07, 2018
For the longest time i have been living and breathing Romans 8:28 - that all things will work out for our good. And it will, but really, although this will always be true i think i have entered a new phase....the Even Ifs...
When you read Hebrews 11, aptly called the Hall of faith, it starts out very encouraging with many great faithful saints. Name by name by name we read of how these people held on to God despite desperate trials of faith - and God came through for them. As you near the end of the chapter the names fall away, from a humanly perspective it may look as if God does not come through. But still they held unto Him, their faith held.
The words of Daniel's 3 friends just before they were thrown into the fiery furnace has encouraged me a lot lately.
16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and He will deliver us from your Majesty’s hand. 18 But even if He does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”
So here i am praying fervently that swallowing would not become a problem, but it does. I believe He is able to do anything but even if He does not, i will still worship Him and Him alone. So a feeding tube is our next step...
I have this weird back ache and if i ever needed a strong back it is now, believe me, but the pain does not subside - and even if it does not i hold on to God to help me through it all. So i lift and move and ask for help where i can - knowing that right their in my own little fiery furnace the Son of Man is with me.
Our house deed is still not in our name - another Even If. I hold on. I keep believing.
But this belief is not the thing that makes me keep on. It is not some magic recipe to get the outcome i want. Nor is it my stubbornness that makes me stick it out. It is a trust in a faithful, loving God that brings me though the darkest storms. Trusting that Even If it looks like He is not there i can KNOW He is, because He never lies. And He said that He will never leave us or forsake us - and in my own words - Even If it looks like it.
We see only a very small part of our lives. God sees the whole. As things get tough and weakness progresses and my heart breaks each new day seeing more than i wish how this disease eats up my dearest husband i look to those nameless ones at the end of Hebrews 11. And they encourage me. They kept their faith in a God who is faithful, Even If it looks like quite the opposite.
"There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. 36 Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— 38 the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground.
39 These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, 40 since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect."
And so i trust, i hope and i hold on to my Father no matter what.
May 29, 2018
"Submit yourselves, then, to God.
Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
Come near to God and He will come near to you."
Resist the devil. Am i? Or am i just giving in to despair? Am i choosing to be distraught, crushed, overwhelmed? Do I rather choose to believe my life is one long disaster with a new calamity just waiting to happen.....?
I have submitted to God, but like a broken reed, with broken head bowed before Him. Not really in acceptance but in defeat. Do i “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” ?
There is always a choice. I think that in various trials - and it seems there are quite a variety at the moment! - there are choices. One choice is to actually count it all joy! That is quite a mindshift right there. The testing of our faith produces perseverance, and the Bible says then to “Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” I certainly like that part about not lacking anything in my character.
But in saying this, our enemy that walks around like a roaring lion, wants us to fail. He does not want our faith to produce perseverance. He does not want us to be mature in our faith. He wants us to have a pathetic cripple and weak faith in God. His end result is to make us give up on God.
So, it starts by submitting to God - trusting Him fully that whatever is going on we can know that He is in control and knows and hears and sees the whole picture. And when we stop fighting God, we can resist the devil - the real enemy.
How do I resist today? I get out of bed. I eat something. I choose to belief God is for me and not against me. I choose to believe that God is Always Good. I pick up God's Word, i read it. I resist the urge to crumple under severe strain just because it looks easier. I resist by accepting this day for what it is. I resist in thinking i am not enough, not good enough, not lovable. I resist. I become a rebel for God in this world that is not my home. I rebel against the enemy's schemes to bring me down so that i become a whimpering coward of a believer. I resist. I trust my Father and become the rebel i was born to be. I resist the devil and draw near to God and not the other way around.
Life is tough but there is always a choice. Submit to God, resist the enemy, draw near to God.
May 08, 2018
And here I thought 2017 was bad....so many times over the last couple of months i have cried out to God - why this too? Isn't it enough to live and see this disease in all,it terribleness day in and out? But here we are - Standing at one more Red Sea+Approaching Army scenario.
We bought a house and God miraculously provided for it only for it to be handled by dishonest people. So we are in the midst of trying to transfer the house unto our name.... no success....and 7 months plus three attorneys later still no answers or closer to finding out on what on earth is going on. Standing at the Red Sea.
But therein lies my answer....this is not just an "earthly" problem, so it won't help much to ask "Why on earth?" And this takes me back to one of the first verses the Lord gave me when we bought this house...it seemed a bit strange then but makes perfectly sense now. Exodus 14.....
There the Hebrew nation stood - freshly and in an awesome way saved by the Living God, walking boldly towards the Promised Land. It even says they were ready for battle!
Then they looked up from their focused marching and saw the approaching army on the one side and the Red Sea on the other side and went from Ready for Battle to Terrified and Crying. (Sounds familiar, Bella?)
How many times have i walked boldly knowing this was God's will only to look away and to go from trust to terrified in one glance? Even if i just had a great breakthrough or seen God's deliverance?
And here I stand at another Red Sea. And God says, "I will fight for you, you need only to be still."
"I will gain glory for Myself through _______ and they will know that I am the LORD."
I need to know that i can trust God no matter what or how the circumstances look like. I can go from Ready for Battle, to facing difficulties - even calamities - and skipping the being terrified part and losing all hope - rather by default, just fearing God and trusting Him without a doubt.
"And when the Israelites saw the Mighty Hand of the Lord displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the Lord and put their trust in Him." And i love this part, "and the Egyptians said, Let's get away from the Israelites! The LORD is fighting for them against Egypt."
I long to see the Mighty Hand of the Lord in this new dilemma, but until that happens i will keep my eyes not on the Red sea in front of me, nor on the approaching terrifying army, but on the pillar of Light leading me on, giving God all the glory He deserves.
May 02, 2018
I was walking along an unfamiliar beach this morning and suddenly had this desire to walk out and touch this one lonely pillar built way out in the sea. I could actually do this as the tide was still low. While walking out i realized two things - the tide was coming in faster than i thought and the way out to this pillar was across many round slippery rocks.
I decided to push on. At one point i looked at the road ahead and thought it would be easier to admit defeat and turn around. At least i knew i was able to traverse the know path. And the path ahead looked, to say the least, a bit too rocky!
As i was contemplating going ahead with this foolish idea or just going back a piece of Scripture came to mind....Isaiah 30:21 says "And you will hear a voice behind you saying, "This is the way, walk in it."
In that moment I decided to trust God’s voice and guidance and went ahead. Metaphorically walking this unknown path knowing God is with me. Knowing He will lead. Trusting Him to guide.
I made it around the pillar with shaky legs but with a firmness in spirit.
Yes, the days ahead will be strewn with slippery rocks, even incoming waves crashing around me even on me. But God is with me. I am safe in His palm. I can rely on His Voice telling me where to step.
Bella, one step at a time.
April 23, 2018
Our lives are filled with a couple of unfortunate things. Stuff we did not hope to see, but thankful nevertheless as they are much needed.
One of them is a sheep skin. As muscles wane and bones protrude this soft skin offers comfort and makes sleep easier.
This morning i was thinking about this particular sheep. The soft fur was not shaven off and made into comfy slippers, no, this was the real thing - a sheep had offered up his life for this.
This sounds a bit melodramatic, and i am no vegetarian, but somehow it really touched me. Jesus was offered for our sins, pain and suffering. He, through His offering made it possible for us to be with God. He gave His life.
He was the perfect Lamb.
And even though, here right now, no healing has taken place He soothes and brings comfort. He knows our pain. He helps us carry it.
One day there will be no more pain, no more tears because of His sacrifice. Until then, I cling to Him.
Bella, thankful for the Perfect Lamb
April 20, 2018
I have a tablecloth with all kinds of quotes painted on it. One of them says, "When nothing goes right, go left."
In one sense it is just s funny little word play, but i like it even more for the wisdom it shouts out. When nothing goes right...change your way of doing things, change the way you think, change direction.
Nothing has been going right lately. You would think that battling, living and sleeping this diesease was bad enough, but with all of this there is so much more on the not-so-wanted full plate. And it is not something yummy to eat! Hard to feel God's care and love when nothing goes right.
We bought a house through a respectable-name-agency and after 7 months the deed is still not ours....three attorneys later and still no answers....hard to feel God's care or love at a time when nothing goes right.
My own health is not so great either - stress has a way of wearing down the old immune system...but still i need to lift and care, wake up all hours to help, push around and feed - even when i am bone tired. No rest, no breakthrough, nothing goes right.
In the dead of night, contemplating life, it is very hard to feel loved and cared for. But then i remember a friend's words.. "make a big thing of the little things" and I do just that.
I make a big thing of the fact that my dearest loving but suffering husband has such a strong faith and a deep peace - and as i write this, this so called little thing actually takes it rightful place as the huge blessing that it is.
Through a friend i find a new attorney - and i make a big thing out of this In Faith!
I make a big thing out of the fact that i made it intact through yet another day. Caring as i should.
I make a big thing about a friend taking time out to bless me.
And i realize that these seemingly little things in my eyes were not so small after all. My problems make them look tiny, but in reality my problems are the small things.
And God's love and care suddendly surrounds me.
When nothing goes right....go left.
"The Eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the Everlasting Arms." Deut 33:27