Calling All Company Girls – Is it Due Season, Yet?

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And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.  Galatians 6:9 (NKJV)

Although the Company Girls will be visiting today, I just want to thank all of my readers and visitors – again – for your comments and thoughts when you leave them.  It is appreciated and I enjoy our interaction.

Can I tell you that I just feel beat down?  This week has been full of difficult things.  Intermediate Algebra being one (and I’m not joking when I ask for all of you to pray for me in this battle against algebra – a required class for my degree…)

God has allowed my family to enter into a season right now that is hard.  Tough.  Painful.  Exhausting.  Fraught with questions.  Concerns.  Fears.

I first met it with great bravado and staunch faith.  And aside from my math frustrations and physical things – I would likely still be unwavering.  But I am tired.  And my body is weak.  And my mind is bogged down.

I don’t want to face the enemy.  I don’t want to face down the fearful predator that wants to steal peace and joy from my family.  I don’t want to have to be in the heat of battle.

What if I fail?  What if I can’t make it?  What if we lose?

Sometimes, I dig in my heels and use the tools God has given.

And sometimes, I lose heart.

But GOD IS FAITHFUL.

And His strength is like no other.  And He shoulders the burden with us.  He takes on the pain and bears the brunt of the enemy’s hot fire as it threatens to consume.

God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.  1 Corinthians 1:9 (NKJV)

So, I have to learn to wait for the “Due Season” when the hard work pays off.  When reaping yields a rich harvest…  More joy.  More love.  More peace.  More God.

But I’m impatient.  I’d like the “hard stuff” to be over.  The good stuff to be here.  Due Season…

And then I heard this song speak peace into my spirit:

I will praise you in this storm And I will lift my hands.
For You are who You are, No matter where I am.
Every tear I’ve cried, you hold in your hand.
You never left my side.
And though my heart is torn, I will praise you in this storm.

I lift my eyes unto the hills. Where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord, Maker of heaven and earth…

I’ve been singing this song all week – and woke up singing it in my head this morning.  Although he may be asleep in the stern, He is still in our boat, and He is STILL Master of the Storm…  Your prayers for my family would be so appreciated.

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Book Review: The I Believe Bunny by Tish Rabe

When I saw the opportunity to do some book reviews for a Christian publishing company, I HOPPED on it.  Thomas Nelson has published many books that I’ve enjoyed reading.  And now there’s another one!

My first book review is of The I Believe Bunny, by Tish Rabe.

TIBB

SUCH a cute book.  I was very pleased to see just how beautifully illustrated it was, and as I read it the first time – how simply written and appropriate for my girls to read!

This is the story of a bunny who loved God and thanked God for his blessings.  As it began raining, he began “drooping” a little, but remained hopeful that the rain would end soon. Instead, Bunny discovered a little mouse being swept along in the swift currents of a river.  Knowing he could not stand by and watch, he does what he can to reach out and help the mouse, who is in a desperate situation.

Fearing his ability to help in this crisis, Bunny cries out to God in prayer, and God provides . Despite his small size, Bunny is thankful God could use him to help someone in need.

A precious lesson for any child of God!

Praying for Caden

Curly is learning to pray.  Not just quoting a memorized prayer, although that is not out of the question as sometimes her prayers can ramble on.  We pray before our meals – usually she prays – and we pray as she gets tucked into bed.  She usually says her prayer, and ends with “Amen. Now your turn.”  A child’s prayer can be really sweet – it can be really rambling – and it can be downright funny.  But she is learning.

She is learning to pray from her little heart.  And one of the people we pray for regularly is her cousin, Caden.  You’ll see his picture at the top of the left sidebar.

Caden will be 4 in June.  He was diagnosed with Leukemia in August 2008.  He is undergoing heavy chemotherapy, is on & off steroids, and experiences spinal taps & biopsies far too often.  He is making progress, but there are many small battles and some minor setbacks along the way.

The general treatment last for 3 years.  His immune system suffers dramatically, as you can imagine, and he is often kept confined to avoid contracting anything.  And I mean anything.

It is very wearing on everyone in his house.  My brother, Dave, continues to work full-time for the state helping military veterans find work.  Dave is, himself, a veteran who served both in Afghanistan and Iraq.  Lyn, who deals with energy-zapping anemia, is Caden’s full-time caregiver.  Along with keeping the house clean, getting Caden to his appointments & chemo treatments, taking care of Caden’s older sisters Charlie & Chloe, and cooking, and everything else. And then there’s Charlie & Chloe – who have a sick little brother that requires a lot of attention and special treatment.

The chemo visits take place an hour away from home – and occur at least once a week.  Thankfully, a family member or friend is able to go on most trips.

Caden has a lot of ups & downs.  This is not a smooth path he is on.  He is settling into his routine, but it is still difficult, as you can imagine.

So, as Curly is learning to pray, we have incorporated prayer time for Caden.  We don’t see him often – as a matter of fact the girls haven’t seen him since Georgie’s first birthday party, due to his necessary isolation.  But we have pictures, and we talk about him, and now Curly prays for him.

Her most recent prayer went like this:

“Thank you for God.  Thank you for mom. daddy. georgie.  Help Caden to feel better.  Help his medicine to make him better.  I cry for Caden.”

Now, of all the prayers in the world, I do believe God turns an ear to a child’s prayer.  I say this not because she’s my daughter – but because she’s a child.  No hidden meaning.  No ulterior motives.  Just open-hearted prayer.

Please join with us in praying for Caden.

Lord, we pray for your endless supply of  grace fall on Caden & his family.  We know that ultimately Your Will will be revealed through this difficult time, and although we don’t understand difficulties and struggles, we can trust that Your Sovereignty never allows anything outside of your design.  We ask that Caden’s treatments work as they are intended without serious collateral damage.  That his family is surrounded with Your great mercy & grace.  That his parents are able to bear this burden together and that it strengthens their marriage, and their support of their family together.  That Charlie & Chloe feel the matchless love of their parents and for their brother – and that they are kept well & healthy to avoid bringing illness home.  That Dave is strengthened and able to trust You for all You have for them.  That Lyn is given an extra measure of grace and peace and hope as she cares for her family.  And that Caden is healed.  We thank you, Father, that you are the God Who Heals – and that no matter the circumstance – no matter the outcome – You are Lord, and you give us everything.  Amen.

Isn’t it sweet to trust in a God who cares for our every burden and every care?

Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.
Matthew 10:29-31

Thoughtfull Thursday – A Walk to Remember

The first time I watched “A Walk to Remember” (starring Mandy Moore) I was  left with the feeling of incredulity – how in the world could anyone be THAT good?  It felt unrealistic and sappy and I didn’t think I ever wanted to watch the movie again.  Did I mention I was in a very cynical phase of my life and not walking with the Lord???

It’s been showing on TV lately, and I’ve taken the time to watch it again – and I’ve come to see the value of the movie.  It’s a GODO story with GOOD morals and shows people undergoing character transformation because of one girl’s faith amidst her fight against leukemia.  It is a good movie and I recommend it.

One of my favorite parts of the story is where Mandy Moore’s character, Jamie, is in a play with Landon and she sings the song “Only Hope.”  Every time I hear it, I have to stop what I’m doing and just soak it in.  Today – it’s the song my heart is singing.

Here is Mandy’s performance, followed by the printed lyrics.

There’s a song that’s inside of my soul.
It’s the one that I’ve tried to write over and over again
I’m awake in the infinite cold.
But you sing to me over and over and over again.

So, I lay my head back down.
And I lift my hands and pray
To be only yours, I pray, to be only yours
I know now you’re my only hope.

Sing to me the song of the stars.
Of your galaxy dancing and laughing and laughing again.
When it feels like my dreams are so far
Sing to me of the plans that you have for me over again.

So I lay my head back down.
And I lift my hands and pray
To be only yours, I pray, to be only yours
I know now, you’re my only hope.

I give you my destiny.
I’m giving you all of me.
I want your symphony, singing in all that I am
At the top of my lungs, I’m giving it back.

So I lay my head back down.
And I lift my hands and pray
To be only yours, I pray, to be only yours
I pray, to be only yours
I know now you’re my only hope.

hmmmmm, hmmmmm, oooooh.

At the Well – Having a Thankful Heart

Laurie is hosting our discussion this week  I love her blog  check it out when you have some time!

at-the-wellThis week’s discussion questions:
#1- How do you give thanks during difficult times?
#2 – Share with your readers a testimony of how God brought you thru a difficult time.
#3 – What is the most memorable Thanksgiving you have experienced?

I think this is a great topic to discuss –  it was very much the subject of our Sunday sermon yesterday and our pastor shared some really great thoughts on the subject.

#1  How do you give thanks during difficult times?

I am learning that giving thanks during difficult times absolutely changes everything.  It’s easy to give thanks when things are great.  When kids are healthy, hubby’s job is secure, bills are paid, etc.  It takes PRACTICE to give thanks during difficult times.  That’s the key.

I Thessalonians 5:18 – in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Something about this verse struck me yesterday that I hadn’t noticed or paid much attention to before.  Notice it says, “This is the will of God…”

How many times have I wondered what God’s will is?  HELLOOOO!!!  Here’s a good place to start.  Give thanks ALWAYS. Yes, for the sleepless nights with teething & fevers;  For the dark nights of financial insecurity.  I wonder about my sister in law, and my nephew Cartman, who has leukemia. And whose oldest daughter is now sick with a virus (fever, vomiting, the works…) How IN THE WORLD would I give thanks for that?  That convicts me cuz I know what my instant reaction would be.  Yet I still read that somehow I would need to find a way to give God thanks in spite of the difficult circumstances.  But would I?  I can’t say that I would – and it would likely take a LOT of work for me to give praise.

I guess this is where resting in the CHARACTER of God – TRUSTING in the character of God lends itself to me.

Jehovah-Rapha – Our Healer – we give thanks for the healing that flows from Your Hands.  We ask you to let it fall freely on my nephew and my niece – and thank you for your concern and care for each one of us. Give their mama & daddy strength and grace – let them Fall on you, and Rest in you – the One who gives the very Breath of Life.

#2 – Share with your readers a testimony of how God brought you thru a difficult time.

Narrowing this down to one difficult time is not easy.  My rose colored glasses haven’t worked for some time.  LOL.  Our family has undergone a number of major changes and has faced many battles since January in practically every arena of our lives.  There were many dark days that I honestly prayed God would just take me so it would be over and I would not have to feel any pain. However, I am learning through it all that a thankful heart requires practice – but that thankfulness changes things.  Maybe not circumstances (father-in-law’s cancer followed by a double bypass, job changes, schedule changes, my nephew’s cancer, spiritual battles in my marriage & home), but certainly attitude.

Acknowledging God as Sovereign, as the Creator who gives and takes away, and understanding that His Hand guides every moment and movement in my life (Job 42:2 – I know that You can do everything, and that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You.), and letting go of the reins and thanking Him for his love for me (Jeremiah 29:11 – For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not evil, to give you a future and a hope)is a key to finding a way for me to practice thankfulness.

THAT is what I can be thankful for: GOD’S FAITHFULNESS despite the uncertainty of life.

Lamentations 3:22-23 – Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed [nothing is stronger than God’s mercy],

because His compassions fail not [He never grows weary despite our continuous cries].

They are new every morning [every morning starts with a new refreshing];

Great is Your Faithfulness [which is endless].

If I cannot find a way to be thankful for my circumstances, I can start by being thankful for His Faithfulness.

#3 – What is the most memorable Thanksgiving you have experienced?

I’ve had many memorable Thanksgivings.  Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It probably represents FAMILY most to me of all the holidays that are in place.  Each year truly brings something more memorable than the last.  Last year – it was special because Roy & I were able to celebrate our own family – each other & our two lovely girls that God has blessed us with.  I remember how awesome it was to realize that I was now a wife & mom as I always wanted to be.  Despite sleep deprivation and lingering post partum depression, I was thankful for the people that God brought into my life and how each of them blessed my heart differently.

This year, as we have experienced so many trials, I can be thankful for the strength God gives – the grace He pours out – the love He bestows – and for being the Lord God Almighty despite, well, life.