Just a Few Stairs on Our Hike!

Just a Few Stairs on Our Hike!
This lead up to where the green grass grows!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Too many chiefs, not enough Indians!!

I haven’t blogged for a few days. It has been busy here the last few days. There has been a lot going on. So much that it has been almost overwhelming or at least seems like it should be. I have been surprisingly calm, a serious answered prayer. I know my personality and I know that it would not take a whole lot to push me over the edge some days. On Wednesday my office manager gave her resignation at work. I have mentioned briefly in another post that it has been almost unbearable there the last few months.  I do not blame her for leaving at all; in fact I was praying that she would find a position where she can be more at ease and not in such turmoil constantly from the continuous corporate changes that negatively affect us almost daily. On top of that, the part time girl that also works in the office gave her resignation today. So two weeks from this day I will be expected to see to it that my patients are all seen in a timely manner that benefits them, keep the office running smoothly, and (hopefully) be training another office person. The corporate office does not seem to be very worried about this. Ever heard the term, “too many chiefs, not enough Indians”?  The company that I am currently employed at continues to lose Indians as they recruit and reward chiefs?! I’m not sure I understand this whole plan of theirs but I’m not sure I am supposed to either.  I do realize I am blessed to have a job at all the way the economy is currently!
THIS is what I DO know! I have ONE chief! I have been praying to him for my peace and my serenity through all of this and he IS answering my prayers. I haven’t snapped yet!
“I pray out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. “ Ephesian 3:16-17
This tells me that I may not exactly understand everything I am going through with the work situation right now, if I trust in Him and let him come into my heart wholeheartedly, I will be stronger, I will persevere!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Through the Eyes of a Child!

Have you ever taken a moment to think about the creation that surrounds us. The sheer beauty and complete variety of all that we have to enjoy every time that we step outside into this world of ours. Steven and I hiked up the mountain side that adjoins the overlook at one of our local attractions. As I walked I imagined the times that I orchestrated a “scavenger hunt” for my children. They were to look for such things as a “red leaf, a yellow flower, a shiny rock etc.” They curiously take the time to find each and every object they are given. They often stop to smell the tiny purple flowers that some of us refer to as “weeds” and take a few moments to play with a small lizard that is trying desperately to scurry under a rock and out of their sight. Children view God's creation very differently than we as adults do. When they lovingly draw a picture of a landscape it usually includes a sun that is proportionately much larger than the rest of the picture. If we could all see the creation through the eyes of a child we would certainly realize the power behind it. Have you ever stopped to think about the sun? It's power and brightness along with it's beauty is more than I personally could ever comprehend!

“Then God said, 'Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night. They will serve as signs of festivals and for days and for years. They will be lights in the expanse of the sky to provide light on earth.' And it was so.” ~Genesis 1:14-15

THAT is an amazing task! It is like nothing we, as humans, could ever imagine! It is not light walking into a room and flipping on a switch that is powered by electricity (another thing that God gave someone the insight to create) but God opened his mouth, ordered light, and it was so!

As Steven and I walked and talked that day, we took the time to enjoy our surroundings. We picked up stones and studied their characteristics, enjoyed the sounds of the wildlife and the wonders of the nature that surrounded us completely! As we neared the top of the narrow, muddy trail it was almost as if the area opened up to an entire different world. The steps made out of railroad ties were strategically placed to offer a safe foothold for this small journey up to an open field with untouched grass and hints left for those who would take the time to look at what creatures great and small had made their way to this place to either look for a meal or even a place to rest. Acorn shells that had served as a meal for a small creature and multiple deer beds where it was obvious that the ground had been interrupted and it was easy to imagine a mommy deer laying with her youngling for protection and rest after a long day of travels.

There is an order to it all! An intellect like no one else could ever utilize except for our Lord. I KNOW that He is with us! I KNOW that He created a wonderful world for us to live in and enjoy! I am looking forward to the time when I can see him!

“Be silent before the Lord and wait expectantly for Him; do not be agitated by one who prospers in this way, by the man who carries out evil plans” Psalm 37:7

Monday, May 16, 2011

How DOES He do it?! Have you ever wondered?

Have you ever stopped to think about how hard it is to listen to more than one person at a time? As I prepared for our Bible study tonight (which by the way was fabulous!) a four and a five year old were struggling to obtain my attention solely. This, along with a very waggy tailed Maggie (barking included) and the distant buzz in a nearby room of a TV that was never turned off as someone exited the area really got me thinking about what it must be like for God to listen to everyone’s prayers. What in the world must that be like?! Is it a constant hummmmm? A slight buzzzzz? How many languages can he interpret?!  How many people actually begin to speak to him at the exact same moment every day? How in the world does He do it?! I also know that we want a “quick fix” in today’s society!  A diet pill, a get rich quick scheme, those don’t really work! The same goes with our prayers. I am working on my obedience, my commitment to praying to God starting when I wake up, talking with him throughout the day, and last thing at night before I fall asleep.  As I dig deeper into His word and am finding meaning behind every piece of scripture that I read, I learn daily that it WILL be a challenge, it IS going to take me sacrificing things that I once loved, and people for that matter. Worldly things that once seemed so very important to be do not hold that same value anymore.
“He must turn from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil” 1 Peter 3:11-12
This tells me that if I pray like I should, spend the time with God that I should and live the right way, my prayers will be answered. I am slowly but surely learning that there is also reasons behind unanswered prayers as well. It is all about God’s will and what I feel that is right at the moment when I am just praying to God for something may not always be.
“Be joyful always; Pray continuously; Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Jesus Christ. Do not put out the Spirit’s fire, do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything. Hold onto good. Avoid every kind of evil.” 1 Thessalonians 5: 16-22.
I’m not sure how He does it. But I know that he hears ALL of our prayers!

MY time for prayer!

Today has been a challenge and as the day progresses towards evening it has seemed to get harder. I have done a little better at making more time in my life for prayer (a little). I continue to let everyday life offers distractions that take my time away from God. There is a particular stretch of road that I have had to travel quite frequently lately to get to a patients home. I have had some experiences on that road that I can barely explain and the more I try to understand them it seems the more I don't. Last Tuesday, May 10, 2011, I was driving and praying and suddenly, almost like someone else was talking for me. My prayers for my husband, my children, a dear friend that had just lost a loved one turned into words that I am not sure I even know where they came from. I had tears coming down my face so hard that I had to literally pull my car off onto the side of the road and compose myself a bit so that I could safely make the rest of that trip. Suddenly, I found myself saying, “God, I know that you are trying to tell me something but I can not understand what it is. Please help me find my way and tell me what you want me to do.” Could it be? Was God trying to tell me something?! Am I even worthy of a message from God? I fought the notion all day that it could be a message for me only and tried to push it into the back of my mind. Later that evening, I could not ignore that feeling any longer and I had to share it with someone. I sat Steven down and started with, “Please don't think I am crazy but...” He replied, 'I would NEVER think you are crazy for listening to God, NEVER!' . He encouraged me to pray about it and to be patient but when ever the time is right that I know what this message is, I will know it! I won't have a question about what it could be. Patience is NOT my strong point. I am trying though. The next few days as I traveled down that road, I felt anxious one day, not scared or upset or anything like that but anxious like I was missing something. One day I cried and cried as I traveled that road with no explanation as to why. And now it is to where I simply look forward to traveling this route because I realize that because I am so desperately searching for an unseen message (at this time) I tend to turn off the radio, put down the cell phone and pray and just wait. Maybe this is the uninterrupted time I was searching for! The time for just me and God to get to know one another! MY time to pray without life's distractions getting in the way!

“And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there he prayed” ~Mark 1:35~

This shows me that even Jesus needed to get out, get alone, and have his time to pray to God. So, instead of searching for my message, I am gonna try a new thing, patience, and wait on that message to come to me! I will rise in the morning (go to work), go out (doing my visits), and go to a solitary place (my car, Ellie as the girls calls it), and pray!! Jesus lived a sinful life but as much as he was God, he was human. If he needed to have this time then certainly I do!

Here, it is best said,

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. “ Philippians 4:4-6

Steven came to me a few days after the first experience on this road and he told me that when he was praying that morning he felt like God was leading him to tell me “Seek him (God) continuously”. That is what I intend to do! I aim to do that without anxiousness and nervousness about my surroundings and current situations but with peace and prayer! Wish me luck!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Stacking The Deck and Facing My Own Spiritual Mountains!

I was just watching a commercial which I hardly EVER do but for some reason I didn’t hit that fast forward button when this one came on. It is the Johnson & Johnson “The Campaign for Nursing’s Future”.  It shows this trauma nurse in what is seemingly a pretty emergent situation and her voice says, “I am a nurse, so I believe in the power of science and medicine but I’m also human and I believe in stacking the deck” as she says the last part of that she places a four leaf clover charm in her patients hand. I suppose that is to symbolize a “lucky charm”. My first thought was, “why wasn’t it a cross she placed there”. Talk about “stacking the deck”, a symbol of Faith and Love and Christ would have been a much better choice for that commercial, for that patient!
We had our Bible study tonight, it was GREAT! About Faith of a Mustard Seed.
Matthew 17:20 “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
Steven prepared a great message and he had so many good points. If the faith of something as small as a mustard seed can move a mountain then how much Faith do we as humans ACTUALLY utilize? A grain of salt? A speck of sand? He quoted a favorite from our pastor and said, “Let’s stop taking the mountains to God but let’s take God to our mountains!”  Steven also gave us a little challenge for next week and that is to find our own “spiritual mountains”. Now that is something to think about! Something hard to examine because when I start breaking it down, it seems that I have a lot of flaws in my faith.
 I am going to word that a little differently as it will help me personally to explain it. I am going to call them “spiritual distractions”. I have distractions just about every moment of every day. Some of my best prayer time is when I am in the shower. I know, it sounds a little crazy but there is my one place that I get alone time every day. Distraction one, “Mommy, can I come in”. Distraction two, Maggie (our dog) barking because one of the cats has invaded her turf as she lies and waits patiently for me to get out of the shower and show her a little attention. Boom! My time with God is interrupted. The everyday routine of full little bellies, clean faces, and brushed teeth just in time to rush out the door to get to school/work on time proves to be more interference with God’s time. Whew, I make it to work just in time to transfer the phones from the answering service and get the hectic day started. The reality sets in as the phone rings with this or that and I have to see four patients today oh and get that plan of care completed, yes the chart audits must be completed, oh no there is that meeting with the discharge planner at the hospital.  Will I have time to finish that conversation I started with God this morning? You know the one right before Landri knocked on the door, “mommy, I have to potty”. Maybe at lunch?? Does a protein bar and a fresh diet soda at my desk even count as a lunch break? O.K., O.K., after work I have soccer practice for only one child tonight, oh no, it’s two of them tonight. “Yes, we can eat dinner out tonight girls; mommy doesn’t have time to cook”.  Bath time, get your clothes out for tomorrow, ok, we will pack your lunches tonight so you can help, two loads of laundry, dang, I forgot to put away the clean dishes from the dishwasher. “Mommy, I’m hungry”, “Can I get on the X-box”, “Read me a story”. Finally, bedtime, and the girls are all tucked in their beds. I think I will lay down myself, just for a moment and then I will get up and get to those dishes. Beep, beep, beep, is that the alarm clock?! I fell asleep? Are you kidding me?! Yay, shower time, I can finish that prayer. “Mommy…”
O.K. you have had a look inside one day of my life. It’s the reality of being a grown up! My distractions (as I look a little closer) are simply excuses!  Excuses not putting God first in my life, in every moment of every day! THAT is my spiritual mountain!  Romans 8:5 says, “Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires”. To live in a sinful nature is to occupy oneself with debase wants. To live in a way that does not please God. Certainly, this includes a notion of letting everyday life get in the way of time that should be dedicated to God!
My goal is to quit making excuses, to make that time for God. The time that He deserves and that I so desperately need. Of course there are going to be distractions! We are a human family with six active girls that all together attend four different schools, we have four soccer teams we are currently participating in, two full time jobs, a home to maintain, Steven’s school, the list could go on and on and on… I pray that I can find that piece of me that is missing or that maybe I have lost somewhere along the way (I’m not sure which) that can overlook everyday life, everyday reality and put God first ALWAYS!
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest in your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11 28-30                                                                                                            To me, this scripture is saying that if I can completely give myself to Him, then I can find relief from the everyday stresses of reality. We ALL can! It seems so simple, yet we as humans make it into a hard feat! I am closing for now while I still can make the time to go to God. This moment seems like as good a time as any to get started on fixing my priorities and overtaking my spiritual mountain.  Good Night!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

Today is Mother’s Day. I was blessed to have the opportunity to wake up (very early, around 4:30) to breakfast in bed compliments of Baleigh and Gabrey. They set the alarm in their room for 3 o’clock to ensure that I had my special early morning treat BEFORE I got up for the day. Luckily for all of us, they slept through that alarm for almost an hour and a half. J. Then Steven and I took our six beautiful girls to church where the five younger ones were involved in a pretty amazing Mother’s Day program. Something kind of amazing happened as I sat through church service this morning. A guest speaker, a mother, a former classmate and friend of mine was the speaker. As she stood in front of a pretty crowded congregation and told her story of trials she had come through personally along with her family and how those trials ultimately brought her closer to God, I was listening intently and tears were just streaming down my face (along with every other mother in those seats). At one point I thought to myself, “I wish it would just rain so the soccer games for today would be cancelled”. I heard God talking to me! He said, “Be happy that you have the opportunity to spend that time with your children. Enjoy it while you can because they grow fast!” That was exactly what I needed! Immediately, I was praying. I was thanking Him for such healthy and happy children, and praying that the sun would come out strong to dry up this ground so we can get out for our soccer game this afternoon. Tears were streaming down my face as I thought about how many compromised children I work with daily and how many of those parents would love for those children to be able to get out and play in a soccer game or even walk for that matter.
Isaiah 40:11 “He tends to his flock like a shepherd:  He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.”
I may interpret this all wrong but what I read in this last sentence is that God will gently lead each of us that have children (“young”) to care for them the way they should be cared for. Of course there are obvious needs of any human, food, shelter, water etc. But there are other needs and those include also obvious things such as love, compassion, guidance etc. But there are subtle needs that children need as well like a parent to not grumble about soccer practice/games because they themselves are busy but instead pray that the weather will hold out so that our children can enjoy exercise and fresh air. I pray now that I can find a new strength to enjoy my children and encourage them even after a long and tiresome day as they ARE growing so fast and there will be a day (before I know it) that they don’t “need” me in the ways that they do now nor will they desire the time and affection from me that they do now.  I pray for patience as I guide my children to love God and know his word, and I pray that one day they can instill these values into their own children, their own families. It is hard sometimes for me to remember that “my” children are really God’s children and I am basically on loan to take care of them until the day that they go to be with Him.
Genesis 22:11-12 “Abraham! Abraham! Here I am he replied. Do not lay a hand on the boy he said. Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”
Abraham showed that he was willing to give up the most important thing to him, to obey God. I aspire to be that way. I pray that I can find that obedience.
Happy Mother’s Day!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Trying to Peacefully Make Some Decisions

I had to miss church tonight because of a “patient emergency”. I always take care of my patients to the best of my ability but it was very disheartening when I looked at the clock as I walked out of that home and it was already 7:20pm. I try my best to be obedient and read God’s word but I will be the first to admit that at times it is hard to pick that Bible up after a long day at work. I decided tonight that I would just open my Bible and see what the first verse I came to was. I know, I know, it probably isn’t the best idea just in case I open to something that doesn’t seem to fit with the day I have had. Unfortunately, I am missing the message that our wonderful pastor has prepared for tonight and Steven is currently at church so since I don’t seem to have the ability to focus  at the moment and come up with another option, the random page thing is going to have to do it! Here it goes… We are doing this together!
“Save me, O God, for the waters have come up to my neck” `Psalm 69:1
WOW! That is a powerful piece of scripture for me to randomly turn to at this very moment in my life. I have been struggling with a few issues concerning work and this has turned into an almost constant burden upon me. I feel a struggle between the “power” I have as a member of management and the realization that my job choice does not often correlate with my career choice as I initially went into nursing for patient care and not necessarily for the billing/demographics side of it.
Scripture is often perceived as what the particular person reading it happens to need at that moment. I have prayed multiple times throughout this day and have even compared my troubles with “barely keeping my head above water” so this could not be more perfect!
Next I went to the back of one of my Bibles that has the small “quick references”.  I looked at the word “WORRY” for that is what I am doing mostly today. It directed me to Nahum 1:7 which reads,
“The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him”
I KNOW that I have to trust God with my problems, I KNOW that praying is the way for me to find not only a solution for my problems but the correct solution. I am not always good at listening to what God tries to tell me. I realize that “gut feelings” ARE a message that I should not overlook. I am just praying for the strength to know and make the right decision, to listen to message and obey with my heart instead of with my head. (My head is to rational and analyzes things WAY TO MUCH).
I will end tonight with words to live by, words that I aim to live by
Serenity Prayer
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.
I love that prayer to its entirety, although most of us know it by the abbreviated form.  If you read this blog please say a little prayer for me that I can pray this prayer and listen to it, finding that pathway to peace as I listen to Him and make certain big decisions that I feel are powerfully arising within my life.
I never intended for this little blog to turn into a “crutch” for me and a vehicle to offer strangers a look inside of my life but I am constantly finding that instead of a crutch it is more of a staple as I feel that it brings me closer to God as I pray to Him for the words to flow from my fingertips as I type this.  

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

God IS with us Always!

We have had our Bible study two weeks now. It is casual and small. Steven (my husband) is so excited about this venture that he cannot wait for it to grow and flourish into a larger group. Patience I tell him often is what he needs and to continue to have Faith that our small group will grow into a larger one before he knows it.
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience” Colossians 3:12
I know that Steven may need gentle reminders that what he is doing by offering this time to our parents and our dearest friends may not be on a grand scale (yet) it is him allowing God to work through him. He felt his calling to ministry (I personally have never had that calling so I cannot begin to imagine how grand it must feel) and did not resist it. He has let it lead him where he needs to go. When he speaks and Gods word flow from his lips it is unmistakable that everyone around him benefits from his calling. It is evidently clear that he puts his heart and his time into his messages and that they are thought out and prepared for our little group, no matter how many people attend.
“Whatever you do, work at it with all of your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men” ~Colossians 3:23~
Our little group of five or six is that of family and dear loved ones that have a true desire to learn of His word as we congregate together for that hour on Mondays.  Many have been invited and I truly feel in my heart that many more will join in with us one day. I also know that the ones that attend are here because they want to be.  During our closing prayer last night, Steven said something that sent chills all over my flesh. I asked him where it came from and in Matthew 18:20 it reads:
“For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them”
This really stood out in my mind on and off through the night and I asked Steven about it this morning as we were getting ready for work. The way that he described it to me, and it really makes a lot of sense, is that we are a home full of believers and as long as we pray together, read the bible together, and keep His word within our home then he is always in our presence! Now that is an amazing thought to take with me day in and day out as we strive to teach our children about God’s love and His promise for eternal life!
Next Monday we are learning about Faith of a Mustard Seed! I am really looking forward to it!  

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Day One, We are starting a Bible Study at Home!

Four months ago today I married my soul mate.  Along with that union, I gained three beautiful stepdaughters and what has proven to be a very supportive and loving extended family. Their love and encouragement has surrounded our family with an onslaught of support that thrives in any situation. Between Steven and me, we have a total of six girls that range from four years to fifteen years old. We strive to incorporate Christian views into their lives so that they can make the best decisions that they possibly can as they grow into young ladies.
Our goal is to get Christian believers excited about learning God’s word.   I can’t think of a better time of the year to get this started than right now, only a week after Easter.  To many times that is one day that is much commercialized with the Easter bunny, painted eggs, and colorful baskets. Because of this, not often enough do we remember that this is the day that Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior rose from the dead after enduring a horrid crucifixion only two days prior. Good Friday is not recognized as a “holiday” and that often makes me more than a little disgusted as I dredge through the daily tasks and commitments of work. Most of this past Good Friday I spent wondering how it must have felt for God to watch as his only begotten son shed his blood for our sins. I cannot even imagine what it must have been like for Jesus to live a sinless life only to pay for our sins.  And his words, they amaze me.
                “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they are doing” Luke 23:34
He prayed for the soldiers that did this to him! Because of this selfless act, one of the criminals that was beside of him, there for his own execution, was saved! Our Pastor in church this morning talked about how two people can be in the same type of situation. The situation that may destroy someone is the same situation that the other person may flourish in. The two men that were up beside Christ for their execution looked at this opportunity very differently. One of them taunted and tried Christ saying that if he really was Jesus then he should save himself as well as them.  The other man realized that he was there, dying beside the King of Kings and accepted that into his heart, assuring himself eternal life after he took his last breath in that human body.
No matter what the situation or how bad it may seem, Jesus IS with us.  When Jesus calms the storm in Mark it is a reminder to us in everyday life that while yes, at times it may be perceived that Jesus is “sleeping”, he is still there beside of us in our times of trials.
                “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no Faith?” Mark 4:40
Together as a family we will learn that Jesus walks along beside of us in everyday life and no matter what situation we must endure. We are opening our hearts and our doors to a bible study within our home every Monday night. I plan to follow along with this blog and there will be updates on our website as well at www.faithandfriendsbiblestudy.com. Please visit us there or on facebook.
                “Yes, I am coming soon” Revelations 22:20
Shouldn’t we all be ready when he does come?!