Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Another September comes to a close...

Well, it seems like fall is making its appearance. This week is in the 20's but there is still that crispness that heralds the coming of the cooler seasons. The end of another summer. The weather wasn't the best this year but it was a great summer nonetheless. Lots of time spent around the pool & the fire pit. Visits with friends and family. The usual outings such as the CNE and Tiff. 
This was a memorable summer for us in so many ways. The trip to the Middle East, Jessica's move to her own apartment, and Robert's move into a missionary capacity, our trip to Chicago and the time spent together. The great send off. Now as we move into fall the house is emptier as the chicks learn to stretch their wings and fly. Lord I so thank you for the wonderful blessing of family that you've given me. They are so precious and far outweigh any hardship I may have endured. I thank you that both the kids reach out to you in trust and faith, waiting on you for direction. What a blessing to my mother's heart. 
And then there's Derek, my life and soul mate, made and set aside specifically for me, my perfect match. Lord I pray that one day the kids will each have their own chance to experience these joys of family for themselves. 
Lord as we enter the next busy season - both in time and in our lives - I pray that your favor would be upon us. Be with us at home, at work and in our various communities, working in and through us. Help us to demonstrate your love to our families. Be with me over the next few months as I travel for work. Be with Jessica in her new job and I pray you would bring good Christian contacts into her life Lord. Give her a desire to seek out a church. May Robert's experiences be an inspiration and tool for you to speak into her life.
Lord I also lift up Robert and all his house mates. Lord be with them, direct them, strengthen them and keep them safe. Work in the hearts of those in their community that the word they deliver would not come back barren but would take root and grow. Lord we lift up Robert's financial support need and trust that you will move in a mighty way. Lord you are the great provider and we are trusting you to meet his all his needs, while teaching him at the same time as you showed me clearly you would. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Hearing God - and obeying him...

I have been spending a lot more time in prayer these days, especially dealing with Robert's impending mission. And I have been hearing God a lot. Has it been more? Has it been clearer? That I really can't say with certainty. I talk to God a lot and I know that I hear his voice regularly, so I don't know that that has really changed. Upon reflection, I think it's more that I am hearing the messages that aren't as palatable a bit more clearly. God is calling me to 'step it up a notch' and I am hearing those messages more. I don't think the messages are new, I think my attitude has changed and I'm realizing I need to listen and obey on those points too. Maybe in the past I have been too quick to disregard, or rationalize them off, or simply & frankly ignore them. Sorry LORD, I realize that you have been calling me and I have chosen to say 'no'. Today, I am saying 'yes' knowing that it is beyond me and calling on you to help me to be obedient. I realize that you are correct, you have given me all the tools that I need, and have provided guidance and help, but I have have nonchalantly been going my own way instead of following your path.

Yesterday, God got my attention. I was driving home and had our local news station on the radio. This is what I always listen to on the way home. But something in my spirit urged me to change to the Christian radio station. At first I gave a light protest - it's always just music at this time, I don't particularly like the music they play. The nudge continued so I switched over. After a few ads, In Touch came on. I had been hoping for Walk in the Word. Again I was tempted to change the channel but stopped. The message started and I realized it was about health. How God cares not only for our spiritual and emotional health, but also for our physical bodies. Ok, my physical body is currently in bad shape. Pastor was talking about how our bodies will be resurrected like Christ's body was. I had never heard this before and frankly I'm not sure I believe this, but a terrible thought came into my head. God said to me, what if when you're resurrected you are resurrected in your current body. Is this how you want to present yourself to me? Is that how you want to be for eternity? Shock & horror at that moment was overwhelming. I realized God was calling me to much better that I am settling for. I need to get healthy and lose weight. God is giving me a direction and it is very clear and I need to say YES. But it is also very scary. I don't know that I can do it. In fact that's not true - I feel that I really can't do it, that I am weak and undisciplined and will surely fail. But everything I'm reading is telling me that God will help me and give me the strength. He will prop me up and help me. Will he give me the self-discipline? I'm not sure about that, I think that has to come from me, but I do know that if I can learn to lean on him and follow his guiding, I can and will succeed. I know that he has given me the tools - a naturopath who has outlined a diet and exercise plan, access to healthy nourishing food, the knowledge and tools to prepare the food he has provided, a membership to the fitness centre, a husband who is supportive. But I still have to say that this is really scary to me right now. When do I start? Does this mean I can't have a drink once in a while? How strict does this have to be? Where exactly do I start? The enemy is attacking me over this, bringing in self-doubt and a lot of questions. I will choose to ask God to guide me in my choices TODAY! I will listen and CHOOSE to follow him. I will acknowledge that it IS his voice and remember I need to say YES.
I need a lot of prayer around this!! I need a few verses and to remember that if I am obedient I will be amazed at the results.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Say Yes - Say WHAT???

This has been one of the hardest weeks I can remember. I don't even know why it's been so hard, except to speculate that God is teaching me a lesson I really need to learn and it is HARD!!

I am confident that God has called my son to spend a year volunteering in the US. So far everything has fallen into place except for his visa. Twice this past week we have spent the day trying to get this completed. Day 1 was at the US consulate where I later found out his visa application was denied. That was Monday. Wednesday we spend the day at the US/Canada border trying to get it straightened out. 

Admittedly Monday was a disappointment. Wednesday was too, but we got some valuable information that gives us other steps to try. I really feel that God warned me this step would be rocky. Before we even went on Monday, I was uneasy and had prayed about it a lot. God's answer was that hitting a snag was not a sign it wasn't his will and we weren't to give up, but to press on in faith. So I had been forewarned and given the next step. I put in lots of 'prayer hours' this week on this and consistently God is saying - Be still and know that I am God. He is telling me that this is another good learning step for my son. If this is the life he will eventually pursue than he needs these lessons. He needs experience dealing with officials, embassies and border personnel. This all makes sense. When I ask the 5 questions, I can see God's hand in this. Why has it been so hard for me? I don't know exactly, but it has.

Yesterday, he had to hand in his letter of resignation. Time had run out if he was to give them the full 2 weeks notice and still have time to get ready to leave and spend his last weekend with family instead of working. Again God urged me to have faith and trust him, but it was certainly a struggle to help him write that letter knowing the visa isn't resolved.

Again, I really don't know why. In the end, even if it all fell through, what is he really giving up? A dishwasher job 2 days a week. He has experience now and can get other work, so what is really the big deal? And the thing is, he's taking it in stride, it's me that is having the hard time to trust and let go. 

After much soul searching, I know there is no question or option but to say YES LORD, I will be obedient and support him. I helped him write his letter. I haven't even voiced my concerns to him, only to my husband have I shared how hard this has been. And of course, to God. I have been honest with God. I have brought my concerns to him and waited for his answer. I have said Yes. I do trust him. Even if he closes this door, I will still trust him and obey him. I know that he loves my son even more that I do, and he has a plan to complete the good work that he started over 20 years ago in him. More than anything, I know that God's plan for him is soooo much better than any plan I could conceive of for him. So I will trust and wait on God. Thank you LORD for your patience with me. Thank you for listening and guiding me through this week, when so many times I have asked you "Say WHAT??'

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Just Say "Yes"

My kids started it... when they were young and they were trying to convince me to agree to something... they would urge me "Just say Yes mommy". I can still hear their young voices saying that to me. Who knew at the time that eventually I'd hear God's spirit urging me "Just say Yes"

But these days I hear it more and more. And I hear him reminding me that he loves me and who asks someone they love to do something bad? After all, would I ask my kids to do something that wasn't good for them or that I knew would turn out great? No, I wouldn't and neither will God.

Last fall, I found myself looking for an opportunity to serve him more. I had been asking him to show me where I could be used and was feeling a bit frustrated at not getting an answer. One weekend we were at the offices of our national Christian broadcasting station. They were celebrating a big anniversary as well as hosting an exhibit of the Jewish tabernacle. Great exhibit, by the way. Anyway , we were in the hallway waiting for our tour to continue when our guide pointed out that we were standing next to the prayer centre, where operators mann the prayer phone lines 24-7. As I stood there, I swore I heard a small voice in my head saying "that would be a good place for you to help me". What, no that couldn't be. After all, I'm the person who HATES talking on the phone. And I like praying in private, not in public. Besides, my prayers are more like conversations with God, not traditional 'pray for you' prayers. And remember that friend who once started their training and said how scary & HEAVY it was? How could that be where you want me to serve?? I'm pretty sure I heard that wrong.

So, I continued on the tour and went home, never saying anything to my husband of what I had felt. But there was that nudging that just wouldn't go away. That sense of unrest, of something hanging, waiting to be completed. I stood it for a couple of days, and could take it no longer. I gingerly told my husband I was thinking about maybe volunteering on the prayer phone lines. I was waiting for it - quite eagerly actually - for his response of disbelief, his assurances that this really didn't fit me and was I sure it was for me. where would I find the time?. Disappointingly, it never came. Instead I got, "Wow honey, that's great. You've wanted to get involved somewhere for a while now." Hmmm, what's with him??? I thought he had my back, does he want me to fail? Or was maybe God really nudging me in this direction. Could I have heard right?

Well, I'm happy to say that I tested the idea on a few more people, and stepped out in faith to say "YES" to God. I was able to do the training at home and scored perfect on each of the 10 segments except for one. Funny thing about that one - I think it was around segment 6 - I was feeling that God was being a bit smug about it all. See, not only can you do it but you're aceing it! So around chapter 6, even though I originally picked all the correct answers on that one too, somehow I talked myself into considering the question from a different angle that could - just possibly - if you looked at it from just this angle - make this other answer equally right. And so, for that segment I managed a 9 out of 10. See God, not entirely perfect ;-)

I now, one night a week after work, am blessed for a few hours to listen as people open up and share their lives, their struggles and their hopes with me. They give me the honor of sharing a prayer with them, sharing verses that God puts on my heart for them. It has been the most wonderful experience and God is always there to give me the words, the insight and the verses to share with the callers. I feel that he has equipped me perfectly for this role. The other thing that amazes me is how the directs the calls to the prayer partners. More times than not, I will hear a prayer partner on a call and think "Oh, not sure how I would have answered that one" and I listen to the person who got the call go on to relate in some special way to the callers need. God's presence in that room and with those phone calls is so evident that it takes my breath away and leaves me in amazement.

Think of all that I would have missed had I talked myself out of saying "Yes". Our Father is not going to ask us to do anything we aren't capable of doing, He prepares us and gives us the tools we need to do the task requested. Praise God!!

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Saying Yes to God

God is telling me it's time to say 'Yes'. I just recently read Anything, the prayer that unlocked my God and my Soul by jennie allen. Great book, very inspiring. Long story, but while searching for that book, I came across What happens when women say Yes to God by Lysa TerKeurst.  I bought that one to read after I finished Anything.
I then found out from my online prayer group that P31 ministries were starting an online bible study this week on Saying Yes. I struggle a bit with P31 these days. I was hoping to be part of a small group when doing this study, but they have put me on a waiting list. I couldn't find any info on how to join a small group until it was too late, so that was a disappointment. I've started reading the book. So far it seems a bit basic and I was questioning if this was really for me, but that might just be the enemy trying to distract me, so I will 'say yes' and proceed with the bible study.

Yesterday, I watched the video. I had already read chapter 1, so tonight I will re-read it and see what today's assignment is. The study is for 6 weeks, lets see how it goes. I do have to say in following some of the links, I came across what they call "verse mapping' which is to write out a verse that God is showing me on an index card and then reflect on it throughout the day, making notes on the card and a short prayer.

My bible study today was really incredible. I have been listening to the daily readings through the new Portico app, which has been really great. Today's reading was Habakkuk and John 8. I sat down to listen and I felt a stirring to get my Bible handbook. I needed to have an understanding of the context of the book before listening to it. Then I felt lead to read my Jesus Calling devotional before starting the other reading. I heard the Spirit telling me that I'd get more out of my reading if I read the devotion first. the devotion was based on Habakkuk! Yes, God is speaking to me and telling me I need to say 'Yes'!!

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Letter to my prayer group for the new year

I pray everyone had a wonderful Christmas and rung in the new year safely.  R & B your dinners both sound yummy although I'd probably prefer B's... He he...

C, I'm glad your tooth is more bearable and glad to hear your sales were good. When Derek was out of work there were many months his eBay sales kept us afloat as God blessed us with good sales and merchandise to sell.

And now we're into the new year. Like you R, I also love the new year. To me its a time to reflect on what God has done in my life the past 12 months and to contemplate what his direction appears to be for the months to come. I like to take a couple of days vacation so I can focus without the distractions of Christmas activity and the pressures of work.

This year instead of resolutions I have set priorities with a plan on how to reach them.

Goal #1 is sort of an overview goal that breaks down to three specific goals, that is to finish some of the things I started last year. In reflection last year was a year of starts but not a lot of follow through. The two major exceptions was keeping active with this group and I had a very successful year at work. God has blessed me mightily in that area.

Specific goals:

My health- God gave me the tools for this last year and I made few good starts but allowed myself to get distracted from the plan. I've made progress with the gluten free but my weight is as high as ever. There are two major events this year and I am determined to be as healthy as possible for them. I'm following a book called Never Say Diet by Chantelle Hobbs. She has a Christian approach to getting healthy and I know this is the plan God has given me. I'd really love to have an accountability partner if any of you ladies are interested. That's one of my prayer requests for the new year.

Ministry - late last year I felt God guiding me towards volunteering for the prayer lines at our local Christian television station. I started the training in December and hope to finish it off this week. They require a commitment of a minimum of 4 hours per week. This is way outside my comfort zone but I am really excited about it. I've felt a huge desire towards missions but logistically it's not feasible nor does it fit with where God has me right now, but this seems like God's answer to that desire.

Finances - I made lots of not so good decisions last year and set us back financially. This year I need to get brutal with setting my budget and sticking to it. We have been blessed with a wonderful home and great jobs that pay well but I have been indulgent instead of diligent and have accumulated debt that needs to be paid down. Please pay for strength and discipline in this area. I plan tho talk to Derek about