I'm here...

I know it's been almost two weeks since I posted. I must have slept wrong and with fibromyalgia, that's all it takes sometimes to be out of commission for days and days. I have a tile man working here in the house and that is difficult when all I want to do is lie down on my bed and he's working in the master bath. It will be over soon, but when you don't feel good, you want your house and space to yourself!
I'll be back in a few days when I can sit at the computer longer...

Bring The Rain...

This song serves as a reminder that no matter what the circumstances of our lives are..God is worthy of all our praise. Be encouraged and comforted as you listen today...

Grace Multiplied...

Pictures from Pismo Beach, Central Coast California

This is our favorite vacation place. One spring we had to cancel our trip because I wasn't up to the trip.We had cancelled vacations many times, but this particular time I learned a special lesson.

It had been a long winter of not feeling well. I have mentioned before, that I have chronic illnesses that deplete me of a good majority of my energy. That's fine, I am very accepting of that. But there are times, I feel bad for my husband, that he has to relinquish things as well. But he always takes it in stride and never shows his disappointment. He knows most things are penciled in. At one time, it really bothered me that he was on this roller coaster ride with me. Why did he have to suffer just because I did? He never complained and was and still is, very understanding. But I felt bad for him.
One day years back, I must have been grumbling to the Lord, letting the enemy have his way with self pity. Feeling like I was a burden..yep, I was really into the thick of this self pity stuff! It was then I heard that still, small voice say, "Grace." I thought, "Grace, what's that have to do with it? We just canceled our vacation plans again because of me."

What I came to realize was God choose my husband for me, gave him an extra measure of grace to be understanding, caring and loving towards me. He knew when He chose my husband for me, that I would need a man with patience and compassion and with a personality that doesn't complain about much.

Not only is God's grace sufficient for me...but it is for my husband. Only, I think he was given multiplied grace to be my husband.

So,that week we didn't go to Pismo Beach, the drive was too far. But we did do some day trips, one was to a Southern California beach. Just spending time together would be enough.

Grace, how would we survive without it?

"My grace is sufficient for you,
for power is perfected in weakness."
2 Corinthians 12:9

He Sees Us As Finished...

I wrote this devotional eight years ago for Rest Ministries. It was published in a book of devotionals for the chronically ill, Mosaic Moments by Lisa Copen and Friends. Since this devotional was written I have since been blessed with three more little granddaughters, McKenzie, Haylee and Rachel. Each one has their own special quilt fashioned with love and quilted with much prayer for each one of them.

“ Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you
will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."
Philippians 1:6

I recently made a quilt for my five month old granddaughter, Hannah. As I began to plan the pattern and color scheme, I knew I wanted this quilt to be perfect for her. I drew out my design on paper, making sure of every dimension.

From there I went shopping for my fabrics. I very carefully selected each color and design for each piece of the quilt. In every step of my planning, I saw this quilt finished. I was the only one who had a vision of what this finished project would look like. To others it may have looked like a pile of different fabrics and a piece of paper with lines on it. But I saw it, pieced together, quilted and finished with Hannah all snuggled up under it.

As I cut and pieced the fabrics together I saw a thing of beauty begin to take place before my eyes. Not that it was the most beautiful quilt I have ever seen, but being the designer of the quilt, I saw the beauty and the love in the quilt, that no one else could see. God in the same way sees us as finished. He sees that finished work in each of us and sees how every circumstance of our life forms us into the person He has designed us to be. For some, living with chronic illness and pain is a part of the finishing process that God allows to take place.

Everything we experience with chronic illness can make our character more refined and the beauty of the LORD more defined in us. Each one of those things, like every piece of Hannah’s quilt, is pieced together in the fabric of our lives, to make something beautiful. We are God’s workmanship and He had a plan in creating us and He sees us as finished!

Thank you LORD, that you don’t give up on us and that you will see us through to a completion that glorifies you. Each day may the beauty of You be more defined in us.

The Lord Our Encourager...

"But David found strength in the Lord his God."
1 Samuel 30:6 NIV

It can be a lonely experience living with a chronic illness and pain every day. We relinquish many things and relationships. And at times we are misunderstood for the decisions and the actions that we take because of the way our life styles have had to be changed. We long for someone to understand and encourage us. And at times, the Lord provides someone to walk a long side of us allowing us a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen, and a word of encouragement in those days when we think we cannot go on.

But there are also times of solitude when there isn't anyone to listen to us or to encourage us. We long for an understanding ear not wanting to burden our families and those close to us. This is when we must encourage ourselves. We can give ourselves a pep talk and this might help to some degree. But only the Lord and His Word can give us the deep individual encouragement that we need at those times.

Psalm 61: 1-3
Hear my cry. O God; Listen to my prayer.
From the ends of the earth I call to you,
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
For you have been my refuge,
A strong tower against the foe.

God's unsurpassing strength is always with us and He desires to encourage us. It is His Word that will give us the deep heart penetrating encouragement that we need. He knows every tear that we shed and He alone knows what will encourage and lift us up out of a place of despair.

Psalm 94: 19
"When anxiety was great within me,
your consolation brought joy to my soul."

It is the Lord and His comfort that quiets and brings delight to our souls. Maybe it is a touch from a friend or loved one, maybe it is the sound of the ocean's roar, or a song of praise that touches our heart strings. God sends those things to us as well. He knows our every need before we even ask. But when He desires to be our source of encouragement, nothing else will do. He alone satisfies the longings that need to met.

Yes, there are times that we must encourage ourselves. It is in those times that we take our Bibles and go to a quiet place and allow Him to refresh and refill us. To lift us up and encourage us to go on. It is in the Lord's strength that we will be encouraged.

I Corinthians 1: 3-5
"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 have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ overflow into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows."

God wants to comfort us. Being comforted can mean being encouraged and strengthened with hope, in dealing with our afflictions. The more we suffer the more comfort He gives. Our God is a giving God who desires to meet our need of being encouraged.

If you are in need of encouragement today, the Lord desires to meet that need. Won't you let Him touch you today and meet that need.

Dear Heavenly Father,
Reach down and touch by the power of your Holy Spirit those places in my heart that only You can touch. Encourage me and strengthen me in hope this day. That I in turn would have the blessing of comforting someone else in need.

Awareness Week...

Have you heard about National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week? September 8-14, 2008 will feature 20 seminars via Blog Talk Radio, (4 per day, M-F) plus tons of people are helping spread the word by blogging about invisible illness issues. Do you get tired of hearing, “But you look so good?” or weary of the stares when you park in a handicapped spot? This is our chance to educate the public as well as remember we are not alone.

Nearly 1 in 2 people in the USA live with an illness and 96% of it is invisible.So join the cause today! They have daily guest bloggers at http://www.invisibleillnessblog.com/, lots or prizes, articles, and it’s a great way to make some new friends and attend a conference without ever leaving your home. The main web site is: http://www.invisibleillness.com/

This week I will be posting a series of devotionals with chronic illness themes. Maybe you live with an invisible chronic illness or someone you know does. We can learn from each other how to encourage those who chronically suffer and those who love them. We can encourage and be encouraged the more we know about the needs of chronic illness sufferers.

What Does God See?

What Does God See?

What does God see when He looks at me?
Does He see a heart that wants to be His...
or a heart that is guarded from past wounds and hurts,
hindered to feel the great wonder of His love?

What does God see when He looks at me?
Does He see a heart that is willing to obey...whatever the sacrifice?
A life of obedience even if it's uncomfortable

What does God see when He looks at me?
Does He see a heart that forgives, like He forgives me?
Am I willing to forget, just like He does too?

What does God see when He looks at me?
Does He see "acceptance with joy" in my heart?
He sees the sufferings and pain.
Does He see surrender? Do I lay it at it his feet?

What does God see when He looks at me?
He sees my heart and how troubled it can be.
He knows that hard things will only cause me to grow.
He allows them in my life....He loves me that much

.He sees me as His daughter and His eyes shine with love.

What do I see, when I see God looking at me?
A Father's love.
What do you see, when you see God looking at you?
The same love, He loves you too..
Because of Jesus,


"Grace calls you to get up, throw off your blanket of helplessness and to move on through life in faith."
~Kay Arthur~

I have found encouragement in this quote by Kay Arthur and and for the most part, live by what it says. Living with chronic illnesses, there are times that I want to keep that blanket of helplessness over me. I could best describe it by saying, "I get weary in the battle."

If we stay under that blanket of helplessness it becomes a cloak of self pity and discouragement. It can be such an easy thing to do and we have probably all have done it at one time or another. Everyday we must make the choice to move on in our lives by faith.

There are so many things in life to make us crawl under that blanket of helplessness. Health issues, family issues, marriage relationships....anything that troubles us and takes us to the point of feeling helpless. So...get up, throw off that blanket of helplessness, make a choice not to be defeated and move on through life in faith!

* Faith knows how to wait on the Lord. Isaiah 40:31
* Faith defines reason; it moves mountains. Matthew 17:14-21
* Faith does not always face facts; it never gives up. Heb.11:32-39
* Faith says, "God is working out His perfect will in my life, and I can wait, endure, and suffer."
* Faith doesn't make anything easy but it does make all things possible.

"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."
Hebrews 11:1

Do You Have A Vision?

"Then the LORD answered me and said, "Record the vision, and inscribe it on tablets, That the one who reads it may run. For the vision is yet for the appointed time.

It hastens toward the goal and it will not fail
Though it tarries, wait for it; For it will certainly come, it will not delay."
Habakkuk 2:2-3

Has the Lord given you a vision for your life? We can set goals for ourselves and think they are visions from the Lord. But God's visions have to do with His people and His glory. I believe there is a vision for each one of us as Christians.
I had a vision once that I thought was from the Lord. But it was my vision based on circumstances. My last child had gone out on his own. The nest was pretty empty. I thought God was going to open up more teaching commitments and maybe retreats. I certainly had the time then. But because of an illness that progressed that year, the door to that vision seemed closed. Maybe it was an ambition rather than an actual vision. I can't say that for sure...but I truly believe in God's Sovereignty in the situation. Maybe it had to happen to be able to see what God's true vision would be for me.

The Lord gave me a new goal one day. I didn't recognize it as a vision until recently. Although I don't see how God is going to use this in the lives of others or bring glory to Him. I'll wait and keep working on what He has given me to do. He knows, I trust that.

We don't have to be any certain way to have a vision from God. We don't need to be educated, bible scholars, teachers, leadership positions....or whatever you might be thinking could be a hindrance to a vision. We just need to see God with our hearts and ask Him what is the vision He sees for our lives. It will in some way have to do with people and His glory. ASK HIM.

"Though the vision tarries, wait for it, for it will certainly come, it will not delay." Record the vison as God shows it to you. Journalize it. Pray about it. Search the Word for it. Don't be fearful of asking...the vision could be just for your home and family...not a mission trip to another place in the world.


Crooked Paths...

" The man of integrity walks securely, but he who takes crooked paths will be found out." Proverbs 10:9

When I read this verse this morning, I saw the similarities in a story I read by Amy Carmichael. In her book, God's Missionary, she writes of an Indian woman who was disgruntled and bitter towards the missionaries because she thought that they said one thing and did another. She wanted to know, "who can say you missionaries live specially holy lives? We Indians observe. We observe you not only when you are at work, but when you are off work too. Is there anything remarkable about you? Are you burning- hot people? We look to you to show us patterns, and you are showing us crooked patterns."

To say the least this was not wholly true. But it is a question we can ask ourselves as Christians...are we showing crooked patterns to those who observe us? Is there anything, even if it seems small, that might stumble someone who is watching? We aren't perfect people, but we are here to live holy lives. Lives that bring glory to God in every aspect of our lives.

We can't walk down crooked paths or show crooked patterns, someone might be following and watching. We never know when we walk down a path, if it will be the path that leads someone to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Heavenly Father, Help us to look at our lives and see if we are showing crooked patterns to anyone who watches us. Give us eyes to see and ears to hear..anything that we might do to stumble those around us. In Jesus' name, Amen

Why I Keep A Journal...

I have been keeping a journal since 1981. As a child I never kept a diary, so as an adult it was a new thing for me. I don't write in it every day, but most days I do. I write mostly things that the Lord shows me through my Bible readings and Bible study. I write about my family, my joys, sorrows, defeats, victories and sin. I sometimes write lengthy prayers to God, pouring my heart out to Him in writing. I've written personal promises from God for my family and myself. Some I am still waiting on and others have been fulfilled. There have been times when things happen in my life that I have to write about it immediately. Other times, especially very difficult things, weren't written about until weeks later. Those times, the pain was usually too great to put into words right away. When I was able to write, it was so I would have record of the facts and the feelings.

My first journals were spiral bound notebooks. I have several that are the hard bound pretty ones, but I still have several going that are spiral notebooks.For me, it seemed I couldn't remember all the things that God would show me. Keeping a journal was a reminder to me. God wants to show us things about ourselves and things about Him. When I read back through my journals, which I do from time to time, I see things in my life that I still struggle with. Seeing this just makes me want to try even harder for victory over those things.I have never written anything in my journals that would hurt anyone, if they read them after I am gone. Maybe some of my heartaches would be surprising, but not hurtful.

I presently have six journals that I write in. I'll share what they are and why. I don't write in each of these everyday!

* My daily journal... I write what's going on in my life and the things God wants to show me.* My prayer journal.... I use this daily.
* A journal entitled...Possessing The Land. This journal records the progress in three areas of my life that the Lord has shown me to work on to fulfill a vision He has given me.
* My quote journal... I write any quote that I come across that ministers to me or I find encouraging in some area of my life.
* My scrapbook journal.... This is a spiral bound sketch book. I find pictures in magazines, cut them out and write around the pictures. These pictures are things that make me feel good. Each page is full of my favorite things. This let's my creative side have a part in journaling. I really enjoy this journal...it's a feel good book.
* My medical journal.... I started keeping this journal last summer when I hurt my back. Living with chronic illnesses you soon forget when you had the last test, or last ear infection, or when you last went to the doctor. It has been an eye opener for me.

I think keeping a journal can be such a blessing in our lives. It shows us where we have been and a direction of where we may be going. It's a reminder of what God says to us and a record of our obedience and disobedience. There isn't a right or a wrong way to journal, it is totally personal in what you want it to be for you.I hope that by reading this, if you have never kept a journal, that you will pick up pen and paper and write what's on your heart. Give it a try!