Vol. 3, No. 1: March 20, 2012 Editors: Nancy & Bronwyn Design & Production: Harriet
The day the Lord created hope was probably the same day He created Spring. ~Bern Williams
Click links below to access specific articles.
Rappin’ With Nancy
Disneyland here we come!!
Well…where do I begin? IF it weren’t for the GRACE OF GOD…I would not have been able to travel with my son Brent, daughter in law Maggie and granddaughters Naomi and Jessica (2½ and 3 yrs old) to see all the PRINCESSES in Disneyland. If it weren’t for the great love and generosity of Brent and Maggie who paid for and organized the entire trip…I could not have shared this wonderful experience with them and created such beautiful memories with my family. I am SO blessed to have Brent and Maggie LOVE and also LIKE me!
I am on oxygen and limited physically so questions had to be asked when booking our flights to know what the requirements were. I felt I could be off oxygen for the flight if I took steroids to decrease any inflammation and Lasix to keep down pulmonary edema. Well…Alaska disagreed (when we checked in for our flight) and it IS their right to REFUSE my flying with my family. After calling my doctor twice and getting her out of a procedure to send a fax stating I could sit in the airplane without using oxygen we were high 5-ing and ready to roll. NOT SO! THE supervisor at Alaska AGAIN refused my boarding. It had been 4 hours since arriving at Sea-Tac and we were STILL at the check in desk. They had canceled the family’s flight and booked them on a later flight in hopes I could fly with them. Eventually they had to run to catch their 2nd flight and my son made a mad dash to Southwest Airlines to see if they could get me on board before they left. Alaska said “DON”T tell them you’re usually on 02.” He didn’t and they booked me a ticket….YEAH! But wait a minute here…I was only able to travel since Brent and Maggie were willing to push me in a wheelchair and help me with luggage. HELP… What would I do on my flight then??? THEY were ALL leaving to fly to meet all the princesses in Disneyland and I was still STUCK in check in and had ALL my luggage, CPAP machine, large bag of medicine 🙂 and my purse to drag around. Brent asked for a wheel chair for his mom and 🙂 Well that is where GOD comes in. 🙂 GOD saved the day and our trip!
God sent angel #1 from Alaska Airline to quickly wheelchair me down to Southwest to pay for my ticket. When we got there she said “can I see your I.D.?” and I went to pull it out and said…”I never got it back from Alaska Airlines.” The runner flew down to find it but said Maggie must have it on the plane to Disneyland with her. 🙂 My mind went to well…this is THE END of my story. Since my car is in Maple Valley at Brent’s house, my grandson rides a motorcycle and I am STUCK here with NO OXYGEN and no transportation home. The gang was on their way to Anaheim and I was still in check in. 🙂 Turns out the Alaska Supervisor wanted me OUT OF HIS HAIR and said I could fly without my I.D. Have you ever heard of that before???? Me neither! When Southwest Airlines heard what had happened they agreed to let me fly without my I.D. Amazing how INFLUENTIAL GOD can be. Southwest Airlines said “WE WILL make sure your trip is successful” and they DID!!!! God bless Southwest Airlines.
God sent angel #2 to get me through security and to my boarding gate. HE was so kind, patient and even let me go to the restroom before boarding. Security heard my sob story and sent a sharp looking well dressed officer to drill me and when he saw this tired old looking gray haired granny in a wheel chair ready to cry cause ONLY HE had the power to let granny go to Disneyland with her grand babies. Well he became angel #3. He caved and sent me to my gate. God is so faithful to HIS flock isn’t HE? Angel #3 got me a powder blue plastic folder to put my boarding pass in and told me to PREBOARD.
At this point I am thinking I have a really good deal going here and hope it lasts all the way to Disneyland. 🙂 It seems that handicapped passengers get the RED carpet treatment at Southwest Airlines and I was praying for God to make it this easy ALL the way! Angel #4 greeted me at the plane and said “can I help you with your luggage?” Dah? What? Sure you can!! Thanks! I honestly was never told what time I was landing so I asked the stewardess…and she said “oh…you are flying to RENO and deplaning..then to Las Vegas and changing flights…and then on to Anaheim. You should get in about 7:30 tonight.” I got to the airport at 8:00 am this morning and had had NO Food to take medicines with yet. At 3:00 PM I arrived in Reno and asked the only friendly person available if I could deplane and get food. He said run fast and don’t wait in lines. I found out later he was the captain. He was a cross between Santa Claus and a sweet grandpa and was angel #5. I porked down the best deli sandwich in Reno and was on my way to Las Vegas. When we landed… Angel #6 was waiting for me at the DOOR of the plane. I must be dreaming as I am riding in economy but being treated like I am in first class!!! He patiently escorted me to a rest room and made sure I wanted for nothing before leaving me at my next gate. He gave me a powder blue sleeve for me to preboard and I thought “this is turning into a good day.” Where do they hire these people from??? They are ALL so wonderful, considerate and friendly. You know what? Southwest Airlines employees actually seem “happy”. Am I just dizzy from no oxygen or are they angels TOO?
Well I got to Anaheim that evening with NO dinner but feeling very special. Angel #7 was waiting for me at the door with a smile and asked me what I needed? He said tell your family to pick you up at baggage D. I was so tired I handed him my new cell phone and said if you can find my contacts…please call Brent Cady to pick me up…or you’re stuck with me for the night. 🙂 He called and I got to hug my son Brent real hard. He was angel #8 and a sight for old grannies eyes.
On my return flight later in the week, I was anxious to see how Southwest worked in reverse and again….God and his angels and Southwest Airlines took excellent care of me. I had to arrive at 7:30am although I didn’t fly out until noon. The rest of the family had a direct flight home leaving at 9:00am. Angel #9 came and whisked me off to Carl Juniors for breakfast! He gave me menu suggestions and brought the food to me. We then did magazines and he left with a smile. Southwest Airlines ROCKS. I quickly met a lady in distress who was limping and miserable. I said….Hey…this airline treats you like GOLD…so follow me and they will take care of you too. She did and she also was given a powder blue ticket holder and a wheel chair. We sat together and after flying into San Jose, we met angel #10 and #11 in Seattle and both were taken to baggage where I met angel #12..son Brent who gave me a BIG hug and said with a smile…”Have you had anything to eat today?” 🙂 Then he whisked me off to Vince’s where we got a big meat and cheese pizza and relaxed from the busy week. God and my family— Brent and wife Maggie took great care of me all week long. I am SO blessed to be loved and cherished and although I don’t want to take another trip for awhile…I would recommend Southwest if you’re in a wheelchair or need help.
P.S. The stewardess told us they were giving a passenger a Southwest Birthday Cake. She had us all lower our window shades and turn on our call lights in the dark. Walla….a loooong set of lit white candles and we ALL sang Happy Birthday!!!
P.S. #2 After thinking about how and why I made it without oxygen during this long process I came to realize that GOD sent a SPECIAL ANGEL #13 just to monitor how to keep me well and breathing easily. I always get more S.O.B. after eating so the less food I eat the easier I breathe. If I look at this scientifically…I DID get enough food to keep me going and spaced far enough apart to help me breathe easily. Wow, God just takes SUCH EXCELLENT care of me..down to my every BREATH. Amazing!!!
“God promises a safe landing..not a calm passage.”
“If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it.”
Living in Color With God,
True Beauty Conference
Celebrating the Truth about God’s Design for Women
March 30-31, 2012
March 30th, Friday from 7-9 PM
March 31st, Saturday from 9 AM to 4 PM
Click here for more information.
Third Day “Make Your Move” tour
Saturday – May 12, 2012 – 7 pm
9900 Willows RD NE, Redmond, WA US 98052
With guests: Matt Maher – Trevor Morgan – The Neverclaim
Click here to purchase tickets.
Sonbeams by Bronwyn
“Let’s stop at the same Starbucks we stopped at on Thanksgiving Day,” I suggested.
“Done,” Jerry said, knowing it’s better to not argue with me.
On our first Christmas in Arizona, Jerry and I embarked on a journey to my brother’s home, a two and a half hour trip from our house to his. We had just hit the road and Starbucks would make for a nice halfway-point for a coffee break.
From the car window, scenery of desert climes passed by. Crowds of tall, fluted, columnar saguaros waved to us with spiky upward arms. The rich botanical heritage of desert plants spread before us against a lucent blue sky.
I had only one thought: How much further until we reach Starbucks?
Over an hour into our drive, we finally reached the exit to Starbuck’s. At last. Only minutes remained until our jolt of joe. As we pulled into the parking lot, Jerry and I noticed something amiss. Not a vehicle anywhere. For a second I hoped the empty parking lot meant everyone had walked to Starbuck’s to get in their exercise before a big Christmas dinner. “It’s closed, Bronwyn,” Jerry pronounced, in the serious tone a doctor might tell someone they have only minutes to live.
Out of nowhere, a shiny white SUV pulled up beside us. A stylish thirty-something woman rolled her window down and hollered to us, “Is it closed?” We nodded the affirmative. “Follow me, I know where there’s a Starbuck’s that’s open today.”
Who was this Good Samaritan? Perhaps our coffee angel? Lead the way, we said. We followed our angel as her sparkling white car zipped down one street and then another. Then! There it was. A Starbuck’s with lots of parked cars and customers hustling and bustling in and out, coffee cups in hand. The sign with the emerald green mermaid beckoned us inside. As we entered we discovered hoards of Arizonans bundled up in Ugg boots, sweaters, coats, wool hats, hoodies. Tightly packed in, they waited to order, or pick-up, their coffee drinks. By the looks of everyone’s warm attire, you’d think we had arrived at the Swiss Alps. Any moment I expected the barista to call out “Ohhh, laydeee-whoooo.” I’m learning, though, when the temperature drops to the 50’s in this state, Arizonans fear hypothermia and dress warm.
Seconds before our order came up, Jerry spotted an empty table. We settled in, leaned back, and casually sipped our lattes. The familiar scene−people drinking coffee and dressed like Eskimos–reminded me of our Seattle hometown on a summer day. It felt good to have the familiarity and comfort of coffee in a Seattle-like environment.
It’s not just me who craves familiarity and comfort in alien surroundings. Take Polly Evans, a travel writer from England. She hiked along the Great Wall of China, rode bumpity-bump sleeper trains to China’s ancient heritage sites and natural wonders. Polly peddled a bicycle through Beijing’s alleyways and floated on a boat down the Grand Canal. But her most thrilling experience? Her visit to Starbucks in Hangzhou. She writes in her book, Fried Eggs With Chopsticks:
“It’s tragic, I know, but as I sat back in my armchair, clutching my mug of coffee, guzzling a strangely stale Danish and listening to the sounds of sultry jazz that strummed gently in the background, I was quite ecstatic. I’d only been away a couple of weeks, my hardships had been paltry, and here I was in raptures at the first sight of Starbucks.”
Yes, Polly! I so-ooo understand.
It occurred to me that my current life situation mirrors my experience of driving up to the closed Starbucks on Christmas day. Life seemed to have suddenly hung out the sign “Closed.” With our recent move from Washington to Arizona, I suddenly felt out of my comfort zone. I longed for the familiar. Somewhere between packing and unpacking, I lost my direction.
Many of you may have felt like this at times. And you don’t have to move to Arizona to get the feeling. You may feel lost on what to do next in your life, or confused on how to deal with a relationship. Maybe lack of finances threw you off guard. Or, like me, you just feel stuck.
I longed for God to give me Divine Guidance.
I lamented to Jerry, “I wish God would talk to us like He spoke to David.” In 2 Samuel 2:1, David asked the Lord, “Shall I go up to one of the towns of Judah?” The Lord replied, “Go up.” David asked where he should go and the Lord told him to go to Hebron.
Wouldn’t that be great, I fantasized, if I could ask God, “Shall I go up to Nordstrom?” And the Lord would answer, “Yes, Bronwyn. Go! Buy yourself some new boots.” I would reply, “Really, Lord? You mean it? Would it be possible for me to get a new purse too, and maybe even some earrings?” I can only imagine my guilt-free ecstasy in showing my Nordstrom purchases to Jerry, exclaiming, “The Lord said it was okay.”
But as of late, the Lord hasn’t given me the go-ahead on a spending spree at Nordstrom.
If only God would pull up beside me and say, “I know what you need to do and where to go, follow me.”
New Year’s Eve arrived. I had only one resolution. To get unstuck. But how to do that?
A mother in the Bible study I attend here in Arizona requested prayer for her 12-year-old son. “He’s getting D’s in school and is unmotivated to improve.” A lady in the group responded, “I want to encourage you to find a Scripture and pray that Scripture over him.”
The idea of praying Scripture intrigued me. I looked the topic up online. Maybe, I thought, I will pray Scripture over my new year here in Arizona.
As I searched, the passage in John 16: 16-17, stood out. “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit−fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. This is my command: Love each other.”
The Scripture doesn’t answer whether to get a job or join a club or invite a neighbor over for iced tea. But it does give me a direction on how to live as I seek my specific path. As I began to say this Scripture, I realized praying Scripture brings me into agreement with God. It takes the situation out of my hand and places it in His. John shows the direction Jesus has called me, and all of us who follow Him. Love others. Bear Fruit. What a great way to get unstuck.
The Scripture’s specific instruction is to “love others.” How to begin? I think of the lady in the white SUV who led us to the “open” Starbuck’s. She offered her kindness and help when she didn’t need to. No one paid her for her impromptu tour-guide service.
And isn’t this what God asks of us? To be sensitive to others’ needs, show kindness, offer help−without expecting anything in return. That is a calling we, as Christians, all have. We all can be someone’s angel.
Wendy’s Favorite Quotes
We set our eyes on the finish line, forgetting the past, and staining toward the mark of spiritual maturity and fruitfulness. ~Vonette Bright
Some people think God does not like to be troubled with our constant asking. But, the way to trouble God is not to come at all. ~D.L. Moody
It’s not that some people have willpower and some don’t. It’s that some people are ready to change and others are not. ~James Gordon, M.D.
A man’s spiritual health is exactly proportional to his love for God. ~C.S. Lewis
The spiritual life is a life beyond moods. It is a life in which we choose joy and do not allow ourselves to become victims of passing feelings of happiness or depression. ~Henri Nouwen
Come, come, come unto Me,
Weary and sore distressed;
Come, come, come unto Me,
Come unto Me and rest.
Sista Picture Corner
Sistas’ December 2011 Christmas party.
My 2 year old grand-niece, Victoria loves Mickey, the Princesses, mocha iced coffees, and everything Disney. I went with my sis, Frannie to visit her in L.A. We had a “magical time” in Disneyland. 🙂 Thank you ladies, for praying for her mom and daddy (Mike and Mary) and God’s strengthening of their marriage. ~Marty ♥
Sistas, send us your travel pics, pet pics, kid pics, favorite pics. We want to print your pics in our new Sista to Sista magazine. E-mail pictures to:
Discovering God’s Hidden Gifts
Before this past winter, I always thought that there was something wrong with me. Why was it that it was so difficult to be around large groups of people? Why couldn’t I seem to bring up the subject of church and Jesus to people around me like I was supposed to be able to? Could God even use me? I asked God daily to help me to be more outgoing and to present those opportunities where I could show others His love. I thought that God had made a mistake when He created me because I did not seem to have the gifts that everyone else around me had. I felt guilty for being the one who did not throw or attend parties or talk to people on the street who needed Jesus. With all of these thoughts simmering in my mind, I didn’t feel like God would be able to use me in a big way. Little did I know, this was a huge misconception, and God had so much more for me than I could see.
When I came home for Christmas over winter break, God started to work wonders in my life. Through various people and situations, he revealed to me that there was nothing wrong with me. In fact, there were gifts that He had given me that could be used in amazing ways! Though I was not skilled in reaching out to strangers or striking up conversations on the bus, I had other gifts. As a future teacher, God placed pre-teens in my life who were struggling with their home life, feeling unloved and not being able to find confidence or value in themselves. Through talking to these kids, God revealed that He had given me a gentle heart, a passion for listening and encouragement, and a profound longing to have deep and heartfelt conversations with people. I felt God pulling on my heartstrings and letting me know that I was important and valuable to Him, that I was not a mistake. These kids needed someone who would listen to them and meet them where they were at. They needed a daily smile and a reminder that someone loved and cared for them. I realized that the gifts that God had revealed to me may not be the most common or the most celebrated in such an extrovert-centered culture, but He gave them to me for a reason.
All of that being said, I want to strongly encourage those of you who may feel like your gifts are insignificant. I feel like God has brought me through this process of discovering my gifts so that I can help and come alongside others who may be struggling with feeling like God cannot do an amazing work through them. I assure you that He can! Even though I may not be extremely social and enjoy large parties or hanging around groups of people, God has used me to dig deeper into the lives of people close to me and share His love with them. God does not give out gifts just to let them sit and gather dust; He wants to use us! If you are at a position where you are confused or wondering why God made you the way He did, I encourage you to ask God to reveal these gifts to you and show you those opportunities where He can use you where you are at. I guarantee that He has a plan and that He knows exactly what He is doing!
Jeremiah 29:11 – “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Philippians 4:13 – I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
God bless! 🙂
Kids Say the Funniest Things
Contributed by Bronwyn, taken from The Jesus Site Blog
A Sunday School teacher was telling her class the story of the Good Samaritan. She asked the class, “If you saw a person lying on the roadside, all wounded and bleeding, what would you do?” A thoughtful little girl broke the hushed silence, “I think I’d throw up.”
What Beats Two Kings and a Queen?:
A Sunday School teacher said to her children, “We have been learning how powerful kings and queens were in Bible times. But, there is a Higher Power. Can anybody tell me what it is?” One child blurted out, “Aces!”
Untimely Answered Prayer:
During the minister’s prayer one Sunday, there was a loud whistle from one of the back pews. Tommy’s mother was horrified. She pinched him into silence and, after church, asked, “Tommy, whatever made you do such a thing?” Tommy answered, soberly, “I asked God to teach me to whistle and He did!”
Nine-year-old Joey was asked by his mother what he had learned in Sunday School.
“Well, Mom, our teacher told us how God sent Moses behind enemy lines on a rescue mission to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. When he got to the Red Sea, he had his army build a pontoon bridge and all the people walked across safely. Then he radioed headquarters for reinforcements. They sent bombers to blow up the bridge and all the Israelites were saved.”
“Now, Joey, is that really what your teacher taught you?” his mother asked.
“Well, no, Mom. But, if I told it the way the teacher did, you’d never believe it!”
Praying Through Life’s Problems by Stormie Omartian
Reviewed by Nancy
The following is taken from the book by Stormie Omartian — “Praying Through Life’s Problems.”
God always sends me just the Right Book to read, the Perfect Scripture to find in the Bible or a Great Comment I hear from a friend or on the radio. HE is always so timely and thorough and HE is always on target for that day’s needs or problems.
Today I was reading–Dealing With Life’s Changes and the subject title was-What To Do When You Are All Grown Up! The following is a direct quote from her book and the chapter was co authored by Joseph and Mary Ann Mayo.
What a woman focuses on and how she spends her time becomes more important with increasing awareness that her days are numbered. Examining how we are doing and choosing the good part is in keeping with the mandate of Isaiah 55:2 “Why spend money on what is not bread and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.”
It is good news that an older woman has little energy left for life as usual because it means she has no choice but to PRIORITIZE. She has demonstrated resiliency and power throughout her life; now it merely needs to be directed.
Where does SHE start? Where do YOU start? First examine the balance in your life. Let go of things that are no longer working or are bogging you down. Eliminate activities that undermine self confidence, joy, your personal and spiritual growth, and of course your health. Ask yourself “What is meaningful now?” For the first time for most women, direction in life can be defined not by the desires and demands of others, or by what a woman does well based on a lifetime of experience, but rather on the desires or interests that are ripening within her.
The inability to live life as usual is a wake up call for REEVALUATION. It requires a concerted effort to change. The fact that there are not endless days ahead gives the process a sense of urgency needed to do what needs to be done and to change what needs to be changed. It is truly “Good News” that you do not have to make the journey alone. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
THIS is what I have already been feeling the need to accomplish…every word just fits me perfectly. I love how we get confirmation to help us find direction, peace and comfort throughout our journeys. My next thought is—why do we wait until we get to an age where we don’t have as much energy and our time is running out to do what our heart and soul feels the need to express and accomplish?
Is it because, as women, we have spent a life time serving (helping-teaching-nurturing and supporting) our families and all those we think we are obligated (should) give our time and energy to??? For me I find this very true and where I chose to prioritize my time and energy, as a spouse, a parent and a friend.
This states just what I am feeling: REMEMBER, GROWING OLDER IS MANDATORY but GROWING UP IS OPTIONAL. We make a Living by what we get…and…We make a Life by what we give.
Spring is nature’s way of saying “Let’s Party!” ~Robin Williams
A Reconciliation Story
by Carole N.
This story is about learning to trust God.
It’s a real story about my Husband and me struggling to know how two completely opposite personalities can live in peace with each other.
My journey began 5 years ago when I was swept off my feet by a handsome sailing instructor who made me feel safe in his presence. He was also a respected business owner and a strong leader in his circle of peers. I was thrilled when he asked me to marry him two years later, but our challenges started long before the engagement. The 1st miracle in our relationship was that we made it to the altar at all! Even while we were dating, we were in and out of counseling, with issues that didn’t get resolved. In spite of the turmoil, we still loved each other deeply and couldn’t imagine life without the other. Our wedding was glorious and filled with hope for the future.
But, we couldn’t have known the tragedy ahead. Just 5 months after our wedding celebration, my youngest Son died suddenly of a prescription interaction. Eight weeks later, my Mother died unexpectedly. Needless to say, I was devastated and grieving during the year of 2010. My Husband was at a loss as to how to help me through it. It was beyond both of us.
During our 2nd year of marriage, again we went to counseling, but the problems got worse between us. After many months of heartache and soul searching, I left our home. I couldn’t continue hurting and being hurt by the one I loved. I had lost so much already.
I went to stay with my oldest Son and his wife and they welcomed me with open arms. During that Summer I asked the Lord Jesus for direction. The last thing I wanted was another divorce. I prayed and cried and talked to my friends and family. What should I do? One thing was clear: I didn’t have the answer yet.
Then in September, when I was so discouraged and couldn’t see any way of fixing the damaged marriage, a couple I know asked me to go for a weekend of boating with them. I reluctantly said yes, even though I was heartbroken and depressed. My friends were very understanding and reassuring about God giving me direction in my life. I told them I was ready to quit the marriage.
It was during that weekend that the most surprising thing happened. The wife, who is a Christian, starting talking about God’s plan for marriage and how we could love each other in a deeper way. She felt that God wanted me to give my husband another chance, but I was afraid of going back home and enduring more heartache. My health was suffering and my hair was falling out from stress. I feared I would not thrive in that environment.
Later that night, back at my Son’s house, I cried and prayed. God promised in the Bible that He wouldn’t ask more of me than I could give. Going back to the marriage was not the choice I wanted anymore. I was done with marriage forever. It was just too hard.
Over the next couple of days, I couldn’t sleep and was tormented by my own thoughts. How could I trust God to know what is best for me? By now I was certain that I had the answer I had been seeking for months. My gut was telling me I must give my marriage another chance. Still, I argued with God repeatedly, asking him, how can this be right for me? Nothing had changed or so I thought.
But everything had already changed; I just didn’t know it yet! You see, when we pray, we don’t necessarily have the results right away and that’s why asking for faith is so important. Faith is really a childlike trust that God’s love will carry us through, even if it doesn’t make sense at the time. I decided to trust my Lord and Savior above all else.
I called my Husband and asked if we could reconcile. I didn’t have any positive thoughts or feeling at that point. I just knew it was the right thing to do. Going back was so traumatic for me, that I felt sick as I was loading my car. I kept asking God to help me put one foot in front of the other. That is literally how I made it through.
My Husband was pleasantly surprised to have me back and couldn’t have been more encouraging. Even our dog was jumping up and down with joy. I wish I could say that I was happy too, but the truth is, it took much longer for me to put the past behind me.
Over the next few weeks and months, the feeling of love and contentment began to fill my heart and replaced the anxiety I had experienced. My husband and I had a completely new start, because with God, all things are possible! We have enjoyed more peace and understanding with each other than ever before.
Although this story has a happy ending, relationships are complex and we know challenges will come, but with God’s help, our love will continue for a lifetime.
Are you struggling today with an impossible relationship? Take heart, my friend and let the Prince of Peace help you see things in a different way.
Seemingly impossible situations are His specialty!
Give Thanks for Fleas
“Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
I Thess 5:18
Ravensbruck, a Nazi concentration camp for women during WW II, was the antithesis of a Hilton Hotel. No mints on the pillow. No room service. Instead, women prisoners were treated to death by starvation, beating, torture, hanging, shooting, or lethal injections for “medical” experiments. Prisoners who managed to avoid these dreadful amenities were forced to work day and night. Many died of weakness and illness.
Hard to believe Ravensbruck, an out of the way hamlet, surrounded by picturesque forests and lakes, held such suffering and torment.
Two Christian sisters, Corrie ten Boom and Betsie, found themselves checking in to this dreadful place. For the “offense” of hiding Jews in their home, they were stripped of their freedom and shipped to Barracks 28 at Ravensbruck. Their new filthy facilities featured soiled bedding stacked one on top of the other for claustrophobia-induced lodging.
Oh, and one other thing. Fleas, by the zillions, jumped and hopped on all the beds.
Who would want to be thankful for these circumstances? Betsie would. She invited Corrie to join her in thanking God for their Ravensbruck accommodations.
In her book, The Hiding Place, Corrie recounts her doubtfulness of her sister’s suggestion.
Betsie pointed out things to be grateful for, such as being assigned to the same barracks together and their victory of smuggling a Bible in.
Reluctantly, Corrie goes along with Betsie. She says, “Oh, all right. Thank you for the jammed crammed, stuffed, packed, suffocating crowds.”
Betsie continued, “Thank you for the fleas and for–”
Corrie interrupted, “The fleas!”
This was too much for Corrie. “Betsie, there’s no way even God can make me grateful for a flea.”
“Give thanks in all circumstances,” Betsie quoted. “It doesn’t say ‘in pleasant circumstances.'”
Although Corrie agreed to be thankful for fleas, she believed Betsie was wrong.
But was she?
If not for the fleas, Corrie and Betsie wouldn’t have had the freedom to hold prayer meetings in their barracks undisturbed by their guards. For they later learned the guards never entered their barracks because they didn’t want to be anywhere near the fleas.
This story reminds me that sometimes, with the changing seasons of life, we’re faced with circumstances we can’t see any reason for thankfulness, such as health issues, the loss of a loved one, divorce, car accident, financial difficulties. It’s always easier to complain. But Corrie ten Boom reminds me in her story that’s not what God asks of us.
If we can see little or no good in our painful circumstances, it doesn’t matter. We do know God and know that His goodness is never-changing. His love is unbudging.
Even if you and I can’t see the good, God sees. God is larger than any circumstances in our lives and His thoughts far greater than ours.
What’s good about fleas? God knows.
What is a fear that God has healed you from?
Carol – I know I seem “fearless” sometimes, but not always so. I battled depression when I left my first husband and cried everyday. I was guided into healing and fully delivered by Jesus and the presence of the Holy Spirit. Now, if I start to feel sad or guilty, I am reminded that the Lord has COMPLETELY healed me (not just a little bit). Praise God!!
Sheryl – God has healed me from the fear of ‘what could happen, what people think’ or more aptly said worrying. The more I have gotten to know Him, trust Him and love Him (by reading the Bible, doing Bible study, fellowshipping with Christians, serving, attending church with worship and praise, prayer, etc.) I found the habit of worry has left me. It was through the renewing of my spirit that God took away the worry (i.e. focus on myself) and had me focus on others, looking for ways to get to know people, help people, love people. He has set me free!!
Nancy – The fear that no one will really love me for who I am.
Just Old Pencils
A pencil maker told the pencil 5 important lessons just before putting it in the box:
- Everything you do will always leave a mark.
- You can always correct the mistakes you make.
- What is important is what is inside of you.
- In life, you will undergo painful sharpenings, which will only make you better.
- To be the best pencil, you must allow yourself to be held and guided by the hand that holds you.
We all need to be constantly sharpened. This parable may encourage you to know that you are a special person, with unique God-given talents and abilities. Only you can fulfill the purpose which you were born to accomplish.
Never allow yourself to get discouraged and think that your life is insignificant and cannot be changed and, like the pencil, always remember that the most important part of who you are, is what’s inside of you.
My life as Nancy’s car, Paul
(as told by Paul to Nancy)
I knew I was going somewhere important when I got my assignment from God September 10th, 2009. I was not looking forward to going back to earth as I had never been asked to do anything like this before. I rather liked my home in heaven where I can rejoice and glorify God anytime I choose to and spend time with my friends Timothy, Luke and Silas. I know not to say no to God, so said my goodbyes and prayed I was going somewhere familiar and warm!! Well…life on earth has certainly changed since I was here and I have never heard of the Pacific Northwest and a town named Puyallup??? 🙂 Lucky for me God provided me with a wonderful heater so I can warm up when my motor gets running, everyday if I want to.
The first few days of my visit I took several people for a ride and felt very unsafe in their presence. One day a woman with an oxygen tank got in my car and ‘it was love at first sight.’ Her name was Nancy and I could sense the joy in her heart and feel her glorify God in her spirit. I asked God to force her to pick me but God said she had ‘free will’ and it was up to her which car she chose for this special assignment. Well, she thought I was wonderful and was impressed at how comfortable and easy I was to be driving with. I have to admit I am well built and attractive to the eyes and my silver color is nice and shiny. 🙂 She also liked the way I could turn on a dime and explained how she needed a ‘special car’ to take care of some very special people who all loved God with all their heart!!! I was starting to see how ‘I’ just might like being on earth again and that ‘just maybe’ this assignment was going to be more fun and spiritual based that I had originally thought. Nancy wanted to take me home that afternoon to her home in Redmond and introduce me to her friends and family. She wasn’t prepared to make this decision so fast but knew in her heart this was ‘Spirit Led’ and sent straight from Heaven…just for her MINISTRY!! The deal was sealed and both Nancy and I were delighted to start on our journey together and help all the people that God sent our way.
My first assignment was to be introduced to Jean, Tricia and Pat who live in Nancy’s senior housing apartments. None of them drive so I felt honored to be the one to show them the world through my eyes. They fell in love with me like Nancy did and my chrome smile just got bigger and bigger. 🙂 They couldn’t get enough of me so we went to lunch, dinner, grocery shopping and to all their appointments together. These were big assignments with some very important people and it was a lot like my mission trip to Thessalonica and Corinth, but the weather is a lot calmer and it is a LOT easier to navigate around Redmond.
Then the Big Day came when I met Nancy’s Bible Study Group. I could tell they were God’s Special People and was excited to be in their presence. I had heard SO much about this group and was a bit intimidated to meet them all at once in the parking lot of Suzanne’s Deli. All of a sudden the group started praying over me. I wondered if I was going to die and be tossed in a rejections pile for bad missionaries OR saved by God’s grace.
All of a sudden I thought.…am I crying? After checking the cars computer…I realized it must be rain since I heard it rained a lot in this area. Then I heard words being spoken by these crazy women and you’ll never guess what they did to me. They were pouring Bottled Spring Water on my face to dedicate me to God’s Mission work in Redmond. Each lady from Nancy’s Bible Study said a blessing over me and they prayed I would bless all those God sent and that I would keep them safe and out of harm’s way!!!
THEN…I DID start crying. I couldn’t stop as they ladies made me feel SO very special. Then I got SO excited when God told me how “I” was chosen to come back to earth as Nancy’s Car, Paul. Nancy read the entire bible searching for a fitting name for her New God Mobile…and she chose ME…Paul of all the people in the Bible. Of all the patriarchs, kings and prophets…even of Moses, Luke, John, David, Solomon and Daniel. Nancy chose me, Paul, who she felt she could identify with. We both came to God late in life but when we did, our faith and service to God sky rocketed all the way to heaven and back. 🙂 We both have a heart for missions and I have to say…THIS IS QUITE AN HONOR TO BE BROUGHT BACK TO EARTH TO FULFILL SUCH AN HONORABLE MISSION AS Nancy’s Car Paul!!!
Thank you Nancy for giving me the honor to chauffeur your friends in Redmond, Washington. It is THE MOST IMPORTANT mission trip I have ever been on and I am honored to serve God with you!!
P.S. Another minor miracle about my birth…Car Paul was created in the same state as Nancy was born, Kansas. Now isn’t that pretty special and unique?
If you journal, explain your technique, when you started, how often you journal and why do you enjoy it.
Sheryl – I am a journal want-to-be. So I’m most excited to hear how those who have established a journal habit have done it. My latest help to have a journaling habit has been to create a meaningful lined notebook at Shutterfly. The cover has pictures of my 3 sisters and I and our mom. One of my sisters just finished her chemo and radiation treatment for breast cancer. So the pictures are precious and valuable to me! My young mom Bible study is doing Priscilla Shirer’s ‘Discerning the Voice of God’, which I have done before on Tuesday mornings with your group, and Priscilla encourages journaling. I KNOW it is a way to HEAR GOD, by writing prayer requests and revelation He gives me in my quiet time and then reviewing the writings later I will SEE HOW GOD IS MOVING. This ultimately will be the motivation…to hear God. I carry my precious journal with me and write when thoughts and prayer requests come.
Nancy – Started during divorce in 1972. I wrote the anger and negative feelings and that decreased it for me. I then rewrote it and tried to turn it into a more positive feeling. I am now writing a book of short stories using those writings.
Wendy – I had tried journaling over the years as a Christian and it would last for a time and then I’d just not do it. This went on for about 25 years. One day I decided I’d read through a chronological Bible and journal whenever I had a question or something caught my interest. This was life changing, I journaled through the entire Bible learning so much more out of my reading. The Lord often answered my questions as I wrote out my thoughts. Now I write in my journal almost everyday and find God always meets me there.
“Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.” Luke 12:27 NIV