Tag Archive | christian life

God, ever loving in the details of our lives

I am writing this in the morning quiet of my childhood home in Southern Indiana.  Here in the morning mist of a farming community I am out of the periphery of my normal everyday life.  My mother who is an independent, very tough woman humbled herself and begged me to come home to care for her for during her immediate release from the hospital. She had fallen several times and the last time fell out of bed unconscious in the middle of the night. She and my father are very co-dependent on one another. He is much more like me in personality, my Mom and I are exact opposites. That in itself makes our relationship a challenge. So she calls and asks and I know we need to go. My Dad is more befuddled during her hospital stay .. upon her discharge they are both floundering.

My husband and I both had things to organize at our places of work and then we made plans to fly up to take care of them both.

We had to catch a fairly early flight at the airport which was not crowded nor busy at the US Air counter.  As always we had prayed and sought the Lord for safety and His protective covering.

We got to the US Air counter ONE … minute past their half-hour cut off time for checking folks in. Truly, just one minute. The fiery darts for the trip were beginning with this one female representative at the counter. She insisted we were past the cut – off and she was already booking us on another flight. She also mistakenly was insisting we had to pay for our carry on pieces that my husband had meticulously measured as per the US Air webpage.  They qualified. A vigorous debate ensued and she was set on making things difficult. Thankfully, a manager intervened.

Off we go– now really rushing because of the hullabaloo. We get to security and a very kind security officer told me to “declare” if we had any liquids.. so the water bottles were given over. My favorite Crabtree & Evelyn fragrance.. Wisteria was then subject to loss.  I had put more in my purse such as my jewelry, make-up etc because of what one can take on the plane. I pulled out the perfume which had been carefully wrapped in my jewelry wrap and next to it in a little bag were my diamond earrings.  The security guard looking at my beloved Wisteria bottle .. waved it on and said the ounces were just under. But alas in the rush, my little pouch with my diamond earrings fell out on the floor. I swooped down picked up the pouch and put it back in my purse. There was not any opportunity to dump out the contents of my bag anywhere till we arrived at our destination.  At long last I did and there were no diamond earrings to be found.

Now, I know this is just “stuff” but these are dear to me because they came from my husband on our 20th wedding anniversary. I was so upset and did not want to share this news with my dear spouse. But finally, the courage to do this rose up in me.  He was not a happy camper and proceeded to lecture me and my father who was present listened to this martial discourse. I said little in defense of myself … because I didn’t want to cry. I told them both, that I was going to call airport security to see if they had been found.

Both of these men, my Dad, my dear husband scoffed at the foolishness of my doing so and said I could kiss those goodbye.  But I prayed and prayed.I did make the call however, and was told by a sympathetic airport security officer that no diamond earrings had been found. He said anything like that would be unusual but to go ahead and describe them… so I did with my heart in my throat.

A few hours later, my cell phone rang and I missed the call. It was 1o PM long from 6:45 AM back in North Carolina at a busy airport. I called back to find the airport security officer on the phone. Could I give more detail on the earrings? The description rushed out in a flood and YES they had them. The both of these small earrings laying on a floor in a airport all day.
My heart rejoiced and I could hardly contain the joy of this miracle …. full of praise ( BTW — the security officer also agreed it was a miracle as I witnessed that to him in my babbling praise the Lord over and over )

My Dad and my husband were both incredulous! Agreed it was a miracle.My ( our ) Heavenly Father had protected those earrings for me.. a detail of His loving touch, favor, grace and mercy.. it was a strong message. So I feel this bears the need for testimony too.

My son  in law retrieved these for me for keeping till back home. He reported they were neatly placed in a box with my initials on them. WOW

This all seemed a bit prophetic to me as well.  I have been pondering this ever since and wanted to write these thoughts today. Our Father is merciful, gracious and His loving-kindness lasts forever….

Several scriptures:

Matthew 10:29
What is the price of two sparrows—one copper coin ? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it.

Oh such is our Heavenly Father in control of the finite details of our lives as His word states above.

Then…

and the second row an emerald, a sapphire, and a diamond;
Exodus 28:17-19

17 And you shall put settings of stones in it, four rows of stones: The first row shall be a sardius, a topaz, and an emerald; this shall be the first row; 18 the second row shall be a turquoise, a sapphire, and a diamond; 19 the third row, a jacinth, an agate, and an amethyst;

This is talking about the breastplate of judgment. It is interesting that in this scripture in the second row are the stones that are my favorite here on earth. I had not noticed this when reading this scripture before… another personal detail for uniquely me in this situation as I study it.

The other interesting thing to note is that my loss was at the gate ,where security was waiting. There at the place of security the smallest details of my journey were protected…it was a little thing but then again it was not.  A stone of remembrance in my life.

The older I become.. the more it is noted by me in daily events that the Lord speaks to us in the physical often with a parallel in the spiritual.

So I come away with this .. He is at the gatekeeper of my security, the Great I AM … the gatekeeper of protection and yes judgment. The choices are mine. the symbols in stones in the second row of the ephod reflect the stones of my remembrance and He is our High Priest. When I look to Him for protection, guidance and He is always faithful. The are 12 stones in the ephod– and it was 12 hours before I reported my missing “jewels’ to security.Oh how He is a God of the details. Still seeking Him on more on this…

I did not put some of this together till seeking the scriptures referenced here and so will continue to pray into what He wants me to learn. Rejoicing that He cared enough to hear my heart .. and all of ours for the asking when we truly cry out.. amazing — it is simply amazing! This watch care

Oh how He loves us….

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Looking up when others want you to look down

It is dark outside as I contemplate yesterday. As days go .. it was one that will be remembered in either one or two ways. I guess it depends on how we chose to think. We  do have choices about such things and what power is in that~ The choice to choose, review, ponder and set our thinking in what occurs around us.

So back to yesterday so you can see what I am talking about. Yesterday I went into work with a plan. I had spent time, quite a bit actually seeking Him, listening to praise music and “putting my armor on.” So, things should have rolled off, right? Here is where the rubber meets the literal road. My agency’s ministry was hoping for more in year end giving. ( It is still coming I just know it ) but on Monday when a payroll was to be given to our hard working team. ..there was  simply  not enough to do it. Reality  of the funds that were not yet in our system because ” the government ” checkwrite system for our professional fees for service in treating at risk and abused children took a hiatus for 3 weeks  and not providing payment till January 13th.

What to do?
We could pay for one week of our staff’s hard work instead of two till we could get through this. This would mean of course redoing the whole payroll, and then calling each staff ( we have 3 shifts ) to help them understand why were had to do this.

So here I go. Arrive at the campus to find the walkways  to our Administrative Clinical building are covered in ice which is a phenomenon in eastern NC. It is not normally that cold. As only it could happen one of our volunteers who was kindly helping with some landscaping must have put our sprinkler system back on automatic. Viola.. instant ice and lots of it.  This seeming small thing became a big thing. I got out of my car and went on the grass to avoid falling which proved to be a good decision and even the grass was slick too. A colleague who just had come back from being out with surgery gingerly joined me and we made it in.  Now as only it could happen our sweet spirit filled gatekeeper of the front desk had to come in late as her Mom was in the hospital and the Doctors wanted a word.
I take the weekend mail put it on her desk and run upstairs to let another colleague know we have a major”ice ” problem and expressed concerns about someone falling. The words were no further than out of my mouth than we thought we heard someone cry out.. yup the ice had caught up with a dear new staff who works in accounting ( her second week) .  She had seen the ice went around front but the door was still locked which would not be the norm

Do you see where this is going?

( receptionist out at important meeting about Mom ).  Our new staff did not have a key to the front door. She went around back and decided to try the sidewalk.. she fell and hard.  Our HR Director who does our payroll and I were rapidly catching up about the need to flip the payroll checks as one of our male leaders went outside to assist our fallen staff member. We are suddenly finding ourselves in the vortex of a washing machine of one event to another. Round and round we go being stuck on spin or are we?

We call for one of our RN’s from the Psychiatric treatment cottage to come up and she does and we are packing our wounded staff in ice

( irony in that ..hmm) . We also are praying and trying to get her some help. Mind you this person holds the keys of knowledge of how to integrate our software system to accommodate flipping this payroll. We utter nary a word to her.. pain and concern dominates that need. We are praying over here while doing the practical first aids things.
We get the outside  sidewalk ice covered in table salt and sand ( play therapy sand ) and get our new staff to the Doc. Whoa… she has broken her arm in two places. No expertise coming for our system not today… however she is choosing to believe she will be back to us in time that only the LORD can provide. Extra quick favor and healing Malachi 4:2

2 But to you who fear My name
The Sun of Righteousness shall arise
With healing in His wings;

We also realize the software for our payroll system has to be updated ( New Year ) and without doing that we mess up everyone’s tax tables and blow the system.  As only it can be at this point to add to the incoming  event calculator,  our IT Director has called in sick as a dog and cannot help us navigate this urgent need.  These checks had been written in 09 to plan for the upgrade.. we did not think we would have to be facing this particular collision of events. There are so many other events that also begin to spike but if I shared those this would become a novel instead of a blog. Trust me these were also formidable and confidential as we run a treatment ministry. Let’ suffice to say there was a lot on my mind and plate.

back to the story…

Then our dear receptionist returns with a very heavy “bad report’ from the Doctor. She is choosing not to receive it.

We immediately convened for prayer in my office and begin to pray out our faith.. choosing to look up when others want us to look down. Her mother is choosing to look up and not down picking Psalm 27.

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm%2027&version=NKJV#

We read this Psalm out loud when shared to the group that this is what her mother wants to be prayed.
Amazing connectivity and power in that Psalm.  Choosing to speak life

What about that armor ? I choose to believe that the Lord gave me a “sound mind” in the midst of this.   Otherwise the “voice that torments” would have gotten in to whisper fear, and anxiety.  We also had  people praying outside our walls that morning..  I had sent out a prayer alert at 6:30 AM to a select group of prayer warriors. The Lord told prompted me to do that … HE knew what was to be needed.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
2 Timothy 1:6-8

Score for the home team… PTL

We are still in the game with the main Quarterback directing our plays..
So where is the testimony to support looking up and not looking down:

  1. We prayed for favor and understanding from our staff and we got it (well most everybody )
  2. The Nurse who came up to help our wounded staff was the perfect one on duty for encouragement and walks in the power of choosing to look up and not down.
  3. The person in Raleigh who has the regulatory power to push for quick review on our cottage being upgraded for licensing with a higher per diem pay rate and a critical need for these children.. gave it and we set it up with all the stakeholders ( no minor thing .. this is huge )
  4. Supporters called in to check on us. .. prayers going up.
  5. Our IT Director persevered and chose to look up instead of down and got on line covered in quilts etc ( he really was feeling bad ) from his home and found the software needed it, purchased it, and got our back ups going.
  6. Our HR Director got creative and found other supports to help her overcome what is needed..
  7. We were ” hard pressed but not destroyed” and the encouragement which I am convinced is a survival tool in these last days for the body to one another was being spoken more than the words of discouragement. So it “spiritually ” multiplied itself with the power to look up and not down in faith…
  8. We got to practice joy in tribulation. We took captivity of the spirit of infectious fear. ( Amy Carmichael’s word for it )
  9. The children were and our team were prayed for more in a focused way.
  10. I ( we )  learned a lot..

As my faith hero in real life living Amy Carmichael has written

You can refuse the spirit of fear which never comes from God.

( and if He does not send it to us, who does ? )

Instead open your heart wide to the spirit of “power and love and a calm well balanced mind, and discipline and self control. Second Timothy 1:7 amplified

Because  fear is so infectious, let us for the sake of others and ourselves, refuse it.

Thank God~ Courgage is “infectious” as discouragement. Haven’t you often felt the cheer and strength that seems to flow from a person whose mind is fixed on God? I have.

And I have been thinking of another, a greater reason for refusing the spirit of fear.

When we are downhearted or fearful or weak we are saying to everybody( by the way we look and our timidity , if not by our words), “After all , our Lord can’t be absolutely trusted.”

Somewhere near us, though we do no seek them are otherwise. Men and women who we can see; and also good angels and evil spirits who we cannot see. To all of these , when we give into fear, we say the same dishonoring things.

We have a Savior who has never once failed us. He will never fail us. He has loved and led and guarded us all these years.

Look to Him now, and pray from the barren bedrock of your heart, if that is the ” ground” you are standing on. Lord give me courage.

~ From the Edges of His Ways. pg148.

Oh what a way to say it Amy! I am pondering it in my heart determined to choose to look up and not down. How will you choose today?

Off to see the choices of the day..

The pilgrim’s progress on the road  looking up and not down.