Are you ready?

God has something planned for tomorrow and He wants you to be ready for it.  In our world of fast motion, often we can’t find an extra moment to breathe and still, we are left with unfinished business at end of day.  Pause. Fill your minds with His Word, not the world and all its empty distractions. “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 ESV.

In our busy lives and work places, there are as many different kinds of people as there are differing opinions of exactly who or what God is.  In a multi-cultural establishment, we must all maintain respect for another person’s choice, whether we agree or not. The many that know me can attest that I am sold out to Jesus however, there are always those that will not hesitate to use the Lord’s name in vain.  It is sad that we must be careful not to offend the offender. The hard fact is that they have no idea how great the offense is to Our Savior nor do they realize the personal penalty they will pay for it. On most occasions of such outbursts, I immediately began softly singing, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus…there’s just something about that Name.”  The sound of my singing should have been penalty enough, right? The attitude usually changes, for I’ve now disrupted their frustration. That’s alright, they get it.  You see, we must always stand guard and ready to defend our faith without offending the other person. I always believed that if you do offend someone in this way,  then you have been successful at showing that God is greater than their frustrations.  Sometimes, we are the eyes, the ears, and even the voice of the Lord Jesus.

One young girl in particular, had already become my target.  I started praying for her and her young daughter whose family lived far away.  She was a single mom, alone and needed to know someone cared.  I needed to be a resource for her, to show love while respecting boundaries, but aware that I had been given an assignment and it was not up to me to chose the conditions.  I still pray daily on the way to work that my words and actions would be in line with His, that they would be effective in letting others know that God is real, He loves us and has a plan for our lives. As you already know, anyone claiming to be Christian has immediately set themselves up for criticism.  “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect..” 1 Peter 3:15 NIV.

From my own life experiences,  God has shown me over and again that He will do amazing things to and through those that seek to serve Him. We should fill our minds with things from above and stand ready to accept whatever He asks, for much is the reward for your faithfulness.

Welcome!

Greetings and thanks for stopping by!  We have all experienced a shipwreck or two in our lives and are familiar with loss to various degree.  People will tell you to look for the silver lining but often, in the midst of storm and grief, you wonder how you can experience great troubles and claim it for some kind of good.  It’s that very thing I want to show you, God’s very familiar words of Romans 8:28, “for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose” but how familiar is it really?  Trust friend, that for those who don’t love God, the outcome brings unimaginable suffering in all facets of life.  It’s not worth testing it, for the Word is full of testimony to this account.

First and foremost, I love the Lord. He has shown up dramatically in my life so many times, it would be impossible to deny Him.  I have vowed to love and serve Him all of my days and although I be most imperfect, there is nothing He is unaware of and will not forgive, when I seek it from Him.  I spend my weekdays as an oncology nurse specialist searching for needed cures in a very busy and renowned cancer center.  I pray for wisdo and compassion each day.  I know what fighting for life looks like; I also know victory! Outside of the hospital, I spend my time caring for my elderly mother, doing what I can for my three adult children and four young grandchildren, so yes, I am on the go. On Sundays, I teach a class of beautiful five-year-old, high spirited children in a Kids Ministry program about the love of Jesus and how to follow Him in this fallen world. Caring for people is my passion, it’s what I do. Yes, I am busy and perhaps like you, often too busy to finish my daily tasks.  And now, this very task list has been brought before me along with all other things I have neglected because I am too tired, including my time with God.  Imagine me, of all people, on a road to recovery.  Well, it is time for refining the silver, re-prioritizing the use of my time, cultivating relationships and preparing for my future, whether here on earth or in heaven, for on April 12, 2017, my entire life changed. My ship wrecked and life as I knew it came to a halt.

On the way home from a busy day of work, headed to my grandson’s T-ball game,  I collided with another vehicle totaling my nearly new Nissan Murano.  It felt like I was already at the game and took a fly ball square to the chest.  When I opened my eyes, slumped sideways over the console, I saw in front of me only the hood of my car and the wooden cross hanging on the mirror which read, “My hope is in Jesus.” The pain from my fractured sternum (from airbag) left me clenching my chest and gasping for air.  Staring at the Cross, I had the most indescribable peace come over me as I uttered aloud, “No, I could never be mad at you.”  I don’t know why that came to mind but I felt fear disappear in the presence of a loving God, literally there, in the car with me. In this two-way conversation, I totally trusted Him with my life and did not ask to stay although I love my family very much. All of my focus went to Him. He told me that I was not finished here.  He told me to breathe.  He told me to trust Him. I don’t know yet why or what He has in mind for me but I thanked Him and continue to thank Him for my life and have vowed to serve Him with what remains.  This conversation was very clear. I never lost consciousness and am fully sane although my children might be quick to comment.  I have full recall of what transpired inside my vehicle while waiting on paramedics. I am His and He is mine and friend, this and this alone is the fullness of joy. No other thing, person or possession can give you this joy; no amount of money, no home in the hills or even the beach, nothing can compare.  My prayer is that you discover the depth of that Love and find words here that will encourage you on your faith walk and minister to you during your difficult times.

So, what about that silver lining?  How would a single parent, devoted to caring for patients and family, now stripped of transportation, unable to lift 5 pounds, on medical leave with 50% salary reduction and a mortgage over head find anything good in this picture? At this point, some may curse God as Job did when he lost everything, after all, I had this Cross hanging there for everyone to see, I was doing the best I could, yet this suffering has come upon me.  In this moment I was reminded of Psalm 119:11 that “I have hidden Your Word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.”  I knew God was with me, conversed with me, and I could count on Him. The Cross is not there to prevent anything bad from happening to us but to show us the way through it.  The silver lining for me was being brought to a point of needed rest, a time given to refocus, to go deeper into His Word, and to use my love of writing to pen these thoughts to you, my personal devotions, to help you get through trials and yes, they will come.  From my suffering came many benefits, too much to mention here but He knew my need.  If we are to share in His glory, we must also share in His suffering (Romans 8:17)  as Christ alone suffered, but our view of that suffering will keep us in darkness or send us soaring high on wings like eagles (Isaiah 40:31).  I pray these words will in some way help as you greet the world daily and the many challenges that come with it. Writing these words to you and finishing my book is a life-long dream and if I can manage to get back to it soon, “Highly Favored” will be on the shelf late-summer.  Friends, believe me, God keeps His promises and works all things together for our good.  Trust Him.