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Battling fear

Fear is an old enemy of mine.

Thankfully, the Lord has taught me much through the years and many of the tricks of fear and doubt have become useless.

But I’m far from finished fighting.

Rather, I’m becoming more skilled a warrior.

Scripture is my best defense.

Faith is my protection.

Prayer is my weapon.

Ephesians 6:13-18 NKJV — Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—

The Lord, through His Word, has helped me to admit when I’m struggling, surrender myself before Him, and walk with humility through whatever circumstances are causing me to struggle with fear.

Yesterday, it was my health.

I had a “good” day suddenly turn bad through a migraine.

As I lay in bed, I was assaulted with “what if?” questions until I realized that wasn’t trusting God.

So, I prayed.

I told the Lord about my concerns and thanked Him for the opportunity to trust Him even though I had no idea what He was going to do.

Then, I worked on praising God for everything I could think of.

When I recall the goodness of God and His faithfulness, it is so much easier to trust Him.

Later in the afternoon, I had another struggle with fear.

I heard some news that brought concern about our house.

Frankly, I didn’t understand exactly what the information was, probably because of the migraine, which caused me to feel confused and frustrated.

2 Timothy 1:7 KJV — For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

The Lord used scripture to remind me that He is in control.

I can rest in His love, place my thoughts into order by focusing on His Word, and have power over my emotions through self-control.

Because:

1 Corinthians 14:33 KJV — For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.

This scripture was written to the church of Corinth, explaining the importance of orderly meetings so people could be taught from God’s Word.

When the Lord brought it to mind, I realized that allowing my emotions and thoughts to run wild would hinder my ability to learn from His Word through this circumstance.

I don’t want fear to rob my of an opportunity to grow closer to the Lord.

Placing my trust in Him has always brought me through whatever circumstances fear was using against me.

God is faithful and His Word is truth, in Him I have all I need.

This morning I don’t have a migraine and I’m praising God!

There are other circumstances in my schedule today I’m praying about, because I don’t want to give fear any opportunity in my heart or mind.

As for our house, I still don’t know what is happening there, but I am simply praying for my husband and our son-in-law.

I’m trusting the Lord to guide and direct them, because I am not the one doing the work, so I really don’t need to know what every detail is.

My job is to lift them up in prayer and to be diligent with the tasks at hand.

What a blessing that is!

It’s so wonderful to know God is working all things for our good as we trust daily in Him.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your love and faithfulness. Lord, thank You for continuing to teach me how to combat fear and doubt. Lord, on my own I’m unable to do anything. It is only through You and Your Spirit that I have the ability to fight fear and learn self-control. Thank You for Your patience with me. Thank You for walking with me through these unsettling circumstances. Lord, thank You for healing me from the migraine. Lord, I do humbly request You help those who know You, but are defeated by fear and doubt. Lord, help them find hope and comfort in You. Help them to realize that when we die to this life we gain so much more. Lord, please keep us from clinging to things of this world, but rather help us to see the blessings of eternity and the futility of temporary comfort. Thank You, Jesus for all You have done, are doing, and will do on our behalf. May Your name be glorified! Amen.

Adjusting

I took a photo of where I was thinking about putting our garden the last time I was at our new house and it wasn’t raining.

I didn’t take pictures of the inside, because I figured I’d get those after we move.

Which we still have yet to do.

Why?

Well, because God showed us things.

A consultation, concerning our kitchen, with our son-in-law, who is a contractor, made it obvious we needed to gut the kitchen.

I wasn’t excited, at least not immediately.

The Lord was so gracious and showed me He was providing, He also helped me trust Him with the unexpected and it’s turned into a wonderful blessing.

Handsome and I were able to discuss all the necessary changes and make decisions without any trouble.

We haven’t had a single argument or disagreement throughout.

Distance and my health kept me from being able to go pick out cabinets, so our daughter and son-in-law went and did the initial layout.

A few days later I was able to travel down and put the final touches on the plans.

My heart was so blessed that our daughter knows me so well.

She picked out everything I liked.

When I commented on that, she just smiled and said we have similar tastes, so it was easy.

That blessed my heart.

I traveled down yesterday and got to walk through the bare rooms.

The new paint looks wonderful and I’m really looking forward to being able to live there.

We only had one moment of concern.

When I walked into our bedroom my chest began to feel a little tight.

My husband was watching closely and asked me to walk into the attached bathroom.

It felt strange and I knew it was my body reacting to a trigger.

Thankfully, I felt better the moment I was out of the room and the door closed behind me.

“I was afraid of that,” Handsome said.

Then he explained he’d been smelling something and was worried it was going to bother me.

He went on to explain he would remove the cabinets and tear out the linoleum to see where the smell was coming from.

As I drove back to our rented house he called me.

“It’s only in one area, but I found mold under the flooring and we will have to replace the subfloor and part of the wall.”

I took a deep breath.

“Praise the Lord, you found it now.”

Because I am allergic to mold, we have been concerned about making sure the house was mold-free.

Although, finding something else which needs to be fixed isn’t fun, it’s important we adjust to God’s direction.

For He is answering our prayers by showing us in advance what needs to be taken care of.

As I focus on the tasks at hand, I am praising God for His faithfulness.

Yes, sometimes I have to work at being patient.

Sometimes, I have to spend extra time in prayer, asking God to help each one of us to be centered on Him, as I await each of the details which are required before we can move.

I’m not a patient person and I’m learning to adjust my wants and desires to align with God’s timing.

It has also been an opportunity to praise Him more.

Although waiting isn’t easy, it’s very important.

Rushing ahead of God or trying to force circumstances into my desires are both a refusal to wait on God and it’s a lack of trust.

I’ve done both those things and it wasn’t good nor did it help anyone.

I don’t want to live like that.

Thus, I’m thanking God for this time and season.

It’s another opportunity to learn a wonderful character trait: patience.

Psalm 123:2 KJV — Behold, as the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her mistress; so our eyes wait upon the LORD our God, until that he have mercy upon us.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for another opportunity to learn to wait upon You. Lord, thank You for Your patience with me, I’m a slow learner. Lord, thank You for Your faithfulness, Your understanding, Your love. Lord, thank You for showing us what needs to be done each day and for sustaining us. Lord, thank You for walking us through this season of adjustment. May our lives glorify You. I love You, Lord! Amen.

A chance to praise the Lord

It was in the middle of the night.

The Lord had spoken to my heart, I needed to take my medicine.

I’m so thankful for migraine medicine which helps.

So, I got up and took it.

I’ll be honest, I was feeling rather discouraged.

Today we have big plans for working on our new house.

“Lord, I won’t be able to do anything if I have I migraine.”

Silence.

Then I realized my error.

“Lord, I’m sorry.”

Deep breath.

“Lord, thank You for this migraine, because I know You are going to work through the circumstances and bring out something good. I know it is in my weakness You are strong.”

(Just to clarify, I don’t think God “made me” have a migraine and I wasn’t thanking Him for it as an acknowledgement that He gave it. The migraine was the consequence of doing so much this week. Rather, I was thanking God in advance for what I knew would be Him working through my restrictions.)

And I was able to go back to sleep.

Which in itself is a miracle.

Normally, when I’m hurting like that I can’t sleep at all and if it continues I become very sick.

God answered my concerns within a few moments and I am so thankful!

When I woke this morning my headache was much better.

Handsome and I discussed our plans and he decided it would be best for me to remain in bed today.

He and Jase are going to work on the new house.

But before they left he brought me breakfast.

What a wonderful blessing!

I’m so thankful to God for His provision.

I know He’s going to supply all our needs and work through each circumstance, and I praise God for the ability to support my husband and son in prayer throughout the day.

2 Corinthians 12:9 KJV — And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for Your faithfulness. In You are we sustained. In You we have life abundantly. Lord, thank You so much for teaching us how to rest in You and not to lean on our own understanding. Lord, please supply all my husband and son need today and provide a way through each detail. Lord, You know what is required and we look to You with expectation, not to fulfill our ideas of how to do all, but rather to be the One who tells us what Your plans are. Thank You for Your faithfulness, Your salvation, and Your strength. I love You, Jesus! Amen.

Not surprised

Yesterday was a lesson in trust.

We had an overly full day and I was praying throughout.

Tuesday had been a long day and I just didn’t want to step outside of God’s plan for me in anything.

I definitely felt His blessings yesterday.

Jase had to go to the dentist so I had told Sis I’d watch the grandbabies while we were in the area.

I completely enjoyed my time with them.

Then God blessed us with the keys to our new home!!

I let Handsome know I’d meet him there.

Our evening didn’t really follow our expectations.

We left the house pretty late to get back to our rental.

Handsome has to get up very early to get to work.

As we drove home we discussed our concerns about the house.

We already knew we wanted to rip out the carpet (wall-to-wall carpet is not a good idea for me).

We had plans to take out the cooktop and put in a range.

But we hadn’t realized that the space for the range was tiny.

We were going to measure it when we looked at the house, but before we got started the seller handed us a copy of the floor plan so we thought, “no need it will be on there”.

Nope.

So, we’ve been waiting to measure the space.

You can imagine our surprise when we realized it’s undersized.

We went to bed thinking we had a pretty good plan.

We chatted briefly about the plan before Handsome went to work.

I got online and started doing some research.

I was even going to contact someone in reference to our plans when I had a check in my heart.

What’s the rush?

Uhm…

Check with your husband first.

My phone bings.

It’s my husband with a text:

“I love you, Hope.”

I text back and he texted almost on top of mine.

He shared a scripture he’d read this morning and told me it had touched his heart.

The same scripture had touched my heart this morning.

So, I texted my husband that we should wait on making the changes we discussed.

We are going to get the floors done and pray about the rest.

My heart has peace.

Then the Lord brought to mind:

Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV — Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.

God wasn’t surprised by the size of the stovetop.

He’s not caught off guard by details.

This is His house and I know He’s going to guide and direct us through the “life things”.

Our opportunity to wait upon the Lord and be guided by His Word is so much more important than how we cook our meals or where we place our furniture.

It’s in these little things God builds our faith.

It is in these small “surprises” God works on our relationship with Him.

I’m looking forward to seeing what He has us do.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for speaking to both my husband and myself as we transition to this new place. Thank You for the surprise yesterday and how You are using it in our lives. Thank You that we can rest in You and not lean on our own understanding. I praise Your holy name, Jesus. Amen.

Transplanting

This pot was an anniversary gift from Handsome.

We had talked previously about my desire to repot some of my plants, especially the roses, which came with me from our other house.

I had mentioned to him the need for larger pots due to the fact they had outgrown the ones I brought them in.

2 years in one pot is a lot for a plant especially a rose.

My red rose had to be planted this summer due to it’s inability to continue to thrive in the pot I brought it in.

My white rose was planted right after our move, because the container it came in was unsuitable.

Yesterday, with Anne’s help, we transplanted my cabbage rose to a larger pot (pictured).

We dug up my red rose and repotted in anticipation of our move.

My white rose will be remaining here.

Because it’s just now recovering from the trauma of it’s past.

When I first got sick my plants all suffered neglect, but my white rose was attacked and eaten multiple times by a deer which the dogs failed to keep out of the garden.

As we dug it up to move it was an act of faith, because it looked very dead.

But it wasn’t dead.

Both this summer and last it put out a few beautiful flowers.

It’s foliage and growth this past summer is the best I’ve ever seen it have.

And as I prayed about what plants to take and which to leave, I knew it would be best for this one to remain.

Because often times, I’ve found what is best is to let go, rather than “hold on” to things.

The only clinging which should be occurring in my life is my relationship with Christ.

John 15:4 KJV — Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.

This is simply another opportunity to listen to the still gentle voice of the Lord and to walk in His ways.

I’m so thankful for the circumstances which remind me of what is important.

It’s not where I live, what I have or do not have, or even my emotions which are most important.

It’s Jesus Christ and as long as I have Him, I have all I need.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for guiding and directing us as we prepare for this transition. Lord, thank You for reminding me of what is important. Please continue to show me myself clearly, help me be aware of the snares of sin and the deception of the flesh which is constantly at war with what is right and holy. Lord, please help me to live daily unto You in all I say, do, and am. Thank You, Jesus. Amen.

Sorting through

Breakables waiting for the yard sale.

There’s something very healthy about cleaning out and paring down.

It reminds me of thinning a fruit tree.

It’s dangerous for a tree to have too much weight on a limb.

Proper thinning helps the tree bear fruit without damaging it.

As I’ve been thinning out our belongings, it has struck me, it is healthy, both physically and spiritually.

Because with each thing I go through I pray and ask the Lord what His will for that is.

Yesterday, I came across a tote of old decorations.

There were leftover table scarves, glass candle sticks, and pennant banners.

Some from our daughters’ graduation parties, some from their bridal showers, and some from our daughter’s baby shower.

Many memories, but most of the stuff is no longer needed.

Who knows, maybe another family is in need of party decorations.

So, I put those things in the yard sale box with a smile.

At one point in my life letting go of that kind of thing would have been a struggle, but my trust in God has grown.

He’s taught me so much about clinging only to Him.

I’m so thankful.

There’s a beautiful freedom, a lifted burden, when we cling to God and let Him carry everything else.

His Word is truth:

Matthew 11:30 KJV — For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You so much for Your Word. Lord, thank You for helping me learn to trust You. Lord, how grateful I am for Your patience with me. I’m a very slow learner, Lord, but I am willing to learn. Thank You for Your faithfulness in all things. Lord Jesus, I so want others to find the truth in Your Word as well. I want others to understand the beautiful blessings of a relationship with You, how real treasure is never stuff. The enduring treasure of salvation and a heart at peace in You is the most valuable thing of all. Lord, please reach those who have yet to know You. Please continue to teach me and other believers what You want us to learn: trust, faith, mercy, grace, and love. Lord, please help us to walk in these things and to grow in understanding of the season we live in. Lord, please guide us in Your truth daily. I love You, Jesus. Amen

Bathed in prayer

Our lives must be bathed in prayer.

It’s the only way I know to walk closely with Jesus rather than following my own desires.

A few months ago, I had a moment in prayer which caused me to feel unsettled.

I felt the Lord was preparing me, that a change was coming.

Later, in a conversation with a neighbor, I began to state something about our future and I felt a check in my heart not to say what I was going to.

It was like the Lord was warning me not to commit to something, because I did not know the future.

Time went on and I still couldn’t figure out what God was telling me, but I started praying for what I should do.

Start packing.

It didn’t really make sense.

I wasn’t sure what God was trying to tell me, but I knew better than to argue or ask “why?!”.

I began seeking God on how and where to begin doing what didn’t make sense.

At least not at the time.

I cleaned out some closets.

Finished up craft projects.

I gave away things.

I reorganized papers and filed stuff I’d put off.

Still praying, throughout for God to help me follow Him.

Then, Handsome and I were talking about the small furniture business we have and we realized we both felt we were supposed to finish up everything we had on hand, empty our storage unit, and close our booth.

It seemed a bit strange, but we began working on furniture like crazy.

God blessed us and Handsome was able to empty the unit before September.

We let the owners of the mall know September would be our last month.

It has only been in the last few weeks God has shown us why.

My husband has recently accepted a new job in a different city.

He wasn’t looking to change jobs.

We weren’t unhappy where we are.

But God brought this job to him.

We bathed it in prayer.

Here we are.

He starts the day after our wedding anniversary, next month!

I’m sure you guessed the rest–we are moving.

Not only has God blessed us with this new position, He’s opened the door for us to buy a house and property.

We will get to live in the country again.

And we are so thankful to God!

Moving is not easy, especially as my health still restricts my actions, but it will be good

We have enjoyed this house.

Our landlord is truly the best.

The neighborhood has been such a joy.

We are so thankful.

God has blessed us abundantly.

I’m humbled by how He has walked us forward into all these things.

I’m thankful for the way He has guided us.

I’m continuing to bathe it all in prayer.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for Your Holy Spirit which guides and directs us, speaking through Your Word. Lord, please continue to keep our feet planted firmly upon Your paths. Help us, each one, to walk in ways that are honorable before You. Lord, as we prepare for this move, please help us to keep in mind all these things are Yours and we want to be good stewards of them. Lord, please help us to be wise and kind as we deal with all the change. Lord, please go before us and prepare the way. Thank You. I know You already have and Your salvation is all we truly need. I love You, Lord. Amen.

God’s blessings

While sitting at my desk this morning in prayer, I was suddenly overwhelmed by the change.

As renters, the back garden was a mowed yard with trees, their full branches of apples nearly touching the ground, and everywhere else was weeds.

Not a single flower or decorative plant was in the beds.

I remember feeling rather down about it.

We moved in the middle of September and my health was not going to allow me to do any yard work.

But I praised God for a yard and the lawn being mowed and the over grown apple trees.

(Anne baked us some pies!)

The following spring, one history will remember, was an interesting combination.

Despite the circumstances, the weeds were cleared away and we planted some seeds.

We were blessed to add some veggies.

It was a time of adjustment and the yard was definitely an “in progress” project.

Today, it’s much more of a garden.

There’s still things that need to be done and weeds are always trying to take back what they lost, but as I prayed I realized just how much God has blessed us with in the yard.

It’s a beautiful reminder that no matter what, God is still working.

His blessings are around us every day and all I have to do is take the time to notice.

Because I want to live with a grateful heart, I never want to miss a blessing before me.

I want to sing praises to my God and share of His generous works each day.

Because in the little bits of life’s blessings we can find the truths of God’s love, faithfulness, goodness, and grace which will carry us through the big things.

Romans 1:20 KJV — “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead;…”

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You so much for Your Word. Thank You for creation which points us to You, the Creator. Lord, please continue to help me live a life of thankfulness to You each day. Please continue to hone and mold my heart into Your likeness, that others might see You and come to know You. Lord, I am weak and unable, but it is in my weakness You are strong. Please help me not to lean on my own understanding, but to trust in You and Your Word for every part of my life. Thank You for Your incredible blessings. Thank You for Your goodness and truth! I praise Your holy name, Jesus. Amen.

I thought I’d share pictures from the garden with you this morning as an added testimony of God’s blessings.

May you too see the blessings that surround you, dear reader. ❤️

God’s ways are perfect

For so many years the Lord has asked me to surrender everything to Him.

Not to spend time worrying about the “needs”, not to make long lists of things required, but to just surrender.

Last fall, He took me through another season of surrender.

Each morning, the Lord would speak to my heart about material things, stuff which hold a value or are special in some way.

Then He’d ask.

Are you willing to give it up if I ask you to?

I’m well aware that all I think of as mine is really His and therefore, I would respond with a “yes”.

Some days, it was easier to say than others.

I honestly began to think we were going to move again, the way God was asking me to surrender everything.

It was even down to family heirlooms, items which wouldn’t mean anything to most people, but are precious to me.

At times, I had to work at not letting my mind begin to expect some major change, because God has asked me to get rid of everything before, to let go of all personal property and simply trust Him for the future.

But God wasn’t preparing me to move.

He was making sure my fingers were not grasping the things He’s placed in our care.

Because in October He had us start a small furniture business.

Suddenly, I was overwhelmed with things.

I had to spend a lot of time praying about what God wanted me to do with each thing.

Find places to store all the things until they could be sold.

It’s been an interesting journey since then.

We’ve been blessed to pass on some things to others who need them.

We’ve enjoyed restoring many items and getting them back into usable condition.

We’ve learned a great deal about furniture, as well as great deal about ourselves.

There’s been times when we acquired an item and I’d want to keep it.

But, God had already laid the groundwork, nothing belongs to me, so I’m able to do whatever God leads.

Nothing is more important to me than Jesus.

Sometimes, His will is for an item to stay with us.

At least for now.

But through it all I’ve been so blessed to be able to “let go”.

For nothing on this Earth is permanent.

Nothing material will make it into heaven, only the souls of those who put their trust in Jesus Christ.

Paul said it best:

Philippians 4:11-13 NKJV — Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You so much for all Your blessings. Thank You for teaching me how to trust You and not to put my expectations into stuff. Lord, thank You for walking with me, Your patience is amazing! I know You hold me in Your hands and are with me at all times. Lord, please never allow me to be choked and distracted by the cares of this world, but instead to use all You have placed in my hands for Your kingdom. Jesus, I want my treasure to be in heaven. You know that sometimes I forget and struggle with trying to treasure things here on Earth. Please guard my heart from that snare. Thank You again for Your faithfulness and patience. Thank You for Your incredible ways! You truly are great and greatly to be praised! Amen.

A scary moment

We had a moment a few nights back.

It was dark and we’d been in bed for a while.

A firetruck pulled up in front of the neighbor’s house.

Our neighbor is a military wife with three little ones, whose husband is away serving our country.

They’ve not been here long, so I’ve not felt like we’ve been able to build a solid relationship yet.

None of this mattered when we saw the truck.

We went over to see if we could help.

It was the carbon monoxide alarm and understandably the children were cold and frightened.

As the fireman questioned my neighbor, she held her youngest and tried to calmly answer everything.

I stood near the car with the two other children.

I’d grabbed some blankets and so had another neighbor, to keep them warm.

The oldest girl was crying.

“This is so scary! I don’t like it! I don’t want any more scary stuff like this!”

For a moment I was unsure about how to comfort her.

For a child who knows me, I’d just hug them, but she didn’t know me that well.

She continued.

“I don’t know what to do! I don’t want anything else scary to happen!”

Then the Lord reminded me to speak truth.

I got closer, so she could hear me over the fire truck and said, “We don’t need to worry, because Jesus has you in His hands.”

Her sister caught my words first, and her little face broke into a smile.

She nodded.

I spoke again and gently patted the oldest on her hand.

“Jesus has you in His hands and we can trust Him. He has kept you safe tonight, and we can trust Him.”

She calmed down and when her mother returned, she was no longer crying.

I was so honored to be used by the Lord to bless our neighbors.

Especially, the children as they are very precious indeed.

Mark 10:14-16 NKJV — But when Jesus saw it, He was greatly displeased and said to them, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.” And He took them up in His arms, laid His hands on them, and blessed them.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You so much for keeping our neighbors safe. Thank You for the firemen who came to make sure our neighbors were protected. Lord, thank You for comforting them. Thank You that You are our refuge and strength. Lord, thank You for all the ways You bless us. May we find comfort in Your truth and security in Your salvation. Thank You, Jesus. Amen.