The Lord tests the righteous, But the wicked and the one who loves violence His soul hates. Psalms 11:5 NKJV
Dear Lord Jesus, Thank You for Your Word. Lord, You understand what is best for us and You also see the schemes of the enemy. Lord, Your Word teaches us the ways of sin bring death, but Your sacrifice has brought us life everlasting. Thank You! Lord, we want to be obedient children, we want Your favor to rest upon us. Please help us to walk with You in integrity and truth. Please help us to be people who are honorable before You. Lord, please protect us from the evil one. Please place a hedge of protection around us. Guard our hearts and minds. Please show us any areas where we have strayed from Your path. Thank You so much for salvation. Please continue to reach those who have yet to know You. Please protect the innocent. Please provide for the widow and the orphan. Thank You for all Your ways. They are good! I love You, Jesus. Amen.
I sat nearby with her one month old brother in my arms.
I was burping him.
So, she began to burp her’s.
I grabbed my phone and couldn’t get a better picture than this, but it was a precious moment, none the less.
Next week our daughter returns to University.
I’m blessed to get to watch the kids a few times a week.
Grandbabies are so fun!
To look at our little granddaughter’s sweet smile and remember my own girls as wee people.
To listen to the cute baby noises of our grandson and remember the bundle of blanket which held our newborn son.
These gifts seem all the sweeter the second time around.
I love being a mother.
I love each of our precious children.
It’s compounded and multiplied when adding in grandbabies!
And it brings an even more precious memory to mind.
As much as I love these people, young and younger, God loves me even more.
Because His love is so much deeper, purer, and unmeasurable.
My sinful heart has major limitations, which hinders my ability to love as God does.
And yet He’s teaching me daily how to love more.
Grandbabies are easy to love.
Just one look at our grandchildren or children and my heart seems to expand.
Does God feel that way when He looks at me?
Romans 5:5 NKJV — Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. I John 4:7-11 NKJV
for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from God. John 16:27 NKJV
Not only does He love me far beyond my understanding, the same is true for you.
What a blessing to be loved by God!
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for Your love. Thank You for creating us and the universe we live in. Lord, thank You for sustaining me. Lord, thank You for our family and friends. I’m so blessed by so many people. Lord, I’m humbled by Your love and blessings. Please continue to reach those who have yet to know You. Please let nothing stand in the way of their hearts accepting Your love. Thank You for all You have done for me. I praise Your holy name. Amen.
I’m having a difficult time not wanting to stick to my plans.
But God has better ones, and it only takes a moment for me to realize such when I’m willing to stop and look at it through prayer.
The Lord has been stretching me.
Ever since our Bell moved her dresser out of the spare bedroom, I’ve had a pile of homeschooling papers sitting on the closet floor.
Obviously not a good plan.
With moving I’ve had to change many of my past ways of organizing including the homeschooling papers.
I currently have a place for recent work or needed documents, but the past years’ work no longer has a home.
So, I’ve been praying about what to do.
Coupled with this prayer, I’ve been praying for Anne’s bedroom furniture.
Her dresser was old and very used when I bought it over seven years ago.
It’s now missing more handles and the drawers are less than easy to open.
So, I figured God would want me to set aside some time to refurbish her dresser.
These two things have been a topic of conversation with me and the Lord often of late.
As the days grow closer to autumn, my window of opportunity to work on anything outdoors is coming to a close.
Thus, I have had to put my own opinions and ideas into God’s hands multiple times about this.
So, when I felt like God was talking to me about looking for used furniture on Craigslist I was a bit apprehensive.
“Lord, is this me or You? Am I just trying to force something to solve this instead of waiting?”
Instead of hearing an answer, I just felt like I should punch dresser into the Craigslist search engine.
I did so, and then stopped to pray again.
Something the Lord had spoken to my heart at first came back to mind.
It will be in the city nearest you.
So, with that I began to scroll.
I found something which would work for the spare room.
It was hideous and obviously “well loved”.
The price didn’t sit well with me, but it was in the city nearest me.
I figured I could email and see if they’d come down on the price.
I asked the Lord to make it clear if He wanted me to buy this.
Their response was my answer, “no”.
So, back to the search engine on Craigslist.
“Lord, I really don’t want to do this today, I’m so worried I’ll make a mistake and buy the wrong thing.”
I’m teaching you faith.
Two more dressers.
Two more emails.
Two more closed doors.
Of course, I was working on other things so all of this was poked in between math lesson, history, reading assignment, and cooking.
By the early afternoon, I was ready to give up.
But I still felt like I was supposed to try another search.
This time I found not one dresser,but two and a bedside table.
The posting said, “$50”.
Well, that wasn’t super clear.
And at first I thought this couldn’t work at all, but I stopped to pray.
Through this moment of quiet I realized we could use one dresser in Anne’s room and the other in the spare room as well as the bed side table.
They need painting, but Anne’s been asking me if we could do another project ever since we painted the living room furniture.
I emailed the seller.
I was surprised at the answer: $50 was for everything.
Of course now I had to get some help picking up all this.
I prayed again, that if this wasn’t God’s will it would be obvious.
I knew our son-in-law’s day was busy with taking Bubba and family to the doctor.
I dropped a quick text and after a conversation over the phone we worked out a plan.
Then it occurred to me, if they were heading down after the doctor’s appointment, they’d be hungry, so I invited them for supper.
I was about halfway through cooking supper when I realized this was definitely God’s plan.
My husband’s work has him on call 24/7 and he had come home late the night before only to eat and return to work, arriving home some time after 11.
When things are like that, I know better than to expect him home at any particular time.
But halfway through supper preparations he called me.
He was off work and on his way home.
And he was thrilled to hear our family was coming over for supper.
When he arrived, I told him about the furniture.
He smiled and said, “Sounds great!”.
Not long afterwards he and our son-in-law drove together out the cul-de-sac to pick up the furniture.
Anne was so excited when it got here.
She can hardly wait till we can begin sanding it down and painting it.
I praise God for His guidance in it all.
I’ve already told Anne all this furniture belongs to her.
I’ve tried to make sure each of our kids have some furniture of their own to take with them when the time comes.
As we were all sitting around the dinner table eating, God had one more surprise in store.
My phone started buzzing with several texts all coming in at once.
It was the same family we got the furniture from.
They had forgotten another piece of furniture that was part of the set, a window seat with drawers.
They were texting to let me know we could have it too, no extra charge.
Of course I let them know we would have to get it today, but they were fine with that.
I’m still amazed at how God took a small desire I had and turned my day into a blessed lesson.
Because buying furniture wasn’t in my schedule.
Sending emails and searching Craigslist wasn’t in my plans.
But God reminded me that my ways are not His ways.
His plans are perfect.
His ways are best.
And all of this was more about teaching me to listen and trust and obey than it was furniture.
Because I could have gone out and bought Anne a new dresser anytime.
I could have ordered something to store the homeschooling papers in online and had it delivered to the door.
But instead of either of those things, God has taken me through days of prayer and heart checking.
He has shown me my tendency to want to solve every item I see as a need in my own strength.
He has used this to teach me to listen and be willing to be wrong, to be willing to say, “I don’t know what I’m doing yet, I’m still praying about it.”
And hopefully He is using my life as an example to my children that waiting upon the Lord is the best way, no matter how insignificant the “thing” is.
Because furniture is not a forever thing, but the lessons I learn through dealing with the temporary are.
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for providing this lesson. Thank You for stretching me in an area I thought I’d already completely surrendered to You. Lord, thank You that things and items are all temporary and yet can be used by You. Lord, I want to honor You with all that I call my possessions. Thank You for reminding me that nothing is actually mine, it all belongs to You. Please help me to be wise and generous with anything and everything. Lord, You alone are worthy of all honor, glory, and praise. Thank You. Amen.
She was requesting our Anne to come help for the day as pregnancy had kept her up most of the night.
Our granddaughter is a busy one-year-old, so we completely understood the desire for extra help.
All of us piled into the car a short time later.
Originally, I was just going to drop Anne off.
When I went in to give my love to Sis, I realized things had changed.
She was having contractions.
We stayed to see if they’d leave.
Thankfully, our son-in-law was only a little over an hour away, so he headed home.
We are staying at their house so it’s more comfortable for our granddaughter.
Our school day had major changes, but valuable lessons in it all.
It was obvious that our sweet little girl was trying to figure out why her parents had not returned.
But good news was on the way!
There’s nothing like that moment when you see a text from your son-in-law after hours of waiting.
Our precious grandson was born yesterday evening and we are so thankful!
What a wonderful surprise!
He wasn’t due until the 26th of this month, but God’s timing is perfect.
Praise the Lord!
Psalm 40:5 KJV — Many, O LORD my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered.
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You so much for our grandson. Please continue to heal and strengthen our daughter. Please keep Your hand upon this precious baby. Lord, from the moment we heard another baby was on the way I have lifted them up to You. Please bring this child up in Your ways and give his parents the understanding of how to raise him to love and honor You. Lord, place Your hand upon him and guide his steps that he might be a godly man, a mighty man of valor. Lord Jesus, thank You so much for this precious new gift! We are humbled by Your blessings. Thank You. May Your name be glorified throughout the whole Earth. Amen.
Years ago, I wanted to give my husband something he’d have at work to look at, reminding him of his little girls.
I made sure to glue in some of their artwork along with their pictures.
Often, I would add a comic cut from the newspaper.
As we pulled one after another out of a box, Anne asked me when I started making calendars.
“Honestly, I can’t remember.”
I’m so very glad I did.
It has been so fun to look back through them now and again.
At first I always used blank calendars and had to do everything, including write in the date for every day of the year.
I’ll be honest, I messed up more than once!
When I learned how to download my pictures into premade templates and order them, the hours crafting a calendar dropped significantly.
Funny thing though.
My husband liked the homemade ones better.
He’s sweet and knows it’s easier for me to do the online thing, so he’s never complained.
I think the only time he might complain is if he didn’t receive a calendar at Christmas.
Each year the whole family enjoys flipping through the newest calendar on Christmas Day.
No matter the template I use, I’m sure to include two things: pictures of our children and verses from the Bible.
Because our family wouldn’t be if it weren’t for Jesus.
He’s the reason we have memories to look back on.
His love and provision has sustained us through thick and thin, health and illness, times apart and togetherness, little and much.
The Lord is the reason we are the family that we are.
And it seems especially important to praise Him for holding our family.
Today is my husband’s birthday.
He doesn’t like parties or fuss of that sort.
But I feel secure that he won’t mind me thanking God for him.
Thanking the Lord for the memories of past years, months, weeks…days.
Thanking the Lord for giving me to my husband as wife: his beloved, his friend, the mother of his children, and a fellow follower of Christ.
I’m thanking God for the love we share.
Our relationship has deepen and grown and we are both deeply in love with one another.
I praise God for His blessings upon our family.
I praise God for His continual provision.
I praise God for my husband.
“Happy Birthday, Handsome!”
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for the birth of my husband. Thank You that he loves and serves You. Thank You that he loves and provides for us. Lord, please continue to guide, direct, and speak to him. Give him discernment with our family, our finances, his occupation, and our family dynamics. Lord Jesus, guard him from the enemy. Place a watch over his eyes, his heart, and his mind. Keep his feet planted firmly upon Your paths. Please let his words be full of wisdom, understanding, and Your Word. Thank You so much for all Your blessings and love. Thank You for our family. Amen.
The days have swiftly gone, like dried leaves in a strong wind.
How blessed it has been.
God has truly done marvelous things in these three years.
When our Sis married, we gained a son.
Our other children gained a brother.
We all were granted a huge blessing.
For truly, he loves all of us and most importantly, he loves Jesus.
Through this wonderful new family, God has granted such encouragement to us.
Tim has supported Sis as she’s continued to follow her education, because he knows she feels called by God to do it.
And God has blessed them in that.
Both of them have supported us as we walked this road of struggle, first with injuries to Anne and Bell, then with my illness.
Along with that, they opened their home to us.
I spent a major part of last summer living with them while we tried to figure out what to do about my inability to live in our house.
Often Jase or Anne was there as well.
When it was clear God was moving us, Sis packed, and Tim hauled things in his trailer.
They helped unload and unpack when we got in this house.
There are so many little things they have done to bless and encourage us.
Of course the best occurrence in these three years has been our grandchildren.
Both the birth of our first granddaughter, over a year ago, and the expected birth of our first grandson next month.
Near Tim’s birthday, this spring, I asked him how he felt about his birthday.
I can’t recall the exact phrase, but it was something like:
“Really blessed. I had no idea God was going to bless me so much. I have a beautiful wife and I’m the father of two children, although our next is still in the womb. Yeah, I’m really blessed.”
My husband and I agree.
God has truly blessed them and us.
So much has happened in three years.
What an incredible God we serve!
Happy Anniversary, Tim and Sis.
We love you!
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for family. Thank You for creating the entire social and human relations with the first family, Adam and Eve. Lord, none of us deserve Your blessings, but we are so grateful for it. Our hearts are full of wonder at Your works. As we walk into another day, please continue to lead us. We want our families to be a reflection of You to those around us. Thank You so much for these three years. Thank You for our daughter and son-in-law and their children. Thank You for Your love, mercy, and grace poured out upon us. We praise Your holy name, Jesus. Amen.
She wanted the house to reflect the festivities of our Risen Savior.
I had gotten up for a bit and she showed me all she had done.
It was beautiful.
I was blessed by her creativity.
She had gotten into the storage boxes and looked for anything she might use.
I commented on how nicely she had done.
“Mom, what are we going to have tomorrow?”
“Maybe Daddy can smoke us some chicken.”
With me being in bed for so long, I didn’t know what we had for groceries.
Anne decided to make some deviled eggs, and she informed me we still had some potato salad Bell had made.
My husband had to spend the day at our property working. Bell had gone down also to get a few things.
Anne and I both knew they wouldn’t have time to go buy anything.
I could tell Anne was a little concerned about our meal, but I reminded her to trust God.
When we went to bed, my husband still hadn’t arrived home.
So when I got back up later that evening to welcome them, I had a big surprise waiting.
My husband and our daughter were bringing in groceries.
A ham, potato casserole, rolls, salad, and an apple pie.
All of it had been a gift to our family.
The next day I made sure to text our thanks and appreciation.
Her response was simple:
“As I was buying our ham at Costco yesterday the Lord brought you to my mind and knowing the situation your family has been in with you being so limited with your health I figured everyone might need a little break. I only wish some of it was homemade!! At least it won’t be too much work for anyone. Hope your family has a wonderful Easter celebration together!”
Even now, I can not properly express my gratitude and appreciation.
We had a wonderful Easter celebration.
We watched service online.
Then we had our own worship and my husband taught from Isaiah 53.
Our meal was one of the nicest Easter meals we’ve ever had.
When our son was born a phrase jumped out at me from the Scriptures.
1 Chronicles 7:9 KJV — And the number of them, after their genealogy by their generations, heads of the house of their fathers, mighty men of valour, was twenty thousand and two hundred.
It’s actually used several times in Scripture.
1 Samuel 16:18 NKJV — Then one of the servants answered and said, “Look, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, who is skillful in playing, a mighty man of valor, a man of war, prudent in speech, and a handsome person; and the LORD is with him.”
David made mistakes, but he was the greatest King Israel ever had and more importantly, he was a man after God’s own heart.
So, I prayed this over our son.
“Lord, make him a Mighty Man of Valour.”
I don’t remember exactly when, but within the last year, I was praying that same thing for our son again and the Lord spoke.
Why don’t you pray this for your other son?
I was like Job.
Nothing to answer.
However, I began to add our son-in-law to my prayers in a new way.
I was praying for him regularly, but not in the same ways I was praying for our son, born into our family.
It was clear, I’d missed a step.
Marriage is just as much a joining the family as birth.
We were thrilled when our daughter married our son-in-law.
He’s a godly man, who truly loves all of us, and we love him.
And I praise God for him.
Infact, getting to live in his home with our daughter and baby was such a blessing.
He treated me as a cherished guest.
Sometimes, when I couldn’t leave my room, he’d bring me a plate of food and sit on the floor to chat while I ate.
There are so many thoughtful things he did for me while I was there.
He’s always willing to help in anyway he can.
He’s a humble guy too.
When I try to let him know how much I appreciate him, he simply points to Jesus.
Or he’ll say, “It’s all God.”
So why am I going on and on about him when I know he’d rather me not tell everyone what a blessing he is?
Today is his birthday.
And this is my small way of thanking God for adding this young man to our family as a son.
Psalm 127:3a NKJV — Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD,…
And I think that includes adult children who marry the ones born into our family.
He adopted my Dad and to my knowledge was the only father he ever knew.
I still remember him.
He did a lot of traveling,
as long as I can remember.
He and my grandmother (my Dad’s mother) had purchased an RV and would travel from Texas to California.
And back again.
When my grandmother died, Grandpa kept up the tradition.
He passed away the summer after my Freshman year.
I really know very little about him.
I remember his pipe.
He always smelled of pipe tobacco.
I remember the Tea Cup Poodles.
He always had one.
I remember he was very tall.
And this past week, as I was placing family photos in a collage frame, I realized something.
“This is a picture of my mother’s mom and this one is her dad. Here’s a childhood photo of Dad’s mom as a little girl.”
I paused and looked at the pictures.
Each was carefully placed inside the frame.
The end result was nice.
But my heart was sad.
“I don’t have any pictures of Grandpa, my dad’s dad.”
It wasn’t until much later in the day that I found an envelope.
It wasn’t familiar.
So, I opened it.
Inside I was surprised to find,
As well as some other black and white photos.
“Lord! Thank You!”
Gratitude flowed from my heart.
The Lord has blessed me so much in the last few weeks.
He provided a home.
He’s given my husband a new job.
The Lord has carried us through doctor’s appointments and moving details.
He’s renewed my strength and been healing my body.
He’s even brought us together with new people and a new church.
And as if that all wasn’t enough,
He provided me with finding a photograph inside an old envelope.
I didn’t even know I had it.
Frankly, I don’t remember seeing the picture of Grandpa before nor the envelope.
It was like Jesus had reached out His arms and offered me to lean in.
Are you willing to let Me bless you, even in this?
And I just stopped.
“Lord, I’m stunned, that You would give me an even deeper understanding.”
There’s nothing like the love of God.
It’s far greater, far deeper than I can understand.
I’m so thankful for Jesus.
I’m so grateful for the love I simply can’t comprehend.
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for Your love. Thank You for blessing me and my family. Thank You for reminding me that You have all these details in Your hands.Thank You for the peace, which flows when I surrender my everything into Your hands. Lord, I have so much yet to learn. Father, I am so humbled by Your grace. Please use my life, to shine Your truth to others. Thank You so much for teaching me how to lean into You.
“Only for God in silence does my soul wait.” Psalm 62:1
It was as if the words leapt out of the book.
I felt so clearly the Lord’s understanding.
I had been reading Pastor Charles R. Swindoll’s book Three Steps Forward Two Steps Back.
The literal Hebrew sentence reads almost backwards from the English translation: “Only for God in silence does my soul wait.”
That is what God was teaching me throughout these past weeks of uncertainty.
the waiting came to an end.
Tuesday, our plans were to drive to the valley with a stop in Eugene for my specialist appointment.
The whole family was coming so our daughter could pack our house while I was nearby with the baby to give advice or answer questions.
We had reached the point.
The decision was made.
We would prepare for moving,
even though we didn’t know
where we were going.
My appointment took longer than expected, but was a blessing.
When we finally arrived at our property we were all tired and hungry.
It was lovely to see my husband and middle daughter again.
The next day was full, as packing began in full swing and Anne had a doctor’s appointment.
Later that day my husband and I were able to chat about where God was leading.
Should we buy a house?
Was that a responsible choice when our property wasn’t ready to sell?
What was God’s will for us?
We needed a home, how should we proceed?
It became clear we should rent.
After some internet searching we found several which might work and one we were excited about.
I sent tour requests.
Answered email responses.
Was excited when the house we wanted offered a tour the next evening.
My husband and I would have to drive up and it meant I’d leave all the packing to our daughter, but I was wearing out quickly.
So, I emailed back we’d be there Thursday at 6:30.
During this our Bell had a meeting with the track coach.
Her summer has been full of disappointments when it came to her future at the college she had agreed to run track for.
By the time she was home from her trip she didn’t see any other options other than walking away from it and going to a different school.
When the coach requested meeting with us, there were some concerns.
What did God want for our Bell?
Could the issues be reconciled?
My husband went with her and I prayed.
When he called his voice was calm.
“They are signing her up for classes now. Everything has been taken care of.”
I had to take a deep breath.
“Well, praise God!”
He related the whole story.
I was stunned by the Lord’s provision.
I would have to pack the car and leave to meet him soon.
My emotions were all stirred up between stress, grief, and joy.
I hated leaving the house for our daughter to do while taking care of her five month old.
I was sad at leaving our middle girl behind.
I was overwhelmed by God’s grace and provision.
I was so thankful for everything God was giving us.
I was exhausted from it all.
So off we went to look at the house we hoped to call home.
After a long nap my attitude and emotions had all calmed.
We were going to be early so we could look at the neighborhood and get a feel for it all.
When we pulled up to where the navigation system said,
We both just stared blankly.
“Uh, honey, it’s a duplex.”
My heart felt that something had gone wrong.
“Please check to make sure you got the address correct,” was his sensible reply.
“What are we going to do?”
I looked at him with concern.
Was God asking us to stretch?
Or was there something else He was doing?
My husband pulled the car farther down the street.
Our eyes met with a FOR RENT sign in the lawn of a different house.
This one a single family home.
My husband pulled up and parked.
Then he grabbed his phone.
“What are you doing?”
“I’m calling the number.”
I began praying.
We wanted God’s will and we needed to know what that was.
After he left a message he turned the car around and headed for our daughter and son-in-law’s house.
We were halfway there when the phone rang.
(Bluetooth is really nice!)
My husband answered and began to chat with the home owner.
As they talked the fact that our last rental was in the UK led to the information about why we were there.
It didn’t take long to discover the landlord is a strong believer.
As the conversation ended it was with hope.
We were to be shown the house that evening by the neighbor.
Our hearts were glad and thankful to the Lord for guiding.
I emailed the duplex and thanked them, but cancelled our tour.
We prayed again together before we headed back to tour the other house.
My heart tried to stay calm and quiet and wait for God to show us His will.
The neighbor was a welcoming gentleman and very personable.
The house was incredible.
Bigger and more than I would have ever imagined.
But it was our conversation with the neighbor which blessed us the most.
He invited us into his home to meet his wife.
Before we knew it we were seated in their living room chatting.
They both are strong believers.
With daughters near our youngest girl’s age.
Hospitality was poured out.
Love was abundant.
It was such a blessing.
At one point in the conversation she looked at me and said,
“We’ve been praying for a nice family with kids to move in.”
And God answered.
Both our prayers.
We moved in on Monday.
All the weeks of quiet waiting upon the Lord has culminated into so many answered prayers.
From the packing, to the loading, to the unloading (one of our friends from the valley drove all the way up here to help with the unloading) our son-in-law, his brother and friend showed up as well, and our oldest girl baked pizzas for everyone.
Even to the details of my furniture fitting.
It is so worth while.
All these weeks
upon the Lord.
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.