May we not forget the reason we celebrate this season.
Peace to All
“The truth you seek lies not on the road before you, but in the pauses along the way”
~ Jenni Pezzano
I stood there with the envelope in my hands for a few additional moments and then sliced it open, all the while contemplating what its contents would tell me and how my life would be affected. I scanned the letter and heard my husband ask well???
I didn’t get in I replied.
What, are you kidding me?
Nope, I’m not kidding. I gonna hang up now though.
Standing in my kitchen I quietly folded the letter back up and placed it into the envelope from which it came. Well now at least I knew. So many things would NOT have to change now. You see for me to attend school full-time I would quit the job I enjoyed so much, to say nothing of depending on the income. Now we won’t HAVE to sell the house which would be a struggle to afford without my salary. At least I knew. And quite surprisingly I was okay. Not devastated, not really even sad. One big question did emerge however. Now what?
What do you do when everything you have been preparing for and planning on doesn’t pan out the way you thought?
The only way I know how to answer that question is to seek God. Since I felt it was Him that called me to school to begin with I trusted that He had a plan. So I called out to Him, sought Him with all my heart, and asked for wisdom.
I began looking at other programs and when I felt I found the one that was right I had a conversation with my manager. Up until this point I had not told her that I did not get into the program. She was supportive of course but when I began sharing about the new program I was considering she advised against it. She shared her wisdom and I listened. She suggested I look at a degree in Nursing Education. I told her that this really doesn’t interest me, so back to the beginning I went.
A few days later I was surfing the web looking for programs and a school I had never before looked at came into my search. Hmmm I thought, what is this? A Christian University with the largest online population of students anywhere, with several nursing programs, how is it I have never seen this?
One phone call was all it took for me to know this was where God was planting me. The academic lifestyle was perfect; an entirely online nursing program that would allow me to work full-time AND attend classes. And the cost, let’s just say that it is a fraction of what I would have paid at the school that I wasn’t accepted into.
The other interesting thing is that when I sought God further I decided that Nursing Education is exactly the perfect degree for me. It will allow me to marry my passion for nursing with my desire to train the next generation of professionals. Woohoo, homerun!
So now I work all day and do classwork in the evening. It is a lot of work however it is wonderful to know that I am in the will of God which I found as I paused along the way.
Every once and awhile I read a book that changes me, I mean changes me at the core of my very being. I am not sure how The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom escaped my reading list all these years but I guess I can accept the simple fact that the time for reading this marvelous book was now.
The Ten Boom’s are a Christian family living in Holland when Germany invades the country. Biblical living has been the way of life for the Ten Boom family. Daily the family and employees from the watch repair shop they own, gather around the dining table to read from the bible. Prayer and serving are a way of life before the war, so it is only natural that God would use these talents at a time of great need.
When Corrie and her sister Betsie are put into Ravenbruck for aiding and abetting the Jewish people of Holland their faith story continues to change lives. As I read this book I found myself marveling over God’s protection of His plan and purpose. I reminded on page after page of how He takes care of His people, providing for ALL our needs. The problem of course is US. We think that we simply cannot live without the newest piece of technology, car, clothing, home gadget, etc. But the bible tells us, He knows our needs. (Mat 6:8). Help me Lord to do better here!
The story shows us how the Love and Peace of God can shift atmospheres as evidenced by the changes in the behavior of the women in the sleeping quarters. When the sisters first arrive the room is full of hatred, fighting and meanness. However as the love of God penetrates the women through prayer and daily bible reading palpable changes in how they treat own another are observed. Help my Lord to shift atmosphere’s around me!
When Corrie cannot find the strength within herself to forgive one of her captures who asks for forgiveness, she finds God faithful one more time as His love overpowers her and helps her to forgive the unthinkable. Help me Lord to constantly walk remembering what your forgiveness has done for me and help me to share it with others!
The Hiding Place will go on my top 10 best books of all time. It has changed me forever.
What book have you read that has changed you?
“when we are powerless to do a thing, it is a great joy that we can come and step inside the ability of Jesus”
― Corrie ten Boom
As I sat this morning in the quiet of the living room reading, meditating and reflecting on the season of Easter I had several thoughts come to mind.I read through the accounts of Good Friday in each of the Gospels. Each one offering slightly different details of the events of the fateful morning of Jesus’ crucifixion. What follows are my some of those thoughts.
First off, it was under the cover of darkness that Jesus was taken into custody. The dark is often a scary place to be. We can feel alone and afraid as we stumble along in the dark. Evil deeds are often committed in the dark of night. Darkness came first it was God who said, Let there be Light. For Christ’s followers the Joy comes in the morning, in this case Easter morning, when we celebrate the Resurrection.
The holy men of the time took Jesus to Pilate for trial and conviction. The charge, “he is stirring up the people with his teaching.” Luke 23:5. Really? The leaders of the time were so entrenched with their “traditions” they could not see or hear their God who was standing in the flesh speaking to them. I think that this happens to us today. We can become “stuck” unable to move into the new place or thing that we are being called into, unable to leave the safety of the comfortable nest that surrounds us, unable or willing to venture into a new place.
Jesus did not endure death on the Cross so that we could be comfortable. He died so that we may live. He came to seek and to save the lost. Luke 19:10 And when He died this responsibility was passed onto us. We have become his change agents.
I am afraid that in our efforts not to “offend” anyone we have become soft and have watered down our Gospel. We too often are afraid to step out and touch someone who desperately needs Jesus. How can this be if we are living in His Kingdom which is filled with light? Have we become lukewarm in our desire to share His love? God does not desire lukewarm followers,… So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.Revelation 3:15-17
The religious men of Jesus’ time missed the boat. They were afraid of the change. They thought that their king would look different. So they killed him. The crowd chanted and raged, “Crucify him”, over and over until Pilate turned him over and released a known murderer.
They beat him bloody, dragged him, spit on him, tortured him, made him carry is own cross through the streets up the hill where he would have spikes(not nails) drove through his wrists and feet, hoisted up causing jolting of his body, and left to hang for all to see. Does this make you uncomfortable? Can you imagine the pain? Jesus endured the cross for us. So that our despicable sinful way could be made right and we could be reunited with God sharing in His glory forever in eternity. This my friends is the Good News. No watered down version here. No soft selling. No lukewarm temperature. This is truth. Whether you like it or not doesn’t change it.
I pray that if you know Jesus you will become on fire with His love. If you do not know Jesus I pray that you will come to know Him and share in His wonderful love. He died for you. Amen
In my part of the world we did not experience Mother Nature as described in this poem. Quite the contrary in fact. We enjoyed some record high March temperatures and the early arrival of many Spring flowers. Unfortunately we had a hard frost this week and the early to arrive magnolia blooms have suffered. It has been fun to hear from so many who have shared their visions on my Spring Sharing post, if you haven’t added your two cents please stop over.
I like to take time each month to summarize where I am toward my goals. I have found this helps to keep me accountable. What I have discovered this month is in writing my goals down I have begun to stretch a bit more. It’s really exciting. To that point I have joined both the walking challenge and the stair climbing challenge over on Stopping the Wind. This has helped me to re-engage with my fitness goal. I have committed to increasing my weekly steps and stairs in April. I invite you to cheer me on. To see my and all other bloggers progress visit the links above.
I have tried a couple of new things on my blog this month that engaged my readers actively. I invite you to visit my Celebrating Women’s History page for a complete index of some great posts about inspiring women. I have really enjoyed these interactions and intend to make them regular highlights on my blog. Stay tuned for more…I hope that you will considering writing a guest post(theme to be announced) as well as post a comment to whatever question is posed. This is a great way to share your thoughts and opinions with the world and experience new bloggers. My other blogging accomplishment this month was to reach 500 likes on the Authentic Me. Thanks to all who visit and click the like button.
Over the month I have discovered many new to me blogs. I find new blogs in a few ways. One is to follow through a comment on another blog, I either like something they have to say OR I simply like the name of the blog. I have also used the WP tags a couple of times. Beware this can really suck you if you’re not careful. It is my hope to begin a regular post of interesting blogs I read. Once I figure out how to best flag a post I will move forward. I have also found many new blogs through my use of Twitter. One of my goals in March has been to build my Twitter account. My efforts have brought me almost 300 new followers. I have been very intentional in building my account and have already learned so many things from those that I follow.
I have not been as active with my new camera as I would have thought but my outings have brought some nice snaps. I have registered for a digital photography course hosted in May by the Appalachian Mountain Club. It is in the beautiful Delaware Water Gap area so I expect plenty of glorious opportunities to snap great pictures. Adding to the pleasure is my husband and two dear friends.
I have continued to maintain an organized home office. I am very pleased with this new habit(3 months now so I can call it a habit). It has helped to keep us on track with our personal financial goals and it looks neat all the time. I appreciate both of these outcomes.
I have not reached my reading goal for the month of March. At least not of the books I am reading/listening to. I certainly spent a lot of time reading blogs and articles for work. I will need to re-evaluate my time budget and determine if I need to adjust. I do know that it is easy to get absorbed in the WWW if not careful. I try to set time limits so that I don’t become consumed.
To my great pleasure I continue to write daily in my personal journal. I have found great encouragement in connecting with my pen and paper each morning. I have even moved the alarm up by 30 minutes to the scary 4:30am time so that I can have more time in prayer and journaling. My Heavenly Father has been faithful to meet me each day I sacrifice myself to get up to be with him.
All in all it has been a wonderful month. I have learned and grown each day…thanks to all of you who share the journey with me. I am excited to discover what He has for me in April.
This beautiful Guatemalan child has put her Hope in something greater. I have been thinking quite a bit lately about HOPE because of the work that I do as a cancer nurse. People need HOPE. Deferred hope makes the heart sick. We need to have HOPE is things unseen. Faith to believe in things eternal. We need to offer HOPE to others when their cry is heard. For me, My HOPE is in You Lord.
Are You There Yet? was the title for Sunday morning’s sermon. The question is asking about where it is we are on the road to our destination. And there is homework associated with the lesson.
First, where am I in relation to my destination?
Do I lack Destination-No
Do I lack Direction- NO
Do I lack Desire- No
Do I lack Determination- here I falter. A weakness. Only in Him can I be made strong.
What brings me Joy? Satisfaction? (do more of it)
On of the things that brings me joy is the art of cooking. I have discovered I really love to cook. I buy food magazines and subscribe to online sites. Because of this joy I have begun to entertain more often. Sometimes elaborately, sometimes simply. It doesn’t matter…the joy comes from being together.
I have also discovered joy behind the lens. This I will show more of throughout the year.
Am I experiencing joy on a regular basis?
Oh yeah. If you need some, come see me I can usually give you a hefty dose.
I have been created and gifted for a purpose. How can I glorify God through my life?
I do this daily through my work and family. However I believe there is a new ministry to be birthed through me this year. I need to continue to pray and seek God for the answers I need.
I have been created and gifted for a purpose. How can I serve mankind though my life?
I am serving both in my home as I take care of my husband and my family as well as in my vocation. It the desire of my heart as well as my life purpose to nurse and bring healing. My thoughts for a new ministry will bring this to a new level. Risk is involved though. I will need to have determination to see it through to fruition. I guess that is part of why I am putting it out there, it will require me to come back to it, evaluate whether I am on track or if I quit before I have even given it a try.
I often say, things don’t change if things don’t change. Well I need to hang onto my hat cause the winds of change are blowing hard right now. I do however believe that if I stay true to the process a new level of freedom will be found. To this I say, Amen.
In my post A Fresh Start I mentioned a writing challenge I would be participating in daily for 14 days. I have not posted on each of these days mainly because I did not find every days prompt worthy of a note, so I exercised writers discretion. Ooh, I exercised! didn’t even realize or break a sweat sweat!
I did follow through with my daily prayer and meditation commitment. This proved difficult at times as I had some very early work days which required me to get up at 4:30am to keep the commitment. It was a personal fast for me, fasting from sleep, something that I truly love! Real sacrifice.
As those two weeks progressed I felt that I received some pretty powerful insight. What I can share at this time is the season I have entered is not for the fainthearted. I will be challenged at a new level. It is likely to be a time of deep, hard work. I sense there will be RISK involved if I am to move through the process. In other words…I am about to be stretched at a new level…this can only mean that I will see and experience new things and adventures…climbing higher in trust and faith…soaring on the wings of eagles.
My Path – Day 5
One way to open your eyes is to ask yourself, “What if I had never seen this before? What if I knew I would never see it again?”
– Rachel Carlson
Take a moment to observe the world around you. Look around, note all of the details, small or large, that makes the world what it is. Now imagine, what if this world that you know so well was suddenly changed; that it ceased to exist the next day. Write about what you would do differently today, if you knew that everything you had ever known would not be there tomorrow.
Have you ever given serious thought to this question? I don’t think I really had before it was posed to me yesterday as a writing prompt. It is certainly in keeping with some of the other thoughts I have had rolling around in my head as of late.
So my thoughts…
If the world would cease to exist tomorrow then only thing that would really matter would be where eternity would be spent.
If the world were to cease to exist tomorrow I would tell more people who Jesus is and why He came to save them.
If the world were to cease to turn tomorrow I would want to bring all of my family and friends into eternity with me(there is after-all going to be one big party)
If the world were to stop spinning tomorrow I would take more risks and live more dangerously. There would be no reason not to, right?!
If I lived like there would be no tomorrow I would be truly ALIVE today!
“Life is being on the wire, everything else is just waiting. — Karl Wallenda
“If things seem under control, you are just not going fast enough.” — Mario Andretti
“Leap and the net will appear.” — Zen Saying
The bus in front contains nearly all our luggage and supplies as we head into the mountains of Guatemala last March. I spent a week with a team of about 25 providing medical care and hope to the native Mayans of a poor, rural area. We were LAUNCHING our mission trip. G.O. Ministries is the organization.