Sunday, February 18, 2018

The (Not So) Great Unknown



"You know the greatest danger facing us is ourselves, an irrational fear of the unknown. But there’s no such thing as the unknown, only things temporarily hidden, temporarily not understood.”— so says, James T. Kirk in a Star Trek movie. While he is a fictional character, 
the statement is thought provoking. I have to say that I have been the victims of my own irrational fear. I don't know about you, but the unknown drives me crazy! I am not comfortable with the things I do not understand. What does the future hold? How will things work out? How can this possibly turn out good? The waiting, the wondering and the not knowing often bring anxiety, fear, and frustration, but I love the thought that the unknown is only temporarily hidden— that someday the thing I do not currently understand will suddenly become abundantly clear. 

This week Rodney and I will travel to MD Anderson to explore the (not so) great unknown.  I am scheduled for scans, bloodwork, a biopsy, and multiple consultations with doctors. We are looking for answers that are currently hidden. As we wait and wonder it is easy to let anxiety creep in. There is a battle of the mind in moments like these. You feel it, too. It may come in the form of uncertainty about your job or what you want to do with your future. Maybe you are unsure about the future of a relationship or a problem you are facing as a family. Some of us have no idea how we're going to make ends meet this month or how we help our kids through problems they are facing. Some are dealing with loss and have absolutely are completely unsure how things will ever be okay again. None of us are exempt from the unknown so the question becomes how do we have faith in moments like these?

I once heard it said that faith and fear both grow from a place of anticipation. We anticipate bad news - it powers our fear. We anticipate loss, rejection, defeat, and pain and the fear-meter climbs.  Fear stems from the anticipation of the terrible happpening. Yet there is another side to the coin; anticipation is also the fuel for faith. Hebrews 11:1 says, "Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see." (YET) Did you see it? Faith is the anticipation that the unknown will become unhidden. And greater yet, there is a promise that it  will  somehow come together to work for our good. How can we trust that? Well, Romans 8:28 says so: "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." It is a promise and time and time again I have seen it played out in my life. The things that I thought I couldn’t survive, the things that seemed completely overwhelming, have all somehow made me better.  So then a choice is to be made — do we focus on the unknown or the soon to be revealed? Do we choose faith or fear? When I ask myself that question it is like the Rocky soundtrack starts playing in the back of my mind and I get fired up. I won’t live my life in fear. 

A sweet friend sent me a text this morning with a quote from Puritan Prayers that read, “Prayers arising from my needs are preparations for future mercies” . I LOVE THAT!!! When struggles arise we can pour out our needs to a God who loves us and ANTICIPATE future mercies. Faith. We can know that while a struggle may exist, the outcome will be for our good. Faith. We may face unknowns, but mercy will show up. Just in time. Faith. 

We are all facing the great unknown, every single one of us. We choose to let the anticipation power our faith or our fear. If we do no make a conscious choice we will make an unconscious one and human nature will choose fear. Don’t settle for that. Fight Fear! Choose Faith! 


Saturday, February 10, 2018

Back Float



I love to back float, to lay in a pool of blue water with my eyes closed feeling the warmth of the sun on my face. My arms and legs are relaxed and my breathing is slow and steady as I allow the water to make me weightless. As a lifeguard, I taught others how to back float. I would teach them to lean their heads back, breath deep and steady, and trust the water. I would place my hand lightly under their back for support as I encouraged them. As they relaxed I would gradually move my hand away. They had to make a choice at that moment. They could either continue to trust the water or they could begin to flail around and become afraid. If they remained relaxed and continued to breathe, they could float. The water did all the work. If they began to panic their worst fear would come true and they would sink. To stay afloat one must lean back, breathe, and trust the water.

One summer I was approached by a woman who wanted me to teach her to swim, but first I would have to teach her how to float. She had grown up around the water. She would spend summers at the lake and loved to water ski. Floating and swimming had never been a problem. One particular summer she was water skiing. As the boat approached the shoreline she skied outside the wake intending to glide to the dock. She released the rope. Her speed began to slow, she began to sink, and at that moment she realized that the water around her was writhing with water snakes. Panic took over and she flailed around trying to move to safety. From that moment on she had lost the ability to float. Intense fear of the water overwhelmed her. In reality she was not asking me to teach her to swim. What she really wanted was for me to teach her how to trust. She didn't truly need someone to teach her how to float, but someone to teach her not to fear.

I cannot begin to tell you how many times I have visualized floating in the past week. We went to MD Anderson last week for my check-ups. We followed the usual routine of bloodwork, CT scans and doctor visits. We have done that many times in the past five years. We have celebrated and praised as we have gotten reports of being unremarkable. Overtime, although it is always a little nerve-racking, we have learned to float. As we sat in the doctors office this past week though, the reports were not that clear. There is a spot that appears to be growing and they want to do more tests. I felt myself back in my own version of water with snakes. My body tensed up, my breathing grew unsteady, and I began to flail. You cannot float and flail at the same time. I had a flashback to swimming lessons. How do you float? You lean your head back, breathe deep and steady and trust the water. Let the lessons begin.

Psalm 121:1-8 says, 'I lift up my eyes to the mountains-- where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip-- he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD watches over you -- the LORD is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD will keep you from all harm -- he will watch over your life; the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore." Staying afloat requires us to lean our head back and lift our eyes to the only one who can help us. Things are not always easy and life is not always smooth. Sometimes we find ourselves in snake infested water and it is a scary place to be. Sometime memories of prior struggles bring our eyes down to the proverbial water and keep us from looking up to find our help. Looking down will cause us to sink. Lesson one to floating - lean your head back and look up!

Breath is a fundamental element of life. We draw in oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide. It is a process required to live. In times when we feel like we are drowning, we have to remember to breathe. We draw in hope and exhale fear. We breathe in God's word and we exhale our prayers and concerns. We inhale encouragement and force out anxiety.  That can require focus. Have you ever noticed how we tend to hold our breath when we are are afraid and anxious? When we do that blood stops flowing to our brains and we literally become incapacitated. When we are drowning in doubt and fear we do the same thing. We stop drawing in life and can easily become immobilized. So how do we keep breathing? Philippians 4:6-7 says, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Lesson two to floating- in order to enjoy floating in peace, even in rough waters, we have to breathe out our requests to God and draw in the peace and comfort that only he can provide. 

Lesson three to floating - trust the water. The physics of buoyancy allows water to support the weight of the body. Spiritually speaking trusting the water means that we must have faith in the one who can support the weight of our burdens. I have to be honest, I am not Bill Nye the Science Guy. I am not the best person to teach a science lesson. I do not understand all the physics of the universe, yet I still believe in it. Likewise, I cannot explain everything God does and doesn't do, but I believe in him to sustain me-- because he always does. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, 'Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight." Swimming students do not usually do very well the first time they try to float, but over time they begin to see that the water will not let them down. Trusting God is not always easy, but as we have more opportunities to see his faithfulness we begin know that we can count on him to work things out. Often in swimming lessons, students will be floating and suddenly panic and begin to sink again. When that happens the lifeguard slips their hand back under their back to support them until they are able to relax again. God does that, too. Isaiah 41:10 says, "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."

In a week we will return to Houston. As of right now I will have more scans, a biopsy, and appointments with several doctors. I am in water that is so deep that my feet cannot touch the bottom and I have a history of being in snake infested water. There are definite moments when I feel that anxiety slithering up beside me. I have to make a choice to believe the snakes or believe the lifeguard. Maybe you are in deep water right now, too. Let's lean our heads back, keep breathing, and trust the water!

Saturday, August 19, 2017

A Forest in a Wasteland



Lately I have looked at the world around me and been overwhelmed by the erosion of the society around me. Hate, fear, anger, frustration, sadness, negativity and evil seem to whittle away at our country and world. Today I saw a video that touched my heart and spoke to my soul. The video is of a man named Jadev Payeng. He is from an island in India called Manjuli. This island has been impacted by flooding that has eroded much of the area and left a vast emptiness in its path. Man has cut down trees and brought destruction causing the erosion to be even worse. Man seems to have a way of doing that. Jadev Payeng saw the destruction and determined to make a difference. In 1979 he began to plant one tree a day in the middle of this desert like environment. Day after day, tree after tree, Jadev has grown a forest that is now larger than central park. Jadev's story reminds me of many lessons.

Good deeds produce fruit.
When Jadev began planting trees he shares that the work was very difficult, but over time the trees began to produce their own seeds making the process much easier. Can you imagine the overwhelming impossibility that must have confronted Jadev in the beginning as he walked to a barren area and planted seedlings? He planted one, and stood up to see the vast emptiness around him. He returned for a whole year and yet when he looked around the impact must have seemed minuscule. The thought of giving up had to have crossed his mind many times and yet over and over he returned. One small seedling at a time he began to make a difference. The seeds he planted began to bear fruit and multiply.  A single seedling became a "dense forest in a barren wasteland".

You and I may be feel paralyzed by the barrenness around us. It may seem overwhelmingly impossible to change the chaotic world we live in, but if each day we will persistently plant one good seed then over time we begin to see those seeds produce their own fruit. If I plant my seeds in the vicinity of your seeds then the work progresses even more quickly. In the beginning the change may barely seem noticeable. Giving up will be tempting, but if we persist our good deeds WILL produce fruit. A treeline of good deeds will begin to form and even transform the community around us. More seeds will be planted, we will slow the erosion of the society around us, and the forest we create will begin to cast shadow on the desert around us.  That shadow has the ability to bring a coolness to an otherwise hot "climate". Change begins.

Good deeds bring life.
As Jadev's forest continued to grow, birds and animals that had left the area began to return. Elephants, birds, tigers and deer now inhabit the trees and roam the area. Planting the trees brought back life.

Sometimes it seems as though the negativity that surrounds us is driving away the good. People retreat to their cellphones, computers, and social media. They post things online that they would never say face-to-face. We talk more and hear less. We seek to be understood and stop seeking to understand. Families break up, friendships are destroyed, erosion continues and the desert grows, but it doesn't have to be that way.  If, like Jadev, we plant seeds of goodness in the world around us we begin to notice that life returns. Families gather at the dinner table, friends reconnect, people begin to listen. The phones and texts stop and conversations begin. Life returns. I want to see our children thrive. I want to see families rebuilt. I want to see people begin to turn towards one another and stop turning on each other. We can influence that. We must influence that.

Good deeds will be attacked.
As Jadev's forest grew and the animals returned so did a new threat. Man. Man poaches the animals. Man cuts down the trees. Man can destroy a forest much faster than one can be planted. Jadev has to be watchful and care for what has been planted. He needs others to help in that process.

There are those in our world, as sad as it is, who actively attack what is good and right. Their words kill as effectively as a poacher. They are destructive and consider the good of themselves over the good of the whole.  The refuse to put down their weapons. You and I, the planters, have to protect what is planted. We must guard the precious life around us. We must speak for those who cannot speak for themselves, protect those who are defenseless and not be hampered when the task seems daunting. Good deeds will be attacked. DO THEM ANYWAY!!! There will always be opposition, but the benefits outweigh the cost of doing good.

I can't help but wonder if Jadev knew in 1979 that he was planting a forest. I have a feeling he thought he was just planting a tree. You and I have no idea the impact that will be made when we plant a seed. We can save a metaphorical environmental, change a society's climate, and bring life to a barren world. Let's plant a tree!

The Forest Man


Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Fountains of Blessing


Yesterday Rodney and I were passing time after appointments at MD Anderson. If you have followed my story with The Nuisance (aka Thymoma) then you know I cannot stand to hole up in the hotel on these days. I need air!  We decided to explore a part of Hermann Park (one of my favorite places) that we had not seen before. As we entered the McGovern Centennial Gardens we saw the beautiful fountain above. This fountain is unique. It was created on a mound with a spiraling walkway winding to the top of it. The walkway leads you past levels of the fountain which have their final resting place in a pool at the bottom. Each level of the fountain becomes a little more narrow than the last until finally you reach the top of the fountain. When you arrive at the top it is amazing to see what initiates this massive fountain.



That's it. Just a tiny little overflow of water, similar to something you might create in your own backyard. It was a surprise to see that a beautiful fountain came from something so small. It made me think about how small things truly can have a big impact. Sometimes we may underestimate the impact something small can make. We don't realize the value of a small gesture, a kind word, a brief encounter, or a single voice. A small thing makes a difference. You make a difference. I make a difference. It also reminded me of the calm days when life is easy and days are good. It just sort of flows and we may even take it for granted. We just bubble along in the fountain of life.

While this little portion of the fountain was pretty, what truly makes this feature dynamic are the larger portions of the fountain below.







As you look closer at these sections it becomes evident that what creates their beauty is the water coming in contact with an obstacle. Without the obstacles the water would smoothly guide over the surface. while calming it would not create the same effect. Life is like that. Sometimes the obstacles we encounter are the very things that ultimately bring about beauty and add dimension. 

It may seem sometimes that the rough patches outnumber the easy calm days, but in reality that is an illusion. The fountain has the same amount of water flowing through all the sections. The surface area is what changes creating a different effect. It is an illusion. Life's obstacles can easily overshadow the calm flow of life, we have to remember it is only a segment of a greater picture. When you combine the small fountain (us and daily life) with the obstacles (life's hiccups) it ultimately leads to a pool at the base (a full life). It is wonderful to have those moments of still calmness and we should never EVER take those for granted. We should also strive to see the value of obstacles when they come. They can be totally irritating, frustrating, scary, and often overwhelming. They may seem unfair, undeserved, and undesirable. But here is the thing, if we (I) can learn to see beyond the obstacle to the pool then we (I) can learn to appreciate the beauty of the obstacle and life, in spite of obstacles, can be full.



It all comes together to make something beautiful!   
                            
Life is a fountain of blessings!!



MD Anderson update:
We leave with more questions than answers today. The doctor ordered some additional tests that were not on our original plan so we will leave town not knowing much more than we did when we came. They will review the results and then get back with us. What we know is that it is just another little obstacle in our fountain. We are going to go with the flow!





Tuesday, January 3, 2017

She Said Thank You



Today I am at MD Anderson. Oh, that I would always be as in-tune to the lessons going on around me as I am on these days. Unfortunately life gets busy, I become distracted, and I unknowingly miss opportunities to grow. I continue to work on that! I want to get to a place in my life that the ground doesn't have to be shaking in order for me to be aware and listen! I have a ways to go. In the meantime I cherish the things I am reminded of on my journey. I wanted to share today's lesson with you. Maybe you have been too busy and distracted to listen and be aware today also. How about I share my lesson with you so your ground doesn't have to get shaky in order to grow?

Today was test day. That always starts with a bloodwork followed by scans. Today I had nuclear scans followed by a CT scan. These scans require various stages of prep. I was led back to a preparation room and a technician was called back to get me ready. She began by locating a vein in my arm and guiding a needle to place an IV (not an easy task on my little veins). As she placed the needle she said, "Thank you". She flushed the line with saline and asked me if it felt okay. I said it did and again she said, "Thank you". The process continued as she placed tape, drew blood, injected various fluids. Throughout the process she frequently said thank you. Initially I thought she was saying thank you to me, but after a few moments I realized her thanks was not directed towards me at all. She uttered it every time that things worked as they should. It was almost as natural to her as breathing air. It made me think of a typical day in my life. Do I say thanks enough? When it works as it should, am I grateful? When the milk doesn't spill, the car starts, the printer works, the bills get paid, do I recognize the blessing? Shamefully the answer is often no.  I want my thanks to be as natural as breathing. In and out. In and out. In and out. On my worst day there is so much to be thankful for. We all do. I have decided to work on that. When people think of their time with me I hope they can say, "She said thank you!"

"Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, his steadfast love endures forever." Psalm 107:1


Today I say thank you for your prayers. I say thank you for people who love on my boys in our absence. I say thank you for a beautiful walk in the park after a day of appointments. I say thank you for insurance, doctors, and an employer who supports my health. I say thank you for my husband. I say thank you for all the bad things that could have happened and didn't and for all the good things that did. I say thank you to God, for he is good!

Monday, January 2, 2017

Landmarks


"Landmark- an event, discovery or change marking an important stage or turning point in something." 

Life is full of landmarks, those moments that forever change our perspectives of God, ourselves, and the world around us. January 2 is a monumental landmark for me. It was on this day in 2013 that an event (surgery) led to a discovery (stage 4 Thymoma) that marked an important stage (surgeries, chemo, healing) and a turning point in something (my life). Today I have been thinking about the changes The Nuisance (Thymoma) brought in my life. I have been thinking about the things I feared on this day four years ago and the lessons I have learned since. These are some of the greatest lessons:

God is faithful and trustworthy.
Pain is a relative thing.
Peace that passes understanding is an amazing reality.
Scars are beautiful.
Baldness isn't the worse thing that can happen to you.
Angels are everywhere.
Family, friends and even strangers are gifts of the journey.
The battle for your mind and spirit is much more serious than the battle for your body.
You find a new normal.
Prayer truly does change things.

The stories to support these statements would take a lifetime to tell. Many are captured in my blog, many more are deep in my heart. (Maybe in the days to come I will circle back to this post when I am not typing in my phone!) They are reminders of victory,of  healing, of landmarks. Another definition of a landmark is something that "enables someone to establish their location".  Interestingly enough I am heading back to MD Anderson today for some tests. I have some blood levels that are elevated. I don't know yet exactly what that means, but I do know my location.I am firmly in the hand of God. I have a landmark and God is as faithful and trustworthy on January 3, 2017 as he was four years ago.

Thank you for being a part of my story. I am grateful for your prayers, your love and your encouragement!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

1,283 Reasons to Believe



Overwhelmed. I am overwhelmed. I am overwhelmed by a God who sees me, who heals me, who loves me. I am overwhelmed by family and friends who have spent four years praying for me, supporting me,  and at times carrying me. I am overwhelmed by doctors, nurses, technology, and medicine that God has used to diagnose me, treat me, heal me. I am overwhelmed by grace, mercy, and provision.

On the darkest days God has been good. His goodness on dark days is as bright as his goodness on days like today when I receive news that my scans are clear. I have learned more about God's goodness in the dark than I did in years of walking in the light. I have one thousand, two hundred and eighty-three reasons to believe! It has been that many days since I was declared NED-- No Evidence of Disease. Each new day is one more reminder of why I can believe in healing, why I can believe in second chances, why I can believe in a God who has a plan for my good.

Today is a joyful day. Not because I got a good medical report but because regardless of any report God is in control. Today is joyful not because of good news but because God uses ALL things for my good!  It is amazingly freeing to know that I can rely on that. This journey has taught me the difference between happiness and joy. I am happy I got good news today, but the real blessing is the joy I have even when bad news comes. I wouldn't trade that for anything. 

I have...
1,283 reasons to believe in hope,
1,283 reasons to believe in healing,
1,283 reasons to believe in God's power,
1,283 reasons to believe in the goodness of people,
1,283 reasons to believe in miracles,
1,283 reasons to believe in mercy,
1,283 reasons to believe in joy,
1,283 reasons to believe in kindness,
1,283 reasons to believe in tomorrow,
1,283 reasons to believe in love,
1,283 reasons to believe there is a God.

Tomorrow I will have 1,284...and then some!

Thank you, Father!




Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Wave on Wave


You know the last few years have been full of lessons for me. In January it will be 4 years that I have been making the journey to MD Anderson to deal with "The Nuisance". Parts of the process have become routine. In the beginning I could not have even imagined all the things that would one day become normal to me. The place, the procedures, the people, even the occasional pains are part of my tapestry. When we made our first trip in January 2013, we did many of the same things we are doing this week. Bloodwork,  CT scans, waiting, praying, waiting some more. As we wasted time on that first trip,  we slipped over to Galveston, a trip we have made many times since. My memories of that trip are crystal clear. You can read about them here. http://itzadoozie.blogspot.com/2013/01/a-day-at-beach.html?m=1. Today we returned once again. Something about being out of the city, out of the hospital, out of the hotel, helps me clear my head and find my hope. Today was no different. Each  wave reminds me of God's power and provision. The God who tells the waters where to stop is certainly big enough to handle me! Here is a little video of our day. I love the verse that he gave me as I stood by the water. I am in awe of him.






My mom always prays for my "appointments between the appointments"--chances to have divine opportunities to be ministered to or to minister to another. You can't come to Houston without being totally humbled. There are so many people in the hardest of situations yet the place truly is filled with a peace that passes understanding. God allows our lives and lessons to intermingle in the most amazing way. Today was no exception. As Rodney and I walked down the hall following my CT scans we passed a family headed in the other direction. As we passed by I heard someone say, "That was Anna Jackson." I turned to look to see who had spoken my name, but did not recognize them. As we approached one another she said, "You don't know me, I am here with my daughter for her treatments." I discovered we have a friend in common and connections through Lubbock . I am not sure how she recognized me, but I am so glad she did! To walk down the hall and hear my name was a reminder that God knew exactly where I was. He planted seeds long ago for us to be in that hall at that moment. They needed my prayers and I needed theirs. I think we each were reminded that we are not alone. God is good! Tonight I pray for Jordan and her family. Will you do the same?

Tomorrow I start getting test results. I have some bloodwork that we are having to investigate a little further. For all the things that have become routine there are always the unknowns. Life is just like that, but here is a known. The God that has provided for me all this time won't stop tomorrow. He knows where I am. He knows what I need.

Thank you for your ongoing prayers. Don't forget to add Jordan to your list. And don't forget that God sees you, too. You are loved!!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

A Matter of Perspective




I love taking the back roads to work in the morning. Having a chance to see wide-open spaces is good for my soul.  It seems that as my mind wanders on these treks that somehow my thoughts become organized into nice little lessons on life. Today was one of those mornings. I traveled in silence. No radio. No distractions. My thoughts drifted from prayers, to lists, to my calendar. It visited a hurting country,  a worried world and thoughts about my trip to MD Anderson next week. I glanced to the right. Outside my passenger window was a heavy, grey, dreary sky. I looked to the left. I drew a quick breath at the site of a beautiful sunrise. Warm colors burst across the horizon. I quickly grabbed my phone to snap the pictures above. The photos were taken within a second of one another, but one would never know for the contrast is amazing.

Life is like that. It is all a matter of perspective.  I snapped these two pictures from the same seat of the same car on the same road on the same day in the same circumstances, but my preview of the day looked very different depending on my choice of focus. Our perspective matters. We have the opportunity each and every day, hour, minute, second to CHOOSE how we view the world. We can focus on the clouds, on the haze, on the darkness. We can allow that to be our reality. We can live a dreary little life. Or maybe we look the other way. Maybe we seek the light, the brilliance, the warmth. Maybe we CHOOSE to see the good. Both exist, we choose which one we embrace.

I can't imagine a lesson being more timely. We are in a strange place politically, socially and spiritually right now. We don't agree. We are having a hard time understanding one another. What doesn't make sense is being labeled with dark words. Our national mood is heavy. Our future appears dreary. We have to make a decision. How will we view one another? How we will view our nation? How will we view our future? Will we continue to see the darkness or will we shift our focus and look for the light in one another? Will we choose to see our variations as parts of a beautiful future on the horizon? Will we see our shades of differences with hope and appreciation?

In my personal life I am headed back for some appointments that can be a little (a lot) unnerving. I can focus on dread, on fear, on worry, but why, oh why, would I want that? Why would I choose to see that when I can see promise, grace, hope and mercy?

Perspective becomes reality my sweet friends. Our journey through this life is a matter of perspective and our perspective matters! You must choose. I must choose. Do we look to the east or look to the west? Do we seek the grey or turn our face to the warmth of a new day? I won't live in the darkness. I don't have to. I won't wallow in worry and fear and hate. You and I can disagree and still have peace among us. As I travel down this road of life I have made my choice. I choose beauty. I choose warmth. I choose a new day. How about you? Do you need sunglasses or an umbrella for your journey?




But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve... But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD." Joshua 24:15

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:5

"I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." John 8:12


Saturday, October 29, 2016

Three Little Steps

The season is here! No, not the season of pumpkins, fallen leaves, and football. It is the season of debates, campaigns, and political party lines. More than any election in my lifetime there is a great, often uncivil, division regarding presidential candidates. Even many of those who know who they will vote for agree that the candidates do not possess the values and qualities that align with their own. I have certainly struggled in making my selections. As I pondered my options this week, and even IF I would vote, three little words came to my mind. With a little study I came to realize that I have some pretty specific directions to guide my decisions, just three little steps. Maybe this advice will help you in your election decisions as well!



PRAY for wisdom to select the right candidate: James 1:5 "If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you."  I have no idea what the future holds for our country, but I have a father who does. It only makes sense to seek his wisdom and follow where he leads me. I am not voting for a single person. I am voting for the decisions that single person will make in the future. I can't even see what all those decisions are, but God can. My duty is to pray and obey. He can take it from there.

VOTE: Deuteronomy 1:13 "Choose some wise, understanding and respected men from each of your tribes, and I will set them over you.” (Okay, I may be feeling the wise and respected is a stretch this year but that is where Pray and Know come in.) Remember above when I said I was wondering IF I would vote. In this election more than any I have known, many people have struggled with voting because they feel as though neither candidate has the qualities, ethics, values, and behaviors that they believe our leader should possess. I agree. As I studied I found multiple times in the bible where God commands his people to choose leaders. And you know what? ALL of those leaders were very fallible people. They made mistakes. They were flawed, but God can used flawed people to accomplish his will. We are in a place where we have to choose as well. IF we pray for wisdom and IF we truly believe the next step, God can handle the rest.

KNOW that God is in control: Romans 8:28 "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." And Jeremiah 29:11-12 "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. " God has a plan. He has a purpose. My life is living proof that God can use BAD circumstances to bring AMAZING gifts to us when we are obedient to his commands.  God has done great things through some MESSED UP PEOPLE in the past. Paul was a murderer. Peter could have a quick temper. Moses had a speech problem. Abraham sometimes took matters into his own hands. David had a little issue with lust. God did some mighty things through them. Guess he can use Trump or Hillary.

God, please bless America.❤️

I voted! Have you?