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Sunday, August 24, 2008

You Give Me Hope!

Dear Blogging Friends,

Thank you for the reminder of Psalm 139. The Lord searches me and knows me. He hems me in. He lays His hands upon me. He reminds me that I can never flee from His presence. As the psalmist, David, said, "...even there [anywhere], Your hand will guide me, Your right hand will hold hold me fast."

Thank you for your words of encouragement. They lift me up and strengthen me. It is amazing how people whom you've never met in person care so much for you. Know that I love you and pray for you...and I thank God for you.

Thank you for directing me to your blogs. As I looked for the song, "Reachable" that I read about in someone else's blog, I visited Steven Curtis Chapman's website. I had heard of the tragic loss of his daughter, but had not heard or read his family's interviews. WOW...what incredible faith this family has. Their faith does not necessarily lessen their grief, but yet they maintain their hope and share that hope with others. If you want to be humbled and lifted up at the same time, visit his website and listen to his Good Morning America and Larry King Live interviews, and read the article in People magazine. This coming Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday he will be also be on Focus on the Family. (By the way, I can't find the song "Reachable"...does anyone know what CD it is on or where I can find it online?)

I had to change my password again. (Our company's network prompts us regularly to do so.) This month I chose my password to be based on Psalm 9:10 -- "Those who know Your name will trust in You, for You, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek You." Our God is so good. He is with us wherever we go. He is our "stronghold in times of trouble." Not only that, but His works are wonderful. Which means that I am wonderful. You are wonderful. My children are wonderful, as are yours. What we do may not always be wonderful, nor what is done to us, but we are all wonderful in His sight. He loves us through it all.

As I reflected on Psalm 139, I came across verse 14 -- "I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well." I have just started reading "Living Life on Purpose" by Lysa TerKeurst. I know God has so much more in store for me, and I need to take a step back from the busy-ness of my life to listen for His direction. And, then, be willing to follow, wherever He leads. Please pray that I will Hear Him and follow, no matter how difficult it may be.

My husband is also reading a book right now, called "Why Your Life Sucks". Now, if that isn't enough to cause doubt and fear in a relationship, I don't know what is! What I pray for is that as my life changes and takes new shape, and as I continue to seek and find joy in ALL circumstances, my husband will see that and want it for himself. God fills the void...not the empty words and promises in that book on how to not make your life suck. May he learn that and may we take this journey together. And ultimately, may my boys follow God's path for their lives as well.

I feel much weight on my shoulders as I know much is at stake. Thanks to God that He walks this way with me and shoulders the burden -- as I take on His yoke rather than try to carry it myself.

Blessings to you all,

Saturday, August 16, 2008

In the Desert

I am in the desert, both literally and figuratively. I mentioned in my last many months ago...that my passwords are always Bible verses. I am mired in Lamentations 3 right now, as I walk through and live in this desert. However, I chose Lamentations 3:22-23 as the basis for my password: "Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness."

I am living in the suburbs of Las Vegas, and thankfully my family has FINALLY joined me. My oldest son came in May, and my husband and youngest son came in July. I've missed them so much, but work continues to keep me away from them even now a month later. (I travel A LOT!) Deep inside, I wonder if this move was a result of following my and my husband's will, rather than God's. I wonder if it was driven by greed, as I received a large raise to come here. At the time I made the decision, I certainly didn't think so, but now I'm not so sure. Particularly since I have less in my bank account now than ever before, and I am deep in debt (really deep) from the move, having a house in Colorado that hasn't sold, and basically just overspending. My husband and I are not on the same page about money at all. Nor about a myriad of other things.

What else? My youngest son has developed a really poor attitude. He is surly and disrespectful. My oldest is entering public school as a Junior in high school. (And I am scared. He has been in Christian schools since Kindergarten, other than being homeschooled the last year and a half.) We just had a layoff at work that involved 244 people, and I was one of those who had to make some of the decisions whom to lay off. My heart aches for those who lost their job. Have I mentioned I travel a lot? I will be on the road part of every week between now and the end of September. I am so tired. And I feel so far away from my family, and my God.

Oh Lord, keep me focused on Your Word. May I breeze through the beginnings of Lamentations and get to the part about hope, Your love and compassion, and Your mercies (3:22-23). And then, bring me to the later verses...where I call on Your name, oh Lord, from the depths of the pit. Hear my plea: "Do not close your ears to my cry for relief." Lord, come near when I call you, and tell me not to fear. Oh Lord, you take up my case; you redeem my life. (3:55-58)

I wonder, do the peaks and valleys ever become more even? How is it I go through them so often? I am in the valley right now, much like my physical location in the Las Vegas valley. It's dirty and stifling. I had to take a one day trip to the "peaks" -- the mountains of Colorado -- earlier this week, and I cried at the beauty. Lord, bring beauty to my life in this valley...

I look forward to the morning...and Your mercies. Great is Your faithfulness!!!

If You Want Me Ginny Owens

The pathway is broken
And the signs are unclear
And I dont know the reason why you brought me here
But just because You love me the way that You do
I will go through the valley
If You want me to

CHORUS: Now I'm not who I was
When I took my first step
And I'm clinging to the promise
You're not through with me yet
So if all of these trials bring me closer to You
I will go through the fire
If You want me to

It may not be the way I would have chosen
When you lead me through a world that's not my own
But You never said it would be easy
You only said I'll never go alone

So when the whole world turns against me
And I'm all by myself
And I can't hear You answer my cries for help
I'll remember the suffering Your love put You through
And I will go through the valley
If You want me to