wow isn’t this the truth. how many of us had a life plan that was very smoothly worked out in our minds. and then life has a funny way of not going with the plan.
life has never gone the way i think it should, yet strangely it went the way that was best for me. difficulties and diversions occur but instead of getting angry or frustrated with them we instead should realize they come for a reason. we have lessons to learn from them, character traits that need to be developed through them.
they are not obstacles but are refining tools. meant to make us stronger to persevere through hardships, to become wiser about life, to be more compassionate to the suffering of those around us, to be less judgemental of others because we are painfully aware when others judged us harshly without understanding the intimate details of the circumstances we found ourselves in.
no, life doesn’t go the way we would have chosen for ourselves but it went the way we needed in order to make us kinder, wiser and more loving.
God knows what He is doing. even when it seems confusing to us we need to learn to trust Him.
if you can go through life’s challenges and not become bitter but instead become better for them your life will become a sweet song. learn to roll with the punches, brush yourself off and give it all over to God and He will give your life to you as a prize.
anyway, oiy now my head hurts. hang on let me go get a cup of coffee to unwind my brain. be right back.
i’m back. owww hot. coffee. coffee.hot. hot. ok, hey you ever get up to get something and go into the kitchen and find yourself staring into the fridge wondering what you are looking for ? and then you remember…. a pair of scissors. well yeah, i can’t remember what i am supposed to be writing now. hmmmmm think, think, think….
oh yeah, well one night i had this beautiful dream. i saw 2 mountains with a valley in between with a lake in the valley. there was a double rainbow that went from one mountain spanning over the lake and connecting to the mountain on the other side. it was a breathtaking scene. when i woke i remembered , a rainbow signifies the promise of God and there being 2 meant confirmation of that promise. what He was promising me i didn’t know but i couldn’t get that vision out of my head for weeks.
a month later we moved to scotland.
a month into living there and things were getting really tough. i mean moving can be enough of a strain but throw in there culture shock, a different climate, different money, different food, difficulty with the language ( that scottish burr can be a toughy at times, psshh they speak english, yeah right) and the family was struggling. i was the one who was trying to keep the boat afloat. my motto had become, “it’s not worse than back home, it’s just DIFFERENT” different isn’t bad, it’s just well, you know, different.
so now i was beginning to have some self doubt. i started questioning all this and i asked God if we had really gotten it right and were we where He wanted us to be. i really needed some confirmation we were in His perfect will. i went for a walk to clear my head. as i rounded a corner i came to the loch (lake in scottish, like really, ya can’t just say lake?). i looked down the end of the loch and my dream unfolded before my eyes. the loch flowed between 2 mountains and with a gasp of surprise i saw a beautiful double rainbow sparkling between.
confirmation in all it’s beauty.
so i am driving when all of a sudden olivia (then 4 yrs.old) pulls a houdini on me and somehow manages to wiggle out of her car seat. i know this because in my rear view mirror i see her little head bobbing up and down as she is hopping on the car seat.
in shock and in panic i begin to quickly look for a place to pull over when lo and behold at that PRECISE moment (what are the odds) blue lights are flashing behind me with the sirens blaring (no really, what are the odds). yup, i was given the golden ticket (lucky me) requesting the honor of my presence before the judge the following week.
"are you in trouble mommy ?"
"no, WE’RE in trouble." hey i wasn’t gonna take the wrap for this alone. i was mentally pointing my finger and saying it’s all YOUR fault. realizing i should probably use this as a "teaching moment" which is really code for "act like an adult" i told her why WE got in trouble.
we arrived at the packed court room and was called up with 5 others. olivia and i were pointed to a row of chairs lined up against the wall to the right, near the judge. each person was called up and each one had their excuse ready. in the end each was told “200 dollars fine !” and left. i began to sweat because i could not afford a $200 fine. yup, insert here the prayer of panic. “please, please, please Lord have the judge grant me mercy.” my name was called and before leaving my seat i whispered sternly to olivia to sit in her seat and DON’T MOVE. i gave her THE LOOK, you know the one every parent has mastered that basically signals, if you don’t behave their will be dire consequences of an unknown (therefore all the more terrifying) nature. (minus the knife, of course, well maybe ?, no, no no knife)
this is to produce the quaking in their boots reaction. we hope.
"what do you plead ?" the judge asked.
"guilty your honor but can i say something?" he knew what was coming , the excuse, just like countless others that have gone before me.
"it is the first time she has EVER gotten out of her car seat and as soon as i saw her hopping on the seat i looked for a place to pull over but was stopped by the officer before i could. she has a REALLY hard time staying seated and tends to constantly be on the move. i am at my wit’s end at times."
at that moment i heard a lot of laughter from the crowd behind me. i slowly peeked behind me to see what was going on and saw all heads turned towards the row of chairs i had just vacated. i looked back at the judge and he was staring in that same direction. i followed his gaze to see olivia STANDING ON A CHAIR HOPPING from one to the next and doing a little twirl and a dance on each one as she waved at the crowd.
i did the facepalm and felt my face burning with embarrassment.
i looked up at the judge and he was shaking his head sadly and said to me
"you MUST find a way to have your child restrained at all times while in the car"
"yes sir, i know"
he looked at me with a look of pity and i am sure in his head he was thinking
" you poor woman" as he said aloud " charges dropped. you may go". MERCY ! yes ! thank you Lord. i love mercy. calm and relieved on the surface but in my head i was like:
i hurriedly walked over to olivia who launched herself off the chair and onto me. i grabbed her hand as she was happily waving at the judge
and walked down the aisle, she skipping along, to exit the court room . i heard the judge yell after me,
which resulted in another round of laughter and applause from the crowd.
it was time for me to move and i was having difficulty finding a new place to live. it seemed every apartment complex i went to had only just rented out their last available apt. i began to earnestly pray for the Lord’s help. as i prayed i felt God telling me he wanted me to leave the city i was living in and to move to a new one north of here. that thought terrified me. i mean i had a lot of friends in this city and some family and i really liked it here. i was in my comfort zone. but God wasn’t having any of my arguments. he wanted me to start life fresh and he had a future planned for me. and it meant getting out of my comfort zone and away from all that gave me a sense of security. He wanted me to rely and trust ONLY in Him. this was going to be a huge leap of faith for me. because of my fear and reluctance i wanted to make sure i really got it right. i wanted to be absolutely sure that i was hearing God correctly and not blundering into a huge mistake.
now my cat had been missing for 3 days. that never happened before and i was concerned. while i was struggling with 2 issues, my missing cat and the move, i decided to combine the 2 to seek an answer for both at the same time. you know, like killing 2 birds with 1 stone. yuck, i hate that metaphor, i can’t believe i just used that. anyway……. i prayed ” Lord, i need a sign to be sure this is what you want me to do so if you bring my cat back to me TODAY (yes, time restriction ! good one. i was gonna make this tough) i will move away “. well, AN HOUR LATER (!) my cat showed up yowling at the door for me. arrgghh i didn’t know weather to laugh or cry. happy, kitty was home, yet this shall be my home no more.
within a week, i moved far, far, FAR away to that great northern city (2 hour drive away actually).
and then a week after that my car broke down. i mean like dead. i called my brother in a panic looking for advice. he told me what car to look for and go to the dealership and get one used. it was a good reliable brand and inexpensive and i would be happy. now once again, i was terrified. i was like “c’mon Lord help me out here ! i mean here i am in a brand new city and alone and tight with money after paying for the big move (yeah, i still wasn’t over it yet) and now my car is dead and i gotta buy another one and sob, sob, hiccup, sob.” ( yup, self pitying ugly cry set in. this wasn’t good.)
here comes the faith test again ! so off i went to the dealership. the gent i spoke to was very patient with me. i went in and basically told him. “look, i don’t have money and i just moved here and have no job yet but i need a car” he was like, wow lady, you’re not giving me much to work with here. you need a car loan yet you have no income to pay it.
he sent me home with a car to test out for a couple days. i was able to get him to greatly reduce the price of the car and he found a low rate loan that he was able to get the first payment delayed for 3 months. that would give me a nice 3 month span of time before i had to start paying it. when i returned to the dealership, he of course asked me how do you like the car blah, blah, blah. i was like, look, the car is fine. i’m just really nervous about buying it and hey, can i make a long distance phone call and discuss it with my brother? he rolled his eyes. sure. so i called my brother (hey, what are big brothers for?) to tell him the deal the guy just made me. he was shocked. it was the best deal he ever heard of. what with the price cut to under cost and the loan payment not due for 3 months and all. he yelled at me on the phone that i was crazy and i need to take it and run. and if i didn’t HE would, even though he didn’t even need another car. he couldn’t believe i was even questioning my good fortune. and how did i get them to do all that for me anyway? (ummmm thata be GOD). anyway i go back to the salesman and said to him (now get this… it’s good) “ok if you can get me 1 year car insurance and YOU pay the first 3 months for me we MAY have a deal” his eyes bugged out of his head and he walked away to go seek out the manager on that one. now in spite of how great a deal this all was, still one thing remained. i was scared. i was afraid i wouldn’t be able to pay for it when the 3 months came around . so i started praying. now this is when it gets really comical, but i was desperate and desperate people make desperate prayers. “Lord, if you really REALLY want me to trust you on this and buy this car i need a sign. ummmmmmm well you brought my cat home for my last big leap of faith sooooooo (yeah you know where this is going now) LET ME SEE A CAT RIGHT NOW ” and i promise you, no lie, a cat walked across the showroom floor , stopped in the middle , sat down , stared straight at me (i could hear God laughing, no really, i could) then got up and walked out.
i drove away with my new used car an hour later. oh and by the way, i got that insurance deal i was asking for. HALLELUJAH , GOD IS SO GOOD. AMEN
One day while dressing my baby Olivia (about 9 months old at the time) she pointed at my shirt which had a picture of Jesus on it and said “Rock !” I said “No, that’s Jesus”. She said even louder “Rock, Rock” and in that moment I realized she had just received revelation from God. Jesus is our Rock. No one told her that. It came to her from God.
Oh and by the way, she didn’t really start talking until she turned 1. She only spoke a couple of words at 9 months.
“Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him. “Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read, “‘From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise’?”
i was feeling worse and worse with each passing day. my symptoms were bizarre. my heart was racing, i was eating like a horse and yet losing weight. my feet were swelling and tingly. i was sweating and was having a hard time making it up in the morning just to get from the bed to the sofa. after having tests done the doctor called me in to tell me i had hyperthyroidism, Graves disease. there is no cure i was told. they can treat me by burning out my thyroid gland. but that would mean i would be on medications my whole life . i didn’t like this. AT ALL. they put me on heart medication immediately because my heart rate was so fast they were afraid i would have a heart attack. the whole burning of the thyroid thingy was not going to happen i told them. no way. so…. i went home and prayed. all day. on my face. crying out to God to heal me. reciting every scripture verse on healing. reminding Jesus that he healed ALL who came to him asking.
i got a phone call from the director of the crisis pregnancy center i had worked in as a counselor. she asked me to be a spokeswoman and go into area churches to tell people about the center and what we do there. all the services we provide free of charge to women in need. it was quite an honor that i was asked. they believed i was the best person for the job. but i relayed to her how i had just been diagnosed with this debilitating disease and was not even able to leave my home. i was so sick. she understood but asked that i just pray about it. i promised i would.
so i prayed. “Lord, i know this is a great ministry put before me. the center is doing a wonderful work in the community. and it’s done all in Your name by lovely Christian workers that have a real heart to share you with those who are hurting and in need. i would love to go and shout out to all about it. it would be a beautiful ministry. but i am so sick. if you heal me, i will go.” His response came immediately “if you go, I will heal you ”.
so i went. i dragged myself to the first church. i made it through a 25 minute presentation to the congregation. i did it. i was shocked i was able to, but God upheld me through it. the days passed and i began to feel worse. at one point i felt i could hardly breathe and began to panic. i called my doctor and she told me to rush to the hospital emergency room quickly. i asked her if i should take another heart pill as i was due to take one now . she said no but to bring them with me to the hospital. i was admitted immediately. the doctors had a phone call from my doctor and knew my condition. i was hooked up to a heart monitor. as the doctor read my heart rate he went white and panicked. i heard him on the phone conferring with another doctor. “this little lady has a heart rate of 34 and it is plummeting. she is tiny and frail and maybe weighs 95 pounds dripping wet. blah, blah, blah” when he came back to me he explained the heart meds i was taking had reduced my heart rate too low. they had to quickly shoot a kinda anti-drug (sorry, don’t know all the medical lingo) to counteract it.( or they would LOSE ME !!!! ). they did , i got violently ill and eventually stabilized. i was put in intensive care overnight.
that night i lay there and i prayed “God i thought you would heal me, i did as you asked . why don’t you heal me ? ” I felt him whisper ever so quietly. ” I have”. I was like “huh????”
the following morning more tests were taken. the doctor questioned the results. so they were taken again. several doctors conferred and eventually one came to talk to me. She explained that all my test results came back NORMAL !! i shouted , “Hallelujah”. she looked at me so puzzled. she said she called her teacher in med school that was an expert on graves disease and he reiterated to her what she already knew. there is no such thing as a cure for graves disease and NO DOCUMENTED PROOF OF ANYONE EVER BEING HEALED OF IT !! she was going to write to the journal of medicine to document this. before she left she looked at me with that still puzzled look and said “throw out your heart meds. that’s why you felt so sick when you came in. at some point you were healed but still taking the medication. so you were feeling sicker. i don’t know what to say about your healing, i have no answers” i told her , “i do. it’s a miracle. God healed me”. she responded “i guess so, there’s no other explanation” GLORY TO GOD, HALLELUJAH AND AMEN
we all have times in our lives when we are upset and in turmoil and in the midst of the chaos and panic we wonder where God is. it almost seems as though he is nowhere to be found. let me share what happened to me during one of those desperate times in my own life. i was in the darkest moments and felt i just needed to go out and go for a bike ride hoping it would lift my spirits and clear my mind from the crisis i was going through. i prayed as i rode and i cried out to the Lord wondering where he was and why i wasn’t feeling His presence. i rounded a corner and was just getting close to home when i heard a loud shrill peeping coming from the road side. i stopped my bike and walked over to follow the cries of panic. as i got nearer the edge of the wooded area near the road i looked down and there in the dirt flopping desperately around was a baby bird. it still only had down on it as it’s feathers had not fully come in yet. i looked up and saw the nest it had fallen out of. i so wanted to scoop it up and place it back in the safety of its nest. but well, haven’t we all been told never to do that as it’s mother will supposedly not feed it after. i’m not sure i believe that now, i’ll have to research (google) if there is any truth to that . anyway i felt so BAD as i watched it pathetically hopping about and crying. i shooed it a little further into the woods so it wouldn’t get into the road . i finally decided i had done all i could. looking at it one last time i saw something out of the corner of my eye. i slowly turned my head and not even arms length away from me was the mother bird staring at me. i was so startled because she was so close and i hadn’t even realized she was there . i could have reached out and touched her. i stood frozen with surprise and realized she had been watching me the entire time. keeping a close eye on me to make sure i didn’t harm her baby. and she was surely watching her baby before i even arrived. probably protecting him as he lay on the dirt exposed to danger. i didn’t want her to attack me as she had that look in her eye so i slowly backed away and got on my bike. as i rode off i heard God say to me, ever so quietly. “you are that baby bird right now. feeling helpless and crying out for me to help you. in your distress you may not have felt me near but i am always very close and watching over you. i am taking care of you. Don’t be afraid”
What is the price of two sparrows—one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. (Matthew 10:29)
i had just spent my second day hand painting a piece of furniture for my little girl Olivia’s bedroom. it was a lovely little antique vanity i had found in a local shop. really unique, very victorian looking with pretty swirls of wood and a huge mirror in the center. it needed some whimsy to it for such a little girl. so i hand painted lovely little flowers on it and vines and curly q’s . it was to be done in all pastels. baby blue, mint green, petal pink, pale cream. i was just about finished when i truly felt it needed some yellow rosebuds. but i had no yellow paint. and you cannot make the color yellow as it is a primary color. in my mind there was no two ways about it i HAD to have yellow rosebuds. now the worst thing about being an artist is once you are in the zone creating it is almost IMPOSSIBLE to stop. even for so much as the physical demands of the body. i have gone a whole day without eating because i couldn’t tear myself away from the art and put down the paint brush for even a moment. I was quite frustrated and said under my breath” oh Lord, please help me out here”. It was cold and nasty out and i wanted to just finish the project. so with some agitation i got my coat and bundled up my little girl and we were all set to trudge out to the store to buy the yellow paint. as i closed the front door behind me the 2 ladies that lived across from me were just getting to their door. we greeted each other and they asked me where i was headed to. i told them i had to go to the store to buy yellow paint for a project i was working on. the one lady looked surprised and reached her hand in her shopping bag and said to me “here, i don’t have ANY idea why i bought this today because i honestly don’t need it” . and she handed me a CAN OF YELLOW PAINT !!!
to this day i always say……. when you need yellow paint God WILL bring you yellow paint !!!
God showed me in that moment that no matter WHAT your need is, He WILL provide.