Right in Front of You

It’s Friday….I always seem amazed when Friday shows up again. I greet the day with a sigh of relief…I made it here again.

This week I particularly feel a sense of relief. It has been an emotional rollercoaster, but God is good and continues to breathe His truth into my soul. 

In Psalm 37:3….trust in the Lord and do good, dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness…

When I read that passage recently, I reflected on the name of​ my blog. Faith. Hope. Love. Food. My original intention for my blog was to share my food struggle journey, but God revealed a different focus to me.

The food that fuels my soul…His faithfulness, His goodness, His love, His peace, mercy, grace… have ​been so clearly evident and alive this week in my life.

Sometimes, what you are searching for is right in front of you, you just need a reminder that it’s there. My prayers this week have been an intense sense of needing direction, His direction. I have been feeding on His faithfulness and staying in the Word, praying His promises.

Ever heard someone speak to you and know it was exactly what God needed for you to hear? Ever received a hug and felt the love so deeply? I did this week. The answers I sought were right in front of me, I just needed reminded.

If you are struggling with making a hard decision, feed on His faithfulness and keep praying. The answer you yearn for just may be right in front of you.

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Blessings in our Mistakes

It happened so suddenly. It was a simple daily task. Washing dishes. I needed music. Perhaps, I should have heeded to the warning voice that suggested that setting my cell phone in the windowsill above the sink full of soapy dishwater was possibly a recipe for potential disaster…but I didn’t. Instead, I set the phone there and listened to music as I scrubbed the sink of dirty dishes.

It slipped…I am not sure why, but my phone ended up swimming in the soapy water. I rescued it and dried it and all appeared fine. Hours later when I went to plug it in to charge it, all was not well. The phone shut off and would not hold a charge.

Life without a cellphone is….quiet.

On the way to church yesterday morning, I asked God…what good can come out of a cellphone damaged by water? All my earthly mind could think of was $$$. And being inconvenienced.

During church after the sermon, the pastor gave everyone 60 seconds of silence. (Do I see a theme in my life lately??) It was in this moment of silence that God reminded me that good things can come from a cellphone damaged by water. He cares about everyday things in our lives. In the words of one of my friends…God can fix our mistakes.

So, in what ways are my eyes being opened by a water damaged cellphone?

  • The love of my husband…no judgment, no what were you thinking…Nope, just, “Honey, it’s a cell phone. We’ll get it fixed or get it replaced. No big deal.”
  • Patience. Life can be lived without immediate gratification at our fingertips. It really can.
  • God is a jealous God. What exactly does this mean? Jeremiah 29:13 promises, You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all of your heart. How distracted have I been by my phone?
  •  In my desire for quiet, I can attest to this…life without a cell phone is quiet.

My phone is in a cellular repair shop awaiting a new battery. Fortunately, the repairman says it looks like my phone did not suffer water damage beyond the battery being shorted. Leaving my cellphone at the repair shop felt a bit, well, unnerving like leaving my third child behind. I know…dramatic, but it just goes to illustrate how dependent I have become on it. Yes, there are many wonderful things I can do on my cellphone including using my BibleGateway app, but it also has become a huge source of distraction, a source of mind numbing apps when my brain is tired after work, and a blockage from meaningful conversation with others. Just scan the people eating at any restaurant. I know I am not alone.

So, yes, by the end of the week, I will once again rejoin modern society with a cellphone. But, I hope the lessons I am learning from a week without a cellphone will change a few things in my life…communication, relationships, being more intentional with my time.

From Galatians 5:22-23 The Message…But what happens when we live God’s way?  He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard-things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to  marshal and direct our energies wisely.

Six months ago, I would have defined living as God’s way as doing the right thing, being obedient…all my responses driven by things I could do. Now, I see living God’s way as living a surrendered life. Not a perfect life. Not a life free from mistakes. A life that says here I am God, I am Yours, use me, shape me, grow me.

What happens when we live God’s way? He opens our eyes to the blessings in our mistakes.

blessings-in-mistakes

Blind Faith 

Just a little over a year ago, this was my favorite terrier Franklin.

Now, he walks with blind faith. 

Diagnosed with diabetes a few months ago, he is blind now. This morning, my husband called his name. He cocked his little head up in the air trying to discern where the sound was coming from. He took a step and crashed into the wall. My husband took a hold of his leash and called his name again. Franklin followed the lead of the leash and was able to walk outside without running into another wall. He followed with blind faith. 

With our guidance, he trusts us to lead him in his blindness.

Trusting God and walking in faith is like that. When we were in the midst of the adoption process for our son, I clung to Hebrews 11:1. 

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we cannot see. Hebrews 11:1

I walked day by day trusting with blind faith that God would carry us through the journey to our son. I was able to trust Him without knowing the end result even as we experienced crazy delays and missed our son’s fifth birthday.

Walking in blind faith does not mean walking blindly. Walking in blind faith means taking a step forward and then another. They can be small steps, but it means being able to move forward without seeing the end of the road. It means listening to the voice of truth and silencing all the other voices that scream out…the doubts and fears. It means staying in the Word and believing the truth of God. 

Just as my dog walks in blind faith following the guidance of the leash as we lead him, we can walk in blind faith trusting God and following His lead without knowing where the journey will take us. 

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. Romans 8:28

31 Days of Gratitude: Adoption 

Often times, a simple step out in faith will open doors and windows you never imagined.

For our family, it was the step out in faith to adopt a little boy halfway around the world. 

This willingness to say yes to God without knowing what the yes looked like has blessed us and continues to bless us beyond measure.

Our family has hosted an exchange student. We have a greater understanding of cultural diversity. We have learned to trust God to provide in so many ways. Our daughter discovered a heart for mission work. 

The greatest blessing to pour out from our son’s adoption has been the friendship with another family three states away. 

Back in 2009, a few months after we came home with our son, we received a message from a family whose son had been in the same orphanage. The following summer on our way home from a vacation out West, we stopped in their home town.

Our boys reached out to touch each other at first deciding if this moment was real. Then, they picked up where they had left off, the years of separation dissipating into renewed friendship. The main difference being they were now interacting in English. Our families meshed perfectly. Every year, we plan a trip to spend together, reunite our sons, enjoy each other’s company, and make memories.

If you read my blog a few days ago, you know we were fighting Chicago traffic on a Friday night. It was worth it. Hours later that night, we were in the company of great friends. I missed my daily blog post yesterday due to poor internet connections, but I was busy making memories. Good ones. All because I stepped out in faith. With my family. Without knowing the end of the story.

This weekend, I am grateful for adoption. I am grateful for the blessings that have poured out from the joys of adoption.

1 Samuel 1:27 I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted what I have asked of him.

And so, so much more.

Stepping into the unknown in response to God’s call on your life is a journey of faith. He is writing your story. 

Can you trust Him with the details?

31 Days of Gratitude: Unexpected Blessings 

Life does not always go as we plan and definitely not as we wish.

Sometimes, our prayers are answered seemingly right away with a definite yes. Sometimes, it appears as though God is saying NO. Sometimes, though, the answer is actually a wait… 

Not a no, but a wait and Trust Me I have something far better in store for you.

That little hand in the picture belongs to my son. As my husband and I had prayed for a baby and month after month, no answer, no pregnancy, just an empty womb…

God wasn’t saying no, but wait.

At the same time of our prayers, our son was born halfway around the world. Five years later, I was blessed when a beautiful, loving orphanage worker placed my son in my arms for the first time.

So many blessings have poured from this one. Our daughter discovered the beginning of a growing love for mission work and since our trip to the Philippines, she has been on three mission trips. Another amazing blessing…a family reached out to us.. their son from the same orphanage. Every year for the past seven years, we have spent precious time together. Not only have our sons enjoyed their yearly reunion, but our families have become closely connected.

Some of the greatest gifts in my life have been completely unexpected.

Another great example of God’s work in my life…I attended a writing conference two years ago and met a writing partner. She is now my treasured best friend to walk with me not only on my writing journey but the journey of life as well.

Sometimes, the answer to prayer may be yes. Sometimes, no… perhaps God is protecting us from something or maybe He is really saying wait, My child, something better is in store. And, sometimes, He pours blessings out when we least expect it.

Today, I am grateful for unexpected blessings.

The Slow Work of God

I was driving through the city the other day, and I noticed a church sign. The words really resonated with me: “Trust in the slow work of God.” Wow…those words hold so much truth. It’s never fun to endure suffering, to go through tough times like illness, financial issues, or uncertainty of any kind. It’s our human nature to want to be in control of our own destiny. We want to know what lies ahead. We want answers to our problems now, not next week. Waiting is not fun.

There’s a song by John Waller…”While I’m Waiting”…that talks about waiting on the Lord, being hopeful, waiting on God although it is painful. It’s a reflective ballad of the positive things that can come from waiting on the Lord. We learn patience. We learn to trust. We accept we are not in control. One line of the song states…”I’m waiting on You, Lord, and I’m peaceful.” Peaceful? Wow…I know that I did not always feel peace while waiting, but I have always learned something and grown.

Here are two stories of waiting in my life:

1. When our daughter was in kindergarten, we decided we wanted to have another child. My friends around me were expecting. I could not get pregnant….each month I waited for the anticipation of being pregnant. After deciding it was too painful to wait, we gave up. Fast forward a few years, God laid the desire to adopt on our hearts. We proceeded with the process, and then we waited. Waited to be accepted into the Philippines program. Waited for the referral of our child. Waited to travel.

One day during a quiet moment while everyone else was in bed, God revealed a moment of truth to me. During those difficult, painful months of trying to get pregnant, my prayers were being answered, just not as I was expecting. It was 2003…the year my son was born. Today,  I could not imagine life without my son. Praise God for His slow work in my life!

Slow Work of God

2. My health…my mystery illness that resulted in a 2 1/2 year battle with unexplained weight loss, GI bleeding and issues, chronic pain, and just feeling awful overall. In reference to the  song above, I did not feel peace in the waiting. I felt fear. I prayed every night that I would wake up in the morning. I cried my fair share of tears, but I learned to lean on others. I learned to pray fervently. I learned to trust.I learned to hope. I met an amazing Christian nutritionist and her chiropractic husband who taught me about my holistic health. Although the food issues and GI issues are now a part of my everyday life, I no longer have chronic pain or GI bleeding, and I am a healthy weight once again.

Yes, it is through difficult times that we learn to trust in the slow work of God. He loves us and cares for us.

Waiting verse