Life Happens

life-happens

It is much easier to recognize what is going wrong in our lives, than it is to rejoice for the good.  I don’t know why that is, but it seems that our natural bent is to complain about what is happening to us rather than recognize what God is doing in the difficulty.  I’m sure that I have been guilty of that in my own life.  As we come out of the Christmas season and I have seen people returning those precious Christmas gifts complaining that the gift didn’t work; was the wrong size; didn’t meet with their liking; etc. — I could only think about how dissatisfied we are most of the time!  Just like we forgot that someone sacrificed something in order that we might have that gift; we forget that He sacrificed all so that we might have eternal life.

When Lloyd and I moved to Ghana in 2004 we didn’t speak the language; we couldn’t eat the food; we didn’t know the rules; we didn’t understand the culture.  People stole from us; people told us that they did work that they didn’t actually do; the car kept breaking down; pipes kept bursting (once so badly that we had to fetch water and bring large barrels into and around the house for use); bugs were getting into everything; the ceiling fell in; malaria happened; dysentery happened; etc.   When all of these things happened – we were careful to encourage one another to rejoice at how God was going to fix it for us; how He was going to use us to be Him to the people we were trusting to fix the problems; how our headaches would bring Him glory.  Lloyd and I would go into our room and inspect one another – miraculously we found that neither of us had scars from a thorny crown; holes from nails in our wrists or feet; and not even a spear in our sides!  Incredible isn’t it!  None of it was Calvary! We believed every time that He would give us the strength to bear it – and He did!!  Time and time again – He brought us through all of it.

My dear friend Mike Pickett wrote a song that serves to remind me daily of what it means to count all of it as joy.  The lyrics say,

“You are the salt of the earth, a preservative for some. You may be the ONLY reason destruction hasn’t come. If while following God you find yourself in the midst of circumstance; you may have been sent there to let someone know that today may be the last chance to walk in righteousness; holiness; love; peace; and joy in the Holy Spirit of God”

So, yeah — you may be driving a car that is a little older than you like, and it may require a lot of repair; but are you taking that opportunity to be salt and light to the person who will repair the car?  You might be facing a different trial everyday in your health; but are you being salt and light to all who visit you and to the doctors and nurses that serve you?

This life on this earth is temporal!  Don’t lose sight of that!  Our home is in heaven – a place where all will be well!  As for the “momentary light afflictions” you WILL face down here — count it as joy AND count it as an opportunity for you to be His glory in this fallen world.  Know that as you face each hardship with joy – you will have more patience and endurance to face the next thing.  Being used for His glory in the midst of it all is just the icing on the cake!  I like icing and the thought of being icing on His cake is an incredible gift to my heart!  May the Father move me to trust Him in the midst of it all and may He bend my heart toward full joy and the hope of my eternal hope.  Remind yourself in the midst of difficulties and hardships  — It Ain’t Calvary!

Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled

Many find comfort in these words – but for me, they can cause angst.  It’s the word “let” that causes problems for me.  I mean, what am I supposed to do when the trials and problems of life really do give me pause or cause me to have fear?

I know – I know –  I know what you Christian folk are saying, “Jan! take the thought captive, bring the thought into submission with the will of God!” Trust me – I KNOW!!  But that word “let” still gives me a lump in my throat.

I joyfully minister to many. There are issues where the money is just not nearly enough to meet the obligation. There are issues where the illness cannot be defeated. Marriages that are dying. Loss of loved ones that cause family issues in the midst of grief. OR – Maybe your life is on course and you are not only joyful but prosperous.  That is what I tell myself when I encounter people who tell me not to allow myself to worry.  I say to myself that they have no idea what it is like to be in my shoes! What about you!?

Well, I Thank God for His Word!  These words were spoken by the very Son of God, and knowing that Jesus said the words tells me that it really is possible for me to disallow my heart from fainting at the first sign of trouble.

I go on to read Christ’s words in Matthew 24 as he describes the perilous times the world will face but he reminds those that follow Him that they are not alone.  And then I remember that the Word of God gave me another “let” that gives me power and strength – “Let this mind be in you that was also in Christ Jesus”  (Philippians 2:5)– and as I continue to read His Word and allow Him to speak to me I am reminded that if I have the mind of Christ I cannot be troubled for it is against the mind of Christ for me to have a troubled heart or mind even when all around me seems full of trouble.  Then I remember that He also told me that if I could only remember at all times that He has already overcome the world – I will know that I too will overcome.

Now, let me say that my heart began to feel lighter and the lump in my throat was less uncomfortable.  Let me also be clear that though my situation may not have changed – I am hopeful, truly, that He desires to, and will indeed, work it all out for my good and for His glory.  So today, you know – later on after I start thinking about my trouble again – the moment it seems that my heart just might faint, I will not let my heart be troubled, instead I will start singing, clapping, dancing and praising Him in advance of my deliverance!  As I praise – it will lift my heart from trouble to a place of triumph and I will not be able to stop myself from rejoicing.

Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled! As my mama always told me,  “Just trust in the Good Lord!”

Don't Worry … Be At Peace

Peace

The Coronavirus is a serious thing that we are all facing. Some are ill; some have passed away; MANY have survived it. The national news channels are not telling us that for every 1 that passes away, 20 survive. We are forgetting to tell ourselves that for any believer that passes away … the truth of the eternal life that we way that we believe in and desire is real! My mom says, “I’m ready to go to heaven. But, I’m not in no hurry!” She means that if the Lord calls her home at any time, she will rejoice; but that she won’t do anything to hurt herself and, of course, she is not wanting anyone to hurt her.

Truth is … this virus is only ONE of many things that we allow to affect our peace.

The troubles that we face are not for us to carry on our shoulders, but rather to lay on the shoulders of The One. The needs that we have should not be concerning – because our worry won’t make the need met. Trials – they come, I can’t solve them. Anxiety – does no good, weighs me down. Death – its inevitable, but it can’t conquer me. Money – it answers many things, but it is not the real need – EVER. Fear – it happens, but it doesn’t solve anything. These are just a few of the things that can occupy our minds; our hearts; our thoughts.

The great thing about being in Him is that we have answers for all of these things. Tomorrow – He knows what lies ahead of us. Needs – He will generously take care of them not based upon what you can do, but upon His own limitless supply. Trials – He has already overcome them all and He is working them out for your good. Anxiety – gratefulness will run it away and besides He is with us always. Death – no such thing, we are eternal beings destined to dwell with Him forever. Money – He owns the cattle of a thousand hills and as our Father, we will have what we need. Fear – we trust in Him and His love casts it out.

When you feel yourself starting to slip into worry, REMEMBER –  He calms storms; He opens up seas so that you can walk right through; He brings life to things that  once were passed away; His love is unfailing; He hears the cries of the righteous and delivers them; His compassions do not fail; His mercies will meet the needs of each new day; He gives endurance and encouragmenet; He is your strength and your defence; He is the source of our help; He is greater than all – what problem do you have that can stand against Him!

This virus is truly something that is causing many of us worry — but by worrying we don’t solve anything.

I am praying:

Father, fill each of us with your Holy Spirit so that our hearts and mind will just trust Your Word — believing that everything is going to be alright! Father I know that you have our back; and our front; and each side; and You even hold us up. You are faithful. Your promises are yes and amen. You are the covenant keeper. We will rest – lay back into Your presence (as I imagine the beloved disciple did) – and watch You work.

Walking in Faith NOT Fear!

Saturday, December 1st!! I know that is tomorrow, but I will have completed the 6 weeks that the hospital appoints me.  But today – November 30th, there’s been a blessing!!

Good news:

  • Last weekend I had a fellowship the Saturday after Thanksgiving that was very encouraging to me. It was a time with our Ghanaian friends/family from all over Houston; that just lifted me up!
  • I cooked gumbo.  Lloyd said it was great.
  • I tasted a Whataburger Jr. LOL! I liked it more than Sonic but do no understand why people would eat it regularly
  • And the best news is … The difficulties are not bothering me!!! Vertigo, tiredness, vocabulary, recognition of people … they are still there but I feel ABSOLUTELY blessed!  

Lloyd has been pretty clear that we were going overseas in our job soon.  I didn’t really believe it, but the doctor’s office called me  to let me know it was necessary to ensure that I’m ready to return full time to my job.  The doctors office also let me know that they have been communicating this to Lloyd which means, I’m on a plane!! We are going to France (NO! not Paris) to visit three missionaries who are learning French in preparation for their work in Africa. 

I was a little scared at first, but I was reminded by my Spiritual Director, Minister Denise Foxx, to remember that I have not had a seizure in six weeks AND I haven’t had even an airplane seizure since the Lord placed me under the care of this neurological team.  I believe in The Amazing Almighty God! I trust Him! Yes, I do! He has guided me and He will keep me.  Y’all … pray for me!

When I return from the trip, I will be meeting with the surgeon as soon as I get off the plane … literally! He wants me to land and drive straight to the Houston Medical Center.  I love the relationship I have with them, and God’s impact on them through lil’ old me! 5 days after meeting with the surgeon I have an appointment with the neurologist.    It is not over yet!

I know that The One who is healing me is worthy of all praise.  In fact, I know that The Almighty God has healed me of the seizures and sent me through surgery because I can let others understand the work of Our Father in medical care. I’ve had six weeks without ONE seizure! The Holy Comforter has kept me in my right mind. The Great I AM reminded me day by day that I am a child of the King who is!!  

My Father, my Lord, the fullness of my joy is in Your presence! You receive my praise each and every single day!  You have loved me, My Father. You have called me to be a saint and have, through Jesus Christ, given me grace and peace. I’m rejoicing today because I know, with no doubt, that you will keep me firm until the end. I know that Your hand keeping me will help me to be blameless when Jesus Christ is looking at me! My Father, you are so faithful. I am grateful beyond my own understanding that You have called me into fellowship with Your Son, My Savior, Jesus Christ.  Traveling across the ocean is a place that You will keep me. Using me to serve people who have been called by you into missions, I know you will use me strongly for the sake of Your Kingdom.   (Proverbs 3: 23 – 24; Romans 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1: 8-9)

Gratefulness is Flowing from My Heart!!

I’m finishing week five and starting week six! Week six is the final actual surgery recovery!

For the very first time, I’m typing this on my own! Now I don’t know what will be mispelled and I’m sure my vocabulary will be … a little different.  But I have just more to praise God for!

Here are the great improvements …

I am typing this myself! Hallelujah!! 

I went to church on Sunday (Nov 11)! I was very, very blown away about God’s gift to me!  So very grateful to be with my church family! As happy as I was on Sunday, there were many people that I saw but the names were not in my mind and there were some that I saw and did not recognize. I’m told by the medical team that this is normal and will continue to improve.  It’ll be me and Joe’s amazing “Remembery” getting this finished.

Sunday evening I was able to go to a friend’s birthday celebration. Now I have to be honest, I went in the last hour when most were gone so that I wouldn’t have to interact with many besides her – LOL!  Sitting and talking to less people was necessary.  I couldn’t dance.  I am grateful to my son, Joseph, for ensuring that I got to go because she is a friend of his too.

I’m understanding the things that I read. I do sometimes have to read things twice, but I’m grateful!

I’ve made a salad (it was really my own slaw) and I’ve baked some banana bread. The banana bread wasn’t my recipe but I’m so happy I did it – and I’ll remember my recipe as I keep baking!

I got my laundry done. I was able to easily sort it, wash it, dry it and fold it. I did put it away as well.

Keep praying for me!

  • The part of the scar that’s nearer to my face still throbs. I’m told that this should end soon. They went into my brain cutting what looks like a large question mark – the top is on my face and the bottom is on the top front of my ear. I think you can see it on the picture, but my hair is growing back fast!
  • I’m not yet comfortable talking on the phone. Somehow it is very difficult for me to fully understand everything.
  • A huge difference is that I am crying quite heavily when I think of anything AND that I am quite directly honest with people even if it hurts them. I am hearing that this is not exactly like my previous personality.

A wonderful thing I am expecting is to cook with my mom for Thanksgiving. She has already told me that she’s 91 and won’t find it weird if I can’t remember something. LOL! She says my remembering and testing will be more like her. I love that lady who’s not quite old.

Y’all I do not have enough words to tell my amazing God how grateful I am!!  He has been amazingly awesome!

Father God, the awesome things that you have done are many!!! Your thoughts towards me are amazing and I know that many cannot  can even understand that it is You! I know that many can’t believe that You would do all that you have done for your child! Lord, I speak of all that you do for me every chance that I get but I’m too small to tell it all! If I had 10,000 tongues I’d praise you with every single one.  What you do is too much for me to say because I’m just not big enough. I’m grateful, my God, to know that my love for you has allowed you to deliver me. I’m grateful because I know that as I acknowledge you as my God and my Father, you will protect me. I will always and every day call upon you knowing that you will answer me, you will be with me and you will deliver me.  I love you, Lord, and I’m believing that You are absolutely everything I need! (Psalm 65:4: 95:14-15)