I Held An Answer to Prayer
During the fall of 2011, I was asked to teach a first and second grade Sunday school class, while the girls' regular teacher was away for a few months. All of the girls were regulars in our children's church, a class my husband and I were involved in, so I really got to know them very well, right down to their heartfelt prayer requests. Every Sunday morning, two little sisters would come in and cheer up the room with their smiles and happy chatter, but whenever I asked for prayer requests, their sweet faces would cloud up as they asked for prayer for their family. From what I gathered, the girls were living in a foster home and greatly missed their mother and siblings. So, together we began to pray that they would be able to go back home to their family, which had a total of about nine children, all scattered to different homes, the youngest being a baby.
I remember one morning when P_____ began crying in children's church. I took her out of the room and sat with her in the hallway as she cried and explained that she missed her mother so much. I remember praying with her that day, just the two of us, a heartfelt prayer that the Lord would restore her back to her mother. She felt better after and went back to join her friends, yet the burden still lay on my heart for her. I cannot remember how many weeks passed, but one Sunday morning she came bounding in and said, "My mom came to church today!" With great rejoicing, she explained that she and her sister had been returned to their mom's house, and everyone, except for the baby, were all together. Over the next few months, their prayer request was always the same: that their baby sister would be able to come home and they would all be a complete family again.
The teacher returned to her class and I no longer was their Sunday school teacher, though we still led children's church for a while. I asked them often how things were going and they always smiled and told me they loved being home with their mom, though baby sister was still not home yet.
Well, today I had nursery duty at church and the room was filled with lots of babies. I knew all the babies, except for one, whom I had never seen before. I was sitting with her on my lap, rocking her to sleep, when it suddenly dawned on me who I was holding. I had seen the girls looking into the nursery that morning, along with a whole group of girls that had extremely similar features, obviously sisters. The one I held in my arms looked just like the others, yet much smaller.
"I am holding an answer to prayer!" The realization made my heart jump a little. I cannot express the thrill I got inside, knowing those girls had experienced the work of God in their young lives, and I had been given the privilege to be a part of that. What a joy it is to serve the Lord and be a witness to his faithfulness. I just had to share that today. Have a blessed day!
"Then, how can I trust Him?"
My son was reading about John Huss the other day, and was quite shocked when he learned what a horrible death he had suffered. We got onto the topic of martyrs and were discussing how some of the people walked away from death (such as the three Hebrew children and the fiery furnace) while so many others (as those listed in Hebrews 11) died for their fath.
My son asked, "If we don't know what God is going to do, whether save us or let us die, then how can I trust Him?"
There words have been ringing in my head all day, making me stop and think about the depth of his question. To be honest, I have thought a similar thing before, wondering inside that even though I may be praying for safety, it could just be the very day He has decided I would leave this earth and end up in heaven. I have often wondered if this is an okay way to think and if I was being doubtful in my thoughts and prayers. I know God allows certain things to happen in our lives for a reason, often to bring glory to His name or increase our faith just a little bit, but we have no idea what tomorrow holds for us. Psalm 90:12 says, "So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts to wisdom." Only God knows if we will live to see to see the next day. So, needless to say, it took me slightly aback to hear my innermost thoughts put into audible words by my son.
I looked up the word 'trust' in the dictionary and it means: "a: an assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something; b: one in which confidence is placed." God's character is flawless, and His strength is so much more than my teensy, weensy bit of energy/strength that I think I may have. God cannot lie - He IS truth!
I also looked up the word 'trust' in E-Sword and there are 134 verses in the Bible that deal with trust. I like the from Proverbs 29:25b that says, "...but whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe." It has a promise in there for my safety! It is one of many that I feel I can hold onto in times of trouble.
As a young child trusts that his parents will take care of his needs, and be there when he falls down, so should we trust our heavenly Father to take care of our needs and be there when we fall. Parenets try to make the best decisions for their children, but sometimes they have a greater reason to step back and let their children learn on their own. I can remember the time when my dad put the matter of buying a car totally into my hands: I was about eighteen years old and I needed a new car. For reasons that will remain anonymous, my dad decided it would be totally up to me when it came time to decide which one to buy. He went with me as we searched for a car, but never even gave a hint which one I should choose. There was one I liked in particular, but every time I searched his face for a clue as to what I should do, he remained expressionless. The car I liked was a standard, or as some call it, a stick. I only knew how to drive an automatic. Yet, I knew I could learn if I put my mind to it. After an agonizing night of prayer and hoping I was doing the right thing, I felt like it was the right car to purchase. When it was all done and the car was mine, my dad smiled and said, "Well done. It is a great car."
Up until that point, I had no idea what he was thinking and if I was making the right decision. I had to trust the Lord completely, without the assistance of my father's advice. I hated that feeling of being left on my own to decide, yet, hearing his words of affirmation lifted a huge burden off my shoulders. In the end though, it taught me how to pray and trust the Lord for bigger issues that came up in my life.
I believe if we could ask the Hebrew martyrs about their final decison to completely trust the Lord with their lives, even if it meant their death, I believe they would say, "It was worth it all." To reap the wonderful benefits of heaven's splendor, and to see Jesus face to face, and have Him smile at them and say, "Well done, my child, well done." Our mere life on earth was nothing compared to the endless forever that is our eternal home in glory.
It all comes down to having a personal relationship with Him. It means loving Him so much that you are willing to give up your all, even your life, for Him. As Joe put it, "People who die for Him spent a lot of time living for Him." So, my answer to my son would be, yes, we can trust Him because He is God; because He knows best; because He is our Creator and our Champion; because He loved us enough to die for us; because His promises are yea and amen; because our sufferings are but for a moment in this life; because, like the three Hebrew boys said, "Our God is capable of saving us, but even if He doesn't, we will still trust in Him." I can trust Him because He is always faithful; because I love Him. I thank the Lord for a God Who is worthy to be trusted.
I have to put this note up tonight because Pastor spoke about this very subject tonight at church. He really summed up my sentiments in a way that I thought was worth repeating: Faith is trusting God when you don't understand why or how. When you don't understand, pray and God will give you a peace that passeth all understanding. Trusting God is taking that step that you know you are supposed to take, and believing He will take care of the rest.
"Precious Are Thy Thoughts of Me"
I was standing in the checkout lane at BJ's the other day, waiting for my turn at the do-it-yourself registers. It was my first time out after four days of being snowed in and though it felt good to get out, I think everyone else had the same idea in mind: go to the store and stock their empty cupboards. The lines were long, and the registers were being temperamental and did not want to scan coupons, so I prepared myself for a long wait ahead of me. As I looked around, I could not help but notice the magazine rack that was a short distance away. Though I was not interested in reading any of them, the titles of each stood out in bold letters and as my eyes passed over the words I could not help but feel saddened by the hopeless and nothingness they seemed to offer. Magazines offering diet help, sat alongside the food magazines that offered exciting recipes for yummy desserts and newfangled dishes that probably only changed one ingredient from the recipes I had at home. Then there were the fashion and makeup magazines, offering new looks and makeovers that could make you look younger and more beautiful again, and alongside those were the bold titles stating, "He cheated on me!" Divorce file announcements and hateful words splashed across each row, with hardly anything cheerful to say about marriage, nor were there any encouraging statements about faithful spouses.
I must admit there have been fleeting times when I wished I could look just like those models, who appear to be so beautiful and flawless, thin and perfect, with hair that shines and swishes as they move gracefully along in their perfect, expensive outfits that fit right in style. Yes, I know they have makeup specialists who help them, and then there are the computers that take out the blemishes and touch up anything the editor does not want the world to see, yet once in a while, when I am having a bad hair day or certain parts of me seem to stick out like a sore thumb, that fleshly desire returns where I wish I could look "that good", but then the thought comes to me, "Are they truly happy?"
Even though we are mortal and live on a fallen earth, the Lord has a way of reminding His children that He loves us and there is only one way to be happy. Those models may have the perfect body, but they are still struggling with a failing marriages, a cheating spouses, and unhappy and rebellious children. A perfect body does nothing for anybody but give her more cause to worry, and more upkeep to maintain. How much time does she really have to spend with her family? Does she actually sit down and have dinner with her husband and children, or is she working out during that time, or starving herself to maintain that look? Is that why her marriage is falling to pieces?
All these thoughts flooded my mind as I stood in line that day, and I was suddenly very content with the way God made me. He has a purpose for me, one that He knew before I was even a twinkle in my parent's eye. I love the verses from Psalms:
"For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in
continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee."
I always get goosebumps when I read the verse that talks about how He saw me being formed in the womb, yet He had all the details written down in a book that described what I was going to look like, what my personality was going to be, and every detail of my life. His thoughts are precious to me and it says that the sum of them is GREAT, more than the number of the sand. How awesome is that? I am wonderfully created, and then it goes on to say, "...marvelous are thy works!" I am His creation and He considers me 'marvelous!'
So, I am content with my life. I am so thankful that I have a God Who loves me, loved me before I was born, enough to die for me on a cross so I could be forgiven of my sins. I am extremely thankful the Lord gave me a wonderful, thoughtful, loving husband who loves me just the way I am, the way God made me. I am unique and I am content with that. I am special to the Lord and that makes my heart sing. Who needs the help from the hopeless people in the magazines? I have the best Artist, Author, and Help anyone could every need - that is my God.
Hello, family and friends! I wanted to post some pictures of the epic blizzard we had yesterday. This brings back so many memories of Westford, when I was a little girl. Enjoy the photos. I will post more later!
The Pending Storm
As I write this, the threat of a huge storm looms in the near future, making me wonder how much snow we will really get. Two years ago we had storm after storm, making the snow drifts along the sides of our driveway taller than us. It got to a point where we could not throw any more snow over the top without it rolling back down onto our feet.
I grew up in a state where snow was just an every day event. Whether it was a little flurry, or a huge snowstorm, we made do with the way things were and did not run out to buy bread and toilet paper at every appearing of a little snowflake. We still went to school in the blizzards - the buses simply put chains on their wheels and drove those dirt roads every day. The snowball fights at the bus stop were a lot of fun and they kept us warm as the temps dipped way down into the teens.
Oh, by the way, did you know that Snowflake Bentley, the first person to actually photograph snowflakes, was from Vermont? Jericho, Vermont, the very place where I got married!
I was just looking at the weather and I am thinking that maybe, just maybe, we will get the amount of snow they are predicting. I have become quite skeptical with their predictions lately - it seems like the more modernized and technologically minded we get, the less we can predict what is coming our way. Anyway, enough of that. :) From the looks of it, it should begin snowing Friday morning and not stop until Saturday afternoon. Oh, what fun! I know what we will do on family fun night Friday evening! If it is not too windy, we will go outside and sled down the small hill next door, walk along the road, and taste the snowflakes on our tongues. Then, we will come inside and enjoy some hot chocolate with marshmellows and popcorn, and curl up to watch a movie as the snow continues to fall. The only thing I will miss is the hissing of a woodstove as it lights up the room, sending out its warmth. I remember the times I would stand in front of it, heating up my backside for as long as I could stand it, and then race to the couch and sit down as fast as I could. I am surprised I did not burn myself doing that! Ha ha. :)
There were the times we would play King of the Mountain in the snow piles the snowplow made in our driveway (note: see the picture at the bottom). My brother always was the one who seemed to be the king, but it was fun trying to get up onto the top all the same. Snowforts, with chairs and tables made out of snow, as well as snowball fights and sledding parties were all part of the winter picture.
I know I don't have the stamina to be outside as long as I used to be, nor can my back take too much strain, but it is a wonderful thing to watch the kiddos play and romp in it, sinking in to their knees or deeper, making snow angels and entire body formations in the white fluff. My boys will also build character as they learn to shovel for other people and work hard to clear the driveway and walkways. Yes, I am looking forward to this storm. It may be the storm of the year, but I know for a fact it will not be the storm of my lifetime. To me it is just what winter is all about-pretty snow outside and special family time inside.