Obedience Is Hard

Several weeks ago, I was asked to share part of my story in the weekend services at our church on Thanksgiving weekend. My heart started pounding the minute I was asked the question, and my flesh cried out, “NO!” Anyone who knows me, knows that I really, really, REALLY dislike being the center of attention and I do NOT like speaking in front of lots of people. I get very nervous, my voice shakes, my hands shake and I often get emotional…..not a pretty sight. :) But, instead of saying no, I asked, “Does this mean I have to be on stage?” I was hoping for maybe a video, rather than live. But a video was not what they wanted. I asked for time to pray about it. I really didn’t need to pray about it because I already knew the Lord was calling me to this. But, I just couldn’t make myself say yes…I guess I was stalling. I didn’t hear back from the lady that asked me for a couple of weeks, and to tell you the truth, I was hoping they had changed their minds or decided to ask someone else. But, as I said, I knew the Lord was telling me to do this. You see, about eight months or so ago (the exact date was April 11, because I have it in my journal :) ) I was praying and asking God if I should continue with my blog. “Do people get tired of reading about my life? Sometimes, I feel like I’m saying the same things over and over. I don’t want people to think I’m trying to get them to feel sorry for me. I don’t want to make people sad. God, I started this blog because I felt like you were telling me to do it. I felt like you wanted me to share with others about your goodness and faithfulness even in hard times. To encourage others that Your plan can be trusted. I’m just not sure what to do?” And as I prayed and read God’s Word, He led me to a verse for my answer. The verse is Matt. 10:27….What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops.”

And so, when I was asked to speak at church, I knew what my answer was supposed to be. I knew that what God had been whispering to me, He wanted me to proclaim on the housetops (or stage, in this case!). The thing is, I’ve been walking with the Lord long enough to know firsthand that feeling of guilt and regret when I knowingly disobey Him. It is NOT a good feeling. So, with much fear and trembling and an abundance of faith in the Lord to help me through it, I said yes. And, I’ll admit I was very nervous, my voice was shaking, my hands were shaking, I got emotional, and it wasn’t a pretty sight. I’ve watched it…I know. I look like I was mad at the world, I don’t think I even smiled once! But, I did it and I made it through all three services without throwing up on stage! And can I just say…I’m glad it’s over! But more importantly, I’m glad that I obeyed. To God be the glory!

I’m so thankful for my three wonderful children who stood with me, as I shared OUR story. My prayer is that the Lord would use our story to encourage others and point others to Him. Several people have asked for a way to see or hear the service from that weekend. So if you’re interested, here is a link to our church’s website where you can watch the service from 11-29-14. http://www.crossroadsnewnan.org/thanksology/

Trusting His Plan,
Sandra

Carrying Each Other’s Burdens

I am currently doing a Bible Study with two other women. The study is called Gospel in Life: Grace Changes Everything, and is written by Timothy Keller. Tonight I’m reading about living in community and came across a great explanation of Galatians 6:2, which says that we are to “carry each other’s burdens”. Mr. Keller says, “There is a hidden reciprocity in Galatians 6:2 that should not be overlooked. Notice it does not say ‘carry other’s burdens’ but ‘carry each other’s burdens.’ It means something like this: Live in a community where you don’t let others carry their loads alone, and where you also don’t try to carry your own load alone. Help others and let others help you. It is a form of hypocrisy to be willing to help others with their weaknesses but to hide your own or refuse help. It takes a gospel-changed heart to give help unselfishly to others, and it takes a gospel-changed heart to receive help unashamedly from others.”

Isn’t that so true? I don’t know about you, but those last two sentences are a killer for me! It is so hard for me to ACCEPT help and even harder to ASK for help. So, I continue to pray for a gospel-changed heart that I might be able to receive help unashamedly from others. And I thank God for those of you with gospel-changed hearts that have been so willing to unselfishly give your help to me. Thank you for helping to carry my burden!

Trusting His Plan,
Sandra

What Not To Say When Your Friends Are Hurting

This is a very good article that I came across this morning. When friends are going through a painful situation, we are all guilty of saying thoughtless things or typical clich├ęs. Often these things just lead the one hurting to think, “You have no idea what you’re talking about.” For me, I think it depends on who is saying these things. For the ones that are walking through the pain with me, I sometimes find these words comforting, because I know the heart behind the words. For those that are not “in the trenches” with me, I find myself thinking, “You don’t have a clue.” But….I have learned that in times of grief and pain and difficult circumstances, it’s hard for both sides..the one hurting and the one trying to comfort. We don’t know the right words. And really….I don’t think it’s all about the words anyway. I think it’s about what’s behind the words; the sincerity or lack thereof.

But in the end, I think that it is better to say SOMETHING than not saying anything at all because you fear you’ll say the “wrong thing.” To not acknowledge someone’s pain is far more hurtful than saying the wrong the thing. And if you don’t have any profound words, a simple “I’ve been thinking about you”, can mean the world to someone that’s hurting.

http://www.relevantmagazine.com/life/what-not-say-when-your-friends-are-hurting

Trusting His Plan,
Sandra

Remembering

One Year

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We do not grieve like those who have no hope. Our hope is in Christ. Our hope is secure. We will see you again!

We love you Greg!

Trusting His Plan,
Sandra

Jehovah-Jireh: The Lord Will Provide!

What a tremendous blessing we received this morning! We are getting ready to do some exterior renovations on our home and needed to have some shrubs and trees removed. I mentioned it to a friend of mine and that’s all it took….this morning he had a whole crew of folks from his small group here to take care of it! It just so happens that a guy in his group owns a tree service business…..the Lord provides yet again!

This whole renovation project has been such a daunting task for me. It’s something that Greg and I had been talking about needing to have done for the past several years. We had just about gotten to the point of getting it started when Greg was diagnosed with melanoma, so everything was put on hold. There were some issues with the siding and I was really afraid to let it go any longer, so I fearfully started the process of getting estimates. I am so thankful that Greg and I had already been talking about it and many of the decisions about we wanted had already been made.

The process has been difficult and very stressful for me, but the Lord has been faithful to provide guidance and help with every step. He has led me to a contractor that I feel very good about using, someone who I feel I can trust and who will look out for my best interests. He has provided a dear friend that works in this same industry to lead me and guide me in the decision-making process. My friend will be around as the job is being done to be a second set of eyes to make sure things are done properly. The Lord has also provided another dear friend that is helping me with landscaping….another thing I know nothing about. :)

The Lord continues to show me over and over that He is with me, that He loves me, that He will provide for me and that I can trust Him! What a wonderful thing to be a part of the Body of Christ!!

Here are a few pictures from this morning’s blessing.

Before

Before

Before

Before

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The Crew!

The Crew!

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After!

After!

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Now…..on to phase 2!

Trusting His Plan,
Sandra

You Never Know

“My joy is gone; grief is upon me; my heart is sick within me.” Jer. 8:18

That is the first verse that I read this morning in my devotion time, and I must say that it pretty much sums up how I feel today. It’s been an emotional week. It’s a struggle to keep my joy. Can’t sleep at night. Can’t turn off the “recording” in my mind that plays over and over and over. Replaying the last few days that Greg was here. It’s coming up on a year now….October 20. How can that be?? How can it seem like yesterday, but also like an eternity? It seems like yesterday because the feelings, the emotions, the memories are still so fresh, so painful, so raw, so real. But at the same time, every day without Greg feels like an eternity. Looking back on my blog posts from this time last year, we had no idea what was coming. We had no idea that when we left our house for Houston on October 15, 2013, that the kids and I would be coming home six days later without Greg. When we were getting ready to leave for the airport that night, we were planning to be back home in 2-3 days. Whenever we traveled to MD Anderson, Greg always took his computer so that he could continue to work. That night, he decided to leave his computer home saying, “We’re only going to be gone a couple of days, I think I’ll just leave my computer this time.” We had NO idea. We knew he was sick, but we had NO idea. He was supposed to be going out just to receive a treatment and then right back home. We had NO idea. We didn’t know.

But God knew. He was not taken by surprise. And He was with us every step of the way…He was with us. In the midst of heartache, and confusion, and desperation, and aloneness…..He was with us. He provided for us in so many ways those last few days in Houston. (I’ll try to share some of those in later posts) He made it abundantly clear that He was with us and that even though our lives were about to be completely changed…He NEVER changes. Yet, it is still hard. And there are still tears. And there is still sorrow. And there is still grief and mourning. But it’s okay, because He understands and He is with us. It’s okay, because He tells us that this is the way of life. There is a time for sadness and grief and sorrow and mourning.

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
Ecc. 3:1-8

I look back to a year ago and could never have imagined that I would be in this place today. A widow with three kids trying to make sense of it all. Trying to figure out how to keep going, even if I don’t feel like it. Trying to figure out what God’s purpose is in leaving me here without a husband and my children without a father. But, that’s just it, isn’t it? We can’t know what is coming next year, or next week, or even later today. That’s why we need to really know the One who does know these things. Our world, our situation, our circumstances are always changing. That’s why we have to hold fast to the One who NEVER changes. The One who is the same yesterday, today and forever. He is the One that can help us through the things that we never saw coming. He is our Hope!

And although, I start my time in the Word with this verse: “My joy is gone; grief is upon me; my heart is sick within me.” I end my time in the Word with this verse: “Weeping may last for the night, but joy comes in the morning.” Psalm 30:5

I pray that you know the One who never changes, because you never know when YOUR world is going to change.

These pictures were taken in New Mexico in October 2012. One year before Greg’s death. We didn’t know.

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Trusting His Plan,
Sandra

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