Look At the Birds…

Photo by Tina Nord on Pexels.com

I have witnessed two bird miracles in my lifetime. The first was this past summer. I was leaving the costume closet for my daughter’s theater in downtown Indianapolis. I was walking up toward the circle and a pigeon fell from the sky and hit the street a few feet in front of me. It hit the ground hard. I had no idea what to do. So I scooped it up and laid it on the sidewalk. It then began to twitch and flopped itself back onto the street. So I scooped it up again, put it back on the sidewalk and just watched it flopped. I started to pray for that poor bird that it would be alright. In a few minutes after I prayed it stopped flopping and flew off. I walked away slowly, kept glancing back in unbelief, waiting for it to fall back to the ground. Once I got to the car I even drove back that way to make sure no birds had fallen back down. 

Two weeks ago a similar situation occurred. I was a block from home when I almost drove over a beautiful red cardinal in the street. I pulled over and tried to shoe it into the grass beside the road. It didn’t budge. Carefully I scooped it up and carried it into the field by the road. I was in shock that the bird let me. It didn’t even try to fly off my hands. So I prayed again. Then I called animal control to see if they could do anything. I suspected it was stunned or something was wrong with its wing. It was early in the morning and they weren’t open yet. I went home and got a box, filled it with fleece material and started to walk back to where I left the bird. My plan was if I couldn’t get a hold of animal control I could take it to my parents house, who have lots of bird houses and we could nurse it back to health there. I walked back to the field and saw the bird a few yards away from me, Right where I left him. As I got close it flew off toward some trees in a neighbor’s yard. I was so happy and thankful it was alright. I made sure to fill my bird feeders in the next few days so that if it came back it would have plenty of food. 

Jesus says in Matthew chapter 6 verse 26 to look at the birds. 

“Look at the birds of the air, they neither sow (seed) nor gather (the crops) into barns, and yet your heavenly Father keeps feeding them. Are you not worthy much more than they?”

This is what I thought about when I walked back home from the cardinal’s departure. I was in, am in a time of need when I have many, many worries. Yet despite those worries God chose that moment to answer my prayers and care for a bird. To remind me how much more he will take care of me through all my troubles and tribulations. I just needed the humbleness to ask.

Your Not The Only One To Question

We have had five our six leaks in our home. About 6 or 7 years ago around this same time, we had a leak and had the main line repaired and rerouted. We were told then that we shouldn’t have any more leaks. Last Tuesday we both came home from work to water surrounding our bathroom sink. This being one of many leaks we have faced in the past 16 years we knew what to do, just hated to walk through it again. Oh and every leak we have had, has been in that bathroom. We spent two days with minimal water, only turning it on once a day for showers, and Thursday the plumber came, cracked open our slab and chiseled out the pipe. Leaving a nice size whole in the bathroom floor. We will need to fix that floor as well as our living area floor where the water seeped under the floor boards.

But our trouble wasn’t over yet. Friday morning my engine light in my car came on. I precariously drove to and from work, holding my breath the whole time hoping the light wouldn’t flash. I needed to teach a piano lesson Friday night after work so I opted to drive my husbands car to that, only to get rear ended on the way.

God was good, no serous damage to the vehicle, just some paint scratched off. But my back was sore from the jolt and I ended up being evaluated in the hospital that night. Thankfully it is just a lower back strain but I am still sore.

As the saying goes, when it rains it pours and granted all of this is small potatoes in the grand scheme of things. I know people going through cancer, lost loved ones, fighting covid, it all could be much worse. So why am I writing this? Because we are all familiar with these kinds of trials and we all know what it feels like to ask the question, Why God?

Gideon also asked God why. In Judges 6 verse 11 an Angel of the Lord came and visited Gideon. Gideon was beating wheat at a wine press instead of the threshing floor at the time. The Midianites had been destroying the Israelites camps taking their sheep and food. Gideon was hiding. He didn’t want the Midianites to get his grain so he went to the winepress to thresh it.

The angel came to Gideon and told him, “The Lord is with you, O brave man.” (Verse 12) Gideon was hiding, doing a cowardly act and the Angel of the Lord called him brave. God sees us as we can be not as we are sometimes. God sees our true purpose in us.

In verse 12 Gideon says what we all think when we are overwhelmed with our trials, He asks Why God?

“But Gideon said to him, (the angel) “Pleas my lord, if the Lord is with us, then why has all this happened to us?”

Why, why did my loved one die, why did I get cancer, why do I have to have surgery? For me it was why did the floor leak, why is my car broken, Why did the car accident happen? We all, even Gideon, ask why. Now earlier in the chapter the narrator gives us a why, he says its because Israel sinned against the Lord but that’s not always the reason why bad things happen. As far as we know Gideon did not sin against the Lord and yet he was facing all of these hardships the Midianites brought too.

Gideon also said what many of us think in these times of trouble. He said the angel, “But now the Lord has abandon us and put us into the hand of Midian.” (verse 13) Gideon felt abandon by God.

God never abandon’s you. Trials strengthen our faith. We should hold on to the hope and promises that God will never leave us. It’s easy to feel abandon by God. It’s easy to say that faith is fake and not going to help. But the reality is that is all God asks of you in times of trouble to stand strong in your faith.

The angel never answered Gideons why. It says instead the Lord himself answered him by saying “Go in this strength of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian. Have I not sent you? (verse 14)

God just said go, walk thru your trial, your battle, your heartache, with me. In verse 16 the Lord says “I will certainly be with you,…” God is always victorious. We can find how to become brave in that promise that we are not alone in our trials no matter how many pile up at one time, no matter how big or how small they are. Gideon was victorious over the Midainites because God gave him strength, a plan and only the men he needed, ( he divided his fighting soldiers down to 300 men), and confused the enemy during the battle. All along the battle was Gods and the victory was His. It’s like that in our lives. We are nothing but collateral damage to Satan. He will throw all he can at us to make us feel insignificant, defeated and hopeless. But we have a God of hope who understands the real battles we face. He fights for us when we don’t even know we are fighting.

I am thankful for a God who loves me enough to fight for me even when I have given up fighting. I hope this encourages someone today. It is honest and real to have feelings of hopelessness in any trial. Prayer is a powerful weapon against these feelings. Community brings us reminders of hope. If you are struggling today, as I am, and would like to leave a prayer request in the comments. I would be honored to pray for you.

My Bout with Covid

I drew this the second day I was out of isolation playing with my son. Jesus was a lion fighting for me while I was sick. I wanted to honor Him and thank Him.

On August 9 at 11:30 at night I felt my heart drop into my chest as I saw my covid test had come back positive. The fear I had been caring since December of 2020 was real. I had caught the dreaded disease. I quickly donned a mask and told my husband in tears and hid myself in my sons bedroom. He had a bad habit of sleeping with me in my bed but in this case it was a blessing as it freed up his room. I stayed in there for 10 days. I got very sick and was seen by the doctor and put on a steroid at one point. I am now almost done with my second round of steroids and am doing much better.

I’m writing this to hopefully give you hope that when the worst things happen God is still there and still loves you and is blessing you. God blessed me with a doctor who was willing to see and treat me. God blessed me with a vaccine that I did take and I do believe I would have been much sicker without. Not trying to be political, just my personal feelings on the matter. More blessings came from the vaccine, since my children and my husband were also vaccinated and tested negative for covid the children were able to return to school. Only my youngest son was quarantined for the the entire 14 days. My father who brought food and looked at our washing machine that broke while I was isolated had also received the vaccine. I believe God kept him safe from Covid too.

The biggest miracle for me was that no one else in the family got sick. I was around them with a stuffy nose since Saturday and no one else caught it. God is so good! It was amazing how He provided while I was in isolation. Friends brought meals. My sweet neighbor made me an Indian tea that has helped heal me so much. Family and friends put my name on prayer chains. It was amazing. I felt so loved and blessed even though my biggest fear was coming true.

I was so thankful when my isolation was over and I could be around my family. I spent time with my son, still exhausted, but so happy to watch him play and be with him. I am still recovering but overall I do feel a lot better.

Sometimes in our lives the worst scenario happens and as in my case it happens when you don’t expect it. But here’s the hope. God has good plans for us, He provides for us, he loves us and is working toward are good. That was His promise in Jeremiah to the Israelites when the worst case scenario happened and Babylon took them for slaves. Its His promise to us in our hard times too. My advice celebrate the small miracles and victories you have throughout the hard times. Be thankful and remember we are blessed when we experience trial.

I am so thankful God is healing me and taking care of me. I pray He continues to heal those who are suffering from this disease. I also pray He will heal our country as a whole.

Among Us Birthday Goodie Bags

My son turned seven recently and like many others his age loves the game Among Us. It amazes me how this game has gone from a video game to the game everyone wants to play at the playground. We decided to have an Among Us themed birthday party at Chucky Cheese for him.

Since most Among Us decor is only available on ETSY I decided to design my own goody bags. To replicate these what you need is black goodie bags, I found mine at Party City in the over 40’s area, a white chalk marker, foam in multiple colors as well as white, A blue and gray marker and a black Sharpie marker, adhesive clear crystals, craft scissors and adhesive Zots.

I made a copy of the Among Us character by printing off and enlarging an image from the internet and then cut that image out and traced it onto the foam with the Black Sharpie. I also cut out the helmet and traced that onto the white foam. I used the blue and grey marker to color in the shading on the helmet. Then using the adhesive Zots, which are just dried dots of glue I attached the helmet to the body. Once the marker dried I attached the body to the bag with the Zots and decorated the bag with clear adhesive crystals to look like stars.

Then using the white chalk marker I put the child’s name on the bag. You can use fun sayings like they are sus or they are not the impostor.

I filled the bags with goodies that were my sons favorite things in the same color of the impostor character which was also that child’s favorite color. I had a lot of blue impostors in my game!

The bags along with an impostor cake designed by his older sister were a big hit and my son had a blast turning 7.

Campers at Allendale Focus on Loving Others

I spent last week in one of my favorite places on earth, Camp Allendale in Trafalgar, Indiana. It’s beautiful and just oozes peace and joy. Two things I have been lacking up until last week.

We have not had an easy summer. We’ve had ups and downs. Moments of joy followed by really hard hits. But the break from reality, being in the woods with third and fourth graders soaking up sun and God really did me some good.

My youngest had his first overnight at camp during the week. He did really well. Better than I had hoped for which was so encouraging. He says his favorite thing about camp was the pool. The theme for the week at Allendale was to focus on others. We talked a lot about serving others and loving others. One of my favorite things said during the week by our Camp Director Tomi Lessaris was that “Love is not a feeling, love is a choice.”

In John 13:34 Jesus says, A new commandment I give to you that you love one another, just as I have loved you, you are also to love one another.

And when your in the thick of it, when the kids are all whining and demanding, when your co-worker or your boss lay it down on you, when you and your friend have a disagreement on Facebook, we have to remember that loving each other, that’s a choice. It’s no longer a lovey-dovey feeling because at that moment loving the other person might be the hardest thing you can do. But as Tomi says, “Love is putting others needs above our own wants, Love is treating others the way they want to be treated, Love is caring to do something about it. My friend, author, worship leader and founder of Enlightened Relationships LeAnzer Stockley often will say “I am Love for u” as apposed to “I love you.” His reason is because he believes we can be love for others with our actions and are words. We can show people the true meaning of love by what we say and do not just by our feelings alone. Stockley says on his website, “Love not just as acceptance and support, but also as a divine identity. We believe every human possesses divine relational worth. We understand Love, relationships and oneness to be not only at the core essence of human nature, but also the means by which we thrive as a species and overcome the illusion of separation.” I think he’s on to something.

1 Corinthians 16:14 says “Do everything in love.” It’s a tall order but so necessary. It reminds us to put oneself last and other’s first. To make our choices in the most loving direction.

Made by one of my campers

One of my favorite activities at camp was when the girls and I decorated with chalk. There messages of Jesus’s love to others soared my heart. It told me that they got it. They understood that Jesus loves them. And in the glow of the campfire and flow of the lake it’s not hard to imagine. But in the wake of your parents divorce, the bulling at school, the hard times of life when you ask, why is this happening. It’s harder to feel Jesus’s love for you. But His love still there. His love is unchanging. Ours should be too.

To learn more about Mr. Stockley and his mission go to http://www.leanzarstockley.com. To hear more stories about my trips to Camp Allendale check out A Week of Camp, Focusing on the Good.

Embracing Gods Timing

I feel like sometimes I’m in a race. Today I had to drop my youngest at my parents house so that I could go to a doctor appointment. I also had to drop my oldest off at her work and pick up my middle one. Ready, Set, Go. Off I went to my parents to drop off my son then 5 minutes later back in the car to get my daughter to work by 2:30 then I had a half hour to make the doctors appointment. Appointment over, off again to pick up my son and middle daughter. Boy was I tired when I got home. I made it, by God’s grace, everywhere I was meant to go but not without stress and prayers, especially when we got stuck behind the tractor!

I learned a while back that I am not in control of time. God is. I hate being late and having kids makes you late sometimes. I would get so upset when we would arrive somewhere late. Until I realized it didn’t do any good. No matter how upset I was time still ticked on. So now I pray for God’s timing and peoples mercy.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 is a very familiar passage for most of us. But it speaks about God’s timing. It mentions 28 seasons of life that will happen to all of us and that they happen in God’s timing.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: 2a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, 3a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, 4a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, 5a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, 6a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, 7a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, 8a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.

We are all right now somewhere in these 8 verses. Sometimes your in more than one time at once. These verses make it very clear that God is soverign over the season you are in. It may be a good season or a bad season. It may be an uncomfortable season full of change. Which is another point these verses make that change is inevitable and absolute. Change can be a hard thing to process and can create anxiety and depression for an individual. But you can’t avoid it. Change will and does happen. Courtney Joseph says in her Bible Study Ecclesiastes Wisdom for Living Well, that “God uses change to shape us and to open our eyes to His presence. We are not alone. We need to embrace change.”

Matthew 6:27 is one of my life verses. Jesus says “And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his life span?”ESV

Anxiety, Worry, Depression does not change the outcome of our life. It can’t change the day. God has already determined that. Psalm 139″13-16 says that God made us fearfully and wonderfully and that “in Your book were all written The days that were appointed for me. When as yet there was not one of them (even taking shape) “-verse 16.

So if God has already determined our days we have no need for anxiety and worry. We can trust in God to care for us. In thinking about the seasons of Ecclesiastes I also think about the hard seasons we can be in and how those seasons of grief, loss, death, and weeping how heavy those seasons seem. I wanted to remind you that God calls us His sheep, not His pack mules. God puts us all through the same seasons, so that we will lean on Him and lean on each other. You are not meant to carry things alone. He’s got big strong shoulders and wants to carry the hard things with and for you. We are called to care for eachother and in that we are told to carry each other’s burdens.

Galatians 6:2 “Carry one another’s burdens and in this way you will fulfill the requirements of the law of Christ ( that is, the law of Christian love.)

If you want to read more about change you can go to my blog post The Aftermath of Change in your Life from a few weeks ago. My life is definitely in a season of change. I no longer want to run the race against time but instead trust in God’s timing. If you are in a hard or heavy season and would like prayer please comment before. I would love to pray for you.

Why Read the Bible

Bible Journaling is another way to read the Bible. Here is my first Bible Journal page.

When I first became a Christian in fourth grade the leaders of my youth group, Mike and Pam Bandy, would provide us with a sheet of paper after every meeting. On the paper was a verse for us to read every day of the week. If we would read the verse of the day three times a day for a whole month Mike and Pam would present you with a hard covered Bible with your name beautifully calligraphied on the inside. Made it 6 months you got a concordance to go with the Bible. This was a prized possession as we did a number of sword drills and looking up scriptures during the meetings. Make it a year you got the entire Chronicles of Narnia to read. Two years you got a leather Bible. I collected those quiet time papers on a weekly basis and worked my way through all the awards. I even had a quiet time partner at one point. A good friend still today that we would call each other daily and read together. By the time I started college Reading the Bible daily was engrained into my nightly routine.

But that’s when it stopped for a while. My roommate would get upset when she saw me reading the Bible, so I started going to the commons room to read. I would often time get interrupted there or teased. I finally gave into peer pressure and didn’t go back to reading the Bible till after I was married and going thru a hard time at work. The YouVersion Bible app wasn’t a thing yet, we still had flip phones and it was hard to read again without a plan. I would read through books of the new testament. My mother-in-law gave me a new Bible around that time as well. I was no longer reading the Bible to collect a prize or do well in a youth group. I was searching for answers, looking for hope and soon found I could not make it through a day without it.

Mark E Moore says in his book Core 52 in chapter 50 that “Reading and applying the Bible are the most important skills for spiritual growth. Research has shown that those who engage the Bible four times a week or more have stronger marriages, healthier habits, and better self esteem.”

If you struggle with fear and anxiety as I do knowing and reading the Bible can be key in helping you fight back against fearful, anxious and depressive thoughts. For example It says in 365 verses in the bible DO NOT BE AFRAID. And most of the these verses are followed by exactly why you don’t need to be afraid.

2 Kings 6:16 Elisha answered, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”

Luke 12:32 “Do not be afraid and anxious little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the the kingdom”

Ezekiel 3:9″ I have made your forehead like emery (diamond) harder than flint. Do not be afraid of them or be dismayed before them though they are a rebellious house.”

and one of my favorites:

Jeremiah 1:8 “Do not be afriad of them, (or their hostile faces) For I am with you (always) to protect you and deliver you, says the Lord”

Jesus often told his disciples Do not be afraid when he approached them. Angels often started their sentances with Do not be afraid. It is obvious that God reconizes that fear is something we struggle with and he wants us to know with him there is no need for fear.

Reading these verses daily help you to imprint them on your heart and when anxious thoughts you have come you can tell yourself that God is in control, he has equipped and provided for you and you have nothing to fear.

The word of God has the ability to transform you and change you. The more you read and study the more it transforms your thoughts which change your actions. Moore gives a good outline of the steps you should take when preparing to study the Bible.

  1. Choose a quiet place and a consistent time to read. I tend to read in the late morning after my kids have gone off to school. As a child I read before bedtime. I like mornings better because it straightens out my day. I take my time. But if your life is busy and you just have 5 minutes. God can use that too.

2. Read it. Moore perfers a physical Bible but I perfer the Youversion App. I like that I can change and compare scripture in different versions. I like that it’s easy to look up a specific verse or topic. And I like the plans Youversion offeres. You can do a short plan or read the whole Bible in a year and the plans are structured already for you.

3. Have a pen or a way to highlight what sticks out to you while your reading. Have a place to take notes. Either in the Bible or a notebook. Youversion has a place for note taking in the app as well.

Ask yourself while your reading, what stood out to you and how you can apply it to how you live today.

Prayer is also a vital part of studying the Bible. Ask God to help you focus and understand his word. The Bible is one of the primary ways He speaks to us. The Holy Spirit can equip you in understanding what you are reading and help you apply it to your life.

Moore says that “God has promised blessings and success to those who dillegently seek him in his word.”

Joshua 1:8 ” Keep this book of the Law always on your lips, meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and sucessful.”

God will bless and provide wisdom for you if you spend time with Him and his word daily. I’m excited to see you grow in God’s word. Do you have a way you and God spend time daily? I’d love to hear about it in the comments. Getting started reading the Bible? YouVersion and the Abide App are great places to start learning how to mediate on God’s word. You can read more about the Abide App in my blog here. Biggest Tool in my tool box…Abide App.

Run Your Race on Fertile Ground

Photo by nappy on Pexels.com

I have some news for you my friend, God did not promise us an easy life. So if your looking for an easy life this is not the path for you. He promised us abundant, eternal, life but not an easy one.

I like to watch Todd White and he recently posted a video in which he challenges his church to pray in the spirit every day. He said praying in the spirit strengthens your spirit and gives you what you need to get through the day. He related it to charging your spiritual battery. So I thought well why not and I have been praying in the spirit almost every day for about a week. Oh has my life gotten messy! Its like chaotic messy. Everything I try to accomplish has blockades in the way. Why? Well I think its a sign I’m on to something. Many times when you start something that God want you to do or accomplish because it will help you grow well life gets hard. It’s like the parable of the seeds in Matthew 13.

” Listen carefully a sower went out to sow (seed in his field) and as he sowed, some seeds fell beside the road (between the fields). and the birds came and ate it. Other seed fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and at once they sprang up because they had no depth of soil. But when the sun rose they were scorched, and because they had no root, they withered away. Other seed fell among thorns, and thorns came up and choked them out. Other seeds fell on good soil and yielded grain, some a hundred times as much as as was sown.” Matthew 13:1-8

Jesus explains in Matthew 13:20 that the seed that was sown on rocky ground “is the one who hears the word and at once welcomes it with joy, yet has no substantial root in himself but the its only temporary” He then says when pressure or persecution come because of the word, immediately he stumbles and falls away.”

Jesus knew that persecution and pressure would come once you received the word of God. So if you’ve committed to reading your Bible everyday and you keep falling asleep when you try, well that’s pressure and persecution. (I read with my coffee.) If you commit to spending time with God every morning in prayer and your mornings get busy, or you forget, or you can’t find a quiet place in your house, that’s pressure and persecution. – I pray alone in my car better than anywhere else.

Jesus goes on to say in verse 22 ” And the one whom seed was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the worries and distractions of the world and the deceitfulness (the superficial pleasures and delight) of riches choke the word and it yields no fruit.”

The worries and distractions of the world are always there. If you struggle with anxiety like I do those worries are real. They attack you. They steal your joy and they can keep you from growing in God.

But. There is hope. The seed grows in the fertile ground verse 23 “And the one on whom seed was sown on the good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands and grasps it, he indeed bears fruit and yields, some a hundred times (as much as was sown.) some sixty (times as much, ) and some thirty.”

So how do we keep ourselves like fertile ground? We have to do a few things. We have to be rooted in God. Which means you know who you are in Christ. I’ve written about knowing who you are in Christ and you can find that here: Who I am In Christ. You have to be in the word of God. You have to forgive others that have hurt you. Holding onto hurts makes us hard and bitter and God can’t grow a seed in hard ground. God wants you soft like potting soil. If you have trouble forgiving you can ask God to help you forgive. I can’t tell you how many times he’s had to help me.

If you are rooted in God and your soil is fertile you will have the determination to hold onto God’s truth whether it be a word from Him or a want for a deeper relationship with Him that you are trying to work toward.

In Hebrews 12:1-2 it says, “Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and sin which clings so closely and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him he endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”

I was a swimmer in high school. During the season we grew our leg hair out, wore two suits, and sometimes even practiced with panty hose on. The week of sectionals we shaved, donned “paper” swimsuits and greased up our bodies with baby oil and Bengay before each competitive lap. The boys shaved their heads so they wouldn’t have to wear caps and shaved thier bodies as well. Why? We wanted to make our bodies as light and slippery as possible to slide through the water fast. All of this preparation worked as we’d see seconds sliced off our times.

I’m not a runner but because of swimming I understand what the author of Hebrews is saying. We have to “lay aside every weight and sin which clings so closely.” My weights are fear and worry. I can’t run my race and hold on to them. What are your weights. Are your weights the same?

See if we can let go of these weights and make our ground fertile just like a seed we can shoot up into the purpose God made us for. We won’t be hindered and weighed down. We can be joyful because we know the end of our race. We can endure what is not easy. Because He didn’t promise us an easy life. He promised us a marathon of ups and downs of joy and sadness but He also promised us an abundant, eternal life.

The mess I’m in right now will pass and I will still be praying in the spirit. Living an abundant life means knowing God has your back. He will give you what you need, he hears your prayers and he wants you to run your race gloriously.

Last Times Bring Something New

I’ve been dealing with a lot of last times lately. Last times are hard. My middle daughter just finished performing in the school version of the musical Les Miserables. Sunday night was her last time performing. All the kids had lots of tears through out the show and at the end. They had performed it a total of 12 times. I help with costumes and as many of the leads turned in their pieces I would hear them say, “My last time,” sadly. It was my last time too, hearing their beautiful voices singing, “Do you hear the people sing?”- and having chills every time. Les Miserables is my favorite Broadway play and God allowing my daughter to perform in it was a gift. I too was sad it was over. But thankful that God allowed me to to be a part of it.

Loss of anything is hard. When you know a last time is coming, like the last time you said goodbye to a loved one on this earth. It is really hard. I think its even harder when you don’t know it’s coming when that last time was missed like the last time you changed a diaper or fed a bottle or saw a friend.

Joyce Meyers says in her Everyday Bible on the subject of Ruth that ” Loss does not mean everything in your life is over, just that one part of it has ended. One season has passed and another can now begin, if you are willing to believe that you can now go forward.”

Going forward, putting one foot in front of the other is essentially what Ruth did when her mother-in-law Naomi decided to go to her home in Bethlehem. She told Ruth and her sister -in-law Orpah to go back to their homes in the country of Moab and she would return to her home in Bethlehem. But Ruth clung to Naomi and said, “where you go, I will go, where you lodge, I will lodge, your people will be my people, and your God, my God.” (Ruth 1:16 AMP)”

And you know what, Ruth was blessed with a new story. She was given a new husband and a child in the lineage of Christ. All because she choose to move forward and not abandon her mother-in-law.

Meyers states, “God promises to be with you in trouble. While you are waiting for him to deliver you, you can be comforted knowing he is with you and working on your behalf.” (pg410)

Even in loss and pain God is working on your behalf for good. He promises to redeem you, just as he did Ruth. He says in Joel 2:25 ” And I will compensate you for the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the creeping locust, the stripping locust and the gnawing locust, My great army which I sent among you. You will have plenty to eat and be satisfied and praise the name of the Lord your God who has dealt wondrously with you, and my people shall neve be put to shame.”

In our losses we will never be put to shame. I believe God redeems us also for the losses we endure. Be thankful for the gifts in the midsts of your losses is helpful in moving forward. But realizing in every end there is a new beginning will help you continue.

Staying Positive When You Have A Setback

Last week I wrote about coping with change in your life. And of course immediately after I experienced some change. Friday my middle daughter fell ill with a sinus infection keeping her from attending play practice. Friday evening my oldest daughter fell off her skate board and fractured her elbow and then Monday my youngest son woke up with an ear infection. Total chaos ensued. All activities were canceled and I found myself needed by all three kids at that same time. My hearts broke for them as I administered medicine and the occasional hug. Thankfully my to sick ones are on the mend with antibiotics and feel much better. However my oldest is majorly bummed. She cannot ride horses till she’s healed and it will be along 6 weeks without them.

So we have on our hands a set back. Set backs are not fun or comfortable or easy. They happen to everybody and sometimes you just wonder “God why am I going through this?” I tried to remind my oldest this is not her first setback. When she was 8 or 9 years old she sprained her ankle and couldn’t dance for 6 weeks. She was so frustrated I thought dance was over. But she opted to take summer classes and by the fall she was right back on track doing fouette’s around the room.

So I reminded her that this is just a set back. In six weeks she can be back on a horse and in her element. We talked about focusing on school and her drawing until she feels better. We tried to look at the bright side.

Jesus knew set backs too. Herod killed his cousin John the Baptist. That was a set back. A huge one. Jesus’s friend, cousin and main evangelist for Him was gone. Jesus needed to grieve his loss but instead he taught and fed 5000 people (Luke 9:9-17) Jesus was told by the disciples to withdraw and rest but instead because he had compassion over the crowds he stayed and taught and performed a miracle to feed them.

That tells me that inside the set back God is still working and still has purpose for you. God has a plan for my daughter in these six weeks of rest. He’s going to still work in her and through her until she can go back to that stable.

The same is true for you. Whatever setback you are facing is just that it’s a set back not a benching. You can still be used through it. As long as theirs breath in your lungs God has a plan and a purpose for you.