friends, grief, Trials, Uncategorized

Thank God for Good Friends

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These beautiful chocolate bars were waiting for me as I stumbled into the guest room at my friend’s house the other night. Exhausted, and a bit overwhelmed at the thought of facing Mom’s memorial and all that involved, some sweetness to console me.

Moonstruck Chocolate is my favorite chocolate. It’s based in Oregon and I had completely forgot about it, until Tuesday night. My amazing friend Carol remembered my love of Moonstruck and she blessed me. Coming to her house is a respite in the storm.

When I walked in the guest room in a bit of a daze, and saw a bag of goodies and those two bars sticking out of the top, my heart was full. Only a dear friend would do something that thoughtful.

Thank God for good friends who love, support, and care for you in difficult times. A true friend in life is a blessing. A true friend stands by you in all the ups and downs. A true friend is the one you can call in the middle of the night when everything is falling apart and lend a listening ear. And, a true friend is the one you can laugh with and cry with.

Carol is just this type of friend. The Lord brought us together many years ago and the friendship was instant. We have stood by each other through thick and thin.

I have several other rock solid friends that I will share about another time. God has blessed me beyond measure with good people in my life who love me and take care of me. I try and do the same for them as well.

To have good friends you need to be a good friend. I hope I can give back in some small way the love and care that has been given to me.

During this not easy time of saying goodbye to my mom and preparing for her memorial, I am blessed.

Thank you Lord for good friends!

Love you all,

Meghan

Faith, grief, Trials, Uncategorized

Life’s Interruptions

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He stilled the storm to a whisper;
    the waves of the sea were hushed. 

Psalm 107:29

 

My life was recently interrupted with my mom’s death. We knew it was coming, as cancer was spreading through her body. It still takes your breath away, because you’re never ready. So here I am planning a memorial, and grieving. My life has paused, for now. Pictures are being sorted. Details for Mom’s memorial being planned. Flights booked. Everything right now is about honoring my mom.

I would choose smooth, calm waters. Everything perfectly planned. No interruptions. No death. No disease. No accidents. No real problems. It doesn’t work that way on this side of eternity. This world is broken. We are all passing through. Interruptions will come. They will bring us to our knees. They will bring us to the Father. They can make us stronger in Him, if we choose.

My weakness and God’s strength meet. At that exact point, I am strong.

So today, I surrender. I wouldn’t choose to plan a memorial for my mom right now. I’d put it off. It’s too much. Too hard. Too painful. Yet, I am forced to deal with this. I make the choice to stand on The Rock, Jesus. As I stand, He holds me. Guides me. Makes a way.

Most of life’s interruptions are unexpected. We are stunned in these moments. Sad, overwhelmed, fearful, and lost. There is good news. God is never surprised by anything. God is never overwhelmed. God is never afraid. God knows each painful thing we have to face. God will give us the grace to carry on. He sustains. He is faithful. He knows what good can come out of these interruptions.

I choose to trust God. I can’t see past these waves, but God can. He’s holding me, and He promises to get me through. God never goes back on His Word. God is constant, faithful, loving, and true.

What life interruption are you facing today? Maybe you think there is no way you are going to make it. That is a lie. You are going to make it.

God is a way maker.

God can still storms.

God can give you peace.

God loves you!

Hold on to Him. Trust Him. Obey Him. Praise Him.

 

Love you all,

Meghan

 

P.S. If you need prayer, please leave your request in the comments or on my contact page.

 

Photo Credit: EliasSch from Pixabay

 

Faith, grief, Trials, Uncategorized

I Hate Goodbyes

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The last day of 2019 was Mom’s last day on Earth. Even though we knew it was coming, it still really hurts. No matter what, you’re just not ready to say goodbye. I wasn’t, that’s for sure. Selfishly, I wanted more time. Come on Lord, give her a few more years. Then I don’t have to deal with that pain quite yet. Yet, here I am grieving. Not ready for it. Who is ever prepared to grieve?

I have peace. That’s the funny part. I have complete peace of where my mom is, heaven. Mom loved Jesus and knew Him as her Savior and Lord. She is not suffering anymore. That makes me so happy! Mom spent most of her life sick. She is now free of all pain and suffering. She wasn’t big on complaining, so most people would never know just how much illness and disease she dealt with. And, she always looked incredible, not like a sick person.

If I had my way, we would skip off to eternity together, holding hands. Young and old. No one would leave this earth until we all went home to Jesus, together. That’s not how it works. We were made for heaven. This is just the temporary part. We can easily lose sight of that and think that this life is it. When our loved ones die, it is a reminder that there’s more. We miss them, long to be where they are.

But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ. Philippians 3:20 

It’s bittersweet. Mom is gone, and I will always miss her terribly. But, she is rejoicing with Jesus, with a new disease free body. No pain. No sorrow. No sin. No evil. And Jesus is there, waiting for all of us who said yes to Him.

My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? John 14:2

So Mom, I love you and miss you, but I’m happy for you. The life you lived was filled with many struggles, but many triumphs as well. The glass was half full to you. There was always a fight in you. Resilience was your middle name. God knew you needed that quality, and it served you well. I hope I picked up a tiny bit of that fighting spirit.

When Mom was down to her final moments I asked her husband to hold the phone to her ear. I felt so strongly I needed to say goodbye. I can’t explain it, just a strong feeling that I needed to do this. I love you. I pray for peace. Goodbye Mom. She didn’t respond. No movement. Her eyes were shut. I believe she heard me. Minutes later she passed away.

We are now preparing for Mom’s memorial. Though difficult, it’s a blessing too. So many loved my mom. She touched many lives in her 76 years. Well done Mom. You did it. Now dance with Jesus.

I won’t say goodbye. See you soon Mom! I love you.

 

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The beginning for Mom and me. She was pregnant with me in this picture.

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This picture was taken at least 25 years ago and how I see her. Healthy and beautiful.

Dorothea Louise 

October 19, 1943 ~ December 31, 2019

Love you Mom ❤

Faith, Trials, Uncategorized

Count Your Blessings

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Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

James 1:17

 

We all have Christmas traditions. One of ours is to play the movie White Christmas while the tree is being decorated. I love all the music from that classic movie. Of course the iconic “White Christmas” song by Irving Berlin is one of the most beloved Christmas songs of all time. And I do love that song. But there’s another song from the movie that I love. “Count Your Blessings” was also written by Irving Berlin. He wrote it during a time he was suffering from insomnia brought on by stress. A doctor suggested to count his blessings instead. Good advice.

When I’m worried and I can’t sleep
I count my blessings instead of sheep and I fall asleep counting my blessings
when my bankroll is getting small I think of when I had none at all
and I fall asleep counting my blessings.

 

I think about a nursery,
and I picture curly heads,
and one by one I count them
as they slumber in their beds.

If you’re worried and you cant sleep,
just count your blessings instead of sheep
and you’ll fall asleep counting your blessings.

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Worry and stress are exasperated during this “Most Wonderful Time of The Year”. While it should be one of the happiest times, for many it can be one of the hardest. I think of this song often throughout the year when I feel stressed. When I stop and count all of my many blessings it gives me perspective. The problems will always come, but the gifts from our Heavenly Father will come too. So let’s thank Him for all He has given us, for all He has done and continues to do.
The Word of God is clear about what we are to do with our worry. Give it all over to Jesus. Here are just a few verses:
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7 (NIV)
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Phillipians 4:6-7 (NIV) 
When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. Psalm 56:3 (NIV)
No matter what you are facing today, stop and take a few moments to thank God for everything He has blessed you with. Write these blessings down and look at them daily to remember how faithful God is. Let’s count our blessings! Our lists should be so long that we run out of paper. If you are in a painful place, at least write a few blessings down. There is always something to be thankful for. Your list will grow as you begin to think about all the good God has done.
Here is a big blessing to start you off. Jesus came into this world as a tiny baby to save us. Thank you Jesus for the blessing and miracle of Christmas.
When we thank God for His many blessings something happens. We stop focusing on the problems and stress and start focusing on God. That changes our mood and our attitude. Our faith grows, and our praise gets stronger. That’s powerful!
May your load be a little lighter today. May God give you fresh joy and perspective when you think on all He has done.
Love you all,
Meghan
P.S. If you need prayer leave your request in the comments or on my contact page.
Images by monicore from Pixabay
God, Jesus, Trials, Uncategorized

Get Back Up

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Though a righteous man falls seven times,
he will get up,
but the wicked will stumble into ruin.

Proverbs 24:16

When our oldest son, Dylan, was thirteen he asked to play football. We were brand new to Texas and thought that may not be the best idea. After all, kids in Texas are born holding footballs. He would have to catch up. Dylan was so sure of what he wanted that we agreed, and in no time he was at workouts and then spring football camp. I’ll never forget how excited he was when tackling started. It was a huge adrenaline rush for him.

Time and time again Dylan would get tackled and taken to the ground. We would ask him, “Did you get back up?” And he always answered, “Yes”. That’s what we wanted to hear as parents. We didn’t tell him you will never get tackled or don’t get taken down. We knew he would take some hard hits as he was learning, and that more than likely, he would end up on the ground. The key was to get back up. Keep going.

We all take some hard hits in life. Sometimes we get hit so hard we can’t get back up. We get tired of taking the hit. We may even lay there for a while. Some of us took a hit and we decided that was it, we aren’t getting back up again. The hit was devastating. Job loss, divorce, death of a loved one, bankruptcy, disease, homelessness, abuse, addiction and so many other painful things.

If you’ve been laying there for a while too afraid and too weak to move, would you consider getting back up today? Because you aren’t laying there alone. You see, Jesus has been with you the whole time. He will never ever leave you. If you’re ready to get up, He’s reaching His hand out to you. He will help you get back up. Yes, it is scary to know that we will get hit again. It’s inevitable in life.

But, God is in control.

29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30 But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. (Matthew 10:29-30, ESV) 

It can be difficult to understand how and why God allows painful circumstances. His ways are not our ways.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.

“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9, NIV)

I can’t pretend to have it all figured out. I have plenty of questions, but I choose to trust God. He’s God, and I am not. If you have questions, it’s O.K. It’s normal. Bring those hard questions to the Father.

He is working things out for you and me.

28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28, NASB)

This verse in Romans gets quoted a lot, but it’s true. I love that it says and we know. That’s a sure thing. We can count on the God of the universe to work things out for our good. Every time we get tackled by life and get back up, we get a little stronger. Our faith gets a little bigger. When we grab Jesus’ hand as He pulls us back up, we are reminded that we aren’t doing it alone. Those of us who follow Jesus have an advantage. He equips, calls us, carries us, cleans us up, makes a way, does the impossible.

With Jesus, we have all we need to get back up.

“I was pushed hard, so that I was falling,
    but the Lord helped me.

The Lord is my strength and my song;
    he has become my salvation.” (psalm 118:13-14, ESV)

 

Love you all,

Meghan

 

 

Heavenly Father,

I lift up all the hurting to you. Those who can’t get back up. They are stuck, afraid. Give them courage and faith to take your hand and get back up. Comfort them and bring healing. And remind them that you are working out something beautiful through their pain. Let them feel Jesus’ loving arms.

Amen

 

 

Photo credit: Elle Dee from Pixabay

God, Trials, Uncategorized

How Soon We Forget

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“Remember the goodness of God in the frost of adversity.”   Charles Spurgeon 

Oh no! Panic! Panic! Panic! What’s gonna happen to me? Will God help me? Where is God? How quickly I forget when things go wrong. My first reaction used to be fear. Not anymore. The Lord, in His grace and mercy, has taught me to trust Him. That did not happen overnight. That took years. Now that doesn’t mean I don’t have short term memory problems when it comes to God’s faithfulness. Sometimes I forget, we all do.

What triggers those feelings of fear and abandonment? Trouble. Life stops going our way and we may assume God has left us. Where did we get the crazy idea that life is supposed to be problem free, and if we do have problems, that God must have left us. That couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Trials will come. I know, not exactly what you want to hear. But, it’s the reality of living in this world.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33, NIV)

Jesus tells us that the trouble will come, but he’s already overcome the world. He will take care of us and get us through any trouble we face.

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6, NIV)

God will never leave us. Ever. Trials will come, but He will be with us. Guaranteed.

Sometimes we forget what God has done when things are going great. It doesn’t mean it’s intentional, but it happens. It happened over and over again to the Israelites in the Old Testament. God warns them in Deuteronomy 8 not to forget Him.

“Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands.” (Deuteronomy 8:2, NIV)

“Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day.” (Deuteronomy 8:11, NIV)

But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.” (Deuteronomy 8:18, NIV)

When we forget God a nasty thing slips in. Pride. At first we aren’t even aware of our pridefulness. But it can take over before we know it. Everything is going well. Do I really need God? I’ll just call on Him when I’m in trouble. And there it is. I’ve done it many times. I don’t recommend it.

Remember what God has done for you. That same God will do it again. He loves you so much. You are His precious child. God takes care of His own.

“I will remember the deeds of the Lord;
yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.” (Psalm 77:11, NIV)

Years ago, I started writing down all the times God showed up in my life and did the impossible. If you’ve never done it, you may want to try it. Take a few minutes and think back on all the times in your life you were up against a wall and God made a way. This is important to remind us of His faithfulness.

God is not a person. God is reliable, dependable, and will always come through. Maybe not the way we expect or exactly when we would like, but He will make a way. We are the creation and He is the magnificent Creator so He knows best. Trust Him.

Love you all,

Meghan

 

 

Father God,

Thank you for your faithfulness, even when we are not faithful. Thank you for your perfect love and care for us. I lift up all those who are afraid because of their circumstances. Remind them of your faithfulness in the past. Give them peace as they wait on you. Nothing is too hard for you. We praise and thank you and remember your goodness.

In Jesus name,

Amen

 

Photo credit: Strikers

 

Spiritual Warfare, Trials, Uncategorized

The Shofar

Blowing  the shofar for the Feast of Trumpets

A beautiful sound like a trumpet or a chime interrupted our after dinner conversation. Wanting to investigate, all four of us left the Italian restaurant and walked across the courtyard near city hall. There was absolutely no one around. I thought to myself maybe it was a church bell or a clock chime.  Out of nowhere a man appeared and he was holding a long instrument. “This is a ram’s horn” the man said. “Do you know what it is?” he asked me. “Yes,” I answered. I had read about the shofar or ram’s horn in the Bible but I’d never seen or heard one before that. “We don’t want darkness here. So me and a few other men in the area blow the ram’s horn on the steps of the city hall regularly,” he said.

I knew right away what he was doing. He was taking spiritual authority over Sugar Land, our new home. I was blown away, no pun intended. At that point we were living in a hotel with not a lot of answers. My recent post Scraps of Paper tells more about our move. I felt something very different in Sugar Land, in a good way, and I couldn’t figure out exactly what that good thing was. After hearing the shofar and speaking with that man, I got my answer. Jesus was there and at work.

God had been working the whole time, I just wasn’t seeing a lot of evidence of His work. Maybe I wasn’t looking in the right place. Hearing the shofar was God telling me I’m here. I brought you here and I am working. It’s all going to be OK. That may seem strange to some of you. But for me, hearing a ram’s horn brought encouragement, comfort, and hope. Now, the keeping the darkness part out sounds a bit scary. I knew what that man meant. Spiritual darkness. Evil forces at work. Sounds spooky, but it’s the reality.

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12, NASB)

Our battles ultimately are spiritual in nature. We are not fighting people, though we may be in a disagreement with someone. The real battle is not in the flesh. What does this have to do with the shofar?

In ancient Israel the blowing of the shofar had many purposes. Some of it’s uses were to call people together, for battle, and to praise God. The ram’s horn is first mentioned in Exodus.

So it happened on the third day, when it was morning, that there were thunder and flashes of lightning, and a thick cloud was on the mountain, and a very loud blast was sounded on a ram’s horn, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled.” (Exodus 19:16, AMP)

One of the most famous stories using the shofar is Joshua and Jericho.

Then the Lord said to Joshua, “See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men. March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days. Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams’ horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have the whole army give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the army will go up, everyone straight in.” (Joshua 6:2-5, NIV)

I’m not going to put the entire story on here. I highly recommend reading it either for the first time, or again for those of you who have read it many times. It is such an incredible story of God’s power. Joshua 6:1-20. Here’s the final verse from that passage:

20 When the trumpets sounded, the army shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when the men gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed; so everyone charged straight in, and they took the city. (Joshua 6:20, NIV)

The ram’s horn didn’t bring the wall down. The shouting didn’t bring the wall down. The marching didn’t bring the wall down. God brought the wall down. The shofar doesn’t have magic powers. It’s what it represents that brings the power and presence of God.

The shofar was used often for warfare.

“When you go to war in your land against the enemy who oppresses you, then you shall sound an alarm with the trumpets, and you will be remembered before the Lord your God, and you will be saved from your enemies.” (Numbers 10:9, NKJV)

Here are some of the military uses of the shofar:¹

  • Signaling and alerting: Ehud and Nehemiah use it to summon their men (Judges 3:27; Nehemiah 4:12-14).
  • Weapon for frightening the enemy (Judges 7:22)
  • Announcing victory (Samuel A 13:3)
  • Announcing rebellion (Samuel B 20:1)
  • Cease fighting (Samuel B 20:22)
  • Warning sign about approaching enemy (Jeremiah 4:21; Hosea 5:8; and other)

The mysterious man I met that night was drawing a line in the sand for the city. It was a battle cry. And even though I didn’t know the bigger significance of a ram’s horn then, I knew enough in my spirit to know it was a God thing. You know when you just know because of the Holy Spirit? I just knew.

The ram’s horn is still used by Jews today for many things like Rosh Hashanah, where 100 times it blasts. There are four main notes or sounds used when blowing the shofar. I could fill volumes on the shofar and it’s significance for God’s people.

My little interaction at the city hall was about spiritual warfare. There are other Christians today, using the shofar. I am not suggesting you need to blow a ram’s horn. But if God wants you to, then by all means go for it.

What I love about the shofar is it brings things into perspective. It points to God and we need more of that in our world. In the middle of my battle, God showed up and He will for you too. He’s working right now in your life. You may not see Him at work. Maybe you’re like I was, and you think He has forgotten you. He hasn’t. God sees you. God knows you. Trust Him.

 

Heavenly Father,

I lift up all those who are in a battle. Show up for them Father. Bring answers, provision, and the best thing of all, your presence. Encourage the battle weary that you will fight for them. We love you and praise your Holy name!

Amen

 

Love you all,

Meghan

 

 

Photo credit: John Theodor

Footnote:

  1. http://www.shofarot-israel.com/index.php/the-shofar/biblicaltime/

Resources:

https://www.hebrew4christians.com/Holidays/Fall_Holidays/Elul/Shofar/shofar.html

https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/the-shofar

https://torah.org/learning/yomtov-roshhashanah-vol3no16/

http://www.racematters.org/shofarhasfoursounds.htm

https://www.shofar.co/?item=88&section=170