Faith, Family, God, Uncategorized

It Really Is Grand

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O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America! God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

 

“America the Beautiful” popped into my head the other morning as I was walking along the rim of the Grand Canyon. I could hear choirs of angels singing there as well. It’s just that magnificent of a place. It’s hard, almost impossible, not to be moved while visiting the Grand Canyon. All my troubles melted away as I looked out at this exquisite masterpiece made by the hand of God.

If you doubt God’s love, just take a look at that picture. Something that beautiful was made by a loving God for our pleasure. It’s easy to see God as distant, and shaking His fist at us. Like we’re all waiting for the lightning to strike. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. We should definitely have holy fear and respect of Him, but we should never doubt His love. He loves you and me so very much. So much so that He sacrificed Jesus, His only son, to save us. (John 3:16) That’s real love.

And, God gave us a beautiful place to live. And, He gave us beautiful places to see and experience, like the Grand Canyon. Thank you God for blessing us with such beauty!

We were in Arizona visiting my in-laws and they blessed us with a few days at the Grand Canyon. It’s been on my list of places to see for several years. I am so grateful for the opportunity to go to such a wonderful place. Not man-made, God-made. I love architecture, but no one, and no thing can beat the Great Architect. His works are marvelous!

Vacations come with expectations. They should be trouble free, worry free, joyful, relaxing experiences. I know, I know. That’s pretty funny, and completely unrealistic. We go to new places with hopes of soul restoration, fun, and enjoyment. And all of those good things can take place during these getaways, but they come with a price. Both from our pocketbooks, and a little from our souls.

Troubles don’t take vacations. I really want them to. In my mind it’s my vacation. My chance to try and turn off my brain. Break out from the routine, and hopefully get new perspective, get some rest, and make some fun memories. Unfortunately, troubles still come along on our vacations. The little stinkers. Don’t they know I need a break from them. Trouble packs it’s bags too. It’s at the airport, in the hotel room, at the restaurant, and sometimes in our attitudes.

But God is there too. Guiding us, providing for us, and making a way through the troubles that show up.

We started off on our road trip from Tucson to Grand Canyon National Park with excitement, and great anticipation. Yeah! This was going to be incredible. Then red and blue flashing lights rained on our parade. My husband was handed a speeding ticket. Wait a minute, that’s not fun. We were all really annoyed. I know, that’s not a very Jesusy-attitude. Shake it off, and keep moving. Hours later my husband quickly pulls to the side of the highway and throws up. That’s not fun either.

Tom was still able to drive because he’s a determined, tough person. We make it to the park and check in exhausted, and Tom was still very sick. Press on. We see the gorgeous sunset and walk the edge of the rim. Pretty, pretty, pretty, even in the dark. It was very cold that first night, so we all bundled up and went outside to watch the best show of stars. Crystal clear skies with no light interruption gave us perfect views of the Milky Way. These are good things in spite of troubles.

The next morning I sneak out while everyone else is asleep and walk the rim. I see the mules getting ready for their ride down the canyon. Amazing creatures. Hard working, and underappreciated. Just me, Jesus, a few hikers, and that magnificent canyon. I breath in and exhale my troubles with new faith, and new perspective. Dylan and I hike a small part of Bright Angel Trail in the early afternoon.

Rain and cold hits as we step out to take the bus for Hermits Rest. Tom notices a flat tire on our rental car. This is not fun. This is not what a vacation is supposed to be. Stinking troubles just had to come along. After several phone calls, and Tom out in the cold and rain, still sick, inflating the tire, we have a solution. We will swap a new rental car in Flagstaff the next day. Press on.

We made it back safely to my in-laws house on Wednesday night, and flew out the next morning. After a flight delay in Tucson, and a second delayed flight in L.A., we landed in Houston last night. Dylan’s bag never made it to Houston, but it just arrived by courier to our house.

Yes, trouble comes no matter if you are on vacation or not, but God is there too. Do you see Him working? He is, whether you are noticing or not. Troubles make us cry out to our Heavenly Father for help. Troubles keep us humble. Troubles stretch our faith. Troubles give God a chance to show up and show off for us.

On your next vacation when the troubles come along too, God will take care of you. Do you trust Him?

The Grand Canyon really is grand. If you’ve never been I highly recommend making your way to that wondrous place. Breathe in fresh air, quiet, and calm. And see what a loving God made just for our enjoyment.

 

He who forms the mountains,
    who creates the wind,
    and who reveals his thoughts to mankind,
who turns dawn to darkness,
    and treads on the heights of the earth—
    the Lord God Almighty is his name.

Amos 4:13

 

Thanks for reading my ramblings. I am tired but amazed at God’s goodness. He is faithful. God bless you!

Love you all,

Meghan

 

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

 

Jesus, Trials, Uncategorized

Scraps of Paper

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December 24th, 2012 I crawled into Houston after a red eye with my then seven-year-old son. I was completely disoriented after closing on our house in Oregon weeks before. Exhausted, I stared out the window of my husband’s car in a daze. The sun felt wonderful after leaving the cool Pacific Northwest. Pick up trucks were a plenty and the Christmas decorations were over the top, which I loved. These were my first impressions on our drive to the hotel. I was tired but hopeful that this move was a good decision.

Week six of being stuck in a hotel, in a city where we knew absolutely no one, I was being brought to my knees. Everything took longer than it should’ve. My car was being shipped and took an extra week. I was trapped with two kids and our cat, and no car, since Tom had to work. It wasn’t supposed to be like this. We should’ve stayed in the hotel for about a month, and then moved into our house. Hahahaha!  It’s funny for me to think about now, but quite painful then. We were stepping out to the unknown, trusting that this was God’s plan.

When our loan fell apart for the home we made an offer on in November, I fell apart. That was the final straw. Tom and I were so sad. The home that we fell in love with was what kept us going as we waited. We thought we at least had a place to live taken care of in all of the unknowns. When that was taken away we were at a loss. Do we start all over looking for a new home? That would mean weeks more in a hotel. Possibly months. This sounded awful.

“Lord, where are you?”

“Why did you move us here?”

“Is anybody looking out for us?”

God was looking out for us. We knew it, we just didn’t feel it.

My Bible was packed away in storage so I would look up scriptures online. The scraps of paper are how I survived those weeks. I didn’t have real paper to write on, just whatever scraps were sitting around the hotel room. I scrawled out verses that encouraged me and reminded me of who God is. My youngest son even drew an adorable picture on one of the papers.

Sometimes we only have scraps to hold onto. It’s not pretty, but it gets us through. The amazing thing during those weeks of unknowns was that I had some of the most incredible moments with the Lord. That’s how trials work. When you’ve got nothing left but Jesus, He does remarkable things. I remember one night I couldn’t sleep and I told the Lord I’m just going to pack up my car and my kids tomorrow and drive back to Oregon. Back to what was familiar. The next day He brought some relief in my desperation.

Thankfully, God showed up in a huge way for us and fixed the loan on the house within a couple of days of it falling apart. We ended up staying in the hotel eight or nine weeks. There are worse things to deal with. Way worse. For me, it was a test of my faith as we were in the dark. I reached out and found Jesus standing there, ready to comfort and encourage me. My prayer times were in the tiny, gross bathroom during those weeks. Again, not pretty, but effective.

I keep those little scraps of paper on a memo board in my closet, which also doubles as my prayer closet. They remind me of God’s faithfulness. He has carried us through every trial and will continue to carry us. My memory can be short of God’s goodness to me. So, the trials come and flush out my doubts and weaknesses. And He shows up. And He does wonderful things. Things planned long ago. The trials will come until we go home to be with Jesus forever. Until that time, He promises to be with us always.

“And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20b, HCSB)

 

Love you all,

Meghan

 

 

Heavenly Father,

Thank you for your faithfulness, even when we are not faithful. You are good and perfect. I lift up all of those who are in the dark right now. The trial is painful as they wait for you to show up. Comfort them, carry them, encourage them. Remind them that you are still in control and you have a beautiful plan for them.

In Jesus mighty name,

Amen

Guest Post

Guest Post: Taste and See

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Please welcome my dear friend Missy to the blog. She graciously agreed to share some of her story with us, and I know you will be blessed. Missy writes from her heart and heartache. She’s been through a lot, but she’s still standing. The reason Missy stands is because her feet are on The Rock.

Missy and I go way back. Like all the way back to college. We met at our tiny Christian college in Southern California a few years ago. It’s more than a few years, but in my mind we are still eighteen years old. I can’t recall the exact moment we met, I just know we were instant friends. When our dorm rooms were next to each other with connecting patios, the doors were usually left open so we could go back and forth freely.

We went off to Florida for the summer with our amazing friend Wendy. We were camp counselors and it was all Missy’s idea. Turned out to be a great idea and a fantastic summer with lifelong memories. It was a priority to be at each others weddings, all three of us, in spite of living thousands of miles apart. It’s that type of friendship. The kind you cherish. The kind you get once in a lifetime.

Missy has a contagious faith and a contagious laugh too. If you spent a few minutes with her you’d love her instantly. So my heart was broken when I got the news that she lost her beloved son Justin. He was twenty; a few months shy of turning twenty-one. There are no words to comfort a friend when the pain is unimaginable. I continue to pray for her and watch in awe as she walks out her faith while grieving. She’s a true inspiration.

It is my honor to have Missy contribute to my little corner of the world. Give her some love and leave a comment.

 

Taste and See

by Missy Linkletter

It was Sunday evening on July 9, 2017; Justin asked me if we could sit down and talk, just the two of us.

Plain and simple, Justin wanted a motorcycle, and I was 100% against it. We’d been having a friendly but serious debate for several months on the matter. He’d gone as far as obtaining his motorcycle license, and as far as I knew, he was on the hunt for the perfect ride. Regardless of my opinion, he was 20 years old, and it was his decision.

We sat down together in our front living room, he took a deep breath and looking into my eyes, he said, “Mama, you know how you are worried about my well-being if I drive a motorcycle? Well, in the same way, I am worried about you and your health.”

My eyes immediately filled with tears as he continued. “I am willing to forgo buying a motorcycle if you are willing to get healthy. I will get up extra early and go to the gym with you, I will cheer you on…” I looked into his bright green eyes, now with tears streaming down my cheeks and choked out, “Yes, I agree!”.

I told him I was proud of him and thanked him for saying hard things to me, his mama. The next morning, I hit the ground running and embarked on a new healthy lifestyle.

Unbeknownst to me, it would be the last Sunday we’d have with Justin on this side of eternity. The following Saturday, only six days later, we lost our dear boy.

Today, as I write, it’s been 112 Sunday’s since that pivotal conversation. The aftershock of losing him still ripples through our family daily. At times, I have felt as though I were eating the dust of the ground, the ache runs deep.

Through it all, I am awestruck and filled to the brim by the tender care of the Lord. I have considered what life would be like for me today had He not prompted Justin to have such a conversation with me. I am reasonably sure I would have indulged in the immediate comfort which food once provided me. Today, I am learning to sit in the ache and wait for the Lord’s healing balm.

Lasting change does not happen overnight; old patterns and habits don’t simply disappear. For me, it’s one minute at a time, once choice at a time, and a constant reminder of the grace upon grace which God provides.

King David wrote, “Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him.” Psalm 34:8 I have tasted of His goodness in my deepest heartache. I have known no greater joy than being understood by the Lord my God. He is the perfect refuge for my broken heart.

Dear Christian, I don’t know what trial you are facing today, but I am confident of this, God is for you. He longs to be gracious toward you; therefore, he will rise up to show you compassion. (Isaiah 30:18). He will not leave you alone in your trial; draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.

Do not lose heart, dear one. Since God is for us, who can be against us?

 

Check out Missy’s blog.

https://missylinkletter.com/

 

 

Image by Felix Wolf from Pixabay

 

Bible, Faith, God, Jesus, Trials, Uncategorized

The Storm

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August 24, 2017 we were dropping our oldest son off at college, about 5 and half hours north of our home. I was eating breakfast at the hotel and the news was on. I saw weather maps, and the words “hurricane” and “Houston” got my attention. Wait a minute, that’s where I live. “This is real?” I thought to myself. Everything quickly changed from focusing on getting Dylan settled in his dorm, to focusing on buying water and supplies to survive the impending storm, before we left his little college town. I hated saying goodbye to my son but knew he was in God’s hands. We had to get back home and prepare for a historic hurricane. My first ever. There were large lit up signs along the freeway, “Avoid the Texas Gulf Coast”. Unavoidable for us. We live in the Gulf Coast Region. We were headed straight for the storm.

The storms we face in life can be unexpected or we can see them coming from miles away. It doesn’t seem to matter how much warning we get before life’s storms, they still can cause so much pain as the winds and rains beat down on us. When will it end? How much damage will we experience? Why God? Have you forgot about us? Do you hear our cries for help?

     “That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”

    He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.

     He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

      They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”

(Mark 4:35-41, NIV)

The disciples and I have more in common than I would have thought; Fear and doubt at times. I am surprised that the disciples, who had already at this point witnessed many miracles by Jesus, were so terrified. He healed many sick, diseased, and demon-possessed people, (Matthew 4:23-24). A leper was healed by Jesus, (Matthew 8:1-4), and he healed the Centurion’s servant, (Matthew 8:5-13).  A paralytic man was healed by Jesus, (Luke 5:17-26), a widow’s son was brought back to life by Jesus, (Luke 7:11-17). The disciples were with Jesus when he was performing all these miracles. They must have had amnesia when the storm hit their boat.

A squall comes down on the lake and it’s frighting for these guys. The waves are coming up over the boat and they may have thought, “This is it. We are all going to die.” Things were looking pretty bad. The boat is filling with water and about to sink, or so they thought.

Jesus was not afraid. He is never afraid. He was sound asleep on a cushion, in the stern of the ship. That’s not the picture of a worried, stressed out person. He knows who is in control and He knows there is no need to fear the storm.

The disciples aren’t too happy that Jesus is sleeping through the storm. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” (Mark 4:38). They are in full blown panic mode and assume that Jesus doesn’t care what happens to them.

“He got up, rebuked the wind, and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm,” (Mark 4:39). Only Jesus can do this. Only Jesus can calm wind, waves, and raging seas with His words. He is God. Infinite in power.

“He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” (Mark 4:40). Jesus knows our hearts. He knew they were doubting what He could do even after seeing so many miracles before they ever got on that boat. He still loved them. Just like He still loves us when we have doubts. He patiently teaches us and shows us who He is and what He can do.

Ultimately the disciples are so scared at what just happened they don’t know what to think. “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” (Mark 4:41). I can relate to them. I have times where I forget what God has done in my life and the storm is raging. “Don’t you care Lord?” I have asked. But my God always, always is faithful. He always shows up, always makes a way. He either stops the storm or He gives me peace in the storm.

As Christ followers we belong fully to Jesus. That means He promises to take care of us and all of our needs. “So we say with confidence, The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:6).  Storms will rage and sometimes we will have losses, and sometimes He will calm our storms. There is a bigger purpose in our storms. He wants us to grow in our faith, just like the disciples. And the only way we grow is through struggle. We need Jesus to get through the storms in life.

When I look at the satellite image of Hurricane Harvey it’s menacing. It appears to want to swallow up all of Texas. When we focus on the size of our storm and how much damage can possibly take place we will stay afraid. If we focus on Jesus and that He is bigger than the biggest hurricane, our faith grows and the storm gets smaller.

We can’t control the storms but we can control how we respond to them. Who is Lord of your life? If it’s Jesus then give it all to Him. Write down every time God has taken care of you in the hard times or when He has stopped the storm completely. When the rains and the wind are coming down remember His faithfulness.

 

 

Dear Lord,

Thank you for your faithfulness. You are perfect and your power is unlimited. You’re love for us is overwhelming. I lift up all those who are in the middle of storms. Remind them that they are not forgotten by you. Give them peace and calm their storms, and may their faith grow. Comfort them, protect them, and provide for their every need.

In Jesus mighty name,

Amen

 

 

Love you all,

Meghan