One Word 2017

I was inspired reading my friend Bonnie’s blog and a friend’s  Facebook post.  Read more here.   Their thoughts started me wondering if God had a word for me this last year and I had not noticed or sought one out.  I saw this and it was a kiss from God for me.  I could not get this one word out of my mind.  Still days later I can not stop thinking about it.

I was reading a post on Facebook by Lysa TerKeurst and she pointed this out:

Philippians 4:6 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, 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.”

I really like that verse but I recently realized that without quoting it in context, it’s stripped of its full power. The last 4 words of Philippians 4:5 are the power source that unlocks the peace of God that transcends all understanding.

Those four words are, “The Lord is near.”

And because He’s near, we don’t have to be anxious – we can have peace that rises above any circumstance. Any circumstance. So grateful for this truth.

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 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.  Philippians 4:4-7

“The Lord is near” NEAR jumped out and spoke deep to my heart. 

I never noticed those four words.  I am so quick to jump to the verses beyond this.  I am so quick to remind myself not to be anxious, turn my worries into prayers and thanksgiving.  I learned this many years ago, so it is something I do often.  I start to worry so then I take time to pray.  Praying without ceasing has taken new meaning  for me. I worry a lot so then I take time to pray all the time.  I worry then breath a quick prayer.  Sometimes the prayer is God help!!! Sometimes the prayer is where are you in this God.  But I prayed.  It was what I did when I started to worry.

But then to see He is NEAR before the worry and anxious heart starts.  Before the cares of the world come down to crush me into tears. And has the world the last couple of years come to crush me.  Matt’s variety of health issues, including cancer.  Finances. Bills.  Car Repairs. He is already there.

He is near when I don’t know where the next bill money will come.

He is near the sick.  So before Matt’s health issues started eight years ago, He was near. He was near when he was diagnosed with cancer.   He was near through treatments.

23 Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues,proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. 24 News about him spread all over Syria,and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and he healed them. 25 Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis,[g] Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed him.  Matthew 4:23-25

He is near when I don’t know where the next bill money will come. Money is really tight with only me working at Walmart.  Matt’s health has not allowed him to work.   God has provided through so many different ways.

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[?

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:25-34

He is near when I get great news or bad news.  God is near.

But as for me, it is good to be near God.
    I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge;
    I will tell of all your deeds.  Psalm 73:28

I have seen God provide in all the situations.  It has been a struggle don’t get me wrong.  It has been downright HARD.  But to realize he was NEAR before they happened is just a mind blowing revelation to me. He is near when the car broke down.  He is near when the wallet was lost.  He was near when Matt’s health declined.  He is near when we got news it was cancer.  He was near when anything stressful happened.  He was near when things worked out good.  He was near.

This last two years God has been NEAR through it all.  I want to notice as things are happening that HE is near me.  I want to realize and truly grateful as I pray when I worry that God is there already NEAR.

17 The Lord is righteous in all his ways
    and faithful in all he does.
18 The Lord is near to all who call on him,
    to all who call on him in truth.
19 He fulfills the desires of those who fear him;
    he hears their cry and saves them. Psalm 145:17-19

I don’t have to do anything for God to be near me.  He has already done all that needs to be done.  He is near me by his own doing.  He is near because he choose to die for me and my sins just like he chose to do it for your sins. It is by GRACE that God is near me.

13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. Ephesians 2:13

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My one word for 2016: NEAR!!

OneWordCoffee Linkup

Maybe??? Just Maybe???

 

I use to write more.  I use to do this ONE WORD from God to me for the coming year.  I use to think about it all month of December.   The last several years I have not done this. I have hardly had time to write in my journal let alone a blog post.  Last time I did this was 2014 and my word was WORTHY.  Other words I have done through the years include: Letting Go, Rest, Trust, Hope.  Each word had a variety of meanings to me though out they year but it gave me focus.  And sometimes I did not realize the word here in December and January.  Sometimes it wasn’t until later in the year as I looked and prayed and sought God then my WORD came to me.

I was reading Bonnie Grey’s Blog over at Faith Barista and it reminded me of how I use to do this and participate.  YET I dismissed it.  I did not dwell on it.  But then a friend posted the question on Facebook.  She shared how doing it through the years has helped her and she was curious if others had done this.  I saw it this morning and dismissed it.  Yet this time I could not shake it.  I kept coming back to how it would help me focus and look for God in the coming year.

I remembered how the word took different meanings throughout the year.  Letting Go is my best example of this.  Letting Go meant so much… accepting the death of a loved one, letting go of control, trusting God was in control are what still sticks with me years later.

And in just thinking about it today only on and off I think I  might just have that word already.  I am not going to say it yet.  I am going to take some time to ponder and pray the next week, then I will decide.  Just maybe I have my word for 2016.  Let you all know later next week.

Even though I haven’t written in my journal this just seems easier to be writing it out for the world to see.  To pretend I am writing a letter to my friends and to God.

shecandreams

My Psalm

Where are you God?

Life is hard!!!

So many HARD things going on.

Tears of fear and frustration!

It is hard to just TRUST that you will take care of it.

Yet as time goes by,

I see that YOU have taken care of it all

BETTER than I could imagine.

Grateful tears now.

You are my refuge,

Yet so often I forget to take refuge in YOU.

Help me to rely on YOU.

Help me to rest in YOU.

When my own mind condemns me….

Can I make a confession?  I haven’t thought much about Easter at all this year.  Not until last week when it was pointed out to me when I went back to work in retail after about three weeks off due leave of absence.  I was so disappointed in myself not realizing it all.  This is the time of year I choose to do my own Lent of giving something up (my church doesn’t do this but I love how it would help me focus in on God.)  I did not even think about it the past several weeks.

My focus has been on helping my husband navigate through two surgeries and many doctors to deal with his health issues. We are still trying to get into the correct oncologist/endocronologist.

In my head I heard myself begin to tell myself what a bad “Christian” I was not to remember that it was the celebration of Christ’s death and resurrection.  Condemnation. Ugly lies.  My own judgement about myself is harsher than any other person could do.

In the midst of the guilt I heard a faint whisper deep inside reminding me, “No, this is not true.”

Christ knows my heart and intentions.  He has been the one carrying us through the surgeries and all the trials, tears, and fears.  I have seen his faithfulness.  I have felt it.  So many friends and family helping us. The  TRUTH is that God’s grace is enough to carry me.  His love is enough.  He loved me so much he died for me.  He rose from the grave for me.

He lives!  He has shown himself to me in so many tangible ways.  It reminds me of the hymn ‘Because He Lives.’

Because He Lives Lyrics

(Verse 1)
God sent his son
They called him Jesus
He came to love
Heal and forgive
He lived and died
To buy my pardon
An empty grave
Is there to prove
My Savior lives(Chorus)
Because he lives
I can face tomorrow
Because he lives
All fear is gone
Because I know
He holds the future
And life is worth the living
Just because he lives(Verse 2)
How sweet to hold
A newborn baby
And feel the pride
And joy he gives
But greater still
The calm assurance
This child can face
Uncertain days
Just Because he lives

(Chorus)

(Verse 3)
And then one day
I’ll cross the river
I’ll fight life’s final war with pain
And then as death
Gives way to victory
I’ll see the lights
Of glory and
I’ll know he lives

The TRUTH  tells me that I have no reason to fear our future.  Even though it is uncertain God is in control.

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Where Does My Help Come From?

For the last eight or so years we have struggled to get an accurate diagnosis for my husband and his many symptoms.  For many years we have been sure it was his heart issues.  But then when we finally had a monitor full time in his chest as a small little chip the symptoms were not always matching.  Back to yet another doctor.  More tests more scratching of the head trying to figure it out. Frustration!

Finally they found something.  Goiter from thyroid down below the sternum pressing on the windpipe and nerve going to his heart.  We had it removed.  They left part of it in as they  biopsied the rest that was removed.  Two biopsies came back inconclusive.  We received a phone call last week, a week after the first surgery.

CANCER was found we need you to come back tomorrow for surgery.  Back to the hospital.  Whirl wind fast.  Finally we have some answers.  Not the answers we wanted but we know.  Removed the rest of the thyroid. Names of more doctors to call to see if it has spread at all.  The type he has can spread from organ to organ. Shocked we just took the next step.

Needless to say the stress of the last several weeks has been so much.  Not the answer we wanted.  But an answer.  Finally after years of not knowing.  And only time will tell if it is the only answer.  Will the surgery we had relieve the symptoms he has had.  Again only time can answer that question.

Through it all I see God’s hand in the many prayers that have gone up from so many of our friends, family, and strangers they have told to pray for us.  During the first surgery it was put off due to emergency situation.  My sister’s church had been praying for us.  They asked how surgery went that morning.  Her husband spoke up looking at his watch, actually it is going on right now.  The whole group that was there stopped what they were doing and prayed for us during the surgery that was suppose to be 2 hours that went to 6 hours.  They are not the only ones who I know has prayed for us, but when she told me this it brought tears to my eyes.

The first surgery I had so many people come to support us.  The second surgery was the same with friends and family coming to support us.  Each time our friend and pastor came to see us and pray for us.  Our church organized some meals for us.

My friend Bonnie over at Faith Barista has been praying and emailed me encouragement since we found out.  So many well wishes and prayers have been posted on Facebook. Psalm 139 popped up over and over that day.

Today’s was the first time in forever I actually made it to church on a Sunday, since I work retail, I work most Sundays.  It is just the way it is in retail.  I still do Bible Studies during the week.  At church I just sat singing the praise songs, with the lights turned down, the Music Minister had a song, not sure exactly the name of it but it fit perfect and spoke deep to my heart.  He read the passage, “My help comes from the Lord.” Psalm 121:2 and we sang the song.  I just sat and the tears that had been bottled up from the stress just came.  I cried out HELP!  My friend came over and sat next to me hugging me and praying for me.  It was exactly what I needed.  To let some of it out.  Not be strong but to say to God that I needed Him and His help to deal with it all.

I am still exhausted and there is still a long journey in front of us.  One step at a time.  One thing at a time.

Thank you God for all the tangible ways you have shown your love.  Through your people.  Through your Word.  Through surrender.  My HELP comes from YOU!

 

Edited to add: The song is “Always ”

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Do Not Worry

So much swimming through my head:  Matt’s chronic health issues, work, daily living stress like (rent, bills, food, cleaning). Sometimes I feel all I can do is barely keep my head above water.  I can’t seem to get it all done and life feels chaotic.

Yet God continues to remind me to depend upon him like in Matthew 6 where it tells us not to worry that HE provides.  (Sorry I don’t have link still working on learning how to do things on a laptop, like copying and pasting things to link in passages).  The thing that worries me most is Matt’s illnesses.  I can’t seem to help it.  I love him with all my heart.

God has a plan even if I can’t see it.  He is in control.  I am not saying he is the cause of Matt’s illnesses.  I am saying that HE meets me where I am at.  He is here with me in the midst of the turmoil and worry.

Confession time, I am NOT a good worrier.  When I am anxious, I tend to start to snap and get angry.  Somehow in my mind it is better than crying.  I try hard not to snap or yell, but it still happens.   Sometimes I do good and other times I do not.  I want to be in control.  I want to be able to make it all better.  When I can’t is when I start to worry.   Yet my husband give me grace.  He still loves me regardless.  And so does God.

I love Matt.  I keep bringing him before the throne of God and praying for him.  I will always do so.  He is the man I choose to love and marry.  YET as much as I love Matt God loves him even MORE.  God really  does.  I have to remind myself all the time that HE is in control.

God’s Generosity

Thank you to a coworker who graciously gifted me with an unused computer of his I now have a working computer again.  I haven’t had one for over a year now.  I have missed blogging and being online as much as my small tablet allowed.

Through the turmoil of the last year I have seen God provide for us in so many ways.  Family and friends and coworkers have been the biggest blessing to us.  Several friends from work have come and spent time with my husband and helped us get him out of the house.

Through the struggles I see God’s provision.  We had food enough do to generosity of others.  We had money for bills due to generosity of others.

Several long distance friends have taken the time to call us or let us call them and just talk and vent.  I had two dear friends move this last year, they are military families.  I miss them terribly yet with Facebook, I still get to enjoy them.  I got an Italian Christmas card from one.  It was nice to know even though we are long distance we are friends.

I am rambling here just because it is so much fun to be typing and writing again.  I so missed it.  Writing is so good for my soul.  Writing is one thing I did not make time for much this last year.  It has been hard to get time to go to the library and use the computer.  I am so grateful for a computer again.  I sit here wanting to write something profound and all I can think of is I am just so grateful for the generosity of others.

If I had to look back at 2015 and define it by one phrase, I would say God’s Generosity.  I see how much he has loved me through ladies in Bible studies, to friendships, to work, to provision.  Not to say this year hasn’t been hard and full of trials and struggles and tears.  It has been full of these, but more so I see hope through the grateful heart I have for God’s Generosity.

How have you seen God’s Generosity?

 

Katie’s World

Work – I continue to enjoy cashiering and interacting with the customers more.  Ok who am I kidding, the children, are who capture my heart.  I loved seeing children dressed up for Halloween come through the line.

Home – God provides for us in the littlest details, from food to money.   I  need to do some re-organizing in my kitchen. I want to try a new recipe I saw in the newspaper.  It involves pumpkin, garlic, stuffing,  and sounds delicious.

Health –  We continue to deal with Matt’s chronic illness.  Often it is hard and overwhelming.   Other times it is like nothing is wrong, and we can enjoy life.  It has invaded every aspect of our life.   My own anxiety is often on over drive being worried about him all the time.  We do try to do things to make memories.

Friendships – I have several friends who have been blessings to me.  Some have moved long distance, yet we keep in touch via email and facebook.   I have some local in skin friends, they are such an encouragement to me. Friendships help me grow and remain grounded in Christ.

#Spiritual Whitespace – I love young children!  Anyone who knows me knows this.  I have several friends who share theirs. The Twinados are two wonderful twins, David and Nora. You can read more here:   http://jretedrick.wordpress.com Spending time with them is a breath of fresh air to my soul.  They came through my line and mommy was trying to get them to say my name.   Every time my name was said, Nora, would turn and look at me and point to me. She knew who I was!