Thank God From The Bottom Of My Heart

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There is a list that is put out every so often that list the top ten
stresses in life.
  Some of the stressors change over the years… the
current list now has Jail term listed.  Imagine that?  Back in the 90s
Jail term was not even on the list, instead I remember ‘moving’ to be
among the top 10. I remember the list from then because my mother
pointed out to me that I had experienced 5 of the top 10 all in one
year…Pregnancy, marital separation, divorce, moving and change in
financial state.  How did I survive?  I think back and all I know is
that I had to keep going.  I had no choice.  Well maybe I did.  I
suppose I chose to keep going.
 
Thinking




For a period of several years beginning in 2004 I once again
experienced several of the top 10.  Add to the current list, Moving, 3 times since that year.  And guess what getting ready to do it again!
Smile  Well I am only kind of stressed cuz fortunately that is the only one on the list I am currently experiencing – Thank the Lord from the bottom of my heart…..


Top Ten Stressors



Death of spouse
Divorce
Marital separation
Jail term or death of close family member

Personal injury or illness


Marriage


Loss of job due to termination


Marital reconciliation or retirement


Pregnancy

Change in financial state



Loss is inevitable in our lives.  From the time we are born till death we suffer loss on a myriad of levels.  I believe it is the very thing that God uses to draw us to Him or prove us, to prove our character. Are we destroyed because of loss or do we become more hopeful?   I am sure it would depend on where one’s faith is placed as to the answer to that particular question for each individual.  At times I have felt as if I would perish from a loss.  Devastated would be a better description.  I look back and think how did I come to acceptance of these losses?  How do I continue to move forward while forever feeling the stab of pang every time a fresh memory crosses my mind?  It really boggles my mind at times.  I will be going along minding my own business when all of a sudden from out of left field comes the same emotions and sensations I had the very moment the world turned upside down.  And my world has turned quite a few times.

This one thought has been going through my mind for weeks now, how are we to view the future if loss is constant?  How do you answer why?  What should one look forward to?  As a Christian we have the hope of heaven, where there will be no more sickness, no more death or tears.  I have been at a loss to answer these questions for myself let alone others. Personally most of my answers come from God’s Word.  But I have to admit that there are times when even those words do not seem to give adequate comfort to others who are not as close to the Lord.   I have been to several funerals this year and like most who experience a loss of a dear friend or loved one the questions come.   It certainly makes you take inventory of your own life when faced with bodily death.  And I have been doing that for sure…

In thinking about the losses we experience I realized there are two types of losses that we can never regain. Our innocence and our life.  Everything else is, what I would consider, re-attainable, repairable or replaceable to some extent.  Job, of the bible, is the perfect example to the list below….But the last two, innocence and death, once experienced can never be altered or changed. 

Income 
Home  
Family 
Relationship
Freedom 

Innocence 
Death


You know both God and His Son experienced loss.  Loss of fellowship with Adam and Even in the garden, ironically, He had created them for that very reason.  But as with all things, don’t you know, God knew what the future held for He and his creatures.  God experienced the death of His Son.  The moment Jesus bore all our sins His Father had to turn away.  And in that same moment Jesus experienced loss.  Throughout the Bible, men and women became the examples to us of the human experience of loss.   We can not escape it.  We will all suffer loss.

Looking again at the list above why do you suppose the last two are not re-attainable, repairable or replaceable?  Can I tell you? 

Because of all the things on the list those are the two that are associated  with the forbidden fruit, disobedience, sin.  The tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

And the LORD God commanded the man, "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden;  but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die." Genesis 2:16-17 KJV

The Lord knew that once they ate of this fruit their eyes would be open to good and evil…their innocence would be lost forever. And from disobedience sin and death would enter into the world forever.  They would not be able to escape death nor would they be able to take back what they had done.  In my humble opinion knowledge of a thing holds you accountable for it, if you deny it then you become a liar. 

Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was
walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the
LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man, "Where are you?"
He answered, "I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid."
Genesis 3:8-10  KJV

lonesome tree Pictures, Images and Photos

Close your eyes try to imagine that you are a bystander in the Garden of Eden watching both Adam and Eve. Now you see them take the fruit and their eyes are glimmering with anticipation of what it will taste like.  Do they show signs of fear?  Do they hesitate?  Do they question?  Now you see them bite and you hear the delicious crunch of fruit as juice explodes outward. And in one single instant their eyes close with satisfaction.  But almost instantly their eyes shoot wide open only to be described as a horrifying realization of something they had never known before.  Confusion, fear, desperation   They could not deny what they had done nor could the deny what they suddenly were now very aware of, shame.  Lies, good as well as evil have entered into their lives forever.  Death, the end of life forever.


"By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return." Genesis 3:19 KJV

As ominous as forever sounds, the story does not end there, Thank God from the bottom of my heart for that.  For God so loved the World that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  He had a new forever plan, one that redeemed…re-attained, repaired and replaced the sin that every man and woman is born into.  Close your eyes and try to imagine you are a bystander in heaven watching the Lord.  Now you see Him writing in a book and and His eyes are glimmering with anticipation of all those who will join Him soon.  Now you see Him hold out His arms to those who have already gone before.  And as He wraps His arms around each one arriving in one single instant His eyes
close with satisfaction.  Do the arriving show signs of fear?  Do they hesitate?  Do they
question who it is greeting them?  Instantly their eyes shoot wide
open with what can only be described as awe and wonder, something they
had only hoped of but had not known before.    They can not
deny who they are standing before nor can they deny what they are suddenly now
very aware of, Glory.  Truth, the Living Word.  Life, Eternal. Forever.


Consequently,
just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so
also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that
brings life for all men.
For
just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made
sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be
made righteous.

 The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so
that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through
righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 5:18-21 NIV

And this is why we can accept loss and move forward because, as born again believers we have a hope, hope of heaven, hope of eternal life.  No more loss, Forever!

Grace to you all

Shell


"The Great Heaven Above" Pictures, Images and Photos

My Texas Grandma & Sister in the Lord!

A few nights ago a dear sweet lady went home to be with the Lord and reunited with her husband.  He was her childhood sweetheart and oh how she loved him…She was 76 and had a smile to light up a room.  She was the kind of woman that did not mince words and she never had a conversation that she did not mention Jesus. When she lost her husband it was heartbreaking to see her
grieving for him so.

All the kids loved her because she was so full of sweetness and unconditional love for them.  She would bring bags of candy to church sometimes and along with a hug she would hand it out to the kids.  She always hugged my neck and asked about my kids.  She had words of wisdom to give me at every turn and I listened and paid heed. And it was because of her wisdom the Lord used her to intervene for my children and I.   When I was going through a difficult time she prayed for me and called me and even invited my children and I over to spend time with her at her home.  She was my Texas grandmother because all my family lives in
Missouri…

I remember one particular evening we sat for hours pouring through her photo albums showing me pictures of her and her family when she was younger…she just glowed with love & pride…She adopted my kids basically, especially my two older kids who were having a tough time of it…she spent time with them, she would call and ask them to come spend the day and they would.  She comforted them and made them feel safe when they so needed it.  I adored her for that…She never missed a church service until her health kept her from coming.  One time years ago she had been laid up at home struggling with some health issues for quite some time…the first Sunday she was able to come to church she was so happy to be there in the Lord’s house…she even danced down the isle…I wrote about it because it was the day I began healing myself…it was one the first few blog post I wrote…even to this day I can see her smiling, raising her hands and going down the isle.  I bet she is doing that in heaven today!!!!  I attended her funeral today and they played a song that was very fitting for her…When I Get Where I Am Going by Brad Paisley

I love you and miss you Mrs. Jahnke!

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taken July 2008 at CrossBridge Church on her 75th birthday

July 31, 2006

Holy Spirit sweeps through…

It
happened at church…I sensed the Holy Spirit sweep across the room
like a gentle breeze!  A sweet old lady in our church who has been
grieving the loss of her husband for several years was smiling and
singing…she was clapping her hands.  She danced up the aisle to hug
and kiss the song leader…She was acutally glowing with love for the
Lord.  I couldn’t stop the smile that spread across my face.  I hadn’t
been able to move past my pain and just listen to the music. To worship
Him without remembering the disappointments.  But it happened. I made
the choice to heal, to let God have His way in all of it.  I stepped
out, I greeted others, hugged them and was genuinely free to express my
joy at being in my church.  The music flowed and it seemed to me that
everyone was smiling and singing…What a day of rejoicing! And we
haven’t even got to Heaven yet!
It’s all about Him
Grace to you,
shell

FEAR NOT THE HEAT

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I do not know how to describe what has come into my life of late.  A cloud, I suppose.  Not a black one but somewhat gray.  Some around me here have suggested depression, I felt that it was more a quietness, lost in thought.   I believe it started out as a quietness but now has turned into a battle of hope & fear.  It comes subtly with no announcement.  Although I have been to this familiar place something is somewhat different.  The difference is I can not give up hope.  I can not quit believing that God is on the throne.  The Holy Spirit won’t let me.  Which keeps the fear at bay…but ever present.  I am very grateful for the fact the Holy Spirit won’t let me give in to the fear otherwise I would lay down and hide away. 

The fear, I believe, is coming from a mixture of thoughts going through my head….my relationship with God, my children, my finances, my home, my future, it all is swirling around trying to fit together.  I admit I have not been in the word as much as I usually am but there have been scriptures that come to mind I dwell on. Perhaps that is the key. Thoughts swirling around because there is no “glue” to hold them together.  The glue being God’s Word.  I know better and no one needs tell me that. 


So much death in the news….perhaps without Christ. My own sister who passed 3 years ago in September of a drug overdose. …missing her and sick of hearing about the drug abuse in our country and in my own family.  Missing the married life, while others are giving up on theirs.  Disappointments in others, inadequacies of my own and an unknown future of our changing nation.  It just goes on and on…nothing seems to come into focus.  It is much like a slide show that everyone is making these days…slide in, wipe, flip, spiral, dissolve…all to the sound track of “While I’m Waiting” by John Waller. 

I believe this is why it is so important to hide the word in your heart, for times like these. 

I don’t want pity or sympathy, I want to step through a door to new possibilities.  I have been praying for God to open some of those doors for me.  For opportunities to see a new thing in my life. I desire that…maybe that is what this time in my life is for to make me thirsty for the new thing….. I want to be the tree planted by the waters, spreading my roots, not fearing the heat of life and is always green; not to worry about the drought and never failing to bear fruit… God’s word says that this is what you will be if you trust and have confidence in HIM!!!

So I wait, gray cloud or not.  There are tears and smiles.  There is bittersweet.  There is anticipation.  There is fear.  There is hope.