Monday, September 21, 2015

A Week of Concerns; A Lord Who Overcomes

Labor Day comes and goes. The heat of summer swelters over us, and even some thunderstorms brew up from the warm southern waters. We experienced a one-day deluge, a constant downpour--  refreshing unless you're driving on a freeway. A prediction of an El Nino weather condition may cause some to pause, hopefully to prepare our cars, our roofs, and our umbrellas for more. I hope the reservoirs open their mouths wide and catch every drop. Finally getting a day at the beach last week, I take in the beauty of the powerful surf and the vast ocean, reminded of God's deep and wide love for me.

  Can I comprehend Lord  the breadth, the length and height and the depth of  Your Love?  

A new assignment served itself up on my plate this year. Same school, but different kids with different challenges. Assigned to a moderate to severe contained class, with one teacher and a few other staff, I am the newbie. Immediately, by the end of the first week I'd say, I felt very comfortable. The kids...easy to love, the staff... felt a part of a team, the teacher...she's got this and then some! God moved me in a different direction yet with the same destination in mind. I am reminded of His plan for me, that despite all that I thought I might be, or could be still,  or what others think I should still consider,  even this late in life,  God whispers in my ear that I am OK and pursuing the right path. Affirmed in the gift He has given me and the joy and healing in that pursuit,  I trust You God

...because Thou, O Lord hast helped me, and comforted me. 

A young woman remained all year in the forefront of my prayers, her name: Traci. Her dad, one of my closest friends, called me back in January while I sat in the movie theater. I got back to him to find out that his daughter who suffers from Cystic Fibrosis, listed by three major hospitals for a transplant--got the call. Many prayed for this day. San Diego, their home for the next 8 months would find them commuting, living, and hoping in prayer for their daughter's ability to thrive and regain some normalcy in life.

She received two lungs, a liver and a pancreas--the first 4-organ transplant ever! The surgery lasted more than 24 hours. Her body never rejected the organs, yet she suffered with many setbacks due to infection and her kidneys shutting down. After all these months of mighty prayers and hopes, Traci went home to find her perfect healing.

...and the righteous cry out, let me dwell in Thy tent forever. Let me take refuge in the shelter of Thy wings...

That happened on Tuesday afternoon. Wednesday I am back in class when I receive a text message.

Did you know Sumiyo?  "No, I replied, I don't think so..."

"You might know her as Muku"...said the next text.

"Yes, of course I did."  She worked here with me a few years back."

"She lost her life in those floods...the one in Zion."

Again, my heart feels the pull of how tragic, how fleeting, how unpredictable, and how quickly a smiling face begins to etch a memory in my mind. She almost reached her 60th birthday. She loved to hike, always sharing with me when she'd occasionally give me a ride home, where her next hiking venture waited. This new sport for her , "canyoneering" according to the news, took her to a place where she felt close to God, the beautiful formations and sandstone cliffs of Zion, Utah.

Our friend Muku, 3rd from the left. 

Walk about Zion, and go around her; count her towers; consider her ramparts; go through her palaces, that you may tell it to the next generation. For such is God, Our God forever and ever. He will guide us until death. Psalm 48:12-14

Wednesday night, our writing group in which I co-lead, (AWF--Aspiring Writer's Forum), met for the first time this season, year 7! I am truly amazed at all the Lord's doing with this bunch and the continued support and enthusiasm shared. I am looking forward to submitting more of my book for editing, critiquing and the dream of publishing as well as listening to others as they write for God's Glory.

...for I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord... 

...but by the Grace of God I am what I am and His grace toward me did not prove vain, but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the Grace of God with me. I Corinthians 15:10. 

My writing partner struggles with her health and I continue to encourage her and pray for her strength. She finds her purpose in mentoring and leading others to tell their God stories. I follow in her footsteps. Along her walking path, her beloved "furbaby" Kindu, also struggles with health issues. Sadly, this week of year 7 of AWF, Kindu's last chapter closed with a sad departure. My heart hurts for my friend  who mothers her beautiful dogs with joy and passion, even dedicating a blog to their antics.

...are not  five sparrows sold for two cents? And yet not one of them is forgotten by God.

Saturday, I attended a baby shower for my close friend's 4th daughter expecting grand baby #6! Try as hard as I can, weddings, showers...fill me with a bit of melancholy, but I muster through and DO rejoice in the expectations. I wonder if God's plans include this blessing for me. Questions pop up from strangers in conversations, and yesterday was no exception.

...and for this child I have prayed.

John 16:33 "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world." 

So what can I say about this week?  We cannot predict, nor forecast what may happen tomorrow. Each day we must choose to trust God, who remains in control.  He is  my rock and my refuge. He is Jehovah Jireh, the Provider of all good things. He calls us together in fellowship to minister to one another in times of uncertainty, struggle and sadness. God bestows gifts to us, ones He prepared for us to use for His glory. He comforts us with the knowledge and promise of Heaven in the sudden and the unexpected. He cares about our deepest pain and holds our tears in the palm of His hands. We can come to Him in prayer, sit and bear our burdens to Him. He hears and shows us the way from the darkness. He teaches us to see beyond our own circumstances and recognize all those times we especially need His strength.

And sometimes He just surprises us with precious gifts that speak straight to the heart.

Lying in the dark, on black asphalt, something shiny caught my eye as I walked to the car. Picking it up I recognized it as a bracelet of some sort, nothing fancy. I dropped it on the bottom of my purse. When I got home, I remembered a little later about the find. Retrieving it, and looking at it now in the light, I immediately felt a wave of Love from the Holy Spirit wash over me.

A charm bracelet with 8 different angels. 

This week had its challenges, its finality, its tears. Next week, we remember our own son Timothy,  his birthday on September 25th. As I fund raise for NephCure and retell his story, I celebrate the Lord's healing in my heart and the divine purpose, some of which still hides in God's sovereign plan, but some that reveals itself everyday to me. In that, I place my hope. In that, I sing with the angels.

Psalm 91:11 "For He will give His angels charge concerning you, to guard you in all your ways.