Joy in the journey!

Joy in the journey!

Monday, February 28, 2011

My Day in the Wheelbarrow....

I wish I was an avid reader. I admire people who can just sit and read an entire book in an afternoon. Even as a little girl, I would not sit still long enough for my Mother to read books to me. I would just look at the pictures and off I would go! I am also one of those people who is a visual learner. That is why instruction manuals and I are not good friends. I think it is neat that God knows I am that way, He created me that way, and He speaks to me that way. There are so many times I wish I could paint the things He shows me in my spirit. It would be magnificent if I could get it on canvas! But instead He uses those images to help me through the journey with by day.

As I was sitting in the Dr. office today facing many unknowns.....I started to feel a little anxious. We were crammed into the waiting room like sardines and I could feel that others were feeling anxious as well. Immediately God reminded me of a story that I visually have held onto for times just like these. It helps me ride faith to new limits. ....the new limits that go far beyond the fear of the unknown. It was just what I needed for today, and those feelings of “Oh Lord, can I handle this?”

A traveler, hiking through the wilderness, comes to the edge of a canyon. Seeking a way to the other side, he discovers a big rope stretched over the canyon. As his eyes follow the rope toward the other side, he is surprised to see a man coming toward him, confidently pushing a wheelbarrow. Arriving on his side of the canyon, the traveler exclaims, “That was truly amazing!”

The man with the wheelbarrow asks, “Do you believe that I can do it again?”

“Oh, of course,” the traveler replies. “You walked across with such confidence.”

“Do you really believe I can do it again?” asks the man with the wheelbarrow.

“Definitely,” replies the traveler.

“Very good, then,” says the man with the wheelbarrow. “Hop in and I will take you across.”

Many of us look at God the same way we look at the man with the wheelbarrow. We say we have faith that God can do anything. Yet, when it comes time to get in the wheelbarrow, our faith begins to dwindle. I was sitting in the Dr. office today thinking about that very wheelbarrow. Did I have the faith to hop in? Or was my fear keeping me from the journey to the other side. God has never let me down, how could I ever doubt Him? Haven’t I seen enough of His promises to trust Him to carry me across?

I started thanking God instead of doubting. I started believing that God had placed me right where I was for a reason. This was not scary, it was yet another step out of my comfort zone to trust Him like never before.....that place where the miracles are. I took a deep breath and felt His presence right there with the “sardine” waiting room.

Under my breath, I prayed for every person in that waiting room, and hoped they felt that peace that I was feeling. Finally after an hour wait, my name was called.....I invisioned myself hopping into that wheelbarrow, and off I went, wheelbarrow and all. I knew who was pushing me was going to be a great day.

Matthew 17:20

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I remember as a child hearing the verse "Come to Me all who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest… For My yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light." I used to think it had to do with was quite a perplexing verse to me. Little did I know that the verse in Matthew would be one I would stand on throughout my life.

At one of my doctor visits the other day, during my long wait, I struck up a conversation with a sweet little elderly lady. She was there with her husband, and her spirit drew me to her. I knew she loved the Lord, I just was written all over her face. And I was correct. Her husband was very ill, yet her trust in God for all she carried blessed my heart. There was peace all around her. She quoted this verse during our conversation, and my heart just smiled. She knew what trust was all about. If ever there was a definition of pure peace in the midst of a horrible storm....her face was the definition. Her spirit exuded complete trust.

There is a word that I heard someone use one day, “efforting.” It means struggling unnecessarily in an effort to do something. It could be illustrated by pushing a car to your destination when it would be much easier to start the engine and drive it. I wish I could say that I never did this.....but indeed I have. This year I have learned that complete trust is far greater than my “efforting.” Jesus was waiting there all along to help me with that burden. I just needed to give it to him.

Have you ever been stuck in the efforting mode? Ever taken on the cares of the world, those trials you are facing... and taken them on yourself to carry? It sure gets heavy doesn’t it? We can carry so many things....From a delayed flight to a late mortgage payment, from a broken marriage to a term paper due on Friday. A seriously ill family member, loosing a job, loosing a loved one.....even the load of lonliness and confusion..... all of us have times when we are disheartened and discouraged, sometimes to the point of “spiritually bankruptcy.” I have felt that numbness before.

When I find myself "efforting," I think of Jesus’ invitation to let Him take the heavy part of the yoke, leaving me the lighter side. I always invision in my mind that he takes the suitcases of burdens I am carrying, picks them up, walks by my side, and instantly I am filled with peace.

This year I have had to let go of that load daily....sometimes minute by minute. When given bad news, or walking through a tragedy with a friend, or facing a situation that seems much bigger than myself....or even facing the unknown. I have this verse up on my wall, and I claim it every day. It makes it much easier to do a victory dance, and walk in joy and faith when I am not carrying the immense load taking it on myself. It’s amazing how Jesus takes those burdens and always turns them into miracles. Then I find myself asking the same question...”why didn’t I do this sooner?”

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day....

Valentine’s Day....a day of love, hearts, candy, flowers, and fancy dinners. My heart always goes out to those who dread this holiday rather than look forward to it with excitement. In fact I used to be one of those people. I would see January, and know February 14 was on its way. It was like if I didn’t have a special valentine, I would be exempt from having fun on this holiday. As a single Mom for many years, just focused on raising my children, Valentine’s Day was not on the forefront of my mind. I always go back to those memories on days like today, but I see them differently now. I see how God used the worst of trials to show me His heart, His love for me and how He would use those hard times to make me better, and give me the ability to receive all He had ahead.

I remember sitting at the table with my then 8 year old daughter and 6 year old son, years ago gluing decorations on their Valentine’s Day bags for their school party. I was busy trying to figure out if I would be able to take time off from my job to be a homeroom mom for the party I so desperately wanted to attend. My heart was just so torn, and really quite discouraged. I was tired, I was lonely. But I so vividly remember that day like it was yesterday. As I dropped my kids off at school for the day, my little boy handed me something. I was in a hurry and sat it on the car seat knowing I would look at it later.

On the drive to work, I remember praying the day would go quickly. I knew the ladies at work would have a desk full of flowers and candy and cards, and I would get to see them all day, reminding me that I didn’t have a Valentine this year.

I started to get out of the car and looked down on my seat and there it was....the card from my son. I sat there behind the building and opened it up. He had hand made me a valentine. It was a heart that he had cut out himself. It said “Mommy, you have the best Valentine’s ever....Me, Laura, and Jesus. We love you Mommy.” With words mispelled, and the edges frayed because his scissors were too big, it made it even more special. In fact something grabbed my heart that morning. Something changed my life forever. It was the realization that I was loved, so very loved. I had 2 beautiful children and a God who delighted over me and on this day He was dancing over the very thought of me. He was the lover of my how does it get any better than that? I had always known God was there, always knew these things to be true....but today, reading this precious little card from my hit home. I mean really hit home.

It was like a lifechanging moment when Jesus just grabbed my heart....and I really knew it was His. I may not have had dozens of roses on my desk that day, but that precious card that my son gave me meant more to me than all the flowers in the world. And it stayed on my desk long after Valentine’s day. It reminded me who really had my heart.

Years have passed since that Valentine’s Day. In fact when I think of how God blessed my life in ways I could never comprehende, I am once again reminded of His great love for me. It’s a love that is quite indescribable. God truly gives us the desires of our hearts. The dreams I held onto for those many years....He fulfilled. All that the enemy tried to take from me, God restored. For those of you who know my story, know this to be true. You watched it unfold.

I guess I am writing this blog today because I want to encourage those who do not think they will ever have their breakthrough....that think they will never have a Valentine....and who experience pain on this day instead of happiness. Let Jesus take your heart, and rest in knowing you are loved beyond measure. If your heart is broken....give Him the pieces. He will make it whole again. I know....because He did it for me.

My sweet husband left for work today, but before he left he did as he always does....he wrapped his arms around me and he prayed. He prayed for me, and he thanked God for me, he prayed for our 4 children, and even our 2 dogs. He covered it all. As he left today I was taken back to that day when Jesus grabbed onto my heart so intimately. Look how much He blessed me! Look how far I had come! Oh the joy and blessing of complete surrender to His love. There is no greater love than His.

Don’t give up. This is your Valentine’s Day today....what He has waiting for you is far greater than flowers or candy. It’s your’s your dream. Nobody can take care of your heart better than He can! Happy Valentine’s Day!

Monday, February 7, 2011

A "Remote" Journey with Deloris!

Her name was Deloris, she was 4 1/2 feet tall.....and I had no idea how she would impact my life. As I waited in the emergency room for a bed to open up in the hospital.....I was not a happy camper. I did not want to go through yet another hospital adventure. 2011 was not supposed to begin this way! I was hooked up to so many wires that I felt like I was turning into the bionic woman. As I sat there alone in the E.R. I thought to myself....”OK, Lisa, find the humor in this, find the joy in this journey!” Hmmm, as hard as I tried....for some reason having a pity party sounded much better than laughing. All I could do was wimper out a frustrated whisper....”Jesus, help!” But somehow I knew that pathetic whimper of a prayer went straight to the heart of Jesus.

Did I feel instant joy and laughter after my prayer? No. But deep inside....I knew He was the midst of my pity party....Jesus was there.

They wheeled me up to the second floor. As they got me settled into bed I heard from behind the curtain....a raspy voice yell ”I have the remote to this T.V. and I am the boss of it!” Hmm....I guess that was my welcome to this temporary humble abode I would be in for a few days. Yes, her name was Deloris. She was my roommate.

I could only ask the Lord “why”? answer. At that point I only knew 2 things. #1 God had to know what He was doing. #2 Deloris was boss of the T.V. remote (She wasn’t kidding either)

Through the next several days I would go through many medical tests, and so would she. I got to know Deloris. Though that blue medical curtain separated us for the first few hours of our being didn’t stay up long. We became friends. I realized Deloris was the way she was, stubborn and headstrong, for a reason. Her life story brought me to tears in only a few minutes of her telling that story. It was filled with abandonment, abuse, lonliness, and sadness. She told me later that nobody had ever wanted to hear her story before.....this was a first for her.

Deloris was a severe diabetic. She had come close to death several times. I sat with her when the nurse from diabetic eduction came up to teach her about changes in her diet, and the severe consequences she would face if she didn’t make these changes. I learned a lot from sitting with Deloris that day.

It was my turn for tests, and as I left the room to head downstairs for a stress test...she thanked me for sitting with her and I saw her wipe a tear quickly from her face, not wanting me to see. She will never know what that tear did for my heart.

When I returned from my tests, Deloris was asleep. I got settled into bed and as soon as I lifted up my pillow.....there it was! THE T.V. REMOTE! She had given me the remote! I knew how much that remote meant to Deloris, and I knew this was huge for her. I have never been choked up over a remote before in my life, but today...I was. And you know what is funny.....I didn’t even want to watch t.v. anymore. I quietly reached over and put it back under her pillow. I saw her smile. (Again, she didn’t want me to see that smile, but I did)

On this visit to the hospital I met many people....and as I was wheeled down for tests, the hallway was lined with people waiting to be wheeled into their tests. I saw a lady crying....she was scared....I wanted to hop off of my wheelchair and hug her. It broke my heart to see her crying alone in the corner. It was then that I heard it....that still small voice that carries me through every single day of my life. That quiet voice of the Lord whispered to me....”Lisa, this is why you are here.” You will be ok....just pray.” These people were not put into my life by chance....they were layed deeply, and heavily on my heart to pray for. Could it be that certain things are allowed by the Lord so we are brought into situations that will not only change our lives but the lives of others? The longer I live, the more I find this to be true.

When Deloris was released, I prayed for her....she looked at me this time wiping tears from her face and said....”Lisa, if you ever come to my house to visit, you can always have the remote to my t.v......thank you for listening to my story and for being my friend.”

I was proud of myself for keeping it all together....until she left. Then I went through a box of kleenex. I don’t think I will ever look at our T.V. remote the same again.

With all the snow we just had in Tulsa, it was a time to be homebound. One day I was a little melancholy and feeling a little low. I was prompted by the Lord to pray for Deloris, for the others I met at the hospital that day. As I began to pray my spirits lifted....if a heart could smile, mine was smiling. One prayer led to another and before I knew it....those prayers brought a joy to my spirit. There is just something about prayer and can’t stay low for long! That’s why the enemy tries so desperately to keep us focused on everything else! Deloris once again made my heart smile. God knew the day I was having my pity party in that E.R. room...that today...I would be praying for Deloris.....and all the others I met that day...and I would be blessed.

Life is filled with journeys. And the longer I live, going through difficult journeys.... I am realizing more and more that sometimes God’s answer and gift to us is the journey itself....not the final destination. That journey is what makes us appreciate and cherish the destination when we get there. It’s what gives us the maturity to see it the way God sees it. What I have learned this year has changed my life. The people I have met, have impacted me in ways I cannot describe. The Holy Spirit has shown me things, and taught me lessons....even in my pain. Each day is precious.

So as I stood in line for 4 hours for groceries before the blizzard of Tulsa hit, listening to angry people mad at the long lines. I felt such a peace as I stood there. When it’s all put into’s a blessing to be able to be not be in a hospital be able to buy just have another day of life! I am thankful for so many things. I am thankful for friends, for family, for another day to serve Jesus, and of course.....for my remote control! I think it’s time to go visit my friend....Deloris!