Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A Series of Unfortunate Events and God's Glory

Did you wonder if I fell overboard? Considering my series of "unfortunate events" that would have been a fitting conclusion. Anyway ...

Here's a summary:

Remember, I've been having financial struggles like the rest of the world. Also, I was preparing to speak at a women's event, topic: Dressed for Battle - Becoming a Princess Warrior for Christ. I don't think the devil likes it too much when we stand against him and proclaim God's goodness and glory. Anyway again ....

The list of unfortunate events:

The week prior to the retreat my son was recovering from the flu/coughing nightmare that's going around, my mom (who lives with me) got the stomach yuks -- big time, and was pretty much bedridden in between her trips to kneel at the porcelain throne, or sit upon it.


1. I got sick and was in bed not able to do my prep work for the retreat and missing important stuff at work.

2. The day of the retreat, still not feeling well, I was running late due to my son's baseball game. After the game, I followed that still small voice that told me to stop into Jiffy Lube to have my oil level and tires checked before heading out of town to Cannon Beach Retreat Center. There, I discovered my car was dry as a brittle bone - no oil. So I had to have some flushing thingie done to get my car oiled up, which was an unexpected cost. Not good with a limited budget. Next, the friendly service guy informed me that my left, rear tire was totally flat and balled. He said, "As a professional, I can't not warn you that this tire is ready to blow. Do not drive over the mountains on this tire. Get it fixed now."

3. Off to Les Schwab's Tire Center I go, already running waaaaaay late for my engagement. I have to wait and wait and wait to get my used tire on, which is more money I hadn't planned on spending. Big sigh.


4. Back home exhausted, head to work Monday. Check my bank account and see that it's $200.00 overdrawn due to someone pulling out funds that were not approved to be pulled. I freak out. Cry. Cry. Wail. Finally pray and reach out.

5. Next day have to go to the bank and open a new account; close the old one etc. etc. Big hassle, but it works out. (thank you, God)

6. My daughter calls me later while I'm at work crying. Admits that she broke my flat screen computer monitor. I'm a writer with deadlines etc. I have no money to replace an expensive monitor right now. Try old monitors, none work. I'm frustrated, again.

All this stuff seems rather unfortunate, if you know what I mean. Unexpected. Unpleasing. I remember that I am supposed to praise God no matter what my circumstances. Paul, from a filthy Roman prison praised God. So must I. However, I feel tromped on. But I pray anyway, still grumbling a lot.

Phew! Now remember just a while back - my roof blew off, plumbing issues, major challenges with my daughter at school.

So? What to make of all this ... it's life in a fallen and imperfect world. I can choose to crumble beneath the weight of what feels overwhelming or turn to God for relief. He promises to lighten our load. Yet, He also says there will be trials and tribulations this side of heaven. As I write about this, I'm reminded that although life has been frustrating and inconvenient, He has made a way. I found a three-ton monitor from the year 20 BC that gives graphics a whole new meaning, but I can at least write and do my ministry work now. We have a new roof thanks to home owner's insurance. The toilet flushes (now). My daughter is doing better. We're all feeling healthier. There's hope. There's a promising future. We're saved by the blood of Christ.

If you've lived in this world for any length of time, you, too, understand that our lives can seem overwhelming at times. We wonder if we're wearing a big sign that says: "Go on! Hit me with your best shot." Thankfully, no matter what, if we belong to Christ, there's always hope for a better tomorrow. We have Someone to walk beside us. Someone who will carry us should it become necessary. Someone who died so we can look forward to a future with no more tears, no more pain, no more suffering. Thank you, Jesus!

My unfortunate events may seem to be mere annoyances to some, and looking back, in comparison to what others are facing, they are pretty insignificant. But, I have strange feeling that you can relate to just how VERY BIG those little things can seem at the time.

So, if you're facing trials, tribulations, or temptations, remember God is bigger than all of them. With Him all things truly are possible. We are victorious in Christ. We are overcomers. AMEN!

Watch for my upcoming entries on the Armor of God. After all, when we're dressed for battle, we can expect greater success. God bless you, Princess Warriors.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Celebrate the Sabbath

Peace. Tranquility. Serenity. Ahhhhhh ... calgon take me away. We all yearn for "time out" for rest, for peace. Sure a bubble bath with soothing music hits the spot. Curling up with a good book can be relaxing. Yet there is a commandment that God issued in the Old Testament that is just as applicable today. A commandment that in our hustle and bustle society is often ignored.

Leviticus 23:3 instructs: "Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation. You shall do no work on it; its the Sabbath of the Lord in all your dwellings."

Hum. Are you thinking what I'm thinking? That there are far too many times that you fail to obey God's direction. I know I'm guilty.

Thankfully, there are many Sabbaths that I have chosen to follow God's Word. Let me tell you, when I do, I'm blessed -- big time. When I don't, well, that's another story, actually a nightmare.

Taking time out from all our work and busyness to focus on God is far better than any spa retreat. Really. It's true. You might be wondering what exactly should you "do" on the Sabbath. I believe it's an individual/family decision, however, I can share my idea of great Sabbath.

For my family, we have the option of attending church on a Saturday evening, which a majority of the time we do. That way on Sunday we can sleep in and rest our bodies after a busy week. We get up with no agenda and relax as a family. I spend time reading the Bible, journaling prayers, and reading other uplifting Christian literature. We pray and give God thanks for everything. We don't run around, we simply stay home and allow God to renew us during our down time. Ta Da! That's it.

Let me tell you, when I stray from this routine, I start my week off stressed and unrested, feeling overwhelmed and wishing it was the weekend all over again.

I think it's awesome that we serve a King who loves us enough to require that we rest and enjoy His presence. He knows everything about us, including our needs for time with Him and rest for our bodies, minds, and spirits. We weren't created to work seven days a week, twelve hours a day. However, so often that's what we end up doing, and we can't fathom why we're so out of sorts.

Princess Warriors, why not make make time to celebrate the Sabbath? After all, without the Power Source, we will find ourselves powerless.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Resting in the Word

Friends, it's been far too long since I've posted. My life took on a life of its own, if you know what I mean. Almost overnight, my workload at work, in ministry, and home quadrupled. I have some very exciting writing projects in the works and speaking engagements coming up as well.

And, I've broken one of my own rules. Spending an hour (at minimum) with God daily; in His Word, in prayer, and in worship. As I sit here, I realize just how thirsty I am for His Word, for more of Him.

Picture, if you will, those times during the summer months, when we can easily find ourselves in situations that increase our need for cool, refreshing water. Too much heat, hard exercise, or outdoor activities, tend to make us thirsty. In daily life,our busy schedules, family requirements, work projects, and ministry activities increase our need for more of God's supernatural power and thirst-quenching Word. But, amazingly, we often drink less and end up parched for God's refreshment.

If you're in a thirsty-place like I am, stop now and drink deeply. We cannot possibly fulfill our royal duties without God's strength. Sure, we may be able to function for short sprints on our own limited power, but those longer races require more and more of Jesus. Not to mention, "functioning" isn't the same as excelling and overcoming, is it?

I loved the above picture featuring a princess leaning on a sword. It perfectly demonstrates how we, as daughthers of the King, must lean on the Sword of the Spirit -- God's Word -- in order to successfully fulfill our destinies.

Won't you join me, this Monday, as I recommit to time with my Lord, basking in His presence, feasting on His truth, and experiencing His love and grace? He's only a prayer away.