There Will Never Be Another Quite Like It

As October comes to an end, and November is a mere few hours away, I thought I’d repost a blog entry from a few years ago. My words came back to me, reminding me that time slips by so quickly.

NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE

This afternoon the gray sky is moist. I feel the drops on my face as I rush to unload the groceries.IMG_0718

The wind is biting, and my thick sweater is not enough to protect against the late Fall temperatures.

I hurry to get inside to the warmth. The kitchen lights leave puddles on the counter top, as I quickly put groceries away.

Life is a blur, but I want to slow it down.

It’s Friday. November 22nd. 2013. This day will soon be gone, and there will never be another just like it……

Oh, how I wish I could live each day remembering this fact.

When the merry-go-round goes wild and the moments make me dizzy….

Slow down.

Yesterday, while making dinner I watched Ann Voskamp and Liz Curtis Higgs, “Christmas at the Farm”. (If you too,would like to see the Webcast, go here. ) These two ladies are inspiring. They gave me a gift. They took my hand, frazzled and worn, and led me to the Savior. Towards the end of the visit, Liz spoke of Luke 1:37. “Nothing is impossible with God.” That happens to be my very favorite Bible verse and I just knew she was talking to me personally.

Nothing. Not anything. Nothing big. Nothing small. N-O-T-H-I-N-G is impossible with God.

How many of us need to hear that today? At this very moment? Every day, a reminder?

The darkness is creeping around the edges of the late afternoon sky. 4:30 seems much later….almost time to start dinner.

But, even as the darkness descends, and the temperature plummets, I know this…

My moments are here and now, and God sees them and feels them all.

I can rest in the knowledge that there is no such thing as impossible with Him.

For with God nothing shall be impossible. Luke 1:37  KJV

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Peace and Quiet

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Smudgy gray clouds lay low across the sky. The temperature is not to rise above the mid-50’s, with rain on the way. By most people’s standards, a typical October day in the Mid-west. The leaves on the trees that line the street are picture-worthy. Bright orange and yellow flames against the gray sky, but with the rain and wind, I don’t know if the leaves will still be on the trees by tomorrow morning. We might just have a blanket of gold on the ground, after it is all said and done.

I find myself pulling my sweater around me, as I walk into the chilly autumn air. The drop in temperature does not yet call for a winter coat, but I must admit the sweater feels really good! I am on my way to the local library to tutor a student. As I sit down at a large wooden table to wait, I am reminded how comforting the library is to me. Quiet. Calming. Yes, I can hear the hum of computers running, and occasionally hear voices….but, overall, it feels insulated from the outside world. I like quiet. I always have. Far too often in my world, life is noisy and stressful and I guess I think of the library as a retreat from all the noise that attempts to steal my attention.

Being alone, allows me to think my own thoughts without being rushed or pushed into the next urgent thing. I hope libraries are around for a long time. Yes, I have a Kindle and a computer. I can download books from the comfort of my own home. That is true, and I enjoy that perk. Yet, there is something to be said for walking up and down aisles of books at the library, or sitting at a table and working in peace and quiet.

Taking A Detour

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Today I was lost, turned around and backwards. I often tease with my husband calling myself, “directionally challenged”. I laugh about it too…unless I am on a backroad with no idea where I’m at, and am desperately needing to get to an appointment in town, on time.

The small village that we live outside of, in rural Ohio, is having work done on the railroad tracks. Since most of this village is surrounded by tracks, it makes it tricky getting around when roads are closed due to maintenance on those tracks. I thought I had it figured out and was able to get to a main road into town. All was well until on the main road I nearly slammed into yet ANOTHER road closed sign. What??!! How was I going to get into town? I turned onto a road, the only road NOT closed, that I had never been on before. I figured I knew the general direction I needed to take so I’d just drive and keep turning until I circled back around towards town. Now, if any of you have ever lived in or visited the rural Mid-west you know that country roads can meander on for quite a while and there are a lot of fields that all pretty much look the same. Unless you know the area, it can be confusing. Corn looks like corn, looks like corn. You, know?

I started to panic a little bit, not because I was scared of being lost (I’d eventually find my way back, even if I ended up in the next county over), but because I was going to be late to meet with one of my students at the library. I didn’t want him waiting on me and wondering. I called my husband (thankfully cell service still works in the middle of nowhere). He googled the road I was on, and was able to help me figure out what I needed to do, to safely ,and with my sanity still intact, make it to the library without too much problem. After a short jaunt ,on yet another road, I made it into town in one piece.

This whole experience got me thinking. My experience this morning is so much like life in general. I find myself cruising at 60 mph, believing my day is going to go exactly as planned. My plans. My way. That is until I almost slam into a detour sign. Sometimes God has to put up a very LARGE detour sign for me…..to make sure I see it, because unfortunately, so many times I am not paying attention.

God never gets lost or confused. He never worries about where He is taking me, or how many turns are in the road. He already knows the final destination and I can rest in the safety of that knowledge.

Proverbs 16:9 “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”

Sometimes In Life, A Door Opens…

Zi6_0127As many of my readers already know, special education has been a driving force, for most of my life. Maybe I should say, helping and encouraging individuals with special needs and their families has been my driving force. It is one of the things in my life that brings me joy, and contributes to who I am as a person. God put a desire in my heart, a calling, to be a voice for those who deserve to be heard.

Sometimes in life, a door opens, and we are unsure if we should walk through it. Life might change….and change can be scary. It is often times easier to just stand for awhile, in the threshold, unsure of whether or not to take that next step. With that said, a couple of months ago, my husband and I walked through that proverbial door and embarked on a new adventure. We took an opportunity that allows us to create ways to help, encourage, and advise families of those with special needs.

Please check out our new website. The website is still “in progress”, as a matter of fact we feel the site should always be evolving and growing to be all we want it to be, while still taking steps toward our dream. Would you help us to help others by sharing the blog and website? Would you like, pin, share and retweet? If you, yourself, have a family member with a disability or you know someone who does, would you let them know about the website as a resource? Make comments. Ask questions. Be real. Help us make a positive difference in the lives of others.  The most recent addition to the website is the first in a series of videos I’m calling “SpecEd Answers”.  Check it out!

The World Was Not Worthy Of Them

“THEY CALL ME CHURA… GOD CALLS ME DAUGHTER.”

Those words are Shafia’s.  Shafia was kidnapped, raped, family members killed….she lost so much. But she did not lose her faith in Jesus Christ. Her world could take everything that she had, but it could not take away her Jesus.  Scripture tells us,       ”No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8: 37-39

I got my Share Their Voice kit from Voice of the Martyrs yesterday.  Stories of Christians around the globe…modern day martyrs for their faith. Stories of Christians in China, Turkey, North Korea, and Sudan. Christians in Pakistan, and Columbia. People that are kidnapped, raped, tortured, imprisoned, lose their families, their homes….everything. Some people even lose their lives. All this because they refuse to deny Jesus Christ. Their love for Him far outweighs what mere man can do to them. When I read their stories, stories that the main stream media will never tell us, my heart cries out! Lord, forgive me in my selfishness, my excess, my ambivalence to those brothers and sisters in Christ that suffer around the world for You. I am so ashamed that it is easy to forget them as I go on with my daily life. Help me to share their stories with others, so that their voices won’t be silenced. Father, I know that You will never forget them…. that You know each of these souls intimately.

These countries are considered restricted nations: Cuba, Belarus, Morocco, Algeria, Mauritania, northern Nigeria, Libya, Egypt, northern Sudan, Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Oman, U.A.E, Qatar, Kuwait, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan,  Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, China, North Korea, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, Bhutan, Maldives and Bangladesh.  In these countries there are government policies and practices that deny Christians the ability to obtain Bibles or Christian literature, also laws against Christians that cause them to be harassed, imprisoned, killed, or deprived of their possessions or liberties because of their witness.

These countries are considered hostile areas: Chiapas (Mexico), Columbia, Turkey, Ethiopia, India, Nepal, Kyrgyzstan, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, and Mindanao (Philippines). These countries have large areas where governments consistently attempt to provide protection for the Christian population, but Christians are victims of violence because of their witness.

Remember the Christians in these countries mentioned. Even if you don’t know them by name, God knows them. Many times pain cannot be avoided by these warriors for the faith, but you can pray for them to have  strength and determination until their journey is done. Pray that no matter what may befall them, that they will be found faithful.

“Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.”  Hebrews 13: 3

http://www.persecution.com

Her Last Words

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It was the last word on her lips before she was murdered. The only word that mattered.

Jesus…. 

The name above all names.

Blessed Redeemer. Emmanuel.

A moment of Holiness in the midst of the heinous.

Witnesses to her murder said she was smiling. Yes, smiling…as she whispered, “Jesus”. Then she was beheaded. Her crime? She was a Christian in Syria. She identified as a follower of Jesus Christ. Her love for Him sentenced her to death.

But, something she knew, that her killers did not understand…..could not understand…….her faithfulness to her Savior meant that death could not separate her from the love of Christ. To be absent from the body, is to be present with the Lord. I have no doubt that she is with Him right now, in His presence….now and forevermore. She is more alive today than she ever was here on Earth.

But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:37-39 

As a Christian in the United States of America, my faith has never been a life or death matter. I don’t know what it feels like to be persecuted, imprisoned, beaten, to lose all my possessions, and yes, to be murdered for my belief in Jesus Christ. I hope it doesn’t come to that, but one day it might. I used to think being a Christian was safe……..

“What is your religion? Do you believe in God?” Yes. I’m a Christian. “Good, because you’re gonna meet Him in one second.” What started out as a typical school day at a local community college ended in tragedy. I daresay that none of those murdered expected that, that day was going to be the day they died. When they got up that morning, none of them knew what lay ahead for them.

But, when it came down to it, when their very lives were on the line, they said, “Yes”.  I’m sure they were scared….terrified. I don’t know what it was like in that classroom in Oregon, but in their final moments I have to believe they knew. They understood that identifying with Jesus meant their death. Rather than deny their Savior they said, “YES”.

Christians murdered on foreign soil. Christians murdered in my own country. All of us, brothers and sisters in Christ. Although the thought of this is scary, if I should ever be put to the test, I pray that I would remain faithful to the very end.
And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Matthew 10:28 ESV

Article on the Syrian Christians is here. Article on the Oregon shooting.

October, How I Love Thee…

Oh, October! How I love thee. Let me count the ways…

1. A cool morning breeze, that begs me to wear a sweater.

2. Low hanging gray clouds, allowing only a peek of blue underneath.

3. Pumpkins at the grocery store, pumpkins at roadside stands, pumpkins at the Farmer’s Market.

4. Spiced coffee and pumpkin flavored muffins.

5. Cozy blankets to snuggle in.

6. Warm candles in apple, pumpkin, and cinnamon scents.

7. Sweaters and fluffy socks, and boots.

8. Fall festivals and harvest time and corn shocks and drives on the country back roads.

9. Brilliant colors of yellow, orange and red.

10. And football.

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