Today--the first day of snow--fires lit, a perfect night for soup!
Life is to me, sometimes, an obstacle course. How I face each dip that must be straddles and curve that must be managed and barrier that must be jumped, will indeed determine the outcome of my race. I have noticed that there is rarely a reprieve and always I have to be on the alert so that my soul stays in the place of peace and hope.
When you tango with the issues of life, where does your mind run to? What is the source of your hope? When you feel despair and discouragement and the weight of stress, where do you go?
A sweet woman commented this year on my blog and said I was a "gold digger" and then explained that what she meant was that I always went for the gold--the truth, the best of scripture--to find the nuggets that sustain and that carry us on the wings of hope. Her statement has stayed with me. I want to be that kind of person. I want to go to the place where the truth is--where God's presence is--to the place that gives me guidance and hope. I still struggle through the process and feel the deep feelings of weariness, frustration, fear, hopelessness amidst the feelings of joy, deep appreciation, love. But I do like the idea of persistently looking for HIs treasures of encouragement and truth. Where to go?
For me, it is my quiet time. Most every morning, (and of course is has been different through the different seasons of life), it must be when no one will talk to me or disturb my reverie. Very early has served me the best--creeping in the dark of night so no one will hear! I light my candles, brew a cup of tea, and enter into the presence of the Lord. Usually I just sit for a few minutes and take in the peace of being quiet and still. Sometimes I stew and fret; sometimes I just sit and try to gather my wits and soul about me; sometimes I cry out, and other times, I just dig for new truth and knowledge. But, He is my One Friend who I go to every day. Without Him, there is no solution for me. Without His help and strength, I will find no paths and no peace. There is no substitute--not books, not friends, not church, just Him. He is the counsel I desire. He is the love I seek. It is in this that we find our life.
Now, there area always areas of need, fear, questions and wisdom I must ask of Him.
The issues stack up to make a good pile in every season of my life. This season for me:
Our 2 mothers who have dementia--one who was recently taken advantage of by workers to the tune of $60,000 which ended up in the hands of the local DA and will have to be prosecuted. No way to pay all the bills incurred. What to do--thanks to Clay's wonderful brother Wiley, we are seeing great progress. How to handle the issues and long term care?
My mother, in and out of reality--24 hour care now required and trips to both moms more often to take care of them. Which also means, taking care of family trumps ministry commitments.
(I had to cancel some speaking engagements this fall to help balance life more for these precious ones) (Should I be more available or be doing more? Will we need to cancel more ministry projects? Am I being a good daughter? What is the balance of keeping my priorities of family, ministry and taking care of our precious moms?)
Financial difficulties from the times--not having money for pay roll last month. How will we face this month? (The fears and accusations and thoughts--does our ministry matter? Should we keep going? Will we make it? )
Chronic health issues for the past 8 years of one of my children, with more questions and more meds and tests. (Will you ever heal or bring a solution? Will you answer those thousands of prayers that have gone heaven bound?)
Nate moving to LA with no roommate, job or agent but with dreams in his heart--enough to strike fear in a protective mom.(Can he make it there? Is it even possible to get a job? Will he make moral decisions and stay righteous?)
Joel working 15 hours a week and doing a full load and in the midst of applying for scholarships now that he is able (first year students not allowed to apply) (Will he remember to get the app in on time? Should I nag him or trust God? Will he be able to sustain the pressure of such a demanding schedule and keep his grades up? Will he ever be able to pay back the loans?)
Ministry mysteries--lots of opportunities and how to manage them in a failing economy but having more to do than 5 people can do--limiting, praying, planning, canceling and stepping out in faith.(Local or regional leadership conferences? At the mom's conferences? speakers for conferences? A new website and all the projects for Whole Heart--conferences, books, materials, recordings, speaking requests, 4000 emails, supporters, publishing, meetings, Bible studies, blogs, accounting, publicity, meeting with staff, need for more staff, helping Clay and supporting him,etc. etc.)
More secret issues that can only be disclosed to the Lord.
Yet, if He is true then He will be true to me.
But, every morning, I call to mind, my Father, the one who hears, the one who sees, the one who loves and cares. He has seen us through many, many such seasons before. He will indeed see us faithfully through this one as well.
This I call to mind, therefore I have hope...
The Lovingkindness of the Lord never ceases,
For His compassions never fail,
The are new every morning;
Great is thy faithfulness.
"The Lord is my portion," says my soul.
Therefore I have hope in Him."
The Lord is good to those who wait on Him,
To the person who seeks Him.
It is good that He waits silently
For the salvation of his soul.
Jeremiah 3: 21-26
So, I called on Him all the mornings, with secret prayers no one else could hear.
Moms seem to be ok this week.
By God's gracious hand and by the abundant generosity of friends of the ministry, enough support came in, some totally "out of the blue" to pay all salaries and office and bills for this month- Amazingly provided. God raised up His own angel friends to hold up our arms.
New meds to consider--maybe a solution.
In two weeks, Nate has found a Christian agent who signed him up; 2 strong Christian roomates from an ad in a church bulletin--both actors and both strong believers and reasonable rent; and a job--a real job to cover all of his monthly bills.
Joel talks to two professors and they both told him they would give him the highest recommendation and see if they could help him with the scholarship application. New Christian friends have moved into the area--less lonely, more fellowship.
Countless calls and offers for help with the mom's conferences, great solutions for 4 regional training meetings that are affordable, lots of prayer support, a new staff-part time to help with some of the piles, new opportunities, lots of great plans for training and Bible study writing partners; new book opportunities, Hope for the future.
It is a day by day adventure. It is a one-woman sanctuary, in the darkness of a pre-sunrise room, where through prayer and the living word, miracles are taking place every day and the Father is whispering His love and assurance, day by day, month by month, year by year. It is a story of great blessing between a fragile child and a gentle, patient, strong Father who cares.
Saying goodbye to Nate as he gets into the car for the long 2 day drive.