God had a different finish line for me and it moved forward a bit!

Andy Braner--photo

Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, Hebrews 12:1

Do you even have mental deadlines that you hold to and know that if you can just make it through that date or that final stress point or major life-event--then you will be able to take a breath, then you will get some sleep, then you will be able to reorganize life and get it back together again......?

Well, I had been holding to a finish line and it was 9 days ago on Wednesday. Holding fast to this deadline since last January  after mom dying and dealing with all of those issues, Clay surgery and --I knew that I had 3 moms conferences for Whole Heart, 7 national speech and debate tournaments and trips with Joy, a book deadline, a speaking trip to Canada, Texas, ministry commitments, a two week international trip with Sarah coming from Oxford, blogs, article deadlines, kids coming in and out, Clay medical stuff ongoing, more medical issues with kids, over 100 people in and out of my home in May, National Speech and Debate Week and a sweet family staying with us, and then all the kids home with friends for 5 days--and that was my finish line--

If I can just make it through that date--last Wednesday when I put Nathan back on the plane--I will have run my course, finished my tasks, have at least a few days off to sleep, spend time with the Lord, begin to get my home and desk and emails and life back to order.

Then was up with migraine and throwing up for two hours in the night on Thursday early a.m. (food poisoning?); had an asthma attack in the middle of the night the next night as the smoke started coming in and new unexpected deadlines, calls, book final edited coming in on Friday, and finally a visit to the emergency room for breathing. Sent me home with emergency equipment as so many were coming in with asthma and breathing problems they could not treat them all.

Then, finally, Clay set me up with a fan, a wonderful place to sleep and then at 1:30 Joy called--being evacuated, family with 3 sweet babies moving in with us and a ten day old babe at that and then

this week of constant evacuating friends, running to evacuated students, more and more and more and then ending speaking at a youth conference yesterday in the midst of it all. And more friends taking in more families and all of us working together.

Not going to lie--this old lady is tuckered out and weariness has set in.

The heart is willing but the flesh is weak or exhausted or something.

I was having a short quiet time the other morning trying to walk with God in the midst--

He gently said,

"Sally, that may have been your deadline, but it wasn't my deadline. I am with you. I knew your days before you were even born and planned to be with you. I knew about the fires, the house guests, the major ministry issues that would arise, the new requests and deadlines, and I knew that if you walked in faith and let me have the burdens, that you would have sufficient strength to walk this road with joy and peace. I trusted you with this week. My grace is sufficient for you--now you just rest every day each minute that you can and don't waste one moment on anxiety. Give my peace to those around you and trust that as your days, your strength will be in measure."

And so, in the midst, strength has been there one day at a time, one friend who needed love at a time, one midnight conversation with a child at a time, and precious memories made in the midst.

When I gave my expectations and needs to my sweet Father, He took me into the secret place of His tent and assured me that He was with me and He would care for me.

Your prayers have made my weak one to walk through with joy, peace and strength for each moment. I so appreciate all of you who have walked with us through this and who are with us now.

The fires have been somewhat contained in some areas, but have moved northward toward our little town--but the firefighters are making lines of protection and contingency lines at the edge of our little twon, as it is moving north towards us. We should be safe because we are east of the freeway which it would have to cross, but we are so hopeful for our many friends, that God will help stop the fires from spreading more havoc. But, he knows,  His angels are giving charge concerning all of us and we are all at peace.

One person suggested that we were all under God's judgment. I think not. God is so very gracious and I would think even more, there are 135 national headquarters for Christian ministries in our town--why not consider this could be spiritual warfare and the wonderful Christians in our town have been abundantly generous, amazingly loving, peace giving, comforting and it is amazing seeing the body of Christ coming together.

Indeed I will never forget seeing the spirit of God working so powerfully as He has this week.

We all are on an obstacle course in this life that will require godly endurance, but God is the source of our strength, joy and comfort and this becomes more real to me every day. Sending love to all. So sorry I can't answer the many phone calls and emails, but your love has been felt and received into our very grateful hearts. May He also bless you indeed.