My Mother’s Day with Covid

This was a most unusual Mother’s Day for me. About four days previous, I caught Covid. During the night on Saturday, I felt achy and awoke to a beautiful Mother’s Day morning with pain in all my joints! Yes, Covid came and claimed my body. Even though it was a celebrated day on my calendar, I didn’t have the usual delights of that day to enjoy, yet I experienced God’s love in a beautiful way.

I notified a few friends of my situation and they moved into action. Offering love and prayer, Ivermectin and vitamins for my covid protocol, food, anything I wanted! Indeed, with God’s grace through prayer and the proper treatment that I adhered to, everything worked out very well for me. Even with me being immuno-compromised with leukopenia, the abundance of prayers and comfort care went a long way in keeping me secure as I traveled through the first and second trying days. This is my 4th day now, and I feel so blessed to be on the other side of that and strong enough to think and write!

Day 1 and 2 were the worse for me. Extreme body pain everywhere: bones, joints, and muscles… I felt like an injured snake writhing in pain without relief. No escape, even with strong pain meds. But, when I awoke yesterday, I knew it took a turn! I slept almost all day, resting my wrecked body. Upon waking today, I knew I was climbing out of it. Praise God!

I am so thankful for the wonderful friends who cared for me. My neighbor, Gaby, who offered to pick up anything I needed: bought some vitamins I needed and baked and shared with me a wonderful homemade dessert last night. My friend, Doris, one of the best cooks I know, made some mean spicy-flu-chasing-chicken-soup that tasted so good yesterday, and today. And thank you, Bill, as always, for delivering Doris’ remedies, even while sick yourself. And my dear friend, Cathy, who early on help me get my protocol in place and ran over the final ingredient I was lacking at 10 pm on Sunday night! And to the many other gals who texted me asking what they could do or bring. Thank you all so much! You are a beautiful family.

Once again, I have lived through the reality of having a family of Christ-followers to come alongside me in my need to demonstrate the love of God beautifully. Galatians 1:1-10 talks about bearing one another’s burdens and fulfilling the law of Christ, and that is exactly what my sweet friends and church family at Greater Grace Community Church did for me! Your gifts of prayer, supplies, food, and abundance of love carried me through a couple of painful days.

That is my testimony on how something as rotten, painful, and destructive as Covid, could be turned into a blessing in my life, demonstrating God’s goodness amid some limited suffering. It is wonderful to be part of the Family of God. I have brothers and sisters who will, in Jesus’ place, go with me all the way. And I am ever grateful.

Photo Credit: elizabethbruders.com

Is Your Compass set to TRUE North?

Being lost is an awful feeling. I recall after being deposited in Romania to continue working on our adoption, several weeks had passed and I was wanting to venture out on my own to attend an English-speaking church. I did not have a car and I wanted to try and get around alone on the bus system there. I needed to take a bus from the small town where I was staying to the larger city of Suceava nearby. I had not yet developed my language skills enough to function well, but decided to go for it anyway.

It was so nice to attend the Wednesday evening worship service and meet other English-speaking people. After the service, I found my way back to the center of town. I knew the bus number that would take me back to Ițcani where I was staying with our soon-to-be-adopted children and their cousins. The problem was I got on the bus in one location and wasn’t quite sure where to get off because of the route it took back. I was told that some of the buses that head to the Gara (train station) quit for the night and I did not want to walk alone, in the dark all the way from the train station! When I figured I was close enough to my destination and saw that most of the people were getting off near the viaduct, I got off and followed the crowd. As they confidently began to disburse in different directions I began to fear becoming vulnerable, uncertain of which way to go, yet did not want to stop and appear lost. Thankfully, I recognized a storefront that I had been in the week before with cousin Angela and I was able to confidently walk down the street that led to their home.

I shared that story to say the crowd can feel safe for a while but eventually, you have to know for yourself where you’re headed. Without a true inner compass to guide you, there will be times of vulnerability and fear. Our world is only growing more troubled and confused as scripture says it would (2 Timothy 3:1-17) before Christ returns for His Bride-the Church. This is no time to live in confusion or fear. One thing is sure: if we have the confidence that God IS our Father, and the Holy Spirit is living within, we can trust Him to help us in our time of need. I urge you today if you do not yet know God the Father through Jesus Christ His Son (I John 5:20) in a personal way then seek Him while you can. You’ll want to find a church that adheres to scripture, with a shepherd that does not fear others to help you on your journey. Finding a pastor and leaders that can disciple you and that you can get to know in a personal way is so important.

YOUR COMPASS

Id’ like to have you think about your inner-compass, and ask yourself if it is sure, trustworthy, and set to True North. We had an elderly outdoorsman friend who knew all about true north vs. magnetic north. My son used to love to go treking around the Adirondack Mountains with Mr. Fred. Andre would come home having learned so much about hiking, hunting, and woodsmanship. As we trek through our agitated world, we must learn and determine for ourselves what is Truth (True North), as God our Creator explains it, versus what is relative truth (magnetic North) the way humankind interprets it. They are very different, much more than the 12-degree difference that travelers adjusting their compass for declination must do. We live in a post-Christian society that knows little anymore about the God who created us, and the need to adjust our thinking to His Word in order to rightly find our destination. walking only a few degrees off true north causes major deviation as time passes. Failure to navigate without God’s help is causing so much confusion and division in our world, and in our families.

Unless we align our heart with God’s and center ourselves in the Truth of His Word daily, we will find ourselves in compromised situations wondering what to believe or do. People end up way off course by multiplying the untruth that human wisdom alone provides. The Potter (Isaiah 64:8) who molded and made us is well able to guide us through the maze of these tumultuous days. He is the One who instructs us with the Truth about us, our world, and our condition.

DIVISION

Our society has never been so convoluted in its division. Yes, the Civil War (1861-1865) was the fruit of a major division in our country over the issue of slavery. But today we have so many issues that are not clean-cut, discernable and based upon clear criteria, such as the slave trade was. We’ve fallen into a pit of darkness concerning every possible topic one could discuss. There is no longer a sensible view of what is right or wrong. People are so confused over the simplest of matters, such as God creating people male and female (Genesis 1:27). When such an obvious biological fact becomes debatable, we have completely lost our way. Agendas abound… I do not want to be led astray by people feeding me lies, partial truth, or man-made “facts”. I want the whole truth that God offers to us in His Word.

WHERE ARE YOU HEADED?

I do not watch TV. I decided long ago that for me it wasted valuable time that I needed to invest elsewhere. If I were going to be able to think critically, I would need good source information beginning with the Bible. Next, I add to that a variety of reliable sources to learn from. I think it is wise to educate ourselves on what’s going on in the world, but if you allow the news media to interpret these events you will be misled by their viewpoint. Because of our fallen nature, all people lie to some degree, whether with intent or not: God alone is True and knows all. Human beings can only offer what they see from their limited view and particular bias. Without the lens of Scripture to help us interpret Truth from falsehood, we are left to hopelessly navigate through lies. You must decide whether your brain will be washed by the world’s thinking or by God’s Word (Romans 12:2). Even with God’s Word to guide us, we are often wrong in our views. This is why humility is so important and a highly regarded ingredient in scripture. Prayer with humility is crucial in finding our way.

WHY All THE FIGHTING?

So why is there such major divisions among us today? All people have agendas, and we are naturally (I Corinthians 2:14) governed by our sinful lusts: greed, power, fame, and self. With the transformation that Christ stepping into the center of our lives brings, we gain the opportunity to renounce these lusts by God’s grace, and live another way (Colossians 3:9). We come to know that God holds our future in His Hands (Hebrews 13:5) and we are taught to give rather than hoard things for ourselves and dominate others. We are also encouraged to speak up for the oppressed and for righteous causes (Micah 6:8). While many good people attempt to do this, the heart’s true motivation is eventually seen. Motives and desires are heart issues and our actions reveal what we believe. The clash of thinking, values and all-out war concerning ideas in the public square is because of opposing worldviews; mans vs. Gods and how we apply scripture to our lives.

WHERE IS YOUR COMPASS TAKING YOU?

We can find peace and assurance as we set our sights and resting place with God as our dwelling place, both here and in eternity. I desire to follow the inner compass God has placed within my soul. I am serving God by doing His will as He daily reveals it to me. When we fix our compass upon the scripture and are nurtured daily, feeding upon God’s abundance, we find ourselves secure under His care. But this is not the case for those who follow their own way; they call it following your heart or doing your own thing. We are told in the Bible that this will lead to destruction and worse yet, Hell (a place created for the devil and his demons, not mankind) in the end (Revelation 21:8). The decision you make today, will determine your destination, your outcome… what will it be?

Psalm 1 is my favorite, it pretty much sums up the 2 divergent groups and where they land. Think about it and decide: Am I lost… following the crowd of this world? Or, are you found in a secure, flourishing place near God’s stream of living water. He offers you abundant life, will you take it? (See John 10:10).

Psalm 1 says: Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.

Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.

Photo Credit: Google Images

Go for it!

When moving forward here are a few proverbial guardrails to consider…

  1. CONTEMPLATE w/ prayer: The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty. Proverbs 21:5
  2. HEAR from God: The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord. Proverbs 16:1 
  3. COUNSEL w/ God’s Word & trusted others: Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed. Proverbs 15:22 
  4. PLAN: The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps. Proverbs 16:9 
  5. COMMIT: Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established. Proverbs 16:3

When the road ahead is established: GO!! .. and if you’re not ready, repeat this routine.

Photo Credit: Google Images

Wait…

Being asked to wait works against our human nature; we’re born for action! No wonder the past year has been so difficult for many. I am often unwilling to wait because it feels like I’m not acting responsibly.

In looking back on my waiting experiences, I can see that as I practice waiting, I am growing in patience and humility. Patience involves trust. Placement of trust is important — ask yourself: Who am I Trusting? By learning to trust God while waiting we see that He IS at work in our life.

Throughout scripture we are told to trust in God and wait patiently upon Him. This does not mean inaction. With investments there’s a term called progressive passive income. It’s when you make an initial investment and over time it progressively grows; by waiting, you allow time to multiply your investment. So, it is with certain aspects of our spiritual life. We take action by investing, or turning over our life to God’s care, and there are seasons when we wait. It may appear to be lackadaisical, but in actuality, passive growth or compounding is occurring. How, what, or whom, we are willing to invest (or leave with) with God will determine the growth we experience.

Can you look back upon your life and see where this passive growth has occurred? When I consider the most difficult long-term waits in my life, I see now that God was doing some of His most important work in me. I just needed to Step Back and wait upon Him. Areas that I have made major investments in and then had to wait are: waiting to having children, our adoption process, marriage issues, marital separation, and divorce. Now I am also waiting, for the forgiveness and healing process to multiply. Yes, there’s pain in waiting, but remember God is working in the midst of it.

Seasons…

There are seasons that seem slow to us. Investing in prayer, fasting, giving, and faithfulness can feel like nothing is really happening. But God is always working in some way in us as we trust Him. Using our season of waiting to grow our relationship with Him is wise. We can learn valuable lessons during this time and find contentment and peace in the process.

Psalm 27:14 Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord.

Isaiah 40:31 But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

Galatians 6:9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

Psalm 37:7 Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices!

Psalm 62:5 For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken.

Micah 7:7 But as for me, I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.

Photo credit: Google Images

Nancy Demary

Being asked to wait works against our human nature; we’re born for action! No wonder the past year has been so difficult for many. I am often unwilling to wait because it feels like I’m not acting responsibly.

In looking back on my waiting experiences, I can see that as I practice waiting, I am growing in patience and humility. Patience involves trust. Placement of trust is important — ask yourself: Who am I Trusting? By learning to trust God while waiting we see that He IS at work in our life.

Throughout scripture we are told to trust in God and wait patiently upon Him. This does not mean inaction. With investments there’s a term called progressive passive income. It’s when you make an initial investment and over time it progressively grows; by waiting, you allow time to multiply your investment. So, it is with certain aspects of…

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Recipe for Relief

While living in Romania, I would find joy in the morning by sitting on the porch reading God’s Word and watching Gabriel herd his sheep, and goats, down the lane. I would think about Jesus, our gentle Shepherd, and it would bring me peace. We can find ourselves at times in emotional and spiritual struggle and I hope this article brings relief to your mind during these times.

The Recipe

Read God’s Word often and ask the Holy Spirit to help you trust the Father and understand what He has written. Put on the armor of God and pray as the scriptures instructs us. Resist temptation and keep your heart clean.

Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. (Luke 24:45)

Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints… (Ephesians 6:18)

Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:41)

Walk humbly before God and thank Him for opening your eyes to see Him. Our real enemy is Satan, the deceiver, those who oppose God are still blind. Pray that their eyes may be opened to Truth from God.

But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. (2Corinthians 4:3-4)

Trust your Heavenly Father, He is at work in ways much higher than we know. He is in control and has authority over this world and He will bring justice in His time. Acknowledge His will above your own and pray as Jesus taught us in Matthew 6:9-15.

Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?” (Matthew 26:52-54).

Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” (Romans 12:19)

Fast (Isaiah 58) and pray, financially support, and speak on behalf of those who are truly oppressed. Extend yourself to those in legitimate need: children of poverty, refugees fleeing war, orphans, children in foster-care, widows without means of support (no family), preborn babies and their parents who are considering aborting them, and the families of those unjustly imprisoned for their faith.

Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause. Isaiah 1:17.

Understand that God is allowing each heart to be revealed. God, our creator and sustainer, is warning us all (our entire world) to reflect and consider if we will submit to Him or not (individuals and governments). He is a loving Father and gave everything to extend mercy to us, but at some point, because He is also a just Creator, His righteous judgement will come. But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. (Romans 2:5)

Remember: For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” (I Peter 3:12)

 Photo Credit: flickr.com/Turatti