Faithfully Thinking: The miracle I needed and others need too

I didn’t want to be moved to a new room in the hospital. I had just got comfortable in my private room in the Covid wing. I had also just fallen asleep for more than a half-hour to an hour at a time which had been plaguing me for two days. People weren’t interrupting me. I just kept jerking out of a Covid-induced-coma-sleep, terrified and feeling completely like I was outside of my body. It was awful.

I had actually been in my first three hour stretch of sleep in days when I was woken up by Phil, my six-foot something Teddy bear of a nurse, and told I had to be moved to another room because they needed my room for a man since he couldn’t be placed with the woman who had just been brought in.

I had to have a roommate. That meant I couldn’t pray or cry out loud to myself anymore.

I was being moved? I had to lose the emotional support of the nurses I had come to love?

Wait. What?

Covid brain fog is no joke but Covid brain fog when you were asleep for the longest stretch in two days and have been woken up is even worse.

“But I don’t want to go,” I told Phil, my bottom lip quivering.

“Aw, hon, it’s okay,” Phil told me, kneeling down to my level. “You’re doing great and you’re going to be in great hands. Mike is going to be your nurse and he’s great.”

I nodded, sniffled like a child and hugged my purse to me.

“O-o-Kay.” sniff.

Before I knew it, I was being pushed down a hall, weepy, looking warily into a room at a woman who didn’t necessarily look friendly from my quick glance.

“She’s sick, Lisa,” I reminded myself. “She’s not going to look friendly right now.”

She was curled on her side, no covers, arm under her head. She’d probably been woken up too and wasn’t real pleased about it. I guessed her age to be somewhere in her 60s.

I was wheeled to my bed and climbed quickly to the safety of it, always afraid I’d get shaky and fall even though I was fine most of thr. The bed was my safety net, as sad as it sounds.

It was a bed that actually hadn’t been ready for me. The nurses had to quickly set it up and move me in. Everything seemed so haphazard and unorganized on this floor. Where had I been brought to?

In the bed I waited to be hooked up to the 24/7 pulse ox I’d had in the previous room. The nurses took my state-of-the-art pulse ox hook up off my finger and let me know that didn’t have a 24/7 setup in this room because the other patient had it. She was hooked up to monitors and IVs and I started to wonder if the hospital was cutting corners because of shortages and what would that mean to me? What if my oxygen dropped but they didn’t have me hooked up where they could see my numbers at the nurse’s station like they had in the previous wing?

I would realize later, when I was less panicked about it all, that I didn’t need to be monitored as well as my roommate because my oxygen numbers were doing well on the very low flow of oxygen I was on. I was monitored every few hours and if I was nervous at all I could call the nurse or an aide to check. My roommate, who I will call Betty for this post, was in much worse shape.  The machine was beeping every half an hour or so, letting the nurses know her oxygen was at dangerous levels, even on the higher flow of oxygen she was on. This was normally when she was trying to get to the bathroom or just rollover.

I spent a lot of time in the hospital praying for myself.

“Lord, save me.”

“Lord, don’t let me die.”

“Lord, don’t leave my kids without a mom.”

When I was put in with Betty, I found myself praying for her too.

I’m not someone special, some amazing Christian. I still prayed for myself. I’m human. I’m selfish. But praying for Betty gave me something else to focus on and, more importantly, someone else to focus on.

On Saturday night, a day after I’d been placed with her, an aide was begging Betty to put on a bipap to force air into her lungs. Her oxygen had dropped to 63 or 68 percent.

This young man, probably about 24 years old, who spent much of his time joking around, kneeled next to her bed and he said, in the sweetest, most pleading voice, “Betty, I need you to do this for me, okay? I need you to fight for me and this is one way to fight. Your family needs you, Betty. Please try this for me. I don’t want to lose you tonight, okay?”

Another nurse came in and together she and this young man convinced Betty to put on this Bipap (similar to a CPAP used for sleep apnea) so she could breathe. Watching that aid and that nurse was like watching a scene from a television show. He especially was like a real-life angel, not to sound too dramatic.

Betty was unable to keep the mask and device on for more than am hour before she said it was making her feel like she was suffocating. When the nurses were out of the room, I told her she was suffocating without it. I told her I would hold her hand while she fell asleep on it. She shook her head, thanked me, but said she just couldn’t do it.

“Betty, do you have a family at home?”

“Yes. I have grandchildren and great-grandchildren.”

“Fight for them, Betty.”

I walked around the curtain, shaky and tired, and laid my hand on her leg as she tried to rest, still trying her best to wear the Bipap mask. I asked God to help her keep the Bipap on so she could breathe. At that moment her oxygen rose from 85 to 98, well in normal range.

She was not able to keep the Bipap on for very long, but it did help while it was on. A couple of hours later, her oxygen was dropping again, and nurses came in to raise the flow on her oxygen, which can cause damage in the long run. She sat up on the bed while they tried to figure out how to get the oxygen in her without ventilating her and her oxygen dropped into the 70s. I was pacing on the other side of the curtain, praying, in between begging Betty to try the Bipap mask again.

The high flow began to work, and Betty was able to lay down again and I worked on getting some sleep. Somehow both of us slept for four hours or so that night.

Betty and I didn’t have a lot of time to talk, in between her throwing up and trying to breathe well and sleeping, but I did learn she had a husband, grandchildren and also COPD and heart failure. I learned that she was okay with my praying for her, even out loud, and she said she appreciated it. She said she didn’t go to church, but believed in God. She also gave me her jello and some crackers, probably after she heard me telling my mom how I was hungry all the time and felt like the meals weren’t filling me. I didn’t understand why I was so hungry and wondered if it was the steroids I was on, even though they were a low dosage.

Two nights after I thought I was going to listen to Betty die, I was being discharged. I had to have one last dose of the anti-viral medication and I was a nervous wreck, worried that I would be this close to going home to my family and I’d have some weird side effect from the medicine. I hadn’t so far, but I had this fear I would this time and that they would keep me from my children and husband again. (Note: if you are ever in the hospital, don’t read what others have to say about the medication you are being given, especially if the person says it is a conspiracy and now you are going to have kidney failure.)

In the end, all that worrying about what the medicine might do, raised my blood pressure and the nurse hinted I was going to be unable to go home with my family who was downstairs in the parking lot waiting for me. My family had driven 45-minutes, I desperately needed them for my healing, and I couldn’t take the stress of waiting for Betty to die, while praying she wouldn’t.  

“I have to get out of this hospital,” I told the nurse. “I have to go home. You don’t understand.”

I couldn’t calm down. Watching a Christian comedian wasn’t even helping. The nurse said that after talking to the doctor, she was going to give me medication to lower my blood pressure and if it came down, I could go home.

The nurse was at the end of her shift, stressed, wanted to send me home but was worried if she did and something happened to me at home, she would one, feel horrible and two, lose her job. She’d had to report the high blood pressure to the doctor. She had no choice, but she knew I was upset. She started my discharge paperwork, in case my blood pressure came down, rushing in and out of the room to check my blood pressure in between trying to also discharge four other people. I closed my eyes and prayed, terrified I would not get home that night after being told I would.

My eyes popped open.

My dad had been encouraging me to talk to Betty about becoming a Christian, but “Daaaad, hello? Betty is just trying to feel better and breathe normally. I can’t be over there proselytizing.”

 So I had prayed silently for Betty, asking God to touch her and heal her. I’d also already told her she could call on Jesus anytime she needed him, silently or out loud.

Laying there, waiting for my blood pressure to come down, though, a thought popped into my head. “Pray with Betty one more time. Tell her how to ask Jesus into her life.”

I felt a little like maybe God was making me jump through a hoop, or maybe that I was looking too much into this delay, or like I was being a bit dramatic. I mean, come on. Was God really delaying my discharge so I would pray with Betty one more time? This was silly.

Silly or not, I prayed out loud with Betty, who I couldn’t see behind the curtain between our two beds, and who was waiting for a nurse to come help her to the bathroom. I told her that if she ever wanted to ask Jesus into her heart she could do so, and it could be as simple as asking him to come and be a part of her life. Or something like that. I’ll be honest here; I don’t remember exactly what I said. I was nervous, felt like I was being one of those Christians who looks for signs in everything, and wanted to go home. But I also wanted Betty to have some comfort while I was gone and wasn’t there to pray with or over her anymore.

Betty said she understood what I was saying, thanked me for praying for her and said she appreciated everything I had done. She wished me luck going home. She was exhausted but still wanted to thank me.

Fifteen minutes later my blood pressure had dropped a small amount, not really enough for the nurse’s liking, but enough that she worked out a deal with the doctor to send me home if I agreed to monitor my blood pressure with my cuff at home, to increase my blood pressure medication (which I hadn’t yet started at that point), and see my doctor in six days.

I was going home, and I was so excited and nervous all at the same time. I was worried about me because I wouldn’t have 24/7 monitoring any longer.

I was also worried about Betty. I didn’t want to leave her alone in the hospital. Her doctor had said her family could visit her as long as they were masked and covered, and I hoped they would the next day. Still, who would be there to pray with her if her oxygen dropped again? Yes, of course I knew I could pray for her at home too.

I was also worried about Betty. I didn’t want to leave her alone in the hospital. Her doctor had said her family could visit her as long as they were masked and covered, and I hoped they would the next day. Still, who would be there to pray with her if her oxygen dropped again? Yes, of course I knew I could pray for her at home too.

After I was home, Betty was still on my mind even as I dealt with exhaustion and other symptoms. I knew the hospital couldn’t tell me how she was, since I wasn’t family. I called, though, and asked a nurse to tell Betty I was still praying. The nurse said she wasn’t supposed to tell me Betty was still there but that she was and that she would tell Betty I was praying.

Then I went to Facebook, did some sleuthing and found Betty’s account. From there I found a family member, or so I thought anyhow, and messaged them out of the blue, asking if they could give me an update on Betty.

To shorten the story, not only did this family member give me an update, but she also gave me Betty’s cellphone number at Betty’s request.

I texted her and she responded that she couldn’t talk right then.

I knew she was probably still fighting for her life so I texted back I understood and told her I would be praying.

Two days later Betty called me on my cellphone.

Her voice was clear, she wasn’t gasping for air, and she told me they had lowered her oxygen from 30 or 40 Liters to eight a couple of days earlier and that that day they had lowered it to 6 liters. At home she is on 4 liters at all times because of her COPD.

“My lung collapsed two days ago,” she said. “But I’m feeling better. I can eat, I’m coughing up a bunch of junk they wanted me to cough up and they say I might go home in two days.”

To say I was shocked by this exchange is an understatement.

This woman who was one step from being ventilated (something doctors try their hardest not to do anymore because of the damage it does, they told me) had just called me to tell me she was going home in two days.

Going home.

Not to ICU.

Home.

Wow.

Here I had been worried I would be reading her obituary and instead I was hearing the woman say to me, “I credit the good Lord above for this and I’m going to take better care of myself when I get out of here. Yes, I am.”

We agreed we would keep in touch, even after she left the hospital and I told her we will stop in and visit sometime when we are up in her area.

The next day she texted me and told me she was home.

The situation with Betty taught me a couple of things. It didn’t teach me that I’m some great Christian. Not at all. I prayed with Betty, but I wasn’t bold or confident about it. I was hopeful God would heal her, but I worried He wouldn’t.

However, meeting Betty taught me to be a little bolder in my faith at least. I think the fact I had brain fog from Covid probably made me a little braver too. I didn’t have the brain capacity to overthink like I usually do, which was a gift from God, even though I prayed for the brain fog to be taken away. He knew if I could think something like, “I look like some weird fanatical religious person doing this,” I wouldn’t actually pray out loud over Mary, asking Jesus for her healing. I couldn’t think that because my brain wasn’t firing on all cylinders. Not even close.

The time in the hospital showed me that I need to hold on to Christ when I feel like I can’t hold on to anything or anyone else. I had faith that the nurses and doctors would try to help me, but I knew only God could really heal me and protect me and I had to keep reminding myself of that. I wasn’t some super, confident Christian in that area. I had to listen to my mom, a pastor’s wife, and friends tell me that. Over and over.

I worried after my diagnosis that I or my husband would be a statistic. Or the rest of my family. Then I worried Betty would. Or members of other families who had it at the same time would. There were many times that Christ’s peace settled over me and a few moments later I would worry again and wipe it all away. I’d have to pause, pray and ask again for Christ’s peace.

In addition to strengthening my reliance on God, meeting Betty also taught me that God is still in the business of miracles.

There is so much sadness in the world. There is heartache, bitterness, hatred, hurt, and there has been deep, deep loss because of this virus. But there are also miracles like mine and Betty’s happening.

When I looked at my oxygen levels on Thanksgiving Day and saw it was lower than I’d read it should be during COVID, I panicked. When my husband went to get the car and it dropped even lower while I walked, yet I still felt pretty good, I completely panicked. While we waited for the ambulance, I pondered why I felt okay, why I wasn’t gasping for air. On the way to the ER, I wondered if the trip was wasted. In the ER when they finally said my blood oxygen was showing lower in the blood gasses than on the pulse ox and hooked me up to oxygen, I still wondered if my being admitted was necessary. I still wonder if the oxygen would have come back up on its own or not. I know some others have while others have not.

Maybe I overreacted or maybe it was all divine.

Maybe the ER doctor was over cautious and if he was then I am still thankful because he very well may have saved my life.

I am also thankful for his actions, not because his decision meant I spent five days away from my family, but because his decision led me to meet Betty and through Betty see a miracle.

It was a miracle that I, and many others, needed right now in our lives.

Faithfully Thinking: Press into him

I’ve been dealing with depression recently. I go through these spurts from time to time. When I go through them I feel completely unqualified to be sharing about the need to draw closer to God, since I know I’m doing such a poor job of it myself. Maybe, though, I need to be honest when I’m failing at this trusting God stuff, or feel like I’m failing. After all, I know I’m not alone.

One reason for my social media break is that I often run to forums about my health or depression issues to attempt to find solutions instead of running to God. As I have struggled this week with wrong thoughts, I have really been feeling like God has been telling me to press into him.
I’m not exactly sure what that means, but I’d guess he means I need to trust him and not my circumstances.


I feel him asking me to trust him and not people on the internet or my own means.


I heard a clip of a sermon yesterday by Pastor Steven Furtick who suggested that when we are telling God “Hey, I’m trying,” he is telling us “I don’t need you to try. I need you to trust.”

But there have also been other outcomes, that weren’t my choice, that has strengthened me and taught me and taken me down life-giving paths I never would have chosen on my own. I need to remember those when my days are dark, my heart is heavy, and my mind is jumbled with worries and stress.


This week when I have awoken in the night with a weird symptom and that pounding, suffocating, and overwhelming fear that hits me, I am trying to press into God’s goodness, his desire to prosper me, not harm me, to draw me through the bad moments when I want to be lifted out of them.
So I often I base how well my day is going to go on if I think I had a good nights sleep. God is bigger than a bad night of sleep. I need to trust that I can have a good day whether I’ve had a good night of sleep or not because ultimate rest comes in ultimate trust that God’s got this, no matter what “this” is for each day.

More encouraging or thoughtful words under the theme “Faithfully Thinking”:

The Blessing

Didn’t I Tell You to Let Me Handle It?

The Battle Belongs to the Lord

This Isn’t What I Pictured

Reminding Myself of My Word of the Year

More encouraging words from other bloggers:

Every Breath Counts by Bettie G

Faithfully Thinking: Reminding myself of my word of the year

Do you choose a word of the year each year? I have the last few years and it’s interesting. The word I choose is something I pray about and a word I try to reflect on throughout the year to remember why things that are happening in my life are happening and how they are working around what God wanted to do in my life during a particular year.

I’ll be honest, though, I often forget what my word was half way through the year and when I go back and look at it, it helps to ground me again and remind me what I had hoped for the new year but also what God had planned for me (among many other things, of course).

I heard a sermon this weekend where the pastor said God had us choose our word for the year to help us establish before the year even began what we needed to focus on, no matter what the year threw at us. That made me try to remember what my word for 2020 was. And guess what. I had forgot! I went to the blog and searched it and ironically the word was “renew.”

Renew?

Really?

2020?

The word for this year should have been napalmed, I thought to myself.

But then I remembered what happens after a fire in the forest. The fire burns everything down.

Destroys it.

Levels it.

And then new life begins again — restarts, regrows, and RENEWS.

My life the last few years has been leveled and in some ways taken down to the roots, turned upside down and become unrecognizable.

I’ve hated just about every moment of it.

I miss my old life.

I miss having friends.

I miss being connected to family.

I miss family who have passed on.

I feel lost on the ocean without a lifeboat many days.

But this weekend I started to think that maybe God had to burn it all down to 1) bring me back to him and 2) restart a new, better life.

See I am doing a new thing, he says in Isaiah 43:18-19

And sometimes to do that new thing, he has to remove the old. Pulling out the old can hurt, can be confusing, and it can be very disorienting. To grow new life, though, the ground needed to be cleared.

Continuing in that line of thinking, I decided to re-share my post from the beginning of the year when I chose my word for the year. If you haven’t picked a word for the year, it’s not too late. Pray about it and maybe God will show you his plan for the rest of the year and that plan will move forward despite what is going on in the outside world.


Originally published Jan. 1, 2020

Do you start your new year off with a word you hope and plan will define that new year?
I’ve been doing that for a few years now, a tradition that started with my brother who was doing it with someone else on a blog. I really don’t think about the word that much during the year, to be honest, but sometimes I will remind myself of the word I chose (or feel was given to me) and redirect my attitude. It’s also interesting to look back at the end of a year and see how the world aligned with what happened that year.

DSC_3259-2_1

Last year my word was “contentment.”It took me several months into 2019 to reach the point of contentment in some situations in my life, however. I was not content with the loss of (or changes in) friendships at all last year, or with our traditionally difficult financial situation. But, over time, toward the end of the year, I started to settle in with the idea that friendships I had once thought would be around for a long time to come had faded and that we may never be rich, but somehow we seem to pull through and pay all our bills, even if it requires some sacrifices.

A couple of years ago I chose the words “peace” and “simplicity.” Everything in my world was not peaceful or simple during that year but there were periods of peace and simplicity at least. Decisions were also made with those words at the forefront of my mind, as much as possible anyhow. To keep with the sentiment behind the words I also cut out some people and aspects of my life that created little more than stress.

Another year I chose the word “restoration” because a lot in my life needed to be restored that year. The year I chose “reconciliation” we seemed to be reconciled with family but by the end of the year that had crumbled and they returned to only contacting us when they wanted something (usually transportation somewhere).

This year I am choosing the word “renew” because my life needs new energy – big time and in many areas, including my relationship with God, my relationship with family, my role a teacher for my kids, my health, my diet, my career (such that it is..or whatever it is), and my spiritual well being. That is a long list, but, really, my entire life needs an overhaul. My children’s lives also need renewal and one of the biggest areas where they need renewal are in their friendships. My daughter, 5, needs friends, period, and my son, 13, needs much better friends than he has now.

DSC_5449

I am using the definition of renewal that is “the replacing or repair of something that is worn out, run-down, or broken.” Not the definition of starting something back up again – unless I apply that definition to my life in general. I am broken. Physically for sure and in some ways emotionally and spiritually. I need to hit the refresh button in my life and revitalize my diet, my exercise, my mind, my spirit.

I am tired.

Every day.

I am physically tired but somedays I’m not sure if I am physically tired because I am emotionally and spiritually tired or if I’m physically tired because of something going on with my health. I have hypothyroidism, so that does make me tired. I seem to be in the midst of perimenopause, so that makes me tired. I may, or may not, have an autoimmune disease, so that makes me tired.  My vitamin d is low (which may be related to one of the possible health issues I have) so that makes me tired too.

But I think some days I am tired because I think too much and my mental exhaustion translates into physical exhaustion. I watch too many sermons, trying to incorporate it all into my life in one fell swoop, instead of just watching one and meditating on that one sermon all week. I follow too many social media sites that offer encouragement, which I know sounds silly. How can you receive too much encouragement? But, when you try to apply it all at once like I do points from the sermon, it can become too much.

In other words, sometimes there are too many voices in my head and I need to silence them so I can hear God’s.

“Just…ssshhh. Let me think. Let me hear.” That’s what I want to say to all the voices.

“Let me try to figure this out before ya’ll start yelling at me about how to get my health back on track; how to get closer to God; how to improve my spiritual walk; what I should eat to feel better; who I should watch for spiritual guidance; what I should/shouldn’t be saying to/doing with my children.”

I just can’t listen to it all anymore.

I need renewal and I need it with a little less noise.

That’s why five days ago I started a complete social media fast that I hope will force me to focus on the areas of my life I need to work on. Health is certainly at the top of that list because, as I mentioned above, I am tired. My muscles hurt. I am winded from climbing the stairs most days. And, yes, I am grossly over the weight I should be for my short stature.

I do not eat fast food. I do not eat bread. I do eat some sugar. I do not eat regularly or include enough protein with each meal. And I do not exercise because – did I not mention this yet? – I am TIRED!

However, I do know that exercise can help with that as well, so I hope to incorporate at least some walking this year and go from there. To be honest, though, I’m so tired today (a few days before that lovely Aunt Flo comes) that even writing “I plan to walk more this year” makes me feel like a blooming hypocrite. I don’t know if I really do “plan” to walk more, but I “want” to walk more. How about that?

DSC_2118

Other words I could adopt this year: reinvigorate and refresh. I need to be reinvigorated and I need to hit a refresh button.  Part of that refresh we hope will come by selling this house and moving to a new one. Leaving this house won’t leave behind the hurts we’ve experienced while living in this town. It won’t change that family on my husband’s side have barely spoken to us in years and somehow blame us even though we tried to reconnect but were always told “We’re too busy for you.” Moving will not change many things, but we see it as a type of restart – a chance to make some changes for the better.

That restart started for us in April of last year when my husband started a new job, 40  minutes from where we live now, and opened up a door to an entirely new experience for him. The rest of the family is ready for some changes and new experiences too so right now we are praying we can sell this house, buy the one we already have an offer on and “get out of dodge”, so to speak.

So how about you? Do you choose a word of the year? A word to help guide you throughout the year, not pressure you like a resolution? A word to grow with you as you step through each day? Let me know in the comments.

If you are interested in choosing a word and would like some guidance on how to do it (even if it just for yourself and not to announce to your readers or publically) check out The Dolly Mama’s post, How To Choose Your Word of the Year (helpful reminders and simple steps)…Find Out Mine

DSC_3697_1

Faithfully Thinking: The battle belongs to the Lord

“I don’t see a change, Lord,” I said one night, laying in bed, thinking about all my health issues. “Some days it almost seems worse. No matter how much I pray for healing. Figuring it all out is so expensive and I don’t want surgery if I even need it. What do I do?”

Silence.

“Should I call the doctor?”

Silence.

“Should I fight to actually be diagnosed with this disease, or should I . . .”

Silence.

Honestly, I sometimes feel as if God really isn’t listening to, or helping, me with some of the health concerns I’ve been having for the last few years, but then, there are days I feel like he’s directing me to “wait.”

Be still and wait.

Two of the things I am the absolute worst at.

“You know what, God, I’ll just handle this!” I cry out in frustration. “Just..never mind! If you don’t want to answer me, then I’ll just fix it myself.”

Be still and wait. I’ve got this.

It’s very hard to trust God when we don’t see things changing. Trust me, I know this first hand.

But the Bible tells us to trust he is working for our good even when we can’t see it.

This whole “trust in God” thing has been a real struggle for me over the last couple of years. There are days I feel so hopeless with situations in my life, from finances to the lack of friendships, to trying to sell our house and chronic health issues that never seem to go away.

I heard a great sermon once entitled “The Battle Belongs to the Lord.” I don’t always agree with the pastor, but for this sermon, I absolutely agreed with him.

Each time I find myself in despair I hear the pastor saying, “The battle belongs to the Lord.”

The devil will tell us, “But your checking account is still empty,” and that is when you say “The battle belongs to the Lord,” the pastor said.

This is exactly what happened to me last week when I looked at our savings and realized we were really going to be struggling to make our mortgage payment this month after some unexpected expenses. I began to fall back into the familiar pattern of panic, trying to figure it all out in my head and fix it on my own.

Then I heard the words: “The battle belongs to the Lord.”

This week my mind, for some reason, started rushing again with thoughts of some inconclusive tests I have had in the last few years for a disease that can only be cured by what some consider a minor surgery (I consider all surgeries major.)

“What if I have this?”

“I need to figure this out.”

“I need to decide what to do right now about it because what if this disease kills me. I mean, they say it could take many years, but still. . . ”

I began “researching” on Google, talking to others on a Facebook support group who have it, looking at all my test results again, thinking and stressing. I started to fall back again into a pattern of negative thinking that three years ago left me almost completely mentally paralyzed.

The battle belongs to the Lord.

The words kept coming back to me. Over and over.

I signed out of Facebook, I stopped Googling, and I turned on a sermon podcast and laid down for bed. A year ago I wouldn’t have done any of those things. I would have Googled and researched and fretted all night long.

“The battle belongs to the Lord,” I repeated to myself, over and over to try to calm myself.

I don’t think it is a coincidence that I fall into these obsessive, worrying thoughts about my health, finances, or future in seasons of my life where I feel God is calling me to continue with a task he has asked me to finish. I have a feeling someone is trying all he can to distract me from the here and now; to lead me down paths of confusion so I will forget my calling, forget that God has asked me

to write and to raise and teach my children. What God has called me to may not seem as important as what he has called others to, but this is the path he has set for me and it is clear to me that Satan prefers that I forget about that path and wander off on some wild goose chase in another direction.

There have been more than a few times I have snapped back to reality while running around an empty left field of life like a chicken with my head cut off. I’ve looked around and noticed that where I was supposed to be is way off in the distance. I then have to toss aside the random worries to get back to where I need to be, but I can only do that with the help of God.

He tenderly takes my hand every time this happens and says, “No. Not here. Over here where I asked you to be and where I am doing a new thing, even if you can’t see it. Stay on this path. I will be here with you, even on the darkest days.”

And God does this repeatedly.

Repeatedly he steps off the path we were on together, and I wandered off from, takes my hand and leads me out of the wilderness of anxiety, panic, and confusion and back to the path he set for me.

He’s never impatient when he guides me back.

He’s never frustrated and never scolds me for walking off and letting my human side rule for a while.

He simply leads me back, leans down close and whispers, “Keep going. This way. We’ll get there together, beloved.”

I know I’ll wander off again.

I know I’ll lose myself in a fog of confusion again.

I know I’ll panic again, cry and ask God, “Where are you?!” because I will forget, once again, that he’s right here, next to me, where he’s always been.

Faithfully Thinking: Didn’t I tell you to let me handle it?

I am a control freak.

I know it.

My family knows it.

God knows it.

I’m not as bad as some people, no.

But, I’m still someone who likes to control situations around me – mainly any situation I feel could affect my own well being or that of a family member.

000023_DSC_0627-2

If I think I can do something to change a situation for the better, I will do it, or at least attempt to do it. Often, though, I can not change a situation and I still lay there at night and try to figure out how I can.

For instance, we need to sell our house, sooner rather than later, so for several nights in a row, I was lying awake, trying to figure out how to get the money to fix this house up so we can sell it faster. I couldn’t figure it out and it was leaving me exhausted and irritated. One night I was laying there, physically tossing in bed while my brain tossed all the possibilities of remedying this situation back and forth. That’s when I heard a voice, of sorts, in my head. Actually, it was more like a sentence that I didn’t put there, so, for me, it was God reminding me of something.

The conversation went something like this:

“Didn’t I tell you to let me handle it?”

“Well, yes, Lord, but . . . ”

“Then let me handle it.”

The conversation was over that quickly.

000050_Lightstock_howeler_may11--144-

God didn’t ask me to figure it all out. He didn’t ask me to find the solution to our need to find a house closer to my husband’s job or figure out how to get people to read my books when I write them (specifically Fully Alive when it is done. This is the book I really feel God was prodding me to write and I’m terrified to continue writing because I feel completely unqualified to do so.) He also didn’t ask me to be the so-called perfect teacher for my children while I homeschool – he just asked me to do it and reminded me he would take it from there.

I’m not good at obeying.

I’m a rebel.

I don’t like to be told what to do, but as a follower of Christ, I need to trust that he knows better than I do about the things of life.

And I need to trust that ultimately God will handle it, whatever “it” is at that point in my life.

 

Who is your pilot today? | Guest blog post

Thank you to Michelle Delp from Pasture-ized for sharing this guest blog post with us today!

 

A pilot relies on the person in the tower to navigate him to safety.

He can’t see that air traffic controller. He can’t always see the dangers around him, but he trusts that when he gets the message to alter his course, it’s for his own good.

What would happen if the pilot decided to turn off his communication, and just “do his own thing”?
He might be successful for the short term, avoiding tragedy by inches here or there, but at some point he’s going to crash and burn.

We aren’t designed to navigate life alone.

Sometimes God asks us to bank to the left for a reason.

Maybe you’re feeling a little air sick from all the circles life is taking you in, and you look out the window and you can’t even pinpoint where you are any more.

Turn the two-way back on.

Proverbs 3: 5,6 5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.