Ready?

Written by: Jody Mugford

“Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.”  Jeremiah 33:3

I have a small challenge today, friends.  A challenge I feel God laid on my heart for all of us. Regardless of your plans, this promises to be a sweet addition to your day.

Ready?

Let’s stop and take these 5 minutes we would have spent reading this devotional and give them directly to God.  Can you find a quiet place?  Lock yourself in your bathroom, if need be!  Let’s take a breath and focus our attention completely on God, right now.  Let’s fight the urge to “do this later”.  Let’s put Him first today!

He promises to draw near to us as we draw near to Him (James 4:8).  If your desire is to sense God’s presence and direction in your life more clearly, there is no better time than the present!  Let’s take the first step and sit with Him, ready to listen.

If this is an already-established part of your day, awesome!  Here’s 5 more minutes of heaven.  If not, or if you struggle with this regularly, like me, let’s do it!  Let’s find our quiet spaces and say, “Lord, here I am today.  I give you this time.  Change my heart.  Change my mind.  I am listening.”

It’s only five minutes but it could be the catalyst to change everything!

Love and blessings,

Jody

Faith In His Provision

Written by: Christianne Williams

Have you ever watched an infomercial? They go to great lengths to convince you that you NEED what they’re selling.  They make you promises of life improvement just because you can now dice onion, or whatever else you desire, with the slap of your hand.  Easy peasy lemon squeezie.  No more tears.  Wow.  I need that.  But when it arrives you realize that it doesn’t really make that much difference at all and instead you’re avoiding Starbucks because you used a month’s worth of coffee money for the promise of a better life.  I’ve fallen for it.  There was a time when they said “call now!”  and I did!

We’ve had people accost us in front of the local big box store to sell us stuff that promises to buff even the most stubborn scratches out of the paint job on our minivan.  It seems to me that if they really look, not even all that closely, at our ride, the scratches are the least of our concerns.  It’s still a mystery to me how we ended up walking away with enough of that stuff to last us at least the next decade.

Not every promise is real. Not everything you see is actually authentic.

1 Kings 18 gives account of Elijah taking on the prophets of Baal.  The people in those days were giving themselves over to the worship of Baal because Ahab had not only allowed Jezebel to bring her god into the country but he also allowed her to push them as the true gods to be worshipped.  Elijah was alone against 450 prophets of a false god.  He was taking a bold stand.  Elijah had prayed for a drought because the Baal that they worshipped was supposed to supply rain.  If you’re at all interested, reading a bit about the background on that is quite interesting.

So here they were in the middle of a drought, praying for fire to consume the altars they had built with the prepared sacrifices.  Elijah was a good sport and even allowed them to go first.  They pleaded and cried out, but no fire ensued.  By noon, and after all sorts of attempts to get their god to respond, Elijah began taunting them a little.  He encouraged them to cry louder, maybe their god was sleeping.  After everything, there still came no fire.

Then it was Elijah’s turn.  He did better than just leaving the altar dry in the middle of a drought, he encouraged them to soak it with 12 jars of water, making sure it was so sopped that the trench around it was full.  He then asked God for fire to prove He was the one true God, and that he was His servant.  God showed up. He sent fire that not only consumed the sacrifice and altar but also every bit of water surrounding it.  This showed the people whose promise was real.  After that a heavy rain fell and the drought ended, and they knew it wasn’t Baal who sent it.

There will always be people who will try and entice us with false promises of an easier and better way, but like the prophets of Baal proved, it just creates more work, frustration, and unmet expectations.  Only when we turn to the one true, authentic God will find our lives become more peaceful, and although circumstances may not always be easy, the striving will cease.

I’m presently reading a book by Heidi Baker and in it she shares lots of instances when they needed miracles and breakthroughs and the only way they saw them was by resting in God.  There was nothing else they could do.  We need to be like Elijah, submit our request to God and have confidence in His answer, not like the prophets of Baal who even resorted to hurting themselves to gain the ear of their god.  We have God’s ear, we just need to have faith in His provision.

It Is Well, Even if…..

Written by: Anne Klassen

It was 2017 and it was well with my soul.  It was well with my life and my children.  It was well with my family and all was well with our health.  It was all so well, and it was easy to be grateful.  It was natural to choose joy.

Effortless.

As I watched my children play, while I spent time with my family, as life sailed smoothly on, joy and happiness was my default position.

Then, Just a few days after celebrating a momentous occasion with my little family my sister found out she had terminal cancer.

Our family suited up.  We gathered, rallied, put our game faces on and set about trying to vanquish this beast that had invaded all that was good.  We explored options, offered advice, prayed, sat with her, loved her and I expected my miracle. Expected HER miracle.  Fully and without reservation.

…. then death snuck in and took up residence where she had just been and I found myself by her side that last day asking for another hour. Just one more hour, while also wanting her to be free from the awful-ness that comes with dying.

Only tears spoke because I couldn’t find words and it was no longer well, but real grief came slow and unexpected. It intensified slowly over the months instead of the immediate blow that I was anticipating and had prepared for.  After all the frozen casseroles were eaten and things began to quiet…that’s when the knock down, drag out, ugly business of mourning began in earnest.

And a small voice asked me to be joyful.  How dare you? I was offended that I still needed to take out the trash as if everything was the way it had been so how could such a thing be asked of me?

How could I with a grief that was vicious and fights dirty? I couldn’t reconcile my expectations with the reality of death and could not fathom joy.

And so, I chose nothing….

because I couldn’t handle being so vulnerable that I burst into tears in the produce aisle in my local grocery store…..AGAIN. I didn’t recognize then how God showed up in all the moments that took my breath away.  The humour that was present in that same situation when the poor old lady next to me thought I couldn’t handle my emotions because my car had died…. I didn’t have the heart to tell her she needed to turn up her hearing aid.

My heart was broken, and I was mad.

Jesus said to ask, and I had asked.

He said, “where two or more are gathered….” and we gathered in droves.

Jesus said to ask in his name and we begged.

A storm was brewing in my soul and still I knew I was being asked to choose joy.  Choose JOY.  CHOOSE JOY!  How?

I still loved deeply.  I still found happiness in my life but part of me was shut down. The flame was a flicker that was going to die.

Then, just then…. backed into the sharpness of broken hope came a little voice again. This time….the voice of my daughter.

While I was cleaning ketchup off the floor and crying, she wiped my tears with her tiny hand and she asked in the way only a two-year-old can, “Mama, you still be happy?” and in a movie-esque moment I saw what had been missing in our home for the last several months.  There was a sudden keen awareness of the stifling, rigid and unforgiving terrain I had been trying to pass off as regular life.

Out of the mouth of babes…. Would I be ‘still happy’? Could I be?  The closing off of my heart seemed like a good option until I saw in my daughters’ eyes that closing myself off to the pain also closed me off to the joy….

Ah, and there it is.  This joy that keeps fluttering around the edges, never pushing its way in but always there to be had BUT I’d have to lean into it and walk through the pain if I was going to come out of it.

Suddenly I got it.  The full spectrum of the pain and, more clearly, the beauty of a bigger plan in all things so intricately intertwined in our very beings and so delicately woven into how He loves us.  God’s still got this.  He still knows what he’s doing even when I don’t.  He can still be trusted even when I don’t get the plan. It is well EVEN IF things don’t go the way I want them to.

Someone said that pain is not the absence of God’s goodness and in that moment, in that place, it was a light in a dark room.

He is the same God that saw me broken and addicted 9 years ago and brought me to a new place and I had to trust the He would stick around for this too.

And Now? Now It IS Well with my soul, even when some days my heart has to fight to catch up.  It IS well because there is so much that is good.

There are tender, raw places where I still tread lightly but there is always grace for my weakness and I am again grateful.  My gratitude is at times hard won but it is abundant and there is a deep and abiding joy that only comes from one source.

And with one resounding statement, I gather courage and walk on….

It Is Well, Even If…..

“Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy” John 16:22


I am the spoiled child of the King.
I’ve always known about Jesus but only met him for real about 10 years ago and it drastically and fundamentally changed all the pieces of me. The goodness I’ve experienced in the good times and bad has been, in a word, overwhelming.
I am fiercely devoted to my family and friends but couldn’t bake a cake to save a friendship.
I am a mother of 4 of the best children on earth.
Lola, Carlos, Mia and Ellie and also a bonus babe whom my kids and I have the privilege of caring for through fostering.
Being a single Mom to 4 kids wasn’t my original plan and throwing fostering into the mix would have seemed like a ludicrous idea had I thought if it myself but I’m being extravagantly cared for by the One who came up with this plan and it’s all working out just right.

 

 

He Hears, He Answers

Written by: Carolyn Ruttan

I just want to share something really neat that happened to Dale a few years ago.  It really was an answer to prayer before it was even uttered.

About six years ago, Dale was working at his desk when a call came in for him. As per usual when he talks on the phone, he removed his hearing aid and set it on the desk. When the call was finished he put it back in his ear. There was a problem however. The hearing aid did not turn on.

He shut it off and on…nothing but silence.

A call was made to one of the hearing aid places in town, and he took it in to them. They thought perhaps moisture had got into them so they put it in a dryer (for hearing aids) overnight.

The following afternoon, after not hearing from them, he called to see what was up and was informed that the dryer did not work. He scheduled an appointment for later in the day. They told him the problem was not moisture but something was digitally wrong with it.

He was given two options. He could send it in for repair for about $500 or replace his hearing aids for around $2500.00. Neither was a great choice. Dale told him why: that we were leaving for Honduras for full time missions. The man at the hearing aid place remembered hearing about that and understood his plight. He understood the need to hear but also the fact that Dale was not being able to afford it at this time.

Then it was like a light came on.  Just the previous week, a  lady had come in and brought in brand new hearing aids that had never been worn. They had been her husband’s and he refused to wear them because they frustrated him.  Rather than him not wearing them she thought someone else might make better use of them. The set was identical to the ones Dale had before…just a different colour and there they were…just sitting in a desk drawer.

They were set for volume but not quite loud enough for Dale so the volume was adjusted. When put in the ears there was a lot of feedback and it was discovered that the feedback had never been set in the first place! No wonder the older gentleman had been so annoyed with them!

That day, Dale was blessed with them at no cost. They were absolutely free!  Remember, this was a BRAND NEW hearing aid! Amazing!

God knew Dale would be needing a new hearing aid. He provided a way for him to have it before we even asked. That would have been a huge cost and would have cost a fair amount of stress as it would have been unavoidable. I mean one has to hear, right..? To come up with the money for it though would have been a stretch as it was not budgeted for.

God knows what we have need of and before we even pray. He knows! He knows what is on our heart and He cares….even about hearing aids. He is so faithful!

Psalm 139:4,5 You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord. You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing upon my head.

Giving Thanks For Hard Days

Written by: Mandy Lawrence-Hill

2 Chronicles 15:7 says “But you, take courage! Do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded.”

Rewinding life about ten years ago, I vividly remember the feeling I had after my firstborn and I were settled into our hospital room together. Labor and delivery now behind me, nurses reassigned to new labouring moms, husband sleeping soundly in the cot beside me, my sweet friend home to catch up on the nights sleep she sacrificed to help me as I laboured—and I remember wondering if I could ever fall asleep again because life was just too good to miss.

As I stared into the bluer-than-blue eyes of my precious newborn baby boy, I was ever-aware that God had everything to do with this dream come true.

I was finally a mom.

1 Samuel 1:27 says “I asked the Lord to give me this boy, and he has granted my request.

God answered our prayer, and gave us a beautiful family. I have many more moments like this one in my memory bank to pull out when those less-than-amazing moments arise. And they do.

There have been many moments as a mom that I wish I could go back and do differently. Pages from my mom story that I wish I could re-write. Moments that I wish I could erase, while other moments I wish I could bottle up and re-live as often as I would like.

The older my children get, the harder this mom-job gets. It is in those less-than-amazing moments, when I am elbow deep in the grit of loving and disciplining, that I desperately grasp that very first moment when I was ever-aware of the Lord’s blessing me with these miracle lives. I choose to allow the blessing of the job to outweigh the stress of it, and I press onward, holding onto the promise found in 2 Chronicles 15:7.

Are you struggling with a lack of gratefulness for a known blessing, my friend? Let’s “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

When You Have The Power To Do Something

Written by: Conny Varga

Have you seen pictures of Red Cross nurses caring for victims of war or POWs? Maybe photos of Red Cross teams providing disaster relief or distributing care packages? The images make a striking statement: no matter what race, culture, nationality or status, people can find themselves in crisis situations and desperate need. No matter what their background, people should be given the respect and right to receive help when needed. And no matter what, those of us who can help, have a moral obligation to do so.

Looking around us, are we not spiritually in much the same situation? From God’s perspective, the whole world is in desperate need of help. Every human being who has not surrendered their life to God, is a spiritual POW of Satan, bound and living in dire conditions. Countless precious people live in the poorest, dirtiest, and most desperate situations, and they need help. Violence creates victims of children and the vulnerable. The world is in chaos, created by none other than God’s arch enemy himself, who is waging the deadliest, most devastating and costly war our world has ever seen. People are wasting away all around us, their lives chained and held captive by unseen forces. Sure, they might look fine on the outside, but let’s not fool ourselves – anyone who has not received Jesus as their Saviour is in great danger and in desperate need of help.

Jesus made a great mission statement at the outset of His ministry. In Luke 4:18-19, He announces:

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,

    because He has anointed me

    to proclaim good news to the poor.

He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners

    and recovery of sight for the blind,

to set the oppressed free,

    to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

Jesus was the founder of the true “Red Cross” mission, showing us by His example what our lives should be all about. And He placed an exclamation mark behind it all by dying a cruel death, on a blood-stained Red Cross, to rescue all of humanity and to empower us to join in His mission.

Are we not all called to be nurses and helpers, providers and rescuers? We are to go out into the war-torn world, holding high the Blood-Red Cross of Jesus, proclaiming freedom for the prisoners, good news to the poor, and healing for the wounded.

I’ve heard the quote:

“It’s wrong to do nothing, when you have the power to do something”.

That stuck with me. All too often, however, I find myself lost in my own world, busily running the rat race, ignoring the plight of the people I meet on a daily basis, or those in far-away countries. I forget that behind each face, there is an immortal soul that needs a Saviour. I forget that I have a mission.

May we see the world around us with new eyes. May God open our eyes to the invisible forces of principalities and powers that are at work among humanity (Eph 6:12), and may we step out in the power of the Cross, rescuing as many as possible, giving aid to all who need it, and living out the mission that our Saviour charged us with.

The world can be a better place if all of us Christians take our eyes off ourselves and our own comfort and start living like we are the followers of Christ, walking in His footsteps, bringing His Red Cross to the world. No matter what race, culture, nationality or status, people need help, and it is our mission, our obligation, our privilege to do so. Lift up the Cross, people of God, and bring hope and light into the darkness!

From Cheerios to College

Written by: D’Anne Mullin

In three short weeks we will be taking our oldest son to Edmonton, Alberta to get him ready for his first class at Vanguard Bible College.  I find it so hard to believe that we are already at this stage in our parenting experience, as it feels like only yesterday he was shovelling cheerios into his toothless gob via one very chubby slobbery finger.

I am so proud of the young man he has become and I can’t wait to see what God has in store for him in the days, months and years ahead.  But I must say, letting go of his childhood and launching him in to the future has created such a wide range of deep emotions not yet experienced.  How can so great an excitement for what is to come and such a nagging longing for the past dwell in a mother’s heart simultaneously?  It truly boggles my mind!

For all who have had their children grow and move on, you understand this paradox full well.  My husband and I are buckling up tight because things are about to get drastically different…but in a strangely good way.

The term empty nest conjures up for me images of baby birds flying from their parental lodgings into the great unknown.  At first these babies rely on their parents for everything; food, shelter, protection around the clock.  As they grow stronger, their wings begin to develop strength and agility as they practice flapping in the nest.  Time progresses and they grow to mature birds ready to fly out on their own.  They have been raised by their parents, have learned what they need to know and are ready to discover what lies beyond.  Hence leaving behind an empty next.

I know as I pass by his empty bedroom each day and call out, “Get up,” there will be no response.  I will miss hearing him ask his Dad on a Saturday morning, with anticipation, “Are you making pancakes today?”  I am very aware that evening dinners will be much quieter in his absence.  I will greatly miss his corny jokes and crooked grin, his intense excitement for all things sport related and his ability to talk your ear off when the mood to chat hits.  But I know that we, with the help of the Holy Spirit, have raised a young man ready to be released into the world.

He is aware of the power of the Holy Spirit in his life.  He knows how to pray and develop a passion for the things he believes in.  He is respectful of others and shows compassion.  He has cultivated Godly values and dreams that will carry him through the toughest of times.  We did the best parenting we were capable of, leaning on the Lord every step of the way, and we are proud of the results.

 

Now, don’t get me wrong.  We aren’t done parenting.  It’s just going to change a bit.  We will still get to see him on school breaks.  He will still be just a text or call away.  He will still seek advice and guidance from us because, well, he has realized that we do know things!

He will always be my baby bird and will always be welcome back to our nest.  But I know and respect that he has a nest to build of his own…complete with cheerios for his one-day little birdies!  He will do such a great job!  Of that I am certain!  We will be his biggest cheerleaders and encouragers; constantly praying for his life!  The nest may be emptying, but this momma’s heart is so very full.  Praise God!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Painful Love

Written by: Jody Mugford

“And now these three things remain:  faith, hope and love.  But the greatest of these is love.”  1 Corinthians 13:13

What do you think of when you think of love?  I’m sure everyone reading this could respond with a different example.  When I think of love, I often envision a sense of peace.  I think of an emotion that brings me joy and contentment.  I think of a person I want to spend time with and who brings fulfillment to my life.  There are many more examples of love but these are the initial thoughts that come to mind for me.

Throughout my life I struggled a lot with God’s definition of love.  I had a hard time bridging the gap between the “angry Old Testament God” and the “loving and compassionate New Testament God”.  Further studying of the bible as a whole has opened my eyes to the amazing story of God’s love woven throughout all of scripture.  The entire book is a love letter to humanity.  He’s the same God from beginning to end.  It’s amazing, breathtaking and undeniable!

My latest lessons on love have brought me face to face with some of my greatest fears and insecurities: the perseverance of love, the resilience of love…the pain of love.  You see, I am an “all or nothing” type of person.  When I am passionate about something, I am all in, all the way but if I’m out, I’m out.  When things get really hard, my default reaction is to get out.  I can retreat and shut down on others, even my closest loved ones.  The pain that comes from being hurt by a loved one or watching one of my loved ones suffer is almost more than I can bear and I will withdraw into self-preservation mode.  In the past, when my friends were hurting, I have sometimes separated myself from their pain.  When my husband was struggling with a challenge, I have become impatient and tried to solve it for him.  I have even given my toddler the cold shoulder once or twice…oh dear…. But that is not Godly love!  God wants us to love each other in every circumstance, from joy to sorrow.

“Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.”  Romans 12:15

Rejoicing with others in the good times?  Sure, I’m on board!  Let’s party!  Weeping with those who weep?  That is harder.  This requires us to enter into another person’s sorrow.  Their pain becomes our pain.  They hurt so we hurt.  This is not an easy thing to do and, for many of us, it is downright terrifying!  The survivalist in me wants to pull away, especially since I’m still fragile, recovering from my own major life crisis and its subsequent pain.  However, God reminds me that it is BECAUSE we have walked through excruciating times, we know all the more the need to reach out to those who are broken.

Friends, God is calling us out from our own comfortable spaces.  He’s asking us to extend a hand to those around us that are hurting and hopeless.  He wants us to let our guards down and open up!  To let others into our world and us into theirs.  We are not meant to be islands and fight the good fight alone.  We need to carry each other and He, in turn, carries us all.

My simple challenge to us all (myself included) is to start stepping out more in love and compassion.  Don’t do it as a good deed to check off your list.  Let’s pray that God would soften our hearts and fill us with His love for others.  Ask Him to take the scales off our eyes so we can see people the way He does.  Then take the next step and call a friend, maybe one that God lays on your heart specifically.  And a little while later, call them again.  Ask them to go for coffee or invite them over for supper. Don’t worry about saying the right or wrong things.  God will give you the words at the time.  Maybe all that’s required of you is to listen.  Allow yourself to become invested in their wellbeing.  Check up on them regularly.  Pray FOR them and pray WITH them.  Love them.  And as time passes, keep loving them.

Where would we be if God hadn’t loved us like that?  He could have left us to our sinful fate but instead Jesus entered this world, lived among us and took on our pain.  He did it the slow, raw and true way.  No shortcuts.  Real pain.  Real example.  Real love.

This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.”  John 4:9-12

Love and blessings,

Jody

A Loaf Of Zucchini Bread

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_49A9018Written by: Cindy Morrone

Going with one of our daughters to the hair dresser last week, I was delighted to see an elderly customer, hand her hair dresser a loaf of zucchini bread.  Her hair dresser remarked on what a wonderful lady she is. We marveled at this woman’s kindness and how we do not see this often.  Someone showing their appreciation with gifts.

The yearning in my belly rose once again to the surface that day.

I wanted and needed someone to show me such kindness.

For a plethora of personal reasons, I longed for tangible loving. Something I could see, hear and touch.

On a particular difficult morning, I received her message. She had something for me and could she drop it off after work?

This lovely had no idea what I had been going through and I did not disclose this yearning to her.

I had to my Jesus though.

In my constant prayers, I asked Him to fill my needs, to comfort me, and to heal me.  Not only did He hear my prayer but He asked someone else on my behalf, to deliver a gift of kindness.

Unbelievable!!

When she came to my door she said she felt silly bringing me a loaf of zucchini bread.  Yes, I said zucchini bread!  She explained that she had made several and when praying about who to give a loaf to, my name (Yes, MY name!!) came to her mind.

At my door, I tried to awkwardly share how much this meant to me.  And she started to express that although she felt silly, it was more important for her to be obedient.  She didn’t know why or how important this act was and she didn’t need to know.

She said, “I did feel a little silly, but it’s more silly to be disobedient to God! Thank you God for leading and guiding us!! I pray God will bless you and use you today!! I probably won’t know how much it meant to you but God did and I want to be used by Him!”

Unbelievable!!

How often do we let our feelings of silliness get in the way of being the hands and feet of Jesus? Maybe we think the act of kindness too little, too inexpensive, too ordinary.  Maybe because we don’t know the reason behind the call to action our feet stop.

The way I see it, there were (at least) 3 Gospel Truths at work in this act of kindness towards me:

  • The Lord heard my prayers and answered them. “Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.” Jerimiah 29:12
  • There is opportunity to serve and come alongside others. Jesus, Himself being our ultimate Servant. ‘When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord’, and rightly so, for that is what I am.  Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.”’ John 13:12-15
  • Saying Yes! and doing is necessary to deliver tangible love. This lovely was ready, willing and obedient to deliver this act of kindness to me.  “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in it various forms.”  1 Peter 4:10

Thank you, lovely, Julie MacIntosh-Hough!! Again, you’ll probably never know how much your gift truly blessed me (and yet, you did it anyway)

 

Running On Empty? What Do You Do?  The Choice is Ours.

Written by: Cindy Morrone

I had several prescheduled appointments to make.  Time was tight but I had arranged each stop strategically so it would all work out.

I didn’t make room for error.

At the appointed time, we got into our van, turned it on and immediately I noticed that in order to do what I had to do and get back home, I would need gas or we’d be stranded.

I didn’t have time to get gas before all the scheduled appointments so I prayed that the van would get us through.

The warning sign didn’t come on until after the first appointment, about an hour away from home.  I pushed through the next appointment and the next, and then started to drive home.

Recently a close friend asked me, “Does it get any easier saying good-bye?” She knew we had just lost our precious foster baby to her forever home and was concerned about how I was coping.

My immediate answer was, “No.”  After a brief reflection, I answered, “Well, in some ways its easier and in some ways its harder.”

Knowing the pain to come, I knew the things I could do to help ease the pain.  Finish her life book, meet up with friends, exercise and not over extend myself during this time of grieving.

When you know difficulty is coming, you can somewhat brace yourself.  You prepare for the storm and you put in place those things you know have helped in the past.

But no thing can prepare me for the depth of this storm.  And it’s when I try to press on in my own strength, thinking those things in themselves will completely heal my pain that I find myself running on empty.  I can’t just stop at the next gas station and fill up.

I need to account for my human error.

It’s only in my intimate and deep dependency on my Jesus that I make it through.

Devotions and prayer become my refuge.  The Word my anchor.

Scriptures like this, hold true;

“Come near to God and he will come near to you.”  James 4:8

“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”  Psalm 73:26

‘But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.’ 2 Corinthians 12: 9&10

And in my prayers, I don’t just hope that I’ll make it through, I know for certain that I will.