Marveling At The Creation

June 23rd 2010

Marveling at God’s creation is something we should all do more often.  Having returned from my trip to Alaska I realized that I was in awe of what I had seen while there, but often lose that awe in my normal routine.  I saw some truly amazing things on this trip and was blown away by the beauty around me the whole time.

I was privileged to witness caribou in fields in Canada, to see porpoises jumping and leaping out of the ocean, to see seals lounging on an iceberg, and whales swimming through the Pacific, and to see the majesty of the bald eagle souring right over my head.  I saw landscape that was green everywhere.  The flowers that grew were of every color of the rainbow, and the mountains were sculpted in amazing ways.  I was near glaciers that have been there for centuries, and heard them crack so loudly it reminded me of the bigness of God’s creation.

Then I returned home to see what I see every day, but hadn’t seen for 12 days  I thought to myself “why am I not in awe of this?”  I wondered what it was that makes me marvel at God’s creation in what I see every day.  Where I live is mostly brown, it is dry, and it is empty.  Yet just a few miles away the mountains tower above that.  In the midst of it animals and insects live despite the dryness.  The sunsets are sometimes beautiful, with colors of red orange and yellow.  The birds that flock to this place sing melodies that sound glorious.   Yet I lose the wonder of that caught up in my everyday routine.

God’s creation is amazing, and how many of us forget to marvel at it every day?  To marvel at the fact that He provided everything we need when He made it.  Do we forget to marvel at the uniqueness in what He made, how each creature is unique and serves it’s purpose in His creation?  Do we remember to look at the people around us and praise God for forming them?  God’s creativity alone is something to marvel at.  After being in Alaska and marveling at what I saw I realized I do not marvel often enough at what He has created.  When was the last time you just stood and looked at part of His creation in shear wonderment?  Find something today you can marvel at, for it reminds us that God’s hand is in everything and causes us to worship Him.

Sharing Joy

June 9th 2010

Today will be the first official day of my vacation!  I am heading off to go on a cruise with my step mom and step sister to Alaska.  Alaska has been on my list of places to see for years and when we talked about going on a cruise together this was the obvious choice.  Originally it was suppose to include my sister and my brothers wife, but for various reasons neither one of them could come with us.  So today I go to Salt Lake to spend the next ocuple of nights, then Saturday I fly out to Seattle.

On Thursday night while I am in Salt Lake I will attend a dance recital in which 4 of my nieces will play roles.  My husbands oldest niece, who is 16, has been asking for some time for us to see her dance, and I am excited that I finally get to do that.  Seeing another person do what they love is always a joy because their excitement and joy is contagious.  It is never possible to see someone get so much joy out of something and not smile.

So it is with God when He has given us a passion for something and we act on that passion.  He is pleased and joyful when we are doing what He has asked of us.  Not only that, it gives Him honor because we have given proper place in our life to what He has asked of us.  When do what God has asked of us others also see us take part in what we have a passion for and that allows them to take part in the joy we have, for that kind of joy is contagious.

So Thursday night I will have the opportunity to share in the joy that my niece gets when she is doing something God has given her a passion for.  That kind of joy can’t be replaced, for the best source of joy is in the Lord and knowing He is pleased with us.  When we have a passion for something the Lord has asked us to do, and we act on that, the joy we receive is often more then we expected, for we cannot comprehend the extend of the Lord’s pleasure in our obedience.  So I will continue to do what the Lord asks of me so that I can not only experience that joy, but share it with others.  This week while I am gone I will love well, and take advantage of the opportunities the Lord gives me to experience that kind of joy.

Looking Into Darkness

May 28th 2010

Last night I sat in my hospital bed on the 14th floor looking out into the darkness.  All I could see were the lights of the Salt Lake Valley.  Some of these lights were dim, some flickered, and some were bright and steady.  The ratio of those lights to darkness got me thinking.

Knowing the city I am in is predominately non believing, and that many are fooled by a false religion, that ratio of lights to darkness is actually very similar to the ratio of spiritual light to spiritual darkness.  From the 14th floor those lights are easy to see, but on the ground one can only see those closest to him, and that may be only one.  Much like in spiritual darkness.  We as a body of believers are fooled when we think “there are so many lights in the world mine doesn’t have to shine very brightly” because those who are in darkness only see the light closest to them.  How much light you shine will determine how many you reach.

You can choose to be dim, flicker, or shine brightly.  Remember however that the brighter the light shines the more it pierces the darkness.  How bright are you now, and how bright would you like to be?  Like the lights I saw from the 14th floor last night, you may be the only one in view of someone standing in darkness.

You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. Matt 5:14-15

I am a part of a couple of different epilepsy support groups online.  Most of the time we talk about random things, and we share what we have learned with others, ask questions, and we also get to vent to others who know exactly what we are going through.  Last night during a chat with a few people I came to the conclusion that one of the strangest things we do is a lot of waiting.

Most of the time we spend our time waiting and hoping we do not have a seizure.  We wait knowing it is always possible but we wait in the hope it will not happen.  Then many of us a been in this same position I am.  Having video EEG monitoring.  24 hour a day in patient EEG monitoring with video for days and days.  Most people find it takes about 5-7 days to get the information the test is designed to get.   However, we spend our time waiting to have a seizure, hoping it will happen.  How odd is that?  We are a group of people who spend all our time hoping not to have a seizure, then we go in for a video EEG and we spending our time waiting and waiting actually hoping to have one!

So here I sit waiting and waiting to have seizures.  Yes that is very odd, as I do not desire to have them, but for the purposes of this test I must.  So I am in the hospital, was poked 6 times to get an IV, I have had my meds cut 3 times now, and I am waiting.  In the end I will go back to hoping that I do not have seizures, as that is what I would rather be doing now.


Be Useful

May 22nd 2010

Yesterday I shared a conversation I had with my son about how we are always useful.  How we are useful because God made, us for a purpose, and one of those purposes is to love others.  That even if we don’t know what we are to be doing, loving others is something we can be doing all of the time.

Today I want to challenge you.  One of my favorite bands, Mercy Me, has a new album out called The Generous Mr. Lovewell.  It is all about this very thing.  How we are to be loving others always.  How love is something we can, and should be sharing.  I want to challenge you to become part of the Lovewell movement if you are not yet part of it.  Now, you may be one of those people who are listening to that CD, you may know the story of Mr. Lovewell, but have you acted on it yet?  Maybe you don’t know anything about it, in that case go read about it on the Mr. Lovewell website and find out what it is all about.

Doing something because of love is what makes us most useful to God.  He has never asked us to stop loving when we don’t know what to do next, when we don’t know where He might have us go next, or how He might have us do something.  Loving is something we are to be doing always.  My challenge for all of us is to find a way to love a neighbor, friend, co-worker, or someone at church this week in a way they don’t expect.  Do something that shows them love, for God has told us they will know us by our love.  Are you loving well?  Being useful means we do what God intends us to do.  God intends us to love.  Be useful this week, go love someone.


Always Useful

May 21st 2010

I had a very interesting discussion with my 9 year old yesterday, and after thinking about it a few times since then I have come to the conclusion that the thought he had is not unique to children.  You see, he made the bold proclamation “I am just useless”.  He repeated this statement more then once over the course of several minutes, so I made the decision we needed to discuss this.  Feeling useless can be rather devastating to ones ability to accomplish something, at the age of 9, or any age.  So that is why I decided I need to share here what I shared with him.

I said to him “God would not create anyone for no use”.  I then showed him this passage.  Romans 8:28And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”  I know that passage is usually used to point out that all things work toward our good, but I used it to point out something different to my son.  This was how our conversation went:

Me: “Does God love you?”

Him: “yes”

Me: “Does making you useless sound like a loving thing to do?”

Him: “no——oh”

Me: “So if being useless wouldn’t be loving then you must have a purpose.”

Him: “What does that mean?”

Me:  (At this point I do not recall my exact words but this is what they meant.)  The Lord has called us to be part of His purpose-something we are to do for Him.  Even if we do not yet know what that purpose is we have one.  That means we have a use, God knows what it is even if He has not told it to us we are useful to His purposes.  By definition that means we are not useless.

Him: I see!

Me:  So Bryan if you are feeling useless that means the enemy is making you feel that way.  God would never want you to feel useless because He always has something for you to do.  The enemy simply does not want you to be listening.  If you are feeling useless you are not very likely to be listening when God asks you to do something are you?

Him:  No I guess not.

Me:  So you want to ask God to help you be listening so you will hear him.  You never know when God might ask you to do something.  Don’t be worrying about what you need to do years for now, God might ask you to do something in a few days, so you need to be listening.  If the enemy makes you feel useless so you are not listening, then the enemy might get his way.

Him:  Sometimes temptation is really hard, and listening to God is hard, but I try.

Me:  That is true for all of us Bryan, that’s why we need God.  Now, all of us have something we can be doing all of the time Bryan.  We are all useful all of the time.

Him: really?

Me:  We are to love our neighbor as ourselves.  Even when God hasn’t asked us to go do something in particular, we are always suppose to love.  So even when we think we have no use, that is something we are useful for, loving others.  That is very useful because everyone needs love.  Doing things that make others feel loved like being kind and gentle and patient with them.  We are always useful because we can always love other people.

Him:  Well I love you mommy.

Me:  I love you too Bryan.

That was the end of the conversation.  It isn’t exactly word for word but it is fairly close.  The point is we are never useless, no matter what the enemy would like us to believe.  No matter how useless we feel we have one thing we are always useful for, loving others.  Loving others is something that we can all do, something that draws others to Christ because they see Him through us because of our love.  Even when we don’t know what we are suppose to be doing for the Lord, we are always to be loving others, so we are never useless.  Never allow the enemy to tell you otherwise, he is just trying to get you to stop listening.  If we are not listening, it is likely we are not loving either.  So if you are feeling useless, go do something loving for someone, then something else loving, and I would suppose you will start feeling useful.

God’s Instruments

May 14th 2010

I wrote an email to someone today to encourage them in their ministry.  I reread what I wrote and I decided I wanted to share it here because I was encouraged by the words God gave me to share with this person.  Sometimes when I reread what I have written I think to myself “I wrote that?” and am encouraged myself by the words.  Here is what I wrote:

A musical instrument does not sit before a sheet of music and wonder how it will play the cords and notes, it knows it is only the instrument the musician uses to accomplish the song.  In the same way we do not have to sit before the work God has set before us wondering how we will get it done, we only need to know that God is going to use us as His instrument to accomplish His song which will bring Him glory.  Being used as God’s instruments only requires us to listen and allow Him to control the song we play, rather then trying to play it on our own, for when we play it, it is always out of tune and does not bring Him glory.

Don’t allow the enemy to make you doubt your ability to accomplish the task before you, for it is not you who will accomplish it, but God.  He has simply asked you to be His instrument in the act of accomplishing it.  What greater power is there in knowing that God will accomplish the task, for God always completes what He sets out to accomplish.  The fact that He ever asks us to to be His instrument is humbling, for unlike a musician God does not require an instrument to play His song.

Stage One Set

May 12th 2010

Stage one is set.  The next steps in my treatment will begin on May 24th at 8am.  I will check into the hospital for a video EEG.  I will be there for at least 3 days, during which time I will be constantly connected to an EEG monitoring computer and being video recorded so that any seizure activity will be captured on the system.  I will have 48 EEG leads on my head and those wires will attach me to a computer and I will have enough length in those wires to get out of bed and go to the bathroom, no further.  At least 3 days where I will be confined to bed by wires which will record all the electrical activity in my brain while we actually hope I have seizures so the doctors can determine the location in my brain they originate from.

Sounds fun doesn’t it?  Well that depends on what I bring with me to do and who I spend it with!  I can sit there and do nothing and be bored, or I can spend 3 days connecting with people.  Who might I meet?  Who is going to come across my path in the 3 days those wires hold me there?  Might I discover that those 3 days serve a purpose other then finding out what part of my brain my seizures come from?  I will only find that out when I get there.  Right now I know stage one is set and I plan not to allow being stuck in bed by those wires to derail me from the purpose of connecting to people to pray.  Stage one seems like the perfect opportunity to do that.


May 6th 2010

On Monday I went to see my specialist to find out what the next step should be in my treatment.  We thought we would be able to make a decision that day, instead we walked out having made one decision but leaving us with more decisions to come in the near future.

On top of that more decisions had to be made only 24 hours later in regards to my husbands job.  Those were made easily, as we were able to put the information together and make a decision based on all the information we had and we were not left with more decisions to make later.

Yet we are now left with more decisions to make for me.  For those of you who read regularly you know, as I posted on April 21st, that I went to see my specialist in part to discuss putting in a VNS.  My specialist spent an hour with my husband and I talking about every option we have, and answering every question we had, which is why we love her so much.  We also know she spends some of her time loving well as she recently returned from Haiti after a missions trip and has two children she adopted from Haiti.

The options we were given were looking at having a second surgery, put in the VNS, continue medication therapy only, or do nothing.  I cannot realistically go on more medication then I am already on, and doing nothing is not an option either.  So therefore that leaves us with the VNS or a second surgery.  I asked her what she would do if it was her, and her response to me, in short, was that she would do what would give her the most likely chance to be seizure free, a second surgery.

For several reasons, including the fact that we do not have all the information we need to make an informed decision, I am going to have in patient video EEG monitoring.  This is the first step to determining if I am again a surgical candidate.  If I am a surgical candidate that would be the solution most likely to give me the best result.  We cannot make a fully informed decision until we know if the seizures are still coming from an area that can be surgically removed, and what the effects of removing that area would be.  Once we know that we can then decide what to do.  If I am not a surgical candidate I will have a VNS.

I do know this, though I do not relish the idea of having a second surgery, I do know that if we decide that is what we must do, God will once again answer every promise He has made to me.  I do not doubt He will be my strength shelter comfort peace and my ever present help.  I know He will become for me what I cannot be for myself because He has done it more then once already.

The Birds

May 1st 2010

There must be at least 50 birds in my back yard at this very moment.  I filled the bird feeder just about 30 minutes ago they all showed up.  We live in what amounts to an oasis in the desert.  There are small black birds, yellow headed blackbirds, finches, and some other little bird out there.  All of them are about 4-5 inches tall.  They sound amazing.  At the moment they are on the ground covering the area under the feeder like a singing blanket, picking up all of the birdseed they knocked to the ground.  Every now and then something will scare them and they all fly off together in one loud flock.  Then moments later, a few at a time, the brave ones return first.  Then within minutes they all return.

It is interesting to me to think of how they just fly around, getting their next meal from wherever they find it.  Sometimes from one of us who put it out there in a feeder.  If I didn’t fill that feeder today they would have found food somewhere, maybe at another feeder, or they would have had to look a little harder.  I do know one thing however, I am glad to fill that feeder out there because I get so much joy watching them flourish because I do it.  Such a simple thing for me to do, give something away that I have so they can flourish.  Yet I am getting joy at the same time, amazing really.

How often do we do that for each other?  How often do we give away something we have knowing the other person is going to flourish because of it?  There is something we who are in Christ have that anyone we give it to will flourish because they have obtained it.  With those birds it was food.  With people the thing they flourish most with when they are given it is genuine love, that love which comes through Christ.  When we give another person that they will flourish.  They might get scared and run, they might even take a flock of others with them, eventually however they will see that we are different because of our love.  That is how God reached us, through love.  That is how we will reach the world, through love.

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