Disappointment’s Trap- How to Climb out Instead of Get Stuck.

I was over the moon with excitement. I wanted to clap my hands together and shout, “That’s a wrap people!” As though I were a director on the set of a Hollywood movie or somethin’. In all actuality, I had simply finished recording the first episode of my new podcast, “the real deal.”

I was honored to have my Father, Richard as my first guest and we had concluded our time together. We had recorded something quite unique and special. I thanked my Dad and my husband took a photo of us together as a sweet memory of our time. The reason I wanted to interview my Dad for my first episode as my initial guest is because he is my hero! He more than qualifies as someone, in my book, who is the real deal.

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Yes, Richard Heggen certainly is “the real deal!”  He is so comfortable in his own skin with his life.  I love him. My Father has implored us all, my sisters and me along with our whole nuclear family to be “the real deal.” He instructed us, “Just be yourself. You are one of a kind. Nobody wants phony bologna!” He’s said, “In the art world it is called the ‘honesty of materials.'” He always emphasized to be “the ‘genuine article,’ ‘the real deal.'”

My newest venture in spreading encouragement and exhorting audiences has taken form in this new podcast, called “the real deal” with Rachel Inouye. You can probably imagine my excitement as 2019 arrived. I’m not sure if it was the next week or when it was, but my husband and I looked at the files from the recording of episode 001, only to discover there was no episode 001. It had never been saved or was deleted or some other unknown cause. Nonetheless the podcast was gone, nada, zip, zero, nothin’ honey!

I was more than disappointed. I was a bit nauseous. I told my husband before he left for work, “It’s gonna be okay, but I may cry. I’m sad. It’ll be okay, I know but I might just cry!” A moment later, I recall I said, “I’m sure we can try to re-record it somehow, it’ll be fine honey, but I may… cry.” Then, I did exactly that, I CRIED!

My disappointment stemmed from a few things:

  • The audio file was great content and it was lost!
  • I felt like I had wasted my Father’s time.
  • I thought I had wasted my husband’s time too.
  • I was hoping my husband wasn’t feeling accused at all. It wasn’t his fault. He is my forerunner and I was disappointed.
  • I wasn’t sure how or when we’d be able to record again.
  • My hope of launching a podcast was deferred.

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My Father and I don’t live in the same state. I was fortunate to have the time with him while he and my mom and sisters came for a fall visit, so we had recorded then.  I knew they were not planning a trip back anytime soon so the possibility of getting this first episode redone seemed unlikely.

I hesitated to do it, but I called my Dad on Face Time  and said, “Well,  Dad, I’ve got some bad news. Remember recording for the podcast? We don’t know what happened but there is no sound on the  audio file. Even though we had listened to it while you were here, remember how we heard parts of it? Well, anyway it’s gone. I’m so sad.”

His response was, “Well, maybe we’ll have to come back and visit you sometime and record something else instead.” As it turned out, that’s what we did. We recorded something else but not here. Instead,  while I was back in Iowa visiting we took another swing at it. While together at a family gathering, I grabbed my dad for “the real deal” interview and my husband set up a make shift studio, we settled in, tucked away in my brother-in-law’s office, we recorded “the real deal” with Rachel Inouye Episode 001.

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Here’s how I climbed out of the disappointment trap:

  • I recognized my true disappointment and I grieved.  Yes, the audio files were lost, the content was precious, but it was gone…So I cried. (I allowed myself to go there, but I didn’t stay there.)
  • I asked God to make a way to recovered or redo.
  • I prayed with a friend, she asked for “a better outcome than the first version.”
  • I let it go and moved forward.
  • I was kind to myself and my husband.
  • I looked for the positive spin on it. Is there a silver lining here?
  • I “got back on the horse” and tried it again.
  • I realized I am strong! My resolve proved I’m energized by this endeavor; I am made to do this. (Persevere )
  • I DIDN’T GET STUCK!

If you are dealing with disappointment of any kind BIG or SMALL, I hope you will bounce back or climb out of the trap too. One thing I have been challenged to declare is…There is always a solution. 

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Here’s the good news. I believe my new podcast episode 001 was meant to be and it launched on January 8, 2019 which was my Dad’s eighty-eighth birthday. HAPPY BIRTHDAY Richard and happy birthday “the real deal” with Rachel Inouye.

Here is the link to listen to episode 001. I sure hope you are blessed by it. If you like it SUBSCRIBE and RATE and REVIEW it. Thanks. There is much more to come!

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-real-deal/id1448869614

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. Proverbs 13:12

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What Just Happened?

As I sit here typing this blog post, I am crying a bit too. Why? Because I had almost finished it, only a few final touches to make and it would have been complete. The blog post was about looking back and seeing God’s hand in our lives, it was titled “Have You Been Carried?” It was a good one.

I like to drag the cursor over the text and have in read to me as a way of making sure it’s what I want to say. I hit a button and it was reading it all aloud perfectly. I hit something else and it kept reading, but all of the words were gone. They vanished! The screen was completely white and the bottom where the word count is kept read, 0 words!

 

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What? What just happened? I decided to go up to the upper part of the screen and hit the UNDO typing button. But still nothing came back on the screen. I lost this labor of love in one CLICK. I simply wanted to encourage you that God will carry you in the new year because I have seen how he has carried me. He doesn’t change and he can’t lie so I know he will continue to be faithful to his promise. Here is the promise…notice the, “I will” parts!

I will be your God throughout your lifetime-Until your hair is white with age. I made you, I will care for you, I will carry you along and save you. Isaiah 46:4 NLT

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He has carried me this year and he will continue until my hair is white with age. Perhaps all the things I had written were just for my own review. Here is what I suggest. Take some time, look back as you review 2018 to see the ways God has cared for you and where he had carried you and the times he has saved you. It was wonderful to see his constant hand in my life this year.

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One of my tag lines for a talk I give called “I will be your God throughout your Lifetime” is this quote: “Look back with gratitude and look forward with faith.”

So as you look back on 2018 see the ways God has surprised you, fulfilled a dream of yours, carried you and sustained you.  Based on the backward glance display gratitude and thank God now. You can look forward with faith for 2019. I declare it’s gonna be a great year!

What are You Waiting for?

I had put it off for weeks or maybe months, I wasn’t overly concerned but had one thing I was thinking should just be checked out. One evening, at prayer group, a health related prayer request of mine led me to blurt out,” Yeah, I am due for an annual check up.”

“So… Rachel when do you want to have made the call by, like next week? “One of the guys asked.

I fired back, “Sure! Next week is fine.”

Accountability is quite powerful. I knew I was going to be asked, “Did you make that doctor’s appointment?’

A definition for accountability immediately came to my mind:  ACCOUNTABILITY-  “account for abilities”  

Rachel, what are you waiting for?  You are able to make an appointment!  My thoughts spurred me on. So I made it the next day. BOOM,BOOM, BOOM!

  • I gladly sent prayer group this text  FYI…Just made an appointment for my full physical!
  • I had the blood work done a few days ago.
  • Although I am not a doctor, I read the results.
  • Today was the day for my physical.

 

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After my name was called the nurse introduced herself and said, “Follow me this way, please.” Then she stopped and said, “I’ll have you step up on the scale to get your weight.”

“Okay, let me take off my coat and boots first. As I unzipped my boots I began to laugh. I said, “I’m chuckling because my husband likes to take off as much as possible when he weighs in.”

To which the nurse commented then inquired,  “I think I know him! Does he take like his pants off and everything?”

“No, no, no… I just meant that he removes his boots and watch and any coins in his pockets too.”

We did all the regular health history stuff and updates to the chart information.

“Oops! I didn’t check your height. Sorry! Let’s do that now!”

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“Five foot two…aaand a half!” as she announced it I felt like doing a cart-wheel because at least I’m not shrinking .

The whole physical went really well in fact, when my doctor was going through my blood work results, she exclaimed, “These numbers are incredible!” As she finished she headed me a printed copy and said, “You should frame this paper when you get home!” She spoke through her giggle, “Girl, you should have some cheesecake!”

As I exited she said, “All really looks good, just remember to make your mammogram appointment.” Oh, boy! Here we go again. 

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I took this photo thinking, Well, that’s behind me and it was a great visit!

So let me ask you…What are you waiting for? Is there something you are putting off?

  • Could you clear away distractions and make a forward step now or in the morning?
  • Could you invite someone to hold you accountable?
  • What is one little step you could make today? (Habakkuk 2:2 “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it…”)

Remember the answer to this question, “What is the best way to eat an elephant?” answer. “One bite at a time.”

If I’m being honest with you I still have many things that need forward momentum applied to them:

  •  Steps I need to be taken to make a manuscript a published book.
  • I have loose ends which must be tied up before I can launch a podcast.
  • I have videos that need to be worked on for an on-line course.
  • I have Christmas presents to wrap.
  • YES THE LIST GOES ON!

But let me encourage you to get the ball rolling. Overcoming inertia is the hardest part. Once we get started it’s so much easier.  So let’s be encouraged together! God is working in advance and he goes before us in the things we are to do. (one of my recent blogs was about this.)

Oh, and know this, I am  very happy to report,  I have already made my mammogram appointment for early January.

 

 

From Anxiety to Adventure!

When I was a young girl, I was fearful of new experiences and would experience random anxiety issues over the littlest things, like going over to a friend’s house or attending a slumber party.  I remember having to take medicine, from a brown glass bottle with a cold spoon, even before walking to school in the morning. Even though I wanted to go to school and see my friends, I’d get all hepted-up and have a nervous stomach ache.

I’ve always been relational. I love to be with friends. I can’t remember a time when I haven’t enjoyed learning about and from people. But my desire to be with people was hampered a bit by these pre-event jitters or anxiety related to new adventures.

Even something like summer day-camp seemed scary because it was new turf. I really didn’t enjoy day-camp and begged not to return after the first day. I had made my little sit-upon as a craft at day-camp, I recall.  I went into the backyard to find my mom in the garden and asked her if I could just stay home instead of going to camp the next day.

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“I made my sit-upon, isn’t that enough?”

 

“I’ve already made my sit-upon isn’t that good enough?” I asked her. I don’t remember whether or not I went back to finish the week. But it all begs the question, how did this little girl grow up to be someone who thoroughly enjoys new experiences and has traveled near and far to be with people and encourage them?

The answer, quite simply, no seriously, the answer is… God. He is the reason for peace in my life. He is the reason for any turn around and for every good thing in my life. he is for me not against me. He is working all things together for my good. He will never leave me nor forsake me. He is for you too.

He is:

  • in charge
  • sovereign
  • good.
  • the God of instead.
  • amazing

HE is an awesome God for me and for you.

I actually had the privilege of speaking about Hope and I used the topic: “The God of Instead” from the book of Isaiah chapter sixty-one.  This is the passage that talks about Jesus’ Identity and how he is known in heaven, his resume actually. It also speaks of the role of the believer. Read it and look for the power of the INSTEADs of God.

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor.
They will rebuild the ancient ruins
and restore the places long devastated;
they will renew the ruined cities
that have been devastated for generations.
Strangers will shepherd your flocks;
foreigners will work your fields and vineyards.
And you will be called priests of the Lord,
you will be named ministers of our God.
You will feed on the wealth of nations,
and in their riches you will boast.
Instead of your shame
you will receive a double portion,
and instead of disgrace
you will rejoice in your inheritance.
And so you will inherit a double portion in your land,
and everlasting joy will be yours.
I have repeatedly experienced the INSTEAD of God.
God has given me:
  •  instead of anxiety, peace.
  •  instead of fear, His perfect love.
  • instead of a spirit of heaviness/depression/fainting, joy unspeakable and full.
  • instead of hopelessness, hope.

Let me share a few photos from my recent trip to the Middle East- UAE and Oman. I had a great deal of firsts and great adventures provided by the God of Instead.

Instead of anxiety I live with adventure!

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As a little girl, I always wanted to see the world. As I looked out at my audience, I thought… I’m seeing the world!

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women’s conference photo credit: Sarah Shalley

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women from 45 different nations were present.

 

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A few first time adventures:

  • visit to a Mosque
  • desert Safari
  • ride on a camel
  • belly dancer performance-live not on television
  • tour in Dubai
  • travels in Oman
  • walks and wading in the gulf of Oman
  • time speaking in Oman

Do you know the God of Instead? He has come to bring life where there is death. Hope where there is hopelessness. The oil of gladness instead of mourning. He truly is a God of  INSTEAD.

Righteousness, peace, joy in the Holy Spirit, that’s the Kingdom of God. Because of Jesus and the work of God in my life I don’t live with anxiety but with adventure instead.

 

 

 

Rev up! Gentlemen, Start Your Engines!

“Gentlemen, start your engines!” this traditional phrase is spoken at the start of the Indianapolis 500. I feel a bit like I’m at the start of a race as my fall schedule begins. How about you?

Just two days ago, I had the kick off of my weekly Bible study. My calendar reflects the impending speaking schedule is about to begin in less than a week.  Dom, Dom DOM!

Do you feel it?  It’s in the air.  All around me I feel excitement and curiosity mixed with a pinch of the fear-of–the-unknown with a side of panic. Many of you have sent children off to school or have started back to college yourself or your back to ministries at church.

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Photo by Bich Tran on Pexels.com

I feel a sense of excitement of what is ahead but I know new things and busier times of the year can bring with it apprehension and anxiety.  I get it, I do! But I say, “No!”

“No,” to anxiety.  “No,” to worry or fatigue or restlessness!

I am choosing to believe that what God says in his word as he promises me certain things regarding life in him and about my future:

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I was thinking about all I have on the horizon:

  • finishing a manuscript for a new book
  • future travels and messages to be delivered at events
  • completing the demo and remodel of our master bathroom
  • filming and recording an on-line course
  • painting part of my basement
  • moving forward to begin a podcast
  • even writing this current blog post

I am needing revelation regarding so many things. I was on a FaceTime call with my precious parents today.  We were speaking about upcoming things when I paused and shouted, “I’m looking for revelation!”

My father chuckled leaned forward slightly toward the screen and said, “Get ‘reved’ up! VROOM VROOM”

Get it? REVELATION!  As we hung up the call his parting sign off was, “Gentlemen, start your engines!”

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Photo by Chris Peeters on Pexels.com

I knew he was talking about future plans, the things I am in the process of doing and the things that are about to begin. He was referencing all of it. Yes, I desire to commit ALL OF IT to the LORD. He made me. He has good plans for me.  AND good news… He is preparing in advance the things I do.

Let me turn a slight corner here and reference PLANS. I’d like to share a few versions of the same verse:  Proverbs 16:3 

  • Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans. NIV
  • Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed. NLT
  • Ask the Lord to bless your plans, and you will be successful in carrying them out. GNT.  

There are some really great promises. Here are a few cross references:

  • Cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. I Peter 5:7
  • Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him, and He will do it. Psalm 37:5
  • Cast your burden upon the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken. Psalm 55:22
  • In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:6

Isn’t it easy, even in prayer, to speak to God about our plans or about our circumstances? But I believe it’s better to speak to our plans and circumstances about our God.  Just flip that whole prayer over and see it through our really BIG God.

Even this morning while I was praying, a situation came to mind which needed to be better aligned to who God is. I flipped the pages of my Bible to Jeremiah 32:17  “Ah, Sovereign LORD, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you.” I took a deep breath and exhaled with such peace.

Let me give you one more truth from scripture. I hope it helps both of us as we go about doing whatever we’ve got planned because it will require our strength.

Seriously I am a wimp on my own but with God I’m so amazing and I can do ALL things through Christ who gives me strength. So if you need strength today let me encourage you with this.

For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. 2 Chronicles 16:9a

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I’d like to pray for us:

Father, thank you for who you are, righteous, good, our sustainer, way-maker, restorer, provider and deliverer. Your eyes search throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are committed to you.  I call to you because we need your strength.

We can cast our cares on you because you care for us. Thank you that nothing is too hard for you. NOTHING! You made the heavens and the earth with your great power and outstretched arm. You’re absolutely amazing! You are so good and so kind. You love first. Thanks for loving us.

I thank you that we can break off anxiety that attempts to creep in, in the name of Jesus. So right now I do that, I break off any anxious thought and replace it with your peace and your rest!  You promised to keep us in perfect peace as we trust in you. We recieve your perfect peace.

You said let not your hearts be troubled or afraid because you are with us and you have overcome the world. Thank you. You promise to be with us every moment of every day. We are grateful. You don’t take off on us and you don’t lie. What you say you will do, you will do. All your promises are yes and amen. Thank you Jesus! We stand firmly on your promises.

With all we’ve got going in the upcoming days I commit it all to you. In Jesus name, Amen.

So “Ladies and Gentlemen, Start your engines!”

 

 

 

 

“You’ve got to be kidding me!” A Divine Appointment!

We’d been planning for years and finally the day arrived. My cousin and I were headed to Bethel Church in Redding, California. We’re both part of Bethel’s on-line community. The Carr Fire in California has been so horrible, yet gratefully even the fires near Redding did not cause a change in our trip dates, our desires or our plans. It was a go!

We flew from our perspective locations and met in Phoenix. Once we hugged at the gate we knew the fun had begun! “It’s good to see you I’m so excited!” I told Annie. We stood in line at the airport Starbucks and rattled away and giggled a bunch too.

While we were first together there in Phoenix, we prayed.

We’ve been praying for years. But that day, seated in the airport, we thanked God for safety and for being together and prayed “God give us divine appointments.”

You know how once you pray something your awareness is boosted a little bit more because you’re looking for what you’ve just asked of God?

Well both Annie and I were in heightened awareness mode. I boarded the plane first and secured my seat and Annie was going to join me.

I always pick an aisle so I can get up and go to the bathroom she came in and sat in the middle seat.

Annie blurted out quickly, “I just heard a lady say ‘Redding’ so I spoke with her briefly. I figured we are probably both headed to Bethel.” She chuckled.

No sooner had she told me when the woman came down the aisle and they visited for a minute. Then she asked, “Could I just sit with you guys in this row? I may as well take this window seat! ”

“SURE!” We answered in unison.

She sat near the window and explained why she was going where she was going. She told us she was flying to Sacramento because her daughter was going to be attending a school out in Northern California and she was going to meet her there and get her settled in a bit.

We asked her where the school was located and she told us Bethel Church in Redding. We quickly replied “Oh, we’re going to Bethel Church this weekend. That’s the purpose of our trip.” I introduced myself, “I’m Rachel.”

She said, “I’m Jill.” She later mentioned her husband and her daughter were traveling from Michigan all the way across country to Redding. “But I told them, guys…I’m gonna just fly out. That’s a long way-I’ll fly and meet you.”

During the course of the conversation we found out things about one another and then I asked, “Could I pray for you?”

“Absolutely!” She replied.

The three of us agreed together in prayer. We prayed for protection as Jill’s husband and daughter traveled across country. We prayed for her daughter’s ease of transition in going to this new school far away.

I prayed for Jill’s “mama’s heart” I know what it’s like to miss a daughter, so I prayed for her as she said goodbye to her daughter in the next few days. I don’t remember the rest of the prayer but that was pretty much the gist of it.

We visited the duration of the flight and then we didn’t see her again. It was as if she were “POOF” gone!

We secured our rental car, decided who would drive and who would navigate, strapped on our seatbelts, logged our destination in the GPS and headed to Redding.”Phew it’s warm in here!” we agreed. “Let’s start the air conditioner.” Then we snapped a photo and peeled away!

We traveled awhile and decided to stop for lunch. My cousin Annie, had never been to California so she wanted the experience of IN and OUT Burger. I mainly eat a plant-based diet so I spotted a Panda Express just down from the IN and OUT.

“Can you find somethin’ to eat here?” She inquired.

“Not really.” I pointed. I’m going to head over to that Panda Express, grab some veggies and noodles and meet you back here. We can sit outside on the patio.”

“Sounds good,” She said.

I ordered my carry-out quickly, exited the restaurant swinging my white carton of food in its plastic bag and was going to meet Annie.

Just then, our new friend Jill came walking out of Starbucks which was next to the Panda Express.

I took one look at her, and said, “Oh, my! Well hello again!” We hugged and visited for a few minutes. I found out that she got her rental car and that she was safe and was making her trek north. “Well, isn’t it funny running into you here at lunch?

“I’ve just eaten at Panda Express, so now I’m grabbing a coffee for the road. God is good!”‘Jill reported.

“Great! Well, who knows, maybe we will see you at Bethel Church on Sunday!” I said. And walked away.

I thought that was the punchline. So odd to see someone again and be able to encourage them and laugh together. Timely encounters.

We continued our jaunt north. We had the address of our Airbnb logged into Google maps. “We are almost there!” Annie exclaimed.

We were both so excited as the GPS was giving our final directives. We pulled up to the row of condominiums, double checked the address to confirm, as the phone said, “Arrived at your destination.”

I opened my door, felt the heat and smelled the smoke, stepped onto the sidewalk nearest the condo and looked up.

“What?” I clapped my hands together and exclaimed simultaneously, “You’ve got to be kidding me!” There was Jill!

“WHAT?”

I stood frozen for a second.

Our new friend from Michigan walked toward me. I looked up to see a man, her husband, carrying hanging clothes draped over his arms and a young woman, her beautiful daughter, holding a box. They were moving in!

Jill approached me and started talking super fast, “I couldn’t believe it, I went up to my daughter’s room and the room adjacent to it had a sign on the Airbnb door that read, ‘Welcome Annie and Rachel.’

I stood looking at the sign dumbfounded thinking, ‘are these the ladies I just met on the flight that I was seated next to on the airplane? These ladies are my daughter’s weekend roommates?!?’

God calmed my mama heart with his attention to detail. He brought people from the Midwest to meet me on the plane to stay in the house with my daughter during her first weekend here. I couldn’t believe it! That’s so good of God!”

She was raving and gleeful…we ALL were.

We entered the air conditioned condo and introduced ourselves to her husband. I’m sure he was spinning…three woman were all jabbering at once trying to explain the story of our divine appointment to him.

We tried to recount the story so we could tell it to Jill’s daughter. “We met your mom on the airplane today she said ‘Redding’…blah, blah, blah.”

I ascended the steps and confirmed the whole deal; our room was adjacent to her daughter’s room. “No way!”

We had prayed for the transition of Jill’s daughter as she went off to school in Redding, California and there she was right before our eyes. Her eyes sparkling as she smiled and said, “Nice to meet you guys!”

Over the course of our extended weekend, we saw them again in passing between the services as they were in line for coffee.

“You guys should try MiMi Grace for breakfast. I tried it last time I visited before I decided to come here for school.”

We had to try it because we both like avacado toast and it was called Mimi Grace…my daughter is Grace.

We had prayed for months but this is just ONE of the divine appointments we had along the way. I could share so many more. “God-incidences” But this one will have to do for now.

God is the kindest person I know. He delights to delight my heart. I’m convinced of it. This made me have a perm-a-grin.

What are the ways God has been showing up in the little details of your life? Do you have a devine appointment you’d like to share?

“But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.” Job‬ ‭23:10‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.” Psalm‬ ‭32:8‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” Psalm‬ ‭139:16‬ ‭b NIV‬‬

How to Host the Perfect Graduation Party. Ha ha ha!

“My neighbor is going nuts about this graduation party she is hosting and is in a full-blown tizzy about it so I told her I’d help in any way I can.” My friend reported. “Seriously she is so worked up about it. She is stressed out and wants it to be perfect!” Her comments made me reflect about my plan for our son’s high school graduation party.

It was back in 2008 but I still remember it vivid

I had things planned for this Grad Party:

  • food
  • drinks
  • desserts
  • decortions
  • signs and balloons
  • photos and photo-boards
  • indoor and outdoor seating.

I too was excited and a bit worked up over hosting this shindig. However, all my planning and effort for a perfect backyard barbecue celebration quickly went awry when the June storm rolled in instead.

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We had tables decorated with colorful water-filled SOBE bottles, my son’s favorite drink at the time, and helium balloons floating above each bottle as centerpieces. The backyard had plenty of seating for everyone. “This looks great! I have a few more folding chairs coming from a few neighbors and we are all set!” I told my sisters.  They’d traveled to be the ones serving our guests.

I wanted it to be a feast for the eyes as well as the stomach and had even fussed over the flower pots on my front porch. I moved them each a few inches one way or the other then stepped back to compare which position I liked better.  It was a bit obsessive. I had balloons too and it looked fabulous. “THERE! DONE!” I decreed.

BUT…

NO ONE even sat at the tables or noticed the front porch flower pots due to the torrential downpour, each guest made a mad dash to get into our house as quickly as possible.

Instantly soaked from the storm they stood dripping in the entryway like drowned rats. They stood stunned for a moment. They were greeted and welcomed with bath towels to dry off.  It was chaos and a mess. We were soggy!

My husband and brother-in-law grilled chicken and hamburgers from inside the house as they pulled the grill as close to the back door as possible. Michael ran out into the treacherous conditions and collected hail and stuck some pieces in the freezer because they were so large he wanted a preserved memory.

Michael’s friends embraced the monsoon-like conditions. ” Let’s go!” They said and dashed out the front door FULL BOAR!  These high school kids jumped in the puddles and danced in the river that formed in the street’s gutter. Others were sliding down our backyard’s hill the way we sled on snow during the winter.

They scurried up the soaked hill and body surfed all the way down and repeated the process. I’ll never forget the looks on their faces as they hydroplaned down. They grinned even though the water-spray and grass hit them. Some closed their eyes as they flew down the hill. A few may have used the plastic sleds we own, I’m not really sure.  I do remember it was frantic and loud and CRAZY and FUN!

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Photo by Noelle Otto on Pexels.com

Because of the downpour and flooding, the interstate north of our house closed as the rain continued. This prevented guests from traveling to any other graduation open houses they had on their docket. THEY WERE STUCK. The result was we had a packed house as most lingered and filled both their plates and our home with food and laughter. Friends hung out in the basement where I never imagined them even being allowed. Some folks were up in our loft area sitting two to a chair…they seemed to enjoy it.

It was a great and memorable celebration and we all embraced it. It was quite unexpected. I still laugh at my fussing over the front porch and the other tiny details because I got a crash course in “DON’T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF” and even though the graduation party wasn’t at all what I had envisioned or planned, it was one my son will never forget.

A bit of advice I’d give now:

  • lower your expectations
  • make people the foucs
  • expect to be surprised by something
  • you’re not perfect…but you are perfectly loved by God.
  • don’t sweat the small stuff (remeber most of it is small stuff)

The LORD’s plan stands firm forever. His thoughts stand firm in every generation.

Psalm 33:11

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The Futility of Worry

I felt anxiety bubbling up with a threat of worry about to come over me. It wanted to wrap me in its unknowns like a cocoon. Have you experienced it? Let me state from the start that I am not a typical worrier nor am I plagued with anxiety.

My concern, however, was about the upcoming visit by my parents and my sister and brother-in-law. The many logistics that could potentially be a concern, but I was equally delighted to have them visit the weekend of my son’s birthday and also for Easter.

During a walk with a friend we prayed about all the logistics. I admitted. “I know it’s going to be fine, but this is the first time I’ve had my mom here since she is using a walker for stability.

I hope she can navigate all of the steps in my home and get in and out of the restaurant and our church on Easter morning.”  Blah, blah, blah. I rattled on for a bit then said, “Let’s pray about it. I know it will work out.”

We prayed about my family coming and the overall visit. There were many moving pieces to the weekend. I was slated to sing for the services which meant rehearsals and added time away.  I would also lack time to fully prepare Easter dinner. We also planned to meet at a local restaurant to celebrate my son’s birthday on Good Friday together.

Even though we had prayed about it, my mind looped over the logistics. I mentioned worrying about my mom’s mobility to my son when my daughter-in-law said, “Oh, there is underground parking and the elevator is right by the restaurant. You can park there, take it up and be right at the entrance of Cafe Hollander.”

“I didn’t know that. Wow! Okay, I’ll do that, thanks.” I said.

Between when she mentioned the helpful information and the time of the actual event my mind was concerned about these things:

 SPECULATIONS & WORRY

  • forecasted to rain
  • never been to the parking lot nor used the elevator
  • wait time at the restaurant, the last time was 90 minutes
  • standing for a long time waiting for a table – will my mom be okay?
  • getting to our table with my mom’s walker- will we get through?
  • arrival time to meet the my husband and our children.

I once heard Pastor Bill Johnson ask his congregation this, “You know the verse- Be anxious for nothing? Well, everything I was ever anxious about WAS nothing.”  (Meaning it NEVER came to be…It was nothing. Never an issue-came to NOTHING! It’s a bit of a play on words but I liked it.)

That is my testimony too. I was concerned about everything. BUT my anxiousness was FOR NOTHING! Instead, This is the way it panned out.

REALITY & FUTILITY OF WORRY

  • It did not rain
  • drove directly to the well-lit underground parking
  • parking – first handicapped space.
  • the elevator – directly in front of us.
  • arrived at the hostess station – seated immediately.
  • received a text from my kids be there in ten.
  • rode the elevator again to get to our table – upper level.
  • settled in – no problem getting through with the walker.
  • my son and his wife arrived – only moments later.
  • my husband made it safely on his motorcycle, he came in with a grin on his face and a kiss for me!

My anxiousness was for NOTHING! I’m NOT kidding, everything about that evening was accomplished lickity-split, easy as pie, smooth as silk and slick as a whistle! My…BE ANXIOUS was for absolutely NOTHING!

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

I like the way the New Living Translation states it:

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

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This is just one tiny snippet of the way my Easter weekend was divinely orchestrated and completely blessed. I could go on and on about Saturday’s events and Sundays too, but that’s for another blog, I guess. I saw God come through above and beyond all I could have asked or imagined. He is so faithful and He promises to do it. (Ephesians 3:20)

I wanted to remind myself and you of the futility of worry. Yes, we may be tempted to worry or be anxious. God knows that. It’s probably why he commands us not to. He cares about us too much to waste our time. Worry is a time EATER! I fully believe he cares about every little detail in our lives and delights to go above and beyond what we could ask or imagine in all the areas we bring to him.

So as the verse says: “Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” Philippians 4:6a

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Father God, Help us to see the futility of worry, anxiety, fear and distraction. Help us to see how you are active in the details of our lives. Thanks for who you are and how much you love us. You are such a faithful God. Help us to be anxious FOR NOTHING! In Jesus name, Amen.

Consider these words of Jesus. “Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?” and later he says. “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”  Matthew 6: 27, 34

 

 

When Uncertainty Creeps In-Trust!

He is always up to something good even when I can’t see it. Psalm 139:16  Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. 

Part of my day went according to plan. I left the house and had meetings with lovely people, just like I planned. CHECK! But my day unfolded in ways I never knew it would. NOT according to the plan. What’s going on here, God? Wanna show me what you’re up to?  When this “off  script” stuff happens, I have to ask, “Whose plan did I think would be carried out anyway?” When I don’t understand what’s going on or when I can’t see God’s hand, does it mean He isn’t working? No!

It makes me think of watching a play in the theater! Something about seeing a play live delights my heart. Every aspect I find exciting.  I like to get dressed up, drive with my hubby to the theater, locate my seat, hold the playbill, read each actor’s bio and dedication. I intently listen to the music and the way each line is delivered by the actors, all of it is great fun.

I’m amazed at the clever ways lights create mood and sets are designed. I enjoy as I watch the stage crew change the sets between scenes, the stage hands, dressed in black, appear as they carry out an end table, the other a lamp and plant to set on the table. Then, right before my eyes, they both carefully lift and remove a small couch and turn the space into a peaceful bedroom.

Long ago, this was not the method of changing sets. Instead, at the end of the act the curtain closed which blocked the view of the stage from the audience. The orchestra played music during the set changes which made it difficult to hear any movement from behind the curtain, but I sat and enjoyed the orchestral music. Once the proper set changes occurred, the music faded, the curtain opened and voilà! Dramatic set changes were revealed, complete with elaborate backdrops as actors delivered their opening lines.

Which method of set transformation do I like better?  Do I prefer it when I’m able to see the set change right before my eyes? Or do I like it when the theatre goes black, time lapses and finally the curtains are drawn back revealing the transformation? I’m not sure. When I think about movement, the drama and progress of my own life’s story isn’t what I planned. The encounters, learnings, twist and turns, even the trials that happen make me want to peek behind the curtain to see what’s going on. That’s where the trust comes in.

I guess I don’t like being in the dark. When I wonder what God is doing, the control freak part of me kicks in. There’s this “perceived sense of comfort” which comes from knowing what is going on and what God’s up to. I’d like to peek behind the curtain at what’s happening during each day or season of my life. But I’m learning every day is ordained for me and what God has planned for me is good, so I’m learning to trust because he is working even when I don’t see it.

It’s at those times when God seems to close the curtain and we can’t see, it requires trust that he’s always working. I was reading from the book of John with a mentee one day. She read aloud chapter 5: verse 17 But Jesus answered them, “My father is working until now, and I am working.” That line of scripture jumped off the page and my spirit responded. I realized a fresh God was telling me specifically, it doesn’t matter what you see or don’t see Rachel, I’m always working!

Yes, there are times when I worry, fret, get concerned or wonder about what He’s up to. When I question His timing and his plans, or even become frustrated in the waiting, I think about His character and the closed curtain in a theatrical production and all the movement behind before the big reveal. During a time when uncertainty creeps in, I do what King David did he said he strengthened himself in the Lord. So, I rehearse what I know is true and I rest on his promises, I even preach to myself. Whenever  I’m tempted to fret I have to think about the nature and character of God:

  • He is gracious
  • He is for me not against me.
  • He is good.
  • He loves me with an everlasting and an unending love.
  • God does not change.
  • He cannot lie.

These things are true for you too. Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; he will rise to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him! Isaiah 30:18 Remember, He’s always working. Perhaps you don’t see Him at work in your current situation. I’d like to encourage you with this thought, I believe He’s working both behind the curtain and right in front of you. He combats any discouragement from uncertainty, when we come to him.

His compassion and encouragement may manifest in the simplest things:

  • He allows you to meet a friend
  • you receive a call from your sister
  • you laugh along with the cousin about a joke
  • He allows you to be affected by a song lyric
  • He meets you in times when you opened His word, the Bible.
  • You let the rain fall on your face.
  • The sound of a child’s giggle

Yes, in myriad of ways he speaks. His care and character will combat when any uncertainty creeps in, if we come to Him. So when things don’t go “according to plan” remember God is not: shocked, scratching His head, surprised, or frustrated.  No, he is working on our behalf and he rises to show us compassion.