God in Our Lives.

My grandson, daughter #1 and son-in-law of daughter #2. Xmas 2018.

I’ve been trying to remember to write about life each day and how God has moved in my life. I’ll share a few stories.  Two weeks ago, my sister, who lives in Washington State, told me she was getting more and more tired. She could hardly get out of bed. She does have chronic fatigue syndrome, but she could usually do a few things during the day. She was so discouraged.

We both prayed about it and she discovered it was caused by the antidepressant pills the doctor gave her. As soon as she stopped taking them she had more energy. Also, she told me her back was better since she bought a back exerciser. She said she used to be in terrible pain after putting away groceries; but since she used the exerciser the pain has been small.

So, I would like to thank God for showing my sister what to do to feel better. I’m also very thankful my grandson is still free from heroin and feeling better every month. He has a dog he loves and a mom who stands with him, helping him all she can. I’ve been sending him stories from the Bible and he says he enjoys them. Thank you God for freeing him from heroin!

I listed to a podcast awhile ago. A woman told a story from her life. Everything was going wrong. Her husband couldn’t find a job, she had to work and her baby was sick. She said her mother told her to go to a special evening meeting put on by their church and have a break. She went to the meeting but felt angry and jealous of those around her whom she supposed had happy lives. The musicians were setting up their instruments. All of a sudden, she saw Jesus on the stage. He looked at her and said, “You came! You came!” He hurried off the stage and came to where she was sitting. He was smiling and hugged her and said, “I’m so glad you came.” Then he disappeared.

This touched me deeply. How kind of God to comfort her in this way. And how like him to be happy when we take time to be with him at a meeting or in prayer. I think God, like all of us, is happy when people pay attention to him. I love it when my daughters and grandchildren come to see me. When you think that to look at God is to look at eternal life and eternal love, and he knows that; no wonder it makes him happy!

I’ve been reading 1 Kings and found something so beautiful to me. Jeroboam was an evil king who introduced idol worship to Israel. This kind of worship included sacrificing children to the god to be burned alive. Jeroboam also told the people not to go to Jerusalem to worship God.

God sent a prophet to the king to tell him that in the future, his son would lose the throne and all his family would die. But the Lord made an exception for one of Jeroboam’s sons, a son who was sick. The prophet told him he would die of the sickness but, “All Israel will mourn for him and bury him; for he alone of Jeroboam’s family will come to have a grave because in him there is found something pleasing to the Lord, the God of Israel, in the house of Jeroboam.”

So, the Lord allowed the boy to die in order to save him, I think and to give him a good end compared with the rest of the family who were killed by the sword. This story reminded me of my grandson, Craig and my nephew, Ian. Their lives were full of confusion, sadness and trouble, but I know their hearts pleased God. I know I will see them in heaven.

Right and Wrong Doesn’t Matter — Faultless Inside

This is a post by Colin Pickering. I think he says some things here that are important for Christians of the United States and Canada.

Right and Wrong Doesn’t Matter.

Without God, morality is just an arbitrary rule destined to change on whim and convenience. This doesn’t mean that Christians and other religious individuals don’t make the same moral concessions, but there are some among us who hold to doing what God has instructed us to do. Some probably thought that we could hold each other to a high moral standard. Considering the current state of our country’s political system, our ability to hold such a standard is incredibly limited. Morality does not overrule our fears and instincts to survive without a respect for a higher power and belief of consequences worse than what we expect through our actions or inactions. Humans naturally want control over their own future, so we make decisions to concede defeat on morale grounds if it improves our prospective futures. True Christianity is about giving up control. It is about trusting completely in God and not being afraid. The world, the United States, and the greater Christian community is full

via Right and Wrong Doesn’t Matter — Faultless Inside

Living with Cranky People.

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Photo by:  https://www.flickr.com/people/78428166@N00

I’m reading, The Imitation of Christ, by Thomas A. Kempis (1380-1471). It is a book famous for its depth of spirituality. I just wanted to share parts of this book. The edition I am reading was published in old-fashioned English, so I am going to paraphrase.

It is not hard to associate with kind and gentle people. This is pleasing to all, and everyone enjoys peace and loves those who agree with them. 

But to be able to live peacefully with hard-hearted, irritable persons, disorderly persons, or those who argue with us, is a great grace, and a most commendable and brave thing.

Our whole peace in this world consists in this kind of humble suffering, not so much in experiencing troubles. He that knows how to suffer (being with these kind of people) in peace, is conqueror of himself, lord of the world, the friend of Christ and heir of heaven.

Kempis goes on to describe these two kinds of people, one of peace the other of passions.

A peaceful man does good and turns all things into good. A passionate man turns even good into evil, and easily believes evil. He who is discontented and troubled, is tossed with many suspicions; he is neither at rest himself nor will let others be at rest.

He often says what he should not say and does not say what he should. He judges what others do without judging himself. He will excuse his own deeds, but will not accept the excuses of others.

If you want to be forgiven and understood, learn to forgive and understand others.

Since there are quite a few cranky people in my family, I have realized a few things:

1. Don’t take what they say personally. If they are mad at the world, that is their problem. If you can in any way ignore politely what is said or have a “soft answer” that turns away wrath –  do it. If you need to talk with them about their treatment of you, wait for a calm time, sit down with them and say, “Do not speak until I am finished saying what I want to say.” Explain how you feel. Probably nothing will change, but at least you tried.  (However, after 40 years of this they just might!)

2. Don’t have expectations of people. They don’t know what you expect, for one thing, and even when you tell them, they usually won’t change.

3. This is the most important thing to do. Ask God to help you to accept and love this person just as they are. Ask God when you get angry, ask him in the morning, noon and night. God will do this for you. You will be at peace.

4. This may take 20 – 45 years to learn and even then you will goof up.

From Then Until Now. Bio of the Last 8 years.

I’m embarrassed to write this post because by the time a person is 63 or 64, she should be smart enough not to mess-up in such a spectacular fashion. Especially a Christian. But then, I’ve never been a normal Christian, so that may explain it.

Okay, so my husband and I lived with our daughter, Christine, and her family, for 10 years so I could take care of her daughter, Faith, who had OCD. When Faith turned 14, she was doing quite well and didn’t need me anymore. My daughter sold their house and when it came time to move, my husband and I rented an apartment. Christine and her family moved to another city because of her husband’s job.

I didn’t know I would slowly fall apart. I was used to seeing both of my daughters and my grandchildren every day. Suddenly, I’m alone all day in an apartment without a car. My husband works in another city 45 minutes away. I thought about getting involved with a mental health program for adults. I could meet other people like myself and they had painting classes and outings. I really wanted to try this, but I became sick with digestive problems which made me afraid to leave the house. I simply couldn’t get on a bus and ride around town because I never knew when I would get sick.

When this happened, I felt devastated. I was very lonely. I couldn’t even visit my mom except on weekends when I had the car. We couldn’t afford two cars. That would have solved my problems, but it was impossible.

My husband and I would sometimes drive and go see Christine and family in their new digs, but I have fibromyalgia and traveling is painful. I rarely saw my oldest daughter anymore. She had a lot on her mind taking care of her son and step-children. So, there I was, lonely and depressed. No one to talk with; no one to be with.

I started asking God to take my life. I couldn’t see any reason to hang around and be bored to death. Sometimes, I stayed in bed all day. Nothing interested me. I didn’t like TV and you can only read so much. Empty hours stretched ahead of me and seemed like a life sentence in jail.

I was having trouble sleeping, I always have, and decided to take some sleeping pills. After I took one, I thought, “Why don’t you finish the bottle?” So I did. All together only 11 sleeping pills. I hoped it was enough, but wasn’t sure. Before I took them, God spoke to my heart and said, “Call a suicide hotline.”  But I felt embarrassed to do that. I was very embarrassed by who I was. It is embarrassing to be mentally ill.

Long story short, my husband came home and I was passed out on the floor. I woke up in the hospital in a delirium. It took hours for the effect of the pills to wear off. And let me tell you, being delirious in front of tons of people is embarrassing.  I should have called the hotline. As usual, God was right.

The chief psychiatrist wanted to admit me, but my husband told him of a time years ago when I was admitted into a hospital for a suspected heart attack and had lost my mind. I disassociated and became a little girl again, afraid of being raped and crying non-stop. They drugged me at that hospital so I was calm enough to have tests. So, my husband told the psychiatrist the same thing would happen again.  He didn’t admit me, but I had to go to counseling. 

I went back to see my previous counselor, who is a Christian. She helped me quite a bit and I started making journals of my life from birth until now. I joined, Brave Girl’s Club, which is online. They charge a small fee, but it was well worth the money. The site helps you with journal ideas and encourages you to like yourself.

Then I read something that changed everything for me. I can’t remember what book or blog I read this on, but the author wrote, “Whatever you want to kill yourself over, you love that thing or person more than God.”

Well, that shocked me, but after reading the whole chapter, I believed it was true. Why did I want to kill myself? Quite a few reasons, but the biggest was I was lonely and missed my girls and grandchildren. So, I thought, I must love them more than God. I thought I loved God above all people and all things, but I was wrong. Sure I was lonely, but shouldn’t having God in my life been enough? 

I said to God that day, “Okay, God. It’s just you and me now. I’m going to spend tons and tons of time with you. I need you to be enough for me because I have no one else.”

Lo and behold, he was enough. Each day got better and better. I was still waking up depressed though, and remembered what Joyce Meyer says about quoting Scripture out loud when you are depressed. I still do that every morning. As I do, I feel God’s peace and love. My shoulders relax and I smile – first thing in the morning! Lol  A miracle for me.

I told the Lord how bored I was. I asked him to find some activity for me that I would enjoy. I went on the internet looking up different crafts when I came upon wood carving. I had always been interested in sculpture and wood carving looked easier and cheaper. So, I bought some firewood, pine and balsa wood. I wasn’t strong enough to do it by hand, so my husband bought me a Dremel with a bunch of sanders and cutters. I really enjoyed working with wood. I made quite a few items. I’ll post some pics.

Afterwards, I decided to try my hand at painting and I like doing that even more than working with wood. I talk with God about my projects and ask him to help me. He does. I still spend lots of time with him, because I know it is him who keeps me alive and interested in life. I’m rarely ever depressed, and if I feel sad I run to Him right away and stay there til I feel better. 

What have I learned through this? I’ve learned if all you have is God – he is enough. I think that if I hadn’t gotten sick or had a car and gone out a lot etc. I wouldn’t have found out how little I loved and appreciated God. I wouldn’t have learned what a wonderful father, brother, friend, counselor and husband he is. I thank God now for what I went through and how I suffered, because through it, I learned the most wonderful thing I have ever known in my life – God loves me and I love God.

 

 

My 60’s With God. The Valley of Death.

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Craig with his aunt Christine.

I was going to write about my 60’s in one post, but I can see that isn’t going to happen. I felt I left out a lot about my grandson and his relationship with God in my last post about him, so I’m going to write about that today. When I sit down to write, I’m never sure what will end up on the page. I hope Craig’s story will help someone.

When I was 61, my beloved grandson, Craig, died. When Craig was a teenager, he told me he was an atheist. His step-father was one and he thought that was right. We talked about that a bit and over the years he came to believe there was a God.

Craig was in mental pain most of the time. His biological father had died of a drug overdose. Craig had never gotten to really know him and his death was devastating for him. He had hoped one day to connect with him and have a relationship. He and his brother started doing drugs and getting into trouble with the police. It was a very sad time for all of us. He once got in trouble with a gang who threatened to kill him. One day, I had to wash his blood out of his new winter jacket because they had beaten him. He was in fights a lot. He had a lot of anger inside. He went to jail and had a trial in Vancouver when he hurt someone badly in a fight. He was found not guilty though, because he hadn’t started it.

When he moved to Kelowna, he used to come over and talk with me about his life. He said he had so many regrets. We talked about God. He thought God could not love someone like him, but I told him God loved him even more than I did. He gradually began praying. He went to visit his step-father, who had not been a good father to him. They had long talks and the rift was mended. He went to visit his real father’s ex-wife and his two half-siblings. They all loved Craig. Then he came home, and there was another trial because he was in a fight at a party in Kelowna. He knew we were praying for him. He was also praying. He wanted to be a better person and told us he would like to go to schools and warn teens about drugs. But he was still doing drugs himself.

At his trial, he was found innocent again because it was a free-for-all fight, but he was put on probation. If he did one wrong thing, he would go to jail for a year. When I heard that, I knew he would probably not be able to be good for a year and he would be going to a prison up north. After the trial, Craig was happy and the last thing he said to us was, “Thank you for praying for me.”

That night, he was at a party and drank too much. He passed out face down on a soft sofa and smothered. The coroner said he had seen many teen boys who died this way. Their bodies are too much asleep to turn over and breathe. 

Of course, the whole family was in terrible mourning. My daughters, his cousins – just everyone. But we did all believe he was saved because he had been praying and talking about God. I know I will see him again. That hope is what kept me going, plus the peace of God that came upon me. The Lord is a great comforter. I believe he took Craig, because life was just too hard for him. I said to someone, “I’ve been praying for that boy since the day he was born. I know the Lord has saved Craig from something worse that was going to happen.” I still believe that.

After the funeral, a friend of his wrote on his memorial page, “You taught us the meaning of unconditional love.” Many, many young people came to the funeral and we were comforted by their stories of how Craig had helped them. Even kids from his  elementary school came and told us of Craig’s kindness. We were actually stunned at how many people he had helped during his short life. He was 21 when he died.

Okay, this was going to be about my big mistakes when I was in my 60’s, but I think I will do that next time. I just want to praise and thank God for giving Craig to us for the years he was here. I want to thank Him for taking Craig to himself where he can finally be at peace.

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Craig, with his father, Gerard.

Miracles in Motion. God in My 50’s.

 

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God did some wonderful things for our family when I was in my 50’s. I was babysitting my grandsons, Craig and Jordan aged around 3 and 4, when their mother was transferred to a better job located 9 hours north of us. The boys were upset and didn’t want to move. They didn’t want to leave me and the rest of the family. But it was a permanent job, whereas her regular job was not. She felt she had to  go.

We were sad about it, and I went up to Prince George with her to get the boys settled in a daycare center. Sandy, my daughter, found a lovely daycare in a church and run by Christians. I was very happy about that. The first day I took the boys, we looked around and it was a very large area in the basement of the church. There were wonderful toys and books all around the room. The people were very friendly. I could see the boys would be okay; I stayed for a week and took a train home.

I didn’t think I would see the boys very often after the move. Nine hours was a long way to go to just spend a weekend. The Lord knew how much I loved and missed them because miracles started happening right away. My husband works for a gas utility company. He used to travel to different cities for his work. That year, they asked him to go to Prince George, which was the city Sandy and the boys lived in. The company gave my husband money for gas, food and a hotel. I was allowed to go with him. I don’t remember how many times we went, for a week at a time, but I think it was three or four times during the year Sandy worked there. They had never asked him to work there before, and after Sandy moved to Vancouver, they never asked my husband to work there again.

So, Sandy got an even better job in Vancouver, BC, a huge city by Canadian standards. They only lived 5 hours away now, which meant we could visit them and they could visit us. It was lovely. In fact, my husband’s company now started sending him to Vancouver! We stayed in lovely hotels off and on for two years. 

When the boys got older, they went to elementary school and then to a daycare, next door to the school, until Sandy was off work. Well, they were very unhappy in the daycare. They were the oldest ones there and they started getting angry and acting up. Sandy asked if maybe we could move to Vancouver and help with the boys.

By this time, the managers in Vancouver really wanted Dan to move there. Dan had said no before, because we loved living in Kelowna. But since the boys needed us, he told the company we would move there. So, that seemed a miracle to me also that just when they needed us, God made it possible to move where they lived.

When the boys were 12 and 13, my younger daughter, Christine, called from Kelowna. Her daughter, Faith, was sick with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Christine had to work. They could not live on what her husband made. There was just no choice for her. She asked if we could move back to Kelowna. I told her I doubted we could since there was no work there, as far as I knew. But I told her we would pray about it.

My husband told me there was no jobs for him there and would not be; everything had been closed down there.  I told him how much Christine needed us, and she needed us right now! We prayed and for the first time in my life, I asked God for a sign. Because if God showed us we would be able to move there then I would go now and my husband would go when the job came up.

That night, I had a dream. I was in an airplane with my mother. She was beside the window. I leaned over and looked through the window and saw Kelowna. “We’re home,” I said to her. Then I woke up. I told my husband God had sent us a sign and I could move right away, and I did.

A year later, my husband had a job in Kelowna with the same company. They had decided to move the main warehouse from Vancouver to Kelowna. My husband had to take a step downward in his career, but he was okay with that. Family has always come first with him. During the year we were apart, he would drive down every other weekend to visit.

Now we say, “God moved a warehouse for us.”  Yep, he did, and I’ve very grateful. We lived with Christine and her family for 10 years, until Faith was 14 years old and didn’t need me anymore. I treasure the time I had with her. She has suffered with her disease, and still has some problems, but she has grown into a wonderful, vibrant adult.

I never thought I would be happy living in a huge city with millions of people, but I fell in love with Vancouver. I count those years as some of the happiest of my life. One reason was where we lived, which was across the street from where the boys went to school. We had asked God to help us find a place near the school. We were thrilled with what he gave us.

The school was in a beautiful neighborhood, one block from English Bay and three blocks from Stanley Park. I walked along the beach and through the woods and saw so many beautiful things of nature. Every day the weather was nice, I walked. The boys and I had such fun. We walked or took the bus to the bowling alley, comic book store, arcade, movies, and swimming pool. When you live in the heart of a city, you don’t have to drive anywhere. 

How do you thank a God who does such things for you? There is a line in a song that says something like, “It’s gonna take forever to exhaust my gratitude. But I’m never gonna stop, til the whole world knows that I’m grateful…”  That’s how I feel sometimes about God. Forever is not enough time to say thank you. 

 

Suicide. A Story of God’s Love.

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Statue:  Fragile Emotion

Photo by: Don  http://www.flickr.com/people/97224989@N00

My beloved nephew, Ian, killed himself a month ago. He was 45 years old. He had paranoid schizophrenia. 

I remember reading some religions believe suicide is a sin. Even a sin God can’t forgive. I don’t believe that. I’ve been suicidal myself; I have a mental illness because of my abusive father. Elijah wanted to die, so did Jeremiah and Job. God didn’t tell any of them they sinned in that wish.

Ian quit taking his medication, which a lot of people with schizophrenia do. He kept refusing to take it until he was having delusions every day. I won’t go into detail about his illness, what I wanted to share about him was his journey to God.

About a year or more ago, Ian started getting interested in spiritual things. He wanted to find the “true” religion. He studied Buddhism, Islam and Christianity. He used to call me and we would talk about these religions. He asked me why I thought Christianity was the true religion and I told him. Then he started asking me about the different Christian religions. I told him of some of the different beliefs that were out there. He asked me about the church I grew up in, which is the Seventh-Day-Adventist Church.

I explained our beliefs to him. So, he went and visited some churches in his community in Washington, State. I asked which one he liked best, and he did say the Adventist church. He asked about why we worship on Saturday instead of Sunday, and I told him all the reasons.

When my mother broke her hip and was in the hospital, Ian came to see her and stayed with us. He came twice. We talked some more about God, and why I believed he was the true God. All the rest of the time he talked with me it was about his delusions of being followed and how he was putting us in danger just by visiting us. He thought the government was after him, but I never did understand why he thought that. He talked about conspiracies, but I don’t know what kind. He thought he had special powers.

The only time he talked sanely was when he talked about God. The last day he was here, he said he had made up his mind and believed in God and Jesus and also would not work on Sabbath again. I was very happy for him. As he drove away for the last time, I said to God, “Oh Lord, what are you going to do for him?”

He killed himself a few days later. I think God stepped back and let it happen. Ian had turned to God, given himself to him and that was what God was waiting for. Ian will now have the peace he longed for when Jesus returns. We will see him and hug him again, and he will be all well. I’m so looking forward to that day. I’ll see my brother, grandson, Ian, my grandmothers and who knows who else? And of course I will get to see Jesus and the face of my father God. Oh yes, I am excited about that day.