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Just a Note


​​Ah...it feels good to sit and write a blog again. I actually have a list of possible blogs to write one day, but perhaps many of the lessons from these past nine weeks are ones that the Lord needed me to learn myself. For today, I don't really have a neat message tied up all creative-like. Instead, I just need to purge my heart of some of the thoughts, emotions and struggles from these last two months.

Right after my last blog, I began a six-week class at our church teaching women how to study God's Word utilizing the many resources that we have been blessed with today in 2016. It is the culmination of the past 10 years of my own personal studying and how the Bible has erupted into flesh and blood reality in my own life through these methods. If you can't tell already from previous blogs--I am SO in love with the Word of God!

That first Sunday morning I was overwhelmed, as we literally maxed out the capacity of the room. Many more women indicated they wished to join the following week, and it killed me to have to ask them not to come simply because there was not another spot left, but promising that I would re-teach the class a few weeks after this one ended.

Looking around at the expectant faces before me, my heart burst with joy that so many women were hungry to devour God's Word in a deeper way, to know Him more in their daily lives. So the time that I usually spent studying to blog, I spent studying to teach instead. That was okay though, a necessary hiatus.

But then...

Before the series was over, I was confronted with struggles and trials within my own family, within my own home. Struggles that I had made every earthly attempt possible to avoid having. My heart crumbled, and each day seemed to bring a new attack on the rubble that was left of it.

What a strange spiritual place to be--simultaneously living on a mountaintop high preparing for and teaching this class, while at the same time crawling through a dark valley low. I was flooded with joy and yet my chest was so constricted that at times I could hardly even breathe.

Day after day we took baby steps forward, searching for the light at the end of the tunnel. At times it seemed the end of the trial was in sight, only to have a fresh wave of humanity hit us between the eyes and knock us off our feet again.

Slowly, things began to turn for the better. It would still take a long time to be healed, but at least we were finally moving toward that healing rather than away from it.

But then...

The bottom fell out beneath us as one of our precious ministers passed away suddenly and unexpectedly. In our almost 22 years of ministry, we have never lost a Kingdom co-worker before, let alone one who was such an important friend, confidante and mentor. Russ had been at our church for 13 of the 15 years we have been here. I can't even really remember a time at this church before him.

There is so much that Russ was to our church. But there is also so much that Russ was to Ryan and me in the function of ministry and marriage that no one will ever truly know. We have been in ministry with Russ and his wife Diane longer than with any other minister. In fact it

would take the combined total of at least four other ministers we have worked with over the years to exceed our time with Russ.

What was left of my healing heart utterly broke in two.

But even in all of this, here is what I know without doubt:

God is STILL God!!!

His thoughts are NOT my thoughts, and His ways are NOT my ways. As heaven is so very much higher than the earth, SO MUCH HIGHER are His thoughts and ways than mine. (my paraphrase of Isaiah 55:8-9)

Life is hard. But it's supposed to be--we no longer live within the safety and beauty of Eden. Jesus told His disciples, as well as His followers 2000+ years later, "You WILL have suffering in this world." (John 16:33b HCSB emphasis mine). But let's not forget what Jesus said in His very next breath..."Be courageous! I have conquered the world." (John 14:33c HCSB)

This is NOT my home. As beautiful as some occasions and places may be (and I'm presently writing this as I look out across the Atlantic Ocean), there is so much MORE that God has planned for His followers.

I cling to the vision of John in Revelation:

"Then I saw 'a new heaven and a new earth,' for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and He will dwell with them. They will be His people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.' He who was seated on the throne said, 'I am making everything new!' Then He said, 'Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.' He said to me: 'It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty, I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life.'" (Revelation 21:1-6 NIV)

For all who thirst for more than this world has to offer.......PRAISE GOD!!

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#faith #comfort #encouragement #hope

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