God so loves

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There was a time in my life when God was not the focus, instead, it was about a checklist. I felt I was a good person, not one to cause conflict, and did the Christmas and Easter church thing.

However, I felt an empty space in my heart. I had a solid career as a mentor emergency trauma nurse and trained paramedics. My husband and I joined the land of mortgages, a solid career I loved, our first dog, with an expectation of a baby.

Screech went the brakes for this standard list of western expectations. Infertility without a cause and I had no control of my barren body which drove me to seek Jesus.

I had my final infertility treatment and took a memorable trip out of state. After a near-death experience on a Colorado rafting trip, I saw life from a different vantage point. I wore a crash helmet and tightly zipped life vest as the guides gave instructions on body position should a tourist end up in the frigid, springtime, mountain river. I was thrown from the raft at a point in the river called Cardiac Corner ( Class 4 – 5 rapids).

As my body and head were crashing into boulders and trees skirting the river and I was stuck in the swells and sucking water, I cried out to the Lord. I felt as if I would drown, but almost as soon as I called out Jesus, help me! I felt a warmth surround my body, even though my hands especially my fingers were bluish and numb, I felt no pain. I felt the river was a metaphor for life. Would I trust God with the details and take a ride in the rapids or crash and die?

I chose to trust God, rest in what felt like the huge, warm hand of God, and lived. My husband and I relocated to Colorado within six months. My first Colorado friend took me to my first Bible Study. The book of Romans 5 showed me a new beginning and I learned after dedicating my life to Jesus that I will let Him drive my future plans.

One of my favorite scripture Romans 5: 1- 8 was an epiphany.

Romans 5:1-11 NLT
[1] Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. [2] Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.

[3] We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. [4] And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. [5] And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. [6] When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. [7] Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. [8] But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.

I no longer saw my infertility as a failure instead I saw the need to trust God with everything. After infertility procedures, giving myself shots, waiting on God while caring for children at work in illness and trauma, relocating, and subsequently, the unknown of adoption. I realized I wanted to be a mom and trust the Lord to orchestrate the details.

After a decade of marriage, our first child came to her forever home through adoption six weeks after I accepted Jesus. All three of our children are amazing gifts from God who know more about Jesus as children than I did.

“God so loves”, a song by We the Kingdom brings a vision of joy, and diversity of many beautiful children created in the Image of God. I hope you enjoy it as I did when I saw the band play it live.

I hope you are inspired to realize God so loves. That is the first step of faith in an unknown God. I had to flip out of a white water raft to come to this amazing realization. What will it take for you?

Are you weary? He will strengthen you. You may feel unworthy of His love, He knows but loves you anyway. Bring all your failures. He will direct your life journey. God so loves.

Squirrel?

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What comes to mind when you hear the word, “Squirrel”? Is it a cute, red-furred animal that frustrates your dog by taunting from a tree? Does the word, squirrel, bring up visions of Doug, the awkward, friendly dog from the Disney movie, “UP”?

Perhaps, it’s my recent trip to Disney World? I feel like Doug the distracted dog with multiple voices calling in my head. The voices say, “conflict in relationships, it’s your fault… you are unreasonable, just a judgemental Christian. is that true Lord? If so, I repent. Family is joy and trial but must I be quiet, keep the peace? My thoughts detour to wars waged across the world, sadness, and despair for the family of God in harm’s way. Frustrations for decisions by those you love may cause health issues or even death, do I speak up as a nurse?”

These are just a few thoughts swirling in my mind. Distractions of news, social media, and just plain life make me feel poked to limit time with God, or drop a quick prayer and walk along my way. Do my prayers matter or are they useless? However, prayers do matter.

James 5: 16
Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.

Prayer is a way to battle in the heavenly spaces. It matters when I take time to praise the Lord, putting the praise music loud in my home and singing along are action steps of faith even when I feel spent and weary. Can you relate?

Psalm 103 : 1- 5
1 Let all that I am praise the Lord;
    with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name.
2 Let all that I am praise the Lord;
    may I never forget the good things he does for me.
3 He forgives all my sins
    and heals all my diseases.
4 He redeems me from death
    and crowns me with love and tender mercies.
5 He fills my life with good things.
    My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!

Squirrel!!! There it goes again, the voice in my head, I feel the distraction coming again. Hey, wait a minute, God created that amazing animal, he is shy, yet motivated, he is free to run, and climb trees and fences. He may taunt my pets but He brings joy as he chatters loudly.

God listens to me as I chatter, ah there now I feel better, the same God that made me has made the squirrel. He has a purpose as do I. Let me sing a new song to the Creator God, and let me spend time climbing (in my mind) onto the lap of my Father. Let me imagine the joy of time spent with Him as He renews my strength as a youth.

Breathing deep, I feel calmer and I hope you do too. Blessed when I seek more connection with the Lord. Peace is coming even if temporary.

So the next time you feel the call of the Squirrel, pause, and chatter with the Creator. Find the joy again even in the midst of a chaotic time.

Galatians 6:9 So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.