God Speaks In Mysterious Ways…Even Through a Motorcycle!

I’m always looking for the God lessons in life’s ordinary situations.  However, this week, I didn’t have to look very hard.  It was very clear to Jim and I that God was literally speaking to us through our circumstances.

Jim is sitting on the back porch patiently awaiting the call that the scooter is ready for pickup.

Jim is sitting on the back porch patiently awaiting the call that the scooter is ready for pickup.

Over a month ago, we purchased an older Honda Silver Wing scooter for me to ride.  When we bought it, we knew it didn’t run right, but knew the problem shouldn’t be anything big.  The bike had run well for our friend’s wife until her death about three years ago.  It had a sale price we could afford and we decided to take the risk.  So we bought the bike and immediately had it picked up by the Honda dealer to repair.

It was there for over four weeks until this Thursday when we finally got the call, it was done!  It was about an hour away from home so we had to schedule time to pick it up.  Not to mention, neither of us had ever ridden a motorcycle on the road and the class we took to learn to ride was over six weeks ago.

We were watching the weather and decided that Friday seemed to be the best bet to pick it up.  It might be a little cooler, but shouldn’t be too bad rain wise.  As we started out to pick it up, rain that had not been on the radar earlier popped up and it literally rained the entire way to our destination.  On the way, we both wondered if we should turn back or keep going.  I said a prayer and kept asking God to clear the way.

As we were almost there, it seemed like we came to a “clearing” in the midst of the storm.  We got excited to think that maybe it was going to end.  However, everywhere we looked, there were still storm clouds all around us.  I decided to pull up the weather map to see what our future held.  As I looked at the map, I could see a huge storm all around us with this little bubble of clearing that we were clearly in.  However, the part to the west of us was only a small line.  Being able to see our circumstances from an aerial viewpoint, even though it seemed that our future was bleak, I knew in just a few short minutes the storm would be over.

Mentally preparing for the long ride home.

Mentally preparing for the long ride home.

It didn’t really work that way, though, as we picked up the bike, it was continuing to rain.  We were fearful about Jim having his first ride on wet pavement.  To add fuel to the fire, the salesman told us, “Be careful out there.  The pavement is very slick as a result of this weather.”

However, we both still felt this was the time to get the bike home, so we continued on.  We tested it out in a nearby neighborhood and by the time we were assured it was running and we had a full tank of gas, the streets had dried up and we were ready to head home.

We needed to stay on back roads as Jim was inexperienced and didn’t want to ride on the highway the first day of riding.  Our GPS wanted to take us to the logical way, the highways—the fast and easy path—not knowing the dangers it held for a novice rider.  Realizing the path we must take for our own good, we pulled over, reset the GPS to not go on highways and continued on.   Having a firm direction, it got easier but there were still several detours diverting our route along the way.  A one hour trip had quickly turned into a two hour trip and we still had one-half hour to travel before making it home.

I knew Jim had to be tired, so I pulled my car over into a restaurant parking lot to pause before continuing our journey.  It was not a good choice of places to stop…there were what I call thugs all around and people with obvious mental disorders wandering aimlessly through the parking lot.  We quickly chose to get back on the bike and head home.

sunshine aheadAs we turned the corner heading towards our last fifteen minutes, the sun shone brightly ahead.  As it was shining brightly before us, behind us another storm brewed.  Ignoring what was going on behind us, Jim lowered his sun shield on his helmet and headed home, full speed.

The bright sun lit up the stormy skies behind us with a majestic glow.

The bright sun lit up the stormy skies behind us with a majestic glow.

This might seem like an ordinary stormy day.  But for us, it felt like a God thing.  It was as though He was saying to us all day, “Jim and Lori, there will be storms that seem to never end.  But persevere anyway.  You won’t know when they are going to end, but please trust Me when I say, ‘It won’t be long now.’   I can see your circumstances from an aerial view and know you will be out of the storm very soon.”

“You may grow weary and think that you can’t go any more, but stopping along the path I have ordained for you will only allow fear to set in and others to distract you from your purpose.  Keep moving My children.  Trust that I have your back and only want the best for you.  Don’t listen to those who caution you that this might not be safe.  If it is the path I have for you, I will watch over you and protect you through it all.”

Yes, the trip took us two and one-half hours instead of one.  There were a lot of detours and even some scary moments along the way.  Taking the road less traveled can often be a harder way to go.

From now on when I feel that I can’t keep going, I will pull up the mental picture in my mind of the storm at my back and the sunshine on my face, telling me to keep going.  Keep traveling towards the One who gives you strength and lights the way.

Thank you, Lord, for watching over us and for speaking to us through our storms in life.  Might we ever praise You for all that You have done to keep us safe while we travel, trusting You, on the path that You have ordained for our lives!  You make even the darkest storms seem bright!

Psalm 16: 9-11 (NKJV)

Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; My flesh also will rest in hope. 10 For You will not leave my soul …,  11 You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Philippians 3:12-14 (NKJV)

12 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Thankfulness…Even Through the Storms…Can It Be?

The view in our back yard as the sun went down last night.

The view in our back yard as the sun went down last night.

What are you thankful for?  Facebook has a thing where every day in the month of November, people tell what they’re thankful for on their daily status.  My mind always goes first to God, family and friends.  Then I have to work at it the rest of the month to come up with creative things for my page.  I could say, “Today, I’m thankful for ice cream.”  I really am thankful for ice cream.  It makes me happy and tastes good.  However, who wants to hear about that?

A couple of weeks ago, we had our local elections.  Many of you probably did, too.  On Wednesday morning after the elections on Tuesday  as I was on my way to work, one of the local candidates was standing in his suit and tie on the street corner with a huge sign that said, “Thank You!”  Wow.  I was so impressed.  Out of all of the candidates who ran for various offices and others who promoted issues of interest to them; this was the only person that I saw actually taking the time to thank his voters.  I am sure there probably were some thank you’s extended that I didn’t see.  However, it was so abnormal in my mind that this man would be out so early in the morning to thank his voters.  All I could think was, his mother has to be proud!  I’m going to watch for that name to be running for president someday!

Last night, tornados hit the Midwest with force, killing some and robbing many of their homes and businesses. Some of our kids were here visiting while we watched the television to determine whether we were in danger or not.  I was getting texts and calls from out of town family telling us to pay attention…the storms were coming right towards us.  There was even a point in the evening that all of the sirens started going off to tell us to get to our basements and the T.V. started making a horrible emergency noise to alert us of the danger outside.  Luckily we were only inconvenienced and had to eat dinner in the downstairs bathroom—all six of us.  Others weren’t as lucky.  My prayers go out to them.

One thing that kept resonating in my thoughts through all of the evening was something the weather man said.  He kept repeating, “We in this area were much better off than the states west of us because we had rain recently where they didn’t.”

Apparently, the rain stabilizes the atmosphere and was helpful in keeping us safe from the threatening winds on the way.  Without the rain, the atmosphere west of us was volatile and much more susceptible to the dangers ahead. Thus, the winds and storms did way more damage there than here.  Wow.  Doesn’t that sound like another lesson from God?  Some of us who go through tough times—rainy seasons in life so to speak—get mad and turn our backs on God wondering why He would let these bad things happen to us.  Then there are those who have had a pretty quiet life, not much ever going wrong that freak out off of the freak out charts when a trial comes their way.  They haven’t had a lot of practice in dealing with storms in life to have learned how to trust God and stay focused when the rain and winds begin.  However, it’s the trials in life that prepare us for the storms ahead.  They teach us to stay calm, trust God and actually help to stabilize the situation as our faith grows through each circumstance.  Having been through some cloudy days, I can look back now and realize they were situations that God used to strengthen and stabilize my faith as I trusted Him.  Now I can face a storm with confidence, knowing that God will be there with me.

So like the politician, perhaps we should be standing on the street corners with a big Thank You! sign in our hands when the winds rage around us!  God understands where we are, where we’ve been and knows exactly what it’s going to take to get us to where we need to go.  The next time the storms rage and the rain pours, praise God.  In fact, maybe we should go out and dance in the rain with thanks and praise on our lips.  For we know that even though it is raining, the Lord is allowing valuable faith lessons to pour into our lives to prepare us for the days ahead.

Please join me in praying for those hardest hit last night in the storms. I pray that even as horrendous as it all may seem, that God might be glorified in the days ahead.  Let there not be anger from the lips of those affected; rather, thankfulness for the hidden blessings after the winds.  In this month of November, what are you thankful for?  Can you look back at rainy times in your life and understand now how they have helped stabilize your faith? Can you see new insight today that you didn’t understand then?  Please share with us!  In the meantime, have a great week and don’t forget to get out there and be a blessing!

1Peter 1:6-7   In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

Did You Miss Me?

STORM

Image courtesy of prozac1 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I apologize if you’ve missed my writings the last couple of weeks.  I needed to take a break and rest amidst the storm.  Cancer has a way of coming in and taking over your life with doctor visits, tests, treatments and all that goes along with it. I have had my days of utter despair and felt I wanted to walk away from it all.  I have had times of great anger and fear to the point I didn’t even recognize myself.   But through it all, I can now say, “Thank You, Lord, for putting this obstacle in my path to allow me to once again experience You.”

Through it all, I’ve developed a new respect for those I used to cheer on from the sidelines as they fought their cancer battles.  Now I truly understand the depth of life change that is brought on by something totally out of your control.  Speaking of control, God has been teaching me a new lesson.  I’m not really a control freak like many I know.  However, through this simple experience, God showed me that I tend to hang on more than I should.  I think what I really learned is that I hold a lot of pride in being able to handle tough times and perhaps that pride is something I need to deal with within myself.  Perhaps I have learned to be so strong that I forgot how God has carried me in the past.  Frankly, I didn’t think there was anything that could come my way that could shake my world or cause me to fear anymore.  That is…until cancer arrived at my doorstep.

I’m not saying it shook my world in a bad way like you might think though.  It caused me to stop and re-evaluate my life–where I’ve been, what I’ve done, and even the big question, “What now?”  This experience in my life reminded me that I am not the one calling the shots or controlling the outcome.  I learned again, I am only strong with God in my life.  If He’s not front and center in everything I do, I become weak.  Some might say I’m just human.  I agree.

I am having problems finding the words.  Let’s do it this way.  Let’s make it my top 10 list of things I’ve learned since my journey with this latest trial began.

  1. God has a plan for my life.  My plan for myself is not always His.
  2. God is faithful to be there with me every step of the way when I invite Him along.
  3. God knows that when I struggle, I will learn to depend on Him more.
  4. God teaches those who are willing to learn, to praise Him even when life circumstances don’t seem worthy.
  5. The power that Jesus called on when He walked this earth is the same power that lives within you and I as believers and followers of Christ today.
  6. God knows that when I finally get to the end of me, He can then mold and form me into something more like Him.
  7. God understands our pain and fears and lovingly meets us where we are when we call on Him.
  8. God can heal disease miraculously, but doesn’t always choose to do it that way.
  9. God allows only that which He knows I can handle to come into my life…and when it does, He always provides a way out.
  10. There is nothing on this earth that I would trade for my relationship with Jesus.

Thank you so much for the prayers and encouragement each one of you has given me along this path.  I am forever grateful for you all.  God is Good–there is no doubt in my mind!

Psalm 145:17-21  (NIV)

The Lord is righteous in all his ways
and faithful in all he does.
The Lord is near to all who call on him,
to all who call on him in truth.
He fulfills the desires of those who fear him;
he hears their cry and saves them.
The Lord watches over all who love him,
but all the wicked he will destroy.

My mouth will speak in praise of the Lord.
Let every creature praise his holy name
for ever and ever.

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