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Breath of God

Breath of God

The “Breath of God” details my own personal reflections on my journey toward health.  It includes music, scripture, and meditations from various sources that speak to me in my own life circumstances.  I hope it will be a source of encouragement to my readers.

Warrior Sisters of Hope In The Valley of the Shadow of Death

on Tuesday, 21 March 2017. Posted in Breath of God

Taken 2-14-17

My husband called my sister and I: Warrior Sisters of Hope in a Valentine’s Card he sent to us during my February visit………and so we have been. We stepped onto the battlefield of cancer together shoulder to shoulder September 27, 2013. We will celebrate the victory of my sister’s upgrade into her heavenly assignment March 27, 2017. It has been such a sacred honor to accompany this courageous woman to the summit of her life here on earth. Cancer roared it’s threats in our face and we chose to drown all negativity with songs of rejoicing. I helped my sister gather stones to build altars along the way where I stood as a witness as she sacrificed her breasts for a breastplate, her hair for a helmet, her physical beauty for the belt of truth,  her mental acuity for the Gospel of Peace, her energy for the shield of faith and  her performance based identity for the Sword of the Lord. Our greatest fear was chemo and radiation because we had watched our mother suffer from the cancer treatments themselves. We avoided “the giants” inhabiting that territory for six months trying an organic approach, banning the use of all chemical products, drinking filtered water, eating organic foods only, avoiding gluten, limiting consumption of meat, exercising daily, and absorbing twenty minutes of sunlight everyday. Jesus, however; called daily from the avoided Territory, “ Come Girls, there is treasure here I want you to find; I want to give you My Perspective; we will do it together; I will never let go of your hand. Just watch the glory manifested when your faith and My Majesty unite on the battlefield! It will devastate the enemy!” So March 17, 2016, we began chemo. I brought shamrock beads for us to wear since it was St. Patrick's Day. 

 

 Taken 3-17-16
Dawn broke with a violent thunder storm as my sister and I walked between the clash of two kingdoms. I developed an intense urinary track infection as the day unfolded. I had to go to the emergency room while my sister went to her first chemo without me. A rock cracked the windshield of my sister’s car as they drove to the treatment center. When we all gathered at the house at 6:00 pm following my emergency room visit and my sister’s treatment, my sister commented that the enemy did not succeed in his attempts to generate fear, anxiety or despair and we laughed together until we were breathless.

Exactly one year later: March 17, 2017 my sister and I began the final ascent to the summit of her life here on earth. We had struggled with the altitude since my arrival March 11. My sister’s labored breathing from pneumonia made conversation impossible so we sat together in silence holding hands, I read to her at times to distract us both from the sound of her labored breathing. I kissed her every time we transitioned from the chair to the bed. My intention was to walk this last mile with joy. I had to increase my singing to maintain it. I have been making one Graham Cooke Warrior Declaration each day since February. The following are my declarations since arriving in Texas March 11. There are 337 Declarations. 

March 11- I was on #34 Warriors know how to rejoice. 

I found my sister on the bathroom floor in the morning, she had fallen sometime during the night and had been there an extended time. When we got her back in bed, she simply said, “Thank You.” I started camping out in her bedroom from that night on so I could help her every time she got up in the night. I was so consumed with concern for her safety and comfort I forgot to make my Warrior Declaration on March 12. However, March 13 I was back on track.

March 13- #35 Warriors know how to be still. 

We took my sister to the doctor. It was grueling for her to sit in the wheel chair the hours we had to wait, but she did not complain.

March 14- #36 Warriors hold their nerve in the face of enemy attack.

I observe my sister is getting weaker and disoriented. She would start a statement and not be able to finish it.

March 15- #37 Warriors have God’s heart.

My sister’s gift is the ability to sow love into the lives of those around her. Even in her illness, the love has continued to flow from her.

March 16- #38 Warriors have God’s favor.

My sister has a CT scan. The wait was again grueling in the wheel chair. Her husband and I encouraged her repeatedly to finish drinking all the contrast mixture required for the test. She slowly consumed one fourth the amount required and silently refused to sip another drop. A nurse finally tapped me on the shoulder and told me they could give the contrast intravenously. We went home in between the scan and the doctor visit to receive the results. My sister refused to get up again to make the appointment to hear the results so we received them by phone which worked better for all three of us. The Cancer Center is about 30 minutes away from the house. Pneumonia was the diagnosis.

March 17- #39 Warriors don’t look for sympathy, they look to be empowered.

I receive in my spirit that this is the day my sister will graduate into eternal life. We call 911 around 7:00 am. Her doctor meets us at the hospital around 8:00 am. He stands beside her bed and comments what a brave warrior she has been. He states that he has administered the best medical resources at his disposal and the cancer is no longer responding. He acknowledges that her goal has always been quality life. He confesses the chemo probably caused the pneumonia and given the current state of affairs he can no longer provide quality life. With tenderness, he speaks directly to my sister and says: believe you are ready to move on into your heavenly home. My recommendation is to stop all treatment and simply keep you comfortable as you make the transition from this life into the next. Do you want to follow my recommendation? My sister opened her eyes (which we have rarely seen this week), smiled, and said, “Yes!”  The doctor then turned his attention to the family around her bed and promised us a gentle death. He encouraged us to stay with her because she would need our love and encouragement to let go. The hospital staff allowed approximately ten of us to gather around her bed and spiritually lift her with our love and gently lay her at heaven’s gate. Her breathing began to slow down. I started to sing our family’s signature song: Because He Lives. As I concluded the song, my sister took her last breath. I pictured the gates opening and magnificent light pouring through spilling onto my sister where we had spiritually placed her. Jesus, himself, knelt beside her and tenderly kissed her forehead. Her eyes opened and she smiled up at Him as their eyes met. Jesus lifts her into His arms and at that moment she is transfigured in the radiant light of His smile…….her beautiful long brown hair once again hangs down her back. My sister is dressed in His righteousness which manifests itself as a flowing white satin wedding gown covered with sparkling sequins and pearls. Jesus lovingly and proudly carries her across the threshold into His heavenly Kingdom. 

I found the following as I left the hospital on the pavement in the parking lot:

 

I also found in the floor of my sister’s closet…..the shamrock beads I had given her a year ago. I’ll be wearing them to the celebration of her life March 27, 2017.

March 18- #40 Warriors are people who can get up, dust themselves off, and get on with it. 

So I now proclaim with the Apostle Paul: I don’t mean to say I am perfect. I haven’t learned all I should even yet, but I keep working toward that day when I will finally be all that Christ saved me for and wants me to be. No Beloved, I am still not all I should be,but I am bringing all my energies to bear on this on thing: forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead. Philippians 3:12-14 Living Version

 

Practice Practice Practice by Allison Bown

on Sunday, 26 June 2016. Posted in Breath of God

In this blog, I have asked and received permission from Allison Bown to print a section of her book, entitled: Joyful Intentionality (pages 30-33). This section so powerfully stirred my spirit and gave descriptive language to what I believe my sister and I have been intentionally doing since we found out that her original breast cancer diagnosed in 2013 had metastasized into her lymph nodes May 2015.

We had been convinced that she was healed following a double mastectomy September 27, 2013. We rejoiced that she was cancer free throughout 2014. We were both stunned by the new diagnosis in 2015. As I headed to the prayer room the day following the second diagnosis, I heard distinctly in my spirit Abba say to me, “Welcome the rain!” 

The green words in italics will be quotations from Joyful Intentionality. The black basic print will be my thoughts.

Unexpected occasions allow us to practice what we are learning, if we can recognize the opportunity. Just as stillness increases our ability to see God in these situations (Psalm 46:10), fear and panic reduce our ability to interpret the real purpose of God at these times. So, God compassionately allows us to experience various training grounds where we can practice our peace in the midst of turmoil. These equipping sessions are crucial to our growth, because that’s where we discover how many of our concepts of Him have actually become our reality. God is never disappointed if we discover that it’s not as many as we thought because He already knows where we truly stand. He is just kind enough to make sure we understand it, too, so that we can embark on the next part of our development without getting ourselves (or someone else) seriously wounded in the process due to our well-intentioned ignorance.

Some days, Jesus’ disciples feel like my own personal support group, encouraging me that there is a learning curve in this journey. My favorite story is in Mark 4 about their training opportunity during the storm on the lake. After a long day of parables, they piled into a boat and Jesus set the course: “We’re going to the other side.” Then He promptly went to sleep on a pillow (Mark 4:38). I love the pillow! It’s a seemingly irrelevant detail that conveys much. Jesus wasn’t just crashed out after a long day of ministry; He was really comfortably snuggled in, totally at rest.

 Meanwhile, the storm picked up and the boys began to become anxious which means that it had to be a pretty rough storm. Half of them had grown up on that lake and were professional fisherman-they knew how to handle themselves when the waves got big. But that night, during that storm, their best determination was that they were sinking fast and Jesus didn’t care. C’mon Lord! This is no time to go to sleep on the job! We need You to do one of those miracle things.” No doubt Jesus just burrowed into His pillow a little deeper. He knew it was the perfect time to be unavailable. Why? Because it was their turn. It was time to practice.

This  was the next installment of their training, and at least their second opportunity to put their experience of God in action. They’d had a previous occasion when 5000 people showed up to hear Jesus-5000 hungry people. When the disciples suggested to Jesus that the people should go away and get something to eat, Jesus said, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat” (Matthew 14:16) . The disciples protested, pointing out how little they had (five loaves and two fish), so Jesus proceeded to demonstrate how to make it more than enough. He had given them an opportunity to practice, and they decided to pass.

But Jesus had no intention of letting them become completely dependent on Him to do ALL the work, because He knew that He wasn’t always going to be physically with them. Very soon, they would need to be able to connect with the Father in the same way that He did. In only a few months, He was no longer going to be physically visible to to them (even though  He would actually  be more present than ever in their lives). So the Lord left open spaces for them to practice taking responsibility for using what they learned from Him. When this training opportunity came around, Jesus made Himself seemingly unavailable. The disciples would each face far worse than a storm one day, and He loved them too much to not give them the opportunity to take their best shot at releasing Papa’s peace into their own relationship with the Father, not His.

Jesus had previously taught them about who would endure in the Kingdom: those who both heard His words AND DID THEM (Luke 6:47). In this parable, Jesus described two men who both built houses, which were probably equally excellent in outward appearance. But the foundations of their houses were greatly different. Jesus described the man who both heard the truth and took action as having created a foundation that would withstand a storm. Before the weather ever turned nasty, that man put the weight of practice on his revelations to see how much of them he had actually become. Truth wasn’t just a concept to him; it was a rock solid reality. Any gaps in his relationship with God were discovered ahead of time and could be filled accordingly. 

The other man’s house probably didn’t seem much different-until the storm hit. No matter how excellent the construction of his home, his lack of foundation left it vulnerable to adversity. Once the waves began to pound and the winds began to blow, it was too late to apply the action which would have secured the faith and trust needed for a storm-weathering  foundation.

For the disciples on the lake, Jesus was offering a surprise session of “Life with God: 101.” It was time for them to discover if they had built a foundation on the rock of their relationship with the Father, or if their foundation was on sandy soil of another’s revelation that had not become their personal reality.

My sister and I were not strangers to the “storm”  of cancer. Our mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in her early forties and told at the time she had about 6 months to live. We watched her struggle with surgery, radiation, chemo, hair loss, swelling, exhaustion, mobility issues and pain for twelve years following her initial diagnosis. She graduated into eternal life at the age of 53. I was age 30 at the time of her death…..my sister was 28. Yet, my mom began seeking a personal relationship with Jesus after her diagnosis that changed our family dynamic. We were five individuals that interacted around meals and during vacations. Now with Mom battling cancer, we began to practice daily connectedness with each other and God. My Mom started a Sharing Group that continued long after her death. She and my father became active in Lay Renewal through our church. My parents began hosting what we called the God Squad during my high school and college years where local teenagers gathered on Saturday night in our home for fellowship, prayer and Bible study. My parents dreamed together of starting a counseling center to support struggling families and individuals. My mother did not live to see it become a reality, but my father opened it one year after her death: The Mary Lou Fraser Foundation for Families, Inc.  is still serving to date the people of Liberty County and those in surrounding counties in GA. My parents along with Jesus’ disciples  eventually understood the need for practicing their faith daily and they left a distinctive legacy for us to follow. Now it is our turn…….my sister and I. After 6 months of shifting to an organic base diet, juicing and consuming 64 ounces of fresh fruits and vegetables a day, low dose chemo and utilizing a variety of immunity boosting techniques…..the cancer continued to mutate in my sister’s body. A tumor on her sternum required 30 rounds of radiation to reduce it’s size in order to relieve the compression and pain it was causing my sister. Then in April the brain lesions were discovered, requiring three weeks of radiation of  her entire brain. That was the point I began screaming….. C’mon Lord! This is no time to go to sleep on the job! We need You to do one of those miracle things.” I read “Practice Practice Practice” May 2 and I immediately called my sister and read it to her (her husband and two others joined us on speaker phone). We praised God in prayer following the reading for the training He was accomplishing in this set of circumstances. Here is a summary of days of “joyful vulnerability” we have witnessed in this “practice session” the past two months:

  1. The brain radiation began on my 61st birthday May 3.
  2. Traditional Chemo began on my sister’s 59th birthday May 11
  3. During the third week of radiation to the brain, my sister and her husband hosted the rehearsal dinner for their youngest son’s wedding
  4. Though unsteady and weak, my sister danced the mother/son dance at the wedding reception the following day
  5. She went home from the wedding and spent the next week totally dependent on her husband’s strength for her mobility needs
  6. Despite the lack of physical strength, my sister radiated hope, faith, love, heavenly peace, and joy in the midst of the cancer storm
  7. At the beginning of June, her strength began to return slowly allowing her to use a walker around the house 
  8. June 11 she was in the emergency room and  following a CT Scan was told the cancer was widespread in her, chest, lungs and bones
  9. I arrived for my June visit upon her return from the hospital. We consulted her oncologist the following day. He commented, “They probably indicated you were ready for hospice. We are all on death’s doorstep. The chemo is working let’s stay the course.”
  10. We enjoyed a week of doctor visits, laughter, puzzles, movies, fellowship, prayer, good food, family, a book entitled: Storm Sisters and the ministry of silent presence just being together. I returned home on June 18.
  11. The practice continues as we live out the promise from Jeremiah 29:11 "I know the plans I have for you. Plans to proper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future."

I've often wondered: what if Peter, James, John & Co. had reacted differently? What if they had recognized their opportunity to practice what they'd learned? I imagine one of them speaking up.  "Hey Guys, let's surprise Him! We've watched Him do the miracles, and we've done a few ourselves. The Father is bigger than this storm, right?" The other disciples nodded in agreement. "Remember that man who built his house on the rock? He survived a storm like this because he didn't just hear the Word-he did it! Let's do it! Let's release the peace of God to this storm by speaking to it."

Who knows which one of them would have said the actual words? Maybe they all would have declared peace together. But we will never know what could have happened, because that night? They missed it. They lost their opportunity to personally speak to the storm, to let their relational peace surpass the natural power of the waves. They never got to see the look that would have been on Jesus’ face when He opened His eyes, winked at them and said, “Good job boys. You’re getting it.”

That night on the lake, Jesus finally had to abandon His comfy pillow and remind them that they only needed a little bit of faith. He spoke to the storm and stilled it, showing once more what happens when life on earth is as it is in Heaven.

True to the gracious and patient nature of God, there would be other occasions  in the disciples’ future when the unexpected was happening, and they would be given another chance to take action using what they had learned, combined with Who the Father had become to them. Though the Gospels show us that they missed several opportunities, they would eventually become champions with the help of the Holy Spirit. It is highly encouraging to me that the guys who turned the world upside down didn’t get it right the first time through-or the second, or even the third. But they still got it…..because they had been (and stayed) with Jesus (Acts 4:13).

I don’t know how the future will unfold in the cancer storm in which my sister and I walk currently. However, we are proclaiming God’s goodness  and faithfulness as we walk hand in hand spiritually along the narrow mountainous pathway illuminated by His presence within us. We may not enter Heavens’s gates together, but we will walk together spiritually until one of us graduates. We are on the look out for all the treasures Abba has hidden along the path for us to find……the greatest treasure and source of our journey is God’s abiding presence with us. God promised me in Habakkuk 3:19 (Sherry’s Translation based on the Amplified Version) one month before my mother entered eternal life…….  I AM your strength, your personal bravery, and your invincible army.; I will make your feet like hinds’ feet and through My Holy Spirit provide the grace for you to walk [not stand still in terror, but to walk] and make spiritual progress upon my high places of trouble, suffering and responsibility.

It is an earthly fact that my sister is dealing with Stage Four Cancer. The cancer is widespread in her body presently. The enemy has invited me to a pity party in the Valley of Despair. I have declined the invitation. I choose to view the situation as training for a glorious future that my sister envisions this way: I am being called to go behind enemy lines in the world of despair, disease and darkness. "I am being sent in to rescue those who are on the brink of despair and pull them back up into the light of God’s love…….. to a place where God’s love overwhelms with peace, purpose and beauty……to a place where they can rest, heal and be restored." 

I am an honored witness to her daily practice of LIVINGin the light of God’s love where God’s love overwhelms with peace, purpose and beauty”…..it is an awesome wonder to behold I assure you…..sacred ground that I have the privileged to walk one week of every month. 

After I read “Practice Practice Practice” to my sister & Co. May 2, I headed home and look what I saw in the sky that I interpret as God’s approval. In my spirit I heard, “Good job, gals. You’re getting it.”

Direct Link to purchase Joyful Intentionality by Allison Bown https://www.brilliantbookhouse.com/full-length-books/joyful-intentionality-a-passion-filled-life-on-purpose.html

 

 

 

 

 

God Will Make a Way (for my Sister's vision to be fulfilled)

on Wednesday, 01 June 2016. Posted in Breath of God

 

 

Picture taken 5-18-16 Celebrating our May birthdays together!

Proverbs 29:18

Where there is no vision, the people perish…..KJV

 

April 8, 2016 a TWC (The Warrior Class) participant wrote some thoughts that redirected my thinking after I shared my April 1 incident of the Holy Spirit connecting the dots for my forty day countdown which began January 4 and ended February 13. First she asked some probing questions…..typical of my experience of TWC members interacting with each other:

 

May I encourage you in something?  Don't put a limit on your believing.  I had this sense that God was drawing a line in the sand for your sister and that she can live as long as her heart desires.  What if instead of just desiring to be there and healthy for the wedding and dance, her desire becomes loving on her grandchildren and being a godly example to them as they grow up?  I think the promise God made you could be bigger than what you're seeing - up to the ability of her heart to hope and dream and desire something more.  I'm not saying for certain this is God, but what if He's giving you the opportunity to speak hope and life and longevity into your sister?  What if His promise that no one will snatch her out of His hands including cancer - is a promise, not just for a few months (which is still a wonderful promise when you needed Him to help you hope for that much), but for a life of health and vitality that stretches to not months but years and stands as a testimony of His goodness, His grace and His power in the lives of those who will believe?

 

In a later email exchange, the same TWC member wrote the following Words of Life over me:

     I believe God is wanting to give you a vision on multiple levels. He wants to give you the vision of how He sees you and He wants to give you a vision of who He is.  For your sister, if all she can see is that dance at the wedding, that is where her vision ends and that is where perishing  begins. But if you can encourage her heart to catch a greater vision then you are also working in tandem with the Lord to impart life. I will be praying for you as you spend your time with your sister. I will be asking God to open your eyes to see what is possible for her and for you. I will be asking Him to give you a spirit of seeing and knowing that you would see Him, see His vision and know that He is able to bring it to pass. I look forward to hearing the results of this week. I look forward to hearing how God increased your joy and your strength and expanded your vision this week. I look forward to hearing how He connected even more dots and how He drew you near and whispered in your ear telling you what a great and precious treasure you are to Him and how dear and valuable you are to His heart.

 

I went to sleep pondering who I might be becoming as Abba’s plan within me unfolds. My first thought when I rose on the morning of April 9, was a phrase from Casting Crowns’ song, “Be Held:  “Your world’s not falling apart, it’s falling into place.“  I went to the window to pray the Lord’s Prayer and I spotted a heart shaped leaf on the tree outside the window.

 

 

I  wrote in my journal an identity statement for myself as Vision Bearer.

I changed it shortly after a conversation with my sister in the kitchen while I  was preparing breakfast. She reread her vision statement from her journal to me at my request, I felt my identity would better be expressed as Vision Illuminator, because my sister already has the vision.

 

I will remind her (illuminate her own words of vision) in the night time of her fear. I am quoting now from a verse of “The Servant Song”:

 

I will hold the Christ light for you in the night time of your fear. I will hold my hand out to 

you. Speak the peace you long to hear.

 

Here is the vision Abba gave my sister when the cancer was first diagnosed back in August 2013.

What follows are Gwynn’s own words from her journal dated August 24, 2013 before her double mastectomy, before the advancement of the mutated cancer into the lymph nodes of her neck, before two rounds of low dose chemo, before the painful tumor on her sternum, before two rounds of radiation, before the need for heavy doses of narcotic pain medication that sapped her energy and robbed her of her independence, before the numbness spread through the entire right side of her body, before the five brain lesions and 15 rounds of radiation to her entire brain and  the current round of traditional chemo.

 

Ephesians 6: 10-18 

Armor of God

8-24-13

I am being called to go behind enemy lines in the world of despair, disease and darkness. I am being sent in to rescue those who are on the brink of despair and pull them back up into the light of God’s love…….. to a place where God’s love overwhelms with peace, purpose and beauty……to a place where they can rest, heal and be restored. God has been preparing me for this my entire life. God generously granted me a wonderful time of  rest, peace and waiting these last few years, but now it’s time to put on the full armor of God and march confidently into battle….knowing that God has equipped me with the exact skills and experience I need to accomplish His purposes. As David strode confidently on the battlefield of the Philistines to face Goliath, so I stride onto the battlefield of life to face disease and despair. I run confidently into battle because I am not alone. God’s army of saints and angels run beside me. The prayers of the saints prepare the way for great victory for the Kingdom of God on earth. God has laid out bright clothes of rejoicing for me to wear. He has prepared my armor. He has placed the belt of truth around my waist. He has prepared for me a special breastplate of great beauty. It was forged in the heart of God and tenderly shaped to fit me perfectly! He has covered me with HIS righteousness. He is making me a new person…….better, stronger! I am being transformed. I am God’s temple. God is my protector. (I Corinthians 3:16 Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy them; for God’s temple is SACRED, and you are that temple.) Mama’s favorite psalm is Psalm 27. My feet are ready to go where they have never gone before because I go with my hand in God’s. He will keep my head above the water. He will teach me to climb to the high place and deliver me safely home at the end of my journey. I will not be afraid, for God goes with me. His rod and  His staff comfort me. He will guide and protect me. He is my shield. My head is covered with the salvation of God. My thoughts are His. I will not be afraid for God is my Savior.  The Word of God is a powerful sword that will cut through lies and fears. God’s perfect love casts out  all fear. 

 

8-25-13

I find it rather interesting that my mother died of breast cancer 28 years ago today on a Sunday morning. Today is a Sunday also. I was 28 years old. I was half way through my life as I have experienced so far. I feel I am being called into the healing ministry that my mother and father did so many years ago in a deeper way than I have previously. God is teaching me to walk on the water with Him. I loved the image of a little girl splashing in the water. She is well dressed for the occasion in her bright red boots and yellow rain slicker. She’s enjoying herself splashing in the water. God is calling me out on a new journey. He has uniquely prepared me for this journey. He’s even laid out my clothes for me. We may get a little wet, but He’s going to show me how to walk on water. And I dare say, I feel a little sense of excitement! God is good! 

 

I flew home on Sunday April 10 and went straight to my prayer room to process the next step. I need to “see and know” that this vision stated above is Abba’s desire for Gwynn. The confirmation came as I read my Old Testament Lesson from Leviticus 9. The title for the chapter was: The Priests Begin Their Ministry. I wrote at the top that page: Sherry begins her mission of illuminating Gwynn’s vision  4-10-16. The following verses of the chapter were highlighted by the Spirit as I read: the end of verse 4, verse 6 and verses 23 & 24. The following is Sherry’s Translation for each verse.

 

Leviticus 9:4 For today, Sherry, the Lord will appear to you.

 

Leviticus 9:6 This is what the Lord has commanded you to do……continuously illuminate Gwynn’s vision……. so that the glory of the Lord may appear to you.

 

Leviticus 9:23 & 24 Then Gwynn and Sherry went into the Tent of Meeting (Gwynn’s Kitchen). When they came out, they blessed the people (sharing their journey through prayer) and the glory of the Lord appeared to all the people (who had been praying for Gwynn). Fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed the doubt and unbelief Sherry and Gwynn laid on the altar. And when the people saw it they shouted for joy and fell face down.

 

The picture above hangs in my prayer room. It is the front of the bulletin of Christ Church from May 24, 2015 (Pentecost Sunday). I knelt before the picture and placed on the altar of my heart all my doubt and unbelief about the possibility of a life of longevity for my sister. Then I called Gwynn and shared what I had done since returning home. She felt the vision had not been fulfilled therefore extended life was necessary. She believed it is her calling to live and fulfill it. We agreed together that our journey was not nearing an end. It was a new beginning! We are carrying on the legacy our parents left to be facilitators of healing.

 

 

April 10 is Sibling Day….another spiritual synchronicity! The picture above represents  our decision to step out in faith claiming Divine Health for Gwynn regardless of what is “seen” in this world. The seen is temporary! The unseen is eternal. The orchid pictured between us is a reminder of the longevity vision Abba gave us April 10, 2016.  I sang the following scripture in church the Sunday my mom graduated into eternal life. I am singing it now accompanied by the great cloud of witnesses that include my parents and all the past generations of Godly individuals in our family tree:

I Thessalonians 5:16-18  Rejoice evermore for this is the will of God. Pray without

ceasing for this is the will of God. In everything give thanks for this is the will of God

in Christ Jesus concerning you .

 

 

Be the Miracle Connecting the Dots:

on Wednesday, 11 May 2016. Posted in Breath of God

Connecting the Dots:

 

1) I felt compelled to count down forty days beginning January 4, 2016 after reading my Old Testament lesson about Moses being on Mount Sinai forty days to receive the Ten Commandments. That same day as I was reading the scripture references that were part of my devotional materials, I meant to highlight Psalm 40:4, but was somewhat absentminded thinking about my sister’s situation and highlighted  Psalm 39:4 instead. Listen to what it says…..Show me, Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is. The forty days would be up February 13, 2016. I really believed I was counting down the days until my sister’s death.

 

2) That seemed to be confirmed when I arrived in Texas for my January visit to find my sister in a lot of pain, spending most of her time on the couch and on heavy doses of pain medication. We spent most of the week  talking about the possibility of her approaching death.

 

3) I  was close to despair myself. I asked Abba to show Me His presence on this journey with my sister in the Shadow of Death during my February visit. My first day in Texas I began to find hearts on my daily prayer walks. By the time I reached the day of my return home, I had photographed 151 hearts. Here is one of my favorites.

 

4) Day 39 February 12 John 10:28-30 was part of my devotional materials. I wrote a crafted prayer based on the scripture: Jesus speaking……I give Gwynn eternal life and she shall never perish; no one will snatch her out of My hand (including cancer). My Father who gave Gwynn to me is greater than cancer, no one and no disease can snatch her out of My Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.

 

5) Day Forty-February 13 Even though I had written the scriptural declaration the night before, I was still a bundle of nerves. My brother had come in to be with us the night before. He did not come out of his room until after 10:00 AM. I began to wonder if I had been counting down to his death instead of my sister’s. But he finally arose and so did my sister. He and my brother in law went on an outing. Gwynn and I stayed home because Gwynn was feeling poorly. Her heart was racing. I wanted to call 911. My sister texted her youngest son who is an EMT. While we waited for his response, my sister lay down on the sofa in the living room and put her feet on my lap. I read to her to give us both something to focus on other than her rapid heart beat. The book was entitled: Storm Sisters (Very appropriate don’t you think?) A crystal hanging in the window cast rainbows on the pages of the book I was reading. It was a bit unnerving to me because I recalled my mom laying on the couch the last day of her life short of breath. I wanted to call 911 then, but she asked me to sing to her which I did for thirty minutes and she died later in the day while I was in church. 

A text came in from my sister’s son. It was a picture of a text book page of several methods to re-start your heart so it would return to normal beats. After each method was described, there was a qualifier which stated: “Don’t try this method without first clearing it with your doctor.” By the time my sister read the fourth one we broke into hysterical laughter at the absurdity of this page in our situation. We both laughed so hard we could hardly breathe. The action  of extreme laughter restarted my sister’s heart and her pulse returned to normal. My sister was fine the rest of the day. My brother went to church with us, prayed with us in the parking lot after the service and returned home. Valentines Day was quiet and restful. I found one heart on our walk in the afternoon. February 15 I open my shades to say my morning prayer and in one corner of the window was a heart shaped bug. I immediately felt in my spirit Abba was giving my sister her heart’s desire to live and be well enough to enjoy the wedding of her youngest son May 21 and have the energy to dance the mother /son dance at the reception. 

 

6) It wasn’t until this trip to Texas April 1 that Abba connected all the dots. In conversation with my brother, he commented that he felt a shift had taken place in my sister when he returned from the outing February 13. I immediately knew he was right. The spiritual atmosphere shifted on the Fortieth Day….February 13. My sister had been getting steadily worse from May of 2015 until February 2016. She started walking in “Divine Health” February 13 when  her heart re-started. The week of Easter she came off of all narcotic pain medication. The day I arrived  to take care of her April 4 she went non stop from 6:00 am until 10:00 pm. Since December 2015,  she had mostly been on the couch in pain most of the daylight hours. I wasn’t counting down to my sister’s death…..INSTEAD…….. I was counting down the days leading up to Abba’s plan to grant my sister’s heart desire……to be well enough to share in the joy of her youngest son’s wedding. 

 

7) There are 150 Psalms in the Old Testament. Abba added one more in my spirit. A song of praise to my God who lavishes His love and Presence on us daily whether we are aware of His gifts or not. Thankfully, I am becoming more aware.

Playing With The Stuff

on Monday, 25 April 2016. Posted in Breath of God

I was intrigued by Allison Bown’s phraseology in Joyful Intentionality when she encouraged the reader to “play with the stuff.” I am an elementary teacher by profession and in the last ten years of my career before retirement, I worked for a tutoring firm: BridgeHaven. I designed my lesson plans by teaching academics through play. Many of my students were challenged academically  and my specialty was designing a specific plan for that student created around their individual interests. I called my skill…….. finding their rhythm.

Abba knows my rhythm and the deep desire of my heart is to “see Him” in the Shadow of Death I am walking with my sister who is a well child of God battling cancer. Our mother entered eternal life at the age of 53 after a twelve year battle with cancer. My sister is 58. I have been spending seven days each month with her since December  2015 helping her husband take care of her. January 2016 was her lowest ebb…the month I joined the Warrior Class. She was depressed, in a state of despair and speaking of approaching death. As I flew to Texas in February, I was fine tuning my receiver by singing daily on my prayer walks:

Open my eyes, Lord, I want to see Jesus.

To reach out and touch Him and say that I love Him.

Open my ears, Lord,  and help me to listen.

Open my eyes, Lord, I want to see Jesus.

Open my heart, Lord, that I might receive You.

Open my spirit and teach me to worship.

Open my lips, Lord, and teach me to praise You.

Open my eyes, Lord, I want to see Jesus.

I traveled first to Georgetown, Texas to attend the memorial service of my aunt on my mother’s side of the family. When I did my prayer walk around my hotel after the funeral I found four heart images.

February 6, 2016

                

The next day I was visiting my brother and I did my prayer walk in his neighborhood and found finve more images. 

Samples from February 7, 2016

          

February 8 I did my prayer walk around my hotel again and this time found 30 heart images and giggled with delight as I made each new discovery and snapped a picture.

                 Samples from February 8, 2016 above.

I found three more in the parking lot of my hotel  February 9, 2016

On February 10, I fly to Dallas to take care of my sister for a week. I feel NO HEAVINESS or ANXIETY as I make the flight to be with her. I do my prayer walk that day around her treatment center while she is receiving radiation on her chest for the tumor that is causing her the most pain. I found  21 hearts.

Saples from February 10, 2016

          

I am awed by the peace I feel each day and the joy and anticipation of the treasures I will find and the FUN of making the discoveries with Abba and feeling His pleasure, as well. I find nine more around the treatment center the following day.

Samples from February 11

          

Saturday, February 12, there were no treatments so my sister and I walked her neighborhood and I found 36 heart images.

Samples from February 12 

               

Samples from February 13 out of 17 images 

         

February 14

Samples from February 15 out of 12 images

             

Samples from February 16 out of 16 images

           

I discovered a total of 151 heart images during my February trip to Texas. Thank you, Abba, for the abundant physical reminders of Your presence with me in the Shadow of Death. Thank you for lifting the heaviness off my heart and showing me in such a tangible, visible way, that is possible to experience joy on the battlefield. I had NO IDEA what that looked like before this week. There are INSTEADS waiting to be discovered……..gifts from our Creator who promises: seek and ye shall find. My God can do immeasurably more than I can ask or imagine. Thank you, Allison, for sharing your insight through your book, Joyful Intentionality, that helped facilitate a process that brought healing to my soul and a joyful intentionality to go deeper into the heart of God that dwells within me.

Untangled Juggling the Yoyo of Cancer in Our Lives

on Wednesday, 30 September 2015. Posted in Breath of God

 

Untangled

Juggling the Yoyo of Cancer in Our Lives

My sister received the results  of her PET Scan on the 14th anniversary of the 911 attack. Here  is her text to me describing those results: Test results were mixed. In some sections cancer had completely resolved (Praise God!), in others they were worse (Confusion setting in….why mixed results, Abba?)! Detected a soft lesion on the sternum (My sister has been experiencing  on going chest pains for over two weeks. In the emergency room, she was told she had fluid around her heart. She was sent her home with a drug to treat inflammation. The pain continues. The cardiologist said she did not have fluid around her heart. Her heart was perfectly healthy and functioning normally. CONFUSION…..what exactly is going on, Abba?) that wasn’t there before. Could be what’s causing chest pain (Thank you, Abba, for revealing the possible source causing the pain). Not exactly what I was hoping for, but it could be worse. 

My first thought as I awoke today (September 12) was…….embrace the news of more cancer. I remembered there was a Jesus Calling Devotional on nicknaming your fears, embracing them, and introducing them to the Savior. I found the devotional I remembered next to March 6 where I keep my Prayer of Protection. March 6 is the anniversary of my father’s entrance into eternal life. Listen to the wisdom in the day prior.

Jesus Calling for March 5:

         Make friends with the problems in your life. Though many things feel random and wrong,remember that I am Sovereign over everything (Even cancer, I bet).  I can fit everything into a pattern for good (Romans 8:28), but only to the extent you trust Me (I believe..…help me remove my unbelief, Abba). Every problem can  teach you something, transforming you little by little into a masterpiece I created you to be (I like the thought of being a budding Masterpiece). The very same problem can become a stumbling block over which you fall, if you react with distrust and defiance (The temptation is definitely there. Give me the strength to keep my shield of faith up to repel the fear darts hurtling toward me). The choice is up to you, and you will have to choose many times each day whether to trust Me or defy Me (Grant me the grace to choose TRUST every time, Abba. My father often commented that our main lesson on earth was to learn to trust God in ALL circumstances). The best way to befriend your problems is to thank Me for them. This simple act opens your mind to the possibility of benefits flowing from your difficulties (Ok, Abba, thank you for the new lesion on my sister’s sternum). You can even give persistent problems nicknames, helping you approach them with familiarity rather than dread (I name the new lesion, Duncan. My sister named the increasing nodules in her neck, Beacon). The next step is to embrace them in My loving Presence. I will not necessarily remove your problems, but My wisdom is sufficient to bring good out of every one of them (Ok, Abba, but I want to go on record that my vote is for removal of Duncan and Beacon…… You did, after all, invite us to ask for anything in Your name…..so I’m asking).

 After reviewing the March 5 Devotional, I read the one for today and got further reassurance. See what you hear:

 Jesus Calling for September 12:

          Receive My Peace. It is My continual gift to you. The best way to receive this gift is to sit quietly in My Presence, trusting Me in every area of your life. Quietness and trust (Isaiah 30:15) accomplish far more than you can imagine not only in you, but also on earth and in heaven. When you trust Me in a given area, you release that problem or person into My care. Spending time alone with Me can be a difficult discipline, because it goes against the activity addiction of this age. You may appear to be doing nothing, but actually you are participating in battles going on in the spiritual realms. You are waging war- not with the weapons of this world, but with heavenly weapons, which have divine power to demolish strongholds (II Corinthians 10:4) (At the moment, demolishing Duncan and Beacon would please me greatly). Living close to Me is a sure defense against evil (I perceive Duncan and Beacon as evil so I will be snuggling close!).

 

Excerpts from Oswald Chambers’ Devotional for September 12:

         ……..It is not a question of right and wrong, but a question of God taking you by a way which in the meantime you do not understand (I definitely do not understand the continued presence of cancer in my sister!), and it is only by going through the confusion that you will get at what God wants (Ok I’ll keep “truckin” despite the confusion because I certainly want God’s perfect will accomplished in this situation).  ……..When God looks completely shrouded, will you hang on in confidence in Him (Lord, in your mercy, grant me the strength  needed to do so)? ……..If there is a shadow on the face of the Father just now, hang onto it that He will ultimately give His clear revealing and justify Himself in all that He has permitted (I am having difficulty fathoming God permitting cancer to inflict us). …..Will He find the faith that banks on Him in spite of the confusion (I am standing in faith, but I do wobble from time to time)? Stand off in faith believing that what Jesus said is true, though in the meantime you do not understand what God is doing. He has bigger issues at stake than the particular things you ask (I can’t see the Big Picture, Abba, but I choose to trust You).

 While in California recently attending a Christian Concert, I read this scripture and received it as a love note from Abba. Earlier that morning I had found a black plastic heart shaped bracelet that deepen my experience of Abba’s love for me.

Isaiah 43:1-3 Sherry’s Translation:

         I created and formed you, Sherry! Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are Mine! When you pass through the waters, I will be with you and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I Am the Lord your God, the Holy One, your Savior!

 As I wait on the Lord to reveal my next step on this journey with my sister, I am zapping Duncan and Beacon with the Light of Christ daily singing: This Little Light of Mine!

Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill us with all joy and peace as we trust in Him so that we may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit!

Exhale The Situation is Safe in God's Capable Hands

on Thursday, 06 August 2015. Posted in Breath of God

Prior to leaving for Texas to be with my sister, I found myself spiritually “holding my breath” in fear of the possibility that God might ask me to “let go” of the passionate grip I had on her life  here with me on earth. I was silently angry and confused by the fact that CANCER had struck my family for the second time.  I had to daily capture thoughts of despair and replace them with scripture. 

I read these words from Jesus Calling by Sarah Young  July 9:

Stop worrying long enough to hear My Voice. I speak softly to you, in the depths of your being. Your mind shuttles back and forth, hither and yon,weaving webs of anxious confusion. As My thoughts rise up within you, they become entangled in those sticky webs of worry. Thus My voice is muffled, and you hear only “white noise.“  Ask My Spirit to quiet your mind so that you can think My thoughts. This ability is  an awesome benefit for being My child, patterned after my own image. Do not be deafened by the noise of the world or that of your own thinking. Instead be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Sit quietly in My Presence, letting My thoughts reprogram your thinking.

 

So I did as the devotional suggested and prayed the following prayer as I walked the labyrinth for the remaining days before July 17 when I left for Texas:

Abba, please allow Jesus to rebuke my raging doubts about Your goodness and to 

command my mind to be still in Your presence. May the grace of Your unfailing  love 

delivered to me through the power and compassion of the Holy Spirit daily sweep away the worry webs in my mind that I have woven in the dark night of my soul. My deepest desire is for Your thoughts to rise up unencumbered in my spirit and all the “white noise” be bound up and sent to the foot of the cross for Jesus to deal with as He will. On the authority of Jesus’ name I pray, Amen

 

I did “exhale” as soon as I could hug my sister! She was thin, but that was due to the required diet of mostly fruits and vegetables. I walked with her the next five days on daily walks for exercise and sunshine, through treatment, shopping every other day for organic produce and preparing the food for consumption three times a day, drinking 4 ounces of asparagus mush twice a day to help maintain a PH of 7.5,  and cleaning up after each preparation. It was an intense schedule that left room for little else. I ate and drank exactly what she did so there would not be extra steps added to her daily routine. We would begin the day around 7:00 AM and collapse around 10:00 PM. My sister’s stamina was amazing! The GREAT NEWS is that after three weeks of treatment: the tumors in her neck have shrunk……concrete evidence the treatment protocol is working! Praise God! 

I came home rejoicing that my sister would be well enough to enjoy her first grandchild, a baby girl, born July 31, 2015.

I started reading Oswald Chambers again. His devotionals are deep and require quiet pondering. August 2 devotional title is “The Discipline of Difficulty.” It is based on John 16:33 and I quote: 

In the world you will have tribulations: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. 

 

The following are excerpts from the devotional:

  1. An average view of  the Christian life is that it means deliverance from trouble. IT IS DELIVERANCE IN TROUBLE, which is very different.
  2. God does not give us overcoming life: HE GIVES US LIFE AS WE OVERCOME. The strain is the strengh.  IF THERE IS NO STRAIN, THERE IS NO STRENGTH. 
  3. Are you asking God to give you life and liberty and joy? He cannot, unless you will accept the strain.
  4. Overcome your own timidity and take the step, and God will give you to eat of the tree of life and you will get nourishment. If you spend yourself physically, you become exhausted; but spend yourself spiritually, and you get more strength.
  5. God never gives strengh for tomorrow or for the next hour, but only for the strain of the minute. 

In closing, here are a few  more powerful thoughts from “The Word For You Today” devotional for August 1:

  1. We say things like, “I’m doing okay under the circumstances.” Well what are you doing UNDER them? Someone has said that circumstances are like a mattress; if you are on top you rest easy, but if you are underneath you suffocate! What’s the answer? Take your focus off your problems and put it on God’s promises!
  2. Romans 8: 37 & 38  NO, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. To be a conqueror means to fight a battle and win. To be “more than a conqueror” means to win a battle without having to fight. Jesus fights on our behalf; He does it in you and through you and that makes you “more than a conqueror.”

 

 

 
 
 

Independence Day Let's Celebrate

on Monday, 06 July 2015. Posted in Breath of God

My prayer garden, currently, is my link to my sister. It was completed June 27, 2015. She loves working in “God’s Garden” at home in Texas. I am not one who gardens, but I appreciate the peace and beauty of a well kept garden. When my sister was diagnosed with cancer for the second time in May,  I felt an urgency to complete my prayer garden. My garden was ready for me “to walk with her” when she began her treatment Monday June 29. In conversation, my sister brought up the image of the Fall of Jericho. In Joshua chapter six verses one through five the Israelites were instructed to circle the walled city once a day for six days with seven priests blowing ram’s horns. On the seventh day they were to circle the city seven times. On the seventh round, the priests blew one long sound and the Israelites started shouting and the walls crumbled. In my spirit, I decided I would walk my labyrinth first thing every morning singing my daily scriptures. I call it my sword practice. I imagined myself spiritually circling my sister’s caner cells which are now cowering in her body because they know the power of God’s presence within her. Today is Independence Day and the seventh day I have circled the cancer on my daily labyrinth walk. My sister completed her first week of cancer treatments Thursday July 2 and had been feeling bad consistently since Tuesday June 30. Her family celebrated Independence Day early on July 3. On that day, my sister woke up at 5:30 AM and felt great! Her PH was definitely in the range of 7.5 (our prayer goal). I had sent her a picture of the finished labyrinth with her gift of the wind catcher lined up with the center which represents the heart of God.

 

                                           

 She text me the following:

Can’t wait to walk your labyrinth! It looks so lovely. I love the pine straw gardens.  Reminds me of our games as children playing “House.” Big News Flash: PH  was up first thing this morning! It was definitely above 7.0! The color range looked like it was between 7.0 and 7.5. Yippee! God is good! Feel much better this morning. Woke up at 5:30 AM going full throttle. What did you put in those prayers last night and this morning? Anyway, thank you, and to all your friends praying, too! It is much easier to feel hopeful when you feel good.

 

                                                   

 The flower bed with the bird feeder pictured above is outside my prayer room window. I spotted this black snapping turtle hurrying to get out of the pine straw. I commented to my sister by text:

This ugly little guy was moving out of the “House” of pine straw in my prayer garden. Itrepresents to me, the cancer moving out of your body because the environment is no longer conducive to it’s ability to thrive.

 

I sent her some more pictures of the completed prayer garden

                                                     

                                                    

 

My sister commented: It is absolutely stunning, Sherry. See God makes all things new! We just have to let go. I love the image of the black turtle being the cancer that is being driven out because the environment is no longer conducive to his thriving. It is a day to celebrate!

 

 

Marks of the Mission Armor of God

on Tuesday, 23 June 2015. Posted in Breath of God

Ephesians 6:10-18 Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything , to stand. Stand firm then,with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the Gospel of Peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit,which is the Word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

II Timothy 1:7 For God did not give us a spirit of timidity. but a spirit of power, of love and self discipline.

Luke 1:76-79 You, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High, for you will go to prepare the way for Him, to give His people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and the shadow of death; to guide our feet into the path of peace.

I Peter 2:9 You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light!

My sister sent the following to me when I was in the hospital with my husband after his knee replacement therapy. I had been whining to her about his grumpiness as we began the physical therapy portion. She wrote 2-6-14:

Hurting people hurt! Don’t take it personally. Put on the armor God gave you and let it glance off of you instead of going through you. Use that shield of faith. It is a working, moving active piece of equipment. Put it on your arm in front of you. You’ve been training that muscle in your arm. It can handle the weight and wield it like the warrior you have been trained to be. The victory is yours! It has already been ordained. Run into battle with confidence for you are running under the shadow of the Almighty God. I expect you to pick up your shield and use it. This is not just words on a page. It’s a call to arms. You are in a battle. “Buck up” as Dot Lott once said to you.

At the time Dot Lott made this comment to me, I was a student teacher under her supervision. I had just received word that my college supervisor would be visiting that day to observe my work in Dot's classroom. I panicked and was on the verge of a full blown anxiety meltdown when Dot told me firmly in response to my tears….. which shocked me because she is usually soft spoken and gentle……"Buck up, Sherry!”  History repeats itself except now I am in the hospital and my sister is my coach. My sister continues: 

I expect to see you stride victoriously out of this just as you expected the same of me when cancer came knocking on my door. You have been trained and prepared for this your whole life. You will succeed. Our God is ABLE! He creates champions!

The following is a description of the  current mission in my sister’s own words inspired by the Spirit that dwells within her:

I am being called to go behind enemy lines in the world of despair, disease, and darkness. I am being sent in to rescue those who are on the brink of despair and pull them back up into the light of God’s love, a place where God’s love overwhelms with peace and purpose and beauty, to a place where they can rest and heal and be restored.God has been preparing me for this my entire life.God graciously granted me a wonderful time of rest and peace and waiting these last few years. But now it’s time to put on the full armor of God and march confidently into battle knowing that God has equipped me with the exact skills and experience I need to accomplish His purposes. As David strode confidently on the battlefield of the Philistines to face Goliath so I stride onto the battlefield of life to face disease and despair. I run confidently into battle because I am not alone. God’s army of saints and angels run beside me. The prayers of the saints prepare the way for great victory for the Kingdom of God on earth. God has laid out brightly colored clothes of rejoicing for me to wear. He has prepared my armor as well. He has placed the belt of truth around my waist. He has prepared for me a special breastplate of great beauty. It was forged in the heart of God and tenderly shaped to fit me perfectly. He has covered me with HIS righteousness. He is making me a new person, better and stronger. I am being transformed. I am God’s temple. God is calling me out on a new journey. He has uniquely prepared me for this journey. We may get a little wet, but He’s going to show me how to walk on the water. And dare I say I feel a little sense of excitement! God is good!!

The title of the devotional for June 16 in The Word for You Today is: “Give it Your All!” I felt it was very applicable to my sister’s mission. I quote: 

Esther, a Jewish girl married to a pagan king, broke with the long-standing tradition, marched into her husband’s throne room, spoke her mind, and rescued her people from annihilation. One girl saved a nation because she was willing to put everything on the line. Are you feeling inadequate today (I feel inadequate most days) ? Are you thinking, “Someone else should be doing this job instead of me (I have on occasion thought in that manner)?” Then read these words written by clergyman Edward Everett Hale: “I am only one; but still I am one. I can’t do everything; but still I can do something: and because I can’t do everything, I will not refuse to do something I can do.” How many people did it take to rescue the dying man on the Jericho Road? One Good Samaritan. How many people did it take to confront Pharaoh and lead the exodus out of Egypt? One man, Moses. A respected leadership expert writes: “God has put a dream inside you. It’s yours and no one else’s. It declares your uniqueness. It holds your potential. Only you can birth it. Only you can live it. Not to discover it, take responsibility for it and act upon it, is to negatively affect yourself as well as all those who would benefit from your dream.” Poet John Greenleaf  Whittier wrote, “ For all sad words of tongue and pen; the saddest are these, ‘It might have been.’” In your twilight years, will you look back and feel like you’ve spent your life struggling to fulfill other people’s expectations? (I have found, in my 60 years of life, I can’t please others consistently so I intend to strive to please God by what I choose to do with the life He, in His mercy, has granted me). Or know that you lived it to the fullest by striving to fulfill your God given dream (I am walking on the path I was ordained and prepared to travel before God formed me in the womb. I am yoked to Jesus and I am only stepping when He steps and stopping when He stops. His yoke is easy and His burden is light. If it feels heavy, then I know I am trying to carry the burden on my own)?  

I am changing daily…growing in Christ…..it is the most exciting adventure of my life! I feel currently the Lord is clearing out the weeds of the past and preparing my soul for something new. I am learning to “Dare Greatly” as spoken by Theodore Roosevelt because I can hear my Savior beckoning me to “deeper waters and higher ground.” As I quote the 26th President of the United States of America, I have changed his gender references to make it equally applicable to the females, as well….   “It’s not the critic who counts, not the one who points out that the strong one has stumbled or how the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the one who is actually in the arena-whose face is marred with sweat , and dust, and blood; who, if they fail, at least fail while DARING GREATLY, so that their place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”

No one fights alone! My sister has a loving family that rides into battle with her and members of the Body of Christ who also have answered the call to Arms as Prayer Warriors. The Lord, Himself goes before her and we follow singing His praises and carrying His Light in our souls to lighten the darkness of our earthly home  and share hope with those living in the shadow of death.

Higer Ground My Spiritual Quest

on Sunday, 07 June 2015. Posted in Breath of God

 Photo received from my sister June 2, 2015

Mt. Denali (McKinley)

Tallest Point in North America

 

I believe for every drop of rain that falls, a flower grows.  

I believe that somewhere in the darkest night, a candle glows.  

I believe for everyone who goes astray someone will come to show the way. 

I believe, I believe.

I believe above the storm the smallest prayer will still be heard.

I believe that someone in the great somewhere hears every word. 

Every time I hear a newborn baby cry or touch a leaf or see the sky. 

Then I know why I believe.

(Words and music by Ervin Drake, Irvin Graham, Jimmy Shirl and Al Stillman)

I like to keep an eye out for the “fingerprints of God.”  I discovered several as we moved into the month of June. 1) The opening scripture in Jesus Calling By Sarah Young for the month of June is Isaiah 41: 13. I have that scripture on the fob attached to the key of my prayer room. It states: For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, “Do not fear, I will help you.” 2) I felt in my spirit on June 1 that it was time to change my opening song of worship in my daily prayer time. I have been singing “Breathe on Me Breath of God” since I started blogging August 1, 2013 when both my sister and I developed some health issues. The song of worship I desire to sing in this second round with cancer is “Higher Ground.” 3) The office manager at the Fraser Center gave me The Word for You Today /June-July-August. The very first devotional in the book was for June 1 which is entitled: “When Jesus Comes on Board.” I am quoting the devotional in the following:

He got into one of the boats…belonging to Simon.  Luke 5:3 

One day Jesus “saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats…..belonging to Simon and asked him to put out a little from the shore. Then He sat down and taught the people from the boat. When He had finished speaking, He said to Simon, ‘Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.’ Simon answered, ‘Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because You say so, I will let down the nets.’ When they had done so they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break” (Luke 5:2-6). Are you sitting today where Peter sat? Your outlook is bleak (I’d say Stage 3 cancer is bleak), your nets are empty (the only option shared by the oncologist is the one we felt spoke death from our perspective back in 2013), you’ve tried everything you know to do (You bet! Surgery, devoted time to connecting with God daily, chose to be proactive, developed healthy boundaries, changed diet, regular exercise, 20 minutes of sunshine a day, avoided processed food, hormone therapy, selective supplements, reduced stress, captured negative thoughts and spoke life…..just to name a few) and you’re ready to give up (I am finding it challenging to stay positive)? It happens: you get to the place where you simply stop expecting anything good (It’s tempting, but I am not there yet……… and by the grace of God it is my personal intention to avoid embracing that expectation at anytime…. EVER) . You’ve experienced too many disappointments (How do you gauge “too many?”  I have had my share) and you’re afraid to dream, reach, stretch, or broaden your horizons (Stop!!!!! That’s more than enough pessimism! I would prefer to say I am challenged at the moment by a temptation to stop dreaming, reaching, stretching, and broadening my horizons. HOWEVER, in my personal experience over the course of 60 years……God’s love “never fails, never gives up and never runs out on me.”). Jesus knows how hard you’ve tried and today He’s inviting you to try again-this time with Him (I believe that). Even though you’re wrestling with depression and tormenting memories, unemployment, addiction, financial failure, or sickness(BINGO), the Lord of new beginning wants to come on board. If you let Him , He will show you what to do. Now, what He says may not initially make sense to you (Right….I’m not understanding cancer round two). But if you’re willing to respond like Peter-“Because You say so, I will”-You’re on the threshold of a miracle (Yes, I remember my sister sent me a text the day after her second diagnosis May 14: “Sherry, we will witness miracles we could not even imagine!). Today invite Jesus on board and watch how your situation changes (Ok, Jesus…..hop in and I’ll start rowing toward the deep waters of cancer expecting to witness a miracle).

Returning to my discovery of “ God’s fingerprints” in June, here’s  number 4): The scripture this devotional is based on is on of my favorite images that I have cherished since my first year of teaching. Toward the beginning of that school year, I wearily climbed into my car following a stressful day of trying to motivate  and teach 38 fourth graders who were a year behind in reading skills. I sobbed as I drove home! I shared with my father that evening that I was ready to quit. He said to me, “Sherry, God has called you to teach. Show up every day and do whatever it takes to survive. If you impact the life of one child in your classroom this year, it will be well worth all the blood, sweat and tears you have shed in the process.” The next morning, as I drove to the school, I was listening to Don Francisco. When he started to sing “Come and Follow” which is a ballad based on Luke 5:2-6, I heard in my spirit Jesus’ invitation to go out farther with Him on the educational waters of teaching and His confident declaration as He jumped in the boat with me, “Do not fear, I will help you” and He did. I taught 30 years and retired in 2012.

My sister returns home Friday June 5 to begin to research options for alternative treatments for the presence of cancer in her body. Two boats are beached on the sand. Jesus is standing beside them. There is a storm approaching. The wind is picking up and the thunder rumbles as the lightening flashes. Jesus starts beckoning to us excitedly, I can barely hear His voice as He calls out to us, “Come on, girls, let’s go fishing!”

I want to live above the world, though Satan’s darts at me are hurled: for faith has caught the joyful sound, the song of saints on higher ground. Lord, lift me up and let me stand, by faith on heaven’s tableland; a higher plane than I have found, Lord plant my feet on higher ground.

( Second verse of the Hymn, “Higher Ground,” lyrics by Johnson Oatman. Jr.)

Welcome the Rain It Waters Your Growth

on Tuesday, 26 May 2015. Posted in Breath of God

 

My sister had an appointment with her oncologist May 19 to learn the extent of the cancer presence and what treatments were recommended. As I waited to hear the results, a bad storm darkened the sky in Brunswick. The thunder and lightening became very threatening and the power went out as the storm raged during the downpour. I felt in my spirit…..the news is not good. I felt Jesus squeeze my hand (the one He never lets go of ) and watch me intently. In His eyes, I saw the question, “Will you trust me, Sherry?” “Yes, Lord”, I wanted to say with bubbling confidence but it came out more like a weak stutter….”uh uh yeah.” 

My heart sank as I heard my sister’s  broken voice on the phone. Amazingly, however I felt peace as she shared that there were multiple clusters of cancer cells in the lymph nodes in her neck and down in her chest. However, cancer was not detected in her organs…..lungs, liver pancreas, etc. I reminded my sister that just the night before she had shared that “a major miraculous emotional and spiritual healing had taken place! God’s army is advancing…let me guess who wins?”  I quoted Isaiah 55: 8 & 9: For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My Ways, declares the Lord. As the Heavens are higher than the earth, so are My Ways higher than your ways and My Thoughts than your thoughts. I reminded my sister that she herself had  declared the day after the biopsy report: “We will witness miracles we could not even imagine!” The oncologist commented surgery and radiation are not options because the area involved is too large. That leaves chemo! Both my sister and I have an aversion to that option because of what we watched our mother deal with in her own battle and other friends who seemed to suffer more from treatment than from the cancer itself. Miraculously, God’s abiding peace continued even after I hung up the phone and went to bed. 

As I left the house headed to my prayer room on the following morning (May 20) I could smell the freshness in the air after the cleansing rain of the day before. I heard Jesus say in my spirit…. 

“Welcome the Rain!” As I read my devotional from Jesus Calling, I read: I am the Light of the world and My Illumination decimates the darkness. Come close to Me and let My Light envelop you, driving out the darkness and permeating you with peace. The words reminded me of a scripture I included in the lyrics of a song I wrote in my teens, II Samuel 23:4 which says: He shall be as the light of the morning; a cloudless sunrise. When the tender grass springs forth upon the earth; like sunshine after rain. We very much need to see the sunshine in this situation with my sister, Abba! His reply from Jesus Calling May 22 resonated with both my sister and I: When things don’t go as you would like, accept it immediately. If you indulge in feelings of regret, they can easily spill over the line into resentment. Remember I am sovereign over your circumstances, and humble yourself under My Mighty Hand. Rejoice in what I am doing in your life, even though it is beyond your understanding. I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. In Me you have everything you need, both for this life and for the life yet to come. Don’t let the impact of the world shatter your thinking or draw you away from focusing on Me. The ultimate challenge is to keep fixing your eyes on Me, no matter what is going on around you. When I am central in your thinking, you are able to view circumstances from My perspective.

One of the scriptures that encouraged me during my Mom’s illness appeared today in my devotional time. It comes from the Amplified Version of the Bible, Habakkuk 3:19…..The Lord God is my strength, my personal bravery and my invincible army; He makes my feet like hinds’ feet, and will make me to walk [not to stand still in terror , but to walk] and make [spiritual] progress upon my high places [of trouble, suffering or responsibility]!

My sister left today on a two week cruise with her husband to Alaska. When she returns the second week of June, she will begin researching alternative treatment options. Please join us in praying for discernment as we seek the Lord’s guidance on where to step next. [I am moving forward expecting to find hidden treasures strategically placed by My Loving Heavenly Father along the way. Some will be trials designed to shake me free from earth-shackles. Other treasures will be the indicators of His Constant Presence with me on the journey (Portions of phrasing from Jesus Calling for May 23)].

Lead on, O King Eternal, the day of march has come; henceforth in fields of conquest Thy tents shall be our home. Through days of preparation Thy grace has made us strong; and now O King eternal, we lift our battle song.” 

Prayer An Important Power

on Sunday, 29 March 2015. Posted in Breath of God

I authorized the construction of a Prayer Room to be built in my backyard November of 2012. At the same time I began developing a discipline of daily tuning in to God, listening intently for His voice while offering thanksgiving, prayer and praise and meditating on scripture. I have done a daily devotional since my teens, but the difference over 50 years later is now my time in the prayer room is MY DAILY PRIORTY. The Prayer Room was completed March 21, 2013 and on that same day I became aware that I had lost the crippling fear of failure I had struggled with all my life prior to that date.

Two years later another miracle covered with the “fingerprints of God” has happened that I want to share. My grandson, (age 3), fell face first from the back of the family truck parked in the driveway and struck his head on the concrete surface in the early evening March 20, 2015. I received a text from my son-in-law at 9:26 pm that they were in the emergency room of the Brunswick hospital. I joined them there shortly after receiving the text. I learned on arrival that my grandson had experienced blindness and delayed muscular response following the accident and had been brought by ambulance to the hospital. I was told he screamed the entire ride because he had been placed in a papoose like sack that cocooned his body to restrict any movement. The confinement had terrified him. He apparently had been vomiting earlier in the hospital which I was told is often present following a concussion. He was sleeping peacefully as I entered his room. His mama was gently stroking his back. I noted the scuffed red skin on his forehead, but was surprised that there was no bruising or swelling. I commented the bleeding must be internal which was evidenced by the increasing bruising around his left eye as we waited to hear the results of the scans taken of his head. My daughter and son-in-law had informed family and friends through Facebook and text to be praying for their son. I did the same after receiving an update from them as we waited for the test results together. I felt peace and the presence of God in the small room. Around midnight, the doctor came in and informed us that my grandson had two skull fractures above his left eye. The good news was that the bones were aligned and there was nothing further they could do in Brunswick. The doctor recommended that we move my grandson to the Children’s Trauma Center in Savannah, GA at Memorial Hospital on Waters. His parents agreed with the recommendation. The transfer was made again by ambulance. My daughter rode in the back of the ambulance with her son. My son-in-law went home to relieve the friend who was keeping the sisters. I went home to pack my bag and headed for Savannah about 1:00 am. I was so grateful my husband was willing to take me. I was emotionally drained by personal circumstances during the past week even before the accident and I was not capable of making the drive myself. We arrived at the emergency room in Savannah at 2:30 am and had to wind our way through a mass of barriers to find the entrance to the emergency waiting room. My grandson’s name was not on the emergency room roster. Puzzled I waited as the receptionist called around in search of where he might be. I thanked God under my breath standing on Romans 8:28 which states: that all things work together for the good of those who love the Lord and are called according to His purposes. My grandson was finally located about 15 minutes later coming off an elevator into the Children’s portion of the hospital where he would be admitted shortly. We entered his room about 3:00 am. There were no hotel rooms available the weekend after St. Patrick’s Day so my husband tried to sleep on the couch in the room, I struggled with the recliner and my daughter climbed in the hospital bed with her son. It was a tight fit. My grandson was moving all around in the bed through the remainder of the wee hours, often dozing propped up on his mom. I don’t think she slept at all.

My husband located an available hotel room nearby after breakfast and moved there for the day. The doctor came in and said he wanted to keep my grandson through the day for observation. He would order a liquid diet to begin immediately and gradually introduce solid food throughout the day. If there was no vomiting as a result, then the patient would be released. My grandson had a stomach ache after consuming a popsicle and jello for breakfast so he was served the same thing at lunch time. He was asleep when it arrived so the popsicle melted and I found an ice cream substitution from the family room. My grandson slowly began to act like his normal self as the day progressed and remained happy and peaceful in the hospital bed when “an angel” employed by the hospital brought him some toys and mom located a “Thomas, the Train” video on TV. I sat by the bed and interacted with my grandson while he was awake and dozed while he was napping so my daughter could get some sleep on the couch. His daddy arrived late afternoon with reinforcements in the form of lunch, train toys, ipad with games and a phone charger. The nurse entered and informed us that if my grandson could eat a supper of solid food without getting sick, he could go home that night. His daddy grabbed a menu and shared the options with his son. A ham and cheese sandwich, French fries and chocolate ice cream were ordered. My grandson polished off the ham sandwich, a handful of French fries (Gram-me ate the rest) and the chocolate ice cream. We were released from the hospital within the hour. Daddy drove the family home and my husband and I went to bed immediately in the hotel room he secured that morning.

I marvel now as I reflect on the evidence of grace that prevailed over a potentially dangerous situation that had unfolded over the course of the last twenty-four hours. I had loaned the Fraser Center Labyrinth to be used for an event at Honeycreek. I was able to pick up the labyrinth myself to insure it was properly conditioned and stored for the next use. I attended the closing worship of the event. The priest spoke of maintaining a daily discipline of prayer and scripture meditation that would prepare us to weather the unpredictable storms of life. I was grateful that I was well prepared for the recent storm in the life of my family, well supported by the prayers of family and friends and as a result I was able to peacefully ride the waves of the storm trusting that the situation was safe in the hands of God.  

Corrie ten Boon writes: Prayer is such an important power. In the concentration camp, seven hundred of us lived in a room built for two hundred people. We were dirty, nervous and tense. One day a horrible fight broke out amongst the prisoners. Betsie began to pray aloud. It was as if a storm laid down, until at last all was quiet. Then Betsie said, “Thank you, Father.”A tired old woman was used by the Lord to save the situation for seven hundred fellow prisoners through her prayers.

 

I Timothy 2:1

I urge, then, first of all, the requests, prayers,

intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone

Corrie ten Boon again writes:

There may be days of darkness and distress,

When sin has the power to tempt, and care to press.

Yet in the darkest day I will not fear,

For ‘midst the shadows, You will still be near.

Thank you, Lord Jesus!

Wonder Spotting the Fingerprints of God

on Sunday, 08 February 2015. Posted in Breath of God

Wonder

Spotting the Fingerprints of God

(Reflection Five: Glorifying the Fatherhood)

Based on Graham Cooke's Soaking Prayer Series Part One Entitled: Becoming the Beloved

What does it mean to be touched by wonder?  How would it change the way that you engage life?

Wonder defined: to be filled with admiration, amazement, or awe;

marvel (often followed by at)

I am beginning to "see" the "fingerprints of God" in my life.  The greatest example of that fact in my life to date is the awareness that came March 21, 2013 that I was no longer crippled by fear or FAILURE.  That was also the date of the completion of my Prayer Room.  I can act on what I sense God is calling me to do without fretting about the outcome.  58 years I had been too afraid to try much of anything because I did not want to try and fail.  I have spent 2013 and 2014 spiritually consuming 27 scriptures a day.  I call it my "Sword Practice."  I have consistently read and digested scripture since my teen years.  However, January 1, 2013 I made that practice the DAILY PRIORITY because I finally understood what Jesus ' words meant quoted in John 15. Here are some excerpts from verses 1-7:

I am the true vine and My Father is the Gardener. He cuts off every branch in Me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful

Remain in Me and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself.

I am the true vine, you are the brances. If a person remains in Me and I in them they will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing. 

Key Verse:

If you remain in Me and MY WORDS REMAIN IN YOU ask whatever you wish and it will be given you. 

There are no words to adequately describe the WONDER I experience every time I become aware of the miracle of God's transforming power at work in me and others.  That I have the opportunity to witness everyday growth in myself and in those around me is an adventure I anticipate with joy every day I draw breath!  I am daily AMAZED  that my Creator loves me (that in itself is a WONDER) and chooses to accompany me on my journey through life wheter I am aware of His Presence or oblivious.  I am daily AMAZED that He consistently reveals His Presence when I seek Him.  I am NEVER invisible to God.  He KNOWS my name. 

Quoting Graham Cooke from Reflection Five written as God speaking directly to the reader:

I know you and understand you.  I am acquainted with every single thought, action, and emotion that you have.  I understand you a thousand times better than you understand yourself.

That's a WONDER!

 

Seek My Face Displace Worry

on Friday, 23 January 2015. Posted in Breath of God

Seek My Face

Displace Worry

Question taken from, Graham Cooke’s Soaking Prayer Series Part One

Becoming the Beloved

What specific overture is the Lord making to you at this time?

Overture defined: an opening or initiating move toward negotiations, 

a new relationship, an agreement, etc.; a formal or informal proposal or offer

Below I am dialogue journaling with God through devotional material I was reading January 19, 2015

From Jesus Calling by Sarah Young (quoting devotional for January 19 / my words):

Jesus: Seek My Face, and you will find more than you ever dreamed possible. Let Me displace worry at the center of your being. I am a supersaturated cloud, showering Peace into the pool of your mind. My nature is to bless.Your nature is to receive with thanksgiving. This is a true fit, designed before the foundation of the world. Glorify Me by receiving My blessings gratefully.

Me: All you require of me is to be open to receive?

Jesus: I am the goal of all your searching. When you seek Me, you find Me and are satisfied. When lesser goals capture your attention, I fade into the background of your life. I am still there watching and waiting: but you function as if you were alone.

Me: Forgive me, Lord, for being spiritually blind and distracted. Open my eyes spiritually to"see" your unseen Prescense. I have often felt forgotten and alone, but I recognize now that was never true. You have always been there loving me even when I could not love myself. 

Jesus: Actually, My light shines on every situation you will ever face. Live radiantly by expanding your focus to include Me in all your moments. Let NOTHING dampen your search for Me.

Me: Abba, open my eyes, mind and heart so I can “see” what I’ve been missing….the JOY of experiencing Your Presence in ALL aspects of my life! Thank you that Your Presence is the promised constant in my life. I ask for this enhanced vision on the authority of Jesus’ name, Amen

Scripture References:

The peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus (Philippiams 4:7).

You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart (Jeremiah 29:13)

 

Pentecost Sunday Pentecostal Moments

on Wednesday, 19 November 2014. Posted in Breath of God

I took a course in June of 2012 entitled: “Identity and Destiny.” I started consciously living both that year. It was one of those pivotal points in my life. Pentecost Sunday has been highly significant to me since 2012. In 2012, Pentecost Sunday was May 27. On that day, I saw my first double rainbow! It was a sign I believe of the great adventure in emotional healing yet to come.

 In 2013, I was in NewYork worshiping in St. Paul’s Chapel near “Ground Zero.” The priest shared in her sermon that often random acts of kindness are stirred by what we would term “bad circumstances.” These random kind acts the priest labeled as “PentecostalMoments”…..the evidence of the Presence of the Holy Spirit. In these moments,all stereo types are removed and we can see the face of God in each other.

 

Today, I spent a portion of Pentecost Sunday with a group of individuals attending The June Recovery Education Conference led by Shelia Thurman. The rainbow colored hula hoop was a visual of my personal circle of concern…….my emotional truth. My emotional safety is protected if I stay within the boundary of my own truth. If I wanted to do the hula hoop….the key is to remain in constant contact with the hoop. Symbolically for me……the boundaries I need to set to protect myself are simply to speak my truth in all circumstances of my life. The rainbow reminds me I can’t do it alone. I must rely on my Higher Power. “The mind that created a problem cannot be the same mind to fix the problem.” I think that is an Albert Einstein quote.

Shelia defined LIFE as our thoughts, feelings and behavior. In the past, I have let others’ thoughts, feelings and behaviors define my life. That response has been labeled: Codependency by many self help books. I choose to be proactive now instead of reactive in this the second half of my life. I am spending time with myself so I can identify MY thoughts and feelings. By doing so, I increase my contact with God who dwells within me and has the power to transform my mind. Shelia was reviewing the Twelve Steps and one step involved a dash which is different from a period, colon, comma or semi colon. A dash divides two separate ideas that are inter-related. That caused me to reflect on the spelling of the title I gave myself when I found out I was going to be a grandmother: GRAM-ME. The “me” was very important to the symbolism. I tried to be invisible a good part of my life…….ashamed of my perception of “me.” However, a shift happened in my spirit when I became a grandmother. In loving my grandchildren, I am learning to love and value myself. God called Himself: I AM. AM and ME are two separate ideas, yet they are inter-related and connected by the dash. The capital “G” in Gram-me represents God in ME and the RAM represents the sacrifice He made so that transforming union could exist in the first place and be the light in the world. I am learning to be the LIGHT that illuminates “Pentecostal Moments.”

Strand of Pearls Dealing with Adversity

on Friday, 08 November 2013. Posted in Breath of God

Strand of Pearls

October 24 was my father’s birthday. Dr. Whitman Fraser was a beloved physician in Hinesville for 27 years. He entered eternal life in March of 1995. He spoke life to his patients, family and friends physically, mentally, and spiritually. My siblings and I wish to continue his legacy of living life to the fullest regardless of the circumstances and being willing vessels of God’s living water that we share with all who cross our paths.

I hosted a retreat in my home led by Bettina Schuller that began October 24 entitled: Practicing the Presence of God in all Life’s Circumstances. We had a different scripture to reflect on each day of the retreat.

 

John 9:2-3 Jesus said, “You’re asking the wrong question. You are looking for someone to blame. There is no such cause-effect here. Look instead for what God can do.”

 

Psalm 18:2 The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me and my place of safety.

 

            Psalm 34:18 The Lord is near to the broken hearted and saves the crushed in spirit.

 

Hebrews 2:18 Because He Himself has suffered when tempted, He is able to help those who are being tempted.

 

Psalm 46:10 Be still and know that I am God.

 

The following are some of the quotes shared during the retreat:

 

Mary Jane Worden: Sometimes when we ask God our why questions he gives us Himself, the Comforter.

 

Joseph Campbell: Find a place inside where there is joy, and the joy will burn out the pain. 

 

Etty Hillesum: There are moments when  I feel like giving up or giving in, but I soon rally again and do my duty as I see it: to keep the spark of life inside me ablaze.

 

My sister wrote out her post-op plan as follows:

 

Trust God! 

Rest & Relax

Move Slow

Walk with God

Recover

DO NOT act out of fear!

Trust God!

SPEAK LIFE

 

The following quote was taken from The Word for You Today devotional for October 23:

 

Lori Schneider is one of very few women to climb Mt. Everest-yet another step on a climb she started ten years earlier when she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS). Terrified, but determined to achieve her goal, she quit her job and devoted herself to climbing. Nine years later she’d conquered the peaks on six of the earth’s continents! “Lori sees MS not as a negative, but a positive,” her father said. “She accepted it as a challenge.” Unfurling a banner in honor of the first World MS Day, she called her dad on a satellite phone:  “I’M HERE ON THE SUMMIT! I MADE IT!”  A dream sixteen years in the making realized! Now her goal is to show others who face challenges that even the highest mountain can be climbed one step at a time. In Staying the Course, BJ Gallagher writes: “Our journey….is about progress, not perfection. It is NOT about doing one thing 100% better-IT’S DOING 100 things 1% better each day. Progress is evolutionary, not revolutionary……most days we measure in inches, not miles. What matters most is showing up for your life whether you feel like it or not. Ask yourself, what two or three things can I do today that would move me forward? You’ll be amazed how much distance you can cover taking it in increments. Little things add up; inches turn into miles. We string together our efforts like so many pearls and before long…..you have a whole strand.”

Ministry of Presence God's Presence in the midst of a challenging time

on Monday, 12 August 2013. Posted in Breath of God

Breathe On Me Breath of God / Edwin Hatch and Robert Jackson:

Breathe on me breath of God, Until my heart is pure,Until with Thee I will Thy will,To do and to endure.

Today is the scheduled biopsy. I, too, am having a test on my thyroid. I had an ultra sound done on my thyroid back in February of this year and my doctor had ordered a follow up appointment with a surgeon based on the results of the test. His office staff failed to follow through and I found out about it Monday July 29 when I went in for my three month check up. The doctor re-ordered the thyroid test and visit to a surgeon. Because the following day was a very important board meeting at the Fraser Center, I emotionally played down the whole event as spiritual warfare. I had been so focused on the upcoming biopsy for the one who I was interceding….. that I neglected to check in with myself about my own health issue. A friend of mine lovingly gave the ministry of presence by driving me to my test and remaining with me throughout the procedure…….I was very appreciative of that precious gift! I needed her presence much more than I had acknowledged earlier. God also ministered to my spirit in my devotional time in a synchronistic way! During my praise portion of music, Psalm 27 came up. Several years ago I reworded the whole Psalm so I could sing it to a tune created for the fourth, thirteen and fourteenth verses of Chapter 27……..I don’t know the author of the tune. I only know the twenty- seventh Psalm in its entirety was my mother’s favorite and I wanted to be able to sing it in her memory and meditate on the comfort and assurance contained in each verse. My version goes as follows:

The Lord is my salvation and the light that illumines my path.  The Lord is the strength of my life of whom shall I be afraid. Though a host should in encamp against me, my heart shall not fear. Though war should rise against me, the Lord is the strength of my life.

One thing have I desired of the Lord and that will I seek after…….that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life…….to behold the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in His temple. One thing have I desired of the Lord and that will I seek after.

In the time of trouble, My Lord will provide for me. He will hide me in His temple and provide for my every need. He will set me upon a rock…..high above my enemies. When I cry have mercy on me, my Lord will answer me.

When Thou said, “Seek ye My Face,” my heart said unto to Thee, “Thy face, Lord, will I seek. Hide not Thy face from me.” When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up. Teach me Thy way O Lord.

I had fainted unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living, wait I say on the Lord. Wait on the Lord and be of good courage and He shall strengthen your heart, wait I say on the Lord!

Isaiah 14:24 The Lord Almighty has sworn:  “Surely as I have planned, so it will be, as I have purposed so it will stand.”

Isaiah 54:10 Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed yet My unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor My Covenant of peace be removed, says the Lord, who has compassion on you.

Isaiah 54:17 No weapon formed against you will prevail.

Acts 1:8 You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be My witnesses to the ends of the earth.

Ephesians 5:15 Be very careful, then how you live-not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity.

Isaiah 55:8 & 9 For My Thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways , My Ways, declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so My Ways are higher than your ways and My Thoughts than your thoughts.

Faith You can walk on the water, too

on Saturday, 10 August 2013. Posted in Breath of God

Breathe On Me Breath of God / Edwin Hatch and Robert Jackson:
Breathe on me Breath of God, fill me with life anew, that I may love what Thou dost love and do what Thou wouldst do.

As we await Monday’s biopsy together, I want to focus on God’s Presence in the midst of a challenging time. I found my devotional in Jesus Calling by Sarah Young for August 10 very encouraging and soothing. It is written as if Jesus is talking to me directly.

Relax in My healing, holy Presence. Allow Me to transform you through this time alone with Me. As your thoughts center more and more on Me, trust displaces fear and worry.
Your mind is somewhat like a seesaw. As your trust in Me goes up, fear and worry automatically go down. Time spent with Me not only increases your trust; it also helps you discern what is important and what is not.

The one I am walking this health issue with commented she wanted to “walk on water.” I assured her she was already out of the boat and that the key was to keep her gaze on the eyes of her Savior. He will continually keep an eye contact of love and encouragement to the one who seeks to meet His constant gaze of light and love!

Jesus Calling for August 10 Continued:

Energy and time are precious, limited entities. Therefore you need to use them wisely, focusing on what is truly important. As you walk close to Me, saturating your mind with scripture, I will show you how to spend your time and energy. My Word is a lamp to your feet; My Presence is a light for your path (Psalm 119:105) 

Proverbs 23:18 There is surely a future hope for you and your hope will not be cut off.

Isaiah 43:1-3 I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you walk through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through fire, you will not be burned, the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord, your God.

Isaiah 43: 18 & 19
Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in a wasteland.

Deuteronomy 33:25
The bolts of your gates will be iron and bronze and your strength will equal your days.

I Corinthians 9:26 Therefore I do not run like a woman running aimlessly; I do not fight like a woman beating the air.

Romans 11:29
For God’s gifts and His call are Irrevocable.

James 4:7 & 8 Submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and He will come near to you.

Romans 12:12 Be joyful in hope, Patient in affliction, faithful in prayers.

Proverbs 18:10 The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.

Colossians 4:2 Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.

Isaiah 49:23 Then you will know that I am the Lord; those who hope in Me will not be disappointed.

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.

Romans 7: 24 & 25 Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise person who built their house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose and the winds beat against that house, yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation of the rock.

Psalm 95: 1-7 Come let us sing to the Lord, let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before Him with Thanksgiving and extol Him with music and song. For the Lord is a great God, the great King above all gods. In His hand and the depths of the earth and the mountains peaks belong to Him. The sea is His, for He made it and His hands formed the dry land. Come let us kneel before the lord our maker; for He is our God and we are the people of His pasture, the flock under His care.

Hope Restored God can transform our thoughts when we seek His perspective

on Thursday, 01 August 2013. Posted in Breath of God

I answered the gentle call of our Lord to come to the Prayer Room around 2:00 AM this morning. My heart felt heavy. I had received some disappointing news on a health issue for someone I had been praying for yesterday and I needed a Faith Booster Shot. I discussed the matter deep in my spirit as I offered my praise in music. Psalm 42:7 Deep calls to deep in the roar of Your waterfalls; all Your waves and breakers have swept over me.  I did not feel like praising, but I went through the motions in obedience. Song Lyrics: “Praise the Lord! He can work through those who praise Him. Praise the Lord for our God inhabits praise. Praise the Lord for the chains that seem to bind you serves only to remind you they drop powerless behind you when you praise Him.”  The first song I sang was one written by a young man in the Liberty County Jail in 1980. He had written the lyrics and asked me to put it to music. I started singing at our local jail when I was 15 as part of a ministry started by my dad. He was not personally involved long. Individuals from area churches who joined him began rotating responsibility for leading a service at the jail each Sunday morning at 9:00 AM. I stayed involved for 22 years and loved every moment. As I sang these words, HOPE began to ripple again in the depths of my heart:

Down a lonely road a man was walking.
The night was stormy and cold.
Life had lost its meaning and was mocking
Like a story that once has been told.
Headed down a path to find a river
To end his life in its stream.
Passing by a church he heard them singing.
He thought he was caught in a dream.

He could see his dear old fashion mother.
He could see his precious old dad.
His little sister and brother,
The best friends a man ever had.
By the fireside the family was singing
Around the old alter of prayer.
On his daddy’s knee an open Bible
Then his name was mentioned in prayer.

Now the teardrops were falling,
As he stood in the still of the night.
From the church a voice it was calling
Make Jesus your Savior tonight.
Then he looked down the path to the river.
He looked at that bright open door.
He chose the open door and the alter
And the church sang as never before.

I sang through three hymns from the Baptist Hymnal and started to move toward singing my Sword (27 scriptures I chose to meditate on yesterday) when I spotted the Hymn, Breathe on Me Breath of God, I decided to sing five songs of praise instead of my usual four before singing my scriptures from the prior day. I sang the lyrics as a prayer which God answered in the next step of “Swinging my Sword” by singing His Holy Word. What follows is the “Breath of God” that filled my lungs and restored my heart today. I am quoting the New International Version of the Bible.

Psalm 18:29 & 30 With Your help (God), I can advance against a troop (cancer); with my God I can scale a wall (any concern in my heart). As for God, His way is perfect; the Word of the Lord is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in Him.

Isaiah 51:11 Gladness and joy will overtake (the ones I am praying for) and sorrow and sighing will flee away.

II Corinthians 4:16-18 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Romans 5:1-4 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord, Jesus Christ whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.

Gladys M. Hunt, author of Access to God writes: What are you doing with the privilege of coming into God’s Presence? God is taking the stuff of our lives and making something good out of it. We are on our way somewhere. Our resources are inexhaustible: God keeps pouring His love into our hearts. Jesus has invited us into His very Presence and has given us all we need and more besides. This passage in Romans 5 is a renewed invitation to take advantage of your privileges as a son or daughter of the King.

II Thessalonians 3:16 Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.

(Taken by Ann Douglas on her beloved Bear Island Independence Day 2013)

Let Faith Arise Another opportunity to trust the goodness of my God

on Tuesday, 13 August 2013. Posted in Breath of God

Beloved of God,

Breathe On Me Breath of God / Edwin Hatch and Robert Jackson:

Breathe on me breath of God,Till I am wholly Thine,Till all this earthly part of meGlows with Thy fire divine.

The biopsy was completed yesterday. There has been no word from the doctor so far. Every time the phone rang the adrenalin went to pumping! I completed the thyroid test today. I will be surprised if I get a call from my doctor. I expect to hear the results of my test next week August 20 when I see the surgeon. “So I will arise and go to Jesus. He will embrace me in His arms. In the arms of my dear Savior, Oh, there are ten thousand charms (I Will Arise and Go to Jesus / Joseph Hart / Southern Folk Melody). As the two of us wait in the arms of Jesus…..”let faith arise!”
Chris Tomlin- I Lift My Hands

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Ephesians 3:16 I pray out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, and I pray that you being rooted and established in love, may have power together with all the saints to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge- that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Isaiah 58:6-9 Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter-when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not turn away from your own flesh and blood? Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear then your righteousness will go before you and the glory of the lord, will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help and He will say: Here I am.

John 10:10-11 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.


Synchronicity When the past and the present overlap

on Sunday, 25 August 2013. Posted in Breath of God

Beloved of God,God assures and comforts me in the synchronicity of events. Today history and the present overlapped in a synchronistic moment whose mounting significance cannot be denied! Twenty-eight years ago today my mother entered eternal life at the age of 53. I was thirty, my sister was 28 and my brother was 25 (he would turn 26 later that year on September 11). Her death occurred on a Sunday…… shortly after church…….my guess is around 12:17 PM. On August 25, 2013, at that precise time I was singing with the St. Athanasius congregation the Sanctus which includes: “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord (Matthew 21:9)……..” the very same words chanted by the crowd gathered in Jerusalem for the Passover as they laid their cloaks on the street in front of the donkey bearing Jesus. I thought of my mom shaking off the dust of this life and entering the embrace of her waiting Savior August 25, 1985 and at the same time pictured my sister, in August of 2013, clad in the armor of God lovingly designed specifically for her bearing our mother’s crest on the shield of faith that she carries in her left hand………bowing her head in prayer before going behind enemy lines of CANCER on a mission for her King.  I hear my mom singing the first line of Hymn 304 that we sang earlier in the service today:

Words: Brian A. Wren / Music:

Land of Rest, American folk melody I come with joy to meet my Lord, forgiven, loved, and free, in awe and wonder to recall His life laid down for me.

Note what my mother wrote as a prayer given to me prior to a board meeting 9-7-12……the first board meeting that year I had any hint of confidence in the direction I would begin to lead the Fraser Center Ministry:

“Give your body to God as a living sacrifice (holy). Is it too much when you think of what He has done for you? Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but be a new and different person with a fresh newness in all you do and think!(Based on Romans 12: 1 & 2)

In my vision…….as I sang the Sanctus in 2013, my mom was singing the first verse of Hymn 304 in 1985 and my sister in Texas was singing the first verse of our closing Hymn 359:

Words: Dennis Wortman
    God of the prophets, bless the prophet’s heirs! Elijah’s mantle o’er Elisha cast:
Each age for thine own solemn task prepares, make each one stronger, nobler than the last.

Immediately following the service the junior warden of St. Athanasius Church stated that our scripture meditation for the day was……. Exodus 20:12 Honor thy father and mother that your days may be long on the earth……..and then concluded with the announcements.

As I drove home from church, the clouds in front of my car formed the majestic breastplate I believe my sister will soon wear as one part of her armor as she enters into battle for the Kingdom of Love. (My sister told me two nights ago that God was preparing a beautiful breastplate for her to wear on the mission He was calling her to this year. I have asked her to write down what God gave her in her spirit that night which I will share in a later version of my Breath of God).

Graham Cooke wrote in His Soaking Prayer Series: Becoming the Beloved……..written as if God were speaking directly to the reader: I love My People to be overawed so that all their circumstances can be subdued by majesty. I love to inhabit anything unfavorable, and to create at the same time a powerful sense of astonishment.

Visiting deacon, Becky Rowell, who we are honoring today for her Ministry of Presence with our congregation this summer closed out the formal part of the service with a quote from her own sermon:        


It’s not about you and it’s not about me…..It’s all about Jesus!

One other synchronicity I must mention. Last night I read the call of Jeremiah to my sister after we had discussed her calling and mission in the malignancy she faces. I told her to hear the words from God spoken directly to her: Jeremiah 1: 4 & 5 The Word of the Lord came to me saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born, I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

Below is the front of today’s bulletin. My dear sister, Gwynn, let me assure you that your mission has been confirmed! Nothing about what you have shared with me the past two days is a figment of your imagination.

Thank you, Abba for the "Breath of God" I flet as I worshiped with a portion of the Body of Christ today!

Dispelling the Darkness Keeping my heart open to the Light of Christ

on Wednesday, 21 August 2013. Posted in Breath of God

Beloved of God,

Breathe On Me Breath of God / Edwin Hatch and Robert Jackson:

Breathe on me breath of God,So shall I never die,But live with Thee the perfect lifeOf Thine eternity.

When my daughter was a toddler, she would wake me up in the night and ask if she could get up now. I would tuck her back in bed and tell her she could wake me when the light comes through the window. I now find myself saying the same thing to her daughters….. my granddaughters when they spend the weekend with me. My sister’s was told her breast tumor was malignant. The next step for her will be surgery. The next step on my thyroid is a needle biopsy of the left side. The fear of the future is like darkness covering me and I am the toddler waiting anxiously for the morning light. Fortunately, the darkness and the light are both alike to my Savior who is a non-anxious presence in the stillness of my heart that waits with me and His abiding Presence brings peace. I love the following devotion written by Debbie Boone. It so ministered to my aching spirit.

Isaiah 60:1-3
Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.
See darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples (my family),
But the Lord rises upon you and His glory appears over you.
Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.

The Presence of Light by Debbie Boone

Every school morning for the past two years, precisely at 7:00 AM, I have taken a deep breath, climbed up the stairs, and opened the door to my eight-year-old son Jordon’s bedroom.

Each time I’ve steeled myself for the coming battle required to wrench his eyelids apart to start the new day. Most of the time I would leave his room convinced that he was well on his way to being dressed and would be downstairs ready to eat breakfast within ten minutes, only to climb those same stairs at 7:30 AM, push back the door, and find him sound asleep.

A couple of weeks ago, all this changed. And I had nothing to do with it. Jordon started to leave his window shutters wide open when he would go to sleep. The morning light would gently filter in and quite naturally and quickly awaken him. I now walk into his room and find him sitting at his small desk, completely dressed in his school uniform, wondering when breakfast will be ready.

Jordon and I no longer have struggles in the morning. The presence of light has solved the problem completely. As I read the beginning verses of Isaiah 60, my mornings with Jordon came to mind. I asked the Lord to show me how to allow His light to awaken places in my heart that have been content to leave sleeping in the darkness and comfort of my soul. It’s hard to wake up when you are surrounded by darkness. And we can’t transform ourselves into what we should or want to be any more than Jordon could wake himself up just because he knows he should be up.

Exposing ourselves to the light and presence of the Lord’s love not only will uncover the dark places of our hearts, but also will fill them with light so that the glory of the Lord rises upon you.

But how do we expose ourselves to His light? That’s the easy part…….just by leaving the shutters of our heart open. Come to God with an honest expression of willingness to allow Him to change us-by His wonderful and brilliant light.

Shine Your Healing Light upon my sister, O Lord,
May I reflect the light of Your Presence to those around me.

Matthew 5: 14 &15 I am one light in the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither can I hide my light under a bowl. Instead I must let my light shine on those around me that they may see Your Light in me and glorify You, Father, in heaven.

I claim this promise in Isaiah 59: 21 for myself, my daughter, her children, their children and future generations that they thrive in the Light of God’s abiding presence.

“This is my covenant with, Sherry,” says the Lord. “My Spirit, who is on you, Sherry, and My Words that I have put in your mouth will not depart from your mouth, or from the mouth of your daughter, or the mouths of her children, or from the mouth of their descendents from this time on and forever.

In closing, I’d like to quote The Message Version of Psalm 86:11-17.

Train me, God to walk straight; then I’ll follow Your true path. Put me together, one heart and mind, then, undivided, I’ll worship in joyful fear. From the bottom of my heart I thank You, dear Lord, I’ve never kept secret what You’re up to. You’ve always been great toward me-what love! You snatched me from the brink of disaster! God these bullies (cancer) have reared their heads! A gang of thugs (Sickness) is after me- and they don’t care a thing about You. But You, O God, are both tender and kind, not easily angered, immense in love, and You never, never quit.

So look me in the eye and show kindness, give Your servant the strength to go on, save Your dear, dear child! Make a show of how much You love me so the bullies who hate me will stand there slack-jawed, as You, God, gently and powerfully put me back on my feet.

 

God’s Calling Here am I. Send me.

on Monday, 02 September 2013. Posted in Breath of God

Beloved of God,

Your Thought for Today from Ann: "Win The Race' It is easy to leave unpleasant tasks for later. But God wants His people to finish the race that He sets before them to run (see 2 Timothy 4:7). Don't be afraid to do what seems to be hard. God will anoint you to do whatever He tells you to do. Paul spoke of this race for the sake of the Gospel in 1 Corinthians 9:23-26: "So run {your race} that you may lay hold {of the prize} and make it yours." He said to run with definite aim, and to discipline yourself to finish the race. Grace will make winning easier than you imagined."
-------Joyce Meyer.

A biopsy of my sister’s lymph nodes indicates that cancer cells are present there, as well. She had the bone and body scan Friday August 30. We do not have those results, as of yet. Prior to the anniversary of our mom’s death August 25, my sister heard the following from God. I asked her to write it down in her own words rather than have you read my paraphrase “second hand.”

I am being called to go behind enemy lines in the world of despair, disease, and darkness.  I am being sent in to rescue those who are on the brink of despair and pull them back up into the light of God’s love, a place where God’s love overwhelms with peace and purpose and beauty, to a place where they can rest and heal and be restored.  God has been preparing me for this my entire life.  God graciously granted me a wonderful time of rest and peace and waiting these last few years.  But now it’s time to put on the full armor of God and march confidently into battle knowing that God has equipped me with the exact skills and experience I need to accomplish His purposes.  As David strode confidently on the battlefield of the Philistines to face Goliath so I stride onto the battlefield of life to face disease and despair.  I run confidently into battle because I am not alone.  God’s army of saints and angels run beside me.  The prayers of the saints prepare the way for great victory for the Kingdom of God on earth. 

God has laid out brightly colored clothes of rejoicing for me to wear.  He has prepared my armor as well.  He has placed the belt of truth around my waist.  He has prepared for me a special breastplate of great beauty.  It was forged in the heart of God and tenderly shaped to fit me perfectly.  He has covered me with HIS righteousness. He is making me a new person, better and stronger.  I am being transformed.  I am God’s temple.
 (1 Corinthians 3:16) “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?  If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple.” (My Protector)

Mom’s favorite Psalm – Psalm 27

My feet are ready to go where they have never gone before because I go with my hand in God’s.  He will keep my head above the water.  He will teach me to climb to high places and deliver me safely home at the end of the journey.  I will not be afraid, for God goes with me.  His rod and His staff comfort me.  He will guide and protect me.  He is my shield.  My head is covered with the salvation of God.  My thoughts are His.  I will not be afraid for God is my Savior. The word of God is a powerful sword that will cut through lies and fears for God’s perfect love casts out all fear.  

My husband, David Somerville, offered the following prayer for my sister during our Daily Office (A daily Episcopal form of devotional reading, liturgical worship and Bible study) August 26, 2013:

Almighty and eternal God, as we thank you for Gwynn's faith borne of her adversity, so draw our hearts to you, so guide our minds, so fill our imaginations, so control our wills, that in the manner of our beloved sister's faith, we may  after her inspiration,  find new dedication to Your will; and then use us, as you are using Gwynn in her newly discovered calling, for service to Your glory and the welfare of all Your people, especially those afflicted with cancer.  And in this thanksgiving for your servant's witness and willingness to define herself as more Your servant, and less as one who is afflicted, O God, grant to her the charisms of  strength out of weakness where true compassion for sufferers is born: Mercifully accept our prayers, and grant to Your servant, our beloved sister, the help of Your power, that all threats to both her wellness and ours may be banished from us, enabling us to join with her in the great journey into health in Your name, with all anxiety transformed into in to thanksgiving; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen

Go to the following site and be blessed by this beautiful song by Casting Crowns:

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Gwynn received the following card from a friend and wrote the following response based on the picture:

God is teaching me to walk on the water with Him.  I loved the little girl splashing in the water on the card I received.  She is well dressed for the occasion in her bright red boots and yellow rain slicker.  She’s enjoying herself splashing in the water.  God is calling me out on a new journey.  He has uniquely prepared me for this journey.  He’s even laid out my clothes for me.  We may get a little wet, but He’s going to show me how to walk on the water.  And dare I say I feel a little sense of excitement!  God is good!!

When The Sun Don't Shine Speak Life

on Wednesday, 11 September 2013. Posted in Breath of God

Beloved of God,

I am currently in New York for the 911 Memorial. I have been accompanying a friend on her pilgrimage to Ground Zero every year since 2010. My friend’s son died when the South Tower fell 9-11-2001. This year my friend has a health issue that prevents her from being physically present though she is very much present in spirit. My husband and I will represent my friend at the Twelfth 911 Memorial Service today.

My sister has made a decision on the next step in addressing the presence of cancer in her system although we have not been able, as yet, to connect for me to know the specifics. I did receive the following email. In our conversation Monday, my sister had mentioned a song that gave her peace prior to hearing the oncologist’s opinion on a treatment plan. I requested she send me the link:
TobyMac - Speak Life
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My sister’s brief message read:
“I hope this works. Let me know if it doesn't. Got my answer and it speaks LIFE!!”

I will not know the results of my own thyroid biopsy until September 23. I am doing a lot of waiting and trusting God’s sovereignty over all. I deeply appreciate the thoughts shared by Sarah Young in Jesus Calling for September 8:

Accept each day exactly as it comes to you. By that, I mean not only the circumstances of your day, but also the condition of your body. Your assignment is to trust Me absolutely, resting in my sovereignty and faithfulness. On some days, your circumstances and your physical condition may feel out of balance: the demands on you seem far greater than your strength. Days like that present a choice between two alternatives-giving up or relying on Me. Even if you wrongly choose the first alternative, I will not reject you. You can turn to Me at any point, and I will help you crawl out of the mire of discouragement. I will infuse My strength into you moment by moment, giving you all that you need for this day. Trust Me, by relying on My empowering Presence.

The Word of God from the New International Version:

Psalm 42: 5 Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, My Savior and My God.

II Corinthians 13:4 For to be sure, He (Jesus) was crucified in weakness, yet He lives by God’s power. Likewise, we are weak in Him, yet by God’s power we will live with Him to serve others.

Jeremiah 31:25 I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.

Armor of God Whom shall I fear?

on Saturday, 14 September 2013. Posted in Breath of God

Beloved of God,

My sister’s surgery is scheduled for Friday September 27, 2013! After discussing at length the cost of the battle against Cancer with her Commander and Chief, her Creator and Author of her faith, my sister has chosen to have a mastectomy of her breasts and allow her loving God (through the hands of a gifted plastic surgeon) to reconstruct a lovely breastplate of Righteousness…..His Righteousness to take their place. The new breastplate is an essential part of the spiritual tools required to complete the assignment her Lord is calling her to accept in this season of her life.

Ephesians 6:10 & 11 Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. (Cancer, in my opinion, is one of those schemes of Satan designed to frighten God’s faithful servants and push them into a dark cloud of doubt that a loving God would allow His people to suffer from disease or misfortune of any kind). In my own reading of the Word, I have not found any promise made by God to remove ALL tribulation from my life. The promises I did find are 1) that my God is at work in ALL CIRCUMSTANCES……despite the human labels of “good or bad.” Psalm 139:11 & 12 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to You; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to You. 2) My God has the power to transform ANY SITUATION into good for those who are CALLED according to His purpose. Romans 8:28 We know that IN ALL THINGS God works for the GOOD of those who have been CALLED according to His purpose.

Ephesians 6:12-18 Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

I wrote the first “Breath of God” August 8, 2013. August 7 was the beginning of this particular spiritual journey when my sister reported to me the findings from her mammogram that the tender lump she had discovered herself in the left breast was a tumor.  The following is what Sarah Young wrote for August 9 in Jesus Calling:

Wear my Robe of Righteousness with ease. I custom-made it for you, to cover you from head to toe. The price I paid for this covering was astronomical-My own blood. You could never purchase such a royal garment, no matter how hard you worked. Sometimes you forget that My righteousness is a gift, and you feel ill at ease in your regal robe. I weep when I see you squirming under the velvety fabric, as if it were made of scratchy sackcloth. I want you to trust Me enough to realize your privileged position in My Kingdom. Relax in the luxuriant folds of your magnificent robe. Keep your eyes on Me, as you practice walking in this garment of righteousness.

Sept. 7, 2012 I read the prayer from my mom based on Romans 12:1 & 2. That scripture reference is part of today’s meditation from Jesus Calling………the synchronicity today is powerful! My mom’s prayer seems to speak directly to me today: “Give your body to God as a living sacrifice (holy). Is it too much when you think of what He has done for you? Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but be a new and different person with a fresh newness in all you do and think! Yes Mom, I will do my best. I am now quoting Jesus Calling for September 14: Worship Me by living close to Me. This was My original design for man (you, Sherry), into whom I breathed My very Breath of Life (Genesis 2:7)This is My desire for you: that you stay near Me as you walk along your life-path. Each day is an important part of the journey. Although you may feel as if you are going nowhere in this world, your spiritual journey is another matter altogether, taking you along steep, treacherous paths of adventure. That is why walking in the Light of My Presence (Psalm 89:15) is essential to keep you from stumbling. By staying close to Me, you present yourself as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1). Even the most routine part of your day can be a spiritual act of worship, holy and pleasing to Me
(Romans 12:1 continued).
 I will now prepare myself spiritually to accompany my sister into battle against the disease of cancer. I begin by sharpening my “sword.” Our “sword” is the Living Word of God, Jesus Christ. My constant acknowledgement of His Presence in my life pierces any darkness of fear Satan sends against me.

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Joy A Powerful Spiritual Weapon

on Monday, 30 September 2013. Posted in Breath of God

Beloved of God,


Proverbs 15:15

The Graham Cooke quotes are excerpts from his Soaking Prayer Series Part One entitled:
Becoming the Beloved -Reflection Four- The Importance of Joy.

Question Four: Describe the importance and value of a joyful disposition.

A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones (Proverbs 17:22)

Bettina Schuller’s breath prayer: “God is present. God is JOY. I am present I rejoice.”

The following are Graham Cooke’s statements on the impact JOY can have on one’s life. They are so great and resonate so deeply in my spirit that I prefer not to paraphrase his ideas, but rather quote him:

God desires His people to be overawed so that all their circumstances can be subdued by majesty. God inhabits anything unfavorable and creates at the same time a powerful sense of astonishment.

The following are some examples of when I was overawed by circumstances:
 1) September 24: I was told that the nodules on my thyroid were benign. I was instructed to begin to take a generic for Synthroid everyday for the next six months in the hopes that in response my thyroid would shrink and the nodules disappear.
2) September 26 I arrive in Texas to begin my ministry of presence to my sister. We were both at peace as we did the pre-op appointment and prepared to go to the hospital.
3) September 27 the day of surgery-my sister was scheduled to have a double mastectomy at 12:15 PM. For whatever reason, her surgery time was changed to 7:30 AM so she was the first patient on the schedule for that day. What a gift that was!!!!!!
 4) Listen to my devotional from Jesus Calling for September 27 and experience the assurance it provided us as we began the day’s activities:

Relax in My everlasting arms. Your weakness is an opportunity to grow strong in awareness of My Almighty Presence. When your energy fails you do not look inward and lament the lack you find there. Look to Me and My sufficiency: rejoice in My radiant riches that are abundantly available to help you. Go gently through this day, leaning on Me, and enjoying My Presence. Thank Me for your neediness, which is building trust-bonds between us. If you look back on your journey so far, you can see that days of extreme weakness have been some of your most precious times. Memories of these days are richly interwoven with golden strands of My intimate Presence.

Synchronicity present- Our mother’s favorite Psalm is 27. One of the reference scriptures for the Jesus Calling devotional for September 27 was Psalm 27: 13-14

I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.

The journal my sister had given me for my birthday this year back in May (several months before we received the cancer diagnosis) is entitled:  Stand Firm with the following scripture reference:

I Corinthians 16:13-Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be people of courage; be strong. Do everything in love.  

 I began using this journal on the day of my sister’s surgery September 27. Another Psalm I read on the 27th was Psalm 8:1…..

    O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth.

I have been dating scriptures that speak to me and Psalm 8:1 I dated on my mother’s birthday. My mother loved the Texas Blue Bonnets and I felt as if my mother took my sister’s hand as the nurse wrapped my sister’s right hand with blue tape to secure the IV before taking her to surgery.
5) September 29-the day we bring my sister home from the hospital the scripture that was the reference for the Jesus Calling devotional on September 27 is repeated in The Word for Today devotional September 29.

Deuteronomy 33:27 The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.

The devotional is entitled: God of the Bottom. I underlined this quote: “No matter how deep the valley you have to walk, God’s Presence is deeper!” My sister’s husband’s sister sent us this quote that enhances this thought……I tear up every time I read it in gratitude for the reminder from this unknown author:

    Dear God,  Calm me that I may walk gently through this valley knowing that on the other side is my miracle that I will step into at Your appointed time. Amen

    I now return to quoting Graham Cooke on the importance of JOY.

God values joy as a way to walk through life. All negative emotions are temporary; joy is everlasting and therefore ever-present. Joy empowers you to overcome.
The DNA of your life in the spirit is always to fight and win. You overcome when you accept that God’s joy is a powerful weapon in your life. Joy and happiness empower you to overpower every situation. God’s Kingdom is always pleasant, even if in the midst of difficulty. There is a tangible delight always present. Problems are meant to be overpowered by gladness. As God’s Beloved you can always overrule the enemy because exultation increases revelation and revelation exposes every situation to the will and power of your God. You can overhaul every difficulty and turn it into a blessing, a freedom, a grace and a benediction. As the Beloved of God, you look to God first, not the problem. The problem cannot occur without a promise and a provision also being present. Let joy overturn everything that is against you. Our role in the Kingdom of God is to oversee God’s pleasure in the world. Enjoy God even as He enjoys you!

I have experienced joy the past few days in the midst of surgery to remove the presence of cancer in my sister. I have witnessed an outpouring of love and support from her family, friends and the Body of Christ. I have been blessed by calls, food, prayers, and the loving presence of many that express abundant support and serve to remind me we are not alone in our struggles. Choosing to see the positive rather than focus on the negative empowers a physical, emotional, and spiritual transformation in my mind. This is the way I want to choose to experience the rest of my days on earth. My dad modeled this way of life and it remained a mystery to me during his lifetime. However, at age 58, I believe he would be happy to know…..I GOT IT……


JOY

Sunday Visions for my Sister and her Family

on Sunday, 06 October 2013. Posted in Breath of God

A friend text me the following Scripture this morning: Matthew 19:26 With God all things are possible. That very same scripture was on my journal page for today.

Jesus Calling:

Be willing to follow wherever I lead. Follow Me wholeheartedly, with glad anticipation quickening your pace. Though you don’t know what lies ahead, I know; and that is enough! Some of My richest blessings are just around the bend: out of sight, But nonetheless very real. To receive these gifts, you must walk by faith-not by sight (II Corinthians 5:7). This doesn’t mean closing your eyes to what is all around you. It means subordinating the visible world to the invisible Shepherd of your soul. Sometimes I lead you up a high mountain with only My hand to support you. The higher you climb, the more spectacular the view becomes; also, the more keenly you sense your separation from the world with all its problems. This frees you to experience exuberantly the joyous reality of My Presence. Give yourself fully to these glory-moments, awash in dazzling Light. I will eventually lead you down the mountain, back in community with others. Let My light continue to shine within you as you walk among people again.

Synchronicity:

9-7-2012 Below is our mother's prayer based on Romans 12: 1 & 2 shared with me before we knew cancer was going to enter our lives again and before my sister’s call involving a new breast plate.

Give your body to God as a living sacrifice (holy). Is it too much when you think of what He has done for you? Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but be a new and different person with a fresh newness in all you do and think!

9-14-2013 The first day my sister and I were physically together since her diagnosis. The Jesus Calling meditation for that day was based on the scripture above:

Worship Me by living close to Me. This was My original design for  (my sister), into whom I breathed My very Breath of Life (Genesis 2:7)This is My desire for you: that you stay near Me as you walk along your life-path. Each day is an important part of the journey. Although you may feel as if you are going nowhere in this world, your spiritual journey is another matter altogether, taking you along steep, treacherous paths of adventure. That is why walking in the Light of My Presence (Psalm 89:15) is essential to keep you from stumbling. By staying close to Me, you present yourself as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1). Even the most routine part of your day can be a spiritual act of worship, holy and pleasing to Me  (Romans 12:1 continued).

Graham Cooke has stated that a problem cannot occur without a promise and a provision also present.

9-25-13 Eve before I left for Texas to be with my sister for her surgery: The Promise:
    Jeremiah 31:4 I will build you up again and you will be rebuilt.

Jeremiah 31: 11& 12- The Lord will ransom (my sister) and redeem (her from the disease of cancer) which is stronger (than her body can fight off alone). (She)will come (home) and shout for joy! (My sister and her family) will rejoice in the bounty of the Lord.

Jeremiah 31:16 & 17 This is what the Lord says: restrain your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears for your work will be rewarded declares the Lord. (My sister’s children) will return from the land of the enemy (the influence of fear). So there is hope for your future declares the Lord. (My sister’s children) will return to their own land (the spiritual inheritance won by my sister and her husband in their victory over fear).

9-26-13 I arrive in Texas the day before the surgery. The Provision:

Jeremiah 32: 38-41 (My sister and her family) will be My people and I will be their God. I will give them singleness of heart and action, so that they will always fear Me for their own good and the good of their children after them. I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good to them, and I will inspire them to fear Me, so that they will never turn away from Me. I will assuredly plant them in this land with all My heart and soul.

9-27-13 The day of surgery-our mom’s favorite, Psalm 27, is part of my devotional from
 Jesus Calling.

Psalm 27: 13&14 I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord: be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.

Deuteronomy 33: 27 The eternal God is our refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.

Jesus Calling by Sarah Young for September 27


Relax in my everlasting arms. Your weakness is an opportunity to grow strong in awareness of My Almighty Presence. When your energy fails you, do not look inward and lament the lack you find there. Look to Me and My sufficiency; rejoice in My radiant riches that are abundantly available to help you. Go gently through this day, leaning on Me and enjoying My Presence. Thank Me for your neediness, which is building trust-bonds between us. If you look back on your journey thus far, you can see that days of extreme weakness have been some of your most precious times. Memories of these days are richly interwoven with golden strands of My Intimate Presence.

9-28-13 Day after surgery

Jeremiah 33:9 (My sister’s testimony of her experience with cancer) will bring Me renown, joy, praise and honor before all (with whom she shares) that hear of all the good things I do for them and they will be in awe and will tremble at the abundant prosperity and peace I provide for them.

    9-29-13 Day we bring my sister home from the hospital
        I am quoting The Word for Today for September 29 - focus scripture:

Deuteronomy 33:27 Underneath are the everlasting arms.

The Hebrew word for “underneath” means “bottom.”  So it could be translated, “God’s arms are underneath you when you’re on the bottom.” No matter how deep the valley you have to walk, God’s Presence is deeper. It may feel like you are down today, but you cannot go so low that He is not there. Underneath you are His everlasting arms: the truth is: He’s not just the God of the top; He’s also the God of the bottom.

    9-30-13 Day two at home-Excerpt from Jesus Calling for this date:


Your future is in My hands; I release it to you day by day, moment by moment. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow (Matthew 6:34).

    10-1-13 Day three at home- Excerpt from Jesus Calling for this date:

I am taking care of you! I am not only committed to caring for you, but I am absolutely capable of doing so. Rest in Me , My weary one, for this is a form of worship. Worship Me by resting peacefully in My Presence.

Quote sent to me by my brother in law’s sister: (I do not know the author).
Dear God, I’ve tried my best, but if today I lose my hope please tell me that Your Plans are better than my dreams. Amen

Pathology report we received today revealed that cancer was found microscopically in the first lymph node ONLY. The surgeon removed NINE! The tumor in the left breast was encompassed by healthy tissue. We were VERY pleased with the findings.

10-2-13 Day four at home-my sister is nauseated in the morning- Excerpt from Jesus
 Calling for this date:

Even the most ardent human lover cannot be with you always. Nor can another person know the intimacies of your heart, mind, and spirit. I know everything about you-even to the number of hairs on your head (Luke 12:7)

10-3-13 Day five at home- I have an opportunity to affirm the excellent care my brother in law is giving to my sister. I am so grateful they have each other! This knowledge makes it a little easier for me as I prepare to return home October 5.

10-4-13 Day six at home- my sister and I are both teary anticipating my departure the following day. We watch a Tom Cruise movie together entitled: Knight and Day. The movie seemed to highlight my brother in law’s position of protecting and comforting my sister in her current distress. I envision the two of them in the near future walking hand in hand spiritually embracing a bright future of joint ministry developing out of this trial.

10-5-13 Day seven at home-my departure day….. my favorite scripture is part of my devotional materials for this day:
Habakkuk 3:19 Amplified Bible (AMP) 19 The Lord God is my Strength, my personal bravery, and my invincible army; He makes my feet like hinds’ feet and will make me to walk [not to stand still in terror, but to walk] and make [spiritual] progress upon my high places [of trouble, suffering, or responsibility]!

Cancer Round Two

on Monday, 18 May 2015. Posted in Breath of God

 

On  the morning of May 13, I read the following from Jesus Calling by Sarah Young: 

Thank Me in the midst of the Crucible. When things seem all wrong, look for growth opportunities. Especially look for areas where you need to let go, leaving your cares in My able hands. Do you trust Me to orchestrate  your life events as I choose, or are you still trying to make things go according to your will? If you keep trying to carry out your intentions while I am leading you in another direction, you deify your desires.

Be on the lookout for what I am doing in your life. Worship Me by walking close to Me, thanking Me in all circumstances.

My sister was having a biopsy on a lymph node in her neck later that same afternoon. The lymph node removed contained cancer she was told. She had been diagnosed with breast cancer during the summer of 2013. We both grew spiritually through the journey of surgery and recovery. I was not expecting to have the cancer show up again. My assumption was we had learned the lessons the disease could teach us and there would now be new and different challenges. God, it seems, thought there was more to be gained by a second round. 

Fighting the fear was the greatest challenge in round one. My sister commented in the evening after the biopsy she was better prepared this time because she had collected tools and insight equipping her to deal with the fear more effectively. I went to sleep that night by repeating over and over to myself: “I trust you, Jesus!” I was able to go to sleep relatively quickly, but I was wide awake at 4:30 am. I did not feel fear or anxiety…..I felt numb and a difficulty concentrating.  I found comfort in the fingerprints of God I discovered today during my devotional time. One of the scripture references from yesterday’s reflection from Jesus Calling was I Thessalonians 5:18 “Rejoice evermore, pray without ceasing and in everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” I sang this scripture in church the Sunday in 1985 when my mother died from breast cancer at the young age of 53. My sister and I have both out lived our mom. My  60th birthday was May 3 and my sister’s was May 11 making her age 58. Today’s reading from Jesus Calling  (May 14) said the following:

I am a Mighty God! Nothing is too difficult for Me. I have chosen to use weak ones like you to accomplish My purposes. Your weakness is designed to open you up to My Power. Therefore, do not fear your limitations or measure the day’s demands against your strength. What I require of you is to stay connected to Me, living in trusting dependence on My limitless resources. When you face unexpected demands, there is no need to panic. Remember that I am with you. Talk with Me and listen while I talk you through each challenging situation.

I am not a careless God. When I allow difficulties to come into your life, I equip you fully to handle them. Relax in My Presence, trusting in my strength.

My sister declared to me she was equipped and at peace. I must confess, I am lagging behind a bit. Hear and receive with me in your spirit her words of faith she sent me at 5:08 am:

"Sherry, God is with us. He sees a greater good that you and I could not fathom from our perspective. He is with us! He is singing over us for victory is His. He has not forsaken us. There are bigger things at stake. We will stand firm. We will not be shaken. And we will witness miracles we could not even imagine. Lead on O King Eternal, for He gives us the victory.

AND I THOUGHT MY ROLE WAS TO BE THE ENCOURAGER!

Please join us in prayer as we prepare for Round Two with our "Crucible" of Cancer. 

The Key Can Come in all Shapes, Colors and Sizes

on Tuesday, 15 September 2015. Posted in Breath of God

The key

I had a full blown anxiety attack the last ten minutes of my therapy session 8-3-15. I was trying to process the strong possibility of my daughter and her family moving a significant distance from Brunswick. Before my meltdown, my therapist spotted a key on the floor. She knows I do a lot of processing through symbols so she suggested I take it with me. I thought it might serve as a reminder of God’s power to unlock the chains of fear that gripped me presently. My Prayer Room key fob has engraved Isaiah 41:13 For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. I stopped by Office Depot on the way home and ran into my son-in-law. He made a point to speak to me and share with me that he felt God had been encouraging him for a while now to resign, but fear kept him from obeying earlier. He believes this move will be good in the long run for his family. He shared with me that he reads one scripture a day. The one for 8-3-15 was Isaiah  55:12 You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace the mountains and hills will burst into song before you and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. Scripture always reassures me (God’s breath). In talking to my sister later in the evening, I confessed I was in a funk of anxiety. She reassured me she would hold her own shield of faith over me until I could find the strength to hold up my own. What a blessing our connection is! 

I began today, 8-4-15 walking the labyrinth singing my “sword.”  As I sang John 7:37 On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink (Key), I recalled the favorite song of our pastor during my teenage years, Rev. Daniel Lott, “For Those Tears I Died.” This is the video link for the song with lyrics: 

www.youtube.com/watch?v=aX7ucgWlusY

The lyrics that touched my heart were: Your love loosed my chains and in You I’m free”……….free to embrace the move without fear because it is all part of God’s plan (Key)! In speaking with my daughter later in the afternoon, she shared with me that her preacher had based his sermon Sunday on Isaiah 55 including the same scripture her husband shared with me yesterday. I find the synchronicity so reassuring! I reflected on the thought that Jesus is The Way, The Truth and The Life. No one comes the the Father except through Him…..THE KEY to being in God’s Presence. 

In the prayer room, I read the following from Jesus Calling:

Hold My hand (Key) and walk joyously with Me through this day. Together (Key) we will savor the pleasures and endure the difficulties it brings. Be on the lookout for everything I have prepared for you: stunning scenery, bracing winds of adventure(Sherry thought; sounds a bit intense), cozy nooks for resting when you are weary (Sherry thought; that could be more often than not), and much more. I am your Guide (Key), as well as your constant Companion. I know every step of the journey ahead of you, all the way to heaven. You don’t have to choose between staying close to Me and staying on course. Since  I am the Way (THE KEY), staying close to Me is staying on course. As you focus your thoughts on Me (Key), I will guide you carefully along today’s journey.. Don’t worry about what is around the next bend. Just concentrate on enjoying My presence and staying in step with Me (Key).

Scripture References:

1) John 14:6 (Sherry’s translation) Sherry said to Jesus, “Lord, I don’t know where You are going with this talk of my daughter’s family moving a SIGNIFICANT  distance away from me. How can I know the way to survive this change?” Jesus answered, “I AM THE WAY, THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE (THE KEY).

My therapist tried to assure me yesterday that I would not respond in the same way I have responded to physical distance between my daughter and I in the past (The therapist slipped the thought in just as I was beginning to emotionally turn her a deaf ear). The second scripture reference speaks to this fear of mine and gently rebukes my deaf ear response to my therapist.

2) Colossians 3: 9 & 10 Do not lie to each other (or turn a deaf ear) since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator (Key).

God wasn’t finished speaking, yet! As I looked up the above scripture in my dad’s bible, I discovered a wealth of more “BREATH” that he had personally highlighted and commented on in the margins.

Dr. Whitman Fraser Highlights:

1) Colossians 3:12-14 (Sherry’s translation) Therefore, Sherry, having been chosen by God, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience as you share with your daughter the process involved as her family prepares to make this move. Bear with each other in the awareness you are both perfectly imperfect, but doing the best you can with the knowledge and experience you have in this season of your lives. Forgive  (Key) whatever grievances you may still hold against each other from moves in the past. Forgive as the Lord forgave each of you. And over all these virtues put on love (Key) which binds them all together in perfect unity.Margin comment of my dad: Christian speech must be 1) kind 2) pure  and 3) true. Before we say ANYTHING about ANYONE we must ask: 1) Is it true? 2) Is it necessary? and  3) Is it kind? (Key)

2) Colossians 3: 15 (Sherry’s translation)   Sherry, let the peace of Christ rule in your heart (Key), since you are part of the Body of Christ and you are called to peace. and be thankful (Key). Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly  (Key) as you teach and admonish one another in all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songswith gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him (Key).

3) Colossians 4:2 Devote yourself to prayer, being watchful and thankful (Key).

4) Colossians 4:12 (Sherry’s Translation) My sister , who is so much a part of my life, and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends encouragement. She is always wrestling in prayer for me; that I may stand firm in all the will of God mature and fully assured. It is my prayer, Abba, that I might follow the example of my dear sister and do the same for my daughter and her family as they begin the process of moving.

I will close this blog with thoughts from Oswald Chambers for August 4 entitled “The Brave Comradeship of God” (I inserted myself in the thoughts expressed):

The bravery of God in trusting (Sherry)! (I) say, “But He has been unwise to choose me, because there is nothing in me; I am not of any value.” That is why He chose you, (Sherry). As long as you think there is something in you, He cannot choose you because you have ends of your own to serve; but if you have let Him bring you to the end of your self-sufficiency then He can choose you to go with Him to “Jerusalem” and that will mean the fulfillment of purposes He does not discuss with you. (You might be) apt to say that because (a person) has natural ability, therefore (they) will make a good Christian. It is not a question of our equipment but of our poverty, not what we bring with us, but what God puts into us; not a question of natural virtues of strength of character, knowledge,and experience-all that is to no avail in this matter. The only thing that avails is that we are taken up into the big compelling of God and made  His comrades. I Corinthians 1:26-30 (Sherry’s Translation) “ Sherry, think of what you were when you were called. You were not wise by human standards, you were not influential; you were not of noble birth, but God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak  things of the world, (like yourself), to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world  and  the despised things-and the things that are not-to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before Him.” The comradeship of God is made up of (people) who know their poverty. He can do nothing with (people) who think that (they) are of use to God. As Christians we are not out for our own cause at all, we are out for the cause of God, which can never be our cause. We do not know what God is after, but we have to maintain our relationship with Him whatever happens(Key)We must never allow anything to injure our relationship with God; if it does get injured we must take the time and get it put right. The main thing about Christianity is not the work we do, but the relationship we maintain and the atmosphere produced by that relationship (Key). That is all God asks us to look after, and it is the one thing that is being continually  assailed.

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