A Place for All Women

Archive for the ‘Hope’ Category

Willing to be Wounded

Star must have taken many blows.  

The marks on her body displayed the evidence.  

Sweat had dried and hardened her golden hair.  Her eyes were weary, yet strong, and determined.  

While every animal instinct should have had her on the front line of defense, she had turned and faced her own herd, in order to protect Princess Olive, a young, previously mistreated, and now permanently deformed filly.  She took much of what was actually meant for the little interloper. 

Although, by all appearances, a horribly cruel encounter for any new one, it is but a necessary reshuffling of the hierarchy in order to determine the parameters of the herd.  Each equine encounter ends in a

showdown decision.  One will dominate; the other will submit. When Star saw the overwhelming odds against Olive, she stood her ground.  As the only mare in the pasture who has ever given birth, we believe she knew the difference in this little defenseless lamb and was determined to defend and protect her.

Initially, as is a good practice when putting any new horse in an established herd, we placed them in separate pastures.  We even put our little donkey with Olive for overnight protection. But when we turned our backs to retrieve water, she effortlessly jumped the 4-foot dividing fence and ran right into the middle of our anxious herd.  We were paralyzed by the absolute awe of it.  Here we were trying to help this little rescued fragile filly and yet she was gutsy enough to run right into the middle of six healthy horses more than twice her size.

We run right into the middle of many messes.

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:5

Unfortunately, Olive was wounded in her foolish attempt to force her way into their world.  But her wounds are healing.  Star took most of what was meant for Olive, put a hedge of protection around her, and stood so Olive could lay down and sleep.  We lost an entire day of work just watching this unique display of selfless love play out in our little leased pasture.  God does some of his greatest miracles in what we might all perceive as the most unlikely of places.

It has taken a few days but, literally, the dust has settled. Olive has been accepted.  She has established herself in herd position and gets to push the little donkey…because she can.  She ventures out alone looking for
him…hoping to prove her dominance.  We’ve also seen her push the mares that rank upper middle. She struts her stuff when they move out of her way.  But, what we see, that she doesn’t see, is Star standing guard, parting that path, giving Olive confidence, and making a way where there is no way.

I was pushed back and about to fall but the Lord helped me. The Lord is my strength and my defense he has become my salvation. Psalm 118:13

          Our Lord’s lessons play out all around us.  Some we see, some we take for granted, and more often than we ought, we take credit. He is still our rock, our refuge, an ever-present help in trouble…our bright and morning STAR!

 Princess Olive was rescued by an amazing agency whose volunteers found her on a filthy farm, locked in a horse trailer with no food or water.  They cleaned her up, gave her lots of love, and now she lives with us…fostered by a friend of ours who also exhibits selfless love.

We are humbled and honored to have the opportunity to teach Olive that she is a Princess and that her physical disabilities do not devalue her sweet existence.  She is worthy of all the love we can lavish on her.  And we look forward to all that God has planned.

Father, forgive the man who abused her…for surely he knew not what he did!

© Copyright 2017, KeziahCarrie.  All Rights Reserved

Guatemalan Getaway

Heavy black exhaust fumes are unwelcome visitors barging in bus windows we have quickly opened to escape the heat.  We are two hours from the Guatemala City airport and there’s no quick way out of here.Getway 6

Not now.

We are officially committed on a nine-day course.

Our tag team of new age missionaries has set out to make monetary modifications; while our first visual encounters threaten to submerge us in a sea of hopelessness.  Poverty has clearly permeated every community in this war-torn country. So, in self-defense, we make jokes about the “chicken bus,” the obnoxious horns, and the extra-large Taco Bell.

Getaway 2

Still, it’s hard to ignore the little tin huts and greasy auto repair shops that are all around us as we head deeper into the abyss. The obnoxiously rude blaring bus horns continue to assault the senses and the smell of blackened filth seems to sit all around us.

Just as the sun is setting low over our arrival in this third world country, we pull into the place that will be our refuge. There is barely enough light to see and a hot shower is considered a luxury. Even when we have hot water, it is so contaminated we are warned not to get it in our eyes or mouth.

The temperature has dropped to a brisk 54 degrees with a noticeably cooler breeze blowing.  The rain started, but quickly stopped, and everything feels just a little damp.  It might dry out in the heat of tomorrow, but more than likely another little cloud will drift in again.

Yet, we feel incredibly blessed.

We were expecting much worse conditions.  

Our guard goes down and we settle in.

 

Morning comes with hot pancakes and coffee.

Our arrival is anticipated in the Guatemalan village of Getaway 31Patzicia where their reactions, and ours, are mixed with apprehension, anticipation, and excitement.  It’s a pleasant place with happy home visits, a few minutes at the market, and a spontaneous soccer match.

We are good to go on.

 

Bland refried black beans for the next breakfast, with grainy unseasoned corn tortillas, signal that the trip is about to change.  Our initial introduction into this mission is finally morphing into the real reason we are here. Happy home visits segue into an introduction to small hidden huts not fit for human habitation.

Getaway 30They are homes for families with five or ten children.  The despair runs deep.  The necessities for their existence are lacking at every level.  Our hearts sink.  Our emotions steel. We take inventory of what we have to give and we get to work.

Prayer is priority as our God sees and He knows and He is able.  We dole out compassion, understanding, encouragement, and love. Getaway 29  We offer up hugs, and smiles, as laughter seeps through the cracks and out into the courtyards.

God is in this place.

And, he has more for us to see.Getaway 33

 

 

Up on a remote mountain, where we experience a million miracles just riding safely in that chicken bus, we see and smell a society so far removed from our own that we are stunned!
Children, under the age of five, are dying here in San Antonio Nejapa on days when the smoke inhalation is more than their Getaway 12little lungs can filter and fight.

We are anxious to help solve this unnecessary situation and we set about installing new
stoves.Getaway 13

The inventors of this quickly assembled contraption should be honored at the city gates, as they have been given the great gift of God’s wisdom.

Getaway 15

We are humbled.

Truly humbled to help.

Our iPhones are pulled out of pockets and backpacks for the sole purpose of taking pictures so this moment of meeting on God’s terms is recorded outside of our hearts for others to see.

Getaway 17We have to share their story.  We have to tell about the stoves.

They are not expensive. In fact, their affordability is astonishing.   Who among us would not give $110 to save the life of a child?

Getaway 16

 

Time is running out.

It’s not the setting of the sun, but thick white clouds coming down on the mountain that send us back to our weeklong refuge.

The revelation of all that we own will be a bit more relevant tonight.  We gather together around a fire to sing praise songs, share stories, and make plans with a new purpose.

It doesn’t have to be us. It can be anybody.  It can be you.  There are volunteers trained in the art of stove assembly.  They just need people who are willing to pay for the life of a child.

 

 

We walk reluctantly back to our rooms.

There is still barely enough light to see.

We know that a hot shower is a luxury they have never had.

 

Getaway 19

“Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the LORD,

and he will reward them for what they have done.” 
 — Proverbs 19:17

http://www.compassion.com

© Copyright 2016, KeziahCarrie.  All Rights Reserve

I did it His way

          If not for the 25th chapter of the book of Psalm, the confrontation would have come as a complete shock.  But that morning, as I His way onebusied myself with the routine of feeding, mucking and watering, the reminder to do my Bible study kept pressing on my mind.  I finally set all the chores aside and submitted. 

           The words written on the tattered and torn pages were a warning to my heart and soul.  And, so, instead of going forward ill prepared, I put on the full armor of God and waited for what was about to happen.  

           I almost laugh every time I think back on it because, somehow, I think we all thought it had something to do with us.  And, maybe, at some point, it had. Maybe there were things said, and done, that had set the course in action.  But, in the end, as in the beginning, it was a test and God was offering us a choice.

          I am grateful for the compassion of the one who had to tell me I was losing my job. I am grateful for the honest words I was allowed to speak.  I am most grateful for the peace that passed all understanding at a time I could have chosen a much different path. In the natural, my normal reaction might have been anger and resentment. His Way It would not have been unlike me to say things I would later regret.  But, in the presence of a Holy God, I did my best to remain silent and wait. 

          There were bouts of blame. I mainly blamed myself.  And, even though I participated in parties of pondering…who, why, what, where and when…I was quickly reminded to go back to The Word.  The next few weeks were spent about as close as I could get to the One who warned me, the One who already knew, the One who would know what to do next.  There were days of grief, sorrow and repentance.  There were times spent praying for those who made the decision. There were messages of hope, sent periodically, by those who knew I needed encouragement. 

          At every turn, I asked God to please tell me what to do before I hit the deadline to pack up and leave.  In response, God made me wait even longer.  He showed me that His plan had a purpose and that He was not bound by a date circled on the calendar.  He brought me out…so He could bring me in.  And this time, I trusted.  I watched.  And, I waited.  There were so many things He could have done…so many things I thought He was going to do.  But His way  has brought more happiness than I had even imagined. 

           Every time I am placed in a position where I must trust, I find myself promising I always will.  But each walk in the wilderness His way 4is different, and it is always the unknown that leaves us vulnerable to the accusing voice that says, “What if he leaves you this time? What if he abandons you now? What if you are left out there alone to fend for yourself? What if you look like a fool for your faith? If this is your fault, shouldn’t you be forced to face the blame and the shame?” 

          But I find that voice can always be silenced by going to God, by staying in The Word, by watching, by waiting, by also recognizing the voices of those who try to convince you to do it their way.

          This time I did it HIS way and I have in fact received an amazing reward!HIs Way 2

 

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him,

so that you may overflow with hope

by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 15:13

 If you are facing a time of uncertainty, a disappointment, an unexpected occurrence, or any change in your life that has left you afraid and confused, lift up your head.

He is the light. He sees, He knows, He has the answers.

Just wait. No matter how long He takes.

He may not be early, but He is never late!

HIs Way

© Copyright 2014, KeziahCarrie.  All Rights Reserve

 

 God of mercy sweet love of mine

I have surrendered to Your design

May this offering stretch across the skies

And these Hallelujahs be multiplied

 Written by: Bo and Bear Rinehart

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fGF-MGGLpB0

God, I run into Your arms

Unashamed because of mercy

I’m overwhelmed, I’m overwhelmed by You

Music & Lyrics: Mike Weaver / Phil Wickham

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BiGb14tTaH4

 

Coffee Shop Community

          The old man held court in the corner of the coffee shop. It seemed every other person, who came through the smudged glass door and braved the blinding rays of sunshine cast through the wall of windows, made their way to his table.

Coffee Shop 1He smiled and greeted each one with, “It’s a beautiful day isn’t it?” His salutation seemed amusing, given the fact that it was freezing outside. The younger crowd could be heard mumbling throughout the room about the unexpected drop in temperature.  It’s all in the perspective I guess.  As I watched him entertain a young, long-haired coffee shop employee on a break, then take company with a frazzled sweat-clad, errand-running mom, talk to a dad with a young child, and congratulate a pregnant woman, I looked on in fascination and remembrance that–even in this fast-paced technology-driven world where I frequently communicate with my own husband, daughter and son, via text message– we are still in need of personal, face to face, one on one, affirming, loving and entertaining socialization.  Years ago, this same older gentleman might have found a seat out on a park bench in the town square or down at the corner hardware store.  But his well-placed position here in the coffee shop serves him well as he caters to the needs of a younger generation more desperate than they know for his words of wisdom.

            We were created to live in community.  No matter how much we feel Facebook connects us into an online world of communal living and no matter how we feel connected to our tribe through the 140 characters allowed on Twitter, we still need some real genuine, authentic, in person, huggable, loveable, face time.Coffee shop 3

            The little girl hugged tightly to her daddy’s arm with the biggest, sweetest smile on her face.  The older gentleman reminding her dad of the innocence and beauty he was charged with protecting. The frazzled mom in her peach sweat suit, took time to talk to the little girl eye-to-eye, attention full on, and was quickly rewarded with a big bear hug before the girl followed dad out the door. The older gentleman and the mom were beaming.  And I wasn’t the only one watching.  Several people stopped to watch it all; the hope, the promise, the expectation that all will be well with the world regardless of how it sometimes seems we are losing our societal grip.  Sure, that little girl will probably open up a new iPad on the next Christmas morning or text her friends on her new iPhone; but today, she stopped to smile at the old man, to hug the frazzled mom, to cling tightly to the daddy who loves her more than anyone else.

          The old man’s attention turned to another visitor who came straight to his table. This one was sporting a new engagement ring and anticipating a brand new life.  He gushed right along with her.  Then, one by one, each visitor went out the smudged glass door with their backs to the rays of sunshine.  He reached for his coffee cup and, with a shaking hand, picked up his fork to finish off a piece of Coffee shop 2lemon cake.  He’ll probably be back tomorrow.  You could tell from the steady stream of visitors that he is here a lot, in his corner seat holding court, for anyone who has time to stop and talk.

 

© Copyright 2014, KeziahCarrie.  All Rights Reserve

Did They Drop the Nails?


The old Catholic convent smelled like smoke as we walked toward the flickering glow of small candles illuminating TVCthe altar.  Everyone had been handed a nail and most of us knew what we would be asked to do before the night was over.  It’s an annual tradition, a ritual of sorts, and a precious opportunity that only comes around on Good Friday.  Sometimes I think I would rather not go.  I came up with any number of excuses that sounded legitimate this year.  But just when I thought I had made up my mind to do something else, I felt drawn to go. 

            Our friends wanted to go with us this year and the desire to share this sacred moment with them was leading us back on the path that was now lit by tiny votive candles. 

            It was supposed to be a silent service.  But we, as a society, find it so hard to sit still, so hard to unplug, so hard to quit whispering messages to the person next to us.   When the auditorium was almost full and we had just begun to settle in and try to still our thoughts, a cell phone began to ring in the row in front of us.  The man’s wife gave him that scolding look only a wife can give a husband.   He struggled to turn it off as it rang and rang and rang.  About five minutes later, her phone began to ring and there was no stopping the laughter that came from all those around them.

          Then the ping, ping, ping of nails hitting the floor seemed just as distracting, at first.  But then I started to wonder, did they drop the nails?  Nails EdgeDid the men who crucified Jesus drop any of the nails?  Were their hands shaking in anger?  Were they shaking in fear?  How must it have felt to place that sharp point on His most perfect and innocent flesh and then raise the hammer, make contact with the head of the nail and drive it into those loving, giving, accepting, amazing, most beautiful hands?

          Our choir sang in Latin with an English translation on the large video screen.  It was amazing.  We silently read the last seven sayings of our Lord and Savior before He willingly gave up His spirit.  Tears were flowing throughout the darkened church as we each stood and walked toward the old wooden cross.  There, just beyond the altar, we each nailed our sins to the cross.  It is always the hammering that makes it almost unbearable.  Our son said he imagined the sound to be steady beats from a drum as he tried to contain his emotions while stepping forward to accept his part in the process.  No matter how many times you have heard hammering, you have not heard it like this.  It feels like the floor is moving, with our hearts pounding, and our hands shaking.  No matter how many times you participate, it feels much the same.  My sin, my shame, my fears, my failures, held Him there on that cross.

          Oh the sweet relief of communion.  The hammering finally subsided.  We ate the bread of life and drank from the fruit of the vine and it was over.  It was finished.  It was done.  He is alive.  Resurrected in all His glory and sitting at the right hand of our God.  Our debt PAID IN FULL!  Our lives begin again.  We are renewed.

          As we walk toward our cars, our friend says she has never gotten more out of an Easter service in her entire life.  We smile.  I joke that no matter how it made us feel, I will walk right out that door and sin again.  They double-check to make sure I’m not planning to sin anytime soon.  And I’m not.  But I know I will, probably even before the night is over.  He knows I will.  He knows me.  But He came to save me.  And He will save you too.   He can even save the men who crucified Him.  Did they believe in Him before their wretched job was over?  Did the earthquake, the sun going dark, the dividing curtain of the Temple ripping apart, convince them that He was and is in fact the Son of God?  Did they have extra nails?  Did they drop the nails?

Nails Edge

And Jesus said to the thief on the cross, the one who believed in him at the last-minute,the one who had sinned up until that very moment,

 “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:43

© Copyright 2013, KeziahCarrie.  All Rights Reserved

If You’re Happy and You Know It

Happy 1          The old woman’s face was bandaged, her ruby-red lipstick spread haphazardly across her lips, her hair a bit disheveled from whatever medical procedure she had just encountered and yet her eyes were active and animated.  Her laughter was contagious and her offers of hospitality wildly amusing.  Seven fellow passengers had gathered around her in the hospital elevator, and as the doors began to close, she extended an invitation for anyone who needed more room, to sit down with her.

          Everyone laughed.  And no one felt sorry for her.  Instead, we all walked away lighter, happier, more hopeful than whatever distraction had captured our minds before we met in that little cage of steel descending five short stories to the ground Happy 4floor. As we each slipped through the automatic outside doors, the sun was shining, we were all still smiling, and at that moment we were reminded that happiness is a choice.

           

          The young girl came to our attention because of some trouble at school between her and my son.  The “mama bear” in me was not amused and I began to instruct my child on exactly how he should handle this little situation.  Then, I started to wonder about her and what might be happening at her house.  What I found out clearly changed my assessment of the situation.

          Seven months ago, she watched as her mother died from a brain tumor.  Her grief-stricken father quickly remarried and brought his new wife with her two young children into their home.  Just as quickly, they decided to sell the house and move to a new city. So, now her mother is gone, she’s in a new house with a new family, a new school, she has no friends, she’s hurt, she’s scared and she’s confused. 

          In the world of 15-year-old boys and girls, this might have seemed a bit radical and weird, Happy 6but a family horseback-riding trip seemed to be a simple solution to the current conflicts.  It was in her words, “A little awkward.”  But, by the end of the day, with the help of two aging horses named Tinker and Lucky, she felt different.  “I’ve had SO much fun! The horses have made me forget all the sad stuff.”

          We talked about her choices, about what her mother would want her to do, how she will probably have to wake up tomorrow and the next day and every day for the rest of her life and make a choice again.  But she can still be happy.  It’s okay for her to be happy.Happy 7

          God sees her.  He sees the elderly woman in the elevator.  And He sees us.  

 

         The blessings were  beyond measure recently when I was witness to the first encounter between a ten-year-old girl, who was born blind, and a small herd of horses.  As she approached the barn, feeling her way with a telescopic cane and following the verbal instructions of her teacher, I saw something only God truly understands.  The horses stood still, patient and waiting.  It was hot, they were tied in several locations, and yet they all just stood still.  She touched one and then the other, feeling their manes, ears and tails.  It took a bit of courage but she got up to ride and “happiness” was something we could all see. 

Happy 8

  “This is the day the Lord has made,

let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

Psalm 118:24

 “It’s not what happens to us in life,but how we respond to it that really matters.”

 

How are you responding when pressed on every side?  

Are you choosing happiness or letting someone or some thing steal your joy?

Today is your day.  God has given you free will.  

You have a choice.  Are you happy?  Do you know it?

Does your face surely show it?  (Okay, I couldn’t resist…I had many years of Vacation Bible School) 🙂  

Where ever you are, whatever you are doing,

I pray for you a happy and joyful day today!

© Copyright 2013, KeziahCarrie.  All Rights Reserved

Just Keep Breathing

Keep Breathing 1

The wilderness is dry and dusty

                 The heat almost unbearable…                   

The desire for nourishment insatiable…

For water, unquenchable…

Just Breath 7

 The sun peaks through the clouds.

But just as quickly, it slips back in again.

There is hope.

But not every day…

Just keep breathing 9

 Fear hovers like a repetitive nightmare.

Stealing what little peace sleep might bring.

Worry wears down the defenses and erodes its lifeline.

Guilt begins to guide.

Just Breath 5

 The loneliness is confusing.

The temptations torturing…

The soul wrestles for freedom.

Knowledge knows this won’t last.

Wisdom calls out for rescue.

Faith falls on its face again and again.

Just Breath 6

 The winds pick up.

A storm rolls in.

The rain beats down.

And there is silence.

 Tears leave traces of resisting and submitting.

Laying it down and picking it up…

Choosing…

Choosing again…

The struggle weighs its odds…

And makes one last stand.

 

The weary can go no further.

And there will certainly be no compromise.

But, things have already been worked out.

Prepared in advance…

A plan falls into place.

Keep Breathing 2

 There is no earthquake, fire or flood.

Just a still small voice…

A lamp for the feet…

A light for the path…

Just Breath 8

 And the wanderer is mercifully extradited from the wilderness.

 All that was held so tightly…

Just fades away…

 When eyes that could not see…

 Finally turn toward The Promised Land!

Just Breath 4

   There is something you are going through right now…something you are about to encounter…something you have already experienced.  It may not be as bad as what your friends or family are facing, but it is your burden to bear, your cross to carry, your test to undertake.  No matter what it is, no matter how you hurt, no matter how lost you might feel, our God is still faithful.   Nothing in all creation is hidden from his sight, no matter where your feet are about to walk. 

He will NEVER leave you, nor forsake you. 

Just keep breathing because even when you don’t see it or feel it,  

help is on the way. 

I know this to be true, because I just came out of the wilderness,

and believe me, it wasn’t my first walk.

During the times I thought I could take no more,

this song reminded me just how much I needed Him and still need him NOW!

 “Before you ever get a problem, God has your deliverance planned.”

~Joyce Meyer

 “In the fourteenth chapter of John’s gospel a puzzled Thomas says to Jesus, ‘Lord, we do not know where you are going.  How can we know the way?’ Jesus answers him with no small boldness: “I am the way…” (John 14:6)

~Melissa Moore Fitzpatrick

 Happy New Year! 

I hope you are off to a good start and that you will continue to seek the will of God.  Our will and our way often lead us down the wrong road.

  If you would like to get an email when there’s a new post just click the little box at the top of the right column.  There’s no set schedule for publishing so I’m happy to send you a note.  Thanks so  much for everyone’s support and to all the subscribers.

 It’s a journey that often requires another start.

🙂

© Copyright 2013, KeziahCarrie.  All Rights Reserved

She and I

 

 She had an old potbelly stove that burned coal for heat.

I have a large central heating and air unit

with computerized “comfort level” programming.

She had to draw water from a well.

I have fresh running water from an underground spring

pumped to my choice of four sinks.

Mamaw edge

She had an old wooden outhouse.

I have two full bathrooms and a six-foot shower.

She never owned a car.

I’ve owned several.

She had to make her own clothes, sometimes from empty feed sacks.

I have so many clothes they barely fit in my closet and yet I often

can’t find anything to wear.

She had a washboard and a clothesline.

I have a matching washer and dryer but never seem to get all the laundry done.

She had to plow and plant her own garden and then wait for it to grow.

I have my choice of convenient super markets and organic groceries.

She had to start preparing each meal when the other one ended.

I often wait until mealtime to decide on cooking or carryout.

She scrimped and saved for the things she wanted.

I want, I get, I forget, and I want more.

She had to live when times were hard.

Time has made life easier for me.

She had a sense of satisfaction.

I sometimes complain.

She had a little scrappy Christmas tree my Papaw cut down

from the woods behind their home.

I can buy a beautiful tree and have it trimmed right at the store.

 

She gave us nuts, fruit and a drugstore doll wrapped in re-used paper.

I can buy my children the latest technology.

but I’m not sure I can ever make them as happy as my Mamaw made me.

 

Psalm 100:4-5

 “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise;

 give thanks to him and praise his name.

For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;

his faithfulness continues through all generations.”

May the peace that passes all understanding be present in your lives in the days ahead.

Although our world casts shadows of doubt,

He will never leave you, nor forsake you.

It is a promise.

And He is a Promise Keeper!

Merry, Merry, Merry Christmas!! 🙂

© Copyright 2012, KeziahCarrie.  All Rights Reserved

 

 

All Things New

          A new kitchen, a new bathroom, a new den, a new school, and a new church…I could go on and on.  When I look back over the years, since I’ve been married and had children, there have been so many changes.  But when I look close, when I really examine how all these “new” things came about, it seems each one started as some sort of catastrophe, disaster or terribly tragic situation.  At least that’s the way it seemed at the time.  Go with me here for a moment, I promise not to document all of them in detail.  

          Our first remodel was the result of a slow leak under our tub.  As happy new homeowners we had no idea the water wasn’t draining out, but seeping between the floor and the tiny little ceramic tiles.  By the time we discovered the problem it was too late. The insurance company refused to pay for it, and the repairs were going to cost us thousands of dollars we didn’t really have to spend.  It was a real stressful time that only intensified when the contractor took a full YEAR to repair ONE bathroom. When it was finally finished, the contractor’s work didn’t comply with company standards, so after an inspection, our money was refunded.  I’m serious, every penny back in the bank.

          A sagging roofline and collapsing floors forced us into our 2nd remodel.  This time it was our kitchen.  Although we were more remodel savvy, we still weren’t prepared for all the things that went wrong.  The day after the new contractor told us it was going to cost much more than we ever imagined, someone sent us a check to cover the expenses.  I know, it sounds unbelievable, but it’s true.

-A late night lightning strike that set our house on fire sealed the deal on a new den.  

-A school that shut down abruptly left us in limbo but sent us searching for the school God had selected.  

-A church that split, not once but twice, turned us toward the wonderful place where we worship now.

          Every situation found us in fear, frustration, anger, tears and turmoil.  But each obstacle left us better prepared to persevere.  

          We’re obviously not “home free” because the journey continues.

          We’re now being tested by new trials.  I’d like to say we are champions of James 1:2 and consider it all joy, but that wouldn’t necessarily be true.  We do laugh, in between the latest thing to go wrong, and the mini-meltdowns that come as a result of having no control.  And we press on.

          Yesterday, as I was admiring the beautiful autumn leaves, it occurred to me that they have to die in order to make way for all things new.  And each time we go through something trying, something tough, something we would rather not experience, we die a little more to ourselves and are forced to rely more faithfully on the hand of God.

          It all sounds sort of simple in a way…something broke…we got it fixed…it all turned out better.  But I’m looking back over 17 years and I can tell you it wasn’t simple, it wasn’t easy and, at times, we saw no end in sight. 

           So, wherever we are headed now, whatever God has planned, as hard as it is to sit still and not try to orchestrate our own solutions, He already has it figured out.  He’s told us not to worry and not to fear.  I need reminding every day, sometimes every hour, often times once or twice a minute.

          In Lamentations, it says each morning His mercies begin anew. 

Where are you right now in your journey?  

 Can you look back and see how God worked things out?  

Are you so covered up that you feel your faith is faltering?  

Each time God brings me through, I think I will never doubt Him again.  

But, then, a new challenge arises, and the battle begins again.  

I’ve read the end of the Book,

I know He wins,

but the battle is still very real.

“I will remain 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.”

Psalm 27:13-14

© Copyright 2012, KeziahCarrie.  All Rights Reserved

We’ve Got a Friend

          One of the cutest girls I have ever seen was sitting across the table from me in the coffee shop.   Her blue eyes sparkled, as short blond curls bounced around in the sunlight beaming through a wall of windows.  We had just met and I was there to mentor her.  Funny, I still feel like I need someone to show me the way.  But, I guess I am one of those “older” women described in the New Testament book of Titus…shocking as it may sound to my entire system.          

          So… we have a couple of hours of wonderful conversation, hug each other, agree to meet again and off we go.  I head to the library, boot up my computer and promptly Google this sweet little girl’s name.  If I had known what was about to pop up when I was sitting across from her, it might have changed the entire meeting.  But, as it was, her kind, sweet, humble spirit made an impression before I ever saw a video of her being crowned a beauty queen!          

          We had just had one of those mother/daughter type talks about how “nothing is ever as it appears” and here I am watching her walk the runway with that incredible crown of jewels and the big bouquet of roses.  I was so impressed…not that she had won a competition of that magnitude… but that I had just spent two hours with her and had no idea.          

          Fast forward a few weeks and we meet again for a walk and talk.  We cover every subject from the puppy she’s trying to train, to when it might be a good idea for her to think about having a baby.  Right before we make it back to our cars, we touch on the topic of Facebook.          

          Now, there’s almost 25 years difference in our ages, yet we each confess to feeling the same way.  Sometimes, not all the time, but sometimes, after looking at all that is going on with the hundreds of Facebook friends, we feel a little down, a little discouraged, slightly depressed.  

          There are photos of big homes, new cars and exotic vacations.  Even though we both know better, we sometimes compare ourselves with all that we see.  It might make sense for a 51-year-old woman to do that, but a 20-something beauty queen?  Really?          

          What’s happening in her life is that she’s trying to live modestly in order to remain debt free.  When she sees high school and college friends buying big beautiful houses, accepting that next grand promotion or traveling to Hawaii… well, it makes her question where she is in her life.          

          I typically just covet the travel photos and waste away an entire afternoon living vicariously through whichever FB friend is off on a great adventure.          

          It’s not that we’re not happy for them; it just makes us question ourselves.  Come on, you know you do it too.  It might not be Facebook, but somewhere in your life you’re looking at someone else and thinking they’re bragging.  And, of course, they are.  If it were you, it would only be sharing.

🙂

          So, I started thinking.  If Facebook, or any other similar website, has the power to work against us…how can we come up higher and make it work for us?  These are just a few thoughts.

          NOTE TO SELF:

          -Boast only when boasting in the Lord

          -Never use “What’s on your mind” to be a pessimistic, negative, buzz kill.

          -Consider other people’s feelings when posting.  Not everyone reads with the same inflection.

And, just as I learned from the young woman I was supposed to be teaching…

          -Never cast any light in my own direction.

Light should only reflect off of us and on to the

One who is the

Giver of ALL Good Things!

          Since back in the Old Testament books of Genesis, when one brick was laid upon another to begin building the Tower of Babel, we have all wanted to be “somebody.”  And there is absolutely nothing wrong with fame, money or success, as long as we don’t lose sight of the Source.          

          Now, don’t get me wrong and think I’m getting all self-righteous and holier than thou, or climbing up on my goody two shoes soap box.  A quick scan of my Facebook Timeline would show more than a few “Hey Look At Me” postings.  And if you asked the former Miss America contestant, she would probably tell you I gave her an entire resume of my accomplishments the morning we met.  But I’m just wondering if I can start using Facebook for the good of others rather than feeling like it lures me into an enemy trap?

© Copyright 2012, KeziahCarrie.  All Rights Reserved

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