Life on the Inside

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My husband and I were sitting outside tonight looking at and old dead tree that sits just inside of the woods line in our backyard. The tree has been dead for as many years as we have lived in our house which is a little over 16 years.

Over the years the tree has changed a lot because gradually most of it’s branches have fallen off with the addition of within this past week a huge branch fell off leaving a big hole in place of where it had been.

We were sitting there looking at the tree and talking about how cool it looks because there are knots all over it and some of them look like faces stacked on top of one another. We also noticed that right at the top of the tree there is an area that looks like a crocodile head.

As we were discussing the different things we each saw on the tree suddenly we noticed something that we hadn’t noticed before….

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There in the hole was a raccoon and now he was checking us out as we checked him out.

Eventually we realized there was more than one raccoon and it seems there could possibly be a whole family of raccoon’s living inside of our dead tree.

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What looked to us to be and old dead tree on the outside, actually was full of life on the inside.

How cool is that?! 😀

 

 

 

 

Dear Lord,

Dear Lord,

Please help the children; I do not know why they suffer so.  You have broken my heart for them Lord, you have broken it to the point that no matter how many children I sponsor or how much I pray I still find my heart breaking for the ones who are left, the ones still without sponsors.  I feel so helpless as to what else I can do for them.

Jose

Iyabivuze

Paola

Toon

 

 

 

 

 

So today I offer you my prayer ….

Please hear me Lord as I pray for the children…those little precious children the ones who feel no hope, the ones who feel no future, the ones who do not feel loved.

I pray to you today with my whole heart that Magdaline will find someone who will tell her about your awesomeness

Magdaline

I pray today Zephania will know someone cares about him.

Zephania

I pray that Byron who has been waiting 314 days will know that he is loved.

Byron

I pray that one day Anusya will no longer feel suffering at the hands of the world she lives in, but instead she will have a loving sponsor to tell her who’s hands she is truly in.

Anusya

I pray Kranarong will find a sponsor who will tell him about Your hands.

Kranarong

I pray Geordanys will find someone to tell him how your loving hands will pick him up when he needs lifted.  Hold him when he needs held and give him the strength he needs to carry on.

Geordanys

I pray Dear Lord that each child will always know that no matter how lonely they may feel or what kind of situation they may face that you are ALWAYS there with them.

I pray that they feel Your joy forever and know that there is always hope

Last but not least Lord I pray that you will stir the hearts of those who have much love to share that they will share that love with a precious child who needs to know they are worth something. I pray you will break their heart as you did mine.  I pray that they can become a loving sponsor to a child who needs them.   A sponsor who tells them about the most important thing there is to know and that is that Jesus loves them.

Thank you for hearing my prayer today my Dear Lord,

In Jesus precious name I pray to you today,

Amen

You can make a difference, one child at a time. Do you hear God calling you to make a difference today? You can answer that call by clicking this picture. Be a blessing and you will be blessed!

 

A Brick in the Wall

Keep putting the bricks in the wall.  That seems to be what God keeps putting in my mind these past few weeks.

The past 7 weeks I had the privilege of leading a woman’s Bible study at my church.  Why God would chose me for this job is beyond my comprehension.  I have only been walking this journey with Jesus for about 2 and 1/2 years so I do not know my Bible very well.  I also feel like most of the woman who joined the class were probably way more experienced for the job than me.  I do not like speaking in public and have suffered from social anxiety for the past 20 years to the point I get sick at my stomach just thinking about a room full of people.  Just being an attendee in a class is really hard for me.

In the class we studied the book of Nehemiah.  In the book of Nehemiah, Nehemiah is told his beloved city of Jerusalem’s walls have been broken down and the gates have been burned with fire.  He was so very saddened by this that he wept, fasted and prayed for days, He confessed the sins of his ancestors and asked God to have favor on them again,  reminding God of his promise that if they would return back to him and obey, He would bring them all back home.

Nehemiah found real out quick if you pray about something to God that is in line with His plan you may get what you pray for.  The next thing he knows God has given him a very big job.   God sends Nehemiah to the Judah to to rebuild the wall around Jerusalem and fill the city back up with all the people who had been put out of it for over 70 years.

When God gave Nehemiah the job of building the wall his earthly job was the very honored position of Cup-bearer to King Artaxerexes.    I would assume he was not trained in the engineering it would require to construct a wall of that magnitude, but does Nehemiah argue with God and say he is not equipped for the job? No he does not.  Without question Nehemiah goes to the city and heads out into the night.  He surveys the wall to see what needs to be done and then he sends for the people that are needed to help him with this huge job of rebuilding the wall.

A few officials try to stop Nehemiah from building the wall in the beginning but he says “The God in Heaven will give us success”, and he believes it.   As the wall progressed the officials and others plotted against Nehemiah to try to stop the building. The workers became tired but kept going on to the point they had to work one handed with a weapon in the other.  Through all obstacles they still kept their faith in God and the wall was rebuilt and the city restored.   That is the short version of the story,  for the full version you can read the whole story by clicking here.

I love how Nehemiah never ever questions God’s plan.  He just keeps moving forward no matter how big the challenges became.  He kept plugging along one brick at a time doing what God told him to do, never having any doubt or letting anyone else’s negativity sway him from the job God gave him to do.  He fully believed that God had it covered.

What faith!  Wouldn’t it be great if we could all have faith like that?

it seems like here lately God has asked me to do a few things that to me just seem so odd he would pick me to do the job.  I few have been really way out of my comfort zone.  I think to myself why would he ask me to do that?  I think that I am not good enough or smart enough and try to talk myself and God out of it.    I wish I could be more like Nehemiah was and just trust God the minute he asks.    If only I would just get my instructions from God, not question Him, trust he will equip me and then just go do it.

With God and I the conversation goes something like this…  Hey T I want you to lead a  Bible study…. Say what??…..You heard me T, I want you to lead a Bible study….But God why me? I do not have the knowledge to lead a Bible study….but you don’t need any knowledge because I have it covered… Hey God I have a better idea, I think I will just join a Bible study as a participant, how does that sound? …  really T I have another plan look at that Bible study book that you just got for that class you plan to join. How about you do the study with the ladies at your church?…  are you kidding God? No way I can’t do that I don’t know my Bible that well…You don’t need to know your Bible well…  But now that you mention it this does look like something that our church members would be interested in…. Okay T, so do it then….  But God why me? I don’t like speaking in front of people … But you can do it…. But I don’t know what I will say to the class….Well do it anyway…. But God I will turn red and I will get sick at my stomach and, and, and,.. Just do it T it will be fine, I got this covered… Okay fine, I will do it but I am sure the Pastor will never let me lead a Bible study.  I will ask him and if he says yes then I will do it, but I am pretty sure he will say no because I do not know anything about the Bible or leading a class… you ask him T I will take care of the details…Okay God I will ask though I am not sure I like this idea at all…No worries T, like I said, I got this covered.

Actually that is a true story and as you have probably figured out my Pastor said yes.  No I am not crazy and no I did not hear a booming voice coming out of the sky saying “T have a Bible study”, but I did feel it inside my heart.  God and I wrestling around in there going back and forth him trying to convince me and reassure me and I trying to change his mind.   If God has spoken to you then you know exactly what I am talking about.  I am sure you know as I do God is quite persistent

This seams to becoming the story of my life.  Lately every time I turn around he is asking me to do something that scares me to death.  Thankfully not one time has he left me hanging.  This week was the ending of our 7 week  Bible study and I am happy to say nothing awful happened.  Actually I think everything good happened.  The ladies kept coming back week after week. I realized it was not my Bible study, it was OUR  Bible study and it was to be led by God.   We laughed and we cried as we shared Gods word. I found out I did not need any Bible knowledge at all because the study of God’s word filled all our heads with the knowledge that we were all there to learn.   The only thing I had to do was just show up for the job which I think was just the job of getting us all together.   God took care of the rest.

Every time I step out of my comfort zone for God I get some sort of unexpected blessing.

I learned yet again I do not have to be equipped for the job all I have to do is  just show up.  God has it covered.

I found it quite cool that Nehemiah seemed to have kind of the same set of circumstances as me.   Actually he has the same set we all do.  He had a job to do and he did it with Gods help.  Though I may never do anything spectacular as building a wall or city, the same rule applies…We all have a job to do, we all must believe and trust in God and the job will get done.

We are all here to work on our own little piece of the wall that God has given us to build.  We all must keep putting the bricks in the wall one brick at a time. He gives us all jobs to do we are all here to  to do our part in building God’s great kingdom.

Is God asking you to do something you feel unequipped to do?  He will equip you.  You can anything he asks if you rely on Him.  So what are you waiting for?  Tell Him yes and just show up, God will take care of the technicalities.

How cool is that?  🙂

Want to read the story of Nehemiah? click here –> Nehemiah 

Galatians 4:19  My dear children for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you.

Thank you for reading and God bless you 🙂

Spider Webs

This morning when I woke up the black swirling spider webs were floating so badly through my vision that I could not bare to open my eyes.  I did not know how I was going to be able to survive the day seeing like this.  I closed the curtains turned off the lights went and lay down and cried.  As I cried I began to talk to God asking him why and asking for peace.  I do not know how long I lay there crying and praying but the more I talked to Him the more I could feel myself beginning to calm as I felt His peace began to wash over me and fill me up.  As I lay there praying I noticed a warmth upon my face.  I opened my eyes and I saw a sunbeam shining in through the window even though I had closed the curtains.  Then I felt the nudging and heard a small voice saying,  ”Open your eyes go look outside”.   I went to my front door touched the knob and slowly opened the door.

As I opened the door I saw that one of my flower bushes had bloomed.  It had bloomed the biggest most giant blossoms I have ever seen.  The huge pink blossoms were the size of my hand and were opened up with drops of dew shimmering in the morning sunlight. What a gift!  I looked up towards Heaven to say thank you Lord as I raised my face I saw the sun rising, shining in all its glory through of all things, the tree branches in my yard. They were blowing in the wind.  At that moment I knew Jesus himself was standing in my front yard right beside me showing me everything is going to be alright.  As the black spider webs floated around in my vision I realized they floated in my eyes with a peaceful movement exactly like tree branches floating in the wind in my yard.  I wasn’t seeing spider webs anymore I was seeing branches swaying in the wind.

This may sound crazy to anyone else but at that moment I realized that God was showing me something I have never seen before.  Could this be a blessing or maybe a lesson? Of course it is.  Not everyone gets to see black spider webs in their vision turn into tree branches. He was showing me that there is always beauty and peace to be seen even on the darkest day during our darkest hour.  When we see tragedy or sadness in the world God is still here.  He is here always, He is never changing. All a person has to do is open their eyes. I can not walk through my life with my eyes closed in fear, hiding from the bad or the scary stuff.  I have to open them up or I will miss the blessings.  There are a lot of bad and scary things going on in our world right now.  Do I close my eyes or do I open them up and face them bravely knowing God right by my side.   We are here on this earth to for a reason and its not to sit by with our eyes closed hoping that the bad stuff will just magically go away.  We must open our eyes to what we don’t want to see, then step up and open the door.  Then don’t just open the door, go through it and then open those eyes and do something about what we see.  That is the only way to have true peace and see true beauty.  I want to open my eyes and receive the blessings he has put here for me.

 I am not sure what God has in store for me this time but I do know that he has never left me before and every single trial, pain or suffering I have had in my life has ended up having a good outcome and a lesson learned.  I know I still have a lot to learn and I also know life will never be boring.  When I let God into my life nobody said it would be easy, but it is so much better.  I have nothing to fear because – I can do everything through Him, who gives me strength.  Philippians 4:13

Philippians 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

* a note to what the spider webs I am seeing are and no I am not nuts and seeing things….Yesterday I woke with huge black floaters and flashing lights in my eye again.  I tried my best to ignore it but just as I finished shopping at a grocery store a giant spider web looking black mass covered my vision.   I went to my retina doctor and found out have yet another eye issue, caused either by scarring in my eye from my retinal vein occlusion I had last year of the medication they used to treat it.  The vitreous gel is pulling away from my peripheral area of vision has torn my retina a bit so what I am seeing is blood floating in my eye.  At this point there is nothing that can be done except to wait and watch it in case I would happen to get a retinal detachment. But no worries as you can tell I am doing well because God has me and is in control :)

Thank you so much for reading and have a blessed day 🙂

Spiders, Airplanes and Fear

This week has been a week of revelation and great joy for me.  A lot of things have been learned these past few days. First thing I would like to say is as I am writing this I am on my way home from a 3 night visit to my favorite place in the world, Jamaica.  I am at 38,000 feet in the air on an airplane without my seat belt on and there is a lot of turbulence at the moment.  I never go with out the seat belt and especially not on a flight with turbulence.  Though I am a travel agent I am extremely afraid to fly.   But for the first time in my life I am not afraid and I finally realize that God is in control of this plane and of my life.

This vacation started with me going to bed on Tuesday night to try to get some sleep knowing I had an early flight to catch the next morning.   As I was just settling down to sleep I looked up and happened to notice on the wall behind my bed my number one biggest fear in the world, a spider. Gosh I do not like spiders.  I think they are absolutely the most creepiest creatures I have ever seen.  Those long creepy legs send goose bumps up and down my spine.  I can not hardly even bare to look at them.  

Upon trying to smash the spider he dropped to the floor still very much alive and proceeded to crawl around behind the headboard of my bed.  I waited impatiently for him to come out all the while keeping my eye on him watching him crawl up an down the wall never quite coming close enough from behind the safety of the headboard so I could kill him. It was almost as if he knew I was there and was messing with me.  He would come out and as I would try to hit him then he would run.  Then to my horror on my last attempted to smash him he went behind the wall trim never to be found again, my worst nightmare!  What was I going to do?  There was no possible way I could sleep with a spider on the loose in my bedroom and so close to my bed!   I just knew if I dare close my eyes for one second he would come creeping out and climb into bed with me.  I decided that was the end of my sleeping for the night and in frustration I laid down at the bottom of the bed so I could keep a close eye on the wall trim where he had magically disappeared to.
As I was laying there watching the trim,  I thought of something my friend Judy had said to me one day about praying for spider grace.  I was planning to go on a mission trip with her next Winter and was told a story of spiders that they had encountered on a previous mission trip. I had told her how I was worried about spiders being there for this one and said I did not think I would be able to take lots of spiders very well.  She had then said to me we will pray for you to have spider grace.  I never really had thought about her saying that again since.  I am not going on that trip now and by the way not because of spiders. That is another long story I may put here one day but not today.  This story is plenty long enough

Anyway… as I was laying there watching for Mr. Spider to come back out I thought about spider grace… I wondered what that could be…but thought maybe now would be a good time to find out so I began to pray. I know that may sound weird to you but I prayed to God to please give me spider grace.  I do not sleep well and on a normal night without any spiders I would have had a hard time sleeping anyway but about 2 minutes into my prayer the next thing I knew I was waking up and it was morning! Spider grace…wow God had given me spider grace! I had just managed to sleep through my worst fear and was getting ready to face my next biggest fear…flying.  If God could get me through spiders I knew flying would be a breeze.

We arrived at the airport and found that the plane was full.  We were flying charter so you get your seats when you arrive at the ticket counter.  We were given 2 seats across the isle from each other.  I ended up with sitting with a couple of which the man was afraid to fly. So at least I had company.  We talked about our fear of flying and it actually seemed quite odd hearing another persons reasoning as to why they are afraid to fly.  That conversation seemed to take my mind off of my own fear a bit.   I do not like take off at all and do not like landing to much more other than it means I am going to be safely back on the ground soon.

I will have to admit at take off I was afraid but I did know that Jesus was with me holding my hand.  I am not afraid of dying but I do have to admit I do not want to fall out of the sky and think about hitting the ground on my way to Heaven.  As we were shooting up into the sky and the fear was building all the sudden I found myself feeling peaceful as if He were whispering to me “its ok I got this” and he did have it.  The rest of the flight I was great. We even ended up in the sky about an hour longer than expected because we had to go around a storm in the gulf.   We landed in Jamaica safe and sound.

The first thing I saw when we left the airport was the slum area.  As always it tugged at my heart making me wonder how it is possible that such poverty can sit on one right there in the middle of a tropical paradise overlooking the dark blue waters of the Caribbean Sea.  Shortly after passing that we arrived at our luxurious resort.  I thought to myself, why has God chosen for me to be on vacation here and those who live here are in such need?   While I was there in Jamaica I found my self finding hidden treasure everywhere the whole time I was there.  I found treasure in small animals such as birds and crabs, flowers and of course the ocean.  I always feel closest to God when I am by the ocean.  I think it’s because when I see it I realize his awesome power.  Did you ever think about how we are floating on a ball through space and we don’t fall off and the water does not pour off? How could there not be God?

The next morning my husband and I noticed a couple who had been on the plane with us coming in with their suitcases leaving the resort.  We talked to each other about them wondering what had happened and why they had cut their vacation short. Did they not like the resort? Did something happen at home?  We later forgot all about them but  then the next afternoon we saw them at the resort again.   Again we talked about them.  We wondered why they left with suitcases and then came back?  They were like a mystery couple.  Again we forgot all about them and continued with our vacation.

Now to today, we missed our shuttle ride to the airport because they had changed the pick up time and we did not know it.  We had to get a taxi to the airport.  Because we were flying charter we did not have assigned seats on the plane and we were last in line.  When we got up to the counter we found out that there were only 2 seats left on the plane that we could have and they were not together.  I did not want to ride away from my husband so asked about the preferred seating.  I was told they had 2 seats not together but across the isle from each other and they were only $20 a piece so we decided to buy them.  With those seats you also get special perks.  One of them being, you get to board the plane before everyone else.

When we began to board I was close to the front of the line to being first on the plane and guess who got pulled for a full search? Ya, you guessed it, ME!   They went through my suitcase, my purse and checked my pockets.  They also gave me a full body pat down while everyone else in line got to go right by me and get on the plane, so much for my getting on the plane first perk.   It was not really my best day so far as you can tell but I do get to sit in the front of the plane and across the isle from my husband so that is a blessing.  As I got on the plane I silently prayed to God?”  Could you please let me sit by someone nice on the plane?”

I entered the plane, had a hard time finding a place to put my carry on because by now the bins were full, but finally I arrived at my seat.   Imagine my shock when I realized of all the people on that plane my seat mates are the mystery couple we had noticed at the resort 🙂  Nobody can tell me that God did not fully orchestrate this whole seating arrangement.

We began to chat and immediately I discovered that I really like these people.   They are so full of Jesus and joy its spilling over into my seat.  They won their vacation from a local radio station but of the 2 full days they had for vacation they chose to bring in supplies for the needy and they spent one whole day going around giving them out.  They visited schools, clinics and homes giving out clothing, school supplies and toiletries.  They are full of stories and just bubbling with joy left over from their visits.

**The captain just illuminated the seat belt sign so much for writing this seat beltless and the turbulence is really rough now. Have to put away my kindle, we will be landing in about a half and hour so will finish this at home on the ground.

Safely on the ground now and its Sunday… hopefully I can remember where I was going with this and finish it up, its no longer a blog its a book lol

During the plane ride home, after talking to my seat mates for a while I listened to music while I read. even slept and of course wrote half this blog.  The plane ride had a lot of rough turbulence that day.  I don’t remember being upset at all even found it kind of fun.  I found out after we got home there was a tropical storm in the gulf that we were going around.  We landed about an hour late again.  I was talking to my Dawn my neighbor again after I had to put away the kindle and quit writing.  A funny thing happened that day.  I was so busy talking to her we landed and I realized I did not pay to much attention that we were landing.  I looked around when we were on the ground and said “oh my gosh!  we landed?” to my husband.   If you have ever flown with me you know I do not miss landings because I am usually digging my nails into my palms of my hands as I close my eyes.

This next thing I am going to tell you is a secret I have been keeping for a while. Most people do not know this about me.  In the past I had used alcohol as a way to escape my problems or to numb pain or fear.  I have never been one to drink on the job or drink and drive or do anything to get myself in to trouble, but alcohol was my drug of choice when needing something to turn to for comfort.  Flying is one of those occasions where I would drink so as not to be afraid. Every bit of turbulence I would have pushed the call button and asked for more wine.

Before this trip I prayed to God to please lead me and show me what his plan is for me. I know it was not an accident I ended up sitting next to those people on the plane.   I also know for a fact his plan for me is mission work and I know I am already involved in it a tiny bit and who knows where its going to end up going.  I can not wait to find out!  I’m sure there will be lots more turbulence and maybe spiders (lol this is so long I forgot I started with spiders) but I am not scared I am excited.  I also know that his plan does not include alcohol to distort my view along the way because it does not give me peace and makes me not be the person I am supposed to be.  Something else I discovered these past few days is that on a plane is not the only place I have found turbulence.  My life has been kind of like a plane ride.  Most days I am flying along smoothly and happy.  But then there are those days I hit a few small bumps but then I recover pretty fast and do not even notice.  Then there are other days that I hit a really rough patch and bounce all over the place trying to get my self back on a smooth path and find I need a call button.  Do I push the call button and ask for wine?  No way! I have the ultimate call button now.  I have a direct call button to God.  I do not need wine because I have Jesus he comes and takes my order, takes my hand, calming me.  Just like on a plane turbulence is always expected.  It won’t ever fully go away and the same is true with my life.   I can chose to be afraid and numb it up with some alcohol or I can truly find real peace knowing He is there helping me to me relax and enjoy the ride.

I have one more thing to add to this, along with the preferred seating I mentioned it came with perks.  One of those perks was I was given ticket vouchers for 2 free alcoholic beverages of my choice I chose a cranberry apple drink and did NOT put the vodka in it.  It was not needed God is all I need 🙂

2 Timothy 1:7   For the spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.

John 14:27   Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Thanks for reading and God Bless you 🙂

The Body

I didn’t go to church today and I feel like I missed something.  I know I don’t have to go into a building to worship God but there is just something really wonderful about worshipping together with other Christians that I do not like to miss.  The feeling of the love in the room is awesome.  We are all there together as one to worship our God.  We are a mixed group of people all from different backgrounds and different lives but in that church we can see that we are one, when we are there we can see and feel that we are the body of Christ.   We are all there with one thing in common.  We are His children, we are brothers and sisters united together, sharing the love for our Lord and Savior and we are there to praise Him.  It doesn’t matter who we are, where we come from or what we wear.  It’s just come as you are because we all belong to Him and He loves us.  In life sometimes easy to  forget those things and  feel divided although He loves us all exactly the same.  It does not matter where we are when we worship Him but in the church we can feel our unity as one body, as his body all of us together to worship Him in Our church. I know I did not have to go to a building today to spend time with God,  but next week I plan to go to church and worship with my family.

for we are members of his body. Ephesians 5:30 

Acts 2:46-47  Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts,  praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

Colossians 3:16  Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts

Thank you for reading and God Bless you 🙂

Your Gift

As I open my eyes

I see the sun begin to rise.

Shining out of the dark swirls of pink purple and blue.

A beauty so awesome reminds me its you.

Orange and yellow begin to shine bright

As the sun slips up over the edge of the night.

A new day dawning your full glory I see.

Thank you God for this gift you give to me.

Written By Terri Siebert