Saturday, September 29, 2007

A Time to Wait on God

Hello friends,

Waiting on God. It's the hardest thing for me to do, in my spiritual walk with Him. Of course I would like my request to be answered in the way that I want, preferably immediately. And waiting can make me absolutely crazy! Understanding why the wait is necessary is the second thing that I struggle with. I have a wonderful friend, whose walk with the Lord is similar to mine. She used to say, "I thought I was an only child." Then I would say, "well, I thought I was God's favorite child." Then we'd both laugh.

So, here I am, waiting, and I don't understand why. The ironic side of this, is when the Lord moves in my favor, He is always right on time. THEN I understand why He said 'No.' THEN I understand His wisdom, and I am so glad that He didn't give me what I asked for, right away. Then, I am so thankful that He said, 'No," or "Not Yet."

You see, I rely on God. Oh, I know that the wisdom of our day says, "Make Yourself Rich. Just send me this amount, and you'll be rich like me!" It doesn't matter who says these things, whether they be Christians or Secular; I simply don't believe it. I know it's not true. I need God, and though I am human, with lots of wants, I'd rather God say 'No,' then to have the riches of this world, without Him.

I find the wisdom of the world very depressing. My father's God was money. He didn't have any, so he spent his life looking for it, believing that his "windfall" was just around the corner, and one day his "ship would come in." Well, I can tell you honestly, the windfall never came, and 'til the day he died, his "ship" was still out to sea.

I taught my children that the best things in life were, first God, then family, and country. I also taught them that there is no windfall; there is no ship. There is only this: love, faith, and hard work. There will be tribulations. Life can be scary. We must be vigilant that we are not setting ourselves up to be victims. Conduct yourself wisely. Remove the sign from your forehead that says, "Victim here!" And always beware of the person who has easy answers. Because most answers only come through prayer, blood, sweat, and tears...and waiting on God.

I believe that it is time to smell the roses, if you haven't lost your sense of smell. Hug those you love, and tell them that you love them. Take a step back from the world. Slow down, and look at the beauty around you. Take a deep breath, and pray. Then wait on God. I'm still learning how to do that.

With love,

Friday, September 28, 2007

A Time to Be Thankful for the Manna

Hello friends,

Probably the most difficult problem that I have spiritually is to surrender my will to God's. With financial and medical needs, and the price of gasoline in the U.S., I have my list of needs, along with my list of wants:

"I'd really like to have this today, Lord."

"Could you please hold back the flood, just this once, and I'll surrender tomorrow?"

I am signed up for every online catalogue that holds my every desire: gardening, clothing, furniture, and things to buy to spoil my dog. If it is for someone else, I'll spend every penny I have. When it comes to myself, I'm cheap. My family keeps careful watch, so that I don't buy the dress for $9.99 that looks like a Halloween costume. Somehow, I find it within myself to declare, "but I really DO love orange, purple and black polka-dots!"

"No you don't, Mom."

"No. I really do love it."

"No you don't, Dear."

"But it's only $9.99!"

Then pandemonium sets in.

"Quick, hide the check book!"

"Cancel the credit cards!"

"Don't let her near the phone!"

This is a closer truth than you could possibly imagine. I'm beyond thrifty. Way past frugal. If it's for me, and it's mismatched, purple and green, and ONLY $9.99, I'm standing in line. "It looks warm." So are Army fatigues. "It's colorful." So are lollipops. But you wouldn't lick them and stick them all over your body and call it a dress! But it's so CHEAP! Uh-huh.

Then, there are my larger dreams: the cyclone fencing for my acre and a half yard; hardwood floors; a four season sun room; Anderson windows; sky-lights; and someone to clean my bathrooms and those nifty hardwood floors. Like everyone else, I have wants that I keep translating into "gotta have" needs. Please, God, give me the surplus, and I'll never ask for another thing. Until next time. Often I see that in myself, and I don't like it.

You see, I do know that there are other real needs to pray for. Please, Lord, heal my friend's cancer. Watch over my children and husband. Lord, make me more like You. And then there is the "thank You, Lord." For Your hand of protection, for Your hand of favor; no matter the tribulation, thank You for carrying me through. And so much more.

Thank You. For the birds that come to my feeders, depending on me to give them food and drink. For the elegantly lovely sunrise, and the beauty of the mountains. For the love that I see in my husband's eyes. For the beauty and devotion of my children. For my darling, dapper dachshund. For the adorable creatures You have put in my care, who give me so much joy. For laughter that makes my sides ache. For peace in my home. Protection from storms. Surprise snow showers. And let me not forget, thank You, Lord, for Your provision every day. THANK YOU, GOD, FOR YOUR MANNA!

Manna. That bread from heaven; for food and drink; for each day's gift. Thank You for each day's needs. Thank You, Lord, for MANNA.

With love,


Saturday, September 22, 2007

A Time for Trust

Hello friends,

I wanted to share, with you, a window into my prayer life:

Do I love You, Lord? Do I? Does my heart beat first for You?
You are worthy, Lord, and I know it. Have I truly surrendered to You?
I try. Oh yes, I try. To listen to Your Will.
Am I obedient in all things? Okay. Most things? Ah yes, some things.
Am I patiently awaiting, trusting in Your love?

Is my anger under Your control? Or is it an explosion waiting to happen?
Am I still one of Your favorites? Have I tried you way too long?
Can I feel Your Holy Presence? When the night seems filled with fear?
I am talking, Lord; but am I listening? Will You still my trembling heart.

Will you guard the little creatures that fill my yard with joy?
And what about my pets, Lord? Are they also in Your Care?
And my children, Lord, are You watching? Keep them safe within Your arms.
And my strong and faithful husband. Please, Lord, keep him in your care.
I can't live without him, Father, his safe and gentle arms.
Always waiting just to comfort, he's an angel in disguise.
Keep him by my side forever. Here on earth and way beyond.
Just the thought of life without him, fills my heart with fear and dread.

And my dreams and aspirations; Lord please keep them on Your heart.
Thank you, Lord, for every blessing; for Your comfort and Your peace.
I will trust You with each sorrow, knowing I am in Your care.
My decision is to trust You, even when the road seems dark.
I will look ahead in wonder as You light my every step.

Trusting You is joy and sorrow, as I try to see ahead;
As my plans are dashed and broken, and I must begin again.
Yes, my God, I trust You, knowing with my every breath,
You are holding me above the tempest, in the shadow of Your wings. Jaye Lewis

My friends, I wanted to share with you, the journey that I am taking. I wanted you to know that for each of us, as we seek answers, the journey involves much struggle and much joy.

I've been asked again and again, how to have a relationship with God; and my answer is this: Start. Begin where you are. Talk to Him, even when your strength and dreams turn to ashes. He will carry you the rest of the way. This is what I do every day. It's hard, joyful, and often filled with questions without answers, at least not the answers that I wish. I had a very wise pastor who once said, "if you're not struggling, you're not doing it right." I laughed at the time, but I have found it to be true.

So, now, I wish you a weekend filled with family, friends, and joy. I wish you peace and happiness. God be with you, and may He guide You on the roadway of your life. I once told my daughters, "look towards His light. When the light moves, you know that you are standing in the wrong line."

With love,
Jaye Lewis

Friday, September 14, 2007

A Time for Reason

Hello friends,

Probably the hardest thing I do in life is to keep silent. When I brandish my opinion, especially when I believe that I am right, I always get sick. My body and my emotion are entwined much like two wire fences. In a short amount of time it is impossible to distinguish the two. I seldom get angry. No. Really. Except when I see something as unfair, selfish, or cruel. It doesn't matter if someone is manipulating people for "the sake of the state" or "for the sake of religion," (their words, not mine), when I see that, I get beside myself with anger and outrage.

I will often complain to God, sometimes at the top of my lungs, as though I have the answer to life's complexities. I'm simply stunned at political leaders who fail to look at the lessons of history; and religious leaders who pervert the Word of God, for money, gain, or power.

Have you ever felt like a stranger in a strange land? King David often felt like a stranger. In Psalm 39:12, he says to God, "for I am a stranger with You," as he entreated God to answer his prayer. In Psalm 69:8 he tells God, "I have become a stranger to my brothers," for the Lord's sake. David is not afraid to approach God with a reasoning argument. And then in Psalm 119, in the first verse, "I am a stranger in the earth." Wow! How often I have felt this way.

David says, in effect, "Look, God, this is what I have done, only for You. And look what is happening to me. Friends, family, and even the world itself treats me like a stranger. Aren't they supposed to want me? Aren't they supposed to love me? Aren't I supposed to feel like family? So, why do I feel so different; so alien; so like a stranger? As though I don't even belong on this earth."

All through the Bible we run into people who cried out to God, "I feel so alone! Help me!" That's often the way I feel. So then, I look to the Words of God, to tell me what He said about this very issue. In the first Chapter of Isaiah, verse 18, God says to His people:

"Come now, and let us reason together,'' says the Lord, "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool."

I will often read it like this: Come, Jaye, let Me reason with you. You be reasonable, says God. For I am filled with reason. I receive so much comfort in God's passionate pleadings with His people. Continuously He pleads for His people (me) to understand Him. Love me, He begs; for I will not force you to love Me, at the point of a sword.

Man forces. God pleads. God's passionate love fills me with joy, peace, and love for Him. There is no soul beyond His reach. There is no peace He cannot give. And the peace I seek can only come from Him. It's the only way that I can face the next five minutes on this strange and often awful world in which we live.

Blessedly, I have a loving husband and two beautiful daughters to share my journey. I also have four dogs, a cat, and an acre full of critters who make my heart beat warm, in the process.

So, now, in spite of me, I reason with God. Why have you given me this happiness? And the answer I receive is this: "Because I can."

With love,
Jaye Lewis

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A Time for His Arms to Hold Me

Hello friends,

Have you ever wondered what to do when calamity strikes? Your life goes along peaceably, and then you turn a corner and BOOM! Your life blows up. Someone you love gets terribly sick; divorce is suddenly thrust upon you; the child that you raised with love turns on you like a viper; your health gives out; you grow old and your body becomes weaker. I'm certain that each individual who reads this has experienced one or more of these blows to their life.

So how do we continue? Do we give up? Do we look for our answers in the bottom of a bottle? Do we seek oblivion in a bottle of pills. Or do we simply allow ourselves to be overcome and quietly go insane? What is our next step? Is there a next step? And who do we turn to?

I'm blessed with a wonderful husband and two loving daughters; however it was not always so. I remember the days of loneliness, without a loving voice or hand. And to tell the truth, I still have a day here and there, where I feel overcome by the world and the cares of life. My health becomes more complicated. My children go from one auto-immune disease to another. And I grow old. So where is that pitcher of lemonade, made from all those lemons? Where are all the platitudes that we love to cling to? Whose arms will catch me when the rug is snatched from beneath my feet? There is only One.

Years ago when abuse was heaped upon abuse; when hope was inconceivable; when no one wanted nor understood me; I found my answer. I run into God's arms. He enfolds me with His warmth; His protection; and His love. Are there times when I rail at Him and enumerate my complaints? Of course there are. Like a petulant child I cry "You don't love me! How could you let me suffer?! Why do you leave me alone?!"

That is often when His voice becomes more clear, as I remember the words of the Savior of the world crying from His Cross: "My God! My God! Why hast Thou forsaken me?!!" Then I am reminded that even Jesus had moments when He was so terribly alone, all He could do was cry, "Why." And that is when I feel my Father's breath upon my face. That is when I feel his hand upon my brow. That is when He gathers me into His arms, and He cradles me, with a love that is greater than all my problems, a protection that conquers all my fears.

So, now, as health and family sorrows try to become the focus of my life, I reach for His arms to hold me tight. I can feel Him swing me around, holding me close. I can see only Him.

With love,
Jaye Lewis

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