Category Archives: HOPE

The Blessing of a Health Scare – Post 1 of ?

At first glance, serious health scares are just plain bad.  Yet mine has been a great blessing . . . because it clarified priorities.

Now in my early sixties, I’ve lived super healthy since my Dad’s fatal heart attack in 1986 and my Mom’s early strokes soon after. Last March, a cardiologist explained three fairly serious issues with my heart.  I stared, unseeing, at the yellow legal pad in my lap, unable to ask the questions I’d prepared. Could the sterile white walls and glinting chrome in my doctor’s office soon be replaced with the even starker sterility of a hospital room, pungent with antiseptics?

Later, the gifted counselor I see monthly to prevent the return of depression suggested that I ask, “What would I do if I knew I had six months to live?” She had asked herself that question after her own health scare wake-up call.

So, what did I do? First, I made all my habits even healthier.  Immediately!

Second, I began getting my affairs in order, starting long-delayed tasks such as letters to my loved ones and planning my own funeral.

Third, I pondered priorities for however long I remained on this earth, be it six months, six years, or whatever.  Four clear goals emerged:

  • improve my relationship with God
  • live as healthy a lifestyle as possible
  • invest more time in people and relationships
  • resume the writing and blogging I had put on hold shortly before learning about the heart issues.

Yes, these had been my goals before but now. . .now I REALLY focused. My dear Heavenly Father led me by the hand with each goal, just as I hold my grandsons’ warm little hands to guide them and keep them close while we walk together.  In the next few posts, I look forward to sharing the paths we have taken together.

May God richly bless you and yours,

Freda

Nearer Each Day to You. . . What More Do I Need, Lord?

At our monthly prayer team meeting tonight, we will sing the song at this link http://bit.ly/1VcXlhr  One of the prayer team leaders, sent the link on Saturday, when I was struggling, again, with trusting God that I could actually do all the things successful authors  “have” to do today.

I had gotten up early, enjoyed a leisurely extra cup of coffee, pondering God and His ways and looking out the window at my little collection of plants on the porch and at the beautiful tree just beyond my porch.  I had a long to do list – work on revising my keywords for both blogs,  search the web for more information about publishing electronically, read and make notes on the three library books I have checked out on blogging and publishing. . . and on and on.

My beautiful view on Saturday mornings with the Lord
My beautiful view on Saturday mornings with the Lord

All I really wanted to do was write, all day long, like I did years ago, after Sharon grew up and before I returned to school.  But the folks who have successfully published multiple ebooks and who are making a profit by telling us all how to do the same, keep saying the same thing:   writers cannot just write anymore.  They have to work on their own publicity — use Facebook, Twitter, do public speaking engagements, use special marketing techniques to “drive” readers to your website, and on and on and on.

I doggedly worked on some of all that for three hours Saturday and then went for a short walk.  I was then so tired, in mind and body, that I accidentally napped for four hours and woke up just in time to watch the news.  Oh well, I thought.  I tried.

Later that night, just before I went to bed early so I could  get up Sunday morning to pray before services, I saw the email with the link to that song.  Trust finally broke through the fog.

Forgive me, Lord, for letting worry, and self effort, steal much of our joy together on this Saturday, the day You and I have together to write and think and just be together.  Lord, I will keep trying to do some of the things people are saying are necessary for a writer in today’s world.  But I am mainly going to just write, because I know that is my true calling from You.  I feel Your touch on my heart when we write. Thank You for that!

I am going to trust You to make my feeble efforts at publicity work because I simply do not have time to do a lot of that and be with my grandsons and also do the writing itself.  Even if only a few people ever read what You and I write together, I will have fulfilled the call You put on my life, so I will be very, very joyful about that.

Writing. . . a priceless gift from God
Writing. . . a priceless gift from God

Thank You once again, dear dear Father, for Your guidance and for showing me over so many years that I can trust You.  If this plan is wrong, then please show me.  But, regardless, Lord, thank You for this gift You have given.  Empower me to use it totally for Your Kingdom and for Your glory. I love You so much!  

A Haunting Question. . . Did My Father Make It To Heaven?

Treasured Memories of my Earthly Father

I was sitting with the Lord, enjoying a second cup of coffee, replaying in my mind the rich, soothing baritone of Ed Ames I’d listened to last night. Suddenly, tears were streaming down my cheeks. Baritone voices always reminded me of my Dad.

Daddy’s voice had been strong, deep and marvelously resonant. Though every inch a man’s man, when he talked to me his voice was always gentle.  Just the sound of him talking  – about anything –  soothed whatever was wrong.

Though Daddy passed in 1986, the pain of missing him still burns.  I was a new believer back then.  I had studied, diligently, how to witness to people and I tried talking to Daddy, but I did not do very well  Daddy had not gone to church the last few years of his life and did not seem to want to talk much about God with me.

So, when he passed the question of whether I would see him in heaven began haunting me.  I have talked about my Daddy in previous posts, http://bit.ly/1SIexOu.  But truly, words are inadequate to say how much he meant to me.  Daddy and my daughter, Sharon, shown below when she was 10, remain the two great human loves of my lifetime.

Daddy and Sharon, My Two Great Loves
Daddy and Sharon, My Two Great Loves

Treasured Truth from my Heavenly Father

God sends a comforting thought every time I wonder about Daddy’s eternal home.  God promises when I get to heaven, there will be no more tears, no more sadness. . . that somehow I will see things from God’s perspective.  So that means if Daddy did not make it, the pain of missing him will be gone, which is another mystery of God far, far beyond my understanding.

But I accept this truth by faith.

And the several times each day when  I think of Daddy, I thank God that Daddy showed me what a strong, loving and tender father is like.  The love of my earthly father, Fred Farmer, prepared the way for me to walk in grateful closeness with my beloved Heavenly Father.  That is a priceless gift, and a deeply cherished treasure.

Thank you, Father, for my Daddy and his love for me and all his family.  May those who did not have the good fortune of a Daddy like mine be able to feel the same tenderness from You and the security of a close walk with You.  And if they have hurtful memories, You are the Great Physician.  Please heal those past hurts and put in their place a deep, deep love and passion for You.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

Those Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Days We All Have

Recently, my daughter found a copy at a thrift store of “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” by   Judith Viorst (available at Amazon at  http://amzn.to/1PLVLTq     This delightful, insightful book is most certainly at your local library also.

When my daughter was little, I never actually read the book to her but I talked about it and explained the principle behind it.  That principle is that all of us, sometimes, have days when things, every little thing, just seems to go wrong – all dreary day long.  And, like the little boy in the book, we want to move to Australia – or anywhere, to escape what our life is like today.

I had one of those days yesterday – yes, out of the blue it seemed.  And yes, though I have oh so gratefully followed Jesus for more than 30 years now. I should know better than to give in to feelings.  I should have been able to rise about it immediately.  But, I am human, oh so so very human.

Having been blessed with good health for most of my life, this aging thing has been hard to accept, and especially being sick and asthmatic for two months as the cedar and mold levels have exploded here in Austin.  It finally got to me as did the fact of having gotten little work done during these last two months while I have felt so bad.

But God. . . but God saw and He understood.  I just told Him how I felt, and finally just laid it all in His hands, confessing my sin of doubt and, yes, resentment about being sick, and fear that it would grow worse and that I was getting too old and tired to work productively. (Now that was all certainly a poison bouquet of lies from the enemy of our souls!)

Nothing happened immediately, except a sense of relief at finally labelling the feeling, with God, in prayer.  Then I fixed my oatmeal and took it with me to eat at my daughter’s house, where I help with my two grandsons.

As I helped with their breakfast and held the sleepy two year old while he ate his “bed”, as I took my four-year old grandson to the gym with me, and then played on the playground after. . . I got my perspective back, and rather quickly.

Making an effort to get your mind off your problems and to actively trust God,  counting your blessings – and genuinely enjoying them, just as they are presented to you, and seeking to help others – it works every time, even when our humanity and the enemy have managed to gain a foothold of fear and worry we did not recognize until it has grown to stumbling block size.

In First Peter, chapter 5, verse 7, God says to “Cast all our anxiety on Him [God] because He cares for you.”    Dear friend, what more do we need to know than that?  Listen to this song and be lifted up.  http://http://amzn.to/1PLVLTq

He loves you so so much more than we can ever imagine!

Sunrise . . . Sunset, Proclaiming God’s Power and His Tender Care

God Changes Our World to Focus Our Thoughts and Give Us Hope

My windows face west so I cannot see the horizon change as the day dawns.  But God changes the world for us twice each day. At sunset, as well as at sunrise, the beauty is beyond words.

As light dispels all darkness, so His love dispels all fear
As light dispels all darkness, so His love dispels all fear

Late into sunset, the lacey black silhouettes of trees stand in sharp contrast to the rosey and flamed  hues visible just above the horizon.  Above that, those rosey hues merge into brighter hues of blue and then finally  fade to deep indigo, as God puts this half of His earth to sleep, so the plants and animals – and His beloved human beings — may rest.   The following  link displays sunrisings and sunsettings, with reverential, worshipful music.  Look at it and ponder God’s great love for you, as an individual.   http://bit.ly/1OYcq4B

Gazing long at the western sky comforts me. It reminds me that God controls the entire universe, the unseen as well as the seen.  The beauty of sunset also reminds me that the mighty One, the God of angel armies, is taking just as much care with my one little life as He is with keeping the planets in balance.  What an unspeakable treasure to ponder!  How can it possibly be?  But, yet, I know it is true.

God Encourages Us Through the Beauty of Nature

The books of Catherine Marshall played a key role in leading me to Jesus.  One of my favorites of her books was ” Christy”.   (Here is a link to purchase a copy of the original 1967 book, which later became a television series.  http://amzn.to/1Vyi5A2)  In “Christy”, a man struggling with doubt is advised to arise while it is still dark and watch the sunrise, every day, until he hears from God.

It worked for him, and it has worked for me for decades – without fail, no matter the current challenges in my life. My heavenly Father’s comfort and peace never fail to calm my soul and soothe troubled emotions as I watch His mighty hand paint the sky.  Being alone with God like that feels like a gentle hug from my big, strong earthly father, whose calming presence was one of the greatest blessings of my life.

Psalm 19, verse 1 in the Bible says “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands.” (NIV)

For transcendant thoughts on this passage by Bible scholars, click this link – and be blessed! http://bit.ly/1nFhWAv

"The heavens declare the glory of God. . . " (Psalm 19:1,a NIV)
“The heavens declare the glory of God. . . ” (Psalm 19:1,a NIV)