My sentimental journey

An ordinary girl's walk with an extraordinary God.


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The Royal Flush

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A month ago it was my turn to lead our Life group discussion on Kris Vallottons’s book the, “Supernatural Ways of Royalty.”  A fantastic read poignantly reminding us we are God’s royal Princesses and Princes.  Simple truths, reiterating who we are in Christ Jesus and walking it out with confident trust.  Since “The Royal Flush” was the title of  chapter 4, I thought it would be clever to play on the words using tools gleaned from a small group training last Fall.  So, what better way to start the evening off than an Ice Breaker using playing cards?  Four different suits, four different questions … having them  pick a card any card. Sharing the following based on which one they selected.

The Heart … What is on your heart?
The Spade… What do you want to cultivate in your life?
The Diamond… What is precious to you?
The Club … What do you want to work on getting rid of in your life?

Everyone selected a card  conveying their choice and what it meant to them.  After all had shared it was my turn to talk, revealing the Spade in my hand  declaring how I wanted to “cultivate” my faith. It sounded  spiritual and all grown up… someone who had put their Big Girl pants on. Having no idea the next two weeks would give ample opportunity to “Cultivate ” my faith.
Here’s the hand I was dealt, starting out with…

My husband loosing half a tooth  while eating his sandwich………… $167 after insurance.
Our family car died as we pulled  into United Battery’s parking lot to drop off our son’s old battery ………….$98.00 for a new battery.
Realizing our alternator was the main culprit…. “DOA” ………………….. $200.
Next, this same car did not pass DMV  and needed the EGR replaced  ………….$216.
Yep, you guessed it, our family car was on a roll… one tire was nearly flat and all 4 were balding ……..$599.
Mixing it up and changing gears, the old Lap Top computer kicked the bucket  ……..$229.
However, the piece  de resistance was the sewer pipe blowing its lid (unbeknownst to us) landing all our Royal Flushing smack dab onto the front yard; for only God knows for how long.  FYI… For those inquiring minds that wonder how we could not have noticed this,  we always enter and exit using our side door.  Temporary sewer fix….$160

Believe me, I’ve had way too much fun thinking about this last one. The thought of bubbling crude erupting like old faithful gushing out onto the yard.  Dingy white toilet paper clinging on for dear life draping  Mugho Pines and a nearby Candy Tuft.  Wondering what the dear postman thought as he whistled happily up the walkway delivering our mail, clueless to this now primitive sewage system.  Wishing at least we could have provided a sign warning, “Their She Blows” before he embarked up  to the mailbox so innocent and unaware.

Makes me wonder if  praying to cultivate my faith fell  along the  same  lines as praying  for patience.  Desiring a goal devoid of the pain, or the process of getting there.  More often than not, in order to develop patience it requires having difficulties to encounter.  For example, you pack for a balmy  trip to Cancun and are  greeted with the biting cold of Nome Alaska instead.

Perhaps my pageant answer was too cliche when it was my turn to share.  If I had truly thought through what it means to “Cultivate”,  another card would have been my choice. Webster’s dictionary defines  it: “to loosen and break up the soil, to improve by labor, care, or study”… adding  in unpleasant manure is usually part of the process.  Flowery words spoken dare not grow nor thrive without being planted in rich fertile soil.  What you practice is way more challenging  than merely preaching. Still, my heart  has a deep longing  to live with authentic faith.  Having well worn rubber meet life’s hard to travel roads.  Being mindful that there isn’t a day that goes by, that I haven’t fallen short and my faith tires have gone flat. Thankfully, God already knows, His countless promises remind me of that.

Psalms 73:26 says:  “My flesh and my heart fails: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever.”

Feeling like doodoo has hit the fan?  Your desire is to press into the Lord but you can’t wade through all the manure of life.  Good News!  God is there with wading boots on, ready to pull you out of the muck and mire.  Your needs, well, God has them covered too; He provides daily manna from Heaven a rich storehouse of provision.

All the drains to our bank account  did increase my faith for when I cried uncle God showed  up.  Writing this story  I’m  conscious that many of you have far greater situations  to recover from.  May I encourage you, God is faithful and nothing comes as a surprise to Him. He knows when your toilet overflows, or if someone you love walks away. No matter how great or small, God sees it all and cares with a love that is outrageous.

Father God, thank you that you hold our times in your hands, all  our needs, hurts, and fears are safe in your redeeming grace filled hands. Hands that rock mercy, display forgiveness and reach out to us with tender compassion… a winning hand time after time.


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Grace Filled Storms

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The  sun is  shining brilliantly outside my window while robust winds toss trees seemingly without mercy and downright relentless. Inside my feet dangle freely and rather comfortably positioned right over a toasty register unaware of the robust gales outside.  As I ponder these mighty winds our beloved  city of Troutdale is know for displaying,  I’ve come to conclude with great conviction I might add, Chicago could have strong competition holding the title of  “The Windy City” if it was ever up for grabs.  This little town is proving to be one heck of  powerful contender thanks to the  east winds whipping through  the Columbia River Gorge.  If by chance we were in Christopher Robin’s neck of the woods.  Winnie the Pooh would call this a “blustery day” indeed.  However, my  mind is  contemplating and pondering more then the breeze that rattled the windows ,but instead what the rest of the day holds.  Feeling my spirits being churned  equally as the unsettled blasts of winds presently a mere stones throw from my cozy indoor haven .

For later today my husband and I have plans  to visit  my brother at his Alzheimer care facility where he now resides.  Each visit  bracing myself expecting to experience storm tossed, squally feelings of loss.  Deep longing for days gone by  when my brother and I could laugh and communicate more freely.  Far before illness sprawled graffiti painted words such as limitation on the walls of his life. Trying through it all to hear the heart of God over my redundant and deafening questions of why. Why this Lord?, why now ?, why him.?  Aware for now these why questions are left unanswered.  Regardless, I know I’m not alone for many of you can relate to the  wrestling thoughts of your personal whys? Maybe it’s the why of an illness, a painful divorce, a heartbreaking death, or some other tragic loss? Perhaps you don’t ask the why’s like I do being aware that focusing on them is usually not very helpful.  There is a key to  greater understanding whenever I  pause to fix my gaze  at the bigger picture called  eternity…  glimmering with all  its’  truth  shining brightly before me.  Laura Story’s song, “Blessings” is one of my favorites, every time I hear it  I sing along in full of  appreciation of its’ profound  lyrics… some of it goes as follows…

“What if my greatest disappointment or the aching of this life , Is the revealing of the greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
 and what if the trails in this life … the rain, the storm the hardest nights are your mercies in disguise.”

Laura wrote “Blessings ” after a brain tumor hospitalized her husband in 2006  it was a stormy time for them and the road to recovery that followed.  When being interviewed by Kevin Davis of NRT she shared, “The song shows that we still have more questions than answers. But there’s a decision that I find God is asking us to make.  Are we going to judge God based on our circumstances or are we going to choose to interpret our circumstances based on what we hold to be true about God”?

Walking  in a temporal  world repeatedly  asking the why’s  tosses my soul back and forth blasting my faith with its’ billowing windstorms. Speaking from experience I have a battered soul to prove it.  However, today if I choose  to walk again with a  determined faith  making a sincere conscious effort to take each day as a gift.  Knowing full well God’s  mercies are new every morning, embracing more completely the here and now with all the messes and heartache that can accompany it.  Trying my best  to refrain from asking  a copious amount of  ” The 5 W+ H” of Journalist questions to God… consisting of  Who, What, When, Where, Why, How… settling wholly on the bottom line alone. What is that you may ask?  If we know who God is, and what are His promises… the When, Where, Why and How  with lose prominence. God is Love, God is Just, God is Faithful, to name a  few.  We can boldly  look to Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith.  Whether it’s  sunny, windy  or both  we can   rejoice… turning our maze of questions into an  a “mazing” trust, *painting grace graffiti on the fences of our  limitations and losses.

Lord you know how I need you, Your truth, grace, hope and  joy. Casting my cares upon you for you care for me.

“The Future is, of all things, the thing least like eternity. It is the most temporal part of time–for the Past is frozen and no longer flows, and the Present is all lit up with eternal rays.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

“For the Present is the point at which time touches eternity.  C.S. Lewis The Screwtape Letters

*Psalms 17:7  The Message Bible