My sentimental journey

An ordinary girl's walk with an extraordinary God.


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The Best Brother in The World

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Comforting my brother when he had the mumps .

As we celebrate National Sibling day I want to take time to honor my brother and only sibling Troy. He has hands down been the best brother a gal could ever have. His long list of virtues could circle the globe with patience and joy steering the helm. God knew Troy would need a heavy arsenal of patience to grapple with the likes of me. Whether I ate his chocolate Valentines heart while he was at school, or sang “The Hills are Alive with the Sound of Music” repeatedly in the back seat of our Thunderbird, as he reminded a picture of calm. Rarely did I ruffle his feathers in the midst of my tomfoolery.

Like any good brother he brought protection and defense when situations proved dicey, even so far as telling my loving but frustrated mom when I was three, “Say something kind to her, she’s afraid of you”. Full of tenderhearted grace and laughter that simultaneously sparks a twinkle to his eyes. Troy has been a steady pillar of strength and unceasing joy to me and my family and undeniably his own as well.

Now that dementia has attacked his once strong body I reflect on God’s word that tells us, *“The rain falls on the just and unjust like”.  Becoming acutely aware we live in a fallen world where the excruciating truth is: bad things happen to good people; and no earthly umbrella is a worthy opponent against life’s blast of harsh realities.

My intentional steps move towards the cross laying the bitter blows of pain, loss and grief at the feet of Jesus. Solace found in the truth that You became, *” A man of sorrows and pains, and acquainted with grief, surely you have borne our, sicknesses, weaknesses and carried our sorrows”. A trustworthy Father to see us through dark hours of our soul as we find rest in all His good promises. Reminding myself this life is a mere dress rehearsal as we await the glory of heaven where * sighing and sadness shall flee and You will wipe away every tear from our eyes.

Today as I reminisce looking through copies of Troy’s baby book, I’m especially touched by what my mom recorded him telling her when I was two,  “I just love my sister, you got her because I wanted a sister “.  Heavenly Father, I want you to know, “I just love my brother, you got him because I wanted a brother” and I thank you that you picked the best one ever!

100_1044  “ Sometimes being a brother is even better than being a superhero.” –                                                                                                                                                                     Marc Brown

In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. Matthew 5:45

Isaiah 53:4 Amp Bible

Those the Lord has rescued will return.

They will enter Zion with singing;

everlasting joy will crown their heads.

Gladness and joy will overtake them,

and sorrow and sighing will flee away. Isaiah 51:11 NIV Bible


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The Letter Part Two

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After posting “The Letter” I was asked if I would be willing to share some of its’ content and am happy to do so.  I’m still amazed at the power that one letter did to change the course of history for Kevin and me.  And yet I’m reminded that the Bible is filled with countless love letters signed with passionate devotion by our Heavenly Father. Each sealed by His promises and delivered to each of us for our personal deliverance and comfort.

God’s letters have touched my heart, healed my wounds, and guided me in my darkest hours. Before I wrote this letter Kevin confided in me that he was struggling with God being His best friend and worst enemy. While I did not have that particular struggle, I did struggle with trusting in people.  Kevin’s mom had a gracious trust in people which made it easier for him to see the best in others.  However, I was raised with a mother that loved God as her best friend, confident she could fully trust in Him, but with people not so much. Personal traumas resulting from the wrong choices of others made it easy to turn to God for both my mother and I.

A dovetail of freedom unfolded from this match made in Heaven, as I helped Kevin out of the black hole and seeing God as His BFF, he in turn has helped me to learn how to trust healthy people. Giving me vital connections that have blessed my live so richly.

Following are some excerpts from that letter.

“Kevin Honey, I pray with all my heart that the Holy Spirit will allow you to see the truth in God’s powerful words and truths that have stood the test of time and struggle. Therefore if any man be in Christ Jesus he is a new creature old things are passed away, behold all things become new.  God is never the author of bondage, wickedness or any other area of darkness. There is no bondage of darkness that Jesus Christ cannot break. This terrible bondage cannot be broken with good confession or good intentions, it cannot be broken with willpower. Only when we fully accept the great sacrifice paid at the cross, the blood of Christ breaks every bondage of darkness. Therefore, we can be totally confident of deliverance… set free by the power of His shed blood.   Pray in the blood of Jesus, He will set you free.  Remember this, it is truly the answer you have been searching for.”

Love you Always,Lisa

My letter was simply God’s truths handwritten with love and faith eager to see Kevin’s transformation into a life of freedom. We have a God that is smitten with us, loves us through all eternity and died to set us free! May His resurrection serge life into you, bring you peace and joy unspeakable.

023


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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


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Swatting Lies

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We have all heard the expression “They are so sweet, they wouldn’t a fly.” Frankly, my feelings are that this statement cannot be entirely true. No matter how sweet you are, if a fly were dizzily buzzing around you, again and again, your instinct would be to swat it.  Only after repeated shooing away became ineffective of course.

Years ago, when our oldest son Derek was young, his grandma asked him what he wanted for Christmas.  He replied, “a fly swatter.”  this was both adorable and puzzling. Peaking my curiosity, this led me to  ask him about his unconventional request. He charmingly recounted the story of “Winnie the Pooh and Christmas, Too”,  a delightful tale of how Rabbit requested this same wish from Santa while Christopher Robin drafted a letter for the residents of the Hundred Acre Woods. Thankfully, he did not ask for Rabbit’s updated  more outlandish wish… a bug sprayer!

Truth be told, that was by far the cheapest Christmas gift on the pocket book and a cinch to find.  This whimsical request put all my shopping fears to rest and gave me complete confidence, that  no frenzied mom would yank it out of my hand or pull my hair because of its high demand. No Christmas brawls to be had over an everyday, ordinary, household fly swatter.  We’re talking the plain old run of the mill fly swatter, not the bug gun my dad sold when he owned his wholesale distributing business. This baby was something to behold, it had a circular re-loadable plastic screen that you would push down onto its’ spring loaded red handle. You were hoping for a pesky fly to buzz by just so you could say with your best Clint Eastwood impression, “Go ahead make my day”  then shoot your bug gun with swagger.  Nor was it like the bug zapper my husband bought for himself and a few of his lucky friends one year. This invention, shaped like a tennis racket, had electrical currents that can fry a bug carcass with a single swing ― an item you do not want brought out to entertain your guests with, unless you want the smell of burning insects wafting through your home. This is wisdom, spoken from someone who knows first-hand.   It does seem that writing about Rabbit has gotten me on sort of a bunny trail with all this talk of bug instruments of doom.

Thus, my son’s simple request for a fly swatter has reawakened my senses to how truly useful and clever this gift really is.  In fact, I’m planning on getting one for myself as a reminder to  these following truths:
Though flies can transmit disease and spoil food which can be physically devastating, there is a spiritual truth that has eternal consequences that I’m thinking about. The enemy we call Satan or Beelzebub, has other names as well, such as the Lord of Flies.  Jesus was accused by the Pharisees of driving out demons by the power of Beelzebub in Mark 3:22, also found in Matthew 12:24-27 and Luke 11:15,18-19.  Jesus firmly reminded them that a house divided against itself could not stand. He also was ironclad on the devil’s character which is recorded in John 8:44; 
“He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the Father of Lies.”

As Christ followers, we need to wield our sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God.  Adding a fly swatter to tuck into my belt of truth as a visual, assisting in my lie swatting. Satan hopes our stance will be passive, “not even so much as to hurt a fly”, so he can continue to pester us, bringing our demise. Lies come in many forms such as what has been spoken over us by others, our distorted thinking, or circumstances that obscure God’s goodness. With Christ we can stand up as warriors, raising our fly swatters, bug guns or zappers, storming the enemy, holding our rightful position as a son and daughter of the most high God.  Defenders of truth, confident  that God’s goodness and love will always be available to us no matter what is happening in our lives.

Lord, thank You we are called to your SWAT team… Skillful Warriors Advocating Truth… to see the enemy in all his weakness and to see You in all Your glory and strength. We hold onto You, Your truth, hope and promises… swatting the Lord of Flies, one lie at a time. With Your help, we can watch the lies drop like flies… 

International Standard Version
“And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32


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Blemish Free

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Not long ago while shopping at a thrift store with our oldest son Derek I stumbled upon  the perfect “me time” accessory… a brand new  inflatable heart shaped bath pillow, bright red terry cloth, scalloped edges complete with a half off price tag… score !!!  My sore muscles wildly cheering me on, hoping for some TLC to soothe them due to over zealousness on my part.

Finally, the long awaited moment arrived, pillow inflated, bath drawn, and an older  issue of Country Living magazine to leisurely peruse through while unwinding. This particular beloved addition had already helped me on my journey of relaxation a time or two before.  It’s warped, well worn pages to prove it.  Perhaps the fact that the magazine has been previously around the block a time or two  has caused a less then peaked interest, liken to when my eyes beheld its’ fresh sleek attractive pages for the first time. Surprisingly, what caught my attention this time around was an acne treatment advertisement. Not that it had beautiful inviting photos wooing me, or a need to purchase this product, for I already had several options in my arsenal of beauty treatments.  Immediately captivating me was it’s  boldly printed words within the layout.. the first word was Renew then  Revitalize followed by Repair and lastly my personal favorite Rejoice.  Who knew there was a sermon in an ad ready to sooth my aching soul with a promise.

Our God who is without blemish, promises to Renew,  ridding us of the old making way for lives pulsating with vitality.  A hope that Revitalizes us, as it heals up our inner wounds alleviating emotional obstacles that impede our lives. Thus, bringing His light into every dark area of our heart, mind, soul and body.  Repairing our broken lives from gathered truth gleaned at the foot of the cross, bountiful promises of His covenant unveiled amidst an  empty tomb. Jesus, the lamb of God, who sits upon the throne, interceding for us daily, moment by moment. Forever we breathe and exist under His watchful care, His faithful guarantee.  An elaborate presentation of redemption and grace; given freely, offered without price and yet priceless!  We stand before God, wounded, flawed, stained, and imperfect. While He looks upon us as His beloved bride, veiled in mercy, clothed in His righteousness; a perfect picture of His glorious handiwork.  Who would’ve thought that such a wonderful revelation of truth would leap out from a blemish advertisement. While exhausted muscles celebrated, so did my drained soul as it was filled up right along with the drawn bath water.

Lord… Thank you that you have so many ways to speak to your children whether it be in a sunset,  rainbow, a warm hug, or even an ad in a worn magzine.  May we hear you, mindful of your still small voice, and with every  breath we take inhaling the fragrance of Christ. While every exhale we release your glory. We Rejoice that our sins are forgiven through you…knowing  in Christ we always have a blemish free guarantee.