Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Gift of Music/Seasons in Life I started teaching piano in my home a few years ago after being unable to work outside the home for awhile. I could see God's hand in this plan from the very beginning. First of all I was immediately approved by the city to do the business in my home, secondly I started out with two students that quickly grew to a half dozen and by fall (approx. 6 months later) I had around 20 students. To say that I enjoyed teaching these kids piano would be an understatement. This is probably something I should have been doing my whole life, but I never had the courage to try it before. My love of people and especially young folks made this pure joy most of the time. Seeing these kids gain confidence and appreciation for music as well as overcoming some of their shyness and fear about public performance has been one of the best experiences of my life. When a child hugs you or a parent compliments you and thanks you for teaching their child it is a Big Blessing! These past five years were an amazing season in my life and I will be forever grateful for the opportunity I had to share in the growth of those young people, and befriend many of their parents. My final season in Alaska I had up to 25 students. Leaving them behind was TOUGH, but coming to Nebraska to be with my own family has been amazing. I love being able to spend holidays with my kids and grandchildren, having them over for dinner, or going to a family movie together. New beginnings can be challenging though. Since relocating I have only had 2 piano students, only one regular, and I am considering returning to the workforce outside the home. I am not afraid to say "Prayers are always appreciated" as I seek God's guidance for my new future. I want all "He" has for me, and I want to do it to the best of my ability for "His" glory. I hope to continue teaching music even if it is only a few students, and I also hope to go through whatever door God opens in "His timing" not mine. Feeling Blessed in Nebraska!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A Mother’s Day Message

Last week I had the privilege of attending a worship conference at a church I do not normally attend. I felt the power and presence of the Holy Spirit within the first hour of worship, and God spoke to me saying “Sing”. I said “but Lord”, and he said “Sing, I will be your voice.” I realized later that evening that it is Never too Late to use the gifts God has given us to their fullest potential; it does not matter if you are 5 or 75. We should Embrace the gifts that God has given us, so He may be glorified, and we may experience Joy to the fullest, in Christ our Lord and Savior. When the Holy Spirit was speaking to me, He was not just talking about my singing voice, but also my spiritual worship to Him, and the supernatural power it has in the battles of the spiritual realm. God’s spirit was not telling me to just sing, but to worship in song and praises on a constant basis, because this is what gives us victory over the enemy-More Worship, More Praise!!! The next day I could not stop singing praises to God, and I felt such peace, such Joy. Something happened to me at that worship conference, and it changed me. I was given a Confidence in God and the person he has created me to be, as well as a desire to serve Him to the fullest: giving 100% to Jesus. God showed me how precious the gift of worship is, and how powerful it is, and how it can bring down Generational curses and turn them into Generational Blessings.
A few days ago I sent my adult child a text message just letting them know that I love them and asking how things were going. He/she said they loved me too, and shared their excitement at finding the “Dances with Wolves” soundtrack CD that I had given him/her some time ago. He/she had misplaced it, and was So happy to find it because He/she Loves Beautiful Music. This Love of music is something my child and I have shared since they were an infant-all our lives, and it has made a strong bond between us. I text my child these same words, how we share this and that is what has created a strong closeness between us. My child text back that he/she did not know where they would be today without that closeness, that encouragement that I give them. He/she told me that “I inspired them, to keep going.’’ Then a second text came continuing with to LIVE in capital letters. In that moment my eyes were opened to the serious struggles my child had been through, and that even though I try to pray for my kids daily, I need to pray for them So Much More-More Prayer More Worship-There is no such thing as too much!!! My son has struggled with depression intermittently over the past decade-yet God’s grace has kept them safe.
I wish I could say I have been the perfect mother, but as much as I love my kids, I have made mistakes, but God’s grace has enabled me to show my children how Precious they are to me!!! If anyone here truly knew the entire story of my background, my upbringing, they would be Amazed or even shocked at how well my family has turned out. You see I come from two different backgrounds-one side of what you may call Generational Curse and the other side what you may phrase Generational Blessing. On my moms side there were 2 generations of strained or non-existent mother-daughter relationships, as well as alcohol/abuse. My father’s side had a long line of Godly women or Generational Blessing. My mom and her mom had an on again/off again relationship, and my grandmother did not even know her mom as her parents divorced when she was young and she was raised by her father and stepmother. Likewise my mother and I had the same type of relationship that she did with her mom, despite the fact that we loved each other deeply, and we both knew God. My father’s mother loved God and showed me unconditional love as her mother had shown her. My great grandmother Howe was "Mother of the Year", and Julia Ward Howe who penned the words to “Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory” is my ancestor. These strong woman of God and their fervent prayers have helped me overcome the strained relationships of my past, and embrace a loving and close future with my children and grandchildren. The generational curse has been broken over my lifetime-thanks be to God! What person has not been touched somewhere by the prayers of a Godly Woman. Shortly before my father passed away I spoke with him about happy memories he had growing up-He told me that Grandma Howe used to take care of him when he was younger and that he remembers going to church and being full of love for God, telling his grandmother that he was "going live his life for God” Then he broke out in tears saying,"I don’t know what happened, I used to love God so much.”
The time is Now!! It is not too late to embrace your gifts, to renew relationships with your loved ones, to pray more for your kids, to live more for God. Do not let Fears or “False Evidence Appearing Real” stop you from receiving every good thing God has for you. More Worship, more praise, more prayer, this is how we can change not only ourselves, but the entire world. I thank God for giving me the gift of song and worship-it has been a powerful tool in both my and my kids lives. My daughters and I love to sing praises to God, especially together. This gift of worship has healed my family, and created a closeness that is truly Supernatural. Now I sing songs of worship with my granddaughters as well. “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples”. John 15:8
Thank you God for my children, my grandchildren, and the privilege of being a mom! Yet, you do not have to be a mom to speak truth and light into younger peoples lives. A major part of the healing process for me has been the blessings other Godly Women, many who do Not have children of their own, have bestowed on me. Words of encouragement, small gifts, I have been blessed by nearly every woman in my current church this past year, and I am grateful. I appreciate the women who have blessed me, but also those who have blessed my own daughters, when I could not be there. Titus 2:3-5 “3 Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. 4 Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.” If you are not encouraging others, you are missing out not only on a great opportunity, but also a great blessing!!
Now, now is the time to embrace who we are in Christ, to begin anew, and move towards all the blessings God has for us. Ephesians 1:3 “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” Now is the time to Worship, now is the time to Praise, now is the time to Pray!!!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A Time To Be Thankful

As the holiday season approaches, I cannot help reflecting on the many blessings God has bestowed upon my life. I have a home that is warm and dry, my husband has a job, I have four grown children and six grandkids whom I adore, and I am also blessed with many christian friends both near and far. God is good, and I know I am blessed to live in the beauty of Alaska, and to be an American citizen. While I no longer work for monetary wages, my life is rich and full with the Love of Christ. People who know me are aware that I have physical limitations, yet, God has enabled me to accomplish many important tasks by using the skills and talents He has given me. I thank God for the gifts He has given me, and I pray that I will draw closer to Him and continue to be used by Him in whatever direction He leads. God has enabled me to be part of the Worship Team at our church, and also to be busy with Ladies Ministry including bible study and prayer. I have enjoyed being a part of God's ministry more than I can say. When I step up to do what I feel God wants, the rewards are AMAZING!!! Last week I prayed with a lady at church who has recently retired, but not received medical benefits yet. She had to go to the doctor unexpectedly and was left with a 350.00 bill to pay on an extremely low income. I prayed with this woman, from the heart I cried out to God to take care of this for her, and help her not to worry but to just trust God. A couple of days ago this woman came up to me smiling and said "You will never guess what happened, they wiped out my bill-it is paid!" I was so excited about her news, and since I got to pray with her, I was the first one to hear her Praise-Wow-did I feel Blessed! Yet, at the same time I could not help thinking in the back of my mind, why am I so amazed that God not only answered our prayer, but answered it so quickly. Why is it so easy to have faith for someone else but struggle with believing God's goodness for ourselves. God's word says "If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given to you." John 15:7 NIV I am claiming that promise right now for my life, in the name of Jesus. I want to walk in the hope of Christ and the promise that He has a plan for my life, a plan where He can be glorified. I am determined to keep the joy of Jesus so that others may see His light shining through. This holiday season I pray that I continue to have a heart of Thanksgiving in all things. I thank God that when I want water, all I have to do is turn on a faucet. There are people all over the world that would love to have some of the simple things we experience on a daily basis, yet often take for granted. I thank God for food, heat, a wonderful husband. Being thankful is an attitude of the heart, and an attitude of gratitude can spread like wildfire.
"Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; his Love endures forever." Psalm 107:1

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Blessings in the Valleys

I have been in what you might call a valley for a while now. Yet, God's blessings seem to be coming on a regular basis. Being out of work the past three years, adjusting to physical limitations, and struggling to move forward have enabled both myself and my husband to grow spiritually in ways I would not have thought possible. I have learned to literally depend on God for my provision, and it has been more freeing than I can explain. I used to be concerned about finances and money, or the lack of having enough, on a regular basis. Although I loved God I was often preoccupied with "the cares of this world". While it is true that my life is simpler now, the freedom I experience from giving my needs over to God totally, has given me a deep happiness that reaches to my core. Stepping up in faith has not been an overnight process for me, but when we put more trust in God the rewards are amazing! Despite the trials the past three years have brought, I find myself happier, and fuller of joy than ever. I don't have to worry, because God can handle it, and you know what? He does a better job than I ever did! I have so much more time now to worship God in praise and song, to minister to or encourage a friend, to take care of my family. Do I sometimes forget that God can handle it? Yes, but thanks be to God, when I catch myself, I confess it, and pray about it.
Today my husband came home for lunch and told me his boss gave him permission to change and extend his lunch hour at work so he can start attending Sunday Service. This was a huge answer to prayer, and we had been praying about this for nearly two years. My God is awesome! I am beginning to wonder if we are still in the valley cause lately it sure seems like we are on top of the mountain!
Philippians 4: 4-7.
4"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."

Saturday, August 28, 2010

My Fibro Journey

My journey began with a neck/back injury that left me feeling like I had severe whiplash or had been hit by a semi-truck. After several days off work I returned but within 24 hours I realized I had no strength, I was having difficulty lifting even a few pounds at waist level. I also had knotted muscles along my spine from my neck to my tailbone, severe pain, difficulty walking and lifting my arms. My husband and I knew something was wrong but we didn't know what it was. We had no idea this would impact our lives so deeply and permanently. I continued to suffer severe pain episodes, exhaustion, and I had an extremely low tolerance for activities. I was shuffled to a variety of doctors, and none of them seemed to believe or understand my symptoms. I cannot begin to describe how hurtful it is to have people tell you it is all in your head. Finally after a year and a half we got a partial diagnosis of possible fibromyalgia. Even though I had worked as a nurse I didn't really understand fibromyalgia. I still didn't believe I had it till I visited my daughter. I told her about the doctor report, and she looked it up on the internet. "Oh, mom" she said, "you have this." I was still in denial till I returned home and read the most common places of pain were the neck, back, shoulders, hands, and pelvic area. In that moment I knew it was true. The words "No Cure" seemed to leap off the pages! Up to this point I had survived on ibupropen and muscle relaxors, but nothing was really helping. A friend told me that only a Rheumatologist could diagnose Fibromyalgia, so I set to work getting a referral for a really good doctor. After researching I found an excellent doctor located near my daughter's place. He diagnosed me with Fibromyalgia and Myofascial Pain Syndrome. He said that it would take all my strength, and a long time to get better, but that I would probably only return to about 40% of what I was before I got hurt. Not really good news, but it was good to finally have some validation for my pain and limitations. I told him my neck muscles were so bad that I had difficulty lifting under ten pounds above my waist on a regular basis. He told me this was not that unusual and that there is still little that is understood about Fibromyalgia. I was referred to a therapist who specializes in Fibro patients, as well as a sleep doctor. The therapist had to discontinue treatment after a few weeks as I could not tolerate it. He told me that on the Fibro scale I was considered a severe case. As difficult as it was to hear, it was also so freeing to be validated once again. His report stated that the prognosis for me returning to work was poor. The sleep doctor diagnosed me with RLS, and wanted me to take a sleep test to determine possible chronic fatigue, but my insurance would not pay the $3000.00+ for the sleep test. While it was good to finally know what was the matter, I cannot say it was easy. Being the eternal optimist I had kept hoping I would recover (Or God would heal me) and return to my old life. My husband kept complaining that he could not hug me anymore without hurting me, little did we know that was the Fibro, and they even have a word for it-Allodynia, or a painful response to non-painful stimuli.
The good news is that I learned a lot more about Fibromyalgia during my treatments, and most of the helpful information came from the NFA and their magazine "FM Aware". I am truly grateful for their committment to educate others on Fibromyalgia.
I have tried some other medications, some helped, some didn't. While I rely more on natural remedies such as heat, massage, proper nutrition, I also do not hesitate to take medication when I need to. Learning to manage Fibromyalgia is tricky, and while I have not mastered it, I am making progress. I am learning to focus on what I can still do, instead of what I can't. I am grateful to my family for their amazing love and support. Most of all though, I am grateful to my God, for He is made strong in my weakness.
Now, three years later, I have still been unable to return to work, or shall I say monetary employment. I am striving to move forward and do what I can. I know I am blessed because my family loves me, and My God is Awesome. Since my injury my life has been blessed in many ways. My husband has quit smoking and been baptised in the church, and together our faith in Christ has grown. My God has provided for our needs, and some of our wants too, despite the fact that our income has decreased 55%. I would encourage anyone who has Fibromyalgia to concentrate on things you can still do, find a good support group, get educated by FM Aware, be patient, it takes time to adjust, and NEVER GIVE UP!
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not into thine own understanding, in all they ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths. " Proverbs 3:5,6 KJV

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Easter Costs Less...

To my amazement, there was a commercial on television a few days ago that began with the statement "Easter costs less at ..." My husband and I looked at each other in disbelief. Since when does Easter cost money? I thought it was a gift from God. "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life" John 3:16. God loved us so much that he sent His son to redeem us. Through the birth and death of Jesus Christ we can be forgiven for all our sins. "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" I John 1:9. Believe it, and receive it, it's that simple. It is the greatest gift of all, and you cannot buy it for a price at your local shopping center.
Let us remember the main reason we celebrate Easter, because our Saviour died on the cross for our sins. When you think of Christ's suffering it will be easy to keep Him as the center of the celebration. We can be free from guilt and condemnation because Christ took the punishment for US. That is truly powerful!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Loving God

Deuteronomy 6:5 tells us to "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength." When I think about loving God it seems like a simple task. I mean I love God, naturally I do. He loved me, sacrificed his son for me, wants to give me eternal life, of course I love Him. Do I love Him enough though, do I truly love Him more than anything or anyone else? Can I honestly say I love God with all of my heart, soul, and strength? That is SERIOUS LOVE, and to be honest I am not sure I have loved anyone that much. Well, maybe my kids, those maternal instincts can be pretty strong, but I think I am supposed to love my husband more than my kids. Now I am getting confused, according to the Bible I am supposed to respect my husband, fear the Lord, and also Love the Lord with all of my being. I know that I do have love for God, I want to please Him. I try to serve Him whenever I can, and to pray daily. I am grateful for every good thing He has given me. Yet, why does it seem like I often struggle for time to read His word, or listen for that still, quiet, voice? There are so many distractions; computers, televisions, cell phones, embroidery/sewing machines, dinner to fix, groceries to buy, etc. Sometimes I find myself watching "Turner Classic Movies" for an embarrassing number of hours, while I only spent 30 minutes or less with God. How can I love Him more, maybe I should keep praying about it? Limiting distractions is not a bad idea. Remembering that everything I have came from Him, I think that is a good start. Now that I think about it, my whole family is a gift from God. My husband came from God, my kids came from God. Everything in this house He has provided. Thank you, God. He loves me and forgives me for every wrong deed or thought I have ever had. That is powerful! I am not sure if I will ever be able to say "Yes, Lord, I love you enough," but I think being thankful is a good starting point. Faithfulness to prayer, meditation in scripture, accountability to other believers, these are things I can do. I may never feel like I am truly Loving God enough, but that does not mean I am going to quit trying. "I press on toward the goal for which Christ has called me" Philippians 3;14.