When Expectations Meet The Unexpected

Have you ever expected something to happen because of details you heard or saw only to have the unexpected happen?

Last weekend was Palm Sunday which is considered the beginning of the Holy Week. We can read this account in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John (the four gospels) of the Bible.
 
 
People had lined the streets of Jerusalem with palm branches shouting halleluiahs as Jesus enter the city on a donkey.  They expected Jesus to come in and set up a new kingdom. They had heard him talk about this new kingdom. They expected him to be their new King. They were shouting Hosanna, here comes the king as he rode past them into the city.
 
Have you ever put expectations on Jesus only to have them not fulfilled? I know I have. When this happens I become discouraged, disappointed, even depressed. I could even go so far as to say I get angry with God. If you just raised an eyebrow thinking you’ve never been mad at God, I would say you are not being totally honest! We just don’t like to admit the fact we have gone on that emotional rollercoaster where we feel like we’ve suddenly dead-ended to a place of no hope.
 
This is what happened with these people in Jerusalem.  Just a few days earlier they were shouting hosanna, and now they’re yelling “crucify him.” The expectation that Jesus was coming as the new King to set up a new kingdom has been crushed away. They were upset, they were mad, they were angry.
 
The unexpected happened.
 
Jesus was arrested. People scattered, even his own disciples who were so close to him while he was here on earth scattered, one betrayed him, one denied him.  Now he was headed to the cross to die a horrific death for which he was guilty of nothing.
 
Then once again the unexpected happened.
 
Jesus did die, then three days later He rose from the dead. He defeated death. After the resurrection, Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene first, then his disciples and many more before he ascended into heaven. Hope was restored. Hope was renewed. Look what can happen in just three days!
 
When I have prayed and believed God for something and then the unexpected happens, I am learning to truly trust that God has a better way—a better plan. He knows the future, not me. He knows what I need best in my life… better than what I think!
 
The thing is—when the unexpected happens, they were only unexpected to us. God knew. He always knows.
 
Jesus knew he had to go to the cross. He was making a way for us to have a hope and a future. He endured the cross because he knew the future joy that was before Him (Hebrews 12:2).
 
The Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus is hope renewed. It is where the unexpected meet the expected.
 
 
 
We will continue to have the unexpected happen in our lives.

We also have the expected hope that Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, is with us.

 
My prayer is as we enter into this weekend when we celebrate victory over death that we can look at the Resurrection with renewed hope and truly celebrate what Jesus has done for you and me.
 
I am believing that those hopes and dreams that have died and the disappointments of life will be resurrected with new life and renewed hope.  But the reality is that all of our hopes and dreams and disappointments are temporary.
 
I want to remember what Jesus did for me (and for you) as he hung on that cross. He was making a way for you and I to have a right relationship with a holy God.  Jesus took all my sin and shame and bore them on that cross. Amazing Grace.
 
So for me, the next time the unexpected happens I will expect Jesus’ perfect plan to be at work. I will hold on to His promises and His Word to carry me through.
 
While there is breath in my lungs…there is ALWAYS Hope! I won’t give up. I will continue to hope knowing that Jesus is working all things out.
 
I pray this for you as well.
 
Blessings to you as you remember the Resurrection!
 
Jeannine


Happy Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine’s Day!

It was three years ago today—Valentine’s day.  I sat in the ER with severe pain in my upper abdomen. After eight hours of waiting, probing, questions, and testing the doctor came in and closed the door. He uttered those words none of us what to hear…”it looks like it is cancer.”

As we went home stunned, trying to process the day’s events, I said to Jeff, “well, this day didn’t turn out like we thought!”

As I look over the past three years, what comes to my mind is the goodness & faithfulness of God.
 
Mind you, life has not been without its trials and troubles.
 
My going through cancer and all that entails.
 
A year and half ago our daughter lay in the ICU unit with such a severe case of pneumonia, the doctors didn’t know if she would make it.
 
Our grandson very recently was in a car accident which was not his fault, but he hit the car that pulled out in front of him then he hit a tree; it totaled his car. He walked away with minor injuries.
 
Our son and daughter-in-love have been dealing with a very tumultuous, emotionally draining business situation.
 
Doctors wondered how Jeff never had a heart attack and didn’t leave me a widow! He recently had quintuple-by pass surgery.
 
On top of all that I am the caretaker for my elderly mom and brother.
 
Whew!!!
 
 If I’ve learned anything in my walk with the Lord these past three years, it is I have choices. I can choose how I will deal with the trials and tribulations and all that life brings. So…I choose to see the goodness of God. I choose to believe He is faithful to his Word, to whom He says He is.
 
That doesn’t mean it is easy. One of my favorite books of the Bible is James. James 1:2-4 “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.  For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow…”
 
What is James saying… that trials and difficulties are never going to stop. We can’t change that but we can change something. We can’t control the fact that trials and difficulties will come but we are in control of something else. Our response.
 
So about now you are probably thinking what does all this have to do with Valentine’s day?!
 
Remember when I said I look back on these past three year and I think of the goodness and faithfulness of God?  Well, that is what I think of when I think of Valentine’s day. The goodness and faithfulness of God.
 
He, in his love for us is so good. He is ever patient with us, isn’t he? He forgives all our sins. His mercies are new every morning. His grace truly is sufficient. He is the lover of our soul. His banner over us is love. He is faithful in his Word to us. He truly does provide for our needs. He is near to the brokenhearted. He does comfort us and give us peace as only he can give.
 
He is sweeter than any decadent box of chocolate that I could eat and soon be gone only to be applied to the hips! He is more fragrant than the beautiful flowers that Jeff gives me.
 
Don’t misunderstand me, I like the chocolate, the flowers and all that is associated with this day. But I am reminded each year when Valentine’s rolls around where I was on this day.
 
And let’s be honest, soon the chocolates are gone and the flowers wilt and die. They are fleeting.  The goodness and faithfulness of God is neither.
 
I know that there are trials that seem to suck the very life out of us. I get it, believe me!

There is tragedy and death. And in those times if we will choose to trust Him, he will show us his goodness and faithfulness. He will help us gets through the tough times. It is the building of our faith as we walk through the trials and troubles that we remember His goodness and faithfulness towards us. He truly is a good father to each of us.

 
I know this isn’t a sappy, gushy valentine day message. But it is a valentine day message of true love!
 
Jesus is the best valentine one could ever have. In fact, you and I were on his very mind when he was dying on that cross.
 
       “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
 
That my friend, is true love.
 
I close with one of my favorite verses that I hope you’ll think about as you go through your day,
 
             “The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save.  He will take great delight in you,
               he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.”  Zephaniah 3:17
 
The Lord is singing over you a love song not only on this Valentine’s Day, but everyday!
 
My prayer for you is that today you rejoice in knowing that you are loved by the Father and He lavishes His grace and mercy upon you.
 
You are loved,
Jeannine
 


Hope In The New Year

Well, here we are at the end of January 2019! At the beginning of each year I take the first month and just reflect, pray and think of the year ahead. I do very little social media and no blogging.  I like to hear what the Lord says, and not be swayed by what I read everyone else is saying or doing.

I look at a new year like a book that is nothing but white space on each page. The pages are empty. Nothing has been written yet. We don’t know what each chapter (month, week or day) is going to look like.
 
We have the hope this year will be different. We hope we’ll lose that weight and actually exercise more this year. We hope that our temper will be more subdued. We hope we can stick to that budget we made last year. We hope to allow the fruit of the Spirit to be more evident in our life (Galatians 5:22-23). We hope those projects that haven’t been finished get done. We hope relationships that are strained will be healed.
 
We want to see God do something new in our lives and in those around us.
 
And that is what a new year is to me… an opportunity to watch and see God do a new thing!
 
I have been waiting for so many years for the main bathroom in our house get done! I mean literally…years! We have lived in our house 38 years! Other projects have come and gone and still there’s the main bathroom with the Mamie Eisenhower pink tile! Seriously, google it and you will find some interesting facts about her love of pink. It seemed fitting for the fashion and decor of that era to have pink kitchens, bathrooms and appliances. Our house was no different. I use to have a pink oven, yup pink! I have at times just given up hope of that bathroom ever getting redone. Now mind you, the bathroom is very functional and don’t get me wrong, I am very thankful for my bathroom.  It. Is. Just. Really. Pink. So, I have resolved myself to the fact that I would be living with a pink bathroom for probably a few more years to come.
 
We have a tendency to get that same attitude with our spiritual lives, don’t we?  We lose hope. We have prayed so often, and our hearts have longed for a change. We wonder if our circumstances or the  and season we’re in will ever change or end.
 
I’ve already had friends tell me they’d like to hit the restart button, get a do over! The issues and situations that they were dealing with in the previous year is following them into this one and it has been disappointing for them already.  They start to lose hope, wondering if God will indeed do a new thing.
 
Are you expecting God to do a new thing in your life? That may seem overwhelming when you consider your present circumstances but take courage – the Bible declares that God has made a way, made the crooked path straight, and He has provisions for you.

We are barley into this new year. Don’t lose hope.

Romans 15:13 says, “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
 
Romans 5:5 says, “Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit [which] was given to us.”
 
I am happy to say that the pink bathroom is now a memory in my mind and memorialized in a few photos! 
Jeff, my husband, back in November was checking some of the plumbing and noticed a pipe was bad under the vanity sink. He decides the pipe needed to be replaced. However, he didn’t want to put new plumbing on a sink that was desperately in need of replacing. The next thing I know the vanity and sink is being taken out. That of course leads to what we call the domino effect! One thing leads to another. And before I knew it the pink walls were coming down and the tub was being ripped out. I could hardly believe what I was seeing. Finally, we were going to get a new bathroom with no pink tile. We are still in the remodeling process!
 
I use this bathroom as a simple illustration of hope and a new thing! I had given up hope on a new bathroom. And here before my eyes a new thing was being done.
 
Sometimes it’s the little things that can renew our hope, like an updated bathroom.
 
I don’t take lightly your circumstances or situation. I have had a few challenges already these past 30 days of the new year. But I have hope. I believe God IS doing a new thing.
 
So much is on the horizon, so much lies ahead. Don’t be discouraged by bumps in the road or detours on the path. Continue to trust, put your faith in God and believe that He is doing a new thing, this year—in your life!
 
I leave you with this verse… “Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise.” Hebrews 10:23
 
What are you believing God to do new this year for you? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
 
Blessings to you my friend,
Jeannine


Christmas-Renewed Hope

We had gone to visit our daughter and her family for Thanksgiving. Yup, we were one of those couples who flew across country on Thanksgiving Day! What were we thinking?? Ha, this grandma was thinking, “I’ll fly on any day to see those grandbabies who are growing up faster than I’d like”.
 
So now we have transitioned from the season of Thanksgiving into Christmas. I usually put my Christmas decorations and tree up the weekend of Thanksgiving. Since we were gone, I have been a little slow in getting everything done.
 
 
Christmas is such a mixed bag of emotions, isn’t it? At least for me it is, how about you?
 
For many people Christmas is a happy time with family, friends, fellowship, holiday foods and gift giving. Most Christians observe this as a time of celebration and thanksgiving for the greatest gift ever given, the Lord Jesus Christ, “God with us” (Matthew 1:23).
 
But for others, Christmas is just the exact opposite. It can be a reminder of lost loved ones or no close family to celebrate with. Many are going through hard times and tough situations. Instead of feeling joy, many people feel sad, anxious and depressed. Christmas can potentially be a time of hopelessness and loneliness.
 
I was at the hospital yesterday with a mom who is 29 weeks pregnant and fighting to keep her little baby girl alive. She feels hopeless.
 
A pastor’s wife who has been hurt from church members leaving the church and she sees the church dwindling. She’s trying to stand on the promises of God, but the battle is hard.
 
A store owner who is seeing a dream die as she closes her shop. She wonders why this is all happening.
 
A woman who is fighting cancer trying to hold on to life.
 
Another mom who finds herself a single mom trying to provide for her children.
 
A wife who feels she’s in a loveless, hopeless marriage.
 
The list could go on of people I have talked with trying to share the hope and love of Christ.
 
It makes my heart so sad when I hear the despair and hopelessness in one’s voice. I remind them how much the Lord loves them and how He is near to the brokenhearted. But I can’t do this for them. None of us can do what only the Spirit of God can do. They have to know in their heart of hearts that the God of Hope is for them and these difficult times are but a moment in time. God is perfecting His character in each of us. I’ve lived long enough to know that this only comes through trials and the struggles of living this life.

Romans 5:1-5 tells us: “We can rejoice, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.”

 
In Scripture hope means a strong and confident expectation. “But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.” (Romans 8:25). We believe in God’s promises and confidently hope for the results in our lives.
 
Hope is tied to faith—believing that, no matter what, God is going to take care of us. No matter how bleak things in this life can become, we have to believe that we will get through it. God is giving us every opportunity to grow and overcome, so we can handle the responsibilities He intends us to have in His Kingdom.
 
God is developing us and preparing us for His purpose.
 
Christmas should be a time of renewed hope—hope in Jesus Christ; hope that, despite all our tangled messes, God will bring order out of chaos.
 
I love this verse in Romans 4:18… “Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping—believing that he would become the father of many nations. For God had said to him, “That’s how many descendants you will have!”
 
Abraham believed God, he had hope and so can you. No matter what level your hope indicator is at, this Christmas season may you be like Abraham and keep hoping.
 
This Christmas season rejoice that Jesus came to give you something better than the disappointments of life on planet earth. And when by faith you embrace Him and all that He promised, you can have a hope that is not a fingers-crossed wish that you harbor in your heart, but rather a confident, courageous optimism that is rooted in the certainty of His Word.
 
I cannot promise that you’ll be healed, or your upside-down world will be turned right-side up. But I can promise that this hope we have in Christ will not disappoint.
 
“Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls.” Hebrews 6:17-19
 
Jesus—Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, King of Kings and Lord of Lords is for you. He loves you.

Merry Christmas to you, my friend. May you be filled with renewed hope as we celebrate the birth of Christ—Emmanuel—God with us.
 
Peace & love,
Jeannine

 

 



Superheroes Are All Around Us

Superheroes Are All Around Us. We Just need to open our eyes and see them.

 
As I opened the door the other night, I was surrounded by superheroes of all of shapes and sizes. I saw Captain America; standing next to him was the hulk. Peering behind the Hulk was Wonder Woman with Supergirl by her side. Coming up the walk was Batgirl and Spiderman. No, they had not all come to rescue me; they had come because they were hoping I had some really yummy candy to hand out. It was Halloween*.
 
 
These little superheroes turned and left as quickly as they came, leaving with big grins on their faces, sacks filled with candy and ready for the next adventure
 
 
As I watched them walk down the driveway my mind drifted to the word superheroes. I realized we have superheroes all around us. We each have them in our lives. I hope, anyway, you have at least one superhero who will come to your rescue when you call.
 
I knew I had people I could call on when I needed something. However, it came very apparent how many superheroes I really had in my life while going through cancer.
 
As soon as I had been diagnosed with cancer, my superheroes rose to action.
 
Jeff, my husband, began to research what steps we needed to take next. He called the elders of the church and anyone who wanted to participate in prayer at our house. He was very proactive to make sure I had the right supplements to take and healing foods to eat. We had made the prayerful decision to go through the chemo treatments because the cancer was growing rapidly and was aggressive. In order to help combat the damage the chemo was doing to my body we wanted to strengthen and ward off as much damage and side effects we could holistically.
 
Peggy, my friend whom we’ve done life together for over 30 years, each week updated our church body with a prayer letter updating everyone on what was happening with me. She gave prayer request as well as praise reports. We knew it was important to give thanks to the Lord for what He was doing and to acknowledge that. Peg is a registered nurse, who was quite vigilant to make sure no one came in contact with me who was sick! If I was able to come to church that weekend, she made sure anyone who had the slightest sniffle either stayed home or away from me! She would make everyone use hand sanitizer before they entered the building. We went through a lot of hand sanitizer!
 
Our son Adam encouraged me to follow through on attending a conference I had already committed to go to before I was diagnosed. The conference was held in Orlando, where he lives. He and our daughter-in-love, Jennifer, made a point to come and see me at the convention hotel and encouraged me to stay. I was beginning to lose my hair quite quickly and all I wanted to do was go home. I had just begun the chemo treatments and one of the medications made me very unsure, emotional and just not myself! But I knew if I left the enemy would have won a battle. It was good to see two loving encouraging faces that I could cling to if only for a couple of hours. It helped me to stay and their reassuring words that I had made the right decision to even come to the conference helped me finish out the week.
 
Our daughter, Jenna, flew in from Maryland where they were living at the time. She was the one when I came home from the conference cut and shaved the rest of my hair off. The oncologist had encouraged me to cut my shoulder length hair short, which I did cut, in anticipation of losing my hair.  But I was not truly prepared for a baldhead. That was a hard day.  She had women from church telling her they would shave their heads too in support of me. I said NO—no one was shaving their head!! I love my girls but I’m not so sure I’d shave my head for them! Just being honest, here.
 
Instead of shaved heads, Jenna came up with the idea of bracelets. So she ordered green bracelets (for lymphoma) for anyone who wanted to wear them in support of me. What a sweet blessing to see these bands on people’s writs.
 
Our grandson, Elliot wore one everyday. I was so touched when I saw a picture of a school function he was at and I spotted the bracelet on his wrist. In my mind it was easy for the girls to wear them: our daughter, daughter-in-love, our oldest granddaughter; but to see  our fourteen year old (at the time) grandson wearing it made this grandma’s heart melt.
 
I had people sending me cards and letters with such encouraging words. Some sent me books to read. I knew I had people holding me up in prayer. On days I was to weak to get out of bed I would get a text or card in the mail with words that were refreshing to this weary soul.
 
I would have people ask to come and sit with me while I went through chemo treatments. This was a full day commitment on their part. I appreicated that they came to sit with me. It made the time go by much quicker. These were people who had busy lives… an ER doctor, an attorney I worked with, family…they took time out of their day to sit with me.
 
Each one is a superhero. No they don’t bend steel with their hands. The breath coming out of their mouth can’t freeze you in your tracks or create a wall of ice. Their eyes don’t stream out beams of fire. None have a rope of truth or bracelets that bullets bounce off of.
 
They all have something much greater, much more powerful than any Marvel or DC comic superhero could ever have.
 
His name is Jesus. He gave each of us who have called on His name the Holy Spirit. Holy Spirit gives each one of us exactly what we need, when we need it.
 
Each one of us can be a super hero to those around us.
 
We can be that strength of steel when someone has been beaten down by life. We can be like a fresh spring breeze with words of comfort for someone who is grieving. We can speak truth in love when one can’t see for themselves, has taken a wrong turn or gotten off the path. Like a glass of cold water on a hot, humid day we can— just. be. there.  No words to say, no scripture to tell them…just be there for whatever they may need. Sometimes we just need to know we have someone in our corner.
 
Today, I encourage you to go out and be someone’s superhero. We all need a superhero in our life.
 
Who’s your superhero? Look around; they are there. You just need to open your eyes and see them.
 
Love you my friend,
Jeannine
 
*I can see some eyebrows rising on the whole Halloween deal. I’m not going to get into the debate of Halloween. I will just say when I open my door to these kids (and their parents), I show love and grace—not judgment. I choose to be light in the darkness—light dispels the darkness. Most of these people are my neighbors. I choose to show them love—not condemn them for celebrating a pagan holiday.


Happy Fall Y’all!

While parts of the country are enjoying the fall season, here in Florida we are happy to be out of the record breaking 90’s and the Panhandle is working on recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Michael.
 
It has been a busy fall so far. Some of you may know that back at the beginning of September, my husband, Jeff had a bout with kidney stones that sent him to the ER. That was actually a blessing in disguise! He had a follow up with our primary doctor who asked him a simple question. “So Jeff, is there anything else going on?” the doctor asked. Jeff replies, “well, I’ve been having a little trouble with my chest.” The doctor knowing the family and their history immediately said he would schedule Jeff for a stress test.
 
Jeff never made it through the stress test! The nurse stops the test and tells Jeff she see’s something on the sonogram and doesn’t want to proceed. He is immediately set up with a cardiologist—that hour!
 
The cardiologist tell us there is an area of the heart that looks like it’s not functioning properly. Jeff is set up for a heart catheterization within 72 hours.
 
It took longer to wait for Jeff to have the heart cath then the actual procedure! The doctor came out less than thirty minutes of Jeff going back for the procedure. He tells us that Jeff needs to have quadruple by-pass surgery. Wait…what!? That was a bit of a shock. We were expecting he would probably need to have a stint or two, but not this. The good news was that the heart was in good condition and there was no damage done to the heart.
 
The day of surgery comes and I wait in the surgical area with our son and daughter. We know we have many people covering Jeff in prayer. The surgery took 3 1/2 hours and Jeff had a five by-pass surgery. Wow!
 
The medical staff was amazing from the surgeons and everyone in between. We are fortunate to live in an area where we have one of the top 10 heart hospitals in the country.
 
We could see the hand of God upon Jeff. The medical staff was amazed at Jeff’s recovery. He was out of the hospital by day four. Those of you who know Jeff, know he was trying to get out on day two! He thought he was ready to go home.
 
 
It was challenging to say the least that first week he came home. It’s a miracle I wasn’t wearing an orange jumpsuit by week’s end! Just an f.y.i… that’s what people wear here in Florida who get incarcerated. My husband has never had any major surgery…ever! For him to have to sit and recuperate was very difficult for him. At times I felt like I was a mom of a toddler again. “Please don’t do that, sit down, no you can’t do that, no you can’t have that!”
I’m not sure that first week who was more wore out!
 
While he was in the hospital, our daughter and I went and bought him a recliner so it would be easy for him to rest in. Those first few days, I had thought about getting some restrains and sewing them on the arms and leg rest to keep Jeff in the chair!
 
I am happy to report we did survive that first week and each day he was getting stronger and better. When he went for his follow-up appointments to the cardiologist and surgeon, both were amazed at his progress. They both released him and gave him the clearance to go back to work. He was back at work by week four and out walking every day!
 
 
 
What a journey these past few weeks have been. We’ve had opportunities to pray for medical staff and others where we have crossed paths with. The outpouring of prayers and  monetarily support has been incredible. A testament to the body of Christ coming together, coming along side and helping each other. Truly a blessing.
 
I have not been on social media much or sat down to write much as my priority has been to see that Jeff recovers well from surgery.
 
And that’s an update from me! I’d love to hear how you are doing this fall season.
 
I pray this over you today: “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.” Numbers 6:24-26

 
 
Blessings to you my friend,
Jeannine
 
 


Broken~yet Beautiful

Broken…yet beautiful

We were having so much fun, my five-year-old granddaughter and I, walking along the beach on a bright summer day looking for shells. It was a beautiful day at the beach. Of course, for me, I’ve never really had a bad day at the beach! It is a favorite place of mine. I like to call it my therapy time. It does this momma good when I get to spend time at the beach with my kids and grandkids.
 
As we were strolling along the beach, Addie would bring me shells and tell me to hold them for her. She had brought me a few that were broken and I said to her, “honey, these are broken, lets find some that aren’t so broken.” And she replied, “but grandma, they are so beautiful.” 
 
Out of the mouth of babes! I was instantly reminded of the song Broken and Beautiful by Brian Doerksen. It is a song we use at church for communion—a reminder of what Jesus did for us, you and me, on the cross. I love these words from the song:
 
Broken and beautiful 
Extravagant love
Prodigal grace
God’s perfect justice
Mercies embraced
 
It also reminds me of the fact I, too, was once broken…but from sin. Jesus has taken my life that was broken from poor choices, heartaches, and disappointments and made my life beautiful. That’s why Jesus came. He takes what has been broken and makes something beautiful.
 
If you are feeling like the broken seashells, may I remind you that the Lord can take that brokenness and turn it into something beautiful.
 
Psalms 34:18 says, “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted, and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” 
 
I like what Psalms 34:18 in the Message translation say, “If your heart is broken, you’ll find God right there; if you’re kicked in the gut, he’ll help you catch your breath.”
 
It’s so comforting to know that the Lord knows everything that is going on with us and He is right there to comfort and help us. Our part is to allow Him to do just that. Give Him your brokenness and allow Him to bring healing, wholeness and beauty out of it all.
 
Today, I pray that the fragments of brokenness are laid at the feet of Jesus and you allow His extravagant love to wash over you. He sees you beautiful.
 
This is the way You’ve choses to say
This is the way You make all things new
Broken and beautiful 
Extravagant love
Prodigal grace
God’s perfect justice
Mercies embraced

Praying for you today, sweet friend.
Jeannine

 



The Lazy Days of Summer

The “lazy days of summer” have been anything but that around here!

A few weeks ago, my mom fell and broke her hip. She had fallen on the bathroom floor. We tried to move her but she winced in such pain, we knew we had to call 911. EMT came and assessed the situation and determined she needed to be taken to the hospital. After waiting for what seemed like forever, we were finally able to go back and see her. X-rays confirmed she had broken her left hip. Up to this point she has been physically healthy—no walkers, no canes, no broken bones!
 
After her hospital stay, she went to rehab and was there for nineteen days! About 3 ½ years ago she was diagnosed with vascular dementia, which really compounds her situation as she doesn’t answer questions accurately or come to a right conclusion at times. I needed to be there every day to make sure she was being properly cared for. I knew that the next few weeks could be challenging!
 
She was home about a week and half when one afternoon she began throwing up! I’ll spare you the details, but it went on for longer than we felt it should. She had no flu-like symptoms, nor eaten anything to cause the nausea she was feeling. In her condition, she couldn’t be transported to the hospital by car, so we called 911.
 
Another trip to the ER. This time it was at 11 p.m. It was somewhat quiet for the ER . However, most people know a trip to the ER is never a quick trip. Finally, after a CT scan it was determined she had a blocked bile duct. She was admitted to the hospital. At this point it was 5 a.m. and I was exhausted. Two more hours and I would’ve been up for 24 hrs. I don’t need a lot of sleep, but I do like it, if you know what I mean!
 
The doctor came into see us (yes, I was back at the hospital by 9!) and let us know she would have to have the duct cleaned out and then her gall bladder would be removed because there was an abundance of stones in there. These are two separate procedures.  
 
Again sparing all the details, like the doctor had never seen so many stones in a bile duct and the fact her gall bladder was ready to rupture, she came through both procedures well.
 
During all this, I had my 2-year scan. I’m happy to report the scan came back clean. In fact, the doctor said it was a perfect scan, there was nothing to even see. Thank you, Jesus.
 
The doctor did tell me my lab work came back revealing I was anemic! He asks, “have you been feeling tired?” My first thought was, “I’m not crazy, it’s not in my head, I have a reason for being so blasted tired!” I said, “well, I have had a lot going on!”

He said I needed to come in for 2 Iron IV treatments.

By now, our daughter and her family came home for a visit. I truly enjoy having them here. Routines are on hold, good eating goes by the wayside, stayed up late, did over 20,000 steps at the Magic Kingdom in 1 day! The day they left a dear friend came to stay for a long weekend and teach at our church service…needless to say—Yes, I’m tired!
 
So where exactly are these “lazy days of summer” at? Not my house!
 
 
 
I am reminded of the verse in Matthew 11:28-30 Come to me, all who are weary!

“Are you weary…then come to me. I will refresh your life, for I am your oasis. You will find refreshment and rest in me.”(The Passion Translation)

Now that my mon’s health is settling down, the excitement of family and friends being here is gone and I got the first of two iron IV treatments—I sit and rest.
 
I sit here writing this listening to worship music, reflecting on all that has transpired in the last few weeks of this quickly fading summer.
 
I am grateful that my mom didn’t hurt herself more than breaking her hip. Because of the way it broke, they did a partial hip replacement, which allowed her to heal much quicker. The gallbladder issues were discovered and resolved. She is doing well.
 
I am very thankful for the memories made this summer with both our kids, spouses and grandkids. All together for a short period, which does this momma good. I love time spent with our kids.
 
I am grateful the scan can back clean. No more scans, just bloodwork in six months.  
 
I have not had any of those lazy summer days.  Yet, as I sit in the sweet presence of Jesus the weariness fades because HE refreshes my soul and renews my spirit.
 
Whew! Hope you aren’t worn out just by reading this! I’d love to hear how your summer is going. Maybe you’ve had opportunity to have some lazy summer days. If so, that is wonderful. There are still a few weeks left, so I may get in a lazy day or two!
 
No matter what your days are like, I pray you find time to sit in the presence of Jesus and allow HIM to refresh and renew you.
 
Blessings to you my friend,
Jeannine


Finding Joy When We Feel Discouraged


Finding Joy When We feel Discouraged

 

Life can be so disappointing, can’t it? Life can throw some real curve balls we we’re never expecting. Like many of you, I experience times of discouragement. How do we deal with it? I have found eating that whole bag of potato chips was not a good idea! Or spending money on new “stuff” that I didn’t need. Sitting around and having a pity-party with me, myself and I is not a great idea either—makes for lousy company!

I really like this definition of discouragement from William Ward.

“Discouragement is dissatisfaction with the past, distaste for the present, and distrust of the future. It is ingratitude for the blessings of yesterday, indifference to the opportunities of today, and insecurity regarding strength for tomorrow. It is unawareness of the presence of beauty, unconcern for the needs of our fellowman, and unbelief in the promises of old. It is impatience with time, immaturity of thought, and impoliteness to God”.

That definition right there should cause us to “snap out of it!” When I read that definition, I thought “wow… Lord, forgive me for being so ungrateful for all you’ve done, are doing and will do for me.

During these times, I fight it by engaging in self-talk. I like this version of Psalm 42:5-6a from the Message translation:  “Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul? Why are you crying the blues? Fix my eyes on God—soon I’ll be praising again. He puts a smile on my face. He’s my God. When my soul is in the dumps, I rehearse everything I know of you…”

Then I read these words from Titus 3. 

But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.(Titus 3:5-7)

What encouragement these verses are.

This is the redemptive power of God’s good news. When we receive good news it should make us happy. If the Gospel doesn’t make us happy, perhaps what we’ve accepted isn’t good news (and is therefore not the Gospel), but a burdensome bad-news religion. Or maybe we haven’t truly embraced it and experienced its implications in our hearts. We need to daily remind ourselves of what the gospel means, and cheer ourselves daily with God’s good news that should never get old for us.

Few of us will experience in our lifetimes as much utter desolation as Jeremiah faced. In a book written at a time in Israel’s history so sad that it is called Lamentations, there is still a transcendent happiness:

The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22-23)

This defies explanation. It is a joy that flows from being immersed in who God is and what He has done for us. It’s the new, fresh, daily experience and contemplation of the unceasing steadfast love of God, and His great faithfulness to us. What else can this do but make us happy and give us strength for the day ahead?

Don’t let the enemy rob you of the joy of the day. He would love nothing more than for you to have a down in the dumps day, week, month. It’s easy to slide down that slop and go from discouragement to depression.

I hope and pray that this has encouraged you today! Try and remember to do some self-talk to yourself. It really does help. Remind yourself of what God has done for you in the past. Meditate on verses that lift you up. Listen to worship music. When you worship, it’s kinda hard to stay discouraged!

I’d love to hear from you and what you do to encourage yourself when discouragment comes your way.  I am praying for you as we journey together on this road of life.

Love you my friend,

Jeannine



It’s the little things ~ They’re really BIG

Today I went on my first walk away from the house since I had cancer. Gosh, even saying “since I had cancer” still seams so surreal to me. I walked 3 miles. It’s the same route my daughter, Jenna, and I use to take when we were homeschooling. I loved those walks. Today was no different. 
 
Image result for walking
I was reminded of how much the Lord has blessed my family and me. I am so thankful that I am feeling back to my “old self”. And yet, I don’t want to be like my “old self”. Some where along the cancer journey, more of me died…which is a good thing!
I am not thankful for having cancer, but what I am thankful for is all that it taught me and what I have learned! You can be taught something but that doesn’t mean you truly have learned it. So I am applying what I have learned. 
 
I’m learning more than I realized that the little things really are the BIG things. I know we’ve all heard that before. But do we really comprehend that?
 
As I walked today, I was thanking the Lord for the ability to get out and walk. I have been so apprehensive to walk alone to far from the house in case I couldn’t make it back! I’ve done walking with my family, but someone has always been with me. Today I was reminded of those who could not get out and walk and  I prayed for them.  I prayed for those who are still suffering with the dreaded disease of cancer and other debilitating diseases.
 
It was wonderful to feel the sun on my face and the breeze refreshing me. I could hear the birds singing in one ear and Casting Crowns in the other! Interesting combination. 
 
Now don’t get me wrong, I have been walking on a treadmill and doing various exercises to help build up my bones and muscles from all the damage done by chemotherapy. But there’s something about getting outside and walking in the splendor of what our amazing God has created, minus the sound of roofers hammering away or the lawn guys mowing! 
 
This week the Lord has answered some amazing prayers. Prayers that may seem little to someone else but are BIG to this mothers heart. 
 
God is into the little things—He KNOWS they are really the BIG things!
 
I want to encourage you today to remember the little things really are the BIG things. God is all around us doing amazing wonders, if we will only look and listen. 
 
I find myself pursuing the Lord more than I have in a really long time. I am finding as I pursue Him, He is right there to meet me. He loves me and He sees value in me and He sees worth in me. He loves me.
 
Here’s the deal my friend… He loves you, He sees value in you, He sees worth in you. Purse Him today and He will be right there with you. 
 
It’s a little thing that turns into a really BIG thing. 
 
Blessings my friend,
Jeannine