Finding Time in the Midst of Chaos


Mom and meWell it has been quite a while since I’ve had a post. I thought it is time to sit down and try to write. It is not an easy task in my life.

Since my last entry, I have returned to work and as you know, the home front continues to become more of a challenge. All through the experience I keep reminding myself that I am not working my plan for my life, as much as I am submitting to my heavenly Father’s plans and purpose for me. Once I acknowledged this; my life seemed to make sense for the very first time. When things don’t go my way, I accept that it is my Father rearranging things. When things fall into place, miraculously, there is just no way I can take credit.

I just flew with someone who told me, “no you need to pat yourself on the back!” Really? Why? I don’t want to pat myself on the back. (First of all, because it is physically impossible) and secondly, I don’t feel I have done anything so great. I know that I handle my life because God gives me the strength to handle these challenges. But I cannot say that I have always been happy about the responsibilities He’s given me. And sometimes, I’ve downright lost it! I’ve had temper tantrums and been filled with self-pity. “Why me? Why not someone else?” I’ve had all of those angry questions. But in the end, He keeps me grounded. He reminds me that I can handle it. He reminds me that His son had those very same feelings.

When I went to Israel many years ago, I saw the huge stone where Jesus had wept and prayed so fervently in the Garden of Gethsemane. Everyone was placing their hands on this stone as if they could feel His anguish. This is what makes me remember that even He asked the Father, “to take this cup of suffering from me.” In the end our Lord knew that it was not His plan He was working, but His Father’s plan. This picture of Christ’s grief is a stark reminder that He did indeed, “Suffer  all things which are common to man.” He knows my fears and my sadness. He knows my joy when I see that this suffering, is worth the end result. “looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:12)

Wow! If He could do that for me, I certainly can’t complain about my circumstances. He has chosen these things for me, “to perfect my faith.” Who cares about me more than He does?

I had to keep this in the forefront of my mind when I received a recall notice to work. I had been on a furlough for almost 3 years. Granted, the furlough was another blessing from the Lord. I had just begun to see my mom slipping more and more each day, when along came this offer to take the furlough. This couldn’t have been at a more opportune time. However, I didn’t really know that at the time.

I was really sitting on the fence with that offer, as I was a little fearful of losing an income. “How am I going to make it with no money coming in?” I asked the Lord. I wasn’t sure if this was something I should do. Then He placed people in my path, that I can only describe as messengers on behalf of Him. They encouraged me to take this offer and one person, asked if he could call and speak to me. This was a few nights before the deadline for our decision. He completely encouraged me to do this as he knew my circumstances. He knew that my mother is not going to get better, but she would decline.

I decided to take the offer because of all of ‘the encouragers.’ What a great time I’ve had with my mom, my brother and my children! I took her on a road trip to Wisconsin along with my son and my brother. Though she did not know anyone, I felt rewarded in the fact that her friends and family had the chance to see her. I also didn’t feel the guilt I had before. She has been obsessed with moving back to Wisconsin. In some way I felt I was holding her hostage. This trip was a revelation to me as well. I could see that the Wisconsin she remembers only exists in her mind. She can visit anytime she chooses. My son exclaimed, “We could have driven around the block and told her she was in Wisconsin!” lol Yes, I suppose that’s true, but besides seeing Palm trees everywhere, it wouldn’t have been as effective. As I said, I felt this trip was more for my benefit and those who could see her.

The past 3 years gave me a chance to be completely involved in my son’s life, when he needed me most. I didn’t know so many things were happening until I was present every day. There were people that would have wished I would just return to work, but that was not going to happen! The Lord wanted to expose so many things to me. He knows that I am a staunch advocate for people who cannot speak for themselves, and this is the very reason I have the care of my mother and brother  and a young son.

However, had I not had some of the experiences in my own life, I would not have been as discerning. Now some of my suffering began to make sense to me. I have the ability to see things that the average person may not. I also have the strength to speak up, where most people will not. I find that my anger at such injustice overpowers any fears I may have. If I was not equipped with this righteous anger, I wouldn’t have the ability to take a stand.

Each year that the furlough was almost up; I would ask the Lord what He wanted me to do. Two times, I would receive another offer to take a year off. But this last year it has been different. This time we would receive an offer of an ‘early-out.’ Buyout offer plus benefits. Wow! This must be the answer, I thought! This was a big offer too! As I pondered this offer, I was ready to jump. Thinking that this would help me tremendously; I now heard the Lord speaking to me. “Hold on, don’t be impulsive.” As I weighed out the pros and cons of the offer, I asked the Lord to do what He has always done. To show me His will in this. To speak to me. He did and it was a surprising answer. He spoke to my spirit and He also sent people to me to give me answers. And just like always, the best plan is the most difficult!

As I began to see that this looked good on the surface, but it wasn’t really what the Lord had planned, I now wondered at how He was going to make my return to work possible. I am now mature enough in my faith that I know He will provide; but I still wanted to know how!

Now, I was most concerned with care for my mother. I can’t leave her and 24 hour nursing care is way too expensive. This would hardly make my return to work reasonable.

One day as I was praying and asking God for the answer to this dilemma, a person came to my mind. It was a woman who used to care for another elderly woman in a group my brother was a part of. My brother had a bowling group and this woman had a daughter with Down’s Syndrome. Her daughter was an excellent bowler. I had become friends with her and some of the other older ladies in the group. We used to sit and play cards together as the people bowled. You may remember an earlier post about this, “Kings in the Corner.” These women taught me many things. The woman that took care of her was a sweet, little Jamaican lady. She was so cute.

Marilyn eventually passed away, so the caregiver took care of her daughter. It was only a few years later that the daughter also died. She had a heart problem. I still have a picture of her smiling face on my bulletin board. She was full of joy and the sweetest girl. I remember at her funeral, the sister, coming up to me and saying, “You know Carrie, you and me are the same!” She was referring to the fact that she had taken care of her mother, and her sister after her mother’s passing. The caregiver lived with her and helped her take care of both of them.

As I thought of this, I thought, “I should call her and ask about Marlene! (the caregiver) She was excited when I called her. I told her that I had been called back to work and needed someone for my mom. I asked about Marlene. She said, “Wow! I can’t believeyou’re calling right now! She was caring for a woman and she just passed away about 2 weeks ago. She’s looking for someone else to care for right now.” I was so thrilled. I also knew that the was the Lord’s hand in all of this. He constantly reassures me that if He has called me to do something, then He will also provide!

It was only a few weeks later that I was back in training for 6 days. I had complete security knowing that this woman is experienced with people like my mom and she has compassion. She also knows my brother and is very experienced with special needs too. She told me that if she ever has a problem with her schedule, “her sister is her backup.” What a great thing! God not only provides our needs; He goes above and beyond what we need!

My son has proven to be a responsible and caring person from this experience as well. The other day, I messed up my own schedule and thought that I had given the information to Marlene and I did not. So of course, she wasn’t at the house. At first I thought that my printer didn’t print the trip, or she was reading the schedule wrong. I called her in a panic and she was already on her way out of town. She said, “Don’t worry. I’ll get someone to cover for me.” She did and this woman was her cousin. She was so wonderful and had also been living in the north for years taking care of an elderly woman. In the meantime, my son was able to ‘hold down the fort,’ until she arrived. He was asking me where the chucks were for my mom’s bed and I thought, “Is he really changing the bed linens?” This was just unfathomable, as he doesn’t do this in his own room! He had given my mom breakfast and helped my brother get up for school. I thought, this kind of responsibility is good for him and he will never regret the things he did for his grandma.

So now I’m thanking the Lord for all He has done and is doing to grow us. In the midst of the chaos of my life. I see His hand reaching through and holding me as I walk through all the storms. I’m grateful for the people that He sends to me to encourage me and give me wisdom for decisions. He removes those who have tried to bring me harm and continues to reveal His plans for me as I roll everything over to His ultimate will.

I think that my first layover was when it hit me; hey I don’t think I’ve had time to relax like this in years! Now I can understand the benefits to this decision. I felt refreshed for the first time in a very long time. I’m so appreciative of this time I’ve had with my family but also my ‘alone time,’ now. I also want to thank you people who have been a part of this journey with me. I am touched that those of you (and some complete strangers) have helped me through the most difficult times. I know who you are; and I know who has sent you! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!!

He Shall Direct My Path


The pillar of clouds by day

It was amazing to see it. The Menorah in front of the Knesset, in Israel.  As we began to pray, suddenly the clouds formed a perfect pillar formation above the Menorah. We were in awe. It was unmistakeable.

Take a picture! We knew it was as if the Lord was confirming His presence and we remembered this very same sign to the nation of Israel, so long ago.
He would lead His people in this fashion. A pillar of clouds by day, and fire by night.
I’ve learned to trust Him in the same way.
At times, I just wait for Him.
It’s very painful, especially knowing that my loved ones do not know this love of the Father, but, it is this suffering which has this end in mind. He says that the suffering is what will enevitably turn us toward Him or away from Him.
I know in my own life, it drew me closer.
I was reading my bible this morning and was reminded to “stop those who are stumbling toward the slaughter.”
I wept as I thought of those who I care so deeply about and as angry as I have been, and as much as I have been hurt, the thought of them being hurt brings great pain. Yet, I also know that I cannot hold back the arm of the Lord.
I can only intercede for the ones to whom I’ve been sent.
This requires grace. So I ask for a greater measure.
In that garden which Jesus poured out His blood and tears. That holy rock which He laid upon. He cried out and asked for that cup to be passed and finally submitted to our Father.
I also saw this rock in Israel. I did touch that rock and I know  a bit of that pain which He felt. Perhaps to a lesser degree than the pain of carrying the burden of the whole world.
Yet is the need to submit to the will of my Father in all things. The fear of the unknown.
I remember that although my Lord is God, He was also the son of man. He became one of us. He felt our every heartache and struggle.
This is why He in the end had to submit and now my struggle is to submit to Him.
 it is not my will, but His will, that shall be done.
I am to be led by His fire, His Holy Spirit.
Only He knows what is best.
Because there is “a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death. But to follow the Lord, will always lead to eternal life.” So I walk by faith, not by sight. He constanly gives me signs and He speaks to me. I cannot go wrong.
He tells us “to submit to God, lean not unto our own understanding, and He shall direct our path.”
Menorah in fron of Knesset

Yeshua-Behold the Lamb!


And by His stripes we are healed

It is the prophet Isaiah’s words spoken to the nation of Israel about their coming messiah. The nation of Israel had seen many, claiming to be ‘the one.’ Much like we do today and many who are not knowledgeable of the words of the prophets, are deceived, as they were in Jesus day. We have had people searching for a miraculous sign, especially when times are tough, and if they don’t know Jesus words, such as, “it is a wicked and adulterous generation who seeks after a sign and none shall be given,” then they shall be running to and fro seeking after all kinds of crazy things and worshipping people and false idols. They pray to other people and even objectify things. It’s incredible that humans have all but forgotten that the nation of Israel did the exact same thing when Moses went up to the mountain to get the tablets and made a golden calf.

I watched a special the other night about all the so-called saints that have been declared by a church that the people are praying to. Keep it simple and do not sin folks! Everything is in Gods word. “There is but one God and one mediator between God and men the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all men-the testimony given in its proper time.(1Timothy2:5,6)

Just as so many other mediators are out there, we just cannot deify angels, objects, or loved ones, no matter how good they may have been. Even the preachers are called to guide us, however, as I’ve pointed out, we are to walk in obedience to God’s word and we are humans.

I think it’s appropriate on the eve of Resurrection Day to dig into Isaiah’s prophetic words to the nation of Israel, since it’s such a beautiful picture of messiah. It is mysteriously left out of the temple teachings. You will see why after I impart the bulk of the text; It is interesting to note that this prophet had spoken these words at least 500 years or more before Christ had made His appearance to the nation of Israel. Weary from so many claiming to be the messiah and longing for a ruler to overthrow the oppressive Roman rule, this man was just one more crackpot to some, but to those who had the spiritual eyes and ears required….just as is required today

Isaiah 53; Who had believed our message, and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? He grew up before him like a tender shoot out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to Him, nothing in His appearance that we should desire Him.

(this whole paragraph speaks of His humble birth and the fact that He had no attractive qualities that would draw attention to Himself. Nothing majestic to indicate royalty. His kingdom was not of this world and He made this clear. In fact we’ve never had anything in all of scripture to describe His appearance, except that He was of large stature, dark-skinned and had a beard. God did everhthingwith purpose. He knows man wants to worship an image and He tells us that we are to “worship in Spirit and in Truth” Man has a tendency to follow other men, and this is why Jesus told His disciples that He would send them the Holy Spirit who would live in all of us believers and we must be as servants.

v3 He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed Him not. Surely He took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered Him stricken by God, smitten by Him and afflicted.

(all His life He was made to suffer in the body of a man to learn what it meant to be fully human. “He became obedient unto all things, even unto death on the cross.” And men assumed He was being cursed because of His suffering.

but he was pierced for OUR transgressions, he was crushed for OUR iniquities; the punishment that brought US peace was upon him, and by his wounds, WE are healed.

Every year at Passover, I’m fascinated when I look at the matzoh and see the piercings and the stripes on the unleavened matzoh. It is all a picture of HIM. It was the foreshadow of His coming and the completion of the picture is when He sat with His disciples at the table passing this matzoh around the table. They had done this year after year. This was to be the culmination  on this very night. The reason the Passover was given. Leaven, is yeast, which is a picture of sin.(ex 12:15,Mt16:6,1Co5:6) He took the bread and passed it to his disciples breaking it, he spoke about the fact that up until this point they had always done this in remembrance of their exodus from Egypt. From now on they would “do this in remembrance of Him.” He is the Passover Lamb.” Now you see the Old Testament practices had value since they pointed to Christ.

v6We all like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way;and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

v7He was oppressed and afflicted, yet He did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent so he did no open His mouth.By oppression and judgment He was taken away.

(Jesus Christ stood before Pilate and was examined and found to be without cause. He was asked by the Jews what they wanted to do with Him and they asked for Barabas to be released on His behalf. interestingly, Barabas name, means, “son of the father.” Jesus  (being the true son of the Father)became his substitute, and what a picture of substitutionary sin, (God’s guilt offering) from the beginning to the very end.

v8And who can speak of His descendants? For He was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people He was stricken. He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in His death though He had done no violence, nor was any deceit in His mouth.

(He had no marriage or family, so that puts an end to the nonsense about his wife and the Hollywood fairytale. The real wedding will take place at the “wedding feast,” with His bride, the church. He left for this reason. He was assigned a “rich man’s grave,” when Joseph of Arimathea, donated his very own tomb to Him to be used.

v10Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush Him and cause Him to suffer, and though the Lord makes His life a guilt offering He will see His offspring and prolong His days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in His hand.

(All who have placed their trust in Christ are His offspring. We are of the Incorruptible seed.)

v11After the suffering of His soul, He will see the LIGHT of LIFE, and be satisfied, by His knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and He will bear their iniquities.

(The Three days in the tomb and the Resurrection! )

v12 Therefore I will give Him a portion among the great, and He will divide the spoils with the strong, because HE poured out HIS life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors!

Now as we celebrate this Passover/Easter it is simple to know it is the same holy day. The Israelites were to take a perfect lamb( Jesus) and sacrifice this lamb. Dip the hyssop(faith) into the blood. Place this over the doorpost and sideposts of the doors(to form a cross) and the angel of death would ‘pass over ‘their families. We do this now by faith when we confess Christ as our Savior. “Behold I stand at the door and knock, and if anyone opens I will come in.”(Rev.3:20)

He Has Risen!!!!