Joyful in Hope

It’s been almost two months ago now.  My husband and I, after waiting many weeks, learned that we both are carriers of the mutated gene that causes Batten disease. This is the disease that our two sweet nephews have.  Being that my twin brother married my husband’s sister (fun, I know!), my husband and I had the same genes to work with.  Since we are both carriers, there was a 25% chance that our son, Colby, would have the disease. (this was also the case for Titus and Ely) And so, testing began for Colby.  To “have” the disease, the child has to inherit the mutated gene from both parents and so therefore, has a complete pair of bad genes. Anyway, we waited for a couple weeks after testing Colby, and each time the phone rang, my heart started pounding and I wondered if it was the genetic counselor calling.

As we waiting to hear about our son’s results, I found myself really enjoying each moment with him. Because what if someday, he won’t be able to talk and run and see.  I also found myself preparing for the worst….just in case.  And trying, at the same time, to completely give my son over to God.  He has had no delays up to this point, so I also wanted to cling to that truth….he was going to be ok, right?

Well, we ended up missing the phone call, and so I had to nervously listen to the recorded voicemail…(torture!) .I was trying to read into the counselor’s voice.  She sounded so…neutral. Then she finally said, “Give me a call back.  I have good news.” Good news!!  So, I called her back.  Colby does not have the disease!  He is a carrier, however.  So, at this point, I should be ecstatic right?!  I was!  But, as hard as it is to describe, I found myself having a hard time sincerely rejoicing.  Because at the same time, I knew that my sweet little nephews, were home carrying this thing that was slowing taking over their bodies.  I had this sense of, “I knew he was going to be ok.”  To, “He’s ok!  Wow….thank you God for this!”  As strange as it sounds, it took me several days to finally relax, find relief, and stop anticipating the worst.   It also took me several days to be okay with rejoicing, to know that I am not guilty for rejoicing.  Our minds and hearts do strange things sometimes, don’t they?  Maybe it’s because we are such incredible souls, designed by God.

Romans 8:38-39        “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[k] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  

Deuteronomy 31:8      “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

I share these passages because they are so incredible!  If I could just take a moment every day and just fully, completely, with all my heart and mind, believe these…wow!!  And I can believe them, because they are true.

May I talk about the elephant in the room?  I pray that the LORD speaks through this paragraph.  Not my words, but Your’s God. The question is placed before us….Why did Titus and Ely get the disease and not Colby.  Why do Danny and Bekah have to go through this and not Brad and I? I believe that it is okay to ask this, however, when it becomes consuming in our thoughts and we focus on this aspect constantly, we are in danger of misunderstanding who God is. We are in danger of placing blame somewhere where it shouldn’t be. We begin to doubt God’s goodness.  We begin to doubt that He is, indeed, in control.  We begin to not believe that everything is touched by God.

I just heard this a couple of weeks ago…..Everything in our lives (the bad) is allowed by God.  It is not caused by God, but it is allowed.  And when He allows something like a disease to grow, there is no doubt that He is writing an incredible story through it!  We must trust our loving Savior.  As the Bible says, we can only see a small portion of our lives, of this amazing story.  Someday we will see it in it’s entirety and it will be perfect; better than what we could have written.  The LORD is good, so good.  His love is lavished on us.  I am learning to take hold of that promise, by faith, each day.  I cannot compare the story of Titus with Colby’s story.  I cannot compare my story of that with my brother’s.  I cannot even compare the story of Titus to that of Ely’s.  Because each story is unique and blessed and incredible.

Romans 12:12

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

Thank you for reading…..Bek

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Wild Untamed Beauty

My son squealed with delight!  I don’t think I’ve ever seen him laugh so hard and intensely about something before!  haha….it was awesome.  I was rolling his truck across the floor to him, he’d anticipate it coming by putting his arms straight out towards it, squint his eyes, and turn his head just a little (but so he could still see it).  It was an incredible experience for him.  Pure delight.  I was joyful that I could give him this gift of fun.

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Last week a good friend of mine asked if we wanted to go huckleberry picking with her waaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyy up in the mountains.  (ok, ok…..I sorta kinda invited myself, but not really)  So, we all went and I was pleasantly surprised to find that our son took to the berry picking instantly.  He wanted to do what we were doing, to join in the excitement of finding those little blue berries and popping them in his mouth! He stuck to our sides like glue.  And in his own little chatter (of which we are pretty good at interpreting), he’d find a berry, and eat, and smile. Oh, how I love his smile.  He had a very good advantage at finding those berries.  From his perspective they were easy to find.  Right at eye level, underneath the leaves of the berry bush.  Us adults, being taller, could easily miss the luscious, flavor-packed, sweet/tangy (ok….I really really like them) berries as the green leaves shielded our view from the top.  We needed to crouch down and gain a new perspective to find them.

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We were blessed by the good LORD with rain several days ago!  No wind.  Just a solid rain.  Looking out over our small valley, millions of rain drops shimmered as they streamed steadily to the ground.  Perfect.  And in less then a half hour, our garden was watered….haha.  In the same time it would have taken all day with our tiny sprinkler.  What is it about the rain!?  What is it about a thunderstorm that has ALWAYS excited me?  The smell, the sound, the feel.  I LOVE RAIN.  When the sky grows dark and the rain begins to fall, I get this feeling deep in my soul, like something amazing and new is going to happen. And I don’t want to miss it. What is this about?  (I know others this way, so I don’t think I’m talking too crazy) Maybe it’s because I see God in the rain.  I see God in the thunder and the lightning. I want to see his power and mighty strength in the booming and shaking of the sky!

16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.  Colossians 1:16

My hubby finally got himself a game camera.  (birthdays are always fun that way) And we took a little family walk to go hang it up on the perfect tree on the perfect game trail to try and catch the perfect image of what wild creatures roam the forest.  And we were so excited to view the footage the next day.  Like little children, seeing something new for the first time.  And it hit me.  Why were we so excited about this?  And it was because we want so badly to see that bear, or that mountain lion, or that beautiful buck and doe.  We want to see God!  We want to see what he created.  The wild, untamed beauty.  But we have to have the right perspective. The right lens (and tree) to see these things.  But it’s really not that hard.  Because these created things are oh so close.  We just have to look.

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.  Romans 1:20

Our world is so broken.  But this is not the way God intended.  Since sin was introduced by us humans, things have been broken.  Sin, disease, death….they are ever present.  We suffer and we ask why.  We long for something….for God.  We long to be free and to find rest for our souls.  God has placed this longing for eternity in the heart of all of us!    Please don’t dismiss this next passage from the Bible because of it’s length. 🙂   But read it…..

Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.
    He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation,[e]
16 for through him God created everything
    in the heavenly realms and on earth.
He made the things we can see
    and the things we can’t see—
such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world.
    Everything was created through him and for him.
17 He existed before anything else,
    and he holds all creation together.
18 Christ is also the head of the church,
    which is his body.
He is the beginning,
    supreme over all who rise from the dead.[f]
    So he is first in everything.
19 For God in all his fullness
    was pleased to live in Christ,
20 and through him God reconciled
    everything to himself.
He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth
    by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.  Romans 1:15-20

God longs to be reconciled to us….longs to save us and be united to us.  Why? Because of his great (that is not a powerful enough word) love for us.  Because from the very beginning, this was his desire.

It is so important to think about what God thinks of us, not what we think of God.   With this perspective we are able to see all of the gifts and love that God reveals to us all day long!  All of creation is a gift.  My son’s laughter is a gift.  My clean water to do dishes is a gift.  My husband is a gift.  Everyday life is very full of hardship. I know we can all think of a whole long list of worries, pain, frustrations, guilt.  BUT our everyday life is even more full of God and his gifts!  Perspective. We don’t have to be weighed down by the things of this world. So long as we have Christ and his forgiveness, we can walk in relationship with him and be overcomers!  (yes….I’m a Mandisa fan)

God is more powerful then all other powers.  He is love!  Love drives out all fear.  He is light. He is peace.  He is our healer, our comforter, our teacher.  And he longs to lavish his love on us.

He will take delight in you with gladness.  With his love, he will calm all your fears.  He will rejoice over you with joyful songs. Zephaniah 3:17

 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?36 As it is written:“For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”[jNo, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[k] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 8:35-39

No doubt, many of you are on the Team for Titus and Ely!  These boys are blessings, gifts, wonderful little bundles of joy.  We love them incredibly!  When looking at their situation, it can be easy (and natural) to have the mindset that life is not fair.  That they have been given a death sentence.  But what about perspective!?  It takes courage to trust and it takes all our might.  But he can be trusted and it is worth it!  God’s gifts and love and blessings over their lives is real and present and constant.  He is not standing back and watching the storm as it rains down.  He is WITHIN the storm and bringing strength and comfort.  We cannot see the big picture.  We cannot always see the indescribable way God is comforting Titus in his world.  He loves his children.  And Praise be to God.  Titus and Ely…their souls will never be broken.  Titus’ spirit is still there.  Still whole, untouched by the disease.  Nothing can separate us from God’s love.  Bekah, their mommy, gave me permission to post this on here:

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She had this picture up on Facebook not too long ago with this caption that impacted me beyond words (hence why I will just put up her words, and not write anymore of my own :))  What an incredible AND life-giving perspective God has given to Bekah.  Here are her words:

“This little boy… This week has been tough for me… I’ve missed the Titus before the disease took over. I’ve questioned why many times, I’ve begged for God to bring him back to us, that same crazy, somersaulting, hyper, only-one-volume-and-that’s-loud boy. I’ve grieved over the “full” life I once dreamed I would have as these boys’ mom. And every time, God brings me back to today, to the present moment, and uses this to usher me into his presence in a way I’ve never known until now. It’s amazing how one can feel so much conflicting emotion in one moment, but I do, all the time. And it’s full of a sense that God is here, that he cares, and that he’s holding my baby tight. And when it comes time to give back who HE has given me, I know Titus will be running, eyes awed with wonder, adventure every day next to the One who loves him even more than his daddy and I ever could.”

Eucharisteo (give thanks) with me.

Thanks for reading. -Bek

This is real.

Just over 2 weeks ago, I was out in the pasture taking care of the chickens in the middle of the scorching hot afternoon.  We’ve been having very dry conditions as well.  I  needed to make sure the chickens were getting enough water.  I was checking the connection between two hoses, when I saw a shadow fall over the valley.  “Clouds!” I thought.  “That’s unexpected, but nice.”  I looked up and instead of a nice puffy cloud blocking the sun, it was dark brown smoke.  It was rising just on the other side of the ridge of our mountain. It took only a few seconds to realize that this probably wasn’t someone burning their burn pile!  It was a fire and this was not good!  Within 15 minutes, that small column of smoke turned into a very dark billowing cloud.  I was scared!  This was real!  A real live wild fire extremely close to our property.  I literally didn’t know what I should do next.  My military husband had been away for 3 weeks on assignment and he was due to return the following day.  REALLY!?  (we always joke around that something ALWAYS happens when he is gone. haha…..I think a wild fire burning extremely close to our property is top on the list!  Next to our dog getting hit by a car… but that’s another story for another day) The next several hours brought lots of waiting.  Along with throwing those things that were most important into the car, in case of mandatory evacuation.  The wind was blowing that fire fairly close in our direction.  However, with the incredible firefighters dropping water and retardant on the flames, and the fact that once the fire reached the ridge, it does not burn down hill very well, AND with God’s protection, I went to bed that night, safe. The next morning, the wind was blowing in the complete opposite direction!  So, the fire literally was burning back upon itself.  And this second day brought lots of waiting again.  I could see the smoke rising throughout the day.  There was a constant sound of helicopters and planes reminding me of the battle going on just on the other side of the hill.  I was going about my daily routine as normal as possible, but always waiting to see if that fire would but us in real danger.  The waiting was the hard part.  I didn’t know if I was going to lose my home, my farm. I had to trust that God was going to care for us.  That’s all I could do. And he saved us and everyone else close to the fire!  And out of the charred mountain side will come new life and beauty. Many of you are following the story of my nephews, Titus and Ely and the fight against Batten disease.  Batten is an umbrella name for many neurodegenerative diseases where the body’s lysosomes in the cells are not working properly to get rid of cellular “waste.”  The build up damages cells, slowing bringing blindness and a degression in motor skills along with all body function.  There is a 1/280ish chance for someone in the general population to be a carrier of the mutated gene that causes this late infantile NCL disease.  Being a carrier, means that you carry only one copy of the mutated gene, and you are not effected.  However, if two people are carriers and they have a child, that child has a 25% chance of acquiring the disease. Both mutated genes have to be passed on to the child for them to have it. Therefore, we call the disease an autosomal recessive disease. This is what has happened with my nephews.  Both their parents carry the bad gene.  Now, we are talking about my brother and my husband’s sister. 🙂  Siblings married siblings.  (it’s a fun story, I should share sometime.  And yes, it’s legal.) During the course of us finding out what disease was plaguing Titus, we discover that Ely also has it, even though he has not shown signs yet (they onset after 2 years of age, typically).  My heart aches deeply for them and my prayers are fervent for healing and peace and understanding.  And surely, Brad and I don’t have to worry about this with our family.  But wait, we all have the same parents, so maybe we need to be tested.  Brad gets tested first and we wait….wait to see if he is a carrier.  Surely, not.  Us “kids” have a 50% chance of carrying the mutated gene.  We wait for his results and then I get the call….Brad is a carrier.  No!  Ok….so now, I get tested.  Surely, I don’t carry it too!  I get my blood drawn and wait….and wait….God, I’d love to NOT be a carrier so that Brad and I don’t have to get our son tested.  So that we can have another child without worry.  Surely, not all four of us parents will carry this thing.  Then I get the phone call a few days ago, “I got your results from the lab.  I’m sorry, Bekah, you are a carrier.”  No…..no….. This is real.  This is really getting real.  We are facing a situation just like Danny and Bekah.  Waiting to see if our son might have the disease.  My dreams of carrying another child are shattered and I feel a very deep sorrow.  Like I lost the child that I never had.  And my thoughts can easily go to picturing Colby declining in skill and speech and vision.  Thoughts of him losing his life.  And it scares me to the core.  But I can’t let my thoughts go there.  Fear is not of God.  God is love and perfect love drives out fear. “Do not be anxious about anything. But in everything, with prayer and THANKSGIVING, present your request to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”  Phil. 4:4-8 WOW!  There is that word “thanksgiving.”  Eucharisteo.  By thanking God for all of his blessings (and there are so many every day!) I’m able to see God for who he really is.  Giving thanks allows trust to be built.  And it is safe to trust God.  He will guard my heart and mind and cover me with a peace I can’t describe.  Eucharisteo comes before the miracle. The opposite of trust is fear.  Fear is not of God.  Fear says that God is powerless. That He doesn’t care.  Fear says that God will not take care of Titus and Ely and Colby. Fear says that He is not doing what is good.  Fear binds us and blinds us and leaves us falling out of control into the pit.  Fear says God is finite and weak.  These are all lies.  Lies that I will fight against! God’s love endures forever.  “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all — how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things.”  Romans 8:12.  Jesus felt as though God forsake him on the cross.  It was very dark, the earth began to shake, Jesus was crucified.  But God had not forsaken.  God was ever so close.  And he did a miracle that changed everything.  Christ rose from the dead, took all of our sin upon his shoulders, and conquered death!  Jesus conquered death and sin and fear.  Surely, it is safe to trust God!  He has NEVER left us.  He love endures forever.  This is real. I think that during the darkest times in our lives, God is so very very close.  He may be silent but he is protecting us with is hand.  We long to know what he is doing, but he doesn’t say.  He may be silent, but he is not absent.  God is with us in the darkest of times and the fullness of his glory is passing by.  It may take a long time, but we will be able to look back and see exactly the good that he was doing.  I think that if God was to reveal to us his mighty plan, we wouldn’t be able to grasp it with our fragile human minds.  Moses wanted to see God’s face and God told him that he would surely die if he did.  His glory is that great and powerful.  God isn’t leaving us alone, his love is lavished upon us.  Thank you God. Thank you. Romans 8:38- “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our LORD.” Thank you for reading. Bek

The same yesterday, today and forever.

Last night I was laying down next to my 2 year old son in his tiny toddler bed.  (I fit oh so perfectly in the tiny space) It was bedtime and we were doing our nightly routine.  I lay next to him until he falls asleep.  I suppose some may say that is a bad habit to get into.  And no matter how the “habit” originated, I don’t mind it so much.  And the time with our children at this age goes so fast, I think it’s worth it.  Anyway….back from my bunny trail….he promptly stuck in his thumb and snuggled in close to me.  He doesn’t seem to mind cuddling even when we start sweating because it is so warm!   He then reached out across my body with his non-thumb sucking hand to find my hand. He wanted to hold it while he fell asleep.  This was an amazing moment for me (I try and cherish these moments) as I realized, at that point in time, all he wanted was me.  To hold my hand and fall asleep.  To love me and let me love him.  He felt completely safe and sound saying goodbye to another day and drifting off to sleep.  He trusts me.

Yesterday started out with me contemplating all that was part of my life, the good and the bad.  As well as the possibility of things happening.  And immediately, and throughout the rest of the day, I know God was telling me that I can trust him.  Trust him completely and no matter what happens.  I heard songs about trust, verses about trust…it was everywhere.

“This is what the LORD says: ‘Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans, who rely on human strength and turn their hearts away from the LORD . They are like stunted shrubs in the desert, with no hope for the future. They will live in the barren wilderness, in an uninhabited salty land. But blessed are those who trust in the LORD and have made the LORD their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.'”  Jeremiah 17:5-8

Or how about this one….. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and he will make your paths straights.” Proverbs 3:5-6

Merriam-Webster defines “trust” as  a “belief that someone or something is reliable, good, honest, effective, etc.”  Why do I have such a hard time completely trusting in God?  Why do I still have this hint of doubt when I think of the difficult circumstances I am facing or will face?  I go through times where I fully believe in my heart that I can trust God to work everything out for good.  Then it is like I forget, and I think, “yea, but maybe it won’t really all be good.” Why is it so hard for me to remember the very reliable, honest, true, loving, faithful, guiding Spirit of God?  Probably because nothing I experience on earth is or ever will be 100% trustworthy.  Think of those people who you really really trust.  Family members, close friends, your Pastor, etc.  And then think of the qualities they possess that allow you to trust them.  Faithfulness, reliability, integrity, LOVE, grace.  But, (and I say this carefully and with love and respect) somewhere along the line, we all fail and break that trust.  Because we are human and are subject to sin, we cannot be completely 100% trusted.  Now, that’s not to say we don’t work to gain someone’s trust back.  Not to mention the healing power of forgiveness and reconciliation (that could be another blog! :))  Anyway, I think you get the point. The only one who we can 100%, totally trust is God, our loving Father and creator.  So…….I think I can speak for a lot of us when I say that this is hard to do.

But let’s try something here.  Let’s (just for a moment) with all our might, let ourselves imagine what it would be like if God could be 100%, without a doubt, trusted.  Trusted to hold us through every single moment of the day.  To give us strength and wisdom through every single situation we encounter each day.  To work things out for good….not just ok, but absolutely, amazingly GOOD!  Are you imagining……..Wow…….how freeing in my spirit is this thought!  How indescribable to completely have someone to trust like that!  How incredible to believe that He loves me THAT much to take care of everything and to give me more than I could imagine.  Wow…..I can trust Him like that.  Because He is trustworthy like that.

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8

“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.

    He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
    he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
    for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
    through the darkest valley,[a]
I will fear no evil,
    for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
    forever.”   Psalm 23

The Bible doesn’t suggest that we  can, maybe, kind of, every once in awhile trust God.  It’s absolute truth that we can trust God.

Why don’t we trust our Savior, who defeated death and sin for us, simply because he loves us so.

Forever by Kari Jobe

Thanks for reading- Bek

Where’s the joy?

This blogging thing has become pretty popular over the years, and I think it can be used in such a unique way to share what is going on in life.  Sometimes it is just easier to write thoughts out.  First of all, so you don’t forget.  And secondly, so that others can take the time to read and (hopefully!) join in with you through the excitement, joy, pain, or whatever. 🙂 Many of you have been following along in our family’s adventure…of learning that both of my nephews have a very rare genetic disease that does not have a cure at this point (except the powerful healing hand of God!) And my lovely sister-in-law, Bekers (as I affectionately call her…and she, me) has written God inspired blogs to share that journey that they are on as a family.  And it is amazing the response that she has had through her blogs. They stir up powerful emotions when we read them.  (if you haven’t read them, please do!  www.youcantstealmyjoy.wordpress.com) I think so many of us are drawn emotionally to this story of Titus and Ely because we all want something.  And I think that something is joy.  (ok…maybe we want a couple other things too, like hope and peace)  We want to know how to have joy (and hope and peace) in the midst of life and all of the incredibly difficult things that come our way.   I want my blogs to be inspired by God.  And I want them to be written out of the many truths that God has been revealing to me as our family perseveres through trial and as He continues to love me and show himself to me.  Will you eucharisteo with me? This word “eucharisteo” probably seems like greek to you.  Oh, that’s because it is. 🙂  So, not to bore you too much…I’ll just tell you that if you break the word up into it’s parts, the definition we come up with for “eucharisteo” means “grace, joy, and thanksgiving.” (there, see. that’s not too boring).   Jesus gave thanks A LOT and as he gave thanks to God for everything, miracles happened.  God’s presence was seen and felt. I have asthma right now that is really bothersome.  So, I’m taking an inhaler. The temperature outside is very hot, so I’m doing my best to keep the chickens and the garden (and my family) alive! My nephews have a disease that has no cure….Titus is blind and can’t walk or talk.  I wish so much that he could see me and I hope he knows that his Aunty Bekah loves him. I wish he could see his cousin Colby and play with him. 😦 My husband and I are waiting on test results to see if we may carry this bad gene…..to make sure that our son Colby is safe. We are tight financially so we keep working away, trusting God to provide. My favorite chicken was carried off and killed by something. My son keeps getting constipated so I give him more fiber, water, milk of magnesia. There are so many things in my everyday happenings that I don’t really have any control of.  I’ve come to the realization that my life is not my own.  It really isn’t.  Every aspect of my life is God’s.  At first thought, this makes me feel kinda alone.  And out of control.  I don’t control what happens to me.  Is God sitting back halfheartedly watching me? Does he really care?  Am I left alone to try and fight through and have happy thoughts and fix things on my own power? Goodness NO!  🙂   This idea that God abandons us when “bad” things happen is far (times 1000) from the truth!  God is present. God is good.  God is giving comfort.  God is in control.  God works ALL things out for good.  Good, as in better then what we could come up with!  So…..the number one question is….why do bad things happen?  Why do I not feel God with me when darkness surrounds me? Where is the joy?  Maybe it’s because I’m not looking for him.  This world is broken, but why am I always focused on the broken?  Why do I let the broken become bigger then the good, bigger then the whole, bigger then the blessings?  How do I set my eyes on seeing God’s face?  Well, you know what Jesus did right before he was going to be hung on a cross to bear all of the emotional and physical weight of sin upon him?  He gave thanks.  He broke the bread and drank the wine.  And gave thanks!  Then the miracle happened.  Sin and death was defeated when Christ rose from the grave and forgave our sins! Woo!!!  (ok…that is mind blowing to me!)  So….if I give thanks for all things at all times, I can’t help but see God’s face in everything.  Eucharisteo.  Because he is there….I just have to want to see him and seek him and long to be with him. He is caring. He is present. He is powerful. He is NOT leaving us to face life on our own.  We can’t believe this for an instant. He loves us.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.  Then you will experience God’s preace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.  -Philippians 4:6-7

Thanks for reading. – Bek