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Thursday, July 30, 2015

Louie


On June 7th, we received the shocking news that our friend, Louie Rudin passed away. His example of walking closely with Jesus Christ will always be with me. His was a race well run!

The first time I ever saw Louie was when I was a senior in high school. That fall, I went on a weekend retreat to Watson Homestead with Young Life. Louie was a YL leader in Seneca County and was the retreat speaker that weekend. (In fact, he was my husband's Young Life leader) I don't think I ever laughed so hard in my life! He had an incredible sense of humor...but best of all, he loved the Lord with all of himself.

About 5 years later, after I graduated from college, I became a YL leader myself. I had the privilege of getting to know Louie as a fellow leader. He would often drive up to Rochester to come to our leadership meetings on Saturday nights. He always had a smile on his face and kept us all laughing.

The first few times he came to leadership he said, "I ought to bring my housemate to this. I think he'd like it." One Saturday night he finally brought him. It was Jamie! I had actually met Jamie a few months earlier when we were both counselors at YL's Saranac Village. I married him about two years after Louie reintroduced us. It was one of the smartest things I ever did!

Louie was in our wedding. In fact, he drove the car we rode in from the church to the reception. On the way, he drove us through the McDonald's drive through in Penfield. He thanked the workers for coming to our reception and ordered us a drink and some fries.

Although we hadn't seen Louie in many years, we always considered him to be a good friend. The testimony of so many people at the memorial service was impressive as they got up one by one telling how Louie had introduced them to Christ or encouraged them in their walk with Him.

Louie will be greatly missed here on earth, but he is in a better place! Some day we will see him again.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Almost to 46!


Jamie sent this picture yesterday from the Adirondack Mountains. He met up with our son, Allen to do a little hiking. Allen has been working as the assistant program director at a Christian camp up there.

Allen has now hiked to the top of 39 out of 46 of the high peaks. (Jamie is up to 7)

I love these two men in my life!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Ian Morgan Cron on Pain

I really wanted this with the previous post, but it kept messing up the format of all the paragraphs. I gave up and decided to post it separately.
Please take the time to watch this and pay close attention. It is totally spot on! It was when I ran towards my pain that I finally found healing.


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Praying the Alphabet

Sometimes I slip into doubt. The enemy does not want me to trust in my Lord and savior. Instead, he wants me to question God's love for me. He drums up every sad memory he can to attack me. He reminds me of how people hurt or betrayed me. He whispers the grievances I have felt towards others...and stirs it up again. He reminds me of my failures and tells me that I could never minister to others by telling them about my deliverance from spiritual bondage. He tells me that my story is a total joke because I am not living victoriously. He tries to make me believe that my Lord does not have my best interest in mind...that He is actually a cruel God. The pit of despair looms near...threatening to swallow me up in it. I've been down this path many times and I know that the only way to get through it with victory is to go to the foot of the cross. To fall on my knees before Him. To regain focus on God's truth and who He is.

Sometimes I "pray the alphabet." The Lord showed me this trick one night as I lay in bed. I often have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. Too many racing thoughts. I have quieted my mind by lulling it to sleep with dull thoughts. One of the ways I have done this is to go through the alphabet and for each letter, say as many names that I could think of beginning with that letter. It shuts off the crazy, worrisome thinking and replaces it with the mundane. So I would start. "Ann, Amy, Abigail, Antoinette, Alice, ...Barbara, Bernice, Betty, Bernadette, Babette,...Colette, Catherine, Christine, Cassie, Cassandra, Camille,..." (I'm not sure why, but I always stick to girl names) Usually by the time I got somewhere between H and N, I had fallen asleep.

One night as I lay in bed, not only did I have racing thoughts, but they were all the attacking thoughts that I mentioned in the first paragraph of this post. I started the alphabet name trick...it wasn't working quite as well. It came to my attention that the Lord inhabits the praises of his people. If I praised Him, how could anything negative be present? Satan hates the praises we lift up to Jesus. He cannot stay around for that. I decided to try praising the Lord using the alphabet. There are no hard and fast rules for this. Sometimes I linger on a letter and come up with several praises or attributes. Other times, it is just one.

Heavenly Father, you are Almighty, you are Beautiful, the Beginning and the end. You Created the heavens and the earth. You are my Deliverer. You are Eternal. Your love goes on Forever. Great are your works, Oh Lord! You are Holy, the great "I Am." You have Justified me. You Keep me in the shadow of your wings. You are all Knowing and Loving. Father, you are the Maker of everything. You Made me and have promised to Never leave my side. Only you, oh Lord are worthy of my praises and my full admiration. You give me strength to Persevere and to never Quit the race set before me. You have promised me Rest when I come into your presence. You are my Salvation and my Truth. You bring the Ultimate Victory against the lies of the evil one. You are Wonderful. Yahweh. Thank you, that I will be one day in  Zion. In your very presence. Why do I get so hung up on things here on Earth, Lord? Why do I not trust you? Lord Jesus, thank you for loving me all the time. Every minute of every day...even when I am straying away from you. Help me to be ever faithful to you each day. Amen.

As you can see, sometimes it doesn't end at "Z." Sometimes I keep going and drop the alphabet entirely or I start over. Sometimes I fall asleep in the middle of it, but I know that my Father doesn't mind...just as I didn't mind if one of my children fell asleep while I read to them. I have never prayed the same alphabet prayer twice. Sometimes I vary it to be a prayer of gratefulness and I name blessings he has brought to me.

I hope this post encourages you and gives you a tool to use to combat the lies the enemy tells.

(If anyone can come up with something for "X" or another "Q,"  just leave your suggestion in the comments.)

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Yielding to His will for me

The Lord has shown me again and again that He knows everything that will happen to me and He is not surprised by it.

I need to absolutely trust Him. Why shouldn't I? He loves me. He has been there in my darkest times. It was then that He whispered to me to choose life. It was difficult because everything within me was screaming out for me to choose the opposite. I heard that whisper and clung to that. He brought me through it.

He has told me things that at the time, I did not want to hear. But now...years later, I find comfort in. Things that made me say, "No. Lord! I cannot bear that! Why? Please don't!" and now I look back and say, "My Heavenly Father knew. He knew. And it was all right in the end...He knew it all before it happened. It went all according to His plan."

I just want things my way sometimes. I am very arrogant to think that I know a better way.

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Through a Glass Darkly

Most of the time I feel pretty strong...like I am doing well in spite of life's bumps and bruises...(and festering wounds). At those times, I can be joyful and go about life with little worry or concern about life's disappointments, both present day and in the past.

Lately I have been struggling again. I have to cling to the hope that it will all become clear one day and I can look back on this life and say, "Of course! Now it all makes sense why God allowed that to happen. In fact, it was part of his plan and it was perfect!" For now, I see through a glass darkly. I sometimes feel like I am clinging for dear life to a raft in the middle of an ocean...where the waves are buffeting me and threatening to pull me under.