Tag Archive | encourage

Surprises in the dark

This is us in Maui 7 years ago.. a wonderful memory!

 

Dear Readers,

If you have been following my blog you know that I write about the struggles of this life.. disappointment.. grief and loss.. disillusionment etc. I feel like there is a need for that type of transparency and sharing. However.. there is more than just acknowledging the trials and the pain we face. In the midst of these trials, God promises to show up.. to reveal Himself to rescue us and to renew us.  This was a week when God showed up in my life in a very surprising way.

As you know, my husband is suffering from a type of dementia and we have been grappling with what that means for the last year.. since he was diagnosed. A couple of months ago I decided to take our wedding movie to Costco to have it put on a DVD. We have never seen this movie since it was shot with a super 8 camera with no way to view it.. time to do something about this. I wanted to make sure that we watched it together now..in case Steve is unable to take it in later.. but at the same time I felt like I was going to lose it when I saw how things used to be. We have been married for 17 years and both of us are very different from the way we were on that day.

It seemed as though the Lord and Steve wanted to see it.. so I just hoped that I could recover after it was over. God surprised me.. not only did I recover, but I was totally encouraged as I watched and also amazed. The important moments were all there.. views of the guests.. many of them are with the Lord now.. including my Dad and Steve’s sister. It was wonderful to see them again and to remember them.. Then there were the vows.. showing the close up of my face and I saw the joy that God gave me as I married this wonderful man and promised to be faithful to him no matter what happened.. in sickness and in health. Wow.. so thankful that I made those vows and that God is giving me the strength to keep them. The pastor gave a sermon on 1 Corinthians 13.. the love chapter. It was a prophetic word for us.. emphasizing that love was to be at the center of our relationship.. It was as though the Lord knew we needed to file that away and keep it for this season. So awesome to realize that He knew what we would face and that we would walk it out together. I was strengthened by the words of the pastor as he told us that he could see God’s handiwork in our relationship.. it was confirmation to me that nothing that is happening is a surprise to God.. He knew what we would walk through and that we would cling to Him and each other.

Yes! It was a surprise in a dark time and it came in a surprising way.. I cried and longed to relive those early years of our marriage.. but these years matter too and I want to live fully as they unfold.

I just had to share this with you.. I hope it brings life and hope to your heart!

Love,

Alicia

Advertisements

So what does God really want for Lent?

Yep! We are still in that season.. almost all the way through March until we get to Easter Sunday on the 27th. This is an interesting time of year for my husband and I. We met on the day before Easter in 2001 and got married on the day before Easter in 2002.. we actually picked that day because of the significance of Easter in our relationship.. and of course there is our last name which is Feaster! So this season is a big one for us. We celebrate our anniversary soon at the end of March and the date we met which falls in the middle of April. I try to pay attention to what God is doing since He really got my attention almost 15 years ago when we met. It was a huge change for me to get married again after being widowed and having two bad marriages. The good new is that Steve is the love of my life and we have a really good relationship that continues to grow and thrive.

We’ve been though many trials together starting when we got married and both lost our jobs. It has been a pretty wild ride so far with lots of change and losses. So here we are many grandchildren later.. between us we have 13. Most of them were born during the last 15 years. God did something great when he brought us together, not just for us but for everyone in our families. It has been amazing and I am so thankful. Just a little background for you and some great reminders for me!

So what does God want for Lent? I don’t see this season so much as a time to give up things as a time to give things to God. What I mean is ” what is God after?” That is the question that I keep asking myself and Him. I got the answer this morning after reading the story of Moses not being able to enter the promised land. I have always wondered why that happened.. what did he do that kept him from entering after 40 years in the wilderness. Well.. it was actually pretty simple. He did not obey God.  God told him to speak to the rock to bring out water and he struck the rock. But there is more.. he struck the rock in anger and frustration. He was angry with God’s people and he took out his frustration by hitting the rock and acting like he was making water appear.  Not only did he decide to handle things in his own way, he made himself the center of things. God told him what to do and after leading Moses for all those years.. I imagine He thought Moses would do it.. that Moses trusted Him enough to speak to that rock calmly.. to show the people that God was providing what they needed.. but he failed and he did not enter the promised land.

Wow! That story totally struck a nerve.. I saw myself all over the place. My own anger and frustration with God’s people, my own desire to control things instead of letting go and doing it His way.  Then I discovered what God wanted from me during this season. He made it really simple so I would not forget.. He wants my doubts, fears, and unbelief. These are the things that are under the surface of the anger and frustration. He wants me to trust Him so i can enter the promised land and not just see it from a distance. I am so grateful that He revealed this to me right now.. there is almost a month until Easter.  It gives me time to show Him that I am  listening to Him. A revelation of this type needs to be followed by acts of obedience that show God that I am taking this seriously. I won’t go into detail but there are things that need to change in my behavior and decisions and attitudes.

So as you seek Him during this season, don’t be afraid to see yourself as you truly are.. He is showing us things so that He can breathe new life into us.. Let’s agree to give Him what He desires for Lent.. Easter is coming soon!

 

DSCN2233

 

 

Waiting and wondering..

How often do we have to wait in this life..all the time. Why is it difficult? Maybe it isn’t for you. My husband has almost no trouble waiting and I admire him for that. As for me, I have always struggled with being patient..almost feeling as though I was being punished when I have to wait. Maybe it is my temperament..I like closure … waiting with things open-ended is very uncomfortable.

Since I have to wait and God seems to delight in keeping me waiting :).. it is important that I keep my thoughts and feelings from spinning out of control. When I wait.. I get tired of it and before you know it, I am depressed and thinking negatively. My faith is wavering and I start to second guess everything. None of this is good for me or those around me. God is teaching me to learn from the waiting.

He is reminding me that every season has a purpose. This season that I am in right now is preparing me for the next. If I am going to receive blessings that He has in store for me.. I need to live fully while I am waiting. There is never a time when we are not being changed by Him..never a time when our lives are meaningless. Every day is important.. even when our longings seem overwhelming.

Our lives are a gift.. the hard parts and the easier parts.. the difficult days and the joyful days. He is present in all of it and while we are living fully, He is preparing things for us that we cannot imagine. He is our Heavenly Father.. He  has wonderful surprises for us. He delights in us and waits eagerly for just he right time to fulfill those desires that we keep hidden in our hearts.

Let’s wait in faith with our eyes on Him. He is good and His ways are far above ours. He will not fail and His purposes will all be accomplished in our lives..in His time not ours.

“If we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.” ( Romans 8:25)

DSCN1655

DSCN1838

DSCN1841

Getaways

We just came back from a getaway. It was needed and of course wanted:) I could feel the need to break away from the routine and from the pressures of life. Fortunately we were able to go away for the weekend to a place that is beautiful and not too far away. For many years of my life, I could never get away. Not only was it financially impossible, I really wanted to escape from my own husband and the life we had together.

Everything is totally different now. Money is still an issue, but not like it was then. I am married to my closest friend and it is amazing to be on vacation with him. I have a wonderful life that is nothing like the one I had for 25 years. This season is rich with blessings. So..because I am an NF and always want to know the deep reasons for things, I wondered why I needed to get away so badly. God wanted to speak to me and I think He was having a hard time getting my attention.

He wanted to remind me that I need to slow down and enjoy life..not just when I am on vacation. He wanted to speak to my husband and I about our marriage and how we could be more intentional with one another. He wanted to give me ways to walk through a very stressful period that is threatening to become more intense. It was a break, but not a break from God. He was there waiting with words of wisdom that would help us when we came home.

We cannot always get away.. but we can learn to live daily in a less hurried, driven way. We can always make more time for each other. We can find ways to nurture our own hearts and we can always draw our strength from the Lord.

“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”

DSCN2423

His purposes and plans for us..

As we approach the end of the year it is a wonderful time to remember that our God has great plans and purposes for this next season. His bigger story is unfolding one day at a time..our part is to take each step that He gives us. Each new morning is an opportunity to ask God for the plan for that day..to seek His face and His purposes.. to discover the work He is doing around us.

The peace comes when we stop looking toward the future. The picture I get is this..God has given us our life and we are to live it fully. It is as though we are standing in a beautiful garden with flowers of every color all around us and instead of soaking in the beauty we are gazing over the fence wondering what lies on the other side.

We are missing the present moment..longing for something we cannot see. All we really need to know is that He is already there. God is here with us and He is there waiting in that future place..ready and waiting for us when we arrive. He holds out His hands to us..eager to embrace us when we run to Him.. promising to catch us if we fall.

There are no words that capture the heart of God.. it is mystery, beauty, love, acceptance, and grace..plus so much more.

My prayer is that you will commit your way to Him..dedicate your life to Him..live daily with Him..seek Him and remember His amazing love for you!

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

DSCN2706

Out of the darkness..

God has called us out of the darkness into His wonderful light. A conversation with a good friend brought this to mind today. He really did call us out of the darkness..yet the darkness in the world is very real. We are faced with it every  day..take a look at the news for even a few minutes and you will find darkness..unimaginable darkness.

He has called us out of this for a reason..He wants to shine His light into this world.. we were created for such a time as this. He knew when we were formed..before we were born that we would live in very dark days. He knew that our lives would truly matter. We are here..right now..for a reason.

Every single day we encounter hardship, disaster, grief, fear, discouragement, depression, cynicism, disillusionment..either in our lives or in the lives of those around us. There is more of this than I have seen in my lifetime. It is a very interesting time to be a believer..to walk boldly through the hallways of despair and defeat.. knowing that we have the living God walking beside us. His life in us is able to shine light at just the right moment.. to bring hope, healing, love, understanding, and compassion to those who are brokenhearted.

He wants to use us..His people.. to remind a very troubled world that He is the answer..He is the way..He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

DSCN2078

The rain is coming..

God has promised us that He will deliver showers of blessings.. in His time. We are only in the parched land for so long..there will be a time when we see the clouds on the horizon and the rains will come. He will renew our strength and increase our faith as we wait.

I love the promises of God. They are the foundation that we stand on throughout our lives. His words  bring encouragement and hope. Without those words, our journey would be much more difficult. ” Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.” What a wonderful promise.. like water to a parched soul.

Words bring life..words are important..words remind us of His goodness. “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

Keep your eye on the horizon and soon you will see the tiny little cloud that comes before the rain.. the rain that will shower down blessings on your life..you will be flooded with the joy of the Lord as you receive all that He has prepared for you.

“I will bless my people and their homes around my holy hill. And in the proper season I will send the showers they need. There will be showers of blessing.”