Monday, September 29, 2014

By Faith :: Music Video

Hello friends! I am so sorry I haven't posted life has been, well, should we say, busy? :) The Lord is so gracious...He allowed me to qualify for the Nationals in Bible Bee, so from August 29th until October 29th, I am busy memorizing 750 Bible verses and studying the book of Nahum. Hence the reason for my absence ;-) 

I thought I'd share a music video I recently saw...hope it blesses you! :) 

God bless your week! Press on! 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Thankfulness and the Lord’s Holiness

Last Monday, I was on my way to work. It’s a 10 km (around 6 mi) distance via the main road, and about 11 km (close to 7 mi) if I take the back way. When there is plenty of light still, I take the main road because it’s sealed all the way—the back road is mostly gravel. The main road is dangerous—being the only direct north/south road on this side of the mountains, it’s traveled a lot. But since it’s quicker and easier to travel on, I stay to the side of the road as far as I can and pray for protection.

Going to work (heading south), I have to go around many curves, up three fairly steep hills, and then I reach the big hill—the fun one, because it’s all down. It is a little nerve-wracking when a bigger vehicle tries passing me while I’m going down in between a cut. Generally, I try to wait at the top until all vehicles have passed me before going down. And I keep my brakes on as I go, because losing control in that area would be deadly.

At the bottom of the big hill there is a bridge. It’s two lane, but still pretty narrow—you wouldn’t want to stay on there long. This particular Monday, I got to the bridge and was still going fairly fast from coming down the steep hill. I knew someone was behind me, but I decided to go ahead anyway instead of stopping to wait for them to pass me—if I hurried, I’d get across before they got to the bridge.

That was my mistake. About half-way across the bridge, trying to stay to the edge so I wouldn’t be in the way of the vehicle behind me, I skimmed the guard rail. I don’t think any part of me or my bike touched the rail, just my bag that I had hanging on my left handle. That was enough, though, and it upset my balance. Before I knew it, I was in the middle of the lane, with a vehicle coming from both ways—the south-bound behind me, the north-bound in front of me! I could feel the bike tipping under me, and I remember thinking one of those thoughts that take about a quarter of a second to process.

“I’m going to go on over. That vehicle coming will hit me.”

I really don’t know what happened next. Somehow, I stayed on my bike, and managed to get back to the very edge of my side of the road—just in time for both vehicles to pass safely. I grazed the guard rail again, but once again although I thought I must have REALLY dinged my bike up good this time, in retrospect I don’t think either of my tires or my pedals actually touched the rail. Shakily, I pedaled on as fast as I could and turned onto the much quieter road the place I work on is located. There, I inspected my bike, and was thankful to realize there was not a scratch on it. And I received no bruises from the incident.

I feel so thankful that I didn’t go on over. If the car behind me had been just a few seconds closer, I would have been hit (and I do feel sorry for the driver—I’m sure they had a heart attack seeing me in the middle of their lane!). I could have crashed into the guard rail, and that would have tipped me over. I know God had His hand on me, and kept me safe. The incident made me very thankful for guardian angels!

Thursday, when I went to work again, I made sure to stop and look behind me before going over that bridge. I was going slower, and as I went across I happened to see a light by the side of the road, where people generally don’t drive. When I went back to look, it was my back bike light—one I use for riding in the dark. It is generally attached right behind my seat (on the seat bar), and somehow snapped off Monday. That was the only thing that broke in the whole ordeal, and I really don’t know how it was hit. (Oh, and by the way—the way it broke made it very easy to fix, as well.) All I know is that God was keeping His eye on me!

So this Sunday, I come to share a thankful heart with you. God certainly does take care of us, and protects us—even when we can’t see the danger.

I am very thankful. But yet, as I think of it, I’m reminded of the age-old truth that says that it takes something big to direct our attention back to God. What a sad statement! How quickly we drift away from Him! How easy it is for the devil to come in and make us ungrateful of all the things the Lord has blessed us with! The lack of gratitude to the Lord for the little things of life reminds me of a powerful statement I heard recently. I can’t remember the exact wording, but it went something like this:

“The lack of strength in the church we see today is a direct result of the church disregarding the holiness of God.”

The men who were talking pointed out that if people would stop to realize for a moment how holy God is, and how His holiness affects us, modern Christianity as we know it would be completely different. People would be more on fire for the Lord.

I’m reminded of the words of Paul when he said,

And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience….” (Romans 5:3)

Today, we as modern Christians have a major problem facing us. We have forgotten how holy the Lord is. We have forgotten that He is to be praised in everything, the little things as well as the big things. Paul calls us to praise the Lord even when we are in serious trouble—not just when big miraculous things happen! The same word “glory” here is also translated as “joy” and “rejoice” in other verses.

Even when the world is collapsing around you, hang onto the lifeline—Jesus Christ, our Lord. He can turn the impossible into possible. He can get you to the side of the road, even when you feel you’re going to tip off at any second.

How the Lord has shown Himself mighty in your life lately?


Sunday, September 14, 2014

Missy’s Testimony: Beyond the Raging Storm

Introduction: Missy wrote this story back in February, and shared it on a few blogs. Recently, I remembered it again, and thought this would be a good time to share her testimony. When she originally shared it, she said that it would be great if others wanted to share her story as well, and good old “copy and past” is fine with her. So if you find this encouraging—as I do—then feel free to pass it on. –Esther


A Testimony of God’s Incredible Faithfulness Through Intensely Painful Situations
by Missy

Leah Nicolette made a button to go along with this story—if you decide to share the story, you are welcome to use this as well.

Link to original picture (or, click on above photo):

Or, grab this embed code:


A bit of the past:
A few of you know that the past few years have been extremely difficult and harsh for my family.
     For more than three years, my dad, Corrie and I took care of my mom and grandpa – both of whom were suffering through different mental illnesses.  During that time, we kept what we were going through a secret and even now, for my mom and grandpa’s sake, I will be very vague about the details of the horrifying things that we went through.  As the only one through that period of time who did not have a job, I turned into the main caretaker for my mom and grandpa.  Thankfully either my dad or Corrie were able to be home at least a little almost every day to give me a break.  At times, when things were at their worst, they would both have to take off work in order for us all to provide 24/7 care for my mom.  We could not afford to place my grandpa in a home and we could not get medical attention for my mom – not unless she were to try to take her own life.   Looking back now, I can say that it was only by the grace of God that we ever made it through.  It was a physically and mentally crushing and spiritually trying time in all of our lives and even now we still have much recovering to do.
     After taking care of my mom and grandpa for almost three years, my mom (due to her mental illness) was completely done with me and kicked me out of the house on the night before Thanksgiving. (2012)  At that point, I was so crushed and overloaded that I was unable to handle anymore.  Thankfully, at that time, both my dad and sister were home and I was able to spend that night, Thanksgiving, and the next night living out of my dad’s sleeper on his semi-truck.  The day after Thanksgiving, I called an older couple (D&D) who I had known for a few years and asked if it would be alright for me to stay with them for a few nights.  They were more than happy to help.
     The days after that event were horrible.  I felt as though I had deserted my family when they still badly needed me – but at the same time, I knew I had given my all and that I was not able to take anymore;  Not without hurting someone or myself.  I sobbed and prayed and sobbed more.  Then D&D shared something with me that astounded me.  D&D had not heard from me in months and they had no idea what was going on in my life - but while praying, they felt strongly like I was going to need a place to stay for a while.  Acting on faith, they began to remodel their basement.  The remodel took a couple of months – All this time, they did not hear from me at all.  Two HOURS after they finished remodeling the bedroom (the last part of the basement that needed remodeled)  - I called them asking for a place to stay.  I had no idea that I would be needing a place to stay – but God knew and D&D acted by faith with much prayer.  That was the first major confirmation that I was supposed to leave my family – even though it felt completely wrong at that time.
The second confirmation came shortly after.
     D&D let me stay with them – not just for a few days but I was welcome for as long as I needed a place to live.  I began immediately searching for a job.  I searched everyday – online and in person.  I filled out stacks of applications but jobs are scarce – especially full time.  During that time, I prayed much about a job, and I had peace.  I knew that if the Lord wanted me to have a job, he would guide me in the right direction.   I was calm about finding a job and trusting, but I was still emotionally wrenching from the harsh circumstances that I had just left and the thought that I had deserted my family.  D&D were very supportive and prayed very much for us even though it was not until two or three months later that I was able to open up and share with them what had been happening.

My Job:
     The phone call was completely unexpected.  Yes, I was hoping for phone calls – hoping that someone would contact me regarding a job, but this phone number I already had as a contact in my phone and I had not spoken with them in two or three years.
     Tristan from Stickit Signs called me – asking if I would be interested in a job working for him as the Chewelah Office Manager.  The best part is – he had NO IDEA THAT I WAS LOOKING FOR A JOB!  When Corrie worked in Chewelah, her office was right next to Stickit Signs and that is how I had originally met Tris three years previously.  I had done a little bit of photography work for him in exchange for some vehicle magnets.  We had not been in touch since then.
     After I interviewed with Tris and started work, I found out that he and his wife had been in deep prayer about who they should hire as an office manager.  It was going to be a big job.  Until that point in time, Tris had run the business alone.  He did everything out of his head and so there were no set systems or price sheets and he had no need for them running it solo.  However, his business needed to grow and he was looking for the right person to build systems and price sheets and help him build the business up.  He had to find the right person, and he knew that God had the solution.  For weeks, he and his wife had been thinking of me as a possibility but they did not call me until that day.  If they had called me two weeks earlier – I would have turned the job down because I was still caring for my mom and grandpa.
     Again, God’s timing was so perfect and he had laid out a complete plan before me.

The beautiful view out the side window of my office at Stickit Signs in Chewelah

Two months later:
     After a long paperwork battle, my dad was finally able to get enough financial support to have my grandpa moved into an assisted living home.  I had regularly changed my grandpa every day when I was taking care of him, but after I left, he became much much worse to the point that even if I had been there, I would have no longer been able to take care of him anymore.  Dad was the only one that could handle him and it was very rough.  As soon as my grandpa was relocated, I began to clean out his cabin and work on remodeling it.  My intention was to move into the cabin (right across the creek from my parent’s house) so that I could help again with my mom without actually living in the same house with her.  Even moving into the cabin would have been horribly difficult for me with the state she was in, but Corrie had been offered a new job and was planning her move to Spokane and I couldn’t just leave my dad with the way things were.   I continued to live with D&D but I worked on the cabin whenever I could.  Sadly, it had been badly damaged by my grandpa and was going to take a lot of time, repair and money to fix.

My Miracle Car:
     It was a huge blessing being able to live with D&D, however the drive to my new job was 40 minutes one way IF the roads were good…. And they were not good.
     Every day, as I drove to work, I could feel the worn out car I was driving shake and moan and I felt as though it was not going to last too terribly much longer.  It was extremely high in miles and not worth fixing at all – but it was what I had and once it died I was going to be stuck.
     Thankfully the Lord had a plan for that as well!
     Every day, I thanked the Lord for the car and how far it had been able to go.  Then I would also thank Him for my next car.  I told Him,  “I have no idea where it is coming from – But God, THANK YOU for my next car!  I know it is going to have to be another miracle!”    - And it was.
     The day finally came.  While I was just about to pull out of a parking lot, the old green car suddenly began to shake horribly, I lost power steering and most of the brakes.  THANKFULLY there were just enough brakes left for me to slam on them with all of my might to keep myself from ending up right in the middle of oncoming traffic.  I was somehow able to get the car into reverse and it had just enough noisy, shaky strength to back up into a parking space where it died for good.  I sat there for just a minute and thanked God one last time for the car that had taken me so very far – and then I thanked him once again for the next car that I had no idea how I would get!
     I happened to have my bike in the back so I called my dad, pulled out my bike and rode around for an hour until he was able to come and get me.
     I stayed the next few nights at the house with my family sleeping on my sister’s bedroom floor.  At the time she still worked in Chewelah and so she was able to take me to work when she went, then either her or my dad would pick me up later.  Corrie worked part time and I worked full time so it was difficult for a few days but we did it!
     That weekend, I called my grandma in Montana to chit chat.  While we were talking I mentioned what had happened to the car.  There was silence on the other end of the line and then she asked, “Do you need a car?”  She owned a car and a pickup and she wanted to get rid of her car.  She fully intended to give it away to a family member but she was uncertain who to give it to because none of her family really “needed” a car.  It had been heavily on her mind and she had been praying hard about it for months.  She kept feeling like she should give the car to us, but she didn’t want to cause friction with other family members since at that time, none of us really “needed” it.  Now I was desperately in need of a car and it was an answer to her prayers and a huge delight to her to be able to bless me with it.
     Corrie and I drove to Montana right away and I drove back my new car!  It is a humble little car, it had belonged to my Great- Grandma, then my Grandma, and now me.  That makes the car sound old – but it was very low in miles and well taken care of.   The Lord is the best planner and provider imaginable.

Traumatic Event:
     I had now been living with D&D for over 5 months and was working hard on the cabin so that I could help keep an eye on mom again.  Grandpa was in assisted living care and Corrie had just moved to Spokane.  Dad had to work on and off but that left mom alone a lot even during the times when she still needed 24/7 care.  We were all so burnt out from the past years there very little we could do any longer.  I stopped as often as I could to check on her and bring groceries.  On Friday, April the 19th, I stopped at the house after work to do more repairs on the cabin and to check on my mom. Both the driveway to the cabin and the driveway to the house were completely covered in broken glass and random other broken items that were everywhere.  When I went inside of the house it was much worse.  Mom was in a very bad state and I could not leave her alone.  I stayed there and dad arrived later that night.  It was a horrible weekend.  On Monday, April 22nd, I had to go to work while dad stayed there.  The house was quiet when I left and it seemed like my mom must have been sleeping – or so I thought.
     I received the call at about 12:15 pm.  It was my dad… he was sobbing… My mom had tried to commit suicide.   At times she would not sleep for days at a time and so when she finally did sleep – she slept hard and long.  Dad had thought she was sleeping and so he did not want to disturb her.  The room had been quiet and he didn’t want to wake her and so he didn’t check on her until that time.  However, instead of sleeping, she had been quietly torturing herself to death.
     I rushed home and arrived shortly after the police and ambulance.  I was able to say goodbye to her before they took her away – I really didn’t know if I would see her again.   Then I climbed in the car and drove to the hospital with my broken dad next to me.
     Mom went through surgery that night.  They had to remove air from around one of her lungs, remove a large section of her intestines, and stitch up several other holes.
     I packed my things from D&D’s and moved back into my parent’s house to take care of the animals and to be there for my dad.   Corrie had moved into town only two weeks before and she lived only a couple of miles away from the hospital.  This was yet more proof of God’s perfect timing!  Dad was able to stay with Corrie at her new apartment to be close to my mom.  If she didn’t have the apartment, he would have had to drive an hour one-way every day to be there.

     My mom ended up being in a few different hospitals over the next seven months.  I worked hard to be able to drive the hour and a half one-way drive every weekend out to see her and dad and Corrie went as often as they were able to as well. 

     During those months, my physical body went through a series of different stages of shock.  There were times that my health was so bad that I wanted to die.  Thankfully I had some very close friends that helped me through. 

     Shortly before Thankgiving 2013, my mom was relocated to a better place where she has more freedom and she is close so I can be there for her.  Since she is now stabilized on medication, she is like a completely different person and thankfully, there are a lot of things from the past years that she does not seem to remember at all.  I feel like I am gaining back some of the mom that I never thought I would see ever again.  I am so incredibly thankful.
     My dad has been such a huge inspiration to me.  He has proven himself to be so faithful and patent even though he has suffered so much.  He still is suffering and is very broken from the things we have been through.  He is in need of friends and prayers.  I feel as though I can do so little for him – but I am thankful that I can make the house into a home for him and be here when he is home.

The Present:  February 2014
     Corrie is still and will always be the best sister ever to me!  She is still living at the same apartment in Spokane and is enjoying her new job as office manager, accordion repair tec, and piano and accordion teacher for Able To Play Music.  She is also still heavily involved with the Portatos Accordion Band and anything else to do with accordion and music!  Last year, Corrie took first place in one of the performance sections of the Leavenworth Accordion Competition.  Not only was it her first time to win first place  - the best part is that she did it with her own composition!
      Corrie has continued to grow steadily with the Lord and He has taken her through even more hard trials.  She is such a huge inspiration to me and to others who know her.

Corrie and I in November 2012 at the end of the
World Accordion Competition when it came to Spokane

     Grandpa is still in an assisted living home and it is a much better place for him.  He has old friends and family members who visit him often and even though he can’t remember who they are – He enjoys the company.

     I am still living with my dad and we have been working hard to repair all the damage inside and outside of the cabin and the house that was caused by my mom and grandpa’s illnesses.  Paint, repair, and new decorations are beginning to make the house into a home and it is helping to slowly wipe away all of the bad memories.   The house is really beginning to look like a different place now and it has been healing for both dad and I.  To our best knowledge, my mom will never be coming back here again. 

My dad's fire place remodel project - didn't he do an amazing job!?!

Clean up and repair




After #2

     I am still working at Stickit Signs and am so thankful for my job.  After hard work of building price sheets and systems, we opened a second store and have hired two new employees that we have been training.  This has been a very humbling process, because as I train others – I realize just how much I have yet to learn myself!  I am just about to move out of the customer service angle of the business and will work as our main artwork designer, book-keeper, and do a little bit of everything else that I possibly can! 

     My health has still be quite bad, but it is much better than it was over the summer!  I am really focusing hard on natural healing and am doing a lot of physical exercise as well.

     Things are changing and getting better.  We have much to heal from but even more to be thankful for. It is well with my soul.   

      GOD IS GOOD – I hope you are encouraged and inspired to trust Him though all of life’s storms.

Thank you for reading.
~ Missy

Friday, September 12, 2014

Praise God - Even When You Don't Want To

Psalm 150: 1-6
"Praise the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens. Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness. Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
praise him with the harp and lyre, praise him with timbrel and dancing, praise him with the strings and pipe, praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals.
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord."

The Bible (particularly the Psalms) is chock full of bits like the above passage, telling us to praise the Lord. Yay! I love praising God! Once we know why we should worship God, it becomes a joy to bless Him and extol His marvellous name.

But what about when we don't want to? What about when is life is difficult, when there is pain or suffering or we're going through difficult times? Should we stop praising God?

The Bible tells us of this awesome guy named Paul and his friend who was called Silas. Here is what happened when they praised God when I'm sure they certainly didn't feel like it.

Acts 16:23-26
"After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. When he received these orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.
About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose."

Paul and Silas had just been 'severely flogged'. I am sure they felt like sitting in their corner of the jail and moaning to each other about how bad their situation was and how much their wounds hurt. Maybe they felt like God had abandoned them. Maybe the other prisoners told them how long they had been in jail for and in so doing discouraged Paul and Silas. I don't know. But what I do know is that they put aside how they felt and praised the Lord anyway.

It's hard to praise the Lord when you don't feel like it! But try it. If Paul and Silas had not praised the Lord but sat moaning I wonder if the earthquake would still have happened. There is something in praise that is powerful. It binds Satan and gives the authority the Jesus.

Psalm 115:1
"Not to us, Lord, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness."

Luke 19:37-40
"When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:
 “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”
 Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”
 “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” "

Do you praise the Lord anyway? Do you praise Him not just when things are going well? Do you praise Him when the hard times come? Do you keep trusting Him and worshipping Him even when it's hard?

Blessings to you all!
post signature
(All Scripture passages in this post are from the NIV translation.)

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Move—part 3

I’m sorry this didn’t post! For some reason, it became a draft instead of being posted. (A big thank you to Jessica for pointing out it didn’t post!) So here it is now—and I’m sure it will make the rest of the story more understandable!

-  -  -

Curious to know what else happened? Read part 1, part 2, and part 4.

Surveying the loaded wagon, Mary helped two-year-old Robert climb onto the seat before she turned to say her final goodbyes to her friends gathered around. “Goodbye, Barbara.” She said gently, “I hope you’ll be as encouraging to the new pastor’s wife as you have been to me! Goodbye, Rhoda.” She paused for a final word with each woman, trying to hold the tears back as she moved on to each woman.

I will miss them, she thought as she hugged each one. Oh, how I will miss them! But I know this is the best for my family. After saying goodbye to each one, she turned to see John standing there. Squeezing his hand tightly for reassurance, she surveyed all her friends. Barbara was looking away, and a sniffle sounded on the warm spring air.

“Oh, I can’t bear it, ma’am!” Barbara cried, throwing herself on her friend. Mary held her tightly for several seconds. “I just can’t bear to think that I’ll nevu’ see you, or the little ‘uns again, ma’am. What will we do wit’out your kindly presence here? The village ‘ll be empty wit’out you ‘an yours here!”

“Aye, ‘twill be that,” Rhoda chimed in. “Isn’t there any way that we could convince you to stay here?”

“We believe this is what the Lord wants us to do.” Mary said, trying to hold her tears back. “Although I confess I will miss you all sorely.”

“Come, Barbara,” Rhoda sighed. “We know this’ll be good for the family, and if it wasn’t the Lord’s will it wouldn’t be happening.”

Barbara moved back, and Mary looked up at her husband again. “John—could we take one more walk around the flowers in the garden before we go? Just by ourselves? I’d like to see them one more time before we’re gone forever.”

“Of course.” The depressed friends stood waiting patiently by the wagon while the couple moved toward the garden for one last look together.

“John,” Mary said quietly as soon as they were out of earshot, “Oh John, I cannot stand saying goodbye! Is this really the right decision? It seemed so right at the beginning, but now…now when we have to leave everyone behind and go somewhere we don’t know anyone at all. Oh John, I’d almost rather just stay here, even if it is hard!”

“I know Mary.” John was not his usual self either. Clearly, he was distressed. “But won’t it be better for our family if we go?”

“It would—in a way.” Mary conceded, “But this is where all the children’s friends are as well. And we haven’t starved—God has always provided for everything, even the rent when that’s needed. We’ve lived well enough here.”

“I confess that I have been wishing we could stay as well.” John said after a moment’s silence. “Mary, let’s pray about this again. Perhaps—perhaps it is the Lord’s will that we stay after all.”

Together, they knelt among the dew-covered roses, and prayed for the Lord’s direction. The sunbeams fell on the two, warming the ground and making the sweet, light scent of roses float on the warm air. Being behind the house, their friends couldn’t see them but if they had they would have been very surprised. When they finished praying, Mary and John rose to their feet again. As she pulled her white shawl a little closer around her shoulders, Mary looked searchingly into her husband’s face.

“What do you think now, John?” She asked.

“I think we are to stay.” He said with finality.

Her voice caught in her throat for several seconds, and then she whispered, “John, I’m very happy that you’ve decided that. I feel the same.”

“Come,” he said, taking her hand. “We must tell the others. And get that wagon unloaded!” As they hurried around the side of the house, the quiet buzzing of the sad townsfolk ceased and everyone stared at the couple. “Friends,” John’s voice rang strong in the spring air, “We have decided—we will stay. Would any of you be willing to help us unload the wagon?”

For a second, a stunned silence filled the air. Then, a cheer rose from the crowd. Barbara hurried forward, tears of joy stealing down her cheeks. “Oh ma’am!” She cried, catching Mary’s hand, “Oh ma’am, this is the best news I’ve heard all year!”

“It is for me too!” Mary said, as she reached to help Robert down, and then gave Annie a hand. “Children, Father and I have decided that we will stay here in Wainsgate.” With joyful hearts and beaming faces, the people quickly helped the family move back into the little cottage, and the wagon clattered away—without them.


Sunday, September 7, 2014

Joyful Singing—part 4

Curious to know what happened last? Read part 1, part 2, and part 3.

“Mary, could you come practice this song with me?” John raised a leaf of paper, on which were written in neat rows a few lines of a song.

“Yes, John. Of course. Annie, sit still just a moment more, please.” Pulling the brush through the little girl’s hair one more time, she looked over her husband’s shoulder as he sang the song through once. The tune was familiar, and soon she was able to sing along as she deftly split the hair into three equal sections and braided it tightly before securing it to the girl’s head with a pin. Then, slipping the simple bonnet over the dark hair, she gave her daughter a kiss before sending her outside.

Once that job was done, she drew a stool up beside her husband. “Now that Annie is gone I can concentrate better. Will you want to sing this tomorrow?”

“Yes, I was hoping to. Should we go through it again, so you’ll get the words better?”

“Yes, of course.”

Together, their two voices raised in praise. His deeper bass notes and her higher soprano sounded sweet together. “Blest be the tie that binds / Our hearts in Christian love; / The fellowship of kindred minds / Is like to that above….

“It’s beautiful, John!” Mary said when they had finished. “Did this…did the song come to you after what happened earlier this week?”

“Yes, Mary. Seeing the love of everyone, and feeling the sadness at leaving even in my own heart…and then their joy at finding out we were staying after all. It deeply impressed me. And I wanted to remember how that was. I know we did the right thing by staying here in Wainsgate.”

“This is home.” Mary said softly, fingering the edge of the paper. “I guess that farewell sermon last Sunday wasn’t farewell at all. And this will be a hello, in some ways.”

“It will indeed.” John laid the paper gently on the open page of the Bible, and stood up. “I have some more studying to do before tomorrow, so I should get busy on that. Would you be able to sing this with me tomorrow?”

“If the children behave, of course!” Mary rose and cheerfully set about preparing the noon meal. As she worked, she hummed. She was looking forward to tomorrow’s service—tomorrow’s homecoming service.

* * *

“And so we are here again,” John finished. “Here, to stay as long as the Lord wills it. And, for myself, I have hope that it will be for a long time.” He paused, gazed at the Bible for a moment, then glanced over the seated people. “Now, I have a special poem that came to me after the event of our almost departing to London.” In bold, clear tones he read it out. Then, he addressed everyone again. “This has a tune to it, one you all know well. Why don’t we sing it together?”

Then, reading the first verse out again, he struck up the tune and the congregation followed his lead. Together, the notes soared to the ceiling and beyond. They were words of hope, words of joy. Words expressing the elation they felt at being together again. And, above all the others, Mary’s voice rang the loudest as she sang out the jubilant words. This was home—and she knew that whatever would happen, the Lord was watching over them.

Blest be the tie that binds
Our hearts in Christian love;
The fellowship of kindred minds
Is like to that above.

Before our Father’s throne
We pour our ardent prayers:
Our fears, our hopes, our aims are one,
Our comforts and our cares.

We share our mutual woes;
Our mutual burdens bear;
And often for each other flows
The sympathizing tear.

When we asunder part,
It gives us inward pain;
But we shall still be join’d in heart,
And hope to meet again.

This glorious hope revives
Our courage by the way;
While each in expectation lives,
And longs to see the day.

From sorrow, toil, and pain
And sin, we shall be free;
And perfect love and friendship reign
Thro’ all eternity.



Note: Like I said before, this is a true story. John and Mary Fawcett actually were real people living in the 18th – early 19th centuries. John lived from January 1739 – July 1817. In 1765, he joined the Baptist Church and eventually became pastor of Wainsgate Baptist Church in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, England. For seven years, he and his wife and growing family lived there, although his income was meager. When the opportunity arose in 1772 to pastor a larger church in London, he agreed to take it. He gave a farewell sermon at the Wainsgate church. After helping them pack the wagons with all their worldly goods, their friends bid them a tearful goodbye.

“Oh John, John!” Mary is reported to have said, “I cannot bear this!”

“Neither can I!” John responded, “And we will not go. Unload the wagons, and put everything back in its place.” His words were received with great elation, and soon they settled in again. In commemoration of the event, he penned this song—which is still widely sung today.

If you’d like to read more about this event, or more about John Fawcett, visit the following sites:

I hope you were blessed by this little story! Have you ever heard the story before?

Friday, September 5, 2014

Trusting in your Heart

Have you ever heard the statement (or others like it ) "follow your heart"?

 It looks so good, doesn't it. 
But be careful. This is such a dangerous statement!

I have long wondered about the fallacy of this statement, "follow your heart". It is a popular idea... just google image search it and find a whole heap of memes like the two above encouraging us to follow our hearts and not our heads. We are told to 'trust in what we are made of' and 'be happy', the obvious implication being that following our hearts will make us happy.

You see, our hearts are fickle. We can't just trust in how we are feeling. Feelings change. I might get up one day feeling grumpy, and be happy the next minute because my little sister gave me a note which said 'I love you'. Feelings are fickle. We cannot trust our hearts because they change. 

There is also another reason why I believe that the popular idea of trusting in your heart and not your head is a dangerous place to be. It's because the Bible distinctly tells us not to.

Here is Proverbs 28:26, in three different translations because they are all slightly different.

Proverbs 28:26 
Those who trust in themselves are fools, but those who walk in wisdom are kept safe. (NIV)

He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered. (KJV) [emphasis added]

He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, But he who walks wisely will be delivered. (NASB) [emphasis added]

Ah! Whoever trusts in his own heart is a fool! Interesting, isn't it!
Here's another verse that shows why we shouldn't rely on listening to our hearts.

Jeremiah 17:9.
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked..... (KJV)

Let me put this all into context for you. Let's say, for example, that there is a big decision coming up for you. One way looks really good. It is the easy way... the way that pulls at your heart strings. It looks good. 
The other way doesn't look so good. It is the hard way. The difficult way. Yet as the Bible says, hard work brings a profit. Sometimes we have to be willing to work for what we want. :) I know, horrible thought!

The easy way tugs at your heart. The difficult way is the best way, but you have to learn to look past what your heart says and think about what is really the appropriate decision in the circumstances, based not on how you feel, but what the Lord wants. Pray about it. Ask the Lord for help. Don't just jump straight into it without considering everything! 

Make sure your heart is governed by your head. 

post signature