Monday, May 30, 2016

WE WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER


Today is Memorial Day.

A day in which we honor all those who have given their lives defending our country.

I got curious this year and wanted to learn more about this special day of commemoration.

So I googled…

This from Wikipedia:

"Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States for remembering the people who died while serving in the country's armed forces.  The holiday, which is observed every year on the last Monday of May, originated as Decoration Day after the American Civil War in 1868, when the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of Union veterans founded in Decatur, Illinois, established it as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the Union war dead with flowers.  By the 20th century, competing Union and Confederate holiday traditions, celebrated on different days, had merged, and Memorial Day eventually extended to honor all Americans who died while in the military service."


I further researched and found these statistics from The Department of Veterans Affairs and The Department of Defense –it's rather staggering and sobering…

Wartime U.S. Military Deaths:

Revolutionary War – 4,435
War of 1812 – 2,260
Indian Wars – 1,000
Mexican War – 13,283
Civil War – 498,332
Spanish American War – 2,446
World War I – 116,516
World War II – 405,399
Korean War – 54,246
Vietnam War – 90,220
Persian Gulf War – 1,948
Global War on Terror – 6,852

The total number of Americans killed in all U.S. wars is almost 1.2 million.  

(This does not include those who are MIA – people missing in action.  In WWII alone, this number is 30,314).

And the deadliest battle in U.S. history was the Battle of Argonne Forest during WWIa battle that resulted in more than 26,000 deaths. 


Yes.

Overwhelming, isn't it?

For these are not just statistics, these are people, individual lives.

And each of these deaths profoundly affected countless others' lives.

The casualties of war are far-reaching and never-ending.

That's why I think it's important to take this day and rememberto really ponder the sacrifice, and really appreciate what all those lives were sacrificed for.

For they did not die in vain.

They fought for a cause, they fought for us


It's easy in our country to take for granted all the many freedoms that we enjoy.  

These freedoms, as outlined in Franklin D. Roosevelt's State of the Union Speech (also known as the Four Freedoms speech) given on January 6, 1941, are the following:

Freedom of speech
Freedom of worship
Freedom from want
Freedom from fear


It was a powerful speech, given in the context of World War II, just 11 months before the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and America's subsequent entry into the war.

For many, many decades, men and women have sacrificed their lives to ensure that our country enjoys these freedoms.

We must not forget their sacrifice…


In this past week, I have done so many things that would not have been possible if someone hadn't fought for this country – for my country – for your country.

Last week, I bowed my head and said *grace* at a restaurant – Thank you.

Last week, I drove my car, with a Jesus sticker on itThank you.

Last week, I read my BibleThank you.

Last week, I spoke to someone about my faith Thank you.

Last week, I attended church and worshipedThank you.


Have you stopped lately and considered what a privilege it is to do these things?

We have the glorious freedom to worship our Lord – freely and publicly.  We are not in danger of being thrown in jail, or tortured, or killed.

And so many sacrificed so much in order for us to have that freedom.

Today I don't think it matters whether we agree or don't agree with political policy. 

Today it doesn't matter if we are *hawks* or *doves*. 

Today we simply focus on peoplereal people who served our country, who died for our country – because they believed in freedom.


Currently there are five branches of the U.S. Armed Forces, six including the National Guard.  (Many have subdivisions such as the Navy SEALS, the Army Rangers, and the Air Force Special Operations Command).


Here's the motto of each:

United States Army: "This we'll defend"

United States Navy: Non sibi sed patriae (Latin for "Not for self but for country")

United States Air Force: "Aim high... Fly, fight, win"

United States Marine Corps: Semper fidelis (Latin for "Always faithful")

United States Coast Guard: Semper paratus (Latin for "Always ready")

National Guard of the United States: "Always ready, always there"


Let's take a moment and remember…

Those who gave their lives to defend.

Those who gave their lives, not for self but for country.

Those who aimed high – who flew, fought, and won.

Those who were always faithful.

Those who were always ready.

Those who were always there.


In their honor, if you know someone who has served, or is serving, this country in the armed forces, I would encourage you to reach out to them today.

Tell them how much you appreciate them.

Tell them we will always remember them. 

Tell them…

Thank you.


And on this Memorial Day, may we take time to remember those who gave their lives – what they fought for – what they sacrificed for – what they believed in


One nation…under GOD.

God, the One we serve and worship…

The One who gave His Son…

The Son who died to bring freedom…

The Ultimate Sacrifice.


Thank You.



Do you know anyone who gave their life in service to our country?





How many times
must the cannonballs fly
Before they're forever banned?
The answer, my friend,
is blowing
in the wind,
The answer
is blowing in the wind.


(Lyrics from "Blowing in the Wind" by Bob Dylan)



Photo taken at the The Moving Wall™
Since 1984, the traveling half-size replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.








"Never was so much owed by so many to so few." 

(From a wartime speech given by the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill on August 20, 1940) 




***************************************



"'When you go out to war against your enemies, and see…an army larger than your own, you shall not be afraid of them, for the LORD your God is with you…And when you draw near to the battle, the priest shall come forward and speak to the people and shall say to them, 'Hear…you are drawing near for battle against your enemies: let not your heart faint.  Do not fear or panic or be in dread of them, for the LORD your God is he who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies, to give you the victory.'" (Deuteronomy 20:1-4, ESV)

"The Lord foils the plans of the nations; he thwarts the purposes of the peoples.  But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.  Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people he chose for his inheritance." (Psalm 33:10-12, NIV)

"'…if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.'" 
(2 Chronicles 7:14, NIV)

"In the last days, the mountain of the LORD’s house will be the highest of all – the most important place on earth.  It will be raised above the other hills, and people from all over the world will stream there to worship.  People from many nations will come and say, 'Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD…There he will teach us his ways, and we will walk in his paths.'  For the LORD's teaching will go out from Zion; his word will go out from Jerusalem.  The LORD will mediate between nations and will settle international disputes.  They will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will no longer fight against nation, nor train for war anymore." 
(Isaiah 2:2-4, NLT)

"He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth.  He breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire.  He says, 'Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.'" (Psalm 46:9-10, NIV)

"'No one has greater love [nor stronger commitment] than to lay down his own life for his friends.'" (John 15:13, AMP)

"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free." (Galatians 5:1, NIV)

"'So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.'" (John 8:36, ESV)

"Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power.  For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.  The last enemy to be destroyed is death." (1 Corinthians 15:24-25, ESV)

"…the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed or conquered.  It will crush all these kingdoms into nothingness, and it will stand forever." (Daniel 2:44, NLT)

"'The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.'" (Revelation 11:15, ESV)




Monday, May 23, 2016

HIDDEN TREASURES


Chipmunks and squirrels.

I love these guys, they are so much fun to watch.

They're always up to somethingnature's purveyors of antics, hijinks, and shenanigans!

Endless entertainment on the mountain.

I have spent many days watching them scurry around, chase each other, challenge each other to be king of the boulder, and dig holes.

Cute.

The other day, I happened to catch some movement in my peripheral vision. I looked up just in time to see a chipmunk run like crazy into a gap between two boulders.

How funny, I thought to myself.

Then "The Hub" said, "There's a bobcat on our porch."

What…really?!

Sure enough, a bobcat was prowling around our back door.  No wonder Mr. Munk scampered away so quickly!

Never a dull moment around these parts!

One of my favorite things to do is watch the squirrels and chipmunks in the Fall.

In the Fall, it's rather amazing to see them hard at work, finding and storing nuts for the winter.

They are industrious and tireless.

Sometimes our trees shed lots of acorns, and the food source is readily available.  Other times, there aren't so many, and yet, my friendly little *neighbors* manage to find some sort of food to hide away.

But it is during the Winter when I am most fascinated by their work.

I don't know how, despite freezing temperatures and multiple snowfalls, these little creatures still manage to find their hidey-holes.

They seem to know exactly where they've stashed their edible goodies.

And I love watching them dig up the dirt, scrounge around, and then hold their food in those cute little hands (paws!), and chew away.

How do they know where they've buried their food?

Do they detect it again by memory, or smell, or some other instinctual method that I'm not aware of?

It's incredible.


And it's a good lesson for all of us to apply in our own lives.

Sometimes life just takes us into a wilderness time, a winter season of dryness or discouragement or trial or suffering.

It's easy to lose sight of what we know to be true.

I don't know what's going on with me lately, but I've just been blah.

No particularly big "triggering" event, just the ongoing ebb and flow of life "stuff."

So today, when I went to church, I asked the Lord to meet me there with something that I really needed to hear.

Of course, He did.

Our pastor is doing a series on the promises of God – and this morning's message was entitled, "The Promise of Answered Prayer."

The message was powerful and timely.

But, it was one verse that caught my heart.

"Call to Me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known." (Jeremiah 33:3, ESV)


I immediately thought of my little furry friends.

And their hidden things.

Several years ago, when I was going through a particularly rough time, I had a friend encourage me with these words:

"When you can't find your way in the dark, go back to what you knew and believed in the light."

I found it most helpful.

The chipmunks and squirrels spend warm sunshine days finding and hiding food, so that during the cold winter months, they'll have nourishment.

Do they hibernate like bears?

Nope!

Though they sleep a lot, they don't sleep all the way through the season.

They retreat to their burrows and dens but wake every few days or weeks, raise their body temperatures to normal, and feed on stored food rather than fat reserves!

(I'd personally like to be like a bear.  I've got some pesky *fat reserves* I'd like to feed on…just sayin').

When it's cold outside, they still know where to go to sustain themselves.


This is so true about faith, too.

What we store away will bring us through the wilderness times, through the winter seasons.

So, what are four things, four truths I can hide in my heart for those times when I am discouraged?


One, I can be assured of God's presence.

"'As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you.'" (Joshua 1:5, AMP)

"…for He [God] Himself has said, 'I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support.  [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)!  [Assuredly not!]'" (Hebrews 13:5, AMP)


Two, I can be assured of God's power.

"Thus says the LORD who made the earth, the LORD who formed it to establish it – the LORD is His name." (Jeremiah 33:2, ESV)

"'Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh.  Is anything too hard for Me?'" (Jeremiah 32:27, ESV)


Three, I can be assured of God's purpose.

"You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done…" (Genesis 50:20, NIV)

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28, NIV)


Four, I can be assured of God's promises.

"God is not a man, so he does not lie.  He is not human, so he does not change his mind.  Has he ever spoken and failed to act?  Has he ever promised and not carried it through?" (Numbers 23:19, NLT)

"'Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for.  Keep on seeking, and you will find.  Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks, receives.  Everyone who seeks, finds.  And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.'" (Matthew 7:7-8, NLT)


Hiding the Word of God provides much-needed nourishment when we're full of doubts and fears, or struggling with trials and tribulations.

It is a hidden treasure of great worth.

But, there's one other thing I want to mention.

It's how God sometimes takes these wilderness, winter seasons and uses them to reveal to us something really special.

The photo accompanying this post is part of a fallen log that sits alongside the drive up to our house.

It's full of woodpecker holes.

But would you take a moment to notice something else?

Inside those holes are acorns!!

Evidently, chipmunks and squirrels are not the only ones to store away some goodies!

From a distance, those holes just look like holes.

But since this branch has broken off, we can see the treasures that are hidden there.

Again, a wonderful faith lesson.

Sometimes it takes some breaking for God to show us something really speciala revelation that we might never have known in good times.

"'I will give you hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the LORD…who summons you by name.'" (Isaiah 45:3, NIV)


Yes.

Hidden treasures, secret riches.

God has a way of carving us deeper, enriching and growing our faith when we feel weakest.

When we feel broken, and hungry, and cold.

I go back to Jeremiah 33:3 – what were the great and hidden things that God revealed to His prophet?

Two pretty awesome things.

This message came around the time of the Babylonian Conquesta terrible time when the Jews were defeated and led into captivity.

Here God reveals that they will be rescued, returned to their homeland, once they repent and return to Him.

But, He also issues a prophecy about the coming Messiah:

"The day will come, says the LORD, when I will do for Israel and Judah all the good things I have promised them.  'In those days and at that time I will raise up a righteous descendant from King David's line.  He will do what is just and right throughout the land.  In that day Judah will be saved, and Jerusalem will live in safety.  And this will be its name: 'The LORD Is Our Righteousness.'"
(Jeremiah 33:14-16, NLT)


WOW!

Can you imagine receiving that revelation?!

(Me either!)


So, if we're willing, God can reveal new aspects about Himself, new revelations from His Word, new depths of faith, and new purposes when we least expect it…

...right in the middle of a dry or cold spell in our hearts.

Great and hidden things.

Treasure and secret riches.


Hide them in your heart.

Remember them.

Let God reveal them.


Never go hungry again…




What is a hidden treasure that you have discovered about God?






Heart of my own heart,
whatever befall,
still be my vision,
O Ruler of all.



("Be Thou My Vision" - ancient Irish hymn)




"'You have heard; now see all this; and will you not declare it?  From this time forth I announce to you new things, hidden things that you have not known.'" (Isaiah 48:6, ESV)

"'Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?  I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.'" 
(Isaiah 43:19, ESV)

"It is He who reveals the profound and hidden things; He knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with Him." (Daniel 2:22, NASB)

"He uncovers mysteries hidden in darkness; he brings light to the deepest gloom." (Job 12:22, NLT)

"'It is the same with my word.  I send it out, and it always produces fruit.  It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.'" (Isaiah 55:11, NLT)

"Your word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against You." (Psalm 119:11, NASB)

"The law of their God is in their hearts; their feet do not slip." 
(Psalm 37:31, NIV)

"…the wisdom we speak of is the mystery of God – his plan that was previously hidden, even though he made it for our ultimate glory before the world began." (1 Corinthians 2:7, NLT)

"This, then, is how you ought to regard us: as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the mysteries God has revealed." (1 Corinthians 4:1, NIV)

"…making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ…" (Ephesians 1:9, ESV)

"'Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me.  And because they love me, my Father will love them.  And I will love them and reveal myself to each of them.'" (John 14:21, NLT)



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BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Monday, May 16, 2016

PET PEEVES


Irritation.

Defined as this: the state of feeling impatient, annoyed, or angry.

Oh yes.

Ever just feel downright irritated at life…and people?

Just *bugged to death* by frustrations and aggravations?

Yeah, me too.

So, just for fun I thought I'd list some of my pet peeves, some of the things that irritate me the most:


1) Stickers on something

You know, the stickers that won't come off.

Oh sure, they fool you into thinking that they're going to come right off.  They do this by letting you easily pry up one little corner.  You start peeling, ever-so-slowly, only to end up pulling the top layer off, leaving a paper trail of the worst kind.

Sure, then you try using your fingernails.

That only succeeds in getting little bits of paper and adhesive stuck under your nails.

The next step is using a little soap and water (which, incidentally, cannot be used on a book cover, which leads to more aggravation).

Sometimes you can be successful with removing the paper, leaving only a gluey, sticky residue.

At this point I usually try the *sticky loves sticky* method of removal.  This entails rolling up a piece of tape and repeatedly pressing it against the residue. I have found that doing this slowly, applying pressure and then peeling the tape back, yields better results than quick jabs.

If none of these methods work, I usually resort to using Goo Gone – a pleasant orange-smelling oil that usually does the trick.  Of course, then you have to clean up the Goo Gone, another pet peeve.


2) Perforations on bills

OK, so you get the bills that have no perforation to aid in easily removing the payment stub they expect you to send in with your payment.  This is irritating enough, as you must dig out the scissors and do the work yourself.

As if paying the bill wasn't irritating enough.

Or, and this arguably bugs me even more, the perforation does NOT match up with the fold.  Most often the difference is about a millionth of an inch.  But that is enough to make a real mess.

I like a clean edge.

And with this perforation/fold disparity, it becomes next to impossible.

I've tried to do the fold one way, fold another way method of making the perforation more "tearable" – (which is a terrible waste of time).

Even so, most of the time I end up with a ragged edge…

…which I trim with scissors.


3) Tamper-proof seals on containers

You know the ones.

The ones that you have to fiddle with to even try to find a starting point to peel – (without tearing off a fingernail in the process).  Of course, if this is successful, you never, ever get the whole thing off in one piece.

There have been times when I've gotten so frustrated that I just pierced the top with a sharp object – (probably the scissors that I have just used on my bills).  Of course, then you have to fish the little flap out.

Don't get me started on the pinch-and-twist caps.

Or the cotton inside.


4) Exploding things 

Let me qualify this.

"The Hub" and I live in the mountains at 6300 feet elevation.

So, whenever we buy groceries *down-the-hill* and trek them back up the hill, there's a certain amount of pressure that builds up inside the containers.

Evidently, things expand above sea level.

Suffice it to say that on more than one occasion I have been baptized with yogurt.

Or splattered with soup.

Or celebrated with potato chip confetti.

(To be fair, though, the potato chip thing could be a result of sealed margins that don't separate easily – ie, potato chips, crackers, cereal – another pet peeve of mine – grrr…)


5) Slow drivers in the fast lane

No need for a lot of explanation here.  I'll make it simple…

MOVE. OVER.


6) Bike riders who don't obey the rules

Maybe I'm just a bit bitter about bikes in general after my fall a couple of weeks ago?!

But when I go visit my family, down in the *city*, bike riders are often the worst rule-breakers around!

They don't stop at stop signs, they don't signal their intentions, they cut in front of you, they zip around in their spandex like the road belongs to them.

Not all bike riders are like this.

So I'm just peeved at the offenders.


7) People who cut into line

I. CANNOT. STAND. THIS.

The only times I can remember almost getting into a literal fist fight is when people have cut in line.  In front of my kids.  Especially at amusement parks.

'Nuff said.


8) Impolite texting behavior

Two things:

One, leaving a texting conversation in the middle of the conversation.

So, you're in the middle of a conversation and all of a sudden the person disappears.  And maybe you don't hear a reply text until two hours later. Which leaves me with the whole paranoia thought that I might have said something to offend them?

Like LOL??

Two, people who text you a question and then when you start to fashion a reply, you see the little dots signifying that they're writing you another text.

Honestly, give me time to reply!!

Or, the worst is a combination of the two – they text a question and then disappear from the conversation.

Know what I mean?

I just think that it is so


9) Bending book covers or dog-earing pages

Books are hallowed to me.

I can maybe forgive you mishandling your books, but don't mess with mine!

I almost lost a friendship when I loaned a paperback to a friend, which was returned looking like it had been run over by a truck.  I asked them to buy me a new book.

Feud ensued.


10) People who can't spell my name

Even when I spell it for them.

I'm not going to name names (*$’s), but I have told them my name and spelled it, and they still get it wrong.

Is it that old-fashioned?

Or is it that we live in a culture where people spell names so weird that we don't know what to do?

I've seen Sheran, Sharron, Cheran, Sherin, Shannon – once I got frustrated and told them my name was Cindy – (which they spelled Cyndi).  I'm tempted to tell them my name is "X"…

Ex, Exx, Ecks???


These are just a few of my pet peeves.

Life is full of exasperationsituations and people that endlessly irritate, frustrate, and aggravate us.

But how we react to it is up to us.

We can let the enemy distract us, tempting us into a complaining, negative attitude, steering us into anger and bitterness.

Or we can let the Lord teach us about longsuffering.


Many people think that longsuffering means "suffering long."

But the word longsuffering in the Bible is the Greek word "makrothymía" – and comes from the two words "makrós" meaning "long," and "thymos" meaning "passion, anger."  It can properly be translated "long-passion" – i.e. waiting sufficient time before expressing anger.

To be longsuffering is to have self-restraint.  To be longsuffering means not immediately retaliating or punishing.  

God is the source of longsuffering because it is part of His character.

He is patient with sinners, patient with our failings, patient with our weaknesses.

And when we become His followers, we must follow His example.

How might our lives be affected if longsuffering was exhibited in our attitudes, our words, our actions?

How might our relationships change – with family, friends, at home, at work, at church?

Our human self-nature can be so easily peeved, so very short-fused.

We are quick to get irritated, frustrated, aggravated.

So very quick to strike out with unkind words and unforgiving attitudes.

But, when we stop and think about how longsuffering God is with us – well, do we really have any right to be any less longsuffering with others?

No, friends, we do not.


There are always going to be things that really bug memy pet peeves will always test my patience and drive me to distraction.

But with the help of the Holy Spirit, I'm going to try to look at them differently.

Not as interruptions and disruptions, but as learning moments.

Moments when I can step into the character of God Himself…



What's one of your pet peeves?






Easy peasy?

Yeah, right...



"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience (makrothymía), kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…" 
(Galatians 5:22-23, ESV)

"And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, 'The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin…'" (Exodus 34:6-7, KJV)

"The LORD is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression…" (Numbers 14:18, KJV)

"But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth." (Psalm 86:15, KJV)

"Don't you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you?  Can't you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?" (Romans 2:4, NLT)

"And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation…" 
(2 Peter 3:15, KJV)

"The Lord is not slow to fulfill His promise as some understand slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." (2 Peter 3:9, Berean Study Bible)

"…for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life." (1 Timothy 1:16, NASB)

"Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience." 
(Colossians 3:12, NIV)

"May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy…" (Colossians 1:11, ESV) 

"We prove ourselves by our purity, our understanding, our patience, our kindness, by the Holy Spirit within us, and by our sincere love." 
(2 Corinthians 6:6, NLT)

"Always be humble and gentle.  Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other's faults because of your love." (Ephesians 4:2, NLT)

"And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone." (1 Thessalonians 5:14, NIV)




Linked with:

SHARING HIS BEAUTY, SMALL WONDER, MONDAY'S MUSINGS, MONDAYS AT SOUL SURVIVAL, LIFE GIVING LINKUP, GOOD MORNING MONDAYS, MONDAY OF MANY BLESSINGS, THANK GOODNESS IT'S MONDAY, THE ART OF HOMEMAKING MONDAYS, MAKING YOUR HOME SING MONDAY, MUSING MONDAYS, MODEST MONDAY, MOTIVATION MONDAY, INSPIRE ME MONDAY, LIVING PROVERBS, US, COFFEE & JESUS, MOM-TO-MOM MONDAYS, TELL ME A TRUE STORY, UNITE LINKUP, TITUS 2 TUESDAY, WONDERFUL WEDNESDAY, TELL IT TO ME TUESDAYS, TESTIMONY TUESDAY, TUESDAY TALK, RA RA LINKUP, TEACHING WHAT IS GOOD, INTENTIONAL TUESDAY, THE HOMEMAKING PARTY, TELL HIS STORY, WISE WOMAN, WHOLEHEARTED WEDNESDAY,  A LITTLE R & R WEDNESDAYS, WORD FILLED WEDNESDAY, THREE WORD WEDNESDAY, COFFEE FOR YOUR HEART, COFFEE & CONVERSATION, WOMEN WITH INTENTION, WAITING ON WEDNESDAY, SITTING AMONG FRIENDS, WEDDED WEDNESDAY, GROWING IN GRACE, WINSOME WEDNESDAY, GRACE MOMENTS, THANKFUL THURSDAYS, LIVE FREE THURSDAY, PARTY AT MY PLACETHURSDAY FAVORITE THINGS, SHINE BLOG HOP, THOUGHT-PROVOKING THURSDAY, FROM HOUSE TO HOME, GRACE AT HOME, THOUGHTFUL THURSDAYS, LITTLE THINGS THURSDAY, COZY READING SPOT, NO RULES WEEKEND BLOG PARTY, 100 HAPPY DAYS, FUNTASTIC FRIDAY, BLOGGERS SPOTLIGHT PARTY, FRIENDSHIP FRIDAY, EVERYDAY TESTIMONY, FAITH FILLED FRIDAY, SPIRITUAL SUNDAYS, FAITH 'N FRIENDS, GRACE & TRUTH, DANCE WITH JESUS, FAMILY, FRIENDSHIP & FAITH, MAKE MY SATURDAY SWEET, TGI SATURDAYS, WEEKEND WIND DOWN PARTY, LET US GROW, WORD OF GOD SPEAK, SMALL VICTORIES SUNDAY, GIVE ME GRACE, SOCIAL BUTTERFLY SUNDAY



BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Monday, May 9, 2016

I FELL OFF MY BIKE


Oh yes, I did.

Wiped out, pancaked, crashed and burned.

Me and asphalt – new friends.

Would you like to hear the painful story?

(If you're saying yes, shame on you!  However, I would also say yes…)


I celebrated my birthday several days ago.

I turned 62.

"The Hub" and I decided it would be fun to go out of town for a couple of days to celebrate.  And, when you’re celebrating, you might do some out-of-the-ordinary things.

One day we went antiquing.  (I am very lucky that my husband enjoys doing this with me!  A birthday gift in itself!)

We had so much fun!

Sometimes we saw things that we remembered our mothers or grandmothers having, sometimes we saw toys from our childhood, sometimes we saw things that reminded us of our high school years.

It was a great day.

We spent over six hours traversing all the stores, perusing and pursuing potential treasure.

The next day I wanted to go on another sort of adventure – I wanted to go on a bike rideeven though my antique-aching legs were protesting.

We don't go bike riding too much.  

For one thing, living in the mountains makes it more difficult.  Nothing is flat, and the hills are steep.  And, I am "incline-challenged."  Anything more than a 0% rise in elevation and I am toast.

So, it's been several months since I hopped on my bicycle seat.

But, where we were planning to ride our bikes was ALL FLAT.

You can go for miles, and that was our plan.


Things went well for quite a long time.

I enjoyed the fresh air, the cool breeze, and the wonderful sights and sounds.

I enjoyed feeling like a kid again…and since it was the eve of my birthday, this was important.

"Ha, ha, 62 years old – take that!"

(Pride cometh before a fall…)

It was just after we had turned around, maybe a good three miles into the journey, that I made a fatal error in judgment.

We re-encountered a small circular area where bikers and skaters and walkers came to a meeting place.

On our way through the first time (on the going-out phase of our trip), I stopped and got off my bike.

"What are you doing?" my husband asked.

I pointed to the sign that said something to the effect, "Bikers must walk their bikes in this area."

"See," I said.  "And I'm a rule-obeyer."

Yes, well, consider that statement foreshadowing.

When we returned to this area, I didn't feel like stopping.  I was feeling pretty cocky about my skills at that point.  Feeling kinda *fit* in spite of my long bike-riding moratorium.

I saw that there were hardly any pedestrians in the circular area.

And, I noticed a little "driveway" next to a parking area where I could quickly ride through without getting off my bike.

So much for rule-obeying.

Thing is, this little driveway had a bit of a lip in it.  Not much – maybe only an inch or so.  But not completely flat.

No worries.

I remembered distinctly that it was important to approach and ride through this type of obstacle head-on.

You see, years and years (and years) ago, my dad and I used to take long bike rides together from our house to his parents' apartment in the next town.  It took about four hours to make the trip.  Which, in my humble opinion, was pretty impressive as I made the journey on my *one speed, me speed* Schwinn!

But, there was this one trip when he attempted to cross some railroad tracks.

A little too parallel, not enough perpendicular…and BOOM!

He crashed.

Things probably would have been OK if he'd been on a mountain bike.  Those big tires would have saved him.  But alas, he had tiny little skinny *racing bicycle* tires...

Enough said.

(For the record, this incident is not to be confused with the time that he fell when traversing a pothole hidden by blowing sand.  Or the time he crashed into a bridge over a small canal at the beach – a place where for years, every time we went over the bridge, my sons would say, "Look!  There's Papa's paint!"  

In my dad's defense, this incident is also not to be confused with the time that he told me to ride really fast to get up a hill, and not to worry about whether he was behind me.  Well, I did, and turned my head to look back.  My handlebars followed my lead.  And no, my dad wasn't behind me – he was beside me.  Yeah, that.

Nor should this incident be confused with the time that my dad had me hop on his handlebars to ride around a bit.  This, after admonishing me to keep my feet up.  Well, my legs grew tired, I dropped my feet, right into the spokes of the front wheel.  Ahem...)


So, lesson learned, right?!

Maybe not.


Fast forward 50 years, and I remembered this incident, but perhaps not completely enough.

I approached the little driveway at about a 45-degree angle, which I (inaccurately) figured was "enough of an angle" to negotiate it just fine.

Nope.

While I did get up and over the lip, it sent my handlebars gyrating in an out-of-control manner, and headed me straight for the curb only a couple of feet away.

"Houston, we have a problem."

In the next nanosecond that passed like an eternity, my mind raced through possible rescue scenarios.

If I turned sharply to the right, I'd avoid the curb – but the turn would have to be very sharp, and I'd crash.

If I applied my brakes, I might avoid the curb – but the stop would have to be instantaneous, and I'd crash.

I distinctly remember my next thought, "I am going to crash.  How badly am I going to get hurt?"

And then I did.

Taking a sudden fall is a weird thing.  

One second you're up, and the next second you're down.

Your brain is like a stunned computerunable to initially process what just happened.  I had a couple of seconds of preparation, but the moment you find yourself on the ground, something just "does not compute."

I remember looking at the sidewalk – up close and personal.

I remember thinking that "The Hub" was going to be so sad to see me like this.

I remember feeling all the pain, especially my right knee.

I tried to get up, but couldn't move.

And then, my hero was there.

With tears in his eyes he plaintively asked me, "What happened?  Are you all right?"

Well, yes and no.

Thankfully, I knew that I had not hit my head, had not broken any bones, had not sliced anything open, had not knocked out any teeth.

But I knew I was hurt.

My loving husband helped me up, and we slowly – oh, so sloooowly – walked over to a place where I could sit down.

I remember feeling kinda dizzy and very nauseous.

And I remember the pain.

My body – and my injured pride.

That might have been the worst the knowledge that I had made a mistake, even though I knew better.  That I had chosen not to obey the rules and do the safe thing.  That I could have prevented all of it.

I thought about my dad.

My dad, the one who had given me such sage advice about bikes.

And yet, the one who had a reputation for being accident-prone himself.

I could almost hear him saying, "Sharon, what a knothead."

(Takes one to know one…??)


Well, how does the story end?

I had to ride my bike the three miles back to our car.  I returned to the hotel room, took some ibuprofen and iced my knee.

The next day was my birthday.

And instead of counting candles, I counted all the places that hurt…

"One, two, three…sixty-two…and one to grow on."


What spiritual lessons could I draw from this?

Well, there's the obvious –

Be sober-minded and alert.

Be careful to avoid false pride.

Be obedient to the rules.

But, the other day as I was driving in the car and listening to a local Christian radio station, I heard something that hit me right between the eyes.

They had a man sharing his story.

He said that he always listened to the radio station every day on his way to work.

But on one particular day, he listened and his heart was moved.  He decided to turn his life over to the Lord, not just as his Savior, but as the Lord of his life.

Later that same day, on the job, he fell 26 feet into a pitlanded on his stomachand lived.

He recounted how several of the workers in the bottom of the pit said that they saw angels soften his fall.

He ended his story with this line:

"Angels kept me from falling as hard as I should have."


I ponder this.

After my fall, I was hurting.  

But I was also grateful.  

Things could have been so much worse.  My injuries could have been terrible.  And though my pride took a blow, in the end, I was still relatively intact.

I wonder now – did God send an angel to protect me?

Years ago I read Frank Peretti's two classic books, "This Present Darkness" and "Piercing the Darkness."

And I vividly remember one scene when a car careens down a mountainside, narrowly missing a head-on collision at one point.  Later we get to see behind-the-scenes, and find out that an angel kept the car from crashing.

A timely angelic shove to safety.

Fiction, yes.

But I wonder…

Could this have happened to me?

Maybe, maybe not.

I have no need or desire to enter into a theological discussion or debate over the individual work of angels in the life of a believer.  I don't know enough to say for sure that we are each assigned our own personal guardian angel.

It matters not, perhaps.

What matters is thisI do believe that sometimes God allows bad things to happen to us, but they are kept from being as bad as they could be.

Think of Job.

Twice God limited the scope of what He allowed Satan to do.

"'All right, you may test him,' the LORD said to Satan.  'Do whatever you want…BUT…'" (Job 1:12, NLT)

"'All right, do with him as you please,' the LORD said to Satan.  'BUT…'" 
(Job 2:6, NLT)


We may never know this side of eternity how many times we are protected in our circumstances.  How many times we are spared, saved, rescued, shielded, preserved, delivered.

How many times the worst-case scenario could be so much worse.

But isn't.

How many times we don't fall as hard as we should.


This is the spiritual lesson that I have drawn from my bike accident.

That God is my Protector, and I thank Him for the many unknown times when He just may have saved me from injury or disaster, from pain and sorrow, from certain death.

He alone knows the times appointed for me.

And nothing happens too early or too late.

Nothing happens outside of His watchful eye.  

Nothing happens beyond what His hand allows.

Nothing happens that is not for my ultimate good.

I have learned another step of faith and trust which ironically happened when my steps were hindered by the pain of an accident.


God has ways of teaching His most precious lessons.

Thanks, Father, for teaching me…



Do you have a story when God protected you from *something worse*?





Be thankful the photo choice
is this...
It could have been
my knee.


"These bruises make for
better conversation...
Everybody loses, we all got bruises
We all got bruises."

("Bruises" by Train)


"Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?" (Hebrews 1:14, NIV)

"For he will order his angels to protect you wherever you go.  They will hold you up with their hands…" (Psalm 91:11-12, NLT)

"He will guard the feet of his faithful servants…" (1 Samuel 2:9, NIV)

"The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them." (Psalm 34:7, NIV)

"In all their distress he too was distressed, and the angel of his presence saved them.  In his love and mercy he redeemed them; he lifted them up and carried them…" (Isaiah 63:9, NIV)

"'See, I am sending an angel before you to protect you on your journey and lead you safely to the place I have prepared for you.'" (Exodus 23:20, NLT)

"Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand." (Ephesians 6:13, NIV)

"Having hope will give you courage.  You will be protected and will rest in safety." (Job 11:18, NLT)

"…let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy.  Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you." (Psalm 5:11, NIV)



Linked with:

SHARING HIS BEAUTY, SMALL WONDER, MONDAY'S MUSINGS, MONDAYS AT SOUL SURVIVAL, LIFE GIVING LINKUP, GOOD MORNING MONDAYS, MONDAY OF MANY BLESSINGS, THANK GOODNESS IT'S MONDAY, THE ART OF HOMEMAKING MONDAYS, MAKING YOUR HOME SING MONDAY, MUSING MONDAYS, MODEST MONDAY, MOTIVATION MONDAY, INSPIRE ME MONDAY, LIVING PROVERBS, REFLECT LINKUP, US, COFFEE & JESUS, MOM-TO-MOM MONDAYS, TELL ME A TRUE STORY, TITUS 2 TUESDAY, WONDERFUL WEDNESDAY, TELL IT TO ME TUESDAYS, UNITE LINKUP, TESTIMONY TUESDAY, TUESDAY TALK, RA RA LINKUP, TEACHING WHAT IS GOOD, INTENTIONAL TUESDAY, TELL HIS STORY, WHOLEHEARTED WEDNESDAY, A LITTLE  R & R WEDNESDAYS, WORD FILLED WEDNESDAY, COFFEE FOR YOUR HEART, COFFEE & CONVERSATION, WOMEN WITH INTENTION, WAITING ON WEDNESDAY, SITTING AMONG FRIENDS, WEDDED WEDNESDAY, GROWING IN GRACE, WINSOME WEDNESDAY, WISE WOMAN, THANKFUL THURSDAYS, THE HOMEMAKING PARTYTHURSDAY FAVORITE THINGS, ONE WORD COFFEE, GRACE MOMENTS, PARTY AT MY PLACE, SHINE BLOG HOP, THOUGHT-PROVOKING THURSDAY, FROM HOUSE TO HOME, GRACE AT HOME, THOUGHTFUL THURSDAYS, LITTLE THINGS THURSDAY, COZY READING SPOT, NO RULES WEEKEND BLOG PARTY, 100 HAPPY DAYS, LIVE FREE THURSDAY, BLOGGERS SPOTLIGHT PARTY, FRIENDSHIP FRIDAY, EVERYDAY TESTIMONY, FAITH FILLED FRIDAY, GRACE & TRUTH, MAKE MY SATURDAY SWEET, DANCE WITH JESUS, TGI SATURDAYS, FAMILY, FRIENDSHIP & FAITH, FUNTASTIC FRIDAY, SPIRITUAL SUNDAYS, FAITH 'N FRIENDS, WEEKEND WIND DOWN PARTY, LET US GROW, WORD OF GOD SPEAK, SMALL VICTORIES SUNDAY, GIVE ME GRACE, SOCIAL BUTTERFLY SUNDAY




BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"