Monday, February 8, 2016

CAN YOU SEE THE MOUNTAIN?


It never rains in California…

Isn't that how the old song goes?  

(FYI, the song was written and recorded by Albert Hammond in 1972.  I know, I had the same reaction…who???)

Anyway, rain…

So, let me answer the question – YES, it does rain in California!

And sometimes it sleets, and snows, and blows!

Last weekend we had some dramatic winter weather.

The winds were gusting, the rain was smashing into our windows, and an icy sleet covered everything with a chilly layer of white.

For a few days, it never got out of the 20's.

Now listen to me, you folks who live in the Midwest or Eastern part of the country.  Don't be getting high and mighty on me, bragging on how you deal with your winter weather.  I will gracefully concede that many of you face conditions much worse than this.

But, consider…

For a girl who's spent almost all of her life living near the beach, in sandals and shorts for most of the year, this mountain weather is a whole new story!!

Dealing with possible freezing pipes, and chipping out ice-encrusted cars, and shoveling driveways, and putting on and taking off chains, and any number of other winter challenges is brand new territory for me!

I digress.


So, last weekend we had a STORM!!

Sunday was the worst day of all.  

Yo, ho, blow the man (or woman) down!!

(Let me tell you, I am very glad for the protection of double-paned windows, a roof over my head, and good, solid carpentry!)

Monday morning arrived…

"The Hub" has a ritual that he goes through every morning.

He gets a big glass of iced tea (yeah, he grew up near the beach, too!), and stands by our huge floor-to-ceiling window.  You know, the one with the breathtaking view of the surrounding mountains, and one very impressive granite outcropping.

He's like a lizard – he loves to soak up the rays of the sun first thing in the morning.

I knew the sun was not shining this morning.

Because along with the storm, we'd had crazy fog!

Carl Sandburg wrote a famous poem called "FOG".  

Here's the first line:

"The fog comes
on little cat feet."

Yeah, well, this storm's fog hadn't come in like a little cat.  It had arrived full-force, roaring like a lion, and blanketing the entire mountain in a shroud.

So, I asked "The Hub"…

"Can you see the mountain?"

"It comes and goes," he answered.

As a little joke, I replied, "The mountain?  Or our perception of it?"

He chuckled.

"You know," I quipped, "it doesn't really matter if we can see it or not.  It's still there."


Throughout the rest of the day, I got to thinking about what I'd said.

And I got to thinking about how it applied to life lately.

I don't know what's going on with me.

Severe anxiety has plagued me for a couple of weeks now.

Personally, I think it has something to do with the fact that I am intentionally seeking to be grateful.  And when one makes an effort to mindfully incorporate gratitude into their everyday life, *someone* isn't happy about that.

You-know-who always seeks to steal, kill, and destroy.

Steal peace.

Kill joy.

Destroy hope.

I have felt his influence more than usual lately.  In some ways, it's sort of validation that this *journey of grateful* this year is indeed God's plan and purpose for me.

Sometimes God's work is confirmed by the counter-work of the enemy.

But, being grateful is made so much harder when you're fending off arrows of attack.


I sometimes often don't understand myself at all.

I get in these places, these moods, and I'm not always sure of how I got therelet alone how to get out of them.

And lately, that's just how I've felt.

Beleaguered, beset, bedeviled, bewildered.

Anxious and unsettled.  Afraid and rattled.  Discouraged and dismayed.

Off-kilter, overly sensitive, hyper-reactive – sad, mad, and glad in dizzying merry-go-round fashion.

Yeah, and also desperately out-of-control.

So, on this stormy morning, when I jokingly asked "The Hub" about the mountain, I saw a pretty appropriate lesson in it.


It is so easy to lose sight when surrounded by storms.

And sometimes, even though life might not be throwing a bunch of actual storms at us, the storm can still rage within us.

A fog of moodiness can blanket our hearts and spirits.

And we can lose sight of the mountain – The Rock.

It seems to me that there is a direct correlation between the state of my emotions, and my perception of God's closeness.

The more tossed and turned I feel, the less I feel Him there.

The more I am consumed with my inner tempest, the less I sense His presence.

If someone were to ask me, "Can you see the mountain?"(Can you still see the Lord?) – my truthful answer would probably be, "It comes and goes."

But here's the thing.

The mountain – our Lord – never disappears.

He stands in the same place...

...strong and steady and sure, whether I see Him there or not!

Perception is never reality.

Feeling is never truth.

And moods never, ever change the position of our Mountain, our Rock.

God doesn't play cosmic hide-and-seek with us.

But we can certainly experience times when He seems distant, silent, hidden.

How come?

I'd have to say it's because we live in a world that is shadowed by sin. 

Where truth can be hidden by the vacillating challenges of circumstances.

Where emotions can fool us, and feelings can trap us.

Where it seems like God is here one day, and gone the next.

Where few things are in our control.


So yeah, I'm not entirely sure what's responsible for this recent roller-coaster of emotion.  This tumult in my spirit.

But, in the end, it matters not.

"Can I see the mountain?" I ask myself.

It's not the right question.

I do not need to see Him.

I do not need to sense Him.

I do not need to touch Him.

Fleeting senses, one and all.

I simply need to rely on what I know is true...

The mountain, My Rock, is there.

Unmovable, unchanging, undiminished by my lack of perception.

My emotions may ask the question.

But my heart will instead proclaim the Truth:

"It doesn't really matter if I see Him or not…

HE'S. STILL. THERE."


Yes, I will rest in that…

Gratefully.






Fixing
my eyes on
Jesus,
my vision
is focused
and my future
is clear. 




"For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made." (Romans 1:20, ESV)

"Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.  He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation…" (Colossians 1:15, NLT)

"No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known." 
(John 1:18, NIV)

"No one has ever seen God.  But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us." (1 John 4:12, NLT)

"It was by faith that Moses left the land of Egypt…He kept right on going because he kept his eyes on the one who is invisible." (Hebrews 11:27, NLT)

"For we walk by faith, not by sight." (2 Corinthians 5:7, Bearean Bible)

"So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." (2 Corinthians 4:18, NIV)

"Then Jesus [said], 'You believe because you have seen me.  Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.'" (John 20:29, NLT)

"Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and though you do not even see Him now, you believe and trust in Him and you greatly rejoice and delight with inexpressible and glorious joy…" (1 Peter 1:8, AMP)

"Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity.  All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely." (1 Corinthians 13:12, NLT)

"Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is." (1 John 3:2, KJV)

"Now faith is the assurance (title deed, confirmation) of things hoped for (divinely guaranteed), and the evidence of things not seen [the conviction of their reality – faith comprehends as fact what cannot be experienced by the physical senses]." (Hebrews 11:1, AMP)

"But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and he will stand upon the earth at last.  And after my body has decayed, yet in my body I will see God!  I will see him for myself.  Yes, I will see him with my own eyes.  I am overwhelmed at the thought!" (Job 19:25-27, NLT)

"Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever.  Amen." (1 Timothy 1:17, NIV)



***REMEMBER to check out DAILY GRATEFUL THOUGHTS here***
  
(Updated DAILY GRATEFUL WORDS, A WORD FROM THE WORD, A "MESSAGE" FROM GOD, and FOOD FOR THOUGHT can be found on the sidebar.  Thank you!)




In spite of the fog and storms in life, can you still see The Mountain?




Linked with:

SHARING HIS BEAUTY, PLAYDATES WITH GOD, SMALL WONDER, MONDAY'S MUSINGS, MONDAYS AT SOUL SURVIVAL, GOOD MORNING MONDAYS, GRATEFUL HEART MONDAY, THE ART OF HOMEMAKING MONDAYS, TELL ME A TRUE STORY, UNITE LINKUP, TITUS 2 TUESDAY, LIFE GIVING LINKUP, TESTIMONY TUESDAY, TUESDAY TALK, TELL IT TO ME TUESDAYS, RA RA LINKUP, TEACHING WHAT IS GOOD, INTENTIONAL TUESDAY, WISE WOMAN, TELL HIS STORY, THE HOMEMAKING PARTY, 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, THURSDAY FAVORITE THINGS, LIVE FREE THURSDAY, THOUGHT-PROVOKING THURSDAY, GRACE AT HOME, SHINE BLOG HOP, THOUGHTFUL THURSDAYS, FROM HOUSE TO HOME, LITTLE THINGS THURSDAY, COZY READING SPOT, NO RULES WEEKEND BLOG PARTY, BLOGGER SPOTLIGHT, FRIENDSHIP FRIDAY, EVERYDAY TESTIMONY, FAITH FILLED FRIDAY, SPIRITUAL SUNDAYS, FAITH 'N FRIENDS, MAKE MY SATURDAY SWEET, GRACE & TRUTH, TGI SATURDAYS, DANCE WITH JESUS, FAMILY, FRIENDSHIP & FAITH, WEEKEND WHISPERS, WORD OF GOD SPEAK, SMALL VICTORIES SUNDAY, LIVING PROVERBS, GIVE ME GRACE, SOCIAL BUTTERFLY SUNDAY, INSPIRE ME MONDAY, MOTIVATION MONDAY



BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

45 comments:

  1. thanks for such an encouraging post

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  2. No comment from me about the weather. We have had one of the mildest ones i can remember but it is only February. We shall see what we shall see. Paul tells Timothy while we change God never does. I'm okay with that! (as if it makes any difference).

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  3. He is still there. Yes, He is indeed. And I'm so grateful (you can add that one to your list on me) that He is. And when the fog clears, He has not changed. You'd be very surprised if when the fog cleared, your mountain had shrunk. Gid never changes and we need to stand on that when we feel like we are wavering.

    Again, Sharon, you and I are on a similar blog path. Perception vs. Reality. Amazing. Also, I thought you lived in Colorado or Utah or one of those places in the Rocky Mountain area, not California. I'm jealous that you have your own mountain to look at.

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  4. So true that God is always there, even if we can't see him because of the "fog" going on in our minds, hearts, and souls. Excellent reminder you did here, Sharon, to let us know he is always there; no matter what!

    Does sound like some wild weather you had your way :)

    betty

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  5. Hi Sharon! Your post reminded me of the Scripture passage, "Blessed are those who do not see, yet believe." So my friend, you are very blessed!
    I am so sorry about your bouts of depression, that is just the WORST. It's so great that you have such a good attitude about it, and are willing to see past it. I hope your weather opens up soon. Nothing like sunshine and wonderful view, not just for your husband, but for you too :)
    Peace and blessings to you, my mountain friend,
    Ceil

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  6. As usual, Sharon,, your words bring peace, wisdom, and encouragement to me. I really needed this one today. And I needed to see God as the mountain...strong, steady, always there. Never wavering. I too often see the mountain as that which I need to cast into the sea.....But GOD, He is stronger than any problem....He is our Rock. Yes. Love love love this......
    PS. Yeah, living in MN, Iowa, and Montana where weather dictates life so much in the winter, your storm sounds not so bad, BUT for you sandal wearing people, I am sure it is challenging.....look how God used it to teach you and bless us. Amen!

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  7. Your post today inspired me to write, and I mentioned your post today and linked up to your blog. Hope that is okay with you!

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  8. yea! another CA girl! Been loving the storming but 82 today in San Luis Obispo - didn't last long but not complaining (yet)
    I love it that you couple a grateful heart w/ the unsettledness. Mine's been a malaise a couple days or more. Throwing it off w/ God's help as I seek Him and His will for my day in and day out. Today I'm prepping a talk on Col 3 - that should help as well. blessings on you and your hub. sue@welcomeheart

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  9. As I read your posts, I always try to get a picture in my mind relating to the subject matter. I am picturing that huge window, the view obscured by dense fog and imagining that mountain in the distance. I am also imagining the fog beginning to lift and the mountain is becoming more and more visible. I have been there many times... wondering where the Lord is...and then all of a sudden, He's right before me, just where He's always been. Thank you for this perfect reminder, my friend.

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  10. Sharon, what an amazing reminder that God is there no matter what we think or feel. We can get so wrapped up in our emotions and perceptions, that we become confused and disoriented, walking around, as you might say, in a fog. And I do think the journey of gratitude God has placed you on this year does have a lot to do with your anxious, troubled feelings. You're changing (for the better), and the devil doesn't like that one little bit.
    Hang in there, hang tough, and most importantly, hang with God, our Mountain and our Rock.
    Blessings!

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  11. "...Seems it never rains in southern California..." {knew the song but not the singer, and this got me sidetracked to go find the song, singer and yep, ... know it, not him} So as much as I wanted to be one of your first readers {since I told you I was looking forward to this} ... I never got back until now.

    Oh Sharon, not sure which is pouring more (tears or rain) after reading your comment at AG, which reminded me that I never left a comment (sigh) "I sometimes/ often don't understand myself at all." Yep, I've had my hands and life full of "Steal peace. Kill joy. Destroy hope." {this is so clever-well, all of this is quite clever and filled with wisdom, besides wonders of mountain living}

    Being from the Midwest and away for 20 yrs., I totally get what you're saying about this weather shift from what we're accustomed to ... beach buddies (you & hubs) how sweet!!!

    Love your comment on the mountain and it's still there whether we see it or not. Does "hubs" get the spiritual connection? {I know I'm being snoopy} but great opportunity :) I imagine this is what stirred the rest of this!

    OK, your words as always are very picturesque. But Sharon, my heart aches as I read and reread your words about how you've been feeling. Knowing how much truth is in your very words of being grateful and being under fire. (sigh) I think that's where I am too. My, oh, my, how that enemy is twisting and turning, relentless in his pursuit but I'm so thankful that God is much MORE relentless in HIS Pursuit, Love and Protection of us (which I really need prayer for btw) There is so much in this that I am truly grateful for ... amidst the 'storms' ... that HE is here with me. "I simply need to rely on what it true!" WOW - so well said (written) ... you're speaking to the choir here ... I needed this so much! This gentle reminder! This encouraging word! Blows me away ... winter storm winds and words of emotions as I lean on the Rock with you knowing "the immutability of God" helps me TRUST when I can't see, when I don't feel, or when I'm dashed by the waves of despair or fear ... it won't matter because God's unchanging ... (sigh) so very grateful that HE IS the Great I AM. The joy of knowing God is unchanging, His Word is unchanging, His plans are unchanging, His knowledge is unchanging ... unmovable just like your mountain (except for in the case of San Andres fault shifts and --- well, you know, you live there). So glad God's in control even when we don't see it or feel it. Hang in there sis, He's got this covered and I'll cover what I can in pray ... thankful if you would continue to pray for me, too! {God's protection and good health cuz I canceled my flight home, trusting God for this} Love and many blessings (((hugs))) Sharon,
    ~Peggy


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  12. so glad to find you at #smallwonder today. What a beautiful post in so many ways..the wild weather in the west?! I'm in San Diego ..it's been so summer here this week after a cold spell last week! I know sunny CA has it's tempest moments! But your writing makes it seems beautiful in it's harshness. What a beautiful share, too, of your struggles and up and down moods and anxieties..how you got to the heart of it with this line -- "It seems to me that there is a direct correlation between the state of my emotions, and my perception of God's closeness." And all you said rings so true!! Beautiful!!

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  13. Gratitude -- intentionally practicing thankfulness -- is the way that I assure myself that the mountain is still there, and it keeps my perspective straight on a lot of other things as well. This is a great post, Sharon. Thanks.

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  14. I knew exactly where you were going with the "fading mountain" analogy...I would have to answer the same way, I know that The Lord is always there...even though my perception often changes...usually due to some inward storm or fog that sneaks in and obscures my "spiritual vision".
    The enemy does enjoy using smoke and mirrors to try and deceive us.
    Thank The Lord HE is greater than even that mountain that you can see every day!

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  15. Sometimes we need to listen carefully to our husbands because they speak wisdom! :) Love this from your hubs: "it doesn't really matter if we can see it or not. It's still there." Amen. Thanks for bringing out the spiritual ramifications of it because there are days when I need to be reminded that God IS still there, even if I'm not feeling or seeing him.

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  16. I can relate to you; oh, boy, can I ever! We've been inundated with my hubby's health problems. Seems just about every day, something new appears. He suffers from anxiety and that does not help! Learning these lessons of casting our care on Jesus the perfecter of our faith is difficult but the very thing we need to do at this time. I know we're different because of it. He saw the doctor yesterday and God is answering prayers. It is time for me to celebrate with Cherry pie. Yes, my Redeemer lives.

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  17. Yes, Our Rock Christ Jesus is always there and we can depend on Him. I was thinking about the mountain still there even though you could not see it. That causes our Faith to be strong even when the storms (and fog) comes. Thank you Sharon for sharing your encouraging story with us here at Tell me a Story.

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  18. I woke up this morning in the fog. Strange that I had awoken yesterday in the sunshine. The fog came in on those little cat feet, and I am not entirely sure what that cat's name is. (OK, I'm kinda suspicious this time, but still it's not entirely explicable that it brought a fog quite this dense. ) The truth is that just like you said, "I get in these places, these moods, and I'm not always sure of how I got there – let alone how to get out of them."

    So I decided to see what Sharon had to say today, and there you were, pointing to the mountain of truth. This was exactly what I needed to read this morning. Thanks so much.

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  19. The song immediately popped into my head when I read your opening lines Sharon. You have my wheels of thoughts turning. I don't live anywhere near mountains, yet I know they exist. Which is the same with God I can't see him and often can "sense" or "see" any physical evidence that he's on the case but that's not what we have been asked to rely on at all.

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  20. Yes! He is still there even we we can't see. Like you said we rely on the truth of what we know, not on our perceptions or how we feel. I'm so thankful God's presence doesn't depend on me. Thanks for your insights! Blessings to you! I'm visiting from #CoffeeForYourHeart!

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  21. Amen! And yes, I can rest in that and in Him. Wonderful analogy! We don't need to see Him to know that when the next day arrives with the air we breathe is and act of His sovereign will. The earth is just one of His proofs, and the "earth declares His majesty".

    And you forgot about the part of the song, "But boy don't they warn yuhhh, when it pours, man it pours..."!

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  22. LOVE this post, Sharon! I was SO taken by this line..."Sometimes God's work is confirmed by the counter-work of the enemy." Wow, did that hit a nerve, and it made me think of the verse in Zechariah where Joshua, the high priest stood before the Lord, and it says satan stood at his right hand to be his adversary. Everytime God is working in our lives, satan is right there trying to kill, steal, and destroy it before it even gets off the ground, as you mentioned in this post. Since God's work is confirmed by the counter-work of the enemy, we must be doing something right, right? :) I pray for you often, as the Lord brings you to mind, and I trust you will feel His presence especially near to you. Sending you much love and many hugs from across the miles!

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  23. Sharon, this was just GOOD. Praying for you but grateful for the Truth you are holding on to. Much love. xoxo

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  24. What a deep, yet applicable, comparison of our relationship with the Lord (for I think we all can say at one time or another, we have been there, too) to what we see or don't see with our eyes. As always, I enjoyed reading this...thanks for sharing. I pray your anxieties and perplexing emotions will quickly disappear! and you will see God clearly again!

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  25. So on target for us today! Things are suddenly hazy these past two weeks. Ed is out of work for a couple of months, diagnosed with diabetes, a hernia, arthritis, and thyroid issues. The thyroid is under control, the arthritis comes and goes, the hernia has us seeing a surgeon next week, and the diabetes has us perplexed. We've been watching his sugar inch up and up. But, he has other symptoms that we can only surmise as stress and anxiety driven. Fear. Going forward (that's my word, remember, GO), major life changes affecting his job (or lack of one OR new one) and health care decisions have us fogged in. Great reminder that sometimes, the mountain is NOT the obstacles and problems, but the ROCK of our Lord, standing tall and firm over us . . . who are in His shadow. Why then should we fret . . .

    Joy!
    Kathy

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  26. Bless you, Sharon, for your honesty in your struggles. The one who hates our gratitude wants to steal our joy. I think I needed to be reminded that God is there whether we see Him or not. As usual, a visit with you has encouraged me.

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  27. An inspiring analogy, Sharon. I love that the stormy weather triggered this comparison for you. Thank you for sharing this on #SHINEbloghop this week. We're so glad you were able to join us!

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  28. Praying for you tonight, Sharon. You've been through so much this past year.

    I am so thankful for an immovable God in a world that is easily shaken.

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  29. *you know who* is trying to steal my joy right now too. Tell me again Whig mountain you live on? I've been in California this week. The next time I'm here I would love to climb your mountain to share a cup of coffee. *you know who* can go *you know where*.

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  30. Oh, Sharon; I love it when God uses our daily experience to teach us - rather remind us - of his deep truth. God is so personal, isn't He? Thanks for sharing His message of reassurance.

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  31. Oh Sharon, so often I come to read your blog and think I could have written this, if I didn't have the writers block, I often do have of late. We sure are in a battle.

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  32. How is the weather now? I hope you stay warm and safe. I live in a tropical country and have a really low tolerance for cold too.

    The storms in our lives. Hmmm. It always happens. Much more often than the change of weather in your place for sure. :) Good thing we're always safe in God's hands.

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  33. Thank-you for sharing your thoughts, your struggle and your faith. I love the list of Bible verses that you posted.

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  34. I so enjoyed this, Sharon. I've been reading a book centered around the story of Joseph. Last night's reading was about how Joseph was in the dungeon for two years. He couldn't see that God was working on the outside, setting up the pieces that had to fall into place in order for there to be a reunion with his family. Joseph kept the faith and understood that while he may not could see God working, he knew God was working.

    One day, please share a photo of your place with us ... it sounds lovely.

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  35. You're so right - as soon as we dedicate our hearts and minds fully to God, the enemy tries all sorts of tactics to steal our attention. I think one of his favorite ways is toying with our emotions. Thankful our God continues to be there and reminds us of His presence in some unexpected ways! Blessings!

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  36. It rained hard for sure but we didn't have the icy sleet here. We are happy that our trip to Carlsbad was the next weekend because they got hit really hard with the storms. You are so wise. I love reading your posts. I've had terrible anxiety lately, out of the blue. He's.Still.There.!!!!

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  37. Hi Sharon! I'm working hard to keep up with comments at the linkup and just wanted to let you know I see you and appreciate your faithful contributions to the gathering at #GiveMeGrace! Much love!

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  38. Yes! He is there, with us, ahead of us, even when life makes it hard to see. Thank you for sharing with #TheCozyReadingSpot

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  39. Hello from Mentone, CA :) Yes, on the crazy weather after all the rain and the cold these past few weeks, we are now in the hottest day of the week. Not complaining , I know we are blessed with this kind of weather.

    Such an encouraging post! Thank you for sharing this over at blogger spotlight party! Pinned and hope to see you again!

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  40. Hi Sharon! You were one of the most popular posts this week so I will be featuring you tomorrow at Women With Intention Wednesdays! :) Thank you for sharing! :)

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  41. What a beautiful correlation, Sharon! We do sometimes lose sight of God in the midst of our storms, but He does remain there with us. I know what you mean by cold also. I have also become used to warm weather here in Florida, and it has been close to 20's and 30's over the last few weeks! Thanks for sharing with #SocialButterflySunday! Hope to see you link up again this week :)

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  42. Great analogy, Sharon! And yes, He is still there--no matter how we feel or what we can or cannot see. Hang in there, my friend@

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  43. The way you beautifully illustrated this point about God always being there, whether we can feel him or not, with the story of the mountain and the fog, will stay with me. That is a great word picture and a profound truth.
    Thank you for linking with Grace and Truth last week.

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"So [I] have been greatly encouraged in the midst of [my] troubles and suffering, dear brothers and sisters, because you have remained strong in your faith. It gives [me] new life to know that you are standing firm in the Lord. How [I] thank God for you!" (1 Thessalonians 3:7-9)

Thanks for your comments - it is such a joy to be sharing my journey with friends like YOU!

(NOTE: Anonymous comments will be removed. Thank you for understanding.)