Thursday, September 18, 2008

This is a long one....

It was a year ago yesterday that our world as we knew it turned upside down. Doug lost his longtime job at the radio station. It was the first of a number of major knocks that we have had to endure since that day. A mere 9 days later, his mom died unexpectly. A few months later our BIL was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer. And in between all these major life altering events, there were the small knocks; my mom's two heart surgeries, unexpected car repairs, and hundreds of "no's" in the job search catagory. I have aged tenfold over the year and in pictures appear tired and worn. Worry does that to a soul.

Before you think this is just going to be another"poor me" whinefest, give me a chance to say that despite all of this, God has been there, day in and day out, providing for us absolutely everything we have needed to continue on. Strength. Wisdom. Patience. Endurance. Peace. Not to mention enough money to continue paying the mortgage, our COBRA benefits, those unexpected car repairs, the daily bills, and groceries, just to name just a few. We have not put anything on credit cards, nor tapped a line of credit. When things might have appeared especially grim, a gift card for groceries would miraculously appear in the mail from an annonymous donor. When spring flowers for the deck seemed to be on the chopping block (due to money), God worked through his earthly angels to fill our deck to overflowing. Those flowers were God's promise and reminder to me that everything would be ok. I can't tell you how many other seemingly miraculous things have occured over this past year....the unexpected tax rebate last spring.....the very unexpected, large 2007 tax return we recieved even though over the last 20 years we have not gotten money back (we usually break even). All these little things occured soley at the hand of God to give us strength and the motivation to continue on in faith. Each of these blessings were meant to remind us that He is present, will comfort us in our pain and will provide for our every need, pushing the feeling of hopelessness away. Every one of them was a gift from God meant to encourage us, strengthen us and give us HOPE. He has been right by our side every minute. If I thought for a few days that He wasn't right beside me, it was because I stepped away, not because He did.

I learned in BSF yesterday that sometimes we have to look hard to see God's blessings. But his blessings for us have been readily apparent this year. Once I sat down and took the time to realize each one, I see that his blessings for us are overflowing. I have to thank God for each and every blessing, regardless if it's the "one" I really want...a job for my husband. His plan is in action. No amount of worry or fear will change what He has for us. But we all can be confident that He loves us, and has plans to prosper us and not harm us. He is by our side constantly.

The question we were left with yesterday at BSF was this..."Will I let this challenge pull me away from God or draw me nearer....?" This week, I am going to seriously ponder this question. Regardless of the ups and downs of this year, I feel that I have drawn nearer to God. Actually, I refuse to walk away. I've thought about it. But really, there is no other path for me other than one that includes a relationship with God. He is challenging my faith and I am determined to let him work through me so that my story and experience can help others who are lost or who are experiencing their own troubles today.

Yep, it's been a very difficult year. And I cannot wait for God to deliver us through it. But in the meantime, I have to relinquish control so I am not subject to fear. His plan is in action, and I have to wait to see how God will use me through this experience. If you are having troubles, hang in there. He loves you too.

Hugs,
Amy

30 comments:

  1. Elizabeth V.8:25 AM

    I am compelled to respond this morning...Wow and Amen! I have been a mostly silent lurker, following the chronicles of your journey this past year. I am so (selfishly) glad you have shared your heart so freely in this space. Your words are so often a challenge and encouragement. We each face trials and while mine are different from yours, our God is the same. His faithfulness is sometimes a hard thing to comprehend but oh so easy to see in action when we only open our eyes and look! Thanks for the nudge and reminder again this morning!

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  2. Sis:

    You inspire me.

    Really.

    Thank you.

    #1 Brother

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  3. Hi,
    Thank you for your words and unselfish sharing inspirations. My husband and I are also are traveling a difficult journey during this year. It helps so much to remember we are not alone. I know that God is with us always and also with you and your family.

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  4. Amy,

    It seems that God is helping many of us to draw closer to Him these days.

    If our roots run deep in Him we know that we will make it THROUGH the trials.

    When we see those stumbing blocks for what He turns them into, STEPPING STONES, are hearts are filled to overflowing with joy.

    Nothing is better that that.

    Hugs to you. May all of Gods best be yours.

    Creatively.....

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  5. What a lovely testiment to the blessings that God provides us all everyday. Often we are so busy that we fail to really recognize them. Your post today was so very positive and inspiring. Keep the faith girl...it will NEVER let you down.

    Hugs!

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  6. i love your honest, transparent testimony. you don't sugar coat it; it HAS been a VERY tough year. BUT GOD has been faithful, and i am grateful His mercies are new every morning.

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  7. I'm so glad you're still able to hear God speak encouraging words to you through a BSF lecture or lesson, through the way He can unexpectedly stretch your checking account beyond what you carefully plan, and through all of the other simple blessings He so generously supplies whether we give Him the credit or not. Keep looking for those blessings. God is right there with you! Thanks for the honest words this morning!

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  8. thank you so much for your post. I don't have time to read it all because i have a busy morning ahead of me but I do want to say this. I feel at my wits end. There are a lot of troublesome things going on right now. Nothing major but enough that is bringing me down. Motherhood is not the best but I too am doing what I can to keep me nearer to God and not forget that he is with me always. This morning has been a very difficult morning and I needed the words you shared at the end to help me. Thank you for being so close and open to what Heavenly Father wants you to share and doing just that.

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  9. Amy, Thanks for sharing your journey! What you say encourages others to look to God for their strength. May God keep blessing you beyond your imagination! He is mighty!

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  10. A teary eyed thank you for that heartfelt reminder of God's provision and love. For you, it's been rough year, and I've had those too from time to time. Looking back, they are times of sweet memories of God's faithfulness. I wonder how I got through and I look back and see only one set of footprints, because God carried me. Sweet blessings to you, my sister.

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  11. Say it girl!!! AMEN!!! What a blessing you are!! Praise God for the work He is doing in your life and in your family!! On Sunday at church, our pastor was teaching on personal ministry and he told us God only wants us to do what we know to do and let him do the rest!! Just keep on keeping on!!!!

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  12. You have such an uplifing spirit!!! I love coming here to be inspired! Not just creatively, but spiritually too. And thanks kind friend for your words on my blog....they mean a lot! (And, BTW, my son's arm was not broken, just a sprain....) : )

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  13. Thank you for always sharing so much of your faith. It's really encouraging to read and constantly reminds me of how good God really is. Thanks again!

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  14. Amy, you are such a testament to what God asks of us. At a time when many would walk away in such a crisis of faith, you have stayed strong. God is good, and I am awed by your stories of "blessings" and provision. Wow, wow, wow! Thank you for sharing your difficulties with us . . . you inspire me to turn to grow closer to God in tough times, instead of moving away. Hugs and prayers are being sent your way!

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  15. You GO, Girl! May God's blessings in your life ALWAYS give you reasons to rejoice!

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  16. Peggy S. from Ohio6:00 PM

    Bless you, Amy! Through your honesty you continue to inspire and lift up countless numbers of folks in "Blogland". Keep praying and God will Bless You! He has something very special for you in His time.

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  17. I think this is the most beautiful post I've read in a long time!!!

    It is so easy to walk the wrong path and I'm happy to hear that you have chosen the right path!!!
    I always have to reminde myself that God is always there for my/us and I'm the one who took the wrong turn so to speak....but I've personally chose my life to fully serve our Lord and I couldn't be happier!!! I know he will always provide and that even in my darkest hours he'll be there to comfort me!!!

    So - Amen to your post and I hope the future will bring even more blessings!!!

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  18. Amen, Amy! You are truly an inspiration. . .thank you for sharing your heart!

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  19. Janin Huerter8:10 PM

    Wow! I love your faith. I think in order for you to really know God on a personal level you need to surrender to him. Surrender all your fears, your worry and your anger. I have been there and it took me getting mad at him and then surrendering to him for me to get close to him. He is my refuge. He is my rock. Whenever I think he is not there it is like you said it is because I walked away. Thank you for your story. It makes me confident in my choice to believe in him with my whole soul. I was diagnosed with a horrible disease that will not kill me but causes horrible pain every month. I have three boys and a wonderful husband. If it was not for God I don't know how I get through some days. Faith is what this world needs. It is what cured me. At least in my heart.

    God bless you and your family. Good things are coming. I believe it!

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  20. sandy9:35 PM

    Thank you for sharing that with us. I needed to hear that.

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  21. Your beautiful and eloquent words are a wonderful reminder to "let go and let God." It does not mean that we don't take steps to improve our situation but to turn our worrying over to Him. You are truly an inspiration to me, Amy, and remind me to count my blessings! God Bless you and your family!

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  22. We've also had a hard year...it's so hard not to worry. But it really did draw me closer to God...I really learned to lean on Him this year as never before. Thanks for sharing your struggle and your faith!

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  23. AMEN! May God continue to bless you and may you continue to acknowledge him for what he has done!

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  24. A beautiful post Amy, especially as it is glorying God for His goodness, in spite of the trials you've experienced in the past year.

    Thank God for His faithfulness to you, in enabling you to remain joyful, and I pray that a job for your husband might be just around the corner! :-)

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  25. Oh yes, amen! amy we too have had a difficult year. I keep waiting for the "fog" to be lifted and for things to go back to the way it used to be. That may never happen ... things change and that's that. Your words truly inspired me today as I pray for my husband who seems to be slipping further into depression. God is good and He will be with us through (not around) this season of difficult times. Hang in there Amy - I'm praying with you.

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  26. judy anderson11:00 AM

    What a nice positive attitude. When God closes a door he opens a window or vice versa. You have CHOSEN to look at all the positives and in the process I am sure more positives have appeared. bless you

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  27. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! I needed this! Oh, how inspiring - I am bombarded with blessings and never, ever take the time to count them... only complain! Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

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  28. I've been deeply touched by your post. I can so relate. In 2007 I completed my FNP degree. In Nov. of that year, I had a second surgery on my left foot. I began a new job as an FNP while completing my time at the hospital. I was working 7 days a week to meet both requirements. I fell the day after Christmas and broke my right ankle. I was out of work for two months. During this time, I saw God's provision show up so strong. I was able to meet my house payments, pay my bills, and nightly meals brought to me by various people. I was about to go back to work, when the guy I was dating said he couldn't handle the fact I had two broken feet, I had been "emotional" during this time (HELLO! emotions run high when you are physically challenged not to mention that I am a woman and broken bones heal! :o) However, I continued to see God meeting my needs. He is amazing like that! Through this experience, I do extra kind things for people. I was always "kind," but now I find myself reaching out more and more to people in need. In the last month, I was in an auto accident. Geez! Many things have happened with that, but I am continuing to see God's provision. OUR GOD is an AWESOME GOD!! Thanks for sharing your story. God's faithfulness is amazing!

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  29. It sounds like you're passing the test you've been given. Its hard when we're hurting so hard to recognize all of the blessings that we're recieving. You have a fabulous group of family and friends that are doing a great job of helping you. God Bless!

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  30. Anonymous10:12 AM

    Hi Amy,
    I have been so inspired by your blog. After reading this post, I forwarded to a friend who is going through a similar situation. I hope that you don't mind.
    Connie Conlon
    connielynn40@yahoo.com

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