Recognition of Healing

This is the third part in a series that began with “God’s Abundance or My Scarcity” and continues with “To Trust or Worry.” Thank you for joining during this busy time of year!

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I sat with two long-time friends in the surgical waiting room earlier this week as a third friend underwent surgery to remove a cancerous kidney. She’d just lost her husband about two months ago, and the worry on her son’s face reflected his fear that mom might be next, all too soon. As I sat, my mind and emotions occasionally drifted to another cancer surgery about eleven years ago that didn’t end well, and I prayed for her restoration.

The three of us women chatted quietly, enjoying one another’s company. Every once in a while one of us looked over at Mike, and then at the clock as time ticked hour past hour, concern etching more than his face. Finally the surgeon arrived and gratefully reported  her cancer seemed contained and she’d taken the surgery well. Mike’s countenance brightened, and our hearts lightened.

I told my friend I’d greet her after surgery, so after my companions left, Mike and I began to converse softly, moving time more quickly from recovery to a welcome glance at her face.

Finally we heard, “You can go see your mom. Her room is on the sixth floor.” The sixth floor…where I met my husband’s co-workers as they shared with me fond memories of years working with him. The sixth floor…where I waited to hear Norman’s last breath. The sixth floor…where I nestled next to Norman for the last time. I hated the sixth floor. Yet, that was where my friend waited for me.

As I stepped off the elevator, sadness seeped into my soul as I turned and faced the well-known small suite to the left of the elevator and across the hall. I stood in the middle of the hallway and stared into the room. My eyes immediately noted a man bent over, familiar lines etching his face as he sat quietly in that chair, leaning his weary head on one arm. The otherwise dimmed room was lit by only one lamp casting a spotlight on his bent forehead. I remembered. And inside I wept once more.

Only this time the sadness didn’t overwhelm, and I realized the healing God has performed over time. It’s too easy to assume healing does eventually occur. Yet, my healing has been long delayed. Only a couple of years ago, during visit to the sixth floor, I needed to leave after about 45 minutes, too overwhelmed with emotion to stay.

Only a year ago, the thought of visiting a friend with cancer was more than I could bear.

I don’t take God’s abundant gift of healing lightly. I’m very grateful. And today, I learned my friend’s stage one cancer was contained and so she’ll need no chemo. And I thank God.

I'm grateful for God's abundance in the face of my scarcity. Click To Tweet

As I faced my friend’s cancer surgery this week, I also remembered past Christmases filled with pain as I wondered what the next year would bring. If this is one of those Christmases for you, I’m so sorry.

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May I also pray for you? 

Lord, we so long for this time of year to be carefree and beautiful. We long to hear the angels sing of a newborn king. We long to feel the warmth of making family memories. We long for our stories to replicate Hallmark. But life isn’t that way. For most of us. Yet, each of us are too afraid to speak out from the depths of our sorrows for fear we’ll upset someone else’s Merry Christmas. May this place, this moment, feel safe for others to grieve their pain.

Help us Lord Jesus to remember that your first Christmas was full of labor pains, rejected families, and outcast shepherds. Click To Tweet May we remember you came for such as us. And today let us embrace your abundance, in the middle of our cancer surgeries, and memories that make us sick inside, and the worries that news may not be so good. Jesus, help us remember that you are 'Emmanuel' God with us. You do care. And if we invite you in, we don't have to face this season, or any season alone. Click To Tweet

Thank you. In Jesus’ name, amen.

…His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. 2 Peter 1:3 (NASB)

And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus. Phil. 4:19 (NLT)

With tender love,

Robin <3

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To Trust or Worry?

Part Two of a Series which began last week with ‘God’s Abundance or My Scarcity

trustPart Two in a series running through December

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Over the course of four weeks, I’ve been thinking a lot on whether I live in God’s abundance or cling to my scarcity. It all began with a sermon posing this question:

Do I recognize and embrace God’s abundant gifts; or do I instead choose to live on my scarce resources?

As I’ve pondered this question,  it’s made me consider the last seven months as my husband was off work with an injury. I’ve never had to deal with anything like this as an adult, and so making decisions regarding money has been a bit of a challenge for me.

There were times during these months when we both felt compelled by the Holy Spirit to make certain choices trusting God to provide. When Gary was injured in April, and we realized his recovery would be long, we both felt I was to stay home and write rather than quickly look for work. Because of this decision, I was able to attend Mary DeMuth’s Writer’s Intensive in July. I wasn’t planning on attending the conference when Gary was injured, nor did we expect one week before leaving for the conference Gary would end up in the ER with a one week’s hospital stay. But when the conference came to my attention, we both felt very strongly I’d miss out on something God wanted to do if I didn’t attend. The conference changed my life, and possibly our future.

There were times those seven months I didn’t know what to do in regards to our finances, and so made decisions I still question.

There were times I made downright foolish decisions and spent money I shouldn’t have for one reason and another.

But isn’t that life?

We all have moments as believers when we sense God calling us to step out into something new and a bit frightening. Doing so doesn’t mean every decision we make during that time will be perfect. Some decisions will end up successful. Some decisions will be failures. 

No matter what, embrace God's abundance. Click To Tweet

I recently read in Suzanne Eller’s book Come With Me,

“Jesus never promised Simon or any of his disciples that following him was a one-time, no-risk-involved, feel-safe-and-comfortable-always venture. In fact, he often assured them of the opposite. We are asked to push out deeper a second, third, fourth time. What is God asking you to do? Have you resisted? Has the focus been on the results or on the obstacles over the joy of walking with Jesus?”

Let’s take a moment to re-read what God’s Word says:

…His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. 2 Peter 1:3 (NASB)

And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus. Phil. 4:19 (NLT)

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My need isn’t always what I think it is. Maybe God’s abundance for me right now is:

  • Providing His peace that passes all understanding to guard my heart and mind in Christ Jesus as I step out in faith. (Phil. 4:7)
  • Granting humility so I quickly run to Him for wisdom rather than making quick decisions based on my own desires. (James 1:5)
  • Strengthening me to can ask Him to Him to search my heart, know my thoughts, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. So any failures draw me to Him rather than away from Him. (Psalm 139:23).

My only other option is to worry. And unfortunately, other things tag along when worry becomes our choice.

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Worry is white noise that distracts me from hearing God's gentle voice clearly. Click To Tweet

Worry is a barrier to receiving God's abundance. Click To Tweet

Worry is the grasping for my scarcity because I'm afraid God may be as overwhelmed as I am. Click To Tweet 

What’s going on in your world? Where do you need to trust in God’s abundance for this moment? If you’d like me to pray, please send a message. We can pray for each other, as I too constantly must work through this myself.

With love,

Robin <3

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God’s Abundance or My Scarcity?

My God will supply allyour needPart one in a series running through December

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For the last three weeks, through 2 sermons, a blog, and finally through a speaker at a Christmas dinner, I’ve heard this question posed in a variety of ways:

Do I recognize and embrace God’s abundant gifts; or do I instead choose to live on my scarce resources?

What does God’s Word say?

…His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. 2 Peter 1:3 (NASB)

And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus. Phil. 4:19 (NLT)

I rarely use the words ‘abundance’ or ‘scarcity’, let alone use them together, and so hearing them multiple times over the last three weeks has gotten my attention and made me consider my life on several levels.

When I first heard a similar question posed three weeks ago, I immediately thought of our finances. My husband has been off work for several months with an injury, and finally went back to work Monday.

As one month turned into two, then three, then four, and now seven, my tendency to worry has increased as finances have gotten tighter. Yet, through this whole time, God has taken care of us. One of the biggest gifts is that Gary and I have had time to spend together as we’ve never had in our young marriage. It’s been sweet for both of us. Gary’s body has healed well. Throughout this time, we’ve been able to use savings, and God has provided in other unexpected ways.  To add to the blessing, upon showing up for work Monday, Gary was made supervisor of a job requiring a lot of overtime, which will help greatly. So rather than focusing solely on my concerns, I need to thank God for how He’s abundantly cared for us. Since several of the gifts have only come within the last couple of weeks, it’s taken some effort on my part to re-focus my thinking, to be honest.
It helps to make lists of God's daily gifts. Click To Tweet
Maybe your situation is different. Maybe you can’t yet see any of God’s gifts and things are getting pretty rough. Or maybe you see His ‘gifts’ but they aren’t what you wanted or expected. I get it. I’m truly sorry.

Can I pray for you?

Lord, whatever situation my friend finds themself in, please give them hope. Even if the gift you provide is different than they longed for, or not what they expected, help them to hold onto your love and good plans for them as they unwrap this gift from your hand. Please. Use this unexpected gift to show them your ultimate best for them. Help them to hold onto you as they wait to see your plan unfold. Please. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Let me know if I can pray for you in any way, especially if this post has brought pain screaming to the surface. It may also be helpful to look at Part 2 in the series, “To Trust or Worry.

With love,

Robin <3

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‘Jesus Every Day’ Book Review

Jesus Every Day Book Review@ En Courage www.rlseaton.comWhen at a Bible Study, come prayer time I often hear, “I can’t pray like so-and-so. They  pray so beautifully. You better ask someone else.” Fear so easily grips.

I’ve been sampling a new book out December 1 by Harvest House Publishers entitled, “Jesus Every Day” by author Mary E. DeMuth. Mary has her own blog ‘Restory,’ and is well-known for her prayers. So much that her readers begged her to write a devotion containing them. Her prayers are beautiful, not because they’re flowery and ‘religious’ but because they’re real and exemplify the simplicity of talking to God as though He were sitting across from us while we sip a cup of coffee. Yet because they point us to the One above all and able to answer every need, they are filled with the reverence, awe, and expectation He deserves. They are an exquisite mingling of the need of humanity and power of the Divine in everyday language.

Mary’s prayers speak of life’s emotions and daily experiences. Experiences bringing joy. Emotions crushing our souls. Moments leaving us perplexed. She isn’t afraid to tackle any topic as she’s faced both immense joys and tragic sorrows in her own life. She was repeatedly sexually abused as a child, and faced growing up in a dysfunctional family. She understands first-hand the sorrow of losing a dear friend. She’s suffered the grief of losing a close family member. Yet in all of this, she’s found a heavenly Daddy who knows her, and loves her relentlessly. And she’s learned first-hand God listens to and answers His kids, when they reach out to Him with their simple words.

Her daily devotion takes the reader through the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, with a verse or small passage followed by a prayer. Each day is labeled ‘Day 1,’ ‘Day 2’, etc. so the book can be started any day of the year, and runs 366 days. Its simple beauty allows it to easily be given as a gift to a new believer as well as a seeker. For a more seasoned believer, it’s a wonderful addition to any daily Bible reading routine.

As of December 1, I invite you to purchase the book at any one of several venues, some of which are listed below for your convenience. I was given a 30-day sample to read, but was given nothing else for my review, other than the pleasure of reviewing the book. I also receive no benefit for offering you a link to the sights listed below.

Amazon   Christian Book Distributors  LifeWay  Barnes & Noble

(Barnes & Noble has only the e-book available as of this posting.)

Talk with you next week!

Robin <3

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Thanksgiving Reflections in Photography

As Thanksgiving comes to a close for 2017, I’d like to take a few moments and remember some of God’s special gifts this past year. I find in remembering the gifts, it makes the difficulties easier to take confidently. Such times remind me that since God has blessed before, He will bless again. Author Ann Voscamp calls this ‘seeing God through the holes.’ This visual doesn’t ignore the things in life that rub us raw, but it focuses on the God who is able to use the raw for our good and His honor.

Please join me!

January:

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Sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean, Hilton Head SC

Gary and I enjoyed our first vacation together since our honeymoon four years ago. We actually learned new things about one another, such as: he loves sitting at the beach, listening to the waves; and I actually will get up to see a sunrise over the ocean.

February:

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Washington Monument from the reflecting pool

The last week in January, Gary and I enjoyed a day in DC with David and Hollie, my step son and his girlfriend. It was our first outing together as couples. There’s something beautiful when our children begin to see us as friends rather than parents.  It was an absolutely delightful day together!

March:

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Dahlanega Historic Town Center

My mom had knee replacement, and I was able to be with her three weeks. During that time, my sister and brother-in-law took me out for a day’s respite to Dahlanega, Georgia, site of the first major US gold rush. Their love and care for both mom and I during a difficult time meant so much. (Mom’s medication temporarily altered her greatly, but all’s well now and mom’s knee has healed wonderfully!)

April:

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Beach homes along the coast, Outer Banks, NC

Gary tore his rotater cuff, and so before having surgery, we took a week and headed to North Carolina’s Outer Banks. My first husband and I took Evan there several years ago, and I hadn’t been back since. It brought back many special memories, and I was very grateful to share this special place with Gary. His surgery went well,  and we’ve greatly enjoyed the last seven months of his recovery at home. He’s going back to work in another week!

May:

Photo of Pastor Paul Foster courtesy of LH Church

A very dear friend passed away from cancer, and God sustained us along with so many. I’m so grateful for Pastor Paul’s legacy, and for God’s amazing love that shelters and sustains through the pain.

June:

Gary discovered Ocean City, MD! We spent at least 3 different days during the summer walking the boardwalk and sitting on the beach. On our second trip, we took my sister-in-law for her birthday. She and I got henna tattoos in celebration of her special day!

July:

Gary ended up in the emergency room one week before he was to join me on a trip to Rockville,TX where I was going to attend a writer’s conference by author Mary DeMuth. I’m very grateful God protected Gary through a frightening 105 degree fever and subsequent five-day recovery in the hospital. I’m also glad I was still able to attend the conference. The conference was intimate, informative, and life-changing. (She’s now scheduling conferences for 2018.) The weekend at Magnolia in Waco was the icing on the cake. (Going to Magnolia was on my bucket list.)

August:

A special 58th birthday with Gary in St. Mary’s MD. This day of adventure was just for me.

September:

Strasburg Railroad, Strasburg PA
Woodcarving from artisans in Afghanistan, Turquoise Mountain Exhibit in DC

My dear friend, Joy from Hawaii came for a visit.  We see each other so seldom, so we enjoyed almost a week of sightseeing and friend-time together.

September:

From a lookout near Taos, New Mexico

The week following Joy’s visit, I headed to New Mexico. My sister-in-law and I spent a week touring beautiful Santa Fe, portions of Route 66, the Taos pueblos and cliff dwellers, along with portions of the old Cumbres and Toltec rail line via a steam train adventure. We saw so many beautiful places,  talked to many interesting people,  and enjoyed the time together immensely.  True gifts.

October:

Gary and I took an impromptu trip to Cumberland MD for the day. The weather was sunny and temperate. Probably one of the last ‘nice’ weekends of fall. Gary is learning I love a good adventure. He provided one just for me!

November:

Gary and I celebrated our 5th anniversary in Williamsburg, VA, one of my favorite places in the world! For some reason, coming here feels like coming home.

———–

Thank you for joining me today! It does my heart such good to remember these special gifts from Daddy.  I encourage you to take a few moments at the end of this holiday weekend and remember your past joys. If 2017 was too hard, or life in general hasn’t been easy, I’m so sorry. I’ve been there. Let me pray for you, as sometimes in the pain, we forget the joys we’ve known.  Or the remembering of them is far too painful.

Lord,  I bring my friend to you.  Their present pain clouds past joys and gifts.  Please comfort them. Please draw them into your embrace, so they know you care. Please, in mercy remind them of past joys in a way that refreshes and brings hope for tomorrow. Please.  Because you are the God of hope. In Jesus’ name,  amen. 

It’s good to be back with you.

Robin <3

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