Through it all

 I heard a tribute program last Saturday for Andre Crouch. They had interviewed him back in early 2000 and he was telling various stories as to his different songs. He shared some painful things that happened that led to  this song "Through it all" . He said his father told him "Andre-If your songs do not somehow speak of God's provision and strength then all you are doing is singing the blues." I know we have all heard this song at one time or another but his words are also my words. He has brought me through a lot. I've learned lessons I would have never learned otherwise and I've learned things about God's character that I would have not known except by way of the valley.

 I've had many tears and sorrows-I've had questions for tomorrow,
there's been times I didn't know right from wrong.
But in every situation- God gave me blessed consulation,
that my trials come to only make me strong

 Chorus
Through it all- through it all- I've learned to trust in Jesus- I've learned to trust in God.
 Through it all- through it all- I've learned to depend upon His Word.

Verse 2
I've been to lots of places- I've seen a lot of faces- there's been times I felt so all alone.
But in my lonely hours- yes, those precious lonely hours-Jesus lets me know that I was His own

Chorus

 Verse 3
I thank God for the mountains- and I thank Him for the valleys
I thank Him for the storms He brought me through.
For if I'd never had a problem- I wouldn't know God could solve them,
I'd never know what faith in God could do




Now for my last Texas story-it's a sad but true story. But in contemplating even writing this story I saw something I had never seen before which I will share when I wrap it up.


The 1st sunday we were in Texas I told my children "As soon as I finish praying this morning we will drive around Ft Worth and discover our new town."  Ever since I had become a Christian my prayers included asking God for a "Godly mate.


Ft Worth has an East-west interstate-I-30 and a North-south Interstate I-35 and also a loop around the city-1-20. As our apartment was right off I-20 we started west and my intention was to drive till we saw something interesting. We had only gone about 2 miles when I had a strong sense to get off here and here happened to be Hulen. I had never been to Ft Worth  and knew no one there except my Pastors daughter and had not been to see her as yet. So we were just driving and looking.


As I am driving on Hulen now-headed towards downtown Ft Worth we had to stop at a stop sign. In front of us was an overpass over I-30 and a man walking towards us on that bridge. When he got close I heard the words "Here is your mate" What? Now what do I do? I rolled the window down and asked him as he passed by us "Sir-do you know anywhere we can get some ice cream?" (Do I propose now-what?) He proceeded to tell me how to get to "The Back Porch" which made wonderful home made ice cream . I thanked him and he walked off. I sat there a few seconds till cars started blowing their horns at me and I drove on.


Oh my goodness-that was weird. So we went and had ice cream and that was that. The next day classes started. I arrived to my first class, sat down, looked around, and the gentleman sitting to my right was the "ice cream" guy. I couldn't breathe. His name was Robert Tuller and he had come from Ottumwa Iowa to this school as I had come from MD. I reminded him of the directions from yesterday and said "How uncanny is this?" and he just chuckled.


Over the next 2 years he asked me several times to study with him during study hall and we seemed to enjoy each other's company but never one time did he ask me out. I found out he was my age and had never been married. Different times in this time frame he would recommend a book for me to read and there were times I reciprocated. The night of our graduation banquet, after spending over and hour in the prayer room prior asking God "Whats with this?" because I knew the next day I would be leaving for home. At the banquet I walked up to him and very nonchalantly said "Robert-here's my address and if you ever get back east look me up." He said "Thanks" and now that really was it.




A few months later I received a book in the mail from Robert. I read it, wrote back comments, sometimes sending a book to him, and this pattern continued for almost a year. I didn't tell him but this is when I decided to go back for a visit which I wrote about recently. I asked my girlfriend not to tell him or anyone I was coming. I had no ulterior motive I just knew I had to go.


The church was huge. But I had only been there a few minutes when "He" walked up to me saying "When I walked in here this morning I knew you were here-I could sense your presence." Whew---shiver me timbers. He asked me to sit with him which I quickly relayed to my friend who was saving a seat for me. After church he asked if we could go somewhere and get something to eat? But of course. I didn't want to be a total jerk so asked my friend if she would mind and she is shaking her head no with a big grin on her face.


We had a long lunch and then he inquired if I could "come over" tomorrow evening explaining to me where he lived. I agreed as I was also telling him I was only here for 2 more days and needed to spend at least a day with my friend which he understood.


When I went the next evening I was blessed. He owned a small but nice home on a knoll overlooking the lights of North Ft Worth and only 2 miles from North Ft Worth stockyards. Just really nice. It was a breezy May evening and we sat in the yard and chatted for a while. Then he said "Bonnie -I would like to marry you. God told me right after you left that I was to marry you and I have given it much thought. You will be responsible for this and I'll be responsible for this......and he proceeded to lay it all out and I could tell that he had given it much thought. I had to laugh about some things but it just endeared him to me. I said "Yes."


When I left I promised him that I would go home, work out a notice and move back to Ft Worth. I knew that I could move back in the townhome with my friend till we married.


To be continued......

You Had Me At...


Image from Facebook page: To Love, Honor, and Vacuum




Everywhere I turn these days, I am seeing or hearing the word "story."  It has been the theme lately for many of our blog posts, for the ministry that is being birthed in my husband and me, and even the anniversary card that I found for my husband mentions "our story."  I am seeing it in relation to God's story, which He has written us into.

A few days ago while I was browsing my Facebook news feed, I came across the above photo.  I immediately posted a comment stating that this was literally one of the things that made me fall in love with my husband.  The owner of the page replied that he would love to hear that story sometime, and I knew that if I didn't share it right away, I would forget and it would never happen.  This is what I wrote:

Four years ago we went on a cruise. He booked alone, then invited my sister and her hubby, who have been best friends with him for 25+ years.  One thing led to another and my parents and I also booked the cruise with them.  Philip and I were acquainted, but didn't know one another well. We had both had come through broken marriages, and had each come to a place where we were ok with the idea of being alone for life, unless God had other plans.  We boarded the ship with no expectation or desire other than to become better acquainted.  Just before we left on the cruise, Philip's father became ill, and he was scheduled for medical tests and appointments while we were away.  He told me about the tests and asked if I minded if we prayed for his dad together right there on the deck of the ship. So we did.  The next day, my mother expressed concern because she was having some medical issues, and here we were in the middle of the ocean.  I prayed for her, then when I met up with Philip, I told him, and he said, "Let's pray right now, if that's ok."  So we did.  After that I had a conversation with the Lord.  I told Him that I thought I was falling for this man's heart, but that I didn't know what God's plan was, so if it was indeed God, that Philip would pursue me.  I did not want anything but His plan for both of us.  Philip was having a similar conversation with God that same day...   When he approached me, I knew.  When we agreed that God was doing something, his first thing was to ask if we could pray together and place our relationship, every aspect of it, into the hands of the Lord, to direct our path and to set the pace and determine our course.  Eight months later, we began our marriage journey, and it has been the most peaceful, joy filled three years of our lives!  Don't get me wrong, there has been drama, but only from without, never from within our relationship.  God is soooooooo good!  Our third anniversary is days away (January 28), and our love just grows sweeter with each passing day... 


Our anniversary has just passed, and I love to share our story.  It is a story of brokenness, of great grace, and of healing and restoration.  Our desire is that our story will inspire hope in others, and encourage them.  If God can do such an amazing healing and restoration in us, He can do it for others as well.



The Gut and God

   This has been a strange week. We took mom to the airport on Monday. When mom came to visit, she had a few extra health issues. They were resolved by the Florida sun, salt air & probiotics. Praise God for sending her to the environment she needed. Then my friend had a baby that had some issues due to birth complications, so antibiotics were administered. Then during one of Sarah's Language Arts exams, she read an article that explained how researchers have found that good bacteria can heal people. I was like, dah, finally they catch up with the natural world that has known this for centuries. Then it hit me, Sarah has been complaining of her stomach again. Ah, hello! These things all have to do with the gut. I felt like an idiot. I have researched this for years. I know these things.
   Why would Sarah have stomach issues? We all had the flu over Christmas. I had forgotten some of my vitamins and herbs in WV. So, I used what I had, since stores were closed, I couldn't remember where the natural stores were, and I was sick & tired any way. As a result I didn't have what we needed and couldn't head off the sickness. Therefore, we became worse. Sarah's throat swelled and we took her to the doctor. Of course, he prescribed antibiotics. Those go against everything in me, but it had been ten years since she had any antibiotics. They worked quickly for her because we don't use them. I also gave her probiotics and got a kicked up probiotic for after the antibiotics were done. However, it takes the body a while to recover from being taken down to zero bacteria. Not to mention, bad bacteria will grow quickly and easier, making one crave sweets and wheat, which is it's food. Therefore, if bad bacteria rules the gut, people become more susceptible to sickness.
    We let Sarah have some sweets because it was Christmas and gave her probiotics, but apparently not enough. So yeah, it took my mom, a baby and Sarah's Language Arts class, for God to wake me up. I finally realized Sarah needs good bacteria, no sugar or wheat, chicken broth and fermented foods full of good bacteria. Yep, I'm thick headed, but God has ways of making me understand. Praise Him for His long suffering.

Revolution


Image from: https://c1.staticflickr.com/7/6094/6281047481_95965e934c_b.jpg


I will Wait as others pass
Making their choices, Living their lives
Answers are Given all around
And Mine? Is Silence
This does not stop me from Asking,
From Hopes and Dreams of Goodness
I know that One Day,
The Wheel will turn for me
I will be Swept Up in Life’s unexpected Splendor
But Now, my wheel sits Still
Fixed, out of Time
While the world Swirls around me
I gaze on its Intricate, Uncontrollable dazzle
Amazed by Life itself

What was I thinking?

  I know I can't be the only one who has had this moment.  The "what in the world was I thinking?" moment.  I have had many of those moments over the past week. You see, a few months ago I had the bright idea that I would attend college.  It looked good on paper. It made sense in my head. The registration process was fairly simple, and the financial aid eligibility was appealing.  I was gung-ho.....until Monday.....when I actually had to walk through the doors as a first time college student 26 years late for her first class.
   That first class was not too overwhelming, and I confidently thought "I can do this". The second class left me feeling intimidated, the third class - bewildered, and my fourth class (all online) reactivated my previously stabilized heart palpitations (no joke).  I am unquestionably out of my comfort zone as I try to recall grammar rules that I had obviously thrown out of my head (you know...you've read my stuff), try to remember why in the name of everything sane do letters have anything to do with math, and try to navigate online technology that was unheard of when I was in high school.  I mean....during my senior year we got our school's first computers with DOS programming. That was the latest and greatest at the time. Seriously.
   I thought college would be challenging, but  I had mistakenly underestimated the workload. For years my two most time consuming pastimes have been thinking and writing. However, now I have to reign in all of those rabbit trails that scamper through my brain and actually produce stuff in type that makes sense to professors who don't share my sense of humor or care for my whole "writing like I think/speak" style. I have to be all "academic" in my writing now....which makes that little flappy thing in the back of my throat kinda twitch a little.... along with my left eye.
   Every day since classes started, I have wanted to give up (heck, I have wanted to throw up).  I wanted to take back all of the papers I signed and the books that I purchased.  I am praying that week number 2 goes better. I am trusting that God sees the bigger picture and already knows how these new challenges will benefit me and prepare me for things to come.  Pray for me.  Seriously.

Before and After

My son fell in love with three worms back in the Spring. He and his brother discovered them in some damp earth and had a grand time playing with them. There was a tiny worm, a large worm and a smaller, middlish worm. He was very gentle, and then it was time to come in. He found me in my bedroom late, crying because he was concerned that a bird might find his friends and eat them.
We talked about hungry baby birdies, and he grappled with that truth of life. The idea that really helped was remembering that God was taking care of the worms before he picked them up and God is still taking care of them now that Peter has put them down. I thought worms had a short lifespan, but they live about seven years which is long for something so small. Those worms will hopefully do very well for many summers to come, at least the tiny one anyway. They will probably do better long-term in God's care than they would in Peter's, and so will Peter instead of mine. I'll have my anxious nights too, but it will help when I remember that one.

Whatcha' doin?

I remember when we went back to Ft Worth for the 2nd year of school. Right across from the church and school a builder had built multiple townhomes in his 1st phase and had defaulted or went bankrupt or something, anyway the church bought the whole lot. Some they sold to church couples or families and some they turned into student housing. I moved in to one such townhome which was shared with another single lady and her son.


I noticed after school my son made a bee line for his friends who were out in a large vacant area behind the townhomes and would play till dark or Mom's started calling for their kids which ever happened first. I asked my son one evening "What are you guys doing out there?" He said "Gigging rats" I said "What" to which he replied "Gigging rats." I proceeded to tell him not ever to do that again and explained to him how dangerous that could be.


A couple of evenings later I saw the huddle of boys there again. I called to my son who either ignored me or could not hear for whatever reason so I started walking toward them. Eventually he saw me and came running to me. I told him in no uncertain terms to "march it to the house boy" and booted his rear a couple of times for emphasis. Boy-was he mad at me.


Once inside the house he told me "You embarrassed me in front of my friends." I told him I was sorry but someway....somehow....I have got to get you to understand that gigging rats can be dangerous. One could run up your pants leg and bite you and they carry all kind of disease. And he said "Mom-we weren't gigging rats." I responded that I was really sorry-I thought you were that's why I came. And I am genuinely sorry that I embarrassed you in front of your friends, and I mean it."


By the way "What were you doing out there?" Mom-We were teasing scorpions." AAAARRRRRGGGGGHHHH!!



Come Away, My Beloved

My beloved spoke, and said to me:
Rise up, my love, my fair one, 
And come away.
Song of Solomon 2:10


Next week I celebrate both my birthday and our third anniversary.  My husband is whisking me away this weekend to celebrate.  Life has been very busy, which is not unusual, but it is not good for relationship to be so very busy that you cannot make time to simply be in one another's presence every so often.  We have found that we must be purposeful and deliberate about doing so, or it would never happen.  I have had conversations with others who have let the busyness of life and the demands of others crowd out alone time with their spouse, and they are discovering that they don't feel as close as they once did.  

I have also seen this in my spiritual life.  When I allow life to run me and totally dictate my schedule, I find myself wondering, "Wow.  Why does God seem so far away sometimes?"  Of course, I know the answer, and lately, I have been sensing a drawing, a wooing from the Lover of my soul.  He is calling me to come away with Him, to draw aside and spend some face to face time with Him.  I'm going.  Do you hear Him calling you?  Will you go with Him?  You will not regret it!