During one of my quiet times recently, I came across a phrase that made me stop in my tracks. I kept repeating the phrase, as somehow it resonated that it was actually a description of me. What might that phrase be? Stubborn Faith. (Ok, don’t seem so surprised for those who know me!)
I have just walked through another battle where I had to draw upon every bit of the stubborn faith Thomas Champness describes as the faith that will keep moving ahead and let God fulfill His promise when HE sees fit. As I have shared many times before, with my medical challenges, I never know ‘who’ or ‘what’ I will awaken to each morning. This last time wasn’t just a morning – it was weeks.
I wasn’t aware how serious the battle I was fighting was at the time. I just knew it went day, after day, after day. I was only out of bed for fifteen minutes at a time, but that’s when I did my daily devotional reading and thinking.
I already knew that God sometimes allows us to be on our backs so we will be on our backs, looking upward to Him. Yet, it was during these times I saw that God provides resting p laces as well as “working” places, and this time was a time to REST and to be THANKFUL as He brought me, tired, weary and worn to streams along the way. (No more snow! We can see the river again!)
And just as was beginning to get a bit of ‘oomph’ back, I was told it will take months to recover, as I lost all the buffer I had been building the last 3 years. At first I was discouraged. Then I looked back to the gazillions of miracles and blessings that had been poured over me. And the pressure of difficult times (Care-difficult=lay low/do little!) have brought so much value into my life.
So – how about it: want to join me in having some “stubborn faith?
As many Alaskans, the last few winters (by record keeping standards) have been pretty mild. For the most part, so was this winter. Oh, we got 100+mph winds - nearby they had gusts to 170+ mph with 150 gusts all night. EEK! Sure, we got snow. Actually, we received a relatively decent amount of snow – a couple of big dumps of 6” or more, but hey – it’s Alaska, right? It just hasn’t gone anywhere or melted since October. It just kept adding up, and stayed cold until this week.
This year, we broke records for having 3 consecutive months below the freezing mark – with a couple nights of minus 20 or more. We were delighted when we finally hit single digits: t-shirt weather! At last! Even last week we awoke to minus 6 degrees F.
Bill made a comment yesterday that while we didn’t get record ‘amounts’ of snow, our snow plow berms are the highest they’ve been in the nineteen years we’ve lived here. Alas, all good things must come to an end. We will be in the mid-fifties, possibly sixties by next week – our ‘summer’ type weather. I usually get my best tan in April and May, so I was getting a worried we would have a never-ending winter!
At the height of my frustration, watching more snowflakes fall last week, I was reminded of several verses:
Run as in the way that you are running for the prize. : 1Corinthians 9:24 (NIV) and We had hoped. Luke 24:21 (NIV)
Run – with a purpose and perseverance, never giving up or in.
Hope – Everlasting and in all things.
Two days ago , temps still in the 30’s, I took a nap. When I woke up, Bill said –“look outside your Refuge (my office).” He had lovingly shoveled FEET of snow off the small deck directly outside my office. The snow had been to the door handle high. AND he had set out my favorite lounger and lawn chair. Love doesn’t get more tangible than that!
As I type from the deck, you are enjoying a photo of the last of winter and and we HOPE, spring. All is well. Tim was accepted into a Construction Union program that will last 3-4 years, Bill, with a little help from me, has been getting next year’s wood supply in – we’re about 2/3 done. I am on the 1-3 monthly “on hold”/wait medical roller coaster, still fighting the 4 active cancers – I get a lull in the scans, tests, etc. YAY!!
The book, which we pulled from traditional publishing, is now waiting for local printing bids to come in. It certainly isn’t how I thought it would go, but I’m in no hurry (read Habakkuk 2:1-3) it fits me to a “T.” God’s in no hurry!
We had a delightful time with Scott and Samantha their first sleep-over at our place. Soon we will start some garden seeds inside, but with so much snow, it depends on ‘when’ we can actually put things outside. Can’t wait to see what Bill new culinary delight he will come up with this year – Jeff and the kids got him an awesome Ninja that does everything, and it is being daily loved!
Blessings and s’mores! Let us know how you are!
Lately, with economic, medical, political and spiritual upheaval, in my set-aside nightly time of being silent and listening, a thought floated through. None of this is upheaval is new – it is just new in a different way than we have experienced.
Our parents, grandparents, even back to Biblical times there were wars waged. Food, jobs and even clothing was scarce. Locusts and dust storms destroyed crops. People got sick from a variety of plagues and medical challenges, even pandemics. Do we read or did we hear them complain?
Well, as a matter of fact we did. Think of the biblical passages telling of the grumbling of lack of food/manna and the grit and grime of sand. Maybe you read about the outcomes of the Spanish Flu of 1918 where 1/3 of the world’s population was infected. I’ve heard stories from elders in my family who shared stories of people with the “grumpies.” during the 1929 stock market crash and Great Depression into the 1930’s. Just this week I have heard more than my share of people sporting ‘badattitudes’ complaining about how the world stands today.
Laying quietly, still listening, even with everything swirling about, I had a peace that filled every crevice of my being. PEACE. A peace no mortal person could ever give me. Then I drifted off to sleep. (Hey – I can only be silent and listen for so long! Being a geezer is tiring at times!)
The next morning, getting comfy with my coffee and settled in my recliner for my “well-filling-time,” I read Psalm 46:5a: “God is in the midst of her – she will not be moved.” The verse was followed by words that Hannah Whithall Smith penned: “Is it possible for us who are so easily moved by earthly things to come to a point where nothing can upset or disturb our peace? The answer is yes.” (Streams in the Desert)
Was the peace that I was encountering a result of intentionally choosing to believe God and His Word (not just “in” Him) and am standing firm in Who and what I believe? The answer is YES!
What about you?
Never Give Up
For those of you who know me, you know that I can be tenacious at times – or is that “stubborn”?
Whichever way you choose to look at how I’ve the walk I’ve walked, faced the challenges we’ve faced, I want you to know that the ONLY way I can make it is by remembering:
What I have learned is, I may not have answers to the many prayers I’ve prayed, but God holds the “timer” and answer, and it isn’t the time for that prayer to be answered. But is does not give us an excuse not to pray.
2021 looks to be an interesting one. No one person’s difficulties or prayers are more urgent or important than another’s. As we heard so many times in 2020: “We’re all in this together.” So join me, will you, as we pray our way, praise our way, and worship our way through the year – no matter what daily life battle we find ourselves in. Let’s celebrate our differences, agree to disagree if need be, but don’t let it rob you of the blessing of friends and friendships.
Look at the palm of your hand. What and where will your influence take you. And if you aren’t sure? God’s communication line is open 24/7, and you will never get a busy signal, nor put on hold.
After the final NO, there comes a YES.
It is on that YES the future of this world depends.
One of the joys of living where we do at the base of the Talkeetna Mountain range is the ability to live a "farm to table" lifestyle. We never cease to be amazed at how quickly things grow with longer summer hours (quickly slipping by). And, dip-netting on the Kenai or Kasilof salmon (each household can dip for free, 25+ salmon, depending on size of family - we can get 37) plus moose and caribou, we feel blessed.
Each year, weather patterns dictate which crops may do better than others. This year, we have a bumper crop of chickweed (grrr!), as convection thunderstorms have poured rain in the evenings - the upside is Bill has hardly had to water! Last summer with record heat, he spent HOURS watering!
We have softball size kohlrabi, wonderful dicon radishes, zuchinni and cabbage. And RHUBARB...lots of thubarb - which means new culinary creations from Bill! He has designed rhubarb artichoke heart dressing, cinnamon rhubarb, and gallons of wonderful rhubarb juice that we can store for use all year round.
The raspberries - both red and golden have done incredibly well. We are picking the reds, and the golden raspberry that had doubled were "almost" ready....until the "visitors" arrived.
Yep - all's we could do was watch the Sand Hill Cranes as they shook each bush and ate every berry that was ready. We tried chasing, we tried yelling at them. we even tried covering - all to no avail, because as soon as you turned your back, they found a way into them.
Guess you can say we are doing our part to feed the local wildlife that makes Alaska so special. Let's just hope the moose won't have an extra pea pod flavor to them this year!!
How can it be that eight years have passed by so quickly? It seems like yesterday that I was locking horns with Jamie about “Dad needs a dog.” After Kula’s passing away nine years ago, I was not eager to deal with “puppy stage.
Care Tuk is a nationally known speaker, educator, and retreat/workshop leader. She has been a school, hospital, and home health occupational therapist for more than 30 years. She has been named as a Top Business Woman in America and recognized for her work with youth, disability outreach and awareness, and the American Cancer Society.