Thursday, November 20, 2008

Hungry?


I was highly amused today when I pulled up to get gas and was greeted by a lovely invitation. I guess the local gas station will be providing a free Thanksgiving Meal (complete with turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, pie, and a drink) next Thursday for those who'd like to celebrate with the gas station people! Now that's something new! Click on the picture to get a closer look at the invitation!

(PS. The fires were contained and didn't make it down my way! Hallelujah!)

Living For Today

Just when we think all hope is lost, isn't that usually when God intervenes? I realize this isn't always the case as sometimes there are lessons He's still wanting us to understand. But for the last couple of years in my life, He's been the God of "Just-In-Time." For this, I am so thankful for! Even when my faith is shallow, He continues to see me through things.

God has definitely been working behind the scenes in my life as of lately. Personally, I have been doing a lot of soul-searching and self-examination, taking time to acknowledge the things I still struggle with and admit my inadequacies or wrong-doings towards others. I can no longer hold myself responsible for someone else's pain unless there were certain instances that I did to cause it. Otherwise, it is their own hurt and something they have to work through on their own.

I can no longer hope for a better past. The past is exactly that... the past. However, I realized through most of this time period that I've waited unknowingly for my life to "be like it was." For life to rewind back to the "good ol' days" of doing cartwheels in the grass, playing a game of kickball in the cul-de-sac, and wishing the track coach new how much my hamstrings hurt! For walks on a beach to never end, to feel my dog brush up against my leg, and for long swims in the pool. Inevitably, I was sabotaging my present and future by continuing to look backwards!

God has been there for me numerous times, even when my faith was like a rollercoaster. Living life for today is all we're guaranteed. We can't go back and change the past, and we wait around for it to be like it used to be. I pray that I truly begin to take today and live it for all it's worth.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Put Through the Fire

"The Lord said to Satan, "The Lord rebuke you, Satan! The Lord, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you! Is not this man a burning stick snatched from the fire?" Zechariah 3:2

There are many great things about living in California. The weather is outstanding if you're a wheelchair user (hardly ever rains, and when it does, it's usually at night when you're sleeping). The abundance of activities - from Disneyland to the beaches - always gives you something to do on days off, and most other activities (big cities, mountains, or the desert) are within a couple hours drive. Also, the people in my community are great! I love that I know my mailman, UPS driver, and grocery store clerks. Granted, this is all dependent on where you live, but my community is fantastic!

The downside to living in California is of course the ever-present threat of an earthquake and during this time of the year, the fires. Yes folks, we're in the midst of fire season. Earlier this week, the Montecito fires began near Santa Barbara and have already destroyed many homes. Last night, the Santa Ana winds picked up and have pushed the fires south. I have a feeling that by the middle of next week, we'll be in the midst of fires where I live if the winds continue to toss these fire embers around.

Please be praying for those in Orange County who are in danger and are being threatened to evacuate. Also, please be in prayer for those who have already lost their homes. I dealt with the fires first hand last year and saw them right outside my window. It definitely creates a sense of helplessness and panic, not to mention the fact that breathing is impossible.

As Christians, don't we sometimes feel like we have our own personal "fire seasons?" I know for me, my accident was one of the biggest fire seasons I had ever gone through, and it seemed as if there were no fire fighters around to make it go away. I would cry myself to sleep many nights and pray that the Lord would just take it all away. It was almost like a mantra.... "Please Lord, just take it all away." I repeated it every night which slowly lulled me to sleep. My fire season lasted for many years. At the beginning, it was intense, hot, and hard to breathe. Then, I pretended that it wasn't there for awhile and with that, slowly started adding fuel to the fire through poor choices and unhealthy people. After an explosion of "fire" about 5 years into my disability, I realized I needed to call on the fire department - Jesus! It's been a long process of learning to trust in the Lord again, to believe that His peace passes all understanding, and that He has the authoritative and commanding power to make "fire" - aka. Satan - go away! Praise God!

Call on the Ultimate Healer, the Fire Chief, the King of Kings when you're in the midst of your season of fire. He is the only One who can put the fire out!