Does Cancer Scare You?

The word “cancer” can strike fear in your heart.  Recently, my daughter was telling me about  a lady who just learned she has the same type of aggressive breast cancer that I had (Triple Negative).  She said, “Mom, I’m sure glad we’re over that!” I told her I would never be “over” it.  There are follow up doctor visits and although I don’t worry about the cancer recurring, it is always in the back of my mind.

I’m sitting in the oncology waiting room as I write this.  As my eyes scan the room, I feel out of place and am disturbed.  It is obvious there are some very sick people here.  After multiple visits and four years later, it is still surreal.

I’ve had a chest x-ray and blood drawn.  I’m waiting to see the doctor and hear the test results. Even when I received the cancer diagnosis, I did not have any symptoms except for a pea-size lump.  Now, after all the chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation, my body feels the same.  Because I feel physically fine, it doesn’t make sense to me that the doctor can either give me a clean bill of health or report that the cancer has returned.

How is one to cope with this? My husband used to say, “People feel sorry for me because they know I don’t have much longer to live. They don’t seem to realize they could die before I do. None of us are guaranteed tomorrow. I’m just more aware of it.”  We may think we have a measure of control in this life, but we don’t.  We couldn’t take our next breath but for the grace of God.  But don’t let this scare you! Our times are in God’s very capable hands. He is a good, good Father and loves us very much. We can rest in Him and trust His best for us as we walk closely with Him.  Cancer doesn’t scare God and we don’t have to let it scare us.

There are much worse things than cancer.  People who live selfishly to obtain things in this life have the worst disease of all!  They are missing out on real joy-filled living. I can’t imagine even getting out of bed in the morning if I did not have the love of Jesus in my heart and the assurance that His peace, grace, and mercy would cover me through the day.

Every time I come to this waiting room, so many questions flood my mind…Why did God bring me through the cancer journey basically unscathed?  Why would God choose to give me more opportunities to serve Him, when I fail Him so miserably every day? Why was I spared when so many of my cancer friends were not?

As I walk by the treatment room, I would rather look away and forget, but I feel obliged to absorb the scene.  I need to remember the uncertainty and fear I experienced while sitting in those chairs receiving poison in my veins.  Do these people know the peace only Jesus can give during this most gut-wrenching time of their lives? They need my empathy and my prayers.

After all the questions, my conclusion is always the same… I don’t know.  This is what I do know….

  • God is always good.
  • His way is perfect.
  • He will walk through every valley with me.
  • He is God and I am not.
  • I can trust Him.

I know I will come face to face with God one day and thank Him for using cancer to remove some of the fog of materialism and vain distractions from my heart so His purposes for my life could be more clearly seen and accomplished.

So with tears in my eyes and joy in my heart, I am thanking God for leaving me here to witness my last homeschooler (Nathan) graduate high school, Abigail receive her college diploma, Anna and Bethany marry their awesome husbands, and for having the privilege of enjoying my little grandson, Destin.  And I could go on and on.

Nathan graduating from high school (2017)

Abigail graduating from BJU (2017)

Bethany and Wesley Crews married 8-03-14

Anna and Danilo Vara married 9-27-14

 

Anna, Bethany, and Abigail (9-27-14)

Destin Vara as a newborn (9-24-16)

With a broad smile on her face, my sweet doctor just reported that my tests results were great! If my life ended today, I’ve been far more blessed than I’ll ever deserve.  It thrills me to know I’ll have all eternity to thank and worship my Lord and Savior for daily showering me with His gifts!

No, we don’t have to be afraid of cancer. We have a mighty God.  If we know Him and  find our life coming to an end here, we have a much better place to go where we will live like never before!  We can enjoy the presence of God for all eternity. Don’t let cancer scare you.  It can be a gift in disguise!

Keep looking up,

Gaye

May 2017

 

 

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Why is This Day Called Good?

What is so good about this day?  This day we call Good Friday is when we remember the greatest injustice in all the history of the world.  A completely innocent man (who also happened to be the Son of God) was interrogated, mocked, spat upon, lied about, beaten, humiliated, and then tortured to death for apparently no good reason.

If we didn’t know better we would think this was a weak man who couldn’t defend himself. This innocent man, Jesus, was there when our universe was formed. He has no beginning and no end. Jesus said, No man taketh it (life) from  me, but I lay it down of myself.  I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again.  This commandment have I received of my Father (John 10:18). And that is exactly what He did.

So this most horrible day for Jesus became the best day for the rest of us.  Jesus took the wrath of God for the sin of the whole world on Himself that day. He bought us with His holy blood. He paid the sin debt and redeemed a selfish, sinful world of people so we could be united with Him for eternity. This love is SO hard for me to wrap my mind around.

Jesus left the splendor of heaven and presence of God to come to earth to bridge the gap between our sinful brokenness and separation from God. He has done all the work.  He has done every possible thing.  All He asks is for us to repent of our sin, believe in Him and His work on the cross, and ask Him to take residence in our hearts. I can attest to the peace and joy that follows that act of faith!

As I think of Jesus’ suffering, I’m amazed at how He endured all that suffering and separation from God and didn’t yell, Enough! I don’t deserve this! I’m done! He could have easily called for the angels to release Him or walked away on His own. I know His love kept Him on the cross, but there was also another motivation.

This example is not anywhere close to what Jesus went through, but the most pain I’ve been in is when I gave birth to my children.  I chose not to have pain medicine and there was a few times I caved and said, Okay! Give me something! But the baby was ready to be born and there wasn’t time. Anyway, as I lay there writhing in pain, I wasn’t necessarily thinking about how much I loved my husband or the baby, although I did love them both very much.  I looked into the near future and thought about the joy of holding that precious new life. That thought helped me plow through the pain.

Jesus looked into the future and saw joy! Hebrews 12:2 says, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. He was thinking about the joy!

Because of Jesus’ sacrifice, There is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth. (Luke 15:10) He has made a way for us to have abundant, joy- filled lives, full of faith and hope not only because of what He did on that cross on Good Friday, but because of the resurrection afterwards. He has taken the sting out of death and the grave for us as believers.

“Whenever you feel tempted to ask God, ‘Why did you do this to me?’ look at the cross and ask, Why did you do that for me?”  (Randy Alcorn in 90 Days to God’s Goodness)

So if you are going through a tough time now, look into God’s Word and claim His promises of peace, rest, and joy as you trust in Him. He will never fail you or forsake you.

Yes, it was a horrible Friday around two thousand years ago today, but it was also a glorious day for the millions of believers in the ages to come. What a precious gift Jesus gave the world that day! It is a very Good Friday because Sunday’s coming!!! Happy Resurrection Day!

Keep looking up,

Gaye Hughes

 

What are you wearing?

 

 

Although I prefer the King James Version of the Bible, I really like how Colossians 3:12-14 is worded  in The Message.

So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline.  Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense.  Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love.  It’s your basic, all-purpose garment.  Never be without it.

If I could just remember these nuggets of truth every minute of every day! This is the key to a joy-filled life empty of self and full of God. Do you know anybody that dresses like this verse describes? I sure do!  It is a lovely sight…always gorgeous and in style! These people are refreshing, uplifting,  God-honoring, and Christ-like no matter their circumstances.

Do you need to make some changes in your wardrobe? What are you wearing today?

Keep looking up,

Gaye Hughes

 

I Am?

left to right: Ashlee Bitton (4 yr. old teacher), Megan Smith (2 yr. old teacher), Me (phonics teacher for 2 & 3 yr. olds), Teena Anders (2 yr. old teacher), Alyx (4 yr. old teacher), Andrea Muse (owner and 4 yr. old phonics teacher), Brooke Eggleston (2 yr. old teacher).

I usually work as a phonics teacher at Muse Montessori, but I also substitute when a teacher is absent. Last week we had an unusual number of teachers absent due to sickness so each day I received a text asking, “Can you ‘be’ (name of teacher that was absent) today?”

We have exceptional teachers and they each bring their unique talents to the classroom. I gave up a long time ago trying to “be” them.  My boss doesn’t expect that. She just asks me to be me.

But one day it dawned on me, No matter who I’m asked to “be” today, as a Christian, God always asks me to be like Jesus. That means being loving, kind, patient, understanding, tender-hearted, and forgiving. It’s a tall order!  And just like I can’t “be” one of the teachers, I certainly can’t “be” Jesus….without His help.  But with His help, I can be what I need to be for these children.

My name means happy, keenly alive and exuberant. Although I’ve often failed miserably, I have tried to live up to my name. In Bible times, a name often signified a part of the person’s character.  That is one reason God changed people’s names.  He changed Abram’s name to Abraham, meaning the father of many nations.  He changed Sarai (meaning contentious) to Sarah (meaning Princess). He changed Jacob’s name to Israel (meaning wrestler with God).

Although it seemed God had a deaf ear to the Israelites crying out 400 years for God to deliver them from slavery in Egypt, that was far from true. God had seen their oppression and heard their cries for help. (Exodus 3:9) He appeared to Moses and told him He would use him to deliver them.  Then Moses asked an interesting question and the answer was even more bizarre.

And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you: and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them?

And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM; and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.

Did you notice that God repeated Himself?  He obviously wanted to make sure there was no misunderstanding about His name. There is so much in the Bible that I don’t understand and many things are confusing to me, but there are other things, as in this case, where God leaves no doubt whatsoever what He means!

Have you ever wondered about the name/title God gave Himself here?  I sure have! How odd! What kind of name is this? It seems left unfinished.  I am… what? Why didn’t God say, I am Deliverer? I am Salvation. I am Savior. Why just…I AM?

In the Hebrew, I AM implies absolute self-existence and action. This is God’s promise to redeem His people. If God had used a single characteristic of Himself, maybe our little, finite minds couldn’t think outside the box. But God left this wide open as if we can fill in the blank! He is not only an active God that keeps His promises, He is our healer when we are sick.  He is our comforter when we mourn and are sad.  He is our peace when we are anxious.  He is our refuge when we are overwhelmed.  He is our rock when life wipes us off our feet. He is our provider when we’ve lost everything in this world. When we are afraid, He is our tower we run into and hide. He is our friend who will never fail or forsake us.

 

Then several years later, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph and said, She (Mary) shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. (Matthew 1:21)The name explains His purpose in coming.

 

 Later Jesus said,  I am the bread of life (John 6:48).  I am the light of the world (John 8:12). I am the door (John 10:7).  I am the good shepherd (John 10:14). I am the resurrection and the life (John 11:25). I am the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). I am the true vine (John 15:1).

He is every single thing we ever need Him to be! Psalm 9:10 says, And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee. When we know and understand God’s name, we know and understand Him.  To know Him is to love Him. And when we know and understand Him, we will put our trust in Him.  I challenge you to join me in dipping into God’s deep reservoir of riches. Let’s get to know God better!

Keep looking up!

Gaye Hughes

 

 

A Christmas to Remember- 2017

From left to right- Abigail, Nathan, Gaye, Destin, Danilo, Anna (Christmas 2017)

Happy New Year! I hope you enjoyed Christmas with those you love. This was the first Christmas my immediate family was together since the passing of my husband, almost three years ago. Little Destin, my grandson (15 months old), was an entertaining addition! Someone taught him to fist bump. And my favorite present was learning that his little sibling will be arriving in July!

 

Anna woke up a few mornings after Christmas not feeling well. We thought it was due to that little one in her tummy, but as the day went on, we concluded she had a stomach bug. These germs fought with a vengeance! About every other time Anna got sick, she would faint.  So my family sprung into action!

Bethany and Wesley found a good deal on some snowboards! (12-2017)

Wesley, Bethany’s husband, is a health inspector and he suspected the Norovirus had found us.  According to Wesley, this virus can live on fabrics for up to 12 days, on hard surfaces for a week, and is highly contagious.  One is contagious before the  symptoms appear and up to three days after symptoms are gone! Lysol doesn’t kill it. The hot water in the washer and laundry detergent doesn’t kill it.  And the dryer isn’t hot enough to kill it. YUCK! It takes Clorox. So Bethany started wiping down doorknobs, faucets, and other surfaces with Clorox wipes. We washed bedding and rugs in case it was an ordinary virus. And we began using paper towels, plastic cups, and paper plates.

Abigail was in charge of taking care of Destin and cooking food.  Bethany continued to sanitize and wash dishes. I cared for Anna.  Wesley hauled in wood and kept the fire going. After a long day at work, Nathan made a run back into town for Ginger Ale and saltines. Danilo had left to go back to Florida to work so he wasn’t exposed….yet. Anna felt much better the next morning after a predictable schedule of getting sick every hour.

 

The Vara family (Danilo works at Sherwin Williams)

Unfortunately, all our precautions seemed to be in vain.  While Anna was resting the next day, Wesley got a unique version of it. The next day I got it.  Bethany took her turn the next day. Abigail said she would like to go ahead and get it over with.  She got her wish the next day. Danilo had come back for the weekend and he also didn’t feel well when he left.

 

It was a miracle that Little Destin didn’t contract it.  Everyone had taken turns caring for him and he walked around touching everything. This raging virus could have easily sent him to the hospital, but God protected him. Nathan also escaped it.

 

Our dog, Rooster keeping warm!

As bad as this may sound, there were some blessings in the midst of this.  We were unable to attend church on Sunday so we spent several hours discussing the Bible.  It was such a blessing to hear my children and sons-in-law discuss what God was doing in their hearts. It was interesting to hear their thought processes, discernment, and wisdom.

 

It also warmed my heart to see my children loving each other and working together knowing what was at stake. They could have gotten out of Dodge, but they laid their stomachs on the line and sacrificed for the sick ones. I often heard, “I’m so sorry you are sick,” “Can I get anything for you?” and “What can I do to help?”

Please check out Abigail’s blog at Praycookblog.com!

So this Christmas didn’t turn out as we had anticipated, but it was still a very good Christmas. Christmas is celebrating the birth of Jesus. He left His Father’s side to be born as a baby and came to Earth to lay down His perfect life so that we can be with Him in heaven one day.  Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13) This is exactly what Jesus did for us. He embodied love. God is love. God proved His love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)

 

If we will admit our sin, believe in our hearts that Jesus is God’s son and that He died and rose again, and ask Him to be the Lord of our lives, we can have His love in our hearts.  Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. (I John 4:11)

It always amazes me to see God’s deep, sacrificial love coming through one of His children. In a world of selfishness and pride, God’s love stands out in a lovely, unique, refreshing way and it gives hope.  Let’s spread that love around today, friends!

Keep looking up,

Gaye Hughes

(Pictures from the Gaylord  Opryland Resort in Nashville, TN- December 2017)

Fresh Apple Cake

 

As the weather begins to cool, I long to smell the aroma of spices! I burn scented fall candles and begin to bake!

I’d like to share this super easy, delicious, and versatile fresh apple cake recipe.

I have altered this recipe in many ways to be more convenient, nutritious and delicious!

I substitute the all-purpose white flour with whole wheat flour. I like to mill my flour fresh from wheat berries, but whole wheat flour can be purchased almost anywhere.

Also, I substitute  cinnamon applesauce for the oil. This just adds more apple flavor with less fat. If you don’t have the cinnamon applesauce, you can just add one teaspoon of cinnamon to regular applesauce.

Chocolate make EVERYTHING better in my whole so I occasionally sprinkle in some mini semi-sweet chocolate chips too!

I enjoy all varieties of apples so I like to mix my apple choices up also. I use a tart Granny Smith apple and then two sweeter apples like Gala or Fuji.

This cake tastes wonderful with a cup of coffee, hot tea, or a tall glass of milk! Or you may prefer the cake heated and served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

There are many different baking options depending on your preference and time availability.  You can bake as a bunt cake, sheet cake,  in large or small bread pans, or in large or small muffin pans. Of course, the smaller the pan, the quicker the baking time will be. I like baking in small bread pans so I can share them with friends. (It makes a thoughtful, inexpensive gift.)

I will offer one more suggestion. While treating yourself to this delectable delight, open God’s Word and taste and see that He is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him! (Psalm 34:8) Just as we feed our bodies, let’s not forget to feed our spirits!

So are you motivated to try this! I sure hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Fresh Apple Cake

1 cup oil (or applesauce)                                           1 teaspoon baking soda

3 eggs                                                                                   2 teaspoons baking powder

2 cups sugar                                                                      1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups all-purpose or wheat flour               3 cups chopped apples

1 teaspoon salt                                                                1 cup chopped nuts and/or 1/2 cup raisins

Mix sugar and oil/applesauce.  Add eggs and beat 1 minute at medium speed.  Combine flour, salt, soda and baking powder.  Add to egg mixture.  Add apples, vanilla, and nuts.  Mix well for 1 minute.  Pour into well greased….

tube pan at 325 degrees for 1 hour and 10 minutes or

9×13 inch baking pan at 350 degrees for 55 minutes or

medium bread pan at 350 degrees for 45 minutes

12 medium muffin pan at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes or

24 mini muffin pan at 350 degrees for 20-25 minute

Enjoy!

Keep looking up!

Gaye Hughes

 

Why pray?

 

Why pray? God is going to do what He wants to anyway. Have you ever had these thoughts? I’m embarrassed to say, I have. Although that isn’t easy to admit, I think it is a valid question….and one I’m going to attempt to answer, but first I’d like to share some recent answered prayers.

I had some old carpet in my living room.  I give piano lessons in that room and it had become increasingly embarrassing to have my students and their moms see that carpet. Because I had a two week fall break, I decided it was time for that carpet to go.  I didn’t realize my piano weighed a ton until my son, Nathan, was helping me move it.

As we were heaving it into the kitchen, Nathan suddenly shouted, Stop! It’s buckling the vinyl flooring! Upon closer examination, it was not only buckling, I was glaring at a three inch tear. We decided the piano was going to have to stay right where it was.  (Yes, it looked weird sitting near the stove and refrigerator!)

The next morning I went to order the new flooring.  They said they were really busy and it would probably be two to three weeks before the installation was possible.  I said, OK, that’s fine, but my heart sank.  How was I going to give piano lessons with the piano in my kitchen?

Just the day before, Nathan had shared with me how God had answered so many prayers for him in the past few weeks.  So I thought that would be a good place to start. I began praying that God would somehow work it out so the flooring could be laid the next week while I was off work.

Then I decided with the carpet removed it would be a prime time to repaint.  I thought I had several days, but decided I’d jump right in and get the painting done.  So first thing Monday morning I started painting.  I had just finished that evening when the phone rang.  It was a person from 21st Century asking if they could come the next morning to lay the flooring!  I was speechless.  I choked out, SURE! I was overwhelmed with gratitude and amazed at the timing.

Then Nathan came home.  He was beaming and excitedly said,  Mom, I just have to tell you what happened tonight! He explained that a guy (Danny Diaz) had given a speech that morning in class about how to change a tire. Later that day Nathan was to meet a friend.  He needed gas, but decided to wait. As he was leaving, he quickly asked his friend how his walk with God was going.  They ended up talking an hour and a half more.

Finally, Nathan was at the gas station. He noticed a lady at the air pump and then an obvious acquaintance of hers drove up to help.  As he got in his truck to leave, he felt compelled to ask if they needed help.  At first he brushed it off.  They are probably fine and will just tell me they can handle it. He was ready to get home anyway.  But he couldn’t leave.  Something (or Someone) told him he really needed to ask them if they needed his help.  What can it hurt? he thought.

He walked around the car and that’s when he noticed the flat tire. He said hello and asked if he could help.  The man said, These lug nuts are so tight I can’t get them off. Nathan loosened them and the couple was so relieved, grateful, and overjoyed.  It was then that Nathan thought about the speech he had heard that morning, how he had almost stopped earlier to get gas but didn’t, and how he had ended up having that extra hour and a half conversation that put him at the gas station just when this couple needed him. He was overwhelmed at God’s goodness in his life.

Prayer is simply talking with God. Another aspect of prayer that I’ve learned to appreciate is not only talking to God, but listening for His voice. No, I don’t hear an audible voice, but God the Holy Spirit lives inside of me and He is there is teach and guide me.  He doesn’t shout though. We will only hear Him when we are seeking His way and are willing to obey.

 

 

So, why pray?

  • Jesus did.    He is our best example in this life. If He thought it was necessary to commune with God the Father while He was God in flesh living here, how much more important is it for us to pray? And He did lots of it.  After long days of serving others, healing the sick, and going without food and rest, He often spent all night in prayer.  It must be important.
  • God wants us to ask because He wants to give us good things (Matt. 7:11). In Luke 11:5-13 Jesus gave several examples of the benefits of persistent asking.  Verse 9 says Ask, and it shall be given you: seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. And He also deserves our praise and thanksgiving….those are essential parts of prayer.         
  • It increases our faith to see God answer. When we are “wowed” by God, we are encouraged to pray more.  It helps us to trust God more as we see His good heart for us.
  • It builds our relationship with God. Communication is key to any relationship.  There must be both sharing of the heart and intentional  listening.
  • It helps us find our intended purpose in this life.  As we seek God and His direction in our lives, He sometimes leads us places we would never think of on our own. He thinks differently than we do and His ways are much higher.          
  • It encourages others.  I’ve been uplifted during the hard times in my life to know others were praying for my family and me.  I could feel it.  Going through the valley is tough, but knowing good friends and family are praying makes such a difference.  You don’t feel so alone and you can draw strength from them and God when your own is gone.
  • We are blessed and rewarded. God rewards our obedience for living life His way. And we won’t know His way unless we are in His Word and talking to Him regularly.
  • It keeps our life on the straight and narrow. We are spared the negative consequences of going our own way.
  • This is the only way we will have God’s power on and in our lives. Some things can only come by prayer and fasting. Once the disciples came to Jesus asking why they were not able to cast out some demons.  Jesus answered that some things can only be done through prayer and fasting. (Mark 9:29)

Prayer helps us live an exciting, abundant life as we see God working in and through us.  It shows me there is more to this life than just me and my little world.  God has much bigger purposes and plans in this world than just what is going on with me.  But God can and will help us make a positive difference if we are willing and are seeking Him in prayer.

Keep looking up,

Gaye Hughes

August 2016- God has done amazing things at Muse Montessori this past year!

 

 

 

Where Did This Storm Come From?

 Hurricane Harvey just barged through Texas and now Irma is slamming  Florida. Then there are the wild fires out West.  Do you wonder where God is in all this destruction?

Some are of the opinion that one should never question God.  They feel is shows a lack of faith and is a sign of weakness. I don’t believe there is anything wrong with asking, but we should be careful not to blame Him.

When we were in the first stages of  training our little children, we tried to instill in them the importance of obeying without question.  They didn’t have any experience to draw proper conclusions and they needed to trust us as their parents to know what was best for them.

But I was always excited when they really began seriously thinking about things and asking questions about the reasons why we did what we did.  To me it was a sign of intelligence.  Another result was as they began to understand why, they could apply that information to help them in other areas of life.

I know God is a way better “parent” than I’ll ever be, but I think we can sometimes use our relationship with our own children as an analogy of our relationship with Him. Jesus did when He was trying to describe God’s love for us.  He asked in Matthew 7:11, If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

So back to what is going on… Some would say God is judging our nation for the moral decline and general disregard for the principles found in His Word, the Bible. I’m not sure, but there are some things I am very sure about.

  1. Man, not God, is responsible for bad things entering the world.  By one man sin entered into the world and death by sin, so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. (Romans 5:12)

God created a perfect world and it was man who messed it all up by sinning against God.  God has been redeeming our messes ever since.

I was following in my car as my son, Nathan, was riding his motorcycle into town today.  I was enjoying riding down this quiet, country road until I suddenly remembered driving on it yesterday.  There was quite a bit of debris strewn across the road that had fallen from a truck. Immediately I thought of all the dangerous scenarios for Nathan on his bike. Should I blow my horn to warn him? No, that might scare him. Should I call him? No, he couldn’t answer his cell while riding his motorcycle.  Then I realized that the debris had been in an open area and could be easily seen and avoided. I also realized I can’t warn Nathan of every hazard every time he gets behind the wheel/ handlebars.  And this was good practice for the next time something is in the road that shouldn’t be there.

Did God cause that debris to be in the road? No. It was there because of some irresponsible human being.  It wasn’t God’s fault. And whether I am a good person or a bad person, I am affected by it.  That is just life in this world.

2. God loves us and made a way to mend our broken relationship caused by sinBy the righteousness of one (Jesus) shall many be made righteous. (Romans 5:19)

God loved us so much He gave Jesus, His sinless Son, to die and buy back everyone who ever lived and will live.  A God that loves His creation that much would not take pleasure in watching it suffer.


The people of Nineveh were wicked and God could have zapped them, but He lovingly sent Jonah to warn them of judgement because He wanted them to repent of their evil. They did repent and God was pleased that they, along with the animals, were spared. (Jonah 4:11)

However, if Nineveh had not repented, they would have had to suffer the consequences.  And be sure your sin will find you out. (Numbers 32:23)  We can choose our sin, but we can’t choose our consequences.

God doesn’t like seeing us suffer anymore than we like to suffer.  The fact is, all of us, whether righteous or unrighteous, are living in a fallen world.  God makes His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends the rain on the just and on the unjust. (Matt. 5:45)

3.  God can, and often does, bring good from terrible circumstances.

4. We will never go through anything alone. I will never leave thee. (Hebrews 13:5)

5. Hardships give us a heart to help others in trouble and we are more likely to seize those opportunities when we can relate to their suffering.

Instead of just asking, Why? the better question is, God, where are You in all of this? If we ask that question, we are more likely to have a better attitude, learn to be more like Christ and will glorify God in our trials and tribulations. We should think about how Jesus would respond to the pain in this world and try to emulate Him. I think this is how we can overcome evil with good and find God in the midst.

Keep looking up,

Gaye Hughes

My grandson, Destin- June 2017

Do you REALLY want to hear from God?

Recently I was talking with someone who was struggling with their Christian walk with God. I asked her, How is your prayer life? When I have asked God for wisdom and discernment for a situation or for a particular answer, it has strengthened my faith when He responds in a way that I know it could only be from Him.

As I pondered this conversation later, I thought, I’ve been praying about something important for months.  Why hasn’t God answered me?  Immediately, It seemed that God asked, “Do you REALLY want to know what I think?”

The conversation in my head went something like this…

Of course I do!

Then why haven’t you fasted? Every other time in life when you REALLY wanted to hear from God you  fasted and He revealed His will to you. Remember that one life- changing decision you had to make years ago and God said, “No” and even though it made you sad, you knew God was right? You obeyed and now you can see it was the right thing.

Why would I not want to know God’s will in this?

As I searched my heart I realized something.

Well, I really didn’t want God to say no, but honestly, I was scared He would say yes. It had been easier to straddle the fence and just keep praying about it.

That’s when the tears came, uncontrollably, running down my face. I realized I did not completely trust God in this matter.  I had deceived myself into thinking I was submitted to God’s will, but I really wasn’t.

A few days later I heard a sermon about God just wanting our obedience. Most of the people God used to do miraculous things, were not extraordinary people, the pastor said.  They were just ordinary people with faults like the rest of us.  What set them apart was their obedience and submission to God.  They believed God.   They were humble. They knew if anything good happened, it wasn’t going to be because of them or any talent they had.  It would be because of God.

The next day I was determined to pray and fast and get serious about getting some direction from God. Before talking with a godly friend, I  asked God to use her to help me know His will about this matter.  After some conversation, she sweetly smiled at me and said, Gaye, you have asked God for months to direct and guide you. Do you not believe He has?   He has led you.  I can see it. He is guiding you, but you must follow. Just because you don’t understand it, doesn’t mean He isn’t answering.  The faith walk isn’t about understanding it all and plainly seeing way down the road.  It’s about stepping out in faith, believing God, and trusting Him with your future.

I began to realize I had a “trust” problem.  Frankly,  I was surprised. I thought I was ok with God about that and maybe I am in most parts of my life, but I wasn’t trusting God in this area. The struggle was real. It felt very similar to my salvation experience.  I wanted to let go and trust God, but…. It’s hard to give up the temptation to logically try to figure out the details. It’s hard to trust when there are so many obstacles and I can’t see any way it can all work out. But faith isn’t about seeing.  I then said, Ok God, if this is Your will, I will trust You. I felt a rush of relief and joy.  The tears came again. Did I hear God’s voice? No, but I believe He was dealing with me…nudging me to trust Him.

Hebrews 11:6 tells us faith is the basis for walking with God and pleasing Him.

A few hours later I was listening to the radio.  The host for the talk show was a lady who the Lord had been leading her and her husband to adopt a child.  Although, they had never considered being qualified to do such a thing, they finally submitted to God’s direction. The very day they signed the papers to adopt, she discovered she was pregnant.  So she soon had a newborn and a 6 month old and life became very difficult.

She later wrote a book about the things God taught her through her difficult journey.  She had to lay down her standard of perfection and be what God called her to be…a loving mother with a less than perfect life. One comment particularly struck me.

We won’t do anything great while sitting still. Often when God wants us to move, it’s out of our comfort zones. Where there is movement, there is friction.  But it’s in the heat of the fire, where God does His best work.

Isaiah 41:10

If you are wanting to do great things for God, earnestly pray for His direction in your life and be willing to follow  where He leads you.

Faith is not the absence of doubt. Faith is the presence of belief. – Author unknown

Keep looking up,

Gaye Hughes

Gaye Hughes with my grandbaby, Destin Vara. (9 months old). June 2017

Springing Forward Without Regrets

Well, here in Tennessee we set our clocks forward one hour. It’s called, “Springing forward.” It is easy for me to be hopeful this time of year because after the cold, dreary winter months when it appears most of the plants and trees have died, they suddenly  burst forth with new life.  The weather is warming up, the flowers are budding and blooming, and once again, I get to wake up to the birds singing. It’s a time of new beginnings.

I’m reminded of what the Apostle Paul said in Philippians 3:13, 14.

Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark, for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

There is some danger in looking back.  The Apostle Paul had a background of persecuting the early church before he was converted and really came to know the Lord Jesus Christ. I imagine it was quite painful for him to think about the damage and pain he caused, not only to the followers of Jesus, but to the Lord Himself.

I don’t know about you, but I have regrets when I look back over my life.  Can we conscientiously live without having regrets? I really don’t think so. But we must be careful to not camp out there.  We are human so we will mess up.  (“Mess up” sounds so much better than “sin,” don’t you think?) But hopefully, we learn from those mess ups and as a result, become better people having had the experience.

Interestingly enough, today marks the second anniversary of my husband (David Hughes) and best friend’s home going to heaven…..the same day we “spring forward.” Two years ago I thanked the Lord that I didn’t have to go through those first difficult months of grieving during the dead of winter.  I honestly think it would have been more than I could bear.  God has shown me grace and mercy in so many ways.

Last year on this day, my daughter told me our first grandbaby was on the way. That lightened the grief of that first anniversary.

Destin with his Gigi. January 2017

For most of today, God allowed me to see big, beautiful snowflakes float from the sky.  Watching the snow fall is one of my favorite things to do.  (We don’t get to see that often in Tennessee, especially in March!) It may be prideful, but I felt like the snow today was a special gift to me from God. I believe my God is that personal and cares that much for me. He showered His mercy on me in helping me to not just “get through” what could have been a very sad day, but be joyful and thankful in it.  That is God’s amazing grace.

David and Gaye- January 2014

I wonder if we can fully appreciate our loved ones while we still have them with us. It is so easy to take  them for granted. I wish I could have 15 minutes to once again tell David how much I appreciate and love him. I tried to do that often while he was with me, but I long to express it even more now.  But I think he somehow knows that. And I believe he would feel the same way if our situation was reversed.  David gave me such a gift when he told me a few weeks before he died, “Gaye, when my time comes, let me go and don’t look back. You’ve been a better wife to me than I could have ever asked for.”

So there is a fine line in reflecting on our past.  If we can look back and are motivated to not make those same “mistakes” again, but rather, live more wisely, then that is good.  But we if look back too long and become depressed about things we can’t change, it is nonproductive and steals our joy and effectiveness of today.

I have not “arrived.”  I am not what I want to be, but I’m not what I used to be.  We can joyously spring forward because, although we will mess up again, we have a loving Savior walking with us, teaching us, and guiding us, and forgiving us if we ask Him. First John 1:9 is one of my favorite promises in God’s Word.

Recently, a preacher admonished the congregation with, “Live in such a way that you won’t dread looking back.”  That’s a good goal.

Keep looking up,

Gaye Hughes