Things to be thankful for during Covid-19

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“Gratitude never comes from avoiding difficulty but from finding yourself sustained through it.” -Randy Alcorn from his book, 90 Days of God’s Goodness.

We’re probably all learning some important life lessons through being isolated in our homes with our families.  These are a few things I’ve taken for granted and have become especially thankful for the past few weeks.

  • Good health

What a blessing it is to be able to walk around outside and feel the breeze and sunshine! I’m thankful that this virus has happened in the springtime with warmer weather and more sunshine. (Also, our electricity and gas bills will be cheaper during this time with so many unemployed.)

  • Freedom

The privilege to be able to freely come and go is something I’ve taken for granted. Until recently I’ve never thought about what a blessing it is to be able to go to a store and just pick up some necessary items or browse around.

  • Fresh air

I’m thankful I can walk outside and not have to worry about the air I breathe.  I’ve enjoyed living in the country my whole life, but I’ve definitely taken fresh air for granted.

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  • A slower pace

I’m a list maker. I like staying busy and getting things done.  That can be a good thing, but it has its negatives too. My dad used to often say, “Gaye, will you please just sit down? You’re making me nervous the way you’re always zipping around.” Slowing down can be uncomfortable for me.  If I have too much time to think, I tend to become sad.  It’s easier to stay busy than to think about some past sins and mistakes, strained relationships, emotional pain, etc. But it’s been healthy for me to have extra down time to process and deal with my bad attitude, what angers me and why, and things I could or should have done better. Now, I can take steps to not repeat those things I regret.

  • Time for completing projects

Do you have projects you tend to keep pushing back because you aren’t motivated to do them?  I have! Well, I can’t use the excuse that I don’t have time now.  So I’ve cleaned out some closets and drawers, organized some messy places, painted, done some much needed yard work, and have sent more cards to people.

  • Friends

I’ve been particularly blessed to have reconnected with old friends during this time.  Some I haven’t heard from in quiet awhile have contacted me and I’ve tried to do the same. I’ve realized how much I’ve missed these people.  I believe God puts every person in our lives for a reason. He has used my friends to encourage me, to laugh and cry with me, to instruct and teach me, and to rebuke me over the years.  They make my life rich and are a gift from God.  God uses our relationships with others to mold us into the people He wants us to be.

  • Family

I didn’t think I could love my family any deeper.  I have found I can. I appreciate them more now than I ever have. I’m so thankful for the technology we have today to be able to communicate with our loved ones. We have cell phones, texting, zoom, Marco Polo, and facebook to just name a few.  What a blessing it is to be able to keep in touch! I think about how life was just 30 years ago.  Families didn’t have any of these ways of communicating.

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My and Scott’s wedding day when the Hammersley and Hughes families joined forces. 🙂 9-1-18

For most people it’s easy to put on your happy face, and be kind and friendly to those we see outside our homes. But we can’t hide who we are from those living with us.  They know all the good, the bad, and the ugly. With this shelter-in-place we’re stuck with each other all day, every day whether we like it or not.  Fortunately, I’m married to the best man on the planet so I’m enjoying having him around, but I realize that isn’t the case with everyone.  Family relationships can get strained quickly when life is stressful, we’re dealing with disappointment, and worse yet, the whole world seems chaotic and suffering abounds. All while the very things that often encourage us: family, friends, worshiping together in church, vacations, going out to eat, etc. have been stripped away.  It’s in these moments we realize how much we need the support of our family. We’ve been given a wonderful opportunity, free of distractions, to learn to love our family well. Let’s be committed. Let’s be there for each other, if in prayer only, when no one else can be. I’m thankful for family.

  • God

I’m thankful for extra time to spend reading God’s words, the Bible. I’ve certainly prayed more. The many encouraging sermons I’ve heard via you-tube have taught me more about God. (One of my favorite preacher is Adrian Rogers.)  This is a good time for us to draw closer to the God we love but are prone to wander away from.

When we emerge from this unprecedented time like a butterfly out of its cocoon, may we be more patient, more kind, more thoughtful, more humble, more intentional in our living and giving. I want to look and act more like Jesus.

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May we not let this time of testing be wasted. We can look at this time of isolation and widespread sickness as training ground to become more of a soldier of Jesus Christ. It’s a time to dig deep, search our hearts, discern what is holding us back from giving God and others our all. May we learn to prefer others above ourselves and become a humble servant. And what better place to learn this than at home with our families? Jesus humbled Himself and became a servant and He calls us to do the same. This is where we will find true joy and peace. And let’s not forget to look for the positive things and thank God for them.

 

Again, I quote Randy Alcorn, “The degree of joy rises to the degree of gratitude, and the level of gratitude corresponds to the level of God’s grace experienced in our suffering.” 

Keep looking up,

Gaye Hughes Hammersley

 

 

Do Not Fear….even the Coronavirus?

 

Being in the dark is a common fear of little ones. When our children were small we had a glow in the dark plaque that read, “What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee (God) from Psalm 56:3.  Claiming God’s promises from the Bible is one of the best ways I’ve found to combat fear.

What causes YOUR heart to tremble?  The coronavirus has the potential to cause even the bravest of men to be afraid.  This very well may be the scariest time many people today have ever faced. So what does God say about fear?

God tells us to not be afraid.

I haven’t counted for myself, but I’ve heard that some variation of, “Do not fear” appears 365 times in the Bible…once for every day of the year.

In Matthew 10:29-31 Jesus was talking to his disciples and He said,

Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.  But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.

God knows all about us and cares about how we are feeling. He tells us to not be afraid.

Isaiah 41:10 has become one of my favorite verses.

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Joshua 1:9 reads,

Have not I (the Lord) commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.

God commands us to not worry.

Philippians 4:6 says, Be anxious for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

This is not a suggestion or recommendation and no exceptions are listed…. not even  for the coronavirus.  Notice what Paul is telling the Philippians to do.

  1. Pray about every thing
  2. Supplicate- ask or beg for something earnestly or humbly
  3. Be thankful to God for something
  4. Politely ask God

I’ve heard worrying is like rocking in a chair… it expends a lot of energy but gets you nowhere.

Jesus invites us to let Him carry our burdens.

In Matthew 11:28-30

Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am meek (gentle) and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

The apostle Peter encourages us to turn to God in time of need  with the proper attitude.  I Peter 5-7 says…

..be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

It’s a battle to focus and keep our eyes on God whom we cannot see more than on the problems which swirl around us. I guess that’s why God has to remind us so often to not fear. But once again He promises in Isaiah 26:3, 4 to give us peace if we will trust Him.

Thou (God) will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed (sustained by) thee (God): because he trusteth in thee (God). Trust in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everylasting strength.

When we fear and worry, we aren’t trusting God.  Many times we would rather have our own way than God’s because we want to call the shots.  We want an easy, fun, comfortable life.  God is more interested in us becoming more like Jesus and preparing for eternity with Him.  Unfortunately, we learn best during hardships. That’s when we tend to seek God the most.

Times like these often reveal our level of faith or lack thereof. Are we cooperating with God or kicking, screaming, and bucking against His plan for us? Are we accepting and embracing the hardship or becoming angry and bitter?

I’ve heard faith is like film. It’s developed in the dark. Are we willing to trust God and walk through the dark so He can develop and mature us spiritually? Or are we wanting to be God and do things our way? This is a sobering time to examine our hearts, our faith, our priorities. Are we living out what we’ve been saying we believe?

Do not fear. If you are putting your faith in Jesus Christ alone for your salvation, and not in anything you have done, you can be assured God is working all things out for your good and His glory. (Romans 8:28) You can rest as you trust Him. Do not fear.

Keep looking up,

Gaye Hughes Hammersley

September 1, 2018

September 1, 2018

 

 

 

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

 

 

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!

 

 

 

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

Living on…”the rest”

maxresdefault-you-have-enoughThis morning my pastor talked about the poor widow in 2 Kings 4:1-7.  After her husband died, the creditors were coming to take her two sons as slaves because she couldn’t pay her debt. Because this woman feared the Lord, she called on His prophet, Elisha for help.

Elisha asked this widow what she had.  She only had a pot of oil.

containers-vessels

Elisha instructed her to borrow all the empty vessels she could from her neighbors, gather her sons and shut the door, and pour the oil into the vessels.  She kept pouring until all the vessels were full, then the oil stopped. This widow went outside and reported to Elisha she had done as he said.

He then told her to go sell the oil, pay her debt, and, “…live thou and thy children of the rest.” Our pastor pointed out that when we believe on Jesus, the biggest problem we will ever have is solved. Our salvation is sealed and we are given eternal life.

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However, as believers, we will have tribulation and adversity just like anybody else.  Sometimes we will have more because the devil fights us to destroy our testimonies, our influence for good in the lives of others, and the spread of the gospel.

But one of the best promises the Lord has given us is that He will never leave us and that He will supply our every need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. (Hebrews 13:5, Philippians 4:19)

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God doesn’t just save our souls and then leave us to figure the rest of life out on our own.  He continues to supply our every need as we seek, ask, trust, and depend on Him. His coffers are full and He faithfully supplies “the rest” until our days here are no more.

My husband went to heaven 21 months ago today.  Although I have so much more than the poor widow in 2 Kings,  a lot of my security left with my husband.  But I can testify that God has been so very faithful to supply my every  need.

He has sent many “Elisha’s” and neighbors my way when I’ve had trouble and needed help. I have gotten money in the mail anonymously, help with house and car repairs, wood cut and stacked for the winter and countless other random acts of kindness that lifted me up when I was in need or discouraged.  I am living on “the rest” and believe me, there is plenty there!

My prayer is that I long for His presence in my life more than anything or anyone else and that I will trust Him for the unknown future. I want a deeper understanding of who He is and the depth of His love. I hope this is your prayer too. Have a blessed day!

Keep looking up,

Gaye Hughes

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Gigi and the “Little Chipmunk” 09-2016

When God is Silent

psalm62v7I was talking  to a very polite lady from my insurance company yesterday. We both knew it was going to take quite awhile to answer all my questions. She was having to do a lot of typing and searching for information.  It was then I heard this sweet comment, “There may be times of silence, but I am here.” It may as well been God himself speaking. My heart had been anxious, but suddenly comfort flooded my soul!

The thoughtfulness of this stranger touched me deeply.  She knew absolutely nothing about me, had never seen me, yet she cared enough to reassure me she was there to help me in spite of the many miles separating us.

Isn’t God’s unconditional love just like that? Yet, He does know me…all my yucky and chose to send His son, Jesus to die in my place even while I was yet a rebellious, unrepentant sinner!

Have there been times in your life when you wondered where God was? Did you doubt He was even aware of your situation? Have you cried out for answers and it seemed your prayers were bouncing off the clouds? Have you wondered just how many prayers it was going to take to get a response from God?  Have you been so desperate that you would gladly accept a, “No” rather  than not hear from Him at all? I have.

I think of poor Joseph that was betrayed by his brothers and sold into slavery only to then be lied about by Potiphar’s wife. Then he endured the long, lonely nights in the prison when he had been wrongly accused.  (Genesis 37-39) Surely he often wondered, What in the world are you doing, God?  Where are You? But one day EVERYTHING changed and Joseph went from being a prisoner to second in command of Egypt!

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Oh, and think of the thousands of Israelites who lived their whole lives crying out to God for deliverance from the hard bondage in Egypt! Can you image  trying to explain to your children the importance of continuing to pray for God to do a mighty work when they knew their parents,grandparents, great-grandparents, etc. had prayed for generations for exactly the same thing only to have their situation worsen? That took faith! BUT, there came a day God broke the silence and parted the Red Sea, killed their enemies, gave them water from a rock, and bread and meat from the sky.

And then there are the situations we don’t have the luxury of time to wait and pray. Have you been in that situation?   A decision has to be made quickly, as in Queen Esther’s case.  She and her people were about to be annihilated.   When the easiest thing to do would have been to panic , she asked everyone she knew to fast and pray with her for three days and nights. God came through and turned things around for her in a most amazing way!

Although David was a man after God’s own heart, he evidently experienced God’s silence.  Psalm 28:1 begins, Unto thee will I cry, O LORD my rock; be not silent to me: lest, if thou be silent to me, I become like them that go down into the pit.  But something soon happened because of what he says in verses 6 and 7,

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Blessed by the LORD, because he hath heard the voice of my supplications. The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.

I think this verse contains  the key to turning our weakness into strength, our helplessness into hopefulness, our sadness into joy, and our torment into praise.

MY HEART TRUSTED IN HIM…. When we turn our focus off of our problems and onto the only One who can solve them, we are helped. Sounds easy enough, right?  The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. (Matthew 26:41)

One thing is for sure, although God’s silence can feel like an ominous cloud and be misunderstood, we can be sure  He is there, quietly working.  This quote is in my house,

I believe….

  • in the Sun even when it is not shining
  • in Love even when I cannot feel it
  • in God even when He is silent

He will NEVER, EVER, leave us alone. When everything in you is screaming differently, you can bank on God’s promises. He is there even when we don’t understand and can’t feel Him. He has promised to never leave or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).  As that lady reminded me yesterday, There may be times of silence, but I am here!

Keep looking up,

Gaye Hughes

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It’s never too early to teach your grandbaby!

Calm in the Storm

a-faith-that-hasnt-been-testedI would like to share the lyrics of a song that has comforted me so much over the past few years as I walked the cancer journey with my husband, was then diagnosed myself, and have felt the vacuum of his absence since he went to heaven.

There have been many times that I’ve felt God’s peace that passed all understanding….times when I should have been falling apart, but felt God holding me up.  That is due, in part, to your many prayers. But I am convinced, if I had not a friend in the world, God would not have left me.  He would have faithfully been with me because He never forsakes His own. He won’t leave you either.  He hears every prayer and has our tears in a bottle.

“Thou tellest my wanderings:  put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book? When I cry unto thee, then shall mine enemies turn back: this I know; for God is for me.” (Psalm 56:8,9)

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“Calm in the Storm,” by Mac Lynch

When your life seems like a tempest, when the waves beat on your breast,
When the wind is hurling ‘round you and there is no place to rest,
Then you look out thro’ the shadows and you see Him looking too,
Saying, “Hush,” not to the storm, but saying, “Hush” now to you.

Chorus:
Trust the One who’s walking on the water. Trust the One who’s leading thro’ the storm.
When you cannot see the shore-line, When there is no goal in sight,
Would you focus on the certainty that all will be alright?

Trust in Him who made the tempest. Trust in Him tho’ tossed and torn.
Trust the One who walks on water in your storm.

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When your life seems overwhelming, when your nights seem hard and long,
When the burdens seem unending and the enemy a throng,
Thro’ the Word the Savior’s saying firmly, calling tenderly, “Peace be still,”
not to the storm, but “Peace be still” now to you,

Hasten now, O weary pilgrim, don’t you fear, and don’t you doubt.
Would you trust your gracious Savior tho’ your life seems tossed about?
Oh, remain within the tempest, seeing Jesus in the way.
May the trial to you be precious as you trust and obey.

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Chorus:
Trust the One who’s walking on the water. Trust the One who’s leading thro’ the storm.
When you cannot see the shore-line, When there is no goal in sight,
Would you focus on the certainty that all will be alright?

Trust in Him who made the tempest. Trust in Him tho’ tossed and torn.
Trust the One who walks on water in your storm.

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“He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still.” Psalm 107:29

 

 

 

Twisted Knee, Twisted Plans

33959e628ecfd5472ed22c7e5777d230Nathan (my 17 year old son) walked in the door last week after riding dirt bikes with his friend.  They got some water, chatted briefly and left. But when he entered the house a few hours later, he was noticeably limping, had this “look” on his face, and said, Mommy, I have to tell you something.  My heart sank and I immediately wondered how earth shattering this information was going to be.

I had a wreck on my dirt bike and I’ve hurt my knee. (He had a helmet on, thank goodness.) He was riding down the steep hill behind our house in fifth gear (going about 45 mph) and let the clutch out not realizing the engine had died. The back wheel immediately locked up sending the motorcycle sliding down the hill in front of him. When his leg hit the ground he heard and felt his knee pop as his lower leg twisted backwards. This was Friday evening and in our house, unless you’re bleeding to death, you don’t visit the emergency room on the weekend. So we went to an orthopedic surgeon the following Monday.

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Nathan giving his sister, Anna, a ride in March 2016

An x-ray showed no broken bones, but after an examination the doctor said, Well, he ouches at all the right times for a torn meniscus. He needs an MRI and will probably have to have surgery. The doctor went on to explain that the insurance companies are getting more and more difficult to work with concerning testing, but they would give it their best shot.

Thankfully, I received a call first thing the next morning that the insurance had approved the MRI and the doctor had scheduled one. I then talked to my friend whose husband is a physical therapist. He informed me that he thought it would be in Nathan’s best interest to get a doctor who specialized in working with youth.  I told him I appreciated his advice, but I didn’t know any other orthopedic surgeons.  He said he would try to locate one for me.

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Then I realized I had accepted an appointment to review the MRI results on a day I was going to be out of town so I carefully dialed the doctor’s number to reschedule. I heard this familiar voice and asked, Is this the doctor’s office? It was a friend from my church! I was confused because I don’t have any services on my home phone that would have dialed that number and his number wasn’t even remotely close to the doctor’s office number. Anyway, he asked me how Nathan was doing and I told him Nathan would probably have to have surgery.

He said, I have had all kinds of knee and foot surgeries.  There is a really good doctor who specializes in working with youth that I highly recommend. I thanked him and felt like God had dialed his number for me.

I then got a call from my physical therapist friend who said, Hey, I’ve been doing some checking around and I got a name of a good doctor; his name is__________. I recognized it as the same name my other friend had just suggested! This doctor is located in a big city so I took this as God confirming that we needed this doctor. I called right away and they said they would see Nathan.

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At the same time this was going on, I found out I had to be at an appointment out of state (that I could not reschedule) on the same day I was to begin my first day at my new job. (I have been a homeschooling homemaker for twenty-six years and have not worked outside the home with the exception of teaching piano lessons. Now, I’m excited to be a  preschool teacher at Muse Montessori.)

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Andrea Muse, Ashlee Bitton and I praying for all involved with Muse Montessori.

I had a knot in my stomach just thinking about having to tell my boss that it was impossible for me to be at work on my first day. This beginning date was set two months ago! I took a deep breath as I picked up the phone to explain my dilemma. When I told my boss I wouldn’t be able to make it Monday, she laughed out loud. I was bewildered.  Gaye, none of your students are going to be able to come Monday! I was getting ready to call you. The mothers want them to begin Tuesday.  You are fine. Don’t worry about it.

This brought tears to my eyes and I was so humbled to see how God was going before me and working out all the details of my problems. Walking with God doesn’t mean we won’t ever have difficulties.  Quite the contrary, Jesus told us to count the cost as we consider taking up His cross and following Him. BUT, the most cool thing is, that no matter what we have to deal with in this life, He is always right there with us…walking through our storms with us…carrying us much of the time…AND loving us all the way!

9e9d4b67fe3ecf46972e94a2eec251ecWhy am I amazed when God does what only He can do?  When I see Him work for the umpteenth time in my life?  When He delights in doing things like this for me?  When He holds this whole world in His very capable hands?  When He tells the sun and moon when to shine?  When the king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water; he turneth it whitersoever he will. (Prov. 21:1) Why? Because I’m human, forgetful, and lack the necessary faith and trust in my awesome God. He is so deserving of our praise.

Hoping you are having a praise-filled day!

Gaye Hughes

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Nathan, my hero!

 

 

The Ark Encounter

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There have been thousands of people tour the ark, but it wasn’t crowded at the time we were there.

Recently, my cousin and I drove to Kentucky to see the replica of Noah’s Ark. Dr. Ken Ham used the dimensions found in the Genesis 6 in the Bible. The Ark is 510 feet long, 85 feet wide, and 51 feet high. It has 3.1 million board feet of timber. This is the biggest timber-framed structure in the world.

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Notice how small the people are standing near the concrete pillars!

We was SO blessed to be at The Ark Encounter on opening day, July 7, 2016!  When I first saw the ark, I thought, “Wow! It’s massive! How ridiculous Noah must have looked in his day to build such a huge ship when it had not even rained before!”

At the entrance there was a video they had made of a reporter interviewing Noah as it may have taken place in his day.  This lady reporter was evil looking with her painted face and sarcastic attitude.  She mocked Noah for building such a huge boat without any way of steering it. You saw the patience in Noah as he pleaded with her to make preparations because God was about to flood the earth and He was providing a way to save all who would believe.  The reporter scorned him and walked away declaring to her friends how crazy this man was.

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As we entered the Ark, we heard the sounds of birds, oxen lowing, and many other animal sounds. And can you imagine the smell of all that fresh wood as we saw the massive timbers, the wooden floors and walls? All the storage areas for food and water and all the cages for the animals were made of wood.  All the water pitchers and bags of grain was organized neatly and secured on wooden shelves.

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The taxidermy was incredible. The animals in the cages looked so real. Right away I noticed the animals were young and small.  This would make sense that when God  sent the pairs of animals to the ark that He would do this.

 

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They would have taken up less space, eaten and drank less, been more resilient, and would have better able to reproduce after being on the ark for a year waiting out the flood. Also, there was plenty of room on the ark for Noah and the animals because God only sent a male and female of each kind of animal. For example, there was only one pair of dogs.  There didn’t need to be a pair of every different kind of dog because the basic genes were in that one pair to procreate the other types of dogs.

It was interesting to see what Noah and his family’s living quarters may have looked like.

IMG_20160707_170040710There were several exhibits in the ark to explain how Noah, his wife, three sons, and their wives probably cared for the animals and lived on the ark. Where the Bible is specific, they had the Bible verses. There was an explanation for how they probably had a way to store the rain water to water the animals for the year. I think it is a common assumption that we are a lot smarter today than Noah and his family were. Ken Ham believes God gave Noah and his family incredible abilities to run a “tight ship.” And why wouldn’t he? It only makes sense.

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I was struck by the awesome responsibility God entrusted Noah with to build this massive structure and care for all these animals! Noah was created to preach about God’s love for a sinful generation of people. They did evil continually and it grieved God that they wouldn’t choose to do right. But Noah was a just man and walked with God and he found grace in the eyes of the Lord. (Genesis 6:8, 9)

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Noah releasing the raven to see if the waters had receded.

As Noah was busy building this huge structure, he was preaching all the while trying to convince others to join him and be saved from the flood.   The Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man...(Gen. 6:3) God had had enough.

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The only door on the ark. And the Bible says God shut the door after all the animals and Noah entered the ark. (Genesis 7:16)

There is only one door on the ark.  All who were saved from the flood waters, had to enter through that door. This was a picture of Jesus, who later, would come to earth and say, I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved and shall go in and out, and find pasture. (John 10:9)

 

 

 

Although Noah faithfully warned the wicked people of the coming judgement, they would not believe him. How sad it must have been for Noah to be so committed to following God’s plan and believing every word God said, but had no neighbors or extended family to join him.

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Wow! If only this could be said of me!

 

Noah’s persistence to obey God for years without seeing any immediate results, is amazing to me. His obedience paid off though.  He and his family was saved from the world wide flood.

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One of the most sobering exhibits.

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The same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. (Genesis 7:11)

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Noah and his family worshipped God.

One exhibit was particularly interesting to me because my new little grandson will soon be born. There was a display of many children’s books that have illustrations where the animals are hanging off a tiny boat. These are commonly found in church nurseries and Christian homes. They made the point that it’s no wonder people think the ark wasn’t big enough to hold all the animals after being  indoctrinated with these illustrations. These images trivialize man’s sin and the Lord’s righteous and holy character. I had never thought of that before. This makes it appear that God did not provide adequately for those who would believe, repent, and be saved from the flood.

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There was a sign that also got my attention.  It was the devil speaking.

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They also have one of the largest restaurants in the world that is dwarfed by the ark. It  seats 1,500 people, has lots of taxidermy inside and is also made of wood. It is beautiful as it is surrounded by porches with a breath taking view of the nearby mountains.

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Emzara’s Restaurant (Named after Noah’s wife- information obtained from ancient writings.)

They also have a petting zoo.  If you have a chance to go visit The Ark Encounter, I certainly recommend it.  The Creation Museum is about 45 minutes away and it is really interesting to visit there also. I hope you’ve enjoyed the tour!  Have a blessed day!

Gaye Hughes

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The sheep were my favorite animals at the petting zoo!