Perfect Peace

l-97608As my eyes opened yesterday morning before the alarm sounded, thoughts immediately rushed into my head. I thought of my friend having serious back surgery this day. I was to be at a new job in a few hours…the first time working outside my home in twenty-seven years. I had just gotten news that my grandbaby needed to do an acrobatic flip inside the womb of my daughter pretty quickly as his quarters were getting more cramped by the day. This day I was to hear the extent of my son’s knee injury.

I was anxious.  I began talking to my Father (God) about these things.  As I asked God to please guide the doctor’s hands during the surgery of my friend and give her and her family peace, I remembered all the many miracles Jesus performed while on this earth and how He continues to heal the sick. He is the Great Physician.

As I prayed about the new job, I thought about how God had prepared me in several ways throughout my life for this preschool teaching job. I began teaching Sunday School to children only a few years younger than myself at age 13. I homeschooled my four children (and still are) for the past twenty-four years. I’ve taught Junior church and Sunday School for years. I gained some confidence as I thought about how God has faithfully directed my steps over the years.

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Concerning my grandbaby, God has been busy forming him in the womb for several months now. He knows all about his character, personality, physical traits, and has grand plans for his life. God loves him much more than even his parents and I do. He is holding this little one in His very capable hands even as I write this.

Nathan has been uncomfortable for close to two weeks with his bum knee. He has learned to better sympathize with those you can’t get around easily.  He longs to run again. He has a greater appreciation for good health.  We’ve had to wait for test results and possible surgery for several days. I asked God to work out the details about getting him on the road to healing quickly. As I talked to God about this situation, my worries began to fade as I thought about all the other times He had come through for me at the last minute.

When I called to get an appointment yesterday (Tuesday), the nurse said she could see us next Monday. I began to plead, My son has been on crutches for twelve days and is uncomfortable.  We really need to get something done. Is there any way you can see him before then?  She told me the doctor was booked, but she would see what she could do and for me to hold.  I began to earnestly ask God to intervene and get me an appointment in the afternoon so I wouldn’t have to ask off work.

She came back on the line and said, Can you be here tomorrow at two?

YES!!! Praise the Lord! Thank you SO much! was my response.

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It is easy for me to take my burdens to my God whom I know longs to hear from me.  As I begin to pray, I envision myself bowing before Jesus’ feet. I see the love in His eyes. I’m empowered as I think about HIS power to change anything and everything. I believe He is for me and has good plans for me. The challenge is to leave my cares with Him and not pick them back up when I walk away.

Sadly, it’s only been in the last months that I think I’m learning what it means to truly rest and hide in Jesus.  I know He doesn’t want me upset and worried.  I Peter 5:7 says, Casting all your care upon Him; for He cares for you. I have been asking Him to control my emotions and help me have the mind of Christ. I want to think as He thinks. I want to feel as He feels about things.

Because I can’t right all the wrongs in the world, I’ve asked God to give me compassion for the people and ministries He wants me to be involved in and to be somewhat indifferent to the ones I don’t have the resources for. Also, I know I can’t have an intimate relationship with every person I’ve ever known so I’ve asked God to burden my heart for the ones who need me most that day. I want to be where He wants me and use my time in a way that pleases Him.

This is what hiding and resting in Jesus has come to mean to me.  I would love to hear your thoughts on what it means to you. I know I have a long way to go, but my life has become so much more peaceful lately as I’m learning to lean on Him.

I would like to leave you with the lyrics of Perfect Peace by Joe Zichterman.

When life’s burdens get so heavy and it seems I’m all alone,

I cast my care on Jesus and come boldly to his throne.

I find His grace sufficient when His promises I heed.

For His very life He sacrificed, and He lives to intercede.

Chorus:

He is the Lord of lords, and when He speaks, winds and waves obey.

When Jesus whispers, “Peace, be still,” then darkness turns to day.

And as I’m trusting in my Savior’s Word doubts and fears all cease.

And beneath the shelter of His wings I’m at rest in perfect peace.

Verse 2

I will seek for souls in darkness, Calv’ry’s love with them to share,

Empowered by His Spirit I will follow anywhere.

For I know whate’er befall me my Lord is in control.

And as my mind is stayed on Him, perfect peace He gives me soul.

My you have perfect peace today,

Gaye Hughes

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Keeping Our Eyes on Jesus

 

I don’t like storms. The thunder and lightening isn’t so bad, but when the wind begins to bend the trees, I start getting uncomfortable.

Yesterday while I was outside, all of the sudden, the sky darkened and the trees started bowing in the wind. I knew a storm was on the way and my heart beat faster.  It reminded me of a day about fifteen years ago.

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We had just moved to our house in the hollow.  There was a dry creek in the back of our house that only had water in it when it rained.  Then it would fill as the water drained from the surrounding hills to join with a creek in the front of our house.

Tornado warnings and several inches of rain was in the weather forecast that day. In the afternoon, the skies became angry looking as the wind whipped through the valley.  Soon the hard rains came.  In a matter of minutes that babbling brook transformed into a raging river and I panicked.

This was the first time I had seen water rise so quickly. There is a bridge that separates our house from the road.  I knew if the flood waters left its banks, we were trapped.   I tried to call my husband at work, but he had already been instructed to leave his desk  for safety and this was before we had cell phones.

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Nathan touching a critter in the creek that looked like a rock.

My children were ages 2, 6, 8, and 10 and I began to envision us floating away in our house! So I did probably the stupidest thing ever. I got the children in coats, grabbed some crackers and peanut butter, and we dashed out into the rain, thunder, and lightening to aclimb the steep hill behind our house and huddled under a large tree!

Yes, it was a dumb idea, but I don’t think clearly when I’m panicking. I was prepared for us to be there for hours. I have to say, we had a good view of the water activity below. The storm left about as quickly as it had arrived. We had more than three inches of rain in less than fifteen minutes.  The waters crested, left its banks, then receded.

I can laugh about it now, but it sure wasn’t funny at the time.  It was one of the scariest times in my life!  Sometimes anxiety can rise in my heart just as quickly as the creek waters rose that day when I begin to focus on my problems and take my eyes off Jesus.

When I think about the sad affairs of our deteriorating society and country and what my children and grandchildren might face, I become anxious.  Just as I didn’t know then how high the waters would rise  before the clouds dropped the last rain, sometimes  I wonder how bad my problems will get before they get better. Then I begin to worry because I’m focusing on the cares of this life more than I am the Author of it.

Sometimes instead of God removing the storm around us, He chooses to calm the storm within us.

If I spend too much time thinking about my problems, I just get worked up. Worrying is like rocking in a chair. It takes a lot of energy, but gets you nowhere. But if I will lean into Jesus and draw closer to Him during these times, my faith is strengthened as I trust Him and watch Him provide.

I’d like to share some verses from God’s Word, the Bible, that help calm my troubled heart….

  • Thou (God) wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee (God): because he trusteth in thee.  Isaiah 26:3
  • Through God we shall do valiantly. Psalm 60:12
  • But my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Philippians 2:19
  • It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect. He maketh my feet like hinds’ feet, and setteth me upon my high places.  Psalm 18: 32, 33
  • Call upon me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not. Jeremiah 33:3
  • I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth. Psalm 121: 1, 2
  • Be anxious for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6,7
  • What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee. Psalm 56:3
  • Casting all your care upon Him, for He careth for you. I Peter 5:7

If the storm is raging around you right now, I hope you aren’t trying to weather it alone. God loves you and His grace is sufficient to get you through it. Run to Him. He is truly the safest place in this world.

May we keep our eyes on Jesus today,

Gaye Hughes

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Are You on The Rock or the Roller Coaster?

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“For who is God, save the LORD? and who is a rock, save our God?

 

 

 

 

Last month I began getting pretty upset because two of my girls hadn’t been communicating with me very well.  I felt neglected and it bothered me.

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Danilo and Anna 9-27-14

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Wesley and Bethany 8-3-14

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Danilo and Anna Vara 8-2015

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Wesley and Bethany Crews 8-2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I know these newlyweds are busy, but when too much time goes by between calls and texts, it gets rough. I long to be involved in their lives even if it is from afar.  Recently,  I started complaining to my friends,  Is a 10 minute, uninterrupted, weekly phone call too much to ask?!!!

BibleThen I wondered how many times I make God feel that way.  Ouch! He knows what I’m doing, but He wants to hear from me.

My mind wanders too much while I’m reading my Bible.  I often get distracted while praying.   And though I talk to Him often throughout the day, I often don’t linger long enough to hear what He might want to say to me.

I had decided my girls had pretty much forgotten about me and I was going to have to be content knowing they were independent and happy.  Bethany and Wesley had let me know they were coming for a visit so I was looking forward to that.  I knew I would at least be able to talk to them that weekend!

They arrived on a Friday afternoon and it was really good to see them. After we greeted each other, Anna suddenly appeared!  Bethany and Wesley had arranged to swing by the airport and pick up Anna as they were driving in.  I got an even bigger surprise that evening after dinner when Anna handed me a gift. Inside was a little onesie and an ultrasound picture of her tiny baby!

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Anna, Baby Vara, and Grandmommy 3-11-16

 

My girls had intentionally avoided talking to me because they were afraid they would let it slip about the baby or the surprise visit!  I had totally misread the circumstances! Again, I was reminded of how dangerous it is to trust my feelings instead of the facts.  Deep down I knew my girls cared about me, but when the evidence didn’t appear to support that, I denied what I knew to be true and began focusing on my ever-changing feelings….which is NEVER a good idea!

 

 

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This is a battle we all face every day.  Life happens and we can get discouraged.  Sometimes things seem hopeless, but God is often working behind the scenes. This is where our faith needs to kick in.  Like Peter, when we start focusing on our storm (problems) and taking our eyes off of Jesus by not reminding ourselves of His promises,  we begin to sink emotionally! (Matthew 14:27-33)

jesus-rescuing-peter-from-drowningWe must not trust our feelings, but the facts of who God is and what He has promised to do for those who believe in Him.  When we can’t see Him or feel Him, we must remember what He has promised.  He is still with us. When our emotions begin to get the best of us, we must anchor our minds in God’s Word, the Bible….the truth.

In John 14:27 Jesus said, Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth,  give I unto you.  LET NOT your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

The LET NOT tells me that we have to work at allowing God’s peace in our lives. I think Jesus knew worrying and being anxious would be our natural default.  He tells us to  make a conscious choice to not allow ourselves to be troubled, worried, or afraid.

Notice there aren’t any exceptions made here.  We have to decide to trust Jesus instead of ourselves every time to have Jesus’ peace.  The peace is there for the taking, but we must work for it.  So when you find yourself on an emotional rollercoaster, find your footing on the Rock (Jesus) and drop your anchor in God’s Word, the truth.

Keep looking up,

Gaye

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Back- Wesley and Abigail Front- Nathan, Bethany, Gaye, Anna 3-11-16