Stare in His direction

A few weeks ago I met with an artist, a dear friend of mine, who is a phenomenal artist with whom I’m planning an art show for spring. I was filling him in on some of how the studio came to be, as well as current issues.

Later that evening he sent me a text that simply read, “God is good. Stare in His direction”

I think sometimes we get worked up over present circumstances (I know I do) and try to figure out what we need to do when all God wants is for us to trust that He’s got it.

I had a bit of emotional and spiritual release yesterday, relinquishing control of my thoughts and concerns about Rob, the studio, and others to God the Father. I am trusting that He’s got this… and He’s got me..

New International Version
being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

The release is freeing. And healing. And just what I need to move my thoughts forward.

Henry Davis Thoreau said, “God confidently in the direction of your dreams”, which is an awesome quote. I would paraphrase slight to say, “Go confidently in the direction He has called you”.

In my present circumstances, there is still much uncertainty. However, I AM certain that He’s called me to open this studio in this place… and I am going to stare in His direction, going confidently in the direction He’s called me, trusting that He will equip me to do what He’s called and provide resources to accomplish all He wants.

Be blessed today, my friends

SB.

Even if

As I drove from my office to my studio yesterday, the first song I heard was one called “the story isn’t over”. It’s ironic, since Rob and I often talked about the story of our friendship isn’t over…. even when I thought it was for more than 10 years.

When we first talked last year about partnering to buy the building that is now the studio I dreamed of, I told him that I felt like Gods purpose in that place was bigger than me, bigger than him, bigger than both of us together. I felt like God chose that particular place for some reason. We talked about the healing and forgiveness that took place in our friendship, the restoration that God brought to broken things in both of our lives… and how He wants to do that for all of us. Rob talked about the path of destruction he’s left behind him due to bad decisions, and consequences of those decisions that brought pain.

We looked forward to the story that God is writing through our lives, both individually and through the studio. He allowed me to dream endless possibilities and “we could do…”s. We talked about the fact that he challenged me and I challenged him, and we both respected each other enough to let the other share their opinions openly, without fear of condemnation or judgement. We’d encourage one another to dream and challenge one another to try new things, new perspectives. We made perfect business partners, in my opinion. Many people spend a lifetime never having a friend like that. I’ve never truly felt unconditional love for someone before, but God has given me a glimpse of His unconditional love for us. Maybe because I am far enough removed from the decisions of Robs past, I am able to acknowledge them without judgment, and gently encourage him to blaze a new path in Gods goodness. I feel incredibly blessed to have had the opportunity to learn a small piece of what Gods love is all about, and am now beginning to apply what I’ve learned to other relationships in my life.

When I left the studio, I called the hospital where Rob is to see if he’d been moved to the rehabilitation center they talked about moving to… they hadn’t moved him yet, so I stopped to see him, since the hospital is about 5 minutes from the studio. He was sleeping when I got there, and I prayed that God would give him a few lucid moments with me. He opened his eyes and said my name, reached out to hug me, and I prayed with him.

My request, as it has been for the past 14 months, since he told me he has cancer, is that God would give Rob 15 more years of good health, as he did to King Hezzekiah in Isaiah 38. fifteen years for Rob to tell his story of Gods transformation in his life…

I tucked his covers around him as he curled into an almost fetal position, kissed the top of his head and prayed one last time. As I left, I stopped by the nurses station to thank them for caring for him. His nurse told me that they were still running some tests to try to understand what happened. They believe something neurological, so the Neurologist wants to review. They haven’t given up on understanding what happened. They’ve tested to see if his cancer spread but haven’t found any. They didn’t want to move him until they finished with some more testing.

Dear Lord, my prayer is that You will guide the doctors to uncover the root cause of Robs issue. I pray You will bring healing to his body and mind, restore him and give him a voice to share Your miracles. If that is not Your will, Lord, I pray that You would take him Home. I know he knows Jesus as his Savior and will be with You in Heaven. I am trusting You with the studio… after all, it is Yours. If it is Your that this studio thrives where it stands, I trust You will provide the means. If it is not to be, I pray You will guide me and direct me in next steps. In all of this situation, I pray that You alone would be glorified.

In Your Name I pray

Amen

Loving my prayer time…

When we do things consistently, they become habit and then they become lifestyle. Even before I decided my word of the year was PRAY, I’d subscribed to the command “pray without ceasing”. I often find myself conversing with God throughout the day on many topics, so much so that I truly FEEL as though He’s a friend walking right beside me.

A couple years ago one of our youth asked me to name someone I’d like to have dinner with that I don’t normally talk with. When I said Mozart, he said I failed… as a youth leader I should have said “Jesus”. At first, I was sad that I “failed” so I pondered why it never occurred to me to say Jesus. Then I realized it’s because I feel as though I talk with Him all the time.. I’ve never talked with Mozart, even in my mind.

I am convinced, more than ever, that the God wants to speak to us and through us, and one of the ways He does this is through prayer time. I’ve been starting my day with devotion and pray and I’ve got to tell you, my prayer list is long!

I can’t imagine starting my day any other way..

I’d like to hear how you pray… do you set specific time aside or do you pray throughout the day? Only at meals? Bedtime?

Be blessed today, my friends.

SB

Requests

Early last fall, a pastor friend of mine introduced me to a man named Bob, who has been working on writing his story of deliverance from alcohol addiction. My friend knew I had published a book and thought perhaps I could help Bob navigate the publishing waters, but I felt as if it was a Divine meeting, though I wasn’t sure why.

Bobs story is one of complete deliverance through God the a Father, and God has given him a ministry among those in recovery. Every morning, he sends me a scripture by text. This was today’s.

I’ve shared with him the situation with Rob and asked if he would pray that God would be merciful once more with Rob. He said he would.

As I sit quietly praying, I am struck by a couple of things that I know about God. First is his timing… though sometimes WE think His timing is off, it never is… There are things that God, in His infinite wisdom, can see when we can’t. I think about the 30 years or so I’ve prayed for my husband… the 12 years or so I’ve prayed about a coffee house/music studio… the 10 years or so Rob and I didn’t talk… meeting Bob a month before Rob and I reconnected…. the answers to some of those prayers have happened within the past 12 months.

My obvious immediate prayer is for Rob, for God to allow his mind to return once again.. But bigger than that, my prayer is that He will reveal to me His plan for my life… and the lives of those around me. I believe firmly that God is at work for His ultimate purpose. Im thankful to be part of it. I lay my prayers before Him and wait in expectation for His glory to be revealed.

Be blessed today, my griends

SB

Prayer journaling….waymaker

In the early morning hours I find myself longing to hear God, and worship songs are coming to my head. I am worshiping quietly while listening to Sinking Deep, No Longer Slaves, and Way Maker, praying for clarity of vision from Almighty God. the lyrics move me. And I am reminded of the very last thing I felt God say directly to me… in August of last year. “Are you going to trust me when it gets really bad?”

I wish I could define what “really bad” means. Immediately after God spoke that to me, Rob got sick. It took the doctors weeks to determine the cause was the drug he was taking for his cancer. Knowing what we know now, this was probably complicated by his alcohol use. During this time, I found many battles in my mind and my life, some with other Christians who I thought (assumed) would want what’s best for him. I assumed that entire experience was what “really bad” meant, and found myself in a place where ALL I could do was trust Him. Miraculously, God was Robs advocate, and brought healing at that time, to enable further discussion with Rob about his life.

Lord, I’m here now, quiet in Your presence, waiting to hear You speak again to tell me it will all be ok. I know You are a promise keeper and you are making a way for Your will to be done.

I am Yours… and I know You are making all things new.

You are here
Moving in our midst
I worship you
I worship you
You are here
Working in this place
I worship you
I worship you
You are here
Moving in our midst
I worship you
I worship you
You are here
Working in this place
I worship you
I worship youWay maker
Miracle worker
Promise keeper
Light in the darkness
My God
That is who you are
Way maker
Miracle worker
Promise keeper
Light in the darkness
My God
That is who you areYou are here
Touching every heart
I worship you
I worship you
You are here
Healing every heart
I worship you
I worship you
You are here
Turning lives around
I worship you
I worship you
You are here
Mending every heart
I worship you
I worship youWay maker
Miracle worker
Promise keeper
Light in the darkness
That is who you are
Way maker
Miracle worker
Promise keeper
Light in…

Lord, I know You are all powerful, all knowing, loving and just. I’m listening for You, Lord, to show me Your path.

Amen

SB

Prayer Request – Jan 10

Good afternoon, God.  I’m grateful for a brief respite in my day where I can connect with You – there are so many things I want to talk with you about.  After a very hectic day so far, Lord, I quiet my heart to try to hear You, Lord. Speak to me, guide me, let me feel your Presence.

There are so many needs, but I want to specifically pray for my friend, “Rob” now, Lord.  There is so much I’ve understood about his life and his struggles, and so much I don’t.  Without judging him now, Lord, I lift him up to you and ask humbly for two specific things.  1. That you would bring healing to his mind and body right now and 2. That you would be his advocate as he fights his addictions.

Healing:   Lord, I know You are our ultimate physician, and I know we will have ultimate healing in Heaven, but I pray for healing of his mind and body right here on Earth, right now, Lord.  I believe Rob knows You as his Savior.  You’ve told us in Your Word to make our requests known to You, so I am doing that, Lord.   I ‘d like to request that you heal the Urinary Tract infection he has right now that is affecting his ability to comprehend – I pray that you would restore his mind, body and soul to perfect health.  I pray for the cancer in his kidneys – that You would touch the tumors and eliminate them. I pray that You would use the medical staff You’ve assembled, and the hospital equipment and/or treatments available – I ask Your blessing on the staff who is caring for my friend – may they feel Your presence and know that You are guiding them.   I pray You will continue to guide them as they evaluate test results and monitor my friend – that You would give them wisdom to diagnose all that is going on.

Addictions:  Lord, I pray that You would free him from all of his addictions, Lord, whatever they are – I pray that Satan would have no authority in his mind or his body – I know that You are more powerful, and I call upon the name of Jesus.   Replace his desire for alcohol for a desire to know You more – put people in his life who walk consistently with you and can help him be accountable.  I pray, in the name of Jesus, that his addictions would leave his body like an evil spirits being cast out into a bunch of pigs, and that they would not be able to affect him any more, and I pray specifically that he would be filled with obsession to make You Lord of his life. Draw him to you, Lord.

I pray, Lord, that You would illuminate our path, and the reason You brought our friendship together – if it is to help him, I pray that You would help me help him.  I’m in such unfamiliar territory, Lord, please don’t allow me to be fooled by his lies, but to help him find grace, accountability and healing. Equip me to do what You’ve called me to do, and give me courage to continue in the path You set before me.  Bring understanding to those around me who need it.

Father, I also pray for those who have consistently prayed with me in this entire circumstance with my friend – they are friends who are as close as family – and they’ve been so faithful to me as I’ve struggled to understand all of these circumstances – I pray that You would meet their needs, too, Lord, some of which I am aware, and some I am not, but You are.  I pray you would bless their families and their circumstances.

I love You, Lord, and know that You are good.  I trust You completely.

Humbly Yours,

SB

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Word of the year….

Pray

In 2019, my word of the year was WAIT, as I had been waiting for Gods direction in several areas of my life. The word was chosen with careful deliberation in acknowledgment that to wait on Gods timing for significant events in our lives is always best.

As some of you know, 2019 was a pivotal year for me personally, and I saw some thing come to fruition that I had been praying for and waiting for for over a decade.. in the most significant event, I saw the heart of my husband, who I’ve prayed for over 30 years, and had all but given up that he’d ever change, melt. (More on that later)

In 2020, I’ve chosen the word PRAY as it seems most appropriate for my life circumstances.

If you aren’t sure whether prayer works, please subscribe to my journey. I commit to journaling prayer requests in order to show Gods answer to prayer throughout the year.

Be blessed today, my friends.

SB

Pray without ceasing…

Pray without ceasing

This Facebook post from my friends son… the friend who is still detoxing. Although he is through the worst of his withdrawal symptoms, he is still very confused. The nurses said this is because his ammonia levels are high. They are giving him some medication to try to balance. Ammonia levels are high when our kidneys and liver aren’t functioning properly to filter the poisons in our body. With cancer in his kidney and cirrhosis of the liver, he’s definitely compromised.

I have long loved the verse above and find myself in prayer with God many times through the day.

Last year, my theme was WAIT. I think I’d agree with Rob’s son that the theme for this year is PRAY. Amazing things happen when we pray. God wants to bless us richly.

As my good friend, Art, told me yesterday. “God wants what’s good for you. STARE in HIS direction”

Staring in His direction and praying without ceasing,

SB

A new journey….

And just like that, we start a new year. My Facebook feed is full of words of wisdom from people, New Years resolutions, and best wishes for an awesome new beginning

I have none of that, today. I have only raw emotions from the events of the past few days. I am grieving and hopeful at the same time. I want so desperately for my friend to want help but have no idea if he does. Waiting for the withdrawal process to “complete” is excruciating. I wish I could speed the process up. He is being kept sedated to ease the effect on his body so he’s really not even coherent for a conversation.

This journey is like none I’ve ever been on before. It is new for me. I’m willing to learn what I can about addictions and willing to help Rob any way I can but I realize the choice is ultimately his. I have mentored teens who have gone through rehab and succeeded, but have never been this close to the actual process before.

I can’t help but feel as though I’ve failed somehow, mostly because I failed to see the signs of his usage. In my heart of hearts, I feel as though our friendship was a Divine appointment for God… for Rob to help me and me to help him. He has helped me over the past year and I’ve tried to help him. Now I realize that this is the hardest help effort on which I’ve ever embarked.

I know that when God calls us to something, if we are willing to be used, He will equip is with what we need. I am willing to let Him use me but genuinely afraid of failing. This is a life or death matter, truly. More than that, it’s an eternal matter. I know Rob professes to know Jesus and I’ve believed Him, but feel somehow that if he had fully surrendered to Jesus, his addiction would be healed. Perhaps that is too fairytale for reality.

Sorry for rambling, but I’m a mixed bag of emotions now. Please pray for me as I start this difficult journey.

In him

SB