and the winner is…

 

If you have faith as big as a mustard seed, you can move mountains (Matthew 17:20) or mulberry trees (Luke 17:6).  Faith is believing in something you cannot see, but know is real.

My faith has been tested many times throughout my life, and the more it is tested, the more I know that God is not only real, but cares about even the smallest details of my life.

A few weeks ago, my husband told me that I have enough faith for both of us.  He meant it as a compliment, but on the other hand, it makes me sad.  I want the world to know what an awesome God we have, and to have faith that can move mountains and mulberry trees.

As miracles unfold before my eyes, I am convinced more than ever that God has a plan.   Our job really is simply to get to know Him and recognize His voice, and follow His lead.

I am learning that, the bigger our dreams, the bigger the opportunity we give to God to work miracles in our lives.   I’ve always been a dreamer – I love thinking of possibilities – and I see treasure where others see trash.

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The feature image is a screen shot of an on-line spiritual gift test I took a few years ago.  Though I wasn’t surprised about Faith and Leadership, I must admit, I was a bit surprised by “Pastoring” being my number 3.  I’ve never thought of myself as a pastor, however, I have a unique opportunity to coach people, both through my day-job as a manager, and in my hobby-job as a piano teacher.   It is my sincerest desire that people come to know Jesus as their friend…. so I guess that means “pastoring” to some degree.

It’s an awesome responsibility, and an awesome opportunity all at the same time.

I’ve asked you all to join me in praying for a really big miracle – and I’d like to ask you to keep praying.

If you have ordered the book, Masquerade, I want to thank you very much for your support!  If you haven’t yet, I’d like to encourage you to do so – it’s a story about a spiritual battle faced by a career driven mother of 3.  It’s not a fairy tale story, but one of hope during dark times.

If you like my journey, please follow my blog!

 

Blessings,

SB

Copyright 2018 Journey For Life. All rights reserved.

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Before my eyes.

As miracles unfold before my eyes

Their beauty yet beheld

I am confident in Your faithfulness

I know You love me

I am Yours, Lord,

Willing to share all that You’ve done and are doing in my life with others to bring You all the glory You deserve

Your goodness is unending.

Forever grateful for Your blessings

Blessings, SB

Copyright 2018 Journey For Life. All rights reserved

Surrender

Surrender – Jordan Howerton Band

In my early 20’s, right out of college, I worked for a small company in the South Hills of Pittsburgh.  The owner was a man with a large ego, who created all kinds of drama with the women who worked in the shop.  I don’t want to say negative things about him, but suffice to say I did not enjoy working there.  With a degree in electrical engineering, I assumed it would be fairly easy to find a better job, so I began to search.  After 3 months of searching and submitting resumes, with not so much as a bite, I was frustrated.  In my frustration, I reached out to God and began to pray about it.

On a particularly frustrating Monday morning, nearly at my witt’s end, I went to lunch by myself at a local restaurant, where I prayed – and vented – to God about the situation.  While I was having lunch that day, a thought popped into my head that perhaps there was a reason God wanted me there.  In honest humility, probably for the first time in my life, I surrendered my will for His will.  There, in the restaurant, I silently prayed that if there was a reason He wanted me in that job with those people that He would show me the purpose. I specifically remember saying that I was willing to stay if it was His will.

Exactly four days later, on Thursday, I was on a sales call for a small company in the East.  I met with the Operations Manager, selling the products that I was being paid to sell.  While we were talking, he mentioned that he was looking to hire some engineers.  I mentioned that I happened to have my resume with me in the car.  He asked me to get it, so I did; he interviewed me, and offered me a job on the spot!  I told him that I’d want to give two weeks’ notice before starting, so we agreed on a start date, and I left, elated!

The next morning, I gave my two weeks’ notice.  The owner decided I didn’t need two weeks, and told me I was done immediately.  He had someone in the company drive me home, since I had a company car.  When I got home, I called the man who had offered me the job and told him what happened, and he asked if I could just start the following Monday.

I realized in that instant that my three month wait (which seemed like an eternity at the time, but in retrospect was a vapor) was so much more about getting my heart right with God than it was about finding a perfect job.  I had been relying on my own skills to find a job.  It wasn’t until I completely surrendered to God that he gave me what I was looking for.

In many of his books, Mark Batterson says that God wants us to get where He wants us to go more than we want to get where we want to go.

I’ve been on a pretty incredible journey.  You may think that, having had that surrender – God moment all those years ago would have changed my life forever – and it did! But, in my humanness, there are still times where I forget to completely surrender to God.  Let me just tell you that God is still in the miracle business, my friends..  and He is looking for us to surrender so that He can bless us.

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This scripture hangs in my bathroom so that I can see it every day.  To me, it doesn’t mean that God just gives us everything we want… but when we delight in His perfect timing and perfect plan, our desires align with His desires and He is able to bless us.

You are about to hear some of my incredible journey – that all started when I was able to surrender my will to His will.  Wow.  what a crazy ride!

Oh, and a shout-out to the Jordon Howerton band, who played worship for the 2016 LIFE conference for the Christian Missionary Alliance church – this song is amazing – it had such an impact on our youth group and leaders while we were there, and I play it often still today – I hope you enjoy it!

 

Blessings,

SB

Copyright 2018 Journey  For Life – all rights reserved.

 

Cheyne, Shane, Bear, Peter, Little Carter, Miss Kitt’s Awana…. part 3

I’ve been telling you all about the prayers of our youngest daughter, whom I’ve learned so much from about being faithful to prayers.  

Today, I’d like to tell you a story about Peter and his dog, Millie.  Peter is an acquaintance of mine from my last job, who also works for the same company I currently work for.  When we worked together years ago, he told us a story of driving home one day, and pulling into the driveway only to feel a “bump” as he pulled into his driveway.  Unsure what he hit, he put the car into REVERSE and backed up, over the bump once again.  He got out of the car to discover that he had run over their family pet, Millie.   He was devastated, as were his kids.  They took Millie to the vet, but she passed away shortly after.

I was telling my family about the story, when our youngest daughter, who loves dogs, said she would pray for Millie.  I didn’t have the heart to tell her that Millie had gone to doggie heaven, so instead, I suggested that she pray for Peter instead.

So, in faithful prayer, she added Peter to her prayer list, and has been praying for him ever since – every now and again, I’ll run into him at work and let him know she’s still praying – he can’t believe that she remembers the story, let alone still prayers for him, but he’s very thankful for the prayers.

Blessings,

SB

Copyright 2018 Journey For Life – all rights reserved.

In the midst of life…

A few years ago when I started my “official” Journey For LIFE (which was actually a fitness fundraiser to help pay for my kids’ trip to the Christian Missionary conference called L-I-F-E, I began a “blog” of sorts with the people I asked to sponsor me as I began a journey for fitness.  In my request for sponsorship, I committed to publish a weekly newsletter to let them know my progress – as kind of an accountability measure.   At first, the newsletter was simply about my diet and exercise, but it evolved over time to include some other articles, etc.  I also committed to praying for each one of my sponsors, and they began to share with me ways I could pray for them, so I began to know some of the things going on in their lives.  As I reflected each week, preparing for the newsletter, I was struck by the fact that while some were absolutely on a mountaintop, others were deep in the valley of despair.   I wanted to celebrate with those who are celebrating, and mourn with those who were mourning.

I mentioned to you the blessings that I experienced over the weekend… and quite honestly, the few that I mentioned cannot even begin to describe all of what’s been going on in my life lately.. but there will be time for that later.   In the same time as that, our oldest daughter, who is away at college, told us about her friend’s roommate…

Araella (a-RAY-la) was a senior in high school when doctors discovered that she had breast cancer.  She fought it then, and was currently enrolled at in college, where she dormed with two other girls.  Over the past month, she began not feeling well, but was afraid to get a scan to see if her cancer was back.  Last Sunday, April 8, 2018, she woke up in excruciating pain and went to the hospital.  The doctors confirmed that the cancer came back and had spread to her lungs and her bones.  The doctors said there was nothing else they could do for her. On Tuesday, they moved her out of the dorm, and told her roommates that she would not be back.

On Wednesday, she Face-timed her roommates, and they prayed together.  Araella had a strong faith, and knew that when she passed away, she would be in Heaven.  Her roommate, Gabby, said that she felt like the Holy Spirit was in their midst and they were all filled with peace.  Throughout the week, she said that she had glimpses of what Heaven looked like, and was excited to go, although sad to leave her friends and family.

On Sunday, April 15, Araella passed away, just one week after finding out her cancer was back.  Before she died, as she was being wheeled down the hallway at the hospital, laying on a gurney, asking nurses if they knew Jesus.

Ironically, Sunday, April 15 was the university’s Relay for Life, an event dedicated to people who have fought and are fighting cancer.  In the different categories of activities, they display names of people who are “still fighting” and those who are “remembered”.   During the event, they removed Araella’s sticker from the “still fighting” category and moved her to the “remembered” category, as her university friends grieved the news.

I know that to be absent from the earth is to be present with the Lord, and I am happy for Araella, knowing that she is forever present with Jesus, but my heart is heavy today.  I’m grieving the hole that her absence leaves behind in the lives of those who knew and loved her.  In the midst of life is death.

Blessings,

SB

copyright 2018 Journey For Life – all rights reserved.

Cheyne, Shane, Bear, Peter, Little Carter, Miss Kitt’s Awana… part 2

Previously,  I shared with you the prayers of a little girl making a difference in my friends’ boys’ life. That same little girl, in her faithful prayers every single night, Today, I want to tell you about Shane and Bear.

Shane is the son of the pastor who married us and his wife. He is about six months older than our oldest daughter. We have known his parents for many years and consider them among our closest friends.

Shane is a very special young man, and when he was young, they got a dog and named him Bear. Shane and Bear were very close, and Bear was very good for Shane. One day, Bear got hit by a car, and it didn’t look like he’d survive. This would have been devastating to Shane so his parents asked for prayers. We, along with many others, prayed for Bear, and miraculously, he survived his injuries. To this day, our youngest continues to pray for Shane and Bear.

Shane is in college now, and Bear is getting up in years, but still looks forward to Shane visiting.  Prayer kept Bear around for Shane when it was really, really important for him to have  dog to love him unconditionally.

How much we all need someone to love us unconditionally!  Dogs are awesome in that regard, but then, so is God – it’s crazy to me that he loves us no matter what.

Thanks for your prayers!

Blessings, SB

 

Copyright 2018 Journey For Life – all rights reserved

Drinking from a saucer

When you live your life expecting and grateful for blessings, blessings abound.  I remember years ago in local diner overhearing a man respond to the waitress asking him how he was by saying, “I’m drinking from a saucer”.   It was his way of saying his cup runneth over.

Well, tonight, I am drinking from a saucer.   In all honesty, it’s hard to know where and how to begin sharing the blessings God’s poured out on my life lately, but here are a few…

so… I got a phone call from my son,  who is attending school in Minnesota, late Saturday night. He said,”Hey I’m in Chicago.”    “Whatcha doin there?” I said.  “I’m on my way home for the Blessing of the Bikes“.  My son and his friend drove all night to get home around 8 am to go to the blessing of the bikes.   His friend got to experience the Blessing of the Bikes, and we got to hang out together for lunch and again this evening before they head back to school tomorrow. It was a fun trip and it was great to see him… and that was a blessing.img_1277.jpg

Here was another blessing… all week, they’ve been calling for the weather to be terrible on Sunday – 40’s and rainy, then 60’s and rainy… The Blessing day starts early – the church service is at 11:00 am and the actual blessing is at 12:30.   We prayed for God to hold off the rain… and look how He answered the prayer… (Don’t ask me what is up with His sense of humor to send snow flurries to Murrysville on April 17… that’s another question for another day)  In reality, God held the rain off in our area until after 5 PM, which gave bikers who attended our event plenty of time to get home to a dry place before the skies opened up… that was a blessing.

and.. just some funny things that happened today…   it’s pretty awesome that, when you’re rocking the baby and don’t have room for a diaper bag, you can simply stuff the extra diaper right in your pocket.. that was pretty awesome.  LOL

And.. it’s also pretty awesome when your phone is sitting on top of the keyboard that you’re playing, and it thinks that you are driving.. that’s pretty awesome, too.

There are just so many other blessings I’m receiving right now that I could literally go on for  long time… but suffice to say that God is Good… All the time.