Monthly Archives: March 2013

A TRAIN, A TOWER & TREASURED TANNIE

A TOWER AND A TREASURED TANNIE (Aunt)

 Many children growing up in rural and remote areas in Rhodesia spent a good portion of their schooling attending government run Boarding Schools.  This was the case for my elder brother, sister and me. Thankfully I did not have to spend as many years in Boarding school as my elder siblings did. By the time I reached school age, (1950), we had moved from the remote Gobatema Mission, to Rufaro Mission which was near the village of Chatsworth. The closest school for us to attend was in a town called Umvuma. If my memory serves me right, Umvuma was about 40 miles from the Mission. When the school year started Rhodesia Railways would send a school train from Fort Victoria through to Salisbury, picking up children heading to Boarding School and dropping them off at their respective destinations.

I was a feisty 6 year-old about to experience my very first separation from my parents, thankfully my nervousness was tempered by the fact that my elder sister was also attending the same school. After a tearful good-bye to our parents at the station, Sue began to prepare me for what I should expect. I wasn’t too happy to find out that I would not be in the same dormitory as she was but she calmed my fears by assuring me that I would see her at meals and recess etc.

My induction seemed to go from bad to worse when my sister told me that I had to remember how to make my bed with the mitered corners as she had been showing me at home. She warned me that if the dorm Prefect was not satisfied, my bed would be stripped plus I would have to go to the Matron for punishment. This usually meant several sharp smacks on the back of the leg with a ruler and a stern warning!

Needless to say Sue accomplished one thing with her “information over-load”, as by the time the train pulled into the station at Umvuma, I was ready to run as fast as my trembling legs could carry me, back to the welcoming safety of the mission station. Then the feisty red-headed temperament rose to the surface; I was not going to let tales of unpleasant encounters with a stern matron intimidate me! With a toss of my unruly red curls, I jammed my new school hat on my head and climbed down onto the station platform. My adventure had begun!

We were met at the station by a school bus with an African school driver. It was a short ride to the school and the imposing dormitory building that would soon become my home for many months of the year, quickly loomed into view! My sister was allowed to accompany me to the dormitory room I would be assigned to.  Two long rows of beds with a wooden chest at the foot of each bed stood in perfect order. The room was a symbol of the rigid, unwelcoming, discipline that a group of 5 and 6 year old children were about to become acquainted with! It did not taken me long to see that the only way I could possibly make my bed was to stand on my foot locker as I was too short for the high hospital type beds. I determined I would lick this “bed making” challenge and that I did………..with the help of my trusty locker that I pushed around the bed and made it.

The first night was a tough one! When the school bell sounded for “lights-out” and our dorm Prefect checked that we were all in bed; the long dormitory room became silent except for muffled crying of many very scared and homesick little girls! I lay listening to the sounds around me; it was a hot night, so all the windows were open and the sounds of the African night mingled with the heart-breaking sobs from my new found friends. I drew comfort from calls of the night animals as I was familiar with them, they represented a world I was well acquainted with and loved.

It wasn’t long and the school instructors and prefects had whipped us “newbies” into the daily routine of boarding school life. We learned quickly who we could trust not to tattle on us and who we made sure did not learn of some of our pranks! It was the survival of the fittest and sharpest!!

Sundays were always a day to look forward to; a picnic lunch was packed for each child, we were loaded onto busses and taken to a landmark Kopje which had a 40 foot Chimney rising like a beacon that could be seen for miles. It was constructed by Falcon Mine in 1913, then the largest gold, copper and silver mine in the country. Now it stood a relic of an industrial era that long had been abandoned. We would picnic in the shadow of the towering Chimney that was in various stages of decay. Then we were allowed to play among the rubble and ruins until the shrill whistle sounded indicating it was time to line up at our busses.

Twice a month on Saturday afternoon we would all be marched into the dining hall to watch a movie. Having grown up on a mission station I had never seen a movie until this time. My young vivid imagination found most of the movies they showed to be frightening and unsettling.  My sister and I used to sit together and whenever a scary scene was being shown I would bury my head in her lap! My total discomfort with these Saturday events came to a head when they showed a movie called “The Red Slippers”. The plot was about a young girl who wore beautiful red slippers to dance in. Then a “villain” was worked into the plot and a chase ensued, culminating in the girl trying to flee across a set of railway tracks in the face of an on-coming train. At this juncture I had my head in my sister’s lap and was sobbing in abject terror.  The movie actually had a happy ending but I never saw it as one of the prefects removed both my sister and I from the room. As “punishment” for my not being appreciative of the movie day, both Sue and I were told that in future, on movie days, we would have to report to the Matron who was the school cook and she would give us manual labor to do! I did not win any “high-fives” from my sister for bringing that punishment on her head, but I figured scrubbing a floor or washing pots was far better than being scared witless by Hollywood’s version of entertainment!

When the Saturday rolled around for movie time, Sue and I reported to the cottage that the Kitchen Matron lived in. We knew her by name; Mrs. Meyer-Hoffer but that was about all we knew about her, so we had no idea what fate a-waited us.  Timidly we knock on the door and “our keeper” opened it with a big welcoming smile and hug for both of us.  We stood unsure of what to do or say as this was not the reception we were given to expect! Mrs. Meyer-Hoffer was a gentle grandmotherly lady that radiated a warmth and love to these two frightened missionary’s kids! We spent a delightful three hours with her baking cookies together and munching them down, with a glass of cold milk while she regaled us with fascinating stories. We repeated this wonderful interlude in a rigid environment, every Saturday a movie was shown, until the end of the school year. Mrs. Meyer-Hoffer became our special “Tannie”  (Aunt) who we came to love and treasure.

Yes………………God had smiled on two missionary girls and provided us with love and comfort just when we needed it the most!

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CHECKMATE!

CHECKMATE!

One of the biggest challenges as missionaries in Rhodesia, Africa was combating the ingrained ancestral belief of heathen gods and heathen practices. Second only to the power wielded by the village Chief was the resident witchdoctor. He, or in some cases she, held the villagers in a vice-grip claw of fear and dread. So many of the heathen rituals concocted and practiced by them, were steep in superstition and brooding darkness. Their charms, amulets, blood sacrifices, all represented a deeply imbedded belief system of constantly needing to appease the many evil spirits they worshipped, yet never succeeding.

Frequently when heathen villagers came to the understanding of the one and only True God and turned away from their heather practices to follow the Lord; the witchdoctors became incensed with us missionaries and our lay preachers. It was not long before we became aware of something insidious raising its ugly head among our African congregations. The village witchdoctor had been replaced by “self-proclaimed prophets” who were nothing but charlatans preying on the deeply ingrained fear of mystical proclamations. They were nothing but false Pentecostal witchdoctors wreaking havoc among the new believers and sowing seeds of confusion and discord.

This resulted in us having to take a firm stand against these individuals both through Biblical preaching, teaching and when necessary publicly disciplining them. Naturally we became as unpopular with them as we were with the village witchdoctors, as we were diluting their power in the local church. Several of these men “prophesied” to the people that it was time the missionary was taught a lesson and they would prove that their power was greater than the missionary’s God!

It was time for us to hold our quarterly District conference, which on this particular occasion, we held in the local church of the small town of Gatooma. Our African Pastors along with lay pastors, their families and many members from the 150 congregations that fell under our care, arrived by a variety of ways of transportation. Some walked miles, others on bicycles; many on rickety busses and a few with vehicles. They set up camp in the church yard, each family with a little camp-fire where they would cook and sleep.

On the Saturday of the conference Glyn would hold a business meeting with the Pastors, elders and deacons, to take care of District business. I gathered the rest of the crowd outside, all seated on the dry dusty soil, while I preached the Word. At this particular Conference I was expecting our third child and this probably would be the last trip the doctor would allow me to take before the baby arrived. The people were excited about the arrival of this baby as we had tragically lost our second baby the day he was born and they believed that God was blessing us again.  I did not attend the evening preaching service as I was weary and Glyn felt I should rest and gain strength for our big final communion service on Sunday.

We had noticed on Saturday that there seemed to be a brooding attitude of tension festering under the surface; like a bubbling cauldron ready to spew its venomous contents upon the congregation.

During the worship time that evening a self-proclaimed prophet that Glyn had dealt with on numerous occasions, rose to his feet with a defiant challenge to Glyn’s leadership and a proclamation against me. He told the stunned congregation that God had revealed to him that I was “with child”! May I say that this obviously was not a divine revelation, as all you had to do was look at me to see that soon a baby was to be born! He then went on to say that the baby I was carrying was dying and unless I went to a particular place of “his choosing” for three days of prayer I would deliver a dead child. When he said that it was as though a bolt of lightning had paralyzed the congregation; the silence was tangible and the faces registered abject terror. Glyn broke the silence by instructing the man to sit down and then told the stunned congregation that God would prove He was more powerful than this false prophet’s curse. He added that we were not going to follow his instructions but we were going to trust God. He instructed them not to fear but to wait and see God’s power revealed when a healthy baby was born!

When it was time for the next quarterly District conference the crowd had grown in size as the people wanted to see with their own eyes who was stronger; the God of the missionary or the curse of the prophet. Our daughter was barely three weeks old at the time; on the final service of the conference, we brought our “little miracle” with us and I sat on the platform beside Glyn with our baby daughter in a carry-cot beside me.  Just before it was time to serve communion Glyn called for the “prophet” to stand up, then he turned and gently picked up our sleeping baby and held her up for all to see. He did not have to lecture, ridicule or rebuke as the healthy living child in his arms, was all the proof that was needed to strip this charlatan of his power over the people.

CHECKMATE – God has shown Himself, all powerful in this situation. This was living proof of a promise in God’s Word:

Isaiah 54:17 (NKJV) “No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment you shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is from Me,” says the LORD.

No matter what our situation might be or the heart-ache we might carry; the foundation of our faith must be the UNSHAKEABLE belief that God will see us through since He knows how to CHECKMATE and thwart every evil design that the the enemy of our soul would plot against us!

IMMUTABLE BULWARK

St. Helena Island

 

 

IMMUTABLE BULWARK! 

In an earlier Nugget that I wrote this month I told of the experience of sailing back to Africa and encountering a hurricane.  On a similar voyage that I took as a child with my parents, returning to Africa; I remember being surrounded by rolling ocean waves from horizon to horizon.  There was no land in sight, day after day we watched for dolphins, sea turtles, whales and flying fish; until one morning about halfway into the voyage we stepped out on deck and there in the far distance loomed a dark object. We watched in anticipation, speculating what it could be; it had to be something large for us to see it from the distance that separated it and the ship. Curiosity couldn’t be contained so we asked the First Officer what we were seeing – it was an isolated ROCK standing alone in the vast ocean.

It was St. Helena Island! It rose from the ocean depths like a lighthouse beacon on a stormy night. The closer we sailed the more intriguing the island was. Initially it appeared stark, uninhabited and it had an air of total bleakness. Craggy cliffs came into view reverberating with the sound of the pounding surf on its rocky shores. St. Helena Island in all of her bleakness and isolation had proved one thing; it could stand the tests of time. Ocean storms, hurricanes, buffeting winds howling and battering her rocky buttresses did nothing to move her. Most historical accounts state that she was discovered on May 21, 1502 by a Spanish navigator named Joao Da Nova. St. Helena is one of the most isolated islands in the southern Atlantic. As the ship navigated closer, our initial assessment changed; we began to see vegetation clinging to the towering cliffs and we saw clusters of houses showing that there was a small population living there. Seeing this mighty, isolated, volcanic Island standing strong and tall in the midst of the ocean was a sight that was burned into my impressionable young mind. It was an amazing sight, not to be forgotten.

The Gospel of John speaks of the fact that God had no “beginning” as mankind does.

John 1:1-4 (NKJV)  “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

He was in the beginning with God.  All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.

He is the ONLY true God!

No act brought him into being, so nothing can destroy His life!

Let me ask you…..does God fear an earthquake? Does He shake in terror at the violent winds of a tornado? CERTAINLY NOT!

The GOD THAT WE SERVE sleeps through storms and calms the contrary winds with the words: “Peace be still”!  Diseases like cancer do not trouble him and the silence of the cemetery holds no horror for Him.

The GOD THAT WE SERVE was here before any of these things came; He will be here after they are gone and this old world is destroyed.

The GOD THAT WE SERVE is an Immutable Bulwark to His children.

We can turn to friends and counselors for comfort in our storms but our God is the One who who can SILENCE the storm. Family and friends will hold our hand at our deathbed, but our God has already defeated the grave………so death holds no fear for us!

Philosophers can debate the meaning of life but the GOD WE SERVE IS LIFE ITSELF and His life is light to His children!

Our God is an Immutable Bulwark that never changes during these days of uncertainty; take shelter in His strength today!

MIDNIGHT HOUR

Midnight Hour

Midnight Hour

 

MIDNIGHT HOUR 

Acts 16:25 “And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.”

 

It is no secret to those who know me that I love Southern Gospel music. One of the musical artists whose music I have come to appreciate, is Ivan Parker. There is one song in particular that moves me deeply every time I hear him sing it; the song is …………………. “The Midnight Cry”. The words are so powerful, they remind us about the soon return of the Lord to take His children home and the songwriter uses the “midnight hour” to paint the picture. Midnight is often thought of as a dark, isolated, heartrending time. The word lends itself to the illusion of gloom and a pervading sense of deep heart-ache.

We all have MIDNIGHT experiences in our lives. Difficult times that we do not soon forget, nor do we wish to revisit! We all know about midnight hour, don’t we?

You see midnight is not just the time on the clock. It is that hour when we don’t know what move to make next. It is when our family walks away from us. Midnight is when our job lets us go and we are too young to retire and too old to get other employment. That’s midnightMidnight is when the doctor says; “Medically, I’ve done all that I can do.” Midnight is when our best friends turn their backs on us when we needed them the most. Midnight is not usually spoken of as a time exuberant joy yet we see according to Acts 16:25 it was at the midnight hour when Paul and Silas raised their voices to God in prayer and songs of praise.

Paul and Silas didn’t complain……they prayed and sung praises to the Lord!

In my sanctified imagination, maybe their conversation with the Lord might have gone something like this…………..

“Lord, we’re here because we did what you told us to do. We preached and souls were saved. Now Lord we’re not asking you to get us out. We just wanted to talk to you!   You see Lord; it brings great consolation to us when we talk to you and sing songs of praise.”

Place of refuge

Place of refuge

I can hear them singing; “Let the light from the lighthouse shine on me…… do Lord; Oh do Lord; Oh do remember me…..?”

Suddenly one of the angels receives a message from the Lord. “Gabriel, get me four angels and stand one on each corner of the earth and when all of you get there I want you to shake the earth until the mountains tremble.”  The angels shook the earth according to the Lord’s command.

The earth shook the jail.

The jail shook the hinges.

The shackles fell off and Paul and Silas walked free.

It was the midnight hour and God was there in response to Paul and Silas’s declarations of trust! 

You see that’s what prayer will do. Prayer moves the Hand of God. Prayer will shake situations and circumstances that are beyond our control.

Perhaps you’ve have a child that’s gone astray, just start talking to the Lord. Prayer will shake that child until their feet turn homeward.  Prayer will shake situations in your home. Prayer will shake the unstable foundation of your job. Prayer will shake your circumstances until God brings the victory!

 

A DOWRY FOR A CHURCH

Norma - hand painted portrait

Norma – hand painted portrait

A DOWRY FOR A CHURCH 

Once again the mission compound was a hive of activity.  The old mission truck was being loaded up with an assortment of camping gear, medical supplies, water supplies, food supplies and even grain bags of ground corn meal to give to the villagers. Dad and Mom were taking a trip to a remote village in the bush. Several families in that village had travelled on foot through the bush to come to some services that had been held in our “brush arbor” church that we had at Gobatema Mission. They returned to their village full of joy; sharing the news with the rest of the villagers about this “new God” that had a heart full of love. He was not like their heathen gods who held them captive with fear.

The result was that the Chief sent a messenger asking the “white missionary” to visit the village and tell him about this “strange God”.

I loved going on these camping trips into the bush. It was a great adventure into the wild unknown! We never knew what we would find around the next bush or dry riverbed we were bouncing through. This was prime leopard country, snakes paradise, plus a whole assortment of antelope and the usual variety of creepy-crawlies! Each hour we travelled brought a new set of challenges; flat tire #2; getting the truck hung up on a huge rock while trying to negotiate a rocky gully and exciting encounters with wild animals.

We finally arrived at the village as the sun was starting to drop below the horizon sending streaks of crimson hues across the sky.  The traditional ceremonial greetings would have to wait as we were fast losing light and needed to set up camp before total darkness engulfed us.  The African helpers we brought along got busy making a campfire and constructing a makeshift “kitchen” from rickety poles cut from near-by trees with a tarpaulin stretch across them. We would sleep on the back of the big truck for our protection from wild animals and a fire would be kept going all night to deter any curious, leopards or hyenas from coming into camp. Each individual had their assigned task which they focused on. Finally the frantic activity ceased, camp was set up. The warmth from the dancing flames of our campfire and the soft yellow light from the “hurricane lanterns” brought a sense of security and an air of tired relaxation began to settle in as the sounds and smells of the evening meal being prepared, wafted across the night air.

Camping in the bush

Camping in the bush

Suddenly a faint flickering light pierced the darkness, slowly coming closer to our camp. We had visitors! A delegation of the village elders had arrived to greet us. They squatted on their haunches in a semi-circle in total silence, until Dad greeted them in their dialect.  I sat fascinated at the scene unfolding before me; lengthy cordial greetings were exchanged; finally the purpose of their visit was revealed. The Chief requested the presence of the “white missionary” the next morning when the sun was just above the trees; so that he could explain to the gathered villagers about the missionary’s God. Dad knew this was only just the beginning of a long dialogue that could last well over a week. We had come well equipped for the long haul, so we settled down for the night. I snuggled down on the mattress listening intently to the sounds of the African bush permeating the darkness of the African night. The drifting smoke from the camp fire mingled with the calls of night animals enveloped me like a warm blanket. These night sounds held no terror for me as I loved the bush and no matter how primitive our camping conditions might be; this was home! I drifted off to sleep to the calls of a bush-baby and the chirping of the crickets.

The next morning after breakfast we gathered at the appointed meeting place and the discussions began in earnest. Dad shared the simple truths of the Gospel in terms these primitive people could understand; he was well aware that we were the first “white-skins” most of the people had ever seen, so we had to win their trust if they were to believe the message we were carrying. Several days passed with the villagers gathering to “hear more” of the missionary’s words. While the adults were hanging onto the words that Dad and Mom were sharing, the African children were totally intrigued with me! Not only did I have white skin but my hair was the color of “red hot embers”.  Each morning, I would sit on a stool while Mom brushed my unruly curls and then braided my hair and without fail there would be a crowd of giggling children watching!

Finally the time arrived for us return to the Mission Station and Dad knew that he did not want to leave without a promise from the Chief, that he would grant us a piece of ground to build a small church for the new congregation to worship in. One of our mission-trained deacons was going to remain in the village and continue to minister to the villagers.

Dad requested a formal audience with the Chief and his advisors and presented his desire to build a church.  The chief’s response took the wind out of Dad’s sails! He said he would be happy to allow a church to be built in his village PROVIDED Dad agreed to sell ME as a “child-bride” for his young son. He sweetened his offer by saying that he was willing to pay 350 head of cattle as the “Labola” (dowry) for me because of my FIERY RED HAIR. This represented a huge bride price……. An offer that normally would never be rejected………….now what was Dad to do?

Mvuzi Kraal church

Mvuzi Kraal church

Dad realized he was treading on ground where even angels fear to tread.  If he rejected the chief’s offer out of hand it could result in hostilities that would fracture what little trust we had built with the Chief and villagers. On the other hand he was not about leave his five-year old red-head to be kept as a “child-bride’!  He sat silent for a while, asking God to give him the words of wisdom to answer the Chief’s offer. Then using a parable style picture that the Chief could relate to; Dad explained our western “customs of marriage versus the tribal customs” showing clearly that he would anger “our elders” if he agreed to the Chief’s offer. God was in his reply as the Chief fully understood what Dad was attempting to explain. He bowed in respect to Dad’s desire to not betray the “white missionary’s” custom.  The tension was immediately broken, smiles were breaking out on the faces of the listeners, hands were shaken and the Chief gave his official nod for a church building to be built and our deacon to hold church services.  The result of this visit was that the Chief, his family and most of the villagers accepted the teachings of the Word of God and a thriving church flourished in that place of darkness.

It is amazing what unlikely events or things God will use to accomplish His plans for the life of His children! Never under-estimate what God can do in your life and what lengths He will go to in answer to your prayers!

If He has to, He will even use a little re-headed girl to complete His mission!!

God's provision

God’s provision

EARTHLY SUFFERING, ETERNAL GLORY

Matthew 5:10

Matthew 5:10

EARTHLY SUFFERING, ETERNAL GLORY

We were blest by a choir from an overseas country, in church today. Everything they sang was sung in their native tongue yet their passion, love, tender spirits and total loyalty to the Lord resonated through-out the entire concert.  This group of men and women represented the “persecuted church”. They pay a high price for their walk with God in a country where the government embraces the ideology of Atheism. We could feel their hearts even though we couldn’t understand the words they were singing. Persecution had not dimmed their joy but had caused it to burn even brighter and was contagious. The missionary hearts beating within Glyn and I were deeply moved by the sacrifice these singers were making for their faith.

Reflecting on the morning service I was reminded of a family in Rhodesia who came to know the Lord under our ministry, who also paid a high price for their faith.  John and Ellen Patana were part of the congregation in the church in Hartley, Rhodesia. They served the Lord with every fiber of their being. John’s family lived in a remote village the southern part of Rhodesia.  They followed their heathen gods and were exceedingly unhappy when the word finally arrived that their son and his wife were followers of this “strange God” that they had heard about from the missionaries who looked like “white ghosts”. The family disassociated themselves from the couple with dire warnings that their heathen gods would punish them harshly for leaving the tribal ways and tribal gods.

A beautiful baby girl was born to the Patana family.  She was the joy of their hearts and then the unthinkable happened.  We received word they had rushed to a near-by clinic as they baby was very ill with gastro-enteritis. Sadly by the time they arrived it was too late for medical help; their “gift from God” stopped breathing.  After the funeral the couple travelled to the tribal village to carry the news of the baby’s passing. The heathen relatives did not take kindly to the news.  The village witchdoctor was called to “search out the spirit” that caused the bay’s death.  The heathen ceremony turned sinister when the witchdoctor proclaimed the baby’s death was caused by the parents’ betrayal of tribal ways in following a strange God. He pronounced a curse saying that they would never have a living child until they returned to the ways and customs of the tribe and reject publicly this foreign God.  John and Ellen stood firm not wavering for one moment in their faith. They told the gathered villagers that they would not renounce their faith in God. This resulted in the parents banishing the couple from ever returning home to their tribal lands; they would treat them as though they were dead. They returned to the town of Hartley; we sat with them and wept with them for the deep heart-ache they were carrying. Though the tears were flowing at the loss of their baby girl and being cast out from the family tribe; they declared their determination to serve God with all their hearts. We told them that in God’s time He would give them another child even though the witchdoctor had placed a curse on their heads. Gently assuring them that the God they now served was far more powerful than a thousand witchdoctor’s curses.

Several months passed when I heard a knock on our door. There stood Ellen with a huge smile on her face and the exciting news that they were expecting another baby – God had heard their prayers – the witchdoctor’s curse was defeated!  By the time we retired as missionaries to Rhodesia, God had not only blessed this couple with one living child but three!  You see this couple had caught a glimpse of the glory that a-waits God’s children in eternity.

Ellen, children and me.

Ellen, children and me.

Romans 8:18 (NKJV) “ For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”

The Apostle Paul penned these words to a persecuted young church! He was encouraging them to not give up.  Many of Paul’s friends suffered because they were Christians. Some lost their jobs; others were beaten; many were killed. In light of the dangers involved, some were questioning whether Christianity was worth it. At least it would be easier to be silent Christians, outwardly following the crowd to avoid persecution. Paul assured them everything they were going through was worth it, as they would see when they were with Christ in heaven. He promised that their present suffering would be more than compensated by the rewards that awaited them in heaven.

In light of an eternity in heaven, this life is only a blip on the screen. If only we could fully understand how magnificent heaven will be!  No tears. No pain. No suffering. 

When we reach our eternal home, we will realize that everything the Bible said was true. Everything God promised will be ours. Then we will know that living the Christian life was well worth the effort.

My dear friends, if you are going through a difficult time right now, keep in mind that this life is only temporary. Nothing you might be suffering now can compare to the reward you will receive for having patiently endured. One day, you will enjoy eternity with God, and eternity will be more wonderful than anything you could imagine.  Let me encourage you not to become disheartened by the problems you face right now. God has things for you to learn and to do for him. Remain faithful to him today, and your reward in heaven will be beyond comparison!

TWO POTS, TWO CHOICES

2 Corinthians 4:8 & 9

2 Corinthians 4:8 & 9

TWO POTS, TWO CHOICES

Last year towards the end of November I discovered what appeared to be two suspicious “lumps” in my remaining breast. Now having ALREADY gone through the emotional roller coaster ride of a breast cancer diagnosis and THE subsequent mastectomy and treatment, I felt as though I was back on that “anxiety ridden treadmill” all over again”.  My first thought was……… “Surely this is not happening again!”

Over the week of Christmas and coinciding with the news of the passing of my brother in South Africa; I underwent three different diagnostic tests.

How much more heat-ache could I bare? Yes, I needed an anchor for my soul………………………!

The tests results all came back showing nothing of concern according to the radiologists that read them. The relief of these findings was very short lived because the lumps were still very much there!

I needed an anchor to cling to……………….!

Many would say: “Well you have your answer! What are you concerned about? The tests show there is nothing to worry about?”

Experience on the other hand was screaming in my head; you see, I can catalogue a very LONG list of wrong diagnosis and medical errors I have experienced over the years; which easily should have ended my life several times BUT for the grace and intervention of God.

Do you see my dilemma………..? Who do I believe……….? The results of the diagnostic tests………? The calm assurance of my physician that all was well……..?

Do I heed these voices of reason or THAT VOICE of experience which was shattering my sense of peace because THE LUMPS WERE STILL EVIDENT!

I needed an anchor to cling to………………. then I found it!  The Lord reminded me of the scripture verse that He gave me the day I was diagnosed with an aggressive form of Breast Cancer nearly 20 years ago.

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV) “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.”

This scripture verse became my visual anchor for me to cling to, when I met with my physician to discuss what; if anything; should be done about these “lumps”. My physician felt that best course of action was to wait and see”. Not exactly the news I wanted to hear, as every fiber in my being was screaming to have the lumps cut out SOONER THAN LATER!

I left his office wondering if I should have pushed harder or should heed his advice and wait and see! I shivered from the biting cold as I opened my car door and it seemed as if the tentacles of the frigid wind began to tighten around my heart. I sat still in the car for a few minutes, trying to calm my reeling emotions and then the words of Proverbs 3:5-6  flooded my mind and heart again and the realization that ALL OF MY TOMORROWS HAVE TO PASS THROUGH GOD FIRST rushed in and filled me with His peace!!

As I was driving back home and mulling the events of the past couple of hours I realized that I had two choices…….

Two pots.

Two pots.

The first choice:

I could take my fears and anxiety and dump them in the “pot of worry”, turn up the fire under the pot and then….stew on it……stir up its destructive dregs……feed off of its toxic content and end up without peace and in total defeat!

The second choice:

Take my dilemma and anxiety; place it in the “pot of prayer”, stir in a healthy handful of trust in God, add a handful of gratitude and praise, feed my soul on the nourishment of His Word and end up with an immoveable faith in the God who holds my tomorrows!

Dear friends, I don’t know about you but I chose the “pot of prayer” to see me through these complex circumstances of my life.

God is a loving Father who cares for His children and we can with confidence face our tomorrows knowing that He will do what best for us.

May I be so daring as to ask you, my readers; “Which “pot” are you going to feed from today?”