Inspiration from Psalm 34:4

The Lord has laid this on my heart today…

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When we seek the Lord’s will and not our own, that’s when we find the answers we’ve been looking for and lose all of our anxieties. I’m finding this to be so true in recent days. I’m praying the Lord will continue to reveal his great plan to me and that I would open my heart and mind to what he has in store for my life. Amen.

farewell facebook.

I remember when facebook was cool. Before it became a place of sharing pictures of every meal; before it was freedom of speech at it’s [not so] finest, and before everyone felt like they had to come up with a status better than the last guy to get maximum ‘likes’ and feel good about themselves.

I hardly remember what life was like before I had facebook. I do actually remember setting up my account, though. It was at the end of my senior year of high school, because back then you could only join if you had a college e-mail address, nowadays my cat and my one year-old niece can have a facebook. I just need some time away right now. I need time to focus on the things that matter and enjoy the relationships I have in my life, not on the internet.

Today is Ash Wednesday, which begins the Lenten season. Therefore, I have decided to give up facebook for the next forty days. Will it be a challenge? Of course. Will it be worth it? You bet.

I didn’t just give up facebook to prove to the world or to myself that I could do it. I didn’t just give it up because it sometimes annoys me more than anything (especially when a big event occurs), but I have reasons for why I am doing it.

1. Distraction. Everyone knows facebook has become this biggest distraction on the planet. We can’t go two minutes without the itch to refresh our news feed so we know exactly what everyone is doing at that exact moment. Who are we? A bunch of stalkers if you ask me. I spend a lot of time checking my facebook throughout the day and especially in the evenings if I have nothing going on. It has taken time away from cleaning when I need to, projects I have needed to finish, planning, and most importantly my quiet time with the Lord. It’s completely my fault for placing it above things I shouldn’t, but the Lord tells us to rid ourselves of the things that distract us from him [Hebrews 12:1]. So here you go, Lord. No more facebook for Jill…at least for a while.

2. Gossip. This is a big one for me. I don’t think it’s one that always occur to us, but facebook is a very dangerous place for gossip to start. I find myself a lot of times scrolling through my news feed and feeling like it’s okay to gossip about someone, because “hello, they put their issues on facebook, that gives me permission to talk about them to others”. Wrong. It’s so easy to fall into this trap. It’s never okay to put someone else down. It’s never okay to gossip. We should always be an encouragement to our friends [Ephesians 4:29].

3. Deception. Get real. Our lives are never really what we make them seem on facebook. We put all of our best moments, accomplishments, and pictures up for the world to see, but we hide our mistakes, fears, and failures. We can’t let people know we actually mess up, that we actually have problems. I’m very much guilty of this and it’s time to stop. If and when I do get facebook back, I want to be better about sharing my struggles and setbacks. I want people who are possibly struggling with similar things to know they are not alone. We are not meant to go through this journey of life alone.

Like I said, this WILL be a challenge. I already know that the devil is just waiting to tempt me daily…he already has. But! When I am tempted, I have scripture I can turn to in order to help me through it,

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. –1 Corinthians 10:13

PTL [Praise the Lord]! Amen!

#winterjamrejects

It was a chaperones worst nightmare.

On Saturday, my husband and I took some of the members of our high school youth group to Nashville, TN to a Christian concert called Winter Jam. When we arrived and saw how many people were outside the building, we knew it wasn’t a good sign.

“Why aren’t these people inside right now?”

Why isn’t the line moving forward?”

Millions of questions went through my head as I prayed that it didn’t mean they were sold out.

But it did.

My heart sunk in my chest. I literally wanted to sit down and cry. I knew that we were responsible for these twelve lives and I felt like we let them down by not getting in.

Just as I thought all hope was lost for what was supposed to be a great night of fun and fellowship, I heard the voice of an angel.

Ok, maybe not literally an angel, but pretty close.

Matthew West was playing his guitar and singing an acoustic version of one of his songs. We followed the voice until we got as close to the outdoor stage as we could. There were still a TON of people gathered around the stage. After he was finished singing, he said that he didn’t want the winter jam rejects to completely miss out on the fun so they were going to bring the concert to us outside.

A feeling of relief came over me as we continued to enjoy the concert, getting to see Jason Castro (American Idol Season 6), Toby Mac, Royal Tailor, Jamie Grace, Capital Kings, and a few others perform. We were blessed with incredible weather and I am so thankful that the situation turned out to be a good one in the end. The kids had a blast and even got some autographs from some of the artists afterwards.

The outdoor concert ended a lot sooner than if we had gone to the indoor one, but it actually worked out great because it gave us time to explore the Orpyland Hotel. Some of them had never been in it before, which made it fun.

But here’s the main point of my post:

God taught me a valuable lesson on Saturday. All too often when things go wrong or don’t go the way I had them planned, I think I’ve failed. That’s the Devil talking. I didn’t fail.

The Lord just had a better plan for us that night. It’s that way with the little things and the big things in life. His plan is always so much better than ours and sometimes we don’t see that until we look back on the situation and see how great it actually turned out. He says in scripture, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways” (Isaiah 55:8), meaning we don’t always understand why things happen the way that they do, because we can’t even think on God’s level, but we can take comfort in knowing that we are in good hands…the Creator’s hands. He loves us and wants to take care of us. And he assures us he will take care of us when we put our trust fully in him. Something I need to work on myself!

And maybe, just maybe because we didn’t get in to the concert, that meant that others who didn’t know Jesus could get in and come to know him as their personal Lord and Savior through the testimony of the artists and speaker. And that my friends, is the best things we can hope for! Amen? Amen.

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jason castro rockin’ the dreads

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grammy nominated royal tailor

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toby mac layin’ down the beats

Books to Read in 2013

I’m not much of a reader. I have a history of starting books and never finishing them. You could say I’m a quitter when it comes to reading. No one likes a quitter.

Sometimes when I actually write out goals for myself it makes it easier to accomplish them, rather than just saying, “Oh, I want to read that book someday.” Psh, that’ll never happen.

So here is my list of books I would love to have read by the end of 2013:

  • The Shack by Wm. Paul Young (my husband actually just got this book, so it’s already within reach!)
  • Radical by David Platt (this is one I bought, started, and never finished)
  • Adopted for Life by Russell Moore
  • One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp
  • The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis
  • Desiring God by John Piper
  • Give them Grace by Fitzpatrick & Thompson

I plan to do a short book review/what I learned after I finish each book. Stay tuned.

Do you have any other book suggestions for me to read in 2013?? I’d love to hear of any I missed!

Why We Chose NFP.

I have had a lot of people over the past year and a half ask why my husband and I use Natural Family Planning (NFP for short) in our marriage. This post is not to inform you (in detail) on how NFP works and it’s certainly not to condemn those that use contraceptives; it’s simply to share with you WHY my husband and I choose to use it in our marriage and why it works when used correctly. It is also meant to be an encouragement to any couples considering it for their marriages right now.

When my husband and I were going through pre-marriage counseling, the priest who was going to marry us, mentioned NFP. It was the first time I had ever heard of the topic. He HIGHLY encouraged us to go to a seminar on how it works, why we should use it, and why it works.

I’ll be honest; I was completely against the idea at first. But after five months of studying how to use NFP, lots of prayer, talking it over, lots more prayer, meeting with a mentor, and even more prayer, C and I knew this was what the Lord had called us to use in our marriage. Did I mention we prayed about it?

Anyways, here are the reasons we chose to use NFP:

  • Avoids chemical/pill intake
  • Encourages couple communication & interaction
  • Fosters mutual responsibility by husband and wife
  • Fosters deep respect and acceptance of the total person
  • Values children and openness to life
  • Cooperates with God’s plan for marriage

HEALTH:

The number of young women on “the pill” is disturbing. Why is it disturbing, you may ask? Were you aware “the pill” has been classified as a Group 1 carcinogen by the International Agency on Research for Cancer, a research arm of the World Health Organization? The sad reality is that any woman who takes a hormonal contraceptive for four years prior to her first full-term pregnancy increases her risk for breast cancer by 52%. Women deserve to know the truth. They have been failed by physicians in not being warned of the physical damage that they are doing to their bodies.

COMMUNICATION & INTERACTION:

We all know how important communication can be, especially in a marriage. NFP opens communication in a way I could never have imagined. It’s not just talking, but actually communicating with one another. Not only do I understand my body better and therefore respect it that much more, but my husband does as well. We talk about it (my body) on a daily basis and I truly feel our connection is a lot deeper because of it. We are a lot more open with each other about things.

RESPONSIBILITY:

NFP is not for the wife to experience alone. The husband is the “coach” of the relationship. The husband’s role is to continually communicate to the wife on how her charting is going and if she is charting correctly. The husband is to know how NFP works just as much as the wife. He guides her, helps her, and encourages her. It is a joint responsibility and it’s the couple’s job to work together in this. Whether a couple wishes to space their children or limit their family to the number of children they already have, the effectiveness rate of the modern methods of NFP are 96%-99.5% when taught by a certified instructor and used according to instructions. (This is higher than most artificial contraceptives.)

RESPECT:

As I said before, my husband understands and respects my body. He knows what it does and why. He understands that there are going to be days we cannot be intimate and he controls himself and in return, I respect him for that. We know that there are going to be/have been days when we have to completely leave the apartment and find another activity, but that has made our marriage so much more spontaneous and fun. NFP does not lessen the importance of sexual union and sexual pleasure, but it helps couples to find other ways in which to connect. In this way, NFP can reignite the romance of dating for a married couple. It’s wonderful.

OPENNESS TO CHILDREN:

At the seminar we went to there was a couple there that had been married for a few years and were using NFP and one of them made this comment: “NFP opened our hearts to children … Children are a gift, a blessing, not a burden.” My husband and I know that there is always the chance if we use NFP incorrectly, we could become pregnant, but that isn’t stopping us from using this method. The Lord has opened our hearts to children and we know he will provide for us in every situation, as long as we are faithful to him.

GOD’S PLAN:

Many couples say that an NFP lifestyle deepens their faith in God. I find that entirely true for me and my husband. The reality is that NFP is challenging, but it is clear to me that working together through the tough times strengthens and enriches our marriage. And as another couple said when discussing NFP with us: “The value I experience in NFP is in the long run …. It forces you to place your immediate choices in the context of spouse, children, family and Creator.”

NFP was actually created for couples TRYING to conceive children, but it can be used to avoid pregnancy as well. It’s good to know that when we are ready to have children, we know when it can be done. 😉

I encourage you, if you have ever or are now considering NFP to feel free to leave a comment or send me an e-mail at jleachman2@gmail.com. If you don’t feel comfortable with that, try this website: http://www.rcdok.org/ministries/catholic_charities/family_life/Natural_Family_Planning/

And know that NFP is not just a Catholic thing, it truly is for anyone. I know plenty of non-Catholics who use this method. Say a prayer and see where the Lord is leading your marriage.

The ABC’s of Thanksgiving.

Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow Americans! It’s time to stuff ourselves with turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, corn and of course…pumpkin pie! What a wonderful holiday we get to celebrate, yet every year it gets overtaken by the consumer-hungry day that follows, also known as “Black Friday”. America is funny. We’re funny, because there is a day filled with fighting over material possessions to purchase with money we don’t have, exactly 1 day after a day spent giving thanks for what we have. Contradict, much?

I’d like to take this time to say what I’m thankful for, Sesame Street style. Here goes:

  • A- Apartment. I’m blessed to get to come home to a warm/cool apartment (depending on the season) every day. It may be small, but it’s all we need for now. Thankful for my comfortable bed I get to lay in every night with my sweet husband.
  • B- Bible. Thankful for God’s Word and the guidance He has gives us through it. Many take it for granted, but I am so thankful I can read my bible without worrying if I’m going to be arrested for doing so. I love digging into scripture and learning more about my faith and strengthening my relationship with the Lord.
  • C- Creation. Of course this is an obvious one. I’m thankful that the Lord created me. I’m thankful for his beautiful creation, such as people, animals and nature. I stand in awe when I see a beautiful sunset or a gorgeous mountain range, because it shows how big our God is!
  • D- Dad. I’m so thankful for my dad and how hard he worked to provide for our family. He spent a lot of time away from us growing up, but I appreciate that now more than ever. I’m thankful for his sacrifice for us. Thankful that he raised our family in a church and showed my sister and I what it means to be in a Godly marriage. Thankful for their 30+ years (sorry, can’t remember exactly how many!) of marriage.
  • E- Employment. I am beyond thankful that I was able to find a job straight out of college. It may not be exactly what I saw myself doing, but I love my job. I love my boss, my co-workers, and our patients. Blessed to work with people who encourage me and follow similar values as me.
  • F- Freedom. Many of us Americans take our freedom for granted. I know I have at times, but I am beyond thankful for all those who have served to defend my freedom. Blessed to be able to worship the Lord without fear and have the opportunity to vote for the leader of our country.
  • G- Girlfriends. I am so blessed to have wonderful, encouraging, hilarious friends. My roommates from college have been such a blessing to my life. I am thankful to have found life-long friends in high school and college. They keep me accountable have shown me what true friendship really is.
  • H- Husband. I have the best husband in the world. I’m so blessed to be married to such a Godly, encouraging, loving man!
  • I- Indiana. I was born and raised in the great state of Indiana. Although I don’t live there anymore, I am very thankful for getting to grow up there.
  • J- Jesus Christ. So thankful for my Lord and Savior. Thankful for his never-ending love and mercy!
  • K- Kayaks. I promise I’m not just throwing this one out there because I can’t think of a word that starts with ‘K’. I really am thankful for the kayaks that my husband and I have. Kayaking is such a fun and relaxing hobby…well, it can be. I love the days in the summer that we spend paddling down the river in our kayaks, enjoying a beautiful, warm day. I love being in nature!
  • L- Love. Corny, I know, but it’s true. I’m so thankful that God has shown me what TRUE love looks like (sending his Son to die for me) and that because of  that, I can love the people in my life.
  • M- Mother. I have the most supportive and encouraging mom ever. I know everybody thinks theirs is the best, but mine seriously is! She sacrificed more than I will ever know as I was growing up and still does! I’m so thankful for her many years of sitting through countless swim meets (God bless her!), driving me all over the place for activities, and providing me with everything I needed, but not always everything I wanted (yes, I’m thankful for that looking back now!).
  • N- Nieces (and soon to have a nephew!). I have the cutest nieces in the world. My sister has to little girls and a boy on the way. Abby is 3 1/2 and Brooklyn just turned 1 in Sept. They are precious and I love spending time with them, though it’s not often due to distance. They are so smart and I love them both so much.
  • O- Ocean. I’m so thankful for getting to vacation at the beach every summer while growing up. My family was blessed to be able to do that and I loved every minute of it. I still love going to the beach when we get the chance. Not much else beats a beautiful sunset over an ocean.
  • P- Pepe le Pew. Pepe is our adorable tuxedo kitten. She has brought us so much laughter. She is a hyper-active, sweet, cuddly kitten. She does some pretty funny stuff and I’m so thankful we got her a few months ago.
  • Q- Quiet Time. I’m thankful that I have time in the morning before I leave for work to spend reading the Bible and having quiet time with the Lord. Also, it’s a blessing just to get to have solitude. So many people don’t ever get a chance to be alone and I’m thankful for the times I get to have a little silence in my life.
  • R- Running. I love to run. I am thankful for the ability to run and exercise. I have recently become a fan of running races, which motivates me to stay in shape.
  • S- Sister. My big sister means the world to me. She is more than a sister, she’s a best friend. I love her and value our relationship so much. So blessed to have been her maid of honor and have her as mine.
  • T- Technology. Though it can be a curse in so many ways, I am still very thankful for the modern technology that we have today. It is beneficial in so many ways. Things like Facebook (to stay connected or reconnect with friends and family), Skype (to see loved ones far away), and cell phones (to be able to get ahold of people when you need to). Thankful for the smart people who created these things!
  • U- United States of America. I am SO blessed to be an American citizen where I am free to believe what I want to believe and be who I want to be. I’m thankful for my country and what it stands for. Most of all, I’m thankful for the men and women who fight to defend all of those things for me.
  • V- Vaccines. This may sound random, but I am truly grateful for vaccines. When I was preparing to go to Kenya a few years ago, I was given 4 or 5 different vaccines. I was able to avoid contracting any diseases while in Africa. I am blessed to have good health. I’ve seen first-hand that so many around the world are not fortunate to have this technology. So many men, women and children in other countries don’t have the opportunity for a vaccine, therefore, making them more likely to develop diseases. SO thankful for intelligent people, working to create vaccines, such as the ones I was given and many others are given every day.
  • W- Western Kentucky University. I’m very thankful for my education and my college degree. I met life-long friends while in college (including my husband) and made some incredible memories.
  • X- X-rays. Ok, I may be pushing it with this one, but it’s one I don’t really think about often, but am thankful to have. X-rays are incredible and we are blessed to be able to have. My dad recently had to have X-rays to see if he needed surgery. The technology is incredible when you think about it. What did they do 100 years ago? Just deal with the pain, not knowing if they needed surgery or not? We are just so blessed to have this available to us today and I’m very thankful for that.
  • Y- Youth. My husband and I lead the youth group at our church. The student in the youth group have blessed our lives more than they will ever know. I am so thankful for this opportunity to serve, while hopefully being a model of Christ for them. It’s encouraging to see them grow in their faith.
  • Z- Zach. Zach is my brother-in-law (married to my sister I mentioned earlier). He is a Navy SEAL and spends a lot of time away from his family. I’m thankful for him and what he has done and will do for our country. I’m thankful for the sacrifices he makes so that I can feel safe and continue enjoy my freedom. I’m thankful for ALL of our troops that fight daily for this country.

Shew, I have a LOT to be thankful for…and that’s just ONE thing per letter. I could have listed multiple things for some letters. God has blessed me in so many ways.

So, before you start listing off all of the many things you WANT this Christmas, start by listing off all of the many things you HAVE! Be GRATEFUL and give THANKS. Maybe that will change your perspective a little. 🙂

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” -1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

that’s the power of prayer, baby.

You know those times when you get an idea or set a goal for yourself (example: new year’s resolution) and then a week later you stop doing it, or worse…forget about it? This isn’t going to be one of those times for me. Unlike my running schedule, I am very committed to this new goal I have set for myself. That being said, technically accomplishing the goal is not my main focus, but rather experiencing the reason for the goal. With the news that Lane Goodwin, a 13 year-old boy from Kentucky battling a rare form of cancer, passed away a few days ago, it got me thinking about prayer. Everyone was talking about praying for Lane and his family and I just kept thinking how disappointed I was in my self. Why, you ask?

Allow me to explain: I have this tendency to tell others that I am going to be praying for them, like it’s some kind of phrase I just say, but don’t always do. I’m guilty of this 80% of the time (i’ll give myself a little credit, here). And I promise I don’t just say I’m going to pray for someone to make myself look better; that is never my intention. I really do believe in the power of prayer. So it isn’t right for me tell say I’m going to pray for someone or something and then not do it. Here’s my solution: a prayer journal.

Corny? Maybe. Effective? Definitely.

From now on, I have no excuse for my lack of prayers for others. The Lord has really placed it on my heart to focus on my prayer life right now and to get out of my lazy habit of talking the talk, but not walking the walk. I want to encourage you to do the same.

Here’s my challenge to you: buy a journal, small enough to fit in your purse or backpack or fanny pack (yeah, some people still use those) and make note of the times someone asks you to pray for them or even if you notice a situation that needs prayer. Then, when you go to have your quiet time, read through the journal and pray the prayer requests you have written down. I promise that it will strengthen your prayer life more than you could ever imagine. It’s incredible to see how your attitude changes, too. It has for me.

One last thing I want to leave you with: don’t be afraid to pray for big things. Our God is bigger than ANY of our prayers. He is bigger than ANY of our problems. He loves us and yearns for a relationship with us (conversation!). He wants us to bring all of our burdens to him and lift them up to him. Think about it this way, Jesus prayed…he prayed a LOT. What better example do we have, then from the one who saved our souls?

Therefore,  confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be  healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is  working. –James 5:16

Amen to that!

dear tomorrow, annie may love you, but I don’t.

Tomorrow is the 33rd annual Medical Center 10k Classic and I’m 100% dreading it. Yep, dreading it. I actually can’t even believe I’m still going to run it, because of course those good ‘ol sinus infections like to sneak up on you like a bandit on the west side of town at night in a dark alley. It never fails to come at the worst time, too, with the goal of leaving you feeling exhausted and completely worthless. Well, sinuses, you succeeded. I feel awful.

Not only has my nose been running like the mighty waters of Niagara Falls, but my head feels like a hot air balloon on steroids. Not to mention my training (or lack thereof) has been lame. I have felt so weak this week (did you see what I did there?) that I haven’t gone for a run at all. Six days without running..that’s insane when you realize you’re running 6.2 miles in 18 hours. So, unlike little orphan Annie, I don’t love ya, tomorrow. Maybe another day.

However! All of this weakness talk has got me thinking about Jesus. Wait, that sounds bad. What I mean is, it got me thinking of the passage in 2 Corinthians, chapter 12. Paul is writing to the Corinthians about his past and recent struggles. He says he will only boast about his weaknesses, because Christ’s power is made perfect in weakness. Now I know I’m not in the same situation as Paul, and running 6.2 miles is nowhere near imprisonment, persecution or torture, but it is a situation where I will need Christ’s strength to get me through…“for when I am weak, then I am strong”. This is my opportunity to give ALL of the glory to the one who truly deserves it.

“For I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.”

-Philipians 4:13

Check back for the outcome of tomorrow’s events. If I survive….kidding. Kind of.

comfort in times of tragedy.

Doesn’t it always seem like when it rains, it pours? Like, one minute there is nothing really going on in your life and then all of a sudden you feel like every five minutes your being told something awful. It’s interesting, because I feel like the Lord uses those times to teach us trust, patience, and ultimately to grow in Him. I wouldn’t say that things in my life have gone terribly wrong, but I do feel like my prayer list has doubled in the past week. So much has been placed on my heart lately and most of it involves tragic situations – at least through my eyes.

A couple of weeks ago one of my best friend’s mother-in-law was in a horrific bicycle accident. She wasn’t wearing a helmet (which is unusual for her) and she must have lost balanced and flipped over the handlebars. Her name is Diane and she is one of the sweetest, most compassionate, most Godly woman I have ever had the privilege of meeting. Anytime I am around her I can see the light of Christ in her. She is so giving and encouraging and loving. I can only imagine what her family is feeling right now.

She is still in the hospital, but improving on a daily basis. We constantly get prayer updates from her husband, Tom, and it’s encouraging to see her improvement over the last few days. It is going to be a long journey ahead for her and her family. I feel that the Lord has given them peace and comfort at this time and that is also encouraging to see. They are such a faithful family and I am certain the Lord is going to provide for them and take care of the situation. We serve an unfailing God and his plan is perfect!

But as I said, I have a lengthy list of prayers right now. One of which includes my in-laws. My husband’s 97 year-old grandmother (grandmom as we called her) passed away two nights ago. The funeral is this Friday. Grandmom was such a great woman. She was always so kind to me and always remembered exactly what was going on in our lives. It was amazing to see how sharp her mind still was in her 90’s.

Another sweet thing about her is that she gave my husband her wedding rings a few years ago when he was ready to propose. We were not able to use the exact ring, since her fingers were swollen at the time and they had to cut the band, but we were able to use the main stone from it. I absolutely adore my ring. I am so thankful for her generosity in giving those to us. They mean so much to me and I am looking forward to the day (Lord willing) when I can pass it along to either my children or grandchildren.

I know that grandmom is in a better place now, because she was an extremely faithful Christian and devout Catholic. I have been through losing a grandparent and I know that it’s not easy, but we are very thankful that God blessed her with a long, healthy life. We will all miss her.

My husband and I lead the youth group at our church. We have an amazing group of kids and we love them and their hearts. One of the guys from the group, lost his mother to cancer a few days ago. I’m sure it’s been tough for him; I can’t imagine losing my mother, especially as a high schooler. I pray that this tragedy would strengthen him in his faith in Jesus Christ and that he would grow closer to him at this time. The funeral is this weekend and we would have loved to be there to support this young man, but unfortunately we’ll be out of town for grandmom’s funeral. He’s a great kid and always makes us laugh. I hope that he’ll find peace and comfort in the Lord.

Death is hard to deal with. Suffering is hard to deal with. And I’ll admit, trusting in the Lord can be hard as well. But prayer is the most valuable thing we can do in times of hardship and tragedy. Prayer isn’t ‘worrying before God’. Prayer puts worry to rest (Philippians 4:6,7)! Faith-filled prayer is steady and rock solid and knows what it is praying about.

Thank you for taking the time to read all of this.

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” -John 16:33

a lesson from a nonagenarian (apparently that’s what 90 year-olds are called).

It’s no surprise at my job (I work for a hearing aid business) that I deal mainly with the elderly population. It is a surprise, however, how much it has effected me over the past year. Almost every week a patient will tell me about his or her spouse passing away recently, or a new complication they have, or the worst…that this may be the last time I see them. I’ve never really been an overly affectionate person. In fact, I hate PDA, I rarely cry and I’d always rather high-five someone than hug them. But lately, I’ve developed this more emotional sensitive side. I think the problem is is I’m not getting any younger and neither are the ones I love.

Last week, a gentleman told me how hard it is to do even the little things without his wife. He said making the bed without her is hard, eating breakfast alone hurts, and walking at the mall just isn’t the same as going for a walk with her. He left that day and I bawled my eyes out, thinking that could be my husband some day…or worse, me. To imagine my life without my husband is almost unbearable. Even the thought of not being able to call my mom everyday or see my dad or sister or nieces again is enough to make me sick to my stomach. A lot of times I just wish I could freeze things and stay this age forever. But then I remember there is much more to this life than always being young and full of life. The sole purpose of my being is to bring glory to my Lord and Savior.

I think I worry so much about losing those around me, because death is a hard pill to swallow no matter how young or old we are. It’s not easy saying goodbye to the people who were always there for us, who have supported us all our lives, and who taught us all that we know. I do know that no matter what may come in the future, God will provide for me and he will take care of me. He promises that to all who are faithful to him (Psalm 81:10).  So all I have to worry about is living a life for Him. Making sure I love unconditionally, showing grace to those around me, and always trying to set an example for Christ. I pray that the Lord will continue to work in my heart and help me through this recent struggle of thinking losing those most precious to me would mean the end all happiness. As long as my happiness is found in Christ, I have nothing to worry about.

I’m so thankful for my job and all that I have (unexpectedly) learned. God is good.