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Archive for the ‘God’s faithfulness’ Category

The last several months has been a very recognizable and blessed time in my life and for our family - definitely providing reminders of how faithful God is.  A trip to the Mexican Riviera, time with my daughter as we got ready for her wedding, sweet time with our  family and then a most memorable, beautiful wedding day for Nic & Audrianna.  How God continues to show His love to me…

During the reception, I stood back and looked at the goodness God has given me – my husband of 30 1/2 years, my daughters and their husbands, my grandson, my parents and our many friends who helped us so very much…. I cannot even begin to express the overwhelming thankfulness and love I felt.

Over the next several days I will be sharing various photos from the many events that I mentioned here.  And then in August I am planning a total Blog Make-Over to keep up with my current life callings.  There have been so many changes in the past years that my current blog needs to be updated!!

Before the wedding….

A dear little Grandson celebrates his 2nd Birthday with a train cake at our house.

Nana has made each of  the brides a lovely book detailing their wedding along with her thoughts.  She and my Dad took Audrianna and I out to breakfast to present it to her.

The men now outnumber the women in our family – how did this happen??  My husband enjoys reminding us of how our family of girls now has more guys than girls!!

We were so glad that Josiah was here to make our family complete for this special celebration.

Nic &  Audrianna enjoying a their Rehearsal Dinner at a quaint Carriage House with a wonderful dinner provided by Nic’s Mom.  It was a special evening.

Jason & Alycia enjoying the evening – it seems like their wedding was just celebrated (September 2010)!

A happy little boy with his Mama.  Joey did so well the entire wedding weekend – he is such a joy to all of us!

This is our original core family.

This is our current family.  We are so BLESSED!!  I wonder how many more will be added to this family over the years.

~

This is the verse that I have featured on the heritage table at each of the weddings and it is perfect verse to end this post…

“For the Lord is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations.” Psalm 100:5

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For the past year, this flag has hung in our front window, a Service Flag showing that our family had a service member serving in the war (you can learn more about these flags here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Service_flag)

On Tuesday evening, this flag was no longer necessary as our son-in-law came home from a year’s deployment in Afghanistan. Please give thanks with us as you view the following photos of  that evening

250 Soldiers marched in

The first hug

Joey welcoming his Daddy

Our son-in-law, we are so proud

The happy family

Joey’s shirt says My Dad is Awesome

Let’s go home!

Take your boots off Daddy…

My window today.

Thank you Josiah for serving our country – we are so proud of you and so happy you are home.  God is so faithful and worthy to be praised.

“Who is like you, LORD God Almighty? 
   You, LORD, are mighty, and your faithfulness surrounds you.” Psalms 89:*

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Henry Ossawa Tanner, The Annunciation, 1898. Oil on canvas, 57" × 71½". Philadelphia Museum of Art.

 

 

Last year I wrote a blog post on Mary’s response when the angel told her that she would be the Mother of the Christ Child – her response was “May it be to me as You have said.”.   I continue to be amazed at Mary’s response to this unexpected news in her life.

Mary is an impressive woman – young or old.  God obviously thought so too as He calls her favored among all women.  Her expectations  for her entire life  are disrupted – yet she was able to immediately say … “May it be to me as You have said.”  She responds with these words of trust and faith to the God she serves without even knowing how Joseph or her family will respond to this news.

I have been pondering Mary’s response again, since I spoke on her life at the women’s retreat last month.  Once again, I am reminded at how little of my life I control and how God constantly wants me to trust Him with my life plans.  I am slowly (too often painfully slow) learning to respond with these words of trust and faith.  Last year, I wrote that “I wanted to be found faithful to my all faithful God.  I want to be able to trust in His sovereignty plan no matter what happens.  I want to say with certainty and boldness “May it be to me as You have said’ when life is hard.  My desire is to be found faithful in the midst of troubles and pain.”   And now at the end of this year, I can honestly say that I have grown to respond more like Mary, and truly my life has been less stressful and more peaceful.

This year I echo these words again, “May it be to me as You have said.” Of course, my life circumstances are different this year, yet I still need to response to God’s plans (even broken hands) with these words.

Lord, remind me over and over again, that nothing is impossible with God.  May I be able to say, for the rest of my life, in good and hard circumstances “May it be to me as You have said.” Thank you for helping me to respond  with these words  throughout the circumstances of the last year.  Thank you for Mary’s example of trusting You even when our expectations for life are in shambles.  Thank you for helping me in my unbelief, continue to help me to really believe and trust… because you came to save me from my own unbelief.  Amen

What is happening in your life today that you need to say as Mary did, “May it be to me as You have said.”

 

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Our family in September 2009

Our family in September 2010.

I am so thankful for all that God has done in our family — it is ALL His doing because Bill and I have made plenty of mistakes.  May I encourage each of you to hang on and stay true to your promises …. God is faithful and brings Himself glory through all of our pain and struggles.

 

Psalm 113

1 Praise the LORD.
Praise, O servants of the LORD,
praise the name of the LORD.

2 Let the name of the LORD be praised,
both now and forevermore.

3 From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets,
the name of the LORD is to be praised.

4 The LORD is exalted over all the nations,
His glory above the heavens.

5 Who is like the LORD our God,
the One who sits enthroned on high,

6 who stoops down to look
on the heavens and the earth?

7 He raises the poor from the dust
and lifts the needy from the ash heap;

8 He seats them with princes,
with the princes of their people.

9 He settles the barren woman in her home
as a happy mother of children.
Praise the LORD.

 

 

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The last of our family has left and most of the wedding items  in our home has been cleaned, delivered or eaten.  It is over and to quote the line from the Father of the Bride, “It is funny how empty a house can get, isn’t it?”

The weekend was beyond words that I can use to describe.  We all felt the Lord’s amazing presence all week, but especially on the day of Jason & Alycia’s wedding.  The weather was so prefect for September – low 70′s, sunshine, blue skies with puffy, big white clouds and a little fall breeze. Thank you Lord for such a perfectly beautiful day….

Our family was surround by people who love us.  How do I describe the love and support we all felt that weekend? Once again, there are no words to describe the feeling.  My friend Merry who flew in from California to make all the delicious food with help from Kelly & Lauren,  Ann and Megan who coordinated the entire day and kept us on schedule, Joe who smoked 30 lbs of pork (it was so good), Dawn who created  the special cake, Stephanie who organized and Cindy and Micaela who managed the cookie table (a Western PA tradition) and Alycia’s good friend Tina and Ann (her Mom), who made the reception amazing.  God has provided us with friends who travel across the United States to care for us.  There are no words to express how thankful we are for all of these dear friends.  We love each of you.  Thank you Lord, for the love of our friends….



How does a Mother describe her emotions as she sees her oldest daughter get married?  I have done this before (just last year) yet the emotions were as intense as before.  All throughout the day, I would remember that little girl who graced our home with great joy and I was overwhelmed at the beautiful bride she was.  I know I expressed this last year, but even after all the times I had seen Alycia in her wedding dress (picking it out and the fittings) – seeing her as a bride once again took my breath away. Thank you Lord,  for allowing me to be the Mother of this beautiful bride.

And then there is Jason, this young man I have been praying for since I learned of my pregnancy with Alycia.  The man, Alycia has waited for.  How thankful I am for the Christian family that raised him and for his own commitment to Christ.  I can see how they compliment and complete each other.  I remember how many times I encouraged Alycia to wait for God’s choice and it brings me great joy to see Jason as the one God chose.  Thank you Lord, for working in Jason’s life to prepare him to be Alycia’s husband….

Once again, I am thankful for my husband Bill and our marriage.  As Jason and Alycia had their first dance, Bill and I shared a moment of thankfulness that God had kept us together.  As we sat around the table with our daughters, son-in-law, grandson and my parents – we felt so blessed.  One of my friends wrote this to me…  “Sitting there at the wedding while Alycia was “dancing” with her groom  I looked over at you and Bill and I think I almost cried. (ok I did
get misty) You were looking at each other with your foreheads together  and from where I was sitting the sun was shining through the two of  you and just as I looked over a tear dropped from your eye and the sun  caught as it fell between you and it looked like a diamond dropped.   It just reminded me of how you prayed and prayed for Alycia and there  was the moment. so sweet. Just beyond you was Laryssa and the baby  stroller holding your grandson, I just couldn’t think of anything I  have seen more beautiful lately than your family. You already know how
blessed you are, but I just wanted to tell you that the complete  moment was frozen in time there and it looked just like a little  glimpse of heaven.”

Thank you Lord for gracing our family with love, especially Your Love.  I am so thankful for the glimpse of heaven You provided at Jason & Alycia’s wedding in so many ways.  It was a perfect day because of YOU.

The LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.

Psalm 126:3

(more photos coming tomorrow…)

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Have you ever noticed that many of things that we are so fearful of never actually happen?  We spend  a great deal of time worrying and fretting about the things we are afraid are going to happen — and most of the time, those things don’t happen.  But there are times when they do and then we must decide how to handle those fears.

Many years ago, I heard a sermon on “When what you fear actually happens” – and it was powerful in my life.  I recently transferred the notes for the 3rd time into my new Bible (My Bibles through the years) and I have used the points from this sermon over and over again in my life.  In the last month, I have shared these lessons with many people who are struggling with “out of control” issues in their lives. 

When what you fear actually happens…

Read Exodus 14:

  1. What the Israelites feared actually happened - they were in bondage between the Red Sea and the oncoming army of Pharaoh.  There was no place to run or hide, they were terrified and lashed out at Moses for bringing them to this place.  How quickly they forgot all that God had just done for them – the plagues against Egypt’s land, the death of Egypt’s firstborns, the exodus from Egypt including taking the Egyptian’s gold.  It is hard to remember God’s faithfulness when an army of 600+  chariots (filled with officers) are coming at you and your only option for salvation is a Sea.  It is hard to believe that God is with us, when our fears come true.
  2. God provides a way when there is no way –  the Israelites only hope is God.  Actually, that was their only hope all long.  God had told Moses that Pharaoh’s army would come after them (1-4), and even with this fore-knowledge, the Israelites lost hope.  They were terrified and I have been in the same place many times.  They were mad at Moses and I have been mad at people.  They said things that revealed their lack of  faith and I too have done the same thing.  Yet, God does the unbelievable and He works through Moses to open the Red Sea.  It did not happen at the first sign of dust from the chariots though, it came when the chariots were approaching closer.  God provided the way through the Sea in His timing and to reveal His glory.  It was totally God’s amazing plan, not Moses, the Israelites or even Pharaoh’s.  And when our fears are actually happening, it will be God’s plan that will provide the way.
  3. God has the power to carry out His plan – God told Moses before Pharaoh’s army had even gathered that He had a plan to gain glory for Himself (verse 4).  Through Moses, God tells the people that He will fight for them and they only need to keep still (vs 14).  God’s angel provides the shield between the Pharaoh’s army and the Israelites while they pass through the walls of water on dry ground (vs 19-20).  And then in God’s power, He destroyed the entire army of Pharaoh.   It was all God’s power, not Moses’, not the Israelites’ and not even their faith that saved them.  It was God’s power. 

The scriptures tell us over and over again to not be afraid and fearful.  Our fear keep us terrified, paralyzed, complaining, and anxiety riden.    Our fears us from trusting God and developing our faith.  Yet, all God asked of the Israelites was to stand still and allow God to fight for them (vs 14) and that is what He asks of you as well.  How I have needed to come back to these 3 points in my life time and time again.

So what are you afraid of?  What will happen if it actually happens?  Will you be able to be still and wait for God to open the Red Sea for you? 

In my upcoming posts, I will post several fears of mine that actually have happened and how God has provided when my fears actually happen…. Do you have a story of fear to God’s power that you want to share?  If so, please feel free to send it to me at sandrajoseph@windstream.net for consideration to be published on my blog.

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http://solonginsecurity.com/?cat=3

Like 300,000 other women in the US and Canada – I attended Beth Moore Simulcast titled So Long Insecurities.  I, like every woman I know, struggle with insecurities and so I was looking forward to this event.

I got the So Long Insecurity book about a month ago, and was anxious to dig into it.  I always appreciate Beth Moore and can relate to her in many different ways such as raising daughters, married to a quiet yet manly man, having an outgoing personality who loves being around people (especially women) and more.  I remember how excited I was when the Bible Study I was involved with decided to do a Beth Moore Study – I know that I drank in every word of that study (and we did not even do the videos at that time).  Beth is definitely a gift to women for “such a time as this.”

I was surprised that the book didn’t hook me as I expected; several times I picked it up and tried to get into the subject.  Finally, knowing that I was heading to the simulcast with the same title, I started reading again.  I found great truth in Beth’s words and I could totally relate to what she was writing as I deal with so many insecurities every day.  But there was something that was not clicking the way I typically relate to Beth’s writing.  The same was true of the conference – Beth was speaking great truths that I  struggle with, yet even while I was agreeing with her, something was missing.  What was it?  What was I missing?  Did I really want to deal with and be healed of my insecurities, or did I want to remain in a place that I am comfortable, yet insecure.

 The closing chapters of So Long Insecurity are good reading and one thing that really caught my attention is where Beth basically boiled her entire message on “Trust God” (page 320 of So Long Insecurities).  And then she asks, “What frightens you”.   Beth continues to state that …”Any time insecurity hits, you can be sure that you are afraid of something.  The question is what? … I used to think that the essence of trusting God was trusting that He wouldn’t allow my fears to become realities.  Without knowing it, I mostly trusted God to do what I told Him.”

Oh, boy now this is the very issue that I have been working through and sharing with others for years… because the very things that I have feared would happen – have and have happened to others.   Just recently, I spent the day with a woman who is facing many difficulties in her life and I asked her about what she was fearful of (this is before I read Beth’s words).  Actually, I have asked many women this questions and I have asked it of myself most often?  What am I afraid of and if my fears come to be, how will I be able to deal with it?  And I have learned, through many hours of tears and insecurity, that God is still the God of the Universe and is totally in trustworthy even when my worst fears happen.  Even when ..

  • difficult finances  bring bankrupcy
  • marriage issues need to be worked through when it would be easier to run
  • the never-ending issues of living daily with a chronic disease never leave and will be healed this side of heaven
  • a Christian business failed that I know God called me and others to start
  • there are relationship struggles with women that I have hurt and who have hurt me
  • and on and on…

And since my God has been faithful and trustworthy in all of my fears - why am I insecure?  I know that I can trust God, I know that He is using my life experiences in the lives of other women to bring Himself glory, and I know that my insecurities are an attack of the enemy of my soul who wants me to believe that I am nothing but a failure who has no purpose.  Again, my God showed me again, that my insecurities are more comfortable than trusting Him.  Insecurities allow me to have self-pity.  Insecurities actually mean that I don’t believe God and His promised.  Most of all, my insecurities are a sin in my life that focus on myself and not God’s calling in my life.

It took awhile and even with my friend, Beth Moore’s guidance – it was something I needed to learn (again) for myself.  And I am sure that I will need to learn it again…  

Several former posts on Trusting God (see I do continue to learn this lesson…)

What are you most fearful of?  How does it affect your insecurities?  Please share….

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Last Wednesday, Saint Patrick’s Day, our oldest daughter, Alycia said YES to marrying Jason.  She started her day in Florida with her Grandparents and me, arrived in Pittsburgh in time to have lunch with her Daddy and by that evening, she had a fiance and a beautiful engagement ring on her finger.

Photo taken by Jason’s Mom of Jason & Alycia that evening.

Once again, Bill and I are so blessed by God bringing Jason into Alycia’s life.  I told him the evening that they called, that Bill and I had been praying for him since before Alycia was born.  It is fun to watch how God has worked in both of their lives to draw them together.  God is so faithful!

It would appear that another wedding is going to be scheduled for September.  So many good things continue to happen in our lives – weddings, grandson (soon to be born), college freshman, empty nest, turning 50 -  WOW! 

The LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.

Psalm 126:3

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Blessings Unlimited Passage Clock

Time-themed Scripture passages scroll across the parchment-paper center clock.  It is a beautiful reminder of the importance of the moments in our lives.

 

“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.” Romans 5:6

I started writing this post on December 3 and now is the “right time” to finish writing it.  This verse has always caught my interest - because I typically think that God’s timing is late or very wrong.   It is only when I review events, once they have occurred, that I can  see the absolute right timing of a perfect God.

I wonder how many people thought Christ’s death on the cross had not come in the “right time”, specifically those who expected Christ to be an earthly King.    I am sure that the people who waited for the Messiah to be born between the Old and New Testament thought that the “right time” would have been better in their time.    So many Biblical People waited for God’s “right time” for answers to their prayers or for the promises that God made them. 

My husband often tells me that we just don’t see time from God’s perspective … how true (thanks for that analytical reminder, Bill :) ).  As I have pondered this verse over the last 2 months — here are some life events that happened at just the “right time”:

  • At just the “right time”,  I had the honor to go with a very pregnant (and very dear to me) MOPS Mom to the hospital hoping that her delivery would be that day.  Instead, we went home with no baby in her arms and disappointment in our hearts.  But in God’s “right time”, she delivered baby Gabe later that week when her Mom could be here from another state. 
  • At just the “right time” God has brought 3 wonderful guys into our daughter’s lives.  It is a blessing to see how God has answered Bill’s and my prayers for these guy’s  involvement  in our daughter’s lives that came at just the right time.
  • At just the “right time”, Bill and I became empty nesters and have enjoyed time together traveling as I spoke this fall, hosting family and friends who needed a comfortable place to stay and time with  each other alone.  God knew all of this when He surprised us with our first daughter 25 years ago (who came at just the “right time”).
  • At just the “right time” each month, Audrianna’s financial needs have been met at Moody.  This is a result of God’s goodness through providing a job for her and  my parents and our daughter’s kindnesses.  Each month, I wonder how it will be met, and God always provides. 
  • At just the “right time”, my very good friend’s husband got a  job.  He had been out of work for the past year and many times we talked through how late God timing seemed.  But, through it all, God provided for their needs and in December (the “right time”) he got a good job that uses his gifts. 

And yet, there are many things I (and others) are waiting for God to reveal His “right time”

  • Bill and I continue to wait for God to reveal His plans for our financial future, and Bill’s calling/jobs.
  • For Audrianna’s needs to continually met at for college.
  • For a new grandbaby to be born.
  • For God to continue to open doors for my Blessings Unlimited Business and Speaking.
  • For healing for many of our beloved friends who are dealing with hard life issues
  • For friends and family members who do not call the Lord their Savior.
  • For many of the MOPS Moms who desire that their marriages would include spiritual aspects
  • For the Lord, Jesus to return so that for all those who struggle and suffer (which is all of us) and who know the Lord to be whole in every way.

What experience have you just had that revealed to you God’s “right time”?  What “right time” of God are you waiting for?  Please share – it is so encouraging to learn how God is working in all our lives at “just the right time.”

 

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January is National Mentoring Month recognized by our President, General Colin Powell and many others.  I want to recognize how God has provided mentoring relationships for my daughters as I have mentoring MOPS Moms.

Last year, I taught a workshop at the Hearts at Home National and Regional Conferences titled “The Joy of Mentoring.”  Throughout the workshop, I wove my own my stories of mentoring along with what mentoring is and is not.  At the end of the workshop, I passionately called upon the women to consider the call of becoming a mentor in the life of a younger woman.  I told each group of women, that my middle daughter was a new wife (or would be soon), and would be living across the United States from me and I was praying for a Christian Women to mentor her.

How faithfully God answered this prayer….

Years ago when Alycia went to Penn State, she joined The Navigators and was mentored by a young woman named Erin, who was a junior.  Erin spent time with Alycia, helping her to adjust to college life, helping her grow stronger in her relationship with God, and teaching her how to lead.  Alycia was with Erin as she prepared for one of her first dates with her husband and later she was a bridesmaid in their wedding.  Since they parted, Erin has moved many times with her military husband and is on staff with The Navigators and has stayed connected with Alycia.

In September, Laryssa married a military man and immediately moved to Monterey, California where her husband was finishing school.  Before the wedding, Alycia learns that Erin and her husband will soon be stationed at the same base in Monterey and she connects Laryssa and Erin.  For the 14 weeks that Laryssa lived in Monterey, Erin mentored her on being a military wife, moving often, encouraging her in her new life. 

How faithful is our God… it was not consequences that Alycia met Erin her first weekend at college or that Erin was at the same base that Laryssa would be. God knew how Erin would be used in the lives of my daughters.  My prayers  had been answered when I sent my first-born off to a major university and later when I sent my middle daughter across the United States to begin her married life. God provided Erin to mentor Alycia and Laryssa at different times and in different ways.

Are you praying for a mentors for your children?  Are you mentoring others to serve as an example to your children (so they know to look for a mentor and to mentor others).  I have always found that you can never out give God – He has blessed my mentoring relationships over the years and provided mentoring relationships for my daughters.  How thankful I am…. Blessed be the faithfulness of the Lord.

 

 Erin and Alycia

Erin and Laryssa                  

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