God’s Gifts in Waiting

Waiting is a part of everyone’s life at some point or another. For those like myself who deal with chronic illnesses, we spend much time waiting. We are waiting for a diagnosis, waiting for test results, waiting for insurance to approve a procedure or treatment, waiting to get into a specialist and waiting to feel better.

Our soul waits for the LORD;

He is our help and shield. – Psalm 33:20

One thing I will say is God has always met us, sustained us and caused us to grow and be refined in many ways through seasons of waiting.

I have learned more about God’s sovereignty, His faithfulness, having joy and gratitude in hard circumstances during seasons of waiting. The lessons learned in one season build up what we lean on in future seasons of waiting.

While I waited nearly a decade to get some of my issues diagnosed, I have walked through a couple more challenging seasons of waiting that I can look back and see how God really uses them to train me in His character, to grow my faith and dependency on Him and gain a greater eternal perspective than I would have had without them.

The first challenging season of waiting was from March 30, 2011 to June 7, 2011. For over two months I did not know if I had chronic blood cancer or an acute leukemia with a short time to live. God allowed dear friends Earl & Nancy to be visiting the first week of this season. Nancy had just completed chemo and radiation therapies after a mastectomy for recurring breast cancer. She and Earl sat in our living room recounting the ways God met them in her cancer and crying tears of joy. Their example showed me I wanted to be known as a women of joy and gratitude regardless of which diagnosis I received and to bring Christ glory. As I lived in the Word, I learned lessons on faith, counting it all joy, gratitude and dependency in a deeper and richer way than I had ever experienced prior to this. I realized whether my life was cut short or merely changed and long, I wanted my life to count for Christ and eternity. To share all I learned in those weeks would be a whole volume.

5 I wait for the LORD, and in his word I hope; 6 my soul waits for the LORD more than watchman for the morning, more than watchmen in the morning. – Psalm 130:5-6

The second harder season of waiting was from August 30, 2018 until March of 2019. This was not health related though the stress of it flared my health issues up. It was a nightmarish season of false accusations against my husband and two other pastors at our church. We were dealing with the hard reality that somebody we loved dearly and had been a very close friend was the one making these charges. Our relationship has not yet been restored since they continue to believe the lies about us. My husband and the the other two pastors were cleared of all wrong doing last March and commended for their faithfulness. This was a really hard season of seeking God and looking for His care and for treasures in the darkness. During this season, I dwelled in the Psalms and learned lessons of lamenting as well as praising God in the darkness of betrayal, false accusations and uncertainty. Somehow this season was much harder than awaiting a cancer diagnosis. But again we grew in trusting a faithful God who works out His perfect will even in situations that seem so counter to His heart of love and grace. And we still continue to wait for restoration of this relationship.

I will give you the treasures of darkness and the hoards in secret places, that you may know that it is I, the LORD, the God of Israel, who call you by your name. – Isaiah 45:3

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. – Romans 12:12

How has God met you in seasons of waiting? Which verses or passages most encouraged you?

Welcome to Holland.

Today I am blogging a post I saw on Facebook this weekend during Rare Disease Day on February 29,2020. It is an analogy of how chronic illness changes your life what we planned and that it is still good. This was written about the changes in life having a baby brings, but in many ways our lives, dreams and plans are more disrupted with chronic illnesses.

rarediseaseday2020 #rdd2020 #mastocytosis #MCAS

When you’re going to have a baby, it’s like you’re planning a vacation to Italy. You’re all excited. You get a whole bunch of guidebooks, you learn a few phrases so you can get around, and then it comes time to pack your bags and head for the airport.
Only when you land, the stewardess says, ‘WELCOME TO HOLLAND.”
You look at one another in disbelief and shock, saying, “HOLLAND? WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT? I SIGNED UP FOR ITALY.”
But they explain that there’s been a change of plan, that you’ve landed in Holland and there you must stay.
“BUT I DON’T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT HOLLAND!” you say. ‘I DON’T WANT TO STAY!”
But stay you do. You go out and buy some new guidebooks, you learn some new phrases, and you meet people you never knew existed. The important thing is that you are not in a bad place filled with despair. You’re simply in a different place than you had planned. It’s slower paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy, but after you’ve been there a little while and you have a chance to catch your breath, you begin to discover that Holland has windmills. Holland has tulips. Holland has Rembrandts.
But everyone else you know is busy coming and going from Italy. They’re all bragging about what a great time they had there, and for the rest of your life, you’ll say, “YES, THAT’S WHAT I HAD PLANNED.”
The pain of that will never go away. You have to accept that pain, because the loss of that dream, the loss of that plan, is a very, very significant loss. But if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to go to Italy, you will never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things about Holland.

And Holland has been more than ok. 💕

Welcome to Holland
by Emily Perl Kingsley

I know in my own journey with chronic illness, the big key towards living a full, joyful and grateful life was embracing the new normal in life that God has sovereignly ordained. He has used living a new and different life to grow my faith and confidence in Him and His goodness. I am learning to appreciated that which is around me rather than the places I will never go or things not likely to ever do. The scenery on this journey, while different than I expected, is still captivating and lovely when I look through the lens of God’s sovereign, sustaining grace.

Wherever you thought you would be compared to where you are now, remember He is faithful, sovereign, good and wise and His desires for us is our eternal good and His glory by living our lives wherever He has led us.

The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands. – Psalm 138:8

Blessings,

Deb

Wings of Hope

But I will hope continually

and will praise you yet more and more.

– Psalm 71:14

One thing that keeps us going even in the hardest seasons is hope. Who or what do your base your hope upon? Is it the circumstances and people around you which can quickly change or fail you? Or is your hope based on the faithful, loving, sovereign, good and wise God who created and holds together every atom of the universe?

I recently did a word search through the scriptures on hope and found out what God’s Word says we can hope in. After reading various verses God laid a response on my heart in the form of this poem. I will share the verses at the end of this post.

Wings of Hope

Hope is a delicate bird, feathered and light,

That the slightest breeze can raise to greatest height.

God’s faithfulness and steadfast love

Cause wings of hope to soar above.

When winds of adversity fiercely do blow,

Hope draws from God’s Word that it trusts in and knows;

Soars to its Hiding Place and Shield,

To the Spirit’s lead it does yield.

The storms may bring turmoil and make one case down;

Hope flutters to life and in despair won’t drown.

Hope knows that it will again praise,

In darkness songs of worship raise.

– Deborah Peabody February 2, 2020

Hope in God’s steadfast love:

Psalm 33:2

Psalm 33:18

Hope in God:

Psalm 62:5

Psalm 33:2

Psalm 42:5

Psalm 71:5

Hope in God’s Word:

Psalm 119:74

Psalm 119:81

Psalm 119:114

Psalm 130:5

May these verses and others in the scripture dealing with hope bring you encouragement and greater hope in whatever season you currently find yourself.

Blessings,

Deb

God is the Strength of my Heart

25 Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.

26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

28 But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, that I may tell of all your works.

– Psalm 73:25-26, 28

There are days or seasons when chronic illnesses flair and you feel you are running on empty or swimming in quicksand struggling to keep you head up and just survive.

I am so grateful in those moments or seasons I have a source of strength, a deliverer and refuge in my Abba God. That I can rest in Him and His strength.

When I am feeling a need for the strength and help God offers I go to His Word and listen to worship songs that encourage. The first couple are older ones while the last couple are newer.

Yet Will I Praise Thee:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Cq8JeBWRdrM

Lead me to the Rock:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=wRfsIZhM5fA

In the Valley:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=9BPaMhGNRkQ

Even When It Hurts

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=XSvFEaFDn00

1 I love you, O LORD, my strength.

2 The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. – Psalm 18:1-2

The LORD is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him. – Exodus 15:2

The Clean Slate of a New Year

A friend mentioned to me a couple of years ago how we have a whole new year ahead of us that is a clean slate of 365 days. He went on to say it is like a new snow before any footprints have made any paths.

Yesterday, I was pondering this as we had over 8 inches of new snow that fell. Each step I make in the snow permanently changes how it looks. I contemplated how each thing I do, every word I speak and each thought I think has the potential to change the vista in my corner of the world to either improve it or detract from it.

Father God,

Help me to ponder my paths and consider where I will go with my actions, words and thoughts. Enable my paths to be filled with sweet communion with You and falling more in love with You, Lord. May my paths be filled with love for You and love for others, as well as Your perfect peace, joy and gratitude. Lead me in paths that bring honor and glory to You. Please let me not mar my hours and days with the mud of resentment, bitterness, unforgiveness, what-ifs, ingratitude or selfishness. Instead, Lord, enable me to beautify my path by loving, giving, sharing, serving and extending grace to those You place along my journey through 2020.

Lord, I desire to be fully engaged in my relationships, in noticing others and recognizing their needs, by being awestruck by Your glorious creation as I walk through each moment You ordain. Deepen my appreciation of all of Your gifts, even the ones that come in the rocky, steep terrain of suffering or inconveniences of a suddenly changed course. May I fully trust Your purposes and rest in Your faithfulness that Your sovereign path for my life is for my eternal good and Your glory.

In Jesus Name,

Amen.

So as I look at our new snow, I notice where a bird or rabbit have gently, perhaps timidly, left their marks. I also notice the gregarious patterns left by my two dogs bounding joyously through the snow. I again ponder how at times the Lord allows times to gently walk one uncertain step at a time while other times we must boldly bound out enthusiastically and obediently where He leads. I pray God gives me discernment when to proceed slowly or cautiously and when He is calling me to boldly step out of my comfort zone. In reality, anywhere I am walking with God should be in my comfort zone.

I am asking the Lord to give me His ability to walk each step in 2020 with faith and confidence in my faithful, sovereign, good and wise God instead of getting off course with worry, inadequacies or fear.

Today I look with anticipation at the blank slate of 2020 and where the Lord directs my paths.

May you each have a wondrous and Happy New Year!

Blessings,

Deb

Gluten Free Almond Danish Puff Pastry

I always enjoyed the Danish Puff Pastry my mom when I was a girl as well as when I made it myself for many years after I married. Once my health tanked in November 2009, I suddenly developed severe gluten intolerance and many food and chemical sensitivities so I no longer made it.

Last week, I tackled a project that I have put off several years. I went through stacks of saved recipes plus the two binders of recipes I have compiled over 37 years of marriage. I reorganized and culled ones there is no way I can use with my Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and dietary restrictions. I came across the Danish puff pasty recipe and thought what if I try to convert this to gluten free? As I did it, I quickly realized it needed more moisture in the crust and some guar gum (you can sub xanthum gum if not allergic to corn).

It came out of the oven resembling and smelling like the original version. After it saw cooled a bit, I frosted it and topped with sliced toasted almonds. Then the hard part was waiting to try it after dinner. We both thoroughly enjoyed this along with a cup of hot tea. It got two thumbs and all fingers and toes up from my husband.

For mixing the crust in this and my gluten free pie crusts I either use my food processor or a pastry cutter like this.

I inherited my pastry cutter/blender from my mother-in-law, but places like Amazon, Bed Bath & Beyond and Target carry these.

Gluten Free Almond Danish Puff Pastry

Preheat oven to 400F

FOR CRUST:

Combine in bowl or food processor:

1 cup gluten free flour blend (mine is at end of post)

1/2 tsp guar gum

1/2 tsp salt

Cut in with pastry cutter or food processor blades until it resembles coarse crumbs:

1/2 cup butter, cold (1 cube) cut into small pieces

Add 1 TBSP at a time and stir with fork or blend with food processor until pie dough consistency.:

3.5 – 5 TBSP cold water (varies with how humid or dry it is).

Gather dough into a ball and divide in half. Use a cookie sheet with parchment paper or silicon mat and pat the two halves into two 3″ x 12″ rectangles. Leave on counter while prep the rest.

FOR TOP LAYER: (This very much like cream puff batter).

Combine in small bowl and then set aside:

1 cup gluten free flour blend

1 tsp guar gum

In a sauce pan bring to boil:

1 cup water

1/2 cup butter (1 cube)

1/4 – 1/2 tsp almond extract

Remove from heat and stir in flour guar gum mixture until forms a ball.

Let pan with mixture sit off the heat for 5 minutes.

Add one at a time to pan, beating well with hand mixer after each addition:

3 eggs

Continue beating until shiny and smooth.

Spread this evenly over the two crusts and put into oven to bake at 400F for 18-20 minutes.

Let cool on baking sheet 5 minutes before moving to wire cooling racks.

Let cool 10-15 minutes then frost and top with 2/3 cup toasted almond slices.

FROSTING:

Combine in bowl and mix until well blended:

2 TBSP butter, softened

1/2 tsp almond extract

4-6 TBSP water

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar.

Variation:

Lemon – Sub almond extract in batter and frosting with lemon extract.

Dairy-free – Try subbing butter with organic palm shortening or Earth Balance nondairy cubed butter substitute. (I have not yet tried this but have done this with other recipes.)

I froze over half of ours and will update later how well they do when thaw and eat them later.

Deb’s Nightshade Free Gluten Free Flour Blend:

In large mixing bowl combine until thoroughly mixed together:

5 cups brown rice flour

3 cups tapioca starch or flour

1 1/2 cups arrowroot powder

I store in an airtight container in my upright freezer. Because of my sensitivities I use all organic ingredients.

Enjoy eating this delicious treats!

Hoping each of you has a wonderful time with family and friends celebrating Christ’s birth.

Merry Christmas!!!

Blessings,

Deb

Hope

We all need hope. Hope keeps us going and anticipating a future of good.

So where do we place our hope? What is the source of hope?

Lamentations 3:21-24 tells us our hope is based on God’s unceasing steadfast love and His endless mercies as well as recognizing our portion or inheritance is the LORD Himself. It does not mention our circumstances, our wealth or power or even what good we do. It is all based on God and His character.

Psalms 62:5-8 has long been a favorite passage.

5 For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.

6 He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken.

7 On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God.

8 Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us. Selah – Psalm 62:5-8

This passage show that hope is only found in God and in God alone can our soul find rest. It seems hope is often associated with a feeling of rest, refuge or peace. Thankfully God is the source of both hope and peace which are so very needed in our lives.

I know when I try to figure out life on my own or only look at circumstances and take my eyes off Christ I can quickly lose hope and feel turmoil, stress and lack of peace. I can so related to Peter walking on the water and sinking when he took his eyes off of Christ and put them on the waves.

LORD, help us to focus on You. Enable us to use your character and Holy Word as the lens though which we view the world around us. Only with your empowerment, LORD, can we live in hope, faith and rest because of whose we are not because of the circumstances in our lives. Forgive me/us for fearing the waves more than trusting you.

In Jesus Name,

Amen

Created for Good Works

I saw this the other day. Pastor Jim Penner says: ‘I’ve talked with and prayed for many who are dealing with physical issues… disease, diabetes, cancers, struggles with weight, muscular and autoimmune disease. The limitations the human family deals with on a daily basis are endless. Yet Ephesians 2:10 says, “You are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus.” God knew exactly what He was doing when He made you. You’re unique in all the world. And that makes you special.’

I would like to look at that verse and take it a step further.

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. – Ephesians 2:10

Image from Bible Verses to Go

So we are not only God’s workmanship but He has created us to do good works that He prepares or ordained for us beforehand.

Physical limitations, location or lack of money or other resources are not going to keep you from the good works God has designed specifically for each one of us. Joni Eareckson Tada has accomplished much for God’s kingdom and rights of handicapped while a quadriplegic. Amy Beatrice Carmichael was a Protestant Christian missionary in India, who opened an orphanage and founded a mission in Dohnavur. She served in India for 55 years without furlough and wrote many books about the missionary work there. She also was bedridden the last decades of her life due to an injury yet still ran an mission and orphanage, prayed great prayers and wrote many encouraging prayers and devotions. Prisoners like the Apostle Paul or present day imprisoned believers have also been used to do works to further the Gospel. God’s purposes and plans will not be thwarted by our circumstances.

It may be you need to be praying and asking God what He has for you to do in your own unique situation. He may have you step out of your comfort zone or may have you do a series of seemingly small inconsequential things that will further God’s kingdom.

Can you think of somebody you know who due to failed health had great influences on others because of their joy and faith with which they walked it out?

My take away is that we are all beloved handiworks’ of God who has uniquely ordained each of us to accomplish specific God-glorifying works.

Application:

Think about ways you have seen God work through you in the past.

Prayerfully consider areas you believe He has for you to work in the future.

Have you let limitations or circumstances keep you from doing what God has called you to do?

Morning Motivation

Some days begin with my feeling more tired and in greater pain than when I went to bed. Pain has either completely stolen my sleep or made it broken or disrupted. Those are the days I need extra motivation to get up and going. If my schedule allows, and really in need of sleep will take two Benadryl and something for pain and try to sleep. But if, like today, when my closest Colorado friend’s son is getting married, I need to get going regardless of how I feel.

I am an extrovert and love to attend social events but I need to have down days planned on either side of an event. I needed to say no to a fun international potluck/fiesta I was invited to last night because have the wedding today that was much more important I attend. Making those hard decisions, yet encouraging my hubby to attend without me are part of the sacrifices required in my day to day life of chronic illness.

So how do I get going on a morning like today? First of all greet God before I get out of bed. Acknowledge to Him how I feel and my need for His strength to be made perfect in my weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9) I also try to recount at least three things I am thankful for and express my gratitude to the Lord. Practicing gratitude gets my eyes off of me and on to my faithful, sovereign, good and wise God. My physical therapist gave me stretches I do in bed each morning that help. Today with extra pain from storm system that came through last night I am taking a soak in our tub with magnesium flakes in the water. Often while soaking I do some devotions or blog from my phone.

Today I awoke to an encouraging response to a previous blog post and it made me realize once again God has purpose in my pain and illness.

So as soak, I think of friends on here and social media who I have never met me face to face. There is a special bond and camaraderie among those who live with chronic illness and/or pain. We are the ones who grasp this life and truly understand the limitations that come with it. We are the ones who know the faith and grace it takes to count it all joy and live in gratitude regardless of our hard circumstances.

Knowing I have other brothers and sisters in similar situations motivates me to get up and live life with joy relying on God’s strength and grace. I want the world to see though I have health issues and pain that is not who I am.

I am a blessed, chosen before the world began, loved, adopted, redeemed and one that God lavishes on His grace. (Ephesians 1:3-10). I remember I am chosen, holy and beloved. (Colossians 3:12). As His beloved daughter, He has an eternal plan and a purpose for my life.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. – Jeremiah 29:11

Image from Bible Study Tools

The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands. – Psalm 138:8

Image from Verse of the Day

I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me. – Psalm 57:2

Blessings,

Deb

God’s Kind Provision for Painsomnia

Praise!!!

A few days ago God did something cool. I bought a $3.00 plus $3.00 shipping and handling small needlepoint canvas off EBay. The seller messaged me that she has two others she wants to find a good home for and asked me if I would like to have them. She then said she is sending them to me from Europe for free!!

I do these when I am up with pain for hours in the middle of the night. They are easy to do with little thought and I am able to be praying as I stitch.

The canvases arrived yesterday. The 5″ x 7″ landscape I ordered plus a much larger landscape, three smaller landscapes and a smaller Victorian print. I received a total of six needlepoint canvases with designs printed on them for a total of six dollars!

God is concerned about even the small details in our lives. He is a personal God who knows us so intimately that he knows the exact number of hairs currently on your head.

Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows. – Luke 12:7

If God cares about hobbies that help us pass painful nights, I can trust Him to care for me in the bigger areas of life too. Not only did He kindly provide for me, but He also used this provision to build my faith for the bigger and more crucial things in life.

Ponder how has God met you recently in either minuscule or gargantuan ways and express your gratitude to Him and share with others. I would love to read your stories in the comments.

Blessings,

Deb