Keep my Soul Happy & Nourished

I saw more clearly than ever, that the first great and primary business to which I ought to attend every day was, to have my soul happy in the Lord. The first thing to be concerned about was not, how much I might serve the Lord, how I might glorify the Lord; but how I might get my soul into a happy state, and how my inner man may be nourished…I saw that the most important thing I had to do was to give myself to the reading of the Word of God and to meditation on it.

George Muller

When I spend time on God’s word it changes my focus, builds my faith, gives hope, peace and joy based not on my circumstances but on Jesus Christ. God’s word give me a lens through which to view the world and all that is happening around me. If I just watch news and read social media my heart can easily be in fear and turmoil. But if I filter all around me through the lens of God’s word, I can in faith say “it is well with my soul. “

https://youtu.be/AHe_qmo3gX4

https://www.godtube.com/popular-hymns/it-is-well-with-my-soul/

Blessings,

Deb

Who Am I?

It took me way to many years to overcome feelings of being ugly, unlovable, unwanted and insecure. My worth was based on the approval of others and their acceptance of me rather than on the unchanging truth of God’s Word.

What transformed me is studying and memorizing scripture passages that tell me who I am in Christ. Realizing God’s abounding steadfast love and mercy for me which caused Him to send His only son to die on a cross and resurrected to pay the penalty for all my sin (John 3:16) and wrongdoing once and for all.

Wise counsel was shared with me to study who God says I am and focus on pleasing an audience of one – the One Holy God. That was the beginning of my transforming from fearful and insecure to realizing I am loved with an everlasting and redeeming love.

Unknown artist but love the truth of this

Ephesians 1:3-10 was the passage I lived in and still often review. It lists many of the things I am in Christ.

[3] Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, [4] even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love [5] he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, [6] to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. [7] In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, [8] which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight [9] making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ [10] as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. Ephesians 1:3-10

Here is a list of things this passage tells me about myself as follower of Christ:

  • I am blessed with every spiritual blessing
  • I am chosen by God before the creation of the world.
  • Chosen to be holy and blameless in God’s sight.
  • I am loved!
  • I am predestined.
  • I am adopted as God’s child through faith in Jesus Christ!!
  • I am Blessed in the Beloved because of Christ’s glorious grace not something I earn.
  • I am redeemed!
  • I am forgiven!
  • He lavishes grace on me.
  • He makes known to me the mystery of His will.
  • I am united to Christ!

How can we not realize how loved, precious and cared for we are by God when we take these truths to heart?! For me, I had to retrain my thinking by frequently reading this passage a few times a day for months to get these truths to make new ruts in my thinking to undo past wrong thinking of being unlovable, unwanted and and ugly. Thankfully, I had a godly counselor that helped me overcome this.

If you too struggle with self image, please begin searching God’s Word for who He says you are. This Ephesians passage is a good one to begin with. There are other passages that have helped me I will continue to share in future posts.

Dear readers, may each of you realize how blessed, chosen, loved and cared for you are by Jesus Christ who gave His life for you.

Blessings,

Deb

Simple Joys and Living to Glorify God

“Have nothing in your home that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” William Morris 1880

We recently downsized and I am evaluating what are the things in my life that detract from the passions, gifts and purposes God has for my life. I am considering quotes like this but adding a Christian perspective. I have tweaked William Morris’ quote to fit my viewpoint. “Have nothing in my home that I do not consider useful or believe to be beautiful or helps me to fully pursue and glorify God.”

“Have nothing in my home that I do not consider useful or believe to be beautiful or helps me to fully pursue and glorify God.”

I am pondering that and looking to rid my life of what detracts from the pursuit of and glorification of God. What things or events detract from this? How do I best use my time and energy to fulfill that? What things need edited from my life? What things are good and need given more time and attention? Are there things or disciplines I am missing I need to add to my life?

We have downsized and are preparing our home for aging in place before we are too old to do that. Also making it safe for me with my chemical sensitivity from Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS) as well as serving me with my multiple chronic health issues. A smaller home takes less time and energy to clean but quickly looks cluttered if too many extra things. My spirit is calmer and more focused when my home is not in chaos or disorder. That may be due partly to my ADD tendencies. So I am prayerfully trying to decide what things to sell, donate or bless others with and what truly serves us and helps us serve and honor God.

I am an artistic and creative soul and beauty greatly speaks to me so could never be an austere minimalist. God has made me/ us in His image and part of His image as creator is His putting creativity within us. God has gifted some more than others. I know being creative in home decor, garden design, painting, sewing quilting and writing poetry is something I will continue. My big take away is what things do I edit in my life to allow for those times as well as God’s purposes?

Below are some of my recent projects:

Rose watercolor I painted July 2020
Pansies painted for youngest granddaughter March 2021
Watercolor Painted for oldest granddaughter in March 2021
Watercolor for second granddaughter April 2021

In the spring of 2011 I was waiting three months to discover if I had acute leukemia and would have months to live or a chronic blood cancer that would alter my life but not shorten it. God made used a series of events and spoke to me in my heart in a very dramatic way. He made it clear to me that regardless of my circumstances or health I needed to be a woman of joy and gratitude who is engaged in others around me. I began then to practice gratitude daily and each morning recount at least three things I am grateful for today. I also pray each morning that God will enable me to be a woman of joy. For the most part He has answered those prayers. If my joy were based on circumstances instead of God I would most likely become a bitter and complaining woman. For more about this read my blog post “The Choice.”

https://joyfulrefuge.com/2017/03/23/the-choice/

Recently we brought home a standard poodle puppy who has been such a source of joy!

Noticing the simple joys around me daily helps me foster my joy and gratitude to God. Watching antics of a puppy, seeing God’s handiwork in the spring beauty all around, sharing laughter or a hug with a loved one, watching a sunset, visiting in person (a rare thing in this pandemic while being immunocompromised) and praying with a sister in Christ or watching a bumblebee flitting around pollinating blossoms all are joy filled and satisfying and point me to God.

This week I have been creating beauty and usefulness outdoors as plant flowers and our raised bed organic garden. I find some of my best times of conversing with God in prayer and contemplating what changes are needed in my life happen while my hands are working in the soil.

In my quiet times, I am researching what God desires of me in scriptures and journaling. I need to know what I am to do and keep in my life before I can do much editing. I have another three weeks in my month long break between leading Bible studies and my fasting from most social media to discover more what my life will look like. Over the next weeks hoping to include some conversations with my husband as his godly wisdom and insight is so valuable and he knows me better than anybody except God.

Have you edited things to better enable you to fully pursue God and glorify Him? What things did you remove or add to your life? I would love to hear your answers.

Blessings,

Deb

Goodbyes, Hellos and Physical Limitations

The last couple months has been a mix of MCAS, EDS and arthritis flares, loss of my faithful companion Dexter and getting a new companion.

Spring is the season of weather always in flux, lots of rain showers and high pollen counts. In addition I began going into the world in late March after 13 months at home isolating due to being immunocompromised. With my doctor’s approval, we have began attending church and going into some stores in late March. I am to continue wearing a N-95 or better mask and social distance while I am out.

Worshipping in person has been such a joy! While I am very grateful for Livestream services, it is not the same as being there in person. Joining in song and worship with other believers and hearing the teaching in person has been a huge blessing for my husband and I. We have enjoyed conversations with other believers before and after services. I have noticed very little impact on my MCAS from attending church.

I have gone to a couple stores and some doctors appointments in the last month and each time have mast cell reactions to the chemical disinfectants and scented hand sanitizers that knock we down for the next 2-3 days with migraines. All over swelling and pain as well as GI issues, dizziness, ringing ears and brain fog. I am feeling like the pandemic cleaners are greatly limiting were I can safely go. Prior to COVID, I could shop in Trader Joe’s without a mask and no reactions. Now with a mask with a 5 layer filter including a carbon layer I react afterwards for 2-3 days. Same thing happened after a visit to my oncologist/hematologist and again when went to my doctor who manages my mast cell disease.

Chronic illness has meant I am home much more than when I was healthy and my Goldendoodle Dexter was my constant companion. April 13 we had to make the decision to end his suffering from severe attitude degeneration and bladder cancer. The loss of Dexter left a huge void in my heart and life. I was surprised how much grief I had with his passing as much greater than with past animals. We have a second dog Bella a Bichon Frisée. She absolutely adores my husband but just tolerates me. She spends her days in his home office while he works. With medical expenses and my not working we wondered how we would find or afford a hypoallergenic dog I would tolerate.

Dexter a few months before he passed.

God graciously provided a puppy for us in His kindness. First of all, we were gifted money to buy a puppy by somebody who understands my love of dogs and my health limitations. Then when enquiring with the breeder we bought our puppy from they dropped their price $500 because liked us so much. Thursday May 6 we brought home an eight week old black standard poodle puppy we named Tozer after pastor and Christian writer A.W. Tozer

Picking him up at breeders
Tozer – those eyes!

Bella and Tozer have seemed to hit it off. Tozer is not a fan of his crate so we have some disrupted sleep with his whining. Saturday after playing with grandkids and a long walk after dinner, he slept all night. Sunday we thought he got enough exercise being in back yard while we gardened but he was up whining LOUDLY several times during the night. Our sleep is reminiscent of having a new born in the home so it is a good thing he is affectionate and adorable!

I am so grateful My husband built me high raised beds for our garden last year and completed the final bed this spring they are 28 inches high which makes it easy to maintain on higher pain days and should allow us to garden as we age. This week I realized another benefit of the height keeping a new puppy from getting into them and trampling it all. Hopefully by the time he is tall enough he will be trained better.

This spring, my husband has decided my arthritis flares are more accurate at predicting rain than the weather man. I still try to walk or ride my recumbent bike most days. I just received a referral to an orthopedic doctor and hoping when get scheduled to see him for a cortisone shot in my bad knee to enable me to accomplish more and enjoy more activities this summer.

Currently, I am on a month long hiatus from leading/facilitating ladies Bible studies through our church via Zoom. Last week I finished a study on Psalms and June11 will begin a six week study on prayer thus summer. My goals for this month off include seeking how God wants me to simplify my life so less things to detract and distract from what He desires for me. What are the passions and gifts God has given me? What things need weeded out so those things can grow? Please pray for God to clearly show me and direct my steps. Secondly a concentrated effort on puppy training.

We have either raised or purchased all our garden and flowering plants. They are in the greenhouse shelf on our deck or indoors with grow lights waiting for it to warm up a bit more. Hopefully will begin planting them in next couple weeks. My garden has peas, lettuce, Swiss chard up and waiting for beets, carrots and onions to make their appearances. We have been enjoying the last couple weeks watching the tulips and bleeding hearts blooming in our back yard. The bright new green leaves and flowers of a pring so reminds me of God and creation. Soon will be summer with lakes to swim in and go to paddle our canoe. So enjoy being on His creation.

May your spring be blessed and May you see God’s hand in nature and events of your life.

Deb

Loving Like Jesus

I recently viewed a post on social media where a woman was asking for prayer for her and husband who are counseling a couple with a deviant lifestyle that ran counter to Biblical principles. What was interesting is how many people suggested blasting them with how wrong were and how few expressed offering love and grace.

It made me consider how Jesus responded to people. He ate with sinners even prostitutes and tax collectors which were considered the lowest of the low in that day. Respectable people would not be seen with them let alone sit down and eat a meal with them. Jesus had words of healing, hope and encouragement for the lost. He built up relationships with them and did not blast them with condemnation. He compassionately saw their needs and hurts and He longed to gather them up in his arms like a mother hen with its chicks. He was the Good Shepherd who left the 99 in the sheep pen to go and search for the one that was lost to lovingly carry it home.

Jesus behaved much differently with the hypocritical, religious leaders of His day. He confronted them and called them out on their behavior and heart attitudes. He called them a brood of vipers and white washed tombs. He saw their pride and self sufficiency and their putting unbearable loads on the people. He reminds them a Doctor doesn’t come to the well but the sick and needy.

How often do I, do we, come across judgmental or harsh with those who need Jesus Christ? How often do our words and actions drive them away from our loving, merciful Christ and the gospel? Or do we break through barriers by showing mercy, compassion and kindness and be a winsome witness to the truth of Christ in you, the hope of glory? I was reminded of what I once heard a pastor say, “We can not expect the lost to live like believers. But we should encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ to live for him.”

Today our world is hurting and so easily offended. How much more need is there now, more than ever, for Christ’s people to be peaceable, full of love, compassion, mercy and grace. Living that way in stark contrast to the world makes us a powerful and winsome witness of the glorious grace of Jesus within us. Let’s be that kind of salt and light.

15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.
16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight.
17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all.
18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.
– Romans 12:15-18

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. – Galatians 5:22-23

34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.
35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” – John 13:34-35

Living by Faith in a Tumultuous World

Our world is full of so many tumultuous things. There is rampant anger, division, ethnic tension, partiality, political differences and upheaval, economic woes and physical losses associated with a pandemic. How do we as people of faith live in this world today? Lord, how should we approach life at the beginning of 2021?

I recently began asking the Lord how do I live as His child in this current world? And the message that came loud and clear repeatedly through His Word was, “Trust“.

I began studying Bible verses and passages on trust. As I did began seeing a theme or pattern emerging. I need to trust God with all details on my life and let Him direct rather than rely on my puny strength or limited understanding.

5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
7 Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil.
8 It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones. – Proverbs 3:5-8

3 Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.
4 Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
5 Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act. – Psalm 37:3-5

As I studied these passages, I found the Hebrew word for trust is “galal” and means to roll, roll away , trust. As Charles Spurgeon wrote in his Treasury of David on Psalms 37 passage we are to “roll the whole burden of life into the Lord.”

So as I live in today’s world this passages showed me several things I can do which all relate to surrender and relationship with God.

1. Trust God

– Do I roll into Him all my burdens, cares, fears, business, relationships, desires and needs?

2. Acknowledge God in all my ways

– Do I acknowledge His presence and power in every step of my life?

– Do I seek God’s guidance and leading for each area and every day?

– Are my plans based on what God is leading me to do or what glorifies Him or just on my own selfish desires?

I know I have much room for growth and change with all these questions. I pray 2021 will help my grow much in those areas.

Has God given you a word or focus for 2021? I would love to hear it.

Blessings,

Deb

P.S. Oops! This post was done in early January and got left in my drafts rather than my publishing it.

Minimalism and Christian Faith

I am an artistic soul who loves creating and beauty and the idea of minimalism never appealed to me. I think I always viewed it as stark, cold, sterile and uncreative. I read an article on minimalism lately that had a quote that got me considering it differently.

This quote comes from Joshua Becker of Becoming Minimalist from his book The Minimalist Home:

“Minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of anything that distracts us from it.”

As a Christian, I can see so many ways this can apply. What things or activities distract me from worshipping and serving God fully? What are the passions and gifts God has given me and what things are extras that detract from growing those? What things benefit me for being intentional in promoting my love and service to God and using the gifts and talents he has given me? What things detract from those?

My photo of bleeding hearts blooming in my yard.

I have been pondering these much in my heart and am not sure all that it will entail yet. I do think one area is what do I spend my time on, does it glorify God or have eternal value or am I wasting the days God has given me?

Once I begin identifying those time wasters I am praying God reveals to me what things and activities I need to be rid of to simplify my life to promote the things I most value and God most values for me.

At this point I am not sure what all this will mean but am looking forward to God revealing things to me and making it clear. I am praying for His Holy Spirit to guide me and show me how to simplify my life to more fully embrace things of eternal value. I know I want plenty of seats around my table and dishes needed to practice hospitality as well as enough living room seating to host small groups and Bible studies and we will want a place for guests to stay in our home. So I am seeking what God has called us to and how to best fulfill that by diminishing unnecessary distractions. I am not looking to make a stark empty home that hinders loving and serving others. In several months or a year I will update on what that will mean for us.

Here are some resources I am reading that are looking into minimalism from a Christian perspective :

4 Ways Minimalism Reshaped My Christian Faith

5 Tips from a Christian Minimalist to Simplify and Focus on What Really Matters

Minimalism Is Not the Gospel

True Confessions of the Easily Distracted and What Helps Me

I tend to either go to work on something that needs done and see six other things needing done so I flit around doing them. Meanwhile the thing I was trying to accomplish is still not done. Or I hyper focus on something and stay immersed for hours in it when other things truly need to be done. This can impact my spiritual life, physical well being, keeping up on my home, or being creative.

Art by Carmen Sutor

Focusing has been a challenge all of my life. My teacher had me spend much of third grade in a corner all by myself so I would be less distracted by other kids and quit socializing. I know I have ADD and am easily distracted. Couple that with chronic health issues that cause me to be “consistently inconsistent” because I never know from day to day or even hour to hour how I will feel is the perfect storm for distraction.

A prime example is the fact I have to take a medication 30 minutes before eating to manage my mast cell disease. I can put the water heating to be slightly warmed in microwave and in the 25 seconds decide to clear the table or check something online and 20, 30, 40 minutes and several different things later still have not taken my medicine making my meal later.

It is 4:30 in the afternoon and realize have not planned dinner again. I now go with what can thaw quickest in microwave. This happens SO many times unless on the weekend I write out a meal plan and shopping list for the week.

Another example would be when I am working on a creative project like sewing, gardening or watercolor painting and I am so immersed in the project and hyper focused I do not realize how much time has passed and can be lost in it for hours upon hours at a time.

Lists and timers are my best friends. To-do lists help me prioritize and accomplish what is needed rather than doing what is distracting me. If something is distracting if I write it on today or the next day’s list I know it won’t be forgotten and can leave it to sorta stay on task. If something is niggling at my brain and distracting me during my time in Bible reading and prayer I write it down on a tablet kept nearby. Over the years with consistent training and asking God to help me focus on Him it has gotten where need to do that much less often. I have found when have scheduled appointments or zoom meetings that my calendar app on my phone set with reminder alarms at 2 hours and again at 30 minutes before travel time help me to be ready on time.

Another way timers help me is with my various medications. One is taken four times a day 30 minutes before eating and at least 2 hours after last meal and at least 30 minutes after any other medication. If not taken this way, this medication is rendered ineffective. Lately, this has been helped by my hubby wanting to eat lunch with me so I set an alarm to take it and make myself follow through. After each dose I set a timer for 20 minutes to leave me 10 minutes to prep my breakfast or lunch. Dinner dose taken half hour before meal should be finished and I am usually in kitchen cooking. Also I have meds to take between dinner and bedtime and again at bedtime. Setting alarms on my phone has really helped me stay up on these.

Because I am easily distracted, we sit up front at church so no cute kids or movements of others to distract me from the worship team or pastor’s sermon. Because I know I am not an oral learner I take copious notes during the teaching because I retain what I write. I do the same when attending conferences or seminars whether on the Bible, gardening or any subject. Knowing my weaknesses and preparing to counter them becomes a strength.

My best weeks are the ones where I meal plan and discuss the coming week with my husband on Sunday afternoon or evening. Meal plans help me shop appropriately rather than just buy things that look interesting and either have too much of something and/or missing items to make meals. I know what is important for my husband, for us as a couple in the coming week and we often pray for God to order the coming week. These weeks work best if no mast cell reactions or flares, which can knock me down physically and give enough brain fog to add to my distraction and forgetfulness.

I have been praying for God to “teach me to number my days so I may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12). For Him to enable me to use my time more wisely and prioritize what I do based on what He desires and what has eternal value. I am reminded God created me and knows every intimate detail, every minute molecule about me. Even with an ADD brain and chronic health issues I am “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14) and that He knows what all the days of my life will be like and has them written in His book long before I existed. (Psalm 139:16) Nothing I do, say or think surprises God because He is aware of it long beforehand. (Psalm 139).

So my timers and lists and praying for God to show me His priorities for the day help me to number my days and have more of a heart of wisdom. Will I continue to be easily distracted? Most likely. Will I get priorities messed up? Undoubtably! But I know my God loves me, cares for me and leads me and when I blow it, in His mercy, He is ready to forgive me when I confess my sins

Are you easily distracted? What has helped you be able to stay on task? I welcome all insights and wisdom from you, my readers so share away in the comments.

Have an amazing week!

Blessings,

Deb

Our Good Shepherd

Psalms 23 is such a familiar psalm that it is easy to recite it and move on without seeing the rich blessings of love, care, protection, and guidance our Good Shepherd provides for us. I remember in VBS the summer between second and third grade getting a prize for memorizing Psalm 23. I could recite it by rote, but did not grasp the rich meanings of it.
The Lord is MY shepherd!!! I am HIS lamb in HIS flock. He personally cares for me and each one in His flock. My shepherd is the Good Shepherd who lays down His life for the sheep (John 10:11). Because He is our Shepherd, we shall not want. This want is not speaking of physical or material riches. Phillip Keller writes in “A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23”—“yet amid such hardships he can still boast ‘I shall not want… I shall not lack the expert care and management of my master.’”
Sheep will not drink if water is moving or lie down if there is any fear of danger. The shepherd finds still pools of water that quench and refresh and green pastures of refuge and safety where He watches over them. Sheep are dependent on their shepherd to find the water, nourishment, safety, care and rest they need.

Source Unknown


How tenderly our God cares for each of us as His sheep! He gives us His living water and meets our needs. We are blessed with a refuge where we can safely lie down, rest and be at peace in His presence. Our Shepherd leads us on righteous paths to grow us into conformity to His image (Romans 8:29)—to become more like Him. When we go through seemingly hopeless situations, where death seems to lurk nearby, we can have peace and comfort in His wondrous presence rather than be overcome by fear of evil.
Lord, may we, as Your precious sheep, never forget to rejoice and express gratitude to You, the One who shepherds us through all our life until we reach eternity. Thank You for being the Good Shepherd who laid down His life for us, Your sheep. Enable us to recognize and remember to ever praise You for Your care, provision, protection, comfort and peace in both the green pastures and the dark valley of death. Thank You that in You we shall not want but can rest content in your perfect care.
In Jesus’ Name,
Amen.
~ Deb Peabody

Source Unknown

God in Our Scorched Places

And the LORD will guide you continually

and satisfy your desires in scorched places

and make your bones strong

and you shall be like a watered garden,

like a spring of water,

Whose waters do not fail.

– Isaiah 58:11 ESV

What areas of your life are scorched places, where do you feel you are unable to grow or thrive or are feeling is a complete disaster? Are you in the midst of relationship issues with a spouse or wayward child, or struggling to make ends meet or maybe your health is failing and every faltering step forward feels too hard. Or maybe you are walking through the charred barrenness overwhelmed with heartache and grief without an end to it in sight.

When in a scorched place, do you not desire God to guide you and enable you to have all you need to grow or thrive like a watered garden with an endless supply of fresh spring waters?

He promises in this passage that He is continually leading you even when in those hard scorch places. And in the midst of those hard dry disastrous places He will provide and satisfy our desires. This may happen in ways we do not expect and situations where we least expect it.

We lived in Arizona for six years and some areas of the dessert are beautiful and full of things to look at but others that are parched and scorched by heat or fire have very little to draw our attention. One redeeming quality of being in a scorched place is that there is very little to distract us from God and our need for Him. We thirst for God like a man living in a desert without water.

O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you;

my soul thirsts for you;

my flesh faints for you,

as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.

– Psalm 63:1 ESV

After my health tanked in late 2009, I found so many of my true heart’s desires have been provided in the heat of suffering and deserts of loneliness or great need. He has continually lead me step by step and my path has taken many unexpected turns. In the heat He refines me and teaches me to be more dependent on Him and to worship Him in the dark and dry places as well as in the well watered areas of my life. My faith has grown, as has my trust in His sovereignty, faithfulness, goodness and wisdom so much more in the seasons of disaster or in the heat of suffering.

Running to God and resting in Him I find a refuge, a perfect oasis of comfort and peace in the barren desolate scorched places.

“Nothing has more powerfully shaped me — my theology, my character, my love for God and for others — than suffering.” – Vaneetha Randall Risner Read her article here:

Hudson Taylor, the well-known missionary to China in the 1800s, has this to say,  “The deepest, most precious, and most abiding spiritual lessons, which God has been pleased to teach me were learned in consequence of enduring my various experiences of sickness. . . . I feel it would have been nothing short of a calamity to have missed the physical suffering thro which I have passed. . . . I am positive that I have sometimes met with God’s refusal to heal when I have been most in fellowship with him.

God has met me, satisfied my deepest inner longings and lead me continually in the scorched places. My well watered garden, watered by His living water, is growing fruits of the Spirit like love, joy and peace and so on as listed in Galatians 5:22-23. I pray I will ever be fruitful even in the most severe droughts of suffering or hardships. I also pray this for each of you who read this.

Scorched Places – Isaiah 58:11

My soul has dwelt in scorched places where day and without rest.

Yet, my God met me with His peace, joy and strength for each test.

My LORD continually guides me to His oasis in the scorched place

Where He ever satisfies me with the living waters of His grace.

– Deborah Peabody February 13, 2020

My husband and I at an oasis called Papago Park in Phoenix, AZ in March 2011.