Where He leads, I will follow.....

Where He leads, I will follow.....

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

A witness to God's Amazing Grace...

The past year of my life has been 365 + days of seeing the incredible Hand of God at work. At work in my own life, in the life of my family and even in my country. I haven't written in my blog for months because frankly, we've been a bit overwhelmed by the events in our lives. But after working on this piece for the past few months, amid cognitive challenges, I think I'm ready to finally put it out there. Thank you Lord for getting us through this past year and for being with me to help me put these words in writing.

If anyone had told me back in 2015 that we would leave our home of 24 years in Florida, pack up and live in North Carolina for 9 months in our vacation home and then pack up again and move into a new home in Kentucky I would have said they were completely nuts. But it happened just that way with God directing each step.

If anyone had told me a year ago that Donald J. Trump, a extremely wealthy, bombastic TV star, (who began his unlikely Presidential Run in June of 2015) would end up winning the very close, and often brutal race for the White House I would have told them it could never happen.

But, Donald J. Trump is now the 45th President of the United States and Mike Pence, a God-fearing Evangelical Christian is his Vice-President.

So how could any of this happen? Many in this country are still shaking their heads and doing everything they can to RESIST this new President. I say, NEVER underestimate the power of prayer. Personal prayer and corporate prayer can move mountains. Our God listens to the prayers of His people. Period. James 5:16 tells us "The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective," When you are praying in accordance to God's will, He truly does listens. 

This blog is going to be a bit unusual because I'm going to back and forth between my life personally and what I witnessed happening all around our country. It may seem a strange segue, but believe me, they are connected more than you may know.

My husband came to me between Christmas and New Years of 2015 with a dramatic idea. Let's leave Florida. I thought he had lost it. What? Move away from Florida? We've been living here since 1982. Our kids were raised here. All our friends are here. We still have family in the state. Are you mad, man?

He had just returned from a business trip to Kentucky to get some products priced. hooking up with an old colleague he worked with many years ago. He was very impressed with where he was working, the people he was working with (the company was owned by two preachers) and the area of the country he was living in. As he began his long ride home to Florida, the Lord began to work on Steve's heart. He thought,"I think I'd like to work there. It could be a lot of fun and I think I would fit into the company well. It would be great to get Nicki out of that heat.We could use a new adventure." The Lord was telling him that maybe our family needed a new direction.

Could we really start anew and move there when we were in our 60's? He had many conversations with his friend and they were interested in pursuing the idea about putting him on board, but they just didn't have room in the sales force at that time. Then he came home and told me about his idea.

We talked at length about it and we prayed about it. He had the prospect of a this new job in Kentucky but nothing was certain. Nothing was set, nothing was for sure. In many ways I thought it was a pipe dream, but I know my husband and when he puts his mind to something, there's no stopping him and he spoke with such conviction that God had directed him to do this, that I had to sit up and pay attention. He told me he was sick and tired of his current job, he was sick and tired of  the Florida heat, he needed a new adventure and he thought it would be good for our whole family. We'd be closer to our older son and his family including our sweet granddaughter Grace. We talked with our youngest son, who had moved home again about 6 months earlier. He was up for the adventure too. So we began a plan.

We put our house on the market, and began to show it. As anyone who has sold their home knows, when you put your house out there for sale, everyday you need to keep it clean and ready to show. After about 3 weeks of cleaning and showings every other day my husband looked at me and said "Why are we here during all this, why don't we go to North Carolina (we had a vacation home in the mountains), and let our realtor handle this .Let's do one last cleaning, back up and head north to wait it out. Plus that's closer to Kentucky anyway. If this thing in Kentucky comes through it's alot easier to drive over there from NC than from Florida." Another bonus was our oldest son and his wife and our darling granddaughter Grace lived in Weaverville, NC, about 40 minutes from our home in Waynesville. I would enjoy being closer to our only grandchild and be able to see her more than 2-3 times a year.,no matter how many months it lasted.

It seemed like a good plan to me, so we headed in March to North Carolina for who knows how long? Within 2 months, the house in Sarasota sold. We held out for the perfect price and they paid cash which was an extra bonus.We began the waiting process again.

We spent 9 months in North Carolina and my hubby and son spent those months working on the NC home because we knew we needed to put that on the market if we ended up in Kentucky. BUT, we just didn't know what the future was going to hold. We were totally putting our trust in the Lord and letting Him take the lead. It was a time of being in limbo or being in the desert as us Christians like so say.

Have you ever been there? Not knowing what was coming next? Wandering around in the desert like the Israelites did for 40 years? It can be a bit unnerving if you let it. But if you believe in the Lord and His promises to love and protect those who love Him, you can endure just about any situation. Waiting can actually strengthen your faith, but it' never easy. Isaiah 40:31 tells us "But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles,They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.:

So there we were in North Carolina, watching and waiting for the Lord. After about 6 months with no word from Kentucky, Steve decided to go out and look for a job in NC because we just weren't sure what was going to happen with the job in Kentucky. He said,"I'm sick of painting, I need to go back to work" We had been living on our savings but you can go through that pretty quick if there is no income coming in. We prayed about it and thought maybe God wants us to take action on our own? Steve did some research online and approached a few companies in his field. After a few interviews that went nowhere, he got in his car, got all dressed up in his pinstripe suit and proceeded to head to another interesting prospective company, but this one was 2 hours from our home. 

He pretty much got hired on the spot. WOW, we thought, this is another God-thing. Maybe the Lord does have other plans for us? It was a good job with good benefits plus we'd be closer to our family. Maybe God has changed his mind? Maybe He has a different plan for us. 

Steve loved his new boss, but it was definitely a problem with the plant being 2 hours away. logistically, it was becoming a issue. He was spending a lot of time going back and forth to the plant for new samples, etc. But he trudged on. We continued to wait and trust. He continued working the territory assigned to him not knowing what and if things were going to change.

Meanwhile in our country, an amazing thing was happening in the Presidential election. Donald Trump, the unlikely yet highly popular non-politician candidate seemed to be gaining momentum all over the country. There was a groundswell of support for him unlike anything anyone had ever seen in any of the many previous elections. 

Trump had a different message. America first! - Make American Great Again! The mainstream media didn't like anything about him. He was loud, outspoken and sometimes crude, which was nothing like any politician we had ever seen. He said what he thought, he wasn't guarded like most politicans. There was something about him that became endearing to millions of the working class of America. He touched a chord with many of those who had felt lost and left behind by past administrations. There were people that supported Trump who had never voted in their lives. They didn't trust politicians or Washington. He was truly a different kind of candidate and was tapping into something that was other politicians had obviously missed.

He talked about bringing back jobs, he talked about building a border to secure our country from the influx of Mexican immigrants, many of them illegal,and some of them criminals and stopping the flow of drugs that were coming in from our southern border. He talked about appointing conservative Supreme Court Justices. He talked about changing the heart of this country from the hard left almost socialistic policies of  President Obama back to more conservative values and I have to say I sure did like the sound of it. I was on board from the primaries on. 

Our family continued to pray and wait on the Lord's perfect timing. In September, a month after Steve began his job in NC, the call came from Kentucky. We had a important and hard decision to make. Do we go with the original plan to move on to Kentucky or stay where we were? It was a tough call. After much prayer and discussion, we decided to go with what we felt was God's original calling. It seemed a much better fit for Steve, and he was excited. Thank you Jesus! It was sad for us to leave our family, but we knew we'd only be 5 hours away, not 12 hours like when we were in Florida. 

Now we just needed to get into gear and get ourselves moved to yet another state! My husband spent many weekends in Kentucky trying to find the perfect house. You can see many houses on the app Zillow and get a pretty good idea of what they look like from the pictures that are posted. We spent many hours together looking at different houses in the surrounding area where he was going to begin working. I even made a trip over to look at some houses with him, but because of my disability, it just wasn't logical for me to go on every trip so we communicated via phone, text, and the internet. We just couldn't seem to find the right house. The area we were moving too wasn't big, and there weren't that many houses that seems to fit the criteria we needed. But we trusted that God was going to land us in the exact perfect home again, in His perfect time. We did put an offer in on one house and they wouldn't accept our counteroffer. We took it that the Lord didn't want us in that house and continued looking.

There was one home we came across in our searching that was intriguing. Zillow had a very detailed description of the house, which had been rebuilt from the ground up after a fire. It sounded on paper like exactly what we were looking for. The only thing was there weren't any pictures of the inside of the house? How could that be, I thought? How could any realtor list a house on the internet and not provide any pictures of it? It didn't make sense. I asked my hubby on his next trip to have the realtor we were working with see if he could get him in. 

Steve had looked at many houses mind you, measuring the doorways to make sure my scooter would get through them. Trying to find a nice basement for our son to live in because he came with us and we knew he needed his space. There were a lot of parameters we had decided on so it was making it more difficult.

So on his next trip, he went to the mystery house with the realtor, walked through it and after about 10 minutes said, I think this is it. He called me and said, I think we've found our new home. They proceeded to take pictures of each area of the house including the backyard and huge finished basement. I was sold. We made an offer and they countered and we countered again. They accepted. We had our house. Thank you Jesus. You always come through.

I knew that God was behind this house. That's why there weren't any pictures of the house on the Zillow site. I believe with all my heart, that the Lord was saving it for us. If there had been pictures posted , no doubt it would have been snatched up in a New York minute, but there was only a small number of people who read the description and moved on because there was nothing to look at. Thank you Lord for that. Your surely work in mysterious ways.

So, we have landed now and are getting settled in our new life in Kentucky. You just never know how God is going to work. Sometimes people to me, say what do you mean God has directed your steps? Clearly, that is exactly what happened in our life and in the life of our country. It's plain to me as the nose on my face.

The Lord is using the most unlikely of his servants, a brash reality TV star with a vision for a New America to lead us. Could and would the Most High God actually use this kind of man to lead our country? Sure, why not? Remember Nehemiah, God's servant,who rebuilt the wall in Jerusalem? The Lord has called many unlikely servants over these centuries to do His work. Not always the strongest believers, but that doesn't mean the God can't use them to do His Will. He can use anybody He wants to accomplish His will.

When I look at the election, when everyone, all the pollsters, all the left wing media had convinced us that Hillary Clinton was a for-sure shoo-in to win. Everyone on the left, and all the pundits were comfortable and convinced that she was going to win. They were all telling us Trump didn't have a path to the 270 electoral votes needed to win the Presidency. They had just about everyone convinced that Hillary Clinton was going to be our next President. They had to be right, right?

Wrong. The polls weren't in touch with the American people. There was a movement going on behind the scenes that they missed. There were people who had never voted in their entire lives who came out and voted for Donald Trump and Mike Pence. And the Evangelical Christian vote was stronger than it had been in many years. I believe that is what propelled Donald Trump over the top.That and the working class of American who rose up and voted Republican for the first time in their lives.

Hillary Clinton lost the election. The left is devastated. Surprisingly, they have been the ones who are lashing back with intense hatred towards everything President Trump is trying to accomplish. Funny, because they were so sure that if Trump lost, his supports would go mad, but it's the other way around.

I can spot Satan and his minions every time. Spiritual warfare is very intense right now. 1st Peter 5:8 is a reminder to us all "Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. ... 

I really feel for President Trump. He's not perfect, he's new at this, and he's trying hard to live up to his campaign promises. But, he is being ridiculed at every turn by the press and everybody on the left. In this social media world we live in, everybody has something to say about every thing he does. His cabinet appointments are being stalled and blocked by Congress. It's ridiculous. I think it's quite an embarrassment for our country. The whole world is watching while so many in our country disrespect the office of the Presidency. Quite sad.

That is why is it imperative that we continue to pray for our President and Vice President, asking the Lord to guide them, give them strength and protect them for the onslaught of hatred that is directed at them on a daily basis.

In my heart, I know exactly why Donald Trump and Mike Pence won the election. It was totally a God-Thing as I like to call them. They won because millions and millions of God-fearing people voted for them. They won because Christians prayed, and God listened to the cry of His people looking for someone new to take our country in a different direction.. We are after all, One Nation Under God, not matter how hard to left keeps trying to deny it.

For many years,unfortunately, our country has been going in the wrong direction. We had kicked God out of everything. Out of the classroom. our of our homes, out of our lives. That all was brought to a screeching halt the day Donald/Pence got elected. The Lord God honored the prayers of His people, and now the healing can begin.. A few weeks ago, the Vice President attended the Pro-Life March in Washington DC. That is the first time a highly elected official supported the cause of life  vs. abortion. That was a huge step forward to putting God first again in our country. He weeps every time one of his creations is needlessly murdered through the brutal act of abortion. 

Another thing that happened recently that was awesome. Prayer in the White House. There is a picture of The President, Vice President, Supreme Court Nominee Neal Gorsuch and others praying in the White House before the announcement was made. Unbelievable! I never thought I'd live to see that day again. That is totally a God-Thing, my friends! 

We now have a new leader. He isn't perfect, just like all of us, he's a sinner, and he has fallen short of God's glory. My prayer is that God's Grace will cover all those who are angry about life these days, and there are many. My prayer is that they will accept what has happened and accept our new President.

The Lord can do amazing things for those who believe. He truly can move mountains even if your faith is a small as a mustard seed. Matthew 17:20 reminds us all "Truly I tell youif you have faith as small as a mustard seedyou can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move" ...  

So what is the connection in all these events? God, of course. I've been a a firsthand witness to the incredible power of God in my own life and in the life of our country these past 15 months or so. 

One more thing to add for a last minute God -Thing, Our NC house has sold!!! We had been trying to sell that place on and off for 4 years but it just never happened.  I know now the reason why. God saved it for us to move into while we were making this transition to KY, Now that everything is finished, with all the improvements to the house complete and we don't need it anymore, it has finally sold in His perfect timing.. Thank you Jesus! 

If you turn your life over to the God of the Universe you will no doubt see the surprises He has in store for you. You just never know what's He's going to do next and that is what makes it so exciting to be a follower of Jesus Christ!!!

My verses for today are above in red.

My prayer for today

Dearest Heavenly Father, 

Lord, thank you for watching over our family this past year as we sought to follow your will and move in a totally different direction. Thank you for your provision. Thank you for your protection. Thank you for having everything fall into place according to your perfect will. It has been amazing to watch you orchestrate everything to perfection.

Thank you Lord for our new President and Vice-President. Be with them Lord. Protect them from the arrows of the evil one that are flung at them each and every day. Give them wisdom Lord. Give them your strength and protect them as they seek to move our country in a new and different direction

Lord, I pray for those hurting. I know their are many that are confused and upset that their candidate didn't win. Give them your peace Lord. Help to open their eyes to the truth. Help them to calm down and give this new administration a chance to lead before they want to destroy them. 

I ask all this in the mighty name of my sweet savior Jesus,

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Go Forth in Jesus Name...

Today I've been thinking about how God can plant you, me and anyone and use us right where we are. It doesn't matter what your circumstances, if you have an open and willing heart, He is always able to take that supple heart and use it for His glory. God can use you wherever you are at any time. You don't have to be a pastor, deacon or a lay person, you can just be a believer that loves the Lord with all your heart and soul.

As my disability has increased these past years, it's often been a tough transition to go from total freedom, being able to drive, work and go anywhere you want and do anything you want at any particular time to being confined in a scooter and reliant on other people to take care of many of your basic needs. I can be humbling to say the least. But in that humility can come many blessings if you allow them to shine through. I can remember thoughts of some of God's most humble servants being people those confined to hospital beds and prisons. Having those quiet moments with God is easier when you have to be still and have no choice. Although it can be frustrating, it can also be a tremendous blessing if you allow it to.

I'm a people person as my sweet husband has often reminds me. I do love being around people and sharing the love of Jesus. I enjoy going to church, attending bible studies and even conducting them these last few years. I love going out and having breakfast and lunch with my girlfriends, going to the movies, going to the farmers market, etc, or just out for a ride. I used to love playing scrabble when my sweet friend Michelle would come over to see me. I live a simple life.

Now that I'm on top of a mountain isolated from many people, the simple things are a little more difficult. Since I've become home bound most all the time these days, it's occurred to me that altho I'm inside most of my days, with the advancement of technology, email, Facebook, Twitter and the like, I can spend as much time as I'm capable of, letting God use me in His own perfect way. Thank you Lord for modern technology!

MS is a hard disease to live with. My wonderful husband does a great job of making sure I get out of the house a few times a week, but he's started a new job of late and he's understandably exhausted. He's doing a great job. I admire him so much. He has overwhelming responsibilities taking care of our family. I cannot imagine the load he has on his shoulders. I try to help him whenever I can, but I'm limited and I know he worries about my physical and emotional well-being. What a blessing this man has been to me. Thank you Jesus! He has been by my side every step of the way on this MS journey. And it hasn't been an easy one by any stretch of the imagination. Marriage isn't easy even under normal circumstances, but when you put a debilitating chronic disease like MS in the mix, it kicks up the everything a notch. Many marriages do not survive this disease. I'm blessed that my sweet husband has never wavered, not even for a second. 38+ years and counting!

So, I spend my days helping my husband with whatever I can, dishes, laundry, paperwork and computer work, encouragement and I try to spend my time counting my blessings instead of my troubles, for my blessings far outweigh the troubles at any given time. I post a daily devotional, maintain a online prayer group, and continue to spread the news about CCSVI, the venoplasty procedure that has helped alleviate my worst MS symptoms more than anything else. I read books,my bible, do jigsaw puzzles, play online games with friends. I often think of my sweet dearly departed friend Russell Solice, being a quadriplegic mainly confined to his bed for years. Whenever I feel sorry for myself, I think of the years he spent in his own special prison and how well he handled himself always. He was such an inspiration to so many and I miss him so.

I am blessed to be living up here on this beautiful home in the mountains of North Carolina. God has supplied our needs each day as He always has. I never thought in a million years that I would be living up here full time after owning this vacation home for 10 years. It's a miracle in itself that we were able to keep it with only one income and two homes. It's funny because we've had this home on the market many times, but it never sold. I always wondered why but knew that God had a plan that we didn't understand and trusted Him to reveal it to us. That happened when we made the decision to leave our home in Florida after living there for 23 years and give up our friends and job to take on a new adventure up here in NC. God had this house waiting for us. Although it needed a lot of TLC when we arrived, which my husband took care of the first 6 months, it was there and it was ready to be our sanctuary as we acclimated to our new full time surrounding, closer to our oldest son and his wife and our sweet granddaughter Grace, who turns 2 on Friday. Another blessing of moving to NC!

                           View from our deck in North Carolina. We are surrounded by God's Beauty!

So, I will spend much time during my days "Going Forth in Jesus Name" taking my resources, even if they are limited, to proclaim His Love and Word to a hurting world. I will let Jesus use me to fulfill His Great Commission to go forth unto all the nations, proclaiming the name of the Lord! He has chosen me to do His Work on this earth and I will not waver.  John 15:16 tell us " You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.

I'm in the process of writing a book about my life and my love of Jesus. Admittedly I get confused and frustrated because of my increased cognitive challenges, but I know the Lord will lead me to finish it in His perfect time. Maybe I'll just do a compilation of my blog posts? Just thinking out loud here. God has been putting that thought on my heart of late?? Maybe I will. we'll see what the Lord has planned.

I have much to be thankful for and each day I try to remember the glass is always half full, never half empty and I thank the Lord that I look at life through those lenses.

My verse is above in red. 

My prayer for today:

Thank you Jesus. Thank you for my many blessings. Thank you for my husband, my sons, daughter in law and beautiful granddaughter. Thank you for this beautiful home we live surrounded by your Glory at each turn.

Use me Lord, use me each day to spread your love and Word to the hurting around the world.Help me Lord to be content in my circumstances, whatever they may be.

In Jesus name I pray

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Thanking,Contemplating and Waiting....

As I sit down here and write in my blog for the first time in a while, it looks like the world is once again rocked by Islamic extremism. The pace is picking up. It seems like every other week there is some new terrorist attack worldwide. It is so hard to see the suffering that these zealots cause intentionally, just because they want to end their own lives and prove a point in the name of their "Allah." Our world is falling apart right in front of us. The only comfort is in knowing that it is all pre-ordained because Scripture talks about the end times and the destruction that will occur.

2 Timothy 3: 1-5 tells us "But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people."

I wanted to write here in my familiar blog because I have been tremendously frustrated myself of late. But it seems in light of things happening in the world, that my frustrations should take a back seat. 

As I mentioned before in my blog writings, I started writing a book based on how God has helped me and supplied my needs through the daily challenges of living with MS. He put this dream on my heart a while ago, and I kept putting off beginning the process of writing it.

A dear friend of mine sent me a wonderful book "The Dream Seed...God's Blue Print Within You." by Clarence Dalrymple which helped jump start the process. I knew the book was definitely a God-thing, because I knew He was talking to me again, saying ......just get going Nicki, just do it. 

So, I have begun and have about 5 chapters written. But I've been having increasing cognitive challenges of late. I just can't seem to put my thoughts down in the correct order. If you've ever had cognitive problems you will know what I'm talking about. If not, it's kinda like you know what you want to say but can't seem to get the words put together correctly----at least in some kind of timely order. The task of continuing to move forward at this point seems absolutely overwhelming to me.  

Feeling a bit defeated I began reading the book my friend sent to me again and I am so glad I did because it helped me refocus and relax a bit. One of the excerpts that really helped was 

" Sometimes we get frustrated because we are trying to force things to happen according to our timetable. Sometimes we hold onto things too tightly. But when we are finally willing to let go, that's when God can bring them to pass. If you choose to release that frustration and not let it become the center of your attention, but instead use that same time and energy to thank God that He's directing your steps, then you open the door for God to give you the desires of your heart. Remember God already knows what we want and what we need. He's the One who puts those desires in us. We shouldn't be consumed by trying to make things happen. Instead a greater act of faith is to be happy where you are right now. You have to stay open and trust God, because he as a good plan in store for your future."

Another passage that spoke to me was this one . 

"If God gave you a vision, a spiritual hope or a dream for your future, there will be an appointed time when that which God spoke comes to pass. Thus, the Lord assures us " Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who read it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time. but at the end it will speak and will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it ,because it will surely come. It will not tarry. (Hab. 2:2-3)

I have written my book vision down right above my computer and will keep it there until the vision comes to pass! I will trust the Lord and his perfect timing.

Wow, I felt a big sigh of relief when I read those passages.  I will be able to finish this book when God gives me the cognitive ability to move forward. There is no shame. I don't need to push it. The only one putting a timetable on me, is ME! I can go at my own pace. The Lord will make it happen when it is supposed to happen. Not to worry, this is so very minor in the scheme of things. 

There is so much going on in the world and the prayer needs are great for so many and my family needs my continued prayers. 

We have so much to be thankful for and that is where I need my focus to be. God has been by the side of our family these past 7 months guiding our steps each and every day. We sold our Sarasota house for exactly what we wanted and the deal was cash. My husband successfully went back to Sarasota, packed up our house,storing it in pods and returned unharmed but exhausted after a two week absence. We have this beautiful North Carolina home to come to while we wait for Him and his timing as far as my husband's future career opportunities. We have the funds to be able to live here with no problem until that happens. That in itself is a God-Thing. 

When I look at all the Lord has done for us of late, that in itself is astounding. He is so faithful and true. Help me Jesus to focus on You and not on the terrible things that are happening in this world. Help me to take the focus off of my problems because I know that you are the one in charge of it all. Help my vision to come to pass in your perfect timing.

My verses for today are above in red.
My prayer for today:

Heavenly Father,

We need you! We are failing miserably as a society. There are so many that are hurting in this world. 
Give them your peace. Take the hatred out of the hearts of those who seek to harm innocent people. Open the eyes of those in our world who cannot see the truth of what is going on against our country and the world. Take the blinders off of them so they may see Your truth.

Amen and Amen