New Prayer Request/Praise Report

My aunt Judy Hartman is requesting prayer for her son, Aubrey, Jr. He has recently had two job interviews and was supposed to find out today. Both are in California, but Judy is praying that he gets the one that is closest to home and seems to be a better opportunity. Please join Judy in prayer as she seeks our Lord’s will, and please keep the entire Hartman family in your prayers as well.

PRAISE REPORT: Cousin Tiffany reports good news that my uncle Sammy is doing really good after this last surgery. He can already tell a tremendous difference in his breathing. He has been able “to walk to the top of the driveway and back without stopping for air!” Tiff reports that he was excited about that after struggling for several months with such activities!

Please continue to pray for Sammy as he recovers, and Teresa, as she continues the Chemo (the treatments are tiring her out of course).

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“Just What We Needed…”

…Took the kids to Clemmons State Forest today. It was so good to get out of the house. The last week or so has seemed quite stressful (I’ll spare you the details). You know, there’s something just so soothing and healing about nature. The kids were excited and happy, yet at the same time, the surroundings seemed to have a calming, quietening effect on them both. They weren’t yelling, fighting, running, etc. IT WAS WONDERFUL–just what we all needed.

Sarah kept saying “it’s so beautiful,” while Kerry kept singing, “we’re off to see the wizard, the wonderful wizard of Oz.” We leisurely walked the “Talking Trees Trail;” the kids taking turns pushing the buttons at each tree. When one would push the button, and a voice would say, “Howdy,” the kids would say “Howdy” back and wave at the tree.

I just can’t tell you the awesome peace I felt as we walked. The air seemed so much cleaner and fresher, and the sunlight was coming down through the trees, revealing all the various shades of green. I was trying to take it all in; communing with our Lord the whole time; thanking Him…

As we continued our walk, Sarah started singing, “Do Lord, oh do Lord, oh do you remember me?” I thought to myself, “Yes, He remembers, my Sarah Beth. He remembers, and He cares enough to answer a simple prayer about what activity to choose. Yep, He loves us, He hasn’t forgotten us, and He knows just what we need…”

Sarah In The Sun

If there’s ever been an outdoor kid, it’s my Sarah Beth. She loves the sun, and the sun loves her–Sarah so easily gets the most beautiful golden tan (not a trait she gets from me!)

One late afternoon, I heard Sarah singing one of her songs. As she played on the swing in our backyard, Sarah made up the following song about The Sun:

I love the sun better than the moon.

I love the sun coming up;

I hate it when it goes down.

Oh-h-h-h…the sun…

I just want to catch it!

Oh, won’t you come back to me…

I hate it when it goes down;

then I can’t reach it…

If you’re lost…

you just need to follow the sun;

follow the sun…

Oh-h-h-h…the sun is my friend…

Latest Family News/Prayer Requests/Praise Reports

–Uncle Sammy went back to the doctor yesterday concerning his breathing. Please continue to pray for him.

–Aunt Teresa still needs our prayers as she continues her fight with our Lord’s help.

–My mom and dad would both appreciate your prayers concerning medical issues and other struggles “the Lord knows all about.”

–Scott’s next surgery date is set for June 4th. Please pray for his recovery and use of his hand. Also, still continue to pray for “overall joint issues.”

–My father-in law, Kerry had been unemployed for over a year. However, praise the Lord, he now has a full-time job. Please pray for him as he adjusts to his new job (has been quite an adjustment).

–My kids have seemed a lot more “combative” toward each other and disrespectful toward me the last week or so. Please pray for them and for me, as I try to home school them with the Lord’s help. Also, please pray for our family that we continue to learn more and more about how to conserve and “make the most” of every resource God gives us–being “good stewards.”

–Again, if you haven’t heard, cousin Derek and his wife Shawn are having a girl! Please continue to pray for their unborn baby girl and for their budding little family.

Bringing “New Life” To Our Studies…

Well you know, Sarah has joined the JCHE 4-H Club, and she needs to do at least one project per year. We have decided to do an Embryology project, and we are all excited about it, including me! Tomorrow, we are going to pick up a borrowed incubator, and we’re getting fertilized chicken eggs from Lisa (my sister-in-law). In three weeks, we will get to see little baby chicks hatch from their shells! Unfortunately, we can’t keep the chicks–I’m sure our little Home Association would have plenty to say about that!! However, they will be going to live at Lisa’s, and the kids can go see them whenever they want.

A Ray of “Sonshine” Can Brighten Any Day

Yesterday just really seemed like “one of those days…” I’m sure you know the kind. You know, one of those days when nothing seems to be going right, everything you try to do seems to be wrong and only leads to more heartache and frustration… You know, one of those days when your head is sore from “banging it against a brick wall,” and you feel like every step you take is like “trying to wade through waist-high molasses…”

Yep…yesterday was one of those days, alright–chuck full of frustration at every turn…

UNTIL

…a ray of “sonshine” and hope broke through the heavy, dark clouds of despair…

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I had been crying out to God in prayer, “Is anything I’m saying or doing getting through to these kids?!…I don’t know what to do… I’m so exhausted…Please show me the way…”

Then, later on, little Kerry starts crying and fussing at dinner. Sarah pipes up and tells him, “Don’t cry Kerry. The devil wants you to be sad, but don’t let him win!!

“You have been listening to me, Sarah!” I suddenly exclaim.

“Yep. I hear you sometimes,” says Sarah, “…And I even remember it sometimes… & when I was doing my craft earlier, the devil was still trying to make me sad & I just had to tell him again to leave me alone!!”

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–Preach it, my little Sarah Beth, preach it!! James 4:7 says, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

I was feeling like nothing I have been saying has been getting through. However, now, I’m reminded of Isaiah 55:10-11, which says, “For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.”

I was feeling really defeated, and I wanted to “have a pity party.” I started thinking things like: “I can’t do this,” “I just don’t know what to do,” etc… But you know, someone recently shared the “Handy Little Chart” with me. I call it my “I don’t know if I can, but I know He can” list of Bible verses. Here’s a few I certainly could have applied yesterday:

>You say: “It’s impossible”

>God says: All things are possible (Luke 18:27)

——-

>You say: “I’m too tired”

>God says: I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28-30)

——-

>You say: “I can’t go on”

>God says: My grace is sufficient (II Cor. 12:9)

——-

>You say: “I can’t figure things out”

>God says: I will direct your steps (Prov. 3: 5-6)

——-

>You say: “I can’t manage”

>God says: I will supply your needs (Phil. 4:19)

——-

>You say: “I can’t do it”

>God says: You can do all things (Phil. 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”)

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You know what? I think we’re all out of excuses and complaints!! I know…I know…life can seem so hard and it can be so tempting to just want to give up… However, Hebrews 12:1-2 says, “…let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience (perseverance) the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

“…Jesus, Can You Help Me Find It?”

“I’ve lost my joy, Jesus can you help me find it?”

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Can you relate to this question? In Sunday School yesterday, the teacher spoke about some Christians seeming to lose their joy lately, himself included. I could certainly relate to what he was saying. Christians are supposed to be joyful, right? However, this “joy” cannot be manufactured, cannot be faked, and sure doesn’t just “come natural!” Psalm 16:11 says, “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”

Of course, when we seem to have lost our joy, the most obvious place to look for it is at the feet of Jesus. Whenever I ponder this topic, a song from Vacation Bible School (many moons ago) comes to mind:

His great joy is throbbing in my heart

Waves of glory breaking o’er me,

filling every part;

His great joy, pulsating in my soul,

Such a sense of gladness since the Savior made me whole.

Joy, joy, Jesus gives me joy

Joy, joy, everlasting joy,

Now the sadness has gone

For the Son of Love has shone

And I’ve joy, joy, joy.

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No matter what your situation or circumstance, you can still find joy in Jesus. The “thief” may try to rob you of your joy, but he cannot do so unless you let him! Just remember, if you have lost your joy and can’t seem to find it, go to Jesus and He will show you the way…