I wrote my blog a few weeks ago and then there was a long trip and Thanksgiving, which in my house lasted a week, so I had decided to save it until now.  

Since the time I wrote this we have all grieved for our friends and neighbors who experienced the devastation of the Camp fire in Paradise. The devastation was far reaching and I know it gives us great pause as we endeavor to help where we can and pray the comfort of God on those who lost so much. Having experienced the loss of my family home of 23 year years and then Dave and my first home to fire I know both the anguish and the joy brought through the re-constructive work of God through the hands of others. Writing of my challenges before learning of these seems insignificant now, however in all of our lives we face large and small hurdles and it is my hope that in the small ones God’s word to me will encourage you. 

5 Weeks Ago: 

Have you ever felt yourself stretched so far it actually hurt? These last 3 months have taught me a great deal about stretching, both the pain and challenge it brings as well as the capacity it creates. Often times we find ourselves squeezed into a narrow place without the ability to see it how and where the road widens. We are being stretched and perhaps squeezed a bit. 

Three months ago as I was running down the stairs to grab a lipstick before going to a concert, I decided to fly instead…. Or rather my body did…down the stairs and over a railing. I landed on my left shoulder. Lesson: Do not run down stairs! The result was a commuted fracture of my left arm close to the shoulder.  I am still doing physical therapy after months of sleepless nights, lots of ice, meds and rest. Physical therapy does not feel like a therapy pool or a therapeutic massage. Physical therapy is a lot of work and it hurts! Daily I am stretching muscles that for a number of weeks could not even be used and without use they quickly weakened and actually became rather rigid. So I stretch, and every day I stretch a little more. The pain seems so many times to scream “just stop” but my therapists words are louder. “You have to do the work or your arm may be crippled”. This seems so true of many things, if we don’t do the work we may cripple ourselves. 

 While recovering in August we received news that my daughter, son in law, 2 year-old grandson and 8 month-old granddaughter would be joining us for the next year. My daughter Jessica is a pastor and continues to work full time remotely in missions for their large church as she and Kevin prepare to go abroad next fall and minister in the South Pacific for a few years.  Having them with us is an incredible gift and it has also stretched us. I had to laugh at the verse God gave me: 

Isaiah 54:2-3

Enlarge the place of your tent, and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out; spare not; lengthen your cords and strengthen your stakes,

For you will spread abroad to the right hand and to the left; and your offspring will possess the nations and make the desolate cities to be inhabited.

There was that stretching again! I had no idea how comfortable Dave and I had become in our little empty nest…I had just retired in Jan and suddenly we had time and space and could do pretty much what we liked with our time. Ha! Enter a very busy 2 year-old boy and speedy crawler! Believe me there has been great joy with this house full. Waking up in the morning with 2 little ones to snuggle with between us on the sofa has seemed like weeks of Christmas mornings…However, our lives had changed and we were being stretched. Our home was being shared as well as our time. Our marriage relationship was being stretched as we worked through issues this new season brought to us. Consequently ours became a house of prayer!  We prayed and prayed and daily have seen the miraculous as God gave us more capacity, more love and more perspective. I am quite sure our kids have had lots of prayer time as well, we probably seem quite quirky in so many ways…LOL

I love Psalm 18. 

Psalm 18:19 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)

19 He brought me forth also into a large place; He was delivering me because He was pleased with me and delighted in me.

 When God brings us into a large place it may simply be a larger heart, greater flexibility, more capacity to love and be like Jesus. I have made it a rule not to pray for patience but these last few months it has been developing. I wanted instant healing and in fact I am a firm believer God instantly heals. However this time by arm is being strengthened day by day and month by month. I have learned patience and am practicing rejoicing in each baby step is achieved, but it is a choice I make every day. My territory is being enlarged. I prayed this for years but had not expected that God would answer in the way He is this year. I thought my ministry would expand, and in a way it is; at home. 

Jabez prayed, “bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory.”

Enlarigng the place of your tent may mean making room for some new people in your life. People will s-t-r-e-t-c-h you! Relationships stretch us and stretch our prayer life. When God tells us to lengthen our cords I think we are to lengthen our reach. Reaching higher, abiding more deeply, reaching for faith we have yet to achieve. Wider tents require strengthening our stakes. We have to drive our faith deeper into the solid rock of Gods’ truth and His promises. Deeper for me means constantly digging, habitually digging. As I have pressed into the Lord I have found internal resources I did not know I had, He gives us what we need, in the moments we need it.

Psalm 1

 But his delight and desire are in the law of the Lord, and on His law (the precepts, the instructions, the teachings of God) he habitually meditates (ponders and studies) by day and by night.

And he shall be like a tree firmly planted [and tended] by the streams of water, ready to bring forth its fruit in its season; its leaf also shall not fade or wither; and everything he does shall prosper [and come to maturity].

Deeper roots, wider branches, firmer stakes and suddenly we find ourselves with a bigger tent and a larger place to live. So those narrow passage ways lead us to a place of delight if we look to Him on the journey. 

Psalm 18:19 

19 He brought me forth also into a large place; He was delivering me because He was pleased with me and delighted in me.

In the face of the large and the seemingly small mountains we face God promises to bring us out on the other side and into a large place and He does that because He loves us, is pleased with us and delights in us!