Why, God?

For nothing will be impossible with God. Luke 1:37

I was twenty-eight years old, and the biblical women with whom I could relate the most were Sarah, Rachel, Hannah and Elizabeth. Why? They were barren and could not conceive a child. I wanted a baby desperately, yet after much testing my doctors could find no reason why I couldn’t become pregnant. Full of sorrow over what might never be, I could no longer attend baby showers or watch new moms with their sweet babies without my heart breaking.

At the time, while working as a private duty RN, an assignment was given to care for a young woman who had just given birth. Along with the task came the warning that she was going to be very hard to handle; a poor little rich girl, spoiled rotten, separated from her husband and living with her mother, who was pretty loony in her own right. Not only did the patient not want her child but she refused to even see her; on top of that, she was driving the entire staff crazy with her complaints. Long story short, she lived up to all the hype and wins the prize for the most difficult patient I ever had throughout my nursing career. Day 1 was beyond awful, dealing with her hysterics as she refused the very treatments that would have helped her feel better; but day 2 was just as bad, or even worse. The dad came to visit and they decided to go see their child, escorted by yours truly. That baby girl was one of the prettiest little darlings I’d ever seen, and she stole their hearts (and mine!); after which they decided Mom would take her home where they would live with the the sex-crazed, drugged-out grandmother in her multi-million dollar Beverly Hills mansion. That broke my heart almost as much as the mom not wanting the baby because I knew there was little chance she would grow up to be a happy, well-adjusted adult; let alone the fact that short of a major miracle, there would be no godly influence in her life. I wonder to this day how her life turned out and if she has ever come to know Jesus.

After all of this, while walking to my car after work I could’nt keep the tears from flowing. Literally railing at God over the injustice of it all, I argued with Him all the way home; asking over and over, “Why God, why?” I felt convicted that I should read my Bible as soon as I arrived, but was so angry with Him that scriptures and prayer were the last thing I was interested in. All I wanted to do was yell and scream and pretty-much throw a fit! Finally, I gave in and told Him, “OK, I’ll only read the daily devotional, but that’s it unless You give me some answers.”

Backtracking a little, this was before the days of easy search engines where you can type in a few words of a Bible quote and immediately locate the chapter and verse. I had been searching for weeks for a particular scripture but couldn’t find it even though I’d checked printed commentaries and indexes, all to no avail; it seemed like those verses had disappeared from my Bible. Now, I entered my home and, with a rebellious, I’ll-show-You God attitude, picked up my devotional booklet. Wouldn’t you know it? The very passage I’d been searching for was the verse of the day:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
Proverbs 3:5-6

Broken, I collapsed on the floor in tears; repenting for my fears, impatience, lack of trust and everything else I could think of. By the time I got up He had made all things new, the angst was gone. Shortly afterward, a friend from church was about to give birth and I hosted her baby shower. I remember so clearly sitting there in complete peace; but there was also a quiet sense that I was pregnant, though it was much too early to even suspect it. Sure enough, I was; and about nine months later our son was born. I still identified with those biblical women, but this time it was because I understood how each one felt when they gave birth – Sarah, the mother of Isaac; Rachel, the mother of Joseph; Hannah, the mother of Samuel; and Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist:

He gives the barren woman a home, making her the joyous mother of children. Praise the Lord! Psalm 113:9

Why me? Why did I have to go through that? Certainly, I don’t have all of the answers; but I do know that the experience has enabled me to comfort other women over the years. I also understand that why-questions are not limited to infertitily and that whatever the issue, God is always faithful to His own. He’s proven it to me time and time again; through life-threatening illnesses, financial difficulties and family difficulties, just to name a few, He has proven His sufficiency:

Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:8-9

Clearly, we don’t have all the answers and often cannot understand, but the truth remains:

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9

Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for 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. Isaiah 40:30-31

But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, because he has dealt bountifully with me. Psalm 13:5-6

For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the Lord will take me in. Psalm 27:10

You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13

The saying is trustworthy, for: If we have died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us; if we are faithless, he remains faithful— for he cannot deny himself. Timothy 2:11-13

Life is full of hardship! Seemingly, about the time we overcome one thing, somthing else comes along. My prayer is that each person reading this post will embrace the reality of His sufficency and experience His perfect peace in the midst of the storms. Whatever the problem, He cares and He will help!

Life Interupted

A couple of weeks ago I received an email thanking me for teachings about hope in difficult situations. To be honest, I couldn’t remember what I’d written until I looked at my website and realized (with a shock!) that my last post, Hope When All Seems Hopeless, was two years ago (though hope has also been a theme in previous posts). Has it really been that long? Yes; and as a result, I’ve had to update all of my pages!

Life has a way of interupting, whether those hiccoughs in our agendas are wonderful, tragic, or anything in between. The blips in my own life have traveled that spectrum; but in the midst of it all, God is as He has always been – faithful.

God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
1 Corinthias 1:9 ESV

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape,
that you may be able to endure it.
1 Corinthians 10:13 ESV

It’s an often-observed fact that when times are tough, people cry out to God and draw nearer to Him. It happened in the early church when persecution of Christians was the reason the gospel initially spread throughout the known world, flourishing under the Roman Empire:

But the Jews incited the devout women of high standing and the leading men of the city, stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and drove them out of their district.
Acts 13:50

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood:
May grace and peace be multiplied to you.
1 Timothy 1:1-2 ESV

Turnng to God in tough times remains relevant today, and there are many reports of how Christianity is booming underground in Muslim nations. Meanwhile, here in the USA, Christians are making a big difference by standing up in courts of law to overthrow unjust laws that discriminate against them, with some victories reaching as high as the Spureme Court.

Certainly, most of us are familiar with the saying, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” The implication is that in the midst of situations when life becomes very difficult or unpleasant, people with strength and determination will take action and find a way to keep on keeping on. Sadly, when oneself is the source of that strength, we often fail; and anxiety, depression and hopelessness result. But, when God is our source, even in difficult situations we can still be at peace.

And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.
Ephesians 3:18-19 NLT

I learned of God’s sufficiency during 2006, while battling breast cancer; it was a struggle that I’ve written about extensively in I’m Still Standing. When your life is interupted, He wants to proove Himself to you too:

God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,

though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,

the holy habitation of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her;

she shall not be moved;
God will help her when morning dawns.
The nations rage, the kingdoms totter;

he utters his voice, the earth melts.
The Lord of hosts is with us;

the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah
Come, behold the works of the Lord,

how he has brought desolations on the earth.
He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;

he breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the chariots with fire.
“Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,

I will be exalted in the earth!”
The Lord of hosts is with us;

the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah
Psalm 46 ESV

Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
2 Corinthians 3:4-5

I’m Still Standing

Recently, The Lord impressed me that I needed to re-do the book I published in 2008 after my battle with breast cancer. The revised and updated edition of I’m Still Standing is now completed and is available on Amazon. From the back cover:

ISS CoverThe revised and updated edition of I’m Still Standing includes both the original compilation of essays about the author’s battle with breast cancer in 2006, and an addendum to each that is sub-titled 2020 Hindsight. The intervening years, including the challenges of Covid-19, are discussed. As a RN and former hospice nurse, she fully understands the potentially serious outcomes of diseases such as cancer and Covid-19 that may range from complete recovery to a slow-and-painful death. This is a testimony of God’s sufficiency throughout that terrible year of suffering in 2006, as well as during the intervening years. It illustrates how faith truly does overcome fear, delivering peace in the worst of times. Prayerfully, her experiences will encourage others, and bolster their faith in the God who is able to do far more than we even ask.

A Lion and a Gentle Man / Part 1: A Lion’s Roar

Mr. Schwartz was one of those rare teachers who inspire their students to think big and reach beyond themselves.  Sixth-grade geography came alive as he recounted stories of his parents’ escape from Nazi Germany to the United States.  For Darlene, a dream of traveling to Europe was born—a dream that became reality when, years later and a teacher herself, she journeyed to those far-away lands.

Raised Catholic, Darlene can’t remember a time when she didn’t know about God, but she clearly recalls the beginning of her intimate walk with Him.  Life’s struggles had become so overwhelming that she was deeply depressed—to the point that she seriously considered suicide.  One day, secluded in a closet and crying out to God, she was stunned when He answered—she heard His voice; not audibly, but as a sure-and-certain knowing deep within.  The words he spoke were, “Talk to me.”  So she did, pouring out her anguish; and a comforting presence such as she had never known encompassed her.  Thus began Darlene’s journey of learning to communicate with the LORD; to recognize his voice; to understand his guidance.  Many times he would speak through the words of scripture as well-known verses seemingly jumped off of the page.  Other times she would sense his inaudible whisper as she listened quietly, following his instruction to “be still and know that I am God.”

As her intimacy with the LORD increased, the desire to travel for pleasure decreased and she told Him that she would go only if He sent her.  Ten years passed with no trips abroad.  Then, in the spring of 2001, an invitation came to accompany her friend, Joan, to Europe to intercede over selected cities in several countries.  Joan is an adventurous sort who enjoys living life on the edge, thriving on spur-of-the-moment activities—quite a contrast to Darlene’s cautious and organized, drama-avoiding personality.  So she was wary, but promised Joan that she would consider it carefully and prayerfully.  The shower seemed like a good prayer closet, so that’s where her conversation with God occurred:

Is it OK to go to Europe?

Yes, with caution.

Is it safe?

You are safe with me.

Is it your will that we go?

I would not have put it in your heart if it wasn’t.  Let me direct your path.

As the Lord’s message continued, Darlene didn’t understand what it meant:

A man’s way is not always pleasing to me but I see the heart.  Your petitions have reached my ears and because I show mercy that does not mean I have approved or condoned poor behavior.  It means I have delivered.  You two have often gone astray, yet your hearts remained open.  Stay close to me and I will show you my glorious way.  Europe is in shambles—it is about to collapse.  I will not allow you to go to certain areas, and if you insist you will be out of my will.

OK, so if I ask about certain places please say “yes” or “no.”  Amsterdam?

Amsterdam is like a child who has gorged himself and has gone out of control, but it is salvageable.  Yes.


A beautiful country, but no.

And so the conversation continued until the Lord confirmed that they would travel to Holland, Belgium and Germany.  So, the trip was on.  Plans were made; tickets were purchased; and then, just a few days before departure, Joan’s son died.  Darlene offered to cancel the trip but Joan insisted this was of the LORD, and was certain there was nothing more she could do at home.  The Lord was gracious—He gave her a beautiful vision of her son, who had suffered greatly in life, joyously dancing around heaven.  So off they went, seeking God’s guidance each day regarding their itinerary, and He was very specific.  They traveled for about two weeks, ministering to the people they met and stopping to pray as they were led.  Only in retrospect, after the events of September 11th, did it become clear that all of the cities visited were the exact locations that were identified as where the terrorists had come from.

In Munich, Germany it became apparent that it was time to begin the return trip.  The night before leaving, the ladies went to dinner in a buffet-style restaurant where the seating area was located downstairs.  Waiting at the table while Joan got her food, Darlene happened to glance down and found a feather on the seat next to her.  It certainly hadn’t been there before so she began looking around for a bird, wondering how in the world it could have flown down the stairs.  Having heard lots of stories about gold dust, gems, oil, and feathers suddenly appearing; she finally realized that this must be a manifestation of the Spirit of the Lord so she kept it, little knowing at this point why the feather was so important.

The next day, heading north on the train, Darlene was reading Francis McNutt’s book on demons and deliverance and pondering its message when she heard, “danger—pray,” so they did, not knowing why.  Meanwhile, a decision as to where to stop for the night had not yet been made—Darlene’s sense was that they were to stay in Luxemburg, but Joan wanted to go to Brussels.  Not completely confident that she was hearing the LORD correctly, Darlene agreed, but as the train passed Luxemburg, she kept thinking, “I missed it—I missed what God said,” and just ten minutes later they arrived at the next stop, Brussels.

Leaving the station and anxious to locate lodging before dark, the friends were a bit uneasy.  In spite of the clear day, there seemed to be a dark heaviness in the atmosphere.  Looking around, they realized almost all of the people in the vicinity of the station were Middle Eastern men who appeared to be Muslim—the ladies were very uncomfortable. Worse, it soon became apparent that there was literally “no room in the inn” because every hotel in town was completely booked for a large conference.  Options quickly running out, they headed back toward the train station, hoping to catch the last train of the day.  Get-there-with-plenty-of-time-to-spare Darlene was rushing and became more and more frustrated as cut-it-to-the-last-minute Joan wanted to grab something to eat and then to stop and pray over a building.  As they approached the station, Darlene veered off across an empty lot, a shortcut that would save half a block; but Joan continued straight ahead so she could cross the street at the corner.  Out ahead and not looking back, Darlene was urging, “Come on!  Hurry!” when she heard a scream and turned around to see two young men attacking Joan.  One pummeled her while the other tried to grab her suitcase.

Darlene’s first thought was to pull the guy off of Joan, but the Lord quickly impressed her with the knowledge that she wasn’t strong enough.  Instead, He directed her to command them to stop in the name of Jesus.  She tried it, but they didn’t pay any attention and continued the attack.  The Lord said, “Say it again.”  When she did, one guy suddenly realized they weren’t alone and turned her way.  Darlene’s immediate thought was, “Oh, my God,” and she heard Him say, “Use my son’s name, and do not let fear come upon you.”  Things quickly became surreal—she could see a dark orb that appeared to be swirling toward her, and she felt as if she were now a martial artist warding off the spirit of fear.  At the same time she felt as if she were going deep within herself while thinking, “I’m going to yell real loud the name of Jesus.”  As she formed the word, “JE…,” she felt a rumbling begin in her belly and the sound came roaring out of her mouth “…SUS.”   The impact of the roar was so powerful that it knocked both Darlene and the attacker back—he looked stunned, but wasn’t giving up.  Raising his arm he rushed forward, as if to hit her with a Karate chop and she thought, “I’m a goner.”  But the Lord said again, “Do not let fear come upon you;” and once again she noticed that dark orb swirling in her direction.  Next, there was an instant, complete memory of a time when she had been accosted at gunpoint and had surrendered her purse.  The gunman had started to get into her car but she’d screamed, “No!  In the name of Jesus,” and he ran away.   Now the Lord said, “I want you to do that again.”  So she yelled, “Oh no you don’t, in the name of Jesus; and once again it came out as a roar.  Immediately the attacker’s arm froze in mid-air—he kept trying to move it but couldn’t.

It would be difficult to determine who was more surprised by what happened next. In Darlene’s words,It felt as if every muscle in my face moved—shifting its shape—and my eyes began to burn as if fire were shooting out of them.  My first thought was that some demon must be attacking but I quickly realized it was the power of God.  Glancing at Joan for the first time since this all began; I saw that she was looking at me quite strangely, even as the other attacker continued the assault.   I felt an incredible presence coming out of me and enveloping me, as if I were a tiny little speck inside a huge bubble.  I could feel myself fading away to nothing, as the presence around me became everything.  The guy with the frozen arm was staring at my face with a look of horror.  Then he looked up above my head and jumped back.  Turning around, he and ran off as fast as he could go.  When the second man saw him go, he also looked at my face and above my head and then ran away as well.  I just stood there and I felt everything go back to ‘normal.’  The Lord said, “You’re safe now,” and I quickly went to my friend and helped her up.  She was a little sore but OK.  The whole time she had also been yelling the name of Jesus.  Both of us trembling, we rushed to the train station.   Joan kept trying to ask me about what had just happened but I was so overcome that I couldn’t speak –when I tried I had no voice.  My throat had been affected from the roaring.”

Safely on the train, Joan told Darlene that when she had looked at her during the attack, all she could see was the face of a ferocious lion; and then she reacted to the encounter by talking, and talking, and talking…  Conversely, Darlene felt as if she were still in a state of shock and just wanted silence.  Finally she asked Joan to be still so she could pray and process with the Lord what had just happened.

Lord, what did it mean when I felt enveloped by you?

You must decrease so that I may increase.

Lord, how could that power come out of me and yet engulf me?

I am in you and you are in me.

He reminded her of Psalm 91, and she immediately knew why He had given her a feather the night before.  He was showing her that he is faithful to his promise to cover her with His feathers as He provides refuge under His wings.

Then Darlene saw a vision of the Lord’s hand reaching out and picking up what appeared to be a cloth—not a rag, but a nice cloth like a jeweler would use.  He gently gave it a shake and said, “This cloth represents the church.  I am shaking all that can be shaken.  All that doesn’t belong will be purged, and once more I will shake the nations.  All power and authority resides in the name of Jesus and the church has played with it, not really understanding the power and authority in his name.  My people play with my son’s name, not realizing the power they’re playing with, BUT SOON THEY WILL KNOW—SOON THEY WILL KNOW!!!”  Darlene continued to pray and the LORD told her that when those two guys heard them yelling the name of Jesus they heard the entire gospel—the entire Word of God.

How can that be?

Because Jesus is the Word of God.  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.   All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.  In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.  And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.  (John1:1-5)