Monday, September 7, 2009

STREAMS IN THE DESERT



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My family and I had walked through a spiritually devastating desert for several years. My oldest daughter had been diagnosed with a severe learning disability known as NLD (non-verbal learning disability similar to Asperger’s Syndrome). For more information you can go to http://www.nldline.com/ On top of that she’d developed a complicated depression, anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder. She was eleven years old and in fifth grade. My youngest was eight at the time and so very scared about what was happening to her big sister.

This month my oldest will turn twenty and the severity of the problems continue but we are learning to trust God no matter what. Without Christ in our lives, our church, and many friends, I can’t see anyway we would have made it this far. But I’m a big believer in the power of prayer and in the power of hope. I even have a carved sculpture in my office that simply says, HOPE.


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Several years ago, Robin Lee Hatcher, recommended I buy a copy of a daily devotional originally published in1925. That devotional is titled, Streams in the Desert, written by L.B. Cowman, and updated in modern language by James Reimann. Streams in the Desert is relief for the parched soul.

Today is September 7th and isn’t it fitting that the devotion for today in, Streams in the Desert, begins with Psalm 46:1- God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. The first sentence: “Why didn’t God help me sooner?”


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And then the text continues.

“This is a question that is often asked, but it is not His will to act on your schedule. He desires to change you through the trouble, and cause you to learn a lesson from it. He has promised, “I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.” (Ps. 91:15). He will be with you in trouble all day and through the night. Afterward, he will take you out of it, but not until you have stopped being restless and worried over it and have become calm and quiet. Then He will say, “It is enough.”

God uses trouble to teach His children precious lessons. Difficulties are intended to educate us, and when their good work is done, a glorious reward will become ours through them. There is a sweet joy and a real value in difficulties, for He regards them not as difficulties but as opportunities.”

Let me say it can be very hard to learn lessons when our children are suffering. I don’t even want to think about learning a lesson in those circumstances. I just want results. Fast! But looking back over the past nine years I have learned much. Okay, what you may say have you learned through this long, long, trial that still persists? Here’s my short list:
1) Patience
2) Prayer
3) Persistence

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My long list begins something like this:
1) The need to let God work in a situation that I feel I need to control. That’s a tough one.
2) Wrestling God for a blessing and what that really means.
3) The need to REALLY take care of yourself even when things are awful because a long term illness of any kind will exhaust you as a caregiver and parent.
4) Hanging on to hope when you can’t find it.
5) Asking friends to stand in the gap and pray when you can’t pray one more word.
6) Finding peace in the Word, on a walk, in prayer, or in "being still."


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Passage Matthew 25:35 For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home.


Through all our trials as a family Christ has always been there for us even when we didn’t know it or feel his presence. Think about your trials and your “dry times.” What was it that you thirsted for? How did God provide?

Every morning on my way to work I pass a fountain that says: “Thirsty and ye gave me drink.” I roll my window down and listen to the calm of the water. It’s really nice when I get a red light and can enjoy it for a minute longer. Don’t forget to share your water. There’s a lot of thirsty people out there. Enjoy your Labor Day.

Psalm 46:1- God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.

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Five paperback copies of, Streams in the Desert, will be given away during our drawings. Quench your thirst.

21 comments:

  1. Thanks for the reminder. I bought my first Streams in the Desert in 1973! Got if off the shelve today. Also have Vol 2 and the daily journal (haven't gotten in the habit of journaling) but do admire the ones that do!
    Just yesterday I was reading in I Peter 5. V 7 speaks about casting all your care on Him for He cares for you. We are all familiar with that verse But on down to v. 10. WOW ... after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. What a promise.
    Enjoying this new blog. Thanks writers for letting us readers enjoy your thoughts

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  2. All very beautifully said by a very beautiful lady. Love you, Jilly-O! You are my hero!

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  3. Thanks Jill! Wonderful post and such beautiful graphics. I know how much this means to you as you chose this so quickly when we first discussed a non-fiction theme.

    It has been such a pleasure to get to know you better. Your faith through the 'valley' times is as strong as when on the 'mountain'. May God bless your family today and make this the best school year yet.

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  4. Great job Jill. I knew a little about your daughter, but not all the details. What a challenge.

    Since I'm still on my "imagination" kick...at some point I realized that it helped me tremendously to imagine what my life would look like when God's promises took effect. "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

    It seems to work really well with my visual and right brained system of processing things rather than just "speaking" or "hearing" the word, although those are both incredibly important too. You do have to start with the word so that you are imagining God's plan and not just your own.

    Dina

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  5. I'm ashamed to say that I've never read this devotional, even though it is one of the classics. Now I see why it is a classic. The concepts are sufficiently anchored in the Word that they can minister across barriers of time and culture. I can only hope to write stories that translate as well.

    Nice job, Jill. I know it isn't easy to put so much of ourselves out there.

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  6. I received a copy of Streams in the desert a few months ago and it is already one of my favorites! I love a short, meaty devotional that I can "chew" on all day!

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  7. My bookstore will ring up yet another sale from THIS bookie. Thanks for the recommendation and for the link describing your daughter's condition.

    Glad to reconnect, Jill. May God soften the weight of your labors and your burdens.

    A new but kinda messy inkblot

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  8. Happy Labor Day!
    I loved all your comments my friends.

    Theresa, I know that verse well about, "after ye have suffered awhile." Still trying to figure out how long "a while" is.:)

    Mae Girl, thanks for dropping by. I miss your face. We gotta get together. I need a cowgirl hat.:)

    Patti Lacy, welcome to the Inkies. I'm so glad your here.

    Dina,
    I love the idea of imagining God's plan. My thoughts have centered around "restoring the years the locust of eaten."

    Deb,
    So glad you like the graphics. Each one spoke to me in a special way.

    Lisa,
    I still probably wouldn't know of Streams if Robin hadn't recommended it. You gotta read the intro. by Jim Reimann.

    D'Ann,
    These devotionals are "chewable." It's just amazing to me how much thought material can be in such a small space. :)

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  9. Jill:
    As I listened to our first reading yesterday, IS 35:4-7a, it said, "Streams will burst forth in the desert, and rivers in the steppe." How fitting your post today. And how beautiful. You've been tested and you've passed with honors. My prayers are always with you and your family.

    Connie

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  10. Hi Connie,
    Hey is that cool or what? IS 35:4-7a. I should have had that on the post today.:) Thank you for your kind words and prayer support.

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  11. Hey Jill, loved the photos. I've never read this devotional, either but looks like it's going on my 'wish list'.

    Thank you for the review.

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  12. Jill,

    FIRST, of course I will (we all will) be praying for your family. As a teacher, I'm familiar with Asperger's--and of course the good news is that God has a perfect plan for your children. Something you already know!

    SECONDLY, thank you for the beautiful photos. How uplifting!

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  13. Jill, I agree with Anita: this devotional is on my wish list. In fact, I started a Christmas Wish List today for the family. Just added STREAMS under my name. :-)

    Excellently done, girlfriend!

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  14. Hi Rylee,
    Oh I love your name. I want to use that in a book sometime.:) Thanks so much for the encouragment and I'm glad you liked the photos. I'm such a visual person. Hope you are having a wonderful day. Enjoy!

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  15. Queen Cleo!
    Hope you are having a relaxing kind of day. Take care of you and I have a feeling you'll be seeing a copy of Streams under your Christmas tree this year. :)

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  16. Jill, what a powerful and moving post. Thank you so much for sharing. You've given practical help and hope to the yearning, hurting soul. This book is going on my wish list too.

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  17. Thanks Susanne,
    So glad you liked it. Hope you're having a good day.

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  18. Fabulous post, Jill. I enjoyed it tremendously. We sure do learn through the rough times, eh? We don't like them, but they do help us to grow. I learned a lot by reading Kim Woodhouse's book, Woodhouse Family, Welcome Home. If you get a chance, Jill, check out my blog and the post about Kim's book. Talk about a woman who has gone through trials. Similar to yours with your daughter. You really should read her book, Jill.

    Thank you for telling me about your post, it really ministered to me.

    ((MEGA HUGS))

    Debra Ullrick

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  19. Jilly,

    You are a true inspiration and you and your family will remain in my prayers. What a lovely post. You've certainly ministered to me at a time when I need it, so thank you for sharing. This is definitely a book I need to read.

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  20. Thank you Jill for the encouraging words. Your blog was a reminder for me to count my blessings and that I need Him at all times and in all circumstances.
    Great job. God Bless,
    Dani

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  21. Hi Debra,
    So glad you were able to drop by. the trials do make us grow, but every once in awhile I wonder if I could just plateau out for awhile and enjoy the ride? Know what I mean? I will read Kim's book, I know she's been through Mega-trials too.

    Hi Suzie,
    Hope you had a great Labor Day. I'm glad my post ministered to you and I pray you have a wonderful week.

    Hi Dani,
    I'm honored you dropped in on my post. We all need to remember to count our blessings, don't we?
    Smiles.

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