Saturday, November 20, 2010

Psalm of Praise

"Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD: let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving & extol him with music & song." Psalm 95:1-2

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Prayer Needed

I haven't been able to blog for a while due to a rotator cuff injury. Still too painful to type much. However, I would like to ask those of you who read this blog to please pray for a very special 17-year old, Michale Batts. I've been "Aunt Debbie" to Michael since he was 5 years old.

This past Sunday, Michael was T-boned by a truck, pulling a horse trailer. He remains unconscious and in critical condition. He has a broken pelvis (both sides), broken ribs, cracked pubic bone and tail bone. He also has tears in his brain...the same type of injury that occurs in Shaken Baby Syndrome. 

He was taken off the ventilator on Thursday and is breathing on his own, with occasional help of a Bi-pap to make sure he is getting good, deep breaths to prevent pneumonia. He has shown intermittent signs of response to voices he recognizes as well as commands but nothing consistent as of yet. 

Please pray for God to heal Michael's brain injury and that he will wake up. Also, please pray for his parent, Paula and Kerry Batts and younger brother, Nathan Batts.

Thank you!!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Longing for His Presence

Draw me into your presence, Lord
I fix my eyes on You.
Draw me into your presence, Lord.
I fix my eyes on You.
I want to see your face
Draw close in your embrace
And rest beneath the shelter of your grace.

In your presence, is where I want to be. 
©Debbie Guinn 2008

Father, blogging is hard, writing is hard, thinking is hard...being real and vulnerable are hard.  

I'm not myself these days Medication, MS and pain are affecting me physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually...and I don't want others to know.  I just want to hide and draw in to Your in Your will all be better.  I'm struggling to find You...hear You...see Your face, feel Your warm embrace.  My mind is a maze of disconnected thoughts that can't seem to discern how to make sense of anything...not even Your Word...Your voice.  

I know You are here...You've promised never to leave me and You have proved faithful more times than I can count.  It's just another test of my faith...blind trust You even when I can't find You.  

Draw me into Your presence, Father...I fix my blind eyes on You.  And I sing with David...

"God, you are my God
I greatly long for you.
  With all my heart I thirst for you
in this dry desert
where there is no water.
I have seen you in the sacred tent.
There I have seen your power and your glory.
Your love is better than life.
I will bring glory to you with my lips
I will praise you as long as I live.
I will lift up my hand when I pray to you.
I will be as satisfied as if I had eaten the best food there is.
I will sing praise to you with my mouth.
As I lie on my bed I remember you.
I think of you all night long.
Because you have helped me,
I sing in the shadow of your wings.
I hold on to you.
Your powerful right hand takes good care of me."
Psalm 63:1-8 (NIRV)

Resting in your powerful right hand...Amen.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Gift of Rain

Oh Father,

How thankful I am for your gift of rain today...such a pleasant sound to awaken me this morning.  My mind  so vividly pictured each raindrop washing away the pollen and drowning out the weeds that had wreaked havoc with my allergies the past two weeks.  And I mustn't fail to mention the cool breezes I imagined, with the promise of cooler temperatures, this rain is to usher into North Texas.  

I felt new energy rising within me as I considered the possibility of inhaling long, deep breaths of the outdoors, able to finally emerge from my home cocoon, after this long hot summer...ready for long walks, picnics in the park, and the community of neighbors.

Neighbors...that word quickly averts my mind to my neighbor, who has recently separated...then to my friend who made the heartbreaking decision to force her husband to leave, due to his repetitive abusive actions...and then another friend, trying to break a drug addiction and left her husband because he chose his own addiction over her.  I think about others left homeless from last month's floods and wonder how they feel about today's rains...or another who is about to be forced out of her home due to family drama.  

I think of those whose lives have been shattered by sin...some by their own choosing and some merely helpless victims.

And as I listen to the rain, my thoughts shift to thoughts of how You--Oh LORD, our Jehovah, the Almighty, self-existing One, I am that I am--can wash over all these needs...forgiving sins, healing wounded hearts. You are the healing rain who brings new, refreshing life to all which seems so broken, parched and desolate.  You are the way for the lost, offering hope to the hopeless, providing strength to the weary.

"What joy for those whose strength comes from you LORD, who have set their minds on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.  When they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a place of refreshing springs.  The autumn rains will clothe it with blessings.  They will continue to grow stronger, and each of them will appear before God in Jerusalem." Psalm 84:5-7 (NLB)

And so, once again, I cast my cares--for so many who are close and dear to me--at Your feet, knowing that You alone are God...You are faithful and You can be trusted.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

He Loves Me Too Much

She could barely contain the excitement, as she handed me the package to open...the gift her family had brought me from China Town.  I could tell this was no ordinary token of thanks for caring for their dog while they were away.  I eagerly peered inside to discover two ornately decorated worry balls.  

"Now you don't have to worry so much, Aunt Debbie!" she squealed with delight.  

She was only ten years old, yet even she was aware of the impact and control worry had on me.  Countless days and endless nights I would roll those worry balls around in my hands, begging God for victory over my fears and worry.  Both seemed to have a death grip on me...a grip I could not break.

Then, I began an in-depth study of my Father's love for me. The more I studied, the more confident I became in trusting Him. As I understood just how much He loved me--enough to physically separate Himself from His Son and send Him to earth; enough to watch His Son to endure suffering and persecution; enough to allow His Son to die a death on the cross; and enough to turn His back on His Son as He took my sin upon Himself--I realized that He can be trusted for absolutely everything.  

During that study of understanding His love, a phrase kept running through my mind.  "My Father loves me too much to allow anything in my life that isn't ultimately for my good and His glory."  That phrase has stuck with me and has become my anti-worry motto, if you will.  I know that God does love me so much that everything He allows in my life is for my good and His glory. I may not immediately see it or understand it.  But, I know that the God who loved me enough to send His Son for me would not allow anything in my life that wasn't for my good and His glory.  To do so would go against the nature of God.  

Therefore, whenever something comes along that causes me to feel anxious or nervous, I remember how much God loves me, remind Him how much He loves me, and trust that it is somehow for my good and His glory. 

As for my worry balls...they are simply a great reminder that I have replaced my worry with a deeper understanding of my Father's love. 

I am linking up today with Faith Barista Jam as we share about Letting Go of Worry.  Click on the link below to read more blogs on this subject.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Father...You know


Today has been hard. I have struggled in many ways. Thank You for being who You are!  Thank You that when my mind won't form the words to pray...You know.

I cast all my cares on You and rest in You.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Expecting the Unexpected at a Baby Shower

It all started when I had that dream, several months ago...a dream in which my pastor preached a sermon entitled, "Expect the Unexpected from Unexpected People."  Some may scoff, thinking a simple dream couldn't possibly revolutionize a person's life...but this particular dream certainly did mine.   

"Expecting the unexpected" demands faith...not just saying, "I believe," but letting go of normal and routine to grasp the unknown and sometimes unacceptable.  It means disappointment when you fall back into the rut of expecting the expected. Yet the results are amazing blessings...beyond anything one could ever imagine.   

"Expecting the unexpected" has become the theme of my life, in conjunction with my desire to be a part of whatever it is God wants to do in and through me. My heart cry is to be an unexpected person in the lives of those I come into contact with, never missing an unexpected opportunity made possible by God.     I've seen God open doors for me to minister to--and be ministered to--by people I would have never before expected.  He has formed relationships in the most "unexpected" of circumstances, using the most "unexpected" resources.  

One such unexpected experience came just a few weeks ago when I got an email from somebody who is very dear to my heart...almost like a daughter.  

She had joined our family for dinner around Christmas but then had been busy for several months. So, we had communicated only online or by phone until June, when we celebrated her birthday.  We met again in July and all seemed well as we laughed and talked over some delicious cheesecake.  

So, yes, it was very unexpected, when on August 1st, I got an email from her, informing me that she had a three-month old daughter.  Her heart was was mine.  We met a few days later and I learned that she had nothing for her precious baby girl...not even a crib.  (She was sleeping in a borrowed car seat.)  My heart was in prayer prior to and during our entire time together, longing to be so filled with Christ's love...a love that doesn't condemn but points her to Him so that she may go and sin no more.

I felt God leading me to have a baby shower for her and her precious daughter.  This shower was about much more than meeting the material needs for her baby.  The greater need was that she be showered with pure unconditional love.  I knew she had few friends and that meant a huge step of faith for that God would provide her many that people would respond. 

I approached her with the idea of the shower and she melted with disbelief and gratefulness that I would do such a thing.  With her permission, I would invited several of my friends to the shower.  

I had never asked people to reach out to a total stranger, in this capacity, before.  Yet, I knew God was calling me to do it.  I truly believed this was one of those "expect the unexpected" events and only God knew who was to be there and who wasn't. So, I prayed about who to invite and sent out the invitations, trusting God to lead those He wanted involved to participate in whatever manner they could. The enemy tried to attack and thwart in so many ways--even a threat from the baby's father to cancel the shower--but I continued in prayer and stood firm...expecting the unexpected.

None of her friends made it to the shower.  She was nearly in tears an hour beforehand, and was hesitant to come, when she found out the last of her friends wasn't going to make it.  I persuaded her to come on, knowing a little of what what awaited her.  She definitely got some unexpected--and much needed--encouragement that day.

I cannot begin to describe the joy that was evident in her face as she opened the many gifts people she didn't even know gave her and her baby.  Every need she had was met...and then some...a swing, crib, glider (rocker), Bumbo, exersaucer, blankets, stroller, sling, toys, sheets, towels, and more clothes than she could have ever hoped for or imagined. 

When God speaks to people and they obey, His work is accomplished.  She was blessed beyond words!  As we helped her set things up at her apartment, she could not stop thanking me, expressing how much it meant to her.  She experienced love like she has never known.

I had no intention of gaining anything from this shower; the thought never even crossed my mind.  This was all about God meeting her was about her feeling loved and encouraged...or so I thought.  So, it was certainly unexpected when I found my own self relishing in an abundance of love and encouragement that night...and the days following.  

My own heart was filled to the brim and overflowing with the love that my friends had poured out on some one so dear to me.  For you see, when they loved her, they loved me.  That must be how God feels when we love His children..."when you have done it unto the least of these, you have done it unto me."


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Pain...It's All Part of His Healing

I don't remember when it started...seems it was always a part of my life.  As far back as my memory takes me, I catch glimpses of me inflicting pain upon myself...the only means I knew to smother the vast array of emotions I was forbidden to express.

I do remember when it ended...that is quite clear.  October 20, 2007...You sent Your Word and healed me and delivered me from all my destructions.  You freed me from that destructive addiction of self-abuse.

Last month, You made it clear that I was to make the switch from Tysabri to Copaxone...and I had perfect peace.  I had no clue, administering these daily injections would resemble the self-inflicted horrors of my past.  I bring that needle to my skin and I tell myself it is for my good, not harm. I heart begging for a way out...refusing to abuse my body again.  Then, I remind myself that even you subjected yourself to suffering to produce perfection.  I push the button; the needle penetrates the skin; the tears swell as the sting of the medication spreads throughout my body...and I rest in the knowledge that your grace is enough for me, for when I am weak, You are strong.  

You knew what You were doing when You guided my doctor and me to make the switch to these daily injections.  You were completely aware of the memories that lay just under the surface of my mind...memories that would be rattled by this new form of treatment.  And You are still the God who heals and has healed me; the God who delivers and has delivered me; the God whose plans for me are for good and not for harm.

And so, in a few hours, I will once again load that syringe and administer healing to my body...relying on Your strength...trusting that You are using even this as part of Your healing and deliverance...Your plan for me.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

So Many Brokenhearted

So many broken many wounded hearts.

You sent Your Word to heal them...yet they refuse to heed it and continue to suffer in pain.

You sent Your Son to bind up their broken hearts...yet they turn and walk away.

You are near to the brokenhearted...even then they don't acknowledge you.

Help me point them to You, Father...the One who is waiting to bind up their wounds and save those who are crushed in spirit. Help me point them to you.

Friday, September 10, 2010

O Lord, My Lord

O Lord, our Lord, how Majestic is Your Name, in all the earth.  

My own words are few this morning, Lord as I search for words to offer back to You for the many who are once again on my heart.  I am so thankful to have Your Word...words of truth...words of life...words of hope...words of peace...when I have no words of my own.

Be near to the many brokenhearted, saving all those who are crushed in spirit.  May those who are so downcast in spirit right now, put their hope in You...the Living God. May they pant for You, as a deer does for water. Direct them with Your love by day and sing over them with Your song at night.  

I pray they seek You first for all their needs, knowing that You are El Shaddai--their all sufficient one--and You will supply all their needs...adding all things unto them.  I pray they will wait upon and put their hope in You and as they do that You will renew their strength...proving that You indeed are strong when they are weak...that Your strength is made perfect in weakness.  I pray they will run into You...their mighty strong tower.  

I pray they will put on their armor daily, not forgetting any part...the shield of faith...breastplate of righteousness...feet shod with the gospel of peace...helmet of salvation...feasting on Your Word which is their sword....belt of truth to counteract those lies of the enemy...and above all to cover themselves in prayer.  And I do pray that they will know the truth. So many are being deceived by lies. I pray they will know Your Word--the Truth--for in knowing the truth, they will be set free.  

I pray they will learn to persevere through trials...knowing that You have allowed them to perfect that they may be made complete, lacking in nothing.

Father, thank You for sending Your Word to heals us and for healing wounded hearts...every so tenderly...ever so beautifully.  What a beautiful event when two young women recognized unconditional love--probably for the first time in their lives--this past weekend.  Thank You for allowing me to witness that, firsthand. 

Thank you for being who You are.  O Lord, My Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

How Do I Respond?

It was June 19th...a Saturday.  I was preparing to go on a much anticipated trip to Colorado, where my body would surely come to life in the mountains and cooler air...away from the scorching heat of Texas.  She stopped by the house to visit and during the course of the conversation, informed me that she and her boyfriend had made plans to move in together.  

It was August 1st...a Sunday.  I was relaxing at home after teaching a Sunday school class on our Father's love, followed by an hour of loving on God's precious little ones in the nursery.  I opened my email and listened as she shared a very secret part of her ready to share with me and various others that she has a nearly three-month old daughter.

It was September 9th...a Thursday.  I called to ask a question about her daughter when she burst into tears, leaving me wondering what it was I said.  A few hours later, as we sat in the privacy of my bedroom, she confided her torment of an eight-year emotionless marriage, a recent emotional affair and being abandoned by friends in the process.

Three women, in three months...all dear to my heart...all living a life of sin.  

How should I as a Christian respond?  How do I respond?

In each and every case, God immediately brought to mind the story of the woman caught in adultery (John Chapter 8).  Three specifics phrases, spoken by Jesus, stood out to me.

     1) "Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her."(Vs. 7 ESV)  
         I cannot judge or condemn...for I have sinned. Even one sin disqualifies me.

     2) "Neither do I condemn you" (Vs. 8 ESV)
         Loving like Jesus means offering grace and forgiveness rather than condemnation.

     3) "...go, and from now on sin no more." (Vs. 8 ESV)
         I am not Jesus; nor am I the Holy Spirit.  Telling them to go and sin no more is not my place or responsibility. The Holy Spirit must convict them of their sin and bring them to a place of repentance.   My place is to help my sisters, who are caught in sin, meet Jesus face to face.  I do this by walking beside them; constantly pointing them to Him; teaching them to follow Him, so they will come to the place of sinning no more. 

Father, may I love as Jesus a way that reflects His forgiveness and grace, without condemnation...willing to walk beside...always pointing to Jesus.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Tu Fidelidad

(Turn off music player at bottom of page before playing.)

Tu fidelidad is grande. Tu fidelidad incomparable es. Nadie como tu bendito Dios. Grande es tu fidelidad.
Your faithfulness is great. Your faithfulness is incomparable. There is no one like You God. Great is Your faithfulness!

I praise You for who You are...that You are faithful and can be trusted.  I thank You for showing us yet again this week just how great Your faithfulness my precious niece and great niece's lives, in my daughters' lives, in my own life.  How could I ever doubt You, Lord?  Yet, so often I do.

My heart is rejoicing at the way You have answered so many of my prayers this week...sometimes exactly as I have asked, sometimes above and beyond anything I could have ever have asked for or imagined, sometimes in a way I would not have hoped, but always in a way that was absolutely perfect, in accordance with Your will for our lives.  Yes, Your faithfulness is incomparable!

My heart is also heavy with burdens of so many friends who are hurting with various things right now.  I think of S & R, sifting through the news that the cyst on his brain is once again filling up with fluid...the surgery they hoped was going to cure him didn't.  I think of D, still in such excruciating pain, more than six weeks after her surgery.  I think of my sister, having major surgery today, due to a second battle with cancer...a new form of cancer...after being cancer free for five years.  I think of B, in the hospital, recovering from a brain injury caused by a head on collision by a drunk driver.

My heart breaks for C, J, M, S all struggling with deep, painful relationship issues...all with wounds so deep they find it hard to move forward in community with other believers...wounds that threaten to destroy them and the ministries You have for each of them.  Then there are D and J who lost two dear loved ones in their family this past week and the pain they are both experiencing right now.  I think of far too many to name, who are struggling with the emotional pain of rejection, abuse, divorce, and more...deeply wounded hearts.

You tell me in Your Word that when I am weary and carrying a heavy burden that I can come to You.  You tell me to cast all of my cares upon You.  You tell me not to be anxious about anything but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving to present my requests to You.  You tell me to ask, seek, and knock.  And so, that is what I am doing.  I am once again, bringing my heavy load and laying it at Your feet, asking You to work on behalf of each of my dear friends and family members; seeking wisdom for any involvement You would have from me.

How reassuring it is to know that You never get tired of me asking, seeking and knocking.  You are never bothered or perturbed  when I come to You with the same request over and over again.  When You bring them to mind, I simply lay them before You, as often as the burden is on my heart.  But, I never need to pick them up and carry them again. For I am laying them at the feet of my God who is faithful...and can be trusted.  I don't have to take these burdens up again because I know I can trust YOU with each and every one of them. 

Your love, O LORD, reaches to the heavens,  Your faithfulness to the skies.  (Psalm 36:5)

"Know therefore that the LORD Your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands." Deuteronomy 7:9

Monday, August 30, 2010

I Am Has Sent Them


You are Jehovah, I am that I am, the self-existing one.  We call upon Your name and You answer...again and again and again.

Less than a week ago, A's situation seemed so hopeless apart from You...and a powerful (not to mention expensive) attorney.  We sought Your face for wisdom and You supplied it; we interceded for favor and You granted it; and we asked Your Holy Spirit to convict and He did.  You showed up and did what only You could do, reuniting A with her precious baby...right where she belongs.  

And You didn't stop there.  You are stirring up the Christian community to answer the call to love on A and provide her many needs to make her apartment a home for B...responding beyond anything I could have ever hoped for or imagined.  I can hardly wait for A and B to get here for the shower on Sunday.  When she asks who sent the abundance of gifts, my reply will simply be, "I am that I am has sent them."

Saturday, August 28, 2010

We Will Not be Shaken


I have so much on my heart this morning...yet once again my thoughts are so scattered and jumbled.   How thankful I am that You know all my thoughts--before I even think them--and Your Spirit intercedes on my behalf.  I have set You always before me.  Because You are at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

The needs of those I love and care about are so great, Father.  If not for You, things would seem so hopeless...overwhelming, at best.  But, You, Oh God, are faithful and can be trusted. I have set You always before me.  Because You are at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

I think of A and the custody battle she is facing...a battle in which she doesn't know where to turn for legal counsel...a battle she has no financial resources to fund...yet a battle she must fight or lose her precious B forever. My heart is breaking for her and I feel so inadequate to help her.  Yet, I know You have called me to do so.  You have placed her in my life and I will answer the call.  Guide me, Father, giving me wisdom and discernment to her needs...needs that go far beyond loving her and that precious baby.  Remind me not to lean on my own understanding but to trust in You and You will direct my paths...and more importantly A's. 

Lead us to the attorney You have picked out for that will have B's best interest at that will fight for truth and that will be compassionate toward A's that will work with her financial status.  I pray too that You will place this in the district with a compassionate, understanding judge who will show favor to A. And I pray for the father, that his heart will be softened, that he will repent and turn back to You.  I pray this whole situation can be settled quickly, in the best interest of B.  I pray that A will keep her eyes fixed on You, that her peace will be great, and nothing will cause her to stumble.   Remind her that You, Oh God, are faithful and can be trusted. May she set You always before her.  Because You are at her right hand, she will not be shaken.

I think of C, going in for major surgery next Friday.  We've never been close and I don't even know how to reach out to her.  The enemy would like to take me places that I know are not of You.  Help me to keep my focus on You and how You want me to minister to my sister.  I pray that she will keep her eyes fixed on You and she will be in perfect peace...peace that surpasses all understanding.   Remind C that You, Oh God, are faithful and can be trusted. May she set You always before her.  Because You are at her right hand, she will not be shaken.

I also think of my dear friend, D.  Father, her surgery has left her in so much physical pain these last six weeks...not to mention being so isolated from people.  I am so thankful that she draws into You during times like these.  Still I've sensed--and even heard in her voice, the few times we'ved talked--that she is struggling with discouragement and depression.  I so long to be with her but can't, due to distance and my own financial resources.  

So, I am asking You to meet her needs, Father, in ways that only You can do.  Be all that she needs today, tomorrow, and everyday.  Be her companionship--or send people to visit--encouraging her and lifting her spirits.  Walk through the pain with her, giving her comfort and relief in the way and timing You know is best.  Draw her even closer to You during this time of physical healing...using it as a time of Spiritual healing as well.  I pray that D will continue to keep her eyes fixed--steadfast--on You and that You will keep her in perfect peace.   Remind her that You, Oh God, are faithful and can be trusted. May she set You always before her.  Because You are at her right hand, she will not be shaken.

I think next of several of my friends who are struggling with relationships.  I shudder, my own struggles in that area still raw, as I think of how the enemy is at work trying to keep us from being effective for You by tearing apart viable relationships with each other.  The phone call the other night made me realize how devastating some of these situations are...people withdrawing from ministry involvement because of them.

I pray for these gals--all such dear friends of mine--that they will seek You (and only You) for the healing they need...that they won't let the pain from these relationships allow them to build walls and wear masks that keep others out, preventing them from ministry and community with others, as You designed.  Help them to forgive as You forgave and to love as You love.  Remind them that You, Oh God, are faithful and can be trusted...even when people can't. May they set You always before them.  Because You are at their right hand, they will not be shaken.

Father, I admit I still struggle with some of the hurt from this summer.  I thank You that You have spoken so clearly to my heart and shown me that I cannot withdraw...that I must keep following Your calling for me...teaching me to forgive as You forgave and to love as You love.  So far, You've only led me to reach out in new areas...areas where I haven't had to deal with those who inflicted the wounds.  Wednesday night is going to be a big night for me as I obey You and attend the get together with women who hurt me so deeply.  Thank You that You, Oh God, are faithful and can be trusted.  I have set You always before me.  Because You are at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

You tell us to cast our cares upon You because You care for us.  I know this to be true. And so with a scattered brain, I haved poured out my petitions before You, with thanksgiving...for You are worthy of all thanks and praise.  And I thank You that I can go forth in peace...a peace that goes far beyond anything I could ever comprehend, amidst all the concerns flooding my mind.  What a release it always is to lay my requests at Your feet and to get up, full of such peace, reminded that You are faithful...You can be trusted...and I will not be shaken.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Divine Clarity and Absolute Peace

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart."  Jeremiah 29:11-13

God gave me this promise about six months after I had my first major exacerbation with MS.  I had no clue then what was wrong with me and in fact would go almost six more years before being diagnosed with MS.  Yet through the journey, I learned to trust in God's promise to me...learned what it meant to call upon Him, to go to Him, to pray and most importantly to seek Him with all my heart.  As I sought Him with my whole heart, I did indeed find Him and in finding Him, learned that I can trust His plans for me...His plans to prosper and not harm me...His plans for a hope and a future.

"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 your paths straight." Proverbs 3:4-6

Trusting Him means I don't try to figure things out on my own but I go to Him for answers about everything.  So, when things seem confusing--like what to do about my MS treatments--I know who has the answer.

"For the Lord gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding." Proverbs 2:6

I asked Him to give me wisdom in what to do and He did!  I also asked him to give me divine clarity that would override the effects of the double dose of Benadryl I had to take that morning and He did! He even provided a friend to drive me so that I had somebody with me who knew the decision I had come to before taking the Benadryl, knew all the questions I wanted to ask the doctor, take notes for me...all in case I was too out of it to think clearly.  It was also a blessing to not have to take the train and wait around in the heat. 

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7

I had been praying about this for months.   My Sunday School class prayed with me on Sunday morning and by Sunday afternoon, I felt confident in what I needed to do.  I talked with two of my daughters that evening and both agreed with my decision.  I woke Monday morning with total peace about my decision, as I wrote it out for my friend.  My oldest daughter called that morning and as I shared the decision with her, she also agreed that was what I should do.  With all three girls in agreement with me, I was ready to go.  I had an absolute peace.  My heart was guarded by such powerful peace as I set off to make a very difficult decision that could impact my health. However, I knew, without a doubt, it was the right decision.

The meeting with the doctor went great.  I was so alert and truly did have divine clarity of mind.  I had some lightheadedness from the Benadryl and felt I could close my eyes and drift into a deep sleep, if I stopped for more than a few seconds.  Yet, I also felt so alert and clear headed.  I knew it was God honoring my prayer.  When the subject of the therapy I was on was discussed, my doctor actually recommended the exact course of treatment I had felt God leading me to do...down to every detail!!!  Talk about confirmation!!!  It was simply more than I could have asked for or imagined.

"Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen." Ephesians 3:20-21

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Desperate for an Answer......BUT GOD!!

Today's blog is different than I usually write.  Today, I need to just share my nobody in particular...just ramble.  Tomorrow is a big day...a day that could change the course of my life...and not necessarily for the good...physically speaking...humanly speaking.......BUT GOD!

I will try and explain things as I go along in case anybody stops by who doesn't know me.  I have Multiple Sclerosis...have had it for at least nine years...probably more like 20 years.  After almost seven years of one debilitating relapse after another, and losing a good part of my vision, God opened the door for me to get into the MS Center in Dallas where I was finally diagnosed and put on Tysabri.  I've not had any major exacerbations since.  I have days the MS affects me but not to the extent it was and I've not had any more attacks of Optic Neuritis which is what has caused my vision loss.

Tysabri carries with it a risk of getting a rare brain infection  called progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML), which is always fatal.   New research shows this risk increases in patients who have been on the drug for more than two years.  Because of this new research, we are required to meet with our doctors after our 24th infusion to discuss future treatment plans.

I had my 24th infusion last month and tomorrow is decision day for me.  Up to this point, I have felt the benefits of Tysabri have been greater than the risk. The risk is now at a level which I am not near as comfortable taking.  However, the reason I was put on this particular MS therapy is because it is the only one known to target the area of the brain that affects the optic nerves.  

The optic neuritis aspect of the MS had begun to enter the progressive stage and we were able to stop that through this therapy.  To switch to another form of therapy would mean treating the MS as a whole, hoping--and certainly praying--it will keep the optic nerves under control......BUT GOD!!

In addition, I would have to go off the Tysabri for several months before I can start on any other form of therapy...hoping, praying and a great deal of trusting God that my body stays in remission without the aid of any drugs......BUT GOD!!

This Texas heat gets harder and harder on me every year. So, right now, the thought of going three to six months without any form of therapy feels like a death sentence in itself.  Yet, I know that relapses with MS are not fatal and even losing my vision altogether would be better than death.  Still, only God knows which is the greater risk.  I cannot base my decision on fear...fear of death or fear of total blindness......BUT GOD!!

I know God knows the answer. He tells me to lean not on my own understanding; that He will direct my paths. He tells me that He gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding. He tells me to seek Him and He will be found.  He tells me to cast my cares upon be anxious for nothing. 

I am seeking Him and trusting Him for the right answer...I just would like Him to show me before I go tomorrow.  See, I have an MRI before my appointment.  Because I'm allergic to the MRI contrast, I have to be pre-medicated with Benadryl...which knocks me out.  So, when I see my doctor a couple of hours later, I'm not going to be the most coherent person in the world.  I'm sure my doctor will discuss the risks and options--which we've already gone over--and I don't want to make a decision based on something she says that may sound a little different due to my drugged state of thinking.  I want to make a decision when I'm of a sound mind.......BUT GOD.

Yes, that is when I have to step back and say, "BUT GOD".  I have to remember that if God can speak through a donkey, he can speak the words that need to be spoken through my Benadryl laced mind.  I have to remember the days when the MS had so messed up my cognition that I couldn't put two words together, yet I delivered His truths to a group of women, changing lives so dramatically that they talk about it still today.  Yes...BUT GOD!!!  

He is still God and He will give me direction about what to do regarding my treatment. It will be the right decision; the right words will come to me when I need to know them; and He will make sure they come out of my mouth when it is time to tell my doctor.  Ahhh...peace......ONLY GOD!!!

Friday, August 13, 2010

A Birthday Prayer


It is August 13, 2010...the 19th anniversary of the day my precious Sarah--Your princess--surprised me by entering this world five weeks early. 
I still remember, ever so vividly, those long hours of the doctors and nurses frantically trying to stop my labor...while it increased instead.  You, oh God, knew what was going on during those critical hours and minutes of decision making by such a Godly doctor.  For You are the one who created her inmost being, knitting her together even during those last seconds, inside my womb.  You numbered her days and and wrote them in Your book before even one of them came to be. You knew her days were to begin on August 13th...not September 15th.  Only You knew that I had contracted an infection that could have killed that precious baby girl...or in the least left her with brain damage.
I thank You that she was fearfully and wonderfully made to be exactly as she is; her frame was never hidden from You when You made her in the secret place. When every intricate detail of Sarah was woven together in the depths of the earth, Your eyes saw each and every part of her unformed body.

Thank You for the peace I have, knowing that You know when Sarah sits and when she rises; You know her going out and her lying down.  You are familiar with all her ways. You know all her thoughts without her even speaking them aloud; before she even speaks a word, You, Oh God know exactly what she is about to say.
Father, thank you for hemming Sarah in. You are both behind and before her at all times.  You have laid Your almighty hand upon her.  How reassuring, as a mother, to know there is nowhere she can go that will separate her from Your Spirit or Your presence. You always know where she is and what she is doing.  If she goes up to the heavens, You are there; even if she makes her bed in the depths, You will be there as well.  If she rises on the wings of the dawn, or settles on the far side of the sea, even there Your hand will guide her; Your right hand will hold Sarah fast.

I know that when Sarah feels like the darkness is hiding her and the light becomes like night around her, even the darkness will not be dark to You.  So, I pray the night will shine like the day for her, just as darkness is as light to You. (Psalm 139)

I pray that Sarah will continue to be taught by You, Father, (and only You) and in doing so, her peace will be great. (Isaiah 54:13)
I know she has received Your Son, Christ Jesus, as her Lord and Savior, as a young child.  I pray she will always continue to live in Him; that she will be deeply rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith she has been taught, and constantly overflowing with thankfulness.  

I pray no one leads her astray through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world, rather than on Christ.  Oh Father, this is such a deep prayer because these teachings are running rampant in the universities...and even in the churches. 

I pray that Sarah will always set her heart on things above where Christ is seated at Your right hand.  I pray she will have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires, greed and idolatry.  I also pray she will get rid of all anger, rage, malice, slander, filthy language and lying.  I pray her conversations will always be full of grace, seasoned with salt...irregardless of whom she is speaking.

I pray that Sarah's spirit will continuously be renewed in knowledge in the image of you, the Creator. 
I pray that she will be full of compassion, kindness, gentleness and patience; that she will bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances she may have against others.  Teach her to forgive as You forgave her.  Most importantly, I pray that she will be filled with love, which binds all together in perfect unity; that she will let the peace of Christ rule in her hearts, and be thankful.  

Father, thank you for the precious demonstration of love I heard coming from Sarah this past week, as she ministered to a hurting child of yours.  And thank you for the way she has reached out to her friend, Virginia...and many others who have been hurting.  I love her precious heart.  Please help her to learn how to demonstrate that same love, compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience and forgiveness where it is often most home...towards her sister.  

Oh how I pray that the Word of Christ will dwell in Sarah richly; and whatever she does, whether in word or deed, she would do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, always giving thanks to You, the Father through Him.  I pray that she would be consistently devoted in prayer. (Colossians 1-4)
I thank You, Father God, that you chose me to be Sarah's Mother.  Help me to walk in a manner worthy of that calling. (Ephesians 4:1)

Thank You for doing all that I have asked, according to Your will and in Your precious Son's name, 

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Love in our Home

What does LOVE look like in your home?

The past two weeks I've been given the opportunity to love as Jesus would, to a young gal who, as many--Christians included--would say "messed up big time"...a precious girl who has never known unconditional love...a hurting child of God who needed somebody to say "let him who is without sin cast the first stone but that certainly isn't me so neither do I condemn you, now let me help you go and sin no more".

Oh what a rich experience it has been, loving on her out of the love that Christ has lavished on me. I am able to love only because He loved me first (1 John 4:19)

What has made it even more beautiful is to hear her tell me how my own children have also poured their unconditional love out on her...without my knowledge. Two of my girls don't even live at home anymore, yet, knowing of her situation have reached out in such priceless expressions of love...a text from my 22-year old daughter; an e-mail from my 19-year old; lots of hugs from my 17-year old and promises to help her out anytime she needs it.

Christ's love has been pouring out in abundance both within and beyond the physical walls of our home.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

My Source of Strength


This devotion speaks so deeply to my heart…in many ways.  So many things are crying out for my attention…bills, paperwork, Rachel’s needs, other people’s needs, thank you notes, and so much more.  I feel so overwhelmed, if not for you, Father.  I don’t know where to start.  The heat has gotten to me and my energy is just totally shot…not an ounce of it there to even begin any of these things.  And my mind is mush to the point that I can’t focus or even put a sentence together to pray for those on my heart.  The burdens are so great…yet nothing comes out when I try to pray because my mind is so fatigued. I’m so glad your Holy Spirit is there to intercede on my behalf…and on behalf of those for whom I long to intercede.

All day today, I have thought of Philippians 4:13. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  I know I can do what you have called me to do—both ministry and personal responsibility—through the strength you give me…the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual strength.  I am reminded of 2 Corinthians 2:9 which tells me that your power is made perfect in my weakness.  And Isaiah 40:31 tells me, as I wait and lean upon you, you will renew my strength so that I will walk and not grow weary; I will run without fainting; I will even soar with eagle’s wings.

Thank you, Father, that I do find sweet rest and victory in your strength. Thank you for enabling me to do above and beyond anything I could ever do in my own strength.  Thank you for your promise in Philippians 1:6 that you will finish the work you started in me.  I'm so glad you are my Father...and in control.  Yes, you are faithful and you will do it. (1 Thessalonians 5:24)

I love you!


Saturday, July 31, 2010

Teach me to Love as You Do

I was thinking today how sometimes it hurts so much when your love for somebody is rejected.  It makes me so sad to see people push my love away, not knowing how much I care about them...not understanding how deeply I care...rather somehow misinterpreting something I've said or done as anything but love.

Then, I thought how that must be for God love so deeply and yet be rejected when I don't understand His love and feel like He's hurting me, instead of loving me...thinking He's being cruel and unjust when He is really doing what He knows is best for me...when in reality, He is loving me with a love deeper than anything I have ever imagined.

I'm sure glad I'm not God. I'm pretty sure I'd have withdrawn and quit loving a long time ago. Teach me to love as you do, Father...even when rejected, even when misunderstood, even when it hurts. 

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Quito Trip Update

Dear Praying Friends,

I arrived home late Saturday evening, July 17th, and immediately hit the ground running. My youngest daughter, Rachel, left on her own mission trip the following Saturday (and is currently serving in Mexico). I also had to prepare to teach our women’s Sunday School class this past Sunday. I feel like I am just now having a chance to catch my breath and process all that God did during my week in Quito.

It is hard to briefly summarize the trip, as any of you who have ever been on a mission trip can attest to, I’m sure. I will do my best, however. One thing that was an over-riding factor throughout the trip was seeing how God showed up and answered our prayers every time we called upon Him…and how quickly our team did call upon Him for our every need.

Johanna, our team member from Columbia flew through customs without even being asked to show her documentation…all while we were praying. (For more on that story, read the first day’s entry on our team blog— We arrived at the school to do VBS, on the first day, and were told we couldn’t do it. We prayed and within five minutes were setting up for VBS…also described in more detail on the blog. One of our team members got very sick and we thought might have to go to the hospital. We prayed and the next morning was up before any of us and ready to go work in the garden. Another team member couldn’t find her passport, the night before we were to return back to Texas. We prayed and within a few minutes the passport was found. These are just a few of the many times we turned to Him and saw Him answer, as only He can do.

I was so excited when we attended the Dios el Fiel church on Sunday because in preparing the music for VBS, I had learned enough Spanish to understand a lot of what the pastor was saying. He spoke about the fact that no problem is too big for God. He is grande (great), fuerte (strong), poderoso (powerful) and magnifico (magnificent). He is Lord of all and there is nothing He cannot do. We need to keep our focus on Him. This seemed to be a theme for me throughout the week.

God specifically touched my heart through the children and women to whom we ministered, as well as through the beauty of His creation in Ecuador. We ministered to children at a school—Amor y Esparanza—as well as children along the streets of Quito.

Many people make a living selling goods along the streets. While doing so, their children sit (or play) right along the curbs and medians or these busy streets. We even saw children as young as five or six selling goods too. It is a heartbreaking sight to see. One of our missions was to distribute sack lunches—consisting of a sandwich, milk, and tract—to these children and to tell them “Jesus te ama” (Jesus loves you). It was very likely that was the only meal they got that day.
Amor y Esparanza is in the most poverty stricken area of Quito. It is a private, Christian school for children whose parents could not otherwise afford a good education for their children. Some come from Christian families, but most are there simply to get a good education. These children were a true example of loving unconditionally. They sure knew how to love and also how to receive love. They are so needy and craving for love. They soaked in every ounce of love we had to offer them…both ours and the love of Jesus.

Wow! Did they know how to worship! I was not prepared for children who sang and worshipped like they did. I was in charge of the music and expected to teach them. Instead, they taught me. These precious children—girls and boys of all ages—would wrap their arms around each other, raise their hands, or bow their heads in prayer, without any cue or instruction from us, as they sang their hearts out to the Lord in praise and worship. It was one of the most touching moments, as I fought back the tears every single day.

On the day we presented the message of salvation, this little girl, Genesis, shared with her group leader that she had heard about Jesus dying on the cross ever since she was a little girl. However, she finally understood what it meant for her…for the first time. Genesis is now a child of God. Her mother was weeping as she was thanking me on the last day…great, uncontrollable, tears of joy.

I had the opportunity to work with the moms one day. Johanna, who speaks fluent Spanish (being from Columbia), shared her testimony and then we helped them make tote bags. Though, I could communicate very little with words, the women really connected through smiles, touch and love…just as their children had. Again, I feel I was blessed far more than I blessed them when they were leaving and began thanking me…not only for helping them but for working with their children.

This woman was a mom and also on staff at the school. God prompted my heart to really reach out to her everyday, letting her know how much we appreciated being able to serve at the school. She was always smiling, yet was heavy on my heart everyday. She wept on the last day as I thanked her (through a translator) for allowing us to come and then thanked me for all we had done. I found out later that day—back at the dorms—that on our first day, she had received a phone call and had asked one of our team members to pray for restoration of her family. Please continue to pray for her. I don’t know her name…God does.

I mentioned near the beginning of this letter that God touched my heart through His creation. Many of you know how much I love the mountains of Colorado and am always ready to return there as soon as I get back to Texas. I fell in love with the Andes Mountains of Ecuador, much the same. And yes, I am ready to go back!

One of our final days in Quito, I went to the roof of the dorms for my quiet time. As I watched the sun rising, with the majestic mountains towering over the city, God really spoke to me and I wrote the following prayer.
How refreshing it is to start my morning outdoors, relishing in the beauty you have created. Even in the midst of this city, filled with barking dogs, honking horns, all too close airplanes landing and departing, and the never-ending sirens, your majestic mountains rise amidst the low clouds and beaming sun. What a great reminder that you ARE grande, fuerte, poderoso and magnifico! You are greater than the poverty, more powerful than the corruption; stronger than the crime. You are magnificent and Lord of ALL! You are the creator of the universe-of these mountains and of every man, woman and child living here…and you love them dearly.

Whether I am in Quito, Ecuador or Fort Worth, TX, God is still God. He is still grande, fuerte, poderoso, and magnifico. He is still fiel (faithful). And He is still God in each of your lives as well. I pray you will join me in expecting the unexpected in your own life, as you pursue the mission God has for you…wherever you are.

Thank you for all your prayers and your support. I could not have gone on this incredible journey without each of you. You were a vital part.

Debbie Guinn

PS Yes, that was me, hanging upside down from a zip line, over the cloud forest…and yes, it was intentional.