Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Test Time

As some of you know I am training to become a midwife.  After 35 years of staying home and raising my babies I am now a student.  Just that word brings a thrill to my soul.  For over a year now I had been dreaming almost nightly that I am back in college and failing miserably.  Seems I can't find my classroom or I get there and don't have my homework done or worse, I flunk the test.  Over and over again I had this dream that would not go away.  That is until I found myself starting to study.  

As part of my midwife training I have to become a DOULA at the same time. In preparation for a weekend training coming up I have 5 books to read, and a very lengthy study guide to answer.  I spent 5 hours the other day sitting at a desk and just pouring over the information.  It felt good to be stretching my mind.  Feeding new information into this brain of mine has been quite an exciting adventure so far.

I also met with my first mama who plans on delivering at home.  She will be my very first delivery at home.  I am honored to become part of the team that will assist her in bringing this baby into the world.  I am excited and nervous all at the same time.  This isn't just information on a page that I am learning but real life in witnessing the birth of a child.  

I am very thankful that I am not attending this birth on my own. I don't have what it takes yet to be that seasoned mid-wife but Lord willing, some time in the future I will be.  

All of this reminds me about our walk with the LORD.  You see, someday and you and I don't have a clue when that someday will come, but someday we will meet face to face with our Savior and will need to be ready.  Ready to answer how we used our talents.  Ready to answer how we used our mouths and our hands and our feet.  Oh, don't get me wrong precious one.  Jesus will stand in the gap for us and pour his grace and mercy on us. That being said, we will stand for that one last final test.  Answering for our lives.

Will you be ready? Speaking of ready, I now have two women ready to deliver. The phone is now with me 24/7, my scrubs are ready, there is gas in the car and my books are ready to take with me at a moment's notice.  When I get that call I will be ready to go.

When God gives us that final call will you and I be ready to go? Think about it, won't you? 

 Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,  in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.
1 Cor 15:51-52 (ESV)

In Christ Alone,

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Gratituesday October 30th, 2012

I absolutely love music.  I have been singing for as long as I can remember. I sang in the concert choir in high school. I sang with my little sister at night alone in our room, belting out the alto part of a hymn.  As a  child I remember singing into a fan blowing on me. I know, very weird but I loved the sound for some reason. We have a son that has been singing since he was born.  He can make up a song in a heart beat and melt that heart into mush.

Music is powerful.  It has the power to help a despondent teen who doesn't know which way to turn. It has the power to soothe a fussy baby and distract a toddler melting down.  It also has the power to to remind a person of the amazing grace we are given by God.

I mention this because our congregation has a sweet sister named Molly who is in the battle of her life.  She has been fighting ALS for several years and now a cruel twist has been thrown on her. She is now battling breast cancer. It already has gone into the lymph nodes. She has to have massive chemotherapy treatments for 8 hours at a time for months so the cancer can be shrunken and then taken out.  Everyone wants to be like Molly.

Molly wanted some sort of device to listen to music to help her with the chemotherapy sessions.  She put out a request for each of us to find a song that has ministered to us and give it to her.  Then her husband bought her a MP3 player and started putting on the music with the name of the person who gave it to her.  Guess what she is doing during each song?  Praying for the person who gave her the song.  Stop and think about it. She is the one that is in the battle of her life and she is praying for others!

I called her on her first day of chemo to be an encouragement.  She was so thankful for the music.  Molly said that she was just praising God through each piece of music.  I am so thankful for music that can minister to a great woman of faith who spends her time worshiping the Perfect Physician.  Music is truly a gift from God as a balm for our souls.

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Monday, October 29, 2012

Till the Storm Passes By

 I was in the path of the storm coming our way and I was just hanging on for dear life. The waves were crashing over me and it was hard to keep my head above the storm.  Morning comes and I realize it is just a dream.  I turn on the news and there is the storm, bearing down on the East coast.  Reporter after reporter has pictures of what is coming.  I can't remember the last time the stock market didn't even open besides 9/11.  The shelves are empty, houses are boarded up and people are fleeing.  Here comes Hurricane Sandy.

All of this reminds me of a song that we used to sing called Till the Storm Passes By. Each of us has storms in our lives that perhaps no one else even knows about.  There are times when we feel like the waves that are pounding over our heads will just swallow us up.  I have been thinking about those storms lately.  The single mom that struggles to provide for her children.  The wife that suffers in silence because her husband is addicted to porn and she feel all alone.  The mom that has to wake up every morning to a child that has a significant mental illness and just doesn't know how to cope. Or what about the daughter who faithfully serves her own mama quietly as she slowly slips away.  These are the storms that will never blare over the television.   

How to cope with these storms when we feel like we are drowning?  The answer is found in the quiet voice of a Savior whispering to us. Sometimes the voices are so loud we can't hear a word that is whispered.  That whisper though is where the answers are found.  God's power is found in the storm both in the roar of the waves and the still small voice in the heart. 

We are so focused on the roar of the waves that we can't stop and hear the voice of the One who can calm the storm.  Our Savior is aware of the coming storm in our lives.  He wants us to focus on His voice and not the waves.  What is your storm? I might not know what it is but God does.  Can you hear him precious one? Cling to him and his promises till the storm passes by.

Prayers today for all who are going through the storms of life.

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Gratituesday Oct 16,2012

"Mommy, why don't you work?" said the little child.  The Mommy says,  "Well honey, I DO work."   "No", says the little child.   "You don't work, you are right here with me!"  It is then that the Mommy bends down, eye to eye and says, "Some day if I want to go and be a brain surgeon after you are grown and gone then I will be a brain surgeon.  Until then, I am staying right here with you."

I finally put it all together the other day.  Forty years ago I was a candy stripper.  For those of you who have never heard of one, let me explain.  You wear this nerdy (or adorable) little outfit. The button down white highly starched white blouse over a pink and white striped jumper.  I will never forget the pride I felt wearing that outfit.  I would deliver flowers to rooms, I would fill up the water pitchers by the bed and smile at everyone I saw to make them feel better.  I LOVED that job.  It lasted about a year and then I went and got a "real" job.  You know the one I am talking about, the one where you get a paycheck!

Each time the children would ask me the question, "Why don't you work?" I would say the same thing.  Why I picked a brain surgeon as my example just highlights what God was preparing me for.  By now you have probably figured out that it is a little bit late for me to become a brain surgeon.  Something about my age!

So I started doing some research 2 years ago. Last son to launch is a senior now in high school so I wanted to be prepared.  I dreamed of going back to college to finish what I started all those years ago.  Imagine seeing your transcript from way back when. Of course I was a tad indignant.  How in the world did I get a B in PE class?  Why not an A?  So I digress.

I started looking into nursing programs.  Even went to so far as to apply to our local Christian college's nursing program.  I was all excited... that is until I read all the paperwork concerning the cost.  Mercy, I would come out over $80K in debt at a time when I am hitting age 60.  After the cost analysis I realized I had to do something else.

What is the next best thing you ask? A nurse midwife.  :)  So my friends, after all these years of not working {BG} I am headed back to school books and assisting the assistant for women choosing to give birth at home.  My training starts this Friday. I am so excited I can hardly stand it. 

Gratituesday.  So very thankful for the opportunity to realize a dream starting way back when I wore that little candy stripper uniform all those years ago.  So thankful that I get an opportunity to serve in a new way.

What are you thankful for today?
In Christ Alone,

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Friday, October 12, 2012

Inside the Belly of a Whale

It's funny.  You can read a story for years and even watch a silly movie about the story and not get hit over the head with a two by four. Sitting in an airport I pull out my husbands preaching Bible given to him by his parents years ago.  My Bible is so thick and heavy that I asked Rich if I could borrow one from him to take with me. His has the softest leather and falls open so easily.  I had no specific place in mind when it opened to the book of Jonah.

I am a visual learner which means that when I read something I picture it in my mind. For some reason this story came alive for me this time.  Not so much all the chaos on the boat but the second after the tumble into the belly of that big fish.  Can you imagine inside that belly?  I think it is time to get graphic on that "cute" story. 

That huge fish was filled with garbage.  Rotting and slimy, and putrid garbage.  Filled with dead creatures in different stages of rot.  Such filth.  Somehow we sanitize all that slime. We want to close our eyes to the filth and the stench.  Yet, it is that filth and that slime and stench that God uses to get our attention.  Like other stories in Scripture it all starts with the storm.

In Jonah's life the storm had everything to do with his self-will. He hated the Ninevites.  He didn't want to be caught dead preaching to "those" people. He didn't want to follow God's lead because he thought he knew better than his Creator!  Sound familiar anyone?

 It reminds me of a time in my life that God was calling Rich and I to move to a tiny town called Rifle in Colorado.  When we pulled in to the town it was mid November on a Wednesday afternoon.  There was nothing green.  The grass was brown, the trees were bare and there was brown everywhere.  It was a very tiny town.  We ended up spending the night in a motel called the Buckskin.  Let me tell you, that place has become legendary in our family.  The "curtains" for the window were just old, faded and tattered sheets hung on the rods.  The carpet was threadbare in places and the bathroom, well I won't even go there. The sheets did not look clean and I wanted to sleep with my shoes on!  When we pulled in a couple of hunters were skinning an elk right in the parking lot.   When we drove around the neighborhoods and looked at for sale signs I couldn't believe the costs of the homes.  That was also the one and only time I got car sick. I remember being so discouraged and said to God, "Please LORD, you are not serious? You don't really want us to come up here in the middle of nowhere do you?  Please LORD, NO!

Then a funny thing happened.  The congregation knew we were coming and so they set up a potluck and singing night.  We got there and found some of the nicest people.  After eating we all started singing. I can remember thinking I was hearing the angels sing from heaven.  The people were so enthusiastic.  Now, we had quizzed the kids before arriving at church that no one was to say we were staying at the Buckskin because one of the men had told us before coming up that it was the town's nicest place to stay. We did not want to offend anyone. 

After the devotional was over and we were standing around during the meet and greet someone in the room said very loudly, "The Buckskin?" Someone had spilled the beans. They could not believe we were staying at the Buckskin.  Apparently the guy who told us that was a funny man and never dreamed we would stay in that dive!  When he said it was the best motel in town he was only kidding.  Little did we know.  Several people offered to put us up that night so we didn't have to stay there but we kindly thanked them and headed back to the motel.  Later we learned we got big points for sticking it out and got the job!

I tell you that story to tell you this; my first reaction to that tiny old Western town was no way. I begged God to not send us there.  Yet, in God's infinite wisdom he changed my heart.  I will never, ever forget the singing and the fellowship with that group. In spite of begging to God to not call us there he softened my heart.  I fell in love with the town after moving there.  I loved serving God's people there.  I loved teaching women's Bible studies and being a mentor Mom for MOPS.  I grew to love the rugged mountains.  God used us in that place because we were willing to say yes, even when everything inside me screamed NO!!!

 So back to our story.  Our lives can get ugly and hard and stinky. Sometimes our lives get that way because we try and run from God.  Sometimes we are just apathetic and forgot God all together.  We become lukewarm.  There are times when God just needs to get our attention.  So, off we go into the waters and we get swallowed by the fish. Please remember that God will use anything to get our attention. 

God will go to any lengths to let us know just how much He loves us too!  Me, I would rather not have to sit in the belly of the whale to allow God to teach me important things.  I would rather do it on dry land :) Can you relate precious one?  Does it take sitting in sludge for God to get your attention?  Do you learn better having to survive in the belly of that stinking whale or do you learn better on dry land?  Only you and your Creator know for sure.

Till next time.
In Christ Alone,

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


What a blessing my weekend was.  My brother in-law decided to throw a half hundredth birthday for my "little" sister.  Now when these two throw a party they really throw a party. All of us "Jost kids" flew in to join in the festivities.

My brother in-law graciously donated buddy passes for the event.  That means we fly for free but do it going stand-by, an adventure all it's own.  Well I had an adventure for sure.  On one leg of the trip I sat next to a young man who was now a junior in the Air Force Academy.  He was such a delight. He grew up in Vietnam and became a citizen of the United States during his senior year of high school.  He has a heart for the freedom fighters left behind during the war.  These soldiers are now in their 60's and 70's who lost limbs or other disabilities fighting for us.  The government doesn't help them and they are abandoned.

This young cadet wants to start a non-profit to help the freedom fighters get the medicines they so desperately need.  He was at a loss as to how he can start a non-profit.  By the end of the flight he had papers in hand with all the places he needs to go to start one.  I also told him about Kisses from Katie, the book I recently told you about. He was inspired by her desire to help people in need.

The second leg of the trip was just as interesting.  Over the loud speaker I heard a plea for help with a passenger who had a medical need. I saw that no one was jumping up so I got up and headed to the back. As I got closer I saw a guy pass out at my feet.  He could not hear either us trying to talk to him. His eyes had rolled back into his head. He was perspiring profusely.  His blood pressure was low.  After 45 minutes of juice and oxygen he perked back up.  He and I were reassigned to the front of the plane so that when the medics arrived they had easy access to him.  It reaffirmed once again that I really want to go in to the medical field. (That will be another post)

The before party festivities were a riot. My siblings and I went to the store to find just the perfect gift for the birthday girl.  We laughed till our livers were totally exercised.  We decided to go for a princess theme.  Of course the princess tiara was the first gift to go into the princess gift bag.  Then, princess toothbrush, princess wash cloth, princess memory game, princess coloring book etc. etc. etc.  I can't remember when I had that much fun picking out gifts.

This makes three times this year that I have been with my siblings.  That is a record for us.  As I get older I realize just how precious the time is for my sibs and I.  They are an absolute joy.  I am so blessed and grateful for the time I get to spend with them.

Thank you Father for blessing me with wonderful sibs and the time I get to spend with them.

In Christ Alone,

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Real or Fake?

  I was reminded of a truth this morning that I just need to share.  What did Abraham, David, Samson, Rahab and Peter all have in common?  What do you think?

Why does God show us all of their flaws?  They are all God's people?  Wouldn't be better if we didn't know about the lying, adultery, treachery, prostitution and turncoat? Doesn't God want to show us perfect Christians?  Think about that one for just a minute and rest right there.

Beth Moore says it this way, "The weakness of God's children do not strain the strength of God". Why or why precious one do we walk into church and become happy plastic people when we are surrounded by lying, adultery, treachery, depression, alcoholism and pornography.   You get the picture.

Of course the answer is pride.  Pride causes us to walk into church and behave as if our lives are perfect.  Could it be that God will not use us as instruments of His until we take the mask off and become real?  I stand in awe each week when real people share real hurts.  It is when the veil is lifted that we can really see God work mighty things.

I keep thinking about all the knowledge and wisdom found in the older women of any congregation you step into.  Yet, there is very little talk about the struggles they have gone through. The silence is deafening. Don't you want to know what they would do differently if they had raised their children differently?  What about marriage.  If you struggle in your marriage, wouldn't you to love to know from an older godly woman who did not have a story book marriage how she not only survived but thrive?

These thoughts continue to swirl around in my head.  I don't know if it is pride that challenges us to keep silent.  I have a feeling that Satan wants us to keep quiet about the struggles we have gone through. Why? Easy, Satan wants us to feel alone. He wants us to think we are the ONLY ones going through "junk" In fact, he wants us to get so discouraged we just stop coming, then stop praying, the stop opening our Bibles etc. etc. etc.

This is a battle we women face.  Risky to become real, isn't it?  What will women say when we tell them life in our homes is not what others think?  What if they knew we are battling alcoholism, or adultery?  What if our husbands are addicted to porn and we suffer in silence.  What would the church look like if older women chose to become really real?  

This has bugged me for a very long time.  I want to be real.  When I wrote about pit dwelling I wondered what people would think but I knew I had to be open and share what I have learned.  I want to not only learn from my mistakes but I want to be open enough that people will see the sin I struggle with and come alongside me to overcome.  I want to help younger women to flourish in their marriages and their other relationships.  I want them to feel comfortable to come to me because I will be real with them.

LORD, please use this message to help someone who is struggling to be real.  In Jesus name. AMEN!

In Christ Alone,

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Gratituesday October 2nd

Fall is one of my favorite seasons, and for good reason.  After a long, very hot summer we are now blessed with crisp cool air in the morning.  No more hot and humid days.  Just lovely days filled with beautiful colors.

While driving through New England last week we stopped at a lookout.  Apparently there are three states represented in this picture.  We saw flaming red, light purple, orange and yellow leaves.  The colors fascinate me.

Every time I encounter a part of creation I am reminded of the Creator.  The heavens declare the glory of the LORD.  I love it. For whatever reason God allows us to witness the beauty He created. It is obvious that God appreciates variety.  It is kind of like people.  He didn't create all of us the same.  Like the leaves, we are all different.

So for today, God you are an amazing creator, and I thank you for the opportunity to witness what you have made.

In Christ Alone,

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Monday, October 1, 2012

Your Epitaph- What Will it Say?

 Driving in Vermont last week Rayetta and I came across the first church ever built in the state. We went inside and was just amazed at what we saw.  More on that another time. What was even more fascinating was the cemetery next to the church. Soldiers from the Revolutionary war are buried there.  I read quite a few gravestones.  Walking along I saw a sign for directions to Robert Frost's gravestone.  We followed the signs around and down towards the back where we found this gravestone.  Under his name it says this;
"I had a lovers quarrel with the world".

Now I don't know about you but I seriously doubt that statement would ever find it's way onto my gravestone.  What I do know is that we need to live now the way we want to die and be remembered. I am frequently reminded that our life here is so short.

I know we don't live that way and that saddens me.  Remember when Noah was building the ark? It took him 100 years to build that boat and during that time he told people to get ready and they ignored him.  This world is not our home friends.  I know you know that but do you believe that?  And if you believe that are living like you believe it?

We have been talking about time the past week.  Why do we spend time on stuff that doesn't matter a hill of beans?  Why do we stress about things that in light of eternity also doesn't matter a hill of beans?

Two people I love are looking at eternity right now and praising God that it is closer now than ever.  In the blink of an eye we will leave this world.  Would you join me today in living like we believe we are just traveling through?

What would you want to write on your gravestone?

In Christ Alone,

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".