18 December 2009

The Cries of the Human Heart

Sometimes, during times of great uncertainty and stress, I have found myself unable to pray--my words just seemed to be inadequate for the circumstances. Instead, the words of songs such as "Kyrie Elieson/I Call to You" (Jeff Johnson) and other songs became my prayers----prayer songs.
Such was the case when my son was in a dangerous place not so long ago
and, despite a few times of great fear, I was quite aware of God's peace and those prayers being answered.
Now as our family faces this new and frightening situation (exposure to asbestos), I find myself praying for what seems to be hours at a time and my prayers have changed. No longer are they prayer songs, but now they are prayers lifted directly from the the Bible; verses which keep flowing into my mind with little to no effort on my part, mixed with a few of my own heart's cries. As was the case above, these are being added to by the prayers of believing friends and family.
Already God has answered some of these pleas for help and guidance, but the fight is-at this point-a daily one and I have times when I find myself literally shaking with fear and unable to eat or sleep well. Sometimes peace is no longer a given and I feel totally dependant on God for it.
And though I would never have chosen to be in this situation, I am very conscious that God seems to be using it to build my faith, trust and dependance on Him.

God is good---ALL the time.
"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28 KJV
"Not by might, nor by power, but by My spirit, saith the Lord of hosts." Zechariah 4:6 KJV
"'For I know the plans I have for you," says the Lord. 'They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me in earnest, you will find me when you seek Me." Jeremiah 29:11-13 NLT (© 2003 Ilumina Software, Tyndale House Publishers)
Photo taken in the Columbia River Gorge area years ago in winter.

14 December 2009

On the Mountain

Despite my very real problem and fear this evening, my mind and heart are with the families of the kids that set out to climb Mt Hood this past week.

If you haven't heard about it yet (it has been carried on national and PNW news) three young people were climbing Mt Hood (in the Oregon Cascades) last Friday and didn't return. At this time one has been found dead of hypothermia and his two friends--a girl and guy--are still missing despite searches by aircraft. There have been multiple issues with a high avalanche warning and now a new weather front has moved in which is expected to bring a large amount of snow to the mountain. The temperatures have been low until recently because of a subarctic front that has been in the PNW till lately.

This story is close to my heart; not because I know these young people but because, in my college years, I met the child of a man who had died in his climb of one of the Cascades (he had been caught in a storm). It is also close to my heart as a mom of three young adults, as a grandmother and as a fellow Christian.

Please if you get a chance say a prayer for those who are involved in the search, for the families of these kids and for the two missing climbers. The climber's names: Luke Gullberg (found dead on Saturday), Katie Nolan and Anthony Vietti. Thank you.
Update: the search was called off for the 2 remaining climbers. Weather + mountain conditions posed too much risk for the brave Search + Rescue teams and chances of survival are extremely slim. The families, from all the reports I have seen and read, are hanging tightly to their faith in God in spite of this tragedy. May God be with them.

A Warning!!

Home is supposed to be a safe place--a haven of peace away from the worries and stresses of the outside world. But what happens when your home isn't?
We've dealt with quite a few problems so far--mold, water damage, mice. All OK. But then, as we were working on the kitchen, I was reading a book about remodeling and a sentence caught my eye about the possiblities of asbestos in 'older' vinyl sheet flooring. I started web surfing and found this problem had been identified quite a few years ago. OK, slight sigh of relief...but what I found next scared me and sent me searching for more info; on a site answering questions about asbestos I read accounts of homeowners who had found it in flooring from the 80's and possibly beyond that (90's). And some, like us, had already been working with it; at least one mom with young children at home had and she is not alone!
This led to getting a hold of the experts for our area and having a sample tested. Today we recieved the results...positive for asbestos in the floor's backing.The rest of the day has been somewhat a blur and now this evening as I sit here with the mindless chatter of the TV on, there are no words to completely describe what I am feeling right now; let's just say it is a mixture of anger (at the craziness of the thinking that led people to put this stuff in homes after the dangers were clearly identified), fear, bewilderment, unbelief at the situation -- all this mixed with a bit of faith and trust in God.
It wasn't supposed to be like this--the problem is 'older' sheet vinyl flooring (and other things) and this has been a known problem since the 70's (or before??). Now would it surprise you to hear that our home was built in the early 80's? Hardly older wouldn't you think and pretty disturbing that this was still being put into the backing of sheet flooring AFTER it was identified as a known hazard and one that is not indestructible! I truly just don't get it.
Nothing much can be done about the matter now; as I have already said we have all been exposed to it. Now my family has some hard decisions to make on how to deal with this. And this is where the tiny bit of faith and trust come in...
Despite the obvious turmoil in mind and heart right now (did I say my oldest son has been living with us?), this verse keeps playing through my mind and spirit: "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths." Proverbs 3:5,6 KJV
I am scared, yes. Any human, any wife, any mom and grandma would be at this point. But when I am filled with fear rather then choosing to be 'frozen' or overwhelmed by it (although the problem does seem a bit overwhelming right now) I keep turning to God and trust that He still has my good in mind. "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28 KJV.
We can't control everything in our lives. I've had friends that have suffered the loss of spouses and children; I've had friends that died-in accidents and from disease. I've known (and know) those who are dealing with chronic illness daily. I am also aware that we live in a world that is filled with uncertainties over economic situations, war (and the threats thereof) and a world where everyone--both Believers and unbelivers suffer at times. Speaking personally, I am glad that at a most unsettling time like this I can turn to God, both in prayer and scriptures for peace. I am thankful that, at the times when I feel most alone I can also turn to fellow Christians for prayer support.
And now to my second public 'service' announcement:

PLEASE, if you are doing remodeling or repair in your home check with your state's agency that deals with asbestos. For general info check this site also:

Additional notes and links:
1) Testing was under $50. Your state agency should be able to give you a list of places where you can have this done and further guidance re: abatement, etc.
2) No vinyl flooring to worry about? Good, but please for the sake of your family and selves check out the link above and many more that talk about asbestos in the home and elsewhere. It is found in quite a few things--some types of ceilings, some insulations, some floor tiles, etc.
3) I am not trying to frighten anyone, BTW, just inform. I AM NO expert, hence the link to the experts:)
4) Wikipedia's general article on the subject: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asbestos
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