Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Journey - Dear God













Lord, I sit here on my brand new deck sipping coffee and gazing at the amazing view you created and I'm reminded of a much younger me. I was lost and alone and you came to my rescue. 

All those years ago, Greg and I weren't living together, and we had an appointment with a judge who would decree we were no longer married. But you had another plan.

I was newly adopted into your family when I offered up a simple prayer. "Please restore my marriage,"  I prayed. "Create a Christian union between Greg and me, bless us with children and a Christian home. And, if it's all right with you, Lord, I'd love to live on land outside of town." 

God you fulfilled every request and more. I know it's not because I was deserving but because you love me and Greg, our children and our grandchildren. All those years ago you could see me sitting here today talking to you.

And now, here I am in this extraordinary place and I'm in awe at how you've given more than I ever hoped or dreamed for. 

Misty rain splashes through the forest canopy and mists cling to the hillsides like chiffon. The air is fragrant with the smell of cedar, fir and spring vegetation. My eyes savor the lush green of the forest and the rolling hills beyond and below. Cool moist air kisses my face and my ears are tickled by bird song, a bellowing cow in the distance and the sound rain drops make as they dance through the leaves.

Indescribable beauty surrounds me - a gift from you God to one so undeserving. Lord, I have no adequate words of gratitude. My thank you feels hollow in comparison to your gift.

May this place be used for your glory. May my eyes always see the splendor of your creation. May my heart forever rejoice in your love.

Praise be to you Lord God.

Bonnie


Tuesday, April 01, 2014

The Journey - Is God Good All The Time?







I've been waiting to write this post, uncertain what I would say. Even now as I begin, I can only express my awe at the wonder of God.

March 22nd I stood in the ER and said good-bye to my grandson, Ezra, as the staff prepared him to be life-flighted to a Portland hospital, four hours away. I prayed for God's healing and His peace. I prayed the doctors would be wise. I prayed he wouldn't suffer too much. And I prayed that I would see him again. 

I have walked through many storms and know that my will is not always the same as The Father's. Therefore I knew God would answer my prayer, but not necessarily in the way I wanted.

Ezra's injuries were mighty, but he is loved by a mightier God. "He shouldn't be alive," we heard from the EMT's on sight, the doctors who treated him in our local ER and Legacy Emanuel ER and from the surgeons who did their precision work on him. And yet, he is here sleeping in our home, very much alive. Ezra fought hard and after twelve days he took a very long ride home and walked from the car and into the house on his own steam.

Psalm 91:4 says, "He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart." 

The Lord was and is with Ezra. During Sunday worship I envisioned God shielding Ezra's head with his hands, preventing it from being crushed as the side-by-side he was riding tipped and rolled, trapping Ezra beneath it. God is merciful.

I don't know why Ezra's life was spared, but I'm grateful. This grandma knows he's special, intelligent and full of fun. Although he has a lot of healing yet to do, is moving slowly right now and has at least one more surgery in front of him he will have more days for things like swimming and barbecues and spelling bees. 

When God answers prayer and I hear people say, "God is good," I sometimes wonder how that person would respond when a tragedy doesn't have a happy ending? Is God still good? 

Our Heavenly Father is always good. Ezra came so close to heaven it takes my breath away. His ordeal reminds me of the sorrow weighing heavy in so many homes in this world. I pray for all the unhappy endings - may you see the light of the Lord even in the midst of your sorrow. He is there too. 



Ezra's journey thus far.



Thanking God for His mercy.

Grace and peace to you from God,

Bonnie

Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Journey - To Face Book or Not to Facebook

God can use anyone or anything to reach out to His people. Even something like Facebook.

This has been one horrific week, but one of the bright spots has come from a surprising place - Facebook. Yep. Facebook. 

Eek! Don't shoot me yet! Read on. . .

I've been part of Facebook for several years and along the way I've heard a lot of criticism about the site. I've added some of my own. And it's true, when misused Facebook can be a destructive tool. But mostly I've loved the service. I have lots of family and friends who live far away and Facebook offers a great way to stay in touch. It also makes it easy for me to connect with readers and other writers.

This week I have been the recipient of one of the most beautiful gifts Facebook offers - Prayer - Support - Encouragement.

March 22nd, my grandson was in a serious ATV accident. When he was life-flighted to Portland I didn't know if I'd ever see him again - at least not until heaven.

I'm happy to say he's still with us. He's been through a lot and has a long way to go, but he's going to make it. When he came out of surgery one of the doctors told my daughter he didn't know why Ezra was still alive. 

I know why. God has a plan for his life and death wasn't part of it . . . not yet anyway. God saved him, and I know He heard all the prayers that were and are being said for Ezra. 

As people found out what was happening word got out and the news spread. A lot of that news traveled via Facebook. A friend set up a special page for him called Blessings for Ezra. It's a place to send encouraging notes and to get updates on his condition.

Through the hard days (and there are still lots more to come) people prayed. In part because of Facebook, people around the globe have prayed. They lifted up our family and they lifted Ezra up to God. Words of encouragement, scripture verses and prayers flew across the miles and into our hearts. We have received a tidal wave of emotional and spiritual support. 

I liked Facebook before, but now I love it. And I love all of you who cared enough to pray. And those who contacted us - Thank you. You have helped us stand up under this heavy burden.

I don't know about you, but I hope Facebook hangs around for a long time. 

Grace and peace to you from God,

Bonnie 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Quiet Moments With God - Friends Forever

"Friends are friends forever, if the Lord is the Lord of them . . ." So goes the Michael W. Smith song. The first time I heard it I was at a MOPS meeting. It's been one of my favorites ever since. But, is it true?

Colossians 3:15 says, "Each one of you is part of the body of Christ, and you were chosen to live together in peace." 

We are to live together. Clearly, life is meant to be shared.

Too many of us miss the blessed gift of friendship. There are lots of reasons why, but none of them are good. Most of my life I've had special friends. Through the years, we've shared many great moments and had so much fun. We've done silly stuff and stood together through turbulent seas. Some of my friends I've had since grade school. Though I rarely see them these days my love for these long-time friends has not weakened. But distant friendships is not enough - not if we're supposed to share our lives as the Lord says we are.

Years ago at a home group meeting a question was posed. "How many of you spend time with a friend on a regular basis?" Not one person out of the group of eighteen or twenty people raised their hand, and that included me. The painful truth hit me between the eyes and I vowed to make a change. But the days slipped by and I forgot about that promise.

When I damaged my back further by lifting a thirty-five pound puppy I spent a week in the hospital and months trying to regain the strength and mobility to get back in motion. I'm still working on it. I was unable to join in the fun activities of my church and gradually my friends drifted away.

It's not really their fault. It's mine. Though I couldn't do what I used to do, I could have been more hospitable and invited friends in. But I didn't. There are lots of reasons, some of them valid, but in the end I lost something of great value. 

In recent days it seems that wherever I turn I'm reminded of the importance of friendship. It was made clear to me that rebuilding my friendships is up to me. And so, I've begun. And I've had some lovely encounters with dear friends. I plan to have more. 

Friendships are like spring flowers that add life and color after the chill of winter. They are like cooling raindrops on a parched summer day. We need one another. God has designed us to live together. Reach out, nourish your friendships, rebuild old ones and discover new ones. You won't be sorry.

Grace and peace to you from God,

Bonnie

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Quiet Moments With God - A Life Line











Have you ever felt like you were drowning - in responsibility, grief, physical or emotional pain? You are worn out, worn down, empty. How do you push on? Should you?

I am in that place.

I cry out to God. Tears are ever near, but I know He will hold me, uplift me. I know He has not brought me to this place without purpose. Once again I am reminded that He alone can save me and the ones I love.

Today, He led me to Psalm 91:1 - 4. "Those who live in the shelter of the Most high will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him. For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease. He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection."

I close my eyes and breathe deeply of His presence. He is here . . . beside, before me. There is no place I can go from His presence. And though the days are difficult I do not travel through them alone. But . . . He asks one thing of me - hang onto the lifeline He provides and trust in His strength. 

Trust, now there's a word. This season in my life is one more opportunity to receive a deeper understanding of what it really means to trust in God. I praise Him above all things.  

Praise Him . . . always.

Grace and peace to you from God,

Bonnie

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Interview!



Interviews are so much fun. Today I get to be a guest on Natalie Monk's blog!

If you'd like a chance to win a free book or find out what actors I'd choose to play Erik and Anna in a movie of The Journey of Eleven Moons make sure to stop by and say hello at - athttp://sweetsouthblog.blogspot.com/2014/02/bonnie-leon-interview.html?showComment=1392931189316#c4769836856474196905

Grace and peace to you from God,

Bonnie

Monday, February 17, 2014

The Journey - Greatest Gift




Last night, my family celebrated my birthday two days early. The grandkids' schedules are full of activities so yesterday was the only day we could all get together without them missing practice or being forced to make a choice between me and the team. I love that my grandchildren are learning that making a commitment and sticking to it is important.

My husband and I, our children and grandchildren and my mother gathered at a local pizza place in town. We shared laughter, lots of food and I got to open gifts. My mother watched, smiling the whole time. Her face radiated joy. Soon her eyes filled with tears and she said, "What did I do to deserve such a wonderful family?"

I was a bit taken back. I was the recipient of my family's love and I hadn't given it all that much thought. But my mother didn't miss it. All she could see was the love and beauty of being part of a family who cares for one another. Everyone there had done something to contribute to the celebration. Even my mother handed out coins so her great-grandchildren could play games in the arcade and then she had me take her to watch the game playing. 

Mom is so right. We are blessed. 

My family is not perfect. We've made all kinds of mistakes in our lives and there will be lots more. But, we love each other. And I know that no matter what we face we'll do it together. Love isn't about perfection and when I think about my family I'm reminded of the book of I Corinthians, chapter thirteen - the love chapter.

Nothing is of any value without love. It's pretty clear to me that I possess everything in this world that really matters because I'm surrounded by people who know how to love one another. They even love me.

True riches are given by the Lord and the greatest gift is love.

Grace and peace to you from God,

Bonnie 

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