Wednesday, January 20, 2021

What Now?

 


I've been absent here for quite some time. To be honest I haven't had the heart to share, and I wasn't sure what to say. Today I feel the Lord is prompting me to speak.

Our country has been through a tumultuous year. We've faced some truly terrifying and painful circumstances. There have been bitter words exchanged, lies told, and half truths shared in hopes of confusing people. Now it's time we set out anew in search of a better path, God's path.

If you know me well you understand that today's inauguration of Joe Biden was painful for me. I am one of millions who believe the election was fraudulent. Even so, those of us who had hoped to unearth the truth need to move forward, not an easy task. Many of us had hoped there would be accountability for the wrong done to our country. We prayed for God's intervention and protection. Now it seems out prayers have gone unanswered. But that can't be true. To believe that is to disbelieve God's Word. God always answers our prayers, though oftentimes not the way we might have hoped. He can say, "Yes. No Or wait."

God knows the best outcome and the best time. He knows the whole picture, the beginning and the end. We need to trust Him.

So...what do we do now? 

First we seek God with our whole heart and mind. We do as God commands. We share the good news of the gospel with the world and we make disciples, which is a command. Beyond that we have individual talents and spiritual gifts given by God for His good work. We each have something good to contribute to our world. 

We need to be the best we can be in our little or big space in this world. We need to reach out to others, helping wherever we are called. We are to love one another, pray for one another. 

I've heard terrible reports coming out about the press and vicious leftists who want all Trump followers to pay terrible consequences for their loyalty to him. If we return their hatred with our own it will only create a violent vicious storm. 

  • We can continue to speak truth, but without hateful or violent intent.
  • We need to spend of time with God - pray, read scripture, worship, spend time with other believers. God will uplift us.
  • Seek out honest and trustworthy news sources. It takes creativity and requires tracking down leads, but there are some good news sources we can trust.
  • We should do all we can to serve in our communities at all levels, including our local governments. 

The days to come will be challenging, possibly even frightening, but God did not give us a spirit of fear. He will stand with us, giving us strength to face whatever is coming.

Trust Him. He loves you. He wants to bless you with His presence and His peace.


Grace and peace to you from God.

Bonnie


I no longer have a page on Facebook so if you like what I've said here please make sure to share and for future updates please follow me here on my blog. I can be found on MeWe at https://mewe.com/myworld.

Tuesday, December 01, 2020

To Whom Should We Listen

 


Likely most of us would agree 2020 has been a tumultuous year. In the midst of the storm many voices have been clamoring to be heard - Mine included. I need to be cautious about what I have to say and when. And I must take heed to when it is best NOT to listen to my own voice. For some of you this may not be difficult, but I do not share that confidence.

For many weeks now my heart has been contemplating Matthew 5:14 - 16, which says this, "You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven."

Darkness cannot extinguish the light. In fact, the deeper the darkness the brighter the light becomes.

The Lord has been speaking to me. And I have been trying to listen. I must admit that the political atmosphere of our nation has made it difficult for me to hear His voice. I've been grieving over what has been taking place and sometimes I've been outraged and confused. How could such a thing happen in America? God reminds me that since the fall of mankind we have been warring with each other. This is not new and as Solomon has been known to say, "There is nothing new under the sun." 

I admire those willing to step into battle. Where would we be without people like Candace Owens, Dan Bongino, Lin Wood and Sidney Powell? I pray for them and many others who are on the front lines. But I am not one of them. My time for those kind of battles is past, for the most part. Yet, I am still a servant of God and long to do my best for Him wherever He calls me.

I've been praying, asking for discernment, wisdom and direction. It has been something like this - Lord, what is it that you want from me? Each time I hear, I want you to be a light. 

And so, that is what I will endeavor to do. One place where I can share the light of Christ to the broadest audience is on Facebook, at least for now. It is not easy for me to remain or to leave. I have many good friends on the site. However, the man who created and built the social network is not someone I admire nor do I wish to contribute to his wealth. However he offers me a place to shine the Light of Christ. And so I have decided to remain a part of the Facebook community until powers who control the site remove me or the Lord tells me to go.

When I made an announcement that I would be leaving I heard from many of you and I listened and prayed about what you had to say. You helped me make my decision.

My purpose on Facebook is to enjoy friendships and to be an encouragement to others. And no matter where I connect with humanity I strive to hear what the Lord wants of me. I love God and want to tell others about Him and His Son, Jesus. Oh, how He loves us.

Politics is something of interest to me. I am sometimes passionate about what is taking place in that realm, however I feel a need to disengage from that conversation, somewhat. I do believe that followers of Christ need to speak up and I will when I have given it thought and prayer. I want to contribute in a positive way wherever I find myself. And I do not want to disgrace My Father. I'm not so young these days and to be truthful the conflict takes a toll on me. I will leave much of it to those with more energy to share.

I am looking forward to finding and reengaging with my friends on Facebook and discovering new places to connect in positive ways with my human brothers and sisters around the globe. There are so many possibilities in this world. 

I will continue to pray, seeking God's will for my life and I would love to pray for you too. Let me know how I can do that. It's easy to leave me a note here on this page or privately on my Website at www.bonnieleon.com or my private messenger on Facebook or on my MeWe account.

Grace and peace to you from God,

Bonnie 


Sunday, November 15, 2020

From Days Past

 



I came across a post I wrote several years ago, and it was clearly a good time for me to revisit it. I'd love to share it with you. So, here you go.
"I recently spoke at a women's retreat at the Oregon coast. It was a lovely place, a condo right on the beach. Fabulous! An aqua blue sky contrasted the deep blue of the ocean, and foaming waves crashed against rocks tossing their spray high into the air. When I stepped onto my deck I a sharp breeze and the smell of the sea greeted me. It was gorgeous and inspiring.

And yet, it wasn't enough.

I wanted more. I wanted to walk on the beach, to feel the frigid ocean water suck the sand from beneath my feet. I wished I could hunt for seashells and special rocks and sea creatures. Instead I remained in my room, resting, reading and praying. Occasionally I'd step onto my deck and soak in more of the beauty. I didn't mope, but I considered it.

Years ago there was a truck . . . on a corner . . . and it hit my van and changed my life. Now, instead of being the first one on the beach I have to be careful. Too much doing brings on too much pain. Sometimes I throw a pity party, but when I'm able to put aside self I am rewarded with a God view of my life and I can praise him for the new me. But on this weekend I wanted to be like everyone else.

I was speaking Saturday night and Sunday morning so I had to be careful not to overdo. If I hurt myself I might not be able to speak, and I couldn't let the ladies down. Giving a speech from a bed isn't very effective.

Interestingly enough the topic for the retreat just happened to be Embracing Life's Disappointments. And it was exactly what I needed to be focused on. In recent months life had thrown stones at me and my world seemed filled with disappointment. While preparing for the retreat I came to see that God had something to say to me.

He took me to stories of His people and revealed details of their lives that I'd never fully seen before. In the midst of their disappointments God was always there. And in these situations it was clear the difficulties were God orchestrated. When Joseph was sold into slavery God had a plan. Moses missed out on the Promised Land, but God gave him so much more--Moses got to see God face-to-face. Paul suffered devastating consequences for his faithful service, yet while in prison he sang praises to his Lord.

If I were in control of the world around me, I probably wouldn't have allowed that truck to hit me. But I'm sometimes short-sighted. I can't see the big picure - not the way God does. He sees it all. And His Word says that nothing touches me without His permission. So, I must trust Him. He knows what He's doing. When that truck hit my van, God knew that "life as usual" wasn't the way for me. He had something special for me.

It's because of Him I can say, "Thank you for adversity."

Only in weakness can we learn to rely more completely on God. Only in our trials do we exercise faith. When we need more than we possess, God gives the power and courage to overcome.

May you trust Him. He wants to bless your life."

It's now 2020. Many years have passed since I wrote this. I still live with disability and in some way I am worse off than before, but my next visit I make to the ocean will include a stroll along the beach. I will search for special shells and rocks and sea creatures and feel the sand beneath my feet. I've been working since March to get stronger and walking is now a daily delight. I can't wait for my next trip to the coast. It's going to be awesome!

Grace and peace to you from God,
Bonnie

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Love One Another

 


For many months now, our lives have been thrown askew. We've tried to be responsible citizens, searching for truth in the elections and sadly, many of us drew a line between one another. Christian brothers and sisters took sides. We passionately shared our feelings, sometimes in a not so good way. 

So, how does that sit with our Heavenly Father?

In John 15 Jesus commands his followers to love one another as he has loved us. This incredible love will reveal to the world that we are His children and true followers. We are to love in such way that we would lay down our lives for one another, just as Christ did for us.

If what I am seeing is accurate, more than a few of us are far from loving as Christ did.  From the very beginning of my walk with the Lord, nearly a half century ago, I've understood this command and way of living. I embraced it. And most of the time I was able to love as Christ asked me to, though I will admit to a few stumbles along the way. Today, however, it's not easy for me to obey His command. Politics have become a stumbling block.

I am not saying that it is wrong to be righteously angry. That is not a sin. What is wrong is that anger can morph into hatred. It is not right to hate my brothers and sisters in the Lord. I know it. I am fighting against it. And I know that God will carry me through to the other side where I can love with ease once more. 

But it's a struggle. Why?

It feels (and we all know how much we can trust our feelings) as if my beloved country is balancing precariously on a precipice and that some of the people I know as family in Christ are helping to push it off the cliff to be lost forever. I cry out, "Please don't destroy the America I love, the America that has given its people so many gifts, the America that offers true freedom."

Though not blind to President Trumps weaknesses, I have loved and admired him. He has stood courageously in the gap for Americans, trying to hold back the wave of a "new" America, one I don't recognize and one I fear. I've heard from immigrants who escaped Marxist regimes who asked, if America is made "new" where can we now go to escape?

I can't answer that question and I don't believe it is even for me to know. I only share it here to help you see the desperation I feel in my own heart. Even as I write this God reminds me He hasn't forsaken His people. He knows the beginning and the end and His love never ceases.

He is not asking me to surrender. He wants His followers to fight for truth, but what good is that if we forget how to love. The Lord would not ask us to do something that is impossible. As I pray for the outcome of this election and the stability of our country I am also praying for God's will. I am first and foremost His child. He is before all things. 

I ask you to join me in prayer. And if you are struggling as I am, turn to the Lord for the strength to do what is right. He will give you what you ask for if you ask in His name, His will. May we keep our focus on eternity. We know that an eternity with The Father waits for us, but there are many who do not have that assurance. They are held captive by the enemy. So as we love one another may we reach out to those who have not yet become part of God's family, and may our love help show the way to an eternity where perfection waits. 

Grace and peace to you from God,

Bonnie

Thursday, November 05, 2020

Shipwrecked

 


The past four years have been difficult for Trump supporters. We have been laughed at, maligned, verbally and physically attacked for supporting our president, a man who has fought harder for this country than any in my lifetime. We spoke up only to be knocked down. We spoke, in agreement with our president, for the innocent unborn, for the right of religious freedom, for the right of free speech and the right to bear arms -for our liberty. 

All the while the mainstream press lied to the American people, secreting the truth and creating fictional stories that fit their agenda. They were no longer the press, but rather an ideological powerhouse who walked in lockstep with the liberal progressive party. When a massive mail in vote was called for we, the practical minded, knew it was unwise, unwieldly, unworkable and unnecessary. Something like that cannot be thrown together willy-nilly. 

We were right. The results speak for themselves. Hundreds of counties in this country have more votes than they have registered voters. Voting places refuse reasonable oversight. Votes, thousands of them, are showing up at polling places after counting had been stopped. There was no clear explanation as to why. What were they waiting for? And now reports are coming in from people who voted and have discovered their votes were not counted. Clearly voter fraud is going on, but if we speak up we are slapped down for be hysterical or unreasonable or deceived. None of which is true.

I do not know what the results of this election will be, but I know enough to be alarmed at the turn our country has taken. This deceitful road has no good destination. I am embarrassed and ashamed and disappointed. The powers (which are many) have taken control. 

Still, we the people, cannot be complacent. Now more than ever we need to stand up and fight. Fight for what is right, for what is good and honorable. If we lay down our arms in fear or apathy America will cease to exist, at least the American that has been a strong and a powerful force for good in this world. We will go down as dramatically and disastrously as the Titanic did decades ago. As it was then it will be now, death and destruction will follow. America and its people will be dragged to the bottom of a dark sea and the world will never be the same.

I know I sound hopeless, but I'm not. We are only human beings, but there is a God who loves and who is wise. He will not abandon us. But we better be hanging onto His hand if we want to survive.


Praying that in the days to come you will know God's grace and peace.


Bonnie


Sunday, October 25, 2020

Dust to Dust; Ashes to Ashes

 

The Archie Fire has come and gone. The smoke has lifted. There will be a tomorrow.

I spend time each day walking my forested neighborhood, hoping to make peace with what the Archie Fire left behind. A few days ago while walking the line between my property and my brother-in-law's the Lord reminded me of something important. Everywhere I looked I saw piles of rubble. Piles that represented hard work, dreams, and precious memories. And copious tears.


My first sense was to grab hold of the grief, then I heard the quiet voice of the Lord say, "Dust to Dust. Ashes to Ashes."

Nothing on this earth was made to last forever. Eventually the things we love most will become dust. We know this, but facing it can be excruciating. Are we ever really ready to to release what we love?

I don't feel badly about cherishing special mementos in my home, things that came from my grandparents and parents, thoughtful gifts from friends and family. They matter. God created us to love one another, and so many of our treasures represent people and personal history. But do we hang on too tightly? I was in something of a panic while evacuating and trying too decide what was most important. What should I take?

In truth I could have been forced to walk away with nothing other than my life and the lives of my loved ones and still known I was blessed. 

I was not been required to release a home filled with memories as so many others have and I am grateful. But one day, all of the "stuff" won't matter at all. The only thing that will be on my heart is the love I share with my friends, family and my Lord.

The Word says, "The Lord formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being."

One day, we will be forced to release our dearest treasures. In Ecclesiastes it says, "All come from dust, and to dust all return."

Do not hold worldly possessions too tightly. Spend time with the treasures that breathe and have beating hearts. For love is all you will take with you when you leave this earth.

Grace and peace to you from God,

Bonnie


Sunday, September 20, 2020

Fire Storm

 




Twelve days ago a firestorm changed my life and that of everyone else in my small community of Glide, Oregon. Since that terrible day I've struggled to understand the gnawing sorrow inside me. I'm beginning to understand some of it and hope that writing this post will help me and possibly others who are struggling with some of the same questions.

September 8th a fire called the Archie Fire stormed across thirty miles of the Umpqua Forest and in less than 12 hours it exploded on the ridge above my  house. It is burning still.

My family and I got out before it burst over the ridge.

With a few of our most precious belongings and our travel trailer, kids and grandkids, dogs and cats we trekked down our hill and then hunkered down in a small town nearby where we waited for word. 




At around 10:00 PM the call we feared rang through on my husband's phone. Our home and all the homes on top of our hill were burning.

That night we went to bed but didn't sleep. We prayed for a miracle.

The following day our youngest daughter and a friend had to know what had happened and they dared make the trip back up the road. Fires were still burning. Smoke was thick. And fallen, charred trees blocked the road. With the help of experience and a chain saw they kept going. 

Sarah called from our property. "Mom. The house is still standing!"

How could it be? People saw the fire charge over the ridge and explode on the top of our hill.

We rejoiced, but any joy we felt was tempered by the news of many others who had lost their homes. Sorrow burrowed into our hearts.

Such devastation. So much loss.

Two days later Greg and I made our way home to see what had happened. Fires still smoldered, open flames sought fuel, smoke was choking and firemen defended our homes. When we turned onto our driveway we immediately saw our home standing in a fog of smoke. Everything around it had burned. How had it survived?


Our woodshed, with a winter's supply of firewood, was gone along with our tractor, a riding lawn mower, Greg's motorcycle, and a variety of other farm tools stored there. Strangely, a lawn chair stood only feet away, untouched. Fires are weird. We had cardboard boxes still on our porch from our recent move. There was soot and ash and burned leaves inside of them, and yet they had not burned.



We lost several outbuildings, including my chicken house. My sweet hens perished. A garden shop and another shop that contained a long list of tools and other items that we had accumulated over the years were now a pile of smoldering rubble.

They seem trivial in light of what our neighbors lost. We still have our home. I grieve their losses, but I am also sorrowing ours. It doesn't seem right, but my feelings are my feelings. I can't change that. I am trying to understand it.   



Greg and I built the chicken house together. We had fun doing it even though we squabbled a bit. Lonnie, a good friend who passed away a few years ago, made a shingle to hang. It said, Gregland's Best. Every time we looked at that sign we thought of him.

A wood shed doesn't seem like much, but many memories abound there. It's silly, but I used to love to chop and stack wood. And when we prepared for winter, we did it together as a family. Some sawed wood, others chopped and stacked. In recent years my job has been more about supplying hot coffee or cocoa to the workers. Precious days still. 

And there was our jeep. It was just a thing, but we shared good times together in that jeep. It was beloved by our family and there was some vying over who might inherit it one day. But it's gone now.


Also gone are the young fruit trees we loved and the blueberry plants and grapes we put in just this year. Not important, really, but we loved planting them and watching them grow.

My husband spent decades accumulating tools of every kind. There wasn't much he didn't know how to do and all those chores required a tool. He had something for everything and most of the tools had a story to tell. When we went through the rubble, trying to remember what each building had contained, he couldn't disguise the loss he felt.

  

We didn't lose our house. It is still standing there in the meadow. We are SO grateful and at the same time we can't help but feel we don't deserve it. There are so many mixed feelings floating around. We tell ourselves there is no reason to feel guilt, but feelings are sometimes hard to control. At present count at least 109 homes were lost. That is 109 families who are suffering a loss we can't fully comprehend. We grieve for them. And it doesn't seem right, but God is sovereign. I don't have to have an answer as to why my home still stands. But I will do my best to honor God's mercy toward me and my family.

I've puzzled over why this grief is SO powerful. I've known this kind of thing can happen, but I didn't expect that I'd feel it so intensely. After all, it's just "stuff" right?

When my husband and I walked to the back of our property and then drove up to the end of the road, the devastation was shocking, incalculable. The forest is decimated. Huge towering trees stand blackened. Many are dead. More will die. Some of the trees are burned from the inside and many have roots that are still burning. Acre after acre, mile after mile the forest looks dead. My mind tells me it will come back, but my heart sees the death of my wilderness home. And I think that this is the key to the depth of sorrow I feel. This place, not the wood and mortar structure standing on my property, but the forest, has been my home for more than forty years. The beauty and wildlife have nourished my soul all these years. 

The logical part of me knows the forests will return. I wait in anticipation to see the first new green sprouts that emerge in the blackened forest floor. I will take photos and I will share them with you. In the meantime I marvel at the miracle that so many homes did survive and that flowers still bloom around my house, and some of the neighbors chickens are clucking, and the wild mama turkey and her nearly grown chick still visit. And I will never forget the joy I felt when I discovered the three little goats from next door had survived and found their way to my scarred garden.



The people of Glide will never be the same. We have survived. We have a long, painful path to walk, but we are loved by God and we are pulling together, as we always do, and we will be better and stronger than we were.

The first day Greg and I went to the house we saw something on our way back down the road that stirred my heart. Many months before someone built a bench, a place to rest and take in the beauty of the forest. When we came around a corner and saw it there amidst swirling smoke I was awestruck. Fire above and fire below destroyed the forest, but the bench remained. I like to think it is there, enjoying the beauty of the forest it once knew and imagining the woodland that will return one day.


Grace and peace to you from God,


Bonnie 

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