Where Is Rosie?
Remember Waldo? I’m pretty sure most of you reading this right now know exactly who I am referring to. He is the iconic little guy in the popular children’s puzzle book series, “Where’s Waldo?” Dressed in a matching red and white striped shirt and hat along with those large rimmed black eyeglasses, Waldo has become a popular name among many avid Waldo seekers.
The pages of each book are filled (more like crammed) with a myriad of tiny characters doing random activities. Somewhere amidst the sea of tiny figures is a well hidden Waldo. The reader’s job is to do nothing more than find the elusive Waldo. It is such a simple concept but I must admit, I always enjoyed that puzzle book when my children were young. Truth be known I still enjoy a good Waldo search from time to time but now it is with my grandsons.
In some ways, I have felt like Waldo the past few weeks, sort of hidden away and waiting to be found. Some of my readers may even be wondering or saying “Where’s Rosie?” It has been over a month since I have been to my blog but I will tell you that was a totally unplanned thing! I had all these ideas and plans to write some end of the year stories, as well as a New Year’s message. But sometimes our best laid out plans go by the wayside or get put aside for a different time. Today I am happy to say I am back and I am eager to begin sharing more Nuggets stories with you, my faithful readers.
Before I go into why I have been MIA or off the grid, I want to, first of all, say “Happy New Year” to each of you, my dear Nuggets fans! Yes I know we are literally down to the last few days in January. But it IS still January so technically it is still a new year, therefore, I can send out a loving new year wish to my readers! I hope that as you said farewell to 2017 and welcomed in 2018, that you found yourself in a good place and excited for the promise of new beginnings! I hope this first month has been amazing and a great start to reaching goals and achieving dreams in the year ahead.
I know I certainly did. I still do. I just took a bit of an unplanned detour the first few weeks of 2018. But that’s ok. The detour may have been unplanned by me but my journey is never unseen by God.
In a nutshell, I got really sick a few days after Christmas. Unless you live in a cave or under a rock, by now you know this has been a nasty flu season for a lot of people. The flu bug found its way to our home the day after Christmas when our son-in-law came down with the flu. Fever, chills, a pounding headache, body aches…yuck. Then BAM! It was like a domino effect. One by one that nasty bug hit each of us…my daughter, my husband, the two grandsons and me. Unfortunately, the flu virus went right to my lungs and on December 30th, just two days after the flu symptoms hit me, I found myself being admitted to the hospital with pneumonia! I was in the hospital for four days on oxygen, round the clock breathing treatments and large doses of IV medications to help me breathe! Honestly, the time in the hospital was much of a blur as were the following first couple of weeks at home recovering. It is pretty hard to function or think clearly when you are not getting oxygen circulating in your body as it should!!!
During my time of healing and recovery these past 4 weeks, I found myself in quite a not so fun place. Even though the medications were necessary to open and clear up my lungs, some of the side effects were very unpleasant. Sleep seemed to elude me and the fatigue was overwhelming at times. For days, I felt like I was walking around in a fog. My body felt as if someone had flipped a switch sending it from stability and into a chaotic storm.
Yet in the midst of this health crisis, I knew deep down inside, that God was with me and would bring me through. I knew that his eye was on me and his hand was holding mine. How did I know this? Because God has proven himself faithful to me time and time again. He has always shown up for me when I was in the midst of a difficult trial or frightening storm so many times. It is in those moments when things seem almost overwhelming that we need to remind ourselves that if God came through before, he will come through again. I promise you there is no ocean too deep, no mountain too high and no fire too hot that can keep God from finding you and saving you! Regardless of what you may be going through right now, the Lord sees you and he will either pull you out or bring you through!
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. Isaiah 43:2
God saw Hagar.
There is a story of a woman named Hagar in the Old Testament. The book of Genesis tells us that she was a handmaiden to Sarah who was Abraham’s wife. God had spoken to Abraham and told him that he and Sarah would conceive a child even though they were well advanced in years. Sarah had a hard time believing this was possible and even laughed when she heard the plan. So Sarah decides to help God out by giving Hagar to her husband to see if she might conceive and give him a child. As it turns out, Hagar does indeed give Abraham a son whom he names Ishmael. Sarah eventually also conceives and gives birth to a son who is named Isaac. But even so, Sarah watches as Ishmael grows up. Her fear and contempt for Hagar’s son get the best of Sarah and she begins to despise both Hagar and Ishmael. As a result, she tells Abraham to send Hagar and her son away because she does not want Ishmael to be a joint heir to Isaac. Abraham is distressed over his wife’s demands nevertheless God assures Abraham to do as Sarah wishes because he will not abandon the boy nor his future. Abraham gives Hagar some bread and a skin of water for her and Ishmael and sends them packing out into the wilderness. Talk about finding yourself in a bad place!
The story goes on to say that when the last of the water was drunk, Hagar put the lad under a bush and moved to a spot where she would not have to watch her son die. We are told that as she sat, she wept. The Hebrew word “wept” in this context is ‘BAKAH’ according to the Strong’s concordance. It means to bemoan, complain, lament, weep bitterly and to mourn. Friends, I don’t know about you, but somehow I do not think this mother was shedding quiet soft tears at this moment!!! Their meager rations were gone. They had no water. They were in the wilderness. If they did not soon starve to death or perish from lack of water, there were likely wild beasts lurking ready to devour them! No, this momma was very likely screaming in anguish and crying to God to do something and do it ASAP if not for her, for the sake of her child!
I love this next part of the story. Genesis 21:17-18 tells us that God heard the boy crying and then the angel of God spoke to Hagar from heaven saying, “What is the matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies there. Lift the boy up and take him by the hand, for I will make him into a great nation.” In the following verse, we are told that God opened Hagar’s eyes and showed her a well of water! Just moments before this desperate mother was wailing over the imminent death of her son and now she sees a well of water. I would think in that moment she ran to the well as quickly as she could to quench her son’s thirst before he perished. Finally, we are told the boy lives, grows up in the desert with God by his side, and becomes an archer.
God sees you!
There are some key points or nuggets I want to touch on from this story. First of all, I was intrigued by this one sentence in Genesis 21:19. It says that God opened Hagar’s eyes and showed her a well of water. Whoa! Now friends, let’s think about this for a minute. Hagar and Ishmael are in the middle of the desert. How did the well get there? I do not think for one moment that someone just came along, dug a well, and filled it with water while Hagar sat weeping over her circumstances! Friends…that well was ALREADY THERE!!! The well was there all along. God had made the PROVISION of water before the water ever ran out for Hagar and her son. So why did Hagar not see the well before?
I believe that in her distress, Hagar was so tuned into the problem she had, she could not see the provision that God had!!
Oh my! Have you ever been there my friends? I have. We find ourselves in such a dire situation that we forget WHO is still in control. We are too busy listening to satan’s lies and focusing on the problem instead of the promise God has for that problem!
God knew how long this woman and her child could survive without water. In his mercy and grace, God opened Hagar’s eyes to see what he already had for her. God heard the cries of Ishmael and he saw the hopeless distress of Hagar. God came through in his faithfulness because he made a promise to Abraham that this son Ishmael, would also become a great nation.
The other thing I want to point out is found in Genesis 21:20. Here we are told that Ishmael remained in the desert. That is where he grew up. But get this. The verse tells us that “God was with the boy as he grew up.” Friends, be encouraged. There are times in our lives when the Shepherd does lead us to those green pastures and tranquil waters. But there are times when we are called to walk in the desert. The good news is that wherever you find yourself today or tomorrow…GOD WILL BE WITH YOU! The desert seasons in our lives do not indicate an absence of God’s presence. He is always with us.
God saw me!
Now, allow me to be honest here because I would not be truthful if I said the past month of my recovery has been nothing but mountaintop moments. The reality is there have been some really hard days. Days when I could not find the strength to get out of bed. Days when I was afraid because it was hard to breathe. Days when the medications made me feel even worse than I was already feeling. Days that felt like one long desert experience. But even in the midst of these hard days, I have to say that the presence of God in my life was so strong. Had it not been for him I know I would not have come out of the desert. Had it not been for the countless prayers of family and friends my healing would have taken even longer. Simple kind gestures like people bringing meals to us were such a blessing. Cards, phone calls, text messages, social media words of encouragement…all of these acts of goodness kept me encouraged as I waited to regain my health.
I remember one day in particular after I had been back home for about a week. Every member of the family was dealing with either fever, body aches, congestion etc. We were all basically one big train wreck! This day the only thing I really wanted was soup. I don’t know why but I craved homemade soup almost daily for weeks. My daughter is such a great soup maker but that day she was exhausted after a long sleepless night of tending to her own two ailing little guys. I went to my bedroom to take my hundredth nap of the day. I remember praying and asking God for some soup. I did not want canned soup. I wanted some homemade soup. I fell asleep. When I woke up I wandered into the kitchen and lo and behold there it was! A large container of homemade soup! A friend from church had felt led to send over a huge batch of her chicken vegetable soup! Her husband had dropped it off while I was napping. I wanted to cry because I knew that the same God who saw Hagar’s need for water had seen my need for soup! Had someone offered me the choice of a filet mignon or this soup at that moment, it was soup without hesitation! Oh, how I savored each spoon full with a grateful heart! God provided a well in the desert for a desperate mother and he sent someone to my home with soup! So for me, it was more than a bowl of soup. It was a tangible reminder that God saw me!
Be Still and know that I am God!
While I was in the hospital I lost my voice. It happened on New Year’s Day. I mean literally, it was gone. I was down to a whisper for at least a week. When it did begin to come back I was so hoarse I was embarrassed to try to communicate. I sounded just awful. Now, almost a month later, it has improved greatly but it is still not back one hundred percent. Over the past several weeks of limited talking, I have learned what it means to “be still” on a much deeper level. I have spent a lot of time just “listening” to God and what he has to say as opposed to me doing most of the talking. Guess what? It has been refreshing and the nuggets that the Lord has given me in my quiet stillness are beautiful gems. I have gotten clarity on a number of things I have been praying about for some time. Once again I have been reminded that God wastes nothing in our lives. Not even the dry parched desert seasons. He is faithful to reveal himself to us even in the midst of what we see as unforeseen circumstances. I have learned once again that even in the unplanned detours, God will show up and reroute us to a Divine destiny if we are willing to listen to that still small voice.
So now you know where Rosie has been. It is good to be back in the blogging world. I have a number of fresh Nuggets to share. So stay tuned. There are still eleven months left in 2018 and I am believing that the best is yet to come!
PS: I love hearing from my readers. Would you share a time when you felt like you were in the “wilderness” crying out to God? How did he answer and what did you learn during the experience? Are you in a desert season right now? It would be my privilege to pray for you. No details needed unless you wish to share. Simply say, “pray for me.” Blessings to each of you my friends.