Monday, February 9, 2015

Choosing "We Time" Over "Me Time"

"These things have I spoken unto you, that in Me ye might have peace.
in the world ye shall have tribulation:
but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."
John 16:33
(KJV)

"Make sure you turn on the radio", my dear, sweet, thoughtful, caring husband called to me,
as I walked out the door to make a close to 60 mile trip from home.
He knows how sleepy I get when I am under the wheel.
He also knew I had gotten only about 2-3 hours of sleep the night before,
and not much more during several nights before that.
The trip had to be made, and he could not go,
so he wanted there to be noise in the car to keep me awake.
Bless his dear, loving heart.
Always looking out for me.
I love him so much...there truly are no words.

We are in the midst of some heavy-duty trials...
the kind that make you think of the "heated seven times hotter than usual" one
that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego walked through in Daniel 3:19
and the fiery ones Peter spoke about in I Peter 4:12.
The trip by myself the other morning was a result of what we are going through,
so I left our home very, very heavy-hearted.
I have cried until I truly have no strength left for tears.

Have you ever done that?
Just cried and agonized over something until you became too weary to cry anymore??

I don't know, maybe I am just different, but that is exactly how I feel.

Anyhow, after I got in the car, I heard Kevin's voice in my mind
and started to reach for the radio knob....
then I stopped.
Not because I didn't want to follow his suggestion,
and not because I was tempted this time to wander to a place that prompted THIS POST.
The reason I decided to pull my hand away from the radio dial was because over the past few years,
I have witnessed a sort of evolution,
and I have been noticing a different, recurrent pattern in my routine.

Anyone who knows me very well, knows how much I love music.
It soothes my soul, bridges the gap to days long ago, and makes me happy.

It used to be, that when I had some "me" time...you know, those moments when everybody else
is doing their own thing, otherwise occupied, asleep, or away from home, 
or when I would be driving alone in the car,
music would be one of the first places I would turn...
by picking up my guitar to play and sing or by turning on the radio or a CD to listen.

I still love and enjoy doing that.
Music is, and always will be, very close to my heart.

But, lately, 
since I've been on this ongoing quest to come to know Christ like never before,
when I find I have some uninterrupted "alone" time, I have felt compelled to keep things very quiet.
To create an atmosphere so silent that I can listen....and hear that still, small voice.
I just feel drawn to something...or should I say, to some One...higher.
This drawing is strong...like a magnet,
like the moon pulls on the tide,
like opposites that are attracted to each other.

Some days I could not feel more opposite of Him.
So FAR below the standard He longs for me to be.
I am hoping that by spending this extra time with Him,
His grace and glory and holiness will rub off, and I will become just a little more like Him.

At some point, I have started to prefer to spend my "me time"...alone with Him.

Somewhere along the line, my "me time" 
subtly and quietly evolved into "we time".


And "we time" is the way I chose to spend my one hour drive the other morning.
I decided that I would pray...and listen to His voice the whole way there...
while I had those moments alone in that car.
I needed HIM so desperately.
I needed to feel the Divine presence of the Comforter.

Jesus' invitation,
"Come unto Me all ye that labor and are heavy-laden, 
and I will give you rest", was just way too hard to resist.

So, I poured out my heart, driving down the interstate, and I listened to His calming, soothing voice.
By the time I got to my destination, I felt a sense of peace.
Like everything was going to be okay, regardless of the outcome.
Does that make sense?

I'll tell you the truth, the peace I began to feel really didn't make sense to me.
Not at all.
Thoughts of facing the fire, knowing what could be waiting for us, and wondering how things were going to turn out did not lend themselves to any form of a sense of peace.
But, as I walked into the building, and even as I sat and waited my turn for over two hours,
it was there...deep in my heart, just the same.
This kind of peace is a peace that passes all human understanding.
The Apostle Paul spoke of it in Philippians 4:7,
"And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding,
shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."

This peace transcends "the outcome", 
regardless of what the outcome turns out to be.

This time, it turned out that our fears were well-founded and painfully realized.
For, when I finally got to speak to the person I needed to, our suspicions were confirmed.
I sat there, staring at the man seated across the desk from me,
feeling like he had defied his calm, sympathetic, albeit professional demeanor,
and just punched me in the stomach.
Hard.
I was floored by his words.
Full-blown panic rose inside of me, making me feel nauseated and filling me with anxiety.
I was confused.
Hadn't a sense of peace washed over me in the car,
and hadn't it remained the whole time I was waiting my turn?
So, why was this man telling me the complete opposite of what I wanted to hear?
I kept asking him questions, hoping, in vain, for a different answer.
Then the truth dawned on my rattled senses.

God's peace that passes all understanding, is not contingent upon our circumstances.
Being filled with it, does not mean the storm will suddenly stop.
It does not insure or guarantee that we will hear what we want to hear
or that the fallout will be pleasant and joy-filled.

I had mistakenly assumed that since I felt such deep peace about the situation,
the conclusion was going to be good news and our concerns would be obliterated.

This quote comes to mind...
"Sometimes God calms the storm; sometimes He calms His child."
Author Unknown

I truly thought, walking in there, that I was going to walk back out relieved and dread-free.
How wrong I was.
We did not get good news.
Our concerns were not invalidated.
They were blatantly proven to be true.
I had just been told the worst possible news I could have been told in this situation.
But, just as the angst inside of me multiplied by the second,
I realized that even then, hiding under the shock and stunned surprise,
the peace I had secured in the car was still there.

I still, even now, know things are going to be okay.
I am not sure how, exactly, but I know God is going to cause all of this to work together for our good.

On my way there, the dear Lord brought so many encouraging things to my mind...
things that cemented and supported the peace He was pouring into me.
Things like Romans 8:28,
"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."
and
this song.
I kept hearing it and stumbling across it, in various places,
for several days prior to this intense trial.
Now, I know why.



In spite of all we are facing right now, God's peace remains.
It trumps the fear...even the reality.
Because I know we are in His hands, and He is ultimately in control....
of our lives and everything that touches us.

I found His peace, because I searched for it during our time of communion in the car.
I hate to think what kind of shape I would have been in, had I opted for "me time" over "we time".

I am finding more and more as I travel down this uneven, unpredictable journey of life,
that I need God more than ever.
I need "we time" with Him, way more than I have ever needed "me time".
The older I get, the more precious every moment of life becomes to me.
Losing Mom and Dad made me see my own mortality in an even more vivid light.
When I have time "to spare", I want to redeem it and utilize it in the most optimal way.
Communing with the Lord is the way I want to spend it.
On days I don't get to spend quality "we time" with Him, my whole day goes out of skelter,
and I have no peace.
I feel a nagging sense of unrest dogging my every step.
I worry more.
I trust Him less.

I need that daily renewal time more than ever.
It recharges my energy,
restores my soul,
and renews my strength in ways that nothing else can.

I suppose one of the main reasons for our trials is because God wants us to feel the need for Him.
He wants us to turn to Him...
when the bottom falls out,
when fear overwhelms,
when the pain is just too much.
God loves spending time with His children.
Think about it.
After creating all other manner of living things, besides mankind,
God still hadn't found the communion He sought.

So, He created man...and woman...living souls.
And within them, He placed a deep, longing need...for Him.
When trials are toughest, He draws us to Him...
invites us to enter His throne room,
and holds out a welcoming scepter, confirming our acceptance in His presence.

I don't know for sure, but I have a strong hunch that God enjoys our "we time" as much,
maybe even more, than we do.
I think He loves to give us His peace as much, maybe even more, than we long to receive it.

Oftentimes when we have no peace, it is because we have allowed a distance to come between ourselves and God.
Usually, it stems from the fact that we have neglected our prayer life.
The closer we press into Him, the more peace we will have.
Guaranteed.

How goes it with you, my friend?
How do you prefer to spend your free moments?
Do you long for a closer walk with Jesus?
Does it feel like He is a million miles from you?
Have you learned the wonderful secret of trading your "Me time" for "We time"?
The choice is, and will always be, individually yours.  

"Draw nigh to God, 
and He will draw nigh to you."
James 4:8




50 comments:

  1. Cheryl, I will do my best to leave a comment while tears blur my eyes. You will know how much this spoke to me. You will know how very much my desperate heart needed to hear these words. Today your faith has "stood in the gap" for me. You have held me up at a time when my shaky knees are barely able to stand. Thank you for listening well to God, and for passing on His message.

    I loved this line: "This peace transcends "the outcome", regardless of what the outcome turns out to be."

    Yes, it is this peace that is at the bottom of my circumstantial quicksand. There He is, my Rock.

    And, underneath my rapidly beating anxious heart, I can still hear His beautiful voice, "Take heart. I have overcome the world."

    Thank you, dear friend, for bolstering my courage, calming my nerves, and reminding me that His peace will last forever - long, long after all these temporary things have passed away.

    His faithful love endures. And because of that, He will enable me to do the same.

    Love you, and GOD BLESS!

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    1. Yes, dear friend, I truly do understand. Your words were SO encouraging and comforting to me. I can't thank you enough. Thank God for you and for bringing us across one another's paths "for such a time as this". May He wrap His loving arms around you and hold you extra-close. Praying for you often. Love and appreciate you so much!

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  2. Dear Cheryl, Prayers going up now for you and your family from SC. May God hold you tightly in the palm of His loving hand. Mary

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    1. Thank you SO much, Mary. Your prayers and precious words are SO very appreciated. May the dear Lord bless you for caring so much. Much love to you.

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  3. Oh, Cheryl, I will be praying for you all! I know it's hard to understand sometimes why we have to go through trials instead of just being delivered from them. II Corinthians 1:3-4 is something I always try to remember when these times come.

    Yes, you are so right - God wants us to turn to Him. It makes me think of that old song, "Where Could I Go but to the Lord?"

    Love you, dear friend. hugs♥

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    1. Oh, dear friend! I LOVE those verses you shared! I just looked them up and was SO blessed and comforted by them. I love that dear, old song, too. Your prayers and love and friendship mean so much to me. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Love and appreciate you dearly.

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  4. Jesus calmed the storm but often he calms the child. I loved that thought. May God grant you and your husband wisdom in the days ahead and bring you through these trials not burned. May you find the counselors and helpers to offer you assistance and a way through the storm so that it does not sink your boat. Thank you for sharing your experience of being with Jesus as you drove to your meeting and the peace that only He can give - - with us here at Tell me a Story.

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    1. Thank you so much, dear Hazel! Your words and encouragement was such a blessing to me today. We are leaning hard upon Jesus and His strength. He is a faithful, loving Lord! I am so thankful for you and the consistent blessing you are to me. Much love and many blessings to you.

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  5. My dear friend. My heart aches for you. But also, I'm happy for you because you are such a child of God. His precious daughter. He is using you in such a mighty way. Whatever the outcome, He is with you. You'll remain in my prayers. Pam

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    1. Dear Pam, thank you just doesn't seem enough to express how much I appreciate you and thank God to have you in my life. You are a constant source of understanding and encouragement, and I cannot thank Him...or you....enough. Thank you for caring so much and for praying and for being so faithful. Love and appreciate you dearly.

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  6. Cheryl - I am so sorry for the pain you are walking in and I will be remembering you in prayer often. I have walked in that peace that passes all understanding... when God calms my heart and soul and lets me know that everything is under His control.... even when it makes absolutely NO sense to feel any kind of peace at all. It is a beautiful thing.... and truly one that "passes all understanding". I often marvel at the sense of calm and stability He gives... AS MY EYES ARE FOCUSED ON HIM... it is so easy to move my thoughts to my own understanding and like Peter walking on the water, I begin to sink....

    My precious friend, may God continue to give you that precious peace and guide you and your family in all you need to tend to.... and may you and your husband continue to be a blessing to each other in this trial. May God bless you with all of the strength, peace and understanding you need at this time.

    "Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and He shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved." Psalm 55:22

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    1. Dear friend, I know you understand so deeply...and that understanding is an invaluable gift and blessing. Your prayers mean SO much. Thank you for reminding me to keep my eyes upon Jesus and not upon the situation. I LOVE the verse you shared. I am going to focus on that and keep it in my mind. Praise God for His sustaining grace. I love the fact that He promises to never allow the righteous to be moved. What a glorious comfort! I appreciate you so very much and thank God for every visit you make here...you always leave me so encouraged and blessed. May the dear Lord bless you richly in return. Much love and many blessings to you.

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  7. You are really talking and walking the walk of faith and I am very sure that God is on your side. Thank you for this inspirational post and really encouraged me to have more we time with God:)

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    1. Thank you so much, dear Joy! It is always such a blessing to see that you have stopped for a visit. I can't thank you enough for the reminder that God is on our side. It made me think of the Scripture "If God be for us, who can be against us?" Praise His name! And thank Him for YOU, dear friend. God bless you richly. Much love to you.

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  8. Thank you for this post. I hope you're doing well.

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    1. Though we have surely seen better days, we praise our dear Redeemer for all He has done and is doing in our situation. He is a faithful God, and we are looking to Him to bring us through! Praying for you and hope you are doing well, also.

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  9. Cheryl - Thanks for sharing - currently going through this too. Life is SO hard right now, but so thankful for His grace and strength!

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    1. My heart just breaks for you and all you are going through. I pray for you often and trust God to hold you up and see you through every difficult, painful moment. Only Jesus can truly comprehend all you have been through and all you are going through. Sending you much love and BIG hugs, sweet friend. :)

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  10. Cheryl, you have richly blessed me through this post! Know that I will be lifting you and your family up in prayer as you go through this hard time!

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    1. Dear Jo! Your prayers and precious words mean SO much to us! God bless you abundantly. Much love and gratitude to you and the dear Lord.

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  11. Our Father is still with you. He will still prepare a table for you in the presence of your enemies. I too am going through life changing and stressful issues, but I got some "We time" today too. I know what you know; He will never leave us or forsake us and He causes or allows all things… and it always points to His sovereignty and love for us.

    I'm praying for you and yours, Cheryl.

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    1. Thank you so much for this wonderful encouragement, Floyd. I am so sorry to hear that you are going through such trials, also, and I will be praying for you. I can't thank you enough for your prayers for us during this difficult season. God bless you richly.

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  12. Cheryl, I keep you and your family in my prayers. It seems like so many people are going through such trials. I know what you mean about feeling the deep need to be in His presence. It is like a magnetic force. I can't help but to think that God is soon to send a revival. He may be preparing our hearts. Or perhaps He is preparing His church to leave this earth very soon. All I know is that so many people I have spoken to lately have a longing for "something" from God. I don't think God would place these feelings within us if He wasn't about to do something. You will make it through this hard time.
    This verse just came to mind. I don't know exactly why. I think I will go study it. Love You!
    Hosea 6:1-3 Come, and let us return unto the Lord: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up.
    After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight.
    Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.

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    1. That is a wonderful, deep verse, Chris. You have me wanting to study it, too. Let me know what God shows you about it. Thank you SO much for your prayers for us and for being so supportive through these fiery trials. You are such a dear blessing and encouragement to me, dear friend. Love you!

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  13. I could feel every emotion throughout this post and understand the heaviness of a heart. You beautifully described the importance of "we" time with God. Leaning into His presence and letting God minster to us can be so very hard because we are "fixers" by nature. Thank you for drawing me into your peace and understanding that with God all things will always be okay. Blessed to be visiting you from Beth's place.

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    1. I can't thank you enough for your sweet visit and kind, comforting words. They blessed me so much. I trust God will bless you in return. Come back anytime! :)

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  14. In such a selfish world, we need to know that it is not all about 'me'. We would not be a 'me' without Him, so, yes, it needs to be 'we'.

    I found your post at A Little R&R linky party!

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    1. Thank you so much for stopping by!

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  15. Such a great post Cheryl and confirmation for me today. Lately, I have been having that drawing...nagging...or whatever you want to call it to spend more "quiet" time with Him. Turn down the radio...turn off the tv...and put down the phone. Much love to you! xo

    waitingforbabybird.com

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    1. YES, me, too....I just love Him so dearly, and I find that I want to spend as much time with Him as I can. Your visits and comments always lift me so much! Thank you so much for stopping and leaving sweet encouragement behind. Love you, dear friend.

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  16. Cheryl, thank you for your visit to my blog and the kind words.
    I am so sorry you are facing a hard time right now.
    I will keep you in my heartfelt prayers
    Lovely to meet you!

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    1. Thank you so much, Margie. It was wonderful to meet you, too. Your poetry is so beautiful. God bless you. :)

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    2. Thanks so much Cheryl.
      And thank you for the follow, I am now following you via email.
      I hope we get to visit each other often.

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  17. I love how God speaks to His children in so many different ways, when we make "we time" a priority and listen to His still, small voice! Thanks so much for the beautiful post and for visiting and commenting on Saved by Grace!
    Your blog is a blessing and I am now following it, and I invite you to follow Saved by Grace also:
    http://savedbygracebiblestudy.blogspot.com/
    Love in Him,
    Laurie Collett

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    1. Thank you, Laurie. It has been so nice to meet you. Yes, I am following your blog, also. So thankful God has allowed our paths to cross!! God bless you!

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  18. Hi Cheryl! I really connect with music too. I used to play guitar for our masses when I was a teen and in high school. Music just transports me in praise and peace. But like you, I crave quiet now. If I go for a long ride in the car, I can go hours without turning on the radio. The peace of quiet....
    I am so sorry for your troubles! I thank God that he prepared you well, and that you have such a supportive husband. Those are such gifts. And yes, I hope to have more 'we' time in my life, and see where and how God is moving. Because he does all the time.
    What a pleasure to meet you :) Thank you for your visit today!
    Ceil

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    1. What a blessing to have you stop by today, Ceil! That is so wonderful that you used to play the guitar for your worship services! Thank you for your kind, caring words, and for leaving such encouragement behind here. I am so thankful to have met you and trust God will bless you to recover quickly. So sorry to hear of your injury.

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  19. Thank you for sharing yourself and this post at the #SHINEBlogHop! I hope that others are connected to this post when they need it most and that you are connected with those that you need.

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind words! God bless you for stopping by and leaving encouragement behind. :)

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  20. I am so sorry Cheryl for all that you are going through but you have taught me a valuable lesson and I appreciate that. I need the reminder to turn to God in all circumstances even they are horrible or don't turn out the way we want them too. The "we" time is just such an important thing and very necessary to stay connected to God as opposed to "me" time.
    I pray that God will bless you and your family and continue to rain His peace over you all as He leads you through difficult times and I am glad that He has His best plans for you, dear friend.
    I appreciate that you stop by and share this at Good Morning Mondays when you have so much going on. May you and your family be blessed. xxxx

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    1. Dear Terri! Thank you so very much for your sweet, kind words...they mean SO much more to me than I could ever say. God bless you for your encouragement...both here AND on your dear blog. You are such a blessing!

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  21. What a beautiful and inspiring post. I do need more quiet time in my life, thank you for sharing this encouragement (this heavenly reminder)! I am sorry to hear you are going through a trial but what a blessing that you have the Comforter with you every step of the way...

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    1. Thank you so much, JES! Yes, praise God for the dear Comforter Who is always with us, no matter what we face in this life. I so appreciate your kind words and encouragement and support. God bless you in a special way!

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  22. Interesting that you wrote on this for in the last 15 years that is exactly what has happened to me. I still love my southern gospel music but I don't turn to it first thing anymore in my me time. Hummm...like the way you titled the change, from me time to we time. I have felt a growth in my soul in the last couple years from this change. I teach a bible study and often times on my way home from it I am thanking the LOrd for the ground work He has laid in my life that gives me a deep well to teach from. His Word has become sweeter and my awareness of it's power washed over me that it makes me have to stop and just praise Him. Great post my wise sister.

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    1. What wonderful words, Betty! They enriched and blessed my soul tonight. I apologize for the delay in responding. I love that God is using your trials and experiences to bring more depths to your teaching. There is nothing like true life paths that we have walked to bring lessons to others. God uses every test and turns them into our testimonies. He is an awesome, faithful God! Thank you so much for your words and your love and support. You are a blessing to me!

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  23. Thanks for your words. Yes, I do need to draw near to Him more often!

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    1. Yes, my friend, there is NO place like His presence! May He bless you and enrich your walk with Him more than ever before.

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  24. I am so sorry you're going through a trying time right now. It's so wonderful that we have a savior who comforts us in times of trial!

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  25. Hi Cheryl, just read your post. Praying for you here in AZ! God bless you and keep you and your family.

    Psalms 119:49 ZAIN. Remember the word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast caused me to hope.
    Psalms 119:50 This is my comfort in my affliction: for thy word hath quickened me.

    May His Word quicken you in spirit and in body.

    Much love,
    Beth

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  26. Thank you for this post. Thank you for sharing your heart.

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