Reflect

Helping women discover a deeper faith, freedom from their past and victory for their future.


February 19, 2017

Open the doors wide Lord

I have often Prayed, “Lord open the doors wide so that we can know to walk through them. ” There have been times when I have preferred for him to shut doors, hold my hand and lead me through the uncertainty. After the visit from my daughter on Mothers day, I prayed for God to open doors in a way that I have never done before.

We had such a wonderful visit and it was sad to see her go back to California. Little did I know that within a few days my life would take a drastic turn.

Here come the waves again!

Within 36 hours both my husband and I were in conversations about jobs in California and our neighbor had a friend who wanted to purchase our home!  We had little time to digest what was happening let alone make decisions. All we knew to do was pray.  We asked God to reveal His plan, His direction and His blessing. I prayed the Jann prayer.

“Father we think you are leading us this way, if it is not what you want, block us in! My husband and I both had a sense that God was quickly ending our time in Michigan but it was so sudden! We also prayed that God would open wide the doors so that we would know without a doubt that he was leading.

It reminded me of the times body surfing in Huntington Beach. I would run out paddle, turn around waiting for the good ride and then paddle and ride it in. Occasionally, there would be a wave that would chew me up! I would be taken under, spun around, hit the sand and then desperately come up for air! This move of God was like that, except it didn’t hurt.  It felt like I couldn’t catch my breath, but I knew that He is good and has a perfect plan for me.

Is this what it felt like for Peter in Acts 12 when he was in prison and the chains fell off? We have never been more sure of God’s leading and guidance to our new chapter in California.

When God moves we have a choice, to join him or fight him. I wish that I could say that every decision is this easy or clear-cut but you know that isn’t true. Where is he moving in your life and will you join Him or fight him?

May He open wide the doors to his plan for you and may you walk through in confidence.  Warning occasionally it is a wild ride!

 


When God moves

To say that this year has been a roller-coaster would not be accurate, more or less it has been a tidal wave! You know when a huge thing just rocks your world and you are left gasping for air and exhilarated all at the same time?

In February my mother who has dementia moved into our home. That in itself has been a gigantic adjustment. Then just when I felt as though I was getting a handle on caregiving, my emotions and schedule the tidal wave began approaching.

My dear friend Nancy and I were meeting at a day spa to use the birthday gift that my daughter had given me.  Lissa wanted to treat me and a friend to a day at the spa.  She told me that I deserved some me time and I was so excited to have it!  On the way to the spa I called Lissa to tell her how excited and grateful I was for this day and to be meeting Nancy there! As I walked in the door of the spa, I scanned the room for Nancy but did not see her. I walked up to the counter to sign in when out of the corner of my eye I saw her! Lissa had set me up! She flew from California to Grand Rapids, stayed with Nancy and then hijacked me at the spa! You know I cried! It was as if a tidal wave of emotion flooded my senses!  My momma heart was so full! We had massages, got our hair done, had manicures and then some sushi!!! It was wonderful!

The next day was even better. We sat outside on the deck in the sunshine and just talked. You know when the sunshine pales to the warmth in your heart? During this time of sharing the next wave hit me. “Mom, you know if Dad and you moved back to California we could help you with Grandma.”  It was the sweetest and kindest conversation. My response was simply, thank you, but God has us here and we are happy. Unless God moves us we aren’t looking to go anywhere.   That was that, or so we thought!

That is what the Scriptures mean when they say, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” I Corinthians 2:9

The next waves kept coming, and coming! I’ll share them with you on the next post.


Where are you?

Anytime there is a storm my dog Spunky he gets spooked!  She is a Chow, Australian Shepherd mix and is a pure delight to have in our home. For 14 years we have cuddled with her, chased her, gone fishing with her and loved her more than anyone could imagine. The one area that we wish we could change is her anxiety level when it comes to thunderstorms. In the middle of the night it is not uncommon to have this dog jump on the bed, begin to cuddle up next to you, stare you in the face and begin pawing you as she shakes in fear. It’s as if she is crying out, “mom help me, don’t you hear that?”  It has even gotten so bad at times that my husband and I will take turns taking care of her so the other can get sleep! I know, I know it’s like having a child.!

Yesterday we had a storm in the middle of the day and I was about 15 minutes from home. In the distance I saw the lightning, heard the thunder and watched the torrential downpour happen. All the while I was wondering, how was spunky going to handle this?  I soon would discover how she did!

Upon arriving home the garage door would not open. I thought that maybe the electricity had gone out since the lightning strike seemed pretty close.  I went in the side door and called out,  ” Spunk, Spunk, come here!”  No response, no pitter patter of dog paws running to join me, no excited face or wagging tail, and no spunky!   I have to say my first response was, “did I leave her outside?” I ran downstairs to look.  The dog was not outside and she did not come to join me. Thinking that Maybe she’s hiding in one of the bedrooms because of the thunder, I began looking in all the rooms and calling her name,  she was nowhere!  I was so confused and panicked, where is my dog? As I rechecked my bedroom, I went into the walk-in closet, I called her name, “Spunky, where are you?”

Slowly her little head came through the clothes in the back of the closet and she peaked out and looked at me. As soon as she saw it was me she came running out into my arms. Both of us were so relieved to be together again.

This reminded me of how God looks for us and calls out for us and in our fear, or shame, or rebellion we hide. Scripture tells us that he calls you and I by name. This began long ago, even in the garden God called out, “where are you?”

This is so comforting to me! God wants us to be close to him, he understands when we are frightened, lonely , disappointed, feeling frustrated, sad.

He calls out to us

I am here

I am with you

come to me.

All we need to do, if stick our head out from behind where ever we are hiding and look to him and know we are safe.

Blessings,

Jann


Finding Dori

It has been an interesting week! It’s my first week after school ended and I have the burst of energy that teachers get when they have been given the great pleasure known as summer break! My days have been spent cleaning and organizing because of the big move that is coming soon. I will talk more about that later! 

It also means that I have spent more time with my mom. This both a blessing and a stretching!! I love her so much and no one pushes my buttons like her 😳. 

When she was first diagnosed with dementia a friend recommended that I read, Moments of Joy by Jolene Brackley. It helped me to focus on the good stuff. 

One morning after breakfast mom came to me with her fingers in her mouth showing me her bottom gums. As she pointed to her mouth I was dying laughing inside and calm and composed on the outside. “Are they hurting?”, I asked. What she said next was quite unexpected! With her hands thrown up in the air she declared, “I can’t find them!!” Oh my, was this a fun filled time. Imagine yourself looking for missing teeth! We looked in drawers, under the bed, in the bathroom, yet they had somehow escaped! 

My friend Catherine was at the house and assisted us in the search and rescue effort. She opened the closet door and there hanging out on the wire shelf were the runaway teeth! Never a boring moment in the life lived with dementia!!! I am grateful for the comic relief for it brings joy into my life! 

“In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy” Philippians‬ ‭1:4‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Yesterday we went to see Finding Dori. Mom loves movies, even if she doesn’t fully comprehend the plot. We enjoyed the movie and we were ready to venture home. As we left the theater a large poster of Finding Dori was displayed. Mom looked at the poster and then turned to me excited with this request, “that looks like a good movie we should go see it!”

Moments of Joy! If ever I associated with a movie it is in Finding Dori. Her memory loss makes me sing for joy because I know that there is joy and hope even if there no cure!

“Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion, for great is the Holy One of Israel among you.”Isaiah‬ ‭12:6‬ 

There was a moment in the movie where Dori remembered something and she was so happy! My mom must feel that way too! God has used this movie to remind me to have joy because He is present in our lives and is able to replace our tears with laughter!

“You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,” Psalm‬ ‭30:11‬ ‭


‭‭Have a joy filled day! 
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June 12, 2016

Have you seen my brother?

There are perks to being married to a Missions Pastor. One of them is the unique gifts that he brings home to me.  On a recent trip to Guatemala, he brought me a gorgeous bracelet.  I love the combination of colors that it has in it.

Every time I wear it I think of the beautiful people of Guatemala and pray for them to know Jesus in a deeper way.Untitled design-4

 

 

Recently I wore the bracelet to school, I was happy each time I looked down at my wrist.  It’s funny how these little reminders can trigger joy filled memories, prompt us to pray and begin conversations. As I was meeting with some students I asked one of the first grade students who is from Guatemala if he knew where the bracelet was from. He smiled and proudly questioned me, “Do you know that I am from there?”

Many of my students are from other countries, so I try to connect with them on a personal way, whether that be through a book, a video or even by talking about a bracelet. We had a great conversation about buying the bracelet from street vendors and the many items that are for sale in the markets.

 

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What he asked me next surprised me and made me giggle!  With expectant wide brown eyes he looked at me and asked, “Mrs. Cobb did you see my brother in the market? He has skin like me!”  

I leaned over and hugged him and reassured him that I didn’t meet his brother, but that I had met many people just like him.  I love my Job!

This encounter with my first grade friend reminded me that we all want to be known. We want to have things in common and feel part of a community. I am grateful for the body of Christ that meets these needs both locally and worldwide.

so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it.

I Corinthians 12:25-27

 

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