Praise God for All Things Not So Good

Praise God at Thanksgiving

Are you thankful this Thanksgiving Day, or are you asking questions instead?

If you are dealing with struggles on this earth, and I mean real STRUGGLES, read here to see where we found thankfulness and to see if you can find something good too this upcoming day of thankfulness.

Praise God at Thanksgiving

What’s going on in your life right now?

I’ll tell you my husband and I have had some pretty bad times these last few years.  After 25 years in the military, my husband retired, and we packed our bags and went to seminary.  We didn’t think it would be easy, but we also didn’t think it would be the end of the world as we knew it.

Let me just say this now.

We faced troubles like you wouldn’t believe.

As required by the Army at that time, my husband submitted his 9 months notice to retire, and we immediately began putting the work into getting our house into tip top shape to sell, thinking we would sell it and go live in the lower cost of living state of Texas with great ease.    We even had these great plans of buying a little, low cost house in Texas with cash and living frugally throughout my husband’s seminary training.  We could do that!  Right?

And then that $330,000 home in that nice, further-out Washington DC suburb fell to where we couldn’t even sell it to break even around $160,000.  We lost not only tons of potential equity but thousands in actual equity.

Not able to sell our home, not able to pay for it ourselves anymore on a retired income, a retired enlisted income in fact, and feeling all the obligation in the world for our word (your yes means yes, you know), we rented our home there in Virginia for more than two more years at more than a $700.00 a month loss (what we owed each month vs. what we could get in the rental market where our home was), hoping (dreaming) the market would eventually come back to where we could at least sell our house back home.

Remember, we had never lived through such a housing burst before.

The market never did come back.

We sold everything we had of worth or value, from large to small value in fact, to keep making those monthly payments and to put even a meager amount of food on our table, selling ALL we had of worth except for a few family items we knew our family back east would be upset if we parted with.

We did without.  We lived without.  We sold plasma.  (I still have the scars in the crooks of my arms.)   We knew any extra need would have to go untouched.  We learned to not even have any wants.

We sometimes only had the food we received from the seminary’s weekly food ministry to eat, supplemented only at times by $10.00 to $20.00 a week at the grocery store (and that included funds for purchasing grooming and household items needed).

My husband cashed out what little 401K savings we had which had only started shortly before he put in his retirement papers.

We eventually realized our “yes” to that house back home was going to mean “no” to the small house here in Texas we had purchased and were living in here in Texas (with a mortgage since we didn’t have the funds we thought we would have to move here to begin with).

We begged the mortgage company back home to work with us… for a reprieve… for some kind of help… just to do SOMETHING… ANYTHING to work with us.

We subjected ourselves to being an open book to them.  They knew every single thing we owned (or did NOT own by that time), every penny we had go into and back out of our bank account, and every large or small intention or thought we had throughout the time my husband’s retirement, relocation, and everything before, in between, and afterwards.

After several weeks of what seemed like a whirlwind couples relationship and almost-marriage and also the sale of our only decent remaining vehicle to make another monthly housing payment, the mortgage company gave us a financial worksheet to complete.  After competing it, they came back and said they were sorry they could not help us because we did not have enough income or assets.

We were broke, and we couldn’t get help because we were broke.

Oh, there was plenty more going on there at that time, and things only got worse for us throughout the next few years.  I have said many times , “when God gave us a calling, He sure didn’t make it an easy one.”  And He didn’t.  He really didn’t.

I’m sure we had difficulty many days being able to say even some of the kinds of  “I’m thankful for…s” you see on Facebook these days.

We really had nothing much to feel thankful about in the sense of seeing or having things we were thankful for.

But we came to understand there was ONE thing we had, and that was Jesus Christ.

Oh, God didn’t set us up with lots of comforts or even assurances for several years, but we had Jesus Christ Himself.

And what was even better to learn, we came to realize that no matter what else failed us in this earthly life, no matter what else we lost, and no matter what else we did not get, or did not have to survive even, NOTHING could take Jesus Christ from us.

I could fill you in on the rest of the story, and maybe I will someday so long as we don’t get the “you were just stupid or sinful” talks.  We know what we did wrong and what we did right.

So perhaps, PERHAPS, I’ll fill you in a little more sometime… if you want and if it makes a point I want to make someday.

(Disclosure:  our troubles and worries didn’t end there, but neither did our journey of faith and ultimate blessings.)

But for the time we have together now, I want to remind those of you who are dealing with a difficult time or very difficult situations, that if you have Jesus Christ, you really do have what counts the most of all on this earth.

There is nothing more awesome and which brings a person more to life than when they get to the point to where if Jesus Christ is really all they have, that Christ Jesus is enough.

Chew on that this Thanksgiving, and you’ll have blessings many others on this earth have no inkling of.


Praise God from whom all blessings flow.

Praise God for all the toils we know.

Praise God we know more pain than most,

For we can claim the Lord foremost.

Ahhh—- mennnn.


Best wishes for a blessed Thanksgiving Day filled with Jesus Christ.



Chris Stevens



Without Rick Perry as a GOP candidate, how should I vote?

We live in Texas, so many of my friends and family know how much I like Governor Rick Perry.  He has had a great career as a conservative governor and as a leader for The Great State of Texas.

When Rick Perry became a GOP candidate for President this time around, I was ecstatic.  It was even easier to back such a man as I researched more specific issues pertaining to his record, his character, and his platform.

I just really liked, and I STILL like, Governor Rick Perry and had hoped he would be the Republican nominee.

But alas, it did not seem to be going in his direction, at least not this time around.  Governor Perry felt the need to perform a “strategic retreat”, and he dropped out of the race.

See what a “strategic retreat” is here:  What is a strategic retreat?

I believe my first step in figuring out how to vote after that move was feeling just a little sad.  I think that was OK.  As I said, I not only liked our Governor, I personally saw what he did in Texas.  I knew how he stood in politics, and I thought he would be a great President of The United States of America.  It would be natural to be a little sad.  It would also be natural to be a little bit confused.

Without Rick Perry as a GOP candidate, how should I vote?

Rick Perry is taking a strategic retreat as a 2012 GOP candidate. So what am I supposed to do now then?

Well first of all and before you decide what you will to do in this nomination process and 2012 general election, keep these words on your heart:

“His Sovereignty rules over all.” – Psalm 103:19

Yes, whatever route you chose to take right now or whichever candidate you chose to support or not support right now, God will rule supreme in it all.

God is not asking you to rule the world.  He’s just asking you to do the part He has for you to do in this world.  If you do what the Lord wants you to do and then trust in God’s Ways, you will have done the right thing.  You will also have done no harm to what love, protection, help, discipline, care, or plans God for this world or for America in particular.  God is in control, so don’t worry whether your actions will produce what you believe they should or not.  Just live in God’s Will for you, and God will take care of the rest.

There.  That is true Scripture, and that should relieve some of the anguish you may be feeling at this time.  However, you do still have the responsibility to figure out what exactly God DOES want you to do from this point on.  What direction should you go?  What steps should you take?  Who should you vote for in the 2012 election?

Remember now, you are not ruling the world here.  You are only trying to figure out what God wants you to do as one piece of His puzzle!

If this helps you to find your own way in this, I believe there are a few steps you can initially take that will help you determine what you need to do in the short term, near future, and actually, for a longer period of time as well.

  • Hide Psalm 103:19 (see above) in your hearts.  God is in control, and nothing you do will stop His plans.  So don’t fret too much if your re-directed journey plans will be the end result or not.  Just figure out what the Lord has for you to do within HIS journey.
  • Be open to whatever it is God is going to call upon you to do.  Proverbs 3:5-6  says:  Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.”  The way I see it, you can pray for guidance all you want, but if you are not REALLY open to God’s leading to begin with, you’ll never hear the direction God is calling you to to begin with!  So, free your heart to God’s Will (Psalm 103:19) and then open your mind to God’s leading (Proverbs 3: 5-6), and you will be ready for the next real “action” step.
  • Pray for guidance, and know that He will direct your steps towards God’s purpose and glory.  Romans 8: 27 says: “And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.”
  • Finally, be prepared for great things the Lord will do, whether it is now, tomorrow, next year, or the next millennium.  Continuing on from that last Scripture, Romans 8: 28 says:  “We know that in everything God works for good with those who love Him, those who are called according to His purpose.”  God WILL do something for you and through you!  You may see it, or you may not, but God will help you and will bless what you do in His name!

That said, you can probably see that I don’t expect all Rick Perry supporters to follow the same path from here on out.  Oh yea, the national party may disagree on whether we should or not, but if you are a Christian or a person of another faith who wants to follow a Higher Power’s guidance, or if you are just a person who wants to make an individual choice based on what is important to YOU, then you will be seeking your own path to follow and going on from there based on things other than the GOP.

Just remember though, that just as God has made us each very special individuals in HIM, and He may call us to different routes to his ultimate ending to this election cycle, he needs us all, just as we are.  And no matter what, it will be OK.

Job 42: 2  “I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted.”

And that even includes in politics!  🙂

For those of you who may be wondering what route I have found for me after Governor Perry’s strategic retreat, below is the list of steps I feel called to follow right now.  These steps may change.  Who knows, my entire route my change.  For now though,  in my sorrow and disappointment I sought the Lord, and for ME, this is where I am going.

Just remember, your path may be different, and if we are in this together IN THE LORD, all things WILL work together.  So be yourself in Christ and keep the faith!

Here is my new direction…

I had to have some time.  I thought I might need more time than this, but I feel the Lord has given me a path now, and I will take it.

I do not like any of the remaining candidates.  Oh yes, some are better than others, and I could probably even prioritize.  However, there is no one candidate I feel is worthy my “time”, “attention” or my “heart”.

Therefore, I feel at peace with what I’m going to do.  I feel these steps were first given to me by God after prayers for direction, and I can see the sense of these steps in all ways, at least for ME.

1.  I will not actively support or help any one Republican candidate right now.

2.  At the same time, I will not oppose any one Republican candidate right now either (with the exception of pointing out pro-life records and history of our candidates).

3.  I will NOT vote in the primary because I would only be voting AGAINST someone if I did and not FOR anyone.  Since I am not going to help or hinder any one of them during the primary, and since I do not feel any of them are well equipped for a presidential fight or right for the presidential role, I do not feel guilty letting the supporters of those candidates pick which one of the remaining candidates they want to put against Barack Obama.  I will let the remaining “consensus” of the Republican Party as a whole now choose.  They are the ones that picked those four GOP candidates to begin with, not me.

4.  When the general election time comes around, I WILL vote for the candidate the Republican Party puts up.  At that point, I feel I actually AM voting FOR that candidate because I want any Republican over Barack Obama.

5.)  If our Almighty God reveals some change of plan along the way, I’ll revamp my steps as He sees fit and as He calls me to respond.

Disclaimer:  I hope that many conservatives like me will be fed up with the current Republican National Committee and for the media, ALL the media, who have used their power to create untruths and misrepresentations of Governor Rick Perry.

Right along with that though, I also hope that many conservatives will take their own steps, as I have chosen mine above, to show those who have been guilty of misdoings, that we are not going to just simply go along with those misdoings, that we will not help them when they are involved in actions which are intolerable to us personally.  Being steadfast in our firm support of qualified and honorable candidates only (as they are available); remaining active and engaged in the circles of conservative politics, emails or phone calls to, or boycotts or blackouts of dishonest media outlets; even letters to the Republican National Committee, tweets on Twitter, or sharing information on corruption and dishonesty on Facebook groups should remind our political leaders, pundits, and reporters that Americans see dishonorable behavior and will not tolerate it without a fight.

While I don’t want to see our party system ripped apart, and while I pray for the overall safety and well being of our country, I believe there are steps each one of us can do to make our point, points which, when all combined, will not hurt our country but help our country become better, stronger, and more based on faith in God instead of money, power, and poll numbers.

Blessings to those fellow friends who were with me on the journey to make a Governor Rick Perry for President in 2012 a reality.  We have had some good times and have had some trials which, as even Governor Perry has mentioned, strengthened our faith.

We were together, and now we take our separate paths in this 2012 election, but as we go about our own callings, we can always know that our goal was noble and our calling was clear.

Now just find your new calling, and God will provide the goal for us now.

Proverbs 21:31 The horse is prepared for the day of battle, but victory belongs to the Lord.