Alligators Climb Fences

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You are sitting on your porch steps watching your toddler play with your dog and thinking all is right in your world when an alligator climbs the fence and plops into the yard. It happens.

Alligators crash into our everyday lives stealing our joy and smashing our peace. Hurricane Dorian just trashed the Bahamas. Evelyn Cartwright discovered she had an inoperable brain tumor. Alligators. They are everywhere.

As I write this blog, an alligator crashed into our lives and sent our seven-month-old rough collie to the vet to be on a drip today. And my knee hurts. No appointment with the orthopedic surgeon yet—nearly two months overdue. Alligators. They belong in swamps. They are destructive and deadly when they climb fences and drop into folks’ lives.

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No matter how much time, energy, and money we put into fence-building, and no matter how strong and high we build the fences—we can’t stop alligators. The biggest gator to climb the fence and crash into my life was on November 17, 2013, when my son USMC Major Luke Parker flew a plane from earth to heaven.

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We can’t stop tragedy, but God and His Word give us help, hope, and strength. “Do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.” 1 Peter:12, 13. Even the Apostle Paul got bitten by gators.

My two favorite verses in the entire Bible: “In everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you,” (1 Thessalonians 5:18) and “ALL things work together for good to those who love the Lord.” (Romans 8:28)

When gators climb your fence and snap at you—rebuke them in the name of Jesus. Evelyn Cartwright did. She’s healed.

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https://www.amazon.com/Stephanie-Parker-McKean/e/B00BOX90OO/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Rainbows and Tears

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Most people love God’s colorful writing in the sky when rainbows stretch across the horizon touching the earth with ribbons of pigment. But most people sigh, grumble, and fume over clouds and rain—predecessors to vividly tinted sky.

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Just as one really can’t make lemonade without lemons—so, too, one can’t have rainbows without rain.

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Life is like that. Poverty, illness, injury, sorrow, death—life is filled with lemons and storms. No one likes hardship and pain. Yet, hardship and pain grow, strengthen, and develop us for success.

“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. James 1:3&4

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https://www.amazon.com/Stephanie-Parker-McKean/e/B00BOX90OO/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Restrained

Rain is a blessing.

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Yet Genesis in the Bible tells of a flood that covered the earth, and when the waters were restrained – it was a blessing. “Rain from heaven was restrained…and the surface of the ground was dry.” (Genesis 8:2-14)

Sometimes the rain of blessings in our lives is restrained and our hearts grow weary, dry, and brittle. Everything seems to go wrong. Rain falls into other people’s lives and makes their gardens flourish…dry ground surrounds us.

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Alan retired on March 31, after 35 years of ministry and we moved to a perfect little rental house in Dunoon, Scotland. Shortly after we moved in we discovered water and black mold under the floor. The floor in the hall started to break through and tiles in the kitchen cracked. Then, after running three miles one day, I was unable to walk the next. Our own spell of restrained blessings and dry ground…although perhaps “dry” is a poor choice of words since we were literally flooded under the flooring!

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We returned to Dunoon after a marvelous 8.000-mile round trip to visit family in the U.S. (me on crutches) and found ourselves installed in a hotel for three days. With tired bodies, dirty laundry, and three weeks of having been separated from our computers…we were restrained from returning to normal life. Our collie’s mobility is severely impaired from a deteriorating nerve condition, and she and I had to hobble up a flight-and-a-half of stairs several times a day. The palms of my hands blistered from balancing on the crutches going up and down. A season of restraint.

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We are currently camped in a cabin at a holiday village with only a small amount of our belongings. Within a week, we will move to another house for six months while our house is repaired. No stress in retirement! Alan lost his mobile phone going through security in one airport. He lost his passport at the London airport. He cancelled his bank card and credit card when he thought his billfold was lost. Thankfully, it was lost – in the car – while we made rushed trips back and forth from our house to our temporary camp. And me? Still on crutches.

I can’t explain why the Lord has stretched out His hand and supernaturally healed me in the past, but hasn’t healed me now. I can’t explain why I have laid hands on others and prayed for them and they have been healed – but I’m still on crutches. I can’t explain why we are living out of suitcases on a patch of dry, barren ground while riots of flowers and vegetation flourish in other people’s gardens. Thankfully, God doesn’t expect me to explain. The Creator of the universe and all that is in it doesn’t want my understanding, just my trust.

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The Genesis account of the flood is an example of how God transforms restraint into blessing. So, too, the book of Job. Through no fault of his own, Job loses everything: children, possessions, health. His wife tells him to curse God and die. Two friends who come to comfort him mock him. “Job, admit that you’ve sinned. This has happened to you because of what you’ve done wrong. It’s your fault.” (Everyone needs friends like that, right?)

It wasn’t Job’s fault. Job told his friends, “He knows the way that I take. When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.” A true statement. “And the LORD restored Job’s losses when he prayed for his friends. Indeed the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before. Now the LORD blessed the latter days of Job more than the beginning.” (Job 42:4&12)

So when dry ground crops up around your feet and God seems to be restraining the rain of blessings in your life, rejoice! Rain returns.

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http://www.amazon.com/Stephanie-Parker-McKean/e/B00BOX90OO/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0