Friday, November 16, 2012

Water Streams and the River of Life

Psalms 1:3 "He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers."

Ecclesiastes 1:7 "All streams flow into the sea, yet the sea is never full. To the place the streams come from, there they return again."

John 7:38 "Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him." 

Isaiah 33:21 "There the LORD will be our Mighty One. It will be like a place of broad rivers and streams. No galley with oars will ride them, no mighty ship will sail them."

    Isaiah 32:2 "Each man will be like a shelter from the wind and a refuge from the storm, like streams of water in the desert and the shadow of a great rock in a thirsty land."

It's been a while....

How life turns and flows. I think I finally have it figured out and then a new path I do not know. I suppose some must love this random ever changing flow as it means new adventures and the excitement of the unknown. For me, well...I find I don't like change. is Full of it. So often I feel like I am drowning in the strong and heavy currents of life's river or feel like I am being spun and turned in the oceans strong and relentless waves. I try and walk just above the water line on the oceans beaches often afraid of the water teasing at my feet. What is this? The fear of the unknown and being out of control. It has amazed me how something so incredibly strong and powerful as the ocean can also be such a beautiful place of rest and peace. Then, I think. That is life. In the world we will have tribulation. God tells us it will be so. Then He says. Don't worry, I have overcome the world. When I feel like I am out of control and do not know what to cling to, God says, I am here. He is the only unchanging, constant, and ever present help. I need Him in the good and the bad. I can not truly live without my Savior at my side. Anything less is no life at all. So, today...I don't have all the answers, I don't know the future, and I'm not familiar with this road I travel, but this I know. God is with me. He loves Me. He will never leave me. He will never forsake me. He will give me rest. He will be my comforter. He knows the plans He has for me. So as Peter on the water. I shall look to God as He guides me through the waters of life and will not let me sink. Thank you God! I can stand on the shore watching such power, but afraid to enter it or I can look to God, put one foot in front of the other and walk on water and live.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Joy Comes in the Morning

Wow...on Saturday, I did something I have never done and I am so thankful, Ron and Ariel Strom went with me. We got up at 4am (except me, who was awake all night because I could not sleep), drove to Table Rock, and hiked up to take pictures of the sunrise. I was so afraid of missing the sun coming over  the mountain as we hiked up what seemed to be a never ending trail of continuous corners and hills. Then we saw it. The last little piece of the trail before a wide beautiful plateau that was just starting to come to life. It was beautiful! We went to the edge of the mountain overlooking the valley and watched. There was a growing warm glow that was illuminating the sky as the horizon faded from dark to a beautiful purple to a soft yellow/orange haze. I started hiking to the center of the plateau to capture more of the top along with the mountains as the sun continued its gentle climb. As I walked I heard Ariel gasp in awe and looked to see the first little bit of light peak it's beams over the mountain. Wow...such a beautiful sight. It slowly continued as I watched the light touch the top of Table Rock and start to crawl over the rocks, paths, grasses, and flowers and the light grew brighter and warm. I kicked into gear as I started looking through the camera lens. What would be the best shot. How could I capture this beauty to share with others. I wondered what Josh would have done?
     Ariel, this line break is for you (-:
     I will take a small step back in time. When Josh died on May 5th taking my camera with him, I had no motivation to ever do photography again. Things are replaceable, people are not. Then, the Lord used several people to help raise the money for me to purchase a new camera. I opened it last Wednesday morning at Josh's grave, sharing with him how I felt and how much I missed him. I told him how much I wanted to thank everyone who helped me acquire the new camera, but yet words seemed so empty. Then, I had an idea. Would the best thank you be using the gift they had all given me? The gift of being able to do photography again. I asked the Lord and Josh to help me know what photograph to take and then it came. One of Josh's last shoots was on top of Table Rock during the sunset. It was the most perfect day they could have had up there and the pictures were breathtaking. There was the inspiration for his last blog about surrendering a precious dream. For me, the best thing I could do was to move forward in life despite difficulty and be a willing vessel for the Lord's use. Psalms 30:5 came to mind ..."weeping may last for a night, but joy comes in the morning." What better way to express what I felt, than the sunrise symbolizing the start of a new day and the joy of the Lord and His everlasting and unchanging goodness. So, back to July 28th.
      Ariel and Ron took in the beauty of the mountain top while I spent at least an hour roaming and snapping pictures of God's handy work. It was the start of a new beginning. I miss Josh. I selfishly wish he was still here, but...Josh is in the presence of the Lord. He would not want to come back to time. He is in the full understanding of eternity. No more human limitations or pain. He has seen the face of God. I thank God for having known Josh and for the work that God has done in my life through Josh's life. Josh's memory will live on. Today I will choose joy and to live the life that God has set before me. Josh is not gone forever, he is just gone from time. I so look forward to seeing him again in eternity. Sorrow will pass away and in the rise of the morning sun comes the joy of the Lord.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Joy, Hope, and Peace or Fear, Loss, and Pain

     I start to feel better, more joy, more hope, more peace and then out of seemingly no where it hits me. Pain, loss, fear. These things I wish I could be rid of. They want to pull me down and never let me breath. How they hide and wait for me. Loss, I lost, within 6 months, two people I cared about. Both unexpected. But....I only lost them in earthly terms. I shall see them both again in heaven for we have all of eternity to share. They just got to the better side of eternity before me. Still, at times I miss them so much it hurts. Pain....How incredibly weak I feel. This week I was striving to be a stronger person spiritually, physically, and emotionally. I was reminded about how weak I am. Outside of God I can do nothing. Outside of God there is no good in me. Why do I still set a standard of perfection and think I need to hit it. Why can't I just let go and let God lead me through each day. That is what I want to do. That is what I need to do and yet.... Fear...I feel as if most of my life has been lived in fear. It sometimes overwhelms, so I ignore it by procrastination, laziness, mindless distraction, and what seems to be a never ending stream of unforgiveness for all my flaws. Who am I to be this way? A fallen undeserving sinner who has been offered the gift of life by Gods grace through faith. Not of my own works, but by God alone. He loves me, forgives me, and supplies my needs. Forgive others so that God will forgive you.(Matt. 6:12) I always think of it as forgiving others, but now I wonder if it is not for me as well. I should forgive myself. It seems so much easier to forgive others, but to forgive can I? Don't you see all my faults? If I can't forgive myself than why should anyone else? I expect people to see my faults and turn away. I do not forgive myself for imperfection. I expect it. Why try if I'm going to fail? So, instead of fighting the battle set before me, I make excuses and settle for complacency. I'm a coward. Truly. But...on my own strength I can not succeed. God must be my strength. If I can believe who He says I am, if I can rely on His strength, if I can live today by His leading....what are the possibilities? Endless. Innumerable. Beyond my dreams. If I can stand on the promises of God and have the courage to proceed despite my fear, what victories can God bring forth? To destroy the lies of the enemy. To replace fear with courage. To replace unforgiveness with forgiveness that releases me from bondage. To truly love others. To be free. To do anything God calls me to. Who am I? 
     I lost a dear friend. I don't want I to lose another, but if I hide myself from friends to avoid the loss, it is a worse loss indeed. A life without love is no life at all. Faith to believe God, hope that His promises are true, love..the greatest. Love your neighbor as yourself. live to love. No greater joy. Lord, give me courage to live for you in true love. Honest, transparent, patient, forgiving, long suffering.  I feel as if those words just now really start to mean something. patient, forgiving, long goes on. It will take the rest of my life. Lord, please replace my fear with peace, my loss with joy, and my pain with hope. May I live a life surrendered to you. May today be the day I stand on your promises and strength and run the race set before me, fight the good fight, and be a light for you to shine through to the world. The battle belongs to the Lord.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

In the Quiet

Wow....there seems so much is going on and I can only write down such a small fragment. For now, I want to process a little about being quiet with the Lord and seeing some blessings I often overlook. The other day, due to the wonderful encouragement of a friend, I went down to the Rogue River and sat and had a two hour talk (out lowed) with the Lord. I need to do that more often. As I sat there and poured out my heart and feelings to Him something wonderful happened. He talked to me. Not in an audible voice, but through His Holy Spirit and through His word. As I told Him how guilty I felt for taking my camera on May 5th and how I had questioned three times whether I should take it and how I felt I had done something horrible by not listening to doubt He gently and lovingly. "Anne, I told you three times to take it." Wow.....I had never stopped to consider that He had told me to take it by my friends including Josh telling me without a doubt I should. What a release. It was not my fault. I had listened to the Lord. He was in control. And He wanted Josh to have it when he died so he would be doing something he loved with a camera he really enjoyed. Wow.....Still...I get overwhelmed with how much God loves me and takes care of me and blesses me and I wonder....How often do I miss it. How often do I get caught up in guilt, doubt, and fear. In trying to do works on my own that I don't rely on the Lord and be a willing vessel He can work through when He desires.
     I am striving to be more and more mindful of the blessings God sends my way. To thank Him for things I would take for granted. I praise God that my phone has a camera. It doesn't matter the quality because I can still snap some of God's blessings. Whether it be special moments with friends, family, or God's nature creation. I am starting to see a deeper level of God's beauty than just what is at the front of my nose. I think striving to seeing a deeper dimension is thanks to another friend who asked me if I could. He asked it in another context, but it got me to thinking. I want to see deeper, love deeper, trust deeper, and see more than what meets the eye. I am so far from there. I have so many flaws. I discover more and more how I can do nothing outside of God. I pray every day to die more to self and live for God. That He can be glorified through me. Not my will O Lord, but yours. I have taken up talking out lowed to the Lord more often. And...thanking Him for things I would often just take for granted. The blue sky, the warm sun, the full moon, fireworks over the lake, a floating candle flower that a friend fished out of the water so I could see, a piece of wheat (I think it was) in a whole field but in and of itself so beautiful, an old historic fence with fields and mountains beyond. God is loving me and blessing me every day and I am apart of the body of Christ. To grow, love, and be a bond servant of the Lord Jesus Christ. Thank you God for friends and the blessing they are. For your love and compassion and and saving me. Thank you friends for accepting me where I am at imperfections and all. Just imagine if our society could truly accept people where they are at. They seem to be "trying" to do that and yet their version of acceptance is not accepting...Anyway, that can be a whole other blog idea and not what this one is about. Below are some pictures I have taken with my phone. Thank you Lord for revealing yourself through nature, your work, your spirit, and your people.



Thursday, June 28, 2012


Wow, is one of the better days I have had in a while. Things seem a little clearer and hope feels a little bit more near than it has in a while. And....I have not made it more than two days without crying in a while. I was just thinking about that. How much in my mind I want to be done crying and yet every time I cry I am giving up trying to make myself better and just acknowledging where I am at I feel just a little bit better. I do have good times and I also have times that just really hurt. So, if I can be honest with where I am at, and am willing to face it, than God can work and show me where He wants me to go. A friend shared today a story of where there had been an accident and how the person that got hurt could have died and the fear of the moment and the uncertainty was so frightening and it reminded me so much of Josh and May 5th. I believe God is sovereign and I am so glad He knows what He is doing because I don't really know what I am doing other than finding more and more how weak I am and how strong God is. I have tried to not be an emotional person, but I am. That is the way God designed me. So, God, please help my emotions to be used in positive ways and not in negative. I feel deeply for people. I see an ambulance or firetruck with lights blaring and I immediately start praying that no one is hurt and that if they are there souls are right with God. It gets me so much I have a hard time not crying and I wonder how everyone is doing and if there family is okay. Emotions hurt, but they also can bring such joy and happiness. Baby stepping my way through learning to be an Anne that glorifies God and is who He created her to be. ..So,......not sure if that makes sense, but I sure feel better for writing it. Praise the Lord.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Let Go and Let God

     Well, I am going to try and get some thoughts out today. This may be a bit random, but here goes. This last week has been really hard. I was feeling a bit better and then more stuff starting popping up that threw me into the world of confusion and frustration. Frustration with what? Myself. I have spent so much of my life trying to be good enough, trying to be the right person, trying to say the right things, and trying to meet expectations that either someone or I have set for myself. Most of the time, I just discover how far I am from meeting expectations and therefore can never be content where I am at. I know we are suppose to be willing vessels for the Lord to change, but when I try and get my hands in the clay I just make a mess of things.
     I used to be terrified of the river. When I was about 4 years old I fell in to the Applegate river and all I remember is bobbing up and down, but never coming above the water so I could breathe. My mom jumped in and pulled me out, but ever since currents and rivers have scared me to pieces. Getting pushed into water, being pushed down, and not being able to get to the surface as quickly as I want still grip me in fear, but I had learned to push through and get through such things without hyperventilating and going into complete panic. Now, after Josh's death I feel more terrified than before. My friend Stephen took me out on a kayak the other day to get me use to being near/on top of water again. I thought if I could do that or just jump in and start swimming I could just get over my fear and be okay. Well, I was wrong. I think being on top of the water was helpful, but......I was still so afraid.
     So, how does the second paragraph relate to the first. Because I actually thought I could control and make myself get better and I could make myself be who I thought I needed to be. Once again, A BIG FAIL.
     So, I am ranting about how I am not good enough, that I can't do enough, and really...I am powerless. What I am really trying to say is this... It is by grace through faith that I am saved and not of my own merit lest I should boast. I have been so prideful to think that I could work out my faith. That I could control life. That I could become the perfect christian. I can not. I am full of flaws and sins and every day I fall short. Thank God, it's by His death on the cross that my debt to sin was paid and by His grace that I can live. I can only live one day at a time. I can hardly think a week ahead. I feel like a child learning to walk for the first time. Its a bit shaky, I fall down, and then I am afraid to get back up sometimes. Then the Lord picks me up, tells me He loves me, and encourages me to take another step. I am baby stepping my way through letting go and letting God. He is my rock and my salvation. I can not live life alone. I can not make it on my own. In Christ alone my hope is found. I am so thankful for the Lord working through the body of Christ. Where two or more are gathered there is the Lord. A cord of three is not easily broken. Iron sharpening iron. Yeah, I do not need to be alone. I am not alone. Thank you Lord. In my weakness He is made strong. It has taken me so long to get to the point where I can say I can't do it. Only God. I have to let go and trust. It feels frightening at times, but when I let go the peace and freedom is like nothing I have ever felt before. Today Lord, help me to let go and let God.

Monday, June 25, 2012


One day, One hour, One minute, & yes, even One second. Have you ever thought of the fact that an entire life is made up of these? Life isn't made up of what I am doing tomorrow or next year, it's made up of what I am I doing right now. So, I guess the question would be....What am I doing right now? That is one of the most interesting parts of my days. Sometimes I know and sometimes, I feel like I am just getting by. My foundation has been through a tremendous heartache and attack of fear and all I know is that it has not fallen completely, but that God is rebuilding and fixing the cracks and I am just waiting to see the outcome. I have moments of bravery where I feel like I can fly and am overcoming the obstacles and then I doubt and wonder if I really can or if it is going to be too painful and I start to look for the closets dark corner to hide in. I am really such a strange and sinful creature. Yet, God is so patient. He is my ever ready help. He never leaves me nor forsakes me. He understands my thoughts from afar. He has plans of good and not evil for me.
      I went to the redwoods with some friends yesterday. Strange, it never really crossed my mind how similar it would feel to May 5th. I forgot we were next to a river, that we would walk over rocks and trails and creeks. Today, one moment at a time I strive to live by grace and turn my thoughts to the Lord and let Him, in His time, heal my heart, mind, and recreate me as He wills to bring glory to His name. I can't make this journey alone. How hard it has been to get to a point where I can say that. On Christ Alone my hope is found. Today I will live by grace and believe in the hope of God's calling.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


June 6th 2012 - How time flies and yet sometimes it seems to hold so still. It has been just over a month since the loss of Josh. It has set me on a journey I did not see coming. It has resolved areas in my life I didn't look at to see that I needed to face them. If has left me with questions. It has opened some of my deepest fears and God has gently started plucking away the scars to heal my heart and mind. I am opening my Bible and feeling the comfort of God start to wash over me. His truth giving me hope. His light illuminating a new path I am to take. I tend to like to have my life planned out. My day planner is crammed with things to do, people to see, places to go and yet....I can only seem to get by one day at a time. I do not know what tomorrow holds. I do not know what the end of the year will look like. I don't have the answer to all of my questions. It's like a puzzle and I only get a piece of it one day at a time. I did not know May 5th would come to a close without Josh. I do not know what tomorrow holds. I do not know when my last breath will take place. God does. Lord, take away my selfishness, pride, and strip me of fear and help me to live a life fully committed day by day to your glory and drawing near to you. In Christ alone my hope is found and in Him will I place my trust, He my ever present help.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

While it is yet today

Tomorrow is always tomorrow
The past is always gone
Today is all we'll ever have
It goes on and on and on

We wish for brighter shores
We strive for bigger dreams
We put off till tomorrow
It's never as close as it seems

We hold the past against us
It's claws digging deep
Unforgiving unforgotten
It stacks up at our feet

Today is the new start
Of something beautiful and true
If we could only live it
We really could be made new

Today is a beginning
Tomorrow never comes
It stays always a day away
A reality it never becomes

Today is the moment
the time we have right now
to do what must be done
Despite the where or how

Today if we are faithful
To do what God asks
There will be a brighter tomorrow
and a reason for the past

Today my friends join me
To glorify Jesus Christ the Son
To be found a faithful servant
For in Him the victory is won

May 5th

May 1st - 
Me: 11:26 AM  Hi
11:27 AM Did you here about Saturday?
11:30 AM Joshua: No, I did not HEAR about Saturday
11:45 AM 
me: Ron, Leanne, Ariel, me, Stephen, Darla and her brother are hiking rainy falls. You and Caleb are invited. We are going to meet at Stroms at 12.
Joshua: Wow, okay, that makes me very excited!  I'll see if I can come:  I'd love to!  I love hiking.  :D
Thank you for the invitation!

~Joshua S. Eddy

May 5th...........A day I shall never forget. Josh was the first one to the trail head. He was pacing back and forth waiting for us all to be ready to go and so ready to be on the move. We had loaded his back pack with so many snacks, water bottles, and miscellaneous items and he was glad of it. So ready to be on the trail for the first time since Alert. We all reached the trail and we were off. Mr Strom I believe was put in the lead and Stephen took the end making us girls feel safe and protected. Ariel was anxious to start up a wonderful conversation, but was stating how sad it was that we could only walk the trail single file therefore not all being in the conversation at the same time. I strained to listen for a while and then let myself drift back a little and take in the amazingness of God's creation. There were so many flowers, so many shades of green, the sound of the river was so refreshing, the streams looked so clear and pure, and the voices of friends in happy conversation drifting passed my ears as we walked. I breathed and let myself relax. From time to time I would catch parts of the conversation about Free will as Ariel, Josh, and Caleb debated among themselves. I wish I could have caught all of Josh's perspective, but there was one particular point where he made a statement for his view and Ariel told him to prove it. Without hesitation he brought up a verse in scripture...I am trying and trying to remember which one it is. I will ask Ariel and post it as soon as I find it. I am not sure he ever mentioned which verse just that he quoted it, but then with him in front talking it was hard to hear everything he said. All I truly remember is, the verse completed his presentation on free will and Ariel conceded that he had a valid point that was worth her looking into further. I smiled because I was discovering that Josh and I seemed to be on the same page and we both had big smiles on our faces. We proceeded down the trail and stopped at a few small stream/waterfalls for Leanne to take pictures. They really were beautiful. I was desperate to get my camera out, but I didn't want to miss anything and figured I could take my time on the way out to snap all the beauty through the lens. We passed a huge cement wall/structure sitting by the water and it left us wondering about the history and story behind it and what it was for. We finally came to the biggest stream on our hike and all stopped to have a picture taken. Josh instantly tried climbing up as far as he could into the waterfall and up some rocks to stand. I ended up just a bit higher than him as it seemed the only place to get us all balanced into the photo without standing right in the water was up. So up I went. People laughed that Josh wasn't at the top part anymore and I felt a bit bad for my choice of climbing up so high, but we all laughed and were having a good time. We were almost to Rainy Falls. Just around a few more corners and there were were. I was so shocked to see the water so high. The lovely sandy beach spots I had remembered as a young girl were nothing but water. The trail ended completely at the falls. There were several other people down at the falls and a bunch of rafters who had a special permit to float down that dangerous part of the river. Everybody kinda spread out at that point captured by different aspects of our location. Ariel sat on a rock near the falls, I believe at that point the first thing Josh did was put down his pack and bound over to where two rafters with newer canon cameras were standing and taking pictures. I am so thankful my friend Darla was sitting near and heard the conversation. Josh was asking about the cameras they were using and one was the 7D which I had just purchased and a new Mark something camera that had only been out for about 2 weeks. Josh told me after his conversation with them how exciting it was to talk with them. Darla told me later that they asked Josh what camera he was using and if he had brought it with him. He answered and said he didn't bring it because "he was accident prone". I decided I could not wait another moment to get my camera out and start taking pictures of the beauty before us. I started to play with settings to get it just right and then ever one started trying to get my attention as there was a rafter getting ready to come down and through the falls. I got the camera ready and snapped the pictures as the rafter came down and then appeared to be completely swallowed up by the water only to rise again and surge through the falls.  It was frightening and amazing all at the same time. So much power and strength. The rafters finally moved on and I proceeded to snap shots of our happy little group. Ariel overlooking the water, Leanne getting out snacks and making sure everyone was taken care of, Ron sitting behind me on another rock making a fabulous Ron face, I shot a picture of Stephen as he came over to sit down next to where I was at, I grabbed a shot of Josh making a fun Josh face (after Josh came over and asked me if I would take a picture of him if he jumped in. I grabbed his shirt collar and told him to never even think of it and told him such a picture would never take place), and then Caleb sat near us. I adjusted my settings as I took a few pictures and got a picture that lightly revealed the surging river behind him and where the blue in his shirt made his eyes just shine (I couldn't wait to show Josh and see what he thought), then I turned at looked the river again. Josh came up just a few minutes later and asked if he could use the camera promising that he would take extra good care of it and be very safe. I looked at him very seriously and told him that I trusted him completely. I did...I had learned and chosen to trust Josh to be the man that he desired to be in God. Trustworthy, reliable, sincere, honest, and someone I could be a real friend to because he was a real friend to me. I knew he would be careful and considerate. I chose to turn away and look down river as he adjusted camera settings. I didn't want him to think I was watching his every move and making sure he was truly being safe with the camera. I trust him.  He came over to me and asked me if I had a wider lens. I did not. I had only brought a 28-55mm and a 50mm. I didn't think anything else of it, but he hoped over rocks to get up stream to get the shot he was visualizing. I can only imagine the beautiful shot he framed because Josh was so gifted. Done with his photo he jumped back rock to rock to reach where we all sat. He never made it. I never saw his face again. The parts after this you can read in my previous blog. As hard as I am trying I can't even accurately describe the day. There was so much. We were just enjoying God's beauty. We were enjoying godly fellowship. A beautiful day. It was a really beautiful day. I thought I would never pick up a camera again. I had no desire to do it. It was too painful to think about. I had to go to Texas two weeks after and photograph a graduation ceremony along with family portraits. It was so painful and every shot and every setting reminded me of Josh. I asked myself what would Josh do in this position and I used the settings he had encouraged me to use. I shot in RAW format because Josh had told me to so long ago. The pictures turned out amazing by God's grace and Josh's passionate encouragement. The loss of a camera is nothing. I don't miss the camera. I miss the freedom of grabbing a beautiful shot or view when I am inspired by God's handy work. My friend Hannah lent me her camera for my Texas trip. What a blessing she is. Things are so not important. Life and success are not valued by the things we have. It is people and what we do with things that really matter. I am told I shouldn't think this way, but I hope and pray Josh knows that I valued him more than a mere thing and that I still trust him. God called him home. Giving up a thing to the purpose of God is a blessing. I must admit giving up a person is much more difficult. I am struggling with letting go. I have to fight the what if thoughts and trust God's sovereignty. I am so thankful for the short time I knew Josh. He touched my life and changed it forever. God, Thank You. I don't know how long it will take the pain to ease, but I will always be thankful to have known Josh and had that last day with him.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Run the Race

When I wrote almost two months ago I thought I had changed a lot. I did, but the change wasn't over, and I have had to face some of the hardest challenges in my life. There is so much going through my mind right now. I changed the name of my blog. I love how Josh had his "the Bright and Hopeful Unknown". I kinda wish I could barrow it, but it is his. I have named mine Grace for Today - Hope for Tomorrow. It seems that is all I can do right now. Live by God's grace today and hope tomorrow will be just a little bit better than the day before. I should live like this every day, but it is times like these that make me realize how much I can't live without it. God's grace today one day at a time. I lost someone I counted as a true and reliable friend. Someone I looked forward to knowing for years. Someone whose future I couldn't wait to watch unfold. Someone I knew was honest and would communicate with me. Someone that would encourage me to have a closer relationship with the Lord. and just a moment he was gone. I couldn't believe it at first. He slipped into the water. They must be imagining things. He must be within grasp. I must find him and pull him to safety. I searched frantically for just a glimpse of Josh. It was hitting me. I kept repeating "this is not good". I started to shake and tremble and felt as if I would collapse to the ground unable to stand. Then I saw Ariel's face. "Anne, you need to pray"! I took a deep breath and pleaded with God not to take him. To let us see him and rescue him. To look back and someday laugh about how he lived on the edge and always made it. I kept looking and then I saw him. I ran. Over rocks overgrown with bushes. I almost fell. I didn't look where I was going. All I could think was that I must get to Josh before it was too late. I finally realized I had to stop and look for a path as I kept missing, falling through cracks, and was risking a broken leg in the panic. I looked back to where I had seen Josh. He was gone. I looked around and continues my frantic race to where he had been. I looked in the water trying to see him. I could not. Again, I started to shake and felt as if I would collapse again. Ariel grabbed me and started praying. Again I pleaded with God not to take him. I was in shock, numb, this must just be a bad dream. Things like this don't happen to me. Leanne caught up with, a backpack on her shoulder with supplies and moving past where I felt my eyes glued to the river. Ariel, said she needed to keep going. I wanted to keep going. Searching. Then I heard that no one knew for sure if someone was trying to call for help. I had left my cell phone in my pocket the entire hike. I almost left it in the car, but felt the need to keep it. I called 911. My phone vibrated and vibrated trying to connect the call. Nothing. I asked Leanne who had car keys and thank the Lord she did. Stephen, Caleb, Ron, and Darla were out of sight. She gave me the keys and I started the hick our of the falls praying for reception and help. I got to the falls looked at the trail and started to run. All the while thinking, there must be someone that can do this better than I. I had wondered if I could make the hike in and out with a leisure pace. How could I ever make it out quickly. I ran for a bit and started to get winded. Knowing that I had eaten little and drank no water all day I slowed to a fast walk. I thought of Josh. All of his stories of Alert training. The hike where they didn't know the time, how long, or when or if they would rest. Endurance. Physically I was challenged but even more so mentally. What if they found him. What if they didn't. What if he wasn't breathing and needed a hospital. What if his life was hanging by a thread and I couldn't be fast enough to get help. My mouth was dry and my head was spinning. I should have drank water earlier when told to. I had to fight every second to keep my thoughts captive. I wanted to fall down in tears afraid of defeat. Every step in front of the other was one step closer to help. I couldn't stop. Every second was precious. I talked to myself out loud every step. Keep going. Don't give up. Josh needs you. Josh would do this for you. Don't let him down. God is with you. The path started it's sharp incline up. I let my pace slow a bit, but I could not stop. "God, I can't do this alone. Please carry me." He must have because I kept going. My mouth was so dry it was hard to talk. "Lord, I am sorry I didn't drink water. Please, can you give me water?" He did. Within a few minutes I came across a stream we had passed on the way down and I had remarked it looked clear enough to drink. I reached in for three quick handfuls and kept going. It was just enough. My head started to clear and my mouth no longer dry. I came to the second incline of the trail. Going up I would go slow and going down I would quicken the pace. I grabbed the side of the hill and stopped. 10 seconds and then I could move again. I counted quickly to 9 and moved. There wasn't time to waist. I kept trying to get reception. A few times the phone would ring and I would hear "911 what is your emergency?' They couldn't hear me. The connection was lost. Again and again I tried. Nothing. I was so afraid. So scared. Vulnerable. Alone. But I wasn't alone. God was there. His voice of truth calling me onward. Josh's face in my mind pushing me forward. Hebrews 12:1 " let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." I was clinging to God's word, His truth, slamming the door of doubt, fear, and despair. There must be a chance. There is still hope. I kept waiting to hear a familiar voice behind me yelling that they got him and that he was okay. It didn't come. I had a race to run. I had to keep going. I had to throw away everything that hinders. Only by God's grace. This was my race to run. I had to do it. There may have been someone better at it than me. I was so out of shape. Yet, God had given me this task. I have heard this verse so many times. I never ever even began to understand. Others depended on me finishing the race. I had to persevere. It wasn't just me on the line. It was those I cared about and others I didn't know. It could be Josh's life. I saw the bridge. Finally...I was almost there. The connection kept taunting me as it would connect enough to hear a voice and then be lost before they could hear me. I unlocked the car. Got in. Looked for emergency lights and then realized time was wasting. I was off. Driving quickly and then aware of the dangers of the corners. I couldn't risk others for my goal. I drove as quickly as I could while trying to be wise and safe. Looking for reception. Looking for a person at a home who might have a phone. Nothing. It seemed forever and then I saw it. The gal running the ranger station walking into the building. I left the car parked in a place that was not a parking spot and ran. She called 911 and they told me they had gotten my calls and were trying to find me through my cell phone. They asked me many questions. I needed help now. The gal brought me a chair and I sat. Answering questions, giving details. Telling our story. I needed to let people know what was happening. The Eddy's. How as I going to tell them? What was I going to tell them? What if in driving away I had missed our group catching up and telling me Josh was okay. The 911 gal told me to wait. We needed more details and facts she said. We needed prayer. Who could I ask. I was alone. John Sleadd. He would no what to do. I didn't think I had his number. Aaron. Maybe he was with his dad. I needed help. I called...Aaron's happy chipper voice answered. He had tried calling me on our way to the entrance to the falls and I had lost reception. I tried to hold myself together while telling him that we needed prayer for Josh. I wish now I wasn't afraid of asking for help. Help for others I could ask for. Help for me. That was another story. He told me he would pray and the call was ended. I was going to call Stephen's dad, my parents, but the police man came and I had to get back to action. I tried to stand and grabbed the counter. My legs could hardly hold me up. I must move. I needed to move the car to be out of peoples way and couldn't find reverse from neutral. Finally the car was moved and the police man gave me a ride to the boat ramp. They were going to send people down to help. Then I had to wait. Be still. There was nothing I could do. I still had no cell reception. My part of the race had been run. Had I failed. Was I not good enough. There is more to this day, but this part has me thinking. What is my race? What is my goal? I thought that was my race. Getting help for Josh and those I loved. It was only a small part of the race that God has set before me. How many times have I stopped running the race to look back at the past, to consider a future without moving forward, to look at the present and think I could take a breather because how much could it really hurt to stop for just a bit. Every second counts. Every breath. Sometimes I moved fast, I ran, I speed walked, and sometimes I could barely put one foot in front of the other. Yet, I kept going. I stopped for 9 seconds. Should I have? I don't know. I did. Should I do it again? I don't know. It gives me something to think about. To ponder. I have a race set before me to serve my all mighty God and to bring glory to His name. Will I run it? Will I persevere? Will I cast off what hinders? If I do anything short of running the race to the end I am not running a race at all, just fooling myself. If I run the race set before me will I end well? Josh died well. Can I? To run a race takes perseverance, discipline, self control, a plan, pacing yourself, the grace of God. The pace will change based on the terrain. If I always sprint how can I finish? If I always walk can I reach the end? Will I take up the race God has set before me? Will I cast off the old self and all that hinders?  Will I take thoughts captive? Will I believe God? Will I be willing to run the race alone? Will I believe that God is always with me and working through others around me therefor I am never alone? Will God be the highest priority and calling in my life? Has He been? I am ashamed to say no. I have far to often put things off and justified my lack of perseverance. The truth is, I am without excuse. I have no answer to bring before my Lord as I reflect on how I have not run the race. God forgive me! I have sinned. I want to say for Josh, but I know rather for the Lord's sake, I want to run the race set before me. Josh was an example as he persevered through trials of life to strive for excellence in God. Lord, for you I was to strive for excellence with all of my being. To truly live for you. For, to not truly live for you is no life at all. Wow....When I started at the beginning of this I had no idea I would end here. God...Thank you for Josh, thank you for taking him home, thank you for letting me know him, and thank you for letting me live through this to see my need for you, and Lord, please let my old self die and today, may I start my life of living fully for you.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

I'm Back

This is going to be short, but I am back. There has been so much going on and I have changed so much from who I was when I last wrote. Thank the Lord for His goodness and faithfulness. I know even more that He will always be there for me. I have suffered heart ache, loss, joy, bountiful friendships that will always be remembered, change, and unexpected blessings. God is good. I look forward to sharing more with you as I have more time to write. I wanted to do more today, but don't quite have the time. However, I knew if I didn't start I may only keep it as a thought of something to do instead of actually doing it. So, here I am. Hope you are all blessed and I'll be back.