I Don’t Know

” I don’t know” – that was my answer to my daughter’s question of why someone would walk into a movie theatre and kill people.  “Why” has probably been the most asked question this past week, not only from my children, but from the news media, overheard conversation all around us, at church, at the ball games, everywhere – WHY ?!

I have come to believe that this side of heaven I will not have the answers to all of my why questions and the older I get the more why questions I seem to have. I am happy to hear I am not alone in this.  People whom I admire for their Godly wisdom and kind hearts also have said this week, I don’t know.

In this life on earth we will suffer great loss. We will all grieve. That is part of the human experience.  Sometimes the grief is excruciating as it is for all of those affected by the Aurora shootings.  Sometimes our grief is less painful yet still all consuming.  The loss of a job, a health crisis, even failure of a dream or disappointment can bring grief into our lives.

For me, I have to focus on the truth and rely on what I do know.  James 5:13 simply states ” Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray.”  So that is what I will do this week and the weeks to come. I will pray for those who lost loved ones in this senseless act of violence.  I will pray for all who were traumatized that evening by witnessing this tragedy.  I will pray for the doctors and the hospital staff who treated all of these patients.  For the police and firefighters and the 911 operators.  For healing for all of those who were injured.  We all have a lot of praying to do, don’t we?

There are three things I will focus on:

1.  God understands

2.  God Cares

3.  God can bring Colorado through this and even make something beautiful out of it.  We have seen His handiwork before.

Matthew 5: 4 states ” Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted.”  We all can do our part in comforting  those whose lives so sadly were changed forever the night they went to the movies –  Keep praying !

Blessings !

Sherri

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Peace

As I was filling my car up with gas the other day I noticed the young girl across from me, it was hard not to since she was wearing a bright colored t-shirt with a large peace symbol on the front and she was singing and dancing.  The gentleman next to me looked at her then looked at me and then just shook his head and outloud said,”Peace in this world, I don’t think so”.  That of course got me thinking.  Why is it so hard to have peace?  I’m not just talking about world peace, I am talking about inner peace.

Do you worry?  I do.  I have to work on this each day.  I always say I am going to trust God and give all my care and worries over to Him and then I find myself taking it all back and feeling like it is my job to “fix it”, not only for myself but for all the people I love in my life and even for strangers sometimes. That certainly is not a peaceful way to live.

The opposite of peace is anxiety.  We usually experience anxiety when we are uncertain about our future, concerned about meeting our needs or the needs of our loved ones, or when we are faced with danger or overwhelming circumstances.  We allow those worries to eat away at us, robbing us of joy and peace. It is when we rely on our own strength that we fail to trust God to carry us through. I’m not sure why we continue to think we can solve our issues or those of others through our human weakness when God gives us the opportunity to rely on His divine strength.

Isaiah 26:3 says ” You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.”  I think about how important it is to truly keep our minds focused on God because when we do, we find that peace.  When we read scripture we find it stated over and over again God’s faithfulness and His understanding.  My encouragement to you this week is to continue to read God’s word each day so that you focus on God’s faithfulness and His promises.  I recently also started a “Blessings Journal” where I write down all the little things I am thankful for.  Already I can see how God works in the smallest details of my life so I am sure He has the big issues covered as well.  It is a daily reminder to focus on Him.

To really trust God means to believe that He can see into the future and nothing will take Him by surprise.  To believe He knows our every need and will provide.  To believe that His power is greater than any danger or circumstance we could ever face. At our first hint of worry or trouble let’s flee to God.  Psalm 29:11 promises us that He will give us strength and He will bless us with peace. If we all focused more on those promises, maybe more of us would be dancing through our days !

Peace –

Sherri

The Waldo Canyon Fire

One week ago today a wildfire raging out of control changed the landscape of the west side of Colorado Springs forever.  This fire was devastating on so many levels.  I want to share with you my personal ties to this tragedy as well as words of encouragement for moving forward.

I grew up in Colorado Springs, Colorado. It is a small city nestled at the bottom of the majestic Pikes Peak.  Colorado Springs is a tourist town where people from all over the world come to experience a little  piece of the west.  The beautiful Garden of the Gods, the grandness of Pikes Peak, charming Manitous Springs, the Air Force Academy , the famous Broadmoor Hotel,and of course the Flying W Ranch.  All of these landmarks played a significant part in my childhood and all were threatened to be destroyed last Tuesday.  All places are safe with the exception of the Flying W Ranch.  The famous Flying W was reduced to ashes last Tuesday, something that is still hard to believe and has saddened our community and all who remember this very special place.

My family still lives in Colorado Springs so for me the fire was very personal.  I have a girlfriend who I have known since kindergarten who lives in the Mountain Shadow subdivision that was destroyed.  This time last week we were sitting at a book store drinking iced tea, biding the time as she was evacuated and was not able to be in her home.  Our conversation was easy as it always is with someone you have known all your life.  Never in a million years could we have imagined what would happen later that day. My brother -in-law is Scotty Vaughn.  Scott was a Flying W Wrangler for 31 years.  He came to the ranch as a young kid, just 21 ,with a wild disposition and a love for the ranch and western music.  Just like the ranch itself ,Scotty grew up and he became a famous writer of western music and the beloved entertainer at the Flying W where people came from literally all over the world to have this cowboy experience that he so amazingly provided.  In the last few years, Scott became a pastor.  Starting a new career along with my sweet sister -in- law, they started The Church On the Ranch.  The congregation met every Sunday at the Flying W.  They started the church in the little church building that looked like it was from the set of Little House On the Prairie.  This is the church where Cindy and Scott were married. The church had grown significantly in the last year but never lost the charm of the cowboy church and the genuine love they share for each other and for the Lord. These strong attributes will get them through the devastation that came over the mountain.

My cell phone started ringing constantly.  I feared something went wrong when I saw I had missed calls from my mom, my friend, my sister, my sister-in-law.  I called my friend first ,scared the fire had consumed her home.  She was crying telling me the fire came over the mountain and was destroying her area of town. She had no idea about her house she just saw the plumes of black smoke, the raging red flames shooting into the sky, and the thickness of the air that was choking her as she was trying to talk to me.  My sister-in -law told me they feared the Flying W was gone.  Soon my in-laws were evacuated, aunts and uncles, friends, all were scrambling to take things from their homes , not knowing if when they returned it would all be gone.

I was not able to focus on anything.  I got home and knelt by my bed praying for all to be safe.  See behind all those numbers that were flashing on my TV screen – 32,000 people evacuated – and all the buildings they were reporting on, and the sea of cars trying to escape the inferno,to me those weren’t just numbers – they are people that I love !  For over three hours we could not find Scott, he was helping church members evacuate. All cell phone service was disturbed due to the fire. We were worried sick until finally my phone rang telling me he was ok.  His church members were ok too, but the flying W was gone forever.  My husband and I sat the rest of the evening staring at the unbelievable scene that played out in front of  us.  Our home town was on fire.  News anchors cried when they reported the news about the ranch.  I sat up for hours after the rest of my family went to sleep.  Hard to believe so much devastation, so quickly, never expected.  I thought how little control we really have over our lives and how important it is to remember God is God and I am not.  I thought how unimportant “stuff” is and how important the people we love are ! I continued to pray and basically prayed myself to sleep.

Numbers continue to play on the news.  The people in my life, their lives changed forever.  346 people lost their homes, three families from the Church on the Ranch Community.  My friend was able to walk into her home this past Sunday and it is still standing.  Thankful, so thankful, yet so hard to look out her window and see her friends and neighbors who lost everything.  All that remains on the beautiful forest hill behind her house are black sticks and white ash. They found the chuckwagon bell  from the ranch and brought it to the church service this past Sunday. They have a temporary home at Penrose Stadium.  It was a symbol of hope.  The images on the news have now been replaced by the latest wildfire, breaking world news, but for those in Colorado Springs who are sifting through ashes, the story is far from over. A long road of recovery is ahead.

I am so proud of the attitude and the faith my family and friends have displayed.  They know that God will provide and there will be good to come from this tragedy.  They are confident that He makes beautiful things out of dust !

Please continue to pray for those affected by all the wildfires in our beautiful Colorado.

Blesings !

Sherri