A promise worth flying for!

Today I made good on a promise I made to this young man when he was 10 years old.
He was obsessed with planes of every kind as a child (I met him when he was five years old), reading about them, watching videos about them, talking about them. Then one day, the passion turned from wanting to know about planes to wanting to be the pilot of the planes.
He worked diligently and faithfully to earn his pilot's license, and once he had it
he looked at me and asked, "So, are you ready to fly with me?"
I was thrilled that he remembered my promise - and - that he wanted me to fulfill it.
My answer, of course, was "YES! YES! YES!"
So today we flew into the wild blue yonder ... TOGETHER.

Drake does not like having his photo taken, but since he adores me (HA!) he willingly acquiesced to all of my photographic wants. When I asked for the obligatory cockpit/headphone shot I said,
"Thank you for tolerating my photo needs!"
Without missing a beat, and in true Drake Dusterhoft fashion, he responded,
"Oh, I've been tolerating you for YEARS!"

Drake, thank you for today!
I remember meeting you as a little boy with your blonde hair, blue eyes, and the hint of mischief always twinkling inside of them. You were sweet, adventurous, quick to laugh, and respectful.
You and I have always clicked. As a little boy, you didn't like to be touched, and because I knew that I would purposely chase you down, pick you up, swing you around, and hug and tickle you while you laughed and laughed. You never told me to put you down, and your mom would say, "He doesn't let ANYbody do that!" And we have been teasing and annoying each other ever since! <grin>
And now, here you are, twenty years old, an EMT and a pilot - and I am proud of you.
You worked diligently, faithfully, and sacrificed to get where you are, Drake.
You are a terrific pilot and I loved flying with you today!
Thank you for letting me be a part of your new world. Mrs. E


HE is our safe place!

This season of Christmas seems to be exceptionally difficult for many.
A day does not pass without a new request for prayer, for help, or for counsel arriving in my inbox.
Trials are abundant.
Sickness and disease touch the bodies of dozens.
Emotional suffering. Physical suffering. Spiritual suffering.
People are hurting. Broken. Mourning. Confused. Afraid.
They are looking for answers. For relief. For healing.
They need the Lord.
He is the only One who can offer hope, a true living hope, as they plod the streets of sorrow.

Hugs, shared tears, and listening ears are wonderful things to offer a brother or sister who is drowning in the depths of despair. But they are not enough. We may be able to push them to the surface to take a breath, but only the Lord can hold them there, safe and secure while the waters rage around them. HE is their rock. HE is their safe place. HE is their everything. HE - is what they need.

Our job, as brothers and sisters in Christ, is to wrap our arms around them while they weep and mourn and sorrow, and gently walk them to the one place where they will find peace ... at the feet of the Savior. Because sometimes, as much as they want to, they just cannot get there on their own.

Last night, I fell asleep praying for those who have reached out to me for help, and this morning I woke up to find this beautiful quote by J. R. Miller waiting in my Inbox. Before I had finished reading it I was saying to myself, "You HAVE to share this!" So, I share it here, praying that it will strike the heart of someone who is suffering, offering new hope, renewed trust in a holy and tender-hearted God, and a deep and encouraging conviction that while we must struggle in this life, we never, ever have to struggle ALONE. For we belong to a God who loves us, sent His Son to die for us, and promises He will never leave us or forsake us. He IS our rock. He is our tower of strength. And when we run to Him - we are SAFE. ❤

"We do not know what we should pray for as we ought." Romans 8:26

A minister sat with a father and mother by the bed of a child who was hovering between life and death. He was about to pray for the little sufferer, and turning to the parents he asked, "What shall we ask God to do?" After some moments the father answered, with deep emotion: "I would not dare to choose - leave it to God."

Would it not be better always to leave
the decision to God, letting Him choose what it is best for Him to do for us or to give to us? We are not in the world to always have ease and pleasure, to always succeed, to do great things - we are here to grow into strength and beauty of life and character, to accomplish the will of God, and to have that will wrought out in our own life.
Ofttimes ...
The present must be sacrificed for the future,
the earthly given up to gain the Heavenly,
and pain endured for the sake of spiritual refining and enriching.
Christ does not seek to take away the burden - rather, He would make us strong and brave to bear it.

If we are willing to let God choose for us, and accept what He gives - we shall never fail to receive the best. Perhaps not what the world would call the best - but always God's best. We do not know what we should pray for as we ought, and we had better leave it to God.

We should be content to leave the guidance and choices of our lives in His hands. Think how wise He is - knowing all things, knowing how to choose the best for us. Who does not know that this is better, safer, wiser than if we were to choose the way for ourselves?

The truest prayer is often that in which we creep into the bosom of God and rest there in silence. We do not know what to ask, and we dare not say even a word, lest it might be the wrong word, hence we simply wait before God in quietness and confidence. We know that what is best - our Father will do, and we trust Him to do what He will.

We are sure that God could relieve us of the things which are so hard for us to bear - could, if He desired to. This is God's world, and nothing can get out of His hands. All we have to do is to lay our need before the throne of mercy, and to let God answer us as He will.


The Beauty of Affliction.

There is no attribute of God more comforting to His children than the doctrine of Divine Sovereignty. 
Under the most adverse circumstances, in the most severe troubles - they believe . . .
that Sovereignty has ordained all their afflictions, 
that Sovereignty overrules them, and 
that Sovereignty will sanctify them all.
I bear my witness that the worst days I have ever had, have turned out to be my best days. And when God has seemed most cruel to me, He has then been most kind. If there is anything in this world for which I would bless him more than for anything else--it is for pain and affliction. I am sure that in these things, the richest tenderest love has been manifested to me. Our Father's wagons rumble most heavily, when they are bringing us the richest freight of the bullion of His grace. 
I have learned to kiss the stormy waves which throw me up against the Rock of Ages!
The tears of affliction, are often needed to keep the eye of faith bright.
The furnace of affliction is a good place for you, Christian. 
It benefits you--it helps you to become more like Christ, and it is fitting you for Heaven.
I would never have known the Savior's love half as much - if I had never been in the storms of affliction.
Our afflictions become the black velvet on which the diamond of God's love glitters all the more brightly!

(Charles Spurgeon)


Because of them I run faster and farther!

These past few days the Lord has been pushing me to be acutely aware of - and grateful for - the blessing of faithful, transparent, godly sisters in Christ.
It is easy to be with a group of women and talk about many things, yet speak of nothing that matters for eternity. It is easy to share the trials and hardships of life, yet fail to challenge each other to respond biblically. It is easy to talk about weaknesses and sin, yet refuse to be held accountable to turn from those sins and walk in holiness.
In short, it is easy to hide.
We hide behind words. We hide behind theology. We hide behind the chaos and distraction of conversation. We share just enough to let people know about us without letting them see the real us.

He did not create us for isolation. He created us for relationship. First, with Himself. And then, with others.
And because He created us for relationship, He designed the body of Christ and gave us - each other!

The Lord has carried me through beautiful seasons of abundance and difficult seasons of drought in terms of intimate friendships, but whether in plenty or in want, He has always been faithful to use sisters in Christ to encourage, challenge, and stir me up to love and good deeds. Some were used in one brief exchange, never to be seen again. Others were authors of books, writers of hymns, or leaders of a study. Some were older women who willingly invested in the life of a young mom. Some were acquaintances who always had a smile and a kind word when we crossed paths. And for each one - I am thankful.

But it is the faithful few, the ones who seek to know all of me, not just what is seen, the ones who rejoice with me in times of joy and weep with me in times of sorrow, the ones who see me as I really am in all my sin and still say, "You are enough", the ones who speak truth to me in love because they care about my holiness more than my happiness, and the ones who purposely pursue me for no other reason than to enjoy one another ... it is for these women I am most grateful, for they are the ones the Lord uses to refine me in ways that are unique and precious.

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.
The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. James 5:16

Faithful are the wounds of a friend, ... Proverbs 27:6

This text exchange is an example of the kind of women the Lord has chosen to bless me with at this stage of my life. We (four women) are rarely together in person, we gather but a couple of times a year as a group, but we take full advantage of communicating with one another in ways that edify and exhort, for we know how much we need it - and how much we need each other.

Sister 1: Praying the Lord would continue to teach each of us how to run well!! I know the Lord is faithfully showing me where I have been blinded and where habitual sins have been hidden in my heart and they are being uprooted! I am thankful and desire to be continually transformed!! Love you all!

Sister 2: The fact that the four of us are willing to REJOICE when the Lord reveals our sin to us is absolutely amazing, beautiful, and as it should be! Maturity in Christ is a wonderful, wonderful thing.
Not always easy but wonderful nonetheless!

Sister 3: Amen!!! Praying He keeps showing me my weights and sins!
“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2

Sister 4: Love what everyone said!!! AMEN!!!! I take the word “IF” out of the Bible verse "see if there is any offensive way in me," when I pray that because I know there IS offense in me!

How much they challenge me to run after Christ instead of plotting my own way!

The day after this exchange, I opened my Inbox to find the following quote waiting for me. I smiled as I read it, thinking of my sisters, because they are three women who continually model the beauty of confession, repentance, and a desire to look less like themselves and more like Christ.
And because they do, I want to follow their example.

"Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
 See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way!" Psalm 139:23, 24
What a contrast there is between a man of this world - and a child of God! 
The one wishes to avoid the scrutiny of God - and the other desires and prays for it. 
The one loves sin, and cherishes it - the other abhors sin and desires to be delivered from it. 
The one walks hand in hand with iniquity - the other grieves that he bears with him a body of sin and death.
It is the earnest desire of all who are born of God, and made partakers of the Divine nature - to be delivered from the power of sin that dwells in them. They would have no lust spared - and no corruption unmortified. 
Chosen by the Father in eternity past, redeemed by the precious blood of Christ and justified freely by His grace - they would also be sanctified by His Spirit.
- "Every Day!" Author unknown, 1872


He keeps His promises.

"Man is born to trouble as surely as sparks fly upward!" Job 5:7 

"How frail is humanity! How short is life, how full of trouble!" Job 14:1 

"Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows." John 16:33

"Many are the afflictions of the righteous" Psalm 34:19 

Do not reckon that God will give you a life without difficulty! Tell me, if you can, of any child of His who ever had such a portion? He had one Son without sin - but no son without sorrow. No, that Son who had no sin, was the Man of Sorrows and acquainted with grief. So you must expect the Lord to deal with you as He does with the rest of His household.

- Charles Spurgeon

I needed this quote today.
These past weeks have proven difficult.
Perspective says, "Be thankful! It could be worse."
And yet, the trials and sorrows of life still feel heavy and wearisome.
Come to me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 
For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
How grateful I am for a Father who makes - and keeps - such promises!


My favorite Eastman tradition!

This year, our Thanksgiving Eve of Thankfulness took place twelve days late,
but it was one of our best yet, so it was totally worth the wait! 

Each year we gather as a family, light candles, spend time writing down what we appreciate/enjoy/love about each other, and then read all of the comments out loud
so everyone can enjoy them. My favorite part is that all of this happens amidst much laughter!

I think one of the reasons I enjoy this tradition so much is because it levels the playing field
between the varying ages, stages, abilities, and personalities of our family.
Age two or ninety-two, words of praise are desirable and appreciated, and observing our children interact with the purpose of encouraging and building each other up is beautiful and satisfying.

Each year the entries become more thoughtful as our children grow and mature, yet fully maintain the character of each writer. We joke and jest while writing, while reading, and while listening, and all of us walk away feeling connected and content with our position in the family. ♥I LOVE it!♥

I pray the Lord will bless us with dozens more Thanksgiving Eve's of Thankfulness in the years to come, and even more, I pray the bonds that hold us together will strengthen as each year passes.


I love my family, and I will spend the rest of my days praising God for choosing us for each other.

Praise the Lord!
Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, 
for His steadfast love endures forever!
Psalm 106:1


Cling to the Rock that never moves!

This morning found me fighting between Self and the Spirit as I nestled deeper into my warm bed, fighting the temptation to stay IN it rather than rousing myself to prepare for worship with the brethren. The combined busyness of daily life and caring for Dennis post-surgery these past ten days finally caught up with me, and my body literally ached to remain asleep and still. But my mind was fully alert and kept shouting, "Let's GO, sister! You can sleep when you're dead. This is the day the Lord has made, and today is a day for WORSHIP! Get moving!"
The Spirit won.
And what the Lord had waiting for me at church (through the faithful preaching of two godly men) was not only what I needed to hear, but what I wanted.
Praise God for leaving the Holy Spirit with us to guide us into all truth, for He knows far better than we what we need.

The message this morning was a perfect followup to Pastor Philip's Suffering message last week.

The title: God's Unchanging Faithfulness
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Hebrews 13:8
The text: Lamentations 3:19-26
Remember my affliction and my wanderings, the wormwood and the gall!
My soul continually remembers it and is bowed down within me.
But this I call to mindand therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
His mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in Him.”
The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks Him.
It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.

- The Reality of Sorrow
- The Remembering of God
- The Response of the Believer

➛ Genuine sorrow in a believer must be tied to disciplined and biblical expressions of that sorrow.
Remember my affliction and my wanderings, the wormwood and the gall! My soul continually remembers it and is bowed down within me.
BUT this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:19-23

Life is hard - loss of loved ones are real - trials exist - bodies and minds are broken.
Sorrow is REAL. Even so, we can be "sorrowful, yet always rejoicing;" as the Scriptures model.
(II Corinthians 6:10)

➛ As believers, we must make a conscious, willful, intentional decision to turn our minds from our circumstances and focus our thoughts on the TRUTH of God's Word.
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in Him." Lamentations 3:22-24

➛ Despair is the result of an undisciplined mind.
But this I call to mindand therefore I have hope: Lamentations 3:21
Jeremiah teaches us that we must be intentional and purposeful to REMEMBER who our God is, what He has done, and what He promises He will do.
Because your steadfast love is better than life,
my lips will praise You. Psalm 63:3

As a father shows compassion to His children,
so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear Him. Psalm 103:3

➛ WAITING is the least favorite discipline of the Christian life, but it is a discipline, that if obeyed, yields blessings!
The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. Lamentations 3:25
... but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31

➛ A quiet heart is a trusting heart.
A trusting heart is a strong heart.
Waiting on the Lord can be difficult, but it is always worth it!
The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks Him.
It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. Lamentations 3:25, 26

WAIT on the Lord!
Do not write your own story.
Be still and wait until He tells you what is next and leads you where you need to go.
Wait for the Lord;
be strong, and let your heart take courage;
wait for the Lord!
Psalm 27:4

God is our ROCK.
The Rock of all ages.
He is the same yesterday, today, and forever!
So while you must wait, cling to the Rock with all your might.
For there - you are SAFE.

The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe. Proverbs 18:10