Tag Archives: control


Yes, indeed—God is my salvation.
    I trust, I won’t be afraid.
God—yes God!—is my strength and song,
    best of all, my salvation!

Isaiah 12:2 (The Message)

IMG_0005 - Version 2

Have you checked the news lately? Don’t. It’s not good. I tease my daughter about putting her head in the sand because she never checks. I think because I’m a news junkie, I’ve ruined her. But last week, I spent a few days with my youngest grandgirlies and had a news blackout. They are 3 1/2 and 18 months and the only TV they watch is Clifford, The Big Red Dog. It was kinda nice to miss the mess and not be scared or worried.

But, fear is almost innate. Eleanor, the older of the two, has had quite a summer — moving from California to Maryland. New house, new room, new friends, new church, new grocery story, new library. But in all this newness, she has become afraid. “I’m scared,” is the latest  refrain from her. And rationalizing with her, really doesn’t help much.

As I thought about it, I realized that fear often comes from a loss of control. She is a child that runs well on structure and schedule. But it has all changed. As each day passes and the new experiences are pleasant, she will begin to feel safe. trusting that her parents know what is best and are there to protect her.

Our world is upside down. The terror of the horrendous acts going on in the Middle East make me wonder what kind of a world these grandgirlies will grow up in. And the worst part is that I can do nothing about it.


On the way home, there was a terrible storm over Dallas and all the planes were delayed for hours. Of course, I had a connection in Dallas and fretted that I would miss it and spend the night in the airport. I could have gotten myself all worked up over it, but then I remembered the One who is really in control — of the weather, the connection, and my safe arrival. A sense of peace took over. Whatever happened would be His plan. Thankfully, the connection was also delayed and eventually, I walked into my house at 3 AM. (Poor Mark was my taxi driver.) Thank you, God.

No, we really have no control over any of these world events. But we know the Controller. Trust Him. He will save us and He has good things planned for us.




… but the righteous shall live by his faith. 

Habakkuk 2:4 

HeatherZempel_GodInControl 400x400

My inbox is full with inspirational writings devoted to the last days of Passion week. Each one, in its own way, takes apart the story of the cross and reminds me of the great love Christ has for me.

But I wonder…would I have stuck around or fled like the other disciples? What did the washing of my feet, along with those of Judas, mean? That I am not more righteous than he is, I just hide it better? Would my heart be broken as I stood at the base of the cross, along with Mary, begging God for answers? Would I escape to my house to mourn in darkness for the rest of the weekend? Or would I have the faith to believe all that Jesus told me and continues to reveal each day, looking forward to the resurrection?

Stories of great faith always begin with great adversity.

Faith does not mean God meets our expectations. It means we cling to God’s character, knowing that God will always accomplish His purposes. God wants to forge in us a faith that is far greater than our circumstances. Faith means knowing God can, believing God will, but clinging to Him even if He doesn’t. Faith is not an assurance that everything is going to be okay; it is the assurance that God is in control. That’s the only way to live, knowing that some of the pains and confusion of life will remain mysteries even to our graves.~Heather Zempel

Don’t give up. Easter is coming.


The Deal

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,

“Never will I leave you;
    never will I forsake you.”

Hebrews 13:5 (NIV)


With my latest vision problems, we decided to upgrade my computer to the new 27″ iMac. After a week of making sure all data had been transferred from the old to the new, we took the old one down, cleaned it all up, and listed it on craigslist. We’ve not been very successful at selling things like this but decided to give it a try. I wrote, what I thought was a compelling ad, posted it on a Friday night, and  waited.

Nothing…for two days.

Monday morning, the texts and emails began and the race was on. Some were easy to answer because it was simply a question. But finally, a real offer. Back and forth via text. And then another guy entered the fray. Same deal. Waiting…waiting. Ding ding.

I had a feeling about the first offer. I thought it might be a kid and the second from someone older. I wanted to sell it to the second guy but my integrity was at stake and so I chose the first one as his offer came in literally seconds before the other. SOLD. I texted the second guy that he just missed it and he couldn’t believe it.

Several texts throughout the day indicated that my new computer owner was having difficulty making time to pick it up. But, I was unwilling to schedule it to another day. By 9 PM, he still had not arrived and I received a text that he had stopped by Best Buy and bought a new one.

ARGHHHHH. I texted the other offer that the deal had fallen through. I went to bed mumbling and complaining about irresponsibility and choices. But as I lay there, God reminded me that it was not worth worrying about. The money from the sale of the computer was not going to break me and He had given me more important things to do. OK, God.

The next morning, I was up early reading the daily devotion about trust in Jesus Lives. The very last verse on the page was the one at the top of the blog. I laughed out loud, right there in the quiet of my den. And we wonder if God speaks directly to us? The answer is YES!

Ding…ding. A text so early in the morning? It was from the second guy who said he would take it and he wouldn’t back out of the deal. And he did. That day. No questions asked.

I thought I was in control of this little sale. In living color and black and white, God showed me that He was handling it. My part was to be upright and honest in my dealings and not worry about the outcome.

I love it when we see the hand of God working out in our lives. Thank you, Lord.

Eucharisteo. Thanksgiving precedes the miracle.




Carefully consider the path for your feet, and all your ways will be established. 

Proverbs 4:26 (HCSB)

20e7f715ecf045d26741879c61e1c58dThere was no reason to think last Tuesday would be any different from the day I had planned. Christmas was just around the corner and the month had been filled with choir concerts, neighborhood parties, and getting presents ready, wrapped and shipped. We decided last year that we would fly to CA rather than drive and I had found tickets early at a good price. Only one last fun event before the final countdown.

It was unusually warm for a Tucson December day.  A few girls were coming for a late afternoon tea and sitting outside seemed like the perfect place to chat. We enjoyed our conversation, Christmas tea, and a bite of Yule Log. But, the sun was sinking and everyone needed to return home. Hugs, happy wishes for a Merry Christmas, and waves as they headed to their cars.

I returned to clean up the dishes. Parker lead the way, always looking for any stray crumbs. I took a couple of steps onto the patio, when I bobbled over an uneven paver and in an attempt to right myself and not fall, I leaned one way and my right foot, the other. I heard the crunch. The pain spiked through and I called for Mark to bring me a bag of ice. Half an hour later, we headed to Urgent Care. Was it broken or just a severe strain? I sure hoped and prayed it was just a strain.

I was the last patient of the day and ex rays showed fractures in two places. The nurse arrived with the fashion-forward black boot to stabilize it, a copy of the ex rays, and instructions to see an orthopedist as soon as possible.

I sat in the car while Mark picked up some pain meds. My heart was breaking with disappointment. Not only were we planning the trip to see the grandgirlies for Christmas, but a week later, we were headed on a cruise for our tenth anniversary.

I called my daughter and we both cried over the phone. All those wonderful plans were dashed in an instant. What were we going to do?

Mel texted a few minutes later that they would rearrange things and drive to Arizona for Christmas. Relief, joy, hope.

But the foot? I know that God was nudging me because I remembered that a neighbor had been suffering from foot issues for years. Surely, she would know a good orthopedist. By the time the phone call ended, I had the name of the doctor and the offer of a walker, wheelchair, shower stool, bed wedge, and hints for how to make this all work. We were set. The plans had changed but God was in control. I still wondered whether surgery or a cast was in my future — neither option appealing.

We were both up early and when I called the doctor at 8 AM, the only appointment of the day was at 8:50 AM and I took it. After looking at the ex rays and my foot, the doctor said it would heal fine but I had to continue with the boot and could not put any weight on it for 6-8 weeks.

Again — relief, hope, joy.

Plans changed. No trip to California. No cruise. But some new Christmas memories will be made.

Life in a wheelchair is a different experience and I’ll be sharing more in the days to come.

The baby Jesus arrived on that starry night to bring us HOPE. Even if our plans get turned upside down, that HOPE will never leave us. The King was born that night. He is in control.



Power Outage

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. Ephesians 3:16 (NIV)


The morning began in its usual manner: trip to the gym, walk and feed Parker, a dancing Parker waiting for tidbits as I enjoyed my latte and bagel on the back patio. As Mark was making his coffee, he commented that the power had gone out. It seemed odd because it was a beautiful morning — clear, warm, and sunny. The last outage occurred in the middle of a monsoon and was easily dismissed as another weather related incident. But what was up today?

Neighbors met in the middle of the street to verify that we all were affected. Back to the house to wait.

It’s a funny thing about electricity — you easily take it for granted until it stops. No coffee, no fans, no AC, no computer, no phones, no lights, no refrigerator, no hot water, no garage door opener, no clocks. All of our creature comforts are disbanded for a period of time, as yet unknown. I assumed that it would return any minute, but it didn’t.

So, what to do? I gathered my latte and sat outside to read my Bible and journal. It was a perfect time to putter in my yard and courtyard. But it’s a strange phenomena to  go out to the garage to get some clippers and automatically attempt to turn on the light — NOT. I cleaned up the kitchen, at least we had water.

All of a sudden, I heard a beep from the clock. After two hours, the power had returned. I reset all the timers and clocks and continued with my day, barely inconvenienced.

A couple of thoughts: imagine living through a hurricane, tornado or earthquake that requires days and weeks to return to normal. Patience and perseverance are necessary every moment of every day.

It also occurred to me that God promises to be the source of my power each day. Yet, when life is good and all is well, it’s easy to go about my day and never even think of checking in with my Heavenly Father. I’ve got it handled. But this attitude sets me up for failure, weakness, pride, self-sufficiency, and bad decisions.

But if my life is out of control and everything is falling down around me, it’s painfully obvious that I don’t have the strength or power to get through the day, often even an hour, without seeking God’s face. I have a little plaque in my bookcase that reads,”Good Morning, THIS IS GOD…I will be handling all your PROBLEMS today. I will not REQUIRE YOUR help.”

Relinquishing control is the best thing I can do as I plug into His strength and power. He is everything I need to meet the challenges of my life. The power is turned back on


Flag Waving

May integrity and honesty protect me,
for I put my hope in you.

Psalm 25:21 (NLT)


 I’m a political junkie and have been for over 30 years. The next couple of months will be filled with TV ads, endless phone calls soliciting money, votes, and time, debates, all culminating with a vote by the people in November and a candidate elected.

But for the next two weeks, wall to wall stories on TV and radio will fill the air as each political party attempts to showcase their candidate through their National Convention. I attended one of these as a delegate back in 2000 and it was so much fun. Mel and Kate (who was 9 months old at the time) even joined me for a few days. Some will resent the time taken from their favorite programs, while I have the whole week blocked out to watch C-Span.

However, I learned a very important lesson from my years in politics. No politician will ever be able to solve the heart problems of this nation or even those of a single person. That, alone, belongs to God Almighty. Our hope is that the person chosen to lead us will be a person of integrity and honesty, one who realizes he can’t fix anything without Your help.

As believers, I encourage you to watch, listen, evaluate, and then pray. Our responsibility is to vote for the candidate that best reflects our values. But remember—God is in control.



It has been one of those weeks – even though it was a short one. A new house is never completely done when you move in. We had workers swarming through our home each day fixing, adjusting, repairing, replacing, or just inspecting.  At one time on Friday, four plumbers’ trucks were parked in front of our house. During the week, one problem became so contentions that I took charge, sent out of flurry of emails,and made several phone calls. I did not want to be ignored or dismissed. Notice all the emphasis on “I.” Quickly, the stress of the move came crashing down, affecting all areas of my life, yet the still small voice of God met me right at my core:

Be still in the presence of the Lord,
and wait patiently for him to act.
Don’t worry about evil people who prosper
or fret about their wicked schemes.

Psalm 37:7 (NLT)

I realized that this was not my problem – I would let it go. The daily decision to let God be in control of my life is often a challenge but when I do, it makes life more peaceful and enjoyable. And you know what?  All of those plumbers’trucks…they took care of the problem.