Fresh Air Blog

Press On Strong

Press On Strong

As many of you know, I’m working on a new book that will release with Zondervan next year: Jesus in my Room   At least that’s what it’s called for now.  We’ll see if they change it or not. Have you ever worked on something where you continually feel that streeeetch of the soul? Then you know how I feel. Sometimes I wish I could order a little more trust and patience.  Maybe press the “buy with one click” button on Amazon. Here’s me talking to myself again: Did God call you to do this? Yes. Absolutely. Well, if he called you, you don’t have to worry. He’ll bring it to pass. Phew. Good reminder, good reminder. But you do need to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Yep, doing that. And keep thanking God. Thank you, thank you…. And on it goes. Truly, I feel so incredibly blessed to be the collaborator for this project. Ema McKinley is an incredible lady with an incredible story. When Jesus appeared in her room on Christmas Eve of 2011, he healed her deformed and crooked body from head to toe.   She’s a walking talking miracle! People who knew Ema before and after her miracle naturally show emotion when I talk to them about what happened—even her dentist! The other day, after getting a little boggled with writing, guess what came in the mail? The sweetest letter from a seventeen-year old girl, who has a lot more maturity than I did at her age. Anyway, I don’t think she’d mind if I shared her letter.   I want to encourage you with the encouragement I received.  I’m excited about how this will minister to you as well:  Dear Cheryl, I’ve been thinking lately of how you’re probably occupied with the wonderful God-inspired story you are writing, and I wanted to make sure I wrote you to say – keep pressing in and pressing on!  The Lord has your back.  He’s giving you courage and joy (indescribable) that will fill your heart!  I am so thankful that my family has a friend like you and your family. You all have the peace of the Lord residing within you! The other day I wrote a song called “Peace” and I want to share it with you.  So a recording of it will be coming your way via Facebook probably.  The song is based...

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God’s Detours

God’s Detours

When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea. The Israelites went up out of Egypt armed for battle. Exodus 13:17-18 I love how God considers our weaknesses when planning our itineraries. Yo, Gabriel!  Better steer that Cheryl Ricker toward Sam’s Club instead of HyVee down the street.  HyVee has a sale on chocolate and they’re handing out free samples! “So God led the people around by the desert toward the Red Sea.” I wouldn’t blame the Israelites for raising their eyebrows and scratching their heads at this logic-defying detour. But God had a plan. The Israelites were war-aphobic.  The very sight of the Philistines could have driven God’s people back to jaws of Egypt and slavery, away from God’s promised deliverance! Has God ever steered you off your path? I remember my first time driving alone.  It was at night, and off I went down a dark, winding country road with poor visibility.  I had a panic attack, and my body remembered the experience. Years later, when married, pregnant, and in a new country, I had still only driven a handful of times; and quite honestly, that was all I cared to drive.  Ever. That’s also when I developed an ugly, itchy rash, and guess what God did?  He used the lesions to get me behind the wheel! Three times a week I had to drive to the opposite end of town for skin treatments.  The world’s best Counselor gave me exposure therapy! As I reclined in the dentist’s chair today, my hygienist told me her sister-in-law, Sue, was affected by the shootings in Aurora, Colorado.  Sue was all set to drive to the midnight movie, but in the last minute, she got a migraine.  Frustrated, she called her friends and told them she couldn’t make it. I could share story after story of God’s Divine re-direction.  Like the time my friend, Jane, agreed to go skiing with her friend, Libby, but broke her leg a few days before.  On the way to the hills, Libby got in an accident that left a gaping hole on the passenger side where Jane would have been. No,...

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Balancing the Love Scales

Balancing the Love Scales

Poor poor Leah. I know what it’s like to be picked last on a team, but I’ve never been my husband’s second choice for a wife. Jacob liked Leah’s sister, Rachel, the pretty-faced hottie with a body. Jacob thought he was working seven years for Rachel, but woke up the night after the wedding with a gasp of horror at his father-in-law’s switcheroo. Because Leah wasn’t what Jacob wanted, he kept working another seven years for the one he truly adored. Rachel. Our Compassionate God But because Leah was unloved, the LORD let her have a child, while Rachel remained childless. Genesis 29:31 (NLT) The Bible is rich with examples of God balancing the scales. He is just. When we’re on the down and down, He pulls us on the up and up, revealing Himself as the great Comforter. God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Matthew 5:4 (NLT) God’s ears are sensitive to the broken hearted. Dangerous Demands Leah basically became a baby-making machine, and the beautiful Rachel grew hot around the collar with her hubby. “Give me children or I’ll die.” Wouldn’t you think that would have dimmed Jacob’s love – at least a little? I don’t get it. Perhaps he was attracted to Rachel because she reminded him of Rebecca, his feisty, overly-determined mamma. Rachel later proved that she was swift to turn to deception like Rebecca did with Jacob and Esau. When Rachel stole the household gods, she sat on them, and said to her father, “Sorry, I can’t get up. I’m having my period.” “Give me children or I’ll die.” Have you ever noticed that’s exactly what happened when Rachel gave birth to her second son, Benjamin. She died! Abundant Life Leah, the plain, the unloved, the unwanted, received a different set of blessings – to offset the blessings of Rachel. Not only that, but Leah had many more years to enjoy them. God is the great equalizer. He knows what it takes to make us into the image of His Son. Watch how He operates throughout Scripture. On earth as it is in heaven, He is fair and He is just. Balanced With Prayer Heavenly Father, Thank you balancing the world.  My world.  You are fair and just and wonderful.  I’m full of wonder for you.  Thank you that we don’t need to envy the blessings of others because you’re...

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Scars of Trust

Scars of Trust

It felt like a punch in the gut. My husband and I wrote this for the classifieds: FREE older playground set, complete with swings, slide, and climbing fort.  First person to pick it up, gets it! We fielded constant calls before a couple finally padded across our lawn, inspecting their potential treasure. “Oooh…” they gushed.  “Our kids will looove it!  But we can’t pick it up until Monday.  Is that ok?” The couple won us over, so we deviated from our first-picker-upper-gets-it plan.  We shook on it, and it was a done deal for Monday. We thought. Monday was family rafting day.  We told the couple we wouldn’t be home when they came.  “But no worries.  You can help yourself to the backyard and have at it!” The thought of returning home to a yard that looked bigger and less cluttered gave me something to look forward to. After our fun in the sun, we stepped in our backyard and…  Wowsa!  Our playground set was still there.  Partially still there.  Partially disassembled in bits of lifeless pieces on the other side of our property, away from the lonely remaining fort. Closer inspection revealed they’d stripped the screws.  It didn’t take a detective to figure out they had probably become frustrated with the old wood, given up, and walked away.  With the swings and teeter-totter.  The goodies.  I remembered how they’d asked for them on their first visit, but I’d told them to wait until they picked up the whole shebang. What could have blessed someone else was now a useless mess.  How could they do this? I stared at the remaining structure and named it “a monument of rejection,” a tall looming proof of our mistake. I pictured the sweet little lady who came to my door the previous day, asking, “Can I give you my number in case they change their mind?” “They won’t,” I assured her.  “They love it.” It struck me ~ I didn’t even have the couple’s number.  Well, I did; it was buried in the sea of caller IDs, along with everybody else’s number who wanted it.  Before. Rrr… R is for Reject My head ached at the thought of my husband ripping up the remains for the junkyard. “Don’t worry,” he said.  “Maybe they’ll be back.”  But I could tell he didn’t count on it. One day turned into two, three, four, then...

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Everything Happens For A Reason?

Everything Happens For A Reason?

“How can it be possible that everything happens for a reason?  Some things are too painful!”  Has a hurting friend ever said this?  How did you respond? “In your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” 1 Peter 3:15 As Christians, our hope isn’t based on feelings and circumstances; it’s based on God’s character, Sovereignty, and unshakable love. The bright Jewel of heaven went through hell for us.  Why?  Because He’s all about redeeming our broken places. Look How He Cares God knows we don’t suffer in a vacuum.  Just days from His death, Jesus took time to love and care for His hurting disciples.  The changeless One wants to do the same for us!  The defender of the innocent, the Father to the fatherless, will make a way where there is no way.  He will redeem, and He will never waste an ounce of His children’s pain. “He is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18 Look At The Cloud of Witnesses One of my favorite Bible stories that best illustrates Romans 8:28 (All things work together for good to those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose), is the soul-tingling story of Joseph. Joseph was a young boy when he lost his mother, Rachel, as she gave birth to Joseph’s brother, Benjamin.  Joseph’s siblings hated their father’s favorite, so they threw Joseph into a pit to kill him.  Then, realizing they could get twenty pieces of silver for him, they sold him as a slave to some travelling Ishmaelites. Look For Wisdom Joseph’s life consisted of a series of ups and downs; but, most of the ups didn’t surface until he was older.  Joseph’s life reminds us that we need to hold on; our story isn’t over! God gave Joseph favor and wisdom and made him governor over Egypt.  He revealed to Joseph that there would be a severe famine, so Joseph could get prepared.  The famine struck all the way to Canaan, so Joseph’s brothers journeyed to Egypt for handouts.  Because many years had passed, Joseph’s brother didn’t recognize Joseph in his high position. Look For Jesus Joseph became a picture of Christ when Joseph saw his brothers but they didn’t see him.  Although his...

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