Because the Lord is my Shepherd
I have…
Joy in my sorrow
Comfort in my pain
Faith in my doubt
Light in the darkness
Peace in the storms
Hope in my trials
Strength in my weakness
Forgiveness of my sin
A never forsaking Friend

by Susan Bunts Wachtel
January 11, 2009

Dedicated to special friends for whom I am most grateful. Love you and praying for you dear ones.


Through a Glass Darkly

When I downloaded pictures I had taken this last Sunday…I found a number of shots that were not so hot. Especially this one of the cross on the hill at Kindred Community Church. I have so many great shots…but in this picture I can barely see the cross. Instead I’m focusing on the dried wiper marks on the windshield that make everything blurry and hard to see.

At first I was going to delete the picture and dismiss it as just a bad shot. But then I realized it kind of signified what I’ve been feeling in my relationship with God lately.

While my theology is sound…and biblically based…and I know that God will never leave me, nor forsake me…emotionally I haven’t felt a connection with God in the last few weeks. I feel emotionally disconnected.

I’m sure that the busyness of a recent move, unpacking our new home, cleaning and store things from our old place, working too much overtime, having very few minutes a day to rest is contributing to the equation.

I find myself asking God if there is any un-confessed sin in my life that is blocking that feeling of relationship. If there is sin…that He would reveal it to me so that I can take care of business quickly and restore that relationship.

Last night the feeling of disconnect was especially strong. I found myself desperate be connected to God. To have the sense of His presence in my day to day life. I felt like God was absent. I picked up the word of God and found my mind was so busy and wandering through the events of the day and recent weeks that I couldn’t focus.

If I could have snapped my fingers or done something immediate in the moment to feel God’s presence…I would have done it. I felt quite desperate for Him. Almost a physical ache. Those feelings were a reminder of what I had experienced before. After some desperate times…I came to the conclusion that I can get through any circumstance as long as I have Jesus Christ. While I may have to endure unpleasant circumstances or difficult times…it doesn’t compare to living a life without God. To not have relationship with my God…my Savior Jesus Christ…is unbearable. It’s like trying to live without oxygen.

One of the ways I connect with God…and work through issues is to write. It’s there that God ministers to me and counsels me. He helps me to examine what I’m feeling or what I’ve seen through the truth of the Bible.

Because of the exceptionally busy times…I’ve not been able to write. I’ve had no time to be still and abide in God. Instead I’ve been dealing with the demands of life at the expense what’s essential. So tonight…while I’ll pay the price with tomorrow for too little rest…I’m thankful to have slipped away to spend a few minutes with God.

Thankfully during this busy time…I’ve been able to go to church, Bible study and be in prayer. But all that doesn’t substitute for some alone time and connection with God on a very personal level.

It’s kind of like a wife who sees her husband across the way at a friend’s party. She sees him from afar and even says, “Hi”. But if she doesn’t spend any alone time with him…away and apart from others…I can guarantee you…the relationship would suffer.

God says in His word that He will never leave us, nor forsake us. I guess I haven’t been showing up to meet with Him personally.

Thank you Lord for being there…and meeting with me once again. May I be a Mary and not a Martha. May I put that which is essential…Jesus Christ…before everyone and everything else.

By the Grace of God

By the grace of God

Our church still stands

From the fire and winds

Sparks and embers flew wild

The peril was great

The dangers many

He gave courage to men

Emboldened them to take a stand

The fire burned close

As it neared our beloved cross

Fire burned hot

Ash rained down

Prayers of the faithful were raised

Pleading for God’s mercy and grace

Homes nearby went up in flames

By God’s grace…lives were spared

As ash and cinders fell

Flames dared to touch the sign

But God used men

Everyday heroes to accomplish His will

By the grace of God

Our church still stands

May we never take for granted

That this building will be here one more day

May we thank God for the privilege to worship Him here

The body of Christ united…at Kindred

By the grace of God

Our church still stands

Susan Bunts Wachtel

November 15, 2008

How easy it is to be complacent…take for granted that our church will always be here for us to assemble and worship our Lord and Savior.

But as the ash rained down…and smoke filled the sky when we looked toward the east our hearts were burdened to pray for God’s mercy and grace in these circumstances.

Thank you Lord…for answering our prayers…and protecting the building called Kindred Community Church. We are most grateful. Thank you for sending brave men…ordinary citizens…to stand in the gap. We thank you for the firefights who willingly put their lives on the lines. We pray for those who have lost their homes in the fires. We pray for relief for all effected by the fires.

The pictures above are of our beloved cross…the sight of which I love so very much. They were taken just last Sunday…on a cloud filled rainy day. When I see it from a distance…it so reminds me of God’s love and His power in my life and circumstances. When I see it…my stress level starts to melt away.

Who would have thought that just a week later…our church building would lie in the path of wildfires. Well our God knew that…nothing takes Him by surprise. Today…He protected our church home. While tomorrow…we will not meet as a church body…you can be sure that the members of Kindred will be one in giving thanks to our God for His mercy and grace bestowed upon our church.

Just a few miles away…in the middle of moving to a new apartment, my husband Chris and I looked up into the sky as the smoke clouds increased and the sun turned red.

We were amazed at God’s hand upon us as we heard the news that apartments we had considered moving to just a couple weeks earlier…had just gone up in flames. 50 apartment homes were lost. By the grace of God…so far no lives have been lost.

Below are the pictures taken with my cell phone. The ash was poured down…and breathing was difficult…and we were several miles from the fire. I can’t even imagine how horrible it would be for those much closer and in the path of the flames.

Chris & Susan…Becoming One

One of the fun things that my fiancé Chris Wachtel & I did in preparing for our wedding day was to put together a video of our lives. We stand amazed…as we look back and see how God concurrently and providentially worked in our lives to bring us together. We clearly see how He used events in our lives to shape and form us so that we are so perfectly suited for one another. October 4th, 2008 on our wedding day…this video will be shown at our wedding. We want honor and glorify our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who is the Author of our love story. We thank our family and friends for their love, support and prayers as we become one. Chris…I am so grateful that my hopes, dreams and prayers will be coming true with you…as we begin our new life as husband and wife on October 4th. May Jesus Christ be the Foundation of our marriage and first place in our lives. After Christ, may we put each other first. We fondly remember our parents who will not be here to share this day with us. We love you and thank you Leo & Ruth Wachtel, Frank Bunts and Gayle & Joseph Lorenat. I love you Christopher Leo Wachtel and can hardly wait to be Mrs. Christopher Wachtel!

Our engagement photo was taken by Sherry Hebestreit. Sherry does wedding photography in the Orange County area. We were very pleased with the work that Sherry has done and look forward to seeing the pictures from our wedding day.