Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Wednesday Words of Encouragement

Lamentations 3:21-26 ~

"Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, "The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him." The Lord is good to those whose hope is in Him, to the one who seeks Him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord."


There have been many events in my life that have been very hard to face.  They were circumstances that brought despair and hopelessness and fear.  Situations that would have caused me to give up if I didn't have the Lord in my life.  But I was able to get through them because of the hope I have in Him. 

These verses in Lamentations don't seem to fit in with the rest of the book.  Lamentations is an eyewitness account from Jeremiah of the destruction that came upon Jerusalem when invaded by the Babylonians. Yet in the very midst of Jeremiah's horror and despair are these words of hope. Jeremiah has hope because he knows the Lord is a compassionate and faithful God.  He is deliberately remembering that the Lord is merciful.

What about you? Are you going through a tough time? Do things look bleak and hopeless?  Does it seem like there is no way out?  Look up, my friends.  There is hope. The Lord's compassions and mercies are new every day. He will see you through the trial. 

These verses also tell us what we should do when facing a crisis.  We are told to wait quietly for the Lord's salvation. Are you running around trying to fix things in your own strength? Are you doing everything you can to change your circumstances or are you waiting on the Lord?   Waiting is hard, isn't it?  However, waiting on the Lord allows Him to work in us and through us.  Remember that we are not consumed by our circumstances even when it may feel that way.

Cling to the Lord. Wait on Him and deliberately call to mind His promises.  His compassion and mercy is pouring out on you each day.  He is faithful.  He will see you through.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Ebb and Flow


I arrived back home last night after an uneventful flight.  I was treated like a queen by my family which was unexpected and nice.  Nathan was working but Dan and Emily took me out to eat.  I came home to birthday gifts, flowers and a cake made by Emily and the house was clean.  What more could I want?

After a solid night of sleep I'm up and ready to plunge back into my life.

I have a craft fair coming up on February 7th.  I need to get a package together for Stephen's birthday on the 11th.  Valentine's Day is right around the corner and I have an idea for that.  We are having an open house for our church family on the 22nd.  I need to make a few things for the local coffee shop and also begin making centerpieces for a ladies retreat in April.

I also have a few home projects that I want to do.  I need to work on Emily's room and finish a paint job that I never completed.  I want to make curtains for our living room.  I want to finish rearranging a few items.

I have been working on a new book and really need to focus on that as well.  I had planned on doing some of that while I was away but just didn't have time so I want to work on that a bit each day.

I have lots to keep me busy.  It was nice being away but I'm looking forward to getting back into the ebb and flow of daily life. 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

I'm 53 and Content With Me


Today is my 53rd birthday and I'm finding myself at a place where I'm happy and content with the life the Lord has given me.

It's a good life.  I have a loving, Godly husband.  I have three children who love the Lord and are kind and compassionate to others. I enjoy caring for my family and working alongside Dan in ministry.  And it's enough. 

I no longer have the constant struggle that what I do isn't important or successful.  I am content.

This birthday finds me visiting my mother, stepfather and grandmother.  We've had a wonderful time together and I'll be sad to leave tomorrow.  My grandmother has diabetes, dementia and Alzheimer's so she's definitely different than the last time I saw her.  But she looks good.  She looks healthy.  My mother has done a wonderful job caring for her.  I'm so blessed to be able to come back in May and care for her for 7 days so my parents can get a way for a bit.

This morning I have to speak at a woman's group at church and then I'll be coming back to care for parents who came down with the stomach bug last night.  Yikes! So it's a different sort of birthday.  Not quite what I imagined.

But I'm happy.  I'm 53 and content with me!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Perspective

(Excuse the poor quality.  It was taken through a double-paned, very dirty window)

As I sat on the tarmac yesterday, waiting to take off, I looked out the window at the very cloudy sky.  It was dreary, overcast and a light mist had been falling.  It was 8:10 but looked much earlier because of the dark skies.  In fact, our pilot said the take-off was delayed for a few minutes so they could de-ice the wings.  That's not something you really want to hear when you are nervous about flying anyway!

The time finally came when we were given clearance to fly and the plane barreled down the runway and up into the sky.  The higher we climbed, the thinner the clouds became until we were up above them.  The sun was shining brightly, the sky was blue and it was breathtakingly beautiful.  In fact, as I looked down at the top of the clouds they were so thick that it actually looked like a snow-covered tundra.

The thought occurred to me that so often our lives are like this.  We struggle and face many obstacles.  We feel weighed down with our problems.  It seems as if a dark cloud is hovering over us.  And yet, the SON is there, even when we feel like we can't see him.  He's there, helping us through the struggles.  There will be clear skies in our future, but we forget that when we are dealing with a problem in this moment and time.

I was reminded of the verses in 2 Corinthians 4.

Verses 16-18 ~

 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Take heart, my friends.  You are not alone.  You will get through this moment.  God is with you.  The Son is still shining! 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Passing the Torch


This morning I get on a plane and fly to North Carolina to visit my mom, stepdad and grandmother.  I'm looking forward to it because it's been almost two years since I last visited with them.  It's hard when your parents get older and they can't travel like they used to.  It's hard being in ministry with little money which makes it difficult to not only find the time to get away, but to find the money to do so.  So the solution was to have me go by myself.

I'm going to miss Dan and the kids but this is such a necessary trip.  One of my reasons for going is to help my mother out a bit if I can convince her to let me do so. (Picture me wrestling a vacuum away from her).  You see my 73 year old mother and 82 year old stepfather have been caring for my 90 year old grandmother for the past year and a half.  And that is tiring.  My mother not only moved my grandmother into their small home but nursed her back to health.

I love my mother with all my heart.  She has so many wonderful qualities, including the desire to care for others.  She often puts her own wants and desires aside to put another person's needs first.  She has worked hard all her life - as a girl, teen, an adult.  She raised and cared for three children by herself.  She sacrificed her whole adult life for the three of us and often did without so we could have things.  She loves the Lord with all of her heart, soul and mind.  There was nothing she wanted more than for the three of us to have that same faith.

I'm looking forward to this visit so that I can do something for her.  I'm looking forward to listening to my grandmother's very interesting stories.  (On a side note, did you realize that my great, great grandmother was the seamstress to Hannibal Hamlin's wife?  He was the vice president under Abraham Lincoln.  Sewing runs in the blood!)  I want to give my mother a bit of a break, even if it's only for four days.

I'd like to think that my mother passed that torch on to me.  I want to carry that same spirit of hard work, determination and love for the Lord that my mother has.  In turn, I want to pass that on to my children as well.

So I'm eagerly boarding that plane this morning, ready to get there and love on my parents!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Wednesday Words of Encouragement

"My eyes are ever on the Lord, for only He will release my feet from the snare." Psalm 25:15

When an animal stumbles across a snare, it gets entangled and the more it struggles, the tighter the noose gets.  The more they fight to get free, the tighter the rope will become until it is impossible for the animal to get free.  Often they end up collapsing in exhaustion.

As we face obstacles, struggles with sin, or problems in our own lives, we can often be like an animal who gets caught in a snare.  We run around trying to break a habit or find a solution to the problem, using own strength. We try to think of every possible way to get out of whatever situation we are in.  Yet, the more we struggle and fight against the issue with our own resources, the more tightly trapped we become. And the more exhausted we get.

In this verse, the psalmist tells us that only the Lord can release our feet from the snare. Only He can solve whatever problem you find yourself in. It’s only the Lord who can release us from whatever sin we struggle with.  

How can He do this? Look at the most important part of this verse, “My eyes are ever on the Lord.” Are you looking to Him for guidance? Are you seeking His face each day? Do you come to Him first each day or do you throw Him some crumbs? It is only through keeping our eyes fixed on the Lord that we will find release from the snares in our way!

Stop struggling in your own strength.  Stop trying to find a way out of your situation on your own.  Look to the Lord.  Wait on Him.  Give Him control over the trial and allow Him to release you.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Uplifted



I'm not a fan of winter.  And I definitely don't like not seeing the sun very much.  So I struggle to find uplifting things to get me through the day.

I did find a few things this week.

Driving into a sunrise.


My daughter's talent.


The beauty of roses.



Reflecting on Jesus as light.


It's amazing how those few little things are all I need to feel my spirits lift.