Waiting…

isaiah 40-31Are you tired of waiting?  It seems like we pray and nothing happens.  We think the Lord isn’t paying any attention to us and whatever we’re going through is just dragging along.  We can’t do anything ourselves, but we pray and ask the Lord to do something, anything.  Please, just get us out of this place where we are so…  stuck.

Oh, yes.  I’ve been in this place for quite awhile.  I was stuck while I was taking care of my terminally ill husband.  I prayed for change because I was unhappy with the place that the Lord had me.  I had nursing aides during the day so I could work and then I came home and took care of my husband until bedtime.  To say that I was exhausted would be an understatement.

But I learned a lot during that time.  I learned to be patient.  I couldn’t change the situation I was in so I had to rely on the Lord.  After making myself miserable (and probably those around me) I found this verse:

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:11-13

So Paul had learned to be content, because the Lord was the one who gave him strength.  So I worked on this in my prayer life, thanking the Lord for the life that he gave me, that I had a job and aides to help, food on the table and a roof over that table.  My attitude got better and I wasn’t so miserable.  It was still extremely hard but I could feel that the Lord was with me, and my heart was so much more grateful for the small things in my life.

My husband died three years ago and lately I’m back in another waiting pattern.  I have plans to retire in two years so now I need to just wait until that two years is over.  I have plans for what I want to do when my life doesn’t revolve around my job.  Yes, this is a different waiting pattern because it has a scheduled end and I’m not as exhausted as I was before.  I’m anxious to get started on my plans, but they have to wait.

Until then, the Lord has put in front of me a challenge to deepen my study and prayer time.  This I can do before and after work, but it’s still a challenge for me!  I’m looking forward to my free time that I’ll have in several years, and then I’ll have a deeper knowledge of our Lord.

 

 

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Who Me?

I’m a Saint?  No way….  I am no where near sainthood.  I struggle with so much, daily Bible reading, daily prayer, loving on everyone I meet.  I can’t be a Saint.  But the Bible says I am.

When I hear the word saint I think of Theresa of Calcutta.  Now there is a Saint, working in Calcutta to help the poor.  Wow.  What about the missionaries out there who risk their lives everyday to bring Christ to the world?  I don’t measure up.  I can’t be a saint.  But the Bible says I am.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

OH.  I’m a Saint through Grace!  Thank the Lord.  I know that I’d never measure up.

You Say

Have you ever fought those feelings that make you feel like God is distant?  You can’t get close to the Lord?  You wonder if he’s even out there or if he even cares?  Maybe you’re going through a rough time right now and just can’t connect with God?

Even though it may be one of the hardest things to do you must believe that God’s in control.  He knows you better than you know yourself.  Our job is to get to know God through His Word.  This is so hard when you are going through a bad time.  I know, because I’ve been there.  There were days when I wondered if God even heard my pleas.  Then I would take a deep breath, close my eyes and just let peace be what I ask for.

The song “You Say” by Lauren Daigle says all this very well.  I believe….

 

 

More Grace

I receive morning devotionals every morning from several sources.  One is from a pastor that I’ve known for years and he is the one that married my husband and I, and baptized both of our children.  I enjoy hearing from him every day.

The thought for today included this:

There is an infinite depth in our Lord that can never be exhausted. The excitement continues as the Lord draws us closer to Himself. Continue to read, think, and pray. There is always more grace, truth, and real excitement in walking day by day with Jesus Christ.

Wow, just wow.  This really hit me.  We cannot run out of His Grace, we can always receive more.  There is no “getting there”, we are always moving closer to our Lord.

As usual with me, when I think of things like this, a song came to mind.  Enjoy.

But What If Chaos Reigns?

Joan has been blogging about the upheaval in their lives, the mess, the inconvenience.  I feel badly that this has happened to Joan, but a part of me smiles when she describes what she’s going through.  My life is always chaos and I’ve learned to live in it.

Starting with losing our home in 1992 and having to move; we were almost truly homeless, but for the Grace of God.  My husbands terminal diagnoses in 1999, my son losing his job around 2008 and he and his family moving in with us.  My husband’s death in 2015 and just this year my house was hit by a car!

I don’t live a quiet, peaceful life.  There is always something happening that seems to demand my attention.  How have I learned to live like this?  Trusting that God’s got this and He will see me through.  When I was growing up and throughout my young adult life I thought that my life would settle down, husband, kids, living a good quiet life.  This did not happen…  Oh, the husband and kids happened, but quiet?  No.  It’s always been one thing after another.

To help keep my environment on a somewhat even keel I would take steps to keep my eyes on Jesus.  An hour of quiet, just me time away from my house.  Listening to the local christian radio station for uplifting music and some bible teaching on my drive to and from work.  Going to church regularly.  These are some of the things I put into my life to keep my spirits up and my eyes on the Lord.  These actions are intentional.  I’m working to put more intentional things in my life like regular bible study and prayer time.

If your life sounds like mine, you have to be intentional to keep your environment on a sane level.  It’s hard to put in place but keep at it.  These things will eventually become habitual.  Then when chaos reigns, you can continue to smile and say “God’s got this!”

 

Go Out and Be a Blessing

Be A BlessingA long time ago I started to go to counseling, to help me cope with my life. At that time I was completely overwhelmed, my husband’s diagnosis, two teenage boys and a full time job. I used to walk around with my eyes focused on the sidewalk in front of me, as if I was afraid to look up. What was really going on was that my brain was constantly going over all that was happening and imagining all that could happen in the future. I was really good at “projecting”; thinking about this scenario or that, what I might do in either case, worrying about all the things that might happen.

As I continued to go to counseling I was brought back to the “now”, and I started to walk along with my head up, looking around me. It seemed as if I was looking at things for the first time. People on the sidewalk smiled at me! Wow! Then I started to smile back. Pretty soon I was saying good morning to complete strangers and what a feeling that was. I was so surprised when they said good morning back to me! There were other people out in the world who were kind and nice and why hadn’t I noticed this before?

I was so wrapped up in my own problems, my own misery, that I didn’t see others around me. When trouble strikes us, one coping mechanism is to pull in, not unlike a turtle. We block out the world because it hurt us and we can’t deal with it. The problem with doing this is that you miss the good things: the beautiful sunset, the flower in the yard, the smell of a rose, a baby’s smile. We get tired and grumpy and don’t take time to look at the good things.

So, if you are being a turtle today, I would encourage you to peek outside your shell and take a good look around you. Just experiment and smile at someone today. You may be surprised when they smile back. And the rest of us, look around for the “turtles” that come your way and be a blessing. Just a kind word and a smile can go a long way.

Blessed to Mourn?

“Blessed are those that mourn, for they shall be comforted.”  Matthew 5:4

Blessed means exceedingly happy, and it’s hard to imagine anyone being happy during a time of mourning.  However, as I thought about this, I remembered a young man who had been my coworker.  When his father died unexpectedly, he told me, “You never realize how many friends you have until somebody dies.”  There’s some truth in that.  In the busyness of life we often forget to make time for others, but when death occurs, family and friends rally around.  We are all reminded that relationships and love are the things that really matter, It’s certainly a comfort and a blessing to know we’re not alone, that others care for us.

Mourning is a time to reflect.  I found when my mother died, as I sorted through her photos, I also remembered my childhood, the personality traits and interests we shared; the birthday parties, Christmas celebrations, family reunions and other important events in our life together. I cried some and laughed some.  I hadn’t thought about those things in a long time, but they are part of what made me who I am.  That has been a blessing to me.

Mourning is a time to turn to God.  Nothing comforts me more than the rituals and routines of my faith life.  Nothing means more than the assurance that mom is with Jesus, and one day I will be with Him as well.  Nothing eases the pain so much as knowing she is no longer stuck in a body that doesn’t work, and with a brain that can’t think.  These are the greatest blessings of all.

The Bible tells us that God works all things out for our good, and that includes mourning.

“Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them.”  Psalm 126:6