Don’t Give Up

Needing some me-time, I traveled to my sanctuary place near the water and pen these words:

I go to my Sanctuary
Quiet reigns
Except for quacking geese
Nearby culinary smells of
Freshly baked bread
American flag flutters over the boat stern
A solitary sailboat with jib hoisted
Moves slowly across the lake
Peace prevails without
From within, my spirit begins to calm

There are no guarantees for a happy or healthy life. Even or especially in the middle of this all-encompassing COVID-19 pandemic. There’s a verse that’s meaningful to me. I hope it is for you too.

The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged – Deuteronomy 31:8.

He tells us not to be afraid or discouraged. I have to admit that I’ve been both throughout most of this past year. Even today I wrestle with fear, anxiety, and doubt. I feel jittery, tense, wanting to be someplace else. If I can keep the above words in the forefront of my mind, they’ll give me calm assurance. Confidence. Trust in the One who’s got this whole mess under control. He knows the beginning from the end.

He will not abandon me or you in the middle of a crisis or afterwards. Just knowing He is there beside me each step of the way causes my mind and heart to feel at peace.

When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn,” – Harriet Beecher Stowe

*When’s the last time you felt unable to focus because of anxiety and worry? What’s it like for you?

*What are you fearful or discouraged about right now? How can you get past those negative thoughts?

*****

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The Path

Bricks and sinkholes line the pathway

A crossroad comes into view

He takes my hand and leads the way

“My child, we can do this!”

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Rush

5-Minute Friday

the word’s: RUSH. Go …

RUSH here. Rush there. RUSH everywhere. Never felt more aware of the term RUSH than during this month of the year. December should conjure up scenes of happiness, joy, peace, but it really doesn’t at least not for me. I need to work on this. God and I need to work on this together. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

My life coach, Darlene, suggests: Simplify Christmas. Simplify Life. I try to cram too much in too small of a space. Results: sorrow, unrest, grief, regrets, and even anger. I’m guessing you feel the same way too. This is no way to live a life. Particularly in this season of love, grace and mercy. A season that our Heavenly Father chose to send His only son to come to earth, be born in a lowly manager, live and serve among humankind, die a horrible death on a cross for you & me. This month of all months should be a grateful, kind, and looked forward to (not dreaded) event of the entire year!

Lord, guide me/us to what needs to be done, what can wait/be deleted, and what is the best for my life, my reader’s, and their loved ones lives too.

We love you, Lord Jesus.

This post is part of the weekly Five Minute Friday link-up.  Join me and others as we reflect on, and write about one word each week for only 5 minutes.

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Unknown

5-Minute Friday

UNKNOWN

Sometimes it’s the unknown that is our undoing. Not knowing something can be scarier than knowing the truth about something scary. I’d much rather know I have a certain diagnosis than wondering, guessing, and stressing about a problem that might or might not occur.

We usually remember the past. Where my feet are planted right now is the present. But the future—well, that falls into the unknown. The unknown can be frightening. On the flip side, knowing Who holds my future is comforting. He knows. He cares. He’s taking care of all things even though we, His creation, aren’t in on the decision making. Which is probably a good thing. I’m pretty sure if I were in charge, I’d mess up a whole bunch.

This is where the words Trust and Obey fit in. If I trust the Almighty with my future, then I need spend less time worrying about the future. I’ll trust that He’s in control. I need to follow Him; I’ll obey and do my part. One of my jobs is to tell others about what He’s done for me. To give others hope that He’ll sort out all the good, bad, and the ugly. Over and over again, God comes through. He’s answered prayer when I’ve asked, and when I didn’t ask or realize I was in danger.

  • What about you?
  • What things do you worry about?
  • Is there someone you can talk to about these worries?

Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you (1 Peter 5:7)

This post is part of the weekly Five Minute Friday link-up.  Join me and others as we reflect on, and write about one word each week for only 5 minutes.

***** 

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Sheep are Valuable

Round #3 … the Resume of a Sheep taken from Psalm 23. First, we talked about sheep being vulnerable. Our second session: sheep go astray.

This time let’s move to Sheep are Valuable!        

Being a curious person, I looked up the definition for the word valuable: having considerable worth, bringing a high price, having qualities worthy of respect, admiration or esteem.

Wow! Our Heavenly Father is speaking about me and about you! You are precious, treasured, cherished and appreciated, my dear sheep-friend.

The next time someone flings you a sarcastic remark or circumstances throw you for a loop—remember that He deems you dear. He respects you beyond all measure.

When you have a few minutes, ponder Psalm 139.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful

*****

 

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Thinking about my Good Shepherd part 2

Hi folks!

Looking into the Resume of a Sheep taken from Psalm 23.The first attribute of a sheep we covered last time: Sheep are Vulnerable. I’m back again for round #2.     

  • Sheep go Astray. How often have I gone astray? Too many times to count. How about you? I can honestly say that my Shepherd’s always steered me back on course again. Sad to admit this, but sometimes I took the long way around to come back into the shepherd fold.

Read Deuteronomy 30:3-10. The verse speaks of restoration and our Shepherd having compassion on me/you. His desire is to gather you up and bring you home. His arms are open wide. Will you go to Him?

 

*****

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Thinking about sheep and my Good Shepherd

Ottumwa Iowa field

I just joined a small group from our church. We’re studying Psalm 23. I’ve recited those words to Psalm 23 on numerous occasions. Most of you have probably heard it spoken at funerals, memorial services, or Sunday sermons.

Just when you think you know it all, heard it all—BAM! Something significant slaps you between the eyeballs. That’s what happened to me this week.

We’re studying the Resume of a Sheep. Strange title for our work assignment page, but bears spending time on. There are four attributes of a sheep listed. I’ll cover the first one today and more the next time we meet.

  • Sheep are Vulnerable. I had to look that word up to be sure I understood the meaning of vulnerable. Here’s what my dictionary said: accessible, defenseless, exposed, unsafe, weak, sitting duck. Capable/susceptible to being wounded or hurt. Open to assault. Boy, is that true. Right now, I feel like a sitting duck and unsafe in a certain relationship. I don’t like this feeling. I want to get beyond it. I’m just not sure which path to take at this moment in time.

Ever feel this way? Like you are stuck, exposed and not able to wriggle your way past a certain situation? You are not alone!

Here’s a verse I’d like you to consider. Maybe even post it where you can ponder, recite, and believe the Truth. Consider reaching out to a trusted friend to help you through. There is Hope—never forget this no matter how deep or dark your journey.

But as for me, I will always have hope, I will praise you more and more.” (Psalm 71:14)

*****

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Touch

 

Touch of a baby’s skin                                                  
Touch and pet a cuddly puppy
Flower’s soft petals
Spring tree buds

Heartfelt, warm hugs
Wet grandchild kisses
Connected – Respected – Loved
Desiring human touch
Natural; longed for
Affirmation of love, desire, and presence

Do you love me?
Do you care?
Do you notice?

One whom I know always loves, always cares. He proclaims, “do not fear, for I am with you. Do  not be dismayed. I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand,” Isaiah 41:10.

His touch is sufficient.

*****

Each week, I join Kate’s Five Minute Friday link – [P.S. I’m #42; page 2].  The rules remain the same, each week write for five minutes, using the prompt  Kate provides, no editing, no overthinking it, just write raw then link up to her blog.

 

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Next

I’m remembering a quote from a book suggesting that when you’re stumped and don’t know which way to turn or what to do next: The next right thing by Emily D. Freeman. No need to have a large scale 5-year plan; just do the next right thing.

Mallard Duck – Riverside Park, Michigan

This comes as a huge relief (and surprise) to someone like me who prefers “all her ducks in a row.” Appointments scheduled, tasks on the calendar in advance are paramount to me. Surprises/last minute plans don’t work well for me! But maybe this offer presents a good theory. Reminds me of one of my favorite quotes: Let Go & Let God.

Just maybe by pausing, listening to the silence, turning off electronic devices including music, removing myself from all distractions, I can hear from the Holy Spirit and be at peace. I can then learn what the next right thing for me might be. It’s certainly worth an honest try! Don’t look for me—I plan to be in a closed conference for a while.

Let me know if you try this and how it works. I’m eager to hear back from you.

“Speak, for your servant is listening,” 1 Samuel 3:10.

*****

This post is part of the weekly Five Minute Friday link-up.  Join me and others as we reflect on, and write about one word each week for only 5 minutes.

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Place

Trying to find my place in this whole big world. I feel I’ve been trying to do this my entire life. Where is my rightful place? From the beginning, I was the oldest of three siblings. My younger sister came two and a half months later; then my brother years later. I don’t remember a time when it was just me. Then I married young, as a teenager, not long after graduating from high school. I went from under my dad’s wing to under my husband’s wing.

Children came quickly. I learned I was again pregnant when our first delightful baby boy was only 3 months old. Shocker of shockers! But then our smiley, lovable daughter came to us 9 months later.

Caring for two little ones took up the majority of my time. When they became school age, I researched for a long time trying to discern God’s will. We chose a combination of parochial and public schooling. When homeschooling began to become more well known, I chose to be a home school teacher to first our ADHD child, and then later to our daughter.

Now both children are out of the house—empty nesters. At first, I was thrilled to think of no more chauffeuring back and forth, fees for various events, and out of my hands now. But that’s not true. Once a mother; always a mother! Then came precious grandchildren. So now, I add long-distance Nana under my titles. Which I love being a Nana, but hate the long-distance part of the equation. I like the saying: Grandparenting is a chance to make right the mistakes you made with your own kids.

Daughter, sister, wife, mom, homeschool teacher, coach, referee, driver, mother of the groom, writer, Nana. Now back to just wife, writer. Where is my place now? I feel displaced and exhausted. With all the roles, I’ve been handed in the past, where do I fit in now? My energy level and zeal has waned.

Life seems to happen to me and there’s precious little time for doing what I’d like to do—what I feel I was called to do years ago. To write another book sounds like a monumental task. Yet, I feel the story is in me. The story needs to be told for further generations, don’t you think?

God planted the story within me along this journey called life. To not tell the story would be wrong. Tell my children and grandchildren what God has been teaching me along the way. Hoping they will excel and not make the same mistakes I did growing up. Maybe this is my place now.

As I think of other family relations, Timothy was a much better person and follower of the Lord because of his grandmother and mother. Paul (an apostle in the Bible) tells us in the first chapter of 2nd Timothy:

“I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well.”

*****

This post is part of the weekly Five Minute Friday link-up.  Join me and others as we reflect on, and write about one word each week for only 5 minutes.

 

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