Let us begin

Lately, there are a number of songs that talk about going back in time to tell yourself what you know now. A chance to tell yourself to walk away from a toxic relationship or to take the job you turned down. While this perspective seems appealing, I am not sure I would take it if given the opportunity.

Yes, there are decisions I made in my past that I regret. People I hurt because of my selfishness or insecurity. I made some pretty foolish decisions when I was eighteen, some that continue to impact me thirty years later. It has become part of who I am and who I am not.

I know as a believer, that God has had a plan for my life since before I was born. I know there were times in my life that the very prayers of someone kept me from danger. I also know that there were times when I chose to do something that was not God-honoring, sometimes I chose to do that deliberately. While I cannot go back and fix it, I know that I can learn from it.

Psalm 18:30-32 says, As for God, his way is perfect; The LORD’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him. For who is God besides the LORD? And who is the Rock except our God? It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure (NIV).

Of the regrets that I can name, the ones that cause the most sadness to me are the ones I knew better than to do, but I did it anyway. In a way, I think that is the definition of regret, I knew better that to do it, but I did it anyway. My poor decisions, my failures, even the losses I experienced, were part of the path that led me to Christ.

When I came to see that all these choices I had made were never going to bring me the happiness, the contentment, the grace, mercy, or forgiveness I needed– that is when I cried out to God. And that is when He answered me. Not with fire, thunder, or lightning but with tenderness. With the very grace and love I needed.

Child, I have been waiting for you to call my name. I have wanted to pick you up, dust you off, mend your brokenness, and wipe your tears. But you never called out to me until now.

God is not a belligerent dictator, He is a gentleman. He will not come where He is not invited. But oh, Best Beloved, when God is invited into your life and heart. Wow. I learned that day, that He has the power to take my regrets and turn them into blessings. He did that day, He still does today.

Mother Teresa once said, “Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We only have today. Let us begin.” That was the lesson I learned from God the day He came into my life. I would not be able to go back and change the life I had lived before that day. I would not be able to tell the future, to know fully what would happen tomorrow. But while it was still called today, I could experience His grace. His mercy and learn the lesson that the past is in the past for a reason.

Now, the enemy is going to try and attack any way and any chance he can, to stop me from growing in Christ, to keep my story from being used to encourage others. It is what he does. He wants to bring up the regrets and the failures and tell me that I cannot possibly be used by God for God’s purposes and glory. But that is a lie.

God is in the business of taking people’s messes and turning them into messages. Scripture is full of story after story that show His redemptive power. Some of my favorite stories include the woman at the well in John 4 and the woman caught in adultery in John 8. Each time Jesus met the woman, their story was anything but a fairytale. But instead of taking them to task and in one case stoning her for her sins, Jesus turned the story on its head. He told the woman at the well that there was a way to get Living Water, to never thirst again. She had made a mess of thirsting for love from men who would never satisfy her thirst for eternal healing,

The woman in John 8 was seeking love in the wrong places and had made a complete mess of things. Jesus, who by all authority had the right to cast the first stone, as the only person there who was without sin, did nothing. He gave the woman another chance. A chance to change her mess into a message of grace. Of mercy and forgiveness.

Best Beloved, let us leave the past where it belongs- behind us. The future is somewhere on the horizon. Today is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it (Psalm 118:4).

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Cookies

As a child I loved to make cookies with my grandmas. I would wear a child-sized apron and they would hand me the cups of flour and sugar to add to the mixing bowl. I would stir the ingredients until my little arms became tired and then the adults would take over.

Making cookies at grandma’s house

I continued this activity with my sons, who would help make the Christmas cookies each year. We loved the different kinds of cookies, the different techniques we used to create them; rolled in sugar, cut out with cookie cutters, pressed with special glasses, each process followed faithfully.

For it was You who created my inward parts; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I will praise You because I have been remarkably and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, and I know this very well. My bones were not hidden from You when I was made in secret, when I was formed in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw me when I was formless; all my days were written in Your book and planned before a single one of them began, (Psalms‬ ‭139:13-16‬ ‭HCSB‬‬).

Just as cookies have different techniques to make them, we are created uniquely with different aspects to our character and our characteristics. We are not all sugar cookies with vanilla icing. We were brought up in different home environments, different geographic locations, different generations and eras. God did not make us all the same and our stories are just as diverse.

As Christians we may wear modest clothes and head coverings in church. We may have tattoos and piercings, or we may be battling addictions. As a believer we may be working through previous abuse, moving from victim to victor.

Others may be experiencing a Father’s love for the first time, love itself- for the first time. Still others may be learning how to process emotional wounds they have carried for decades, some so deep they may not fully heal this side of Heaven.

Best Beloved, we have been made uniquely beautiful, uniquely talented, and full of purpose- on purpose- by our Heavenly Father’s infinite mind. As I watch my now adult children enter into their own, I find myself smiling at the earliest memories of them as they struggled to find their own voices.

I used to tell them that God did not give me two boys exactly alike. He gave me two unique, intelligent, capable boys who were not supposed to do the same thing. As they have grown they have followed their own journeys, exactly as God designed them to do.

Dear Ones, no matter if you are a chocolate chip cookie, snickerdoodle, ginger snap, oatmeal, or even a sugar cookie with vanilla icing; you are God’s workmanship (Ephesians 2:10) and He created you for this time (Esther 4:14). I pray you embrace Him and His plan for you.

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Gonna be trouble with a capital T

In June my mom came to visit and we attended a Living Proof Live event with Beth Moore. During an intermission, Mom and I went to check out the bookstore and I found a book by Elisabeth Elliot, Suffering is Never for Nothing, published posthumously. I clutched it to my chest like a security blanket, Elisabeth Elliot is my heroine.

In the weeks since the conference I have been savoring the wisdom of Elisabeth once more. She has been honest and challenging as she shares the truth about suffering. She pulls no punches and speaks with straight forward honesty. No softening the blows; troubles, suffering, loss are all part of life. We will all experience them as we walk on our journey.

Elisabeth speaks of Job being an example of patience during his trials. I am not sure that he was patient as much as he was a man that clung to the bigger picture. He had no idea why he lost his children, his crops, and his health. But he did know that God must have had a purpose. There had to be a reason from God’s perspective, even if it was only visible to God.

With the many pains and sorrows my circle of loved ones has felt recently, I have often asked God what He is doing. Sometimes I have said it as a whisper, sometimes as a guttural scream to the sky. I have never heard an answer to my question. Just a commanding statement of, Trust Me.

During this time of uncertainty I have to will myself to listen to Him and lean into Him when I can hardly keep myself upright. C.S. Lewis said it well, “Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”

We know Scripture says we will have trouble in this world. We know Christ said to take heart because He has overcome the world (John 16:33). It does not mean that Jesus is going to carry us over the troubles like a magic carpet until the trouble is resolved. It means that He is going to carry us through.

Suffering is never a loss, never a waste, never for nothing. When I cannot figure out why it is happening, I continue to choose to lean into the One who understands it all.

Best Beloved, I cannot imagine your pain, I do not try to understand it. I do believe that God knows and He is waiting for you to lean into Him. He will be with you, no matter what. I know this is true. He has done this for me, again and again.

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Finches

My paternal grandmother was the oldest of four surviving children; three girls, one boy. She grew up in Wisconsin on a farm just down the road from her grandparents. She was gentle spirited, wise, selfless, and absolutely loved.

Gram had the timeless quality of a classic grandmother: white hair, glasses, an expression that spoke love and tenderness, an apron often around her waist, and a fierce devotion to Gramps.

Gram and Gramps

If she was lucky, she may have stood 5’2″, but her presence in a room could make anyone feel welcome. It has been ten years since she has been gone, twenty years since Gramps passed.

When they moved off the farm into town, the kitchen windows looked out on the front yard and four or five very large maple and cottonwood trees. Gram loved birds, especially songbirds, so Gramps set up bird feeders so she could watch them as she washed dishes.

One of her favorites was the finch. It was not until we moved to our property that I finally understood why. We have goldfinches who sing in the trees and their bright yellow color flashes against the green leaves of our trees in the summer. Their song is light and cheerful and encourages a sense of hope.

Of course.

The bird is much like Gram, diminutive in size, but not in spirit, full of joy and encouragement. The male’s feathers are her favorite color, yellow.

American Goldfinch

The wonderful song it sings, the joy it brings, the sense of hope it stirs, are the kinds of experiences that come from the Holy Spirit. As I have watched the birds in my trees I have been thinking this same thought again and again.

I had been so focused on how it has been described as powerful. I had forgotten that the Holy Spirit is called the Comforter. In the weeks I have been home, it has been the Holy Spirit, working in the background, bringing me peace and hope.

Best Beloved, where are you today? Are you spending time trying to push and shove situations into the shape of your choosing? Are you seeking a powerful presentation, when what is needed is a gentle touch? Maybe it’s time to go on a walk in a your neighborhood, your back yard, or a nature preserve. Allow the songs in the trees to draw you closer to the Comforter you need.

Just as a gentle touch turns away wrath (Proverbs 15:1) it is good to allow the Holy Spirit to cover you gently and draw you to your Heavenly Father, who also sings (Zephaniah 3:17).

Blessings,

oxoxox

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Sweetness in the season

These past weeks at home have been a blessing that opens up more and more each day. Aside from the tasks that I have finished and of course the job applications and interviews I have completed, I have been enjoying the peace of this season. No excessive stress, no negativity, just sounds of simplicity. Birdsongs in the morning, thunderstorms that light the sky, and the breeze that blows through our cedars.

My mom came to visit and we attended a women’ conference last weekend. I enjoyed the time with her, “just us girls” for a couple days. She has always had an adventurous spirit and even as she gets older the spirit has not been lost. It is one of my favorite traits that I inherited and that my sons have as well.

My sweet and precious father has continued to encourage her adventures and in their fifty years of marriage they have had many. He is a gentle soul, like his grandfather, something I have grown to appreciate as he ages. Tenderness is a precious commodity today and I love that he shares it so graciously with his family.

I have one brother, five years younger, the dearest person in my life, outside my hubby and sons. I am blessed with the history and the time we have spent together in our lives. He is my first ally, alibi, and cohort in shenanigans. I have been able to watch his love for his children again and again as they grow. I am so proud of the man he has become. It has been quite the journey.

In the weeks that have passed, I have been encouraged and supported by my dearest hubby. Something I do not take for granted and something I celebrate often. His understanding and insight have helped me as long as I can remember. After nearly thirty years of our journey as both friends and spouses, I know I would choose him again, everyday.

I realize there are many people who might be anxious and worried about losing a job and seeking a new one. Sure, I could be one of them. Yet, the joy I feel was not lost when I turned in my ID. My worth and my value were not linked to the position I held. I am certain it has been filled already, actually. I know who I am. Whose I am.

In this season I have been reaffirmed that God is not surprised by these events. He is not ashamed or disappointed in me. He loves me. I am His child, precious and prized and valued and loved and treasured above all things. Resting in this fact has allowed me to let the anxiety I could feel to wash off and remain in His peace and joy.

Best Beloved, I do not know the season you are in right now. It may be a season of sorrow, of completion, of beginnings, or even joy. Whatever you are facing, you are not alone. He is there with you. He loves you. No shame. No condemnation. Seek Him. He is waiting to speak into your life.

“For I know the plans I have for you” — this is the Lord’s declaration — “plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. You will call to Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you” — this is the Lord’s declaration — “and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and places where I banished you” — this is the Lord’s declaration. “I will restore you to the place I deported you from,”” (Jeremiah‬ ‭29:11-14‬ ‭HCSB, bold mine‬‬).

If God has already declared it, then it is time to live in this truth. We do not need to seek answers, just seek Him and enjoy the sweetness of the season.

Blessings,

oxoxo

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This day you must choose

My mind has been working overtime for the past few weeks. Every night I have dreamt about people I knew twenty-five to thirty years ago, people I haven’t seen or spoken with in nearly as long. It’s like it is still trying to figure out how to change the outcomes. I am not seeking to change things consciously, but my mind must not be satisfied. Like a child trying to fit a block in the wrong space, again and again.

I woke up today and tried to figure out what was happening. The man I married is and always will be, the one to whom I want to be married. Twenty-six years ago today, I was supposed to be saying “I do” to someone else. At least that was my plan. Twenty-six years ago my now husband realized that I was the one he wanted to marry. I have shared this story before, the outcome is still the same.

Why does our mind work toward something so opposite of God’s plan? This seems to be where the whole “free will” aspect fits into our lives (Matthew 26:41). We are called to bring our thoughts under control; We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ, (2 Corinthians‬ ‭10:5‬ ‭NIV‬‬).

June 19 is as close to my least favorite day, May 31, can be (see Doors, windows, and hallways) still, I know that God is faithful. Whether the day brings a broken engagement (something you’d think my brain and heart would be well past by now), a sudden loss of a loved one, or a sudden loss of a job. Whatever it is, God is good all the time, all the time God is good (Habakkuk 3:17-19).

I absolutely cannot see God’s plan for our future. I can hardly see or imagine the plan for next week most of the time. When things are drastically and suddenly changed it may feel like we have rubber legs. I may not be able to stand or walk, but I can kneel and I can crawl. And if my knees turn to jelly, then I will lay down and crawl “army style.”

I choose to follow the God I claim, no matter the outcome. I have watched Him move mountains, I have felt Him as He helped me climb mountains to stand atop victoriously. I have also experienced the comfort of His hand on me as I mourned the loss of something or someone dear to me.

Best Beloved, this faith journey we walk is not one of idle decisions, something you fall into, or eventually begin when nothing else works. Faith requires a determination, a decision, and every morning and evening, the reaffirmation of the decision you made. Just as each day I wake and determine to work to have a strong, healthy relationship with my husband, I do the same with my walk with God.

Rain may come in on all sides to sink the ship, the crops may fail in the fields, my God will remain. In Him and through Him I will never be without the very things I need. Thanks be to God. Always.

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Sweetness

The past two weeks without work have been full of restoration. I am not referring to our home, but to my spirit. I have been blessed with sleep, working until my muscles are fatigued, completing simple tasks like hanging laundry on the line to dry. I have done job searching as well.

Each sweet moment has filled my soul with long needed peace and contentment. As the mornings have begun, I have listened to the birds sing sweetly in the trees and I’ve gone to the garden alone, while the dew is still on the roses. I find myself celebrating the changes I see on our property, new perspectives from which to view it.

I can rest in the truth of Christ, that Thou changest not, Thy compassions they fail not, as Thou hast been, Thou forever wilt be.

I find myself working on sitting still and just taking it all in, the gentle breeze, the warmth of the sun. All of it. After all this time of constant hurry, worrying if I have completed all I need to, the one thing I cannot seem to do is relax. Yes, I have rested, and all the above is true.

I have yet to settle into the contentment I have reached. I mean really settle in, like a child does before falling asleep in his parent’s arms. I have been able to purge the sense of completing tasks for an “atta girl” but I still have a bit left to go. I long for the sweetness of waking up without the concern of did I accomplish enough to keep the wolves of doubt at bay? It is the same concern I felt in my last weeks at work. Wondering if it would be enough and knowing somehow that it would not satisfy the howls.

Within the moments I feel content, I feel the embrace of sweetness. As the chorus goes, There’s a sweet, sweet spirit in this place and I know that it’s the Spirit of the LORD. As long as I continue to lean into those sweet moments every time, I know I will eventually break the chains of “enough” and just enjoy the sweetness of Him alone.

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What to do, what to do

When Jesus was crucified and His body entombed, the disciples were left with no one to follow, no further miracles to perform. So they returned to what they knew, including Simon Peter who went back to fishing. This is where Jesus would find Him, out in his boat, seeking a catch and not finding it. Until Jesus told him to lower his nets on the right side of the boat. The catch nearly sank the boat (John 21:1-7).

This is what I have done this past week; I have “gone fishing.” I have done projects around the property that I have wanted to do, but never had the time to do them in a single weekend. I mowed the yard around the house, I cut the side yard, where the goats and sheep would graze, washed the dishes, cared for the critters, and made dinner. I also applied to a school for a teaching position.

I planted raspberry bush shoots from my friend, making a total of at least 9 shoots that should become bushes full of berries in a couple seasons. I took a call from a recruiter who mentioned a couple of positions that were open. I applied to them and another opening at a different company. I painted a metal wagon wheel that was once used on the farm.

I painted our mailbox, the milk can and lid, put out my hammock, scrubbed out and cleaned the old three-seater outhouse we had used for storage and such. I took a call from the recruiter telling me that I was wanted for an interview. It was set up for today. I also painted our shed hay-mow door with my version of a barn quilt.

And today. A week after being let go, I had an interview that went well. I will learn the outcome in a week or two. Each day I found myself doing the very things I needed to do to keep going forward.

I did not sit and wait for God to come in and tap my shoulder. I knew I needed to keep moving. It isn’t the adage of “God helps those who help themselves” which isn’t even Biblical. What I did however is lean into God (Proverbs 3:5-6), I waited on Him (Psalm 27:4).

I trusted in Him and His timing, delighted in Him, committed myself to Him, I was still waiting for Him. I did not turn to anger, I hoped in the LORD (Psalm 37:3-9).

It was never my “job” to try to solve my situation by myself. I was instead to entrust it to my God, Who was not surprised last Friday when I was let go. He has never said, Gee, I didn’t see that coming. He is the God of yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8).

I do not fret, I do not worry, I continue to go forward with me by His side. He is in charge, I am to trust.

I am at peace, content in where I am and WHOSE I am. That will never change, no matter who signs the check, God is the One who holds everything in the palm of His hands. I will always hold on to them.

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Hush now

During a typical weekend, I have a routine of housework and yard work. We live on a couple of acres which I mow each week. It is one of my longest tasks, but most fulfilling when I see it completed. I realized I could spread the tasks over a couple days, thanks to my new situation.

I woke up with the birds yesterday morning. Their song was full of praise for a new day and all that it would hold. I lay in bed half-listening, trying to decide if I was going to get up and start to cut the grass or if I was going to wait until my hubby and my neighbor were at least moving before starting the mower. I waited.

As soon as hubby was out of the driveway, I was getting my shoes on to go cut. The weather was overcast, grey skies looking like rain was eminent. After checking the oil and topping it off, I put gas in the tank and began to mow. I collected a couple of bags of grass for the chickens. I only managed to cut a small section before it began to sprinkle. I continued to cut, hoping I would get some finished before the rain made me stop. I managed to get the east side cut and start a few rows on the west side before thunder rumbled across the sky.

“Alright,” I muttered to no one, only then resigning to stop mowing until the rain let up. I put away the mower and went inside. I was restless, frustrated, and even annoyed with God that He would interrupt my chore with more rain, which my home state does not need at this point. I paced the living room, irritated that I had to wait for the rain to stop.

I stepped out onto the west porch to study the yard. The birds were still singing during the rain, under the protection of the branches, they were safe and free to sing, so sing they did. Their songs seemed cacophonous at first, then like an orchestra, their songs began to come together. I stopped pacing, I began to listen. I heard the robin, the wren, the sparrow, the cardinal, and the blue jay as well. Each one singing their tune, not listening to their neighbors, only bringing their song with them.

Oh, I thought. That is what You wanted me to do today. Be still.

I stood still, closed my eyes, and listened.

As their songs continued, I surrendered to the moment. The breeze swept me and the rain washed me of residual frustrations. My heart was emptied of everything, but contentment.

Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights. For the director of music. On my stringed instruments, (Habakkuk‬ ‭3:17-19‬ ‭NIV).‬‬

In this contentment I will rest, as Paul wrote in Romans 8:31-39, Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us, ‭‭(Romans‬ ‭8:34-35, 37‬ ‭NIV).‬‬

Yes, yes, and amen.

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Doors, windows, and hallways

So, today being the last day of the work week became the last day of work for me. No I was not planning to leave, but I have left. I have suddenly had an entire day open up to me and it has felt liberating.

After meeting with HR and handing in my security badge, my hubby came to get me. We drove back to his work, discussing next steps, and I mentioned some of the things I would be doing while he was there. I spoke with my mom (of course) and my best friend, who gave me encouragement. I went to the thrift store and bought a few things, including jeans that I made into shorts. Hubby and I are going to help a friend move this evening and I had started the day in a dress.

I went to the nearby bookstore, wandered the aisles reading titles of familiar books-old friends really. Worked on my resume, started job searching, and will be getting my haircut this afternoon. While these seem like odd things to do, they have been on my to-do list. With my unexpected free-day it only makes sense to make the most of my time.

Today marks a number of events in my life’s timeline and I find it apropos to add being fired to it. May 31, 1990 I left my home state to begin working at a camp in New Mexico, a choice that would completely change my life. I met my best friend there, became a believer there, and met my fiancé there. Three years later, on May 31, 1993, that same fiancé would call off our wedding. A year later, on the same weekend, he would marry someone else. Four years after he broke up with me, I was packing a moving truck to begin my journey with my new fiancé. The same best friend I made in New Mexico was about to become my husband.

Fast forward to May 31, 2014. I spent the day packing up my classroom, taking my personal books and items with me, leaving the room “move in ready” for the new teacher, who would come in the fall. My family and I would move to Nebraska within weeks of that day. Now here I am again, May 31st, nearly five years after a major change, beginning another major change.

Each time I have faced changes, the whole “when a door/window closes” kind of thing, I have been reminded that God was not surprised. My packing up and changing places has been a part of His plan. He rarely tells/shows me what He has planned, but if I have been listening, then I am able to see His “hints” that something new is coming. I am not sure what the “new” thing is going to be. I do know that He is and has been preparing me for it and it for me.

Not long ago, I saw a “pin” on Pinterest that said, Until God opens another door, praise Him in the hallway. This is the perspective I am taking with today’s events. It is a perspective I was taught in 1993, when I was still receiving RSVP cards for a wedding that had been cancelled. It is the same perspective I have now. It is an inconvenience at best, not the end of the world, not the end of my life. Just a change on my journey, my destination is still the same. To one day stand before my God and King and hear, Well done, good and faithful servant. Until then, I will praise Him. In a room, on my path, or in the hallway.

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, (Romans‬ ‭15:5-6‬ ‭NIV‬‬).

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Looking for hope

My days seem full of brokenness lately. Not within myself, but within those round me. I hear the sadness in the voices of those who cannot imagine how they will pay their rent for the month, let alone feed their children. I hear the ache in the voices of widows and widowers who wonder how they will face another day without someone to tell their stories to again. Wives and husbands abandoned by a spouse who promised “until death do us part,” only to find out that it was “until times got difficult.”

I spoke with a woman today who, by all accounts, should be a statistic. Divorced, little education, three small children to care for, no support from the ex-husband, only a part-time job and overwhelming debt. As I listened to her tell her story, all the different obstacles in front of her, including an embittered ex-spouse, I heard her speak of her faith. The hand of her Heavenly Father who led her, protected her, and brought her through it, coming out as victorious.

When she finished telling me her story, I was in tears. While others may have heard the pile of negative experiences, all I could hear was the way she overcame, how the God of Heaven moved in her life. I told her how much her story meant to me, how I was encouraged by her character, the integrity she had.

She chuckled when I pointed it out. God had been good to her. We ended our conversation speaking a blessing over each other. It was a sweet, precious, holy moment in the middle of a busy day. Others may not have taken the time to speak deeper than the surface. I have walked enough to know that God sets in or lives times when we can be refreshed and when we can refresh others.

Best Beloved, God is about recognizing the moments in life that others might walk right past. The mother who is sitting on the bench watching her children play at the park, the person sitting alone at a table in the coffee shop. It is a simple time that could be spent speaking about the weather and the latest sports scores or it could be a time of sweet fellowship and communion.

Our whole world is seeking hope. It may not be sought in the church pew on a Sunday morning, but it is sought in the interaction with another person. The look given to another, searching for confirmation that there is more than the struggle and strife.

If we are truly freed through the blood of Christ then it is time to let our lights shine and to encourage those who are still seeking that hope.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit, (Romans‬ ‭15:13‬ ‭NIV‬‬).

Let our cups of hope and joy overflow and help quench the thirst of those who are in need today.

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