Sunday, October 24, 2010


There's a cool nip in the air as falling leaves do their autumn dance. I love the fall but I don't look forward to the cold, gray winter. It won't be long. Temperatures are already dipping into the thirties overnight. We will set the clocks back in a couple of weeks. I will miss the light evening sky as I drive home from work.

I already miss sitting amongst my flowers; they are beginning to wilt in the night time chill.

Though I try to look for the positive things, change is hard. It's inevitable but often not welcome. I face changes everyday and how I embrace them will affect me. Watching my sisters face their divorces and losing my dad has been a huge adjustment. We had his burial service earlier this week, almost three months after his death. It wasn't surprising that today I was a little emotional.

After the burial on Monday and a stressful week at work that didn't allow for any let down, today my emotions are in a tailspin. I know it is never as simple as one thing. Many factors can contribute to my faltering emotions. Yet, I know God is with me. He knows what I struggle with even better than I know myself. He offers comfort in His presence. He knows my frame and He gives me the grace to sort it out as I lean on Him. But, it's important that I give myself the grace too.

This weekend I have extended grace to myself by not fretting about the housework. I took a long nap. And though our church had many things happening this week due to our missions conference, I allowed myself to create some margin in my days. I am not very good at not feeling guilty, but this weekend I knew I needed some down time.

Difficult. Inevitable.

Winter comes. Yet, in the bleak times there is hope. It may seem like we are hidden in a dark tomb but He promises the resurrection. Spring for the soul.

Do life's changes put you into a tailspin? How can you give yourself grace, knowing that God knows everything you are facing?

Thankful that He knows my frame (what I am made of),


“Just as a father has compassion on his children,
so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him.
For He Himself knows our frame;
He is mindful that we are but dust.”
Psalm 103:13-14 (NAS)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Enjoy What Is....

We anticipated our vacation to Acadia National Park for months. We found a great looking cottage online and began to plan our first ever rent-a-cottage-where-you-can-really-relax vacation. After driving about six hours we pulled into the driveway and beheld our home away for home for the next week. The cottage was overlooking the most beautiful scenery. Nestled in Gull Cove, we could see Mount Desert Island from the deck and side lawn. The sunrises brought the promise of each new day. The rocky shore was just steps down from the lawn and when the tide was out we sat on huge boulders and took in the beauty around us. Yet, when we first arrived, I was a little disappointed in the deck—how petty.

While I was sitting on the deck the next morning with my steaming cup of PG Tips, the early morning sun streamed through the branches and warmed me. As I sat in the Lord's presence, the words, Enjoy what is, don't imagine what could be , came to mind. Heart check!! Here we had found this perfect spot for a quiet vacation surrounded by God's masterful handiwork and I was wishing the deck could be a little bigger...

I do this so often. I envision something and get disappointed when it doesn't fit the image I conjure up in my mind. Truthfully, I have missed out on what God has planned because I am thinking about what could be, rather than what is. I immediately thought of the passage in Philippians 4...think on these things. Whatever is true, whatever is lovely....these are the best tools for contentment and peace.

Once I allowed myself to get past my ungratefulness to focus on God's goodness, I enjoyed our vacation so much more. The trip to Acadia turned out to be the best vacation ever. I just needed to be willing for God to do a little heart check to clear my vision.

How about you? Are you thankful for what is, or thinking about what could be?

Saturday, October 09, 2010

My Spin on Philippians 4:6-9

My spin on Philippians 4:6-9

Telling someone not to be anxious is like asking them not to breathe. It is certainly true of me. Worry just seems to be the natural response to anything I fear or lack knowledge about. 

You might as well give me the middle name, Fear, because it's been such a big part of my life since I can remember.

I was a little girl who was afraid of Santa Claus, floral arrangements, cemeteries and music. It took me forty years to figure out the roots of those fears. Not that it took away my fear of things, but I began to understand how intrinsic fears are to humanity. It's no wonder then, that the words 'fear not' appear 365 times in Scripture. 

My spin of Philippians 4:6-9

One for every day of the year.

So passages like this one in Philippians begin to be life-verses for people like me. The words and truths roll around in my mind so much that I begin to paraphrase them by heart. My spin on these verses in Philippians goes something like this:

I won't worry and fret about things; instead, I'll talk to God about them - a lot.

Every time I start to worry again, instead of letting it get to me, I'll bring it to God because He is the one who takes care of everything I need. He knows what the trouble is and He knows how to fix it.

When I start to worry, I'll think about all the amazing things he has done for me in the past—I know there are plenty of them. It will help to focus on the ways He has answered prayer and come through for me before. That's why the Bible tells about setting up memorial stones; they are markers to help me remember everything that He has done in my life.

My spin on Philippians 6:6-9

When I find myself getting overwhelmed by all the darkness and worries, I think about the things that are true; the good and pure things; the silver lining things; the things I have praised Him for, and I'm thankful for them.

Because I know deep down that He will take care of this stuff - Because He has come through for me in the past. When I do these things, I have God's peace even when it is hard for others to understand especially with everything going on around me. Because whatever is going on, He promises to be with me. And if He is with me, I will not be afraid.

What are you afraid of? What do you worry about?

He says, "Fear not. I am with you. I am your peace. I will accomplish everything that concerns you" (Psalm 57:2, Psalm 138:8)

Fear is the opposite of faith so my prayer is that I can grow stronger in my faith and my trust in Him so that my fear will become less.

Praying for you too,


Sunday, October 03, 2010

Sea Glass - IN Everything by Prayer...

Sea Glass - "In Everything by prayer..." Philippians 4:6

A getaway week at the ocean; I could hardly wait to beach-comb for shells and sea glass. During our time away, I found plenty of shells but not one piece of sea glass. As I thought about these evasive sea gems, it made me think of all of the troubles I have been through in the last several years. Just like the sharp pieces of glass, I have been rolled and tumbled about, being scraped across the rocky things in life and caught up in the swirling sea of emotional turmoil. And, like the sea glass, over time my edges have become a little less sharp and hurtful. The more tumbling and swirling, the more beautiful the sea glass becomes. I guess I hope that after all of the tumult I have been through, I am coming out a little more beautiful and useful to God, the master-craftsman. In His words, He is conforming me to the image of His Son. This happens when I surrender to Him even in the midst of the anxious times.

When Paul says in Philippians 4:6, “...but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God”, I take some comfort knowing that there will be a good result in the end. Notice that Paul says IN everything, not FOR everything. It is hard to feel thankful FOR my trials. But IN the midst of them I can pray and be thankful for His provision, protection and presence, knowing that He will meet me in the midst of whatever I am going through. I need not be anxious.

I noticed the two words, prayer and supplication and wondered, What's the difference? As I looked, they are similar but supplication includes earnestness and continued prayer out of a deep need. Bringing my concerns and anxieties to the Lord gives me a place to practice my trust in the One who promises to provide all of my needs. And, there is always something I can be thankful for in the midst of it all.

As for the couples I know that are divorcing, IN these awful situations I have found a fresh appreciation for my husband and our relationship. He has shown a special care for me over the last several weeks, I think to demonstrate and assure me of his love and commitment. And, I have found ways to show him how much he means to me. We have both sought out ways to spend time together and appreciate one another.

I'm disappointed that I wasn't able to find any sea glass on our vacation. But, IN this, I am glad that people aren't littering glass on the shore. (Then I realized, we don't use much glass any more; most everything is packaged and bottled in plastic.) It feels like the end of an era of treasure hunting by the sea!

Do you have an 'IN everything' story? I would love to hear about it. I know these testimonies will encourage us in our relationship with Christ and walk through the times of trial.

My you sense His provision IN everything today,