Monday, June 26, 2017

Five More Days



Surely I’m not the only one.

As each weekend approaches I feel I will have time, make time, for rest. Rest to me, though, is rarely a nap or sitting and watching the sun set. It is usually time spent creating something, anything – writing, sewing, a thousand little things – exhaling a week of striving. Then most Sunday afternoons find me still striving on the treadmill of life, blinking back tears of frustration as the work week appears on the horizon and dashes my hopes for five more days.

In her book Whispers of Rest, Bonnie Gray writes:

Are you weary under the weight of holding everything together? …. Jesus sees the weight of all the loose ends locked away in the quiet corners of your heart.  He aches for you and longs to free you with his complete understanding.  His loving presence will guide and help you today.
The loose ends got me. The loose ends get me.

All these loose ends are just life’s little things, like laundry, clutter, bill paying, grocery shopping, errands, and housekeeping. I love my family and want to always be available to help them (OK, I just heard my mama’s voice). Making time for me feels so selfish. But the tyranny of the urgent, at work and at home, can strangle the life out of us if we don’t pause and regroup.

It’s Monday, but it’s going to be fine.  In five more days I will get it all done, right?

For more of Bonnie's Whispers of Rest, see her site here.



Monday, June 19, 2017

Calling All Marthas



My Martha heart craves Mary moments.  The Martha/Mary struggle is real.

When email was king, before Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram reigned, a chain email suggested you ask your friends to describe you in one word.  I received several and today can only name one: striving.  It wasn’t meant to be a burden or criticism, but I hear it deep in my spirit on a regular basis.

“The world labels us, but God knows our true name.” – Bonnie Gray

Bonnie Gray’s latest book, Whispers of Rest, is an invitation to cease striving.  Bonnie has a gift of writing directly to one heart while speaking to all hearts.  Through her words, He whispers “rest.”
 
If your life is too noisy and you are dying for the smallest of breaks to catch your breath before the next wave crashes, sneak away and spend time with Father.  Go back again and again and let him refill you with His truth about you.  As one glass of water can never satisfy a lifetime of thirst, He invites us to come and be filled. 

Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”

The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw.”  John 4:13-15





Sunday, June 18, 2017

Little Word, Big Power

The post I planned to write, Confessions of a Word Nerd, was met by a draft blog post from who-knows-when.  It read:

We all possess it, whether we realize it or not.  Maintaining an awareness of our influence is a challenge worthy of our best efforts.
Changing our focus realigns our influence.

Dictionary.com defines influence as "the capacity or power of persons or things to be a compelling force on or produce effects on the actions, behavior, opinions, etc., of others."
I am a word nerd and a coward.  Although I love to write, sharing my writing scares me to death, paralyzes me.  With lives being so busy and our attention spans so short, I am embarrassed to ask you to read my writing; feel guilty.  It's awkward; I'm awkward.

But if I hoard my words and stuff my desires to write, I lose my ability to influence.

So today I will try to refocus on the goal of sharing my heart through words in hopes of encouraging others, trusting God to take it where it needs to go, whether it be around the corner or around the world 

 
 


Sunday, January 8, 2017

Be Still


           It’d been a busy morning with my granddaughter; crawling, standing and walking with assistance, every little thing in her field of vision begged exploring. With Minnie Mouse and McStuffins providing our expedition soundtrack, there was one slight problem: she was tired and needed to rest.
            Attempts to settle her on her pallet with her blanket and pacie failing, I switched tactics.  Gently pulling baby, pacie and blanket into my lap, I held her still. Although I expected her to squirm away independently and break the connection, I was surprised to see her eyes soon closed. I was in awe at the sight of her.
            In the stillness of the moment I saw a picture of my Heavenly Father standing close while I run after every shiny thing, distracted and unaware of my own weariness. He knows what I’ve failed to grasp -- that curling up and sitting still with Him will bring rest, renewal, and refueling for my next steps.  
            And so, I toddle on.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Good News for a New Year



Photo: Cameron Taylor


Those faces;  fixed gaze, alert ears…..peering, discerning….My sheep know my voice……

That sky….gently waking, ethereal haze…Early will I seek thee…..Psalm 63:1

Naked trees….brown field…..To everything there is a season…..Ecclesiastes 3:1

Stopped….waiting…..they all heard it, the voice of the shepherd, their Shepherd..
 ..and the sheep hear His voice: and He calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when He putteth forth his own sheep, He goeth before them, and the sheep follow Him for they know His voice (John 10:3-4)
This rich beautiful photo drew me to John 10, familiar yet always new, always renewing.  
Jesus had spoken of having other sheep to bring into the fold, and, as always, the Jewish leaders railed at Him in complete disbelief. 
In this photo, I see the Gentiles overhearing the Good Shepherd’s discussion with the Jewish leaders, hanging, waiting for Him to speak the next word to them and lead them in the way they should go.
As we go into the new year, may we stop and listen and follow our Good Shepherd, remembering to encourage others along the way. Tell them of times of faithfulness in your life.  Tell them He loves them. Tell them He died and rose again for them. And find little ways to show them. Put feet to your faith; He'll provide the opportunities. In a world of bad news, let's share the Good News!


Sunday, January 1, 2017

2017 Prayer

Photo: Cameron Taylor

Prayer for the New Year -- May we slow down and listen regularly for the voice of our Shepherd.  There are many voices competing for our time and attention.  May we turn down the noise,  look and listen, then follow hard after Him. 

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Road Conditions

image courtesy of radnatt at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

“Notwithstanding the great hardships imposed by the sorry condition of the road, the troops are in high spirits and full of eagerness to meet the enemy.”

 – from Shelbyville Times Gazette, December 28, 2008, Old Newspaper Brings Civil War Battle to Life by Brian Mosely (full story here)  

It was a quote that gripped me and has been forever stored in my spiritual treasure chest--a bold battle cry that rings out in various seasons of my life.

Believers, we are the troops.  The enemy is the enemy of our souls, the ruler of this world and darkness, Satan.  The road, our current declining morality, broken government, and overall direction of our country

The good news is The Good News is our foundation, The Word. Despite what we see with our natural eyes, we are poised for victory if we pause, study our battle plan, and then march forward without fear to meet the enemy.

Dr. Charles Stanley’s message this morning was an encouraging call to battle. (click here for message)  His sermon called to remembrance the soundness of our foundation, our need to be first cleansed of our sin, and our call to prayer for true revival—a revival of God’s people stirred to prayer for our nation.

In 2008, we were faced with the challenge of change in our country’s leader.  We were uncertain of our future and concerned for the direction a new leader might take us.  Our mistake then is the same as now:  to focus on the people and the processes.  The enemy would have us blind to the true place of battle.

With renewed hearts, we can lift up our hearts in praise and prayer and forever impact the direction of our nation.  Our praise will be our battle cry, sung on the front line like Jehoshaphat’s troops (2 Chron 20) and will scramble and confuse the signal of the enemy.  We can be strong and of good courage, knowing God will strengthen our hearts.

Holy Heavenly Father, You alone are God.  May your people turn from their wicked ways, humble themselves, pray and seek Your face, and may You hear us in heaven, forgive our sins, and restore our land.  In Jesus' name.  Amen