Friday, May 7, 2021

She Laughs

This weekend is Mother's Day and you have probably noticed an abundance of beautiful items that grace the entrance to the stores we visit. Cards, mugs, flowers, beautiful signs, all gifts that express to moms the special role they play in our lives. 

Today's Five Minute Friday writing prompt is "She".  A very simple, yet appropriate topic for this Friday!


Christians moms during this time of the year often reflect on the biblical passage of Proverbs 31. In its context, it is a mother writing to her son - a king - about the virtues of a wife that he should be seeking for. Every mother with sons has that same desire, for him to find a wife filled with virtue and honor. 

As the Bible often does, it reflects a question or pondering that reflects back to ourselves. In the Proverbs 31 passage, we tend to examine our life based on these qualities and may find we come up lacking! This is not the description of an unattainable, perfect woman, but qualities that all women should strive for in their lives. There can always be a standard to strive for and when we trust God to fill our hearts with His grace and power, godly characteristics are formed and fill our lives. The secret is keeping our eyes on Jesus, who can help us and keeping our ears shut to the inner voices of comparisons, jealousy and the lies that tell us we aren't worthy. 

One part of the Proverbs 31 passage I love, but often take a big gulp at is this verse...


Proverbs 31:25 in many translations talks about being clothed - covered, protected, decorated with strength and dignity. "And she laughs at the future"...that's the part where I get a bit anxious! There is enough life that has been lived for me to know that the future will hold both joys and sorrows. The future is uncertain and unknown. To look in the face of the future and laugh drives me back into a shell of anxiety and fear. 

But when we are clothed - allowing God to cover us, fill us and surround us, there is a confidence that comes from Him. He knows and sees our future and as we trust Him, He can bring good in and through it.  

My Sunday School lesson this week is on the topic of "meekness". Here is a quick quote:
"Submission to God's providence - (His sovereign rule over His entire creation) - means we recognize there is yet much work to be done in our character.
It means we believe all events in our lives, God works together to conform us more and more into the likeness of Christ.
It means we give thanks in all circumstances - not for the circumstance itself, but for God's promise to use these circumstances to conform us more to Christ."

Digging a bit into this passage, I found a few different translations that help it become clearer.
"Strength and honor are her clothing; She shall rejoice in time to come."
"Strength and dignity are her clothing, And she smiles at the future."
"She puts on strength and honour; and rejoices in the last days."
"She is strong and graceful, as well as cheerful about the future."

"Laughing at the future" is not a haughty or self-sufficient response. It is a confidence, knowing when God clothes us with strength and honor, He will give us the power to face the future. We can smile from the peace and joy He gives to us. You can laugh without fear of the future because you hold the firm truth that God will take care of you. Nothing in this world can give you assurance that you will be ok, but God can if you put your trust in him and obey him. God loves you, and that is all you need to know to make it through.

Happy Mother's Day to you as mothers. May this day be filled with expressions of appreciation, but also an acknowledgement of the power and influence a mother holds. May you continue to grow in grace in every season of motherhood. May God's love fill your heart and overflow in the lives of your family. May you be clothed with strength and honor and walk confidently and joyfully into each new season of life. 




Friday, April 23, 2021

Broken Beauty

Happy Friday! Today I am participating in "Five Minute Friday" an opportunity to write thoughts about a given work prompt. Today's word is "Broken".  


Broken—what a sad word. When I hear the word broken, in my mind a picture comes of something fragile that was once beautiful but now lays shattered in pieces on the floor. When something is 'broken', it is easily discarded, or no longer useful to us. Broken applies to more than items that take a fall or become damaged, it is a heartbreaking word when applied to relationships, attitudes or people. 

But for every broken thing, a cry comes out—fix it. Put it back together, take the pieces and bind them up. From plates on the floor to hearts in anguish, if someone could just come and put the pieces back together again. 

If we were never broken, we would never know the wholeness of God. That’s the beauty of brokenness. When our hearts are broken, when we’ve just made a mess of things, that is the space when God can step in and put the pieces back together again. 

Broken beauty— is a place where God has touched and made beautiful. Not restored perfection, but a place to never forget His mercy, compassion and love. A broken plate never looks the same again. It is fixed, but cracks and lines show the work of the repairer.  When our lives are broken, they are forever changed. But through those cracks and lines left from the break, shines the beauty of the hand of our Lord. The love and mercy of the Lord  flows through as a constant reminder of His help. 

Let’s not be ashamed of the scars and cracks where we have been broken, but use them as opportunities to let God's love seep through the cracks into the lives of others. An empathy which is compassion in action - is a heart feeling for someone struggling that compells us to step into the situation.  As our wounds heal, they form a scar. Those scars are not as painful as time heals them, but they are always with us and a part of us. They are a reminder of the wound that was there, but has healed. As we allow others to see our scars, we impart hope to them, that healing is possible and this ignites hope in their life.  As God heals, may we share with others about the Lord who makes broken things beautiful. 

“God makes the gospel beautiful, and that’s through our brokenness.”
-Josh Weidmann



This is a sweet story I have always loved that shares how brokenness can bring beauty! 

A long time ago, there lived a farmer. The farmer owned a watering pot, and for many years the farmer would carry his pot from his big old farmhouse at the top of the hill, down the road to his fields below.

The watering pot was a kind pot, always talking with and listening to the other tools that lived in the shed next to the farmhouse. Mostly, the pot was happy. There was just one problem. The pot had a crack in it.

The crack made the watering pot feel broken and useless. “How can I be of any value when I can’t even hold my water?” the pot thought to himself.

The watering pot loved the farmer, so one day he decided to talk to the farmer about his crack. “I don’t know if you have noticed,” the pot said softly, on the brink of tears. “But I have a crack. I don’t think I’m of any value to you anymore. It’s okay if you want to throw me out and get a new pot.”

The farmer was quiet and thought for a while. To the watering pot, it seemed like hours, although it was probably just a few minutes. Finally, the farmer brought the pot to the window, overlooking the fields below. “I want to show you something,” he told the pot.

As the watering pot looked out the window, down on the road and fields below, he noticed something. On the left side of the road, nothing grew. It was like a barren dessert. But on the right side of the road, where the farmer walked each day carrying the leaky pot, it was lush and green, with trees, plants, and beautiful flowers.

“I think I’ll keep you,” the farmer said.

Friday, April 9, 2021

Life's Pressure Cooker and How to Regulate It

 


A sweet childhood memory I have is being in my maternal grandmothers old house. It was really an old shack on the outside, but inside it was full of love that spoke to all the senses. Snuggles with Grandma and her homemade quilts, smells of a meal always cooking, sights of old treasures she would happily tell stories about, love totally surrounded you when you were there.

A sound I always associate with Grandma's house is the sound of an old fashioned pressure cooker. As a child, we lived in the big city, but would make the hours long trip to the country to visit Grandma. In the south, boiled peanuts were a staple for my grandparents and a true treat for my parents and I.  During our summer visits, Grandma would boil peanuts in her old pressure cooker. She would fill the pot full of peanuts, water and salt and let them cook for hours. After a while the pressure cooker would begin to make noises! A gentle rocking of the pressure regulator would begin.  I now understand that this small, round piece works by letting steam out to keep the pressure below the desired level. But as a child I loved hearing the progression of a small ticking noise that rose to a steady hissing and the delectable smell of the peanuts cooking. Finally, two bowls were produced, one full of hot, boiled peanuts and an empty bowl to put the peanut shells in. Hours were spent sitting on the front porch, sharing bowls and eating boiled peanuts together.



Now, close to 40 years later, the term 'pressure cooker' does not conjure up such pleasant memories. It brings to mind an intense emotion. It has similarities to Grandma's old pressure cooker - a small simmer that begins and builds and builds. But instead of producing a delicious treat, our internal pressure cookers can often lead to a dangerous internal explosion. 

Pressures are a part of life. There is always something in our lives that can get the pressure cooker process going. We need to have a 'pressure regulator' active in our lives. This will keep the steam from building up to dangerous levels. To derail disaster when the pressures of life get high, I have learned to lean on the promises of God's Word. The opposite of pressure, is peace. When pressures rise, I seek to find an antidote of peace. Some of my favorite verses to go to in times of pressure are:

Isaiah 26:3 "You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You."

Phillipians 4:6-7  "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;  and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."

In the pressure cooker of life, may God's Word find a place in our heart to take our rising pressure and fill it with His peace. The end product is even better than a bowl of hot, boiled peanuts! It is the ability to live well in the midst of pressure filled world. 



Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Don't Walk So Fast!

 This week, on my day off from work, the weather was picture perfect! Spring is in the air and as I did my errands, I made a stop at the Lowe's garden shop. They had beautiful flowers in abundance, so much time was spent soaking in all the beauty and deciding which ones were going home with me. 

While checking out at the cash register with my cart full of flower buddies, a lady came behind me looking for a shopping cart. There was not one close by, so she decided to follow me out to my car and take my cart. (sounds kinda creepy, but that is just how fellow gardeners roll)!  As I checked out and walked with her in the parking lot, my mind was on the next stop and getting home to spend time planting the flowers. After a short distance, she exclaimed "Boy, those short legs move really fast!". I naturally walk fast and with my mind racing ahead to the next thing on the agenda, I didn't pay attention to her trying to keep up. 

After her comment, I slowed down and tried to engage with her. She waited as I unloaded the cart and then took it back to the store to fill it with her garden buys. A quick lesson came to mind as I left. The current season of life I an in, is much slower than previous ones. There is no pressing place to be, no time limit, no reason to be in such a rush, other than the focus of self. 

Redeeming the time, is a phrase in the Bible to make the most of each moment. It takes an extra measure of diligence and attention when the focus in on my own agenda. For years, I've told myself to slow down, pay attention to what's going on around me and be alert for ways to brighten the day of others. 

Everyone around us has a need to be seen, noticed and valued. Opportunities are often missed when we are distracted. But, if we are alert, we can use our eyes, smiles and words to bring a blessing to others. It doesn't have to take much effort, but it does take a heart open to receiving and giving out God's love. 

I made it home that day, planted my flowers and enjoy sitting on the porch and enjoying their beauty. They are a true gift that will keep on giving. The same thing happens when we notice others and plant seeds of love and kindness in their lives, The beauty shines through and lightens hearts for days to come. 





Monday, March 8, 2021

Irresistible Scent of Grace

 


The sense of smell has to be my favorite of all the senses. I jokingly share I am in scent overdrive because growing up as a child, my mother was severly allergic to fragrances and our family had a strict no scent lifestyle. EVERYTHNG we purchased and used was labeled "unscented' - what a sad and lonely word! Memories of passing people in the store with a lingering fragrance still make me smile. 

When I got married and had my own home, scents became my love language. I wanted to smell good and wanted an aroma all through my home, laundry, car etc. Candles, plug ins, fabric softener are frequently used and the stronger fragrance is always chosen. 

There is even a Bible verse that speaks of the beauty of an aroma - II Corinthians 2:15  "For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life."

But everyone takes scent differently. During gatherings at my home, there have been several candles lit, creating a beautiful atmosphere, when someone walks in and cannot breathe. Perfume can be overwhelming. Highly scented laundry detergent causes reactions to those with sensitive skin. Apparently, sometimes, less is best! This realization hit home recently from my mail carrier. 

Being a frequent card mailer, to add a special touch, I would place the cards in a ziplock bag with a cotton ball dabbed with essential oil. Doesn't everyone want to receive a scented letter? By leaving the card in the bag, the fragrance soaks in and permeates the card. One day, a note from the mail carrier was left in the mailbox.  Word for word it said..."Please, Please, Please ... no perfume on letters. Thanks." Message received. Not everyone loves to be saturated with fragrance. It can be overwhelming and unwanted. My role is to be sensitive and lower the scent dial down a notch. 

A recent devotion about leadership reminded me of some similarities of the overbearing infuence of scent. Leadership involves a lot of “doing.” We set goals, make plans, schedule, help train others, organize files, order workbooks, facilitate activities and groups—you name it, a leader is doing it. I am a natural 'doer'. Give me a handful of projects to do and let me flutter around to get them done. But in all the busyness of “doing,” there is an important element of leadership we want to be careful not to forget. It’s about “being” not “doing”—being the person of character, who bears the fruit of the Spirit in their life. The focus is on being someone who more and more resembles the Lord we are seeking to know better, spending time with and allowing His Word to permeate every aspect of life. (That works better than the cotton ball dabbed with essential oil!).

Developing, deepening, and sharing that spiritual place is what our Christian walk, especially as leaders, is all about. Today more than ever we need moral purity and visible godly character in our role as leaders. We can be busy doing outside leadership and neglect what’s taking place within us—our inner leadership. Daily prayer and daily reading His Word are foundational to a stronger spiritual place. Being doers of His Word and not hearers only is not only a good idea, it’s a biblical directive. He wants us to be of a certain character and then to live that out in our day-to-day lives. Doing so makes us even more effective as leaders.

Leadership honestly boils down to influence and we all influence others. Instead of putting on the perfume of doing - taking valuable energy to find the strongest scent, may our lives be filled with the beautiiful natural scent of Christ. When His love fills our heart, it permeates to those around us. Genuine Christianity points others to Christ and draws them with a desire for Him to touch their lives and bring His love, peace and transformation. That is an irresistible scent. 



Friday, February 5, 2021

Morning Has Broken

For Five Minute Friday the word prompt is "Sunrise".  This is my favorite time of the day and I've written numerous posts on the wonder and beauty of this daily gift from God. This post immediately came to mind to share for today's FMF. I can still feel the anticipation of catching sunrise at the beach! 

August - 2016
Although the beach is always beautiful, my favorite time of the day there is sunrise. To see the sun breaking over the ocean is truly a sight to behold. 

On a recent beach trip, we spent 3 mornings going for an early morning walk on the beach. On the first morning, the sun was already up in the sky.  It was pretty, but we decided to go a little earlier the next morning to try and catch a better view of the rising sun. On Day 2 the sun wasn't too high, but had already broken.  It was beautiful and peaceful to see, but we knew there was a moment of the morning that we were missing. 

Day 3, we hit it just right.  As we walked to the beach, the sun had not risen, but many people knew what was coming!  There was such a spirit of expectancy as many people were out walking, cameras in hand and eyes on the horizon.  Sunrise is a pretty quick event and if the perfect timing is missed, the wonder of a new day quickly slips away.  


As our walk began, the sun peeked out through the clouds.  Brighter and brighter it became, glistening across the water to create a spectacular sight.




People stopped, stared in awe and sought to capture the moment with photographs. To catch the glory and beauty of a sunrise takes a balance of correct timing along with the patience of waiting for a brand new day to begin.  But those who watch and wait feel that intimate connection with our Lord and Creator and begin the day with rejoicing. 


As Christians, we know God is the Creator and God of the universe. We believe He created the heavens and the earth and every day creation bears witness to His greatness.  That week, tragic events were happening in our country.  The news was filled with grief, pain, loss and uncertainty. But as we walked on the beach to witness the sunrise, we joined many others who sought that certainty that God was still in control.  What a sight to behold and a truth to hold fast to. 

"From the rising of the sun, to the going down of the same, the name of the Lord is to be praised."




Friday, January 22, 2021

Fix Her Up....Five Minute Friday


I have a sister in law who can fix anything. Give her a home improvement project and she dives in headfirst and stays with it through completion. No detours or roadblocks stop her, she keeps at it until it is finished.  I married into a family of 4 boys who are all self sufficient and able to perform household repairs independently. The family I was raised in always called someone in to do any home projects. Do it yourself projects were foreign to me when I got married, but the value of being able to fix things quickly became clear. 

I am the opposite of my sister in law. Home projects or repairs terrify me. Identifying and problem solving are just too overwhelming, take too much time and effort. Now, people fixing - that is a different story and  is something I can get into! 

With people, a problem area or character flaw can be quickly identified and often, I have a remedy ready! When situations are shared, my mind can quickly find a solution that would help fix the issue. With a natural bend to help others, 'fixing them' seems like the most helpful thing to do.  Except - you truly cannot 'fix' anyone. 

Each of us are a magnificent and unique creation, designed divinely by God with traits, talents, gifts and equipped with a purpose. In God's plan of relationships, He ordained a divine flow - love God first and love others next. 

Mark 12:30,31 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  There is no commandment greater than these.

We love God because He first loved us. He loved us when we had no idea of the depth of His love. He didn't look at us through the lens of improvement - seeing our flaws and the areas that needed fixing. He loved us and knew as we began to love Him, His fullness would make the changes that were needed.

In Ephesians 3 is a beautiful prayer ..."that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love,  may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height, to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

The desire to fix others will always be in my heart. But again, in God's Word, a divine order is found. We are to fix our eyes on Jesus - "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith..."  If we seek to fix our eyes on Jesus, He is the one who can fix, mend, heal and restore us. We will never be perfect this side of heaven, but as we trust Him to make the changes in us, His love fills us and spills out into others. Fixing others or wanting to make changes in their life fades as the light of God's truth shines in our heart. Only God can fix us and fix others, but there is nothing the flow of His love cannot do.



Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Just Show Up!

 I could be called an avid walker. Walking to me is more than exercise, it is life! It is joining my heart with nature, moving my body, seeing the glory of God's creation all around me, clearing my mind and reducing stress. Mornings are my favorite time of the day to walk, besides the freshness and newness of the day, it is the window of free time before work and daily tasks. 

My walking route and time are consistent each day and so is my neighbor "D". She rides her bicycle each morning faithfully. We pass each other on the road most mornings, regardless of weather, we see one another and know that faithfulness and love of our activity is what drives us. 



'D' and I occasionally take time to stop and chat, but usually it's a smile and 'hello'. As she passes by she always says 'you have a blessed day, baby'. And I smile every time!  Last year, our family took a long vacation. I told "D" we would be gone so she wouldn't worry about not seeing me. The first day back to my walking routine, she rode up behind me and told me as she saw me walking ahead  "my back never looked so good'! She missed me!

"D" doesn't do anything special, she simply shows up every morning with a smile and kind word. She is in the midst of doing what she loves, but incorporates love and joy while doing it. What a lesson we can dig out of that....just show up.

Although our schedules and days look different, we each have a sphere of influence around us. It begins in our home with our families and may extend to our jobs, churches or community. How do we show up each day those around us? 

A smile and a greeting given every day sets a good tone. But consistency makes a difference. When those around us know we can be depended upon to do what we say, or to have their best interests at heart, trust is built. When we stay the course to be kind, considerate even through challenges, speaking words filled with truth but seasoned with grace, respect is earned. Relationships matter and are true gifts when handled with care. 

It may sound like a lot of effort to invest in others and it does take sacrifice and nurturing. But if we begin small, by just showing up day after day, beautiful foundations can be built. Start today with a smile and kind word and build it into a reflection of grace! 



Tuesday, January 12, 2021

2020 From the Other Side

 




As much as I love New Year's Day and the exhilaration of a fresh new year, the month of January can also be pretty special.

As the weeks go by this month, goals pop up in the mind and if we are serious about making a change, the goal goes to paper. But, if the goal or change is to stick, it must be practiced and developed. 

As many shared the feeling of being happy to see 2020 leave, I've taken a pause to look at it from the other side. Through the year, a lesson was learned that there is really not much under our own control. The things I loved and faithfully practiced were simply wiped away. Church meetings, my job, relationships, hospitality, even the health I make a priority couldn't stand up to the challenges of the year.  

Looking at several months of 2020, grief, sickness, loss, fear, chaos and politics were constantly in front of us. It was through faith that while our world seemed to be falling apart, we trusted that God was still in control. The circumstances may not change, but God does in work in the heart even in midst of chaos. Day by day as we continued through the year, He kept us, and now, here we are on the other side. We may be changed, bruised or battered, but we are here. We made it through to the other side.

2021 promises to be hold it's own challenges, but looking back at 2020 from the other side, there are some valuable lessons to carry along to equip us. Relationships matter and are worth the effort to maintain, even if we have to get creative about connecting. Faith and hope aren't simply words, but life giving and life changing qualities. Instead of complaining about isolation, we can make the most of it. Learn something new, spend quiet time seeking God and asking Him to do the work in you that will equip and prepare you for the future. Find the silver lining and do not take anything for granted. Communicate well and learn to do it in different ways. Let love guide all you do. 

As we travel through circumstances of life, God will make sure nothing is wasted. Our experiences and journey to the other side of them can be a help and encouragement for others. No matter how small, share with victory as you make your way through to the other side. 

Beginning 2021, I want to make it a year of life changes. Nothing drastic to be done, but a heart that is set upon seeking the direction of the Lord. Understanding that the words I speak and write when guided by Him, have the power to be life-changing. As we allow God to mold us and make us like Him, our vision changes. How does He see others - each one is a person created by God and has value. What does He see in each one that could be sought out and refined? Nuggets of gold often need to be dug out of the dirt. Actions matter, faithfulness to our word makes a statement. When we seek God to do a work in us and through us, nothing is impossible for Him. 

There is no room for pretentious relationships, or vain appearances. Be genuine and be there for others. Let's take the lessons learned last year and apply them and make 2021 a Life Changing year. 

P.S. A podcast this morning filled my heart with hope for the days ahead. Here are a few quotes...

"Because as dark as it gets, God is at work. God is on His throne. God is still accomplishing His purposes. The world, our world, our country, desperately needs for the people of God to be light in the darkness."

"The problems we are facing are not going to be solved by any political party, nor are they going to be solved by science or by any other human efforts. These are problems that require diving intervention. That’s why this is a time for us to cry out to the Lord and to pray as we have never prayed before."

"Heaven rules. Heaven has ruled all throughout 2020 and every year that preceded it. Heaven still rules in 2021. There is no power of evil, there is no darkness that can sabotage God’s redemptive story and plan. Heaven rules."



Friday, January 8, 2021

Five Minute Friday - Redeeming the Time



Hello Friday and the completion of the first full week of 2021! This post is a writing exercise for Five Minute Friday - an opportunity to receive a writing word prompt and write for 5 minutes your thoughts. Today's word is TIME. 

TIME is such an appropriate word as we begin a New Year. There is something about a New Year or a fresh start that opens up an opportunity for change. One of the greatest challenges many people face is with TIME - we struggle with how much we time we have in a day, how to best use that time and how to make the most of it. We are allotted the same amount - 24 hours, but our circumstances and season of life determine the challenges of using time wisely. 

One of my favorite New Year's Bible verses is Ephesians 5:15-16 - " See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise,  redeeming the time, because the days are evil." This verse always seems to bring clarity to the importance of time and how to be purposeful in using it to the best of my ability. 

The phrase to 'redeem the time' caught my attention today. To redeem something means to buy it back, to regain possession of it. Time is a gift from God, and none of us know how much of it we are allotted. Only God knows how much time each of us has on this earth to make decisions that will impact eternity. When God says we should be “redeeming the time,” He wants us to live in constant awareness of that ticking clock and make the most of the time we have.  Rather than waste our days on frivolous pursuits that leave no lasting imprint, Scripture instructs us to be diligent about doing good. 

As we seek to redeem our time, we must first be aware that there are distractions all around us that tempt us to waste time. Pleasures, indulgences and down time can all have a spot in our lives, but it is wise to put them in their proper place and not allow them to take over and be consuming. How quickly if left unattended, blocks of time spent on frivolous things can multiply and take away our attention from things that will make a difference. We must be vigilant to redeem the time. 

 Prioritizing our day can be a great way to begin to redeem our time. One of my favorite morning verses is Psalms 143:8 "Cause me to hear Your loving-kindness in the morning, for in You do I trust; Cause me to know the way in which I should walk, For I lift up my soul to You". When we begin the day asking for the wisdom of God, we can walk through the day assured we will be directed to make the best choices.  We can begin every morning by committing our day to the Lord and asking Him to help us do something that day that has eternal significance. By beginning our day with eternity in mind, we become more aware of spiritual nudges in our hearts. We look for ways we can honor the Lord, help someone else, or utilize our time in productive ways.

Time does fly. But, we can redeem it by taking the opportunity to use it wisely. One excellent use of time is in studying God’s word faithfully and as we follow and obey, our time will be fruitful, fulfilling and will make an impact now and in generations to come. 



Sunday, January 3, 2021

Bringing Balance to the New Year

 Early on New Year's Day, I was laying awake, wishing I could sleep in a little later, but pondered in my mind this was the first morning of 2021. The sound of a ping from the other room alerted me that a text had come in to my cell phone. If someone was reaching out this early in the morning, it needed some attention.

Grabbing my coffee and my phone, the text was from a dear friend, sharing concern about a loved one who is struggling with illness in the hospital. The text conversation went from her sharing concern, to my giving an update. The loved one is in very serious condition and my friend shared the depth of her prayer of pleading with God for the miracle that is needed. But she also shared the alternative, if God didn't answer the prayer the way we would like, He was still in control. "Does that make sense?" she asked. 

Wrapped in a cozy blanket, coffee and Bible in hand, our text conversation continued. Some hard thoughts were shared, thoughts of those critical times where we place our longings and desires aside for the good of others. No matter the outcome, God is still God. He is in control and we can wrap that truth around our souls. 

These were pretty deep thoughts to begin the New Year! My devotion followed the theme with a reminder of the balance of mercy and truth. Mercy alone is kind and gracious but offers no depth or encouragement to change. Truth given without a dose of mercy can cut sharply and deeply. Blended together, hard issues can be approached, discussed or dealt with accompanied by the softness needed to cushion and encourage spiritual growth and depth. 

This year is beginning with several hard things. Loved ones and friends in the hospital, a local accident that resulted in a fatality. A young man we know involved in an accident and in the hospital. Life can be hard, we hurt for others. Hard and meaningful conversations will be needed. We will need to come face to face with things we would rather not have to deal with. But Grace......grace helps cushion us in the hard times and equips us to go through them. 

So as we bravely face the unknowns of 2021 - we can move forward with truth and grace, even in the midst of hard things. 

You’re meant to do hard and holy things because they are the next thing — to get to the best thing.

You’re made to do hard and holy things — because there’s no other way to get to the happy and holy things.

Be small. Be Loved. Beloved.

Let yourself be loved anyway He wants to love you. God is always, always good & you are always, always, always. loved.

Be still …. & know.

Believe in Him for impossABLE things.


Believe in Him who makes the ridiculously impossible into the miraculously possible,
the unbelievable into the you-better-believe-it,
the never into the now.


Be the brave people who pray it bold in the space between the end of one year & the beginning of a New Year: BUT GOD.

In the middle of things seemingly not working out for us —- God is working out something in us.


Find Sticky Notes for the Soul HERE to give printable reminders of the beautiful balance of grace and truth for your New Year. 

She Laughs

This weekend is Mother's Day and you have probably noticed an abundance of beautiful items that grace the entrance to the stores we visi...