In the midst of the storm

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This was last Thursday.

The track meet continued even though it was raining.

The track meet continued even though it was very windy.

The track meet paused briefly while it hailed, but didn’t stop.

In fact, I was impressed at the drive of the athletes in such weather.

Our daughter asked her coach if she had ran faster in the races she entered than her best times at other meets  (it’s called a pr).

“PR? Not in this weather, you’re not going to PR.”

Then he assured her she ran very well.

Just as the meet was finishing up the sun broke through the clouds.

A rainbow.

In the midst of the storm our athletes gave their best.

In the midst of the wind blown rain, they ran their races, or jumped or threw.

It is in the midst of trials, tragedy, and tests we prove a few truths.

When I’m struggling with poor health I’m not going to run my race as well as when I feel fine.

When people I love are dealing with weighty circumstances the effort to continue in the daily grind will be more.

When God is showing me areas of sin in my life, I’m going to feel discomfort, even pain.

Yet through the storm He is ever constant.

Through the effort, He builds strength.

Through the clouds, He breaks through with beauty.

In the midst of the storm it is going to be difficult to run my very best, but the self discipline and perseverance I gain are well worth it.

It causes me to be able to run the race of life even better when times and seasons are sunnier.

As I look toward another weekend and the week following I’m asking the Lord to break through the storm of busy.

To help me run no matter the weather.

I look toward the Lord instead of the storm.

Keep it simple

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Beautifully simple.

My husband coined the phrase while gazing down at this lovely flower.

He’s not the kind of guy one would expect to be looking at flowers.

Yet, the simplicity of the white petals against the dark center attracted his attention and we bought the plant.

How often I forget the beauty in simplicity.

It has been a very full and often rushed two weeks since coming home from our trip.

I’ve slid into the error of working hard, harder, and hardest on my own strength, guaranteeing I’ll get it all done.

Nope.

It normally guarantees nothing but a headache, literally, and my poor family trying to get Momma back to her happy face.

The Lord spoke to me about all the work and try I’ve been putting out.

He reminded me He never called me to do it alone.

He has been with me from the beginning and when I rest in His ways everything gets done, well.

The simplicity of waiting on the Lord.

The beauty of living a flexible schedule, open and willing to change as He leads.

I’ve been neglecting that truth.

My morning devotion brought me back to the excellent truth of resting in God.

“I cried to the LORD with my voice, and He heard me from His holy hill. Selah
I layed down and slept;
I awoke, for the LORD sustained me.
I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people who have set themselves up against me all around. ” Psalm 3: 4-6 NKJV

At a loss for words

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Not unlike this flower which hasn’t really gotten a chance to bloom is a tiny baby named Levi.

He was an emergency C-section because in an ultrasound they discovered his intestinal track wasn’t working.

After birth he was in surgery.

It’s been a tough battle since that day.

As I dropped off a boy from track practice I heard the latest news.

He’s going in for surgery again Thursday morning.

His intestinal track is still not working and he may not even have a gallbladder.

My friend’s eyes welled up with tears as she shared the news of this beloved baby.

I had nothing to say.

At school we took time to write letters to the family which will be given to the parents as our Assistant Pastor and Pastor pray for Levi in his hospital home.

One of our teachers cried softly as she related the struggles the family is going through.

I had nothing to say.

I picked up a pen trying to write.

Trying to find words of comfort.

Yet words seem so meaningless when I know the depth of pain.

I can only imagine the ache in the hearts of the parents, grandparents, extended family…

I’m still at a loss for words.

But I found something to write :

“We are praying for you.”

And it’s true.

We pray everyday for baby Levi.

I have friends whose entire family pray together every day for baby Levi.

And now I’m asking–

Will you take a moment and pray for baby Levi?

Spring clean

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My daughter took this as we were preparing to land in Seattle.

I was blessed to be able to visit my grandmother, aunt, uncle, and cousins recently.

Unfortunately my hubby couldn’t take off from work and stayed home.

While he was here he started a major spring cleaning.

To the point of bleaching the white kitchen cabinets kind of cleaning.

It was a lovely surprise to come home to.

Of course I’m now in the place of daily cleaning, trying to keep up the beauty.

It reminds me of my walk with Jesus.

I rarely need a huge overhaul spiritually if I keep up with the daily spiritual relationship.

Yes, there are those moments which cause extra time: the soup boiling all over the stove or news of a loved one being given a number of days left on Earth.

However, normally to keep on top of clean it takes self discipline and attention to details.

Did I speak only words of edification today?

Did I wash at least one load of clothes?

Did I put priorities first?

Did I stay humble?

As I polish the furniture am I allowing God to polish my character?

Sometimes I can say, “yes” and sometimes not.

That is why this is self discipline, it’s not easy.

Thankfully I know God is walking me through each step, guiding me each day.

Continue

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Our middle girl earned her driver’s permit last week.

I smiled broadly as the lady behind the counter gave me careful instructions on how to teach my daughter to drive.

I didn’t interrupt with the fact that I’ve already taught one daughter how to drive.

I just listened and understood she wasn’t attacking my teaching ability,  she was simply doing her job.

Recently I had another experience where I was the one talking, only my well meant efforts were simply seen as an attack on the hearer’s ability.

I felt bad.

Had to deal with my feelings in return,  after all I was only trying to help…

Ehh.

Continue.

Keep working on the attitude in myself, and keep in check my words.

Perhaps I could have phrased what I was saying differently.

Maybe my tone of voice could have been better.

Possibly the timing was poor.

So, as I walk through the day I’m looking for opportunities to get it right.

Chances to continue to love.

“And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.” 1 John 4:21 NKJ

There are days when loving those around me are easier than others.

“Lord, please help me to love those around me. Keep my words from bringing those around me to harm. Help me to speak with kindness, especially when the words I need to say are words of correction. Teach me to hear the heart behind those words which cause me hurt. Help me to hear and apply words of correction to my own life. Thank You for always walking with me. Thank You for teaching me how to continue in love.”

Effort

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As beautiful as these are,
they take effort.

Recently I was chatting with a mother on how much time and attention she put into her oldest four children.

Her efforts have definitely paid off, they are terrific people.

As the weather begins to allow more time outdoors I realize how much effort is required to return my yard to the beauty of last season.

Effort is required in the things which are truly important.

Walking with Jesus is tough.

John wrote to the church reminding them to hold on and walk in the truth.

“Little children, let us not love with word or tongue, but in deed and truth.” 1John 3:18 NASB

It takes effort to love others.

It takes continued decisions to walk in loving others.

Forgiveness, kindness, self-sacrifice,…
all come from a choice to give them.

Yet, we are only showing a tiny glimmer of the love and effort which was given to us by Christ.

“By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent his only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love,  not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be propitiation for our sins.” 1John 4: 9-10

Lord, thank You for loving me first. Please help me to love those You have placed around me, both my family, my friends,  my neighbors,  and any strangers You would like me to reach out to. Help me to understand that true love has boundaries and it is only in the truth of Your Word that can bring new life, wisdom,  and hope. Thank You for the effort You made. Help me to be diligent in my life. Amen.

Surprise!

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Bunnies!

My wonderful father-in-law called me last week.

“Hopie, I’m bringing you two baby bunnies.”

He was a bit nervous, knowing my hubby was still away on a business trip and I don’t know the first thing about rabbits.

“No problem!  I’ll get a hold of my friend. See you soon!”

My dear friend dropped everything and brought over a cage and a water bottle she wasn’t using for her rabbits.

My mom graciously let us have some hay.

My hubby told me over the phone where and how to set up a heat lamp.

(It is snowing so I figured they needed some extra warmth.)

With that we found ourselves the owners of two tiny bunnies.

I was surprised.

God knew exactly what, how, and when.

God provided all the needs.

God even cares about something as simple as helping me care for the unexpected.

So I’m trying to build a memory here.

Because I’m not good at handling life’s surprises with calm decisions and wise reactions.

I wish I was!

However, God has again provided.

He is my strength, my stability, and my substance.

“Lord, thank You for helping me handle this surprise so completely. Please guard my heart from pride or selfish ambition which would hinder me from seeing You in every surprise. Please help me to look at life through faith and not fear. Thank You for Your faithfulness. I know I can trust You no matter what surprises await me.”