Personally

I’ve been finding blogging a bit more of a challenge.

Perhaps it’s because I have been busier than usual.

Maybe it’s due to some personal circumstances.

More than both of those, I’ve simply lacked the words.

Because life sometimes leaves you speechless.

This year, more so than past years, save one.

In 2011, when the Lord walked me through what I think of as my “Job” experience, I too was speechless.

This year hasn’t been like that one.

But the amount of unexpected change has been pretty nearly the same.

Because I’m someone who finds routine and plans comforting and in a way a security, all the rotation of change has been less than relaxing.

But I know better than to allow stress.

Instead, I’m learning a new way to rest in God’s will.

To take each change as an opportunity to learn and a sign to seek God.

Because I know that God is working through each circumstance and I want to join with Him.

I want to serve Him during and through every step of each day.

Not all change is bad.

This month is “birthday season” for us, where three of our four children have birthdays.

Yesterday, it was Jase’s.

I’m so thankful for the birthday of each of our children.

Blessed beyond measure that they are another year older.

But it’s always held a tinge of loss.

I’ve always understood each year means one step closer to the finish line where I hand them into adulthood and change rolls completely.

As someone who has poured my life into my children for the past 22 years, it’s a sobering reality.

Yes, we have two adult daughters and are blessed by our sons-in-law, whom we love very much.

Yes, I adore being a grandma and I’m so thankful for the way God is working in our adults.

Yes, it is a change which is a blessing and a beautiful opportunity.

No, I don’t always look forward to it.

Because once they cross the finish line our relationship changes forever.

It’s a good change.

But not an easy one for me.

So, personally, I’ve found all the changes a bit overwhelming.

Both the ones I can see coming and those which have been unexpected.

As I walk through these things with the Lord I hope you, my dear reader, will pardon me if I’m without words.

Or maybe if I speak on other topics the Lord is walking me through during it all.

Because I know He’s got my best at hand.

He’s working through each day and in my life in incredible ways.

Because:

Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.
I John 4:15‭-‬16 NKJV

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You so much for Your Word! Thank You for Your faithfulness! How I love the fact that You never leave me nor forsake me. You walk with me in all things. Your ways are perfect and Your truth is life. Lord, thank You for each of the changes. Thank You for the blessings of birthdays. Thank You for giving us so much to cling to in Your Word. Lord Jesus, thank You for another day. Please help me to live resting in Your presence, walking in Your will, surrendered to You. Please help me to serve You as I complete the tasks at hand. Thank You for all You have done and are doing. Most of all, thank You for salvation. I praise Your holy name, Jesus. Amen.

Rest

Matthew 11:28 KJV — Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

What weighs down the soul?

What things cause hearts to be heavy and burdened?

Grief, fear, pain, loss, need,…sin.

Behind most things, which weigh like lead upon the soul, is sin.

Other’s sin or our own, cause such pain, such hurt, such damage.

It doesn’t take much sin nor does it take generations of sin to wreck the peace of a heart.

Look at Adam and Eve.

Their own sin drove them out of the Garden and separated them from all that God had provided for them there.

Their son’s sin caused them to be the first parents to lose a son.

And one really can’t find a worse way to lose a child, he was murdered by his brother.

They literally lost both sons in one day, one moment of sin.

Which cultivated the broken and hurting sin filled world.

The sin at the Garden, the sin of Adam and Eve, the sin of every person, Jesus came to save.

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
Matthew 11:28‭-‬30 NKJV

True rest is found in Christ Jesus alone.

When our soul is safe in the cleansing blood of Christ we find no need to fear.

Peace, joy, security, goodness, kindness, faith, love, and so much more is in the gift of salvation.

Yes, there are still the daily struggles with our flesh which wars against the Spirit.

Yes, there are still continually trials and tribulations from the enemy.

Yes, there is still the pain, grief, loss, need, and all the other consequences to sin all around us, but even in it all we have hope.

Jesus promises to return.

He will deal with sin and the enemy.

Jesus is preparing a place for us.

This world is not our home, but merely a journey.

And while we travel we have the privilege to share the Good News of the blessed rest we have in Christ.

Praise the Lord!

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You so much for salvation. Thank You that we need not strive and labor to earn our way into Your presence, because we could never do it. Thank You for making the way, for bridging the gap, for paving the road. Lord, sometimes I forget that I need not strive and struggle. Sometimes I think I have to do this or that. I forget to lean on You, to seek You when it’s difficult, to rest in Your ways when I’m frightened or disappointed. Lord Jesus, thank You for loving me. Thank You for saving me. Please help me to rest in You each and every day. I praise Your holy name, Jesus! Amen.

Yesterday was…

Thanksgiving for our family.

My husband went to work on Thursday so we had already made plans to celebrate on Sunday.

We sang some Christmas carols.

(I know we were blending two seasons, but we love Christmas music and sing it as early as possible.)

We read the Pilgrim’s story.

My heart breaking all over again for the sacrifices those dear people made.

Then we took turns writing what we are thankful for in the back of the book.

My husband carved the turkey and we discussed a few memories while filling out plates.

“Well, two years in a row. We over cooked the broccoli and cheese.”

“It must be that old crockpot. It wasn’t in there more than an hour.”

“Remember how people were eating your honey-butter straight out of the dish while we were in the UK, Mom?”

“They did?! I don’t remember that.”

“Yeah, it was for the cornbread, but Daddy caught them passing it around like a side dish.”

“What’s in these mashed potatoes? They’re really good.”

“Butter, sour cream, milk,…”

“Do you remember the play we put on at the school?”

“Yes, and how the one line he did turned the play into a comedy!”

“I think of him every time I read that!”

It didn’t take long for talking to subside into eating.

After cleaning up most of the family played a board game twice and then a card game..

Later, we watched three episodes of the Chosen.

(If you’ve not seen Season One of the Chosen, you can download their app for free. Dallas Jenkins is the creator and it’s wonderful.)

It was a lovely day of thankfulness and family.

Something my husband and I cherish and realize won’t always be.

Our children are growing up so fast and we know they belong to God.

We want them to go, to do whatever God calls them.

We want them to be people completely surrendered to His perfect will.

Which means we have to surrender our own desires and plans.

Because they only live under the same roof with us for a season.

A season we are so thankful for.

No matter what the future holds, may we never spend so much energy preparing for tomorrow that we miss the blessings of today.

As my husband began his prayer yesterday: “Lord, we really have so much to be thankful for…”

He’s so right!

We have today.

Dear Lord Jesus,

It’s true, we have so much to thank You for. You have given us so much each and every day. Although things can be scary and the future still seems so unpredictable, I thank You that You promise to never leave us. Thank You for providing for us. Thank You for carrying us through. Lord, please continue to help us see the blessings in today. Please help us to live wholly unto You in each day. Lord, we want to serve You, to be close to You, to love You. Please help us to do so. Thank You for yesterday. Thank You for today. I praise Your holy name, Jesus. Amen.

November 29

Today’s prayer:

Set a watch, O Lord , before my mouth; keep the door of my lips. Incline not my heart to any evil thing, to practise wicked works with men that work iniquity: and let me not eat of their dainties.
Psalms 141:3‭-‬4 KJV

Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for all things. Lord, Your ways are amazing. Your plans are right and merciful. Lord Jesus, You watch over the weak, the helpless, those who are sick or hurting, and the innocent. Lord, You know all, even the thoughts of men and women. You see all. Thank You for salvation. Thank You for Your love, kindness, and faithfulness. Lord Jesus, I worship You and praise You for all Your blessings. On this first day of the week help us remember that day You rose from the grave, overthrowing death, sin, and separation from God. Lord, please save, heal, protect, guide, and return. Please shine Your light of truth into this world. Let the lies of the enemy be seen for what they are. Let those who would harm others for their own purpose be stopped. Lord, please return integrity, honor, justice, and righteousness. Please purify Your people. Beginning with me. Thank You. Amen.

Despite the mess

Our daughter was nursing our grandson.

When she suddenly realized there was a problem.

Without being too graphic, anyone who knows babies understands: sometimes it gets messy.

I grabbed two old towels and wrapped him in one.

As she handed him over he spit up.

More mess.

I left her to cleaning herself and carried the baby to the other bathroom.

I put another towel on the floor and began to remove soiled clothes.

I changed his diaper.

In a fresh diaper and clean from all mess, he was laying on his back looking up at me.

He smiled.

Of course I smiled back.

We had several minutes of smiles and babytalk before his mom and dad came in with fresh clothes.

Much later I was blessed to sit in the rocking chair and rock him to sleep wrapped carefully in a blanket.

This morning I was reflecting upon our day yesterday.

And the Lord brought to mind this moment I shared with our grandson.

As a baby he’s completely unaware of the fact that he stopped all other activities with his mess.

He wasn’t embarrassed by his mess.

He was completely oblivious.

He’s not old enough to understand how his life suddenly stepped in and made our lives change.

What he was aware of was the love.

His little face when I was talking with him up held joy and security.

He obviously also felt better, but his smile said so much more.

His little smile said, “I’m happy to see you”.

Later, as he drifted off to sleep, his little face held peace and comfort.

And I see a beautiful picture of God’s love.

He loves me so much, that He cleaned me up from the stains of sin and death.

And it’s a continually thing, because I am a sinner and I need His cleansing daily.

As our grandson grows, he will become aware of his messes, like our granddaughter already has.

And when she’s made a mess she runs for the loving arms of her parents.

I too get to run to my Savior.

His arms are open.

His Word is ready to clean me, to shine truth into my mess and teach me how to put off those things which lead me to sin.

His voice is speaking to me, honing my heart, changing my perspective of the circumstance, and giving me guidance to live by.

And I can smile at Him, because I know He loves me.

Despite the mess I might have made, He loves me.

Because my favorite place to be is clean and warm, wrapped safely in His grace, resting in His peace.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your salvation. Thank You for shining Your truth into my heart and mind. Lord Jesus, please continue to teach me and hone my heart that I might not sin against You. Let nothing stand between us, but remove whatever would hinder our relationship, because You alone are worthy of all praise, honor, and glory. I never want to miss a moment with You, nor to have my walk with You hindered. Thank You for our family and the lessons I’m learning. Thank You for Your faithfulness and unending love. Lord Jesus, You alone are worthy. I praise Your holy name! Amen.

November 27

Today’s prayer:

Praise the Lord with the harp; Make melody to Him with an instrument of ten strings. Sing to Him a new song; Play skillfully with a shout of joy. For the word of the Lord is right, And all His work is done in truth.
Psalms 33:2‭-‬4 NKJV

Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You so much for this day. Lord, thank You for Your faithfulness in every day. Lord Jesus, it is in You alone we find comfort, security, and truth. Lord Jesus, it is only through You that we can be saved. Thank You for dieing on the cross and rising again to give us freedom from sin. Lord Jesus, please make Your ways seen, let even those who do not fear You, see and understand that You are God Almighty. Lord, please strengthen Your people. Let those who are called by Your name praise You wherever they are. Let them seek Your face and put off those things which are not honorable before You. Lord, let those called by Your name be filled with love, wisdom, and long suffering. Please make us more like You every day. Help us to shine Your truth to those who have yet to know You. Lord, please place Your Word in our mouths, Your will in our hearts, and Your perspective into our understanding. Thank You! Jesus, I lift up the poor, the weak, the sick, the broken, the lost, the prodigal, and the innocent before You. Lord, please reach through each one’s circumstances and touch, heal, mend, save, return, and protect. Lord, please put an end to violence and oppression of the helpless. Thank You that You love them more than life itself, that’s why You died. Thank You. We praise Your holy name. Amen.

November 26

Today’s prayer:

1 Chronicles 16:34 KJV — O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.

Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You Jesus for all Your blessings. Lord Jesus thank You for the breath in our lungs, the blood pumping through our bodies. Thank You for life and the ability to love. Lord Jesus, thank You for provision. Thank You for our family. Lord Jesus, thank You for Your mercy and grace. Thank You for a holiday which reminds us to stop and be thankful. Lord Jesus, thank You for a heritage of gratitude. May our hearts never forget You nor tire of giving You the praise You deserve. Thank You, Jesus. Amen.

A gift of gratitude

It was later in the afternoon.

I had required a rest after lunch, so Jase and I had resumed home school afterwards.

I wasn’t feeling amazingly well, so I was a bit slow on the uptake of what was happening.

Jase had just been reading aloud to me from his book when he stopped.

I looked up to see why, since he doesn’t like me to “look over his shoulder” while reading.

His face was serious and his eyes held something which I couldn’t place at first.

Then his voice:

“Mom, thank you for all your time helping me and teaching me things. Not just school work, but all the things you teach me.”

-pause, blink-

He’s serious.

Nothing about his face or tone was sarcasm.

“I just realized I don’t think I’ve ever said, ‘Thank you’ before.”

I couldn’t speak.

I just gave him a big hug.

He was a little put off by the silent tears on my cheeks.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to make you cry.”

“No, buddy. It’s a good cry.”

And thus I received the nicest gift of gratitude I’ve ever gotten near Thanksgiving.

It’s one I will cherish a long time.

And it made me think.

If this is how my son can touch my heart how does my gratitude touch the heart of God?

I’m sure it’s beyond my understanding.

Especially since His love is so much greater than mine.

1 Chronicles 16:8 KJV — Give thanks unto the LORD, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the people.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You so much for this precious gift from our son. Thank You for giving us our son. Lord Jesus, thank You for loving us so much more than we can possibly understand. Lord, thank You for walking with us in all things. Truly, You are worthy of all honor, gratitude, and praise. May our hearts never tire of looking upon Your mighty works and worshipping Your holy name. I love You! Amen.

A Psalm of Thanksgiving

Psalm 100 is beautiful and we’ll worth reading as we celebrate.

I plan on having our family read it before we eat our Thanksgiving meal.

Hopefully, I will also have time to make place cards with the verse on it, but if not that’s okay too.

The point is Jesus and being thankful to Him for all things.

These last two months the Lord has been speaking with me about giving thanks for all while holding it lightly.

It began somewhere in September I believe.

I was walking around the house and thanking God for different things, especially the ability to have a tidy, functional, and clean house.

When the Lord asked me a question.

Would you give it all up if I asked you to?

I was surprised.

September was our “one year” in this house and the idea of giving it all up to move again wasn’t that appealing.

But I know better than to with hold anything from my Lord.

“Lord, I want to say yes without hindrance or regret. I’m not there, but I want to be. Please help me to be willing to give it all up.”

And so began weeks of different circumstances which gave me many opportunities to say, “Lord, it all belongs to You. Do with it as You see fit.”

Then it rippled out of things and into other areas.

Like my family, my personal “to do” list, and other such precious things.

Over and over the Lord gave me opportunity to give all to Him.

To speak the words both in my heart and with my mouth, that I give all to Jesus, He’s will be done.

And although I’m unsure of all the reasons He has taken me down this path again (not the first time and I’m certain it won’t be the last either) I find gratitude has bloomed anew.

There’s such thankfulness of heart when one realizes that the cherished things, family, love, blessings, are all gifts from God.

Nothing I have done has earned these things.

But I can enjoy them all the more and praise God I each.

Especially when I’m holding them lightly.

There’s something so precious about understanding the gifts and blessings of the now may or may not be those of tomorrow.

When I cherish today, my heart finds such thankfulness waiting.

Yes, some days are easier to cherish than others, but each is a gift and I want to praise God for every one.

This Thanksgiving, I hope you are able to relinquish expectation and simply praise God for another day.

His gift to you.

His gift to me.

Praise the Lord!

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You so much for helping me relinquish all things back into Your hands. Lord, there are still many things I do not understand and circumstances which are concerning, but I choose to place each one in Your hand. To reach up and wrap my heart around Your goodness and cling to You through it all. For nothing and no one can separate me from Your love. That in itself is something to be thankful for! I praise and worship You this day. Thank You for Your love. Thank You for Your faithfulness. Thank You for a day to simply be grateful. I love You, Jesus. Amen.

Make a joyful shout to the Lord , all you lands! Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before His presence with singing. Know that the Lord , He is God; It  is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We  are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the Lord  is good; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations.
Psalms 100:1‭-‬5 NKJV

November 25

Today’s prayer:

You have commanded us To keep Your precepts diligently. Oh, that my ways were directed To keep Your statutes! Then I would not be ashamed, When I look into all Your commandments.
Psalms 119:4‭-‬6 NKJV

Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You so much for these words. Lord, thank You for Your Word and the life that is within it. Lord Jesus, I want to obey all Your words, to walk in Your ways, to serve You diligently. Lord, I want my family, my friends, my neighbors to know You personally, to walk in Your ways and to find life everlasting in Your salvation. Lord, I want to humbly stand before You on behalf of others, especially those who have yet to know You. Lord, I want people to see the truth and to understand what wickedness and evil do. How there is only life, truth, joy, goodness, and peace in You. There is no other way. Lord Jesus, I know You want these things too. That’s why You came. That’s why You died. Lord, please continue to work in our lives, that we might know You more. Please hone our hearts that we might reflect You to those around us. Lord, I trust You to work through all things to bring about Your purposes. May Your name be glorified throughout the whole Earth! I praise Your holy name, Jesus! Amen.