The older I get, the more I find myself learning this truth.
As a young woman change was terrifying.
I lived in fear of bad things happening and did all I could to ward off danger.
But after living through years of loss, I learned change is healthy.
He used those years to teach me about the frailty and blessing of life.
Not to waste my time trying to avoid whatever may come (because many things are completely out of our control), but instead to invest in the day I have.
Which is why I can walk through our current changes and smile, even though my heart aches.
Our son-in-law and daughter and the grandbabies moved almost three hours away last weekend.
Our youngest daughter will move in a few weeks.
Our home will hold just three people, something we’ve not had in over twenty years.
Yes, my heart is missing them.
Yes, it’s a time of grieving a loss.
No, I’m not unhappy.
Because God is doing this and I’m so thankful for His guidance in each of their lives.
I’m practicing praise.
Praising Him for all He has given us.
Worshipping Him, so thankful He is directing their lives.
Honoring Him, because these people, who began as babies in our arms, never belonged to us, they have always been His.
I’m expectant, because although I don’t know what the future holds, I know Who is holding us.
May our lives, wherever we are, bring glory to His name.
Psalm 86:12 KJV — I will praise thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart: and I will glorify thy name for evermore.
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for change. Thank You for using life’s changes to shine into my heart and mind those things I would not have willingly learned otherwise. Lord, thank You for the patchwork of experiences which have brought me to this place. Thank You that You are using life to hone our hearts and help us learn dependence upon You. Lord, I rest in the knowledge that You have each of these dear people in Your hands and I thank You for all You are doing in their lives. Please continue to grow them in their walk with You. Please continue to provide for their needs and guide them in each day. Thank You for these dear people we love so much. Thank You for using them to teach me about You and Your love. I praise Your holy name, Jesus. Amen.
I came into the office this morning to get my shots.
And found, they are closing our branch.
My shot nurse is retiring.
The remaining staff is moving to the other office.
I feel like crying.
I know that sounds silly.
But these four ladies (shot nurse, doctor, nurse, and receptionist) I care about.
They were the encouraging smiles and gentle listening hearts as I began this journey with my allergy shots.
We had just moved to a new city, didn’t know anyone, didn’t have a clue where anything was and we were fairly ignorant about a great deal in this area
I remember the nurse taking my blood pressure and telling how to find Walmart.
The doctor (before the virus) telling me it was okay to bring both my kids and our grandbaby to my appointment, because I just didn’t feel comfortable leaving them home.
I remember the ladies’ sweet comments about our baby granddaughter, as we all came to the office for my shots.
Then, after the virus, the care continued in asking to see pictures of our granddaughter, then of our grandson.
Discussions with the receptionist as we both had highschool children.
One time I shared my favorite Youtube link about crocheting.
And many other little moments which have been a blessing.
They have made this time a joy and something to look forward to.
Especially nice, as I rarely go anywhere.
I’m praying for each of these ladies and the changes they are all making.
Although, I’m sad, I know change is part of life and oftentimes a blessing.
Change helps us to value the things we have.
Like today, I am so thankful for the past year and a half with these ladies.
I’m praising God for His provision of what I have had.
No matter what this change brings, I’m thankful.
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for Your blessings. Thank You for the medical professionals who step beyond treatment and into caring for each individual. Thank You for the courage to continue to get up each day and work to help others. Please bless those who are serving. Please shine Your love to them and through them. Thank You, Jesus. Amen.
Although we normally stay home in the morning and homeschool, I felt it best to run to the store early.
Later in the day more people are out and it means everything takes longer.
First, I drove us to the nursery.
I want to plant a few shrubs along the fence and I only have one.
Maybe it was the pollen, maybe it was because my asthma has been kicked up, but whatever the reason my voice disappeared at the garden center.
Jase was with me and I was signing to him.
I couldn’t find the plants, they were not where they’d been.
Finally, I decided to ask someone.
I was a bit nervous as to how this was going to work, because Jase was struggling with reading my sign.
When we walked over and stood quietly nearby the worker, I prayed.
She finished what she was doing and turned to help.
I signed and Jase said what I was saying right up to the plant name.
Most names you have to finger spell and I did.
Jase simply read each letter as I spelled it and I was so thankful the lady listening was able to catch the name.
It was an answer to prayer, because I had no idea what else to do other than spell the name.
I’d forgotten my paper and pencil, so I couldn’t write it down.
(I will be asking the Lord to remind me the next time!)
The worker explained why I couldn’t find them, they were sold out.
Thankfully they are getting more in about a week.
We’d barely arrived home when Sis dropped in.
She needed to run to Home Depot and asked if I wanted to ride along.
I was happy to, although I still couldn’t talk.
Jase had school work he could do without me, so I hopped in.
As she drove I signed and we had a nice conversation.
She smiled at the stop light and said, “When I was part of the Deaf Bible Study I kept wondering why God would have me learn sign.”
“I thought maybe we would have a deaf child. I never thought I’d need it for you.”
I smiled back and signed to her how much I appreciate her knowing sign so I can converse.
We got to the store and put the babies into the cart.
As we shopped I continued to sign about the plants or other things.
Sis needed a new bathroom sink and vanity.
It was in the midst of looking them over that I looked at our granddaughter.
Her eyes were fixed on mine and I realized:
She was signing to me!
We’ve been teaching her signs along with words.
She had been watching me sign to her Mommy and wanted to be part of the conversation.
My heart overflowed!
What a precious gift!
Our family has learned and is continuing to learn a second language because of my silence.
I noticed a few people’s surprise at watching me sign to our granddaughter.
It just added to the joy.
Truly, the struggles and difficulties which life can bring God will use for good if we will surrender ourselves completely before Him.
Yesterday, was another precious reminder of God’s faithfulness.
Watching our little grandbaby carefully signing: “Yes, flowers, yes!”
She liked the plants I had placed in the cart next to her.
Proverbs 17:6 KJV — Children’s children are the crown of old men; and the glory of children are their fathers.
Praise the Lord!
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You so much for Your faithfulness. Thank You for Your Word and Your goodness. Thank You for my family, who cares so much for me. Thank You for ASL and for teaching our family. Lord, thank You for the previous moments yesterday. Thank You that each day holds blessings from You. Please help me to be aware and thankful. I love You, Jesus. Amen.
I’d run from my room to the giant pillow in front of the TV and watch cartoons.
The afternoons always seemed a let down.
For some reason they were a lot less enjoyable than any other day of the week, but upon reflection it probably had to do with my perspective.
What was there to look forward to after the cartoons were over?
I love that adulthood has brought a clearer perspective.
I still enjoy Saturdays, but my joy comes from something much more satisfying.
It comes from extra time with the Lord and my family.
Some Saturdays are busier than others, but most of the tasks focus around things we do as a family.
None of us “rush” our morning unless the schedule requires it.
Often, it’s the day we get in the most talking.
Personally, I try to carve out extra time in prayer as well.
I no longer look at Saturday as my moment of self-interest, but instead as an opportunity for building.
It’s a chance to build relationships.
No matter the schedule, the expectations, nor the duties, I pray you are able to spend some of your Saturday enjoying the blessings of the Lord and building upon your relationships.
Especially with one which is most important.
After all, life is constantly changing, but Jesus is forever.
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for this beautiful morning. Lord, I do not know what today holds, but I know Who holds me in today. Please continue to polish my heart to be more like You. Please fill me with Your Word and help me to see Your truth. Lord Jesus, thank You for so many blessings. Thank You for our family and another day to praise You. Thank You for sustaining us and providing for us. Thank You for loving us always. I love You, Jesus. Amen.
This picture is of the empty parking space where they had been.
I didn’t really think about it until they were gone.
I’d not been sitting in the car for very long when she pulled into the space next to me.
My husband is feeling better, but not well enough to drive, so I was playing chauffeur.
Since, I’m not allowed inside the doctor’s office unless there’s a medical reason, I sat in the car.
I’d decided to sit in the back seat where there’s more leg room to crochet.
I’d gotten all comfy when she pulled in.
It was an SUV, so I could easily see the driver, a young woman.
A bit later, movement caught my eye and I saw her carrying a baby boy.
I love babies!
She smiled too.
As this young mother left, I figured she was taking her little one to the pediatrician’s office in the same building as our doctor.
Time passed and they returned.
I smiled and she saw me.
She smiled back.
I was a bit surprised, she just hopped into the front seat with her baby, but it’s not my business to spy on people so I returned to crocheting.
Not long afterwards, I noticed movement again.
She had gotten back out of the driver’s seat and was standing next to the car window.
She was holding her baby so I could see him.
Through the glass we both were smiling at one another.
I told her he was adorable and made a motion with my hand for the sign, “beautiful”.
She understood and grabbed his little arm and waved at me.
I asked how old he was.
She carefully held him as she put up nine fingers.
“Nine months old,” replied this sweet mother.
Still smiling I nodded and that was the end of our conversation.
It’s a bit chilly out, so I wouldn’t have wanted to keep them out in the cold.
I also couldn’t think of more to say other than, “he’s adorable!”.
She soon backed out of the space and drove away.
And it suddenly seemed a little colder.
Some how this mother and baby had brought such warmth that I missed them when they left.
How does the kindness of a stranger touch my heart like that?
I am certain, it’s Jesus.
I thanked the Lord for this little moment and I prayed for this mother and child.
I thought of our grandson and then our granddaughter and prayed for them as well.
Pausing briefly, in my crocheting, I looked at the empty space and thanked God again for this sweet moment and these two strangers.
I returned to my crocheting, but continued to pray.
The space remained empty until right before it was time to leave.
It was another young woman who pulled in and as I prepared to back out I smiled at her.
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for mother and baby boy. Please put Your hand upon them and watch over them. Guide their lives and direct them into the path of peace. Lord, thank You for the young lady who pulled in as I was leaving. Place Your truth into her heart and mind. Lord, please let those who are called by Your name be lights that shine brightly. Help us to love as You love, to walk this Earth interested in those around us more than our own wants and desires. Lord, help us live open handed, willing to smile and wave to a stranger. Please be glorified through us. I love You, Jesus. Amen.
The Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime, And in the night His song shall be with me— A prayer to the God of my life. Psalms 42:8 NKJV
I read these words this morning and was surprised at how they perfectly reflect my day and night.
They speak so clearly to what the Lord is doing.
His faithfulness is incredible!
As you probably know, our family’s desire is to see God’s Word shared around the world.
The Lord blessed us with a season of travel, where one, some, or all of us were able to go to other countries to share the love of Christ.
Now that travel is no longer an option, we are looking to support others who are living on the mission field.
My husband felt God would have us sell furniture.
After prayerfully considering the best platform for us, we rented a space at an antique mall.
Yesterday, God blessed us with safety as we traveled down and set up the booth.
He blessed us with help.
First our son-in-law lent us his trailer, then got up early and helped my husband load the trailer.
They drove down with us and he helped unload the trailer.
Two other young men, friends of ours, also came to help unload the trailer.
Since I’ve had a migraine for several days, I evidently wasn’t clear when explaining where I wanted the furniture and they had to rearrange things several times.
When all the furniture was in place Anne, Jase, and the young men patiently unwrapped all the small things and helped me place them.
My mom came down to meet us and took pictures of it all.
Since the booth is a few hours away, she’s offered to check on it regularly.
When it was finished, we packed up and headed home, as I was feeling worse.
To my surprise I realized I hadn’t taken a single picture of the booth.
I texted Sis and not long afterwards I received a bunch of lovely photos.
They had returned to take pictures.
My mom sent me hers as well.
My heart was so full of gratitude to the Lord for all the help and blessings.
And during the night I was able to praise Him and pray for those people who came to mind.
Such quiet and deep times with the Lord are those watches of the night
And then I read these words:
“The Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime…”
Yesterday, it was unmistakable God was blessing us greatly.
Truly, each day is full of God’s lovingkindness.
“And in the night His song shall be with me— A prayer to the God of my life.”
This was exactly what my night was, singing praise in my heart and prayers.
As I read these words this morning I just had to share how good and how faithful God is.
His ways are perfect and His Word is truth.
His lovingkindness is incredible.
I am so thankful to Him.
I’m so thankful for all the people who helped us.
And I pray that your heart is encouraged.
I don’t know what you are facing today, but I do know Who is wanting to walk you through it.
May you feel the love of Jesus Christ as you walk into 2021.
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for all the ways You bless me each day. Lord, thank You for the food I eat, the clothes I wear, and the tasks at hand. Lord Jesus, I want to lift up the broken, the hurting, the lost, and I humbly request that You touch them, guide them, bring them to Yourself. Lord, the innocent, those in bondage, the orphan, and the widow, please provide and protect. Lord, for those who are called by Your name, please help them to live wholeheartedly for You in every area. Lord, show them how to live, give them discernment and provision. Please, return the prodigal. Lord, Your lovingkindness is amazing. Your grace and mercy are incredible. Thank You for Your faithfulness. I love You. Amen.
I know it’s a bit early, but I just wanted to reach out and say:
This has always been a time of year I look forward to.
Thanksgiving is an opportunity to praise God.
It’s a moment to remember the heritage and sacrifice of the Pilgrims and their families.
It’s an opportunity to praise God for the way He brought together both the Pilgrims and the Native Americans in the first Thanksgiving.
A holiday where we simply stop and say “thank you” to God.
Yes, we enjoy a fancy meal and normally play at least one board game.
But we also read the Pilgrim’s story (Thanksgiving, A Time To Remember by Barbara Rainey) and sometimes I read from their published journal.
This year, I’m going to be encouraging our children to write at least one letter of gratitude to someone.
It’s an idea I read in a blog and I love it.
Because it’s never too soon to tell someone thank you for their touch upon your life.
And gratitude should never be an empty cup.
For God’s blessings are all around us each and every day.
Truly, there is no end to His goodness.
Thus, there should be no end to our gratitude.
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You so much for all Your blessings. Lord, I could spend a lifetime just writing down all Your wonderous works and never reach the end. Lord, during this week, please help us to look at Your goodness and find so many reasons to rejoice. Lord, let our hearts be filled with gratitude and please grant us opportunity to thank those You have used in our lives. Thank You for a holiday simply set aside to praise, thank, and honor You for all Your blessings! I love You, Jesus. Thank You for first loving me. Amen.
The Lord tests the righteous, But the wicked and the one who loves violence His soul hates. Psalms 11:5 NKJV
Dear Lord Jesus, Thank You for Your Word. Lord, You understand what is best for us and You also see the schemes of the enemy. Lord, Your Word teaches us the ways of sin bring death, but Your sacrifice has brought us life everlasting. Thank You! Lord, we want to be obedient children, we want Your favor to rest upon us. Please help us to walk with You in integrity and truth. Please help us to be people who are honorable before You. Lord, please protect us from the evil one. Please place a hedge of protection around us. Guard our hearts and minds. Please show us any areas where we have strayed from Your path. Thank You so much for salvation. Please continue to reach those who have yet to know You. Please protect the innocent. Please provide for the widow and the orphan. Thank You for all Your ways. They are good! I love You, Jesus. Amen.
I sat nearby with her one month old brother in my arms.
I was burping him.
So, she began to burp her’s.
I grabbed my phone and couldn’t get a better picture than this, but it was a precious moment, none the less.
Next week our daughter returns to University.
I’m blessed to get to watch the kids a few times a week.
Grandbabies are so fun!
To look at our little granddaughter’s sweet smile and remember my own girls as wee people.
To listen to the cute baby noises of our grandson and remember the bundle of blanket which held our newborn son.
These gifts seem all the sweeter the second time around.
I love being a mother.
I love each of our precious children.
It’s compounded and multiplied when adding in grandbabies!
And it brings an even more precious memory to mind.
As much as I love these people, young and younger, God loves me even more.
Because His love is so much deeper, purer, and unmeasurable.
My sinful heart has major limitations, which hinders my ability to love as God does.
And yet He’s teaching me daily how to love more.
Grandbabies are easy to love.
Just one look at our grandchildren or children and my heart seems to expand.
Does God feel that way when He looks at me?
Romans 5:5 NKJV — Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, 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 the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. I John 4:7-11 NKJV
for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from God. John 16:27 NKJV
Not only does He love me far beyond my understanding, the same is true for you.
What a blessing to be loved by God!
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for Your love. Thank You for creating us and the universe we live in. Lord, thank You for sustaining me. Lord, thank You for our family and friends. I’m so blessed by so many people. Lord, I’m humbled by Your love and blessings. Please continue to reach those who have yet to know You. Please let nothing stand in the way of their hearts accepting Your love. Thank You for all You have done for me. I praise Your holy name. Amen.
I’m having a difficult time not wanting to stick to my plans.
But God has better ones, and it only takes a moment for me to realize such when I’m willing to stop and look at it through prayer.
The Lord has been stretching me.
Ever since our Bell moved her dresser out of the spare bedroom, I’ve had a pile of homeschooling papers sitting on the closet floor.
Obviously not a good plan.
With moving I’ve had to change many of my past ways of organizing including the homeschooling papers.
I currently have a place for recent work or needed documents, but the past years’ work no longer has a home.
So, I’ve been praying about what to do.
Coupled with this prayer, I’ve been praying for Anne’s bedroom furniture.
Her dresser was old and very used when I bought it over seven years ago.
It’s now missing more handles and the drawers are less than easy to open.
So, I figured God would want me to set aside some time to refurbish her dresser.
These two things have been a topic of conversation with me and the Lord often of late.
As the days grow closer to autumn, my window of opportunity to work on anything outdoors is coming to a close.
Thus, I have had to put my own opinions and ideas into God’s hands multiple times about this.
So, when I felt like God was talking to me about looking for used furniture on Craigslist I was a bit apprehensive.
“Lord, is this me or You? Am I just trying to force something to solve this instead of waiting?”
Instead of hearing an answer, I just felt like I should punch dresser into the Craigslist search engine.
I did so, and then stopped to pray again.
Something the Lord had spoken to my heart at first came back to mind.
It will be in the city nearest you.
So, with that I began to scroll.
I found something which would work for the spare room.
It was hideous and obviously “well loved”.
The price didn’t sit well with me, but it was in the city nearest me.
I figured I could email and see if they’d come down on the price.
I asked the Lord to make it clear if He wanted me to buy this.
Their response was my answer, “no”.
So, back to the search engine on Craigslist.
“Lord, I really don’t want to do this today, I’m so worried I’ll make a mistake and buy the wrong thing.”
I’m teaching you faith.
Two more dressers.
Two more emails.
Two more closed doors.
Of course, I was working on other things so all of this was poked in between math lesson, history, reading assignment, and cooking.
By the early afternoon, I was ready to give up.
But I still felt like I was supposed to try another search.
This time I found not one dresser,but two and a bedside table.
The posting said, “$50”.
Well, that wasn’t super clear.
And at first I thought this couldn’t work at all, but I stopped to pray.
Through this moment of quiet I realized we could use one dresser in Anne’s room and the other in the spare room as well as the bed side table.
They need painting, but Anne’s been asking me if we could do another project ever since we painted the living room furniture.
I emailed the seller.
I was surprised at the answer: $50 was for everything.
Of course now I had to get some help picking up all this.
I prayed again, that if this wasn’t God’s will it would be obvious.
I knew our son-in-law’s day was busy with taking Bubba and family to the doctor.
I dropped a quick text and after a conversation over the phone we worked out a plan.
Then it occurred to me, if they were heading down after the doctor’s appointment, they’d be hungry, so I invited them for supper.
I was about halfway through cooking supper when I realized this was definitely God’s plan.
My husband’s work has him on call 24/7 and he had come home late the night before only to eat and return to work, arriving home some time after 11.
When things are like that, I know better than to expect him home at any particular time.
But halfway through supper preparations he called me.
He was off work and on his way home.
And he was thrilled to hear our family was coming over for supper.
When he arrived, I told him about the furniture.
He smiled and said, “Sounds great!”.
Not long afterwards he and our son-in-law drove together out the cul-de-sac to pick up the furniture.
Anne was so excited when it got here.
She can hardly wait till we can begin sanding it down and painting it.
I praise God for His guidance in it all.
I’ve already told Anne all this furniture belongs to her.
I’ve tried to make sure each of our kids have some furniture of their own to take with them when the time comes.
As we were all sitting around the dinner table eating, God had one more surprise in store.
My phone started buzzing with several texts all coming in at once.
It was the same family we got the furniture from.
They had forgotten another piece of furniture that was part of the set, a window seat with drawers.
They were texting to let me know we could have it too, no extra charge.
Of course I let them know we would have to get it today, but they were fine with that.
I’m still amazed at how God took a small desire I had and turned my day into a blessed lesson.
Because buying furniture wasn’t in my schedule.
Sending emails and searching Craigslist wasn’t in my plans.
But God reminded me that my ways are not His ways.
His plans are perfect.
His ways are best.
And all of this was more about teaching me to listen and trust and obey than it was furniture.
Because I could have gone out and bought Anne a new dresser anytime.
I could have ordered something to store the homeschooling papers in online and had it delivered to the door.
But instead of either of those things, God has taken me through days of prayer and heart checking.
He has shown me my tendency to want to solve every item I see as a need in my own strength.
He has used this to teach me to listen and be willing to be wrong, to be willing to say, “I don’t know what I’m doing yet, I’m still praying about it.”
And hopefully He is using my life as an example to my children that waiting upon the Lord is the best way, no matter how insignificant the “thing” is.
Because furniture is not a forever thing, but the lessons I learn through dealing with the temporary are.
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for providing this lesson. Thank You for stretching me in an area I thought I’d already completely surrendered to You. Lord, thank You that things and items are all temporary and yet can be used by You. Lord, I want to honor You with all that I call my possessions. Thank You for reminding me that nothing is actually mine, it all belongs to You. Please help me to be wise and generous with anything and everything. Lord, You alone are worthy of all honor, glory, and praise. Thank You. Amen.