Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Shadow of His Wings

My heart aches for our country.  I am still trying to wrap my mind around what happened in Dallas and how it has impacted all of us.  I cry out to the only One (Jesus), who can bring me comfort and peace.  I open my Bible to the Psalms.  They are a balm to my troubled soul.
David wrote many of the Psalms as he was hiding in the caves to escape the wrath of King Saul.  The king wanted him dead.

I may not be hiding in a physical cave.  But in my mind I am trapped by anxiety and fear over the uncertainties of life.  Worry could easily become my constant companion as I watch the news and I my thoughts could numb my heart with dread.

I begin to turn to some of my favorites but before I get to them…I discover Psalm 57.  I am sure I have read it before but the WORD captures my attention.  The broken places in my heart begin to fill with the peace that surpasses all human understanding. 

God in his mercy does not leave us alone in our despair.  We can find refuge in Him.  In the shadow of his wings he keeps us safe as the storm of destruction passes by.  Notice it doesn’t say the storms will not come, they will come but we never face them alone.  A mother bird gathers her chicks close to her under her wings to keep them safe during a storm…God does the same for us.

In verse 7: My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast.  In Hebrew steadfast is similar to the word fixed.  My heart is fixed on you, O God.  What does that mean?  When trouble comes my dependence fully relies on God.  I trust Him above all things
Lord, have mercy upon all of us.  Show us how to build bridges and not walls.  Show us how to love each other.  Lord, have mercy as we rest in the shadow of your love and your grace.

1Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me,
for in you my soul takes refuge;
in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge,
till the storms of destruction pass by.
2I cry out to God Most High,
to God who fulfills his purpose for me.
3He will send from heaven and save me;
he will put to shame him who tramples on me. Selah
God will send out his steadfast love and his faithfulness!
4My soul is in the midst of lions;
I lie down amid fiery beasts—
the children of man, whose teeth are spears and arrows,
whose tongues are sharp swords.
5Be exalted, O God, above the heavens!
Let your glory be over all the earth!
6They set a net for my steps;
my soul was bowed down.
They dug a pit in my way,
but they have fallen into it themselves. Selah
7My heart is steadfast, O God,
my heart is steadfast!
I will sing and make melody!
8 Awake, my glory!
Awake, O harp and lyre!
I will awake the dawn!
9I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples;
I will sing praises to you among the nations.
10For your steadfast love is great to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the clouds.
11Be exalted, O God, above the heavens!
Let your glory be over all the earth!

Monday, June 27, 2016

Peace through Reflection

 In my last post I shared my struggle of watching Jacob drive.  And truthfully, Jacob is an amazing driver and so it really isn’t about his driving skills.  As I really thought about it and began to reflect upon my emotions which felt like they were in a negative downward spiral.  I think the moment represents how he has one foot in the nest and one foot out of the nest, and I am not ready to let go.  It was only yesterday, I gazed upon his sweet face for the first time as I marveled over how God had taken part of Troy and part of me and created this beautiful miracle. 

I wrestle with my emotions and feelings on how am I going to let my son go?  Part of me wants to hold on and drive him around until he is at least 30J!   I know he is not a boy anymore but a young man.  I have to let him go and in the process my heart breaks a little.  In the brokenness, Jesus sheds the light of His love and the truth fills my heart and mends it back together.

Jacob is carved into the hands of the One who created the universe and flung the stars into place.  I will continue to muddle through this process and as I do I will rest in the promises of the ONE who loves Jacob more than I can possibly imagine.   I will continue to hold onto my favorite bible verse, ‘My soul find rest in God alone.  Psalm 62:1

How do you deal with struggles?  I would love to hear your thoughts. 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Just Breathe and pray!

Have you ever noticed how fast 65 mph feels when you are in the back seat of seat of a car, as your 14 year old son is getting ready to drive onto the interstate for the first time?   Your mind starts to race in a million different directions.  Fear and anxiety begin to wrap their tentacles around your heart and your mind and they begin to choke out all reasonable thoughts.  If you have watched the movie Inside Out, you can imagine my emotions have reached a DEFCON threat level.

I took a deep breath and I knew I needed to pray to calm my mind.  Help me Jesus, is all I could manage to say silently to myself.  I didn’t want my husband or sons to know I am on the verge of a mental breakdown.  I also did not want my son to think for one minute he could not handle driving on the interstate.   The issue was all in my mind.

Jesus came and quieted my thoughts with one of my favorite passages of scripture.   “I will never forget you, I have engraved you on the Palm of my hand. “ Isaiah 49: 15b-16a   I needed the picture in my mind of God holding Jacob and the car in the palm of his hand.  It filled me with peace.

Jacob is an excellent driver and ready to drive in challenging situations.  I am thankful and grateful to know he will never travel alone, even when we are not in the car with him.

As a Mom have you gone through this already?  What helped you?  If you haven’t please know you have a tribe of women praying for you.  

The love this song, it is based on Isaiah.  It is beautiful and reflective. 

Saturday, May 14, 2016


I can vividly remember singing this song as a little girl at the close of our Lenten services.  The church would grow dim but there would be a light that would illuminate the cross at the front of the church.  I didn't understand all of the words and what they meant but I knew it was important.  I did understand what the word Abide meant.  It meant that Jesus would remain with me all through my life.  I didn't need to be afraid because He was there beside me.  

As an adult whenever I sing this song, I remember the girl that I was once was.  I am so thankful for the faith that was instilled upon my heart so many years ago.  The little girl did not know or understand all the heartache and sorrow that life can bring at times.  She didn't know that life could change in a blink of an eye, but that lesson did come.  Her beloved Grandpa died unexpectedly of a massive heart attack.  I will never forget the phone call and the dread that filled my heart as I heard my Mom's voice.  I knew something bad had happened but I didn't want to wrap my mind around it.  How could Grandpa be gone?  I had just seen him the day before.  He had kissed me and told me that he loved me and that everything was going to be okay.  

I will never forget the night of the visitation.  My Dad's voice thick with tears as he told us that tonight we would see the shell/body of who Grandpa once was...but that the Grandpa that we knew and loved was now in heaven with Jesus.  I am so thankful that my Dad took the time to prepare us and to remind us of where Grandpa had gone and where he would be waiting for us. I remember thinking he looked so peaceful and asleep.  I was hoping and praying it was all a bad dream.  We had so many things that we still needed to do.  So many more talks to have about life and Jesus.  So many more fishing adventures to go on.  I know my Grandpa would have loved Troy and my boys.  Death does not have the final say.  Jesus never left my side during those days..He was all around bringing us comfort through family and friends.  Through His Word and through beautiful church hymns. 

I honestly am not sure how I could have faced the death of my Grandpa without knowing Jesus.  I am not sure how I could have been comforted, the loss felt so great to me that it was overwhelming.  Since that time...I have faced tragedies and the loss of loved ones.  It is never easy to say goodbye to a loved one but Jesus has walked with me through each moment. I know Jesus will abide with me through all the days of my life.  

Do you know Jesus?  Not just know who He is?  But do you  know Him as your Lord, Savior, and friend?  My prayer is that you do.  But if you do not, I know He wants to know you and to abide with you too.  

He is there waiting and longing to talk to you and to spend time with you.  He loves you more than you can possibly imagine.  Please do not think for one minute that you are not good enough to talk to him,...He already knows all about you and loves you just as you are.  If you have never spent time with Him, I would invite you to talk to him just as you would a friend.  He doesn't want or need elaborate or beautiful prayers...He only wants you...just you.  The Bible is His love letter to you.  I would recommend starting with the book of John.  And if you feel the need to have words to pray...look at the Psalms they are beautiful prayers to meditate on and to open your conversations with God.


Monday, April 04, 2016

Be Still and Know....

I have been thinking about this Bible verse the last several days. "The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing."  Zephaniah 3:17

The phrase, "he will quiet you by his love" has play over and over in my mind.  I have read this verse hundreds of times but for some reason, those words have caught my attention.

Have you ever had times in your life when your mind is racing so fast but at the same time it stuck on the same thoughts over and over again.  Anxiety and worry have taken root inside your brain and you feel trapped in your thoughts.  
I can vividly recall times in my life where I have been afraid; and yet I could feel God's peace, it was a calmness that washed over my heart, mind, and soul.  It truly is the peace that surpasses all human understanding.  From a human perspective it doesn't make sense.  But as I look at this scripture verse and it tells me that God will quiet it me with His love, I began to understand all the moments when His peace has calmed my troubled heart and wearied mind.

I will never forget when we did not know if our Dad was going to live or die.  There is nothing that can prepare you for those moments... in your mind you can rationalize that your parents are getting older and that they will not live forever.  But when you stand face to face with the reality of death, it can strike terror in your heart and your mind can began to race with all the thoughts of what if.....  I have to tell you during those days when we did not know what was going to happen with our Dad, anxiety was not my constant companion, instead God's peace flowed all around me.  As I look back at that time I am amazed by how God quieted us with His love.

My Dad survived and he is still with us.  I am so thankful.  He doesn't remember much about that time in the hospital.  But the one thing he does remember is that he felt a presence in the room with him, it was near him and it brought to him a feeling of peace that words cannot begin to describe.

I had wondered if my Dad felt scared and I find out that God was right here sitting next to him, quieting him with His love.

This reminds me of a beautiful prayer a friend of mine gave me when I was going through some major health issues and stressful situations.  He said to say each line of the prayer and to focus on the what the words mean.

Be still and know that I am God.

Be still and know that I  am.
Be still and know.
Be still.
Be.     Psalm 46:10

I added this to the prayer.  Be in the presence of the One who loves you more than you can possibly imagine.  The hands that formed the earth and placed the stars, the hands that were nailed to the tree and won the victory over sin, death, and the devil....are the very same hands that hold you close to His heart and will never let you go.

Sin has messed up so many relationships and caused so many problems in our world. But I know the One who has won the victory over sin, so I will find comfort in my Savior, who quiets me with His love.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Where does your strength come from?

If I were to poll different people on this question, I know I would receive many different answers.  Here are some you might hear: I come from a long line of strong and independent people.  I am self-made, I am strong from all of the hard-knocks I have received in life.  I choose to be strong, I made up my mind that I would be, and so I am.

And I would agree that in those statements there is some truth, if you solely looked at it from a human standpoint and took God out of the equation.  And if you put God into the equation, you could still say those things but they might sound a bit different if you could hear the whole story.

You see, I could say a lot of those things but I would like to share with you the rest of the story.  I am proud of my heritage and my parents and grandparents and great grandparents they have amazing stories, they were/are some of the strongest people I know.

I could also tell you I have faced a lot of hard and challenging things in life.  I could gather you in and tell you stories of heart ache and heart break.  I could also tell you that I chose to rise up and face the obstacles that could have turned me into a bitter and angry person.  That I chose to be thankful and grateful and to focus on blessings instead of curses.  Again, all of those are part of the truth but not an accurate view of my history, or I will say His(Story).

You see, on September 9, 1967, my story became God's story when my parents brought me to the waters of Baptism.  I became God's child and my life changed forever.  I cannot separate who I am from God because I belong to Him.
My parents taught me from a young age to trust Jesus with all things.  I can tell you from my 48 plus years of experience there were times I wondered what was going on...could I really trust Him to work things out.  And time after time God has amazed me with what He has done and how He has worked things out.

During those time of waiting and wondering...I remembered the stories of my Grandparents and my parents of how they trusted God above all things.  I read the Word and the stories of how God took the impossible and made it possible.

Most of all, I remembered and took comfort in the fact that God took the biggest problem the world has ever faced, SIN.  And how Jesus conquered that problem on the cross for you (even if you don't believe it) and for me.  I have been given the gift of eternal life because of what He did for me.  Sin still causes problems in this world but I know the ONE (Jesus) who took care of it.  And so while I wait for all of the challenges of life to sort themselves out, I will continue to trust Jesus.

I love this song.  These two young children have incredible voices.  But as I listen to this song, it is like a modern day Psalm in which I am singing to the One who has raised me up and given me the strength to face all things, Jesus my Lord and Savior.

Friday, April 03, 2015

Good Friday

Today we remember that Jesus died on the cross for our sins. Sometimes I think we say that phrase without remembering what it really means. The word crucifixion comes from the word “excruciating.” To be crucified is the most horrific and painful death a person can suffer. We can only begin to imagine the physical pain that Jesus suffered. Jesus also suffered spiritually and emotionally in a way that we never will. When He cried out, “My God, My God why have you forsaken me?” it was because at that moment, Jesus was separated from God. Now how could Jesus, who is also God, be separated from God? That has always been a great mystery – even to the greatest of theologians... He, who was without sin, became sin for us all and suffered separation from God. That is the only way we could be saved. Jesus knew what would happen and yet the night before He told His Father, “Not my will, but your will.” Our sins nailed Him to the cross, but His amazing love for you and for me held Him there.

If we would have been standing there that day we would have also heard Jesus say, “It is finished.” Jesus did not only say this, He shouted it out. “It is finished,” is three words in English; but in Greek it is one “Tetelestai” as it would be in Aramaic. And “Tetelestai” is the victor’s shout; it is the cry of a person who has won through the struggle; it is the cry of a person who has come out of the dark into the glory of light, and who has grasped the crown. So, then, Jesus died a victor with a shout of triumph on His lips.

“Here is the precious thing. Jesus passed through the uttermost abyss, and then the light broke. If we, too, cling to God even there seems to be no God, desperately and invincibly clutching the remnants of our faith, quite certainly the dawn will break and we will win through. The victor is the person who refuses to believe that God has forgotten them, even when every fiber of their being feels they are forsaken. The victor is the person who will never lot go of their faith, even when they feel that its last grounds are gone. The victor is the person who has been beaten to the depths and still hold on to God, for that is what Jesus did.” (William Barclay)