I Need Internet!!!

She looked to be about six years old, sitting there in the Sacramento airport (which, as airport terminals go, is really rather nice.) I don’t know her name, but for the sake of this story, let’s call her Emma. She was with her family, had a carryon next to her that looked a bit like a pink and gray elephant, and was holding an ipad. A few moments earlier, I’d heard her say, “There’s no internet!!!” I must admit I chuckled a little at her juvenile frustration. But when I heard that second line—“I need internet!!”—that’s when I began to think about how far we’ve come. 

“I need….”

What do you need that you don’t already have? What do I need? For most of us, the honest answer is, “Not much.” Little Emma was comfortably dressed, spending her time in climate controlled comfort, and surrounded by access to plenty of food, clean water and sanitation. I can say the same of myself today. Chances are, so can you.

Yet still we clamor.

Our basic needs satisfied, we come up with new ones, false ones that keep us from contentment. Worse yet, those trumped up “needs” keep us from thanking our Heavenly Father for his generous provision, time and time again. What a shame!

And here’s another twist to my story. The Sacramento airport provides free high speed internet all over its two terminals. All Emma needed to do was apply a little patience, and maybe ask her dad for help, before her rather unnecessary want would be fulfilled.

Analogy alert! How often does our Lord even desire to fulfill our wants—those in line with his wise will—if we’ll only ask him and then apply a little patience to the situation?

Here are the verses that come to mind as I type:

  • “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32).
  • “But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that” (1 Timothy 6:8).
  • “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Philippians 4:6).

I’m asking you (and myself as well) to take action in three ways this week:

  • Assess your needs and notice how well the Lord has met them.
  • Tell the Lord your wants as well, then be patient as you wait for him to fulfill the ones that are best for you.
  • And give hearty thanks for all that you’ve been given!
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Olivia

Olivia Montgomery is going to marry my daughter-in-law’s brother! In some sort of delightful but hard-to-define way, we are about to be related. And, of course, we are Facebook friends. That’s how I found the wonderful post I’m sharing below. She is young, but wise for her years. I hope you’ll soak up a bit of her wisdom today!

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I have a confession. I am not very good at being still. Before I got into nursing school I was anxious about the nursing entrance exam, and when I got through that I was anxious about getting through the first semester, and after barely getting through that… I didn’t even celebrate, because I was so anxious about preparing for what the next one would bring. The list goes on… and on…

No, being still is not something that I am very good at. However, being still is something God has laid on my heart, and in this season of stillness, here is what He is teaching me.

This season that I am in, the season that I have been in, and the season that I am one day going to be in… these all come from a God who is all-knowing, and these all come from a God who is GOOD. To quote Lysa TerKeurst, “God is good all of the time, and God is good at being God.”

  • Certainly, we can put our hope and trust in a God who knows the stars by name.
  • Certainly, we can put our faith and uncertainties in a God who spoke everything into existence with a single word.
  • And, certainly we can put our insecurities, doubts, and worries into a God who took dust and from it breathed all of human anatomy and physiology—a heart that pumps blood, a brain that sends thousands of chemical signals throughout the body firing at every second, lungs that breathe fresh air in and out, and skin that regenerates itself in approximately every 27 days.

We don’t need to worry about tomorrow, because we know who HOLDS tomorrow, and He has not only big plans for us, but GOOD plans for us.

Want to ready more of Olivia’s thoughts? Just check out her blog at this link:
https://scrambledeggsnotjustinthemorning.wordpress.com/…/f…/

A Bit of Business, or The Way Things Work

Yesterday, Steve asked, “Why do I have to look at those unpleasant ads at the end of your blog?”

Ahh, the light went on at that moment. Most of you, my very valued readers, may not know about the way things work.

 

First of all, thank you for reading! It means a great deal to have you taking in my words and considering them.

Secondly, thank you for commenting. That’s really the only way I know you’re reading. It means the world to me to hear what you have to say.

Last of all, my apologies for those ads. However, those are added by WordPress at their discretion, because I don’t pay for an upgraded site. I hope those ads never dissuade you from reading to the end of each essay. And if they do, please be sure to let me know.

Here’s something else you may not know. In order to remain respectful of your time, I try to keep each blog down to 300-400 words. Since I’ve already used up about half of that, let me just leave you with a few favorite quotes this week:

  • “When Satan reminds you of your past, remind him of his future.” (Jim Harris)
  • “Essential to parenting is being the person you want your kids to become.” (Ky Faciane)
  • “We don’t have the power to control people’s emotions.” (Uncredited)
  • “If you want to walk on water, you have to get out of the boat.” (John Ortberg)
  • “If you’re only going to enjoy the day if your plans work out, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment.” (Joel Osteen)
  • “If people determined our destiny, we would never have heard of King David.” (Uncredited, but I heard this basic point from 2 separate pastors in one week.)
  • “God’s faithfulness in the past needs to motivate our worship in the future.” (Ty VanHorn)

So, which one of those strikes you today?

And do you have a favorite inspirational quote? Send it on! I’d love to read it!

I was having a hard day…

New sorrows and illnesses had cropped up to plague people I love, and I was aching for them…with them…about them. I’d been there before—even written about that dark place in earlier essays. And, because the world is a fallen place, I expect to be back there again someday. I’m better now, not completely pain-free, but better. What I want to do today, though, is share what my thoughts were, what I journaled as a letter to my readers, at the time.


Dear Friend,

I am in pain over the sorrows and illnesses of those I love. I am walking beneath a dark cloud.

Do I know that this will pass? Yes, I’m sure of that. In fact, by the time I post this, my aching heart will probably be on the mend. The sorrows that assault me today may not have ended. Not all the illnesses I mourn will be over. In fact some of those maladies may have taken lives I love by then. But I know that I will reach a place of cheer once more, taking the ick of the world in better stride than I do today.

Do I see that my blessings still abound even now? Absolutely. It would be inappropriate to list them here, as we all have different buckets of blessings and are far too prone to compare. I see my gifts, though, and I’m thankful for them.

Am I immobilized by grief? No. In fact, had you been in my living room this morning, you would have seen an almost ridiculous moment of multitasking when I was working out, listening to worship music, and weeping all at the same time.

But here is what the Lord is reminding me of today (me, the author of so many blogs and books about being happy). The Bible quotes Jesus as saying, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” And I mourn today. I know my God is great and loving and has a perfect plan, yet I am sad. And it’s okay to be sad. I need to allow myself that sadness, even as I recognize the undercurrent of trust beneath it. The Bible does not say, “Blessed are those who, when faced with hardship or grief, learn to ignore it and keep right on smiling.”

I’ve learned the hard way that grief is exhausting. It can fog the mind and, I truly believe, weaken the immune system. So, I will also procrastinate today and try to find a few pockets of rest where I had planned on productivity.

Why do I write all this to you today? Because perhaps you are sad today as well. Or maybe one of those, “How can the world be so messed up?” days is about to bowl you over as it did me. Don’t let anyone tell you that your grief means you will always be sad, or that you have weak faith, or that you would be fine if you would only trust God and count your blessings. (And please, don’t say those things to anybody else who is hurting.)

Stop. Just stop for a moment and look at pain with me. It’s here to stay in this broken world. We will have moments when it is, thankfully, off in the distance. We will also have times when it is front and center. We never face it alone, but face it we do. The Holy Comforter is not asking you to ignore it or discount it, but rather to let Him comfort you in the midst of it. Ache, but realize that you can ache within His presence.

Breath. Cry freely and without guilt. Rest. Wait. Trust beyond your feelings. And know that I have been there too.

Write me if you’d like to “talk”.

With joy I’m not really feeling right now,

Brenda

Photo by Drew Hays @drew_hays via Unsplash.com

Weird Tree Moss

 

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I keep forgetting to ask my son what this stuff is called. At first glance, it’s actually kind of pretty. I used to enjoy looking at it as it spread across the oaks near my house. Its proliferation astonished me. Then Tony explained that it’s actually killing the trees–and not just in Austin. As I strolled gorgeous Lithia Park in Ashland Oregon, I snapped the photo above, sad to think the tree will probably be gone before long.

What used to look beautiful to me makes me sad, even angry, now. That spindly, mossy stuff blocks the sun. It kills the leaves, then the branches and finally the trees. The analogy it brings to mind makes me sad and angry as well.

What do we allow, unaware (or ignoring the fact) that it’s slowly killing us?

Have we taken enough time for introspection, checking all areas of our lives?

  • The spiritual side: Sin and distraction creep in covertly, often looking beautiful at first. I’ve covered that plenty of times, as has your pastor, I hope.
  • The physical side: We Christians sometimes sidestep those issues, both with our loved ones and within ourselves. But it’s time once again to ask: How is your self-care? If you’ve given your life to the Lord, you’ve given up the right to abuse your body in any way.
  • Then there’s the mental/emotional side: Petty grievances and pet worries can look justified, even righteous. But, like all the other sap-suckers and joy-diminishers I’ve mentioned, they must be pruned.

Ugh! Pruning. I’ve seen it done to trees, and it looks painful. I’ve seen the Lord do it in my life, and it was painful. And I see it coming again: less looking at my phone, more fasting and less TV. Our Divine Gardner prunes each of us in a different way, according to what’s hurting us and separating us from him.

So, today, I’m asking you to set aside a few minutes to be silent (right now, if at all possible). Ask yourself and your Lord what needs to go. No matter what he shows you, I hope you’ll hand it over and ask him to help you leave it in his hands!

 

Just Pray

Given the date, a regular posting seems, well, just wrong. Instead, please take the next few minutes, the time you would have spent reading this blog, to pray for all those still hurting from the losses suffered 18 years ago today.