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!

——————————

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…/

Advertisements

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

Rocks

ashland creek Suttonlee pixabayLithia Park is one of my favorite places in the whole world. It’s lush, tranquil and inviting. Deer run through now and then. Mothers spread blankets on the lawn for their napping babies. Couples walk hand-in-hand down shady paths. In the summer, a circle of small children sit on upturned Home Depot buckets, honing their skills on tiny violins to the delight of those fortunate enough to pass by. Perhaps best of all, Lithia Park is punctuated by Ashland Creek, which runs down the center of that 93 acre garden.

Ashland Creek is my favorite part of the park. It’s full of fallen trees and giant rocks, making the liquid landscape even more beautiful than it would be on its own. Those rocks disrupt the water’s surface and create little cascades, providing a natural music that calls out, “Relax! Enjoy!”

I wonder, though, did anyone ever decry those rocks for slowing the flow of the creek? Or perhaps, did someone point out the hazard those rocks can create as they become moss-covered and slippery?

We have rocks in our lives. We tend to call them stumbling blocks or obstacles. But, I wonder, do we always have to see those rocks as something negative? Maybe we weren’t meant to move so fast. Maybe a path that isn’t quite so smooth is more interesting, more beautiful by the end, and even more glorifying to our Lord. Maybe if we’d only relax a bit, we’d hear the music of trust created by our troubles.

Are you frustrated by the rocks in your life today? We’re called to be content. (Short Bible study included below.) So, I hope you’ll step back for a moment and slow down enough to see that the One allowing our rocks can use the slower pace, the disrupted path, to make something beautiful. Your money belongs to him. Your time and energy belong to him. Let him spend them in the way he sees fit. Relax a bit, and let the rocks make music!

Verses on Contentment

But I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child I am content” (Psalm 131:2).

The fear of the Lord leads to life; then one rests content, untouched by trouble” (Proverbs 19:23).

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want” (Philippians 4:12).

Be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’ So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?’” (Hebrews 13:5b-6).

Photo by  Suttonlee on pixabay

The Daily Grind

 

keys-525732_960_720 unsplash stevepbHave you ever experienced inexplicable peace in the midst of a crisis? Probably. Indeed, I hope you can say “yes.”

Next question: Have you ever experienced inordinate strife in the midst of a minor inconvenience? Even more probable. Like you, I have to answer, “Yes, many times.”

Tish Harrison Warren says this in her book Liturgy of the Ordinary.*

“The call to contentment is a call amidst the concrete circumstances I find myself in today.” A few lines later she writes, “I’d developed the habit of ignoring God in the midst of the daily grind.”

Those somewhat heady thoughts are offered within the tale of a typical morning in which the author awakened with joy, headed out with happy anticipation and then crumbled into frustrated despair when she couldn’t find her car keys. (Don’t judge. You know you’ve been there!)

She goes on to say that she maintained a more consistent peace when living for a short while in the tension and danger of a war-torn part of the world than she often does during a typical week in Average America. I can relate. Can you? Have you learned to abandon yourself to Almighty God when the stakes are clearly too high for you to manage, yet somehow forgotten who is in charge when life’s little irritants and inconveniences assail you? (Too often, perhaps, we still hold on to the silly notion that, in some smaller things, we are actually in control.)

I suspect our Enemy knows where to find our weak spots, sometimes better than we do. Fortunately for us, we are created by the same God who is also known as the Comforter. We can run to him even when we are brought down by something as petty as a lost set of keys. So run! Right away! Whenever anything brings us down, may it bring us all the way down to our knees, to a reminder that we serve the Mighty One. And then, may we rest content in the middle of the daily grind. (“Tune in” next week for a rubber-meets-the-road follow up, a tale of when I had to take my own advice!)

*Warren, Tish Harrison, and Andy Crouch. Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices in Everyday Life. IVP Books, an Imprint of InterVarsity Press, 2016, p. 55. And thanks, Madeline, for recommending this excellent book!

Photo by stevepb via Unsplash.com

 

I Forgot!

remember I forgot k-images via unsplash

I had a tough day. Not tough by global standards, mind you. I still had clean water and plenty to eat. Not even tough by normal standards. I wasn’t sick. My husband still loved me. My kids were doing well…But it was one of those days when the world overwhelmed me. A busy week had worn me out. I had a few hard issues to face, and business conflicts, and, by golly, my printer wouldn’t even work! By mid-afternoon, I was in bed weeping, then slept for a good long while. I had forgotten—

  • That, while it really is okay to cry, and to be sad on occasion, there’s an infinite Source of joy and support standing right beside me, available if I’ll just stop to notice.
  • That our troubles really belong to Him, and he’s able to handle them all the time.
  • That prayer truly does change things, within and without.
  • That sometimes all we need is rest, and quiet, and a moment to remember…

They say, whoever “they” are, that the best way to learn something is to teach it. In a way, I teach when I write. I have learned these lessons before, but on that difficult day, for a few painful hours, I forgot them. Perhaps you forget them now and then as well. So, here are a few reminders, for both of us, blogs I wrote long ago based on the words of writers I respect:

‘Hope you’ll take these reminders to heart, both today and on the next day that life threatens to overwhelm you. We serve a mighty God, and he can handle whatever comes our way. We may have pain or hardship or even just plain old irritation, but even then we can take a breath and let our spirits rest in him.

While on a Treadmill…

white-male-1856182_1280On a recent rainy Saturday, I headed to the gym and slipped on my headphones. Sometimes, to distract myself from the boredom of the treadmill (just being honest here!), I watch Netflix. Sometimes, I watch a sermon. I chose a sermon that day and started streaming one by Francis Chan It was a great talk on obedience and sacrifice, delivered in his usual way—disarmingly casual, surprisingly funny and always in-your-face challenging. But on that Saturday, it wasn’t a sermon by Francis Chan that renewed my resolve to trust in our loving lord. It was, of all things, an ad for the movie “Hellboy.”

Since I’m not an aficionado of those movies, I can’t tell you which sequel Hollywood is offering this month. What I can tell you is that, as I began to jog along on a noisy sweat machine, the flat screen TV in the corner of the room caught my eye. There in poster-like fashion, bold against a brightly colored background, was this announcement:

ON APRIL 12, OUR FATE IS IN HIS HANDS.

I had to laugh. I was about to spend 30 minutes listening to what would unquestionably be a fantastic sermon by a well-known pastor, but nothing was going to stick in my mind that day like those few words. Because, of course, on April 12th, and every other day as well, our fate IS in his hands. (I hope you’ve figured out by now that I don’t mean the hands of Hellboy!)

Those words are one of the keys to our walk of faith, the reason we can be at peace no matter what is going on around us. Our fate is in the hands of the Lord who loves us. Not in our hands. Not in the hands of any enemy or even in the hands of a loved one. In HIS hands. Ultimately, at all times, whether we see it or not, our Lord is at the helm. And isn’t that the most wonderful news?

So, on April 12th, and on every day thereafter, I hope you will join me in remembering—perhaps with a bit of a chuckle over the source of these words—

OUR FATE IS IN HIS HANDS!! Care to comment? Just click here.

Photo by pixabay