Room to room, notes on my phone, sending myself emails. My brain overflowing with impressions, parallels, searching for wisdom beyond myself. Surprised to discover new truths. Age old adages come alive in the light of this day. Heavenly whispers that mark out a new path.
Highlights of light on the treetops – the birds swoop between them without care.
A squirrel slips down a trunk- all that remains is a bouncing twig as he makes an acrobatic leap to a branch on the other side of the ravine.
I sit observing the changes in the defused light as the sun climbs in the sky.
Holy Spirit is opening a way for me. Constantly changing, yet always forward.
I homeschooled my kids, so we were together a lot; and they picked up an annoying habit. They began saying actually in practically every sentence.
My comment, “Time for bed,” was met with, “Actually Mom, we’ve got another ten minutes.”
“Can we have take-out tonight?”
“No, we had take-out last weekend.”
“Actually, it was Thursday night before soccer practice, not the weekend, Mom.”
So how did I handle that? I implemented a new rule. I announced that we were using the word way too often so anytime I heard them use the word, they needed to stop and spell it aloud.
And yes, it worked. They eventually stopped using it, and even today will spell it out to make me laugh.
It makes sense that whatever we apply our mind to, will make us aware of our thoughts, aware of our actions and words.
For me, writing my way through a personal issue helps to corral my thoughts. I can catch my mistake or the lesson I need to learn easier by journalling. And if I ever share my failure in a story, I can at least offer a solution that worked for me.
Throughout scripture we are reminded to be diligent and to apply our thoughts to many issues. Some key areas (listed below) are injustice, laziness, idleness, sinfulness, and in how we walk with the Lord.
I may not be able to do all these things at once, but if I pick an area to focus on and begin, I have an easier time getting at least one area under control.
How best to be diligent? Be mindful. If I’ve had a bad day, I review it. Where did it go wrong? What was my part in the issue? What could I do differently? Seeking out God’s answers to that in scripture is also an important step for me. Talking to God about changing my habit or my attitude is next.
I’m actually amazed that a word that used to steal my joy can now make me laugh. Oops, “A-C-T-U-A-L-L-Y.”
Being mindful is catching what catches you so that you can find peace.
#SlipUps #DiligentlyMeansBeingMindful #WorkingItOut #HomeschoolingIssue
Diligent: persevering, paying careful attention, painstaking effort, not careless, interestingly attentive, steadily earnest.
Some areas to consider:
Ps 64:4 (injustice) diligently search inward mind and the heart of man.
Proverbs 12:24 (slothful) diligently rule- or it will become forced labor.
Proverbs 10:4 (slack hand) brings poverty- diligence makes one rich.
Proverbs 13:24 (wayward) do not spare the rod.
2 Peter 1:10 (salvation) all the more diligent to make your election sure. Confirm your calling by practicing these qualities and you will not fail.
2 Peter 3:14 (prepared) Be diligent to be found by Him without spot or blemish and at peace.
You’ve hit a rough patch, You’re out of options. You turn your eyes to Him and are surprised that His eyes are already on you. Opening God’s word, you ask for wisdom, and he promises to give it.
When you read a powerful scripture aloud somehow the atmosphere hears his words. With your voice, you are aligning yourself with HIM; with his kingdom and his power. He says, “Ask me for My answer.” You listen, waiting for his response. Sometimes it is an overwhelming ‘in your face’ open-door answer, but often it means waiting in silence, sometimes for years as he moves things into position for His perfect response.
And if that’s you. If you’re in year number three and are still waiting, keep in the Word! Keep washing away the impurities we’ve picked up from the world around us. Stay focused on walking rightly and when that door opens, we’re going to fall down in worship, overwhelmed that the Creator of the Universe thought so much of little us to give such a wonderful gift.
One name for God is El Roi. It translates into ‘the God who sees.’ Well friend, El Roi sees you. He desires for you to know him and he’s never too busy that he doesn’t respond to a heart looking to him.
The deepest honor we can receive is the honor God gave to Joseph. First, He gave him the dream. Then came the years of silence as Joseph was rejected by his brothers, sold into slavery, falsely accused and imprisoned. Then when we read that Joseph rose to become the second-highest man in the Egypt let us not make light of the silent years. Joseph continued to walk righteously without friend or family in a foreign land. God was aligning the world and used these hardships to move Joseph into position for the prophetic dream given to Joseph to come to pass.
So, if God is trusting you in a time of waiting, be encouraged. His silence was an answer to that faithful young man, and it can be shouting that He’s working things out for you too.
Provision for the vision.
Rights for the righteous. Favor for the favored.
Food for thought. Blessings,
~ Debbie G
Genesis 16:13 Hagar- ‘the God Who sees.’
Genesis 37 Joseph’s dreams and siblings, followed by the silent years. Genesis 47 Reunited with his father and brothers.
#Waiting #SilentYears #PurposefulAlignment #TheGodWhoSees
There’s a place inside me that feels that if something was once mine it should always be mine. Like a comfortable old sweater, you don’t consciously think about it. You slip it on. It keeps you warm. It’s worn so often it’s like a second skin. Recently when asked how long I’d owned the sweater I realized that I’ve been wearing that thing probably close to a couple of decades. I could I blame my dislike for shopping, but the truth usually runs deeper.
Some friends were gathered at my home and one of the brassier ones told me my clothes were baggy and I needed to go shopping. I became a ‘project of sorts’ as another friend was assigned to take me shopping and to make sure I got some ‘stylish’ clothes. I must admit after sifting through my limited closet selections that owning some of my new purchases felt nice.
There was difficulty in parting with my old clothes, especially if they were gifts, but as they no longer fit, photos would suffice for memory’s sake and off they went to the donation center.
Perhaps it was that filtering through my closet months ago that helped me in my recent move. Downsizing is never easy. So many decisions. Some days I was ruthless and things I hadn’t touched in years flew out the door. But a tiny tin angel made the cut. And why was I keeping an air conditioning unit when my new place had central air?
Okay, the a/c was practical, and I only kept one when I owned four, just in case I needed one in my next move. Well, it made sense to me. And the angel is tied to a friendship which elevated its value. It was a gift during a difficult season, and it reminds me of my friend’s love and to pray for her.
Culling things that have no ties other than that they belonged to someone you loved is trickier. My husband’s collections of tools, acoustic equipment, and computer gear really meant nothing to me and were fairly easy to pass on to others. But a few of his sweaters, his cards, and a generator I’ll probably never use came with me. Sentimentality is tied to the heart.
The hardest gifting was his guitars. He owned several and for years played weekly on a worship team. These instruments held the melody of our early years together. I hold the image of me pecking on a keyboard while the notes of ‘noodling’ filtered through our home. (his term for mindlessly practicing chords or finger picking)
One of his last guitars was gifted this past week. When I discovered that a young man would use this guitar to lead worship in Texas, I sent it off with a prayer. The thought that his guitar would continue to make music in the house of God eased the transfer.
Settling into this new season is challenging. I’m still learning, as we all should be as we age. I’ve discovered that letting go is easiest when you focus on the gift you were given and appreciate it for the season it was yours, rather than the space it takes up in your home.
If you’re having difficulty letting go of something you cannot keep, there are wise words about not storing up things that rust. There is a time to keep and a time to let go. The true treasure is already locked away inside, close to our hearts.
Sending blessings as I settle in and let go. ￼
References: Matthew 6:19-22, Ecclesiastes 3:6
#GuitarGift #TreasureoftheHeart #LastingMemories #LettingGo #Sentimentality
Rope walking or funambulism has been around for centuries. Maneuvering across braided cord while suspended mid-air, this entertainment is dangerous. If you’re like me, sometimes in life, it can feel like you’re walking on a thin wire. It sure would be easier if it were a fence rail or a curb that didn’t move, but as kids we fell off those too.
To glean some skills in getting through those tight spots, let’s lean closer. How do they do it? Well, they start out on the ground. That’s helpful. It’s not so far to fall. First, they walk a straight line with arms stretched out for balance, keeping head up, and eyes looking to where they’re going. Like a ballet, fluidity come through repetition as they learn all the intricacies of movement.
The key to balance is keeping your center of mass (weight) over your base of support (your feet). As mentioned, a pole can be used to counter gravity’s pull. The closer to the wire, the better the balance, so dips are often used to recenter. And although we feel sturdier standing on two feet, a single leg is easier to balance upon up high. Often, the acrobat will balance on one leg and dip. Uh, it’s not for the faint of heart! Another tool used are soft looking leather slippers. (Let’s call them shoes instead, shall we? No slipping up there!) These shoes are malleable, they mold around the foot, allowing it to better grip the wire. Are you ready to climb up on a rope yet!?
I’m glad that training starts low and moves higher. The crazy fact is that it’s just as easy to balance higher up as it is low to the ground. If you’ve noticed, those high-wire walkers use long poles, (sometimes 40 feet long) because the poles themselves dip at the ends which draws the performer’s center closer to the wire. What looks natural so high up has been refined in practice.
Being ‘grounded’ to an aerialist takes years to cultivate. It means being prepared and focused. As faith-walkers, we too, have tools to keep us on the elevated high-wire of life. The rope that entangles many, has been unfurled and is anchored securely into rock. We can walk confidently in our slip-ons, our message of hope. Our daily practice of sitting at His feet refines our testimony to His faithfulness and keeps our core close to our Center of Gravity. Oh, we mustn’t forget the ‘cross’ bar of balance that we’ve been given, as we don’t carry it alone. His strength helps us to hold it. When weak, we keep our head up and eyes fixed on Him, each day a step closer.
And if we’ve learned our lessons well, we just keep walking, regardless of the wind gusts. Like the silence of a deer in the forest or a bird in flight, we too are visible in motion. And as precarious as the highwire looks, our balance was perfected on a firm foundation. In spotlight or darkness, He leads us boldly in the narrow path ahead.
#HighwireWalking #WalkingEquipment #SpiritualHighWire #GetOffTheFence #WalkingTheLine
Some good background references:
Psalm 16:8 and Hebrews 12:2(keeping your focus), John 14:6 (His way), Luke 6:48 (firm foundation), Colossians 2:8 (entangling cords)
Busyness. Focusing on the tasks ahead. Trying to stay one step ahead of contractors and painters means that you are removing things that will need to be replaced.
I’ve taken down pictures, switch plates have been set aside, and wooden doors have been sanded all in preparation for my blessing of a brother to come and paint in his off-work hours. My job is to prepare the room, feed him while he’s here, and although he cares for his own brushes and my paint, it’s up to me to vacuum, replace the moved furniture, and to redecorate my barren walls.
There’s something freeing about a blank slate. With one brush stroke movement has begun. Color is the start of a theme. Eyes can be directed by placement. We can orchestrate our own beautiful symphony in the rooms in which we live, sleep and think.
Do-it-yourself decorating shows are amazing. In one half hour segment, we see the ordinary transformed into a pristine, color-coordinated, picture-perfect snapshot. But secretly I wonder where do they put their clothing or the kid’s toys. We see a never-lived-in room. I can only imagine what a half an hour with my grandbabies would do to the space. Beautiful and yet not practical for most of us.
As we ready our homes for real living, we must consider that life will be messy. We’ll need hidey-holes for trinkets, hobby supplies, and our secret chocolate stash. Active families have busy schedules and sometimes we choose to let the kids help us bake the cookies. And their laughter echoes long after they’re in bed and the kitchen is cleaned.
This morning as I moved items so I could start my quiet time, I read about ‘renewing’ my spirit. And much like the renewing of my living space, I should consider an internal space cleanse. Maybe I stop to evaluate how my actions, how my daily routine and habits affect my day. Perhaps that daily news show that gets me fearful and agitated is a picture that needs to come off the wall. And instead of reaching for the remote I get outside for a walk. And how am I doing with connecting with my neighbors? And as I finish my reading in Ephesians, I am encouraged that the kindness I share will return to me.
So, if you stop by and find that my entrance has spackling marks where a mirror once hung, not to worry, my living room furniture is mostly back in the right spot, and I’ll clear a space for us to visit. I’d rather sit with you, my friends, in my ‘being repainted rooms’ than not visit with you at all.
And if you are undergoing your own spring ‘refresh’ I understand your dilemma but know I’m not looking at your stuff when I drop by, I’m just checking to see how you’re doing. Oh, and by the way, where do you hide your chocolate?
Good reading: Ephesians 4 :17-32
#springCleaning #kindnessReturns #Reevaluate #WheresTheChocolate #BrotherBlessing
I took a trip this past week. The river brings assorted treasure to my shoreline each spring as the snow melts away. This week, a long tree floated up and attached itself to my dock. I grabbed a shovel and walked out with my son. I gave the log a gentle nudge. It easily slid down the parallel line toward the end of the dock. It also easily moved away from the dock when I gave it a little push out. I realized a bit late that there was nothing holding me. Down went the shovel. And oops, down I went. I surfaced to my shout of my son’s concern, spitting out a mouthful of water.
“That tasted better than I thought,” I managed to quip around a cough.
He pulled off my glasses placed them off to the side and tried to pull me over the log, back up onto the dock. My flailing arms, trying to find a grip, gave my specs a good knock and they joined the shovel below.
I had a bit of a challenge getting my son to agree to let go of his hold on me so I could swim out on my own. Providentially, I had pulled on my winter coat as a bit of protection from the northern breeze, it puffed with air and was a good float.
As I sloshed my way back up to the house, I was reminded how sometimes we have unexpected adventures. I’m sure I can use this as a warning to be more careful, and perhaps consider it a baptism for the next part of my journey. (insert chuckle here)
Things are replaceable. I lost a good pair of glasses and a shovel.
And what seems catastrophic can actually be amusing in the end. I knew I was fine the moment I surfaced… embarrassed, but fine. Heart hugs for my son who had lost his dad a year prior and had the shock of watching his mother drop off into the (not so) deep.
And learning new things: like how to care for my magnetic dock, that attracts all kinds of floating items, is challenging. So wisdom, like having someone near-by to pull you out of a jam, is imperative.
Well, keeping a good sense of humor helps too. After all, someone must take the first dip of the year.
Enjoy today’s chuckle… all at my expense.
Today’s wisdom brought to you by: Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!
I wonder what Jesus saw as he was lifted into the highest place, hanging from a cross on the hill, oh Golgotha. All eyes were on him, this man who claimed one-ship with God.
His friends had fled during the altercation the evening before. Now beaten and whipped, he was adorned with a piercing crown of thorns. Spit upon, to the chants of ‘Crucify him’ from the gathering crowd.
Just what did Jesus see from his unique perch hanging between two thieves?
Did he see the worried people who had followed him for years? Or those he had healed from affliction? How about the people just going about their day, like Simon of Cyrene, who were swept into viewing this spectacle by the pressing throng? Did he see the glint of pleasure in the temple leaders’ eyes as his life blood drained away? Could he hear the soldiers gambling for his clothing or talking about their plans at the end of their work day?
The hot sun baked his naked form as the day progressed. With each minute that passed his lungs begged for air as his hunched shoulders compressed his chest. And as he raised himself for another breath, his full weight pressed against his nail pierced feet. Pure agony.
Near the end of these hours, he spoke to his mother and a few brave friends with words of care. His final words were to the realm unseen, speaking to his Father in heaven. After asking God to forgive these people who didn’t know what they were doing, he gave up his spirit, placing himself into God’s hands.
Had I been there that day I’d like to think I would have been in that small cluster of faithful friends, but I often wonder if instead I’d have been one of the crowd chanting, ‘Crucify him.’
Or maybe I would have stood afar hoping he’d perform a miracle, like the ones I had witnessed, and that he would save himself.
But of this one thing, I am certain, that from his place on high he stared across time, and he saw me. He saw every person that would seek Him, and then He gave of himself to open the doorway to heaven for all who believe.
Forgive me, Jesus. I do believe.
(a repeat from 2020)
#GoodFriday #WhatHeSaw #HeSawMe
With our children, it’s always about the ‘why’. Our littles are trying to piece together the world through our answers. So, in raising kids we endure a season where every statement is followed by a question. In a way, it’s good that they trust us and are digging for deeper understanding.
I adopted five kids from foster care. And in raising these little ones, there was one moment I’ll not forget, I was explaining how babies grew in their mother’s belly. And when I further explained that it was in their natural mother’s belly, my little one responded with a sorrowful whine, ‘but I wanted to grow in your belly.’
For the most part though, the longing these children had for their natural parents was never far from the surface. Unable to understand that sometimes people just aren’t in a place where they can raise the children they love. There was a place inside them that I could touch, but never fill, not unless they chose to let me in.
We too can get stuck, focusing on what we don’t have. Thinking that we must have done something to cause life to change so abruptly. Wondering how to navigate through new situations or challenges.
I lost my husband near the end of 2021. Life for me has changed a lot since then. As I was sitting in church on Sunday, I realized I had moved out of my quiet contemplative state and was easily conversing- connecting with people again. It wasn’t that grief had disappeared, but that somehow love had invaded the void, and I was healing.
Looking back at where I had been, I imagine myself a caterpillar that out of necessity had spun a chrysalis. And for a season I had been readjusting inside. Now, breaking free. I’m outside again, airing these new wings.
And in drawing close to my Heavenly Father, I’ve allowed Him not only to touch, but to fill my empty space with Himself. I find I am stronger in many ways, and I trust that when the wind is right, He’ll point me in the best direction, and I will fly again.
#butterflywings #healinghearts #gettingthroughgrief #why #emptyspaces
‘Indelible,’ a rarely used word today, yet a profoundly intimate one. It means we’ve made a mark.
Left an impression. We’re not easily forgotten. There’s power in that.
In life, we don’t start out with a concrete plan or an idea of where we’ll end up. Side-winding our way forward as opportunities arise is the norm. Each decision affecting the next step in our journey.
As I was writing my recently released novel, my personal life was balanced, not always an even flow in my family stream, but I was not often overwhelmed, like we find the main character, Elizabeth, in my book. A stressed-out ER nurse, in a full-blown panic attack.
I began writing this book almost ten years ago. Long before our current state of medical staffing shortages, and record number of high anxiety with the inability to do more than survive the day. The long hours and stress management have always been the bane of the medical field. Add to it the overwhelming sense of ‘battle’. Your life is on the line in this ‘tour of duty.’ (No offense those in military service. I believe this is a definite parallel in the level stress induced.) It has brought the medical community to a breaking point. So many seasoned providers have changed course. So, how can broken people move forward in strength?
In one of the pivotal scenes in my book, Elizabeth is found chatting with the cemetery caretaker, Kenneth Greyson. He says to her, ‘Some people leave an indelible impression and others only a wisp of a shadow… and you, my dear, have left many indelible impressions.’
I believe we’ve forgotten how to place ourselves in someone else’s shoes. And the way forward is by getting back to the basics. Remembering that each life touches another. When this man, the ‘Guardian of the Markers’, took time to invest in this young woman she was able to start piecing together a way forward, toward healing. Someone found her valuable.
I received a moving testimony this week from a woman who was reading my book and encountered a stressed-out medical employee at her doctor’s office. She connected the character in my book with this young woman and reached out to her in love. She offered kind words and prayer. The result was an overwhelming release of the worker’s tension, frustration, and tears. All because one person could ‘see her.’ Someone recognized her inner pain and reached out in love.
Our lives intersect with others… may our touch be indelible.
#softtouch #gentleanswer #walkinlove #stressed #healing
Written in 2021. I hope this will minister to others facing difficulties.
My husband was hospitalized. Intubated because his lungs weren’t able to pull in enough oxygen. I visited him daily. If you’ve never been to an intensive care, it is for the truly sick. He was given medication to allow his body to battle the raging attack on his system, ‘asleep’ on a ventilator for more than a week.
The hospital was gracious in reducing his medication during my visits so we could interact. However, I soon discovered the downside to this medication was memory loss. At about day nine, they switched his medication to one that allowed him to be cognizant. He was shocked to discover that he had lost weeks of his life. Without recall of our conversations, my visits, or my comfort and support, he awakened to a room with a wall of family photos and several reports on his medical status.
Oh boy, did he have questions… many written notes. When he came to a place of understanding the overwhelming battle that he was facing, I could see discouragement in his eyes. So, I began to search my memory bank of the fun things we had done together. In his isolated room, to the rhythm of the beeping machines, I wove our memories back into the forefront of his brain. No longer battling his frustration at this current turn of events that was beyond his control, he now lingered over the adventures of our history together. And when I paused too long between stories he wrote on his dry erase board, ‘more memories.’
Medically, I was unable to help my husband, but God gave me this gift of time to be with him. I too had to let go of many things. Things out of my control, including my frustration at his inability to remember our interactions of the past month. But as revisiting the good times helped him, it also helped me, to focus on what I did have today. That he could be with me mentally, right now, in this moment. That I had the privilege of being able to transport him away from the swishing noise of his ventilator to places where we had enjoyed life together. We were on family trips, laughing at our children’s antics, and dancing in our kitchen to the music in our heads. And when the day was over, we had shared many smiles, and I got to enjoy his silent laughs.
And as I walked the long, lonely hallway on my way back to my car, I was grateful. Even if he didn’t remember this day, I would. I was learning to count my days and to hold precious memories as the treasure that they are.
Whatever is pure, lovely, praise-worthy-Philippians 4:8
Comfort one another- 1 Thessalonians 4:18
#lettinggo #countingblessings #comfortothers #walkingthelonghallway #truetreasures
Pedicures. Never had one, but I can say after a long day on my feet that a cleansing foot massage would be glorious. But to be sure, I wouldn’t treat it as I would a car wash. I’d arrive with clean feet.
So, I wondered what’s up with Jesus spending his final hours with his disciples by washing their feet? And the crazy tidbit thrown into the mix is that Jesus knew that Judas (one of his hand-picked followers) planned to betray him, and he washed his feet anyway. Now that’s some self-control.
We read that Jesus wrapped a towel around himself and must have knelt at their feet with a basin of water. Picture Jesus kneeling at twelve individual men’s feet. Dusty, dirty appendages that he touched personally. Imagine their thoughts as they waited for their turn. As Jesus washed and dried, he listened to Simon’s rebuke, “No, you’ll never wash my feet,” and Jesus’s response changed Simon’s ‘never’ to wanting more: “then also wash my hands and my head.”
Jesus clearly stated that all need to be cleansed by Me. This experience was not only an example in humility, but it was also preparation for the journey ahead. Their job going forward would be to make disciples. Time consuming work. Jesus washed 24 feet on his last night of freedom and that took time. Probably not what we’d choose to do if we knew it would be our last night here on earth.
Jesus went to the place of ‘further still’. Yes, this was ministry work. They already knew hardships. But it was also the dirty work, the intimate work, and in a few hours, they’d understand more fully that it was the sacrificial work that he calls all followers to.
Now, a pedicure involves much more than foot cleansing… it is truly digging deeper, rounding off the rough spots, trimming away sharp edges, and finally massaging moisturizers into the skin. Just like the walk of faith does in our lives. We root out misunderstood passages, prejudices, and pride by drawing close to the Teacher.
Jesus taught that all people are worthy of God’s love regardless of their lives, actions, or choices. No person is ‘too far gone’ to offer the hope of salvation, not even one’s ‘enemies.’
And like Mary who anointed Jesus’s feet with a year’s worth of nard, (fragrant oil) Jesus was fitting their feet to go into all the earth with the gospel of peace.
We walk in love best when we’re willing to get a little dirty.
John 13: Jesus washing feet.
John 12:3: Mary’s anointing.
Ephesians 6:15: Feet fitted with the gospel of peace.
Matthew 28:19 Make disciples of all nations.
#pedicure #footwashing #nevertoofargone #walkinginlove