We got a good dose of God’s blessing of rain this month.. after a long dry spell..the colors of His palette are everywhere. I have been walking over the last week.. easy to do when the sun is shining every day. You never know what new things are just around the corner and I am continually encouraged by the Lord that He is in control and everything is moving ahead exactly the way He has planned it.
My heart is feeling full of hope as we move toward Spring and I know that it is because He has answered the cry of my heart to be renewed and granted more faith in this season. I see the way He is weaving my life experiences together..nothing is random. Isn’t that reassuring? We are part of a larger story..one that we can’t full comprehend, but He gives us glimpses. One thing leads to another and suddenly we are filled with joy.. God is doing things with us and through us.
I want to leave you encouraged today.. filled with anticipation..hopeful and renewed in your faith. I can’t do all that, but the Lord can and He will.. He is ready to meet us and to fill us with His living water.. I took some pictures on one of my walks to share with you…glimpses of Spring and all the good things that are yet to come..
Here is the scripture that God gave me for this year.. I am art journaling these days..I recommend it.. as a way of responding to the Lord and remembering His words to us.
“Calm me O Lord as you have stilled the storm, Still me O Lord, keep me from harm. Let all the tumult with me cease. Enfold me Lord, in your Peace.” ( Felgild compune in Celtic Daily prayer)
“May the Lord bless and protect you. May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you His favor and give you His Peace.” ( Numbers 6:24-26)
I have these two prayers on the wall near my desk and have been reading them every morning. I’m not usually one for written prayers.. but these two bring me such reassurance and peace.. I had to share them with you.
We need reminders all the time.. of His faithfulness.. His presence. We forget that He is good.. that He loves us and cares for us and for those we love and care for. This busy world leaves little time to take in the things that really matter.. those truths that strengthen us and help us through the trials and tests.
Our God is with us.. He has His hand on us and He hears the cries of our heart. He knows our pain and struggles. He holds us.. whispers to us..heals us and protects us.
“Lord.. forgive us when we forget about you.. when we try to control our own destinies.. when we put you on the back burner and run around like crazy. Renew our faith today Lord and give us hearts that hunger after you.”
I thought of the title of this post while I was out walking this morning. We use this expression to express a different type of walking..it might be described as staying close to the heart of God..following Him..choosing His plans instead of our own. All of this is very important, but so is walking outside in nature with God. For me, it is a necessity.. I literally cannot keep going emotionally unless I get out and walk.
We live in a beautiful place so I am blessed to be able to walk out my front door.. right into nature. The reason I crave this time is because nature represents something stable and unchanging to me. The birds always sing..the grass always turns green after the rain..the creek always flows. In winter the trees always lose their leaves and their silhouettes are breathtaking. As spring approaches, daffodils poke up through the ground and the tips of the tree branches turn green. The flowers are in full bloom during the summer months and the birds seem to sing even louder. Then we have the beautiful fall show..the leaves turning color and drifting slowly to the ground. Wow!
Our Creator is working overtime in this world giving us glimpses of His artistic genius. It keeps me connected to walk outside and view His handiwork..it encourages me that He is never too busy to place beautiful clouds in the sky and to remember incredible sunsets. I just can’ t get enough of it! I truly hope you find the time to step outside and take in creation in all its glory..it will bring peace to your soul and rest to your spirit.
Can you believe it? Today is May 11th and Mother’s Day is just around the corner. This year I am celebrating it with my mom on Sunday and with my daughter on Monday. For the first time ever.. I have peace in my heart about this holiday. God has done some deep healing between my mother and I over the last few months. Our relationship has changed and I have changed.. she has changed too!
Keep in mind that my Mom is 90 and I am ..well.. I am a grandmother. It is never too late..all things are possible with God. After a lifetime of confusion, disappointment, anger, and sorrow..things are good between us. We can talk about things and share our hearts.. honestly and openly. We are very different, but in some ways we are similar. Her physical deterioration and isolation seem to have done something deep inside her heart..God is reaching her..and He is reaching me in new ways.
Our mothers have a great role to play in our lives..some do it well and others do it poorly.. no one does it perfectly. Our mothers are human. They are learning and growing as their children grow up and it never stops. My own daughter has been a mother for almost 10 years and I see the way she is changing through the process of raising her children. She is a far better mother than I was. She is dedicated to her children and it is obvious they are thriving. I thank God for the way He redeems everything.
Happy Mother’s Day! May God bless you as you continue to seek Him.
“Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.”
“The act or process of withdrawing, especially from something hazardous, formidable, or unpleasant.” Interesting definition. That word came to mind as I sat down to write. I am on an extended retreat..given by God.. a resting place. In some ways I am doing living out the word ” retreating.” My life is quiet.. I am working to keep it that way so I can recover from the stress of the last few years.
Being in a quiet place can be difficult for those of us who have spent much of our lives rushing from one thing to another. Busyness is the idol of our culture and often the idol of our churches. There appears to be a contest among all of us..who can live the most significant life..serving, giving, doing, doing, doing. I know all about it.. I was one of the contestants.
Not any more.. I quit. No more worrying about my life being meaningful..about God using me..about accomplishing more for His kingdom. God has slowed me down so I can remember..relax..rest and recover. He is reminding me that I belong to Him..that I have followed Him..that He is pleased with me. He is pursuing me to rest in His peace and remember His goodness. He is the Good Shepherd who knows everything about me. He has all my tears in a bottle. He holds me in the palm of His hand. I am His daughter and His friend.
We just got back from a few days away. .away from our normal routine and away from the phone and computer. There were stressful moments while we were gone.. it takes more than a couple of days to relax and unwind. Actually I have no idea how long that would take.. or if it is even possible anymore. The world is a stressful place. People drive too fast and too close. Everyone is too busy and too loud. What has happened to our culture? We seem to have lost something very important in our rush to accomplish it all before it is too late.
It was wonderful to come home to our quiet, peaceful home. I am grateful for this place.. I know many people do not feel relaxed..even in their own home. Learning to slow down..to enjoy each day fully..a challenge for all of us and very counter-cultural in our technological age. Almost everyone I know is busier than me, except my 90-year-old mother. Coming home yesterday, I felt so fortunate..so thankful, and so amazed at this season that God has given me.
You may be in a very busy season, with little time to yourself.. I remember those days. Find a way to take a little break..to enjoy yourself..to be still..to relax..to be refreshed..to enter His presence. Put the phone down, turn off the computer or TV.. listen, remember, believe.. He is with you.
“Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace.”
By the creativity of our great God. The beauty of His perfect timing. My heart is being captured by the way He fits every piece of the puzzle together. Our small minds cannot conceive of all that He has for us.. and that is a good thing. It means we must assume that there is so much more than we think. Beauty is a constant reminder to me. When I am sitting and looking out my window at the hummingbirds, fuchsias, jasmine, and the beautiful view.. He is so present in those times. The space that is created by just sitting and being quiet is always filled with a sense of peace.
Some days there are tears.. just flowing without any answers to the unresolved issues. Other days my heart is filled with gratitude for His goodness to me. Each day is different..the one constant is His presence in all of it. We are assured that He is with us, that He understands us, that we are not forgotten. We have all these promises..we are the ones who need to make time to remember them..to allow them to go deep into all the hurting places. He is always reaching out and we are always in need of His touch.
He is capturing my heart in new ways.. meeting me in unexpected places with encouragement and comfort. Often I have to make a move and suddenly I realize He is right there..sort of like a game of chess. He waits for us to move and then He moves and it all starts making sense. He’ll always win and we will never lose.
Lord.. I pray a blessing on all those who are reading this today. My desire is to see each one receive something new from you.. that their hearts will be captured by a deeper sense of your love for them. Help us make space for you and remind us of how much we need you!
A good word for those of us who are weary..who isn’t? The life we live here never stops demanding our attention. There is no real escape. Even when we are experiencing a quiet moment or a peaceful day..something is waiting around the next corner. It may be a new challenge or a some unexpected news..disappointment or loss. It is enough to make me sigh just thinking about it. Where is the rest Lord?
Right here He says. “Take a few minutes to come to me with all of it and I will give you peace and rest for your soul.” Teach us how Lord..teach us to be still.. to stop striving. Our hearts are troubled and our spirits are weighed down with the cares of the world. You are our resting place. If we slow down and get quiet we can hear Your still small voice telling us that You love us and everything is under control. Our challenge is to stop.. to wait..to listen and to believe.
Let’s drink from that living water today..rest by that peaceful stream..fall into the arms of our God..lay down those burdens..relax..breathe..remember His goodness.
“The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; He leads me by peaceful streams.”
We don’t find it in the world..do we? Or in our circumstances. Do you long for it? A place where you are safe..some feeling of stability..a resting place. I need this in my life and so do you. We may try and get it from other people..seeking security in our relationships. It never works. It turns into idolatry and becomes unhealthy. People disappoint us..they fail..we fail..the relationship deteriorates.
Our circumstances are never predictable..we cannot rest there either. So where do we find this place of peace? Inside the heart of God. He is our safe place. He never changes..He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. We can wake up each morning knowing that we are safe and secure in Him. He watches us as we chase after false comforts longing for us to tire of our own solutions. He waits with infinite patience as we try to get our needs met without Him.
When we finally get tired and worn out..He is ready to take us in His arms and renew us..to restore us..to hold us..to refresh us. We have this amazing God who created us in His image and understands us perfectly.. there is nothing more we need to feel totally secure.
” The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand.”
We are approaching the finish line.. the year is almost over. A good time to reflect on the experiences of this year..to remember all that we have lived through. A great time to give thanks.. remembering that God came through over and over for us. We can choose to see the difficulties or we can choose to see His hand catching us.. His arms protecting us..His voice reassuring us.
The world is a tough place and there are no signs that things are going to get easier. We have no control over our future..but we have a God that promises to lead us. Can you see around the next corner? I can’t. My future is unclear and uncertain..but I know God’s heart. He is up to something. Let’s finish well..anticipating..with excitement..the good things that God will be doing in the new year.
Do you have any loose ends? Is there someone you need to thank? A call you need to make? An encouraging word you need to give or maybe a hug? We can choose to approach the finish line with hope and grace for those around us. I want to finish this year with a grateful heart..overflowing with thankfulness to my God. What about you?
“Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”