Woven through the storm clouds, God threads moments of sunlight. Rays that splinter the darkness, calm the anxious heart, refresh us with rest, and touch our spirits with His Joy. This week the Master’s golden threads were interlaced abundantly throughout my life. Praise God for His glorious touches of Joy and His mercies.
763) flowers from a friend to say she cares and that she is praying
764) cards that arrive daily from friends reminding me that I am loved
765) a visit from my friend whose love, encouragement, wisdom and laughter has graced my life for more than 40 years. Sent straight from the Lord at just the right time, I was blessed to have her and her hubby in our home for four days~resting, sharing, breaking bread together, and, of course, shopping~just a little.
766) learning to submit to hubby all over again. The Lord has given him wisdom I often fail to recognize. Life-giving blessings flow when I let him lead. 767) comfy throws from the wicker hamper wrapped snugly round friend and me~they say “Old Friends Are the Best” 777) popcorn shared between friends as we watch a lighthearted movie rented from the grocery store 778) individual ice cream servings in assorted flavors~one to please every sweet-tooth in the house~Butterfinger was mine 779) a phone call from youngest before 9 a.m. to just check in and see how his Mom was doing. Heart touched.
780) a visit from youngest~time to talk a little, not too much~just mostly enjoy each other’s company
781) a newborn baby to hold and love~fresh from the heart of God. It provided a mini family reunion on hubby’s side with a cousin visiting from Minnesota to see her new granddaughter and daughter and husband who live here. Grandson also joined in the fun and so did older daughter (not pictured below) Joy all around.
782) In Christ, I’ve found forgiveness~not just for my sins but for my anxieties and lack of trust 783) In Christ, I’m finding healing that began with a healing service and an anointing 784) In Christ, I’m finding strength to make it through each new day
785) Beth Moore Bible Study on James~Mercy Triumphs~such beautiful words!
785) so thankful for the end of day and a peaceful night’s rest when it comes
“He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the Lord was my support.” Psalm 18:16-18 NIV
Thank you all for your prayers and encouragement. It means so much to me and helps me fight the battle.
Linking with Multitude Monday and Playdates with God
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On a mild December afternoon, a sparkle in the yard caught my eye. It seemed to come from the orange tree. And although I knew it was too early for blossoms on the tree, I tip-toed out to the tree with curiosity. No blossoms greeted me, but the tree had green, golf-ball sized oranges perched on scattered limbs. I was stunned. I had never seen a blossom in the spring after our frigid winter that nearly killed the fruit trees. How had the fruit grown? I wondered if these apparitions were illusions or if they would become real fruit. After grabbing my camera, I pondered the amazing fact that these trees produced leaves let alone fruit after being stripped almost bare by last winter’s frost. Brown crinkled leaves left from the brittle days mingle with shiny green ones now.
Then it became clear as the Lord’s thoughts traveled across my mind. What had I done to help produce fruit on this tree except for the basic feeding and watering? Had I caressed the tender branches or gently pressed the new leaves while whispering, “Come on, you’ll make it. Please produce some fruit again.”? Sure, I had wandered out there frequently in the spring, looking hopefully for blossoms, and returned inside sad to think that at least a hole year would go by before I saw the promise of fruit. For the most part, though, I had let the tree go, growing as fruit trees do. And God had brought the growth!
The Lord was speaking to my heart. There’s someone in my life I have to “let go” and allow God to produce the growth. It seemed so simple in the garden when He spoke to me. But in real life, it is the hardest thing I have ever had to do.
Like the winter chill that hit our trees, I feel frozen, numb, and stripped of the life I was once knew. Those casual conversations and sharing of heart-felt feelings with my youngest changed to measured words, texts, and allotted visits after he flew the nest last spring.
At that time, I had to let go of sharing a home and some of his heart with him. This fall he made it clear that he was not returning to college. He was going to pursue the military, and then maybe return to college with all the benefits of a GI bill. Another dream came toppling out of my cozy nest in the trees. It was a dream I had worked so hard with him to accomplish. Fear moved into the empty space. But before I had time to adjust my wings, a young lady captured the rest of his heart. My nest felt out of the barren tree.
If I could only trust the Lord to take me through this time of feeling frozen and barren to a time where I see growth again–growth in me and hopefully new growth in the relationship with our youngest, I could gracefully let the leaves bloom, illusions of fruit appear, and be renewed for expectant blossoms. But I keep shaking the tree, pleading with it to produce some fruit again. I squeeze the leaves, begging them to promise that next spring they’ll bear blossoms. And the fear that’s come to rest in my nest has sent me twisting and writhing in anxious pains. “Be Still and know that I am Lord,” I hear. But it’s easier said than done when your insides are churning. “The Lord is in control,” I agree with friends. But my view from the ground is not convincing me. I pray all the prayers for our adult children. But in the end, I need the Lord’s grace and strength to “let go.”
It is a time of grieving as I try to “let go” and wonder if I’ll hear from him again. Silence fills the air.
“Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer. From the ends of the earth I call to you. I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” Psalm 61: 1, 2 NIV
“Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my might rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.” Psalm 62: 5-8 NIV
Reaching for Joy in the pain. Ann Voskamp’s answer: “The answer to anxiety is the adoration of Christ.”
Thank you, Lord:
748) for a friend pulling into the parking space facing me at Costco. God’s appointment. She was there at just the right time to pray with me. 749) for a Christian counselor 750) for the chance to apologize to someone for something misspoken long ago 751) for decaf coffee purchased by my supervisor because my nerves are not up to caffeine; such thoughtfulness and compassion 752) for the courage to say, “no” 753) for the Lord’s peace in preparing dinner for youngest and his young lady 754) for oldest going to the market and purchasing cookies for dessert 755) for the joy of being with our home group and their prayers for us 756) for the sound of a text beep that means someone is thinking of me 757) for the sound of the school bell at the end of the day and the gratefulness that I had strength for the day 758) for my husband’s joyful voice as I came home one day 759) for resting in hubby’s strong and comforting arms 760) for Chip, our wonder dog, wiggling on his back with legs flailing in the air 761) for gently falling rain to rock me to sleep at night
762) for time to read
As I go through this time, I might not respond to your comments or write very often but know I appreciate your encouragements tremendously and I treasure your prayers.
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It’s been a long time coming. This urge to write. To write through the pain. To write while hoping for change. What to write? How to write it? What could I say that would bless others? My fists clenched tightly crushing the beautiful petal I wanted to preserve. The pain so raw, I could not touch it with words. The grasping to control that which was slipping through my fingers. When and where would I begin? I tried once before but before the words were on paper, the hope and life were torn away. Gradually, the Lord has been putting hope back into my life. Through friends who hug and pray and love and give Godly counsel. Through Hubby, my ever-faithful support. Through God’s Word. Through prayer. And through the Presence of the Lord Himself.
Yesterday, a friend gifted me with a journal titled “Joy Within.” She had copied Ann Voskamp’s “Take the JOY DARE” for January onto slick glossy photo paper, pasted it on the first page of the book, and wrapped it in cheerful yellow burlap tied with printed ribbon. I could feel the hope and joy begin to soothe the pain. I knew it was time to write~and to write of Joy and Thanksgiving in the midst of trial. Oh, I’ll talk of the pain, the change, the Lord’s work in me. But I’ll focus on His Joy.
“Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise His holy name. Praise the Lord, my soul; and forget not all his benefits– who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” 736) for the gift of writing and for those who read it 737) for friends who support, encourage, pray, and strengthen 738) for the friend who gifted me with a journal for the JOY DARE 739) for a husband who stands by and loves me through the tears and fears 740) for the full yellow moon in tonight’s dark sky, a bright light 741) for eyes that see Your beautiful blue skies again 742) for cousins who bless me with love 743) for Your compassion that desires to deliver each of us from our distress 744) for everyone and every way that You, Lord, reach out to touch my life with healing and hope 745) for oldest’s temporary job going so well and the joy he feels 746) for youngest’s phone call 747) for the call to dig for JOY, to lift up heart and my prayers with Thanksgiving to You, Oh Lord, who heals, and forgives, and delivers from the pit. All Praise to You, Mighty Lord
Thank you to all who stopped by with encouraging words even while I was taking a break. You brighten my day.
Check out Ann Voskamp’s site, “A Holy Experience,” to learn more about the JOY DARE and how giving thanks can change your life. Click here. Linking with Word-Filled Wednesday and Multitude Monday (a little late Share: Share what you have enjoyed.