Our childhood has left us wandering, seeking the magic prescription to plug the gaping, black void in our soul. We don’t have staying power.
In fact, we don’t know why we pursue unhealthy relationships, more money, or status. A touch, the temporary satisfaction of buying something we can’t afford, or a drink or drugs fail to halt that yearning. That yearning hungers for more and that hunger drives our life as if we have no choice so we flit from job to job; from relationship to relationship; from church to church. Others disappoint our expectations and we move on.
Oh dear one, the only person who can salve that ache is Jesus! It is time you put down roots and examine your life. You find out the why and you will be free!
Will you join us as we, once again, surprise the Salvation Army Bell Ringers with a cup of coffee or hot chocolate? Try to do it anonymously. Most restaurants are more than happy to deliver the cup to their bell ringer. It helps them feel a part of encouraging someone they don’t know.
It’s difficult to share things—to have the courage to share. Things that become emotional clog in my throat, my breathing becomes labored, and I smile and nod. I sit so still and I don’t want to look at anyone. Part of me wonders as I struggle for breath if I am about to have a panic attack.
Then, God answers my soundless cry. It’s reassuring and my breathing becomes normal. Emotions though have always been difficult to handle. I still want to be that woman who can handle anything, forgetting His lesson that I do not have to be strong. God has given me a great support system. I should just let Him be strong. His protective hand remains and I feel it with me, steadying me. I am determined to live as though each person is trustable, trusting God to piece together my heart should someone shatter it.
And that will happen—someone will betray me or disappoint me, but I don’t have to let it affect me in such a way that I live isolated in a crowd. I choose to love. I choose friendships. I choose risk. Because a life in hiding is no life at all, but a self-made prison binding me to bitter judgment and cynicism.
As Beth Moore says, “Life is challenging, but it is never empty.” My life is full and I like it that way. I like what God is doing to my life and how He is changing me. I found my voice and I am learning to live fearlessly. I am learning the joy of life even as it challenges me. I no longer feel that empty longing and I am learning there are others who have suffered, too. Their compassion, love, and authenticity reminds me of God’s presence. He is everywhere and I am loved and I feel His love every day.
So thank you, Lord, for not letting go and for making a way through my walls.
In “Oh, God Book 2” the little girl receives a message from you in a Chinese cookie. After watching that movie, I often wished when I cracked open a Chinese cookie your message would be on that sliver of paper–a clear direction in a confusing world.
But then, I am reminded what Mondays With My Old Pastor, by Jose Luis Navajo said, “Don’t despair if you don’t understand the meaning of something today. Keep eating the fruit. This is also the message of the cross.” He pointed to the dozen crucifixes that decorated the simple room. “We do not understand what happened there until we visit the tomb and find it empty. Too often we despair and give up in the middle of the storm, when the only thing we should do is trust and wait. The storm will pass, and then we will discover that the waves that terrified us were actually the same waves that served to alter the course of our sailing causing us to dock in the right harbor.”
My Father, I know you don’t speak through a Chinese cookie. I only have to fall back on your Word. You gave us that and the Holy Spirit. You gave us your Son. You gave us you.
Hear my prayer, O Lord,
and give ear to my cry;
hold not your peace at my tears!
For I am a sojourner with you,
a guest, like all my fathers,
Look away from me, that I may smile again,
before I depart and am no more!
– Psalm 39:12-13
So when I eat at a Chinese restaurant, I won’t look for a sign from you in a Chinese cookie. I’ll look on my knees. I’ll look in the pages of your book. You are praiseworthy, my Father.
Jerome, AZ is well known for it’s New Age, Tarot Card and Angel Readings. It’s less than an hour from Sedona. So it’s no wonder that people claim certain buildings are haunted. My friend Kristine McGuire could tell you about her experience with so-called ghosts from her book. Otherwise, Jerome is a quaint mountain town tucked literally into the side of a mountain. It has great shops and restaurants, bed and breakfasts and hotels. You could drive through it in five minutes. Tony and I love to visit this town in spite of it’s background and rough areas. It’s a great place to people-watch and eat. If you want an adventure, drive to Jerome!
Every so often I read a blogger and wonder if the person is ever really happy? I know I have my moments of moping and seeing the glass as half-empty, but why the long face all of the time especially when we know God’s promises? We need to believe in Jesus again, and it’s a book I am reading that has awakened that call.
I’m reading a book by Derek Prince called “Provisions of God.” I am stunned.
Everything I thought before of God’s promises went flying out the window. We’ve all heard in scripture how Jesus goes to prepare a place for us. Have you ever studied the scripture as thoroughly as Prince has because God through the Old and New Testaments has been preparing places for them and us, and not just in heaven!
He prepared places for Moses and his people. God has prepared places for every biblical character before they even knew they needed a rock for a pillow or a tent for shelter. Jesus even told the disciples to go without any provisions like food or water because He had all ready prepared the towns and people who would take care of their needs and then some.
So why the long face?
Own the promises and listen to the conditions of those promises. We pray for rain, but, like someone said, we don’t take an umbrella to the prayer meeting. It’s time we look at our words and actions. It’s time we listened to God and find the joy that seems just out of our reach. It’s time we actually believed in God again.
A conversation at work reminded me that I should have begun my One Thousand Gifts journal 11-days ago. It was great watching my husband jot down his gifts on lined paper. I loved watching him re-read it, too, getting all excited over the simple things we take for granted. I’m afraid I let my journal go a month into my excitement for the book. Diaries are a real challenge for me. I can’t write every day. I write when I need to write and that’s not always entries that cause thankfulness. I write for therapy, for release, and hopefully someone will get the lesson in it.
Like grief, it needs a vent to steam and disippiate into the air. Grief, I’ve learned, is a long process. In fact, I believe it never goes away. When someone rips open your life with calculating coldness your recovery is rough, and then, it gets better, you forgive, but grief comes and goes. Sometimes, grief catches you by surprise. A story, an encounter, leaves you swallowing back bittersweet tears. You know you grieve for what you never had in the first place, and seeing those encounters or hearing those stories make you realize you are again wanting something that is not possible—a Norman Rockwell dream. Then, the grief retreats and joy emerges as I see what I have now—so many good people in my life who have helped me grieve and understand and move forward. That’s a gift I delight in writing down every year in my little notebook.
What about you—the person who has endured so many broken dreams and shed many tears—what are you thankful for today amidst your grief?
Snow whitened the surrounding mountains, and covered the grass in clumps. I walked with a spring in my step and money in my purse. The air turned my cheeks red. My scarf was wont to fall from my neck and my gloves kept my fingers warm. I was Christmas shopping. I love Christmas shopping. The decorations hang everywhere and the month feels special. It’s the only month where I have permission to spend money on fun things for the people I love.
As I turned to walk into the Bashford Mall, a Salvation Army man rang his bell next to the Prescott General Store. He wore a wide smile as if his job weren’t tedious, but something worth working for, and immediately I wanted to do something for him. After buying the gift, I ran upstairs to the chocolate shop. I knew they sold hot chocolate for only a dollar a cup. I bought him a cup and hurried outside hoping he hadn’t left on lunch break and handed him the cup.
I said, “Merry Christmas!”
He looked pleasantly surprised as he took the hot chocolate. He thanked me profusely.
This happened last year. This year I would like to challenge everyone to do a flash mob of kindness and buy Salvation Army bell ringers a cup of hot chocolate or coffee all through the month. Show them the light of the Lord as they collect money and stand in the freezing cold. If you did that, please post a comment here. Let me know.
“Why didn’t you text them?” Tony kept asking me after he arrived home from work.
Friends forgot a pre-planned lunch date on Saturday at Wildflower Bread Company. I could have called them. Maybe most people would have called immediatley, or sulked about it over a cup of coffee.
“I had to go into town anyway.” I bought a cup of coffee and a morning glory muffin. I enjoyed sitting quietly in a booth, bathed in sunshine. No computer or pressing need distracted me. I took out a book and read, grateful not to be in a hurry.
I’ll probably call them this week and reschedule, but I relished that unexpected quiet moment on Saturday. My friends are usually very reliable and I know something probably came up. Plus, you can’t get mad at someone when their mistake gave you an isolated moment away from the everyday. A gift of rest from God.
What happened when your plans went awry? How did you react?
I read somewhere on a blog someplace that we all struggle daily with some form of unforgiveness. Forgiveness becomes a daily exercise, it read, of handing off what irks us to God. It becomes a practice of grace and mercy that, like in a situation I am experiencing now, feels more like a mighty climb to a summit.
So here I go again…practicing forgiveness and working on filling my mind with His Words instead of my own cantankerous complaining. Instead, I am continually praying for their heart, and my own heart to accept what I cannot change. Do you struggle with grace?