Wait! We don’t like to hear that word. But when we “hear” wait from the Lord,, we can actually be encouraged!
Read Romans chapter 8 with me today.
Stories of Overcoming
Wait! We don’t like to hear that word. But when we “hear” wait from the Lord,, we can actually be encouraged!
Read Romans chapter 8 with me today.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”
Try this calming technique: 5-4-3-2-1 to better access God’s peace.
I’ve been battling poor sleep the last few nights. After finally coming to terms with why, the Lord blessed me with truths in both Job and Daniel today.
Can you bring your worry to God today and face the trial?
God’s love brings peace. You can experience freedom from fear!
I wrote this many years ago after my Great Grandma passed away. I wrote it as a way to remember the love and respect between my Great Grandma and Grandma and to remember the faith they helped instill in me. Today is March 12th, my Grandma Betty’s birthday. She is celebrating in heaven.
“Momma, why don’t you come over here and rest your legs for a while?” Grandma asks as she scoots past the rounded counter’s edge.
“I just need to get these rolls in the hot oven, dear. I’m fine.” As my Great Grandma leans her head towards mine she add, “She’s always fussing over me,” and then she smiles a slow smile.
“Oh, momma, I’m not fussing. I just think you must be tired and ready to rest by now.”
My thoughts stay focused on these two amazing women I have been blessed to spend time with, but instead of listening to them I begin to marvel over them. As I look at Great Grandma, I see her eyes behind her thick glasses looking closely at the dough she is forming into perfect shapes. “She’s not tired,” I think to myself. After all she had rested her eyes for a few minutes in the comforts of her recliner, which almost envelops her small frame. The time she had spent in the warm sun in the garden, combined with the efforts of her body had caused her to feel fatigued. But, she would not admit that to anyone, especially her daughter. Great Grandma looked forward to the time she had each day, albeit short, to spend in the yard.
“It’s a battle,” she’d say, “trying to keep up with those pesky weeds. Do you know that last month when I spent a week in the hospital, my hydrangea plant was eaten by slugs!” She’d try to say it in a gruff voice, but the kindness inside of her would get the best of her and she would chuckle at the end of the sentence.
“Ma, they’re just plants! We just don’t seem to have the time to keep up with what the good Lord has blessed us with. That yard is a jungle!” Grandma knew the importance the yard held in her mother’s heart, but she also loved her momma so much. Much of their bickering was due to Grandma trying to protect Great Grandma from overdoing it, and Great Grandma stubbornly continuing in her ways. The doctor had suggested Great Grandma begin to take it easy in the yard. She chose to ignore that advice from the doctor, but Grandma had listened closely and taken notes as to what would help her mother continue out her long, full life.
I let my thoughts drift back to the sunny kitchen where an enjoyable feast was being prepared for me, the so-called guest of honor. With feet planted firmly on the ground, arms outstretched, Great Grandma twists the knob to the perfect baking temperature. The sunlight from the nearby window shines awkwardly on the timer so that when she goes to twist the knob she has to gently turn her head to the side to avoid the glare. She sniffs the mild scent of unbaked bread dough and continues her chore.
Finally, Great Grandma is finished in the kitchen. Deliberately placing a hand smoothed by warm dishwater, on the edge of the counter, she steadies herself, and then continues to use the counter as a guide as she makes her way to the living room. She doesn’t say anything, doesn’t admit that it is time to rest, but she settles into the large recliner. Grandma is quiet and offers a relieved smile, as Great Grandma slumps into the chair. Grandma has lived with her mother’s stubbornness for a lifetime and learned the importance of allowing her the freedom of taking care of herself whenever possible.
At least once when I am with my Grandma and Great Grandma, I gaze at them with amazement and wonder. In my mind I formulate a list of all that I love about these women. The very best part of being with them is listening to their stories. Now that they are both comfortable in their cozy living room, I know the stories will begin to be told. Years had gone by when I didn’t appreciate their stories and the wisdom I could glean from them. But God knew the day would come when my heart would open up and I would see that listening to the wise women would change my life. Along with so many life lessons, I am learning about true contentment from my Grandma and Great Grandma. Though many of their stories told contain hardship, they are always told in the context of hope. One of their stories may begin by sounding like a story of loss, but midway through I will begin to see that it is really about strength to persevere and faith that God is in control.
Second to listening to their stories, is listening to them talk to each other. Speaking with genuine kindness just seems the natural way to speak for this mother and daughter. They truly respect each other and it shows in every aspect of their relationship.
Through these women, God taught me about love. Love so full that just being in the room with them I am able to catch what overflows. When I am with them I feel like a parched sponge, hanging on to each spoken and unspoken feeling, hoping to be saturated with love.
As individuals, each woman is amazing. Great Grandma has fully lived 93 years of life on this earth. She has lived through wars, marriage, childbirth, many moves, a serious car accident, grandchildren and great children’s births and countless surgeries. Great Grandma has learned how to hope, love, have faith, patience and true humility. She seems to always have a story brewing of one of her experiences. It wasn’t until I had entered into my 20’s, that I was able to appreciate all that her stories did for my soul. I finally began to notice that if I went to see Great Grandma with something negative consuming my mind, I would leave wondering what had ever troubled me. Her stories always gave me a different perspective and helped me to feel thankful for my life. Now, rather than escaping the conversation and heading to the dirty dishes that waited in the kitchen, I could follow her back to her chair just to listen. Until recently, Great Grandma had been able to tell long tales, with all of the parts connecting to form a lesson I need to learn. She has grown quieter recently. There are more frequent pauses. When I am searching for the next light topic to talk about, Great Grandma will amaze us all by thinking deeper and saying, “We are so lucky!” She keeps our conversation headed in the right direction, focused on the wonder of life. Great Grandma is a woman full of peace.
My Grandma, being equally as wonderful, is someone I have always admired. “Your grandmother is beautiful,” my friends would always say, commenting even further after spending time with her. She is outwardly lovely, and inwardly splendid. On the outside my Grandma has the most soft, delicate hands I’ve ever felt. Feeling her hands is like touching a velvety, summer rose petal. Often when we come together after not seeing each other for a while, she will grasp my hands and I will be taken back to when I was a little girl. I was fascinated with those hands. Those hands could gently french braid my hair. They could pull strong weeds from the yard. They could lightly brush away a tear on my cheek. Her hands could push the lawnmower around a steep, hilly yard. My grandma has hands filled with a balance of love and strength. On the inside she is all that she is on the outside combined with a joyful heart and a keen mind. She has endured both good and bad in her life, and chooses, like her mother, to focus on the good. Grandma must have learned a lesson from her mother about life, because she exuberates peace.
My grandma and great grandma have lived together, just the two of them, for about 9 years now. With each year, a new strength is added to their bond. Their partnership in this world seems to grow more established through each circumstance they face. The faith they have come to trust enables them for each coming day. All of what makes up these women is shown with each minute I spend with them. My grandma and Great Grandma are extraordinary women who have changed my life and fill me with a most precious gift, a peacefulness that I will always cherish.
Even to your old age, I am He, And even to gray hairs I will carry you! I have made, and I will bear; Even I will carry, and will deliver you.
Jesus said, Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. John 14:27.
But, not at Christmastime, Lord. You understand that I have presents to buy and wrap, food to buy and prepare, children to corral in the craziness of a changing schedule this time of year, basketball practices to get to, dinner to make, oh, and don’t forget some self-care in there too: exercise, eat well, and stretch. Lord, you didn’t mean, you have given me peace even at Christmastime.
Not as the world gives do I give to you…
The world offers me peace in the Christian yoga YouTube videos I found. The world’s peace is in letting go. It’s found in circumstances going my way. I can experience it in discovering the perfect gift found on the clearance rack at the first store I step into. Ah…an empty parking spot nice and close to the front. Is this the peace I seek?
My peace I give to you…
Jesus doesn’t offer peace based on the circumstance. Jesus offers his peace based on who He is and what He has done for us. His peace doesn’t depend on me. His peace doesn’t depend on those around me. His peace doesn’t depend on my schedule or the season. His peace depends solely on him…His life, sacrifice and resurrection, and His Spirit dwelling inside of those who place their hope in him.
Let not your hearts be troubled…
Don’t run around in a frenzy. Don’t expect others to do what you want. Don’t search for peace in this world. Don’t make yourself God in your life.
Neither let them be afraid…
Keep your heart and mind set on the Lord. Trust in His love. Trust in His goodness. Trust in His power.
Yes, Christmas peace.
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
Hurricanes, threats of attack, environmental disasters, fatal accidents, higher taxes, overpopulation, traffic, violence, hatred, racism, disease…these words flash at me when scrolling my local news app on my phone. Heart rate quickens, breathing becomes shallow, mind races.
Rather than continuing the pursuit of the local news, I turn to God’s Word for a remedy for anxiety. An answer to the unrest all around. Peace in the turmoil.
Studying Psalm 23 this week, led me to realize this is a passage of scripture that I have known for a long time. It was the only scripture I memorized as a kid at vacation Bible school. The words have always drawn me in and painted a beautiful picture in my mind.
But, this week, the Lord brought greater understanding through slowing down, verse by verse and allowing His Spirit to unlock the words for me.
Each day this week, I took one verse of Psalm 23 and journaled about what the Lord was saying to me through His words.
The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
3 He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell[a] in the house of the Lord
And, Psalm 23 in my own words:
God is my loving guide; I am in need of nothing more.
He provides what I need to be fed; He guides me to quiet rest.
The Lord brings back to order my life; He guides me in the right way I should go because of His name.
Even though I go through low times even close to death, I will not be afraid, because you train me, support me, and bring encouragement to me.
You bring peace and nourishment to me even when those who despise me are near; You fill and empower me each day; I am content in You.
Without fail the Lord’s favor will pursue me every day of my life; And I will live in heaven with the Lord forever.
“Can I just look on Craigslist? Please, mom?”
“Yes, you may LOOOOK. Did I say we are buying? No. We are looking. Your sister just turned 12 and she just got a guitar. You are learning piano and that keeps you busy. You may look and see what’s on Craigslist, but we are NOT buying a guitar for you right now.” My long, drawn out explanation was in one ear, and you know the rest.
Our 9-year-old, Abby, was already entranced in the beautiful instruments she saw flash on the computer screen. “Oh, mom! Look at this one! It’s so beautiful!” Her eyes lit up and she clapped her hands together with excitement.
“Yes, that is really nice,” I say while passing by on the way back to the oven to check on dinner. “But, again, we are not buying one.”
After dinner the daunting topic returns. “When can I get one, you guys? I have enough money. I want a guitar so bad! There’s this one that has numbers on the top. It’s for a little kid. I don’t want that one. But, there’s this other one. It’s purple and really shiny. I would love to have a purple guitar.”
“Let’s just wait. You just started talking about guitars a few days ago. I am sure your sister will let you borrow hers when she’s not using it. Besides, I know you don’t believe this, but it’s actually really good for us to have to wait for things.”
Again, my words were tuned out while the daydreaming began.
Days passed and this pattern continued. It seemed that an hour couldn’t pass without the word, guitar, entering into the conversation. No longer was it just guitar. Now, she was very specific, purple guitar. She was set on getting a purple guitar.
And, I am exasperated.
Finally, it got to where we had to ban the word, guitar.
“No more. We will tell you when we think it’s time to buy one of those, those, those instruments. But, until then, no more talk about gui…those instruments!”
She walked away defeated and I walked away feeling uncertain.
Hasn’t my prayer every day this week been for my girls to draw closer to the Lord? Haven’t I been praying for them to find their own ways to connect with God, apart from me or anyone else? Haven’t I played a large part in instilling a love for music in my girls? Constantly having music playing? Taking them to music class weekly? Insisting they practice the piano?
The next day, in my prayer closet, I realize, I have not even prayed about this purple guitar. It’s been a daily topic. A regular source of contention in our home, but not once did I seek God for wisdom. I answered, “no” before ever bringing it before the Father.
“Lord, you know her desire. But, Lord, I don’t want to spoil my kids. I want them to know how to wait. But, Lord, she loves music. She loves to worship and talk about your love. Please, Lord, give us your wisdom. Give us your heart and your eyes to see what this desire of hers is really all about. And, Lord, if it’s your will that she gets a guitar, please make it clear to us.”
Finally, the peace I needed, rather than the constant irritation around the subject. I still didn’t have an answer but I knew that I was open to what the Lord wanted and wasn’t going into this decision alone.
Towards the end of her piano lesson, I hear the topic come up again.
“Do you know how to play the guitar? I really want a guitar. Mikayla got one. But, my mom won’t let me get one.” I hear her spill it all out to her beloved piano teacher, Lindsey.
Talking from the other room continues, until Abby runs into where I am, breathless and wide eyed. “Can I mom? Please, mom? Come on, mom, please?”
Lindsey, seeing my confusion, explains, “I was just telling Abby about my guitar. I just got a new one last week. I have my old guitar at home. If my sister doesn’t want it, it’s all yours!”
“Really? You just happen to have a guitar at home? Well, it sounds like you need to check with your sister. And, I will need to check with my husband. But, it sounds like it may be a possibility.”
“Oh, just out of curiosity, what color is the guitar?”
“Oh yeah, it’s purple.”
Really, God? I just prayed this morning. I finally just handed this one over to you. Here you are bringing the answer right here to us. We didn’t have to search online and wonder what your plan was. No, you walked that purple guitar right on into our house!
Now, of course I have no idea if Abby will ever really learn to play the guitar. I don’t know if this is a phase or if she’ll be a lifelong guitarists. I don’t know. And, I don’t have to figure that out. What I do know is that when left on my own, I had anxiety in my heart regarding what to do. I handed it over to the Lord, was flooded with peace, and He provided His answer.
A purple guitar brought right to our doorstep.
Once again, He proved to me:
He knows and cares about every detail of my life.
He desires for me to come to Him with everything.
He loves me.
But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.
Many Americans woke up this morning feeling anxious, uncertain about what this day would hold. Many have professed they will be moving to another country depending on the results at the end of the day. Some of have been holding on to November 8th, full of dread.
My question is, how is this day really any different than any other? Which of us knows what any day ahead of us holds? If we are facing this day with fear and hopelessness, we must be facing each day that way.
When my husband and I went to see the movie, War Room, my heart was opened up to the power of prayer. I saw how Miss Clara approached God with boldness, both with her words and her stature. While in her prayer closet, she used scripture to claim God’s promises. Miss Clara was never doubtful when praying and she was never surprised when God answered her prayers. Prayer was her lifeline. It was her first defense as well as her first form of attack against trouble.
Wow. I had been missing opportunity after opportunity to communicate with the King of the world. I had been praying weak prayers. This had to change.
I went home that afternoon, took a look at my walk-in closet and immediately began bagging up clothes I no longer needed. 5 bags later, I had plenty of space to begin creating my very own War Room.
“Don’t you need those clothes?” my youngest daughter asked.
“No. I like some of those clothes, but I really like the idea of having a special place to talk to God even better.”
I hung pictures of my family and Bible verses on the walls. I placed some cozy pillows on the floor, as well as my favorite blankie. My daughters painted me some pictures. One is of a beautiful sunset with a cross on a hill. Another is of the night Jesus was born complete with the star of Bethlehem. And, another has the acronym PUSH, Pray, Until, Something, Happens. I have devotionals, study Bibles, and notepads. I love my space. But, what I love the most is how God meets me there.
This morning, November 8th, election day, was no different. I walked into my closet for my morning appointment with God and He met me. When I woke up, I didn’t stop and think about it being election day. But, once I got in my prayer closet, I saw my note that read, “Pray for wisdom, respect, humility” my note reminding how I want to pray for the candidates. My eyes wandered to the verses I have taped on notecards on the wooden shelf in my closet.
Exodus 15:2 “The Lord is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.
Isaiah 6:3, “And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.”
James 5:16, Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
When I approach each day, reading aloud about where my strength comes from, about God’s reign over the entire earth, about my need to confess my sins, and about the power of my prayers, I am equipped to face what lies ahead.
Today was like no other. I woke up a human being, full of pride, weakness, and sin. But, before jumping into my day, I asked God to fill me with His Spirit and I spent time in communication with the King of the world.
Whether I am waiting to hear test results from the doctor, waiting on God’s healing for a loved one, or waiting to hear who the next President will be, I still have the same need: to be filled with His power, peace, and providence.