“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.”
Proverbs 3:5 ESV
Last night I told myself I needed to get with the times. I need to be aware of how they are truly changing.
I am now that person who is panicked over what the world will be for my children’s children.
I was not this way before.
My mindset was one of oh, it was bad a long time ago too, people have always been violent, issues have been challenging and intense. Children can adjust as long as they have the firm and loving foundation of family and God.
But, I got all worked up over something I saw on the internet about three year olds. Close to midnight and I’m wanting to research it more, prepare myself to protect my grandchild.
The thing is, influence is either worrisome or wonderful. It is unwaveringly committed and steadfast in whatever the influencer believes.
Children, I am certain, will be influenced by the ways of those closest to them and by those who make a commitment to stay close to God.
Last week in church the preacher asked “Who in your life most influenced your faith by their life?”
There are a few people for a few different reasons.
But, I cannot deny my grandma.
She was quiet and private with her Bible.
She was unwavering in her commitments and traditions for us.
She was industrious.
She was gracious.
My name is written in red in her Bible, all of the other names are there too.
A few weeks ago, my “Aunt Boo” reminded me of God’s control and of being sure He is working all for good in my waiting to know.
She reminded me of the refrigerator magnets at my grandma’s that were letters spelling out, “God is busy.”
God is busy. Doris Evelyn Peacock
I told the story to my daughter.
She smiled. She remembered and I promptly purchased a bag of plastic magnets because every single day I too need to remember.
He’s got the whole world in His hands.
God is busy making ways for us.
God is busy dispelling myths about Him, replacing them with reminders of truths about Jesus.
About His love.
God is for us, not against us and He is busy being sure we believe.
Linking up with others on the prompt of “influence” here.
“Catch the foxes for us, the little foxes that spoil the vineyards, for our vineyards are in blossom.”
The Song of Solomon 2:15 ESV
Cold in a way I had no idea, I removed the soft heavy blanket and because the birds had begun to sing, I turned and saw the sky behind me, bright with pink.
Longing to see more and to see with a more private view I ventured to the backyard.
Bare feet on crunchy frozen grass, my steps became a dance and rather than staring towards the sky I became captivated by the camellias.
Pink, I decide is the color of vibrance and optimism. Some petalled balls fallen from the branches and in varying stages of change, some clinging gloriously and a few yet to bloom.
I pray we don’t get the icy days we southerners disdain.
I pray the terminal frost that curtails the continued growth stays away.
Because, the camellias this winter have blossomed in grander and more undeniable ways.
Or is it my notice that has changed?
Has a sense of hopeful curiosity begun to enlighten my belief?
Changing doubtful speculation to committed curiosity over things that might finally be?
Things I believe are for me, abilities and opportunities designed by God.
I am beginning to trust it might be, that I will see.
Jesus has seen me and is pleased in my growing understanding of Him.
Mercy is becoming more than “Christiany” expression tacked on in hopes to gain acceptance.
Mercy, I am finally seeing.
Is for me.
Jesus, leaving Jericho heard the desperate cries of two blind men sitting on the side of the road.
Their sense of hearing compensated for their inability to see and so, they cried out loudly to Jesus asking for mercy. The crowds chastised them, these pitiful men positioned on their way.
How dare they ask to be seen, much less to be able to see?
Have you felt this way?
Felt that according to God and to others, you should stay in your place, why on earth would you believe there could be grander things to see?
The blind men must have been desperate, must have been shouting.
Jesus paused for them.
He asked them what it was they needed.
Jesus wanted to hear their deepest need.
“And stopping, Jesus called them and said, “What do you want me to do for you?” They said to him, “Lord, let our eyes be opened.” And Jesus in pity touched their eyes, and immediately they recovered their sight and followed him.”
Matthew 20:32-34 ESV
Yesterday, I sat anchored by weighted rice bags on my abdomen and thighs, the sense of settled safety, I was seeking.
I joined in my friend’s “Midweek Mindfulness” and loosened up the places where my stress had made its abode.
Anchored and waiting, eyes closed in meditation, I struggled to be still, to stay composed.
Surely, this will soon be over, I don’t know how much longer I can hold this pose and I can’t think of a single additional thing to let go and I’ve prayed my prayers and I’ve focused my focus…
Then she begins to speak of curiosity and I naively conclude she’s done this solely for me.
It actually could be.
I listen and decide curiosity is a worthy mindset, not one curtailed by pessimism or conclusions to my stories, rather a careful and hopeful, continuous pursuit.
The blind men could have chosen what they’d always chosen, likely just being careful to stay out of the way
Instead they decided to be brave, to be curious about Jesus and to give new sights a try.
This morning beckoned me out onto the cold January ground and led me to see beauty, not only in the morning sun but in the blooms fallen and fading making way for new.
I get emotional over a couple of lines in a pretty song. The voice is captivating, tender and true.
She makes a quiet and sure proclamation over her soul and unknowingly, mine.
She sings, “the foxes in the vineyard will not steal my joy!”
It is a tender song, inspired by the verses from the Song of Solomon, a book that reads like poetry, sonnets and splendidly passionate love.
I wear a bracelet with a charm that encases a mustard seed in a little glass bubble.
A gift I purchased for me.
I need reminding. I need to continuously seek more understanding.
I need to allow my fingers to find and cling to it occasionally, my reminder of faith.
I’ve found a newness of a feeling.
It feels like a treasure, my new enthusiasm for understanding the kingdom of God here on earth and in heaven.
“The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure that a man discovered hidden in a field. In his excitement, he hid it again and sold everything he owned to get enough money to buy the field.”
Matthew 13:44 NLT
Understanding of God that both fulfills my deepest longings and increases with assurance what I believe.
I believe more than before that heaven is better than here. The great mystery of it all confounds me less and absolutely intrigues me more.
The disciples asked Jesus why he spoke in a way that included illustrations, parables?
Jesus told them it was important to him that they see.
Jesus feels the same about you and about me.
He’s intent on the increase of our understanding of him, of getting us as close to heavenly thinking as we can be.
If we only and simply even just a tiny bit in the beginning believe.
“Here is another illustration Jesus used: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed planted in a field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but it becomes the largest of garden plants; it grows into a tree, and birds come and make nests in its branches.”
Matthew 13:31-32 NLT
And then we allow our beliefs to grow, we anticipate heaven while we walk more closely to God here on earth.
I’m getting better at believing, believing in what I can’t see and in the fruition of my journey and the flourishing of my faith and the gifts of God in me.
Getting better at trusting that with quiet fascination and intentional nourishment, I will see my faith and the works of my hands continue to grow.
He’s not finished with me yet. Brandon Heath
Linking up with others who are prompted by “better”
I almost interjected this possibility to one and then to another.
One distraught and rightly so, I listened and became exhausted over my lack of anything I may be able to do.
I sat and simply took it all in.
Her dismayed lack of peace.
Another so burdened by wrongs and unable to live without fear, so protective and unbelievably afraid yet so very ready for something to change.
Both unable to know what might change their directions, what might help them understand the unfairness of their fate.
I have no real answers other than the three words seemingly from nowhere that are clinging to me and I, clinging to them.
Continue and believe.
I’m prone to storing up my interactions, sort of disengaging emotionally as I am present in my professional role and yet, the stories linger and they don’t stay buried for long.
I believe that is God’s way, to not waste any exchange meant for me to grow, to continue on and give words to feeling, maybe help another to grow.
I wanted to tell the mother grieving and in dismay that I still believed God is faithful and that I believed she could have some peace. But, I didn’t. It wasn’t the right time or the place.
I wanted to tell the one homeless with her daughter, terrified of everything, that life can be simple, dependable, peaceful I believe.
But, I didn’t. It wasn’t yet time, it seemed best to wait until she begins on her own to see.
See, peace comes to us in different ways, in our own separate time and place.
Jesus was the object of speculation and of disbelief and disenchantment, much the same way was John the Baptist.
The disciples were learning as they followed while the onlookers and the intellects were set on deliberations of who they thought the Son of God should be. I guess much of who Jesus appeared to be was not their idea of a “prince” or one able to bring about peace.
Jesus essentially said and continues to say, just walk with me.
“Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you.
Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
Matthew 11:28-30 NLT
I imagine me alongside Jesus. We are going forward, we are making clear the path through muck and mud and I am smiling as I am looking straight.
I am content in the steadiness of Jesus’ steps.
So, I walk with Him.
He is doing the bulk of the work of getting us through the rough places, keeping me out of the ditches, breaking up the ground for the goodness and growth that will rise up behind us.
I’ve made some decisions and haven’t turned back, took some chances and opportunities recently, things that are teaching me that not everything comes by chance.
Fortune shines on others more than me and
Oh well, it wasn’t meant to be…these were the truths I believed.
Being a believer of a God who is sovereign, who is in control, led to my conclusion that only just enough good could be for me and that as a believer in sovereignty I must surely stay in my place, must not seek more than a little, must stay anchored by doubt and by fear of failure, not trying at all because of the unlikelihood of success.
I intentionally handicap myself.
I’m beginning to learn from my children, adults who have most likely seen this in me all along but never called me on it, accepted my ways for this long.
I wonder how it feels for a child to see a parent finally coming into their own?
Close to 60 years old and becoming strong?
I wonder if they realize in their own way, they helped me here.
To this season of wanting my legacy to be more than the timid and tentative mama, they may have always known. The one whose thoughts were always deep and bent towards worry.
Here now because I want their faith in God and His goodness to be strong.
Several months ago, I lost control.
Headed towards an important event, we were “T-boned” by a crossing car and my car jumped it seemed into the deep ditch and the front end was crushed by a timely positioned pine.
The Labrador, my husband and me. He jumped from the passenger side and I screamed loud and long. It was a very odd and out of control sounding cry. It was fear.
My daughter answered her phone.
“Mama, are you okay? You are okay. You are okay. Now, stop crying, just breathe and calm down.
She called her brother. He called me.
Same reaction, the same level tone in a child of mine’s adult voice. It was the same assurance, same calm.
Control what you can control. my son
Months have passed and changes have been made, changes are on the brink of being announced, career, home, and faith.
Changes are taking place.
Last night, I gave up on watching “Ozark”. Intrigued by the young actor with the authentic twang, I told myself to try it again, watch something that at least causes thought.
Fifteen minutes later, I switch to a Julia Roberts movie simply because she’s beautiful and required less attention.
Told my husband I couldn’t watch, don’t want to go to bed with those thoughts.
Still, I was startled awake before light and had to shake off a horrific dream. I knew it was partly me to blame. I watched the gory scene, heard the horrific words, saw the actor’s fear and grief and evil exchanged.
I went over my average daily screen time. I ate extra spicy food and then had red wine and then topped it off with chocolate milk, Advil and crunchy peanut butter on a spoon.
I recalled the nightmare to forget and move forward. Remembering times before. I had the damaged perception to believe that bad dreams were God sent messages to me.
Messages like you’re still that wild and mistake making girl, you’re still the too attractive and easy for your own good young woman, you’re still the poor girl in the ill-fitting tops, you’re still the fat middle schooler in your brother’s husky jeans.
You’re still the woman in the pew unwelcome by the women who are already there.
I don’t think nightmares are for anyone’s good. If there’s nothing else I can control today, I will control this new truth, this new optimistic conclusion.
And I will carry it into my day, I am no longer living the trauma victim way.
“Thereafter, Hagar used another name to refer to the Lord, who had spoken to her. She said, “You are the God who sees me.” She also said, “Have I truly seen the One who sees me?”
Genesis 16:13 NLT
Hagar was a slave girl who followed along with circumstances that caused her to carry a label we today would most likely call “whore”.
I can barely type the word. You see, I’ve been called that before.
In the nightmare last night, I revisited that woman of before; but, she ran, ran, ran ironically away from a church and through the streets to find herself alone in prayer, her face to the floor.
She found God there.
She rose and she walked freely, more freely than before.
What mindsets have held you captive?
You are never in God’s eyes the person you were before.
If you have experiences that lead to nightmares, don’t succumb to the belief that these bad dreams are your restitution for your bad before.
Use the sense that God gave you. Combine it with good and trustworthy therapy and then add in what you know. Know what God knows and can control and then assert yourself to control
What you can control.
Your “resurrection power”, your “freedom living on the inside”.
You called me from the grave by name You called me out of all my shame I see the old has passed away The new has come! Chris Tomlin
Be found in your wilderness, come forward to be seen and to be fully known.
Stories about family, faith, friends and funnies. Pull up a chair. Grab a cup of coffee and laugh, cry, ponder and inspire about ordinary events of this wonderful, ever changing, bubbling pot that we call "every day life".