Set Your Intention

In a matter of twenty minutes, these are my thoughts upon waking:

Set your intention.

Tomorrow’s freedom is today’s surrender.

Resilience can be developed, the effects of trauma can be undone. It is like exercise, my choice.

First, I roused from a heavy like cinder block sleep that finally came about 3:00.

Mind you, I had been sleeping, just not resting.

Years ago, I had no sleep apnea but my mind was found to be a racer, a wrestler all night, the report told. But, I woke and from I don’t know where, thought “set your intentions.” thinking of my friend the gentle, Dana and how I rarely make it to her class. Still, this might be a worthy goal for me, every day.

Set your intention.

Then, a song you won’t hear on the radio and rarely on your favorite subscription, the lilting tone in the voice of a man I decide is surely kind, sings of tomorrow’s freedom being today’s surrender.

Lord as we turn to You
Come free us from our sin
We only have today
So let us now begin
From dawn to dusk
We are waking up. Dawn to Dusk, All Sons and Daughters

Thirdly, I’m scrolling twitter and land on an article on resilience. I decide, this may be good and so as I’m waiting for the coffee press to do its little trick, I read.

Wouldn’t you know it?

It’s about focus and choices in our mindsets, our turning negative to good by deciding to look for the “silver lining”.

The article describes Bradley Cooper’s character remembering a song that sparked his outburst, his sadness and his potentially defeatist again mindset. Jennifer Lawrence tells him it is just a song. (By the way, did you see the greatest moment in my opinion of the Oscars, only second to Regina King’s acceptance? Bradley Cooper exited the stage with Lady Gaga on his arm and lifted his hand to his forehead as if wiping the sweat from his brow in a whew of relief.”

Saying, at least to me,

I did the thing I thought I couldn’t do.

The choice to not be led down a path of negativity towards depression and dismay signifies not allowing your past to dictate your future.

It is not easy, patterns are embedded. It’s safer to be the you that you and everyone else has always known.

To set your intention on that little tiny pinpoint light calling you forward, not the murkiness of the darkest traumas of before.

To measure your life in a dawn to dusk way, to wake up and surrender every morning, believing over time tomorrow will only know freedom, no longer waking to unravel your nighttime tragic dramas.

To look for the silver lining, tell about the silver linings you never imagined would be. The biggie for me, stop saying oh my goodness I never thought it could be, still letting the past have its undeserving part in my story.

Instead, celebrate with intention and boldness the good, all of the good!

Try not to include the bad in as many of your stories!

Be amazed at the lining up your morning, take it with you all day.

A waking thought giving you a new way to think about healing.

A song about freedom.

An article about the power of the mind and the way we drive our days, our lives, simply by choosing the optimistic road.

The steadfast love of God endures all the day. Psalm 52:1

Seesaw Prayers and Stephanie Sue

From God’s perspective, I believe we pray more than we realize, that our thoughts are to Him, sort of informal prayers. Maybe He’s nudging us to pray, saying your thoughts are not trivial, nor too troubling, tell me more. I believe He says let’s wait and see, get there together.

What’s blowing my mind today is the reality of God hearing my prayers! Oh Lord, forgive me for taking this lightly or for only getting excited and wanting to sing loud praises when it’s mind-blowingly big.

I try to get out in front of God, as if I need to coax the direction of a certain “perfect” way. If I’m honest, God must think I’m whiny or either aggravating, the pendulum swings one or the other way.

Like the seesaw, I’m either the queen of the world buoyed up high from my worries by the force and folded knees of my brave cousin, her butt at the bottom and feet firmly in the smooth cool sand.

Showing me, like Jesus.

I’ve got this. Sit still.

Then she lets go and either drastically I hit bottom or she’s easy and my place and turn in the pattern is more like rest on the level ground than a harsh descent, desperately back to prayer.

Or she’s so skilled in her timing, my seesaw partner, that she leaves me in the interim wanting me to trust her weight and balance will keep me there.

I don’t like the middle, the supposed to be at peace with not knowing, the trusting place. Yet, God always teaches me when He increases my faith, my confidence there.

He shows me that He saw me praying a different way, a surrendered and boldly strong expectantly way and so He moved and the situation, hours later changed, the circumstances swayed.

He answers our prayers all day throughout the day. I sometimes pray as if I’ve speculated the river is dry and the flow of sovereign power and grace can’t make it back my way.

Then He does it again. He answers the longing I brought and left with Him, the one I considered not bringing at all.

True story.

Prayer changes things and people.

I hope I remember it long, the thing that happened and It hit me…oh, you prayed! I’ll store it up in my journal of others chronicling the big grace and answered prayers of before along with the little ones He has anticipated and given replies that I may never know.

I don’t have to rush ahead fearing He doesn’t see I need His guiding hand.

I just have to stay close, let my trust be my hand in His hand on this ever changing road and that memories like seesaws and brave cousins who taught me so much are teaching me still.

This post is for you. I miss you, brave and beautiful one, Stephanie Sue!

“pray without ceasing,”

‭‭1 Thessalonians‬ ‭5:17‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Grace, Hold my Hand

“…let not your hearts faint, fear not, and do not tremble, neither be ye terrified because of them;”

‭‭Deuteronomy‬ ‭20:3‬ ‭KJV‬‬

Sometimes I think of Jesus being next to me there, wherever there might be.

I think of my hand held still by my side, Him holding it to keep me from being overly talkative, “talking too much with my hands”.

I think of my mornings when things make more sense and I sense His presence as if the chair next to me that rarely seats a soul, might be Him with me, He might be seated there.

I think of the way I believe in angels now. Until I began to paint them were so insignificant, were not reality for me.

The same God in that childhood church that confused me, made me believe, for me He just wasn’t there, is the one who is ecstatic now over me, ecstatic that I am understanding grace and mercy and that I believe!

Lord, what is my place in this, what is my role in this time, this question of staying in my place or climbing carefully to higher places knowing you will not let me fall?

And what should be my response if I am to put one foot in front of the other and then am unable to move on, overwhelmed by the fear of being farther than before?

Asking myself why on earth did I climb way up here, how embarrassing that I can’t move because I’m worried I’m going to fall.

Yesterday, I thought of grace. I saw it on another’s face and I felt it when I stood behind a podium and my voice, I sensed was making waves like the threat of undercurrent, a dangerously coming high tide.

I initially called it nerves.

I’d been sitting and waiting for my name to be called to stand and to speak, to make a plea for our cause.

I told myself on the drive over, this is important, this is so important and then decided on it being for less and yet, so much more.

Told myself, this is for the children.

The children labeled homeless.

The matter was important. I took my notes and laid them there, all numbered in sequence to refer to, only seven points.

My nerves, I decided were passion.

Although I did not realize it then.

I paid no attention to my notes.

I spoke from a place, it must have been trust. I do not know what the outcome will be. I find it so “un-me” when it comes to asking for money.

I do know I felt it.

I felt God’s grace.

A humble and quiet chubby girl, a poor child faced a room filled with philanthropist women.

And she spoke. She was able to stand and she spoke.

Grace doesn’t promise winning proposals or submissions.

It does say “Try, I will be with you.”

And it silences the voices that say you don’t belong.

Grace reminds of God’s favor while unconditionally insisting that some fears might not go away, but try…

Grace says try.

It is both necessary and unnecessary in that we must embrace it and surely we must remember it did not and does not have to be given.

It is not necessary.

But, it is good.

It is good that His grace always stays.

Imploring us to new places and making new spaces we will walk in and can be sure they are wide, so very wide it is impossible for us to fall!

But, to try.

Try.

Try because well, grace is waiting to remind us, try.

Stepping Out to Wait

Thomas asked Jesus where on earth they were going and how can we get there if I don’t know the way and Jesus answered saying stay with me, go with me, I’ll show you.

I am the way, the truth,

the life. John 14: 6

Last week one gentleman told me he was proud of me for “stepping out” and that our paths may cross again. He’s a retired magazine publicist.

Another who was formerly my boss; but, always my friend listened as I shared my current “leaps of faith” and later ended his kind note with “I admire your faith.”

Both of them I sat with and shared my coming changes, my uncertainty of what will be and my peace that I am choosing rightly, to move into a new season and allow God to develop the rest of my story.

Be patient til your wings are grown. St. Francis de Sauls

Kate Motaung and Shannon Popkin have responded to the question agonized over by me and other writers hoping to gain an audience, hoping for eventual publication.

Their new book is an important one for naive and introverted women like me, ones who are known to be quiet.

Influence, Building a Platform that Elevates Jesus, Not Me

How to navigate the work of making yourself known so that others will know what you know of Jesus.

Some time ago I was on the launch team for Kate’s Book, A Place to Land, a Story of Longing and Belonging.

I knew of Kate because I participated in her 5 minute Friday link-ups as a way to conjure up words for writing and deep down inside, hope somebody, just anybody might notice me, my words.

Occasionally they did and occasionally they still do.

I’m not really the “community” type one, I keep to myself. I’m known for saying I am so tired of “peopling”.

I am believing this will be different in my new season people.

I have continued to read Kate’s work, posts and the helpful encouragement in my mailbox. She responds to my questions about writing. She responds so promptly! (Something I personally love)

I’ve gone from yearning to have a writing life similar to hers (sorry, Kate, for a little bit, I was jealous) to believing her advice and seeing I can have a writing life of my own.

Kate Motaung has influenced me.

But, back to the question over putting myself out there or just cowering in my corner hoping somehow some reader might stumble upon me, my words and pronounce me worthy of reading…

This is the imprint of my childhood. Do not ask for anything, pretend you can do life without attention or recognition, don’t seek to be noticed or noteworthy.

In a time when we are inundated with attention seekers, social media places becoming outlets and a grasping for just one other person to know, there’s new pressure of deciding to stay quiet, to stay in “our own lanes”, at least I feel it is so.

I am learning slowly, the best way, not everyone cares about what I say.

And that is okay.

Some do and tell you so, adding comments like “please don’t stop, you’re the first thing I read everyday!”.

But, the curious, voyeur-type readers of my instagram or my blog who scope me out and quietly slink away…

These are the ones that hinder me.

That cause me to question my goals.

These are the ones that read and I imagine are saying, “Why does she think she is supposed to write this way or who is she to think she has something important for others to know?”

I’m afraid these are people by whom I am personally known.

Is it this way for others? I wonder.

They’re probably just busy; but my little girl unnoticed feels insignificant so often, the imprint of insignificance trying to hold on.

Less often and increasingly so, I have readers leave comments or people who say “I needed that.” or “How did you know?”

They thank me for being brave, honest, for saying and writing about a pain they may have known or know.

These readers encourage me to continue, to grow.

To grow in ways like joining Hope*Writers, being brave enough to be with others.

To believe the words God gives me from my experiences and my perspective are mine and mine alone; but, they are words someone else may need.

That someone might have a similar heartache, a breakthrough type epiphany on grace or even may find a new way to connect with Jesus through my interpretation of a parable or passage something to which we both relate.

Kate wrote of her mother’s death.

She and I have a similar story although vastly different.

My mother passed away nine years ago yesterday. I was in a fairly new position and living two hours away. Kate was in another country, airline flights away. We both set other things aside to be with our mamas.

Gut wrenching and emergent interrupted days, we held onto the time we had left even though our hearts longed for more. For me, at least, I always longed for and thought there would be more.

I treasure our bonding through her words, her description of the drawing of her heart to be beside her mother, the angst over not being able to be constantly near and the utter helplessness and surrender to our lack of control.

The realization of this lack when I had returned home too early and I got “the call”.

Others may have read Kate’s story and gained so much more or been impacted in a different way.

That’s the power of our stories.

Today, I am trying to lean in to where God wants my writing to go.

The balance between letting go and continuing are much like my battle of being known and staying in my place.

Much like stepping out to wait.

I know that if I continue I won’t even look the same because my heart will be open to where God takes me, the story He is developing no longer hidden.

I’ll be different, I’ll be the me that God has always seen, has kept purposely through so much trauma and self-destructive “dis” grace.

My note to self of late?

Continue and Believe. me

A good starting place for a newsletter or a book title, I perceive.

For now it’s for stepping forward to see what God has for me to share and to increase my believing so that others will believe.

This, I believe, is what God means by influence.

I’m linking my thoughts up with others on this topic of thoughts and childhood labels and hindrances to pursuing platforms so that our writing voice might grow.

join in here: Thoughts on Platform Building

Thanks so much, Kate!

The Tiny Light Ahead

Yesterday, I told someone something in a way that only slightly conveyed the real thing I tried to say.

I told her that I believed it is impossible to imagine what my life might be if I began to believe only in possibility.

We paused and our quiet faces wondered, how on earth do we do this, how do we not stray or get swayed by criticism, cynicism or just the crazy negative noise of our hectic days?

I looked into my precious cousin’s face and I answered that I’d walk with imaginary blinders on both sides of my face.

I’d need to stare intently at the tiniest of light, like the dot of a pin off in the distance, move forward with intention towards hope, off quite a ways.

Avoid the garish glare and naysay of others and other things on my way.

She listened and I gazed past her and through the little tables lining the restaurant. I looked out onto the busy bustling downtown lunchtime street. People passing by, others stopping to speak, I thought of me a year from today, will I be changed by possibility, a soft contrast of me today?

Would my face be lit by possibility, will I carry my hopes in a more confident frame?

Some things I think, must be pursued in a solitary way.

I told her I was certain my life would be different if I became unafraid of possibility and if I just continued towards the tiny light growing brighter as I near.

I would be different if I believed in possibility, if possibility was seen as an option for me.

I think we rarely really live this way.

Pursuing possibility in a peaceful way, a waiting way.

A know as I go quite certain with God kind of way to what God has to show me.

Possibly possibility.

“Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.”

‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭11:1‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Whether it be work or money or art or writing or relationships, I am saying to me:

Do nothing out of desperation.

We continued talking about our longing to be hopeful after life has given us so many reasons to be afraid, to be so silly and naive to think we should be hopeful only to have past experiences slap us back to reality as if to say, “Hope’s not for you, surely, you should’ve known.”

The plot can shift though, we decided, the story line is our story line and we can change the paragraphs and flow.

We can surprise ourselves, readers of our own books by creating a different ending, we can believe in the hopeful development of our life stories.

Believing can come natural, just as naturally as we regularly disbelieve.

If we don’t allow fear to destroy our stories.

How different I would be, we all would be, if we took leaps of faith, if we walked on whatever represents deep waters towards the light that is meant to illuminate our days.

To bring clarity to God’s ways.

God, help me to be an example of someone who has faith.

Stay faithful.

Continue and believe.

Sky and Bloom

“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.

Good to Me

What are the “foxes” in your vineyard? What present or past or based on your own predictions is set on stealing the joy you’ve begun to get a tiny taste of?

Exchange the sly intentions of the evil one committed to keeping you back for the mercy of the merciful one who asks.

What do you want me to do for you? Jesus

Speak of your need despite others silencing your curiosity.

Believe mercy will always meet it, always meet you.

Lift your eyes to the hills.

Your help will come.

Continue and believe.

I’m linking up with other writers at Tell His Story. https://marygeisen.com/in-the-middle-of-winter-guest-post/

https://marygeisen.com/the-one-word-that-almost-wasnt/

Not As Before

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.

You’re okay.

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.

The Book of Luke, 24 Days of Jesus – An Advent Experience

“Rebelieve”

The blue of yesterday’s sky was phenomenal, like a breakthrough.

The moon at dusk already so full you believed you might touch it.

Clear and undeniable.

Last night I held up a tiny candle, listened and sang with a sanctuary of others.

We all were proclaiming “I Believe”!

And then we all left the service and went about our two days before Christmas ways.

I am prompted to pray this morning, leaning into Jesus, asking for more of Him to show in me, my request for continued transformation.

Progress not perfection

Optimistic, I am, for 2019.

Jesus foretold Peter’s denial. Peter denied he would.

The disciples were with Him as he prayed to His Father, not my will but thine. He rose from his prayer to find them all sleeping, told them get up, this is a critical time, you may be challenged to leave me, you might be tempted not to stay.

Jesus was arrested and they all watched him being led away. Peter, Luke recorded, stood back a distance away.

He sat with the ones who accosted Jesus.

“And when they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat down among them. Then a servant girl, seeing him as he sat in the light and looking closely at him, said, “This man also was with him.” But he denied it, saying, “Woman, I do not know him.”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭22:55-57‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Others asked as he sat with them. I imagine, the plan to destroy this man the rulers were all afraid, afraid he might be more knowledgeable, more inspiring, more inviting, afraid he might topple their lofty positions, afraid that they were wrong, would be proven wrong.

Peter could have told them all, it is true, I have been with Him, I have seen.

I know Jesus. He knows me.

Jesus was more than they wanted to believe, the people all sitting around the fire in the home of the high priest.

Peter was aligned with them and he denied being a believer of Jesus.

And just as Jesus foretold, the rooster crowed.

“Peter said to him, “Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death.” Jesus said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster will not crow this day, until you deny three times that you know me.””

‭‭Luke‬ ‭22:33-34‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Peter allowed logic and the desire to be one with the rulers and religious leaders cause him to sit the fence of doubt and assurance.

It can be hard to believe a happening from 2000 years ago. Believing is a choice and it’s an ever increasing assurance. It’s unexplainable.

It’s a real sense of connection and it is remembering your life before and knowing your life now is lighter, enlightened and significantly meaningful because you know you’ve mattered all along, that your life and its purpose was an intricate part of God’s plan.

Lean into Jesus at Christmas, it’s the perfect time to know Him more,

To believe and “rebelieve”.

I know Jesus. Jesus knows me.

The Book of Luke, 24 Days of Jesus – An Advent Experience

The 21st chapter of Luke opens with four verses about generosity, about giving more than you might think you should or can.

“Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. And he said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭21:1-4‬ ‭ESV‬‬

The remainder of the chapter is like a warning, a warning of how we should watch ourselves and not grow weary. Jesus told all who would listen about how we should live in the world without him until he returns.

“There will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences. And there will be terrors and great signs from heaven.” Jesus Luke‬ ‭21:11‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Verses like these often prompt sermons about our worldly life in light of eternity. Speakers and preachers ask us to look around, notice the events that could be warnings, ready ourselves for either eternity through our passing or His return.

Mysterious it is, another mystery of God’s plan in making us and earth; it’s up to us to know with all our hearts it doesn’t end here even if we can’t imagine how heaven will be.

Like the widow who gave her only coins without concern over how she might live, we are to believe in what we can’t be sure of, in what our human minds are too limited to comprehend.

We are too live with eternity in mind, both with anticipation and with self-examination.

Last night my grandson surprised me, called me over to the tree. He added two ornaments, pointed them out to me. The red and white candy canes are not at all consistent with my theme.

But, I’ll let them be, cause me to think about the red, the blood shed by Jesus for me, and the white representing salvation, peace, redemption. I’ll hum the old hymn, “Whiter than Snow”.

I want to live every moment mindful of your mercy Lord.

The Book of Luke, 24 Days of Jesus-An Advent Experience

Found and Found Again

Chapter 15 is a collection of parables. One, well known and no more relatable than the others, just more often told.

Jesus told the tax collectors and the Pharisees, a captive but cynical audience, three stories about loving lost things, maybe hoping they’d all see themselves, realizing they may be caught in a similar story.

They were condescending and doubtful, remarking that he’s the one who welcomes sinners, has dinner with them.

Jesus had their attention. He told of a man who had a hundred sheep and lost one and how he refused to stop looking until that sheep was back in the fold. He told of a woman frantic over losing one coin of her ten, how she swept every corner of her home way into the night until she found it, found that lost coin.

He used both parables to compare God’s joy when one person, just one comes to Him, or decides it is time to come back to Him.

“Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭15:7‬ ‭ESV‬‬

He told about a brother, one of two, who squandered his share of the father’s riches. That father longed for his son’s return and when he returned, the father ran to him. He ran to him!

“And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭15:20‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Every morning, I return to my morning place. I wait for a moment sometimes or I might just sit. I find Him there quite often.

In the way a word from one book or an email will correlate, complement another.

I wait. I listen to His voice through His Spirit in me.

I sometimes find my eyes wet with tears, others I have to let sink in, the important true lessons for the progression of my faith.

I’m awakened and I’m humbled gently over changes I should make.

It’s a good space, my quiet spot.

I’m found here by Him.

Found and found again.

May you find Jesus this Christmas or may you return to one who’s looking for you, arms wide open saying, “Come back home.”

We are all “the one”.