“Copy and Paste”

In the social media world, I see posts all the time that “If you love Christ, copy and paste this post, and tag ten people”. Or, “I think you’re wonderful. Send this post back to me and send it to ten other women”. In this ‘copy and paste’ society, there is pressure to ‘love back’ the way someone else expects you to. I have thought about this as Valentine’s Day came and went with no flowers from my husband. No chocolate. No fancy dinner just the two of us. Was I disappointed? No, and I will tell you why. My husband is not a ‘copy and paste’ kind of man and it took me YEARS to accept him and love him for it and years to stop comparing my marriage to others. When Valentine’s Day rolls around, it rolls right past most years. And I am at peace with it because he buys me flowers often. He brings home my favorite dark chocolate often. He takes me out to lunch or brings home food so I do not have to cook often. He unloads and loads the dishwasher every night (which is HUGE because that is the one job I do not like to do. I will clean bathrooms all day, but I do NOT like to unload the dishwasher.) And on one ordinary day last week, he told me I was amazing.

The point I am trying to make is that just because someone’s love and affection may look different than what others are demonstrating,  it does not mean that their love is insincere . Just because there were no flowery Valentine’s Day Card by my bedside, does it mean my husband forgot about me? My Mr. Steady-low key-quiet- kind- of- guy is not going to go all out with flowery anything and I wish I had realized that much earlier in my marriage. (He did wish me a Happy Valentine’s Day.) As the wife to this man who is not a ‘copy and paste’ kind of guy, I need to be the kind of wife to him that is not a ‘copy and paste’ kind of woman. It has been a long lesson for me to love him as is, in deed and in truth for who God created him to be. He is the kind of man who simply does not feel the pressure to be like anyone else, or to love (show love) like anyone else or when everyone else does. And I would imagine that it was not easy picnic for him while I worked through my comparison issues and expectations.

To ‘love in deed and in truth’ is a beautiful thing in any relationship. Each relationship has it’s own unique traits and just because it may not look like what ‘everyone’ else’s does, it doesn’t mean that it is wrong or weird. Some friendships are crazy funny and we laugh a lot. Others are more serious and deep. Relationships with parents are different for everyone. Marriages look different to everyone, and when we do not succumb to comparing and we embrace what is in front of us, there is peace. The only kind of love we need to ‘copy and paste’ is Christ’s in that He gave all so that we might live. When we show love with our actions and in sincerity, we give so that others may better live and we can make any day a brighter day.

This Kind of Love

I. Corinthians 13:4, “Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up”.

Wrapped up in blankets, a box of Kleenex by our side, we have been ‘out of commission’ with the nasty crud. One by one, we were knocked to our knees with aches, pains, coughs, sneezes, and all that this ailment can bring. Valentine’s Day commercials go by us on the television screen and we look at them with bleary eyes with nary a spark of interest. No one wants to think of flowers, chocolates, or diamonds right now. Can someone start the hot water kettle, please??? And while you’re up, could you pass me that other blanket? This kind of love we are passing around right now leans more on the practical side. With all of us sick at the same time, charity really does suffer long. To make it through the day, we each need to show kindness and not worry about who is doing the most for whom.

This kind of love has no bragging rights. It doesn’t matter who empties the dishwasher of clean dishes and loads it with the day’s soup bowls, coffee mugs, and juice glasses. When the whole family is sick with the crud, it especially is of no difference who empties the trashes of used Kleenex and washes the living room blankets we have all been wrapped up in for days on end. Love is being on the same playing field, whether you are sick or not. We do for each other to make the next day a better day for everyone. Love is doing one kind act after another without announcing the grand deed or waiting for applause. Love endures. Love is kind. Love isn’t envious when doing for another who cannot do for themselves and it isn’t boastful. Kind love isn’t swollen with anything other than love itself.

Restoration

“Our distrust is very expensive.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Do we trust God when He says to come to Him all who are weary? Or do we feel that if we rest and wait in Him, everything will fall apart? It is difficult to hold back from taking matters into our own hands. Deep down, we know God has a timing, and most times, it is not our timing.  Case and point, my husband is waiting for an Ear, Nose, and Throat appointment to discuss thyroid removal surgery. He was told by an endocrinologist last week that he needed surgery as soon as possible and a consult was sent to an ENT doc that day. And then silence. Days go by. Forever seems to pass by while waiting for action. My husband made some phone calls with concerns only to find out computer systems are down and no one can get in for an appointment. More waiting. Does God know the discomfort John has?  Does God see our concern that the thyroid seems to be more swollen?

I studied quite a bit on Sabbath Rest last year. The call to rest in God, to give Him our time, to restore our hearts and minds in Him is a learning process. In this technological day and age, information is at our fingertips at all times. We can purchase just about anything at any time, on any given day, at any given hour. But we cannot purchase the deep restorative Sabbath Rest. I am not talking about Sunday naps here, but of the deep rest which trusts God completely. To let go of one day, one thought, one action that takes us away from God-centeredness, takes determination.  In this fast paced world, waiting is a foreign concept- even in Christians. I will be sharing here and there more about this topic. It is one that is talked about quite a bit in our house. We let technology, worries, opinions of others rob us of needful peace of mind. Some answers simply cannot be found on the internet, we are learning. We have found that Google Search Engine cannot give you answers that only God alone wants to give.

 Psalm 23:3 -“He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.”

For King David to pen that God restores his soul, he must have been in a stage in life that needed restoring. It seems to me that life is a “Rest, Renew, Repeat” cycle. Whether we are in need of restoration of strength, of sleep, of right heart, of faith, our Heavenly Father is where we need to run.

Distrust in God’s plan, His timing, leads down dark roads. When God created Sabbath Rest and exemplified it, He meant it for our good. He leads in paths of righteousness and courage to trust Him for His name’s sake. The process He takes us through to return us to a place of contented trust is meant to be a testimony, for our sake and for others’. And all is meant to glorify Him in some way. We have to be still long enough, though, to let Him lead and restore. To distrust and doubt God’s ways is costly. It costs us time, energy, faith, and even healing when we go about trying to work around Him.  God is the Creator of time, isn’t He? And when we give it back to Him willingly to make use of it in whatever way He sees fit, time is redeemed or claimed as effective for His glory.

Pausing, trusting, resting in God should not be our last resort. This weekend, may we be intentional about placing the worries, the doubts, the questions in His hands and voluntarily give Him our time to rest in Him.

 

 

 

 

No Matter How Things Turn Out

“Faith is not about everything turning out okay, faith is about being okay no matter how things turn out.” -Author Unknown

It is interesting to me that this is the ‘Fixed on Faith’ post that comes up this week. I originally wrote a quick post about this months ago when I had a Facebook page and am now just getting around to blogging about it. Just recently, my husband was telling me how challenging it is to have faith that God does knows all, sees all, and has His own timing. And in that timing of His, He wants us to trust. “It is one thing to trust God with my salvation, my health, and my life,” he shared, “but to get down to the nitty gritty details about scheduling of doctor appointments, do I trust Him that much?” In the last year, he has been tested for skin cancer, and thankfully, any sign of cancer was removed in the early stage. Now he is battling thyroid problems. There have been signs for nearly two years, but it has been more apparent in recent months that something is definitely ‘off’. John is scheduled to see an endocrinologist next week and we have been waiting for the days to go by for this appointment. What could be wrong? How serious is this? What is the next step? If he had his way, the appointment would have been scheduled weeks ago before Christmas break was over. He is going back to college and a big question was if he should even start classes this semester. It could be a simple ‘fix’, sure. But since the word ‘cancer’ has been thrown out there, even a small chance, it is still a concern.  And trying to interpret blood work results can make your head spin! But the God who ensured that the doctors would see this through an MRI that was actually for shoulder pain, and the God who made it possible for him to go back to school, can He not oversee an appointment scheduled at the right time? We both agreed that, yes, He knew about the timing. We even tried to get an appointment sooner, but no openings were available. With His timing, His intention is always for us to trust Him. And we are going to be okay no matter what.

It seems as if life is full of detours. I had ideas of how I thought my life was going to turn out, and then reality hit and things changed. We have changed. Circumstances (health, of course, included) changed. But through everything, we can look back and say, “You know what? We are still okay.” And why can we be okay no matter how things turns out? Because..

“…we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:37-39

In waiting with John for answers and praying for a time when he feels ‘decent’ (his words) again with health and energy, I have to take this personally as well -not just that we will be ok, but that I will be. Faith in Jesus Christ is personal after all.

Through Christ I can see clearly, live confidently, and be fixed on faith that not only we as a couple will be more than okay but that,

  • I am more than able to overcome new territory/changes in direction.
  • I am more than able to gain or acquire courageous faith, more strength.
  • I am more than able to master obstacles and oppositions that come my way.

Questions, doubts, illness, trials, ‘nor things present, nor things to come’ – none of these are the victors. Nothing has more power than the bond we have in Christ through His love. When we are fixed (established, unmovable, settled) in our victorious faith, it is much easier to  move forward with grace no matter how things turn out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seeing Through The Fog

“Faith is like a radar that sees through the fog–the reality of things at a distance that the human eye cannot see.” -Corrie ten Boom

Radar: definition-  “a device for determining the presence and location of an object by measuring the time for the echo of a radio wave to return from it and the direction from which it return;  a means or sense of awareness or perception”: synonyms- direction finding, tracking system, beacon, lighthouse, watchtower

Faith is the way to determine the presence and location of God no matter what the ‘weather’. It is a means or sense of awareness that He is always there, He always cares, and He always has a plan. When my confidence in His plan is being tested, where is my focus? When my hope that He will deliver, heal, and salvage wavers, do I walk away or do I trust in the ‘evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1b)?

  • True faith does not worry or fret.
  • True faith does not become preoccupied with problems in life.
  • True faith sees any opportunity to witness the power and grace of God at work.
  • True faith is not in a hurry and will wait on God.
  • True faith keeps vision on the Source of life as He leads down “paths of righteousness for His name’s sake”(Psalm 23:3).

A Step of Clarity

My hand hovered over my cell phone as I was just about to sign up for another blog post series. I had just yesterday lamented over how many e-mails I had that needed to be deleted. I have several e-mail accounts, seemingly unable to just stick to one. I deleted well over three hundred messages yesterday on one of the accounts and I have just about that much on another one. What I was about to sign up for wasn’t bad, it was actually about organization and how to simplify in the new year. I already ‘follow’ this person on Instagram who updates simplification suggestions each day, so why do I need to see it in my inbox as well?

In 2016, I wrote a three part series on “Finding Your Even Place” on my former blog. Life gets out of control, papers pile up, e-mails multiply, leaving us depressed and unable to cope with even simple tasks anymore. And I am finding myself in this position yet again facing 2018, thus the update of the series on my new blog. I need it!

“My foot standeth in an even place” -Psalm 26:11.

An “even place”: Balanced, steady, continuous, unwavering.

“Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us”, Hebrews 12:1

I am finding that, for me, it’s not where to START, but better yet, what to STOP or lay aside. It is in finding space to breathe, to think, and to restore. And the things that are taking up space that take my breath away due to frustration, I need to clear. This week’s focus will be to clear out old e-mails and to unsubscribe from sites I hardly ever read. They may be all well and good, but they are not needful.

Happy New Year! If you are seeking for clarity in 2018, maybe instead of looking to start something new, consider stopping something first; something that may be hindering your focus on what really matters in your life. Take a step back. Evaluate what is important. Clear some space. Breathe.

 

Let God Show Up

Sometimes my faith falters, not in my salvation, but that God will provide, heal, salvage. In the next few years, our goal is to get out of debt, have a sizeable savings account, an emergency fund, cash to pay for things, and be able to give more to missions and to other causes we would love to help. We are dreaming big here. First things first, though, get out of debt. And with our truck in the shop needing repairs, it seems we just took two steps back! Frustrating. But I need to remember that God doesn’t work in ways we understand.  He works when we become available to let Him provide without expectations of how it is to be done. I need to pray, confide, trust, and be willing to let God show up in unexpected ways.

Proverbs 4:25, 26 “Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established.”

 

 

“Hear! hear!” screamed the jay from a neighboring tree, where I had heard a tittering for some time, “winter has a concentrated and nutty kernel, if you know where to look for it.” ~Henry David Thoreau, 28 November 1858 journal entry

Beauty is all around us, and we will see it if we are looking for it. Photo taken while my son and I were out for a walk around the neighborhood the other day.

(Trying a new ‘format’ out here that is labeled ‘status’. Since I am still figuring this new blog site out, I thought I would see what it looked like).

The Reward You Get

Wednesday. Hump Day. The middle of the week. Many are just trying to make it ’til the weekend. Surviving, not thriving. I get it. But I do not want to be counting my days like that and with the new year fast approaching, I would like to resolve to do more than ‘survive’ in 2018. On my former blog, I had started a section “Midweek Minutes” posted on Wednesdays on the topic of wisdom, and I hope to post here as I am able.  One of the studies I had done was about listening. Not.an.easy.topic. Do I listen or talk more? Do I have an opinion formulated before the other person is done talking? Do I often interrupt? No comment. I will admit I need to work on a few areas. This week’s entry came from a quote about ‘listening skills’.

“Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you’d have preferred to talk.” -Doug Larson

I looked up a few synonyms for ‘listen’:
→ Observe,
→ Take notice
→ Consider
→ Be on guard
→ Focus
→ Wait

There is more involved than just hearing when it comes to listening. It takes action, effort, discipline even…which sounds like work, doesn’t it?

“Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end. There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.” Proverbs 19:20-21

This week’s concept is not about just listening to others in conversation (family, friends,  co-workers), but about hearing counsel and receiving (accepting, acknowledging, deferring to) instruction. When I am given advice, how do I respond? Defensively? Most likely. There is no expiration date on this verse or an age limit. Wisdom is a journey, it seems, and a concept I wonder if I will ever grasp. When I think of a lifetime of listening, hearing counsel, receiving instruction, it can feel a bit overwhelming. “Practice makes progress”, I have been told.  Wisdom is the reward when I remember to practice observing. Wisdom is the reward when I develop consideration. And wisdom comes when I am faithful to focus and wait on God to show me His direction.

Dayspring from on High

We celebrated today the ‘dayspring from on high’, the dawn of our faith, the horizon where the Son of God visits us every single day. The magnitude of that takes my breath away. Every day, Christ shows up and is as dependable as the sunrise. He shows up to give light and to guide our path. May we never forget the tender mercies of our Lord and Savior and always look to the Light. Merry Christmas.

Luke 1: 76-78, “And thou, child [John the Baptist], shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways; To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins, Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring [Christ] from on high hath visited us.”