Monday, December 21, 2009

Quiet Moments With God -- Be Still

I've been busy -- moving into another home, taking care of grandchildren, shopping, baking, admiring Christmas lights . . . and a long list of other tasks and privileges of the season. All the while, I've been considering what I ought to share with you here on my blog--what did God have to say to me?

"It is time to be still and listen."

That is what I will be doing a lot of in the days to come. I will contemplate the miracle of Christ and the unfathomable truth that God came into this world as a man to save His children.

As the season approaches quiet yourself before the Lord, listen and hear His voice, feel His spirit, know His love.

May His peace and His spirit fill your home this season.


I'll be back after the New Year . . . MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Quiet Moments With God -- Believe

Signs of Christmas are everywhere and gift ideas have been tumbling through my mind. What should I get for my husband, children and grandchildren? I’ve also been thinking about the greatest gift of all—Jesus Christ. What must it have been like to be Mary when she looked upon her son, God’s son? The Christ child lay in her arms only because she’d bowed her will to God. When she chose to obey did she know the sacrifices and heartache that lay before her?

We are all called to serve and I suppose our service may seem insignificant when compared to Mary’s. Nevertheless the work we do for God matters and impacts the world. When God calls us what do we think of -- Him or personal honor or self-fulfillent? Do we understand that offering our gifts often requires sacrifice, maybe even heartache?

I distinctly remember how I felt when it became clear that God had asked me to write. My first emotion was gratitude. I was overwhelmed by the privilege of serving God in this way, and I was filled with wonder that he’d chosen me.

I leapt into the new quest praising God every day for the privilege. It was a thrilling time. Words flowed onto the page and joy flowed from my heart. Then there was a book two and three and four and . . . somewhere along the way the joy became blurred by personal desires. Although I tried not to be self absorbed I’d glance at other writers who were more successful and wonder why not me? Had they worked harder? Maybe. Were they better writers? Some of them. And I asked, “Is this fair? I’ve worked hard too."

When I set out on my journey I didn’t know what would be required. We can't possibly see the whole picture when we begin an adventure. There is always the unexpected. When the excursion became more difficult than I’d anticipated and held fewer earthly rewards than I’d hoped for I lost sight of the calling.

Throughout the years, I've fought to keep my eyes on God and off of me. Although I clearly understand that man’s perspective of success differs greatly from God’s I still sometimes find myself fixated on man’s idea of the grand plan.

Writing can’t be about me. My walk with God can’t be about me. It’s all about Him. John 6:29 says, "The work of God is this; to believe in the one he has sent."

That’s my job—to believe. It’s not about my writing, marketing or book sales. My mind must remain with my Savior. I need to remember and to be thankful for his sacrifice and never forget that the greatest gift is belonging to Him. The rest will take care of itself.

So . . . dear brothers and sisters, where is your focus? Set your eyes upon The One who gave everything, and the tasks he gives shall unfold just as they should. Trust Him with everything you are and all that you do, and all will be as it should be.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Quiet Moments With God -- In the Shadow of the Almighty

It's been nearly thirty years since our eight month old daughter, Kristina, was admitted to the hospital, comatose and near death. Spinal meningitis was the diagnosis. I remember standing beside the hospital crib stunned, my heart breaking. Her hands were tied to the sides of the crib; tubes protruded from various places on her body, and she occasionally let out a pitiful sound that resembled a cry. Sorrow overwhelmed me.

While my husband and I kept a vigil friends came to support and pray with us. Their presence and love were the hands of God. One dear friend shared a scripture that I've never forgotten. Psalm 91:1-7 says, "He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust. Surely he will save you from the fowler's snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, or the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you."

God's Word sustained me. I clung to those verses and in the midst of darkness there was light. We didn't know if our daughter would live or die, but we felt God's presence and His peace. He was our refuge.

Kristi made it, and three years later she shared something with me that rocked me right down to my toes. She told me about a time when she was dying (and said it had been a long, long time ago). She explained that she was afraid, but then Jesus came to her and He held her on his lap and she wasn't afraid any more.

Even as an infant she fought to live. And when Jesus came to her she knew Him and found peace in the midst of her greatest struggle.

My family has faced many battles since that time. There are moments when I want to give up, believing that this time it's just too hard. And then I remember a tiny little girl who found strength in God's presence.

God will never let us down. He is always near. We can rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Thursday, December 03, 2009

Tips For Triumphant Living -- Grieve

Living triumphantly and grieving may seem like an odd partnership, but one cannot happen without the other.

Let's be honest, life is filled with heartaches and disappointments that leave us wounded. Mourning is part of the cure. We grieve the death of a loved one, or let loose of a dream, or face the loss of health or innocence. I've had my share of grief, and I've discovered if I don't allow myself to sorrow the ache hangs like a stone around my neck.

There are steps to grieving that we need to walk through. However, before we can begin we must give ourselves permission to mourn, even the things we think shouldn't be a big deal.

Today is one of those days. I'm grieving the loss of a dream. Nearly three years ago, my daughter and her family moved into our home. We dreamed of spending years together here on our mountaintop. A lot has happened since that time. And today, my daughter who is now a single mother is moving. My mind and heart are filled with images of the early days--the family working together, preparing the garden patch, designing and building an additional home, planning for our future. Those were good days.

Life doesn't always turn out the way we hope. When my family and I set out on this adventure God knew about today. And He knows about tomorrow.

Although my daughter and grandchildren aren't moving far away I'm sad and teary. There have been so many precious gifts to living side by side--early morning coffee chats with my daughter, grandchildren stopping in for an afternoon snack or a goodnight kiss and hug. Today, all that will change and as the boxes march out of the house next door they mark the end of a dream.

I'm certain God has a new plan for me and for my family. I'm confident that we'll be fine. Life will be good. But today and maybe tomorrow I will grieve. And even though it may seem silly, it's okay.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, "To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven."

Don't feel you must always be strong and reasonable. Sometimes crying is good and called for. And there are times when you need to rage against life. Do it and then . . . move forward and begin again. God will walk with you.

Grace and peace to you from God.