Friday, January 29, 2016

His Way. His Will. His Plans.

I don't know when my discontent began - perhaps when my mother's health began to fade, when my daughter was diagnosed with a debilitating illness, or perhaps when my grandson sustained a horrendous injury that left him with a lifetime struggle. It could have started when my own health closed doors to me. I only know that I am feeling burdened and weary. And in the midst of battle I've struggled with two questions. "Where do I belong? What should I be doing?"

I miss the days when family and church were my first callings. The closeness with my husband and children and the people in my church were treasures to me. Each day was an adventure. I would drop my children at school and set off for Bible study, prayer fellowship, discipleship meetings. My husband and I taught adult Sunday School classes and led small groups. We were in the middle of what was happening - loving on people and being loved in return.

It's not like that these days. I feel as if I've been sidelined. And I sorrow over the loss. I want to engage more. But how? I confess that as I watch friends jump into activities I  feel like there is a hole in my life.

This morning while reading from a devotional these words leaped from the page. "Whenever we are obstinate and self-willed and set on our own ambitions we are hurting Jesus. Is that what I've been doing? So many years ago, the Lord's call seemed clear when he led me into writing. And I have loved it. But these days the desire for more meaningful connection has become my call.

I ask - How can I feel sidelined when there are so many who need prayer or a friend (even if that friendship is online). My family needs me. I am not physically strong but I can give in so many other ways. When my mother looks at me for the thousandth time and tells me how much she loves me and she doesn't know how she would make it without me, how can I feel sidelined? And when I hear from readers who have found comfort, joy and encouragement from something I've written, how can I feel sidelined?

It's true, my life is different than it once was. The days of my past were joyous and challenging. But that does not mean that the ones I am presently living aren't just as precious. The trouble is that I've not embraced them.

Why not?

Can it be because I had a plan, which is not God's plan?

In the devotional I felt the spirit speak when the writer quoted this scripture (Matthew 11:29). "Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." The writer went on to say, "All I do should be based on perfect oneness with Him, not on self-willed determination to be godly."

Oneness with Him. That is where we all must begin ... with Him.

If I am on my knees before The King, seeking only Him, I will have peace. Belonging to Him is enough. Being one with Him means possessing faith that right where I am is right where I belong.

Truth offers peace and joy. And I  will embrace it.

Grace and peace to you from God,


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Joining the Club

While I was considering what to write today I was distracted by an eloquent post ( about joining the club - a club we never planned to or wanted to be part of. A club that brings with it uncertainty, doctors, medical testing, a changed life or even death. The post was about a grandson hit by an illness that made him part of the club.

The article hits close to my heart and is part of what I wanted to say today. So, here goes.

My family, my children and grandchildren have been included in the club.Through the years we've been dragged into the sorrow, fear, pain ... and beauty of the unexpected. I've pinched myself, wishing that what we were going through was only a nightmare and that it would evaporate when I woke up. I even turned my back on it and pretended it it wasn't there, or tried to convince myself that everything would be all right. Generally it doesn't work that way.

Not being all right doesn't mean everything isn't just as it should be. God hasn't checked out or deserted us. We walk paths that often we would not chose, but that does not make the journey an error or an impossible challenge.

There are so many in the club, people who know and understand what it means to lose dreams or discover new ones. It can be a place where nothing is what we planned for or anticipated. Children may not be who we expected them to be. And we are not who we wanted to be.

My daughter Sarah is not living the life she had planned. A growth in her spinal cord changed her course. Every morning she finds strength to climb out of a pit and begin a new day. Her son, my grandson Ezra, lost the life he'd planned. His hopes and dreams were snatched from him nineteen months ago when an ATV tipped over and pinned him to the ground, it's weight crushing his head into the rocks of a trucking lot.

Nothing has been the same since that day.

Sorrow sometimes feels like a mist in the distance and other times it slams into us with the power of a freight train.

Being in the club often means you don't know what tomorrow will bring. What you do know is that you've got to move on and not forget you are loved and that the King of Kings stands with you.

Don't listen to the voices that tell you differently.

In the midst of the struggle we try to be strong, to remain faithful, but there are moments and days when we can't hang on any longer and for a time we lose sight of what is real and true. The weight of uncertainty, pain, and suffering become too much and failure lays heavy on our hearts. And heavier still when our family and friends point fingers at our failures and tell us to buck up rather than cheering our successes or rallying to help us stand when we no longer possess the strength.

There are days when we have no power in our legs, nor courage in our hearts, or resilience in our spirit - no passion left for battle. Those are the times when we need the arms of others - arms to lift us up rather than slam us down. Arms to hold us close and give us strength.

Are we the kind who point an accusing finger or do we embrace those who need the strength of our arms? It's an important question, one we need to answer if we are to fulfill God's purpose in our lives.

There are all sorts of clubs. Perhaps we should create one that's all about loving others. Oh! There is one. It's called the Christian Family.

Be kind.
Love at all times.
Carry one another's burdens.

We can do all things through The One who gives us strength.

Grace and peace to you from God,


Friday, January 08, 2016


It is one of those especially beautiful days here on our small mountain in Southern Oregon. The sun shimmers off distance hills and illuminates the forest with life. It's the kind of day when I want to do nothing but gaze at our incredible view. 

There was an extra drop of special today. A golden eagle sailed across the sky, riding the wind currents above the forested hills. I hurried out to my deck to get a better look. Eagles are something special here - we seem them only occasionally.

While I watched this magnificent bird soar above the forest I was taken back to a small home group years ago when my pastor asked a simple question. "Do you want to be an eagle or a parrot?"

My first reaction - An eagle of course! But as I considered more carefully I wasn't so sure. 

Eagles are courageous. They do things like dive off cliffs or tree tops. They use their skill and strength to survive, and make powerful dives toward earth to capture  a meal. And they let the currents carry them into the clouds. They don't pretend to be anything other than what they are - they hit life straight on, meeting each challenge with boldness.

I'm not so certain an eagles qualities are anything like mine. And I ask, "Do I really want to be an eagle?" If I were a parrot I could remain safely in a cage. My owner would make sure I had enough to eat and drink and might even spend sweet time with me. I wouldn't have to be courageous. All I'd need to do is what was expected of me.

I don't want to offend parrots or those who love them. They are beautiful birds. But if I must choose - eagle or parrot - I don't want to settle for a cage where nothing is expected of me. I want to be an eagle.

There's a problem with that - I'm not always strong or courageous. I don't like heights. And diving into life is scary ... actually it can be terrifying. 

I can't be an eagle, at least not if I must depend upon myself to do it. I am too weak. But God promises me that where I am weak he is strong. He tells me I am never alone. When I leap I can trust him to be there and lift me into the heights. 

As I step into the coming year I think about what it will look like if I am an eagle, and I challenge myself to charge ahead and soar. And what comfort there is inn knowing that I won't be alone.

How about you? Would you rather be an eagle or a parrot?

Grace and peace to you from God,