Genesis 2:1-3

“So the creation of the heavens and the earth and everything in them was completed. On the seventh day God had finished his work of creation, so he rested[a] from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, because it was the day when he rested from all his work of creation.” Genesis 2:1-3 (NLT)

With each day there was a boundary established by God, day, night, sea, land, seed bearing fruit, trees, birds, fish. Each creation had a boundary. Then He rested.

For the past two weeks, I have not given myself boundaries. I did not schedule time to write or really exercise. I enjoyed the company of my daughter, her husband and our Little Miss. Each day held it’s own excitement and adventures, even if it was just sitting on the couch watching television and playing restaurant. Each day gave me memories to cherish.

Now, we are home. Today I awoke with determination to get back into full swing of schedules. I have half succeeded. Laundry is finishing, most of the groceries are put away, and although writing has been on the forefront of my mind, these words are my only accomplishment.

I tend to be pretty hard on myself when I am not in a regimen. I look at numbers in my statistics on my blog, each time reminding myself that stats are just numbers. That does not always work for me, because with each number I see a person that has reached out to me. Each person who reads what I attempt to say is a gift to me, after all, they have taken time from their day to see what I have tried to say.

When my stats go to ‘0’ or ‘1’, I chide myself. I see in my mind a finger pointing at me and scolding me for not being where I think I should be. There are a lot of “I’s” in these sentences. It is then, that I remember that this blog is a gift also. My words do not come without a lot of prayer and my Lord sees the entire perspective. This blog belongs to Him and only through Him can I write.

So, after pushing myself to get back on track, fretting and stewing that I am not back where I think I should be, I have heard a gentle voice whispering, “Chill out! I’ve got this.” Followed by my thankfulness that I serve a God who understands me.

Sunday Quiet

“There remains therefore a rest for the people of God.” Hebrews 4:9 (NKJV)

It is late Sunday afternoon. Our day has gone well, up and out of the house in time for worship practice for Dale and then church.

Church was wonderful and we left refreshed from the service. We grabbed some lunch and headed home.

This is usually what our Sundays look like. Sundays are a quiet day, no unnecessary activity, just what is needed. Naps are often part of the afternoons, and Dale slept in his chair today while I walked.

As I walked, I thought about how quickly this summer has passed by. I complain about summer, I dread it’s beginning, I dislike the heat and the humidity and I dread the season. This afternoon it occurred to me that it really doesn’t last long, my attitude towards it lasts longer.

Seasons pass by too soon. Days also. It’s nice to take time once a week to slow down. It is on Sundays that I spend much of my time thinking. Yes, I am blessed by church services, by prayer through the morning, and conversations that I have. Then, at home I think of all my should haves and could haves. My why haven’t I accomplished this, or when are you going to do this?

I blame the quiet. It gives me time to think, to ponder and to comprehend how I feel about friends and family. Sundays are the days I allow myself to think about those who are dear to me. To recognize those homesick feelings for people who live away from me.

Yes, I am thankful for quiet days. I love Sundays. I feel challenged, though, as to how to communicate with family how much I care and love them. How my heart longs to talk uninterrupted and for length. Times and seasons pass, I need to learn to put into action how to communicate and spend the time with those I love.

Guarding Relationships

 Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” I Peter 5:8 (NLT)

I had a conversation today that was long overdue. As we talked, this scripture came to mind.

Relationships have always been precious. Family, friends, acquaintances, church family, whoever is in your life and is a part of your life, these people are precious. They may be people who you talk with and share intimate details with, or they can be casual conversation type people, either make you who you are.

The enemy of our souls does roam around, looking to destroy and devour relationships. The love of family, the harmony of friendship, these things are in satan’s sight-line. If a family can be destroyed, he is at the ready.

I am not giving glory to him. He deserves no glory at all. But as homes are protected from wild animals, wild individuals, we need to protect and be aware of the damage that can be done in relationships. We must guard relationships.

This week I, once more, had to deal with someone from long ago. There were accusations made and things dredged up from thirty years ago. I allowed myself to become angry and let them know of my anger, but fortunately, I did not unleash my anger. I simply said, I am angry right now.

Everyone can get angry. It is what you do when you are angry that counts. Praise God, I was able to distance myself a bit. But, the the words I read and the accusations hurled in my direction affected me. I am better, but, confess there is still hurt about them. Questions have become my conversation with our Lord. Am I what I was accused of? Am I full of attitude? Am I completely wrong?

I have struggled with this old relationship for years. Every few years it resurrects and I hope that this time it will be different. So far, it is like an old 33 album with a scratch on it. It stops at a point and just repeats and repeats, not moving forward.

It is times like these that make me realize how precious our true relationships are, like the conversation I had today. The devil would like to divide, distance and destroy families and friends. We cannot allow that to happen. Relationships are a gift from God. The people He places in our lives are there to support and encourage us, not bring us down.

It is our blessed calling to love one another, just as Christ loves us. We are called to care for our family and friends. We are called to encourage and lift up our brothers and sisters in the Lord.

I am thankful for this past week, filled with a dichotomy. The remains of a one time friendship built on a weak foundation, and the true friendship, that has withstood the test of time. Guard those precious relationships in your life. We need one another for support, guidance and love.

“Jesus told this simple story, but they had no idea what he was talking about. So he tried again. “I’ll be explicit, then. I am the Gate for the sheep. All those others are up to no good—sheep rustlers, every one of them. But the sheep didn’t listen to them. I am the Gate. Anyone who goes through me will be cared for—will freely go in and out, and find pasture. A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.” John 10:6-10 (MSG)

Sundays

“And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” Hebrews 10:25 (NLT)

Sundays always feel like sleep-in days. I can get up at 6:30 each morning, but when the alarm goes off on Sunday mornings usually at 7:00, I groan. I don’t feel like getting up or even moving for that matter. It takes so much for me to get going that one day of the week.

I know why. The enemy of our souls does not want us to go to church. The attempt to keep us from there usually involves being too tired to move or the desire to take off just one week. I think these things through as I crawl out of bed.

Dale is on the worship team, and they practice before church, so we are there at least an hour before church starts. I go to the infants room and sit in the rocking chairs there. When I started to do this, it was to close my eyes and get a few minutes rest before I had to face anyone.

It has now evolved into something else. Women come into the little room, grab a chair if there is one left and we visit. It has become a quasi-meeting of the minds. We ask about the week, we grumble if we need to, we laugh, we hug. We have knit ourselves into a small community for the 20 minutes we are together.

Those minutes are precious to me. I have come to know these women in a better way. We pray for one another. We lift each other up. We gain confidence with each other. We have become family. It is our warm up to church. We may enter that building tired, worn from the week and discouraged. We walk out of that little room a bit hopeful, caring for another’s burden, ready to stand and worship and sing and be fed from the pulpit, words that are life giving.

Sunday is family day for me. These faces I see in church are family. They make my week complete. They bolster me. I am grateful for their presence in my life. The Lord has brought together people from all over. Many are from this area and are actual blood relations. Many of us are from different parts of this country. We even met someone who is from our area. They lived 8 miles from us growing up. My cousin was their paper boy. This world is small. Our Lord draws people together for His glory and purpose. Yes, I know again this Sunday that I will have to drag myself out of bed. I will get to church and wake up. Family has that way of waking you up and making you smile.

Drawing a Blank

There are times when we draw a blank. There is nothing there. Nothing to speak of, nothing to give attention to.

As I started this, I thought I would just start to write and hopefully something encouraging or spiritual would flow into the words.

Instead, there is nothing. I am a person, I become tired and I draw blanks. This past week I have spent with my oldest daughter. It has been a delightful time together, we have had many adventures as she prepares her lake house for rental.

We have shopped, had lunch together and talked. We have binged some series she has wanted to watch together and we have laughed and cried through those. This afternoon she fixed me a marvelous lunch.

This week has been a work week and a refreshing week for me. No, nothing spiritual has come to mind today, but my heart is full and I am blessed. There is nothing better in life.

My mind may be blank, but I know that my devotion to my family is in place. My daughters and grandchildren are my heart. My husband is my gift. And although I am drawing a blank I know that in my spirit, soul, and heart resides the permanent love for my Lord. It is through Him that I have been so abundantly gifted with what I have mentioned above. Thank you Lord for this beautiful life You have given me.

Psalm 139

I recently wrote about this psalm. It is a favorite of mine, although I truly didn’t understand it’s impact on me until a few years ago.

I have struggled most of my adult life with fear and insecurity. For people who know me, they do not believe I am an introvert. People can wear me out. After a few hours in a crowd I see faces and see mouths moving and it’s like I am in a tunnel where everything is echoing. Before retirement, Dale would have galas to attend and of course, I would be with him. I would usually spend the day preparing to go. Not fussing with makeup or hair, but talking to myself. I would give pep talks trying to boost my self-confidence. These were pointless, as I would have a melt down on the way to the event. My poor husband.

I would like to say that now, I can walk into a group of strangers and be perfectly fine. I can’t.

If I am teaching or speaking, I can do that just fine. That’s how I know it’s the Lord. I love speaking to groups of women. I love ministering to them. I am strong and bold and confident. Again, that is the Lord working in spite of me.

A few years ago, during a sleepless night, the Lord had me get up and read Psalm 139. As I was in the process of starting to write a Bible study, I thought it might be a good place to start. It was my favorite study of all. This psalm talks about who we are and how we were created. Our God formed our inward parts when there was not one day yet. He spoke into us the best of our parents and grandparents. Look at old family photos. Look closely and you will see yourself in some ways in them. We may have an aunt’s nose, your mother’s eyes, your uncle’s height. Or like me, you may have your father’s uni-brow. We are a compilation of our family. The Lord knit within us our sense of humor, our intelligence, our way of being us.

Our God knows us intimately well. He sings over us daily, songs of love. He knows when we lay down and when we rise. Our thoughts are before Him. We cannot escape His presence.

If we are that important to our Creator, who are we to question how we look, what we weigh, how we talk? We are His masterpiece.

“You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.” Psalm 139:16 (NLT)