Refrigerators and Dreams

“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 (NLT)

Today was our day for our monthly Costco trip. Because of this, today I cleaned out my refrigerator, which sadly, I have neglected for a couple of weeks.

As I opened the fridge, I went for anything expired. Milk, lemonade, we are not huge milk drinkers, so that is a usual toss for us. The lemonade was pushed to the back and forgotten. It was past it’s prime, let’s say. Next the wilted celery was tossed, and bits and pieces of some other vegetables. After this, leftovers.

Cleaning the refrigerator is a job no one likes. I try to keep mine up to date, and use everything that is put in there.

As I tossed things I thought to myself, oh yeh, I was going to make this, or use this for (fill in the blanks). We all do this. We put things leftover from dinners, pledging to ourselves that we will make soup, or make a hash, but that we will promise to use what is left.

When I took my trash out to the can, it occurred to me that we do the same with our dreams. We feel prompted to do something or make something or bless someone. After the initial excitement, dreams are pushed to the back. Sometimes they are forgotten or just put on hold.

Often, out of fear, our dreams stagnate and evaporate into a distant thought. How sad this is. I believe that our Lord places within us dreams for our future, for our present and for our ministry. We initially have a rush of thoughts and plans only to panic and place those ideas into the back dusty closet of our hearts and minds.

Our Lord tells us in His word several times, to be courageous, to be strong, and to trust that He is going to be with us each step of the way. He will not leave us, He will walk along side of us, leading and directing us. He promises this. Lean on Him for He will give us strength and courage.

At the beginning of this year I revived a dream to write a book. This has been a year for me of roadblocks. Thinking about it, every couple of months I have faced a challenge. I sometimes get a thought to toss that dream back into the closet. Fortunately, I have a group of women who have committed to be there for me. To challenge me, to encourage me, to pray for me. I cherish these women. Because of them, that dream is as fresh today as it was in January when I retrieved it from that dark closet of my heart. I had hoped to have it roughly finished by November. Although that is not going to happen, I know that it will be done. I am facing my fears of inadequacy and seeing the hand of my Savior reaching towards me to continue this journey.

What journey have you been afraid to start? “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.  Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you.  I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 (NLT)

Join me in my journey of seeing dreams being fulfilled.

Little Man Lesson #3

(Originally from September 2013 on my dearanonymousfriend blog.)

“Those who know your name trust in you, for you, O Lord, do not abandon those who search for you.” Psalm 9:10 (NLT)

This morning I took little man for a walk to the local library.  It was a half hour program of music, movement and singing.  My daughter had wanted him to experience this time and so this lovely morning I put him in the stroller and we set out.

It was a great adventure, the weather is fall like and the walk to the library was filled with seeing buses and cars and construction cranes.

Little man was enjoying himself and did not realize he was going on a new adventure.  Grammy did.  There was a part of me that was very hesitant about going.  What would be required of me?  Where should I park the stroller? Would I have to sit someplace other than holding on to my dear little man?

No, I do not take well to new experiences.  I don’t welcome them.  Give me the same routine.  Don’t put me out of my comfort zone.  I don’t like it.

So, my lesson for today?  Go with the flow.  Check out the situation, take a few steps into the thick of things and hold on tight to what you know.  That is exactly what little man did today.  He checked out the surroundings and studied the other toddlers.  He took a few steps out on his own, but did not wander far from Grammy’s reach.  When he needed reassurance he climbed back into my lap and sat watching it all.

I was so very proud of him.  He joined in and smiled.  He was a bit reserved, but he participated.  Lesson learned.  This old grammy saw how he handled this group.  He didn’t kick and scream.  He went in.  He didn’t cry, he let me do the arm motions with him.  He was brave.  He had a new experience.  He got a stamp on his little arm of Mother Goose.  It was his badge of honor.  He made it through his first group experience.

I think I got a bit braver too, but I didn’t get a stamp on my arm.

New experiences are part of each life. For those of us who are leery of any new situation, it takes boldness to step out of our familiar places. When faced with new things, how do we react? Personally, I try to avoid them at all cost. This does not always work for me, so I go to my Father, my protection, my safety and rest in Him.

“But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you.” Psalm 56:3 (NLT)


“What is the price of two sparrows—one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered.  So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.” Matthew 10:29-31 (NLT)

There is a part of me that has always worried about finances or lack thereof. I am much better now, but I confess in the shadowy recesses of my brain is a darkness lurking and maliciously whispering to me, but, what if…

It is these thoughts that come to parade through my brain in the middle of the night. It is fear. Fear comes in many shapes and ways in people’s lives. Each of us have a fear.

I have battled fear my whole life. It has been an unwelcome companion. I recognize him now. He has been evicted, but like an unwelcome visitor he will try to sneak in. Sometimes he tries to barge in.

It was suggested once to quote scripture against attacks like this. At first that was difficult, but now it has become a way of life.

Fear? “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7 (NLT)

Needs? “And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19 (NLT)

Loneliness, Abandonment? “And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20b (NLT)

In 1994 Dale was medically retired from the Navy. We had two weeks to prepare for this new stage of our life. We were not set for this. It was a shock to us. We had been comfortable in what we were doing. We had wanted to stay in the Navy for thirty years. We had made our plans. God had other plans. I wrote in my journal asking for provision. I wrote the following, ” But, most of all, let our focus remain on You, what You want to accomplish and work out in us. For if we get ahead of You or insist on our way, or will, then we will have missed everything. For to move, to live outside Your perfect will is to be without a true life. I only want Your will to be done, and Your peace to reside in our hearts and home.” I continued writing, but you get the gist of what was in my heart.

That season was the beginning of a lesson on trust. Did I learn it right away? I would love to say yes, but, as I have written before, I want to be open and honest. Trust grows through many circumstances, some can be good, but, in my case, trust is like playing hide and seek in the fog at night while in a forest. I learned it in fits and starts.

Through the past twenty eight years I have learned that our God provides. He provides security when illness strikes. He provides comfort when dear ones move on to heaven. He provides food when the pantry is empty. He provides friends when you feel desolate and alone. He provides family when you need a conversation with sisters. He provides. Always. Every time.

I need not fear, worry, or become distraught, for He is there. Yes, I do often have to remind myself of this. Each reminder, though, strengthens my faith to believe that He does provide.

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)