Peaceful

“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” John 14:27 (NLT)

The past few weeks I have had several conversations with people going through difficult times.

Each person is experiencing a time that would like to rob you of any joy, peace or knowledge of the Lord.

I have tried to be a good listener and to respond how I think the Lord would have me respond. What I have concluded is this world is not pleasant. Yes, the scenery and artistry of God is present everywhere in this world, but, living here is filled with troubles.

Each of us experience things that can tear our heart out. Sickness, cancer, death, isolation and loneliness can drive us to the brink of wondering where our God is and if he is actually listening or caring about us personally.

It is easy to look at the situation looming towards us. It is easy to say that there is no possible way that God could be in the midst of things. It can be easy to look at the world and what it holds and be disillusioned. Personally, I have done this. I have lost joy before, I have questioned and yelled at God.

What I learned is that God is big enough to yell at Him. He can take it. He, like the loving Father He is will allow us to scream, holler, yell, roll on the floor, pitch a fit, kick and fuss. He allows our tantrums, and again, like the good Father He is, He will gently pick us up and hold us.

The situations may not have passed, but He is watching over us. It could be days, weeks, months or years later and we look back and marvel that the Lord was in the midst of that season. Ever faithful, ever watching, ever caring.

Today was a day that would have liked to rob several people of their peace, it was an unsettling day. But, God. He was in the middle of it all. He was not distant. He was not taking a nap. He was not ignoring cries from hearts. He was in the center, watching and supporting.

This morning a young man in our church ran through the gates of Heaven and into the arms of a waiting Savior. As he rushed into Heaven, I know he was greeted by our Lord, His arms wide open and waiting to hug this man. He met him and greeted him with a “Welcome Home Son, I have been anxiously waiting for you.”

“Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10b (NKJV)

This scripture has run through my mind this afternoon. The joy of our Lord is my strength. I do have the joy of the Lord. He gives it in abundance.

We may want to falter, and hesitate, and give up. Between the peace of God so freely given, and the joy of the Lord, which is our strength, there is nothing we cannot conquer. So, I will continue to have difficult conversations with friends. I will continue to pray how to respond. Most importantly, I will pray for them.

Be Anxious for Nothing

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 (NKJV)

I remember when my girls were little. There would be times in their lives where they would come to me worried about something. We would talk it through, I would pray with them and it would seem to be settled. This scene would be repeated until the event they were worried about would pass.

How often do we do this as adults? We fret and stew over things. My husband always says to me, “worry is like an ugly dog, it looks worse when it is coming than when it goes”. He is so right. Worry has a way of contorting everything.

Worry and anxiety are pretty close together when it comes to words. The Bible tells us to be anxious for nothing. It seems like a simple thing, doesn’t it?

Once more, today, I am anxious for this season of my life to be past. I am tired of not being able to do everything I normally do. I found myself yelling at Dale for a very simple thing today. I allowed myself to be anxious. He, as usual, met my ire with calm. How he does that, I don’t know. But, this I do know, Dale reflected Jesus to me. In my anxiety and worry over things, I received a calm and peaceful answer.

I know the Lord would do the same thing. It’s okay, there is a time and purpose for this all. Lord, for my anxiousness and for those who are reading who are anxious, fill us with Your calm, with Your peace and let it sink in that nothing escapes Your attention or care.

” For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT)

Recognition

 Rejoice always, pray without ceasing,  in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” I Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NKJV)

This morning as I walked and prayed I recognized that I had nothing standing out in my mind of what to write today. This is usually the time where I plan my day, plan my week of writing and get some exercise.

I love my walking time. Since I really had nothing in my thoughts, I enjoyed the walk. Since being in a sling, I have become cautious of my steps, watching the driveway for any dips or stones that may make me slide. I am even more cognizant of what I am doing.

The breeze in the trees picked up and the temperature dropped just a bit. It was refreshing. The sky was trying to make up it’s mind if it wanted to sunny or cloudy, the sun shining brightly and then disappearing behind clouds. It was a perfect day for a walk.

Sometimes, in the midst of schedules and planning, we are redirected. This was me today. Instead of planning words and phrases, I was filled with a peace and thankfulness.

This verse describes my day. I was rejoicing in the little things around me. The breeze, the trees, the sky. Far too often I do not stop and think of these things, let alone rejoice in them. Far too often I do not have the attitude of rejoicing.

I do try to pray without ceasing. It is a daily conversation with our Lord, but I find also that, although I am talking non-stop, I do not always wait to listen to what He has to say. A one sided conversation is not a conversation. Conversations involve two people.

I try to be thankful, but, that too is difficult to do each and every day.

The feeling I have had today is one of thankfulness. The little things have caught my eye today and have filled my heart with peace. It’s been a quiet and cloudy day today, but I have felt the presence of God surrounding me.

I struggled how to convey this day in words. Sometimes words are inadequate. If I could try to explain today, it was like a day in comfy pajamas, wrapped in a soft quilt and leaning on someone you love. Today I have been wrapped in the Lord and listening to His heart beat knowing all is well with me.

Just Plain Ugly

As parents we have all had a day with a child who is just plain ugly. They whine, they scream, they cry. They cry if you say yes. They cry if you say no. They’re just plain ugly. We all get days like that, it’s not reserved just for toddlers.

This past Saturday was such a day for me. Most days I can see the Lord very easily in my life. Saturday, although I knew the Lord was with me, I was still just plain ugly.

When I have days like that I know what I’m supposed to do. After 67 years of life I know how to avoid the day getting away from me. First of all, I avoid talking to people. That includes my husband. I will have gentle conversations and then leave him alone. I also go on walks which causes me to unwind relax and talk with the Lord. This Saturday nothing was working. My poor husband, was the brunt of my frustration. I think he earned a halo that day living with me. I did attempt to walk, but I was muttering the entire time. If God wanted to speak to me, He couldn’t have gotten word in for my muttering.

On days like that, when I am out of sorts, I usually clean. I will start a task that I’ve been putting off and put my whole self into it. Or, I will make a delicious dinner that takes many steps to complete. I’ve also been known to bake on days like that. All of these things came to mind but, I couldn’t accomplish any of them. I can’t even tie my shoes at the moment. All of the frustration hit me on Saturday. I was not pleasant.

I woke up Sunday morning and apologized profusely to my husband. I confessed to him that I was just ugly. With the patience of Job, he looked at me and told me it was okay. He reassured me that it was all right to be out of sorts. I had already asked the Lord for forgiveness on Saturday night.

I share this day with you because too often as Christians we show the good side only. We like to reveal ourselves as someone who is constantly in touch with our Lord. We like to project an image that we are always filled with praise, grace, and worship of God. The image that we try to do, myself included, is to look like we are at peace at all times; nothing ruffles our feathers. We are all human, I am human. That means that frustration is going to get to us. What I was reminded of on Saturday in my foggy thinking, in between yelling at the littlest things, was that God was still there. He might not have been able to get a word in edgewise, but that did not make Him walk away from me. I’ve learned long ago that our God is a God that stays. He is with me in trials and tribulations and broken arms. He does not move. We as humans are the ones who move away from Him. Saturday I was that toddler. I was the one sitting in the corner stomping my feet, throwing toys, screaming, whining, and crying. I was not pretty. Had I just stopped for a moment, I would have realized that behind me in that corner was my Lord who was trying to wrap His perfect arms of love and peace around me. Had I been quiet I would have heard Him say to me, “peace, be still”. It is said that hindsight is 20/20. I realized when my eyes opened Sunday morning that hindsight is 20/20. Had I stopped even for a few minutes to calm down, to relax, and be still I would have realized what was going on.

In the New Living Ttranslation, John 16:33 states; “I have told you all of this so that you may have peace in me. Here on Earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” Our Lord has overcome the world and because of that we can overcome the trials and tribulations that we encounter. This arm sling is a season of my life. Yes, I do get frustrated when I can’t tie my shoes, can’t shower, or fix meals. I know there is much for me to learn during this season. There is a sign for a church in the area and it says “there can be no testimony without the test”. I’ve wanted this blog to show the real me. Am I proud of the way I acted on Saturday? Absolutely not. Have I learned something from my behavior on Saturday? Definitely!

This I’ve been reminded of, my Lord walks with me daily. He’s the one that prevented me from falling on a piece of granite that is in our yard. I landed on soft grass. He’s the one who has directed physicians and made appointments for me. He’s going to be with me throughout the rest of this season. I pray I can be open to hear, to listen, to rest and be calm. Thank you for prayers as I know many of you are praying for me.

Remember

“When I remember you on my bed I meditate on you in the night watches.” Psalm 63:6 new King James version

Last night was one of those nights. We all have them. Sometimes we have them several times a week. I haven’t had one in a few weeks. Last night was an exception though. It was a night that I felt like my sleep shirt was made of burlap, the sheets were fiberglass and I was laying on a thin piece of plywood on top of an ant hill, nothing worked.

I got up several times before Dale went to bed and he patiently adjusted everything for me; the sling, putting biofreeze on me, whatever I needed he patiently was there. Finally I got up and had a cup of tea. That seemed to help a little bit. I went back to bed and laid there hoping to fall asleep.

Soon the parade wanted to start. You know that parade the “what if ” parade. The parade where ridiculous thoughts fill your head that never appear any other time except in the middle of the night.

It was then that I thought, ‘remember Cathi, remember all the good things in your life and do not watch the what if parade’. According to the website Knowing Jesus the word remember has 253 occurrences in 12 different translations that’s an awful lot of times to read the word remember. If the word remember occurs so often in the bible, there must be a reason for it. My belief is that the Lord wants us to remember. He wants us to remember the good times, the blessings, and the times we might have tripped or stumbled but he was there to catch us. I spent the rest of the night remembering. Eventually, I drifted off to sleep, wrapped in the arms of memories. Today, remember in your own life what the Lord has done for you, brought You through, and is getting you through current situations. Our God is a good God, He wants us to remember that.