Thanksgiving

Are your family dynamics difficult? Are you excited to be with family?

This is my post for this week. I will focus on family for the rest of this week.

This week my grown “children,” arrive for Thanksgiving and a few last days in the house they grew up in. When children grow up, move out and have successful jobs that they like and are thriving, I feel the goal to raise responsible adults has been achieved! That is a HUGE reason to be grateful! It gives me hope for the future.DSC_0420

I thank God for you for reading! I thank God for your desire to seek the face of our Creator.

My prayer is for each of us this blessed holiday is to take time to consciously thank the one who made and sustains us for all the blessings. Even as some face life changing crises this time of year. For some it is a challenge to find the good, but I promise you it is there.

The first anniversary of my mom’s passing is Thanksgiving this year, and will always be close if not on the date for the rest of my life…. I choose to celebrate her life.

Are your family dynamics difficult? Ala-non & AA find a big spike in attendance during the holidays as we face our families of origin. Many people face increased depression during the holidays. Ask God to help you to find something to hang on to! Then hang on to it and the promises of God. You would not exist without your family, and you are a gift from God!

Are you excited to be with family? Thank God all the more!

Abba, Thank you for my life and the good things in my family that made me who I am. I choose to forgive and release those things that are a struggle for me. I invite you to make this Thanksgiving the BEST THANKSGIVING EVER!=} I choose to look for the good. Open my eyes to see You and ears to hear You. Show me how to love others I come in contact with. “Everyone is dying for a little drop of love.”* Amen

*Henrietta Mears

Never Alone

I never cease to be amazed that the Creator of the universe is inside me! I really don’t know how that works, yet I know it’s true.

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Only one sign of the presence of God

Jesus promised he would never leave us or forsake us. Paul tells us in Ephesians that we are with the Holy Spirit. Even before we come to faith the Holy Spirit will not leave us alone. He came to convict us of sin and to draw into the kingdom. So even though a seeker might not have the Holy Spirit inside them yet, they are being pursued by the Creator and they are not alone.
I will even​ say God is seeking and saving all the lost,​ whether we think they deserve it or not.

We are never alone. I hope you can sit with this Psalm a bit. Try to not read it like you know it, even if you have memorized it.

Psalm 139

Lord, you have searched me and known me!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
    you discern my thoughts from afar.
You search out my path and my lying down
    and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
    behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
You hem me in, behind and before,
    and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
    it is high; I cannot attain it.

Where shall I go from your Spirit?
    Or where shall I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
    If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
If I take the wings of the morning
    and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 even there your hand shall lead me,
    and your right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
    and the light about me be night,”
12 even the darkness is not dark to you;
    the night is bright as the day,
    for darkness is as light with you.

13 For you formed my inward parts;
    you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
    my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
    intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
    the days that were formed for me,
    when as yet there was none of them.

What caught your attention as you read this? How did it make you feel? Invaded? Safe? Why?

Abba, We are grateful that your loving eye never misses anything in our lives. (Ps 139) Thank you for holding all our tears, (PS 56:8) thank you for loving us so much you have engraved us on the palm of your hand. (Is. 49:16) Thank you for hearing all our prayers (Ps 65:2) Thank you for the gift of your Holy Spirit. (John 14-17) And thank you for your promise to never leave us alone, ever! (Matt 28:20) Amen

Here And Now

Last week I wrote about not being able to see the future. This week I have been jolted back to the present, the here and now. It is too easy to look forward and be in such a hurry for the next thing that we miss what we are doing now. Or, the stresses of what we have been through in the past can become so loud that we are not able to be attentive to the moment at hand.

Beauty in the here and now or cursed work to be finished?

                           Beauty in the here and now or cursed work to be finished?

Last fall when my mom was dying, I began to understand a little better about being in the moment. In those circumstances I knew she was in transition from her worn out temporal body to her eternal one. I was keenly aware that I would not see her again in this life. It was a true gift to ‘walk’ with her in that season. it was one way for me to stop all the busyness I was addicted to. It was painful and beautiful at the same time. It forced me to refocus on what really matters.

Here I am, almost a year after her passing, right back in the mindset of busyness. I find it embarrassingly challenging to rake leaves, make a bed or prepare a meal without the attitude of: “When I finish this then I can do what is ‘meaningful.'”

Most of life is lived in the unexciting, repetitive, routine, ordinary, everyday, tasks  of life. Did our Creator design us for a life of meaninglessness? I don’t think so. So why do we rush over the ordinary as if they had no meaning?

The month of November holds my favorite holiday: Thanksgiving.

So, this month I challenge myself and I challenge you to begin or renew or reinforce the practice of thanking the One who made us for every detail of life. For example:

-Sitting in traffic “Abba, thank you that I have the means and the freedom to go where I want…and You are with me as I go”

-Clearing my yard of leaves (I live in the woods!) “Abba, Thank You for the beautiful trees and for the exercise I get when I rake and blow them.”

-When I make my bed, “Thank You that I have a bed to make, it looks orderly and beautiful when it is made. I have the satisfaction of accomplishment so early in the day and the blessing of climbing back into a well made bed at the end of a long day.”

Before even leaving my room in the morning my prospects for the day are much brighter with thankfulness in the moment than if I rush past the now. Will I even be truly present when I get to what I am aiming for?

I sang this old grace (to the tune of the Old 100th/Doxology) at camp when I was growing up. It came to me to share as one way to sing a prayer to pull us back to the here and now.

Be present at our table Lord,
Be here and everywhere adored.
These mercies bless and grant that we
May live in fellowship with Thee.

What helps you stay grounded in the here and now? I’m looking for tips=}

Through A Glass Dimly

As I sat reading the Bible this morning I could see the sun shining brightly outside, but one of the windows was so dirty I could not make out distinctly what was on the other side. That image shouted to me of how we see our futures.

The great biblical chapter on love talks about seeing in a mirror dimly. The King James version says 'through a glass' which fits my photo perfectly=}!

The great biblical chapter on love talks about seeing in a mirror dimly. The King James version says ‘through a glass’ which fits my photo perfectly=}!

I’d guess there are a many of us who have a fair amount of certainty about how the next few days or weeks will play out for us. And there are plenty who really feel like they are ‘hanging by a thread’ not knowing at all what the future holds… everyone else falls somewhere between.

Personally, I can say with reasonable certainty what I will be doing in the next few days and weeks, but the farther out in the future we go, the more question marks I see.

This is where faith in the goodness of our Creator comes in. Like many people, I have a reasonable idea of my gifts, talents and training. I have hopes and desires for my future. I see a few things I can do to work myself toward the direction of those hopes, however, so much looks fuzzy and uncertain from where I stand today.

Can you relate?

Where can we find peace and confidence in the uncertainty of a dim image of ourselves and our futures? The position of true shalom is one of humbly accepting that we really do not have complete control over our futures. Not everything depends on us. Our spheres of control are much smaller than we care to believe much of the time. Only the one who made us sees the beginning to the end. It is scary to let go unless we can grasp His motivation [bold mine]:

1 Corinthians 13:11-13 (Amplified Bible)

11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. 12 For now [in this time of imperfection] we see in a mirror dimly [a blurred reflection, a riddle, an enigma], but then [when the time of perfection comes we will see reality] face to face. Now I know in part [just in fragments], but then I will know fully, just as I have been fully known [by God].13 And now there remain: faith [abiding trust in God and His promises], hope [confident expectation of eternal salvation], love [unselfish love for others growing out of God’s love for me], these three [the choicest graces]; but the greatest of these is love.

If we think God is capricious,[fickle, inconstant, changeable, variable, mercurial, volatile, unpredictable, temperamental] then we will never find lasting peace.

If we believe our Creator is first motivated by pure love that never changes, and that same Creator has both the will and the power to affect our future for good, then it becomes possible to drop the tension from our shoulders and begin to breathe.

Abba, Thank You for Your perfect love for us. We praise you because You do not see through a glass dimly! You see, understand and actively work to bring us into right relationship with You and the world around us. Thank You that all Your promises are ‘Yes’ and ‘Amen’ and they are available to all those who seek You in truth. Abba, in those moments when our circumstances look and feel particularly dim, we ask You to shine Your light and Your truth to lead us on a level path, for our sake, but especially for Your glory! Amen