Story

This captivates me.

I drive by this dilapidated house and barn daily on my commute home from work. It fascinates me. Something about old abandoned buildings have always grabbed my attention.

A story lies behind this falling apart barn and farmhouse. It begs to be told.

My mind is racing on the way home from work, but this building always causes me to refrain from the rush of thoughts in my head to imagine its story.

Sometimes, a story, an escape from reality is exactly what I need.

What catches your attention?

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He Fills My Cup

Sometimes, it’s a cup of coffee in a cozy local coffee shop amidst the chaos of life and a winter that lingers on forever that fills your soul like a fresh breath of life.

I’ve been quiet on here. Days have felt long, exhausting.

Sometimes, it’s okay to be quiet.

Then, when you least expect it, God fills your empty soul very, very full. He places special people in your life. He allows your soul to be filled at a worship concert with thousands of people.

Sometimes, you just need reminded you are not alone in this world. Your struggles are not unique. He provides those special people who listen, who get your struggles, who just know how to give you the courage to get up and try another day.

This day wasn’t easy. Actually, it was hard. So hard that someone made the comment to me…”You really have had a crappy day.”

“Yeh, I have.”

It didn’t end on that note, though. Another special person poured into my soul.

I step back, see the tapestry of my life. People. They are from all different seasons of my life. Our paths have crossed. Connections.

He fills your cup, your soul. Allows you to connect with those precious safe people who love you for who you are.

May the God of Hope fill you with all Joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

Not All is Lost

Sometimes, we lose things.

This past weekend has been challenging for me. I dropped my phone for the umpteenth time. Unfortunately, I cracked my internal screen, and the black screen of death stared back at me. I lost pictures, notes, and other odds and ends stored on that phone.

My wedding ring broke. The band came apart. This is likely from excessive hand sanitizer use in my daily job. I have lost the familiarity of having my ring on my finger until it is fixed.

We lost our freedom temporarily the other day when our Jeep stranded us miles from home. We were at the mercy of others to come rescue us.

Over the past several years, I have lost the ability to eat whatever I choose due to chronic stomach issues and an autoimmune disease.

Yet, sometimes, the things we lose aren’t tangible things we can touch.

What do we do when the things we lose are intangible? When we can’t touch them or easily replace them?

Things like patience, hope, peace…

I have been reading the book of Joshua. In chapter 7, Joshua and his people are defeated. Joshua tore his clothes and fell to the ground. He cries out to the Lord…why have You brought us here to destroy us?

God had called them out of their comfort, but He had also just brought them victory over the battle of Jericho. Oh, how easily we forget God’s miracles and blessings in our life when things seem hopeless.

How did God respond to Joshua?

Joshua chapter 7:10… So the Lord said to Joshua: “Get up! Why do you lie on your face?”

The chapter goes on to talk about holding people accountable…they have a second chance at the battle…they win and all praise is to God.

How many times have we felt defeated? Hopeless? Exhausted?

The story doesn’t have to end there.

In loss, there is much to gain. Jesus gave up His life so that we may live and live more abundantly.

God is the God of all our days…the good ones, the bad ones, and the really hard ones.

Sometimes, the greatest blessings are found in the times of loss. Sometimes, we have to die to self-our pride, fears, self reliance- in order to discover the blessings of all He has in store for us. Not all is lost.

May He be the God of all your days.

Freeze Warning

A snowflake icon pops up on my smartphone. A freeze warning. The warning is obviously in regards to sensitive vegetation and crops left unprotected.

I am choosing to take a different perspective on the freeze warning.

This is the final full day of our vacation. We have had two full busy days of hiking, exploring, shopping, and tourist stuff. They have been very good days and a nice way to reconnect on our 20th anniversary getaway.

Today, though, sans four wheel drive with steep mountain roads, we will heed the warning to freeze and stay inside.

Outside the cabin, the snow falls gently and lightly. Nature cares not that it is the second day of spring. The view is gray and hazy. We see trees blanketed in white, but the view of the distant mountain tops is obscured by this overhanging haze.

So, this is what a snow day feels like?

Days of my childhood come flooding back to me. I remember the excitement of hearing the announcement that school has closed. As an adult with a career in long term care, there are no snow days. Waking up to snow means taking a deep breath, hurrying in my morning routine, and praying for safety and protection from the elements as I prepare to make a sometimes treacherous drive into work.

Today’s snow day is a gift. I will gladly accept this freeze warning as an opportunity to be still. The majesty of the white splendor is breathtaking. Reading by the fireplace, journaling, card games and movies…there is no place I must go.

Yes, today is a welcomed reprieve from the busyness of everyday life which will all too soon beckon again.

Today is a day to relish in being still. Sometimes what seems like an annoyance (the snow on the last day of vacation) can be a blessing (a day to relax and be still) depending on our perspective.

Have you ever experienced a blessing in an unlikely experience?

He Knows…

He knows what we need when we need it.

This was a phrase my friend referred to often and rested in the promise of during a difficult time in her life. We would talk about God’s care in our lives. Difficult days are still part of this life, but His care, protection, peace, and love are promises we can rely on. Truly, what else can we consistently rely on?

God definitely knows what I need when I need it. Life has been a whirlwind of non-stop expectations and obligations. Work has been busy. My son was in the musical. Everything was spiraling around me making me wish life had a pause button like the TV.

This morning, I sit quietly on a bed in a cabin. I am not held hostage to an alarm clock. The morning slowly dawns outside. The sky is gray above the mountains. I have permission to be still. This hasn’t happened in a long time.

Last night on a short walk, my husband and I came across a sign sharing the history of how city folk would escape to the mountains to find a short reprieve from busy city life. Many years later, I find myself doing the exact same thing.

Here, I can pause. I can give myself grace for feeling guilty for not being able to be a stage mom for the school musical. We were there to watch our son perform. I can spend time in the Word and meditate on His promises. I can journal. I can reflect over the words of mentors whom God has placed in my life. I can accept the place of mistakes in my life as opportunities to learn from and grow from.

He knows. I need this time away. We are here to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary…rain or shine. We will appreciate this pause in our regular flow of life.

He knows.

He cares.

He grows us.

Trust Him wherever you are, whatever season you are in. God knows what you need when you need it.

It just might not look like you were expecting, but trust Him.

He knows best.

Tired, that’s me!

Tired. That’s me right now. So, tired in fact that I am doing this Friday Minute Friday (#FMF) post on Saturday because I was simply too tired to do this Friday.

I had to chuckle a little when I saw the word for Five Minute Friday was tired.

I work at a faith based organization and every morning our leadership team starts our morning meeting with a devotional and prayer. Yesterday ( Friday), the devotional was about taking care of ourselves. A few of my coworkers looked at me to which I responded with a laugh….”Stop looking at me!” It is well known that I often do not sleep more than six hours a night.

Everyone knows I am tired. I push myself. I work hard. I don’t rest and relax well.

Last night, I had a quiet house to myself. I couldn’t focus on a movie. My attention span is such that I don’t do well with doing nothing.

Sigh….no wonder I am exhausted.

How fitting the word of the week for #FMF would be tired.

So, I know this but what do I do with this? There is quote that reads something like this…if you do what you’ve always done, you get what you’ve always gotten. No change in behavior means no change in outcome.

This verse comes to mind….

It is useless to get up early
and stay up late
    in order to earn a living.
God takes care of his own,
    even while they sleep.[a] Psalm 127:2

Maybe I need to take some cueing from my furry friend. He plays hard but rests well.

Quill

Anyone else have difficulty resting and relaxing? What helps you?

Opportunities

I needed to laugh.

Tonight, after a day of tears and self reflection, I told my son I needed a funny movie. As he scrolled through options on Netflix, I suggested Evan Almighty. J remembered watching it a few years ago at a family movie night at church shortly after he joined our family from the blessings of adoption.

Evan Almighty is a modern day tale of the Biblical account of Noah’s Ark in the book of Genesis.

Hearing my son cackle to the funny parts of the movie was enough alone to bring a smile to my face.

Then, it happened…that serious moment of wisdom you need to hear and hold onto. God can and will use anything and everything to grab our attention if we are open and attentive.

When Morgan Freeman speaks, there is something dignified about the deepness of his voice especially when he is playing the role of God.

Watch this short clip from the movie…Opportunities from God

When we pray for patience, God doesn’t give us patience, He gives us opportunities for patience. You can fill in the blank with another word…hope, peace, forgiveness…

I have been praying for my leadership to be Christlike. Being a leader can feel very, very lonely. In the midst of these challenging moments, I realize God has been providing opportunities for me to be a stronger leader.

Sigh…no one ever said striving to walk the Christian life would be easy.

What are you praying for today? Be open for the opportunities God provides as answers to your prayers. Opportunities create growth in our walk with Christ and build our Christian character.

I would love to hear about the opportunities God has provided you with to grow in your Christian walk.

Keep your eyes on the path ahead.