Wake Up O Sleeper, Awaken

Have you ever had a word jump out at you … just one single word?  That happens to me from time to time, usually when I’m reading my Bible or when I’m journaling and then BAM… a word captures my attention and just won’t let go!  Does that ever happen to you?

As I’ve shared in previous posts, I have been having a bit of a hard time the last few years. An unexpected ending to a new romance, some medical challenges in the family, strained relationships thanks to some carelessly spoken words, oh … and let’s not forget a global pandemic.  I have been feeling stuck and depressed for a long time now. 

Needing to make a change, I purchased a new journal and committed to resume my morning devotions and journaling routines.  Around that time my Pastor was teaching a series called “AWAKEN”, and one particular morning I started my journaling with this phrase:

“I am awakening”

And that’s when the Lord took me on a little excursion, all compliments of one single word that stood up off the page and demanded to be considered more deeply.

First, I looked the word up in the dictionary:

AWAKEN … Waking up, Arise, Stir up, Rise up

View from the French King Bridge, Erving MA. (www.puttinghopetowork.com)

Next, I got to wondering what Scriptures reference “awaken” or “awakening”.

Isaiah 50:4                 the Lord awakens me

Zechariah 4:1             an angel awakened me

Isaiah 14:9                 the dead/devil stirs up to meet you

Isaiah 45:13               awakened (raised up) in righteousness

Acts 12:7                    arise quickly

And as I looked at my side notes for each Scripture, I marveled at the pattern of words I’d just recorded:

The Lord awakens me,

ministering angels sent to awaken me.

The demonic also awaken, plotting my demise.

But God awakens me to righteousness and life,

and charges me to arise and do His plans for me!

http://www.puttinghopetowork.com
From my fall 2020 adventures exploring the French King Bridge in Erving, MA (www.puttinghopetowork.com)

And in response, I wrote down the words I felt were being whispered to my spirit:

“Awaken Jenny!  Stir yourself up and awaken your spirit!  The enemy schemes, but My plans will not be thwarted … I am calling you … arise and get moving!  There is work to be done and you are needed for its fulfillment!  Awaken and Rise Up!”

Austin French – Wake Up Sleeper (Official Lyric Video) – YouTube

The year 2020 has been challenging for all of us, and brutally cruel for some. 

Wherever you live and in whatever emotional or spiritual state you are currently in – my prayer is that we (you and I) will respond to the voice of the Holy Spirit inviting us to stir ourselves up and “Awaken!   Awaken and Rise Up!”

“This is why it is said:
‘Wake up, you people who are asleep!  Rise up from among the dead people!  Then Christ will shine his light on you.’”   (Ephesians 5:14 EasyEnglish Bible)

Morning Sips: DO YOU LOVE ME MORE THAN THESE?

I’ve been in a bit of a funk throughout most of 2020, and in truth a good chunk of 2019 also.   I’m sure I’m not the only one who has.  

And as the weeks and months of 2020 sloooowly pass by, I have noticed an increasing restlessness for an end to all the things (COVID and other things) that have made 2020 so challenging.   Unfortunately, I have also noticed that I’ve been trying to silence that inner restlessness with the wrong things.

20200926_083943For a while, getting outdoors for some mid-week fishing, weekend hikes and kayak-fests provided some much needed sanity breaks amidst the chaos of a global pandemic.  These mini escapes helped me stay focused on what God was doing (instead of how agitated I was about what I wanted to do but couldn’t).   But as the days grew shorter and the temperatures started dropping, long hikes and kayaking excursions were replaced by Hallmark movies, online shopping, and endless bags Fritos, cookies, pizza, or whatever I could get my hands on to fill the emptiness gnawing away at me.   Can you relate?

So unless I want to go buy a whole new wardrobe and/or take out a small loan to support my 2020 addiction to fishing lures, there has to be an end to all this nonsense on my part!!    And so I asked the Lord to help identify for me what ‘need’ I was really trying to fill; what ‘voice’ I was trying to silence.   Loneliness?  Stress?  Fear?

And in that most tender of ways that only He can, He whispered to me:

“Jenny, do you love me more than these?”

 

john-21-15-17_orig

Now we know from James 21:15-17 that the “these” Jesus was referring to was actually the other disciples. 

But in this intimate coffee table conversation I was having with Jesus, I knew that He was not speaking to me about other people.   He was inviting me to self-examine my desire for Him and His company against my desire for the things I was running to as a way to silence my inner hunger.  A hunger which, by the way, only HE can fill.

OUCH!

My reaction is to quickly say “yes Lord, I do love you more!”

But my actions??  Well, my actions tell a different story.  And the reality of that tension (the tension between wanting to profess full devotion, and knowing that I fall terribly short of living a life of full devotion) is what has been drawing me back to the coffee table with Him the last few weeks. 

Knowing that something has to change.

Comforted by the truth that He never changes.

Expectant that in His presence, I can change.   

Slowly.  Faultingly.  Perfectly Imperfectly.  ❤

Morning Sips

I would love to hear your thoughts, and how you’ve been managing your hunger pains in 2020. Drop me a comment below.

Up a creek? No paddle? (update)

ME:  Lord, I feel like I’ve followed you out into DEEP and STILL WATERS, and now here I sit … in a teeny little boat, without a paddle, and with absolutely no way to get myself to shore.   If you don’t rescue me somehow, I’m lost!

Lake Dennison
Early morning kayaking on Lake Dennison http://www.puttinghopetowork.com

The above is a quote from my last blog post (Up a creek? No Paddle?), which was way back in April 2020. Doesn’t that seem like a million years ago?

In that post, I shared a little about a health challenge with my oldest granddaughter. Let me give you an update regarding her condition.

By age two, this precious little one was diagnosed with Tuberous Sclerosis and Autism. And while we stand in faith for her full and complete healing by the Blood of Jesus, we daily celebrate her joyful exuberance and loving heart, every new skill learned, and every new vocalization. She is a marvelous treasure and just turned 10 this summer. During the end of 2019 she began suddenly and unexpectedly began experiencing falling down seizures. Eventually, she was put on a new medication to help with this but the Rx was to be short term as it has some pretty nasty side effects. That proved true, because while the falling down seizures lessened, the Rx altered her personality significantly. Well before the 6-month trial ended, her parents removed her from the Rx and what happened next is (in this Nana’s opinion) nothing short of a miracle.

The falling-down seizures never returned!!!

And the pausing seizures she has been troubled by since age two returned at a much reduced rate …. instead of having multiple pausing seizures a day, she now may only have a few a week!!! Glory to God!

If that weren’t enough, she continues to learn new skills, is more affectionate and demonstrative than ever before, and is one of the happiest little girls I’ve ever met!! Praise God for His goodness and kindness, His faithfulness to bless and protect this little one! All the glory goes to Him alone!!

In truth, 2020 started out hard for me and my family. It’s been a hard year for everyone, and in fact brutally cruel for some!

Hebrews 6:19
“Tethered to Hope” http://www.puttinghopetowork.com

And while I had been feeling “stuck out in deep waters without a paddle”, in hind sight I can see that through it all, God did not leave me stuck out there in the misty waters with no way of getting to shore. I have remained teathered to hope while He has been breathing on my back the entire time … helping me, calming my fears, moving me closer and closer to shore and to my destiny.

And He will do the same for you my friend, because He loves you!

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All sketches and watercolors posted on this website are the sole property of the author and are for exclusive display on the website PuttingHopeToWork.com.

Up a creek? No paddle?

Friends, it truly was/is my intention to post a minimum of twice a month – but there was a lot going on the beginning of the year and in particular in February.  And by the time I recuperated, well … here we are living through COVID-19.  What a different world it is since my last post!

What was going on, you ask?

One of my precious grandchildren was diagnosed with something as a small child (you can probably tell by the way that I’m writing this, that we are all standing in faith for her healing) and late last year she began to experience a new challenge in her health.  Back and forth for testing, starting new medications and experiencing new complication, then taking her off them again.  All the while fervently praying for God to show Himself strong and deliver her from the sudden attack from an enemy who came out of nowhere.

Take heart – the end of the story (this particular story) is good. Very good, in fact!  But at the time, it was emotionally-spiritually-physically challenging, to put it mildly.

Hmmm.  As I’m writing, something about that sounds very familiar to what we all are experiencing around the globe with the sudden attack from an unexpected enemy – COVID-19.

“I am the BREATH on your back….”

In hind sight, it is easy to see that while things looked chaotic and quite frightening at the time, just out of the range of our eyesight, God was carefully putting all the pieces of the puzzle together – exactly the right piece, at precisely the right time – so that in the end, it all worked together for her (my granddaughter) good as well as the good of her entire family.

But back in January and February, there was some scary stuff going on.  It was heart wrenching to see my granddaughter suffering so.  And as a mom, it pained me to see my daughter and her husband strain under the weight they were carrying as parents, trying to navigate the unknown with faith instead of giving in to the fear that stalked us all daily.

But what comforted me then, and what gives me comfort in this new season of “COVID-19 Chaos” is a word the Lord whispered to me while I was crying out to Him one morning.

ME:  Lord, I feel like I’ve followed you out into DEEP and STILL WATERS, and now here I sit … in a teeny little boat, without a paddle, and with absolutely no way to get myself to shore.   If you don’t rescue me somehow, I’m lost!

Lake Dennison
Early morning kayaking on Lake Dennison http://www.puttinghopetowork.com

HIM:  I am the BREATH on your back, moving you forward.

Isn’t that a powerful word!?!  It strengthens my heart and gives me courage that even though things look bleak at this precise moment in time, He is still moving me forward!  Always!   Even when my senses don’t register the movement or progress being made, He is still moving me forward!!

 

“I am the BREATH on your back, moving you forward into your destiny”

 

I’m working on a new piece of art (I haven’t painted in over a year!!) inspired by this Word.  I hope to have it ready on my next post.    Until then, take courage my friend.  He is present in our times of trial, no matter how lonely we might be feeling.  And He is still breathing!  He will see us through to the other side ❤

 

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All sketches and watercolors posted on this website are the sole property of the author and are for exclusive display on the website PuttingHopeToWork.com.

It’s just another day to live

It’s been a year.  It’s been a year, and I only realized it this morning.  Frankly, that was a little surprising to me, because for most of the spring, summer, fall and winter of 2019, I feel like I registered days and events as they correlated to the days leading up to Valentines Day 2019.

Three weeks since ….

Two months since …

Eight weeks ago …

Last year at this time …

… and so on, and so on.

If you’ve ever had the rug pulled out from under you, for whatever the reason (and we all have!), you probably understand what I’m talking about.

But today, I realized that I’m not doing that anymore!!  I’m OK with it just being February 13th, 2020.  And while tomorrow is Valentines Day 2020, it is no more or less significant a day than any other Valentines that proceeded it for the last 29 years since I’ve been single-again.  It will be a day for me to lean deeply into the embrace of my Heavenly Husband, the One who has been my Rock and Fortress since I left “Mr. T” in 1991.  It will be a day for me to show love to my children and grandchildren.  It will be just one day out of 365 days in 2020 that I choose to live my life with joy and passion and courage to be all that God has called me to be.  Yes, I’m OK … more than OK … I’m happy again!  Truly happy!

The twisted-knife-in-the-gut feeling is gone.

The ping-pong-balls-bouncing-around-my-brain feeling is gone.

"Gone Fishing" (2)  www.puttinghopetowork.com
“Gone Fishing” (2) http://www.puttinghopetowork.com

And the determined focus I applied throughout 2019 to getting out and enjoying my life “in spite of” payed off in dividends!  I found healing in the company of treasured friends who carried me when my heart ached beyond what I was able to carry alone.  I found peace and spiritual refreshment in the sounds of babbling brooks and the beauty of the morning fog rising off the waters of my favorite kayaking lakes.  I found God again … not that He had ever left, ever moved (He hadn’t).  But I had – I had withdrawn and pulled in.  I was angry and hurt, and I held back in my pain.  But as healing came, intimacy returned.  He is so kind like that!  Never holding a grudge, always ready to throw arms open wide to receive me unto Himself again.

“”Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken, nor my covenant of peace be removed.” says the Lord who has compassion on you.”      (Isaiah 54:10 NIV)

Life is not always blue skies and lolly pops, is it?  And when grey clouds gather, we need a tribe of like-minded souls to walk with us to brighter days ahead.

I wonder who else has been or is in the process of recovering from having the rug pulled out from under your feet?   Where are you in the healing process?  How can I pray for you?

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All sketches and watercolors posted on this website are the sole property of the author and are for exclusive display on the website PuttingHopeToWork.com.

Inspired by my last name, I'm on a journey to better understand the intertwining of FAITH & HOPE.