Tag Archives: encouragement

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  But I had – I had withdrawn and pulled in.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.

How sharp is your edge?

I read this out of my morning devotional, and it hit home.

“In some parts of the country there are Lumberjack competitions where the biggest and strongest compete by chopping down trees and sawing through thick logs.  In one such competition, there was a match between a young, strong ax man and an older, slimmer one.

By the end of the day of competition, the old man had cut down double the amount of trees that the young man had cut down.  Frustrated, the younger ax man finally confronted the older and said ‘I don’t understand.  I never stopped swinging.  I never stopped.  You know, I never stopped cutting down trees and yet you took two breaks every hour.  How could you cut down more trees?’   The older man, with humble eyes and a kind reply said ‘Every time I stopped, I sharpened my axe.”

You and I can chop until we’re blue in the face, but if our axe has lost its edge, it won’t matter.

I feel like I spent much of 2019 swinging and swinging and swinging … but with a dull axe.  How about you?

Praising God that He is always willing to “resharpen our edge” … strengthening us by His Spirit and sharpening us by His Word to make us productive again.

Axe Sharpening

“Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way; say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come.”    (Isaiah 35:3-4)

How can I pray for you today? 

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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.

Morning Sips: Be Still and Know

I’ve been going through some stuff lately.  Some of it has been good and pleasant … some of it, well not so much.  And throughout the mental and emotional processing of both the pleasant and unpleasant, I’ve been silent.

Listening to my heart, listening to my head.  Trying to quiet those voices (heart and head) enough to hear the voice of Wisdom speak to me.

“Be Still, and know that I am God.”

But it’s hard to BE STILL when your emotions are on overdrive (pleasant or unpleasant), and your reasoning has your head feeling like there is a professional ping-pong match going on between your temples.   (anyone else understand that analogy??)

Sometimes you just have to find a quiet spot, sit down on a tree stump, and breathe.

Sometimes you have to unclench your hands from the thing you have been trying to hold onto, and surrender it to God.

Sometimes you have to stop fussing … rest your head upon His chest … and know that He is big enough.

Big enough to take it and to know what to do with it.

Big enough to see farther down the road than you can see.

Big enough to do whatever needs doing, handling, correcting, etc.

“That’s enough! Now know that I am God!  I am exalted among all nations; I am exalted throughout the world!”   (Psalm 46:10 CEB)

That’s where I’m at today. How about you?

Morning Sips

 

Morning Sips: How to submit to God

I’m not a Bible scholar, and I’ve never had any formal theological teaching – so just take this for what it’s worth.  The morning musings of a 58-year old Christ follower.

“Therefore, submit to God.”

You know those days when you’re reading your Bible, and one verse (or segment of verses) reminds you of another verse in some other chapter or Book of the Bible?  I love those days!!!  They bring to mind imagery of what it might be like if Jesus Christ were sitting across from me at the dining table, chatting about the impeccable congruencies of His word.  Well, this morning I had one of those experiences and so off I ventured into James 4, and having satisfied my curiosity with verse 6, I continued to read a few other verses I’ve underlined and commented on during previous studies.

“Therefore, submit to God.  Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.

Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.”   

James 4:7-8, 10 (NKJV)

 

And here’s what stands out to me (or what stands out to me this morning):

         Submit to God >>>>

                    Draw near to God >>>>

                                Humble yourself before God

 

In todays society, submission is often seen as a ‘dirty word’.  Is it???

      Merriam-Webster defines submit as:

  • to yield to governance or authority
  • to subject to a condition, treatment, operation
  • to present or propose to another for review/consideration
  • to put forward as an opinion

And I wonder if perhaps submitting to God could be as simple as drawing near to God.  I mean, if I draw near to God: as in spend time with Him, listen to Him, talk with Him, do things together with Him, perhaps even “affectionately scooch on over closer” just to be near Him …. well, wont I naturally find myself wanting to:

…. yield to His authority?
…. offer Him my concerns?
…. dialog and discuss with Him?

Maybe submitting is a lot easier than we think it is.  Maybe submitting is just the result of drawing near to God, taking in all of who He is, and then responding to it.

And as a reward for doing that … the enemy of my soul will flee!!!  Scram!  Stay far out of range!  Why?  Because I’m nestled up under the covering of my God, and their ain’t no devil in hell that wants to get within range of God’s jealous wrath for His beloved!!!!

And who , pray tell, is His beloved???   Well my friend, that’s you and me!! ❤

Hmm…. sounds like there are some excellent perks for practicing submitting to God today.   I hope you join me in the practicing.

Morning Sips

 

Morning Sips: The Other Side

We have never met (true for about 99.9% of my readers), but we are the same in a lot of ways.  You feel a stir in your spirit, or perhaps you receive a promise through the Word of God, and you set out on an adventure of faith with great hope and expectation for the “new and good thing” that you are expecting to happen as a result of this prompting or promise.

“Let us go across
to the other side of the lake.”

But time drags on.

Discouragement begins to weigh on your shoulders.

Weariness begin to eat away at hope….

and you begin to fear.

One day Jesus got into a boat with his disciples and said to them, “Let us go across to the other side of the lake.”  So they started out.  As they were sailing, Jesus fell asleep.  Suddenly a strong wind blew down on the lake, and the boat began to fill with water, so that they were all in great danger.  The disciples went to Jesus and woke him up, saying, “Master, Master!  We are about to die!”     
Luke 8:22-24 (GNB)

I’ve set out on many such journeys of faith over the years, and am still on many of them.

I am still waiting for the long awaited and much anticipated answers to many prayers.

I bet you are too.

And sometimes you probably feel like I do … like you’re sitting out in the middle of a big lake, at dusk, being battered by waves of fear and doubt, with the shoreline so far away you can’t even see it.

But here is what the Holy Spirit speaks to me through these few verses of Luke 8.

If Jesus is in the boat with me (with you), we WILL get to the other side … just as He said!!

Friend, if Jesus says we are going to the other side, we are going to the other side! Maybe not as fast as I would like, and maybe we will encounter some turbulence along the way … but we are getting there! He will make sure of it, even if He has to pick me up and carry me on His shoulders while He walks across the water to bring me to shore!!

Numbers 23:19 “God is not a man that he should lie…”

I hope that brings comfort to your spirit as you meditate on this simple truth.  He is in the boat with you.  He will get you to shore, just as He promised.

 

Morning Sips