Tag Archives: encouragement

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.

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