I find it quite amazing how one person can share a few words that change the narrative completely. We were talking about moving and she shared some advice she had been given. It went something like this, “Do not waste time adjusting. Go ahead and jump in where God has you.” Unbelievable right?
All of us are in the ever changing pandemic days. Some of us are moving or have moved into new chapters of our story. Are we going to jump in, keep looking back or dreading what is right around the corner? Honestly, I have been in a pit of grief looking ahead. My friend unknowingly tossed down a rope into my pit with her words and I chose to climb out. It shifted something in my mind and then heart. It feels like I can breath again!
Hope this helped you as much as it did me:)
“This is the message you have heard from the beginning: We should love one another.” 1 John 3:11
Are there times you wish you could go back in time and start over? Maybe back to the beginning? If you could go back, what would you do differently? Perhaps you are like me and wish you would have loved better. I can mark the time in my life that I was out of my element, became very closed off and did not love well. Can I tell you that there is so much heartache written on those pages of my story. However, there is much wisdom gained, insight too and I use it all as a mom. Makes those years seem redeemed and not wasted.
Since we cannot go back and today matters, why don’t we commit to what we have learned from the beginning – to love one another. What does that look like today for you? I know for me it means watching my words spoken and thoughts. It means putting others before myself, even when I am tired. It means not being distracted by my phone, when my family is right in front of me. There are many ways we can love one another and today is a good day to love well. You never know the difference it might make to someone else.
*I took this picture the other day while riding along towards home.
“But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put him on his donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him…Go and do likewise.” Luke 10:33-37
Jesus is an incredible storyteller. He never seems to waste words and takes every opportunity to teach us more of what it looks like to follow Him. How many times have you heard or read the story He told about the Good Samaritan who showed mercy? Sometimes one part of it stands out and another time, something completely different. Several things hit me today, but right now I am thinking about how this injured man was traveling along and “fell into the hands of robbers” (Luke 10:36). He lays there helpless and is passed by. Then a man comes along and uses his hands to tend wounds and move him to safety.
Where do you see yourself in the story? I have been all the characters it seems. Sometimes the one that passed by and another, the one on the side of the road. Even the one who injures and then the one that shows mercy. The man might not have been able to prevent the attack, but the ones that saw him had a choice to make. They had to decide what they would do with their hands. It seems like in the end, the heart that was full of mercy used his hands to heal. May we each go and do likewise.
“What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying?” Matthew 18:12
We were out on our morning walk and saw something that made me think of this verse. Across from our neighborhood, there is a home on a large piece of beautiful land with lots of trees. The owner had brought out a container of water and was carefully inspecting this one, small tree. Out of all the trees on his land, he noticed the one that was not doing well and watered it. He was taking care of what belonged to him.
Doesn’t this make you think of our Heavenly Father? When He sees the condition of our hearts and the thoughts, actions and words that flow from it, He knows if we are living as His beloved. How incredible it is to have a Father that seeks us out and uses many different ways to remind us of who and whose we are. We all go astray and some stay away longer than others, but do not think for a minute that He is not wanting to bring you back into the fold. We are not meant to be apart from Him or others. So where ever you are today, I pray you experience the tender grace and care of the One to whom you belong.
“He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart…” Isaiah 40:11
When our oldest was just a baby, I carried her a ridiculous amount of time in one of those carriers you strap on. I wanted to keep her as close as possible. In my mind, the closer to me she was, the safer she would be. This was not healthy for either one of us and thankfully the Lord gave me more chances to let go and trust Him. Fear had such a hold on me.
I had a mental picture of carrying her again when I read this verse today. I loved picturing Jesus carrying her close to His heart. The difference with His parenting style is there is no fear. When I remember that she can be tucked in close to His heart, I can rest from the natural response of wanting to hold on too tight. We can also trust that He carries us too. We are loved. Hope this helps you as much as it did me.
“And when they could not find how they might bring him in, because of the crowd, they went up on the housetop and let him down with his bed through the tiling into the midst before Jesus.” Luke 5:19
Do you have good friends? Are you a good friend? It is a good question we need to all answer. We can see a beautiful example of faith, trust and love in this passage of scripture. This man, who was paralyzed, had friends that stopped at nothing to bring him to the feet of Jesus to be healed. And then Jesus, “saw their faith” (5:20), told the man his sins were forgiven, but there is a bit of conflict over His choice of words. So Jesus used different words, “I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.” (5:24). The man got up and glorified God. Nothing else is mentioned about his friends. However, do not miss it was the faith of the friends that Jesus took note of. I want that kind of faith.
Do you see yourself in this story? I sure do and depending on the day, I am the one being carried and on another day, one of the friends desperate to get a friend to the feet of Jesus. Honestly, I am more comfortable being one of the ones doing the carrying. Taking people to Jesus simplifies where help can be found. And if you have been at His feet, you know there is nothing like it. In fact, it is wonderful to stay awhile when you do bring someone. I have started thanking the Lord for what He is going to do on my friends behalf. It may look different than I think or want, but I trust Him with my friends.
Who needs you to carry them today? Do you need to be carried? I would love to take a corner of the mat if you need me too.
“ Tell me how much you know of the sufferings of your fellow man and I will tell you how much you have loved them.” -Helmut Thielicke
I do not know much about the author or the time he wrote this quote, but I do like the words he penned. He lived during the Nazi reign and was interrogated multiple times. To say the time period he lived in was uncertain, would be an understatement, and yet he spoke of loving others. We are not short on opportunities to love others now for many are suffering during our days of unknown. In fact, it can be quite overwhelming and sometimes I can sink in despair for all I see and feel.
When we look at the life of Jesus on earth, we see his heart and incredible love. He met suffering, it seemed, at every turn and often did something about it; ultimately dying on the cross. The same spirit that lived in Him, now lives in every believer. Should that not be helpful in opening our hearts to those around us? Sometimes it is someone in your own home or family that needs you to see them. Maybe it is in your neighborhood, church, school friend or community. Perhaps it is even you. How do you need love shown to you or how can you show love to someone else?
May we be people who are so available to the Lord that He can show us who needs love. Maybe you will be the one who receives love during your time of suffering because the Lord directed another to your aid. It may seem like a small thing, a timely text, phone call or note in the mail, but to the recipient it is an act of love. Give us eyes to see Lord.
“The thing that you wish would go away, it’s showing you a better way to live.” —Ann Voskamp
These words were just what I needed today and maybe you do too. We would all probably say we are more than ready for the virus to head on out, but what are we learning? Are we moving towards a better way to live in the places that needed to change? What about the other factors that have nothing to do with this virus that will not go away? What are they showing us? When we think through this lens, maybe all the change will look different and we will be on the lookout for the good. Perhaps that is what 2020 is all about.
“But judgement will return to righteousness, and all the upright in heart will follow it.” Psalm 94:15
There is such wisdom, comfort, emotion, encouragement and love found in the book of Psalms. When I do not have the words, they can be found in this book. If you are in need during these uncertain days, just open your Bible to the very middle and you will find this book. I discovered this verse today and thought I would share it with you. While we are all waiting to return to somethings, it is very encouraging to know that righteousness will return and those whose hearts are in their proper place will follow.
Look with me at the verse that comes right before it. “For the LORD will not cast off His people, nor will He forsake His inheritance.” (94:14). If you have believed in the Lord Jesus Christ and accepted His payment on your behalf, then you belong to Him. We can rest secure knowing all else may fail, but eternity is our reward. The narrow road has some tough circumstances, but we keep going and remember who our God has been and will be; “…the LORD has been my defense, and my God the rock of my refuge.” (94:22). Why would He abandon those who belong to Him? Friend, He is a good Father and knows how to take care of what belongs to Him. He even offers us a place to rest along the way and to defend us from all the enemy tries to throw at us. And with that encouragement we can continue to trust as we walk on towards Home.
“But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.” Acts 16:25
The older I get the earlier I go to bed. I have not seen the midnight hour in quite sometime, but this was not the case with Paul and Silas. They had been lashed, thrown into prison and their feet were shackled. They must have been in pain, their future was uncertain and yet they made an incredible choice to pray and sing. Also, take note that they had an audience listening to them.
These two incredible prisoners made me think of the state we are in today. Much of what we use to do has stopped, there is uncertainty and maybe the walls of your home are starting to feel like a cell. Everyday each of us are making decisions on how we respond. Whatever we decide, one thing we need to remember is that other people are listening. So what will they hear? Will it be fear or trust? Will we choose sides and blast blame across the aisle? Will we spend more time soaking up the news or truth of the scriptures? Whatever we choose will be made evident to everyone we have the rare opportunity to spend time with the moment we speak.
Honestly, for me some days are better than others and I always have an audience. What will my family remember when they look back over 2020? Will it be the acknowledgement of uncertainty, but that as a family we went the way of trust? I am praying it is the way of trust and loving each other well. Our singing may look more like praise music blasting inside and out and our prayers are preciously spoken from the mouths of my children, but to those listening I hope you join in. Who knows? Maybe other captives will be set free.