Preparing Our Hearts for the Holidays — an Update

Posted On November 4, 2019

Filed under daily life, Meditations

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Starting this blog/website several years ago was not so much that I have a love of writing and I am convinced everyone wants to read what I write (no, that is NOT in my mindset); it was actually at the urging of a friend, who said that since I am so sporadic at journaling, just maybe this would be a way for me to record what I am learning in my Christian walk — and if others could benefit, so much the better!

So, much of this site is “living my faith and sharing my life.” For example, I knew that I must prepare my mind for action (1 Peter 1:13) and be proactive about having a grateful, thankful, joyful heart through the holidays. Just “letting go” and “hoping it happens” was a fool’s errand (as in, been there, done that, failed miserably, etc).

This is the beginning of the fourth week of setting my mind on things above, not on things of the earth (Colossians 3). Yes, I am studying the Word every day; yes, I am memorizing. But I knew that I would need these additional reminders that God is Sovereign; He is just; He is I AM . . .and my Precious Father gave me an example of how He is truly renewing my mind . . .

Because my house is in a state of “un-order,” and has been for about three months (painting and updating kitchen cabinets, installing floors in nearly every room of the house), it has been hard to find time and space to just “be still. . .” Add to that, big cardiology appointment that drastically changed my treatment plan; cardiac rehab that stopped almost before it began because my system reacted so negatively; my buddy kitty Max got sick and died; and the assaults on my endocrine and cardiovascular system from all the changes caused a huge autoimmune flare that just “laid me out.” Tired does not begin to describe . . .

My husband and I decided that I would just do a 2-day “retreat” to be able to sleep, to write, to think, to just “be” where there is no banging/drilling/hammering/dust everywhere/trying to find anything in which box in which room and in which pile . . .so I chose a hotel near his work, and arrived around suppertime. Nice. Quiet. No real schedule. I did a little writing, and then just went to bed. Sweet sleep.

At 6 a.m. I woke, and set the coffee maker in my room to “brew.” It fluttered, and then all the lights went out. I could not have seriously blown a fuse! Because there is no power, I can’t call the front desk. I got dressed, and figured I would get coffee and breakfast downstairs and find out about the power situation. When I got downstairs, I found that there had been an accident, and the entire neighborhood was out of power, and there was not an estimation of when it would be restored. “But if you want breakfast, you should eat now, because the food we made already won’t be hot for long.”

And here is where the “renewing my mind” and “setting my mind on things above, not on things of the earth” kicked in 🙂

*I came downstairs with a smile and a “you are having a real Monday, aren’t you?” to the front desk. It certainly wasn’t his doing that my plans were interrupted. .

*Because I was awake and dressed at 6 a.m., I was able to enjoy a hot breakfast. Had I “slept in” . . .well, cold oatmeal is just not my thing . . .

*Though I didn’t “have to,” I was prompted to write today’s post last night. The principles of Proverbs 3 of not withholding good from someone when you have it, and then James 4 that admonishes not to just make all these plans of “today or tomorrow I will go and spend a year and do this and that, ” and presuming that I will even have a tomorrow or next year — were instrumental in reducing the attractiveness of procrastination. Elisabeth Elliot said, “do the next thing.” Because I didn’t procrastinate on today’s post, and assume that I could “do it later,” it was done and posted despite the no power situation.

*With no power, I was able to take a morning nap, and not worry about when or how long. If the power was not restored by noon, I would make a decision. Until then — though there was no heat, the comforter was warm. Though there were no lights, the sun was shining and there was plenty of natural light. The coffee in the thermal pots downstairs was hot.

*Power was restored, and internet was restored before 10:30 a.m.

Yes, I am getting to the, “why are you bothering to tell this story?” — because there was NO anxiety. NO “oh no my retreat is ruined and how are they going to fix this” inner or outer tantrum. And it wasn’t a “grin and bear it and do the right thing though I am raging on the inside.” I didn’t conjure this up. God is renewing my mind. He calmed and quieted my soul (Psalm 131). I settled on a time frame to put an alternate plan in place; I was grateful for how God supplied a hot breakfast and the morning’s responsibility in His way, on His timing. I could be truly thankful, and not worried or anxious or resentful or whatever.

Romans 12:1-3 ESV – 1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. 3 For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.

God is renewing my mind; replacing my anxious/bitter/entitled thoughts with His thoughts. Storing up His Word in my heart (Psalm 119:10-11) is accomplishing His purpose for me (Psalm 57). Thinking with sober judgment, not thinking more (or less) of myself allows me to see what kind of encouragement others may need. It allows me to be grateful for what is given, rather than resentful for what is withheld (thank you, again, Elisabeth Elliot). God is good, and He does good; and He is teaching me His statutes; and His statutes are for my good! (Psalm 119:63)

I praise Him for His faithfulness! And now, I think maybe another short nap is in order . . .

Present Comfort

Posted On September 6, 2019

Filed under daily life, Meditations

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Psalm 6:1-10 ESV –  To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments; according to The Sheminith. A Psalm of David.

1 O LORD, rebuke me not in your anger, nor discipline me in your wrath. 2 Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am languishing; heal me, O LORD, for my bones are troubled. 3 My soul also is greatly troubled. But you, O LORD–how long? 4 Turn, O LORD, deliver my life; save me for the sake of your steadfast love.5 For in death there is no remembrance of you; in Sheol who will give you praise? 6 I am weary with my moaning; every night I flood my bed with tears; I drench my couch with my weeping. 7 My eye wastes away because of grief; it grows weak because of all my foes. 8 Depart from me, all you workers of evil, for the LORD has heard the sound of my weeping. 9 The LORD has heard my plea; the LORD accepts my prayer. 10 All my enemies shall be ashamed and greatly troubled; they shall turn back and be put to shame in a moment.

How grateful I am for God’s Word! Today I am languishing (Heb. umlal — a poetic word that generates the word picture of a drooping plant, without energy) and God has mercifully provided the perfect counsel and comfort for my soul.

It’s now been a month since my appointments at the Cleveland clinic, and the new treatment plan is still “in process.” New medication, cardiac rehab, has not only left me exhausted, but has also resulted in the return of difficult symptoms. Nausea and dizziness, shortness of breath, are near-constant companions, only adding to the physical weariness. There are no “end dates” to mark on a calendar. I would like to know “how long,” but my Sovereign Father, who is gracious and full of steadfast love, calls me to trust Him with today.

Even though the psalmist is “weary with [his] moaning” (v.6) this psalm is still so rich with hope. The Lord hears the sound of my weeping. He hears my prayers for strength and endurance. He hears, He acknowledges, He answers — all according to His mercy and His steadfast love.

Today I “called out” to the Lord, and He reminded me of Psalm 6. Through tears of humility and gratitude I know that God is good, and He does good (Psalm 119:68); His testimonies truly are my delight and my counselors (Psalm 119:24).

Job 23:10-14 ESV – 10 But he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold. 11 My foot has held fast to his steps; I have kept his way and have not turned aside. 12 I have not departed from the commandment of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my portion of food. 13 But he is unchangeable, and who can turn him back? What he desires, that he does. 14 For he will complete what he appoints for me, and many such things are in his mind.

Isn’t that amazing and wonderful comfort — that God will complete what He appoints for me, because He is unchangeable, and all powerful!! (see Psalm 57:2; Philippians 1:6). If I never get the “how long” or “how much” answers while in this life, it’s only because my Father knows that I don’t need the answers in order to obey Him. I need only trust Him.

How are you trusting God in a difficult circumstance, when there just are no clear answers? Go to His Word, dear ones. Find your answer in “I Am”


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