Friday, April 24, 2020

Timeframes

       Do you feel like you have lost a couple months? I do. Yesterday I went to the grocery. I met my oldest daughter there with her kids. Not to get too close but I figured I was as close to them as anyone else in the store. We all had masks on and I had my handy sanitizing wipes out to use. This set of grandkids are age 9, 3 and 5.5 months. I noticed that the little one was holding a toy and putting it in her mouth. So I missed it. The window. That 4-6 month stage where babies learn to pick up their toys and hold them. It makes me tear up a bit. She will start sitting up and even crawling in the next couple months. I know that this seems very trivial to all of you separated from loved ones by miles and sickness and maybe you have lost a loved one recently. I am so sorry for your pain. I am just thinking of timeframes, what happens within their bounds and not just what we miss but what can be accomplished.


       I am sure you have seen pictures of animals coming into towns, smog lessoning in cities and less trash everywhere. There have been people writing letters to relatives they haven't connected with in years, creative sidewalk chart art to encourage neighbors and friends, meals being taken to those we know who can't get out, people using zoom to connect, church services live streamed. The ingenuity is endless. Wow. I am so very thankful for those out there trying to make the best of this situation we are in. They aren't complaining, they aren't whining...they are encouraging, they are doing, they are thinking of the other person more than themselves. 
       Words seem trite in thanking all of the frontline essential people providing services and saving lives. I don't think we will ever think of them in the same light again. Matter fact ...what if we had an entirely new outlook on everyone? Yes, we still feel locked up. Yes, I too want things back to normal (which we may have a new normal) but we have all made it through the past couple months!Yay! And as hard as it is to miss that grandbaby changing daily or that daughter's wedding that may get cancelled or that trip to Hawaii with family that was cancelled...all of which are greatly distressing, THIS TOO SHALL PASS. Maybe when we do get back to our new normal. we love a little more, encourage a little more, and show a smile of kindness to those people we greet wherever we may go.
       Maybe I have shared these verses with you before. They are favorites of mine.
Psalm 37:23-24, "The steps of a man are established by the Lord; and He delights in his way. When he falls, he shall not be hurled headlong; because the Lord is the one who holds his hand." These verses give me so much hope when I feel overwhelmed. I find it helps me to help others and choose joy. Once I get on the path of negativity I am pulled under. And what better verses than Philippians 4:4-7, "Rejoice in the Lord always and Again I say rejoice. Let your forbearing spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving  let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."








Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Overcoming

       This morning one of the first things I saw was a post by Toby Mac that said. "although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of overcoming it" It is a quote from Helen Keller. If anyone understood suffering it would be Helen Keller. How difficult to not be able to hear, speak or see. I cannot imagine.
       Yesterday was a discouraging day. So I just got off social media. I mean people are complaining more and more about everything. I don't really want to be bombarded by negativity. Thinking back on the above quote reminded me of a favorite passage of scripture from 2 Corinthians 4:7-9,16-18,"But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing greatness of the power may be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed...Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but the things that are not seen;for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal."

       This is such a great promise to us. Are you feeling overcome? Are waves pulling you under? With this pandemic and staying at home a crazy amount of time it is so easy to let it get to you. We also had an earthquake here in Idaho and the South is having tornados. I think we can't get discouraged by all this although I myself struggle too. I take one day at a time. Praise God for all my many blessings and concentrate on all I have to be thankful for right now. Somehow that flips the switch and I don't feel overwhelmed. Another way is to help someone else. That keeps the focus off ourselves.
       It is great to see so many people encouraging each other from our frontline workers, essential workers to kids doing sidewalk chalk to lift their neighbors spirits. I love all the creative ways people can love on each other. Blessings to you my friends! Praise God from whom all blessings flow!


Sunday, April 12, 2020

Because He Lives

       Happy Easter to you on this wonderful Resurrection Day. I woke this morning thinking that this was the first time in years I didn't get up early for sunrise service. Some of my best Easter memories are driving home from sunrise service thinking about Mary and Mary Magdalene going to the tomb to find it empty. How stunned but thrilled they must have been. Then to see an angel and him telling them to spread the word to the disciples. People probably thought they were crazy. In Luke it tells us that they were told by the angel, "Why do you seek The living one from among the dead? He is not here but He has risen. Remember how He spoke to you while He was in Galilee?Saying that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day will rise again." And they remembered His words, and returned from the tomb and reported all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. Luke 24:5-9
       For three years Jesus had been telling  his followers and friends about His death and resurrection. It was not completely clear at the time but now it came into focus. 1 Peter 3:18 tells us, "For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, in order that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the Spirit." 
       That is the key right there dear reader. He died, He was separated from the Father which caused Him great sorrow so that He could bear our sins on the cross for us. That we might have an eternity in Heaven and no longer be separated from God. Here are portions of 1 Peter 1:3-8, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in Heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, and the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ and though you have not seen Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory"
      He took our place on the cross. 48 years ago I trusted Christ as my Lord and Savior. At the time as a teen I am not sure I could really grasp the power of that decision. But it was a simple act. To pray to God telling Him I knew I was a sinner and that I believed that He died on the cross for my sins and rose again to give me new life. I have never looked back. It has not always been an easy road and I have fallen many times but it is He who gives me hope. It is He who promises to love me and forgive me...forever. It is He who comforts me in trials and fills me with joy. I cannot imagine how hard it must be to not have that love and comfort in life. I am praying for all of you who are reading this. I am thankful for you and happy if you know our Living Savior, but this morning I am earnestly praying for those of you who have no hope in eternity. Because He lives I can face tomorrow. I know I have a future for eternity.  That is a long time folks. 
       Blessings and love to you all on this blessed of days. 
       
     

Friday, April 10, 2020

Too Much Thinking Time

   

     Are you a thinker? I overthink everything. I lay awake thinking. It's a curse for sure. I problem solve, design homes and yards, plan new books, solve mysteries, style people's clothing, think about kids, friends, plan a painting, the list goes on...and on. Some of this stems from being a creative type person and some from just how God made me. We all have our own special personalities as quirky as they may be. Add to this my prayer list and burdens I sometimes feel and it just never ends. I decided years ago that insomnia would not overtake me. I studied ways to  improve my sleep and have in fact gotten "better". Sorta. I don't worry about things and overthink things I shouldn't. I get much more prayer done rather than letting anxious thoughts overtake me.

       This virus pandemic doesn't stress me the way it may some. I saw a prominent news magazine while in line at the grocery yesterday and the title was about anxiety. I am sorry for those who have lost loved ones. This has effected so many around the world. My sister is a nurse in one of the worst hotspots in the nation. I am concerned for her and her family. However, all this extra time at home has really given me too much time on my hands. How about you? How are you filling your extra time? I am trying to have a little outside time each day usually with my husband and my dog. About once a week I go to the grocery. I make a list, I don't linger, I keep my distance but taking a drive is therapudic. You don't need to visit with anyone, just take in some of God's creation even if its just in you backyard or porch.


       As far as my time at home in my house I have still been getting up around the same time. I am not sleeping in every day. That just would make me depressed. I have been working a bit more on writing, Bible study and any extra projects. Do you have a garage project or yard work? Usually this time of year I would be planning my garden and flower beds but we are moving so I am planning my future yard...this has had me thinking at night actually.  I can't even sew masks for people because all my fabric and sewing machine are in storage.

       I guess the point in this blog today is really to keep myself in check. If I don't keep busy then I will feel discouraged right now, I will keep wondering when this will end. I can't tell you that these things haven't concerned me or that I don't miss getting together with my kids or grandkids. I can't tell you I am not concerned about upcoming family events and whether or not they may not happen. I get sad and upset too but I KNOW that we WILL not be isolated forever. I KNOW my God is in control and He is the God of all comfort. When I find myself tearing up and feeling like it just wont end I have to stop and lift it up in prayer or I'll go nuts. I am so very thankful that He grants me peace and gives me hope. He's got this dear reader.

       So don't lay in bed feeling overwhelmed, don't let this isolation stay at home time pull you under. Fill your mind and heart and time with God's love and peace.

"Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things; and the God of peace shall be with you." Philippians 4:8-9




Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Our New Normal

I went to the grocery this morning super early. Although I am not totally out of things, I had forgotten a couple items the other day and every time I go I look for the elusive flour and toilet paper. There weren't many people there so that was good and I wiped down my cart and kept my distance from others. As I proceeded to the back of the store, I noticed that the store employees were doing a great job of trying to make sure things look full. Maybe they were spreading out things to fill a gap but things weren't bad. I decided to go look for flour first rather than making my usual loop.  Nope...all gone but I got some cake flour. I can use it in a pinch and it won't go to waste as I use it for cakes anyway. Next I went to find toilet paper. I saw that they had some paper products on one side and the other was almost empty...I could see as I approached a small pile of about 30 packages of toilet paper! They were 4 packs and a limit of 1 package per customer but I felt a little elated I had found such a treasure. It's the small things, right?

Next I went to get dishwasher detergent. Nope, all gone. Not a big deal for me, I prefer to hand wash anyway. I can certainly wash by hand. Definitely a first world problem. I grabbed another couple items and headed to the checkout. I didn't want to stay long in the store. I was greeted by an employee who told me to wait just a moment so he could clean before I checked out. I thought that was a stellar idea! I left the store feeling that it was a pleasant time despite  our circumstances.

As we continue our social distancing, shelter in place and stay at home directives I can't help but feel we have a new normal. I am thankful for so many people out there risking their health for others. Of course all the medical people, postal delivery, truckers, pastoral staff,  first responders, food and beverage people keeping drive thru's open, and also the grocery people. So many going home each day and showering before they hug their loved ones. You are all appreciated more than you will ever realize.

This pandemic does give us a new normal and I hope creates thankful hearts in a bigger way than usual. It is SO tough to keep a positive outlook every day when we are not able to do all those things we are used to such as work our jobs and hug our loved ones. But maybe by doing this we will love a little deeper, appreciate our freedoms a little more and show more kindness than we ever have before.

"I have told you these things, so that in Me you might have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
John 16:33

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