I’m a contributing author of Jesus Talked to Me Today and a devotional writer for Pathways—Moments With God, and I love reading my Bible and letting it speak to my heart.
I also like sharing what I find.
In this blog . . .
Though I aim to write short devotions that bring scriptural insights to our everyday life, I may not always succeed in being brief or insightful. I pray God accepts my humble offering and glorifies his name in it. With that, I will be content.
Sometimes I also comment on Bible resources, that some readers find useful, and provide updates on projects I’m working on.
As a wife, mother, grandmother, foster parent and home provider for children, youth and adults, I’ve cared for enough people in my life to know the importance of clear communication. When that place of understanding is reached, it satisfies a deep longing in us, like when we take a cool drink on a hot day.
So let’s dive in. I’m delighted we can share these moments together.
Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again.”
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The transition from fall to winter is a gloomy time for some. In addition to the pressure of navigating the holidays, seasonal weather patterns also can make life challenging, especially for those who miss the sunshine.
For me, gray, overcast days don’t have a negative effect. I’ve loved clouds since I was a little girl, even to the point of getting excited during thunderstorms. What does mess with my emotions, though, is preparing for family events. That can make me a wreck!
Why do we repeat the cycles of past holidays when we make plans, raise expectations, anticipate joy, dread discomfort, and crash when it’s all over?
I have other struggles during this season when I find it easier to feel down. Pain that limits what I can do. The struggle for sleep – only four hours then I’m awake. Why? And a course change, once again, with my writing work.
My mother died the day after Christmas in 2019. Both blessing and hurt roll over me when I think about her passing. Family members came from miles away to comfort and support each other – I miss that. And Mom, my dearest friend, is out of reach.
There’s a lot I don’t like about this season of my life, but here’s the truth. I will trust God.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.
As I do any other time of the year, I put (notice the next word) all my trust in God. This requires some serious self talk on my part, rehearsing the truth of how big he is, how thoroughly he has proved his love, and how devoted he is to saving all of us.
Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God . . .
And in all (there’s that word again) the steps I take, I acknowledge him. I do this because, more than anything, I want to always (in all my ways) be aware that he is with me.
Then, instead of staying in the hurt, I think of my mother as she delivered what was probably her final joke. We were gathered around her deathbed when someone mentioned Christmas gifts. In her sweet, understated way she offered,
“Well, you don’t have to get me anything.”
During my mother’s last days with us, as far as I could tell, she didn’t become stressed out about anything. She had long practiced putting her trust in God, and that was enough.
This post is to be published on New Year’s Day 2022, so instead of wishing you a happy new year (because happiness may take its time coming around), I ask God to bless you with the healing and refreshment mentioned in Proverbs 3 as you trust him in the days ahead.
In the classic TV special, A Charlie Brown’s Christmas, Linus responds to Charlie’s display of holiday stress by reciting from the book of Luke. This year the same verses hit home for me, too. (Thank you, Linus!)
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them, and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men!”
As a follower of Jesus for many years, I’ve encountered many interpretations, traditions and opinions related to how Christian holidays should or should not be practiced. And now, with so much of what we hear and read in the news about divisions between people, it’s easy, sadly, to separate ourselves in our celebrating as well.
But when I read the verses Linus quotes, my distress about our world is relieved like it was for his friend. For one thing, I’m reminded that God sent his messenger to declare the news to humanity that the time had come for our salvation.
Secondly, he brought good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people.
Did you catch that?
God sent good news and joy for all people. There are no qualifiers. No one is excluded. No us versus them.
The apostle Paul wrote, “The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost” (1 Timothy 1:15 ESV). We have all done wrong. We all need salvation.
My response to this, the best news I’ve ever heard, is Hallelujah, Glory to God and Merry Christmas, everyone!
While watching a reality show with my husband, one of the contestants gave me a glimpse of what our entry into heaven might be like.
As he gripped his walking stick and described his struggles with hunger and weight loss, a woman approached from behind. She was there to congratulate him for being the final contestant in that season of Alone.
He’d been away from his family for weeks, and he looked worn and thin and spent. But that was a stark contrast to the brightness in his appearance moments later as he realized his wife stood by his side.
I won’t tell you which season of Alone I’m describing, in case you haven’t watched it yet, but as he encircled her in his arms and absorbed the reality of her presence, he said,
With a smile on her face, she searched his eyes and announced, “You won!” But it was like he didn’t hear her.
When interviewed later, the contestant said he didn’t process the fact he’d won the competition until hours later. It seems winning wasn’t important in those first moments with the woman he loved. Though enduring the separation and starvation to provide for his family, the prize money clearly wasn’t what his soul had hungered for.
And though the wilderness was rich with beauty and adventure, the one he loved and endured the hardships for was miles away. He struggled with his longing for her.
When Jacob finished commanding his sons, he drew up his feet into the bed and breathed his last and was gathered to his people.”
I hope I never forget the look on the young man’s face when he turned and saw his wife. It showed a mixture of sorrow that he’d gone so long without her, and relief that he could now fully enjoy being with her. His ordeal was over.
In 2019, when my mother was days away from taking her final breath, she awoke and remarked, “Oh, I’m still here.” She seemed sincerely disappointed.
Can you imagine her relief when she finally did wake up to find herself gathered to people who were probably shouting,