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Archive for the ‘comfort’ Category

Wow!  Another great devotional from Transformed by Rick Warren, especially the underlined parts, which remind me of the following verses. This reminds me that God is responsible for all the good in my family and our country. Happy Tuesday!

“‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ Acts‬ ‭17:28‬

“For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”
‭‭Col‬ ‭1:16-17‬ ‭

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I have been struggling to remain close to God and to trust Him for a while now.  Things have been difficult lately, and I have not been handling it well.  It’s been hard for me to continue to trust God and believe that He is still working for my good when it doesn’t feel that way.

I have been stuck in a rut for a while now, and I’m tired of it.  Though many times before I’ve tried to get out, it only seems to be temporary.  Ultimately it has just felt too hard to trust God.  But I also realize that I’m making things much harder on myself by pushing away the one Person who could help me and comfort me.  I’ve been holding back with him, trying to protect my heart from the closeness and then loss of closeness that follows with the ups and downs.  But I realize I need to just go all out and seek to give all of myself to Him, trusting that He will work it all out.

 

And He gave me a verse for when I worry about not remaining close to him. It was the same as the very first verse He gave me when I was 18 and first saved.  I poured out all of my 18 year old problems to Him, and he spoke to me for the very first time with Matthew 6:33, “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you as well.”  To me that said don’t worry about how all of the problems would be solved but just seek Him.  That’s all that matters.  So I did!   And he gave me that verse again now 28 years later!  (Am I that old?…Nah.)   So its like, oh yeah, I guess that still applies! Lol.

So if I start complaining and worrying and distancing myself from God again, you can remind me of Matthew 6:33!  I’m sure I’ll be needing it!

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The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. Deut. 33:27 NIV

Two years ago we brought home the cutest kitty ever, Bella, who is now almost three years old. She has been a real pleasure, very affectionate, loving, and playful. However our resident, elderly cat was not so pleased with the new addition.  At first she was openly hostile to the newbie, but now she has come to a state of truce, unless Bella intrudes on her personal space, and then she can expect to be swiped at, chased or otherwise harassed.

This morning I was sitting on my bed and the elderly cat was with IMG_0610me sleeping on the bed. Bella came in from her morning exploration chirping cutely as she does to say hi. I called her up on the bed, and she accidentally jumped right on top of the elderly cat! lol You can imagine, not a pleasant scene. Poor Bella was swiped at, and she made a hasty exit. However, watching this scene, I got off the bed, picked her up in my arms and took her back to the bed, snuggled closely in my arms.  She seemed quite appreciative to be rescued, cuddled, and given permission to go where the older cat wouldn’t allow.

There is no way my older cat would do anything to Bella while I’m holding her. I’m like “base” in the children’s game of tag. No one can touch her if I have her. She is completely safe, protected, and out of harm’s reach. Not only that but she is also loved and affectionately cherished. And she gets the privilege of being close to me, much closer than the older cranky one!

As I was holding my baby, it occurred to me that this is what it is like with God. If we choose to snuggle close to Him, to rest in His arms, and to enjoy Him, we are safe from whatever is trying to hurt us. Nothing would dare approach or attack when we are safe in His arms. In addition to being protected, we are also have the added privilege of being loved and cherished and in an intimate position of closeness with the One we love. Sounds like the place to be to me!

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Surely He will save you from the fowler’s snare…He will cover you with his feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day… Psa. 91:1-5 NIV

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I am still getting over being sick and, though I don’t like to be sick, it was nice last week to have a break. I realize perhaps God had given me this one last week to be alone with him, all appointments cancelled just before school was out and kids are home every day. I hadn’t even thought about it, but this was my last week to enjoy being alone with Him. So though I don’t like being sick, I am thankful for my special time with Him.

This past weekend I still wasn’t all well, but I had not walked all week so I really wanted to get out and hike. Even though I felt tired from being sick, it felt really good to get my blood pumping and actually felt like a little exercise would speed my healing. We didn’t have much time so we just hiked down the gas pipeline behind my Dad’s house again, which in a mile leads to a nearby park with wooded trails.  It is really cool how you can hike through the middle of suburbs and neighborhoods through this vast grassy area that makes you feel like you are miles from civilization out in the country.

This day it was really, really hot! Well, it was only 88, which is not unusual for Memphis, but it was the first hot day this year and very humid and we are not used to it yet. Plus this hike is more in the sun, so we were sweltering! We found a couple of ticks from walking through the grass, so I decided to put on the 100% DEET that we had with us. Well, apparently I am allergic, because by the time we got to the park, my legs were red, inflamed, and covered with hives! At first I thought the mosquitoes were really, really bad. My legs looked like they were covered in big welts. But then we realized no one else had mosquito bites, and it must have been the DEET. My legs were on fire and itchy. Plus I still did not feel all well, so I was pretty miserable at one point. We sat down to rest by the lake at the park. I got my legs washed off and took an antihistamine.  As we started heading back, I finally began to feel better as the gentle breeze cooled my legs. What sweet relief it was to have the itching and burning subside.

Overall it was a really fun trip despite getting over being sick, my allergic reaction, and the heat! But it was great to get out after being in the house all week. It felt great to exercise and to explore, and so I’m thankful for our latest adventure through the wilds of Memphis. (Only three weeks to Appalachian Trail Vermont!!)

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It’s less than a month till our Hiking trip on the Appalachian Trail in Vermont. I can’t wait! Unfortunately now I’m sick. I thought I was going to escape what everybody had last week, but I did not. But God has graciously allowed for many of my appointments to be cancelled this week. I tutor math, and it seems everyone is busy here at the end of the school year. But I am just grateful I don’t have anywhere to go because I feel awful.

The flip side of that is that I get to enjoy quiet time alone with God, just me and Him. Sometimes I guess we just need a break, a rest. Even if it is while we are sick. And I am enjoying my time with God now.

Sometimes it seems like we get a special closeness with Him when we are weak. A special dependence on Him and a need for comfort and rest with Him. And so we get that comfort and rest as He heals our bodies and souls. I am so glad that I have God to take care of me.

He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. Ps. 23

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It has been really difficult with my husband working so many hours lately. They have been short-staffed with two drivers out, meaning my husband has been working 60+ hours for two months now. The job is a hard, physical one and very tiring, so when he gets home during the week, he pretty much has time to eat, plan the next day’s route and go to bed. And all of this has taken its toll on us. I miss him, and it seems some of the life is missing in our household when he is not arround. And we are praying for a change in the situation soon.

But sometimes when things are really hard, God responds with equal blessing to get us through. The kids seemed especially happy to see my husband this weekend and vice versa. Its like missing him during the week makes us all the more thankful when he is home, and we really had a great time just being together. There was an unusual joy in our household that I think only comes as a gift from God. So I am thankful for God’s little blessings to get us through things, including our beautiful hike on Sunday!

 

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20130423-102257.jpgI bought this wall-hanging years ago while we were traveling on a section of the Natchez Trace Parkway in Tennessee, which is a very old trail once used by Indians and now a scenic parkway.

There are all sorts of parks and historical things to see along the parkway. I bought this quilt wall-hanging at a charming little store at the French Camp Academy. It was a lot of money for me to spend then, but i splurged because I absolutely loved the colors, the design, and message.

For years it hung in our bonus room upstairs, mostly forgotten. When my daughter moved her bedroom up there, it came downstairs to hang in my bathroom. So whenever I take a bath, I look right at it.

Sometimes when I’m praying and frustrated, not knowing how to solve a problem, my gaze comes to rest on this quilt, and I just meditate on it . And somehow those simple words sink through to my heart: “When this you see, remember Me,” with the picture of a star, a pierced hand, and a heart. How sweet, right? It is so simple yet so powerful. The star represents Jesus birth here on earth. The pierced hand is His death for us on the cross. The heart is His love for us.

When I look at this, I am reminded of who Jesus is, that He knows me. I belong to Him, and He is mine. And He loves me. Those are the basic truths. Never forget. No matter how crazy things are, those are the only things that really matter.

When this you see, remember Me.

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