Then she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, “Thou art a God who sees.”
Genesis 16:13a (NASB)
I have found 2 pennies in the last two days. I can go days, weeks even months without finding one. I donâ€™t look for them they are just there. Going through this season of healing has been slow and difficult and sometimes I let the enemy trick me in to thinking that God does not see me. I donâ€™t mean that He isnâ€™t there I just mean that I feel invisible. Invisible in life.
One of my favorite bible stories is about Hagar. She was the Egyptian maid to Sarai (Sarah) who was the wife of Abraham. Because Abraham and Sarah had no children Sarah sent her young maid in to Abraham hoping she would get pregnant and they could raise the child as their own.
When Hagar saw that she was pregnant she despised her mistress the bible says. She probably rubbed it in Sarahâ€™s face that she was with child but knew in her heart that boy would not really be hers. Sarah became very jealous that her maid got pregnant. Now I just have to say what is up with that Sarah? YOU sent this young girl in to your husband to have sex with him and hopefully she would get pregnant and when she does you treat her like dirt! Really?
Sarah treated Hagar so harshly that Hagar left the camp. Jealousy is an ugly thing. Hagar wasÂ probably heart broken, in disbelief, hurting so bad. The bible tells us in Genesis 16:7 that “the angel of the Lord” found her by a spring of water in the wilderness. In the bible when we see “the angel of the Lord”, it is usually a theophany, a self-manifestation of God. Here in these verses “angel of the Lord” speaks as God, identifies Himself with God.
Hagar told the Lord that she was running from her mistress. The Lord told her to go back and submit herself to Sarahâ€™s authority. What? Did she hear that right? Sarah sent her in, she does what Sarah wants, Sarah turns in to a shrew so Hagar says forget this noise! And the Lord wants her to go back and submit? Then the Lord tells her He will multiply her descendants so that they will be too many to count. Her head must have been swimming!
After that revelation the Lord went on the tell her so much more: she was pregnant, she would have a son, his name would be Ishmael, the Lord has given attention to her problem, the boy would be against everyone and vice versa and he would live in the east. Her head must have been ready to EXPLODE! I can just imagine her sitting there with her beautiful tanned skin, long black hair, big brown eyes, tear stained face hearing unbelievable facts from a gentle loving stranger who commanded her undivided attention.
As I am sure she was filled with wonder and amazement she looked at Him and called the name of the Lord who spoke to her and said (Genesis 16:13) “Thou art a God who sees. Have I even remained alive here after seeing Him?” Precious Hagar realized that she was in the presence of a Holy God. She was in awe. The bible tells us that the well was called Beer-lahai-roi.Â This means “a well of the Living One who sees me”. El Roi. The God who sees me. He sees ME. He SEES me. HE sees me.
When I first researched this verse and really learned the meaning I was going through a very tough time in my life. I felt like my prayers were hitting the ceiling. Ever been there? Like you were praying into thin air? Let me tell you it was a very dark time (yes,I have dark times). Then I met El Roi and that name stopped me in my tracks. I laid my head on the pages and cried, tears staining verses 13, 14 & 15. He sees me. As I raised my head and looked up to my white ceiling I knee He saw me. Through my tears I thanked Him for Hagar and her story, for the bible study that led me to this name and for His infinite mercy for loving me. El Roi has become my heart name for our Heavenly Father. El Roi, the God who sees me.
Remember the invisible feeling I had? The pennies were an immediate reminder that God can be trusted. God can always be trusted without a penny but it is a concrete reminder for me. The pennies I found were rusted, buried, dirty and shot just like I felt. On one of the pennies the In God We Trust was worn off. Sometimes the condition of the pennies I find are conducive to how I feel. Holding the pennies I prayed to my El Roi. He sees me. He sees you precious one. God sees your pain, your hurt, your disappointment, your deep and unbearable grief, your rejection, your emptiness. He knows that situation in which you find yourself this very minute and He loves you so very much. He is holding you, caring for you and walking with you through whatever it is you must learn to accomplish in your life to be more like His Son. What a gentle yet strong and mighty God we serve. El Roi. The God who sees me. The God who sees you beloved. ï¸
Good Morning Beloved
The steps of a man are established by the Lord; and He delights in his ways. When he falls, he shall not be hurled head long; because the Lord is the One who holds his hand. Psalm 37:23-24(NASB)
It was very early in the winter morning. The days were getting longer but it was January and still dark at 6:15AM. I had taken a kindergarten substitute job at the school at my church. Being prepared, I had my hands and arms full of fun activities for my class of 9 inquisitive five year olds. Very excited to be “back in the saddle” of teaching I got out of my car and proceeded to walk up the front steps. There is a light on the steps but being between night and sunrise the light had gone out. It had been set on a timer.
I knew those stairs ahead if me by heart as I had been up and down them a thousand times, swept them, cleaned stuck gum off of them, washed them down after numerous Slurpee spills and neighborhood dogs used them for a potty stop, suggested homeless guys not use them for a nap, pulled weeds out of their cracks, I knew those stairs! Walking my usual pace (fast) I navigated the first step then misjudged my gait and, with the light gone, I saw a shadow that looked like the step but it wasnâ€™t. One of my worst fears was being realized (the other is going to jail - I donâ€™t know!) I was falling. Down I went almost like in slo-mo arms flailing popsicle sticks flying, papers everywhere as I tried to fall on my right side. It is not recommended ever to fall on a knee replacement flat out on concrete and my left knee was fairly new.Â All of these things are flying through my brain at break neck speed (no pun intended). Left knee fall bad, flat face to concrete bad, concussion bad, dignity bruised in case someone sees kinda bad. In a split second I shifted by body slightly right and fell on my right wrist, hip, knee and eyebrow. A shriek came out of my mouth sounding like a wounded baby possum. Have you ever heard a possum shriek? Itâ€™s high pitched and very loud.
Gathering my thoughts as I laid there sprawled out on 2 concrete stairs I looked like aÂ human welcome mat. A quick inventory was taken. Right ankle(present), right knee (ouch but OK), right hip (present and OK lots of padding), right wrist (super owie), right eyebrow (thatâ€™s gonna leave a mark), glasses did not fare well at all. I thanked God that I did not seem horribly injured, my teeth were in tact and I had fallen on my right side (silver lining).
Getting up I looked around to see if there were any casual observers. None seen I dusted myself off. Papers stayed pretty much within arms length as there was no breeze to speak of. I gathered everything and walked in to the school. Since I was opening that day I was by myself for a while. Looking in the mirror I saw the lenses in my glasses were toast as they did slide across the concrete. They would have to make it through the day. My eyebrow immediately popped out a nice little goose egg and my wrist was hard to bend. Ice was next and then I started to shake and cry. The tears were for the fall not the pain.
As the day went on my eye was turning a lovely shade of purple. No eyeshadow needed for about 2 weeks but I would have a difficult time finding a match for my left eye as that lid would turn shades of purple, black then yellowish brown. The pastor instructed me to go to urgent care to be checked. I went and the wrist was not broken, no concussion just bruised ego.
My fall taught me lessons as I continued to think of this verse and not being hurled head long. It may have seemed that way but it could have been so much worse. We fall in our walk through life. God directs our steps if we allow Him. The verse says “when we fall”. Dear one we WILL fall. As we fall we learn lessons. I learned to watch my step, slow down, purpose to look where I am going. The same is true in our daily walk with Christ. Watch your step, slow down and savor life, purpose to walk in a way that honors God. Tall order? Absolutely. God is the one who holds your hand. When you stumble He will always lift you up. When you fall in to that inevitable pit He will pull you out. You can always come back. There is forgiveness, mercy and renewal. Always. This world has a strong pull. It sometimes seems like we are made of metal and that old world is the strongest magnet ever. Our loving God is stronger and keeps a firm grip on His beloved. Be reassured. You may have a black eye and broken glasses but you will be held in His loving arms. ï¸
Good Morning Beloved
Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips, nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be dishonored. Titus 2:3-5 (NASB)
A Titus 2 woman. There have been sermons on her, books written about her, groups of older women named after her, speakers at camps talk about her but just who is she? Last night I am pretty sure I got a taste of what and who she is.
A few weeks ago I got a phone call from a very dear woman in her early 20â€™s. She asked me if I would be open to doing a weekly bible study with her and a friend. They wanted to learn Godâ€™s word but needed direction. I said I would be honored to meet with them. I then suggested we meet after church to see what books we had at church available to study.
Later in the week she texted me saying she and her friend had talked about it and they didnâ€™t want to do a book. They just wanted to study the bible straight out of the bible. They wanted to go verse by verse and learn from me. Yikes! I have been a bible study leader for over 20 years and taken several bible classes but I have never taught in that fashion, ever. The Lord was definitely stretching me. I said OK then started praying about what book to start.
Here I sat with a bible containing 66 books. We could start at the beginning, Genesis or go through Exodus, lots of life lessons there. Nehemiah came to mind as it really is my favorite Old Testament book; I could teach tenacity and fighting in prayer. Then there are the Psalms and Proverbs or how about Isaiah(no, too much too soon). OK, the new testament; we could do an overview of the gospels or learn of the Acts of the apostles. Galatians and Ephesians came to mind and Jude (the shortest book). Whew, Lord where to go?
God took me on a little look back in my life. He had me reevaluate what in scripture made a difference in my life. What book or verses were a turning point? What did I feel confident in? From what would these young ladies benefit? Then it hit me, Romans. Ah, studying that book in depth for a year and a half was a major turning point in my life. The letter Paul wrote to believers in Rome would be our great adventure together. I was excited!
Texting them I advised they bring a real with pages bible (not just on their phone). There is something about being able to touch and feel pages and write in the margin that feels genuine to me. It probably means more to me because that is what I am used to because there is nothing wrong with having the bible downloaded on oneâ€™s phone.
I use my phone to look up scripture in different translations but I love my marked up, dog eared, highlighted 1986 New American Standard. I also suggested they bring a notebook to take notes and maybe a highlighter or colored pencils.
The time came and as they sat around my dining room table I saw an answer to prayer before my eyes. Two twenty-agers (as my husband calls them) who could be anywhere else wanted to be sitting at my table, bibles open, pens in hand hungering to learn Godâ€™s word! I immediately felt so inadequate, humbled and in love with Jesus. We chatted a bit, prayed and got down to it. My bible study training kicked in and we were off. The Holy Spirit guided my every word as we dug in to the words Paul wrote to his beloved brothers and sisters in Christ.
They were shocked at how much they learned from just the first verse! They learned volumes about the writer of the letter. They learned what it meant to be called and set apart. We got through verse 7 as the hour flew by. I challenged them to write out the first chapter of Romans this week and by the end of our study we will have written the entire book by hand! One of the girls said “I have never taken so many notes in bible study before. I have never learned so much in one hour!Â Iâ€™m going to need a bigger notebook.” She said she was hungering for the word and was not finding it taught in her weekly peer group or even in her weekly church service. I told her that her greatest teacher is the Holy Spirit and that if she truly wanted insight into the scripture then she should pray and ask Him to teach her, guide her and give her clarity. The Holy Spirit would do just that. That concept was new to her.
I am not sure what this time with these two precious girls will be but I know that Jesus brought us together and I am going to do everything I can to pour my experience and wisdom in to them. Neither of them are married yet and I pray these sessions in study will prepare them for the future. I wish someone had done this for me in my twenties.
Dear ladies where ever you are in your life there is always someone younger looking up to you that needs mentoring. Young girls are crying out for positive roll models. They need your guidance and experience on how to live life. They need your one on one. As I learned last night they arenâ€™t getting it from their peers or, in some cases, the pulpit. Are you living your life as a Titus 2 woman? Are you one who is a positive influence? Do you even want to be? Young girls are out there seeking you. Ask God to give you the opportunity to make a difference in someoneâ€™s life. Maybe you need a mentor. Pray on that too. What a joy it is to serve a living God and make a difference in generations coming after us.
Good Morning Beloved
Thus says the Lord, “Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who exercises lovingkindness, justice, and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,” declares the Lord.
Jeremiah 9:23-24 (NASB)
Walking in to Target I was making a bee line for the carts. There were only 2 left and a couple of ladies on my right had the same idea. Getting around with a cane my gait is limited but I still got there first. Channeling my inner Pastor Jeff I was willing to give them the carts and search for another. To my delight they were together. We got our carts and went our way.
Since my knee surgery I have had to rely on friends and family taking me on errands, to doctor appointments, physical therapy and some even take me to lunch and breakfast. Blessings all around as my calendar never has a blank space where the word “driver” is written. That day my friend Crystal not only got me from physical therapy she took me to Macyâ€™s, Target, Starbucks, Rubioâ€™s and Costco (she ran in Costco I stayed in the car). After a day like that coming home and collapsing is in order but it feels good to be out in the real world.
With Target list in hand I headed for the hair color treatments. The gray roots were getting out of control and if I waited any longer my head would resemble Pepe Le Pew the lovable cartoon skunk, with the gray/white line running right down the middle. As I rounded the isle I heard an excited voice say “Miss Terrie”! When I hear myself addressed as Miss Terrie I know it has to be a family from CCLA, the christian school I ran for 13 years. I was absolutely right as a warm hugs were passed all around. The precious couple had their new twins with them so I got to see Godâ€™s handiwork times two. My daughter Michele met this mom at the credit union 6 years ago. They struck up a friendship and Michele invited her new friend to come see our school as a possible preschool for her then 2 year old daughter and the rest is history. We all became friends, hearts knit together in Jesus, and stay in touch on Facebook.
Dad looked quizzically at the cane in the cart and inquired if I had been injured from too many wild times being retired. Explaining about my knee surgery they both remembered when I had my other knee done 2 years previous. I told them I was looking for hair color as the gray was showing revealing that under this full head of brown hair was a head full of gray. Dad then replied looking me directly in the eyes,Â “that just means you are very wise. Gray hair shows wisdom.” That very sincere comment was coming from a man in his late 20â€™s. It took me aback! Bible verses started floating through my mind like Proverbs 16:31 “Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life.” (NLT) My crown of glory was being disguised by Revlon Medium Brown or whatever Medium Brown was on sale!
Right here I want to digress a minute. Before my surgery I picked up some Medium Brown on the store markdown isle. It was 1.99! Oh my goodness I hit the jackpot, or so I thought. A couple days before my surgery I decided to color my hair. Opening the package and mixing the color it looked funny but surely it would be OK. Feeling a bit leery I just applied it to my part and a few other spots on the top of my head to see what color it would turn out to be. No, I didnâ€™t even think of applying it under my hair at the back like any normal person would do. I had to apply it up front for the world to see! As the color sat there a minute my hair began to turn RED. Not auburn that might have blended in, but I Love Lucy RED! I raced to the sink to wash it out but the damage had been done. I had a red part and a red scalp. No wonder this was in the sale bin. I looked at the expiration date and it had expired a year ago! What? So the next day I ran to the store and picked up the root touch up kit, colored the roots and all was well-ish. That color would not come off of my scalp for a few weeks. Moral of this story read the expiration date!
As my friends and I laughed about hair coloring and said our goodbyes his comment stuck with me. A fleeting thought of going gray passed through my head (did you notice I said “fleeting” and “passed through”?). My sweet little christian Grandma Smith colored her hair until the day she went in to the nursing home. She was a redhead and would remain so if she had anything to say about it! I am not saying there is anything wrong with going gray. My sister has decided to go gray and I say good for her! Itâ€™s just not for me right now. Thatâ€™s OK too.
I really donâ€™t know what any of this has to do with this verse in JeremiahÂ except that it spoke to me about the gray hair tied to being wise. The prophet Jeremiah warned about boasting in wisdom, might and riches. We are not to boast in these things but to boast that we know the Lord God, understand Him and acknowledge His ways. Gray hair does not automatically make us wise. It just means that we have lived long enough that the pigment in our hair is gone. But in that “living long enough” it infers that we have learned lessons along the way that we can share. It means that we have been down the road of life having stories and experiences to share that will benefit those who come after us. Boasting that we know God sounds prideful but in these verses we have permission from God to do just that!Â God says He even delights in these things. So today sing a new song of praise that you know Him and His ways whether you have gray hair or not. Praise Him in all of His glory and power and share His love and your experiences with others. He does delight in these things!ï¸
Good Morning Beloved
Donâ€™t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worry into prayers letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of Godâ€™s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. Itâ€™s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. Philippians 4:6-7 (THE MESSAGE)
This morning Saeed Abadini was released from Iranian prison. This pastor was in Iran building an orphanage. I do not know all of the details of his capture or release but I do know that people all over the world have been praying for him.
As I meditated on these verses today I thought of his wife Naghmeh and what she must have gone through. I cannot even imagine! She must have had days and days of despair while clinging with all her might to the mane of the Lion of Judah, Christ her Lord. No contact with the man she loves, the father of her children, for 3 years. Our minds go to the worst of horrors if we let them. She most likely had doubts, sleepless nights, well meaning friends giving advice but, reading about her faith, I am sure the word of God was her most trusted advisor.
The Apostle Paul reminds us here to take our worry and make it a prayer. My granddaughter is away at college far away from any parental protection. I am blessed to know that our mighty God is walking beside her protecting her every step. I wrote a blog last year about a shooting at her university. Our cousin attends there and was there when the shooter was targeting “pretty blonde sorority girls” and she fit that description to a tee. As I calmly dialed her momâ€™s phone number I prayed with all my heart for her safety. My “mom worry” was on tilt and could really feel my heart stop as I heard the news. I was reassured when her mom told me she was OK and safe. Breathe.
Easy to say donâ€™t worry because we are human. Taking that worry to God is remarkable. Choosing to give it to Him, lay it at His feet, relieves the mind and frees us up to praise and worship. We become constructive when we release. Holding on to worry is destructive to our mind, body and soul. Our minds build a prison for us. Giving this worry to God frees our mind and we trust and know no matter what happens God will use it for our good and His glory.
God bless the Pastor Saeed and his family as they are reunited and can decompress. God bless all who were released today. Godâ€™s timing is perfect. Cast your cares on Him dear one because He cares for you. ï¸ #whenyouwalkwiththewise
Good Morning Beloved
So, my son, be strong in the grace that Jesus Christ gives. Everything that you have heard me preach in public you should in turn entrust to reliable men, who will be able to pass it on to others.
2 Timothy 2:1-2 (NLT)
Yesterday I was blessed with a visit from a dear friend. Laura Bonde and I met at church. She joined one of the bible studies I was leading. At that particular study I shared my motherâ€™s struggle with alcoholism and my bitterness against her. I also shared how God had healed my precious mom and how we had been reconciled through the love of Christ. Only Jesus could have taken the heart of stone that had turned against the woman who gave me life and made it a heart of living flesh. I spoke on fervent prayer for my own heart to love my mother regardless. I had a choice to make. I could love her where she was or continue with my hard angry heart. I chose to pray for her complete healing and mine.
One day out of the amazing blue God healed my mother. I was 52 years old when I truly began an adult relationship with her. That lasted only 4 short years as my dear mom went to be with Jesus in 2008. Laura heard those words and we bonded over them. Laura was in her own private hell of addiction. She came to that bible study to have a word spoken over her life. I never knew that until years later when she shared her testimony.Â Her life changed as she found strength through anotherâ€™s experiences knowing she was not alone. Telling of Godâ€™s healing mercies that day I went on to declare that it is NEVER too late for reconciliation and that God will give back all of the years the locust had eaten. Truly He did that in my own life.
I wondered aloud why people were so afraid to share what God has done in their lives? Laura certainly is not. Her testimony of deliverance from drugs, alcohol, sex and stripping is inspiring because ONLY a living God could break such deep bondage. Laura has 4 children who have seen their mother truly go through a metamorphosis. She was an ugly caterpillar creeping along on every dingy branch until one day God wrapped her in His loving arms and cocooned her until she emerged a glorious butterfly who has wings to fly for His glory!
During our visit she brought me a beautiful silk one of a kind infinity scarf to try. She made the prayerful decision to step out in faith and go in to business for herself (with God if course) making worship flags so she could be there for her kids. Things were looking bleak until the Lord brought her these scarves. They are selling like hotcakes and no wonder! The scarf was lovely, soft and very versatile. I wasnâ€™t expecting to fall in love with it I just wanted to try it. As I put it on we both agreed this one was for me. Laura prays over each scarf. Now, donâ€™t think I am weird but when I put it on I felt strangely at ease, at peace even. She said she specifically made it for someone else but they didnâ€™t want it. I told her it was because it was meant for me.
Our visiting moved to the conversation we had regarding my mom. She told me that I said to her “I am so glad you are doing this (getting sober) while your children are young.” I did not recall saying that but she did as those words penetrated her heart that day. When we open up and share how God has worked in our lives it gives others hope! Please dear ones donâ€™t be afraid to exclaim the glory of God and what He has done for you. Paul told Timothy to entrust the words he had heard Paul speak in public to others so that they could in turn teach others.
Friendships bond over experiences. People need to hear your testimony of Godâ€™s faithfulness. Write it down for your generations to read. You may not have a story like mine or like Lauraâ€™s but you have a story! People need to know there is hope and Who brings that hope. Tell it. Teach what you know. To God be the glory great things He has done. ï¸
Lauraâ€™s scarves can be seen on Etsy at flamesofglory.netÂ or on Facebook look up Laura Lee Bonde
They are $35 and worth every penny.
Good Morning Beloved
Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. Ezekiel 36:26 (NASB)
Pennies from heaven, a penny for your thoughts, a penny saved is a penny earned, sayings we know by heart. You may have heardÂ people say “it was worth every penny” and “if I had a penny for every time some body asked me that I would be rich” or “Iâ€™ll bet that cost him a pretty penny”. One can be a penny pincher or penny wise and pound foolish. I remember Frenchyâ€™s face in the movie Grease when she found a penny and said “find a penny, pick it up all day long youâ€™ll have good luck”. Pennies are significant in our culture even though we are now hearing that they cost more than a penny to make!
This morning a friend messaged me about how I started my penny journal. Did I actually attach the penny to the page? What type of journal did I use? I answered her and that got me thinking of that day back in 2004 when I read the article that started me on my journey (cue wavy lines and etherial music).
A newspaper reporter was interviewing a wealthy man at a restaurant. As the two walked in the millionaire stopped to pick up a penny he spotted on the ground. The reporter thought it odd and made a mental note to ask the gentleman about it later. They finished their dinner and the reporter got all of the information he needed for his article. As the man was about to get in his cab the reporter remembered the penny. He inquired why this man with much wealth would pick up an insignificant coin. The manâ€™s reply was what kick started a way of life for me. He told that young reporter that the coin reminded him to trust God for whatever he was going through at the moment. Our coins have the inscription “In God We Trust” and that was his motto.
While chewing on that article for several days I found 2 pennies on the ground outside of Staples. Picking them up I asked God what He wanted me to trust Him for that day. Being the administrator for a preschool and elementary school brings a myriad of challenges. That is where I found myself that day; smack dab in the middle of my need to trust God for His school. When I got home that night I dug through all of the spiral bound notebooks I had collected as gifts over the years. You know the ones that end up in a pile by your bed or at the top of your closet. Finding one with a good sturdy cover and tight binding I taped the pennies in and jotted down a few lines. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that would turn my life around and have a ripple effect.
As I told people my story others began their own In God We Trust journeys. My cousin told me that when he sees a penny he picks it up and thinks of me and what God is doing in his life. He finds the act very comforting. My daughter and granddaughter tape pennies to my desk. My husband gave me a very penny appropriate card for a birthday. Friends have emailed me about their penny discoveries. It is fun to see how God works in the human heart!
I had a very telling conversation with a friend recently. We had been out all day with friends walking all over an amusement park. I had just told them the penny story. The day went by and I had not found any pennies at all. He came to me telling me there must be something to that penny story of mine. You see, he told me he “baited me” by dropping pennies around me and I never saw one of them! I smiled as, once again, I related that the pennies I found were a reminder from God to trust in Him. I could not explain it at all I just knew that the pennies I found were significant in my life. He got a grin on his face as he said “well, it works”.
Many times when my heart feels like it has turned to stone God has used the finding of a simple coin to turn my heart to flesh. Pennies have been discovered in parking lots, grocery store lines, shoe boxes in Payless shoes, floors of hospitals, under my chair last week at a doctor appointment about which I was nervous, at camp sites, mainly any time I needed a heart check there is God with a concrete reminder of who He is. I know to many this may sound trite but to me it has been huge. My joy would be to speak to women all over about my journey and how God is working. I am praying to that end.
My simple journal has turned in to a very large 3 ring binder with page protectors separating the entries. God multiplies. That is why this blog is titled Peace Joy Penny. The pennies bring me peace accompanied by joy. If you have questions message me. I will be glad to share. ï¸
Good Morning Beloved
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil for Thou art with me, Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me. Psalm 23:4 (NASB)
Ever been in a holding pattern? You know, when you are circling and circling waiting for something to happen? Peter Allen wrote Arthurâ€™s Theme (Google it) circling JFK airport. The lyrics go “When you get caught between the moon and New York City the best that you can do is fall in love.” He was literally caught between the moon and NYC in a very large flying tube that circled the airport for a very long time. I donâ€™t think we ever found out if he ever fell in love.
Having major surgery 4 weeks ago I have found myself in that holding pattern. I am not able to sleep much, brain is fuzzy from the pain meds and TV has lost itâ€™s charm. Reading my bible falls flat. Does that sound terrible? Unfeeling? I love Godâ€™s word with all of my heart but sleep deprivation mixed with my doctorâ€™s pain med of choice and extreme frustration that things are not going as planned make for a teflon brain. Things donâ€™t stick. I am in that valley we read about in Psalm 23.
In Psalm 23 David says “yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil for Thou art with me, Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me.” Letâ€™s break this down shall we? First, I am not even any closer to death than I am every day. Some days we feel like we are clomping through life gravity weighing our feet down. We are walking like we can hardly lift our feet off terra firma. We drag around like those people in the “before your energy drink” commercials. Life presses in on every side. This is just a partial list but Iâ€™ll bet you can relate to at least 1/2 a dozen
- House hold chores
- Is my house presentable if my Pastor drops by?
- Kids activities
- My activities
- Health issues
- My parents getting older; it falls on me.
- Am I spending enough time in Godâ€™s word?
- Am I praying enough?
- Am I serving enough?
- Iâ€™m 3 weeks behind in my bible study.
- My kids are always sick.
- I am always sick.
- Am I eating healthy?
- Do I exercise enough?
- Do I measure up?
- Am I still attractive to my spouse?
- Are my goals unrealistic?
- Am I sleeping enough?
- Is my smile white enough? Is the enamel on my teeth getting thin because we know when itâ€™s gone thatâ€™s it!
- Canâ€™t pay all of my bills. Not being a good steward.
- Didnâ€™t volunteer for room mother (team mom, cookie sale mom)….again.
- Body parts obeying gravity.
- Brain on tilt!
The list is endless. I am sure I didnâ€™t even scratch the surface so that “walking through the valley of the shadow of death” can look like anything and feel like more.
Being in that holding pattern can be frustrating or we can flip it (like they do those houses on HGTV) to our advantage. We all need a rest, a break, a time to regroup. As I lay here in this valley I asked God to use that rod and staff to comfort me. A shepherd uses the rod and the staff to keep their sheep moving in line. Their charges do not have to fear evil. The shepherdâ€™s rod will protect them from predators, the staff will guide them safely home.
Those predators of our mind are relentless. We are not measuring up because we use the wrong measuring tool. As a child of the King, a little sheep of His pasture, we are precious to Him and worth defending. Why do we veer off course so often? The way of this world is a powerful magnet. If we let the message that we need to measure up rule us we will be like that little hamster on the spinning wheel. We will try and try and just end up with a big headache getting no where!
You are being held in that holding pattern dear one. The One holding you is there right by your side giving you this opportunity to rest in him. He is right beside you loving you through all of your issues and frustrations. You are being held by the King. You are in His favor. Let His scepter fall on your shoulder. You are accepted and approved. Be still and know. ï¸
Good Morning Beloved
Happy Birthday to my grandson Braxton! What a joy you are in my life little man
Are you a list maker? Boy I sure am. I have lists for my lists; sticky notes for my sticky notes. Ever make your extensive grocery list, get to the store and itâ€™s not in your purse? Thatâ€™s when I pray to God for total recall which doesnâ€™t come and I end up buying yet another bottle of catsup and maple syrup! How many bottles of ranch dressing does one family need?
We make to do lists, Christmas lists, birthday lists, list our goals, list pros and cons of major life decisions, baby name lists, you might hear a mad mom say “youâ€™re on my list”. There are inventory lists, team lists, class lists, bucket lists, Santaâ€™s naughty or nice list that he checks twice, honey do lists, even a TV show called The List. Lists conjure up the word order in my brain. Put it on a list, be organized, be productive, check it off the list.
The bible is full of lists. Being aware of them is a great study tool. The 10 commandments are a list. The Beatitudes in the book of Matthew is a list. While studying the book of Romans I came upon, in my opinion, one of Paulâ€™s greatest life lists. If we write this list of practical life lessons down and purpose to live by them then we have a life well lived. Here is the list from Romans 12: 9-21 taken from The Message. Take a few minutes and write these down (or print this out). Meditate on them. This is a practical list to live by. If we all took this advice to heart can you just imagine our world? Start with you. Start right here today.
- Love from the center of who you are; donâ€™t fake it.
- Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good.
- Be good friends who love deeply.
- Practice playing second fiddle.
- Donâ€™t burn out; keep yourself fueled and aflame.
- Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant.
- Donâ€™t quit in hard times; pray all the harder.
- Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality.
- Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath.
- Laugh with your happy friends when theyâ€™re happy; share tears when theyâ€™re down.
- Get along with each other; donâ€™t be stuck up.
- Make friends with nobodies; donâ€™t be the great somebody.
- Donâ€™t hit back; discover beauty in everyone.
- If youâ€™ve got it in you, get along with everybody.
- Donâ€™t insist on getting even; thatâ€™s not for you to do.
- “Iâ€™ll do the judging” says God, “Iâ€™ll take care of it”.
- Our Scriptures tell us if you see your enemy hungry, go buy that person lunch, or if heâ€™s thirsty get him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness.
- Donâ€™t let evil get the best of you, get the best of evil by doing good.
Easier said than done; absolutely. We can start small and work our way through. I am going to work on # 8 being inventive in hospitality. How about you?
Good Morning Beloved
Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she smiles at the future. Proverbs 31:25 (NASB)
Audre Smith was a force with which to be reckoned. A natural red head born in Missouri she was the 6th of the 7 Skipper kids. Musically talented from birth she would be playing piano at age 8 for the local Assembly of God church. She was my grandmother. Chipper, carefree with a feisty attitude to match the flaming red that fell around her shoulders.
Her two children and grandchildren will all have different opinions and stories about grandma. Three of my cousins lived with her growing up so they saw her warts and all. Their stories might take a different turn. I just know that as I watched her throughout my life I wanted to be like her. When I read Proverbs 31 I think of both of my grandmothers.
Grandma was a Christian. She would tell me the story of accepting Christ at age 7 and being baptized in a little creek. She was also human and liked a hot toddy from time to time. It was well known that Audre Smith loved her vino. She was not a drunk but could be tipsy on occasion.
One day grandma made some beef stew for us. Mom and dad divorced so we would welcome dinner from anyone any time, especially Grandma Smith. It was summertime so we were home and I was babysitting. Grandma pulled up at the curb. She walked around the car and got the stew out of the front seat. Her foot caught between the curb and the car. As she turned the stew went all over the sidewalk with grandma flat on her face.
Harriet was also a flaming red head and some what of a busy body with a heart of gold. She lived across the street and would keep an eye out for us. From her vantage point she could not see the pan grandma had in her hand. What Harriet saw was grandma fall, stew go everywhere, grandma laying in the beefy deliciousness. With much haste Harriet called mom at work. Mom was in sales at Hafterâ€™s Haggerty in Grossmont Center a few miles from home. With a frantic voice Harriet said “Oh Gertie you need to come home right now. Audre is drunk and has thrown up all over the sidewalk in front of your house!” That makes me chuckle just writing this.
Grandma got up and she was as mad as her hair color. Harriet came running out of her house yelling at Grandma. How could she come over in that condition? Grandma had a few choice words for miss busy body. I donâ€™t think I ever heard my little grandma speak her mind quite like that! Plus her hard work was all over the driveway in front of 8450 June Lake Drive. When she told the story later she laughed at herself and exclaimed “dogs were coming for miles!” Actually only our dog Happy got a gourmet doggy meal.
That is one of the many great stories about my grandma where she could laugh at herself. She was strong and dignified and always prepared. Everything made from scratch, meals expertly prepared and always on time with food to spare for those in need. Lessons learned from my grandma. She walked in wisdom head held high even when she was flat on the sidewalk rolling in potatoes, carrots and gravy!