Tag Archives: path

Attitude Adjustment

Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.

Proverbs 3:6 (NLT)

Years ago, when the littles were little, I chuckled to myself when I would hear my daughter tell one of the grandgirlies that she needed an “attitude adjustment.” I knew that this little one had probably been overly whining and had finally stepped on the last nerve of her mother and consequences were just ahead. Depending on the situation, there might be instant obedience … or not, on her part.

The same holds true for all of us. I remember an attitude change that I needed, not too many weeks after my first baby was born. All was well while my mother was there to take care of both of us but the day she left, my world turned upside down. Nothing seemed to get done and I was very frustrated. “When are things going to get back to normal?” I wondered. I fought each day’s schedule with that as a goal. After about six weeks of this nonsense, as I was rocking that sweet little girl after the 2 AM feeding, I suddenly realized that we would just have to make a “new” normal. Things were never going to get back to the way they were. Life as I knew it was irrevocably changed and I needed an attitude adjustment.

The following day’s agenda was still just as demanding but I chose not to let it get me down. I learned to enjoy that sweet baby and take each day as a gift. I don’t mean to say that I never had frustrating moments and wished for the peace and quiet of earlier times but I noticed that that no matter whatever our stage in life, we still encounter “new normals”: children in school, children out of school, new job, empty nests, retirement, moving, illness. Each change is a test and requires patience, energy, planning, and trust. But, the challenges of life level out and become manageable if we trust God to lead us rather than trying to control them ourselves.

This latest move has tested me to the max. I don’t know whether it is because I am older or that the next step was not on my plan. However, our Father is right there to encourage me, smooth out the rough places, and plant my feet on a firm path.

So take a walk with an attitude of thankfulness and love and see what good things are right around the corner.

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I can’t. I CAN.

For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.

Philippians 4:13 (NLT)

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Most of the time I have a pretty good handle on the ups and downs that enter our lives. I’ve called the ambulance four times for Mark in the past 10 years. (Thankfully, not recently.) And when that happened, I put on my big girl panties and dealt with the crisis. Calm, cool, collected. I have had friends comment that I was so in control when making those necessary calls to family and friends.

But recently, another blow was leveled. I had awakened at 2 AM with this foreboding hanging over me. I hadn’t wanted to spend time thinking about something if it was not going happen, but then it did. The worst thing I could do was search google for answers instead of God’s Word. All it did was add to my fears.  I prayed and read my devotions and Bible, looking for God to speak to me. But the peace was missing. I kept hanging on to the problem and possible outcome and scenarios. I fell apart at 4:30 AM and all I could say through my tears was, “I can’t do it anymore, I can’t do it anymore,” shaking my head to confirm my words, as I sobbed on Mark’s shoulder.

Tears spent, I got up and dried my eyes. There was no more sleeping for me so I opened my iPad to scroll down Facebook. My eyes landed on the picture posted at the top of the blog. A light bulb went on. For sure, I CAN’T. But JESUS CAN. He didn’t expect me to carry this burden by myself with my measly strength but was there to carry the burden and me as we walked the path forward. I don’t know if you have read the poem about the footsteps in the sand but this is exactly the comfort that I needed.

Ahhh. Peace.

I look back over the paths I’ve traveled and see the pile of stones stacked up by the side of the road to show the times where God met me in my need. I’m still human but learning faster that I can’t fix it — only Jesus has that power. He’s the one to turn to when the way is bleak because He knows where to go and how to get there. And His plans for me are good.

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One Little Critter

Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. I Peter 5:8-9 (NLT)

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I like my car but I know nothing about the workings of the engine and depend on the service guy to keep me going.

I often listen to the local radio station when I wake up to get the news and weather. On Saturdays, the show that follows is called, “Simmons Car Care.” The two hosts banter back and forth about car things but the subject this morning was pack rats. At first, I couldn’t figure out why this was the lead story. To my amazement, this is a problem in Tucson. Pack rats look for safe, protected places to build their nests. Who knew that a car engine was a good place? They bring in bits of cholla cactus, mesquite beans, the insulation from the hood of the car, and build a nice comfy home for their babies. You notice the problem when suddenly your car won’t start. They create chaos for the wiring from all the junk and gnawing around and completely disable your car.

So how do you fix it? Not easily. It’s necessary to physically remove all the debris and excrement, lysol the area, and add a predator scent, i.e., coyote or fox. Sometimes, a light is required to scare them off. One car was totaled by the insurance company due to the amount of debris and damage. And the worst part is that they return every year now that they have found such a nice place to stay. They also recommended a 40 yard perimeter of clearing around the area where the car is parked. Feisty critters.

Why am I telling you this story? Because the Devil is out and about, checking for openings where he can settle in and destroy your heart. He will test you with a little temptation or lie to see if he can get your attention. Nothing big. After all, he doesn’t come as a red devil with a pitchfork that would frighten us but rather as the Angel of Light to deceive us. He grabbed Eve and offered her power he didn’t have to give. One tiny opening is all he needs to gain access and the next thing we know, our heart and life are full of lies, anger, bitterness, and death.

Our cleansing process is much like the car. God has promised to give us a new heart when we confess our sins to Him, and turn around and go back the right way. He may not use Lysol but His blood washes away every bit of filth that has interfered with our relationship with Him. He jumpstarts our life so that life replaces death, and lights our way showing which path to take. That engine has sparked to life.

It might be a good idea to put up some boundaries for that scamp, the Devil. Be careful about what you read, view, listen to, where you go, who you spend your time with. Be on guard. Be vigilant. Don’t be afraid.

Remember, “the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.

 

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Change, Really?

Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am. Philippians 4:13 (The Message)

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We had a grand time last weekend visiting all the grandgirlies in California. It was my birthday and I would much rather celebrate birthday “month” so this was a perfect way to extend the “day.”

The five girls now range in age from 13 years to 3 months which keeps one Nana on her toes. We did all the favorites: lattes and sweets at Sideboard and the Beanery (you can never get too much coffee), family dinner on the patio in Danville, picnic with special goodies in Berkeley, Kate’s semi-final softball game, cheer showcase with Tori and Allie, church with Eleanor and her family—to name a few. And then a real birthday party with friends joining our families for dinner.

Yet, there was one conversation that generated lots of comments by all participants. A bedroom rearranging was in the offing. As a firstborn, I must admit that having my own room seems to be one of the rules of the game, but it had been suggested that maybe it would be good for the middle-born to have a stint with her own room and the oldest and youngest would share.

When I first heard about it, all I could think of was “why?” But as the prospect of the change was discussed, I began to see the benefits and good things that would come as a result.

No one likes change and most of us fight it when it lands on our doorstep. The change can even be for good but the unknown still lurks out there, challenging us for acceptance.

The apostle, Paul, had his share of changes — both good and bad — but in the end he realized he made it through everything because Jesus was at his side.

I echo that sentiment because life around here has been especially challenging the last few months. Without my Savior holding on to my hand on some challenging paths, I would have stumbled and hurt myself. However, His presence gave me the peace and assurance to go one more step and the hope that tomorrow will bring all He promised for good and my future.

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Darkness Into Light

I will lead the blind by ways they have not known,
along unfamiliar paths I will guide them;
I will turn the darkness into light before them
and make the rough places smooth.
These are the things I will do;
I will not forsake them.

Isaiah 42:16 (NIV)

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 I love springtime. I had no idea when we moved to the desert that this brown landscape would fill with color, each cactus with its own particular flower. One of my favorite tasks after the cold, dreary, dark winter months is to replenish my pots with brilliant blooms. This year they glow red, yellow, and white. It warms my heart to look out on the courtyard and see them waving in the breeze.

This has been an especially dark year with only glimpses of light: not only in my house but those of my family and friends, and even our nation. Once again, bombs in Boston rock our security and bring destruction to families. The consequences of those acts of violence will last forever.

A friend struggles with the darkness of separation and divorce. Children are confused and angry, grandparents shuffle children between meeting spots wondering how did it get to this, friends are caught in the middle.

Depression has sucked Mark back into the pit over and over this year. There’s lots of talk about mental illness these days but for those who suffer from it, talk is cheap. New laws will not help and those who love them, watch and wait, hoping for a new treatment or medication to help them out of the darkness.

Hope is my word for 2013. Without hope, there is no reason to go on. However, God is faithful to His promise to “turn the darkness into light and make the rough places smooth.” I know that He does this for me, usually in ways that I might not choose, but the outcome is for my hope and future. Because my hope is in Him, I will be thankful for today, waiting with anticipation for what is just around the corner.

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Something New

For I am about to do something new.
See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?
I will make a pathway through the wilderness.
I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.

Isaiah 43:19 (NLT)

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2012 was a tough year for many reasons and I was glad to ring in the new year. A week into 2013 and I sense that something new is coming.

New…new calendar, new journal, new look in the home accessories, new Bible Study, new devotional. New. Even the journal that I purchased has one of my favorite verses printed on its cover, “For I know the plans I have for you.” What are they, Lord?

I loved reading Jesus Calling last year with its subtitle of Enjoying Peace in His Presence. However, this year I decided to try a different one from Sarah Young entitled, Jesus Today: Experience Hope Through His Presence. As much as I needed His peace last year, I want this year to be filled with hope for new direction, new experiences, new love for family and friends. There is a quote at the beginning of the book that really resonated:

Don’t you know that 

day dawns after night,

showers displace

drought, and spring 

and summer follow 

winter? Then have hope!

Hope forever, for

God will not fail you!

Charles Spurgeon

Are you ready for something new? Is your hope strong and secure in the One who holds your future? Walk with me and let me know what dreams stir in your heart for 2013. We will see what God has planned.

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Impossible?

For nothing is impossible with God.

Luke 1:37

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 I like to get up early when all is quiet. In the summer, I sit on my back patio and listen to the birds chirp and watch them bathe in the fountain. But in December, it’s dark out, even chilly, so I curl up on the couch in my library/office to sip a latte and read Jesus Calling. For the Advent season, I’m also reading Preparing for Jesus by Wangerin. Today the two devotionals dovetailed over a miracle…seemingly impossible situations.

Sarah gave birth when she was long past childbearing. And, teenage Mary gave birth as a virgin to the Son of God. How can these things be?

But God.

However, the thought posed by Wangerin that caught my attention was Mary’s willingness and her immediate response of “Yes” to the angel’s proposition. I might have had a few questions for that angel. But Mary trusted God even when it didn’t make any sense to her.

We’ve had a year that didn’t make sense to me. If I was in control of my calendar and life, I would have added much more pleasure and fun and taken out all the sorrow and pain. Yet, God has chosen this path for me to follow. I have the option to catch His hand and keep up or go my own way and stumble around in the dark. I choose God and know that without Him, I will never make it.

When life is arduous, I want to sit in God’s presence and soak in the hope and peace He offers. The hard part is staying there when life is easy—when I think I can handle it.

I’m looking forward to celebrating Christmas with my family. We have all been challenged this year…but God. As the New Year approaches, I want to say “Yes” to God’s plans because I know He will do the impossible.

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Hind’s Feet

He makes me as surefooted as a deer,

enabling me to stand on mountain heights.

You have made a wide path for my feet

to keep them from slipping.

1 Samuel 22:34 and 37 (NLT)

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I fell and broke my elbow about 10 years ago requiring surgery followed up by physical therapy. As the doctor was discharging me, I asked if there was anything else I needed to do. 

He answered, “Rule #1. Do not fall.”

Rather simple but the older I get the more I notice my balance is not what it used to be. I’ve seen what falls can do with both of my parents and Mark’s mom.

I’ve also experienced falls as a result of disobedience, arrogance, pride, greed, and fame. I am no celebrity but I’ve had my share of being in the spotlight over the years and it’s both a fun and scary place to be. There are boulders to trip us up at every turn.

However, God doesn’t send us out in those arenas of limelight without tools and abilities, if we look to Him.

I watched a video series about the deserts of Israel and one of the most interesting to me showed the various paths scuffed out all over the hillsides. Many are steep, surrounded by rocks, boulders, shale, sand, and gravel. Trying to get around is treacherous. Yet, one of the many inhabitants of that land is an Ibex, a type of goat, that God gave a soft hoof that grips the rock without slipping. They bound over that hazardous terrain, with its dizzying heights, never missing a step.

That same God, our Father, enables us to walk difficult paths. Danger may be just around the next bend but we are not without help and hope. He gives us His word, the Bible, for instruction plus the Holy Spirit, as the still voice within, to guide us into wide paths so we won’t slip.

So, don’t forget Rule #1. “Do not fall.” But let’s add, “Make sure you have your marching orders before you head out.”

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Rise Up, O Men

This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

Joshua 1:9 (NLT)

The strains of the opening choral hymn, sung by the men, echo in my mind:

Rise up O men of God,
Have done with lesser things.
Give heart and soul and mind and strength,
To serve the King of Kings,
To serve the King of Kings.

Lift high the Cross of Christ,
Tread where His feet have trod,
As brothers of the Son of Man,
Rise up O men of God,
Rise up O men of God.

Rise up O men of God,
Have done with lesser things.
Give heart and soul and mind and strength,
To serve the King of Kings,
To serve the King of Kings.

It’s Father’s Day. The special music, the sermon, and the scripture reading were all designed to remember and give honor to Dad. But I watched in awe when our pastor called the men to the altar and they all kneeled and prayed in obedience to 2 Chronicles 7:14. I look forward to this tradition each year because it is holy moment to watch this sea of men rededicate themselves to leadership and love before God Almighty.

With great passion, the pastor challenged men to have the strength and courage that God promised to Joshua—with their wives and families, in the workplace, in their leisure time, and how they spend their money. “In the end,” he said, “You can’t attach a UHaul behind a hearse.” The difference in purpose and attitude must be intentional.

I pray for my son and son-in-law to have that kind of strength and courage. In today’s world, permeated by fear and worry, stress and anxiety, a man’s priorities are so easily twisted just to survive. But the hours spent showing love to a wife gives security to children more than any other way. Boys learn how to be men watching their dad. And little girls know love and acceptance in the security and words of one man above all others—Dad.

My dad is spending Father’s Day in heaven this year. Shopping for cards was a little weird when I realized that I didn’t need to buy one for him. Even harder is realizing that there is no one to call today that answers to “Hi, Dad.”

My dad was not the most verbally expressive of his feelings; he was of that generation. Yet, as the years passed, especially after Mom died, he began to be more and more vocal. As he lay dying, one of the last things he said to me was, “You are so precious to me.” He was almost ninety and I’m sixty-five but I felt like a little girl of six, so happy to hear my daddy’s words.

Jesus says the same thing—you are so precious to me. We can live each day knowing that our Abba or Daddy is right there to love us, encourage us, lead us on our particular path, and never leave us.

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Just Enough

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.

He makes me lie down in green pastures

Psalm 23:1

 Our church K group meets weekly and discovered the perfect study series for our stage in life. We don’t have a set leader but rotate through the houses and view a video series by Ray Vander Laan. He is a renowned Bible teacher and historian and has a wonderful way of taking us on a journey through the Holy Land, illuminating the historical, geographical and cultural context of the sacred Scriptures.

We have been studying Walking with God in the Desert. Living in the desert and visiting Israel many years ago, I was excited to begin the study. Little did I know I would miss over half of it due to my own walk through the shadow of the valley with our parents.

Yet I noticed that he often focused on the “path” that we are to take, a personal quest of mine. Psalm 23 offers encouragement and hope for the walk on the “right path” (verse 3). However, the explanation of “green pastures” revealed a whole different picture than what I always imagined. 

Rather than a lush field of green alfalfa, the hills of Israel look barren, covered in rocks and boulders, hot, and dry. Watching a flock of sheep meander across the hill along paths scuffed out over the years, Vander Laan both explained and pointed out the tufts of grass that grow between the rocks — just one mouthful of food. As the flock follows the voice of their shepherd, who is constantly searching for food, they are lead step by step to the next mouthful.

What a wonderful picture for us! Life is not a field of lush grass—full of ease, but rather tufts of grass in the middle of the challenges we face each day. Our needs will be satisfied one step at a time, one mouthful at a time, by our Good Shepherd.  Just enough.

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