Tag Archives: peace

What a week!

Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NLT)

I’m usually one of those girls that has a glass-half-full attitude. But this has been quite a week and if I choose, I can do a great job of whining and complaining.

The news that blares out of the TV, on the radio, or over the Internet has been all bad news. In my 70 years on this earth, I have never seen anything like it. I’m sure my grandparents said the same but the speed of the disintegration of our society is breath-taking. Charlottesville. Barcelona. The White House. And my house.

I thought this week was gong to be a time of relaxation for Mark and me. We planned to celebrate our birthdays by going to Scottsdale for a couple of nights and enjoy the big city. But as we were packed and headed out the door, I noticed that the freezer temperature light read 16° not 0°. Uh oh. This has occurred twice in the past and the options are not good. I called for service and was offered the next day or next week.

We transferred the food from both the refrigerator and freezer to our kind neighbor’s  garage refrigerator and decided to head to Scottsdale and return early the next morning to meet the serviceman. At least we would get one day. We enjoyed a movie, complete with recliners, pillow, blanket, food, and wine. It was great!

Early, (I mean early…4:00) we headed back, stopping for a donut and latte as we got gas. The serviceman arrived on time but after inspecting and determining our problem, he didn’t have the part on his truck. Sigh. But, he could have it at the end of the day and would install it then. Good thing we had decided to not go back to Scottsdale for our second night (Groupon.)

With no food in the house, we headed to the club for pizza and a glass of wine. On the way home, we dropped off leftover pizza at a friend’s house and while backing out of her driveway, I had a fender bender with the neighbor across the street from her. My car’s park assist had failed me. By the time I walked into my house after exchanging all the info, I was spent.

Over those 36 hours of stress, I continually asked God for peace and comfort. Sleep was elusive but the 23rd Psalm came to my rescue. I am so thankful that I noticed the increased temp before leaving for 3 days. I am grateful that no one was hurt in the accident. I am relieved that the serviceman could come the next day and not the next week. Oh, and throw in a broken garbage disposal that was covered by the manufacturer and installed by my faithful handyman in the middle of the chaos.

However, I can report to you today that the refrigerator is working fine and food has been restocked. The insurance company is handling the accident. (Isn’t that why we have insurance?) However, I continue to pray for God’s guidance and protection for this country. He alone is in control.

I definitely don’t always like the circumstances of my life, but I have the choice how to view them. Whining and complaining only adds to my stress. Being thankful and trusting that God has my back and will give me all I need fills me with peace.

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

Share

Missing Piece

For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given,
    and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9:6 (NIV)

The Christmas check list seems unending. From decorating the house, shopping and wrapping presents, making cookies, parties and Christmas cards—there always seems to be one more thing to do. If you had known me in my full “go Christmas” mode, it would have just made you tired.

And then life feel apart. Divorce hit and it happened near Christmas. I wanted to ignore the whole season and pretty much did. Long time friends knew that something must be up because they didn’t receive my Christmas card the first week of December. All the joy was drained out and I was left with little hope that Christmas would ever be special again.

I knew that Jesus was with me and He even met me very personally during an especially difficult time. But Christmas…

The traditions had to change and I’m not particularly fond of change. But each year was a little bit better—not great but tolerable. My kids made sure that we kept many of the old traditions and then added new ones. But there was always a little hole in my heart.

Until the big news — I was going to be a grandmother and the baby was due the day after Christmas. Joy, anticipation, and excitement filled my heart.

A good friend said to me one day in early December as I waited for the birth of that baby, “Isn’t it just like God to give you a grandchild now so you can celebrate the birth of two babies at Christmas?”

That was certainly the missing piece for this holiday but it reminded me that the real missing piece was allowing Jesus to fill me with hope and joy every day. He knew what the road ahead looked like and promised to never leave me or let go of my hand.

A funny situation occurred this week when I stopped to get a latte at a new local cafe. It was filled with decorations for purchase and as I perused the shelves, I noticed a tiny nativity set with miniature pieces. I have collected nativity sets all over the word and thought this would be a perfect addition.

When I got home and unwrapped the pieces and placed them in the miniature stable, all were present but one.

I called the manager and told him the story.

“Mmmm, the baby Jesus. Let me check,” he said.

“I found him. He’d been moved to another shelf.”

I picked up my missing piece and the tableau is now complete.

But are you missing something this Christmas? Are you feeling like you’ve been moved to another shelf? Has grief left you wrung out? An injury sidelined you for all the festivities? Depression’s pit just around the corner? No paycheck to cover the gifts you want to give your kids?

Remember that the missing piece is Jesus. Happiness and joy are two different emotions.  Jesus will give you joy even in the darkness because of the flicker of light that was lit on Christmas morn.

That missing piece?

He’s now your Prince of Peace.

Share

Light or Shadow

Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow. James 1:17 (NLT)

unknown

A nine-year-old girl joined her mother and aunt for a week of camp at Forest Home Christian Conference Center, a first for all of them. One evening, during the course of the week, the young girl was introduced to Christ as her Savior by her counselor and as she prayed, she began to cry. The counselor shooed the rest of the girls into another room, hoping to find the cause for the tears. With a limited vocabulary, the young girl could only say that the story had gone deep into her heart and that she was so happy. That young girl was me and the story took place during one summer day, sixty years ago.

Some things may change but the story of my redemption is steadfast and sure. I was pondering changes of things that I miss—singing with the Blackhawk Chorus in California, singing in the 4th of July concert, Let Freedom Sing, here in Tucson, perfect vision with no thought of it ever being otherwise, moving away from family and friends to live in the Arizona desert. We can never go back but we can grow and change, step back and walk forward.

I love that God, our Father, never changes as a shifting shadow does. A shadow is defined as “an area of darkness, caused by light being blocked by something.” But, we don’t need to worry that God will turn away from us creating a shadow of uncertainty or fear. He won’t do that because He is light and in Him there is never any darkness. Remember — He doesn’t change. We can trust that His good and perfect gifts will flood our hearts with the light of His presence, hope for tomorrow, assurance of salvation, and peace in a stress-filled world.

Change? Embrace it. You’re not alone.

Share

Peace, goodwill toward men.

And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him 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, goodwill toward men!”

Luke 2:7, 14 (NKJV)

Photo by Ann Voskamp

Photo by Ann Voskamp

Normal high-energy festivities that surround our household on these special days have been postponed until tomorrow due to the “accident” (definition: an unfortunate incident that happens unexpectedly and unintentionally, typically resulting in damage or injury).

I’ve had a lot of time to reflect on the Christmas story this year whether it was in song, devotions, books, blogs, TV commentary, or even the movie, “The Nativity Story.” It seemed to be everywhere.

But I can’t help but contrast the FOXNEWS special on the Nativity Story that aired last night and the movie I watched this afternoon.

I listened to learned theologians, archeologists, Biblical scholars, ministers, and priests discuss various aspects of the story of Jesus’ birth. I’ve been to Bethlehem and visited the site designated as His birthplace. It was with a feeling of awe that I stood in the place where Jesus was born. Whether that is the exact place or not, we know Bethlehem was chosen by God as his birth city.

Many of the details of His birth were debated but I think it is easier to simply believe the Biblical account of what happened. That is what faith is all about. Jesus was born to give us the HOPE we longed for over the centuries. In that tiny baby, God fulfilled His promise to us and a King was born.

Hallelujah!

Merry Christmas. Peace, goodwill toward men.

Share

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)

room change

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.

Share

Impossible?

For nothing is impossible with God.

Luke 1:37

bp-bible-coffee

 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.

Share