For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. —Romans 15:4

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Exciting and Exhausting Summer

Psalm 116:1-2
I love the Lord, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy. Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live.

Too much to do in a short amount of time, life changes I didn’t expect, and some I did made this an exciting and exhausting summer. In May, the college I work for initiated renovations on the library I work in. In June, our daughter gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. Meanwhile at the library, the staff and I withdrew books, moved DVDs which required a lot of computer work on my part, and updated the periodicals. These are all time consuming above my normal work load and continued through Aug. 22. In July, I spent a week with Sara, Eli and baby Ella Cate. My Jeep went in the shop three times. And Tim and I started the process of purchasing a new home. We closed August 21 and moved yesterday, August 23. With every spare moment we sorted, tossed, packed and donated as much stuff as time allowed. (My advice-purge on an ongoing basis) We still have work to do— most of it falls on Tim because I go in for total knee replacement surgery on Thursday, Aug. 28. And that’s just a quick overview.

Why am I sharing this? To give glory to God. With every step, we prayed. Many times when I felt stressed, I held our new grandbaby, and peace washed over me and sustained me. At work, God gave me wisdom to figure out some complicated processes and a great group of coworkers to share the burden. God led us to an amazing financial officer who helped us navigate the loan process. And he led us to a new home that is perfect for us. He provided an excellent group of family members to move us and several folks who helped us along the way. The weather on moving day was cooler than it was supposed to be, plus no rain. Best of all, we moved in before the surgery. Like David in the Psalm, I love the Lord. He heard our cries and he answered. I cannot praise God enough for his loving care.

Saturday, August 16, 2014


Psalm 62:5-8
Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
    my hope comes from him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
    he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
My salvation and my honor depend on God;
    he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
 Trust in him at all times, you people;
    pour out your hearts to him,
    for God is our refuge.

My daughter called to tell me actor, comedian Robin Williams had died. Apparent suicide the news said. Shock and sadness swept the nation. How could someone who made people laugh take his own life? I don’t know the answer. But I do know that depression and suicidal thoughts are more prevalent than we want to believe. And taking your own life is not the answer. God wants us to live life and turn to him for help and hope. Please don’t assume I just don’t understand, because I do. I’ll be transparent here and tell you that I have an anxiety disorder that goes hand-in-hand with depression. It’s not fun, at times I want to curl up in a ball and hide. But, prayer keeps me going. I’m also blessed with a husband who senses when I go there and helps me climb out of the hole.

In the Psalm, David cried out to God many times. He suffered from depression fed by guilt. His sins caused a great deal of damage and hurt. Yet, God loved him. No matter what life brings, hope remains. Depression comes from many sources; hormonal changes, guilt, physiological imbalances, mental health issues to name a few. But no matter what a person struggles with, God offers hope. He wants to heal and renew. As I follow Jesus, I pray that I am aware of the people around me who are hurting, so I can reach out, pray for them, and love them. Depression is real and so is God’s hope.

I’m sad for Mr. William’s family and continue to pray for them, as well as folks dealing with the dark shadows of depression.

How have you dealt with depression?

Friday, August 8, 2014

Purple and Refreshed

Psalm 145:8-9

The Lord is gracious and compassionate,
    slow to anger and rich in love.
 The Lord is good to all;
    he has compassion on all he has made.

Ephesians 4:22-24

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires;  to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

A brown plaster elephant stood in Mom and Dad’s living room for as long as I could remember. He stood about two feet tall, topped with a small slab of marble for a table-like top. Every Saturday I dusted him as I cleaned. That old elephant wormed his way into my heart. Over the years, he moved with Mom and Dad from house to house. With each move, he suffered a few chipped edges as the paint wore away. By the time Mom and Dad moved to an apartment the elephant looked pretty tired. But I still loved him like an old friend. When Mom said she no longer had room for the elephant, I took him to my house. He sat in the corner for awhile, still brown and still chipped. Today I pulled him to the back porch and painted him—purple. Yes, purple. He’s beautiful and refreshed.

As much as I loved that old elephant, God loved me so much more. I’ve had times in my life when I felt worn and chipped. God poured his care over me and renewed my spirit. His compassion and love covered me and gave me a new attitude. Paul reminded the Ephesians to put away their bad habits and poor choices and put on Christ’s righteousness and holiness. Many around them had separated themselves from God and allowed their hearts to harden. Paul reminded them that Jesus’ grace had the power to refresh the soul and offer hope of new life~ as it still does. Praise God for his love and compassion.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

What do Sassafras Leaves and God's People have in Common?

Ephesians 4:14-16
Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.  Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.  From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

When I wandered through the woods as a kid, I was fascinated with the variety of trees God created. My favorite, the sassafras tree, bore three different leaves. Not many trees can claim that. A mitten leaf, three “fingered” and kind of an oval leaf live together on the branches. Even though the leaves are different, they feed from the same source and draw life from the same nutrients.

As followers of Jesus, the church is filled with a variety of people. All different, but all feeding from the same life source— Jesus. God created each person as a unique individual with specific talents and gifts. I love when all those believers come together and show Jesus to the world. My daughter directs Vacation Bible School each year at the church she attends. Every year challenges rise. This year was no exception. Yet because all the people involved focused on God, both children and workers were blessed in abundance.  Maggie posted this on Facebook, “…I love seeing God's servants come out and work so hard for these kids…Service is what this week was all about, and the example these kids witnessed through my dear church family's willingness to give of themselves is the greatest lesson they received.”

God created us to work together for his kingdom. Praise God for those who obey and serve.

Share a time when you saw people work together for God.