Monthly Archives: January 2016

You are invited….

Happy Friday to you!

I hope you have some fun things planned and I hope they involve people you love.

Let me share with you a sweet treat I was given last Saturday.

Russ and I had set up to watch the crew so Zach and Rachel could have some time together.

We were delightfully surprised to be joined by Tia…

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which turned out to be a multiplied blessing because a couple of yahoos decided not to nap and I had accepted and invitation….

during nap time…

to attend a tea party ….

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A few years ago I got invited to speak at a women’s event in Clinton. It was a much larger group than I had anticipated and I met a lot of sweet women that night.

I also ate some of the BEST salads and desserts EVER…

and then I got to share a word with them.

Okay.

A lot of words.

At that time, I hadn’t started the blog yet, but I told them I sent an email encouragement once a week if they were interested.

Quite a few signed up that night, including a lady named Marjorie.

Marjorie soon became MY encourager.

Most weeks she sends me a response and over time we have gotten to be friends.

Marjorie tells it like it is and I look forward to hearing from her each week.

With her responses she shares how my email has spoken to her and I share back.

Around Christmas she told me she wanted to have some friends over after the first of the year and she wanted me to come too.

Last Saturday was the day…and let me tell you…it was a BEST DAY EVER…that still warms my heart.

It turns out Marjorie is good at making good friends.

Because she loves the Lord, she loves people and people love her.

About fourteen of us gathered around her living room on Saturday afternoon.

She had us go around and tell a little …. or a lot…about ourselves…

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It was precious.

The cross ties of relationships… relatives who live now where someone else grew up…activities and interests in common and ones we have always dreamed of doing….trials that God used for good…connections made and kept over the years.

And Marjorie kept us on our toes and laughing.

It was lovely.

So is she.

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We need fellowship and we need it across generations and across miles.

If we only hang out with people our age, or who live nearby or who share common demographics we completely miss the abundant life God has promised.

So dust off your china, polish your crystal; bake some goodies, brew some tea and open wide the door of your heart and your home.

And give Marjorie and me your address…we would love to come <3

In those hard to reach places…

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Yesterday about this time, I was hurriedly packing my bag for the day. As I jammed some loose strands of yarn down into an already overflowing tote bag, my thumb came directly down on the tip of a size 9 bamboo knitting needle.

The pointed end, of course.

I was afraid to pull my thumb back out to see the damage. I thought perhaps the needle would be lodged under the corner of my thumbnail, but no…just throbbing pain and the shedding of blood revealed that I had quite a wound in the very corner of my nail.

I quickly put on a bandaid to stop the bleeding and headed off to work.

Holding a pen in the normal way was out of the question and have you ever tried to use a touch phone with a bandaid?

Needless to say, I was ….. painfully….aware of my injury throughout the day.

Last night, I decided to attempt to get some medicine down under the nail. I have an amazing Vitamin E ointment that a friend gave to me for just such occasions.

It was not fun, and by that I mean I had to revert to Lamaze breathing; but I was able to force a good bit of balm down into the nail area. I applied another couple of bandaids to the mess and hoped for the best.

This morning, while there is slight tenderness and evidence of some bruising…I am able to resume normal activity and am assured there is no infection or permanent damage.

Sometimes life is like that bamboo needle.

It comes out of nowhere as I am going about doing my daily tasks; living my every day, ordinary life.

And it stabs deep.

Most likely the wound is one that is not visible to those around me, but it leaves me hurting…bleeding down deep in my spirit…incapacitated in some way….vulnerable.

Sometimes it is my own doing.
Sometimes it is the choices of others around me.
Sometimes it is just the way things are.

But my spirit gets wounded in this mixed bag of life on planet Earth.

The good news is….there is a balm.

It is found in my relationship with Christ, my healer.

In His presence; I am invited to pull back the area around the wound and expose it to Him.

I quiet myself and open up the places of pain to Him.

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Sometimes I read His word.

Sometimes I pour out my assessment of the situation.

Sometimes I just need to cry.

And while the results range from receiving strength to carry on in spite of the pain to realizing I need to confess some things and repent…the healing comes.

Every time.

He does not fail us.

He is faithful.

Perhaps you are wounded today.

Our culture offers a variety of ways to avoid, divert, ignore or numb spiritual woundings.

But true healing only comes from the One who was wounded for us.

I pray you know His tender care for you and that you will experience His healing touch in those places.

God bless each of you today…you are loved and you matter much to Him <3

When a picture is worth a few hundred words….

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I got a good start on taking down Christmas trim and getting it back in boxes yesterday.

Right about now, half of you are like nodding your head and the other half are gasping like…she still has her Christmas stuff out????

Am I right?

And those of you who put yours away several weeks ago would hyperventilate if you saw my method.

I have been moving things a few at a time to various collection spots and yesterday made several dozen trips carrying the last of it to the basement.

It was piled all over the floor and ping pong table.

Then I pulled out all the green tubs and started finding where stuff should go.

Yes.

I can overcomplicate the simplest of tasks.

It’s a sickness.

Or a gift…not sure…

Anyway….

I have three separate boxes that hold the various cast members of a folk art nativity.

One for the wise men, one for the shepherd/animals and one for the holy family.

I boxed up Joseph, Mary and Jesus first and then went to search for the contents of the shepherd set.

That’s when I find baby Jesus all snuggled under His colorful quilt in the manger.

Wait a minute…who did I put in with his mom and dad???

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Let’s just say…progress was delayed on the packing away as I knelt on the floor of the basement amidst all that was Christmas 2015 and had a little worship service….

He IS the Lamb of God …. after all…

the perfect, unblemished Lamb of God…

who takes away the sins of the world…

Praise Him!

 

Because in the grand scheme of things…

***A note before I start…I love your comments and truly appreciate each and every one…whether it’s when we meet in person, a Facebook post, or you comment here.

I always try to acknowledge in some way by responding.

However, I learned yesterday that when you make a comment here on the site it offers you the option of receiving an email if I respond. 

Apparently that is not working.  I have no idea how to fix it…so if you make a comment, you will have to go back to that day’s post to read my response.

How fun is that? Sorry…

and now without further digression…today’s follow up on Psalm 90****

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Yesterday I talked about the “SO” in verse 12…

So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.   Psalm 90:12 NKJV

The word “so” in this sentence implies to me that there is a conclusion being drawn up from previous thoughts.

As I worked backward through the passages to find out why it is important to be a student of how to make the most of each day for the goal of gaining a heart of wisdom, I ended up at the beginning.

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Of course.

So (see what I did there?) ….

let’s look at the Psalm from the start and I am choosing the wording from The Living Bible for a fresh look at the passages.

Lord, through all the generations you have been our home! 

 Before the mountains were created, before the earth was formed, you are God without beginning or end.                  verses 1 and 2

The first thing that speaks to me is just …. home…I have lived in a ton of them.

Thanks to my dad being in the Air Force and then having several post-retirement jobs, we moved a lot. I longed for a stable place to call home. I wanted that for our children, and God blessed us to raise our family in the same town they were born in.

However; irony of ironies…we have ended up living in 7 “homes” here in this town, plus a 6 month stint in Galesburg over the course of our marriage.

BUT…this passage reminds me…wherever we have dwelt…the LORD has been our HOME.

Then there is the aspect of this passage that draws me into connection with all the generations past and all the ones to come who make their home IN THE LORD.

He existed before and will exist after time.

He was HOME for believers in every chapter of the Bible and in every generation of believers that have followed until He takes us all HOME…

That’s pretty stable.

SO….in light of this…teach me, Laura, who lives in this time and this nation and this neighborhood on this pin dot of the timeline of eternity, to realize the value of each day as significant in Your big picture of TIME.

Because….

The next verses between this heart warming assurance of the endurance of God in verse 1 and 2 and the breath prayer of verse 12 are not for the faint of heart.

But they are real and honest. IMG_3438

 You speak, and man turns back to dust.  

A thousand years are but as yesterday to you! They are like a single hour!

We glide along the tides of time as swiftly as a racing river and vanish as quickly as a dream.

We are like grass that is green in the morning but mowed down and withered before the evening shadows fall.

We die beneath your anger; we are overwhelmed by your wrath.  

You spread out our sins before you—our secret sins—and see them all.  No wonder the years are long and heavy here beneath your wrath. All our days are filled with sighing.    verses 3-9

Now before we get all defensive and down…it’s the truth people.

For all the passion we feel about political campaigns and ribbons on our bumpers and letters to the editor…when we are gone…we are gone…

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Ask any high school all-star that comes back a few years later to a game.

Last year’s Oscar winner is this year’s Netflix special.

Our story is about the time we are in and then we are gone.

And honestly, in our finest moments, we are not worthy of the love He lavishes on us.

We are prone to wander and a bit scruffy and if He actually and literally APPEARED, as we often implore Him to do in our various circumstances, we would not be waving our fists saying to the world at large, “SEE!! I told you He’s a big deal…”

No

We would be flat on our faces, fully aware of our unworthiness and overcome by His Holiness.

Seventy years are given us! And some may even live to eighty. But even the best of these years are often empty and filled with pain; soon they disappear, and we are gone.

 Who can realize the terrors of your anger?

Which of us can fear you as he should?      verses 10 & 11

Granted some lives end well before 70 and a precious few live to be over 100; but in light of eternity…what are these numbers?

And we might get defensive about this negativity expressed with phrases like “often empty and filled with pain”….but if we are realistic…even the greatest seasons of our lives are sprinkled with the mundane at best and true heartache at worst.

Our Rachel texted me a cartoon yesterday with four boxes showing a mom’s day. The first three involved the reality of getting kids to share toys, breaking up squabbles, and the moments when you think you will pull your ever-loving-hair out of your head…then the last frame is the previously frazzled parent looking down on a sleeping child with the thought bubble “I love you so much I might die”.

Truth….the early years of parenting that I wax poetic for here in the empty nest…about stole every ounce of sanity I had some days. And yet they filled my heart with some of its greatest treasures.

And this Psalm pulls me up out of all of it and reminds me that all of my “little picture” is held in the balance of His eternal perspective.

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Which brings us to verse 12…

So….therefore, Lord, because You are holy and right and pure and beautiful; and I am not…because You have a marvelous eternal story that You have written my part into….

Teach me….instruct me, show me, give me guidance, spell it out for me, impart to me the knowledge and skills I need….

To number my days….to be intentionally in the use of the time you give me each of the 24 hours of however many days You have ordained for me to walk this earth and touch lives and love and laugh and cry and hope and dream and create and bear fruit…

So that….in order that, in such a way as, for the purpose of, to the end result that….

I may gain a heart of wisdom….I would be able to have, in increasing measure, in my innermost being the ability to make decisions each day that are full of knowledge so that the consequences of my choices and decisions….major and minor….would be for Your honor and glory on this earth at this time in this place.

I would love to sit over a coffee with you right now and hear your thoughts…2010 09 04_0564

but so would God…

Could you take a moment to go back over that Psalm and breathe your own prayers today for direction?

God bless you…and me…as we…journey onward <3

So I can keep focused on the big picture…

Not only is it Monday…it is …. gulp…the last Monday of January….

take a moment to let that one sink in…

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I am thankful for the constant reminder during the COMMON THREADS series at FCC that we can pray “breath prayers”…

because as time hurtles away ever more rapidly…sometimes that is the bulk of my prayer time…

arrows of prayer sent throughout the busy moments of each day.

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Yesterday we added a black thread to our collection as Pastor Wayne shared with us about seeking God’s DIRECTION in life.

The central passage he used for the teaching was Psalm 90 which is thought to be written by Moses.

In the interest of time…yours and mine…here are my takeaways from this sermon…but please please…study it for yourself and make note of what God is speaking to YOU!!!

He has an individual word for each of us. Two key passages jump out at me from Psalm 90.

<3    The first is verse 12…

So teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

While the gist of it makes a wonderful “breath prayer” as I go through the day, it is only the meditation of these words that gives meaning and depth to save the prayer from just being a mindless, rote repetition.

Truly knowing what these words mean to me transform this simple prayer into the cry of my heart for God to invade my daily decisions with His wisdom so that I move through the day with purpose.

His purpose.

Which has eternal value.

It makes me realize that so often I seek direction so I can get a clear picture of a choice that needs to be made.

And this is saying that the goal isn’t the decision…the goal is to gain a heart that is wise….interesting.

I also have to look back over the passages before this line because “SO” implies this is the conclusion of some sort of explanation of life. ** Spoiler alert…I will discuss that further tomorrow….I know.

It’s like a cliff-hanger.

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<3 The second key passage is found in verses 16 & 17….Let your work appear to Your servants and Your glory to their children.

Ok…just going to stop right there and say…

Yes to all of the above.

Yes.

I want so desperately to see God’s hand; to understand what He is doing so that I can fully cooperate and then …

I want our children…the ones Russ and I gave birth to…the ones who were born in our heart…the ones our children have given birth to…the generations coming behind us…our children…your children…

to see

comprehend

acknowledge

His G L O R Y

And let the beauty (favor) of the LORD our God be upon us…

and establish the work of our hands for us; yes…establish the work of our hands.

Again…so much in these few words…

That we are acknowledging ourselves to be His servants implies surrender to His sovereignty. His ownership of us because we were purchased back from death to life by the blood of His Son…

That we do the work but He makes it matter…

The picture of His favor

His Beauty

RESTING on us…

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Much to ponder today…

Much to share tomorrow…

God bless you as  you breathe your prayers to Him …. breathing IN His word….breathing OUT His word….

Spiritual CPR to fuel your Monday  <3