My sentimental journey

An ordinary girl's walk with an extraordinary God.


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Grace Filled Storms

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The  sun is  shining brilliantly outside my window while robust winds toss trees seemingly without mercy and downright relentless. Inside my feet dangle freely and rather comfortably positioned right over a toasty register unaware of the robust gales outside.  As I ponder these mighty winds our beloved  city of Troutdale is know for displaying,  I’ve come to conclude with great conviction I might add, Chicago could have strong competition holding the title of  “The Windy City” if it was ever up for grabs.  This little town is proving to be one heck of  powerful contender thanks to the  east winds whipping through  the Columbia River Gorge.  If by chance we were in Christopher Robin’s neck of the woods.  Winnie the Pooh would call this a “blustery day” indeed.  However, my  mind is  contemplating and pondering more then the breeze that rattled the windows ,but instead what the rest of the day holds.  Feeling my spirits being churned  equally as the unsettled blasts of winds presently a mere stones throw from my cozy indoor haven .

For later today my husband and I have plans  to visit  my brother at his Alzheimer care facility where he now resides.  Each visit  bracing myself expecting to experience storm tossed, squally feelings of loss.  Deep longing for days gone by  when my brother and I could laugh and communicate more freely.  Far before illness sprawled graffiti painted words such as limitation on the walls of his life. Trying through it all to hear the heart of God over my redundant and deafening questions of why. Why this Lord?, why now ?, why him.?  Aware for now these why questions are left unanswered.  Regardless, I know I’m not alone for many of you can relate to the  wrestling thoughts of your personal whys? Maybe it’s the why of an illness, a painful divorce, a heartbreaking death, or some other tragic loss? Perhaps you don’t ask the why’s like I do being aware that focusing on them is usually not very helpful.  There is a key to  greater understanding whenever I  pause to fix my gaze  at the bigger picture called  eternity…  glimmering with all  its’  truth  shining brightly before me.  Laura Story’s song, “Blessings” is one of my favorites, every time I hear it  I sing along in full of  appreciation of its’ profound  lyrics… some of it goes as follows…

“What if my greatest disappointment or the aching of this life , Is the revealing of the greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
 and what if the trails in this life … the rain, the storm the hardest nights are your mercies in disguise.”

Laura wrote “Blessings ” after a brain tumor hospitalized her husband in 2006  it was a stormy time for them and the road to recovery that followed.  When being interviewed by Kevin Davis of NRT she shared, “The song shows that we still have more questions than answers. But there’s a decision that I find God is asking us to make.  Are we going to judge God based on our circumstances or are we going to choose to interpret our circumstances based on what we hold to be true about God”?

Walking  in a temporal  world repeatedly  asking the why’s  tosses my soul back and forth blasting my faith with its’ billowing windstorms. Speaking from experience I have a battered soul to prove it.  However, today if I choose  to walk again with a  determined faith  making a sincere conscious effort to take each day as a gift.  Knowing full well God’s  mercies are new every morning, embracing more completely the here and now with all the messes and heartache that can accompany it.  Trying my best  to refrain from asking  a copious amount of  ” The 5 W+ H” of Journalist questions to God… consisting of  Who, What, When, Where, Why, How… settling wholly on the bottom line alone. What is that you may ask?  If we know who God is, and what are His promises… the When, Where, Why and How  with lose prominence. God is Love, God is Just, God is Faithful, to name a  few.  We can boldly  look to Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith.  Whether it’s  sunny, windy  or both  we can   rejoice… turning our maze of questions into an  a “mazing” trust, *painting grace graffiti on the fences of our  limitations and losses.

Lord you know how I need you, Your truth, grace, hope and  joy. Casting my cares upon you for you care for me.

“The Future is, of all things, the thing least like eternity. It is the most temporal part of time–for the Past is frozen and no longer flows, and the Present is all lit up with eternal rays.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

“For the Present is the point at which time touches eternity.  C.S. Lewis The Screwtape Letters

*Psalms 17:7  The Message Bible


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Finding Your Joy

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After we positioned the desk in our bedroom it came with high hopes of it becoming a cozy little nook for me to write and study God’s word.  This snug little creative and emotional get away  morphed into a clutter “catch all” invoking in me no sense of calm or creativity.  Simply put, for two years its’ smooth top tempted me to lay unfolded clothes and disheveled stacks of paperwork on its inviting surface.  Sad to say I yielded to this temptation repeatedly.  Finally, on one particular day I decided it was high time that the desk was returned to its former glory.

Now cleared of its jumbled confusion it was off to the kitchen to fetch some hot tea. The cheery red letter “JOY” mug seemed like the perfect choice to steep my decaffeinated green tea. Plop went the teabag into the steaming hot water while I swirled in  tasty agava nectar.

Next on the list was to go about gathering my Bible, devotionals and journal. Though I was able to find both my Bible and devotions rather quickly, my personal journal was nowhere to be found. My joy was now cooling as quickly as my once pipping hot cup of tea. “Where is it Lord ?”  I asked needing  clear direction and resolve in  finding my missing journal.
Still nowhere in sight, trying very hard to savor the moment seated at my newly clutter free desk. Even though I had my bible, devotionals and lukewarm cup of tea, they were not comforting my nagging thoughts that my personal journal was lost. Just about then  my husband called on his lunch break, I proceeded to lament my dilemma  to him, he suggested perhaps it could have slid underneath  the back car seat…just like his Bible had done on Sunday.  After we finished our conversion I again headed out to the car this time hoping his suspicions would be correct. Now the weather was a heavy down pour as I began to trudge to our van. While leaning into the side opening numbing cold raindrops doused my lower back where my sweater and pants separated at the waist. Thus, spurring me to purposely lean in further, delving into a deeper more deliberate search. Sure enough right where my husband had suspected was my precious  journal. Displaying “FINDING YOUR JOY” boldly on  its cover, making me chuckle at its very appropriate and forgotten title. Usually the front cover is  hidden, bent back, journal pages open and ready to pour my heart onto.
Immediately my mind thought about joy the way James chapter 1 vs 2–4 writes about.  It reads: “Consider it wholly joyful, my brethren, whenever you are enveloped in or encounter trials of any sort or fall into various temptations.  Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience.  But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be people perfectly and fully developed lacking in nothing.”

My idea of joy is not always God’s idea of finding joy.  It’s more than a flashy, splash of Joy written on a shiny white mug  and everything is going as planned. Rather, it is about being joyful even when your joy mug seems empty and your plans have went awry.  Happiness is based on circumstances  while JOY is found in the Lord. True joy is experienced and known in our hearts regardless of what our errant notions of it are.  Ever so slowly I’m learning the difference, experiencing joy that comes from the Lord and not my happenings. Finding joy when circumstances waver from my picture perfect scenario, trusting in a God whose way is best.

Thank you Jesus your word promises us everlasting joy and gladness shall be upon our heads. Fresh, abounding, overflowing joy from you, our strength and place of refuge. Holy Spirit may our lives be ripe with your love and peace, filling our cup with a continual supply of joy spilling over. Which by the way….sounds like  my cup of tea!

Galatians 5:22, 23  “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law”.