My sentimental journey

An ordinary girl's walk with an extraordinary God.


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Happy Feet

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Typically my morning ritual includes checking Facebook scrolling for updates and recent posts. Sparked and awakened more fully by reading witty quotes and glibs, or perhaps deep provoking thoughts to ponder. Since I’m not a coffee drinker this invigorates my senses rather nicely, while also keeping me abreast of joys and possible challenges my family or friends might be encountering. Presented with opportunities to bless and receive blessings… sharing words of encouragement and offered prayers for one another.
 
However, on one particular morning I was not greeted with a warm inviting cup of Joe replacement, but instead quite shaken by a cruel stinging attack which was written with malicious intent.  Even though this relationship had broken down recently, how could this person, someone I’ve loved and supported for many years want to tag me in a photo calling me a “liar, a cheat and a scam”? Reality hit like a  jolt of ice-cold water dousing my tender heart.  From this new vantage point my hope for redeeming love and mending the forlorn fence between us looked like it was the last thing on their mind.

Thankfully, before this rude awaking I spent time in God’s word reading Psalms 35:23-26;  pondering this scripture I decided to call a friend to share these verses… they were simply to good to keep to myself! 

 ”Please get up—wake up! Tend to my case.
    My God, my Lord—my life is on the line.
Do what you think is right, God, my God,
    but don’t make me pay for their good time.
Don’t let them say to themselves,
    “Ha-ha, we got what we wanted.”
Don’t let them say,
    “We’ve chewed him up and spit him out.”
Let those who are being hilarious
    at my expense
Be made to look ridiculous.
    Make them wear donkey’s ears;
Pin them with the donkey’s tail,
    who made themselves so high and mighty!” 

Upon finishing,  we both chuckled at how the Message’s Bible  interpreted  what Kind David wrote. My mind immediately flashed back to the Disney classic Pinocchio with it’s Pleasure Island’s Amusement Park. A place promising fun to young lads, yet unbeknownst to them lay  hidden entrapment … a spell cast on all who dared to partake in this magical land.  This mischievous entertainment would  cost them their true identity, producing donkey ears and tails burgeoning up on naive boys.  Rather fitting for the wrong choices that Lampwick, Pinocchio and all the other boys made landing them in such a foolish predicament.   

David knew first hand what it felt like to be relentlessly pursued by his enemies,  King Saul being his chief nemesis. David wrote throughout the Psalms his laments for God’s justice and deliverance from Saul’s unmerciful attacks. In Psalms 27:12-14 he cries;

“Give me not up to the will of my adversaries, for false witnesses have risen up against me; they breathe out cruelty and violence.”
going on to make his bold declaration in verse  “I remain confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”

We serve a God that sees it all, the cruelty, injustice, false accusations and lies that have been waged against us. His truth will prevail and your character will one day be restored. You might not see it today or the day after, but you will see the goodness of the Lord on your behalf.

Our job in all this is to trust the Lord, ask forgiveness for any wrong doing we may have done and forgive those who have hurt us. I don’t know about you but taking the high road in an offense is never easy. My flesh wenches and craves to retaliate and seek justice…NOW.  Although Jesus tells us to  forgive someone 70X7 it is not a math equation I’m gleeful about. Yet if left unsolved produces far more heartache. The Sermon on the Mount that Jesus  taught His followers  encourages us  to be glad in our persecution, happy even when people revile you and say all kinds of false evil things against you. 

Confessing that as the day lingered I still did not find myself happily jumping up and down over this person’s mean-spirited maneuver. Determined to not let them rob anymore of my joy, choosing to take the high road in goofy merriment. Grabbing my high top purple canvas sneakers with plaid trim…my combat boots of joy. Confident they would surely put a smile on my face as I stepped into all God’s reliable and trustworthy promises.

Are you facing one of life’s zingers? May I encourage you in your movement forward with this hope,* “… shod your feet in preparation to face the enemy with firm footed stability the promptness, and the readiness, produced by the good news of the gospel of peace. Each new step bringing more freedom and victory.” Hey, you can even sport some goofy shoes while doing it… I say if the happy shoes fit… wear them!

*Ephesians 6…AMP version.


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Welcome Change

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While I was working with great toil to redo a garden area along the side of our house, my mind was a bevy of mixed emotions. This small area of land was my first attempt at gardening seventeen years ago, nestling next to the detached garage of our starter home. Every year I would add an extra something to enhance its’ cottage charm.   A climbing white rose, Lady’s’ Mantle from the annual Powell Valley plant sale, a blown glass snail, a birthday gift from my mama.   As our little slice of garden heaven evolved so had our home….our starter home was now becoming our “finisher home”. What once was a detached garage, has become a very attached master bedroom.
The new plans included a french door exit into a small enclosed patio adjacent to our bedroom. Hands laboring and feet planted firmly on the cold soil I slowly began removing stones that lined our pea gravel path. God’s word came to mind as I worked, “A time to cast away stones and a time to gather stones”. It was now the season to cast those familiar aisle of stones once gathered from a neighbor’s yard long since moved away….it then began to hit me. It was more than just rocks, pea gravel and discounted plants dotting the small landscape. It had become part of this girls’ sentimental journey. A discovery of beauty merging out of barrenness, kindred neighbors sharing their garden treasures. Memories played in my mind with each new task of removing parts of my cherished established garden. As the day wore on my feet became frozen and my heart was feeling heavy, it was then I decided to call it a day and head for a relaxing hot shower. Hoping that my body and soul would once again feel the warm anticipation of a new patio and not be laden with increasing sadness, and the sense of loss brought on by change.
After placing my tools in the shed, I thought it would be nice to surprise my husband, by cleaning up the dogs business making it one less thing to do when he got home. Who doesn’t appreciate less poop to scoop? Grabbing a recycled plastic grocery bag from a decorative mail box where they’re stored, I quickly opened the bag my eyes widened as I spotted a single fortune from a cookie. This was the only tangible evidence from our delightful Kung Pao chicken we enjoyed weeks earlier. . Placing one of my muddy garden gloves in the bag I pulled it out and read the only two words that graced the slender white paper….there in small black type were the words “Welcome Change”. These powerful words warmed my chilly soul. Leave it to God to show up in the most creative places. Proving Himself to be faithful as He has promised again and again lest we forget. Friends are you facing change today? Perhaps not just small changes but big life changes. I know for me, my changes extend far beyond the borders of my tiny disrupted garden. Change at times can be an unwelcome guest forcing us to shift, transform and adapt to a “new normal”. With the Lord’s unwavering help I’m learning how to navigate my only sibling’s diagnosis of early onset Dementia, my mothers dementia & congestive heart failure. Now, adding into the mix is our first-born son preparing to leave the nest into his newly purchased home…all the while I’m hormonally challenged! There is a whole lot of changes going on !!!
Whatever you are facing you can be confidant God has it covered. Join me in taking comfort in a God that does not change, He remains the same, and never fails us. He is always faithful and pours out His everlasting love and mercy to us daily. His love will see you through every challenging situation. His word is a shield to all who put their trust in Him. My prayer is that today He surprise you with joy in the most unexpected places.
Lord, Thank you for your unchanging love, where there is no variation, rising or setting or shadow cast by your turning. Seasons change from springtime to harvest but your steadfast love remains the same. You, oh Lord, have appointed the moon for the seasons, the sun knows the exact time of its’ setting. From glory to glory changing us while you are unwavering, timeless, your truths transforming us as we yield to your perfect plan for our lives. Thank you for truth that sets us free that we may embrace change knowing whether it’s big or small you can handle it all .
Psalms 102:27 “You remain the same ,and your years will never end”‘
Malachi 3:6 “For I am the Lord , I change not”.


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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”.


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Beautiful Feet

Image“How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!”  
Isaiah 52:7 NIV Bible

Beautiful feet, I can honesty say I have never looked at mine and declared that.
You see in the flesh, they are wide and my toes are a tad on the stubby side; and when placed along side friends for a photo after my first pedicure they quite resemble Fred Flintstone’s feet AKA twinkle toes. Perfectly capable of pounding the dusty road with Barney Rubble after they lifted their prehistoric vehicle on route to Mr. Slate’s rock quarry.
But God’s word is talking about feet that travel to share good news. Dusty, grimy feet that ran to declare captivity is over, that freedom is on its way.

Those formally offensive and disgraceful feet become messengers of hope, peace, and the promise of a new beginning. That is my hope and prayer for you today, that somehow these soiled-chubby feet will aid in declaring God’s good news to you, proclaiming His peace in every one of your challenging situations.Your heart swelling with joy at the good tidings God has for you. His love touching every hurt, fear, and heartbreak. “Your God reigns”, and that truth deserves a hallelujah and If I might a yabba-dabba doo!