7:45 am Thursday Mornings

Twelve years and counting, or maybe it’s more. Every Thursday morning we gather on Run Mill Drive. Rain, shine, ice, snow, we are there.

Jane, she makes sure the front door is unlocked, then she prepares the coffee. At eighty-four, she’s got some little issues with her legs, so the first thing we do is put her compression stockings on her feet and remind her to put them up. We prayed her through a cough that looked like it was never going to stop, a few surgery, peace with a Muslim husband, a son kidnapped in the middle east, new grand-babies, teenager grand-babies, and so much more.

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Faces have been added over the years, and some had to go. But Thursday mornings keep rolling by, and we keep welcoming Him in our midst.

Coffee in hand, we share about the victories and the struggles of the week, and the words are real, raw, reflections of lives fully lived. We have long stopped trying to impress each other or pretend we are or have what we are not or do not have. In every way that matters, we are sisters, accepting each other’s idiosyncrasies, strengths and ugliness’s, always pushing for holiness, learning to speak the truth in love. Always welcoming Him in our midst.

Without Him we are nothing. With Him, we are one.

It’s precious, this gift of a circle. It’s costly, this gift of friendship. It’s priceless.

We strategize how to pray wisely, how to think on those issues that seek to take our breaths away. We find Him in His word and He leads us by the heart with His ever gentle Holy Spirit. We come to an agreement and power is unleashed.

God shows up.

And sometimes, we can’t even speak from the force of His presence. And sometimes, we have to, have to, have to sing and declare who He is. And sometimes, we just bask in His peace.

And Thursdays come and go, and life goes on with the jobs and appointments and kids and dishes and responsibilities. So we each go our own way, carrying within the awe of having met with Him together.

Without Him we are nothing. With Him, we are carriers of His glory.

It’s precious, this gift of a circle. It’s costly, this gift of friendship. It’s priceless.

 

Sometimes, I link up with any or all of these wonderful writers: Hearts 4 Home,SDG, Hearts Reflected, WLW, EOA, Things I can’t say, Growing Home,Play Dates with God, Monday Musings, Hear it on Sunday,Inspire Me Monday, Tell me a Story, The Better Mom, a Mama’s Story, Into the Word, In and Around Mondays,OYHT, gratituesday,Titus2Tuesdays,Extraordinay,Lessons from Ivy,Denise in Bloom, Sweet Blessings, Faith Filled Friday,Finding Joy,WholeHearted Home, Mom’s the Word, Reclaiming a Redeemed Life, Still Saturday. Wildcrafting Wednesdays, WFMW, Tell His Story

Tribulations and the Troubled Soul

He said it, not me. It’s right here, in John 16:33, “In the world you have tribulation.”

Yes, it’s nasty down here sometimes, and God isn’t going to make it all go away. Troubles are part of being alive, and being human. And they sting deep within our souls.

But we seem to associate trouble with a troubled soul, and that’s where God does not agree with us. Remember the John 16 verse? Here is the whole verse: “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” Wow, that’s way different, isn’t it? God somehow does not equate tribulation with a troubled soul.

To me, this verse was like a dangling carrot. Tantalizing, but just out of reach. How does one go through trouble without being troubled?

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So I sat with this verse for a while. “Sitting” with something I don’t get is such a key in my life. The more I consider the issue, the more what matters comes to the surface, the the picture gets clearer. And at some point, the fog lifts.

So I pondered the verse. I dissected it a bit. Yes, there is trouble. BUT

  • He speaks that we might have peace
  • We can take courage
  • He has overcome it all

Peace? Well, peace is certainly a sign of rest. Rest in the midst of trouble? But trouble brings burdens… So peace in the midst of trouble is only possible when I let go of the burden that the trouble brings. Because peace does not live at the same address as a troubled soul. The trouble only brings a burden (a troubled soul) because of what it speaks to me, right? A storm is just a storm. It only is an issue if I internalize it, make it mine, let it tell me things about me and my future and the world that shake me to the core.

When I move in peace, it’s because I have let go of the story I told myself about the trouble. I replaced it with His story. And when I see things His way, I take courage. Because He always reminds me that He indeed has overcome it all, and I can bank on His faithfulness from now until forever.

No more dangling carrot for me. It tastes delightful.

Sometimes, I link up with any or all of these wonderful writers: Hearts 4 Home,SDG, Hearts Reflected, WLW, EOA, Things I can’t say, Growing Home,Play Dates with God, Monday Musings, Hear it on Sunday,Inspire Me Monday, Tell me a Story, The Better Mom, a Mama’s Story, Into the Word, In and Around Mondays,OYHT, gratituesday,Titus2Tuesdays,Extraordinay,Lessons from Ivy,Denise in Bloom, Sweet Blessings, Faith Filled Friday,Finding Joy,WholeHearted Home, Mom’s the Word, Reclaiming a Redeemed Life, Still Saturday. Wildcrafting Wednesdays, WFMW, Tell His Story

40 and Counting

When they met for the first time, they were barely grown-ups, young men in the military trying to figure out where they wanted to go in life. Half serious about serving their country, they wound up in Germany together, and befriended each other.

When they last saw each other, they had four years of military under their belts and had done some growing up. Doing life together in a house for the last three years, they all were new Christians trying to figure out what that all meant, this “walking with God” stuff. There had been lots of laughter mixed with a few tears, lots of praying, lots of deep discussion and silliness over stinky cheese and German words,  lots of midnight worship and everything in between.

Boys becoming men, one verse at a time. Boys becoming men, one discipline at a time. Boys becoming men, one friendship at a time.

One by one, they left Germany . Some had found European wives, others were leaving alone. They traveled back home, and started life on this side of the ocean. A few phone calls at first, a few Christmas cards, and then life just happened and wives and babies and baseball games. And the babies grew up and had babies themselves.

And forty years later, they all got together.

 

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How does one catch up on forty years in forty eight hours?

Lots of laughter at first, and reminiscing on the epic stinky cheese episode and falling down the stairs from joy. Then they caught up about each other’s lives, and the kids and grand-kids, and the pains and the bragging. And Jesus, He remained the thread that kept them going all these years. Through the deepest joys and unspeakable pains.

Monika bakes Nussecken, and they all delight in the taste of the past.

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One of them doesn’t walk too easily anymore. And this other one, he had a few heart attacks. Marriages have been attacked, and two of them didn’t make it through. And in the midst, some are poor and some are millionaires. And they all see that Jesus, He is the only thread that keeps them united as one.

These boys, they are now seasoned men. And every one of them, in their own way, they all discovered the same treasures. They all have learned the power of patience, they all understand the price of joy.

They each know that Jesus, He is the only thread that holds us together.

 

Sometimes, I link up with any or all of these wonderful writers: Hearts 4 Home,SDG, Hearts Reflected, WLW, EOA, Things I can’t say, Growing Home,Play Dates with God, Monday Musings, Hear it on Sunday,Inspire Me Monday, Tell me a Story, The Better Mom, a Mama’s Story, Into the Word, In and Around Mondays,OYHT, gratituesday,Titus2Tuesdays,Extraordinay,Lessons from Ivy,Denise in Bloom, Sweet Blessings, Faith Filled Friday,Finding Joy,WholeHearted Home, Mom’s the Word, Reclaiming a Redeemed Life, Still Saturday. Wildcrafting Wednesdays, WFMW, Tell His Story

Three Good Things

The night is falling and the birds are singing their evening song… there is a lovely peace in the air at the end of the day. We sit quietly, taking it all in. It’s been a busy day, you know, and we didn’t really take the time to think about much more than the tasks at end. Never took the time to be.

This moment, it feels like a sweet reward at the end of it all.

“Three good things,” I hear a voice in my heart.

“Three good things,” I say. “Tell me three good things that happened today. Or three good things that you are thankful for today.”

“Ok,” he answers. “Let me see… Number one, I was able to help a guy out at work who was having issues with his phone. Number two, we got the rain we needed. And number three,” he smiles at me, “this moment with you right now.”

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And thus a new habit was born. Most nights, one of us will say it.

Three good things.

And we begin to remember. And some days, we just can’t stop at three. And some days, it’s challenging to think of three–that’s when we realize we need to speak out at least ten.

And thus a new way is being formed in us. It takes so little time, yet it reframes the day. It takes so little time, yet it changes us  from the inside out.

It’s telling the truth. It’s remembering the truth. It’s painting the canvas of life with sun, and splashes and vibrant colors.

Three good things.

Yes.

Sometimes, I link up with any or all of these wonderful writers: Hearts 4 Home,SDG, Hearts Reflected, WLW, EOA, Things I can’t say, Growing Home,Play Dates with God, Monday Musings, Hear it on Sunday,Inspire Me Monday, Tell me a Story, The Better Mom, a Mama’s Story, Into the Word, In and Around Mondays,OYHT, gratituesday,Titus2Tuesdays,Extraordinay,Lessons from Ivy,Denise in Bloom, Sweet Blessings, Faith Filled Friday,Finding Joy,WholeHearted Home, Mom’s the Word, Reclaiming a Redeemed Life, Still Saturday. Wildcrafting Wednesdays, WFMW, Tell His Story

 

 

Body Parts

“I don’t know how I feel about all of this,” she said, “but I know I want the cancer out of my body.”

“It doesn’t belong in there, you know? And it’s growing, a little every day, wanting to overpower all of the good cells in there, seeking to swallow me whole. It’s got to go.”

And right now, that means removing a body part. Cutting out a part of herself. Actually discarding a chunk of her. Will that make her less herself, she wonders. Will she forget that the body part is gone, and reach out for it out of habit? How does one move gracefully when  one is lop-sided?

It’s not easy to give a hug over the phone. Sometimes, you just need your friends right there next to you, a reminder that they plan to shoulder your burden with you every step of the way.

So we get together, and we don’t talk about the C word. We fill our sentences with memories that make us giggle and remind us that life is worth living, we fill our tummies with pizza–greasy carbs that make us feel good for the moment, and we breathe deep together, remembering that God is good all the time and He never ever leaves us, even when the present and the future are a bit scary. Or absolutely terrifying. And we don’t really have answers to all the questions of our hearts.

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And God, He calls us to trust Him.

We get some more information the next week, and it makes us shake a bit. What are you saying Lord? Will we need to walk upon the waters where feet may fail? We know we are anything but alone, but it kind of feels a little lonely right now. Or absolutely devastating.

And God, He calls us to trust Him.

So we pour over the Word, and we thank the Lord for David, so real, so transparent, so honest with his God–this David who walked through the depth of despair knowing that joy comes in the morning; this David who told his soul to remember all of God’s goodness and chose to joy himself with truth. This David whose heart pleased the Lord to no end.

And God, He calls us to trust Him.

We are going to walk the road ahead of us with our heads held high and our hearts kept tucked into His presence under the shadow of His wings, one day at a time, one hour at a time, one minute at a time when needed. And we are going to keep our eyes fixed on Him to protect our minds from the cruel lies of this world.

We’ll walk through the Red Sea together, and we will see Him wall up the waters for us.

Because He calls us to trust Him.

 

Sometimes, I link up with any or all of these wonderful writers: Hearts 4 Home,SDG, Hearts Reflected, WLW, EOA, Things I can’t say, Growing Home,Play Dates with God, Monday Musings, Hear it on Sunday,Inspire Me Monday, Tell me a Story, The Better Mom, a Mama’s Story, Into the Word, In and Around Mondays,OYHT, gratituesday,Titus2Tuesdays,Extraordinay,Lessons from Ivy,Denise in Bloom, Sweet Blessings, Faith Filled Friday,Finding Joy,WholeHearted Home, Mom’s the Word, Reclaiming a Redeemed Life, Still Saturday. Wildcrafting Wednesdays, WFMW, Tell His Story

 

 

Shield and Sword

I am pretty sure that I would not be around anymore if it wasn’t for my Jesus being a shield to me. Time and time again He has protected me from an enemy too big for me, fought my battles for me, sheltered me from a tornado that would have swallowed me whole, kept me from the deep scars that fires bring. Yes, I have faced the enemy, and the tornadoes and the fires, but He has always been there, like an umbrella over my life. Yes, I felt like a worm in front of an alligator, a mere human tossed in a storm, a child in the fiercest of fires, but He was there with me, shielding me with Himself. He is my shield indeed.

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I am pretty sure that I would not be around anymore if it wasn’t for my Jesus being a sword to me. Time and time again He has fought my battles with His Word as His Sword, taken the offensive with it and destroyed a jungle that sought to choke me, deathly wounded the evil darts meant to destroy my mind, held an enemy at bay with the threat of His power. Yes, I have gone through some serious stuff, but His sword has always been there, like a watchman over my life. With Him as my sword, I have cut through the thickest of brush to make it to another place; I have walked through many lions’ dens, and I am here to tell about them. He is my sword indeed.

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Jesus, He is amazing that way. He is my Protector and the One who defends me. He shields me and He fights for me. Jesus, He is the Great Shepherd Who always has my back.

My Shield and my Sword indeed. He alone knows how to be both.

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Sometimes, I link up with any or all of these wonderful writers: Hearts 4 Home,SDG, Hearts Reflected, WLW, EOA, Things I can’t say, Growing Home,Play Dates with God, Monday Musings,Hear it on Sunday,Inspire Me Monday, Tell me a Story, The Better Mom, a Mama’s Story, Into the Word, In and Around Mondays,OYHT, gratituesday,Titus2Tuesdays,Extraordinay,Lessons from Ivy,Denise in Bloom, Sweet Blessings, Faith Filled Friday,Finding Joy,WholeHearted Home, Mom’s the Word, Reclaiming a Redeemed Life, Still Saturday. Wildcrafting Wednesdays, WFMW, Tell His Story

These are the Days

It’s dark out there.

In the last six weeks, we have lost two young men to suicide and another one to a motorcycle accident, one young lady in my life is fighting with every ounce of strength to stay alive in the face of an ugly disease, and two of my friends have been diagnosed with cancer. And that’s just what you can see on the outside. Besides that, I have a friend who have been cut to the core by evil men, another one with a broken heart, and a third one with a hopelessness that takes my breath away. And that is just what I personally know…

And in the midst of it all, we meet to pray every Thursday. We call ourselves the SWAT Team–Shouting Warriors Attacking Daily. But today, I kind of just want to lick my wounds, you know?

Until God comes in the room.

Because when He does, everything changes.

And all of a sudden, the fog lifts and I see my place. These are the days for standing strong, these are the days for declaring truth and going forth in His Name.  These are the days for lifting our heads in the face of all the sadness that we see, and simply declare His victory. These are the days for moving forward as we hear Him speak, and step into the Red Sea that He means to split. These are the days to be who we are.

For such a time we were created. For such a time I was created.

And the wounds, they will heal themselves in His Presence. For when He comes into the room, everything changes. What I see and what I seek changes. And I become bold like a lion. And I do it afraid. And then, the fear drops away.

 

Sometimes, I link up with any or all of these wonderful writers: Hearts 4 Home,SDG, Hearts Reflected, WLW, EOA, Things I can’t say, Growing Home,Play Dates with God, Monday Musings, Hear it on Sunday,Inspire Me Monday, Tell me a Story, The Better Mom, a Mama’s Story, Into the Word, In and Around Mondays,OYHT, gratituesday,Titus2Tuesdays,Extraordinay,Lessons from Ivy,Denise in Bloom, Sweet Blessings, Faith Filled Friday,Finding Joy,WholeHearted Home, Mom’s the Word, Reclaiming a Redeemed Life, Still Saturday. Wildcrafting Wednesdays, WFMW, Tell His Story

Gracie meets mirror

It happened the other day for the first time–Gracie saw herself in the mirror.

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She got so excited about meeting that lovely little girl in front of her that she reached out  and her hands and face hit the mirror  Her joy was priceless, her smile as bright as the sun.

My grand-daughter met herself and it delighted her heart.

Those giggles bubbling out of her at the sight of herself, they traveled inside of me like blood in my veins, giving life to every cell of me, from my toes to the top of my head.

Gracie delights in Gracie. And I delight in her delight.

Gracie, she does not compare herself to anyone.  She is not finding fault in any part of her.  And all my buts and ifs, they fade in the face of her joy.

And right in that moment, I realize that God delights in my delight. And all my ifs and buts, they fade in the face of His joy. Because God, He does not compare me to anyone. He is not finding fault in any part of His creation.

Gracie giggles. And I join her.

 

Sometimes, I link up with any or all of these wonderful writers: Hearts 4 Home,SDG, Hearts Reflected, WLW, EOA, Things I can’t say, Growing Home,Play Dates with God, Monday Musings, Hear it on Sunday,Inspire Me Monday, Tell me a Story, The Better Mom, a Mama’s Story, Into the Word, In and Around Mondays,OYHT, gratituesday,Titus2Tuesdays,Extraordinay,Lessons from Ivy,Denise in Bloom, Sweet Blessings, Faith Filled Friday,Finding Joy,WholeHearted Home, Mom’s the Word, Reclaiming a Redeemed Life, Still Saturday. Wildcrafting Wednesdays, WFMW, Tell His Story

 

 

Let the River

The war rages on the inside, and weariness sets in. And it feels like it will take only one more little push for me to just give up forever.  Too tired to swim, too tired to fight the current, too tired to anything.

I don’t want to fight the river anymore. I’ll just give in, give up and be done.

But the River, it giggles at me. And to tell you the truth, I am a bit offended… Here I am, ready to give up on life, and life laughs at me?

“Let me tell you a story,” the River begins.  I am pouting, but I listen. What else can I do?

“There once was this little boy,” the River said, ” and it stood on my bank for a very long time, trying to figure out how to get to the other side. I was pretty wild that day, and it wasn’t going to be easy for him. He tried just about anything ; he tried to swim across, but my current made him drift where he did not want to go. He tried to yell at me, but I would not respond. He tried to walk across me on a large piece of wood, but that did not work either. Eventually, he actually fell into me. After fighting me off for a few minutes, he let go and let me carry him. And guess what? I gently carried him to the other side. Not quite where he thought he wanted to land, but he got there.”

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The River stopped talking for a while.  I held my breath.

“If you let go of control,” the River continued, “pressure disappears.”

I exhale, my mind filled with Yeahbuts. Easier said than done.

“Rivers are supposed to carry people,” the River said with a smile. “Our job is to give life wherever we go, to water, nourish, strengthen. And we know how to do it. Why are you fighting me?”

Sometimes, I link up with any or all of these wonderful writers: Hearts 4 Home,SDG, Hearts Reflected, WLW, EOA, Things I can’t say, Growing Home,Play Dates with God, Monday Musings, Hear it on Sunday,Inspire Me Monday, Tell me a Story, The Better Mom, a Mama’s Story, Into the Word, In and Around Mondays,OYHT, gratituesday,Titus2Tuesdays,Extraordinay,Lessons from Ivy,Denise in Bloom, Sweet Blessings, Faith Filled Friday,Finding Joy,WholeHearted Home, Mom’s the Word, Reclaiming a Redeemed Life, Still Saturday. Wildcrafting Wednesdays, WFMW, Tell His Story

 

The Kitchen Table

The table in my house is like no other place.  No, I am not a very good cook, I admit–my husband does a much better job than I do! But even though it looks like it’s about the food, it is so not about the food. The food is just an excuse, just what we do while our hearts are getting restored, rejuvenated around the table. As we eat physical food, our souls are being fed, filled with satisfaction and joy.

We keep adding new members to our family, and the table in my kitchen is getting a bit small. Sometimes, we have to move the meal to the dining room table now. It used to be pristine, without any knicks. But we have a lot of littles now, so the table is looking lived in. And lots of sticky little hands these days, so we no longer use fancy napkins and tablecloths. But it has never been about the table any way.

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Seasons come and seasons go, and we keep gathering around a table in our home. It’s where we sense that we belong together, we are a family. We  share our table with those whom we have welcomed them into our circle. Because when you sit at our table, you are a part of us. We share all kinds of sustenance there.

My God, He has a table waiting for me when I have run my race down here and He calls me home in heaven. But I love that I can sit at His table today already. It’s right there, with my hands cupping a warm coffee, that He reminds me that I have been welcomed into His house. That I am not a guest any more.  That it’s not about the food, but it’s not not about the food because He knows that I need it. That He loves to sit and hang with me. That I am family.

Sometimes, I link up with any or all of these wonderful writers: Hearts 4 Home,SDG, Hearts Reflected, WLW, EOA, Things I can’t say, Growing Home,Play Dates with God, Monday Musings, Hear it on Sunday,Inspire Me Monday, Tell me a Story, The Better Mom, a Mama’s Story, Into the Word, In and Around Mondays,OYHT, gratituesday,Titus2Tuesdays,Extraordinay,Lessons from Ivy,Denise in Bloom, Sweet Blessings, Faith Filled Friday,Finding Joy,WholeHearted Home, Mom’s the Word, Reclaiming a Redeemed Life, Still Saturday. Wildcrafting Wednesdays, WFMW, Tell His Story

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and receive from Me