Tag Archives: Our Father
I have three sore fingers – one cut (which was just stupidity on my part of not paying attention and doing two things at once), one crack (that has expanded into a field of tender new skin as it heals), and one scraped knuckle from reaching into a hole to get a silly dog’s ball (who thinks it is tremendously fun to drop her ball – on purpose – down a hole and then can’t get it out).
Her mom doesn’t think it is so funny.
I laughed with one of my book-reading students as we compared how many books we were reading at one time. I finished my second book for the month of January. Does it count that I still have 3 unfinished books in various stages of completion and only a week left in the month of January? Worse – I just pulled out another book and started it tonight (luckily – it is a re-read from long ago).
Books, books and more books – never bored.
I did my devotions, physical therapy stretches, catalogued and shelved a couple big boxes of books, played the piano, sang a song or two, walked the dogs – 3 times, enjoyed the bubbles and jets of the walk-in tub, stood on the porch and circled my gratitude for being right where I am for such a time as this and cried a little. Seems like I do that a lot when I talk to my Father and His Son – especially on a day when I’m missing my parents.
Prayer life continues to expand and I have to laugh with joy through the tears.
There’s no great lesson in any of this. It was just a day in an average week in a month of a new year – an ordinary day. And yet – I love days like this. Days when the dogs bump my legs and come running to see me – tails wagging, bouncing till they fall down, smiling their tongues hanging out as they try to be the first to get bellies or butts rubbed. A day when Shadow-Spooky-Sparkle kitty hisses because she doesn’t want to wake up and leave MY chair or MY blanket when I want her to do so. The popping of the gas logs warming the house as I work a cryptogram. The refrains a Casting Crowns song ringing through my head as I read and enjoy the quiet of the evening before bed.
Just an ordinary day. A day to “Love them like Jesus”
“Just love them like Jesus, carry them to Him.
His yoke is easy, His burden is light.
You don’t need the answers to all of life’s questions.
Just know that He loves them and stay by their side.
Love them like Jesus.
Lord of all creation holds our lives in His hands.
The God of all the nations holds our lives in HIs hands.
The Rock of our salvation holds our lives in HIs hands.
He cares for them just as He cares for you
So love them like Jesus,
love them like Jesus.
You don’t need the answers to all of life’s questions.
Just know that He loves them and stay by their side.
Love them like Jesus”
The quince bushes have bloomed. The forsythia in some of the neighbors’ yards have also bloomed. Tonight – it is already in the low 20’s. Such are the season of life. Separate – blended – messy – beautiful.
Sunday it was still “spring” warm and sunny. While the lab girls chewed sticks, dug for squirmy things in the dirt to eat (yuk) and chased ball, kitty chased birds, stretched in the sun and slept on a lawn chair. Thus we spent the Sabbath. I stayed home from church to soak in some sun and do a little work outside before the predicted return of “winter” cold.
“There was once a road through the woods
Before they planted the trees.
It is underneath the coppice and heath,
And the thin anemones.
Only the keeper sees”
2020 vision oft brings work. The “keeper” had seen a new path in the woods. It just needed a little smoothing out – well – a lot smoothing out. In fact, there are still a couple places that could use a little more help, but that will come. The “keeper” can’t do it all in one day anymore.
“Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, Where the good way is, and walk in it; And you will find rest for your souls.”~Jer 16:6
Rest for the soul. Working outside always clears my vision and helps me focus on whatever is rolling around in my mind. “Power in the Holy Spirit” has been one of the focus areas for my vision quest 2020(Acts 1:8) – figuring out my new path in this life has also been a wrestling point. Seems only appropriate that Our Father would point out physical path through the woods as I work on the metaphysical one that begs attention with each passing day.
“EVERY RAVINE WILL BE FILLED, AND EVERY MOUNTAIN AND HILL WILL BE BROUGHT LOW; THE CROOKED WILL BECOME STRAIGHT, AND THE ROUGH ROADS SMOOTH”~Lk 3:5
As I filled in holes from rotting roots, moved rocks hither and yon, loped off surface roots, limbs and baby trees, I felt the power of work swirl into the deeper part of my quest and my vision cleared a little more. At one point – just as it happens on our life paths – I got off course, but a slight nudge from the Master Gardner got me back on course and a few wheelbarrow loads later, the path was – fairly – established.
The lab girls love it – especially the older one. She no longer has to go the long way around to get to the upper shed when we take our walks. I think I like it for the same reason. We don’t even have to walk along the road at all now – unless we want to do so.
Vision, a little power, and a whole lot of prayer is all it takes.
“The misty solitudes,
As though they perfectly knew
The old lost road through the woods.
But there is no road through the woods.”~Rudyard Kipling, “The Way through the Woods”
“I was lost in shame,
Could not get past my blame,
Until He called my name.
I’m so glad He changed me.”
When you wake up with one praise song singing in your head most of the morning – even through a very traditional church service – until it morphs into another by evening, what else can you do?
You write about it; that’s what.
“I’ve met the author of my story,
And He’s mine, yes, He’s mine.”
After a somewhat stumbling life journey, I’ve finally figured out not to ignore the little things. A thrum that rumbles my tummy until I turn off everything around me and kneel in prayer. The knees complain, but I just tell them to shut up. A soft nudge that points my eyes to a student in my classroom. I wonder why but tell the brain to shut up and take note. A song that repeats over and over until it drives me a little crazy.
Little things that add up – when I take time to notice.
The furnace and gas logs have been off for the past couple of days. Windows and doors wide open. A fan softly humming in the window. But tonight, the clouds are moving back in, and I can smell rain in the air. Tonight, when I stood on the porch watching over the lab girls, the moon was shining just enough through the clouds that I could see its hazy shape, yet within a minute, it disappeared completely. The dark skies covered me and the tears gathered once again.
That is the way the past 6 months have been.
A hazy shape.
A little light.
Clouds returning over and over.
And yet – that tiny moment of light – as dim as it is – is always enough – enough to steady my steps and find my balance once again.
” He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by His own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you;It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you;”~Act 1:7-8a
On New Years Eve, I was still struggling with what Bible verse and word would be my focus for the year. A friend sent me a verse, and just like that – problem solved. Since then, I’ve been puzzling and praying over it. It hangs in my war room, written in my journal, and stuck in my mind. Then today, both of the local preachers that I listen to added to it. One talking about Baptism – the other focusing more on the Holy Spirit. (v,5-6)
Jesus went to be Baptized – not because He needed to do so, not because some religious tradition required it, but to model and fulfill His journey on a path that was written for Him from the very beginning of time. Only known as a carpenter up until that point in time, His baptism signaled a change. After that, a name reverberated over the river bed and calling all to Truth: Yachid – Beloved Son. A new name repeated only once again – at the transfiguration.
I’m still puzzling why this is important to my journey right now, and yet, the more I look at this verse and the verses surrounding it, the more His hope rises within me that the clouds are beginning to break. The Light that has been so hazy over the past few months seems to be brightening the skies and overpowering that darkness just as I knew it would eventually.
Valley journeys are just like that sometimes. The good news? Even though there are tribulations in this life, valleys and clouds full of darkness, I know that Yeshua Mashiach has overcome the world, and through it all, I am keeping my eyes on Him.
“I am who I am because the I AM tells me who I am
I am who I am because the I AM tells me who I am
I am who I am because the I AM tells me who I am
I am who I am because the I AM tells me who I am…”
I love those mornings I can just amble through. Nothing pressing. No schedule to hurry me out the door. Just time to breathe deep while I scratch the lab girls’ ears, and they stretch. Rub Shadow/Spooky/Sparkle kitten’s head until she jumps off whatever strange place she decided to claim as hers for the night. Best of all – if I’m out of my prayer closet on time – I stand on the porch and watch the first rays turn the top of the trees bronze as the dark clouds of night sink further into the west.
Today was one such day. After reading the paper, my morning devotions, doing a couple word puzzles and a reading a chapter in a book my daughter gave me for Christmas, I read a few poems from my other new book.
“Imagine a bowl of flowers in the morning can give a sense of quiet in a crowded day – – – like writing a poem or saying a prayer.” Ann Morrow LIndbergh
A North Carolinian friend of mind gave me a basket of small things that have to do with gardening. A poetry book. A pair of gloves. A plaster wall hanging. A small tote to carry hand tools. She already knows me well. She and her husband befriended me 3 years ago when I first moved to this neighborhood. Both educators in their 80’s, they have taught me a lot about the history of the neighborhood, the Southern viewpoint of the 60’s desegregation in education, and gardening. Many starts of wild plants from their property have started anew just up the road with me.
God sends people into our lives for a season, and sometimes – you just wish that season would have started a lot earlier or would last forever.
This is a hard week of bittersweet season endings for me. On the 9th – 49 years ago – my father went to the room prepared just for him by Yeshua Mashiach. I know he was ready even if I was not. He told me so just a few days before Christmas. 9 years of heart issues had definitely taken their toll on him and all of us. 10 years later, my fiance and I decided to get married on the 9th to give all of us a happy memory. But when the winds begin to blow and seasons end, sometimes you have two bittersweet memories instead of one.
However, the ultimate, most wonderful thing that happens at the end of one season is that another one begins. And – while it may not be our favorite season, it is a season that He has given, and we find that we are exactly where we are supposed to be to bless others with what we have learned. All I have to do is wait for the light, rain, warmth, rooting or seedling, and a new garden will begin to flourish all around me. When my friend gave me the blessing of a garden on that cold December day, the Father’s wings enfolded me as He showed me a new garden gate opening just for me.
“Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the awe of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.”~Ex 20:20
Did you notice the notation of the verse in Exodus?
His promises never fail. Gardens are His thing. And I? I am His child. That 2020 Vision just continues to improve, and if I’m lucky, I will have more mornings of standing on the porch watching the first rays of His light cross the horizon and beginning my day with His Light, Grace and Love.
“Again the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘On the fifteenth of this seventh month is the Feast of Booths for seven days to the LORD.”~Lev 23:33-34
Today is the 15th of October. If we were living by the Jewish calendar, it is actually the 16th of Tishrei. The second full day of Sukkot/Feast of Tabernacles. It was also – in NC – a perfect fall day. It was a mite cool when it started, and the gas logs came on for about an hour. However, by mid-morning the shorts were back on, the windows open. the lab girls pleading for me to throw their ball by getting in the way, and a small harvest waiting to gather. A perfect day to sit in the sukkah and read and relax and sigh in contentment.
HOWEVER – that wasn’t the day that was designed just for me. It wasn’t even the day I planned to do originally. Wasn’t even the day I contemplated as I lazed around in my bed and whispered my first prayer of gratitude. But it was the day the LORD had made – just for me – so I rejoiced and was glad in it.
Then I got busy.
Tore the spinach and flowering vines off the deck. Cut back a tomato plant that thought it owned one whole corner of the deck. Laughed at how big the asparagus had gotten under said tomato plant. Washed and painted the plant stands so they are ready to move inside for winter. Re-potted a couple plants who whose tootsies were way cramped and yearning to be free. Threw the ball to get the lab girls out of the way, and finally – sat on the patio swing and laughed with a friend and her hubby many, many miles away.
‘Then on the fifteenth day of the seventh month you shall have a holy convocation; you shall do no laborious work, and you shall observe a feast to the LORD for seven days.”~Num 29:12
Whoops! Didn’t quite follow this instruction. I may have done some laborious work, but somehow – I don’t think Our Father is frowning. There is nothing like being able to finally sit down, take a deep breath, and look around at all the things accomplished and feeling oh so thankful that you live exactly where you live and enjoy the work of your hands. I always feel close to Our Father during these times. It is almost as if I can hear Him pronounce those wonderful words to me: “And GOD saw that it was good.”~Gen 1
Tomorrow it is supposed to rain. I get to go into school and get hugged and blessed by 76 youngins and 15+ adults. And – – life will – – more or less – – hit its normal weekday routine. But I will hold close today and the wonder of being outside for most of it. Working with my hands. Depending on Our Father for everything I accomplished and the glory of His creation that surrounded me on all four sides of my patio sukkah.
When the Grands were over this past weekend, we sat on the patio swing while we ate our Eskimo bars, enjoying a break from painting Halloween creations for their home and mine. The youngest one wondered if the wisteria vines would cover the top of the portico by next summer to shade the whole patio. I looked around and smiled. It grew a lot this summer, so I answered – “Maybe” – and just maybe – my sukkah will have a roof next year for Sukkot. Now how cool is that?
It was indeed a perfect fall day.
“I’m ready, GOD, so ready,
ready from head to toe;
Ready to sing, ready to raise a tune;
Wake up, soul!
Wake up, harp!
Wake up, lute!
Wake up, you sleepyhead sun!!”
“I’m thanking you, GOD, out loud i the streets, singing your praises in town and country. The deeper your love, the higher it goes. Every cloud is a flag ato your faithfulness.
Soar high in the skies, O GOD!
Cover the whole world with your glory.”~Ps 57:7-10 Msg
It started last Monday. I take that back – it probably started Sunday the 6th. I spent the day in an unintentional fast and prayer. It was just one of those days when I was busy doing meaningless stuff when I needed to be in prayer. Somehow in the mix of the mess, I just didn’t find the time or the need to eat. So when Monday arrived, my ears were totally opened to listen to one of my favorite preacher/teachers. He often seems to hit that Holy Spirit sweet spot in my soul. So much so, that I generally cry. I generally take notes – lots of them. I generally do a bunch of pondering over the verses that he covers in his talks. I generally just seek the presence of the LORD.
Monday night, His presence went beyond the message – it carried on into my dreams.
I don’t remember much of the dream except I was singing in a choir. The music was all in different colored folders that had swirls of colors all over them. and I could hardly wait to open them and begin sight singing. The choral director was someone I had sung with before and was – oh so excited – to sing with again. Best yet, we were to told to make new dresses for the upcoming concert. I wanted the blue material, but only a Christmas red and pink were left when it was my turn to chose. Funny thing, I wasn’t really disappointed and couldn’t wait to get started sewing the pattern for the new dress.
Of course, it was then I woke up. So Tuesday, I said my morning prayers as usual. The beginning of Yom Kippur would start at sundown. The day of determination for the new year. The day of Our Father weighs the heart.
My heart has been heavy for the past few months. Worries. Concerns. Friends/relatives fighting diseases. Prodigals wandering far from home. How I needed to make a decision on getting tires for the car or a new back door or a screen door – or…. Yeah – I throw even those tiny things into my prayers. Sure – enough by sundown and the beginning of Yom Kippur, He had answered that tiny prayer about tires in a most unexpected way. He also had opened my eyes and dried my tears in a way I had not expected.
Every day of that week continued to be blessed including Friday which brought another surprise in the mail and a couple found in a Bible totally up to three unexpected gifts. I love how My Father knew that I needed a show of His Light-giving miracles this holy week. I love how He inspires people who are anonymous to me – but not to Him – to accomplish His work on earth for the people who love and honor Him. I love how the Jewish High Holy Days are holy for ALL His people. Yeshua celebrated the High Holy Days while He was on earth — after all — He went even though He knew His enemies were looking to destroy Him. I think they are still important to Him. They were the first covenants He made with His first people. Then after His time here was done, He made the gate available for the rest of us and someday – that same gate will open to the second garden He has designed just for us.
“After this, Jesus went around in Galilee. He did not want[a] to go about in Judea because the Jewish leaders there were looking for a way to kill him. 2 But when the Jewish Festival of Tabernacles was near, 3 Jesus’ brothers said to him, “Leave Galilee and go to Judea, so that your disciples there may see the works you do. 4 No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world.” 5 For even his own brothers did not believe in him.”~Jn 7:1-5
So tonight, as Sukkot/Feast of Tabernacles begins, I am thankful for the harvest of salad greens, tomatoes and flowers that I have had all summer. Thankful for a summer of life-altering change. Thankful for walks in the rain with the lab girls. Thankful for kitty curled in my lap. Thankful for a Father that hears the smallest whisper thrown into a quickly uttered, frustrated prayer. Thankful for friends who hear God speak to their hearts and put a gift in the mail. Thankful to Elohim Chasdi who dries my tears and carries me when I can’t take another step forward. And while I won’t live in a sukkah this year, I will certainly do a lot of prayers sitting on my patio swing in thankful praise and adoration.
The harvest of thankfulness has begun to a Father who meets all our needs – in all our journeys as we wander through the desert between two gardens.
“Therefore Jesus told them, “My time is not yet here; for you any time will do. 7 The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that its works are evil. 8 You go to the festival. I am not[b] going up to this festival, because my time has not yet fully come.” 9 After he had said this, he stayed in Galilee.
10 However, after his brothers had left for the festival, he went also, not publicly, but in secret. 11 Now at the festival the Jewish leaders were watching for Jesus and asking, “Where is he?”
12 Among the crowds there was widespread whispering about him. Some said, “He is a good man.”
Others replied, “No, he deceives the people.” 13 But no one would say anything publicly about him for fear of the leaders.”~Jn 7:6-13
[personal images/google image]
“Son of man, stand up on your feet, and I will speak.”~Ez 2:1
There are times that stand outside of time. Times when the sundial stands still. It doesn’t go backwards. It doesn’t go forward. It just waits. Holding its collective breath of past, present and future until it seals itself into the fiber of every living thing. Times when one knows, even as one is marching down the hallway with the groanings of the Holy Spirit pouring from the depths of whatever it is that aches deep inside of all of us, that life is about to change.
Those verbs are often the way I feel my way to Our Father’s path and will. Today was one of those days. As I stomped down the hallway, I spoke aloud, “There is no way there is an answer in Your book for this one. None. Zilch. No way, Jose. But I’m going to look, just because You won’t quit nudging me until I do so.”
Yet, deep within me – in that place that aches beyond description and the font of tears that seem to be unending through this whole process, I know differently. He has always answered my prayers immediately and blessed my steps beyond measure since He set my feet on this path. So while I may have been arguing in my physical world, I followed His nudge and did what I have done since I was tiny, I began my march down the hall to find His WORD. Questions bubbling. Doubts swirling. Muttering rather loudly. Lab girls following – after all – they generally know when I need them next to me. I knelt by my bed and randomly opened His Sefer.
“Son of man, stand on your feet, and I will speak to you…”
Needless to say, the words had a voice. A voice not my own. A voice, that even now, continues to ring in my head. Continues to ring long after the sundial once again started it’s shadowy path, and an almost full moon has taken its place. Thus, not being totally stupid, I decided that I am soooooo not arguing with this voice as I stood and continued to read.
Tonight, as I re-read these words written long ago by a Jewish priest, I am humbled. Why do I continue to question and doubt? You’d think after 68 full journeys around the sun, I would have a little more sense of these things. Sin nature is strong – and after all – we believers are often a strong and stubborn lot. Just ask Jonah.
“Son of man, I am sending you to the Israelites, to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against me…obstinate and stubborn…”~Ez 2:3-4
Teaching has always been my balance in this chaotic world. A chance to pay it forward. A chance to be blessed by so many hugs and smiles. A chance to watch the lightbulb light up many eyes. It is when I am teaching that I feel closest to Rabbi Yeshua. I know deep within me that He also watched for those lights to shine in all the eyes in front of Him as He taught them. He watched for mine today as it lit up my heart.
It was not the answer I wanted – nor the answer I sought – and yet – it was the very answer for exactly the right moment in this place in time. A place where time stood still and the out of body experience still echoes throughout the house. A place and a time for which I was created, and my tears were dried as I ate the scroll of “lament and mourning and woe.”v.10
I am learning, I think. Ever so slowly, but the Light did come on for one brief moment. Maybe – I’m learning – just a little.
“Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of GOD.” ~Matt 5:9
[Greg Olsen, artwork]
“The foundation of every state is the education of its youth,….Enlighten the people, and tyranny of the mind and body will vanish like evil spirits at the dawn of day.”~John Jakes
The above quote was written in the front of one of my old journals from 1989. Hard to believe that 30 years ago (officially on August 29), these kidlets were starting their first day at school in our new home right in the middle of Covenant Woods. Even though we were homeschooling that year, we took the first-day-of-school pictures, but somehow over the intervening decades – all of those originals disappeared into projects or frames that traveled into the kidlets’ new worlds. So I substituted pictures from a few months earlier and later. Actually, this probably was more indicative of our days anyway.
Miss that table and the Light that shined in through all those windows and into our hearts.
The fun part? I kept a daily journal of our activities. Of course, as the year progressed, the writing got shorter and shorter, and by February – – – what can I say? I was way too busy having fun teaching them and loving every second of it, than to spend time writing it down. It was a special time in my life as I watch these precious souls given to my care begin to read, write, figure, absorb new things and pray together as we started and ended the day.
I had forgotten how much we did. Our school was full of Bible, art, theatre productions (that I wrote and directed) at various churches and schools, Loudonville/Mansfield library times, music lessons, Roscoe/Zoar Village, Cols/Clve Zoo, COSI, Kingwood Center trips, excursions into Mohican State Park, canoe rides and state-of-the-art computer education (You can remember what computers looked like in 1989, right? Radio Shack, go.)
“O LORD, God of Israel, there is no God like you in all of heaven above or on the earth below. You keep your covenant and show unfailing love to all who walk before you in wholehearted devotion.”~1 Kg 8:23
30 years later, life is j-u-s-t a little quieter. Still a chocolate lab at my feet, but the home is different. The state is different. Even the energy level is different. What can I say? The kidlets are grown. And that kitchen island and time spent there? Just a very special treasure chest memory.
Sarah Young wrote a devotional back in 2004. I pulled it out earlier this year meaning to spend my year re-reading it. However, life sometimes gets in the way, and with all the emotional craziness of the past couple of months, I haven’t even gone back to sit at my desk until today. So when my neighbor gave me a desk chair, I took a minute and sat down. It is then I saw the 1989 journal, photo album and this tiny devotional book..
“Wait with Me for a while. I have much to tell you. You are walking along the path I have chosen for you. It is both a privileged and a perilous way: experiencing My glorious Presence and heralding that reality to others. Sometimes you feel presumptuous to be carrying out such an assignment.”~Sarah Young, Aug 22
God winked. I blinked.
I love how He works. For whatever reason, I was meant to see this 2 paragraph devotion tonight. Meant to pull out that old 1989 journal. Meant to re-watch the movie, Invincible. Meant to cry a little. Meant to laugh at all the energy and love that went into that year. Meant to observe all the changes that have occurred. Meant to absorb all the wisdom garnered. Meant to remember the One who never leaves or forsakes.
“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”~Gal 5:22
30 years brings changes. Some of them, make one smile. Some of them – – – not so much – – – not so much at all. But it is the wisdom – the love – the passion – the Grace and Light of the One who places His rock under the feet and shelters the injured under His wings that carries us through the decades when we continue to seek His face.
“Stay on the path of Life with Me wholeheartedly, letting My Spirit fill you with Joy and Peace.”~Sarah Young-August 22.
[personal images/google images]
When the Holy Spirit is nudging, and I am plugging my ears, Our Father and His Son, Yeshua, will often step in and slap me upside the head with blessing after blessing just to get my attention.
“The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”~Ex 14:14
Last night a neighbor drove his mower over and not only did the road frontage, but also did the whole back yard. All day I had been internally wondering how I was going to fit everything in that I needed to get done this week. I wasn’t anxious about it, just pondering what kind of schedule I needed to implement so I could get to school and get some more books on the shelves and do all the things that seem to make up my day.
Later, I cried because that is just the way He works in my life these days. He knows that I hate traveling in canyons with their high steep walls. In canyons, the sky seems so far away, and daylight is overcast with shadow after shadow. This summer has been one long, huge canyon for me, and He knows it. But as always, He has provided a river of blessings that flows at the very bottom of that dark canyon to up-lift my dingy self.
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”~Is 41:10
As I struggled over devotions, I read and re-read the WORD given. It just seemed to not fit my day, and I wondered what I was missing this time. So I gave up and put myself in His hands as I closed my eyes for this somewhat long and uneasy day. “It’s Not Supposed To Be This Way” was one of the last things I thought before I drifted off to sleep with kitty curled into my side and dogs snoring at my feet.
That is when I had a dream with its roots in a memory and the devotional that I had struggled with earlier.
When I was 7, we moved to a new house. A house where my father could walk to work and where we could all listen to the trains rumble by our house every few hours. The best thing – it was a neighborhood filled with kids my age. Mostly boys, which I didn’t appreciate until much later, but there were a few girls. One was a girl named Annie. Her family brought us freshly baked bread that first day when we were hot and tired and excited. I don’t think I had ever had warm bread like that – ever. Other neighbors and relatives joined us with other treats. Impromptu parties were not unusual to my parents. But it was always Annie and that out-of-the-oven, buttery bread that I remembered.
Last night, I dreamed of that warm bread again. Sweeter, better than I ever remembered. The Bread and Annie were both there. She asked me, “Is it really that hard to understand?” I laughed because suddenly the devotional made perfect sense, and I woke up still smiling. In fact, I can still taste that bread tonight and see Annie’s laughing face.
The Bread of Life. The Living Water. Sometimes, we just need to close our eyes. Be still. Rest in His hand. Let Him carry the battle in the canyon journey that we really don’t like. And – eat some warm buttery bread.
“I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.’ “~ Jn 6:48-51
Absolutely – completely – totally – accomplished
– – – not
– – – one
– – – thing.
And you know what?
After four weeks of pushing, driving, writing, devouring books, moving mulch, painting walls, hanging pictures, changing life around in every way possible – – – I’m okay with that. In fact, I’m more than okay with that. I sat on the patio swing and read the Sunday paper. I fell asleep on that said swing until the sun’s heat woke me up. I vegged out doing some word puzzles. I sat on the couch with the lab girls and rubbed their bellies after one of our many excursions of ball searching in the woods.
“But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD,
whose confidence is in Him.”
There has been peace beyond any of my understanding in today. Mostly, because in the past few years (hmmm – decades??), I haven’t had a day like this. A day when my mind has been still. A day when books, crafts, goals are ignored. A day when my thoughts just enjoyed the things in front of me and not even looked over the hill to see beyond that.
What is that?
I don’t do this.
I’m am used to being busy and keeping things running.
But not today.
Today I just let it be. Wet grass before the sun was up. Hummingbirds hovering around all the flowering plants and feeders. Moths landing on my finger and then on the mulch. Cardinals. Sparrows. The elusive blue bird. Squirrels and bunnies dodging away from the lab girls. The last day lily of the season. Tomatoes ripening. Magnolia blooms opening. Squeak of the swing as the sun sets. Hiss of a cat when she loses her butterfly before coming in for a cuddle.
“They will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.”
In fact, I don’t think I have done this since – once upon a time – long time ago when I laid under a maple tree in a small yard at 421 Riverside Dr. For whatever reason, today has been re-visitation of that day. That original day came the same summer my father had his first heart attack. It had been a long month for this “Daddy’s Girl”. Days of only being able to see him through a hospital window. Days listening to my mother cry at night. Days when I first grappled with things beyond my ken. Days when I needed to hear my father’s voice in my ear and to feel his arms lifting me into the air again.
“It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.”
GOD is good like that. He knows what we need before we do. On that day long ago, He let me hear His voice as he lifted me high beyond those maple leaves, so that I could see the clouds and feel the same peace I’ve felt today. It was the first time on this earth that I recognized GOD as My Father.
“It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.”~ Jer 17:7–8
This morning when I woke up, I was just lying in bed. Stretching. Saying good morning to the lab girls. Saying good morning to GOD. Head full of all plans and things I was going to get done. Finish the last few chapters of the book I am reading. Read another devotional chapter. Play the piano. Move a few wheelbarrows full of mulch. Paint a wall or two. Go to church. But even before I got out of bed to feed the hungry lab girls, He was smiling and showing me that day under a maple tree.
And sometimes –
It is just good to be still; to listen to His voice; to let Him lift you beyond the leaves to see the clouds and to let His peace cover you. I really need to do this more often, Father, I really do. Thank you for always knowing exactly what I need and when I need it the most. “You are good, good, oh-so-good…You are good, good, oh-so-good…” 🎵
“I, even I, am He who comforts you.”~ Is 51:12a