Time to Turn the Page

The last day of the month,
The day I turn the calendar…
And I pause.

Time is passing.

Days,
Minutes,
Moments.

Life.

Psalm 90:12
“Lord, teach us to number our days aright…”

“Teach us to live well!”
(The Message)

I was given a special calendar by a dear friend who shares my love for Israel. I wanted to do something memorable with this calendar, so it would be something I could treasure and keep even after the year was out-dated. I’ve decided to use it as a prayer calender. I am writing down my “top” prayer request or concern each day.

Most days, when I record a new petition, I end up praying over the other things I have written down.

As I turn this page tonight, I wonder how these will be answered.

When I look back at the end of the next month,
the next year,
or at the end of my life…
What thanks will I be giving to God?

I’m expecting
“exceedingly abundantly”
beyond all I can imagine.

This is a good thought to end this day.

Father, I am filled with hope. Help me to be even more thoughtful and intentional in my prayers this next month. Lord, what would You have me to pray? Lord, teach me to pray as I number my days.
Amen.

Not Too Proud To Beg

She doesn’t want her dinner.
The meal is over, and there she sits. Nibbling and picking.

Our puppy knows where the crumbs fall. He patiently sits at her feet. Waiting.
And I am reminded…

Matthew 15 (NIV 1984)
A Canaanite woman … came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

…His disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.”

He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”

The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said.

He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.”

“Yes, Lord,” she said, “but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.”

Then Jesus answered, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.”

I am a Gentile clinging to the words of Christ and the Old Testament promises that include me.

I want to be like this woman of great faith. I echo what Peter said when Christ asked his disciples if they would leave Him like so many others that were offended by His teaching. “Where else would I go? You alone have the words of life!”( John 6)

He sits there so patiently… waiting, waiting, waiting to vacuum up the tiniest yummy bit of her supper; and so I hang of His every word. I am desperate for Him. I know that my wisdom and all the commentary of men is like dog-food compared to pork-chops and peas or steak and potatoes.

Luke 10 (NIV 1984)
Jesus… came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made…

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.

In His presence.
Sitting at His feet.
Seeking Him.
Finding Him… to be everything I need.

Sunday sermons, devotionals, Bible study groups… so many ways to be fed, but all these are “fast food” and “snacks”. They’ll do in a pinch and tide me over for a bit… but, nothing can substitute for the table He sets before me.

Oh, wonderful, merciful Savior! There is no one like You!
Sweet Spirit, comforting, counseling, teaching, guiding.
Father, Creator, Sustainer of Life.
I desire You, Your Words, above all else.

I am poor in spirit. I hunger and thirst for righteousness.
Fill me. Feed me.
I am not too proud to beg.

Men and Boys

“Let him who is without gas cast the first stone.”

Ah, yes, let’s write that one down in the book of family wisdom to pass down to the next generation.

The girls headed off to bed early tonight, and the boys are having some quality guy-time in the living room playing Cabella’s Big Game Hunter.

And, I’m lying here in bed eavesdropping… and smiling.

Guys are so different from us gals. I’m so thankful that my boys are learning about manhood from a man like my husband. He has integrity and deep faith, but he also has a wonderful sense of humor.

He makes home so fun! Everything changes when he comes in the door.

As much as I got a chuckle out of the proverb I quoted above, my favorite line of the night was when my son said to my husband, “You’re the best dad.”

He is.
And, the best husband, too.

Thank you, God, for my man.

if it is not of faith…

A State Police car pulled up to our house tonight.

The kids were all excited.

Two sharply dressed troopers came to the door.

“Ma’am, I’m sorry, but we have some bad news…”

Moments felt like minutes
It seemed my heart stopped
and then began to pound
I felt almost faint

What could this mean?
It was late.
My husband wasn’t home.
Had something happened?

It was bad news,
but nothing as urgent as I had begun to braced myself for.

Now that my children are safe in bed and the house is quiet, I am filled with thankfulness, not fear. I consider how different this night would be if those officers had delivered more disturbing news… news that certainly countless others have received. My heart aches and is filled with new compassion for those who have had that experience.

And as I reflect back on the evening, I realize that thankfulness has changed my life.

The habit of counting blessings, even in times when it is hard to be thankful, has transformed my way of thinking. This is evidence that applying scripture works!

“In everything give thanks.”
and
“Be transformed by the renewing of your mind”
(Better understood after reading Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts)

I see a miracle in me.

Rather than being gripped by the “what-ifs” of fear tonight,
I found myself habitually counting His gifts.

His partner handed me a sheet of paper and began to tell me about a serious issue for our neighborhood. I gathered my children to explain. We circled up as we do every night and prayed.

Eldest son, the man of the house for the evening, prayed first…

His prayers baffled me… such maturity, such wisdom, compassion, insight… all words I would not have thought to pray.

I have a quiet spirit tonight.

We are safe.
He watches over us.
He never sleeps; He never slumbers.
He hems us in behind and before.
He has placed His hand upon us.
Such knowledge is too wonderful!
…too lofty for me to completely understand!

under His wing,
the apple of His eye,
His treasure,
His child

He is our refuge
our fortress
our shield
defender
protector
guard

His gives His angels charge over us
to guard
to keep
to protect

aaah, scripture hidden away in our heart and prayed

We are loved. We are known.
We are under His care.

Thank you, Lord, for Your perfect love that casts out fear.

Later this evening, in a totally different context, I heard myself say,
“If it is not of faith, it has no place in this home.”
It rang in my ears.

“If it is not of FAITH, it has NO PLACE in this home!”

Amen.

I will trust in the Lord at all times!
His praise shall continually be in our mouths and on our lips.

The old song is true,
“He’s got the whole world in His hands.”
He has me,
my husband,
my children,
my home,
and yours…
He has you. You are His, and you are safe.
Whatever worries you tonight, trust Him with it.

Blessings to you and your home tonight.
Sleep well. Sleep safe and secure in His arms.

Senses Overwhelmed

“Who wants eggs with their pancakes?” (silence)

“Who wants hugs with their kisses?”

faint answers of “me” from distant rooms
suddenly rising to a thunder of feet on hard wood that
rumbles beneath the echoing choir of children’s voices
“me”, “me”, “me”…

soon I’m drowning in a tidal wave of children
all arms and bodies as I’m tackled with love

I woke this morning, buried under layers
of sheets
quilts
eiderdown

Slow to resurrect myself from my warm burrow
only to layer again under
long-johns
flannel pants
fleece top
snow pants
hat
scarf
gloves
boots

Again I step out of the warm
into the cold

The world has been transformed again by snow and wind

so different from the summer version of these views

frozen pond,
blown clean as the field

snow drifts…

layers of powder,
compacted and piled
blanketing the earth

handsome says, the snow of the entire county blows across these fields and dumps on the edge of our drive

I’m cold
and sweating
under all my coverings
frozen fingers and nose

Inside again
I shuck and peel
I’m melting down to my wool socks
faster than the snow on my boots

The smell of bacon sweeps over me
“big breakfast”, oh, I have a sweet man

eggs,
bacon,
pancakes,
grits…

I love my grits with salt, pepper,
and butter!

(The northerner I married and his brood doctor their hominy with cinnamon and sugar. Just doesn’t seem right.)

This morning has been a feast for my senses,
a banquet for my soul.
“You prepare a table before me…”
Thank You, Lord.

(We opened the last jar of maple syrup this morning. We were away last March; so we weren’t able to tap and boil in 2011. Like Elijah’s oil, amazingly, our last batch has not run-out.)

The tastes, the smells, the views,
The sounds of my favorite voices,…

Breakfast on fine china…
we are rich.

I am alive.
I am blessed.
Simple treasures, wondrous pleasures.
It is almost too much to take in.