At this season of the year, do not be afraid

“The angel of the Lord said to her, “Do not be afraid.” Luke 1:30

Do you mark certain passages in your Bible? Can you highlight on your phone Bible app? I don’t know.  I haven’t really read the Bible on my phone, even though I downloaded an app a few weeks ago so I could better relate to my younger mom friends!  I’m just used to my “real” Bible! The one I can hold in my lap and underline with a real pen!

underlined Bible

Lately I’ve been underlining the phrase that the angels kept saying right off the bat to the one they were sent to give a Godly message-“Do not be afraid.”

God sent the angel Gabriel to give Mary a very important, life-changing message and after he greeted her, he said, “Do not be afraid.” Mary was greatly troubled by this being suddenly appearing and talking directly to her. Troubled? I’d be so knotted up in fear I wouldn’t be able to respond. And the angel dares to tell her not to be afraid?

An angel appeared to Joseph, whom Mary was betrothed to be married, in a dream and the first words out of the angel’s mouth were, “Do not be afraid…..”

The angels in the heavens over the shepherds the night Mary had her miraculous baby named Jesus were also told not to be afraid.

Something totally unexpected happens in the life of these people and they are told not to be afraid. Right. Of course they were afraid. Startled. Terrified. Perfectly human response!

But I’m thinking that the reason for the admonition to be unafraid is that once their adrenaline died back down to normal so they could think, they were encouraged to consider the message. Yes, it was clearly unorthodox. Mary was told she was going to have a baby but not from Joseph and not from any other man.  Joseph was to take Mary, knowing she was pregnant but not by him but by a Holy Spirit, whatever that was. The shepherds were told to go worship the Messiah who was just born as a baby in a feed trough there in Bethlehem. Joseph and Mary had to rely on what they knew from their Jewish teaching that Jehovah was indeed their God and they were to trust in Him and how He was moving.

Later, when Jesus gave final instructions to His disciples on the night of the Passover meal, He told them “when I go away the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”

Then He said to them,

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:25-27

peace I give to you

This passage is not only underlined but held close to my heart. I have to return to this passage over and over because the enemy likes to tell me otherwise.

To so many of us, including me, this seems to be the season of “get it all done as soon as you can while still maintaining some semblance of normalcy in the home;” or,  the season of “I must do something tangible for everyone I know right now so they’ll think nice of me and because this is what we do at this time of year only.”

Somewhere along the way, the “Should-a finger” begins to wag. You know, that ugly nagging old finger; the enemy uses the “should-a finger” when we crash in to bed at the end of a very busy day and the “should-a finger” begins to accuse. You should-a done it this way-the way you saw it done on Pintrest or the way your friend does it- her decorating, her baking, her outdoor decorations, and those lovely Christmas cards of all the family dressed exactly alike and smiling. How DID they get that baby to smile on cue???

The world, including a whole lot of well-meaning Believers, gets caught up in all the hoop-la. They just have to decorate, send out cards, bake, all while carrying on the normal routine of their lives. When you enter their inner world, their bedroom, their closet, their kitchen, their heart, you’ll see cracks and crevices of not-put-togetherness. Trust me.

And that’s when I have to run to my treasure trove of Scripture such as the one in Isaiah 26:3.

“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are stayed on Thee, because they trust in Thee.”

Perfect peace. His peace. That peace He promised that would not look like the world.

Yes, I have to make the conscious decision to move away from the accuser and in to the Truth of what Jesus promised. To the Word. And truly, I’m put at ease when I dwell on Jesus. That’s what He wants us to do! He is not a religion! He is not a plastic or ceramic baby doll in a manger at this busy season. He’s real and wants us to trust in the promise of His peace. So I do. And experience the reality of His peace.

So what does leaning in to the perfect peace of Jesus look like?

On Wednesday evening a couple of moms and their children came over for chili and cornbread. I had stressed over having enough for whoever came, thinking surely more were coming. They just had not taken the time to let me know. But once the moms came, in my spirit I gave the evening entirely over to the Lord. What He had in mind was exactly what transpired. Time with a couple of moms who needed to pour out their heart; and time to pray. No frills, gifts, or fanfare.

Listen. All the extra giving and card giving and crafts and baking are not bad in or of themselves. But all this can be distracting us from focusing on who Jesus is and why He came. Distractions are definitely one of the enemy’s greatest tricks.  The enemy also delights in posing as the “should-a finger” causing in us that over wrought feeling of not accomplishing all that should be done at this season.

“Don’t be afraid to simplify. Let the peace of Christ rule in your heart and……be thankful” Colossians 3:15.

Thankful for the reason we go crazy at this time of year. Take a few minutes each day and say, “Lord, I lean in to Your peace today. I choose to rely on You this day. Help me to rest in You no matter what. Thank you, Lord!” Then, you’ll be a blessing to those around you as you experience His peace. It will come over you in a beautiful profound way. I guarantee it.

Do not be afraid to lean in to the Father this year.

Do not be afraid to let go of those things that really aren’t important.

Do not be afraid to say no. Not this year.

Do not be afraid to give thanks; out loud; multiple times a day!

Do not be afraid to give out smiles and hugs and love to others.

Do not be afraid to receive. Do not be afraid to give.

To Him be the glory. Amen.

 

The Kindness of God

children being kind

“The Lord’s loving-kindnesses indeed never cease; For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Thy faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23 NASB

Who knows the story of a young man whose name is fun to say? Do you know anything about Me-phib-o-sheth? Check out Second Samuel 9. Or…..just keep reading! 🙂

King David began wondering if there were any relatives in the house of Jonathan, Saul’s son, who was also David’s very best friend; his covenant friend. Truth be told, as the king of Israel, it would have been within the culture of the day for him to kill off all the blood family from the previous dynasty. But David didn’t inquire so he could go kill them. He asked so he may show the kindness of Jonathan his friend.

The king summoned Ziba, the servant of Saul’s household. (By the way, the new king was also allowed to slay all the previous king’s servants–they hear and keep family secrets, too!). Ziba  may have quaked a bit in his dusty sandals as he fell prostrate to the floor of the palace. David gave the kingly sign for him to rise and answer him.

“Is there anyone still alive from the house of Saul to whom I can show God’s kindness?” asked King David.

“There is one son of Jonathan; and by the way, he is lame in both feet,” answered Ziba. “He is Mephibosheth, living in Lo-debar.”  David had Mephibosheth brought to the palace from Lo-debar. Mephibosheth bowed low before the King. After all, he knew what David the King was allowed to do. He was aware this could be the end of his life. He was in for a total surprise.

“Don’t be afraid,” said the King. You can stop quaking in your sandals now.

“I will surely show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan.” Kindness?? But I’ve been living/hiding in Lo-debar all these years!  A dry and parched land! Hey! In case, you’ve not noticed–I’m the lame son. No one thinks I can do anything so I just subsist in Lo-debar where nothing is growing!

“I will restore to you all the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul.” Wow. That’s a lot of land! What are you up to?

“And you will always eat at my table.” The king’s table? Here? In Jerusalem? My crippled no good feet under the table of the king? Forever? Who are you?

Mephibosheth most likely had never heard the history his dad Jonathan and this king David had with one another. He didn’t know that his dad and the king had made a covenant with one another that stretched all the way into their descendants forever. (First Samuel 20). They made a pact with one another; a binding covenant between them and the Lord God that they would not cut off the Lord’s lovingkindness from one another’s houses-from all their descendants forever.  David kept that promise that day when he had Mephibosheth brought to his palace.

David was a promise keeper.

As we, in the intimate gathering of our church, were asked to ponder this story in II Samuel 9 in yesterday’s service, the pastor challenged us to call out what part of the story jumped out at us. One member directed us to verse 3 where David said he wanted to show God’s kindness. In verse one David asks his servants if there was anyone in the house of Saul he could show kindness for Jonathan’s sake. The pastor reminded us that indeed both David and Jonathan had made a covenant between them and the Lord to show the Lord’s lovingkindness to one another’s descendants forever.

Mephibosheth did indeed move to Jerusalem where he dined at the table of the King for the rest of his life. Surely they had quite the discussions of their lives and the memories shared of Jonathan. Perhaps David described his day with Goliath; or he quoted some of his poetry from his writing days–those poems he sang as songs to the Lord–the Psalms in the middle of our Bibles.

But the Lord spoke to my heart later that afternoon. I wondered if Mephibosheth ever thanked David for bringing him up out of Lo-debar; out of the parched land into the palace for the rest of his life. The story was not about whether he thanked David. The story was about David showing God’s kindness to the last living descendant of the house of Saul. It was about David keeping his promise not only to Jonathan but to God. It was about God’s lovingkindness being shown to an undeserving young man. A man who was and would always be lame in both feet.

I had to get on my knees and ask God to forgive me. He gently reminded me that I had longed in my heart for some friends to thank me for their gifts I had given last Christmas. And when would they be giving me a gift? After all…..

The Lord disciplined me in my spirit after this message on David showing God’s lovingkindness. In giving gifts this year–whether to family, friends, ministries, strangers, it is always about showing God’s lovingkindness–not ever ours. Then it is a true God-given- no-strings-attached gift. Do you see? If the story mentioned that Mephibosheth had expressed thanks, then the story would be more about a man being kind to another man. No.

This story was about God being kind to an undeserving man. God being kind to us undeserving folks.seeking human kindness

 He shows lovingkindness to those of us living in the dry and parched no good land like Lo-debar. It’s what He does. This story and the Lord’s kind discipline to his daughter has reminded me that this year when I give it’s from His love. God’s lovingkindness always.’Tis the season to give from the heart of kindness. God’s kindness.

Lord, every single story in the Bible is for a purpose. Thank you for reminding me of Your lovingkindness shown to an undeserving young man; thank you for your gentle discipline to my heart. Giving to others as you so generously gave to me Your Son Jesus who died for my sins. Thank you, Lord, for your lovingkindness never ceases. Amen.

It is a joy to pray for you!

“The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” James 5:16women-talking-together

Similar to William Faulkner’s “streams of thought” style of writing many of his southern based novels, it seems my latest journal could just as easily be classified  as “streams of unfocused thoughts”. One page entitled “People who need jobs, Lord” lists six folks; a mix of moms, their adult children, my best friend of twenty plus years, and another friend’s son. I stumbled on this page while thumbing through my journal last night. As I reread the list, I recalled jotting down their names over the summer when each precious friend called to ask for prayer for them or their children to get a job very soon. (Securing a job is always an urgent request). Now, with great exhilaration, I wrote beside five of the six names – WORKING! Next to the sixth name I put – still looking.

As a mentor to four moms from our single mom ministry at church these past three years, it has been the joy of my heart to pray for them and then to witness God’s hand in their lives. But over this past summer the Lord showed me that He doesn’t always answer the way I wanted Him to answer.

Last January I made a solemn commitment to a friend that I would pray for her in her current job position every single day; we were praying for a job change, to be quite honest. She was in a place where her supervisor was not seeing my friend’s true potential or how hard she was working in other areas, even as she was documenting those favorable areas and trying to put her best foot forward. In the wisdom of our Depression era fathers, she did not resign her position. Instead, when the time came for her to search, she did with great abandon, and came up empty. At the end of the job searching time she returned to her position, as did her supervisor to hers.

This summer I had the privilege to be with my friend in her home town for about four days as she recuperated from a surgery. While there, over breakfast one morning, the Holy Spirit seemed to speak to my heart what my friend needed to hear.

“You know,” I said softly to her, leaning in, “you may be in this position to build some character in your supervisor. Maybe you being here in this position is not about you but about those around you. Perhaps the Lord is keeping you here to show Himself to the others in your realm of influence through you. What if this seeming unanswered prayer in our eyes is God gently letting you know He isn’t finished molding your character in this hard place?” She listened. She agreed. Her faith is deepening. Always grateful.

When God doesn’t answer the prayers of our heart the way we want (and what a small circle of vision we have!!) it is not a time for us to turn our back on Him, tempted as we are, but rather a time to say, with open hands, whatever you have in mind, Lord. You see the full tapestry of my life. I just see this tiny space with the little flashlight pointed at the ground just in front of me. You see way on out there; the other folks in my life; the new opportunities for reaching new folks coming into my life with your love.

What about the answers to prayers of the others on the list?

One mom resigned a position she had held for three years, but burned no bridges. Therefore, a colleague was able to highly recommend her to a gentleman in a related business and offered her a 50% higher salary than what she was making! She is well aware the whole transaction was ALL GOD!

Another mom on the list also didn’t burn any bridges. She waited all summer while God moved some other people such as a new principal in place who didn’t know this mom’s previous semester at the school as a student teacher. Her colleagues put in a very good word for her. She got the call shortly before school started to come on board as a third grade teacher! Her own children are right down the hall in first and fourth grades! Praise the Lord!

In witnessing all the stories this summer of God moving in the lives of these precious sisters in Christ, my own faith has deepened. I’ve learned that when asked to pray I pray. I don’t solve, fix, whine, or worry over the situation. I go back to the true word of God and say back to my Lord, you said you would provide. You said You will never leave or forsake these Your children. You know the end from the beginning and you know best what their individual needs are. So, I give you this prayer need and say “AMEN!” in agreement! You have my sister in Christ and you are already taking good care of her! Thank you!

Lord Jesus, it is a joy to pray for others and an even greater joy to witness your answers, resting in the knowledge that you know the best answer to each person’s needs. Help us all to remember how much you love us and desire to draw us closer to You in all aspects of our lives. In Your name, Lord, Amen.

 

 

 

What I learned on vacation

mountains

“Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.” Psalm 90:2

Mentoring doesn’t take a vacation. It doesn’t happen on “Mary Kay time”–nine to nine.

No, mentoring happens when it’s needed.

This week two moms were in need. One evening I received an epistle on my phone. This mom’s twenty-something son was giving her some grief.  His issues were not going to be solved over texting. One of us, I forget who, punched in the number. I put down my book about the nation of Israel and its rebirth, turned off the music and listened. You know, she told me in a nearly desperate sounding voice, I wish I had someone to sit on the edge of the bed with me and tell me I was doing the right thing with this kid. That kind of support would mean so much.

Thankfully, my Beloved mentors with me through prayer, advice and fix-it skills. In the middle of this week of vacation, he drove up the driveway to vacation with me. After he did a little fishing, he and I had a conversation with this mom, encouraging her decisions and her heart. Before the week was over, she sent me a less long text saying that her son had been offered a job and that the repairs on his truck were not as high as she thought. Though still dealing with some other troubling issues, his mom sees again the working of God in their lives and how He provides faithfully.

Our other mom texted some needs for prayer. Because she was working, her messages came less often. Still my husband and I prayed. Knowing this mom was so anxious about having to be at work and away from her daughter in crisis, I sent her an email, reminding her of how huge God is. He is overseeing her daughter as well as her dad who is with her;

God is over her, mom. I reminded her that when she prays for her daughter, she is really shooting up an AMEN! to God in agreement with His moving and taking care of what she can’t handle.

That’s right. We fix-it moms believe we are responsible for taking care of our children, which means being there for all their needs; intervening in the choices they make; and holding ourselves responsible for their mistakes and poor choices. After all, we believe, it’s our fault for their messes. We gave birth to them so surely we are responsible for every little thing they do.

What, Moms, is God’s purpose! To be aloof? To form the mountains, the oceans, set the sun and moon in motion then go away? To form the child in your womb and let you handle the child from there? What a false belief!

True, we are given these children to raise to the best of our responsibility but not alone!

With or without a husband, we moms would be better off when we live out the truth that God, who formed the mountains as well as that baby in your womb will be a part of your everyday life.

But He is not a God who pushes Himself on any of us! We invite Him into our home and by faith we say, God, take this young man, this young lady, and mold them in to the young people you have designed them to be. Help them through the choices they make. Be there with them when they are hurting and missing a dad, when they are doubting that anyone loves them, that they hurt so deep that they want to hurt themselves. Remind them, God, that they are made for a purpose – to give Him glory. Moms, we must get a hold of the truth that God wants us to let go and let Him take care of our young people.

 Mentors, we are most useful when we do listen to our moms, hearing their torn and broken heart.

We do well to shed a little light on the less perfect road we have traveled in raising our own children, validating to our moms that we are real and have hurt too. Intentionally, and because our moms are yearning to be reminded of what is truth, we share God’s promises with them.

 The daughter’s mom appreciated the fact that I told her I had been in the psych hospital with one son; had waited in the ER while he dried out from an overdose. I knew the pain she was experiencing with a child who hurt so deep that she wanted to hurt herself. And I reminded her that there wasn’t much I could do but pray.

Lean hard in to the truth that Jesus wants so much to bring me His peace.

(John 14:27).

 So I shared with her that as much as you want to fix your young lady, continue to make her aware of the truths from God’s word that she is beautifully made. It’s up to her to own those truths and believe in them and not the lies of the world and the enemy. I reminded mom that when she leans in to the truth that Jesus is her peace, (John 16:33) she can be a better mom when she relaxes in His presence and releases her anxiety and gives her daughter completely to Him.

Easy to do? Surely not. But true? Absolutely. The God of the universe is ready and willing to take care of every detail of our lives.

We need to step away in faith and trust that he is who he says he is and then watch and see what he does with our children!

My son, the one who spent a week or so in the hospital, is working and paying his bills and has a hope in the Lord that He is taking care of him. The son’s mom is again marveling at how God is taking care of an undeserving son – are any of us deserving? That story is for another time.

557Meanwhile, when not texting my moms, I did have a glorious time on vacation!

Heavenly Father, thank you for not giving up on us, your fallen children. Comfort, Lord, our moms; give them your perfect peace and remind them often of how much you love them. In Your precious name, Amen

Resource: Organic Mentoring by Sue Edwards and Barbara Neumann

 

Live it out!

“Do not fret….it only leads to evil.” Psalm 37:8

worried woman two

This week I pondered the phrase “fret not” and wondered what it meant. To fret is to worry, to have the heartburn, to fume.  It’s that anxiety over things which we have no control.  Fretting over important matters as whether my son would get another job; or worrying over truly inconsequential stuff as whether I would be accepted by new friends who were coming over one evening and if I had the right appetizer. I also fret over those important issues as knowing that some of my friends are looking for employment and still have not had an interview.

I decided to stop reading the Bible, closing it and thinking I was done with the “spiritual” part of my day. If I was going to spend all this time reading the Bible I had better start living out its truths. You know what I mean. If Jesus commanded that I forgive my neighbor before presenting an offering at the altar, I had better forgive! If Jesus said not to judge another, lest I be judged more, then I need to stop passing judgment on others.

This day I decided to practice “Fretting not.”  As I rose from my chair on the porch, I consciously kept that short phrase on my mind, repeating aloud once or twice as I prepared the appetizer in the kitchen for the evening gathering.

If you have been a Believer for a few years, you know how we get “put to the test.” This particular morning, as I was putting on my socks and shoes to take a walk on the beach, my phone rang. “Sis,” coughed a scratchy anxious voice.  My heart sank, leaped, and skipped a beat, when I heard my mother on the other end. I won’t lie. Not today, Mom, I thought. Of all days, not today.  The day that my new friends are coming to my home in Galveston for the first time. Today, you have to go to the ER. Of course I said I’d be right there! Of course! It’s what an only daughter says!

I showered, dressed and jumped in the car and headed up the road to the west side of Houston at ten in the morning. Fret not, I continued to say. I tuned in to a Christian radio station, smiled and literally laughed out loud! Of course, God! I will NOT fret today!

After my brother showed up at the ER on his lunch hour, bless his heart, my mother received the best of care at the second ER hospital down the road. Yes, my brother and I each had an agenda. Evening plans. We stepped out of ear shot of mother who was being attended to by the nurse and looked at one another, wondering who would take the night shift. He said he would. Thank you! At three I jumped back in the car, headed in to the Houston traffic for Galveston, made one grocery/gas station pit stop and arrived back at our home forty-five minutes before the company arrived! Fret not. True, I nearly bit my sweet husband’s head off only once, then apologized and said, “Fret not, Dianne!” Hanging those extra pictures on the wall is not important to this evening!

As the first guests arrived, my heart relaxed. My new friends enjoyed themselves. I suppose it didn’t hurt that I had the most wins, receiving $30 from the pot!women playing bunco

The following morning my husband and I drove back into Houston. My mother went through a day of intense suffering. I sat by her side, praying and holding her hand into the evening.

The third day, I entered my mother’s hospital room to find her sitting in the recliner, unhooked from all machines and ready to be discharged! After proving to the nurse and the doctor that she could indeed “tolerate” a soft breakfast and later a soft lunch, she was free to go! I took her back to her apartment. My husband met me at her apartment with a change of clothes and we left to drive to Pearland to meet the parents of my son’s girlfriend! On time! Fret not!

How do we live the truths in the Bible? Intentionally.  Daily.  I know He watched over Mother when no one was in the hospital room with her all night. He over saw the busy traffic as I navigated several freeways. Now, is this true of a family who loses their mom to an illness? Yes it is. God looks after each person individually and knows what is ultimately best for each one of us. What does He require?

Look at Psalm 37:3 where it says, “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will do this; He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn.” Commit your way. I’m choosing to give God all of my day; my schedule, my thoughts, what I listen to on the radio, my decisions, my words. I’m saying my day is your day, Lord; every day of the week. I trust Him, the creator of the universe for the ordinariness of my day. And when I do, He provides peace. He gives me His great joy! He comforts me all over, even in the snarled traffic while the minutes tick by. I breathe and say out loud, “You have me, God. You know what’s up ahead and you know my scrunched up time schedule and you are so in charge!” He asks us to trust Him. So I fret not.  What about you?rejoicing woman two

Now. Go out with Joy! Be led forth in His peace! Isaiah 55:12

Stuck in a well

“You will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13

Have you ever been stuck in a well? Young Jessica McClure was stuck in a well twenty-jessica mcclure twotwo feet deep in her aunt’s back yard in Midland. The world witnessed her complicated fifty-eight hour rescue. Then a collective sigh of relief came as everyone returned to their respective jobs, along with a feeling of warmth and well being inside them

When a person is emotionally stuck in a well, they are oblivious to their surroundings. They only see what is in front of them – their selfish situation, their hopelessness. One evening when I was in high school, my mother entered my room and sat at the edge of my bed. She let me know I was stuck in a well. She said, you aren’t seeing what your father and I are seeing is happening between you and this young man. He is not treating you right. You need to ponder this before you get too far into this relationship. I had never heard of being in a well before. But I was. I’m glad I heeded the concerned heart of my mother and left that relationship.

The apostle Paul was in a well. He staunchly believed that persecuting the Jews who had turned to Christ was just and noble. They were the enemy. He was doing what he could to get rid of these people who believed that Jesus had risen from the dead. Nobody had ever done that, he told King Agrippa. But one day the Lord Jesus confronted Paul head on and told him He was the Way, the Truth and the Life and to stop hindering the spread of the Gospel. Get out of the well, Jesus basically told Paul. See what I am doing.

“I (Jesus) am sending you out to the Jews and to the Gentiles to open their eyes that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, in order that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.” Acts 26:18

A dear friend’s daughter, Amy, is currently in a well. All Amy sees is what she wants to see in her own selfishness. Her family sees Amy there in her trapped circumstances.  They long for her to look up. Look up at the One who wants to pull her out. He wants to show her Himself.woman in despair

If you think you have fallen into a well of despair or heartache, please take the time to look up at the Savior who loves you. If you seek for God, he will let you find Him; if you search for Him with all your heart, He will be found by you. Take a good hard look and ask yourself, is what I’m doing helping anyone else? Am I being a help or a hurt? Am I looking at the needs of others or only my own? Is my world only about me? Why am I so lonely and empty? If you can see yourself in a hard place, seek Him.  Proverbs 18:7; Psalm 119:2woman filled with hope

“If then you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.” Colossians 3:1

 

Nestled Under His Wing – Your Choice

under-his-wings

He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge…” Psalm 91:4 NIV

This is an updated version of a recent blog with a bit of “take home” for those of you who are listening.

The date was set for mid January – the weekend before Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday on Monday. Who would have known when we set the date back in October that the weather would be foggy and chilly! After all, it is January! So, because of the weather, we camped in most of the day. And we were so okay with that!

Two of my very dearest friends drove out to our beach home, “Doves Rest,” for our bi-annual visit. Diana’s husband joined her so my Beloved would have a fishing buddy.

We three read, shared, ate, napped, puzzled, and generally hung out together in our socks and comfy clothes. And when we got a bit of cabin fever, we put on more clothes and went out for a walk in the dense fog. We discovered a few others out in it, too.

Each time we’ve come together, it seems that one of us has had some crisis in her life right then, causing us to pray over her and seek the Lord’s counsel.

This time Tammy was in need of some extra hugs and loving. Over the course of the weekend we listened to her struggles about work. We mulled over it. The next afternoon, after much fellowship, pondering, praying privately, and some light-hearted game playing, she came to us and asked what we thought she needed to say to her supervisor in the coming week.

“I’m afraid,” she said, as she was writing in her journal.

“Well, though you are uncomfortable at work right now, that may not be the first thing you say, if at all, to your supervisor,” I responded. “You may want to say, ‘I have some concerns.’”

“I feel I’m at the end of the season here at this location. What are your thoughts regarding transferring to another campus next year,” she said, while writing. “Would that work?” We agreed that would be honest. We continued to talk it over together, Diana also sharing her thoughts and suggestions.

By Sunday afternoon, following worship at our church on the beach, hugs were shared all round.Then we headed home.

It was cloudy but not raining. I decided to take the toll road east around downtown. As we were going up over the Houston Ship Channel, Tammy sharing memories of her brother serving as a merchant marine and her grandmother’s visit to Houston, I noticed that she was relaxing more. The weekend had indeed refreshed her, despite the weather!

When we got home we donned our PJ’s and sat on the couch with a hot bowl of mac and cheese and watched some forgettable movie on Netflix while my husband went to play his usual round of pool. Following the movie, we each headed to bed. We were done in!

The next morning it was raining and Tammy decided to wait it out before heading back home to Austin. As we finished eating our bacon and eggs, she leaned in to me and said, “I was given this word picture a long time ago, when I was in the muck and mess with an angry parent of one of my students.

There was a cauldron of turmoil that everyone was fussing over. I felt detached from the activity. Then I realized that the Lord had lifted me to higher ground, to a nest in a cliff overlooking the frenzy below. There, in the cleft of the rock, I nestled under His wings. The more I looked to Him, and the nearer I drew to Him, the more I could feel His heartbeat and peace.”

She continued. “All the fiery arrows that were shot out and meant to bring me down were deflected by His wings. I was safe and sheltered and filled with His peace. He urged me to look below. As I did, my heart filled with prayers for this mother. There, close to His heart, focused on Him, my perspective changed.”

 She paused, looking directly into my eyes and nearly whispered, “He has me, Dianne. I know that He does.” And I know that He has Tammy. We shall not be afraid!

 Tammy later shared her journal entry and gave permission to pass on to you today.

When we face various trials or battles, we need to seek that place of rest by choosing to crawl under His wing, in the cleft of the rock, far above our situation.  As we focus on Him with thanksgiving and praise of Who He is and who we are in Him, the problem/battle becomes smaller as we are enveloped completely by His presence. Under the shadow of His wing, He is all we can see and our senses are filled with Him as we breathe Him in and put him on: we sense His closeness, nurture, protection, love, and warmth. We sense our smallness and His greatness. We sense His deep love for us. We sense His power and glory. The angst of the moment gives way to His perfect peace as we are pressed close to His chest. The more we enter into that restful peace, the clearer we are able to hear His heartbeat and understand His perspective. As we rest in the rhythm of His heartbeat we are able to look down on our situation, from the cleft of the rock, with His viewpoint. 

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, My God in whom I trust.” Psalm 91:1-2 NASB