Month: March 2020

I am the Lord and there is none beside me.

Isaiah 43 is one of the most wonderful chapters in all of scripture. (Of course I say that about a lot of chapters.)

But what draws me to this particular chapter is how many times God draws attention to his own lordship. God is not capable of arrogance as it would sound coming from human lips.

He’s doesn’t repeat this time after time for his own benefit but for ours. He is reminding us that he and he alone deserves to be called the one and only Lord.

He goes on to recount his creation of all living things on this earth, we humans in particular. Paul quotes Isaiah 9b, “Will the clay say to the potter, “What are you doing?” In Romans 9: 20-21, it states that we are his to shape and mold as he sees fit without question.

To give someone else control isn’t easy. Giving our government control over our actions isn’t easy. None of us like being told where we can or cannot go.

But maybe we can use this restriction on our lives as a way to remind us that this is how we are supposed to place ourselves in the Potter’s hands to do with as he wishes.

Think of this portion of scripture the next time you bristle about your restrictions and confinement. Let those feelings of irritation remind you, remind me, that we are usually wrangling with God over these same control issues.

Assuming we are in right relationships with God, his molding of us will only draw us closer to him and his purpose for our lives.

If we are not in right relationship with God, he will have to continue getting us back to that starting point as a lump of clay and start all over again, many times all over again.

Doesn’t it make sense to cooperate with him the first time?

Let’s allow God to really shape us during this shut-down. Let’s think through our reactions about giving up control and try and determine if we treat God this way sometimes. Is there a correlation? Can we learn from this how it feels to give God control?

I wonder why we are all looking for something to do. I’ve even got a post coming soon with some ideas for you. But I wonder, why are we trying to occupy every minute?

I’m guessing it’s because we’re scared and being busy helps. But I’m not sure that’s so good. So while I, too, am getting bored and want to fill every moment, I’m also trying to make sure I have plenty of contemplative time. I want to think about this crisis and how it can make me stronger in my faith walk.

What about you? Are you taking time during this quarantine to simply think?

God bless and stay safe.

The post,”I am the Lord and there is none beside me”appeared first on faithsighanddiy.com.

What is a “breath” prayer and how to use it.

“BREATH” PRAYERS

prayer
prayer/google images/breath prayer

A “breath” prayer is a prayer that can be said in one breath.  The ancient monks often prayed, “Lord, have mercy” as their “breath” prayers.  Christians often repeat the name, “Jesus” as their breath prayer. I have a number of phrases I use. A few of my favorites are, “Be still and know”, “He makes me lie down”, “Be anxious for nothing”.

Today I’m including a one-word breath prayer, “Focus”.

inspirational
breath prayers/inspirational

A PERSONAL EXAMPLE

It was one of those days.  Someone I love was going through a difficult time.  She lost something.  That’s it.  Just lost something.  Nothing irreplaceable, mostly annoying. They were sandwiched in between some other situations, however, that were troublesome.  But she let it mushroom.

While it was mushrooming, she ruminated. (Rumination is going over the same thing again and again. Unless once is determinedly seeking constructive answers, it always leads one down the path to destructive thinking.) Finally, after ten days of berating herself, she let a couple of people in on it.

I was one of those people.

At first, I wanted to laugh because it really wasn’t that big of a deal.  I listened instead because while it wouldn’t have been a big deal to me, it was to her. It doesn’t matter what our age is, we all have things we stress out about. It’s different for everyone. Because of the mighty outpouring of adrenaline, our emotions run out of control.

We make mistakes, sometimes really big ones.  We ignored a stop sign and got into an accident. We ended up with points on our license and higher insurance premiums. All because we didn’t corral our stress.

Our thoughts get all messed up, too. Stress unchecked has a destructive effect on all parts of our body.  Our constant rehashing keeps the adrenaline levels elevated, not a good thing.  I reassured her that losing something wasn’t nearly as much of a problem as her thinking she had to keep it secret. 

She was “humiliated she had done such a thing and embarrassed to let anyone else know about it.” She kept her own stress level up by keeping it hidden. When she realized it wasn’t such a big deal, she seemed to do better.

light road red yellow
Traffic light. Stop, Caution, Go

What to do?

  • Focus. Focus on what can be done. I can’t make anyone think differently. And, especially so if it has been their lifelong pattern. (I have no idea why this print is a different size. I’ve tried everything even to the point of deleting and retyping. These electronic devices have a mind of their own sometimes, huh? Focus, Rebecca, focus.)
  • Focus. I don’t need to get dragged down. I can’t let this incident muddle everything else in my life. And I could.  But her perception of her failing health has great implications for me as well. 
  • Focus on the fact that wisdom will come as needed.
  • Focus on the elimation of unneccessary guilt.
  • Focus on letting go of unnecessary stress. (There’s that font again. (To me, “Let go of uncessary stress.)

Maybe that’s a one-word “breath” prayer you can pray today if you’re trying to stay above the fray.

Focus.

The post, “What is a “breath” prayer and how to use it.” appeared first on faithsighanddiy.com, Under His Wings.

When God said, “Just love her” and I did.

I wrote this about five years ago. I wanted to post it again with some additional comments. (In Italics) My mother had fallen at my house just a few days prior and was in the hospital when I wrote this.

THE PAST STORY

Today my mom is doing much better.  She’s working hard in therapy and will be coming home in about a week. But with her improved condition, she’s also returned to her stubbornness. I came home from the hospital thoroughly stressed out. I was ready to pull out what hair I have left having pulled it out in frustration over the past week. (It’s a good thing I have a lot of it.)

She called me a few minutes ago to tell me she passed a cognitive test with flying colors, Considering how hard her head “kissed” the sidewalk, this is really, really good news.  After we ended our conversation,  the phrase, “Just love her,” came into my mind. I believe that epiphany was from God.

joyful adult daughter greeting happy surprised senior mother in garden

The feeling I experienced after our phone conversation was vastly different from what I’d felt when I left the hospital today. It felt warm and cozy. It felt “right”.  I felt such pride in her accomplishment and such love for her.

Light-bulb flash! This is how I want to feel.  I don’t want to be her police officer, her mother, her know-it-all daughter. Besides, when I think about her life and what’s she’s accomplished with little education, no high-paying job, and under difficult circumstances, I am humbled. I just want to love her and go from there.

I couldn’t have done it.

The words, “Just love her”, overwhelmed me. I knew the Source of those words. This last week I’ve felt little connection with God, I’vebeen wondering where he was in all this. Today I know exactly where he was. Right where he needed to be. Helping me make all the right medical decisions. Putting the right people with the right information at the right time in my path. Keeping me from sinking. And now this.

woman looking at sunset

Internally, I was making all these plans for my mom and orchestrating her entire life, trying to cover all the bases.  I couldn’t sleep, wasn’t eating much. I was going to end up in the hospital myself if I kept it up.  And then,

“Just love her.”

What a relief! I can just love and enjoy her. She isn’t going to change-thank God. Her stubbornness is what accounts for her tenacity. It’s why she’s working so hard during therapy. I can love her for her stubbornness not in spite of it.

Enjoying my life means not micro-managing hers.  Will I, too, revert back to some of my old habits?  Of course. But I honestly believe I’ve turned a necessary corner in our relationship. One that allows both of us dignity and autonomy.

I wish you had walked with me this last week. I wish you could have seen how events transpired. A lot of tears were shed when no one was watching. The overwhelming guilt at times because she fell at my house.  On my sidewalk.  And then I wish you could see how I’m sitting here tonight, still depression-free. Despite it all.

I don’t know what you’re going through in your life. Some of you are probably dealing with some really “heavy” stuff. 

But I hope my experience will help you.

TODAY’S STORY

My mother died three years ago and I really miss her. The very qualities that kept me so frustrated are the qualities I now miss.

We often try to micromanage people. Yes, we do it out of love but it usually doesn’t work. And in the process, we often lose ourselves. Of course, though, because we CAN’T really manage anyone, we fail. We add guilt to our shoulders.

I guess the lesson is to manage our own lives. This is what God has called us to do. We will not be held accountable for other people (except for those who can’t take care of themselves due to age, disability, etc. ), but we will be held accountable for what WE do.

The years following the accident were very hard. My mother died of dementia and the last few months were hard. But I was able to remember to “Just Love Her”, and that got me through a lot of hard times. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/the-simple-guide-to-carin_1_b_12885810

So if you have people in your life that are EGR people, (Extra Grace Required) and you are at your wit’s end, just remember that love really does cover a lot of things.

God bless and I hope you have a good day.

The post,”When God said, “Just love her” and I did” appeared first on faithsighanddiy.com/Under His Wings.

A beautiful walk in a field of sunflowers.

Last week we were at our cabin. We visited a couple of small tourist towns near our cabin. We decided to take a different road home. And wouldn’t you know it, we came across a field of wild sunflowers.

I don’t know if you know it or not, but there are perennial sunflowers as well as annual ones. I happen to have some in my own yard that come up every August. Mine grow to about six feet tall and the flower is about 6″ in diameter, not nearly as big as the annual ones.

Anyway, as we passed the fields, I pointed them out to my husband. We weren’t planning on coming back that way but because we took a seasonal dirt road, we ended at a dead end so had to turn around. I wasn’t too unhappy because I wanted to take some pictures of the sunflowers.

So we stopped and I got out and crossed the road to take pictures. I told my husband as I was getting out of the truck, that I hoped the person who owned the field would come out so I could ask him if I could buy some.

Sure enough, he did. I walked down the road to meet him and told him his sunflowers were beautiful and would he mind selling me some.

He said, “No”, but then added, “You can have some, though”.

I was thrilled.

He led to the gate and we walked in. I asked him if he had something to cut them with because if he didn’t, my husband had a knife in the truck.

He told me I wouldn’t need anything because we were going to pull them up by the roots. I was thrilled. Just so you know, sunflowers are very easy to pull up.

We walked into the field and walked right among the sunflowers. The sun was shining, the weather beautiful and here I was walking in a field of golden flowers. I felt like a sunflower myself. What a glorious day and experience that was.

When we got back to the cabin, we planted the flowers. They will die this year, but I’m hoping they will come back next year.

It felt so good to get away and pretend we aren’t in the middle of a pandemic. It felt good to be at the cabin where we can only get a couple of TV channels and twenty-four news is not a “thing.”

I don’t know about you but this all feels so unreal. I know it is, of course, when I go to Hobby Lobby and can’t enjoy myself because I don’t want to be in the store too long and thus don’t get to just look around.

I’m sure you feel the same way. I can’t say I love grocery shopping but I like it a lot better before all this.

And, like all of you I’m sure, I don’t like not being able to hug or kiss family members who live in another household. It’s just not safe.

I hope all of you are finding ways to cope. I hope you are finding your hope in Christ. And I certainly hope none of you have experienced this illness with someone you know or personally.

We have hope because God is on his throne. My vision of that, because of the sunflower field experience, is that God is seated on his throne among a field of beautiful sunflowers. Don’t you think that sounds beautiful?

God bless and have a safe day.

The post, “A walk in a field of wildflowers Does it get any better?” appeared first on faithsighanddiy.com/Under His Wings.

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