My husband and I still laugh about it, so don’t spend too much time feeling bad for me or pondering my foolishness. When Utah had a 5.7 earthquake in March 2020, it “shook” me to the core. I am still not sure about all the reasons it had such a profound effect on me (I was not injured and our house had little more damage than things falling off shelves and walls) but something about being home alone in my perceived “safety zone” (as we had also been placed in a voluntary “stay home stay safe” order from the governor due to the pandemic) and being rattled and rolled while the earth roared in my ear was simply terrifying.
I forgot what I was supposed to do in the event of an earthquake. I forgot after having led earthquake drills year after year for 26 years of teaching. I felt a huge sense of loss of control over not being able to remember. It haunted me. It kept me awake for nights. It caused me to stop and listen at every unusual sound or movement. Once the shaking stopped and I stopped shaking, I immediately formed a plan for what I would do in the event of another earthquake.
The day after the initial incident, I was standing in our living room talking to my husband who was sitting on the couch. Suddenly we were hit with a 4.5 aftershock. My husband laughs later that, “One minute you were there and then you were gone.” I dived. Yes, dived under the kitchen table and held on to the table legs for dear life until it was over and for some minutes afterwards. I looked up to see my husband peering down at me on the floor gripping the legs as if they were heavy ropes keeping me tethered from falling off the edge of a cliff. When I stood up, both knees were bleeding from scrapes I incurred during my daring dive. Like I said, we both laugh about it now. I must have looked pretty funny.
I remain comforted I have a plan in case I am in the same situation again. I was glad to know there was an available shelter under my kitchen table. It made me feel secure to remember this refuge was here if I was near and needed it. However, a few days later, I realized that the only true plan for safety was to seek the eternal shelter and refuge found in my heavenly Father. No matter how well I prepare-placing myself in the shadow of His wings is my true safety. I did not do it right away on the day of the earthquake or in subsequent days, but I am growing in my all-encompassing plan to trust God as my ultimate shelter.
For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will lift me high upon a rock. Psalm 27:5
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
For you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy. Psalm 63:7
Ever feel like you have had a lifetime of sways and bobbles and fierce up-endings? I know I have. When I was younger, many times I went with the waves-wherever they took me. I followed the passions and opinions of those around me. Often in a supreme effort to people-please I flailed helplessly as the waters overtook me. I let my own emotions lift me up and crash me down with the same velocity. I made many mistakes and suffered the consequences. I did not know it was even possible to have something to help “hold me in place”- to keep me steady in the midst of the storm.
Many Christians embrace the anchor as a symbol of the hope they have as believers in Christ. It caused me to ponder. Why an anchor? It is easy to defend its value. Even on a clear calm day the anchor keeps the boat (no matter the size of the vessel) stayed firm in place- without danger of floating out to sea or drifting too close to shore or crashing into vast nearby rocks.
I was curious about how mariners use an anchor during a ferocious storm. I learned that the anchor becomes vital to the survival of the vessel. The seafarer chooses his or her heaviest and most secure anchor; then sets it directly into the wind. This placement will insure that no matter which way the wind changes the safest gear will be in front keeping the boat or ship stable.
I am grateful that I heard of an anchor of hope when I was 25 years old. Though I have still tossed and turned and made mistakes- the anchor has remained strong and steady.
In my lifetime, I have rarely witnessed a more fierce storm than the one that is happening around us right now. It is shaking us. The rolling waves of unrest and hatred sicken us. It is dizzying, nauseating and scary. The storm is a violent one surrounding us from all sides and yet…
The anchor is right there- readily available to place directly in front of us- directly into the hammering gales. An anchor- so powerful we can place it firmly in the path of the storm and it will hold us steady and strong. An anchor of hope: immoveable and unchanging. A symbol of safety. A representation of security. No matter how vicious the storm.
Hebrew 6:19 says, “Hope we have as an anchor to the soul“. Our hope as anchor to the soul is placed in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Our hope is for a better, happier future because of Him. Place the anchor of hope directly into the wind. This Anchor will keep us steadfast and secure.
We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, 20 where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf...
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13
P.S. The sailboat I posted was made and given to me many years ago by Glenn, a prison inmate who created these beautiful vessels with wooden picks and scraps. Upon release, we continued to correspond for several years. He married, had children, and dedicated his life to living for Christ.
The frigid temperature swirled near me and finally into me like an invading swarm of infectious insects. I was chilled deep and beginning to shiver. My hands were stinging and the front of my legs felt like tiny slivers of icicles were burrowing through my skin. I was fortunate that there was an old comforter thrown on the well worn mattress. I pulled it around my shoulders, tucked it around my feet and legs and let the warmth seep in. After a time, the fire heated the area and I could remove my comforter cocoon. Though I was thankful for the respite I received from the covering, I had the luxury to toss it aside and go on with my day- now warm- forgetting the biting cold.
Being chilled is not the only time, I have been in need of a comforter. This last year has been hard on everyone- some hit so much harder- that it makes any pain or sorrow or loneliness or hurt or fear or worry I may feel seem somewhat selfish. And yet, it is there. While having compassion for the pain of others, I can also acknowledge my own. I have to. It is my road to heal. What helped? What still helps? When I feel the piercing hurt of loss, it is those times I can feel the simple presence of a Comforter wrapped around my cold shoulders and tucked around my feet- warming me from the inside out.
He shows up in so many different ways. One day I received a completely unexpected call from a former co-worker sharing her experiences at just the time I needed to hear what she was saying. This Christmas dear friends sent a You-tube video of them singing a beautiful Jesus song in lieu of not being able to do their yearly caroling. The extra effort and commitment along with the beauty of their voices made an isolated Christmas so much richer. He showed up in long spontaneous drives catching glimpses of wild horses, antelope, buffaloes, and nature’s glory. He even showed up as pink party pelicans placed in my front yard on my birthday. Just today He showed up in a lovely card in the mail from my friend of 25 years expressing care and encouragement and gratitude. It was wonderful.
He showed up in surprise hot drinks delivered to my doorstep, posters, texts, calls, messages on Facebook, and so much more during this hard time. He showed up in a giant hug from a grandson when I least expected it, but needed it more than I can express adequately in this short blog.
I am so grateful for the Comforter- the Father of compassion- His love and comfort put into action by those around me. I know how fortunate I am that when I am cold I can reach out for a covering to keep me warm. I know it is an even greater blessing to reach out for the Comforter to take away the chill when I am feeling the fear or worry or loneliness of a bitter icy moment, or hour, or day. Father, please open doors for my hands to help bring warmth to others during a season of cold. Please help me to share comfort to those placed in my heart or my path as You have brought comfort to me. Thank you for being my forever Comforter.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 2 Corinthians 1:3
This week I spent hours going through cards and letters I have saved for fifty years. Yes, I have kept every card and letter I have ever received since 1970! Fifty years! I have saved Christmas cards, Mother’s Day cards, Valentines cards, thank you cards from students, parents, and others, love letters, and every other letter sent to me for fifty years. Why? I have no idea. However, I have totes full of them and decided it was time to enjoy and discard. While it was a daunting and at times emotional task, I was encouraged by the unexpected epiphanies about life I received from such an endeavor and decided to document five of them so I would not forget.
1. Humans are not as “one way or the other” as we often portray them in our minds. Reading back over many letters and cards, I discovered that some conclusions I had come to about people from my past were not so cut and dried. “Selfish people” had sent cards of support and love, so had “neglectful people.” “Uncaring people” had shown caring that I had simply forgotten. It caused pause. Lord, let me see the truth about people with generous assumptions- not just from my past but today.
2. Sometimes my perceptions are dead-on-accurate and need to be acknowledged and validated, even if only by myself. I have a tendency to be hard on myself and when a conflict arises, I first assume that I am the major culprit. Somehow, this (whatever “this” is) has to be my fault. Reading through some of the old letters made me realize that there are times when I have truly been justified in my anger, pain, or perception. It helped confirm that I can listen to my instincts and act accordingly to take care of myself.
3. I hurt people too. It was hard to read letters in which the writer shared hurt or frustration I had caused them. It was much easier (years later) to look back and see those moments with clarity and remorse at some of my selfish actions. It was also comforting to recognize the grace that I had been given and to be filled with gratitude for that grace. It was good to be reminded that I hurt people too. Rereading these hard letters also created a strong desire in me to be mindful to share the grace I had been given with others who had hurt me.
4. Often what I feared the most never happened. Even after all these years, I cherished the letters I found that provided comfort, support, and love. I was reminded of some brutally hard times (events I still struggle to write about) and the fear that accompanied them. I remembered envisioning all the tragedies that could happen as a result of these events and those imaginings were far worse that the reality of the experience. Looking back became a clear picture of how fear can become a fierce dictator that often does not show up to make true upon his threats. Most of what I feared never happened. What an encouragement for the times of today.
5. With God’s ever-present faithfulness, I can get through even the worst of times. Nothing reveals God’s faithful presence more than taking a walk down memory’s path and revisiting the many times His intervention has comforted, protected, strengthened, and guided me through. I am so thankful for every time he used friends and family to be a conduit of His love through verbal and written words and/or just a well-timed hug. More importantly, it was the reminder of how faithful His everlasting arms had been to hold me during those difficult times that strengthens me even today.
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful. Hebrews 10:23
After I threw out 3 and 1/2 trash bags full of cards and letters from my past (I have to admit I still kept a fair amount of them) I sat back grateful for the time spent doing something I would probably never have done, the purging it allowed and the lessons it taught. Thank you, Lord.
Every morning I try to take a moment and document things I am thankful for from the previous 24 hours. It has been a practice for many years and helps me to put my head in a place of gratitude to start the day. However, during this unique time in history, I have found a pattern to my recorded thankful moments. Two themes that seem to resonate day after day. These events have been integral to helping me get through the emotional roller coaster of recent weeks. My hope is that they may help you as well.
The first one is creativity. Having been in isolation since March 13th as have many of you, I have found that I have long hours that need to be filled with more than eating and watching Netflix and the Hallmark Channel- although those along with The Andy Griffith Show have provided many hours of comfort. What I find myself thankful for are the moments when I have surprisingly exercised long dormant creativity muscles.Where I did not take the time before, it has brought a special peace to find ways to be creative. Perhaps some of these ideas could spark some creative comfort for you. Also, I would love to hear of the creative things you are doing! Some things I have tried are:
Coloring (just putting color on paper has been soothing for me)
Writing (putting thoughts and feeling to paper is also relaxing)
Making up praise songs and singing aloud
Creating my own exercise program to the oldies. Yesterday’s was to The Monkees and today I will dance to REO Speedwagon
Solving unique organization problems like how to store necklaces so I can see them and easily pick one to go with an outfit when we can get out again. Yea!
Drawing posters- very big deal for me as a self-proclaimed non-artist- turns out I can create better than I thought.
Future projects include: drawing to sermons and praise songs, learning to sew (masks) and playing a keyboard.
Taking a photography or other classes online (Creative Live allows one free class a day and I have really enjoyed the ones I have taken)
The second theme that has reoccurred again and again in my gratitude journal concerns connections with others. I am grateful my husband comes home in the evenings, however, I have always been a social person and enjoy people, so being alone all day and not seeing family or friends has brought into crystal clarity how soul-enriching those connections to others truly are. These are some of the creative ways dear loved ones have found to reach out and connect. I am so thankful. They include:
Simple “hello” phone calls are awesome (who would have thought the phone call would go back to being so valuable)
Check in texts
FaceTime- Yay! Those faces of loved family and friends- Joy!
Emails (just received a heart-full email from a friend- I have not heard from in a long time- so fun)
A special Beans and Brew treat from quarantine angel family members left on my front porch. Even better was their cute faces in the window and the chance to blow kisses. Thank you, Angels!
Fresh strawberries left at my door with a note, “I miss you berry much” brought deep-touching thankfulness (had not had strawberries since March and they tasted better that chocolate cake with ice cream) Such love! Thank you.
Shared prayer- Shared praise! Such a gift!
Fantastic tips, videos, book suggestions, new songs, Facebook, Instagram, Linked In, etc. Connection comforts all of them.
Virtual lunches with precious friends
Fifth grade math lessons that teach me more than I teach my grandson- so much fun
Finally, the connection of all comfort comes from increased time to spend with the Father of Peace. I am grateful for a time to be more still and focus on the presence of my Savior. Truly the greatest connection I have ever known.
Blessed [be] God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort: “Who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3,4
May God bless and comfort you. May He keep you safe and healthy. My love to you all. Amen
I (like most people these days) am so thankful for those warriors on the front lines of this pandemic: teachers, parents who are co-teaching, store clerks, nurses, doctors, delivery persons, truck drivers, and so many other “essentials”. My husband also fights a battle as he goes to work each day. and I (as many of you) fight my own by staying home. If you join me in this challenge to stay home and you are feeling lonely, alone, frustrated, overwhelmed, or just in need of an encouraging story this is for you.
My conflict with isolation seems small in comparison to the struggles and challenges of many at this time.. I am grateful for each and every time I have a connection with family and friends through phone calls, Face Time, texts, or email. However, some days the lack of getting out and having personal interaction can feel very real and very trouncing.
Monday morning I woke up feeling broken and somewhat defeated. I had been fighting the battle of isolation for 31/2 weeks (as have most of you) and the alone, the four walls, the lack of being able to see and hug my grandchildren or face-to- face talk with my adult children, not being able to connect with friends at the gym or go out to lunch, and the frustration of not feeling useful in a time of such need was all getting to me; not hugging anyone was getting to me. I am a very social person and social distancing was taking its toll.
Each day I have tried to employ strategies to stand firm in the midst of this challenge. I read scriptures, pray, document the blessings I can think of from the previous day, seek guidance on what I should. do for that day, and nurture a quiet reliance on the Lord. I know I am fortunate in so many ways and feel great empathy for the suffering of others at this time and yet, every day can feel like a series of offensive maneuvers and retreats against the battalion of emotions I wrestle with. Monday felt like a day of defeat. “Lord, I need your help.” I wrote in my journal and then I wrote it again. “Lord, I need your help.”
I pulled out my prayer list and I prayed for peace and comfort for others, I also prayed it for myself. As I faced the long hours that stood in front of me, I prayed for someone to call me, to hear a voice on the other end of the phone. I was hesitant to reach out to family or friends myself with more than a text because I have struggled since I was very young with a worry about being a bother to people. Yes, I know, please pray for me-yet for what happened next it is an important detail to my story.
Have you ever just been sitting still and had a picture pop into your head out of nowhere? As I was praying that day it happened to me. I saw the screen of my phone with a name at the top of it indicating that person was trying to call. That was weird. Though this was a person I loved very much, it was not someone who would (or ever had) just picked up the phone to call and chat-nor had I ever called her for just a visit. We text, or send pictures, but voice-to-voice chats. The strange picture registered in my mind and I continued praying.
When I was finished, I began my other rituals for getting through my new normal,. I fixed breakfast, exercised, and paid bills online and sat down to do some reading. Suddenly, I jumped as my phone rang. I looked down and the name appeared on my phone just as I had pictured it that morning. I was stunned! We talked for a minute about how we were doing and then I began to weep, “I’m sorry” I explained through pretty embarrassing sobs. “This is going to sound crazy, but I saw your name show up on my phone while I was praying for comfort and connection this morning and then you called. I know this has to be from the Lord. Thank you for listening. Thank you for calling.” She seemed a bit taken aback at my degree of emotion, but I could feel the grateful joy of being comforted right when I needed it surge through me and come straight out of my eyes. While her call was a blessing on several levels, the absolute confirmation that the Lord hears and I am never really alone was overwhelming.
Later that day, another very dear friend called. We cried, laughed, prayed together, and comforted each other. I was even given the opportunity to help her in a way that made me feel useful. This too was a wonderful gift of comfort.
The above picture was taped on my outside window as a surprise from members of my wonderful family. It caused buckets of joy tears and girded me to keep fighting. What an incredible gift!
James 1:17 “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”
My friend calls it “tender mercies”. I call it “hidden treasures”. I asked her if she thinks God is showing Himself more vividly during these difficult times. Her answer was amazing to me. She said, “No, I think they happen often. I just think we are more open to seeing them right now.” Wow! Even in the midst of this very hard time in history, there are gifts of comfort and peace and hope. He is risen! He is alive!He is there!
If I could encourage you today, it would be to be mindful of His goodgifts in the midst, to offer yourself gentle grace during the hard moments and/or hard days, and to be ready to reach out to those who may really need your voice on the other end of the phone. Today I will fight back against the voices that tell me not to bother people and do some calling myself.
I am grateful for you for in my life. I pray for each of you the gift of comfort and peace during this difficult time. Thank you for letting me share and Lord, thank you for giving me the courage. In Jesus’ name, Amen
P.S. A huge thank you to all of you who are keeping our country going and our kid’s educated!
My husband and I almost got into an argument last night…over water bottles. I mean this could have turned into a big spirit-wounding fight…over water bottles. We were both tired and cranky and wanting a reason to release the day’s stresses. However, rather than choose to escalate a tiny problem into a huge one, we chose to retreat to our own corners. Then we chose peace. Then we chose love. Water bottles disaster averted.
If you watch the news, you know it has been a scary week in our country. A week of escalating tensions. Since this is not a political blog or a “how-to” blog, or an opinion on the state-of-the-world blog, I will just write that, for me, it has been a week where I longed for a dose of love and peace. What this blog is meant to be is a “telling of my faith journey” blog, including massive mistakes and large lessons. It is my shared story and I try to let inspiration guide me through the process each week. . Today inspiration is singing classic words from a few old songs. One that keeps ringing and resonating has the following line:
“Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.” Me? Now that is challenging. I am learning in my own circle of influence that there is a small window of opportunity I have to choose to initiate peace. In his well-known book Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Steven Covey calls it the “Margin of Freedom” This is that place where I get to choose my reaction to stimuli that angers, upsets, or triggers me. It is “stop and breathe” time.
Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall inherit the earth. Matthew 5:9
I have a strong fabulous thought-provoking family. We also are a family of differing opinions on several subjects. At times when we are together and a hot topic emerges, it is tempting to jump in and try to convince others that my opinion is the “right” one. It is here where the choice comes in. Is arguing your “right” always prudent? Is it peacemaking? Is the outcome of a well- argued judgement worth strife with those most important to you?
Please don’t get me wrong, I am not talking about intelligent respectful conversations in an attempt to understand each other. I am not talking about sharing important truth with grace that will effect the relationship if not addressed. I am not talking about tolerance or approval or allowing of abuse or mistreatment. My challenge for 2020 is to recognize the difference between wanting to prove “right” vs. sharing a respectful search for understanding.”Right” is a shallow substitute for peace. I am so thankful that when we get together as a family, we choose peace and love over contention. Let peace begin with me.
I don’t know how to tell anyone else what being a peacemaker or walking in love looks like. I only know what walking in it feels like and looks like for me. I also know when I am walking in something else. My personal challenge for 2020 is to catch the gait I am moving in quickly and turn back towards love and peace. I want the choice to begin with me.
Beloved, let us love one another. For God is of love and everyone who loveth knoweth God. He who loveth not knoweth not God for God is love. So Beloved, let us love one another. 1 John 4:7-8
Dear Readers, Can I just take a minute to thank you for the supportive comments and responses last week? They encouraged me in a way you may have no idea. They gave me new grit to write on the book and they helped to face the computer again today. Thank you! Prayers for each of you to have a week full of peace and love and joy. Amen
My 83 year old mother recently told me something she had never told me before. She said that she had been thinking about the past and realized that she had not thought to protect me or take my hurts seriously because I was always so strong- so confident. “You never showed that you needed anyone. You have been that way since you were young. But just the other day I could see that inside of that tough woman is a little girl who hurts just like everyone else.” I cried. When I was alone, I cried some more. It was healing to hear.
People have been telling me about this disguise in one way or another my whole life. “You are ten feet tall and bullet-proof”, “We had no idea you would need anything when you broke your arm- You are just so strong”, “I wish I could handle things like you do”, “I wish I was that brave”, ” If I had gone through what you just did, I would be crushed”, “You are so strong”, “You are so confident”.
But…I am not. Not always. I crumble- sometimes at the dumbest things like a hurtful comment or perceived rejection. However, I am great at covering the crumble with a firmly placed mask I don’t like to show deep hurt or any weakness- even to those closest to me, although I do slide the mask away with a few trusted persons as long as it remains close at hand so I can pull it back on again at a moment’s notice.
The mask is not the same as when I am depending on the strength that comes from God. It is different from my grit or using self- affirmation. I do rely on these resources, especially the Lord. However, when I pull on the mask, it doesn’t empower me. It does not heal me. It hides.
The mask appears instantly during those times of failing, those times of being damaged or when feeling fear of being accepted. I don it at the possibility of a deep core wound cutting deeper with exposure. It hides and in the hiding I lose the possibility of what I most need to gain: Protection, comfort, encouragement, support, understanding, and love.
“What are you really accomplishing here? Why are you trying to do all this alone while everyone stands around you from morning till evening?” Exodus 18:15
I don’t always wear the mask. I am bold enough to tell people my thoughts and feelings or my truth (as I see it) and will try to do it with as much grace as possible. I am confident about giving people true compliments and am honestly a fairly positive person. However, I have learned when it comes to expressing what I need or revealing an especially painful hurt, exposing it makes me feel too weak, too vulnerable. It is just so much easier to put on the mask and walk away feeling neglected, rejected and hurt. Unfairly, the person on the other end, has no idea I feel this way at all.
This false exterior was significant in the demise of my marriage on the mountain. I was not willing to take the risk to express what I needed or how I truly felt. Eventually, I imploded from the pent-up hiding and drove away from my marriage and my life- not truly giving my husband the chance to fix it…until it was too late. Of course, there were other factors, as is with the end of every marriage. It is most often not one thing, but the mask did not help. It hides.
The Lord is my strength and my shield. Psalm 28:7
Recently during some vulnerable times, with help from the Lord, I have begun to experiment with sliding the mask down in situations where it felt safe. I have even removed it altogether a few times. It has been scary and satisfying. In these moments I have found an almost shocking degree of encouragement and help. It not only surprises me at how willing people are to support and be there for me, it surprises them that (1) I am feeling needy and vulnerable because I am so strong and confident and/or (2) that I am even asking in the first place. And… the fact that they did not just magically intuitively see the pain and need behind the mask surprises me.
Through presumption comes nothing but strife, but with those who receive counsel is wisdom. Proverbs 13:10 NASB
Therefore, one of my 2020 goals (aside from losing 22 pounds and drinking more water) is to look for wise and safe opportunities to slide the mask off more than I keep it on, to ask people for support (I truly need yours on this blog as it keeps me brave and writing) and help when I need it, and to share hurts in a way that does not negate my need for comfort and protection. It’s a tough goal and a long time coming, but I am putting it out there so feel free to hold me accountable.
She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future. Proverbs 31:25
I am so grateful for all those of you who read this blog. I truly appreciate your strengthening support. I wish each and every one of you a wonderful new year. Here’s to an incredible 2020!
“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace. In the world you have tribulation and distress and suffering, but be courageous [be confident, be undaunted, be filled with joy]; I have overcome the world.” [My conquest is accomplished, My victory abiding.] John 16:33 amp
I was sitting in a dark house- alone- no desire to switch on the lights even on my tiny tree. I was shell-shocked with worry and fear. It was a few days before Christmas 2009. My granddaughter was in the Intensive Care Unit at Primary Children’s Hospital. She had just come into the world one month before her due date and was smaller than the size of my son’s hand. She was on oxygen and struggling with other serious health complications as well. Also, shortly after she arrived, it was confirmed that this little bundle from Heaven had Down’s Syndrome.
Because my arm was in a cast, I was not allowed to go into her room and hold her. Though her dedicated parents were there morning, noon, and night and this tiny little girl did not need me to be in there with her- standing outside her room looking in at her tiny struggling body through thick glass and not being able to get closer was one of the most frustrating experiences of my life.
It was in this frustrated, helpless and terrified state I found myself on this winter’s night. The doorbell rang. I did not answer the door, but sat quietly in the darkness, hoping whoever it was would go away quickly. Suddenly, I heard a harmonious trickle come from my porch through the door, a soothing sweet-sounding, “Silent Night.” I opened the door. There stood a lovely group of carolers- one family- some pre-teen some grown, two of them former fourth grade students of mine. They had gone out of their way- left the warmth of their home on this chilly December night to get in their car and drive over to my home to sing at my front door. They were making the most beautiful “joyful noise unto the Lord” I had ever heard. As they sang carol after carol, I felt the hurt of my heart crumble in a envelope of “safe”. I felt a “comfort” and a “peace” that transcended fear and seared my soul. I was reminded from “where my hope comes from”. Tears soaked my hardened face softening the lines there with the sounds of their kindness.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. I Corinthians 1:3,4
It is hard to describe what that night meant to me. I get teary every time I think of it. What is even more amazing to me is the loving commitment this family has made to bring this gift. Not just that year when their melodious voices delivered such solace, but every year since…for ten years, this special singing family has shown up on my porch at Christmas and made me cry with their heavenly harmony. They have come in freezing weather. They have come sick. One year dead-tired from an all day drive from Arizona without rest, they appeared at my door. They had not even gone home to unpack. Just came. Some years the entire family comes and sometimes (because one or more are out of town) there are just a few, but they have always come. As their family has grown added son-in-laws and daughter-in-laws (one couple-two wonderful former fourth grade students- best friends then- married now) they all come- piling in several cars to be there and minister in song. Over the years talented young singers have been born into this compassionate choir. As I gaze upon the future generations of this kind family singing their little hearts out on my front porch, I am touched, blessed. I am forever grateful to the Lord for sending this family to me on a cold and lonely December night and their commitment to use music as an instrument of encouragement ever since. Thank you, Lord
Addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, Ephesians 5:19
By the way, today is my granddaughter’s tenth birthday. She is a healthy happy strong little powerhouse princess. She learned to be strong from her powerhouse parents who nurture her and daily teach her how beautiful and amazing she is. And she is. …”fearfully and wonderfully made”. She is a blessing of joy and happiness to our family. We are so grateful for this angel in our lives. Happy Birthday, sweet girl. Thank you, Lord.
You are beautiful for you are fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:14
Dear Readers, Never underestimate the gentle nudge by that “still small voice” to reach out. It could bring the comfort at the perfect time to someone who needs it desperately. So thankful for each one of you. Prayers for a wonderful Christmas and a blessed 2020. In His Amazing Love, Kristy
During my adolescence and early adulthood, (for a variety of reasons) I was not a huge fan of Christmas. Then at the age of 25, a stranger told me about the love of Jesus and the new life I could have by trusting and believing in Him. All of a sudden, the story became real, the music made sense, and Christmas touched me in a powerful way it never had before. The hope, the joy, the peace, the promise.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.Luke 2:11-14
At Christmas time, I display two mini-candle holders given to me as a gift. I have put them out for over 30 years. They lived with me in a log cabin where we could not decorate with Christmas lights or twinkling tree. We did not have electricity. These little candles provided some sparkle to our holiday. They also traveled with me to various cities where I resided after my mountain life, including San Diego, and several cities in Salt Lake and Utah counties. Each year wherever they sit during the Christmas season they speak silently of a grown-used-to cliche. Jesus is the reason for the season, Nevertheless, a true reminder. The reason… for this season… for Christmas… is Jesus.
For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6
Wishing you all a very merry Christmas filled with His joy and Peace! Much Love, Kristy