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Showing posts from 2016

Helping someone in grief

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I recently went to a community talk on grief in an effort to help my mother-in-law navigate this time of sorrow and depression. She not only lost her beloved husband of 62 years, but also her vitality, sense of purpose, and independence. Add to that some debilitating health issues and you can imagine the grace it takes to daily live in such a place.

We have tried over the past year to encourage, love, and provide for her, but the bottom line is...there's nothing we can do to change her pain. We want to fix it, but she's on her own journey of loss and all we can do is come alongside, pray, help as we’re able, and leave the process to the Lord.

I was helped by the lecture.  It relieved me of the sense of guilt that I haven't done enough, that I've failed her and the Lord in some way. It armed me with some fresh understanding of both what she's going through and how we can better support her.

If you’re grieving a loss, or helping someone else who is, here are a few …

When life gives you lemons...

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…you know the rest—make lemonade!

That’s what we’re doing around here right now, making the best of a challenging situation. My husband has been laid low--literally!--the past seven weeks with a back injury. Thankfully, he’s getting better, and we’re appreciating in a whole new way the little privileges of life we tend to take for granted…like sitting, tying your own shoes, going for a walk.

He’s reread a book on the power of praise during this time that has really been a gift to us.  You tend to forget that God wants you to be thankful in everything when you’re drowning in the circumstances and pain of trouble.

It seems a contradiction, but as we’ve talked and worked to implement this, we’ve been newly reminded of the power and benefit of praise and thanksgiving.  We’ve been able to stay in peace and not succumb to the negative.

So I'll share with you some sips of our lemonade!


Giving thanks to the Lord in everything…

…reminds us of the fundamentals:  He made us, He redeemed us …

Holding steady

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One of the things I'm often challenged in is steadiness.  My mood or frame of mind can be influenced by lack of sleep or physical issues, stress and feeling overwhelmed, situations that feel edgy or out of control.  I want to be like what this blog is titled - still waters!  Unflappable, spiritually-minded, steady.  All the time.

It is clearer than ever to me that the battles of life are won or lost in my mind.  Discouragement with myself or situations can have a completely deflating effect, robbing me of motivation to do the right thing even when I don't feel like it.

While I'm better than I used to be, there's lots of room for improvement. It's one of the great goals of my life (and no doubt God's for me!).

I know that steadiness comes directly from my relationship with the Lord.  He is my source of peace, order, confidence, strength, etc.  And that means this unshakable quality I desire is spiritual in nature, not a product of perfect circumstances. It's e…

"Leave to thy God"

This morning, the wonderful words from one of my most favorite hymns "Be Still, My Soul" came to mind.  During a time of great turmoil in my life, this ministered deeply to my heart, calming and settling me with God's peace.  Read through the lyrics here, and see if it doesn't do the same for you. 

Be Still, My SoulBe still, my soul, the Lord is on thy side;
bear patiently the cross of grief or pain;
leave to thy God to order and provide;
in every change he faithful will remain. 

Be still, my soul, thy best, thy heavenly friend
through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.
Be still, my soul, thy God doth undertake
to guide the future as he has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
all now mysterious shall be bright at last.

Be still, my soul, the waves and winds still know
his voice who ruled them while he dwelt below.
Be still, my soul, the hour is hastening on
when we shall be forever with the Lord,
when disappointment, grief and fear are gone,
sorrow forgot, love&#…

Re-engaged

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I am called to write.

That fact has been both a joy and a torment.  A joy when I could be engaged in learning and growing in the craft, writing and expressing the things that were on my heart.  But a torment when life intruded on my time to write, distracting me from my focus and rendering me unable to work with words.

Such have been the last few years.  I had been steadily writing around the edges of the time given to homemaking and homeschooling, making some progress.  God had given me a big vision for a children's Bible study book, and I'd gotten a good start on it.  But a few years of huge life issues completely sidelined me.  My writing quietly folded itself away.

By last summer, my frustration level was at an all-time high.  I was grieving the loss of this dream and looking to the future in despair that I’d ever be able to really write again.  I told the Lord more than once that He would do me a favor and just Take.It.Away.  I could at least be at peace.

Then last fall, I st…

A good prayer for today

In my Bible reading lately, I came across a prayer I used to pray often.  I'm not sure why I fell out of the habit, but it is one of those prayers that “covers the waterfront.”  I sense my faith engaging with confidence as I pray it over requests and needs for myself and others.  In fact, I sometimes change the ‘we’ to ‘I’ and ‘me’—as I’ve written below.  It’s found in Colossians 1:9-12.
“Father, today I pray, in the Name of Your Son Jesus…

…that I may be filled with the knowledge of Your will
    in all wisdom and
    spiritual understanding;

…that I may walk worthy of You,
    fully pleasing You;

…that I may be fruitful in every good work;

…that I may increase in the knowledge of You;

…that I may be strengthened with all might,
    According to Your glorious power,
    With all patience and longsuffering
    With joy.

I thank You for qualifying me to be a partaker
    of the inheritance of the saints
    in the light.

I believe it,
    I receive it by faith,
    and now act on the promise
   …

Times and seasons

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It has been so evident since we moved here to Arizona two years ago that we began a whole new life season, other than the obvious geographic relocation. 

Back in Colorado, nearly my whole life was absorbed in the many facets of homeschooling and all things children—teaching in my own homeschool and our church Sunday School, curriculum planning, support and youth group activities, etc. Moving here drew us fully into the larger picture of extended family life, and simultaneously ended my season of homeschooling.

Now, as this new year begins, I find myself in the season of care-giving.  My father-in-law’s passing eight months ago created a new and very challenging situation for the family—not only helping my mother-in-law with all facets of her daily life and health issues, but trying to bring real encouragement and comfort to her sorrowing heart.  I’m afraid we’ve not been very successful as there are no shortcuts in the grief process. 

I’ve really never been much around elderly folk; I…

The "re-" words

I have been prayerfully pondering a strong thought for some weeks now, something that I believe God is speaking as a theme for this new year.

Re-!

The work of the enemy of our souls is always negative--you know, the 'de-' words.  Defeat. Despair. Destroy. Depress. Jesus warned us of this in John 10:10:  "The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and destroy."

Have you experienced any of these attacks this year?  I have.  Some days it was hard to keep my head above water and remember that Jesus had all the strength and help I needed for every situation.

But the Lord has been reminding me that He is the Redeemer!  He has 'bought back' every kind of destruction that can come against me and turn it into Life.  The second half of that verse describes it:  "I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly."

When you think about it, redemption is a package deal, absolutely everything I need or ever will need. It…