January 29, 2018

The Adirondack Chairs

I must need that getaway I wrote about in my previous post more than I realized because yesterday God put one right in front of me and it was my great delight.

Walking along the paved trail near our neighborhood, I peered into the woods, winter bare, sun streaming down casting evening shadows - when something caught my eye. 

Two Adirondack chairs, one red and the other blue, were in the middle of the woods.  A kindred spirit must have done such a thing placing them there. Another heart that beats for quiet moments of serenity when all the world must be tuned out for a little while. 

As I sank comfortably into the blue chair, I thought about how this scene will look in the spring, and I cannot wait. Every breath I take in winter awaits the coming spring. 

But for the barrenness of winter, I would not have spotted them from the trail. 

These were my happiest moments in recent days as I received this treasured gift from the Lord.

Isaiah 30:15 “In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.”

January 27, 2018

By a Pristine Lake

We had a missionary at our church last Sunday and he shared with us that when he was finishing college he wanted to get away with God to ask him what to do with his life. Use the degree he’d just earned or heed God’s call to mission work.

He did get away. He went backpacking in another country.

Later, as I recalled his account of wanting a getaway with God, my mind started dreaming of such a place.

My thoughts raced to a mountain hideaway, a cabin by a pristine lake, wildflowers, and a breeze so fresh you can’t breathe it all in. Oh how I could use a getaway.

I want to know more clearly what to do and I want inspiration so the words will flow like a mountain waterfall in the spring after a snowy winter.

We know we don’t have to get away to a mountain hideaway to hear from God.

But there are times when solitude is the best prescription for what ails the heart that longs to hear in more detail how God desires to lead in a certain area, whether we are facing a crossroads or in a situation where nothing is happening.

I have been craving my own retreat but it hasn’t happened.

The next best thing is quiet moments alone with Him, by a window, on a garden bench, on a leisurely walk when no one is around.

I am not going away on a special trip or retreat to find what God has for me next, but I am perpetually asking God to show me what He has for me and I cling to verses that tell me He directs my path…and day by day I am taking the steps He has prepared for me.

And while I sit on that garden bench, or gaze out the window, I will let my thoughts drift away to the glittering sun on the pristine lake and imagine God and I together there.

Proverbs 16:9
A man’s heart plans his way,
But the LORD directs his steps.

January 24, 2018

Safe and Secure

Psalm 139:9-10 If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me.

He leads me and He holds me. He leads you and He holds you.

Now, let those words sink in. Read those verses again that tell us God’s hand will lead us and also hold us. This has comforted me more than once through a time of silence, waiting, wondering, and uncertainty. While I cannot see clearly what is going on, I can still know God is leading me all the way and He is caring for me through this journey and He holds me in His hand.

Here is how my heart is letting these verses sink in:

He leads me - He is in control.
This is His to do - I follow as He leads.
I trust Him each step of the way - each silent and difficult waiting step of the way.
He holds me - this is His protection.
His tender care – this is a security I can know.
This is definitely comforting when faced with uncertainty and fear.

I am glad He holds me – safe and secure.
I am glad He leads me - I won’t be far behind.
This is how I stay in close relationship with the Lord.
This is my walk with the Lord.
He leads me - I follow close behind Him.
He holds me all the way.
He will hold you all the way…

January 17, 2018

Two Places

I asked myself these two questions when I recently examined what guides me as I navigate life: What goes on within me? What goes on around me? I decided to break it down and take a closer look. 

What goes on within me? 

What goes on around me? 
The world

I asked myself again, What truly guides me in this world I live in? I decided there are two places I can stand in as I navigate through the world: I can stand by faith in a faithful God or I can stand in the world and be stuck in circumstances and controlled by them. Circumstances can have tremendous sway on us if we aren’t standing firmly with God.

The first place is where my heart lives. Faith resides there—it’s a place where I faithfully trust in God and trust that every single detail will come together as He has planned. Because of who He is and my relationship with Him, I have trusted that He will work it all out for my good and His glory, knowing that I have sought His wisdom and guidance and that my circumstances have been covered with prayer.

The second place is this world we live in, and it’s a world filled with circumstances that constantly swirl around us. There are often pressures and struggles associated with the things of this world; some are normal, everyday events, and others are unexpected challenges. We must navigate our way through it all, even though we are often uncertain about what to do and which choice to make.

It comes down to a choice: Will we stand firmly in the first place or go to the second? When we stand in the place of faith, God works to accomplish His will. He is in control. Prayer is answered. He is far superior to the circumstances of this life in which we are woefully entangled. Sometimes He untangles things, straightens them out, and shows us His power and strength. Other times, He carries us through the tangled web and changes us in the process to be more like Him. Either way, we are immensely blessed and He is glorified.

Seek Him first—this is how we stand firmly in the first place. 

Matthew 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

Additional verses: Psalm16:11, Psalm 25:4-5, Psalm 37:23, Proverbs 3:5-6, James 1:5, 1 John 5:4 

January 14, 2018

The Bridge

I love to take pictures of this bridge on our neighborhood walking trail. Below is one I took in the fall as I approached the bridge. This recent picture above captures the barrenness of winter and yet it also captures the beauty of winter. I think that is what I enjoy about it so much.

I have peered over the sides during seasons of drought and flood and also witnessed the ordinary normal rhythm of the flowing creek below. I always stop and check on the creek when I pass this way on the walking trail.

I have left footprints in the snow on this bridge and I have watched sunlight stream through the lush summer leaves. I have rested in its canopy of shade when the summer heat makes even a morning walk hot.

It is not just the creek below that I enjoy on my stops on the bridge.

There is something more, something else special about this bridge.

I like the strength I feel beneath my feet as I securely stand supported by concrete and steel. I feel safe.

I feel safe because this bridge is firm and strong!

The strength of this bridge reminds me of the One who is my strength.

Psalm 18:1-2
I will love You, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.