Seeking Him in Summer

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Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Mark 1:35

 I wrote this devotional  one Summer a while back and dedicated it to my friend, confidante and coffee partner, Lauree. It still resonates! I pray it encourages YOU who need it today…

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911:We Are Forever Changed

Tribute in Light by Barry Yanowitz

I journal pretty much every day. Occasionally I may be too busy or just need some time to digest life as it is fed to me, before I can safely articulate my thoughts and feelings. Such was the case, in the events of September 11, 2001

Writing is such a connecting point for me. It’s like breathing. My breath had been taken away and it was beyond a measurable expression for me to comprehend, let alone, write. It touched me too deeply, as it did us all. I remember it was also the week my daughter was to be Dedicated at our church. The date of that event as 9/16/2001, five days after 9/11. How vulnerable I felt. How vulnerable we all felt. I felt connected to my fellow Americans and unsure of the future as I stood before the congregation and with my precious child.
I decided to share my unedited journal entry in remembrance of the day that took my breath away.Our breath away. If you are reading this, please know, this is my heart, unedited. Handle with care. I usually write for an audience of One, who knows me, my rambly mind and all. Please keep that in mind!
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Journal: September 19, 2001
Thank you Lord for today. It has been hard for me to write lately…Lord you know my inmost parts, my inner-most being. I almost don’t have words in light of the recent tragedies on our country. Where are we now…I haven’t been able to write in my devotional book for Katherine because I kept wondering, how do I write about this? But I must…and then I realized that I can teach her about the depravity of man and the sovereignty of God. Yet these are not small concepts. There is so much going through my mind…I think I am sick processing what it all means to me. I just can’t imagine the horror of what many have and are going through (in New York) and I confess it all seems unreal to me. Almost surreal. Our country, having been attacked by terrorists flying planes into buildings in New York and Washington by “Suicide Bombers”. But I know God is in control. Yet I understand so little.
And I must focus on the details of life…and I have – yet everyone in the country is changed by these events…People are really freaked out – But my God, I do trust in You. What I have seen happen in this country is amazing, powerful. There is a revival in Patriotism. Flags are everywhere. I remember as a school child we recited “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America”… I can barely remember it now – and do schools even do that anymore? I pray and hope they do and will. God You are doing something amazing – I don’t know what – but, Lord, thank you for America, my president, his wife. Thank you for freedom and liberty. Forgive me Lord because I have taken so much for granted. I have grumbled and complained when I should have been grateful and prayerful. Thank you for your mercy.
******
May God Bless America,  Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.
In memory of those who gave their lives, lost their lives, and those who continue to suffer due to the sacrificial giving and dedication they shared in service and to each and every one of their loved ones. I remember.

*Re-post*
I have posted this journal entry on September 11 as a remembrance since I began blogging in 2011. This is the third year I have shared. 
Thank you for reading.

On Savoring the Good @ 5 Minutes for Faith

I am over at 5 Minutes for Faith today sharing a bit of what God has been working in me recently. Instead of sharing a piece of that story- although the lesson is related to my message there, I thought I would share a bit about the picture I used in the post.

On our recent family vacation to Maine, this mama and her 7 ducklings became a springboard for God’s messages and ministry to my heart. You see the owner of our cottage explained that this particular mama had nine babies, but the foxes had gotten two. Now there were a number of duck families about the lake we stayed but there was something about the freshness of these babies and the way they made their way every morning and evening by our cabin that was significant, tender and oh, so sweet. We found ourselves looking for them and I began to measure God’s faithfulness daily by the assurance of those 7 baby ducklings rummaging through the berries in front of our cabin each morning. Then one day after a rainstorm, they did not return. Coincidentally we were experiencing some unexpected disruptions and discord in our vacation plans. I found myself feeling extremely sad and down, and the feelings seemed magnified by the absence of those sweet babies and their mama.

There are times when all of our circumstances seem to magnify the bad side of things in our lives.

 But God longs to be our Good. Always.
He is good even when things are bad. 
And there are times when they, in reality are- 
BUT He remains the same Good God. 

Ironically, the weather cleared. Blue skies returned as did our mama with her 7 baby ducklings. You know, friends…God knew I needed to see His faithfulness in a special way and the return of blue skies and ducklings reminded me of the hope I have in Him, in all circumstances.

I know God wants me to learn to really savor the good so that in difficult moments I am not overwhelmed by despair. To savor is to pause and recognize in the present moment. It is a powerful reckoning. We so easily can lose perspective, miss the small gifts that God lays in our path daily. He reminded me ever so faithfully this vacation, to savor the good. Recalling in all of my moments His faithfulness. His hope. Remembering that He is Good, regardless of the weather, or circumstance.

So today’s message is brought in part to you by the Mama and her 7 ducklings. 
I would love it if you joined me there!

Waddle on over…read post at 5 Minutes for Faith

Linking with friends around the Blogosphere:

Christian Mommy Blogger

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One Night in Boston (How to lose a car, make a friend and find God in 24 hours) Pt 3

We Are Never Off God’s Radar
Well here we are on the final leg of this journey…
If you are popping into this little post, you need to know this is the last of three. Part one and two are here:
The Adventure Begins…
Men Hate to Ask for Directions…
And now we conclude this little Boston adventure…

 Can I go anywhere apart from Your Spirit?
    Is there anywhere I can go to escape Your watchful presence?
 Even if I am afraid and think to myself, “There is no doubt that the darkness will swallow me,
    the light around me will soon be turned to night,”
 You can see in the dark, for it is not dark to Your eyes.
    For You the night is just as bright as the day.
    Darkness and light are the same to Your eyes.
Psalm 139:7, 11-12 (The Voice)

I slip into the back seat and hubby sits up front. We have accepted the help of a local stranger who has  offered to take us to the parking lot…and help us figure out just which one it is. The fact is, we had a card with the lot address on it, but it was pretty useless to us for two reasons: 1.We were completely unfamiliar with area. 2. Hubby thought he knew where we needed to go and was completely convinced he was headed in the right direction. Did I mention he is Italian?
You know what I’m saying?

I have a question for you. Have you ever been convinced you were going in the right direction only to find out that you had it completely wrong?

Our angelic host and personal chaperon Tito refused to give up on us. “I’m gonna get you to your car.” We were now his mission. He drove us from one end of the city to the other, trying to locate the specific small lot where we left our car approximately 6 hours earlier. The trouble was there were two areas at opposite ends of the city with the same name. Hubs was convinced we parked near where we left our daughter. I was convinced otherwise, yet not so sure I knew whether it mattered since everything looked the same in the city after walking all night.

Everything looks different in the dark.

After weaving and whizzing through the the city streets, we made a final loop that retraced our ride almost exactly from Fenway Park into the city. As we started to see the city coming from this angle, it hit my man…we both recognized the reality. We had been walking completely in the wrong direction for the majority of the time. This took us further and further from our ultimate destiny until our friend Tito (aka Clarence) showed up.

But, the fact is God sees everything clearly.
My sin. My husband’s sin.
All sin.

This is what the Lord declares,
 He says to His children…mercy.

He sends us His immeasurable grace, as we pour out wrath on one another. See, while we were yet sinners, God was authorizing Mercy. Grace. Peace. Good. He was authoring our happy ending…IS continuing to write His story in each one of our lives as we open our eyes to His truth!As we stumble around wondering if He sees us. Sees me in this city…lost, angry at my husband. Following him through a maze of pavement and mad about it.While my husband is convinced he has it under control and he doesn’t, but God sees it all and He says MERCY!

See, even when I am wrong, God says MERCY.
When my husband is wrong, Mercy.
When we go astray, convinced we are going the right way, He commands Mercy!

I have a message for you.
Wives, your husband may be sincerely wrong, and believe he is right.
This frustrates you and causes you to fret.
But God is faithful.
He sees all, perfectly.

 You can see in the dark, for it is not dark to Your eyes.
    For You the night is just as bright as the day.
    Darkness and light are the same to Your eyes.

Stop fretting and start trusting because God is trustworthy, faithful and true.
If you trust God, even when your hub has it wrong, He will take care of you both.
Your response when your hubby is wrong: Mercy!
God’s response when you are wrong: Mercy!
As we approached the lot with great relief, my hubby kept shaking his head in disbelief.
He completely forgot a portion of our journey from earlier. It was so obvious we both had forgotten where we started our journey.

But God never lost sight of us.
Not for one second.

As we slid out of Tito’s car, I thanked him. He refused to accept anything for his help. I told him I was thankful to God for him.

He gave me a big smile, “I must have been sent for you.”

With a nod, wave and one more check, asking if we would be OK to get where we needed to go- he drove off into the night.

Mercy!

“Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.”
John Wesley

Be sure and visit these great blogs:  Women Living Well, The Wellspring, Finding Heaven,
My Daily Walk in His Grace where this post is linked!

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One Night in Boston (How to lose a car, make a friend and find God in 24 hours) Part 2

How Do You Lose A Car?

This post is the second of three. If you want to catch up, Here’s where you can read Part 1.

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After our 5 hour walking tour of the city, we get the call- it’s time to head back to pick up our daughter. No problem.
“Honey, which way back to the car?”
“We just need to follow this road.”
“Okey, Dokey.”
Hmmm…
One small problem.
It’s dark and somehow, someway we are unable to find the lot our car is parked in.
My hubby is determined…convinced we parked in a certain area.
I am so geographically challenged I limp along behind him, hopeful, trusting.
At first.
A half hour of walking later…I am starting to rub my temples.
We have walked and walked and doubled back and still no sign of thus said lot.
I glance upward at the night sky, noting the stars and follow my dear hubby reluctantly.

There is a storm beginning to brew between us.

Is it a fact or a myth that men don’t like to  refuse to ask for directions?
When my husband actually relents and asks strangers, I begin to panic.
Surely this one sign assures our complete hopelessness!
It is like the final frontier. I’ve known him for 30 years and can count the times he has asked for help, let alone directions. I start to meltdown. These almost 50 year old hips start to ache (look at me getting old!). I am getting hate texts from my exhausted daughter from across town as she is waiting for us.
I begin to hyperventilate, when the phone slips from my hand, smashing into at least 5 distinct pieces on the ground. He looks at me and states, uncharacteristically, “Hope you didn’t break it, because you’re not getting a new one.” Hubby and I are at a standoff, about to have the mother of all marriage fights, big guns about to come out. Our voices are loud, Italian sign language (wildly flailing arms) is being used freely and thankfully we are so far away from the hub of the city now it doesn’t matter.
Enter Clarence Tito.

If you are a fan of It’s a Wonderful Life you will appreciate that Clarence is sent to help George Bailey at his moment of hopelessness. Well, God sent this feuding couple a soft spoken, easy going, out for a walk, Bostonian named Tito.
For some reason Tito is not taken aback or afraid of us.
I quickly sum up whether he is a killer or not.
After a minute or two of talking with him, I assess he is reasonably safe.
I can tell my hubby (much less trusting than I) is doing the same.
Plus, let’s face it…we are at Tito’s mercy one way or another.
Perhaps he is wondering the same about the crazy Rhode Islanders he has stumbled upon.
He confirms we are about a 30 minute walk from where we need to be, and offers a ride.
“I grew up in Boston, I can get you to the lot and get right on the highway and head home, it’s trouble at all.”
I look at my husband and know this is the ultimate question for any man.
Will we accept the help offered from this stranger?
I wait to see what he will say, eyeing him behind Tito’s back, waiting for the nod of approval or disapproving, “don’t even think about it” look.
He’s tired, and lost and I get the nod.

My (almost) 50 year old hips rejoice – along with my blistered feet.

We are also for the moment sidetracked from our wrath toward one another and our arguing whether we are near Fenway, the city or in Never-Never Land for that matter.

But there’s still more…and God shows up, as always just in time, only to remind us He has been there all along. Tomorrow join me for the conclusion of our Boston adventure and invaluable take-homes for our journey!

Post goes live at 12 AM Eastern Standard Time!
Hope to see you then…or shortly thereafter!

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