Lessons in the Storm

hands-2906458_960_720 pix2018 was quite a year. I’d say bittersweet is an appropriate descriptor. My first post was a New Year’s Wish List. The wishes were for you and I meant every single one of them. I never thought they’d all come true for me; well except excellence. I don’t know what happened there.

My elderly aunt had an accident in her home and wasn’t found for a couple days. It was traumatic and debilitating. I flew out to visit as soon as I could. Since she was alone and I was the only one in communication with her, I became her advocate. I didn’t know what to do and the cross-country trek complicated things. Wisdom was my answered prayer and grace a soothing balm in my hurts and failures. This dear lady became my friend and I developed a deeper love for her and a commitment to her protection. We spent much time together in her final months and seeing her go was a sorrow that I hadn’t expected. I still miss her.

Revelations
Many things were revealed during this time. I saw who I was and what I wasn’t. There were temptations I hadn’t anticipated and provision made for a way out of them. I felt the strong arm and soft shoulder of my God and was blessed to walk this uncommon path. It’s not an easy thing to step into the suffering of others but there is an unexplainable beauty when you do, and I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

Some days I made sound decisions and sometimes failed to be decisive. But it was in the backward glance that hindsight revealed the truth. I wasn’t walking this path alone but was being guided by the unseen hand of the Sovereign. With Him there is no oops or accidents. His plan is perfect and His purpose is perfecting His people through service. That was a privilege for which I am grateful.

ship-117013__340 Sailing pixabay (2)Life’s Lessons
The mettle of my faith was tested beyond expectation and strong winds beat hard against this small ship of my life. I found that…

  • Faith is a sea-worthy vessel, well able to navigate life’s storms.
  • My blessed Savior is both the Captain of my ship and the solid Rock upon which my anchor is moored. 
  • He is well seasoned in matters of tempests; for He once shushed the raucous wind and waves with three small words, “Peace be still.” And, for want of a boat, He tiptoed atop the treacherous sea to save his frightened disciples; with all the ease of one walking on solid ground. This storm of mine wasn’t His first.

How About You
Are your skies blue, seas calm and a comfortable breeze filling your sails? I hope so. Perhaps that’s not where you are now.  Maybe your small bark is sailing in different waters; navigating dark skies and gale force winds? You needn’t fear. There is an anchor upon which you can cast your hope. Hebrews 6:19– “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil.”  Let me tell you, THIS ANCHOR HOLDS. Turn over the helm of your life’s ship to Jesus and let Him speak peace to your storm.

God bless you and keep you,

Roxanne

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Pictures compliments of Pixabay Creative Commons

Merry Christmas, Feliz Navidad

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On a night so long ago, the Majesty and the Mystery of the ages was wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger. He came for a purpose and that purpose was you. The greatest gifts do come in the smallest packages!

In all your getting and giving, take time to rejoice in The Gift… Jesus.

Luke 2:11 – For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

Merry Christmas!

 

New Year’s Wishes

candle-2992645_960_720 PixabayIt’s hard to believe we’re nearing the end of January 2018. While the year is no longer brand new, it’s new-ish. So Happy New Year! I have a wish list for you this year. But first, I must express my gratitude.

Thank you for being there. Your faithful presence amazes me, especially when there are large gaps between posts. Your words of encouragement have been much appreciated as well. You have allowed me to ‘be real’ even when my ‘real’ was ridiculous; and you’ve thanked me for it. So, from the bottom of my heart, I thank you.

New Year’s Wish List

Here are the promised wishes and I pray they will come true for you this year. I wish you…

  • Wisdom; that pure, peaceable, gentle stuff of heaven that judges rightly and without partiality or hypocrisy.
  • Excellence in all your endeavors. Not that excellence itself would be your god but rather your goal, and the manner with which you serve your God.
  • Grace- That it would be extended to you in your failures and would be extended when others fail you.
  • Passion– That you would live, love and serve with passion; because life is too short and the cause too great to merely go through the motions.
  • Friendship– That your friendships would be deeply rooted and widely spread and that there would always be room in your heart for just one more.
  • A Good Fight– There are hurting, helpless, hopeless, homeless and voiceless people. Find your courage, take up the gauntlet and stand up, pray up, pay up and speak up. Fight the good fight of faith.
  • Love– Love one another with pure hearts, fervently. Above all, love the One who first loved us and gave the last full measure of devotion to prove that love. This is the banner we take into the world and by this will all men know we are His disciples indeed.

I pray that 2018 will be a fabulous year. But if it’s to be our final year, I pray it be our finest year.

God bless you and keep you,

Roxanne

Picture compliments of Pixabay, Creative Commons CC0

No Ordinary Baby

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Their eyes were fixed on the screen.  It seemed like forever but it was just a few minutes.  The room was still and quiet except for the occasional click of the monitor. The young couple sat watching, waiting for a sign that the test results were true. A couple more minutes would tell the story. In a moment they moved from wondering to wonder as they became eyewitnesses to a miracle. There on the screen was life; tiny, eight-week old heart-pounding life. It was too soon to tell what the child would be. His gender would be revealed soon enough but it would take a lifetime to know what he would become.

No Common Baby

Over 2000 years ago, another couple waited. Mary and Joseph had no ultrasound to confirm the child’s existence. They didn’t question the gender nor did they wonder what he would do with life. His coming and purpose was proclaimed by an angel and foretold by prophets. This would be no common birth. He would be no common baby.

A Savior is Born

After a slow, tiring journey, the young couple arrived into a crowded city with no comfortable place for them to lodge. It didn’t matter. They took shelter in stable behind an overbooked inn. And there, in the sleepy town of Bethlehem, Mary delivered God’s Son. Deity took on humanity when this child was born and the trappings of His royalty were exchanged for swaddling clothes and a manger. As far as the world knew, He was just another baby. But in that manger was life; tiny, heart-pounding, soul-saving life. That life was born so that death would die, and we are the beneficiaries.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16

As we celebrate this Christmas, let us remember that God gave us the greatest gift of all. He gave us Life. He gave us Jesus. Merry Christmas!

God bless you and keep you,

Roxanne

Picture compliments of Pixabay Creative Commons.

Post adapted from a newsletter article from Pregnancy Help Center, Richmond KY.

Love Letters

rose-1894760_960_720 PixabayI’ve asked my husband many times about his love for me. You know the questions I’m talking about, the kind that make a man want to bang his head against the wall. I found a letter on my pillow not long ago that answered my questions. Seven pages detailed his love, admiration and respect.

He recalled our first meeting when I was 19, even remembering the sweater I wore. Our big date in Hollywood made the list, as did the ice cream running down my arm on the Walk of Fame (not my finest hour). He mentioned the walk on the pier; the walk that changed everything, sparking his desire to protect and care for me forever. Our life’s highlights were noted; along with things I didn’t think he remembered or cared about.

I revisit my letter time and again, re-reading my favorite lines. I love the one that speaks of his desire to spend the rest of his life loving me.

Timeless Love
bible-1031288_960_720 PixabayI have another letter, timeless and treasured. It speaks of a higher love, a greater love. This love transcends time and space and was declared long before this ‘lover of my soul’ ever spoke the words, “Let there be…” The letter is lengthy; its message deep.

It’s hard to fathom that so great a One as He would condescend to reach someone like me, and yet for love He did just that. At my worst, He gave His best and declared as He has to His people for centuries, Jeremiah 31:3 “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.” I’ve had times when my thoughts of Him were few and fearful yet His thoughts of me are many and precious. Psalm 139:17 How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them!

I revisit His letter time and again, re-reading my favorite lines. I love the part where He talks about my future and life beyond this one; Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

How About You?
Are you searching for love? Have you sought it in places that proved to be empty? Do you long for a love that runs deep, goes the distance, counts the cost and finds the high price for your heart worth paying. You will find that love in a person. His name is Jesus and the letter of His love is written in red.

God bless you and keep you,

Roxanne

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. ® Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Finding Contentment

20170329_215155 (3)I like new things. If they’re shiny, that’s even better. If red, well, that ‘is’ my signature color. So you’d think a shiny, new red kettle would make me happy. I had the perfect kettle. It was a lovely ‘blue-red’. I forgot about it one morning and burned out the water, cracking the coating inside. It was ruined. I looked for something similar but the best I could find was this ‘orangey-red’ one.

I struggled with keeping the new kettle or holding out for ‘the perfect’ one. In frustration I set the new one on the stove. I was sad. Miserably, pathetically sad. Oddly enough, it looks quite nice in the kitchen. Why couldn’t I see it?

Holding On
It seems God’s people shared similar feelings, albeit on a much grander and less humiliating scale. After 70 years of Babylonian captivity, some of the Jews returned to Jerusalem to rebuild their lives, their city and their temple. Under the leadership of Zerubbabel, workers assembled to begin the temple’s rebuilding. Many praised God when the foundation was laid. However, some were not so happy. Ezra 3:12 But many of the priests and Levites and heads of the fathers’ houses, old men who had seen the first temple, wept with a loud voice when the foundation of this temple was laid before their eyes. Yet many shouted aloud for joy. Those that saw the glory of the original temple viewed the new one as nothing.

Letting Go
Why is it that things grip us so? Whether tea kettles, temples or something in between; pining for what we once had undermines contentment; leaving us bereft of joy and prohibiting us from enjoying life and moving on to greater things.

This happens in our spiritual lives as well. The apostle Paul was well educated and held a distinguished position as a Pharisee. Yet, to embrace all that God had for him, he had to release what he once held dear. Philippians 3:7-8 But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ.

How About You
Is your heart set on former things; a position you once held, item you once had or relationship you once enjoyed? Are you struggling to find contentment with what is by mentally basking in the glory of what was? It’s a common struggle. Playing the dangerous game of comparison renders us casualties of mental-wars of our own making. Paul had the right perspective. He counted his losses as nothing in light of all he’d gain. Ready to move on to contentment? The answer is simple. You must first let go.

God bless you and keep you,

Roxanne

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. ® Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

 

 

The Bigger Picture

Maddie Eclipse (3)A recent celestial phenomenon captured the attention of a nation. Social media was awash with pictures; some of the eclipse, many of individuals preparing to watch it. One picture grabbed my attention more than any other. It was of one awestruck little girl named Maggie. Uninterested in self or selfies, she was fully in the moment; watching in wonder as the moon passed in front of the sun. While she was captivated by the eclipse, someone was captivated by her. The photo with its caption, ‘Best Shot I took of the Eclipse’ sent my mind wandering to biblical places; to the palace in Jerusalem.

Musing of a King
What sparked the king’s musing while considering the heavens? Was it a muted sunrise on a misty morning that drew him? Perhaps a thumbnail moon against a star-peppered midnight sky sent his thoughts to places far beyond his view. Whatever the splendor, the psalmist penned a question worth the thought of both lofty and lowly alike. “When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained, What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him? Psalm 8:3-4.

It’s not hard to imagine that God would be mindful of kings. But God was mindful of this king, King David, when he was still a shepherd. David was heaven-picked from a pasture and placed in a palace. It’s no wonder he’d ask so humble a question from so high an earthly place.

How About You
Have you ever experienced that sweet exchange, when you captured the magnificence of creation while it stole your breath away? When was the last time you stood in jaw-drop wonder at the creative genius of the God of the universe? Did you dare to imagine the bigger picture; that while you marveled at creation, the Creator was mindful of you?

Take a moment to consider the vastness of the universe and your privileged place in it, then ask the psalmist’s question for yourself, and maybe I will too. Perhaps we will conclude as King David did, “O Lord, our Lord, How excellent is Your name in all the earth!” Psalm 8:9.

God bless you and keep you,

Roxanne

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. ® Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

**A special thanks to Maggie’s folks for allowing me to use this precious picture.

**Dear, sweet Maggie, I hope your life is beautiful and filled with many more wonders.