Comfort · Fear · God's Presence

He Is With Us!

My husband and I live in a two-story home and our bedroom is upstairs. I have had a scare a few times when he’s been away and I heard a noise coming from the living room or kitchen downstairs.  I’m alone and I’m afraid.  Because of that, when my husband is away from home, he will often call me or text me to say, “I’ll be home in a few minutes.  If you hear someone downstairs, it will be me.”  At a time when I could be fearful, he wants to comfort me with his presence. His presence in the house makes all the difference! Any bump or bang isn’t even noticed by me when I remember that Dale is with me.

That illustration pales in comparison to what our loving God does for us on a daily basis! Look what He tells us…

Isa 41:10 – Fear thou not; for I am with thee: 

be not dismayed; for I am thy God:

 I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; 

yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

This is addressed primarily to the exiled Jews during their long and painful captivity in Babylon; and the idea is, that they who had been selected by God to be his special people had nothing to fear. 

But the promise is one that may be regarded as addressed to all His people in similar circumstances, and it is as true now as it was then, that those whom God has chosen have nothing to fear.

In times in which we could be fearful, Isaiah 41:10 tells us that our God is saying to us, “Don’t be fearful,” and He also tells us why we don’t have to be afraid. ~

 I’m here with you. 
I’m here in the fear that is gripping your heart.
I’m in the need you’re experiencing.  
I’m in the diagnosis you just received. 
I am with that child that concerns you, 
that husband who has forsaken you,
and that load that is weighing down on you. 
I am there in your loneliness, your weakness and your greatest fear.

There IS no need to be afraid; I’m there with you – now,

and now

and now! 

This comfort is in the present tense!  Not “I was with you.”  Not, “I’ll come in a little bit.” 

I Am.

It reminds me of His name that He said to Moses – I AM.  The Present tense God gives us Present tense help.  Present tense comfort.

“Fear and despair are high points of atheism” D.L. Moody.  

Look! God has said it.  What more do we need? If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31)

Fear and despair often happens more readily to us when we are alone, but we must remember that we are never alone!

He goes on to say – Be not dismayed for I am your God.
Dismayed means “to see, to look”; and then to look about as one does in a state of alarm, or danger. That puts a picture in my mind of the Egyptian army coming after the children of Israel.  Moses reminded them not to be startled, but to stand still and see the salvation of the Lord!”

I am your God!  Remember, Israelites, remember how I helped you?  Remember what I’ve done for you?  That’s me!  

He had delivered them, met their needs, He had kept His promise to them.  He had led them, loved them, and forgiven them.

So whatever has you looking around in fear today, heed His admonition and don’t be alarmed! He is with you!

I am grateful for a husband who will text me to tell me not to be afraid because he’s coming home and any noise I hear will be him.  I can look at that text when I hear a bang and remember what he said. 

I am even more thankful that God wrote this promise in Isaiah for me to remember.  I can also look to the past and recall His faithfulness and I can look to the future and know that even then He will be the same.

What has you looking around at others with fear and dismay?  God is here reminding you not to be afraid! He is with you and He can help you!.  That makes all the difference in the world!

Refresh your worries with this truth...He is with you! He will help you.

Christmas · Comfort · Gifts

Christmas Care Package

I had the blessing this week of spending time with my parents. I go once a month to help out. I run errands, do a little housework, cook and bake and then just get to hang out with the sweetest people on the planet.

One fun thing I got to do was watch them open a care package that Whitney and her sister, Alli sent to them. My parents had received it in the mail last week and were told they could open it then, or they could open it on December 1st. It was sent to help “merry up” the Christmas season. Their thoughtfulness touched my heart, and meant so much to my parents!

Watching them open up each item, I thought about how sweet it would be to find someone near me that could use a similar package. Here’s what they included in this package that was sent from Target:

  • Holiday napkins
  • Balsam Fir candle – Smells amazing!
  • Shortbread cookies – Holiday shapes
  • Hickory Farms Summer Sausage and cheese
  • A chocolate Advent Calendar – They ordered a Lindt Bear calendar, but received a Star Wars one instead! We all got a good laugh out of that!
  • Holiday scented hand soap

Who wouldn’t want to receive such thoughtful items? I’ve been challenged, and I hope this gives you some good ideas of things you could take or send to someone who needs some cheering up this holiday season!

Different suggestions would include:

  • Christmas Candy
  • Homemade Cookies
  • Christmas linens – tea towel or pot holders
  • Christmas mug
  • Peppermint tea, Holiday blend coffee or Hot Chocolate
  • Cozy Christmas Socks
  • Chocolate Covered Pretzels

Who do you know that is experiencing some difficult days? It may be that they are sick, or have been sick. Perhaps they are home bound, or are lonely.

I’m sharing this idea so you can implement it where the Lord would burden your heart to do so. I also love the idea of doing it early in the Christmas season! Get their December started off with a thoughtful gesture that will remind them that they are not forgotten.

It’s a blessing to serve others, isn’t it? Paul acknowledged that the Phiippians at one time weren’t able to provide for him, but how thankful he was for the gift they sent when they could.

But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity.

Philippians 1:10

Do what you are able with what the Lord has entrusted to you. Refresh someone else right now when He puts them on your heart.

Comfort · God's Love · Responding to trials

Happy First Day of Autumn!

Each day that I walk on my walking path, I see the view above. It captivates my attention daily because it constantly changes.

When the crops are planted in early spring, I see the rich brown tilled soil, still cool from the temperatures of winter, but fresh with seeds and full of the hope of good things to come.

Summertime brings the corn with full, green stalks pointing upward towards their Maker and bearing a lushness that is breathtaking. There is so much life and anticipation in the bounty of the harvest that is to come.

In the fall I watch the tall stalks being cut and sent through the combine. So many chewing sounds echo as the machines chop and separate. The fields are scattered with bits of stalks left alone to dry in the harvest sun.

When winter comes the field seems fruitless and barren, but there is hope for the future days because spring is always just around the corner and this cycle will begin afresh and new. I never want to overlook that blessed hope that even winter bears. God is still at work in that field, even though I cannot see it.

The Lord uses the harvest field as a picture for us over and over in Scripture. It epitomizes our lives as we walk with God. We will “bear fruit” from that which we sow in our lives. We will reap what we have sown.

Then we’re also told…

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:11

There are seasons of plenty and then want; joy and sorrow. There are seasons in our each of our lives that we are enduring trials. We’re told in Ecclesiastes 3 that there are seasons for tears.

When you’re in a season of sorrow, it’s hard to imagine that you’ll ever be joyful again. It’s that “winter” when there is only barrenness and chilly winds of adversity blowing. You can’t ever see yourself laughing again. But just around the corner, hope springs new, as slowly as spring itself comes to the earth. Healing happens, and though you will never forget the season of the sorrow, you can look back on it without the pain ripping your heart wide open. A season of joy emerges after the barrenness of heartache.

Why am I sharing these analogies to remind you of these seasons in our lives? Because I’m well aware that it can look to you that bloggers or those you follow on Instagram are celebrating happy occasions, vacations, and joyful events and you are left alone in the field of adversity. It seems as though you’ve moved to a year-round winter season in the Arctic Circle and you’ll never feel the warmth of the sun again. But what is the truth?

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,  while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
II Cor. 4:17-18

I Peter 5:10 But after ye have suffered a while, may the God of all grace, who hath called us into His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, make you perfect, establish, strengthen, settle you.

Psalm 40:1-3 I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined unto me and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock and established my goings.And He hath put a new song in my mouth; even praise unto our God; many shall see it and fear, and shall trust in the Lord.

Those verses all remind us that our suffering will not last forever.

When you see pictures of happy events on the Internet, remember that the one who posted that is either just coming out of a trial, is in one right now, or is getting ready to head into one. We don’t see it, but it’s happening to each one. God knows we need it, and we trust our wise God even when the painful times come.

The seasons don’t just happen to the fields; they come to our lives, too. All of us experience the cool spring, the lushness of summer, the time of harvest and the cold, barren winter. But the blessing is, we have the Creator to

  • Comfort us with His Word
  • Carry us when we are weak
  • Change our situation when it is time

I encourage you today to look for God’s hand in your situation. Pay attention to what He is doing in your life that reveals His love and care for you. Sometimes it’s the little blessings that we overlook and that are the greatest comforts during a difficult season. God is still at work in “your field,” even though you might not see it. He is there.

The greatest comfort you could receive is salvation, if you don’t know Christ. This adversity could be a reminder that there is a God who loves you and has given His Son, Jesus for you so you could have a home in heaven. He doesn’t want you to miss it. If I can help you, please email me! RefreshHerblog@gmail

In which season do you currently find yourself? What are the comforts and blessings that you see from God’s hand?

Comfort · refreshment at home · Women's roles

Five Routines That Will Help During Difficult Times

Maybe with all the stuff going on in the world you’re having a bit of a hard time getting motivated in your home. I want to encourage you today about how helpful it is to keep moving forward especially during these difficult days.

If we can’t have the confidence that home will be a constant place of comfort, where will we go?

If we are also at odds with our loved ones because we are stressed, who else on this earth will love them?

Therefore…

This was supper one night this week. I moved a small side table in front of the fireplace so we could have the ambiance at our simple spaghetti supper.
  1. Keep your normal routines going at home.
    Get up and get dressed.
    Make the bed.
    Do the laundry.
    Vacuum the carpet.
    Sweep the floor.
    Make the bathroom shine.
    You have control over yourself, so be disciplined.
  2. Keep mealtimes delicious, engaging and special.
    Cook good food. That doesn’t mean you have to fix gourmet food.
    I do think there’s great value in fixing a supper meal at home, in involving your family in setting the table, and helping with clean up. While at the table, turn off the television and make effort to create conversation, even if it’s just you and your spouse.
    Turn on some relaxing music in the background.
    Light a candle.
    Set the table.
    Linger after the meal.
    Have a small dessert and coffee and take time to enjoy it all together as the gift it really is.
    It’s hard work being a homemaker, but if you don’t do it for your family, who will?
  3. Be present for your spouse and children. In all that’s going on, it’s so easy for people to feel disconnected.
    Children are certainly feeling some hard things and may need to ask questions or share any fears they may be experiencing.
    What a great time to point them to God’s Word with answers.
    Stop and pray with them over any anxious feelings they may be experiencing.
    My husband and I quoted Bible verses to one another one recent evening as we were drifting off to sleep. They were verses of comfort that did much to stop my worry!
    No one can take your place in the home. Your presence is imperative and irreplaceable.
  4. Make home the best place to be. Create a warmth that draws your family back.
    Plan for game night with popcorn and hot chocolate.
    Keep the house tidied up so it feels welcoming.
    Get that last bit of Christmas decor put away and the tree needles swept up.
    Light a new, fresh candle.
    Make comfy places for people to sit and read.
    Maybe this is the time to change the furniture around for a fresh look in your living room?
    Home is a gift, and the woman is the one who sets the tone.
  5. Make sure you’re spending greater time with the Lord each day. If we ever needed direction and comfort from His Word, it’s now.
    Pray.
    Spend time giving Him your burdens.
    Learn from Him.
    Write down what you learn.
    Stay close through the day by listening to godly podcasts.
    Meditate on God’s Word through Scripture memory.

If you wish to know God, you must know His Word. If you wish to perceive his power, you must see how he works by his Word. If you wish to know his purpose before it comes to pass, you can only discover it by his Word. ~Spurgeon

Without a relationship with God, we can do nothing that is effective for eternity.

These five things will not change the world, but they can change the people that live inside your home…including you! I pray that these simple steps will help you bring some joy from the home that our loving God has entrusted to you. You can make a difference, dear friend.

Refresh the atmosphere of your home,

Comfort · Coronavirus

Suffering At Christmastime?

This is a re-post from 2012 when my mother-in-law was suffering with cancer and under Hospice at Christmastime. I thought it was appropriate for this year of so much difficulty.

The hissing of the oxygen concentrator is steady, and lulls my mother-in-law to sleep.  I slip in and pull the sheet over her shoulders and turn off the light.  Then lying down in my bed, the monitor in both our rooms in the “on” position, I hear the machine’s hissing, and also her breathing and frequent cough.  I whisper a prayer for her comfort and a good night’s rest for her.  These are the sounds of Christmas in the parsonage this year. 

Some say, “What a terrible time to have a loved-one so sick, here at Christmas.”  I’ll admit that Christmas in the parsonage is usually filled with a different kind of activity – the celebratory kind.  It would include parties, a hot oven putting out all kinds of confectioneries, and a calendar crammed more full than a New York subway at rush hour. 

I also admit that this year will be a different sort of Christmas in the parsonage.  Already it hasn’t been the normal routine of Christmas movies, cantatas, drives through the country to see the lights, or even baking sugar cookies with colored sprinkles.  Instead it’s been about giving our time to my mother-in-law, who has little time left. It’s not been about what I want for Christmas, but about what she needs. Instead of harried schedules, we find ourselves taking time to sit and chat, to ask questions of her, for our own memory’s sake.  “Remind me again how you and Dad met.”  “Tell me about the day you trusted Christ as your Savior.”  We talk about heaven, the things we know from Scripture, and the things we imagine will be waiting for us there.  We sing, we read, we laugh, we cry. 

It is for all this and all other kinds of suffering that our Savior came.  He was born a babe in a manger in order to give us hope for eternity – for what lies ahead that we cannot see.  We know that heaven’s shore is just beyond, and for that we rejoice.  This is why we have Christmas.  This is why Jesus died – to redeem us and give us a relationship with God.  He makes sense of all the suffering in our lives. 

So, really, perhaps Christmas is the best time to suffer.  We have all around us the reminder that Christ came to prevent our eternal suffering, and to keep our current suffering in perspective. 

Looking into my mother-in-law’s room and watching her sleep, I remind myself that this (suffering) is why He came.  It will be worth it all when she sees Jesus.  And just think, she could see Him very soon!  Yes, this is why He came.  Merry Christmas, Mom C.

Refresh your heart with this truth if you are suffering this Christmas.