Responding to trials · trials

Keep Looking Up!

spring tree 1

Last week I was doing my weekly errands of grocery shopping  and Target run with the typical flurry of moving quickly from one place to the next.  While walking up the parking lot towards Target, I had my head down, towards the pavement, while also reaching for my shopping list.  Then in my peripheral I caught a glimpse of


lots of pink! 

I turned my gaze away from my frenzied walk to look up towards the sky.  There in my view was this lovely sight –

spring tree

Of course I had to snap a picture!  I didn’t want to waste the gorgeous view of these pink blooms against the crystal blue sky.  It literally took my breath away.

After I finished my shopping and walked again under its beauty, I heard the Lord whisper in my heart ~

You need to keep your eyes upward.  That’s where the joy is!

Oh, that is so true!  Hebrews 12:2,3 tells us:

 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith;
who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross,
despising the shame,
and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself,
lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.

It’s really difficult to stop and consider Jesus when I have my head down, dwelling on my concreted  problems.  It’s hard to see the beauty of His presence and remember His promises if I focus on my list of troubles.

I must lift my gaze into His lovely face.  It doesn’t take the problems away, but it reminds me of the truth that He endured mistreatment from sinners, but He is now in heaven, victorious!  Because of that, I don’t have to be weary and faint! I can have victory, too!

That’s a beauty even spring blooms can’t come close to! One day all those that know Christ as their Savior will be gathered with Him where troubles and trials will be over forever.  Until then, friend, let’s

Keep Looking Up!!

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Christian Life · Encouragement · eternal · trials

Change Your View

wp-1516731367120-1058527903.jpgBecause my husband had a birthday this week, we took a couple of days to go on a trip to Hot Springs, Virginia to celebrate!  Oh, the blessing this change of view has given our busy lives! We loved the gorgeous setting of the Homestead Resort, sitting in sun-filled lobbies, window seats, and also the love seat in our own room.  The change of view has been a blessing.

There are times that our spiritual eyes need a change of view, too.  Discouragements come to all of us.  It’s part of living in a sinful world with sinful words, responses and actions.  Sometimes those all belong to our own heart; sometimes they come from others.  I’m never surprised at my own wrong actions/reactions, but though I shouldn’t be surprised when it comes from others (because others are sinners, just like me), it does come as a blow.

Have you been there?

Someone does or says something that you just weren’t expectitng and it’s a hard pill to swallow.  But as a believer of the Lord Jesus Christ, we are reminded that we don’t wrestle with flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers, against rulers of the darkness of this world.  My enemy is deeper than the person from whom the blow came. Ephesians 6 reminds of this truth. It’s no surprise to me that after having recently hearing my husband preach on these verses, and after having taught this passage afterwards in my Adult Bible Fellowship, that soon after the battle became very apparent.  Then, oh, the wrestling in my own heart through the night!  The “Why?”  “How could they” thoughts pierced my sleep, leaving me to toss and turn in the darkness of the room and also in my mind.

But when morning came, I went to that very passage in Ephesians 6 and repeated the armor that I wear –

  • The Belt of Truth – What Truth would I meditate on today?
  • The Breastplate of Righteousness – How would I respond towards this that would show a righteous heart?
  • Feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of Peace – Would I be ready today to share the Gospel, or will I dwell on the war around me instead?
  • The Shield of Faith – What promises of God’s Word could I claim today?
  • The Helmet of Salvation – Will I remember all I am in Christ because I’m His child?  How will this change the way I respond?
  • The Sword of the Spirit – What verses will I meditate on to remind myself (and my enemy, Satan) of the victory Christ has won for me? 

Choosing to meditate on that passage gave me a whole different view!  It was like the sunshine that was pouring into the library in which I was blessed to sit! It refreshed me in the battle because I was dressed properly to fight it!

If discouragement is your view today, do yourself the blessing of changing your view to all that is yours if you are a child of God.  It will give you an eternal perspective that will equip you to live in victory today!

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Christian Life · trials · waiting

Dealing With the Dark, Void Situations

Sunset 2a

I love the sunshine so much that the minute I wake up in the morning, the curtains in my bedroom get thrown wide open!  I want the those sunbeams to stream in! Even on a cloudy day, just the light from the outside is a welcomed change from the darkness within my room.

But what do we do when there’s darkness in our hearts, via a relationship or a circumstance that we cannot change?  It could be as trivial as frustrations, like when I was attempting to write this post and spent a good deal of time editing and rewriting. It was scheduled and ready for posting, but when I went to preview my writing, it was GONE!  What?  After a good couple of hours, it’s nowhere to be found?

I could not change this.  So after stopping and giving this darkness (trouble) this to the Lord, I realized that there must be a reason for this “mistake.”  Maybe it was just that I take time again to call on His Name. Doing so brought light (truth) to my heart – it was, indeed, like throwing open my bedroom curtains.

A lost blog post is trivial, but what about darkness and emptiness in a relationship? There’s a void and distance there that you would love to fill, but you cannot change the other person’s heart.

What about the grief felt when dealing with the consequences of sin – yours or someone whose life touches yours?

Or the sorrow of death or sickness?

We have to go back to the beginning –

Gen 1:2, 3  And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

When there was NOTHING but emptiness and darkness, with only a word, God changed it all into beauty and fullness.

Light, sun, moon, trees, flowers, sky, birds, fish, animals and man and woman were added to the emptiness and it was no longer void – it was FULL.

Who but God could do that?!

No one.

He longs to do the same with our dark and empty circumstances! It all starts when we know that we need His Son as our Savior.  He brings light from the darkness of sin and gives forgiveness and His presence for eternity.

His presence starts the moment we trust Him!  Now all those “dark” situations turn to me towards my God who longs to bring light and life to all these matters!  How?

  • Making me realize Who He is
    • Creator
    • Gracious
    • Kind
    • Loving
    • Able…
  • Making me fall on my knees before Him to ask that He will change this darkness and emptiness for His glory.
  • Making this dependence on Him a daily habit that transforms me into His likeness.

Yes, even losing a post on a blog post can be used to transform me into His image.  As I learn to call, to wait, to trust, to know He is sovereign, I can be more like Christ, if I allow Him to calm my troubled heart and look for Him to make beauty from my darkness.

What dark situation sleeps under your pillow and awakens you with a start?  What “empty” circumstance is causing you to need His light and abundance?  Thank God for that situation today, then call out to Him and wait for Him to transform it…and you!

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Christian growth · trials

Gingerbread Girls & Grace

Let the Christmas festivities begin! We had a Ladies’ Christmas Tea at our church on Monday night. The theme for the night was, Gingerbread Girls & Grace. The theme for the decorations was obviously, gingerbread  everything! We had gingerbread houses,  gingerbread  girls decorating the table,  gingerbread favors, and of course cookies!

My daughter, Whitney was our speaker.

She used the analogy of making a gingerbread house and the disappointment hers would have been, had she entered our contest we hosted that night. She said hers would’ve…

  1. Not looked like yours.
  2. Not looked like she thought it would have.

The analogy is, neither does

  • My life doesn’t look like yours.
  • My life look like I thought it would.

Each of our lives is a story, written by God. We can never doubt His love for us, no matter. Lamentations 3:22, 23 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end, they are new every morning, great is His faithfulness. The end goal is we become Christlike, therefore, we can embrace the struggles gladly.

What great truths these were. I’ll be looking at my Gingerbread attempt with these reminders in my heart!

Here are pictures of our wonderful evening at church…

The Gingerbread contest…

My entry…

Whitney sharing God’s Word with us…

Does your life look differently than you thought? Does your life look different than others’? See God’s Sovereign hand and his sufficient Grace shaping and molding you in your spiritual growth to become like Christ!


Christian Life · trials · trust

Lean In

sleeping baby a.jpg

Is there anything more precious than having a sweet baby lean against you?  And if you get the blessing of rocking them to sleep, you know when they’ve drifted off because they become as limp as a forgotten houseplant and they lean all their weight on you.

Recently I’ve heard several people use the term, “Lean in” when referring to trusting in the Lord during a hard time.

I love that!

It conjures up in my mind the picture of that little baby leaning in so hard that they rest completely on the one holding them.  Isn’t that exactly what we need to do with our dear Savior?

I don’t know what burden you’re carrying today, but can I encourage you to lean in with all your heart, your emotion, your baggage, and burdens?  Lean in until you feel your weight being transferred to Him.  Allow the Lord to carry you and your struggles today, and then enjoy the rest that will follow!

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

In all thy ways acknowledge him (lean on Him), and he shall direct thy paths.

Proverbs 3:5,6

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Encouragement · Life · trials

The One Thing You Can Change

If you could change one thing about your life right now what would it be?  If you could change that, do you think it would really alter your life?  Would it make everything better?  Maybe.  Maybe not.

Recently I was out and I saw a quote hung on the wall of the establishment.  The truth of it struck a chord in my heart.  I know it will encourage someone today as it did me then and as it does every time I remind myself of its message.  There is only one thing that we’re all really in charge of and able to change.  What is it?  Read on:


Now think back to that thing you would change if you could.  What about if you simply changed your attitude about that instead? That alone could make the difference you’re really desiring.

Today try to be intentional about what kind of attitude you have, and ask the Lord to show you if you need to make a change. Only you are in charge of that!

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Heaven · trials

Former Things

peppermint tea
Flu, sinus infection, broken limb, pneumonia, gall bladder attacks, migraines, fever, back ache, joint pain, cataracts, heart attack and a million other maladies are all a part of people’s lives every day.  Some people live with chronic pain for years.  Others deal with periodic illness.  Most all of us surely have had our share of sickness.  Even when you read the Scriptures you read about leprosy, fever, blindness, blood issues, lame legs, and so on.

During a recent recurrence of a migraine, I was awakened after midnight with the nausea it caused.  I rose to fix myself a cup of hot peppermint tea to ease the discomfort in my stomach.  While sipping the steaming liquid in the dim nightlight I’d turned on, I reached for my pad of paper and pen and wrote down some thoughts I’d been thinking during the night.  I wrote: Why God allows us to be sick:

  1. It reminds us how weak our flesh is.
  2. It makes us run to the Lord.  (Remember the woman with the issue of blood who came to find Jesus and touch the hem of his robe?)
  3. It enables us to sympathize and be compassionate with others.
  4. It makes us thankful for days when we feel well.
  5. It reminds us we’re not home yet.

We may not enjoy being sick, but, as funny as it sounds, it is good for us.

Revelation 21:4 says,

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.  

What a wonderful promise this verse is; I remind myself of it whenever I have a migraine.

Whatever discomfort you or someone you care about is dealing with today, remind yourself of the truth – One Day all these illnesses will be “former things!”

With love (and a cup of peppermint tea),