A Psalm for Saturday

Today’s blog comes in a little differently than others. I found this in one of my many writings. There was a time, and I possibly need to get back to it, when I would just read a scripture passage and journal how it spoke to me.

This particular one was written out on January 31, 2015. Interestingly, as I read through it today, it resonated with me and I found myself thinking, ”Yep, what was true four years ago is still true today and I needed this reminder.”

Here’s the scripture reading:

“I love you, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies. The cords of death encompassed me; the torrents of destruction assailed me; the cords of Sheol entangled me; the snares of death confronted me. In my distress I called upon the Lord; to my God, I cried for help. From his temple, he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭18:1-6‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Here’s what God spoke to me through this passage.

As my rock, you are my protection and you are not removed from my presence. If there’s any movement it’s on my part, not yours. You are my constant and unyielding even when things around me are unsteady and shaky; You are NOT. You are my rock in both good times and bad because You are constant and unchanging. My emotions sometimes gets the best in me and I waver and wane. You keep me steady.

I need You in both good times and bad times, maybe I need You and your stability more in the good times. Why? In good times I find my self more self-reliant, more pious and more complacent when things are seemingly well- that’s why!

In times of struggle, whether brought on by my own foolish choices or circumstances beyond my control or tragedy, I run to You. I cling to You. I depend on You to pull me through. I want and need Your help.

The paradox- in both good and bad, I need to run, cling, depend on and want your help.

You are my shield. You protect me. You stand between me and my enemies, most of which are in the battlefield of my mind. You are my stronghold and so worthy of my praise and adoration.

Coffee Talk

Before I continue writing our story, I need to let you know that our lives are not peaches and cream. There is absolutely, and I mean absolutely, no way for two highly opinionated, stubborn people to not have issues.  Just ain’t gonna happen.  I promise.

I can’t even pinpoint the exact time it happened but our children were all still home and in school.  Guessing, I’d say probably around 15 years ago.  I just know it began when all of our children would at least stay in bed until 7:30am on Saturday mornings.  We were early risers and found ourselves enjoying conversation and coffee.  Hence, began what we commonly refer to as “coffee talk”.

During our coffee talk, we spend time talking about everything.  We don’t hold anything back. Most of our conversations, especially early on, centered around our children and their friends.  We would discuss potential issues we saw in our children and especially behavioral changes we saw with certain friends.

We would also talk about things we liked and disliked about each other.  Things that bothered us or behviors or attitudes that we didn’t like.  We did.  Honestly, we still do. We are just not afraid to share how we feel.

There have been times over the past 24 years when there have been times that I’ve just wanted to walk and so has he. These are the times we’ve had to be painfully honest with each other. These are the times where we’ve had to be raw with each other and not hold anything back.

Both of us have always been aware that we are one choice away from being unfaithful. We know how easily we could get sucked into the idea that ”the pasture is greener on the other side” However, from our previous experiences, we also know the pain of unfaithfulness and committed, early on, to fight hard and remain faithful.

If you think it’s been easy for us, think again. We began our lives together with the ready-made family. Two young whippersnappers, ages 3 & 5, are not an ideal way to begin a union. We were and are still determined. And I believe that’s what has made the biggest difference.

We know the value communication.

If you’re in any relationship right now and you’re not honestly and openly communicating with each other; I encourage you to start your own version of ”coffee talk”. It’s amazing how much it will change your lives.

Think about it like this:

Maxwell house: Good to the last drop

Folger’s: The best part of waking up

Starbucks Doubleshot: Bring on the day

In the Palm of His Hand

A few weeks ago at Moms, I decided to go check the concrete driveway to see if Ryan and Matthews feet prints were still visible. Keep in mind it’s been 25,almost 26 years since the concrete was poured. To my surprise, Ryan’s still prominently in tact. Matthew’s weren’t immediately visible until further inspection. Yet, I knew they were there. I helped hold him in the concrete. I watched Ned write his name above his feet print. The tiniest of etching remained. With my foot, I skimmed the surface and could feel the small indentions. Yes, the small feet were still there as well as the etching of his name. However, it wasn’t until I got on blended knee that I could more visibly see.

Isn’t that just like faith? Sometimes it’s clear and visible that we believe what we believe. There’s evidence all around that solidifies our faith. We feel so close to God and we see him working in and through our lives. There’s just no doubt. It’s real.

On the flip side, faith is murky at murky at best. You question everything, maybe not you, but I sure do! You know that you know that you know but where is the evidence that God is real and present? Where did he go? Why did he allow this thing? If he truly cares why doesn’t he do something? In those times, you have to know what his word is truth. You have to be reminded of how you’ve seen him work in the past. You just have to know that you know and when it’s not clear, you may have to get on bended knee to see with more clarity the evidence of faith.

I’ve often heard that faith is like a muscle and it must be stretched. I’m beginning to understand more each day the importance of both. When our faith is stretched it actually becomes more healthy over time with proper exercises. This is why reading, studying and memorizing God’s word is of high priority.

The one truth to remember from God’s word is found in Isaiah.

See, even when we lack in faith and we don’t feel like God is present. He hasn’t forgotten us because we are carved on the palm of his hand.

A little about my Hero

I know a man who has given his whole being for the good of others. He is one of the most selfless people I have ever been around. His joy comes to see other happy. That’s always been his chief aim. I’ve never met an individual like him and I’m quite certain I never will again.

His countenance displays joy and peace. His life reflects the joy of the Lord. His smile illuminates the room and just sitting his presence blessings abound. My husband says frequently, “If you don’t like Troy, you’ve got serious problems”

Who is Troy? Troy is my grandfather, commonly referred to as “my Popaw”. What makes him so special and unique? The choices he’s made in life.

On any given day of sporting events when asked who he’s rooting for, his answer, no matter who’s playing, “The underdog. The team that’s losing”. He has a heart for the downtrodden, for the weak, for the homeless, for anyone who needs a little extra help. He wants to see them have an opportunity to succeed. It’s just how he rolls.

As a young boy, Popaw made choice to follow the Lord. He has never wavered. At 16 years of age, he married my grandmother. He loved her through life and never wavered. He became her caregiver for almost ten years. He grew weary towards the end, but he never wavered in his care for his bride. Once moved to assisted living, he visited her everyday, except a few times when he was sick. He never complained and always thankful for the care she received there.

He loves and adores his two daughters more than anything. He’s always been there for them. Always ready, willing and able to do anything he could for them. The past two years, through Ned’s illness, he expressed to me several times how difficult it was for him not being able to help and really be there for Mom. Honestly, his existence has been a blessing and help to us all.

His grandchildren he doted on since day one. There’s never been three children anymore loved and adored than me, my sister and brother. Both he and my grandmother always made us feel like the sun rose and set in us. He still makes me feel that way When I see his sweet face light up as I enter his room and he says. “Honey, it’s so good to see you. It’s always good just to be with you”.

And then there are his great grandchildren and there are just no words to describe the vast love he has for them. He is always concerned over their well-being. He is constantly asking about their safety and he is consistently telling me how much he misses those little rascals.

Clearly he is a family man.

When I think of the fruit of the spirt

I can’t help but think of Popaw. His life is the embodiment of these things. Every characteristic I have seen on display I his life. And I find myself thankful and humbled. Thankful that I have been given such a powerful witness of a man in my life and humbled because I realize, I have a very long way to see all these attributes displayed in my life. Truth is, I may never get there because I am not always prone to making wise choices, like Popaw. I have a “prone to wandering” heart.

Popaw has staid his course and run his race with great vigor and endurance! He is a living example of a life well-lived.

Popaw is my hero!

Pearls of Wisdom

At the start of this New Year I decided to read through the Bible. It’s something I started doing in January 4 years ago but last year decided to take a break. I’m not telling you this for earn brownie points or praise. It’s been a remarkably exceptional way for me to see things I would otherwise miss in scripture. Which brings me to the point of today’s blog.

Two days ago a verse literally jumped off the page and I couldn’t stop thinking about it, which in turn, caused me to read some commentaries. When a verse does this instantly I know that God is revealing a deep level of truth and insight. It can’t be explained away. And then it also leaves me curious to know why I’ve read over that verse a hundred times and never really seen it. I think it has to do with my heart and when it’s ready to receive a truth from God’s word.

The verse, found in Genesis 35:8, says this, “Now Deborah, Rebekah’s nurse, died and was buried under the oak outside Bethel. So it was named Allon Bakuth” NIV

Upon first glance this doesn’t seem important at all. It’s just talking about a woman named Deborah, who was Rebekah’s nurse and she died and was buried. The one thing I’ve learned the more I’ve studied is that everything in scripture bears significance.

The first thing that struck me was the placement of this scripture. At this point Rebekah is dead. In fact she’s been dead for some time, And somehow Deborah ends up with Jacob, Rebekah’s son. Commentators have varied speculation on how Deborah ended up with Jacob. But she did,

It is speculated that she was probably around 180 years old when she died. She was well-regarded and respected. She brought with her years of wisdom and knowledge for the younger women who were caring for Jacob’s family. She was also well-loved. Jacob called the place of her burial, Allon Bakuth of “oak of weeping”. It was sad day for Jacob and his family when she died.

Think about that for a minute. Deborah most likely was the nurse who came to Canaan with Rebekah when she came to marry Isaac. She had been with the family for many years. She remained with Isaac, even after Rebekah’s death, and then helped Jacob with his large family. She was more like a member of the family, instead of just a nurse.

Think about the impact that Deborah’s life had on this family. She gave up her home to go with Rebekah. She cared for Rebekah, maybe from birth. She was with Rebekah when Esau and Jacob were born. She aided in their care. She cared for Rebekah through her death. Remained faithful to Issac until she was needed by Jacob. That says a lot about her character, even though we know very little about her. I love this because it tells me she took her job seriously. She was fully committed to her calling.

While pondering and reading about Deborah, God reminded me of the precious lady who cared for me. Read her story here My Caregiver

I was reminded of how she loved and taught us. Her wisdom expansive. Her faith so simple and true. Her joy complete. She knew her calling and she did it well. Just like Deborah, Mawmaw’s life impacted ours. She became our family. When Ryan, my oldest son, and I travels from our home in Bremerton, Washington home, she insisted on seeing him. She said to me, “I want to nuss (her word for cuddle and rock) that baby the same way I nussed you.” How could I refuse a request like that?

And so, here she is “nussing my firstborn”. I have now doubt that while she was holding him, she was praying over him. She was, in her mind, singing over and quoting scripture over him. How do I know? She did the same thing for me, my sister and my brother. Oh, how she loved us and loved us well.

Just like Deborah, the day she died was. sad day, But just like Deborah, her pearls of have been passed through generations and will continue to be passed down. Like she would sing, “Oh happy day! Oh happy day, When Jesus “warshed” my sins away. “. Like I said before, a real simple faith, that’s all she had and it’s all she needed to be effective.

We can be effective and influence lives as well. We just have to be dedicated to our calling, knowing and believing that God has us exactly where He wants us for a time such as this.