Crashing to a Halt

Not my car - I was in no shape to be snapping photos after that crash!

Not my car – I was in no shape to be snapping photos after that crash!

A few seconds can change everything. A few years ago, right after I got married, I was driving up the highway to drop something off with one of the in-laws. Out of nowhere, a driver cut off two fuel tankers and sparked a chain reaction crash that involved 7 vehicles and shut down the interstate for hours. I was right in the middle and literally never saw what hit me.

I thought I was in control of my car just heading down the road, when out of nowhere, a fuel tanker sent it spinning across three lanes of traffic until it landed in a ditch. I had a few broken bones, and this still ranks up there as one of the scariest experiences I’ve ever been through.

Reading the police report highlighted for me how little in control I was. I may have had some control over my own vehicle, but there were hundreds on the road with me. And all the good driving in the world can’t stop a freak occurence like that from happening.

So it is in all of life. We may have that illusion of control, but there are literally millions of other people out there and an infinite number of variables beyond our control. Only God can truly control all that is out there.

And just as in that car crash, we might be going along, minding our own business, when suddenly something comes crashing down on us. And just as with that car crash, picking up the pieces might give us time to reflect and to see things differently than we had before. Hopefully, these crashes in life deepen our walk with Christ.
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Written in 5 minutes for Write 31 Days.

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Keeping Silence

silentsea The word “silence” often has negative connotations. When we speak of keeping silent, there’s an implied thought that the person of whom we speak lacks the courage to say something, or that we are forcing someone to stifle themselves.

Not always so. If we are to truly think something over, we need to have some silence. All the noise in our lives and the clamor of our own thoughts can drown out that still small voice. And frankly, if we don’t allow ourselves some quiet for reflection, it can be hard to learn or to appreciate the wisdom of others. Some of my days fly so rapidly by that I worry I don’t always even see others properly.

And then there’s the silence of awe. Sometimes a piece of music reaches so deeply that I am awed into reverent silence. Likewise when I find myself marveling over some amazing piece of creation for the first time.

Reverence, wisdom, awe, and wonder – all manner of amazing things grow and flourish in the silence.
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And here is a modern, but very simple version of a song that makes me stop and wonder almost every time I hear it:


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Written in five minutes as part of 31 Days.
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The Sweetest Joy

IMG_1497 I know I’m totally falling down on the job with 31 days. I’m pretty much okay with that, though. I’ve had the best reason in the world for being offline. One of my dear friends, who has longed for a child for oh-so-long, has finally had her dreams come true. I got to visit, and it was so sweet to be able to share in that joy.

And it reminded me of the joyful birth of my own little one. We struggled for years, and in His plan, God blessed us with our much-loved son. As those who have spent much time with children know, they are hard work. And yet, there is such a joy to having little ones. My little boy is quite small, but even now, the joy of getting to be his mother and of seeing some part of God’s working in his life makes me happy. And it’s not a fleeting happiness. That deep and abiding joy carries me through the tough times, the crying fits, the “I don’t want to eat” days and all the rest.

And so it is, on an infinitely larger scale, with Christ. Our joy in Him and God’s love for us is abiding and deep. Even on the not-so-happy days of our lives, that joy remains. Even in the depths of difficult times, that joy runs underneath it all just like the promise from which it comes.
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This was written in 5 minutes with the folks at 5 minute Fridays.

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I’ll Fly Away

flyaway I’m used to the quiet hush of funerals. Many of you reading probably know what I mean – soft voices, subdued music and so on. At my grandmother’s funeral several years ago, by her request, the service started with a loud and boisterous rendition of “I’ll Fly Away.”

And somehow, amidst the grief, that brought me comfort like little else. The simple words of that song ring so true. Indeed, one of these fine days, we will fly away to glory.

This truth doesn’t take away the pain of loss or the hole that is left behind for those who mourn a loved one here on earth. Yet there’s a promise to it that takes out some of the sting. We believers will fly away one day and when we lose a brother or sister in Christ here on earth, we can know that we will regain them in heaven.

I’m not sure why death and heaven are so much on my mind, but it may be because this month of Angel month at Mended Little Hearts. Each month, this wonderful group runs a Power of Pictures campaign to raise awareness of congenital heart defects(CHD) and in October, they remember those who did not survive.

As a heart mom myself, I find the pictures campaign encouraging. Thankfully, my son is doing well now and I am grateful every day for his health.

All of this month, I’ve been praying for all the other families who lost their heart babies. And I hope that some of you can join me in doing this, too. Medical science has made great advances in treating CHD, but some of this children very sadly still don’t make it.
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Written in 5 minutes for 31 Days of Writing.

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Patience to Walk the Road

patientwalk For as much life as I remember, I’ve heard patience called a virtue. Yet, it’s a tough one for me.

It’s easy to say we want a closer walk with God, richer and deeper friendships, places to serve where we feel a sense of purpose. The hard part of wanting them NOW.

There’s a reason why the old joke showing a person praying, “Give me patience, now!” makes us chuckle. It’s totally cliched, but it’s also uncomfortable in its truth. We want to be sanctified, but we want it now, without a struggle.

And yet I’m learning that some of the best things in life take time. Marriage deepens day by day, and that relationship builds and strengthens with time and work. God has plans for us, but He also has His timing for when things will happen.

My husband and I struggled with infertility for years, and I’ll confess that I did not always bear this patiently. Wanting a little one so desperately, and praying over that hope for a long time wears at one. However, it also draws one closer to God. When I look back now, I see that the road to the family I have today was long and sometimes very hard, but with hindsight, I can see the lessons God taught me. And yes, the patience that He pushed me to develop which I definitely did not have even a few years ago.

We may need patience to walk down those long roads, but remember that we never go it alone.
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Blogged in 5 minutes with the Write 31 Days community.

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Ready for the Storm

readystorm

Are we ever truly ready for the storms in life?

This was my first thought when I saw today’s prompt.

My next thought was of “Ready for the Storm,” sung by the Celtic band Deanta. The song is sung from the prospective of a sailor who finds himself feeling quite small amidst the roar of the ocean. Yet, as the song goes on, it is clear that the one to whom the sailor sings is the one who comforts all his fears.

I’ve loved that song for years, and in my mind, I can picture this lonely sailor singing it to God. Given that I’ve heard this song sung at Christian events, I’m guessing that I’m not the only one who sees it that way.

I would love to be able to say that I have that simple, secure faith of the sailor eagerly chorusing that, “Yes, I am ready for the storm” even as he marvels that he has no reason to be frightened.

However, I do have fears. And I’m old enough to know that life brings storms. So, what is one to do? Praying that I can be ready to face my storms with courage and grace is where I am these days.


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Sabbath Rest

relax The modern world moves at a different rhythm than did previous, primarily agrarian societies. While modern life offers in some ways a better quality of life than that enjoyed by previous generations, we have also lost something.

Currently, the ability to stay connected and productive 24/7 has led to pressure to always be doing something – and to show others that we are always doing something. This pressure may not be physically back-breaking in the way that plowing fields with a team of oxen or working heavy machinery may be, but it’s certainly has the potential to break one emotionally and mentally. Spiritually, too.

In terms of God’s covenants with His people, the command to honor the Sabbath extends back into the days of Moses. Practically from the beginning, God instructed His people to have a time of rest and reflection, and as with other commands, we can see that God knew best for us.

Honoring the Sabbath doesn’t get nearly the attention that it did in generations past, but it hasn’t lost its importance either in Scripture or in life. We need that time of reflection, prayer and rest.

In my own life, I know that when I have not rested, I do not draw near to God in the same way. Left to own devices, I will burn out if I do not take that time to rest.

Rest is as important as work, so let us not work every hour of every day.

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Written in five minutes for 31 days of writing free.

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Always Ready

ready

Are you ready?” “ALWAYS READY!”

No, it wasn’t the military. Sometimes that was youth group, or later, young women’s circle. When I was growing up, the idea that one needed to be ready at any time to defend the faith to “the unsaved,” usually athiests, was ever-present. I come from the reformed tradition, and most of us had read Greg L. Bahnsen’s Always Ready, which has become something of a modern classic of apologetics.

While getting pumped up through call and response chants is something I see less of nowadays, that idea that it planted, that we must be ready at any time to speak of our faith when called upon, hasn’t faded. And I think that’s a good thing.

There are some interactions with others that do not invite sharing of the Gospel, at least not in words. However, those moments where we encounter open hearts and curious minds come when least expected. I don’t necessarily like the word “defend” for those times because I frankly think that our omnipotent God is more than capable of defending himself since He is master of all situations. I think “persuade”, “instruct” or maybe even just “discuss” are better ways to describe how we show clearly what we believe and hopefully reach those whom God intends us to reach.

We cannot go through life knowing exactly whom we will encounter each day or what they will have to say to us. We can go into life knowing that at some point we will either be called upon, or be provided a clear opportunity, to talk to someone about issues of faith. Some of these conversations fall way outside my personal comfort zone, but as I am called, so may I be always ready.
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Written in 5 minutes for #write31days

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A Little Bit Mountainsick

purplemountain When I saw that “purple” was today’s prompt, I immediately felt a little bit homesick. Or maybe mountainsick is the better word.

I live in a different(and flatter) part of the state now, but I grew up in the beautiful Blue Ridge of Virginia. Even though I moved away when I got married and my current home with my family really does feel like home to me, there’s always a part of me that longs for the mountains.

Sometimes when we live somewhere, I think that the place impresses upon our hearts so deeply that it never entirely leaves us. That’s how the mountains feel to me. I grew up hearing family stories and all kinds of Virginia history, and the sight of my mountains has a way of soothing my spirit like little else on earth.

In a larger sense, that’s how I sometimes think of the Holy Spirit indwelling our hearts, imprinting us with that whisper of Who we belong to and what is to come. Sometimes, too, I feel homesick for a place my earthly body has never yet been.

Yet I know that God has a plan and a purpose for me. And, in my falling-short, imperfect way, I pray to walk just a little bit closer to Him each day and to set my face toward home.
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Exploding With Possibilities

stars I recently had a conversation with an old friend that was just…wonderful. Somehow we start off talking about kids and chores and all the day to day stuff of life. Then it all falls away and somehow the discussion turns to life itself.

This friend and I have both had some hurtful experiences in the church, and at one point we were talking about how we both felt so fortunate that God has led us both to strong, solid churches. For too long, religion felt like fear or confinement to me, as God was hidden away from us by legalistic and ever-shifting rules on dress, behavior, deportment, and more.

Being brought into a church with solid biblical teaching has felt like daylight to me. Following God and seeking to grow closer to Him day by day shows me that more things are possible than I ever dreamed. And it makes sense. A God of infinite space has a greater plan that I can ever understand, and we were born to be taken places and to do things bu His will that we would never have imagined on our own.

I have seen sad and sorrowful things, but I have seen miracles happen as well. Anything is truly possible with God.
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Written in five minutes for #31Days

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