Cup of Redemption

Famine!

Benjamin shuddered each time he heard the word. Although he 1_basketwas only ten, he heard the elders talking. Partly, he figured, because his mother had died when he was born, and partly because of the secret about his brother Joseph, his father often let Benjamin hover nearby.

 

Jacob had grown weaker season by season, and most of the time he now lay on his pallet fingering the tattered remains of Joseph’s many-colored coat until he fell asleep. Many times Benjamin had sat, quietly hidden in the shadows of the tent as

Frankincense for Cancer

Frankincense for Cancer

his father remembered with his friends that sad day when the brothers brought home the blood-stained piece of Joseph’s coat.

 

Benjamin grimaced. Someone besides Jehovah knew what ten brothers thought was their secret. But none of the brothers knew Benjamin had heard. Heard and seen them around the campfire on that crisp first autumn day when their father had sent him with the cheese and bread they’d left too hurriedly without.

 

He came upon them in the dusk. Though the food would be welcomed, Benjamin knew he was not, and so he listened for a bit, jealous of their freedom. He was sure they had been drinking, and yet their laughter and their stories had the ring of truth to them.

 

Sickened, he’d heard enough. Carefully, he backed off a distance, then purposely snapped twigs as he walked toward them – warning of his coming. What a terrible secret was now in his heart.

 

Their sneers and rude remarks about his noisy tracking reddened his face as did the glow of the early evening fire. For IMG_2688once Benjamin was grateful for his tendency to redden for it would hide the nervousness over his unexpected knowledge. He counted on the brothers’ rude behavior to run him off so they could complete their devious plans, and so they did.

 

Minutes later, Benjamin was racing toward home, reviewing what he’d heard and wondering what he should or could do with the information he’d heard. He was certain if they knew how much he’d heard, they would kill him too.

 

Fear chased Benjamin all the way home. And fear had stalked him to this moment years later. Famine! Was God punishing his family for what his brothers had done – or for what Benjamin had not done? For he had never told his father that he knew-somewhere-Joseph was probably alive thanks to Reuben.

 

With this background in mind, how do you suppose Benjamin felt when they were stopped by soldiers on their way home from getting grain in Egypt? How about when his brothers made the pledge that if they actually found the supposed cup, that person could be their slave? What did Benjamin feel as they searched through their grain bags one by one for a silver cup? Can you imagine his astonishment when the cup was silvercup-Chalicefound in Benjamin’s bag? Was Benjamin’s unresolved issue regarding the loss of his brother Joseph always at he forefront of his mind? Did he blame all of life’s events on his own behavior?

 

If you don’t know the resolution to Benjamin’s story, you will want to finish reading Genesis 42. Most important is the moral of the story and Joseph’s use of the silver cup to enable him to reveal what the brothers meant for evil, God meant for good. Silver in that time was used to purchase – to redeem – and this story (and our story) is, ultimately, about redemption too. A cup is also used elsewhere in scripture as a metaphor representing one’s lot or fate in life – the divine appointments whether good or difficult that God causes or allows to come to us. The most well known example is Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane that if the only way the purpose of his “cup” could be completed were if he receive it (drink it), then he bowed to the Father’s will.

 

Perhaps you’ve seen where these thoughts have led me – to my cup – to lose our daughter early in life, in an unexpected a3kidsnd shocking way, and naturally, the recoiling to its pain. To feel the cost is too great. Yet, I also wonder if, like Joseph, and like Benjamin, the only way God’s purpose can be fulfilled in this cup is that I stop making this about me, and seek God’s help to redeem my circumstances to comfort others.

 

I pray this will be so and that God will help us each to let him redeem our cup.

 

2 Corinthians 1:3 Blessed is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles so that we may be able to comfort those experiencing any trouble with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5 For just as the sufferings of Christ overflow toward us, so also our comfort through Christ overflows to you. 6 But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort that you experience in your patient endurance of the same sufferings that we also suffer. 7 And our hope for you is steadfast because we know that as you share in our sufferings, so also you will share in our comfort. ©NET

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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After losing a child – Grief’s Invisible Scar

I am not alone. Many others whose stories I’ve now heard, also miltary3feel the continued wound. I was about to explain it as being disabled – broken in a way that cannot be bandaged or expected to heal – because I do indeed feel the loss constantly. But the definition – having a physical or mental condition that limits movements, senses, or activities – does not really fit. I sought about for the word to describe this lingering but invisible proof of the wound, and scar (a lasting aftereffect of trauma) really fits.

 

Oftentimes we can see a person has been wounded because of their visible scars. But all scars (physical, emotional, spiritual) are not visible. One of my employers who knew my childhood story of abuse asked me how I could be so normal. (I know, I Footprnts insandknow, my family were surprised too that anyone could think I am normal).

 

But seriously, what he was saying was that evidence of the wound was not visible.   Later in life I had surgery for a ventral hernia. After the surgery I could not sleep on my right side from the pain. I was told that time would heal – give it a few weeks. After weeks I complained again and was told some patients take longer to heal, wait a few months. After months I was told that unfortunately if it wasn’t gone by now, it likely never would dissipate. The end of the story was discovering a sticky part of the repair mesh was applied facing internal organs, and scar tissue had entangled all surrounding tissue.

Physical therapy has reduced some of the tension and pain, and

Fullness of Life Educational Brochure

Fullness of Life Educational Brochure

though the scarring is not visible, the pulling, and pain will always be with me, and I’ve had to learn to live with it.

 

Those may seem to be odd comparisons, but part of my heart has been torn. I’ve talked to other parents whose experiences were 12 – 14 and over 20 years ago and they too all still feel their scar. They tell me the pulling, the pain, the evidence of the wound, do not lessen in time, but we do learn to live with it.

 

People keep asking how I am doing. I would love to remove that question from my world, and I finally figured out why. I don’t want to fake it and say fine, and I don’t want to think about an u-turnhonest answer and sob all over the questioner. I searched to see if other grieving people had trouble with that question. It’s amazing what you find when you search for grief-responding-to-how-are-you. One website (noted below) though not spiritually based, reminded me of two spiritual lessons:

 

1) Phil. 2:4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others

 

Should be obvious, I know, but these past months I have thought more of our extended family members and myself than of the ‘others’ who ask me that question. I need to remind myself constantly that they would not ask if they did not care – OS02097they could choose to simply avoid me. I need to remember that some of them have lost a loved one too. While it is easier to just say thank you to those who offer comfort by saying things that don’t require a response, like “I am here for you. I am praying for you, or remember to take care of yourself… I need to respect the hearts of others who ask, and to say things like, “Some hours are better.” (because, honestly, I haven’t gotten to ‘days’ yet.)

 

2) 2Cor. 13:11 …, be comforted, … (a command, meaning encouraged in the original language). At first I thought that is not what people who mourn want – to be encouraged. To be commanded. It seems inappropriate, even. But the definition is supported, uplifted, and nurtured. And the command is to make the choice to accept even sometimes painful “spiritual therapy.”

 

So, despite the tugging on my heart-scars whether I try to move away from the wound or remember it, or maybe because of it, I am learning with my many sisters-in-grief to look outward and to say thank you for caring.

 

Our grandson, Ben, at our daughter Laurie’s memorial said “NoIMG_2801 matter how long I would have had her with me, it would not have been long enough.” And so, I am encouraged too, to look upward and say thank you for the testimony of love that the one lost is so deeply missed.

 

And thank you, dear ones for your comfort – your nurturing – your support.

 

 

 

http://www.griefhealingblog.com/2013/10/in-grief-responding-to-how-are-you.html

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My Master

“It’s borderline malnutrition,” the doctor whispered to my husband. “It’s an addiction. Addictive behaviors to sugar and Doctorbrain-damaging excitotoxins—like binging, withdrawal, and craving—are all related to the same neurochemicals involved in heroin addiction.”

 

My subsequent confession of subterfuge, acting busy during meals so I didn’t have to eat anything else, ordering only whipped cream and hot fudge when out to eat with friends, and midnight sugar gluttony, was no laughing matter. My body was under the craving and control of chemicals. Fully and finally we understood that a god or false master (Baal) can have many forms.

 

Saint Augustine and the philosopher Pascal famously described mankind’s drive for satisfaction as a spiritual quest to fill a vacuum in our souls. The vacuum, they explained, was created by and for God and could only be filled with God. Unfortunately man has for centuries kept choosing to fill that void with anything and everything except God and His Word. Millions continue believing they control their craving, be it food, drink, physical experience, drug or anything else we come to believe we “must” have.

 

The Bible likens such behavior to enslavement. To become prison-bars-590x354enslaved to anything we must first submit to it. To be released of any ungodly control (anything that takes first place in our body, soul or spirit) we must also submit – to God.

 

God never leaves us to fight these battles on our own. He promises that when we submit to Him, He will give us the power and strength to resist the Devil (James 4:7), and only with that power, will the enemy finally give up control of our body and soul, and flee. That is the power that led me to sing, I don’t want to be bound to anything but you Jesus, I don’t want any chains on me, but the bonds of Your love.*

 

Each day I continue to submit any chains (habits, hurts, OS11109emotions, weaknesses, thoughts, desires) that bind me and keep me from fully experiencing the bonds of freedom in the love of Jesus Christ.

 

Let God give you that same freedom; bind your heart’s desires and longings to Him alone. He alone can satisfy.

1Corinthians 6:12 All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything.

* From Joel Welkin’s song I Don’t Want To Be Bound – used by permission

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Happy Endings!

Ok. It’s the New Year. The time of new beginnings, right? New Fireworks-starlighthealth habits, new goals, new plans and hopes. But also the reality of a changed family. The need to survive and to live out that ‘live-as-though-it-were-your-last-day proverb for the rest of your family and special relationships.

 

In the past I thought of this proverb only in relation to myself. What would I do different if it were my last day? Dance as if no one was looking? Eat less, read more? Work harder and relax harder? Spend more time with people

 

Now, I think what if I were to leave the house, and not come IMG_2624back – was the last thing I said or did going to bring pleasant memories? Or what if I were to go out the door and come back to one less family member? Is there going to be anything I wish I’d said or done to them, or perhaps more importantly, anything I’ll wish I had not said or done?

 

I know many might say wait a minute, we are still human. We are going to hurt and be hurt. That no one can live that way every day. But really, can’t we develop habits to CHOOSE to not let the wrong emotions rule? We don’t have to have a tragedy to choose to make this decision.

 

I’ve always been a last thing first kind of person. Before I have breakfast, I like to know what we will be having for dinner. As a matter of fact, I will often make that decision for tomorrow before I go to bed. (I just did – I took a chicken out of the freezer to thaw) So what other last things are there? I always feel better when I am cleaning and have the worst job out of the way. I write better (more relaxed anyway) when 14013I first outline the goal – and know what I want to accomplish at the end. If I am out delivering things, I will do the most outlying destination first (that way if I don’t finish, the remaining ones are closer to home). You got the picture. So – what is the last thing before I leave the house? I know my husband will be thinking about me and either the words I said or the way I left the house. Why not have it be something good?

 

It’s a little thing to do. But it is those little things, done consistently that often make the greatest impact.

 

I’ve just got a feeling that if we put into practice, day after day, an exit line that could be serious or short and sweet, 2084cute or code it will become automatic. (We do have a code – our granddaughter Aimee was the first to figure it out)

 

Happy New Year – Here’s to new ENDINGS!

Hosea 10:12     Sow righteousness,
reap love.

 

 

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After Losing a Child – Reverse Resolutions

Years past have often begun with regret rather than rejoicing. What have I not  stopdone…what should I have done…what have I not finished, and on and on.

 

I have a different perspective this year – and it is a gift from Laurie, the daughter we PlannerHooleylost in October.

 

To be truthful, I have had a lot of negative retrospection these past months as well, with if only…I should have…perhaps I could have…and on and on. The hard part is knowing that if I should have, or could have, it is too late now. Of course the scriptures also remind me that I do not have the power to add or subtract a day from my own life, let alone my child’s life, or that of anyone else. In my weird sense of humor I can admit that if I had that power, some lives would have been extended and others abruptly cut off – likely including my own on an infamous PMS day! It is a comfort, therefore, to be reminded that only God has that power.

 

As I’ve looked through many of my daughter’s email messages to me, I’ve noticed several consistent things – two most importantly.

 

One – her faith. No matter how her faith was stretched or challenged the basics remained the same. God was God – Elohim. Jesus was God’s son who gave His life and glory for our sin, and the Bible was God’s Words.

 

That one – led to the second – she accepted her cup.  IMG_5574

 

Some call it the life or ‘cards’ you are dealt, fate, your days. Laurie accepted who she was, who I was, and whatever came up in her life. She got more distressed about injustice done to another person who couldn’t or wouldn’t speak up for themselves than she did about personal injustices. Oh, she ranted like the rest of us women. Shortly after the birth of her first child I was tempted to have a poster made of her with a Bible in one hand and a breast pump in the other! One email message stated it well – that yes we will have many obstacles and outrages but they should not be able to reach, touch or change the internal. They are there, they must be dealt with, but they are only external – hope is the internal.

 

So – how does this get me to Reverse Resolutions? It is because I’ve read such comforting and encouraging things in her emails that I’ve come to writing things that God accomplished for which I can be thankful. Journaling these moments of thankfulness gives me encouragement that based on our history with God in our midst – what He has done in us in the past – He will be doing something more in the future.

 

My word of the year is Live. A granddaughter was with me when I got it and to her, it was ridiculous. But to other moms who have lost a child it is fully understood.

 

So here are three of my reverse resolutions that activate the 2015 word of the year – Live:

  1. Add Health

This year instead of focusing on giving up certain foods, I am instead adding more towersandwichdeliciously natural delights to rebuild and restore a healthy lifestyle. Pumpkin pancakes, coconut macaroons, zucchini lemon and garlic noodles and veggies and dill dip don’t sound so painful do they? I have already found adding ON the healthy foods, has already taken off 10# without trying. Interesting how that works.

 

  1. Add Thanks

 

Instead of whining because we couldn’t exchange gifts at Christmas, and remembering 2014 as one of the toughest years of my life, I’m making a list of things I received and experienced last year. I’m startled how quickly a lot of love, support and surprising LWGHDgifts had been obliterated by the fog of grief. As I add ON to the thankful list, I find a growth in appreciation for what I already have and an eagerness to share replacing the former consuming desire for more. I’ve lost a couple carloads of “stuff” too – and quite painlessly.

 

  1. Add Rest

 

When you have lost a child, rest can almost be a fearful thing – a place where I cannot hide from clamoring thoughts, sad memories of my loss, regret, and helpless feelings that can lead to depression. So I have added purposeful times of rest. Rest – and peace – can come from different things for different people. For me it comes from reading, losing myself in music, photographing nature, and writing for worship. Instead of IMG_3705focusing on what I think I want to get done, or should get done, I am practicing playing hooky! By adding a couple times a day where I curl up in my favorite chair, in the sun-splashed chair in Ken’s study, or take a walk, I am careful to warn my hubby that I am unavailable to calls until I am done. Adding these seemingly selfish moments, has slowed down my formerly frantic pace, and I find I am accomplishing more when I do work than I had before.

 

 

Luke 6:44 The health of the apple tells the health of the tree. You must begin with your own life-giving lives.

 

Got any reverse resolutions? Please share!

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What is Your Account Balance?

She hadn’t balanced her checkbook in over four years! I was shocked to hear my 7078neighbor tell me this, and quickly made an appointment to teach her how to manage her checking account.

 

I could not imagine not knowing my balance and the anxiety it would cause every time I went to use the check card, or wrote out a check. I’ve helped others who have constantly had overdraft charges multiply into hundreds of dollars when not addressed immediately. This friend had not had the issue since the first year, but was constantly short of funds, and had no idea from month to month if there was enough to cover necessary payments. She was a nail biter from worry about which checks would go through and which would bounce. After spending a “horrid amount of money” on overdrafts the first year, she even refused to pay for an account printout, because she didn’t know that request could put her funds into overdraft. Besides, she explained, she just tried to remember about how much she had spent, intending to spend about $100 less than was automatically deposited each month and she was pretty sure she was ok because the overdrafts stopped. She assumed that she was either about even or possibly had at the most under $100 in her account, but she was afraid to spend beyond the most urgent payments, because she was not sure.

 

It took several days of calculation going through boxes of checks and filling in blank moneysmallregisters. Then she wrote no checks for a week to be sure no checks were on hold. Finally, the banking institution confirmed, without charge, our calculation that she had over $2,000 excess in her checking account! I’ve helped many people with budget planning and account balancing and this was a first. Imagine – all that worry for four years, and she had access to a reservoir of funds the entire time!

 

Even though I could not handle not knowing the balance in my checkbook, from time to time I have lived like a pauper spiritually when there has been a reservoir of all that I needed readily available. Whether my lack was due to lack of knowledge, unbelief, laziness, fear, false humility, or guilt, the result was the same as my friends. All had already been provided —readily available for my access.

 

2Peter 1:3 . (NIV) His divine power has given us everything we need for life and 1Pub-AnstoPrayer-GPeditorsgodliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness

 

My friend was able to access her resources through knowledge and understanding (and in the future consistency in documentation. Similarly, all I need is available to me through knowledge (of Christ). The Message defines this knowledge as getting to know, personally and intimately. That takes consistent time and commitment.

 

A woman at one of my speaking opportunities approached me excitedly afterward. She wanted to have experiences like I’d shared about being directed by God to minister to others. However, when I talked to her about getting to know God personally and intimately, she was uninterested or unwilling to make such a commitment.

But, how can you know someone’s voice if you have not spent time with them? How 2038can you discern if the direction you feel is from God if you are unsure what His Word says about the issue?

 

And how can you know what resources are available if you don’t check your spiritual account?

 

Romans 8:32 (NIV)

 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?

Philippians 4:19 (NIV)

And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

 

 

Have you utilized the resources that God has available to you?

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The Gift of Seven and other Giving Traditions

Seven Christmas Ideas to celebrate meaningfully  24189

The Gift of Seven -

You may have difficult people in your life as I had. People for whom you struggle to remember good memories. It took years to realize that was the gift they wanted, and some special prodding on how to give the gift of seven.  Should you be blessed not to have this issue, the gift of seven can apply for an elderly family member, someone who has everything, or someone who needs encouragement. It is a gift of love and hope in the form of memories (and favorite candy or treat if desired). A single person or a family can brainstorm for 7 happy memories. Write each memory out on a separate note and add scripture verse on hope below each one.   Each of those notes goes into a tiny box or envelope labeled with a number. Suggest to the giver that the boxes are opened one a day beginning on Christmas. If you have a large family and lots of memorieHkisszs you can keep a person feeling loved and blessed for longer than 7 days, as they look forward to opening a new memory each day. It’s a treat to include a piece of individually wrapped (sugar full or sugar-free) chocolate in each gift, or you can add a box of favorites to open on the last day.  This gift benefits both the giver and the receiver!

Traditions that Keep on Giving

Adults forgo receiving gifts, and instead each contribute set gift amount to one charity each year. Adults can brain storm local charities, then vote on selection, write charity names and draw a selection each year, or each person have a turn of selecting a charity.  13013

 

Draw names with one name more than the number of people– each person will receive a gift and the last name can be Jesus, Others, or Charity. That gift would be sent to organizations like Samaritan’s Purse on behalf of your family for something like “Chickens for a family to start a business” or “Blankets for a family”.

 

Display Christmas Cards where they can be used as prayer reminders.       Each night IMG_5559before Christmas (or through January, or all year long as the family prays together), one person has a turn at picking a card and praying for that person or family. It’s a great gift also to be reminded on a regular basis of those who are important in our lives, and who consider us most important in theirs.

 

15293Be a prayer partner for a family member. Distribute red envelopes to everyone in family. Each envelope has name of family member on it. They can be distributed before Christmas and put on the tree or they can be addressed to be mailed to each person after Christmas.  Each person with a red envelope are encouraged to write one thing they are thankful for about person named on envelope and one thing they are praying for that person in the coming year. It’s an encouraging gift that keeps on giving.

 

Select a local family in distress and present a tree of gift cards (grocery, gas, and department stores). One way to make a tree is to place a branch in a flowerpot filled with plaster of Paris, and attach the gift cards.       You can usually purchase “scrip” gift cards to benefit your church or school, thus gifting two places at once.

 

Start a Christmas Jar for next year.       Canning jars are available for each person on IMG_5558Christmas day. They can be any size. The children can decorate labels for the jars or labels can be pre-made. A note (unsigned) can be placed into the jar. (Suggestions – this gift is given in acknowledgment of how our first Christmas Gift – Jesus Christ – changed my life. I hope it will be a blessing to you and that you will fill your jar and share with someone else next year.) Beginning the day following Christmas fill the jar with change.   Next year, between December 1 through December 23, each person must give his or her jar anonymously.  This gift can also be a fun time of exchanging stories of the recipient’s response to receive the jar, or their reaction as they ‘find’ the jar where you placed it.

More ways to draw names  luvudad

Before our grandchildren married we divided the number of family members by the number of families. Four families and 16 family members meant each family bought 4 gifts. Adding one for Charity would make 17 – meaning four families has 4 names, and 1 family would have 5 names (I usually asked for that as I love shopping the most!). A different family could draw 5 names next year. We did this so as not to financially burden any larger families. As the grandchildren have begun to marry, we began them with 1 gift (one extra person) and and when they add children will likely make it 2 gifts the next year. Our gift limit is $20 (we started with $7.50!)so the focus is on the thoughtfulness (and often creativity) more than the size of the gift.

White-Elephant Exchange  OS06087

I’m not quite sure how this tradition got the weird name, but it can be fun to find a no-longer used or appreciated item in your home and gift wrap it for a mystery-gift exchange.  One way to do it is to have numbers in a container. Each person draws a number to indicate order of selecting the gifts (often in packages disguising the contents). The number can be used two more ways: After receiving the gifts, the order of drawing can be re-done or reversed so that each person in order, can request an exchange with someone else based on appearance of that still-wrapped gift.  Then everyone opens their gift and the third round is that the first person opens their gift. Then the second who can decide if they want to keep their gift or exchange for the other opened gift (person 1). Each person in order opens their gift and can  repeat choosing to keep their gift (which might get stolen) or selecting from all opened gifts. After the last person makes their selection, the person who drew number one gets the final selection of all the gifts.  It makes for a fun time with lots of laughter, and can also be giving gifts that keep on giving as some items return for re-gifting as white-elephants year after year!

Whatever you do, don’t go into debt for the rest of the year as we did when younger. The best gifts, after all, are from the heart and cannot be purchased.

Merry Christmas!

Delores

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Global Blog Hop

Renee Blare, http://reneeblare.blogspot.com/ invited me to join her ReneeBlare Headshot2Global Blog Hop.

 

Welcome to all who’ve been directed from her writing world to mine!

 

Here are the blog questions and answers:

 

What am I working on? 
WilkinsonNME

Coming Attractions! Miracles, to be exact. Seriously, I do have a book coming out soon. The book was suggested to me by Bruce Wilkinson at a conference. That’s a photo of us above. Be The Miracle – a 31-day personal challenge devotional is tentatively scheduled for early February. I’ll be sure to let you all know as soon as I have a launch date.

 

With the many changes in the publishing world, writers are responsible for a huge portion of the footwork to advertise and promote their own material. Consequently I’m currently preparing marketing and promotion for Be The Miracle, while working on another devotional about Selfies!

 


How does my work differ from others of its genre? 

Writing for Anthologies

Writing for Anthologies

As my daughter’s have often said – because I am me! Rather than compare or compete with others, I can only be myself. It can be intimidating when you research a topic to see the varied ways a similar title or issue is handled. You might wonder why do I feel called to write on that – there are 6 other books out there on that topic already. But haven’t you faced that dilemma when looking for a book – not the one of ‘only’ finding one book on the topic – but which version best suits you or the reader to whom you want to gift with the book. We all write with our heart and voice, developed from years of personal experiences of our own and of generations gone before us. I have always loved stories, and been a storyteller, so my work will differ from someone who is more analytical. Though you might find cold hard facts and statistics in my work, they will be in story form.

 

Why do I write/create what I do?

Two reasons – to share with others the joy of knowing God and of working within the

Confession of a Writing Junkie

Confession of a Writing Junkie

gift He has given me. (Well that’s one compound reason.) The other reason is because it is something I cannot stop doing – it is like breathing! I am a Writing Junkie!

 

Whether I am driving, walking, watching an event or a show, visiting, or reading someone else’s writing, I am always noticing people and details and wondering what is the story behind this or what could be the rest of that story. I was once at a party and curious about one woman’s trip to China. Another friend leaned in and teasingly warned that I was secretly interviewing her and her story might soon appear in print!

 


How does my writing/creating process work?

I carry notepads and pens and have them around the house and in the car. Ideas are everywhere and as Ecclesiastes said, there is nothing new under the sun, so whatever I see or think, it is likely someone else has experienced. Half the fun is finding those people and interviewing them.

PlannerHooleyGoals are for the big rocks – topics, research,  starter and ending, but other than that, I am pretty much what some refer to as a Pantster – someone who sits down and writes – they don’t make an elaborate outline, but just let it evolve.

 

I write way beyond what I need and then edit, edit, edit to the required size. Often parts of what I edit will start a new blog, article or story.

Thanks for visiting and do leave your blog links so we can come visit you too!

Writers: Let me know if you would like to join the Global Blog Hop. I’d be pleased to add a link and send some new friends your direction too! Thank you to Renee for the invitation.

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Be the Miracle!

You are a miracle! You have been created to be the miracle for others! Startling grammasbadge2BLstatements.  Those statements are exciting on the days when things have gone right, we have been particularly blessed, and feel confident to share our joy with others. But how about the days when we are consumed with sadness, grief, or overwhelmed by life’s misfortunes? How can I be a miracle to someone else when I don’t feel I have the strength to do what I should to minister to myself? Whatever kind of day you are having – happy or sad – victorious or challenging – you might be wondering. How can we possibly be a miracle?

Recently I had the opportunity to sit with someone and practice the presence of Christ. We wept, we rejoiced and we pondered truths vs emotions.  Being a miracle is not all that complicated. It is believing and activating that God’s truth trumps circumstances.

Mark Lowry’s song says it well:

 

You don’t have to feed the 5,000 to care for the hungry we see

You don’t have to walk on the water to get to somebody in need

There’s no good excuse to not let heaven give

The miracle of you and me

 

The miracle of you – a child of God set into the world as his ambassador

 

You are the salt  1375

You are the light

 

Not will be, or can be, or might be, but ARE

 

You are the salt that highlights and improves flavor, preserves, and removes toxins (purifies!)

You are the light that illuminates, reveals, and brings hope by revealing truth and grace

So whether we feel like it or not, we simply are. Salt.  Light.

Do you know people who are salt? Just by being there, by  joining us in our life situations, melding their hearts with ours, they improve our outcome.  They have many personalities. Some bring more energy, fun and possibilities into any discussion. Others’ consistently uplifting and positive attitude makes resolution of situations seem more possible. And no matter if they are outgoing or introverts, salty people seem to treasure up and store nuggets of hope with which they infuse the darkest of situations.

 

Speaking of darkness, those Salty people seem to recognize and reveal Christ in all kinds of situations, their ability to shed light on a way out of circumstance and truths from God’s Word gives you hope.

 

Is that who you see in the mirror? Is that who others see in you? Don’t doubt it – that LoveneighborUSEis who God’s Word says you are! (Matthew 5)

 

Mark’s song, Be The Miracle reveals some practical ways you can apply the saltiness of you into the world.

 

  • Be the hands of God touching the hurting with loving arms wide as the sky
  • Be the heart of grace pleading forgiveness with tender compassionate eyes
  • Where the wounded soul needs a little hope, be the miracle

Be there.

Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep (Rom. 12:15 )

You are the salt, but it is a choice if and how you will use or apply it. In Matthew 25, Jesus says I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you failed to do one of these things to someone who was being overlooked or ignored, that was me—you failed to do it to shavedguysme. (the Message)

 

Make the choice today – ask God to show you how you can bless someone. Ask God to show you who needs the presence of Christ that you can bring into their situation.  You – my sister, my brother, truly can…Be the Miracle!

 

 

 

 

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Last Things First!

My day goes better if I do last things first – like read at least one verse and start IMG_0962dinner, meaning at the very least plan the meal and make sure I have appropriate ingredients and main portion is thawed or thawing.

 

That way, no matter what goes wrong during the day – and you know something will – it will at least have had the focus of the verse and end with a warm meal.  It’s almost like having dessert first!

 

My life has purpose since I took care of last things first – eternal destination –

1John 5:11-13 And the witness is this,that God has given us eternal life, and this life is IMG_0132in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.

These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, in order that you may know that you have eternal life.

When things go wrong in life – and they have – the assurance of God’s covering and preparation for me keep me going when I would rather quit.

And…

My joys are greater and my trials are survivable by doing last things first -which is where you come in. (friend and author Gayle Roper told me when I started writing the first thing I should do is gather a group of prayer warriors). She was so wise, and I am so grateful.

 

So warriors – The end of another year is coming and my last-thing-first is to thank Two Comediansthose who have upheld me, supported me, surprised me, loved me, encouraged me, comforted me, gone the extra mile for me, and prayed for me this past year. If you are reading this, I mean you!

 

Do not underestimate the power of your kindnesses, words, prayers and gestures. I may not have always responded as you hoped, or wrote the timely thank you I meant to do, but I do appreciate you.

 

I cannot say it better than Ephesians 1:16

I do not cease giving thanks for you, while making mention of you in my prayers.OS11070

 

I’ll be doing some driving tomorrow and praying for you, that you too will have accomplished your last things first, and be blessed in your day, secure in your destination, strengthened in your trials and abounding in your joys as you have helped me to be.

 

And God said . . .

Let there be friends

 

and there was us

 

a friendship this special could only come from above

 

 

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