A while back I noticed something that I had liked to wear was nowhere to be found. When I tried to recall the last time I wore it, I couldn’t remember. When did it disappear? How could something I wear on the regular just vaporize? What a mystery!

Off and on I have thought about this item, but not ever long enough to stop what I was doing and go on the hunt for it to track it down. It just popped in my mind and seemed to leave almost as quickly. But then I really started to get curious about it. Where could it be? So I asked my youngest daughter. She remembered it — it was just a sweater — but she hadn’t seen it.

At this point, my desire to pinpoint the location of this item stepped more into the limelight. I went through the hanging clothes in my closet, one by one. I looked on the floor of the closet to see if it fell off the hanger. And I checked my coat-turned-sweater rack. Nope.

But, the other day, I was packing for an event and went hunting for some tablecloths. Thankfully, I had remembered seeing them while doing something else so I knew exactly where they were. But while I was gathering that stuff, I noticed something else that I could use for the event and then, low and behold, there was that missing sweater. Woohoo! I retraced how it got to that spot and it made perfect sense. Another person was involved and it boiled down to I was going to deal with that box later and later was much later than I intended.

This is just a little example of how my brain works and it really isn’t the main focus of the story. The human brain is buzzing with so many things and keeping something and someone “top of mind” is often a challenge.

But God….

He doesn’t get distracted or waylaid in His search for His sheep. He is not forgetful. He is not late. He is always available, eager to communicate. There is no need to make an appointment or “get ready” to meet with Him. As much as a human loves and cares for you, God operates at another level. The process of me seeking this crazy sweater just happened to remind me that God is and has always been there.

Thank you, Father, for meeting me, wherever I am!

I’m always learning

There are learning opportunities all around. Sometimes, what looks like one lesson for you is an entirely different lesson for someone else. It all depends on perspective.

For example, I have just been processing a situation where I was not “present or available” for a friend a few years ago during an extremely difficult time. It’s a long story, but I was privy to some information about one of her kids that was public information but, you know how that goes, just because it is technically “public” doesn’t mean that everyone knows about it and it often means that you sure wish it was private because it is so dang personal and gut-wrenching and you know people you love and care about are struggling with a difficult situation.

I was aware. And for whatever reason, I did not call. Of course, I know some of the reasons. As I look back on that time, life was pretty chaotic for me. When I learned of the struggle I thought “Ohhhh my. This is a toughie.” And I committed to praying for them. I don’t feel like I rejected God who pointed me towards her at every turn. I just committed to praying for the family. But, I do wonder if my awareness was an invitation to be involved — in fact it bothers me to think that I blew God off. However, I was quite oblivious. And the world was just beginning to shut down due to Covid. And, you know, life was crazy at our house. But, I should have at least reached out.

But what does one even say? I know, “I am so sorry. How can I pray for you?” might have been a good start.

While prayer was something they needed, for sure. They also needed people surrounding them and speaking God’s Truth into their lives.

I was not that person.

And still, they had a core group of people who helped carry them through. Why? Because God orchestrates and utilizes and provides in ways we do not always know or understand.

The right people were there and they became the hands and feet of Jesus for them.

There are so many takeaways here, but the main one is that God will provide. He will make a way where there seems to be no way. God is the one to count on.

So, whether you are the friend who is unable to be there during a critical time for another due to finances, distance, or emotional capacity or you are the person in the middle of a crisis and you are looking around for those who know and love you and you cannot figure out why certain people are not there for you, you need to trust that God knows you. God knows your capacity. God knows your needs. God will provide you with the resources that will help you take the next step. Those you expect to be there may not be the ones God wants in the mix. In the end, it is always God who provides at the right time in the best way. He calls and enlightens us through His Word and the Holy Spirit. And He provides beyond our expectations.

It is always God who provides.

Grace, grace. God’s grace. May you see God’s grace and provision in your life. These provisions may not look the way you expect them to, but you can be sure God will give you the tools you need to move forward. The road may be difficult. There will be days you are discouraged. But God is by your side every step of the way.

I can’t do it all

And, furthermore, I wasn’t designed to. What a relief!

Our culture and sinful nature pushes us to be independent. And that often even means independent from God. It isn’t sustainable. And the isolation becomes unbearable.

Being in community means being connected to others. There is beauty and vulnerability in sharing burdens and blessings, disappointments and joys.

A community doesn’t need to be a huge group of people. It can be just a couple people you can share your heart with. They might be family members, but not always. They might live close by or they might live far away.

But even better than the human community is communion and connection with God! He is always available. He always hears us. He has shared His wisdom through His Word and can transform our hearts and minds and experiences.

I have no desire to do it all. I am only here to do my part. I seek God’s wisdom and grace and gentle leading in the paths I should go.

I can be insensitive

I have noticed lately that I my tolerance for people has dropped a little. It might be the space I am in, but I usually can give the benefit – of – the – doubt to most people, until I can’t. It is at that point I know I am stretched too far and need some rejuvenation from God’s Word and time in prayer.

If I don’t heed the warning signs: hasty judgements, snappy comebacks, a feeling of general agitation, I am bound to misunderstand, misinterpret, and fire back a woefully insensitive, and probably rude, statement.

I have seen it happen before. And then there is the cycle of feeling terrible about it when it happens. The key is to head these types of things off way before they are able to take root and grow like crazy.

Being in close communication with my Creator helps quite a bit. But it isn’t just at the start of my day — I need close communication throughout the day. Given the pressures of the day and this life, it is easy to slip into a unbecoming attitude. The closer I am tethered to God, the greater the grace that comes out of my life.

I am impatient

I am impatient in a variety of ways. When I am in learning mode, I don’t like to be rushed, so I need to be more mindful and be a loving friend, cheering someone on and not be that person who is hassling someone while they are “in process”. I am not always able to let others discover what they need to discover and give them the time and space to do that. While I do think we are in one another’s lives to help and encourage, there is a balance about how far that goes. And, I might need to be a better friend to myself and not hassle myself when it is taking me a while to learn something.

I know it is dangerous to ask God for patience. This life is a marathon, not a sprint. And I am thankful for the slow lessons along the way. You know, those lessons you can feel deep in your bones because you have lived them through the years. They are a part of your core.

Maybe, a part of my impatience is that I want to get to the other side of the situation. If I can’t go around it, I want to come through it as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, there are a lot of things that aren’t quickly moved through.

Think of an amazing meal — there is usually a lot of time that goes into the gathering and preparation of the food. It might marinate for days. It might cook all day on the stove. Getting all the elements together to be ready to be served at the same time really is an art. Pair it with some tableware, delightful company, and a nice wine and it is more of an experience. These things take time. Relationships take time. Epiphanies take time.

I am trying to be more mindful of process. My confession is that I am impatient. I know God forgives my impatience. And I know that he is growing me in this area. As usual, some days it clicks more than others.

I love my own way

I love to make a plan and follow it when it suits me.

I know God gives us a heart and a mind and gives us inclinations and all that. But that doesn’t mean all my intentions are good, proper, godly, or pure.

There may not even be a problem with the way I want to go — so much in life is pretty open ended. I can choose this or that and it doesn’t matter. But when I have invested my time and energy on a certain path and it is clear it is not the way to go, well, sometimes I don’t want to give it up. I want my own way.

Instead of behaving like a two year old in the midst of a tantrum, I try to hand over to God that thing I am holding onto so tightly. Insisting on my own way may not be in my best interest.

I can trust God with my dreams, hopes, and fears. After all, He is the Creator. He knows my needs and provides for me!

And Crown Him Lord of All

I have had a hymn running through my mind for the last few days — All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name

I was mulling over this line: And Crown Him Lord of all…

Of course, He is Lord of all. There is no debate in my mind. But whether or not we crown Him that, He is. He is Lord of all.

But, it seems to be the thing that slips so quickly from my mind when I am in the middle of worldly concerns. It is so easy to forget that our situations are temporary, especially in light of the big picture. And that Jesus will be Lord of all, even if we fail to recognize, comprehend, or acknowledge it. When my day starts off with a focus on God and the work He has done and continues to do it makes a difference. When I am properly oriented to this Truth, my head, heart, and spirit are in the right place.

Prince of Peace

“…But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when you will be scattered, each one going his own way, leaving me alone. Yet I am not alone because the Father is with me. I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:32-22 NLT

There is just so much turmoil in the world these days that it is easy to be disheartened. In each day, I seek a little peace.

I turn off the television.

I take time to sit with no screens or work in front of me.

I take a walk.

I pray.

I listen to music that is calming — either Scripture memory songs or instrumental music.

There are countless other ways to seek peace. I think in the name of peace, people try all kinds of things. Some avenues to peace don’t actually take them to the destination they seek.

What do you do to find some moments of peace during a day?

Music is pretty important to me. I spent many years singing in choirs. One song that I enjoy singing is Dona Nobis Pacem — you can check it out HERE — maybe it is familiar to you. The title of the song means “Grant us peace” and it is very interesting to me that the flowing melody with the repetition of the words can usher me into a state of peace. It’s a simple prayer for peace.

Try it.

There will always be difficult meetings and complex relationships and hard days. But, asking God to grant you His peace, is a wonderful way to break the stress cycle.

Wonderful Counselor

I am telling you these things now while I am still with you. But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.

“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. John 14:25-27 NLT

God has given us so many wonderful gifts that we often do not take advantage of. One of them is His teachings. He tells us who we are. He tells us who He is. He speaks loving words — words of life — to us. And somehow, the world crowds out those words of beauty, mercy, love, grace, forgiveness, and restoration.

Stay close to The Word!

God gives us wise counsel. His guiding principles are all over Scripture. He offers us peace of mind and heart though we often search high and low all over the world to find it.

Remember His Words!

You are loved. You are His creation. He will never leave or forsake you. You are His child.

Today I am resting in God’s Words of love and grace — they give me peace of mind and heart.

Glorious in holiness

But you blew with your breath,
    and the sea covered them.
They sank like lead
    in the mighty waters.

 “Who is like you among the gods, O Lord—
    glorious in holiness,
awesome in splendor,
    performing great wonders?
 You raised your right hand,
    and the earth swallowed our enemies.
Exodus 15:10-12 NLT

I am sure my mind does not adequately understand the concept of holiness. I try to approach the word, and other words can assist, but I know my human mind falls short. But, one day, I will understand. For now, I am content in trusting and getting some glimpses here and there.

On a good day, when I wonder what it was like to live in the time of Moses or Jesus I am sure I would have clearly seen and understood God. I would have been thankful for the obvious signs of provision through manna. I wouldn’t have denied knowing Jesus. But really? In all honesty, I think I would have been like the others.

Close your eyes for a few moments and imagine being in the presence of our Holy God. Breathe in His life-giving breath. What might have it been to be at Creation?

Open your eyes.

We are so blessed to be in His presence every day. God is with us. It may not feel that way sometimes, but that doesn’t make it any less true. He is Immanuel. Let’s carve time out in our day to rest in His holiness and acknowledge His presence.

He knows and sees us. And He loves us!