A Time to Gather Stones

Stone building in Eger, Hungary w
Stone Building in Eger, Hungary

A Time for Everything 
Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8 NIV

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.


Do you have a collection? It might be something you need or maybe it is just something you care about.

While I don’t have anything I officially collect, there are times I have to gather up courage or strength for a task. Sometimes I need just a little more of something to help me get through an unpleasant responsibility.

God’s Word has so much to offer when I am lacking in strength. His Word reminds me He has strengthened others in their time of need and that He is there in my time of need as well.

“The Lord is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.” Exodus 15:2

“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.” Isaiah 40:29

“It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure.” 2 Samuel 22:33

“Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.” I Chronicles 16:11

“It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure.” Psalm 18:32

On the way,

Liz

A Time to Die

Sunset w

A Time for Everything 
Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8 NIV

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.


As a young child, I experienced a bit of trauma when my father died. I was only six years old and I don’t remember a lot about his illness or death but I do remember watching my friends have dads and wondered what that was like. Of course, because the main wage earner was not around, we experienced financial hardship. And sure my mom was exhasuted by the four of us! As I moved through different stages of life, I knew I missed out on something. But, it was simply a fact in our family and we moved forward in life.

Years went my and I married a great guy and we started having our own children. When we were pregnant with precious child #3, I started to get nervous. When my husband’s mom was pregnant with her third child, her huband died of a heart attack. I thought for sure that would be my future. Of course, I was wired for something like that since I grew up without a father in the home. My mom raised four kids by herself and I figured that was going to be my lot in life. I actually thought far more about the day I would be raising children on my own due to my husband’s death than I ever thought about my mom leaving this earth.

Moms are immortal, aren’t they?

It didn’t happen that way. Don’s still here and my mom died ten years ago. (She was the best!) And it has been so much fun to watch my kids have their dad in their lives! Watching my husband be such a great father to our kids has been a great thing. So many of the things I feared would happen, in fact, have not happened. But they were fears I simply had to face and move through.

There are days we feel like we are dying because of the agonizing heartache or the anticipation of pain or paralyzing fear of the future or the prospect (or certainty) of a challenging treatment plan. And yet, those are not the days our bodies die. We are all marching toward that final day but we don’t really know the circumstances surrounding our final breath.

We know it will come, eventually. It always does. Are you working on those things you’ve hoped or dreamed about? If you knew you had a short time left on this earth, what are the things you would focus in on and do?

Teach us to number our days,
    that we may gain a heart of wisdom. [Psalm 90:12 NIV]

I am at least halfway through my life. When did that even happen? I don’t fear death itself as much as I wonder about the pain that might be involved in the process of dying. But, no matter, I don’t know any of the circumstances surrounding my final breath.

But what if this is what I am facing in my remaining days?

  • Life without a special, precious someone
  • A difficult diagnosis
  • Financial hardship
  • Disability
  • Chronic Illness

I will cling to His promises. He is the God of all comfort. He sees the bigger picture. He knows this life is temporary. He knows and uses every trouble and trial for faith building  either in me or in others.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.        [2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NIV]

I trust that God is with me, strengthening and upholding me! And I trust He is with you too!

On the way,

Liz

Isaiah41_10

Prep Time

preparewIf one isn’t into buying fully prepared meals at slow or fast food restaurants, one can buy food in any number of stages:

  • Seeds
  • Young plants
  • Raw
  • Cleaned
  • Chopped
  • Chopped and cleaned
  • Ready-to-bake
  • Ready-to-heat
  • Ready-to-eat

I know I have purchased things in each of those stages at different times in my life. But I do think there is a creative and contemplative process when chopping and cooking things. It can be therapeutic. What can be purchased prepared may work just fine but it doesn’t allow the interaction with the ingredients and the process quite as much.

Preparation takes time.

Sometimes I am so busy preparing for the very next thing that I forget to prepare for other coming things. I tuck aside future prep for another day and, hopefully, a free moment in the future. That is certainly true when it comes to meals. But it also applies to other areas of my life.

Have you ever neglected to prepare your heart for the day? Have you been so pressed for time and the events of a particular season that you have missed an important time of preparation for your soul?

I encourage you to take time to prepare your heart for this week of Easter thoughts: The Last Supper, the empty tomb, and everything in between. Take time to read Scripture that recalls those events from Matthew, Mark, and Luke to see how they each remember the events. Explore the Old Testament prophets—what did they have to say? Allow yourself time to contemplate and give God time to work the soil of your heart. Let His words be yours as you read, ponder, and pray.

On the Road,

Liz

Unforgettable Moments

sunsetwIf you are on Facebook, you might have caught a posting or two of adults in the stands at a ballgame snatching a ball out of the hands of a young child and being very satisfied that they had scored the prize. Caught on video, this “moment in time” of someone being jerky gets replayed and replayed and replayed for the world to see.

Ever been so caught up in the moment you cannot believe how you behaved?

I have.

And while there might not be actual footage of it posted on Facebook to watch over and over and over, rest assured, I often hit the replay button in my own mind.

atonewSometimes it is so hard to remember that I am forgiven!

And if I don’t make a point of surrounding myself with reminders, well, I get caught up in the memories of my sins. These painful reminders can be good because they nudge me to be humble and gracious to others who may be struggling because there are times I have a tendency to forget my own sins and get really frustrated about someone else’s. But, if I get stuck in “replay” mode on my own situation, it can be disastrous.

I have some memories that I won’t soon forget. As long as I don’t get stuck there, it can be a good thing.

On the Road,

Liz

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His strength. His peace.

atrength3w

There are so many people I know and love in the middle of situations that are very challenging and yet they persevere. I know it is because they are relying on God as their source of strength even if it is just one step at a time, one day at a time.

How easy it is for us to think, at least initially, that our strength, education, bank account, or resilience will get us through every situation. “The world” chides us for being weak or dependent both directly and indirectly. If we are indoctrinated by that garbage for too long it can seep into our souls and cause some problems. We might try to “power through” or “make it on our own” but it really can only get us so far.  We might look down on others for needing assistance but, if we live long enough, we will eventually find ourselves in circumstances that can bring us to our knees:

Aging parents. Disabilities. Death. Broken Relationships. Job loss. Natural disasters.

When I am on my knees it seems I am better able to see and hear the things from God that I need to know. I am not quite as distracted by the other nonessential things because my focus is on seeking the strength for the day. In some situations we might find we need assistance from others and it helps us get along. In other situations, we might find ourselves completely alone, with utter dependence on God and His provisions.

When we are smart or strong or physically able or have “enough” do we let God be our strength and our salvation?

strength1wThat is a challenge for me. Sometimes I get confused about how I am making it through life or a certain situation. It is very difficult to shut out the world’s way of thinking that everything is up to me and my efforts. The more resources I have at my disposal the easier it is to think that I am handling it all. Once I think it is all about what I am achieving, I get frustrated when things don’t pan out according to plan. But have I really dreamed up the best plan? It seems rather empty to chase after physical things and try to control all the things that happen in my life. The thought that I have control (and even make the best choices in situations when I can exercise control) is an illusion. Life is not all about me. Life is not all about you. My life is not my own. And neither is yours!

Have you been in a place where the outcome is out of your control and you just need to trust God to give you His strength?

Heavenly Father ~ give us your strength for this day and bless us with your perfect peace! Amen.

On the Road,

Liz

strength2w

 

PrayerPoints ~ Pure ~ March 31

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of respect, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if something is excellent or praiseworthy, think about these things. Philippians 4:8 NIV

Boy is is tricky to have your mind only set on pure things these days. Goodness.

The visual and the auditory stuff we are bombarded with every day is astonishing. Ashamedly, I wasn’t always offended by it. I was pretty desensitized for a few years due to some unfortunate early experiences. In my younger years, my mind was dragged into the gutter and felt somewhat at home there. That is just one example of why I am so thankful for God’s work in my life! If I happen to be around someone who says something crude, sometimes I don’t even “get” their “joke”. Now that is amazing!

It feels like we are under attack every single day with so many sexualized images, crude conversations, violence, and ugly attitudes. It’s exhausting to try to shield these things from our children and simultaneously teach them discernment and how to trust that when God says “stay away” that they should pay attention and heed His words. God’s desire is to purify our minds.

And then there is the Truth of God’s desire and ability to redeem and restore and transform:

“Come now, let us reason together,”
says the LORD.
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red as crimson,
they shall be like wool. Isaiah 1:18 NIV

It seems unreasonable that the guilty should be set free–but I am so thankful the price has been paid by the Son of God!

Celebrating freedom in Christ!

Liz