In the queue

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Waiting for church to start in Transylvania

Sometimes I look at my phone to pass the time when I am in line and not interested in engaging with the world around me. I can get impatient when I am waiting.

Who am I to think I don’t have to wait for things? When I look at Scripture, there is so much waiting – years and years of it. Check out Psalm 5, Psalm 27, Psalm 33, and Psalm 37 and pretty much all of Scripture. There is a lot of waiting.

Waiting is a part of life.

And sometimes there is even a purpose in waiting. The “delay” allows other pieces to fall into place. Sometimes the delay prepares us for the next step. Waiting is natural and there is no point in complaining about it. I have found that I can increase my impatience just being so caught up in the frustration of the waiting. That’s ridiculous. I am not above waiting.

What are you waiting for?

While I am waiting I can still live my life. I don’t want to let waiting steal my joy. Whatever it is I am waiting for, I can be sure that God is working on my heart while I wait.

On the way,

Liz

Where are you going?

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Night Flight! 

Recently I have needed to travel quite a bit. I appreciate a good but flexible itinerary and I also like time to explore on my own.

The most important thing to keep in mind when I am “on the road” is that things often change. A flight might be delayed or cancelled. If I am traveling by car there might be a traffic delay or a problem with my vehicle. There may be a detour that allows for an unusual adventure, if I quit stewing about the delay.

Life can be like that too! You’ve got a plan and you seek to execute it but something interrupts the itinerary. Maybe someone else inserted their agenda. Maybe your destination changed because you made some choices that took you on a detour.

This is life.

There are some things we have control over but not everything. You might think you are going one place but things aren’t adding up to that.

Where are you headed?

This seems to be the better question. If you think about what you are hoping to accomplish, are the things you are doing now heading you in that direction? Are the people you are spending time with encouraging you in your goal? Have you asked God for His insight on the matter? Sometimes He speaks through prayer and Scripture and sometimes He uses people in our lives to influence us.

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. [Psalm 119:105 NIV]

Lord, face me in the direction I need to go and direct my footsteps and clear my path. Amen.

On the way,

Liz

A Time to Dance

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A Hungarian dance group from Pennsylvania

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.


“I’m dancing as fast as I can.”

“Dancing with the devil.”

“Do the hustle.”

Dancing is a great metaphor for relationships and expectations. It can also be an expression of joy and release.

Let them praise his name with dancing and make music to him with timbrel and harp. [Psalm 149:3 NIV]

You turned my wailing into dancing;
    you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent.
    Lord my God, I will praise you forever. [Psalm 30:11-12 NIV]

When was the last time you danced?

I like to dance a little here and there but I don’t dance nearly enough. I am more inclined to dance alone because my heart for dancing and my skill set are so woefully unmatched I know I will be embarrassed. I am just too uncomfortable knowing that others could be watching me or, worse yet, filming me! That’s unfortunate because dancing is good for you in a variety of ways. And it wasn’t designed to be a competition that intimidates people.

I have danced a few steps in response to a victory of some sort. I like a slow dance with my husband. And I would like to learn more Hungarian folk dancing. But I really don’t consider myself a dancer and I certainly don’t know much about dancing in a technical way.

Dancing is closely related to joy for me. Even though I don’t dance often when I do it is typically because I am feeling pretty excited about something. It’s a fun way to celebrate and express joy.

I do know a bit about the relief and release that comes after a period of mourning and the permission or sense of release that it is ok to dance. The mourning time has ceased and it’s a new day and a new situation and I can dance in spite of the mess I just walked through. I might dance in the middle of my circumstances because I know God is working out the details or because I know time is short and life is short and I can wallow about this or that or I can dance to pass the time.

Dancing while on the way,

Liz

A Time to Search

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A chapel in a salt mine in Transylvania

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.


Give me your eyes for just one second
Give me your eyes so I can see,
Everything that I keep missing,
Give your love for humanity.
Give me your arms for the broken-hearted
The ones that are far beyond my reach.
Give me Your heart for the ones forgotten.
Give me Your eyes so I can see.

I often think about this song by Brandon Heath  — I only added the chorus above but you can give it a listen here.

Give me Your eyes!

How much would change in our behavior and relationships if we would have God’s eyes for a person or a situation? Are we using God’s perspective as we consider our circumstances? Are we seeking His face so we can reflect Him more accurately?

Each time we seek His face, He shapes our vision to be more like His. My own vision is faulty. It is clouded with my sin, my sinful nature, and the sin of the world. At this time in my life I need reading glasses as well as glasses that can give me better vision at a distance, and, to top it off, I even have astigmatism which means that my eyeball is not a standard shape [per dictionary.com]. So I have three things working against me for 20/20 vision. And yet I have never had restrictions on my drivers’ license in any state in which I have lived. A little wacky vision is acceptable to the state and even within our world and that makes it fairly easy to stray from what is acceptable in God’s eyes if we are distant from Him.

Hear my voice when I call, Lord;
    be merciful to me and answer me.
My heart says of you, “Seek his face!”
    Your face, Lord, I will seek. [Psalm 27:7-8 NIV]

Glory in his holy name;
    let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.
Look to the Lord and his strength;
    seek his face always. [Psalm 105:3-4 NIV]

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. [Matthew 6:33-34 NIV]

I like to use “Give me Your eyes” as a quick prayer when I am coming into an uncomfortable or unknown situation. Staying tethered to God is essential for improving how I see things around me!

On the way,

Liz

 

 

A Time to Weep

Sun over Torockow
Sunrise in Transylvania

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.


Sometimes there are no words that can be said about a particular circumstance.  There is no solution, no possible change or fix.

It is what it is.

Our response may start off with a deep sadness and tears, but when the magnitude of what this means hits us and there is weeping.

The “here I am, facing the biggest heartache of my life” situation is here to stay and there is nothing anyone can do to prevent it from barreling down. The grief comes in waves,  there is a deep sadness over what is or will be lost, and there are many, many tears.

There is a time to weep.

I am so thankful God and His people throughout the generations know these deep emotions. It helps take the edge off the pain a little to know that when we are feeling so deeply, we are not alone — even if we feel that way.

Be merciful to me, Lord, for I am in distress;
    my eyes grow weak with sorrow,
    my soul and body with grief.
My life is consumed by anguish
    and my years by groaning;
my strength fails because of my affliction,
    and my bones grow weak.[Psalm 39:9-10 NIV]

God knows and sees us in our grief and weeps with us. He created us with the capacity for a range of emotions and we are created in His image. And when we think we are facing the circumstance alone, it is important to remember that God can and will carry us through. It doesn’t mean there won’t be sadness or weeping. It means He is alongside us, leading us, carrying us, tending to us, providing for us, and showing His grace upon grace.

The Psalms are filled with believers in distress. There is just a sampling below. I take great comfort in knowing that I am not alone when my grief is profound. I have His Word to remind me of His love and provision from the beginning of time.

Psalm 4:1  Answer me when I call to you, my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; have mercy on me and hear my prayer.

Psalm 18:6  In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears.

Psalm 20:1  May the Lord answer you when you are in distress; may the name of the God of Jacob protect you.

Psalm 31:9  Be merciful to me, Lord, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and body with grief.

Psalm 55:17  Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress, and he hears my voice.

Psalm 81:7  In your distress you called and I rescued you, I answered you out of a thundercloud; I tested you at the waters of Meribah. 

Psalm 86:7  When I am in distress, I call to you, because you answer me.

Psalm 102:2  Do not hide your face from me when I am in distress. Turn your ear to me; when I call, answer me quickly.

Psalm 102:5  In my distress I groan aloud and am reduced to skin and bones.

Heartache is never fun to walk through. If you are challenged with fresh or long-standing grief, I pray that you find comfort in God’s promises and His Word. Ask a friend to pray with and for you. And please don’t hesitate to find a healthy pastor to visit with.

On the way,

Liz

Taking Him at His Word

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He is Risen!

He is Risen, indeed!

Alleluia!

When I struggle to accept someone’s word it is because I have been tricked before. When my trust has been violated it makes it very difficult for the next person to get a fair shake. Even though I have trust issues for good reason, I have always been able to take God at His Word. I am thankful for that faith He planted in me through baptism and nurtured through the years.   I love His work in my life even if it is difficult during the process. Looking at the betrayal of Jesus and all the other painful events of Good Friday, I can see what God has done (and is doing) for me. Right now.

Today.

And He has done it for you, too!

On the Road,

Liz

Here are a few promises to hang onto:

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Refreshment!

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Don and I have been able to ride our bicycles three times this week! We have had some gorgeous days recently and I am excited to be able to get out in the fresh air and sunshine. I sleep so much better at night if I ride my bike during the day. I also find I think about things from a new perspective when I ride. I think some of that has to do with being in nature.

We haven’t ridden bikes in New York as much as I thought I would when we moved here. First off, the winter is longer here than it is in southern Indiana. Secondly, where we live there are way more hills so it takes a little more effort to come up with a doable route. And, finally, it is pretty scary just riding on the streets to get to the bike path. There are so many cars and crazy drivers—it isn’t worth the risk to me. We finally put a hitch on our vehicle so we can use our handy dandy bike rack. We put our bikes on and then drive to ride. It definitely takes a bit more effort than I wish because I would ride a lot more if I felt like we could just take off from home. On the up side, we have found interesting places to ride – but some of them take an hour or so to get to.

I am looking forward to more sunshine, warmer days and more time biking. Spending time in God’s creation is good for me on so many levels. For me, it is important to take the time to breath, observe, listen, and stretch —  and it even helps me rest better!

As soon as you can, get out and enjoy nature! Whether it is a walk in a park, rock climbing, bird watching, boating, star gazing, catching a sunrise or watching the sunset it can help you remember God’s strength and creativity!

On the Road,

Liz

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