Disrupted

I had just discovered a daily routine that I could base off of when my travel schedule interrupted. And then, the coronavirus hit. And just like that, every routine I had was disrupted. There are a lot of unknowns. Things are not going as I had planned. And it seems we still have a long way to go. I think this is just the beginning.

We all go through times when our lives are disrupted:

  • a diagnosis
  • a pregnancy
  • a run-in with the law
  • moving
  • an accident
  • a new job

And we make adjustments. We grieve. We do what we need to do to move forward. It’s more on a personal level and our people circle around us and support us.

But, sometimes there are regional, collective disruptions – things that affect multiple people in your circle or location

  • a death or diagnosis in your family
  • tornadoes, hurricanes, wildfires, or flooding in your neighborhood
  • your workplace shuts down

More people experience the stress. Those who might have encouraged you in the midst of your personal struggle are caught up in this group catastrophe. You work together to figure it out but everyone is in various stages of grief. It’s a time to support one another and walk together.

And now, nearly everyone is impacted in such a variety of ways with the coronavirus pandemic — people all over the world. If they haven’t been exposed to the virus they are feeling the effects of it. Supply chains are impacted. This is huge. It’s like coming to the scene of a really bad accident and trying to make triage decisions but without the blood and twisted metal.

How do we start reconnecting and deciding what is a part of our new routine? How do we make sense of the disruption? How do we find peace in the midst of all of this? Will those times on our knees become a part of the new normal? Will the breath prayer “Lord, I have no idea what this day is going to look like but walk with me,” continue to be the start of our days?

For me, I can’t even say what the new normal will look like but I do have today. And that is a fine place to start. I may not know what tomorrow will look like so I will just be present today:

 I will sing of your strength,
    in the morning I will sing of your love;
for you are my fortress,
    my refuge in times of trouble.

 You are my strength, I sing praise to you;
    you, God, are my fortress,
    my God on whom I can rely.
Psalm 59:16-17

Shades of Death

There are seasons in life where we find ourselves in the shades of death; where trouble or discouragement or illness have surrounded us and we have not felt joy. We are simply sitting in darkness or under the cover cold, dark, and moody clouds of circumstance that drain our ability to smile and laugh.

Honestly, that feels like a typical February for me. I hate not seeing or feeling the sun. Day after day it is gloomy but when there is a moment — even just a sunny hour or the thrill of a sunny day. My goodness. It is so exciting!

Sometimes my soul gets trapped under the weight of discouragement, doubt, and distortions of reality. It needs to be in the presence of the Son — to feel the warmth and encouragement and to feel the Life only Jesus can bring to us.

After sitting in darkness, it takes time to readjust. The light can be bright. Sometimes even overwhelming for eyes that have not been exposed to it recently. Go slowly. Practice absorbing the light.

Heavenly Father, Bring Your light to me. Let it shine in the dark places and bring life to where there seems to be only shades of death. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

“The People That in Darkness Sat”

The people that in darkness sat
A glorious light have seen;
The light has shined on them who long
In shades of death have been.

To hail Thee, Sun of Righteousness,
The gathering nations come;
They joy as when the reapers bear
Their harvest treasures home.

For Thou their burden dost remove
And break the tyrant’s rod
As in the day when Midian fell
Before the sword of God.

To us a Child of hope is born,
To us a Son is given,
And on His shoulder ever rests
All power in earth and heaven.

His name shall be the Prince of Peace,
The Everlasting Lord,
The Wonderful, the Counselor.
The God by all adored.

His righteous government and power
Shall over all extend;
On judgment and on justice based,
His reign shall have no end.

Lord Jesus, reign in us, we pray,
And make us Thine alone,
Who with the Father ever art
And Holy Spirit, one.

by John Morison, 1749-1798

Shelter

Sometimes we hear the tornado warning sirens and we know it is time to take shelter and seek a safe place to be. But there are other times in life it might not be so obvious that we are in danger. Maybe we are too innocent to understand the situation. Maybe we are too deep in some mucky stuff. Or we don’t know where a safe place is. Maybe we stumble someplace for shelter and it is really just a place where the vulnerable are preyed upon. And there we are, again; it seems we are in a hopeless place.

_______________________________________________________________

Good shelter, even if it is temporary, can give someone hope. In my mind, shelter isn’t just a physical structure, it is also a mental or spiritual place that provides respite, encouragement, or some level of peace and calm so the heart and mind can think and make a plan. It may provide food as well as food for thought.

A place to be heard.

A place to be cared for.

A place to be renewed and strengthened for the days ahead.

Where do you seek your shelter from these busy days? Do you have a place you like to dwell when you need a break from this complicated life?

For in the day of trouble
    he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent
    and set me high upon a rock. [Psalm 27:5, NIV]

May God enlarge your view of shelter!

Liz

PrayerPrompt: FORGIVENESS

PrayerPoints ~ Wednesday, February 24

James 3-17-18w

Today’s PrayerPoint ~ Psalm 27

“The Lord is my light and my salvation — whom shall I fear?” Psalm 27:1

Psalm 27 has so much good stuff in it!

And still, even with knowing the truths that are there, at times I am still fearful. I think I dwell on too many “what ifs”. I cannot control the future. Even though there are times I wish I could, it is for the best that I can’t. The best I can do is control my responses to situations. Knowing that the Lord is my shelter, my fortress, my salvation, my light, and the stronghold of my life helps me  put the “what ifs” into a proper perspective.

Recently, to every “what if” I have been trying to say “even if” instead and I recount the promises of God’s presence, perspective, and peace.

Psalm 27:5 says “For in the day of trouble…” and it reminds me that we all have days of trouble. Sometimes there are many days of “trouble” in a row. But “he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock.

There is no end to hardship in personal relationships, work situations, physical health, or the circumstances found in the world today because we live in a world full of sinners who make selfish choices. I have made quite a few sinful choices myself to the pain and detriment of myself and others. But God works in and through us and, often in spite of us to share His grace, mercy, forgiveness, and love to our hurting world!

 

 

PrayerPoints ~ Monday, February 15th

Ash Wednesday_m

Today’s PrayerPoint ~ Psalm 138

“Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life”                                                 Psalm 138:7a

Trouble comes in so many different forms. I have found myself in troubled places all along my life because life is life and trouble is a part of this life.

Sometimes I put myself in the path of trouble in a moment of rebellion. Sometimes I was in the wrong place at the wrong time and trouble found me. Sometimes, well, sometimes life happened and there I was, troubled over what was going on around me. I may or may not have been powerless to change my circumstances, but they were troubling all the same.

“Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life

I did not research all that went into Psalm 138 and the circumstances that preceded David writing it or what he was recalling as he penned these words. But I can relate in my own way. Even though there are times God actually preserves my life, there are also times He preserves my sanity by  the words of a friend, an unexpected gift, a solution where none seemed to be found. All of these things contribute to the preservation of my life.

As I dig deep and explore who I am and how I am made, I am always amazed how God intricately weaves all of my past and uses it to impact who I am today. He continues to shape and mold me as only a loving Creator can. He will not abandon the work of His hands!

“The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your love, O Lord, endures forever — do not abandon the works of your hands.” Psalm 138:8

 

Enough Trouble

Why is it I distract myself with the all of the potential upcoming trouble when each day has enough trouble of its own?

Each day has enough trouble of its own. [Matthew 6:34]

No kidding! Nothing like stating the obvious. This verse always makes me laugh because it is so true.

Maybe I do it because I feel like I am at least doing something instead of just waiting for the next disaster to visit my doorstep. But being fearful about what is coming up next in my life is not a great habit. If I am distracted from today, experiencing sleepless nights, and have a pit of dread in my belly I might, just might, be flirting with fear. And here is what God reminds me:

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.

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 6:25-34 NIV]

If I want to be doing something, God has clued me in on what He recommends as the first course of action. It’s a recommendation from the One who created me and knows my past and my future. I know He has my best interest in mind and will work out the details. I just need to trust Him.

Lord, as I seek Your kingdom and righteousness, calm my heart. Grant me Your peace that passes all human understanding. Remind me of Your promises and provision and protection. We have a lot of history together and I know you are with me today and I trust You will be with me tomorrow! In Jesus’ Name!