In the Hands of God

Friday, January 20, 2017

June 8, 2013
For the first time in eight years, we're welcoming a new man to take a place in the White House. As we always do on inauguration day, the nation is stirring. Everyone has questions on their mind about what the next four or even eight years will hold. This year, those with "immigrant" fresh in their family history are scared. Those with "democrat" on their voter registration card are livid. And, a select few, which must actually be some kind of a majority, are celebrating.

The privilege and ability to vote are comforting. The knowledge that for all her problems, America is still the land of the free and the home of the brave makes us bold. The fact that we can come and go as we please and still have a place waiting for us to pick up where we left off makes adventurers and world travelers out of so many of us. We look back on our history as a nation and we're proud. Different people frown over different eras, but by and large, we don't feel that we have much to be ashamed of.

Whatever the history books are being re-written to declare, this nation has been in the hands of God since the beginning of time. The land has been tended by Him. The tides have washed our shores, people have been scattered on the soil, and animals have roamed for generations before this land even had a name. God knew. All a long He knew what would happen here. He knew when and how the Gospel would come. He knew that some would be driven by greed and that much blood would be shed. He knew that He would raise up a generation of men to get something really good started. And He knew that within a few short generations the legacy of faith would fail to be passed on. He had mercy and sent His Spirit out to stir up revival after revival. He knew that, like Israel and Peter and countless saints before them, the cycle of needing to be taught by Him would repeat itself yet again. Nothing catches Him by surprise. Nothing is outside of His good plans to advance His glory and make for Himself a people who are called by His name.

America is but a small piece in the story He is telling. It's a story of redemption and mercy and promise. It's a story that shows people all over the globe who He is. It's a story that illustrates His love for His people and His dedication to the covenants He has made with them. For a reason few of us even care to comprehend, He raised this nation up. He has filled it with prosperity and opportunity. He has granted us poverty and oppression. He continues working in the hearts of many teaching them to labor right alongside of Him. Generation after generation has had front runners so concerned with justice that they have been willing to fight in wars, spend hours writing speeches, give their own money, engage in heated meetings, march with others in protest, be imprisoned, and in many cases, give up their own lives. I'm talking about people like George and Martha Washington and John Adams and Harriet Tubman and Booker T. Washington and Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr.. I'm talking about the housewives that sent their sons and husbands to battle. I'm talking about the men who have worked blue collar jobs for 40+ years to make a living for the families they have dedicated themselves to. I'm talking about preachers and missionaries who have labored hard and long to bring the truth to anyone who will listen. I'm talking about people who were concerned with what was right, not because they were after power or privilege but because they saw what was right and they could not rest until they had done their part.

With insight comes responsibility. Our actions always impact more people than we can ever imagine. For every front runner, we've had an even greater number of people set on rocking the boat. Not for the cause of justice. Not in the name of what is right. Instead, these people are out to push the limits, to question everything, to get something they feel they are owed. God knows these people too. He knows what is in their hearts and He knows the lengths they will go to get what they came for. He has allowed them victory and defeat and He has given them over to their desires. Perhaps every generation has said it, but it seems as though there are a lot more people willing to stand up for what is wrong than there are making a difference for what is right.

We have a new president today, but the same people are waking up in our country and pulling out of their driveways and going about their daily lives. The same God is telling the same story that He's been telling since time began. America, we have a responsibility to each other and to Him. We all want America to be great again. It's time that we ask God just exactly what that means. It's time that we submit ourselves to Him. It's time that we begin to honor what He honors and love what He loves. It's time that we stand together as a people united in integrity. It's time that we acknowledge the hands that made us. Our only hope is to be taught by Him.

We'll mark the events of this day in our records. We'll remember what it felt like to usher in another new president. We'll take the next few months to talk about the last eight years and to make projections about what we think will happen in the days to come. As we do, there is one thing we must remember, this nation and the hearts of its rulers are in the hands of God.

This nation will always be in His hands.

Currently: January 2017

Thursday, January 12, 2017

December 20, 2010

Gathering: Nights at home, pictures of sunny days, strength NOT to chop my hair off, verses that go along with my word for 2017, and...a new set of go-to shows on Netflix now that mine have disappeared.

Making: This chocolate cake, this dinner, biscuits, everything CLEAN again, a list of staple ingredients and the meals they can be combined to make. We just got an instant pot, so I'm keeping my eyes open for things to make in that too. Do you have any favorites?

Sipping: Hot coffee with a splash of milk. Bigelow's "Plantantion Mint" tea, Twinings's "Irish Breakfast Tea" and as of yesterday Tetley's "English Tea Blend". And lots and lots of water.

I also met up with Jay at Starbucks last month before going to see my brother and sister in a show. It was the first REAL Salted Caramel Mocha I've had in a long time and it was sooooo good. The make at home versions aren't as good after all. 

Following: Routines. They're "saving my life" right now.

Resolving: To reply to the comments you leave me more often. To keep an eye on my word for 2017. And...To BASk in the light that God is to His people.

What about you? 

A Very Snowy Monday

Monday, January 09, 2017

December 9, 2016

I'm sitting in my chair with a cup of coffee and some things on my mind to share with all of you. They're not all that important, but let's chat. It's been snowing since yesterday afternoon around here. Did you get snow where you are?

Now that I've shared my word for 2017, I'm ready to hear all about the words you chose and why! So far, I've noticed that Kiki wrote about hers and I'm excited to read what Rachel shared too. Have you picked one? Share the link to your post! In other news, church yesterday solidified everything that God has been teaching me lately. It was so refreshing to have the themes come together.  The main themes have been: waiting on God, hoping in God, God's waiting to be gracious to His people (Isaiah 30:18), His people never being put to shame, His ruling over everything, and the strength He gives His people. We went through Psalm 31. You should read it.

I've been feeling extra grateful for friends lately. Friendship is one of the best gifts we have to offer one another. I'm glad that God gives us sooooo many different ways to make friends, to stay in touch, and to care for one another. My friends live all over the world. There are some that I get to see, some that I talk to on the phone, and then there are the others. Email and FB are good gifts. Chances are that if you're reading this, I'm talking about YOU. Thanks for being my friend. Thanks for keeping in touch, getting together when we can, and caring. I'm glad we're friends.

I read over 200 pages this weekend. Saturday morning and Sunday afternoon were pretty much spent reading. I stretched out and settled in with Dorothy Sayers's "Have His Carcase". If you haven't read Sayers, you MUST. It doesn't really matter where you start. She's hilarious. She's inspiring. I've still got a ways to go before I finish this book, but I have plans to make some more progress later on today. My reading marathon was inspired by a few hours to myself Saturday and the impending snow that my friends and family in SC and MA were preparing for. With a foot of snow on the ground that's been sitting around for a solid month, it was easy to pretend that I was snowed in with the best of 'em. As it turns out, we ended up getting more snow and adding about six more inches of our own. (All these numbers are realistic estimates. I haven't taken the yard stick out.)

Back to the friends thing. Over the last month, I've had a ton of heart to heart conversations. They keep happening. I don't know if it's winter, the holidays, or what, but everyone seems to have things on their mind. I'm ALWAYS up for these kinds of talks. I don't care if we just met, if we've known each other for years, or if we're trying to find our way toward true friendship...Each one has happened when I least expected it to and that made them even sweeter. It's an honor for someone to trust you with things that they are working through. My prayer list has grown right along with my praise list. God is good to His people.

On a lighter note, I pulled MONK out last night. Netflix got rid of my "main" shows and I have this terrible time going through their selections. What are you watching right now? I've told you this before, but I shared Monk with my family after learning about it from the people I lived with in MA. After MONTHS of watching it with my family, I learned that they mainly liked it because of the fact that I am Monk. It turns out that there's one thing that we don't have in common. He was a runner. I was not, am not, and never will be. To this day, whenever we watch it, he gets the most laughs when he does something or says something that reminds them of me. Half the time I'm clueless. Which has a strange way of upping the laugh factor.

The whole internet is talking about and applauding Meryl Streep. Am I the only one who listened to what she said and thinks that she used her position, power, and place to insult the very people she was trying to instruct? As I've said all along, I didn't vote for Trump either. BUT...She began by poking fun at those Americans who question the legality of Obama's right to be president (based on requirements set in place by the very government he has led for these last eight years) and then she went on to continue doing the very thing she was calling Trump out for doing. There are a lot of things that need to be said in this country of ours. We need to have conversations. We need to listen. We need to honor and respect one another. And we need to play by the rules. That's my take on the whole thing. I'm not clapping.

And now, I'd like to hear from you. What's on your mind? What has God been teaching you? Do you have a position on this whole situation? What are you extra grateful for right now? I'm off to respond to the comments you've left on my latest posts! Thanks for being here. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I'm excited for the year ahead of us!

One Word: 2017

Thursday, January 05, 2017

September 10, 2010

I am a sun chaser. My favorite place is the beach and if I disappear on a sunny day, all you need to do is to hunt for the patch of sun that I'm basking in. Come February's warmest days, you'll find me camped out in some spot of sun with sweatshirt and blanket and book, pen, and paper. It'll be cold. People will think I'm crazy, but I cannot get enough.

By the time summer rolls around, you'll find me looking for any excuse to get outside. I have quiet times out there. I garden. I go for walks. I'll do my afternoon reading or writing on the patio. I am even known to take naps out in the yard. There are few things I enjoy more than turning my face to the sun and feeling its rays warm me right to my core.

That said, my word for 2017 managed to catch me by surprise. I had a few words rolling around in my mind and the one that I ended up with was not one of them. I've been reading Andrew Murray's book "Waiting on God" along with whatever chapter(s) of Scripture he references each day. On Day 16, Murray compared waiting on God with keeping watch for the first rays of the morning light. God is a God of LIGHT and His light is always shining. I know this to be true. As I read Murray's words they resonated with me because of my love for the sun.

Psalm 130:5-6 says, "I wait for the Lord, my soul doth wait, And in his word do I hope. My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning; I say, more than they that watch for the morning."

We all know what it is to watch for the morning light. It chases away darkness and doubt and fear and gloom and troubles and so many things. The morning light brings with it hope and peace and a brand new day. I'm not exactly sure what events surrounded the writing of Psalm 130, but I'm pretty confident that it was times of trouble. I've been talking with several different people about salvation lately. They've all wrestled with seasons of wondering if they were ACTUALLY saved. Two of them have made it through those times. They can't explain what happened, but they both said that God changed things. I would sum up their words by saying that the light of God shined in their souls.

Murray puts it this way, "Just as the sun shines its beautiful, life giving light on and into our earth, so God shines into our hearts the light of His glory, of His love, in Christ His son. Our heart is meant to have that light filling and gladening it all the day."

If you haven't guessed yet, my word for 2017 is BASK. By the last day of December, I had settled on it and I've already been seeing the theme pop up again and again. I need to wait on God and trust that He rules over all things. I need to believe Him and stay in His word. By His Spirit, my soul will be full of the joy and peace that come from His light. God is light. By His light do we see and live and walk.

I want 2017 to be a year of savoring these truths. I want to receive from Him and respond with praise. I want the times when darkness threaten to undo me to become times when I learn to look to Him knowing that His light IS there. I want to glow with the beauty of His presence and the proof that my hope is in Him alone. I want it to be said of me that I am nurtured by Him and the light He shines on His people. I will need to pray. I will need to reflect often on His goodness and His character.

I look forward to the cloudy days when His sun shines. I long for my soul to be nourished by His light just the way my body is nourished by the sun on my skin. As I could lay there in its warmth for hours at a time, so I long for 2017 to be the year where I am continually basking in God's warmth.

May I learn from the flowers and the trees and the grass and the animals and even my own soul. As Murray says on page 83, "They do nothing [to keep the sun shining on them], they simply bask in the sunshine when it comes."

And it always comes. As Alice likes to remind me, "The sun is always shining, even when we can't see it."

Have you picked a word for 2017?