I have something on my heart. Over the past few weeks, as we’ve been witnesses to the dog and pony show that is our 2016 election, I’ve felt a strong need to get my head straight. I don’t know about you, but I can easily become frightened and despairing over the future of our country, the church and of my family. There have been plenty of times when I have been both sad and angry over the whole darn ordeal. And as far as I’m concerned, this has been an ORDEAL. Ugh.
Not surprisingly, as He so often does, the Holy Spirit began convicting me about what had my attention. He reminded me – again – to move my focus to where it belongs and it is not to be on Hillary, Donald or whatever scandal is currently making headlines. My focus is to be on my faith, and the unchanging promises of my God. I am to put off the “chicken little the sky is falling” fear that tends to grip me and remember that God is sovereign over all.
Last summer, I wrote a new message titled, Walk in It, to not only encourage those who would hear it, but for myself as well. Sometimes, I write a message or a post because I am struggling with the subject and looking for answers. I certainly don’t have them all. Walk in It came out of the Holy Spirit’s prompting to get my head straight and my focus on the big picture.
So, because I think there needs to be voices out there encouraging the body of Christ, I want to add mine. I know I am a local speaker, but I have such a faithful and dear subscriber community and you live all over the country. I want so much to help any of you who need a reminder to lift your eyes to the big picture. We are all in this together!
I plan to break up the message into a few short blog posts over the next few weeks or so. I hope you will be encouraged and share with friends who need a faith boost during such pressing times.
But for today…Beth Moore has written the most amazing post on this very subject. No one can write like Beth and her command of the full counsel of Scripture is outstanding. I encourage you to read this, print it out and keep it somewhere where you can get to it and share with your family and friends. Post it on social media — I am going to as well. I have been so encouraged and blessed by this today, I just had to pass it on to you.
Before you head over to Beth’s blog at the link below, I’d love for you to leave any comments you may have to encourage and lift up the body of Christ. I think we can all agree that we’ve heard enough about the election. As followers of Jesus Christ, we can be thermostats instead of thermometers in our daily sphere of influence. Thermostats set the temperature instead of just reflecting what is going on.
Will you join me in committing to set the thermostat to ‘faith’ instead of ‘fear’?
Here is the blog from Beth — oh girls, we need to stop and thank God for this dear sister’s ministry to all of us!
Tuesday, October 18, 2016 | 2 Comments
This morning, Pat and I are heading down to the beach for a few days. We’ve been keeping a watchful eye on Hurricane Matthew, but it looks like he is going to stay away from the Delaware coast. Whew!
We will encounter a dramatic-looking ocean for a day or two, though. There is nothing like whipped-up, white-capped waves! Since I will be just looking and not swimming, I’m actually looking forward to it.
When we took our trip to Bethany Beach last year, I wasn’t really looking forward to anything. In the months that led up to our little get-away, both my mother and my best friend Marylou had died within a short time of each other. Their deaths were sudden and shattering. The spring and summer of 2015 were a blur and, by the time October came, all I wanted to do was just sit on a balcony and look at the waves.
It ended up being a nice trip but, looking back, I remember how grief pressed on me. I felt it physically — as if my heart was literally broken in two.
What a difference a year makes.
Last October I was deeply sad, suffering from the trauma of losing two of the most important people in my life. I wasn’t looking forward at all. The thought of life going on without them hurt. It wasn’t time.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 tells us:
To everything there is a season. A time for every purpose under heaven.
Last year was a time to mourn. It was a time to look back and a time to look inward.
It was a time to gather. I gathered together my precious memories and as much hope as I could hang on to – but I needed help.
A few weeks before our trip to the ocean, I made the decision to go for counseling. It wasn’t the first time I’ve sat in a counselor’s chair and I am sure it won’t be the last. The losses were hard to bear and my mother’s absence stirred up other brokenness that I knew needed attending to once and for all. It was time.
We often think it’s weak to tend to our mental well-being – but in my experience it is one of the bravest things we can do. We cannot do it all ourselves. Our loving God provides gifted and skilled counselors to help us.
They are our beloved guides who safely take us to places of revelation within our life story. They are empathetic and encouraging truth tellers – the light shines in and then we place it all before the Father for healing.
As I learned in college – psychology reveals, but Jesus heals.
Upon my first visit to her office, a carved wooden bowl of beautiful hand painted stones was sitting on a table. A sign indicated that anyone could pick up a stone, hold it and take it with them.
The first one I picked up had the words ‘Be Brave’ painted on it. I brought it home and placed it on my desk. It would remind me to have courage to move through the grief and pain that were laid bare in her office each week.
Over the months that followed, I gathered more stones with different words on them. I placed them around my home office along with scriptures and prayers.
It was a time of looking back, looking inside and, quite honestly, grieving over more losses than only my mom and Marylou. It was a time of discovery and of painful truth.
Each week we met and together worked our way down the healing path. She led the way and I followed. It took longer than I expected, but one day something happened – I began to lift my head.
My eyes had been in a downward gaze for so long. Pain pushes us into that posture. But, as the light took over more and more of the darkness, I began to look up and out. My gaze moved outward and away from myself.
I felt so much better. The heaviness that had been pressing down lifted too. The season was changing and I was on the mend.
What a difference a year makes!
Not too long after, I realized I didn’t need the stones anymore. The time to gather had passed and so… I began to give them away.
I gave the ‘Peace’ stone to Marylou’s husband.
As my youngest son was leaving for an internship far from home, I slipped the ‘Be Brave’ stone in his hand.
And then to others. One by one, I gave them all away.
There is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven.
A time to mourn
A time to seek answers
A time to accept
A time to heal
And then … He takes our chin in His hand and gently lifts our head. Our perspective changes and we notice that it’s time to give the hope away to someone else.
But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head. — Psalm 3:3
PS. If you are viewing this post on your phone, the pictures may be sideways or upside down! I apologize.It is an issue that I cannot fix since I am now away at the beach! The format is correct when viewing on a computer.Thursday, October 6, 2016 | 22 Comments