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The Lord Remains Faithful

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

A week ago today, I came home from a writing retreat. I cried most of the way home. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to come home. It was more that I didn’t want to leave the wonder of that creative and sacred experience. I didn’t want to come down off  ‘the mountain top’, where I had found inspiration and renewal.

I’ve hugged the memories close and savored them, sharing with the few who would truly understand how dear the experience was for me. This isn’t my story. It’s God’s story. I’m just the flawed writer He chose to bless.

******

With a deadline looming, Old Roady was okay with me taking some of our timeshare points and getting away to write. With the winter weather, I’d hoped to be close to home, as in, just down Route 1 a few miles. But on such short notice, there was nothing available in Rhode Island. We found a studio with a partial kitchenette for six days in Falmouth, Massachusetts.

Then Nemo – The Blizzard of 2013 – blew across the region on February 8th.

Blizzard of 2013

Blizzard of 2013

Four days later I received a phone call. The resort in Falmouth was unable to accommodate the reservations for folks checking in.

Wish I could say I was calm about this. I wasn’t. The lovely woman from the timeshare clearinghouse was kind enough to help me look for an alternative. But throughout all of RI, CT and MA, she found only one other place. It, too, was in Falmouth and for only three nights. She would call to see if they were taking ‘inbounds’.

At this point, I prayed – finally. And the prayer was pretty sketchy. Mostly disconnected thoughts flung heavenward. But God is good. No. God is AMAZING. Because even when I’m not at my best, He remains faithful and continues to work out HIS PLAN for me.

The lovely lady (I wish I could remember her name.) called me back. The other place in Falmouth was available. Would I like it? That’s when I told her what I needed – a quiet place away from daily duties and distractions so I could concentrate on writing.

She giggled and then said, “Oh. Wait. Something just popped up! Is Rhode Island okay?”

“Yes.” I held my breath, because there are no coincidences. Only God-incidences.

“Long Wharf in Newport. Sunday to Sunday. Would that be alright?”

I barely heard her over the pounding of my heart. “Yes. How many nights?”

“Sunday to Sunday.”

“The whole week?” One more day than I would have had in Falmouth.

“Yes. It’s a one bedroom condo with a full kitchen. And since it’s a swap, you get it for the same number of points as Falmouth. It’s usually twice as many.”

I think God loves surprises because every step of the way, the trip only got better.

On check-in, I found out the Inn was going through renovations. Only the fifth floor was open and I was the first to use the completely renovated condo.

Long Wharf Resort

Long Wharf Resort

Within hours of checking in, God painted the sky for me.

Sunset over Long Wharf

Sunset over Long Wharf

Newport fishing fleet and lobster boats

Newport fishing fleet and lobster boats

I emptied my schedule and let go of all that fights for my attention. I made room for God to come in and fill the empty space.  

I was needy and my heart was willing. 

How often am I unwilling? How often do I fill my time with everything but what God desires for me?

A Room With A View

A Room With A View

I was on Holy ground.  My writing, an offering.

God blessed me abundantly with time and words. 

The empty computer screen filled, line after line. How many times in the past have I been afraid the words wouldn’t come? Why can’t I trust like this every day? 

Evening Sun

Will I remember?
On the days that nothing comes easy, will I open up and be uncomfortably empty so He can fill me?

Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the Lord his God,
the Maker of heaven and earth,
the sea, and everything in them –
the Lord, who remains faithful forever.
Psalm 146:5-6

Bad Prayer Days

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We’ve all had them. Days when the roof over our head feels like a concrete slab that nothing will penetrate. We feel as though our prayers are a gray cloud floating above our head, never reaching God’s ear. Isn’t the evidence all around us? God hasn’t heard. Nothing has changed. We are dealing with the same trials today that we dealt with yesterday.

Life is messy.

Messy relationships. Messy houses. Messy office politics. Messy desks. Messy creative spaces where the muse refuses to come out and play for fear of being tainted by our messy life.

Life is hard.

Photo source: Wikipedia

Jobs lost.
Homes consumed by fire or flood.
People we love hurting… ill… taken from this earth to early….

We’re tired. Worn out. Unheard.

Our lament is like that of Jeremiah, the weeping prophet. Even when I call out or cry for help, he shuts out my prayer. Lamentations 3:8

It’s so hard to remember that these feelings have nothing to do with reality. No matter how thick the ceiling or heavy the cloud above us, God hears. God is at work.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9

We can’t comprehend God’s logic or timing. He is God. And we are not.

This one week. Two dads. Two diagnoses. Too many questions. Too many uncertainties. For me. But not for my God.

Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.’

The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,
to the one who seeks him;
it is good to wait quietly
for the salvation of the Lord.
Lamentations 3:21-26 

Waiting.
Hoping.
Seeking.

Praying. Even when praying is hard.
Because I can’t find the words.
Because the words I have are painful and colored with fear and anger.
Towards Him – my omnipotent, unchanging God.
Who is big enough to take my anger and offer me life-giving love in return.
My Abba Father – who sees my bad prayer days and instead of a temporary fix,
offers me his Son and all eternity.

Psalm 100

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Wishing you a healthy and happy Thanksgiving day.

Declare the Glory of God

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I picked this tiny bouquet of violas yesterday. It sits on my computer desk, a touch of nature surrounded by high tech hardware. The petals are delicate and soft to touch. Each flower is unique in color and detailing. These flowers, small as they are and with no voice that can be heard by the human ear, declare the glory of God.

You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being. (Revelation 4: 11)


Sea glass

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On my window sill is a small bottle filled with water and the sea glass I’ve collected on the local beaches. The sun shines through the shards of glass in a beautiful medley of sparkling clear, soft green, aqua, brown and even a rare cobalt blue. Each piece has been tumbled and smoothed by water and sand before it washes up on the shore.

For the past three years, I’ve felt like a piece of precious sea glass, roughed up by the harsh sands of change, whirled through waves of disappointment. The loss of a job I’d had for thirty years, upheaval within my church family, delays as I work toward my writing goals. I wish I could say my faith has been strong and unwavering the entire time. But like any child, I’ve had less than stellar moments, approaching my Heavenly Father whining and crying, ‘no fair’.  With an abundance of mercy and grace, He’s lovingly held me through the tumbles I’ve taken.

Clinging to His promises, I’ll continue to wait and trust, knowing He’s smoothing my broken jagged edges and making me into someone more precious and rare than I would be if left in my natural state.

“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

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