Archive | November 2016

thankful.

Not feeling much like being thankful? When everything around you is painful, being thankful is not in your mind.

And even if you think about being thankful, the fact is you don’t want to be.

And a picture of a sunset or snowflake or flower won’t do a thing for you. Not when you’re feeling some deep loss or despair.

Feel the pain. It’s okay.

But lift your tear stained face off  that pillow for a minute and breathe. You see the now. But there is a tomorrow. And the next day. And the next. Don’t let the sorrow consume you to the point of not wanting to live.  Just as quickly as that pain stormed down the door and pounced on you – it can leave just as quickly.

The Psalms are full of the heart cries of sorrow. Yet, in the end, the psalmist concludes his pain is bigger than him to handle. The solution for the pain he cannot contain is turning toward God and saying – yet I will trust in You.

There is something to be thankful for. Something.

Abraham Lincoln gave a proclamation to the American people during the Civil War.  Despite a time of severe sorrow and loss, he led the country in establishing our national holiday on the last Thursday of November, and called it Thanksgiving.

What? How can this be?

This wasn’t a war fought in a foreign country. It was right under the noses of the American people. The battlefields could not be ignored. They were stained with human flesh and blood from the slaughtered sons and fathers who never came home. Surely, our nation’s cries of angst echoed in the heavens up to God’s ears. And it took someone such as President Lincoln, who spent many private moments grappling in his own personal darkness, to lead the nation to do the right thing. The thing that makes no sense. But the thing that would bring relief, comfort, and peace for an aching heart.

Thanksgiving.

Finding something to be thankful for is not avoiding or ignoring the pain. It is the secret to getting through the pain and seeing your inability to handle it alone. It is the secret to knowing the God you’ve heard about.

Being thankful won’t make the pain go away. But it will help you through it.

Abraham Lincoln must have known that.

Grace1918photographEnstrom

scripture friday.

happy

Photo credit: JH Images.co.uk / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

hurt in church.

Some people have been hurt in church. It’s the last place you’d expect it.

Some people have remarked with a quip: “There’s no perfect church!”

Well, it’s not funny.

It is true that people are not perfect.

It is not true that people are not perfect

enough to say “I’m sorry”.

If you’ve been hurt in a church, you may have turned away from God.

Don’t. You will feel worse.

It’s not God’s fault.

 

 

And you’re right.

The people in a church should have

a caring

a compassion

and a love not seen anywhere else.

 You be different.

Give to others out of your pain. It’s like giving yourself what you were not given.

And watch what happens.

~~~

repost Nov. 2012

Photo courtesy:

seanmcgrath / Foter / CC BY

Pink Sherbet Photography / Foter / CC BY

anticipation.

I leaned back in the wicker rocking chair – a favorite – the one with the brown and aqua quilt.

Linger. I want to linger here for as long as possible. The warm, scattered sunshine is soothing. Can I stay?

My eyes teared slightly at the leafless branches contrasting against royal blue  – recalling a childhood memory of loving the sky.

The smells of autumn were unmistakable. The clean smell of Macintosh apples in a nearby bushel, the carpet of golden maple leaves soaking in the warm sun, and the damp earth preparing a resting place for frost-bitten hostas, salvia, and phlox.

And then one leaf…and another…gracefully floated to the ground to take its place among the others.

Seasons end, but another is waiting. Do we hang on to the old? Or do we anticipate the new?

Even in the midst of the cold and bitter winter, there is life. The wind plays with the snow, creating ripples of purple shadowed dunes while grand, lacy snowflakes rock gently to the earth – breathing life into our weariness.

The pain will end. But in its cold and bitterness, there is still life. Can you find it?

reposted from Oct. 2014

look up.

If you’re having a bad day today, go outside and look up at the sky.

Hopefully, it is a sunny day for you.

I promise it will clear your head and make you feel better.

God’s simple solutions are all around us.

It doesn’t always solve the problem, but it solves the problem of hopelessness.

sky