April 25, 2012

Remaining

Welcome P31 friends! Thanks for spending time with us today.

There are times in each of our lives hard or lonely. Yet the truth Miss Emma knew is one that can resonate down the halls of our hearts.

And echo into the core of who we are:
Christ beside me, Christ before me
Christ behind me, Christ within me
Christ beneath me, Christ above me
~St. Patrick

Sometimes it helps to have a visual of this truth. Something tangible to hold onto.

My friend Melissa told me about this neat remembrance, Nesting Envelopes, and I wanted to share with you how to make your own.

#1: Write “Jesus” on small paper
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

#2: Write your name on an envelope {made mine with scrap paper/tape}
Tuck #1 paper {Jesus’ Name} inside

“I will remain in you.”

 

 

 

 


#3: Write Jesus’ Name on a slightly larger envelope
Tuck #2 envelope inside
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.”

 

 

 

 


#4: Write God’s Name on an even larger envelope
Tuck #3 envelope inside
“I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

#5: The final product will be one big envelope with “God” on the outside!

“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.”
~John 15

 

 

 

 

 

 
Wherever loneliness lurks, tuck this confidence snug away. You are not alone. He is there. {I keep mine on my bedside table.}

I’d love to make one for you! Today, I’m giving away a personalized Nesting Envelope to 5 different people. To enter to win, please visit any of the blogs under the tab “Where I Love to Stroll. There is tons of encouragement from each amazing friend, and connecting with them is a sure-fire way to remind yourself you’re not alone. Then, c‘mon back & leave a comment with which blog you visited and what encouraged you on there. Thanks!

 

 

 

xoxo,
Sam

March 28, 2012

For the Times You’re Lost

Warnings from her mother dissipated in the mist: Five-year-olds did not need to wander about thick trees. But five-year-olds will often ignore mother’s wisdom to discover new lands, hidden castles, wild ponies. Minutes after take-off we were lost. Every tree mirrored the other. Fear-filled and chilled by the cool drizzle, we crashed at the base of a large oak.

And there we sat, tangled in the wreckage of straying and scaredness. Until . . .

Until we dared to untuck our wee heads from the crook of our balled-up bodies. Until we looked about and resolved we were utterly lost and needed guidance. Until we tapped on the pages of our hearts and these inscripted words spilled out . . .

The Lord is my shepherd . . . ~Psalm 23

Shepherd. A dear Name of God. Our leader, comforter, tender care-taker.

Honestly, how we made it back to Robyn’s home is a forgotten memory. I suspect we were closer to her house than we realized. Perhaps her mother’s voice carried through the branches. Maybe she traipsed in the underbrush and found us.

I know this. Knowing His Names and what they mean has lead, comforted and cared for me through every adventure since.

Today, may I encourage you to write one of God’s Names on your heart? So as times come when you need to tap your heart, His truths will spill out and lead, comfort and care for you.

 

xoxo,
Sam

March 7, 2012

Making Our Way Toward Peace

I once lugged a brand spankin’ new boyfriend to the ballet. I know, I know … not the optimal way to woo him. But he dragged me to college football games. All’s fair in love and war, eh?

Eventually I warmed to the beauty of football, but he never took a liking to dance. Which seems odd as football is a dance of sorts. {That’s an analogy for another day.} My point in telling this tale of love lost {we broke up} and love found {I count the days till the next football season starts} is that I love dance. All forms except one.

I don’t dig the dance we do with our thoughts.

True, some thoughts gracefully glide us across the dance floor of life. Warm memories, kind words, happy encouragements.

But other thoughts? Those that steal our peace … like we’re not as pretty as so-and-so. Or as bright as smarty-pants PhD. How about the thought that life will forever be hard? Or that loneliness, depression, anxiety, {fill in the blank} is our lot in life.

I danced with this one for years: I’ll always be fearful.

In hindsight, that feels melodramatic. But I spent years in the absence of peace because I was afraid. Negative thoughts swung me around till I got sick of being frightened and tired of having no peace.

Maybe you’re exhausted from being haunted by a negative thought too? You think, “Something’s gotta give.” You’re to the point you can’t dance another day, but you don’t want to be left hanging on the dance floor. That’s when we need something else to step in and replace our {_____}.

I wish I had an oh-so-fab 10 Steps to Peace Program. I don’t. But I’ll tell you what’s helped me end fear’s dance.

Prayer… asking God to help set me free.

Counseling… talking the dark thoughts out into the light {helped a ton!}

Music… consuming worship music filled my soul with hope.

The Bible… Every time fear grasped my hand for a spin, I shook it off with a scripture, repeating positive truths over and over.

When I said, “My foot is slipping,” your unfailing love, LORD, supported me.
When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy. ~Psalm 94:18-19

I’ll be honest. Changing dance partners wasn’t the easiest. Negative thoughts break-danced and cha-cha’ed around my knocking knees. I had to fight them off in order to dance with peace. But over time and through prayer, counseling, worship and determined focus on Scripture the negative thoughts have lessened and peace has increased.

Can I encourage you to try a combo or all four of these to help you shake {_____} too?

 

xoxo,
Sam

February 25, 2012

When Life Squeezes Us

The chair creaked as my friend shifted her weight. I never liked that scrawny chair in my office in the counseling center. Its arms, too close for comfort, seemed to intentionally squeeze the pain right out of my clients. Seemed to be having the same affect on my friend visiting me. This chair was too lightweight to carry the load of hurting people and heavy hearts. I sat across from her, hoping her tears shed were lightening her load.

For a week she’d carried the hopeful joy of what she thought was an unexpected pregnancy. But this was a hope to be deferred. It wasn’t time; not yet.

Not for quite a while. And then one day she joined us for dinner; we feasted on good news as we stood in the kitchen. Arms and elation entangled, we cried again. This time, it was time.

I remember the day she was born; a day when life was squeezing the pain right out of me. I shared my hurt with a friend on the way to the hospital. “You must believe He’s faithful. Don’t let the days slip by in doubt, no matter how long this hope is deferred.” I held that truth and I held that sweet baby, Sophie Brooke.

Her name means Wisdom and Peaceful waters. And aren’t those the things we need when the load is painful and hope is put on hold? Wisdom reminds us of His faithfulness to ease our load. And peace calls us to a place where pain doesn’t squeeze us so hard. For every season and stage of life. For when wombs are barren – to when cribs are full – to when the nest clears out … and every moment in between. Because the days are fleeting and I need Him every hour. I need to say yes to seeking His wisdom and resting where He guides me. Even when — especially when — life closes in and hope seems distant.

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters.
He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.
Psalm 23

{Sophie’s Sweet Feet}

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xoxo,
Sam