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 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 6, 2012

I’m Ready to Turn the Corner

She lays her dish towel down to pick up a conversation. “Pronto!” {“I’m ready”} she answers with, instead of “Ciao” {“Hello”}. It’s a customary greeting for Italians.

A reflection of a heart postured in preparation. One daring to trust the person calling has an invitation. That something new is right around the corner. And hey, that’s not always easy to believe. But might we? Just today, might we answer His call by preparing our hearts to say Yes, I’m ready!

Pronto! I’m ready to listen. A stance that dares to meet the Lord’s eye, honest about the past. No qualms quiver in the gut. “Yes,” we truthfully say. “I have dredged through the wreckage, slid through the less-than-lovely.” And once confessed, we’re ready to hear God’s heart of grace and good plans.

Pronto! I’m ready to turn the corner. Leave the lonely streets of unbelief, heartache and shame. Is it too wonderful to believe that a new thing is around the bend? The potential of forgiveness…hope of living shame-free? Not at all. It’s there for us if only we answer His call.

But how?
We allow our heart to be…
refined {by His Word}
defined {by His character}
supined {in front of His throne}

Pronto, I’m ready to begin afresh. And that chance is offered for the taking. Because when the Father called to the Son, He said, “I’m ready. To die for her and her and him and him.” Jesus asks, will we receive His salvation, forgiveness? His forgetfulness of our past deeds? Therein lies our call to answer. Now that we’ve repented. Turned away from the past with faces turned up to hope. Now, now we joyfully start new.  Are you ready?

Thy light in my darkness
Thy life in my death
Thy joy in my sorrow
Thy grace in my sin
Thy riches in my poverty
Thy glory in my valley
~from Valley of Vision

Write this verse on the tablet of your heart and mind. Tuck it in the recesses to refer to as you prepare. “Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. Remember, O LORD, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old.” ~Psalm 25:4-6

xoxo,
Sam

January 27, 2012

One Good Man

“I see Mercy’s dating you,” she says as if it’s common to say such things. As if I knew this fact. {I didn’t.}

True, there have been glints of Mercy hanging around: softer heart, gentler words. But dating? One must tread lightly; such things could lead to a lifetime commitment.

A laugh tries to move past her statement, but it sticks. Though she and I are editing 10’s of 100’s of 1000’s of so many words during our meeting, hers won’t go away. Days after, they trail me and greet me at my front door and bid me good morning.

There’s this list I etched in the early spring of life. Qualities of a dreamed of man-husband. Some sweet, most naive, like flowers that bloom too early, before the frost has been chased away till winter. Give him blue eyes, tall legs, guitar fingers and a fondness for snow, Lord. And a passion for You, a heart for missions, goofy humor, and desire to have a house full of children . And swirl in this and that and the list went off the margins.

Now? In the summer of my time, the list blooms with  just one characteristic sure to weather all seasons: good.

Because surely goodness and mercy walk hand-n-hand. Dream of giving love and money and peace. Care for the least and the more than enough and everyone in between. Ride the wave of justice to set captives free. Walk humbly with God.

Surely, goodness loves Mercy. This Mercy dating me, asking for my hand, my heart, my life.

I can’t help but think: if this is what the Lord requires of a man… must I need more?

Oh sure, my heart still leans toward many of those things on my adolescent list. I’ll gladly lay them down though for that greater characteristic. Then again, many of them are embedded in good. So, I’ll whittle my list down to that one thing: good. Well, perhaps there’s one more quality I’d want a husband to have: a desire for a good wife.

And so, I’m accepting Mercy’s hand as I wait for one good man.

He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. ~Micah 6:8

 

 

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xoxo,
Sam