A Joyfully Divine Reassurance

Okay, I know that serving my Heavenly Father is a privilege, not a chore, but still…

Raised in the fifties, I was taught to be responsible, and all the sayings that went with that lesson were repeated reminders in my childhood: “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop”, “work hard”, “always do your very best”, “don’t be lazy, get up and get busy”, and “don’t waste time.” My parents were loving, nurturing and fun-loving, too. They enjoyed spending time with my brother and me. It’s just that fun came after the work was done, and work wasn’t considered “fun.”

I became a responsible adult and lived my dream of being a wife, mom, and now a grandma. As a stay-at-home mom, I kept a clean house, made homemade recipes, and took pride in my family and my home. After a few years, I rejoined the workforce and learned how to manage my time and enlist my family’s help so that our home was kept presentable, laundry was done, and meals were prepared.

That’s just what I did. First, the work, then I could relax and have some fun time.

Yesterday, standing in the kitchen visiting with the Lord, I continued our previous conversation, asking Him to show me how to serve Him, how to please Him. I’ve been waiting on His direction, thinking that I should be working on a project, something that hopefully will bring honor and glory to His name. In my mind, working involves a task of some kind, something that requires effort on my part, and will end in an accomplished goal.

My kind, merciful Father answered me with His reassurance.

He asked, “What are you doing right now?” Well, I was cooking lunch for my husband, then later, I would prepare lunch for my younger son who was coming over to visit during his lunch hour. Later that night, my granddaughter was coming over to eat dinner with us. “What about yesterday?” Well, I had gone to my older son’s house and helped him and my daughter-in-law clean and prepare for an open house before putting their house up for sale and having a new one built. The conversation continued along these lines until I understood.

I please the Lord by loving and serving my family. For me, that is not work, that’s a gift from my Father. Being surrounded by family, sharing stories, laughing together, making new memories, being part of each other’s lives, and building strong bonds of love makes my heart glad. The value of the service is not negated because it is a blessing and not a burdensome chore. Encompassed by God’s love, He gives us the desires of our hearts, and anytime a heartfelt desire is met, there is joy. Gratefully, we thank God, and when we thank Him, we are in His presence and that pleases Him, always!

Now I know, the fact is that when we try to serve Him, we are, in reality, only accepting the gifts He is bestowing on us – just because He loves us that much!

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Today We Laughed!

Two weeks ago, on Saturday, February 10th, I took my husband of 46 ½ years to the emergency room after about three weeks of him not being able to get rid of a cough, tiredness, shortness of breath, and various other symptoms.  We thought maybe he had pneumonia.

We were wrong.

Five days later, Thursday, February 15th, we came home. He had a pacemaker in place, a monitor beside the bed, new prescriptions, and a list of appointments for follow-up care.

It’s been a scary time, with lots of prayers for healing surrounding my husband.

Our Heavenly Father has answered prayer after prayer, never once leaving us to face this time alone. We are so very thankful.

During one of my particularly hard worrying times, my Father gently reminded me to take one moment at a time, trusting Him for that moment, and knowing that He will supply exactly what we need at exactly the right time, not before. The worry was coming from the “what ifs” I was allowing into my thoughts. “What if” is never about the present, but always about the future. God’s got our future in His hands and He is taking care of it. We have Him in the present moment, right now, right when we need Him. There are not enough words of gratitude to offer the thanks my heart is bursting to give to Him.

And today was a very special day…today, my husband and I were visiting together, and we both enjoyed a good laugh!

Laughter wasn’t one of the sounds that interrupted my worrisome thoughts for several days, so when the gift of laughter came to us today, it was really, really appreciated!

Psalm 126:2 Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.”

Prayer: Father, thank You for holding us close to You when we are scared and feeling broken-hearted, unable to put one foot in front of the other. Thank You for understanding and loving us when our faith seems weak and our trust is wavering. Thank You, God, for being our very real help in times of trouble. Father, I thank You!

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Choose Joy

My friend and I talked on the phone this morning, and she told me of the Lord reminding her to pray for those in need, and to not forget to keep her joy in the Lord, knowing “He’s got this.”

My son and I went to lunch today and during the visit, we remembered family members who were hurting and needing prayer. We knew God would provide for them and reminded ourselves to keep trusting Him, and not to lose our joy in the Lord.

He said, “Mom, thanks for reminding me of this. Sometimes, I feel guilty when things are going so well for me and I see others hurting so badly.”

I know it’s very easy to be so caught up in the trials and tribulations of this life – our own and others we love – that we momentarily lose sight of the blessings God is showering on us daily.

Sometimes, a gentle reminder from our Heavenly Father is just what we need to get our focus back on Him and off the circumstances that are robbing us of our joy.

The joy of the Lord is our strength.

Nehemiah 8:10 (NIV) Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

So, today, I am praying for those I love, asking for God to help me trust Him with myself and those I love.

I am remembering, too, to enjoy the moments I have; reading, working a puzzle, visiting with family and friends, and basking in the joy of knowing my Father is always working things out for our good and His glory.

Thank You, Lord!


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Trusting in Our Father’s Care

I’ve been praying for our Heavenly Father to bless and comfort my aunt and her husband. He is ill and on hospice care and the two of them are facing some really hard times together. They’ve been married over fifty years and their bond is strong, so when one hurts, the other hurts, too.

I know the bond’s strength because my husband and I have been blessed with that same bond of love.

Yes, I’ve been praying and praying and praying…and in between, fretting and feeling just a smidgeon of the pain I imagine she is feeling at the thought of living in this world without her husband, and that he is feeling at not being here for her. Just that little bit I was feeling was more than I could handle without wanting to just sit down and sob.

During the latest prayer, as my heart was hurting for the two of them, my Father’s words comforted me. He asked, “When you were grieving, did I not comfort you and give you strength? Would I not do the same for them?”

Immediately, I realized that I was trying to “take on” their pain, instead of trusting in my Father’s gentle care. I don’t know why I had forgotten, even for a minute, how close my Lord stayed to me when I said earthly goodbyes to my granddaughter, mom, dad, and brother. He alone kept me standing, able to rely on His promises, and to rejoice knowing that Heaven is our eternal home.

Truly, we can trust in our Heavenly Father’s gentle care and peaceful comfort, for ourselves and for the people we love.


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You’re Not Following My Directions!

“Hey, aren’t you going to get in the right lane, so you can turn onto the interstate?” My husband and I, after running a few errands, were going to eat lunch and I just knew the restaurant was “that” way.

“No, we’re going left.”

Immediately, I looked again at my surroundings and he was right. Laughing, I said, “Listen, I’m giving you directions and you’re choosing not to follow them? Good for you!”

I’ve never been good with directions when we’re headed somewhere, even in this town I’ve lived in most of my life. Still, I’m really good at offering my opinion. Maybe if I would take time to pay attention to our surroundings when he’s driving, I’d know how to direct my husband. Then again, he might appreciate it if I would relax, let him drive, and get us to wherever we’re going.

Later, at home, we laughed again at how often I get “turned around” when we’re in the car.

Later, still thinking about the incident, I remembered several times during my walk with the Lord when someone would give their honest opinion about the best way to please the Lord. Some even offered well-meaning advice about what I “should or should not” do. In my younger days, I often felt confused or guilty because I just couldn’t be the person I believed they thought I should be. What if they were right?

Every time, though, when I talked it over with the Lord, I was reminded that we are individuals who have the amazing privilege of direct communication with Him. He made us with the ability to think for ourselves and to prayerfully make our own choices. I was also repeatedly reminded that confusion is not from God.

When I took my confusion to Him in prayer, He would teach me. Sometimes, picking up the Bible, I would find just the scriptural answer I needed. Sometimes, His words were ushered into my spirit. At times, I experienced the warmth of His loving comfort surrounding me, assuring me that He is guiding my walk. I always knew that my Father would not desert me. He is the one to turn to for the answers to my questions.

We are very blessed to have family and friends that love us enough to pray with us, to seek understanding with us, and to worship our Heavenly Father with us. We are also each individually blessed to have our own very personal relationship with Jesus Christ. When a conflict or confusion of any kind heads our way, I am thankful that God is always present and always available. His is always the true answer and always backed by scripture.

1 Corinthians 14:33 (NKJV) For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.

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Doubly Blessed and Very Grateful

I have been learning how to let my days unfold, instead of cramming too much into too little time. Retired, along with my husband, we are finding out that the days don’t have to be so scheduled in order to get everything done. I am thankful for this more relaxed lifestyle. Housework and errands get done, and I have time to read, write, visit with my husband, and appreciate the moments in a day.

I enjoy working pretty puzzles and then framing them. I didn’t know that until a few years ago when I started working a puzzle during the Christmas season to use as part of our holiday decorations. I didn’t buy a puzzle this past Christmas and missed having one. I thought one with flowers or maybe a scripture verse would work for me.

This afternoon, my husband and I went shopping. Before walking into the store, I asked the Lord for “simple abundance” as I searched for a puzzle. He and I have often noticed how God blesses us with our wants, as well as our needs. When a parking space becomes available at exactly the right time or when someone says or does something kind, and we smile, feeling God’s special provision at that moment in time, we call it “simple abundance.” We know it’s our Heavenly Father’s love.

As we were searching the aisles, I saw a canvas with a beautiful painting called “Destiny” on it. I stopped and stared. My husband walked up behind me. I told him, “This is the picture I saw a couple of years ago in another office at the complex where I worked.” I was so moved by the artwork that I had asked if I could take a picture of it on my phone, never knowing I’d see it again. Yet, here it was; showing Jesus as a little boy, sitting on the floor working with carpentry tools beside a table where Joseph was standing and working with his carpentry tools. My husband told me to buy it, but I decided we’d go look at puzzles first.

We found the puzzles and started searching for “just the right one” – and then… I could barely contain the tears welling in my eyes. Right there, in front of us, look! The puzzle box showed it contained “Destiny.” Yes!  The exact painting that I had been so blessed to see again had been made into a puzzle!

When we were in the car heading home, I said, “Do you ever feel His love so much you can’t put it into words?” Our Father cares about the things we care about and loves us enough to bless us – doubly – just because!

Now, I’m looking forward to many relaxing hours of putting the puzzle together. When I finish and frame it, I’ll enjoy many more hours looking at it and thanking God for His abundant blessings.

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In My Husband’s Eyes

My husband and I recently heard the song, “Perfect” by Ed Sherran. The lyrics contain the words, “I saw my future in your eyes.”

I was 19 years old one week before my husband and I married. He was an older man, three months older than me.  We dated for three months before we married.

Young, excited, in love…wonderful time in my life; and terrifying, too.

I was a very protected only daughter raised in a nurturing Christian home. My brother, five years older, always helped my parents “watch out” for me. This was the first time my plan for the future clashed with my family’s dreams for my life. They hardly knew this man I had chosen, but they loved me, and the wedding date was scheduled.  I can only imagine the prayers God heard from them during this period of time.

I definitely remember the prayer I prayed the night before my wedding day. “Please, Father, stop this wedding if it’s not meant to be.” I had faith that my Heavenly Father loved me. I knew He heard my prayer, and I truly trusted Him to somehow stop me if I was heading in the wrong direction. I realize, looking back, that prayer was not one I would want to know one of my children prayed before making a life commitment, but at that particular time in my walk with the Lord, that’s all I knew to pray.

On a rainy Saturday afternoon, as Dad and I were preparing to walk around the corner and down the aisle, the happy butterflies in my stomach became huge knots of anxiety. “What was I thinking? What am I doing here?” I whispered to my dad, “Hey, if I punch you in the side, like this…, that means turn around and get me out of here!” He just said, “Okay, Sister.”

One step, two steps, three…and then I turned the corner and saw him; the man I loved. Immediately, the butterflies took away the anxiety and I could barely stop myself from running down that aisle.

We’ve been married 46 years. A few weeks ago, I tried explaining to my friend what I felt when I saw my intended waiting for me in the front of the church. “When I saw him, I saw ‘home’ – where I belonged – with him, wherever he was, for the rest of our lives.”

Today, listening to the words of the song, I understood.

God had allowed me to see my future in my soon-to-be husband’s eyes.



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