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A Hanky in Your Pocket

My grandma always reminded me to “tuck a hanky in your pocket because you never know when you’ll need it.” And yes, she literally meant a lace trimmed hanky not a tissue. (Unfortunately, I’m that old.) Either way, hanky or tissue, she was proven right many times.

If ever the importance of tucking scriptures in my heart was proven right, it was the morning of my motorcycle accident. I have participated in a scripture writing plan for about four years now.  I find a monthly plan online with a theme that appeals to me and I write out and meditate on the daily verses. Writing it out helps plant the words in my memory. I work hard to never miss a day of planting.

The scripture May 25, 2022 was John 14:1-2 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God, believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?”

That morning my heart was far from troubled. I was carefree, looking forward to a day in the sunshine on the back of our Harley with my favorite guy. That changed at the moment of impact! I thought we were going to die. There was immediate fear, pain, confusion, noise and, surprisingly, these words pushing through – “I am going there to prepare a place for you.”

Many hours later, laying in a hospital room, I thought about God’s perfect timing in planting that scripture. My brain automatically combined fear and death at the traumatic moment of impact but my God reminded me there is no fear in death.  The calm that followed allowed me to hold on, not panic and ride out the few seconds of being dragged along the guardrail by the car that hit us.

It took a while to be clear enough between pain meds to look up the scriptures for the days following the accident. When I did, I was filled again with the goodness of God and how He gives what we need when we need it without fail.

The scripture for the day following the accident was John 16:33, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

In the confusion of being ambulanced, airlifted, rushed, examined, put on the waiting list for surgery (because in a trauma hospital you wait your turn), and worrying about my spouse who was being treated at our local hospital 200 miles away, it was hard to find peace. It came when I read this reminder. Our troubled time was part of life on earth and there is little earthly peace to be had. As a child of God though, His Godly peace is available to carry us through. As much as I needed the “prepare a place” scripture on the day of the accident, how much greater I needed John 16:33 the day after!

I remember turning to God in great humility to thank Him for strengthening my faith when I needed it most. I breathed in the glory and grace of that beautiful moment and cried with relief. I could let go of the burden of doubt and worry and grief over the hard place we found ourselves experiencing. I could release the days to follow into the hands of the One in control.  It would be a long road to recovery for both of us and He would not only walk it with us, He would lead the way.

Still, I wasn’t prepared for the next day’s Word. Luke 8:48, “Then he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.”  The message translation puts it this way, Jesus said, “Daughter, you took a risk trusting me, and now you’re healed and whole. Live well, live blessed!”

I remembered calling out to Jesus when the car hit us and knowing beyond a shadow of doubt He was there with us. I did take a risk trusting him, because most accidents on motorcycles end up much more tragically. I trusted him to keep the bike upright and he did. He was assuring me with Luke 8:48 that healing would happen and I could live well and blessed. Not just live, but live well and blessed. I needed His words as I lay in that hospital bed. I need them today as I recover. There will never come a day that I don’t need them.

Like grandma’s hanky, I guarantee you will need a Word from God when you least expect it. Be prepared. Make sure you have it fresh and ready to grab. Tuck it into the pocket of your heart daily. If you miss a day or two like I did, go back and catch up. You will find meaning and purpose, assurance and encouragement. In fact, you will find everything you need to survive and thrive the troubles of this world.

Rom 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose.”

One month ago, our lives took a detour. It was a beautiful May morning, perfect for getting out the Harley and taking a day ride. I took the day off work, we suited up and headed down the driveway. Five minutes later we were sideswiped by a car changing lanes, slammed up against the guardrail, dragged the length of a bridge, and finally came to a stop-both of us seriously injured but alive.

We were ambulanced to a local hospital. I was then airlifted to a trauma hospital 300 miles away, had a six and one half hour surgery, and spent five days there before returning home. My spouse was treated locally. We are facing a long year of recovery but we are grateful God isn’t done with us yet. My next few posts may be short but I want to share some of the amazing ways God has come through for us.

You never know when something you read will come in handy. Years ago I read an article on motorcycle accidents that pointed out your chances are much better for survival if you can keep the bike upright. So, ever since, I have repeated the same simple prayer every time we mount up and head down the driveway. Nothing literary, theological, or complicated. Just four simple words, “Lord, keep us upright.”

We would not have survived the accident if our bike had gone down. We’d have been thrown into freeway traffic moving 60 to 70 miles an hour. But, by the grace of God and the sheer determination of my husband, he was able to keep the bike up after the car disengaged and bring it to a stop leaning against the guardrail.

I won’t go over the details here of what followed because it was traumatic and extremely painful. What I want to emphasize is the power of a simple prayer.

Often times we feel we have to be eloquent, detailed, super-spiritual and long when we pray. We forget God already knows what we need. In this situation, God did exactly what I asked. I know there is purpose in pain and hardship and that God’s people are not guaranteed a struggle free life. I also know there is still purpose for my life and my spouse’s life because of God’s response to my simple prayer. He kept us upright and as we battle through the next few months I will never lose sight of His faithfulness in that.

In Matthew 15:25, a Canaanite woman prayed a simple prayer.” Lord, help me.” And Jesus rewarded her for her faith by healing her daughter.

In Acts 7:59, Stephen prays,” Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Stephen, facing death, did not beg for mercy or healing or that his life would be spared. His simple prayer was to be welcomed into the kingdom and he was.

Luke 18:13 is the perfect example of a simple prayer. Jesus points out that the eloquence of the Pharisee has little merit. But the prayer from the humble heart of the tax collector, “Lord, have mercy on me”, God heard.

What is your simple prayer today? Here are some suggestions:

  • let me reflect Jesus
  • walk with my children
  • show me your glory
  • soften my heart
  • strengthen my walk
  • deepen my faith
  • make me like you, Jesus

Speak your simple prayer and spend your day watching for answers. Small prayers results in big answers. I know.

A quick pre-cursor to this post: my husband and I are recovering from a serious motorcycle accident. I am not quite ready to post about it yet but we are praising God for our life. I am typing one handed and under the influence of pain meds so bear with me. This post was started before the accident and is still pertinent so here goes.

The school shooting in Texas has consumed the news and social media. A horrible tragedy initially that is re-run and re-run until our minds are consumed by it. It causes us to concentrate on the moment of evil and blocks out anything God would offer to help process through the incident.

It’s easy to see evil and turn angry eyes to God for blame. It takes great faith to see evil and turn pleading eyes to Him for healing. The first reaction leaves satan an innocent bystander. The second reaction puts satan right where he deserves to be – the guilty party – giving God an opportunity to be the compassionate, loving and powerful Being He is.

Satan may have the power to hurt and destroy. But he will never have the power to bring people together in love and mercy toward each other. Only God can do that.

Evil exists. Horrible things happen because we live in a broken, sin-filled, dysfunctional world. Society has created a disregard for human life when it cries out for things outside of God’s design, like the right to abort babies or genocide or any number of things being pushed by the world today that stir up hatred and rage. Disregard for human life leaves a troubled heart open to evil influence. And a school shooting happens. Road rage happens. Domestic violence happens.

Our best response after we recover from the shock of an evil event is to pray God into the midst of the tragedy. Let Him do His part. Our part is to love more, respect people more, reach out more. We need to become more aware of the hurting and damaged hearts around us. As hard as satan is working to hurt and destroy, we need to work that much harder to heal and build up.

Every Christian knows this world will be troubled (John 16:33). And every Christian also knows we are the solution, spreading the fragrance of Jesus in a smelly world. (Eph 5:1-2)

Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in Hs wonderful face. And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.

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So much bad news it’s hard to even pick up a paper or turn on the TV or radio! It’s almost like the media has one goal and one goal only – create a nation of discouraged and depressed people.

However, the news I picked up and read this morning came from my Bible. “Many are the plans in the mind of man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” Proverbs 19:21

It may be true that we are in for a rough ride but God is in the boat keeping us afloat. Our most important task is to be the encourager in a discouraging world. Keep on praying, keep on witnessing and keep on clinging to the One is truly in control.

God is honest enough to warn us there will be trouble (John 16:33) but kind enough to remind us He will be our guard and guide through it. (Psalm 119:105) He is wise enough to know our situation before it happens (Psalm 139) and merciful enough to carry us through the hard parts. (Isaiah 46:4)

So get up, show up and stand up. Take that motion sickness pill and strap on the life jacket. You are going to get wet. You are going to get cold. You are going to get shaken about for a while. The political and social battles going on today guarantee it.

But never forget – “He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.  He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” (Mark 4:39-41

I did something very courageous this week – I submitted a proposal to Leafwood Publishers. I’ve been working on the book for two years. Pushing that submit button was like putting my heart and soul on an airplane and sending it off into the unknown.

There is a lot to preparing a book proposal. In fact, for this one, there were more than ten sections that needed to be filled out carefully and thoughtfully before even inserting the sample chapters for review. Much of the preliminary work had do do with social media – what was my platform, how many followers, how do I publicize my work, how will I market my book if it gets published, and so on.

All of that was daunting. I’m not a tech nerd. I really just dabble in the social media stuff. In fact, I struggled just figuring out how to see how many followers I have. Once I did I realized I don’t have a crowd of followers and I almost quit. But as I prayed over whether to keep going I discovered something.

I don’t have a crowd, I have a precious circle. I shared the first chapter of the book with my circle for feedback and it was heart lifting. Here is what I discovered – the thrill of having a book published will never come close to the joy of touching the heart of one sister in Christ. To get the feedback from this small circle of women and know that the writing touched them, felt personal to them, spoke to them and helped them in a time of hurt or brokenness is the greatest compliment I could ever hope to receive.

I don’t write to get famous. I write because God puts things on my heart to share. He wants to use my gift for His glory and there is no greater privilege or purpose.

I’m glad I put my book out there for the publisher to consider. It took courage and commitment. But I’m at peace with however God wants my words circulated – be it to my small circle or a wider audience. If one woman’s heart starts healing because of what I’ve shared, it is enough.

That’s not to say it wouldn’t help for you to “like”, “share” and especially “follow” my page, ladies. If nothing else, it would boost my confidence to see those stats grow a bit.

It’s kind of like pulling a scripture and sharing it with you. God gets a “like” and a “share” and hopefully a “follow” as a result.

“Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.” John 12:26

May I continue to serve You, Lord, through the sharing of Your Word, and of the words You put on my heart. Amen

Oh Glorious Day!

Easter Sunday is quickly approaching. This was the week Jesus completed the work He came to do. I can’t help but reflect on the path I will walk my last week on earth.

Will I willingly choose to go into a place where I know I will suffer but where I also know I can have great impact? Jesus did. He entered Jerusalem fully knowing the crowd that welcomed Him would soon turn against Him. Hatred would soon permeate the air, and in the midst of that Jesus would perform the greatest act of love in history.

Will I take to time to stand up for what is right, for what matters? Jesus did. He entered the Temple and saw unrighteousness happening in that holy place. He took a stand that was unpopular and added more reason for the religious leaders to despise Him. He did it anyway because the honor of His Father was greater than any consequence.

Will I continue to witness and minister even when if I’m scorned and accused and questioned about my authority? Jesus did. He went back to the leaders who refused to accept Him and continued to teach them about the Messiah who was standing in their midst. He taught about love to those who hated. He warned about hypocrisy to the hypocrites. He cautioned, He predicted, He urged understanding. He used every minute He had left to make sure they understood His Father’s plan.

Will I make time for those most precious to me? Jesus did. He shared the Passover meal with His disciples and made memories they would need to carry on.

Will I make peace with my enemies? Jesus did. He gently and carefully washed the feet of His betrayer, Judas. He forgave before there was anything to forgive.

Will I accept what comes my way even if it’s unfair and cruel? Will I stay as close to my God as I possibly can? Will I speak healing words even as I face death? Jesus did. He prayed. He shared His agony with His disciples and let them see Him lay it all at His Father’s feet. He healed the soldier injured in the fight to capture Him.

Will I make sure my last words are ones that change the world? Jesus did. “Father forgive them …” Every heart in the crowd that witnessed His crucifixion witnessed His grace. The one who delivered the most brutal blows, the one who shouted angry words the loudest, the one who spit on Him – each received the same message – forgiveness.

To say the last week of Jesus was as glorious and impactful as the week of His birth is an understatement. I pray that I can set my soul on the same goal. Let me go out in a blaze of glory – doing what God has called me to do no matter how hard, unrewarding or painful. I long to hear my Master’s words:

‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ Matthew 25:23

Spring Cleaning

Funny how the minute March/April arrives the magazines on the newsstands start boasting articles titled – Organize Everything, or Spring Cleaning Is a Breeze.  There is just something about the promise of spring that makes us want to clear out the clutter of winter and breathe in the freshness of open spaces and tidy shelves.

The problem with spring cleaning is – you get into it, you are going gangbusters and then you come across something you forgot you’d kept, or something that brings up a flash from the past – and cleaning comes to a screeching halt. 

You look it over and you remember.  Might be a box of pictures and you have to sit down and thumb through them. Maybe it’s letters you kept and you find yourself reading them again. It could be a baby blanket or child’s artwork and you find yourself standing there with a tear in your eye, reliving a moment in the past.

Memory is a gift even though there are some things we’d prefer to forget – like hard times or mistakes we’ve made or times we’ve acted inappropriately and hurt someone we loved.   

I would imagine the disciples wished they could have forgotten the time they abandoned Christ in His hour of greatest need.  I guarantee that Peter would have loved to have lost forever the memory of denying his dear friend.  But if we remember only the good things – life would be shallow for us.

How could Mary Magdeline have truly embraced the miracle of complete cleansing if she had not first experienced the filth of her previous life?  How could Paul have recognized the miracle of his ministry had he not had a clear memory of his part in the persecution of those he now ached to reach for Christ?

The truth is we must never forget where we came from so that we can glory in where we are.

The story of Christ’s crucifixion, brutal and painful and horrible – that’s where we came from. 

The story of His resurrection – of rising from the ashes, of forgiveness and mercy and love – that’s where we are.

Our sin stood at the cross of Calvary, but our Savior stood in our place,

We were condemned, but He is the one who pled guilty,

We deserved punishment; He gave us a great reward. 

Soon, we will celebrate the exciting, triumphant memory of His resurrection.

 It will only have full meaning for us if we make ourselves dwell between now and then on the memory of his death. 

Open your Bibles this week and read again the tragic story of an innocent man climbing a hill called Calvary to suffer and die for those He loved.  Let yourself be sad and sorry.  Only then will you be in the right frame of mind to be jubilant and joyful on Easter Sunday.

Revelation 1:17b-18a: “Don’t be afraid! I am the First and Last. I am the living one. I died, but look–I am alive forever and ever!”

Where I Am Today

Here I am, almost three years since my last post, pondering where I am today.

To say the road has been a bit winding would be an understatement. I’ve navigated the pandemic, watched grandkids dance, play, compete, graduate and start new careers and unfortunately, battle cancer. I’ve gotten good at coordinating my mask with my outfit of the day since I work in a healthcare facility. I have had some ups and downs spiritually, stayed ahead of the game physically and kept my sense of humor and positive attitude. Seasons have come and gone leaving their mark on all of us.

Today I’m considering retirement and that is a scary thing for me. I have let my identity become wrapped around my job and it’s nearly impossible to consider anything different. But – something tells me it’s time. I am praying for peace about this but so far, it’s been illusive.

Here are my biggest questions: What will I do when I’m not coming to work every day? Should I cut back hours or go the whole route? What will be my motivation to get up early and face a new day? How will togetherness with my spouse work when it’s 24 hours a day? And yes – even this one – what will they do without me? (The fear is they will do just fine!)

I would love thoughts and encouragement from those of you who’ve been there. I have been part of the workforce for 50 years. Is there life after retirement? How do you “set the date”? How do you fill your time? How do you still feel like a vital part of society? How do you keep from getting bored? How do you keep from overscheduling yourself because you are afraid you will be bored? How do you find those one or two things that keep you passionate, energized and at peace with your place in life?

Looking for answers, suggestions, tips! And prayers – always prayers.

The 4th book in the Prince Warriors series, this was probably the best. My 14 year old granddaughter has loved them all. A great read with a spiritual warfare theme. Lessons on following God are interwoven and it’s refreshing to find a clean, meaningful, well written series of books that I can offer young people and feel safe in my recommendation. I know my granddaughter will be watching for a 5th in the series. Would make a great movie.

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