Unto the Lord

Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

The rod and reproof give wisdom,
But a child who gets his own way brings shame to his mother.

The Good Shepherd’s rod brings safety and protection not pain, but wisdom and life abundantly.

Teach the fear of the Lord to your children, teach the love of God to your children, reproof them in their sin nature and turn them to the Lord. Do not leave them to their own understanding.

As a mother I have no greater shame than my unbelieving child. Not a shame of pride, but a shame of sorrow, bone deep sorrow and regret for my apathy and distance during his time of instruction.

But, the Lord is my shepherd, His rod and His staff shall comfort me. He gives me rest.

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Day by Day

Also known as trust in the steadfast love of God.

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Around one year ago the life I had so painstakingly crafted came crashing down, and with hindsight it is transparently obvious that it had been built upon the sand, devoid of any reliance upon God.

So, to say it has been a difficult year emotionally and financially would be putting it mildly, however spiritually it has been the best year of my life, thus if given the choice of a do over, I like to think I would still choose the Lord’s path of demolition over the stagnant pool of hope I had been bobbing along in for too many years.

For the Lord and I are on a journey, a journey of discovery, discovery of the death of self.

It all began with my complete confidence that the Lord had my back, that I was centered in His will and exactly where I was supposed to be, this was and is a lovely uplifting feeling, so I wasn’t worried, but jubilant about the new opportunities I was facing. For if I was where God wanted me than I assumed He had a use and plan for me that would unfold and lead me into a land of milk and honey; to not necessarily a large life, just a knowable secure one. I was confident that everything would be fine.

Wow what hubris. It was still all about me. What was God’s will for MY life rather than simply, what is God’s will, and then me humbling myself to rest within it.

The thing is as the year has unfolded every real need which has arisen has been met in unforeseen ways. For my reality has been that no matter how much I tried to map out a plan for the future, it was impossible to get beyond a month or two without my household falling off the cliff into financial ruin, but we never have. Our needs have been met in ways which can only be attributed to being a God thing.

I continue to apply for jobs, but they have not been forthcoming. I am also incredible thankful  God has begun closing doors quickly which He would not have me go through, so I am not being strung out hoping for the hopeless.

I am though being offered short term opportunities which patch holes here and there and keep the envelope pushed out to the two month window we have been dealing with for a while. And the thing is the Lord prepared me for this, because having managed the cash flow for a failing company for way too many years, I know those two months are a gift and a manageable time to work within.

Anyway, I was working on one of my Bible studies the other day which talked about direction and destination, and how when going somewhere new alone you want to have the complete map in front of you as you travel, letting you know what each twist and turn is going to be. As opposed to going with a fellow traveler who has been to your destination before. How you really don’t need to know beyond the next turn as long as they are with you.

Well, that is what I have with the Lord. As long as He is with me I only need to be concerned about today, to stay centered in His will today, because He knows where my tomorrow will lead. I just need to trust Him and He will get me to His destination in His own predestined time.

The plus side of staying centered in God’s will one day at a time, is that after a life time of centered days, I will have been exactly where I needed to be. Which is something that would be impossible for me if I had to try to encompass into my thoughts a lifetime of centered days, nope, not possible. Whereas one day maybe is just doable with His help.

Well, after this quite comforting time of communion with the Lord, He doubled down on His goodness and reaffirmed to me that I had not misunderstood what I thought He was telling me. For a servant of the Lord at my daughter’s church gave us a thousand dollars which doubled our window of doom to hover at a four month window rather than two. Such excess, such bounty!

I am over the roof with joy, not only for the necessary and much much appreciated funds, but to have such confirmation in the goodness and faithfulness of God so immediately upon His suggestion that I stop trying to fix the world myself, but rather to trust, and let Him do it for me.

Day by day, hour by hour, breath by breath, He leads, I follow.

So I was correct in believing that everything will be fine, maybe not in what I expected or even wanted, but exceedingly much more than fine nonetheless.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.

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Merry Christmas 🎄

Family Christmas trees and a newly engaged daughter.

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This is turning out to be a very satisfying holiday season so far, even though I woke up this morning with the stomach flu 😦

I think because I decided early on when feeling overwhelmed, to make a list of what I like most about Christmas. It ended up surprising me by being quite short. I also noticed that my likes were often the very things that got shuffled off and lost under all kinds of parental busyness.

So the day I realized this year I don’t have any children to schedule my days around, no pageants, concerts, parties, and the very hard work of passing down family traditions by being diligent in including them in our daily holiday life, was the day I made my list, and relaxed. For my list was easy and doable.

Consequently for the first year in forever, I didn’t find myself trying to crawl behind the Christmas tree and hide.

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Who would have thought that a Christmas Day stuck puking sick in bed would still be part of one of the best Decembers I have had in a very long time. I have to attribute it to having kept my doings small and my focus on Jesus large. It certainly has put the Merry back in Christmas for me.

❤️Blessings Belinda

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50:31 Hither and Yon

50:31 Random thoughts of today.

Well let’s see, this could be a list right? I love lists!

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So if I let my mind wander one of the easiest things that I trip upon is that Little Miss Happiness is now a year old. It seems like a life time ago that I was up North helping my daughter with the birth of her first child. There were also many firsts for me that Christmas: falling snow, bone chilling cold, and colorless winter landscape. Very unlike this photo I took few days ago while I was on my daily walk here in California.

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I never appreciated the temperate weather here in Southern California until I spent a Winter month in Montana. It wasn’t so much the snow that was problematic, but the ice. I am so used to being able to go out for a walk whenever I want, and the icy sidewalks in Montana were a deterrent to wandering and adventure.

For I like nothing better than to go out for a long walk and weave stories in my mind about all I see. Not only did I miss the mental stimulation of imagination, but the miles I try to walk each day, help to stave off my depression, so unfortunately by the end of my visit my mind was in a very bad way. But all things have a silver lining and mine would be the appreciation of what I have, for there is no place like home.

Which leads me to another thought for the day, limitations. I might have reached the point of little return for effort expended in regards to my Rheumatoid Arthritis. Not that I am giving up, or not going to try and beat this thing back into submission, but the thing has flipped on me.

Instead of having short periods of illness followed by extensive periods of almost wellness, I am now dealing with very short periods of almost wellness, which are being surrounded by, and almost swallowed by, painful and limiting periods of illness. Even walking has become a trial. This is going to take some getting used to, and I am very much in need of medical advice, but without income, or insurance, this is not going to happen any time soon.

Well I can see that these random thoughts are not going to be a list, because lists should have a theme, an overarching purpose, and my thoughts definitely do not. They sometimes will go hither and yon before circling back into a sort of connectedness, but I don’t think this is going to be one of those times.

Anyway, this morning while wandering through the many means I use to hold my prone to wander focus on the knowledge of the Lord, I came across some written words which were contemplating trials and the proper response to them. The advice given was that one shouldn’t pray to be delivered from the trial, but rather only for the endurance to bear them, thus one would suffer like Christ and then be more Christlike.

Hum….Uh, no, I don’t think so.

Yes, we live in a fallen world, full of sorrow, heartache, and pain. I am not denying this, and I do pray constantly for endurance, strength, peace, joy, and that I will reach the other end of whatever the days, the weeks, the years, trial with my faith intact. But I also pray fervently with deep moaning and gut wrenching pleading, that if it is possible, please, please please remove the thorns from my live. Please!!!!!!!

Lord willing. But pray for removal of trials I do and should. If I didn’t, would I not be limiting God, not trusting in His goodness and promise to do what is best?

Sometimes His best is through suffering, but I also believe that sometimes His best is through deliverance and restoration. So I will continue to pray for restoration and deliverance, but if He doesn’t, I will love Him no less.

If this was a list? Maybe:

  • Celebrate life, look for the smiles.
  • Be thankful for what you have, the grass is not always greener.
  • Make the best of a bad situation, some one thing can always be improved upon.
  • Push back against limitations.
  • Trust God, and ask ask ask without ceasing!
  • Jesus is our finisher, we cannot fail.

“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2

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hungry and full

“A satisfied soul loathes the honeycomb, but to a hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.” Proverbs 12:27

Wait a minute! What? Oh, okay, I see, thank you Lord.

This is how many of my mornings go while communing with the Lord, but thankfully He explains if I just shut up my mind and listen to what He has to say.

I am hungry for knowledge of the Lord and how He wants me to live. How He wants me to grow. How He wants me to love my neighbor. How to worship Him fully.

Therefore if my bitter experiences produce a greater dependency and love of God, if they deepen and broaden my love for my neighbor, if they bring me to my knees, of course I am hungry for them. Enjoy them no, but in my hunger will I eat them with relish, yes.

So in the bitterness of hardship can lie joy, and in the plushness of abundance can lie complacency. Not that I don’t want and need times of plenty and peace, rather I must remember to give thanks always in everything, and to put my confidence in the Lord regardless of myself, and sometimes this is can be more satisfying, or perhaps I should say more obvious when my need is greatest. My thanksgiving stronger. My Praise louder, deeper, sweeter.

This does not mean the next time I read this proverb it won’t speak to me differently, that is the joy of the living word. I can never exhaust it or know it completely for it meets me where I am in moment and provides me guidance, or simply peace for that day.

I know there are Bible scholars who will have decided exactly what every dot and tittle means exactly without compromise and I am not going to say they are unnecessary, for I do use study Bibles and multiple interpretations to widen and illuminate God’s word during my morning devotionals, and I also will agree that the loose interpretation can cause a world of grief and harm.

However God is bigger than my limited understanding within my infinitesimal bit of borrowed universe. Why would I want to try and contain Him within it? That would be foolish indeed.

So instead I fling open all my windows and secret passageways, wait for Him, listen, and believe; His words are alive for me today, and give me joy and life abundantly. What a feast He provides, and how thankful I am to Him for the hunger He gives me to enjoy it even while He keeps me full. Oh the wonderful sweet mystery of it all. My cup overflows.

To God be the glory forever and ever! Amen!

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