In The Midst Of Your Storm

It had been awhile. With all the craziness and “busy”-ness of the holidays, and then several author events and promotions all swirling into this massive storm, all demanding my attention, I couldn’t focus on anything except the blur of the calendar whizzing through my head, reminding me that I had to move harder, faster, get up earlier. It didn’t help that the weather hadn’t cooperated, either. Bruiser and I hadn’t been to visit the park in weeks.


The morning loomed gloomy and overcast, and slid downhill from there. But my body screamed for exercise, so I determined that we would at least drive to the park. It finally stopped raining long enough for me to unload my seventy pound dog at the park. I prayed that we might have a chance to navigate the soggy, muddy path before the puffy grey clouds dumped again.

As we started walking, patches of blue sky broke through the clouds. The sun poked out for the first time that day. Dewy raindrops glistened from bare tree limbs, shimmering like diamonds.

I believe Bruiser equates our time spent at the park as love. Why wouldn’t he? It’s a mile of sniffing trails and back scratches. From his grin (don’t tell me Goldens don’t grin J) and flumy tail waving through the air, it was painfully obvious that he needed the reminder that I still loved him. 

With the sun warming my back, a gentle breeze kissing my cheeks, and a spirit lighter than it had been in weeks, I realized that I needed the reminder, too. That God still loved me in the midst of my storms. That even in the busyness of my life, even though I’d barely focused on Him, He hadn’t forgotten about me.

Maybe you’re there. In the midst of a storm. An ugly divorce, the sudden death of a spouse or a child, an unexpected job loss, or maybe you’re being evicted from your home. Or maybe it’s a little more subtle. Like a tiny prick of insecurity, that you’re not keeping up with the demands of your job or you feel like a failure at parenthood. It could be a painful stab of jealousy when your husband flirts with a younger woman, or one of a thousand little things that creep in and rob your joy, your assurance that…

God loves you. Right where you are. In the midst of your storm.

When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
They will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord, your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior…
Since you are precious and honored in my sight,
And because I love you. ~Isaiah 43:2-4 NIV

You. Are. Loved.
Maybe you need that reminder today.

Sending you a warm hug and prayers for you to know that you are not alone.

It’s Never Too Late…or is it?

When it comes to time, I’m a firm believer that most people fall into two different categories:

those who are always a few minutes early

(that would be me) 

and those who are always running late 
(uh hum…hubby fits in here) 

Always late
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And he doesn’t just arrive late, he also includes some type of dramatic announcement of his presence, usually a booming, “Well, well, well.” Those of us who like to keep a low profile, well, we’ve learned to adjust or duck our heads in embarrassment, just accepting his energetic personality as one of the things we love about him.

My sweet hubby

But, really, whether you’re early or late, does it matter? Sure you might miss a few minutes of an important meeting. You could be fired from a job you loved (but if you really loved it, wouldn’t you make an effort to be on time?). Or a date might have given up waiting at the prearranged meeting spot when you finally scurry in.

But, how about the more important things? Issues with an eternal impact?
I have GREAT news for you stragglers.

When it comes to accepting the precious gift of hope that Jesus so freely offers, it’s NEVER too late.

Nope. It’s never too late. Want to know how I know?

For one, when Jesus was hanging on the cross, two criminals surrounded him, one on each side. They both knew they deserved to die for the crimes they’d committed. One of them taunted Jesus while the other asked Jesus to remember him when he came into his kingdom.

How did Jesus respond?

With love and forgiveness. With grace and mercy. With a promise that “today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:39-43, NIV)

Today! Did you catch that? Doomed to suck in his last ragged breath hanging on a cross, that lost soul received the gift of eternal life, the promise that he’d enter heaven’s gate that very day!

Still not enough evidence for you?

How about the parable of the vineyard workers? Early in the morning, a landowner hired workers for his vineyard. After he set them to work, he went out four more times, hiring workers each time. At the end of the day, the generous vineyard owner paid each worker the same salary, no matter what time they arrived. He claimed that it was his money, and his right to do as he pleased. (Matthew 20:1-16, NIV)


Just like that vineyard owner, Jesus offers the same grace, the same precious gift, to the man or woman who comes to Him at the end of their life as the one who comes at an early age. 

He’s generous, loving, gracious, and his mercy covers all who ask.
Do you hear the soft whisper? See the arms stretched wide? He’s waiting for you.

It’s never too late…in life.
What are you waiting for?

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E is for Envy…

A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones. 
Prov 14:30 NIV

What does that person do for a living to afford that?
Wow! Would you look at that house! Wouldn’t you love to live there?
Why did my co-worker snag the promotion? I was more qualified.

Do you fall into the “envy” trap? 
Confession time! I admit that sometimes I do. Maybe I haven’t said those particular words. Mine would sound more like…
What? That writer can crank out 5,000 words in a day? How is that possible? I’m not sure I can think that fast, let alone type! or
You sold 100 books at a booksigning? or
She snagged a multi-book contract on her first try?
Insert heavy sigh here. When I hear about these tremendous accomplishments, I cringe and immediately wonder what’s wrong with me. Why can’t I write that fast? When it comes to speed, I’m definitely not going to break any records. I count it a good day if I manage to eek out over 1,000 words. To sell 100 books at one time? That number hasn’t even filtered into my dreams yet. I was thrilled to snag a contract for one book, and I lost track of the years and how many rejections it took to get that. 

If I dwell on those things, I become cranky, ungrateful, and dissatisfied with the journey I’m on.
Envy rots the bones.

Oh Lord, I so don’t want to go down that road.

“My precious daughter, don’t you know by now that I love you just the way you are?” A tiny voice whispers in my heart, convicting me that envy is not from God. “You are fearfully and wonderfully made…” (Psalm 139:14 NIV) 


Fearfully and wonderfully made? Yowzers! 

No, God didn’t equip me to crank out 5k in a day, but He created me, shaped me into the person I am, unique and one-of-a-kind, precious in His sight. How my complaining and comparing must hurt Him! 

Ouch!

I’m so sorry, precious Lord. Please forgive me. Guard my heart from envy. Don’t allow it to seep into my life and settle into my bones. I will praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

What about you? Do you fall into the “envy” trap?

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