Jacob Buried Them

We took the family to “Appanoose Rapids” to celebrate Derek’s birthday. Olivia, 7, brought a doll that poops! She tired of holding it. I offered to put it in the booth beside me. I misjudged the space and bonked the doll’s head on the table.

“Good job, great-grandma,” Laura quipped.

I froze.

When Olivia has a child I will be a great-grandma. That was a sobering thought.

Then David shared how Kyle, the bass player, calls me “Grandma Pamcake.”¬†(I tell him only Olivia can call me grandma.)

I started feeling self-pity. Why do they tease me about my age?

After eating, we debated about going to Kohls. I wanted to see if they had a space heater on sale. I spend most of the day in my office. I could just heat it.

But everyone was tired. We went home.

Self-pity reared its head again. The lies started going through my head:

  • David always says “no” to me.
  • Nobody cares about what I need.
  • I always have to go without.
  • Nobody loves me, everybody hates me, I guess I’ll go eat worms…

ūüė¶

As a child, I was miserable most of the time. I was itchy, bleeding, and in pain with my clothes stuck to the Atopic Dermatitis. It tormented me day and night. I was sleep-deprived. And children are cruel. Self-pity was a constant companion.

“May we remember that if self-pity is allowed to set in, we will never be used by God again until it is totally removed.” “Streams in the Desert,” October 12

I could justify self-pity. But I know it does not please God.

Genesis 35:4, “They turned over to Jacob all the alien gods they’d been holding on to, along with their lucky-charm earrings. Jacob buried them under the oak tree in Shechem.” The Message

Have I allowed self-pity to become an idol in my life? It is a habitual reaction. It’s one I need to bury.

“Feel locked out? Feel unincluded?…Need some direction in your life? Get behind Me and follow Me through the valley, through the pain. …If you feel disconnected, hook up with Me. …I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. And I’m making a way for everybody who will walk by faith.”

“Need Something? God’s Got It…” 1:Minute Motivation, Steven Furtick

Do you struggle with self-pity? How did you overcome it? How can we share empathy without giving pity to one in pain?

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Live to the Hilt

“The education of our faith is incomplete if we have yet to learn that God’s providence works through loss, that there is a ministry to us through failure and the fading of things, and that He gives the gift of emptiness. …And whenever our earthly stream or any other outer resource has dried up, it has been allowed so we may learn that our hope and help are in God, who made heaven and earth.” F. B. Meyer in “Streams in the Desert,” October 5

Things are not working out as promised by social media. Yesterday was discouraging. Today I decided to work around it.

Genesis 17:1, “When Abram was ninety-nine years old, God showed up and said to him, ‘I am The Strong God, live entirely before Me, live to the hilt!’ ” The Message

I lived to the hilt. I finished the last piece of pumpkin pie and exercised. I created a fall tablescape in my office. It’s full of things I love. And I did some preliminary work on a big change for my kitchen.

It wasn’t all fun and games. I updated my worksheets for income taxes and researched health insurance for next year. I am living God’s way of life so that He can complete in me what He promised.

Genesis 17:19, “…train his children and future family to observe God’s way of life, live kindly and generously and fairly, so that God can complete in Abraham what He promised him.” The Message

The only way to live is – kindly, generously, and fairly. What does it mean to you to “live to the hilt?”

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God Blesses Those Who Bless You

Technology is not my friend. In fact, today I found one form of technology is actually an enemy.

“…my troubles are intended to deepen my character and to clothe me in gifts I had little of prior to my difficulties, for my ripest fruit grows against the roughest wall. …Trouble never comes to someone unless it brings a nugget of gold in its hand.” Streams in the Desert, October 4

I shared my frustration with David at lunch. I felt overwhelmed and ready to throw in the towel. But I found peace in my daily chapters.

Genesis 12:3, “I’ll bless those who bless you; those who curse you I’ll curse.” The Message

My study of Proverbs 16 showed me this promise.

Proverbs 16:7, “When the Lord takes pleasure in anyone’s way, he causes their enemies to make peace with them.” New International Version

I can’t fix this on my own. I am leaving it in God’s hands.

Have you ever faced something that seemed impossible to resolve? How did God move mountains for you?

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Noah Was Different

I’m tired. It’s 6:30 p.m. and I want to go to bed. I spring-cleaned the boy’s bathroom today. Then I cleaned the rest of the house.

I felt guilty when I thought of Noah. He was 500 years old when he built the ark. He built it during the day and preached in the evening. He kept that pace for 100 years. He was tougher than I am.

Genesis 6:8, “But Noah was different. God liked what He saw in Noah.” The Message

* * * * * * *

“In order to grow in grace, we must spend a great deal of time in quiet solitude. Contact with others in society is not what causes the soul¬†to grow most vigorously.” “Streams in the Desert,” October 2

Quiet solitude is what I need. Unfortunately, I am afraid I will fall asleep. I do want God to like what He sees in me.

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I Hear This Gentle Whisper

When our oldest son Luke married, he requested homemade macaroni and cheese for the rehearsal dinner. I am not used to cooking for large groups. I asked my friend, Paula, to go over everything for the dinner with me. She thought I would need another pan of macaroni and cheese.

To this day, I cannot figure out what went wrong. I cooked another 32-ounce box of macaroni and filled the second pan.

The rehearsal went a little longer than expected. Thank God, Paula and her husband Mike, and our friends Ken and Jill volunteered to help with the dinner.

They said the macaroni and cheese started to dry out. They added milk and it started to swell – and swell. They ran to the store for more cheese. They made more sauce and divided the macaroni and cheese into disposable sheet pans. We ended up with 10 of them. We sent macaroni and cheese home with several families.

Derek’s wedding is this weekend and he asked for macaroni and cheese for the rehearsal dinner. Online I found a recipe for 50. The ingredients were similar to my homemade sauce. It called for 3 1/2 pounds of macaroni.

I bought 3 1/2 cups.

Once again, I called Paula and went over the menu with her.¬†“That doesn’t sound like enough macaroni.”

I reread the recipe – 3 1/2 pounds cooked macaroni is equal to about 14 cups uncooked macaroni. I have to go back to the store.

* * * * * * *

I tried several times to write my post yesterday. My mind was on “macaroni and cheese” and other details for the wedding. Nothing made sense. I finally tried to nap.

I couldn’t sleep.

But once my thoughts stopped churning, I was able to write my post. I just had to get quiet.

“It is very unusual for there to be complete quiet in the soul, for God almost continually whispers to us. And whenever the sounds of the world subsides in our soul, we can hear the whispering of God. Yes, He continues to whisper to us, but we often do not hear Him because of the noise and distractions caused by the hurried pace of our life.”

Frederick William Faber, in “Streams in the Desert,” September 18

* * * * * * *

Psalms 81: 5, “…I hear this most gentle whisper from One I never guessed would speak to me.” The Message

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They Will Try to Get Rid of Sacred Worship

At Brianna’s bridal shower, she heard an old wives tale.¬†“The number of bows you break opening gifts is the number of children you will have.” She was fearless –

“Does anyone have a pocketknife?”

Weddings are full of symbols, traditions, and hidden meanings. Apocalyptic writings are the same. Daniel 7 and 8 are apocalyptic texts.

“…Apocalyptic texts usually presented symbolic versions, with every detail appearing to have a specific hidden meaning, though not always explaining it. The primary purpose of apocalyptic writing was to comfort those who were persecuted for their faith. Such comfort was found in knowing that all the kingdoms of earth, however powerful they might appear, would one day be crushed and replaced by God’s eternal kingdom, in which the faithful would be vindicated (Daniel 2:44; 7:27; 8:25). …” Chronological Study Bible Notes

Alexander the Great fulfilled Daniel’s prophecy in Daniel 8.¬†Some things never change. What Daniel wrote about that time is true today.

Daniel 7:25, “Then he will blaspheme the High God, persecute the followers of the High God, and try to get rid of sacred worship and moral practice.” The Message

Jeremiah 29 tells us how to live regardless of the political state. We are to marry, have children, build houses, plant vineyards, etc. Through it all, we are to cling to our convictions.

“When a Roman soldier was told by his guide that if he insisted on taking a certain journey, it would probably be fatal, he answered, ‘It is necessary for me to go – it is not necessary for me to live.’ That was true depth of conviction, and only when we are likewise convicted will our lives amount to something.”

“Streams in the Desert,” September 9

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Farm the Land

My indoor garden failed. It only got 4 hours of sun and it needed 6. I pulled the 1″ plants in June and moved the pot to the basement. When I read today’s verse I felt guilt.

Ezekiel 48:19, “Workers from all the tribes of Israel will serve as field hands to farm the land.” The Message

All my windows, but one, are “Low E.” They do not let in the ultraviolet light plants need. Growing vegetables inside is not an option. I’ve tried, unsuccessfully, to turn David into a farmer.

“There is a sweet joy and a real value in difficulties, for He regards them not as difficulties but as opportunities.” “Streams in the Desert,” September 7

I see many opportunities.

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A Circle of Quiet

Derek texted me:¬†“UPS shipment today wedding stuff”

Me:¬†“Not our anniversary gift?”

Derek:¬†“Sheesh”

Me:¬†“I couldn’t resist.”

Reflecting on our marriage, I thanked God for holding it together when we were falling apart. I tell brides that marriage takes 3. Stick to your vows and cling to God. Let God thump your husband on the head when he gets out of line!

Sometimes, we get in God’s way trying to correct him ourselves. That is God’s job. Unfortunately, it works both ways!

Marriage is hard work and everything is against it. There is a hurricane of evil trying to tear us apart.

Psalms 74:12-13, “How blessed the man you train, God, the woman you instruct in Your Word, (13) providing a circle of quiet within the clamor of evil…” The Message

* * * * * * *

“…How happy we are if the hurricanes that blow across life’s raging sea have the effect of making Jesus more precious to us! It is better to weather the storm with Christ than to sail smooth waters without Him.” J. R. Madcuff, “Streams in the Desert,” August 28

Instruction in God’s Word is the secret of a long, successful marriage. David and I both read and study the Bible every morning. I found the reward for daily devotions while studying Proverbs 14¬†today.

Proverbs 14:26, “Whoever fears the Lord has a secure fortress, and for their children it will be a refuge.” New International Version¬†

* * * * * * *

“…the godliness of parents will result in blessing for themselves and their children (20:7)…” New International Version Study Bible Notes

* * * * * * *

Proverbs 20:7, “The righteous lead blameless lives, blessed are their children after them.” New International Version

The Bible gives practical advice for staying married and having a fulfilling marriage. We are to love each other as Christ loved us.

Romans 12:10, “Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle.” The Message

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David and I at the restaurant

Don’t Run from Trouble

“You are writing for yourself. …If it amuses you – put it in.”

“On Writing Well” William Zinsser

I just wrote a post about facing my fear. Yet, I was afraid to publish it! What if so-and-so read it. They might get mad. I decided to read today’s verses first.

Lamentations 3:30, “Don’t run from trouble. Take it full-face. The ‘worst’ is never the worst.” The Message

* * * * * * *

“Paul withstood not only the tests that came while he was active in his service to Christ but also the tests of solitude during captivity. …Through it all, he saw only the hand of God at work. To him, the prison became a palace, with its corridors resounding with shouts of triumphant praise and joy.

Forced from the missionary work he loved so well, Paul built a new pulpit – a new witness stand. …What precious messages¬†of light came from the dark shadows of his captivity.”

S. C. Rees, “Streams in the Desert,” August 27

Paul didn’t run from trouble. He treated each new circumstance as a new opportunity.

I cannot write each post thinking of a possible reaction. I have to share my experiences and how they correlated with a verse I read. I have to stop over thinking everything!

“At their best, loyalists help everyone else become better. …Loyalists often perceive God as hard to please, so their signature sin is fear.

Jesus told of three servants who were each given a sum of money to invest. …The ‘takeaway’ in Christ’s parable is that God reserves His harshest judgment not for those who try and fail, but for those who fail to try because they give in to fear.”

The Word for You Today, August 27

Nothing risked, nothing gained.

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God Owns the Day

I went to the lake with my future daughter-in-law, Rachel, and came home with a rope burn…on my neck…

“…‘What I really need is a trip to the ocean.’ So I went to the beach, but the ocean seemed to say, ‘It is not in me.’‘Perhaps, the mountains will provide the rest¬† I need.’ I went to the mountains, and …gazed at the magnificent mountain… But the sight did not satisfy, and the mountains said, ‘It is not in me.’

What I really needed was the deep ocean of God’s love, and the high mountains of His truth within me. …Christ’s wisdom is our deepest need. Our inner restlessness can only be pacified by the revelation of His eternal friendship and love for us.” Margaret Bottome, “Streams in the Desert,” August 26

I was nervous and worried as we turned into the park. My daughter was with me. If I had a major problem, she could drive. We started curving our way around the park and “Fear is a Liar” came on the radio.

I didn’t need to worry. I took every precaution. I braided my hair and tucked it under a bucket hat. No pollen got in my hair. (I look awful in a bucket hat!) I put on oversize sunglasses and SPF 50 sunscreen. I wore Capri leggings and a tunic over my swimsuit. I told everyone I was “incognito.”

I wanted to try paddle boarding. Rachel rented two and we took turns. When I got on it, I couldn’t turn left! I got in a current¬†headed to the center of the lake. I told God he had better have a whale prepared.

I got around a peninsula and paddled furiously to the beach near the rental cabin. Our hour was not up and Rachel ran to meet me before the man took the board. They said I was the fastest, but it was partly due to panic! (That’s one item off of my bucket list.)

Back under the tree shading our stuff, I thought I got a bug in my eye. Rachel’s mom, Corinna, checked it and said, “You had better take some Benadryl.”¬†I spent the rest of the time in the shade.

I thought I would only last an hour but I made it to sunset. The stars came out, I ate a s’more, and headed home. A shower washed away the allergens. I took more Benadryl and went to bed.

Psalms 74:16-17, “You own the day, you own the night, you put stars and sun in place. (17) You laid out the four corners of the earth shaped the seasons of summer and winter.” The Message

…the rope burn was from my swimsuit…which never got wet! I guess it is time for a new one! I faced my fears and found “Fear is a liar!”

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