Maid to be Still

Yesterday morning started out a little different than most mornings have lately. I woke up with some heartache from the night before so I talked to the LORD about it and saw He gave me more peace than the day before- probably because I asked.

I’m trying to become more dependent on Him instead of anyone else, looking to Him to be the primary supplier of my needs in every area of my life.

I grabbed my phone after praying and tried to read a devotion I’ve had saved on my phone for months now, but my eyes weren’t ready to focus just yet. Luckily there is an option to have it read to me so I opted for that. Afterwards I got out of bed.

I brushed my teeth and put on my pants. Not long after, I went into the bathroom. I remember making the choice to sort of bend to do something instead of leaning over and I coughed at the same time. It seems I heard a snap. I can’t exactly remember if I heard it or just felt it inside my lower back but there was intense pain that came along with it. I couldn’t move.

Thankfully my husband is on vacation and hadn’t left the house yet so I yelled for him. He helped me to the floor, per my request. I forced myself to move forward and I put my face on the side of the cold iron bathtub. It was as if something flashed before my eyes. Not necessarily my life but the thought of not being able to get up and walk again.

I’ve pulled a muscle or two in my day but nothing like this. My lower back has hurt before, putting me in tears at work, but nothing like this.

I was able to back myself out of the bathroom on my hands and knees and crawl into the bedroom. I painfully made my way down onto the floor and just layed there. My husband was there beside me but there was nothing he could do.

As I lay there in pain, silent tears began to roll down my face. After a few minutes, Jason helped me stand up and walk to the couch. He told me to straighten my body up and walk upright.

A trip to the Dr, some hours, shots and x-rays later, I was relieved to be told it was muscle strain.

When we got back home Jason had some business to tend to so my daughter stayed with me. She ended up falling asleep and I didn’t want to wake her so I got up on my own when I had to.

Some movements still cause great pain but I understand sometimes you just have to press on, be tough and suffer through it.

In these past 24 hours, I’ve been made to be still and know that God is God. He is the Great Physician and Mighty Healer – not just of our bodies, but of our hearts.

“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭46:10‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

I’ve spent a lot of time over the past month or so struggling to overcome deep hurt in my heart. Many nights of lying in bed with a lump in my throat that made it nearly impossible to even swallow. There is a saying about life being a bitter pill, sometimes hard to swallow. Maybe that is what the person that first said it was talking about.

Even though certain pain is seemingly unbearable, I believe the times we struggle, alone, is God’s way of wanting us to run into the arms of a (or another) man: Jesus Christ.

As humans we long for that tangible someone to care and be there, to heal our hearts from the hurt and pain we feel. The LORD longs for us to seek Him. He is the only One who can truly satisfy the heart and soul and help us more than anyone or anything else the world can offer.

The last time I laid in bed with silent tears, I noticed the lump wasn’t there. I paid attention to that and wondered, is the lump in your throat really you fighting the tears off? It’s hard to be vulnerable but that is what the LORD desires. I believe we often fight tears because it causes is to be aware and come face to face with our emotions and pain.

It’s easier to turn hurt into anger. We think of it as being strong, unshakable, but it really turns in to bitterness and hardness of heart. Anger gives a foothold to the devil. He’s then able to grab hold of us by the foot and lead us further in to sin.

“Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil.”

‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭4:26-27‬ ‭KJV‬‬

I’ve passed by a church sign several times lately that says, “Humble yourselves and pray.” So many times things happen in our lives that show us we need to humble ourselves and so many times we choose to not. I hear a still small voice say

“…for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”

‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭5:5(b)-7‬ ‭KJV‬‬

The LORD has been bringing it to my attention how much pride I really have. He’s reminding me there is nothing I can do without His help. He’s allowed me to be broken in so many ways lately, but I understand why. He wants to put me back together properly.

Maybe it had to become physical for me as well. Maybe I had to become completely vulnerable, helpless, on my knees in all aspects- to the point of total reliance.

It doesn’t mean it’s easy to combine spiritual truths with my own life and current circumstances. It isn’t easy to walk upright when you’re in so much pain. Other ways are so much easier, but again, the Word says,

“He who walks in his uprightness fears the LORD, But he who is perverse in his ways despises Him.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭14:2‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

When the chips are down and no one else is around, by choice or not, our faithful Friend is still there.

“And the LORD, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.””
‭‭Deuteronomy‬ ‭31:8‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

All too often we chase a love we want to have that really isn’t there. We search for unfailing love in all the wrong places. We run away from that good and perfect love that God is the supplier of. Sometimes it feels like He hurts us but we really hurt ourselves. Sometimes I think God allows us to feel the hurt so we may draw nearer to Him.

He is there in the midst of our pain and He doesn’t walk away. When the pain is more bearable, He still doesn’t walk away. He stays and helps us.

With the covid, many have had to be secluded. Many have been made to be still, no matter what the case may be. I hope if people haven’t, they will search Him out to fill the lonely void in their hearts, taking this opportunity He is allowing to know that He is God.

Dear Lord, help us to give you all the glory. Help us to place no one or no thing before you. Help us feel your living, loving presence in our lives at all times. Help us to give others the same mercy and grace you give us. Help us to remember You are near to the broken hearted. Please forgive us where we fail You. Help us to walk upright in the midst of our pain. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Writing on the Wall

I turned the car around so I could go by once more and read what was written.

Not long ago as I was taking my nephew home, we drove past a house with words spray painted on the outside. I’m sure it was the talk of the small town soon after it happened but since I don’t go by there often, it was old news by the time I saw it. It’s not often we see this sort of thing in our county.

I turned the car around so I could go by once more and read what was written.  The words “thief”, “liar” and “you stole our home” screamed out in burgundy letters on the side of the house for all to see.

This immediately took me back to a certain day back in 1986. My brother, our parents and I went to look at a vacant brick house close to where we were living at the time that was for sale.

It seemed nice on the outside. At least I don’t remember anything out of the ordinary, but when we went inside I saw words spray painted on the walls.

I remember someone explaining to me that the people had to move and didn’t want to so they spray painted words on the walls of the home. I recall feeling overwhelmed by the emotions within those walls. I’d never seen anything like that in my life. I know I was only 6 years old but still, to this day, I can hear the writing on those walls. I guess that was the painter’s point: to be heard.

Over the years I’ve gone to big cities and have seen words painted on walls,  railroad cars and various other places- some out of boredom- I think, some out of hurt turned to hate and some possibly before that point, yet still simply wanting their message to be heard.

I must say, all the places I’ve been in or by over the years, I’ve never felt the way I felt way back in 1986 until recently when I saw this house.

I thought about this while deep cleaning a house some old friends recently moved out of after they sold it. As I wiped the door facings, I thought of my own home. Just a few days before I had purchased a box of magic erasers and wiped a few door facings of my own. I thought of one in particular that I didn’t wipe down. It has markings where we’ve measured our daughter over the years. We didn’t start it until 3 years ago but I thought I’d sure be sad to have to leave that or have to scrub it off one day.

As I worked my way through the house I was cleaning, wiping walls and baseboards, I came upon a piece of trim with measurements of my friends’ little boy. That “writing on the wall” made me a little sad that they were having to leave this behind, but thankfully by choice.

Later, as I spoke with the boy’s dad, he said they had made markings of their son’s measurements on something else to take with them.

As I made my way past the measurement markings I thought- how different are my memories of those harsh words as opposed to these good markings. I guess the difference is some choose to leave and some have to. In some instances, it is our poor choices that result in us having to leave a place we once called home.

When I began writing this months ago I wasn’t sure of the scripture I’d be using, yet I couldn’t seem to shake this memory of long ago. As I began to search, it didn’t take long to find what I needed. It was interesting to find that the phrase “the writing on the wall” actually stems from the Bible in the book of Daniel, chapter 5.

The writing on the wall was written by the Lord. It scared King Belshazzar to see only a hand writing words he didn’t understand right before him, and it very well should have.

Daniel was called in to interpret the writing on the wall. It was a warning to the king (Belshazzar) of what was to come as the result of not humbling himself before the Lord even though he knew what had happened to his own dad, King Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 5:18-21). Daniel went on to say:

Daniel 5:22-28 KJV And thou his son, O Belshazzar, hast not humbled thine heart, though thou knewest all this; But hast lifted up thyself against the Lord of heaven; and they have brought the vessels of his house before thee, and thou, and thy lords, thy wives, and thy concubines, have drunk wine in them; and thou hast praised the gods of silver, and gold, of brass, iron, wood, and stone, which see not, nor hear, nor know: and the God in whose hand thy breath is, and whose are all thy ways, hast thou not glorified: Then was the part of the hand sent from him; and this writing was written. And this is the writing that was written, MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN. This is the interpretation of the thing: MENE; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it. TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting. PERES; Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.

Daniel 5:30 KJV  In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain. And Darius the Median took the kingdom, being about threescore and two years old.

It is up to me to choose whether or not I leave the mansion that is being prepared for me before I have even arrived. So oft I fail, yet I come to the realization of knowing I need to read the writing in the Bible, His holy Word, and obey so that I will not be reading His writing on my own wall.

Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

Filthy Rags

Although I actually looked at it as a way to blame someone for marking up my life, the Lord reminded me of my own righteousness (ouch!). 

Sometimes work seems to dwindle down and sometimes I have more than I could ask for. Near the end of August I had so many houses to clean on my schedule, some days I was cleaning two per day. During this time I was exhausted. I fell behind on doing things at home I normally do. One thing in particular was laundry.

The first morning I didn’t have to work, I began folding a pile of laundry thrown on a chair in the living room. As I grabbed a pair of jeans part of a broken ink pen fell to the floor. I didn’t think a whole lot about it except that I could tell I didn’t do this load of laundry. I always check and clean out pockets.

Since I didn’t have to work, catching up on laundry was a must. I grabbed a load of towels and washcloths and threw them in the washer with some detergent and bleach. When they were finished, they went into the dryer.

I didn’t notice anything until I was taking them out and putting them in a clothes basket. There were black marks all over every single piece of laundry. I looked in the washing machine and then in the dryer trying to find what had caused this. I saw marks on the inside of the dryer so I scrubbed them off with a dryer sheet. (Good little tip there.)

20180831_130550

I expected the black marks to smell like grease but they didn’t. As I stood there trying to figure this out, I remembered the broken piece of ink pen. The mystery was solved.

Kind of ironic really, the things we use to clean our outer bodies are marked up themselves. If I was fancy or showy I’d throw them in the rag bin but they’ve still got a lot of use in them.

Although I actually looked at it (to be honest up until about 5 minutes ago) as a way to blame someone for marking up my life, the Lord reminded me of my own righteousness (ouch!).

Isaiah 64:6 KJV  But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

So when I reach for a washcloth or a towel and I see all those marks while getting in or out of the shower, I hope to remember that no matter how hard I try to get clean- Jesus is my righteousness. That’s it.

 

 

You Better Recognize

Sometimes it seems hard to really listen with the intent to apply (not reply) [to] what we hear.

As you read the title, many of you may remember that phrase from years ago, or I think it has been years ago. As I “Googled” (looked up on the internet) when the phrase was popular, I came across an article by Robert Brereton on a site called LinkedIn. He specializes in social change and conflict management. He began his article with these two sentences [regarding “you better recognize”]: This famous quote, widely known for its affiliation with urban culture is used to relay the importance of realizing what is happening in real time.   The recipients of these words are urged to process the underlying meaning within the message. 

I always think of this phrase when I go to search for something online and my phone is being sluggish. It sits on the screen and says “listening”.

Screenshot_20180909-104404

Maybe I should be glad it’s taking the time to listen. Maybe it’s listening closely so it will really register what I am saying; that maybe my words are being absorbed so deeply that there will be no mistaking in what I have said.

I’ve come across a certain quote several times that says, “The biggest communication problem is that we do not listen to understand; we listen to reply.”

Sometimes it seems hard to really listen with the intent to apply (not reply) [to] what we hear. I can be quite the “talker” at times and when I’m having a conversation with another “talker” it can be quite the battle to get a word in.

Now, back to the phone- (I told you i can be a talker). After a long aggravating wait, the words on the screen finally change to “recognizing”. Each time I see this, I say to myself, “You better recognize.”

Screenshot_20180909-104405

We have become so impatient and reliant on these devices, I believe we expect perfection. We tend to forget everything (and everyone) fails at some point except the Lord. Even at this exact moment as I write this my satellite TV has gone completely blank! I’m glad I’m not engrossed in the program that’s on (haha). (Ok Lord, so I’m getting this right?)

Proverbs 2:1-5 NKJV My son, if you receive my words,
And treasure my commands within you,
So that you incline your ear to wisdom,
And apply your heart to understanding;
Yes, if you cry out for discernment,
And lift up your voice for understanding,
If you seek her as silver,
And search for her as for hidden treasures;
Then you will understand the fear of the Lord,
And find the knowledge of God.

When it comes to the Lord, listening and recognizing is extremely mportant. It’s necessary to listen to God’s Word and recognize what He is trying to tell us! It will save us such heartache and regret.

Maybe it’ll be different next time when I see my phone slowly take in what I say. When I see the little dots rotating on the screen as it’s recognizing what I say, I hope to remember I need to be as my phone: I need to take time to hear what the Lord would have to say to me. For my own good I better recognize!

Thank you for reading and may God bless you!