Lined up on my back fence was a male cardinal and three fledglings. He was busy feeding them one by one as he’d fly off to find food and return to continue his meal time duties. The whole scene was lovely except for one glaring abnormality – one of his babies was obviously not a cardinal. Continue reading “Search Me, Lord”
Psalm 40:3a “He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.”
For ten years now, I have mourned the loss of my son, my first-born, my army boy. I have shared our story, helped others with their losses, and given testimony through song of the amazing healing power of Jesus’ name.
Today, there seems to be a new song on the music stand of my life. As if the Lord has scored a third movement in the symphony called Patti, a new and joyful one.
In Ecclesiastes 3, King Solomon writes of a season for all things, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance. The old tune, the second movement of my symphony, has a somber melody, a slow yet steady rhythm. This new tune that I hear in the distance has a much livelier tempo, possibly offering me the chance to dance. Though I don’t believe anyone else has heard it, confirmation that it is coming keep showing up; in conversations with people I’ve only just met, in my Sunday school lessons, even when I simply flip my Bible open for a quick read, there it is.
Those of us whose usual melody is one of grief and sorrow, might be wise to listen in earnest for the song God promises as He ‘lifts us out of the mud and mire’. I believe I’m ready to turn up the volume and sing this new song of praise to the Lord, are you? Then let’s pray that those who hear us ‘will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord’ (Ps 40:3b).
Please share your new song with me and pass this on to a friend who is ready as well.
I walked outside one morning to find a beautiful bird gleaning the foliage of our backyard bottle brush tree. Since I’d never seen this bird before, I quickly ran back inside for my bird book and phone. Continue reading “Listen for the Real Thing”
A beautiful sunrise was filling the eastern sky so I decided to go out on the front porch to enjoy my coffee, my Bible, and my quiet time. I was listening to the birds and savoring each sip of my coffee when this thought came to mind. Somewhere I had read or heard in a sermon perhaps, that God enjoyed hearing his Holy Word read back to him.
So I opened up to Psalms and began with the 46th. I stood there reading to him and tears began to run down my cheeks. I went on with the 47th Psalm and the tears kept coming. There was something so special about reading to God. It just filled my soul in a way I’d not experienced before.
I stopped reading after that and continue offering Him my praise and thanksgiving for such an awesome time together. As I was looking up in the sky and relishing the moment, I saw something amazing. There at the bottom edge of the clouds, just where the sky comes up to the clouds, there it was, my name. Patti, clear as it could be and spelled the way I spell my name… Patti, with an i. There were no jets in the sky leaving a trail. There were very few clouds that day and they were huge. This was not a time of staring at a cloud long enough to imagine it looking like an elephant or something.
God had written my name in the sky, right there where I could see it.
Of course I didn’t have my phone to snap a picture and I knew if I left it would be gone by the time I returned. So, I just stared in wonder, in thanksgiving, in awe.
Since that time whenever I start to doubt Him or doubt that He knows that I exist, I remember. I remember that He indeed, knows where I am. Matthew 10:30 says that even the hairs on my head are numbered. He knows who I am. This is an awesome Scripture from Psalm 139 in the Message:
1-6 God, investigate my life;
get all the facts firsthand.
I’m an open book to you;
even from a distance, you know what I’m thinking.
You know when I leave and when I get back;
I’m never out of your sight.
You know everything I’m going to say
before I start the first sentence.
I look behind me and you’re there,
then up ahead and you’re there, too—
your reassuring presence, coming and going.
This is too much, too wonderful—
I can’t take it all in!
Such an amazing God that He would care enough about me, care about each one of us to know every detail of who we are. We never need to wonder if He knows us.
He even knows the way I spell my name. Patti, with an i
Years ago, I had the privilege of teaching the Lydia Class in Sunday School. This was a lovely group of senior women whose ages ranged from 75 to 85 and beyond. I remember being very excited to teach them but at the same time a bit anxious about just what I could possibly teach them, after all, I was in my thirties! When I received the material to use for the class, I was surprised to read the topic for the first lesson, adultery. Really? For the Lydia class?!
Sunday came, we all got settled into our little classroom, opened with prayer and as soon as I got the word amen out of my mouth, one of the sweet little ladies spoke up. “Patti” she began, “we thought we would set your mind at ease about today’s lesson and let you know that we all agree that we’ve pretty much handled the adultery thing!” We all laughed and I quickly responded, “I am so happy to hear that you don’t have a problem with sexual immorality now that you are 80, but y’all there’s a second part to the lesson, how are you with… murmuring?” Suddenly, it was very quiet.
Sometimes we get to a point in our lives where we have conquered a certain sin or two but then there are other sins that are a bit harder to give up. The murmuring, complaining, and grumbling that we all are guilty of from time to time, that one, is a bit harder to stop. The Israelites were known throughout Scripture as a people who murmured and complained and God dealt with them sternly. Grumbling was one of the sins they committed which caused them to wander the desert. Complaining may not sound like a serious sin to us but God takes it very seriously.
In Philippians 2:14-15, Paul implores the people, “Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure children of God, without fault in a crooked and depraved generation…” He wrote this around the year 61 AD, the world was crooked and depraved then, too. It was no harder for them to stop complaining than it is for us now, but He still wants us to stop, He still wants us blameless and pure.
Romans 12:18 says, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” We need to cut out the murmuring and complaining and take responsibility for our conversations, because they do ‘depend on us’ in order to have a peaceful outcome. I know, we can only be responsible for our part of a conversation, but I’m guessing we all could work a bit harder at removing the complaining and griping that is so very easy to fall into.
Join me in a challenge. Let’s pray that God will show each of us when we are about to murmur and complain, and ask Him to help us stop before we start. Before long it may very well be a sin we get to call ‘handled’.
A friend of mine, who knows I love birds, gave this cute bird sign to me for my birthday this year. Of course, as an English teacher, the first thing I saw was the misspelled word. Continue reading “All Birdys Welcome”
Forgiveness is not an easy thing for me. Maybe it is for you. Continue reading “Forgiveness & Revenge”
You know that amazed feeling you get when a scripture you know well is preached to a whole new understanding? Continue reading “Strong Shoulders”
Every morning I get the treat of watching a dozen or so hummingbirds take their daily bath in my fountain. Continue reading “Fresh Start”
When my kids were little they had to hold my hand while we walked down the street or crossed the street and anywhere else I thought it was too dangerous for them to walk on their own. As they grew however, they would pull away and protest trying to convince me that they could do it on their own. Eventually they learned how to be careful and I let go and let them be independent.
Later, when they were teenagers, every once in a while when we were walking somewhere, I would take their hand and hold on as long as they would let me. Even now that my son is grown with a son of his own, if I get the chance, I’ll slip my hand in his and relish the time together.
I think God may protect and guide us the same way. Psalm 16:11 in The Message says it this way, “Ever since You took my hand I’m on the right way”. When we take His hand we can’t go wrong. He is there to help us and keep us from stumbling. Psalm 63:8 promises that God’s right hand upholds us. Even when we pull away and try to be independent, like our children, Psalm 139:9-10 reminds us that His supervision is inescapable. Praise His name! Thank God for that!
When we guide our children, we know the imminent dangers around us and take their hand to protect them and teach them to be cautious. For ourselves, we can’t see the bigger picture, the one that God sees. We need to reach out, take His hand, and allow Him to guide us through the dangerous times we can see so when the tough times come that we don’t see coming, we are already holding His hand and He can easily guide us to safety.
In this world, I believe we are never grown up enough to be independent from God. We will never see the big picture or be wise enough to navigate this life without the constant care and guidance from God. I still get a bit too sure of myself and start acting like ‘ I’ve got this’, but those times are happening less and less the older I grow. I like to think He enjoys holding my hand as we walk this life road together.
Are you pulling away for independence or holding tight depending on God’s guidance?