Timely reminders

I woke up Saturday morning and groaned. That knotted muscle that I thought was finally eased had tightened up again overnight. Neither knotted muscles nor groaning is my normal thing. (Thank you, God!) In fact, I usually wake up and talk to God first thing, but with our travels and getting back into the swing of routine at home, I suddenly realized that I hadn’t started up that way for several days, so after I stopped the groaning, I apologized to God and hobbled for the heating pad. I had a two hour meeting at the church later in the morning to help us share Jesus with others, tax prep paperwork all over the dining room table with a looming appointment, more upcoming travel, and I still needed to work on my Bible study before I could lead on Tuesday. I was WAY behind with more stuff headed my way, and I have to say this: I was not in the mood to share ANYthing with ANYone right then, much less Jesus. Oh, how I wish I could say I was more spiritual than that, but I just flat-out told God all of that as I asked Him to PLEASE change my attitude before that meeting.

As I reached for the bag with my study materials, I tugged on the handles (trapped under a heavy bowl without my knowledge) and out spilled fruit and snacks…all over the floor. Oranges rolled in every direction. This would require bending and that would be painful.

I just cried.

I  was hurting. I was mad.  I was behind and totally unspiritual. It was all my fault…and margin was nowhere to be found.

Thankfully, my husband was nearby and came to my rescue. He picked up all the oranges, got me settled on the heating pad, brought me juice, offered breakfast, and then left me to recover.

As I settled into his big chair, I had to start somewhere, so I prayed again. This time for a friend who was leading a women’s ministry retreat at her church using the same study our ladies had just finished: BREATHE, by Priscilla Shirer. As I texted my friend, I prayed for ALL of us to breathe God in so deeply that we have no choice but to breathe Him back out to those around us. I knew for certain that I needed that for myself!

I physically concentrated on breathing in and breathing out as I prayed. And then…the margin came…mainly because God showed up in the middle of my mess and my messy prayers and began again the work of peace for my soul.

I opened my study materials and the first thing I was asked to do was read Psalm 107 out loud. I turned to it and read.

“Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever! Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom He has redeemed from trouble.”  Psalm 107:1-2 

More margin. More peace. More reminders about the goodness of my God and how he has redeemed me.

That word “redeemed” is something special. It means “bought back; recovered with a price.” We had studied it in depth last year and the lessons learned then flooded over me again.

My God loves me! He loves you! He loves us so much that He chose to pay the highest price so that we could all spend eternity with Him! The joy of that made everything else unimportant right then. I had to share it or explode…so I wrote this blog post to share it with You! (Because no one else was there at the time and I was sticking with that hot pad!) I knew this wouldn’t be published for a day or so and that you might not get to it for a bit, but I am still confident that the timing will be right when you finally read it. Maybe it will come when you’re in the middle of a meeting or a muddle. Perhaps it will come in on a day when all is going well, but you’ll still need to be reminded or know someone who needs to be reminded: God is good. He loves us–right in the middle of whatever we’re dealing with! He is with us. If we breathe Him in and breathe Him out, the margins begin to suddenly get larger automatically because He can’t be constrained by our circumstances.

God sent my reminder on time. I’m counting on Him to do the same for you.

Grace and peace!


Becky Childs and the day that rivaled Alexander’s…

Have you ever just had a day?  One where nothing was where it was supposed to be?  One where the computer wasn’t cooperating and the phone call you were hoping for didn’t come, but the emails you got had bad news and your head just wouldn’t stop hurting?  One where it seemed like everything was falling apart and there was absolutely nothing you could do about it?  Me, too.

Actually, it was yesterday.  No, it wasn’t the end of the world and yes, part of it may have been a mistake—it hasn’t all been resolved yet, so perhaps I was bit more agitated since I had to wait…and I’ve never been really good at waiting.  Either way, at the end of the day, there was really nothing I wanted more than to just be home and not leave again for awhile.  That wasn’t an option, so what did I do?  Read.

I love reading.  It can take me away from the difficult situations and the people who inhabit or create them and allow me to interact with brilliant people who have it all figured out…by the end of the book, anyway.

Well, not always…sometimes it just helps to read the writings of someone else who knows a bit about a difficult day.  I didn’t have a copy of Judith Viorst’s Alexander and the Terrible , Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day with me, but I did have my Bible handy, so I chose to read portions of the Psalms.  After reading through the ragings and the anguish and the joyous celebrations of King David and company, my day didn’t seem quite so bad after all.

I really needed the following reminders so, just in case you’re also having a ‘day’ today, I want to share some of the ones that made the biggest change in my perspective last night:

  • “When my heart is overwhelmed; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”  Psalm 61:2b (Thank you, God, that when I am at the end of my limits, YOU are not even close to the end of Yours!)
  •  “Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; Do not fret—it only causes harm.” Psalm 37:8 (Thanks for the reminder that my immediate reactions aren’t the end of it—You have provided a better plan for me that doesn’t include anger or worry.)
  •  “Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips.”  Psalm 141:3 (Thank You for being in control of my mouth and keeping my words under Your control!  Perhaps the wait was a good idea after all.)
  • “Be my strong habitation, to which I resort continually…I will hope continually, and will praise You yet more and more.  My mouth shall tell of Your righteousness and Your salvation all the day, for I do not know their limits.  I will go in the strength of the Lord God…”  Psalm 71: 3a and 14-16a. (Thank You, again, for always being my place of refuge and for granting me hope the ability to praise You…along with strength for tomorrow…when I will need You even more!)
  • “Because He is your Lord, worship Him.”  Psalm 45:11b (That’s really what it all boils down to, isn’t it?  Because He is Lord, it is my job to worship him…even at the end of a very difficult day.)