I think I know a lot about myself. You know…my weaknesses, strengths, hang ups, prejudices. I’m self-aware. At least I think so.

And then something happens and I am surprised that I am not as aware as I thought.

The other day I was chatting with my daughter about exercise and she surprised me. I was surprised because she put words to something that in the depths of my soul I knew was true. She just named it. And it did not coincide with what I said about myself.

Read: Psalm 139:1-6

How well do you know yourself? Are there blind spots? Are you willing to hear where they might be? What prevents you from wanting to learn about yourself? What happens if you become more aware of self? Are you comfortable that God knows all about you, even the things you are blind to right now?

Today…an opportunity to gather in community with other like-minded folks. Sometimes I wonder if it’s really that important and then I attend our worship service and have a spectacular time. To be honest, the best times are when I step out of my little world and take an interest in others.

Here is something to try if you are attending a worship service…ask three people something about themselves. It might be how their job is going, what their kids are doing, what it feels like to be empty nesters, how it feels adjusting to a new house, neighborhood, school, etc.

I’m always amazed how interesting people are if I give them a chance to talk.

Have a great worship time connecting with a community of believers!

And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, espectially now that the day of his return is drawing near.

Hebrews 10:25

Summer has arrived…at least for today. It is wonderful to have everything growing and blooming again. Whatever it is like in your neck of the woods – happy Saturday! Thanks for stopping in!

Read: Habakkuk 3:17-19

I admit, this is a daunting scripture. The writer, Habakkuk, lived in a climate of social injustice. He cried out, “If God exists, why do the wicked so often prosper?”

In the reading today, he expresses his faith in the Sovereign Lord, even when everything looked hopeless. Two things troubled him: his people ignored God and a foreign nation was oppressing them. How could God let this happen?

How does your landscape look right now? Is it gloomy and hopeless? Do things seem to be going from bad to worse? Join Habakkuk as he makes the choice to put his faith in God’s unchanging character and experience the strength and fortitude that only God can provide.

Have a blessed Saturday!

Waiting: to look forward expectantly, to stay in a place of expectation.

I await the arrival of my second granddaughter. It occurs to me that even though there are hundreds, maybe thousands, of babies born every day, not everyone is waiting for the arrival of a baby.

In the same way, not everyone waits for Jesus to return. Many people do not believe he died and rose again, so they do not expect him to return.

But for me, I wait. I look forward expectantly, awaiting his return. The writers of scripture encourage us to wait with expectation of good things. Read the following verses and know that your waiting is not without reward. At the right time, you will receive what he promised.

Read: Luke 12:37-38; Romans 8:19, 23; Hebrews 9:28

Just as I am confident that waiting for our new granddaughter is not in vain, waiting on the Lord will also be rewarded!

Have a blessed Friday!

Read: Micah 7:7-8

Micah was confident and it inspires me to be courageous. If you take time to read the whole chapter, you will see that he lived in tumultous times. And yet his confidence wasn’t in what he could see or even the people closest to him. His hope was in the unchanging character of our Father God! (Read verses 18-20 in chapter 7!)

Last week I listened to Brene’ Brown’s newest release on Netflix entitled “The Call to Courage.” If you have time and access, I suggest listening to it. One point that remains with me is that courageous living guarantees that you will experience failure along the way. And these verses give me hope. When I look to God for help, even if I fall down, I will rise again. I will not be alone in darkness because HE is my light.

Do you feel like the whole world is against you? Does darkness seem to be your companion? Take courage and, like Micah, declare the Lord your helper and confidence. Rely on his unchanging character and rise up stronger!

Read: Psalm 40:1-3

The psalmist is in a bad place in a pit of despair. I have been there and I bet you have too. But what do we do when we feel our feet sinking into the mud and mire? What did the psalmist do?

The psalmist “waited patiently for the Lord to help him.” But in his waiting, he talked to God about his situation. He told him of his desperation. What did God do?

The Lord heard, lifted, steadied, renewed the psalmist. This progression is important to see. He was lifted out of the mire, set on solid ground and steadied as he took those first steps. And then God changed his cries of desperation to a song of deliverance. Why is God’s deliverance so complete?

So that, God is glorified and others will see and come to him for help too. You see, we don’t live for ourselves. We live to bring glory to God and to share that with others. It is through our deliverance that our friends and neighbors will see God’s amazing work and then they will also put their trust in God.

Are you in despair today? Does “patiently waiting” describe you? Are your feet lifted out of the mire?Are you learning to walk steadily forward? Are you singing a new song of praise to God? Who is witnessing God’s amazing work in your life and learning to trust him too?

We wait. In lines. In traffic. At appointments.

We wait. For test results. For seasons to change. For sun. For rain.

We wait. For the pregnancy test to say “YES”. For the time to be right to pop the question. To buy the house. To sell the house. To change jobs.

Life is full of opportunity to wait. This morning I woke up with waiting on my mind. As I walked, I talked to Father. I told him I was waiting. Waiting for Emily’s baby to come. Waiting to know what courageous thing he wants me to do. Waiting… and I jabbered on and on.

You know that moment when you are talking to someone and you realize she has gone really quiet and is just looking at you in that particular way that says you have said enough words and now you need to stop talking? Well, I had that moment. I realized (I don’t know exactly how) that Father was waiting too. Waiting for me to be quiet. Waiting for me to listen.

I said (and I was talking out loud), “Have you stopped listening? Oh wait. You want me to be quiet, don’t you. You want me to listen. You have something to say. Oh my!” And so, I stopped talking. And started listening.

I was on a quiet country road. One that, at this particular time of day, has little traffic. And I listened. I heard my feet hitting the pavement with each step. And I heard him say, “I’m leading you step-by-step. Don’t worry. I’ve got you.”

I continued walking, absorbing what that means, and I felt him beside me, walking with his arm across my shoulders. And I considered what that means. And I thought of you, my readers, who need his presence so desperately. And I heard him say, “I have them too. I haven’t forgotten.”

We aren’t the only creatures who wait. Read: Isaiah 30:18. But in case you don’t take the time to click on the link, I need you to hear this. It is so important!

“So the Lord must wait for you to come to him
so he can show you his love and compassion.
For the Lord is a faithful God.
Blessed are those who wait for his help.”

Isaiah 30:18

You see, I was waiting, waiting, waiting. And while I waited, I talked. I may even have fumed a bit, maybe ranted, going on and on. Talking through solutions and possibilities and various scenarios. I needed help, I wanted help.

It brings my granddaughter to mind. There are times when she tries something that is beyond her ability to accomplish. Like moving a chair or carrying a serving bowl or putting on her shoes. And she fusses and fumes and struggles. And then she looks at her dad like he has somehow failed her because he isn’t helping. And he calmly says, “You just need to ask for help.” And she says, “I need help.”

You see, if he tried to help before she asked, he would have been pushed away with a stern, “I do it myself.” He wanted to help. He was there to help. He waited to help. But she needed to ask him, to acknowledge the task was beyond her capabilities. And then he could move in because his heart toward her is love and compassion.

We are all waiting for something. And that is just a part of life. But is there anything that needs the intervention of a father? Because Father is waiting to help and his heart toward you is love and compassion. He is a faithful God, ready to undertake for you. He has not forgotten you!

Until next time…

May the Lord bless you and protect you.

May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you.

May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace.

Numbers 6:24-26

Change.

We pray for change. We dread change. We desire change. Change happens when we seek it and when we avoid it. It’s a part of life.

Some change is desired; other change is avoided. This change in our lives is celebrated! Our youngest daughter is getting married in September. We couldn’t be happier about it. Her fiance is amazing. He is the kind of man a momma hopes for her daughter.

Congratulations Zac and Katlyn!

But even this change will not be without hardship. Marriage is difficult. It requires a decision every day to say, “I choose you!” It isn’t about warm, fuzzy feelings or a continual high. Love and marriage is a decision.

How about you? Did you make a change that initially seemed like a good idea and later turned out to be quite difficult? That doesn’t mean it wasn’t right. It means that change is difficult, even when it’s the right thing to do.

I am always encouraged when I remember that God doesn’t change. His character is consistent; his purposes are true.

I am the Lord, I do not change.

Malachi 3:6

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.

Hebrews 13:8

In a world where change seems to happen daily – some really good, like Katlyn and Zac, and some really difficult – take comfort in the assurance that our Father never changes. His character remains steadfast and he loves you deeply.

And we begin another week…

There are times when I feel anxious about life. The future looks difficult and uncertain. Today is riddled with despair. Despair about the “what ifs.” And I don’t even always realize they are there. It’s like bugs on a hot summer day – buzzing around, making noise, distracting me.

Read: 2 Timothy 1:8; 2:1, 7

Paul writes to his young protege, Timothy, encouraging him in the difficult and uncertain work of leading a new church. Apparently, Timothy struggled like the rest of us. In a job that seemed beyond him, lacking confidence at times, leading people older than himself – Paul’s encouragement was founded in one thing: the abiding character of God.

Timothy didn’t have to be strong and clever, he needed to trust God. He needed to push pause when the buzzing of anxiety surrounded him and lean into who God is, not what he could accomplish.

Sunday is notoriously a difficult day for those who will return to work on Monday. Formally called the Sunday Doldrums, it is that anxiety and foreboding that hits when the reality of Monday morning squeezes into our unconscious thinking.

Two suggestions for Sunday doldrums: live in the moment and lean into God for the strength and direction he supplies. If you are a Jesus follower, you have the greatest resource in the presence of the Holy Spirit. Learning to rely on His strength can be daunting, but well worth the effort.

What kind of Monday foreboding is trying to rob your Sunday joy? Lean into the Spirit and rely on his strength and understanding as you live in the moment of Today.

This morning I sat down to read, opening to 2 Timothy. I am preparing for a sermon I will preach in a couple of weeks, so I read with extra attentiveness Paul’s words to his friend, Timothy.

Read: 2 Timothy 1:1, 12

It strikes me that Paul lived with the end in mind. He was convinced of his calling and everything he did fell in line with that purpose.

What determines the trajectory of your life? Are your actions haphazard or directed by the end goal?