Sunrise of Hope

Many years ago I worked the night shift in the neonatal intensive care unit at the University of Michigan. We had 12 hour shifts, and I worked from 7 pm to 7 am. Around 5:00 am as daylight crept across the sky, we were weary and needed to get our second wind. 

We would take turns, going to get coffee and a muffin from the hospital cafeteria. But what we most appreciated was walking down a hallway of windows that looked out to the sunrise. Morning had come and we would complete our nursing care and documentation. The light of a new day sustained us and promised rest.

We have challenges and a spiritual battle taking place in our world. The battle requires focus on God’s word and obedience to his commands. We must stay alert and look for God’s touch on our life. He will renew our spirit and give us rest.

photo by Cristina Gottardi via unsplash

I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope.

My soul waits for the Lord more than the watchmen wait for the morning, more than the watchmen wait for the morning.

O Israel, put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love and with him is full redemption. Psalm 130: 6-7

It is Friday and I am joining the Five Minute Friday writing community. Kate’s prompt today is: MORE

Faithful Poet and Hymn Writer

Commit your way to the Lord:trust in him, and he will act. Psalm 37:3

Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established. Proverbs 16:3

These verses are true of Fanny Crosby. Some years ago I read her autobiography and was inspired by her life.

Fanny Crosby was a poet and hymn writer in the late 1800s who pointed many people to God. Some of the hymns that I sang growing up were written by Fanny Crosby

When she was six months old the treatment prescribed for a mild infection of her eyes left her legally blind. With the guidance of her mother and grandmother she overcame this handicap. She wrote, “But why should the blind be regarded as objects of pity? Darkness may indeed throw a shadow over the outer vision, but there is no cloud, however dark, that can keep the sunlight of hope from the trustful soul.”

Fanny’s mother made arrangements for her to attend the New York Institute for the blind when she was fourteen. Her gift for poetry was recognized at the school and she was directed to study the classical writers and poets.

Following her years of study she became a teacher at the Institute. She attended lectures and had occasion to meet political leaders. Her poetry was published in newspapers and books. She wrote hymns for a number of evangelists. Later in life she was called to serve at city missions.

Fanny Crosby’s preaching was gentle and winsome as she pointed people to the Lord through song. Several hymns written by Fanny are among my favorites. Here are the lyrics to All the Way My Savior Leads Me

All the way my Savior leads me; What have I to ask beside?

Can I doubt his tender mercy, Who through life has been my guide?

Heavenly peace, divinest comfort, Here by faith in him to dwell!

For I know, what-e’er be-fall me, Jesus doth all things well. 

This post is the final one in Write28Days. All of the posts are listed here.

It’s Okay to be Different

Currently I am studying the book of Deuteronomy. The nation of Israel was about to enter the promised land and Moses was giving instructions to the people.

In the book, the word— fear— appears 29 times. Israel is instructed to fear (revere) God and NOT to fear man.

It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed. Deuteronomy 31:8

Fear has the ability to paralyze or control a person. We might be afraid to speak up and go against the politically correct view. Politically correct views are determined by men. Instead we should follow the standards set by God.

It is good to become comfortable being different. When I was a child we didn’t always have a TV, and when we did, I didn’t watch programs very often. Sometimes I didn’t know what my classmates were talking about. I invested time in reading books.

My daughter had a funny experience being different. When my children were young they were on allergy diets. At the time it was unusual for a child to avoid wheat and sugar, even for the classroom parties. When a first grade boy brought cupcakes for the class on his birthday, he brought my daughter some raw carrots and cauliflower. He really liked her! She was impressed and amused.

Some of the choices we make may go against current trends. It is okay to stand for something that is not popular. Our relationship with God, our reverence for him is more important.

The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 27:1

Vesper Service

This post is part of #Write28Days. To view more posts in this series click here.

A Mother’s Role

It is a blessing to participate in the Five Minute Friday writing community. We write on the prompt that Kate Motaung gives. Visit the site to meet other writers and to read their posts. Today’s prompt is: JUST

The dictionary offers these definitions for just: conforming to a standard of correctness, morally upright or good.

When I read the news about things taking place in our country or around the world I can be overwhelmed. What is my role?

As a mother and grandmother my first responsibility is to my family and church. As I spend time in prayer, I need to be sensitive to God’s guidance in interactions with the wider community. When we have a willingness to serve, God works through us to accomplish his purpose.

Micah 6:8

This post is part of #Write28Days.  


Two Are Better Than One

Today is my wedding anniversary. As I reflect back on 42 years of marriage I am thankful for my husband and the way our relationship has refined us.

There have been seasons in our marriage. At first we had to learn to live with each other. Children came early in our marriage, and we helped each other parent. When our son developed leukemia we worked hard as a team to support him and get the medical care he needed.

That was followed by a season of grief. Our marriage had been drained of energy and we needed to begin again.

God has been faithful in guiding us and renewing our love.

We have been blessed to see each of our adult children marry. We are thankful for the son-in-laws and daughter-in-law that have increased our family joy.

Now we are grandparents, fully enjoying the blessing of family. Through the years we have learned about ourselves and each other. We know each other’s strength and weaknesses. We have helped our spouse to make changes.

My husband has helped me react to situations with greater patience and thought. I once wrote an angry letter and mailed it immediately. After discussing it with my husband I was ashamed. I went back to the mailbox and inserted a colorful note, requesting that postman send the letter back to my return address. To my amazement and relief the letter came back to me.

We have different ways of doing things—even the simple task of making coffee. While I will measure the coffee grounds after grinding the coffee beans (8 tablespoons for 11 cups of water), my husband puts a generous amount of beans in the grinder. Then he dumps all the ground coffee into the filter lined basket.

He is certain that he has the right amount. He adds a dash of salt (my suggestion) and some cardamon seeds (again, my suggestion) and turns the brew on. I am thankful to have fresh brewed coffee ready every morning. Sunday mornings he brings me a cup with cream and coconut oil when I am still in bed. 

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. Genesis 2:24

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. Ecclesiastes 4: 9-10a

Marriage

If you are married, how has marriage refined you? If you are single, do you have a friend that challenges you and encourages you to develop new perspectives?

This post is part of #Write28Days.

A Joyful Answer to Prayer

When I assisted at home births I became more aware of the spiritual nature of childbirth. When labor reached a peak intensity, when the woman felt she couldn’t get through one more contraction, she asked for prayer. Sometimes the husband prayed or one of the attendants. I was asked to pray.

Prayer gave the woman the confidence to release herself to the waves of contractions that were bringing the baby to birth. As I thought about it, it seemed right. In the moments before birth the mother was leaning in to God for assistance.

Prayers rarely took place in the hospital but I remember one. A young woman was in labor.  As I worked with her to alleviate her pain I noticed her anxiety.  She received an epidural for pain management and I hoped it would help her to relax. 

A short while later she grabbed my hand, her eyes wild.  “I am afraid,” she said.  “The pain is much less but I am afraid.” 

This young woman had a circle of friends that had come to the hospital with her. One friend offered to read scripture, but she replied, “No, no I can’t concentrate. I want to pray.” 

In a loud voice she confessed her inadequacy and asked God to help her.  A short while later she gave birth to a healthy boy.  With baby in arms, this new mother gazed at her infant with joy and wonder.

photo credit: T. Adriaenssen

I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed. Psalm 34: 4-5

This post is part of #Write28Days and is linked to Five Minute Friday.

Verses About Love

In celebration of Valentine’s Day I have made a list of verses. The Bible has much to say about love.

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. Deuteronomy 6:5

For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you. Psalm 86:5

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

Jesus said, As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you. Abide in my love. John 15:9

Paul wrote: For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with with Christ–by grace you have been saved. Ephesians 2: 4-5

In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. . . . Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 1 John 4: 9, 11

We long for love. The deepest and most fulfilling love comes from God. He offers it to us. We simply must receive it.

This post is part of #Write28Days. To see the other posts in the series click here.

This post is also linked to Lyli’s #FaithOnFire.

Seasons of Life

There are season of the year and seasons of life. 

Being transformed from a young professional to a mother . . .

The wonder of motherhood and being stretched in mind and body.

So quickly the days scurry by with play groups, preschool and                       kindergarten. The joy and fatigue of running with young children.

Like a hurricane unexpected and unwanted illness blows into our life. A year plus of chemo . . . then all attention focused on bone marrow                      transplant and hope is on a roller coaster.

I enter a season of grief.

Pregnant again and almost 40.

Moving forward with new life. I treasure another season of nurture.This time neighbor children playing at our home and once again volunteering at the local elementary school.

 Now an older parent. The boyfriends and girlfriends have come to our        home.Late night discussions about friends, books, viewpoints . . .

Weddings and son-in-laws . . . and then a daughter-in-law. We are so blessed with our expanding family.

Grandchildren!!!

Every season of life is better with faith in God.

This post is part of #Write28Days. To see all of the posts for this series click here.

Evidence Not Seen: Book Review

My daughter gave me a copy of the book, Evidence Not Seen. The book is a memoir by Darlene Deibler Rose. She was a missionary to the Dutch East Indies, and was in a prisoner of war camp on Celebes Island during WWII.

I knew very little about what took place in the Pacific islands during WWII. Japan was expanding it control, and civilians were herded to internment camps to do hard labor in support of the Japanese War effort. The description of events was a history lesson.

But much more than that it was the testimony of a young woman about God’s care for her during her internment in a labor camp, and then in a prison camp. She was accused of being a spy with the threat of execution hanging over her.

Bible verses and hymns that she had learned over the years sustained during the darkest moments. She recalled the hymn, Only Believe, written by Paul Rader (Pastor of Moody Church 1915 to 1921). These are the words she remembered in her solitary cell:

Fear not, little flock, whatever your lot.

He enters all rooms, the doors being shut.

He never forsakes; he never is gone.

So count on his presence from darkness ’till dawn.

Only believe, only believe

All things are possible, only believe.

Darlene’s memoir was also a portrayal of a marriage that was built on the goal of serving the Lord. It is a beautiful story that inspires faith in God.

This post is part of the #Write28Days challenge. You can view all of the posts in this series by clicking here.

I am linking up with Booknificent Thursday and Literary Musing Monday.

Building a Home

It is day eight for #Write28Days.  I am joining the Five Minute Friday Community and will write with Kate’s prompt for today: BUILD.

One of the Songs of Ascents in the book of Psalms mentions building a house. The Hebrew word for house in the text is bayith. The definition, according to Strong’s concordance is: house (in the greatest variation of applications, especially family, etc.).

The Hebrew word for build is bânâh. The definition according to Strong’s Concordance is: to build, obtain children, repair, set.

Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. 

Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. 

It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep.

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Psalm 127: 1-3 ESV

Family - Bouquet

Here are these same verses from the Message. 

If Yahweh doesn’t build the house, the builders only build shacks. 

If Yahweh doesn’t guard the city, the night watchman might as well nap.

It is useless to rise early and go to bed late, and work your worried fingers to the bone. Don’t you know he enjoys giving rest to those he loves?

Don’t you see that children are Yahweh’s best gift? the fruit of the womb his generous legacy?

Children

Prayer: Lord God you are the Creator, our provider. Your love is amazing. You are merciful and have given us salvation through Jesus. We praise you and kneel before you. You give the gift of new life. We ask that you guide us and build our home.