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Sunday grace

The temperature has warmed in February. We walk in the early Sabbath light, Maisie and me, a mist moistening our faces as we move forward and back.

The silence is broken by the singing of birds and an occasional soft honk of geese on the lake across from the house. The geese have disbanded their flock and are now couples swimming the water together, thinking about a family, if geese think such thoughts.

I’ve seen two hawks in the little woods behind us, them swooping and enjoying a freedom I can only imagine. I wonder if we might have the delight of a nest hidden in the trees soon.

Daffodil greens have pushed through winter soil, and this week crocuses caught me by surprise, them blooming by the front steps.

The maples are bulging on the ends of branches, the beginnings of spring seed pods and leaves.  The oaks still hold on to their dry brown leaves. They are like that, every winter not willing to turn loose until new growth pulsates and pushes them aside.

I wonder how many weeks before I put away the warm red hat and corduroy coat I wear to walk? When I will put my “Baby it’s cold outside”cup in the back of the cabinet until fall? How long before I pull out garden boots and tools to work the ground?

Can spring be far away, the season I love most of all? The one that holds promise of freshness, beauty, resurrection, eternity?

God is in His heaven. His dominion is over all. He rules with goodness and justice. He is faithful to His creation and His children.

His love is everlasting and His mercy endures throughout generations. I rest in His unchanging character while I watch the world transition from season to season.

Time marches on for me, the seasons of my life moving faster every year. How long before this clay vessel will be worn out?

God is timeless and He offers eternity to those who choose His love. Eternity. For me it will be ever springtime.

Sunday grace.

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The day after Christmas

Christmas-Ribbon-Tree

Wrapping paper and empty boxes fill trash containers. Toys and gifts are scattered through the house. We over-indulged on too many sweets and rich foods, and we declare that healthy eating begins today – after we eat up the leftovers, of course. There is still a week of school vacation left for children before the routine begins and we start a brand new year once again.

The day after Christmas finds me putting away the decorations and feeling relieved it’s over.

Some years I’ve just wanted it to be all over because of the heartache and disappointment I was dealing with. This year, I’ve experienced a deeper contentment, and I wonder if like the Apostle Paul I am finally learning to be content in all circumstances.

I have prayed for that. It must be an answer from my Heavenly Father who hears me and knows my heart like no other.

Some people choose a word for the coming year. I see it on blog posts as writers offer their choices and the reasons for them.

one-little-wordAliEdwards.com

I am considering doing that this year.

I’ve been a list maker and a goal writer in the past. In some recent years, I’ve not planned much because there was no way of knowing the direction the wind was blowing Sweet William and me. It was all I could do to hold onto the mast as the storm raged. I hoped I would not get thrown overboard.

I was in the school of Learning To Be Content.

I have given myself a gift this coming week, time to relax and reflect. I will put the house in order with an uncomplicated decor. I will start my organization throughout, checking closets and drawers and trying to turn loose of things. (I realize this is not relaxing to some, but for me it is exhilarating. I’m odd, I know.)

I will prepare my bullet journal for 2017 and make an effort to guard myself from being over committed. I will plan on Sabbath rest each week and a few minutes each day to stop, sit, and let my mind wander, probably with a cup of coffee in my hand.

I will seek the face of God to know His will as I walk out my days in 2017. I will ask to walk in power and confident trust, to see His glory in the miraculous and the every day. I will try to scatter kindness to those in my path.

The Christmas celebrations are over until next year. We are taking a collective sigh of relief as life returns to something we call “normal.”

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As I make tentative goals and plans, one thing I want to do is keep celebrating Jesus in my heart every day.

Once a year the world remembers the Christ Child born in Bethlehem. Remembering is necessary. Celebrating is good. Honoring Him every day of our lives is what matters.

And who wouldn’t want to spend the remainder of life on what really matters?

Welcome 2017. My God holds you in His mighty hands. He is sovereign over all my days. I can trust Him for the future.

Rest.

Sunday grace

“Seek My face.” I hear the Spirit whisper the directive as the daily devotional book I read in the early morning points me to Psalm 105:4

Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually! –ESV

His strength is what I need. A busy few days, maybe more than a few, leave me weary and spent. There is too much to do, too much stuff to contend with, too many obligations.

Give me strength, Lord! How many times have I prayed that prayer? I hoped for super-human powers to accomplish my plans, my goals, my intentions, my self-imposed complicated agenda.

His answer is “Seek My face. In My presence is the fullness of joy.”

And isn’t joy what I have chosen for this day, for this one wonderful life I’ve been given?

Joy comes when I seek the face of God in Christ Jesus, my hope and my salvation. Rest is waiting for me when I seek the Lord and His strength.  For when I seek the Lord more than I seek my own way, when I look at his beautiful face and behold His countenance of grace, I find rest and peace.

I am strengthened for the journey. It is the road He has laid out for me to travel, not the scribbled map of my own making.

I will seek His face and find strength for today. And for tomorrow.

Sunday grace.

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Sunday grace

I glanced up from the Bible study book I was reading, my eyes turned toward the windows facing east. The sunrise was beginning to emerge.

I went to the front door and saw the brilliance, called for Maisie to come, knowing we must go out and experience the early morning beauty.

The rays of pink spread its arms wide in the sky, reaching all the way around as if trying to clasp fingers together. So perfectly splendid was this new day, this fresh start, this beginning again with fresh mercies cupped in a Father’s hand for His children.

We walked the length of our lane enjoying the crisp start of this day. I spoke it aloud to myself, “I choose joy.” It has become my mantra of late, this purposefully choosing to take whatever comes and accept it with the joy that is my inheritance of grace.

As we turned to walk home, the sky had already turned, from bright pink to soft mauve to muted grey. In a matter of minutes the overhead expanse was now clouded.

Is it not the way of life? Happiness turned to disappointment. Contentment turned to frustration. Love turned to hate. All too quickly our circumstances and our emotions teeter on a precarious see-saw. With a bump in a different direction, we are thrust into the depths.

Choose joy. It is the way of seeing good in all things.

Choose joy. It is how we can view life with hope.

Choose joy. It is how we look for our Father’s face in the dark.

Choose joy. No matter what. The sun shines brightly even behind the clouds.

Sunday grace.

Sunrise by MaRanda GreenPhotograph by MaRanda

 

Sunday grace

She who dwells and takes her place in the secret habitation of the Most High moves close, into the shadow of the Holy. As close as a breath.

Weighty words, this taking up residence in God.

We enter this abode at the supreme cost of life, death, a cross, and a resurrection. The secret place is a sacred place. It bears the weight of glory. His glory.

In the secret place, we find shelter, a refuge, and safety from evil intents, from daily cares, from burdens too heavy, from living in our swirling, rapid, trying-to-keep-up world.

In His presence, the believer takes his sacred position, and where He is the ground is holy.

I run to the sacred and secret dwelling place. I bow low and remove my shoes.

Sunday grace.

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Sunday grace

Oh God, help us.

There is violence in our streets. Hatred is unrestrained.

Guide us in Your truth. Teach us the way to go for in You only is salvation.

We wait for You.
Remember Your compassion and faithful love. They have existed from antiquity.
Do not remember the willful sins or our acts of rebellion and cruelty.
Remember Your faithfulness and Your goodness.

You are holy and upright, our hope when all looks hopeless.
You call to us and shows us the way out of darkness.
You lead the humble in what is right and teach us Your ways.
You show us the truth.

Please forgive our sin, for it is great.

If we acknowledge You, humbly, reverently, You will show us the way.

We are lost without You.

 Turn to us and be gracious to us, the lonely and afflicted.

When the distresses of our hearts increase, bring us Your peace.

Guard us, deliver us, for our refuge is You. We wait for You to redeem us from our despair.

We wait for You

Sunday grace.

From Psalm 25 after another news report of senseless killing.

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When family comes together

Sweet William and I are mostly home bodies. Partly out of necessity but also because we just enjoy being at home.

While we’ve had dreams of traveling to far countries, of cruises to the islands, and seeing other parts of the world, travel is arduous for us now.  The baggage and effort are heavy duty.

We are still in the learning process, learning to be content where we are planted. We have comfort of home and nature’s beauty around us. We know all our neighbors and can call them when we need assistance. Maisie and I walk our quiet lane safely, watching the wildlife and waving to passing cars.

On the occasion we do travel, it will usually be to visit the family, our dear ones,. Such was the case last week. Our eldest granddaughter graduated high school, and July was the opportunity for her family to gather to celebrate her accomplishment.

Sweet Home Alabama

The trip took us to Sweet Home Alabama, the place of our daughter-in-love’s heritage and childhood memories.  Alabama is hot in July, the air thick with humidity. The skies are the bluest blue and the clouds fluffiest white (I always find a poodle somewhere in the sky).

The Live Oaks are just amazing. Crept Myrtles grow like trees and color the landscape in pastels and deep hues.

Southern is spoken there, y’all.

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The evening of the party, tables were set in white with flowers and candles. Food was abundant and iced drinks helped keep us cool. We fanned ourselves like a group of old-time tent revival attenders.

Children, teenagers, middle-agers and older-agers (is that even a word?) congregated to congratulate our granddaughter for another milestone completed. She looked beautiful and was the princess for the evening. The next journey she takes will be as a young adult. She will try her wings and see where they take her.

Elyse's graduation july 2016 (2)

Family is God’s plan, His idea from the very beginning. We are born there and other times we draw people to us and call them kin. Either way, we are blessed to be connected to others in deep relational ways.

Our strengths combined help us accomplish much more than we could on our own. Our weaknesses are quickly evident, and we learn to forgive and be forgiven. We challenge one another to grow and to become our best selves.

Iron sharpens iron. And in the family, we rub each other the wrong way and then pat each other on the back. We get on each other’s last nerve and jump to the defense if someone is threatened. We don’t see eye to eye as we all have our opinions. We can even talk politics or religion and still love each at the end of the day.

As extended family, we may not be together often enough, as often as we would like.  But we do whatever it takes when one of us is in pain, when death takes one of us home. And we drive the distance to celebrate the triumphs.

Joy and sorrow bring us back together once again. For whatever reason, whatever the event or need, we show up because we love each other.

It is the love that is God, the love that he lavishes on us, the love that makes us family.

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Photos were taken by different family members.
As the one and only son said so aptly, “I love these people.”