The Sun is Shining!

(So many of you are sick now – or your loved one is sick. I was very sick three years ago, pre-COVID, but with most of the symptoms. Hopefully this short piece I wrote at that time will be a blessing and encouragement to you now.)

The sun is shining. I saw it heading south, as we crossed the Georgia/Florida line, a few days before Christmas  . . .

and it was shining brightly when we stopped at the Welcome Center . . .

but as the symptoms worsened, and the days of sickness turned into weeks of sickness, the sunshine outside seemed to be in a different world – not in mine. I missed it. I wanted it.

Has this happened to you? Perhaps it isn’t sickness. It might be defeat, loss, discouragement. Are your plans suddenly darkened? Do you have to fight to get the sunshine back?

It’s hard to fight when you’re weak, isn’t it? In that weakness – that lack of sunshine – the enemy, thriving in the darkness, just seems to flourish. He fills your mind with fears and gloom. He zaps you until you wonder if you have any fight left in you.

It’s in those times that we have to turn that fight over to our defender, our leader, our Lord.  We have to let ourselves dwell in that secret place – that shelter of the Most High. We need to rest in the Almighty’s shadow, let Him be our refuge. 

As I strove to have faith in His promises of healing, I knew I needed  to “hear” the Word. So I listened. I went to sleep, listening to Healing Scriptures (Link); to excerpts from messages teaching the Word of God. I heard the Word as I spoke it in prayer,  There is no greater prayer. He wrote it.

Through those days – those weeks – a passage of the Word “stood out” to me. I heard it over and over: “Put on the armor of God, Kathi.”

I meditated upon those pieces of armor:

The Belt of Truth

The Breastplate of Righteousness

Feet Fitted with Readiness for Peace

The Shield of Faith

The Helmet of Salvation

The Sword of the Spirit

Prayer in the Spirit 

 I needed to put on the armor. I was reminded that I have a leader. He goes before me. He goes behind me. He hems me in.  I’m just a soldier in this battle. The battle is His, and I am so glad. He is fighting for me.

The battle went on for quite some time. Long weeks. Several doctor visits. But one day, I discovered something amazing here in Florida: the sun was shining!

Don’t give up the battle, friend. Strengthen yourself with the Word. Let Him fight the battle for you. Soon you’ll see: the sun is shining!

 Click here to listen to hear the healing Scriptures I listened to.

Further Reading:

Psalm 91:1,2

 Romans 10:17

Proverbs 18:21

 Ephesians 6:17,18

Psalm 139:5

Out of the Darkness

Our family – all 20 of them – had plans right through the actual Christmas Day, so we celebrated our big family Christmas with them all that first weekend of December. It was a short season of lights, trees, and nativity scenes for us this year! On the Monday after that first weekend, I packed away all the Christmas decorations in tubs and containers, then securely placed all in their 11-month “storage units” on shelves. So by the middle of the first week of December, Ron and I were in the car, “packed to the hilt” with food, swimsuits, summer clothes, and all my writing materials, and headed south to our little Florida home near the warm Gulf waters, for the winter.

I must say it was “odd.” We sped along the highways, passing thousands of homes, brightly decorated  inside and out, knowing our own Michigan home was now dark and cold; the upcoming Christmas Day, too, now seemed dark and cold because our family Christmas was past. Yes, it was “odd.”

The trip, our drive of typically 18-20 hours, was long and tiring. The outdoor temperatures rose as we neared our destination, but our physical strength diminished, weary from it all. Those last hours especially were the darkest of the year. Nearing winter solstice. The atmosphere clouded. No moon in sight. Finally,  after midnight, we turned onto the dark, narrow street in our little quiet neighborhood, leading to our little Florida home. And there it was: a light in the darkness. 

Kathy,  a caring neighbor and friend, had left the outside light on for us. It was a welcomed sight! A light to lead us to the door, to welcome us home.

We entered our home, relieved and thankful.

I quickly but carefully stepped through the darkened rooms,  moving toward the back of the house,  being drawn by yet another light – this one of various colors. 

There, through the glass of the back door, leading to our small back yard, my eyes gazed upon  another light in the midst of this dark night, this one strategically lit by our neighbor, Donna, also intended to welcome us home.

The kindness of our neighbors reminded me of the graciousness of our Savior.  Jesus said, “I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who  believes in me should stay in darkness.” (1)

The Gospel writer says, “In Jesus is life, and that life is the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.” (2)

I understand it.

Jesus said, “I am the Light of the World. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” (3)

I understand it.  I no longer walk in darkness because I am a follower of Jesus Christ!

When we accept Jesus Christ as Savior, His light exposes the truth that our sins have been completely removed. The Light, which is His presence, give us grace and hope we need in this darkened world.

Yes, I understand it. Do you? 

Come out of the darkness, my friend. Come into the Light!

Click here to understand how to become a Christ follower.

1) John 12:46

2) John 1:4,5

(3) John 8:12

From a whisper to a roar

Today I came across a short journal entry I’d written one morning years ago:

“I slept well last night, which I so needed, as my body has been fighting an illness. I thought I would feel refreshed this morning but instead, I felt discouraged and depressed. Not because of the illness, I’m sure (although one thing does add to another), but because of a different, ongoing situation very close to me that doesn’t seem to be getting better in spite of days, weeks, and months of prayer.”

Although written quite some time ago, this could just as easily be my story – or your story – today. Especially today – in 2020. Ongoing problems, seemingly yet unanswered prayers, weighted and worsened by isolation, COVID fears, lockdowns, and loneliness.

Has anything like this ever happened to you? Is it happening now – at the end of 2020?

In your weakness, a voice speaks to you and it says, “God doesn’t hear your prayers. He isn’t answering your prayers. You might as well give up.”

I’ve heard that voice – often. I’ve come to recognize it, knowing it is not from God because it brings fear – fear of the unknown, fear of the future, fear that God doesn’t care.  God doesn’t give me fear. His Word tells me He gives me a spirit of power and of love and of a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7) So when I hear that malevolent voice,  I simply pray,

Thank you Father for the spirit of power and of love and of a sound mind.

But sometimes it’s difficult to pray. Very difficult! I forget the words, the Scripture, or I’m too exhausted. It is then I simply speak to my Abba Father, pouring out my heart:

Lord, I know you love me and you love my family. We need you. 

When I speak, a single tear fills each eye.

Isaiah 43 19

Abba Father speaks to me through His Word:  “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?” (Isaiah 43:19)

Yes, I perceive it Lord! Thank you!

Then I go to His Word to read more about the new thing He is doing. I read that He is making a way in the desert and the wasteland we have been going through. He is providing (Living) water so that we might praise Him. (We do and we will!) He reminds me that He has chosen me, made me, formed me, and will help me. He pours that Living Water and His Spirit out on me and on my children and grandchildren. And they will spring up! (Isaiah 43, 44)

I keep opening and reading His Word because I know that faith comes from hearing the message of Christ. And it is faith I need. (Romans 10:17) And the message adds to my continuing prayer today:

Lord, let me remember who I am, whose I am, and the territory that belongs to me. For the loss I and mine have suffered, take back that ground for us. Release the boldness of the Lion of the Tribe of Judah in my prayers – that my prayers will be fierce – that they will rise from a whisper to a roar.

And as my day progresses, my prayers become more fierce, intensifying from whispers to roars, knowing that He is making the way for me and for my loved ones through the desert and the wasteland.

Further Reading: 

Romans 10:17

Isaiah 43, 44

Click here to arrange for me to speak to your group!

My 2020 Christmas Letter

This is not your typical “Christmas letter.” Instead, I’m opening up, which isn’t always easy for me, sharing  a composition of my thoughts late in this beautiful Christmas season of this dreadful year of 2020.

First, I must clarify – every year is “blessed” – none can truly be “dreadful,” if one is alive to tell about it. But we all know what 2020 has been, and it is not at all pleasant. So, even though as a Christian, I find blessedness in all the Lord has provided and brought us through this year, I also find dreadfulness in the year itself. Why? Because our enemy has twisted and maligned, and – well, Jesus stated it so well in John 10:10, when He told us that our enemy, the thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy. That’s just what the enemy has done this year. Every heartache, trial, illness, death, separation, loneliness, divisiveness, turmoil – all fit in the categories of at least one of those three words: steal, kill, and destroy.

Woe! And whoa! This piece of writing is becoming dreary and seemingly hopeless.

But Jesus . . .

My friend, our Jesus turns this terrible year completely around – totally inside out – from darkness into light – from death to life. It started when He was born, it continued when He saved me, and it’s happening right now. He makes all things new. He is our hope. His promises are true. He is unchanging. He is all faithful. He will never leave us or forsake us. Never. He is with us now – at the end of this dreadful 2020 – in the midst of this beautiful Christmas season.

This is our Jesus.

He came to give us life. LIFE! Not just a sense of “living” but a LIFE abundant! (Also John 10:10) Jesus refers to that life as rich and satisfying (NLT) – as full. NIV).

This is our Jesus.

So at this Christmas time, we can rejoice in singing of Jesus as Immanuel, the Prince of Peace, the Newborn King. We can rejoice in singing of the hope and peace He brings.

Recently, I saw these pictures of the Baby Jesus and as our Savior Jesus, dying for us:

He came for all. He died for all. And He rose from the grave for all. But He is not yours if He is only your Christmas Baby Jesus. He cannot be your peace and hope if you have not trusted Him as your Lord and Savior. This year – this dreadful year – may you realize the fullness of His love for you. May you realize why He truly came.

I’m sure this is a strange Christmas for many. It is different for me, too.

Ron and I were blessed to celebrate Christmas with most of our children and grandchildren in Michigan – early. They all had other plans around the actual “Christmas Day,” so my home was decorated early – and for just a short period of time. It was different. It didn’t seem like Christmas time that early, so I did not deck the house as usual.

Although the nativity was set in a prominent place, the remainder of Nana and Papa’s Michigan home didn’t change much from Thanksgiving to Christmas. Only the lighted church was set up – not the many lighted houses, the tiny ice skating pond the little ones so love, or the snow and mini fences completing the beautiful little village. No wreaths adorned my doors this year; no garlands embellished the fireplace mantles; only one tree was decorated instead of two. I’m not sure why. Was it the mindset of an altered year? Or was it because of an altered mindset?

On a Monday, nearly three weeks before Christmas Day, Ron and I “took down” Christmas and packed it away for another year. We headed south.

Once settled into our southern Florida home, we scouted the local stores in hopes of finding the perfect little Christmas tree and the most meaningful Nativity set. In hopes of establishing a new little tradition of Christmas with just the two of us. Because we must. It is different. Many of you know. More than I. You’ve been alone. Perhaps single. Perhaps divorced. Perhaps widowed. This year, isolated by the evils of a virus. It is different yet. And most often unwelcomed. You try. You bake cookies and place at another’s front door. You send cards and encourage others. You mail packages. Sometimes you cry. You often pray. You find Jesus sufficient. More so than you ever realized. You have found Christmas. 

You have probably learned what I am now discovering. The truth about Jesus. The truth of meeting him in the manger. The truth of looking ahead to His suffering and death and resurrection. The truth of peace and joy – that only He can bring. The truth of knowing why – why He came as a baby. The truth that we sometimes can only learn at the end of a dreadful year.

And it is a blessed understanding. One that needs not a lighted tree or even a beautiful Nativity. One that needs only the Word – the Carol – the Worship.

If Jesus is your Savior, as well as your Christmas baby, you understand. If you are uncertain, click here to read how to make certain – to receive Him as your Christmas gift – as your Savior.

Turn from thoughts and anxieties and pain and fear of the killing, stealing, and destroying brought by the thief – turn to the abundant, full life promised by Jesus!

Join me in the true celebration of Jesus’ birth. Together, we’ll sing,

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”

And His favor rests on us, His children,

because of our Jesus.

Treasures from the woodshed.

Daddy and Mama bought the big yellow house when I was 13 months old. Surrounded by red barns, white board fences, chicken coops, and corn cribs, the house sat on 80 acres of fields, pastures, and woods, bordering a creek. They paid $10,000 for it. Grandpa Nutt said they’d never live to see it paid! But he was wrong. They did! They paid the mortgage in full by mid life.

Daddy and Mama were hard workers, very frugal – didn’t charge, didn’t live beyond their means. As the years went by, they maintained the house and slowly made improvements as they could afford: a remodeled kitchen, blown-in insulation, aluminum storm windows, and baseboard hot water heat – typical 60’s-style upgrades But one aspect of the house never changed – the woodshed.

The woodshed was actually the large, attached back portion of the house, but it was rough and unfinished inside. From the north, a door led into a corner of the woodshed we called the milk house (a room where the milk was brought in from the milking barn). The big slider door (the one we always used) opened to the east. Hooks and nails covered the inner wooden slatted walls, and held garden hoses, rakes, and corn brooms (one good and several worn). Lofts stored empty coffee cans, out-of-season window screens, and “who knows what” treasures, hidden through many years. The basement door, which closed only by a hook, was in the southwest corner of the dark, often dank room – the woodshed.

~~  ~~  ~~  ~~

The years passed until limited social security income allowed no further improvements on the house or the property – and certainly not the woodshed . Dementia and crippling disease stifled all maintenance. As Daddy and Mama aged, so did the house. It cracked and creaked and sagged. Its outside became worn, sun bleached, and peeled. It forgot all of its glory. It lost its hope. But I loved it just the same. Aging doesn’t change love.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

Daddy left the house first – went to the nursing home. (And that’s another story.) Mama followed – joining him (or so it seemed) in the same nursing home.

The house was cold and empty.

Utility bills, property taxes, and insurance premiums continued to fill the mailbox every month. The social security income was now transferred to the nursing home. The yellow house was being deprived of its nourishment. It was slowly dying.

Reality set in: The house faced it and so did I.

Daddy and Mama wouldn’t be coming home. Daddy passed first; Mama shortly after. The white hearse had driven each of their coffined bodies around the circle drive, pausing near the front door, then across the road, down the long lane to the cemetery to be buried within sight of their big old yellow house.

~~  ~~  ~~  ~~

Because I loved the house, I wanted to feed it and nurture it and revive it. And I knew that Daddy and Mama had wanted the house to live on and be filled with young, new life – with family.

So the time came to once again renovate, upkeep, and maintain the old yellow house. 

Builders, plumbers, drywallers, painters, electricians, and furnace installers began slowly reviving the old structure. Three coats of paint moisturized and refreshed its outer surfaces. Its foundation received a “tuck” and a “lift.” Its walls and its floors were recoated. But the most drastic revitalizing came in transforming the woodshed. Now the house felt complete, as the woodshed became a true part of its body and soul. And in the process of rejuvenation, a few hidden items were discovered up on its dusty lofts: a white rubber boot, a couple of antique pulleys, a Michigan Stove Co cast iron stove flap, a child’s red plastic wallet, and a pair of black and white saddle oxfords.

The oxfords revealed their age, just as the house and the people within it had. I wondered who had worn these shoes. I took them home and placed them beside sympathy cards and death certificates.

Then one day, browsing through mementos, I saw the photo, and in it, Mama was wearing the saddle oxfords.

She was young then, as were the shoes.

I remembered the setting: Lake of the Clouds in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula – an annual summer vacation to stay at my Grandpa’s cabin – obviously an autumn one this particular year.  Browsing the other photos brought back fond memories, and I realized that I was wearing saddle oxfords in those photos, also! The year was 1955; I was four years old. I closed my eyes and tried to go back to that time – to those years – to that life in the big old yellow house. 

I imagined the shoes on the floor of her bedroom, under the metal clothing rack.

I imagined her taking them to the backroom and polishing them from time to time with both white and black shoe polish.

And I imagined her one day, placing them on the upper loft of the woodshed, assuming she wouldn’t be wearing them again.

My upper chest hurt to think of that day – the day she went from young to old.

She’s gone now. But I have her shoes – her old shoes – her saddle oxfords – those she did not intend to keep. Perhaps others would throw those old shoes away, but I won’t.

I’ll get some leather cleaner.

I’ll enlarge and frame the photo.

Then I’ll set the shoes besides the photo,

I’ll place this little grouping somewhere in my house – will probably move it from one place to another – from time to time.

 And as I’m moving through my house, cleaning, or rushing, or multi-tasking, I’ll pause when I see the photo and the saddle oxfords. Sometimes I’ll cry. Always, I’ll smile. And I’ll think of my Mama who once was young and then was old and lived in the big yellow house.

~~  ~~  ~~  ~~

Click here to order my book, When Life Roars, Jesus Whispers and/or Shh! Listen to His Whispers, my recent Bible Study.

Thank you for reading my blog/journal posting. Please “subscribe” (it’s free!) to my postings (see the mid/right side of this page). Then you’ll be notified by email of each posting. – 

“I have told you all this,” Jesus said.

A friend recently posted on Facebook:

“Seriously – if I don’t get this anxiety under control, I am going to be exhausted for the rest of my life.”

I related to her posting:

Anxiety. Fear. Exhaustion.

Within a day, she posted again:

“I try really, really hard to have faith in humanity, but it’s becoming increasingly difficult. Decent people get bad things they don’t deserve, while horrible people get good things they don’t deserve. The universe just seems pretty upside-down to me at the moment.”

Anxiety – Fear – Exhaustion. Now we add Frustration and Confusion to the list.

Can you connect? I can.

Why is the world so unsettling now, we wonder. Jesus addressed our concerns.

“I have told you all this,” Jesus said, “so that you may have peace in me. . . Take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

You see, Jesus is speaking to His disciples, having recently entered Jerusalem, the city he so loved, between what we refer to as Holy Week. Similar to the holiday time we are presently celebrating.

“I have told you all this, so you may have peace in me.” Jesus said.

What is “all this” we might question.

We find “all this” in the book of John, Chapters 12-16. In the few days after entering Jerusalem,

Jesus predicted His death, washed His disciples’ feet and told the people He did not come to judge the world but to save it.

He predicted His betrayal and Peter’s denial.

He brought a new command: “Love one another.”

He comforted His disciples, and promised the Counselor, the Holy Spirit to them.

He said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

He explained that He is the source of life, being the true vine.

And several times He told them to ask for anything in His name and it would be given them.

He told them that the world would hate them but that someday their grief would turn to joy.

It is in this context that He tells them,

“I have told you all this (all these things), so that you may have peace in me. In this world, here on this earth, you will have many tribulations, troubles, trials, sorrows. But take heart because I have overcome the world.”

Some of you now feel like his disciples felt at that time – hated by the world, by your family, your co-workers, your congregation.  Some of you perhaps have prayed for a loved one for ages without seeing results. Your heart is troubled. Maybe you’ve received bad news. Or you are afraid. You feel separated from the true vine. You are lonely. You can’t imagine your grief ever turning to joy. The world is “upside down.” Life isn’t fair. But Jesus tell us that we can have peace in Him. He tells us to take heart. He has overcome the world.

You might question why  Jesus said, “In this world you will have many troubles” instead of  just make everything perfect?

Well, He did!

“In the beginning . . .” we read. “And God saw that it was good.” God was pleased with His creation. It was perfect.

God did not create sickness. He did not create addiction. He did not create death. God’s plan was not for us to suffer. He didn’t create hatred and strife, wars and destruction. But it happens. Because “Here on earth,” or “In this world,” as some translations read, actually in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve, in their sin, turned the keys over to Satan. For a time, our enemy Satan, roams about, trying to steal from us and kill us and destroy us. (Be sure to read John 10:10 to discover who brings evil and who brings good.)

Was this “upside-down” world God’s original plan?  Did He bring it? No. Does He allow it? Yes, He allows Satan to roam ~ because man chose it.

Our Jesus knew it would happen. Our “upside-down” universe is not a surprise to Him. I picture His face saddened as He spoke the words: “In this world, you will have many troubles.” He is saddened that “Decent people get bad things they don’t deserve, while horrible people get good things they don’t deserve,” as my Facebook friend observes. He is saddened that our world, our lives, are invaded by disease and suffering, that our children are hurting, that our world is in strife. He will bring justice one day. But today, we can trust that in Him we can have peace. Peace that passes all understanding, His Word tells us.  He has overcome the world. We must trust His Word, for He “has told [us] these things so that in Him [we] may have peace.” I’m so glad He did.

Click here to learn more about the peace Jesus offers.

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It’s My Party and I’ll Cry if I Want to.

I had a party today. Sorry I didn’t invite you, but I was all caught up in myself. This kind of party is much more fun when I’m all alone.

It started this way: “Surely God is good to me . . . but I’ve stumbled and lost my footing. All day long I’m plagued with trials; seems there’s a new punishment every morning.” If only I had said something different – if only I could explain– if only he truly loved me – if only she understood – if only things were different – if onlyif only – [i]

Wow! The party was really

getting going at this point!

(Maybe you should have been there!)

When I tried to understand all that was going on, it suddenly seemed very oppressive to me.[ii] (You know how that oppression works!) By this time, the enemy was knocking loudly at my door. He really wanted to come to my party!

Like I said, I wanted to be alone at my party. But I did recognize that malevolent knock, so when it became oppressive to me, I left the room where he was knocking, and I entered the sanctuary of God.[iii] It’s a quiet place – so very comfortable – such a place of refuge! God took hold of my right hand; He became my strength; and I realized that I desired nothing more than to be with Him. [iv] I realized it was good for me to be near God.

He said, “You can have great peace because you love my law, and nothing can make you stumble.”[v]

And I said, “I wait for your recovery, O LORD, and I follow your commands. I obey your statues, for I love them greatly. I obey your precepts and your statues, for all my ways are known to you.” [vi] (That last part made me I realize that He had known about my party all along!)

Looking back, I see it really wasn’t much of a party at all until I entered His shelter. That’s when the true celebration started.

Next time I’ll try to have a different kind of party

– in the sanctuary – and I will invite you!

Click here to listen to Lesley Gore’s 1964 hit, “It’s My Party, and I’ll Cry If I Want To,” the song that led to the title of this blog!

Psalms

[i] Psalm 73: 1,2,14,15 NIV paraphrased

[ii] Psalm 73:16 NIV paraphrased

[iii] Psalm 73:17 NIV paraphrased

[iv] Psalm 73:23-25 NIV paraphrased

[v] Psalm 119:165 NIV paraphrased

[vi] Psalm 119:166-168 NIV paraphrased

I’m weary.

I’m weary. You know how it is.

It’s not just one thing. It’s more than one. It’s more than two. It’s one thing upon another. Stacking. Compounding. Until that one more thing, no matter how small, seems just too much.

I’ve been aware of the stacking – the compounding – for quite some time. I’ve dealt with it in the past, and I’ll deal with it again. But for now, I’m weary. It’s like a compounding pile of rocks. Some light. Some heavy.

Today, as I write, my brother in law is in surgery, having a lung transplant. This rock is a heavy one, and it’s been on the compounding pile of rocks for a long time. Its very presence on his stack, and on my sister’s stack, causes it to accumulate in diverse sizes on my own rising pile. It makes me weary.

Facebook and Instagram photos look lovely, but we all know, there’s quite often pain behind the smiles. My family is no different.  I’ve encountered those heaping rocks many times, repeatedly, and have pushed them off, one by one, turning them over to the Lord, trusting those issues to Him. Oftentimes, when I do,  I figuratively wipe my hands and smugly say, Take that, you cursed enemy. By the power of the name of Jesus. But today, those same stones – or rocks, as they’ve become, aren’t moving as easily.  Because I’m weary. Sometimes it’s a recurring pebble that pops up – with my spouse’s name on it. Sometimes an entire little bag of pebbles – you know, like the bag of marbles we had when we were kids.  Sometimes it’s huge – the loss of a child – or of a parent. It’s the grief that permeates and changes your life forever. It’s your child’s middle-of-the-night fever or her wicked diagnosis. It’s a learning disability or a mental illness. It’s a daughter’s addiction or a son’s waywardness. It’s the pain on your grandchild’s face and the tears in his eyes when his daddy yells and leaves the house. It’s the pain of your daughter’s singleness when she yearns for marriage. The problem burdens not just one in the family; it burdens all. You hurt not only for the burdened one but for each one who suffers – physically, mentally, emotionally. The rocks seem heavier than they once were. And they’re all stuck together. Sometimes they seem cemented. I’m weary from it. And I know you’re weary. I can see it behind your smile.

The enemy throws a lot of political rocks onto my stack, more as the last few years have progressed. My “friends” and community members have called me names – well, not me personally, but in general, along with anyone who has my political view. And I create my own stones on my stack, as well, having zero understanding of  those who view the political issues from a different perspective. It’s all so heavy. And I become weary.

This COVID thing is just  plain weighty in this pile of rocks. The COVID rocks keep appearing in various sizes and weights upon the stack:  Isolation. Sickness. Death. Fear. Hate. Divisiveness. Anger. Exhaustion. Loneliness. Separation. Anxiety. Suicide. Grief. Poverty. Judgment. Depression. This is not a bag of rocks. It’s a truck full of boulders that have become ever present month after month, enveloping our birthdays, anniversaries, celebrations, travel plans, elections, and now our holidays. We boldly and bravely  knock one COVID rock off our pile; another related rock appears. We’ve all become weary from it.

Here’s the thing: 

On the other side of my weariness is Jesus. He’s waiting just like always. He whispers,

Kathi, I will refresh your weary soul and replenish you when you are weak. I will give you pleasant sleep. My Word sustains you. Keep it fresh in your mind. Come to me. I will give you rest.

So today, in my weariness, I go to Jesus, the one who came to give me abundant life. I turn my burdens over to Him. We know He doesn’t bring any of the burdens that are making me weary. But He gladly takes them and brings the victory – some that I see today – some that is yet unseen but promised.  Either way, I have the promised rest,

What about you?  For all of these things we have Jesus. If you’re a Christ follower, go to Him. Place each burden, big or small, light or heavy, on Him. Until your weariness is gone. If you’re yet uncertain if you have Jesus, turn to Him. We needn’t remain weary!

Click here to learn more about following Christ.

Further reading:

Jeremiah 31:25, 26

Isaiah 50:4

Matthew 11:28

John 10:10

It’s your heritage!

The gift has been offered.

It’s your heritage!

Have you received it yet?

Some of you have read about 1946 AZ June 23my heritage – the amazing heritage left by my parents, a godly man and a godly woman, who, together,  honored the Lord and prayed for their family – their children, grandchildren, great grandchildren . . .

Perhaps you didn’t have godly parents. You might feel left out.

Well, don’t!

Consider the extent of your “family tree”:

Gr and Gr. LockeYou had two parents, four grandparents, eight great grandparents, sixteen great-great grandparents . . .

Most of us only really know (or knew) our parents. Some of us know (or knew) our grandparents. Very few of us know anything about our great-grandparents or our great-great-grandparents or . . . you get the picture.

How do you know which of them were down on their knees, day after day, praying for YOU – their child – or grandchild – great or great-great! You are one of those grandchildren! Your godly heritage, if not from your own parents or grandparents, might have come from your great (or great-great) grandparents! Take it and receive it! Then pass it on to your children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. It’s not coincidental that you are reading about your heritage right now. God planned it that way!

 

Your grandparent might have prayed God’s Word for YOU. Can’t you just picture him (Grandpa) or her (Grandma, sitting at the old kitchen table, Bible opened – or kneeling on that hard wooden floor, pleading for YOU in a prayer, something like this:

 

I  ask you, God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, to give my family the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that they may know you better. I pray also that the eyes of their hearts may be enlightened in order that they may know the hope to which you have called each of them, the riches of your glorious inheritance in the saints, and your incomparably great power for us who believe. (Ephesians 1:17-19a) Jesus, please save my family.

Farmhouse 2Very likely the heritage began with him – or her. With Dad or Mom. With Grandpa or Grandma. But if not, it needs to begin with you. God has planned it. He has chosen you! (1) He has adopted you! You simply need to accept Him. The Bible tells us about your heritage:

God wants you and your sons and daughters to be taught by the Lord.

He wants your children’s peace to be great.

He wants you to be established in righteousness.

Farmhouse 3This is your heritage! (2)  

The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ. (3) But those parents, grandparents, or great-grandparents can’t claim the gift of your heritage for you. You have to accept that gift yourself (4)

194- B Grandma Locke Dad, MomHonor the prayers of your grandparents: Read about the Word that is near you:

It is in your mouth and in your heart. Confess with your mouth ‘Jesus is Lord,”‘ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, and you will be saved . . . ” (5)

Claim your prize – your gift – your heritage!

If you’ve been uncertain of your heritage in Jesus Christ, say a prayer, something like this:

 Lord, thank you for revealing my heritage to me! I know I’m a sinner, but you’ve given me the gift of God  – eternal life in Christ Jesus. I believe in my heart that Jesus is Lord and that God raised him from the dead. Thank you for saving me!

1) Ephesians 1:4,5,11

2) Isaiah 54: 13-18

3) Romans 6:23b

4) Romans 10:9,10

(5) Romans 10:8-13

Further Reading: : Romans 3:23; Romans 6:23; Romans 10:9-13; Isaiah 54: 13-18; Ephesians 1:4,5, 17-19

The Old Soap Dish

It doesn’t look like much. And to most, it probably isn’t much. Just a soap dish, from K-Mart, one might assume. Probably purchased in the 50’s. Pink plastic with removable drainer. The gold trim of its crown nearly worn from years of scouring with Comet Cleanser. At first glance, one might easily overlook the esteemed position it held through the years.

The soap dish held court at various locations in the old Victorian home—the big yellow house—as it sustained its royal status throughout the years the family resided within.

 
Court was first held upstairs beside the claw foot bathtub. The woman scooped the white Ivory bar from the dish, scrubbing the children’s skinned knees and alfalfa-entangled hair before wrapping each child in blanket-sized towels and carrying them  downstairs, one by one, to the warmth of the oversized heat register to dry and dress in their flannel pajamas.
 
At other times, court was held at the guest sink in the small bathroom, not original to the yellow house but added years later in the empty space under the stairway. The woman placed a new Dove bar (her favorite) in the clean soap dish, and the beautiful, elongated white bar, embossed with the famous dove lasted quite some time in that location.
 
The years passed; the children grew and left the big yellow house; and the soap dish with the Dove bar was removed from its guest sink location, being replaced by liquid soap in a sterile, aloof, pump dispenser.

From that time on, court for the stately container was held in the back room of the old house, aside the jumbo cast iron sink and the old pitcher pump. A large, green coarse bar of LAVA soap now filled the dish, and the man used the LAVA bar several times a day, faithfully scrubbing his aging hands, ridding them of the evidences of hours of labor on his land. The soap dish was often covered with the dirty, dried bubbles of the resultant purification process, thus the woman used more Comet Cleanser, more often to clean the aging pink plastic dish.
More years  passed until the old man and the old woman  sadly left the big yellow house. The old pink, plastic, soap dish rested alone and nearly empty, filled with but a sliver of a coarse bar of soap and covered with dried pumice. The dish was nothing but a simple, quiet remembrance of the old man, the old woman, and the family who had once inhabited the royal surroundings.
 
The little girl who had years before overlooked the pink, plastic soap dish and to whom the soap dish had once seemed silly and unimportant, had grown up, and one day, while browsing the back room of the empty house she had once occupied, her eyes fell upon the seemingly useless and meaningless container. Now she perceived it unlike she had in the past, scrutinizing every detail of its surface, regarding it in a different light and from a different perspective. Suddenly she recognized its royal significance. She gently carried it from the yellow house to her own home where she carefully cleaned it and placed it at a prominent position, once again entitling the soap dish to resume its noble post and to once again hold court . Now, in the time of fragranced, foaming, liquid soap selections, the soap dish holds a plain, white bar of Kirk’s Castile and is regularly but delicately cleaned in an effort to maintain its royal stature.
The little girl, now grown, understands that the old pink plastic soap dish doesn’t look like much to the visitor or to the passerby.  And to most, it probably isn’t much. But to the little girl, it’s another sweet reminder of her stately past and a  true confirmation of her royal heritage.