Peace Please

I toss and turn through the night. Wake early, lie in bed, and fret.

The day is beautiful. Peace is in my soul.

But it is my body – and my mind – that lack it.

Peace – the kind of peace only Jesus can give. I seek it this morning.

“Oh, Keeper of my Soul,” I pray, as my eyes fall upon His Words.

He whispers to me:

“I give you peace, Kathi, the kind of peace only I can give.”

“Your Word is truth,” I read – and pray, speaking His Word back to Him, the creator of those words.

I am thirsting for the truth which brings peace. Desiring it more than the cup of coffee in my hand.

My eyes spring from verse to verse, from highlight to annotation, rediscovering messages of hope and comfort, His whispers of love, affirmation, and peace – yes, of peace –  as the Keeper of my Soul  fulfills His promise to me.

Let the Keeper of your Soul quench your thirst for peace today. Let your eyes fall upon His Word.

Today’s messages from the Word:

John 14:26, 27; 16:20, 33: 17:13-17

Up, up, up!

Look up! You’ll see His glory.

The heavens declare the glory of God . . . (Psalm 19:1a)

You’ll see it in the skies – the sun, the stars, the clouds, deep into the huge expanse reaching far beyond our sight.

It’s there. His glory!

You’ll hear these heavenly elements speak. Day and night, they are declaring, speaking. And as they speak, they teach us, revealing knowledge, making God known to us, reviving our souls. His voice is heard and He is made known in every corner of the earth, reaching every land, every tribe, every language. No place is hidden from His voice – from His glory. Whenever and wherever you see the skies, you see God’s glory.

It’s there. His glory!

Father, I look up because I want to see your glory. Open my eyes to every aspect of your creation that I see when I look up. Open my ears to hear your glory. Let me hear your Word speaking to me. Day or night. Light or dark. I join the heavens in praising you.

(Praying from Psalm 19:1-7; 89:5)

This same Jesus

She thought she would be hired full time. But it didn’t happen.

Now she waits and wonders. What’s next?

This same Jesus . . .

They thought the healing would come by now. But it hasn’t happened yet.

They wait.

This same Jesus . . .

The woman sits alone in the dark, wanting the phone to ring.

She cries while she waits.

This same Jesus . . .

The test results aren’t back until next week.

He fights the fears and waits.

This same Jesus . . .

Others had waited and wondered. It was forty days after the resurrection. They had met with Jesus and they had seen Him taken up before their very eyes:

. . . suddenly two men (angels) dressed in white stood beside them and asked, “Why do you stand here, looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way.” (Acts 1:10,11)

Now I, too, contemplate  violets this same Jesus who

turned water into wine,

healed every affliction,

multiplied the loaves and fishes,

raised the dead,

had compassion for the needy and the sick,

was angry and wept when his friend died,

was beaten for our healing,

took our sins upon himself;

this same Jesus who

is always living, always saving, always interceding for me,

is the same yesterday and today and forever;

this same Jesus who

never forsakes the righteous.

Now I wait; for I can trust  –

this same Jesus.

the daughter

She was truly a lovely young girl – probably a teenager – dressed in jeans and a jean jacket. Fine, thin hair. A pale complexion. Yet she didn’t appear quite like other teenage girls. She floated around the produce as I was shopping. I noticed her mother, a pretty, small, dark-haired woman, a short distance away, selecting produce, yet constantly aware of her daughter’s every move. This was obviously a way of life to which she had become accustomed.

The daughter was very thin. I immediately assumed she didn’t eat much – probably due to being nervous or high strung. My mind played out a scenario of the mother, encouraging the daughter to eat – often to no avail. In my mind, it wasn’t just a scenario. It was one I have lived. Repeatedly.

The daughter’s hands and forearms were raised much of the time, which attributed to her fairy-like floating. As she flitted by people, she moved close to them – entering their space.  She didn’t say a word, simply looked at the person approached. A nervous smile covered the face of a healthy, vibrant young woman as “the daughter” came near her. The young woman looked at “the mother” as if to ask, “What now?” But the mother had already spoken quietly to the daughter from a distance away, and the daughter floated on. I knew the inner agony of always having to watch over the daughter because I, too, watch over a child.

As I left the produce department, I observed the daughter float up to a young man. I recognized him – a polite young man who worked in the store – obviously coming in to work for the evening. He kindly smiled at the daughter. Spoke a quiet word or two, as he continued toward the back of the store to check in for his shift. I was relieved the mother didn’t have to interact again. I could imagine the distress of doing so. I could imagine because I, too, have interacted.

little sad crying girl sitting on the bedFrom the first moment I saw the daughter, my heart was with the mother.  I imagined her life – years of loving and training – years of hurt mixed with occasional tears of joy over the simplest accomplishments. I felt a bit of her pain, although she didn’t reveal any during this short encounter. But I knew a bit of that pain because I, too, have it – the pain that accompanies the unconditional love. The pain of having people judge the way a mother (or a grandmother) should act – judging how I should handle having a child (or grandchild) like this. The hurt of hearing others comment on an affliction they know very little about. The advice I wish they would keep to themselves. The lack of compassion for the pain I constantly carry. The lack of discussion – because it’s easier for them to simply change the subject.  I imagined the continuous tugging at the mother’s heartstrings as other children her daughter’s age were saying and doing normal everyday things, reaching and celebrating milestones – day after day and week after week – leading to year after year. Birthday parties and Christmases and Easter Egg hunts, and school events, and simple playtime activities that other children were enjoying while “the daughter” floated.

And by this time, I had purchased my groceries and was pushing my small cart across the front of the store, when I saw the daughter one more time. She floated up to me, her hands and forearms lifted like a precious little fairy, and I smiled at her and said, “Hello!”

Speechless, she floated on. Then I caught the eye of the mother – the sweet mother with a simple, sweet smile on her face – a smile that said, Thank you. Thank you for treating my daughter like you would any other child.

My Road Home

My road home led to security, safety, and comfort – a place of acceptance and of unconditional love.

In the cold winters of Michigan, the road led to  warmth. Daddy stoked up the huge, round, iron furnace in the basement, and gravity drew the heat up the square-yard grated register in the middle of the living room, radiating the heat throughout the house.  When the thermostat, bracketed on the window trim outside the “picture window,” reached sub-zero temps, we were cozy inside. The long, cold drives from town, or from Grandpa and Grandma’s house were over once we saw the hill ahead and reached the end of our road home, where we found comfort in our big old yellow house.

Because I grew up in the country, of course I rode the school bus. And coming from either direction, the north or the south, the road home took me to a peaceful place , where Tippy, our collie mix, greeted me in the yard, and a place where I skipped up the porch steps into a house fragranced with freshly-baked breads and cookies or of a hot chicken pot pie, baking in the oven. My road home was the avenue to the promise of rest and refreshment.

I grew up, moved away, then settled once again at the top of that hill – this time, in a home, built by my husband and me – next door to the yellow house. In the summer, the road leads me to my place of serenity, amidst the greens of nature, the voices of birds, and the distant sounds of the bleating of sheep and the farmers working their fields. As it did throughout my childhood, my road home continues to bring anticipation of  security, safety, and comfort – a the expectation of a place of  acceptance and unconditional love.

Our driveway – at the top of the hill – in the autumn season.

But perhaps the most beautiful time to travel my road home is in the autumn, when palettes of vibrant reds, oranges, and yellows, blend with greens to create landscapes, ever-changing from day-to-day, sometimes from hour to hour.

When I reach that place in the road where I look ahead and see the hill, knowing that I’m nearing home, I’m reminded that the Lord  led me through another summer and another beautiful autumn. I’m reminded that He will lead me through the long, cold winter ahead. And I’m reminded that I can trust Him through it all because the place where He leads me is a place of security, safety, and comfort – a place of acceptance and of unconditional love.

My friend, perhaps you didn’t grow up with that place of security at the end of your road home. Perhaps you don’t have that place of acceptance and unconditional love now – at this time of your life. The place of which I wrote is not only a physical place but it is a place of rest and assurance that God offers to each of us. It is a place of security, safety, comfort – a place of  acceptance and of unconditional love we find when we belong to God the Father through Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ suffered in your place on Calvary’s cross, so that you can have eternal life with Him, as well as abundant life here on Earth. Just reach out to Him through prayer, believing on Christ alone. Click here to learn more!

The Father loves you and wants to give you a place of security, safety, comfort – a place of acceptance and unconditional love!

Back in Time.

Everyone needs a break – a change – even a few hours away from the typical stressors of life. Because of COVID, many events were cancelled during the spring,  summer, and still in the fall of 2020. Our hearts drew us to Woodward, but it was not to be. We look back with fondness to the last time we drove that Avenue just a few hours from home.  It is a great memory, which took us much further away than we had ever dreamed. Let me tell you about it:

For quite some time, Ron had wanted to go to Detroit to the Woodward Avenue Dream Cruise.  It is the world’s largest one-day automotive event, drawing 1.5 million people and 40,000 classic cars each year from around the globe. They all caravan to Metro Detroit, driving or hauling their vintage and muscle cars to participate in what has become, for many, an annual rite of summer.

That summer, it became a new “annual rite” for us!

 Many of you remember cruising! It was an elemental part of our “coming of age.” It’s a huge part of Ron’s and my history as a couple because we met while cruising the Alamo, a local hangout in our town of Coldwater, Michigan. The first car we cruised in was a friend’s red ’69 GTO, and a few days later, Ron first took me out in his green ’69 GTO.

Young people our age were experiencing the same thing at the same time a few hours away at Woodward Avenue in Metro Detroit. At these locales and others, roller-skating waitresses, sporting white bobby socks, delivered and served hamburgers and milkshakes to duck-tailed greasers in leather and their beauty queens sporting their boyfriend’s class rings and varsity letter jackets.

The real attractions, though, were the cars. Hot rods and muscle cars. Convertibles and hard tops. Oversized tires and custom-painted flames. On Saturday evenings, hot street machines cruised the Alamo in Coldwater,  while others cruised Woodward Avenue, all emanating rock and roll from their AM radios, coupled with the rumble of a big block V8. Little did we know that one day we would join thousands from all across the country and cruise together. That happened one Saturday at Woodward.

But let’s go back to that first date – the one in the ’69 GTO.

The first date led to more. Marriage soon followed, and along came the first baby. Babies and car seats simply don’t complement a muscle car with Ram Air 4, and a 400 cubic inch engine. One or the other had to go, and it certainly wasn’t going to be the first-born son!

So the days of the favored GTO were long lost, until . . . the kids were grown, the debts were paid, and the Auburn Auction offered a red ’69 GTO!

We loved the car. Ron took it to Stanton Dragway and to Martin many times and raced it in the Pure Stock Muscle Car quarter mile, always improving his time by tweaking his engine. The days were good. We were simply a retired couple who owned a beautiful, fast muscle car – until Woodward.

Everything changed at Woodward.

The 6-lane highway became one big cruise lane.

We began by circling Pontiac and heading south toward Ferndale. We ate at the Hamburger joint along Woodward where black and white checkered flags covered the outdoor seating areas.

Then we pulled our car onto Woodward again, and

suddenly, we were back in time.

The street was lined with people. Everyone was there to see the cars, to breathe in the smell of racing fuel, to hear the motors revving and tires spinning. They sat in 90 degree heat, some under shade, others directly in the sun. Nothing discouraged their desire to experience the cars. They gave the “thumbs up” and they cheered. They held up signs.  Some  signs “judged” the car; some signs “judged” the spinout or the burning rubber. Ron was receiving perfect “10s” and I was laughing. Laughing like I hadn’t laughed in a very long time.

The heat was reminiscent of the 60’s. Racing fuel was the sweet aroma to thousands of car lovers.  Big block engines provided music to our ears.

And for hours, Ron and I were young lovers again, captured in a nearly-forgotten block of time. The past held very few regrets or troubles. The future was before us and was filled with promise.

There was no sadness when later in the day, we left Woodward, and pulled onto 13 Mile. There were no regrets of going back to the present time. The windows were still rolled down, as the sun lowered in the sky. A refreshing presence filled the interior of the GTO. Beside me, sat a 21-year-old, muscled, tanned man behind the wheel. I was a beautiful 19-year-old woman once again.

The future was before us and it was filled with promise!

Have you read Kathi’s new book, When Life Roars, Jesus Whispers?

Click here to order.

Hope for the future; Joy for the present

My soul sank deeper each day.  Into a place I recognized but didn’t want to be. I tried to find a different place, a place of happiness, a place I hadn’t seen in over six years. But I couldn’t find it.

There is a place of joy. I know that place. It is pleasant place and one which sustains.  My soul, protected by my comforter, the Holy Spirit, exists in that place of joy. It is His promise. I don’t have to do anything to attain it. It is mine. But joy is quite different than happiness. I know.

The days passed. The weeks passed. The years passed. Until the point I could barely remember that place of happiness, that place I yearn for.

And recently, for a short time, I began to lose hope – the hope of healing for my grandson, the hope of peace for my family, and the hope of happiness once again.

One morning last week, I looked at my Bible, open from the night before, where I had been studying Psalm 73, reviewing and remembering God’s goodness in the midst of the oppression in the world and His faithfulness in holding my right hand and guiding me.

But that morning my eyes were drawn across the page to notes and highlighting made throughout the years, of chapter 71. My eyes fell upon the words I had written:

I will always have hope!

Psalm 71:14

 

And then He reminded me, as He whispered to me through His word,

“I am your hope, Kathi, and I have been since your youth. Even when you are old, I will not forsake you. I want you to reaffirm me to your children and to your grandchildren. Though you have troubles, I will restore you and will lift you up. I will restore your honor and will comfort you. Always have hope, Kathi, always have hope.” Psalm 71

And once again, I was strengthened by His Word. Not by my doings or by happenstance, but by His Word. I remember His faithfulness in the past, and my hope is renewed for the future. My joy is in the Lord and His faithfulness. My hope is in Him – the hope of healing, of peace, and of happiness.

The whispers are not for me alone; the whispers found in His Word are for you, my friend. You’ll find them in His Word.

Let the message of this song speak to you today.

 

Click here to order Kathi’s book, When Life Roars, Jesus Whispers.

Where should I go now?

I’m asking that question of myself! Where should I go now?

Do you ever feel that way? Wondering whether or not you should go a certain direction, take a specific path, or pursue a different avenue?

I’m in that place right now – regarding my writing.

Where should I go now? I ask God. I know He will answer. Just not sure when or how.

Meanwhile, . . .

I’ve decided to continue,  one step at a time, down a path, onto an avenue.

I know He will lead me as I go.

What about you? Don’t be dormant. Move forward. Don’t stand still.

You’re not too old, too busy, too sick, too discouraged, or too weary. You’ll find Him directly ahead of you in that direction, that path, and that avenue. “Come to me,” He says!

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

From Matthew 11

He’s leading. You’re following.

Seeking. No, Needing, Solitude

Are you trying to spend more time alone with God? I am. As I’ve shared before, I don’t find it easy to do so. My excuse is probably a lifetime of multitasking. Reading and watching TV at the same time. Using my Bluetooth to talk on the phone while doing dishes or completing household tasks. Writing while watching the children play. Always something – rather two or three somethings going on. Not sure how or why it came about – how I got this way. I observe others quietly reading for hours at a time, napping on the back porch in the summertime, leisurely humming while fixing dinner. I covet that contentedness.

So today, I’ve made the effort to be alone with my Father, to read His Word, and to listen as He speaks to me. Today’s lessons – His whispers to me – were threefold:

a bit about family love,

a lot about compassion,

and a reminder about the importance of occasional solitude.

Here’s what His Holy Spirit taught me today:

I call him John the Baptist. I’m sure Jesus just called him John – His cousin, John. A cousin like none other, I assume, for while both babies were yet in their mother’s wombs, cousin John leaped noticeably when he heard the voice of Mary, his mother’s cousin, whom John’s mother Elizabeth referred to as “the mother of my Lord.” Mary responded to this honor by singing and glorifying the Lord God. Both baby boys heard their mothers’ voices magnifying God. Both baby boys were sent from God for specific purposes. John’s father was Zechariah. But Jesus’ father was Almighty God. A beautiful familial bond was set. The baby boys were born just months apart.

John the Baptist “prepared the way for the Lord,” baptizing people in the name of the Lord, whose “sandals I am not worthy to untie,” John said. Unlike those people John called to baptism, Jesus went to John for baptism.

Shortly after Jesus was baptized, John was imprisoned for his message. Scholars believe it was about 15 months later that John was then beheaded. When the Lord Jesus heard this news, He was undoubtedly grief-stricken: “When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place.”

Have you ever done this? In grief or in sorrow or in exhaustion, you’ve withdrawn to a place of solitude. Jesus did. But the Bible tells us that when he had arrived at the place of solitude, he discovered that He wasn’t really alone at all. A large crowd of people had followed him, along the shore. They were desperate for Him. I understand. Do you? I’ve been desperate for Him in the past. And I am desperate for Him now, as I write. a desperation I’ve had for years now. I do understand. And so does Jesus. I know this because of His response to the people who interrupted His desired solitude.

The Bible tells us that when Jesus saw this large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick. Then he fed them by multiplying five loaves of bread and two fish. That’s my Jesus,!. That’s your Jesus, beloved! Compassionate. Loving. Healer. Bread of Life.

After He met the needs of the people, He again sought solitude, this time succeeding. He went up on a mountainside. To pray, the Bible says.

To pray. I let that “sink in” to my desperate, multitasking mind today.

I don’t know how long He was alone in prayer, but I assume it was through the evening and most of the night. We read that along toward morning, He went out, on the lake, walking on the water during a storm, to meet, comfort, and teach His disciples who were in a water-drenched boat, tossing to and fro, thinking they were going to die. That’s my Jesus! That’s your Jesus. Teacher. Comforter. Savior. The Great I Am! The Son of God!

And it didn’t end. His ministry didn’t end when He was crucified. He’s still compassionate. He still comforts me. He’s still loving and healing. My teacher. My Savior. The Great I Am! The Son of God. The Bread of Life. That’s my Jesus. And if He is your Savior, that’s your Jesus too.

He’s the one who becomes family.

He’s the one who is compassionate.

And He’s the one who teaches me that occasionally I need to get to a place of solitude ~ to pray.

Click here to learn more about trusting Jesus as your Savior.


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A Little Bit of Jesus

Pharoah, the ruler of Egypt, the enemy of the Israelites, detested the words of Moses and Aaron regarding God’s plan for the Israelites. He referred to their words as lies and told his overseers to “Make the work harder for the people so that they keep working and pay no attention to lies.”[1] You might be familiar with the many plagues God put upon Pharoah and the Egyptians to force Pharoah to let the Israelites go – to leave Egypt. After plagues of blood, frogs, gnats, and flies, Pharoah agreed to let the Israelites go – but only a certain distance. “I will let you go to offer sacrifices to the Lord your God in the wilderness, but you must not go very far,” he said.[2]

Has the enemy, Satan, ever suggested similar ideas to you? He stirs you to find fault in your Christian leaders. He detests the Word of God they are preaching. Oh, he lets you worship – perhaps pray – a bit – but not too often. “You must not go very far,” he says.

He doesn’t mind if you go to church, as long as you don’t get “religious.”  “Don’t listen to those who speak God’s Word. They speak lies. You must not go very far,” he says.

It’s fine with him if you give a small offering to ministry, but he shows you many faults with giving a tithe or more. The church doesn’t use the money properly – or you certainly need the money for something more important this week. You can “give” next week instead. “You must not go very far,” he says.

He makes the Christian look foolish – you know – the one who speaks to others about being saved. The one who prays in public. The one who prays with the sick or the grieving. And he tells you that you would certainly appear foolish in front of others by revealing your Christian faith. “You must not go very far,” he says.

He causes you to be totally worn out on Sunday mornings. Your children aren’t obeying your directions to brush their teeth and get dressed. An argument is brewing with you and your husband. Going to church isn’t worth it. I don’t want to be a hypocrite, you tell yourself. “You must not go very far,” he says.

I’m familiar with these lies, as the enemy throws them at me quite often. But just as God willed Moses to lead his chosen people out of Egypt, He wills us to leave the burden of slavery to sin and follow Him, as Peter and the other disciples did when they recognized Jesus as Messiah, the one about whom Moses had written.[3] Once we belong to Him, He offers us abundant life.[4] The enemy doesn’t want abundant life for us, so we mustn’t listen to his lies any longer. He tricks us into thinking we’re just fine with a little bit of Jesus.

[1] Exodus 5:9

[2] Exodus 8:28, italics added

[3] John 1: 35-51

[4] John 10:10