Prompted By Fall Color

This is part of a 31 Day series for the month of October.  I chose not to write today, but rather, post some pictures of beautiful fall color. The color this year is still coming on and I have not taken many pictures yet. These were taken on various excursions in Tennessee and Kentucky in 2006 and 2011,  as you will note by the dates posted.  Enjoy and God Bless! 

Fairhaven, Roan Mountain, Tennessee

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a few from Cherokee park in Louisville:

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and finally, this one from the seminary campus in Louisville, Ky.

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Falling into grace,

Teresa

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Prompted By Suffering

…the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord. Job 1:21b

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Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. Psalm 139:16

Whatever you’re suffering, God has a hand in it.  He knows the outcome and he gives grace for the journey no matter how hard or long.  Please, if you are suffering, or weary of the battle, give it to God and let his grace sustain you. He knew you before you were born and he will be with you in life and hold you even in death.  He gives life everlasting for all who will believe and call upon the name of the Lord.

I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes–I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me! Job 19:25-27

Sustained by grace,

Teresa

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Prompted By Rain

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Today’s post is Part of a 31 Day writing series where I choose moments from my life and let them be my writing prompt for the day. Today’s thoughts were prompted by the much needed rain that came pouring down this morning. It reminded me of how much I love a cozy rainy day, but also of how sometimes depression comes like rain on my soul, and so I wanted to encourage you to praise God in the rain.

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I love a rainy day.  We are having some much needed rain in our part of the country and somehow it is fitting that it is happening on a Monday.  There is a line from a Carpenter’s song that says “rainy days and Monday’s always get me down.”  I suppose it is true sometimes that our feelings are on the downward slope when the rain is pouring and the sun is absent. Traditionally, Monday’s have always gotten a bad rap as well.

For me, Monday’s are usually my chill day.  The day I don’t feel as obligated to do house-y things.  The day I unofficially consider my day to just be.  If you add rain to the mix, then that further reinforces the freedom from doing.  It is an excuse to linger under the covers, or read a good book, or just sit and stare into space with my dreams flitting in and out of conscious thought. If there is a little thunder and lightening, even better.  It just notches the cozy up a bit.

What if the rain doesn’t make you feel cozy? What if Rainy Days and Mondays really do get you down.  What if all your days feel like a big thunderstorm that just won’t go away?  What then?

Sometimes the storms of life, or even just the rainy drizzle of life can get us down. We find ourselves hiding under the covers, not because it’s cozy, but because we just can’t find the energy or motivation to actually swing our legs over the side of the bed.  We think that life must be just one big crap-shoot and whatever happens is the luck of the draw.  I’m here to tell you that kind of thinking will get you nowhere fast.

We can’t let the thunder crash our world to pieces.  We can’t let the lightening send us cowering under the covers in fear.  We can’t let the rain melt us into nothing.  (Sorry, on a roll with the metaphors- bear with me for one more.)  When we are downtrodden by life like wet leaves under foot, we must not lose faith.

We all have storms in our lives – days that feel never ending with no hope in sight. If we expect to sail through life under sunny skies we are going to be sadly disappointed because real life includes the rain.  When the rain comes we don’t have to weather it alone. (Sorry, I like puns too.)  We have a comforter we can turn too.

Turning to God for comfort does not mean all of our problems will miraculously disappear.  That would be naive thinking.  What it does mean, is that even in the midst of our trials and depression, he will be with us.  For me, this doesn’t always bring immediate relief from my burden, but actively praying and asking God to help me bear my burden is an act of faith on my part that says I believe you are with me and that you will help me.  There are days I have to pray that prayer often.  Maybe you will too.  The best thing we can do on those rainy days and Monday’s is to give the weight of our weariness to God.

The next step is to praise God.  Even if you don’t feel like praising him, do it anyway. Tell him you love him and are thankful for his blessings, tell him you will praise him even when life is at it’s worst.  Sing a song of praise to him in spite of the fact that you may be dripping in tears.  Find scripture passages about praising God and pray those.

You may still be depressed, but you will have exercised your faith and that does three things.  It invites God to partner with you, it lets the devil know that you are not giving up and it strengthens your faith.  It says, With God I will prevail no matter what.

I’m reminded of a Casting Crowns song that says it so much better than my words.  I first heard this song a few years ago while driving home from work.  It came on the radio and immediately the tears fell because it said the words I needed to say to God – “I Will Praise You In This Storm.”

Listen close and you’ll hear him say “I’m with you” and that will be enough.  You will praise him again.

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Praising in the rain by grace,

Teresa

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