Petition

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39

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Life is hard.  Many of us have been through some things in recent months. I have grieved the loss of my mother, a dear friend’s loss of her sister and another dear friend who just this week lost her mother.  In addition to the loss of loved ones, there are other griefs we bear. Some we share and some we hold close in our heart hoping to shield them from prying eyes. In the midst of our hurt, we don’t’ always feel like giving thanks or celebrating.

At least lately that has been my story.  But God is faithful and he is holy. He is worthy of our trust in any and all circumstances. He is worthy of our praise and thanksgiving.  He alone is worthy.

So, today, on the eve of Thanksgiving and the weeks of Christmas preparation that this season ushers in I felt the need to utter a petition on our behalf.

Dear Heavenly Father,

You, above all, are faithful and Holy. 

Hold us close to your bosom and whisper your peace into our souls.

We are weary and battered from our travels; our steps falter under loads we were not meant to bear.

We lay our burdens at your feet asking humbly that you take the weight off our shoulders; steady us and walk alongside. 

Shield us from the fiery darts flung carelessly our way; Intercept them and render them useless to be used for harm.

We seek your wisdom and guidance; Lead us ever gently along the path you have designed.

We stand before you with open arms ready to receive, with gratitude, all that you bestow.

Wrap us in your love and let it overflow so that we may gift it to others.

With thankful hearts in the name of Jesus, we entreat your mercies. 

Amen.

 

If you haven’t read the 31 Day Series, A Journey Through Grief and would like to you can click here to be taken to the table of contents page.  

Grace for the journey,

Teresa

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Joy!

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Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for it is now that God favors what you do. Ecclesiastes 9:7

Yesterday I was holding on to hope and trying my best to be joyful about my colonoscopy.  I determined to practice thanksgiving with every drop of that gutter swill I had to drink.

I was doing my best to put it all in God’s hands and trust that all would be well.  So, I chose to trust in the face of my fear.  Praying about it, clinging to a scripture and writing about it helped.  It enabled me to focus on the big picture instead of worrying about a minor glitch in the road.

If you have ever had any kind of invasive procedure, then I’m sure you well know, that a certain amount of anxiety goes with.  I’m learning that it is not always about getting rid of the anxiety, but harnessing it and allowing God to be in control.  Even if you want to freak out and run the other way choosing to let God handle the situation builds your faith in him.  And, he is faithful.

I’m happy to report that I managed to drink all the nastiness in that jug (minus a few drops here and there).  I managed to keep my spirits up by practicing thanksgiving for the little things such as the pink ladies blooming in my yard, or how wonderful White grape juice tastes.  I reminded myself with every drop that I could do all things through Christ who gives me strength.

I’m further happy to report with joy that even though they found a polyp, it was non-cancerous.  It is being biopsied to find out exactly what kind of polyp it is as that will determine if I go back in three years, or five. Apparently, some polyps are pre-cancerous and some are not.  Not, would get me five years, so that is my hope.

Even with that looming large in five (or three), I still am joyful because basically I received a clean bill of health and the meds didn’t seem to make me goofy and I know that God was with me.  After some initial nervousness and high blood pressure I calmed down and all was well.

Further, it was with great joy that I came home and ate my food with gladness, and drank my wine (ginger ale) with a joyful heart.  Thankful that God found favor with me and answered my prayers.  He is always faithful.

He is always faithful in good times and bad.  Even if my outcome today had been different, I would still rejoice in the goodness of a loving God.  He is always working on our behalf in all situations and if we ask he enables us to find joy in all things.

How are you finding joy today?  Whether it be choosing joy in the midst of a trial, or finding joy in such an everyday occurrence as a cheeseburger and ginger ale just know that the giver of our joy is always with us and he will always lead us right.

I would be remiss if I did not thank all of you that were faithful to pray for me. That too is part of our joy.  Praying for and encouraging one another.  God Bless!

Joy in grace,

Teresa

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The pictures included with today’s post and yesterday’s were taken in Virginia back in June when we took a little trip.  Such beautiful countryside where we were.  I have more pictures I’ll try to post soon.  My favorite way to travel is on the back roads looking for bits of beauty. Isn’t Mrs. Cow lovely, with her babe?

I Simply Stood in the Moments

I learned a much needed lesson during Thanksgiving.  Just be. In the moment.  I discovered that there is much less stress when you reside in the moment.   Oh, I knew this in theory and had attempted to practice it, but never quite mastered it.

 

You see, the holidays – that time from Thanksgiving through Christmas has always stressed and depressed me a little bit.  I get really melancholy around this time of year and the Ghost of Christmas past comes out to haunt me.  I latch onto the Ghost of Christmas Future, imagining how it will be better and I totally forget to entertain the Ghost of Christmas Present.  Now, I know the Dicken’s story well, and I realize that I am taking some liberties, because we all know none of the Ghost bring good news – that is, if you’re not willing to change.  But, I think you get my drift.  I allow the past to haunt me and I dream of a better future and I forget to live, really live in the present.  And yes, sometimes I act like I am related to Scrooge.

I worry about the stress of cooking the Christmas meal and trying to fit in all the Christmas visits with family and what to buy and the list goes on and on. And before long I really just want this month long celebration to be over.  It seems that everybody is trying to do too much and we forget the babe in the manger.

 

Did you hear me?  We forget the babe in the manger.  Over the past few years, little by little I have let go of some of the trappings of Christmas and have not obligated myself to so much bustle.  I don’t do cards, I don’t buy lots of gifts and most of the one’s I do purchase are put in gift bags. I haven’t even put up a tree in our small seminary apartment because we are usually gone the week of Christmas and we are short on space.  I don’t attend every Christmas function that is available to me – I select just a few that will feed my soul.

But, I still let the stress of the family dinner get to me.  And all the travel plans and packing.  I just want to rest and be. Holy. Wholly in Him.

This year is different.  I’m still not doing most of the things I don’t do anymore.     And I don’t feel guilty about it.  If, on a whim, I decide to change it up and add a tradition or two back in, then that’s allowed, but I don’t plan it.  That way if it happens then it’s a surprise and it’s an enjoyable experience.  But the difference this year?  I’m not going to worry about planning for the family.  I’m just going to let things happen naturally and if it is less than perfect, I don’t think it will be a big deal.

That is the lesson of Thanksgiving.  I didn’t do major shopping, I didn’t plan an elaborate meal.  I didn’t worry about who would show up and who wouldn’t.  I didn’t even do a turkey.  We had Crock Pot Roast beef and some simple fixings. I made my mother’s scalloped potatoes, because she wasn’t able to do them and they were almost as good as hers  (I used way too much buttah y’all).

I actually enjoyed the meal and I didn’t feel like I’d been run over by a Mac truck.  I simply stood in the moments and lived and breathed and enjoyed.  And I was thankful.

So, I’ve decided that Christmas dinner at my families will have the same approach.  We won’t over plan, we’ll (dad) just simply shop as usual, then fix a nice comforting meal that the whole family can enjoy if they choose and if someone decides not to participate for whatever reason that will be their choice.  And it will be ok.

And I will remember the baby in the manger.  He will be my focus and my strength; my Hope joy, peace and love.  I will not need Ghosts to remind me to live in the present.

“God Bless us everyone.”

 

Go in Grace,

Sadie