Our constant…

A “new normal” is coming and I feel lost. It’s darkness and confusion, like Genesis 1 all over again. “Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface.” But there was God!

He spoke the first ever recorded words in that darkness: “Let there be light.” Light! And it has NEVER changed since then.

Another unchangeable is Jesus, the true “light of the world.” (John 8:12) And in these uncertain times, it is so easy for me to forget that as I follow him, I will “never walk in darkness.” NEVER. Because he is unchanging.

The “new normal” is coming, and I feel so wobbly. But one thing is already in place – Jesus – that constant and unwavering Light. No need to fear.

Photo by Dan Russo on Unsplash

The places God comforts us…

Sometimes our emotions hurt too much and we hide from God. But, if we could take a deep breath and open our Bibles, we could find God’s comfort. “The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18) He cares so much for us.

Taking a walk can bring comfort. For me, it was watching a bird hop along a path, trying to escape my approach. Suddenly it stretched its wings and flew away. And God reminded me that I too can get away from those who threaten me. He says, “I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself.” (Exodus 19:4)

Talking with a friend is another way. The Bible says, “Then those who feared the Lord talked with each other, and the Lord listened and heard.” (Malachi 3:16) God wants us to share our hearts and hurts, for this too is his comfort.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Can we ever get unbroken?

I once believed that brokenness was for life. I would never become unbroken. I might never be able to move on.

How wrong I was. Just as God took chaos and spoke this beautiful earth into place, he can do the same for us. He speaks over each one of us: “But you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings and you will go out and frolic…” (Malachi 4:2)

Healing comes through relationship. As we honour our God, put him first, love him with all our broken hearts, he does his part. He rises like the sun over our dark and hurting lives. He brings us healing and joy.

Photo by Javier Allegue Barros on Unsplash

Unexpected freedom at twenty-one…

Something spooked my father and we fled until he felt safe – a thousand miles. We finally set up tents on an Arizona mountain, beside a road built by prisoners of war. For three weeks we camped in that desolate wilderness. 

In the silence, I played my accordion. My melody echoed with the remembered chisel sounds of those prisoners. I too was a captive to someone else’s fear. Yet my fingers played something far more captivating… 

“Oh the deep, deep love of Jesus
Vast, unmeasured, boundless, free
Rolling as a mighty ocean
In its fullness over me, underneath me, all around me
Is the current of your love
Leading onward, leading homeward
To your glorious rest above.”

Jesus holds us tight in a love that understands.

Composer: Samuel Trevor Francis (1834-1925).  Photo: OB OA on Unsplash.

On Unclipped Wings – a friend’s reaction

He said, “Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction. I found myself immersed and, as I read, I kept wondering how a story like this could take place. I wondered how much more psychological battering the key player, a daughter, could take, and what motivated her religious parents to act and speak as they did. 

This account relates how a daughter’s freedom was seriously restricted, even into adulthood, and how she was repeatedly devalued and considered to have no potential. I expected her to become embittered and broken, to rebel against religion. But, for the grace of God… 

Her story is well told, engaging, and not quickly forgotten. I was challenged by her resilience and positive attitude, that she survived and then triumphed, that beauty grew in adversity.”

Thank you, friend.

We can pass on comfort…

Yesterday I met a stranger who is fed-up and utterly underwhelmed by his job. He said, “Sometimes I lose the will to live.”

I had no wise answer, no words of encouragement, even though I have been in those same shoes as well. But I made a comment and this person started laughing. And then I remembered, this is how God often comforts me.

For, “we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” (2 Corinthians 1:4) In my troubles God gives me laughter. A clumsy mistake with a funny antic. A sudden ACHOO in a silent library. Watching a duck skid on ice.

Each of us can pass on the comfort God gives us. 

Photo by Jan Tinneberg on Unsplash

No fear is too big!

I have waited four long years for the release of my memoir. At first I gave power to the person who threatened it with legal action if I published it traditionally. But two months ago, a new realization dawned on me. God is bigger than any situation. He is stronger. He is good. And, HE is the one in control. 

I don’t know why it has taken me this long to understand, but now I have a different perspective: “We wait in hope for the Lord, for he is our help and shield.” (Psalm 33:20) No more do I hope for that person to change their mind, instead I hope in God. HE is the one in charge. HE will do what is right, and HE will do it at the right time.

Hope in hopelessness

In January I gave a talk on hope. I struggled in the preparation and went to Derek for help. He asked me one question: “What is the opposite of hope?”

“It’s hopelessness,” I said, and suddenly I identified. I understood. Hopelessness is a deep dejection that nothing will improve, a choking fear that it will always be the same, a desperate feeling of no remedy or cure…

I am still thinking about hope, telling others, and applying it to my life. I trust this ‘Hope Hand’ blesses you as it has blessed me. 

Don’t give up!

I complained to a friend about not finding the right story for a children’s talk. But my friend showed no sympathy. “Write your own!” she said.

I was taken aback. I had no talent, or even any interest in writing. My life was too busy anyway. But God used her comment, even though it seemed too crazy to consider…

Now, eleven years later, with forty-four re-writes, twenty-seven rejections from publishers, and an illustrator who marched on valiantly, this Creation book has finally come to life!

Yes, there were those who helped me get back up, again and again. There was also a Bible verse. “Do not despise the day of small beginnings.” (Zechariah 4:10)

What is your seemingly-impossible small beginning? Accept every encouragement, and don’t give up!

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Coming soon. January 2018. Thank you, Sarah Grace Publishing!