At one time I was hurt by something my husband did. . . we got over it but I remember him saying, “I’m sorry I made you angry.”  I told him I wasn’t angry, I was hurt. 

Some time back I received a new hurt . . .  A HUGE hurt.  I have found out over the last few years, since it happened that if you hurt long enough it will build into anger.  Because that is what has happened, that hurt has built into a huge anger.

 I really had not noticed this until recently, as we are approaching Christmas, there is a circumstance of unforgiveness happening in our family.  My Dad has not forgiven my brother for . . . something.  I don’t even know what the circumstances are.  However, I got very angry and didn’t know why, after all it wasn’t something I did or even new about.  The anger just seemed to build and build and build. 

 I could not figure this out.  Why was I angry?  This thought just kept coming into my mind over and over again.

 I realized years ago, my Dad offered forgiveness to someone who had done a serious hurt to me, his daughter.  My Dad gave them forgiveness.  I was incredibly hurt by his forgiving them, when I was so very hurt and damaged. 

 I have forgiven the person who hurt me.  Now, it is time to forgive my Dad. 

And to remember . . . hurt and anger are not that far apart. 

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Today is voting day for most people in our nation – my husband and I voted early, as we have for a number of years.

 What better day for a new Freedom to Praise blog post.

 There are people my dad talks about, that I never knew, who died for my right to vote.  In addition to insuring for me the right to vote, they insured for me the right to practice my faith in freedom.  These men, who I never knew, also left me a heritage of faith.  They were among the faithful and through their lives they helped insure for me the right to freely practice my faith. 

 Yes, I can practice my faith whether I have this freedom or not, but it certainly makes a difference that I can freely congregate with others and receive support and encouragement from them.  I frequently, as I pray for other countries each day, realize how very blessed I am in this regard. 

 Today it is so very important to exercise your right to vote.  Yes, you and I may not agree on who we are voting for, even so I am just as glad that you have this freedom to choose as I do.  For if you did not have this freedom then neither would I. 

 God bless you and go vote!

Worked on a quilt today – first time in quite a while that I have worked on a quilt.  Lately, I have been doing a lot of knitting.  I have a couple of quilt tops that need quilting and I have a quilt top that needs making . . . so that is what I worked on today.

As I sit at my front window, where my sewing machine is located, I look out and see the trees bowing before the wind.  I sit here quite comfortable in my snug house . . . no need yet for the heater but I do have one if it gets cold.  I just go adjust the thermostat and on comes the heater.  This is something of a marvel as I sit quilting and thinking about quilts.

I do not make my own clothes or those of my family, so my quilts are not made out of scraps or repurposed garments.  Unlike my Grandma and my great Aunts, I do not have a need of quilts for protection from the cold.

As for the scraps or repurposed garments, they are not included but each and every color and piece of material is selected for that person and/or those persons.  I want these quilts to be used and enjoyed, not just put away as a “nice” gift . . . but a gift of purpose and comfort.

As I was sitting thinking of these things and of my Grandma, I realized that I do make my quilts for warmth.  As I make a quilt I think of the loved ones for whom I am making the quilt.  I pray that God will bless these people that I love.  The warmth that I want these quilts to provide is the warmth of knowing that the person using the quilt is well loved.  Loved at great price by Christ my Savior and loved at small price by me with the work and prayers that I put into the quilts.

I also think of the connection that I have with those ancestors who performed this same “work” of necessity or entertainment.  I receive warmth from these thoughts as well . . . thinking of my Grandma, of my great Aunts, of those who have gone before me.

My Mom said, years ago, that if any of us children were to leave home and move away she hoped it would be me.  This may sound a bit odd, but her reasoning was that I would be the one most likely to keep in contact with her.  I loved to write letters and she loved to get them from me.

 

Years later, I am the one that stayed closest to home.  But, I still love to write letters. 

 

I love sending cards and when the offer came up to get some cards from DaySpring and share them with others, I could not wait for the chance to participate.

 

I am a card sender.  I send cards for the usual . . . new babies, graduation from high school, college, or even kindergarten, sympathy for losses, etc.  I also send cards for the “no reason” but that I felt the need to send one to a friend. 

 

Many is the time that a friend has said later, “That card came just on the day that I needed it.”  The days they are talking about are basically ordinary days . . . but they are the days which we all have when the world just seems to be too much for us to handle at that give moment in time. 

 

I try to never ignore the impression in my spirit that I need to send a card.  Many is the time that I believe God has put that message in my heart to help a friend’s heart. 

 

For this reason the opportunity to receive and share words of encouragement in the form of beautiful, thoughtful cards was just perfect for me.

 

So, the folks at DaySpring asked me to share who I would send cards to . . .

 

            a friend whose son has left home . . . rebelling against his parents (I have lived through similar experience)

 

            a friend who has diligently worked teaching children in our church, she tends to send cards out as well, thanking her for her service

 

            our Choir Director . . . she works full time and leads our worship service

 

            a couple who are friends who are struggling with business decisions and personal decisions regarding an elderly parent . . . their plate is overflowing right now

 

            a friend who just sounds like she needs a “word”  . . . a hug in the form of a card letting her know that she is thought of and prayed for

 

Who would you send a card to . . . for no reason other than – we are all here on this place to encourage each other – they are like letters from home – from one heart to another.

            

Is everyday really like every other day?

The sun comes up in the east – yet it moves, sometimes the most minute movement but none the less it moves from north to south and then back again.

We think there is sameness.

But there isn’t. . . we are not the same as we were yesterday.  Every day we are different regardless of how different yesterday was or wasn’t as compared to the day before.

Each day we learn something – whether we realize it or not.  We learn to hide a new hurt, we learn to deal with a new pain, we learn to live through fear, we learn to enjoy a cup of hot tea, we learn to enjoy the little moments of life in a new way.  We look at our children, grandchildren, and even our spouse . . . they too are different every day.

Life is to be lived in the moment . . . for the moment is all that we have.

 

This me as a young Mom.  I remember this person vaguely.  Recently I read an article about comparing yourself with others.  Yes, I do that like many women.  However, I have found myself comparing me now to the me I used to be.  

 

Getting older was never a big deal for me.  At age sixteen I had gray hair, so when my friends got their first gray hair at thirty years of age that was no big deal for me.  Been there and done that kind of thing.  

 

Earlier this year my doctor (who is my age) commented on my health.  He wanted me to take a new medication and I did not want ANOTHER to my growing pile of medicines.  His comment was, “You are 60 years old.  That means you have at least another twenty to twenty five years of life.”  

 

WHAT!!!!! 

 

I never really thought of my life that way.  

 

What I have thought of though, lots of times, is that following breast cancer a few years ago and the subsequent radiation and chemical therapy for five years (the daily pill kind not the chemical in your blood king) I want the me I used to be.  Getting up sometimes is overwhelming.  Just getting out of bed, with the joints not wanting to work, with the bones hurting, with no breath. . . 

 

I remember that woman — she had energy, grit determination . . . life.

 

Some days I do in fact have that woman inside of me . . . 

 

My prayers are that whatever I have left (the 20 years or so) that woman is inside of me combined with the new woman that knows to live life more fully in the moment than ever before.  

 

I want to live all that God has for me, for however long He has it for me, and those days when it is so incredibly difficult to get out of bed (physically) I trust He will give me the strength to carry on in His will. 

Sacrifice of Praise

 

I am studying through the Psalms with Wendy Pope (http://wendypope.org/psalm-study/. I am a bit behind as I am only on Psalm 13.  While I am behind Wendy, I am right where God wishes me to be.  Today I listened to her comments on Psalm 13, where David is asking God “How long wilt thou forget me, O Lord? for ever? how long wilt thou hide thy face from me?” (Psalm 13:1, KJV)

 

I am in a season of “how long” and have been for what seems like forever.  Today’s lesson came just at the right time in God’s time.

 

One of the things that really spoke to me today was to bring a “sacrifice of praise” in the midst of our “how long.”  How difficult it is to bring a sacrifice to God.  He laid out for the Israelites the sacrifices they were to bring and He was very specific.  These sacrifices were the first fruits not the left-overs.  I realized that in the midst of my “how longs” a sacrifice of praise is just as difficult, perhaps more so, as a first fruit of my labor.  First fruits of my labor are technically outside of my body.  A sacrifice of praise must come from inside my heart.  This is of the most difficult of gifts.  To bring a sacrifice of praise . . . I shall do this in the midst of my “how long” . . . coming from inside surely will turn my face back to God.

 

Recently I read, again:

Hebrews 12:2  Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. (KJV)

I don’t like to suffer.  I don’t like pain.  And recently there has been a lot of both and both physical and emotional.

A few years ago, in a Bible study, I read the above verse and was struck at that time with the fact that I am going to suffer here on earth – there is no option.  But in reading the verse I realized that I too have a joy set before me . . . I will spend eternity with my God and my Saviour.

This gives me strength and peace in the midst of my pain.  God loves me! My hope is in Him!

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“Today we are starved for rest, to know God beyond what we can do for Him.  We are starved for quiet, to hear the sound of sheer silence that is the presence of God Himself.” (Invitation to Solitude and Silence, by Ruth Haley Barton, p. 21)

 

This is freedom to praise – to know God just by the presence of our being. 

 

One of the biggest difficulties I face on a daily basis is that I was brought up to believe in “production.”  If you are not “producing” you are not worthy.  While I was employed I served . . . God, my family, my fellow man . . . I was productive and thus I was worthy of taking up space here on this earth.  Now I struggle daily with being worthy and many times feel extremely unworthy.

 

However, I am hearing that God wants me just for me.  Yes, as it says in James “faith without works is dead.”  When God calls me to do something according to His will, I am to participate, to “produce.”  However, sometimes God is calling me to be . . . to be His . . . to hear Him.

 

One may think that because I am retired I have plenty of silence.  This is so incredibly false.  My mind tells me all kinds of things continuously . . . I am not working I am not worth anything since I don’t receive a paycheck.  I am not of any use to God, at the present time He does not have me teaching or “doing” anything “worthy” . . . just studying His Word and being a support to others.  The noise in my head is overwhelming.

 

I have begun reading Invitation to Solitude and Silence, not as an escape from the world but as a possibility of being of more to God and through Him. 

 

11 And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: 12 And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. 13 And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah? (1 Kings 19:11-13 King James Version)

 

A painful realization this morning . . . reading a book by Patsy Clairmont,  Under His Wings and other places of refuge. 

I keep praying that I want God to speak to me, that I want to do His will, that I want to do something BIG for Him. 

Well, what if His will is NOT for me to speak to women’s groups, nor to sing, not to . . . whatever I have in mind.  What if His will is for cancer to come back?  No, that is NOT what I want. 

God, help me, please, to realize that whatever you desire for my life is what will ultimately be the best for my life.  Help me, please, to rest in this realization and trust in You. 

It is hard, Lord.