A Thanksgiving Reflection

Keep on giving your thanks to God, for he is so good! His constant, tender love lasts forever! Psalm 118:1 TPT 2020—what can I say?  It’s been unlike any year we’ve lived through.  It’s been challenging on multiple fronts.  It’s been revelatory.  It’s been what I’d term a “good hard year.”  Good because it has allowed us to see and experience things that have opened our eyes to some truths about ourselves, our world, our faith, our God. It has taught us resilience and resourcefulness.  It's forced us to rethink how we do life, caused us to readjust and, in some cases, hit the reset button.  It's caused many of us to slow down and reexamine the choices we've made. It's caused us to appreciate life and value time more. It's caused us to look around and see what matters most. It's caused many to see if what they profess to believe is what they live out in real time. Personally,  it has anchored me more deeply, tethered more tightly to the One Who is my life. As I think about, it's been a hard year for those same reasons.  It's just our nature to resist change—even when it's necessary. This Thanksgiving I am filled with gratitude for both the good and the hard. Today, as I reflect on all I have to be grateful for, I find myself pondering this thought posed by the psalmist: What if God had not been on our side?  (Psalm 124:1a TPT) It’s…

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Finding God in Interruptions

So we are convinced that every detail of our lives is continually woven together to fit into God’s perfect plan of bringing good into our lives, for we are his lovers who have been called to fulfill his designed purpose.  Romans 8:28 TPT I’d made the decision! After a year and a half of near-constant pain and cortisone shots that were becoming less and less effective. After standing in my bathroom one day in so much pain all I could do was cry (and then get angry at myself for crying).  After being given all my medical options.  “You have to decide how much pain you can live with,” Dr. S had said.  “We can try to manage the pain, but the only way to be pain-free is. . .” After years of praying and believing for a re-creative miracle, I prayerfully decided to have total knee replacement surgery. I had completed practically all the pre-surgical requirements:  blood work, total joint replacement class, exercises to strengthen quads.  All that was left was to get clearance from my dentist and a check-up with my primary care physician.  I was all set! “No surgery for you, my dear!”  Dr. Hill said. “You have an abscessed tooth.”  The look in my eyes must have shown utter disbelief coupled with disappointment because he proceeded to paint a very graphic picture of what might happen if I had surgery and got an infection (a picture, I might add, I did not need to envision). …

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Jesus Loves Me!

Then you will be empowered to discover what every holy one experiences—the great magnitude of the astonishing love of Christ in all its dimensions. How deeply intimate and far-reaching is his love! How enduring and inclusive it is! Endless love beyond measurement that transcends our understanding—this extravagant love pours into you until you are filled to overflowing with the fullness of God! Ephesians 3:18,19 The Passion Translation It was a God-ordained moment that August morning in 2005.  A rare moment when my mother and I were completely alone in her hospital room. No doctors prognosticating.  No nurses prodding.  No visitors praying.  Just the two of us, engulfed in God's peace.  A moment-–poignant and precious—that I will always hold in my heart. I gingerly climbed in the bed with Mommy and snuggled close.  She was tired. She hadn’t slept for days as if  she knew that if she closed her eyes, she’d awaken in the Presence of God.  Not that she was afraid of death; she wasn’t.  She’d seen beyond this earthly place and knew Who awaited her.  All she needed to know now was that I’d be OK. I snuggled closer and began singing:           Jesus, loves me this I know;           For the Bible tells me so;           Little ones to Him belong; They are weak, but He is strong. Mom shifted in the bed. I continued:          Yes, Jesus loves me;          Yes, Jesus loves me. . . She looked at me with knowing and sang, her…

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Unapologetically (Sorry, Not Sorry)

"But God's amazing grace has made me what I am! And his grace to me was not fruitless. In fact, I worked harder than all the rest, yet not in my own strength, but God's, for his empowering grace is poured out upon me." 1 Corinthians 15:10 The Passion Translation  She’d answer the phone speaking in tongues! “Hello, Mother Clark!” I’d say. She’d laugh with such delight as she always did when I called, and she’d say (as she always did), “Ah, Sister Deborah! Daughter, I was just thinking about you!”  She’d barely give me a chance to ask how she was or if she needed anything before she’d go straight prophetic on me, give me a “thus saith the Lord,” and then pray for me.  I’d hang up, eyes filled with tears and heart filled with gratitude. I admit I don’t remember a lot of those conversations now. But there are some that I will never forget, for the words lodged deep in my spirit.   They didn’t necessarily take root at the time, but from time to time now those words returned to me to heal, to shift my perspective, to settle me more deeply, to strengthen my resolve. I’d come home from work one afternoon and called Mother Clark just to check on her. She began telling me about a segment of the Oprah Show about birth order that she’d just watched. Then she said, “You are bold, full of dazzle and sparkle! Full of life! Gifted…

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A Change of Season

Know the importance of the season you’re in and a wise son you will be. But what a waste when an incompetent son sleeps through his day of opportunity! Proverbs 10:5 TPT  Autumn is one of my favorite seasons. I like the changing of the leaves from green to vibrant reds, and oranges, and yellows. I like to watch those leaves dancing on the breeze as they drift gingerly to the ground.  I like the sound of their crunch under my feet. I look forward to the sweater days, the hoodie days and light jacket days of fall. I even invested in a new London Fog coat this year—my ease-into-winter garment. I like the gradual shortening of days ( Daylight Saving Time disrupts my internal clock). I like “falling back” and the illusion of gaining the hour I never recovered from losing the previous Spring.  Autumn makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside. I want it to last. I want it to last right into Spring. And if not, then at least through Thanksgiving. So, when I woke one morning in early November to sub-freezing temps, saw the still-leaf-clad trees bending and breaking under the weight of ice on their branches, and read the school delays and closures that scrolled across the TV screen, I had to readjust – mentally, emotionally and physically. No easing into the idea of winter.  Winter had arrived!  I had to dig out the ice scraper buried in the trunk of the car, buy…

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The Heart and Art of Rest

And He said, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Ex. 33:14 “Almost everything will work again if you unplug if for a few minutes, including you.” Anne Lamott Introduction The waves danced at my feet and I could feel myself sinking into the soft, white sand.  This was a feeling I’d grown to love, a feeling I hadn't had for a long time.  And  I delighted in every tiny grain of sand, every ebb and flow of the waves as I walked along the Gulf shore, airpods in ear, listening to one of my favorite playlists, and feeling the kiss of the sun on my face. I hadn’t had a beach vacation in years, and I had been looking forward to sitting at the water's edge, wiggling my toes in the sand and, as terns and sandpipers skittered by, listening to God speak. The beach was  always a place of renewal and rejuvenation for me.I didn’t realize how much I needed it.  Hadn’t realized just how exhausted I was. Hadn’t realized how much the busyness of my life had depleted me of energy, motivation, focus. The Lord had spoken to me before I’d left Cincinnati that this time away would be a time of recalibration.  So I was intentional to unplug – no social media, no emails, no texts messages, no phone calls.   I was also intentional not to fill my vacation days with activity. I didn’t want to get sucked into the…

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