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“My heart will choose to say273875221061192505_k4upYWa7_b
Lord, blessed be Your name”

Worship is a beautiful, action to participate in … in the sanctuary, under our roof, out in the open of God’s creation.

Some days our worship is ritualistic … I do it because I should.

“When I’m found in the desert place”

Some days our worship is intimate … I do it intimately, even in a crowded room.

“In the land that is plentiful”

Some days our worship is robotic … I do it, hoping the outward becomes the inner.

“When the darkness closes in”

Some days our worship is joy-filled … bursting from every cell in our body.

“When the world’s ‘all as it should be”

Some days our worship is loud and proud … I do it with a party in my soul.

“Where Your streams of abundance flow”

Some days our worship is silent … I am a face in the crowd, but I cannot open my mouth.

“On the road marked with suffering”

Some days our worship is against our will … through the clenched teeth of an angry heart.

“When the darkness closes in, Lord”

Some days our worship is saturated by the tears of our heart.

“Though there’s pain in the offering”

Worship is not limited to where we are, when we are there, who we are with, how we feel or the circumstances of our lives at that specific time. Worship is an act of love, respect and honor and it is received as that. Worship is good when things are going well, but it is even better when we can worship our Creator through times of difficulty, suffering and pain.

As I sang the words,

“You give and take away”

It, that which I lost, that which I loved, came clearly into my mind, and for a moment the sorrow of loss weighed heavy on my heart. For a moment that common heart response emerged into my thoughts … why?

When we lose something we love, when our life takes a u-turn, when plans change, and loss is what we feel most profoundly, it is then that why comes crawling back. The word without a consoling response. The word with no bandage effect. The word that causes festering, more pain, more sorrow.

Then came the next line, the one with the salve that gives healing, comfort, consolation …

“My heart will choose to say
Lord, blessed be Your name”

To choose to say, in the pain, in the suffering, in the darkness, in the sorrow, in the loss,

Lord, blessed by Your name

That is the only covering bandage that will make what is lost to not be the end of the story.

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
And naked shall I return there.
The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away;
Blessed be the name of the Lord.”

Job 1:21

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I was feeling discouraged and alone.

Choose joy …

Ugh! Not again! Those two words sneak up and shake me every time.

Choose joy …

But, but my heart is heavy!

If you choose joy, it will be light …

But, I feel sad!

If you choose joy the sadness will lift like morning fog …

But, this stuff is just not fair!

If you choose joy, fair will be re-defined …

But, my heart … well, it’s broken …

Mourning will last for a night … JOY comes in the morning …

But, I just want to be heard

He is always listening … choose joy …

But, I just do cannot see the future!

It is what we cannot see that is eternal … choose joy …

But, I want to see!

He has plans to give you a future and a hope … choose joy …

But, I just don’t know which way to go!

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go … choose joy …

But, I am just so tired!

He enjoys giving rest to those he loves … choose joy …

Do you know what I am going through?

(silence)

Hello?

(silence)

Did you hear me?

He gave …

What?

He gave for you …

What did He give?

His only son …

Oh …

He knows what you are going through … choose joy.

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Have you ever felt like ‘anxious’ is the most sincere response you could give to the common question, “how are you today?” I would bet my last dollar (which is the bank’s dollar anyway) that your response to that question was not an honest “anxious” but instead the typical response, “fine” with a sugar-coated smile to complete your fakery. I know this because I have done it too, and I think we all have. It is so very difficult to be honest about the things that we worry and fret about.

Anxiety, worry, fear … those are all common feelings to us all. They can rip at our very being, taking over our every thought, controlling our every moment, and even putting our physical health at risk.

Just last night I read the following:

“Do not be calm about anything,
but in everything,
continuing to grasp at control and busyness,
with an entitled attitude,
keep your worry to yourself.
And the stress and anxiety
that overwhelms and suffocates
will eat away at your
heart, mind and very existence.”

Now I do not know if this is original by my friend Jenn, or if she was quoting someone else, but, it really made me stop, and wonder, is that me? Is that how I, really and truly, live my life? Is that who I am in my most furthest place from “fine”, my truest me?

I asked myself, those questions and quickly replied to myself (yes, I do sometimes converse with myself … there is no mind reading in those conversations), “no, not me” … echos of “fine” ringing in my ears.

Then I thought of the day before;

  • I was not calm, but I had so much to get done
  • grasping at control and busyness, but I had to because things needed to get done
  • with an entitled attitude, but they needed to get done right, and that (of course) meant that I needed to do them!
  • I kept my worry to myself, but, well, what good does it do to burden someone else with my problems?
  • my heart, mind and existence were … occupied, full and frazzled … but, but

What my friend had written was the opposite, or flipped version of one of the most encouraging, strengthening, empowering and freeing messages of God to us in our broken, stress-filled, anxiety-ridden world and lives.

“Do not be anxious about anything,
but in every situation,
by prayer and petition,
with thanksgiving,
present your requests to God.
And the peace of God,
which transcends all understanding,
will guard your
hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4:6-7

Why would we choose to allow:

“the stress and anxiety that overwhelms and suffocates to eat away at our hearts, minds and very existence”

over

“the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus?”

Thank-you Jenn, for flipping my thinking!

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With hubby off on his East Coast trip, I have re-learned the beauty of sleeping alone in a queen-sized bed, and hubby is going to be shocked with the changes.

Since he has not been here to insinuate that I snore (what a horrible thing to say! He says it is a horrible thing to hear), and therefore I should not sleep on my back, I have become a back sleeper. I have also gotten quite accustomed to sleeping diagonally across the bed.

Since hubby has been gone I have also learned more important things than the benefits of sleeping solo.

I have heard and read 1 Corinthians 7:8 many times, and it has always made me wonder about how Paul’s words  apply to my own life; “to the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single as I am.”

It is intriguing that, in Genesis 2:18, “the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.””

So, which is it? Better to be single, or married?

Well, I think I might have it figured out … (the Christian church accepts no responsibility for the opinions expressed in this grammatically flawed blog, featuring little … NO …  formal theological training upon which to trust what I say to be anywhere near Biblically accurate).

When a woman is married, it is easy, natural to look to her husband as the main one to meet all of her needs. It is a natural thing for a wife (or husband) to look to her spouse as the supplier, sustainer, provider and protector. But, in doing this, what the woman has done is replaced the God, who is all of that, with a human being, who was never intended to be more than a helper, a partner to walk through life’s journey. A person to make the walk easier, less lonely, and to experience human oneness of mind, heart body and spirit.

I think that maybe what Paul is saying is that when we chose to marry, although that pairing up might be what God intended (to defeat loneliness). It also means that our spouse can have God-like expectations heaped on him, or her. And these expectations take our eyes, our focus, off the only true Provider, Supplier, Sustainer, and Protector that we were meant to rely on.

Then, in 1 Corinthians 7:32-35, Paul mixes me up even more!

“I want you to live as free of complications as possible.
When you’re unmarried, you’re free to concentrate on simply pleasing the Master.
Marriage involves you in all the nuts and bolts of domestic life
and in wanting to please your spouse,
leading to so many more demands on your attention.
The time and energy that married people spend on caring for and nurturing each other,
the unmarried can spend in becoming whole and holy instruments of God.
I’m trying to be helpful and make it as easy as possible for you,
not make things harder.
All I want is for you to be able to develop a way of life in which
you can spend plenty of time together with the Master without a lot of distractions.”
So, another challenge of marriage, is that there are more demands on your attention, time and energies, and that means less to spend with God.
It is not that it is a bad thing to spend time “caring for and nurturing each other,” that is something we must do for each other in the marriage relationship, for it to survive. But it does divide our energies and attention more, and in that, our lives become more complicated.
This is why it is so imperative that, when we marry, we do so to one who shares our love for God, so that our marriage can also strengthen and encourage our relationship with our God.
Without hubby here, I have been freed to spend this week with my Maker. Although there are still distractions ALL around me (if Paul had been a mother, he might not have even addressed marriage), I have had more still, quiet moments with my Creator. And it is that which will make me a better wife.
“For your Maker is your husband, the Lord of hosts is his name;
and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer,
the God of the whole earth he is called.”
Isaiah 54:5

					

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