Monday, August 31, 2015


Usually I am not afraid of spiders.

My kids will tell you.  I am a beast at killing spiders, squashing them with a tissue and tossing them into the toilet before flushing them away forever and all eternity.  I have saved screaming children from spiders on many occasions in the past.


This morning I'd gotten up for a brief spell, and was just climbing back into bed to read my Bible for a bit.  I placed my cushioned backrest in position and climbed into bed, pulling my covers up over my lap.

A flash of motion caught the corner of my eye, and I looked down.  On the top edge of my covers, right where the sheet turns neatly back over the upper edge of my blanket, right where these covers nestled against my body, scuttled a massive, hairy, gray-scaled spider.

I bellowed a primordial scream of death.  Usually spiders do not cause me such alarm, but the combined size and proximity of this creature made it something quite fearsome.

As I screamed, the spider twitched and darted creepily into a crevice within my covers, where I couldn't see him.  So, obviously, I continued to scream, twisting, thrashing and trying to get away while simultaneously grabbing for a tissue from my nightstand.

The spider emerged from under my covers and ran down the side of my bed to the floor.  I was experiencing a strange physical sensation of paralysis, combined with panic and the utmost need to know exactly where the thing was at all times.

When Shawn arrived, I was leaning out over the spider from my bed, tissue in extended hand, as the screams continued to emanate from my throat.

"What is the matter?" he asked.

"Huge spider," I gasped, gesturing.  He saw it--it was far too huge to miss--gulped back an exclamation, snatched the tissue from my fingers and obliterated it.  Yes, he saved me.

But then he gave me my coffee, a large mug.  Caffeine was not, perhaps, the best thing to follow up an experience like that.

It took me literally four hours to stop trembling.

God at work VII (and gluten-free chocolate cake)

I am thankful to God because we had a good weekend.

Jon's birthday was Thursday, and we took him out for dinner.   But on Saturday, we had a little birthday barbecue with some friends from church.  We ate hamburgers, hot dogs, brats, potato salad, coleslaw, beans, fresh veggies, guacamole, and gluten-free chocolate cake.  Jon said he wanted me to be able to share in the cake; I thought that was terrifically sweet of him.  More about the cake (and the recipe) in a minute.  We also played Dominion, a new game we learned while we were on vacation at the beach.

On Sunday, Jon came home with us after church and we feasted on the leftovers from the barbecue.  Then we went shopping for birthday shoes for him.  It was a very nice day.

And... about the cake.  Even though Jon had expressed that he wanted me to be able to eat it too, I was planning on going easy and fixing him a boxed mix.  I was sure I had one.  However, in the end, the only boxed mix in the pantry was Red Velvet, and although Red Velvet is okay, it isn't anyone's favorite, and I didn't want to serve it on his birthday.

I decided that it would be less work to make a scratch cake than to go to the store again.

This may or may not have been true.


As I thought through my scratch options, I realized that if I mixed up a cake from scratch, I might as well go for gluten-free.  Then I remembered that I had a bunch of almond flour that I'd ordered through Amazon and hadn't yet opened.

I looked at "gluten-free chocolate cakes" online, but they all looked flat and dense, like brownies.  If I wanted birthday brownies, I'd make birthday brownies.  I wanted birthday cake.  So I made up my own recipe, prayed, went forth...

And it was really good!  God blessed my efforts, my weekend, and my birthday boy.

The cake.  Frosted.

The cake.  Decorated.

The cake.  Cut.  
Note the traditional, cakey texture.  
It was fluffy and moist, lightly nutty because of the almond flour, 
absolutely delectable to me, as I have not had real cake since forever.

I warned our guests with a disclaimer that this cake was gluten-free.  They loved the cake and said they never would have known it was gluten-free if I had not told them.  They also commented that they enjoyed the almond kick from the almond flour.

Gluten-free Chocolate Cake

1 cup almond flour
1 cup oat flour
1/2 cup coconut flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 and 1/3 cups butter, softened
1 cup sugar (use organic if you think it matters)
4 eggs
1 Tbsp vanilla
2/3 cup unsweetened baking cocoa powder
1 and 2/3 cups plain kefir (or buttermilk) 

Prepare two 9 inch layer pans. (I line the bottoms with waxed paper or parchment paper, and grease the sides.)  Prepare an extra (smaller) pan, because you will have some extra batter.  Preheat oven to 350.

Measure the almond flour, oat flour, coconut flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a large mixing bowl.  Whisk together thoroughly.  (You really should sift these together, but there are lumps too big to pass through a sifter in some of these flours, so if you sift, plan to tip the lumpy parts out of the top of the sifter and mix back in after you've incorporated the salt and leavening.)

Beat the softened butter with your electric mixer.  Beat in the sugar, and the eggs, one by one.  Add the vanilla and cocoa powder.  Beat well.

Beat the flours into the butter-egg mixture, a little at a time.  When you are adding the last portion of the flour mixture, also pour in the kefir.  Mix thoroughly and portion into pans.  This batter will not rise as much as regular cake batter, but it will rise.  Fill pans about 3/4 full and put the extra batter into the extra pan you have prepared.

Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.  Remove the small cake, and bake the two layers for 5-10 more minutes.

I was glad for the extra little cake, because it allowed me to taste-test my product before serving it to my guests.  Shawn and I ate it right down.

(Also, in case you are interested...)

Chocolate Frosting

    1/2 cup butter
    2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
    3 cups powdered sugar
    1/3 cup milk
    2 tsp vanilla extract

Melt butter in microwave in a glass measuring cup.  Stir in cocoa.  Add powdered sugar to cocoa mixture, 1/4 cup at a time, stirring thoroughly after each addition, until you have added 1&1/2 cups.  Turn into mixing bowl and use an electric mixer to beat in the rest of the sugar, the vanilla, and the milk.

Friday, August 28, 2015

God at Work VI

I wasn't going to write today, but then something happened.  Something small, but crazy.

I'd been thinking I should read Psalm 46 today.

I've been reading in the Psalms, in the forties.  Yesterday morning I read Psalm 44 to Shawn before he went to work.  I got to the end, and we both sat in silence for a moment until he said, "Well.  That wasn't very encouraging."

So today I started to read Psalm 45, but I got distracted (this happens a lot).  Then I found myself showering (auto-pilot is a very strange thing), and under the streams of warm water, I thought about the way my world is rocking right now, the mountains quaking and falling into the sea, and I thought of Psalm 46, and I wanted to read it.

However, after getting dried and dressed, I got distracted again, and found myself checking emails and blog stats, not reading my Bible.  Meandering, I read yesterday's post and clicked on the link at the end of it.  Still meandering, I started reading old posts from my Seeking Wisdom, Craving Grace blog, and suddenly, there I was, staring at Psalm 46.  (Click that link there, if you want to see what I found.)

God is so good.  How can He be so good?  He led me to the scripture He wanted me to read, the exact scripture He had put on my heart, led me there through my own blogs (can you believe it?), by using my own lack of self-discipline and inability to avoid distraction.  God blessed me, even in my weakness and shortfalling.  I cannot grasp this.

In Prince Caspian, C.S. Lewis wrote about how the Pevensie children went back to Narnia after only a little time in our world, to find that hundreds of years had passed in Narnia.  As they walked around and tried to get their bearings, they figured out that they were at the ruins of the castle where they had ruled as kings and queens epochs ago.  One of their discoveries was an apple orchard, where they were able to eat and nourish themselves on fruit from mature trees.  It was while they were munching the apples that they began to connect the dots: they remembered planting the apple trees as saplings.  Of course, they had no idea at that time that one day they would be lost and starving, and they would find this fruit and be comforted, fed, and reorientated.

God has used things from my past to do this for me more than once.

Years ago, I had the blessing of teaching a Bible study in a large church.  There came a point when I had to step away from this ministry (the joy of my heart, it was so hard to leave).  The times that followed were tumultuous, and I experienced confusion, sadness and loneliness.  But then I happened to find a new Bible study in a different church, led by a woman who used to come to the Bible study I once taught.  A tremendously kind and humble person, she gave me much more credit than I deserved for guiding her to a place where she felt equipped to minister to others.  Her Bible study blessed me in ways I cannot explain.  It seemed that God took seeds I had tried to plant, and He grew them into something that could help and nourish me when I was in need.

I had the same feeling today as I read Psalm 46 on my long-neglected "other" blog.  God gave me words then that ministered to my heart today.

God is always at work.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

God at work V

Since we arrived home from our vacation, I have been under the weather.

Stupid lupus.

One of my biggest struggles is to eat.  When I feel this way, food is vile to me.  Even my old stand-byes, things I can almost always eat--like bananas and kefir--trigger gagging and revulsion.  Anything with lettuce is repugnant, anything sweet turns my stomach.  Milky things, eggs, cheese, the thought of putting any of it into my mouth gives me an unnatural urge to spit.  Being gluten-free becomes a curse, as the only thing I can imagine eating is toast.  Real toast.  Whole wheat toast.

My deepest apologies.  I do not say all of this to complain.  I'm trying to develop the proper backdrop for today's story.

After three days of being able to eat very little, crowned by intense nausea yesterday, I am hungry.  Yes, I am very hungry.  My stomach gnaws and gurgles.  But the worse I feel, the less able I am to prepare something I could actually eat.  Then, the less I eat, the weaker I become, and the worse I feel.  It's a bad spiral downward.

Today I felt less sick, though.  So I decided to make gluten-free muffins.  I prayed for the strength to complete the task.

It had been awhile since I made muffins.  I finally located the cupcake liners for the muffin tin, and I was powerfully short on them.  However, as I began carefully to separate them, rubbing hard between my fingers to wrest them apart, I found that there were exactly 12.  I found exactly 6 leftover paper liners, and exactly six leftover foil liners.  As I worked through the last of the foil liners, teasing one from the next, I kept thinking I'd reached the last liner, but they kept coming, like the fishes and the loaves, until my muffin tin was filled, and then they were gone.

This seems like a provision from the Lord to me, an encouragement when I was weak, a help. It was one thing that didn't go wrong, but worked out perfectly, despite my utter lack of planning.  Such things do not happen naturally, not in my life, anyway.  God is at work, and little miracles add up to big blessings.

So for a late breakfast that was more like lunch, I ate the leftover half of my grilled chicken breast that I was unable to finish last night, two muffins with butter, and a bowl of applesauce.  Today will be a better day, and that's a good thing, because it's Jon's 20th birthday.

Also, an observation:

Most people on this earth tend to one of two types.  There are those who suffer constant guilt and feel that everything is their fault.  And then there are those who accept no blame for anything and believe that nothing is their fault.  May the Lord give us wisdom to see what we are responsible for, and to see what we are not responsible for.  May He give us peace about the things that are not ours to bear, and may He give us grace to make right the things that are because of us.  Wisdom and grace, that is what we need.  I once tried to start a blog about that.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

God at work IV

I was feeling bad about the last post being off-topic for the month, but then I realized that it wasn't.

God is at work when He brings blue-sky blessings, and He is at work when He tests our faith strength with trials.

God is at work today, whether or not I can see Him.  He is invisible, and sometimes His activity is shrouded, but it always comes to light, for my good and for His glory.

A few years ago, my son David was sick.  I believe that he had a fungal infection in his lungs, although we'll never know for sure.  His saxophone reeds turned black when he played on them.  Every time he got a hint of a cold, it immediately brought on a serious fever, and within 24 hours he would be coughing blood.  Doctors kept prescribing antibiotics, which are not helpful when you are dealing with a fungus; in fact, they are counter-productive.  David had a few allergic reactions to these antibiotics.  It was a time of great stress.

I prayed and prayed and prayed.  God didn't seem to answer.  At one point, we even asked people to come over and anoint David with oil and pray for him.  Again, nothing happened right away.

This week I was reading in my Bible.  I was looking for a specific verse, to encourage me in my present valley.  I found it in the end of James 5:16 --

The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. (NLT)

I have to remind myself continually that I am righteous, not because I am perfect, for I know that I am far from perfect and have sinned many, many times.  I am righteous because I have been bought with the blood of Christ, washed clean, forgiven, and justified before God because of the righteousness of Christ that has been credited to me by grace, through faith.  Because of what Jesus has done for me, I can claim this promise, that my prayers have great power and will produce wonderful results.  Because of Jesus.

Finding and meditating on this verse was a great comfort to me, first because of what it means, and second because of the context where I found it.

Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord.  (James 5:14, NLT)
Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well. And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven.  (James 5:15, NLT)

Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.  (James 5:16, NLT)

In reading the surrounding verses, I was reminded of when we called for people to come and pray for David and anoint him with oil.  David did not receive immediate healing on that afternoon of prayer. In fact, it took nearly two more years, but ultimately he has been healed amazingly.  During the time when Shawn and I were on our trip to Utah for our 25th anniversary in June 2012, David ran out of his asthma medicine.  He called us in Utah, and I started to scramble to figure out how to call the pharmacy back home and get a refill for him.  However, he stopped me.  "I feel good, Mom," he said.  "I think I'll be fine if I wait until you get home."  By the time we got home, David was feeling great, the best he had felt in years, he said.  He wanted to stay off the medicine.  His health has been so different ever since.  Last year, he even ran a half marathon, with no medicine at all.

God jogged these memories in me, I'm sure, to strengthen my faith and to remind me that He is in control, working on His perfect time table, attentive and able and always planning for our good and His glory.  He worked then, and He is working now.

I will end with some completely unrelated vacation pictures.  It was a joyful time, and it is good to focus on joy.

A funny picture of Shawn and Jon at the beach.

Shanny and Jon in the sunset.

People I love in front of Carolina blue sky.

Caswell Beach, on a day I got them out for a shark-free excursion.

Oak Island lighthouse at Caswell Beach.

A tug boat in Cape Fear.

On the ferry to the Fort Fisher Aquarium (another shark-free excursion day).

A seaworthy crow near a rope.

Silly seagulls.

A pelican on a post.  I cannot explain my delight over pelicans.

Me!  At the aquarium, looking at an eerie tank of jellyfish.

One of our little base camps at the beach.

The view from under our umbrella.

The little red shovel Shawn used to dig our umbrella in, each time he set it up.


Monday, August 24, 2015


Sometimes you cry.

Sometimes all the blessings in the world can't knock out the dread despair you feel over a certain issue, an issue of love and choices and loss and waste and rebellion and distance and love.

And then there are times when you cry.

Even though you love God.

You know He is in control, somehow, although it doesn't feel as though He is.

You want Him to manage things, to take things in hand, into His all powerful hands, and manage them and fix them and put them right.  Right now.

But He doesn't.  Not right now.

He doesn't need your ideas for a solution, either.

His ideas are better than yours.

So is His timing, although you'd like to tell Him otherwise, but you would be wrong.

Still, it hurts to wait and watch.  It hurts a great deal, and the pain provokes tears.

Usually you hold the tears back, for the most part, blinking, blowing your nose, changing the subject, breathing deep.

Sometimes you cry messy, sobbing loud, gripping your sides and feeling your belly heave against your forearms.  This is unpleasant, and invariably you come to a point where you hear yourself, your cracked throat making these wretched, embarrassing sounds of grief, and you feel stupid and dramatic.  A voice in your head says, "This is ridiculous.  Knock it off."

At that point, you really would be awkwardly self-indulgent to continue, so you stop, wash your face, get back to something that you can't really focus on.  Trying to focus is better than drowning in that other grief over there.

I have heard people say, "Worry and fear are the opposite of trust."  I suppose on the surface that's right, but I still worry about pain, even as I trust the Lord to do what is right and best.  I think it's like going in for surgery at the hospital.  I trust the doctor.  I have to trust the doctor.  I go for the surgery, submit to the surgical prep, allow them to stick the needle for the anesthesia drip into my arm.  I let them do the surgery, because I trust that they will do a good job, and I trust that in the end, I will be better off than I was before.  I understand the necessity of the process.  However, I still worry.  I still have fear.  I still dread waking up in pain and going through the recovery.

I also worry as God leads me through the valley.  I do not worry that He will make a mistake.  I worry that the process will hurt.

I don't like pain.

Pain makes me cry.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

God at work II

So I said I was going to be looking for God at work every day, and then I dropped off the internet for over two weeks.  I should have considered my vacation schedule before I set a goal for the month, because we were on vacation for two weeks--that's right, two weeks, which has never happened before and may never happen again--the two middle weeks of August, which in essence is "August."  We returned home late last night and woke up to school starting and the flowerbed (although lovingly tended by a neighbor) hitting its autumnal fade.

I may or may not post vacation pictures in an ensuing post.  We were at Sunset Beach, where we always go, and the pictures are largely the same as always, except not as good, because Lu wasn't there to man the camera, and I just kept taking redundant shots of the same shoreline, trying in vain to capture the grandeur of the expanse of sea and sky and sand that simply cannot be contained in a photo frame.  I guess you get a slight sense of the largeness when I try to photograph my people out swimming in the ocean, and all I get is a bunch of water, an angled horizon, and a black speck or two that are the heads of my family members, tiny spots in the massive backdrop.  Perspective perhaps, but not engaging photography.

We did some things that we'd never done before.
  1. One night, we watched a meteor shower from the crow's nest above the house, and I saw my first-ever shooting star, and then another and another.
  2. We finally went to Crabby Oddwater's, a restaurant just off the island, for seafood.  I got scallops, because scallops are what I like best.  But Jon and Shannon ordered a giant pot of steamed shellfish to split.  It was called "Bill's Hellacious Barge," and it came in a big, black, speckled enamel pot with a deep cover which they lifted to reveal heaps of clams, crabs, oysters, mussels and shrimp.  Armed with a few different tools for breaking and prying shells, and small pots of melted butter for dipping, they prevailed and ate every last bit.  One particularly stubborn oyster shell refused to crack under any pressure, but Jon was convinced that there was a prize inside.  We wrapped it in a napkin to take home.  However, upon exiting the restaurant, we found ourselves at the top of a long flight of stairs (everything out there is built on stilts). A patio lay at the bottom of the steps, pale in the moonlight.  Jon looked at Shannon with a light in his eye.  "Is that concrete?" he asked.  When she nodded, he chuckled and hauled off a fierce pitch of the oyster down to the cement where it landed with a splotch, spewing a few tablespoons of water across the ground.  He galloped down the stairs to retrieve it, finding it still intact, mostly, but finally cracked in such a way that he could wedge a knife in and open it, which he did with his pocket knife in the van, revealing the largest oyster of the evening, which he then ate with great satisfaction.
  3. We went to an amusement park in Myrtle Beach, a sweet little place with carnival style rides, where you could buy wristbands and ride to your heart's content.  They open at 4 p.m. and stay open late into the night, lights twinkling bright beachy colors against black sky and blacker seawater in the distance.  After the heat of the day, the gentle night air felt luxurious.
  4. We also saw a shark in the surf on Sunday evening, the 9th of August, as we went for a sunset stroll along our beach.  It was 3-4 feet long with a prototypical dorsal fin, right there in the water at the edge of the surf where there was a drop-off under the waters of the high tide.  We almost could have reached out and touched him, except that would have been scary.  The shark sighting was part of the reason why we went on a few more excursions than usual, but my crazy people insisted that they were safe anyway, and went back into the ocean numerous times while I prayed for safety during the day and thanked God for another day free from shark attacks every night.
  5. We grilled with charcoal at the beach. When we first started taking beach vacations, we just cooked inside, in the kitchen of whatever house we had rented.  Then we started getting a rental package that included beach chairs, umbrella, beach wagon and gas grill.  The trouble is, that package just doubled in price for the week from $100 to $215.  Since we were there for two weeks, it would have cost us $430.  Pish.  Relative to that price, we considered purchasing a small gas grill at a local WalMart and leaving it behind at the house!  In the end, we just used the charcoal grill that came with the house.  The food tasted wonderful.
  6. Jon rented a surf board.  He rented it on the wildest and roughest of days, perhaps not at the most advantageous time in the tides and it was, as he said, "Wicked hard," so that was interesting and somewhat exciting, if not exhilarating.  
  7. We saw sea turtles hatch.  We've noticed their nests marked off along the beach many times, but this was the first year we were actually there for a hatch.  The rest of our party saw 7-8 turtles come out of the nest and toddle down to the sea, but I'd been babysitting dinner and only got in on the the last one.  I was so very thankful to the Lord for allowing me to get there before it was entirely over.  I know He saved that last baby turtle with me in mind.
  8. We didn't leave on the first Saturday morning we were there.  It is truly a wonderful thing to stay for more than a week.  Everyone else packs up on Friday and leaves on Saturday morning.  There is a sad sense of desperate running back to the ocean for one last swim, one last lick of the waves on your feet, one last view of the stretch of blue beyond the dunes.  That first Friday we were there, Friday August 14, we did not have to do this.  We relaxed, settled in, watched the others scramble while we fired up the charcoal again.  Even Shannon, who was only staying one week, didn't have to leave until Sunday evening, so we had this blessed time of not hurrying, not leaving, not feeling the pang of the end of vacation when it usually hits.

Speaking of Shannon, it was fantastic to have a week with her, a-week-and-a-day, to be exact.  She arrived from Boston at the Raleigh-Durham airport on Saturday, August 8, and everything had gone smoothly, and she was safe and sound, though tired from an early morning flight (she'd had to be at Logan at 4:30 a.m.).  We'd driven to Durham the day before and spent the night at David's.  We picked up Shannon at 8, when her plane arrived, then went back to David's for breakfast and to hang out for awhile since it didn't do to leave early; our beach house wouldn't be ready for us until 4.

David surprised us by driving down with us that Saturday and spending the night.  It was his only opportunity, since he was on a schedule that had him working 12 days straight, August 10-21, but it was great to have some ocean time with him, bobbing in the swells.  There is something so healing and therapeutic about being in warm, salty water under a sunny blue sky with very nearly your whole family.

We'd thought David would be able to join us over the-weekend-when-we-didn't-have-to-leave, so I'd scheduled for Shannon to fly back to Logan from Raleigh-Durham late that Sunday night, thinking the two of them would drive back to Durham together.  Since my original plan didn't work out, we drove Shannon to Durham ourselves and met David for a barbecue dinner at the Q-Shack before Shannon's flight, which wasn't a half-bad way to spend an afternoon and evening.  God was again with her on the return journey, and there were no hitches; she arrived safe and sound at home around midnight after a car ride, a flight, a jaunt on the T, and an Uber taxi at the end.

We rented a Jon a bike so he could explore the island and try riding on the beach.  This, I believe, may have been slightly more satisfying than the surfboard rental.  At any rate, I liked it because it kept him farther from the sharks.

In the meantime, our friends Walter and Ann arrived from New York to spend the second week with us.  Thus, we had a second week full of good fellowship and conversation, new board games (they brought their favorites), and introducing beloved friends to the wonders of an ocean vacation.  Ann was an outstanding boogie-boarder, and strangers along the beach asked us, "How does she do that?"  She is fifty, which I will be in approximately four more months, and I am dreading it.  Although, it heartens me to see her riding a boogie-board in to shore, laughing like a kid the whole way.  She also regaled us with tales of how to prepare for and perform in an Ironman triathlon, which she already did this summer (that's a 2.4 mile swim, followed by a 112 mile bike ride, followed by a 26.2 mile run). Not that I would ever do this, or even attempt to, or even take a swipe at training for it.  But.  She's my age, and she did it, so 50 must not be all that old.

It was a good vacation, and God placed His fingerprints all over it.  A fortnight, it was, and a fortnight is a good length of time, time enough to settle and relax and feel at home.  I did everything I wanted to do except in the reading and writing and sleeping department.  I did not get in as much reading and writing and sleeping as I had hoped, but it must have been meant to be.

Scallops in my belly, color on my skin, sand on the floor-mats of my van, the sound of the wind in my ears, a plastic bag of shells tucked into the corner of my suitcase.

There is so much to be thankful for.  God is good.  God is faithful.  God makes oceans and galaxies, shooting stars and baby turtles.  He gives us good food, good friends, good memories, families, sunshine and loving hearts.  He also sends a thunderstorm now and then, to provide your sunburn a day to heal, to drive the sharks back out to deep waters.  I can trust this God, the only wise God, the sovereign creator and ruler of the Universe.  He has my back.  He has an unthwartable eternal plan.

What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? 
If God is for us, who can ever be against us?
Since he did not spare even his own Son 
but gave him up for us all, 
won’t he also give us everything else?
Romans 8:31-32 NLT 

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

God at work

This month, I am going to pay special attention to looking for the Lord's hand in each day.

He is always at work; He never slumbers or sleeps.  He never takes a day off.  The eyes of the Lord are everywhere, watching over the wicked and the good.  He sees and attends to everything.  Nothing is hidden from Him.

The other day I was driving home from work.  It's flat here, so you can see a great deal of distance.  I looked to the left and saw vast, spreading fields, mile upon mile.  I looked to the right and saw a large neighborhood, streets and houses fading off as far as my eyes could reach.  I thought of all the people represented by those many houses, and then I thought of how even that huge neighborhood, where strangers live within blocks of each other, is only one of many neighborhoods in the state, and the country, and the world, which is filled with cities, apartment buildings, college campuses, refugee camps, humanity spreading across the earth in vast numbers.

Yet somehow, God knows each one of us, personally, individually, right down to the number of hairs on each of our heads, our pumping hearts, our unvoiced thoughts.

I was so glad that He is God and I am not, and I don't need to be responsible for all this, but He is perfectly able to handle it all, never overwhelmed.  God is never overwhelmed!  This is amazing and wonderful to me, beyond imagining.

Here is a list of ways I saw God at work yesterday:

1.  I had a beautiful talk with a friend who encouraged me and reminded me of the great hope we have in the Lord.  She said with perfectly honest joy shining on her face, "I just love my Jesus so much!  He makes it a joy to get out of bed each day.  I just don't know how people who don't know Jesus do it.  He's my reason for living.  They tell me I'm weak because I'm a Christian, and I tell them, yes I am!  I've learned to embrace my weakness because it shows me how powerful He is, and how wonderful.  God is just so good!"

2.  Shawn and I took Schubert on a walk through the neighborhood and around the lake.  As we came out at the end of the lake path, we walked into the wideness of the cul-de-sac and looked back up over the trees.  There was a stunning sunset, with sun rays radiating upwards like fingers of God saying, "I have my hands on the world.  I am here.  I am real.  I love you and I want you to see my glory."

3.  I was reading something--from a Facebook link no less (God does work in mysterious ways)-- and came across a verse that God used in the past to minister powerfully to me.  It was just what I needed right now, too.  Isn't that just like God, to break through even Facebook and give me a message of hope?   Here's what He gave me:

Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness
    while I am here in the land of the living.
Wait patiently for the Lord.
    Be brave and courageous.
    Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.

Psalm 27:13-14 (NLT)