Friday, May 3, 2013

Movin' On

Hello dear friends!

There is a time for everything... - Ecclesiastes 3:1a

Welcome to the last blog post on this website.  I am moving my blog to a new website, effective immediately.  Please go sign up to receive my posts there!

The archives are there, or as much of them as I could grab. 

I look forward to seeing you on the new website!

- Liz

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Sun in My Eyes

With the lengthening spring days, the sun is higher in the sky in the morning...and right in my eyes on part of my morning walk.

As I travel the road, I weave in and out of shadows and light, sometimes blinded as I turn a corner or walk between the outline of houses. The other day, as I came around one corner, a school bus was headed down the road toward me. Except for the small headlights on the front of the bus, I could not see the bus at all, only the glare of sun streaming around.

You know, that's how I want to live my Christian life.

I want people who meet me to be so dazzled by the brilliance of Christ that they can see nothing else.

A big part of how people see me, of course, is based on my attitude.   Am I looking for opportunities to be that light for Christ, or am I, quite literally, hiding my light under a bushel? 

I have a quote on my bathroom mirror that is based on a sermon I heard a few weeks ago:

Expect Divine Appointments Every Day

These appointments can come in various shapes and sizes, not always what I expect.  Whether it is as a friend who has a hug of encouragement; a widow who can say to a new widow/widower, "I get it;"  words on a page that touch someone; or as a mom who gives empathy to her own child, I can serve our living God...

...but only if I am looking to serve Him.

Lord, please help me to be willing and able to look outside myself each and every day in order to see the opportunities You put before me, to further Your kingdom and accomplish the work You have purposed here.  Amen.

"You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house." - Matthew 5:14-15

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Power in the Storm

In the past couple years, our part of Virginia has become famous for microbursts...small but damaging storms that whip in with the speed of a tornado and wreak havoc on anything in their path.

During one the other day, we watched our back fence flap like a sheet caught by the wind.  We stood, helpless, praying that it would stay intact.  Blessedly, it is still standing...leaning, but standing.

We did, however, lose power.  That is pretty typical for us when we have a storm of any magnitude hit.  Our neighborhood tends to have it out sooner, longer, and more often than many of the neighborhoods in our county.  This time, it was out for only fifteen hours. 

It comes down to a sometimes-unreliable power grid in our part of the county.  New developments like ours were thrown up quickly and added to the power grid piecemeal in a short time, rather than in an organized, ongoing fashion.  Thus, taxing storms find the weak links and prey on them, causing us to be on the losing end...and without power.

I'm so glad God isn't like that!

I did not walk in an orderly fashion to Him.  I did not grow up in the church.  I came, broken and tired, haphazard in my knowledge and understanding.  But...He was, and is, there.  The ultimate source of power and strength.

Even now, when I have been walking with Him for years in my grid of life, I can get thrown into turmoil by the happenings around me.  But...His power is constant.  His love does not go out.  I can always come home to the Light of my life.

I heard once many years ago that an excellent picture of Jesus can be found by taking I Corinthians 13:4-8a and substituting Jesus for every instance of love.  Here is what we can, then, expect our Savior to be:

Jesus is patient
Jesus is kind
He does not envy,
He does not boast,
He is not proud.
He does not dishonor others,
He is not self-seeking,
He is not easily angered,
He keeps no record of wrongs.
Jesus does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 
He always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Jesus never fails.

Now that is a Power Source that I can trust, no matter what the storms of life may bring!

Praise God!  Amen and amen!

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. - Hebrews 13:8

Sunday, April 21, 2013

How We Communicate

I was out running errands yesterday when I got the following text from my eldest:

Tanner just puked.

About ten minutes later, I get another text:

Matthew just puked.

Now, this was not totally unexpected in our house.  My eldest and I had had the virus earlier in the week.  We thought it had missed the others...obviously not.

After praising God for a son who can deal with vomit and for other kids who have pretty good toilet aim, I finished my shopping and headed home.

At each stop light on the way home, I started the texting brigade to deal with the fallout of this situation.

There were plans to change, rides to set up, prayers to solicit.

But, praise God, by the time I got home, all was prepared and a busy Sunday could continue, minus the puking part of the Wright family.

Texting often gets a bad rap.  I have heard people say it is not a replacement for face-to-face communication.  I agree with that whole-heartedly.

In this situation, though, a microburst of information to different people had to go out, and I made wise use of my time at stop lights to take care of the details of things.

In my opinion, this situation was quicker and easier to deal with for all the parties involved by having the technology and using it to my advantage.

Our communication with God is just the same. 

God understands our "hail mary" prayers, and I think honors them.  When the going gets tough, the tough go to their knees, mentally if not physically.

But that does not substitute for quiet time with God, listening for His small, still voice.  That is often hard to do in our busy-busy-hurry-hurry world.

The how is not the important part, nor the where.  As a busy mom, I have kept a devotion book in my bathroom for years.  Sometimes the only alone time I have is a few minutes behind closed, locked doors while I take care of other matters.

Nowadays, for me, that time usually comes during my daily walks around our neighborhood.  Some days, I raise my hands in praise, some days I have tears streaming down my face.  Some days, I do most of the talking; some days, all I do is listen.  But either way, it is quality time, alone with the One I love the most.

This past week, while battling the aforementioned virus, I had a hard time walking...anywhere.  I was weak as a kitten.  Because I am a creature of habit, my alone time with God suffered.  My fault.  I should have used that time in bed more wisely, but, alas, I did not.

Add no worship service this morning for me due to sick boys, and I am feeling a bit alone.  It happens that quickly.  So, it is time to pray, time to get away for a few moments.  This blog is my admission to you, myself...and God...that I need to get back closer with Him...right away.

Praying for quality time with our Lord for you and for me!

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. - Psalm 34:8

Friday, April 12, 2013

Taking Control of the Wheel

Have you had this happen?

A friend and I took our kids and my big ole SUV on a day trip.

At one point, we were parking in a parking garage...and I promptly ran my car into one of the pylons in the center of the structure.

No real damage done to the vehicle...just another "beauty mark" for my ride...

...and a bit of embarrassment for me.

As I continued to struggle with squaring up in a spot I knew I had no business trying to park in in the first place, my sweet friend asked if I wanted her to park 'er.

Increased embarrassment...and more than a little stubbornness.

I hope I didn't snap when I gave her an emphatic "no."

Fast forward to Wednesday night services...

A sweet friend told me she prayed for me and the boys as she walked by my house earlier in the day, thinking of how hard it must be at times to be a single mom.

We talked of the common elements in hardship and of the importance of surrender in walking the path...whichever path...the Lord has given you.

I couldn't help but think about my driving.

Since Keith died, I can probably count the number of times I have ridden instead of driven on both hands.  Only driver in the house, biggest car when we ride with others.  So...I am rarely the passenger.

Except when it comes to the Lord.

There...always...I need to be the passenger and let Him be the driver.

So, I resolve to quit holding stubbornly to the driver's seat.  Unlike parking my car the other day, I need to willingly give Him my troubles, really just park them at the foot of the cross.

And leave them there.

All it takes is surrender...constant surrender.

Not an easy concept, especially in our pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps American society, but that is my goal.

May I be willing to surrender all the things in my life, both large and small, to Him and His infinite wisdom. 

Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? - Mark 8:34-36

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Prayer Needs of Grieving Families

Prayer Needs of Grieving Families

To help those grieving, you can pray for:
·  The physical strength to get through the extra tasks associated with a death—from the funeral itself to the phone calls to all the creditors, insurance companies, etc.
·  The emotional strength to get through the same—dealing with all the paperwork and all the expressions of sympathy
·  A clear head to remember all the details that need to be taken care of
·  The ability to let people help them, regardless of how uncomfortable it can be at times
·  Peaceful sleep
·  An appetite
·  The strength to ask for help when they need it
·  The strength to ask to be left alone when they need it
·  The freedom from self-consciousness when they tear up a million times and in a million places
·  Ease in actually saying the words that their loved one has died
·  Loving friends who will listen (especially important when a wife loses her husband—those words she needs to say each day need to go somewhere)
·  Peace through the holidays, especially the first ones without a loved one—birthdays, anniversaries, even the first time they do anything they always did with the other person
·  Financial peace—especially if they were not the financial person in the family before
·  Freedom from “what-if” types of questions and regrets—to forgive themselves for not being perfect and to know without a doubt that the other person loved them even if they were not perfect
·  The ability to trust fully and completely in God—to crawl up in His lap and let Him drive for a while
·  The ability to answer all the tough questions they are asked—especially those asked by their children
·  Discernment to know when to let others in their family alone and when to push them into talking about any issues about the person who passed away—especially their children
·  Having the freedom to realize that all grieve in a different way, and just because theirs is different than someone else’s doesn’t mean it is wrong or incomplete or any reflection of how much they cared for the person who died
·  Support from others who have been through the type of grief that they are facing—especially those a little farther down the path of this journey who can give them advice and help them know that they are doing OK on their journey—someone to show them where the potholes in the road are so that they can slow down for them
·  The strength to get out and be with others
·  The ability to recognize the signs of loneliness and depression and the strength to do something about them if they are facing them
·  Peace about being alone—learning to be alone without being lonely
·  The strength to seek out a “new normal” for themselves and their family
·  The freedom to know that grief has no time limit or set of specific steps that they need to go through and to give themselves a break if they seem to take one step forward and two steps back
·  Discernment to know what changes to make in their lives and which things to leave the way they were—finding a balance between old traditions and new ones, and old ways of life and new ones
·  The ability to see God’s hand in their lives, and to look for ways that they can glorify Him during the grief process
·  The strength to cry out to God when they are hurting and to accept the comfort that He gives—and to look to His people for the same
·  The strength to realize that God never gives them more than they can handle with His help, and that He will be there today, tomorrow, and forever
·  The ability to trust Jeremiah 29:11:  “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you.  Plans to give you hope and a future.”


My dear friend Judy loved lemon meringue pie, L.M.P., as she called it.  To her, it was just something you had when friends got together.  I was not the originator of this tradition with her, but I was privileged to share it with her, too.  Memories as sweet as the pie.

You see, Judy went home to be with the Lord yesterday.

So, I am up extra early this morning, thinking about sweet Judy...and L.M.P...and life.

I have a Judy story to share that, to me, sums up the lady she was.

The day Keith died, he had sent me flowers for our anniversary, which was two days later.  He did not know he would not see that anniversary.  I got home from saying goodbye to him at the hospital to find this final gift.

The ladies from church, particularly Judy and her daughter-in-law, were anxious to preserve those for me.  They made a frantic internet search to find someone to do it.  When they did, Judy's sweet husband came and got the flowers, boxed them up and sent them away to be freeze-dried and framed.  Today, they hang in a shadow box in my bedroom.  And, as much as those flowers mean to me because they are from Keith, they mean just as much because of the work that Judy and the other ladies from my church put into me keeping them.

Back in the fall at our ladies' retreat, I sang a special with Judy on my heart.  She was not there in person, suffering already with her illness, but I know she was with us then in spirit.  The song is Healing is in Your Hands by Christy Nockels( ).  Here are the lyrics:

No mountain, no valley, no gain or loss we know
could keep us from Your love
No sickness, no secret, no chain is strong enough
to keep us from Your love
to keep us from Your love
How high, how wide
No matter where I am, healing is in Your hands
How deep, How strong,
And now by Your grace I stand, healing is in Your hands
Our present, our future, our past is in Your hands
We're covered by Your blood
We're covered by Your blood
How high, How wide
no matter where I am, healing is in Your hands
How deep, How strong
And now by Your grace I stand, healing is in Your hands
In all things, we know that.
We are more than conquerors.
You keep us by your love.
You keep us by your love.

The Lord's plan was not to heal Judy this side of Heaven.  I don't know why...but I know He does Judy knew her Lord had a plan, too, and she was willing to trust in Him.  And because she did trust Him, this is not goodbye to my sweet friend, but instead see you later.  We have that promise from Him when we live in Him.  Praise God for that!

So, we can survive the here and now, the yucky parts of life, the hard parts of life, because we know that He lives in Heaven and has gone to prepare a place for us there (John 14:2-4).  Judy is seeing that now.  And that is cause for rejoicing, even with tears in my eyes.

I'll be there later, Judy...and I'll bring the L.M.P.

And I know Judy would wave her hand, flash me a 100-watt smile, and say, "All right, honey."

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." - Jeremiah 29:11-13