Winter Doldrums and Gameschooling

 

We are back in the swing of things now that the holidays are over.  I’ve mentioned this before, but I am thankful for the warmer weather we’ve had for January.  Getting some outdoor playtime helps balance our day img_5835between lessons and unstructured free time.  One thing we are enjoying lately no matter the weather is what is called “gameschooling.”

Many board games are educational in purpose and use, and we are finding some that we especially like to play.  The company Learning Resources puts out a lot of educational board games, and I try and grab one here and there for birthdays, Christmas, or for a special treat.  In the picture above is the game “Money Bags,” which teaches kids how to count and redistribute money.  It is math in action.  Speaking of math, “Sum Swamp” is another math board game that we enjoy.  It teaches addition, subtraction, and odd versus even numbers.  Also, the girls are learning chess with a fun, easy to follow game called “No Stress Chess.”  Before they play an actual game of chess, time is spent on learning the pieces and how they move around the board so that players can begin to develop strategies.  It’s a lot of fun, and as the name states- no stress!  Mental Blox is a critical thinking game that is not as much of a favorite yet, but it may grow on us.  If anything, the girls like to play with the different blocks and build their own patterns.

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There are other ways we “gameschool.”  We enjoy Monopoly Jr., Dominoes, Uno, Banagrams, Life Jr., Connect Four, and even Candyland.  Not only do the kids learn about subjects, strategies, and critical thinking, but they also learn cooperation, and how to win or lose with maturity.  I personally love board games, so even though this season requires a lot of patience, I am banking on a day when my kids will outwit me with these games.  They already are with some of them.  Analise earned more money with money bags this morning, so she won that game and beamed with pride. 🙂

If you are looking for something indoors to do this winter, might I suggest a little gameschooling.  The worksheets can wait- they will be completed.  Sometimes playing is learning.  As Maria Montessori said, “Play is the work of the child.”  I wholeheartedly agree!

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My Five Favorites 1.16

Every once in awhile I like to post fun finds, interesting links, books, movies, new discoveries, or recent enjoyments to the blog.  I usually tagged miscellaneous stuff like this at the end of my “Weekend Wrap-Up” posts, but some things need to be shared on any given day, and what better day to share some simple pleasures than Monday?  Right?!

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So, for now I am calling this “My Five Favorites.”  I am limiting myself to share five things that I am favoring right now.  These can be silly, inspirational, recreational, educational, edible, anything goes. Here are my five favorites as of late…

 

My Five Favorites

  1.  The Crown.  Yes I am on that bandwagon and I don’t think I am getting off anytime soon.  The kids are in bed.  The lights are low.  A cup of tea in hand.  And it is me and the Queen.  Such a good show!
  2. Micron Pens.  I originally bought these back in the summer for the girls to use for nature journaling, but I began to use them just as much as they did.  I am not an artist, but I do enjoy writing- not just the process of writing, but the actual physical act of writing.  Dorky, but true.  I also draw some in my journals and with the girls during nature study.  Anyway, these pens come in a pack with different line widths allowing smooth lettering and writing.  Love!
  3. The Commons: On Building Sturdy Children.  This podcast is so rich with biblical wisdom and insights into the culture of parenting today.  Brian Phillips of CIRCE interviews Dr. Keith McCurdy from Total Life Counseling who makes the point that parents need to build sturdy children- people of character, who do not shirk from responsibility, and who learn what it means to do what is necessary not what is desired.  Here is an overall description of this outstanding interview: “Topics include our culture’s over-consideration of emotion, what it means to be sturdy, expectations and responsibilities, increased rates of anxiety in our children, dealing with teenagers, the influence of technology on kids, and how to help kids be contributing members of a family.” I came away with a renewed sense of purpose- to really consider what my children are capable of and if I am expecting enough of them, to train my children to discipline the will and order their affections properly, and to sit down with Travis and discuss our family culture and who we are as a family, namely, what are our expectations, boundaries, and values.  This podcast is worth the time and attention- have a notebook handy!
  4. Simple Green Smoothie.  There are a million and one smoothie recipes.  My simple green smoothie is just as it sounds, and the kids drink them with me.  Lately, I’ve been grabbing the big bags of Kale from Aldi, but you can use spinach also.  I toss in about 2 cups of Kale, 10-12 ounces of frozen berries, a banana, 2-4 tablespoons of yogurt (I use a little bit of plain and a little bit of vanilla yogurt for sweetness), throw it all into a blender, and blend away.  I don’t add honey or sugar, and this smoothie is sweet as is.
  5. The Songs of Jesus: A Year of Daily Devotions in the PsalmsI’m reading through this devotional this year, and already I am being blessed by Tim and Kathy Keller’s concise insights from the Psalms.  I love how it gives the text beginning with Psalm 1 and continuing through each day with a short devotional thought followed by a prayer based on the day’s reading.  I look forward to cracking this open every morning!

Those are five for now.  A bonus fave for me is the spring-like conditions we are having lately in Middle Tennessee.  It rains off and on, but the temperatures have been warm enough to send the kids outside between the showers.  The kids have been outside almost every day this week.  And everyone says, “Amen!”  Hard to believe that just a little over a week ago our street looked like this

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Wherever you are and whatever the weather- be blessed today!

Love in Loss

2691174d04e2a713_1041-w233-h233-b1-p10-contemporary-mixed-media-artA few weeks ago I took a pregnancy test.  It was positive.  I was of course happy, and I shared the news with Travis who shared in my joy.  The holidays came and went and so did my pregnancy.  I was disappointed, though not completely surprised.  I’ve had several miscarriages before, and after some testing found that I have a blood clotting disorder.  My recent pregnancy loss as well as some of my others had nothing to do with my disorder, though.  We are assuming a chromosomal abnormality since my levels were tested and found to be “negative.”  The levels fluctuate- sometimes positive, sometimes negative- the doctors treat me throughout pregnancies as if they are always positive though, which is a baby aspirin a day and heparin twice a day.  I followed the same protocol when I was pregnant with Judson until we discovered a sub chorionic hemorrhage and stopped treatment completely.  That pregnancy and the baby were without any difficulties or concerns.

I was given a 50/50 chance to even have Judson.  He is my miracle baby.  But aren’t they all?  Miracle babies.

So when I got the news of another pregnancy I took it with reserved elation, and I even told my husband, parents, and in-laws (the only ones who knew of the news at the time) that I know that pregnancy doesn’t mean baby.  Yes, there is life there, but it may not be for me to hold.  Heaven may hold him/her first.  And that is okay.  I am okay.  When I knew I was going to lose the baby I was saddened, yes, of course, but I knew that this like my other three miscarriages are a part of God’s plan.  Does He take joy in my sorrow?  Of course not.  I believe He weeps with us and is especially near to the broken hearted.  I just know that this is how it is meant to be, and I accept that.  He gives and takes away.  Right now in my loss I am thinking about all that I have been given.  More than I deserve.  I’m not strong.  I’m not above grief.  I have grieved all of my losses, but this one differently.  I’m waking up to the reality that the very fact I have been given anything is grace.

I read this prayer the other day and it hit me right between the eyes.  It is from The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions

“I thank Thee for personal mercies, measure of health, preservation of body, comforts of house and home, sufficiency of food and clothing, continuance of mental powers, my family, their mutual help and support, the delights of domestic harmony and peace, the seats now filled that might have been vacant, my country, church, Bible, and faith…”

By the grace of God I have seats now filled that might have been vacant.  Does this minimize my pain in loss?  No.  It softens it some, though.  And more than even this I am being blessed by love through the loss.  My husband is caring for me well.  My mom calls me and texts me throughout the day with prayers and Scripture.  My church family is unbelievable in how they are loving us through this- this thing I keep minimizing and trying to keep under the rug as “no big deal.”  My church family and new friends are serving us so well- the hands and feet of Christ.

Like so much of hardship in life I want to push through it, rush beyond it, and move on.  But this miscarriage unlike my others is not allowing me to do that.  It has been almost three weeks of wondering if it is in fact a miscarriage, failed medications, and now a scheduled D&C for next Wednesday.  My body is tired, my hormones are all out of whack, and mentally I am trying to get past this while physically I am not able.  I don’t slow down.  I do rest, yes.  I enjoy “me” time, but when I am not in “me” time I am in “go” time.  And I go go go!  I like it that way, so this whole pulling the Band-Aid off slowly is not my thing.  Also, I am not really good at receiving.  I think a lot of people in ministry are that way.  If we were honest (I’m raising my hand here, peeps), our struggle with receiving stems from our pride.  We don’t need anything!  We are strong and able!  We’ve got the Lord!  Yes, we’ve got the Lord.  And the Lord uses His church– the hands and feet of Christ- to serve “one another.”  It is a “one another” thing, not a “one-to-one” thing.  Man, I struggle with this.  So, friends, family, church, here me out- I am learning to receive love even in loss.  And it is a wonderful thing to feel God’s presence through His people!

But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere.  For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved…” 2 Corinthians 2:14-15

Making Space for What Matters

fullsizerender-24I spent the greater part of the evening Sunday “cleaning” (I use this word loosely) our office/craft room/reading room/music room/writing room/homeschool room/anything goes room.  It is a different room for different people.  For Analise, it is her art studio.  For Kara, it is a computer lab.  For Judson, it is a demolition room, so we try and keep him out of it, though he always seems to find his way back in.  For Travis, it is “what is this room for again?” room.  His “antique” desk (a fancy word for ugly) is now Analise’s art table.  For me, it is a library, workspace, writing studio, and music room.  I keep my guitars on the wall within reach at any given moment.  I let my kids play on them, because I think kids should be touching, playing, and listening to instruments.  There is a plastic, Sterlite 3-drawer cabinet that sits next to my desk stuffed to the brim with medical records, tax info., expired coupons, stationary, and old pictures.  It came with us like this when we moved and like everyone else I make grand resolutions in the new year like, “eat clean,” “read more,” “exercise more,” when what I really need to do is clean out my poor excuse for a filing cabinet.  Sometimes it is the little things that require more attention than the big things.

So this room is now a bit more tidy, a bit more orderly.  I give it about a day, maybe two before it is used well.  And this is how I see this space.  It is a well-used space.  Creativity flows here.  Life happens here.  And when my little people toddle in, making art, reading stories, playing games, listening to “The Wheels on the Bus” or “The Ants Go Marching,” or making up their own song, I have to stop and remind myself that this is the good stuff.  This is learning.  I’m a big believer that learning by doing- listening, reading, creating, building- all of it- expresses what impacts the heart, especially when the heart is transformed by truth, goodness, and beauty.  And what is true, good, and beautiful is always transformative when we make space for it.

Some ways I am beginning to make space for true, good, and beautiful things are:

  • Accepting the imperfect.  Nothing is ever perfect, or complete.  Learning to accept what doesn’t really matter in the end allows me to embrace what really does matter.
  • Slow the busy.  There are a million and one tasks that feel important and necessary to accomplish, but not every one of them are immediate or life-altering if not checked off the list at the end of the day.  I can slow the busy of any given day when I decide if what I hustle over is more valuable than reading to my kids, listening to a made up story from an imaginative 5-year-old, or asking my husband how his day went.
  • Dwell in the moment.  I will blink and everyone will not be as they are now.  The kids will be rushing from one activity to another, my husband and I will be empty-nesters figuring out life as “just us” again, and the house will be tidy and quiet.  The seasons ahead of me will have their own worth- every one of them does including the one I am in now.  I just have to stop and realize this season’s worth and not imagine life without diapers, early wake ups, argument break ups, or sippy cups with missing valves.

I am filling this season with lighted candles, music playing in the background at dinnertime, reading aloud, baked treats, Scripture, cuddles, and simple traditions.  None of it except God’s true Word is perfect, or complete, and it gets loud around here, but I believe it is the simple things- the non-planned, in the moment “just because” things that serve as the backdrop to life.  The sounds, sights, smells, and feels of home frame the day-to-day action and form the stories of what our family will remember home as we knew it.  So I will pick up the office/craft room/reading room/music room/writing room/homeschool room/anything goes room again and again remembering that this well used space is a part of us all where we can just be us working, playing, dreaming, creating, and inviting each other to live the life we were given together.

“By wisdom a house is built, And by understanding it is established; And by knowledge the rooms are filled with all pleasant and precious riches.”  Proverbs 24:4

Whole Book Bible Reading Plan for 2017

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Last year I went through a Bible reading plan that I created and shared that was topic-based.  My goal was to read sections of Scripture thematically, so although I didn’t read the entire Bible word for word, verse by verse, I read various passages that all related to certain matters of faith and living like relationships, stewardship, knowing God’s character, developing habits or disciplines, creativity, and more.  It was fun, but deeply instructive.  I journaled through my readings on some months, and on others I simply read the passages, meditated on their message, and prayed them back to God as a personal Amen.

But for this year, I want something different, something MORE.  There are several excellent reading plans out there, and I’ve journeyed through some of them, but like last year I want to go through my own plan to meet my particular needs.  And what I need right now is to drink deeply and slowly.  So, this year I am reading through and studying whole books of the Bible.  What does this look like exactly?  I didn’t create a template or anything, but a rough sketch looks something like this:

A Whole Book Bible Reading Plan for 2017

Materials

Bible.  Duh.  But really…no “Jesus calling”-type devotional here.  Get the real Jesus calling in your hands and heart.

*What I do is copy/paste a book of the Bible onto a Word doc. and double-space the text so that I can write notes between the lines and margin.  I think print it out and put it in a three ring binder.  So, include copy paper and a three-ring binder in your plan.

Study Bible.  This is for after you have read the text repeatedly.  Study notes are for after you have read the passage and made notes for yourself.

Lexicon or Key Word Study Bible.  Don’t be intimidated by this.  Word studies have been so helpful for me in understanding ambiguous words.  I use this one, but there are many that will work just as well.

Writing tools like a highlighter, pens, and colored pencils.  You can develop your own system of how you want to mark the text, but you will want to highlight or mark repeated words or phrases and grammatical distinctions like the subject, object, and action of the text.  I am no grammarian or Greek scholar (ha!), but with practice I am learning to look more closely at the language of the Bible with careful readings and study tools.  So, my point is that anyone can study Scripture with practice!  It’s about the journey.

A Journal. After I read the text a few times, and jot notes in my binder I then write my own commentary in a moleskin notebook based on that day’s reading.  I also write out a short prayer based on the passage to help respond to the text after I study and take notes.

The Process

There is no standard to a whole book Bible reading plan, but this is the general process of what I am doing in studying through the Bible this year:

*I should note that obviously the whole Bible cannot be studied in a year, or a lifetime for that matter.  I select a few books that I want to study and then go from there.  Right now I am studying Ephesians (my favorite epistle), and I will probably study a short OT book next.

  1.  Read the whole book of the Bible once.  
  2. Read the first chapter or a short section of verses repeatedly.…maybe 3 times or so.
  3. Mark the text.  Highlight repeated words and phrases, subject of the passage, main ideas, and jot notes or questions you may have in the margins for further study.
  4. Look up key words in a lexicon.  Write identifiers and notes in the margins around key words.
  5. Journal your response to the text.  I call this narration (not original by me).  You are simply retelling the text in your own words.  Make it conversational like you were explaining the text to a friend.
  6. Pray the text in response to God.  This may seem artificial or not genuine at first, but I am learning that praying Scripture helps my thoughts to be more aligned with God’s thoughts, and then when I pray from my own heart my doctrine improves and so does my faith.  For example, a prayer in response to Ephesians 1:11-14 could go something like this: “I praise you, Father, for causing me according to the counsel of Your will to obtain an inheritance through Christ’s shed blood and victory over death.  I was predestined for this.  Thank you for sealing me with Your promised Holy Spirit who even now counsels, guides, and convicts me.  All of this is to the praise of Your glory.  Amen.
  7. Read a commentary.  I try and read a scholar who is a great writer, like Timothy Keller, James Montgomery Boice, or Warren Wiersbe.  I am not looking to write a dissertation or teach a seminary class.  I want to be engaged in the text and challenged as when I hear a hearty sermon.  Hearty…I like that word, and I rarely use it.  Ha!

This may look daunting at first, but one you get going with studying whole books of the Bible it becomes additive and incredibly nourishing.  I usually a lot about 30 minutes a day in my personal Bible study.  Sometimes this means I will study and write about 5-6 verses or more, or maybe only 1 verse.  For me the breadth is not as crucial as the depth and understanding.  Take your time with this.  One of the benefits of not speed reading through the entire Bible in the year is that you have time to digest God’s Word slowly.  Don’t give yourself a time frame.  Just read and study at your own pace.  I am amazed and blessed by the daily bread that God faithfully gives us.   The plan or method doesn’t matter, as I have written about before.What matters is that we are daily going to the living water of God’s Word, and letting His Word dwell in us richly. Oh taste and see the Lord is good in 2017!  Be blessed!

What if Your Someday Was Today?

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Have you ever been so sure of something, so certain that you can feel it in your bones that welling up, bubbling over conviction that this thing is the right thing?  But, the timing is off.  Or what would be required of you would take guts- unabashed bravery.  And, well, that thing- that sure thing- gets put off, laid on the shelf for some other time, a better time- the “right” time when you gain courage, an empty nest, or minutes to spare.

It is easy for me to hide behind my motherhood.  Here is what I mean- Yes, my priority right now is loving and serving my family, giving my time, affection and love to my husband first and then caring for and tending to the needs of my children.  I am to be busy at home, and man am I busy.  But recently, I have considered and even discussed with some about the possibility of sacrificing my skills, passions, and gifting in order to advance opportunities for my kids.  It sounds noble, loving even, but at least for me I feel like I would be losing myself, absorbing my identity in my children so that they can have soft blows through life while I get pelted in exhaustion and depression.  I am not going there.

For as long as I can remember, writing was and is my thing.  In fourth grade, my class was given an assignment to write an essay about their favorite summer vacation using descriptive language of the five senses.  That was my first experience of writing out of pure joy.  I wrote about my family’s trip that year to North Carolina when we stayed in a cabin by a lake.  I wrote about the smells of bacon in the morning, old pine floors, lakewater, and summer breezes.  I shared how we caught hundreds of slippery salamanders and zippy minnows, and dug our eager hands in soft earth.  I reminisced the sounds of the lapping lake, creaky wood flooring, and a frying pan at sunrise.  I loved that vacation, and when I wrote my essay I got to relive it.  The joy was in the writing.  I got a surprise one day when my teacher read my essay to my entire fourth grade class.  What a thrill!  I’ll never forget that day.  The affirmation was wonderful, but more than that, a passion was sparked in me to continue writing.  I haven’t stopped since.  I began to write poetry in fifth grade, songs in eighth grade, and in ninth grade I joined my high school’s literary club.  I took a creative writing class three times, not because I couldn’t pass it, but because I was allowed to take the class multiple times as an arts elective.  I kept journals of poetry and reflections.  I had a few poems published in journals.  I see writing as a sweet grace that the Lord used in a somewhat difficult period of adolescence.  Isn’t adolescence difficult for us all, though?  My early twenties were filled with research papers, essays, a thesis, and then I stepped away from writing for a period until I got married and pursued it again with renewed vigor.  I credit my incredible husband, Travis, for encouraging me to write and share words with others.

Writing is my thing.  But, as a mom who is a creative I have often felt like I had to choose between being a creative and being a mom.  There is a lot of creativity that goes into motherhood everyday, so I am not saying that the two should be compartmentalized.  What I mean is that I will often think or say, “Someday I will write that book or Bible study.”…”Someday I will teach God’s Word and speak hope and truth into other women’s lives…”  Someday.  But I’ve got to thinking, what if someday was today?  What am I really waiting for?  It is easy for me to hide behind my motherhood, and say, “Well, I can’t.  They need me.  I am super busy. It just isn’t the right time.”  What isn’t the right time?  The pendulum can swing either way- idolizing self or idolizing family.  The writer of Ecclesiastes says, “For everything there is a season.”  For us moms with children in our homes, this is the season for nurture, instruction, presence, and peace.  But, it is also a season as is every season to create margin in our lives for rest, beauty, worship, art, and contribution.  Moms want to creatively contribute, but they sometimes feel guilty when the objects of their work are not their families.  This is the pendulum swing thing inching towards family.  The only way I can figure to get any of this right in my mind is when the pendulum is not swinging at all, but my “object” is always Christ.  Only then as a mom who is also a creative can I best serve my family and my community.  I cannot sacrifice one thing (my children or my writing) for the other thing.  On one hand I would be throwing my identity into being a “mom,” or on the other hand in being useful to to the outside community.  You cannot serve two masters.  When I serve God in both my roles and my passions, and as a worker seeking His approval alone, then I get it right.  I think I will probably spend the rest of my life aiming to get it right.  Thankfully, Jesus got it right for me, so I don’t have to worry.

So, all this to say, I am writing a book.  I was going to start it someday, but I figured if I start today then someday it will be finished and will prayerfully bless, encourage, and inspire others on their faith journey.  I am also editing a Bible study I wrote a couple of years ago, and I plan to submit that in the coming months.  I will continue to contribute to a few magazines, devotionals, and blogs that I have enjoyed writing for in recent years, but this new venture feels like stepping out into the great unknown.  Realistically, publishing anything, if at all, will take years, but I am not focusing on that right now.  I am focusing on writing.  And laundry, and cooking, lessons, doctors appointments, date nights, etc.  Being mindful that I am really serving God with it all as I love my neighbors within and outside.

What is your thing?  Are you waiting on someday, or are you ready to begin today?  Who can you get to rally around you as you set out, whether it be a cooking club, an art studio, a business, a Bible study, a book, or some other thing?  Let me encourage you to begin.  Pray it out.  Listen to God.  Seek Him in His Word.  Tell your spouse, or a friend.  And begin.  The trick for me is to not worry about or dwell on the end- the what ifs and the hows- but to simply begin and let God take care of the journey.  Someday may very well be today!

 

 

 

The Work in the Waiting

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Behind our house is a narrow line of trees and brush.  A small creek runs through it, which is filled with slate and muck when the rain is scarce.  Beyond the trees lies a small working farm with rows of wheat or soy- we are not yet sure exactly due to the somewhat blocked view.  Conjoined to the farmland is a section of homes that were fairly out of sight until the leaves began to fall off of the trees.

Travis plans to cut through some of the brush before the leaves grow again so that we can see the creek and the farm throughout the year.  We may use some of the slate to build a border along our forthcoming garden, or maybe incorporate it somehow when we landscape our front yard.  Hidden treasures lie beyond what obscures our vision.

Sometimes all we see is the brush and muck.  The negativity, letdowns, disappointments, misunderstandings.  Sometimes it seems as if the darkness wins.  It is easy to become anxious and depressed wondering if God will come through, or if He is waiting on us to figure it all out.

A lot of stock is placed in a new year.  We come up with resolutions, a “word” to define how we want to take on the year, or a personal slogan to do something or change something.  Seldom do we ever resolve to wait in the new year.  Very few of us (myself included) set out to sit it out.  It feels like giving up, or not caring.  Waiting on God seems all to passive.  Shouldn’t we do something?

Truth is not that God is waiting on us, but we are waiting on God.  And the only way to do this well is to look beyond the perishable to the imperishable.  Because like thyme or rosemary in the scorching heat, the darkness will eventually wither and fade.  “Fret not” David, the Psalmist says, “because of evildoers; be not envious of wrongdoers!  For they will soon fade like the grass and wither like the green herb.”  The brush of wickedness before us will not undo us.  As Andrew Peterson sings “all this darkness is a small and passing thing” in “Dark Before the Dawn”.

What are we to do then when the darkness is before us?

Psalm 37

3Trust in the Lord, and do good;
    dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.[b]
Delight yourself in the Lord,
    and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the Lord;
    trust in him, and he will act.
He will bring forth your righteousness as the light,
    and your justice as the noonday.

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him;
    fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way,
    over the man who carries out evil devices!

The Work in the Waiting

->Trust in the Lord

->Do good

->Dwell in the land

->Befriend faithfulness

->Delight in the Lord

->Commit your way to the Lord

->Be still before the Lord

->Fret not over evil

There is light beyond the darkness.  Though we may not always see it, it is there like a hidden treasure.  Like a stream of water behind the marsh.  All we have to do is push away the bramble, thistles, muck, and dried up leaves, and say, “You are not wanted.  You are dead.  I am going to the living water.”  This is the work in the waiting.

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If I had a word for 2017, and I have thought this through some, it would be the word “wait.”  Kind of anti-climatic, isn’t it?  But I feel this is best.  I know this is best.  I am hesitant to presumptuously set out to do anything without trusting and waiting.  Dwelling in the land God has placed me, with the family He has given me, and being faithful in what I know to do is far better than abandoning these things to do “some other thing.”  It is hard, though.  Because sometimes it feels like I should be doing something else, or something more.  But this is the brush and muck obscuring my view- like industriousness, vanity, and the pride of life.  The light is there.  The light is here, not beyond my sight but right here in my home, in my very soul.  All I have to do is wait.

What is obscuring your view in 2017?  Let the light in.  Go to the living water of Christ and be still before Him.  Let His Word dwell in you richly, and watch the darkness fade.  Will the way be easy?  Probably not.  But as God fills you with more of Himself, the way is clearer as you look beyond perishable things to unfading glory.  For this, and for God alone we wait.