What is Your Calling?

Today is cleaning day, and shopping day, and laundry day, and remodel the upstairs bathroom day. It’s busy. I am pacing myself. Or at least that’s what I told my husband when he walked into our room and caught me reading a book. Pacing! Honest! 

I have found in this marathon called life, I have to go slow and steady. So, I had already cooked breakfast for the family, cleared the table, taken two daughters with me and done a week’s worth of grocery shopping, came home, unloaded the car, supervised groceries being put away, checked to make sure that the kids’ bedrooms got cleaned…it was time for a break. And eventually, I put the book down, supervised lunch, got that cleaned up, set everyone to work on cleaning their “zones” (everyone gets a room or area that they have to clean), checked progress on that, and now, it’s time for a break again. 

This kind of leads into what I’ve been thinking about. How should we let the chaos in our country affect our everyday lives? 

I’ve been observing on social media the different ways that people have been responding to the recent chaos. Some people have completely withdrawn. Deleted their accounts, either to set up in a new place or be done with it once and for all. Some people are ignoring the situation completely, posting fun memes and things designed to uplift the soul. (I appreciate these posts!) Some people are sharing intelligent articles or essays that explain their positions in well thought-out prose. And some people are just very angry and it leaks out in everything that they say and post. 

In the last couple years, I have made it a point to tell my kids that it’s ok to be angry. Being angry is normal. Sometimes things happen that deserve our anger. But, you have to be careful what you do with your anger. You need to find a safe way to vent your anger that doesn’t hurt other people. Mockery, derision, name-calling, screaming, hurting…these are not appropriate ways to deal with your anger. Or at least, that’s what I tell my kids. I sometimes kind of want to tell other people that too. 

All of us are different. We all have different callings on our lives. I think this is a really good time to have an understanding of what God has called you to do. Are you a protector, an educator, a prophet, a nurturer, a peacemaker? A politician? We all have our callings. Me? My day job is a homemaker. I am a peacemaker by nature. I seem to have an inclination towards interceding through prayer. I try to encourage people through my blog. I keep an eye on what’s happening on the political scene. I write letters to my representatives about issues that are important to me. 

I have come to the conclusion that the things that are happening in Washington DC are not in my sphere of influence. While I continue to pray for our country, LORD! Your kingdom come! Your will be done! I have not felt led to join a political party or try to convince other people to join my way of thinking. I have not been put in a position to affect the federal government in any way except through prayer and my vote, and an occasional letter to my Senator or Representative. That’s me. Everyone is different. 

My sphere of influence includes my family of eleven children. My husband. My home. The social workers and various therapists and lawyers I have met on our fostering journey. The teachers and staff at my kids’ schools. My church family. My blogging audience. My social media friends. This is the circle God has put me in. This particular circle does not need to hear my views on Trump and Biden. They need to hear that I love them, respect them, care for them. They need to hear that Jesus is always the answer. They need to hear that I am present in their lives and that I hope that I can help them in some way. 

This is my calling. 

So, how do I let the chaos in government affect my life? More time in prayer, and then focus on doing my calling to the best of my ability. It’s all I can do. 

My Word for the Year

I have seen several people, in talking about this new year that we are in, talk about how they have a Word for this year. There have been some pretty good words that people have picked. I’ve been impressed. 

I have never had a Word for a year, something that I am focusing on, an area I am hoping to grow in. I decided that I wanted to get a Word too. The one that came almost immediately to mind was “Discernment”. And since January 1st, I have been thinking more and more that this is the exact right Word for me. 

dis·cern·ment

/dəˈsərnmənt/

noun

  1. 1.
    the ability to judge well. 

(google dictionary)

As I read the news, watch the conversations on social media, listen to the people around me, I am overwhelmed with how desperate I am for good discernment. The ability to sift the wheat from the chaff. To be able to tell truth from fiction. Wisdom. I need this. Desperately. 

As a Christian, I do have some direction on how to get this discernment that I need. In the book of James, God comes right out and says, If you lack wisdom, just ask me, and I’ll give it to you. (Just make sure you are asking in faith, not doubt.) (James 1:5). Jesus also says, “I am the way and the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father if not by me.” (John 14:6). Jesus is truth. If I am wanting to know what the truth is, it would make sense that I spend as much time as possible with THE TRUTH. 

My Dad often told a story when I was young about a goldsmith who gives only one job to his new apprentice. He must sit all day and hold a piece of gold in his hand. After weeks of this, the apprentice complains, he wants to learn how to work with the gold and make beautiful things. The goldsmith nods, throws a piece of gold to the apprentice and tells him he can make something with that piece of gold. The apprentice catches the gold in his hand and then exclaims, Hey! This isn’t real gold! The moral of the story being that if you want to tell the difference between real and counterfeit, you have to devote your time to knowing the Real. 

I have been thinking about that story this January as I have sought after discernment. If I truly want to know truth, to have discernment, wisdom, then I need to be spending as much time as I can with the Original Truth. Wisdom Incarnate. 

The more time you spend with the Real, the more obvious the counterfeit is. 

We are living in a time when we are being bombarded by everyone’s version of “truth”. And people are angry when others do not agree with them. When someone else pulls out a different theory and says, No, this is really what’s true. It is a shaky, uncertain place where you no longer know who is speaking the truth and who is lying and who is just speaking in ignorance. I, personally, just want it to all go away. I want peace. But, there is a niggling inside of me that says, one day I’m going to have to make a stand. There will come a time when neutrality is no longer an option. And when that time comes, I want to be standing on the side of truth. And in order to do that, I need discernment. And in order to get that, I need Jesus. 

I Don’t Have Any Answers

My mind has been reeling the past two days, watching the news, watching what everyone has to say about the news. And honestly, I don’t feel like talking about it. The press has covered it Ad Nauseum, almost everyone I know has voiced an opinion. (I’m not saying that’s a bad thing!) As I thought about writing my blog today, I thought, well, I should address what is happening in the country. Give my opinion. And I have finally realized that I really don’t want to do that. 

First, I feel like my opinion is half-baked at best. I am bewildered, torn, and kind of feel like I’m in the middle of a blizzard of information and ideas. I don’t know anything and I don’t have any good thoughts to share at the moment. 

Second, I really don’t feel like I have a finger on “What does the Bible say concerning these matters?” I am still searching and praying. I don’t know. 

So, let’s talk about how we’re doing with just life in general right now. 

Do you realize that we just finished a month and half of celebrating: Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years? And did you know that it’s a common phenomenom that when you have an emotional high, it’s followed by an emotional low? I for one am sitting nice and firm in that low. My kids went back to school this week and I started homeschooling again. The kindergartner was not happy to start homeschooling again. It’s taken me to Thursday to get him through a normal school day in a normal amount of time. And then this afternoon I got the news that “due to the possibility of inclement weather” all the kids will be home for virtual school tomorrow. 

Wonderful.

Tomorrow I also have to take my 7th grader to get a covid test because he is having surgery on Monday morning. Something that just got scheduled this week. (I’ve never had this doctor’s office move so fast in getting a surgery lined up.) It’s an old complaint. Fluid in his ear causing hearing loss. He already had six sets of PE tubes when he was little. We’ve had a good long stretch of no problems, but now it seems it’s back. 

Our family has managed to stay healthy through all this Covid junk, but it’s concerning to me to hear, every day it seems, of more people I know who are sick with it. My daughter is going to bed right now and told me that she is cold, even though she is wearing really warm pajamas, socks, gloves, hat and is under a blanket. All I can think is that she’s getting the chills that come before a fever. And I just feel tense, wondering if the three days back at school was enough for her to pick up something that will now spread through the whole family. Who knows. We’ll see. And, as I think about it, if this daughter ends up getting sick, it will probably affect the other child’s surgery. Uggh. 

Emotionally I’ve been struggling with feeling like a failure. The old voices are speaking loudly in my head. 

So, here I am, just hanging on, and then the news explodes and everyone’s social media explodes and I get all caught up in it. And I realize. I can’t do this. I can’t let the drama of this dysfunctional country keep me yo-yo-ing up and down. I’m already having a hard time without focusing on what’s happening in Washington D.C. 

Someone suggested on their Facebook that now was a good time to get off the social media and focus on Jesus and His Kingdom. And I have to agree. I need wisdom, discernment, love, patience, power. I’m not going to get any of that by focusing on the world. I will get that by turning my focus back on God. Repeatedly. Over and Over again. Habitually. 

I’m not saying that I’m going to just ignore everything that is happening in the world. I live in the world, my personal life is affected by what is going on out there. But, if I take a look at how much time I am devoting to every activity in my day, social media and the news should not be taking up the majority of my time. (And I can hear my husband in the background saying, AMEN!) 

So, that’s where I’m at. Post-holiday blues, regular stresses of taking care of lots of kids, trying to resolve to spend less time on the internet, more time in real life, more focus on the Real King. 

I’ll talk to you all later. 

A Blessing for My Children

We have just finished a tough year. Last night, as I rang in the New Year with my family, I was genuinely glad that we were done with 2020. 

Last January, we had a special speaker come to our church, and he prophesied that this coming year was going to be a year of Lack. A year of Not Enough. And it would be a year where we would see that Jesus was enough. Words that turned out to be very true.

As I look back on this past year, I am still amazed that we made it through all the trials that were thrown in our path. And I start thinking about this year that we have just started. And I want to pray a blessing over my children.  

I pray that this year will be a year where you rely less on your own strength, and more on the strength that comes from God. 

I pray that this year will be a year where thankfulness becomes a habit.

I pray that this year will be a year where the entertainments of this world grow old and stale for you and instead you become captivated by the highly adventurous path of growing closer to God. 

I pray that your patience will become stronger, your kindness will become ingrained. I pray that you will gain an ability to see people through the eyes of love instead of judgement. 

I pray that your faith will grow exponentially. When problems rear their head, you will not be fazed. You will know that Your God is in control. 

I pray that Peace will be a defining part of your character. That you will seek peace with others and that God’s peace will be firmly in the center of who you are. 

I pray for Joy in the midst of hardship. I pray for love in an atmosphere of hate. I pray that God would put a passion for his Word in your hearts, that you would grow strong and firm in your knowledge of him. 

I pray that grace would lace your words and your actions. 

May this be a year, that no matter what happens in this world, on December 31st, 2021, you will look back and say, Wow, it was an amazing year. This is the year that I truly came to know that God is all that I need. 

 “May your love abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.” (Philippians 1:9-11, NIV)

With much love,

Mom

Merry Christmas!!

It’s Christmas Eve. It is rainy and now, finally, snowy here in East Tennessee. Kind of like wet rain-snow. Looks promising, but the ground is nowhere close to being frozen. But, it’s enough for the kids to proclaim that we’ve had a White Christmas. 

My husband isn’t working today so we had the rare privilege of sleeping in till 9am. Of course, we had kids running in and out of our room starting at 7am, but we had no pressing reason to jump out of bed and it was nice to Loll Around. 

I went and got my Christmas Dinner shopping done and my husband went and picked up my Christmas present which was a  brand new mattress and box springs. Our old ancient mattress and box springs were extremely well-used, broken from children jumping on it and the mattress had permanent dents which automatically rolled everyone into the middle. I am SO HAPPY to have a new mattress!!!!

We’ve made Christmas cookies, which this year were no-bake cookies and then melted chocolate which we dipped pretzels and store-bought cookies into and then covered them with sprinkles. Not fancy. Very easy. A little messy. Pretty much the level of fuss that I was up for this year. 

My older daughters are hanging out together in my living room, giggling and arguing over books and stories and who knows what else. Another group of kids are putting together a Charlie Brown Christmas Puzzle. Other kids are reading or running around. I’ve got the Carpenter’s Christmas Songs Album playing on our tv and there is a fire in the woodstove.  Not sure if it can get better than this. 

Of course, the day has had it’s sour moments. Me freaking out when all my kids descended on the melted chocolate and tried to dip pretzels all at the exact same moment and then someone knocked over a cup of water right into the middle of the chaos. Breaking up some fights between kids. The crazy puppy went and peed on my brand new rug. We’ve loaded the dishwasher twice and there are still dirty dishes. I mailed Christmas boxes to my son in Pennsylvania, paid extra money to get them there in plenty of time, and he still hasn’t received them. He said there’s a possibility someone stole them after they had been delivered. That has me bummed out. Earlier this week I cleaned out my purse and threw away all the extra papers, including the receipts with the tracking info for the boxes. Argh. I got news today that friends of ours have their whole family sick with Covid. We have another friend who is still in the ICU fighting Covid. 

The future still feels very shaky. This past year will probably take me years to fully process and recover from. I have been struggling to let go of the stress. But, in the last days, as I’ve managed to conquer my overwhelming TO DO lists and things have been checked off one by one, I have been able to relax. 

And now, I can take a little time to be thankful. Thankful that Jesus came to earth. That Mary and Joseph were willing to play their parts. Thankful that God decided to first tell the Shepherds about the birth. Those insignificant, lower class Shepherds who had no political power, no social position. Thankful that wise men from the East were adventurous enough and had faith enough to follow the star to Jesus. Thankful that this was only the beginning, that Jesus would grow to a man who loved everyone, who treated women with dignity, who touched the unclean, who healed the lowest in society. Someone who said, You are Seen, You are Valued, You are Loved, and finally, You have been Saved. 

May the God of all Comforts, comfort those who are mourning. May the God of Peace give you rest from worry. May Emmanuel, God with us, surround you with his presence.

Merry Christmas! 

“Your Name is the Light in the Darkness”

This morning in church we were singing the Paul Baloche song, “Oh Our Lord”, and we sang the line, “Oh Your Name is the Light in the Darkness…” And I suddenly had a flashback of me, in my room, calling out to Jesus for help. On my knees in despair, unable to help myself, crying on the name of the Lord, and it wasn’t just one scene, it was many scenes going back for years and years. All the times I have called on the Name of the Lord for help. Lord, I don’t know what to do! Please help me! Desperate cries. And EVERY SINGLE TIME, he has helped me. EVERY SINGLE TIME. Oh Lord, how Majestic is Your Name! How powerful is your name! You have brought me out of the pit. Your name is a strong tower and the righteous run into it. Your name is the Light in the Darkness.

This weekend has been quite a roller coaster for me as I walked through a crisis with one of my kids. And I had that completely helpless, powerless feeling of, I don’t know what to do or say to help this child. And I love this child and I’ve got to help them. And I don’t know how… Jesus. Help us. Please. And he did. He did. Friday night was the pit of despair, and somehow Saturday and Sunday have been wonderful. 

People hear how many kids I have, and they shake their heads and they say, I don’t know how you do it! 

And I don’t know quite what to say. Cause really, I’m not doing it. It’s all God. But, any pat response I give will just sound light, frivolous. How do I communicate to a stranger that, There is no way I could ever parent this many kids on my own. I couldn’t even parent one kid on my own. This parenting journey involves me on my face regularly before God crying for help, mercy, wisdom, relief. And he is faithful to help. He listens and he answers. 

This past week I have been trying to make a conscientious effort to turn my thoughts to worship instead of worry. This week has given me a lot of things to worry about. We’ve even had some major crises. But, I have had an amazing amount of peace throughout.

You keep him in perfect peace

 whose mind is stayed on you,

 because he trusts in you. Isaiah 26:3

God’s name is trustworthy. 

for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:13

I’m here to give my testimony, my witness, my story. Jesus has never let me down. Ever. And I’ve walked some crazy paths. I’m walking a crazy path right now as I try to raise this growing family of mine. Every time I have called on Jesus for help, he has helped me. And it’s not because I’m some amazing Saint. I’m as sinful and messed up as the next person. The only difference is God has saved me, and continues to save me. And I continue to call on his name. 

My heart is overflowing today with praise. I’ll leave you the words to this Matt Redmon song, 

Worthy, You are Worthy

Worthy, You are worthy

Much more worthy than I know

I cannot imagine

Just how glorious You are

And I cannot begin to tell

How deep a love You bring

O Lord my ears have heard of You

But now my eyes have seen

Chorus

You’re worthy

You’re worthy

You’re worthy

You’re worthy to be praised

Forever and a day

You’re worthy

You’re worthy

You’re worthy

You’re worthy to be praised

Forever and a day

Glory, I give glory

To the One who saved my soul

You found me and You freed me

From the shame that was my own

And I cannot begin to tell

How merciful You’ve been

O Lord, my ears had heard of You

But now my eyes have seen

Conflict and Emmanuel

The upcoming Christmas season has me conflicted. I have decided to not host our annual Christmas Party. And a lot of that has to do with trying to be sensitive to others. But, when I made the decision to not host this year, I admit, I felt a big sigh of relief. Which is why I feel conflicted. I love our annual Christmas party. It is almost better than Christmas morning itself. A time when I get to see all my friends in one place, share our house and all the Christmas decorations. A time to bake a ton of treats and cook yummy savory things to munch on. A time to just celebrate. A normal year, I would be devastated to not have our party. But this year, I’m not. 

I’m tired. Stretched thin. 

Every year is challenging, but then throwing in covid, quarantines, school shutdowns, a horrific election year, riots, more covid, a giant host of conspiracy theories to sift through…yeah, that kind of tipped the scale to Insanely Hard Year. I know I’m not the only one tired. Everyone seems to be in a race to get to January 1st. Like somehow the turning of the calendar page will make all the troubles go away.

So, tough year, no party. No concerts. No big events. Despite all that, I am trying to make this Christmas as meaningful as possible for our family. We did our traditional Decorate-for-Christmas the weekend after Thanksgiving. Got a nice tree. Put up our nutcrackers. I made myself a Christmas Stick. We’ve got music playing. We’ve started our nightly Advent Readings with the kids. I got everyone a new Christmas mug and we’ve been having lots of hot cocoa and hot tea and hot apple cider. We’re off to a good start. We watched a Christmas movie. 

The kids are sad about things being different this year. Why?? They want to know. Umm. Covid. That is the answer for everything nowadays. But I secretly feel a little guilty because I am relieved to have an excuse. Yeah. Covid. Or, Mom is too tired to interact socially with other people this year. 

Fortunately, all my inner conflict and guilt is solely centered around social stuff. The real meaning of Christmas has my heart singing. This year it is hitting me even harder, a rush of joy, relief, awe, that Jesus chose to come to earth to save me. Save us. 

If anything, this year has been a good reminder of just how fallen and messed up we are. Our division, our fighting, our selfishness, our violence, our constant leaning towards evil. We are desperately in need of a Savior. Someone who can wipe the slate clean. Someone who can actually get into our hearts and change them. Someone who can rescue us from our self-destruction. 

I sat down to my hymnbook yesterday and turned to the Christmas section. My hymnbook is arranged by theme, so it has an Advent section. I played through the song “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”. My husband came and sat at the piano with me and we sang together…

O come, O come, Emmanuel,

And ransom captive Israel,

That mourns in lonely exile here,

Until the Son of God appear.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel

Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free

Thine own from Satan’s tyranny;

From depths of hell Thy people save,

And give them victory o’er the grave.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel

Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Dayspring, from on high,

And cheer us by Thy drawing nigh;

Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,

And death’s dark shadows put to flight.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel

Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Key of David, come

And open wide our heav’nly home;

Make safe the way that leads on high,

And close the path to misery.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel

Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Adonai, Lord of might,

Who to Thy tribes, on Sinai’s height,

In ancient times didst give the law

In cloud and majesty and awe.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel

Shall come to thee, O Israel.

As we begin this Christmas Season, this is my prayer. Come Lord Jesus, Come. Make all things new again. It’s been a rough year, and we have no guarantees that next year will be magically better. But, it doesn’t matter. Jesus has come. We now have hope. We have a future with Jesus to look forward to. And no matter how our circumstances and traditions change, Jesus doesn’t. His promises hold true. He came, he died, he rose again, he has given us his Holy Spirit. And one day we will see him face-to-face. 

And so we rejoice. Christmas is here. We celebrate Emmanuel, God with us. 

Panic Attack

I found myself having a panic attack and decided to write my way through it. Here’s a snapshot of what is going on in my brain during a panic attack..

I’m having a rough day. I had to take my nine year old to the hospital for surgery early this morning to get rods put into her broken arm. My other daughter is sick and I will be heading off to another doctor’s appointment this afternoon to help her. I’ve been fighting a cold for ten days and in this era where Covid fear rages, having a cold is not a small thing. 

Today my mind is stewing on silly things. An online conversation with a blogger that turned into a veiled interrogation of me and my life choices. A scary notion that I am failing in this game called life. An overwhelming feeling of impending doom. 

And suddenly, I stop and realize that I’ve got things flipped upside down in my mind. In my mind, all these crazy things are happening, and as a result, I am responding with anxiety. 

I think the actual truth is I am struggling with anxiety and so everything that happens is being filtered through that anxiety and blown way out of proportion. My life isn’t causing me anxiety and stress. My anxiety is causing my life to feel anxious, stressful. 

Next question, why am I feeling so much anxiety? 

Typical culprits: lack of sleep, social media and the news, having to forego church due to sickness in our house, being physically sick myself.

When you can sit back and analyze things, it helps take off that big load of self-condemnation. Cause when I’m feeling anxiety, I feel like a personal failure. I have failed. I am not at peace. I must be feeling anxious because I’ve done something wrong. Not just that I’ve done something wrong, but that there is something inherently wrong with me. 

So, it’s time to hit the Refresh button. Speak some truth. 

I am Esther, daughter of the King. I have been saved. God no longer looks at my sin, but instead looks at me and sees Jesus’ goodness. My future lies with spending eternity with God. I am loved. God has blessed me with parents and parents-inlaw and a brother and brothers and sisters in law who love me. I have been blessed with a husband who loves me and children who are amazing. I belong to a church body that is there for me, that regularly supports me in all ways. Our world is crazy right now with political upheaval and covid, but God is still on his throne, none of this is a surprise to him. I am not perfect, but when I make mistakes, it’s not the end of the world. I can apologize. I can make restitution. I can go back and try again. 

My life is in God’s hands. 

So, I say Thank you Lord for this beautiful day. Thank you that my daughter made it safely through surgery. Thank you that my other daughter has a doctor she can visit and that medicine is available. Thank you for freedom of speech in that, so far, we are still able to hold opposing opinions with others and live in a diverse world. Thank you that I am fearfully and wonderfully made and that you thought creating me, in all my quirkiness, was a good idea. 

These verses come to mind..

2 Corinthians 1:3-5

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.

Need Some Hope

Good morning internet world. It is a foggy damp morning here in my neck of the woods. The kids have been dropped off at school and I’ve got a bit of time before we start our homeschooling day. 

This morning I got up early with my alarm clock. I usually grab my phone and scan through my email and Facebook News Feed, just trying to shock my brain awake. Then, once I’m awake, I move on with vitamins and devotions and any last minute get-the-kids-ready-for-school stuff that I have to do before I wake everyone up. 

This morning, I looked at my email, and then hesitantly clicked on my FaceBook. I glanced at it for a second and then just turned it off. I think I have reached my limit for FaceBook and the news.  When you read through the headlines and just laugh, it’s not a good sign. Let’s see, I think yesterday or the day before, I saw a headline informing me that whales might get the coronavirus. And I should definitely be afraid about this. On the same day there was a headline that essentially said, Hey, that thing that we all presumed was true about Coronavirus has actually been proven True!! By Science! 

I know I’m not the only one who has thought this, but it’s worth stating. If we actually had impartial news stations that did not have a political agenda, we would not be in the mess that we are in. The Left News Stations inform me that if the Republicans don’t win the election, they’re going to instigate a Civil War. The Right News Stations inform me that if the Democrats don’t win the election, the Democrats are going to instigate a Civil War. Does anyone else see the News acting as the ultimate bad guy as they rile everyone up and incite unrest? 

In the meantime, the Christian Prophets have been speaking up, and everything that is being forecast is hardship and trials in the near future. 

No wonder I’ve been struggling with Hopelessness. 

I feel like I’m standing here and I’ve got two alternate universes going on. The first universe is the one I currently live in. Life will continue to go on as usual. I will keep on making the normal plans for holidays, plans for the future, no big changes. 

Then there is the alternate universe, the one I am afraid of. The one where people do not accept the election results. The one where chaos and anarchy rule. The one where my life gets flipped upside down by powers outside of my control. 

Where is Hope? 

There is a book title, “How Should We Then Live?” by Francis Shaeffer. I have not read the book. I have every intention of reading the book. I think I’ve had that intention for a couple years now, it will happen, one day! But, the interesting thing is, the title runs through my head a lot. I have that question often, “How Should We Then Live?” I have that question right now.

When you are facing an unknown future and life seems hard and the future seems hopeless, what do you do? 

I know I’ve said this before, but it’s worth repeating every day. Jesus, you all. We need Jesus. And not in that syrupy, go to the church once a week and put a fish sticker on your car, way. I’m talking about a dependence on him that goes to your deepest level. A recognition that if Jesus wasn’t there with you, you wouldn’t be able to get out of bed in the morning. A knowledge that your marriage, your closest relationships, would all splinter and disintegrate if you did not have Jesus giving you the wisdom, patience and love that you need. A security knowing that your safety and provision is certain because Jesus is by your side. And the hope that he holds your future in his hands, and all things will bring glory to him. 

So, my only advice is get into His Word. Turn on the praise music. Cling to God’s promises. 

Romans 8: 38-39

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Bedtime Meditations

Senate hearings, upcoming elections, every headline forecasting doom and taking a jab at some political party. Anger. Fear. Anxiety. 

If you are on social media, this is what is consuming us right now. 

And I ponder a future of unrest, riots, uprisings. Pandemic out of control. People out of control. A country that refuses to unite. 

And I feel weary. Unsettled. Anxious. On Edge. 

And everyone else around me seems to be feeling the same way. 

And I sit in my chair, late at night, the kids tucked into their beds, the little ones all asleep. And I take a deep breath, let it out. Take another one. Let it out. 

And I wonder how to find the right balance of getting on with the beauty of living, being prepared for future problems, and finding my peace in Jesus. 

Step one: think about something happy. 

I have a new puppy. It’s really cute. We also just figured out that he is deaf. This is a very unexpected twist in our life plot. My husband has started researching how to train a deaf puppy. What precautions we need to take etc. We have a couple basic hand signals, and I’ve been trying to teach the kids what they are so we can all be on the same page. 

Our Mama cat also gave birth to five new kittens today. This was an “oops” pregancy. I’m trying to get her fixed, but I wasn’t fast enough after her last litter of kittens. We have three orange kittens and two black kittens that will need good homes in about eight weeks. Mama and babies are tucked away in my son’s bedroom where the door stays shut from all other animals and small children. Puppy stays downstairs and outside. Fish stay in their fish tanks. The other three cats do as they wish. I seem to have started a Noah’s Ark. And I’m enjoying it. Fortunately the ferrets moved on with my oldest son. I am being very firm now. NO MORE PETS!!

Here’s a pic of my puppy. 

Step two: prepare. 

As my mind runs through all the different future scenarios that freak me out, I’m trying to make a plan for each one. Write it down. Think it through. Follow the scouts motto: Be Prepared. Even if my plans turn out to be silly or unneeded, it makes me feel better. 

Step three: Pray. 

In the end, I have to keep coming back to the fact that my life is in God’s hands. Our country is in God’s hands. This pandemic is in God’s hands. And so I continue to pray, Your Kingdom Come, Your Will be Done. And I cling to the promise that I am his, and he will never leave me or forsake me. And I pray that through everything that life throws my way, my life will somehow bring glory to God. 

Step four: Be Thankful. 

Thank you Lord for my beautiful children! Thank you Lord for my adorable pets! Thank you Lord for work for my husband! Thank you for safety for our family! Thank you for our amazing church! Thank you for all my friends and family who constantly encourage me! Thank you for your love. 

Amen. 

And good night. 

Peaceful dreams for everyone.