Door: Write31Days

Door: Write31Days

Kate gave us the word door for today’s prompt.

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I pondered this for a bit. I love the green door of my new home; it seems bright and happy and a place for growth. But there’s something about a red door that just draws me right in.

And then red reminded me of lips which got me to mouth which got me to this:

Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips. Psalm 141:3 (NASB)

In Matthew 12:33-36, Jesus tell us that our mouth speaks that which is in our hearts. So, in a sense, one could extrapolate that the mouth is the door to the heart. That’s kind of scary to me.

As I listen to my own speech, especially when I am angry, and to the speech of those around me, I am moved to pray for their hearts. Because as soon as they (and I!) open that particular door, there is too often bitterness, jealousy, anger, greed and even hatred. And in that moment of speaking, we’re flinging the doors wide for anyone to see what overflows in our hearts.

The sad thing is that many of us are trained to hold our tongues or, figuratively speaking, keep the doors to our hearts closed, around strangers. It is with our closest friends and family that we feel free to let loose. Those people whom we should love the most — what are they seeing of our hearts? Are they seeing Jesus?

How: Write31Days

How : Write31Days

Today is October 10, 2018, and Kate‘s prompt for the day is the word how.

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Today is the day that Hurricane Michael will hit the Florida panhandle as what will likely be a Category 4 hurricane. I’ve lived in Florida for 29 years so I’ve seen a lot of hurricanes. Been through some. I’m in the Tampa Bay area so this one isn’t going to impact us. I am thankful because Irma last year went right over my house. That was pretty surreal.

There are a lot of questions in my mind but the big one is, in fact, HOW?

How bad will the damage be? How widespread? How much loss of life? Much of my family and many friends are in the path of the storm as it goes through Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas. How will they be impacted.

I don’t have all the answers. Heck, I don’t have any of them. And you know what? I don’t need to.

God has it all well in hand. HE knows and that’s good enough for me.

So I’m going to cut today’s post short and ask that you join me in prayer for those impacted and for the people who love them and are scared and worried. Pray for God’s hedge of protection and for His peace and comfort.

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Inspire: Write31Days

Inspire: Write31Days

Inspire is the word that Kate chose for today. It’s a hard one!

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I’d like to say that I’m inspired by the Proverbs 31 woman, but the truth is that chick intimidates me to pieces. She’s like SuperGirl and WonderWoman on steroids!

This post is going to be less Bible-based and more personal. I am inspired by three friends in particular.

Susan Shipe is the author of 15+ (she’s so prolific it’s hard to keep track!) of books. She specializes in bite-sized devotionals that are easy to fit into your day but that pack a significant punch. She writes a blog at HopeHeartHome. She’s also my ideal Titus 2 woman. Honest about her past, no-holds-barred truth told in love, and an incredible example of how to live biblically in the middle years of life. She teaches and encourages so many women!

Rachel Schelb is a young wife and mom. A youth pastor’s wife, she has been blessed with a gift for discipling young (and not-so-young) women. When I referenced in my post on comfort, two women with whom God blessed me after I was widowed, my personal Aaron and Hur, Rachel was one of those women. Time and circumstances have changed our relationship, as often happens, but Rachel is still loving Jesus, being the hands and feet of Christ here on earth, and teaching women about hospitality from a biblical point of view. Hint: Hospitality is more about our hearts than our homes or our food — although she does make killer cookies!

Kathy S. I just don’t have words to describe Kathy. Retired hospice nurse who is deeply loved by her former patients’ families? Yep. God-fearing, God-loving wife and mom? Absolutely. Also a loyal praying friend. Kathy and I met through her daughter, Amy (the other half of my Aaron and Hur back in the early widow days). On the first anniversary of my husband’s death, Rachel and Amy had planned little activities throughout the day so that I would know that I was loved, my loss was acknowledged, and I was not alone. Comforted. Kathy, whom I had met casually maybe once or twice at that point, was willing to meet me at Panera and have lunch. My husband died during what should have been a routine procedure and it happened through lunchtime. Rather than watching the clock every minute, which so many widowed folks do, I was occupied and engaged with a lovely woman whose sole (perhaps “soul”?) purpose in being there was to help someone she didn’t even know.

These women inspire me to be better than I am in my own nature. They inspire me to reach out when I feel shy and awkward. They inspire to help and to do.

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Who inspires you? How?  Do you try to pass it along?

Comfort: Write31Days

Comfort: Write 31 Days

And the word Kate gave for this day is comfort.

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There are several definitions for comfort but my favorite is the reference by the apostle, Paul, in 2 Corinthians 1:3-5. These are the verses upon which I have tried to base my life after being widowed in 2010.

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 will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ. 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 NASB

Our Father comforts us so that we can comfort those in any affliction with the comfort by which we are comforted.

The first moments of my widowhood were shock and horror. A surreal sense of what was going on around me. I was there but I wasn’t there.  Then the blessed shock set in. Shock insulates the brain and the heart, and even the stress on the body, until we are a little better able to cope. And then reality hits. The widow’s world is changed in an instant. Whether it’s sudden, as in an accident, or a long time in coming, as was my widowhood, our life partners are alive and breathing (and so there is hope!) in one second and irrevocably gone in the next.

I have lost my parents, my in-laws, my grandparents, so many friends. None of them quite compare.

And so, as soon I could put two coherent thoughts together, I knew that I needed to at least try to comfort other widows, long-time widows who still struggle, “baby widows,” and those who are moving forward but occasionally have a slip backwards, in the same fashion that widows from my church comforted me.

The best words of wisdom I got were from my sweet friend, Sara Phelps, who now dances in Heaven. “Your happiness is gone for a time but your joy is still there.” And she referred to my joy in Christ.  She was so right! And, in the right time, the Lord sent to me two comforters, my Aaron and Hur, to be my very special friends for a season.

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Do you need comforting? Have you been comforted? With whom and how do you share that with which you have been blessed?

Hope: Write31Days

Hope: Write 31 Days

The word that Kate gave for today is hope.  I am blessed to know several writers who are all about hope but there are two in particular whose writing resonates with me: Susan Shipe of HopeHeartHome and Karen Sebastian-Wirth.

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The definition of hope, according to dictionary.com, is in its noun form: the feeling that something that is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best. In its verb form, the definition is to look forward to with desire and reasonable confidence.

1 Peter is my go-to book in the Bible for hope. I cannot tell you the number of times I have been brought back to this book. In particular, the verses in 1 Peter 1:3-4 ring in my heart:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 1 Peter 1:3-4 NASB

A living hope! Not some pie-in-the-sky, maybe-I’ll-win-the-lottery-without-even-buying-a-ticket hope! This hope isn’t based on nothing. It is based on the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead! And what is that hope for? An inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled.

Wow.

About what on or in this world can one use the words imperishable and undefiled?

What might you be hoping for today? Is your hope based on something real and solid?

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