Tag Archives: depression

Come to the Table

“The ordinary arts we practice every day at home are of more importance to the soulthan their simplicity might suggest. ” 
                ~ Thomas More
 
God loves all who hate evil,
And those who love him he keeps safe,
Snatches them from the grip of the wicked.
                 ~ Psalm 97:10
 
     My mom was a great believer in routine. Not obsessive, more like, “hugged” the routine.  We had dishtowels that she had been given that she loosely followed for washing, ironing, cleaning etc. But it was beyond that, we nearly always went to the same service at church, we had routines for getting ready for school, bed, church etc.  She did all of thise with love, as did my father who also was a fan of having a routine.
    When I complained, my mom would remind me that in times of trouble the routine would get me through.  And it did!  When I was newly divorced as a 20 something, my dad “walked” me to get my endorphins going, my mom handed me a basket of laundry to fold, or something to prepare for dinner. Setting the table so that it looked lovely was another mood booster. Tasks that let my mind move freely while keeping my hands busy.
     I find that I return to those things when trouble knocks as well.  Often, the first thing I do is clean, or fold laundry until my emotion is worked out, or I get so busy that I don’t even notice until much later, that things are much better.
     My habit for the past several years is to listen to K-LOVE on the way to and from work. It keeps my mind on the Lord, no matter what else is happening.  The lyrics are so right on target when I least expect it.
    No matter what you are going through, cleaning off the table, setting it with your best dinnerware and treating yourself like a guest,  having dinner with Jesus will always help to organize my mind and soul as well.
Come to the Table – Sidewalk Prophets
 
Come to the table!
Because of Him,
 
Linda
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Coming out of the Dark

“We’ve learned to make people laugh; now we have to make them think.” 

                                                  ~ Conan O’Brien

 

The word that saves is right here,
    as near as the tongue in your mouth,
    as close as the heart in your chest.

It’s the word of faith that welcomes God to go to work and set things right for us. This is the core of our preaching. Say the welcoming word to God—“Jesus is my Master”—embracing, body and soul, God’s work of doing in us what he did in raising Jesus from the dead. That’s it. You’re not “doing” anything; you’re simply calling out to God, trusting him to do it for you. That’s salvation. With your whole being you embrace God setting things right, and then you say it, right out loud: “God has set everything right between him and me!”

                                                       ~ Romans 10: 9-10

     I learned something new about Easter on Sunday.  And it has set me on my heels.  Mary got to the tomb in the dark. Before the sun came up. This fact has been sitting in front of me for decades and I just “saw” it on Sunday for the first time.  I am sure other pastors have mentioned this, or that it might have explained why there was a sunrise service (for ever!)  Sunday morning, the sun rose again for me, and all of the sudden the application was new and amazing!

     So many good things that happen to us, or that we experience end when our hope dies, when the lights go out, when there is nothing left.  And yet, the work is not finished in the dark of night.  The gift of that experience begins rising before the sun. All of a sudden, I see hope as a dream seems to die, or does die.  Like Mary, I have walked to the tomb in the dark, thinking that hope died, but it is my faith that is being tested and readied for the sunrise.

     Amazing Easter moment #2.  The Resurrection happened between Jesus and God!  It was an intimate experience much like our own physical death.  God and the person who is passing are having that experience most keenly.

   And finally, Easter moment #3! A miracle occurred not when the gardener called Mary as she left the tomb, but in her recognition of him!  I had church right there! (And yes, I wrote the seeds of a poem in the bulletin!)  

    Whatever you are facing, darkness seems to be vital to the process.  And when we recognize Jesus in that process, new growth occurs, a rising in our spirit, a maturing in our faith.

   So thankful for the way that the Lord is using our pastor.  So thankful for emerging from the dark, into faith.

     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QS7qLDizDYo

Gloria Estefan – Out of the Dark

   Because of Him,

    Linda

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Lovely Poems

Nature composes some of her loveliest poems for the microscope and the telescope. 
                                                   ~ Theodore Roszak
 
“But blessed is the man who trusts me, God,
    the woman who sticks with God.
They’re like trees replanted in Eden,
    putting down roots near the rivers—
Never a worry through the hottest of summers,
    never dropping a leaf,
Serene and calm through droughts,
    bearing fresh fruit every season.
                                                  ~  Jeremiah 17:7-8
 
     God has been my refuge and my strength. For about three months, I was at saturation level with the acid in the air everywhere I went. Loving friends and family told me to essentially, “be the duck,” and let things roll off my back.  I just could not manage it.  My spirit was aggrieved and I could not articulate anything that was interpreted any other way but in a political context.
     I was at a delightful tea party this past weekend with some of the women of the church. We signed up for it in support of our women’s organization. The setting was classic, the table was appointed beautifully.  One of my daughters was with me and at some point during tea, when I spokeabout how I was doing, she flipped the conversation to  what I was doing and began to list my accomplishments and those to come.  I could not understand why, but after a fashion, the mood lightened.
     When we got together later in the week, she told me that I sat up straighter and things were lighter.  The things she spoke of were not things I would have said about myself, but when I heard them from my daughter’s mouth, I felt chosen and special.  So easy to forget when the air is thick.
     Yesterday, I noticed the yellow of a daffodil straining against the stem waiting to pop out.  Yes, some of the loveliest poems are nature’s. I feel as if my joy is tied to the daffodil’s blooming.   Today, look around you, find the poem under your nose, or within your vision.  
Lord, help me to let go and let You lift my chin, my heart, my head.
 
Because of Him,
Linda

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Hard Pressed

Never look down on anybody unless you’re helping him up. 

                                      ~Jesse Jackson

 
When hard pressed, I cried to the Lord;
    he brought me into a spacious place.
The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid.
    What can mere mortals do to me?
                                      ~ Psalm 118:5-6
 
I very much like Eugene Peterson’s The Message in many cases.  In this season, I particularly like the Psalm, expanded to verse 16. It would seem that the speaker is empowered, reminded of just who it is that is at their side. That empowerment brings confidence and finally the statement “The hand of God has turned the tide!”  Not once, but twice. Today, feel the presence of the one whose hand can turn the tide, heck, he can part the waters!
 
Pushed to the wall, I called to God;
    from the wide open spaces, he answered.
God’s now at my side and I’m not afraid;
    who would dare lay a hand on me?
God’s my strong champion;
    I flick off my enemies like flies.
Far better to take refuge in God
    than trust in people;
Far better to take refuge in God
    than trust in celebrities.
Hemmed in by barbarians,
    in God’s name I rubbed their faces in the dirt;
Hemmed in and with no way out,
    in God’s name I rubbed their faces in the dirt;
Like swarming bees, like wild prairie fire, they hemmed me in;
    in God’s name I rubbed their faces in the dirt.
I was right on the cliff-edge, ready to fall,
    when God grabbed and held me.
God’s my strength, he’s also my song,
    and now he’s my salvation.
Hear the shouts, hear the triumph songs
    in the camp of the saved?
        “The hand of God has turned the tide!
        The hand of God is raised in victory!
        The hand of God has turned the tide!”
 
Stand in strength.  The Creator of all has your back and goes before you.
 
All of Creation/How He Loves
 
Because of Him,
Linda

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You Lift Me Up

Drag your thoughts away from your troubles… by the ears, by the heels, or any other way you can manage it. 

     ~Mark Twain
 
 

O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our maker. For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. Today if ye will hear his voice,

Psalm 95:6-7 KJV

     Sometimes it’s a plunge into a task, pruning trees or mowing the lawn.     Sometimes it is a distracting piece of music or a conversation with a child.
Sometimes it is picking up a book. Oft times it is helping others, getting involved with teaching or assisting those in need.
     Whatever it takes to drag your thoughts away from your troubles brings you closer to God.  It brings you closer to God because it takes you outside of you!
     Today, as you weed, prune, play, hear a child, read, or help, at some point you will have to bend.  And with the bending comes kneeling and with the kneeling comes a hand.
     A hand that gently lifts your chin to meet the eyes of your Savior.
You Lift Me Up
The Afters
 
 Because of Him,
Linda

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God’s Garden

The difference between try and triumph is a little umph. 
 
     ~Author Unknown
 

 For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb.

14 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.

~ Psalm 139:13-14

     Take a look in your favorite garden.  Name three of your favorite flowers.

     Dandelions, Irises, Daffodils are among mine.  All different. One considered a weed, all spend time in the dark before they reach their full beauty, and for me, the dandelion is most beautiful when it is about to launch all those beautiful spindly seeds.

     Now take a look at yourself and your two closest friends. Maybe you are a Moonflower, preferring quiet and night, maybe you are a Star of Bethlehem, proclaiming spring, maybe you are a Peonie, tended by so many workers.  All of you are beautiful.  All of you are fearfully and wonderfully made, just the way you were intended, and all of you reach different stages of beauty along the path.  All of you, flowers in God’s garden.

     Take good care of you.  Spruce up once in a while.  Praise His Holy name.  You are indeed fearfully and wonderfully made!

Because of Him,

Linda

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Focus on the Star

How did it get so late so soon?
It’s night before it’s afternoon.
December is here before it’s June.
My goodness how the time has flewn.
How did it get so late so soon?


~ Dr. Seuss

 
Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
 
     ~ John 8:12
 
     It feels as if we are walking in darkness.  I leave school after 3 these days as my room is being used for an after school program.  If I am not careful, I find that it is dark before I have a chance to walk our little dog.  He really likes to see, and sniff and explore, but when it gets dark, he jumps at a dry leaf skittering across the road.
 
     There is so much light out there right now with the Christmas lights, and neighbors having night, action motivated lights and folks who just leave their lights on all night, and seeing the stars in nearly impossible.  But the darkness that Jesus speaks of is an inner darkness. A darkness that drags one down physically and mentally.  
 
   Recently, I handed in a project and the comments were favorable.  I was riding high for a bit and it was lovely.  Then came that one that pointed to an error. An error that might have been avoided.  Instead of gleaning the kind things from that same conversation, I dwelt on the thing I did wrong.  All day.  Obsessively.  That is the darkness. A darkness that can lead to a downward spiral.
 
     Today,  follow the star. We are so close!  The stable is alive with life, the sky is about to break forth, and that star in the east is being followed by Kings seeking a King!  Focus on the bright spot in your day and let it carry you through.
 
Because of Him,
Linda

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