Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Dancing in the Rain

I was recently asked to give the opening devotion at a Christian women’s one-day retreat.  “Is there a theme passage for the conference?” because I thought, I can poke around on that a little bit, do some word-study, go off on a tangent.  But was told “nope, no theme passage.”   Well, you know me:  not a problem for Deb!  I can always find something woman-y, encouragement-y to talk about, right?   Plus I know how God drops little nuggets in my path. 
The next morning, I was getting ready for work and was already thinking about the conference title “Dancing in the Rain”.   A few minutes later I sat down to read my morning devotion, and the reading for that day was Psalm 30.   As I read through the psalm little images popped into my mind as I thought about King David (or even myself!) in these various predicaments:  a little white face looking up from the bottom of a dark & dank pit or crawling up from a musty, horrible grave!    I imagined God’s hand reaching for me and how I’d feel secure and safe.     

As I got to the end of the verses—oh my!  My wonderful heavenly Father was reaching for my hand and there I was twirling around like His little princess, in a beautiful frilly dress—and it goes flying out in ripples—and oh! my dress is the color of JOY, and out of my mouth comes this impossibly beautiful song that no way! can I keep it in:   my heart is overflowing, I just can’t keep quiet!   Look what He’s done for me! 

the color of joyI knew that this last verse (in green below) was just perfect for the opening devotion for this conference.  NOTE:  I left in the divisions where we read responsively at the conference.  
Psalm 30
A psalm.  A song.  For the dedication of the temple.  Of David.
L:  I will exalt you, Lord,
A:  for You lifted me out of the depths
B:  and did not let my enemies gloat over me.
L:  Lord my God, I called to You for help,
A+B:  and You healed me.
L:  You, Lord, brought me up from the realm of the dead;
A+B:  You spared me from going down to the pit.
L:  Sing the praises of the Lord, you His faithful people; praise His holy name!
A:  For His anger lasts only a moment, but His favor lasts a lifetime.
B:  Weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.
L:  When I felt secure, I said, “I will never be shaken.”
A:  Lord, when You favored me You made my royal mountain stand firm;
B:  but when You hid Your face, I was dismayed.
L:   To you, Lord, I called; to the Lord I cried for mercy:
ALL: “What is gained if I am silenced, if I go down to the pit?
B:  Will the dust praise You? 
A:  Will it proclaim Your faithfulness?
L:   Hear, Lord, and be merciful to me;
ALL: Lord, be my help!”
B:  You turned my wailing into dancing;
A:  You removed my sackcloth
A+B: and clothed me with joy,
L:  that my heart may sing Your praises and not be silent.
ALL: O Lord my God, I will You thanks & praise You forever!

clothed with joyYou might have a lot going on in your life right now.  Dusty windowsills.   A dirty toilet bowl.  A pile of laundry.  Too much to do and not enough time to do it.  Fear.  Sadness.  Sorrow.   My dear!  He knows exactly where you are and what’s going on.  Sure, there are times when He lets you flail around, but would your faith ever grow if it wasn’t tested and prodded to mature and grow?  

You might be standing at the bottom of a very deep pit right now, looking up, wailing miserably, wondering if God has any clue, if He’s even listening because it sure seems like you’re talking to an empty room!  

Certainly there are times when it seems our prayers are unheard, but you are His daughter!!  He NEVER stops listening—He hears every syllable.   More than anything He wants to have a lifelong, eternal conversation with each of us. 

You might be going through a really rough time, maybe you think God is hiding His face from you to punish you for sins in your past.  Sister, please remember He loves you.   He’s already healed you from the worst thing that could ever happen to you—He couldn’t imagine spending a single moment without you, so He sent His son to Calvary to pay the price for all the sins that are weighing you down.  He took the drab prison clothes and draped you with a magnificent gown of the most exquisite fabric.  Christ is right now in heaven working on YOUR room in his mansion.    

REMEMBER this:  when we place our confidence in the Lord and what He is doing through us—we CAN praise the Lord.  We can dance in the rain because the Lord is dancing there with us.   Think of every woman you know.   Each one has gone or is right now going through some kind of trial or trouble or struggle.  Most of us will go through MANY trials before we get to Heaven. 

The Lord has put us here, together, at just this time, at just this place as part of His magnificent plan.  Christian sisters—today.  At home, in our churches.  To minister to each other.  And for Him.  The Lord is sending showers of blessings.   And our heavenly Father has clothed us with the Joy of His salvation.  

In our lives--sunshine or rain--we can sing for joy and not be silent because with our eyes focused on Jesus, letting Him lead the way, our lives will be filled with praise and we can dance in the rain!  

Praise the Lord!

Dear Lord, thank You for bringing us to this moment.   Thank You for each woman reading this prayer, with whatever burdens she is carrying.  Lord, help us to drop all our burdens and cares on Your shoulders and to trust You even when we’re walking through a dark valley.   Walk with us, Lord, through difficulties.  Lift us when we stumble.   Carry us when we just can’t.  Rain Your blessings on us, Lord, and help us dance in the rain and sing Your praises daily.    Send your Holy Spirit to be with us each day, bless the words from our mouths that we might encourage one another; give us courage in whatever role You’ve assigned us, to be better disciples and and wives and mothers and daughters and sisters and friends.  Lord my God, let us praise You forever! Amen.

Other articles you may enjoy:

Family Devotions          Babies & Bible Time           Busy at Home

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

The Truth is Out - Time for a Change!

January.  The time of resolutions.  Time management, goal-setting, reviewing last year's accomplishments.  Being honest.

Honesty in blogging
I'll go first:   I started this blog in September 2010.   If it was a child, she would now be half-way through 2nd Grade--reading little books, reliably spelling high-frequency words like the, at, Mom; probably mastering a two-wheel bike and made her parents proud this past summer playing shortstop in peewee softball.

The truth is that the mother (me) of this "child" has been terribly (and often) negligent during these past seven+ years.   And while I've had many good intentions, quite honestly I've been busy doing many OTHER things (teaching, quilting, moving [twice!], recuperating from cancer & chemo, working full-time)--these are all pretty good as excuses go.

To be fair:  there was a span where I couldn't get INTO my blog (because I'm a nitwit sometimes!) so the poor thing languished for months--and I kind of lost my mo-jo.  Another span of quiet-time took place in 2014 after we moved, the cancer thing happened and I started working full-time.   I was tired and brain-dead.  

The truth is that I've been a poor manager of my time...actually my "evening time".   I'm a morning person and bounce out of bed at 5:30 (happy & cheerful--don't hate me!) so that I have time to read my Bible before I head to work at 6:45 (to be there by 7:15-ish).  When I get home at around 4:30, I'm toast.

So guess what I do?  I'm usually home alone (hubby's a truck driver) so I get my supper going, turn on the TV/Netflix/news, read my personal email or check Facebook, and usually fall asleep before the bad guy gets caught.  I wake up around 8:00pm, somewhat refreshed but my rear-end is glued to my chair and now it's "too late" to really get anything done.   I look through Instagram or Pinterest--"Oh look at THIS cute idea!"

The rest of the truth is this:  I've taken for granted the wide-reach my blog has.  Just recently I FINALLY did a project I've wanted to do for y-e-a-r-s on my blog:  make a list of all my blog titles.  As I was rooting around on the back side of my blog, I was STUNNED (stunned, I tell you!) to see that SOME of my posts have had hundreds and thousands of eyeballs on 'em--and I never even knew!  AND there are even COMMENTS on some of my posts!  When did THAT happen?   Why didn't I know?   My settings were supposed to send me notifications whenever that happened.

So . . . it's time for me to own up to my negligence.  And to apologize to all of you.  It is SO not me to ignore people--and I certainly am humbled by this evaluation of my blog-situation.

Your loyalty to this blog and to me is much appreciated and I promise to strive to do better (that shouldn't be too difficult since there's really nowhere to go but UP, right?!).

Also, I want to thank those of you who have left comments in the past.   I hope you'll understand--just like you (busy wife & mother), I am too.

Here is a list of the most popular Titus Two Friends posts I've written (other than holiday related):

10 - Leaving a Godly Legacy

  9 - My Times Are In Your Hands
  8 - Project:  Prompts for Prayers, Praises, Promises

  3 - At Home With Christ (How to do Family Devotions)

Last spring I delivered a keynote address at a homeschool conference.  The theme verse we focused on was this one from 1Thessalonians 5:11
Encourage one another & build up each other,
just as in fact you are doing.

When I started blogging seven years ago--right down to this very day--it has always been my intention to inspire you to be a godly woman, an excellent wife, a devoted mother, and a dear friend to those who are blessed to know you.  To help you see the blessings God has showered upon you, to give you a pep talk when you need it, and do it in a way that brings glory to God.

REQUEST:   I'm re-setting my settings, so that I get notifications whenever someone comments on any of my blog posts.   Would you do me a favor and when you read something, leave a little comment--maybe tell me what you liked or (dis) agree with, what pricked your conscience or raised a question.  

REQUEST #2:  If you like this post, please grab the URL and share it on your fave social media so others have a chance to read it, too.  

Thanks, friends, for helping me revive this neglected little blog.   


Here's a couple of other posts that deserve attention, too:

God Works - So Does Prayer         Snow Day Recipes

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