Roots

Today’s writing prompt for Five Minute Friday is Roots.

Today is my mother’s 87th birthday. She won’t remember that it is. Today would have been my parents’ 68th wedding anniversary if dad was here. But, she won’t remember that either. Part of me wants to fall apart. I’ve shed a tear. But, life goes on.

My siblings and our spouses took our parents to Opryland Hotel and to the Grand Ole Opry for their 60th wedding anniversary, 8 years ago. I am so glad we did. We laughed. Acted goofy. Got soaking wet. But, those memories I will cherish as long as I am able.

We made a book to remember that time and I wrote a poem to honor them. I entitled the poem “Firm Foundation.” I believe it also good be called “Roots.” I am thankful for the roots my parents gave us.

“Like a tree planted by streams of water”

a foundation built not to be shaken by storm,

strife, fear, illness or heartache.

Roots buried deep into the soil

to hold us up, to set a course,

to lead us to a higher place.

Nurtured, watered, and cherished

that we might feel and know love,

to have strength even in time of testing.

Our parents, our foundation built upon

our Heavenly Father – built to last

to endure until we all meet face to face.

Friendship

Over 40 years ago I was newly married and moved to a city where I knew no one. My husband and I knew it was important to find a church and become a part of it. Little did we know how God would bless us when we found one. We met some other couples who were close to our age and were in the early stages of their marriage. We soon began to hang out. None of us had a whole lot and so we gathered in each other’s homes and ate a lot of beans and cornbread. We met together quite often and did church activities together.

My husband was in the Army and after a couple of years we were sent to Germany. Life moved us on. Only one couple remained in the city where it all began. There would be the Christmas card at times. But, getting to visit and talk would be a rarity.

This past week after 40 plus years, five of us were able to get together. What a reunion! I have to be honest, I was a little nervous. What will we say? I know I look older (ha!) You know all the things women worry about! Well, I didn’t have to worry. We had each been praying about this day and this time. God was present. He knew the love we had for each other so many years ago that it felt we had never been apart. He tendered our hearts to be able to share the good, the bad and the ugly. We did not feel shame but understanding. We prayed together. We laughed and we cried. We read God’s word.

In the end we realized what a blessing we had. We realized that at the center of this friendship (despite our crazy lives) was God.

Choose your friends wisely. Choose friends who share their love of God with you. Choose friends who you can trust. Friends who will build you up but still fill you with truth. A true friend is no greater blessing.

Be with me Lord!

Today’s Five Minute Friday’s writing prompt is Be.

This summer has been quite the roller coaster. Seems like every week there is news of sickness, heartache, and just bad stuff.

When I saw the writing prompt was be, I began to make a list in my mind of the things I should be. Be kind. Be compassionate. Be humble. Be prepared. I know I need to be all of these things. But, the more I thought about it the more I realized I can’t do any of these things on my own. I can only BE, when God is with me.

As the song says, “Be with me Lord, I cannot live without thee.”

“Be with me Lord, and then if dangers threaten, if storms of trial burst above my head.”

“Be with me Lord, when loneliness o’er takes me, when I must weep amid the fires of pain.”

Listen to the song and let it speak to you of God’s unfathomable love. He gives us the gift of being with us and walking through some of our darkest days. The third verse reads “… a constant sense of Thy abiding presence, Where’er I am, to feel that thou art near.”

Guess

Today’s writing prompt for Five Minute Writing was Guess.

When I was a child, I loved going to the fair. I loved all the good food, the rides, and seeing all the exhibits. The one thing I remember that I didn’t like was the guy that yelled at you and said he could guess your weight!!! If you have never heard of this or seen this, good for you. There was no way I was going to let anyone guess my weight much less get on the scale for the world to see! 

I have moved several times in my life. That is such a change. You must get to know people and they must get to know you. As I got older, I wanted to wear a sign around my neck to give everyone my background, so I didn’t have to keep repeating the same history.  I also didn’t want them to guess who I was. I wanted them to know who I was.

I don’t want people to guess my weight or to make a guess at who I am. Isn’t it refreshing to know that God knows everything about us? He doesn’t guess. He doesn’t make assumptions. I love Isaiah 43:1-28. God is talking to the Israelites, but He is also talking to us. We are His children, and he calls us by name. He knows our coming and goings. He knows our strengths and weaknesses. And there is no second guessing who we belong to! What comfort!  What joy!!

Imperfect

Our ladies’ group at church recently hosted a painting class. One of our members is a professional artist and she led our class. Please don’t judge her by this painting! She brought me a long way. Art is not my strong suit but, I do find it very relaxing.

I look at this painting and I see all the mistakes and the what ifs. Don’t we do that with our lives? I’m not pretty. I’m not very smart. I wish I could sing. I wish I was a great writer. I can’t cook. The list goes on and on and on!

I know my imperfections. Sometimes I can get carried away by them. In fact I can get consumed by them. But, I am so thankful that the one who created me doesn’t see me that way. Just like my artist friend kept assuring me that this was my work of art -imperfections and all.

Psalm 139 reminds us that our Father knew us from the womb. It says that we were fearfully and wonderfully made. The Message says in verse 14 “marvelously made.” Yes, that’s right, even with my imperfections my Father loves me.

Holy God, take my imperfections and use them for your glory! Amen

Heal

Our Five Minute Writing word this week is Heal.

We cry out for healing.

We search for healing.

We spend, we indulge, we fret, we ask others.

Healing eludes us.

A vicious cycle begins

until we are helpless.

Then, we fall on our face

and realize where our true healing comes from.

“Heal me, O Lord, and I will be healed;

Save me and I will be saved, for You are the one I praise.”

Mother’s Day 2022

How blessed I am to have two wonderful women in my life, my mom and my mother-in-law. How much they have taught me! I thank them for following after who God created them to be.

Mother’s Day can cause a lot of different kind of emotions for everyone. It hit me hard during worship this morning. I can’t pinpoint any one thing but just overwhelmed. It made me reflect on who I am as a mother. That’s not always the beautiful picture we want. It made me reflect on those who long to be a mother. Those whose mother has passed on. I thought of those who didn’t have such good mothers.

But, God is so good. He helped me see that each women we come in contact with has a different story to tell. I believe as sisters on this journey we mother each other. We learn something new all the time. Each woman we meet teaches us a little more about this life. If we are honest with each other, there is no perfect mother.

I am so thankful to think of the women in my life. Those who have left this life but were mentors to me. I’m thankful for my daughter, daughter-in-laws and my extended family who teach me new things all the time. I’m thankful for wonderful grandmothers and aunts who taught me joy! I’m thankful for friends who show me grace and mercy. I’m thankful for women who never had children but mother people all the time! I am amazed at single mothers who do all they can to raise their children on their own.

If you are grieving in some way today, reach out to someone else who may be grieving in a different way. They made need comfort as only a “mother” can give. Show them Jesus.

You Can Run but You Can’t Hide

“You can run but you can’t hide” was a saying supposedly given by boxing great Joe Lewis in the 1940’s right before a boxing match.

I admit there have been times in my life when I wanted to run. Yes, run for the hills. It’s our reaction to fear, defeat, sorrow, humiliation and I’m sure you can name something else!

What do we run to? Many run to food, to drink, to a new love, shopping, isolation, complaining…Anything other than facing what caused us to run in the first place. 

Jonah was a person who understood this. He knew what God wanted him to do! But he gets on the first boat out of town and tries to hide. But here’s the thing, you CAN’T run from God!

You would think this would be evident to us all. It’s been going on since the beginning of time. Adam and Eve hiding in the garden. Moses runs from Egypt. David tries to cover up his sin. But, in all these cases God intervenes. There are consequences when we run, especially from God. 

Christ pleads with the early church in the Sermon on the Mount to remember where to run when we want to hide.

Matthew 6:32-33 “Do not worry about your physical well-being. People who don’t know any better run after all the things they want, but your Heavenly Father knows your needs. Run for his kingdom and his righteousness then everything that you need will be taken care of.”

Don’t run for the hills! Run to Him!

Joy in Focusing on the Goal

We were blessed to watch our boys play basketball and it’s been fun to see some of the grands shoot the hoops! I love to watch young kids play because they only have one objective…shoot the ball!!! They don’t care how close or how far they are from the goal. They are going to shoot!

I am not an athlete but after watching the ”Pistol Pete” movie several times, I’ve learned a few things. One of those is that it’s important to keep your eye on the goal. The goal of the game is to get the ball through the goal and make as many points as you can. It is also helpful if you hit the right goal!!

We are constantly bombarded with making different goals in this life. We even start at a young age getting our children to begin thinking of what they want to be when they grow up. We have goals for our lives. We have goals in church. We have goals for our family. The list goes on.

Philippians 3 helps us put goal setting in perspective. I believe Paul was telling the Philippians that you can find joy in keeping your eyes on the right goal. Paul knew that the only goal that mattered was to keep his eye on Christ. All of the other goals that we set in this life will mean nothing if our primary purpose is not to focus on Jesus.

How do you keep Christ as your primary goal? Leave a comment.

Strong Coffee

Today’s writing topic for our Five Minute Writing community is Coffee!

If you know me you know I enjoy a cup of the old Joe. It really doesn’t matter what time of day, except now that I’m aging I am more concerned with no caffeine after a certain time of day! Oh well.

My father-in-law and I have a long standing joke about how I make coffee! He says he can hardly stir mine with a stick. I say he makes his like brown water. We love picking with each other about this topic. But, here’s the thing….I LIKE STRONG COFFEE. I want to know what I’m drinking!

I have tried all brands and types. I’m not real picky but I do like what they call a bolder flavor. There are so many brands it’s hard to know which one is the best. So I did a little research. Come to find out it’s the ratio of coffee grinds to water! It happens in the brewing process. You see it has a lot to do with the person behind the scenes.

I want to be strong like my coffee. Not in an athletic sort of way but a strong person who doesn’t fall apart at the drop of a hat.

I believe that there is only one way to get that strength. I am made strong by the power of my Lord. Starting in the Old Testament through the New we are reminded that alone we are powerless but when we lean on God we have power to be strong. One such verse is 1 Peter 5:10 “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong.”

You see in our lives, just like coffee, it’s the person behind the scenes giving us our strength. Thank you Father for making me strong!