We each have a life story, penned without ink, read by the people around us. Who's writing your story?

Friday, October 21, 2016

How Strong Are You?

In an hour and a half, we crossed everything off my list!

CSU's Community Appreciation Day comes every October. Tuesday, eight college girls descended on my place, and for the better part of the morning helped me do things I can't do, things like flip a queen-size mattress and vacuum under the bed, clean out and organize the paint closet, load snow tires into my car, move boxes, prepare my vegetable garden for winter, and ready a section behind my garage for grass seed--which  meant picking out buckets full of Pennsylvania rocks and stones. What a great group of girls!

Most of these chores have one thing in common. They require lifting.

I never realized how valuable physical strength is until left-over limitations from a car accident prevented me from lugging the vacuum cleaner upstairs, moving anything of substance, or even taking a turkey out of the oven. When those with strength give me a hand, I'm amazed at all they can do. Their help means so much to me.

In this life I'll never be strong physically, yet I am thankful for what I can do. It's all in how you look at it. 

There are other ways to be strong. We say a person is strong when they demonstrate courage in the face of adversity or rise above unfortunate circumstances. They model hope when we find ourselves in a weakened position. 

The theme of God's strength permeates the Bible. He is all-powerful and at the same time shares His strength with earthbound weaklings like us. "Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might" (Ephesians 6:10). And the verse that got me out of bed on many mornings after the crash: "Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand" (Isaiah 41:10).

So, how strong are you? 


Saturday, October 8, 2016

Trust in the Daily Grind

By the time I hung up the phone, tears wet my cheeks. My doctor just finished telling me that, by looking at the x-ray, he was pretty sure the specialist (whom I, myself, had chosen to do the procedure) had, well . . . botched it. I would have complications sooner or later, which would require another, more invasive, solution.

I thought I had done the wise thing by asking for another opinion. The second professional had not only demonstrated a kind thoroughness but was also highly recommended the specialist. The path I chose seemed so right at the time. It made sense. Now, regret and fear filled my being. This had been a difficult decision for me. I had sought counsel. I had prayed. And now this?

Added to the frustration of it all, questions peppered my thinking. Did I not discern God's will? Was I too conscientious? Should outcomes alone determine the quality of our decisions? If my doctor had done the work and made a human error, wouldn't I have thought, "Maybe I should've seen a specialist"?

Have you been here?

Although this was not a huge crisis, I felt disappointed . . . even vulnerable. Do you find, along with me, that it's in the little things, in the daily grind, where trust shrivels or thrives? Can we choose to trust . . . in spite of poor outcomes, in spite of questionable decisions, in spite of our own self-doubt?

God, in His gracious timing, reassured me as I prepared for our small group study, using the the second chapter of Penned Without Ink titled "God Writes Perfect Stories." Once again, I came away with a broader perspective and a fresh confidence in the One who is much bigger than me and my circumstances.

"The Lord will perfect (complete) that which concerns me" (NKJV).
"The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me" (NIV).
Psalm 138:8 

"And I am convinced and sure of this very thing, 
that He Who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ . . . developing [that good work] and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you."
Philippians 1:6, The Amplified Bible

I don't know which doctor is right. I don't know what the outcome will be. Yet, in it all, God is committed to accomplish His good work in me . . . AND IN YOU.

That's pretty perfect!

Penned Without Ink: Trusting God to Write Your Story is available here (On Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle formats.)

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