Saturday, March 28, 2015

A Blueprint for Letting Go and Letting God

Do you struggle with letting go of things (or people) you care deeply about, but have no control over? Have you tried to let go, but your anxious thoughts keep returning? If so, I used to be in your shoes, and this blog is for you.

It was about a year ago. Despite being a person of great faith, I found myself on a destructive path of tears, fears and chronic worrying. I knew I couldn't stay sane if I didn't stop my anxious thinking, but I didn't know how to exit the deadly roller coaster of giving my worries to God and picking them up again. Dear Lord, I whispered, as I prepared for bed that evening, I really need a blueprint for letting go of my worries. I can't continue down this ruinous path. Help me, please.

As odd as it might seem, I have a practice of reading my daily devotional at bedtime instead of morning, and as I opened it to the day's date, it was like God entered my bedroom and personally delivered the blueprint I so desperately needed. Each word was timely and inspirational, but the real recipe for letting go came at the end where the author shared a story about Dr. Edward Payson, a 19th Century preacher who was known as "Praying Payson."

Dr. Payson, while still a young man, once wrote to an elderly mother who was extremely worried and burdened over the condition of her son, He wrote,

   You are worrying too much about him. Once you have prayed for him, as you have done, and committed him to God, you should not continue to be anxious. God's command, "Do not be anxious about anything" (Phil. 4:6), is unlimited, and so is the verse, "Cast all your anxiety on him" (1 Peter 5:7). If we truly have cast our burdens upon another, can they continue to pressure us? If we carry them with us from the throne of grace, it is obvious we have not left them there. In my own life I test my prayers in this way: after committing something to God, if I can come away, like Hannah did, with no more sadness, pain, or anxiety in my heart, I see it as proof that I have prayed the prayer of faith. But if I pray and then still carry my burden, I conclude my faith was not exercised.

Needless to say, tears fell that night, and I laid my worries down and exited the roller coaster with peace in my heart. Have I been aboard the roller coaster since then? Of course. I'm human. But I don't ride it very long. I have a blueprint for stopping the madness, and every time I follow it, the madness stops.

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Friday, March 20, 2015

Spring is Springing!

It was the perfect day for escaping the office at lunchtime, and I couldn't resist the arboretum nearby. The intoxicating fragrance of blooms greeted me at the front gate. In a few weeks the gardens will be awash in color, but I love the initial bursts of spring that come and go so quickly. Tulips, for instance. Cherry blossoms. Dogwoods. Redbuds. Azaleas. Here are some pics for your viewing pleasure.

Winding ribbons of color. Thank you, Lord, for the wonderous works of your hands.

The white tulips took my breath away. "Amazing" isn't almost sufficient.

It had been awhile since I saw a blue sky.

The pines seemed to go on forever. Only the Creator could make it so.

I loved this fuzzy little bloom. Not sure what it is.

Bluebonnets. Made me homesick for Dallas.

A few lingering azaleas. Our endless rains stripped the bushes almost as they bloomed.

Daffodils. One of my springtime favorites.

Such a stunning shade of blue!

Anybody? I don't know what it is.

I loved this blooming tree, draped over the little walkway. Fuchsia. A fav color of mine.

Even the goldfish seemed to know that winter was past. How gracefully they glide through the water.

And finally....

The minute I saw the name of this herb, I had to snap a pic.
I think I've been called this on more than one occasion.

♥ ♥ ♥

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Sunday, March 15, 2015

Things Aren't Always As They Seem

 My twin sister and I wrote a children’s musical years ago called “Way Down Yonder In The Pumpkin Patch.” I wrote the songs first, and Dayle weaved in the dialogue. I found the live recording the other day, and it's been fun listening to it again. 

The musical communicated several valuable messages, among them the fact that what you look like on the outside doesn't always reflect what the inside is—in other words, an ugly pumpkin can still make a delicious pie.

To put that into a spiritual context, one of the songs is called “Inside Out.” The chorus says, “Inside out. Inside out. Why is it so hard to figure it out? God really knows what I’m all about. He sees me from the inside out.”

In today's world, where looks is an obsession and material things often define a person's success, it's easy to forget that things aren't always as they seem. Ugly sweaters can come in beautiful packages, filthiness can lurk in beautiful homes, and, yes, wickedness can dwell in spotless jars of clay. Only God knows what lies within, and he will have the final word.
♦ ♦ ♦

"Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then I will profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." 
Matthew 7:22-23

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Spiritual Sundays
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