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To Not Know But Be Known

This post is a part of the Five Minute Friday link up. We write for just 5 minutes on a one-word prompt without heavy editing and see what happens. Today’s prompt is “unknown.”

It seems that we humans like to have things explained. We want to know the why of things. I recently lost one of my beautiful koi to unknown causes. I just went out one morning to the small pond in my front yard, and the water level was extremely low, and one of the two remaining koi I have was dead.

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There didn’t appear to be any reason whatsoever.

My husband has had ulcerative colitis for almost 30 years. They don’t know why. The origin is unknown.

I have another friend who collapsed one morning and was taken to the ER. They have no idea why it happened.

It’s very frustrating to be on the questioning end of the unknown. No amount of researching or exploring seems to be able to answer our questions.

It’s frustrating with the sudden death of animals, and it’s frustrating with medical situations. We don’t like to settle for not knowing, but sometimes, we just have to. But thanks be to God, we can also accept being completely known by Him.

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Wait For It

This post is a part of the Five Minute Friday link up. We write for 5 minutes on a one-word prompt and see what happens. Today’s word is “Wait.” 

out to canaanMy 17-year-old daughter, my husband, and I are reading aloud each night from Jan Karon’s wonderful Mitford series. We’re right now on Out to Canaan and one of the big themes in this particular book is “wait.”

Under nefarious circumstances, several different real estate investment firms from Florida are trying to swoop in and buy up properties in the small, North Carolina town of Mitford. All these properties are meaningful to the town’s beloved Episcopal priest, Father Timothy Kavanagh.

When the mansion of a wealthy deceased parishioner, dear to the town—and Father Tim—needs to be sold and an investment company wants to come in and build a spa, Father Tim says he wants to wait 30 days before making a decision on the way-under-value offer.

When the local bakery owned by a dear friend is for sale because she thinks she needs to move to Tennessee, and she’s unsettled about the whole thing, Father Tim advises her to wait on an offer that is way below her asking price, but the only offer that’s come in.

And then, to top it all off, when his very own parsonage goes on the market because he is retiring—in a year!—a full-price, cash offer causes him great concern, especially when they want an answer immediately. He says he wants no action taken for 10 days.

At this point in the book—we’re on chapter 18—we know what happens with 2 of the 3, but we’re still waiting to hear about the 3rd. I don’t want to give any spoilers, so I’ll just say, waiting is not easy, especially when you’re being pressed for action. Sometimes we just want to jump at what’s right in front of us. But waiting, especially when God is asking us to, is always the best thing to do.

IMG_1858Think about Abraham and Sarah. They got anxious about seeing God’s promise fulfilled, so they took things into their own hands. That did not end up well. (See Genesis 16 for the full story.)

Waiting is hard. There’s no doubt about it. But waiting on God is always good.

On that note, I highly recommend Rebecca Brewster Stevenson’s wonderful book Wait: Thoughts and Practice in Waiting on God. 

 

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Getting Out the Word of God

This post is a part of the Five Minute Friday link up. We write for just 5 minutes (I cheated a little today) on a one-word prompt, without heavy editing, and see what happens. Today’s prompt is “active.”

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12 ESV).

IMG_1848For more than 30 years, my husband has worked for a ministry called The JESUS Film Project. The movie “JESUS,” taken from the book of Luke, is dubbed into all the major languages of the world, and lots of minor languages as well. The thinking is simple: No one should have to learn another language to understand that God loves them.

For many years the ministry has worked alongside Wycliffe Bible Translators to get Luke translated first so that the movie can then be dubbed into that language and the people can hear and see the story of Jesus in their heart language. (Learn more about it here.)

Lately, I have had the privilege of working in two areas that are helping people hear and understand the Word of God. The first is called her.Bible. This is a project that seeks to record an audio Bible with diverse women’s voices. The producer of this project realized that there was a silent space when it came to audio Bibles in women’s voices. her.Bible has produced the entire New Testament and the books of IMG_1847Proverbs, Ruth and Esther in the Old Testament. They are now seeking funding to be able to continue recording the rest of the Old Testament. My role is to make sure that the recordings are word perfect to the New Living Translation of the Bible. Check out her.Bible here.

The other work I’ve been doing is with a Christian meditation app called Abide. It is the #1 Christian meditation app and has been helping thousands and thousands of people worldwide to meditate on God’s Word, hiding it in their hearts and growing in their faith because of it. I am writing daily meditations and bedtime stories to help people get peaceful sleep, and helping in the editing and planning processes. Oh, and they also have a YouTube channel!

IMG_1849The app is free for the shorter versions of the meditations, and costs less than 11 cents a day for the full version. Learn more about it here and by checking it out in the Google Play or Apple app stores.

The Word of God is active. It is living. It does not return void. Everything that we can do to get His Word into the hands, hearts and ears of people is worth the investment of time and money. The JESUS Film Project has an app, Abide is an app, and her.Bible is working on an app. Won’t you go and check them out? Have questions? Put them in the comments.

 

 

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The Life Giving Lake

This post is a part of the Five Minute Friday link up. We write for 5 minutes on a one-word prompt, without heavy editing, and see what happens. Today’s prompt is “deep.”

I walked to the edge of the lake and stuck my toes in the water. It was surprisingly warm. I figured it must be shallow because everyone knows that deep waters are cold. And mysterious. And dark.

So I began to walk further in, exploring, a little hesitant, not knowing exactly what I’d encountered, but figuring I had heard enough about this particular lake to have some idea of what I was getting myself into.

Boy was I wrong.

I knew nothing about this vast, unsearchable body of water. I didn’t know that it would beckon me to go deeper.

I didn’t know that it would encompass me, overwhelm me, yet buoy me and keep me safe.

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I didn’t know that I would never, ever be able to fathom its depths. That I would never know everything there was to know about it.

But I could see myself reflected in its depths.

And I would be drawn back to it time and time again. In fact, I would never want to leave. And I never had to. I could live there, in fact, I had to live there.

What I didn’t know is that life was in its depths. And after all, it wasn’t dark beneath the surface. It was surprisingly, amazingly, overwhelmingly, bright.

 

A Wing and a Prayer

This post is a part of my 10-minute Tuesday series. I write for just 10 minutes on a one-word prompt provided by a friend. Today’s prompt is “prayer.”

The title of today’s post came to mind quickly, but I actually wanted to look up its origins to understand it. It originates from the idea of a damaged military plane coming in for a landing. It’s got a wing to fly with, but maybe not much more. So, it’s coming in on a wing and a prayer.

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I’ve seen miraculous healings; I’ve seen situations that seemed insurmountable be overcome by prayer. Most recently, a friend of mine had a dire diagnosis of stage 3 or 4 ovarian cancer. When the doctors went in to perform a complete hysterectomy, they found that the cancer was contained in only 1 ovary and was only a stage 1. Complete recovery is now the prognosis.

I have another friend whose baby in utero was diagnosed with a condition that caused his organs to grow into his chest cavity, causing his lungs to be unable to develop correctly. It’s more complicated than that, but regardless, 3 weeks after he was born and surgery was performed to correct the issue, he was able to go home. They thought he would be there for 6 months.

There is story after story after story about how prayer made a difference. Not every circumstance was changed, but every heart was. I have another friend who is currently heartbroken over a lost dog. They just moved to a new house after living on a 15-acre farm for many years, and the dog got out of the new place. It’s been 4 days and he is nowhere to be found. People are looking for him and praying for his safe return, but we obviously don’t know the outcome. And so I pray not only that he would be found, but that their hearts would be comforted.

Prayer is a mysterious thing. We can approach it as if God is a cosmic vending machine, just there to give us what we want. And if He doesn’t, then what good is He anyway?

Or we can view prayer as an amazing opportunity to draw near to the heart of God. He is sovereign and He is able to do abundantly more than we ask or imagine, and one of those abundant things he gives is Himself.

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Does it feel like you’re just coming in on a wing and a prayer? Believe it or not, that is enough.

As in most of my short posts, there is not enough time to delve into the whole subject of prayer. These are just a few of my quick thoughts. I’d love to hear what you think!

 

 

If You Are Willing

This post is a part of the Five Minute Friday link up. We write for just 5 minutes on a one-word prompt, without heavy editing, and see what happens. Today’s prompt is “willing.”

“While He was in one of the cities, behold, there was a man covered with leprosy; and when he saw Jesus, he fell on his face and implored Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.”And He stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” And immediately the leprosy left him” (Luke 5:12-13 NASB).

I have a friend, Marcey, whose 22-year-old daughter, Julia, became very ill. After many weeks, a large mass was discovered in her abdomen that was pushing all her organs out of the way. She was in excruciating, debilitating pain. Surgery was performed and 90+ percent of the tumor was removed. Within 6 weeks, it had grown back.

The doctors were stymied. Even the top tumor experts were not able to figure out what this tumor was. It had never been seen before.

As friends were rallied to pray, radiation and chemo therapies were applied. At one point, Marcey told me they thought they were going to lose her. She was so weak. There didn’t seem to be any hope.

And yet we prayed.

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Julia sporting her new wig (photo courtesy her mom)

Just two days ago, Marcey reported that there has been a turnaround in Julia’s prognosis. The chemotherapy is working and the tumors are shrinking. The doctor’s are jubilant as is her family. Today she is off her pain pump and trusting God for a future that just weeks ago she wasn’t sure she would have.

She’s a walking miracle.

We asked God to be willing to heal her, and His answer was, “Yes.”

But we know that’s not always His answer in this life. But He is always our portion. Whether healed in this life or not, we always have our hope in Him.

Even though my 5 minutes are up, I’m going to add a note here that this is a way bigger subject than can be tackled in just 5 minutes. This story is fresh on my heart and I wanted to share it, but I know that there are so many people who have not experienced healing of either themselves or a loved one. I lost both my mom and my grandmother to cancer and have known many others who have succumbed to this dread disease. There are no guarantees of physical healing here on earth, but I stand on the fact that God is good. Whether His healing happens here or not, He is good and He redeems all things. If you or someone you love is in need of God’s healing touch, keep praying: Your will be done.

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Arrows Not Answers

Today’s post is a part of the Five Minute Friday link up. We write for 5 minutes on a one-word prompt and see what happens. Today’s prompt is “Question.”

What I’m about to say I’m taking directly from fellow Redbud Writer’s Guild friend Emily P. Freeman. In a podcast from last year, Emily talked about the fact that we’re always looking for answers from God. We want clarity, we want details. But God doesn’t tend to answer our questions in that way. So her podcast episode was titled “Look for Arrows (Not Answers).”

emily freeman podcastI thought that was brilliant.

I also loved a prayer she prayed near the end. It included this line: “We are looking for a plan but then You offer us Your hand. May it be enough today.”

We want plans, He offers His hand. We don’t always know where He’s taking us. Most of the time we have more questions than we do answers, but if we trust the character of God, we will take that hand and let Him lead.

Ever gone out looking for yard sales on a Saturday? Many times all we see are signs with arrows drawn on them. Go this way. When you need to turn again, we’ll let you know. Meanwhile, keep going. There will be treasures at the end.

Yard sales don’t always end in treasures because, you know, yard sales. But we know that if we walk with God, we will find the treasure of His presence wherever we go.

Take His hand. Keep walking. You can ask the questions if you want to, but don’t be surprised if He doesn’t answer them all.

Find this podcast on Emily’s website, emilypfreeman.com. The podcast is called The Next Right Thing. Subscribe. It’s really good. That’s where I got the image above.

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