Thursday, November 16, 2017

Master Knitter


"You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother's womb.
  Thank You for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous - how well I
  know it.
  You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion as I was woven together in the dark of the            
   womb."  Psalm 139: 13 - 15

I love to knit. My Aunt Fannie patiently guided my six year old hands through the basic knitting stitches years and years ago. She never fussed when I came to her with dropped stitches. She wiped away the tears of frustration and kindly admired my less-than-perfect projects.

Since then, there has rarely been a time in my life when I haven't had a knitting project going. I still occasionally drop a stitch, and my work isn't perfect, but I love the process. It stills my soul and brings a measure of peace as I watch one stitch after another begin to form into a lovely whole.

I suppose that's why I love those verses from Psalm 139. I imagine the great God, who created everything in heaven and earth, patiently, perfectly knitting together every single life in its mother's womb. Each life - unique and precious in His eyes...

Today I'm writing at Laced With Grace. Please join me there for the rest of this devotional.


Blessings,
Linda

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Searching For Truth


Autumn comes slowly to South Texas. Our neighbors to the north are wrapping themselves in cozy afghans, lighting the first fire against the frosty night air, taking pictures of spectacular fall foliage, and sipping hot chocolate while we still pull on capris and slip our feet into sandals. Weary of the heat we take measures to entice the first cool front to wend its way south. At the very least, a fall wreath (made up of fake autumn leaves), a pot of colorful mums or pumpkin scented candles can trick us into thinking summer is over. Those things help a bit, but what we’re looking for is the real thing.



Some time around mid-October, it finally happens. In the middle of a sultry afternoon the wind picks up. The trees bend and sway. The temperature drops, and we make a mad dash to the closet and pull on a fluffy sweater.  We rush outside and inhale the fresh, crisp air.
A few days later we begin to notice subtle changes. Not dramatic sweeps of color across the landscape, but color nonetheless. The artificial props we’ve used pale in comparison. This little splash of color is the real thing. It’s what we’ve been looking for all along. True autumn. It’s coming.
These days many of us, I think, are longing for the real thing – for truth. Somehow it has gotten hard to find – lost in a sea of relativity...
To finish reading this devotional, just click the link and come on over:
Thank you and blessings,
Linda

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Why, Lord?



Far too often I find my mind is a battle field - faith and doubt warring for supremacy. It says in Psalm 32:7:

"For You are my hiding place. You protect me from trouble. You surround me with songs of victory."

It brings me comfort...until that dart from the enemy finds its mark and I begin the inevitable round of questions.
"If that is true Father, why is there so much suffering? Why do those who love You so dearly and serve You so well have such trouble come into their lives? Why do little children suffer pain and sorrow? Why do evil people prosper? ......"

I fight back with the truth I know - that He loves us; that He is good. Sometimes the questions persist.
I read something today in my little devotional, "Joy and Strength" that answered the question in a way that could only be the gentle voice of the Spirit:

"Just as soon as we turn toward Him with loving confidence, and say, 'Thy will be done,' whatever chills or cripples or enslaves our spirits, clogs their powers, or hinders their development, melts away in the sunshine of His sympathy. He does not free us from the pain, but from its power to dull the sensibilities; not from poverty and care, but from their tendency to narrow and harden; not from calumny, but from the maddening poison in its sting, not from disappointment, but from the hopelessness and bitterness of thought which it so often engenders. We attain unto this perfect liberty when we rise superior to untoward circumstances, triumph over the pain and weakness of disease, over unjust criticism, the wreck of earthly hopes, over promptings to envy , every sordid and selfish desire, every unhallowed longing, every doubt of God's wisdom and love and kindly care, when we rise into an atmosphere of undaunted moral courage, of restful content, of child-like trust, of holy, all-conquering calm."
William W. Kinsley (b.1837)

I've written the rest of this devotional at Laced With Grace. Join me there?

Blessings,
Linda

Friday, September 29, 2017

When We're In Over Our Heads


Blue sky and sunshine - a perfect day for the long anticipated picnic. It would be a day filled with fun, family, good friends and games. Everyone looked forward to watching the competitive games - everything from foot races to dances - but first the waters of the lake beckoned.

The two young girls, one a little less adventurous than her younger friend, finished helping unload the packed cars, grabbed fuzzy beach towels and ran toward the glittering water. They squealed as the chilly water enveloped them. In spite of her lack of swimming proficiency, the smaller girl pushed out toward the deeper water - her friend following reluctantly in her wake. They flailed their arms as they walked forward - splashing water at each other, laughing and shouting.

In a single moment everything changed. The older girl watched in stunned disbelief as her friend disappeared from sight. Unbeknown to either girl, the lake bottom dropped off sharply just a short way from shore. Heart pounding, she moved toward her friend as she resurfaced - thrashing wildly. Trying desperately to keep her footing, she reached for the struggling girl - but in her panic her friend grabbed her around the neck. She fought hard to keep from going under again, but all she succeeded in doing was to pull her would-be rescuer under with her. The older girl knew if she couldn't get her friend to calm down they would both drown.

To read the rest of the story please click on over to Laced With Grace

Blessings,
Linda

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Sit Still


My mother read to me. I don't remember a time when stories didn't fill my mind and my heart. In many ways they shaped me - often for good and sometimes.... Sometimes the messages got a bit muddled in my child heart and left impressions that didn't serve me well.

For instance, the story of "The Little Engine That Could." Now there, one would think, is a positive message. That tiny little engine did what no one else thought possible and by sheer willpower pulled that train up and over the mountain to deliver the toys safely to the waiting children on the other side. Everyone loved and praised the little engine.

It certainly has it's merits, but when it becomes a driving force in your life - not so much.

I have always known God loves me. I have heard it in messages, read it in His Word, studied it in groups, sung it in songs. It's a truth stored safely in my head. Yet time and time again, I have realized it isn't a truth that has made its way down into my heart.

Somewhere between my head and my heart stands a little barrier of doubt. It reveals itself in phrases like: "I should have... I need to.... What is it I should be doing for You? I don't want to miss my calling." It's as though I have become that little engine, longing to do something big so I will earn that love and affirmation I long for. Not consciously, mind you, because I know God's love for me is unconditional. It's just that there are times I cannot seem to put aside that "do enough; good enough" tally sheet.

Please click over to Laced With Grace to read the rest of this little story. Meet you there!

Blessings,
Linda





Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Content To Be Me



Once upon a time there was a tortoise who lived by a little pond in a little town in Texas. For many years he contentedly spent his days exploring the nearby meadow, searching for food and visiting with his fellow tortoises. However one day, feeling a bit adventurous, he decided to leave his familiar neighborhood and do some exploring.

As he meandered down the little road which ran alongside his meadow, he chanced to look up into the sky which until now had been hidden from his view by the tall grasses and large trees. He stopped to admire the puffy white clouds and blue sky. He thought it all so fascinating and stood for a long time gazing up.

He had just resumed his walk when an astounding sight caused him to stop dead in his tracks - a bird soaring high among the clouds. He had never seen anything like it. There was no furious flapping - he simply extended his powerful wings and rode the air currents into the heavens.

Such a graceful, beautiful sight, thought the tortoise. How he wished he could fly above the earth like that, instead of having to plod slowly along with the weight of his home forever on his back. His sighed deeply and continued his walk.

He hadn't gone far when he came upon another sight that caught him completely by surprise...

Please click on over to Laced With Grace to see the surprise:

Blessings,
Linda

Monday, August 7, 2017

Fighting Battles



As much as we would like to avoid it, there are times when we are faced with battles. They come in all sizes and shapes - sometimes barging into our well ordered lives like the Philistine army; at other times slyly sneaking in, disguised as friends, past the well fortified places. We long for peace, knowing it is just on the other side of victory, but we fear the fight.

David was a man who certainly knew a lot about fighting battles. From the time Samuel anointed him king, he was locked in a deadly battle with the jealous, irrational Saul. After years of running and fighting, he finally took his place as king of Judah only to face another long war against Saul's followers. When that was over, there were the Philistines and other neighboring tribes who warred against him.

In all of this David was victorious, for the Lord was on his side. Before going into battle he would pray something like this, "Should I go fight the Philistines? Will you hand them over to me?" And the Lord would answer, "Yes, go ahead. I will certainly hand them over to you." (II Samuel 5: 19).

What a confidence booster that must have been. How much easier to face the enemy knowing that the Lord had already given you the victory. Don't you wish we could hear from God like that?

But wait...we have.

I'm writing at Laced With Grace today. Just click on the link to join me for the rest of this devotional.

Thank you,
Linda