“I lost my tooth. The Lord has blessed me.”
That’s how Ann Voskamp’s daughter announced it to her:
When she’s in from the barn, she slams that back door, her hair dripping like she drowned in that shower that doused her curls and the smell of hogs, and she comes grinning and looking for me, holding out her hand.
She announces it like a heralding:
“I lost my tooth. The Lord has blessed me.”
In the east, the sun burns away the mist and I come to.
The Lord has blessed me.
How does she do that? How does she fill her gaping with celebrating and who sees blessing in loss and how can you just hold on to some peace and sanity and your half of the quilt even in nightmares?
You can read the rest here: “How to Handle Losses”
“An unparalyzed faith”
This is such an astounding story–a great one for the Year of Faith:
On July 3, Robert Shelby wanted to show one of his children how to avoid belly-flops when diving. When Shelby demonstrated at a neighbor’s pool, he slammed his head on the bottom.
He tried to swim. He couldn’t.
“None of my body is moving,” he said. “So, I go through my feet, my toes, my legs and knees, go through my arms. I’m trying every single part of my body that I thought might get me there, tried dog paddling, but I’m absolutely paralyzed. There’s nothing moving.”
He could hear his children playing, apparently oblivious to his plight. Holding his breath, he realized they might not notice until it was too late, and he would drown.
About 10 years earlier, Shelby had become a Christian. In addition to his full-time job in industrial sales, Shelby is a pastor at Trinity Baptist Church in Baton Rouge. Suspended between the surface and the bottom of the pool, Shelby pondered how to handle his last moments on Earth.
“I prayed just a moment about it, and what came to me was that (since) I praised God for the last 10 years of my life, I should praise him now,” Shelby said. “So, I began praising him for his grace, for saving me, sending his son, those type things, praising him for the privilege of raising up a family and ministering to people. I prayed that he would watch over my family and provide for them.”
As he prayed, Shelby blacked out. When he regained consciousness, his life was radically altered.
You can read the rest here: “An Unparalyzed Faith”
“Drink the thankful sweet”
Wonderful advice for the beginning of the week by Ann Voskamp. In fact, I’m going to read it again myself!
The Want of Wonder
A wonderful blog that I have just discovered!
— G. K. Chesterton
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In my “Dorcee-ness”
The other morning I woke up, got dressed, and went into the chapel. As I started to pray, “Lord, I come to you in my lowliness . . .”, I felt a nudge from the Holy Spirit to pray instead: “Lord, I come to you in my ‘Dorcee-ness.” It was a nudge from the Holy Spirit to me to start thinking less of myself as “Dorcee=lowliness” and more of myself as “Dorcee=lowliness+His child whom He created and loves+all the gifts that God has given me+all that He loves about me.” It’s amazing how just a slight shift in thinking can make a big difference. I have been practicing gratitude for the last year, thanking God for so many things, those that are wonderful and those that are hard. But I guess I haven’t been thanking Him very much for me. And I would guess there are others of you out there who think that same way. Take some time today to come to the Lord in your “Ann-ness” or “Lucy-ness” or “David-ness,” and thank Him forall that you are. Think about who you are as uniquely yourself and the gift that that is to so many others . . .especially Him.
“Keep Calm and Count On”
As Thanksgiving approaches, I think it only appropriate to direct you today to Ann Voskamp’s blog since it was her book that changed my life this year, for which I am very thankful. May she inspire you as well: “The Real First Thanksgiving.”Wishing you a blessed Thanksgiving!
before I go (3)
And a little bit more from Peter Kreeft’s book, before I go:
97. The Burning I
Prayer is not only conversation, it is transformation. It is not only light, it is fire. And the closer you get to Him, the hotter the fire gets. Words begin to melt. The first word that melts in His presence is the word “I”. That is His unique name. The closer you get to Him, the harder it is to begin a sentence with “I”. It melts in the fire of “thou.”
104. How to Be Wiser, Happier, and Better in Seven Minutes
If you’re not interested in these three products, don’t read this. If you are in the market for them but skeptical about getting them in seven minutes, read on.
The answer is three words: count your blessings. It’s so simple it’s embarrassing.
I mean this literally. Just thank God for seven specific blessings. Don’t ask Him for anything, just thank Him.
If you want a structure, here is one: tell God you are grateful for the following seven specific things. (They can be small things; small things are best because we don’t usually notice them.)
- one specific, concrete thing in the world
- one specific, concrete thing in your life
- one specific event in the world
- one specific event in your life
- one specific person in the world
- one specific person in your life
- one attribute, aspect, or deed of God himself
Look straight up and praise
I’m still delving deep into Amy Carmichael’s commentaries on the psalms. I can’t help but share the precious tidbits I keep finding. Here are her comments on that transition we find in the psalms from weeping to praise, that encouragement to look straight up and praise God with a song (when we least feel like it . . .):
“I have been noticing how in the Psalms every experience of distress turns to a straight look-up, and praise. I had not noticed till recently that the Psalm of the weaned child (Ps 131) ends like that: ‘O Israel, hope in the Lord from this time forth and for evermore.’ And today I read Ps 69, and there again I found the look-up that ends in praise. Kay translates v. 10, ‘I wept soul-tears’, and that is just what it is like at times, when all we have done to help another soul seems to end in failure. Even so, ‘I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify Him with thanksgiving’ (v. 30).
“Surely this emphasis on praise in the Psalms is because to turn from discouraging things and look up with a song in one’s heart is the only sure way of continuance. We sink down into what David calls mire, slime, deep waters, if we do not quickly look up, and turning our back on the discouraging, set our faces again toward the sunrising.
“Perhaps that is what v. 32 of that Psalm means, ‘You who seek God, let your hearts revive.’
“I found all this very reviving. It led straight to ‘They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength’ [Is 40.31], and ‘Let them that love Him be as the sun when he rises in his might’[Jgs 5.31].” (Edges, p.159)
“I will bless you, even if the car won’t start . . .”
A week ago I gave a talk at Witnesses to Hope, and part of what I spoke about was the importance of thanking the Lord in all circumstances. This past weekend one of the women who had attended that night, passed on to me a prayer that she found in the September issue of The Word Among Us. Part of it goes like this:
Father, I choose today to go through my day blessing you, whether my circumstances are comfortable to me or not. I will bless you, even if the car won’t start or the kids’ commotion won’t stop. I will bless you in rain and in drought, in hot or cold, in feast or famine. I will bless you because you have rescued me from sin. I lift up your holy name and exalt your goodness because you are holy and righteous.
I will bless you, Father, when gas prices rise, and when my income fails. I will proclaim that you are good and you hold all things in the palm of your hand. When insects swarm, when crops fail, when stock markets falter, even when your favor seems to flee my life, still I will bless you. You are mysterious in your ways, yet compassionate in your wisdom. I will trust you, Lord, and bless you, God most high.
You can read (pray) the entire prayer here.