Focus Redirected

She knew that

when her affections

were set on things above

then nothing

could steal her JOY.

redletterwords.com

chair cup and book

Refocusing today.

Reflecting today.

Stretching my heart, body and soul to Heaven looking for wisdom from above.

I will rest and be silent knowing that He reigns.

The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;

his mercies never come to an end;

they are new every morning;

great is your faithfulness.

“The LORD is my portion,” says my soul,

“therefore I will hope in him.”

The LORD is good to those who wait for him,

to the soul who seeks him.

It is good that one should wait quietly

for the salvation of the LORD.

(Lamentations 3:22-25)

newly purposed,

jana

Praising My Way Out of Worry

I am full of anxious thoughts today. Worried about details that remain undone. About phone calls to be made; emails that have not yet been answered. Worried I will not have enough time for this, that and the other. Worried that my priorities are all flip-flopped.

Seeking to remove this grip of worry from my heart, and wanting to feel the muscles in my neck, shoulders, and face relax, I seek out the Psalms for comfort.

I crave to Praise my way out of Worry today.

Reading the Psalms of Praise bring me back to the heart of it all. Bring my focus back to the center – to Jesus Christ whom I serve. Praise enables me to realize I am not the center of the universe and my hands need to be stretching and reaching up to God, letting go of the tension, stress and worry.

For Him I will Praise today knowing and trusting that there is Power in His Name.

Praising my worries away

I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.

The LORD is your keeper; the LORD is you shade on your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night.

The LORD will keep you from all evil; the will keep your life. The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore. (Psalm 121)

Praise the LORD: Praise the LORD, O my soul: I will praise the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.

Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation. When his breath departs he returns to the earth; on that very day his plans perish.

Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God, who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, who keeps faith forever; who executes justice for the oppressed, who gives food to the hungry.

The LORD sets the prisoners free; the LORD opens the eyes of the blind. The LORD lifts up those who are bowed down; the LORD love the righteous. 

The LORD watches over the sojourners; he upholds the widow and the fatherless, but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.

The LORD will reign forever, your God, O Zion, to all generations. Praise the LORD! (Psalm 146)

Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD from the heavens; praise him in the heights! Praise him, all his angels; praise him, all his hosts!

Praise him, sun and moon, praise him, all you shining stars! Praise him, you highest heavens, and you waters above the heavens!

Let them praise the name of the LORD! For he commanded and they were created. And he established them forever and ever; he gave a decree, and it shall not pass away. (Psalm 148:1-6)

 

newly purposed,

jana

Pondering and Quilting | One Focus Only

My favorite verse of the entire Christmas story is

Luke 2:19 (ESV) “But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.”

This verse follows the telling of the Shepherd’s visit and their account of the message the angels had given them concerning the child (Luke 2:8-18).

The word Ponder brings to mind images of stillness, rest, reflection, a looking upward for insight and understanding.

I imagine Mary sitting, peacefully listening to the shepherds’ excitement and amazement. It doesn’t seem to me that she would have been stirred up by the news. She was likely reflective, quiet, peaceful.

Isn’t it appropriate that the mother of Christ is at peace, holding Him in her lap, at her breast – an image of Peace holding the Peace Child.

…..

After a difficult morning getting kids out the door to school – dealing with anger over ill-fitting shoes, sadness over cold, grey weather – I am craving Peace. A peace that surpasses all understanding.

I think I will continue to crave peace through this Christmas season.

I must.

…..

Thank you, Father, for the Mary’s example.

…..

I share the following – a dear friend’s thoughts, captured my own. I think you might find yourself in her words as well.

When my husband & I got married 31 years ago, my sweet aunt made me a Christmas tree skirt.
Each year I was supposed to sew on homemade patches to commemorate all the major events that happened that year.
It was a wonderful idea, but after about 11 years I gave myself permission to stop.
I hate sewing, so I hated seeing it come out of the storage bin each December, knowing that I had to do my duty & keep up with it because…..well, because I was supposed to.
Do you have a huge list of things that other people decide that you have to do to celebrate Christmas?
Homemade gifts for teachers.
An elaborate party for family or neighbors.
Christmas cards.
Griswold-grade exterior illumination……?
These really have nothing to do with the true meaning of Christmas, so give yourself permission this year to do a little less fluff and concentrate more on what is truly important.

After all, the main thing is to keep the main thing, the main thing.

JESUS IS BORN. . . . period.  ~Margaret G.

“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” (LK. 2:11)

May you find yourself pondering today the Gift of this season. 

newly purposed,

jana

brought into the fold of grace

 

For the woman who touched Jesus’ cloak it mattered.

The masses surrounded her, yet she fought the crowd and reached out her hand and touched Him.

Oh, how she must has fought.

Oh, how she must have longed to be Seen by Him,

Heard by Him,

Recognized by Him.

There He stood, surrounded by waves of awe, wonder, and acclaim – consumers wanting something from Him.

She touched Him, and in that moment,

He stopped,

He turned around, and

He looked at the woman.

Her hand reaching out. His cloak being touched.

With an imaginary sweep of His garment, He brought her into the fold of grace, likely for the first time.

 

She came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment, and immediately her discharge of blood ceased. And Jesus said, “Who was it that touched me?” When all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the crowds surround you and are pressing in on you!” But Jesus said, “Someone touched me, for I perceive that power has gone out from me.” And when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling, and falling down before him declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed. And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.” (Luke 8:44-48)

 

I fought my way through, reached out, and extended my hand to touch His cloak. With that touch, I was brought into the fold of grace.

Oh, how He delights in me.

Oh, how He delights in you.

We are just one soul in a sea of many, yet He delights even in us. you. me. when we reach out toward Him, fighting our way through the crowd and extending our hand with the greatest effort we can muster.

He delights in us, bringing us into the fold of grace.

newly purposed,

jana

 

Healing Hands {The Body of Christ}

Your Hands were the ones that held me when I first heard the horrible news. Firm, solid, safe, bearing the weight of shock as I surrendered to disbelief.

Your Hands held me in Your lap as I learned the circumstances surrounding his sudden death. As the images swirled in my mind, You held me and provided a safe place for my tears to fall.

Your Hands gently grasped mine from across the table. I looked to You for spiritual guidance pleading for understanding. Your eyes searching mine offering comfort and compassion.

A teacher of the Word, Your Hands gave me strength and courage to walk through those early blinding days.

I ran from the reality of his death. You covered me in Your embrace while Your Hands generously guided me away from the superfluous details of death in this life.

Both of you held me with Your Hands as I was powerless to walk that dark and narrow hallway. My feet dragging, crying out in anguish, my eyes searching to see him one last time.

Your Hands, lifted up, dancing in front of the mirrors despite the grief that filled the room. Your joy turned my mourning into dancing, but for that moment, and taught me that His light is powerful enough to pierce the darkness.

Hundreds of Your Hands held mine as You filed past his coffin, honoring us with Your presence, Your time, Your memories. Your hands brought deep comfort and hope, and affirmed for me that my brother was not forgotten.

Your Hands welcomed me and provided me the space to tell my story of grief. From Your Hands I drew strength to release my burden and to remove the mask of pretend.

Your Handsraised in worship, allowed me to rest in Your praises when I could not find the hope or strength to utter my own.

Your Hands held mine, in stillness and silence,  allowing my tears to fall and my questions to go unanswered.

Your Hands comforted me as you prayed the prayers I could not utter. It was Your prayers and the reassurance of Your hope and faith in Jesus Christ that enabled me to stretch out my hands and lay my brother’s memory at the foot of the LORD’s altar.

And then,

Finally,

Once again…

Into His Hands I submitted my life renewed to the understanding of His promises and His truths.

In His Hands I found life. A redeemed, restored life. My vessel was shattered, but in His holy wisdom and with His gentle hands, He took each piece and carefully placed them making me whole once again.

In His Hands

I now rest.

Whether I utter shouts of praise or shouts of despair,

Whether I am seeking solitude or fellowship,

Whether I am certain of Hope in Him or am needing a reminder of His faithfulness,

the Body of Christ remains faithful to me.

Your Hands continue to bring me comfort, joy, peace, wisdom, assurance, relief, and understanding.

The Hands of

His children are

Faithful,

Life-giving,

and Gentle.

You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, that my glory may sing your praises and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks to you forever! Psalm 30:11-12

____________________________________________________________

 

This month I remember my brother. It has been ten years since his passing, ten years since I last spoke with him, ten years since I danced with him at my wedding.

With these words, I wish to honor those who walked behind, beside, and ahead of me through the pain and struggle of grief. For you all, I am eternally grateful. There are so many of you who have been present both in person and in spirit, too many to count.

I know many prayers have been lifted up and many prayers answered for me and my family. We are living a new normal. We miss him everyday. Yet, even in death there is hope, in death there is life, in death we can see the Light of God shining in our lives turning misery into majesty.

newly purposed,

jana

 

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