Handling the Ache of Empty Arms

Don’t you love how we can express ourselves in different ways? For some, their chosen avenue is music. For others, it is art. Still others find their creative outlet in photography or cooking or knitting. The list goes on and on.

We writers use words to share our hearts with the world. But even within that world of words, we can choose different forms of expression. And you know what I’ve discovered? Sometimes a poem says it best. I pray that this one blesses you.

Empty Arms

No one warned her it was coming,
the lost feeling that hovered
when the caregiving stopped.
But a friend brought clarity
with two simple words—
Empty arms.

A different time, a different place,
he never dreamed how deep the void,
never knew what lost really meant
until heaven claimed his love,
until she no longer stood by his side.
Empty arms.

Across the way, a young couple grieved,
brokenhearted and alone.
The cherished dream would never be theirs,
A child of their own they’d never see,
a primal yearning withheld.
Empty arms.

A hurried goodbye on a college campus
and then tears the entire drive home.
Her daughter’s room so empty
yet bearing her mark,
the pain of letting go pours in.
Empty arms.

What can we do when such times come
how do we handle the ache?
Let’s turn to the One ever ready to help,
hand him each hurt until nothing remains
but the welcome relief of
Empty arms.

“Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.” Psalm 55:22 NIV

*How has God helped you handle an empty arms situation in your life?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, will come out in early August. Sign-up is FREE. *Temporary problem with Life Notes sign-up. To sign up, just contact me.

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride check out my Books/My Work page.

*Flickr photo by whatmegsaid, Creative Commons License

Healed by God’s Word

“He sent out his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave.” Psalm 107:20 NIV

Our celebration of Easter each spring reminds us that Jesus “was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5 NIV) Praise God for the healing that comes from his wounds! For the price he paid for our sins.

But not only are we healed by his wounds, the verse above from Psalm 107 points out that we are healed by his word as well. When the pain is great, when defeat looms large, when confusion rules, our precious Father sends his word to heal us and to minister to us.

He’s done if for me time and again when my need has been great. He’s sent the healing touch of his word in a variety of ways—everything from my daily Bible reading to a scripture I see posted on social media or to reassurance he whispers to my spirit. The avenue can vary but his word stands the same. And his word heals.

Praise God for the healing that comes from his word!

“When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name LORD God Almighty.” Jeremiah 15:16 NIV

*How has God sent his healing word to you?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, will come out in early August. Sign-up is FREE. *Temporary problem with Life Notes sign-up. To sign up, just contact me.

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride check out my Books/My Work page.

*My photo

God Hasn’t Forgotten You

Long term trials have a way of wearing us down—in more ways than one. Whether it’s ongoing illness, unemployment, marital problems, teenage rebellion, or any number of other anguish inducing situations, we soon grow weary physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. We eventually wonder if God has forgotten us, don’t we?

If today you feel that God doesn’t hear your cries anymore or that he doesn’t care about you, remember that he loves you so much he sent his only Son to be your Savior. Take heart with these words of encouragement from my poem “Trust in Him”

“And when you finally feel
Like God has forgotten you,
He’ll show you he hasn’t—
Trust in him.”

Father, show the weary and hurting your love!

“I will not forget you. See, I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands.” Isaiah 49:15 NRSV

*How has God shown you his love in the midst of a long-term trial?

*The current issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, came out earlier this month. It’s not too late to receive it. Sign-up is FREE. *Temporary problem with Life Notes sign-up. To sign up, just contact me.

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride and also my Wedding Inspiration cards, check out my Books/My Work page.

*Photo by Evie S. on Unsplash

A Prayer for Finishing Strong

Do you know someone trying to finish a project or reach a goal? Maybe a family member just about to graduate from high school or college or trying to complete an advanced degree? Or perhaps some of your teacher friends are trying to hang in there the last few weeks of the school year.

You may even be in the trying-to-finish category yourself right now. I know I am. The manuscript for my Christmas devotional book is due to the publisher on August 1 so I’m in the last stages of writing, editing, and polishing it. I’ve had several challenges to overcome in getting this far, and I need to keep pressing on until the job is complete and I’ve done the best I can do.

Those who are trying to finish a race right now probably need some encouragement and moral support, don’t they?

Join me, won’t you, in a prayer for all who are trying to finish strong:

Dear Lord, you are a finisher. You came to earth with a task to do and you completed it. You are also busy completing the good works you began in each of us. Help us, Lord, as we push on to finish the tasks you’ve set before us.

Help us to not grow weary or distracted or discouraged. Please grant us the energy, the drive, and the skill needed to finish strong. And help us remember, Lord, to offer thanks and give you glory as we cross our finish lines. We need you, Lord, and can’t do it without you. Thank you for your help!

“As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.” Luke 9:51 NIV

*Are you trying to finish strong right now? May our prayers encourage you today!

*The current issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, came out last week. It’s not too late to receive it. Sign-up is FREE. *Temporary problem with Life Notes sign-up. To sign up, just contact me.

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride and also my Wedding Inspiration cards, check out my Books/My Work page.

*Flickr photo by Loco Races, Creative Commons License

Sometimes We Need to be Carried

Sometimes we need to be carried. Just ask the little bird who’s hitchin’ a ride on the back of the pronghorn above—a sight we witnessed over ten years ago on our trip to the Tetons and Yellowstone.

Maybe the little guy was tired from a long flight through the mountains or possibly he wasn’t feeling well. Maybe that was the best spot in the meadow to catch a refreshing breeze. Whatever the reason, he decided to use someone else’s strength for a bit.

I wonder if any of us need to be carried today, need to use someone else’s strength for a little while. Maybe we need friends praying for us. Maybe we are overwhelmed with life right now and could use some help with certain tasks or responsibilities. Or perhaps we simply need a listening ear. I find all of this to be true from time to time in my role as caregiver right now.

Let’s not be afraid or embarrassed to ask for and accept help. Sometimes we need a little encouragement.  Sometimes we need some extra strength. And yes, sometimes we need to be carried.

“Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus.” Luke 5:18 NIV

*Do you have a burden I can help carry through prayer?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, will come out in early May. One lucky subscriber (new or current) will receive a $15 gift card to Barnes & Noble and a signed copy of my book to use personally, give as a gift, or donate to a library. *Temporary problem with Life Notes sign-up. To sign up, just contact me.

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride and also my Wedding Inspiration cards, check out my Books/My Work page.

*My photo