Archives for February 2013

Unchanging Memories, Unchanging God

We drove past the farms a few weeks ago. The ones my grandparents used to own. The ones we visited regularly throughout my growing up years. The farms of my memories.

We were returning home from my cousin’s funeral, traveling a highway I traveled time and again with my family when I was young. I already felt nostalgic after spending time with loved ones from the early days, the ones who shared important pieces—places and people—of my personal history, so as Don and I approached the familiar country-road turn-off that would lead to my grandparents’ farms, the pull of the countryside was strong. I wanted to return. To the farms. To my memories.

And so we did. We took the turn and headed toward my past. Past trees, past pastures, past country crossroads. I began to wonder if we’d ever get to the crossroad I remembered so well.

But then we broke through to the clearing. Just ahead I spotted Uncle Jerry and Aunt Della’s corner. Their house looked different somehow, but I didn’t let my eyes rest there long. Instead, my gaze fanned outward—out where I knew my memories lay.

And there they were. Grandpa and Grandma Barnes’s farm just around the corner and down the road, and then across the field from them, tucked up against the trees, stood my Grandpa and Grandma Hoy’s farm.

From a distance, I looked first at one place and then the other, scanning the grounds for changes. Yes, some things were different, especially the Hoy farmhouse. Someone had added on, resided it, and painted it a different color, causing it to lose all the familiar warmth of my memories.

Other structures were different as well, but thank goodness the barn and the silo stood the same. My heart could focus on them and also on other details of both farms that were still very much as I remembered. Just being on that ground again—on that acreage of my past—felt good, felt right. I belonged.

As we inched forward, driving past each place but staying in the car because of the bitter cold, I shared with Don glimpses of my past. I told him how often my sisters and I walked that very country road we were now driving—the walk that would take us from one set of grandparents to the other. Oh, that they were still there. Oh, that things could be the same again.

Sadly, time and man have altered the physical presence of my past, of that much-loved countryside. My memories, however, like the silo and the barn, stand the same. They offer me as much joy and comfort as they always have. They are safe in my heart.

I’m so thankful there are some things—like my memories—that stand the same. Some things that we can count on when other things change.

Most of all, I’m grateful for the one Person in my life who won’t ever change. I’m thankful for my Heavenly Father “who does not change like shifting shadows.” (James 1:17b) He is my solid Rock and will offer me the same comfort and joy that He always has. He is the place where I’ll always belong. I’ll be forever safe in His heart.

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”  Hebrews 13:8

*What are you thankful for that still stands the same?

*Be sure to enter the “I Love Dessert” Giveaway. Deadline is noon (CST) on Feb. 13th!

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, came out Feb. 1st. It’s not too late to receive it. Sign up is free and to the right!

Midweek Morsel: The Thaw God Brings

“He spreads the snow like wool
and scatters the frost like ashes.
He hurls down his hail like pebbles.
Who can withstand his icy blast?
He sends his word and melts them;
he stirs up his breezes, and the waters flow.”  (Psalm 147:16-18)

Our God is able to melt an icy, frozen earth. Can he not also melt a stone cold heart?

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heartof flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26

*Has God ever melted your heart on a particular issue or towards a particular person? Who can you pray for now, asking God to melt his or her heart?

*Flickr photo by Muffet

*Be sure to enter the “I Love Dessert” Giveaway. You don’t want to miss this one! :)

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, came out Friday. It’s not too late to receive it. Sign up is free and to the right!

At the Proper Time

“ . . . you give them their food at the proper time. You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.” Psalm 145:15b-16

Like kids begging for candy in the checkout lane, we sometimes tug on God’s coattails with the same impatience and/or insistence. “Please, please, please, God. Please grant my desire . . .”

Don’t get me wrong. I firmly believe that we are to pour our hearts out to God and freely tell him the desires of our hearts (Psalm 62:8). I also remember that Jesus told his disciples the parable of the persistent widow “to show them that they should always pray and not give up.” (Luke 18:1)

Yes, God wants to hear from his children and out of his great love for us, he will answer our prayers. But many times his answers don’t come when we want them to—or packaged quite like we’d hoped.

Like any good parent—like the perfect father he is—he waits for the proper time to give us our food, our desires. Just as we don’t give a baby solid food before his body can handle it, God waits for the perfect time to bless us with the things we need, the things we desire, the things we plead for. He will indeed satisfy our longings in one way or another, sometimes changing the longings themselves.

God’s timing is always right. I’ve depended on this truth throughout the course of my life and also throughout my writing career. I continue to cling to it as I trust God to bring about book publication at the proper time if that’s his will for me. I, along with the rest of our family, have also clung to this knowledge like a lifeline as we await God’s timing in the matter of our daughter and son-in-law’s adoption dreams.

Without a doubt, some answers are harder to wait for than others. Some require an extra measure of faith. But if we continue to trust, if we continue to wait in expectation, one day we will see God open his hand and satisfy our desires. And it will happen at the proper time.

“In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.” Psalm 5:3

*How has God encouraged you during times of waiting? If you’re currently waiting on God’s answer, you might like to read an “In the Meantime” Prayer.

*Flickr photo by aloshbennett

*Be sure to enter the “I Love Dessert” Giveaway. You don’t want to miss this one! :)

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, came out Friday. It’s not too late to receive it. Sign up is free and to the right!