Sojourning

Birmingham, AL , September, 2016

“Displaced souls roam every city in every country.” – Ilana Manaster, One of the Crowd, Real Simple – 2017

I know what it feels like to be a displaced soul. I felt pretty much like that the whole six years we lived in Birmingham. It was a beautiful place, but it was never home. I don’t mean to dishonor Chuck when I say that, because where he was, that was home for me. But, I think he felt the same way. We both felt uprooted.

Now I’m “home”, but he’s not here, and once again I don’t quite feel at home. But it’s different, because I do have family here, and numerous friends. I’m in the town where I grew up. It’s changed a lot, but still familiar. The Maxwell House Coffee drifting across the St. Johns River smells the same. The ocean, though constantly changing, is the same. I can still drive by my childhood home and my high school.

So now, as I prepare to move for the third time in less than a year, I think about how to put down roots in Tampa. God willing, I won’t move again. I long to live there and serve God to the end of my days. To make a home for my family, my friends, and other sojourners, for I have to remind myself that, ultimately, I’m just a sojourner on this earth.

These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. Hebrews 11:13-14

hymns of grace #3: in the cross of christ I glory

When the woes of life o’er take me, hopes deceive and fears annoy, Never shall the cross forsake me: Lo! it glows with peace and joy.

This song is unfamiliar to me, so when I thought about how to sing it a song popped into my mind from recesses of my musical memories. It can be sung very well to the tune of “Oh My Darling, Clementine”.

I like the last verse, “Bane and blessing, pain and pleasure, by the cross are sanctified…” It serves to remind us that all the pleasant and all the dreadful that we encounter are all ordained by God for our good.

Lovely Cards #2

“But as for me, I trust in You, O Lord;
I say, “You are my God.”
My times are in Your hand…” Psalm 31:14-15

“What’s ahead?” has been in my mind for quite a while. I make plans because I have to go on, but I do so knowing those plans may change. My life and my times truly are in God’s Hands. I remember Chuck preaching a sermon using this very verse in Psalms – he knew then and he knew on his deathbed that he was in God’s hands.

Back in June of 2015, I wrote a post entitled When You Do Not Yet See the Way in which I quoted Andrew Murray – “Cultivate the habit of rejoicing in the assurance that the God of divine wisdom is guiding you, even where you do not yet see the way.

I don’t remember what was going on in my life at that time. It was long before the loss of my mother-in-law, my mom and my husband. I think it’s a lesson we learn and forget and have to relearn throughout our lives, that lesson of following in faith when we do not see the way.

The Valley of vision #1: He is my safe harbour.

September 26, 2018 – Oregon

The Valley of Vision is a collection of Puritan prayers and devotions. I found a seemingly brand new copy among Chuck’s books. It has been an absolute blessing to me. The writings were gathered and edited by Arthur Bennett, Canon of St. Albans Cathedral, England.

From today’s reading:

“I launch my bark on the unknown waters of this year, with thee, O Father, as my harbour, thee, O Son, at my helm, thee, O Holy Spirit, filling my sails.”

In this year, 2021, I launch my “boat” wholly dependent on my Father. I’ll use my oars and GPS. I’ll prepare for storms, but know that when the storms come, He is my safe harbour.

Romans 8:28

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

I have been reading Captured by Grace by David Jeremiah and it has brought home to me once again that I must rest in Him. Today I am reminded of the last part that says this promise is for those who love God. This verse is often misquoted by people who have no idea what it really means. I’m not saying I am smarter, I’m just thankful that God has taught, and is still teaching me, that I am His and I need to rest in Him. It’s not because of anything I’ve ever done.

I can sing these words from Derek Webb’s song “Nobody Loves Me”:

I can always tell a liar
And I always know a thief
I know them like my family
Because brother I’m the chief

I know God has used hard times in my life to draw me to Himself. But, I’m saddened with myself that it often takes hard times to draw me closer. Sometimes, in the good times, we often forget to praise Him. In the little daily sweetness of a baby’s kiss or an unexpected breeze on a hot day or beauty of a newly mown lawn, we should praise Him. I challenge you and I challenge myself, to praise Him today in all things.

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