“The God who made the galaxies knows the hairs on your head, the fears of your heart, the events of your life, and the details of your future.” – John W. Tweeddale, Tabletalk Magazine
I’ve been thinking about the fears of my heart. Sometimes I think I don’t have any, but I’m just fooling myself. I feel like I’ve had the worse happen last year and so what do I have to be afraid of? Fear and anxiety aren’t exactly the same. An article in Psychology says “Fear makes people run for cover. We become self-focused and on high alert…The ambiguous nature of anxiety makes it difficult to overcome. If we don’t know the source of our anxiety, it is difficult to deal with the problem. It is possible to be anxious about things that will almost certainly never affect us.”
Anxiety seems to stem from our thoughts. My anxieties now revolve around decisions to be made concerning moving. I don’t really feel fearful, but I get anxious thinking about all it entails. Thinking about how houses disappear before I can even get a look at them in person. Thinking about making the BEST decision. Thinking about all the changes this move will bring. See? My thoughts are often such a mess. I KNOW in my head and heart about God’s providence, but I still stray into the “what Ifs”.
I found a very comforting statement by Samuel Rutherford. He said, “When I am in the cellar of affliction, I look for the Lord’s choicest wines.” I still feel I’m in the cellar some days. So, I’ll do my best to look for those choicest wines. And the choicest house I can find.
The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid? – Psalm 27:1
“The children warm in bed at dawn will leave And take your heart and go to worlds you do not know.” —From Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury
Yes. They will leave one day; mine surely did. They all took little pieces of my heart and they scattered. At one point I had four children in four different states, but now it’s down to three states.
I’m in Florida right now with one of them and his wife and my grandchildren. Grandchildren who are warm in bed at dawn, sometimes right next to me, but not for long after dawn. If it’s a school morning they are drowsily stirring. If it’s a weekend they are watching the clock for 7:30 so they can have “screen time”.
Today was a little different. It’s Career Day at school. E wanted to dress as an architect. He filled his button-up shirt pocket with pens and carried a clipboard with a drawing he made last night. He designed a skyscraper with a few special features. He was so excited that he was up, dressed, and eating cereal when I walked into the kitchen with his sister (who was going to be an artist). I love to see this fire in him. The joy of being a kid isn’t always easy when it comes to school.
I do not look forward, for myself, to the day they, too, venture off with pieces of my heart. But, for them, I pray whether architect or soldier, artist or stay-at-home mom, they go with God.
In anticipation of The Avett Brothers concert on October 25th, I’ve been writing a series of blog posts connecting some of their lyrics to words of some of my favorite authors.
I’d tell myself to stop judging others. And then thirty seconds later, I’d do it again. This, I realized, is why I don’t like going to crowded parks. It’s not just that I don’t like all the other people. I don’t like the person I become. – Lassoing the Sun – Mark Woods
I think there are times for many of us that we don’t care for the person we’ve become. There can be many reasons, such as grief, loneliness, stress, or other reasons, that cause us to act like someone that we wouldn’t want to be friends with. In Winter In My Heart, I feel the sadness and helplessness. I’ve been there. And the line, “I don’t know what the reasons are” is gripping. But, winter is a season, though it can sometimes a long one.
I originally wrote this a year ago on my other blog, which I am phasing out. Nothing much has changed; well, things may be worse than they were a year ago when it comes to race issues.
From discussions at church, to social media, to radio, to conversations with my husband, the topic of race and racism has permeated the dialogue. One word that I’ve heard that I just can’t quite wrap my head around is “colorblind”. I think I know what people mean when they say they are colorblind, but it doesn’t ring true to me. I believe they are truly wanting to be colorblind in their hearts, but the bottom line is we ARE different hues.
Being colorblind robs us of the wonderful differences God intended. I have two brothers and a cousin who are colorblind and I know a little about what they have missed over the years. My younger brother, who unknowingly wore purple pants as a teen when he thought they were blue, and my older brother who asked for a lot of color-matching fashion advice, have never seen how colorful they really are.
“The solution is not to pretend there is no skin color (that is dishonoring)” – George Robertson
The closest thing I’ve seen to colorblindness of the heart is watching some of my students over the years. Maybe it’s because they have somehow remained untainted by the bias and preconceptions of previous generations.
What I think needs to happen is to remove the pride and prejudice of color and keep the beauty. Easier said than done, I know. But, we need to be careful not to fool ourselves into believing there is no difference in people of different skin colors. In many cases there is a cultural difference. Jesus recognized this in his conversation with the Samaritan woman. He knew she was of a different ethnicity, and yet He pursued her and quickly turned the conversation to the condition of her soul.
This is where our hearts need to go. The bottom line is that racism is a sin problem. It’s a heart problem.
There are many cliches floating around about the heart.
“Put your heart into it” – not a bad one, if “Your heart is in the right place.”
“Follow your heart” – the mantra of Disney and romance movies.
But, as Christians we are not to follow our heart (because the heart is deceitful) unless we have prayed this like David – “Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.” -Psalm 51:10
We are to rather read the Bible, then follow what we find there.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
For they shall see God.-Matthew 5:8
Pilgrim’s Progress was written by John Bunyan in the 1600s while he was in prison for his faith.
The travelers have now stopped at an Inn. They sat up talking until the break of day about many things in the life of a Christian. Honest had joined them and was talking about two men who had been traveling on Pilgrimage, beginning when one was young and one was old.
He made an observation that I find I must apply to myself.
“Besides, I have observed, that old men have blessed themselves with this mistake; namely, taking the decays of nature for a gracious conquest over corruptions, and so have been apt to beguile themselves.”
Basically he’s saying that just because you are old and can’t physically participate in many of the sins of youth, does not mean you are any less of a sinner. It may seem that older people are just sweet old things, but it is the condition of the heart that matters; it’s the inward sin of the heart.
We might easily see the outward sins, such as drunkenness or promiscuousness, but not see the inward sins of hate or pride.
So, just because a person CAN’T participate in a particular sin doesn’t mean they don’t WANT to.
…for the Lord sees not as man sees; for man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart. – I Samuel 16:7Continue reading →