Being content with life means accepting the circumstances in which God’s providence has placed me…And so this is what I need now; the courage to face an ordinary day…from Ordinary by Michael Horton
In these still-new days of widowhood, some ordinary days do take courage; some are easier. Yesterday was a good day: had fans installed and a few pictures hung by my very sweet handyman. He and his wife are expecting a baby in July and I was able to give him a copy of The Jesus Storybook Bible . I painted some chairs, wrote a letter, paid a bill and did some cleaning. I picked up the kids from their summer camps – basketball for one, cheer for the other. Later I went back over to their house for a delicious supper of grilled chicken and vegies. When I got home Ruby and I had a short walk around the block. An ordinary day. A blessed day.
The true field for religion is the field of common life. – Andrew MacLaren
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.
“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 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
Numerous have been the manifestations of God’s providence in sustaining us. In the gloomy period of adversity, we have had ‘our cloud by day and pillar of fire by night.’ We have been reduced to distress, and the arm of Omnipotence has raised us up. – Samuel Adams
I have been going to a griefshare group for three weeks. Out of all the ones across the city, I chose this one at the beach.This week I struck up a conversation after the meeting with a woman at my table. She lost her sister to COVID in August. 69 years young. As we talked, I mentioned State Farm. I saw something flicker in her eyes. She asked a few questions and it turns out she worked with Chuck before we moved to Birmingham. Sat right next to him.
Isn’t God amazing? He constantly reminds me He is here. When I forget to pray or just can’t, He is here. When tears choke my voice in church during the hymns, He is here. In the sunrise, the sunset, and the breezes in between, He is here.
The Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime,
And in the night His song shall be with me—
A prayer to the God of my life. - Psalm 42:8
Job And His Friends, Chromolithograph – From A Home Bible, 1870
Reading about Job a few days ago was kinda timely. Providential.
“Adversity so quickly exposes fault lines in human nature…without Christ, we are merely victims, but in Him we become victors. ”
Prayers of the Bible by Gordon J. Keddie
When Job was hit with calamity upon calamity, he didn’t respond with “Why me?” I don’t usually respond with “Why me?” either, but I do respond with “Woe is me”. I do respond with worry instead of trust.
The best verse I read was what Job said to his wife: “Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?” – Job 2:10
In anticipation of The Avett Brothers concert on October 25th, I am writing a series of blog posts connecting some of their lyrics to words of some of my favorite authors. Today I give a nod to Eudora Welty and Rohinton Mistry.
March, 2013 – Fruit Cove, Florida
Confluence: a flowing together ; a coming together of people
March, 2013 – Fruit Cove, Florida
“All they could see was sky, water, birds, light,and confluence. It was the whole morning world. And they themselves were part of the confluence.” Eudora Welty
June, 2012 – Astor, Florida
I love this idea of confluence, of a flowing together. In it I see the purposeful way God deals with His children. We can’t, often don’t, see it. We don’t see how the bad things lead to our good. But, I hear it in the Avett Brothers’ song All My Mistakes.
But I can’t go back
And I don’t want to
‘Cause all my mistakes
They brought me to you
“Sometimes you have to use your failures as stepping-stones to success. You have to maintain a fine balance between hope and despair.” – lawyer on the train – A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry