Monthly Archives: October 2015

The Joys of Moving

candles-209157__180MOVING SALE: It’s been fun to welcome friends in to select items that will feather their nests and hopefully be a little reminder of us. One friend’s daughter bought my dining room furniture complete with china, crystal, tablecloths, placemats–the works. When she got it set up in her home, it was just beautiful and her parents sent me pictures of the before and after transformation. She came by today to return a plastic bin and her eyes shone with delight as she told me she slipped into her dining room several times last night just to make sure she wasn’t dreaming–it was really hers. I told her I remembered doing that exact same thing. It made me so happy to know she delighted in it as much as I did. Another couple came back with pictures to show me how the items they bought fit in their home and brought us a beautiful gift for our new home. Precious moments.

PLANNING AHEAD: We are looking forward to our new home. I have spent hours staring at floor plans trying to figure out what pictures will fit on what wall. How many books and collectibles will actually fit on the bookcases on each side of the fireplace?Which rugs will fit where? Will that big chair overcrowd the den? I’ve researched new appliances because we had to sell ours with the house. We won’t have time to do that on moving day and we are going to need a refrigerator and washer/dryer first thing. Hank is researching cars because we need to sell my little car and buy a bigger one (so I can pack it with more things we need to transport). And what transportation scheme are we going to actually pull the trigger on–and when? So many decisions.

TRANSITION PROVISION: Friends have offered to let us stay at their summer home should there be a transition time between closing on this home and closing on the next. So we are praising God we won’t be homeless for two to three months. He has provided exceedingly abundantly more than we could have ever asked or thought.

But all of this excitement is wrapped in a disaster of sorts. Our home looks like a bomb went off in it. I never realized I am OCD, but apparently there is a definite strain there somewhere. First, we had to give up cleaning a few weeks ago–there just is no way. So if you could use a dust bunny or two, we’ve got you covered. Then there are the boxes. Hank bought dozens and taped them up so I could start filling them. I’m about half way done because it takes time to wrap everything in bubble wrap and secure it in a box. I’ve had to sort through closets of clothes (most of which I haven’t worn in at least five years). I’m not sure why I have such a hard time parting with clothes. Maybe in the back of my mind I’m afraid I might not get any more and may ultimately need them at some point. Regardless of the reason, I see signs I could become a clothes hoarder. Those of you who know me are aware of my dish and table linens fetish. Hank has done his best to talk me out of them. I have to face the fact we will no longer have three tables to decorate and cabinet/storage space will be limited. If I had actually visualized downsizing meant fewer tables to decorate, I might not have signed onto this downsizing plan. We’ve sold the lamps–so the house is a bit dark. Chairs we usually sit on are gone, so we scramble to fine a substitute. Rooms are vacant. Draperies are disappearing. The pictures have come down. There’s a yard sale of sorts set up in the living room and dining room. And every day a truck pulls up and hauls off another piece of furniture. No doubt by the end of the week we will be sitting on the floor to eat by candlelight (if I can remember where I put them and the lighters).

So I go to bed and close my eyes. The clock ticks, but sleep is no where to be found. My mind races making lists, worrying about trivial details like changing prescriptions and gathering records from doctors to visualizing how large the truck will need to be to carry all of this stuff. It’s not like there’s a science to this. What happens if you run out of room before all the stuff is loaded? And the inspection list has a dozen nit-picky things on it that we now must run around and deal with–caulk this, find a splash for the downspout, tighten the light switch plate on the second floor, replace one roof shingle. And so it is now 5:52 a.m. and I’ve been awake all night.

After tossing and turning I got up, grabbed some hot chocolate and checked my email. My friend had sent me an e-card. When I opened it, a beautiful scene appeared and music played. And across the beautiful scenery words began to appear.

“The Lord will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring.” (Isaiah 58:11 NLT). 

Oh how I needed to hear this promise from my Lord this morning. Praise God for a friend that just intuitively knows when you need encouragement. Even though we are going home, we will be settling in a new community. The city has changed so much since we left 26 years ago. I’m going to miss my friends, church and the ministries I’ve served in. It’s become obvious I’m not one who likes change–security and comfort and organization are essentials for peace. So in the midst of all this turmoil and all the many decisions, I need to know our Shepherd is guiding, nourishing and restoring us. I needed His reassurance there will be a day when we will be like a well-watered garden and an ever-flowing spring.

So if you are reading this and have time to come by for a cup of coffee, I’ll try to find the Keurig and will assign you your own box and roll of bubble wrap. We’ll talk and hug and may even shed a tear or two. Moving on is hard. But I know God is leading us, so I know everything is going to be all right. He has a plan for us and it is good.

Is God taking you through a season of change, too? Is it hard to imagine how He will take you from your present reality to a well-watered garden with an ever-flowing stream? Like me, just give each day all you’ve got and lean hard into Him, trusting He knows the way when you can’t even see a light.

 

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MOVING SALE

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MOVING. This word strikes fear in my heart. It’s not the physical work of doing so; it’s the letting go that is hard. We are moving across country from Richmond, Virginia to Nashville, TN (our home). As we interviewed moving companies and evaluated various shipping methods, it became obvious that all the stuff I have collected would cost more to transport than it is worth. To make matters more interesting, we are downsizing from 4,900 sf to 2,400 sf. While it’s still a very nice sized\ home, especially for a retired couple, it’s half the size of our current home. We are going from seven walk-in closets to minimal storage. What will we need? What will actually fit in the new home? The builder painted the home a lovely color–it’s just not my color, so what will actually work in that home? In the end, we have determined it is best to sell it all. ALL. That means furniture, rugs, decor, lighting, draperies, bedding, collections, clothes, jewelry. . . .and shoes. ALL.

As this seemed like the logical and right solution, I proceeded to photograph and post my items on line. Then people texted, called, came and bought. . .and took away my stuff. It wasn’t just saying goodbye to pieces I’d lovingly selected, cared for and used for 43 years, it was breaking apart something I’d created–our beautiful home. As I stood in my bare dining room, clutching the money they’d given me, tears sprung to my eyes. Letting go is hard.

And then the Holy Spirit tapped me on my shoulder and reminded me that none of this stuff is going to heaven with me anyway. Remember Lot’s wife who valued  her things? This is stuff the world has to offer. Its joys are minimal and fleeting. While these pieces had been useful, they had aged and lost value. Many were no longer in style. Sun had bleached a table and the dog had actually chewed the leg on one piece so they are now virtually worthless. My value should not, indeed cannot, be placed in temporal things–things that belong to this world and not the Kingdom. My value cannot even be in the money they brought. My value is in doing His will. I found my still quiet spot this morning and God led me to Psalm 91 where He gently reminded me of my value.  As you read it anew this morning, make Him and His promises your value today and every day–the rest is  just stuff.

“Those who live in the shelter of the Most High
    will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
This I declare about the Lord:
He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;
    he is my God, and I trust him.
For he will rescue you from every trap
    and protect you from deadly disease.
He will cover you with his feathers.
    He will shelter you with his wings.
    His faithful promises are your armor and protection.
Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night,
    nor the arrow that flies in the day.
Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness,
    nor the disaster that strikes at midday.
Though a thousand fall at your side,
    though ten thousand are dying around you,
    these evils will not touch you.
Just open your eyes,
    and see how the wicked are punished.

If you make the Lord your refuge,
    if you make the Most High your shelter,
no evil will conquer you;
    no plague will come near your home.
For he will order his angels
    to protect you wherever you go.
They will hold you up with their hands
    so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.
You will trample upon lions and cobras;
    you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet!

The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me.
    I will protect those who trust in my name.
When they call on me, I will answer;
    I will be with them in trouble.
    I will rescue and honor them.
I will reward them with a long life
    and give them my salvation.” (Psalm 91 NIV)

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BRING ON THE BLING

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I love jewelry–the bigger, the bolder, the more bling–just bring it on. Most of my readers are probably unaware that I love jewelry so much that I actually make it. This hobby became such a passion that soon I had to decide whether to build a new room onto my home to house my lovely creations or start selling them. I decided to start my own jewelry company and have been a sole proprietor for the last four years. I recently realized I’d passed a milestone–I’ve made and sold over 500 sets. And I’ve loved making every piece. But what’s more fun is seeing my clients wearing something I’ve made. They feel beautiful when they wear one of my creations and they tell me people stop them and compliment their jewelry.

As I get dressed each day, I select an outfit and then comes the fun part–how will I dress up my outfit? It is not unusual for me to try on three to five different options before settling on the look of the day. As I stand looking in the mirror my dad’s words come echoing across the decades, “Carol, spend as much time preparing your heart for the day as you do your outward appearance.” So necklace and earrings, bracelets and rings selected.. . .now what crown shall I put on today?  Some of my favorites are: joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, meekness, tenderness, purity, and of course, love.

To my knowledge, I didn’t get this love of jewelry from any of my ancestors. So I think it is a part of the heart of God that He shared with me. Psalm 103:4 says He crowns me with lovingkindness and tender mercies. I’m thinking these two attributes must be like diamonds and rubies in my crown. They are no doubt jewels that will reflect light to others–His light. So today I’ll open the Word, my spiritual jewelry box, and look at His lovingkindness and tender mercies and ask God to help me wear these crowns well today.

What crown(s) will you wear today?

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MY WAR ROOM STRATEGY

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The Kendrick brothers’ latest film, War Room, has impacted the prayer life of Christians across the country. My prayer room has been our morning room. There’s only my chaise lounge in there. I don’t lay on it–I sit on it and pray. The cushion is dented in on the side where I sit because I’ve all but worn it out. Am I that great a prayer warrior? No. But I do have great needs. When you finally come to the end of yourself, and you see the power of the Almighty God, you will find your place before Him.

My favorite part of the movie was seeing all the strategies Ms. Clara had incorporated into her prayer/war room. I loved that she had found scripture that she clung to and prayed before the Father. I took note of her framed list of answered prayers. I have a little red book–it’s my prayer book–and it includes many of those same things. I thought I might share my prayer time plan and the things I’ve written in my book because I draw strength from them. An effective prayer life requires intentionality.

My morning prayer time looks something like this:

  • A brief greeting of thanksgiving to the Lord. I might sing a song if it’s on my mind. This morning’s selection was a chorus learned as a child; “Stand up and shout it if you love my Jesus. Sit down and whisper if you love my Lord. I want to know, yes I want to know if you love my Lord.” No particular reason for this one today–have no idea why it came to mind–but I even acted it out like I did when I was seven years old. He tells us to come before His presence with singing–I’m an alto so I’m hoping he has earplugs.
  • I read the list of all the things I’ve sought the Lord for through the years–my list of answered prayers. There are both big and little things on my list. Just reading through this list ignites my thanksgiving before Him. It also ignites my confidence in Him and puts my faith in play.
  • In the middle of my red book are verses I’ve collected over the years that speak to my circumstances. There are a lot of them–I need the Word to strengthen me for the battle against the enemy. I’ll share this list with you at the end of this posting. There’s no order to it–just as God brought these verses to me. Maybe you will want to make some of these verses a part of your war room strategy.
  • By this time I’m on fighting terms with the enemy who comes to steal my peace. And like Ms. Clara, I’m praising and talking out loud (sort of quietly because my family is still asleep). I’m rebuking the enemy and claiming His promises for me and my family.
  • Then it’s time to get down on my knees and begin to faithfully pray for each member of my family–by name, specifically as God lays things on my heart about them.
  • Then I move to the list where I’ve added prayer requests for friends.
  • I thank and praise Him for His promises, His faithfulness and His mighty works and I get up ready to tackle my Kingdom work for the day. Sometimes I make it until the next morning, but more often than not I’ll find myself back on that chaise before day’s end thanking Him or beseeching His help.

Following are the verses I’ve collected over the years in my Red Book. And yes, I read them all every . . .EVERY . . .morning. I desperately need them all. I’ve committed them to memory at this point.

NOTE: Feel free to copy and paste the list into a document that you can edit/print for your own set of War Room verses.

  • “Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving.”(Colossians 4:2 NKJV)
  • “Draw nigh to God and He will draw nigh to you.”(James 4:8 KJV)
  • “If you abide in Me, and my words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be my disciples.”(John 15:7-8 NKJV)
  • “‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ saith the Lord of Hosts.” (Zechariah 4:6 KJV)
  • “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is perfect toward Him.” (II Chronicles 16:9 KJV)
  • “We know that God does not hear sinners, but if anyone is a worshipper of God and doeth His will; He heareth.” (John 9:31 KJV)
  • “This is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.” (I John 5:14-15 NKJV)
  • “To Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think…” (Ephesians 3:20 NKJV)
  • “And all your children shall be taught by the Lord, and great shall be the peace of your children.” (Isaiah 59:13 KJV)
  • “Thus says the Lord, ‘Refrain your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears; for your work shall be rewarded,’ says the Lord, ‘and they shall come back from the land of the enemy. There is hope in your future,’ says the Lord, ‘that your children shall come back to their own border.'” (Jeremiah 31:16-17 NKJV)
  • Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will set him on high because he has known my name. He shall call upon me and I will answer him. I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.” (Psalm 91:14-16 NKJV)
  • “The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him and delivers them.” (Psalm 34:7 NKJV)
  • “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds.” (II Corinthians 10:4 NKJV)
  • “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” (James 5:16 NKJV)
  • “. . .for I am the Lord who heals you.” (Exodus 15:26 NKJV)
  • “. . .but those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing.” (Psalm 34:10 NKJV)
  • “{I make} mention of you in my prayers that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of your calling, what are the riches of His inheritance in His glory in the saints.” (Ephesians 1:16-18 NKJV)
  • “It shall come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear.” (Isaiah 65:24 NKJV)
  • “I have been young, and now am old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his descendants begging bread.” (Psalm 37:25 NKJV)
  • “The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust. My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” (Psalm 18:2 NKJV)
  • “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on our own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV)
  • “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7 NKJV)
  • “My soul, wait silently for God alone, for my expectation is from God alone.” (Psalm 62:5 NKJV)
  • “You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in you.” (Isaiah 26:3 NKJV)
  • “Bless the Lord, o my soul and forget not all His benefits; who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from destruction, who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies.” (Psalm 103:2-4 NKJV)
  • “The righteous man walks in his integrity and his children are blessed after him.” (Proverbs 20:7 NKJV)
  • “The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in from this time forth, and even forevermore.” (Psalm 121:8 NKJV)
  • “This poor man cried out, and the Lord heard him and saved him out of all his troubles.” (Psalm 34:6 NKJV)
  • “There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.” (Proverbs 23:18 NIV)
  • Mark the blameless man, and observe the upright; for the future of that man is peace.” (Psalm 37:37 NKJV)
  • “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is in the Lord, for he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river and will not fear when heat comes, but its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit.” (Jeremiah 17:7-8 NKJV)
  • Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the LordAnd in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.” (Psalm 1 NKJV)
  • “…he who continuously goes forth weeping, bearing seed for sowing, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.” (Psalm 126:6 NKJV)
  • “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10 NKJV)

What verses/promises are part of your daily spiritual battle plan? Please share with us. I love adding verses to my list.

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