Feasting on Junk Food?

So, we are here in the middle of January, how’s the new years resolutions coming? Oh, you know the one about eating better and getting healthier? Well, I’ve had a bit of a revelation on this matter.

       Welcome to the table! Get comfy and let’s start with prayer…

   Father in Heaven, would You speak to us in these words and help us to see Your message within. In Jesus name, Amen.

       One of the enjoyable things about the holiday time is all the goodies we don’t normally have around the house. Fudge, candies, cookies, chocolates… In my family, we have a tradition of having “Bake Day” about a week before Christmas. Some of the ladies in our family will bring a few recipes and their ingredients and we just bake all day. We then divide up all the sweets and each take home several Christmas tins full of sugary treats. Oh my… these treats keep us in dessert heaven for the whole Christmas/ New Year’s celebration! Oh, and don’t even get me started on all the yummy hot coco flavors that come out at the holiday time.  

       As much as we enjoy these sweet treats and special times of the year, we simply couldn’t feast on these things exclusively and expect to be nourished. Our bodies need protein, grains, fruits and vegies to keep us healthy.

       I thought about this “getting healthy” resolution that inevitably comes around every January. Why do we make this commitment at the turn of the year? I suppose it’s just the mindset of a brand-new year so make a brand-new commitment. We want to feel better, look better, and have more energy for life. Well… how about our spiritual life? What do we consume to be healthy in our spiritual life?

       Do we spend the majority of our time consuming the news and all the negativity it has to offer? Do we binge watch the latest Netflix series? How about the latest podcasts that serve to stir up conflict and dissensions?

       Maybe feasting on that kind of junk food isn’t so good for our spiritual lives. It doesn’t nourish us with what we need to be spiritually healthy and strong. We need the Living Water to hydrate our souls. We need the Bread of Life to fill us up.

John 6:35 “Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life, whoever comes to me shall not hunger and whoever believes in Me shall never thirst.’” (ESV)

       The things we sometimes feast on in our daily lives don’t nourish us but can actually deplete us. But Jesus seeks to feed us with His food. Spending time with Him daily, texting a prayer or bible verse or even a thoughtful word to a friend who is hurting or checking in with a neighbor are much more nourishing things to feast on.

       Instead of flicking through Netflix, try Flipping through the pages of God’s word. Grab a great book designed to help you grow in your spiritual journey. Perhaps subscribe to an uplifting podcast that serves to inspire you.

       How about spending a little less time on social media so as to not feel beaten down from everyone’s Pinterest worthy homes and lives? That’s a trap that can really make us feel less than. It simply doesn’t feed our souls with good nourishing sustenance.

       Jesus has so much more filling, soul-sticking spiritual food for us to enjoy. It leaves us filled with peace and comfort, hope and strength, joy and happiness. It is a kind of food we couldn’t grow, can, preserve, or cook up. It is only served by the one who IS the bread of life. Feast on Him and the life-giving nourishment that He offers!

       Make it a new day’s resolution to eat healthier spiritual food!  The good news is… you can’t over eat!!!

Our Greatest Weapon

Hey all! How is everyone doing these days? Lot’s of things happening right now huh? Are you feeling a little overwhelmed about what has been going on in our nation, our cities, our neighborhoods, our homes, our own personal lives?

       As a blind person, it can sometimes feel like I can’t do as much as I would like to do for others. Mostly in the ability to bring a meal to someone when they are hurting, take someone on their errands who may not be able to do them alone, drive across town to visit a friend who needs a shoulder to cry on…

       However, there is one thing that I can do that my disability cannot prevent me from doing and no matter anyone’s circumstances, they can do it too! That’s praying for and with someone. Prayer is our greatest weapon. We are in a spiritual war zone and we need to arm ourselves. Prayer is that most needed weapon.

       With that said, our discussion today will be a prayer. I’ll start and please feel free to comment with your own prayer or please let me know how I can pray for you!

       Father in Heaven, we come before You Lord with hearts that may be heavy or discouraged. We bring our fears and failures to You Father. We bring our desires and needs to Your throne. We bring our praises and thankfulness to You as well oh Lord. You have seen the turmoil going on in this nation Father and we ask for peace. You’ve seen the conflict in our streets and homes and we ask You for guidance. You know the tension and stress in our own hearts Lord and we ask for resolution. Father we need You! Step into all these situations Lord and settle them in ways that only You can. Help us to show You to others by example and share our love for You with them. Lead us Lord so we may serve You better. In Jesus name, Amen.

       Okay, it’s your turn… let me know how I can pray for you as well as dropping a prayer here to encourage others with…      

The Pain Is To Much

Have a seat at the table my friends! I’ve removed the Christmas center piece and its now winter décor that races my table and dining room. Purple lights and silver and purple snowflakes are on my dining room tree. The table has a black and white buffalo plaid scarf masquerading as a table runner down the center. Black chargers sit waiting to cradle a dinner plate and invite table conversation. Join me? Let’s pray…

   Father in Heaven, would You open our eyes to see You here in this message? In Jesus name, Amen.

       So, we are in a brand-new year and I’ve dragged my same old back pain into 2021. I have had difficulty with my hip slipping out of alignment now and then. I experienced said slipping about six to eight weeks ago. I can usually manipulate it to realign but had been unsuccessful. No matter what twists, bends, counter-pressure, or any other typical maneuvers were simply not working. I tried massaging and hot baths, resting and relaxing, stretching and sitting to try and ease the pain.

       I took pain relievers and essential oils. I lay flat and curled up. I implemented hot showers and heating pads, muscle rubs and vibrating massagers. Nothing… was… working!

       Then my husband asked the million-dollar question, “Have you called John?”

       John is a dear friend who is a physical therapist. He is very skilled at his job and has helped me in the past with this same issue. I sheepishly answered in a low guilty voice, “no”. I hadn’t wanted to admit that I didn’t go to the person who could have helped me when this issue first began weeks ago.

       It was New Years eve morning and I sat in my favorite chair with tears brimming in my eyes. For the past couple of days the pain was so bad I could no longer bare it without help. I have been at my husband’s hospital bedside many times when the nurse came in and asked him what his pain level was like. He would answer sometimes with the number five or so and the nurse determined it was a good number to base giving him his next dose of pain medicine. “We don’t want it getting out of control” she would say.

       Hearing the question “what’s your pain level?” seemed to echo in my mind and I evaluated my number. “about seven and a half”, I heard myself whisper. It was climbing even as my husband made the call to our friend. He agreed to come out and see if he could help me.

John walked me through all the evaluation tests to see exactly what he was dealing with and the contorting began.

       He saw I was out of alignment and began twisting me like a pretzel to get my hip back in. After the third twist, we heard the wanted sound of “pop pop” and I knew it was back in. I felt immediate relief and then a new kind of pain.

       My muscles surrounding the hip and up into my back had been so over worked and off kilter for so long that they, in a manner of speaking, went on strike. They were protesting and arguing and just causing me grief. Why oh why did I wait so long to tend to the pain I was having? I could have saved myself this crippling pain and immobility if I had paid attention to what my body was trying to tell me.

       I wonder if Jacob could have done the same…

Genesis 32:24-25 “and Jacob was left alone and a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day. When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched his hip socket and Jacobs hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him.” (ESV)

       Jacob was about to meet up with his brother Esau after many years of separation. Jacob was filled with angst because he had stolen his brothers’ birth right twenty years before and he was certain Esau would be seeking revenge. Jacob sent ahead many gifts and peace offerings to his brother but still struggled with the anxiety of seeing Esau again.

       He sent his wives and children ahead across the river and was left alone with his thoughts. A man, who we believe was God Himself in human form, came to Jacob and wrestled with him. This was a participatory wrestling match from both men. God allowed Jacob to wrestle with Him and even win a little. But God touched a Vidal area for mobility on Jacob to let him know that He was still God.

       Jacob spent so much time lamenting and stressing about his interaction with Esau that he never even brought the matter to God and asked for council or wisdom. Jacob had done his brother wrong and never really made it right. He didn’t listen to his body that was filled with heartache and pain of the emotional kind and he didn’t take care of the matter causing the pain before it got out of control.

       Had Jacob paid attention to his pain, might he have spared himself the wrestling match that now caused him more pain. Sometimes it’s painful to wrestle with God and surrender our will to Him but ultimately, it’s His will that is best.

       Sometimes we put ourselves through more pain than we need too and for a longer period of time then is necessary. God will remind us who He is but will allow us to wrestle something out with Him. The problem isn’t the wrestling, it’s when we think we can or should prevail over God.

       The wrestling match ended when God touched Jacob’s hip and reminded him who He was. Jacob walked with a limp after that and I believe it was so he could always remember his miraculous encounter with God.

       I have to wonder though, if Jacob had first brought his stress and anxiety and misdeeds before God a lot earlier, could he have spared his long-lasting pain? Friends if you are wrestling with something, bring it before the Lord in prayer. Set it before your heavenly Father and ask for His guidance. Don’t cause yourself unnecessary pain and grief by waiting to see if things get better on their own.

       My hip is back in place and I’m on the road to recovery but it will be a process. If I had listened to my pain and called on the one who could help me in the beginning, I could have spared myself the added pain and recovery time.

       Blessings to you table family and I’d love to hear from you.             

Can I just let it go already

So, table family… how was your Christmas? I pray you found blessings even though it may have looked unfamiliar and out right strange. It was different here as it was the first time in over forty years, we haven’t had a family/friends Christmas Eve party. But I did find peace in the simplicity.

       Father in heaven, help us to always see Your blessings in everything… even the unfamiliar. Open our hearts and minds to receive this message You have for each of us. In Jesus name, Amen.

       Now we look ahead to a new year. I could mimic most everyone’s thoughts and say that 2020 was awful. But I’m choosing to find the blessings in the unfamiliar. I met new people through virtual platforms and that has set me on a path of writing for an on-line magazine that I’m honored to be a part of building. I’ve spent more time with my family and learned to take inventory on what needs to change. I’ve been contemplating how I need to take the reins on my physical and mental and emotional health no matter how it may look to other people. So, 2020 hasn’t been a total loss for me. I pray it hasn’t been for you either.

       I kind of like the idea of a word to focus on for the new year, as I’ve mentioned in previous posts, and I’ve chosen my word. “Prepared” or “Preparation”. I desire to look more like the Proverbs 31 woman. Not in physicality but in character. I have also chosen a phrase or mantra if you will. It seems rather cliché but it’s on my heart none-the-less. I have carried with me some things that I simply need to put down or let go. Things that I’ve held on to for FAR to long.

       The fact is that there will be people in our lives who will say hurtful things, do hurtful things, react in hurtful ways… it’s simply human nature. But we have a choice as to how we handle it! It can devour us or empower us.

To devour: To consume recklessly, destructively, or wantonly.

To empower: To give authority to.

       Do you see the difference in definition? One destroys and one builds up. One takes while the other gives. One subtracts and the other adds. You see we can stay in a place of destruction and tearing down and consumption or we can choose to “let it go” and be built up and nourished and useful.

Isaiah 43:18-19 “Do not remember the former things or ponder the things of the past. Listen carefully, I am about to do a new thing, now it will spring forth; will you not be aware of it? I will even put a road in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.” (Amp)

       God may be about to do a new thing in our lives but if we are looking back over our shoulders reflecting on all our past hurts, how can we be looking ahead to see what He is about to do? This verse asks, “will you not be aware of it?” In other words, “will you be so consumed by what has happened that you will not be paying attention to what I am doing in your life? The opportunities I have for you?”

       If I can’t let go of hurts, I can’t change, I won’t be able to focus on what God has for me. The fact is, the people who have said those painful things or did painful acts or even pray painful prayers against me; they will never apologize for those things. I have learned things that have changed my opinions and altered how I proceed in my life circumstances.

       The only person it’s affecting by constantly replaying and revisiting these hurts is me… is you. It’s time to take back control over my own thoughts and emotions and how I respond to them. There is only one person who can choose this for us and that’s U S!

       There is another part of these verses that grabs my attention. God says He will put a road in the wilderness and a river in the desert. A wilderness is a wilderness because it is not traveled. There would be no roads in the wilderness. Deserts only receive less than ten inches of precipitation a year; some areas get less than two inches. There are few to no rivers in a desert.

       Where there is no road, God will put a road. Where there is no river, God will put a river. In other words, when there seems to be a lack, God will provide the means.

       If I choose to ponder and squander, then I’m the one who loses. I can spend most of my time and energy pondering the deeds and words of others that have wounded me, then I am subsequently squandering the time and energy God has given me to do better things.

       May I encourage you friend to let go of some of those old hurts that only serve to hold you back? Here is three ways to help us let go…

  • Imagine a rope tied to a large bundle of weights and you are having to hold on to the rope. It’s unbearable to hold on to any longer. Simply let go of the rope. Let the weight fall and take a breath of relief. You no longer have to struggle to hold on to the rope.
  • Ask God in prayer to release you of the feelings you may still be having towards the person or situation that is causing you angst.
  • Accept that you may not get the apology or remorse from the person who has wounded you and release the hold that person has on your life. It only serves to hold you back from moving forward and moving ahead.

The bottom line is that if you saw someone or something sitting on top of or holding down a loved one, you would intervene and try to free your loved one from the grips of restraint. Free yourself from those grips! See yourself in the place of that loved one and free yourself through Christ. Will you join me in my “Let It Go” mini-movement for 2021?

       What are some things you want to focus on in this new year? What have you learned about yourself? I’d love to hear from you…

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

Hearing the Whispers of God

Good Christmas week to all of you! I can hardly believe Christmas is in just two days! I know it has a very different feel this year and we’ll likely have to adjust our traditions accordingly. Let’s start off with a prayer first before we chat…

   Father in Heaven, I pray for each person who reads this and ask a special Christmas blessing for each of us. Let Your message be heard Lord and let us come away changed. In Jesus name, Amen.

       So here we are right on top of Christmas and all the busyness it can bring. Shopping, decorating, baking, wrapping, card writing…

       I have been busy doing these things too. All but the card writing. I didn’t do physical cards this year. But now that I think about it; this was probably the year it was needed most. Sigh…

       Well my shopping is done as well as my wrapping. Gifts are under the tree and the ingredients for green bean casserole are awaiting me. The hustle and bustle of city side walks and busy side walks as well as decking the halls and jingling those bells, we can get overwhelmed with it all and forget the one person we should be remembering most.

       I woke up very early yesterday morning and decided to stay awake. I had some last-minute little gifts to buy that day and getting things ready for Christmas. My son moved out this year but he will be spending the night Christmas eve at home. This warms my heart to have him home on Christmas morning. I know it won’t be that way for much longer. Sigh again…

       To get an early start on my day, I grabbed my phone to respond to any notifications on social media that came in through the night. I like to try and stay connected with those who connect with me. But as I checked Facebook and then Instagram, it happened.

“Why are you more interested in what others have to say than what I have to say?”

       This was the oh so gentle but wounded whisper of God to my heart. Sigh a third time…

       I desire to encourage others in the Lord so much that it can actually get in the way of my personal time with the Lord. But how can I minister or witness to others if I don’t have a strong personal relationship to draw from?

       I am reminded of the words Jesus spoke to Peter in John 21 verses 15 – 17…

“When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter ‘Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?’ he said to Him ‘yes Lord You know that I love You’, He said to him ‘feed my lambs.’ He said to him a second time ‘Simon, son of John, do you love Me?’ he said to Him ‘yes Lord, you know that I love You.’ He said to him, ‘tend My sheep’ He said to him a third time, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love Me?’ Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time ‘do you love Me?’ and he said to Him ‘Lord, you know everything, you know that I love You.’ Jesus said to him ‘feed My sheep.’ (ESV)

       “After they finished breakfast” is how these verses begin. Jesus fed Peter before getting into the ministry aspect of the conversation. Peter couldn’t “feed” others before getting fed by Jesus first!

       Jesus most definitely wants us to “feed His sheep” but He wants us to get fed first so we have something to feed the sheep with.

       We can’t very well feed our family a Christmas dinner of roast turkey, mashed potatoes, dressing, cranberry sauce, or whatever your family favorites are, without first going to the grocery store to obtain these things to feed them with.

       So, table family, as we prepare to feed others physically this holiday, may we make the time to feed ourselves. May we have spiritual breakfast with Jesus before feeding others. Let’s get to that spiritual grocery store before trying to feed anyone a feast.

May each one of you be blessed this Christmas, however it may look this year. A very Merry Christmas from my table to yours!     

Put Down Your Weapon

C’mon in table family and have a seat. The table is set with my black chargers and a red and green plaid table runner that has gold trim outlining some of the squares for that festive touch. An Icey clear and white garland is circled in the center around a glass bowl filled with sparkly acorns. I went rather simple this year as my heart is longing for simplicity.

       Hot beverages are ready and I’ll make some scrambled eggs and English muffins with jam… sound good? Okay then, grab a seat and let’s chat. We’ll start with prayer…

       Father in Heaven, I pray Your Holy Spirit to guide us on this journey of words and imageries. May You be glorified and may we come away from this table with a renewed faith in You. In Jesus name, Amen.

       Allow me to paint a scene for you… You are traveling with your church group to a specified place to begin a glorious ministry. You are all packed up and on your way. Things are going beautifully. The weather is lovely, you are able to stop in places together to have lunch and fellowship, even stay overnight and rest. Everyone stays together and nobody gets separated along the way and all is well.

       All of a sudden you realize you are being followed. Not just by one car or even two. No, this is a massive fleet of vehicles chasing your group at top speed. You quickly determine they are looking for you and your group.

       You remember the meeting before the journey began where it was discussed that there may be opposition on this venture and you could be followed. You didn’t expect this though! Your group was prepared with the necessary equipment for just such an emergency but you are trying to out-run the attackers. A high-speed chase ensues and your entire group is fleeing together.

       You are making headway but then the uncanny happens? There is only one way to get ahead and away from these menacing stalkers who mean to do your entire group harm. Not to mention they out number your group ten to one. You look ahead on the road you are fleeing on and realize there is a massive body of water in front of you. “No worries”, you think, “there is a bridge”. Then you see the sign… “Turn Back… Bridge Out”.

       There is no possible chance of turning back, the attackers are now surrounding you on all sides. You are trapped and the attackers are getting closer. It’s time to get out and fight! But how would you ever go up against so many opponents with only the few weapons your group has brought with them. You rush to meet with the leader of your group to form a plan and you are dumbfounded to hear that his instructions are to “Put down your weapons”. In complete disbelief, you begin shouting distrusting statements at your leader and preparing to gather the group for battle.

       “Trust”, your leader calls out to the group, “just trust”. Then just when you think all is lost and your entire group is about to be slain, you hear a rushing sound growing louder and louder. Seeming to see something you all haven’t seen yet, the attackers slam on their breaks and are staring beyond your group at the body of water. Turning your attention that direction, you begin seeing the water rising on each side and getting shallower in the center. Is this really happening? This continues to happen until there is nothing but dry ground through this body of water.

       Staring in utter amazement, your stun gaze seems to be watching in slow motion at what is surely not really happening. You faintly hear voices shouting to get in your cars and flee. Jolted out of your shocked stupor, you run to your vehicle and in a Dukes of Hazzard style motion, you slide across the hood and jump in and punch the gas. You all make it across the valley of dry land where there had just been a large aquatic mass. Screeching to a halt on the other side, you all look back, surely the attackers have followed this dry ground trail to catch up with you again. Just as your group gets across this make-shift pathway and the villains are making their way across, you hear loud cracking and rumbling. The water rushes back over the ground that you just crossed and you are safe from these attackers who sought to do all of you harm.  

       How could this be? How could you get the last car through the clearing just in time?

Exodus 14:14 “The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still.” (NIV)

       This verse is snuggly in the center of the Hebrew slaves fleeing Egypt’s Farrow. The Egyptian army is hot on their trail. The people were surrounded on three sides by soldiers and on the fourth side was the Red Sea. With no way out and not enough man power or strong enough weapons, this is the advice they are given.   

       Friends when you feel the battle is closing in on you, put down your weapons and let the Lord fight for you. His weapons are mightier and infallible. He has artillery that we have no way of duplicating. No man-made weapon, AKA, our own ways of handling a situation, can compare with the way God can handle it.

       Did someone else get that promotion at work? The Lord will fight for you.

Did another person get that ministry opportunity? The Lord will fight for you.

Has someone else gotten an answer to prayer and you’re still waiting? The Lord will fight for you.

Has a friend disappointed you? The Lord will fight for you.  

Have you been accused of a deed you didn’t do? The Lord will fight for you.

Has your marriage taken a hard hit from infidelity? The Lord will fight for you.

Does your child want nothing to do with God after being raised to know and love Him? The Lord will fight for you.

       I have to keep reminding myself of this verse when I feel taken advantage of or week with the exhaustion of trying to fix a situation or frustrated with watching injustice happen around me.

       Table family, write this verse on a post-it notes or note card or some scrap of paper and place it where you can read it each morning as you start your day. Make it your screen saver on your computer or phone.  God wants us to put down our weapons and let Him fight the battle. Will you put them down and get behind God? Let’s put them down together alright?       

I Can’t Be There for My Husband

Hi table family! I am coming to you this week with more of an informational post and asking for your prayers.

       My husband is having surgery on Friday. Many of you have had surgery this year or had a loved one who had surgery. It’s a very different process now.

       I can’t be with my husband this time. Due to COVID-19, there are places that are not allowing visitors in the hospital. Where I am is one of those places. This breaks my heart as I’ve always been at my husbands’ side when he wakes up from surgery. I won’t be able to see him until he comes home three days later.

       Of course, I’ll talk to him but I won’t be able to hold his hand and take care of him the way I always have in the past. Many of you have had this experience in 2020. My heart goes out to you.

       This is perhaps one of the greatest opportunities we have to put our full faith and trust in Jesus. Placing the one person on earth who means the most to you in the hands of our all-mighty God is our best option anyway and this surgery affords me the chance to put A L L of my faith in God. Have you had to do the same?

       So, I ask please for your prayers to be added to mine for a successful outcome and guided hands and excellent care. I would be honored to have my table family praying for my husband.

       I would also love to pray for you if you might still be facing this situation in 2020. I would be happy to pray for you if you are currently going through a similar situation. I pray if you already went through it, that it all went according to God’s plans.

       This is what I wanted to share with you this week… that and this Bible verse…

Jeremiah 17:7 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord.”

       This verse isn’t suggesting that we only have trust “IN” the Lord… but that our trust “IS” the Lord! In other words, our trust and our God are one in the same. Place your trust in the one who IS trust.

       Thank you for your prayers and I’ll give you an update after the surgery. Blessings table family. Much love to you all.      

The Fires Of Life

Imagine you are trapped by a grass fire and you can’t see any way out. You are calling for help but you don’t know if anyone can even hear you…

       Hello again table family! Is your seat comfortable? Pour that hot beverage and grab a treat to nibble on. Let’s talk a bit more about this scene after we pray…

       Father in Heaven, I ask for you to open our minds to the imagery here and help us to glean from it what you would have us to glean. In Jesus name, Amen.

       A blazing fire is raging around you and you have no idea how it started or where you are. You have no way out or at least one that you can see. The flames are circling around you and seem to be poking at you from every direction. Oh, and to add to the fear… you are blind.

       This is a scene from one of my favorite Little House episodes. Mary and Adam are traveling in the stage coach to catch a train. Adam has just been told that he received a prestige’s award and he is to go and accept it with Mary by his side. However, they never make it there.

       When they begin the stage coach ride, the driver makes a decision to pull off in a neighboring town to fix the rickety wheel he’s been having trouble with. But before he is able to reach the town, the wheel falls apart and the coach tumbles down an embankment rolling over several times. Adam is thrown from the coach and is now pinned under it by his legs. There is another woman in the coach but she has been knocked unconscious and we later learn she has several broken ribs. So she is unable to go for help. The driver has been killed and Mary is the only one left to go for help on her own. Since she is blind, she has to navigate direction by feeling the sun on her face.

       Walking towards the heat of the sun, she begins climbing the embankment they rolled down. She reaches the edge with some difficulty and just when she tries to pull herself up and over, she loses her footing and falls backward down the embankment once again. Hitting her head, she is now unconscious. The blazing sun is beating down on her and the camera pans in on the glasses she had put in her pocket for the award ceremony. Adam had tried to convince her to use them to illustrate a point but now here they lie in the grass with the heat of the scorching sun shining through the lenses.

       Now there has sparked a flame that engulfs the grassy ledge surrounding Mary. The smoke and heat rouses her from unconsciousness and she discovers she is about to be embraced by enormous flames. She begins screaming for help, but who would hear her? Would she get out of this alive?

       Have you ever felt like the fires of life are just going to consume you? Like the inferno is about to scorch and devour you? Have you felt like there is simply no way out and no one hears you screaming for help? Have you felt blinded in your circumstances?

       Financial struggles, divorce, infidelity, job loss, a wandering child, a hurtful friendship, death… all of these can feel overwhelming and flame like. Threatening to burn us to ashes. The heat from it all is suffocating. We scream for help internally and hope… pray someone will hear us… see us. Don’t they even see the rising smoke from our inferno?

They must come quickly or we will be consumed.

       Daniel 3:27 “and the satraps, the prefects, the governors, and the king’s counselors gathered together and saw that the fire had not had any power over the bodies of those men. The hair of their heads was not singed, their cloaks were not harmed, and no smell of fire had come upon them.” (ESV)

       Do you know what happened to Mary while she was trapped by that fire? Her “Pa” had been out looking for the missing coach and he saw the smoke. As he drew closer, he heard his daughter screaming for help. When fear and fire threatened to consume her, Mary heard her Father’s voice and felt his arms come around her and lift her out of the ferocious flames.

       When you feel this kind of heat and fear, remember that your Heavenly Father will lift you from the blaze. He protected the three Hebrew boys from the fiery furnace and He will protect you too! Trust that your Father will see your smoke and hear your cries for help and He will rescue His child from being consumed by a fire.

       I encourage you to read Daniel chapter three and see how powerful your God is. As Mary cried out, “Pa help me… help me Pa, help me!”, you can cry out to your Pa too. He hears you and He sees you. Trust Him to save you.

       I just love the way my childhood show that I still love today, is a tool God allows me to use for inspiration. God really does care about the little things. Blessings table family… blessings!   

What Word Would You Use?

Hello Table family and Happy Thanksgiving!!! Tomorrow is the big day! I so wish we could all sit around the table and share Thanksgiving dinner together. This year probably looks quite different than other years, right? Well let’s talk about that. Grab a piece of that freshly baked banana bread I just made and a cup of coffee or tea and let’s pray together first…

       Father in Heaven, we are so thankful to gather here together and pray together and talk. Lord things are unusual this year and I ask that You would remind us of all the reasons we have to be thankful. Speak to us here Father. In Jesus name, Amen.

       So in years past you may have had a large gathering at your table for Turkey day and had lot’s of dishes being brought to the table that have always been Thanksgiving staples. Maybe you went over to Aunt Barb and Uncle George’s house for Thanksgiving and you brought the favored dish. Maybe you have always been alone on Thanksgiving and this year you were finally getting together with someone and it had to be canceled.

       Whatever has been the normal Thanksgiving traditions may have been rearranged or called off and it can be frustrating. I’ve heard so many words to describe the year 2020, some of these words are:

Rotten

Terrible

Uncertain

Awful

Junky

…and other words I’d prefer not to say here.

       What words would you use?

       I’d like to offer some suggestions if I may. Let’s try to take another perspective…

Different

Opportunistic

Strengthening

Educational

Experiential

Unforgettable

Gathering

…and other words I don’t have room to put here.

       This has been a year of discovery about our potentials and strengths as we have had to think outside the proverbial box and lean on areas of our lives we didn’t before. New on-line businesses have been born, resourcefulness has been seen, relationships have been formed and blossomed.

       For me, I’ve had writing opportunities that I might not have otherwise had. I attended a life changing conference I wouldn’t have been able to attend if it wasn’t virtual. I’ve made some wonderful new friends that I met on line because there was no other option. I’ve spent more time with my husband then I’ve been able to in the recent past. Our family spent more time together as well. I’ve been able to make time to connect with friends and church family on a more personal level and cultivate current relationships more fully.

       The point is that it’s all in perspective as to how you will describe the year 2020. I understand that sometimes we just feel down about the way this year has turned out. There has been a lot that has been missed out on. But keeping our focus on what we did have can make all the difference in moving into 2021. Choose Thankfulness. I know it isn’t always and easy choice but it certainly is a choice.

       I’d love to hear what you’ve been thankful for in this most unusual year of 2020. I am thankful for all of you!

       Happy Thanksgiving to each of you and be blessed in what ever you are doing tomorrow! Hugs and love to you all!    

Doesn’t It Matter that I am Hurting?

So, imagine you have just found a big dent in your car that wasn’t there when you went into the store. You have a ticket on that same car for parking in a No Parking zone and you are certain they put that sign there while you were in that store. Then when you get home from that store and began hauling groceries inside, the bags ripped and your jar of pickles shattered on the garage floor along with the dozen eggs you needed for a recipe that night for dinner.

       Hello and welcome back to the table! Pull up a chair, grab your coffee or tea and let’s talk about this bad day you’ve had. Let’s pray together first huh?

       Father in Heaven, we come before You and ask that You open our hearts and minds to hear these words. May we be renewed and refreshed by this message. In Jesus name, Amen.

       Okay, so you must be feeling pretty low after a day like that right? You might ask the question “could it get any worse?” and you might go to your spouse or a friend to vent your frustrations. I’ve certainly done that after a rough day.

       You may hear anything from “I’m sorry you had such a rotten day” to “well at least it’s over now” to “Let me tell ya about my day”. But honestly, I feel like the most dismissive and overlooking statement someone can offer is “You know, someone always has it worse than you.

       Though this may be a true statement, it can feel like we are being a… well… cry-baby of sorts when we have a terrible day. Everyone goes through these kinds of days and it’s important to validate our feelings about it. If we don’t, it can begin to feel like God only cares about the really big problems in life and doesn’t have time to hear about our floor style scrambled eggs with relish. He does in fact care about those things.

       It may seem like the helpful reminder to someone that things could be worse, but where does that line get drawn for validation? When we have such days, that is our hard time moment in life. We can only sort out or deal with one day at a time so there isn’t any point in reflecting on another day that could be worse.

       Do you remember the scene in National Lampoons Christmas Vacation where the Christmas tree burns up, the family is at each other’s throat, there is an unwanted dog trashing the place after chasing a squirrel up and down the stairs? The family is putting on their coats and preparing to leave the craziness per the suggestion of the wife. She told him it was best for everyone to go home before things get any worse. Clark Griswold is shocked at his wife’s response and shouts “how could things get any worse?”

       It seems rather unusual to me to console someone with the idea that it could be worse. I feel validation for the way they are presently feeling displays compassion and caring for their feelings. After all, God cares about their feelings.

       It’s important to hear the thoughts and emotions of someone struggling with something and give validity to how they feel. We don’t need to let them stay in a pit of despair or anything but just letting a person know that you hear them and empathize with them without the declaration that things could be worse. It’s okay to feel bad after a bad day and not be seen as someone who doesn’t know how good they have it. We can still know we are blessed in the midst of a rotten day.

       I think the best thing someone could say to me while I’m having “A day” is something like:

“I hear you. I’m so sorry you are having such a time right now. It’s difficult to be happy right now and it’s okay to not be. You have good reason to be frustrated. I know you know God has your back in all this but right now I understand you are feeling down.”

       Something like this let’s a person know they don’t have to add salt in the wound by having a lousy day and now should feel guilty for feeling frustrated or unhappy.

Psalm 40:17 “As for me, I am poor and needy but the Lord takes thought for me, you are my help and my deliverer do not delay, oh my God.” (ESV)”

       We see in this verse that God thinks about us, takes notice of us, looks after us. It doesn’t say He does this only in the big circumstances.

       Make no mistake that God sees every dent, every ticket and every broken egg and pickle jar. He is attentive and compassionate in all our situations, even the ones we feel guilty for fretting over.

       If God validates our feelings and we are made in His image, then we can validate others feelings too. We can also ditch the guilt about our own feelings about our feelings. Validate how you feel, sort out the why’s behind them and let God begin to wipe away the angst. It’s not wrong to feel bad over a bad day.

       I hope these words help someone to let go of the concept that we should always remember that someone else has it worse than us. Allow the feelings for a time and know that God cares about your feelings too. Be blessed my friends and I’ll see ya next week!