Self-Forgetfulness is Sacrificial . . . .

Their mother insists that they are “normal” children who argue and get frustrated with each other as all siblings do.  However, in this in this recording filmed to encourage others in their church, the love of Trenton Cochran for his disabled sister Lindsay is a beautiful example of self-forgetfulness as sacrificial:

In a separate interview their mother added that her children have a deepened appreciation for life and maturity beyond their years because of her battle with breast cancer . . . .

In His teaching about greatness in the kingdom of heaven Jesus taught:

“I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children,
you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 
Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” 
Matthew 18:3, 4  

It is right to protect our children, however, we do ourselves and them a disservice when we fail to teach them that all of life is a gift from God.  To be self-forgetful is to honor His example of sacrifice by loving as He has loved us:

“Love is patient, love is kind.   It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 
It is not rude, it is not self-seeking . . . .” 
I Corinthians 13: 4, 5a

All to His Glory!

Calm After a Storm?

I grew up hearing the phrase “calm before the storm” but never thought much about it.  This past week, as we watched the weather reports of an encroaching storm, there was NO “calm before the storm!”  Fear of the unknown was really more what ruled my heart, with a dash of wondering, “Will we get through this one okay?”  With every waking moment trying to prepare, it was a very intense week.  Then there was all the waiting . . . hour upon hour . . . as the storm neared, stayed around far longer than we were used to and f-i-n-a-l-l-y passed.

Our area was largely spared the loss and suffering experienced by so many living just north of us.  It has been hard to even know how to pray for those neighbors who have been stripped of family members or everything they worked many times a lifetime to attain.  After watching hour after hour of news reports I wondered, “Where is fairness in all of this chaotic mess?”  

Still battling this confusion, yesterday afternoon my husband and I drove down to a local beach to check on a friend and to survey some of the damage.  As we traveled, I was comforted by the bright light shining through a sky still full of banks of gray clouds that swirled over the passing countryside . . . I was struck by an unmistakable quietness of mind and heart.   The feeling was somehow familiar. . . CALM AFTER A STORM?  Yes!

There it was . . . that calm I have experienced during a multitude of life storms, when hanging on was all I could do.

There it was . . . breaking through solitary moments, a quietness of mind and heart that in past days had faithfully calmed my mind and heart, even as those seemingly devastating  storms stripped away all that I tried to hold onto.

There He was . . . finally revealed as all was stripped away.   My faithful God forever offering His strength . . . His peace . . . His amazing grace!

As His calmness tended to my confusion and heartache for so many impacted by this dreadful storm,

There it was . . . a calm full of HOPE!  

This morning, still pondering the blessing of yesterday, the words of an old hymn flooded my soul afresh with a balm of calmness to face this new day.  I offer the words of Katharina von Schlegel, that have encouraged many through a multitude of storms.  I especially offer it to those of you who are facing or are persevering through storms of many kinds, praying that His calm will prevail over your minds and hearts no matter what:

Be still, my soul: the Lord is on your side;
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.
Leave to your God to order and provide;
In every change He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: your best, your heavenly Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

Be still, my soul: your God will undertake
To guide the future as He has the past.
Your hope, your confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know
His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.

Be still, my soul: when dearest friends depart,
And all is darkened in the vale of tears,
Then shall you better know His love, His heart,
Who comes to soothe your sorrow and your fears.
Be still, my soul: your Jesus can repay
From His own fullness all He takes away.

Be still, my soul: the hour is hastening on
When we shall be forever with the Lord,
When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past,
All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.

Katharina von Schlegel, 1752
Translated by Jane Borthwick, 1855
Tune: FINLANDIA, Jean Sibelius, 1899

“May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through.  May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  I Thessalonians 5:23

 All to His Glory!

Mourning to Morning

“Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice,
and no one will take away your joy.”

John 16:22

What do you say when a friend calls you on the phone in tears because someone they love is ill and may die?  Do you feel sick to your stomach as you grope for words that seem totally inadequate?    You are not alone, even Counselors encounter such moments.   Counseling as a biblical specialist, however, does provide an advantage because the Scriptures speak to even the most tragic circumstance with the Wisdom of the Ages.  That is why I do my best to get each of my Clients into the Bible personally through Journey Notes Praise Journaling.   Let me share a personal example of how being familiar with what Scriptures says can make a difference when facing trials:

September 11, 2001 was an wretched day in our history.  I am sure that if you were alive that day, you can tell me exactly where you were on what began as just an ordinary Tuesday.    I was home sick that day and got word about the first Tower being hit so I was watching our TV when the second plane hit.  Like most of you, the world totally stopped for me as the horrific events of that day unfolded.   I remember thinking and praying to God, “Lord, help me understand . . . I don’t know what to do with this ugliness!”  As I got ready to go to bed that night, I remember a heaviness of heart as I mourned the loss of so many innocent people and prayed for their families.    I still was at a total loss to know what to think about all that had happened.   Just as I pulled back the covers to get into bed, these thoughts ran through my mind that I knew were not my own:  “Hate what is evil; cling to what is good . . . GOD is GOOD.”  (Romans 12:9)   KA-POW!   That was one of those times when the Holy Spirit reminded me that darkness will ultimately be conquered by the light of the supernatural!   Yes!  In that moment I was set free to hope as I trusted that mourning would not prevail.  I fell asleep that night comforted by the knowledge that because of God’s goodness, His morning light would return.

Are you in the dark right now struggling with a problem personally or trying to minister to a hurting friend?  Go to God for the help you need by praying for His leading, reading Scripture and giving thanks for His love  and mercy.  If there are things you have put off doing that you know He wants you to do, then make it your priority to get those things done!  Watch . . . wait . . . trust . . . KA-POW! 

” . . . weeping may remain for a night,
but rejoicing comes in the morning.

You turned my wailing into dancing;
You removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
that my heart may sing to You and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give You thanks forever.”
Psalm 30:5b, 11 & 12