Grow Accustomed …

Reading through some notes from what I think was a Franciscan retreat many years ago I came across this. Enjoy!

One retreat handout was entitled God – With – Us Paraphrase by Leslie F. Brandt Psalm 139

O God, You know me inside and out,
	through and through.
Everything I do.
	every thought that flits through my mind,
	every step I take
	every plan I make,
	every word I speak,
You know, even before these things happen.

You know my past:
	You know my future.
Your circumventing presence covers my every move.
Your knowledge of me sometimes comforts me,
	sometimes frightens me;
but always it is far beyond my comprehension.

There is no way to escape you, no place to hide.
If I ascend to the heights of joy,
	You are there before me.
If I plunge into the depths of despair,
	You are there to meet me.
I could fly to the other side of the world
	and find You there to lead there to lead the way.
I could walk into the darkest of nights,
	only to find You there
	to lighten its dismal hours.

You were present at my very conception.
You guided the molding of my unformed members
	within the body of my mother.
Nothing about me, from beginning to end,
	was hid from Your eyes.
How frightfully, fantastically wonderful it all is!

May Your all-knowing, everywhere-present Spirit
	continue to search out my feelings and thoughts.
Deliver me
	from that which may hurt or destroy me,
and guide me along the paths of love and truth.

Looking up Leslie F. Brandt online just now, this was likely taken from a book called Psalms Now.

On the back of my paper I wrote “Grow accustomed to encountering the hidden Christ …” and then:

“I am a holy God and Lord of the Broken Things. My greatest victory was through My broken body and spent life. I use imperfect beings perfectly. My love covers, cleanses, fills, renews.” Have no idea if someone spoke this at the retreat or I heard it in my spirit.

“I too shed tears. My tears were not some painless spiritual symbol, but pain-filled, aware feeling tears. And they were born out of my hurt and disappointment, anguish and anger at how things COULD have been. I know tears. And I feel and am aware of yours.” Again, I have no idea if someone spoke this at the retreat or I heard it in my spirit.

“This mornings flood has left fresh ponds where dust was before. On contemplation this puddle is teeming with life. Worms with feathered heads writhe out a dance of life. Bugs I always associated with DIRT scurry along unhindered underwater. Oh voice of many waters, make me this adaptable and joyous I pray.” Fairly certain I wrote this one!

Reading and typing these things out makes me aware how I SO need a spiritual retreat! When I go on retreat I make an effort to still the chatter in my soul, listen for His still small voice, wait for the King of Glory. If nothing else, I am refreshed from stilling that chatter. Usually I am refreshed by the Presence of the Lord in ways I could not create on my own.

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;

    I will be exalted among the nations,

    I will be exalted in the earth.”

ISA 46:10

Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord

Acts 3:19

Then the Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake.  After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.

1 Kings 19:11-12

Signing Off for a Time

Considering the computers, tv, wifi system, etc. all have to be disconnected, packed, unpacked and reconnected you might not hear from me for a while. But wait! through the magic of the Word Press Cloud I could write and store and schedule until my strength runs out! That is how the posts usually come to you. I typically write on Monday and Tuesday morning. This week Tuesday will be running to various places like T-Mobile. Energy is not in abundance right now. So in case you don’t see posts for a while, remember to lift us in prayer regarding the move.

During 15 years a couple can accumulate a bunch of stuff. We have given away, thrown away and donated items for months now. We also know that once we begin to unpack we are likely to unload even more items. When you pack things up and get them out of sight for several months it is amazing what you can live without!

I have also been missing my wall calendar (I know, so old fashioned). The magnifying mirror from the bathroom wall has been absent since Bob patched and repaired practically every single nail in every single room.

He is such a hard worker. I have no idea how I would ever accomplish most things without him. We often debate who will die first. If he goes first I get a Corgi. They make me smile. Been told they kill sweepers with their constant shedding. Anything to make me smile during the grief of losing my husband would be invaluable. Fifty years of marriage and counting. We are amazed!

They say corgi puppies look like potatoes on legs.

Speaking of dogs, I let Lucky off the leash inside the new house for the first time last Sunday! She pranced around as if to say “Oh, I get it now!” She has been going in the house since it was just studs, no walls. Soon she will have an enormous closet in the master bedroom to sleep in when it storms! I will set up a water bowl for her Saturday before we get her from the kennel.

There she is, coming out of hallway to laundry and Master Suite!

We area moving eight miles, one zip code away, undoing 15 years of settling in this place. We are calling Platform Street our last home unless we get moved to a nursing home some day (hoping not!).

Even to your old age and gray hairs

    I am He, I am He who will sustain you.

I have made you and I will carry you;

    I will sustain you and I will rescue you.

Isaiah 46:4

Yes, Lord, we look to You to sustain us, carry us and rescue us from ourselves. Even as we enter our old age and lose more gray hairs! We trust You with all of our lives, Most High God.

Abraham Knew Not

I do not know much either about where we are going on Platform Street! The people we have met are all friendly. No idea where they stand as far as their faith life.

I have two other acquaintances who are moving to other neighborhoods about the same time we are. One is praying, “Lord, show me what you want me to do next,” as in Bible study, neighborhood ministry, etc. The only thing that has crossed my mind so far is to put out my garden flags that praise my Lord, thereby declaring my heart.

I have also heard of people who begin prayer ministry in their neighborhood by putting boxes outside for people to submit prayer requests. I could do that! Of course, at first all I will have are cardboard boxes! That’s not likely to work in summer rain storms.

ACTS 7: 2-3 NIV “To this he {Stephen} replied: “Brothers and fathers, listen to me! The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham while he was still in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Harran. ‘Leave your country and your people,’ God said, ‘and go to the land I will show you.'”

The Lord led us to the area of Kline Station when we could not find a newer house with laundry on the ground floor. Many thanks to our faith filled realtor, Taylor!

 “By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.” Heb 11:8 NIV

I have always been impressed by Abraham’s obedience. He obeyed. He went. He did not know where he was going. He left all control in God’s hands. I want to be like that!

I heard this song on YouTube Music and had to share it.

“Life Sayings?”

This seemed to show up for a few folks. I am sending it again for those who did not receive it. Hope it strengthens your faith.

When I used to mingle with some folks they would speak of their life verses from the Bible. I have those, but what I want to examine here are sayings or sentences that have influenced my faith life over the years.

How often I am walking outdoors and a feather comes on the breeze. At times it is from a bird on the roof or in a tree. Most times I cannot locate the source of the feather. Can you imagine yourself as that feather?

“‘Held by God … like a feather which has no weight from its own strength and lets itself be carried by the wind” – so wrote the medieval mystic, Hildegard of Bingen. Her image of a feather lightly floating on the wind is more than spiritual poetry; it gives us a way to live. Being like a feather on the wind is particularly necessary in these difficult days that teeter-totter two millennia.”

-Unknown

This one came from my struggles to obey the Lord my God regardless of circumstances.

Constant peaceful yielded joyful obedience to the Almighty.

I have made alphabet-beaded bracelets in so many forms to remind me of this. In the Old Testament the believers were told to take the commandments of God and “Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.” Deuteronomy 6:8-9 So I have worn them, recited them, shared a few with friends, lost a few bracelets and made a few more. Recently I shipped most of my collection to my friends in Nepal.

One year tired of hearing myself complain about chronic pain I wrote the following and posted it on the bathroom mirror.

I have determined that this day, each time I am drawn up short by pain, I will praise You for I love You better than life – even better than quality of life.”

I so needed to type these out this week, especially about being drawn up short by pain and what reaction I will choose. Chronic pain never takes a vacation, but God is ever-present and loves me. When I was first diagnosed I heard Him say, “I will be with you in this.” What could be better than to have the Lord with you?

Influencer

Can you call to mind people who have impacted your life in simple ways? Do you remember how they showed their faith? What do you recall about them?

When as an adult, I first had an intense experience with the Risen Christ, the priest at the Episcopal church did not know quite what to do with me. He did know who to refer me to though! Mary Dirkse quickly became my spiritual mom. My birth mother had already died. In fact, grief over that loss is what sent me to the Lord, seeking His comfort as I anguished over missing her.

Blessed are those who mourn,

    for they will be comforted.

Matthew 5:4

Mary did simple things for me. She would listen to my woes without correcting me or throwing out trite sayings into my tumult of grief. When I became pregnant with our son I was So Very Nauseous the entire nine months. Mary would fix me an egg, cooked thoroughly, put it on buttered toast and urge me to try to eat. Her fixings always stayed down. After the delivery of my first child I was nervous and frightened about climbing onto the delivery table for another C-Section, wide awake. Mary and others prayed me through the experience. To this day she continues to pray for our son.

When I was eager for more of Jesus, she took me to a Women’s Aglow meeting. I continued going to those monthly meetings for ten years, eventually holding some of the offices to keep the local meeting afloat and operating smoothly. I met many Spirit filled women who inspired me to surrender myself to Jesus.

When Mary moved from Ohio to Wisconsin I was so saddened. After her husband passed she moved to Washington state to be with her children. Mary SHOWED me the love of Jesus. She would play her zither and sing worship songs with me. I was enchanted. Mary simply loved God and was willing to share that love in any way the Lord required.

We often shared the parallels of raising toddlers and teenagers. So much alike, yet so different in size, language and body maintenance.

Who has the Lord sent into your life to influence, guide, encourage and show the ways of Christ? I hope you have someone to nurture as Mary nurtured me. If you are not nurturing anyone, ask God who He might like you to reach out to with His light and love. Yes, she lives very far away now. We do try to email and share cards on occasion.

Mary, if you are reading this, I have no more words except thank you from the bottom of my heart for your inspiration, guidance and continued intercession. You certainly pulled a grieving young woman from the waters of sin and confusion. May the Lord bless you abundantly for the multitude of ways you have served Him during your long and fruitful life. I love you.

Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good.  Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children,  to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.

Titus 2:3-5

Saying Goodbye

When we moved here 15 years ago we named the house “Treetops.” The driveway and front entrance are on the street level. The yard slopes down sharply so that the walkout and basement level and actually a story down. The upper story windows are almost level with the treetops. With the sloping yard it has always seemed larger than the dimensions.

After the backyard slope there is a small drainage ditch. Then our yard slopes up rather sharply and is covered with woods. We have enjoyed watching the seasons change and the wildlife that populate the woods, especially the birds.

Our new house is on a tiny level lot. The neighbors behind us have a sprinkling of trees. Kitchen, dining room and bedroom windows have the view there. Our windows on each side of the house look at the siding of the houses to our left and right. The office windows look out on the street. This will be a major change!!

So many major changes in store. I have been grieving the loss of this lovely home. And that grief is healthy. This has been a gorgeous place to live. We simply cannot do those stairs to the basement any longer.

One day this week our son gave me his Christmas gift to me. He dug up a few plants for us to take with us to the new house. They will not go in the ground until we get some sort of planting beds. At this point we are uncertain if we will even have sod before we move!

As Jeff dug, I walked around consoling myself that next year I can easily purchase pink bleeding heart and lily of the valley. See we have spent the last 15 years enjoying and improving our flower beds here. Funny, one rationale for moving 15 years ago was I could no longer take care of the flower beds because of arthritis. My husband and I spent 15 years making new flower beds here. I am shaking my head, “Go figure!” Guess as long as there is a spot to grow things I am unlikely to learn not to garden!

We will move to a little green house on Platform Street. What a place to launch last era of life! Fooling around with trying to think in haiku (to me, sparse words to contain broad thoughts) I recently wrote:

Loved living in treetops
Spring mornings I grieve
Packin' I land on the ground
Lot 49, soon to be 27 Platform Street!
Gloomy day, but the rock work is done!

We are so blessed I am at a loss for words.

Humor

Since we began looking at moving, buying a house with laundry on the first floor, and finally realizing we would have to build to get that – my greatest fear has been what if one of us dies before we move in? With the pandemic and both of us health compromised it was not an outrageous fear. Now that we are both immunized and within 3 weeks of moving I have begun to breath much easier.

I was on YouTube looking to identify the sparrow in the tree outside the office when I came across this joke. It is SO fitting for our age and situation, though I do not play golf.

Too many sparrows and none recorded with the song I am hearing, but laughter is BEST and I think God approves!!

Even to your old age and gray hairs

    I am He, I am He who will sustain you.

I have made you and I will carry you;

    I will sustain you and I will rescue you.

Isaiah 46:4 NIV

April in Ohio

Praise Him and highly exalt Him forever!! Enjoy the photos! If you click on each photo you can see more detail!

(The heron was right of the two large trees, showing white amongst the twiggy branches.)

Yes, we had inches of snow yesterday morning! Likely there will be tree leaf damage. No broken trees around us that we have heard or seen. When the leaves are out like this the wet snow can cause so much damage! The sun is out, blue sky shining and the birds seem to be shaking their feathers in disgust. Hopefully this was winter’s last hurrah, though they are saying one more night of freezing temperatures!

Dews and storms of snow, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all for ever.
Ice and cold, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all for ever.
Frost and snow, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all for ever.
Nights and days, bless the Lord; bless and exalt him above all for ever.
Light and darkness, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all for ever.
Lightnings and clouds, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all for ever.
Let the earth bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all for ever.
Mountains and little hills, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all for ever.
All things which grow upon the earth, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all for ever.

- Apocrypha Prayer of Azariah 46-54


Regardless of the weather, I will praise Him and highly exalt Him forever!!
This morning, 21-4-22, we have another 1-1/2 inches of snow. Yesterday it melted before noon.

“Drench me Lord”©2009 Molly Lin Dutina

Not meaning to offend anyone, but if the Spirit and the bride say come, then certainly might we bathe in the free gift of the water of life?

 The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.

Revelation 22:17 NIV

Drench me, Lord, come and flow.
Wash, renew, and overflow.
Show me how to soak then splash
Rest and float in Your life-giving bath.

Let anyone who wishes take (REV 22:17)
Let anyone?
– so unlike human ways!
Let anyone who wishes
– even those who just wish
Let anyone?
What are we to make of this holy declaration?

Come one and all, old or small
Drink from the provision of the Manger King.
All heaven says to you,
“Come, freely have this gift,
the water of life from Jesus Christ.”

Why do we so often choose to remain parched?

Choices to be made here! Examples of spiritual truth in nature! What will your decision be?

Spring Inspiration

I was in the living room chair watching the news when the light seemed to change outdoors. I looked out the window and was wowed. I am always fascinated with the creation. God did not have to make it so diverse and He did not have to share it with us. Daily there are things to marvel at. The photos below could not quite capture the intensity of the stormy looking sky.

Golden Lace © Molly Lin Dutina 2021

Golden lace in treetops
Against storm cloud sky
Evening sun highlighting
Tenuousness of life
Bear forth wooden boughs
Bring us spring delight

By the word of the Lord the heavens were made,
    their starry host by the breath of his mouth.
He gathers the waters of the sea into jars;
    he puts the deep into storehouses.
Let all the earth fear the Lord;
    let all the people of the world revere him.
For he spoke, and it came to be;
    he commanded, and it stood firm.

Psalm 33:6-9 NIV