Two Truths–When Life Doesn’t Make Sense

Yesterday morning at our porch party, everything seemed topsy-turvy. A storm had blown through the day before. I’d received weather alert texts, and the dogs and I stayed in the basement for a while. At the same time, parts of Tennessee were being destroyed by wild fires–so many homes and businesses burned to the ground.

So much devastation and loss and chaos.

And this was just our area of the world. 

My husband sat down on the porch, and I started cleaning up the mess from the storm. My little white Christmas tree had blown over. I found a pine cone ornament in the corner behind my rocking chair.

The tiny trees on my grandmother’s table were upside down.

The angel on the table beside the door had flipped over, as if she’d buried her face in the ground.

Poor thing.

She looks hopeless. 

I thought about families waking up after the fire, and prayer requests from some of you and from our friends and family.

But I wasn’t ready to pray. Not yet. I wanted to make sense of everything first.

We sat quietly.

Sipping coffee and rocking.

Me thinking too much, the bad overshadowing the good, at least in my mind. 

This is heavy stuff, Lord. So many needs. So many are hurting. 

Just then Clyde, our Labrador, climbed the front porch steps with a pumpkin in his mouth. I’d thrown it away in the woods beside our house–so far back, I didn’t think he could possibly find it.

That’s just what we need. A pumpkin or our porch in December. 

He plopped it at our feet as though he’d retrieved a duck.

“Thank you, buddy,” my husband said, scratching him behind the ears. “Good boy.”

“Good boy? He brought us a pumpkin.”

“He probably thought we wanted it back.”

Right then, something shifted inside me. Rick had spoken words of praise even though the situation hadn’t called for it. What he said touched a placed in my heart. I remembered a Scripture. 

Be thankful in all circumstances… 1 Thessalonians 5:18

When life doesn’t make sense:

1. We’re supposed to be thankful–in all circumstances. 

And something else.

2. Our emotions are a breath away from each other–so close, they’re almost touching. 

Fear cowers inches from Faith. Discouragement trembles at heels of Hope. Click to tweet. 

Now I was ready to pray.

We thanked God for His faithfulness and for being God. We prayed for the families waking up after the fire. And for you. For friends and family members. For so many who are hurting.

We said “amen,” and I hung the ornament back on the tree.

I stood the angel in place.

But I left the pumpkin under the Christmas tree as a reminder. 

Praising God when things don’t make sense is the right thing to do. Always.  Click to tweet. 

Are there situations in your life right now that don’t make sense? Are you close to giving up hope? Want to share them with our group? We’ll pray.

(To donate to the American Redcross of East Tennesee donate online at Redcross.org where you can specify the local Red Cross.)

Love,

Julie

The Wonderful Wisdom of Baby Chicks

Saturday, the Julie-I’m-Becoming had an idea. I wanted to be on the lookout for new ways to praise God. As I poured another cup of coffee, my 21-year-old son came inside from feeding the chickens. “Mom, I think I heard baby chicks.” Thomas’s announcement made me smile. After he grew up, he stopped saying things like, “Look, Mom, come here. You gotta see this!”

If Thomas was right, it would be the first chicks born in our coop.

He went back outside and sure enough–he heard them again. We let Mama and the babies get settled in on Saturday, but Sunday morning, I couldn’t wait any longer. We walked down the path through the woods.

Here she is, doing her job, keeping her chicks warm.

 Guess what happened when we tossed in some breakfast?

While Mama ate, her babies scurried along after her. Wherever she went, her chicks followed. They didn’t leave her. Not for a second.

These mixed BANTAM chicks were born knowing Mama is…

Their comforter.

Their protector.

Their provider.

They trust her. She’s everything to them.

They just look so grateful, don’t they?

After seeing God’s newborn creations right in my own backyard, I added three more entries to my GRATITUDE JOURNAL. 🙂

April 21, 2013

#1402. Thomas telling me the news.

# 1403. Two chicks born!

# 1404. The wonderful wisdom of baby chicks.

Lord, I pray “my soul follows hard after You” just like these baby chicks. Psalms 63.8

Have you discovered something new to praise Him for lately?

P.S. My word this year is “FOLLOW.”

Love,

Julie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Lesson from a Pile of Sticks

Remember our porch parties? The number one porch party rule is: “Don’t say anything negative. Just sip coffee and talk about good things.” Last week I blew it.

A pile of sticks became like Ray and Debra’s suitcase.

Clyde, our Lab, has a new hobby. He chews sticks at porch parties and spits the wood into a pile like a beaver building a dam.

Right in front of Rick’s chair.

For the last two weeks, Clyde had quite a pile going.  (Below is from this morning–a rather small pile.)

For days I thought, How big will the pile get if I don’t sweep it? You know, the whole Little Red Hen thing. 🙂

But the broom was closer to Rick. I looked at him. Don’t the sticks bother you?

Apparently not.

The next day I broke Rule Number One. “The sticks are getting pretty messy. I guess ‘we’ should sweep.”

“We need to,” he said.

Only one person can sweep. 

I decided I wasn’t sweeping–no matter how big the pile got.

And then a couple of days later, Rick swept the sticks into a neat pile.

But he left the pile on the porch.

So instead of focusing on this…

Or this…

I only saw a pile of sticks.

Friday night, I peeked out the window as my husband gathered the last of the tomatoes from the garden. My heart melted. It’s so hot. Probably 102. He has to be tired.

My word for the year came to me.

SURRENDER.

Over a pile of sticks? Really?

REALLY.

I swept the sticks into the dustpan and threw them away.

I can’t tell you how good it felt! 🙂

Has anyone ever let something silly get waaaaaay too important to you?

Love,

Julie