Positive Presence

When my daughter was very young, she would sometimes awaken at night, afraid and crying. I would go to her and hold her, pray with her, and just be with her until she had relaxed and was able to go back to sleep.

There is something about the physical presence of a loved one that brings comfort and joy. Whether a parent with a child, friends, or family, their nearness fills a deep craving and brings satisfaction through that companionship.

How many of us after long separation have spent hours talking and “catching up” or enjoyed activities together? In the case of illness or injury, the presence of someone sitting quietly close by can bring a sense of security or well-being. Words are not always necessary. What a gift one’s positive presence can be!

In the same way, God’s presence with us is a great gift. In all of life’s challenges, sorrows, and celebrations God is with us. His presence is strong, steady, and eternal even when our pain or busy thoughts and activities are unable to perceive Him.

The psalmist praised God and thanked Him for being with him.

You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. *

As David fled enemies and faced impossible odds, he was fearful, angry, and sometimes depressed. Where was God during all of this?! Later, there was guilt too, as he faced his own failures and wrong doings. When the prophet Nathan came to David after David wrongly took Bathsheba, David expressed his great need and desire for God’s presence. He pled with God, “Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. *

While I so greatly need my personal time alone to process and rest, the presence of others is greatly appreciated too. Throughout my life, I have welcomed the comfort, companionship, and support of my family and friends. What a gift it is to know that there are others praying for me and to have good positive relationships with people who accept me for who I am and with whom we can join in our journey to grow closer to God.

How humbling and awesome that God’s presence came to be with us, giving us the ultimate example and filling that need. “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). *

I pray that we may take comfort and strength from Him and faithfully reach out to others, even as they offer their own presence in times of need and times of celebration.

* Psalm 16:11, Psalm 51:11, Matthew 1:23

Trust Fully

small white starshaped flower_rotated

At dawn’s breaking, day’s nooning
Eve’s dawning, night’s sighing
What message sending
… trust fully

When rising in doubt, so restless foreboding
Or lonely now stressing, growing angry or fearful
When foremost is … self
Trust fully

What attitude taken, what visions or angst
When anxious or doubting, ‘I deserve’ and ‘why me’s’
Spreading discontent’s seeds
So hard to trust fully

Not foolish naive, of life’s follies and stress
Walk slowly take courage; run swiftly, greet confidence
Still self; be assured
And trust fully

Are you pointing to … Him, God’s hand held each day
Thoughts that are fruitful, for others to know
Nourishing lifting
… trust fully

Where vision does take us, eyes do perceive us
Words spew or bear up; actions tear or build up
Ear shut out or listen
… ah, trust fully

Contentment and blessing, joy enriching,
Smiles bring laughter; peace offers comfort
God is present
… trust fully

flitter fly

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flitter fly
like birds in flight
a heart 
goes winging
as storm winds stir

beating upward
ever onward
anxious searching
currents lifting
gaining soaring

flitter fly
sunlight shines 
above the tempest
others joining
bringing comfort

rise together
light’s glow leading
strengthened carried
toward warmer climes
flitter flutter fly

Reflections on Toilet Paper

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• Cherish the moments you have each day
• Unfulfilled need is a deep distress
• We need each other to clean up messes
• Soft and comforting words bring relief
• Absorb the good qualities of others in your life
• Consider the commonplace to gain appreciation
• Recognize what is important before it is gone
• Knowing we are useful gives us confidence
• Extend your vision and respect each other
• Inner quality brings joy and contentment
• Chewing on worries only creates new worries
• Look to the Maker and know He is close at hand

Reflections on Slippers

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• Each day needs slipper moments
• Rise to a new day with anticipation of good
• A warm smile and kind touch bring comfort
• Soft words encourage healing and rest
• Protecting others is a most noble call and occupation
• Reach out to others like a warm home on a cold day
• Slip on true friendship and slide off falsehood
• Put on that which will enrich life
• Embrace laughter and silly slippers for a joyful heart
• A peaceful evening of rest is a great blessing
• Knowing we are useful brings contentment
• The Comforter is always with us

Reflections on Popcorn

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• Youth is full of energy
• Energy can be guided to much good
• Things bursting upon us may catch us unprepared
• We build hard exteriors to shield our inner being
• Holding onto bitterness will cause us to explode
• It is difficult to grow when dry and malnourished
• Accepting our imperfections develops inner peace
• Beauty can come from brokenness
• Cracks allow access to nourishment
• Opening up enables us to receive as well as give
• Things which bring joy are the seasonings of life
• The Spirit within ourselves is the source of good

Reflections on Chairs

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• A good foundation lends strength to the outcome
• We need each other for support
• Sometimes we need a little help getting to our feet
• Adding a personal touch makes a positive difference
• Chairs can be a place of gathering
• Welcome others to a place of rest
• A secure lap brings much comfort
• Balance work and relaxation
• Reliability is an important feature
• The Chairmaker brings strength and encouragement

From “Reflections from the Everyday”

A Cup of Tea

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The water’s hot
The cup is ready
What shall it be today?

Some chamomile
Or peppermint
To calm
Or energize

For grumbly stomach
Or to ward off ills
Some ginger
Or echinacea

But green tea’s good
And traditional black
For strengthened heath
And comforting warmth

What’s that you say?
It tastes like grass?!
Don’t spew it out!
Now give it just a chance.

A bit of tea at end of day
Or when you’re feeling drained
It’s just the thing
I tell the truth

You’ll stick with coffee?
To each his own they say
Ahhh, this is fine
Time to relax and enjoy

… While I sip my cup of tea

Rest Stop

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Blink, flash… rumble-rumble. I paused to watch the display in the night sky. Cool air, smelling of rain, drove away the last of the day’s heat. Watching from a distance provided a larger perspective and I considered the power of the storm and the wideness of the heavens. As the storm drew further away, I drew a deep breath and the rain-washed quiet began to draw from mind and body the day’s lingering roar. It was good to stop and rest.

When I find myself caught up in the rush and stress of life, taking time to pause helps both mentally and physically. Can’t you just imagine that “ahh” as you sink into a favorite chair, slide into bed, or arrive home after a long and busy day?! Wherever our “comfort spot” may be, it is a place to rest our soul and calm our spirit for a time.

When the crowd was pressing around Jesus, he too needed a time of rest. For those who wanted to follow him, Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” * Like us in our daily lives, He too had to seek those special times and places alone and in prayer with his Father, God… places of rest and places where daily needs could be met. The book of Mark tells us that the apostles, the followers or disciples of Jesus, had the same challenge and had to be intentional about taking time to rest. After they had shared with Jesus all that they had been doing and teaching, he reminded them of the importance of ‘stepping out of the stream’ for a while. “Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while,” Jesus said, “For there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat. So, they departed to a deserted place in the boat by themselves.” *

I think sometimes we don’t give ourselves permission to step aside and rest. We are driven by so many things… I pray for you “rest stops” along life’s way. Times of comfort with friends and family. Quiet reflection with God who loves you. A welcome place to pause, stretch your legs, and relax before continuing on.

*Matthew 8:20 & Luke 9:58; Mark 6:31-32