Monday, October 5, 2009

Happy Monday

I know, I know - old people again. But I just can't seem to help myself.

Click here and enjoy the clip.

May you feel His grace today,
Gail W.

The last Word:
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him!
Romans 15:13, NIV.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

You Go, Girl!

Old people are my favorite hobby. I found this picture over the weekend. I was just trolling through images of old people on the web. This picture sparks my imagination. It makes me wish I could sit down and feast on this woman's company.

Elders have long been a sustaining force for me. As a child, I was nurtured by my grandmother. My entire professional life has centered on elders. The folks I work with now are mostly in their nineties or above. They scoff when I tell them they are beautiful.

They are beautiful. Wrinkles on top of wrinkles, white hair, joints swollen with arthritis. It all tells a story. It is all a testament to endurance. Elders are walking pictures of history.

I love to think about the events that each one has lived through. How has the world changed in their lifetime? What great events in history did they witness firsthand? What do they know about the world that the rest of us are too young to know?

I am blessed by elders every day. What about you? How do they figure into your life? Who would love to just sit and enjoy? I'd love to hear your thoughts on the matter.

May you feel His grace today,
Gail W.

The last Word:
Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained by a life of righteousness.
Proverbs 16:31, NIV.
Strenthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way; say to those with fearful hearts, "Be strong, do not fear. Your God will come."
Isaiah 35: 3,4, NIV.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

She's Back

Dear Friends,
I’ve been away for several months. That is another story for another day. I am so grateful to those of you who sent notes, wondering where I was and praying that I was alright. I am happy to return to Blogland. I had been waiting to dive back in when God sent me a day I could not keep to myself. I love you all and pray my words will cheer your heart.


Three years ago, my daughter Katie and I went to a doggie adoption fair at a local pet store. We met a little fellow who was half pomeranian, half cocker spaniel and 100% heart. Katie instantly fell in love with the dog. But there were two families who had already expressed an interest in him. We added our name to the list. Over the next few days, my daughter asked a dozen times, “Do you think we’ll get that dog, Momma?” I dreaded her response if the dog went to another family.

Two days later, I received the phone call that Mr. W had been found dead of a heart attack. It was a horrible day. That night, the animal shelter called, “Do you still want that dog?” It was a miracle. So at a time of great sadness, Sammy entered our lives, bringing with him a world of comfort and love. Knowing about Katie’s loss, the woman who fostered Sammy ordered a medallion for his collar. It was engraved, “Katie’s Guardian Angel.”

Six months ago, I took a new job. It was my dream job but very demanding of my time. With one daughter off to college and the other immersed in her social life, I watched as Sammy grew sadder and sadder. He stopped following me to the door in the morning. He knew he wasn’t going anywhere. He spent his days alone, whimpering in delight when anyone came home.

This would not do! Sammy had been a ray of sunshine in our lives when we needed it most. I couldn’t bear to see him so sad. Six weeks ago, I knew what I had to do. I had to find Sammy a new home where he would receive the love and attention he craved. After all the joy he had brought us, he deserved nothing less.

Finding Sammy the right home was not as simple as I had hoped it would be. I put out the word, hoping someone in my circle of friends would want him. Nothing happened. I registered him with the adoption group that first brought him to us. I took him to a doggie adoption fair. Nothing happened.

As the weeks dragged on, I was in agony. Every time I hugged and kissed Sammy, I would think, “Soon now, it will be the last time.” I prayed that God would send the right family to us and that He would do it quickly. Just when I thought I couldn’t bear another week of this, God once again showed His love through this little dog with a big heart.

Today, I met a family looking for their first dog. Their twelve year old daughter had been begging for a dog for months. The mom told me how they had agonized over the decision. She had prayed to find just the right dog. I explained that I had been praying just as earnestly for God to send Sammy a wonderful new home.

When the young girl sat down on the floor, Sammy jumped into her lap and stayed there. The girl beamed, her smile made more adorable by a gleaming set of braces. Not only had she found a dog, she had found a friend. A furry, cuddling friend with a warm tummy and plenty of kisses for her. A friend to love her unconditionally through the turbulence of passing from child to young adult.

I told the story of how Sammy had earned the medallion, “Katie’s Guardian Angel”. I explained that I believed his work with us was through. It was time for him to move on to another family in need of a loving pet. I shivered when the mom turned and said, “This is my daughter, Katie.”

So tonight, Sammy has a new home. The medallion I had thought we would keep to remember him went with him. Another Katie has found her guardian angel. Another Katie is rubbing his belly and assuring her mother that Sammy sleeping on her bed would be a good thing. As he sat in his new family’s car to go home, I joked, “Gee whiz, Sammy. You could at least muster a tear or two!” But in my heart, I was thrilled as he smiled. Without a single look back, he rode away to the next stop on his journey of love.

Tonight, two families’ prayers have been answered. God has once again revealed His mercy and His own sense of timing. While the parting is painfully bittersweet, it affirms that God is in control of all things. When we call, He answers more abudantly than we could have wished.

May you feel His grace today,
Gail W.

The last Word:
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
Jeremiah 29: 11-13.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

A Mother's Job

For more reverential ponderings on Mothers Day, stop by Angie's place!
From the dawn of the human race, mothers have struggled with guilt. Mothers have made mistakes. Mothers have wondered which of their children's woes could be ascribed to the hand that rocked the cradle. This Mothers Day, I think of the age old tradition of mother-guilt.

Can you imagine what Eve suffered in this department? Eve blew the family's chance to live in the very best neighborhood. She let her husband run around without a clean shirt and slacks. She raised her sons, but one turned out to be a murderer.

Poor Eve! How many times did she replay her mistakes in her mind? Did she worry what the other mothers must think of her? Did she resent Adam for her own bad judgements? Did she look at her polar opposite offspring and wonder where she went wrong?

Mothering is the biggest job on the planet. Tonight, I am thankful for Eve, the mother of all mothers. No offense to her, but her story reassures me I'm not doing so badly after all. Here's to every mother who ever did the best she knew how to do - a blessed and guilt-free Mothers Day to us all!

May you feel His grace today,
Gail W.

The last Word:
Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: "Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all." Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
Proverbs 31: 28-31, NIV.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Back from the Brink

We all have distinct signs that we have officially gone "over the edge." Friday morning, I dashed off to work with a million things on my mind. Work, family and my expanding thighs vied for the lead in my racing thoughts. By midmorning, I realized I had not even visited the ladies room.

Thankfully, no one was walking by to hear my belly laugh from this tiny retreat. You see, it was the first time in the day that I had occasion to look at my feet. Looking back at me were two different styles of shoes. In my defense, I have several pairs of white work shoes, allowing them to "breathe" a day or two between uses. And I did have a right shoe for my right foot, a left shoe for my left foot. They just weren't the same make.

As I drove home Friday evening, I noticed the slogan on this panel truck. "AAA Batteries Delivered and Installed". From the dense fog of my mind came the question, "Why on earth would somebody need a tiny AAA-sized battery delivered and installed?" Once I recognized the AAA emergency road service logo, God treated me to another belly laugh. I knew I shouldn't be operating a motor vehicle, so I carefully drove home and hung up my keys.

How about you? What are your "Stick a fork in me, I'm done" signs? I'd love to hear I'm not the only maniac out here on the loose!

May you feel His grace today,
Gail W.

The last Word:
So the Lord scattered them from there all over the earth, and they stopped building the city. That is why it was called Babel - because there the Lord confused the language of the whole world.
Genesis 11: 8, 9, NIV.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Bubbles for Sydney

Sydney believed in God and the precious name of His Son. She loved her dog as well as all other animals. She rarely argued with her younger brother. She always took her friends' side in teenage breakups. She mugged for the camera in the lingerie department of Target.

She was an honors student and a formidable athlete. She went to her junior prom. Two weeks later, a speeding tractor trailer with a distracted driver sent Sydney into the waiting arms of Christ. One year ago this week, I answered my phone and heard my youngest daughter sob, "Mom, one of my friends got killed on the way to school today."

This afternoon, we stood in the cold rain to see a garden overlooking her childhood soccer field being dedicated to Sydney's memory. As the rain subsided and the ceremony closed, the crowd blew bubbles into the air from tiny bottles provided by the family.

Tonight, I have more questions than answers. How do you put one foot in front of the other? How do you continue to breathe? How do you ensure the shock of a child's death does not eclipse the joy that was her life?

Tonight, I covet your prayers for everyone touched by Sydney's journey through this world. I thank my God that you are there to ask.

May you feel His grace today,
Gail W.
Photo credit

The last Word:
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. . . And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."
Revelation 21: 1-4, NIV.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Dollar Store Delights


When my daughters were little, the Dollar Store was my best friend. There I could dazzle the tots I loved without breaking the bank. I think of those days wistfully, especially when paying a teenager's car insurance or a semester of college tuition.

Tomorrow, my youngest daughter takes her SAT's. I wanted to do something to encourage her. So tonight, I once again enjoyed the thrill of a Dollar Store bonanza. If you promise not to tell, I will share my recipe for a discount boost of an anxious teen's heart.

Assemble the following Dollar Store items and label them as indicated:
  • Bratz Doll Lip Gloss - SAT Tip #1: Look Good to Do Good.

  • SpongeBob SquarePants wrist watch - SAT Tip #2: Be on Time.


  • Mickey Mouse Car Keys - SAT Tip #3: Drive Carefully to the Test Site.


  • Squirt gun - SAT Tip #4: Take Care Against Cheaters.


  • Deck of playing cards - SAT Tip #5: Take a Break During the Test.


  • Snack bar - SAT Tip #6: Keep Up Your Blood Sugar.


  • Blowing bubbles with wand - SAT Tip #7: Enjoy Yourself When the Test is Finished.

Place the labeled items into a tissued gift bag. Watch said teen smile and protest the silly gift while you know she's loving it. Praise God for His great mercy and care.

May you feel His grace today,
Gail W.

Photo Credit

The last Word:
Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him!
Matthew 7: 9-11, NIV.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Holy Week Part V: Come Monday


It took an extra week to screw up my courage, but I finally did it. I finished my personal journey through Holy Week tonight. I watched Mel Gibson's film, The Passion of the Christ. Anyone who has seen it will know why courage was needed to watch.

It is only the second time I have watched this biblical version of the original Holy Week. The first time was in a theater. I was tranfixed. I was horrified. I was crushed. I was guilty. God forgive me if I ever react any other way to the story of what Christ went through for me.

We all go through our miniscule versions of the sufferings of Christ. We are rejected. All appears lost. God seems nowhere in sight. But the story does not end there. If you are reading this post, chances are you have lived through your own crucifixion. And you have seen the Father's hand of deliverance. You have experienced your own resurrection.

As we end this holy season, may we remain ever mindful that Sunday always follows Friday - that God is faithful. Just as He did for Christ, God will do for us what He said He would do. He will redeem us. He will crush our enemies. He will receive us to sit at the hand of the Father. Hallelujah, indeed.

May you feel His grace today,
Gail W.

The last Word:
How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! Now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when He appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. Everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.
1 John 3: 1-3, NIV.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Holy Week, Part IV: The Third Day

Old Testament
And there was evening, and there was morning - the third day.
Genesis 1:13
On the third day, Abraham looked up and saw the place [where Isaac was to be sacrificed] in the distance.
Genesis 22:4
On the morning of the third day there was thunder and lightning, with a thick cloud over the mountain, and a very loud trumpet blast. Everyone in the camp trembled.
Exodus 19:16
On the third day Esther put on her royual robes and stood in the inner court of the palace, in front of the king's hall, facing the entrance.
Esther 5:1
Come, let us return to the Lord. He has torn us to pieces but He will heal us; He has injured us but He will bind up our wounds. After two days, He will revive us; on the third day He will restore us, that we may live in His presence.
Hosea 6: 1, 2
New Testament
They will kill Him, and on the third day He will be raised to life.
Matthew 17:23
Jesus replied, "Go tell that fox, 'I will drive out demons and heal people today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will reach my goal".
Luke 13:32
For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.
1 Corinthians 15: 3, 4
May you feel His grace this sacred day,
Gail W.
The last Word:
I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end He will stand upon the earth.
Job 19:25, NIV.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Holy Week Part III: The Second Day

The Saturday between Good Friday and Easter is a day of reflection. Today, we ponder the endless silence found in the grave.

I think about Jesus' family and friends, of the bewilderment they must have felt that day. I have been in that place - the place where so many things I was sure of sat in ruins. Which way to turn next?

Before the third day, there is the hopelessness of the second day. The day when all seems lost and God is silent. Today, we consider that but for the hand of God, we would live in the second day forevermore.

May you feel His grace today,
Gail W.

The last Word:
O my God, I cry out by day, but You do not answer.
Psalm 22:2, NIV.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Holy Week Part II: In the Meantime

On Sunday, He rode into Jerusalem amid a cheering crowd. On Thursday, He instituted the Lord's supper. But what about Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday? What was Jesus doing, what was He thinking those last days? He knew what was coming. So how did He fill those days?

We know He dined at Simon the Leper's where "a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on His head" (Mark 14:3, NIV). He knew what was coming. What do you talk about at dinner when you know you will soon be executed?

A single verse in Luke tells us how Christ spent His last days before the ordeal of the cross. "Every day Jesus was teaching at the temple, and each evening He went out to spend the night on the hill called the Mount of Olives" (Luke 21:37, NIV). He knew what was coming. By day, He was about His Father's business. By night, He withdrew to be strengthened for the days ahead. Tonight, I pray for grace to follow His perfect example.

May you feel His grace today,
Gail W.
Photo Credit

The last Word:
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12:2, NIV.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Holy Week Part I: Applause


Note: Of all holy days/holidays, Easter moves my heart more than any other. At Easter, we mark the most selfless act of Love in the history of mankind. Join me this week as we mark these days of unfathomable truth and mercy.

Palm Sunday. Something big was happening among the Jews. Rhetoric surrounding the carpenter-come-rabbi was escalating. The signs and wonders had become bolder, even to the point, some said, of power over the grave. This had to be it. The long-awaited Messiah, the King of the Jews. The time was ripe. He was going to set His people free once again, just like in the days of Moses.

They filled the streets to celebrate their imminent liberation. How they must have scrambled and clamored to see Him! Here was the one who would soon set them free. The crowd was on its feet. Excitement was at a fever-pitch. This was it!

How sad Jesus must have felt to know this very crowd would soon be demanding his execution. Fame is fleeting. The applause of men comes and goes on the slightest gust of wind. How did Jesus ride through this adoring procession knowing what lay just a few days ahead? Simple - His power and peace did not come from the admiration of men. They came from the certain knowledge He was fulfilling God's will for His life.

I am reminded to take the applause of men lightly, to consider man's natural duplicity of heart. To focus on the only One who can give me lasting worth and purpose. To set my face like flint toward the destiny God has crafted for me. Applause is nice, but it cannot rule our steps. Jesus' experience with the crowd's adoration can teach us much for life today.

May you feel His grace today,
Gail W.
Photo Credit

The last Word:
Do not store up for yourselves treasure [acclaim] on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and theives break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasure [acclaim] in heaven where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.
Matthew 6: 19, 20, NIV.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Coming Up for Air


Friends, I have been in acute Blogland withdrawal for the past few weeks. Life has taken an unexpected turn that I know is no surprise to God. I am well; my family is well. My professional life has been the culprit. In this age of massive unemployment, I am officially NOT complaining!

This interlude has highlighted how much I love the friends I have made here in the blogosphere. There is a list of questions that go through my head quite often. I wonder how T's son is doing, whether D is feeling better, if S got home safely from her missions trip, what E is waiting on before she pens her book. While my presence has been shadowy these weeks, my heart for the women who have befriended me here grows fonder.

May you feel His grace today,
Gail W.
Photo Credit

The last Word:
To my dear friend, whom I love in the truth. Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.
3 John 1:1, 2, NIV.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Digging Deeper, Lifting Higher

In this last chapter of Jennifer Rothschild's Self Talk, Soul Talk, she exhorts us to "Lift Up: Praise the Lord , O My Soul." We are invited to examine what we are lifting up in our thought lives. It reminds me of the saying, "I'm not much, but I'm all I ever think about"

This is our sinful nature, our default position ever since Eve wondered how the forbidden fruit could work to her benefit. Eve was focused on her own agenda that day. Her wants and her needs. What she could gain from taking the risk. Does this sound familiar to anyone besides me?

Jennifer offers the antidote to such thinking in today's reading. Relief comes when we lift up thoughts of others and, most especially, of our God. Our minds cannot focus on two thoughts at one time. When the misery of self-seeking overwhelms me, I can turn to the needs of others. I can turn to praising the God I know and adore. Soon, self has taken a back seat in my thoughts, and life doesn't look so hard after all.

I consider my life as the space under a canopy. Sometimes, I expand my space by digging deeper into my soul. At other times, I expand my space simply by lifting the canopy higher. To do this, I focus on the greatness of God, on His deeds, His love and His faithfulness. When I am praising God, He is invited beneath my canopy. As a result of His company, the canopy lifts higher to hold Him, and the expanse of my life unfolds to greater and greater heights.

Today, I invite you to look up, to focus on God, to invite Him to sit beneath the canopy that is your life, to enjoy the wonders of His ever-expanding view.

May you feel His grace today,
Gail W.

The last Word:
When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars which You have ordained, What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him?
Psalm 8: 3, 4, NKJV.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Being Still: Yes to God Tuesdays, Chapter 9



Oh, to rest in God like a child rests on a beloved adult! To abandon all cares, to submit to the rise and fall of the grownup's chest, to snuggle into the warmth of another. Unhindered sleep follows. Peace only comes when all efforts cease.

This week's chapter of Jennifer Rothschild's Self Talk, Soul Talk bids us to "Chill Out: Be at Rest, O My Soul". There were several lines in this chapter that popped me right between the eyes. "My fatigue became more powerful than my fortitude" (p. 135) summarizes my on-going dilemma.

When I am moving like a locomotive, it is often in doing good things. What a battle to accept that this is no excuse for not taking care of myself! I love the quote Jennifer attributes to Chuck Swindoll. Responding to the motto, "I'd rather burn out than rust out", Chuck asked, "What's the difference? Either way, you're out" (p.136).

There is a line I can easily cross in my full-steam-ahead mentality. At some point, I cease doing God's will and give in to the temptation of Gail's will. My will often includes making life go a certain way and having others see me in a certain light. Whenever I hit the burnout skids, I can retrace my steps and find the point where I diverged from God's plan and struck out on my own.

Thankfully, God has let me go down that path and suffer the consequences so many times, I am now loathe to do it. This takes intentional effort on my part. As Paul says in Hebrews, "Let us make every effort to enter God's rest so that no one will fall" (4:11, NIV). To hear more on the subject of God's rest, be sure to visit the "Yes to God Tuesdays" series, hosted by Lelia.

May you feel His grace today,
Gail W.

The last Word:
This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: "In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength."
Isaiah 30:15, NIV.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Yes to God Tuesdays, Chapter 8


I'm a few days late, but I didn't want to miss another week of Lelia's ongoing study of Jennifer Rothschild's Self Talk, Soul Talk: What to Say When You Talk to Yourself. Chapter eight advises us, "Look Back: Forget Not His Benefits, O My Soul."

Looking back has always been an integral practice in my thought life. Sadly, for many years, the sole purpose of looking back was to dwell on my mistakes and on the hurts I experienced at the hands of others. I could look back, alright - I'd look back and find an excuse for behaving badly today. Somehow, I don't think justifying ourselves is the kind of looking back that Jennifer and the psalmists are calling us to do.

Studying God's Word is the kind of looking back that brings joy and comfort. The entire Bible reviews the story of God's love and His unfailing provision for us. God repeatedly reminded the nation of Israel to remember His great deeds on their behalf, to teach the history of His faithfulness to their children and their children's children. How often in the lives of the early fathers do we see stone monuments erected to mark the places where great signs and wonders have occurred? These were cues for the people to look back and remember all that God had done for them.

Through the grace of God and a lot of hard work on both our parts, looking back today is a source of wonder and promise for me. A few Christmases ago, my daughters constructed a "This Is Your Life" scrapbook for me. It traced my journey from childhood through adulthood, into marriage and family, professional milestones and our reconstruction after Mr W's death. It reminds me of the Old Testament stories of how God worked in His people's lives. There is sorrow, there is joy, there is stiff-necked disobedience and there is redemption.

But underneath it all is the grandest, most glorious love story of all - of my being pursued with passion and of my finally having the grace to stop running. Today, I invite you to look back on your story to see God's thumbprint, to rejoice that through good and bad, bitter and sweet, He always has been and always will be there.

May you feel His grace today,
Gail W.

The last Word:
Who am I, O Sovereign Lord, and what is my family, that You have brought me this far? And as if this were not enough in Your sight, O Sovereign Lord, You have also spoken about the future of the house of your servant. For the sake of Your Word and according to Your will, you have done these great things and made them known to your servant. How great you are, O Sovereign Lord! There is no one like You, and there is no God but You.
2 Samuel 7: 18-22, NIV.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Good News

For lo, the winter is past; the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth.
The time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.
Song of Songs 2: 11, 12, NKJV.

These yellow crocus appeared in my garden yesterday. In this part of the country, crocus always signal the coming of spring. They erupt from the barren winter ground before any of their spring companions. I am certain God chose this weekend for my crocus to appear.

On Thursday, I shared about the anniversary of Mr W's death and new fears for my daughter's health. Many of you have been in prayer and blessed me with your words of love and encouragement. With joy and trembling, I can report my daughter's tests all came back benign. The irregular heart beats are a fluke. They are neither dangerous in themselves or indicative of other problems. Glory to God in the highest!

Today, I rejoice not in the good report (although I am eternally thankful), but rather in the knowledge we would have been alright with or without a good report. I am always uncomfortable when believers ascribe positive outcomes to their faith. Does that mean that those who did not have a positive outcome did not have enough faith? Such a belief would mock the very Word of God. It is blasphemous ground I don't care to traverse.

Instead, we rest in the sovereignty of God and the power of His love, even when we do not understand. As a wise elder once said to me, "I don't know what's good for me, so I just thank God for everything." Today, I thank Him for the unseen purpose of Mr W's early demise and the gift of a teenager left to resume shopping for just-the-right-dress for prom. I also thank Him for the beautiful friends who rushed to my cyber-side in my hour of need.

May you feel His grace today,
Gail W.

The last Word:
I delight to sit in His shade, and His fruit is sweet to my taste. He has taken me to the banquet hall, and His banner over me is love.
Song of Songs 2: 3b-4, NIV.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Memories and Mayhem

Two years ago today, I received the call. "Mrs. W, this is Detective Jones with the Winchester Police Department." I knew instantly. The detective didn't even have to say the words. I just started wailing. Mr. W was in Winchester to attend a special outpatient physical therapy program for folks with his specific medical problems. He had been staying at a local hotel for the six-week program. The hotel staff saw him on Sunday; Monday morning they found him, gone, presumably from a heart rhythm problem.

Two days ago, I took my seventeen-year-old daughter to the doctor for a sinus infection. They found a potentially dangerous heart rhythm problem. So in addition to the cement in her sinuses and the pain of her father's death anniversary this week, she was suddenly swept up in a frenzy of tests and dour-looking adults all around her. Of all times for this to happen - it put me in a "when it rains, it pours" frame of mind. You can cut out a few organs on me while I watch, and I'm fine. But when my child is in great pain . . . it's a completely different story.

"Next Thursday (as in the 26th) is the earliest we can get her in with the cardiologist. She needs to stay quiet, no sports until she is seen." Are you kidding me? Ten days away? But God had another plan. Once the doctors cut my girl loose to "take it easy and wait", she headed straight to school. At this age, Mom is essential but not primary in the commiseration process. She needed to see her peeps.

She went to class, her biology course with Mr. C, a "Mr Chips" sort of teacher who has always taken a special interest in my girl. When she went on meltdown, he pulled her out of class and got the story. He called his wife. He called me and said to call his wife. The upshot of those calls was that my girl and I were sitting in the office of Dr. T, a premiere cardiologist at 8:30 the next morning. Dr. T was doing her residency training eighteen years ago when a certain pregnant nurse took the frightened resident under her wing in the intensive care unit. Now Dr. T is known nationally, her office nurse is married to a certain "Mr. Chips" sort of teacher at my daughter's school and the once pregnant nurse is on the receiving end of needing care for her child. Dr. T was not supposed to see patients at all that morning. She came in just to see my girl.

As this cardiologist soothed and explained everything to my daughter, I felt a heavy load fall from my shoulders. This was going to be manageable. More tests would be needed, perhaps medication, worst case scenario a medical procedure to calm her twitchy heart. But everything was going to be alright. Another storm would be weathered.

This lead me to my new thoughts on "when it rains, it pours". What began as a week of, "I can't believe all of this is happening right now" became one of "I can't believe how thoroughly God has provided for our every need this week." Our hearts still hurt tonight for Mr. W. There is more to do to protect my girl's health. We are all exhausted. But we are safe; we are well cared for. We are happy to think of God's provision - to know with all certainty that when it rains, it pours.

May you feel His grace today,
Gail W.

The last Word:
Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today."
Exodus 14:13, NIV.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

When It Rains . . . .

Thanks for stopping by! Life took an unexpected turn this week, keeping me from our online study of Jennifer Rothschild's Self Talk, Soul Talk going on over at Lelia's.

I have lots to report as soon as I regain consciousness. For now, I leave you with a thought that occured to me as events swept along this week:

"When it rains, it pours" doesn't apply only to bad things happening. My week has shown me once again that this same phenomenon applies to God's blessings. When He rains, He pours. Stop by later this week for the inside scoop!

May you feel His grace today,
Gail W.

The last Word:
Listen, O heavens and I will speak; hear, O earth, the words of my mouth. Let my teaching fall like rain and my words descend like dew, like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants.
Deuteronomy 32: 1, 2, NIV.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Grace by Which We Stand

If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.
Isaac Newton (1643-1727)

Newton's quote stopped me in my tracks today. It reminded me of the spiritual giants on whose shoulders I now stand. Most prominent of these is my Nanny, my maternal grandmother.

Nanny's life was a lesson in perseverence. Raised on a farm, she understood trusting God and working hard in order to eat. She married a gentleman she met at a dance held in her father's front parlor. They had one daughter, my mother who was three years old when my grandfather suffered an aneurysm and died in the yard. Nanny never remarried but lived on in the house where she grew up. To live, she carried mail and helped her brothers on the farm.

At the tender age of eighty-three, Nanny fell and broke her neck while hanging clothes on the line. After she regained consciousness, she crawled into the house and called for help. She underwent surgery, recovered and lived several more years. I was in my forties when she finally got her coveted trip to Beulah Land.

Today, I treasure the Holy Bible: Red Letter Edition that sustained my Nanny. Tucked within its brittle pages are yellowed tracts by a young evangelist named Billy Graham, as well as her "Certificate of Marriage", dated December 27, 1932. Dearest to me, though, are the highlighted Scriptures that map her journey of faith. Over and over, she turned to the passages that speak of God's provision and of His faithfulness through trying times.

Many times, I have picked up Nanny's Bible and felt my strength renewed by both the Word of God and the certainty she trusted Him when life seemed just too hard to bear. I stand on her shoulders today and glimpse eternity. What about you? Who are the spiritual giants on whom you stand? I would love to hear your heart on the matter.

May you feel His grace today,
Gail W.

The last Word:
I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you.
Genesis 17:7, NIV.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

"Yes to God" Study, Chapter 6



Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.
Okay, maybe I borrowed these words from Gabriel come to rock the virgin Mary's world, but they apply to each of us. Today, we look at Chapter Six of Self Talk, Soul Talk entitled, "Look Up: Hope in God, My Soul". Jennifer focuses here on choosing hope above despair.

Hope as a choice - that's a thought worth savoring. My natural tendency is to think of hope as something that happens to me (or does not). What a grown-up notion, that I can choose my attitude! I have options about how I feel and react to the world around me. Jennifer poses the excellent questions, "Do I think with my feelings? Do my feelings serve me well or am I their slave?" (p. 87). Ouch.

Hope is the linchpin of my existence. It is the faithful peg where I hang my hat when life gets messy. When I get discouraged, the Word of God oozes hope in every chapter and verse. But as the apostle Paul reminds us: Hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? If we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently (Romans 8:24, 25). Did he really use the words, "wait" and "patiently" in the same sentence? ((Sigh)). Thankfully, God looks for progress, not perfection.

Be sure to visit our hostess for this study, Lelia at Write From the Heart to see what other travelers had to say about this week's chapter on hope!

May you feel His grace today,
Gail W.

The last Word:
This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to His voice, and hold fast to Him.
Deuteronomy 30: 19, 20, NIV.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

This Bud's For You, Angie

Many of you follow our girl Angie over at Knightly News. Recently, she has been sharing events in her life from this time last year. On February 12, 2008, Angie's beloved sister, Wanda, slipped into the waiting arms of Christ after a lengthy illness.

Under Angie's faith-filled pen, a subject that could bring you down becomes an uplifting tale of faith, hope and love. If you haven't checked out this series, I promise you'll be blessed by doing so.

In the account of Wanda's final hours, Angie mentions an ill-mannered nurse. My hair stood on end at this part of the story. For years, I taught nurses about family care in the patient's final days. Angie's experience reminded me of a poem I used in those classes.

In honor of Angie, who latched onto me early in my blogging days and has blessed me ever since, I'd like to share these words penned by Thomas Hood. It's an old poem, but its message is timeless. God bless you, Angie; I am with you in thought and prayer this week and always.

Thro' the Night

We watched her breathing thro' the night,
Her breathing soft and low,
As in her breast, the wave of life
Kept heaving to and fro.

So silently we seem'd to speak -
So slowly mov'd about,
As we had lent her half our powers
To eke her living out.

Our very hopes belied our fears,
Our fears our hopes belied -
We thought her dying when she slept.
And sleeping when she died.

For when the morn came dim and sad -
And chill with early showers,
Her quiet eyelids clos'd - she had
Another morn than ours.
Thomas Hood (1799-1845)

May you feel His grace today,
Gail W.
Photo Credit

The last Word:
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.
Hebrews 12: 1, 2, NIV.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Seven Times Seven Hundred

Seven hundred and twenty-one times. According to CNN, that is how many times a South Korean woman has tried to pass her driving test. Attempt #722 will take place today or tomorrow.

I ask myself, "Is there anything I would try seven hundred times without giving up?" Losing weight comes to mind. Getting my teenager to clean her room. How about keeping my mouth shut when I don't have anything constructive to say?

The tale of the licensee-to-be cheered my heart today. It reminded me there are some things worth trying for and trying for and trying for. What does my heart desire enough to persevere so greatly?

Only one thing truly fills that bill: salvation for the people I love. I think about the friends and family who haven't yet found the Truth of the Gospel. I think how untethered I would be without a granite faith in God. I think of those who prayed for loved ones for years on end and finally saw their dreams come true.

Yes, there are some things worth revisiting over and over again. What about you? What goals pull you back again and again, no matter how bleak the landscape? I would love to hear your heart on the matter.

May you feel His grace today,
Gail W.
Photo Credit

The last Word:
Will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him night and day? Will He keep putting them off?
Luke 18: 7, NIV.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Self Talk, Soul Talk: Chapter 5

Reference: Rothschild, J. Self Talk, Soul Talk: What to say When You Talk to Yourself, Chapter 5, "Tune In: Awake My Soul".

This chapter talks a lot about distractions and complacency. Now, there's a pair of plagues! Quotes that hit me between the eyes include:
  • "We become sleepy and apathetic toward some of our poor choices and negative attitudes" (p. 65).
  • "We grow so accustomed to the distractions around us that we barely notice their influence" (p. 75).
  • "Keeping something clean is easier when you tend to it daily" (p. 64).

One danger that stalks me daily is the willingness to grab hold of the "good" before I can see God's "best". We face many opportunities to invest our time and energy in good things. But is it God's will for me to say yes to every good thing? Hardly.

Even Jesus Christ prayed to the Father, "I have brought You glory by completing the work You gave me to do" (John 17:4). He didn't say by completing everything that would ever need doing. If the Son of God had a finite mission on earth, what makes me think I can do everything without disastrous results? Yet, that is my default tendency.

Jennifer's right about that daily maintenance plan. When I assess my priorities and listen for God's leading, life flows - even when difficulties come my way. When I go too fast to think about what I am doing, things get skewed quickly. I find myself in a maze of unconscious choices, unclear of how I got where I am or which way is out.

The Good News is that God's "reset" button is always close at hand. I need that button every day, many times a day. Do you?

May you feel His grace today,
Gail W.

The last Word:
Everything is permissible - but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible - but not everything is constructive.
1 Corinthians 10:23, NIV.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Breaking Free

"We found the jail securely locked and the guards standing at the doors; but when we opened them, we found no one inside." Acts 5:23, NIV.

This verse reminds me of the prison doors Satan has locked securely against each one of us. The doors may be a painful betrayal, physical problems, financial distress or the seeming hopelessness of an unsaved loved one. For many years, I lived in the cell of a deep self-loathing. The jail was securely locked; the key had been thrown away decades earlier.

But like the apostles, one day I miraculously found myself on the outside of the cell looking in. I was unsure of exactly how I had escaped, but I was certain of Who was responsible. And just like the apostles, I got my marching orders: "Go, stand in the temple courts, and tell the people the full message of this new life" (Acts 5:20). The angel's instructions are what I've chosen to memorize for February 1's Scripture challenge.

I don't know what prison doors have been securely locked against you. But I know we serve a God who longs to miraculously set us free. He is not bound by space or time or the will of another. What prison do you long to be free of today? Take it to Him. He is waiting on the outside, completely unaffected by how secure the lock may look to you.

May you feel His grace today,
Gail W.

The last Word:
My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to Your Word.
Psalm 199: 28, NIV.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

HOW THEN SHALL WE LIVE?

He was born in 1915. He grew up in the Great Depression, served as a medic in World War II and earned a Purple Heart. He married, bought a small home and spent many years as a foundry worker before retiring. He and the Mrs. never had children. She passed away a few years ago; he lived alone in the house they bought after the war. His memory was slipping. He seldom left the house. He did not see the note the electric company left on his door weeks ago.

On January 17, ninety-three-year-old Marvin Schur was found in his Michigan home, frozen to death. The temperature in the house was thirty-two degrees. On the kitchen table was a pile of cash to pay the stack of bills that lay beside it. That's as far as Marvin got paying the electric bill before his power was turned off for nonpayment.

Marvin Schur earned a Purple Heart decades ago, but in the end, he gave his life for his fellow elders. His death has elicited outrage and will surely result in changes to "the system". Last week, many of you responded to my news of lobbying for the elderly. I was so encouraged by your sincere concern. Sadly, the bill was shelved under the dark shadow of budget cuts. But God is in control. We will mount a longer, stronger campaign next year.

In the meantime, I urge you to pray for positive change. Look around your neighborhood. Is there someone whose life would be changed by the smallest bit of your attention? God always uses what Satan meant for evil to create good. Rather than simply be saddened by Marvin Schur's death, let's pray that God would open our eyes to the least of these our brethren.

May you feel His grace today,
Gail W.
Photo Credit Here

The last Word:
This is why He said, "Awake, O sleeper, rise up from the dead, and Christ will give you light." So be careful how you live, not as fools but as those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity for doing good in these evil days. Don't act thoughtlessly, but try to understand what the Lord wants you to do.
Ephesians 5: 14-17, NLT.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

YES TO GOD TUESDAYS, CHAPTER 4


Thanks for stopping by! We continue in Jennifer Rothschild's book Self Talk, Soul Talk. Lelia is hosting this study as part of her "Yes to God" series. Today's chapter is entitled, "Speaking Truth to Your Issues." What issues? I don't have issues; do you have issues? Yeah, right. As surely as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, we all have issues. And since issues breed issues, I think of a sea of rabbits stretched out across a large field. It may have started with only two rabbits, but boy, have they multiplied! That's what my "thought closet" can look like on any given day.

Jennifer's advice for dealing with issues echoes the Truth of God's Word. She encourages us to rely on the Holy Spirit to direct our thoughts and actions. As Jennifer writes, "My intention is to have self-control, but the reality is that I often don't. I have learned over the years to rely instead on the Spirit's control in my life - God's Spirit" (p. 52). YEAH, BABY!

One of my greatest battles is with self-reliance. I was thrilled Jennifer took this chapter to remind us that changing our thought life is not a do-it-yourself project. Nothing that needs to change in me is a do-it-yourself project. I can repeat affirmations 'til the cows come home, but only the Holy Spirit can create lasting change in me.

I was also taken by Jennifer's story of the little girl playing "I Spy" with her father. Out of the mouth of this babe came, "I spy something good." Dad was left to guess what she might be looking at. Jennifer immediately followed this story by referencing Paul's instructions to the Philippians to fix their minds on certain things.

Today, I choose to look at the landscape of my life and play "I Spy" to guess the answers to Paul's exhortation. Feel free to play along! Looking at your world, how would you answer:

  • I spy something noble.

  • I spy something right.
  • I spy something pure.

  • I spy something lovely.

  • I spy something admirable.

  • I spy something excellent.

  • I spy something praiseworthy.

Let's spend some time thinking on these things!


May you feel His grace today,

Gail W.

The last Word:
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me - put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
Phillipians 4: 8, 9, NIV.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

HALLELUJAH, INDEED

Ladies, you are in for a treat today. Hop on over to Pam's place and ENJOY! (You might want to empty the bladder before you go).

May you feel His grace today,
Gail W.

The last Word:
A merry heart does good like medicine.
Proverbs 17:22, NKJV.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

SAYING YES TO GOD ON THURSDAY


Today, I am catching up on our study of Jennifer Rothschild's Self Talk, Soul Talk: What to Say When You Talk to Yourself as hosted by the lovely Lelia for Yes to God Tuesdays.

In Chapter 3, "Choosing Wise Words," Jennifer focuses on the core beliefs that drive our emotional responses and behavior. She terms our core beliefs as roots and our reponses as the fruit of those roots. She rightfully asserts that only by addressing our roots can we see change in our fruit. As Christ said, "Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks" (Matthew 12:24 and Luke 6:45),

For example, as a child I observed that when I showed sadness by crying, my parents became very agitated. This was quite a problem as I was born with a bent to melancholy. So I concluded, "Emotions are dangerous". For many years, I worked very hard to keep my emotions out of sight. I carried this pattern well into adulthood.

We who believe know my parents' agitation was part of living in a broken world. It is here that Satan entered my heart and inserted his distorted version of the truth. As long as I embraced Satan's lie that emotions are dangerous, I continued to invest my energies in keeping them well hidden.

It was only through embracing God's truth that I was able to dislodge Satan's lie. When I called on God to renew my mind, He gave me new fruit. He gave me freedom and a healthy regard for my feelings. This was NOT an overnight process.

In our reading, Jennifer describes the path that worked for me. My freedom came as a result of doing three things: requesting wisdom, revering God and receiving counsel. I had to desire and ask for a new way of thinking. I had to humble myself to believe God knew more about the world than I did. I had to seek out truth-speakers in my life, because I often hear better from what I call "God with skin on".

Satan is a busy little cuss; I have to practice requesting wisdom, revering God and receiving counsel on a daily basis. I find God's wisdom in His Word and through the precious believers He has placed in my path. It's a simple process, but remember, simple does not always mean easy. Today and every day, I must lift up my eyes to the Source of my strength, the Maker of heaven and earth. Mercifully, I know that He will never disappoint me.

May you feel His grace today,
Gail W.

The last Word:
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - His good, pleasing and perfect will.
Romans 12: 2, NIV.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

PJ PARTY AT THE WHITE HOUSE

I'm sure it was an oversight. Somehow, Malia and Sasha forgot to let me know the plan for tonight. While Mom and Dad are out tripping the light fantastic, the girls are parked at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue for movie night with their friends. Bolt and High School Musical 3 are on the marquee.

My guess is that ten-year-old Malia and seven-year-old Sasha won't make it past the opening credits. What a day it must have been for these beautiful children! They draw my imagination tonight.

To all the calls for prayer for America's new president, I add a special request for these two little girls. It is hard to imagine the challenges they will face growing up in a world-wide spotlight. So as they struggle to keep those peepers open tonight, let's pray that God would give them a special grace to meet the days ahead. May He work in their lives in a way that brings Him glory. Sweet dreams, little ones!

May you feel His grace today,
Gail W.
(Stop by tomorrow for a stretch of Yes to God Tuesdays into the day after).
Photo Credit: www.flickr.com/photos/elb_the_prof

The last Word:
The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you. The Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.
Numbers 6: 24-26, NKJV.

Monday, January 19, 2009

MAY THE WORDS OF MY MOUTH . . . .

Tomorrow morning at the ungodly hour of 7:30am, I will show up at the state capitol building to testify on financial exploitation of the elderly. Don't be impressed - I have exactly one minute to state my case. The proposed legislation stiffens penalties on the bottom-feeders who prey on lonely elders.

I have worked as a geriatric care manager for several years. This gave me a front-row seat to the evil used to relieve elders of their hard-earned dollars. Victims are invariably sufferers of the three plagues most common in elderhood: loneliness, hopelessness and boredom. Enter Satan's mignons with promises of companionship and excitement. Exit sound judgement on the part of the elder, followed closely by money the victim needs to live on but willingly gives up.

Paul warned that in the last days, people would be lovers of themselves and lovers of money (2 Timothy 3:2). Sound familiar? One glance at today's headlines should be proof enough that things are getting worse, not better. But we are not called to sit by and wring our hands as the world deteriorates. Today, I ask you to pray that our attempts to speak the truth will be met with softened hearts and willing action.

May you feel His grace today,
Gail W.
Photo credit: Jenny Andre

The last Word:
Find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them . . . for everything exposed by the light becomes visible . . . . Be very careful, then how you live - not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.
Ephesians 5: 10-215, NIV.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Paying It Forward

It finally happened. No longer will I look wistfully at those awards on other blogs and sigh that my sidebar bears no such honor. I am almost embarassed by how thrilled I am. In theory, I should be past needing recognition from my fellow travelers, but I guess it is good to be human after all!

So I am very grateful to my friend Denise who blessed me with the Emblem of the Helping Hand award. This award, sponsored by Sojourner's Place, is to thank our online mentors and (as in my case) to encourage up and coming bloggers that one deems worthy. Each person who receives the award is asked to "pay it forward" to bloggers who've encouraged us along the way and to newer bloggers that show great promise.

How much fun is that? So without further ado (drum roll please), I want to present the Emblem of the Helping Hand to these amazing women:

Angie: what a precious encouragement she has been to me! She was the first woman who really reached out to me in the blogosphere; my life has been richer for it.

Denise: I don't know if you're supposed to ricochet the award back to the one who gave it to you to start with, but this awesome woman of God means the world to me.

Amrita: From the other side of the globe, she always lifts my spirits and gives me new courage to keep on writing.

Elaine: This is another generous spirit who has taken the time and trouble to stop by my place often, always with just the right dose of cheerleading to spur me on.

Sita: With a passion for all things godly, she keeps me focused on our King. She truly "wears her heart on her sleeve" and to me, that's what blogging is all about.

Liz: Ever meet people out here in Blogland and know instantly they were cut from the same bolt of cloth? That's how I feel about my recently added friend, Liz.

Lidj: Her story of grief and courage gives me goose bumps. She is a shining light, not just in the Philippines but here in the good ol' U.S. of A.

Be sure to visit each of these extraordinary women - I promise they will bless your socks off (how's that for Suuuuuuuuuuthern)!

May you feel His grace today,
Gail W.

The last Word:
Encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing. Dear brothers and sisters, honor those who are your leaders in the Lord's work. They work hard among you . . . think highly of them and give them your wholehearted love because of their work.
1 Thessalonians 5: 11-13, NLT.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Memory Verse, January 15

Over at Beth Moore's blog, two thousand women have posted verses they will meditate on for the next two weeks. That blows my mind. I've chosen the verse below to mull over the next few weeks. It speaks to me about the importance of prayer in these last days. I often need to be reminded that there is never "nothing I can do". God is always willing to hear the prayers of His people.

May you feel His grace today,
Gail W.

The last Word:
The end of all things is near. Therefore, be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray.
1 Peter 4:7, NIV

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

SAY YES TO GOD TUESDAYS

I recently discovered an awesome online study of Jennifer Rothschild's latest book, Self Talk, Soul Talk: What to Say When You Talk to Yourself. This book addresses our thought life. So I am casting my lot with my friends at http://leliachealey.blogspot.com/ for "SAY YES TO GOD TUESDAYS" for the next ten weeks. Be sure to visit Lelia for more information. Grab a copy of this book. Each week's chapter is a very quick read. I promise you will be richly blessed.

In Chapter 1, Jennifer introduced the idea of the thought closet saying, "I seem to have a secret closet tucked somewhere in the hallways of my mind. A thought closet. And what I had been storing in that closet wasn't good at all: shelves and racks and bins full of hidden thoughts, secret insecurities, lies, illusions, and reminders of past failures" (p. 14). Sound familiar? It certainly did to me!

In Chapter 2, "Renewing Your Thought Closet," we begin our journey to right what is wrong with our internal conversations. No field of endeavor has yielded greater gains in my life than addressing my thought life. Regarding Satan, Christ warned, "He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies" (John 8:44). Satan came shockingly close to ending my life by embedding his lies in my thought life. But I have been redeemed, primarily through the strategy Jennifer describes of replacing Satan's lies with God's Truth.

Every word of this chapter spoke to my thirsty heart. The passage that most made me want to shout AMEN was this: "We probably never completely erase old memories, forget old thoughts or wipe away former self talk. . . you can't remove those hurtful thoughts, words and memories, but by the power of God, you can drain them of their potential control over you" (p. 29, emphasis added).

Can I get a witness? The power of Satan's lies in my life was (and potentially still is) formidable. But just as God raised Christ from the dead, He longs to resurrect our thinking so we can bask in His love. Join me again next Tuesday as we consider Jennifer's strategy in Chapter 3 of Self Talk, Soul Talk, "Choosing Wise Words." And get this book!

May you feel His grace today,
Gail W.

The last Word:
I am the gate; whoever enters through Me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
John 10: 9, 10, NIV.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Eye of the Beholder

On Friday, Clint Eastwood's newest movie Gran Torino opened with a bang. My twenty-year-old daughter could not understand my anticipation of this event. She was baffled by my downright giddiness at the mention of the man's name. What my daughter did not understand was that when I see Clint's new movie, I'm not seeing a seventy-eight-year-old actor. I am seeing Rowdy Yates of "Rawhide" fame. I am thirteen years old again and struggling with my thought life. It wasn't until I found this photo of Clint in his heyday that my daughter got it. "Wow," she said, "He looks like Hugh Jackman!" My point exactly.

It made me think of one of my favorite fantasies of heaven. I love to play with the thought that when we meet loved ones in heaven, we will see them as they looked in our most precious memory. When I see my Nanny, she will be wearing a pale green shirtwaist dress, cat-eye glasses and a smile. But when my grandfather sees her, she will appear to him as she did on their wedding day. I don't know the state of Clint Eastwood's eternal soul, but if he makes it to heaven, I'll be seeing a sweaty young cowboy fresh off the trail.

I realize this theory has a few theological holes. But you know, I don't think God minds one little bit when we dream of the life to come. He knows we're dust and that our notions may be closer to a two-year old's scribblings than to what we will actually find there. But like any two-year-old, I delight in getting out my crayons and letting my imagination soar.

So tonight, I will dream of loved ones long gone. I will see them as I most fondly remember them. I invite you to do the same, to walk back through the albums in your mind and anticipate that glorious day when we will all be together again.

May you feel His grace today,
Gail W.

The last Word:
We speak of God's secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began . . . as it is written, "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him."
1 Corinthians 2: 7, 9, NIV.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Double Talk

ENTIRE STORE, 50% OFF
You could see the sign from three shops down. “Now that’s more like it,” I thought. That’s a real after-Christmas sale.

As I got a little closer, the small print at the bottom of the sign came into focus. “Select Styles Only,” it read. As a card-carrying member of the "easily amused" clan, I laughed the rest of the day when I thought about that sign.

The world abounds with double talk. My car's "complete professional oil change" advertised at $24.99 somehow added up to $54.82. Apparently, it's extra if you actually want the oil put into the crank case.

This sign in front of the local WalMart still makes me chuckle despite my having seen it a dozen times before. Examples of man's duplicity are not that hard to find these days. They simply remind me that this world is not my home.

Thankfully, we follow the One who has always said what He meant and meant what He said. While this might be cause for terror on occasion, mostly it is bedrock on which you and I can conduct our lives in peace. With God and His Word, there is no fine print. What He feels, what He asks, what He desires is never a shell game. He has laid it all out for us with a sincerity of heart unknown to man. Thank God, indeed.

May you feel His grace today,
Gail W.

The last Word:
God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should change His mind. Does He speak and then not act? Does He promise and not fulfill?
Numbers 23:19, NIV.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Mending a Broken Heart

Now the Lord observed the extent of the people’s wickedness . . . and the Lord was sorry He had ever made them. It broke His heart (Genesis 6:5, 6, NLT).

This was the state of the world in pre-Noah days. When I came across these verses last night, I wondered, “Mustn't God feel the same way now?” I’ll leave God's experience of regret to the theologians. The phrase that filled my eyes and blurred my vision was, "It broke His heart."

If you are old enough to read this, you know full well what it is to have a broken heart. Failed marriages, wayward children, poor health, departed loved ones. The possibilities go on and on. I think about the darkest times I have lived in despair. Then I think about my loving Lord feeling that much pain and more.

But you and I are not powerless to affect the Lord's heart. Yes, His heart must be broken by the state of the world today. But He also takes great delight in those of us who bow before His throne. These verses in Genesis focused my mind on God as Someone who could be hurt, Someone who could use all the comfort I might offer.

I have a friend who often says, "Don't you know that just blesses God's heart?" I adore that possibility. There is more we can do about shocking headlines than to wring our hands; we can praise the One whose heart is breaking in the process. So today and every day, I invite you to join me, to look to the heavens and offer faith and solace to the One who loved us first. We love you, Daddy . . . and we always will.

May you feel His grace today,
Gail W.

Image Credit: www.flickr.com/photos/socialenigma11/384849717/

The last Word:
He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces He was despised, and we esteemed Him not.
Isaiah 53:3, NIV.

Friday, January 2, 2009

A Challenge for 2009


Take heart. A simple concept. I learned long ago that simple does not always mean easy. When I ordered these plates, I was talking to myself as much as to anyone. I need to be reminded every day that Christ tells us to take heart.

It takes no effort on our part to lose heart. Each day’s headlines are a little more shocking than the day before. Depression is known as the modern day common cold. Christ warned us, “In this world you will have trouble.” That’s right! I have trouble. Everybody I know has trouble.

It takes discipline to focus on what else Christ said in this passage, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” He HAS overcome the world. He told us of trials to come so we would know He is with us, so we would know how the story ends, so we could lift up our heads and walk on with hope and joy.

As the blogosphere lights up with new goals and studies for the New Year, I long to carry Christ’s message of hope into 2009. I pray the Holy Spirit will strengthen us to view living not as a crushing burden, but as a chance to honor the One who placed us here. In 2009, may we live with a lightness of heart that draws others to the Source of our hope.

May you feel His grace today,
Gail W.

The last Word:
Even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened. But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience.
1 Peter 3: 14-16, NIV.