Anticipation of Jesus

Jesus

Our Hope and Salvation

Our Shelter in the Storm

Our Assurance in uncertain times

We wait for Him with anticipation

We watch for Him with longing

We hope for Him with eager expectation

“The Lord is coming, always coming. When you have ears to hear and eyes to see, you will recognize him at any moment of your life. Life is Advent; life is recognizing the coming of the Lord.”

Henri Nouwen

Two years ago, also during the first week in December, I posted Beyond Blind Faith about the meaning behind a beautiful painting by Jack E. Dawson. Since then I occasionally receive newsletters. Today his wife, Nancy, has started an Advent series on his Passion Tree painting. If you’re interested, you can follow her on YouTube.

“The PASSION TREE follows the story of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. Each ornament illustrates an event in history. The red garland represents the crimson thread of Jesus Christ woven through the entire Bible. Jesus IS from eternity (before creation) to eternity (after the end of all things), and this garland weaves through all history, telling His Story. The first twelve ornaments, starting at the lower left, show events in the Old Testament and the last twelve illustrate events in the New Testament, with a star representing the glory of God crowning the tree. The red ornaments at the center form a cross, the three largest representing the Trinity: God the Father who gave His gift, God the Son who came to earth and God the Spirit who lives within believers today. There are 33 candles, one for each of the years that Christ spent on earth in the form of a man. Jesus is the Light. (John 1:6-13, 12:44-46) You can see a suggestion of Him in each flame. Under the tree you can see some people carrying the light to others who are walking in darkness. Those of us who have the Light must be sharing it with others all over the world. The snow-covered landscape suggests a map of the entire globe. We are the light and we must let our light shine so that many may come to saving faith in God through Christ Jesus. (Matthew 5:14-16)”

Jack E. Dawson

When Our Hearts Are Overwhelmed

This year has been a roller coaster of emotions for many. Unprecedented changes hard to accept, violence and injustices hard to stomach, losses in so many various ways that are so hard to process.

Friends, I am so tired. Physically, emotionally, mentally… The storms around me and within me are driving me to deeper layers of pain I dismissed as not as important as others’ pain. I am becoming more aware that I lack compassion for myself and my own pain, the same compassion God has shown me and given me for others who are hurting.

I’m too often white-knuckling my way through life. I easily conform to others’ preferences or try to live up to their expectations rather than acknowledging my own preferences or needs out of fear of their anger, their disappointment, or their rejection. I can’t get past this fear of being hurt again without facing it head on and processing the deep reasons why my body sometimes tightens up and my stomach clenches and my mind says, “Run for your life.” I especially get anxiety, dread, and feel shame heaped on me in situations and around people who dismiss the deep pain abuse victims go through, who don’t support or validate them, and who even heap more false guilt on them, including myself.

“From the ends of the earth,
I cry to You for help
when my heart is overwhelmed.
Lead me to the towering rock of safety,
for You are my safe refuge,
a fortress where my enemies cannot reach me.
Let me live forever in Your sanctuary,
safe beneath the shelter of Your wings!”

Psalm 61:2-4 NLT

I have decided I need a longer break from blogging to acknowledge and process this mess of emotions storming and overwhelming my soul. I need to pause and allow God to help me heal more deeply. I just know God wants me to step back and allow Him to lead my heart and my life wherever He chooses, even if it means the way will be even more difficult. It fills me with anxiety and fear, but I feel God is nudging me to step past the wall I build around myself and take the risk, trusting He is my ever-present Rock of Safety, my Safe Refuge, and my Shelter.

I don’t know how long I’ll be pausing from posting. And it may be that I will still sporadically post. I’m just so filled with uncertainty right now. But I wanted to let you know. Thank you for your love, caring, and support.

I commit each of you to Jesus who knows infinitely better what we need than we know ourselves. And remember, even if your abuser or others you love don’t believe you or support you, it doesn’t eliminate the truth of your story. And even if others don’t understand why you can’t just “get over it already,” God does understand. He knows the truth and He cries with you and loves you so much.

My Prayer For You

by Alisa Turner

“For anyone who’s prayed a thousand prayers
And still can’t find the answer anywhere
Fighting off the lie that no one cares
For anyone who’s out there losing hope
Feeling you’re forsaken and alone
Clinging to the last strands of your rope
May God give you eyes to see, He’s still greater
Courage to rise and believe He’s able
May God be your peace in the fire you’re walking through
This is my prayer now
This is my prayer for you…”

September Hope Whispers

 

He Giveth More Grace

by Annie Johnson Flint
(1866-1932)

“He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater,
He sendeth more strength when the labors increase;
To added afflictions He addeth His mercy,
To multiplied trials, His multiplied peace.

When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources
Our Father’s full giving is only begun.

Fear not that thy need shall exceed His provision,
Our God ever yearns His resources to share;
Lean hard on the arm everlasting, availing;
The Father both thee and thy load will upbear.

His love has no limits, His grace has no measure,
His power no boundary known unto men;
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.”

~ More of Her Poems  ~

Free Hope Resource

Joy Lenton offers a free gift, an ebook to help us rise up to face life’s challenges:

“This book is for you if you’re feeling drained, depleted or discouraged. And for all who need a supportive word or inspiring thought to help bring hope and encouragement back to their heart. These words will remind you that you are more courageous than you realise, you are not alone in your struggles, and you’re stronger than you know.”

Soul Shots: 31 Days of Pocket Wisdom for Your Hurting Heart

I love this mural at the Empire Mall in Sioux Falls.
Created by THE KIND WAY

“Constant kindness can accomplish much.
As the sun makes ice melt,
kindness causes misunderstanding,
mistrust, and hostility to evaporate.”
Albert Schweitzer

Nature is a Retreat of Hope

“Any glimpse into the life
of an animal quickens our own
and makes it so much the larger
and better in every way.”
John Muir

Thank you to my brother John
for these 
stunning photos.
🙂 Also for the interesting facts. 🙂

(Please respect copyright laws.)

The American Dipper can walk on the bottom of streams or dive for insects, etc.

Notice the American Dipper’s white eyelids? It is equipped with a third eyelid membrane for underwater, but the upper eyelid is covered with white feathers visible when it blinks.

“Who goes there?” wonders the coyote.

He is barking at my brother because his den or a kill must be nearby.

This juvenile Northern Jacana showed up near where my brother lives. It is only spotted in Arizona about once every 10 years. It usually lives in Mexico and central America. I hope he finds his way back home!

The Northern Jacana has the largest feet of any bird in proportion to its body size. It is sometimes called “The Jesus Bird” because it appears to walk on water when walking on lily pads and other floating vegetation.

Isn’t it beautiful how the yellow shows up when he’s flying? Another interesting fact is that the male builds the nest and incubates the eggs.

I’ve been trying to put less pressure on myself to post every week. So since my husband is taking some time off work, I want to free up some of my time. I hope to be back on either the 13th or 20th of October. One step at a time, right? 🙂