Saturday, October 24, 2020

Are you searching for certainty?

 



It has often been said, "timing is everything." I received my copy of Shelly Miller's "Searching for Certainty," in the midst of my COVID quarantine.

Already on the launch team, I'd been reading online; but there is nothing like a physical book for highlighting and notemaking in the margins!

Only able to read portions at a time due to the overwhelming need for sleep, I now feel I read the book in the best way of all: thoughtfully, slowly meditating on her points. In fact, I feel racing along reading her book would be to do all Shelly's hard work an injustice.

She weaves both the exodus story and her life story together illustrating her main points in such a relatable way; it causes me to examine my own life. The thoughtful questions at the end of each chapter are deep and searching. (I'm going to revisit this book again and again.)

I think to sum up the main point of her book is to realize searching for certainty is fruitless; instead, searching for signs of God's presence in the midst of our uncertainties is the real treasure we should be seeking.



I'm sure in the coming days, I'll be led to share more of this wonderful book with my readers. Shelly herself is a treasure. I first met her long ago in the blogging world and joined her group, The Sabbath Society, then fell in love with her first book, "Rhythms of Rest."

If you are tired of the rat race and want to grow spiritually, you need to read you some Shelly Miller!

Friday, October 23, 2020

Lessons learned from lying down ....

Hey, I'm not sure how much my readers want to know about my COVID journey; but I've always heard, "Write what you know."

This is my current reality:

1. The world goes on - even when you are too sick to participate. Events still happen. Deadlines still loom. On a practical note, dinner still needs to happen, laundry still has to be done. Groceries have to be obtained. (However, dust can still sit there.)

2. Thank God for the helpers. There is a quote attributed to Fred Rogers who said when scary things happen, "look for the helpers." Feeling weak is scary, so I'm thankful for those who helped me during this time - mainly my husband who helped with all the practical things - and chauffering me to work in an empty office after hours to deal with those looming deadlines. I'm also thankful for my Pastor who took care of teaching my class, in addition to his own busy workload.

Helpers are also pray-ers. I'm so thankful for all who prayed for me and checked up on me daily. Their love and concern lightened my load.

I'm also thankful for drive-thru restaurants!

3. I've learned to lean in and listen. During this time, I've been unable to string coherent thoughts together. Many days I couldn't work, study or write. I could barely even stay awake long enough to read. What I could do was this: whisper a prayer about something that needed to be handled, and somehow God would either enable me to do it, or make some other way to get it done.

The listen part is much harder for me; but when I'm gathering is something many of you probably already know - I don't have to perform to be God's child. 

He made me on purpose - just the way I am! I'm thankful that funny little enthusiastic girl who bounced with excitement and talked incessantly still exists hidden down inside me. He created my personality for His purposes and His calling. And so were you! No one else is like you. No one else has a story exactly like yours. 

Why not share your story? The world needs to hear how He is leading you through all the "stuff of life," and how He is making you into His masterpiece.




And that wraps up this week on the Journey ...


I'm sharing this with the community at Friday's Fave Five (because if you count it up, you'll see 5 thankfuls in my post)

And with Grace & Truth


Sunday, October 18, 2020

Boundaries are Good



Recently, I let my readers know I was in the midst of a COVID struggle; and that I literally had to lie down most of the days - and nights.

Last week, I could say I'm on the mend. I had three symptom-free days in a row; so the next day, I started back to work for about 3 hours a day. Then back home to sleep, sleep, sleep.

On the ninth day, I ventured out for the first time around folks - keeping my distance, of course.

Psalm 23 has been on my mind throughout my ordeal. 

Yes, I've been made to lie down; but I'm also dwelling on verse 4:


"Your rod and your staff

    protect and comfort me."


I think of the rod and the staff as boundaries. He is helping me keep to the path He has laid out for me. Right now, He is using the rod and staff of lessened physical strength to help me make choices.

I cannot do every thing.

I must choose the best thing.

And that is good! 


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Friday, October 9, 2020

Positive in a Time of COVID

You may have noticed it has been quiet on the Journey lately.

I have been tested for COVID and the results are positive.

I have all kinds of feels about it; but very few coherent thoughts. During the night, I came up with recalling this truth from Psalm 23:2:



Most of the time, when things like this happen, I blame it on the enemy and bind him in prayer and think positively that tomorrow is going to be brighter.

I've had a host of people praying; yet the test turned out positive. It occurs to me God has placed me in a situation where I literally have to lie down. There is no strength for anything else.

The rest of the verse tells me He leads beside still waters. I must be still.

And wait.

But there's something else that's positive - my belief that He is with me; and goodness and mercy are pursuing me.

I read the end of the Psalm - and also the back of the book!


~~~

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Friday, September 18, 2020

I'm a church fan

I'm one of those geeky people who look up the meanings of any word I am discussing.

Today, the topic is "church." Here are two sources discussing "ecclesia," a Greek word often translated church. 

Ecclesia, Greek EkklÄ“sia, (“gathering of those summoned”), in ancient Greece, assembly of citizens in a city-state. (Brittanica

Ecclesia - a calling out, that is, (concretely) a popular meeting, especially a religious congregation (Jewish synagogue, or Christian community of members on earth or saints in heaven or both): - assembly, church. (Strong's Greek & Hebrew Dictionaries)


I've got tons to say about the church, but today I'm going to limit myself to 5 minutes, and leave the rest for another day:

I'm a church fan. I always have been.

In my earliest days, I was carried into the church building to be held on my mother's lap during preaching. All these years later, I end my work day by locking up the church and setting the alarm. Every week in between babyhood and now, I've been at the church, either worshiping or working.

My family at our home church


My earliest memory is of learning the song, "Behold, Behold, I stand at the door and knock, knock, knock" in children's church in the basement of our church. We would turn around and knock on the metal folding chairs and sing loudly at the top of our voices.

I even saw my husband for the first time at the church. 

But although my life might revolve around a building, I totally realize the church is not a building; it's just where I go to "see" the church. The church is the people.

Co Co Rona 2020 made such an impact on me since I've not been able to see my people. Oh, yeah, after some weeks, we re-opened in a careful, social-distancing way; but it's not the same, talking through masks and not hugging.

Here's the thing: I can't let my love of church and all the rhythms and practices of church life be greater than my love for the Master. Even when I have to worship online, I can still nestle at His feet and learn from Him. Sometimes ... you get more out of solitude and listening then you do in a crowd of people.

Yes, I'm a church fan, but I'm even more a fan of my friend Jesus.

~~~

I'm linking this post to Five Minute Friday, a group of writers who challenge each other to put their thinking caps on and write for 5 minutes on a one word prompt. Today's prompt is "church."

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Monday, September 14, 2020

What if? Revisited

Recently a friend and I were reminiscing about a difficult season of life when the enemy wanted to keep me tied up in knots about all the "what if" questions in life.

In my case, they were questions connected with my situation. This was during the time my husband had became disabled and I became the primary breadwinner. 

  • What if I can't make enough money?
  • What if my husband passes away and I'm left to raise my girls on my own?
  • What if things never get better?
You know ... all the biggies.

I shared how one day while driving and wrestling these thoughts in my mind, John 10:10 came to my mind - especially the last part:

"I am come that they might have life, and that they have it more abundantly."

I told my friend how somehow, in that moment, I just knew God wanted me to be happy. Life was not doom and gloom. Somehow He was going to bring me joy in the midst of the struggle.

Abundant living is not that we never think, "What if," but it's knowing "Who" is in charge if something happens.

And it's not me!

So, all these years later, I am here to tell you those "what if" questions never happened. 

I can also tell you despite some pretty big set-backs, I'm a pretty happy camper.

But ... I do remember a "what if" that didn't end the way I wanted. Here's a part of a blogpost I wrote some years back:





Which is worse - fear or regrets?

Most fears never happen. Most regrets could have been avoided.

It's been about 23 years since Granny's last words to me. 

With a worried look, she sighed, "I'm just afraid this is the last time I'll ever see you! What if I don't come back from this trip to Florida?"

I hope I didn't roll my eyes, but if I didn't on the outside, I certainly did on the inside. I'm sure it showed when I said, "Granny! Of course, you'll see me again. Where's your faith? If not here, you'll see me again in Heaven."

All these years later, I wish I had taken extra time to love on her and reassure her gently instead of so impatiently.

I'd had a lifetime of hearing what all the worst-case scenarios could be. I didn’t think one of them would actually happen.

She did get sick during those months in Florida and never came home, despite the fact 99% of what she had feared during her life never happened.

100% of my regrets did happen.

I wanted her to have more faith. She probably wanted me to have more compassion.

There are no do-overs on this journey. But there can be learning experiences to make the travel more rewarding. I'm hoping to see each encounter with a traveler as important, realizing there is no guarantee they will ever pass my way again.

~~~

What about you? Do you regret any last words? Take time NOW to let every traveler you meet hear only the best from you.


[adapted from an earlier post]

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Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Bright and Early



The other day I ran across this scripture, and I can't get it out of my head:

My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast;
I will sing and give praise.

Awake, my glory!
Awake, lute and harp!
I will awaken the dawn.


I will praise You, O Lord, among the peoples;
I will sing to You among the nations.

Psalm 57:7-9

I envision myself outside bursting into praise as soon as the beams of the sun broke through the clouds.

I live in a rural area, so probably my neighbors would not even notice if I did do such a thing; but let's be real. I am a girl who goes to great length to not sweat or let humidity flatten my locks.

So, practically speaking, I'm probably not going to go outside and greet the dawn with singing.

But it's the idea of awakening the dawn with God on my mind that is staying with me.

There's something precious about the firstfruits of the day ... why not give it to Him?

  • Before the to-do list gets drawn up.
  • Before the menu is planned.
  • Before my "face" is put on.

And ... instead of ... ten more minutes of sleep. Oh yes, I'm that girl, the one that hits the "snooze" button saying, "You're not the boss of me!"

I have to admit, it is the most sacrificial gift I can bring; because the older I get? The more I love burrowing into those covers and sleeping longer.

I will awaken the dawn by going to my secret place and waiting before the Lord with praise in my heart and expectation in my soul.

~~~

How do YOU start your day?


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Wrapping Up August 2020

Praise Post #26

Praise Post #11

Praise Post #9

Simple Woman's Daybook, March 2, 2009


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