Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sin. – (1 Peter 4:8, NIV)
Most important of all, love each other deeply, because love makes you willing to forgive many sins. – (1 Peter 4:8, ERV)
Most of all, love each other steadily and unselfishly, because love makes up for many faults. – (1 Peter 4:8, VOICE)
There is a strange tension that can accompany the holidays, as families travel and gather together after extended time apart. I know in our own household, there was a tangible funk, as we are in a season of navigating how to cope with serious health issues in loved ones, and the end of life in another. Thankfully, there was a conscious choice to love, unselfishly, as we each have faults, and need the forgiveness of one another. As we prepare for and anticipate the coming days of travel and time with loved ones we hold dear, we must choose to love deeply and steadily, rather than allowing faults to fog our fondness for one another. May we each, above all, choose to love one another; be it on long road trips, in close quarters, or in one another’s space, let steady and unselfish love lead the way.
As for mom, we are eagerly anticipating being reunited tomorrow! It has been more than a month since Mark and I have seen her, and since summer, for the boys. There is something so wonderful about tradition and routine and familiarity, as all of us gathering at my sister and Scott’s has been our family custom for the last many years. I know for each of us, there is deep love, that looks forward to competitive board games, meals seated together, relaxing conversations on comfortable couches, and time adventuring out in the community to get some fresh air and sunshine. Twenty-four hours from now, we will begin our whirlwind weekend of wonderful!
May we above all,
Choose to deeply love;
For love that runs deep,
In Christ, is enough.
For God’s love is kind,
He’s faithful and true;
Oversees our faults,
Forgives and renews.
May we choose to love,
In much the same way;
Forgive and give grace,
God’s goodness displayed.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us more deeply than we can comprehend, and You forgive our faults and failures when we falter and sin. Thank You that You pick us up, dust us off, and love us back to life. Forgive us for the times that we do not extend the same goodness and grace to those around us. Teach us to depend on You to supply all that is needed to love in the way in which we are called to love. Show us how to love those around us best, so that they may see and know Your heart through how we love in tangible and practical ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your lavish love, and depend on You as we go forth and gather in love, with those whom You have gifted us with as family. Amen.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” – John 13:34
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. – (Lamentations 3:22-23, NIV)
We are still alive because the Lord’s faithful love never ends. Every morning He shows it in new ways! You are so very true and loyal! – (Lamentations 3:22-23, ERV)
How enduring is God’s loyal love; the Eternal has inexhaustible compassion. Here they are, every morning, new! Your faithfulness, God, is as broad as the day. – (Lamentations 3:22-23, VOICE)
Today, I am thankful that each morning God’s mercies are new, and we have a fresh start as the new day dawns. He is faithful and compassionate, and His love lifts us up and leads us to begin again. Sometimes, we need only be reminded that the day is new, to change our perspective when the week has been long and wearying. Incredibly, despite the crazy pace of the week, we have reached Thursday, with only one more full scheduled day after today. God is good, and He carries us with His strength and compassion when we grow weary, and renews us to begin again at the start of each new day. May we ever give thanks to the Lord for His loyal love and mercies that know no end.
Because God’s loving,
And makes mercy new;
Each day’s a fresh start,
As grace is renewed.
Faithful all our days;
God’s love never ends,
Let us choose give praise.
Praise to the Father,
For mercies made new;
Praise for His goodness,
That’s forever true.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your mercies are new every morning and that Your faithful love knows no end. Thank You that You meet us where we are, and love us with kindness and compassion that is unending. Forgive us for the times that we fail to embrace the new mercy that You grant us each day. Teach us to release yesterday into Your hands and to trust today and each day that is yet to come in Your strong, capable hands. Show us how to love those around us in a way that makes Your mercy, goodness and compassion evident to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You and praise You for Your mercies that are new every morning. Amen.
For great is Your love, reaching to the heavens; Your faithfulness reaches to the skies. – Psalm 57:10
You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in Your word. – (Psalm 119:114, NIV)
You are my refuge and my shield; Your word is my source of hope. – (Psalm 119:114, NLT)
You are my hiding place and my shield of protection; I hope in Your word. – (Psalm 119:114, VOICE)
Though David often had need for the Lord to be his literal hiding place, there were times too, that he needed his heart to be covered and “hidden” by God. For me, that is more often the space that I find myself in. When the cares of my circumstances become overwhelming or seem far too heavy to bear, it is in that space that I need seek Christ to cover my heart with His, as He is my place of refuge and a shield about me. He renews my hope with the truth of His word and reminds me anew of who He is. Today, I am being granted the gift of time with my boys as they prepare to leave for a ten-day cruise with the Sea Scouts. I had hoped and prayed for a way to get home to help them pack and prepare and send them off, and God has been faithful to provide faithful friends for such a time as this, so that I could do exactly that and know that mom is in great hands and comfortable in my brief absence.
Yesterday was an incredible day to end mom’s therapies in Washington. As she met with Nick, her physical therapist, he had me guide mom through the paces of navigating her front steps with her hemi-walker. Giving her verbal cues and only keeping a hand touching her low back to remind her that I was present if there was a need, she was able to go down the steps, walk some steps in the grass, turn around, and then return up the stairs. It was the very first time since her stroke that mom had set foot on grass, and after Nick left, she could not stop the tears from falling. For her, it was yet another mile-marker that reminded her that hope is tangible and that she is truly making progress. A few hours later, mom had her final session with Susan, her speech therapist. The beautiful thing about speech therapy is that there is much opportunity to visit, as word recall is largely called forth through conversation. Time flew by, and goodbyes were difficult. Lastly, a bit later in the afternoon, was Larissa, mom’s occupational therapist. Larissa went to great lengths to make certain that we had a solid plan in place for ongoing exercises and stretches for mom to be doing daily during the gap time between now and when therapies begin in Oregon. She has been innovative and kind, and has gone above and beyond to help research and facilitate mom’s needs. As she was leaving, she refused to call it goodbye, but rather a “see you later.” Each of mom’s therapists parted ways with mom with hugs and words of well-wishes, encouraging her and letting her know how much they had loved working with her and how much they would miss her. Mom has a way of winning folks over quickly, and once she has, she is not forgotten. My hope and prayer now, is that she will find the same to be true of her new therapists in Oregon, and that she will discover a new community with which to connect during her season in that space. God has always been her refuge, and I trust that He will continue to provide her hope and tangible evidence of His faithfulness.
My refuge and shield,
Where all hope is found;
The God of all grace,
Your word’s always sound.
You grant me safety,
And You cover me;
My heart is hidden,
In You, lovingly.
Hidden from the things,
That make me choose fear;
Blind to Your presence,
As You’re ever near.
Help us ever seek,
The light of Your grace;
For goodness is found,
Following Your ways.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our safety and our refuge, and that we can ever find hope in Your word. Thank You that You are present to help and protect and provide. Forgive us for our fearfulness in the unsteady or the unknown. Teach us to trust You more. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers peace and grace and safety. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust and hope in You forever. Amen.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust.” – Psalm 91:2
I will give rest and strength to those who are weak and tired. – (Jeremiah 31:25, ERV)
For I have given rest to the weary and joy to all the sorrowing. – (Jeremiah 31:25, TLB)
I’ll refresh tired bodies; I’ll restore tired souls. – (Jeremiah 31:25, MSG)
Each of the translations of this verse have proven true for me over the past week, and throughout this entire season since mom suffered her stroke. To go from twelve hours each day at a hospital, where we did not know or understand the prognosis; to twelve hours per day at an acute care rehabilitation facility, in which we gained insight and understanding, yet had to return home to mom’s empty house; and on to the present, in which life is on the clock, twenty-four hours per day. The joy has been granted in the witnessing of each new gain of strength and restoration, and seemingly, right at the times when I find myself the most exhausted, sleep is graced and I am gifted reprieve through a visit from my husband and children or a change of the guard with my sister. This is not to say that every moment of each day is exhausting nor draining, as it is not. There are many laughs, and there is much joy in the blessing of so much time spent with mom. We have always been close, and this season together has only proven to strengthen our bond further. The times that bring the sorrow and the weariness are the long nights and the down time when mom is resting. Lack of sleep and a longing for my husband, children, and dear ones back home, bring sorrow as I miss the regular routine that I am accustomed to during this time of year. God is full of grace, and I am amazed at how He has shown me the key to help mom sleep better at night. Additionally, as my body is more rested, my soul is better equipped to accept the restoration He offers each morning as I seek Him.
Yesterday was a wonderful day full of family. Mom and I had a quiet morning as we prepared for my husband and boys’ arrival, enjoying a leisurely morning with time for an early breakfast, showers, trimmed her hair a bit, relaxed, worked on some stretching for mom, and did a little wandering around outside in the sunshine on the paved parts of mom’s property. Once the fellas arrived, my Viking set to work, making certain that all was working as it should with mom’s sprinkler system. The boys, mom and I set straight to it, playing a family favorite game. Mark joined us about halfway through, and was tribute dealer for mom, as we finished our first game, then partook in a second game with all of us together. Late afternoon, mom advocated for herself and decided that she ought to take a rest. The boys did their thing, and I was able to spend some much needed and appreciated time with my spouse. My grill master kept up tradition, and prepared the protein, while I took care of the side dishes inside. We all enjoyed a wonderful dinner together on the deck. There was a short escape to pick cherries at a neighbor’s small orchard (who offers anyone pick whatever they’d like) while the boys hung with grandma. Two gallon-sized Ziplocks later, and the Viking and I returned with our loot. There was time for mom’s exercises and a great game of Dominoes before we all were ready to call it a day. For each of us, I think the was refreshment and joy in the company of one another.
May we ever seek the Lord who is faithful to provide rest and restoration when it is needed most.
When weary and worn,
He’s faithful and true;
God grants us real rest,
Where there is sorrow,
The Lord will bring joy;
Tender His blessings,
Reason to rejoice.
Let not life’s burdens,
Crush you with the weight;
Instead seek the Lord,
Whose help’s never late.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give rest when we are weary and strength when we are depleted. Thank You that You meet us in our spaces of sorrow and bring joy. Forgive us for allowing the weight of life to overwhelm us. Teach us to place life’s heaviness in Your capable hands. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers help and hope, strength and joy in spaces where they are lacking. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You and praise You for holding us in Your hands and providing all that we need – body, heart, mind and soul. Amen.
Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always. – 1 Chronicles 16:11
Therefore, He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them. – (Hebrews 7:25, NIV)
So, Christ can save those who come to God through Him. Christ can do this forever, because He always lives and is ready to help people when they come before God. – (Hebrews 7:25, ERV)
From such a vantage, He is able to save those who approach God through Him for all time because He will forever live to be their advocate in the presence of God. – (Hebrews 7:25, VOICE)
We have a Savior, seated in heaven at the right hand of God, who continually contends for all who seek Him. His sacrifice covers our iniquities, and His love restores us to righteousness before the Father. On our own, we are sinners, destined to die. With Jesus, we are redeemed and made right with God, and granted the promise of eternal life with Him. This gift is freely given, and we need only to receive. As we do, our hearts are changed and our minds renewed, so that we may walk in the freedom that God’s favor and forgiveness provide. Without the weight of our former sin, we are empowered to forge forward in love. May we ever seek the Lord and embrace the grace He freely gives, so that we too, may extend His loving kindness to all.
On heavenly throne,
Jesus does reside;
To contend for us,
And make all things right.
He covers our sin,
Our shame and our doubt;
Restores and renews,
His love is devout.
This love we’re given,
Is so we too give,
And set others free.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for making the way for us to be restored to right relationship with You. Thank You Jesus, for Your life, death, resurrection and ascension to take Your rightful throne in heaven where You contend for us before the Father. Forgive us for not recognizing the enormity of Your sacrifice, or for not receiving what You freely offer. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would receive Your goodness and grace, and in turn, extend the same to all those around us. Show us how to love others in the same way that You so lavishly love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive Your mercy and grace, and offer the same to all those around us, by Your love. Amen.
But from now on, the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the mighty God. – Luke 22:69
Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always. – (Psalm 105:4, NIV)
Depend on the Lord for strength. Always go to Him for help. – (Psalm 105:4, ERV)
Search for the Lord and His strength; continually seek Him. – (Psalm 105:4, NLT)
Look to, depend on, and search for the Lord and His strength, are perfect reminders of our need to pursue our Provider in this season of busy that can leave us feeling depleted. God is faithful to meet us as we seek Him. His love never fails. These are important reminders, as this week, the last before Spring Break, seems to be the longest of the year. May we ever look to the Lord for strength, depend on Him to be present, and search for Him, as He will be found by the seeking.
When weary and worn,
I look to the Lord;
For in Him I find,
His strength, He’ll outpour.
God’s goodness and grace,
Meet me in this space;
He renews resolve,
Throughout all my days.
Resolve to press on,
Keep going as called;
Presence and His peace,
By grace, He installs.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we look to You, depend on You and search for You, You meet us in our need and supply what we are lacking. Thank You for Your strength when ours has run out. Forgive us for allowing weariness to drag us down. Teach us to trust You more, as You provide Your rest at the perfect time. Show us how to love and strengthen those around us, so they may be ever aware of Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pursue You and Your provision to carry us when we feel depleted. Amen.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. – Proverbs 3:5
I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint. – (Jeremiah 31:25, NIV)
I will give rest and strength to those who are weak and tired. – (Jeremiah 31:25, ERV)
I’ll refresh tired bodies; I’ll restore tired souls. – (Jeremiah 31:25, MSG)
This extended weekend away has done exactly what God promised Jeremiah, it has refreshed my weariness and restored the spaces within me that were just plain tired. Though my body still wakes at the usual early hour, I have not jumped right out of bed to get to task. I have moved at a leisurely pace, meandering to the coffee pot beside my bed, prior to taking my time to spend time in His word and reflect. Much of our time has been spent walking and exploring all over the city, and for me, there is much refreshment in movement. Being able to explore in the cool, late fall air, as we take in the sights and sounds of a city I have seldom seen, is the very sort of adventure to rejuvenate my heart and mind. Though I miss my husband and boys, it is a joy to escape and spend intentional time with my best friend. Though refreshment and restoration rarely come in the form of a weekend getaway, God is faithful to give rest and strength when we need it most. May we ever turn to Him to restore our hearts and minds when we need refreshment, and give Him praise for the faithful ways that He provides.
The Lord is faithful,
No matter our need;
He hears what we ask,
Grants blessings indeed.
When weary and tired,
In great need of rest;
The way God answers,
Is always the best.
He refreshes strength,
Renews and restores,
Makes fatigue dissolve.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to refresh tired bodies and restore weary souls. Forgive us for attempting to press on through our own exhaustion, rather than seeking You for solutions to strengthen and restore us in our spaces of depletion. Teach us to trust You more, as You are the Grantor of strength who lifts us up when we cannot lift ourselves. Show us how to love those around us a way that strengthens and restores the weary and worn out in practical ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rest in You. Amen.
Yes, my soul, find rest in God, my hope comes from Him. – Psalm 62:5
But then I recall all You have done, O Lord; I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago. – (Psalm 77:11, NLT)
Lord, I remember what You have done. I remember the amazing things you did long ago. – (Psalm 77:11, ERV)
Yet I could never forget all Your miracles, my God, as I remember all Your wonders of old. – (Psalm 77:11, TPT)
This weekend my husband and I are attending several events to celebrate his 30th high school reunion. It is amusing to watch he and his buddies from so long ago, catch up and reminisce. As I observe and take in their stories and various accounts, I am in awe of the protection that was provided to keep them alive, the grace to carry them from adolescence to adulthood unscathed, and the goodness that has grown them into wonderful parents, spouses, community members and human beings. Looking back is a fantastic way to remember all of the amazing things that God has done – the obstacles that He has helped us traverse, the challenges we have overcome, and the wonders His hands have provided throughout the years. As we take the time to recall and recognize the Lord’s faithfulness before, our capacity to forge forward in faith grows stronger. God is the same yesterday, today and forever, and recounting personally, our experiences of His faithfulness, renews our fortitude to trust more deeply. May we never forget all that God has done to bring us from where we were to today.
May we not forget,
The wonders and grace;
That God’s given us,
As we’ve sought His face.
For throughout our lives,
His love has been shown;
As He’s carried us,
From hardships to home.
The more we recall,
The more that trust grows;
Just as He has done,
He’ll continue show.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace that has protected, carried and provided for us throughout our lives thus far. Thank You that as we remember Your hand and how You provided, it grows easier to trust that You will continue. Forgive us for our lack of trust and for neglecting to recall Your incredible faithfulness. Teach us to stop and remember all that You have done, giving You glory as Your grace grows our faith all the more. Show us how to love those around us as we remain consistent and constant in the lives of those whom You have called us to touch. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we remember Your faithfulness forever and forge forward with hearts full of faith. Amen.
For I have always been mindful of Your unfailing love and have lived in reliance on Your faithfulness. – Psalm 26:3
“I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.” – (Jeremiah 31:25, NIV)
“I will give rest and strength to those who are weak and tired.” – (Jeremiah 31:25, ERV)
“I’ll refresh tired bodies; I’ll restore tired souls.” – (Jeremiah 31:25, MSG)
This morning, 4:00am came far too early for my sweet husband. After running errands, cleaning, appointments and finally a fantastic evening with my bonus brother, his girlfriend, and dear friends, my Viking was completely exhausted by the time we went to bed. Thankfully, he only has three days of work this week until we at long last escape for an eight-day honeymoon cruise to the Caribbean. My prayer, even now, is that our time will be one of refreshment for his weariness and restoration for our souls as we work to build a new life together. I anticipate all of the good that will come from time away together, with the ability to do as much or as little as we feel like on any given day. We have been overwhelmingly blessed each step of our journey thus far, and I trust that we will find rest and strength in the spaces where both have been sparse. May we ever seek the Lord, who grants rest for the weary and strengthens the faint.
When we are weary,
The Lord grants us rest;
Strength in our weakness,
Our God knows what’s best.
Time in His presence,
Brings strength to the soul;
Joy where there’s longing,
His love makes us whole.
Let’s lean into Him,
Our Grantor of peace;
For time in His hands,
Bring power’s release.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our place to find rest and refreshment as You are the Bestower of strength when we have none. Thank You that You are the one who sees and hears our needs, and refreshes and renews where we are depleted. Forgive us for not seeking You for strength and rest when it is needed. Teach us to trust You more, as You give good things to those who pursue Your presence. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends strength and rest to those who are weary and depleted. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, our Source of strength and rest. Amen.
He refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for His Name’s sake. – Psalm 23:3