Monday, January 24, 2022

Guard and Guide

A friend told me that her daughter-in-law's cancer had come back and, thus, required another round of chemo. Then she said, "I'm praying for God's mercy and grace as He walks with her through this."

Her words triggered a memory of a painting that was on the wall of my Aunt Delia and Uncle Howard's bedroom when I was a child. Enthralled, I'd gaze at that lovely picture of a beautifully-robed angel hovering over two young children as they crossed a narrow, rickety footbridge that spanned turbulent water. I hadn't thought about that painting in years, but I'm glad I remembered it. 

As I reflected on it, I realized anew that many people, like the children depicted in the painting, are walking a scary part of their journey. The daughter-in-law who's battling cancer---again. The parents whose 10-year-old son was killed in a rodeo accident. An 85-year-old who's facing major surgery. A widowed wife and her young children....

I felt prompted to read Scriptures that speak about God's presence with us in times of trouble. Psalm 23:4 was especially comforting.

After reading that verse and several others, I prayed:

Oh, Lord God, thank You for the love that motivates You to walk with us along life's journey.

I lift up all those who need extra watching over while they're traveling through dark and scary places. Do give them the strength to carry on. Guide their steps. Comfort them with Your presence. Help them to realize they do not walk alone.



Friday, January 7, 2022

Simplify!

Each year, I choose one word to focus on. My word for 2021 was action. Previous words have been lovefinish, and focus


This year, I’m feeling drawn to the word simplify. Apparently, I’m not the only one. Each day I receive multiple emails on that topic. The bottom line of most of the messages is “Less is more,” an idea I first encountered in Greg McKeown’s excellent book, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less.

Although I tend to love my stuff and like having an abundance of the things I enjoy, I’m beginning to realize that when I have less stuff to deal with, I have more time to rest, more time to do the things that are truly a priority, and more calmness in my mind, as well as my environment. 

When I say “stuff,” I’m not just talking about things like books, clothes, digital devices, etc. Stuff also includes activities, commitments, hobbies, and so forth. If I wish to simplify my life--and I do--I need to let go of whatever is no longer adding to the quality of my life. 

I’ll keep the essentials (and a moderate number of non-essentials that bring me joy, like notes from dear friends, a meaningful magnet on the fridge, etc.) Although I'll want to keep boxes of perfectly good Christmas ornaments and decorations that I haven’t used in many years, as well as articles and newsletters I’ve saved for years, intending to read them “when I have time,” I'll need to let them go.

Do you want to simplify your life? If so, what will you let go?