Has this ever happened to you? You’re dreaming, and in your dream someone starts to chase you. So you set off running. Only, to your horror, you discover your legs are sluggish. Try as you might to pick up the pace, you find yourself running in slow motion.
Professionals who study our dreams say that this occurs because our mind, though sleeping, functions as though it is wide awake, whereas our bodies go out cold; they are limp and unresponsive.
That’s sort of what sin does in our lives. It makes us sluggish, slow to respond. Like a ball and chain around our ankle, it hinders us from running as fast as we can away from it.
We’re in a wet weather pattern in my little corner of the country. Day and night storms redevelop over the same oversaturated areas, flooding farm fields and basements. Streams and rivers spill out far beyond their banks...mudslides wreak havoc.
Sometimes the weight of the world feels as if it rests directly on my shoulders. I'm a burden-bearer by nature, so it only stands to reason that whatever happens to ail this poor, old world of ours, ails me, too.
I anguish in prayer over Ukraine, I pray for a change of heart for Putin, I grieve deeply over the young girls stolen from their family's and forced to relinquish their faith in Nigeria. My heart breaks for the tens of thousands of folks flooded out of their homes in Serbia.
I am awakened at night over the state of affairs in our country. All the violence. The perversion. And the impact our adult decisions are having on our children.
Experiences in life...may turn out to be a great disappointment or perhaps they may be full of enchanting surprises.
As my hubby sat making hotel reservations one evening for an upcoming conference in Milwaukee, he asked if I wanted to tag along. Pictures of quiet strolls on the River-walk and a little shopping trip in the up-and-coming Historic Third Ward soon filled my head. So, of course I said, “Yes!”
My Grandpa Simey was a gentle man of few words. In today's dog-eat-dog world his quiet leadership would probably be overlooked. But, a child's heart is drawn to quiet leadership like a moth to flame. At least that was the case for me. And judging by all of our old black and white photos - it was the case for my unc' as well. It didn't matter where Gramps was or what he was doing, we wanted to be there in his shadow.
A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out.
I can’t imagine what life would be like without friends. My life has been so incredibly enriched by the vast variety of friends God has blessed my life with over the years. And it’s precisely that variety that I love most about friendship. Each one is a marvel and a gift...uniquely and divinely God-designed. Just like snowflakes, no two friends or friendships are the same.
Heart Matters Publishing is a team effort. There's not a blog that I write that is posted without my Editor, LuAnn Adams, loving eyes perusing it first. She not only dot's my i's and crosses my t's, she adds beautiful insight and suggestions that are a gift to me. So... it is with joy that together we post this collaborative effort. I am delighted to lift up not only LuAnn's editorial skills, but, her writing skills, as well.
Winter is on my head...and down my boots...but eternal spring is in my heart. (my paraphrase)
Winter blew in another foot of snow onto our already knee-deep supply. I'm beginning to think spring will never come. In fact, I can't help but wonder, after two miserable winters in a row, if we might not be entering a new Ice Age!!
We have become accustomed to traveling through life at lightning speed. The alarm clock rings and we hit the floor running. We fill every waking moment scurrying in three different directions. And we’re intentional about everything…we take business lunches so we can kill two birds with one stone. Even taking walks these days has morphed into exercise…no more leisurely strolls for us…we speed walk! For all of the time we spend penciling in our calendars and uploading our iPads and smartphones, somehow we still seem to be forever running late. And if you have kiddos, add in their piano lessons, play practice, ball practice and homework to squeeze in there somewhere. If we can find time to sit down together as a family for supper, we end up rehashing all the details of our chaotic lives, as we shovel our meal in as fast as we can, so we can all get to wherever it is that we are going to next.
In his book, Time Wars, Jeremy Rifkin states, "We are a nation in love with speed. We drive fast, eat fast...we’re obsessed with breaking records. We digest our life, condense our experiences and compress our thoughts. While other cultures might believe haste makes waste, we are convinced that speed reflects alertness, power and success. Americans are always in a hurry."
But, according to James Bryan Smith, the author of the book, The Good and Beautiful God, hurry is not a part of a well-lived life. He says that the #1 spiritual sickness in our day is hurry sickness.
God spreads snow like wool...who can endure the freezing cold? Then God gives the command and it begins to melt. He breathes on winter - suddenly it is spring
Psalm 147:16, 18
Gray days. Subzero temperatures. Wind-chills. Snowstorms. And polar vortex’s. I think even the heartiest of winter enthusiasts are beginning to pine for brighter days when temperatures climb back up above zero for good.
January is the perfect month to take a pulse on your spiritual well-being. Here are a few things that I ask myself periodically. I pray that they will prove
What are you feeding your soul with these days? Are you subsisting on empty calories of excessive TV and movie watching, the Internet, Facebook, talk or sports radio, romance novels, etc.?
*Jesus tells us in Matthew 12:33-34 that if we fill our hearts with unhealthy things, it will inevitably be exposed by our attitudes and speech. What comes out of our mouths reflects what we’ve taken into our hearts.
You made the moon to mark the seasons, and the sun always knows when to set.
It's happening again. Just as it happens every autumn here in the Upper Midwest. We're losing daylight. Shadows are lengthening. The sun struggles to brighten the morning sky. And, before we've had much chance to relish it, it quickly slips away again into the evening.
Living in the Upper Midwest, we know that winters can be long and harsh, but as tough as winters are on our gardens, summers can be equally harsh, if not more so.Under a blazing sun day after day with limited rainfall, our plants can quickly shrivel and die. That is why it is important to take this wonderful opportunity spring time gives us to equip ourselves to be garden-ready.
Do the heavens open for you to see all that's happening here in Haiti at Grace Village, Alyn? Surely they must, for when I stand on that hill, I am certain it is the place that heaven touches the earth.
Throughout the years, it has been my habit to keep a Faith Journal. I call it a Faith Journal because what I have written on those pages... when my faith is firm and the eyes my heart are open to see the various blessings that God has touched my life with... have been the greatest source of encouragement to me when my faith is especially thin and my eyes so clouded with tears that I have a hard time seeing God's presence anywhere.
As I flip through that journal, I am reminded that yes! God has walked with me through every twist and turn along life's way. He has whispered my name on the wind and touched my innermost being with beauty. He has embraced me through the hugs of friends and spoken deep into my heart through His love letter, the Bible. And even when He has led me through shadows and sorrows, I can look back and see that He never left me alone...
One of the best gifts you can give yourself to encourage your soul..is to carve out time to get alone with your Savior and begin your own Faith Journal. There is nothing like counting your blessings to lift our eyes off of our momentary circumstances and onto the beautiful face of Jesus!
We Heart Matters Publishing gals care about women. Their joys. Their struggles. Their everyday, ordinary lives. We write from those very same places hoping to uplift, challenge and encourage your soul and deepen your faith.
Heart Matters Publishing Co.
The Heart Matters Gals
I’m turning 62 this year. I can hardly believe it myself. But, I’ve decided that I no longer want to live comfortably. I want to live with a spirit of adventure like I had in the past. To be unafraid of what’s new or different. I want to remain so open to the Spirit of the living God that his love compels me to go wherever he leads me.
I am passionate about people leaning into all that Jesus is. You. Me. Us. Journeying together with God. This is my greatest blessing. And now that my kiddos are out on their own, I’m learning to navigate my new normal. And I am finding there is life after little ones and teens after all!
I am currently finishing my degree in relational communications and plan to graduate in the spring of 2020!! I am thankful I have had time to grow, heal, appreciate a slower pace of living, and to invest more time into relationships with family, friends, and God. Through this process I am learning what I want to prioritize in my life and figuring out ways to make that happen. Most of all, I am figuring out that life is all about process, taking steps closer to where I want to be and celebrating the little victories but also accepting that there will be setbacks and disappointments along the way.
Sally Cranham is a singer and writer from the UK. She uses biblical narrative and her own experience to write deeply into the heart of the human condition. She currently works as a volunteer for SourceMN as their Arts Outreach Coordinator and has lived as a Residential Volunteer at Source’s anti-trafficking transitional annex alongside women who have come out of the life of prostitution.