Meditations of my Heart

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The Prodigal Princess

Virginia Rose ready for her road trip!

Psalm 21:2
You have granted him his heart's desire and have not withheld the request of his lips.

Our granddaughter, Virginia Rose, is so excited about spending the three-day weekend in Oxford with my mother, her Nana, and me.  It's a long, sometimes tedious, road trip, but we make frequent pit stops, and take our time over lunch at McDonald's, to give us a break.





But as much as she is looking forward to spending time with her Gammie and Nana, Virginia is anxiously hoping that the cat she dubbed Princess will make an encore appearance.  She mentions repeatedly, while we travel, that her heart is set on seeing "her" cat again; and she wants my reassurance.

"Gammie, do you think Princess will know I'm back in Oxford?  Do you think she will visit us like she did last time?"

"I certainly hope so," I tell her, "but I can't promise anything."  Silently, however, I say a prayer about the situation, knowing this is her heart's desire, and I surely don't want her tender heart broken.

We arrive at long last, relieved to be stretching our legs and to hug Nana.  As I unload the car, Virginia is already looking all around for any sign of her beloved Princess.  But the cat is nowhere to be found.  After waiting over an hour or so for the expected visit, Virginia becomes despondent, a rare mood, indeed, for this child who almost always radiates joy.


"I have an idea, Virginia," I say, wanting desperately to cheer her up.  "Let's take a walk down the street and see if we can find Princess.  We never did figure out where she lives, but it has to be close by."

"Let's go, Gammie!" Virginia shouts, all smiles again.

We stroll leisurely up the road, peering into driveways and yards as we walk, hoping for a glimpse of Princess.  That is when we meet up with not one, but two, other cats, one for whom seems taken with Virginia.









Virginia enjoys hanging out with the cats for a while, but is soon eager to resume our search for Princess.  After we have walked for another twenty minutes, I tell Virginia it's time to go back to Nana's house.  "Who knows?"  I say.  "Maybe Princess has already turned up there looking for you."

That theory seems to satisfy Virginia for the time being.  Back we head to the house, not really looking for Princess any more.  The moment we set foot on the stone patio in front of the house, we hear a timid meow behind us.  We whirl around.

"Princess!!!"  Virginia exclaims gleefully.

Sure enough.  It's the prodigal returned home.  And oh, what a welcome she gets!











The Lord has granted my granddaughter's heart's desire, and I offer a prayer of thanks.

Amen!

~

Do you have a special memory of a time when God granted your heart's desire?

Friday, January 13, 2017

Happy at Home


Genesis 25:27
The boys grew up, and Esau became a skillful hunter, a man of the open country, while Jacob was content to stay at home among the tents.

I'm a home body.  Nothing makes me happier than having an entire day spread before me, Knowing I don't need to leave my comfortable surroundings.  And during the recent snow storm, when we are confined to the house for three days, I'm not surprised to find I'm the only one who doesn't catch the cabin fever bug.

Yes, like Jacob, at home is where I am most content.

And never bored.

There are books and blogs to read (or write), routine chores to execute, and reflective times, sitting on our deck, watching the birds and squirrels at the feeders.  There is ample opportunity for leisurely Bible study, meditation and prayer.

No deadlines.  No have-tos.  No hustle and bustle demands from the outside world.

Quiet.

Peaceful.

Still.

Sometimes I think to myself, Martha, you should get out more.  Maybe do some volunteer work at a food pantry, an animal shelter, Virginia Rose's school.

But I hesitate to commit to anything other than willingly babysitting my grands whenever my daughter needs me, which is oftentimes at the drop of a hat.

I cherish my freedom to choose how I spend my days.  Perhaps that's selfish of me, but the older I get, the more I realize that God means for me to embrace my being, not my doing.

I read many Christian blogs extolling the virtue of being still with God, and advising others to reject getting perpetually caught up in a whirlwind of busyness.  For some of us, depending upon where we are in our life's journey, that is easier said than done.

I am simply grateful to God for allowing me to find my happy place.

My secure place.

At home.

With Him.

~

Do you make time each day to spend quiet moments with God?

As happy as I am at home, I will be leaving Saturday morning with granddaughter, Virginia, on a road trip to visit my mother over the long weekend.  Her computer is not the most reliable, so I might not be able to get to your comments here until I return on Monday.  Please leave your thoughts, though, as I love you input here at Meditations of My Heart, and will respond to you as quickly as I can.

Blessings!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

There's No Business Like Snow Business


Psalm 147:16
He spreads the snow like wool and scatters the frost like ashes.

All last week, we stay tuned in to any change in the news of the winter storm slated to hit the Southeast by Friday night.  The computer models, it appears, swing wildly from one end of the spectrum to the other, leaving meteorologists grasping at straws and changing their predictions as to when the storm will hit, and more critically, how much "white stuff" we'll see or not see when all is said and done.

Nonetheless, we, like all seasoned Southerners facing potentially icy weather, make sure our fridge and pantry are well stocked just in case we are snowed in for any length of time.


The post storm temperatures, predicted to drop into the teens, will freeze any moisture that has accumulated, making our steep driveway impassable.  And who wants to walk to the grocery store in below freezing temps?  Really!

Friday evening arrives at last, and my husband, Danny, and I are expecting, according to the latest forecast, anywhere between two to four inches of snow in our neck of the woods.  Imagine our dismay when the precipitation begins as sleet!  Nothing worse in the South, with all our towering pines with their pliant, vulnerable branches, than an ice storm.  

We are relieved when at last the snow appears.


But we know there is already a sheet of slick and treacherous ice lurking beneath it.

Again, it sleets.  Again, it snows.  And this is the scenery that greets us the next day.










Yes,that's the ice-coated Driveway of Doom!

As folks begin sharing their snow pictures on Facebook, we realize, with not little surprise, that some locations in Georgia got walloped with snow, much more than we got, and others, nary a flake!  Was this storm a hit or miss event, or what?

My daughter, Sarah, and son-in-law, John, live about sixteen miles northeast of us.  Their snowfall, as you can tell from the photos, is much deeper than ours, and provides some chilly entertainment for the grand-girls.


Alexandra with Daddy


Looking a bit confused by the snow and bitter cold


Savannah exploring her new surroundings



And Virginia hamming it up!


And as I ponder this grand diversity of winter precipitation, I think that with all our computer technology, even the experts cannot accurately predict the weather.  Let alone control it.

That's God's business.  He spreads the snow and scatters the frost, however and wherever He wills.

As humans, we can prepare all we want for a storm's outcome.

But what we should prepare ourselves for is to be surprised by God.

Amen!

~

Do you have a favorite snow memory?  Please share in the comments.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Prayer Power!


James 5:16
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.  The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

At my last dental cleaning and check this past December, my dentist, Dr. Lisa, concludes that the hairline cracks in my four front teeth aren't getting any better.  She is worried, as am I, that one could easily chip or break, making capping it that much more difficult.  I make an appointment to have the procedure done the week after Christmas.

And while I know this dental work is necessary, it doesn't make me less anxious about it.  I've had crowns done before, yes; but four teeth at once?  My husband, Danny went through the same experience several years back; he still recalls the intense discomfort he felt the day after, and makes sure I'm prescribed a decent pain killer.

Okay.  So I'll have something to assuage the ache.  But that doesn't go far enough to allay my fears about the entire process.  Even in the joy of our Christmas celebration, I find it almost impossible to take my mind off the impending appointment.

As the day looms, my apprehension grows.  I decide I need something to calm my nerves.

And that something is prayer.

I post my prayer request on Facebook.  The response from my friends?  Overwhelming!  I am so touched by how many are more than happy to pray for me at this worrisome time.

And best of all, their prayers worked!  When I stroll into my dentist's office the next morning, I'm anxious for nothing.  Absolutely nothing.  I feel such an incredible peace about the whole thing.  Eager, even, to simply 'git 'er done!'

Some folks, I'm certain, must have prayed for a speedy recovery, too.  Although I have some soreness once the Novocain wears off that afternoon, the next morning, not a shred of an ache remains!  It's as if I never went through the ordeal in the first place.

So, my friends, when someone asks you to pray for him or her, do it!  The influence and blessing of intercessory prayer cannot be underestimated.

Your prayers are powerful.

Your prayers are effective.

Your prayers are huge!  (My word for 2017)

And I can't thank all of you, who did pray for me, enough.

Amen!

~

Do you have a testimony about the power and effectiveness of intercessory prayer?  Please share in the comments section.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

2017 Is Going To Be . . .


Psalm 92:15 (MSG)
Such witnesses to upright God!  My Mountain, my huge, holy Mountain!

As 2016, winds down, I begin searching for a word to guide me in 2017.  The following are some I consider:  Hope; wait; dwell; lean; faith; trust, and promise.  It's a great list to choose from, but there is one problem.

None of these words choose me.

Frustrated, I share with my husband, Danny, my predicament.  "Don't worry," he assures me.  "Your word will appear all in good time."

"How can you be so sure?"  I ask, despondently.

Danny laughs.  "Because God always comes through," he declares.  "I'm as sure about you finding your word as I am about 2017 being a huge year!"

Can I believe my ears???  "That's it!!!"  I shout ecstatically.  "Huge!  HUGE!  That's my word!"

Because this year, I long to experience my Lord in a huge way.  I want to do everything in the name of my huge God to His huge glory, for He deserves nothing less than my huge devotion.

As I peruse Bible Gateway, using The Message translation and the key word, "huge," I am rewarded by the following inspirational Scriptures, not by any means exhaustive, which I now share with you.  ("Hope," in caps, mine)

Blessed are you who give yourselves over to God, turn your backs on the world's "sure thing," ignore what the world worships; the world's a HUGE stockpile of God wonders and God thoughts.  Nothing and no one comes close to you!  ~Psalm 40:4-5

Generous in love - God, give grace!  HUGE in mercy - wipe out my bad records.  Scrub away my guilt, soak out my sins in your laundry.  I know how bad I've been; my sins are staring me down.  ~Psalm 51:1-3

You who sit down in the High God's presence, spend the night in Shaddai's shadow, say this:  "God, you're my refuge.  I trust in you and I'm safe!"  That's right.  He rescues you from hidden traps, shields you from deadly hazards.  His HUGE outstretched arms protect you - under them you're perfectly safe; his arms fend of harm.  ~Psalm 91:1-4

"What a HUGE harvest!"  he said to his disciples.  "How few workers!  On your knees and pray for harvest hands!"  ~Matthew 9:38

"God's kingdom is like a pine nut that a farmer plants.  It is quite small as seeds go, but in the course of years it grows in to a HUGE pine tree, and eagles build nests in it."  ~Matthew 13:31-32

But Jesus was matter-of-fact:  "Yes - and if you embrace this kingdom life and don't doubt God, you'll not only do minor feats like I did to the fig tree, but also triumph over HUGE obstacles."  ~Matthew 21:21

At once the angel was joined by a HUGE angelic choir singing God's praises:  Glory to God in the heavenly heights!  Peace to all men and women on earth who please him.  ~Luke 2:13-14

Aren't these verses amazing?  Yes!  I am thrilled with the word that chose me this year!

Because I believe, with God's help, that 2017 is definitely going to be HUGE!


Have you chosen a guiding word for the year?  Please share in the comments!




Friday, December 16, 2016

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas!



From our hearts and hearth
to yours ~
May you have a very Merry Christmas
filled with joy, blessings, and love!

Danny and Martha

See you in the New Year!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year


Psalm 28:7
The Lord is my strength and shield.  I trust him with all my heart.  He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy.  I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.

"My favorite definition of joy is someone is glad to be with me." ~Christa Black Gifford, Heart Made Whole

Christmas, we are told in the Andy Williams' classic tune, "is the most wonderful time of the year . . . the hap-happiest season of all."  The twinkling lights, the sweet aroma of gingerbread, the pungent odor of freshly cut evergreen, the gaily wrapped gifts nestled under the tree, carols in the air, the exuberant laughter of children, family gatherings - what's not to like?

But for some of us, Christmas is anything but merry and bright.  Perhaps this year has seen the loss of a loved one, chronic illness, an unexpected lay-off, or any host (not heavenly) of troubles weighing heavily upon your heart.

Where's the joy in that?

I recall, as if it were yesterday, my first Christmas after my husband, John, passed away.  I take my children, then ten and thirteen, to my parents' home to celebrate together.  Since nine months have gone by since we lost John, I mistakenly think I can emotionally hold myself together.

But the moment my children begin unwrapping their presents, tears spring to my eyes.  A vivid memory of John and me exchanging gifts the Christmas before flashes before me like an unwanted newsreel.  We were so glad just to be with each other!

Now all that is gone.

Yes, I have my family and friends.  I'm not alone, I reason.  But still, this pain.  This excruciating hurt.  Dear Jesus, will it ever go away?  Will I ever know joy again?

In the last chapter of her book, Heart Made Whole, Christa Black Gifford writes:  "Jesus' intention for us as believers is never to suppress the truth of our emotions and put on fake religious smiles, attempting to deal with very natural feelings on our own.  When life hurts, we hurt just as He did - and that's simply okay.  He never wants us to beat up our hearts as they bleed, kicking our emotions to the side, quoting Scripture at them in anger, or willing ourselves to change . . . Feeling our pain doesn't prove we lack faith - it proves our need for constant connection  with God."

Constant connection with God . . .

As I struggled along those many years ago, I wish I had had Gifford's words to guide me.  How much quicker I might have healed, opened my eyes to the constant promise of joy in Jesus, if only I understood that He wasn't feeling sorry for me from afar, but weeping along with me, holding me close in His comforting arms.

If only I had known, as I know now, that Jesus, my Lord and Savior, is always glad to be with me.

And He is only too glad to be right there with you, this Christmas and for all the Christmases yet to come.

If you are struggling, my friends, may this knowledge give you peace and hope and joy at this most wonderful time of the year.

Love and joy come to you,
And a Merry Christmas, too!
And God bless you and send you a Happy New Year,
And God send you a Happy New Year.

Amen!

~



This post concludes our book discussion of Heart Made Whole by Christa Black Gifford.  Thanks so much for joining Jason StasyszenSarah SalterGlynn Young, and me as we journeyed together through this inspirational book.  
May God bless!