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The Day Macaroni Art Jesus Became A Reality {An Ode to VBS}

blogpoetrypromisesI remember the day Jesus was no longer just pasta art glued onto a ripple-edged paper plate at Vacation Bible School.

I was a single mom with two little boys in a duplex that sat just outside the city limits. Poor Sinful choices I’d made landed us there. I knew it, I confessed it, and asked the Man I’d heard about in VBS all those years ago for forgiveness.

{I’ve read in recent years how many consider today’s VBS to be a glorified babysitting service. So be it. I thank God for the Aunt Shirley’s (especially mine!) of the world who faithfully drive a carload of children to a local church with the full intention of them hearing and learning about Jesus. And I thank God for people like Mrs. Nanny at Oak Grove Baptist Church, who faithfully share their most precious commodity (time) with little people who don’t know how to say thank you for their sacrifice. That is, until they grow up and have a blog of their own.}

blogjesusmacaroni

My plate art wasn’t nearly as nice as Society 6’s. (Great site!)

At this point you might be wondering what my story has to do with God’s promises. Well, it all comes down to Jesus. It always does.

Jesus’ resurrection fulfilled the Scriptures and the promises of God.

“We bring you the good news that what God promised to the fathers, this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus.” Acts 13:32,33

“For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.”  – 2 Corinthians 1:20

What good is a promise if it can’t be fulfilled? What a joy it is to serve the One who did fulfill every promise that was, is, and will be in the future!

Here’s the thing.

If I’d not been introduced to Jesus in VBS I might not have recognized Him, or my desperate need for him, later in life. My perception of Him might have remained a pasta product on a paper plate. But because I knew Who to turn to, everything changed that night in my duplex on the outskirts of town. Jesus became a reality. My promise keeper. My Savior.

Thank you for joining me on this journey through God’s promises. Do you have a favorite promise? I’d love for you to share it in the comment section. We never know how our words might encourage other readers.

Week 1: When Poetry and Promises Mingle
Week 2: Seeing God in Action On An Ordinary Day
Week 3: A Promise in the Night {For When You Have Trouble Sleeping}

blogarrowsdividerThe next time you receive a post from me, you’ll notice some exciting changes! Stay tuned. 🙂

Now is the perfect time to sign up in the purple sidebar box to receive my posts hot off the press. And if you like what you read in today’s post, feel free to share it via the Media buttons below. To God be the glory!

 

The beautiful artwork used for my Poetry and Promises graphic is courtesy of Ann Marie Bone. Please visit her Facebook fan page to connect with her and to see more of her amazing work.Thank you so much, Ann.

A Promise In the Night {For When You Have Trouble Sleeping}

Poetry and PromisesIt was the night before my surgery and to say I had trouble sleeping would be quite the understatement. Leaping sheep battled it out with a host of what if’s attempting to keep me awake. But we know only one thing wields the weapon of choice against every what if that comes against us: God’s Word.

In that moment, it was Psalm 121:4.

“…indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither sleep nor slumber.”

We can sleep because our God never does.

While we sleep He continues to:

Work all things out for our good and His ultimate glory. (Romans 8:28) Do wondrous things {because He is great!} (Psalm 86:10)
Supply your every need. (Philippians 4:19)
Carry out the good work He began in you to its completion. (Philippians 1:6)
Fulfill every promise made to His children. And the list goes on.

Psalm 121:4 God never sleeps nor slumbersNotice the verbs. God is at work, on guard at all times. He never tires. He never takes a coffee break, and He never steps away to dote on a favorite child. He is with us at all times even when we don’t feel it.

When I memorized Psalm 121:4 years ago I did so to share with a friend who was going through a dark time. Now that same truth was bringing me comfort as I repeated it over and over, gaining confidence with every repeat that God was in control. And in the hush that followed, I “heard” the words Now go to sleep my child. And I did, without one worry or one what if in sight.

So, what keeps you up at night? Here’s the thing about worry. It’s an insidious creature. It can disguise itself in the form of trying to think through the following day, its demands, and how this or that {good thing!} could be accomplished. Or, what needs to be added to the grocery list, or maybe how a particular venture could be financially advantageous, or what the kids will wear to school tomorrow. None of these things are bad. In fact, it would behoove {I love this word!} us all to consider these things at some point in our day but I’m finding in my own life that it’s the thoughts attempting to battle the sheep for my sleep’s attention that are the very things I may not be fully releasing to the Lord.

Yet another reminder that there’s only one Shepherd who can bring true rest to our sheep-like souls.

In closing, I’d like to share a true story that illustrates this psalm beautifully.

Back in the days of WWII, the Germans were bombing London all night, every night. After one terrible attack, the people of London began to search through the rubble looking for the dead and the injured. After a while, all been accounted for but one old grandmother, a Mrs. Smith. They searched everywhere for her and finally, someone found her in her bedroom, asleep in her bed. They were shocked and asked her, “Mrs. Smith, how you could sleep with those bombs dropping all around?” She said, “Well the Bible says that ‘He who keeps Israel never slumbers nor sleeps.’ I decided there was no use in both of us staying up, so I just went to sleep and left it in the Lord’s hands.”

When you read the (partial) list above of the truths God is accomplishing while you sleep, is there one that stood out above the rest for you? If so, I’d love for you to share it in the comment section below. Thank you for stopping by!

 

The beautiful artwork used for my Poetry and Promises graphic is courtesy of Ann Marie Bone. Please visit her Facebook fan page to connect with her and to see more of her amazing work.Thank you so much, Ann.


Seeing God in Action on An Ordinary Day

Poetry and PromisesFew things in life compare to seeing God in action on an ordinary day.

Of course, I knew it really wouldn’t be all that ordinary. Two years ago I was invited to lead a writing workshop during a Heartstrings Day Retreat for mothers who have felt the gut wrenching loss of a child. So when they invited me back this year, I knew the blessings that awaited, or so I thought.

Two years ago, a woman walked through the doors of this day retreat feeling uncertain if she’d made the right decision. She didn’t know anyone and the sudden loss of her adult daughter had left her feeling raw and vulnerable. I’d met her once through a mutual friend so I watched out for her and we sat together through the large group meeting and the lunch that followed. She was polite but a bit withdrawn, which was understandable.

Heartstrings Day Retreat

Thank you for sharing this photo, Kathy Elrod.

Soon after the 2014 retreat, this woman was diagnosed with cancer. We stayed in contact over the years so I was especially delighted to hear that she would be returning to this year’s retreat. I arrived first and saved her a seat beside me, like I’d done two years ago. I searched for her in the crowd but had trouble recognizing her due to her massive weight loss. She looked great, and even though she was admittedly tired, there was a joy about her I’d not seen two years ago. During our conversation, she shared how she is now cancer free. {Thank You, Jesus!} I told her I’d saved a seat for her, pointing to the table. She smiled, and said, “I hope you don’t mind, but there’s a women who is here for the first time and she’s sitting beside the place where I put my things. I think she could use someone to talk to.” And there it was⎯God in action.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 2 Corinthians 1:3, 4 (emphasis mine)

Which reminds me of a beautiful poetic promise, found in Psalm 94:17-19:

Unless the LORD had given me help,
I would soon have dwelt in the silence of death.
When I said, “My foot is slipping.”
Your love, O LORD, supported me.
When anxiety was great within me,
your consolation brought joy to my soul.

Heartstrings Day Retreat

Beautiful in every way.

She remembered how it felt two years ago to sit in a chair that felt awkwardly comfortable. Comfortable in that she knew she was surrounded by other women who understood her pain, and yet awkward because she didn’t know anyone. And now, God is using her to comfort someone else in the same way. I could barely fight back the tears as I made my way back to the table, happily removing my “this place is saved for someone” purse, making it available to another woman.

Seeing God at work on an ordinary day makes it anything but ordinary.
In fact, it’s quite extraordinary.

 

How about you? Can you remember one moment when time stood still as you marveled God at work right before your eyes? Celebrate that moment here by sharing it with us in the comment section. Thank you in advance!

Further Reading: Week 1, When Poetry and Promises Mingle

The beautiful artwork used for my Poetry and Promises graphic is courtesy of Ann Marie Bone. Please visit her Facebook fan page to connect with her and to see more of her amazing work.Thank you so much, Ann.

If you live in Upstate SC and would like to learn more about the Heartstrings Ministry, please leave a comment and I’ll be happy to connect you with Jan James and her amazing team. Or perhaps you’re interested in learning how to start your own support group for grieving mothers where you live. Please leave a comment. I know Jan would be happy to share what she’s learned from her experience.