Still Counting

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds– James 1:2, NIV

So, maybe if you are like me, there are a few Bible verses that I know and have memorized, but which give the most difficulty to follow. Like the one above from the Book of James. I first memorized the verse as “Count it all joy” I like the word consider better. But still. I really struggle to consider any type of trial as a reason for joy. James tells us why we should as he continues in verse 3; “because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.…” Okay. I get it. Our modern version of the verse might read, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. That part I understand. We go through trials and struggles and we get stronger. But counting it s joy is my struggle.

Another version of James 1 reads”My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials.”( NKJ) It always seems as if we are falling into trials. It is not something we desire, it just happens. And the word fall describes how I feel sometimes; like I am losing my footing; my security and falling into misery and a stress out state. It is difficult to feel joy when you are completely stressed out and anxious.

Struggles hit us all. Trials, as James writes. He knew then as we know now- human nature and its struggles hasn’t changed much- life is full of trials, struggles, and difficulties. We all could come up with a fairly long list of the stuff we have had to deal with in our lives. We surely can count those. But joy? I need to be deliberate about that one. Can I really count them and place them under the heading of “joy”?

But, what James was getting at is the opportunity that these struggles give us to draw closer to God. We are probably more drawn to prayer when we have problems we want help with. We get overwhelmed and cry out to God. As we call out to Him, we are placing more of our trust and faith in Him. We realize our struggles are more than we can bear on our own. When life is going well for us, we forget how much of that is not our own doing, but the grace of God. But, trials and struggles can be God’s grace as well if it draws us closer to Him. He desires this close relationship with us and wants to grow us into the people He created us to be; stronger when we are leaning on Him and fully focused on Him, and not on ourselves.

Trials and struggles will come and go in this life, and over the years I can look back and realize that during the most difficult times in my life are the times when I spent more time reading the Bible and praying and letting God grow and stretch my faith. We cannot escape the difficulties of this life, there is no way to avoid them. So for now I will keep trying to count them as joy, even when I don’t understand the joy yet. -God Bless You- Nancy

Things I Don’t Understand

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy- Proverbs 31: 8-9, NIV Bible

I admit that I had to look twice today when I saw the verse above in a Facebook post. Wait, I thought Proverbs chapter 31 was about the wife of noble character, I don’t remember this part. I squinted at the Scripture reference and yup, it listed Proverbs 31. Hmm, didn’t know this was part of it, let me check it out. And Yes, it is Proverbs 31: v 8 and 9. And yes it is important.

The post I saw today was referencing the 18th anniversary of the forced death of a young woman named Terri Schaivo. It was a great tragedy and injustice for her family. She was a woman who after an injury had been bed ridden, receiving her nutrients through feeding tubes. Her husband no longer wished to take care of her and won the right to withhold food and water from her, which ultimately ended her life two weeks later.

I remember this drama as it played out on the news. The parents fought for the right to continue care, but sadly lost the legal battle. I wish I could say that this is an isolated event, happening years before legal rights and inclusive rights became a buzz word.

But, it keeps going on, turning a blind eye to the rights of the loved ones involved in cases such as these. Parents of children with compromised physical and or intellectual health have little to no rights in protecting their children. It is as if we as a society have returned to the days of the Roman Empire, when unwanted children could be left out on rocks to perish to the elements.

I really have a difficult time understanding this lack of compassion, especially towards children. And those who are disabled or medically vulnerable. This hits me personally in many ways. I have learned that modern medicine is very much profit driven, rather than compassion driven. And I volunteer with a group of intellectually challenged adults, who amaze me everyday. To think that a court could decide whether they have worth or value is beyond my scope of understanding.

I just don’t understand. The cruelty of people. The greed of some. The heartlessness of others. Rules and legalities should be beneficial and protective, but it seems at times the only ones benefiting are the greedy, proud, and selfish. They turn a blind eye to the cries of the poor and helpless. They protect big business and the rich.

But as long as I am able, I will take the advice of Proverbs 31 and speak for those who cannot speak for themselves. Humans were created with value, purpose and worth. We are all made in the image of God. Let us not try to wipe out these images. They are loved as much as whole, healthy people. Let us speak up, protect, and support the families of those who are physically and intellectually vulnerable. Whether young or elderly. Let us not forget the evil being done, yet forgive. Let us pray for those who put profit over patients. I may not ever understand the depth of depravity or self deception it takes to purposely end a life, but I keep hope that someday this practice will end.- God Bless You- Nancy

God’s Move

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.– Paul to the Galatians, (Gal. 6:9, NIV)

So, I’m not that great a waiter. No, not the kind that serves hungry people at restaurants, but a wait-er. A person who waits on God to make the next move. You might call it patience. I kinda run short on it. I can be short sighted at times and start to convince myself, that any current situation I might find myself in is taking way to long to do one of two things: change, or resolve.

I might be waiting on finding a full-time job, resolution from a financial issue, or healing for myself, or a loved one. If you’re like me you can probably fill in your own thing you are waiting for; I am waiting on God to __________, in my life. You might keep asking God to either change or resolve your current situation. And you wait. And you do what you can to change your circumstances. But then you wait. And wait some more. After you realize that you have exhausted every chance to change or resolve your issue, you turn to God and wait.

Last week, I learned a valuable lesson on waiting. You see, after awhile of following this pattern : 1)ask, 2)wait,3) try it on my own, 4) resign back to waiting on God’s move, I finally understood, that I really do not understand God’s timing or His ways at all. He might move quickly, or very slowly. It is all up to Him, not me.

So, how did I learn to just wait?I was stuck waiting for a bus at a popular amusement park. (the kind that run between hotels and the park) And I wasn’t alone waiting for this particular bus, but rather accompanied by about fifty other weary park visitors.

When my husband and I walked towards the bus stop, I quickly realized that there must be a problem with the bus. I had been to this particular stop before and knew the route. It should be a quick ten to twenty minute wait with usually a handful of others waiting for the bus. It was a continuous looping route every twenty minutes.

But, with the 50 plus people trying to cram into the stopping area, I knew something was wrong, and we would be waiting for awhile. As we approached the stop and find a place to stand, I noticed a woman on her cell phone. She was calling whoever was in charge of the buses and complaining about the delay. She ended her call and turned to me to let me know that she had requested two buses be sent. I didn’t know her, but she felt the need to confide in me of her actions, so I nodded my head as I listened to her complaints. I realized she wasn’t very happy (although it was supposed to be the happiest place on earth!) with the situation as she kept talking to those around her and voicing her displeasure with the bus company.

I saw a bus finally approach and the crowd began to push together like a swarm of bees around a new hive. My husband and I decided to stay back and wait for the next bus as common sense told us it would be impossible to fit everyone in the small bus. I also noticed the security guard from the amusement park quietly walk in front of the bus and call from his cell phone.

It was quite the scene as the impatient horde of bees tried to push and squeeze their way into the bus. A few had to step off the bus, because there was simply no room at the inn, or the bus, that is.

I watched as the over filled bus pulled out from the space, drove past us and I prepared myself to wait. Though my feet were tired, I looked around and saw others who were tired as well, but they, like us had stayed back, to wait for another bus. And to our surprise, the second bus, pulled right in behind the first. Amazing.

Now there were only about eight of us, for some had given up waiting at the stop, once they saw the bus fill up. None of us could see the second bus approaching, being hidden by the crowd and the first bus. We all gave a cheer and boarded the spacious bus. All eight of us. We made it quickly back to the hotel and pulled in front of the first bus, that was still unloading the swarm of people. We actually went through the entrance of the hotel, before many of those on the first bus.

Amazing. I wouldn’t have thought the second bus would get us to the hotel first. It wasn’t logical. It didn’t make sense. But that’s what God showed me. That sometimes we try to make our circumstances change, like the lady on the phone. It’s true she did call for another bus, but I wonder if it wasn’t really the security gentleman on his phone that moved the bus along. I also believe maybe he was aware of the disgruntled passengers and was there just in case it got out of hand.

The woman with the phone got lost in the crowd, but I think she got on that first crowded bus. She was probably happy with herself for calling in and complaining as she rode the crowded bus to the hotel. But I wondered if she was still on that bus as I walked into the hotel, past the still full bus.

I’ve been like that woman. Trying to fix the wrongs of the world, making things happen on my own, in my own strength, in my own timing, believing that I was getting somewhere, when in reality I was actually slowing my progress.

I have waited patiently before, and given up on waiting, like the people who walked away from the bus stop when they saw the first bus full. It’s not coming, so I’m going somewhere else. Patience is a virtue they say. I say patience is rewarded. God will move.

We can’t see His ways sometimes, as we are too focused on our own solutions to our problems and situations. We grab the first bus, because we don’t believe another one is coming. But, then, there it is, just behind the first. It isn’t always like that to be sure. It might take years, not a few minutes, like in my bus story.

That’s the main point to remember, we can’t see our circumstances as God sees them. Waiting on God’s move is hard. But, when He shows up, it’s amazing. There’s no struggle, no pushing, or shoving, it’s not standing room only, but a seat by a window. – God Bless You, Nancy

Crossing The Line

When I was a young girl, I remember reading a book titled’ The Emperor’s New Clothes”. It was funny to me at the time that a person, (the Emperor) could let himself be so caught up in what others thought, that he ignored the obvious, that he was naked, until a little boy from the crowd told him the fact. All his advisors and his clothes maker, told him that his new suit was so fabulous, that only the most sophisticated people would be able to see it. Fearing that if he, the Emperor, admitted that he could in fact NOT see it, would mean he was not sophisticated, he went along with the clever opportunist clothes maker.

If we were in a similar situation, would we tell the truth, risking our own reputation, or remain silent? Would we be willing to speak up when something we saw crossed the line of decency? Would we know if something crossed the line? Or have we become too desensitized to it, that we wouldn’t even recognize that there was in fact a line, and that it had been crossed?

We might be quick to answer, that we would never, but yet slip up and not notice when a line is crossed. We might claim artistic interpretation when we sit and watch a streaming show, or view movies, that would be called into question, so that we could not incriminate ourselves. We, like the emperor, do not want to admit we do not like what we see for fear of not fitting in with the crowd.

I was recently at a screening event for short films. It is something I enjoy and look forward to every year. My companion, my son, also a filmmaker, and I had selected a set of movies that we wanted to view and settled down into our sit in the crowed auditorium. The lights dimmed and the movie short began.

We were lulled into the movie with its interesting camera angles, characters and imagery. And then something so bizarre happened that it left my son and I shaking our heads as we looked at each other.

On screen, a young boy, aged 11, according to the script, flashed onto the screen with a pool of blood leaking onto the carpet from a slashed stomach and on the floor a pair of scissors. It was a horrific scene of an unfortunately common sight in our world. My son had known it too eerily similar, as he had once been in situation in which his roommate attempting suicide by slashing his abdomen. My son, covered in his roommates blood, intervened and saved the man’s life, driving him to the hospital.

But, then it happened, part of the crowd actually laughed. Yes, that’s right, laughed. When the woman playing the boy’s mom collapses, another burst of laughter. It wasn’t the whole crowd, as others, around us also let out quiet gasps, at the sight of the apparent death of the 11 year old and the collapse of the mom. But, the majority were laughing. The boy had actually, been staging the suicide, but in a twist, reaches for an Indian spear and plunges it into the mom’s neck, and this time and actual death. And once again there was laughter. I can’t repeat my thoughts at that moment, but my son remarked that this movie is terrible.

My son and I were dumbfounded that people would actually laugh. My son whispered “They must be privileged people”, meaning that in their lives, such a sight would be amusing. They had never seen something like real life in which people struggle with mental health issues. It was simply a funny acting scene, worthy of an award, which it had received. Like the Emperor’ naked clothes, they were following the crowd and not realizing just what was being shown. The line had been crossed. In the name of art and amusement. An interview later with the producer and writer, confirmed that this was just another well written script. They had been blinded by the form and function to not realize what message was being sent out into the world. They were patting themselves on the back for their artistic genius and awards.

Some might call it dark humor, but this wasn’t a horror film, or a drama, or a murder mystery, and there is simply no humor in childhood suicide, or murdering ones’ mom. It is not artistic expression, meant to be laughed at. It is a tragedy faced by too many these days. It is not humorous. Too many people face mental health issues to make it a subject of humor so dark. It really makes me wonder what is happening to the world.

But, before you rush to judgement about the young Gen Z, or millennials are to blame; the crowd that laughed were baby boomers. I hear so much from Gen Z that boomers are to blame for many of the world’s problems, and I can agree with that, given the lack of compassion over suicide and a failure to understand the world in which we live. They laugh at the world from ivory towers, far removed from the pain and problems.

My prayer is that young filmmakers will take up the mantel to create new, fresher material for movies, and that we, the audience will turn off the streams that cross the line, and walk out of movies that do the same. Let’s be the little boy in the crowd that calls out the Emperor of the arts. “Hey, you’re naked and you just crossed the line!” – God Bless Nancy

Love Note

Love never fails– 1 Corinthians 13:8

So, I’m not a morning person and I didn’t really see the card or boxes of candy at first. They were from my husband to me on Valentines day. Today to be exact. He was working the early morning shift at his work and had gotten up much earlier than me. I heard him get up and go out to our kitchen, but I, in this early morning hour, remained in a fog of consciousness and sleep. While he prepared for his day ahead.

But, I did hear the water running in the sink. He’s probably washing out the food dishes for our two cats before adding new food, I thought, and I drifted back to sleep.

When I finally woke and stumbled my way into the kitchen, the first thing I noticed was the clean sink- that is free from the dishes from the night before. So, that’s the noise I heard, he was washing the dishes for me. Nice! And then I noticed the card on the table at the spot where I usually sit and eat my breakfast.

For me it was the perfect message of love on Valentines’ Day. It was love doing something. Not just nice words, but really speaking my love language- at least one of them.

It also made me reflect upon God’s love for us. God’s word says He loves us. But, would that have really mattered much, without Jesus actually doing love? That is, healing and caring for people during His earthly ministry and then finally the ultimate action of love, dying for us? Giving Himself for us. Not just telling us with His words, but showing us what love looks like. What His love looks like.

Love is not just a feeling or a bunch of words, but Love is action. Love does. Love is not just words; its a demonstration of what those words mean. Love like that never fails.

I hope you enjoy Valentines’ Day this year and find someone to show God’s love to. Don’t just tell them; show them. God Bless You – Nancy


“Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly—mere infants in Christ.”– Paul, in his letter to the church at Corinth (1 Cor. 3:1, NIV).

Sometimes, what brings us together can also tend to divide us. Take for example the places we choose to live. The mid twentieth century brought the advent of the suburbs and with it the blessed wonder of subdivisions. Neighborhoods that collect houses under a specific name, either from a natural landmark, such as a river or bluff, or point or hollow. The houses are generally all the same with small differences, usually in house exterior color, number of bedrooms, baths, per floor plan, but are generally the same and draw certain people to purchase homes within its boundaries.

There is something that brings people to gather in the neighborhoods, maybe its the walking trails, home designs, nearness to schools or stores. Neighbors collaborate together to create little towns and small home businesses within larger cities and towns. We help each other out when someone gets sick, has a tragedy, or needs their pets watched when we are away.

But, all this closeness to each other can also bring out the worst, as well as the best. The community Facebook page is filled with praise and criticism. Love and hate. Support and controversy. See, despite, what has brought us all together to live in the subdivision, controversy is not absent. We are all opinionated and believe our opinions are the only ones that count. Words can be exchanged over the simplest wrongs and oversights. Cars idling too loudly, music too loud, pets barking too loud, trash not picked up, trash picked up but trash cans left out at the end of the driveway too long.

Reading the comments offers an equally divided opinion on the proper way to handle difficult situations and even on the way to vote, or how to bring up our children.

Is this just a new problem in society from living too near each other? No, people have been living close for centuries. It is just a weak human nature. The sinful part of our nature.

And as you may have found out by now, Christians are not immune to divisions and differences of opinions. It has been a part of the church for a long time.

The Bible verse above is from Paul’s first letter to a group of believers in Corinth, believed to be written around AD 56. The city was not some small place back in Paul’s time, but a city known for academics. It held a strategic location as well and enjoyed the wealth its location provided. And maybe it had subdivisions. Maybe.

But, Paul wrote to the church because of its divisions, not its academic achievements, or because they were great tithers. He told them they were babies. Or at least acting like babies- mere infants in Christ. Why? because they argued over who’s teaching to follow. They were still trying to figure out who was right, Apollos or Paul? Paul couldn’t share with them the deeper truths of Christianity, because in his words, “In fact, you are still not ready, because you are still worldly. For since there is envy and strife among you, are you not worldly and behaving like mere humans?” (1 Cor. 3:2-3, CSB).

Paul further explains to them that when they declare their particular allegiance “I belong to Paul, or I belong to Apollos!” they were demonstrating that they just plain immature. Paul was trying to explain to the church that it was only belonging to God that mattered, not to a particular teacher or preacher. If you read through chapter three you will see Paul explains that he and Apollos are mere servants, not to be followed as though they were more important than God who is the real cause of church growth.

We might find this amusing, until we consider that we, as the modern?, more mature? church of Christ do the same things. We find fault with one preacher and embrace another. We criticize how each other does worship, church and faith. We divide over theology and interpretations of the Scriptures.

I believe Paul would call us out today, if he were here. We put too much focus and energy on what divides, rather than realizing what has brought us together, our faith in Jesus Christ. We do not need to follow a particular preacher as if he or she is more important than God’s teaching in His word. Preachers are mere servants of God, the people He has called to share His message, and sadly, mere humans who are capable of falling short of other’s expectations.

Would Paul call us babies, today if he visited our churches or checked out our social media posts? Maybe. Would he find us serving God and growing in our faith, or bragging about what denominations we belong too, or what mega church we attend. Would he find us criticizing other Christians and their pastors? Would he find us raising up worship bands as though they were above reproach, and worthy of our following like they were Hollywood stars? So that we choose to be entertained at worship rather than joining in worshiping God? I wonder. I think we can do better.

God Bless You, Nancy

We’ll Feed You…Outside

Have you ever felt like an outsider before? You know, like you are the odd person out, while everyone else seems to fit in? We all probably have at one time or another. It might have been when we started a new job, a new school, or when moving into a new neighborhood. Or maybe if we visited another country where we didn’t speak the language.

It makes you nervous for a bit, but after awhile you become one of the locals if you spend long enough there. You get familiar with the people, places, and shortcuts. You learn the social expectations at the new job and who to ask for help.

But, sometimes, we can be kept on the outside by others, who do not want us to join their close knit communities. It is nothing we have done, or a perceived thought of our own that we are the new kid on the block. We are just treated like an outsider.

I thought about this as I recently traveled to a wedding in a mid sized southern city. My son was traveling with me and the drive was an easy few hours away. We arrived early at the downtown church to discover the parking lot was being staged as a feeding site for the homeless. It was a very urban setting for a church, something my son and I are not used to in our small town. We both were a little nervous and asked ourselves whether or not our car would be safe in the parking lot while we attended the wedding.

We were early and the door to the chapel where the wedding was being held was locked still. We pushed the doorbell to be let in. It was a beautiful church; everywhere we looked we saw antiques and centuries old architecture. But, also everywhere we looked were the signs; don’t enter, not an entrance, go around, not an exit. To clarify, all the signs were placed in front of doorways and hallways. Doors were locked between buildings and door were locked preventing us from exiting the building. It felt as though all people entering were a burden, rather than welcomed. We felt like outsiders.

My son quickly made the observation, that the church locked the people outside for fear of them coming into the building. His wise words were; ” The church will feed you…..but we will feed you OUTSIDE, please don’t come in; stay outside.” I considered my own thoughts a few minutes earlier, when my fear of what the homeless people in the parking lot might do to our car and the stuff inside the car while we were inside in the church building. I felt embarrassed now.

I get it that security is an issue for churches. Churches have been the sites for destruction and heinous crimes. They would like to keep safe. And keep the people inside safe. But, I wondered if they would have let us in to attend the wedding, if we had been dressed as the homeless outside were.

Ironically, the next day, I was attending a different church, but in the same state, with a much different outlook on the homeless and food insecure. At the end of the service a homeless veteran came inside and was welcomed with a small bag of cookies.I was told when I inquired that He was a regular that often would wander in during the service. It was not a large church, but had been replanted in an old urban neighborhood. It was for all intent and purposes, downtown, like the one form the day before.

Two different churches and two very different ways to handle the people coming into the building. One made everyone who visited feel like an outsiders and like a burden, the other; welcomed and as an opportunity to share the Good News of Jesus.

It is easy to say that we would be like that welcoming church too, given the chance. But, I have to admit, I am still working on this, or should I say, God is working on me about this. I still need to be reminded by God from time to time, that I used to be that outsider in the church. I was nervous to attend. I didn’t know what to expect. I never grew up attending church. I was nervous the first time I attended a service. I wanted to fit in.

Maybe you have never attended a church service before and are kind of intimidated to try. I get it. Many people stalk churches online first, before deciding to visit. And that’s okay. I do the same. Maybe you’re just not ready yet.

But, I pray that when you do go, you will find a church that is ready to feed you (spiritually speaking) from inside, and not make you feel like an outsider. Or maybe even offer food or assistance and help if that is what you need.

To those of you who are people of faith, remember, we are all just people, created in His image. We don’t need to be afraid to open our church doors and let the people who need the most help come inside. We are not better than others, just in different places in life. Maybe we have made better choices, maybe we have been blessed more financially, but we are all basically bankrupt without God. We all feel hunger, loneliness, pain and other hurts. We are called to help and love others. And share the hope that is found in God. If we consider ourselves better than others then, in the only way that is true is that we have hope. We found this hope in our relationship with Christ.

Some people do not want to come inside, but that is okay. They have their reasons, but we can still help. We can continue to answer their questions about our faith. We can offer encouragement. We can share a meal or help them out financially. We were once the outsiders too. We do not need to limit ourselves to the scope of our reach. Jesus taught in the synagogues and He taught outside the synagogues. He shared meals with the “outsiders” of His time. He calls us today, as He called Peter to feed His sheep. That might be inside the church, but more than likely it will be outside. So let our response simply be; “Yes. We will feed you.” -God Bless You- Nancy

Pursuing God

Have you ever heard of FOMO? It’s an acronym that stands for FEAR OF MISSING OUT and some days I believe I am its biggest supporter. I am always plagued by the thoughts of “What if I miss this opportunity?” or “What if I can’t find this item again?” or the biggest for me, in terms of purchasing, “What if I miss the sale on this item?”

Sadly, I often fall into this fear trap. Mostly because I have missed out on opportunities and only realized it too late. And I vow not to let it happen again. When I miss out on something, I am disappointed to be sure and added to that is regret. Learning to live with being disappointed is a great life lessons for us all. We simply cannot have everything we want in the way, or terms in which we want. We will miss out and we will have regrets in life. I believe once we realize this, life will become easier to deal with.

Life isn’t always about what makes us happy. God has a better plan for our lives that sometimes leads us to missing out on something. We can stay disappointed or regretful, or learn to shake it off and learn to trust God and His timing.

I write this as though I have this part all figured out, but I can firmly answer “No, I have not.”I am not always sure how to deal with these disappointments of missing out. So, that provides the tinder if you will to ignite the fires of FOMO in my mind.

God says to fear not in several spots in the Bible. Recently, I received an email with the verse of the day. It was from Isaiah 41:

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Is. 41:10, NIV).

It made me stop and think whether or not I was in a state of fear. Well, probably like most people, the world’s economy has made us all anxious and fearful. But, no, what specifically am I fearful about I wondered. Is God trying to get my attention?

Have you ever noticed that God can get His Word to you in unique ways? Like from reading an article, or blog, or from a friend or from an email. I have learned to pay attention to these over the years.

So, the reason for the FOMO post today. It really comes down answering the simple question, Am I pursuing God, or pursuing self? If I am pursuing what I believe God has for me, then there is no fear of missing out. If I am driven by pursuing my own wants, than there will be fear that if I don’t make this happen, it won’t happen. I am not saying that God acts like a puppet master, forcing us to do His bidding, but rather, when I pursue God, there is peace, not fear. There is trust not anxiety.

When I pursue my own wants, I can feel the fear rise up in my mind. And it becomes difficult to make a good decision. All of the “what if’s” seem to clutter my thoughts in those moments. I have learned the best thing to do at those moments is to pause, let the decision set for a moment, followed by seeking, or pursuing God. This is either through prayer, or reading the Bible; usually a combination of both.

I also find that I am better at dealing with this FOMO when I am well rested and not rushed by others. I know these are my weakest times, so it is best to not make decisions then. Staying more focused on God regularly also helps to fend off the FOMO’s in my life.

Remember, God is with us and for us. He hasn’t left us alone to figure it all out. Take time today to pursue Him when you are falling for the FOMO’s. Take care and God Bless You- Nancy


The park was busy and full of people. Vendors lined the sidewalks, selling their unique creations to pay some bills. Children played and college students threw Frisbees. The dog owners played with their dogs. Others strolled hand in hand, glowing in their euphoria of newly discovered love. Others, the homeless beggars, held up signs asking for a donation. Each person had a reason to be there that day, sharing the sunny, but cooler weather outside. But, as I too, had ventured out for a walk through the park that day, I noticed the two women.

Their circumstances, other than the fact they were both in the park that day, could not have been further apart. I imagined for a moment what they must be thinking. The first woman clutched the worn scarf close to her throat to protect herself from the cold wind gust. Her coat was thin and inadequate for the weather in January.

There was a scowl on her face and she barely looked up from the sidewalk. It appeared that she did not dare to make any eye contact with anyone. She seemed lost in her own thoughts, that had taken her to another place and time. She spoke a few words as I passed by her, but not to me, just to the person she was with. It was not a kind tone, but rather angry.

Why was she angry? I could only imagine what she was angry about. Was she mad at the person next to her? Was she bitter at the lot life had dealt her? Was she hiding pain in her life that came out as anger and bitterness? Was she blaming the other person, or herself, or maybe even God? Had she felt forsaken and lost?

The second woman I saw also wore a scarf around her neck to protect herself from the cold wind. The sun must have felt warm on her face as she closed her eyes for a moment and smiled. She opened her eyes and looked up in time to see the first woman. She probably heard her complaining as had I. She raised her eyebrows in wonder, as if to ask the question; “I wonder what is bothering her?” She might have been considering the differences between the two of them as I had. I wondered if she would have wanted to change places with her, but I thought better about it when she turned towards me and smiled.

She was the complete opposite of the first woman, the one who was scowling and complaining. She smiled at me and nodded as if to say, yeah I heard that woman too, and yeah she must have some real problems going on. We exchanged this moment of nods and smiles. On the ground beside her was a sign, scribbled across a piece of cardboard. She appeared to have nothing, but she had so much more than the first woman. She had peace.

The first woman should have had that peace too, but didn’t. She looked as if she had enough of everything. The beautiful silk scarf, purchased years ago, but still her favorite. The beautiful woven coat. The stomach filled with food and a companion to stroll the park with. She had glanced down at the second woman, but darted her gaze away as the woman had smiled at her. Just the moment before, she had seen her with eyes closed tilt her head back and smile. “What could she possibly smile at?” she wondered, but realized that this woman was probably happier than she was at that moment. The thought bothered her and she looked away as the woman had opened her eyes and smiled back at her.

We never really know what another person is thinking. We also do not understand what they are going through or have been through. Appearances deceive us. Those with the most, sometimes are the least likely to be content. At peace with themselves and others. Even at peace with God. Those with peace sometimes have the least.

Sometimes we might feel as though our circumstances are what defines us. We might think the universe has dealt us a bad hand. Someone is to blame and we are constantly trying to figure out who to blame. If we blame ourselves, we learn to turn that inward towards ourselves. We call ourselves names or harm our self. If we blame others, we will be bitter and angry. We will explode outward towards others or even hurt them. We try to deal with this pain. If we blame God, we will avoid Him at all costs. Deny Him, avoid church or leave church. Argue with those from churches or who call themselves Christians. We will do everything that goes against God and what His word says.

The problem with these approaches is that it rarely solves anything. The more blaming we do, the less happy we are. We are convinced this is our lot in life. We make no room for enjoyment. We keep walking forward, eyes cast down and a scowl on our faces. We don’t want to think about anything good happening to us or to others around us. We feel forsaken and we prefer to stay there in that place rather than moving past our circumstances. We like our discontent and after awhile it becomes too comfortable to give up.

We might even find others who also feel forsaken and unhappy and play the “my pain and problems are worse than yours” game. We up the ante, building upon the negativity in each other’s lives. Misery loves company as they say.

But, it really doesn’t have to be like this. The Bible is filled with promises that God will not forsake us. He is with us and cares for us and about us. Hebrews states that “God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5, NIV) Deuteronomy adds “Be strong and courageous; do not be afraid or terrified of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Dt. 31:6) and Jesus said, “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20.

These are just three verses that remind us that God is with us. We don’t have to let circumstances tell us the lie that we are alone and have to figure it all out ourselves. Stuff happens. But God is still there. We don’t have to live in bitterness and anger. We don’t have to feel forsaken. We can find peace and contentment, despite our circumstances. Letting go of the hurts and pains and giving them to God is the first step. God Bless – Nancy

Designed to Reconcile

Most of the items we find around our homes were designed for specific purposes. Coffee makers make coffee, chairs are for sitting, lights are for ease of sight in the dark. But, there are some items that can multitask; a newspaper is for reading, but can be rolled up to squash a bug. A fork designed to pierce a food item and bring it to our mouths, can, in a pinch, be used to stir our coffee if we can’t find our spoon. Not the ideal design, but we can make it work.

Mankind, likewise has been designed. We have been designed for relationship. Genesis speaks clearly to this when God declares it wasn’t good for Adam to be alone. Everything else God created was good. God saw that it was good and commented. Mankind as part of His creation was good, except, not that the first man, Adam, was alone. By himself. With no one else to help him on this planet. Not good according to God. Man needed someone and God provided with Eve. He also told them to be fruitful and multiply. He gave them the ability to create other humans. And He gave them the freewill to choose to obey His instructions. They could stay innocent, or choose to know not only good, but evil, as well. And we know what they chose.

But God wasn’t about to write off the human race altogether. He promised to send an offspring that would crush the Devil. The original antagonist. God designed us for Himself. He didn’t need anything, but maybe He enjoyed His creation. He used to walk in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve. Can you imagine? A hike with the creator of the beauty of nature we see through His beautiful creation.

So God chose to reconcile us back. To a place where we would not need a veil or mask to hide our eyes from seeing God. He Himself would make the first move to restore the broken relationship. Years went by, like thousands of years, but God kept His promise and Jesus came as a baby in a manger. He was fully God and fully man. He was the promised offspring of Genesis. And He grew and set upon a journey that would take Him to a cross on a hill outside Jerusalem.

When two parties are in a broken relationship, there can be reconciliation,and a restoration of the relationship, or a severing permanently. But for a true reconciliation both parties must come to agreement. Between God and man, God made the first move to reconcile with man. But to have a true reconciliation, man must agree with God, accept fault, and allow the relationship to be restored.

Sounds easy, but like in any relationships, we tend to be self- centered, self- determined, and self- reliant. We want it our way. We don’t believe we have any faults to be accounted for. We are pretty good, in our minds, by our own standards. The other person is more to blame than us. And in terms of our relationship with God, He’s difficult. His old fashioned, and didn’t He tell the Israelites to kill a bunch of people? How can He say we are bad?

Without getting into a major discussion of gratuitous evil, let’s just realize that God has made His move. Now the ball is in our court. We can move forward and acknowledge our wrongdoing, accept His terms and look forward to a restored relationship with our creator.

Here’s a comparison; imagine that a rich benefactor sends you a $ 500 gift card to an expensive restaurant. You might think, “Well, I wonder what the catch is?” You realize there isn’t a catch, you just need to enjoy it. No reservations are required. But, you think to yourself, you’ll probably wait to use it. After all, your refrigerator and cabinets are full of food. You’re pretty much set as far as food goes. Maybe you’ll wait and use it when your friends can join you, or when your parents are in town. Maybe on your birthday. It’s months away, but that would probably be a good time.

You’ve decided that yes, that would be perfect. Invitations are given, you get dressed up for the occasion and call an uber- you plan on celebrating and do not want the risk of driving later-. Your plan is flawless. Except for one thing. The Uber parks across the street. In your excited state, without thinking, you open the car door into traffic, step out, right in front a speeding vehicle. The injuries are extensive and you pass away on the scene. That’s it. Game over.

Your plans come to nothing now. You thought everything was all set. Your friends and family were coming. You had the right clothes. You had your gift card. But, you would never get to use it. Why? because you thought you had time. Time to get all your plans together. Time to spend with your family. But, you waited too long, and didn’t realize your own shortcomings.

Time is one thing that is always running short. God has given us this beautiful gift of reconciliation with Him, but we believe we can redeem this offer whenever we choose too. Not at the invitation, when we hear it the first time, but maybe later, when we have all of our stuff together. When we are older. When our family can be there to witness it- like joining the church, or baptism, or confirmation. Yes, that would be perfect, except, neither are redeeming the gift of salvation, just outward acts. Today is the day. We were designed to reconcile with God and each other. We are made for relationship. Life is complicated, I get that, relationships with other flawed humans do not always work out. It is like using a fork to stir, it will work, but not as originally designed.

But, if we will do our part in reconciling to God, simply by recognizing our flawed lives, and accepting His offer. That He already paid our debt. That He has a future for us, with Him, then we will be able to walk with Him in the cool of the evening, as Adam and Eve could. God has done His part, now it’s your turn. You were to designed to reconcile. -God Bless- Nancy