Tag Archives: encouragement

Written on the Palms of His Hands – Christian Poetry

Hello blogging friends.  Just wanted you to know that I’m still around, but have been busy fighting a ferocious health battle. One that I would prefer soon end.  Wish I could promise to jump back into posting and interacting, but sadly I rarely go near computers.  It aggravates my symptoms too much. Please know this: despite the struggle, I have never quit trusting God’s faithfulness and goodness. The reason for our suffering is often beyond our comprehension.  Our job is simply to trust Him more.  An admonition of which the Lord daily reminds me.

This is a poem I wrote in 2013, but I felt it needed an update.  I pray that it brings blessings and encouragement to others struggling.  I miss you all very much!

Much love in Christ……Sue

Written on the Palms of His Hands

Written on His palms:
The most perfect place to be.
Safe, secure from harm,
Since He’s watching over me.

Carried in His arms:
Just exactly what I need.
Resting in His might,
As upon His strength I glean.

Kneeling at His feet;
Casting all my heavy care.
Knowing all along
That my burdens He will bear.

Standing on His word
And believing unashamed.
Confident to wait,
Hoping in His faithful name.

Close, right by His side,
‘Cause I know He’ll never leave.
Trusting in His grace;
To His love, I’ll ever cleave.

Written on His palms;
Never ever will we part.
Scripted in His hands
And engraved upon His heart.

Sue Nash/2017
(edited from original 2013)

 

Broken Vessels Still Matter to God

Broken Pottery Matters

Broken Pottery Matters

Do you feel broken?  

If so, you are not alone.  It is something many of us experience.  Whether physical or emotional, life has a way of beating us down and breaking us apart. 

Ongoing physical struggles, from a rapidly deteriorating spine, have on many occasions left me feeling useless in God’s kingdom.  While the list of what I can do continues to shrink, pain does its part to try to rob any remaining interest.

If I let it, brokenness convinces me that my life no longer matters.  Until God reminds me that my disabilities do not define His ability.

We are but jars of clay.  However, when filled with the Holy Spirit upon salvation, we instantly become vessels capable of emitting the glorious aroma of Christ.  Perhaps even more so, when broken.

If the fragrance on the inside of an exquisite perfume bottle is never shared, the outward composition matters little.  When opened, though, the scent gradually enhances the nearby surroundings. 

And if a perfume bottle ever breaks, the aroma literally takes over.

Broken Vessels, Letting Christ Take Over

Christ longs to do just that ~ to take over.  He will even use brokenness to bring it about.  So that His aroma will be what others sense in our lives, and His strength getting us through what they see.

Are you a broken vessel?  Has life as you once knew it gone awry?  Have things you love seemingly been ripped apart?

If you answered yes to any, let me assure you that God accepts you, broken pieces and all.  You still matter to Him. 

Despite the circumstances, allow Jesus to release His fragrance through you.  Rather than questioning why things happened or waste time longing for things to go back to the way they were, yield all the broken fragments into His care.

Should you keep believing for a miracle?  Absolutely, but in the meantime, stop fretting about what He has allowed in your life.  It’s for a reason.  His reasons.

Just let the brokenness to do its work.  Of softening your heart to others and getting rid of things displeasing to Him.  Of trusting Him more and simply doing what you can.

Remember, what we may view as broken, God sees as limitless.

As unique opportunities to be more dependent upon Him, to where every breath has time to offer praise and every moment space for Him to breathe instead.

Though never enjoyable and often contrary to what we want, brokenness that is surrendered to God can render His presence in us unfettered.  Something very much worthwhile and needful in our world.  His glorious aroma, spilling forth from broken vessels. 

Vessels that matter to Him eternally.

Broken Pottery“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.
2 Corinthians 4:7

Hanging By a Thread ~ God is Still the Lifter of My Head

Drooping Daffodil ~ hanging by a thread

Drooping Daffodil ~ hanging by a thread

Weak,
Wounded,
Symptoms hanging by a thread.

Torn,
Weary,
Unsure of what lies ahead.

Drained,
Broken,
Devastation now widespread.

Calm,
Prayerful,
Giving all to God instead.

Helped
Strengthened
By His power I will not dread

Safe,
Hopeful,
God remains the lifter of my head.

“But thou, O Lord, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head.” Psalms‬ ‭3‬:‭3‬ KJV

****

Hello dear blogging friends.  I trust you are each well and that 2015 is already blessed.

Very obviously, I have dropped off of the blogging radar.  There’s a reason for my infrequent posts.

After my neck surgery last spring, my recovery was slow.  As time progressed, many of my original symptoms improved, but several new ones appeared and grew increasingly worse.

Sadly, a set of X-rays done at the end of the year revealed why.  Two of the three cervical discs fused completely; however, the lower one did not.  And one of the screws on my titanium plate is loosening.  As a result, my neck is not stable and a disc below the surgical site is now showing stress.

I say all of this to explain my blogging absences, but also to send encouragement your way.

Despite admitted times of sadness, discouragement and fear, God has again proven Himself faithful and good.  He continues restoring my hope, lifting my head and getting me through.

He will do the same for you.  The same God who brought you this far, will carry you through whatever still lies ahead.

Trials rarely make sense.  But we can know that God does not allow these fiery situations into our lives because He is mean or uncaring.  He loves us and has reasons for it all.  When we cry out to God in the midst of our broken, torn lives, He will always be there to lift us back up and once again show forth His glory through us.

Taken last spring

Photo taken last spring ~ at times, I feel as droopy as these daffodils!

If you are interested in similar posts of mine, see Poetry Corner.  I used to blog more often!

Surrounded by God’s Abiding Love ~ Snippets of Rain

Surrounded by raindrops

Surrounded by raindrops

Surrounded by God’s Abiding Love

I love you
With an abiding love.
It is not altered
By the certainty
Of your inadequacies.
It does not change
With the rippling tide
Of your shortcomings.
It does not fade
With the fluctuations
Of your loyalty.

It is constant,
Surrounding,
Abiding,
And everlasting.

****

“So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
1 Corinthians 13:13
ESV

For similar posts, see Snippets of Rain

Snippets of Rain

Don’t Despair ~ Snippets of Rain

Snippets of RainDon’t despair

Look unto the light of My countenance
To what you have now
To what lies ahead
My presence
My glory
My power

****

For believers in Christ, it’s never over!

“Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.”
(Ephesians‬ ‭3‬:‭20-21‬ KJV)

To see similar posts, go to Snippets of Rain

God’s Opinion is What Matters ~ Snippets of Rain

Clematis seed pod

Overlooked ~ clematis seed pod

People may dismiss you, do I?
People may overlook you, do I?

I made you.
I understand you.
I listen to your every word.
It doesn’t matter whether others think about you.

 When you connect with Me, I hear.
I’m Who matters.

****

Pour yourself into Me;
I receive you.

Take your eyes off the opinions of others;
I understand you.

Focus only on Me;
I complete you.

Dismiss the lies of the enemy;
I adore you.

My purple clematis this year

Adored ~ my clematis this year

“How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!”
Psalm 139:17

****

At times, I struggle with caring more about the opinions of others than what God thinks.  I have a hard time separating out their responses to me and focusing on His instead.
Yet, we answer to God, not man.
The Bible is clear that the fear of man brings a snare. (Prov. 29:25)  It traps us and stifles our progress.  We must never allow what others think to stop us from stepping into who God called us to be.

For similar posts, see Snippets of Rain

Gully Washers ~ Helping Others Through Life’s Raging Rivers

Raging River

Raging River ~ a gully washer

Down south, when it rains hard, we call it a gully washer.  These are the kind of rainstorms where the water gushes down into gutters and through culverts, with flash flood strength.

Raging River Prehistoric

Raging River Prehistoric

I took these photos near the end of one, still showing the force of water rushing into a gutter.  While it collected, the water almost looked like a prehistoric animal.

Raging River Demon

Raging River Demon

This one looked like it had the face of a demon ~ creepy! 

Gully Washers of Life

As my husband and I recently discovered, life’s gully washers can certainly hit with demon-forced strength.  We both still feel like we got pounded!  Like for us, the raging of the flood can last long and grow strong enough to try to sweep you away.

Through it, though, we once again found that there is help and hope no matter the intensity or outcome of the battle.  And a way to look beyond one’s own circumstances and bless others along the way.

The day I captured these pictures was a Sunday.  The rain had just drenched the road in front of my church, before I left for home.  Were it not for the kindness of a parishioner, who had laid bricks as stepping-stones, those of us leaving would have had to traverse a raging river to the parking lot.  The raised brick walkway instead enabled us to make it to our cars with a smile on our faces and dry toes in our shoes.

Help Others During Gully Washers

The thoughtfulness of the brick layer got me to thinking about things we can do to help someone going through a gully washer in life.  Even if we are still in the midst of one ourselves.

We all face times of stormy trials.  With God’s help, we can make it safely to the other side and learn invaluable lessons of endurance.  Lessons designed to equip us to encourage others going through difficulties.  As our circumstances grow us, He doesn’t want us to live in a vacuum. 

Instead, by His power, God wants our lives always on display, shining His light and being used for His purposes.  As Jim and I learned throughout his hospital journey, opportunities for doing so presented daily, and were often just simple acts of kindness on our part.  Some, though, required courageous acts of restraint when issues arose.

Stepping Stones of God’s Light During Gully Washers

In some form or fashion, we can all be stepping-stones of help, light or encouragement to those God places in our path:

We can simply listen and show that we care.  Really listen, to comfort and understand.

We can go out of our way to offer a helping hand.  Or simply hold a hurting hand in need.

We can forgive, even when doing so hurts and the offense seems justified.

We can pray, in earnest, with heart-wrenching, gully washing tears.

Such kind consideration for others models that of our Good Shepherd, who leads us through every storm to places where pastures are green and waters are still.

Raging River ~ Reaching for Help

Raging River ~ do you see the shape of a stick figure, reaching up for help?

With God’s help, we don’t have to suffer through struggles alone.  We can reach out to the One who calms the storms.  But when we reach the seasons of peaceful valleys, Jesus asks that we not grow complacent by neglecting those around us hurting and in need.

With Christ as our example, deeds of comfort and compassion may be their only bricks over the gully washer; the only chance they have of making it safely through to the other side of their raging river.

“Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.”
2 Corinthians 1:3, 4

*****

**I would love to hear from you.  Tell of a time when God used a storm or trial as an avenue for you to bless others. 

 

 

Another Bend in the Road ~ A Painful Saga, Part 5

Around the Bend ~ I laid the bricks for the walkway myself

Around the Bend ~ I helped lay the bricks for the walkway years ago

Wrapped in God’s presence,
Secure in His embrace.
He directs my steps,
Each bend in the road I face.

It seems as though we each have our thorn in the flesh.  Mine is an inherited, early onset of degenerative disc disease that presented when I was in my twenties.  It started with my lower back and included sciatica, but progressed to include involvement with my neck.

These pronounced neck symptoms have forced me to make a tough decision; one that I never intended.

After MUCH prayer, and due to the deterioration of my symptoms with resulting ramifications to my life, I have decided to undergo the three level cervical fusion.

This is after years of trying nearly every non-surgical measure:

Physical therapy, trigger point, deep massage, TENS. myofascial release, chiropractor, traction, injections, stretching, ice and heat, ergonomics, custom-designed pillow, lifestyle adjustments, medications, etc…

For personal reasons, I’ve never wanted acupuncture.

At best, I have merely gotten by throughout the continual roller coaster of pain.  Car and plane trips are huge triggers, but I have always bounced back to a manageable level afterwards. 

That all changed with our latest trips out-of-town.  It’s like I crossed a threshold into a different level with an entirely new set of symptoms, and it is this new normal that drove my decision towards surgery.

Just knowing that any time I travel, I must face significant, lingering neck pain with radiating symptoms is bad enough. However, I now also have an interrelated vertigo with bizarre ear symptoms, which correlates both in intensity and in duration to the neck pain.

The decision was not an easy one, because the what ifs are terrifying.  Not unlike the what ifs that I faced with lower back surgeries, though.  Amazingly, God brought me through those successfully.  You can read about that story, in my series called, A Painful Saga. In fact, I’ve added this post to that series!

The sobering reality is that unless I want to give up traveling, which means that I will rarely see my precious grandchildren, or if I want to live with incapacitating symptoms, I must follow God’s direction and have this surgery.

I realize there are no guarantees.  God has given me a confident assurance, though, that He is directing my path.  That no matter what I face, He will bear me up on eagles’ wings into His presence.

None of us knows what lies ahead.  However, we can rest assured knowing that God already sees around the bend.  He promises to go before, behind and with us: helping, strengthening and delivering.

I believe for a good outcome.  Regardless of what I face, though, I know that God will wrap me us in His loving, comforting arms.  He will carry me safely around this next bend in the road.

“You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself.”
Exodus 19:4

*Some of you have medical conditions and problems much worse than mine.  During my convalescence, as God brings you to my mind, I will pray for your needs and for His richest blessings to fall like rain! 

I will do one more post tomorrow before my upcoming surgery, which is scheduled for next week.

Words and photo by Sue Nash/ © 2014

 

 

Hope On ~ Easter Awaits

Daffodils in Spring ~ my grandmother planted these

Daffodils in Spring ~ my grandmother planted these

Hope On ~ Easter Awaits

Exceeding sorrow filled their hearts,
They couldn’t bear to see Him part.

But although He was crucified,
It wasn’t the end of His life.

Though death separated three days,
  To His followers Christ would say,

‘Hope on, Easter awaits.’

Just as the disciples did after the crucifixion of Christ, have you ever faced times when you thought things were hopeless?  You’ve prayed.  You’ve held on, but things only seem to get worse.  Then, something else happens, causing your hope to crash into despair.

When Jesus died, His followers wrongly concluded that all was lost.  Their King was gone; their hopes dashed.  They couldn’t see the promise for the tears.  Anguish distorted their anticipation of resurrection.

The pain of hopelessness does that.  It shreds any possibility of victory.  Through the lies of the enemy, it brutally annihilates trust.

Yet, our Savior, after enduring cruel battering by His captors and dying a death undeserved, knew that death would not hinder His resurrection.  What seemed hopeless to the disciples was merely a lack of understanding on their part.

Resurrection was set in motion the moment Christ breathed His last.

We would do well to remember that.  Although the breakthroughs seem impossible, their fulfillment is only awaiting their ripe Easter morn.  Suddenly, what God has promised will burst on the scene.

The thing desired, born anew in God’s perfect timing.

Hope on, fellow believers.  Easter awaits.

****

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick: but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.
Proverbs 13:12
NKJV

Words and photo by Sue Nash © 2014

To see my previous posts about Easter, follow the link.

Crowned With the Colors of God’s Glory

Japanese magnolia buds openingColor my life with your love and goodness.
Crown my life with your joy and gladness.
Bring me into your presence and promises.
Guide me into your plans and purposes.

The magnificence of spring is getting ready to burst upon the scene, and with its colors dissipate the dreary landscape of winter.  With one stroke, color will brighten the surroundings, and alter the depressive monotony of cold.

Trials and problems tend to drench us in dreariness.  The enemy prefers we succumb to the insidious clutches of gloom, bitterness and doubt – things that dampen the brilliant hues of joy, mercy and hope.

Yet, in one instant, from a single moment in God’s presence, the radiant colors of His glory burst into our very being.  With one stroke, God transforms a heart faded from doubt and sadness into one saturated with hope and gladness.

Into a life crowned with the colors of God’s glory.

“But thou, O LORD, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head.”
Psalm 3:3

Japanese magnolia blooms opening

Japanese magnolia blooms opening

I am easing back into blogging and photos.  Thanks for your patience with me!
Images and words by Sue Nash/ © 2014