When the going gets tough…

All kinds of situations prevent us from accomplishing the work of our hearts.

Time.

Distraction.

Discouragement.

Fatigue.

But what about people?

Do people ever discourage you from following your dreams and work?

In Nehemiah chapter 6, Nehemiah and his workers are determined to build a sacred wall, but they face intense ridicule, rumors, and even threats of violence from those opposed to them. Still, they carried on, and in verses 15-16 we read:

“So on October 2 the wall was finished—just fifty-two days after we had begun. When our enemies and the surrounding nations heard about it, they were frightened and humiliated. They realized this work had been done with the help of our God.” (Nehemiah‬ ‭6‬:‭15-16‬ NLT)

Did you catch that?

A single phrase.

A realization.

“The work had been done with the help of our God.”

Maybe you face a tough assignment today…

…a co-worker who criticizes,

…a friend who discourages,

…a mission field which feels unreachable,

…the unrecognized sacrifice it takes to parent and clean and carpool a house full of kiddos,

…another parent-teacher meeting that leaves you weeping for your special needs child no one understands,

…another therapy session that feels more like heartbreak than healing,

…another doctor who says he doesn’t know what else to do.

Maybe you’re just plain exhausted and overwhelmed.

Whatever or whomever discourages you today, take heart.

And turn towards God.

Your work will get done with His help.

Click here to read all of Nehemiah 6.

And may the work of your heart and your hands be blessed this day and always.

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Another day another dollar.

I came home worn and beat down from another day another dollar
spent surfing stations trying to escape the heart rend of a brave man in
orange
breathing his last
Another day another dollar spent putting hands on cancer and aging and healing and dying
Another evening wanting only to put my feet up but there
he
is
my wide-eyed son too old to waste a single moment soothing my own ache when he says
Look, mama
So I do
And our toes curl against the warm wet stone of the patio where we stand watching the storm clouds push to the east as the fire of another day-end ignites the sky
Pink then purple then last of all
orange
And there ain’t no dollar I wouldn’t pay to make sure I don’t miss
me
my boy
and the sunset.

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Finding focus in these times.

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I went to the field of sunflowers to live deliberately.

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At least that’s what I’d tell Thoreau.

But really, I went to capture the bent and spindly yellow necks arching in unison towards the sun rising up and over the field, over the chaos of rapidly agin’ old roads and new ones no one can seem to find, and though I want to lend a hand to all the changin’ I can’t bear the red veins of pain running through it all.

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Never mind the rhubarb or tomatoes.

Never mind the kale or bib lettuce.

Never mind the pole beans or rows of corn.

They can do their own sweet thing, ’cause see in the old days they used to tell writers to come and prophesize with pens, to keep our eyes wide, for the chance won’t come again to see what’s being planted. But I don’t got eyes for much right now. Maybe that’s not the right way but it’s the only way I know to survive the growing waters drenching my bones.

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All I know for sure is what the sunflowers know,

to follow the sun.

To soak up warm Truth shining down

and follow.

Follow the sun.

*****

“Don’t get sidetracked…” Proverbs 4:27 (NLT)

*****

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The order is rapidly fadin’
And the first one now will later be last
For the times they are a-changin’
-Bob Dylan