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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Yesterday’s game to play. A poem.

Yesterday

the teacher asked my middle
son what do you want to be when you grow up
and he replied in the usual fashion of one
who believes
there is a world to grow up into
where souls don’t have to flee to mountains
and days are not filled with reminders of how things must have been for Noah
And so I smiled and nodded trying
hard to believe in growing up
and peace under
darkened suns and moonless nights

Today

I fled to my garden where mounds of hydrangea blooms cool
if only for a moment
the low grade fever of sadness spiking within me
Truth be told I’m hot and shaky and my head is filled with news flashes and the

thud

thud

thud

of boxes of food and diapers–diapers!–as they land on hills
trembling from the cries of the least of these and
despite the hydrangeas my soul screams
where
are the Bonhoeffers and Niemöllers and
why
didn’t we listen to them in the first place
but still
the bright yellow cross painted by my oldest son years ago stands steadfast beneath our river birch
and the Still Small Voice moves me like a
trumpet call and I choose
not to grow weary but to

go

keep watch and
live.

*****

Yesterday, love was such an easy game to play
Now I need a place to hide away

~The Beatles

*****

cross

 

 

 

 

second chances

second chances

 

*****

“A Southern story of second chances.”

That’s one of the tag lines for How Sweet the Sound.

It’s fitting, I think. So many of the characters have been through trials and are just plain tired of trying to find a God who seems so elusive in the midst of their pain and shame.

But strange things happen when we reach the end of our selves.

Second chances come around.

More because we choose to take them than because they’re handed to us.

How might God be asking you to take a chance today?