Sunshinelittleone's Blog

All about my love for the Lord

Missing is real…

I celebrated the 20th Christmas without my sweet father and my 8th without my precious mom. It’s amazing how it never seems to get easier.  I have had more holiday without my dad than with.

The last Christmas we spent together I was a month shy of 17.  Even at that tender age I knew deep in my heart that we would be celebrating our final Joyous Noel together.  The memory of that final Christmas is etched deep into my heart.  I am aware of every smell, sound and feeling.  I harbor in my soul unwavering gratitude to the Lord.  I feel it was He who allowed me to realize the finality of that Christmas of ’91.  

I received from my sweet Daddy a ring.  Not just any ring. The ring he gave me was his father’s.  It was the ring my grandfather wore until the day of his death in May of 1979.  His wedding ring.  The ring that symbolized a great and pure covenant between he and my grandmother.  A marriage that I have bore witness to only through story and photograph.  My aunt always says my grandfather was impeccably dressed and smelled fresh of Ivory soap. I know he was an artist.  One of the only pictures I have of my grandfather and me is  of us drawing flowers together.  A sweet remembrance. 

So, I miss my parents.  I miss that they don’t get to sit under our tree in the cozy of pjs and fresh coffee.  I miss that they don’t get to see the expression of awe and wonder on the faces of their grandchildren.  I miss the smell of pipe tobacco and Grey Flannel.  I miss it all.  

Yet in my missing I am abundantly grateful for that last Christmas when we were all together-joyfully and abundantly.

When you long and miss those gone before you hold tight to the present.  Each moment is fleeting and the realness of it’s departure settles deep into your conscience.  I never thought I could enjoy Christmas the way I did until this year.  

This year seemed to be filled with new and sweet memory making.  I am part of new family. My husband’s family. And yes, we have spend a multitude of Holidays together, this was the first I was able to really let my guard down, not long for what was, but, rather enjoy and revel in what is. I am grateful…abundantly.

A final thought…for those who, like me, are creature of habit and routine, I offer you God-joy.  Dig deep into Him this season and allow Him to change your heart.  Remember the days gone past, but appreciate and marvel at the days of now…they are precious and YOURS.

God bless…and Happy New Year.

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Today’s KPC devotional…

Some kind of pine tree close

Some kind of pine tree close (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, . . .” Galatians 4:4

Take a moment and pray that the Lord will speak to you in this time of study.

Devotional written by Samantha Ewing

It’s December 29, and I’m getting edgy.  I’m a creature of habit, comfort and control…not to mention organization.  When I’m done with something, like a child, I am DONE.  I like to have order around me and that’s why, on this fourth day after Christmas, my eyes and mind see the chaos of green and red abounding from nearly every corner of my home, and I’m uneasy.  I’m ready to pack up Christmas.  But, in my packing of bells and snow globes, angels and bulbs, I am not packing up Jesus.  On the contrary, I am regaining focus on the One whose birth we celebrate this time each year.

“Remain in Me, and I will remain in you.” John 15:4

When the house is adorned in the richness of the season, my focus is easily averted from Christ to the shopping, hosting, and general merriment that this Yuletide brings.  I am consumed with the getting done and doing of Christmas rather than the reason, to celebrate and honor the birth of our Savior.  I’m lost in the packages and tins and baking.  I find myself crawling (exhausted) into bed each night, barely able to utter a word of thanks to the Lord.  This is why I need to take Christmas down and sit quietly and uncluttered with the Lord.

“Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” Mark 6:31

I am not a minimalist, but I do enjoy order, and I find that the more orderly things are around me, the greater my attention is on Jesus; I’m able to clear my mind and focus on Him.  I’m able to just be.  I long to be still in His presence.  He commands me,

“Be still and know that I am God…” Psalm 46:10

In the next few days, I’ll continue to enjoy the merriment of a bedecked and bejeweled home.  I’ll appreciate the joy of all my Christmas heirlooms and soak in the magic that each piece brings. I’ll tenderly pack up the nativity sets…or not.  Perhaps in an effort to enjoy Christmas a bit longer, I’ll keep the cast of that starry night in a place, where Christmas can be remembered daily.  Next week as the attic door closes, the tree goes to the Bay, and the Elf of the Shelf returns to his northern abode, I’ll sit quietly in an unadorned living room in the presence of the Light of the Lord…for He needs no adornment; He is perfectly beautiful without any embellishment.

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because He has anointed me…” Luke 4:18

Heavenly Father,
I sit in gratitude.  I am thankful for the gift of Jesus…the Babe in the manger.  I am eager to be with You, alone.  Father, I repent of my distraction and ask that You would fill me to overflowing with Your Holy Spirit. I am humbled by Your outpouring of love and joy.  Father, I ask for Your peace to fill my heart and my home as I take down the symbols of Advent and rest quietly in Your beauty.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Samantha Ewing

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Don’t just stand there…do something! PRAY!

Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglica...

 

“Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.  Praise the Lord.” Psalm 150:6

It is beyond difficult in our human condition to think that our nation’s security is once again under attack.  We are living in a time of darkness.  While we (those who are adults) were once able to run and play until ‘the street lights came on’, our children are guarded by the fences that surround their backyards.  We were able to walk to school, ride bikes to the variety, we were free to play and romp and be kids.  Our kids are growing up in a much different time.  I have been praying to understand the difference.  Some say our world is over populated, there are too many people; the odds of great sin and sadness are greater as the volume of people increases…NO!  We aren’t over-populated.  The world has as many people as the Lord, Himself, has created.  He commands us to be “fruitful and multiply”.  And we have.  He also commands us “to love the Lord your God with all your heart”. And we don’t.

So, I have been praying and meditating on scripture and gleaning from the insights of others.  The Lord has given me this:

We have all but abandoned God.  We have turned our back on Him.  We have allowed atheists and the ACLU to overrun our thinking. We have coddled their discomfort and lack of belief to the degree that we have run God out of our everyday.  We have taken God out of our schools and workplace so as not to offend the non-believers.  You know what? I am offended.  I am outraged.  I am beyond grieved for our nation…for our world.  We have allowed the fundamental beliefs of the nation to play second fiddle to the whining and crying of those who chose to live outside of the will of God.  We have filled the God sized holes in our hearts with blasphemy and hate.  We have allowed those who feel threatened by the Word to take strongholds in our lives.  We have walked on eggshells long enough.  We have given strength to evil through our complete and blatant disregard for the One who created us to love and be loved.  We have killed babies, trampled homeless, disregarded the sick and needy.  We have spit in the face of righteousness and we wonder how the horrible awful events of today can take place…Really?  We wonder how we can live in a world with such tumult?  We have abandoned God.  Why would we accept anything other than evil to pervade our midst?  How can we expect the Lord to hold us close to His heart when we have banished Him from ours?  He has created us with freewill.  He said, “come unto me and I will give you rest.”  He said “seek and you shall find.” But we are not seeking or resting…we are running and building idols in hopes that our manmade creations will bring us peace and comfort and saving.  How can we expect protection when we deny the Lord from every aspect of our lives?

Don’t question the NRA or the policies or the doctors or the counselors or God…question yourself.  All of us.  Even those of us who claim righteousness in the name of Jesus, are we really living out our call from God fully, or are we merely going through the motions?  We are sinning as a nation…as a people…as a world.  We are sinning against the One True God and we wonder where He is?

Turn to the Lord.  Turn to Him.  Repent of your sin-nature. Seek Him.  Live in Him.  Hold fast to the heart of Christ.

Father,
You are present. You are waiting on us to ask and seek and plead for your forgiveness and mercy.  Lord, help heal us.  Help to turn us back to You. Father, change our hearts.  Bring back the desire to give you thanks and praise. Lord, change our nation, our world. Lord, You are mighty to heal and save.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.

2 Chronicles 15
New International Version (NIV)

Asa’s Reform
15 The Spirit of God came on Azariah son of Oded. 2 He went out to meet Asa and said to him, “Listen to me, Asa and all Judah and Benjamin. The Lord is with you when you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you. 3 For a long time Israel was without the true God, without a priest to teach and without the law. 4 But in their distress they turned to the Lord, the God of Israel, and sought him, and he was found by them. 5 In those days it was not safe to travel about, for all the inhabitants of the lands were in great turmoil. 6 One nation was being crushed by another and one city by another, because God was troubling them with every kind of distress. 7 But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.” 8 When Asa heard these words and the prophecy of Azariah son of[a] Oded the prophet, he took courage. He removed the detestable idols from the whole land of Judah and Benjamin and from the towns he had captured in the hills of Ephraim. He repaired the altar of the Lord that was in front of the portico of the Lord’s temple. 9 Then he assembled all Judah and Benjamin and the people from Ephraim, Manasseh and Simeon who had settled among them, for large numbers had come over to him from Israel when they saw that the Lord his God was with him. 10 They assembled at Jerusalem in the third month of the fifteenth year of Asa’s reign. 11 At that time they sacrificed to the Lord seven hundred head of cattle and seven thousand sheep and goats from the plunder they had brought back. 12 They entered into a covenant to seek the Lord, the God of their ancestors, with all their heart and soul. 13 All who would not seek the Lord, the God of Israel, were to be put to death, whether small or great, man or woman. 14 They took an oath to the Lord with loud acclamation, with shouting and with trumpets and horns. 15 All Judah rejoiced about the oath because they had sworn it wholeheartedly. They sought God eagerly, and he was found by them. So the Lord gave them rest on every side. 16 King Asa also deposed his grandmother Maakah from her position as queen mother, because she had made a repulsive image for the worship of Asherah. Asa cut it down, broke it up and burned it in the Kidron Valley. 17 Although he did not remove the high places from Israel, Asa’s heart was fully committed to the Lord all his life. 18 He brought into the temple of God the silver and gold and the articles that he and his father had dedicated.

19 There was no more war until the thirty-fifth year of Asa’s reign.

 

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In times like this we need to seek God…

“Jesus is the same yesterday  and today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8

We grieve as a nation for the dear lives lost in the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School.  We offer prayer and hope for healing.  We ask ‘how’ and ‘why’ could this tragedy happen?  We grasp at news stories and headlines hoping for an answer….a reason.  Our human minds can not comprehend the evil that overtook those moments.  What we can comprehend is that the Lord, Jesus Christ is present in this time of heartache.  We ask why, He, the Lord of lords, allowed for this to happen.  Many may question His sovereignty.  We rely on our own human condition to explain away the horror.  Evil is present in our world…in abundance.

I am a mother of two children, two between the ages of five and ten.  My heart is heavy for the mothers and fathers and siblings of those lost.  For the wives and husbands who will lay their spouses to rest.  I am grieved to think that a sleepy community has been rattled to it’s core.  I am beyond overwhelmed by the thought that one single being could reign such terror into the lives of a nation…the world. I am lost for words to explain the emotion that I am sure we all feel.  But, in the midst of my (our) complete and utter confusion, I am comforted by the faith I have in Christ. Jesus wasn’t absent from Sandy Hook yesterday at 9:30.  I imagine His presence was palpable as He carried little lambs to sit in His mighty lap eternally. And while the gunman had intended death to prevail, the Lord was victorious as He ushered the fallen into the beauty and perfection of Heaven.  He stood in the face of the evil one capturing each soul as it lifted from lifeless bodies. Long before the first breath of man, the Lord created a place that brings eternal joy where we will all be united forever.

I am not making light of the loss that the families and friends of those slain have felt.  I am certain they are feeling pain greater than many of us will ever imagine.  They are broken and shattered and, seemingly, beyond repair.  Their lives have been stolen by evil.  Their pain is threading through the hearts of those who grieve with them.  And yet, in all this tribulation, there is Jesus.  Jesus who is abundant and loving and ever-present.  Jesus who is the healer of the weary and broken.  He offers rest to all who call His name.  He is holding their hearts as they mourn. He is covering this nation with His amazing grace.  Grace more fathomable than evil.  He will heal them.  He will, as the hurt ebbs and flows, cover them in His mercy. He will cover us all.

Father in Heaven,
You alone heal us when we are broken.  Heal our nation.  Heal the hearts of those who grieve real and deep.  Heal our fallen nature.  Lord restore us

Remembering

Remembering (Photo credit: Puzzler4879 (Thank You for 500K Views))

so that we, as a vast community, can comprehend the sanctity of life.  Lord God, forgive us our trespasses.  Help us, Father, to live abundantly in Your love, and goodness, and peace, and kindness.  Give us the prayers to pray for those who are shattered. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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A prayer for the weary…

IMG_0007“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest in your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

A friend recently confided in me her distance from the Lord.  She is, in my mind, a very Godly woman.  However, over the past several months, she feels she is backsliding.  Her ability to humbly admit her troubles left me wondering about my own faith walk.
In the past several weeks…and perhaps months, I  have been rushing around serving people.  I have been doing a lot.  I have given a tremendous amount of time to organizing and planning and doing, all of which I thought I was doing unto the Lord.  I wasn’t…I haven’t.  I have been doing it for ‘man’.  I have been serving God’s people, but not God.  This leaves me feeling hallow and ashamed.  I have been so busy that I have lost sight of how I am to do everything unto the Lord.

So, as my sweet friend has confidently and transparently poured out her desires to be cemented deeply in the Lord, and her repentance of backsliding, she has helped me to see that, I too , have backslid.

I cried out to the Lord today and asked Him to fill me to overflowing with His grace and mercy and goodness.  I have petitioned Him with prayers of longing desire to serve Him and live in Him abundantly…again, dying to self to live fully in Him.

I will serve. I will serve Him.  If that means refraining from taking on tasks and agendas, then I will serve the Lord by being still.  I will wait on the Lord.  I feel He is leading me into a season of surrender.  I will, with Him, be obedient to the direction He has for my life at this time.  I will serve my family.  I will commit to becoming a Proverbs 31 woman. I will meditate daily on His mighty, life giving Word.

Father in Heaven,

I am Yours.  My heart cries out to You.  Fill me O Lord with Your righteousness.  I am seeking Your face, Father.  I am seeking to live abundantly in You, O God. Thy will be done, Father.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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The best Christmas pressie…

Cheers to you, Hers!

Cheers to you, Hers!

We all have a memory of that one gift that stands out among all the rest. Perhaps is was a trip, or a new outfit, or a piece of jewelry….something you coveted and then, by all Christmas miracles, received.  My best gift was my sweet baby cousin, Erin.

See, she was born this day, December 12, 1980.  I was soon to be six and she was exactly what my heart had desired.  A new baby.  I remember the night with exact detail.  I remember the red bow tied in my hair.  I remember the excitement and anticipation and the longing to see this little gem.  I am blessed to have this indelible memory cemented firmly in my heart.

It would stand to reason, that she would have a ‘once in a lifetime’ birthday.  She is celebrating her 12/12/12. How fun! It suits her because if she is anything, she is unique and really a ‘once in a lifetime’ woman.  She is remarkable.

Erin and I grew up as close as sisters.  Two only-children.  We spent summers and holidays and weekends and moments soaking in life. My fondest memories have her in the center.  She is, undoubtedly, the one person who knows me best.

We have walked paths of joy and heartache.  Our sweet little family has been victorious in the face of trial.  We have walked with each other through deep sadness, loss and failure.  We have carried one another’s burdens.  We have always had a shoulder to share.  We have, without fail, come out of the fire, stronger and more courageous.  We share a desire to push on.  We share ‘tough’.  We share a love that only sisters know.

Our lives have been blessed with immeasurable joy and good.  We have delighted in stolen moments of pure bliss.  We have married, given birth to babies, thrown parties and laughed our way through travels.  We are threaded together…my heart to hers.

I am beyond grateful to the Lord for the creation of Erin.  She is an inspiration to me.  She encourages me to be a woman of valor and honor.  She is loyal and honest.  She loves beyond well…she loves fully.

She is the exclamation point on the end of our distinctly unique family sentence.  She has brought gifts abundant to our family.  She is a blessing!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO THE BEST LITTLE SISTER IN THE WORLD!  May the LORD bless you today and always.  May you never forget the deep and abiding love your family has for you and may you always know the wonderful pressie

you are! xo

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