Hello Thursday Morning Refresh

Introducing a new feature for Hello, Thursday Morning: Devotions. Every third Thursday, I’ll post a devotional from one of my devo-writing friends. Today’s post is written by my good friend and fellow Kentucky writer, Harriet E. Michael.

I hope you enjoy these posts and will be uplifted by the messages.

 

Pestering God

Read: Luke 18:1-7 

“You who call on the Lord give yourself no rest and give Him no rest…”

Isaiah 62:6b (NIV) 

“Oh please, Mommy! Oh please, oh please!”

I have said these words to my mother many times when I was a child. I used to pester my mother terribly if I wanted her to say yes to something. My mother would tell me to stop begging–she had heard me already and was considering my request. But it was hard for me to be quiet. Pleading for something I wanted was in my nature.

Some years ago, a child of mine was struggling greatly and I was extremely concerned. I prayed about it constantly because like when I was a child–it was just my nature to do so. I couldn’t let it go, my concern was so great. I found myself thinking, “I must be driving God crazy the way I used to drive my mom crazy when I pestered her about things.”

Then to my amazement and relief, I found this verse of scripture. God is not bothered by our constant prayers. How reassuring to know that not only is God not bothered by our pestering, he wants us to bring our concerns to Him over and over.

Today the situation I was so concerned about is resolved and my child is recovered. But of course, I’m still pestering God about other concerns. Now I smile when I do it and thank Him for letting me talk about it yet again.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, how patient you are. Thank you. Ease our burdens as we bring them to you in prayer and show us your answers even as we call on you again and again. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Thought for the Day: It’s ok to pester God with your needs.

Click to Tweet: Pray without ceasing. “You who call on the Lord give yourself no rest and give Him no rest…” It’s ok to pester God with your needs. #ThursdayThought #ThursdayInspiration

Born in Nigeria, West Africa, as the daughter of missionaries, Harriet E. Michael is a writer, wife of nearly 40 years, mother of four, and grandmother of two.

She holds a BS in nursing from West Virginia University but has discovered her passion for writing. Since her first published article in 2010, she has now had hundreds of articles and devotions published.

Harriet is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Louisville Christian Writers. She is the author of several books, Prayer: It’s Not About You, a finalist in the 2011 Women of Faith book contest, published by PixNPens Publishing Company, The Whisper of the Palms published by Olivia Kimbrell Press, Glimpses of PrayerPrayer Warrior Confessions also published by PixNPens. She has more books slated to be released in the next few years.

She has authored over 200 stories, articles, and devotions which have appeared in publications by Focus on the Family, Lifeway, Standard Publishing, David C. Cook Co., Bethany House, American Life League, Crosswalk.com, Christian Communicator, The Salvation Army, Chicken Soup for the Soul, Judson Press, The Upper Room, Pentecostal Publishing House, Smyth and Helwys, and more.

She is also a Christian speaker who loves to talk to women’s groups about prayer or other topics. She also speaks at writers’ conferences on free-lance writing, or devotional writing.

The Truth Mothers Know

Another Mother’s Day has come and gone, once again reminding me of how quickly time passes.

Hello, Thursday Morning friends! Thanks for stopping by. I hope you enjoyed Mother’s Day weekend.

There is a truth that mothers know—one among many, of course. We learn wisdom over the years as we rear our children and help tend our grandchildren.

While going through the early years, time seems to move at a snail’s pace. These were the years when I felt as though the long days would never end. Mothers often get up early and stay up late, up all hours, trying to be the best possible mother.

In the natural passage of time, we graduate into moms of school-age children. While the nights settle a little, with the exception of nocturnal illnesses, we’ve now become shuttle-drivers. If we work full-time, we have to keep to a tight schedule to incorporate after-school activities, church activities, and sports. This level of mothering can be almost as rigorous as the early years.

Then one day, it ends.

We’re standing in a large room watching that child we raised graduate from high school. We’ve spent long hours agonizing over finances, helping our college-bound child decide on the best venue. Others of us will send that child off to boot camp for the next level of training. Either way, we say goodbye.

The truth is, those years that seemed so long as we were passing through them…aren’t. They’re very short in the long view. When we’re on the other side looking back, we can see that. I’m reminded of a poignant scene in one of my favorite stories, the British mini-series, “North and South.”

The scene is desolate. Everything is gray, and snow is falling. John Thornton is watching as the woman he desperately loves prepares to leave him. As she climbs into the coach, he mutters, “Look back. Look back at me.” But she doesn’t look. Her eyes are on the road ahead.

This is a difficult time for some of us, as parents of children who are joyfully moving on to the next level. They’re excited about what the future holds. We see empty rooms and quiet houses. Which can be a wondrous thing, depending on your perspective.

Image by <a href="https://pixabay.com/users/labsafeharbor-5668409/?utm_source=link-attribution&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=image&utm_content=2418176">labsafeharbor</a> from <a href="https://pixabay.com/?utm_source=link-attribution&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=image&utm_content=2418176">Pixabay</a>Whether it’s a road well traveled or not, is entirely up to us. Until it’s not. When we’ve reached our child’s late teen years, or maybe their early twenties, we realize just how much it’s not. At a point unrealized by me, the child I birthed and loved and raised, has taken over the reins.

I suppose that’s one of the deepest truths I’ve learned along the way. No matter how much I might want to help them avoid the potholes, they really want to do their own thing, even if it means making their own mistakes.

I’m standing on the stoop, watching as they pull away. “Look back,” I whisper, “look back at me.”

And they do, with waves and smiles. Then they turn toward their destination while I return to a quiet house. I’ve come to love and cherish the silence, but oh, how I’ve loved the chaos.

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. —Proverbs 22: ESV

Click to Tweet: There is a truth that mothers know—one among many, of course. In the aftermath of Mother’s Day. #ThursdayThoughts via @batowens

More

“Please, sir, I want some more.” —Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist

You know that moment when someone poses the question you’ve always wanted to ask, but never had the nerve? I remember the collective gasp of the roomful of orphans in this scene in Oliver Twist. No one had ever dared ask for a second helping. So, they waited with bated breath for what they all knew would come next.

coffee, cup, laptop, memeHello, Thursday Morning readers!

Are you wondering where I’m headed with that opening? Me too! It all started with my need to finish a project for my publisher. When I wrote “The End,” and declared it “a wrap,” I hoped to put writing aside for a few weeks and get busy on some household chores. A little spring cleaning, painting, organizing. All those things waiting in the wings for me to tackle.

But sometimes work takes precedence. Already, the marketing needs to be done. Which means I have to continue writing things to get ready for the release of the book I so recently finished, while it’s fresh in my mind, and also because time has a way of sneaking up on you.

So, I’ve gone back to the land of Annabelle’s Ruth. Not that I mind. You know, I was already missing Annabelle, Connie, Alton, Tom, and Miss Lillian. They are like old friends. Or maybe like my cousins who live where Annabelle lives. Whenever I have time to visit, it’s like I never left.

Back to Oliver’s question, it was my publisher who asked for more. I was like the roomful of orphans, staring back at her, waiting for the inevitable explosion. But of course, it didn’t come. Not out loud, anyway. After a bit of thought, I realized, in this case, a little more was just the thing.  I’ll scrape the bottom of the pot and see what I can come up with. Sometimes, that’s the yummiest part.

Click to Tweet: You know that moment when someone poses the question you’ve always wanted to ask, but never had the nerve? #amwriting More

I trust you’re having a wonderful spring. If you’re a mom, I hope this Mother’s Day holds many blessings. I look forward to spending time with some of my family this weekend. And then, it’s back to the writing board. Maybe a dash more adventure is what is needed, rather than washing walls and scrubbing baseboards. Oh, and don’t be afraid to ask for More!

And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. —Luke 11:9 ESV

Thursday Thoughts

Hello, Thursday Morning readers! Here I go, thinking again!

Sometimes those moments come out of nowhere—blank ones with actual time to think. Oh, our brains are in constant motion, even when we sleep. But actual thinking is a process that takes time.

In my mind, I see this cute photo of Pooh Bear thumping his head with a stuffed paw and saying, “Think, think, think.” Yeah, my brain works that well, too.

I’m forever amazed at the capacity we have for thought and engagement. I am constantly bombarded by…well, stuff for lack of a better word. Yesterday, I completely forgot what week it is and set out on a shopping adventure. Big mistake!

Why? Well, it’s Derby Week in Louisville, Kentucky. There are a gazillion cars on the road and the sky is filled with private jets arriving hourly. Noise.

So, the actual shopping was a pleasure because it was still early enough that the stores were empty, but getting there and back again. Super stressful!

On another note, it’s May and the locust trees are blooming in my backyard. The air is filled with their sweet aroma. Locust trees are common in Kentucky. They’re actually invasive, tend to be quite tall and skinny. Not really all that attractive, except when they’re covered in Wisteria-like blooms.

And then the white rain begins as the bloom petals fall. It’s really enchanting.

Last night, I was privileged to sit in a Bible study being taught this week by a missionary from Spain. I’ve known Tom Cook and his wife, Beth, for many years. His words last night were simple, but profound as he taught us how to pray the will of God. When you pray, and you have total confidence that what you’re asking is God’s will, you can expect an answer.

I am blessed to have such a fine couple as dear friends. Thank you, Tom and Beth, for your continued service.

So, that’s what I’m thinking about this morning. Very low-key and keeping it simple. May your day be blessed with joy and peace!

And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him. 1 John 5:14-15 ESV

Life Minus Stuff Equals Simplify

Hello, Thursday Morning friends! I’m off coffee for a few more days, so have a cup for me. I am enjoying a cup of green tea, however. It’s not quite the same, but better than hot water.

This week, I’m making plans to simplify my life. No, I haven’t been watching that popular show. We had to make room for some repairmen to come and when we did that, I decided that stuff is not going back. Some of it hadn’t seen the light of day in years. Obviously, I don’t need it.

In ancient times, when I was still at home with the parents, my mom kept me always de-cluttering. I didn’t understand the need. I could still stuff things in my closet and they didn’t fall out when I opened it. Not usually, anyway. She was such a tyrant. She even made me change my sheets every week. EVERY week. And my bed had to be made every morning. She could’ve been a drill sergeant.

Today, if you pop in for a visit early in the morning, my bed is made. Well, unless someone is still in it. He tends to sleep late on weekends. And every Friday morning, the sheets come off and the clean ones go on. I still hear Mom’s voice in my head. “You’re not going anywhere until that bed’s made.”

Why did the uncluttered closet not stick so well? I look at that empty cardboard box and think, “Hey, I might need that.” In it goes. Those ancient magazines filled with outdated recipes and whatnot—you know as soon as I toss those out, I’m going to need whatever it was inside, even though I have Google. I can look up anything on there. And all those old recipes? Someone has kindly loaded them on Pinterest.

My husband is a fool for tools. He has everything you can think of stuffed away in there. The trouble is, when he needs a particular tool, he can’t find it, so goes out and buys another one. So, we have multiples. We found those while moving things for the repairs. We had to laugh about it, but when does it stop?

So, simplification. It makes perfect sense. Give it away, throw it away. Pack it in a box and see if you can do without it. If so, give it away.

My clothes closet is a good example. I have a pair of jeans in mint condition that I haven’t been able to wear for fifteen years. But I might someday. I love those jeans. They’re probably gonna stay. 🙂

I took a gander at the things hanging in my closet and realized I’ve been uni-color for too long. Everything in there is black. Or very dark. It’s like my closet is in mourning! A shopping trip is long overdue. But first, I need to clear out all those dark things. Because it’s spring and we need color!

I don’t have an abundance of cabinet space in my kitchen, so I keep those cleaned out. At least I feel they are. Somewhat. And our refrigerator’s recent near-death experience left us with a sparkling, clean fridge with no ancient unidentifiable blobs in the freezer. So, we’re good in the kitchen. Until you get to the china cabinet. The part underneath, hidden behind cabinet doors. So that’s on my list. Scary place. ⇒

Now you know one of my darkest secrets. I’m a mini-hoarder of things I may someday need. Spring is time for renewal and junk off-loading. It’s amazing how good I feel, having rid myself of too much baggage. And that was just my junk drawer. Closet, here I come.

CLICK TO TWEET:

Life Minus Stuff Equals Simplify – It makes perfect sense. Give it away, throw it away. Pack it in a box and see if you can do without it. If so, give it away.