Monday Love

A cup of weekly encouragement

Sing a Song Today!

Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5:19-20 (NIV 1984)

When our daughter Kathryn was in kindergarten, many years ago, her younger sister Mary and I walked her to school through a pretty, little path in the woods. Inevitably, three-year-old Mary would tire on the way home, and I would end up carrying her.

As I walked along with Mary in my arms, she would “sing” to me. I still remember her little tiny voice making up songs about birds and butterflies and trees and flowers and about the good God who made them. The songs didn’t rhyme and had no recognizable tune, but they welled up out of a happy child’s heart, and this mother’s heart overflowed with joy!

Mary didn’t need to sound profound or even “beautiful” the way the world defines it. She just had to be Mary, expressing her child heart with joy to her mom—and I loved it!

Just like my child-to-parent relationship with God, I don’t have to make my prayers sound impressive to please Him. I can warble a simple prayer song of thanks to Him and, because I am His child, it brings Him joy! He doesn’t care about the rhyme or the tune, but how He loves the songs of my heart. As you go about your daily duties today, join me in singing a little song of thanks to the One who loves us so! We truly have much to be thankful for.

Thinking of you and your faithful prayers for your children fills me with gratitude. May God be pleased to raise up a whole generation of sons and daughters who love Him and sing His praises! I wish you “music in your heart” today.

Your are loved,
Sharon

A Blanket of Prayer

“Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.” Luke 18:1 (NIV)

“As white snowflakes fall quietly and thickly on a winter day, answers to prayer will settle down upon you at every step you take, even to your dying day. The story of your life will be the story of prayer and answers to prayer.” ~ O. Hallesby

It’s snowing here in New Hampshire. It started around 10:00 am this morning with lazy, looping snowflakes. Not much accumulation at first, but even snow at a slow rate adds up … when it just doesn’t stop. As the day went on, the snow began falling heavier and now, at 8:00 pm, Ray has already been out to use the snow blower, and I’ve had to shovel a path for our dog. And the snowplow has basically insured we are going nowhere until we snow blow again, thanks to the wall of snow it deposited at the bottom of our driveway. The weather forecasters tell us it won’t stop snowing until tomorrow afternoon, at which point we will have somewhere between 16 and 24 inches to add to the snow already on the ground.

I love snow. I’m one of those crazy winter people who walk in the coldest of weather admiring the way the snow outlines every branch of every tree with sparkling white. I love the nip to the air. I love that there are no insects for miles. I love the feeling of a blazing fire after a long round of shoveling and the way hot chocolate feels when you need to warm up. I admit that I’m in the minority, but there you are!

When you faithfully lift up your loved ones to the only One who can change a heart, you are covering them with a blanket, as it were, of blessings and requests. You might start slowly, but eventually, as you continue to bring your loved ones to the Lord God Almighty, your prayers will accumulate, and you will start to see what God is doing as you petition Him. Just like this particular snowstorm is not going to stop until it has deposited almost two feet of snow on us, let’s not stop praying until we see breakthroughs deposited in our children’s lives!

Let’s be crazy enough to believe that each time we pray God moves in a human heart. Let’s not give up even when the answers are slow, but let’s continue to blanket our children with our prayers for their very best. Oh, that they might have “significant, repeated and unmistakable encounters” with the living God! Oh, that they would “fulfill the Lord’s calling on their lives!”* Let’s not allow worries to invade our thoughts like pesky insects buzzing about our heads. Instead, let’s do the work of prayer knowing that the fire-strong heat of God’s love and power is able to warm the coldest of hearts. Let’s pray all our lives and watch what God will do!

You are loved,
Sharon

*These two quotes are printed out and hanging on my office wall. I wish I knew who originally encouraged me to pray these words. I’m so grateful to her, whoever she is! They are words I often pray for my children and grandchildren.

Out From the Familiar

As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” Luke 9:57-58 (NIV)

My new puppy refuses to walk away from our house. Yes, you read that correctly. If I set out on a nice brisk walk or even a leisurely stroll, once we hit the edge of our property, she digs in her little heels and refuses to take another step. I sense the “bump—bump—bump” behind me as I drag her for a bit and then stop and shake my head. Since she’s only seven pounds, I often pick her up at this point and try to reason with her, but the only time she walks well on her leash is when I turn around, and we head back home. She wants to be where life is familiar. When you’re a teeny tiny puppy in a big, huge, scary new world … the familiar feels safe and everything else feels dangerous. I wish she would just feel safe with me.

How often do I act the same way when my Lord leads me out of the familiar? Do I dig in my little heels and resist with all my might? Or, do I follow Him wherever He leads? Do I trust the One who is my Master?

As a mother, there are lots of “unfamiliars”:

• when tiny little babies are placed in your arms, and you have no idea how to keep them alive.
• when they scream and cry and you cannot figure out how to comfort them.
• when they defy you and refuse to do what you say.
• when they are old enough for school and you no longer know what they are doing … how they are feeling … every minute of the day.
• when they somehow morph before your eyes into a teenager, and they suddenly realize you are not perfect after all. At all.
• when they first drive off with a new license in that huge lethal weapon called a car.
• when they choose a college far from home, and you no longer know when they are safe in their bed for the night.
• when they marry someone who will become their favorite and their closest one, and you aren’t exactly sure what your new relationship will look like.

One of the sweetest gifts of a Moms in Prayer group is being with moms who “get” this. How good it is to walk through new stages of mothering with sisters … sisters who are learning to know the Master and are holding tightly to His big hand no matter where He leads. I want to be with moms who know that wherever we are with the Master … whether in calm waters or turbulence … we are safe.

Lord Jesus, You didn’t even have a home when You preached and healed in Israel. Yet, so many followed You and just wanted to be with You! Let that be me, Lord. May I care far less about the place I’m in and far more about the One I’m with, the One who keeps me safe no matter what. Help me to trot along beside You, just happy we are together on the path You have chosen for me each and every day. In Your Precious and Worthy Name, Amen.

You are loved,
Sharon

With Us

Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts.
The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.
Psalm 46:6-7 (NIV)

When I was eleven, my parents took me, along with my three siblings, by plane to England to visit our British grandparents. I was fortunate enough to have a window seat and loved looking at the clouds as we flew over the Atlantic Ocean. However, since I was seated with a good view of the wing, I was one of the first to notice smoke coming from one of the engines. Yes. One of the plane’s engines caught on fire while we were flying to England. The pilot announced that we were nearing Ireland and would attempt an emergency landing there. My parents were calm, and, because I was with them, I was not afraid. I thought it would be fun to see Ireland! Our landing was rather bumpy on an older runway at Shannon Airport, and it wasn’t until all the adults around me cheered and wept that I realized we had been in extreme danger. You see, I was with my mom and dad. I felt safe.

As I read Psalm 46 today, I was struck anew by the juxtaposition between horrendous happenings (mountains fall into the sea, nations in uproar, kingdoms fall, the earth melts) and the repeated refrain: The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. What could be more comforting than being with the Best Parent, Creator of Heaven and Earth, and yet intimately “ours” if we have yielded our lives to Him and received His forgiveness and acceptance into His forever family!

Moms in Prayer is launching a wonderful series of events called, simply, Unshaken. As we share the powerful message that God is with us, please pray that many a woman will turn from fear and worry and embrace the One who is always with her, even in the midst of trouble. How I thank God for Who He Is! How wonderful to meet with my group each week and study one of His attributes and be strengthened in my faith that—no matter what—my Father is in control. He is never taken by surprise. He’s got this. And I can rest, unshaken, in Him.

“He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. (Psalm 46:10-11, NIV)

You are loved,
Sharon

Note: Sharon will be away January 29 – February 4 enjoying the annual state coordinator conference. Monday Loves will resume February 6th.

Choices … choices …

And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5:20 (NLT)

Just as I was preparing to host 15 people for lunch … on Thanksgiving morning … surprise! I was given a puppy, a not yet housebroken puppy. Did I mention it was on Thanksgiving morning?

Granted, I had been asking for a puppy for the past three years, and she was the exact breed I wanted, but the timing was—shall we say—not ideal. When my five-year-old grandson appeared, holding little Bella with a big red bow around her neck, I had a choice. Would I embrace this sweet gift—or would I have a little breakdown right there on the spot? Well. A little redheaded boy holding a teeny, four-pound puppy? No contest. I embraced both of them and have loved my puppy ever since.

I now get up at 5:30 most mornings, and, instead of staying warm and cozy in my nightgown, I bundle up in coat and hat and gloves and take little Bella out for her morning wander. She’s too tiny to be let out alone—but this is winter. In New England. It’s cold. I have a choice. Do I grumble? Or, do I look up at the moonlit sky and the stars that I haven’t actually noticed for the past few years and rejoice in the unexpected blessing of trees and sky and bird noises as the world wakes up? I’ve chosen to embrace our little morning wanders and marvel at it all, doing my best to do what Paul tells us that God desires: And give thanks for everything.

I remember a time in Moms in Prayer when neither of my girls was doing well. It seemed like everyone else’s children were accomplishing great things … dating wonderful Christian men … planning overseas missions … while my girls struggled. I started to feel awkward about sharing my prayer needs. I didn’t want to be “that needy person” who always has problems. I actually debated with myself whether I should just stop going to my group. I had a choice to make. How tragic and foolish it would have been if I had stopped attending the very group that could help the most.

Trying to “find the thanks” in a group where I seemed to be the only one with troubled children, I told myself how blessed I was to have a group of women who cared enough to pray. And really, what better place to go each Monday, than to a group of women committed to crying out for the hearts and lives of children? I am so glad I started being thankful for my group again! They prayed me through it all and, of course, I prayed for their sons and daughters. We all have had our times of need. I just couldn’t “see” it at that point in my parenting journey. How thankful I am that I pray with women who have chosen the path of humility. Women who ask for prayer when needed, who are grateful for those gathered around them, who help out in times of distress. Giving thanks for my dear Moms in Prayer group? That’s easy.

You are loved,
Sharon

imageSharonForSharingFromSharonLord, Hear Our Prayers

Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is praying in your presence this day. 1 Kings 8:28b (NIV)

It was my first “big event” with Moms in Prayer. This little homemaker mom boarded a plane all by herself for the very first time and flew to Dallas, Texas. As the brand new state coordinator, I was just a little bit intimidated at the thought of a huge crowd of moms from all over the world gathering to celebrate our 20th anniversary. What would I say? Would I fit in?

I stepped into the elevator and smiled at some women wearing Moms in Prayer badges like mine. We didn’t speak each other’s language, though, so we did a lot of hand gesturing and nodding. Then, one of the women pulled out of her wallet a picture of her children. She nodded to me, and I pulled out a picture of mine. When she saw the photo of my two daughters, she put her hand tenderly over their faces and started to pray for them in Spanish. The elevator stopped, but there we stood, and I wept as she passionately prayed for my two precious girls.

As we left the elevator, I gestured for her picture and had the great privilege of praying for her children in English. We hugged. We smiled and wiped tears from our eyes. Somehow we just knew that the other had poured out her heart for those much-loved children. The words would have been something like this:

Father, You see these precious ones, and You love them. Oh, God, how I pray that these children will love and adore You as they grow up. Help them to know You intimately. Give them the strength to follow You in the hard times, to speak of You boldly and without shame. May their joy be to honor You! May they marry believers who also walk with You. Help them to carry on their mom’s love for You to the third and fourth generations of this dear family … until Jesus returns, Lord. Keep them safe and healthy or teach them how to deal with illness in grace and trust. Most of all, Lord, may they receive You as their Savior, and may I have the great privilege one day of standing shoulder to shoulder with them and with this mom and with my children, all of us laying our crowns at Your feet and singing praises to Your holy Name! In the mighty name of Jesus … Amen.

Today is the Global Day of Prayer for our wonderful ministry. We will be praying, in unity with mothers literally around the world, for this next generation of children. And even though our circumstances … our climates … our incomes … our homes … our languages are all different, our hearts beat the same. We pray in unity that our children will, indeed, join us on that day when a great crowd gathers around the throne and honors the One we adore! Oh, what JOY to fast and pray and cry out for those who follow after us!

Lord, hear our prayers! Amen.

You are loved,
Sharon

imageSharonForSharingFromSharonWaiting and Waiting Some More

Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. Luke 2:25 (NIV)

My sixth grade Sunday school teacher was a 65-year-old man named Rocky Taylor. He simply loved teaching us about the Lord Jesus, and he made the Bible come alive to us through skits and talks. His own zeal for the Lord shone so brightly that we were all changed. I will never forget him—or his influence on me. The really cool thing about Rocky Taylor, though, was his wife, Esther. Esther married Rocky in her early twenties, when she was a Christian and he was not. She realized that she was acting in disobedience, but at the time she didn’t care. Shortly thereafter, in the midst of a very “rocky” marriage, she cared very much.

Like Simeon in our verse above, Esther was “righteous and devout,” and she not only stuck it out with Rocky, she prayed daily for his salvation. For forty years. Yes. She prayed and prayed. She longed for her husband to know Jesus. And one sweet day, Rocky Taylor, forty years after his wedding, fell headlong in love with the Savior of his soul. I was one of many beneficiaries of Esther’s persistent, faithful wait for her husband to know her Lord.

Charles Wesley’s beautiful hymn puts into words that inexpressible longing that Simeon and other devout Jews felt, waiting … waiting … waiting for Jesus, the “Consolation of Israel” to come.

Come, thou long-expected Jesus, Born to set thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us; Let us find our rest in thee.
Israel’s Strength and Consolation, Hope of all the earth thou art;
Dear Desire of every nation, Joy of every longing heart.
~ Charles Wesley 1707-1788

Simeon, the old man mentioned in Luke 2:25 waited a full lifetime, but he was not disappointed. He had the amazing privilege of holding the “Word made flesh” in his very arms. What a holy, holy moment that must have been! How God had molded and shaped this faithful man as he trusted and waited year after year.

Perhaps you are waiting for someone you love to return to Christ or accept Him. Resolve in this new year that you, like Rocky’s wife, will not stop praying no matter how long it takes, and you will not stop encouraging other waiting moms to pray.

And … as we long for and wait for His second coming, when every tear will be wiped from our eyes, let us daily find our rest in Him, the Consoler of our souls.

You are loved,
Sharon

imageSharonForSharingFromSharonLight of the World

“the people living in darkness have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death
a light has dawned.”
Matthew 4:16 (NIV)

When I turned forty, I suddenly lost the ability to sleep. I’d go to bed, just as I always had, then lay awake for hours staring at the ceiling. I tried counting sheep. I tried praying—begging God to let me sleep. I tried getting up and lying back down again. Nothing seemed to work. I finally reached such a point of exhaustion that I took medicine for a couple of weeks to reset my “sleep clock.” I made major changes in my bedtime routine, and God, in His mercy, granted me sweet sleep again.

sharonadventcandlesfinalWhile going through that agonizing time, I remember how long the nights seemed to be. More than anything, I wanted morning to come, even though I hadn’t slept. I wanted it light again. Everything seemed worse at 2 a.m. lying in the dark. When morning came, I felt better even without sleep. Light restored sanity.

Before Jesus came to earth, people lived in darkness and in the shadow of death. They had no assurance of salvation or eternal life with God. The Old Testament gave hints and rumors, but it wasn’t until Jesus came and literally broke death and freed us from its grasp, that we were rescued. It’s hard to imagine what life was like before He came as Savior.

Now, we live in His light. We know that He conquered death. We know that we will someday be with Him in a place that needs no sun or moon because He Himself will be our light! Oh, the JOY of knowing that God broke through the darkness and freed us from it eternally!

Christmas has come again, and with family and friends we are celebrating the coming of the Light of the World. I hope your day is filled with wonder! May His Presence light your path into the New Year, dear Moms in Prayer sisters, as you follow Him wherever He leads you.

You are loved,

Sharon

imageSharonForSharingFromSharonAdvent Ponderings — PEACE (Week Four)

“Advent” is from the Latin “adventus” – arrival
A time of looking forward and remembering the arrival of our Savior, after a long time of waiting and longing for Him to come!

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this. Isaiah 9:6-7 (NIV, emphasis mine)

It was the summer of 1974 and I was sixteen. I longed to know God in a deeper way and decided one summer day to go, sit in a field and meet with Him. I brought a hymnbook and my Bible, some snacks and a blanket. I remember that it was a beautiful day full of white puffy clouds and a pale blue sky. Down I sat and waited for God.

sharoncandle4My legs itched from the grass sticking up through the blanket. I swatted at bugs. I changed positions. Many times. This was not quite as easy as I thought it would be. I looked at my watch. A lot. But still I sat. I had determined to stay there all morning long. I read a bit in the Bible, and I prayed, and I sighed. I lay my head down and admired clouds. My nose itched. I sighed again.

But then … God in His mercy met me. I can’t explain it. All I can say is that His Presence overwhelmed me with a perfect peace so deep and still that it stunned me. I was love-wrapped in God’s arms. I was weeping. I was laughing. I was SO Okay. All was well. I remember whispering to Him … “I will never ever forget this, Lord.” And I haven’t.

Most of my days are not spent in that sweet spot—but all of my days are spent knowing that God is real. Knowing that I am destined to spend eternity with the Prince of Peace Himself. Oh, the yearning we all have for that “all is well” feeling! But, no matter what … when Jesus is your Savior … all is, indeed, well. We can trust that, whether we “feel” it or not. How thankful I am for His Word that reminds me who He truly is on those days when the feelings aren’t there. And how I treasure the times when He has met me and given me a “taste” of the glory to come, the joy that awaits when I am with Him in the new heaven and new earth!

Dear sisters, may God meet you this Christmas with moments of sweet joy and peace in His calming Presence. And let’s all pray for the day when Jesus will come again bringing lasting and eternal peace. “Even so, come, Lord Jesus!” *

You are loved,
Sharon

*Revelation 22:20b (KJV)

imageSharonForSharingFromSharonAdvent Ponderings — JOY (Week Three)

“Advent” is from the Latin “adventus” – arrival
A time of looking forward and remembering the arrival of our Savior, after a long time of waiting and longing for Him to come!

Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10 (NIV, emphasis mine)

sharingsharonadventcandle3It was shaping up to be a really different kind of Christmas. For starters, my husband Ray and I with two little girls were living in Germany, and we had only just arrived in September. A whole new culture and whole new language to learn on top of figuring out how to just find our way around. To make matters worse, my husband’s unit had been called up to serve in the Persian Gulf War—and he had deployed on December 15th. There I was, with two preschool girls, two big dogs and one cat … in a foreign land.

A call came on Christmas Eve around 9:00 am. A friend wondered if I could possibly host a group of female reservists who had just arrived the night before to replace those who had been deployed to the Persian Gulf. These women had joined the National Guard primarily for a free education and hadn’t really ever expected to actually deploy! Most had left tiny children or husbands or fiancés—and they were pretty much in shock at the sudden turn their lives had taken. As I recall, there were eight of them. I do remember that every bed and every spare sleeping bag and couch was prepared for these unexpected guests!

I hurried out to the shops to find a present for each one of them and then started cooking and baking. A quiet and dazed bunch they were when they arrived that afternoon. We had a meal together. We stayed up late and played board games. We shared our stories with each other. Before we all went to bed on that unusual Christmas Eve, I read Luke’s Christmas story from the Bible and prayed for them.

And then it hit me.

Right in the midst of war and danger and strangeness … JOY.

Right there.

The old, old story of Jesus come to earth as a babe felt new as I read to these stranger-friends. We’d become instant family. Our whole time together gave me a new joy in the Lord and new strength for the days ahead. This Christmas had turned into a fun and delightful time I would never forget.

When Ray returned from the war unharmed, we compared notes about our Christmas Eve experiences. Lo and behold, as I was reading Luke 2 to a group of National Guard reservists, he had been reading Luke 2 to the men in his unit! JOY pierced us again as we realized that the One who loves us can invade and change any situation as we trust Him and worship Him and turn our eyes from circumstances to Life Himself!

May the Joy of the Lord be your strength this Christmas!

You are loved,
Sharon

imageSharonForSharingFromSharonAdvent Ponderings — LOVE (Week Two)

“Advent” is from the Latin “adventus” – arrival
A time of looking forward and remembering the arrival of our Savior, after a long time of waiting and longing for Him to come!

The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness. Jeremiah 31:3 (NIV)

Poor Hosea. He was a prophet in the Old Testament, who was asked by the Lord God to live out an object lesson. His assignment? Marry an adulterous, unfaithful woman. And you know what Hosea did? He obeyed. He started a life with his new wife Gomer and had children with her. She left him, was unfaithful to him—and God told Hosea to buy her back (literally) and love her once again. And He did. This time, as I understand it, Gomer stayed with him and was a faithful wife.

sharingsharonadventcandle12_5_16Who does that? Who loves someone that ignores his love … tramples on it … and leaves? God does. The whole book of Hosea is about God’s longing for His people to love Him as He loves them and to be faithful to Him as He is to them.

All of us have been a Gomer, an unfaithful one. We’ve ignored God’s love. At times, we’ve even trampled on it, flagrantly making choices we know displease and wound Him. We leave Him and go after lesser things. And yet, He loves us still.

Jeremiah declares that God has loved us with “an everlasting love.” He draws us with “unfailing kindness.” He loved us so deeply that He distilled Himself into the body of a tiny and frail and very poor human baby. He lived among us. He died and took upon Himself the death and punishment we deserved. He rose again, leading the way for us to have eternal life with Him. This is what we believe.

As you ponder this extraordinary love this week … turn to Him, the One who IS love … and worship!

You are loved,
Sharon

imageSharonForSharingFromSharonAdvent Ponderings — HOPE (Week One)

“Advent” is from the Latin “adventus” – arrival

A time of looking forward and remembering the arrival of our Savior, after a long time of waiting and longing for Him to come!

Lord, you are the hope of Israel; all who forsake you will be put to shame. Those who turn away from you will be written in the dust because they have forsaken the Lord, the spring of living water. Jeremiah 17:13 (NIV, emphasis mine)

sharingsharonadventcandleMy friend was down in the dumps. Again. She seemed to live in a slogging crawl, dragging herself through depression and disappointments. My heart ached. Many times I had shared with her that I find the greatest strength for the day by taking quiet time with the Lord each morning. Meeting with the Lord gives me “living water” when I am parched. I know this is only one facet in a hard road of coping with depression, but it is part of the answer. Meeting with God is always Answer. So, this particular morning, I asked my friend: “Did you have a quiet time today?” Her reply, “I don’t have TIME for a quiet time, Sharon,” triggered me to grow a little bold with her. “Put down the phone, dear one, and read a psalm and pray. Right now. Take the time you’d normally spend talking to me and spend it with the One who loves you best. Then call me back.”

A different person called me back. Yes. God had met her in that quiet place! He is the source of our hope. He releases us from despair.

Poor Jeremiah. This Old Testament prophet had a difficult job with the people of Israel. Unlike my friend who actually responded to my suggestion and met with God, they did not listen to Jeremiah’s advice at all. He was chosen from birth, the Bible says, to weep and mourn and chide as he predicted the fall of Israel and the captivity to come. Not a fun job. People did not take kindly to his recommendations of surrender to the Babylonians! He was tossed into a cistern and tormented in many other ways. Life was bleak and about to become bleaker, and Jeremiah knew it.

Yet even in the midst of all his trials and persecutions, he declared that the LORD is the hope of Israel. He clung to that “knowing” and perhaps that’s how he kept “going!”

Times are pretty fine for most of us. When we stop and consider how most of the world’s population lives, our problems are small. But it would be wise for us to make sure our hope is in the one true God—now and always. Meeting with Him daily in a quiet time keeps our relationship to Him strong. Should dark days come, He is still our hope. We will still be able to meet with Him daily. This Christmas, let’s rejoice that He came to save and rescue—and He is coming again! As we light the candle of HOPE on the advent wreath … let’s honor the One in whom we hope. Now and always!

Oh Heavenly Father! Our HOPE is in You. We remember the longing of the prophets. There was great darkness until YOU came in the person of Your Son, Jesus Christ, and brought light!  We worship You, the One in whom we trust. Hope in You “does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Thank You for a hope that is “an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” In Jesus’ Name we thank You. Amen.*

You are loved,

Sharon

*Scriptures quoted in closing prayer are from Romans 5:5 (NKJV) and Hebrews 6:19 (NIV).

imageSharonForSharingFromSharonThanksgiving: Grandma Pike

For you make me glad by your deeds, LORD; I sing for joy at what your hands have done.
Psalm 92:4 (NIV)

The call we’d been dreading came … in May of 2001. My lovely British grandmother, 100 years old, had taken a turn for the worse. If my mother, who lived in the USA, wanted to see her mum one more time, she better come right away. I had my passport ready, as did my own mum, and we were booked on a flight and on our way within 24 hours.

Memory after memory flashed through my mind on the flight over the Atlantic. Grandma flirting with Grandpa—something I found astounding as a teenager. How could people that old be so in love and still flirtatious? Grandma telling me how grateful she was for her family … her life … her garden. Always looking for the good, she was so much fun to be around. Her life was filled with JOY. Like the psalmist in the verse above, she sang for joy at what God’s hands had done. She noticed.

At the nursing home, we sat at her bedside. Grandma could hardly see us due to cataracts. She could hardly hear us. Stuck in her bed with legs that no longer worked and shooting pains that made her wince, and yet, Grandma spent those days telling us of her thankfulness. Yes, she did. She was thankful for the wonderful nurses. She was thankful for her long and happy life. She was thankful for her precious family and sweet memories. Everyone in that nursing home loved her and no wonder. She chose, always, to see the good and be grateful for it.

It takes training of the mind to do that. Grandma could have dwelt on the many, many hard times she had endured. She chose, instead, to focus on the good.

Likewise, when we come to the time of Thanksgiving in our Moms in Prayer hour, by consciously pausing and taking time to thank God, we are reminded of all He has done on our behalf as we have prayed. We notice His answers to prayer because we open our eyes to see. Over and over, I hear group members thanking God for His protection, for a perfect teacher, for a needed friend, for a conflict resolved, for all God’s wonderful answers to the cries of our hearts.

We celebrate together, thanking Him for what HIS hands have done. And truly, the byproduct of our gratitude is JOY. Isn’t it amazing how our Moms in Prayer hour enables us to pray for our children with power and purpose and focus … but also is a time that teaches us? How thankful I am for the Thanksgiving portion of Moms in Prayer, aren’t you?

You are loved,
Sharon

P.S. Grandma Pike rallied and lived to see 101 in September of 2001. Since the events of 9/11 made it impossible for my mother to fly back for her birthday, we praised God with amazement and gratitude for the unexpected visit He had arranged for us in May. Grandma slipped from here into eternity March 15, 2002, and is remembered to this day with deep love—and thanksgiving.

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  1. Tears were streaming from my eyes as I read “Just hold my hand”. In a few days I’ll take my Mom for the test results to find out if the growing lump on her lung is cancer. We are holding God’s hands as we face this together and we’ll be singing him praises no matter what the outcome.

  2. Marion,

    So thankful this little blog came along at just the right time. May His big hand hold yours and your mom’s oh-so-tightly in the days ahead. Much love to you, today!!

  3. Dear Sharon – i am so blessed with your teachings on the word of God and the encouragements. Please prayer for me that i may have a group of Mons in Prayer in my beautiful country the republic of vanuatu. surely the best thing about our family is to be thankful and prayer for their souls to be transformed by the power of God. I am so blessed

    1. Dear Veantzala,

      I will indeed pray for you and also pass on this note to our international ladies. I agree that being thankful for family and praying for them to be transformed by our wonderful and loving God is the BEST thing of all. God bless you sister!! Love, Sharon

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