The Light in My Window

The Light in My Window

Sunday, February 10, 2019

After a Long Absence....

Happy February! It's been awhile...and I know most of you have probably given up on ever hearing from me again, but I really have been gathering thoughts and subjects for future blog posts in the coming year! I have been writing this blog for nearly 5 years now, although since I began working full-time two years ago it has not been with the same frequency. But my intent remains the same as it always has been: to give you a window into my heart and home, with my main objective being to encourage you in your walk with the Lord by sharing what the Lord has taught me. However, since this is kind of a "catch up" post, it's simply going to be a long collection of some random things  - and of course something to meditate on near the end of the post.

What I've Been Cherishing
Treasured family memories were made in December. We began the month with a week-long trip to visit our son and his family in Eugene, Oregon, and to meet our NEW GRANDSON! Levi Christian was 6 weeks old at the time of our visit, and it was so wonderful to be able to hold and cuddle our precious 11th grandchild. Of course, we loved our time with his sister and brother and his parents too! Since we were there in December, and there was a newborn in the family, most of our week was spent at home playing, reading books, doing some crafts, and celebrating an early Christmas together. We did do some Christmas shopping and go to the Children's Museum, but the best times were just spending time together as a family. It was an incredible blessing to be present for Levi's dedication service (which my husband was able to participate in!) as well as his baby shower that was given by their church!

For Christmas, our older son and his family came for a few days, and we had a great Christmas. We baked and decorated cookies, played a lot of board games, had our traditional Christmas-Eve gingerbread house decorating competition (Pa-Pa and his team won!), and just enjoyed celebrating a blessed Christmas. Having 4 grandchildren in the house made Christmas so special!

What I have been Reading and Enjoying
I finished "Gracelaced" (one of my all-time favorite books, and one that you can savor over and over again), and am currently reading and studying Adorned by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth. I also am enjoying the book, The Life-Giving Table by Sally Clarkson. It is much more than just a book on hospitality and family recipes. It is full of inspiring Biblical explanation and encouragement on how to use the family table as a means of directing your children's hearts towards the Lord and to reach others with the love of Christ. I loved the chapter that pointed out how much of Jesus's ministry was centered around food and sharing meals. Also for Christmas I received a journaling Psalter, which I am loving. In case you are not familiar with it, it is simply a journal that has the Psalm on one page and a blank journaling page facing it so you can record your thoughts and applications. It's a treasure for journaling-loving people like me!

I have also enjoyed doing a bit of simple decorating by making seasonal tray centerpieces for my kitchen island. It doesn't take a lot of time and other than investing in a couple trays (I found an oval metal one on clearance at Hobby Lobby, and a wooden rectangular one at Kirklands, also on sale), it doesn't cost much because you can use things you already have or find little things at places like Target's Dollar Spot.

What I Have Been Concentrating On

I began the year like so many other people with a determination to lose some weight and become healthier. In my case, it's not just the extra pounds I have put on over the last couple years but a tendency toward high cholesterol and high blood pressure that motivates me. And I am happy to be able to say that so far, my efforts have begun to pay off, with a substantial reduction in my overall cholesterol, a slight weight loss, and feeling great! I have been going to the gym at least a couple times a week and I joined the Weight Watchers group that was begun on my lunch hour at the county government complex where I work. I also changed positions at work (more about that in a later blog post) and I now have a stand-up desk plus I am much more active during the day, so that helped too. I eat a lot of chicken, fish, fruits and vegetables - and salads of all kinds. I'm sharing this simple recipe with you for a delicious fresh broccoli-apple salad. It makes enough for a large group.

Broccoli-Apple Winter Salad
4 cups fresh broccoli florets
2 large apples, chopped
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup dried cranberries
If you aren't counting calories, add 1/2 cup chopped pecans

 Dressing - Whisk together 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt, 2 T lemon juice, 1 T sugar, and a dash of salt & pepper. Pour over salad, mix well, and chill.

What I Have Been Meditating On

As we began 2019, as is my habit I chose a word for the year - "delight" - because I want to truly delight in the Lord (Psalm 37:4) and delight in the everyday moments and blessings around me.  I also chose a verse for the year: Colossians 1:10, "To walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God." Isn't that a wonderful verse? When I read it I knew immediately that was the verse the Lord was directing me to for my 2019 verse. It is a perfect verse to pray for the people in your life that you love, and that is what I do as well.

The past few weeks I have been reading about and reflecting on the subject of our purpose. When I was young and busy with raising a family and homeschooling, it was easier to discern my purpose in life: to raise my children and train them to honor and love and serve the Lord. When I was a pastor's wife (I still am the wife of that pastor but we no longer have a congregation - you know what I mean!) my purpose during those 23 years of pastoring was pretty clear as well. I never even really stopped to consider what my purpose was during those seasons of life. Now that I am an "older woman" it's not so easy to see what my purpose is. My children are grown. I am working a full-time, fast-paced job. I serve in small ways in our local church, but what is it of real value that I am doing? But as I have meditated on verses relating to purpose over the past few weeks, I have realized that my purpose, no matter what season of life I am in, has always been to do whatever God has given me to do at that particular moment - whether it be mothering or helping my husband shepherd a congregation or working - and to do it well.

Psalm 16:11 - "You make known to me the path of life, in your presence there is joy, at your right hand are pleasures forevermore." God makes known to me the life path and His purpose for me by setting me on the course.  Psalm 21:6 - "For You make him most blessed forever, you make him glad with the joy of your presence." From reading these verses, I was struck by this truth: The joy doesn't come from the path of life - our paths twist and turn and vary according to our circumstances and the seasons of life. The joy comes from His presence on the path.

The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me, whatever it is at the moment - that's His promise in Psalm 138:8 - "The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me; Your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever..." The joy doesn't come from knowing my purpose, but from knowing that whatever path I am on, God is with me, and He is fulfilling His purpose in me.

Til next time,

Saturday, October 27, 2018

A Matter of Focus

Well, that went quickly! I'm talking about the months of September and October. I looked back to my last blog post date and was shocked to see it was written the end of August! Somehow, it seems like that was just a week or two ago. And now we are coming up on Thanksgiving in less than a month and then Christmas.... unbelievable. Well, let me begin by warning you that since my posts are more infrequent, they seem to be getting longer!

Part of the reason the last couple months have gone by in the blink of an eye is because they have been full. I've had fun getting out the fall decorations and decking out our home for a new season. And doing some fall baking is always something I look forward to!

I've been blessed to be able to spend some time with two of our children and their families. On Labor Day weekend my husband had to work all weekend and I had the time off, so when he suggested that I do something - I did! I made a quick trip 6 hours south to see our daughter and her family as well as a very dear friend. My friend and I enjoyed some much-needed "girl time" - staying up late talking, breakfast by her pool as well as a little time in the pool. Then on to my daughter's where I thoroughly enjoyed playing with my 4 granddaughters, worship with them on Sunday, and a fun excursion to a nearby walking trail and cafe on Labor Day before I had to head home. It was such a blessing to see them and enjoy the time together!

The end of September brought a visit from our older son and his family, who hadn't been here since Christmas. As the grandchildren are getting older and are in school, and since our son has pastoral responsibilities it is getting harder to schedule times with them. We made the most of the window of opportunity provided by a teacher's conference, and we had such a good time together playing lots of board games, making caramel apples, going shopping, doing some crafts, going swimming at our fitness center, and just having fun together.

Soon afterwards I embarked on another trip - a more bittersweet one. Due to their advancing age and declining health, my parents made the move from their own home to an assisted living center. My siblings have done most of the legwork involved with that but in October I took several days off work and flew to Chattanooga, where my siblings and I finished cleaning out their house, sorting and pricing things for sale, and holding an estate sale. That was a difficult trip in many ways, not just physically, but also the memories brought back by many of their belongings, and helping my parents to adjust to their new surroundings. Again, I was thankful for this brief time together.

And the big event of the past two months was the birth of our 11th grandchild - a son was born to our youngest son and his wife. Levi Christian arrived on October 12, weighing in at a healthy 8 lbs. 12 oz. and welcomed by his big brother and sister! We won't get to meet Levi for awhile yet because they live on the west coast but we are thankful that we get to Facetime with them.

Blog writers tend to write about all the good and exciting things, because who wants to read about the difficulties? Lest you think that the past two months have been nothing but wonderful, let me assure you there have been many things that have been less than wonderful. We have had some severe storms, both literally in our area and figuratively in our lives. And when I was considering what to write about in this post and thought over the events of the past two months, do you know what came to my mind? The sad things, the hard things, and the situations we are praying over because we don't know what to do about them.

It wasn't until I started looking at my photos from the same time period (I am a big picture-taker!) that I realized all the special and good things that had taken place. I had been focusing on the storms and not the good times. Being mindful of my tendency to do this, I have been meditating on Colossians 3:2: "Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things."

The word "set" when I studied it is interesting - it means not only to focus, but to be "firmly planted." Something that is firmly planted is not going to easily topple over or move.

There are so many "earthly things" that I focus on, and when I made my list I noticed they all started with a "P"! People. Problems (especially those, right?) The past. Plans for the future. And possessions.

When I focus my mind on any and all of these things, I am taking my mind off the eternal things. You can only truly focus on one thing at a time. Did you ever try to focus your sight on two things at once? It can't be done. One or the other is going to fade into the background. The things that have eternal value and the Lord Himself is where my focus needs to be.

Another verse I love that the Lord brought to my mind was 2 Cor. 10:5 - "Casting down imagination, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ." Casting down means to remove! And that word imagination is very thought-provoking - it encompasses our reasoning and our ways, trying to figure out the past and the future. If I spend so much time analyzing the past and the future, I miss out on the present.

The verse goes on to say "and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God." These things that I am dwelling on are competing for my focus! They keep me from really knowing God and what he wants me to learn and experience from Him.  I need to intentionally (my word for 2018) focus on letting God capture my thoughts, realizing that my thoughts are the basis for how I feel and what I do. "For as a man thinks in his heart, so is he."

What kind of things are you focusing on today?


Saturday, August 25, 2018

Comparison, Contentment, and Thanksgiving

I'm asking the same question I am hearing from so many - "Where did the summer go?" Next week is Labor Day! It seems as if every summer goes by in the blink of an eye. I always feel like there was so much more that I wanted to do, but then school starting and everything being about fall decor and pumpkin-spice reminds me that fall is upon us already!  I want to thank everyone who took the time after my last blog post to write a comment letting me know that you are reading and being blessed by this blog. I appreciate every comment and it is an encouragement to me to keep writing as I am able, at least for now. My intention in writing is not only to share family news and homemaking inspiration, but always to encourage women to really know God, and to let their light for Him shine in their homes and especially through their lives.

This morning I want to share something from my heart that God has shown me this past week. I think it's pretty safe to assume that if I needed it, maybe someone else does, too. And that is the idea that we cannot really be thankful for something when we are wishing for something else.

My Bible reading took me to Matthew chapter 20, verses 1-16. This is the parable about the workers who were hired to work in the fields, some at the beginning of the day and some at the last hour. At the end of the day when it came time for them to receive their wages, the ones who were hired first and worked all day were very unhappy because they received the same amount as those who were hired at the last minute and worked for only a short time. The verse that really hit home with me was verse 15, the words of the master of the house: "Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?"

"Or do you begrudge my generosity?" That is such a convicting question, isn't it? Because I know I do just that sometimes. Often, if truth be told.

In this parable, at first glance it might seem as though the workers who had worked all day were being treated unfairly. But that is not the case. They had agreed to the amount (verse 2) and they were paid the amount that they had been promised (verse 10). The master did nothing wrong. And this is the thing: They would have been perfectly happy with what they received - until they compared what they received with the others who had not worked as many hours. Then it didn't seem like it was enough. They wanted more and felt like they deserved it.

I am so much the same way. I have realized that my prayers of thanksgiving so often have "Even though..." attached to them. "Thank You for my home....even though it really isn't our house."  "Thank You for my job...even though I wish I didn't have to work full-time." "Thank You for my kids and my grandkids....even though I don't get to see them as often as I'd like." Etc. Etc. It's hard to be truly thankful when you are at the same time wishing you had more.

Do we accuse the Lord of being unfair to us? Perhaps not with our words, but in our hearts? Do we feel that because we have served Him faithfully for such a long time that we deserve more? Do we look at others who have it much easier or have what we wish for, and what we have just doesn't seem to be enough or fair? I would go back to the first verse I gave you, verse 20. The master is in charge. He has every right to do whatever he wants with what is his.

I think the key to being truly thankful with whatever we have been given or allowed to have is to remember who we are. We came into this life with nothing, and we will exit with nothing. We don't deserve a thing. Anything that God gives us is a gift of His grace to us. When we accept it joyfully, rather than looking around and comparing what we received to what others have received, it will go a long way to being truly content and thankful.

Thoughtfully and gratefully,

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Not Just a Sweater

I haven't written a post like this in a long time, so since I have several things bouncing around in my head I thought I would give you a glimpse into my kitchen, family, and heart. As a result, this will be a longer post. As far as the title, you will have to wait until the end of the post to read about that!

What I've Been Grateful For

My husband had his knee surgery in June, which was a revision of the complete knee replacement he had three years ago.  Other than a scare from an infection a few weeks after this surgery, he has been recovering well and making good progress in physical therapy, which is such an answer to prayer.

What I've Been Cherishing

My sister from Georgia visited me for a week in July. She spent the weekdays while I was working with a mutual friend, and the evenings and weekend with me. We had a wonderful time catching up, eating at a couple great restaurants, doing a little shopping, and just being together.

I have been cherishing getting texts, notes, and pictures from our grandchildren. My oldest granddaughter has begun texting me on a regular basis and I LOVE it. It's such a special way to feel connected. I have gotten notes and letters and pictures from some of the others and they are so sweet and special to me I just want to save every one!

What I Have Been Eating

It's blueberry and peach season! I had been buying blueberries whenever they were on sale in the grocery store, and a couple weeks ago we were able to spend the weekend at our oldest son's in Pennsylvania and we went blueberry picking! It was so much fun and I came home with 2 baskets of berries. We also went to the peach orchard and have been enjoying delicious peaches.

I also came across this wonderful recipe for Grilled Chicken Pasta Caesar Salad, which I made for supper this week and then took it for lunch for the next 2 days. It's that yummy, very easy, and a wonderful light meal on hot summer days.

Grilled Chicken Pasta Caesar Salad

6 ounces penne pasta
2 good-sized boneless, skinless chicken breasts, seasoned and  grilled
2 heads Romaine lettuce, coarsely chopped
1 carrot, shredded
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup fresh shredded parmesan cheese
Caesar salad dressing

Cook pasta according to package directions, drain, and cool. (I did this ahead of time)
Grill chicken breasts and chop into chunks.
In a large bowl toss together the pasta, chicken chunks, chopped lettuce, carrot, tomato halves, and parmesan cheese.
Drizzle with Caesar dressing and toss to coat - I like to coat each serving separately because the leftover salad keeps better without dressing on it. This made enough for supper for 2 of us plus 2-3 lunches for me!

What I've Been Loving

I received 2 books for gifts that I've been so excited about, because they have really refreshed my devotional life:

Gracelaced by Ruth Chou Simons is fantastic - filled with her gorgeous, original artwork it is a treasury of scripture, meditations, and challenging quotes and questions. I have been going through it slowly and using it in addition to my normal Bible reading, and journaling in this:

The Give Me Jesus Journal by The Well Watered Woman is something I have really been enjoying. Even though I have been journaling for years, this new format is a wonderful, welcome change that really helps me read with new purpose and thoughtfully apply what I am reading.

What I have Been Meditating On

No blog post would be complete without sharing from my heart what the Lord has been teaching me. The last couple days I have been meditating on the phrase "God is in your midst." There are at least 3 verses where I have found this:

Deut. 7:21: "You shall not be in dread of them, for the Lord your God is in your midst, a great and awesome God."  Psalm 46:5: "God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved..." and Zephaniah 3:17: "The Lord God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you by His love, He will exult over you with loud singing."

Thinking that God is in my midst has brought me great comfort and encouragement to think that God is with me right where I am. Not just in my past, although he was with me then too, and not only in the future which seems so unclear right now, but in my present. I have been struck with how personal a God we have - how so many times, He does things just to show us that He is aware of every little thing in our life and that He cares about us! I want to close with a little story that illustrates this so beautifully:

Before we went to Pennsylvania to visit our son and his family, I was shopping for birthday gifts to take to two of the grandchildren whose birthdays we were going to be celebrating. When I asked for ideas, my daughter-in-law let me know my 2 year old granddaughter needed a new Sunday dress. After quite a bit of looking I found an adorable dress but it was sleeveless, meaning that after this month she probably would not be able to wear it very much. I asked if she had a little white sweater and she didn't, so I put the dress on hold and set out to look for a sweater to go with it.

Do you know how hard it is to find a little white dressy sweater for a toddler? I certainly didn't! I won't list all of the stores I went to, but I exhausted every store in the area that carried children's clothes, plus looked online. I finally gave up and decided to just get the dress anyway.

When I went back to get the dress, I noticed there was a new clearance rack near the dress. I took a minute to look through it, and you guessed it... There was a sweater and it was the ONLY ONE in the store - it was white and the perfect style and it was the perfect size. AND it was marked down to $5!

I stood there for a minute in awe. It might seem like a silly little thing to you, but to me it was a tangible proof that God knew all about this little desire of my heart and He cared enough to provide this for me. And then I asked myself, if He knows about a little thing like shopping for a sweater for a granddaughter, he knows about the bigger, harder things in my life. And He cares about them and is in control of each one.

Yes, God is in my midst - and He is in yours. He is a personal God who knows all about us. And He does care.

I've been writing this blog for 4 years now, and while I only write monthly now that I am working full-time I have noticed that lately there don't seem to be many followers. If you enjoy or are blessed by my blog would you please drop me a comment, Facebook or Instagram message, or personal message so that I might know if I should continue? I love to write, but maybe this isn't something I should be doing, so thanks in advance!

Til next time,

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Trips and Trusting

Have you ever noticed that when you are going somewhere you have never been how much longer it seems to take and how much more difficult it is than when you are familiar with the way?

A couple of weeks ago, we were invited to a Sunday afternoon graduation celebration of a young man my husband works closely with at his job. It was held at his family's home, which is slightly less than an hour and a half from where we live, in a rural area where we had never been.

It was a beautiful afternoon, but as we traveled we were constantly reminded that we had never been that way before! We were completely dependent on our GPS to get us there. Interstate gave way to less traveled country roads, and there were lots of twists and turns. We explicitly followed the directions of the GPS because we had no idea where we were or where we would end up!

In contrast, a few days later on the 4th of July, my husband and I were both blessed with the holiday off (a rare thing for him) and since we had no plans, we decided to make a trip to the beach. Since my husband is recovering from surgery he wasn't up to walking on the beach (and he is not a beach fan anyway!) but he could sit on a pier and fish. We chose a beach that we had been to quite a few times before and even taken family to because it was closer and because it also has a fishing pier.

This trip was so different than the one we had taken just three days before. We were familiar enough with the route that we didn't even need to turn our GPS on. We knew exactly how to get there. We had the benefit of experience and were very confident of the way.

I found myself thinking about these trips this week when I was reading one of my favorite passages, Proverbs 3:5-6: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths."  The phrase that stands out to me is "lean (or depend) not on your own understanding." Which is exactly what I usually do.

I am reminded once again that trust comes into play not when we understand the way, but when we don't know where we are going. When I am on a road where I have been before, I depend on my experience. I don't ask for directions because I am confident that I know the way. But when I am traveling a road that I have never been before, I want to know exactly how I am going to get there. I depend on the directions. I like familiar landmarks because they show me that I am on the right road. I want to know that I am making the right decisions and that I will end up at the right place!

Some other verses came to mind when it comes to thinking about travel, especially with the children of Israel and their journey through the wilderness to the Promised Land. I find it especially interesting that God didn't lead them by the expected route - Exodus 13:17-18. No, He led them the long way around - because He had a plan to test them, teach them and humble them (Deut. 8:2). It struck me this week when I read Exodus 13:18  that God led them directly to the Red Sea! Right where He knew they would encounter a problem and would have to depend on Him to get them where they were going and where He could show His power! Does that sound familiar to you? It does to me!

I don't even begin to understand why I am on a completely different road than what I set out on. I have no idea how or where it's going to end up. That's exactly where God wants me to be - to depend on Him for everything - and not on my own experience. How about you?

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Keep your eyes fixed!

I admit my 60 years, I don't have much experience with lawn mowing. Grass cutting. Or whatever words you use to describe that process of hauling out the lawn mower and keeping your grass under control and your yard presentable. Growing up, I had a dad who was wonderful at anything which involved a yard and working outside. Then I had a husband, who also really enjoyed spending a lot of time on our yard, making it look nice. And then we had two sons. My areas of expertise have always been pretty much indoors.

Three years ago this month (we had two years in a row where June was a very difficult month for us), my husband underwent a total knee replacement, after which he had about every complication possible including a second hospitalization, and which ultimately was not successful.

Tomorrow, with a different surgeon and in a different hospital, he will be admitted and undergo a re-do of that surgery. I have been struggling with considerable anxiety and fear, for a number of reasons. The memories of three years ago are still too vivid, and the outcome is so uncertain. The doctor doesn't know exactly what is going to need to be done, we don't know how long the hospital stay will last, or how long my husband will need to be off work.

So I have been focusing on the One who does know all of these things, because it was in his plan for us from eternity past. He knows the outcome. I remember the word I chose for this year, which is "intentional" and I am choosing to be intentional about trusting the Lord. Isaiah 26:3 says that the Lord will keep in perfect peace the one who stays his mind on Him, because He trusts in Him. The phrase "perfect peace" actually means a double portion of peace. And verse 4 continues the thought - "Trust in the Lord forever, for in the Lord God is everlasting strength."

Which brings me back to the lawn mowing. Like I did 3 years ago when my husband had surgery, I am taking over the lawn mowing. Only the lawn of this house that we are living in (which is a rental house and in a wooded area) is much harder to mow than our lawn in Williamsburg. In Williamsburg our grass was beautiful, thick and lush. It was easy to see where you were cutting and where you had been.

The grass of this house is made up of, to sum it up, mostly weeds. It is very thin and interspersed with moss and weeds and all kinds of things, and that makes it very difficult to cut. I couldn't actually tell what I had already cut and where I needed to go. The path I needed to take was very unclear. I found that when I didn't try to look back where I had already been, or around at the whole yard, but kept my eyes straight ahead on the path I was cutting in front of me, the job was easier. I couldn't see the path clearly while I was mowing, but when I was finished and looked at the whole yard, it was good.

Psalm 16:8 - "I have set the Lord always before me; because He is at my right hand I shall not be shaken." The Psalmist understood the secret of keeping your eyes fixed. I know I'm not the only one who is walking an unclear path right now. If you are, can you choose to be intentional about trusting the One who knows your path?

Saturday, February 3, 2018

The Music of My Life

I love good music.

I have loved music for as long as I can remember. If I am home by myself, I am playing music. When I bake or cook, I put on music first. The first thing I do when I sit down to the computer to write or study is to go to my music library. Over the years, we have collected dozens of CDs by the Wilds, Majesty Music, Soundforth and other good conservative Christian sources as well as some classical and "oldies." I have so many "favorite songs" it would be impossible to name them all. Music speaks to me, quiets me, and encourages me.

I was reading in Psalms 42 and 43 the other day, and although there are many familiar verses in those chapters, this time I noticed this verse which is repeated three times in these short Psalms:
"Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him, my salvation and my God."

My attention was especially drawn to the phrase, "I shall again praise Him." When I studied this out, in the context of these Psalms it is talking about praising God with music. Psalms 42 and 43 were written "to the choirmaster."  But to me, the interesting word was "again." The Psalmist in these Psalms is pouring out his heart which is obviously in turmoil and anguish. However in the midst of this He reminds Himself (and us) that there would come a time when He would be able to again praise God.

When I am learning a new song, it usually isn't the notes or harmony I have trouble learning. I am a pretty good sight-reader, from many years of practice. The thing that is harder for me to learn is the timing. It takes more work and practice for me to learn the timing, especially if there are some tricky things written in. I think the Psalmist felt like I sometimes (often, lately) do - that my life is like a piece of music into which there has been inserted some difficult timing. Especially when it comes to an interlude or a rest.

I love this from Elisabeth Elliott in her book "Secure in the Everlasting Arms":
"Not without design does God write the music of our lives. But be it ours to learn the timing, and not be dismayed over the "rests." They are not to be omitted. They are not to be slurred over. They are not there to destroy the melody. We are not to change the keynote. It's His song, not mine, that I am here to sing."

In music, we not only have rests but we have longer interludes. In thinking about this, I looked up the definition of "interlude" which was very meaningful: "an intervening or interruptive period, space, or event; an interval. A musical composition inserted between the parts of a longer composition."

Doesn't that sound like our lives? God writes "rests" or "interludes" into the composition which is our life. They are designed to enhance the music, not detract from it. If we try to omit them or rush them or change them, then we are saying that the composer didn't do a good job.

Two more thoughts about interludes to remember:

Interludes are transitions. They are not the end of the song.
"I shall yet again praise Him, my salvation and my God."

Psalm 57:1 - "I will hide beneath the shadow of Your wings until this storm is past."
Jeremiah 29:11 - "For I know the plans I have for you," says the Lord, "plans for good and not for evil to give you a future and a hope."

Interludes are at the discretion of the composer. God knows what He is doing.

Isaiah 25:1 - "O Lord, You are my God, I will exalt you, I will praise your name, for You have done wonderful things, plans formed of God of old, faithful and sure."
Isaiah 46:9-10 - "I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand and I shall accomplish all my purposes."

What has God written into the music that is your life?