Antidote for Fear: God says, “You are Mine.”

But now, thus says the LORD, your Creator, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel, “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine!

Isaiah 43:1 (NASB)

 

IMG_0235The other morning when my kitten, Lucy, greeted me, I noticed she wasn’t wearing her collar. Being a safety collar, it isn’t hard to unclasp—one little tug and it snaps right off. Somehow, she had gotten it off during the night. I looked around but couldn’t find it.
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Saint Valentine: Love and Injustice

We live in an unjust world. No one knows this better than St. Valentine, the man for whom the holiday we’re celebrating is named.rome-714658_1280

 

Legend has it the priest refused to obey Roman Emperor Claudias’ decree forbidding marriages. Claudias believed more men would be willing to join the army and go off to war if they remained single. Believing Claudias’ decree to be unjust, Valentine secretly officiated weddings anyway.
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Marriage: I still do!

I still do! In our fourteen years of marriage, Doug and I credit three things for our happiness:

 

  • Prayer—out loud, together. This helps us remember who the enemy is. (Hint: it’s not your spouse.)
  • Date nights—we have a standing date each week on the calendar. If someone asks us to do something during that time, we truthfully say we have a prior commitment scheduled.
  • Marriage conferences—conferences are my favorite! Attending one with my husband makes it even better. We always learn something helpful.

 

Last month we attended a simulcast I Still Do conference by Dennis Rainey’s Family Life Today. In his talk, Dennis noted that he and his wife Barbara had been married for forty years, but still had fights from time to time.

 

Even the best of friends have fights sometimes.
Even the best of friends have fights sometimes.

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Tale of Two Stories

I love to read. This week’s pick reminded me of a story I read two years ago. This is my tale of two stories–both well written, but two very different perspectives.

TrainEarly in January of 2014, when my own private hell broke loose in my mind, I was taking an advanced fiction writing course as a part of my bachelor’s degree requirements at Oregon State. As one of our assignments, we read “Train,” by Alice Munro.

I wrote this in my assignment: “I find in this story an interesting juxtaposition of a circular story that runs along the sides of a straight railroad track. Jackson is trying to run away, but his life keeps turning in circles, despite his horizontal trips up and down the railway train. The story essentially is about figuring out what Jackson is running away from and why.”
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God is Good!

Mount Hermon
Mount Hermon writers conference

Late in 2014, during a horrific year, God gave me this beautiful Psalm:

“I’m sure now I’ll see God’s goodness in the exuberant earth. Stay with God! Take heart. Don’t quit. I’ll say it again: Stay with God” (Psalm 27:13-14, The Message).

He knew I needed to be reminded that He is good. In the midst of my grief and human-ness, I had forgotten.
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The Problem of Pain

Isaiah66_9
“In the same way I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born,” says the LORD. “If I cause you the pain, I will not stop you from giving birth to your new nation,” says your God. Isaiah 66:9

Last week, I talked about the minor pain of inconvenience, namely re-entry into my Realitytale after a fantasy vacation with my dream guy. Broken down cars and home renovations had me wishing for Tinkerbell to sprinkle fairy dust and take me back to the Magic Kingdom.
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A Fairytale Life

Recently, my husband and I took a long-awaited vacation to Disney World. If you’ve never been there, what they say is true—it really is the happiest place on earth.

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It’s not just a vacation; it’s a slip-from-reality trip to a magical land of pure joy. Three days without seeing litter, poverty, or having to think about maintenance of any kind. (Well, I did fix my hair and makeup, but other than that, I lived in a fairytale.)
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