Tag Archives: comfort

America the Beautiful – God Shed His Grace On Thee

America the Beautiful – By Katharine Lee Bates

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

O beautiful for pilgrim feet,
Whose stern, impassioned stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America!
God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!

O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife,
Who more than self their country loved
And mercy more than life!
America! America!
May God thy gold refine,
Till all success be nobleness,
And every gain divine!

O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

Challenge before Christmas

 I’ve had a bit of a challenging week, but I am so very grateful that life is as good as it is.
At the beginning of the week I was in melt down mode. A drunk driver had smashed into our car just before midnight Sunday evening while it was parked in front of our daughter’s friends’ house in a nice residential neighborhood. She and her college friends were all gathered there studying for end of semester finals. When we received the call, Todd and I were frantic. Even though we knew Kaitlyn and her friends were all okay, it sounded very serious.
A drunk driver passed out at the wheel and drove into the back end of our car with his truck. He remained passed out with his foot on the accelerator until the Sheriff’s department arrived. They had to break his window to get him out of the truck. He was hauled away in an ambulance before Todd and I got to the scene.
When we saw our Mazda, we were in a state of shock at the amount of damage it had taken. Our minds were crazy with “what will we do now?” We stared at the totally blown out back window, the truck still deeply embedded in our back bumper. We had already been dealing with a financial challenge and this was enough to put us over the edge. We drove the heavily damaged car home and parked it in our driveway.
On Monday morning I looked out the front window hoping that it had all been a bad dream.  Nope, the crashed car was sitting in our driveway. It looked even worse in the daylight.
Our son, Andrew, called to get the details. He talked me through all of my fears and tears and listened to my hysteria. I’m so grateful for a son with a level head. Hanging up the phone my head was still spinning, but I had been given the strength to deal with it by hearing Andrew’s calm and sensible advice.
As Andrew Carnegie so beautifully stated: “Encouragement makes a fault easy to correct, and a challenge easy to take on.”
In addition to the Mazda being out of commission, our second car was in the shop awaiting a part. Even my husbands’ scooter, which he can drive back and forth to work, was not working.
Then we found out that the man who hit our car didn’t have insurance. Damages would have been taken care of at 100% under his insurance had he not let it lapse, and we would have had a rental vehicle under his insurance. Neither would be possible now and our own insurance would have to be used. That left us being responsible for our $500 deductible and any rental car expenses (which we chose not to get).
On Monday I was amazed at how quickly and professionally our insurance adjuster handled our claim. He had a physical damage adjuster out that same afternoon. Sadly enough, the car had over $10,000 in visible damage, not to mention what they would find once inside all of the carnage. So it was deemed a total loss.
During the course of the day I began to shift my thinking. This was a horrible situation, however no one was seriously hurt. I was thankful that our car was unoccupied. I also began to thank God that it was “only” our car (and not any of my family or anyone else) that was hurt by a truck with a passed out driver. I started to feel that possibly someone else was spared a great deal of injury because my car stopped the guy who had no control over his vehicle. I believe that somehow the damage to our vehicle is so much less than what it could have been had it not been in the drunk guys’ path.
Today I consider the circumstances of so many people who are in worse positions than we are. I believe we all know someone who is going through a rough spot in their life. Cancer, drugs, alcohol, loss of a loved one, caring for a sick loved one, loss of job, poor health, etc.
I know that I won’t feel sorry for myself for the loss of my car and I must move forward and do everything I can in my power to get beyond these present circumstances. I’m not sure exactly what that looks like right now. We have some things to figure out, but I do know one thing . . . . it may look a little different than I had pictured it a couple of weeks ago, considering the financial impact it has had on us, but I am looking forward to a nice Christmas with my family around me and the celebration of a gift that was given to us over 2000 years ago in the form of a Savior. Simply put – Christmas will still be Christmas.

How long is “too long” to wait on God?

Have you been waiting for provision in some area of your life?  A job? A place to live?  A meal?  Or just someone to smile at you so you don’t feel so lonely?

God is faithful.  How many times have you heard that and yet you are still in the same situation you were in six months ago?  You scream, “If God is faithful, why am I still praying for changes to take place?  When will life take a different turn so I can get back on track?”  Frustrations have mounted and questions swirl around in your head.  Waiting for God feels like a lost cause and you are totally drained to the point that there is nothing left inside of you that even wants to cry out to God.

 Now you are right where you need to be.  Totally drained of yourself so God can start pouring Himself into you.

What would it look like if you found yourself wanting God more than wanting anything else in life?  Wanting him more than you want that job.  Wanting him more than you want your marriage to work.  Wanting him more than you want your daughter to stop seeing the boy she is dating.  Wanting God more than you want your next meal.  Its a new way of thinking.  In Larry Crabb’s book SoulTalk, I like the line that says:  I want to experience God through whatever means he provides and keep trusting him whether life gets better or not. 

Recent circumstances could have caused me to question God’s goodness.   My husband and I have been challenged in the area of jobs, finances, and health.  All major issues looming over our heads while we have waited on God to show himself.   However, we have committed to standing on the promise that God’s peace is enough to get us through until the thing that needs to happen to make our circumstances better actually starts happening.  We have waited and trusted, waited and trusted.  Slivers of doubt have tried to creep in.  Discouragement has tried to get us to distrust God’s word.  But we keep turning our eyes back to Him.  We are determined that whether or not our circumstances change, we still have a beautiful relationship with God and that will never change.  As we wait our faith is growing, our dependence on Him is deepening.  Good things are starting to happen.  Is it all perfect?  No.  But circumstances are improving.  More importantly, our dependence on Him has grown.

You get what you get!  I’ve always said that about the way God created our individual bodies.  However, that also goes for life in general.  Whether life has recklessly tossed a bag of bad apples your way or gently placed a golden nugget in your lap, either way you have to do something with what was given to you.  We prefer the gentle placement of things in our life, but that doesn’t mean that the things that are thrown at us are any less precious.   Ask God what He would have you learn from your present circumstances.  “God, what do you want me to do with this bag of rotten apples?  Can I make a difference in anybody’s life with this?”   You could cut out the seeds and plant them.  Eventually something beautiful and fruitful will come out of it.  Some day it might bless a family and feed them when times are tough.  It is difficult in the midst of trouble, but try to envision what it will look like beyond the present circumstance.

How long do we wait on God to act?     We wait as long as it takes to see his hand in our circumstance.  In the meantime, we get to know Him better.  We cultivate our faith.  Determine to allow life to be well with your soul, no matter what you face.   Nothing can improve upon our life more than the way He fills our soul when we lean completely on him.

I leave you with the words to one of the most beautiful songs ever written:  It Is Well With My Soul – – –

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

God bless you on your journey.

Do not grow weary in well-doing for in due season you will reap, if you do not lose heart.  Galations 6:9