Listen: A Five Minute Friday post

Old Testament verses can be an encouragement from God, in our lives today. I like the well-known Jeremiah verse about the fact that he knows our life and plans. It’s a popular one to write on graduation cards or gifts for friends facing uncertain times. If you read farther along, the passage continues with a wonderful set of encouraging verses.

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Jerimiah 29:11-14
“For I know the plans I have for you declares the LORD plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the LORD and will bring you back from captivity.”

When I am going through a difficult time, or see a friend struggling, these promises provide peace and hope.

These verses portray a picture of how much the LORD loves us, listens and answers our prayers. If we are feeling stressed out, tired, or sad, we can call out to our God and He’s there listening. If you are heartbroken, frustrated or lonely, seek Him. He promised to listen and guide us through the trials of life.

Posted in Five Minute Friday with Kate Motaung, God's faithfulness, God's Love | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Face to Face

In earlier days, W was a robust man, full of life and energy. A talkative type who could make people laugh. He didn’t miss a beat. As a young man, he was a truck driver. When he delivered the produce to a store, there he met a pretty young lady and later they married. As the years went on, W and his wife had a son and a daughter. Their life was busy and joyful.

One day, the tides turned, experiencing great sorrow when their dear daughter died after a short stint with cancer. Part of W was forever severed. He was never the same after that dark time.

Later on, he was a car salesman. Work and life continued for many more years.

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Occasionally he and his son went fishing on a nearby lake. They shared the way men often do . . . sitting side by side, looking at the water. Chit-chat here and there, nothing too serious. Mostly business.

One day, W had relentless pain which intensified. It turned out to be a massive stroke. He didn’t remember the long days and nights in the hospital. Rehab was attempted for the relatively young man, at the age of 61. He laid for a few lonely years, his eyesight completely gone, one leg amputated because of earlier medical issues, both hands contorted into permanent fists. His family drifted away and he never received a visit.

W kept his faith in the Lord. Often a nurse would adjust the dial on his radio to the treasured tunes about Jesus. When a hospice volunteer came, he appreciated a psalm or prayer. Even when the words were very few and far between, he expressed his thankfulness for their visits.

W’s soul went on a journey home to the place he has longed for his entire life. Where is his soul? Where does it go when the body shuts down? The body remains, but the soul goes on an adventure to the presence of the Lord. Now he’s at peace. His hands are limber and whole, his body restored, he’s viewing the glorious colors of heaven. Today he sat with his daughter overlooking the glimmering sea.

W now enjoys the radiance of his Savior . . . face to face.

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Legacy of Words

My great-great-grandfather Cornelis deBruyn wrote a summary about his family’s dangerous crossing from the Netherlands to America in 1889. My grandpa John Volkema compiled a journal during his military service in WWI. We have an auditory account of my uncle Art Volkema’s service in WWII, and his survival when his ship was bombed by Kamikazes. My mom kept thirty-three years of diaries about her daily life. They knew the importance of words and wanted to pass stories down to future generations.

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These dear relatives left a rich heritage to treasure. I will pass them on to my children and future grandchildren and beyond. It’s important we don’t forget the lessons of the past and they enrich our lives for the future. The most important thing about these accounts is the clear commitment to our Lord Jesus, and the faithfulness of God.

 
The written word was so important to God, that he gave us the Bible. It was recorded by over 40 authors who wrote during a 1,500-year period, inspired by the Holy Spirit. The Bible is regarded as a highly reliable book by Christians and historians alike.

 

God used words to create.

 

Genesis 1 – All God had to do was speak, and light was created, then countless other things formed at the sound of His voice.

 

Each author of the Bible wrote at the direction of the Holy Spirit who “breathed out” Scripture to him. Peter explains this process:

 

2 Peter 1:21 – “Prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”

 

2 Timothy 3:16 – “All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

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There are many references to writing, words, speaking and relaying messages in the Bible. It is amazing that the Holy Scriptures are God’s actual words for us to read. Many words were first passed on by way of songs, poetry and spoken word. He didn’t rely on speaking alone, which could evolve over years of repeating. God loves us so much that He revealed Himself to us in the Bible so we can have unchangeable written words to know Him intimately.

 

There are several places in the Bible where God talks about speaking and writing “it” out for future generations. Here’s a few. . .

 

Exodus 17:14 – “. . .Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Write on this scroll as something to be remembered’. . .” God instructed Moses to write the account of the Israelite’s journeys for future generations to remember.

 

We can have complete faith in God’s word because He has proven Himself trustworthy. When Jesus came to earth, he fulfilled many prophecies from the Old Testament.

 

Isaiah 9:6 – “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.”

 

Micah 5:2 – “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel. . .”

 

God shows his concern for accurate speaking and writing to make things clear to people.

 

Habakkuk 2:2 – “Write down the revelation, and make it plain on tablets, so that a herald may run with it.”

 

God is the very essence of the words.

 

John 1:1 – “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

 

He writes on the tablets of our hearts.

 

2 Corinthians 3:2-3 – . . . “You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known by everybody. You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.”

 

The apostle John was told to write his visions.

 

Revelation 19:9 – “the angel said to me, ‘Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb. . . these are true words that come from God.’”

 

God is interested in what we speak and write. We need to let Him infuse His Holy Spirit through us so that we are conveying what He desires. We must be careful, because words can uplift, or they can tear down. Our words today are not the inspired word of God. The Bible is finished. But they are words given to us by the Spirit of God which can be used to inspire and encourage others to dig deeper into the Bible.

 

I am blessed with a legacy of faith and writing from relatives, and from God.

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Posted in ancestors, Ancestry, Bible, faith, Family, God, God's faithfulness, God's Holy Word, Holy Spirit, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Great News!

In a few months, Lord willing, I will be able to unveil something very exciting! I have worked on a book for the last several years. After the loss of my mother as a young girl, for many years I carried around the “call” to write about it. The book will give hope to those who go through the loss of their mothers, or the loss of any loved one. It is part memoir, and contains stories based on interviews with brave women telling their mother-loss stories.

 

God has been faithful and helped me to form and finish the book. There have been many twists and turns, disappointments, trials and joys during this process. It’s amazing how the Holy Spirit led me through all these to accomplish the task. I’m working with a publisher to polish and refine all the details.

 

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The question in my mind is whether it is ready. Is it as good as I can make it, or is there something more which needs to be done? Is it finally the right time?

 

 

I’m thankful to my blog and devotional readers, my friends, my husband, prayer warriors, interviewees, and mentors, as they each cheered me on and supported me. They encouraged me to press on toward the goal of the upward calling of Jesus Christ.

 

Many more details will be coming! All glory to God!

 

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Posted in Family, God's faithfulness, Grief and loss, Holy Spirit, Hope, Mom, Mom's legacy/diaries, mother loss, mother-child connections, Motherless Daughters, Mothers and daughters, New Book 2019, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

The Doors of Motherhood

(Six years ago, I wrote a similar blog story. I revised and improved it for Mother’s Day week, 2019. I’m amazed how much I’ve changed in my life, and in my writing. This is somewhat of a free verse poem or story. These are some situations I’ve experienced being a mother of two sons. Maybe you can relate to some of them.)

 

Moms walk through many doors during motherhood.

 

One day the evidence is conclusive. You run through that door to exclaim your joy. Yellows and greens. Hopes and dreams.

 

The door of your doctor’s office. The ultrasound room a delightful threshold. Anticipation. Waiting. Faith.

 

The door of the birthing room. Sharp pains forgotten. His first cry. Staring at him counting fingers and toes. Sleepless nights. Blue bibs and blankets.

 

Bright colored doors . . . the first step he takes. Blocks and trains. Lego airplanes hang. Songs and prayers. Sitting in the steamy room while he chokes out his cough.

 

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Welcoming children into your home. Applauding each stage. Books and Bibles. Trikes and sidewalk chalk. Diapers and laundry, your days are filled.

 

The Kindergarten door . . . Crayons, swings. Be kind. Bible School and summer camp. Scraped knees and playing catch. Bicycles.

 

The door of the sporting event . . . the camera charged up. Shoes squeak across the floor. Knee boards near Lake Michigan. Shivering under beach towels. Skateboards and monster trucks.

 

Your slider door. Laughter and hollering of school boys in your backyard pool. Pizza and soccer. Smelly socks and dirty dishes. Smiles and arguments.

 

Slamming doors. You hope to get through the stressful days.

 

Now the bikes have motors. Homework and girls. Snowmobiles roar. You pray like never before.

 

Pushing the hospital door open. Your heart can barely stay in your chest with thankfulness. The car demolished. He’s walking beside you without a scratch.

 

The door of the high school gymnasium . . . on graduation day. Tears of happiness and bewilderment how fast the years have flown. Fear, wondering if you’ve done a good enough job.

 

The door of the first dorm room. Building the loft with power tools. The ride back home in tears and silence. They tell you, “You brought them up to let them fly!”

 

 

Guilt, not feeling the way you think you’re supposed to feel. The heavy blanket holds you down.

 

The front door of the condo. The first home he buys. You’re proud of him but you know this is the most definitive door you’ve ever passed through. The end of an era. Your heart feels tangled.

 

Thankful and deeply sad at once. You know other moms have had much more pain in their lives. You know the expectations. Part of you wants time to go backwards.

 

The door of his car closes. He’s drawn to the mountains out west. He waves and has to go.

 

You’re told the empty nest is grand and wonderful. Adjustments and time necessary, no matter how solid the marriage.

 

A mother for many years, you learned what to do. The end of the care-taking season in mothering. How to climb from summer to fall. Not sure of your identity now.

 

The door of a downsized home. Hobbies and vacations. Roles evolve. Experimenting with purposes in your life.

 

Finding new ways to glorify Him, doing what you can for the Kingdom. Discovering a new season. A quiet home.

 

Now a support role, prayer warrior, letters, texts and phone calls, holiday meals simmer. Still cheering them on. You look up and see a child in the grown man’s eyes.

 

Shades and hues of your doors are different but similar to mothers world-wide.
The kindergarten door, the dorm room door, the condo door . . . all strangely alike.

 

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You lift your eyes. Older mothers are waving you on through.

 

“See that bright point? Here’s a walking stick to borrow!”

 

There are more doors ahead . . .

 

 

 

 

What are some doors of motherhood you’ve walked through?

Posted in bringing up men, Family, love your sons, Memories, Mother's Day, mother-child connections, young men | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

LACK: A Five-Minute Friday Post

Lack.

 

This word reminded me of the first verse in Psalm 23, I will not lack anything. But I have some verses from childhood days of old, packed away in my head. In those olden days, we usually used the King James edition of the Bible. I have Psalm 23 basically memorized, (with some occasional confusion), with the words, “I shall not want.” You know, I always used to think that verse meant, I “shouldn’t want,” or something like that. Actually, it means that the Lord will take care of me so well, that I will not be lacking anything that’s needed. He knows my requirements and watches over me.

 

No matter where I go, what I do, or how bad things look, He will always provide for me. Certainly He won’t always give me what I want! But I will have my needs met. Sometimes the world and my situations look awfully dark and scary, but He is sure to provide His presence if I ask. He has all the hairs on my head numbered, he turns the darkness into light as He upholds me with His righteous right hand.

 

God will do the same for you. Trust Him. He loves you and you will always have everything you need. No, I’m not speaking about a prosperity gospel – you are promised in the Bible that you will have trouble in this world, but when you pass through the waters or walk through the fire, He promises to be with you.

 

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Here’s Psalm 23 in the King James version of the Bible. I never use it anymore, but sometimes it’s pleasant to look back. Maybe this sounds familiar, or maybe you’d like to memorize it. It’s only six verses.

 

Psalm 23. A Psalm of David.

 

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

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If you’d like to read other Five-Minute Friday stories from some awesome authors, click here.

 

Posted in Five Minute Friday with Kate Motaung, God's faithfulness, God's presence, trust, trust in God | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Place: A Five-Minute Friday Post

Place.

It reminded me of the verses in John 14:1-10, that talk about the place God has prepared for believers. In these precious words, Jesus tells about heaven.

He says, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”

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The disciples claim they don’t know where Jesus is going.

He answered them, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”

The disciples still asked Jesus to show them the Father.

Jesus patiently answered them again, by saying, “Don’t you know me, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.”

I realize something else really encouraging in this passage – the last part when Jesus says the Father lives in him and is doing this work. That reminds me of an important truth for me as a writer – often I feel inadequate like I’m unable to write the stories God has put in my heart to write. I need to rely totally on the Holy Spirit of God to help me, he lives in me, and is doing his work.

Thank you, Lord, because I cannot do it on my own!

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Posted in Five Minute Friday with Kate Motaung, God our Father, heaven, Holy Spirit, Jesus, trust, trust in God, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , | 14 Comments