Be Still!

This image is of a lace wall hanging that has hung on the bedroom door of my mom’s assisted living suite since I gave it to her and my dad as a gift several years ago.  It was one of the things my niece thought to bring over to my mom’s rehab room to make her more comfortable a few weeks ago.  She hung it on her bulletin board at the foot of her bed amidst family photos and get well cards.  Mom was only there a few days before she had to go back to the hospital and the room had to be cleared out for the next person.  But while she was there we talked about this lace wall hanging, how she would stare at it at night when she couldn’t sleep after dad was gone and it brought her such peace.  I need to stare at it now and hear God’s whisper, “Be Still…”

The problem is I’m sort of hard-headed and lost  in a mind sea of turbulent thoughts.  I need to hear God more clearly at this moment while I am waiting for news in the predawn darkness about mom, on her way to the emergency room again after just arriving to the rehab center yesterday.  She was in the hospital nearly two weeks and yesterday the doctors thought she was well enough to discharge her.  In fact, I was staring at this photo when I got the call from my sister that mom was on the way to the hospital.  Hundreds of miles away, there is nothing I can do but wait and pray.  I woke up at three unable to sleep for some reason.  I read my devotions and prayed before sleeplessness led me to the distractions of Facebook and Pinterest.  Sometimes I forget to pray first, surf later but this morning was the right start and somehow I was reminded of this photo,  “Be still and know that I am God!”  It was on my computer screen when my sister called.  I don’t know if God approves of shouting but it might help right now to hear Him order me with the firmness of my dad when I was little to “Be Still!  Be Still and KNOW that I am GOD!”  In other words, I need to trust Him now more than ever.

Fall is Coming! Fall is Coming!

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Unlike Henny Penny who warned everyone “The Sky is Falling!  The Sky is Falling!” in that ancient children’s fairy tale,  I want to announce good news…”Fall is Coming! Fall is Coming!”  It may not be exciting news to many but if you live in the deep south and endure the summer heat, any inkling of approaching relief gives hope that we are near the end of humid misery.  On my way north last week I stopped at the New River Gorge lookout in WV on a crisp, cool morning.  I don’t always stop here on the journey because I’m usually in a hurry to get where I’m going.  But this day I needed a wake-up call so I wouldn’t fall asleep at the wheel.  I thought a walk down to the lookout would perk me up and I could take some pictures on a gorgeous day.  It had been many years since I walked this path and I’d forgotten that there are a gazillion steps down the mountain side!  Going down would be much easier than going up, of course, but it would be worth it just to see the breath-taking views of the world’s longest arc bridge, the trees that in a few weeks would be ablaze of color, and the New River meandering miles below at the bottom of steep mountains.

I needed this inspiring “rest” stop to remind me how my father loved to stop here to take pictures and how my poor mom ended up carrying all his camera equipment everywhere they went on their travels.  He was a much more serious photographer than I and my tiny digital camera that I could carry in the palm of my hand was proof of that compared to his bag full of 35 mm lenses, filters and rolls of film that are now obsolete.  My mom patiently carried that load for him so he could have hands free for the spectacular shots.  I don’t know how much she enjoyed being his photo mule but she rarely complained openly.

I was on my way to see mom again in the hospital, hoping and praying for her healing.  Surely the stamina she has shown us all through this battle with cancer (as well as carrying camera equipment or raising six children) could help me, inspire me, on the uphill battle back to the top of the gorge, up hundreds of steps that can only be taken one at a time.  I know journeys in life can only be taken one step at a time, too.  We don’t know if we will make it to the top but the only way out of a deep valley is to look up and pray for the strength to take the next step, and the next, and the next.  I was a breathless, sweaty mess when I reached the top and definitely awake enough to continue the drive north.