Diana Nesbitt

Always Go Deeper

Category: Thoughts (page 1 of 3)

To All Who Have Fought For Freedom

I see you. You are more than a small face in a grainy photograph. You are more than the blue or gold star they hung in the window. You are more than the helmet peeking above the bushes. You are more than nimble fingers and agile eyes aiming and firing. You are more than bloody hands pressed against your comrade’s chest. You are more than the enemy’s target. You are more than the medal they pinned to your chest. You are more than a white cross in a cemetery. You are more than a name on a monument. You are more than a number in a history book.
You were a person.
You were a son, a sweetheart, a father, a friend. You were handsome – or maybe a bit homely. Maybe you were young. Maybe you wore gray at your temples and this wasn’t your first time “Over There,” but you had to make sure the job was finished this time. Maybe you flew planes. Maybe you fixed meals. Maybe you raised the flag at Iwo Jima, or maybe you spent the duration fighting battles so far on the outskirts you wondered if what you were doing even mattered.
You were a person, with a story. Because you lived your story in fighting, I can live mine in freedom. Thank you.

Although this post is directed towards those who fought during World War Two, the sentiment is equal for veterans of all wars, past and present. Thank you for your service!

2016 in Review

The wayward writer has returned yet again. It’s been a coon’s age since I last posted (although I can’t say I actually know how long a coon’s age is – I assume it could be quite a while), so as a way of saying hello again, I’ll share my review of the past year as a quick, although not very brief, commentary on what has been keeping me busy and away from the writing desk over the last several months!
2016 was a full, interesting year. It brought new opportunities and open doors, some unexpected and some I’d hoped for but never expected this year to bring. I made some new friends and had relationships with others deepen in sweet and special ways. In 2016 I asked the Lord to give me a phrase to help me stay focused, something concise that would remind me of the intentions with which I began the year. He gave me the word finish. It was appropriate, because I have many half-finished projects, crafts, and online classes frequently haunting the back of my mind. This word served well to motivate me toward completing some of these projects. Later on, though, it seemed to apply to not just my projects, but perhaps also to some part of this time in my life. Doors have opened this year, and I’m curious and also a little bit apprehensive to see what the continuation of stepping through them brings in 2017.
January: My first step forward in 2016 was getting my passport (no, I haven’t used it yet). I was hoping to go on a mission trip this year and wanted to have my passport in case an opportunity should arise. I seriously considered a trip to Jamaica, but ended up deciding it wasn’t the right trip for me. However, it was not a wasted opportunity, because through that connection my mom was able to send some dresses and shorts for children that she had made (you can read about that project here) with our friends who were going on the trip, and they were able to distribute them in an impoverished community down there.
March: I started taking a karate class! My coworker had been taking classes for over a year (and telling me how great it is), and she had the opportunity to bring a friend for free for the month so she invited me. I’d always thought it would be cool to learn some self defense but never dreamed I’d actually have the opportunity, so I tried it out and decided to stay on as a student. I’m growing to like it more and more as time goes on. I earned my green belt in early November and am currently working towards my first brown stripe (after two brown stripes comes my brown belt, then three black stripes and my black belt – still a few years down the road but not out of sight!)

My brother got to come to class the night I earned my green belt last November!

A bear who made himself way too comfortable in our yard last spring!

May: I took English composition as my first-ever college class online from a local college. It was a good experience, but not without stress, since it was an accelerated course in which we covered a semester’s worth of work in eight weeks (I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into…), but I received some really helpful guidance from a good friend along the way and that helped me survive. 🙂 The major assignments were a personal narrative essay, a critical analysis, and a research paper. I used each of the assignments to bring to life some ideas that I’d had in my mind for a while, so that made each one even more satisfying to complete. I wrote about my memories of going to the town library for the personal narrative essay, analyzed the plot structure of a Pixar movie (I chose Inside Out – so much fun!) for my critical analysis, and wrote about human trafficking for my research paper. I received some very encouraging feedback from my professor on each of my assignments and overall I enjoyed my first college experience.

Camel ride at Franklin Park Zoo near Boston in the spring

Summer was busy and stressful, with trying to keep up with gardening and yard work and karate and more hours at work. We had more staffing changes at work, so my hours increased and for a few weeks things were pretty intense with trying to fill in the gaps and regroup before new people came on, but we all survived, are now fully staffed, and there is an air of relief and fun now permeating the office. One of our new team members is a friend I’ve known for years, so that made it even more exciting. In July, I also had the opportunity to help a friend set up floral arrangements for at a historic estate for a wedding, which was fun.

Nephews having fun playing with milkweed in the autumn

In November (at the persistent coaxing of my coworker – I asked her a year ago to prod me to do this, and she made good on it!), I tried out for a community production of Fiddler on the Roof at the university in town, and I made it in! In addition to the fact that I’ve always loved all things musical, part of my reason for auditioning was to use the experience of being in a more serious theatre production as a springboard for my research for my novel, which involves summer stock theatre.
Later on in the month, we had a lovely Thanksgiving, spending the evening enjoying dessert and good conversation with friends.
Then December came. Oh, December.


What I wanted most for December was for time to slow, to allow me to savor this last bit of my year of “finishing,” to steep my mind and heart in worship and meditating on the birth of Christ. I wanted to finish learning the beautiful arrangement of Silent Night I’d played off and on for months and play it at church. I wanted to watch Christmas movies and wrap gifts and write things.

Instead, after a week of puzzling and intense pain in his lower abdomen, my dad went to the doctor and from there to the ER on December 9th. They took a CT scan and diagnosed it as an abscess in his psoas muscle. Apparently an abscess like this is very rare, and the doctor shook his head in bewilderment as to why Dad would have even developed such a thing (although we think it might be related to the appendectomy he had two years ago). They transferred him to Dartmouth that night and put drains in his abdomen. When we got there on Saturday they had just put the drains in and some of the infection had spilled into his abdomen (which can happen in these types of procedures) and he was very sick. They transferred him to the ISCU and thankfully by the end of the day he looked better, and the next day he was able to be moved back into a regular room.

He came home the Wednesday of the following week, and for the next two weeks Mom had the fun job of emptying and flushing his drains every day. Although anything medical is NOT her forte, she was a trooper and took good care of him. So, we were all quite happy when Dad came home from his follow up appointment and, with the biggest smile he’d worn all month, announced that the doctor had taken the drains out! After twenty days with them in, he was delighted to be free of them and able to wear jeans again.

December did have some good points, though: I turned twenty-five and got my first smartphone. 😉 Also, I got new tires. Funny the things you get excited about when you become an adult.

My birthday cake – it was a Ukrainian Kiev cake made by a friend who is an excellent baker. It tasted like a giant Ferrero Rocher!

January: After a Christmas season that passed in a way none of us were really expecting, I savored my vacation from work the week after Christmas. I hung on to the last days of the year like an oak tree to its leaves, but time, like the wind, pulled them away from me, one by one. Then January came, and I began one of the most hectic months of my life. Fiddler on the Roof rehearsals took place every day for 18 days, culminating in a total of nine (9!!) shows over the course of two weekends. It was an intense schedule, but it was a lot of fun, especially after the shows began and everyone felt more comfortable with what was going on.

Fiddler on the Roof paraphernalia

Snowy selfie!

Trying out new snowshoes

On January 1st, my family attended a local church that we had not been to before, and thus far, we are really enjoying it. I even have some hope that this may become home.

I also started (and stopped) my second college class at the beginning of 2017. My plan was to take English Composition 2, but after sitting in class for the first few weeks, I discovered that what the professor was teaching and what I had expected to learn from the course description were not matching up. So, after much mental struggle, I decided to drop the class and invest my time in more practical writing experiences – like resurrecting my blog and working on my novel. I just signed up for an online fiction writing class for the month of March and am excited to see what will come from that.

When I look back on a year that has passed, the most important thing that I consider is how I’ve grown spiritually. Over the year of 2016, I came to realize more and more the relational aspect of God’s character, and how much there is that He wants to give us spiritually. I’m just starting to learn to interact with the Lord a bit more as I pray, instead of always throwing my list of “Please helps” at God and expecting Him to listen, and I hope that 2017 brings much more of that.

Now as I look forward to more of what 2017 holds, I have delicately held hope that finally, this may be the year when I take serious steps forward in pursuing this calling of being a writer that God has placed on my life. Over the last month, I have come to realize that He has already answered my often-asked question of “How do I become a writer??” I’ve learned a lot from the research and reading I’ve done over the past few years, and I know the basic first steps that I need to take to pursue this craft. My main desire is that I will do this in strong, humble dependence on the Lord and will seek and recognize His help every step of the way.

So here’s to moving forward in 2017!

How was your 2016? What are your plans and hopes for 2017?

How Life and Writing are like Quilting

quiltingpostBefore last Christmas, my mom and I made “I Spy” quilts for my nieces and nephews. As we busily worked on progressing through the steps of assembling each quilt, I noticed that quilting is similar to life in some ways.

When you’re putting together a quilt, you can’t skip ahead. You have to cut out the fabric before you can sew the pieces together. You have to sew the pieces together before you can put the blocks together. You have to put the blocks together before you can stitch the rows together. You have to stitch the rows together before you can sandwich the layers together. You have to sandwich the layers together before you can quilt the design and bind the quilt.

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And so it is with life. We can’t skip any of it, no matter how tedious or difficult parts of it might seem. Each step of life has its own process, challenges, and joys. Some steps we might enjoy more than others, but we have to go through each one nonetheless. And when it is all put together, if we let God have His way, the end result will be something beautiful- and useful.

And, as I think about it, writing can be compared to quilting as well. In quilting, it’s easier to complete the steps in batches -cut everything out, match the pieces together, “chain stitch” them together in a continuous line without breaking the thread, cut the pieces apart, iron them all…you get the idea. So I’ve decided that I need to apply this quilting method to writing. After I do all the work necessary to publish a post (sometimes it takes almost as long to publish a post as it does to write it) I have a hard time jumping into writing the next one immediately. Thus, I’m going to try to write posts in batches- draft, edit and prep them for publishing all together. Who knows – maybe it’ll be the miracle we’ve all been waiting for that will keep me posting regularly, ha!

All that to say, even though it will be quiet around here for a little while longer, things are happening behind the scenes. Good things come to those who wait, so I hope you’ll like what’s coming in the near future. 🙂

The Inescapable Presence of Immanuel

DSC07762 Immanuel- the name given the Messiah, the Promised One who would come to earth to rescue His beloved creation from the horrid mess they had gotten themselves into.

Immanuel. God with us.

No man made religion can offer real closeness with the real God. Always, in the religions man has made up, we make it unattainably hard for ourselves to reach God.

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God, however, makes it easy. He reaches for us. The history of the world is nothing more than the story of God being Immanuel- God with us, God reaching for us.

He made a perfect world with perfect closeness between man and Himself. Man sinned and severed the relationship. God continued to make ways for man to know Him, and then finally, He sent the permanent solution to our sin problem. He gave us His dearly loved Son, withholding nothing in His pursuit of us. Then He sent His Spirit to indwell every person who accepts His gift of eternal life.

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I once heard a preacher say: “You can be as close to God as you want.”

He is God with us, the One who has done everything possible to make it easy for us to come close to Him. We’re the ones who build the barriers between us and God, with our sin, mistrust, and rejection of all the goodness He offers us.

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Still, His invitation is always going out. Christmas, the fascinating time of year when, in spite of all of people’s efforts to squelch the scandalous message that God loved us all enough to send His Son to die a brutal death to pay for our sin and be raised again so those who believe can have new life, that message, it goes out over loudspeakers in stores, and on the radio, the television, and the internet.

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That message, it travels at the speed of sound, and you can cover your ears against it but you can’t stop it from leaking out everywhere. The songs of the season carry the message, the crooners, the pop artists, and all the musicians are the unwitting carriers of the message that will rescue the whole world from darkness, if we’d all stop being afraid of the Light.

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You’re hard-pressed to evade it, this time of year, this message that has infiltrated every tradition surrounding this holiday. Santa Claus? =A generous Christian saint. Happy Holidays? Holiday=Holy Day.

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It’s no surprise- Paul says in Romans 10:8, “The message is near you, in your mouth and in your heart.” In the mouth of every person who has ever sung Silent Night or Joy to the World, in the ears of every person who has heard Linus recite the Christmas story on Charlie Brown Christmas.

If only everyone would stop and wonder about what they’re singing and hearing.

Inescapable Immanuel. You can leave Him, but He won’t leave you.

What relentless, generous love. Don’t run from it, embrace it.

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“Praise be to God for His unspeakable gift!” 2 Corinthians 9:15

 

Works of art that combine multiple mediums are so fascinating. I think that’s the main reason I love this video so much. The music, the hand drawings and animations, and the acting combine to communicate the story of the song. That’s what I love most about art- that it tells a story. It’s communication at it’s most creative-and arguably most effective.

But more than the mixture of artistic techniques, I love the portrayal of the fact that we are also telling a story with our lives. Just as the man in this video is drawing the most important scenes of his life, telling his story through pictures, we’re drawing a story every day. Our actions and responses to things paint the picture others see of us. Does the portrait they see resemble Christ?

And how can we be sure it does?

The same way that young artists learn from the masters. They copy the masterpieces. Copying a painting, shade by shade, line by line, stroke by stroke, forces the artist to do more than casually observe the piece. They have to study it carefully, imitate every element. I’m sure it’s a very effective exercise (writers also do this with classic authors, and I’m going to try it sometime).

And so it is that followers of Jesus should imitate His life. The grand part is that we have more than just a portrait of His life to study (which is in itself a great gift!). We have clear, direct instructions on how we are to live. We don’t just have the painting to study, we have the tutorial from the Master Himself. {tweet that} And the more we study, the more we make the techniques by which we practice life match His, the sweeter and clearer the picture will become: we are Christians, “little Christs” as the word literally means.

So today, go paint your story. Copy the Master.

What will the story of your life be?

Tell me: What pictures would you draw to represent the most important scenes of your life’s story?

Why Waiting is Worthwhile

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This post is part of a blog linkup I am participating in to celebrate the launching of Jeff Goins’ new book, The In-Between. I just downloaded it on my kindle and haven’t read it yet, but I have read several excerpts from it and I think it’s going to be great! If you want to make the most of your times of waiting, whether big or small, read his book. It will encourage you to live every moment to the fullest and to learn to appreciate the moments we tend to find irritating. Find out more about it and watch the trailer here.

There are many different kinds of waiting. There’s the “drumming the fingers on the steering wheel while sitting at a red light” waiting. There’s the “looking forward to the weekend” waiting. There’s the “dreading the visit to the doctor” waiting. There are long waits, and short waits, happy waits and sad waits. (Before this gets to sound too much like a Dr. Seuss book, let me get on with my point.)

But there’s one universal trait to waiting. No one really likes it. If there were a button that we could push to skip over the “in-between” moments of our lives, like we skip over commercials, we’d love it, wouldn’t we?

I certainly would have loved to have one of those buttons in high school. The predominant feeling that I had during my first years of high school when I thought about the future was that I was waiting for my life to begin. While my friends were taking SATs and applying to colleges and choosing majors, I was waiting. Stuck in the biggest in-between time of my life. Oh, I talked about college and had dreams for the future too, but nothing concrete was happening.

I was just waiting.

But while I was waiting, I was doing something that made all the difference for my future, that gave me hope and purpose during my in-between time.

I was praying.

Praying, begging God fervently to lead me into the future He had for me. More than my own dreams of grand adventures, I wanted to do God’s will for my life, because I knew that was the only future I would be happy with. As I prayed, and waited, and prayed some more, there were times when I struggled to believe that God was ever going to give me the wisdom I pleaded for. There were times that the future looked like an impenetrable wall of fog, and I wondered if I would ever get through it and find out what was on the other side.

Waiting can make us feel helpless and sometimes hopeless. But it doesn’t have to. {Tweet this}

As I waited, I had to believe that He was going to answer me and guide me into the future He had for me. If I wanted His will for my life, there was no other choice.  I had to learn to willfully put my trust in God, even when I didn’t know what His plans were for me and when He would reveal them to me. I claimed His promises in Luke 11:9-10:

“So I say to you, keep asking, and it will be given to you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who searches finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”

And James 1: 5-8:

“Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without criticizing, and it will be given to him.  But let him ask in faith without doubting. For the doubter is like the surging sea, driven and tossed by the wind.  That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. An indecisive man is unstable in all his ways.”

Through my time of waiting, God gave me the strength to trust Him and the faith to believe His promises, that if I kept asking and kept believing He would answer me. And you know what? He did! With an answer that was better than anything I could have wished for.

Somewhere, between my junior and senior years of high school, I knew. I knew, as surely as I knew my name, that God wanted me to be a writer. And even more than that, I was excited that He had chosen that calling for me. It suited me perfectly.

Through my time of waiting, not only did I find out what God wanted me to pursue as my career, but I also learned deep, powerful lessons that have stayed with me. My faith in God’s faithfulness and goodness is stronger now, and I have learned that it is possible for this undisciplined person to persevere in prayer.

In making us wait for our answers, God gives us more than we ask for. {Tweet this}

So often we wish that we could skip over the in-between times of our lives, the times of wondering and uncertainty and of plain old waiting. But those times hold wonderful lessons for us, and if we don’t learn to embrace them and be grateful for them, we might miss out on some of the most important times of our lives.

One of the best lessons I learned from waiting is to embrace the process. Waiting forces us to acknowledge our own helplessness and rely on God. {Tweet this} And as hard as that is, once we realize how good and in control God is, it becomes a rather enjoyable process to rest in His faithfulness and wait for Him to bring about His amazing plans.

Don’t forget to check out the book The In-Between by Jeff Goins! If you order it by August 10th you get some great free bonuses!

Captured

In the interest of my mental health, I’m throwing caution to the wind and playing the piano instead of writing tonight. After all, one can only stay away from the piano so long before one goes stark raving mad (although I wonder why so many of those classical composers went nuts then?). Anyhow, I decided this was a good opportunity for me to resurrect one of my all-time favorite posts from my old blog:

Captured. 

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The hammers strike against the strings and I feel the vibrations seep through the keys into my fingertips as I press forcefully down on  them. The notes enter my ears, while the words of the hymn arrangement I am playing swirl through my mind – comforting, challenging, rebuking me. My practice consists of playing a phrase of the music and repeating it. Play and repeat, play, repeat…repeat, repeat, repeat. My stubborn fingers slowly gain confidence and the notes flow more smoothly. Now and then a combination of notes is especially appealing, giving me a thrill and a tantalizing sample of a momentary satisfaction of my unending thirst for glorious music…I am always left wanting more, but for now I rest in the knowledge that one day in Glory the most glorious music ever heard will fall on my ears, and I will be fully satisfied for all eternity…

The struggle for humility and the right heart attitude is equal to the struggle to learn the right notes. My heart is more stubborn than my fingers, but with practice, it too will learn to give its praise only to God. Should I keep trying to do this?  I’ve been asking myself. There are other pursuits to which I owe my time. But I am captivated by the music…I don’t want to stop trying, reaching for new goals, learning techniques and hearing things come from the instrument that I never thought I would hear from these fingers, drinking in the beauty of music. I am privileged to have this instrument and this knowledge, this undeserved opportunity to be involved in making God’s praise glorious, as long as I can get my stubborn pride out of the way.  I don’t want to stop learning the lessons that I am taught each time I sit down at the piano – the heart ones as well as the musical ones. So I will remain captured – captured in obedience to God, serving Him as He allows me – not by song, because the music is not what I worship, but by the One who created music and gives each one the ability to make it.

“Sing a new song to the Lord;
sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Sing to Yahweh, praise His name;
proclaim His salvation from day to day.
 Declare His glory among the nations,
His wonderful works among all peoples.

 For the Lord is great and is highly praised;
He is feared above all gods.
 For all the gods of the peoples are idols,
but the Lord made the heavens.
 Splendor and majesty are before Him;
strength and beauty are in His sanctuary.

 Ascribe to the Lord, you families of the peoples,
ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
 Ascribe to Yahweh the glory of His name;
bring an offering and enter His courts.
 Worship the Lord in the splendor of His holiness;
tremble before Him, all the earth.”

~Psalm 96: 1-9~

Question: What captures you?

Precious Lord, Take My Hand
Click above to listen to my recording of this song!

The Kind of Writer I Want to Be

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Words are powerful

I can’t begin to imagine how the hundreds of books I have read in my life have shaped me and the way I think. That’s why I’m excited and terrified at the same time that I get to be a writer.

It’s an awesome responsibility.

Writers are teachers, of sorts, and the Bible says “Not many should become teachers, my brothers, knowing that we will receive a stricter judgement; for we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a mature man who is able to control his whole body.” (James 3:1-2)

Writers and teachers, anyone who transfers truth from themselves to others, have a serious responsibility. When someone reads what you write or listens to what you say, they are giving you an opportunity to change their thinking, which will change their decisions, which will change their actions, which could change the world. Words have incredible power. 

 “If you want to change the world, pick up your pen.”  ~Martin Luther

But your life can discredit your words and render them powerless.  Like the boy who cried wolf, if you say something and don’t back it up with action, eventually people will stop believing you – even if your message is true.

Your words are much more effective if your actions back them up. {tweet this}

 

I want to live in such a way that my life gives my words greater weight.

I want to be a person of my word, so that when I say something, even without excessive superlatives, people will know I mean it.

I want to be humble, so that if my writing gains popularity I won’t lose perspective of Who is really responsible for it.

I want to love people, so that my readers will know I genuinely care about them.

I want to always depend on God to give me the words He wants me to write.

I want to be real about my struggles and the way God helps me through them, so that people can see the power of God’s grace in my life and have hope that He can help them too.

I want to strive with all my might to follow Christ; but when I fail, I want to be honest about it, pick myself up again, learn from my mistakes and help others learn from them also, so like the apostle Paul I can say “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.”

I want everything I say to be grounded on the truth of the gospel- “Because no one can lay any other foundation that what has already been laid – that is, Jesus Christ.” (1 Cor. 3:11)

I want the words I write to be practical more than they are pretty – “…To preach the gospel, not with clever words, so that the cross of Christ will not be emptied of its effect.” (1 Cor. 1:17)

I want to know God’s Word so that my writing will be infused with it, because His Words are far more powerful than mine. (Isaiah 55:11, Hebrews 4:12)

I want to have pure motives, so that God can give my words effectiveness – because unless He blesses them, my words are worthless.

And last but definitely not least, I want to always, always give God glory for anything He might choose to accomplish through my writing.

Because if it weren’t for Him, I wouldn’t be a writer.

Being a writer isn’t just about what you say – it’s about who you are. {Tweet This}

 

“The words of a man’s mouth are deep waters, a flowing river, a fountain of wisdom.” ~Proverbs 18:4~

 

Question: What kind of person do you want to be? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

What Made America Great

We Americans are proud of our country, and of the way we grew to be one of the greatest nations in the world. We fought hard and won our independence and then fought other wars to defend our land, keep the union together, and to preserve freedom for other nations. But how did we succeed at this? Our history books could just as easily hold records of failure as success for the United States of America. What makes one nation rise while another falls?

After all, all nations are composed of the same element: people.

So what made America so great? What did America have or do that made us different from other nations?

The difference was Who we worshiped.

What made America great was God’s blessing. With strong leaders who recognized that it was only by God’s grace that our nation would survive the turbulent times it faced over the years, the roots of our nation were planted deep in the soil of the Bible and its principles. Men like George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and others who feared God and respected the wisdom of the Bible led this country down a noble and righteous path – a path that invited God’s blessing. We’ve been reaping the benefits of those leaders’ dependence on God for almost 250 years now.

But the soil of righteousness is being ripped out from beneath our roots, handful by handful. Public schools, which were started by the ‘Ole Deluder Act to teach children to read the Bible so they could resist the devil’s temptations, have thrown prayer and the Bible out from their classrooms. Life has been devalued by the legalization of abortion. Marriage has now been constitutionally redefined. Almost everything possible has been done to remove every trace of God from our schools, our government offices, our homes, and yes, even some of our churches. We’ve stopped worshipping God as a nation. Instead, we’ve chosen to rely on our own wisdom, letting scientific theory and social appropriateness rule our beliefs and priorities instead of the holy Word of God.

America can only stand on this shaky foundation for so long. God cannot and will not bless the depravity that is taking place in our nation now. It’s happened to other nations, and the United States is not immune: without the fear of God, nations fall.

A nation is only as strong as the God (or god) it worships. {Tweet This}

“No one is more deeply than myself aware that without His favor our highest wisdom is but as foolishness and that our most strenuous efforts would avail nothing in the shadow of His displeasure. I am conscious of no desire for my country’s welfare that is not in consonance with His will, and of no plan upon which we may not ask His blessing.” -Abraham Lincoln

May we once again become a nation of whom this can be said.

To those who lived and died and sacrificed to defend and build America into a great nation, thank you.

To those who are living and dying and sacrificing to defend and rebuild America into a great nation, thank you.

May we once again become a nation whose God is the LORD, whose guiding principles are based on the Bible, and whose actions the God of nations can bless.

Happy Independence Day!

 

“The Lord foils the plans of the nations;
he thwarts the purposes of the peoples.
But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever,
the purposes of his heart through all generations.

 Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord,
the people he chose for his inheritance.
From heaven the Lord looks down
and sees all mankind;
from his dwelling place he watches
all who live on earth—
he who forms the hearts of all,
who considers everything they do.”
Psalm 33:10-15

Spring All Year

I thought it would be rather ironic to share a post about spring on the last day of winter with 6 inches of fresh snow on the ground.  🙂 Happy last day of winter everyone!

A few minutes ago, if the occupants of the dark green truck driving by bothered to look up, they would have seen a crazy girl sprawled on the steps of a front porch, wearing a sequin-sprinkled sweatshirt, lifting her face to the sun while brushing her teeth. (It’s March in New Hampshire. You get outside while the sun is shining or you miss out.) Yes, the promise of spring is in the air today, the bright sunshine which has been absent for so long of late luring me outside again, this time with a pen and paper instead of a toothbrush, as I draft this post.

I don’t usually look forward to spring very much, preferring snow and cold weather over heat and humidity and lawn mowing and gardening and black flies and mosquitoes and ticks (I will admit, working outside does have its rewards, the bugs NOT being among them, however). But this winter has been a different one, and I haven’t been able to get outside as much as usual. I’m looking forward to the brightness of spring after the darkness of winter. This time of year I start thirsting for sunshine and color. I crave the feeling of the gentle rays of the sun soaking into my skin, the cool breeze sweeping over the snow keeping my nose chilled and making me enjoy the blanket lying over me.

Another thirst accompanies that which I feel for light and color; a thirst for my Savior, for hearing His voice in my heart and communing with Him. For being purged of the sin that lies too comfortably within me and being washed pure white like the snow that the sun is reflecting so brightly. To be refreshed in the Word like the cool breeze refreshes my warm face and stale lungs. To sing a sweet song of praise with my life like the birds chirping in the trees and the wind chimes blowing in the breeze. To have spring in my heart.

In a few short weeks the sun will grow stronger and I will again hide from it instead of seeking its warmth, and black flies will prevent the luxury of laying outside on the porch in peace. But spiritual spring, the warm sunshine of God’s undeserved favor and the refreshing breeze of His Word, can live on in my heart all year long.

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