Blue Edges

Lexi—Alexia Evengeline Christensen, grew up loving to race waves, beach walk, and sand dance on the tan sandy shores that ring her Nantucket Island home. No, that’s not an error in the spelling of her middle name, Evengeline. ☺ It’s deliberate and full of meaning, a meaning she’ll learn about along with you as you read her story.

Lexi, gutsy, impulsive, loyal, impatient, and more, the main character in my newly released novel, The Stonekeepers, stepped out of my imagination and lives within the freshly printed pages of her story . . . between the edges of of a book cover.

Edges . . .

Early morning, in the sandy, sunny regions of my memories, I walk the length of a long stretch of quiet beach.

The sea air held within the breeze that ruffles my hair is pungent with the scent of salt and seaweed.

In shades of beige and tan, squishy, damp sand moves beneath my feet as I walk the water’s edge.

Never-ending waves toss and reach to warm their white froth on the hot sand., the cacophony of their constant hiss and splash push away my cares and stress . . .

and I let them go.

Time slows as I stop my sandy walk and turn to face the sky and sea, their edges a contrast of ice blue calm and blue-silver shimmer on the horizon.

Sunlight glistens on undulating, wind-roughened water that looks as if its been feathered with a dusting of snow.And I wonder at how God keeps this great sea within the edges He firmly set so long ago.

 “When He strengthened the fountains of the deep, when He assigned to the sea its limit, so that the waters would not transgress His command, then I was beside Him as a master craftsman; And I was daily His delight, rejoicing always before Him, rejoicing in His inhabited world” says Wisdom in Proverbs 8:28b-31a

We, too, are cradled within edges. We live and dance through a life full of choices, from a beginning toward an end that fades in the Light of the presence of the Christ—the Way, the Truth, and the Life—the supreme, life-changing choice.

A small rogue of a wave races toward me, daring me to run from it.

And I do. Backward. But not quickly enough.

I’m soaked from my knees down and give up in laughter, playing with the sea, racing with the receding water, losing to its speed. I pause, watching it dissolve into anonymity.

So unlike our Heavenly Father. He never changes, and promises never to leave or forsake us.

Edges, boundaries and limits have their place, and I’m thankful for them all as I walk in the riskier places of this earthly journey. But I’m just as thankful for the freedom I have in God. I stretch and grow and learn and experience, testing edges, limits, and boundaries, knowing He has set them.

I am not the sea.

I am me.

A child of God and free . . .

in Him.

He alone holds our edges and they are eternal.

Only God is the Alpha and the Omega of all creation. Who knows what more beauty and loveliness and wonder He may allow us to discover.

♥  Go. Race a wave. Run just a little farther, love a little deeper, try a little harder, walk a little taller, and ask where He is working. Then join Him.

Love along side Him.

Love,

Sally

I’ve wandered through thoughts and words here. Ramble along with me in your comments.

Sufficient Grace

Sometimes I’d like to have an “Aaron” to speak for me like Moses did.

“Then Moses said to the Lord, ‘O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.’

So the Lord said to him, ‘Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the Lord? Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say.’

But he said, ‘O my Lord, please send by the hand of whomever else You may send.’” (Exodus 4:10-13)

It was sort of a he said, He said give and take.

. . . I know

my little insecurities aren’t anywhere near worthy of comparison of what Moses was up against. Moses held the fate of a nation and faced a Pharaoh. I stumble trying to not to say the wrong thing or gently make a point when in conversation with friends or teaching a class or in a meeting.

Moses knew his faults.

Me too.

But I’m not alone.

Neither was Moses.

Nor are you.

Even Paul wrote “And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.'” And Paul adds “. . . that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12: 9

Paul walked into the future, not knowing the threats ahead of him. He spoke while on raging seas, on dusty roads, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, and before governors and kings.

(And I have share a laugh with you. ☺ As I write this, the usually dignified spell check in WordPress is trying its level best to have Paul standing in the midst of the Asparagus!)

Remembering the history of how the Lord delivered and protected Moses, maybe Paul gained faith to believe God would do the same for him as he trusted the “power of Christ” to rest upon him.

God’s patience and compassion is endless . . .

And you know how things ended up with Moses and Aaron . . .

“So the anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses, and He said: ‘Is not Aaron the Levite your brother? I know that he can speak well. And look, he is also coming out to meet you. When he sees you, he will be glad in his heart. Now you shall speak to him and put the words in his mouth. And I will be with your mouth and with his mouth, and I will teach you what you shall do.’” Exodus 4:14-15

“Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth with it, and said: ‘Behold, this has touched your lips; your iniquity is taken away, and your sin purged.’” Isaiah 6:6-7

That verse becomes part of a prayer that a dear friend who loves the Lord says silently before she speaks or teaches in any gathering.  She asks the Lord to cleanse and purify her words as she speaks, a powerful example of faith for me.

“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (Jesus in John 14:27).

Faith in the Lord Jesus changes everything. His Grace is sufficient for and in all things.

Do you have a prayer or a verse you say that helps prepare you to speak?

Love,

Sally

Be of Good Courage

The hallway of the nursing home settles into a soft hum of lessening noise with residents getting ready for bed.

A child of God, a woman, sits in her wheelchair, bound up in sadness and loneliness, her countenance etched with fear and tears. Head bowed, chin-to-chest, slender fingers white as she grasps the arms of her chair.

She rarely leaves her dim, quiet room and feels secure only within their enclosing walls. But Light shines through another, an old man with a snowy-white beard. He rolls his wheelchair down the hall and pauses at the open doorway of the woman’s room.

He doesn’t notice as a nurse motions for the aide with her not to interfere. But the two stand and watch as he slowly maneuvers through the doorway and stops alongside the woman, facing her.

For a moment, he simply sits quietly. Then he touches her arm.

His gentle hand stays in place as his still-sweet tenor voice permeates the silence and births music. A song swells from the depths of his heart and fills the room, chases out shadows, melts away loneliness.

Darkness lifts and vanishes before the Light.

Loneliness and isolation had covered a soul with the wide, black brush-stroked paint of fear.

Unpretentious love casts the radiance of His Light to bring moments of comfort—and a tenuous smile.

Two children of age, transformed by time’s passage, one drawn to the other through the heart’s essence of compassion.

Uninhibited, innocent love and mercy pour from a heart where Jesus lives.

♥♥
The nurses where my father stayed for a while shared the woman’s fears and described to me how they’d watched and what they’d seen as Dad visited her room.

In spite of his own suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia, he found a way to comfort her through the one gift he could give—a song.

♥♥

A tender song, a heartfelt prayer, a soft touch to a fearful or suffering child of God—if you give those small gifts, how do you know you aren’t bringing the Light of Christ into the world of another?
Watch for what God is doing. Heed the tiny urges to “go” and “do” that you sense in your spirit.

So, go there and do that, and don’t look back. Be encouraged in the knowledge that you’ve entered a dimension where God’s listening children work with Him Hand-in-hand.

Dad loved roses.

“Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

“And David said to his son Solomon, ‘Be strong and of good courage, and do it; do not fear nor be dismayed, for the Lord God—my God—will be with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you, until you have finished all the work for the service of the house of the Lord.'” 1 Chronicles 28:20

Love,

Sally

Sleepless in Shushan

Have you ever had a night when you just couldn’t sleep

because those little night gremlins

wormed their way into your head

and began gnawing on the edges of your mind?

Once in a while, night can become Satan’s playground. We may be unable to fall asleep or may be awakened out of a sound sleep, ripped away from resting and thrust into groundless fear that forgets faith for a frightening moment. But if we know and love the Lord, it’s only for a moment.

“The mind is a beautiful thing,” they say. But what if it refuses to settle down and sleep?

What if your lovely gray matter decides to take the night off?

What if it says, “Nope, we’re going to think about every little detail of the day and take over the night, whether the rest of you likes it or not?”

Now, right here, is the perfect spot to give you a magical list of six great ways to solve sleeplessness.

Really? Are there any?

Sure, there are ways to help, like count sheep, deep breaths, recite scripture, think lovely thoughts, sip warm milk, or just give up and get up. You know them all and have probably tried them all.

But, once in a while, there may be a good reason why you’re wakeful.

 In the Bible, in the Book of Esther, King Ahasuerus was sleepless in Shushan the citadel.

“That night the king could not sleep. So one was commanded to bring the book of the records of the chronicles; and they were read before the king” (Esther 6:1).

Queen Esther’s husband, King Ahasuerus was troubled with his wakefulness and called for someone to read him boring records so he’d fall asleep. But there were reasons for the king’s inability to sleep.

Good, sound reasons.

If the king had slept, he’d have missed what was written in those chronicles that ended up being instrumental in saving Queen Esther and her people from certain death.

God is in the details of why the King couldn’t sleep.

Could He be in the details of why we sometimes can’t sleep or wake up unexpectedly? Can that happen to us?

The king couldn’t get to sleep. But what about when you’re awakened from a deep sleep with a sense that something’s not right.

You get up and go directly to your child’s bedside–and discover a fever that needs your immediate attention. Or there’s an uneasiness, you can’t seem to go to sleep, and you rise. You’re drawn to turn on the TV and find there’s an overwhelming need for prayer. On the west coast, a gunman is holding many hostage—terrified people. And you’re certain they’re praying. They need prayer. And you pray.

Or what about the time you really wanted to watch the blood moon lunar eclipse but were just too bone weary from a difficult day. You tumble into bed and forget to set the alarm.

Then suddenly you’re wide awake. You glance at the blue digits on the clock. Three-thirty-two.

Did You do that, Lord?

And instantly, your bare feet are on the floor taking you to the front porch to feel the world move beneath you.

You stand in awe of the wake-up call and the sight of earth-shadow inching across the rugged face of the moon, the power and glory and mastery of God. An eclipse you would otherwise have slept right through.

But you know. You’ve been there too.

We love and serve an awesome God. There is nothing He cannot do. That includes the dearness of waking His child, whose little one needs her or whom He knows will pray for others or who has the desire to enjoy His creation, right on time.

“It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows; for so He gives His beloved sleep” (Psalm 127:2 NKJV).

“Keep sound wisdom and discretion so . . . when you lie down, you will not be afraid; yes, you will lie down and your sleep will be sweet” (Proverbs 3:21, 24 NKJV).

Saint Teresa of Avila has the last word this week. I love this quote. Savor its depth and insight.

“God gave us faculties for our use; each of them will receive its proper reward. Then do not let us try to charm them to sleep, but permit them to do their work until divinely called to something higher.” Saint Teresa of Avila

Love,

Sally

Walk in Beauty

Oh Great Spirit, whose breath gives life to the world, and whose voice is heard in the soft breeze; we need your strength and wisdom.

Cause us to walk in beauty.

Give us eyes ever to behold the red and purple sunset.Make us wise so that we may understand what you have taught us.

Help us learn the lessons you have hidden in every leaf and rock.Make us always ready to come to you with clean hands and steady eyes,

so when life fades, like the fading sunset, our spirits may come to you without shame.

Amen

A traditional Native American prayer, and my heart so easily turns to God as I repeat it. I found it in the back of an old hymnal a long time ago, and the words never fail to impart a sense of peace, serenity, and oneness with our Heavenly Father.

“Wisdom and knowledge will be the stability of your times, and the strength of salvation; the fear of the Lord is His treasure” (Isaiah 33:6 NKJV).

“And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands for us; yes, establish the work of our hands” (Psalm 90:17 NKJV)

Do you have any unusual prayers or blessings you enjoy? I’d love it if you’d share one in the comments.

With clean hands and steady eyes, may the Lord cause you to walk in beauty, strength, wisdom, and understanding with Him, every day.

Distinctively Different

It’s an honor this week to have as my guest, Noelle Brani. Noelle is a senior in college, majoring in Early Childhood Education with a minor in Christian Counseling. I’m sure you’ll find Noelle’s post as interesting and thought-provoking as I did.

Noelle writes:

As I grew up, I realized some of the ways I’m different from others. I was raised in a single parent family, I’ve always been petite, and I was home schooled in a town where being home schooled was a little uncommon. Along with those differences, I was adopted. My mom made a different, bold move and chose to adopt me from Russia when I was six months old. Today, I’m still called “little one” at five feet tall, I still live in a single parent family, and I’m no longer a home schooled kid, but I’m thankful that I was.

Have you noticed the many photos young girls have posted on social media of themselves that have the hashtag “#basic” printed beside their photo? The hashtag is there to indicate how the girls feel about themselves—and/or how they want others to feel about them. They don’t want to be pointed out as being different, as in unusual or unique, only that they are “basic,” or “normal.” Being different is something that many people, young or old, seem to fear. I think it’s a sad statement that they feel they must tell the world that they are not different, that they are just like everyone else.

It’s amazing to me how our culture has changed. When I was a little girl, everyone seemed more relaxed in just being individual—being themselves. Sure, the fads and trends came and went, but people loved being themselves—you could see their individuality. And I remember being a teen and looking around me, wondering, Why is someone’s social status dependent upon the brand of jeans they wear? 

How shallow our world seems to have become. I think one reason we see so much of the same type of style, whether it be shoes, or clothing, or name-brand items when we walk into a school or even a church, is because many of us, no matter our age, are genuinely afraid of being “on the outside,” or that more sensitive label, “different.”

I sit here writing this and smile, thinking back on how I’ve always been the shortest person in the group, whether in dance class or church or school activities. Even now, at twenty-one, my friends and I joke around that I’m the oldest, but the shortest person in the room. In Psalm 139:14, the Bible says, “I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your Works are wonderful, I know that full well.” What a blessing! To know that God not only loves us, but He designed us. All we have to do is know it and believe it.

Everywhere I go, every single day, I’m proud of girls who dare to be different. I’m proud of them because they’re accepting themselves as individuals, and thriving. They’re finding the unique qualities that make them who they are. I will forever be joining them and walking alongside them because being different is nothing to be ashamed of! Perhaps we’re not basic; maybe we all just share a little basic insecurity. Truth is, we’re all different and we’re all unique.

I’m thankful that I’ve embraced being different, and I hope you will accept being your unique self, too. God created us to be so much more than basic.

Celebrate and embrace being you!

Are you accepting yourself as you are?

Noelle and I would love to have your input! Please leave a comment for us.

A little about Noelle Brani:

Noelle Brani

Noelle Brani has always enjoyed school and her dream of attending college at Liberty University began when she was five years old. Now a senior at Liberty, she’s working toward her major in Early Childhood Education and recently started her career in her minor, Christian Counseling. Noelle couldn’t be happier. Being with children is a favorite way of spending many hours of Noelle’s spare time. She has always loved to write and is excited about sharing her first post on Everyone Has A Story blog. She hopes to continue in her journey as a young writer by doing more blog posting in the future. Noelle cherishes her relationships with her friends, and is devoted to her Lord Jesus, calling Him “the most loyal Friend I have.” It says something about Noelle’s heart to include that her favorite movie is The Lion King and its memorable quote, “Remember who you are.”

Thank you, Noelle. I’ve loved working with you on your post and having you join my list of honored guest posters! May God abundantly bless you as you finish college and launch your new career in Christian Counseling.

And those of you who follow Everyone Has A Story might recognize that Noelle is the daughter of my friend and fellow writer, Sharon Brani, who was a guest here last December. It’s been a joy to have both mother and daughter as my guests.

Have a great week!

Sally

Count the Stars

“Whatever is true, whatever is noble,
whatever is right, whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable
—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy
—think about such things”
(Philippians 4:8 NIV). Paul of TarsusAngelic guardian of Time

Thinking about things excellent and praiseworthy:

“In the beginning . . .”
When our time began . . .
God divided the light and dark to carve out day and night—the framework of our time.
“So the evening and the morning were the first day.” Genesis 1:5
And we began to count.
God’s first arithmetic challenge for mankind.

“Count the stars if you are able to number them.” Genesis 15:5
The amazing and beautiful image above is by my friend, Mike Sherick from the IMSM Observatory, Mayhill, New Mexico.

Click on the image to enlarge and enjoy it and to read the inscription. Click your back button to return to this page.

“Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them.” ~Marcus Aurelius

I’m thinking a lot about time, counting the years as they glide by in quickening succession. Right up there in the mind-boggling realm of counting the stars, is knowing God listens and answers our prayers with infinite love, fulfilling His eternal promises.

Let the Lord be your Anchor as you think about the wonder of Time and Prayer.
In the chapter “Time and Beyond Time” in his book, Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis’s writes:

“Almost certainly, God is not in Time. His life does not consist of moments following one another.”
“Ten-thirty—and every other moment from the beginning of the world—is always the Present for Him.”

A saying from the Blackfoot Nation makes me think, “whatever is pure, whatever is lovely.”

“What is life?
It is the flash of a firefly in the night.
It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime.
It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.”


And the truths that Jesus spoke, “whatever is true, whatever is excellent”

“Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing.” Luke 12:23
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

“Ah, Lord God! Behold,
You have made the heavens and the earth
by Your great power and outstretched arm.
There is nothing too hard for You.
Jeremiah 32:17

“To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven”
Ecclesiastes 3:1


Does what you think about help shape the story of your life?

What are your thoughts on Time or God’s attentiveness to our every prayer?

You are so loved by God. May the Lord lift you up and bless your thoughts today and every day.

Love,

Sally