Contentment in Dangerous Times

by tklicka on September 11, 2016

contentment-in-dangerous-times

Hello! It’s me…long time, no see (or read anyway).

[Editor’s note: For those who have been reading my blog over the years (starting with my CaringBridge blog before my late husband Chris passed away in 2009), I apologize I haven’t written since April of last year. The reason I haven’t is somewhat complicated, but the desire of my heart has always been to showcase the goodness and glory of God, who is my Life, and my All in All. Our world is in such a state of spiritual upheaval, and it needs Jesus. And we, His followers, are the ones who have an incredible opportunity to show them the hope that is found only in Him. If we lose our hope, how will lost and broken people find it? I am writing again, not because it’s easy; it’s mostly because I need to hear words of encouragement to stay in this race. We know who wins. It’s Jesus. But we don’t know when our race will end. I want to run strong and finish strong…wherever the finish line is.]

We live in a dangerous time. There is so much going wrong in the world, in our nation, and possibly in our own lives personally. Not only have I been grieving from witnessing our country being torn apart, the last two years of my own life have felt like I am being torn apart – there have been many moments I have felt quite helpless, distinctly alone, and most definitely incapable of doing life, except by the mighty grace of God. It’s no wonder my blogging pen has been silent for over a year now. How can you write when words are hard to come by, and you feel it is wisest to be silent and just wait on God?

wicker-chair-flowers

One thing I do know. The enemy of our souls would love to conquer us by blinding us to God’s goodness and mercy, which He pours out on us undeservedly each day. And our pain and sense of entitlement can tempt us to live in the muck and slime of discontent. Even if we are personally working hard to be thankful, just being around others who are routinely complaining and ungrateful can discourage us to the point of becoming complainers!

What is the remedy? My soul needs to breathe in the sweet grace of God’s Word and meditate on His kindness and faithfulness each day to win this battle. My lips need to whisper, sing, and shout the goodness and praise of our God. I need to run into my Father’s arms every day and find that the heartbeat of His love is unwavering, strong, and for me.

And my heart needs to repent.

Knowing God’s deep love for me in Christ, who covered all my sins on the cross frees me up to see that I deserve nothing, and yet He has given me everything I truly need, all because He is good.

Not only does God pour out His provision for my life and lovingkindness when I don’t deserve it, He gives me His Word, and it comes with the power of His Spirit to believe it, embrace it, and walk in it. Without it, I am truly helpless. How generous He is to help me in all these areas – believing, embracing, and living in His truth!

walk-in-love

Walking in His wisdom for us each day involves learning what pleases Him, and then asking Him to give me the grace to let His truth transform my mind as His Spirit transforms my heart.

A couple of verses I keep on hand to remind me of what pleases Him, when it comes to contentment and my words:

“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” (Ephesians 4:29, ESV)

“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” (Psalm 19:14, NASB)

Yes, practicing this is the hard part, especially the darker the times look, or the more we suffer. But belief leads to obedience. My steps so often are like the disciple Peter, when he wanted to walk on the water to Jesus, yet saw the frightening waves all around him and started to sink.

Yet, as Jesus reached out to him and lifted him up to safety, my faltering heart can be strengthened by God’s Spirit, as I purpose to walk in contentment, “I desire to do your will, my God; your law is within my heart.” (Psalm 40:8, NIV), and cry out, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24, NKJV)

hanging-flowers-on-porch

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Where Love Makes a Difference

by tklicka on April 14, 2015

where love makes a difference

“The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’ ”                ~Matthew 25:40

I’m in Dallas this week for work and a conference, and in my free time Sunday, I decided to visit the Dallas World Aquarium. Wonderful museum! As I was enjoying God’s amazing underwater creatures from halfway around the globe right before me, I noticed a relatively young man in a wheelchair just next to me.

Clearly with the man was his wife, or girlfriend, or maybe his sister. As I watched them discreetly for a few moments, I observed the woman completely ignore the man while she showed the boy with them the colorful fish in the tank, then continued to act as if he didn’t exist  while she messed with her phone. The handicapped man stared ahead of him, uninterested in the fish and looking sad and dejected.

When our family ever took a field trip or outing, the kids and I loved to include Chris. Though handicapped and scooter-bound, his pleasure and comfort were our first priority. We could not have enjoyed ourselves apart from him knowing we wanted him there with us.

I thought about how much of a difference love makes in the life of someone who struggles with an ongoing physical ailment. The temptation for the sick one to feel they’re a huge burden is mitigated by the sincere love of family and friends.

For those who unfortunately suffer with debilitating disease or physical infirmity, small acts of care and words of kindness may make the difference between them feeling truly alive and feeling dead, though their sick body is living.

Regardless of how difficult a chronically sick person can be to care for (physically and/or emotionally), to not be loved by their own family, like it seemed the man in the wheelchair was, must make their life doubly a prison. They are stuck inside their broken body, and are also trapped in the solitary confinement of rejection.

Even if loving that person is difficult or impossible, at the very least, they deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. Being made in God’s image earns every human being that right.

We couldn’t change the downward spiral of Chris’s MS those 15 years he lived with it before his passing, but at least we could help make his life richer and fuller with our love and respect.

How I wish that for the sad, young man in the wheelchair.

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Do Not Let Evil Deeds Shake You

March 3, 2015

As I was driving home from running errands a few weeks back, I took some time to pray for the state of the world and our nation. The advancing forces of darkness which we are witnessing in an unprecedented way around the globe can have an unsettling effect on even the most stalwart in the […]

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Young Mother, Every Moment Makes a Difference

October 25, 2014

Sometimes I have to come out of hiding and write something. I would actually like to write more often, but alas, I’m in a perpetual busy season of life. I once thought when my homeschooled children grew up, and graduated from homeschooling, got married, etc., things would start to slow down a little. If you are […]

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Why Marrying Again is Good…

August 3, 2014

Okay, perhaps I’ve gotten your interest with his title. For those of you who don’t know me, you may be wondering, “What on earth is this woman talking about? Is she promoting divorce and remarriage??? For those who do know me, you’re aware that my marrying again is the result of being widowed in 2009, […]

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Get Your Kids Outside this Summer!

June 26, 2014

My children grew up on a patch of land bordering a 15-acre lake most of their lives. Being a homeschooling family of seven gave us countless opportunities to get outside and soak up God’s creation…right in our own backyard. Oh, the memories my late husband and I made with our kids in years of summer […]

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Thoughts About Being Your Mother…

May 9, 2014

The first time I laid eyes on you, just seconds after your birth, I wondered how I ever lived before you arrived. Thousands of mothers before me have testified to forgetting the pain of childbirth in that moment. I concur. Wholeheartedly. Seeing your rosy pink skin, touchy its softness, smelling that unique baby smell of […]

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You Can Have the Perfect Home School…and Other Myths!

March 7, 2014

I’ve been hearing from several moms lately going through the mid-winter homeschooling blues… “We never have a normal school day!” “My kids are driving me crazy!” “I just wish I didn’t feel so tired (or sick) all the time.” “I can’t teach my children all they need to know; what was I thinking?!” I’ve been […]

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