Are We Shutting In or Shining Out?

Shut in or Shut outIt’s hard to believe it, but three months ago—Thursday, March 19th—Governor Newsom gave a statewide “Stay-at-Home” order to the residents of California. All of us went into our homes and shut the door. What did we shut the door against? Covid-19, yes, but also fellowship, camaraderie, freedom of all kinds, and meeting together on Sunday mornings.

Most of us have stayed in touch with our families and others through our devices: phones, iPads, emails, Zoom meetings, and social media pages. But a “virtual hug” or a wave doesn’t make up for human touch.

I have talked with mothers of school children, who are “done”. I mean really done. The stress of 24-7 kids at home, trying to understand the technologies needed to help their child continue in school, husbands who are working from home and needing quiet… what a challenge! I’ve talked with lonely widows who cry at the sound of a friendly voice. I’ve seen fear in the eyes of strangers in the supermarket as we maintain our 6’ social distance and try like heck to go down the aisle the right way. I miss the sound of laughter. I miss the smiles that I hope are behind all those masks. I miss the hugs from my grandchildren. I long, oh how I long, for how things used to be.

AND YET… through all of this, I have grown. I have rekindled my love for reading the Word. I have been drawn in once more to the promises of God and they have touched me deeply. I have learned to seek Him first in my day and I have been rewarded. One of the “fruits” of this time has been a new habit. I’ve started writing notes to people – friends, family, church goers that I miss. In those notes, I include a recipe card promise from the Word. Many have replied that it was just what the needed. Think about those people who could use an encouragement right about now and ask the Lord for a promise. Let His light shine in the darkness through you.

Dear Child

Sample Promises for Your Recipe Card
For the fearful: Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them. 2Kings 6:16
For the unemployed: And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19
For the brokenhearted: He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3
For the depressed: For the joy of the Lord is your strength. Nehemiah 8:10
For the discouraged: Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again—my Savior and my God! Psalm 43:5

Nana’s Nudge: Let your “little light shine”!
Music has sustained me these past months. Listen with an open heart:
Nana’s Songs
You Are Loved  |  The Blessing  |  Breakthrough  |  You’re Gonna Be OK  |  Our God  |  See A Victory  |  Dancing on the Waves
Nana’s Prayer:  Thank You, Father, that You are always near and You draw us close. Help us to see our brothers and sisters who are in need of encouragement. Give me Your inspiration, Holy Spirit. Jesus, shine Your light through us, Lord!

It is said that there are 7,000 promises in the Bible. I highly recommend Promises of God by Dr. Lester Sumrall – available for free in pdf format.

Waxpaper Vision: Gone!

What clouds your vision?One of the challenges of growing older is the loss of vision. For many of us, we develop cataracts.  This is a condition in which the normally clear eye lens becomes cloudy, causing blurry vision similar to looking through a foggy window–or for me– like looking through waxpaper.

Last Thursday I had cataract surgery on my left eye and will do the right eye at the end of the month. I was absolutely amazed at the difference this artificial lens has made on my vision. When you’re released you have a plastic guard over your eye for the first day. Even with the plastic guard, I could actually “see” an immediate difference, particularly in my peripheral vision. The light almost hurt it was so bright. Now that it’s been a couple days, I’m getting used to the difference. The best way to describe it is my left eye sees LED white light; while my right eye sees regular, soft warm light.

As I was dressing this morning, I was thinking about this amazing change in my natural vision. These cataracts have built up gradually over the years. Because of that, the changes in the brightness of light and the brilliance of colors diminished so slowly, that I wasn’t aware of how much I had lost “true” vision.

We kind of do the same thing in our lives, don’t we? As the years and decades pass, we develop “filters” through which we view ourselves, our family, our friends, our work, and our culture. Truth sometimes gets a little glazed over and we begin to see everything through our truth, our view, and our own filters.

Nana’s Nudge: Is your vision is a bit cloudy on life, people, situations?
Nana’s Songs: I Can See Clearly Now | A New View of the Moon | True Colors | Open the Eyes of My Heart
Nana’s Prayer: Father, open our eyes to Your magnificent creation–the world around us–and the beautiful people You have placed on this earth. Open our heart to love as You love us. Remove the waxpaper from our eyes.