An Ordinary Story?

When I lay down to sleep at night, I begin my prayer with thanks for the day. When I have a bad day, it’s not easy to give God thanks for it. Several weeks ago, I had that kind of day. I had taken a break from work to run errands. When I got home, I couldn’t find my glasses. I was really upset because I had only had these glasses for a few months and they were not cheap!

I had driven to Walgreens that day. I wear prescription sunglasses when I drive, then switch to prescription eyeglasses when I go inside. So I knew I had my glasses on when I shopped. What could have happened to them from the time I left the store to my arrival at home? I looked in my car to see if they fell out of my purse. I called Walgreens to ask if they had been found. They weren’t there. I drove back to Walgreens to see for myself if I had dropped them next to my car.

That night, I prayed that God would help me find my glasses, even though I knew that if I dropped them, they were most likely broken. The next day, I thought to myself, I should look under my car. There they were! One arm was cracked, but the lenses were untouched. How fortunate that I didn’t drive over the lenses when I drove into the garage! I was relieved.

I took my broken glasses to my optician to see if they could be fixed. He made a temporary repair but said the repair wouldn’t last long-term. If I bought the same frames, he said they would put the lenses in them.

My husband found the same model of frames online. The company didn’t have the same color as my broken pair, but there were several other colors, so I ordered a pair. I did not get an email confirming my order. That concerned me. I returned to the website using my browsing history and printed out my order.

When neither the order nor the order confirmation had arrived in a week, I emailed the company. No response. I called and spoke to Jonathan, the optician who runs the website. Sounding frazzled, he told me he had shipped them. When the frames didn’t come after another week, I called again. This time, Jonathan said he wondered whether he had sent them to the wrong address. In the next phone call, Jonathan said that he didn’t have the color I ordered, but he could send me another color. At this point, I didn’t care about the color. When the frames finally arrived, I was so relieved!

This is just an ordinary story, isn’t it? People lose things, even valuable things, every day. But when something you value is lost, you will look everywhere to find it. You will be so excited when you find it, you will want to tell your friends. No matter how damaged your precious thing is, you will do whatever you can to restore it to its rightful condition.

That’s how God views us. We are so precious to him. He will not stop pursuing us until we are found. We may appear damaged and beyond repair, but not to God.

Read Luke 15. Those who are lost are precious to God. Jesus told three stories to get this point across.

Rejoice with me. My precious child was lost, and now he is found!

In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

Luke 15:10 NIV

Anxiety Dreams

Last month, I dreamed I was working in downtown Denver. (I worked there about ten years.) I was hurrying down the 16th Street Mall to catch a bus to take me home to the south suburbs. I got on the bus and tried to find a schedule, but there wasn’t one. The bus flew (like a plane) over Coors Field. It flew west of I-25, then headed south. I didn’t recognize the route. Eventually, the flying bus headed east, and I recognized a high school. The bus finally stopped at an office complex. I got off the bus, but I could still see the passengers who stayed on the bus and where they were going. The whole time, I was worried because I had to let my husband know where I was so he could pick me up.

The next night, I dreamed I was in school taking a history test. The teacher warned us to watch our time to make sure we were on track to finish the test. We were given a stack of paper with quotes or statements, and we had to answer whether each statement was true or false. Each page had a one-word clue. When done answering the questions, we were supposed to arrange the clues from the right answers into one long sentence. I was shaking with fear that I wouldn’t finish the test on time. (History is not my best subject.) As I struggled to answer the questions, a few of the other kids were going up to the chalkboard to assemble their words. I couldn’t even tell how much time I had left because every time I looked at my watch, it said the same thing.

I know why I was having stressful dreams. I am an accountant. January is the start of my busy season. I get stressed by the deadlines. My dreams reflect my anxiety.

I have always been fascinated by dreams. I am amazed at how active the brain is when we sleep. Having a couple of stressful dreams in a row got me to wondering about anxiety dreams. In an article about How to Prevent Anxiety Dreams, I learned that when you are stressed, you spend more time in REM sleep, which is when we dream. When you are stressed, your body produces more cortisol.

The article suggested writing anxiety dreams down to help make sense of your thoughts and emotions. Take some deep breaths. Talk to someone. Make a plan. I wrote my dreams down. I told myself, this is temporary. This too, will pass. You’ve been through stressful times at work before and everything got done. Even when things went wrong, you got through them. And I reminded myself that if I needed to, I could put in extra hours on the weekend.

An article about common stress dreams says that stressful dreams can be beneficial. If you dream that you’ve lost something or you’re late or you can’t finish the test, your brain may be rehearsing things that might go wrong. This helps you deal with stress in real life. In a study, students who had stressful dreams did better than those who didn’t.

Writing my dreams down helped process my anxiety. Having a plan and knowing that I have some control over my situation helped me cope with my stress. Having a trusted friend to talk to, even in the middle of the night – that’s even better! Prayer brings a peace that transcends all understanding.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7

Who’s the old lady?

Who's the old lady in the mirror
with the frizzy, graying hair?
Her appearance is so unexpected,
she's given me quite a scare.

Who's the old lady in the mirror
with my mama's jowls and eyes?
Her face is so much like my own,
it has taken me by surprise!

Who's the old lady in the mirror
with the waddle in her neck?
She's much older than I feel inside.
I think to myself, what the heck!

I smile at the lady in the mirror.
Her smile matches mine to a tee.
I see the gentle spirit in her eyes;
This old lady is beautiful to me.

Working things out for my good

June 1st marked the end of my first year working part-time after thirty six years of full-time employment. As I considered retirement, I read that I might want to tiptoe in instead of jumping right in. I’m glad I did. I still like working, but at this stage of my life, I want more free time and less stress.

Working part-time has given me the flexibility I wanted. I can participate in group Bible studies during the work day. I can take advantage of good weather to hike or trail run. I can volunteer. It’s easier to schedule appointments and to run errands. But honestly, one of the greatest pleasures is starting each day more leisurely.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28

If I had searched for part-time work, I doubt that I would have found anything comparable. I had actually told my boss that I intended to retire early. He was the one who suggested that I consider working part-time.

God knows what I need. He knows what makes me tick. He knows that sometimes I need a nudge in the right direction. In retrospect, I can see his hand guiding me.

Thank you, Father for loving me and for working things out for my good.

The Shortest Sentence

The shortest sentence:

A two letter command…
The potential, immeasurable

Go ahead, go forward
Go in any direction
Go where no one has gone before

Go to the shop or go to work
Go to school or go to church
Go where you’re needed

Go on an adventure
Go on a mission
Go on a trip of a lifetime

Go with what you can carry
Go with the clothes on your back
Go with the Prince of Peace

Go it alone
Go with friends
Go with God

Go with purpose
Go with passion
Go with gusto

Go into a hungry world
Go proclaim Good News
Go make disciples

Get up and

Photo by LOGAN WEAVER | @LGNWVR on Unsplash