Sunday, December 1, 2019

Loose Ends * Comfort & Joy Edition


Hey, my friends, can you believe it's December?

One of the best things about blogging is you can write what you want, whenever you want!  There's no time clock to punch, no blog police to monitor your every move.

And for those of us who love the Lord, we play to an audience of One.

So, I'm quite content to combine a November / December e-zine for you as 2019 ricochets to a close, so grateful to share bits and pieces that I hope will let you know I'm thinking of you even though I've pretty much been MIA online ... and trusting that amidst all the words and images there'll be something that will offer you a fresh dose of needed encouragement or give you cause for pause.

This month I'm thinking about the comfort and joy that generously pour from God's heart to ours right in the middle of our bittersweet.

Bittersweet.  That word perfectly describes where so many of us find ourselves right about now.  Severe losses, rocky transitions, serious financial concerns, scary medical diagnoses, and those irritating relationship challenges that seem to rise to the fore during the holidays ... well, it's not at all uncommon to wonder how in heaven's name we're going to make it 'til January.

I want you to know that you're not alone, friend.

Yes, that pain and sorrow we might be navigating can be a bitter pill indeed ... and if we're not careful, the deepest recesses of our being can be slowy mired with the poison of bitterness.

But the sweet's still there.

In the midst of the sorrow, joy has the miraculous ability to reign supreme.  Our own peals of laughter often come five minutes after buckets of tears, leaving us feeling like we're losing it for sure.  But this, the piercing pain and the sheer delight of being alive co-mingle quite well, much to our surprise.

Thank God, the Spirit and the fruit of His indwelling aren't going anywhere, no matter what's swirling around us.  All that bounteous love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control continue to flow in us and through us as we continually turn to Him and beg for a refilling, a refueling, a healing touch {Galatians 5:22 - 23}.

The Trinity is so very delighted to oblige, to lift us up, to carry us through.  We're living one day at a time.  We're leaning hard into Him, aren't we.

And that, my friend, is a very good thing for that's where our hope lies.

His name is Jesus.  

And it's His very own Advent season we're walking through, just as we are.  We come 'broken to be mended,' we come 'wounded to be healed' {Cottrell}.  What a wonderful Savior!  He's the One we are yearning for ... most especially in the bittersweet.




MY VERY FAVORITE SARAH BESSEY
ADVENT POSTS 
{2014}

{2015}

{2016}

{2019}




LAYERING, PART 2
Last month we chatted about how satisfying and helpful it is to layer our decorating efforts so that our homes morph rather effortlessly from one season into the next without a whole lot of time and trauma and drama.  I never did get around to writing the follow-up post on carrying that concept over to our sometimes overwhelming Christmas shopping excursions for gifts and food.  

But the invitation to layer our labors works, people!  Don't kill yourself trying to do one major, frantic, blow-out shopping expedition!

Stocking up, slowly but surely, an easy flow, a gentle rhythm will get all the goodies you require into your house.  You'll choose gifts that are meaningful.  You'll be able to select the food you crave on sale.  Your exhaustion level will go down.  Your back will thank you.  And your checkbook will, too.

Read all about the key to taking care of holiday business without making yourself crazy right here.




MIRACLES
'I've seen dreams that move the mountains
Hope that doesn't ever end
Even when the sky is falling
I've seen miracles just happen
Silent prayers get answered
Broken hearts become brand new
That's what faith can do'
- Kutlass -







In the midst of all that's pulling at you right now, I hope you'll take the time to reflect on the miracles that are all around you just begging to be noticed.  It might surprise you how many silent prayers have been answered, the broken hearts that have been mended, how attentive and busy God has been in the lives of those we love.

Many of us are like Mary who 'treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart' {Luke 2:19}.  We tenderly cradle some sort of a powerful victory story or two that are not ours to tell.

But God knows.  May abiding gratitude and endless praise be our by-words.  And may that be a lovely sufficiency as we wend our way through this Advent season.

Comfort & Joy ~
Linda


*


*

Check out all the posts I'm loving 

*

Email, Twitter, FB, and Pinterest 
share buttons are quietly available
in the gray box below

35 comments:

  1. Wishing you and all your family a Happy Prayerful Advent and may God bless you all always.

    Best wishes to you all. God bless.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Can you believe that Advent is here yet again? May you be blessed as we make our hopeful excursion toward the heart of Christ, friend ...

      Delete
  2. Thank you for sharing the Sarah Bessey Advent quotes. I had read the one from this year but not the others. I will give them a look. I just finished Jesus Feminist. What took me so long to read it? I loved it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope that EVERYONE who read this post will read Sarah's prayer over all of us who are brokenhearted.

      Most . powerful . benediction . ever.

      Amen.

      Delete
  3. I love your positive spirit and encouragement to all of us to do the same, Linda! And that quote from Cottrell is wonderful! I must keep that in my database of inspirational quotes! Most of all, I love the pics of your grandkids! What a beautiful home you have and even more beautiful family ... who happen to be growing like weeds! ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's a beautiful worship song, for sure!
      https://youtu.be/TGXDfxWM2r0

      And thanks for your sweet words ... God has been so good.

      Delete
  4. Your posts have morphed into a soothing chapter to help end a busy day.
    Bless You, Friend!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh I love that you found something soothing here, friend.

      Thanks for spending the end of the holiday weekend with me.

      Delete
  5. LINDA —You will hang out at that beach no matter what. Hope the 24 for dinner went well.

    “...the piercing pain and the sheer delight of being alive co-mingle quite well, much to our surprise.” It is a wonder how God made us to be able to laugh and cry all in one breath. Who could survive if that wasn’t possible.

    There is such beauty at this time of the year....the snow falling blanketing mud and dead grass, the sparkling lights on the tree, the wreath symbolizing eternity, the color red, singing about Jesus everywhere and good eats with those you love and walked with this past year.
    “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James‬ ‭1:17‬ ‭NIV‬‬

    Enjoy your layering of the seasons, friend

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And we're enjoying a rare snowfall here this morning. Probably won't amount to much but it sure is pretty!

      Delete
    2. We got over a foot of white flakes

      Delete
  6. Your words are always satisfying and hopeful. Thank you for the light that shines through you,

    ReplyDelete
  7. Such a warm and comforting post today, Linda. May your Advent season be richly blessed, my friend! Hugs!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. May we all experience warmth and comfort these Christmastime ... especially those who are lamenting some deep loss.

      Delete
  8. It's only just December
    and I wish this all would end,
    and allow me to remember
    my beloved and now-lost friends.
    The Christmas carols doth intrude
    unto a heart that has no room,
    and demand that I include
    the jollity along with doom.
    I wish that I were far away
    in time and place without a mall,
    where there is no holiday,
    no Christmas-time at all.
    I'll paste a smile, don't know how,
    but I wish that God would take me now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do dislike when people demand or imply that we somehow become jolly when our hearts are broken. As Jesus said, 'Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.'

      May God Himself send His lovingkindness through the company of others to both you and Barb, friend. I am praying for you even as we speak.

      Delete
  9. Linda, I am trying to play catch up on my blog reading and what a perfect moment to drink coffee and visit with you. Realizing that we are playing for an audience of One lightens the burden of trying to wear all the hats at once. I realize that during this most wonderful time, many are grieving over losses. I pray that the God of peace will wrap His arms of mercy around them, as I know He does! May comfort and joy overflow your heart my friend!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for sharing a cup of coffee with me this morning, Pam. What a lovely thought!

      Delete
  10. That Kutless song has been one of my favourites for a long time! Have a beautiful December, Linda, continuing to know God's comfort and joy even in the hard things.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Watching them do this song was such a blessed calming experience.

      December blessings to you too, Lynn. It's so very good to do life together, isn't it ...

      Delete
  11. God bless you this beautiful season, sweet friend. Much love to you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Advent blessings to you, too, Cheryl! I'm grateful God allowed our paths to begin crossing this year!

      Delete
  12. Love the Kutless song Linda. Also love reading your thoughts about life. I know this past year has been rough for you but I know (as you know) that God is ever present. May Eammanuel be even more true for you this season.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Emmanuel. God with us. Comfort and joy for sure ...

      Delete
  13. Ahhh, Linda. I so enjoyed reading your words. This:

    "I'm thinking about the comfort and joy that generously pour from God's heart to ours right in the middle of our bittersweet."

    ...spoke to my heart. And all that you shared about the bitter and the sweet in each of our lives had me nodding my head in complete agreement. As you head into this season, still bearing grief from losses, may the Lord be your comfort and give you a smile in the sorrowful moments, my friend. I'm praying for you and your family. And I'm so thankful for you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Isn't it good to know we're not alone, that we can sit together, our souls resonating, our heads nodding even from afar.

      'Blest be the ties that bind our hearts in Christian love;
      The fellowship of kindred minds is like to that above.'
      - Fawcett -

      Grateful for you too, dear Jeanne ...

      Delete
  14. I'm so grateful for the joys that come to us in the midst of the struggles. Thanks for being a light to remind us to look for them, Linda! You're a way-maker.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There's a whole lot of gratitude floating around here this week. It's a healing stream, isn't it ...

      Bless you, dear encourager.

      Delete
  15. Linda,
    I am so touched that in the midst of your bittersweet, you reached out to lift me up. Yes, even in the pain, God is still in the business of miracles. Know you have been missed by many, but we've been lifting you in prayer. Wishing you joy and peace in the midst of the hard.
    Love and blessings,
    Bev xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Don't you just love that God can still use us while we're in our uncertain / vulnerable places?

      It shows us, yet again, Who's really doing the work. It causes us to marvel at His power in our weakness.

      What a wonderful Savior!

      Bless you, Bev, as we make our way through ths Advent season.

      Delete
  16. Bittersweet ... oh yes, Linda. And this, too: "Those irritating relationship challenges that seem to rise to the fore during the holidays." I'm working through some of that right now and it's hard. But it's also serving to remind me that God can (and will) take what the enemy of our soul throws at us and use it to accomplish His own loving purposes. I'm so thankful for you, my friend.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've been thinking the same thing today, Lois, that the enemy certainly must love to take us down during this season of waiting and yearning and anticipation.

      I bid him far from us all. May we each fully experience the loving protection of the Trinity in these tender weeks.

      'Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask Thee to stay ...'

      Delete
  17. Thank you for your continual encouragement to give ourselves grace with blogging, Linda. I'm so grateful for that joy God pours into your heart in the midst of all the pain. With you, I "continually turn to Him and beg for a refilling, a refueling, a healing touch." We need Him so! I love Sarah Bessey's advent post for the brokenhearted, and thank you for reminding me of that song. Love and blessings of a peace-filled Advent and Christmas!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope that you're savoring Advent in all its calming anticipation this week, friend. Much pulls at us to draw us away from what we need most.

      I love that we continue to give each other grace and hope.

      Bless you ...

      Delete