Thursday, January 17, 2019

A Day Late, A Dollar Short, and Two Hours Behind

By Debra DuPree Williams @DDuPreeWilliams

If you’re like me, you’re still trying to play catch-up from Christmas, maybe even Thanksgiving. I have to wonder where the time went. Here we are, already smack-dab in the middle of January. Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m just now feeling ready for Thanksgiving.

Christmas got here so quickly this year that I missed almost all of the Hallmark movies. Bummer. Christmas came and went without much in the way of decorations or even a lot of thought put into gift-giving.

I’m not sure what that says about me. Never have I felt so much like the proverbial little hamster in a wheel. Were it not for my Soul Care group, I don’t know what I’d do. We have downloadable coloring pages to do every week which help to remind us to rest, take care of ourselves, and spend time with God. Should you need such a group, check out Soulful Ink on Facebook. I know you will be blessed by it. But confession—I’m still trying to get my coloring pages done from back in November. 

Queen of Excuses 
I try my best not to make excuses. That seems the easy way out, but more and more I find myself doing just that. This time it’s— we went to Florida for the winter. We had to leave early to avoid the big snow storm. My sister is ill. . . again. I’m having to ready our Florida home for selling. I have to pack. My son is moving away. I have to help him pack. I have writing to do, a blog to get out. Oh . . . my critique group is meeting this week. I’m old . . . I forgot. 

See what I mean? I’m the queen of excuses. 

God is in Control 
In the midst of all of these things, I need to remember that there is a place of calm, of rest, of blessed assurance that all these things will get done. In good time. When we take time to remember that God is in control, then we can relax about all those things which are tugging on our time.

We have to take one day at a time, prioritize, do what we can, and trust God with the rest. Get up the next morning, and the one after that, and repeat until all the necessary things have been accomplished. Eventually, we will catch up, and we will be closer to God, our Father, for having taken the time to be with Him in His word. What could be better than that? 

How about you? Do you feel like you’re playing catch-up at times? How do you handle it? Share with us if you will.


Thursday, January 10, 2019

Words of Comfort, Help of the Helpless

By Debra DuPree Williams @DDuPreeWilliams
So many of my family members, friends, and acquaintances are going through some health issues as I write this. I don’t know if illness is more prevalent or if it only seems so because of social media and how quickly word travels.

Three years ago, when my only sibling, my older sister Bobbie was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer, I spent hours pouring over my Bible seeking words of comfort and hope. One of my favorite books has always been the Psalms. The words still fill us with peace and comfort.

My Prayer

As I read through the book of Psalms at that time, I made notes in the margins and highlighted favorite passages. There are many pages with these words, the prayer I repeated over and over, were written—Father God, please heal my sister.

This past week as I pondered what my word of the year should be, I went again to favorite Bible verses and was amazed at how many of the passages had been set to music in a favorite anthem or solo. I’ve sung in church since I was three years old, so to say I’ve sung a great deal of the Bible would be an understatement. 

The Universal Language
I’ve sung in Latin, German, French,  and some languages I'm sure I've forgotten. I’ve even sung in Farsi. Hymns and Sunday School songs were my first exposure, but as I got older and more experienced, I was blessed to be a member of choirs in which we sang entire masses—Mozart, Brahms, Vierne, Durufle, Vaughan-Williams, Rutter,etc. Our choir in Birmingham even sang about the defeat of Sennacherib. I feel blessed to know so much of the Bible just through my gift of music.

Last week I posted a meme about my chosen word—hope. I now need to find a verse to go with it for a Bible study in which my sister and I and many of our friends are participating. My go-to place is the book of Psalms. I found one verse, but I want to prayerfully read more verses in which hope is the main thought. But, while looking at that very familiar verse my hope is in Thee (Psalm 39:7), my eyes were drawn across the page to Psalm 41.

Words of Comfort

The words jumped out at me and I read them aloud. I marveled that I hadn’t highlighted them before. Psalm 41:1-3 conveys words about sickness and God’s promises during those times.

If you've never  read these comforting words, I urge you to open your Bible and read them. I called my sister tonight and read them to her as, after two years of being cancer-free, she  is battling the disease again. She was blessed at hearing them, and I know you will be, too.

Whoever you are, where ever you are, know that I am praying this Psalm for you.

If you have a verse that speaks to you in times of illness, please share it with us.


Thursday, January 3, 2019

Happy New Year--2019

By Debra DuPree Williams @DDuPreeWilliams

Here it is, yet another new year. It seems we are surprised that they come so quickly—yet, they arrive at the same rate every year—unless it’s a leap year.

Many of my friends are writers, but many are not. Most of my writer-friends choose a word for the coming year. I generally have one that keeps repeating during the year, but I rarely, if ever, post it. I’m going to do that this year.

My Word

This year, my word is hope. I think this could actually be a lifetime word, not just my word for the year. It seems I’m always praying and hoping for one thing or another.

Merriam-Webster defines hope as an intransitive verb: to cherish a desire with anticipation, to want something to be true. Or, as a transitive verb: to desire with expectation of obtainment or fulfillment. I think my hope lies in the transitive category. Although, I’m sure that some of my hopes fall into the intransitive category as well.

 Heavenly Music

If you've followed me for a while, you know that I am a vocalist. For years my husband and I sang in a phenomenal church choir in Birmingham, Alabama, Independent Presbyterian Church. This wasn’t your ordinary church choir. Places in the choir were coveted and one had to audition to claim one of the forty-five spots.

Many members began singing there as college students—voice majors, for the most part. That is when I became a member. When I got married, I suggested that our beloved choirmaster/organist might want to hear my husband sing. Thus, hubby became a member of the bass section. We sang there for the the first eleven years of our marriage, until we made the move to Florida.

While members of the choir, we sang many major works, among those was Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem, or The German Requiem. If you’ve never heard this glorious piece of music, let me urge you to find a recording somewhere and listen. It is a powerful and beautiful work. But in the entire piece, my favorite line is my hope is in Thee. I sing this around our home so much that my husband gave me a plaque with that Bible verse on it—Psalm 39:7. It hangs in my office.

As I look forward to the coming new year and all that it may bring, I have hope that God will hear my prayers and the desires of my heart. I have hope that He will use all circumstances for my good as He is the one who knows the plans He has for me (Jeremiah 29:11).

Hope and Prayer

And it is my hope and my prayer that you will be blessed in the new year. If you do not know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, I hope that you will come to know Him who calls you by name, who has your name written on the palm of His hand. Joyce Meyer, the evangelist, even said in one of her sermons, He has it tattooed in the palm of His hand. It’s permanent. Not even the most-modern technology will ever laser it away.

Happy New Year to you! May God pour abundant blessings upon you in 2019.

Have you chosen a word for 2019? I hope that you have. Share it with us if you will.

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