strength

DRY BONES AND HOPE

DRY BONES

Have you ever felt like you needed renewing?

We are human and many things in life can sap our strength, play with our emotions, or almost take the life out of us. Joy vanishes, we feel lifeless, and our will to climb out of an imagined pit dissappears.

We need comfort, but it is hard to tell others what we are experiencing. And we may actually believe we’ve “dried up”.

Everything enjoyable in life is gone. At times energy levels sink and we can’t figure out why.

We are like a pile of bones. There is nothing supporting us, holding us together, or covering us with warmth.

It’s not that we’ve sinned or turned away from God, but happiness is gone. What we thought wrapped us in comfort, like skin, has fled. We feel like we’ve been cast aside. We are falling apart like a skinless bones. How can we “pull it all back together”?

Or how do we help someone else who is going through such a time in their lives? Where do we find guidance for them?

Is there scripture to address these dead feelings?

One scripture comes to mind. Psalm 119:25 NIV says: “I am laid low in the dust, preserve my life according to your word.” In the NLT the same scripture says: “I lie in the dust, completely discouraged; revive me by your word.” It’s easy to see how discouraged the writer must have felt. He was lifeless, dried up like old bones, and abandoned in the dust by those around him.

But the scripture also says God will renew and lift us up, if we seek his help, read the Bible, and believe. But trust must figure in there. We must trust in God’s word–the scriptures–to pick us up and put the “bones back together”. God’s word applies His love as a covering. Psalm 94:19 NLT lets us know what God can do. “He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name.”

Have you ever felt like a pile of dry bones? Where did you find support, the help you needed with renewal?

“When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer.” Psalm 94:19 NLTTop of cliffs copy

The picture of the bones was taken in the Rocky Mountain National Park, where my daughter and I went hiking. The bones most likely belonged to an elk. Or perhaps a deer. I didn’t examine them real close.

∼Karen

 

© Karen Campbell Prough 2014

Feel free to repost this blog and photos, keeping the copyright notices intact. Thank you.

 


 

LAY ME DOWN TO SLEEP

Down to sleep 2Many things in life cause weariness, drain our productivity, or create sadness. But the death of a friend or relative can do all three. Even though most of us hate to admit it, spending time at the hospital with a loved one, staying up all night with them, and returning home to chores and phone calls can strip us of inner reserves. The ability to stand strong wavers.

During a tragic sickness in the family, schedules change, the phone demands to be answered, and life doesn’t give us a break. Some things go on as usual but without our input. We may have to step back and let others do things we usually take care of. But sometimes sadness and loneliness destroy the possiblity that we’ll ever A Flower power 1walk away unscathed.

Where do we find strength to go on?

Strength comes from the one who created us.

God blended the mind, body, and soul into a vessel that can cling to God’s will, his infinite love, and his knowledge. By talking to family and friends, we may try to explain how we feel. We wait for their human responses and long for a large patch to be put on our hearts, but God is the only one who has all the answers.

He gave us the ability to experience a full range of emotions. And each emotion has a perfect fit inside us, but when the balance is tipped, dumped into a huge pile, and shoved at us–nothing seems right. Only God can reach inside and allow us to be what he created, a unique human being. He never told us to hold in sorrow and take on the attributes of a cold statue.

1 flower power 4God lets us to be human, to experience the broad ranges of emotions and feelings he created. Yes, we feel weariness, sorrow, agony, and even joy. And along with the huge display of devastating emotions, God layered hope, joy, and peace–to conquer our pain.

Don’t rush to discover peace when bad things happen. Peace is  waiting there, but find it by following the unique needs you have as an individual.

If you want to cry, don’t let someone convince you to hide your pain. If you need to run to the woods and scream questions at God, do it. He will listen. If pouring out your heart in prayer is your desire, then take that route. There is no time limit or rule, when it comes to releasing sorrow. As long as you are willing to let him, God will nudge you into a path of peace. And much like a quiet wave pushes unforseen treasures up to a beautiful beach, God’s compassion carries us over the pain and sets us free to be a blessing to others.

Peace is a tranquil interval among the storms of life. When untroubled times lift you above the pain of the past, accept the gift with a prayer of thanks. The presentation of peace is not understood by those who have not faced heartbreak. Nothing is better than laying down to sleep without agony washing over P1090376us.

Remember, your soul is in God’s large hands and he cares.

“I will praise him from the bottom of my heart.” Psalm 35:10 NLT

 

~Karen Prough

 

 

 

 

 

WAITING PATIENTLY

WAITING PATIENTLY

Where's that cat? He mauled me and made me very angry!

Where’s that cat? He mauled me and made me very angry!

When huge challenges wash over us, the immediate reaction is to kick, bite, sob, and scratch. And as the waves of attack hit us, we fight harder, lose hope, and try to outrun the situation, but by then—it might be too late. And sometimes when we run, adversity seems to chase us down and double the beating.

Here is an example. A well-fed housecat will pounce on its tiny prey, hold it down with clawed paws, and finish the kill as the terrorized victim bites and launches its futile attempts to help itself. Green eyesBut sometimes, as long as the poor captive remains quiet and still, the cat will just bat it around for a few minutes. He gets bored with the captive’s lack of outward reaction and quite often abandons the destructive game.

And that is when the chance of escape presents itself. The prey opens it eyes, having learned a valuable lesson, and finds a safe haven.

Hold still and wait. So how can that advice compare to what the Lord can do for us, especially when we end up on our backs, staring at bad things in our life? In Psalm 40, we find a statement that can help us face troubles. “I waited patiently for the Lord; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.” Psalm 40:1-2 KJV

Hold on—wait.

That is what the scripture says? God will hear my cries?

“For innumerable evils have compassed me about; mine iniquities have taken hold upon me, so that I am not able to look up; they are more than the hairs of mine head: therefore my heart faileth me.

Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me: O Lord, make haste to help me.A squirrel 3

Let them be ashamed and confounded together that seek after my soul to destroy it; let them be driven backward and put to shame that wish me evil.

Let them be desolate for a reward of their shame that say unto me, Aha, aha.” Psalm 40: 12-15 KJV

I never noticed those words in the Bible. But I’ve heard them in real life.  Aha, aha! So when the enemy or the situations of our lives seem to be taunting and sneering while wishing evil on us, we need to remember that our God turns toward us and hears our pleas for strength and help.

No loud aha, aha from the adversities of life can hold us down if we rely on God for strength. When we try to fight battles alone, we will suffer more damage. Let God take hold of your life—give all of yourself to him. Remember God is our Redeemer and will fight for us.

a bear 4Now that can make a person want to do a little jig or dance and say, “Aha, aha! I got God on my side.”   🙂

Please, scroll down and leave your response to the words, “Aha, aha!” Thank you for reading this blog.

~Karen

 

 

 

 

© Karen Campbell Prough 2013

 

Material from this site may not be reprinted or copied without the permission of the author. Thank you.

BLOOMING WHERE YOU FALL

BLOOMING WHERE YOU FALL 

I stood beside a train track. It stretched beyond my line of sight, two ribbons of smooth metal. It was not pretty and did not add much to the scenery.

Life can be that way—a stretch in time that does not hold promise or beauty.

I turned and walked along the rails. The sun heated the shirt on my back, and I did not lift my head. It was better to stare at the ground and think somber thoughts.

About me were the shards and relics of someone’s past life, empty and ghost-like. Gray, wooden walls held weathered roofs in place, balancing them until the storms of life would push them to the earth. Wavy glass reflected the blue sky and the heat of the day.

Echoes of a voice sighed with the wind as it passed between a house and barn. An old mule lifted her head and waited for the owner of the voice to appear and lead her into the shelter of the barn. But not even a shadow drifted near.

I tripped over a discarded board and came to a stop. My eyes traveled across the dry ground and I lifted my head. Flowers nodded in the slight breeze—a pink flush adding life to the dirt between the railroad ties. I drank them in while my clouded sight cleared.

The flowers held to the dry soil but lifted their faces upward. They had grown from fallen seed. They did not fear the heat of the train that might pass over their bed of unfit ground. They never worried that my ambling feet might crush the life out of them. Their leaves did not quake in dread that the old mule would grind them between worn teeth. They lived with their petals open and waiting—waiting on the rain their designer would surely send.

Ridiculous thoughts about some wild flowers, you might say, but my heart stirred and lifted. I stopped to take a picture of them. Their colorful faces reflected the love of their creator and my God. My mind turned to scripture I had hidden in my heart. I have nothing to fret about or dread, even if I fall to the ground. I will get up. God gives strength to those who look to Him.

“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4: 11-13 NIV

Please leave your comments below. Have you felt content in God’s arms?

~Karen

Represented by Linda S. Glaz at
Finding the Extraordinary God in our Ordinary Lives