Tag Archives: Five Minute Friday

EMBRACE: Five Minute Friday

 Two weeks ago the word for Five Minute Friday was abandon (which I thought about for two days but never composed a post). Thinking about embrace since last night, the word abandon keeps popping into my head.

God’s love is so strong that He promises He will never abandon us, never leave us. So how do we respond to this promise; do we embrace God? Do we embrace our circumstances, our present life, or the struggle we face today?

I discovered a powerful “aha moment” in John Eldredge’s book, Walking With God. He says believers in God assume a naïve, unquestioned lie:

  1. Because we believe in God and
  2. because He is love
  3. He is going to give us a happy life.

I have learned in my journey another truth he explains: as long as my happiness is tied to THINGS I can lose, I am VULNERABLE– vulnerable to Satan’s lie, to question God’s motives. When the gifts He gives me are more important than He is, I am vulnerable to Satan’s attack on my heart. Satan waits for any weakness in my defenses to plunge my heart into despair.

Embracing God is a choice.

Making room for Him is a choice.

Embracing God requires surrender.

Hyacinths — NOT THIS SPRING!

I am thankful today:

  • that joy can replace fear, discouragement, anger, despair.
  • I have a deeper understanding of God’s desires for me.
  • that the joy of the Lord will make me strong. (Nehemiah 8:40)
  • that my joy can be complete, full and overflowing because of Christ’s love that is in me. (John 15:11)

JoyMartell

Joining the Five Minute Friday community with a one word prompt. We write for five minutes (I confess, I’m not so good at the time limit), post it, and then link up over at Kate’s blog.

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CONTROL: A Confession

Father of the Universe, Creator, my Abbaimg_0719

I confess my weakness and ask Your forgiveness. 

I need to feel control, and too often I let this need rule my life.

I know in my head You are in control, but my heart jumps in when I see something is out of control. 

I know I have no ability to control the weather,iced-branches

the political atmosphere in our country, choices other people make,img_0723

accidents, poverty, disease, danger, or war.

But sometimes this need for control allows the Teacher in me to jump in.

For 33 years my goal was to be in control of my classroom.

I knew my students needed guidance to learn self-control.

But chaos in the classroom does not provide

an ideal classroom environment for learning. 

Controlled chaos is different;

my friend and co-teacher Emalie taught me this.

I know I cannot control other people.

I know that without Your grace my salvation would be impossible.

But I desperately need patience and insight

when I feel the need to take control of a situation.

Thank You for:

Your forgiveness,

Your grace,

Your patience,

Your love. 

Your child, JoyMartell

Joining the Five Minute Friday community on Saturday with a one word prompt. We write for five minutes (I confess, I’m not so good at the time limit), post it, and then link up over at Kate’s blog.

 

CONNECT: Five Minute Friday

Five-Minute-Friday.1Joining the Five Minute Friday community with a one word prompt. We write for five minutes (I confess, I’m not so good at the time limit), post it, and then link up over at Kate’s blog.

Connecting is hard-wired in our brains. When you read, listen to news, talk to a stranger, your brain is searching for patterns, for some previous bit of knowledge or understanding to connect to this new piece.

During my teaching days I loved to plan a new unit by researching. Finding media (books, movies, quotes, a place or event) that connected to the topic kept me engaged for hours. Sometimes a field trip provided the ultimate connection. When I taught The Miracle Worker we took a trip to Ivy Green, Helen’s home in Alabama. Inner city students who had never left the state of Tennessee engaged in this home preserved as it was in Helen’s days. When a group discovered the pump out back, they asked, “Is the real pump? The one that Helen and her teacher touched?” That breakthrough moment in Helen’s life suddenly connected for these students.

cam-ps-119This month I’m researching the connections in Psalms to the Messiah for an adult Bible class I will teach in February. God’s Word is so rich in connections; just read the first chapter of Matthew and connect the Old Testament men and women to the Messiah. The deeper you dig into Scripture the more connections you can make.

I am thankful today for:

  • God’s Word preserved for us
  • the richness of poetry in the Psalms that speaks to our emotions and draws us nearer to the Father
  • new understanding of Psalm 2 and 22

JoyMartell

 

LIFT

THOU O Lord, are the lifter of my head.  Psalm 3:3

This lament is embedded into my soul; when I hear this verse, the words to a song by this title begins to play in my head. (This is the version we sing at my church. Listen to it as you read.)

I asked our song leader to lead it at Jennifer’s funeral . The words remind me that no matter how far down my head sinks, no matter how sad my heart breaks, no matter how I feel — He is there to lift my head.

Orange Beach, Jan. 2015

Orange Beach, Jan. 2015

I wonder if the women who stood vigil at the cross for hours as they watched their Rabbi, the Teacher, hang, tortured from the pain, remembered this psalm?

They stood for three hours in total darkness; it must have felt like God had turned His back on the world.

I think of darkness when I think of the deep grief of a mother for her son or daughter. The loss of anyone you love is heartbreaking.

God’s inspired words in the book of Psalms are filled with laments that give us permission to wail, weep, and yell at God. He wants us to bring Him our burdens. And those cries and grief give the Holy Spirit an opening to reshape our feelings.

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Joining the Five Minute Friday community with a one word prompt. We write for five minutes (I confess, I’m not so good at the time limit), post it, and then link up over at Kate’s blog.

Counting these blessings today:

  • God’s Word preserved for us
  • the richness of poetry in the psalms that can soothe a broken heart
  • my renewed understanding of laments
  •  all three of my brothers are living in Tennessee today!

JoyMartell

 

HELP!

First Thoughts on Help (today’s word for Five Minute Friday)

“Modern Mrs. Darcy” blog recommends books to read; since I love to read, I find myself frequently listening to her podcast or going through her lists. This week she has a wonderful list of 25 Books to Read When You Feel Like the World is Falling Apart. Click on the title to find her blog.

Anne Lamott’s book, Stitches: A Handbook On Meaning, Hope and Repair appealed to me first. This little book is packed with those powerful statements that have me reaching for a highlighter, except I’m reading a library book!

This statement grabbed me, so I wrote it down:

We live stitch by stitch; when we’re lucky. If you fixate on the big picture, the whole shebang, the overview, you miss the stitching.

countingjoyblog.wordpress.com

Great grandmother, Miss Ada’s quilt remnant

 

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Joining the Five Minute Friday community with a one word prompt. We write for five minutes (I confess, I’m not so good at the time limit), post it, and then link up over at Kate’s blog.

Begin 5 minute timer

I found another profound quote In Lamott’s book, so appropriate to how many of us feel about our present times:

“The American way is to not need help, but to help. One of the hardest lessons I had to learn was that I was going to need a lot of help, and for a long time.” (33)

Offering help, thinking of ways to minister to those in need, gathering resources – this is my first response to a disaster.

When Jennifer died, I had to relearn so many things; accepting help was first the only thing I could do. When I stumbled through those first days and weeks of grief, I had to have help; my heart was broken and my mind was in shock.

Months and years went by before I could offer help to the grieving. If I forgot and offered help; my heart would ambush me and break open again in tears, sadness, even depression.

Stop

I continue to learn, 14 years after  her death, to help in ways that work for me. Sometimes that looks like sending cards, or cooking a meal, but it might mean a phone call or a visit. Some days I work on the book I’ve been writing on my journey of grief.

Dear Father,

Show us when and how to help others, but teach us how to just “be” with someone as they grief or weep or lament.

I thank You for giving us the blessings we need each day and ask You to shower blessings on our country.  Lord, give us what we need, not what we want. 

JoyMartell

If you are curious about our daughter, Jennifer, the story of her death,  and the journey of grief, click here.

Created by the Greatest Creator

First Thoughts on Create (today’s word for Five Minute Friday)create-600x600

I love to create. When my dear friend, Judy, suggested I read her copy of Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, I devoured it, practiced each lesson, and amazed myself at what I learned.

I enjoy creating through writing, sewing, crafting, or decorating; I am a Maker!

But this morning a verse plays on a loop in my head:

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made         (NIV) Psalm 139:14
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Joining the Five Minute Friday community with a one word prompt. We write for five minutes (I confess, I’m not so good at the time limit), post it, and then link up over at Kate’s blog.

Begin 5 minute timer

While sitting in a doctor’s office, my gaze lands on a poster of the ear. I get closer to look at the details, and then I marvel. How God created our bodies with such precision and attention to detail. Each little bone in our ears must work together to allow us to hear.Middle-ear-structure-diagram

Perhaps it’s because I have more time to ponder this body, since I frequent doctor’s offices more than I would like, but each organ, each system has to work together to keep the whole of the body functioning as it was designed.

My God saw my bones being formed as I took shape. He saw me as an embryo, a fetus forming in the womb, growing and changing each day. Is that not a miracle!

I continue to be amazed at our brains.

Stop

Ephesians 2:10 says we are a masterpiece (a work of art), created in Christ to do good works. See this post with references to Emily P. Freeman’s book, A Million Little Ways: Uncover the Art You Were Made to Live.

I am thankful for the marvelous bodies God created for us.

I thank God for the mysteries about our brains as they are uncovered by scientists.

JoyMartell

 

MISS

I stand in the store dressing room, taking garments off hangers, and I hear, “Mom?”

countingjoyblog.wordpressFor just a moment I think I hear Jennifer; the voice sounds just like hers. But just 24 hours ago we had a phone call telling us she died from a fall while hiking. 

I don’t crumble to the floor in tears; there is a funeral to plan, funeral clothes to buy.

That voice still haunts my memory. That is the moment I knew I would never hear her say “Mom” again.

Mother’s Day comes right on the heels of her last day on earth in April. So I especially miss her on Mother’s Day.

Mothers without daughterscountingjoyblog.wordpress

During those first dreadful days of sorrow in April I longed for my mother. One of my brothers said later that he was so glad that Mama did not live to experience those days.

But I needed her! Only she could truly grasp this aching loss. She died when Jennifer was 13 years old, so I had eight years to accept the status of a motherless daughter before I lost my daughter.

Mama and Jennifer

Mama and Jennifer

Each of the six women in my Girlfriend Circle have experienced the loss of our mothers. We are the older generation in our families. When did this happen?

Something deep within us still longs for that bond, that connection with our mother that has been severed.

Joining the Five Minute Friday community of bloggers today with a one word prompt. With a one word prompt we write for five minutes, unedited. Check them out here.

Today I am thankful for the 21 years Jennifer lived. She brought so much joy to so many people. You can read more of her story here.

I am thankful for the close relationship Mama and I experienced and for her life of service in the Kingdom. You can read more of her story serving as a medical missionary in Africa here.

I pray for those who miss their mothers this year on Mother’s Day. Lisa-Jo Baker has a beautiful post here, “When You Still Need Your Mom and She’s Not There Anymore.”

JoyMartell