Snow Days, Hot Chocolate, Hot Soup, and Hot Woodstoves

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“I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow.” Jeremiah 31:13

The forecast calls for 3-7 inches of snow, runny noses, subzero windchill, and two kids who want to build a snowman. Tomorrow will be a day of which we all seek comfort. We will want a break from the cold and blustery winter.  Seeking shade on a hot, summer day is so far from thought it hardly seems possible to feel warm in shorts and t-shirts while playing outside.

We all experience seasons in our lives when we search for comfort.  At this time in my life, I long for the comfort of quiet mornings when I sit back with a cup of coffee and everyone else sleeps. In thirty years, I may long for noisy chaos of children running through my house.

Our source of comfort, regardless of season or age is always the same. We always find comfort in God, our Father, Jesus, our friend who walked the same Earth, and the Holy Spirit, who speaks to us as we journey through this life.

We may not always feel His presence in a Holy manner. Sometimes His comfort arrives in cups of hot chocolate, a hug from a spouse, or a phone call from a friend.  I belive God uses us to comfort others and allows us to experience His love through others.

What are you doing tomorrow?  Will you bring comfort to anyone? Will you allow God to comfort you?

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Finding Comfort

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I have written about this before, but I am a self-diagnosed stress eater.  When I get upset about work, overwhelmed by parenting,  or mad at my husband, I will sit and polish off a bag of chip with dip.  I won’t stop until the whole bag is gone! (I inherited this from my mother!)

Just the other day, I was reading a devotional.  I believe it was something written by Joyce Meyer, but I can’t remember for sure.  It said that each of us has an unfilled place in our soul.  This place longs for comfort.  Some of us fill it with food, others with retail therapy.  A few try to fill it in more dangerous ways with drugs or alcohol.

A minister at a church I attended years ago used to say that each of us had a “God-sized” hole inside of us.  This emptiness can bring despair and misery into our lives.  From this emptiness we have potential to make dangerous decisions, trying to fill the void.  I have known many young girls who try to fill that void with affection from men.  Occasionally, they get lucky and find a kind, caring, loving man to pacify the emptiness.  However, if the whole is God-sized, no human will ever completely fill the void.  No bag of chips will either.

We are created with a place in our souls to be filled by God.  We can search and search for other ways to fill it, but nothing will satisfy our soul like God can.  God intends for us to find comfort in Him. I am not saying that eating chips and dip in moderation is a bad thing, but it won’t fix your problems!  Believe me!  I have tried!  In fact, it just makes you sluggish the next day.

I believe God sends us comfort in many ways.  I believe that my husband was a gift from God.  He can’t fill the God-sized hole, but he tries to comfort me when I need it, encourages me, and helps me navigate through this life.  I often can find small doses of comfort in sitting on my back deck with a cup of hot coffee as the sun rises.  But this amount of comfort cannot fill the God-sized hole either.  Only a relationship with God can.

Here are some verses that remind us of God’s power and desire to fill the void within us.

John 14:1-3 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

Romans 8:38-39 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

James 1:2-4 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

The next time you reach for the bag of chips, or seek comfort in your own way, reach for God.  Strengthen your relationship with Him and find comfort in Him.

Blessings!

Apple Cider Doughnuts, a Cup of Coffee, and All Things Comfortable

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I had a moment last night, while grading papers, when I realized just how much work lay ahead of me this year.  Our new group of fifth graders are very sweet, but they are a LONG WAY from where we need them to be by June.  As I sifted through test scores and fall assessments, I found that nearly half of our students are significantly behind in reading, math, or both.  Let me tell you, I went to bed praying for some miracles!

Times like this make me feel like I have an uphill battle facing me.  I was touring a Civil War museum in Richmond, VA, last spring when a tour guide explained what that meant.  He said that the army on top of the hill had the element of surprise, the momentum of fighting while running downhill, and the advantage of sight.

When I awoke this morning, I was still feeling defeated.  I prayed, again!  Then I got up, ran to the kitchen, fixed coffee, heated up an apple cider doughnut, and sat in my pjs for a few minutes.  The comfort found in my morning treat just made all things better!

Sometimes a little bit of comfort can help us strategize for the battles ahead.  I may still be facing an uphill battle, but my position is improving.  Often, I only need a little cheering up before I feel enough motivation to run up the next hill.

I am not a huge fan of seeking comfort foods, but these apple cider doughnuts did the trick!  God doesn’t always speak directly to us, boom directions down at us, or send an angel to guide us through.  Sometimes He just allows us to find comfort in our everyday lives!

Blessings!

When Jesus Chooses to NOT Calm the Storm

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Constant thunder rumbling, lightening flashing so often the road remained visible despite the night sky and fog, rain sheeting down so hard the windshield blades couldn’t keep up.  But the worst element of our drive home last night was watching  out for flooded roads.  I cautiously traveled the route my father-in-law said would be best.  After a few minutes, my shoulders, jaw, and hands hurt.  I realized I was tensing my shoulders, clenching my jaw, and gripping the steering wheel harder than necessary.  I prayed!

Last night Jesus chose to NOT calm the storm around me.  I had to travel through it until I got home.  Despite how hard I prayed for the rain to calm or for the flood waters to recede, they did not.  And let me tell you, folks, I was SCARED!

Finally, when I wasn’t sure I could take it anymore, familiar lights pulled behind me.  My husband was now driving his truck just behind my car.  I relaxed.  I realized the both of my kids were sound asleep in the backseat.  I thought they might be afraid of the storm, but they were comforted by my presence with them in the car.  They thought they were safe because I was there.  I felt safer when my husband appeared.

New thought!  Sometimes Jesus chooses for us to have to drive through the storms.  In fact, He may even place them in front of us on purpose.  However, when the storm doesn’t calm, He sends us comfort.  I admit, there are times when I cannot feel the presence of God in my life.  There are bad days when I feel alone.  Thankfully, I believe that during those lonely, fearful times, God sends people to us to comfort us.

I believe my husband was sent to me ten years ago to be a great force in my life.  He has always been a huge encourager, and he often believes I can accomplish anything, even when I am not so sure.  When I need comfort, he is here.

When my kids are scared, they have both of us.

When Jesus chooses to NOT calm the storms in your life, who comes to comfort you?

Blessings!