Did you get to see the Christmas star?

This week the stars aligned. Well actually, NASA described it this way. “Jupiter and Saturn aligned in the night sky on Dec. 21 in an event astronomers call the “great conjunction” — also referred to as the “Christmas Star” — marking the planets’ closest encounter in nearly 400 years. https://apple.news/AHBOEehUORSyRWvSNsB9wBQ There are many that say this is what the Three Wise Men followed when seeking to worship Jesus after He was born. I was struck by the fact that all around the world people were looking upward to catch this amazing phenomenon. What a wonderful picture analogy of the Advent season where we wait expectantly to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Like us seeing the great conjunction, the Israelites waited hundreds of years to welcome a Messiah who Isaiah prophesied about 700 years before his birth. The difference of course is in a matter of days Jupiter and Saturn are no longer visible whereas the world has never been the same since “unto us a child was born whose name is Jesus, Wonderful counselor, our Immanuel.” Isaiah 9:6

The second similarity that the great conjunction brought to mind is that we are all waiting for Covid19 to release its wretched grip on our lives making it so difficult to be with the ones we love. Like the planets, we look to the availability of the vaccine to be made so all we will be well and life as we imagine it will get back to normal. It certainly feels like the Christmas carol, “a star, a start dancing in the night” that provides us some glimmer of hope that this soon could be over. As I thought about this I happened upon the Season 3 The Crown episode where Prince Phillip watches every moment of Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins landing on the moon.https://youtu.be/qLebb96VHJM It is again a picture of looking up at the moon and being amazed at the courage it took to achieve this heroic accomplishment. The Prince was astounded that the astronauts were more interested in Buckingham Castle and what his life of royalty was like than landing on the moon. So often, we think what others have done or are doing is much more important or significant than ours. It can lead to discouragement as we fall into the lie that our life doesn’t measure up to others.

Christmas speaks truth to that lie. Missionary, Doug Coppage, sums it up well in a recent letter to a friend. “My hope does not depend on other people, no matter how religious or corrupt they may be.  My hope rests in Jesus alone, and he did a very, very good job of overcoming darkness, despair, death, and every other curse of human life.  God did all this through Jesus for us – and for me!  This is God’s Christmas lesson for me this year.”

This Christmas, may the eyes of your heart be enlightened, that you may have a deeper “Christmas star” understanding of what it means to love God and to love others. Only then can we receive the best gift God offers Us; His unique divinity, His grace and truth, His indescribable peace. May it make you “Thankful in all Things”

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Loving your neighbor is more important than ever

‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

Loving your neighbor while distancing

Social distancing is wreaking havoc on us individually and in how we go about loving our neighbors. We were made to be in relationship so to back up, like a turtle pulls his head into his shell, is so contrary to how God wants us to live. Jesus said in John 10:10 that “he came to give us an abundant life” and later in John 15 encouraged us in this way, “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” I don’t know about you who are reading this post, but I can say feeling an “abundance and a joy that is full” is not easy to do these days. I wake up many days thinking, “another day, just like yesterday, and the day before. It is magnified as I see so many people enjoying family vacations and, because of my compromised immune system, we cannot. There is a daily choice to be made. Do I slip down into discouragement or choose to make the day a positive one by finding creative ways to love my neighbors? I have found that having a mindset toward acts of service keeps me from allowing my circumstances to defeat me.

The commandment to Love my neighbor literally means to go out and care for those nearby. This moves the exhortation not just to those who live nearby who may look like us or have the same type of lifestyle, but who come nearby as we move throughout our the day, physically or remotely. As I have shared before, even wearing a mask can be a way that we love someone who comes into our proximity. Bishop Claude Alexander in his sermon, https://livingontheedge.org/coffeebreak/july-2020/ says like the Good Samaritan, we need to be willing to not go around an uncomfortable situation. Instead, be called forward so that we go through and into that place. That way we can get close enough to see, feel, and understand what is happening, why it occurred. Bishop Alexander shares that “Seeing, feeling, and understanding will make us realize we must do something about the situation”

When we are moved to make a difference, what does it look like to love our neighbor? The practical application will look differently for each one of us and that is OK. One thing is for sure though. It starts with us getting out of our own comfort zone and entering into a place where we have never been before or haven’t been motivated to make the time. The first step for the Good Samaritan was to see what had happened. He then felt the person’s pain which made him understand he needed to do something. That something cost him physically, (he walked while the injured one rode on the donkey), financially (he paid for a room and for his care, and his precious time ( he cared for the man and then came back later to see if he was OK. What starts with being open to see and responding to others who have a need or just need encouragement. Here are links to three different ministries that started with people like you and me who got shaken into action. https://charlottesvilleabundantlife.org/ https://movementfoundation.org/ https://peaceprep.com/ I share these to show what amazing things can happen when people make the choice to love their neighbors.

Luke 10;36.37 answers the question, What does it mean to love your neighbor? When the expert in the law answered that the one who had mercy on the person who was robbed, Jesus simply answers, “go and do likewise“. As I thought about this blog post this week, this jumped in to my head. What if our love for each other was as contagious as Covid19? I am guessing your life will be filled with the abundance God promised and you will find yourself full of joy. Let’s go out this week and find out. 🙂

Who will stand in the gap?

grand canyon sunset

The definition of the word divide is “a wide divergence between two groups, typically producing tension or hostility.” These days there are so many places we see division; “To wear or not wear a mask”, “how in the world can people be gathering in large groups”, and “aren’t those people lucky they have a cool place to shelter in place” just to name a few. Of course there are much bigger things like “do Black Lives Matter” and what does it mean to “Defund the police” Where we all don’t have the same answer on how to solve the problem. These challenges whether small and petty or large and Important have created divisions even in families and amongst friends for whom we really care about. The question is are the majority of us willing to stand in the gap in these conversations so that love will prevail vs allowing those who espouse hatred to seize control.

Let me take a little poetic license with one verse in The classic song, “what’s love got to do with it”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oGpFcHTxjZs As you read the lyrics, Think about engaging with someone who doesn’t think the way you do.

It may seem to you that I’m acting confused
When you’re close to me
If I tend to look dazed I’ve read it someplace
I’ve got cause to be
There’s a name for it
There’s a phrase that fits
But whatever the reason you do it for me

Aren’t we all confused by how people are acting? Haven’t the tensions and yes, hostilities, left you a bit dazed and tired? There are many names for it and a phrases that fit. Here are a few words that might sum it up: discouragement, fatigue, hopelessness, and despair. Along with Phrases such as : you don’t care, you can’t understand, and I can’t trust you all lead up to feeling divided, one against another with a sense that there is no way to bridge the gap. The reason that I can remain thankful in all things in this very different season of adversity is that I have hope that “love can conquer all things” Why? Because Jesus validates it when asked what are the most important commandments?

We are to 1st “love God with all our heart, mind, and soul.” The 2nd is that we are to “love others as God loves us”. If we can figure out the 1st, our personal inward hopes (closer to Christ, relationships, etc.)” we will experience a freedom to do the 2nd an outward expression of loving others in a way that is useful to the Lord, Making it His work not mine. Can it be so simple that if My desire is to Love Him with all my heart, love others as He loves me (even though I often times am unloveable) leads to being released that I can count on the fact that His plan not mine will be the outcome? If so, I can strive to stand in the gap “pressing on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14) The prize these days would be to see divisiveness turned into unity.

Beth Moore exhorts us forward by writing, “True greatness will never come to those who seek to be great. It will come to those who make themselves of no reputation and give their unseen everyday lives, their everyday energies, their everyday faith to serving others amid their own everyday sufferings & unrequited desires.”

1 Corinthians 13 says the 3 most important things in life are Faith, Hope, and Love but the greatest of these is Love. Our faith in each other is wavering which can cause us to lose hope. I began this post with lyrics from a classic Tina Turner song. Let me end it with the chorus of one of my favorite campfire songs by the Youngbloods. Go ahead, take the time to listen to it. 🙂 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XRbTvoxRNxM


Come on people now
Smile on your brother
Everybody get together
Try to love one another
Right now

James 3:18 says “Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.” If we choose to go out with an intent to love one another, I believe we can cause others to do the same. In doing so, we can in fact stand in the gap shining light in the dark, letting good to defeat evil knowing and regaining the hope that love will conquer hatred.

My Guillain Barre Syndrome story which is what started this blog can be found by visiting www.caringbridge.org/visit/michaelguthrie You can contact me by making a comment here on the blog or by emailing me at michael@mrg7175.com

What does it mean to be a Father?

I wish I could remember what Coach Jensen said that day in 8th grade. I know I admired him, if only because his brother was the great Jackie Jensen. https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/j/jenseja01.shtml Jackie played for my beloved New York Yankees and was the AL MVP for the rival Red Sox in 1958. But I digress 😀 I came home from school that day in 1968 and announced to my mom, “I know what I want to be when I grow up” I wish she was here to wish I had asked her while she was alive what she thought I might say? I do remember her surprise when she nicely asked what it was I wanted to be. “I want to be a coach and a dad!” Given how I felt about Coach Jensen and my Lions Club baseball coaches, Larry Rentch and Tom Proctor, the 1st answer made sense. The dad part took my mom totally by surprise. I have coached folks all my life in sports, business, and personal development but I never worked as a coach. 52 years later, on this my 39th Father’s Day, I got the second part right and nothing I have accomplished in my life means more to me.

Dottie and I are blessed with 3 children (a boy and two girls) who are all now married and have allowed me to reach another goal; becoming a grandfather. The now 7 grandchildren affectionately call me, “MRG or MRGie.” I knew I wanted to be a dad but not until they moved past the toddler or what I called the “physically tiring” stage of life did I realize the great responsibility that comes along with the title, Dad.

I am one of 6 kids and if there is one thing for sure, Mom and Dad did a great job teaching us to find our own way. We are all very different and didn’t always do the right thing nor did we always think the same way as our parents. One thing we did know is we were loved and that our Buppy and Papa, the General were our biggest fans As I wrote in my Mother’s Day blog, we are all trying to live out that legacy they created for us to follow. http://thankfulinallthings.com/mothers-day-how-does-it-answer-the-question-what-does-it-mean-to-leave-a-legacy/


I am not surprised that the Lord would have me reading through Proverbs during the month of June. It started as a challenge to a younger friend who has started his own faith journey. I had shared my thoughts about how we are to Study so we can learn, seek Understanding and then make ourselves Vulnerable in our interactions with others. He had never read the Bible so we decided to read one chapter a day since there are 30 chapters. I thought I was doing it for him. God, my Heavenly Father, had other plans because you see, as a child of God, He wants me to mature and become the man He created. I take seriously the responsibility of doing the same for my kids and now, their kids. For me, there is no better legacy I could leave. The recurring theme in Proverbs is instruction or as Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young sang, “teach your children well”

Here are just a few living and parenting tips that come out of Proverbs. Pay attention. Listen well. Maintain discretion.. Pursue knowledge. Heed Instruction. Know that you are in full sight of the Lord. I am not perfect so don’t make others feel like they have to be. Be grateful for God’s grace and mercy. Offer the same to everyone around you. Love the Lord always and love others in the same way.

As I shared earlier, my parents let us grow up with the thought, “you can be anyone you want.” I am sure Dad would have loved for one of his children to have gone into the military. None of us did but he was proud of and bragged on us all the time. Dottie and I can certainly say the same about JM, Katie, and Becca. Our greatest joy is watching them learn how to be incredible parents. Yes the CTNY song, reminds us to teach our children well. But is also shares to do it well, you must have a code.” Mine comes from the greatest commandment in the bible. “Love the Lord with all your heart, mind, and soul. Love your children (inserted for effect here) and everyone else as I have loved you Joshua 24:15 says, “ But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” What is the code on which you stand to teach your children? As you strive to teach your children well, Make sure know the code.

Learn more about the journey that inspired me to write this blog. www.caringbridge.org/visit/michaelguthrie contact me at michael@mrg7175.com Please subscribe to this blog so you can get email updates when new posts are added.

We are no doubt in a crisis, how are you responding

Thanks to my son, I heard a great sermon by Carl Lentz-https://youtu.be/cx9bT9LGwZA He shared about three friends who were held up at gun point. He used what happened to share this Palm Sunday pressure message. “When faced w a crisis one can do 4 things. 1) Freak out, 2) Freeze up, 3)Flee…or 4) Face it head on with the faith God has given us to trust Him with the outcome.”  My question today is “How are you dealing with the challenges of Covid-19?”

As you know, I have written about choices in other entries here and that we all need to take our own responsibility for what our attitude looks like. Each of us has the opportunity to be a true champion. Doing what it takes to be one, no matter whether it is home, at work, or striving to make a difference in our every day world. It takes us having a PRIDE in how we live our lives no matter what obstacles we face. I think of pride as being Personally Responsible for our Individual Daily Effort. It is a matter of chose. It is always a matter of chose. ThankS to many of you for being real life examples of choosing hope vs despair, trust vs fear, gratitude vs wantedness. You are figuring out the How because you know Who provides the strength to see the  Joy through the sorrow As Psalm 30:5 says,”Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.“

Our identity has been shaken because of Covid-19. We are asking, “do I really trust God with the outcome? Will me and my family get through this OK? Why am I feeling anxiety? We need to look back to look forward. The Bible uses the word remember 130 times in the Old Testament and more than 30 times in the New. So, remind yourself from where does help come. Psalm 121:1 “ I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord,the Maker of heaven and earth..” Be encouraged that He wants to clothe us with a new identity. One that restores to us the abundant life he has always wanted for us. As we face whatever crisis you face due to COVID-19, may we look for a fresh revelation of his love for us. Allow it to guide you into greater depths of faith. Remembering out of adversity comes strength and that what you once thought was weakness God will use for good.

I read a devotional Randy Wolfe wrote where he shares this story. “An old Indian chief told his son that there are two wolves that live within us. One is full of fear and doubt that wants to destroy and kill. The other is filled with confidence, faith, and assurance. “Which wolf wins?” asked the young son. His dad said, “The one you feed the most.” Carl Lentz says we have a choice when faced with a crisis. The Indian chief is making the same point to his son. “No matter what our tough times look like from one year to the next, we have a decision to make. Interesting that the only exhortation the bible uses more than remember is “Do not Fear.” So today, remember, feed your faith not your fear


To learn more about the Guillain Barre journey, visit www.caringbridge.org/visit/MichaelGuthrie michael@mrg7175.com

How one prepares for the onset of adversity.

I went to a concert last night. Unfortunately, because of my recovery routine, I did not get to see Mercy Me perform. I did get to practically apply a lesson I learned earlier in the week. “Discipline is doing the right things even when you don’t feel like it. The picture here is me getting up early to row

Last night I left the concert before Mercy Me because I need to be in bed no later than 9:30. I was tempted but knew the decision to exercise this discipline was the right choice. I did get to enjoy Jeremy Camp and look forward to the new movie, I Still Believe, coming out soon.

Matthew 6;33,34 says, “But first and most importantly seek (aim at, strive after) His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be given to you also. So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Jeremy Camp shared this verse and then said and sang a song that prodded me to write this latest post

🎼Singing oh Lord, keep me in the moment
Help me live with my eyes wide open
‘Cause I don’t wanna miss what you have for me
Singing oh Lord, show me what matters
Throw away what I’m chasing after
‘Cause I don’t wanna miss what you have for me 🎹
Keep me in the moment
Oh, keep me in the moment
Keep me in the moment
‘Cause I don’t wanna miss what you have for me🎶

My moment for almost a year now has been dealing Guillain Barre And the serious impact on my body and now slowly but surely doing everything I can to fully recover. Whether it is exercising when I don’t feel like it or having to leave something early from a concert are “keeping me in the moment” decisions. Jeremy went on to talk about Ebeneezer Stones. “Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the LORD has helped us.”(1 Samuel 7:12) Ebenezer is only mentioned three times in the Bible. By definition Ebenezer means “stone of help.” This reminded me of a book, Hinds Feet in High Places, which brings me back to the title of this post. Like the character, Much-Afraid, I prepared for my journey through adversity by experiencing God’s presence in my life when I faced struggles, fears, anxiety, etc. The God figure in Hinds Feet shares, “Whenever you are willing to obey me, Much-Afraid, and to follow the path of my choice, you will always be able to hear and recognize my voice, and when you hear it you must always obey. Remember also that it is always safe to obey my voice, even if it seems to call you to paths which look impossible or even crazy.”

I was called into a sickness where recovery at the onset seemed impossible and yes, not being able to move was even crazy. It would have been easy to succumb into fear and discouragement. Instead I chose Hope in what was to come because I had my own Ebeneezer “stones of hope” experiences. Did I not want to go work out? Did I not want to leave the concert? You bet. However, I did both because I knew having that discipline would allow me to be a little bit closer to a full recovery and encourage me to make my life even more dependent on the One who loves me and wants what is best for me. He promises to do the same for you. All you have to do is ask. Hallelujah.

A better me because of GBS

Someone asked me recently, if I could turn back time, would I go through this year again? The answer obviously is no way but I wouldn’t trade the lessons I have and continue to learn because of the story I now can tell about what it means to journey through adversity. I wear a wristband that simply says Transformed. I put it on back in the spring of 2018 after the Ravi Zacharias talk that Advanced Native Mission sponsored. Little did I know what this word would come to me for me less than a year later. They took it off me in the hospital and in rehab I replaced it for a bit with one that said “I Can I Will I Believe”

Not sure who or where I go it but it reminded me of what a Doctor friend said to me when I was first diagnosed. “God loves you, You will get worse before you get better, You are in the best place to be treated, and You will get better” From that moment, focused on yes i can get better because I believe. Not just because the doctors said so but because there was never a doubt God was going to be with me every step of the way. As I have written here before, I renamed my recovery the “180 Project” because I had two goals. 1) to do a complete turnaround physically while I got back into shape and 2) I wanted to my weight to once again be in the 180’s preferably 185) where it hadn’t been in a very long time. #1 has been accomplished and #2 is in sight. The Transformed wristband pictured here is back on my left arm but for different reasons than when I first put it on almost 2 years ago.

What I hadn’t spent much time on was how I would change as a person because of my Guillain Barre Syndrome diagnosis. The scripture tells us, in 2nd Corinthians 5;17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:The old has gone, the new is here! I now claim this verse in a whole new way. Romans 12:2 says, ” Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.  Guillain Barre Syndrome certainly put me through the test of accepting God’s will. As I have shared here before, I am grateful and out of that gratitude, I have chosen the word Generosity for 2020. I want to pay forward what others have done for us while I was sick and as I work toward a full recovery. Even this morning, two women in my church came up and shared how my renewed health has encouraged them in their own faith. What a blessing that was to me. That would be enough but there is so much more that is happening. My mind is being renewed and with that I am promised a new and better version of Michael Guthrie. Someone who realized how fortunate he is to be better but more importantly to have so many people in my life who truly care about me and my family. That fact is not lost on me and as the writer of Philippians shares, “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it” and my own finish to this verse, but because of my own suffering and the adversity I faced, I am moving toward that ultimate goal of being the best version of myself through God’s grace and His mercy. As my brother Kevin reminds me often, “a little bit better each and every day”

The art of visiting…You might not think it makes a difference but it does!

 

The “least of these” refers to those in a variety of needy situations. They include the hungry, thirsty, impoverished, sick, and imprisoned. In this context, Jesus is speaking to those who were following Him wanting to know how to be considered righteous. Obviously in my case, it had to do with visiting this guy who was fighting back from Guillain Barre Syndrome. If you are finding the blog for the first time read back through some of the posts. You will see that one of the reasons I am Thankful in All Things is the outpouring of support we received and continue to receive from so many people. I have recently returned from a nice vacation where I took the time to read every card that was sent to me. I also have been reading through the notebook Dottie used to chronicle the highlights and the lowlights 🙂 of each day of my journey through adversity. So many folks took time out of their days to check in to say hello, encourage, drop something by, and pray for us. What also is obvious is many others who could not visit prayed regularly, took the time to write a note or make a comment on the caring bridge site. https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/michaelguthrie The visits and cards along with the comments have given me and Dottie the support we need to battle back from this crazy malady resulting from an auto immune disorder which wreaked havoc on my nerve system ultimately making me unable to move. This brings me back to the passage “we are to do this for the least of these.”

People taking the time to visit me in the hospital, rehab, and in the early weeks recovering at home, gave me a new appreciation for how important it is to do it. It has never been easy for me. There are many times I never went even though I knew I should. I would send a card, email, or text but somehow find a way not to actually go and be present with the person who was sick. I can’t explain why but I am guessing many who read this blog have had the same dilemma. I can honestly say that even though I still find it hard, I now feel compelled to go. Why? Because I know it can make a difference. The question is what is the best way to go about visiting someone in need? It is so easy to say, ” I am not very good at it” or ” I am sure I will just be in the way.” Believe me. Neither of these are reasons not to try and comfort or encourage someone. Your willingness to go and not overstay your welcome can be life giving. In my blog post, I will share some tips from Dottie and my personal experiences on how to allow God to use you well as you strive to care for those who need it. As Nike would encourage, “Just do it!” But do it with sensitivity.

What does it mean to be made new?

I heard a sermon yesterday where the pastor preached on 2 Corinthians 5:11-21. It talks about how through our trusting in the Lord, we are made a new creation. We are given the opportunity for our lives to be transformed. My recovery from Guillain Barre has given me a new appreciation for what that means. I have thought a great deal and now have written about how my life has changed because of my auto immune system going haywire in late February/early March of 2019. This morning in a devotional written by Randy Wolff he talked about how a friend of his is handling suffering. It communicates exactly what I have been trying to articulate over these last few months.  “Suffering woke me up! I am fully awake and aware of new lessons being learned daily. I just knew about the lessons before. Now I really know priority and who to depend upon.”Sometimes we all need suffering to make us fully awake and alive. I am now convinced of this truth. I have more faith because of what I have experienced.” This quote is exactly why I started this blog. I want to choose and encourage others to be thankful in all things, good or bad.

Sometimes we all need suffering to make us fully awake and alive.

What follows is the way I paraphrased 2 Corinthians 5:11-21 to personalize it for me. “Since my bout with Guillain Barre Syndrome I now know what it is to fear the Lord and why I now feel compelled to persuade others to do the same. I am not trying to commend myself to you but am touched and humbled by folks saying my faith and fight has been an inspiration. I am thankful that my recovery has given me an opportunity to answer those who dwell on what is seen rather than in what is in the heart. Christ’s love and the love shown to me and Dottie is what compelled us, because we are convinced that the one who died for all, Jesus, met us in what was indeed a nadir moment. So from now on I will strive to regard nothing from a worldly point of view. Though I believed Christ would be our rock no matter what, I now know it to be true. I speak boldly that Therefore, since I know I am in Christ, the new creation has come both physically and spiritually. I am learning the old has gone and because of what I have and am going through, a new me is here!  I am ,therefore, Christ’s ambassador, and God has given me a platform to make His appeal to you through me. I write to implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. Why? Because one never knows when adversity will come your way and you definitely want God at your side when it does.” God has showed up time and time again for me which has given me renewed confidence in a promise I have always known to be true and now has been verified.

Being forced to learn how to “Be Still and know that He is God”

Give yourself a wonderful present this Holiday. Stop for a Holy pause. 

This Christmas, Make a decision to shut yourself down for a bit. Removing yourself from the endless noise and commotion to quietly engage your heart with His. Experience His stillness, His peace for our panic, and His joy vs our irritability. I read and have paraphrased these words this morning from an Our Daily Prayer devotional. If we are honest with ourselves, taking a holy pause is not easy. Just stopping to relax or as some say “take a chill pill” takes work. Stopping and just breathing deep…takes practice. “Be still and know that I am God” is a commandment for all od us. Why? Because slowing down takes work. Stopping and just breathing deep…takes practice. I was forced to learn this the hard way when fighting Guillain Barre Syndrome. I had no choice but to be still. I pretty much couldn’t move for 15 days and then only bit by bit for another month. Although much better, I still have to rest midday and call it a day much earlier in the evening than before GBS. In this stillness, I found God in a way I had never experienced Him before. I was forced to learn what it felt like to let go of everything. Thankfully, I found the peace that Phillippians 4 talks about. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” I also confirmed my faith and gave me hope in things not seen as written in Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” I do not want to go back there. It was an incredibly difficult time. But, now that my life is returning to a somewhat normal routine, I try and conjure back the feeling of not being able to do anything but Be Still. Maybe this is why the Advent Season seems more meaningful than others. Because I was forced to stop and marvel at the wonders of His love.

My prayer is that you will take time over this holiday to just Abide in Him. Stop worrying about what you accomplish but instead, allow yourself to just let go and trust the God who loves you. Let His goodness flow over you so that you can be the one He has created you to be. May it be your prayer that by stopping to count your many blessings you will be able to revel in the wonders of His love. O Come O Come Emmanuel  https://youtu.be/XFnQ70myUeI