Ode to ‘Big Red’

First let me assure all that there were NO PHYSICAL INJURIES. For that I am so very grateful and thanking my Lord. This past Saturday there was an accident. A young man turned into me and you see the result in the pics.5.To Truck

Things, objects. I am not as a rule emotional about things. They have a purpose, I use them. I do not get attached to them. To do so seems silly. Yet it is very real – this sense of loss over this beautiful chunk of metal, plastic and electronic parts that has so intertwined itself into my heart over the last 10 years. This car that I have sentimentally come to refer to as ‘Big Red’.  My ‘Secretariat’! With Speed and determination. The movie had come out in 2010 and I have a heart for horses. 😊 My 2009 Challenger, that Yes! Has a Hemi engine!! My extravagant gift from My Danny to mark the year of our 30th wedding anniversary as well as my 50th b-day with this way cool retro classic car. An1 What a stanced not to mention the fact that he was now home from 2 back to back deployments that had kept him out of country for almost 3 years straight! This car became more than a mode of transportation. It is a part of my life, of our story and it seems its chapter has come to a close. Red is being towed away to have damage assessed. We will be waiting to hear what the final outcome will be. Repair or retire. 7 Ready to go‘Big Red’ has taken me to Maryland, Virginia, DC, Alabama, Ohio, North Carolina, so many places in between to land in Georgia these last several years. Truly, this car cannot possibly be replaced. In so many ways it has been THE car of a lifetime. Even though I grumbled about its blind spots and difficulty backing into spaces – it is a big car! It was a GREAT driving, handling, responsive, power filled car! Never had a major problem!! Was fun to drive. A way COOL CAR! And an awesome gift from my hubby that reminded me every time I got in of His love for me. So many miles shared and memories made.

8 So long for now or good by



One Year. Memories. Testament of scars.

Aaron with journalMay you bear with me on this – the one year mark of memorial – as it is not just a bullet point thought.

First a glimpse into the past that helps to understand and give context to the present.

Hazy memories at best, that bring up bits and pieces like you see in the movies. Fast clips of glimpses flashing by. The person shakes their head hoping for more clarity to better understand. No instant replays for everyday life.

A next best thing is memories documented in writing. Sometime after our son, Aaron, had been diagnosed with cancer at age 5, (1990) I began keeping a journal. Initially, to help document the many ways and times the Lord provided – whatever – as only He could. Those ‘God’ moments.  Then I needed it to help keep track of treatments, schedules,A on tryke at hospital 2 taking meds, dressing changes etc. For that reason, some of my hazy memories can be corroborated as genuine and not part of some unforgotten dream along the way.

Important to me because there was a time when I had lost such memories almost completely. As things began to improve and memories started to return, there was always this haunting question, is this a genuine memory or not.  I chuckle as this slogan comes to mind, showing my age.

“Is it real or is it Memorex?”

With all that said, Aaron had several visible physical scars from different surgeries/procedures in battling the cancer as well as loss of sight in one eye.  A conversation is remembered – Aaron didn’t want to hide his physical scars. He had seen them at one time as a badge of courage. A disease attempted to take his life and by God’s grace he survived. Even as the Drs. thought the treatment may well take his life.

How he came to think about them in his adult years, I confess I cannot say. Since I had been not only his mother, but his nurse, care provider, and teacher for most of his young life the relationship lines would get blurred. Understandably so. We struggled to get it figured out in his adult years. Conversations did not come as easily as they once had.

For the Present: This writing was prompted by a song I heard a few months after Aaron left this realm. It was March 16 of this year.  I couldn’t post this writing then. It was still too fresh and painful. The song: Scars. https://youtu.be/It1XzDf-pFo

Today, I KNOW Aaron fully understands this song for as I said there was a time when he did desire for His own scars to be a witness of God in his life – allowing him to survive the cancer, seeing him through the pain and suffering – but life’s shadows distorted his view of God.  And…

As a child he did profess faith in and received salvation from God through Jesus Christ. There was a change of heart and spirit that was genuine and real.  His heart was bent toward the Lord, of that I have no doubt. But after continual disappointments and heartaches the time came when he began to harden that soft heart and turned more inside of himself. Anger toward God took hold to the point he would say he no longer knew what he believed about God.

A baby 1984Did that mean he was no longer saved? No longer a child of God? Emphatically NO! It just shows his humanity. Did his anger toward his father and I at that time mean he was no longer our son? He no longer cared about us, and we no longer cared about him? Of course not. There is no way he could no longer be our son, NO MATTER what he would do or say. He could not be un-born to us. Neither can someone who has turned to the Lord and received the new spiritual birth, adoption into the family of God, be un-born to God. It can’t happen.

And as His dad has come to learn (through messages written from many who had known him) and write about, Aaron did live out the Lord’s principles whether he openly, vocally confessed Him to others or not.

And I believe his scars were a testament after all.

small FB AaronAnd today, he would say:

Waking up to a new sunrise
Looking back from the other side
I can see now with open eyes…

My friend, may you see as well – now, in this life before you face your last moment, your last breath. Victory over death is available because of JESUS’ scars.crown and nails

Lyrics to the song:

Waking up to a new sunrise
Looking back from the other side
I can see now with open eyes

Darkest water and deepest pain
I wouldn’t trade it for anything
Cause my brokenness brought me to You
And these wounds are a story You’ll use

So I’m thankful for the scars
‘Cause without them I wouldn’t know Your heart
And I know they’ll always tell of who You are
So forever I am thankful for the scars

Now I’m standing in confidence
With the strength of Your faithfulness
And I’m not who I was before
No, I don’t have to fear anymore

So I’m thankful for the scars
‘Cause without them I wouldn’t know Your heart
And I know they’ll always tell of who You are
So forever I am thankful for the scars

I can see, I can see
How You delivered me
In Your hands, In Your feet
I found my victory
I can see, I can see
How You delivered me
In Your hands, In Your feet
I found my victory

I’m thankful for Your scars
‘Cause without them I wouldn’t know Your heart
And with my life I’ll tell of who You are
So forever I am thankful




On prayer and a slap in the face, that wasn’t.


2018-Journal-graphicDo the Scriptures sometime seem to come back and slap you in the face? It almost felt that way this morning as I reviewed a verse that had been an anchor in 1990. A time of decision of belief. A crisis of faith as some may say.

Our 5 year-old son had endured a year of treatments for cancer. A second biopsy revealed the cancer returned or hadn’t been eradicated. Either way, my prayer for my son had not been answered as I had hoped, asked, trusted and believed for. No miracle of healing by God. No cure by man. It was still there threatening our son’s life. What will I do in face of this heartbreaking news?

What does this mean about Scriptures and their truth of message? Are they wrong, untrustworthy? Are they fables or myths not to be believed? Or. Could it be they are much richer and meaningful than my finite mind is capable to comprehend? As the Psalmist wrote about the knowledge of God: “…(it) is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand.” Psalm 139:6

Do I abandon my belief in God? Call him a liar and declare it all a myth because things did not go as I desired? Or do I stick it out because He IS God?

I have few specific memories of events at that time. But, I do have a 3×5 card in front of me with a verse written on it and a dated note: 2nd Biopsy around Aug. 1990. I also have journals. One of them probably has more written in it, but honestly at the moment I cannot face going any further with details. And I really don’t need to – just sitting here holding that card in my hand tells me enough.


Today, 28 years later, I did not abandon God, nor did He abandon me. Even though in my human weakness and frailty, I allow myself to be so overcome with life that I occasionally allow circumstances to make me feel abandoned. Hence, the almost sting of a slap as I read the verse. And remembered the prayers that hadn’t been answered then. And thinking of the so many more prayers being prayed for loved ones now.

Will they be answered as hoped, and asked or not? I do not know. What I do know is I shall keep trusting God and praying as I did then. Because even if NO prayers of mine are directly answered, ever – that alone does not negate God. It does NOT mean there is no God. More likely it means I just don’t understand the full scope of things. As God, He IS all knowledge and sovereign. I. AM. NOT. And at the end of this life, I shall not be disgraced or shamed because I trusted Him. For in Him is eternal life.  The only answered prayer that is essential in life and death terms is the one where an individual confesses with their mouth the Lord Jesus and believes in their heart that God raised Him from the dead – then that person will be saved. And the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” (Romans 10:9-13)

As a child, our son, Aaron called. Jesus saved. He is now with the Lord.

How could I not continue to set my face like a flint still. Even as it seems other prayers seem to remain unanswered for those of us still here.

What initially felt like a slap to the face is what my enemy Satan wanted me to feel.  What was it actually?

A firm, loving grasp of my Lord’s 2 hands as he turned ‘my whole face’ towards HIM                                 to remind me where my trust is placed.

What will I do now in face of these current seemingly unanswered prayers for my loved ones?   Will I turn away and dismiss God as a fable? NO.   Will I continue to pray and trust my sovereign God? YES. Wholeheartedly yes.

I will set my face like a flint and I KNOW I will not be put to shame.

There is coming a day… Hallelujah! And I shall see Jesus as HE is for I TOO shall be like Him. Place your trust in HIM and you shall see HIM too. And shall not be put to shame.

Until next time keep calm and pray on!

Shell Sig

Life, Time, Grief and a furnace filter.

Evidence of life stopping in throes of deep sorrow, while life continues to go on.

We have been consistent in years past with changing out the filter furnaces 2-3 times a year for sure. Beginning of spring and fall at least, if not more often. Since the temps inched up to the 80’s several days here, Danny turned the AC on yesterday. Problem. Something wasn’t working. Had to call the repair guy. This brought to mind the question, hey when did we last change the filter? Neither of us could remember.

Danny pulls it out and OH YES, it is past time. As you can see the date on it.


April 15, 2017.


Normally we would have changed it out about September/October at latest.

But you see, September 11, 2017 – life stopped.


As it does for so many when facing the passing of a loved one.

And it is surreal knowing that life, goes on even when someone we love is no longer with us. We go on, but for a while, initially, life stops. Maybe for a few days, maybe a few weeks, perhaps for months, for some it could even be longer. It will be different for each individual.

But we know, in actuality, time does not stand still. For it is because of the passing of time that a part on the AC broke from extended wear and tear -over time- causing it to break and no longer work.




Shocking us when we saw the date on this filter. How can it be February of 2018? Only 2 more months and it would have been a whole year since changing the filter. How could we have let it go so long?


Grief. Sorrow. The imbalances that occur when trials and sorrows enter our life. Whether big or little, we will all face them. For me, I am so thankful to know the Lord has me in His grip. Even when I am off balance and don’t know which way is up or forward, He is my guide. He shall hold my right hand with assurance to not be afraid for He shall help me. And so He has. And shall continue.  I do miss my son. But with my belief in the Lord and knowing where Aaron is – I really wouldn’t wish him to leave there! to come back to fulfill desires here. Much more, am looking forward to joining him there!

Shell Sig

What a day that will be! Hallelujah! Then there will truly be no more time for eternity shall be the reality.

Coincidence? He knew.

Journal AvatarAs it happened a remembrance came to the forefront of thinking regarding a task I had desired to do a few days earlier, but had forgotten about before getting to it. On a whim I took off to do it before forgetting again. And in that task was found an answer and affirmation of things that had been on my heart for the last few weeks.Psalm 25 4 5 FB

In the midst of the mess of said task was found an old Daily Bread Devotion page -from 2015- which I had obviously meant to keep with my journals from the note written on it. How it found its way to where it was is a mystery, however I do believe my Lord knew right where it had landed. And in His goodness and grace He nudged my spirit with His that morning prompting me forward with said task knowing full well what I would find. Some may call it happenstance or coincidence. But I recognized the gentle touch of the Lord’s Spirit, as I read the words on the page…

Do not “become too attached to ‘your’ plans that ‘you’ may resist God’s direction or His timing.”
“We have no right to judge where we should be put, or to have preconceived notions as to what God is fitting us for.” said Chambers. “God engineers everything. Wherever He puts us, our one great aim is to pour out a whole-hearted devotion to Him in that particular work.”

Prov 3 5 6…and He comforted me in His peace of assurance with a spiritual hug that morning.

“I am with you daughter, I hear your prayer, your calling out. I am directing your path as promised, just keep resting in me daily.”Identity in Him

And my continued prayer is: “Lord, may I love and serve you with all my heart where You have placed me TODAY.”

Shell Sig












Structure, Support, Family-Ruth Pt. 4

Before we go with Naomi on her return trip to Judah please bear with me as I expand a Ruth Avatarbit on one of the many insightful glimpses this short book provides into various aspects of life. It depicts nationality, marriage, family, widowhood, redemption, provision , security-both collectively as well as individually – and REST, true rest. God’s intended perfect rest for EVERY INDIVIDUAL, man, woman and child. Rest that comes from peace with God through the demonstration of His love for us. Rest found in loving truly and being loved sincerely. Rest in love as was Genesis 2 24meant to be demonstrated by marriage as 2 become one flesh in submission to God and each other. Husband and wife each to submit to God first above all, then husband to wife, wife to husband, children to parents. Three roles which equals FAMILY. Which answers the question: ‘What is family’?

Next question: ‘Why is it considered a cornerstone institution of life?’

May I say here that I understand there may be some who stumble upon this post who do not believe God.  I respectfully say, that is your choice to make. I have made the choice that He IS. For that reason I follow and share His point of view for life. I recognize His authority and willingly submit to follow His ways above my own or others.  As is the case with most of God’s principles, they run contrary to man’s desires and people find them offensive. Such may be the case with some who  would venture to read on. Whether a Christ follower or not. You are forewarned but I invite you to consider and explore what is presented with an open mind and a willingness to look outside your comfort parameters.

As mentioned in previous posts family is meant to be a support system as God designed ten commandmentsit. The laws God gave the Israelites went further than being the foundation for governing themselves as a nation; they also gave structure to their homes as well. The first 4 commands address our relationship with Him, the next 6 address our relationships with others – family and beyond. If His commands were adhered to – family as well as nation would benefit in positive ways. Because God’s ways are perfect. Within the confines of that support and structure –

Family as God instituted it is the role model for all relationships.

It is to be the illustration of harmony and unity that can be experienced as HIS order, His way is followed. (Notice the words in red.) Remember the choice and consequences faced by the nation of Israel? Follow God’s governing ways to blessing, life and good; or reject them to find cursing, death and evil.

We face the same choice in respect to all relationships of life. Beginning with family.

Ephesians 5 22

It is in the structure of family, the security of home, that one is to first learn about love, authority, submission and respect. Which is why in the book of Ephesians Paul uses the family as the first, main illustration of how it works.  What it should look like.

Wives submit to your husband as to the Lord.  Husbands love your wives as yourself and submit to the Lord.   Children obey your parents who are to guide you to what you do not yet know and understand.

Matthew 11 28Why? Because purpose, security and rest is only found in God and is only obtained through submission to His authority, His role above your own.

Personally I can say that it was because of this lack of family structure in my own home as a child that it was very difficult for me to grasp the idea of submission, love, and respect in the early years of marriage. Almost to the detriment of my marriage. It was when I came face to face with God and His way that I learned what it meant to be a wife, a mother and how marriage works.

Psm 57 1It didn’t happen overnight for sure, but I have learned the beauty of submission in my role as wife.  The husband’s role of authority/leader/provider/protector over the family truly is an umbrella of rest, and security providing a sense of being cherished and honored. Which cannot be experienced when I position myself outside of that realm. Just like when I position myself under the shadow of the wings of my Lord. NO place better to be.

And let me add that it was in seeing my husband in the role of father to our children that helped me – over the years – to begin to see God as my loving, Heavenly Father, rather than a stern task master. And the wisdom of children being taught to obey, to be in submission to, and to respect their parents! Yes, it is for their good!

John 14 6Ultimately if one does not understand submission – putting oneself under the authority of another – one will have difficulty turning to God for redemption and salvation.

God intended for children to learn such submission as they watch the outworking of it in the home. Mother to father and father to Jesus. As children watch submission, love and respect in practice by their parents, they learn how to practice those characteristics in relationships outside the home. With their friends, school mates, teachers, other adults, bosses, co-workers etc. The home is the first and most important tier of training and learning for every individual. In this way children learn to understand God, Jesus, relationships, submission, love respect.

Family is THE cornerstone in life instituted by THE supreme authority of life to teach and demonstrate to the next generation the understanding of THE purpose of life. Relationship with their Creator and each other.

As stated in a recent study guide: “We teach our children to respect authority so they will learn to honor God. After all, how can we help younger generations learn to respect the One they cannot see if they don’t learn to respect those God has put in front of them?”

Teach our childrehFAMILY – a cornerstone of life, instituted by God. Not just to train up children in a loving, secure environment but to also provide support and protection to other family members as needed. Which is why Naomi chose to go HOME. To where she had family support. And where we will see beautiful things happen for both Naomi and Ruth. For in God’s family plan the widows are not forgotten or neglected. Neither are those who may find themselves in a destitute situation. Hope you’ll stay with me to see how things play out.

Shell Sig


Until next time may you find your rest and security in THE One.









ALONE, yet…

I know we haven’t made it very far into this book of Ruth yet, but don’t worry I am not going to go verse by verse all the way through the book! And shortly we shall delvRuth Avatare into how Ruth fits into the picture.

So, Elimelech and his family are settled in Moab. The elapsed time between events of vs. 2 and vs. 3 is not exactly spelled out for us, but I do believe it is safe to say (as we read on) that it has probably been years vs. months. And we now read one of the 2 saddest statements within this short book.   Continue reading “ALONE, yet…”

Famine in the land; in life. Ruth Pt. 2

Ruth AvatarIn the last post it was established that the land of Judah was in a time of famine. A consequence of choices made as a nation.  This account in Ruth tells the personal story of the effects this famine had on a certain man and his family.  (Ruth 1)

“The man’s name was Elimelech and his wife, Naomi. Their 2 sons were Mahlon and Kilion. They were Ephrathites from Benjamin in the land of Judah. And when they reached Moab, they settled there.

Elimelech as a responsible husband and father knew if something didn’t change fast, his family could starve. He was going to do what he could to keep that from happening, which as he saw it meant re-locating to a different area. And may we not be too quick to judge Elimelech’s faith and standing with the Lord in his decision to leave. The famine was a result of the nation as a whole turning away from and rejecting God’s way. That does not mean that every person in the land had personally rejected God.  Yet, its affect would be felt by all. Decisions had to be made. The famine seemed to leave no other choice.  With heavy hearts they packed their belongings, headed out and re-settled in a new land. They would no longer be in close proximity to their homeland with the support system of family, relatives and friends already in place. Famine on top of famine.

One of the questions in the Love God Greatly study of Ruth personalized this famine in the land and asked: “Is there a famine of sorts in your life at this time?”

Famine: any extreme and general scarcity, hunger, starvation.

Is there any area of life in which you feel a scarcity of fulfillment, a hunger or starvation for something more? Be it relationally, financially, career wise, emotionally, physically, spiritually, or some other such way  you feel as if you are in a mal-nourished, parched as a dry desert, soul-starved famine of life. And you find yourself faced with the same dilemma as Elimelech: what are your options? How do you survive? Stay or go? Make a change or not?

(As a side note I listened to an excellent message recently that was encouraging in this aspect of going through a season of life when all seems to be falling apart around you, which relates well with going through a season of famine. Hope Giving Love is the title of the message title by J.D. Greear, The Summit Church, NC.)

Before making any decisions go to the Lord. Through prayer as well as reading of His Word, ask the Lord for a verse to sustain you and keep you focused in going forward rather than allowing self to become paralyzed in fear or swept backward in doubt.

In writing the above paragraph the realization hits me – my writing comes across from the point of view of one who has been a follower of Christ for many years. The Lord and His Word are like old friends to me. But perhaps there is someone reading who is not as familiar with the Bible and it seems a daunting task to approach it to read. Let alone to ask the Lord for a verse to sustain you. May I encourage you to give it a try.

Maybe try reading one of the first books of the New Testament such as Matthew, Mark, Luke or John; or going to the Psalms in the Old Testament where many people find comfort, encouragement and hope. Read little bits at a time if that is all you can fit in. But read with intention and expectation. Whether you pick up an actual Bible, or pull one up on line, take the step.

Another option is to use a daily devotion book such as but not limited to Our Daily Bread, or Streams in the Desert or check out the list of devotionals on this page for man or woman; or at your book store or on Amazon. Jesus Calling is another good one. The options today are really quite numerous for digging into God’s Word whether for a quick word to focus on for the day or to study for life. OH, and there are audio versions as well!! No more excuses. 🙂

Whether a short time, long time or no time follower of the Lord I pray that you would not be deterred from giving the Lord a chance to meet you where you are at this time of life.  Get to know Him or work to know Him better for who He is and experience firsthand how faith in Him will help navigate the ups and downs of this life to include times of plenty as well as times of famine.

Isaiah 50 10To conclude: for me, personally, at this time the word ‘famine’ hit home. That is exactly what life has felt like this past year or so. With several questions and matters at heart for which I have been seeking direction and guidance about. Throughout my walk with the Lord He has given me various verses that have bolstered my courage and resolve to make it another day, another week, another month/year. And during this particular study an old familiar passage was brought to my attention as I searched for a ‘next verse’ to keep focus on in going forward through this famine of life.  Isaiah 50:10 (as originally memorized from the KJV.)



“Who is among you that feareth the Lord, that obeyeth the voice of His Servant, that walketh in darkness and hath no light? Let him trust in the name of the Lord and STAY upon His God.”

Go or stay was a part of my dilemma. And fully impressed upon my heart was the need to stay the course as I stay upon my Lord.

And so I have kept this verse in my focus these past few weeks. Staying the course (of life at this time) whIdentity in Himile staying upon My God – trusting Him, relying upon Him to continue to guide even in the midst of a seeming famine. May you rest in whose you are; in your identity in HIM whether in a time of plenty or famine.



Shell Sig


Remember: God IS good no matter…



And yes, there really is a woman named Ruth whose life shall soon be intertwined with this family.

Hope you’ll stay with me.


Choice and Consequence. Ruth, Pt. 1

Just finished an onlinRuth Avatare study of the book of Ruth with the Love God Greatly Community. As has happened with studies in the past, there was so much to glean from this little book that I wanted to go back through it again on my own. Here goes!

Before examining the subject of this story, Ruth, a little contextual history may help in the understanding and application of this account of LIFE.  Life with all its complicated nuances of expression, meaning and responses. Life is more than breath in your body – it is LIVING for a purpose, with meaning aGenesis 2 7nd intention. I assert that life is a gift given to us by our creator God. Not happenstance. But, whether you believe in God or not, there are still practical principles to be gleaned from this ancient history.

The very first sentence of this book of Ruth is a reminder of the importance of a good foundation. Be it in our individual, personal realm or the realm of community to include governing. This setting takes place at a time “when the judges ruled in Israel.” Ruth 1:1

A short declaration easily read over, put aside as a boring piece of info not to be thought of again. However, it is a crucial matter in the whole scheme of things. In that statement is shown the state of the nation of Israel at that time. (Time?-approx. 1400-1050 BC or BCE whatever you fancy. It is a real event in real history.)

The state of  the nation of Israel is a factor in the explanation of the circumstances they find themselves in during the time of Ruth. “…a severe famine came upon the land.”

So what? you say! That’s just a part of life, a weather pattern. Things happen.


But there is so much more to it.


In a nutshell: Israel is a nation formed by God to be His witnesses to surrounding nations of His goodness and provision for His people. (Exodus 19:4-6; Exodus 4;22 & 5:1 )

Through the descendants of one man – Abram later to be called Abraham – a nation was born and nurtured by God. A nation who would be considered great and through whom “all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” Genesis 12:1-3

To this nation God revealed His truth and gave His commandments as their governing foundation. ( Exodus 20: Deuteronomy 4:12-14; Deuteronomy 5 )

Consequences: If followed the result would be blessings, life and good;

“See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil, “In that I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments, His statutes, and His judgments, that you may live and multiply…” Deuteronomy 30:15

if rejected the result would be cursing, death and evil.

“But if your heart turns away so that you do not hear, and are drawn away, and worship other gods and serve them,  I announce to you today that you shall surely perish; you shall not prolong your days in the land which you cross over the Jordan to go in and possess.  I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live…Deuteronomy 30:17

THE CHOICE was theirs to make. Blessing or cursing. Life or death. Good or evil.

BUT He says – choose life!

God, knowing all things, knew there would be times they would gladly embrace His way as well as times when they would reject it.  Through it all, He would be with them and have compassion on them.

Now it shall come to pass, when all these things come upon you, the blessing and the curse which I have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the nations where the Lord your God drives you, and you return to the Lord your God and obey His voice, according to all that I command you today, you and your children, with all your heart and with all your soul, that the Lord your God will bring you back from captivity, and have compassion on you,

 Deuteronomy 30:1-3

 All that to bring us to the setting in Ruth described as ‘the days of the Judges’. One of those times when Israel turned away from the solid foundation of God’s truth and governing choosing their own ways instead. There is also a book in the Bible titled ‘Judges‘ which records that Israel repeatedly ‘failed’ to do as God said; ‘would not’ do as God said; would ‘not listen to God’; chose to ‘worship false idols above’ their God; all of which gave grief to God because of their misery.

The wrong choices of his people grieve God! as they do today.

The book of Judges ends with this statement: “In those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes.” Judges 21:25

And the next sentence is the opening statement of Ruth:

‘In the days when the judges ruled in Israel, a severe famine came upon the land.’

FAMINE. A consequence of Israel turning away from God’s truth, God’s way, God’s governing design, God’s firm foundation. Choosing to do what is right in their own eyes.

A principle which holds true today. Choose God who is life and good; turn away from God and there is death and evil-a drastic shortage of life and goodness, i.e. famine.

The sad backdrop of this short story which by the grace of God has a beautiful ending.

God IS good and can bring good even from a time of famine.Shell Sig

Hope you’ll return to continue this study through Ruth.



Trade cowardice for courage.

In Sunflower journal3journaling some experiences and thoughts recently a sentence I had written down ended with: “…I don’t have the courage to be the first to breech it! I am so sorry Father for not trading…” — {I started to write ‘my weakness for your strength’ BUT that just wasn’t EXACTLY the fit here so instead it came out as -}

my cowardice for your courage.”  OUCH! Cowardice? where did that come from?

I mean weakness is humbling enough. Trading my weakness for God’s strength. That has been a concept I have understood, experienced and spoken of to others at times. In various past circumstances I have recognized the need to surrender my weakness to allow God’s strength to carry me through. God’s strength to do the next thing when it wasn’t in my body and ability to do so. A few glimpses from the past come forward of times I have said ‘if you don’t pour strength into me I cannot go forward’.  He did and I did. Some verses that have carried me at times:

Isaiah 40:29 “He gives power to the weak,
And to those who have no might He increases strength.”

II Corinthians 12:10  And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness…For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

Instead of just letting the thoughts pass on by I stopped to ponder the concept of trading cowardice for courage.  And I shall confess up front  that as much as I have missed writing, there was a teensy cringe (ok, a big cringe)  at going forward with this thought in black and white let alone sharing for others to see.

Who wants to think of oneself as a coward? I surely do not. Yet, I know it is a trait I have within. And I also know that one needs to learn how to identify it accurately.  For not all restraint, holding back, or turning away  is rooted in cowardice.  Sometimes it is just plain prudent and wise for the situation or time. How to discern the difference?!

Words are such fascinating things. Imagine trying to communicate without them.

Cowardice and courage.  What do they mean anyway? Next step-word search! NOPE! I did not ‘google ’em’.

My definitions are from an old Webster Dictionary – yep, old school, off my shelf, in my hands book!

Coward: one without courage

Cowardice: dishonorable fear

Dishonorable: bringing shame or disgrace on someone or something.

Courage: fortitude, valor

Valor: bravery, intrepidity

Intrepidity: fearlessness

Cowardice =  not just fear, but dishonorable fear

Courage = fearlessness – lack of fear, no fear

I John 4 18In reading the definitions I am reminded of love in relation to fear from past Bible studies. In I John 4:18 – a verse I had memorized in years past and re-memorized in recent years – one learns: “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment…”

Love has no fear; fear has torment. Both concepts I have learned as 100% accurate from experience. I dare say you have as well.

I KNOW I am loved by God with His perfect love which casts out fear. So, I have to ask where is this sense of cowardice coming from for myself? To answer that takes me back to the end of 2006 at which time my mind closed up on me. Memory was lost. Experiences, knowledge collected, lessons learned, information absorbed and filed away were GONE. In their place was stark blackness and in that blackness resided fear. Oh, how far I do I go in telling, explaining? This new concept of trading cowardice for courage grips me to the core in ways I am not able to express adequately.

Succinctly, there was an almost complete loss of knowledge base to draw information from to deal with life. All the filing cabinets of info were locked behind doors with no keys available to access them. Memories gone. Retention was non-existent. Slowly over a span of several years some of the doors opened but many have remained closed. Pockets of memory have resurfaced, but stored knowledge of things studied are mostly still locked up not to be retrieved. Retention remains an ongoing difficulty when once recall was a close friend.

Abba, Father, you understand and know better even than myself. You experience with me the frustration.  You understand the fear which grips me, the cowardice that overcomes when faced with conversing with the others.   For though I believe you are able to put words in my mouth when needed I still hesitate to open my mouth without having the words thought out in my head beforehand. Fear whispers in my ear with a voice of its own:  “Why try? Just keep your mouth closed and you won’t have to worry about making a fool of yourself when nothing comes out. Or that what does come out is incoherent babble as you furiously attempt to find the words to string one complete sentence together.”

Though I have tried diligently the last several years to re-build a knowledge base in different areas again – it does not remain.  Info slips away like sand through the fingers. Lord, You have brought me so far from where I was and I have shed so much of the fear that had wrapped itself in my soul but there is still a chain of bondage. For though some doors are opened, the info stored behind them is a chaotic mess. The cabinet drawers are empty with all the files lying on the floor in a jumbled pile. Without your direct intervention nothing can be found. ONLY you know where ‘the something’ that is being looked for is located in this mess in my mind. I accept this and ask for your help to trade my cowardice for your courage.  Courage to be the first to breech the silence when confronted with conversation opportunities; courage  to reject guilt if I do not breech it. The thoughts will come or they will not. Either you will pull it out for me to find and share OR it will stay concealed and not shared. It is out of my control.

Regardless, another link in the chain of fear has been broken. I am more free to go forward in my Savior’s Love trading the cowardice to speak with courage to trust.  I shall write/speak when it is available in my mind to give out and not fret the timPsalm-31-24es there is nothing there.

Until next time, be of good courage and He shall strengthen your heart…

Shell Sig