July 16 2009 Susan's Newsletter (Can't Pray or Too Tired to Pray)
June 18, 2009 Susan's Newsletter (Faith defined and Peace from God during Grief)
July 1, 2006 Susan’s Newsletter (Comfort...written on 5th anniversary of my father's death in an accident)
November 2, 2006 Newsletter (Running with Patience – Moving On)
Susan's Thursday morning note July 16 2009
Streams in the Desert by Cowman and Villette by Charlotte Bronte
Good morning! Do you hear the birds already singing for you? I thought the morning was all greetings this morning until I glanced near my sink and saw my only plant I’m responsible drooping and glaring at me….goodness, just one plant in my charge, and you should see it….shall I give it a little of my coffee for caffeine? Would that cheer the little friend up? This week I have been reading a novel that has been difficult to get through, Villette by Charlotte Bronte. I knew nothing about this book, but saw it at a great little bookstore in Aurora in the classics section & liked the cover (grin). The book was first published in 1853 (isn’t that amazing?!?) on different characters and situations in a woman’s life – as she taught at a boarding school in a town named Villette. There are over 500 pages of descriptions of people in her life, scenes with specific details written, and dialogues that need uninterrupted reading time to follow….I’ve made it to page 280 & here are some of the paragraphs I’ve underlined…hoping that you would be able to appreciate what she was trying to get her readers to think about as she formed her characters and their discussions throughout Lucy Snowe’s (the main character’s) life.
Friend or relative that we feel the most comfortable with in silence (when we hurt)…
I really like how Charlotte Bronte describes a woman in her life – a woman that she felt completely at ease with in her sickness. She does not demean her other close friends, but she acknowledges the fact that only a few would we want near us at our lowest. Who do you think of when you read this?
Now it is not everybody, even amongst our respected friends and esteemed acquaintance, whom we like to have near us, whom we like to watch us, to wait on us, to approach us with the proximity of a nurse to a patient. It is not every friend whose eye is a light in a sick room, whose presence is there a solace: but all this was Mrs. Bretton to me; all this she had ever been. Food or drink never pleased me so well as when it came through her hands. I do not remember the occasion when her entrance into a room had not made that room cheerier. Our natures own predilections and antipathies alike strange. There are people from whom we secretly shrink, whom we would personally avoid, though reason confesses that they are good people: there are others with faults of temper, & c., evident enough, beside whom we live content, as if the air about them did us good.
On letting go of what we cannot control – willing to let God’s timing be accepted:
I especially like the line “not your hour”…when we will see the entire scene…
When you can’t pray (not sure how to put what you are thinking into actually words/thoughts), or are too tired to pray.
I read this out of Streams in the Desert (daily devotional from the early 1900’s) and really liked the analogy of a baby being cared for deeply by the mother compared to our not having the ability to pray. I had just read Charlotte Bronte’s advice on prayer to her friend on talking to God. This was an interesting opposite idea – on not knowing how, or having the ability of forming thoughts for prayer.
I'm too tired to trust and too tired to pray, Said I, as my overtaxed strength gave way.
The one conscious thought that my mind possessed, Is, oh, could I just drop it all and rest.
Will God forgive me, do you suppose, If I go right to sleep as a baby goes,
Without questioning if I may, Without even trying to trust and pray?
Will God forgive you? Think back, dear heart, When language to you was an unknown art,
Did your mother deny you needed rest, Or refuse to pillow your head on her breast?
Did she let you want when you could not ask? Did she give her child an unequal task?
Or did she cradle you in her arms, And then guard your slumber against alarms?
Oh, how quickly a mother's love can see, The unconscious yearnings of infancy.
When you've grown too tired to trust and pray, When overworked nature has quite given way:
Then just drop it all, and give up to rest, As you used to do on mother's breast,
He knows all about it - the dear Lord knows, So just go to sleep as a baby goes;
Without even asking if you may, God knows when His child is too tired to pray.
He judges not solely by uttered prayer, He knows when the yearnings of love are there.
He knows you do pray, He knows you do trust, And He knows, too, the limits of poor, weak dust.
Oh, the wonderful sympathy of Christ, For His chosen ones in that midnight tryst,
When He told them, "Sleep and take your rest," While on Him the guilt of the whole world pressed -
You have trusted your life to Him to keep, Then don't be afraid to go right to sleep.
Ella Conrad Cowherd
Thank you for letting me write for you – for giving me suggestions on what to read that will be worth writing on…for coming into the store and showing me what’s made a difference to you. Books….writings…sentences…thoughts – they change us…change the way we see our situations….help us to see that others before us have been where we are….writing so we can have the shared companionship of someone else knowing what we are thinking, experiencing, wondering, questioning…authors – our unknown friends that change us. Pick up a new book – make sure it is worth your time…let’s not live our lives on trivial details – but making decisions all day that will be worth recording on our epitaph each evening – our epitaph for the time that will never be given another chance…the time on the clock used that day. Have a great rest of the week! Look up or fall to your knees…your help is there regardless if you know what words to speak. Thanks for letting me enter your Thursday again. I hope I’m working when you come shopping or for a great cup of coffee! Susan
Latin for this week:
caelitus mihi vires - My strength is from heaven
Bronte, Charlotte. Villette. New York. Penguin Putnam. 2004.
Cowman, L.B. Streams in the Desert: 366 Daily Devotional Readings. Grand Rapids. Zondervan. 1997.
Susan's Thursday morning note June 18, 2009
Faith Defined and Peace from God during Grief
Good morning! Is it possible that summer & sunshine & swimming & complaining about the heat & seeing corn grow is finally coming this week? (Yes, I know that I’m supposed to list with commas!) Last Saturday I picked up the daily devotional that I’ve written to you out of before. I was given this journal by my mom & have not found any daily devotional more effective in giving verses, hymns, poems, and quotes showing God’s care for me in my day to day life. Especially in cares and pain. I’d like to write for you June 13’s entry from Streams in the Desert by LB. Cowman (first published in 1925). I have never really thought about the word “faith” and this is what I read:
My peace I give you. (John 14:27)
Two painters were once asked to paint a picture illustrating his own idea of rest. The first chose for his scene a quiet, lonely lake, nestled among mountains far away. The second, using swift, broad strokes on his canvas, painted a thundering waterfall. Beneath the falls grew a fragile birch tree, bending over the foam. On its branches, nearly wet with the spray from the falls, sat a robin on its nest…
Rest is not some holy feeling that comes upon us in church. It is a state of calm rising from a heart deeply and firmly established in God. (Henry Drummond)
My times I give in times of deepest grief,
imparting calm and trust and My relief.
My peace I give when prayers seems lost, unheard;
Know that My promises are ever in My Word.
My peace I give when you are left alone –
The nightingale at night has sweetest tone.
My peace I give in times of utter loss,
The way of glory leads right to the cross.
My peace I give when enemies will blame,
Your fellowship is sweet through cruel shame.
My peace I give in agony and sweat,
For My own brow with bloody drops was wet.
My peace I give when nearest friend betrays –
Peace that is merged in love, and for them prays.
My peace I give when there’s but death for thee-
The gateway is the cross to get to me. (L.S.P.)
Then I went to the index of the devotional and looked up “faith” – January 4th entry that has been in my head all week:
When you are confronted with a matter that requires immediate prayer, pray until you believe God – until with wholehearted sincerity you can thank Him for the answer. If you do not see the external answer immediately, do not pray for it in such a way that it is evident you are not definitely believing God for it. This type of prayer will be a hindrance instead of a help to you. And when you are finished praying, you will find that your faith has been weakened or has entirely gone…never pray in a way that diminishes your faith. Prayers that empty us of faith deny both God’s promises from his Word and the “Yes” that he whispered to our hearts. Such prayers are only the expression of the unrest of our hearts, and unrest implies unbelief that our prayers will be answered. “Now we who have believed enter that rest.” (Hebrews 4;3)
The beginning of anxiety is the end of faith, and the beginning of true faith is the end of anxiety. (George Mueller)
I remember Anne Lindberg made a comment in one of her diaries that through the loss of her toddler from the kidnapping her greatest fear was that she “lost her faith.”
June 12 had one more poem that I can’t leave out.
Is it raining, little flower? Be glad of rain;
Too much sun would wither one; It will shine again.
The clouds are very dark, it’s true; But just behind them shines the blue.
Are you weary, tender heart? Be glad of pain: In sorrow, sweetest virtues grow, As flowers in rain.
God watches, and you will have sun, When clouds their perfect work have done. (Lucy Larcom)
Have a great week, trying, along with me, to learn the meaning of faith and to find peace as the robin did under her waterfall. Not by finding somewhere secluded and quiet, but by knowing, through faith, that your life is in the care of a God that is holding your hand. Thank you for letting me send you my thoughts this week. Go take on your day – make decisions only you know you make that cause you pride when you lay (or is it lie, grin!) down tonight. Susan
Latin for this week:
Have Faith - Fidem habe
Susan's First Thursday morning note July 1, 2006 (Comfort)
Entry on the 5th anniversary of my father's accident and death.
Good morning! Today is a day of mixed emotions for me – 6 years ago this morning my dad died. It’s incredible the power of the subconscious to replay events and memories all night long, when you try to just go to sleep! What I have found is that everyone has a story – either personal or a friend that is hurting. I would like to tell you just a few verses that I go over & over again in my mind that give me peace & comfort. I hope that they will help you when you need them.
I overheard Camden telling our neighbor, “My grandpa got smashed and then he GOT to touch God’s hand.” I just had to smile. First of all where he got the idea smashed is beyond me – he wasn’t the least concerned with that description – he loves trauma in his stories (Buzz Lightyear, Rescue Heroes, etc.), but then to use the verb “GOT” just struck me. I couldn’t figure out where he got that image either, then realized that there is a song that he listens to of my dad’s voice on a recording singing, “But just think of stepping on shore & finding it heaven. Of touching a hand and finding it God’s.” This just shows how much these little children absorb without us telling them. Those we lose GET so much that we can only dream of! Here are a few verses that you may be able to use that have helped me through the loss of my parents:
Psalm 116 You, O Lord, have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears (I love that line!), my feet from stumbling. When I was in great need, he saved me.
vs. 7: Be at rest once more, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you.
Psalm 18: 16 He reached down from on high and took hold of my; he drew me out of deep waters. vs 18: but the Lord was my support. He rescued me because he delighted in me.
There are just too many to put here, but if you’d like some more of my favorite verses & songs, just let me know.
My mom gave me a devotional called Streams in the Desert. This is the most comforting daily book of thoughts & prayers for anyone experiencing grief or hard experiences to deal with. I try to always have a copy at the store if you would like to see it to use for yourself or as a gift. I hope you are able to take time to sit alone to read & reflect. May you have a beautiful weekend – and a fun month of June! Thank you so much for your business & support! Susan
Susan's Thursday morning note November 2, 2006
Running with Patience
And now, with what I’ve been reading! I would like to write out for you what I read this week in Streams in the Desert, the daily devotional book that my mom gave me after Dad died. I know that many of you deal with many different situations that make it difficult to want to begin each day. May this reading give you the encouragement that I was given. (Oct. 30 reading):
Hebrews 12:1 Let us run with patience. Running “with patience” is a very difficult thing to do. The word “running” itself suggests the absence of patience, or an eagerness to reach the goal. Yet we often associate patience with lying down or standing still…There is another kind of patience that I believe is harder to obtain – the patience that runs. Lying down during a time of grief, or being quiet after a financial setback, certainly implies great strength, but I know of something that suggests even greater strength – the power to continue working after a set-back, the power to still run with a heavy heart, and the power to perform your daily tasks with deep sorrow in your spirit.
Many of us could tearlessly deal with our grief if only we were allowed to do so in private. Yet what is so difficult is that most of us are called to exercise our patience not in bed but in the open street, for all to see. We are called upon to bury our sorrows not in restful inactivity but in active service – in our workplace, while shopping, and during social events – contributing to other people’s joy. No other way of burying our sorrow is as difficult as this, for it is truly what is meant by running “with patience”.
When all our hopes are gone,
It is best our hands keep toiling on For others’ sake:
For strength to bear is found in duty done;
And he is best indeed who learns to make
The joy of others cure his own heartache.
I want to encourage you, in whatever life is bringing you this week, to run “with patience” – to find those who need you, to bring joy to others. You will make it! I promise you! Just run!!! Thanks so much for your notes, encouragement, and business. We love being here & couldn’t be without you! Susan
Cowman, Lettie B., James Reimann, and Charles E. Cowman. Streams in the Desert : 366 Daily Devotional Readings. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1997.