To a Fear-Free New Year

My co-workers gave me a birthday card at the end of last year that totally surprised me. As I looked at the front of this card I was so taken back. You can see the card’s cover on this blog. When I saw the card I thought, somebody sees me. The real me that I’m trying to present to the world.

You see, I’ve been trying to be as fearless as possible in this Covid world that we live in. I see so many persons that live in fear now, and it isn’t healthy to live that way. Yes, we can be cautious. Yes, we should be careful, however that looks to you. Wear a mask in public and don’t go to large gatherings if you have reason to fear getting the virus. But you still can’t live in fear. As I have said before in a previous post that I used to be afraid that I would bring home a flu virus to Joseph every flu season because I work at a college and come in contact with students and staff. I’ve had students cough and sneeze while they were talking to me and I’d be so afraid for Joseph. After several years of this I couldn’t stand the strain and put it in God’s hands. Yes, I took precautions. We had a disinfectant spray that I would use after some students, and I always tried to keep my distance, even before this “social distancing” was a thing.

Fear is an internal feeling. No one can make you feel fear, you can get fearful without anyone’s help. We are not to live in fear. 2 Timothy 1:7 says “For God did not give us a Spirit of fear but of power and love and self-control.” I’m definitely trying to live this verse out in my life and it’s wonderful to get confirmation that I’m doing it right!

I’m Sorry…

I’ve really left those of you who have followed me just hanging. It’s been a strange few months and I have been preoccupied with thinking about where I want my life to go. I have retirement coming up and that involves a lot of care and “pre-thought”… I told a friend, it’s like stepping off a cliff! But in the end, you can only do so much planning and the rest has to be left up to God.

I used to be a very bad worrier, always “projecting” the worse thing that could happen. I’m better now than I used to be, but I still find myself all wrapped up in my thoughts and problems and I don’t think about others. In my mind I’m seeing the worst possible scenario and fighting my emotional reactions to them. When Joe was first diagnosed, I almost had an emotional breakdown when I drove past a cemetery and my thought was that I didn’t even have enough money to bury him when he died. He lived sixteen years after that day, so I didn’t have to worry, God knew the future and I didn’t.

Somewhere in those sixteen years, Matthew 6:25-34 became real to me. God knows the future, He knows my situation and He is in control. I would read these words and stand on the promise. He never let me down. I’ve fallen away from this a bit and I’ve resolved to keep these passages in mind when I’m tempted to worry about my future. Look them up the next time you feel a good worry coming on.


Now that I’ve written about Serenity, I guess I have to tackle the next line in this prayer. I’ve been putting this off a bit because acceptance is really, really hard. We don’t want to accept things, the way life is. We want the power to change things to the way WE want them. Acceptance means giving up control.

This is really hard to write about. I’ve had my struggles with acceptance for years. I want to control what happens. I want the outcome of any situation to be the outcome I envisioned. Of course this is totally self-centered. It’s so hard to think that you do not have control.

But this acceptance is about the “Things I Cannot Change”. There is a lot of stuff you can’t change. If you just look around you, especially at the people around you, you cannot change them. If you look at your situation, the trials and the problems, you may find a way to change that, but in most situations you can’t.

I fought against this for years. I didn’t want to be stuck taking care of my husband. I wanted him healthy but I knew that wasn’t going to miraculously happen. Now that sounds horrible, but it was the truth. Life was so hard. I had acquaintances say to me that they “Didn’t want to be me” or “Better you than me”.

Now that hurt sometimes, but I finally found an acceptance in saying “It is what it is…” When I went to my counselor I explored this. We went over my situation and there was truly nothing I could do to change it. Oh, I could leave my husband and try to make a “new” life, but I personally couldn’t do that. I couldn’t leave him to struggle on his own, so that left me right where I was.

The bottom line of this is that it takes a while to “Accept the Things you Cannot Change”. I still struggle with this now, but in a different way. Life is always going to hand us situations that we can do nothing about. Now, I have learned to bow my head in prayer and try to put these situations in His Hands.

Taking Trips

Joe wasn’t much of a traveling guy. When his health was good he tended to stay home and not go anywhere. If I suggested a trip, he would say it was too much trouble. That changed when he had to be at home because of his health. All of a sudden he wanted to take rides and go out to eat. He had a “bucket list” of sorts. I would hear him say “I would like to go there one day” and I would make a mental list.

We took day trips to Strasburg Rail Road and Fallingwater in Pennsylvania while he was still ambulatory and not on oxygen. Now Joe had no idea what it took for me to arrange a trip. Just a day trip wasn’t bad, but one day I got the idea to take him to Ocean City, MD for a weekend. Joe was always a beach guy while I was mostly a mountain type girl. Ocean City is not in my top 10 places to visit. Since this was a bucket list type of thing, I couldn’t just get a room anywhere in Ocean City, we had to have one ocean side and near the boardwalk. It had to be off season cause we couldn’t afford several nights in the middle of the season. Joe was on oxygen and in a wheelchair for any distance so there were some special things I had to do. I got a room (handicapped accessible with shower chair) in a hotel on the boardwalk, ocean-side. I had to order oxygen to be sent to the hotel (ordered two weeks in advance!) which was delivered to the wrong hotel at first (heart attack time!!) but the concierge found it. Then the packing and the driving (over 2 hours) to Ocean City.

I have to say that it was so worth it. Although he couldn’t go on the beach, he loved to stand on the balcony and look out over the ocean. We walked up and down the boardwalk several times. While we were there we called his cousin in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware (just a “jog” up from Ocean City) and on Saturday we visited them. It was a wonderful evening.

All the work I did for these trips was definitely worth it. I’m praying the whole time we’re traveling cause I know anything can happen to make the trip a nightmare, but God always blessed us on these trips. It was one of the ways I learned to trust God and put my worries in His Hands.

Don’t Quit

I have a poem in a little holder on my desk and it’s been an inspiration to me off and on during my life. When I thought of putting it up on this blog I wanted to credit the writer. Well, I found out that there are many persons attributed to this poem and most of the poems that I read are similar to this one, but not quite the same.

So… here is the poem but at this time I’m not sure who wrote it:

When things go wrong
as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging
seems all uphill,
When the funds are low
and the debts are high,
And you want to smile,
but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit…
By all means pray, and don’t you quit.
Success is failure turned inside out,
God’s hidden gift in the clouds of doubt.
You never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems afar.
So trust in the Lord
when you’re hardest hit…
It’s when things go wrong,
that you must not quit!


“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

When I was a young christian I thought if I believed in God, then all my troubles will be taken away and life would be wonderful all the time. So when trouble did come (and it seemed to come a lot!) I thought I didn’t have enough faith or I was doing something wrong. When I got married I thought our life would be easy, wonderful, you know, the white picket fence, wholesome, beautiful family life. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Life has been so hard, so tough. There have been many times I’ve just wanted to give up and walk away. But as I look back, I can see that those tough times are what have made me the person I am today. People have told me that I’m a “strong” person to have weathered all that I’ve been through. I’d like to think that I’ve been teachable. I learned that when you face hard times is when when you grow, if you allow it.

Did you know that Jesus said we’d have trouble? It’s right there in John 16. He also says to take heart because He has overcome the world. Let your troubles be blessings.

This song, which came out quite a few years ago, still touches me. Laura Story wrote this song after her husband was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor, and all the stress and strife that would go along with that. All the changes (personality and otherwise) that happened. He is still living and thriving, but their lives have been changed by the diagnosis. I hope that this song will touch you as well.

Trust God and…

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding… Proverbs 3:5

When the shut-down happened in March a feeling of fear swept over everyone. If you did go out of your home, people looked at you with suspicion and some would ridicule if you went out at all. Don’t even get me started on the toilet paper thing… (I still don’t understand it!)

Every flu season while I was caring for Joe I was aware that I could bring home a bug and kill him. Mentally, this is a really hard thing to face. I found that I was living in fear; afraid to go out (even though I worked full time) and afraid that I would be the one to bring a flu bug home. This is what everyone else is going through now.

During the years past I had to come to terms with the fear I experienced. I eventually found I didn’t need to fear, because God is in charge. He is the author of our lives, we just need to trust in him. This didn’t mean that I didn’t try to take precautions (flu shot, good hygiene, etc.) but I would live my life with care. I work with students who would come to our office sick. After they left I would be cleaning with antiseptic wipes. Yup, we had those at our work before everyone HAD to get them. Washing my hands was (an is) a habit.

Now I’m in the group of people that really should stay at home, yeah, I’m in that “high-risk” age and I do have some underlying medical issues. I refuse to live in fear. During this current flu pandemic I will not fear. I still work full time and I still work with students. I wear a mask when I have to. I wash my hands. I trust in the Lord.

In The Valley

Quite a few years ago I went to a Church Conference with my good friend Michele. While we were there a woman gave a devotional at the start of a meeting and she read this poem. The message really struck me and has stayed with me for a long time.

If we didn’t have hard times, we wouldn’t learn how to trust the Lord.

It’s In The Valleys I Grow


Sometimes life seems hard to bear,
Full of sorrow, trouble, and woe.
It’s then I have to remember,
That it’s in the valleys I grow.

If I always stayed on the mountain top
And never experienced pain,
I would never appreciate God’s love
And would be living in vain.

I have so much to learn
And my growth is very slow,
Sometimes I need the mountain tops,
But it’s in the valleys I grow.

I do not always understand
Why things happen as they do,
But I am very sure of one thing.
My Lord will see me through.

My little valleys are nothing
When I picture Christ on the cross.
He went through the valley of death;
His victory was Satan’s loss.

Forgive me Lord, for complaining
When I’m feeling so very low.
Just give me a gentle reminder
That it’s in the valleys I grow.

Continue to strengthen me, Lord
And use my life each day
To share your love with others
And help them find their way.

Thank you for valleys, Lord
For this one thing I know;
The mountain tops are glorious
But it’s in the valleys I grow!

By Janet Eggleston

Anxious about Tomorrow?

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:28-34

We worry about many things in life and our worry causes us problems both physical and mental. I found this verse and took it as my own many years ago. The key in this portion of the scripture is the part in bold. If we are seeking His Kingdom and His Righteousness then everything else becomes secondary.

Easy? Oh, no…. Our society is so material driven that just to say that you don’t worry about things can have others look at you like you’ve grown 3 heads. In the past, especially when I was taking care of my husband, we were taken care of. I worked full time and didn’t know how I would be able to take care of my husband as his health worsened and continue working. I brought in the paycheck, what we lived on. It seemed like it was impossible. Then through no thought or research of my own I found that we could get Home Health Aides at no cost to us. REALLY? What a relief! God really does look after us.