Distraction of Dallas

Photo Credit- Denys Nevozhai-Unsplash

Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly, Matthew 11:28-30 The Message

Have you been to Dallas recently? It is a large metropolis woven together by intertwining highways, toll roads, and boulevards. Navigating around the city is nearly impossible without the support of a dependable GPS and an alert co-pilot.  

On a recent visit to Dallas for a conference, I had to endure the infamous spiral of confusing interchanges. Even with advanced navigational tools and a dedicated co-pilot, we were always heading in the wrong direction. Recalculating, recalculating, recalculating—the GPS sounded like a broken record. To intensify the challenge of the roadways, there are a plethora of fast weaving motorists, making every move feel like a near death experience.

 While on the way to our first meeting, a car came out of nowhere, smashed into our vehicle and jarred everyone. We were nearly pushed into the next lane and had to swerve to avoid colliding with an additional vehicle. By the grace of God, the cars involved in the accident were able to pull onto the shoulder.

We assessed the well-being of each other as the heavy traffic whizzed by on the left hand side making it impossible for the driver to open the door.  After a moment of strategizing, she gathered her license and registration, crawled over the console, and exited from the passenger side.  The other driver was an older gentleman and quite disoriented.

Before long, a policeman pulled in behind us. After checking on our welfare, he had the drivers exchange the necessary information and sent us on our way. We arrived at our destination late, a bit shaken, but thankful no one was injured.

 Later, I reflected on our treacherous ordeal.   I realized that my life before the slow-down of Covid 19 was much like driving on a Dallas freeway. I spent my days racing from place to place, weaving through challenging roadblocks, constantly shifting focus and changing directions.  My demands, obligations, and schedule were so tight, that when a detour or an accident caused a delay, I found myself annoyed and frustrated. Ironically, God often used those inconveniences to get me to slow down, be still, and draw me near to Him. He doesn’t want me to race through life weaving erratically but experience His presence and peace.  

Do you feel the same?  I love how the Message expressed in Matthew 11:28-30.

Are you tired? Worn out? … Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

As I slowly begin to add things back into my schedule this summer, I pray my life will no longer resemble the frantic traffic of the Dallas highways. I want to be intentional about the choices I make and take time to embrace the unforced rhythms of Grace.

Dear Lord, Thank you for the taste of slowing down these past few months. As life begins to awaken, help me make wise decisions and choices with my schedule. Fill my soul and spirit with Your peace. Forgive me when I run at full speed without seeking your guidance first. Thank You for Your patience and understanding when I do.  Amen

Distraction of Disturbance

 Teach me, Lord, what you want me to do, and I will obey you faithfully;
teach me to serve you with complete devotion
.  Psalm 86:11

Sitting outside one cool morning, my quiet time was disturbed by squawking and splashing. I looked up to see some  Canada geese squabbling and flapping their wings in the pond behind our home. At first, their disruption was annoying and interrupting my devotions, but I found myself giving into the distraction.

It was spring and the geese were returning to their summer ponds. We always watch for the arrival of the mama and papa geese in hopes they will build a nest and we will witness  the development of the little fluff ball goslings. This year, it appeared there were two couples vying for the same pond.  As soon as the intruding couple approached the water, the resident male quickly paddled towards them, flapped his wings and squawked until they took off. If that wasn’t enough, he would carry the conflict into the air. Once the intruders left, he returned to his mate and they swam peacefully about the pond.

As this comical scene consumed my attention, I marveled at the complexities of God’s creation.  I was reminded how Christ’s ministry was filled with disruptions and distractions. The children approaching him in a crowd, the man lowered into the house while he was teaching, even the bleeding woman who reached out and touched his cloak. He never responded with frustration and said “Really? This isn’t the right time! I have places to go and people to see. This is going to put me behind schedule.”

Instead, He stopped immediately and demonstrated compassion, healing, and understanding. This morning, God revealed to me two lessons through the antics of the geese. One lesson was to slow down and appreciate the intricacies of His creation. The other was to realize that disruptions are often an opportunity to recognize and possibly demonstrate God’s love. It may not be convenient, but in Christ’s ministry, hardly any of His interactions were convenient.

Jesus calls each of us to love Him with our whole heart, mind, soul, and strength. Just like I was distracted by the geese, it was actually a disruption that increased my awareness of God’s presence. The next time you’re  faced with  an unexpected disruption, consider the ways God might be redirecting your attention and focus.

Dear Lord, Thank you for using disturbances in my life to gain my attention. Teach me to understand Your purpose, focus on Your will, and obey. Amen.

As always, I appreciate your encouragement and seek to serve!

Peg Arnold

Bringing Stories to Life!

If this message encouraged you, I would love to hear from you! If you are not already connected, reach out to me through one of the following!

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Distraction of Disruption

Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. Proverbs 4:25-26

It was a celebratory day when my youngest granddaughter learned to ride her bike without training wheels. She was so proud of herself, she wanted to show everyone. While the social separation & other restrictions caused by COVID 19 have disrupted my life as I knew it, they have also allowed me to have more opportunities for things like bike rides and now she wanted to join me.  Of course, riding with a five year old is a much different experience than riding with adults. I had to choose a safe route with minimal traffic and be prepared to stop every time we came upon a duck, unique rock, or pretty flower.  

Over time, I watched her gain confidence in her balance and skill yet she still needed verbal reminders to keep her eyes on the road ahead. However, many times, before I could intervene, a loud sound or disruption would distract her. She’d look up and veer off the path towards the source, sometimes resulting in disaster.

I can also be distracted and veer off course. For example, I find the restrictions caused by COVID 19 a huge disruption to my usual routine. The ways in which I work, communicate, worship, and even socialize have all drastically changed. Focusing on the inconveniences, I lose sight of the path ahead and end up floundering in grief and self-pity, crashing into thorns of despair.

One of my favorite verses is Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6. Times like this require my trust in God, because my understanding is very limited. I know my life feels completely disrupted and I’m left wondering if “normal” will ever return. Trust requires keeping my eyes on Him. He is the one who goes before me and makes my paths straight.

This deepened my understanding of Proverbs 4:25-26. Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. God is on that path in front going before me. If I let disruptions distract me, I’ll wander off the road and end up self-absorbed.

My granddaughter has my voice directing her focus back on the road ahead.   So how do I “fix” my eyes directly before me? I want to hear the voice of God clearly and gently steering my attention back on course. There are several things I can do to increase my awareness of God’s voice and fix my eyes on the path He desires me to travel:

Spend time with Him daily.

Pray unceasingly. Trust God.

Reframe losses into redefined blessings.

Restrict depressing news stories.

Express gratitude often.

I’ll bet you can fill in a few more. How will you fix your eyes on the road ahead and not be detoured by the disruptions?

Dear Lord, Thank you for going before me and protecting  me when I don’t even realize it. Help me to trust in You and keep my eyes fixed on the road ahead so I can walk in the way that brings You glory. Amen

As always, I appreciate your encouragement and seek to serve

Peg Arnold

Bringing Stories to Life!

If this message encouraged you, I would love to hear from you! If you are not already connected, reach out to me through one of the following!

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Twitter @ArnoldPeg          

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Or you could order my book Devotions for the Distracted Heart- https://www.amazon.com/Devotions-Distracted-Heart-Peg-Arnold/dp/1732769923/

Distraction of the Dawn

photo sunrise 2

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end, they are new every morning; great is His faithfulness.  Lamentations 3:22, 23

Morning is a time that engages the senses. Pastel ribbons of the dawning sun paint the sky as fingers of light float over the horizon giving shape and definition to the shadows in the landscape.   Birds fill the air with a cheerful chorus and the fragrance of the morning dew refreshes and energizes me.  I love taking my coffee out on the deck and basking in the gift of God’s new day. When I rise early enough to experience the dawn, I gain strength for the day through His early morning gifts.  Unfortunately, I find it difficult to wake up in the morning and often tap the snooze button just to garner a few more moments of sleep.

I thought about this as the Easter story was read this past weekend.  Mary went to the tomb right before dawn with spices to preserve Jesus’ body.  She was grieving the loss of her friend and Savior, probably still questioning why his death had to happen.  I am sure she did not see the beauty of the colorful sunrise or hear the song of the birds.  She was using all her strength to find comfort in caring for the body of Jesus.

Sorrow may last for the night, but joy comes in the morning, Psalm 30:5B. Mary had no expectations for experiencing joy in her time of grief. Perhaps she had not slept all night and had tossed and turned in a restless sleep.  First, she experienced fear when she found the stone removed from its entrance.  Soon, that fear and sorrow turned to joy when the resurrected Savior revealed Himself to her.  This is the story of Easter!  God’s gift of salvation is freely offered to us just like the gift of a new beginning each day.

Sometimes our burdens blind our ability to experience the peace and joy that the Lord wants to give us.  Other times our own stressors and exhaustion obstruct our ability to be energized by the gifts of the new day.  No matter where you are today, remember, The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end, they are new every morning; great is His faithfulness, Lamentations 3:22,-23.

Father God, Thank you for the gift of salvation and grace freely given to me through the resurrection of your son Jesus.  Help me to experience your presence each morning in the gifts of creation and the words of your scriptures.  Amen.

As always, I appreciate your encouragement and seek to serve!

Peg Arnold

Bringing Stories to Life!

 

If this message encouraged you, I would love to hear from you! If you are not already connected, reach out to me through one of the following!

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Distraction of Donkeys

ParadeA very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road.  The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!”  When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?” The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”        Matthew 21:8-11

 

I love a parade because the colorful floats, bands, and performances all create an air of excitement. Over the years I have taken my own children and grandchildren to parades. Now I realize they experienced it through different eyes.  Their high points were the candy being thrown into the crowds, huge balloon floats, furry characters, and the animals.  Whether the animals were dogs, horses, or donkeys, it didn’t matter. They were not even impressed if there was a celebrity riding on the animal. Instead, all the antics and messes that go with animals were the attractions that highlighted our conversations long after the parade ended.

This made me think about how I might have responded if I had been present for the procession of Jesus into the city of Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.  If I had been a part of the crowd saying, “Hosanna, Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord,” would I have recognized the Savior?  Would I have come away from that experience knowing that I had just witnessed the presence of the Living God?  Or would I have been more enamored, like a child, with waving of the palm branches, the excitement of the crowd, and even the donkey?

I hope that I would have the awareness of the presence of my Savior and savor the experience of standing on Holy Ground.  But as I reread the stories of those who were there, I am not sure that I would have been aware of the sanctity of the moment.  I may have responded more like my children and have been more distracted by the antics of the donkey than with the significance of the event.  After all, there were many others there that day who were vulnerable to losing sight of Jesus.  Judas betrayed Him, Peter denied Him, and many in the crowd turned on Him.  What makes me think I would have been any different?

God surrounds me each day with His wonders and blessings- the beauties of nature, the security of shelter, the support of relationships, the empowerment of gifts and more.  When I focus on Him, I recognize His presence and am filled with appreciation and excitement.  Yet, amidst these wonders, I can become distracted with antics and messes around me as benign as busyness or technology.  Ignoring them can be as challenging as the distractions of conflict, losses, negative messages, doubt, frustration or illnesses.

It is a fact that Christ is a presence that parades into our lives every single day, even in this uncertain time of Covid 19. He comes wanting to bless, support, carry, love, and guide us in all we do. We only need to recognize, accept, love, and follow Him.  The trick is to not be distracted by the moods of the crowds or the antics of the donkey, for when our sights are off the Savior, we are vulnerable to distraction, denial, betrayal, rejection, and even complacency.

Dear Lord,

During these Holy Days, help me not fall victim to the parade of daily distractions. I pray I’ll recognize the blessings you bring into my life and remain steadfastly focused on You, Your Love, Your Sacrifice, and Your unfailing Grace.  Amen

Peg Arnold             L69A5656

Bringing Stories to Life!

If this message encouraged you, I would love to hear from you! If you are not already connected, reach out to me through one of the following!

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In addition to getting this monthly encouragement, I post a monthly devotion as well. To receive this, follow my Devotions for the Distracted Heart Blog : http://www.pegarnold@wordpress.com

 

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Distraction of Debris

shoreYou will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  Jeremiah 29:13

Walking along the shoreline at low tide following a storm, isn’t necessarily the most picturesque time to enjoy the beach.  Instead of leisurely  hiking along the landscapes of white sand welcoming the foaming waves of the surf, I found myself meandering around driftwood, broken shells, krill, and even washed up jellyfish.  Looking down the shoreline, it seemed like an eyesore as it was covered with piles of debris everywhere.  I was disappointed because this junk that had washed up over night, truly impacted my anticipated seashore pictures.

I soon discovered that there were treasures hidden among this unpleasant debris.  First, the birds were a sight to behold as many descended upon the piles of wood and seaweed scampering and poking around finding delicious morsels hidden in the nooks and crannies. Their antics were entertaining and reminded me of how God cares for the birds and feeds them generously.  The food certainly wasn’t a pinterest presentation, but the birds were more than satisfied.  This was one reminder that sometimes, the Lord may try to meet my needs when I pray, but because it isn’t packaged the way I thought it should be, I could miss His providence.

birds

Second were the treasures that were hidden in the rubble.  I saw many people with bags, sifting through the debris as if they were hunting for gold.  Shark-eyes, olives, angel wings, and sand dollars were just a few of the treasures these beachcombers were finding. One woman’s lifelong sought discovery was buried underneath the tangles and piles of broken shells and twigs.  It was not obvious at first, but with a little bit of time and elbow grease she dug out of the mess, a perfect conch shell! Another reminder to me that God’s promises and answers to prayers may not always be easy to discern. Sometimes it requires me to sift through the rubble to dig down deep before I can discover what God is trying to teach me in a difficult situation.

Debris, it’s easy to look at a pile of junk from afar, assume it has no value and just needs to be cleaned up and disposed of.  But in many cases, there may be valuable treasures hidden in the rubble. I know there are times when I face overwhelming situations that seem impossible to separate the mess from the stress, the burdens from the needs, or the inconveniences from the obligations.  However there are promises, hope, and strength to be found in our times of struggle and confusion.  We just might need to dig down a bit into the nooks and the crannies to find them.   In Psalm 139, the Psalmist wrote how the Lord searches us and knows our every movement, sometimes I think I need to search for Him with the same passion. I love how Jeremiah 29: 11-13 says it:

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

Dear Lord,  When I make a mess of things and can’t seem to find you, thank you that you reveal your promises to me even though they may be camouflaged in the debris. Help me realize You are always there even in the mess! Amen

Distraction of Dust

babies

Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment and the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Matthew 22:37-39

The picture above hung on the wall of my children’s nursery, a baby gift from my college room-mate. Little did I know how much this simple verse expressed a life time struggle for me.  When my children grew older, this picture was soon replaced by another one.

dust kids

These simple verses had two effects on me. Sometimes the words were a comfort to me as a young mom. They gave me permission to forgo the expectations of the world. Instead of worrying about a clean and tidy house I could spend time making memories with my children.

However, other times the same verse made me feel guilty. On days when my schedule became full of responsibilities that took me away from my family, I knew I wasn’t balancing my priorities appropriately.  During those days, I often felt frustrated because I was away from my kids. To add to my guilt, I only saw the clutter, the dust, and the mess when I returned home, which not only increased my stress but decreased my patience.

As my children grew older, I continued to struggle with balancing tasks and relationships. Whatever the family season, my life was filled with organizing, volunteering, working, reading, cleaning, exercising, socializing, praying, worshipping, cooking, playing, planning,  and … you fill in the blank.

I am vulnerable to the trap of measuring my self-worth by my personal productivity by checking off a list of completed tasks. For example, when something is dusty, you wipe it down and make it clean. That is measurable! But time spent connecting with people, children, teens, spouses, friends, or serving others in need is not nearly as quantifiable.

Jesus told us that the two most important commandments were to love God and  to love others which includes our families.

Yes, there are times when we demonstrate love through the tasks we do for others, even our families. For example, washing clothes, fixing meals, cleaning the house are tasks that express love because they are necessary for keeping our families healthy. But relationship building, connecting on a heart level with babies, children, teens, friends, and others takes time.  While these connections aren’t necessarily measurable or quantifiable, they are essential and can be life-saving.

So now when I reflect on the two samplers that once hung on the wall of my baby’s nursery, it is a reminder that time spent building relationships is more important than the completion of certain tasks. Dusting and cooking can be prioritized or rescheduled so it does not interfere with meeting the needs of a child, a baby, or even supporting a friend.  This is what God calls us to do, Love God with all your heart mind, soul and strength and love others as yourself.

As this new year begins, I am renewing my focus on relationship building and connections. How about you?

Dear Lord, I praise You for the gifts you give me each day, Guide me as I prioritize and balance those gifts of tasks and relationships. Allow me the ability to see others as You see them, especially my own family. Grant me the discernment to balance my commitments allowing me to focus on loving You and the people you have placed in my life (including you Lord Jesus) and focus on expressing your love in my actions. Amen

Thank you for your support! I invite you to visit my new website PegArnold.org

Distraction of Delivery

IMG_5723

While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born,  and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them Luke 2:6, 7

“Daddy, Daddy, we’re going to run out of gas!” cried the little girl as her father  was trying to navigate through the slippery Michigan roads. A December snowstorm was challenging the trip to deliver their fourth child. Tension was high and there was concern that they would not make it.  Just in time, he pulled up to the hospital entrance and escorted the mother inside. Immediately they took her back into the delivery room.  Before the father could park and finish the registration at the front desk, the nurse came out to announce that he was the father of a healthy 9 pound 15 oz baby girl! Me!

Twenty eight years later, “Pant, Pant, Blow…” My husband chanted as he carefully negotiated the icy roads that December night. My labor had just begun two hours earlier.  Since it was my first child, the doctor assured us we would have plenty of time to get the hospital.  Little did we realize that one simple delay and this baby would have been born in the car.  Just as the Lord’s hand was on that car nearly three decades earlier, He guided us to the hospital safely.  After a confusing and chaotic 20 minutes, I was  holding my sweet baby girl.

Fast forward 29 years and now that same daughter had made an appointment to deliver her twins on December 28. We anticipated the arrival with excitement! We had showers, shared prenatal pictures, bought furniture, and helped decorate the nursery.  Both sides of the family were  involved and eager to welcome these two little beings.

With all these December deliveries, I thought  about the massive amount of preparation and details involved when we have babies today.  We send out pictures on social media, text, and even still call. Some parents film the entire delivery to share it with the child and others later. We have choices! Babies are born in hospitals with special designed rooms, in homes, and in birthing centers. Some are delivered by doctors and others by midwives, doulas, or even surgeons.

Contrast this to another birth, 2000 years ago that we now celebrate in December.  There were no showers, no pretty nursery prepared with a new crib and home-made quilt.  No doctors or even a doula to help with the delivery. The trip to the birth destination wasn’t in a car with seats that reclined and a heater to keep the mother warm. Instead, she rode on a donkey and when that became uncomfortable, she walked on dusty roads. There was no one at their destination expecting them or preparing for this birth. In fact this couple was so rejected by society, they couldn’t even find a clean room where they would be able to deliver this baby.  They were shunned and ultimately found room in  a stable with animals.

December rolls around and amidst the tinsel, trees, and carols, we are focused on this birth of Jesus. When we take time to compare it to our own deliveries, even the difficult ones, Mary’s experience was challenging to say the least.  I look at the first Christmas and how little Mary and Joseph had when Jesus was born. I am sure they did not feel prepared for the massive responsibility on their shoulders, but they continued to trust the Lord and His plan.

Joseph had stayed true to his betrothal vows following through with the marriage despite the seemingly devastating indiscretion. God had appeared to him in a dream, confirming the deity of Christ’s origins and Joseph rose to the challenge. It wasn’t easy, even though he knew that it was God’s plan to bring His incarnate son into the world in a humble setting on a silent night. In fact, the first people to be introduced to Him were not the priests, rulers, and kings, but the angels announced His birth to the lowly, humble, hard-working, poor shepherds.

When I look at the emphasis we place on traditions, decorations, gifts, events, and more, it’s easy to get lost in the true meaning of Christmas. Instead of getting distracted this year, I want to focus on the divine parts of Christmas. The true meaning. God sent His son as a gift of love.  Just as Mary had a simple, probably not easy, but very unassuming delivery of the infant King, I think I can simplify some of our Christmas expectations. Instead of getting distracted with over-crowding the calendars, making sure the decorations and cookies are Pinterest perfect, I want to focus on the purpose for Christmas. The celebration of love, God’s Love, delivered to earth.  My goal is to be intentional about demonstrating love in my words, actions, gifts, and freely refer to the true meaning of Christmas, the birth of Christ.

Just as the delivery of each baby is very different, so do our celebrations of Christ’s birth differ.  How will you choose to focus on the divine purpose in this holiday season?

Dear Lord,

Forgive me for being wrapped up in the earthly trappings of this holiday. Just as the deliveries of babies are far different than they were when Christ was born, so are our expectations and preparations for this holiday. May my heart be focused on loving You and loving others in all I say and do.  Amen

Distraction of Deprivation

 I will praise you with all my heart, O Lord my God;
I will proclaim your greatness forever. Psalm 86:12

I walked in from errands and saw a blue bag on the kitchen counter. Curious, I asked my husband about it. He answered by announcing that we were embarking on very restricted diet. The intriguing gift bag was filled with supplements and specific directions. Immediately our meal plan was limited to about 20 different foods. If we were going to be successful, I needed to focus and appreciate these few foods and not perseverate on the deprivation of the goodies I was missing. You know that saying, mind over matter, just by changing my own attitude; I should be able find satisfaction in less.

Modern day psychologists have proven that our attitudes have a direct impact on our well-being, stress levels, and actions. For instance, if we have a pessimistic attitude, focusing on areas we feel cheated or deprived; it can paralyze and overwhelm us. This causes our stress levels to rise, which impacts blood pressure, focus, and more. The converse is true as well. In fact, there is research that proves that people with positive attitudes and appreciative spirits, are healthier and live longer.

Paul reminds us in his letter to the Philippians:

 I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:11b-13

Being contented rather than deprived is like the old saying of seeing the glass half full rather than half empty. During the season of Thanksgiving, we naturally take time to express our gratitude for the gifts and blessings we have experienced over the year. I want to challenge myself and others, to keep this attitude of gratitude throughout the year. Take the time to intentionally express gratitude to God and others verbally, through actions, or writing in a journal. Remember research has proven that this is not only healthier for us, it makes each of us more pleasant to be around!

Dear Lord,

Open my eyes to the ways I can give thanks and praise on a daily basis. Help me to seek contentment in all situations for it is You that gives me strength. Amen

Dear Friends,

I want you to know that I am grateful for you and your support. I realize I have been quiet recently and want to share what I have been up to.

First, I have been speaking in Maryland, Virginia, Michigan, and Colorado these past few months. I am now scheduling for 2020. If you know an event planner looking for a speaker, feel free to share my information. https://pegarnold.org/

Second I have been working with CaSH Consulting to update my website. These ladies are great to work with and they donate all their proceeds to help other. Check them out. https://cash2consulting.com/

Finally, my new devotional, Devotions for the Distracted Heart, is now listed on Amazon. If you have enjoyed this blog, you’ll love this devotional. It’s a great gift idea for the holidays!

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1732769923/ref=rdr_ext_tmb

Distraction of Dentists

Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 2 Corinthians 5:11

It has been over 50 years since that unfortunate airborne experience, but I still remember it as if it were yesterday. We lived in a house next door to a church and our driveway was connected to the parking lot. Being recently repaved, it was the perfect place to ride bikes. I had an old cruiser handed down to me by my sister, but my younger brother had a shiny new English racer with handbrakes. He had worked for months to save enough money to purchase this new bike and was extremely protective. I was thrilled when he decided to let me ride it.

I climbed onto the bike and was enthralled with how smooth and fast it travelled on the new asphalt. I was doing figure eights, riding one end to the other with the wind in my hair. As I looped around the parking lot, I was completely unaware of my older brother, who had just arrived in the family car to practice for his driver’s test. When I looked up, he was backing up and heading straight for me.

In my twelve year old mind, I thought he was teasing me with a harmless game of chicken and would stop before hitting me. Little did I realize, he never saw me. It was like a slow-motion film as I watched the front wheel of the bike crash into the back bumper. I was still laughing thinking it was all a joke when my body was thrown uncontrollably over the handlebars into the trunk of the car. I can’t imagine the horror in my older brother’s mind when it happened.

The instant we collided, he slammed on the brakes and jumped out of the car. I was still lying on the trunk, while the mangled bike lay on the ground behind the bumper. The next thing I remember, was sitting outside the house with my shocked parents assessing my injuries. My knees were scraped and bruised but it was my front teeth or lack there of, that caused the greatest concern. I had two fangs hanging out, which ultimately required many hours in a dentist chair having root canals, crowns, pegs, and a host of other procedures.

I know that for many, the dentist is the last place people want to spend time. However I needed help and the dentist was my only answer. I had to wait for two days, because it was Saturday night and there was not an emergency dentist available on Sundays. So I experienced excruciating pain as the roots of the teeth were exposed and very sensitive to any temperature change. When I finally got to the dentist, he was only able to put temporary caps on until he assessed the damages with molds and x-rays. Eventually through many visits, the dentist was able restore my smile, but underneath the repairs, the damage to my original teeth was permanent.

So it is with other challenges in our lives. God desires us to take each situation to Him for restoration. He cannot change the actual events, but is able to strengthen, heal, and renew our spirits. How many times do we hold onto things and wait before seeking the Lord? Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 2 Corinthians 5:11

Over the years I have spent hours with numerous dentists, but my favorite is actually my brother, not the one who was driving the car, but the one, who eventually forgave me for ruining his brand new English racer.   What situation can Christ make new for you today?

Dear Lord, Thank you for restoring all things that I bring to you. Help me to realize there is nothing in my life that you cannot handle. Amen.