A Vision Adjustment

But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You; Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them; Let those also who love Your name Be joyful in You.
Psalm 5:11

Last summer, a mama robin built her nest in the gutter which is located underneath the edge of the roof above our large living room picture window. A friend of mine jumped, nearly panicking when she saw this robin flying toward the window. She thought the bird was going to crash against the glass and injure or kill itself.

My friend did not see that the bird was flying into a nest of safety because her vision did not extend high enough. How often in an uncertain and difficult situation, my vision has been too low!

Viewing my circumstances through the lens of humanity’s limited knowledge and wisdom, I become overwhelmed with worry. Jesus knows that is our tendency. So he reminds us, as his followers, to gain instruction from the birds.

“Look at the birds in the sky: They do not sow, or reap, or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you more valuable than they are? And which of you by worrying can add even one hour to his life?” (Matthew 6:26 NET)

In Psalm 84, David, the shepherd boy who became King, speaks of birds finding a home and swallows building a nest to raise their young in the protected and peaceful place of God’s presence.

Sometimes, instead of God’s presence, my eyes are on the storm. I fear that I will crash.

 Again, Jesus, my vision is too low.
 In this thing, which you allowed,
 I imagine only destruction. 
 Help me see above this storm.
 Or else, take my hand and walk me though it.
 In this thing, which you allowed,
 Let me not be blinded by deception.
 Help me see above the storm.
 Jesus, I need a vision adjustment
 About this thing which you allowed;
 My body shakes. I’m filled with tension.
 Your power’s greater than this storm!
 That I've said; there’s much knowledge in my head.
 In this thing, which you allowed,
 My heart longs to trust your intention,  
 to believe there is goodness in this storm.
 Jesus, you have earth’s and heaven’s vision.
 This is a thing you allowed
 Yourself to feel! So with compassion
 You will enter the storm I am in.
 Calm my anger, remove my confusion.
 Is there something I've allowed
 Myself to hide? With faith's perception, 
 Help me walk with you 'til all storms end.
 Jane Ault


A Little Bit of Humor

She is clothed with strength and dignity,
    and she laughs without fear of the future.

Proverbs 31:25 NLT

Embracing the writing I’m called to do doesn’t always excite me. Sometimes, I’d just rather play another game of Scrabble with my husband. After years of disinterest in that game, he recently took a liking to it. Now, playing Scrabble is an evening habit for us.

He plays to enjoy himself. I play to win. Would it be possible for me to enjoy myself if I did not win the game? So far, I’ve been winning most of the games. To tell you the truth, it’s not as much fun as it used to be. I’d like to see him win more often.

It’s easy to think so, but he scored 57 points in his last play (we are in the middle of a game) and I’m re-thinking my desire for him to win more often. I’m not making this up. I simply decided I would like to post something less serious in my blog this week.

So as much as I’d like to philosophize, I’m sticking to my write-something- less-serious goal. I will just share a humorous poem. Well . . . it does have a bit of philosophizing, I suppose.

 It’s really no fun to live with Depression;
 It’s really no fun to walk with Despair.
 I wish I could find a partner more cheerful;
 I wish I could find Laughter somewhere.
 Laughter will come if you invite her;
 Laughter will come if you open the door.
 Laughter's a child both wise and simple—
 To look in her eyes you must sit on the floor.
 Laughter is young but older than Fear.
 She doesn't read clocks but comes in a hurry.
 Trust is her guide and, though, she's imperfect,
 She sees in her mirror no reason for worry.
 If you want to know Laughter, you must change your position,
 Be prepared to look silly—people might stare.
 Yes, people might talk and people might leave;
 But when you’re with Laughter you really won't care. 
Jane Ault
@ 1996

About Grieving

Weep with those that Weep.”
Romans 12:15

As a counselor, I’ve had, and have, the honor and privilege of listening to others and assisting them as they’ve worked through grief experiences. I believe my ability to do this with compassion is due to the fact that I, myself, have had those who’ve been with me in my grief.

I’m particularly thankful for the excellent counselor who sat with me, as I worked through a long-standing depression and listened to me with the heart of Jesus.

It was from this counselor that I learned how to listen most effectively: to become present to both my own heart and to the Spirit of Jesus. In this quiet atmosphere of accepting grace and love, I found the freedom to grieve and the freedom to grow.

I’ve discovered that there is more for me to learn. I will not be finished until the day I breathe my last breath. However, I do not despair. Choosing gratitude always stirs up hope in my heart.

My poem, today, reflects some of what I’ve learned and am still learning.

 About Grieving
 Don’t go back to where you’ve been,
 Rehearsing failures and past sin;
 Repentance means you’ve made a change.
 Forgiveness means you’re not condemned.
 In faith, move forward into “Today”:
 Needing not to prove your merit,
 Listening carefully to the Spirit,
 Doing what seems wise and loving.
 Pay attention to your feet.
 Direct your steps; walk purposefully.
 Let routines guide but not control you.
 When you’re sad, let Christ console you—
 Don’t, instead, deny your pain:
 When unresolved, it will remain,
 Causing damage to your brain,
 Making thought unmanageable.
 Anxiety may rise within you,
 But it need not overwhelm you.
 Stop and breathe; relax your body.
 This will help you think more clearly.
 When you feel angry, just admit it:
 Not with shame upon your face,
 Hiding it will build up rage,
 It’s a part of healthy grieving.
 If you focus long upon your loss,
 Fear may threaten to undo you.
 That’s the time to take a walk
 Or call a friend and share your heart—
 Someone who will sit in silence,
 Not try to fix you but simply listen,
 Sometimes reflecting what they hear
 But not repeating what you share.
 Give thanks for all of God’s good gifts:
 The autumn orange, red, and gold,
 The happy memories your heart holds,
 The pleasures of the present day—
 You will find great treasure if you’re alert
 To what God says and how love works;
 Gratitude restores your hope
 So, with grief and sadness, you can cope.
 Jane Ault 

Fall to Winter . . .

For everything there is an appointed time,
and an appropriate time for every activity on earth:
A time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to uproot what was planted;
(Ecclesiastes 3:1-2 NET

I returned, Tuesday, from a trip in which I celebrated a family wedding and, two days later during this same week, received the news of a family death. Joy followed by sorrow. In this life, laughter and tears pursue one another in unknown and unpredictable cycles.

Although the week’s October temperatures soared to mid-summer highs, I find courage and comfort in the still somewhat predictability of earth’s seasons, in the promises of Scripture, and in the presence of the Spirit of Jesus.

The following poem is my reflection about “Winter”.

 Fall to Winter,
 Winter to Spring,
 Spring to Summer,
 Summer to Fall—
 Fall to Winter;
 We, forever, recycle
 Until abruptly,
 Death ends our denial.
 Ashes to ashes,
 Dust to dust;
 Our spirit returns
 To God who is just.
 Fall to Winter,
 Winter to Spring,
 Spring to Summer,
 Summer to Fall--
 Fall to Winter;
 The cycle is ending
 For someone we love;
 We're still pretending
 Winter will come.
 Spring will soon follow.
 We hope for more time;
 Death’s hard to swallow.
 Fall to Winter,
 Winter to Spring,
 Spring to Summer,
 Summer to Fall--
 Fall to Winter;
 Too soon comes the call.
 We hear it with hope
 And still try to stall--
 Not wanting to leave,
 Not wanting to stay,
 There’s conflict within;
 We struggle and pray.
 Fall to Winter,
 Winter to Spring,
 Spring to Summer,
 Summer to Fall--
 Fall to Winter;
 The battle is over.
 Victory’s been won!
 We see composure--
 Peace on the face
 Of a loved one departed;
 The cycle goes on;
 Yet, death’s been outsmarted.
 Fall to Winter,
 Winter to Spring,
 Spring to Summer,
 Summer to Fall--
 Fall to Winter;
 Will I cycle once more?
 My question’s not answered;
 I cannot be sure.
 Grace upon grace
 Has been given to me;
 I wonder, sometimes,
 At the goodness received.
 Fall to Winter,
 Winter to Spring,
 Spring to Summer,
 Summer to Fall--
 Fall to Winter;
 In this moment of time,
 What will I do 
 With breath that is mine?
 I’ll not stay too long
 In my lament;
 I can never recover
 Time not well spent.
 Fall to Winter,
 Winter to Spring,
 Spring to Summer,
 Summer to Fall--
 Fall to Winter;
 I’m more peaceful this year.
 Though I may tremble
 And feel insecure,
 I know from experience,
 Grace will be sufficient. 
 In joy and in sorrow,
 God has been present.
 Fall to Winter,
 Winter to Spring,
 Spring to Summer,
 Summer to Fall-- 

 Fall to Winter . . .
 Jane Ault