Vickie's Blog

Thoughts Along Life's Journey


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Living Through Rejection

No one likes to entertain the thought that someone they love doesn’t want them. When suspicions of rejection turns into reality, the pain goes deep. Wounds of dejection shatter our hopes, leaving scars that refuse to give our minds rest from the memory of having been pushed away. Such grief and hurt drops over us like an iron curtain; we want to crawl out from under it, but it’s too heavy, and we begin to suffocate beneath the weight of having been discarded.

Have you ever felt this pain? You are not alone. Probably everyone has a story to tell of having loved and lost. David, in the Old Testament, certainly knew the vast pain of rejection. He describes his feelings so poignantly in Psalm 27. David is alone here, away from family and friends, literally running for his life. He has been publicly rejected. Let’s read his words:

“The one thing I ask of the Lord — the thing I seek most — is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, delighting in the Lord’s perfections and meditating in His temple. He will conceal me there when troubles come; He will hide me in His sanctuary. He will place me out of reach on a high rock. Listen to my pleading, O Lord. Be merciful and answer me! My heart has heard you say, ‘Come and talk with me.’ My heart responds, ‘Lord, I am coming.’ Do not hide yourself from me. Do not reject your servant in anger. You have always been my helper. Don’t leave me now; don’t abandon me. O God of my salvation! Even if my father and mother abandon me, the Lord will hold me close.”

Here we see a glimpse into David’s fears. He is so hurt by human rejection around him, that he wonders if God, too, will turn him away. He pleads for this not to be so. Then, as he pleads, we see his heart being reminded that our Heavenly Father always has ears open to our cries. David is reminded that God Himself says, “Come and talk with me.” David’s heart responds with, “Lord, I am coming!”

How beautiful to be reminded, that in the midst of our deepest pain, God is calling out to you and me. He pleads for us to pour out our hearts. While friends can understand to a point, only God can understand in perfection because only He sees the pain in its fulness; pain that has grabbed hold and will not let go. David answers the call of God — “Lord, I am coming!”

May we, too, in the midst of the most piercing pain, when tears choke us, and hearts feel heavy beneath the load of rejection or any other seething pain — may we, too, remember to call out — “Lord, I am coming!” Only in the sweetness of God’s own love and understanding can we be fully released back into perfect peace and joy once again.

God said to His people in Isaiah 41:9-10, “I have chosen you and will not throw you away. Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. I will help you. I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.”


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When Rose Petals Fall

This week a friend came to visit me and brought a small bouquet of roses that she had cut from her garden. There were yellow ones and pink ones, too. I love roses! Their fragrance is one of the most pleasing of all aromas to me.

I put the roses into a vase. Throughout the evening I would bend toward the delicate flowers to breathe in its delicious scent. How pleasing they were to me.

In the morning, while I dressed, I could hardly wait to go into the living room to draw in another breath of the rose’s perfume. However, as I entered the room, I stopped in some dismay. My beautiful and sweet roses had dropped nearly all its petals to the floor. Slowly I walked forward, feeling a tinge of disappointment that my roses had not lasted longer; but then, a smile came quickly to my lips. There was the sweetest fragrance of the rose’s perfume wafting in the air! I bent down to make certain, drawing in deep breaths. Yes! The petals had fallen but the aroma was as pleasant as it had ever been.

That’s when I thought of the frailties of our human bodies. In our youth, like the fresh cut rose, we stand tall, full of life and vitality. Then, with the passing of years, or perhaps illness strikes, or sheer exhaustion takes hold due to heavy loads that we bear. Perhaps we begin to feel, like the aged rose, that our petals of strength and liveliness have all but fallen completely to the ground.

Please take heart if that is you today. Though the years and toils of life may cause our bodies to wilt and tire, read what God’s Word assures us of in II Corinthians 4:16, “We need never give up. Though our bodies grow weary, our spirits are being renewed every day.” Pay attention to those last two words — every day! No matter the passing of time or illness, or the stresses of this life that may bend our backs. No matter that our petals of youth will fall. As long as God Himself breathes into us His own blessings, then we remain a sweet fragrance, forever, as we are reminded in II Corinthians 2:15-16 “Our lives are a fragrance presented to Christ by God…to those who are being saved we are a life-giving perfume.”


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An Excellent Sandwich

Have you ever prayed and then found yourself wondering if God really heard it? Is He really paying attention? Do prayers make a difference or is life more of a “what will be will be,” existence? Have you ever been asked to pray in public? Maybe you were so nervous that you ended up stringing together some holy sounding words that would be approved by those listening. You were more concerned about praying the right words, that you forgot to whom you were directing your prayer. When you finally got to the “amen” you inwardly breathed a sigh of relief that it was all over. Did it really matter anyway?

Have you ever been hurting so badly that you cried out to God with your concerns and your requests, but when your prayer was over, you walked away with your head still hung down in dejection and worry? Have you ever stopped praying altogether for awhile, concluding that you feel the same whether you pray or not, so what difference does it make?

Prayer is probably one of the most misunderstood things in the Christian’s life. Even the disciples, having been with Jesus day and night for weeks, watching Him slip away alone to pray, didn’t understand it. In Luke 11:1, we read, Once, when Jesus had been out praying, one of His disciples came to Him and said, ‘Lord, teach us to pray.'” Following that request, Jesus gives them a model which we call today, “The Lord’s Prayer.”

There is so much to be discovered in this model prayer, but for now, let’s note only one thing: This model prayer begins with focus on God, “Our Father who art in heaven.” It ends with focus on God, “For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever, amen.” I suppose we could say it’s sort of like a spiritual sandwich. There’s so much goodness in between, but it’s the bread that holds it all together.

By all means, give your concerns and worries and requests to God; just be certain to remember a very important factor in your praying — focus more on Him than on what you need or want from Him. Unless it’s an emergency prayer, don’t make a habit of rushing before Him; spend time just breathing in the beauty of His presence. There is something peaceful about the presence of God, even in the midst of life’s troubles. It’s the stillness of His presence, and our worship of Him in His presence, that prepares our hearts to receive from Him. Without focus on God, we will find it nearly impossible to feast on the goodness He offers — it’s the bread that holds the sandwich together.


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The Beauty Of The Wait

The whole world seems to operate in a “hurry up” mode! When we know we want something, we want it now! It’s not just today’s world. Impatience has always been a part of human nature. There’s nothing wrong with the anticipation that comes from wanting something so badly that you can barely stand it. That’s the excitement! Remember when you were a kid thinking about Christmas? The wait was agonizing, but when the morning arrived, oh was it worth it! If your parents had gone ahead and given you your presents in November, Christmas morning wouldn’t have been nearly as much fun. We mustn’t forget the joy that comes with the waiting.

It’s the same in our spiritual world. We tell ourselves that we trust God’s timing, but would He please hurry up? It’s impossible to imagine the mess that we’d all be in if we got things immediately when we wanted them. Refusing to wait could even be a dangerous thing.

As an example, think of babies being born. Proud parents make ready, getting bedding, cribs, clothing, and toys ready for their new arrival. At times they can hardly wait, but it’s most advantageous when the full nine months are passed before a baby is born. Premature babies have such a struggle. Some survive the early birth; sadly, others do not.

It’s best if the birth takes place at the appropriate time because very important things are taking place during the wait. In week 7, the baby’s eyelids are forming. By week 9, the baby has ear lobes and his or her own set of fingerprints! In 5 months, the baby can hear, taste, smell, feel, and see shades of light. After 6 months the baby develops lungs. If birth begins to take place in the middle of any of the above, there are difficult, and often, grieving consequences.

It’s the same in the birthing of God’s plans for our lives. We humans want to either rush things we hope for, or we want to delay things that make us afraid. We have a natural fear of the unknown, but never forget that God’s ways are always, without exception, planned with our own good in His mind.

Are you waiting for something? Remember this loving promise from God’s Word: “Therefore will the Lord wait that He may be gracious to you.” Isaiah 30:18


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No Words Like His Own

Yesterday I phoned a friend to share a burden that’s in my heart. I knew this friend would pray diligently, but she also did something else that blessed me so very much. She read a portion of Scripture from Philippians 4. As I listened to her read over the phone, a sweetness touched me very deep, and then it rose and spilled over into peace of heart and mind. My friend was reading from a Bible version that I’m not all that familiar with: The Message.

When it comes to needing comfort from God, there are no words like His own. I share with you now those words from Philippians 4:6-7 that have blessed me so much:

“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.”

If you’re feeling troubled today, filled with a sadness, or weighed down by a burden, I invite you, too, to meditate upon these words from God. Really think about them, letting them go down deep into all the hurting places. There’s no greater healing balm.


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To Laugh And Laugh And Laugh Some More

So, there I am in my car. I’m driving to my destination. My mind wanders, and I have no idea why, but a particular incident that had happened some time ago, surfaced from my memory file. As I recalled the incident, which was extremely funny, I began to chuckle. Then, the chuckle turned into laughter. Then, the laughter turned into absolute hilarity! I even wondered if I would have to pull to the side of the road! By the way, I was alone in the car when all this laughing was going on. When I came up to a red light, my laughing out of my control, I wondered what any onlookers might think. Therefore, I kept glancing down at the passenger seat in hopes that, anyone noticing my hysterics, might think a child was in the seat next to me! I could not make myself quit laughing!

I continued on my way, and finally, the laugher began to subside. That’s when I noticed something. It sure felt good! That laughing episode was like a tonic reviving all tired and mundane feelings in body and mind. At that moment, I felt I could have jumped out of the car and run a race; that’s how good all over I felt! Don’t worry — I stayed in the car!

When I got back home, I went on the internet and found a fascinating article by Psychologist Steve Wilson of the USA. He wrote, “The effects of laughter and exercise are very similar. Combining laughter and movement, like waving your arms, is a great way to boost your heart rate.” Another laughter researcher, William Fry, reports that it takes an average of ten minutes on a rowing machine for the heart rate to reach the same level after one minute of laughter. Isn’t that amazing! Also, laughter has been found to burn calories. A study was done at Vanderbilt University, in which it was discovered, that 10-15 minutes of laughter burns 50 calories. Wow, that would be much more fun than the treadmill!

I found the results of my research exciting, because it reminded me of the wonder and magnificence of our Creator God! He made laughter. He made us with the capacity to laugh. God, in His infinite wisdom and intellect, knew the physical and emotional benefits of laughter, long before any doctor or psychologist discovered it. What a wonderful, helpful, and joyful gift God has given to us.

Perhaps, when we’ve got the blues or the blahs, it might just help to use that wonderful gift God has given to us. Think of something funny! God reminds us in Ecclesiastes 3:4 that, while there is a time to cry and to grieve, don’t forget the time to laugh and dance! Also, our wonderful God told us long ago what doctors are now discovering. He tells us in Proverbs 17:22, A cheerful heart is a good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.”

Enjoy your day, and may you use God’s gift, and have a really good laugh about something!


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Who Knows The End From The Beginning?

I was just reading the story of Ruth in the Old Testament. As I did so, the thought came to me — Who knows the end from the beginning? Before we answer that question, let’s take a look at one of the characters in the story. Naomi.

Naomi was married and had two sons. There was a terrible famine in Judah where they lived, so Naomi’s husband took the family to the land of Moab. I wonder how Naomi felt leaving family and friends to go and live in another country with foreign customs? It might have been a lonely endeavor, but perhaps Naomi took some joy in her daughters-in-law, because both her sons married in Moab.

However, whether Naomi found joy or not, it would have been short lived; there in that foreign land, her husband and sons died. Naomi was left alone with no one to care for her or her daughters-in-law, because it was the culture of the time for women to be cared for by the men. When a woman did not have the care of a man, she was in a very difficult position.

News came that crops were now better in Judah; the famine was no more. Therefore, understandably, Naomi decides to return to her homeland. One of her daughters-in-law, Ruth, insists on going with her. We read in the first chapter that, as Naomi arrived in Bethlehem, the entire town took notice. Everyone was talking about it, spreading the news that Naomi had come back. The people of Judah were so happy. They were shouting, “Naomi has come home!” Although the people were happy, we read that Naomi was not happy at all. In Ruth 1:20-21, the words of Naomi are recorded, “Don’t call me Naomi. Instead, call me Mara (that means Bitter) because the Almighty has made life very bitter for me. I went away full, but the Lord has brought me home empty. Wy should you call me Naomi when the Lord has caused me to suffer and the Almighty has sent such tragedy?”

Does that attitude sound familiar? Have you ever walked Naomi’s path, finding yourself in an undesirable situation, and blaming it all on God? Why has God done this or that? Why has God taken my joy? Poor God, He gets blamed for lots of life’s mishaps. We tell ourselves that God isn’t interested. He’s not helping me. He’s leaving me to suffer alone. Have you ever felt that way? If so, you’re not alone, and take heart; God understands. How can He understand? One, because He knows the frailty of our minds, and in this instance, we are reminded, too, that, He knows the end from the beginning.

As our story continues, we see how Ruth meets a distant family relative named Boaz. Boaz comes to love Ruth and goes through the proper, cultural custom, to marry Ruth. Very quickly, Ruth has a child. Read what the story tells us in 4:15-17. The women are talking to Naomi and they say this, “May this child restore your youth and care for you in your old age. For he is the son of your daughter-in-law who loves you so much and who has been better to you than seven sons! Naomi took care of the baby and cared for him as if he were her own. The women said, ‘Naomi has a son again!’ And the baby was named Obed, who was the father of Jessie, and the grandfather of David.

How about that! There was Naomi suffering terribly, blaming God; but all along, because God knows the end from the beginning, He knew His plans were to bless her above all she could ever dream. God did bless magnificently — Naomi’s grandson, Obed, was in the direct line from whom Jesus would be born. Isn’t that amazing? If only Naomi could have known, but no one sees into the future. Only God knows the end from the beginning. The next time life brings suffering, remember how God works in our lives. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. Therefore, no matter what we are going through, we may grab hold of hope, because our God is working on our behalf. After all, our God knows the end from the beginning.

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