All posts by Sue

Celebrating Our Stories – An Ordinary Woman Reflects …

     I have a more contemplative than scientific mind, and I’ve never been particularly fascinated by astronomy. Honestly, even when someone points them out, I usually can’t identify constellations.

     My husband’s recent obsession with taking photographs of night skies, however, has piqued my interest in the stars. Although I believe I’ve now legitimately seen the Big Dipper, my thoughts when I look at Ron’s astrophotography generally turn toward

     the wonder,

          the vastness,

               the magnificence

                    of God’s creation.

     From a deep place in my spirit, my soul exclaims, “Wow!”

     I loved this photo Ron captured of the nighttime sky from atop Steptoe Butte, which is a quartzite island overlooking the rich farmlands of the Palouse hills in Whitman County, Washington. I’m fascinated by the illuminations from farmhouses dotting the undulating hillside and lights glowing from the college town of Moscow, Idaho, on the horizon.

     The souls of people often connect with nature, and as I looked at this photograph, I thought of David’s words recorded in Psalms 8:3 & 4 (NLT):

When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
 what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
human beings that you care for them?

     I hope my reflection on these words will point you to God’s extraordinary creativity and unimaginable care for you.

I’m thinking about and praying for you…

Sue Reeve

Celebrating our Stories – ‘Red Flag’ Warnings…

     Recently, the weather forecaster on our local news channel warned that our area was under a “Red Flag Warning.” This warning is made when warm temperatures, low humidity, and strong winds are forecast. The combination of these weather conditions produces increased risk of fire danger.

     I’m convinced our negative emotional responses are great spiritual “red flag warnings.”

     Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend, authors of Boundaries – When to Say Yes and How to Say No, tell us that when we experience the negative emotion of resentment, that’s a “red flag” indicator our relational boundaries are askew.

     Last week my daughter loaned me a book, Present Over Perfect saying, “I think you’ll really like this.” She was correct. In one of my favorite chapters, author Shauna Niequest, discusses her “red flag” realization that she was jealous of a friend. Niequest determined she would learn from her feelings of jealousy instead of avoiding them. “I’m learning,” she said, “that envy can be an extremely useful tool to demonstrate our desires, especially the ones we haven’t yet allowed ourselves to feel…”

     I appreciated her discovery. “When I allowed myself to tiptoe past the…envy, what I found was longing. I was longing for a life that felt light, right-sized for my strengths and limitations. This was never about her [the friend]. This was about me.”

     I’ve always had a lot of fears. In recent posts, I’ve disclosed my long-time fear of cats, fear of heights, fear of traveling on two-lane highways. But, the more insidious fears have been interior fears of inadequacy, abandonment, what people think about me, whether I’m likable enough or just plain whether I’m even enough!

     The wisdom of St. Ignatius has helped me face my fears. Ignatius teaches that fear, a spirit of desolation, is NEVER from God and will only drive us further from, rather than closer to, God.

     I’ve been working to recognize and lean into some of my fears. When I feel a giant of fear breathing down my neck, I try to speak truth to that fear, reminding the enemy of my soul that God has NOT given me this spirit of fear, but I am a woman with spiritual power, love and a sound mind. (See 2 Timothy 1:7)

     Is there a negative emotion weighing down your soul? What if, like Shauna Niequist, you used that negative emotion as a “tool to demonstrate [y]our desires.”

     I hope these words in today’s post will encourage you to lean in, face the giant, dissect the emotion, and look for what lies beneath. If you don’t know where to begin, perhaps this prayer based on James 1:5 will help:

Lord,

Your Word reminds me that if anyone lacks wisdom, that person can ask God, and you will grant wisdom liberally and will never find fault with such a request. Right now, I ask You to give me wisdom about my negative emotion of __________________________.

Please show me what it is that’s going on in my heart. What have I not allowed myself to feel? What have I been denying or minimizing? Who have I been blaming?

What kind of person do You want me to be? Please give me that same desire.

Give me the courage to lean into and learn from my emotions.

Amen

I’m praying with you…

Sue Reeve

Celebrating Our Stories – ‘Little Old Ladies’ in Our Story

     ‘Little Old Ladies.’

          I used to be aware of ‘them.

               Now, I’m aware I’m ‘one of them.’

     Perhaps, that’s why I loved a story our children’s pastor at Lake City Church told about a special ‘little old lady’ who played a role in his journey of faith and vocation. This is how I recall Andrew’s story, .

     From a young age, Andrew was certain he was meant to be a pastor like his dad. Throughout the years, he felt this ‘calling’ was confirmed more than once, and he chose a Christian college to pursue higher education.

     Andrew described himself as a good student but never top in his class. That is, until he took an elective course in business. He enjoyed the class, excelled in the coursework and began to wonder. Perhaps he hadn’t heard correctly from God over the years. He considered all the reasons it might be a good plan to change his major from ministry to business. Certainly, the pay would be better!

     Andrew made an appointment with a college counselor to discuss this possibility. The evening before the appointment, he was hard at work at his part-time job waiting tables at a local eatery.

     Balancing trays laden with dirty dishes, Andrew was returning to the kitchen when a ‘little old lady’ he’d never seen before stopped him. “Young man,” she said, “I believe I have a word from God for you.” Heavy trays wobbling in either hand, he stopped. “God wants you to know your first choice is the right choice. Does that make sense?” Astonished, Andrew told the ‘little old lady,’ “As a matter of fact, it does.” Then, the college junior who’d been mulling over future moves, delivered his teetering load to the kitchen.

     The next morning, Andrew cancelled his appointment with the counselor! Fortunate for our faith community, he followed his first choice.

     Andrew’s story made my heart sing. What a courageous’ little old lady,’ I thought. I sure would like to have that kind of gutsy faith.

     I’m convinced becoming the kind of ‘old lady’ who spoke so bravely into Andrew’s life requires a level of intentionality. In my last post, I shared with you what I call my ‘Maturity Manifesto:’

I will grow old with grace, dignity and a sense of humor.

     After hearing Andrew’s inspirational story, perhaps I should consider changing it to read,

     I will grow old with grace, dignity, COURAGE and a sense of humor.

No matter where you are on the age spectrum, I’m praying for you…

Sue Reeve