All posts by Sue

‘Wrestling…’ – Post #5

Like Travel, You Never Remain the Same

The World Is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.
~ Saint Augustine of Hippo.

     I’ve been writing about spiritual ‘wrestling’ recently. In Post #2 I discussed the biblical story in Genesis about Jacob wrestling with an angel of God, refusing to let go until he received God’s blessing.

     I was never the same. He not only emerged with a limp, but a new name. In the same way, whenever we have been through a season of spiritual ‘wrestling,’ our soul’s identity is changed forever.

     Travel for me has a similar effect.

     I certainly am not a worldwide traveler, but I have traveled enough to realize you never come home the same. You always return with a piece of the place you’ve been imbedded in your heart and mind. Unless disability steals them, you will never lose the memory of

     having been there,

          having seen this,

               having done that.

     My husband isn’t as eager to travel as I am, but he’s by far my favorite travel partner for many reasons. One of the main ones is I love the way Ron captures memories with his camera.

     Since many of you have told me how much you enjoy Ron’s photographs, I decided to do a few posts filled with photos and memories of our recent trip to Washington, D.C. and the surrounding area.

     I hope you’ll enjoy the photos with accompanying thoughts.

My friend, Patty, assured me using the Metro was a great way to get around Washington, D. C., so Ron and I set out to navigate the city via Metro. It was quite an experience. By the end of the second day, we felt like pros (well, almost!).

I’m certain we had “Tourist” written all over us, and more than once, we were pleasantly surprised by the willingness of locals to take time and ask if they could help us! What a great example they were. Their graciousness will remind us to assist the stranger.

I’ve enjoyed reading several books by Mark Batterson, pastor of a large church in D. C. His faith is contagious. One of the faith ventures he describes was opening Ebenezer’s Coffeehouse. Going there was one of my D. C. destination goals.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 tells Christians to “encourage one another and build each other up.” Mark Batterson’s words, spoken and written, have encouraged many.

In his book, The Circle Maker, Batterson said one of his favorite places to pray is on the rooftop of Ebenezer’s. After enjoying an iced green tea (too warm that day for coffee) at Ebenezer’s, I felt inspired to pray that I will be a woman who is faithful to encourage and build up rather than one who discourages and finds fault.

Ebenezer’s Coffeehouse is a few blocks away from Union Station, a famous travel hub, filled with rich history, amazing architecture, and noisy energy.

“May you keep dreaming until the day you die. May imagination overtake memory. May you die young at a ripe old age.” 

Mark Batterson, The Circle Maker: Praying Circles Around Your Biggest Dreams and Greatest Fears

Our plan was to visit three museums when we were in D.C. Instead, we ended up spending an entire day at the Museum of the Bible. Opened in 2017, it is considered one of the ten best museums in D.C. We recommend it!

Because I treasure scripture, I wondered if I’d be disappointed in the Museum, but in fact, my faith in God and the Bible intensified as we took in wonders on all five floors. Each explored a different aspect of the Bible and biblical history, such as this Orthodox work of art.

Modern technology allows words from the Bible to be spread all over the world, reminding me of the ancient words of Isaiah…

Yes, grass withers and flowers fade, but the word of our God endures forever.” (Isaiah 40:8 GNT)

Blessings on wherever life’s journey takes you…

Sue Reeve

“Wrestling…” – Post #4

Take Time to Restore, Reflect, Rejuvenate

 

     I’ve said I love to travel, but that’s not totally true.

     Travel is exhausting! Rising at 2:30 a.m. to catch a 6:00 a.m. flight isn’t fun.

     Going through airport security with two metal hips is a hassle. When the TSA employee—who I realize is only doing her job—invades my personal-space bubble, I fight annoyance.

     Scrunching into a cramped airplane seat is uncomfortable.

     Adjusting my body clock to a different time zone is disturbing.

     The act of traveling could be akin to the spiritual wrestling we’ve been exploring. It’s not pleasant but is necessary to reach a desired destination.

     I’ve been ‘wrestling’ with some changes and potential decisions the past few months. The process hasn’t been excruciating but has interrupted my peace of mind.

     A while back my soul let me know I needed time and space away from the mundane to renew, reflect and rejuvenate. I was ready to say, “Bring it on!” to the inconvenience of travel when we left on our recent autumn vacation to the eastern United States.

     Again, because several readers asked to see a few of Ron’s photos, today I’d like to share some special restorative moments from our time away.

 

Cranes silhouetted in the sunrise! Oh, the joy of basking in the beauty of creation!

be ye glad and rejoice forever in that which I create… (Isaiah 65:18 KJV)

Our grandson, Jackson, plays hockey. One of my favorite parts of a hockey game is the Zamboni cleaning and polishing the ice. When I saw this cute little Zamboni-like machine tidying up the sand at the crack of dawn on Virginia Beach, I paused to reflect on the great gift of grandkids.

Grandchildren are the crowning glory of the aged… (Proverbs 17:6 NLT)

This beautiful butterfly – symbolic of radical transformation.

Do not conform yourselves to the standards of this world, but let God transform you inwardly by a complete change of your mind. Then you will be able to know the will of God—what is good and is pleasing to him and is perfect. (Romans 12:2 GNT)

The stunning simplicity of a single flower.

The Apostle Paul said, “For our boasting is this: the testimony of our conscience that we conducted ourselves…in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom but by the grace of God… (2 Corinthians 1:12 NKJV)

Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him! (Psalm 34:8 NLT)

These serene scenes seem like ideal places for reflection.

“We are starved for intimacy, to see and feel and know God in the very cells of our being. We are starved for rest, to know God beyond what we can do for him. We are starved for quiet, to hear the sound of sheer silence that is the presence of God himself.”

~ Ruth Haley Barton, Invitation to Solitude and Silence – Experiencing God’s Transforming Presence

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, the tallest in North America, has been a beacon of protection for many ships. Reminds me of the psalmist’s prayer:

Reveal your light and your faithfulness!
They will lead me,
they will escort me back to your holy hill,
and to the place where you live. (Psalm 43:3 NET)

     May your soul find time for restoration, reflection and rejuvenation…

Sue Reeve

“Wrestling…Part 3”

Post #3 – Which Path Should I Choose?

     Lord…Which path should I choose? I’ve asked God this question on many occasions—especially when I’m in a season of ‘wrestling.’

     My husband knows I’m intrigued by paths, and he’s always ready with his camera to capture a good path picture. During our recent vacation to the eastern part of the United States, he took many.

     Since several Listening… readers have asked me to share some of Ron’s photos, I decided today’s post will consist of some vacation path pictures, accompanied by thoughts from scripture.

     I hope you’ll enjoy and that the ancient words from scripture—some with a modern twist—will encourage you to keep looking for the right path as you ‘wrestle’ to make good decisions!

Williamsburg, VA

[Wisdom’s] ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace. Proverbs 3:17 (NIV)

Jamestown, VA

To You, O Lord,
do I lift up my soul.

O my God, I trust in You;
may I not be ashamed…

Make me to know Your ways, O Lord;
teach me Your paths. (Psalm 25:1-4 MEV)

Virginia Beach, VA

The Lord gives wisdom…Then you will understand what is right and just
and fair—every good path. (Proverbs 2:6 & 9 (NIV)

Jamestown, VA

This is a passage of scripture I go to often when I’m ‘wrestling,’ trying to determine the correct path to take.

“My thoughts,” says the Lord, “are not like yours,
and my ways are different from yours.
As high as the heavens are above the earth,
so high are my ways and thoughts above yours. (Isaiah 55:8 & 9 GNT)

Williamsburg,, VA

Only simpletons believe everything they’re told! The prudent carefully consider their steps. (Proverbs 14:15 NLT)

Rural Virginia

By your words I can see where I’m going;
they throw a beam of light on my dark path. (Psalm 119:105 NLT)

WW II Memorial, Washington. D. C.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him,
and He will direct your paths. (Proverbs 3:5 & 6 MEV)

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, Cape Hatteras, NC, has 257 steps—many more than I’m used to climbing—but the view from the top was spectacular!

 We can make our plans,
but the Lord determines our steps. (Proverbs 16:9 NLT)

Waynesboro, VA

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake. (Psalm 23:1-3 NIV)

Harpers Ferry, WV

This is what the Lord says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’ (Jeremiah 6:16 NIV)

Nags Head, NC

Make me walk along the path of your commands,
for that is where my happiness is found. (Psalm 119:35 NLT)

 

Washington, D. C.

This is one of my favorite vacation path photos. I imagine this sweet little sparrow isn’t ‘wrestling’ with what path to take!

..don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.

(Matthew 10:31 NIV)

Prayer:

Lord, during seasons of spiritual ‘wrestling,’ life can seem so confusing. Help us to remember you care and are ready to lead us onto the right path. Remind us when we forget this truth. Amen

May your ways be blessed…

Sue Reeve