All posts by Sue

Jesus Still Calms Storms…

A stormy morning on Virginia Beach.

     Over the past few months, we’ve experienced worldwide, national, and personal storms—wave upon angry wave descending upon us quickly:

          Pandemic

               Quarantine

                    Job Loss

                         Loneliness

                              Death

                                   Racial Unrest

                                        Riots

                                             Fear

                                                  Lots of Fear!

     Some wonder: Does God care? Reading a familiar New Testament story reassures me the answer is Yes!

 As they sailed, [Jesus] fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown”! He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. “Where is your faith?” he asked his disciples. In fear and amazement, they asked one another, “Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him.” Luke 8:23-25 (NIV)

This story reminds me:

  • life’s storms can be terrifying and the possibility of danger very real;
  • crying out for divine help during a storm is a very good idea;
  • Jesus still cares about people’s very real storms;
  • divine intervention may leave me amazed and bewildered; but
  • having experienced it, faith in God’s love, care, and power will grow.

No doubt about it, recent days have been tough, and responses of people have been polarized, passionate, and painful. We’re experiencing some pretty scary storms!
Today, as I pray for humankind throughout the world, the question Jesus asked his friends in the boat rings in my spirit, “Where is your faith?”

Prayer:
Jesus, Storm-Calmer:
I want to be amazed by You!
I pray many will be utterly amazed as we look back on this tumultuous time,
As we recall
21st Century storms calmed by the loving rebuke of
One,
Who even today quiets howling winds and stills raging waters
Give me the grace of continuing faith to keep on
Asking, believing, and growing.
Amen

I pray the Lord will bless each reader of these words with peace…

Sue Reeve

We All Have a Story…

     My photographer husband was looking for a good sunset photo. I was hoping to add a few steps to my Fitbit number when we headed to one of our favorite spots along Lake Coeur d’Alene.

     The weather was unpleasant, and I added less than 2000 steps. The sunset was less than spectacular, and Ron didn’t bother taking pictures. We did, however, have a blessed encounter.

     Ron spoke with a homeless couple while I waited in a nice warm car. They told him they were waiting on a check to arrive, but until then, they couldn’t afford a place to live. They’d walked all the way from Spokane on the chilly, rainy day, the man pushing a shopping cart and the woman pulling a wagon containing their earthly possessions.

     Ron shared the biggest part of the contents of his wallet with the couple. When He asked permission to take their picture, the man said, “That would be real nice.” Afterward, he thanked Ron for doing so.

     As I watched this scene unfold from the comfort of our car, I felt a nudge in my heart to get out and visit with them, ask them about their story. Experience has taught me most people like to share their stories with a willing listener.

     But I didn’t. Insecurity and fatigue were greater than the nudge. Opening my heart to listen to someone’s story requires emotional energy and vulnerability. I also felt afraid. Fear created by insecurity, but also because the low growls of the dog walking with them were intimidating!

     Insecurity and fear often keep us from listening to another’s story.

     This couple reminds me we all have a story. I have a story. My husband has a story. Every person reading this post has a story.

     Every person we’ve seen on our televisions recently has a story.

          Every protestor, peaceful or destructive,

               Every law enforcement officer,

                    Every biologically determined skin tone,

                         Every Conservative,

                              Every Liberal,

                                   Every member of every faith tradition,

                                        Every Agnostic,

                                             Every Atheist.

     Each one has a story. Stories filled with chapters: some joyful, some hopeful, some sad, some right-down brutal.

     One recent day, I entered this prayer in my journal:

God With Us,

You came into a dark world to bring good news of good love
To the poor, the disenfranchised, the abused, the lonely, the prisoner,
To those who cannot or will not see.
You came to bring freedom to all who would step into Your freedom[1].
I lift up the broken pieces of my own heart, the gaps in my own understanding
To You, the Only One who loves and understands perfectly.

In my prayer to You, I request a tomorrow much different than today;
A tomorrow when grace will be written into stories
Whose chapters have been filled with suffering, sorrow, and sadness.

Bring healing, wholeness, and wellness to
Bodies, minds, emotions, relationships, and spirits.

Re-form this broken world with Your Divine Love!

Amen

May you experience Divine love this day…

Sue Reeve

  1. See Luke 4:14-21

Becoming a Sweet Fragrance…

     June 3rd, I said, “So long!” to another year. My special day was filled with much that speaks love to my soul including meaningful words and quality time. One sweet prayer sent to me by a friend included this line: May she be a fragrance of Christ to others and a gracious witness to those whose lives she touches.

     My friend’s prayer was especially meaningful since prior to my birthday, I told my husband I’d love a new rose bush. Specifically, I told Ron, I wanted one that had fragrant flowers. I used to assume all roses smelled like roses but have discovered many have beautiful flowers but little or no scent.

     On my birthday, we visited a local nursery. After examining and sniffing a lot of different roses, I settled on this one named Sheila’s Perfume.

     The sense of smell is a powerful trigger of emotions, which can transport a person to pleasant or unpleasant memories. It’s not surprising the apostle Paul uses this powerful metaphor when writing to Christians in Corinth.

     I’ve encountered Christians who have exuded a sweet fragrance and also, those who’ve created quite a stench. Truthfully, I’ve done both!

     My words today are not written to pass judgment. I’ll leave that to God who sees clearly into each heart. I imagine growing into my friend’s birthday prayer is a large enough project for me to examine in the foreseeable future!

Prayer:

Glorious, Loving, Almighty God,

Enable me to become a fragrance of Christ to others and

A gracious witness to those whose lives touch mine.

Amen

Blessings as we increasingly learn to exude the fragrance of Christ…

Sue Reeve

P. S. Here are some additional photos Ron took in our yard one recent early morning.

The delicate, graceful, exquisite Japanese iris is one of my favorites.

These peonies originated from my grandfather’s garden and were given to us by my aunt when she moved into a retirement home. They bloomed a little later this year, but usually they are in bloom on Memorial Day—a remembrance of flower-loving ancestors.

Lotsa’ Hosta because we have a lot of shade in our back yard!