Friday, May 26, 2017

Wise Whys and Struggles









I've been thinking about the whys and attempting to be wise about the whys.  

Why did this struggle have to happen?  

Why us? 

Why has it been going on for this long? 

Why haven't our circumstances changed? 

Why are we still at this point? 

Why don't we have a time limit on our struggles?


Why can't our circumstances improve so that we can help others who are struggling? 

Why Lord?  Why? 

Struggles are an integral part of life. I know this and you know this. 

We know that in time (hours, days, months or years) we will be through our difficulty. Hopefully we will be stronger, more compassionate and wiser. 

Our current struggle has been long and continuous.
 I never expected for us to be in our fifties and having to deal with financial setbacks and struggles.  

We are not alone. If my husband and I had never experienced these years of financial struggle we would not be able to relate to others in their 40's and 50's who are in the same situation. Sadly, job loss, layoffs and cutbacks are a way of life for so many today. 

Lean in and lean on. We have learned through-out these years to lean into God’s Word, the Bible, and to lean on God. We keep praying and keep trusting that He is working through our situation. There is wisdom in the whys when you continue to put your complete trust in God. It is humbling to take such an ultimate step in faith.


Difficulties and struggles can come in many forms. Financial struggles, health issues, relationship problems, emotional struggles, habit and addiction issues, or faith issues. These are just some of the struggles which people face today and have dealt with in history. 

In the Bible many issues and struggles are described. Do you think that they also asked why? 

Faith issues: The Israelites took 40 years to make an 11 day journey.  Forty years! They only entered the Promised Land once the unfaithful and disbelieving had died. 

Relationship problems and abandonment: Joseph was traded by his brothers and abandoned because of their jealousy. Years later, Joseph and his brothers learn that what they did was God's plan to save them. 

Struggles with hate and racism:  Were it not for a queen, God's people would have been wiped out if Haman had his way. Queen Esther, God's chosen one, was able to lobby the king on her people's behalf and the Jews were able to defend themselves against Haman's edict.  

The verses below from Jeremiah are a reminder that God is aware of our struggles and that He does keep His promises. 

This is what the LORD says: "When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you: declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart."  Jeremiah 29:10-13 NIV

Your turn: What do you do when experience times of struggle? 

The pictures in this post were taken by JennyEBurr. 

Other By His Grace posts of interest: 


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

It's Spring













These photos by JennyEBurr were taken in the village. 

Monday, April 17, 2017

Easter Is






















Easter Is...

Beauty from ashes

Calm from chaos 

Healing from brokenness

Love from hate

Hope from despair

Life from death

Light from darkness

Joy from misery

Comfort from pain

Compassion from shame

Forgiveness from guilt

Sacrificial love

Grace freely given

 For Christ has risen


The photos by JennyEBurr were taken in our yard and around the village in the spring and fall. 




Friday, March 31, 2017

March Meltdown












Just a few pics in appreciation of our March meltdown in the village. 






Tuesday, March 14, 2017

March Wanderings




















On a couple of milder days earlier in March I wandered about the village to take these photos.  

I appreciate the blessing God has given us in the beauty of nature and I am looking forward to the arrival of spring. 

Other By His Grace Posts of Interest: 

Identity Crisis

The Unexpected

Are You a Heart Listener?

Winter Is

Are We There Yet?





Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Identity Crisis
















Have you ever suffered from an identity crisis? 

Perhaps from a job change or a relationship change? 

I remember when I became engaged and the wedding day was drawing nearer I told some of my friends that when my maiden name changed to my married name that my former self would no longer exist. 

They laughed of course and so did I but deep down I struggled with the fact that my name change almost felt like my single self, the Jenny Ryan self, that person who existed for 27 years would
disappear. 

I was experiencing a slight identity crisis. 

Jenny Ryan was the second oldest of 4 siblings. A younger sister to one sister and an older sister to one brother and 2 sisters. As well as being a half-sister and step sister to a few others. My “sisterhood” and “single status” were about to change. 

Alterations were soon going to be made with my being a daughter, and an aunt. Let's not forget, a whole troop of cousins, aunts and uncles, and grandparents from my side and my husband's side of the family. 

In my readings about Miriam, I wondered if perhaps she also struggled with an identity crisis? 

The verses in the Bible to which I am referring are found in Exodus 2:4-8, Exodus 15:20-21, and Numbers 12: 1-15. 

When we first meet Miriam, in Exodus 2: 4-8 we are not told her name. Instead, we are told about a baby who is placed in a basket in the water and that his sister is watching him. 

She is described only as his sister and that she watched the baby from a distance. As she watched she would be certain to alert their mom if anything were to happen to the baby.  

What can we learn about her from this phrase, “his sister?”  We know that she is older than the baby otherwise she would not have been given the responsibility to watch over the baby.

We also learn that she has initiative. When Pharaoh’s daughter and her slave girl discover the baby in the basket, the sister asks if she should go get a Hebrew woman to nurse the baby.  When she is given permission to do so, she naturally, she seeks out her mom.

Although she remained unnamed in these verses in Chapter 2, her role was important. She ensured that her baby brother survived his time in the basket. Ultimately, the sister was an important part of God’s plan for His people.

Several chapters later we learn a little bit more. 

Exodus 15:20-21 (NIV) "Then Miriam the prophetess, Aaron's sister, took a tambourine in her hand and all the women followed her, with tambournines and dancing. Miriam sang to them: 'Sing to the Lord, for he is highly exalted. The horse and rider he has hurled into the sea.' " 

What do we learn about the baby's sister? 

We learn that:
  • The baby's sister's name is Miriam
  • That she is a sister to Aaron (as well as Moses)
  • She is a propetess
  • She plays the tambourine
  • She danced
  • She leads the people in singing and dancing
  • She praises God for saving them from the Egyptians
We also learn that at this time in her life, her heart is right with God. She joyously praises Him and gives Him thanks. 

But there’s more. 

Miriam, like so many of us, also had struggles in her life. Sibling rivalry appears to be at the core of her being when we meet her again in the book of Numbers. 

It can’t have been easy for her to be an older sibling and to watch her youngest brother, Moses, be called by God to be the leader for the Hebrews. 

Leading God's people was not what God called Miriam to do. 

I can imagine the resentment, the envy, anger and jealousy which she must have felt because she criticized Moses for his choice of wife. (Numbers 12: 1)

Miriam said that God spoke to her and Aaron, as well as with Moses. True, however it was different and these verses give us some insight into how Miriam was really feeling. 

God heard what was being said and spoke to the three siblings. He explained that he spoke to various people differently, however the way he spoke with his humble servant, Moses was more personal and direct. 

Miriam's punishment for stirring up trouble was leprosy. A dreaded disease which isolated her from the others. 

Aaron begged Moses to pray on her behalf. Thankfully, when Moses prayed, God indicated that isolating her for 7 days from their encampment would suffice.

Makes you wonder if Miriam spent those 7 days of solitude in remorse and asking forgiveness and seeking God’s grace.


Miriam, like us, was human. She knew how to please God and like us, she made mistakes. 

She learned her place her family, as well as her place with God. 

You and I learn this as well. 

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for Miriam and for what we can learn from her and her brothers. Help us to acknowledge the call that You have on our sibling's lives and on our lives and to be thankful for these differences.  In Jesus' name, Amen. 

Photo Credit: These pictures were taken in and around the village by JennyEBurr

Other By His Grace Posts of Interest: 

Winter Is

The Unexpected

Mending the Broken Heart






Friday, February 10, 2017

Winter Is






























Winter Is....

Cool
Icy cold
Blowing snow
Blustery
Poor visibility
Frostbite cold
Wind chill 
Plumetting temperatures


Slippery
Slidey
Messy
Unpredictable

Feather-light gently falling snow
Footprints in the snow
Hard packed snow
Crisp crunchy top-layer snow

Glassy ice
Can't walk without slipping ice
Ice pellets
Freezing rain
Ice fog
Sleet
Wet-gray slush
Packing snow


Sunny days
Gray days
World-gone white days
Contrasting colour days
See your breath days
Snow globe days
Nippy frosty days
Scrape the snow and ice days
Shovel and plow days
Snow tire days

Stay by the fire and keep warm kind of days
Hot chocolate days
Hot apple cider days
Soup days

Snow days
No school bus days

Fun days
Winter activity days 
Snowshoeing
Skiing
Sliding
Toboganning
Sleigh riding
Hay riding
Snowboarding
Snowmobiling
Hiking
Playing hockey
Skating
Trail making
Fort building
Snowman making
Snow and ice sculpture making

Winter Is 



Sometimes it is good to stop and pause to express our appreciation of one of God's many blessings.  Winter is one of these blessings. 



Good News: 
I learned last week that my blog was selected as a Top Canadian Christian Blog by Faith Island. 

Thank you Faith Island for this special award. 
Featured on FaithIsland.org top Canadian Christian Blogs     




Other By His Grace Posts of Interest:


The Unexpected

Are You a Heart Listener?

For the Broken