Sunday, May 3, 2015

Peace ~ Isaiah 26:3

How did you go with your JOY assignment last week?
I pray that you discovered a great deal about yourself, and the things that bring your life true joy. These will become very important to your mental and physical health, and also your relationship health because joy is infectious...and there's nothing lovelier than being infected with joy from those around us, so imagine the JOY you'll naturally exude from within as you re-acquaint yourself with those things in life you've remembered are joy-builders inside your heart.

This week I have a new assignment. 

What gives you  peace? 

Isaiah 26:3 tells us that the Lord will keep us in perfect peace when our thoughts rest on Him, so this verse was the first one I ever wrote in my blue Bible and that was because my life at the time was anything but peaceful.
I needed that promise like flowers need rain. My life was a shattered mess and I begged the Lord many times to take me away and into His arms so the pain would end. 
He did not take me, but whispered this verse into my heart and I clung to it like ivy clings to an old English cottage for many, many years. 

Last year I lost that very special old blue Bible, and I didn't tell my family for a long time because I kept praying it would appear.
I was so heartbroken, like a part of my body had been removed and nothing could replace it. When I eventually told Mr E and Blossom it was missing they both tried to comfort me, but when I was on my own I would weep before the Lord begging Him to show me where I'd left it. You see, it was the oldest Bible I owned, the one our children called my "fast-flickin' Bible" because it had been read through and written in so many times that I could find any verse in seconds. There were notes and dates and names written amongst Scripture, underlined passages that held deep meaning to me, highlighted verses that I could still see and remember why I'd wanted them to shine from the page. 

It was me and God bound together in blue bonded leather. It was our story. It was past, present and future. It was hope, joy, sorrow, loss, love, promises, forgiveness, Jesus.
As the cover faded, and the binding cracked and withered, I never saw anything but a beautiful treasure that grew more and more valuable with each passing year. 
That first morning when I could not find it the house was immediately upturned, shaken out. Nothing. I searched again and again over the following weeks, then months. Nothing. I had to accept it was truly gone.

My heart was ripped in two and as the months passed and another Bible was eventually purchased my sadness continued to deepen. I struggled to use the 'new' Bible, even though it had wide margins for writing the notes it was my habit to make - it just wasn't the same, so I put it away and left it alone. My iPad had a Bible app and for a while that's where I read the words of life each morning.
But it's not the same as holding the Book.

Around the middle of March I remembered  an old study Bible from my year at Bible College. Dusting it off after a long sabbatical pressed tightly between more old books in our wide brown book case, I made the decision to seek God 'where He may be found'  in those pages and not to grieve over what was so obviously lost.
Every morning I thanked Him for His Word which was perfect in any cover, and as March closed and April opened it's doors I began to get excited about sitting beside my living room window each morning at sunrise and opening my 'new-old' study Bible. I found some notes inside which I'd made during that year at College and felt comfortable writing new ones so I kept a few coloured pencils nearby, and each day would highlight a verse or word that resonated with me or which I wanted to study more.

Finally, I let go, giving the grief and loss of the old Bible into His keeping forever, and rejoicing that His Word is alive and living in any Bible and it's my relationship WITH HIM which truly bonds us together.
He is my God, my Father, my Saviour, my Word, and when I settled that in my heart do you know what happened?

I found my old blue Bible.

Inside the front cover, in my scrawled blue ballpoint cursive handwriting, Isaiah 26:3 gave me a depth of understanding that I'd not had before.

 All that time I thought it lost it had been hanging inside my "True Peace" bag near the sewing room
 And it wasn't until I began writing this today that I realised the significance of where it was hiding these past six months.

He ties all the cords together and when you see His lesson in your life come to pass it all makes sense.

So I ask you today, where do you find your peace?
I finally know where to find mine.

(the stitchery on the bag is a free pattern here)


Download the devotional and Scripture card here.


Sharon said...

A lovely life story Jennifer... I have seen that illustrated in a different way over the last few weeks... We haved moved house and of course took all our worldly possessions - trip after trip we made with box load and box load of "stuff" I was overjoyed with the thought of my very own accessible "open all hours" space but it soon became the home for the overflowing boxes. I needed, we needed to downsize and so we have and boot load by boot load to the local Savers store. Then I came to my collection over twenty years of craft magazines - this one was hard - as a lot of my hopes and dreams were tied up in these - of a life I wanted so much to have... But I knew in my heart of heart I just couldn't keep them all - it was time that someone out there had a chance to enjoy them. A girlfriend put her hand up - she would take them only if she could hand them on. We agreed. I must admit I have gone through them and I have found some 'diamonds' among the piles - these I have (for the moment) kept. The rest I have 'released' and with it I have an overwhelming sense of peace. We hold onto stuff, because it makes us safe, gives us a sense of identity - but rarely a sense of peace.

Anonymous said...

I love all your postings, Jenny because there is a beautiful spirit behind them (yes, of course I adore your work as well! It's why I started visiting your site.) Jesus might have used your story of the lost Bible as a parable, eh? An amazing picture of God's attitude toward those who are not yet part of His kingdom. So touching. PS I wept tears of joy when you found your precious Bible. Thank you for sharing such an uplifting message. Jamie

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing that. I love that Isaiah is the scripture today. Just this week, I finished my seven month journey through Isaiah! It's been an interesting time, a joyful time, a fearful time, and I've had a growing love for this ancient days prophet who saw so much of us. I can't imagine how he held so much in his head about his times, the times of Christ and the last days, without going a little crazy, but then, he lived close to the Lord! I'm almost at a loss about where to go next for study, so I'm reading old treasured scriptures while I wait for the Lord to nudge me.

We had stake conference today, and the stake president's challenge to all of us was to read the scriptures with our families every day, and to study and ponder what we read. I think that's where I find my peace, as well as my joy. He promised we would feel three things: A rise in compassion; A rise in spirituality; A rise in the desire and ability and opportunity to spread the gospel. Can't ask for more than that!

Farm Quilter said...

I love that God leads us gently (when we willingly follow) through the discoveries of His all-encompassing love for us. Just think of all you learned on the journey to be reunited with your beloved Bible!! I find God's peace in nature and when I am quilting. As I stand and move my longarm around a quilt, I talk with God...praying for anyone who comes to my mind. Knowing that God hears my prayers brings me peace. I am consciously working to always let go and let God take care of the hard stuff. I finally decided that when I worry over anything, it is my way of telling God He doesn't know what He is doing and that I don't trust I am replacing worry with thanksgiving that God does know what He is doing and He will do the right thing in every situation. His peace replaces my fretting!

Baa. xxx said...

How lovely you have found your old 'friend' again. About a month ago I took the old Bible from my shelf that I used in my 20's and used it for about a fortnight - it was such fun flicking through it pages seeing my notes and prayers from that time. Peace like a river flows.

Tammy said...

I loved reading your beautiful testimony. Your posts always pick me up and lift me closer to the Lord.

Anonymous said...

HI Jennny

I know the sadness and panic when you can't find something intertwined in your life.

Recently I thought I had lost my personal journal and then my rosary beads that are very special to me. Being Catholic I called on ST Anthony the patron saint of lost things and they turned up much ot my delight

voyance gratuite said...

Hello, I really love what you do I wonder how I could have missed your blog

Anonymous said...

Hi Jenny, I have been following your blog for some time now and I was really taken with your idea of a Year of Domesticity, unfortunately, i quickly found I was moving and re-shaping my life to being on my own. So I am now 5 months behind, but I shall continue. With moving, I have had no time or patience for my stitching which I love. However, this past weekend being, the second weekend in May is my embroiderers' guild's Friendship Day, but as I am on a limited budget, I was not too hopeful of finding the $20 needed to attend.

Then I realised it was also Mother's Day and my birthday the next day, so I decided I would do nothing but stitch for 3 days. I loved it, and everything is now calm & peaceful again. I completed a pincushion, and began another small for a thread tag as well as hand sewing a repair for my sister. Next weekend I am getting the machine out.

Now I have found my Peace and everything is back to gentle and even within myself, and although content to be back on my own, I'm more at Peace with it than I was in December.

Thank you for your guidance so far this year. When my blog is tidied up and underway again, I shall post the link here.