Sleeplessness and Salvation

Have you ever woken up feeling the weightiness of worry on your chest?  Perhaps your mind is so full of madness that you could not fall asleep?  Or maybe it’s a big decision or unconfessed sin looming in your life?  I have dealt with all of these.  Sometimes I still do.  I ask myself, what in the world am I doing this or that for?  When I search my heart, mind and spirit I find no answers.  I need to take my worry, madness, big decision and unconfessed sins to the Lord.  It is there, with Him, that I will find peace.  “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”  (Matthew 11:28)

These times of worry are often life issues that I hold onto so tightly I truly cannot breath. It is so easy for me, too easy, to get caught up in the circumstance, focus on it rather than on my Help.  God doesn’t want me to be weighed down or to worry, He wants me to be free.  I am reminded through scripture that even though I am burdened, “You, Lord, preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and your right hand delivers me.” (Psalm 138:7)  God cares so much for me and you that he saves us from our enemies.  In some cases the enemy is that craziness in our wee minds.  You know hat self-talk or monkey chatter nonsense that rumbles through our brains.  I am so grateful for His mighty hand rescuing me.

rain on skylight
The dark sky looms, impatiently.
It overtakes my soul.
I cannot see clearly,
only raindrops dark as coal.

A tree of Hope is visible,
my eyes begin to see,
Lord Jesus takes the darkness,
My heart and soul are free.

Restless and sleepless nights have been no stranger in my life.  Sometimes its from something I said to one of my daughters that has left me feeling awful.  It has also been times when my beloved and I are in conflict with one another over some life issues.  Bottom line has been sleepless nights.   I can feel like the Israelites in Psalm 107:4-5, “Some wandered in desert wastelands, finding no way to a city where they could settle.  They were hungry and thirsty; their lives ebbed away.”  In these times I feel as though I’m in a desert, alone, thirsty and so very weary.   But, then I read on to verse 6 of Psalm 107, “Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress.”    I just need to read further, to look past my circumstance of desert wastelands and see God’s hand ready to delivery me from my distress.  He’s always ready to help, all I need to do is seek Him out.  I am so grateful that I serve such a loving and available God.

Decisions, decisions, decisions.  Life is full of decisions.  From what we are going to wear, to what we will serve for dinner, to decisions about employment, housing, bills.  The list goes on and on.  There are days we can feel like we’re drowning in the decisions to be made.  It makes me think of a small puddle where drops of water continually fall, eventually creating a pond.  Where did it all that water come from?

rain drop
It takes just one drop at a time to eventually create a pond or lake.   It’s times like this when I need to just stop. When I feel overcome by the weight of life’s decisions.  When I lack the strength or wisdom to make any decision.  Jeremiah 33:33 says, “Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.”   Call on the Lord and
He will.
He will answer.
He will answer you.

What a beautiful verse and reminder of how much God loves and cares for us.

Bottom line is all my sleeplessness, worry and difficulty in decision making have already be resolved by the One who so intricately and beautifully made me.  In my women’s Bible study we are studying Psalm 139.  It is a short Psalm, only 24 verses.  But so powerful, and reminds me,  through King David’s understanding of God’s heart, of how well God knows and cares for me.  He knows each one of us so very well.  I encourage you to read Psalm 139. You’ll see how wonderful the Lord is, how much He really knows and loves you, too.  Then you will want to hand over your worries and your warts to Him, and live out your life knowing God has your back.

two drops

Your life counts more than you know,
each part of you is just you.
God knit you together so carefully,
Your future He always knew.

Each hair upon your head He planned,
No detail left undone.
He knew the color of your eyes,
Before the earth had ever begun.

Like drops of water from a branch,
We don’t know where we’ll land.
But God who made the universe,
will always hold your hand.

So stand in confidence my friend,
And call on His name when you pray.
And He will surely slay your demons,
Each and every day.

PRAYER:  Dear Heavenly Father, I pray that whenever I am worrying, facing a decision or needing to confess my sins, I would run to You and place it all at Your feet.  I pray for each person that reads this that they would make You their Lord and Savior.  Thank You for loving me just as I am, just as You made me.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

It Was Only Yesterday…

DSC_0701
“Backyard Swings” – Debra Scowden, 2016

It was only yesterday that I dreamed of being a momma.  Prayed for God to answer that prayer.   It was about 16 years ago, just feels like yesterday.  The time has gone so quickly.  How about you?   What do you dream of?  Do you faithfully go to Jesus in prayer?

When we wanted to start a family, we were younger and filled with hope and the possibilities of parenthood.  Our own attempts to become pregnant fell short.  Leaving both of us feeling (me much more than my beloved) hopeless.

Then one day I woke up and felt the Lord asking me, “Do you want to be a mom?”

“Of course I do.” I responded in my mind.

God answered, “So, put your trust in Me and let’s make you a mom.  I have a plan, always have.  You now just need to let me work out the details.”  Just like Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

And that is what He did.  It took just under two years in the adoption process for us to bring our first daughter home.  I was a momma.   Yes, He did know, and He perfectly planned out every single detail.  Twenty-one months later we brought our second daughter home.  Our family was complete.  God just needed me to let go of my agenda, and let Him work out His.  His words says, “Your eyes saw their unformed bodies; all the days ordained for me and them were written in Your book before one of them came to be.” (italics mine)  A beautiful and amazing promise from God for each one of us.

The time has flown by.  Our eldest is 14 1/2, our youngest is 12 1/2.  No longer babies, or even little girls.  They are young women.

As I took this picture in our backyard the other day, I reminisced about them as little girls.  Then the Lord nudged my heart, there were words He wanted me to say.  Words that He had sitting in my heart.  My beauties will always be in my heart.  It is where their lives for me began.  The Bible says, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:21)  The Lord is my treasure, I prayed for babies, He faithfully answered my prayer.

It truly seems like only yesterday when our daughters played on these swings every chance they could.  Now this play structure sits in our backyard, lonely and abandoned.  Our girls have moved on from playing in the backyard to visiting with friends, and enjoying other activities.  Growing up.

Seasons of life.  Like the seasons of the year.  Each one offering its own beauty and gifts.  “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens…” (Ecc. 3:1)   This season of parenting is full of rich and lovely rewards.  Knowing that both of my girls love the Lord, and have a growing faith.  They both have a sense of right and wrong, and mostly do what is right.  I love being their mom.  I love watching them grow into the most amazing young women a mom could ask for.

So, whatever you dream of, whatever God has placed on your heart, put your trust in Him.  The One who lead David to write, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.  My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.” (Psalm 139:15)

PRAYER:  Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for creating me, knowing me and caring so much about me.  I pray that anytime I doubt that I would look back and see all you have done in my life and the lives of others.

IT WAS ONLY YESTERDAY
by Debra Scowden

These swings are calling
from days not long ago.
Of laughter and of playfulness,
with sunshine and some snow.

Brightly colored clothing
represents their cheerful ways,
today my mind remembers,
all of summers dog days.

No longer do they swing,
yet lovely they still are.
Today I sweetly cherish,
my girls, my super stars.

What I know for certain,
what I hold onto so dear,
is the beauty of my babies,
whether far away or near.

They’ve grown into young women,
with hopes and many dreams.
Someday, Lord willing, they’ll be mamas,
with babies, and they’ll beam.

Their babies will be swinging,
with delight in their eyes.
Sweet laughter and playfulness,
as they reach up to the sky.

Where the Lord will always guide them,
to each place they’ll ever go.
He will clothe them with compassion,
from them kindness will overflow.

 

 

 

Pride

DSC_0688

Pride is defined as having a high or inordinate opinion of one’s own dignity, importance, merit or superiority.  It can be a cherished opinion in the mind or can be shown in our behavior.

There are so many times that I can be so self consumed with my own importance.  Toward my daughters, my husband and other family and friends.   As I looked up scriptures on pride I came across Galatians 6:3 which says, “For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.”  I don’t wish to be so self consumed that I deceive myself.  No matter what I do or think, I will never deceive the Lord.  He knows my heart.  As I read further in scripture I find James 4:6 which reminds me, “But he gives more grace.  Therefore it says, ‘God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”    God alone gives grace.  God gives grace.  GOD IS GRACE.

There it is, God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.  He wants me and you to be humble, to put ourselves in full submission to His good and perfect will for our lives.  I want to receive His grace.  How about you?

This kind of submission is not easy.  In fact we have to acknowledge that we are weak.  In this weakness, can He be strong for us.

DSC_0703

“For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”  Luke 14:11

Pride infects my very soul,
In ways too many to count.
Pride causes me to lose sight,
Of Jesus upon the mount.

Let go-let God, I’ve heard it said.
Lord, grant me freedom from,
My pride which does debilitate
Life under Satan’s thumb.

A humble heart is my desire,
A heart exalting You.
In Your grace I long to live,
My life, my hope, You grew.

The Word became flesh upon the earth,
You breathe all things to be.
My life, my mind, my heart You’ve made,
With You, Lord Jesus, from pride I am free.

PRAYER: Dear Heavenly Father, I ask for humble confidence in all I do and say; I pray for this same confidence for my sweet husband and our precious daughters, and for all who are reading this and needing Him.  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen!

My Precious Daughter

Thankful Thursday…..today, every day, I am truly a blessed woman to have a daughter like you, Emily.  Today I am thankful for you.

Every day I have the gift of being your mom.  Doing our days together.  From talks, laughter, school, and chores.    A new day has begun, and I just want you to know how wonderful you are, and that I love you….most. ☺️

emily bw

God made all the delicate, inner parts of your body and knit you together in your mother’s womb (in my heart). I thank God for making you so wonderfully complex! His workmanship is marvelous – how well I know it and hope you do too. Psalm 139:13-14 (Paraphrased)

You grow more beautiful every day,
Your eyes shine bright with God’s love.
You’re fun, delightful and love to play
You’re a beautiful young lady, gentle as a dove.

My daughter your are so precious to me,
I pray this you will always know.
No matter where life may take thee,
May God lead you wherever you go.

I’m proud of all the things you do,
From your work to the friends you’ve made.
May you know above others I place you,
My sweet girl, you my darling I’d never trade.

A young lady you are, God’s perfect plan,
Every part of you, to Him you fully belong.
In Him, through Him, all things you can.
You’re God’s wonderful workmanship, His sweet song.

 

Stop, Sit, Submit

    Photos by Debra Scowden 2016


I am a part of an online Bible journaling challenge for the month of January.  Since today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day the premise was about areas we may be personally struggling and then asking God to help us grow and change into the best we can be for Him.  What I’m enjoying most about this study is that its not focusing on my being artistic in my journaling Bible, but about know who God is and what He wants for me.  It’s has been a beautiful journey.

The scripture that we focused on today was First John 5:5, “Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.”  The assignment was being honest about my personal struggles, then coming up with 3 goals for a better life.

So let me begin by saying I have put this in first person because it is my story, my struggles and my goals.  If you connect with any of what I share and are helped by it please let me know by leaving a comment.

My Struggles are impatience and self-control.  Dear Heavenly Father, in the mighty, powerful name of Jesus, I pray that I would stop before I reach the point of impatience, calming me so I can live out that fruit of patience; that my lack of self-control would be turned around completely to total self-control because I am depending only on You, Lord Jesus, Amen.

Three Goals for a Better Life

  1. STOP:  When the feeling of impatience begins to enter my mind, I need to stop myself immediately and pray.  Similar to the game of Monopoly, when you land on the Go To Jail or receive a card from the Chance deck, you are forced to STOP what you’re doing and where your going, and go to the spot marked jail.  It’s here that I have to sit and wait.  No sense is being impatient or losing self-control.  I must stop.  Job 37: 14 says, “Listen to this; stop and consider God’s wonders.”  So, that’s pretty clear.
  2. SIT:  When my schedule is full, or we are running late, I become impatient and lack self-control.  I can get frustrated with my girls, or whomever may be around.  😦  This scenario is all too common in my life. It affects my husband and my children., and myself.  Not something I am proud of in the least.
    As I reflect on my goals towards patience and self-control, I can see how much of this craziness is my own doing.  Overlapping events on the calendar cause me great angst.  That is when I have  physically stop myself.  I need to sit still with the Lord,  open my Bible and search for scripture that will bring me to completely focus on Jesus.  Some scriptures I have camped on are Psalm 37:7, Psalm 131:2, Jeremiah 29:11 and Lamentations 3:24-25.  Truly, there are so many amazing verses to hold onto.
  3. SUBMIT:  After I stop myself, I sit with the Lord and His word.  Here is where I need to be willing to submit myself, completely and fully, to His good and perfect will for my life.  Hebrews 10:36 reminds me, “You need to preserve so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised.”  This perseverance is moving toward His will and plan, no matter what.
    Ultimately, His will is being done in my life whether I’m on board with it or not.  The end result, where I’ll end, depends on whether or not I choose to submit to His will.  I choose to submit.  I say to myself, “Submit yourself therefore to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”  (James 4:7)  Great words.  Not necessarily easy, but possible with God.

 

DSC_0599


Life has troubles and turmoil,
Pain and suffering, too.
These seasons seem to spoil
My plans, out they just flew.

I stop and hold all movement,
Reflect on God’s Holy word.
To be a devoted student,
My spirit is deeply stirred.

I search the scriptures fully,
My heart longs to know
God’s will for me completely,
His promise shines; a rainbow.

Submitting to Him only,
No other thing I need.
With God I can live boldly,
In my words, my heart, my deeds.

To know that Jesus Christ,
Is indeed the Creator of all.
His life for me He sacrificed,
I am no longer held in thrall.

DSC_0683

Shoe Prints in the Sand

    As I was writing a post this evening, I found a file of drafts that I never completed nor posted.  This is one from about two years ago, maybe even a bit longer than that.  As the daughter I wrote about is going to be 13 in just a few months.  I am also certain that I took a picture of the prints from her shoes, but it must be on another computer.  I guess each post does not need a photograph.  I think most of us can imagine what a foot or shoe print looks like in the sand.

*********

Written approximate two years ago.

We are taking a short family vacation on the southern Oregon coast.  My youngest, my baby and I went for a walk on the beach this morning.  She was on the hunt for shells and rocks.  I was on the look-out for an opportunity to use my camera.  Capture a scene or a moment.

     On our way back to the cottage, I looked down and saw her footprints in the sand.  My mind flashed back to a time not so long ago when these feet were small enough to fit easily in the palm of my hand.  They are now too big for that.  I hold her hand, and remember the first time I held it, the first time I saw her.  Almost eleven years ago.  Seems like yesterday.

     Back to her show prints.  I am a visual learner, visually inspired.  Her shoe prints made me feel, made me want…so much for her.

Walking on the beach on this sunny morn,
My youngest daughter close by my side.
I see the oceans water stir, I hear a fog horn,
My heart reflects my desire for her to abide.

I turn around and see the sight,
my baby’s shoeprints in the sand.
A day, a year or two or more,
Her tiny feet fit in my hand.

I watch as she diligently searches,
For treasures on the ground.
She is delighted with every find,
My delight in her abounds.

For her future I do pray,
that she will seek the Lord.
and will find delight in all He says,
His word will be her sword.

       It is still, to this day, and will be for as long as I’m alive, my fervent prayer that my daughter always seeks the Lord in all of her life’s decisions.  I love you more my sweet DDK.

Fabulous Fiery Forest

Fall tree

Alas, dear one, the day has come
From burdens, your heart is free.
In the distance – not so far your eyes see,
A magnificent sight, the tree of Calvary.

A tree, so plain and ordinary,
Yet appearances are not all they seem.
Look closely with your heart, dear one.
From it God’s living waters stream.

Its beauty and sweet fragrance
Brings you, sweet child, to your knees.
In praise and adoration to Him,
His death your sin appeased.

Your burdens so lovingly He carries,
His joy and love for you runs deep.
May Jesus be your one true pleasure,
May He be your shepherd – and you His sheep.

And so, dear one as this day closes,
Your burdens at the cross you rest.
Sleep well, sweet dreams, He’s with you
Each precious day, our God knows best.

Debra Scowden © 11/2015

 

”May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”   Romans 15:13