Daily Devotion

Time Thief

Yesterday morning I did something I haven’t done in a long time. I actually sat down with a cup of coffee and read our local newspaper. Reading about school sports, commercial building plans, and a food truck location debate provided a bit of grounding for me. I tend to forget about “small town” news which is often drowned out by so many headline-grabbing world events. I also found time to relax and read a favorite magazine and sift through a few catalogs. How had I forgotten the pure enjoyment of a lazy afternoon perusing Birds and Blooms?

I am entering week five of my Lenten social media fast. Each week gets a little easier, and the temptation to open my Facebook and Twitter apps has lessened greatly. (Disclaimer: If you are reading this on either site, this is an auto-generated post from my WordPress account 😊.) My fast was clearly long overdue.

Social media will steal an enormous amount of our time if we allow it, distracting us to the point where we shut out important parts of our lives. We lose personal face-to-face contact, sacrificing opportunities to deepen our relationships with friends and family. We pass through daily life without looking up, ignoring the amazing world around us. If anything, we are actually becoming anti-social!

Today I took some extra time to ponder how God is speaking to me through my Lenten devotional and weekly Bible study. I realized that I have been putting limits on what I am willing to sacrifice in my daily life. I have placed importance on truly trivial things that should not occupy my time or attention.

I know that I am not alone. Social media is a tempting trap, enticing us to over-share and compare ourselves with others we hardly know. For some, sadly it has become a global platform to hate and to hurt. But each one of us can make a deliberate choice about what we share and how much time and space we allow social media to steal from our lives. When my Lenten fast ends and I cautiously re-engage with my Facebook and Twitter pages, I will continue to seek ways that I might be a light in a dark world.

Will you join me?


Daily Devotion

The Crazy and the Calm

It’s been a crazy week here, with the wildest wind storm I have ever witnessed in Virginia. This massive storm affected a vast stretch of the eastern seaboard, bringing damaging winds and coastal flooding.

Tree damage in Stafford, VA.

While our home doesn’t appear to have suffered any damage, others were not so fortunate. This photo is one of hundreds I found depicting wind damage around Virginia. I read that the tree came down in the bedroom of a 4-year old boy who was playing in the basement at the time and is unharmed. How grateful this family must be!

Thousands of people in the storm’s path are still without power, including our relatives in Massachusetts. Many will be without electricity into the coming week as the storm cleanup continues.

My part of the crazy was coming down with a cold and fever in the middle of the storm, ending in laryngitis. I missed singing with my choir family today, but I am giving gratitude that the Holy Spirit filled our Lenten worship, even without my squeaky voice 😉.

All this served as a reminder of how unpredictable life can be, and that every storm can teach us about what is truly important. During this season of Lent, I have been mindful of God’s presence each day, even in the midst of crazy. In Matthew 8:23-27, Jesus shows not only that he has the ability to calm the storm, but he also slept through the storm:

Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”  He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”

Growing up with the Atlantic Ocean in my back yard, storms were part of my everyday life. We prepared as best we could, hunkered down and rode them out. I slept through many of them too.

Throughout life, I have learned that it is easy to panic when the seas begin to swell. But it is far better to have faith enough to trust that God will equip us and then calm the storm. Only by faith can we begin to learn how to weather the storms in life.

My childhood back yard in Ocean Bluff, MA