Annie’s Journal by Annie Warner Donnelly

Please note: If you’re familiar with “The Common Book of Prayer”, you’ll find some of its words woven into this journal entry.

Although my heart is heavy as I observe the events and struggles that are happening around me, I find comfort in the first verses of Psalm 116: “I love the Lord, for He heard my voice; He heard my cry for mercy. Because He turned His ear to me, I will call on Him as long as I live.”

Many think that if someone does something for them, they should do something in return. That’s not the thinking I apply here. I call upon the Lord because He’s the one who knows me best and loves me anyway. His comfort, mercy and grace remain steadfast and sufficient in everything I face.

Sometimes, His answers come slower than I hope, but they always improve my life. Sometimes, in the waiting, God is doing something that takes time. Sometimes, something in me must change so that I’m ready for what is to come. All this to say that I’m willing to put the events and struggles that are happening around me into His loving care.

I’m grateful that our Heavenly Father inclines His ear to all who call upon His name. He is compassionate toward those who become unable to pray because of age, sickness, or infirmity.

He cares for the infants, guides the young, supports the aged, encourages the faint-hearted, collects the scattered, and brings the spiritually wounded and wandering safely into His care. He travels with the travellers, defends the widows, shields the orphans, and heals the sick.

He’s willing to deliver those held captive mentally or emotionally, and those living in any combination of mental, emotional, spiritual, or physical abuse.

He’s with those held hostage, being tortured, or martyred because of their race or their faith; with prisoners and those in tribulation, great need, or distress. He comforts those whose hearts overflow with grief. He helps us overcome our fears.

He remembers for good all those who have desired us, unworthy as we are, to pray for them and those whom we’ve forgotten. He’s the Helper of the helpless, the Saviour of the lost, the Refuge of the wanderer, the Healer of those who are sick in heart, mind, soul, or strength; those unable, or unwilling, to love their neighbour as themselves.

He helps us love as He loves. He forgives us when we ask. When we put our hope in His word, those who fear Him can find in us a cause for joy. His unfailing love comforts all who call upon His name. He unites us with all who love Him, regardless of how we may differ in looks or culture. He knows each person’s need. He hears and answers every prayer according to His merciful loving-kindness.

May we reach out to those who are seeking Him. May we encourage them as they journey into His waiting arms. May we be a comfort to those with heavy hearts. Amen.


Health & Wellness

Develop Emotional Maturity By Recognizing Choices

Everyone wants to live peacefully. The most important peace is inner peace because all else flows from that. Anything can happen outside of ourselves that can threaten our inner peace, but we cannot totally blame outside circumstances for a lack of peace within ourselves. Nor can we wait for everything in our lives to fall into place (the way we want) before we can experience happiness or calm.

Some approach life like a person in a cold house, who goes outside and yells at the winter, then comes back in and sits dejectedly, perhaps angrily, shivering and lamenting the unfairness of it all, rather than turning up the heat, building a fire, or moving to a warmer climate. They may tell everyone who comes to visit how terrible the coldness is, and how unfair life is. In fact, they may rarely speak of anything else.

Those who choose to share in the misery and reinforce this kind of thinking may feel that they are helping, but they are not. Yes they are supporting the person, but they are supporting them in staying stuck, helpless, and bitter. Some get so drawn in that they also go out and yell at the winter, and at anyone they feel may be responsible for the winter. The weatherman is on the hit list because he described the weather conditions accurately, and maybe even predicted winter. This is polarity thinking (good guy/bad guy; right/wrong) and is at the source of a lot of human misery.

The pain that one feels when thinking this way is not caused by what’s out there, it is caused by his/her own way of thinking. Developing emotional maturity means recognizing that we have choices in how we choose to think about things. The two-year-old can only think one way about his toy. “It’s mine!” He thinks this because the toy is in his hand, not because he has ownership. The five-year-old may recognize that you have to share, but still do it grudgingly. By ten, a child may willingly choose to share, because he is learning the give and take of life, and he wants to be fair. Then at fifteen, the child may give a possession to a friend out of love and caring. By eighteen, he might purchase toys to give to others he doesn’t even know. At forty he might head up a campaign to raise funds for the homeless.

There is a hierarchy in thinking, not just about sharing, but about all human interactions, and the greater our access to the higher levels, the more mature we are. We also need to be able to recognize when we are functioning at the lower levels so that we do not live our lives in a constant tantrum state. Tantrums might work for a while, but sooner or later people resort to the common wisdom about these behaviors, which is to ignore, step over, and move away.

So if you feel you are caught in polarity thinking, try to broaden your perspective, or ask a trusted friend to really help you to explore aspects of the situation you might be missing. If you can only see it one way, you haven’t got all the learning that the situation has come to teach you. So, it, or another one like it, may come to you again.

Gwen Randall-Young is an author and award-winning psychologist. For permission to reprint this article, or to obtain books, CDs or MP3s, visit www.gwen.ca. Follow Gwen on Facebook for inspiration. 


Rosie’s Devotions

Instinct or Divine Leading

Isaiah 48:17 – This is what the Lord says — your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.” (NIV)

Have you ever wondered how robins know when to leave their seasonal homes before the weather gets colder, or when to return again? When they return, how do they know to build a nest, and how?

What drives juvenile sockeye salmon to remain in fresh water until they are ready to migrate to the ocean, sometimes covering a distance of up to 1,600 kilometres and then dying after they spawn?

What drives baby turtles to make their way to the sea after hatching?

Or how do bears know when to hibernate and when to awaken again from their long winter’s nap? Although scientists label these fixed patterns of behaviour as instinct, they were really implanted by their Creator.

What drives women and men in the police force to risk their lives to bring order and safety to the lives of strangers? What drives firefighters to enter burning buildings in order to save other human beings from harm? And what drives young men and women to join the armed forces and then sacrifice their lives for our freedom? The willingness of people to risk their lives on behalf of others is a desire that is also implanted in us by our Creator.

We were created in God’s image, and deep in His heart exists an undying love for His precious human beings. Christ’s passion for the human race ended on a cross. He freely sacrificed Himself for us so that we may become Christ’s vessels on earth to bring peace, forgiveness, and healing into a world in dire need of love.

Prayer: Lord God, fill our hearts with love towards each other. Ignite our hearts with a passion to step out of our comfort zones in order to help our fellow human beings. Direct our daily walk. Where there is discord, may we bring harmony. Where there is fear, may we be vessels of understanding and relaters of forgiveness and love. We thank You for the women and men who have sacrificed their lives for Your kingdom to come. Amen.

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