Archive for June, 2015

Sometimes it Is An Earthquake

By Kathy NickersonJune 28th, 2015The BibleNo Comments

IMG_6374aIn case you aren’t familiar with the account in the Old Testament of a famous prophet named Elijah trying to have a meeting with God, let me give you my synopsis. God invited Elijah to the meeting and told him to go stand on a mountain, “And, I’ll pass by,” God said.

Not your every day invitation. Elijah was having a rather bad season at the time. Having a face-to-face with God might have seemed like a good solution. Or not.

The way the Bible describes it, Elijah stood on a mountain and experienced  a mighty wind, an earthquake, and then a fire. But God was in none of these. (In case you are wondering, this is not where the band Earth, Wind, and Fire got its name. Too bad.) Anyway, the famous part of this story comes next: Finally, there was a Still, Small Voice. And God was in the that.

I love the still, small voice. It is the way I most often feel I’ve heard from God. Usually through a thought in prayer or a scripture passage that resonates during my reading. But, we Christians like to make a lot out of that moment. Especially when we want to blast someone else’s style or method. “God’s not into all this hype, Brother!”

But the truth is this: Sometimes God was in the earthquake. He opened prison doors for Paul and Silas that way. And even people who don’t believe the Bible can tell you that God was in the fire when He spoke to Moses from a burning bush.

You see, Dear Reader,God speaks in all kinds of ways.

We cannot predict or assume how God will communicate with us or with someone else. Just because we Hear him in the wind, that does not mean we need to blow in the other guy’s ear. We know certain truths about God’s character. (He can’t lie, for instance.) Beyond that, God’s ways are completely up to Him.

If we keep that in mind, maybe we will actually hear from Him more often. And, maybe we will hear one another.

 

 

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A Reminder of Who is In Charge

By Kathy NickersonJune 26th, 2015happy endings, mercy, The Bible1 Comment

 

 

A town I love was hit by a flood this week. No one was hurt, thank God, but the experience was awful anyway. I’m not even personally impacted, but it left me feeling shaky. It happened so fast. And it was so strong. And so unstoppable.

So, for the sake of those people I love who will be digging through mud for days, I’m reposting one of my Comfort Posts. Maybe it will help you, too, in whatever flood you are facing:

From 2009:

 

Rainbow 1

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.
Selah Psalm 46:1-3

 

I love this psalm. But I got totally distracted one day when I was reading along and suddenly remembered the heading of the passage. A psalm of the Sons of Korah. The sons of Korah? Wait a second. He is the guy who rebelled against Moses (and therefore God) in the wilderness. The earth opened up and swallowed him along with all his followers and all their families according to the account in the Old Testament. So, how could sons of Korah write a bunch of psalms several generations later?

And that question led me to one of the great Mercy Moments in the Bible. In the Book of Numbers, the writer describes the day the earth opened up and swallowed the rebellious men and their families including Korah and 250 of his followers. Then, almost as an afterthought, the writer tells us, “However, the sons of Korah did not die that day.” Numbers 16:10-11

The Bible doesn’t tell us how or why. But I have a theory. Maybe, in His mercy, God left a remnant alive so they could tell the story to their children and to their children’s children. So, one day thousands of years later, when I face a hard time, the sons of Korah can remind me, “No, seriously. We have seen the the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea. But even that was not The End. God was still our refuge and our very present help in times of trouble.”

Selah

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That One Day At a Time Thing

By Kathy NickersonJune 21st, 2015family, happy endings, mercy4 Comments
My parents welcoming Jake after he miraculously survived his mother's cancer.

My parents welcoming Jake after he miraculously survived his mother’s cancer.

 

Last year, I spent Father’s Day in a hospital holding our daughter Serenity’s hand while she recovered from surgery to remove a portion of her lung. The surgeon hoped to eradicate the pesky specks of cancer that kept popping up. Serenity hoped to survive the “very rare” complications that followed surgery.

Two weeks later, I moved into an ICU waiting room in a different city to keep vigil over my mother, who became so ill we started making plans for nursing home care. And the nursing home started looking like a best-case scenario as the hours wore on.

Fast-forward to Father’s Day Weekend 2015

Yesterday, I spent the afternoon with Serenity at the ballpark watching her miracle-baby hold down left field with nine-year-old zeal. We ate lunch around the table with all four of the amazing men in her life, and then we looked at the floor plans for the new house they are getting ready to build. All specs of cancer or currently eradicated, thank you very much.

Today, I visited my parents in their comfy apartment – which is not a nursing home. My mother and I had one of those conversations our family refers to as “solving all the problems of the world” while my dad told stories from his childhood. Then, we all ate ice cream sandwiches for supper. Because, we are adults, and we can do that.

Before I left, my mother logged onto her computer and asked me a couple of questions about her Facebook account and about the blogs she follows.

It was a good day.

Your weekend might not have been so fun. Maybe you are in the intensive care season of life right now. If so, I can promise the Holy Spirit has the power to carry you through. (That’s a longer conversation. Email me if you want to talk about it.)

I’ve also lived long enough to know a season can change in an instant. For better or for worse. So I’m not taking this lovely weekend for granted. I’m simply grateful for this one, good day.

And, tomorrow? Well, I’ll try to trust Jesus with that.

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When The Dots Connect

By Kathy NickersonJune 16th, 2015family, Friendship, happy endings, writingNo Comments

 

Success_www.kathynick.com

Next week, I’m going to be dancing in the streets. Okay, maybe just in my kitchen. The cause of this celebration is that one of my friends/students/fellow artists will see his first story published. And, if you have ever struggled to bring anything to life – a child, a plant, a song, or a dream – you know this is a Big Deal with capital letters.

I’d be deeply thrilled for Josh even if I had never played the tiniest role in seeing this dream launched. But, the fact that I got to play third chair in the clarinet section for one short song of his symphony makes it all the sweeter.

This weekend, I discovered a starting point that I’d completely forgotten. A letter from my husband’s aunt thirty years ago. I’d written to Aunt Carol back in the days when I was still too embarrassed to admit out loud that I wanted to be a writer. But I wrote my secret dream in a letter to the aunt in California whom I’d never met through anything except letters. My mother-in-law had told me, erroneously it turned out, that Aunt Carol had once written a book.

Aunt Carol did, however, give me detailed advice on how to learn the craft. (Subscribe to writing magazines. Take classes. Buy books.) And how to get published. She even suggested some excellent publishing houses.

I’ve always felt Aunt Carol is my kindred spirit in the writing world, but I had forgotten that she was the one who made me brave.

And now, years later, I have helped Josh be brave. So the dots connected this weekend. And, if Aunt Carol ever reads Josh’s story, I think she will be pleased. Because the hero reminds me a great deal of a certain cowboy who once lived on a ranch out west and was married to our dear, Aunt Carol. Josh has never heard of him, of course, but we all called him Uncle Charlie.

I call that lovely.

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Breakfast with Strangers

By Kathy NickersonJune 8th, 2015mercy3 Comments

breakfast room

Some of my friends and family travel a lot. Like every day during the week. I have been traveling every other week for two months. And I want to buy those people a new job.

Can you buy a person a job?

I’m sure I couldn’t afford it. But, seriously, the romantic part of travel disappears after about Day Three for me. And today I realized it is best summed up by Breakfast With Strangers.

I love that my hotel offers free breakfast. It should. For the price I pay, that breakfast should be delivered to my door on good china by a white-haired lady with an English accent wearing a starched, white apron. And, there should be a rose on the tray.

Instead, I choose a seat in the far corner of the dining room and try to look preoccupied with my smart phone, or the t.v. news, or the delicious bowl of cold cereal before me.

But I cannot help myself. I am drawn toward the visual circus of humanity on display. I understand allowing small children to toddle into the public breakfast room in their jammies. Even school age children if the jammies are relatively clean and unrumpled.

But the plus-sized granny in her fuchsia bathing suit who stopped by for a bite on the way to the pool? Someone do me a favor and go back to the room for her bathrobe!

And the lady in the short, black dress with the dazzling jewels around her neck. Funeral? Wedding? The sandals seem a bit casual for either.

Of course, I get completely sidetracked at these communal meals because I start making up stories in my head for all these live-action characters. It is exhausting!

And, what’s worse, I start worrying that they are making up stories about me! Or whispering to one another about that weird lady with the rumpled shirt who is staring at them and who drinks Diet Coke for breakfast.

By the time I get back to my room, I’m longing for the quiet routine of home. Breakfast with Strangers is exhausting.

 

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