First Amtrak trip with more planned…

My mom had been vaccinated for 2 weeks so I took a train to see her this past March, not sure how I would do. The Lord kept me healthy and has been continuing to do so and next visit is booked for her birthday at the end of summer. Next year, I’m eligible for FMLA, and the plan is to make this trek for a few weeks every other month. I did ask to work remotely, and work gave me a hard no, but they also offered me an extra week for this upcoming trip.

One of my dear and wise friends who has known me a long time recommended me blog about the train trip – then another very dear and new friend here in Michigan suggested I share with the kid’s ministry praying for my mom to be born again and that journey. Today, in my time with Him (in Beth Moore’s Breaking Free), she had us in Gen 16, reading about Hagar, reflecting on her joy of sight from the One Who sees her, (most literally her response is the beautiful rhetorical question, “have I not gone on seeing after He saw me?”, I knew what aspect of Him with all this I needed to record.

My mom is an incredibly talented artist, reluctant to share her work and determined to blaze her own trail in San Francisco, in her own home as long as she can. I know, as born-again Christian, if the house is not submitted to Lord, I can’t live in it. I also want my mom to feel more seen than cast off, even though we have different beliefs about what pleases God. Only the Holy Spirit can make her feel so loved. My prayer, (and please join me in this), is that He will open both our eyes to how to allow His best in and His victory. I especially would love to see my mom freed up to want to share her work, though I know that’s not what she wants and I will honor that.

It’s getting trickier as her dementia has seemed to progress more this past year than before, but, after talking to many people who have either been through it or are nurses, He seems to be making a way as well as increasing the need for me to be nearer to her. The how is still getting worked out and it may shift. May the Lord keep me open to move with His Spirit and His overall plan. I am grateful to walk by faith in this.

And I too let myself be captive to fear. With all too much fear and uncertainty, and yet a stronger hope He would take care of us, I boarded the train for a three day trip last March, vaccinated, masked, and with my heaviest bag full of food. The train from Ann Arbor to Chicago had internet, and made me realize that when I need to take labs eventually, this will be a fantastic way to commute. He surprised me most with how deeply I slept to the gentle sway the second train, I had a sleeper car that rocked us all to sleep in the quiet hours from 10pm to 7 the next morning. They stopped so smokers could smoke and walkers could walk, but not too far so as not to miss the “All Aboard.” We got an entire hour in Denver, so I was able to restock on frozen veggies, and next time, I may try and plan a quick run. Overall, everything I was afraid of was like being afraid of the monster under the bed, it all vanished. I didn’t get sick. I had a great time and my one wish was that I could have made the trip longer. He was listening to my heart on that one too.

He has seen all of this, and me, and my mom. I didn’t trust Him much going in, but I’m all in now and going to wrap this entry up in prayer.

Lord Jesus, thank You for Your heart for all people. Thank You that You took on being human to chase after us. Thank You that You are the one that can and longs to see my mom. Keep me trusting in You with everything, as You have been so faithful to me in all things. Your track record is perfect. Forgive me for not remembering that. Help me to honor my mom, and point to You. Amen.

Day 26: Luke 2:1-8 and John 1:1-5, 10-14

Light came into the darkness for all humanity on this very special birthday.

One of the girls from my AWANA table texted me how excited she was on Christmas Eve’s Eve for this very day to be here. Her enthusiasm came across boldly, even through text and took me to a place of feeling that wonder and energy of excitement because you can’t possibly know the goodness right around the corner. Although Mary and Joseph, and all humanity for that matter, can’t realize the goodness in store for us, I do believe He longs us to feel abounding joy in the waiting.

John 1:5 “The light shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot overcome it.”

Lord Jesus, shine strong into this world and to each reading now. Fill them with wonder, excitement, renewed hope, and Your wild energy. Thank You for choosing to come into our world, held together by You. Grant us grace to see Your choices in our own lives. Give us Your strength to rise to them. Bless us in our reflections and prayers these next few days to be a resounding chorus of praise leaving You smiling. In Your Star-Making Name, Amen.

Final Engineer Log Entry 356: USS Baruch HaShem, Dec 23, 2020

Day 25

Matthew 1:18-25

Lord Jesus, thank You for this space and time to honor my dad with You and others. Thank You for all I’ve seen and done, mourned and rejoiced over, learned and healed. Continue Your work in our lives and the life of Your Church to extend forgiveness and accept Yours in all things. Grant the grace to allow Your Spirit and healing presence to rule our house; body, mind, soul and strength. In You as Alpha and Omega, Amen.

Day 25: Matthew 1:18-25

Joseph shines with integrity, humility, gentleness, and kindness.

One of the many questions I have for the Lord is to know more about His time with Joseph. There is much we can glean from this story, and, as it is so far from my own tendencies, I want to focus on his immediate obedience. This also contrasts with Zechariah’s response to an angel from earlier in our story.

Verse 24 varies with translations, but my most literal one says, “he did as he was told.”

I am so grateful for our Eternal Father.

Here we have been told yet another story of convention and how to Lord was working behind the scenes. With devoted prayer, and being “told” so many different messages, let us pray to hear only the Spirit’s voice and direction today.

  • When you can carve out space for true quiet, however that happens, welcome His Spirit to speak.
  • Pray discernment, clarity and wisdom for yourself and wait to see if He brings anything up in particular.
  • Close your time with a commitment to a “yes” if there is something He’s surfaced, or if not, imagine something a little less conventional in your life you think would please Him.

Day 24: Luke 1:26-56

Mary’s trust is beautiful.

As we read and pray over these Scriptures today, may our own trust increase. May we be attentive to the people the Lord brings to mind where He is working and move in their direction. May He bless us with ever increasing wonders to treasure in our own hearts because of His Son.

Verse 39 describes both the time and the timing of Mary’s immediate departure for 3 months to Elizabeth’s. This brings conviction, challenge, and joy to my own heart. As we reflect on our blessings today, ask the Spirit to show you how, in this particular season, you can immediately respond to His call in your own life. I am striving to increase in trust He knows!

  • Take several minutes to be still before the Lord, listening.
  • Where can your trusting yes increase?
  • Who near you is trusting He’s asking you to move in some way toward?

Day 23: Luke 1:1-25, 57-80 and John 1:6-9

This is the way being made for our Lord. The opening of the story is wonderous, mysterious, and fulfilling prophecies. It is a story I never knew growing up, but delight in now. I especially am grateful that our Father chose to give His son fellowship from womb.

Elizabeth’s experience, from her sense of failure, to her vindication before the community, is what we are going to stay with today. As you reflect and pray, please consider these questions:

  • In this season of waiting, what are you most longing for?
  • Imagine how Elizabeth felt when Zechariah said “His name is John.” Who do you want to speak into your own life in this way?
  • His coming at first is how we can have peace Elizabeth had no access to. Ask the Spirit to show you any place in your life He can heal and take time to wait on Him with it now, if He wants, or allow the space for it later.