Tuesday, July 10, 2012

" . . . My Insides Shake Like a Leaf on a Tree . . ."

Psalm 77:2
When I was in distress, I sought the Lord; at night I stretched out untiring hands, and I would not be comforted.


"Storm's coming," Dad announces.

The sun is shining.  Only random clouds float through the sky.

"How do you know?"  I ask.

"Look at the dog."

Sure enough.  Dutchess, our beloved mutt, is sitting at Dad's feet and trembling all over.  With her keen hearing, she detects ominous rumbles in the distance.  As they edge ever closer and we, too, can now hear them, we dread seeing Dutchess' mounting distress.

All over the house, she goes.  Scratching in corners.  Ducking under sofas.  Crawling behind chairs.  Burying herself in closets.  Leaping onto the beds.

Looking for a safe place, and escape from the roaring thunder which torments her sensitive ears.  Frazzles her every nerve.

The very moment when Dutchess thinks she finds a perfect hiding place - BOOM!!!  Another violent crash sends her dashing madly for another sanctuary.

Panting . . . Whining . . . Shaking, in the immortal words of Elvis, "like a leaf on a tree".

And, no matter how we try to follow her and offer solace with soothing words and gentle strokes to her fur, she will not be comforted.

Aren't all of us guilty of acting like Dutchess at some point in our lives?  When troubles hit like a raging storm, we run hither and thither, pillar to post, trying duck and dodge the pain.  The anguish.  The sorrow . . .

Even if we, like the Psalmist, "stretch out untiring hands" to the Lord and attempt to turn our burdens over to Him, how many times have we snatched those worries, that grief, our problems right back out of His hands?

Not trusting in His soothing Word.  His gentle touch . . .

Refusing to be comforted by the only One who can calm the storms of life.
~
Are you experience stress or distress at this time in your life?

Will you pray with me?
We know, Father, that You are the Great Comforter.  When life's burdens become too overwhelming for us to handle on our own, may we always turn to You for help.  Let us ever trust in Your Word, Your touch, and Your saving grace.  Amen.

40 comments:

  1. This reminded me of my son and his new fear of thunder storms. Now, any trace of a grey cloud that might be drifting over the horizon, and he runs for the hills.

    I'm actually going through a bit of anxiety right now because Noah is having a surgery tomorrow. I know it's routine and I shouldn't worry so much, but I can't help but feel unease. You're right, I should just lift it up to God. How easily our hearts can forget. Thanks for this post. It was very timely.

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    1. Thanks so much for stopping by, Jessica!
      Poor Noah! I'm so sorry to hear he is so fearful of thunder, but praying it is a fear he will outgrow.
      It is perfectly natural to be anxious when our children have to go through a surgical procedure. When those waves of worry come, that's precisely the time to, as you said, "lift it up to God". It will definitely ease your unease!
      Blessings to you and prayers for little Noah!

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  2. You've put across your point so beautifully! Yes, though we say that we've full faith in Him,yet in the time of even triffle worries we run about seeking shelter among mundane things! And then at such times I feel so guilty! Thank you very much.
    -Portia

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    1. Thanks so much for visiting, Portia!
      I, too, am guilty as charged - too many times I've tried to juggle my worries and problems, leaving God out of the picture. Needless to say, it never works! :)
      Blessings to you!

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  3. Dear Martha,
    So many good point here. I guess that is why we are all so different in our faith. Thank you for sharing my friend.

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    1. Thanks so much for stopping by, Andy!
      Glad you enjoyed today's reflection. And, yes, we all approach our faith walks in different ways. Have to find the right path for us.
      Blessings to you!

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  4. Hi Martha,

    Great thoughts. Just yesterday, partly out of fatigue and partly out of "stinkin' thinkin'" I started moping around the house as if I'd already been hit by lightning. I hadn't even ARRIVED at that "time of trouble!" But in my mind and emotions, it was as if I had - I was borrowing trouble that may never come to pass.

    Thanks for a great reminder.

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    1. Great to see you here, Andy! Thanks for stopping by.
      I'm afraid I, too, have done that very same thing - imagining trouble or problems before they even come to fruition and IF they ever manifest themselves. I think it's human nature to worry, but it's in the Spirit when we are able to hand them fully over to God.
      Blessings to you!

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  5. Well I can relate on several levels here. I have what I call a "psycho dog" that is not only afraid of storms but totally freaks out when I leave the house. Not every time mind you, but often enough that I have $100s of dollars worth of damage from her meltdowns.

    On a personal note, I too have meltdowns, I just don't tear stuff up when I do. Putting God in charge surely does help... Blessings to you:)

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    1. Thanks so much for stopping by today, Lynne!
      Oh, wow, psycho dog, indeed! Poor little thing and poor you with all that damage. :(
      And, I think we all have meltdowns at one point or another; I know I have them when everything seems overwhelming . . . They usually take the form of a good, old-fashioned cry.
      I do try these days, more than ever, to leave everything in God's capable hands.
      Blessings back at ya! :)

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  6. AMEN to your prayers Martha.

    Sometimes in life we do need a reassuring touch from Him to feel safe once again and gather our courage to start afresh.

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    1. Thanks so much for dropping in today, Me!
      So glad to know you liked today's prayer. And, yes, we do need to feel His comforting touch in our lives even when we are not fearful.
      Blessings to you!

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  7. Well written (again). Thanks.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, David, and thanks for the compliment!
      Blessings to you!

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  8. There were/are many moments when I experience/d this in my life. Reflecting on this, I realized that the Lord doesn't change the situation but my behavior and attitude towards the storm. It's like having a test everyday and purifying the answers til I reach Him.

    Thank you for sharing this Martha and I pray with you...I echo the psalms of trust and hope in the Lord. Our distress is superficial, we should learn to listen to the peace that abides in each of us.

    Love you lots Martha. Thank you for your prayers :*

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    1. Thanks so much for visiting today, Melissa!
      You are so right - God doesn't change the situation, only our attitude towards it as we grow in our faith and trust. When I wrote this, I had just experienced a week of "storms" in the form of worry. The writing helped me to put everything in perspective and realize, once again, that the Lord is in charge of everything.
      May we, like the Psalmist, learn our stress is only skin deep and true life and liberty is in His promise.
      Love you, too, my dear, and continuing in prayer . . .
      Blessings!

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  9. Oh Martha, I have a Dutchess too! My little girl is okay with thunder but the sound of flatware scraping against a plate or falling to the floor sets her nerves on edge. Funny how even critters carry their fears around with them.

    This was a beautiful post, reminding me that God is way bigger than all of my problems and that I need to put them in His hands...AND KEEP THEM THERE!
    Yeah, I take things back. It's nothing I'm proud of and I'm working on getting better at leaving things in His care.

    If I look back on all the troubles in my life I can see where God's hand intervened and things turned out fine. He's faithful, and able, and loving, and He's mine.

    Love you sister!
    Leah

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    1. Leah, thanks so much for visiting, my friend!
      I don't think God makes any mistakes. That we can learn even the hardest lessons from our beloved dogs is just another blessed gift He grants to us. Seeing their fears makes us want to comfort and help, just as God wants to do the same for us.
      Our Lord is SO much bigger, SO much stronger, and He can help us release our frail grasp when we trust in Him. Oh, what a journey this has been for me. Believe me, I still have my moments . . .
      As you so aptly state here: "He's faithful, and able, and loving, and He's mine". Wow! Really? All mine? Oh, what a resounding "yes" I hear!
      Love and blessings to you, my dear sister, as we traverse the path God has granted to us.

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  10. Hi, Martha! ~

    Last week when the fireworks were going off I remembered our old dog who used to get scared and pee in the house every 4th of July -- BOOOO!

    On a more serious note, your message rings true and what I've been thinking about and praying about today, too. We will experience the natural consequences of our behavior BECAUSE God loves us and that's how we learn. There's no need to be afraid -- God is GOOD all the time! XOXO

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    1. Thanks so much for visiting, Linda!
      Oh, that poor dog and poor you! Yes, Dutchess was deathly afraid of fireworks, too. :(
      And, yes! God is good all the time and we can all be thankful for that!
      Blessings to you!

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  11. In the moment of anxiety, we forget the logical part of our thinking and do panic...that's why the hormones are there, for the fight or flight response. It's only after these initial reaction, are we able to access the situation clearly.
    A wonderful reflective post again.

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    1. Thanks so much for visiting, Janu!
      You are so right - when panic sets in, logic goes right out the window. It is, indeed, a natural response.
      I try really hard when the storms hit to remember this verse from a children's musical we performed in choir: "First you pray, first you pray, the second you see a problem come your way . . ." It helps so much!
      Blessings to you!

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  12. Good Morning, Martha:
    My column on Friday touches on this topic. At one time, I did become distressed at challenging events. I'm sure there will times in the future when I feel this way again, but the positive thing I can take away from these experiences now is that I completely understand that when I'm in the midst of a storm it's just HIS way of clearing out the negative to bring in more good.

    So even though I may be momentarily distressed I only have to recall this. It gets easier for me now that I'm in this paradigm. I feel for those who don't see this. Just happy that I DO.
    --
    Chris

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    1. Hi, Chris! Thanks so much for visiting!
      I'm looking forward to reading your Friday post, my friend.
      And, what a great outlook you have - the storms are God's way of clearing out the negative and preparing us for better things ahead. I really, really like this!
      Blessings to you!

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  13. In India it's the fireworks that set a lot of dogs off. Thankfully Pablo is oblivious to them.
    I love that we always have the safe arms of God to run to in times of trouble (and all the time!). However, we often do scurry about mindlessly searching for solutions.

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    1. Thanks so much for coming by today, Corinne!
      So glad good ol' Pablo is not affected negatively by those big booms. My last dog, Maggie, was just that way, too, and that was a relief to say the least.
      I, too, am so grateful for God's sheltering arms when troubles surround me. Until I surrender to Him, no good or right answers will come.
      Blessings to you!

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  14. Hi Martha, thunder storms can be really scary. Luckily I grew up with them so they don`t terrify me. It is so comforting to know that God will always keep us safe through all life`s storms. Have a blessed day!

    Ps. How is your book coming along?

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    1. Thanks so much for coming by, Nelieta!
      Oh, yes, God is, indeed, our comfort and our shield in times of trouble. :)
      Book? Submitted to three traditional publishers for the moment and waiting to hear . . . thought I'd give this a go one more time before self-publishing. Thanks for asking!
      Blessings to you!

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  15. Thank you Martha <3 <3 <3 Much love <3

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    1. Love to you, too, Nikky and many blessings!

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  16. This post really speaks to me, Martha. Everything's calmed down academically for the moment, but that seems to mean that life becomes more chaotic in other areas. The Serenity Prayer is my constant mantra in such times.

    Thank you for your wise words,

    Casey

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    1. Thanks so much for visiting, Casey!
      The Serenity Prayer is indeed a beautiful mantra to have as it reminds us that God is in control.
      Glad you enjoyed the post.
      Blessings!

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  17. Laska the Love Kitty does the same, Martha. The cat that kept me anchored to the "here and now" – he flees at any sudden sound – and I can't even comfort him sometimes. It's like our Lord – with me – with us. He can protect us – he CAN Comfort us – comfort me– just like Laska – just like your dog - but sometimes we Roth from that comfort – even knowing if what we need most – at least it's that way with me. And Martha, I want thank you, thank you for being there with me through this. I haven't been engaged – Many people have left because of that – but obviously not the best people. And you coming by, and checking up on me, it means the world to me, I am in such need right now of people who care – the things that I have seen in this year named "see" make the connections that I formed in the year named "connect"that much more important. Thank you Martha. Thank you.

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    1. Thanks so much for coming by today, Craig!
      Oh, poor Laska! It is such a difficult thing to not be able to adequately comfort our pets when they are fearful. I wonder if that's how God feels when we run from him?
      Craig, you are one of the best, most honest, inspirational writers I know. Though we've never met personally, I feel like I've known you all my life. You have a friend in me - you can count on it ever and always!
      Blessings, my friend, and prayers for healing!

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  18. To answer your question, yes on stress, but it's manageable. It's not life altering, rather its the limbo of wondering, couple with waiting, while I look submit query letters to agent. It's more a feeling of vulnerability and depending on someone I don't know to take a chance on me. I am the one in charge of my destiny, so the waiting isn't any fun. I have fat cats and both run for cover at any loud noise.

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    1. Thanks so much for coming by today, Brenda!
      I can certainly identify with where you are in the query game. I have three out right now and sometimes the waiting to hear seems interminable. And, yes, it does make one feel vulnerable and at the mercy of someone's judgment of what we've written.
      Sorry to hear your poor cats can't tolerate loud noises. I'll bet they're sweet babies.
      Blessings!

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  19. You really have a knack for coming up with great examples from every day life. :) I try not to dodge the booms. I usually just say, "Bring it on." It's going to hit you either way...

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    1. Thanks for coming by today, Rachel, and for your kind compliment. And, I love your "bring it on" attitude - so positive and upbeat! I truly can see you defeating that storm. :)
      Blessings!

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  20. I often feel like Dutchess when stress and adversity enter my life. Admittedly I don't handle it well and the weight of the situation crushes me. In analyzing things it seems I make a mountain out of a molehill and in the end achieve my goals as nothing as killed me yet. Run around like Dutchess I will as it's in my dna but we will both survive to see another day. Blessing!!

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    1. Thanks, David, for visiting the blog!
      Might I offer a word or two? Let go and let God! I know this is an overused phrase, but it truly works. We can run, run, run, and never get anywhere unless we have a vision and a purpose to accomplish in His name.
      I have no doubt that you will survive, but, my friend, I want you to LIVE! Into every moment and into every opportunity that God gives.
      Love and blessings to you!

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