Sometimes, I Need To Let Go…

See what love God has bestowed on us…
From 1 John 3:1

A storm is brewing just beyond my window. Summer 2020’s lack of rain makes this a welcome occurrence. While the meteorologist who offered an explanation for this change in the weather, I listened gratefully to his promise of rain. Though I didn’t understand the meteorological dynamics at work, I fully appreciated their outcome.

It occurs to me that my knowledge of human nature certainly exceeds my knowledge of the weather. Still, I sometimes set aside this wisdom by responding angrily to situations over which I have little or no control. Though my intentions are most often pure at the onset, frustration eventually gets the best of me. I’m too ashamed to tell you how many times I’ve hollered at the television set in the midst of a newscast these days. Yes, even when the signs are crystal clear, I push when I should let go and let God take care.

So, in an effort to do better in this regard, I’m taking a lesson from the storm brewing overhead and I’m taking a walk. Without any involvement on my part, its rains will fall and provide new life to the grass and the other greenery I’ll enjoy along the way. As I walk, I’ll see that, without any assistance from me, God is overseeing the troubling situation at hand. Because the urge to do something remains, I’ll pray. The rest, I will leave to God…

Patient God, give me the wisdom to let go and to trust your wisdom when necessary.

©2020 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Let It Go!

Say to the Lord, “My refuge,
my God in whom I trust.”

Psalm 91:2

Though I’m probably more patient than most, this isn’t necessarily the case when I’m tired and it’s never true when I’m worried. Worry makes me edgy at best. Little things which are normally easy to let go of become heavy burdens. Though I often don’t verbally express my displeasure with the situation at hand, my face betrays me. These days, I find myself as worried as ever.

My dear husband frequently checks in with my psyche as subtly as he can. When he does, I habitually respond, “I’m fine. Are you okay?” Though my concern for him is genuine, my response to his question is not. It isn’t easy to worry day in and day it without it taking its toll. Though I manage to sleep well, fatigue sets in and threatens to overwhelm me. I hide my angst by smiling (halfheartedly, at best) throughout the day. All the while, I mistakenly think that I’ve done everything within my power to help and that there is nothing more I can do to solve the problems of this world.

After sharing all of this, I admit that I shouldn’t invest so much energy in worrying. I also realize that my responses to my husband’s queries don’t fool him a bit. When I ask myself what I would tell a friend who has my concerns, I’d answer quickly: “Stop worrying! Pray about this mess, hand it all over to God. Then count your blessings because they are many!” I’ll stop writing now because I’ve got to start counting!

Dear God, you know our troubles better than we do. So it is that I hand them all over to you. Thank you for the gift of our lives today and always.

©2020 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Seeds of Hope

A man scatters seed on the ground.
He goes to bed and gets up day after day.
Through it all, the seed sprouts and
grows without his knowing how it happens.

From Mark 4:26-27

It was a month ago when we had three trees removed. Though this was done quite carefully, three gaping hols remained in their places. When our dedicated landscaper planted three much smaller trees in the area, those holes remained. He filled each small abyss with soil. After packing it into place, he seeded and watered. Daniel advised us not to worry about the grass. “Worry about everything else you have to do. The grass will take care if itself,” he said. Though we had plenty of time on our hands due to our stay-in-place status, we heeded Daniel’s advice. We actually accomplished a lot indoors and outdoors while we ignored that grass seed. A few weeks later, while my husband and I checked on the flowers he’d planted, we were pleasantly surprised. Amazingly lush growth had sprung from those one-time holes in our lawn. My husband smiled as he noted that Daniel’s and our faith in that grass seed was well placed.

You know, God places faith in the seeds you and I plant every day. Sometimes, our endeavors are long-term. Sometimes, we must do what we can in a given moment and move on. In either case, we do our best and hope for the best. In either case, God is pleased with the our efforts.

Trusting God, you have great faith in our ability to sow seeds of goodness wherever we are. Help us to do this as best we can as we return our world and one another to health.

©2020 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

We Walk In Good Company

Give Thanks to God for God is good.
From Psalm 136:1

Before I set out to walk this morning, I decided that I would empty my mind of the day’s concerns and open myself up to God’s presence. If you’ve read these posts the past few days, I think you’ll agree that this was a well-timed decision on my part. Still, I have to admit that I wasn’t a block away from home when I realized that my mind was as cluttered as ever with worries of every sort. While most of these things matter greatly, in the grand scheme of things, there isn’t much I can do to deal with them.

As I walked on, I tried to think of anything but my laundry list of complaints regarding life on this June 2020 day. Tried as I might to shake it, my angst relentlessly dug in and clung to me. “Ugh!” I said aloud. “Why can’t I get rid of the negativity?” Though I expected no answer, an uncommonly cool breeze responded immediately. Without a thought, I said aloud, “O God, I love the wind! It reminds me that you’re with me.” As I continued to walk, those worries remained. The difference was that they’d lost their ability to overwhelm me. Somehow, I knew that all will be well in the end.

As I made my way through the neighborhood and then back home, that breeze continued to press against my back and God continued to remind me that I am never alone. None of us is ever alone!

Good and gracious God, thank you for walking with me. Thank you for walking with every one of us.

©2020 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Let Go of The Guilt!

All, from the least to greatest, shall know me, says the Lord,
for I will forgive their evildoing and remember their sin no more.

Jeremiah 31:34

I was an extremely sensitive little girl when it came to the errors of my ways. Though I was no more or less innocent than most children, I took even the gentlest reprimand to heart. In these instances, though the adult who corrected me had quickly forgotten whatever I’d done, my guilt remained with me. All of this was my own doing by the way. Neither of my parents ever nagged or belittled my siblings and me. Though a teacher may have given me reason to question my ability to be forgiven on rare occasion, this wasn’t the norm. Eventually, I understood, at least mentally, that those who love us don’t hold grudges against us. Still, it is my heart’s propensity to carry guilt unnecessarily. Much to my dismay, this is true to some extent even today.

This is the reason I find great consolation in the passage above from Jeremiah and in Jesus’ numerous parables which address forgiveness. With every word, we’re assured of God’s absolute love and God’s absolute inability to be separated from any one of us. Though we may run away and bury our heads in the sand, God remains at our sides. Though we may refuse to look in God’s direction, God is with us. Fortunately for me and for us all, we can never impose enough guilt upon ourselves to repel God’s love.

If God is this forgiving of us, isn’t it time to forgive ourselves? Yes, I wrote that line and, yes, I will do my best to heed its every word!

Loving God, help us to face our guilt and to let it go. Only then will our hands be free to take hold of your hand and our hearts be free to embrace your love.

©2019 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

H… Holy!

Samuel grew up, and God was with him,
not permitting any word of his to be without effect.

1 Samuel 3:19

H is for Holy. The dictionary defines holy as belonging to or coming from God; sacred; consecrated. When I was a child, I was convinced that holy was an adjective attributed only to God and to the saints of old who lived perfectly moral and upright lives. Though I hoped to be a saint one day by gaining admittance to heaven, I never expected to be considered holy on any level.

Over the years, I’ve had the good fortune of associating with people who understand holiness far more completely than I. They’ve generously shared their conviction that anything and any one “of God” is holy. Since we and all of Creation are God’s handiwork, we are indeed holy. Just as God remained with Samuel and blessed him with a purposeful life, so God blesses you and me.

As I consider my personal bouts with discouragement and guilt, I find that I move beyond these things best when I remember that I am “of God.” I am holy. Remember with me that you are holy, too. No one else’s opinion, no failure, no guilt, nothing you or I can do will ever change this. Yes, you are “of God” and so am I. You and I are holy.

Holy God, how can we thank you for allowing us to share in your holiness? Perhaps we simply need to believe that we are truly holy and to live accordingly.

©2019 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved