29 Jan

PITstop

First, I ask for your forgiveness for being absent the last couple of weeks after saying that I was going to start something new and exciting. It IS coming this coming Wednesday!
Next, a confession: I fell into a pit! My specific pit is a bout of depression. Not the deep, clinical kind but more like the sad, bluesy sort. It’s not overtly noticeable to anyone. It just IS.
It’s not something I ever expect will happen. I was sailing right along with all the excitement and enthusiasm that a new year and refreshed goals often bring. And then it happened! Facebook did one of those “memory” things. You know the ones I mean; a photo posted a year or more before. The funny thing is that it was a plate of food-specifically, hospital food when I was out in Arizona dealing with my son John’s illness. That made me miss him and brought back the highs and lows and the ultimate ache of having to let him go…and OOF, into the pit I tumbled!
Tomorrow would have been John’s 46th birthday. He’s been gone 3 years now, and his brother Eric followed him a year later. Eric and John were extremely close and when we talk about one, we talk about the other. We say that Eric missed John so much he couldn’t live without him-and so he went to see John. As painful as it is, it also brings a bit of a comfort to me, also. And so does knowing that I will see them again someday.
If you’d like to read more about that particular journey you can find them using the the blog archives beginning September 2012 through January 2013. In fact, feel free to read ’em all. I’d love to hear your thoughts and hope you’ll share your own experiences.
Other things going on… I lived through Blizzard of 2016! Here in northern New Jersey we got just over two feet of snow and barely a week later the majority of it is gone and we’re back to our winter heat wave. I’ve also had that achey, sneezy, stuffy thing and it gave me time to reflect on so much. I’ve read through the entire book of Genesis (beginnings!) and now into Exodus and God has reminded me over and over that even when things seem dark and dreary and just plain UGH-He is right there with me. He knows my pain, after all He lost a son too. Also, next week I’m going to be a year older! And yes, God has reminded me that if He can put Moses to good use at 80, 63 is a breeze!
OK, so, now that you know why I’ve been absent, I hope you’ll be sure to check back. I’m working on getting a subscriber list and/or newsletter for you to get regular updates here on the blog as well as Abiding Ways as a whole. In the meantime I hope you’ll follow me on Twitter (@DonnaColeNJ )Thanks to all who have been praying with me and for me. God did it once again… Psalms 40:2-3
02 Jan

A Word to Start

HAPPY NEW YEAR!
So, how was it? Did you go out? Celebrate with friends and family? Just stay home and watch the ball drop with Dick Clark/Ryan Seacrest? That’s what my beloved and I did.
I love the start of a new year! For me it means new beginnings( or refreshing old ones  ). The last week or two of December I check back on what I’ve written, journaled, scheduled and set as goals and review the victories and the “not-so-much” areas that were set up around this time last year.
A big part of this review is some prayer and reading and more praying about that one guiding principle that hopefully keeps me focused on all the rest. You may have heard of it, and have seen my Facebook posts about ONE WORD. It is essentially seeking and finding one word and maybe an accompanying passage of scripture that speaks to you throughout the year.
This year my word is RENEW (Lam.5:21).
There are a lot of “Re-” words that encompass what “renew” means throughout scripture. Consider these: revive, refresh, return, restore, repair just to name a few.
There are three distinct life areas that I hope to renew. The primary one for me this year is spiritual and my relationship with God and others. The others are physical and mental, but that’s for another day.
I’ve been following Jesus for just about 35 years now. Granted, not always being consistent and sometimes being outright rebelliously NOT following Him. The Lord reminded me often in the last few weeks through Rev. 2-3 (John’s message to the seven churches) about what may need work. To the church at Ephesus he said “you have lost your first love” (Rev. 2:4-5). In Pergamum and Thyratira it seems that some were following bad teachers or other gods.(Rev. 2:20 ).  Sardis starts out well but leaves things incomplete (Rev. 2:14-15 and Rev. 3:3 ) and Laodicea was lukewarm. ( Rev. 3:15-17). Jesus had some good words for the churches in Smyrna (Rev. 2:9-10 ) and Philadelphia (Rev. 3:8 ). With each charge comes a warning or promise, too!
Do you remember when you first heard about Jesus and took that walk to the altar, or the exaltation of your baptism? For me, those emotions like joy, anticipation and peace were fantastic!. Sadly, these have grown a little stale in recent years. And so I desire to renew that close intimacy with my Lord-by prayer, study, thankfulness and worship just to name a few.
If you haven’t tried finding that one word to set the tone for this new year, I hope you’ll give it a try! Some suggestions:
Watch this message from LifeChurch archives. Click on the link for the message titled “Your One Word” (duh!). A study resource for this message is available here.
Check out these websites: OneWord365 , GetOneWord , MyOneWord and if you have the BibleApp (aka Youversion) there is a devotional available too.
So, I’ve shown you mine! Show me yours in the comments. Let’s encourage one another!

Read More