5 Facts About St. Patrick

“There are only two kinds of people in the world, the Irish and those who wish they were.”

-Irish saying

Millions of people will celebrate all things green and Irish on March 17th.   But how much do you really know about St. Patrick? Over the centuries, we have diluted the true meaning of the Christian holiday in a sea of green beer, leprechauns and the elusive pot of gold. How much do you think you know about St. Patrick?

Here 5 facts about St. Patrick:

1. St. Patrick was not Irish. 

In St. Patrick’s book Three leaves of the Clover the Saint Patrick Story, St. Patrick describes being born in the village of Bannavem Taberniae in circa 385. The exact location of Patrick’s village remains debated; experts think his village was in England, Scotland, or Wales.

Patrick (probably not his birth surname) was born into a Christian aristocratic family. At sixteen, Irish raiders kidnapped him and forced into slavery for six years. The Christian faith instilled in him as a child, carried him through his captivity. As a slave he served as a shepherd and believed to have heard God telling him to escape. Patrick walked over two hundred miles to the east coast of Ireland and escaped on a ship bound for England.

Upon his return home, Patrick became a priest. Yet, the pagan people of Ireland were never far from his mind. He returned to Ireland to spread the hope we have in Jesus Christ.  St. Patrick served as a missionary to Ireland for over forty years, converting the Celtic pagan country to Christianity.

2. Myth: St. Patrick drove out snakes from Ireland.

St. Patrick did not drive out the snakes from the island, because snakes were never indigenous to Ireland.  Scientists consider the chilly waters surrounding the island are too cold for the reptile animals to migrate and survive. Ireland is not the only snake-free country. If you’re searching a premier snake-free vacation destination consider New Zealand, Iceland, Greenland, and Antarctica.

 

3. St. Patrick chose the shamrock to symbolize the Holy Trinity.

While serving as a missionary to Ireland, St. Patrick used the shamrock as to symbolize the Holy Trinity. At the time, Ireland was a pagan country. Patrick explained the basis of Christianity and the Holy Trinity; God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit with the shamrock. This readily available three-leaved plant allowed for an excellent visual illustration of the Holy Trinity. Irish Christians placed a sprig of clover in the lapel jacket as an outward symbol of their belief in Christ and the Holy Trinity and in honor of St. Patrick the missionary who converted the Emerald Island.

4. St. Patrick defied the King.

King Laoghaire of Tara lit a fire each spring symbolizing the beginning of the pagan festival.  King Laoghaire ordered no one to light a fire before him. One night before Easter, St. Patrick defied the king and lit his prayer candles, anyway. St. Patrick was passionate about God and wanted his light to shine in the face of pagan darkness. King Laoghaire was so impressed by Patrick’s brave defiance he continued to let St. Patrick’s light shine.

5. St. Patrick was the inspiration behind the hymn Be Thou My Vision.

Dallen Forgaill, an 8th-century monk, originally penned the renowned hymn Bí Thusa ‘mo Shúile, in the Old Irish Gaelic language. (Click the link to listen in Gaelic.)

Bí Thusa ‘mo Shúile,

Rob tu mo bhoile,
a Comdi cride.
 Ni ni nech aile,
 acht ri secht nime …

In 1905 Mary Elizabeth Byrne, an educator, and linguist translated the prayer, Bí Thusa ‘mo Shúile, to the English prose we know as Be Thou my Vision. In 1912 songwriter, Eleanor H. Hull arranged the lyrics to an ancient Irish folk tune called Slane. (Click the link to listen in English)

Be Thou My Vision

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art.
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

 

Whether you are Irish or wish you were (like me), we can celebrate the real life of St. Patrick, by allowing our light for Christ to shine defiantly in a dark world.

 

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

~April Dawn White

©Red Chair Moments 2016, 2019 | Images courtesy of Pixabay

How to Choose a Word for the Year

As I mentioned last post, in 2012, I began choosing a word for each year. This decision has deepened my faith and strengthened my foundation.

Three Ways to Choose a Word for the Year

1. Ask.

There is no special formula for choosing a word for the year.  But, if you’re not sure where to begin, ask yourself these questions:

  • What is the one thing I struggle with?
  • What is my deepest desire?
  • What do I want to accomplish this year?
  • What character trait do I want to develop?
  • Is there a verse that resonates in this current situation?
  • What do I need the most in my current season of life?
  • What word or topic do I want to explore?
  • Is there a word that repeatedly shows up?

Unshakable: My first word

My first year, I chose a verse that resonated with me.  During that time, my husband’s company was restructuring, relocating employees, and forcing extensive traveling. All of which wreaked havoc in our family dynamics and in my spirit. For an entire year, I read, journaled, pondered, and meditated on this promise within Psalm 16:8:

 “I have set the Lord always before me;
Because He is at my right hand I shall not be shaken.” (Psalm 16:8)

These pursuits provided a foundation of unshakable faith. Years later, a diagnosis of a rare genetic disorder would test my faith. However, because I had engraved ‘unshakable’ and Psalm 16:8 in my spiritual foundation when the diagnosis came, I swayed a bit but remained steadfast in faith.

2. Pray.

Ask God to guide you in the word choice. By seeking God’s direction, you are relying on His Sovereign nature, and are involving Him in the process. One of the attributes of God is that He is Omniscient. This means God is all knowing–He knows everything there is to know, past, present, and future. By involving God in the process, He is eager to whisper to your heart the area you most need.

Rest: My 2018 Word

Rest was the word God gave me for 2018. To be honest, I didn’t like this word. Rest felt lazy. At the end of 2017, our family had moved to a new town. I wondered how in the world I was going to rest in 2018 when I had a gazillion boxes to unpack. By involving God in my word, He revealed over the course of the year, that He wanted me to enter into His rest–a soul rest. The verse I selected to accompany the word rest was Psalm 46:10, “Be still [cease striving] and know that I AM God.”

My soul was at rest in 2018. My soul was at rest when the scans confirmed my daddy’s cancer. My soul was at rest when the ER doctor told me both of my lungs were full of innumerable blood clots. My soul was at rest when mom had hip, knees, and shoulder surgery. Rest—this type of rest only comes from God. My lungs are now clear and healthy. My dad had surgery and undergoes immunotherapy every three weeks and mom is in physical therapy and doing great.

3. Document

As you pray for the right word, you will notice words begin to catch your attention.  This is where the fun comes in. Document or brain-dump these words onto paper. Grab a journal, sticky note, or index card and jot down each word that rises to the surface of your mind.  For me, this is the fun part. I love to use colorful pens to document each word in a journal.

Even if you don’t like the words that come to mind, jot them down anyways. You are not selecting a word yet, but jotting down ideas. One word will lead to another. Continue to pray for guidance. As you do, your senses will heighten. You’ll notice song lyrics, street signs, and phrases like never before. God will guide you in the process.

Choosing the Right Word

After you have asked yourself the probing questions, prayed involving God’s guidance, and documented words, you’ll notice one word or phrase rises above the rest. This is your word. For me, when one specific word keeps showing up, then I know it is my word. It as if God is giving me a heavenly nod or nudge.

Here my last words:

I hope you find this process as enjoyable and I do.  Please share with me your thoughts or word for this year.

Hugs & Hope,

~April Dawn White 

©2019 Red Chair Moments, All Rights Reserved

One Word Focus

Choose one word for the year.

Years ago, a friend introduced the notion of focusing on one word for the year.  Despite being several years younger, my friend possessed a mature faith that I wanted to emulate. She didn’t merely know about God, she understood God, the way He moves and the nuances of His character. Like my friend, I wanted to know God intimately, not know about God from a distance.

An Eight-Year Discovery

Looking back, I smile at each focused word. Some years I understood the reason why the focued word captured my attention. However, other years the reason behind the chosen word remained a mystery for me to solve.

Dwell One Word for the Year
  • 2012: Unshaken (Psalm 16:8)
  • 2013: Provision (Genesis 22:8)
  • 2014: Abundance (Psalm 65:11)
  • 2015: Hope (Hebrews 6:19)
  • 2016: Trust (Romans 15:13)
  • 2017: Refuge (Psalm 73:28)
  • 2018: Rest (Psalm 46:10)
  • 2019: Dwell (Psalm 91:1)

Dwell

This year I will dwell on the word ‘dwell.’ While the layers of this word have yet to unfold, I have an inkling that God intends to teach me to:

  • Dwell in His unfailing love (Exodus 15:13)
  • Dwell in His joy (1 Chronicles 16:27)
  • Dwell is His rest (Psalm 91:1)
  • Dwell in His protection (Psalm 91:9-10)
  • Dwell in His peace (Psalm 4:8)
  • Dwell in His goodness and love (Psalm 23:6)

What is your one focus word for the year?

Perhaps, you’re not sure how to select a word. Next week, I will share ideas on how to choose one word for the year.

~April Dawn White

© 2019 Red Chair Moments | Images courtesy of Pixabay

DWELL- My Word for 2019

Dwell My Word for 2019

Dwell Is My Word for 2019

Dwell is my word for 2019. I love to study words, understand their context and cultural and historical application.  Each year I choose a word to dwell on (pun intended) for an entire year.

This is my seventh year of intentionally focusing on a word, phrase, and verse. By purposefully studying God’s written voice, the Bible, and focusing on one word, I gain a greater appreciation for God’s character.

I chose to dwell on the word ‘dwell’ for this year. My key verse for the year is Psalm 91:1.  I also chose to study, meditate, and memorize (Lord willing) Psalm 91:1-16.

“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” (Psalm 91:1)

Friend, do you have a focus word for the year? I’d love to hear what’s simmering on your heart for 2019.

Hugs & Hope,

~April

Brick Builders Illustrated Bible: Book Review

What do you get when you combine brick building imaginative play plus thirty-five most beloved Bible stories? Answer: the Brick Builders Illustrated Bible. This exciting Bible combines the 3D animation by illustrator Antony Evans with the writing skills of Emily Dammer.

The Brick Builders Illustrated Bible consists of fifteen Old Testament and twenty-one New Testament stories. Contained within the colorful pages are classic stories. For instance, David and Goliath, Sampson, Noah’s Ark, Moses, and the Birth of Christ. These stories come to life with a strong biblical message and bold brick design.

Each story begins with a title and scripture reference and concludes with a “Building Block” takeaway. These takeaways allow for the reader and child to apply the Biblical principles to their own life.  Examples of these takeaways include, “Obey God,” “Trust God,” “Believe in Jesus,” and “Spread the Good News.”

The thirty-five stories average six pages in length with large font for easy reading. This full-color hardback book consists of 224 pages and retails at $17.99.

The Brick Builders Illustrated Bible is a brilliant idea to keep little hands and minds busy with bricks while learning practical application from God’s Word.

Mom, Dad, and Grandparent, I highly recommend adding The Brick Builders Illustrated Bible to your Christmas shopping list.

~April Dawn White|  ©2018 All Rights Reserved

Avoiding the Comparison Trap

I’m learning to avoid the comparison trap.

 

I am still adjusting to this stay-at-home-mom gig. This wasn’t part of my plan. Nor was the unexpected illness that put me here. It’s been thirty-four months and eleven days since I was medically forced to walk away from my career as a pharmacist. One would think by now, I would be adjusted to my new role, but I still struggle.

Finding contentment in this new realm is my struggle.

This summer, my neighbor had her backyard excavated to make way for an in-ground pool. Meanwhile, God excavated my heart to make room for contentment.

Per instructions by Priscilla Shirer in her book, The Resolution for Women, I scribed these words on an index card and attached it to the front of my fridge.

In my desire to find contentment, I began with a simple prayer: “Lord whatever my hands find to do today, may you look upon your servant and find me faithful. Amen.” 

Later, I simplified this to a four-sentence prayer: “Lord, find me faithful.”

This prayer is based on these verses in the Old and New Testament:

For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.” (2 Chronicles 16:9, NIV)

“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” (Colossians 3:23-24, ESV)

When I pray, “Lord find me faithful,” it helps me put on spiritual blinders. Keeping the simple prayer on the forefront of my mind repels my desire for comparison to others. It allows me to remain faithful in my role, where I am, and with what God has provided for me.

The death of contentment is comparison.

Steven Furtick

Pastor , Elevation Church

During God’s summer excavation of my heart, He showed me two passages in the Bible where the main characters felt unequipped and unqualified in their role because they were comparing themselves to those around them.

Gideon the weakest in his clan hid from the enemy. God finds him, calls him a “valiant warrior” and tells him to fight the enemy. “Go in the strength that you have.” (Judges 6:12, 14). Reluctantly obedient, Gideon and his motley crew of a few defeat the enemy in an unexpected way.

In 2 Kings 4:1-7, we meet an unnamed woman who is a recent widow. Left with debts she cannot repay, the debt collectors threatened to take away her two sons. Desperate, she pleads to the prophet Elisha for help. Instead of helping, he asks, “What’s in your house?” She confesses to having only a little oil. Elisha instructs her to gather as many jars as she can from the neighbors. (Can you imagine the humility of having to ask the neighbors for help?) Elisha blessed what little oil she had and the oil miraculously continued to pour until all the jars were full. She was able to pay off all her debt and keep her sons.

What’s in your house?

How can you go in the strength you have to bless others?

In my realm of a stay-at-home-mom, I have the margin of time and rest in my day. This week, God found me faithful packing lunches for my friend and me. In my house, I already had all the fixings for Meg’s favorite snacks and lunch. Going in the strength I had, God found me faithful as I drove my friend to her chemotherapy infusion. We enjoyed our day together as we laughed, cupped mugs of piping hot Starbucks, and shared stories of God’s faithfulness.

Reflecting on the stories of Gideon and the widow woman, ask yourself:

How can you use what you already have to bless others?

What is God calling you to do?

~April Dawn White ©2018

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We Never Walk Alone

This year, I told my kids if they missed the bus they would walk to school. Situated on the outskirts of our neighborhood the middle and high school buildings are a twenty-minute walk from our home.

Today, Rachel missed the bus. Because it is picture day, I offered to drive her to school.  Visibly relieved, she sighed and her shoulders relaxed.  As I pulled out of the driveway, Rachel chattered about being caught up in the bus traffic, late to school, and possibly sent to the principle’s office.

I sipped the dark brew of liquid mercy and smiled to myself. She did not know I was taking her on a different route. Dropping her off at the front of the school would require me sitting in traffic and the carpool line for over thirty minutes.  Instead, I pulled over at the walking trail that meanders behind the school.

Rachel turned in her seat, “Hey, there’s Marcus.”

“Oh good, you know him?”

“Yeah.”

Turning back to Rachel, I offered my confident parental grin. “Good. Now you don’t have to walk alone.”

“What? You’re not driving me to school?” She questioned.

“This is the trail behind the school. Go ahead and get out and walk with Marcus.”

She was stunned.  I drove her to school as promised, but I didn’t drop her off at the front door. I dropped her off behind the school. She would have to walk between the softball and soccer fields and around to the side of the building. But, she would not walk alone.

We never walk alone.

Sometimes God will interrupt your progress in order to get your attention. Sometimes he does that as an act of grace because he sees you expending effort in the wrong direction.  What you are calling progress is actually paralysis from heaven’s perspective.

Steven Furtick

Pastor , Elevation Church

In the course of life, we all find ourselves walking an unexpected path. Yet, we never walk alone.

When the path we planned shuts down, God provides another way. We set goals to move from point A to point B, with a straight and logical plan of action. But God prefers the scenic route.

When I think back over my unexpected journey of illness, job loss, move, and betrayal of friends, I can point to precise moments along the path when God provided a friend when I needed one the most. Sometimes the companions who linked arms with me were cherished old friends. Other times, they were new friends who understood the isolation and struggle of suffering.

However, in the dark moments, when my brokenness overwhelms me, I cry alone. These are the days when my social media activity and text messages are silent.  I cry for myself and I cry out for God to help. God is the lifter of my head. (Psalm 3:3). His Word reminds me He will never leave us nor forsake me. (Deuteronomy 31:6).

Friend, have you found yourself on an unexpected path? If so, you can rest assured, you will never walk alone. 

~April White

P.S. In the seven-plus years, I’ve been writing Red Chair Moments, this is the first time there has been over a month between posts.  While I’ve been absent on-screen, I’ve been present before the Lord. God is cultivating in me a renewed mind and spirit of contentment. He is teaching me accepting my circumstances is not the same as contentment. As the band, Rascal Flats sings, God is teaching me He blesses and walks with me on the broken road. Dear friend, I’ve broken my on-screen silence to remind myself and all of us, we never walk alone. Hugs & Hope ~April

©2018 April White| Images courtesy of Pixabay

 

Count Your Blessings| Recounts Are OK

Count Your Blessings Recounts are OKI adore birthdays and celebrating, yet this year dread threatened to detach my joy.  I am naturally an optimistic person. Birthdays are reasons to refill one’s glass and toast to life, love, and God’s amazing grace. So why was I feeling glum about this birthday? I don’t know.

Taking a cue from the sign in my kitchen I decided to count my blessings.

Research proves gratitude is a powerful influence on mental health.  I decided to list forty-three things for which I am grateful.  At first, the list lurched and stopped, like someone learning to drive a manual transmission. Then, the blessings flowed faster than I could write.

 

Gratitude is a powerful influence on mental health. Click To Tweet

Count Your Blessings

Here is my list:

Taste and see the Lord is god

Today I woke
Able to walk today
Being able to smile
Faith anchored in Christ
God’s amazing grace
God’s provision
God’s chronic presence in my chronic illness

Quiet mornings and #CoffeeWithJesus
Chris, my beloved and rock
Rachel, the compassionate “noticer”
Andrew’s strong-willed analytical mind
I’ve never missed a soccer or softball game in three years.
My family
True friends

JOY

Living in the Blue Ridge Mountains
Our one-level home
Finding Joy
Laugher
Coffee
Daisies
Fiddle Tunes & Irish music

Travel memories to Ireland, Hawaii, Canada, Eh!
The sound of wooden roller coasters
The crunch of walking on leaves
Beachcombing
Waterfalls
Strolling on cobblestone paths
Tiramisu

80’s music and Flip Flops

Encouraging words
Chocolate
Journals
Books
Colored Pens

Sewing
Stained glass
Hammock naps
Handmade anything
Hydrangeas
Chris’ garden
Grandma’s quilts
Mama’s pickles

Join me in counting our blessings. Recounts are okay.

~April White

Copyright 2018 April Dawn White| Images by author & Pixabay

Identity Theft: Repossess Our Identity With Truth

I was recently the victim of identify theft.  No, not through an online transaction or a lost checkbook. The unlikely location for identity theft was the high school guidance counselor’s office.

My son, a rising tenth grader, and I visited the high school guidance counselor. While he discussed course schedules, I filled out the necessary paperwork:

  • Parent Name
  • Address (Check box if same as the student)
  • Phone number
  • Occupation

Occupation. This word haunts me. For over fifteen years, I wore a lab coat to work and displayed my Doctor of Pharmacy degree in a prominent place in our home. Today, the lab coat hangs in the back of the closet. My diploma is stacked in the corner of the basement collecting dust and cobwebs—much like my mind during severe moments of brain fog.

Occupation: _________________. The word and preceding blank mocked me. It demanded an answer.

I left it blank.

What was I supposed to write?

  • Pharmacist with rare illness unable to work.
  • Medically retired
  • Full-time patient
  • Professional paper filler-outer
  • CEO of the family
  • First lady of the White House (My last name <wink wink>)
  • Chauffer
  • Home management expert
  • Writer

The identity thief slipped in without notice. Perhaps he hid behind the motivational posters decorating the office. Or was it the letters that used to follow my name?  That thief stole my identity.

I was proud of myself for not crying. Instead, I moved onto the remaining pages and noted emergency contact information. I returned to the occupation question and continued to contemplate what to write in the blank. However, I was distracted when my son and the counselor discussed his foreign language options.

Pausing, I lifted the pen toward them and said, “You’ve had two years of Spanish. Didn’t you say you wanted to learn German?”

My son was excited to learn a new language. He thought since he had two years of Spanish, he would be stuck taking Spanish III. I too have a new language to learn. I must learn to listen to the truth of who GOD says I am.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10, NIV)

Identity Theft: Repossess with the Truth

Listening for the voice of God is like learning a foreign language. I must listen, read, and practice reciting the words aloud. I need to be so familiar with His words that they are automatic and roll off my tongue with the correct inflection and accent.

The identity thief lurks in the shadows of our lives, but we can take back what he has stolen from us. Just as my son learned Spanish and can recite words and phrases by rote, we can repeat the truth of who we are in Christ.

In Christ we are:

  • A child of God
  • Accepted
  • Blessed
  • An Overcomer
  • Chosen
  • Forgiven
  • Seated in Heavenly places with God
  • Delivered from sin and darkness
  • A valiant warrior
  • Loved
  • Given grace upon grace
  • Son and Daughters of the King

Listening for the voice of God is like learning a foreign language. Click To Tweet

While the Enemy temporally stole my identity, I took it back by reminding myself of who I am in Christ. Deborah Haddix wrote an article, Who I am? My Identity in Christ, with an A to Z reminder of who we are in Christ. I encourage you to click the above link. Read her list and speak it to yourself.

Take back your identity.

Here are a few of my favorite some musical motivations. Enjoy!

~April Dawn White

© 2018 All Rights Reserved.

Images courtesy of Darwin Laganzon|Pixabay.com

Rest is the Treatment

Despite my daughters resting position, white enamel drums chattered as I checked her temperature, 103.1°F. My fingers gently swept the hair away from her crimson face as I whispered, “Honey, brush your teeth. We’re going to the doctor,”

Guttural moans escaped her petite frame.

I am thankful the pediatrician’s office offer walk-in sick appointments.  Less than an hour later, we answered the obligatory questions from the nurse and physician.

“Based on your symptoms, I am going to test you for Strep and Mono,” the pediatrician offered gently.

Both tests returned negative. My daughter has a mystery virus.

Rest is the TreatmentThe doctor instructed us to “treat the symptoms with fluids, fever medications, and most importantly, rest.”

REST is the Treatment. 

Rest is a short word which when used wields incredible power.

Why is rest always last on my list?

I am no longer talking about my daughter being sick. I mean living in a state of rest.

Why do I try to fix small things on my own, like scheduling conflicts or car repairs, while leaving the big-ticket issues for God? God doesn’t say to bring him only the big problems in life, but instead, Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28, NLT).

Rest shouldn’t be our last resort. Click To Tweet

Rest is first on God’s list.  When God gave Moses the Ten Commandants, rest was implied in the first two commandments.  “You must not have any other god but me. You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea.” (Exodus 20:3-4, NLT).

I am weary of managing small problems on my own rather than resting everyday concerns with God. I am guilty of creating an idol of self-reliance. By categorizing what I think I can handle versus what I should hand over to God, my personal, I-can-handle-this-To-Do-list has become my god.

Over time, my stubborn, strong-willed, nature created an invisible idol called the god of self-reliance. Instead of the rest and peace, God Almighty offers, my false self-reliance god left me feeling weary and drained.

The path to restful living contains stepping-stones of surrender and a stone of contentment with where I am with what I have for right now.

Friend, are you like me?

Ask yourself if you are weary of managing life on your own instead of resting everyday concerns with God.  Like me, have you unknowingly formed an idol of self-reliance? If so, pray with me.

Dear Lord, help me to live out your plan for peace and rest in my life. I release all my concerns big and small into your Sovereign capable hands. Tear down any idol(s)I unknowingly formed. Teach me to rest in You day-by-day. Jesus, I thank you for your saving and sustaining grace. In your name, I pray. Amen.

I leave you with the same prescription for treatment as my daughter–rest.

If you liked this post check out these related articles: Take a Nap, Winter: A Season to Rest, and Rest and Praise: The Underutilized Weapons of Faith, 

~April Dawn White

©2018 Red Chair Moments

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