The Praising Tree

The Praising Tree“All the trees of the forest sing for joy.” (Psalm 96:12)

A few weeks ago, I gazed out the window, sipping freshly brewed liquid mercy (my morning coffee). I watched as the earth yawned and stretched as it greeted the morning sunrise. Looking across to the quiet lake, I stared with wonder at the perfect reflections on the water.

Something in my peripheral vision caught my attention.  Changing my focus from the lake to the pine trees closer to the house, was the most peculiar site. A solitary pine bough bobbed up and down.  I glanced around the backyard and saw that no other trees were stirring. All was calm on this early morning except the praise offered by a single pine bough.

“You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.” (Isaiah 55:12)

I felt as though I was spying on a holy moment intended for only the Creator. Suddenly I felt small and insignificant as a single bough on the pine tree, planted decades before my arrival, swayed to the rhythm of supernatural praise.

How would you praise if you know God alone was watching? Click To Tweet

I pondered the significance of this moment. Why would God allow me to witness this supernatural praise intended only for Him? The answer was simple. It was a visual reminder that God sees me.

He sees what no one else sees.The Praising Tree

He sees our struggles.

He sees our time spent in prayer and in His Word.

He sees when we push through and smile despite the pain.

He sees the tears no one else sees.

He sees faith anchored to Christ despite our challenging circumstances.

Often the situations we face need a change in perspective. Each day I walk past this massive oak tree in my front yard. The empty branches remind me of the prolonged winter season. Personally I am in a prolonged waiting season. This beautiful image captured by my husband is a great visual reminder to change my perspective. I need to focus on the unchanging character of God rather than the uncertainty of my situation.

Consider:

  • Are you in a prolonged season?
  • How would recognizing God sees you in the midst of your circumstances change your perspective?
  • How would you praise if you knew God alone was watching?

~April

P.S. Today is the 5th birthday of Red Chair Moments! You have my permission to eat cake! 🙂

*Images courtesy of Author  *Scripture is NIV from BibleGateway.com unless otherwise noted.

© 2016 April Dawn White, All rights reserved

One Year Later…God is Still Faithful

Today is the one-year anniversary of my medical leave of absence.

One year later, I have a diagnosis (Hypokalemic Periodic Paralysis), six new medications to manage symptoms, and new teammates such as physicians, counselors, and a slew of online friends with this disease.

Over the past year, I’ve wrestled with God over a handful of losses; loss of self, identity, my career, income, and independence.  However, today, I recognize God’s steadfast love and faithfulness was never taken away.

“But I will NOT take my love from you, NOR will I ever betray my faithfulness.” (Psalm 89:33, emphasis and personalization mine)

When it feels you've lost is all, God's love & faithfulness will never be removed. Click To Tweet

One year later, uncertainty still looms as I ask the Lord many questions. I surrender each question to Him knowing I cannot answer when, where, what, and how.  But I know the Who and knowing God is all that matters.

One year later... God is still faithful Click To Tweet

Friend, do you have uncertainty looming over you? I encourage you to write out your questions and anxious thoughts to the Lord. Surrender each question to the one who can replace your uncertainty with His faithfulness. 

~April 

*Images courtesy of Pixabay © 2016 April Dawn White, All rights reserved

He Appeared and the Soul Felt Its Worth

He appeared and the soul felt its worth. The words printed on this Christmas card were familiar, simple, and profound. I recognized the phrase as a song lyric but to which Christmas hymn I was uncertain.

Such pondering was an excuse to brew another pot of liquid mercy. I leaned against the kitchen counter, inhaling the hazelnut aroma, eyes closed and holding the card in my hand. I sang the phrase, “He appeared and the soul felt its worth” and recognized it as a line from O Holy Night.

“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel which means, God WITH us.” (Matthew 1:23, emphasis mine)

There are no greater reassuring words than the promise of God WITH us.  Immanuel is a name of God often referenced during the Christmas season. However, the promise of God WITH us is for all seasons, in every trial, and through every dark valley.

“Even though I walk thought the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for you are WITH me.” (Psalms 23:4, emphasis mine)

Let me get this out of the way and say, this has not been an easy year. A disease we had never heard of before, Hypokalemic Periodic Paralysis hijacked my body, turning our world upside down. Suddenly I stepped out of a healthy active life into the world of chronic illness. So many areas of my life has changed,  my health, my income, my abilities, my independence, my priorities, and my perspective.

Through it all, God appeared reminding me of His name, Immanuel. God WITH us never left our side and my soul felt its worth. My soul felt its worth for being me–broken and humbled.  One of the greatest challenges I faced this year was breaking free from the idea of perfection and performance. I have let go of the idols of perfectionism and performance and grasped Immanuel’s hand instead. God loves me because He created me. I am enough.

I am thankful Hypokalemic Periodic Paralysis hijacked my body, allowing me a year of rest and quiet time with the Lord. While a rare disease hijacked by body, God’s presence hijacked my soul. He appeared and my soul felt its worth.

Merry Christmas 2016

~April Dawn White

*Images courtesy of author & Pixabay  © 2016 April Dawn White, All rights reserved

The Unchanging Character of God

Drive Road sign Winging Path PIxabay“I the Lord do not change.” (Malachi 3:6)

Suddenly my world turned upside down. Suddenly I stepped out of a healthy active life into the world of chronic illness. Suddenly, periodic paralysis hijacked my body. Reading Malachi 3:6, “I the Lord do not change,” was a balm for my aching soul. I prayed:

“Lord, I need to savor the words of your promise. God, over the past year so much of my life has changed; I desperately need the reminder today that you do not change. Amen.”

Identity Crisis image Pixabay

  • My health has changed…rare neuromuscular disease
  • My mood has changed …sometimes not so good
  • My abilities have changed…today I cannot lift a coffee mug
  • My income has changed…I have not worked in 8 months
  • My priorities have changed… rest and recovery are on my to do list
  • My posture has changed...my head droops and silent tears fall freely

Unlike me, God never changes. He never has an off day. His mood never fluctuates. He never wakes up on the grumpy side of the bed, because he never sleeps or slumbers (Psalm 121: 3-4). He does not have bad days, bad weeks, or hormonal changes.

God is always good, constantly kind, and loving. He is long-suffering towards His children and full of tender compassion. He brews a fresh batch of mercy every morning. Great is His faithfulness.

Because God never changes:

  • My praise has changed…I substitute worship for worry.
  • My perspective has changed…I pray, “Lord, bless my perspective.”
  • My identity has changed…God showed me I have been following the idol of self-sufficiency. Now I trust fully in not my ability, but His Sovereignty.
  • My security has changed…God led me here, and He will lead me out.
  • My trust has changed…I trust in the Lord with all my heart, trying not to figure it out on my own.
  • My ability to rest has changed…It is still a daily battle, but rest is a necessary part of this season.
  • My assignment has changed… Each day I ask, God want do you want me to do today?
  • My faith has changed…In my battle of this new chronic illness named Periodic Paralysis, I have witness God’s chronic presence in my life.

God stepped into my world of chronic illness with His chronic presence. Click To Tweet

For Ever Tree PIxabayWhile my attacks are episodic and periodic, God remains unchanging in His chronic compassion towards me, and it is well with my soul.

Friend, has your world turned upside down? Has there been a recent change in your life? Take comfort today that while our circumstances may change we can cling to the promise God issued in Malachi 3:6, “I the Lord, do not change.”

~April Dawn White

*All Scripture is NIV from Bible Gateway.  *Images courtesy of Pixabay.

© 2016 April Dawn White, All rights reserved

Ponderize: The Kind but Firm Leading Hand of God

hands-407389_1280 (1)pixabayMaking the most of a mundane task of washing dishes, I listened to “The Grit Factor” podcast by Lisa Bereve. I replayed the video multiple times as I towel dried my hands to scribble down this nugget of truth: “God is kind but He is not soft. In kindness, He takes us firmly by the hand and leads us into a radical life change.” –Lisa Bevere

I pondered her words in my mind, swirling the truth the way I savor my last sip of coffee. The message of God’s kindness, firm hand, a radical life, and His leading all resonate with my current circumstances.

God's leading hand is firm, but kind. Click To Tweet

I need God’s secure and steady arm to cling to in moments of physical weakness.  I need His firm hand to lift my chin and infuse encouragement into my heart and mind with each cycle of pain and despair. I need His everlasting arms to wrap around our family as we continue navigate the uncharted waters of this intruder called chronic illness, the financial strain of me not working, the hormones and drama with two kids in middle school, and the additional burden placed on my husband.

Ponderize = [Ponder + Memorize]

Ponderize is a word I learned from my west coast friend Mary Black, co-founder of Parsnips and Paisley dot com. She credits the word ponderize from Devin Durant who explains to ponderize is to ponder on and memorize Biblical scriptures.

During the past several weeks, I have ponderized the firm grip of God’s leading hand and my desperate need to hold on tight.

If you need a new grip of faith, I implore you to ponderize these verses:Ponderize

The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand. (Psalm 37:23-24, NIV)

So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees. (Hebrews 12:12, NLT)

Because I, your God, have a firm grip on you and I’m not letting go. I’m telling you, ‘Don’t panic. I’m right here to help you.’ (Isaiah 41:13, Message)

Let’s keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word. (Hebrews 10:23, Message)

Your hand will guide me; your right hand will hold me fast. (Psalm 139:10, NIV)

Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. (Psalm 73:23, NIV)

Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. (Hebrews 4:14, NIV)

Blue anchor pixabayWe have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. (Hebrews 6:19, NIV) * My verse for 2015

But Christ is faithful as the Son over God’s house. And we are his house, if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory. (Hebrews 3:6, NIV)

He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it. (Titus 1:9, NIV)

If you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. (Colossians 1:23, NIV)

He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave mNew Grip Ponderizee a firm place to stand. (Psalm 40:2, NIV)

Today’s Red Chair Moments is on location at Duke Medical Center.  Please join me in praying for clarity, direction, insight, and possibly new treatment options. My tired hands are taking a new grip in faith. I know God’s firm hand will steady me and it is well with my soul.

~April Dawn White

*All Scripture is NIV or The Message from Bible Gateway. *Images courtesy of Pixabay.

© 2016 April Dawn White, All rights reserved

When God Shows Up Nothing Else Matters


“The Word became flesh and blood and moved into the neighborhood.” 
(John 1:14, Message)

When God Shows Up Nothing Else MattersThis week I cleaned out my car and found a “To Do” list dated two months ago.  Glancing at the list, I realized most of my listed tasks and concerns resolved without any effort on my part. Flipping the list over I read these words scribbled on the back:

When God shows up nothing else matters! Click To Tweet

Using the skills taught in pharmacy school to read physician handwriting, I tried to depicter my own hurried marks. Here’s what I could read:

Faithfulness

Provision

God is in this season

This is not the way I had my life mapped out

Revealing the character of God

Remember and recall the details

Tell the story of what God did

I wish I could recall the podcast I was listening to that day. Even though I cannot recall the speaker, God’s voice is resonating with me today amidst of my current circumstances.me flesh and blood and moved into the neighborhood

This is my prayer: “Jesus, thank you for taking on human form to align with my suffering. Thank you for moving in the neighborhood of Earth and of my heart.

Thank you for reminding me you are in THIS season. While this is not how I had my life mapped out; you have a provision already in place (A Ram in the Thicket).

Help me to have the patience to wait while you deliver the answers and provision I need. Thank you for revealing the trustworthy character of who you are; sovereign, good, faithful, and a perfect provider. Thank you for moving into the neighborhood of my life transforming my situation for your glory. Amen.”

What situation do you need to invite Jesus to move into the neighborhood of your life?

~April Dawn White

*Images courtesy of author and  Pixabay. © 2016 April Dawn White, All rights reserved

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