Archives for posts with tag: comfort

We have many blankets in our family room. In the corner is a basket home for them (as if we actually fold and put them away). No, they’re usually strewn about… on the couch, the green and gold afghan my grandma crocheted for me when I was a senior in high school (its colors a timeless reminder of how I never ended up going to Baylor. Plans change). On the ottoman is a black and orange Valley fleece blanket my mother-in-law made for one of the boys a few years ago. On the floor, an ugly, rough, south-of-the-border blanket I’ve never liked, although it still hangs around. On the beanbag, a grey souvenir blanket we got on an (unseasonably cold) music festival cruise to the Bahamas a few years ago. It makes me smile. These are joined by a half dozen others, various styles and origins, all ready for movie night or a football game or just cuddling up with a book.

I love these blankets. They feel especially good when the cold wind howls outside, but truth be told, we cover up with ’em year-round. It doesn’t matter. Maybe we just find them comforting. Warm. Protective.

photo-1 blankets Angie S

I’m knitting a blanket for Trevor to take with him when he goes to college this fall. (It’s purple, so it’ll work whether he chooses UNI or Truman State.) I figure, if I brought him home from the hospital in a blanket 18 years ago, I might as well send him off in one, too. If he should get homesick, maybe it’ll be the touch of home that brings comfort.

My mom gave me a quilted blanket this past Christmas, made with squares of some of Dad’s shirts that she couldn’t part with after his death two years ago. This quilt is a great remembrance piece. I remember Dad wearing these shirts. I haven’t actually used the blanket yet; it sits folded on top of our cedar chest, with the shirt fronts folded to the inside. I think the day will come when I use it, but for now, maybe I just don’t want the sadness wrapped around me.

Thinking about these blankets got me pondering the intangibles we wrap around ourselves every day… feelings and emotions, our outlook on life, our defense mechanisms. How we face each day depends on what attitude we put around our shoulders when we get out of bed in the morning. We choose our outlook more subconsciously than I might choose a blanket for TV night, but it’s still a choice.

photo-2 blankets Angie S

Many days, I can be all too comfortable wrapping myself in the wrong things. Cynicism. Pride. Some days, I’m smothered by my own self-doubt. Maybe you can relate. God’s Word warns us to resist getting too cozy with these things. There are others. Worry. Fear. An unwillingness to forgive. But just because these might be comfortable and familiar doesn’t mean we have to keep choosing them over and over. They never end up protecting us like we think they will. They just grow heavier over time. Maybe Jesus had something like this in mind when he talked about his yoke being easy and his burden light. I like this translation of Matthew 11:29-30: “I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly” (The Message.)

Light blankets are my favorite ones. So, in the spirit of the metaphor, I can appreciate this.

What, then, can we drape around us that won’t weigh us down? Here are some ideas from Colossians 3:12-14: “Dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it” (The Message).

Today, may you be wrapped in comfy blankets and, even better, in the lightness of this kind of spirit God has in mind for you.

by Angie Schmitt

A comment right out of Charlie Brown.

Just two months after the death of my son, I am feeling and recognizing “good grief.”  Please understand, missing him is a deep ache.  But it is so good to have the sure confidence that we will be together again.  My pastors, family, and friends continue giving their compassion, touch, and prayers which bring relief.

Whatever the sorrow or loss, it is the start of coping, resolving, finding answers, accepting powerlessness, trusting God, finding hope, that gets you through the night and into the day.

Isn’t all suffering the growth cell that develops form, shape, growth, and resolution?  Indulging in memories at unexpected moments?  It hurts and feels good simultaneously.  It is good grief.

Today is Good Friday.  It brings us more “Good Grief.”  How crushing the torture, suffering, and death of our savior.  How transforming Christ’s resurrection and living presence!  Romans 8:18 says that our present suffering is not to be compared to our future eternity with Christ.

His suffering rewarded Him.  Our suffering rewards us.  And in the suffering is our best selves.  It is “Good grief.” And He comes and suffers again, with us.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. (2 Corinthians 1: 3-5, English Standard Version)

by Margaret Stone

With all the blizzards and tornadoes the Midwest is known for, it is definitely wise to make plans for yourself and family.  We can’t stop weather systems from forming, but we can be wise enough to know what we need in case of an emergency.

I’ve learned to have candles with matches right next to them, and not just dinner candles, but the big jar type candles which last for hours…ever had to read a child books while you waited for the electricity to be restored?  Think ahead on that one.  Even battery-operated candles–they look decorative and serve a purpose and are available as tea lights or full-size, look-like-wax.  Then there’s the good old standby flashlight with a drawer full of batteries.

In the winter, it never hurts to have several cans of soup, tuna, peanut butter and a loaf of bread in the freezer.  And, of course, several gallons of water for each person.  We went through one spring ice storm without power for a full five days…no hot meals and the first two days, we couldn’t get out our driveway because of the huge tree limbs blocking the way, so no restaurant food either.

And little children don’t understand the concept of tornadoes, so it is important to plan how you will describe such an event to them and be prepared to ask them which toy will make them feel good in the basement, or inside a bathroom.  And as for you, what treasure would you absolutely die to have back…take that with YOU!   For me, it’s my children’s photo albums, and I know right where they are.  Also tell older teens, if they are at the mall when a siren goes off to head for the bathroom area where the support walls are plentiful….do NOT try to drive home!

Planning is important for emergencies and, of course, for just plain getting through life.

Sometimes I want to NOT plan…only sit and let life happen.  Usually that only comes about if I’m lucky enough to get a vacation away from home.  It seems my mind has to get away from the house, even if I have time off, because within the confines of the four walls, I “will” find something to plan.  Ack!

My point in all this, however, is that as children of God, we have the greatest plan of all.  We have our eternal future taken care of…no savings needed, no food, shelter, clothes, schedules.  Nothing.  God has our every need thought of and provided, ahead of time.  Nothing will surprise God.  Do you think when we get to heaven he will say, “Oh, I didn’t know you were coming today!”   No way…God knows and has prepared a place for you.

A place under His wings of shelter, peace, provision.  A place with no tears.  A place of purest love.  A place more beautiful than our eyes can envision.

Prepared?   Oh, yes!   He is.

Blessings to you today.  And God’s comfort on your soul.

by Cindy Best

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