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Hold Loosely

Hold what loosely? I’ll get to that!

God has taught me SO much over the last year. Retirement 4 years ago gave me more time with the Lord each morning than I’ve ever had before…and I have LOVED it! Retirement also has taught me how to live with my husband of 50 years full time…and it’s not all been pretty since it’s the first time we’ve ever lived together 24/7! You can read about that here in this post, Retired Together…3 Issues and 7 Tips.

During pandemic, it’s as though retirement has gone to whole other level. Although we have made so much progress in learning to live together well, it’s like we are having to re-learn now!

We’ve experienced disappointment in cancelling planned groups, events and our beloved beach trips. Even the one trip we got to make to the beach was cut short due to Hurricane Sally! (If you not read that series, feel free to start here, following posts are linked on that one.)

The Lord has reminded me over and over through this past year, to hold loosely my plans, my trips, my preconceived ideas of how things should turn out.

As I type this, it is inauguration day…after an ugly year in politics. Our plans, in 3 days, are to get on our first plane in a year and fly to Florida for a week on the beach celebrating our 50th anniversary…AFTER canceling the cruise we’d scheduled with some close friends!

Whether we get to make that trip or not, daily the Lord has shown me, through so many scriptures, that He is the one in charge of ALL my plans. ALL my desires. ALL my disappointments, ALL my concerns. And He has a plan that supersedes ALL of them! This gives me such peace, even if I shed a few tears (or a lot), and even rants along the way.

SO, when you read this, we will either have flown to Florida and back…or we stayed home. This is the kind of thing I’m learning to hold loosely. But what I will NOT hold loosely, is my Jesus. My Rock, my Refuge, my Hope.

A friend recently sent this picture of her view, her visual rock!

Since this year, my focus is refuge (rock, stronghold), I saved this photo of my friend’s “rock” to claim as my visual as well. See my post What’s Ahead for more on that my focus! He is what I will cling to with all my strength as I face unknowns in 2021, disappointments, failures, losses, AND joys, blessings, fulfilled hopes.

1 John 2:15-17 tells us: Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world — the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride in one’s possessions — is not from the Father, but is from the world. And the world with its lust is passing away, but the one who does the will of God remains forever.

When I see what is happening in the midst of so much turmoil, how can I doubt a sovereign God? (read these for more encouragement, Blessed New Year and Over the Nations.) God is showing up at my church in unprecedented ways! Revival is happening and lives are changing. Our people are seeking to go deeper than ever before in their walk with Christ. That is what I hold tightly to as I let go of my plans. His are so much wiser! So much bigger! So much more amazing!

Verses to hold tightly:

Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
and do not rely on your own understanding;
in all your ways know him,
and he will make your paths straight.
Don’t be wise in your own eyes;
fear the LORD and turn away from evil.
This will be healing for your body
and strengthening for your bones.
(Proverb 3:5-7)

The LORD is my light and my salvation —
whom should I fear?
The LORD is the stronghold of my life —
whom should I dread?
(Psalm 27:1)

“If you’ll hold on to me for dear life,” says God,
    “I’ll get you out of any trouble.
I’ll give you the best of care
    if you’ll only get to know and trust me.
Call me and I’ll answer, be at your side in bad times;
    I’ll rescue you, then throw you a party.
I’ll give you a long life,
    give you a long drink of salvation!”
(Psalm 91:14-16, The Message)

I’ve started a list, but there are SO many other passages. Now you add your own “hold tightly” verses!

What are you holding too tightly? What are you holding too loosely? Will you make Him LORD over them all as you make Him LORD over your life?

P.S. As you read this today I wanted to share with you that we just returned from that 50th Anniversary trip and was absolutely AMAZING! I wanted to share one of the best photos I think I’ve ever taken of our last night on Captiva Island.

No filter!

We are so grateful God allowed us to go and have a wonderful time together (even if it wasn’t our previously planned cruise!). BUT, even if we hadn’t gone, along with disappointment, I’d still be praising God for His faithfulness and His plan!

Banner photo by Katherine Hanlon on Unsplash

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