12 Verses About The Lord is Our Keeper

“The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade at your right hand.” (Psalm 121:5, NKJV)

In the midst of my bout of Covid induced isolation, I struck Scriptural gold. More valuable than an precious metal, I unearthed the phrase, “The Lord is your Keeper. (Psalm 121:5).

As a chronic illness warrior, I’m no stranger to feeling below par. But this virus amplified my usual symptoms and added a few more. {By the way, my fever never exceeded 99.7 and I never lost my sense of taste or smell}. 

The isolation is the worst part of Covid. As the CEO of the home, who’s going to take care of me if I’m isolated? The answer came in Psalm 121:5, “The Lord is your keeper.” 

12 Verses About the Lord as Your Keeper:

 “He will not allow your foot to be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber.” (Psalm 121:3, NKJV)

“Behold, he who keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.” (Psalm 121:4, NKJV)

“The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade at your right hand.” (Psalm 121:5, NKJV)

“Deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine.” (Psalm 33:19, NKJV)

 

The Lord is Our Keeper
The Lord is Our Keeper

“You shall keep them, O Lord, you shall preserve them from this generation forever.” (Psalm 12:7, NKJV)

Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings.” (Psalm 17:8, ESV)

“For He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways.” (Psalm 91:11, NKJV)

“For the Lord will be your confidence, firm and strong, and will keep your foot from being caught [in a trap].” (Proverbs 3:26, AMP)

Therefore know that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments.” (Deuteronomy 7:9, NKJV)

“You shall keep them, O Lord, you shall preserve them from this generation forever.” (Psalm 12:7, NKJV)

Friends, whether your season is full of joy or ambiguity, you may rest in the knowledge that the Lord is Your Keeper.

©2020 April Dawn White

Images courtesy of Canva.com

The Lord is Our Keeper

Did You Know… 

Advent is the season of preparing our hearts for Christmas. The word “Advent’ is derived from the Latin word adventus meaning ‘arrival’ or ‘coming.’

This year’s Advent season is November 29-December 25, 2020. 

Marilyn and I wrote Christmas Hope: Advent Readings for 2020, as our gift to you. 

 

 

The Lord is Our Keeper

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God Does Not Change

God does not change

“I the Lord do not change.” -God  (Malachi 3:6)

God Does Not Change

During this time of quarantine, isolation, and abundant change, the words from Malachi 3:6 are a balm for my aching soul: I the Lord do not change.”

My favorite attribute of God is His immutability. He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow (Hebrews 13:8).  This attribute provides comfort for both the caregiver and the chronic illness warrior.

Life in Uncertainty is Not New {For Some}                           

The current Covid19 pandemic forced everyone into isolation. Otherwise, healthy and abled-bodied individuals are in quarantine. For those of us with a chronic illness, staying at home, unable to participate in outside events is our normal. As Barbara Mandrell sang of being country when it wasn’t cool. Illness forced us to isolation. Many forced to abandon their careers because the companies refused to allow us to work from home. While the majority of the US moans of their lack of freedom, I want to sneer, (and I doubt I’m the only one) and say, “Welcome to my world.”

Living in uncertainty is nothing new for chronic illness warriors and caregivers. However, there are days when changes and uncertainty are overbearing.

Our Circumstances May Change, But God Does Not

Change is hard to process. Our questions dangle unanswered and become more tangled as new challenges arrive. Many of us can recall when our health changes began. Whether suddenly or subtlety, our healthy and active lives morphed into one of chronic illness and dependence on others. For me, my quirky symptoms shifted into overdrive in my forth decade. While somewhere in my genetic code a mutation occurred in my DNA, I take solace in remembering God does not change.

God Does Not Change

An Honest Prayer for Uncertain Times

Dear Heavenly Father

I thank you for the promise that You do not change (Malachi 3:6). God, I can rest knowing You are the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow (Hebrews 13:8).  Lord, so much of my life has changed and I need you. I desperately need the reminder today that You do not change nor cast shifting shadows (James 1:17).

My health has changed: from healthy to chronically ill. My mood has changed: from happy to bouts of depression and anger. Simple abilities have changed; someday I lack the strength to walk without help or get out of bed. Lord, You are my refuge and my strength, ever present help in times of trouble (Psalm 46:1). Whether or not I am abled-bodied, Lord, I take comfort in knowing I cannot escape your presence (Psalm 139:7-12).

Lord, my career and finances have changed, but you are my Jehovah Jireh, The Lord Who Provides (Genesis 22:14).  My priorities have changed; rest and recovery are on my daily to-do list. My soul finds rest in God, and my hope comes from Him (Psalm 65:2). My posture has changed; some days my head droops and silent tears fall freely, but you Lord are the Lifter of my head (Psalm 3:3) Lord, I am grateful you do not change (Malachi 3:6).

Thank you in advance for answering my prayers. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

God never wakes up grumpy

God Never Wakes Up Grumpy

Unlike us, 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, dreadful weeks, or hormonal changes. God never takes a day off. God is always good, constantly kind, and loving. He is long-suffering towards His children and full of tender compassion.

With each recent change and uncertainty, we can press on by finding solace in the unchanging character and compassion of God.

What current uncertainty do you need to firmly press into God’s open hands?

April White ©2020

This article was originally published for Broken But Priceless. BBP is a quarterly online magazine for those suffering from chronic illness and caregivers.  You can read excerpts and sign up here.

Photo by Laura Chouette & Ben White on Unsplash Photo by Isaac Benhesed on Unsplash

4 Lessons from the Sunflower Farm

“Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadows. It’s what the sunflowers do.” ~Helen Keller

4 Lessons from the Sunflower Farm

Last fall I photographed my niece’s senior pictures at a sunflower farm. The contrast of golden sunflower orbs against the cornflower blue sky was a spectacular backdrop.  As the day progressed, a chill rippled our skin as the September sun set behind the Blue Ridge Mountains. The sunflowers, which earlier faced east, now faced west toward the setting sun.  Upon reflection, I discovered four lessons from the sunflower farm.

Lesson 1: Seek Truth                                        

Months later, a social media post about sunflowers caught my attention. This post described how sunflowers face each other on cloudy days to share energy and suggested we too should be a sunflower. While the concept is cute, my degree in Biology reminded me it is scientifically wrong.

Sunflowers are a part of the (Asteraceae) family, which tracks the arc of the sun in a phenomenon known as heliotropism.[1] During their growing season, sunflowers track the movement of the sun throughout the day from east to west. Overnight, sunflowers reset their position, swinging their head eastward.

 

Lesson 2: God is in the Details (Okay, I nerd out on this!)

Our Creator and Sustainer genetically wired the sunflower plant to follow the sun. A study published in Science magazine reveals sunflowers track with the arc of the as a result of genes clicking ‘on’. At night, these genes click ‘off’ while another set of genes switch ‘on’ to move the heads back east.[2] Even on cloudy or rainy days, a growing sunflower will track the sun from east to west. Heliotropism is the manner in which God strengthens the sunflower stalk to carry the weight of the giant golden head. As a Christian and a scientist, I am in awe of the tiniest of details God uses in His creation to echo His compassion. He also wired us to follow the Son.

Sunflowers track the sun

Lesson 3: Spiritual Parallel with Sunflowers

Sunflowers represent a spiritual parallel for those growing in Christ. Like the growing sunflowers, we need to track the Son and follow His direction daily. During tough times, when trouble rains and our vision is cloudy, we must continue to seek the Lord and his face, follow His heart even when we can’t see His hand.

 

Sunflowers

Lesson 4: Created for Community

While the social media post about sunflowers facing each other on cloudy days was scientifically incorrect, it is important to not to live in isolation. God desires us to be in relationship with Him and with others. Isolation is not good for our soul.  Spending authentic time with friends refreshes the soul and lifts each other’s burdens. Calling upon authentic friends unlocks the door to hidden strength to carry on.

When we cannot see the Lord working and cloudy vision blocks our way, we need link arms with our fiercest friends and prayer warriors and to press on like the sunflower and face the Son.

April White ©2020

 

References:

[1] https://homeguides.sfgate.com/flowers-turn-toward-sun-70110.html

[2] https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/research-reveals-how-and-why-sunflowers-turn-their-golden-heads-180960042/

Photos by author and  Laura Gilchrist and Derek Thomson on Unsplash

P.S.

The 2020 Beaver Dam Sunflower Festival is September 12th from 9 am-6 pm. Check out the site for more information. 

Jesus, Coffee, & Afternoon Naps

Our world is complicated, uncertain, and harsh. Would you agree? Too many demands morph our Instagram worthy, color-coded weekly schedule, into illegible graffiti. Dare I even mention our own self-imposed (unrealistic) expectations?

It has taken me five years to develop the solution for a complicated life:

I get by each day with Jesus, coffee, and afternoon naps.

At first glance, my solution may seem trite and simple. However, over the past five years, I have walked through hell, uncertainty and pain, yet held a hallelujah in my heart. (For new friends, you can read more about this in Making Sense of Setbacks.)

Jesus:

Before my feet hit the floor, I thank God for another breath and another day. While that may sound cliché, it is true. The current Covid-19 world has taught us not to take a breath for granted.

In 2018, I was hospitalized for innumerable pulmonary emboli. Blood clots filled my lungs and threatened my life. My medical team couldn’t believe I was still alive. But God stepped in and rescued me. It was His hand on my life, holding me up (Psalm 63:8). His hand prevented the blood clots from going too far while the hospital staff pumped me full of clot busters.

So when I returned home from my hospital stay, I return to my morning routine.

Coffee:

After my initial good morning prayers of thanks to God, I pad into the kitchen. Muscles groan and joints pop as I fill my mug. My fresh-brewed morning coffee reminds me of God’s fresh-brewed mercy new each morning.

“The Lord’s unfailing love and mercy still continue, fresh as the morning, as sure as the sunrise.” (Lamentations 3:22-23 GNT)

Cupping the mug, warmth radiates through my hands and arms, reviving my soul. Leaning on the counter, I savor the aroma and offer my second series of prayers. These prayers are the moans of my heart with reoccurring or yet-to-see-an-answer prayers.

“We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” (2 Chronicles 20:12 NIV)

Each morning I consume copious amounts of coffee and copious amount of God’s Word. Coffee perks me up while God’s Word keeps me on the right path. Daily #CoffeewithJesus reminds me, I am a work in progress.

Afternoon Naps:

At one time, I underestimated the value of naps. Back then, my Type-A, gotta-get-stuff-done approach to life left no margin for me or naps. The old me competed with a false identity of the perfect wife, mom, Jesus girl, friend, co-worker, housekeeper, chef, school mom, chauffeur, no-laziness-nap-for me, and tried to stay within fifteen pounds of my pre-pregnancy weight.

My health crisis catapulted my need for rest. My body needed the physical rest to recover from illness and my mind and soul needed to spiritually rest in the Lord. What once seemed like a set back was really a set-up for God displaying his provision, presence, and His rest in my life.

Now, I am a nap enthusiast. I rest my body when it needs it and I rest my mind and soul with the Lord. We serve a God who never sleeps or slumbers (Psalm 121:4) but He designed rest for us.

Jesus, coffee, and afternoon naps may seem simple and trite, but this method helps me continue to walk in faith in the hard times and keep a hallelujah in my heart.

Friend, what hard time are you walking through? Can you muster the energy to sing a hallelujah?

Spend time reflecting on these verses Psalm 63:8, Psalm 121:4, 2 Chronicles 20:12, and Lamentations 3:22-23 and see how your spirits lift. Share your discoveries in the comments.

Jesus, Coffee, & Afternoon Naps,

April

©2020 April Dawn White.com

Making Sense of Setbacks

I am in a reflective mood. I’m making sense of setbacks, praising God for my present messy life, and pondering His plans for my future.

Four years ago today, I stepped away from my full time pharmacist gig for what I thought was a temporary medical leave of absence.

When I climbed over the guardrail of security (my plan) and stepped off the cliff (into God’s plan) I  free fall into grace.

When I stepped away from work for medical testing, my plan was to name the painful debilitating symptoms, seek treatment and return to work. However, days merged into months with no answer while my condition worsened. Without a diagnosis and title, my medical team was reluctant to treat my symptoms. Little did I know it would take over a year of testing to determine the nature of bizarre symptoms.

 

Making Sense of Setbacks

am thankful God placed a chronically ill woman in the Gospels. Like the woman with the issue of blood in the book of Mark, I can relate to desperately seeking medical help without relief. By faith, the unnamed woman battling an isolating illness stretched out her hand and touched Jesus’ robe. She knew with one touch she could be healed. At this account, Jesus called her, “Daughter.” This is the only biblical account of Christ calling a woman, “Daughter.” Her faith healed her illness. His title relabeled her identity.

I’d like to say I’ve overcome all my hang-ups, but I haven’t. I still struggle with my identity as a forced stay-at-home-mom, rare illness warrior, writer, “retired” pharmacist and daughter. I wish I could tell you I no longer struggle with my current situation or my illness. But I can’t. Most days I feel like a stalled racehorse eager to run a race, only to discover my batteries are too low to get out of the gate.

Jesus, Coffee, & Afternoon Naps

This illness forces me to rest daily. I get by every day with Jesus, coffee, and afternoon naps. 

God continues to teach me how to be productive for His Kingdom, His Plans, and His Purpose, which no longer includes me serving as the local pharmacist. With the insight of hindsight, I see these perceived setbacks were actually a set-up for God to work in me and through me.

Now pardon me, but I need to take a nap.

 

©2020 April Dawn White

Image via Maria Shanina Unsplash

Mercy for Meh Days

Have you ever felt meh? Meh is the verbal
expression equivalent to a shrug of the shoulders.

Meh days can result from physical, emotional, or spiritual battles. For those of us suffering a chronic illness, meh days are usually a combination of two or more of these factors.

I am writing this article on a meh day. I had a flare-up of my illness last night and today is a day of rest and recovery day.

My body is weak. I forced myself out of pajamas only to pull on yoga pants and t-shirt. I gave myself an imaginary gold star for changing clothes, even if I traded one set of comfortable clothes for another. Because conservation of strength is my primary goal, showers are optional these days. Showers require too much energy.

 

My favorite coffee mug is too heavy, so I traded it for a lighter mug. My thought processes are as slow as Eeyore’s trot. Between sips of liquid mercy (AKA coffee) I hurry to type before the fog completely enveloped my brain.

As I refilled my mug with liquid mercy, the phone buzzed with a text from my friend and spiritual accountability partner. The text reads:

“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

(Lamentations 3:22-23, NLT)

I smiled at God’s timing. He knew I was having a meh day. He knew I needed an extra dose of encouragement. I sensed God nudging past the brain fog,

“My mercy is for meh days too!”

God met me in the kitchen, wearing my yoga pants and holding my I-feel-weak-today coffee mug. God knew my struggle. He knew I wanted to cry, but that would only make my body hurt more. He knew the true number on my pain scale, even if I tried to fake feeling better than I was so my family wouldn’t worry (again). He knew the brain fog blanketed my thoughts and that today I should not drive nor pay bills.

I began to sing “Great is Thy Faithfulness:”[1]

 

Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me!

Dear friend, God knows your struggle. His compassion and mercy are new every day. Every morning we brew our coffee with fresh coffee grounds, so is God’s mercy. We never have to live today on yesterday’s compassion or mercy. Whether you are a chronic illness warrior or a supportive caregiver, God’s mercies are new every day. His mercies are for the meh days too!

© 2019 April Dawn White |Images courtesy of Canva

[1] Written by Thomas Chisholm, Composed by William Runyan, Public Domain

I originally published this article in the “Pressing On” column for the Broken But Priceless Magazine. Broken But Priceless, is an online quarterly magazine, which addresses the heartfelt needs of those battling chronic illness and their caregivers. If you or someone you know, would benefit from such encouragement, please share this article and/or link.

Hugs & Hope, April 

 

My Christmas Gift to You!

My Christmas Gift to You!

 

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