marymcleary

Covering my angst with the soothing wisdom from my mother's prayer journals


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Restored – Furniture, People and St. Peter

buffet

RESTORATION: TO BE RESTORED. THE ACT OR PROCESS OF RETURNING SOMETHING TO ITS ORIGINAL CONDITION BY REPAIRING IT, CLEANING IT OR PAINTING IT. AN IMPROVED STATE.

One of my favorite words is restoration. I love old stuff and when I scan my house I see many old pieces of restored furniture.

The steamer trunk my Aunt Gina retrieved, repainted and gave to me is a treasure. My grandmother’s buffet from the 1940’s was once painted an off- white then years later touched up to stand proudly on a kitchen wall.

While having lunch with friends I was reminded that detours can be restored to direct destinations. A boy on crutches took a fall in the middle of the restaurant. He looked embarrassed, but unhurt. Before anyone moved to help, two strong hands reached down and lifted the child to his feet and in a second handed him back his crutches.

“You okay?” his dad asked.

Looking restored the boy said, “Okay!” and followed his father to their original destination.

St. Peter speaks of restoration in 1Peter 10:11, “And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.”

Simon Peter, the big, strong fisherman, decided to accept Jesus’ invitation to, “Follow me”.  Peter witnessed the life of the Savior first hand. He heard Him teach, pray and saw the miracles performed. Peter laughed with Jesus, ate with Him and helped Him feed a multitude.

Peter, a respected man of character with strong ties to his community, became a follower and a student of Christ. As Peter learned his role in the kingdom, he also came to know his Master. But Jesus, being God, knew not only who Peter was but who he would become. Jesus knew too that Peter would break and need restoring.

When Peter denied Jesus three times, Jesus wasn’t surprised, but Peter was devastated! Our messes devastate us – not Jesus. Though our failures may set us back, they don’t disqualify us from a relationship with Him.

If Jesus is our Savior, restoration is always possible and often necessary. It usually takes place after a hard lesson and before a shinning moment.

Mother wrote in her journal, “When truly wise people turn to Jesus they can depend on Him for guidance.”

We can always be restored and not just back to the original but to something even better than before. God has something special when we’re ready.

 


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Life, The Journey to Our Promised Land

Deuteronomy 4:14

And the Lord commanded me at that time to teach you statutes and judgments that you might observe them in the land you cross over to possess (The Promised Land).

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Each of us has a journey to The Promised Land. It’s called Life and God intends for us to boldly claim our futures. He gives us judgments and statutes (rules and regulations) that prepare us for success, but without Him we won’t attain the lives He planned.

A comment from a friend has been running around in my head for a month. In essence she said, “You cannot do everything it says in the Bible to do.”

We were with a group who loves a lively discussion on politics and religion. We are diverse in our thoughts and opinions, but we agree to disagree and still love each other. So when my friend made this comment, I considered her point of view.

She’s right. The Bible doesn’t provide my daily itinerary, but as I read it each morning, I see it as a map (or GPS) guiding me to my Promised Land. I need it because I can easily lose my way.

Yesterday I shared an article on a timely topic which drew a reply from a Face Book friend whose ideas I respect. He disagreed with the author of the article and very kindly questioned its wisdom. I pondered his point of view.

Because I believe God puts people and situations in my life for a reason, I embrace these folks, along with many, many others as vessels He uses to broaden my horizons and check me now and again.

Having traveled this far on my journey, I want to make the trip easier for my kids and grandkids. I don’t have the luxury of assuming the next generation will automatically follow my faith path.

Mother wrote in her journal, “When you leave God out of your life, you may be shocked at what you are capable of doing. We will lose the battle if we gather the spoils of earthly treasure rather than seeking the treasure of heaven.”

This shrunken world has brought a multitude of options and opinions that bombard and perplex. All I can do is offer my map, the Bible and my Guide, Jesus.

Dear Lord, Help us effectively apply your map to our lives  so we reach the Promised Land you have planned for us. Be our Guide. Amen

 

 


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2 Samuel 11:2

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2 Samuel 11:2

Then it happened one evening that David arose from his bed and walked on the roof of the king’s house. And from the roof he saw a woman bathing, and the woman was very beautiful.

The beautiful woman was Bathsheba who was the wife of Uriah, a soldier in King David’s army. This verse is the beginning of a story full of sadness. His love for her resulted in Uriah’s death (which David orchestrated) and the birth of a child who eventually died.

When I read this story, I always feel sorry for Bathsheba because, really, who says no to a king. Apparently he couldn’t get the thought of her out of his mind, and (in my opinion) she paid a steep price for his attraction. David also lived with the consequences of his actions.

As a king, David did what he pleased and took what he wanted. He had no fear of criticism of censure, but his heart was broken by the death of the son Bathsheba bore him. That’s the lesson.

David was a powerful man whose repentance came with the death of a child. Someone’s unfaithfulness most always affects those closest to the situation. Their bodies won’t die, but their faith might.

In her journal Mother wrote, “No matter who you are, moral laxness will cause problems.

Dear Lord, Thank you for giving us free will, but help us stay close to you so that our choices don’t hurt innocent people and displease you. Help us to be faithful to you and those you’ve given us to love. Amen

 

 


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God Is Answering Your Prayers

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While writing Heart Whispers from the Old Testament, I heard God say, “I have a Promised Land for each of my children.” Claiming it requires a faith that comes from knowing the Truth of God revealed in His Word.

As I scanned my social media pages, it was easy to see how many friends and family members were struggling to reach their destiny when this line popped out, God is working in your life, right now, in ways you cannot imagine. Which to me translated, He is answering your prayers, and I Immediately thought of people I regularly pray for:

  1. The granddaughter starting her college career in a far away city.
  2. The grandson who started a new job.
  3. The daughter with a new class of fourth graders and an active family.
  4. The daughter finishing a chemistry degree while working full-time.
  5. The son-in-law working toward a winning season for his football team.
  6. The son-in-law finishing a difficult job away from his home and family.
  7. The friend fighting cancer.

Throughout the Old Testament, God provided ways for His people to overcome and be victorious, but they had to be bold and courageous in order to claim their blessings. That courage came from knowing the mighty God and obeying His instructions.

Those instructions still apply today, and I hope those I pray for will obey them.

Be careful what you look at, read or listen to. It is easy to let something attractive lure you away from your destiny. It can happen in a heartbeat so be watchful.

Watch and learn from others. The Bible says, “By their fruits you shall know them.” Watch how people act and what outcomes those actions produce. Learn from them.

Anybody striving for the best will run into people who hurt and disappoint them. Learn from the situation, be smart enough to avoid repeating the problem, but most importantly forgive those who harm you. Holding a grudge only takes your joy.

Even when we experience difficulties, God can use them to teach us that He alone is God, and that is a valuable lesson!

Mother wrote in her journal, “Faith is the communication link between heaven and earth. It is on this link of faith that God’s messages of love travel so quickly that even before we ask, He answers.”

Every day is full of important decisions that determine whether or not we achieve all that God has planned for us. When I pray for the people I love, I need to also have faith that God really is working in their lives, right now, in ways they cannot understand.

 

 

 


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Bette Stevens Interviews Mary McLeary About Heart Whispers from the Old Testament

 

Bette Stevens

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today I would like to thank Bette Stevens for inviting me to her blog, 4writersandreaders.com

Bette and I have many things in common and after meeting her on Twitter, @BetteAStevens, I knew I had found a kindred spirit.

A retired teacher, Bette lives on a 37 acre farm in Central Maine. She is an award-winning author who also enjoys reading, nature and advocating for children and adult literacy.

Her books include Tangram Zoo and Word Puzzles Too, a children’s activity book. The Amazing Matilda won a Purple Dragonfly Book Award. She has authored articles for various magazines and periodicals along with a YA short story, Pure Trash.

Find out more about Bette on her Amazon Author page http://www.Amazon.com/author/betteastevens, but first join us at Bette’s blog where we discuss Heart Whispers from the Old Testament.

You’ll find us here: on her blog http://4writersandreaders.com/2015/07/30/meet-the-author-mary-mcleary/

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Heart Whispers from the Old Testament – My New Writing Project

 

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Everybody needs a hobby and writing is mine. When Mother gifted me her prayer journals the Christmas before she passed away, I realized her wisdom needed to be shared so I started a blog of family faith stories each ending with an entry from Mother’s journals.

I had no confidence in my abilities as a writer and was reluctant to put my name into the blogosphere so I wrote under the name of my imaginary childhood friend, Ann Cocktale.

For two years I blogged every day and eventually the blog posts became my first book, In My Mother’s Words. With the help of my best buddy, Don McLeary and life-long friend, Polly Spencer, we uploaded the book to Kindle. A few months later, In My Mother’s Words became available in paperback, and the lovely Leah Ashby held a book signing at The Potter’s Garden ( I miss her!)

Self-publishing made me an Indy Writer (independent) which meant I could “piddle” around on various internet author pages. It also gave me the opportunity to have a Twitter interview which was not only nerve-wracking but disconcerting as well. The # and @ along with short answers did me in. Before ending the interview and suggesting I stick to Facebook Q &A’s, the interviewer asked if I had other projects in the works.

Before her question, I hadn’t thought about another book, but on the spot I decided I did have a project in mind and replied, “Yes, I’m going to write a devotional book and use more of Mother’s journal entries”

I just finished that devotional book, Heart Whispers from the Old Testament. I intended to write an entry for each day of the year using scriptures through the whole Bible and match each one with an entry from Mother’s journal, but I never got out of the Old Testament.

Like us, those folks were a hot mess. As in our society, God spoke to those who took time to listen. While I read the ancient scriptures, I heard whispers of hope I wanted to share. Heart Whispers from the Old Testament was written with my grandchildren in mind.

Mother wrote in her journal, “Life always has more questions than we have answers, and we must constantly go to His Word for fresh insights in to life’s dilemmas.”

I pray that God’s people will hold to the confidence in Him and go to the Bible for wisdom and fresh insight. He always speaks when we listen.

If you would like a copy of Heart Whispers from the Old Testament, click on the link below.

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B009UX7X12

Thank you and I pray you continue hearing His whispers.

Mary McLeary

 


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Louise Penny’s Book The Long Way Home and a Lesson on Helping

 

 

 

Louise Penny, a Canadian author of mystery novels set in the Canadian province of Quebec and centered on the work of Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Sûreté du Québe, is my current favorite author.

I was introduced to her work by a friend who recommended How the Light Gets In where I met the inspector, and  citizens of the quaint town of Three Pines.

Penny’s characters are complex and Inspector Gamache is always looking for the fly in the honey pot. Methodically collecting clues, he adds them to his innate knowledge of human nature eventually solving the murder mystery at hand.

One of her characters is Ruth, a well know poet who dances on the edge of insanity. Ruth’s bosom companion, a duck named Rosa, came to Ruth as one of two eggs found on the edge of the nearby pond.

The mother duck had been killed and Ruth took the eggs home to help them hatch. When the two started to peck out of their shells, Rosa broke out on her own, but Ruth helped the other duckling emerge and in essence handicapped the newborn for life.

Watching how her good intentions actually led to the ducks early death, Ruth decided that helping others was vastly overrated and vowed she would not do so again.

Before the story ends Ruth does lend a hand to her friend and neighbor, but I was left thinking that good deeds don’t always bring the hoped for results.

Recently I met a young woman in her early thirties who is recovering from a stroke she suffered when she was twenty-nine. This beautiful mother of three is determined to regain the losses she suffered as a result of this significant trauma to her brain.

Because of her fierce determination, she is making the desired comeback, and last week I had the opportunity to work with her on a writing assignment that required her to set three short termed goals for herself and then write a paragraph about each.

She could verbalize her ideas, but writing them down was frustrating. Trying to be helpful I suggested she use her iPhone to pronounce the word she needed and see if Siri could spell it for her.

She replied, “Well, I tried that and it was easier, but it didn’t help me get any better. I have to think for myself. It takes longer but I remember more.”

Mother wrote in her journal, “In living our faith, we may find that rejection, disappointment or hard work has brought us to the point of despondency. But we are still needed. God has important work for us to do which will require the strength attained through the very trial we are working through.”

Often a difficult situation doesn’t require a helping hand but rather an encouraging word that will help us build our own strength and faith.