Follow Sandee's Musings by Email

Thursday, December 3, 2015


Hope. . .

Sometimes it seems so desperately far away.

We sit in our grief and pain as the loud world blares on.

Another devastating shooting and we can feel overcome by the violence, hatred and darkness.

As I turn to God's word once more, I feel a reprieve from the sadness.

     Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you so
     disquieted within me?  Hope in God; for I shall again
     praise him, my help and my God.

                                        Psalm 42:5

I remember the times God has delivered me from unrelenting pain.

     Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from 
     him.  He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my 
     fortress, I will not be shaken.

                                        Psalm 52:5-6

I remember the times God has delivered me from utter despair.

     He gives strength to the weary and increases the power
     of the weak.  Even youths grow tired and weary, and
     young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the
     Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings 
     like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will
     walk and not be faint.

                                        Isaiah 40:29-31

I remember the days that a glimmer of light has appeared in the darkness.

     Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

                                        Romans 12:12

I remember the gifts of sunshine and laughter.

During this dark time of violence and hatred, I remember the peace God offers us.

     We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and
     secure.  It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, 
     where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf.

                                        Hebrews 6:19-20

As sirens scream past with another blast of suffering, God reminds me that

     . . .you beloved, are not in darkness. . . for you are all
     children of light and of of the day. . . not of the night
     or of darkness. 

                                        1 Thessalonians 5:4, 5

God reminds me who I am called to be.

     . . .since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled 
     putting on faith and love as a breastplate and the hope
     of salvation as a helmet.

                                        1 Thessalonians 5:8

I am called to be a child of the light.

     . . . the glorious riches of this mystery, which is 
     Christ in you, the hope of glory

                                        Colossians 1:27


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Wiping away the Dust

My soul clings to the dust; revive me according to your will.
                                                          Psalm 119:25

Some days my soul clings to the dust that covers it - the residue of the world and my sin that dim the brightness of God's light within me.

A hazy film clouds my vision and I cannot see the beauty of a creation filled with God's fingerprints.

My soul melts from heaviness; strengthen me according to your word.
                                                          Psalm 119:28

The pain of this world crushes me with its relentless death and destruction.  The heaviness of surrounding  hatred melts my soul's resolve to be a light in the darkness.

The psalmist reminds us of one of the most powerful ways to overcome this devastating darkness - the power of God's word.  As the Holy Spirit guides us, we are given words of hope, encouragement and strength.  We are reminded of the unchanging truth - God's love never fails.  That love always rises above the dust and ashes of death and gives us new life in Christ.

I will run the course of your commandments; for you shall enlarge my heart.
                                                         Psalm 119:32

God will give us the strength to run our course no matter how steep or rocky the trail may be.  He will enlarge our hearts as we abide in him and give us his own Spirit to guide and strengthen us.  He may even send angels to attend us when we feel we can't take another step. In the wilderness when Elijah wanted to die  in  exhaustion and despair,  God sent an angel to renew his hope.

The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, "Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you."  So he got up and ate and drank.  Strengthened by that food, he traveled  forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God.
                                                          I Kings 19:7-9

Feelings may deceive us but the truth is that we are never alone and we will never be abandoned.  No matter how bleak the future appears, God's love goes before us and his presence lights the way.

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.
                                                         Psalm 46:1-3

Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Promise of Prayer

Sometimes the work of prayer feels completely overwhelming.

Where do I start?

How do I know what to pray?

How do I remember everyone's requests?

How do I know if I'm doing it "right"?

These are just a few of the questions that weigh on me in my walk of faith.

We can exhaust ourselves by focusing on the questions and what we "should" do while forgetting that we are powerless in our own strength.

The real work of prayer comes from God.  He alone knows the answer each prayer needs which we cannot see in our limited understanding.  Paul reminds us in Romans that even when we don't know how to pray, the Spirit prays for us:

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words.
                                                                  Romans 8:26

It's not all up to us.  We are not alone.

Consequently he is able for all time to save those who approach God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for (us).
                                                                    Hebrews 7:25

The one thing He asks of us is that we bring a heart of compassion to our brothers and sisters who are hurting or in need.

Those prayers may be simple everyday actions of caring for those we love (including ourselves) with our hearts focused on the unfailing love and inexhaustible mercy of God.

Those prayers may be worship and gratitude.

Those prayers may be a loving presence to someone in need.

Those prayers may be listening.

Those prayers may be our life itself.

Spiritual writer Henri Nouwen shares his insightful understanding of prayer:

"But when we learn to descend with our mind into our heart, then all those who have become part of our lives are led into the healing presence of God and are touched by God in the center of our being.  We are speaking here about a mystery for which words are inadequate.  It is the mystery that the heart, which is the center of our being, is transformed . . . into God's own heart, a heart large  enough to embrace the entire universe."
                                                                      The Way of the Heart

Our responsibility is to be present to the pain around us and hold those needs in our hearts.  God can then transform them into His perfect will which  far exceeds our comprehension.

As our relationship with God deepens, He delights to lead us toward the seemingly impossible goal of praying without ceasing.

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.                                
                                                                     1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Only Right Thing to Do

Shame, guilt and fear.

Those three words have stolen so much of the joy out of my life, but thank God,  He is restoring me to sanity one small step at a time.

These destructive demons crouch in the shadow of my thoughts, ready to spring up with the slightest provocation.

Maybe it's a decision I've made - fear jumps in and fires the quiver full of questions:

     What if I made the "wrong" choice?
     What if I hurt _____'s feelings?
     What will people think?
     And on and on it goes. . .

I could spend my entire lifetime researching and analyzing all the facts about a single decision but I still wouldn't know with complete certainty that I had made the "right" decision.

And then there's shame and guilt.

I came across the phrase "Shame on you." yesterday in a devotional (!) reading.  Those words hit me in the gut and made me feel physically sick.  I thought of the many times I had heard that phrase in my life - probably most of the time in my own head.  But I specifically remember a time in the not so distant past when a relative came to visit and actually spoke the words:  "Shame on you for staying home with all this education you have."

 I was devastated and those words still haunt me and caused me to question whether staying home was the "right" decision.  As if my life can only be acceptable if I get it right.

The guilt holds hands with the shame as they stand against me staring with cold, disapproving eyes.  The net they cast sometimes feels impossible to escape - all its threads twisting and trapping me in confusion as I try to figure out the "right" thing to do.

Thank God, He has shown me the only right thing to do.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.
                                                                                             Matthew 22:37-38

So simple to say but so difficult to actually live out.  In our own strength it is impossible.

Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."

We are not alone in this battle.

We have an unfailing ally:

But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth.  He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is to come.  He will bring glory to me by taking what is mine and making it known to you.
                                                                                               John 16:13-14

May we all have the grace to hear His voice.

Friday, June 6, 2014


Look to the Lord and his strength;  seek his face always.
                                                  Psalm 105:4

. . . the sheep hear his (Jesus) voice.  He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.

Listening for the voice of God who is Love helps us defeat our fears.
                                                   Karla Kincannon
                                                    Creativity and Divine Surprise

I love the "good" days.  Life seems lighter somehow and problems are put in their proper perspective in God's great scheme of things.

But then there are the "bad" days . . .
I feel weighed down by the unfathomable problems of the world and my own problems seem to expand exponentially.

All previous perspective has flown away to a place I can't find.

I try all the disciplines that have brought back peace and clarity in the past.

     Meditation and prayer

     God's Word


     Inspiring and encouraging books



     Sharing with someone close



But some days (like yesterday!)  none of those things seem to help.  I feel frustrated and powerless that I can't seem to manage my thoughts and emotions.  Then I remember.  I am powerless in my own strength.

The first of the 12 steps in Celebrate Recovery reminds me that "we (are) powerless over our addictions and compulsive behaviors, that our lives (have) become unmanageable."

For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.
                                                  Romans 7:18

I remember the second step - "We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity."

I have to let go, surrender and trust remembering that God loves and accepts me no matter where I am or what I do.  My task now is to wait upon the Lord.

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.  Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
                                                  Isaiah 40:29-31

These words from Pope Francis in his book The Church of Mercy comfort and remind me that he always looks on me with love:

Let us also remember Peter: three times he denied Jesus, precisely when he should have been closest to him.  And when he hits rock bottom, he meets the gaze of Jesus who patiently, wordlessly says to him, "Peter, don't be afraid of your weakness, trust in me."  Peter understands, he feels the loving gaze of Jesus, and he weeps.  How beautiful is this gaze of Jesus - how much tenderness is there!  Brothers and sisters, let us never lose trust in the patience and mercy of God!


Monday, April 14, 2014

Connecting at the Cross

Our crosses connect us.

The things that break us bring us together.

In our humanness, we do all we can to avoid pain and suffering.  We forget that suffering is what connects us to the body of Christ.  As Richard Rohr says, "The suffering that we carry is our solidarity with the one, universal longing of all humanity, and thus it can teach us great compassion for and patience with both ourselves and others (see Colossians 1:24)."

In suffering and pain we come face to face with our powerlessness.  Even though we are powerless over certain circumstances, we still have a choice.

We have the choice to fight and rail against the pain, thus intensifying it, or to accept the suffering knowing that ultimately it will lead to resurrection and new life.

Being forced to confront our control and self-will is one of the most difficult challenges we ever have to face.

 Trusting that God is faithful and causes all things to work together  for good (Romans 8:28) seems impossible in the midst of tragedy and death.  Just as Jesus cried out on the cross, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?" (Matthew 27:46), we feel alone and forsaken in our suffering and pain.  But because of Jesus' sacrifice for us, we will never be forsaken no matter how we feel.  The power of the Holy Spirit which raised Jesus from the grave is also at work in us to bring new life to our shattered dreams and lives.

In God's kingdom, the way down is the way up.

All who exalt themselves will be humbled.  Matthew 23:12

Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.  Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.  Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also.  Whoever serves me, the Father will honor.  John 12:24-26

So the way to follow the Suffering Servant is by being willing to suffer ourselves.

It will not be easy.

We will be tempted to lose heart.

We must cling to Paul's words:
Therefore, since it is by God's mercy that we are engaged in this ministry, we do not lose heart.
2 Corinthians 4:1

Ultimately our body mind, heart and soul will receive complete healing from our true healer - Jesus Christ.


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Hope for Healing Our Wounds

 We live in a world that wounds.

Our wounds occur in countless ways.
These wounds might come from stinging words or harsh judgments, deception or betrayal, accusation or abandonment, loss or failure . . .

Whatever the different causes, we have all been wounded at some point in one way or another.

Our difficult but worthy challenge is to move past our wounds and into wholeness and peace.

 One of God's names is Jehovah Shalom.  Although we usually think of shalom as peace, the Hebrew meaning was much broader.  It essentially meant  to be whole or complete and living in abundance and freedom.

This demanding challenge may take a lifetime as we go through the peaks and valleys of our journey.

But during this journey, God can use our wounds to allow us to share in the sufferings of the world and bring hope to those He places in our lives.

God calls us to
     encourage one another and build each other up.  
       1 Thessalonians 5:11

He asks us to share in His suffering.  Paul encourages us with his own powerful example:

 I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his 
sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow to attain to the resurrection from the dead.
Philippians 3:10-11

If we are willing, God gives us the courage to confront and conquer the dead places in our lives  caused by our wounds.  Beyond our suffering we are given the promise of new life.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!  All this is from God who reconciled us to himself through Christ and has given us the ministry of reconciliation:  that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ.
 2 Corinthians 5:17-19

This process is neither easy nor quick but it is possible with the unfailing mercy of God in Christ to guide and sustain us.

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.  For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God,
Colossians 3:1-3

Peace and blessings to you as you journey toward hope and healing.