November 21, 2015

That Thing I Do Now - Vol 117

Can you even believe that next week is THANKSGIVING?

At least here in the States it is! That is crazy! This year, which has been full of change and wonder, has flown by! Some of the change and wonder has been great... some of it has been heavy and hard, right? I think that is true for all of us!

There was a LOT of heavy and hard around the interwebs this week... I pray this little Gathering will give you room to process and to be encouraged!  Read on, my friends!

Featured posts by Emily P. Freeman, Jennifer Dukes Lee, Sarah Bessey, Bri McKoy, Jeremy Courtney, Graham Cooke, Lori Harris, plus a post from right here, the winner of the Giveaway announced, and - of course - a video to wrap it all up! 

Happy Reading! (Ya'll know to click on the authors' names below to read the entire post, yes?)

* We will start this week, with this Prayer by Emily P. Freeman with A Prayer for Those Who Are Grieving...
"We recognize there are many among us who have only just crossed the invisible boundary marking their own before and after, who are looking at calendars today saying This time last week, things were still normal.

For those who have witnessed the kind of scenes that could haunt for a lifetime, we pray for a sanctified memory and a holy imagination. Release them from the haunting, we pray.

For those who begin to shake when the low light of evening sends shadows long across the yard, we pray for comfort.

For those whose sadness feels sharp like fear, soothe the jagged edges and bring relief.

For those who wait in the darkness groping for answers and finding only more questions, we pray for peace..."

* This post by Jennifer Dukes Lee over at Incourage with What You Need to Know When the Storms Come... 
"I didn’t dare look up. That sky seemed to sense my fear, and tried to burrow its own brand of fright straight into my middle. I looked only at the feet of my father, who crouched beside me as the rain kept falling. I stared at his feet until the clouds were all wrung out. I stared at his feet until the sun came out again.

Even as the storm raged on around us, my father was my peace.

I still remember that afternoon vividly, whenever life’s punishing storms appear like the color of coal, as a bandit to steal the light from my life. I remember that moment, because I remember where I found my peace: in the reassuring presence of my dad.

Older now, I know that my earthly father can’t be my ultimate peace — even though it was sufficient for a child, on a rain-battered shore. But that moment has become a powerful metaphor for a biblical truth that all of us need today, when the clouds threaten.

That truth is this:

Peace is not the absence of storms. Peace is the presence of God."

* This post from Sarah Bessey with Ordinary Work...
"The world seems like it’s crashing around us, from all four corners of the world and right next door, too. We are afraid and we don’t know what to do so we are reading the news and watching the news and we are pontificating on Facebook and we are writing letters or emails and we are getting mad at each other for all the ways we’re all doing it wrong.

I don’t know what to do.

I’m lighting candles now. It seems a bit silly.

I show up here with intention and I try to notice my own life a bit more, I consecrate the ordinary work. I figure that if the world is being desecrated the least we can do is try to notice all of the sacredness that remains still around us and in us.

So I notice things like the old-man pine trees with their stooped and swayed boughs, I notice the pink streaks of the sunset, I laugh at the lame jokes my tinies tell me, and I put away the phone while I nurse the baby in order to look at her quiet face. I stop my husband to thank him for how hard he works and I hold on just a bit longer when he wraps his arms around me: stay with me, I say, just for another minute, I love to be here with you.

I am not that powerful and I’m certainly not important. I feel like there isn’t much I can do about the fact that the world seems to be ending every Saturday night. I write letters to politicians with my suggestions for improvement. I send money to people who seem like they know what they’re doing. I read a lot.

And I pray. I pray while I work.

That’s what my ordinary work has become for me, an embodied prayer, a way of holding space for all that is broken while my hands work towards creating a bit of cleanliness, a bit of order, a bit of beauty around me."

This Commision post for the holidays, by Bri McKoy over at GraceTable with PREPARING THE SOUL FOR CELEBRATION…
This holiday may I exchange my wild expectations of perfect meals, perfect memories and perfect families for the mysterious, bright life God put in us though it be messy. May I ask for forgiveness a little more. Throw down grace a little quicker. Love a little stronger.

May I choose to believe that people are not interruptions. They are a divine intervention. May I go out everyday, the busy bustling days, trusting that I can pour myself out, all of me. That because of Him who is in me, I can cry with this friend and enter her pain, then also turn and erupt in joy for another friend, and enter her blessing.

May I come to Him with full assurance that He can use all of me, every last drop, every day because I know He will fill me up again come sunrise. May I whisper to Him holy over so many moments, “Whatever You are doing in Your Kingdom today Lord, please let me be part of it.”

May I eagerly call to Him in my own pain, in my own wandering, trusting that He sees me. He sees me. He sees me. He stands by me and His spirit groans on my behalf.

This post by Jeremy Courtney over at The Washington Post with The world is scary as hell. Love anyway.
Simply putting on lenses urges us to choose a spot between polar opposite ideas by assuming the option is security or insecurity, compassion or callousness. But there is a third option altogether for those who live beyond dualism and exclusive forms of tribalism. With new eyes, we can take both these threads and weave a cord that achieves a security and compassion that is actually strong enough to thrive in the face of terrorism.

Call it Gospel or “good news” — I call it preemptive love, a story held common by Muslims and Christians about a Middle Eastern family of refugees, fleeing violence, whose son changes the world by giving himself over to the enemy. But the story is deeper still, because the refugee is more than a brown Middle Easterner. The refugee is actually a message from God who crosses all barriers and endures great violence to make all things new.

New eyes help us tap into the truth of the cosmos that some things are worth dying for, including going beyond the gates of security to welcome those who are fleeing terror, even if it results in facing terror. Extending a welcoming arm is loving, not only for “the other,” but for our own as well. Because the gap between who we say we are and what we actually do is widening every day. If we love our children and want a better world for them, we have to stop bouncing between these two poles and operate on a higher level.

When we get new eyes, we see babies who need protection. We see boys and girls who need to be rescued from ISIS. And we see able-bodied men and women who need help starting new businesses to provide for their family. We see the minuscule number of wolves among the sheep and admit that we are vulnerable and that our security could fail us. And we love anyway.”  

* This post from Graham Cooke over at Brilliant Perspectives with It’s Time to Mess With the Enemy’s Head... 
"...God has always owned everything, so He’s always going to show up. He’s not afraid. But the enemy is only going to pick battles he thinks he can win. God has abundance, the devil has a budget. Satan’s counting pennies and we have a promise that the wealth of the wicked will be given to the righteous. So we’re planning to squeeze Satan’s budget even more.

That’s why the enemy uses intimidation. Intimidation is cheap. It’s all hell can afford.

Goliath proved that.

You remember Goliath. One guy had all of Israel’s army corralled in their tent, hiding out with their baggage.

One guy.

That’s intimidation. It’s the enemy using the least amount of resources to get the maximum amount of effect.

But it worked then and to be honest, it’s working now. Today, the enemy is getting away with using intimidation because the Church is a no show. We don’t get into the ring. We don’t want to march onto the battleground. That’s what intimidation does.

It’s a cheap trick, but it works.

So Goliath is working until David comes along with a few sandwiches for his brothers, who are in the army. And then Goliath tries the same thing on David that he has tried with all the army of Israel.

But it doesn’t work on David because he is a man after God’s own heart. He’s in a different heart space. He’s in a different head space.

In fact, David turns the tables altogether. He’s the absolute master at messing with the enemy’s head. Goliath says “I’ll feed your body to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field.” And David says “I see that intimidation, I raise you 500. I’ll defeat you and all your friends.”

He’s messing with the enemy’s head.

And then David takes him out with what he’s got in his hand. What you’ve got in your hand is always going to be enough if Jesus is aiming the sling. He stuns Goliath with a stone, and then kills him with Goliath’s own sword.

So the very thing that the enemy wants to use against you becomes a weapon in your hand to mess with the enemy’s head." 

* This post by Lori Harris over at GraceTable with A Guest List to Celebrate...
"A few years ago, I got a wild hair to throw a Christmas party.

A rather big party, to be exact. My husband thought I had lost my mind. My kids thought I had lost my mind. But I was a woman on a mission with plans that could not be thwarted.

After a come to Jesus meeting with my precious family about the whole Christmas party thing, my people did the only thing they could do: They made popcorn and pulled up a seat to watch their mama actually lose her mind.

I ordered invitations. I mailed the invitations. I cleaned the house. I cooked the food.  I made ten pounds of fudge, one hundred molasses spiced cookies, one hundred chocolate shortbread cookies, caramel corn, marinated olives, fruit trays, veggie trays, and ten pounds of little smoked sausages swimming in bbq sauce. I even ordered a spiral sliced ham and made a couple hundred rolls. I mixed up apple cider and made a hot chocolate bar.

On the day of the party, I  lit the candles and made the tablescapes and at a few minutes before 7, the first guests arrived. For the next three hours, our home was filled with people. The food was eaten. Drinks were spilled. Children cried. Grownups laughed. One little boy ate all the cherry tomatoes while standing over the tray of vegetables.

After the last guests pulled out of the drive and the last candle had pooled into a smear of wax, my dear man turned to me and asked one question.

So, how do you think it went?

I shrugged before answering.

Something was missing. I just can’t put my finger on what that something is right now.

It took me three months of thinking about that Christmas party before the answer came to me.

I had invited all the wrong people..." 

* This one from right HERE with Muscle Memory or Phantom Pain?
"Lately, the Lord has been unfolding a new thought to me...

It's something beyond my understanding, but I feel anointing and wisdom and breakthrough all over it. 
So I wanted to share it with you because, of course!
Who couldn't use a bit more anointing... increased wisdom... and some breakthrough in one area or another (or 12!), right?

This is what He keeps asking me when pain arises from within... 
"Is that muscle memory, or phantom pain?"
We have ALL been hurt... we've all had things not work out, hearts broken, been wounded and left unattended... 

We are human, living in a fallen world and oh my goodness how we let each other down..."

Lastly, we close This Thing up with a video each week and sometimes it is funny and sometimes it is worship... This time, it's the 'theme song', if you will, to the Bible study that I am attending.  It is the Truth that we so often forget... it is how I am praying. And I hope you will join me!

Happy Weekend, my friends! 


  1. You always come up with such goodness. I missed your weekly recaps during the month of October.

    1. There is so much goodness out there ('s just that sometimes we forget!) ha... ya see what I did there? ;) I missed complling these little Gatherings as well! Happy to be back!

  2. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours! May it be filled with faith, family, friends, fellowship...OK, and lots and lots of food!


    1. ...or at least a little bit of each kind of lots and lots of food, right? ;) Happy Thanksgiving to you too, Sharon! Blessings, my friend!


Thanks so much for stopping by! I always love to hear your thoughts! Remember to: Speak Life - Be Love - Shine On!

Blog Archive