Friday’s Fave Five

FFF spring2It’s Friday, time to look back over the blessings of the week with Susanne at Living to Tell the Story and other friends. Here are some favorite parts of the last week:

1. Visit with friends. Some dear friends from where we used to live were in TN to celebrate their anniversary and asked if they could come visit our church Sunday morning and then have lunch with us. It was so good to see them again and fellowship over McAlister’s Deli wares.

2. Garden bounty. We don’t have a garden, but our neighbors have been bringing us some of their overflow. Most of what we haven’t been able to use we’ve passed on to my son and daughter-in-law and Great-Grandma’s caregiver.

3. Getting my son and daughter-in-law moved in to their new home. So far they are really enjoying the new place! I kept Timothy at our house while everyone else did the hard work. :) He mostly did well. He wanted to be held while I made Great-Grandma’s breakfast – he had just been dropped off and was probably feeling a little insecure – and I did as much as I could while holding his 27 lbs. with one arm, but finally had to put him down and let him cry while I finished up. He cried again when I put him in the pack-and-play when I dashed off to the restroom, but other than that we had a great time.

4. Visiting with my daughter-in-law and grandson. I went to keep them company while some repairmen were there and enjoyed visiting and lunch.

5. A couple of days at home. I can’t seem to get grocery-shopping and other errand-running down to less than twice a week, but it was nice to have a couple of days to just enjoy being home and getting some things done.

Thank you for your kind comments about my upcoming surgery on yesterday’s post. You’re the best!

Happy Friday!

Upcoming Surgery

Photo courtesy of morguefile.com

Photo courtesy of morguefile.com

Some of you who have been reading here for a while might remember that I’ve been having trouble off and on for years with something SVTs or supraventricular tachycardia. It’s when a nerve in the heart misfires and causes it to beat irregularly and fast (180-200 beats per minute) and sometimes requires a ER visit to reset it. It’s caused by a nerve in the heart misfiring.

The first time it happened severely enough to go to the ER, they sent me to a heart doctor for tests, and he told me about a procedure called an ablation, in which they go up through a blood vessel in the groin to the heart and “zap” the offending nerve with a laser.

But since I wasn’t having these attacks all that often, and the dr. said they weren’t life-threatening, I decided to wait. A few years after the initial attack, my general practice doctor started me on a medication to try to keep it in check. But now they are happening more often – several times a week. The medicine they have me on usually keeps it from going into a full-blown episode, but I finally decided enough was enough and I needed to go ahead and have this done. I’m kicking myself now for not doing it years ago, but can’t help that now.

They tell me this has nothing to do with heart disease or blockage – it’s just a problem with the electrical part of the heart. The ablation is an outpatient procedure, so I should be home that night, but they told me to bring an overnight bag just in case. One risk is if they “zap” too much or in certain areas, they might have to put in a pacemaker, but they said that happens in less than 5% of cases. It’s usually a safe and effective procedure, though there are risks with anything like that.

I have a few specific concerns. First, I have to go off the medications I am on for SVTs this week, so I am hoping I don’t have any flare-ups between now and the procedure. Secondly, the day of the procedure I don’t even go in til 11 a.m., which means the actual surgery probably won’t be til a couple of hours later. I don’t have diabetes, but I do have episodes of low blood sugar. Usually I can’t go past 10 or so without eating or else I experience dizziness, lightheadedness, shakiness, etc. So I am concerned that might be an issue that day. On the other hand, sometimes when there are other things going on with my body, it tends to suppress that (for instance, it wasn’t an issue when I went in for my colonoscopy). Third, I haven’t been officially diagnosed, but my doctor has told me I probably have irritable bowel syndrome caused by “situational stress.” Basically, when I get nervous about anything, my body decides it needs to empty itself. That’s one of the reasons I don’t like to travel. I have to take more than the recommended amount of anti-diarrhea medicine even to go to a regular office visit at the doctor’s or a cleaning at the dentist’s. So far that’s been the only treatment discussed – just taking anti-diarrhea medicine when it happens or when I anticipate it might happen (like before a trip). I know that being anxious about it feeds into it and increases the problem. But it’s not just being worried about what “might” happen: it’s a legitimate concern because it has happened in situations a lot less nerve-wracking than this one. And fourth, during the procedure itself I have to stay awake at first because they have to stimulate the heart to go into SVT so they can find which nerve is misfiring. So my prayer for that is that my heart will go into SVT then so they can find and zap the right nerve and all this time and angst will not have been wasted. And then, of course, there are concerns for the procedure itself, that it will accomplish what it needs to but that there won’t be any complications.

So – if you feel led to, I would certainly appreciate your prayers for everything involved.

As I understand it, this is one of the least troublesome types of arrhythmias and least complicated surgeries for them – there are other types which can cause strokes and require a longer and more intricate surgery. So I am thankful that, if I had to have a heart rhythm problem, it’s this one and not one of the others.

I’ve been reading Running Scared: Fear, Worry, and the God of Rest by Edward T. Welch. It’s been in my Kindle for a while, and a few weeks ago I saw it while perusing titles there and thought it would be perfect to read in the weeks leading up to this procedure. It has indeed been very helpful. One chapter talks about the manna principle – lessons learned from the Israelites’ wilderness experience with God’s provision of manna. One part of that is that God provides what you need for the current day. The Israelites were to gather what they needed for each day and not gather ahead except for the Sabbath. Jesus said, “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (Matthew 6:34). So when I start thinking about all this, I remind myself the “manna” for that will come when it’s needed, not before. I’m endeavoring to “Cast all [my] care upon him; for he careth for [me]” (I Peter 5:7).

The surgery is early next week. Jim’s mom’s caregiver will be able to stay with her all that day and evening, thankfully. I’ll try to post an update after it’s all over.

Thanks, dear friends!

What's On Your NightstandThe folks at 5 Minutes For Books host What’s On Your Nightstand? the fourth Tuesday of each month in which we can share about the books we have been reading and/or plan to read.

I love when the Nightstand posts occur actually near the end of the month, as they do this time. It’s been a busy month, but let’s see what’s been accomplished on the reading front.

Since last time I have completed:

Walking With God in the Season of Motherhood by Melissa B. Kruger, reviewed here. Excellent.

Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens, reviewed here. Not my favorite Dickens, but I did enjoy it.

The Captive Maiden by Melanie Dickerson, a retelling of Cinderella, reviewed here. Very good.

The Narnian: The Life and Imagination of C. S. Lewis by Alan Jacobs for both the Reading to Know Classics Book Club for July and the Chronicles of Narnia Reading Challenge hosted by Carrie, reviewed here.

In addition, last time I had finished The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry but hadn’t reviewed it yet. That review is here. Ended up liking it quite a lot, though I thought it was odd at first.

I also started two books that I set aside due to language. I haven’t decided yet whether to finish them or lay them aside permanently. One was a classic, one was a modern true story that I had really wanted to read.

I’m currently reading:

Running Scared: Fear, Worry, and the God of Rest by Edward T. Welch. Enjoying it very much so far.

Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw.

Things We Once Held Dear by Ann Tatlock

Next Up:

The River and Child of Mine by Beverly Lewis

Unlimited by David Bunn

Through Waters Deep by Sarah Sundin

Emma, Mr. Knightly, and Chili Slaw Dogs by Mary Hathaway for the Austen in August Challenge. I am very curious!

If I finish those I have a stack of unread books on the bookshelf in my bedroom as well as a lengthy TBR list and a multitude of Kindle books to choose from.

Happy reading!

NarnianIn The Narnian, Alan Jacobs wanted to write a biography of C. S. Lewis, but not one that brought out a lot of extraneous details of his life. He wanted to concentrate mainly on what made him “the Narnian” – the intellectual, imaginative, and spiritual developments in Lewis’s life that led to his creating Narnia.

He begins with Lewis’s early life and family: the death of his mother and the fact that afterward “all settled happiness, all that was tranquil and reliable, disappeared from my life”; the imaginary worlds he created with his brother (separately first, then they joined them together), his problems with his father, the solitary days playing alone in his home after his brother went to boarding school. When Lewis’s own turn came for boarding school he didn’t get on very well socially and eventually thrived under a private tutor. Jacobs then progresses through Lewis’s time in the military, in academia, His conversion from atheism,  his apologetic writing, his fame as a defender of the faith, and his turning from that genre to children’s stories, and closes soon after telling of the end of Lewis’s life.

Along the way he pulls up information from Lewis’s published writings, letters, diaries, and other people’s letters, diaries, comments, and a few other people’s biographies of him.

I didn’t “discover” Lewis until in my early 40s (I know, how did that happen? My education was definitely deficient!) Some time after my first reading of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, I read a biography of Lewis, but I don’t remember which one. I’m thinking it must have been one geared to children, because his childhood is what I mostly remembered from it, but then maybe that’s just due to a faulty memory. At any rate, I enjoyed being reminded of elements I knew and then learning new details of his older life.

I liked the way Jacobs juxtaposed elements of Lewis’s life with the Narnia books, quoting some of the sections about schooling along with talking about Lewis’s schooling, doing the same with his early childhood and military service. There is not much more than basic information about Lewis’s time in the military – he seems to have kept thoughts about it close to his vest – but some of the passages in the Narnia books about having to fight, particularly from Peter’s viewpoint, probably grew from his own experiences. Digory Kirke was based on Lewis’s private Professor Kirkpatrick (sometimes called Kirk), though Kirk was a staunch unbeliever (“Digory Kirke is a picture of what William T. Kirkpatrick might have been – had he ever found a way into Narnia.”) Of course, Jacobs isn’t saying that everything in the books is based on something from Lewis’s life explicitly. Much in the stories came from his imagination, but that’s going to be based on his own experiences as well as those he had read about.

I especially appreciated his defense or explanation of where Lewis was coming from in a couple of areas where some are critical of him. He has been called a misogynist because of his views on women, particularly in regard to teaching that the man is the woman’s head in a relationship, and racist because the Calormen people, the “bad guys” in Narnia, are dark-skinned. Tolkien was also accused of racism in LOTR, and Jacobs explains:

The imaginations of those two men were shaped before the great wars of the twentieth century: they belonged indeed to an Old Western culture to which the chief threat, for hundreds of years, had been the Ottoman Empire. The Calormenes and the Haradrim are but slightly disguised versions of the ravaging Turk who filled the nightmares of European children for more than half a millennium — but whose “exotic” culture (manifested in images of elegant carpets, strong sweet coffee, slippers with turned-up toes, and elaborate story-telling traditions) had also been an endless source of fascinated delight.

Jacobs asserts, and I agree, that most readers “can tell the difference between, on the one hand, an intentionally hostile depiction of some alien culture and, on the other, the use of cultural differences as a mere plot device,” and he puts Lewis’s comments on both topics within the context of the culture of his time and his own upbringing.

What I strongly disliked about this book was Jacobs’ frequent arguing with Lewis’s own reasons for saying certain things. For instance, Lewis asserted that his having prayed for his mother to be cured and not receiving the answer he sought did not influence his eventual conversion one way or the other. He had thought of praying not so much as a religious exercise but as a formula in those days and assumed he didn’t have the right formula or it hadn’t worked. Her death affected him in many ways, but it wasn’t a particular factor in that decision. Jacobs is incredulous and posits that perhaps Lewis’s “insistence must be his attempt to uphold a set of beliefs about what Christianity really is, or really should be” or he had “a great resistance to anything like a ‘Freudian’ explanation of his spiritual history – and in the Freudian account, childhood experiences are usually definitive for later life.” On another subject Lewis “seemed to think that [certain experiences] were not related; I have a sense that they may be.” Jacobs finds it “rather difficult to believe that Lewis’s description of [his first meeting with his tutor] is wholly accurate.” He feels Lewis’s claim that his wartime experiences “‘show rarely and faintly in memory’ – is either something less than fully honest or something less than fully self-knowing.” He quotes Lewis as saying those experiences “haunted my dreams for years” as proof, but Lewis says for years, not for the rest of his life, so at the time he said they were only rare and faint memories, that could have indeed been the case at the time of that writing. He questions Lewis’s account of his conversion and what stage of belief he was in at what point. He questions his relationship with Janie Moore, the mother of a friend who died in WWI. He and this friend had promised each other that if anything happened to one of them, the other would care for the dead one’s parent. This man did die, and Lewis took care of his mother for the rest of her life. He often refers to her as “the woman I call my mother.” But Jacobs insists that the relationship was romantic and even sexual at first (he is not alone in that view, but I am not convinced). When Lewis asserted that he had no “romantic feelings” at first for Joy Davidman Gresham, whom he married in a civil ceremony so she could stay in the country, Jacobs notes that his other biographers “take his word for it” and exclaims, “This seems crazy to me,” and explains why. (Lewis did come to love her, but who is to know at one point that happened.” About a third of the way into the book, Jacobs says as an aside, “Autobiography is, of course, often suspected.” I don’t think that’s the best way to look at autobiography, as if as a reader or researcher one has to disbelieve or suspect or prove what is written. Sure, the viewpoint of an autobiography may be limited: I feel it’s the best source for learning what is going on in the author’s head, what his motives and concerns were, etc., yet it can only show his own point of view. I’m sure there are autobiographies where the material is deliberately slanted, but I don’t think it’s healthy to have a suspectful view of autobiographies in general.

Mr. Jacobs not only disagreed with Lewis’s own views about his life, he also disagreed with some of his biographers, some of whom knew Lewis personally. In one of my snarkier moments I felt that an apt subtitle to his book could have been, “Why I Am Right About C. S. Lewis and Everyone Else Is Wrong, Including Lewis.”

But though this seeming attitude or perspective of Jacobs really bugged me, I did enjoy the book overall and enjoyed getting a fuller picture of the “The Life and Imagination of C. S. Lewis.”

I’ll close with one of my favorite quotes from Lewis in the book:

“We may ignore, but we can nowhere evade the presence of God. The world is crowded with Him. He walks everywhere incognito. And the incognito is not always hard to penetrate. The real labor is to remember, to attend. In fact, to come awake. Still more, to remain awake.”

Finishing this book completes my TBR Challenge. I also read it as a part of  Carrie‘s Reading to Know Classics Book Club and her Chronicles of Narnia Reading Challenge.

Reading to Know - Book Club

Chronicles of Narnia Reading Challenge

(This review will also be linked to Semicolon‘s Saturday Review of Books.)

Friday’s Fave Five

FFF spring2

It’s Friday, time to look back over the blessings of the week with Susanne at Living to Tell the Story and other friends. Here are some favorite parts of the last week:

1. Jason’s birthday. My middle son’s birthday was last Saturday, and we enjoyed celebrating him.

2. A phone call from a friend back in SC – a nice time to catch up a bit, plus to make plans to get together when she and her husband travel nearby. Can’t wait!

3. A new house – no, not for us. We had been looking for something to buy for Jason and Mittu to rent so they could get out of the higher rent apartment plus have more room. We closed on a cute little house yesterday. Whenever they feel like they need to move on (which might not be for 20 years or so – no rush. :) ), we’ll probably either sell it, or, if we’re needing to downsize then, we might move into it. But that’s all way down the road – right now we’re excited for them to have a place that’s both bigger and less expensive.

4. Jim’s mom’s caregiver happily put in some extra hours so we could take care of closing on the house.

5. Safety knob covers for the oven. Timothy has gotten tall enough and curious enough to reach them, so I am glad someone invented these things.

Hope you had a great week! The next few are going to be super-busy for us, and then it’s hard to believe the summer will be over! It’s going too fast!

Happy Friday!

Little DorritLike many Dickens’ novels, Little Dorrit starts off kind of slow with different scenes, characters, and conversations that don’t seem connected. But if you’ve read much Dickens, you know everything is connected in his books and trust it will all make sense in time, and it does.

One of the early scenes involves a group of people in quarantine after a trip from China to England. One of them, Arthur Clennam, has been living and working with his father for several years. His father has died, and Arthur is returning home. He goes to visit his mother and to tell her he does not want to continue in the family business. He also says he has reason to suspect that his father has perhaps wronged someone without having a chance to make it right, and asks if she would know whom, so that Arthur can do this kindness for his father. His mother and her butler-turned-business-partner Mr. Flintwich takes great offense at the suggestion.

Arthur is in his 40s and his home has never been a happy one. His parents have never gotten along, and his mother is rigidly and unmercifully religious, seeing everything that happens in terms of God’s punishment.

Arthur notices what he thinks is a young girl doing needlework at his mother’s house, but when he looks at her more closely, he sees that, though she is small, she is actually a young woman. He notices that his mother treats her with a modicum of kindness, unlike how she treats everyone else, and wonders if perhaps this girl or her family are ones that his family or their business has wronged. He follows her as she leaves to try to find out more about her.

He discovers that her father has been in Marshalsea debtor’s prison for some 23 or so years. The girl, known to everyone as Little Dorrit, was born there. Evidently prison at this time, at least this prison, allowed inmates’ families to live with them and come and go. Little Dorrit’s (her given name is Amy) mother died years ago. She has an older sister who has learned how to dance and works in that way, and an older ne’er-do-well brother. Her father has the distinction of having lived in the prison the longest of anyone there and is regarded as “the Father of the Marshalsea.” What is odd about all the family except Amy is that they put on airs (later Amy’s sister remonstrates with her about embarrassing the family and their position by walking home with an old pauper).

Arthur tries to discover the details of Mr. Dorrit’s case to see if there is anything he can do to help the family. He goes to the Circumlocution Office – Dickens’ satirical treatment of the epitome of bureaucracy and red tape – and gets nowhere.

Book I of the novel is called Poverty; Book II is Riches, which tells you that the Dorrit family’s fortune changes, but not their character.

Amy has fallen in love with Arthur, but Arthur, although he comes to care for her deeply, calls her “my child” and seems to see himself as a father figure. Meanwhile, he is in love with a girl named Pet, whom he met on the trip from China, along with her family, the Meagles. He has become friends with her family and visits them often. But she loves someone else.

Along with these threads, there are a few more: two prisoners seen in the opening chapter show up in different perspectives later in the book; a Miss Wade who was also on that first ship from China is a bitter woman whose path crosses that of the Meagles, Arthur, and one of the prisoner’s many times; there are several businessmen who play key roles, some good and some bad; there are a couple of Society women who do the same; there is a convoluted mystery involving Arthur’s mother, her butler, one of the prisoners, and Little Dorrit.

At 800+ pages, there is a lot to this novel. It was originally published in monthly installments over two years in the 1850s. Dickens’ own father had been a Marshalsea prisoner. Most of his novels deal with some sort of social injustice, and this one touches on the plight of the poor, governmental inefficiency, and the falseness of high society. He says in the preface that the major investment failure in the book that affects many is based on an actual bank failure.

It’s a little hard to sum up in one sentence what the book is about, but, going by the title character, I’d say it probably has to do with a character who stays good and kind whether her circumstances are good or bad, whether people treat her well or poorly. When her father’s fortune changes, she “lay her face against his, encircled him in the hour of his prosperity with her arms, as she had in the long years of his adversity encircled him with her love and toil and truth; and poured out her full heart in gratitude, hope, joy, blissful ecstasy, and all for him.” She reminds me a lot of Nell in The Old Curiosity Shop, caring for a fairly foolish parent (or grandparent in Nell’s case), except she is older and wiser and comes to a better end. That is one gratifying thing about this novel: the good characters win out in the end, even though some of them go through some low spots and trials, and most of the bad ones get their just desserts.

Even though Dickens deals with serious issues, he sprinkles quite a bit of humor throughout the book. In one of the sections dealing with a high society dinner, and having commented often on the highly powdered wigs of the footmen, he says that at the dinner “There was so much Powder…that it flavoured the dinner. Pulverous particles got into the dishes, and Society’s meats had a seasoning of first-rate footmen.” In telling about a Mr. Pancks, who is sort of the man who gets things done behind the respected figurehead of his business, he describes him as a tugboat who pulls the big ship where it needs to go, and uses phrases harkening back to that metaphor almost every time he mentions him, like, “Pancks opened the door for him, towed him in, and retired to his own moorings in the corner” and “On taking his leave, Pancks, when he had shaken hands with Clennam, worked completely round him before he steamed out the door.” The family in charge of the Circumlocution Office are slyly named Barnacle.

There are also some very tender, poignant moments, as when Arthur, after accepting that Pet loves someone else, tells Amy that he’s too old now to think about love, and Amy doesn’t want to show her feelings toward him but is dying inside. Arthur had decided early on that it would be best not to fall in love with Pet, and there are several statements along the lines that, “It’s a good thing he made that pact not to fall in love with her,” but he actually had. Later, after Pet tells him she’s going to marry another and he’s alone again, he takes the flowers she had picked and given him and gently tosses them in the river, where his hopes and dreams float away with them. And another young man, coming to grips with a great disappointment, “the heart that was under the waistcoat…swelled to the size of a gentleman, and the poor common little fellow, having no room to hold it, burst into tears.”

A favorite moment late in the book is a confrontation between Arthur’s mother and Little Dorrit, in which the latter tries to convince Mrs. Clennam that she doesn’t have to punish herself for her wrongdoing:

“Even if my own wrong had prevailed with me, and my own vengeance had moved me, could I have found no justification? None in the old days when the innocent perished with the guilty, a thousand to one? When the wrath of the hater of the unrighteous was not slaked even in blood, and yet found favour?”

“O, Mrs Clennam, Mrs Clennam,” said Little Dorrit, “angry feelings and unforgiving deeds are no comfort and no guide to you and me. My life has been passed in this poor prison, and my teaching has been very defective; but let me implore you to remember later and better days. Be guided only by the healer of the sick, the raiser of the dead, the friend of all who were afflicted and forlorn, the patient Master who shed tears of compassion for our infirmities. We cannot but be right if we put all the rest away, and do everything in remembrance of Him. There is no vengeance and no infliction of suffering in His life, I am sure. There can be no confusion in following Him, and seeking for no other footsteps, I am certain.”

I mostly listened to the audio version wonderfully read by Simon Vance, but near the end I switched back and forth with the Kindle version, both because I was getting eager and impatient to see how everything came out, and I could read at times that I couldn’t listen. I’ve been trying to read some Dickens work that I was not familiar with, so I’m glad to have completed Little Dorrit in that vein. Though I can’t say this is one of my favorites of his, I did enjoy it, and Amy and Arthur are among my favorites of his characters. There was a BBC miniseries made of it in 2009 (starring Matthew McFadyen, who played Mr. Darcy in the Kiera Knightly version of Pride and Prejudice, as Arthur) that I would love to see some time, but as it is several hours long, I’d probably have to break it up into segments as it originally aired. Here’s a trailer for that series:

Have you read Little Dorrit? What did you think?

(This review will also be linked to Semicolon‘s Saturday Review of Books.)

In one of those “one thought leads to another” progressions, a line in girltalk’s post this morning, “No Grace For Your Imagination,”  stood out to me: “But for today’s sufficient trouble there is God’s more-than-sufficient grace.” That reminded me of Ephesians 3:20: “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.” That, in turn, got me to thinking that we tend to associate “exceeding abundantly” as “big and dramatic,” but often the process of God’s working is barely perceptible. We also tend to associate it with material needs, and it can apply to those, but look at the prayer requests that proceeded this tribute to God:

For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,  Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

This passage, along with Colossians 1:9-14 and Philippians 1:9-11, is one that I often pray for myself and my loved ones. The particular qualities mentioned are not only unseen and internal (though the results of them are seen), they’re also the kinds of things we don’t receive in a moment. They take time to grow and develop.So praying for them can often seem discouraging because we “don’t see anything happening.” Yet even in those, especially in those, we can trust God to work “exceeding abundantly.”

For years I had written Bible verses out at the bottom of my letters to my father. He never commented on them, so I just assumed he skipped over them, thinking, “There she goes again” while rolling his eyes. Yet he told the pastor who led him to the Lord that he had read them. My mother, as well, went from not wanting to hear about the things of the Lord to being very open to them at the end of her life. If I had asked her what caused the change or how it happened, she probably could not have told me. I’ve mentioned before a missionary who longed and prayed to be more loving, and turned from berating herself to instead meditating on God’s love for her, resulting in changes she wasn’t even aware of until people commented to her husband about the change in her. Many of us have experienced being given grace and strength for a trial that we didn’t “feel” so much at the time, but looking back, we wondered how we ever got through it and knew we could only have done so by God’s grace.

William Cowper says in his hymn, “God Moves in Mysterious Ways,”

Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never failing skill
He treasures up His bright designs
And works His sovereign will.

Even in the deepest recesses of hearts, we can trust Him to work “exceeding abundantly” to answer our requests and fulfill His will.



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