Stuck

Stumbling in Shadowlands

Stumbling in Shadowlands

Encouragment, Stuck
There are times in our lives when we walk in shadowlands. Times when we feel vulnerable and alone. Times when justice, fairness, and rightness, seem corrupt. Days when we feel rejected by God just when we need Him the most. When shadows of darkness, mourning, and oppression press against our soul. These are the shadowlands. Dark times where we stumble about like a drunken sailor that has lost their eyeglasses.  Some folks arrive at the shadowlands without knowing why or how they got there. But most know well the door they entered by choice or by force of circumstance.  Many are the keys that open the door to the Shadowlands. Keys that take the shapes of grief, loss, rejection, being bullied, invaded, robbed, fear, sin, doubt, unbelief, failure, and addiction. Our first inclination in th
Dryness of Soul

Dryness of Soul

Encouragment, Stuck
The other day I moving some stuff around in the basement and noticed the humidity readout on our dehumidifier. In the summer its not unusual for it to get into the 50’s but now, in the middle of winter it read 15. There’s a dryness in the air that affects everything. It’s easier to get bit by static when opening a door or turning on a faucet. Even a kiss can be a bit painful when an unexpected spark of miniature lightning leaps from person to person. Guitars and dryness don’t get along, the wood shrinks and the glue gets brittle unless care is taken to keep them properly humidified. All of that turned my thoughts to how we can be affected by dryness of the soul. There is a proverb that we love to quote, the first part of it anyway. The King James puts it this way, “A merry heart doeth g
Disappointed?

Disappointed?

Encouragment, Stuck
Disappointments are a common part of life.  The restaurant touted by friends as fantastic fails to live up to expectations. The doctor reports troubling news. Hopes and dreams shipwreck on the shores of reality. That shiny new thingamajig breaks after only three uses. People, places, and things fail to live up to their promises. Having become used to disappointment we shrug our shoulders and say “that’s the way it goes.”  Then what do we do with this verse? - “For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.”” (Romans 10:11, NASB95) So now we arrive at a different conundrum and an unexpected conflict. I’m not sure about your experience with Christianity but I’ve had my share of disappointments. Plans that didn’t achieve their vision. The petty backbiting that s
Ready For This?

Ready For This?

Encouragment, Stuck
Over the past few days I’ve heard folks lamenting, “I’m not ready for winter.”  Yep things are changing from the balmy days of summer, through the crispness of fall, and into the deep freeze of winter. Temperatures that seem to freeze the marrow in the fall will be a welcome heat wave by early spring. Certainly, much of the anxiety concerns the coming battles with cold and snow we may face. I think there is also a little stress caused by the reminder that things change and that some things, like weather, are simply out of our control. So let's keep this simple, things change. Weather, employment, the economy, price of fuel, relationships, fads of the day, and children all change. As much as we try to develop habits and traditions to anchor our world, in order to find some semblance of o
Escape!

Escape!

Encouragment, Stuck
As kids, we all had our hiding places. The places we could go when we knew we were in trouble, or after we fought with our brother or sister, or when we were just having a bad day. One of mine was a large apple tree. Not the dwarf variety, but an honest to goodness tall apple tree. I’d climb up a ways and settle in to think things through. As adults, we still have our hiding places, different from our childhood yet serving the same purpose - a place to escape the pressures, conflict, and drama of life. There are of course some obvious escapes that folks run to like drugs, booze, sex, and work.  Basically, anything that you can add an “aholic” to the end of and get away with it. Most of the folks that read Lambchow articles may have run to those at one time but have since found freedom.
I Don’t Know

I Don’t Know

Encouragment, Stuck
I don’t know what your day has been like.  What stresses arose. The rejections you faced. The anger that rose like a tsunami in your life. Or worse, the complacency and apathy of being treated as if you were invisible. I don’t know the trouble, the pain, the illness that colored every waking moment. I didn’t see the worry and anxiety that assaulted you at every turn or the bear trap of circumstance that gripped your heart. I wasn’t there when the baby cried or the check bounced or when the car wouldn’t start. I don’t know, I didn’t see, I wasn’t there as you faced these things today but I know who was. My prayer this morning was very simple - Lord, what do your people need to hear? The answer back was just as simple and straightforward  - “Tell them that I love them.” God loves you. No
Overload!

Overload!

Encouragment, Stuck
And Moses thought this was going to be easy.  Fresh from his mountaintop encounter with God, Moses returns to Egypt, is accepted by the Hebrew elders, demonstrates God’s power to Pharaoh, and summarily falls flat on his face. Pharaoh retaliates against Moses’ demands by making the Hebrews gather their own straw for bricks.  The Hebrews get mad at Moses for bringing the wrath of Pharaoh down on them.  Moses gets mad at God.  “Then Moses returned to the Lord and said, “O Lord, why have You brought harm to this people? Why did You ever send me? “Ever since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Your name, he has done harm to this people, and You have not delivered Your people at all.” (Exodus 5:22-23, NASB). It is like Moses is saying - “Hey God! I did what you told me to do but that didn’t work ou
An Unwanted Visitor: Ugly Words

An Unwanted Visitor: Ugly Words

Encouragment, Stuck
A few days ago I saw a possum sneak into our garage.  Just so you understand the lay of the land, our garage is detached from the house and is about 10 yards from the door.  I chased after the ugly critter, but it went behind the boxes and boards stored against the back wall.  I tried to scare it out but did not have time to tear the whole garage apart.  I don’t know about your garage, but mine is like a jigsaw puzzle. Needing to leave for work I decided to leave the garage door open a crack, hoping the visitor would leave of its own accord. Um, no. A day or two later I got a text message from my wife - “There’s poop in the garage!” O great, the ugly thing has moved in and begun to leave presents, just in time for Christmas. A few days later, and several more poop sightings I decided that
The Junk Drawer of Regret

The Junk Drawer of Regret

Encouragment, Stuck
Somewhere in most houses is a junk drawer.  That one place to store trinkets we can’t bring ourselves to throw away. That drawer may be filled with things like half used pencils, three-year-old calendars, miscellaneous screws, a few worn out tools, and small plastic doodads that we picked up at the fair. Most of us also have a mental junk drawer, one that is filled with regrets.  We all have regrets, events or decisions that we are ashamed of but cannot get rid of. Those could’ve, should’ve and would'ves nag us, reminding us of our failures or unforeseen consequences. Regrets are easy to identify, they almost always start with “if only.”  If only I would’ve….  If only they could’ve….  If only we didn’t….  If we are honest with ourselves, there is a piece of sin attached to every one of ou