Author Archives: pdhemphill

About pdhemphill

I'm married to a wonderful man, we share two grown sons and two grandchildren. I love to write, crochet, bird watch, rv, hike and bike and I dabble with piano. Above all of this I love spending my mornings with God and being in His word. My goal is to share some life experiences and perhaps reach someone going through similar things and offer hope.

“The Longest Day”

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Since it’s beyond obvious, I’ll not bore you with another line about how long it’s been since I’ve been here to my happy place. A place where I’ve shared parts of my soul, my past, and my heart hurts. A place that’s helped me heal and move forward. Thank you Jesus!

June 21, 2017. The summer solstice. The longest day of the year and I’m as behind as I always am, only now I can’t figure out why.  Our kids have long since fled the nest and our grands are changing at an alarming rate. I work part time and still feel like the hours just leave me in the dust. My husband retired this month. RETIRED. I, we, can’t seem to wrap our heads around it. We have plans that, if God will it, have our hearts racing with cautious excitement.

After last Spring and Summer I hold my breath a lot these days. I’ve learned to plan but stay restrained. I’ve learned to hope but only in Jesus, not mankind or life. I’ve learned how to be happy down deep, even if it doesn’t quite make it to the surface, or shine in my eyes. I’ve learned to let go of so many things that weighed me down. Finally, I’ve learned that aging is pretty cool. There are a lot of freedoms that come with that!! Yes, I still hate bathing suits, but then I think I always have. I try to avoid full length mirrors at all costs, especially with fluorescent lights. Mercy.

I bemoaned my lost youth to my mom the other day she asked, “Patti…are you happy?” Thankfully I could reply yes. Very much so. She then said, “so let the rest go.” I think for once in my life I’ll heed my mamma’s advice. God loves me, then and now. He still has a plan for my life.

Ephesians 2:10 (NIV)

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works,which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

Some time in August you’ll find me on www.godsizeddreams.com where the theme for that month is something like, reaching for your dreams even as you age. May I just say, it ain’t easy?!

Stay strong brothers and sisters. Stay in the Word and be a light in a world gone mad.

 

 

When My Spring Comes…

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Spring. Unpredictable weather. Thunder storms. March winds. April Fools. Warm teasing sunny days. Snow slipping in for a final blow. Birds gathering nest materials. Male seeking female. Procreation. The pink, yellow and silky white of blossoms against a back drop of mint green. The sleeping mountains waking up.

Promise.

There is something about the Spring season. For this particular year, this flash in my life, Spring’s abstract nature is in complete accord with my own. More than at any other time in my life. The culmination of years has funneled down to our here and now. Rain swollen banks giving way under the pressure of life. I don’t want to use the term last chapter of my life…I prefer saying the next chapter. I don’t want to use the term, Golden Years, either, as I’ve yet to see it’s shiny glint. Perhaps it’s been dulled by the regret of time poorly spent.

For now, I guess, I’m in the Fall of life. Seems fitting. My leaves are a bit faded and crumpled. My life’s blood is slowly draining…leaving me a little less colorful. And it’s okay. That is the beauty of this season. Even as winter approaches and it’s harder to get warm, I’m learning to be perfectly okay with it. Yes, my focus has narrowed. The spectrum will probably narrow still more in the coming years, if I’m granted them. Acceptance. That is God’s gracious gift to me, to all of those in my particular forest.  It is VICTORY!
Where, O death, is your victory?” read more…

Spring will come again. To those who choose to follow Christ, reaching the end of our winter means only that we’ll be sown, tended, then, praise God, raised up new!!

Find me at www.godsizeddreams.com on April 12th.

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My last post…January 6th and here it is March 4th. Wow.

Life just keeps happening. The vortex of time has swept me up in twist after painful twist. The landing has left me feeling bemused. That I can still delude myself into thinking everything is okay amazes me. Oh, don’t get me wrong. I still know in my heart I’m blessed beyond measure. I still know that it’s God’s presence in my life that keeps me from giving up. Drowning. But now I know how to savor each day when there is no drama. When there is no mind blowing happening looking to swallow me whole. When there isn’t one element or another grappling for a piece of me. One moment at a time, one breath.

How I’ve changed in the last five or six years.

Physical appearance is only the beginning. I don’t know whose face that is in my mirror every morning…surely not mine?  I see it in my eyes, and in the lines of my face, the results of a life lived with some regrets. Not just my own. I know what empathy is. I hurt for those I love too. I know that I want to pave the way for others to see a better way. To make better choices and not make some of my mistakes, or some I’ve seen loved ones make. It’s with a since of helplessness that I watch as the spinning force slams into hearts I cherish. And I pray. Today, thus far, is a good day. The sky is blue, the sun is bright, and the air has that… warm weather is on it’s way feel. It’s hard not to feel hopeful in the Spring. I’m going to grasp that with both hands today.

I set out on my venture with Blessed? You Bet! to provide a place for my words. More than that though, I’d hoped to provide a place for others to read about some of my struggles. That others could empathize with me, or even see some light at the end of their own vortex. Now in addition to my own blog, I’ve been given the honor and privilege of being invited to write for the, “God-sized Dreams” blog. I’m so excited to be a part of this group of Godly women. I know I will grow and be inspired by them. My first essay will go live on GSD on April 12th. Please don’t wait for mine though…go now and take a look! Be inspired by these faithful, talented writers! I know I’ve been.

May God bless you this day with His peace!

*It’s in the looking back that I see, really see, that I’ve overcome a lot of, “ now known unknowns.”  Tune in for more at God-sized Dreams 4/12/17

 

 

 

“Pilgrim’s Prayer for Wavering Faith”

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I’ve come to a mountain on my pilgrimage. It’s named Mount Wavering Faith. It looms before me so that it’s all I can see. I’ve heard of it before, but thought surely I’ll never face it. I’ve blindly followed a winding path of pride, rebellion, sorrow and regret, right to the very foot of it. Will climbing it, and getting to the other side, lead to a surety of what I say I believe? I want it to. But I fear what awaits. What if I crest the top and find there is nothing to find? That thought leaves me in a fog of defeat and despair.

Have you been to this mountain before?
Maybe you’re there now?

You’re not alone. *Do not be afraid do not be discouraged…

As I stare up at Wavering Faith, I feel it’s weight deep inside. I drop to my knees, and rest my head on the foot of that mountain. Slowly a gentle stirring begins in my spirit.

Jesus…

I feel You here! Even here Lord in this shadow of Wavering Faith. May I curl up at Your feet and stay all day? I need Your rest. I don’t want to deal with the world today. It’s hurtful and crazy and sad. I feel like I can’t cope anymore Jesus. I can’t help my hurting loved ones. I can’t turn hardening hearts from Satan’s lies. I want to force them to know Your truth. *But that’s not Your way is it Lord?

I want to lay here in Your presence and pitch a fit as You wipe tears from my eyes. I want to feel the release that being alone with You provides. I’m tired Lord. I’m tired of standing up when all I want to do is fall. I’m tired of waiting for something to happen, when I don’t know what that something is. My soul is restless and not at peace. I want to understand what troubles me so. God forgive me, but, I have moments when I fear that I’ve fooled myself into believing I’m saved. I fear there are parts of my heart that You want, yet I won’t let You have. Maybe because I fear Your power in me. Maybe the real fear is that I’ll call on that power, and it won’t be there. Maybe, Jesus, I don’t believe at all. Then what God? What salvation is left for me if I can’t feel my faith? Or trust? I read Your Word and find myself seeing it with the eyes of an unbeliever. Your being is incredible. It’s so big how can I hope to absorb it? And I’ve been a Christian for decades. Haven’t I? How have I come to this barren place?

Aside from day dreams Lord, I can’t recall ever longing to be any particular thing. Other than what I wasn’t. Always leaping and grasping for stars that weren’t mine to shine.

Since giving my life to You I’ve longed to find and fulfill a calling. Surely I’m meant for something? *Your Word tells me it is to be a Christian and to represent You well. I found solace in that for awhile. Now, in my failures, even that feels shaken. Oh God, if I’m being refined for something here in this valley, reveal it to me. I know you’ve freed me from the bondage of my mistakes, my sins. Still my heart so that I can feel You working. Stay my mind to keep it from searching for signs that just aren’t there. Forgive me for trying to take matters into my own hands. *Now God grant me the kind of faith, not to climb this mountain, but to make it move! Then grant me the patience to wait as You reveal the path it has concealed. *Restore to me the joy of my salvation and renew a right spirit within me. Thank you for calming me as only You can do.

In Jesus Name amen.

Please…click to read each passage
*Deuteronomy 31:8 *Isaiah 55:8,9 *1 Peter 2:9 *Matthew 17:20
*Psalm 51:12,13  (All from NIV)

“All That”

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Is anyone really “all that”? I’ve tried it but didn’t have the experience or knowledge to pull it off. At one point in my life I was torn down, stripped bare and left pridefully fraudulent. It’s taken years to, if not get over it, at least move forward. I don’t feel numb or useless anymore. I’ve been waiting to see if God will ever use me for anything again. I’ve botched up so many times that I fear He’s done with me. I want to do something I just don’t know what. My dreams of playing piano, singing, leading, teaching and writing are just that. Dreams. I’ve not put in the time nor had the training to qualify for any of it. Nothing unique here. Just getting older and feeling more stuck. The gifts God graced me with aren’t the shiny, “look at me” variety. I’ve known all along they’re quite the opposite. I just didn’t want to use those. I wanted the spotlight.

Years ago I took piano for a bit and thought the rest would come from above, I’d be the church music leader. Later on in life I was asked to sing on a praise team. Surely the preacher knew my limitations…he’d heard me in the choir?? I took a few vocal lessons and thought I’d shine like a star. A little later on and a few compliments on my writing I decided, finally, this is it! I took a few online writing courses and, well, you be the judge. My punctuation is atrocious.

You see, a midst my list of recoveries, I’m a recovering people pleaser. Some years ago I landed in several consecutive situations. Walked right into them I should say; knowing…knowing…I was unqualified. I unfairly sought assurances from people because I had zero confidence in my abilities. The lack of confidence was generated from the lack of ability. Duh. Regardless I allowed myself to be caught up in the flattery of having been asked to do something and took off running with it. Like a child running with a knife in her hand. I eventually tripped and fell, the wound was deep but not fatal. From that point on I’ve grappled for a place to serve in the Church. Trying this, and trying that, with no true idea of what I was supposed to be doing. Yearning and straining to see what God was calling me to do. I’ve only recently discovered He’s not calling me to do anything. Period. No great agenda. No followers. No one seeking ME out for MY greatness. This was the massive boulder called pride that tripped me up. Being more concerned with what people thought. Trying to be “all that.” I’ve beat myself to pieces chasing dreams that weren’t mine to chase. I’ve not done the time. I simply don’t have the skill, passion or drive it takes to succeed in these grand professions. It feels good to publicly confess this. Great actually!

About a year ago in an online Bible study, the following passage from 1 Peter came up. God revealed something to me for the first time that has been life altering.

1 Peter 2:9, 10
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called (emp. mine) you out of the darkness into His wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”

My calling is to be a Christian. Yep, just me being a Jesus girl. All God has ever called me to be is His own daughter and that through His mercy. I’ve been in training sense I walked down the center aisle of my grandmothers little country church many years ago. I’ve fallen off the wagon and climbed back on so many times. You can take the wagon saying as liberally as you want, I had a whole wagon train. But here I am. Alive and well. Figuring out all I need to do is be the best person I can be, and that through Christ’s strength. Loving my God and my Savior Jesus with *“all my heart, all of my soul, all of my strength and all of my mind.”  I’m loving my husband with a brand new appreciation and my family and friends. I strive to be the best I can be. I will strive to carry what I know about Jesus out into the world in hopes that His light will pour through my words and actions. In hopes that people won’t see me at all but Him who saved me. And that my friends is shiny enough.

*click to see passage of Scripture

“But a Fleeting Season”

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falling-leaf

 

Wind whipping leaves from trees gone colorless. Brown and crunching under foot. A bite in the air that invigorates the soul. A melancholy that invades the heart. The smell of Autumn woods can’t be described, though its replication has been tried. It’s good the season is fleeting for who can hold up under it? Why are these few weeks, scant though they be, able to bring me to bended knee?

There is sorrow that’s keen. Some regret. There’s a longing to go back in time, to a place I think happier. When then, I longed for now. Along side this is joy unspeakable. Undeserved. Contentment laced with a wild yearning. A longing for the ability to spread imagined wings and fly. To soar but to what and to where I can’t answer. For my wood is where I love. They hold me captive with the soughing of the wind. Trees bend and creak and bare themselves for all to see. Oh could only they speak! Perhaps they can but I’m unable to grasp the enormity of what they whisper. As perfumers try to bottle the scent I fancy being able to capture the season in a magic lamp. Then when I need to feel most alive I could simply rub the lamp and my woods would appear in full Autumn splendor!

Though dear to my heart, maybe my expectations of this scant time of year exceed reality? Because I think of my silent snows. The bursting forth of my Springs. The tastes of my Summers. And I realize I have memories of, and loves for every beautiful season of life. *Vapors all. I owe it all to our Creator. Master Designer of this world and everything on, in, and around it. This globe that contains mystery still. Sights that stun. Things still undiscovered. Who can see it’s wonders without feeling Almighty God? May God’s presence blow through your spirit today…why mindful indeed…

O Lord, our Lord,
How majestic is Your name in all the earth,
Who have displayed Your splendor above the heavens!

When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have ordained;
What is man that You take thought of him,
And the son of man that You care for him?
Yet You have made him a little lower than God,
And You crown him with glory and majesty!
You make him to rule over the works of Your hands;
You have put all things under his feet,
All sheep and oxen,
And also the beasts of the field,
The birds of the heavens and the fish of the sea,
Whatever passes through the paths of the seas.

O Lord, our Lord,
How majestic is Your name in all the earth!
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Verses from Psalm 8)

*Click to read passages of Scripture