Major In The Minor

Major in the Minor

My gratitude journal entries often begin with random expressions of thanksgiving. On this cold Saturday morning in February, I wrote these words. “I want to major in the minors.” I am not sure why this phrase suddenly surfaced in my thoughts, but it caused me to record a series of questions.

Could these words in some manner be related to humility?

Could they be a nudging message to shift from lofty aspirations? These may include breaking a glass ceiling, reaching for the highest rung of the corporate ladder, and pursuing a specific position, title, or certification.

Don’t get me wrong, all of these pursuits certainly have merit. Many were created and called to serve in high-ranking levels of leadership. Scores of people were destined from birth to remove barriers that have stood in the way of equality and justice. Many are called to entrepreneurship. They lead in various areas of the marketplace.  We need their God-given gifts and certainly applaud them for their service, sacrifices, and hard work. However, some are not called to high levels of leadership but rather to support those who are.

The idea of “majoring in the minor” reminded me of my own journey. I have reached for positions and titles that were too lofty. They were more than I was equipped by God to handle. But I reached anyway because I chose to listen to the corporate world’s voice rather than the voice of God. The failures, closed doors, disappointments, and dissatisfaction led me to inquire of God.

He led me to this Psalm.

“O Lord, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me. But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me. O Israel, hope in the Lord from this time forth and forevermore” (Psalm 131, ESV).

These words of a shepherd boy turned king resonated with me. They compelled me to examine my heart and the direction of my life. Since then, some aspirations have been laid aside. I have gotten off paths where my feet did not belong. I have learned to let go, and I am becoming increasingly satisfied with simplicity.

I leave you now with the final question in my journal.

Could it be that we need to minimize the long list of what we want to do to maximize the list of what we are called to do?

Blessings,

Phyllis

Copyright© 2021 Phyllis A. Clemons

ENDURING LOVE

The time has long since passed, but I remember it so very well. When I was a young child, my nephews and I frequently sang a bedtime cry, “Mommy, I want some milk.” Snuggled in our respective beds, we repeatedly sang this refrain and increased volume until we received the desired response, ice-cold glass of milk!

I am not sure if we were prolonging sleep or had a genuine thirst that needed to be satisfied. What we did desire, however, was an answer to our cry. This little memory from my childhood makes me chuckle, but it also reminds me of childlike faith and the need to cry out to someone bigger myself.

In this season, many are crying out for relief, healing, and deliverance. Many have questions about what is “normal” and are seeking responses. Many desire resolutions to the complexities of life changes. There are genuine needs to be met for people to move forward. Many are in distress.

Distress is real and affects people of all ages. It is an enormous pain, anxiety, and sorrow when we are going through the difficult seasons of life. We are often discouraged to the point of feeling defeated, and many of us lose hope.

The psalmist in the 118th Psalm is all too familiar with distress. He was hated, surrounded by enemies, and pushed to the point of almost falling.

In the 118th Psalm, verses 5 and 6, we find these encouraging words:

“Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free.  The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?”

In his distress, he was confident that the Lord would help him.

Despite the struggles and the resulting anguish of heart, the psalmist opens and closes the Psalm with these words.  “Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!” (verses 1 and 29).

No one loves us more deeply than God. He is our creator, redeemer, protector, helper, strength, and song.

The Lord is who we need to cry out to in our times of distress. His love is unshakable. His love never diminishes because of wounds from friends, family, and associates or even those that are self-inflicted. His passion isn’t casual or situational but genuine and relentless.  God’s love for humanity lasts into eternity.

Just like a loving parent responds to a child’s cry, our Faithful God responds to the cry of those who seek Him and call on Him.

I want to end with the words of this hymn, written by Elisha A. Hoffman.

“I must tell Jesus All of my trials,

I cannot bear these burdens alone.

In my distress He kindly will help me.

He ever loves and cares for His own.

Refrain: I must tell Jesus! I must tell Jesus!

I cannot bear my burdens alone.

I must tell Jesus! I must tell Jesus!

Jesus can help me, Jesus alone.”

 

Be encouraged; His love is enduring!

Blessings

Phyllis

LIVING IN THE CALM

Last year I had a wonderful opportunity to take a Western Caribbean cruise. As the massive cruise ship moved through the waters of the Caribbean Sea the first portion of scripture that came to mind was “The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God. . .” (Psalm 14:1, NASB).

From the ship’s deck I gazed intently at the massive body of water. I was in awe of its beauty. However, I was also mindful of its immense power.
God created the seas (see Psalm 95:5). He can cause them to stir up the wildest tempest, fierce enough to toss ships off course, forceful enough to destroy entire landscapes, cities, towns and sadly it can and has taken numerous lives. It is a force of nature that no man can control.

The same sea that can destroy can help us experience the calm. As I listened to the sound of the gentle waves on the sun kissed body of water, I felt a calming peace rush over my soul. I thought to myself, “I can just stay right here.”

Because Cruises don’t last forever, and we must all return to reality and the normalcy of daily living it is important to find the calm in the routines of life. Life for most of us is busy and fast paced. We deal with stressful situations in the marketplace. We work to develop a healthy equilibrium between work, parenting, caregiving, fun, hobbies, ministry, community involvement and relaxation. There are relationships to foster amongst family, friends and associates. There’s a list of unanswered prayers and unresolved matters of the heart. Considering all of these things, living in the calm can seem out of reach. Yet, our God is there to help us to live in the place that He created. It is a place call Peace.

I am often reminded of the words in Psalm 29:11 “The LORD will give strength to His people; The LORD will bless His people with peace” (NASB). During the challenging times in my life I have often repeated this verse.

Living in the Calm requires that we pursue the God of peace. It requires that we remain faithful and true to Him. Living in the Calm requires that we see Him as the King who sits enthroned over all of creation. Living in the Calm requires that we put God is His rightful place, enthroned over every aspect of our lives.
In this new year and decade cleave to God and to all of the promises found in His life giving and life changing Word. It is in Him and through Him that we experience the calm. And so, my dear friends relax in His presence. He is waiting to meet with you.

Blessings
Phyllis

©Phyllis A. Clemons 2020, Broken Wing Ministries

IN EVERY SEASON

The season is winter. In our part of the country the weather is cold, snowy, icy, rainy, cloudy, and often unpredictable. The sun makes its glorious appearance on occasion. When it bursts through the clouds it tends to dissipate the winter blues, create warm smiles and happy hearts.

For most, myself included, winter is not a preferable season. I, like many of you, prefer the ambiance, brighter days, and colorful landscapes of summer. I love the musical interludes of the birds and the harmonious choruses of the crickets.

Over the years, however, I have learned to appreciate the season of winter. The pace of everyday living tends to be slower. The snow and ice causes hurriedness and routines to come to a halt. The shut downs, cancellations and delays can be a welcome reprieve. Winter is a great time to retreat, reflect, reorganize, rethink, and rekindle.

In the ancient book of Genesis we find the narrative account of the great flood. It rained upon the earth for 40 days and 40 nights (Read Genesis chapters 6-9). At the cessation of the flood, the receding of the waters, and the appearance of a dry earth Noah emerged from the ark with his family and every living creature. Afterwards he built an altar. The sacrifice was pleasing to God.

Despite man’s proneness to sin God promised Noah that He would never curse the ground again, nor destroy every living creature as He had in the flood. Before God pronounced a blessing over Noah along with His instructions for the replenishment of the earth, He had this to say, “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night shall not cease” (Genesis 8:22, ESV).

Seasons will not cease to be. The seasons do, however, change. God is at work in every season. God is faithful in every season.
So enjoy the season of Winter!  Above all it is a wonderful time to dwell deeply into God’s presence, to savor His beauty, and the power of His word.

 

FUN THINGS TO DO IN THE WINTER
Learn a new craft! I love trying new knitting patterns for dishcloths.
Try a new recipe! This morning I tried a new healthy pancake recipe in the book Forks Over Knives by Alona Pulde, MD and Matthew Lederman, MD. It was quite tasty!

TEA FAVORITE IN THE WINTER
Hot Cinnamon Spice by Harney and Sons

Let’s Talk Soon!

Phyllis Continue reading “IN EVERY SEASON”

Conversations and Tea

Conversations and Tea, actually began as an event to help gain readership for the books God has blessed me to write. I wanted to gather people to engage in conversations, along with brief teaching moments, that would encourage, empower, and strengthen.

The first event was held at a local bakery called The BonBonerie located in O’Bryonville, a neighborhood of Cincinnati, Ohio. In the quaint tea room of the exquisite bakery a few friends and family members gathered in midafternoon to discuss the content of my book, Broken Wing: An Expose´ on the Journey Through Affliction.

Over the delicacies of finely prepared quiche, finger sandwiches, petite desserts, and an assortment of fine teas I highlighted the contents of one of the chapters. There were moments of reflection, laughter, and sweet fellowship. It was a great beginning.

Several more Conversations and Tea have been held since the inaugural event. Each has had a slightly different flair, but the focus was the same to encourage, empower, and strengthen.
As I continue to write for the Lord my constant prayer is that lives will be touched deeply, and that the relationship between God the Creator and mankind the created will grow to its greatest height.

I pray that all of you will experience great joy as you read my posts.
Now my dear friends go make yourself a hot cup of tea or a coffee and let’s start the conversation.
Stay tuned.
Happy New Year!!!

Phyllis