Boys will be boys??

I’m so sorry I’ve been away so long! Everything came to a grinding halt when I ended up with a lower respiratory infection that lasted 3 months and left me exhausted and feeling like I’d never get my life back. However, God in His perfect wisdom gave me that time to read, think and learn. 

Today I read a post by Ann Voskamp at the link below. It is a beautiful, heartfelt post that is as timely as it is important. May your day be Blessed!

Unexpected Places

I spent this past Saturday taking part in an online women’s conference hosted by Priscilla Shirer.  The day was both uplifting and meaningful.  At first, I didn’t understand the importance of Priscilla’s theme on Unexpected Places.  Finally, in the last hour of the conference, it hit me like a ton of bricks.  Priscilla’s third discussion on Unexpected Places explained how we  all find ourselves “here” at different times.  The question we always ask ourselves is, “how did I end up here at this time in my life?” The “here” can be a place, person (or lack of), job, anything that is not the reality we had playing in our heads of our perfect life.

It’s actually something I have asked God about often.  I live in a small community in deep south Texas in the Rio Grande Valley.  Never in my life would I have thought this would be my home.  A number of twists and turns that began in San Diego where I lived for 25 years, took me to Phoenix, Fort Worth and finally down here.  I had never planned any of this beyond San Diego.  I owned a home there. I was perfectly happy living near the ocean and working downtown, spending my weekends with my friends and being involved in a church I loved. Then I met a guy. God gave me this very kind, very gentle guy.  However, along with this guy came change.  When we moved to the Fort Worth area, things seemed to click in place.  I became a nurse, found a job I loved, a new best friend. I settled in and started living my life.  However, God still had other plans – plans that took us to the “Valley”.

This wasn’t a place I ever thought I would be. We’d visited many times because my guy’s family lived here.  We’d come on vacation.  We’d come to help when his dad was ill.  We’d come to celebrate holidays.  Never had I thought we’d actually ever live here.  It’s not that I don’t like my life here.  It just isn’t what I expected to be doing at this time in my life.  I’m blessed in many ways.  I’m retired now, so my routine and schedule are pretty much what I want them to be. I  have the time to volunteer. I live only 45 minutes from South Padre Island and the Gulf Coast. I became part of a wonderful church family. But I still questioned my purpose.  I couldn’t make peace with my life because there didn’t seem to be a reason for me to be in this place at this time.

After the conference I prayed for guidance, and I asked my heart some hard questions. Do I truly trust God? If I do, how can I continually question His putting me here? What dreams had God laid on my heart that I might be ignoring or discounting as His reason why I’m here? And finally, is it really even about me? I don’t have all the answers.   I do feel I have touched lives being here.  And others have touched me.  People who I hold dear and would never have met or truly known except because I am at this place at this time. My guy’s family now my family, who offers support and love, and takes some of the sting out of losing my mom recently. And my writing – how often I have wished for the time to write but never followed through because of work, raising children, and whatever else was going on in my life. Would I have made the time if I lived somewhere else, and did whatever I would have been doing elsewhere? Sometimes I think too much.  Trusting God is what it’s all about. What my life is all about.  So, for whatever reason God put me here, in this place, at this time, I am thankful. Now, I praise Him every day for putting me HERE. Wherever “here” happens to be in the future, I know I will always be in His Presence.

“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.  Proverbs 16:9 ESV



Cultivating a Thankful Heart

I’ve had this thought on my heart for awhile now, but the words wouldn’t come.  When they did they didn’t sound right. Not to me, anyway.  Then, last night when I was drifting off to sleep, it dawned on me that I was waiting for the perfect words; those words that would flow without forethought and would land on the page easily and beautifully.  Don’t know what got into me, thinking that way.  I know better.  Writing is hard work, consisting of thoughtful wording and revisions.

Something else came to mind.  While I was waiting for perfection, I wasn’t consulting God about any of it. Not like me, really, but there it was. Not only wasn’t I consulting Him, I wasn’t THANKING Him for any of it.  I’ve been in the habit of saying, “Thank you, Lord,” for everything generally. However, it was like I had taken time off from this.  Like my heart wasn’t in it.

I lay awake for a long time, considering why my heart had gone rog aue all of a sudden.  Could it be that I felt I didn’t have things to be thankful for?  I’ve been very sick with a respiratory infection for the last two months.  I know it wore me down physically and mentally, but I remained spiritually uplifted through most of the ordeal. Of course, I know that Satan waits for just such moments to worm his way into our psyche. So I turned to my Bible to rekindle my “thankfulness”.

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

There are many verses in the Bible about being thankful, but this is the one that seemed to resonate with me the most.  I pondered the verse for several minutes, praying that God provide me with a meaning beyond just the words. I sat in the stillness of my Prayer Room, listening to the dog’s rhythmic snoring. I sensed God’s pressing on my heart.  Really, there was no profound meaning that went deeper than the words themselves. Then came the realization that I had been missing the point.  My usual Thank You for all You have done for me wasn’t what My Father wants to hear from me.  He wants specifics. He wants everything.

EVERYTHING. God wants me to be thankful for everything. The good, the bad, the ugly, and the wonderful – being unable to breathe well (thankful that I can still Praise His Name) , being able to finally walk the dog (thankful that I am strong enough to at least do that). I am also learning that cultivating a thankful heart is a full-time job. It’s remembering to be thankful for each step I take, for every tiny thing I do all day. As with all things worthwhile, it isn’t always easy. I’ve always started my day praising and thanking God for all the wonderful things in my life, but now God is asking me to be thankful for the bad stuff, too. And I am.  Mostly, I’m thankful that God is in my life to walk me through the tough stuff. It’s easy to be thankful when things are going well.  It’s a blessing  to follow God’s will and be thankful when things aren’t going so well. I’m still working on it. And God’s still working on me.


Yours in Christ,

Darlene Frybarger


In The Stillness

My morning is very quiet.  No radio, no television, no phone calls, just me. And, of course, Bailey, our 15 year-old-dog, and Tigger Noelle (we couldn’t agree on a name), our 6-year-old cat.  They are napping, and I am wishing I were, too.  However, if I nap, I might miss it – that still, quiet voice that I only hear on mornings such as this.

I long to hear this voice.  I’ve come to LIVE for this voice.  HIS voice.  Yet it hasn’t been all that long ago that I didn’t take the time to listen for it.  I was always too busy, too afraid of being caught “doing nothing”.  After all, even though I am 67 years old, my parents’ lessons still guide me.  “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop.”  That was one of the ones I heard most.  Still, I needed to have time to think and daydream – that was the kind of kid I was then, and the kind of adult I am now.  So as a kid I learned to hold a book and look like I was reading (which I always loved anyway) so I could have thinking and dreaming time.

Now, I have embarked on a journey to judge the success of my days by the silent moments.  One of my favorite Bible verses has always been “Be Still and Know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10, NLT). There is a depth of meaning in those few words. Although many summaries and commentaries tell us what the larger picture of Psalm 46 means, these few words have a huge meaning in themselves: we are not to be fearful, fretful or impatient. God is in control, and it is our job to follow His lead and turn our will over to Him.  It’s not an easy task.  I might not be up for the challenge if it weren’t that I heard His voice telling me that it is my season for stillness.  Because the Lord whispered this to me in the quiet of my morning and I HEARD HIM.  In the depths of my soul I HEARD HIM. To me, this is as much of a miracle as the loaves and fishes.  It makes me wonder how many times He has spoken to me and I didn’t hear Him. I wasn’t listening or didn’t want to listen because I was afraid of what He would say.  But this time I HEARD HIM, and I am ready.  I want to learn to wait for Him to reveal the next step and the next and the next.  I am setting up my own quiet space so I can have many moments with Him. My heart is so full of joy I don’t know where to start. So I am waiting in stillness for His guidance on that too.  I think I am getting the hang of this waiting stuff.  Instead of always being in “fix-it” mode, I can sit and not tax my brain over the “how-to”.  The Lord knows how and in His time he will tell me how so I can do His bidding.  It’s a breath of fresh air to know I don’t have to be in charge.  I don’t have to have all the answers. My type A personality doesn’t like being pushed to the back burner, but in a lot of ways it’s a relief .  Certainly there are times when it’s inconvenient, even difficult to live this way.  But the Lord keeps reminding me that He is in charge and that my job is to keep Praying. And Listening. And Waiting.


Waiting In Hopeful Trust

   I have a note on my bathroom mirror that says, “I trust you, Lord”. I see it every morning, throughout the day, and at night as I prepare for bed. I even repeat it aloud each time I see it. I try to make sure it doesn’t become one of those notes that sort of fades into the background and gets ignored.  It recently occurred to me that trusting God isn’t my problem – waiting in hopeful trust often is.  To me, this means I have to put aside my desires for whatever outcome I am praying for and be willing to let God do what He knows is best for me. Make no mistake, I can be strong-willed. I what I want (and I want it now) but if I truly believe in a future with Our Father then I will accept whatever God’s plan may be for me, no pounding fists, no arguing.  With hopeful trust I KNOW that God’s got this. All of this, whatever “this” might be at the moment. And that means I can always rest in His Presence.

Resting in Him

Rest. What we dream of as we scurry about attempting to complete our 50-item to-do list.  We continually tell our friends (and whoever else will listen) that we wish we had time to rest. I feel I’ve been looking for the time to “rest” since I was a young mother with very small children. Now, as a Grandmother, I find myself still looking for that time to rest.

It’s kind of funny, actually. I’m retired now, but seem busier than ever. Some of it is because it takes me longer to do things. Some of it is that now I have the time to help out here and there. Mostly though, it’s lack of focus. It seems as though I start my days walking the dog, giving him medications (he’s older than me in people years), doing various and sundry things as they cross my path with no real plan or purpose. At the end of the day I’m exhausted and don’t really know why.

I’ve heard it a thousand  times in Bible studies and Church sermons; read it in every inspirational blog and book: start the day with Jesus. I’ve started my journey over and over, then let the demands of everyday get in my way. I pray I am now ready to truly Rest. Rest In His Presence Daily, finding comfort and peace through His Word. I have found that a day that starts with His Word provides better focus for everything that comes after and gives perspective to all the “important” things going on in my life. When I make the Word my priority I truly find the rest I’m always seeking. Why then do my best intentions always fall by the wayside?  The reasons don’t matter. Letting the HOLY SPIRIT guide my life does. Here’s to a new beginning – with God in charge of my day.

May The Lord show you rest, too.