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Quotes to Ponder
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My Ransomed Soul He Leadeth

"Mama, let's do nothing, nothing at all, all day long ... except read aloud." It was not the usual request from my daughter. The request to read aloud was normal, but the request to do nothing all day long was unusual. She usually says, "Let's do something!" Hmmmm, what was going on here?

What was happening was my overfilled schedule of "Things To Do Today!". My schedule, which meant my children's schedule since they go everywhere with me, was overflowing. It was so busy that I ran out of sheets on my "Things To Do" notepad. If we weren't going somewhere, we were busy doing a home improvement or cleanup project.

I'm not sure how, but, even with my hectic schedule, I started reading, A New Song, the latest Mitford book from Jan Karon. I could identify with the main character, Father Tim. As he prepares to leave (temporarily) the town he's lived in for 16 years, he races from appointment to appointment, commitment to commitment, errand to errand. He visits with Louella, an elderly woman full of wisdom. In the midst of his hectic schedule, he takes time to sing a hymn with her. Perhaps sensing the hustle-bustle of his mind, she offers a little godly advice ...

They were silent for a moment. "Now," said Louella, "that feels better, don't it?"

He nodded, sensing the tears lurking in him, some kind of sorrow that he'd noticed for a week or more.

"You pushin' too hard," she said.

"You have to push, Louella." Out there in the world, he wanted to say, it was all about push.

"Maybe you done stepped aroun' th' Lord an' tryin' to lead th' way."

Ouch! I felt like Louella was speaking to me. For weeks I'd been going hard, trying to get things done that I should have done months, or even years, ago. I'd been getting our home in order and ready to sell, continuing the decluttering process, preparing for our move, and watching over the building process of our new home. On top of that, I'd been determined to rid us of bad habits and instill good ones. And let's not forget it's summer so we needed to have some fun, and those children better enjoy it! *grin*

It occurred to me that in this whirlwind I had created, the leadership of the Lord was disappearing. My quiet times with the Lord were hurried and quickly checked off. When I stopped long enough to seek Him, I was not listening to Him thoughtfully, but telling Him how much I had to do and how many things were getting in my way. Okay, I needed to stop pushin', stop steppin' aroun' th' Lord, and let Him lead!

Words from A New Song reached out and convicted me again. As Father Tim walks into the church he'll be serving temporarily, he stops to read a hand-lettered sign ...

Let the peace of this place surround you as you sit or kneel quietly. Let the hurry and worry of your life fall away. You are God's child. He loves you and cares for you, and is here with you now and always. Speak to Him thoughtfully, give yourself time for Him to bring things to mind.

Peace was all around me suddenly. I sought Him thoughtfully, clearing my mind of lists and errands and appointments. I gave my time up to Him, asking Him to bring things to my mind. I was very grateful that the Lord led me to Him to quietly listen and seek Him. (I also realized that sometimes in the past when I have been overworking myself, leading myself into full blown stress, getting sick was what brought me to a place of rest. I was very grateful to be feeling good.)

I mentioned above that Father Tim and Louella sang a hymn together. I'd like to end by sharing this part of the book. It is beautiful and is perfect for reminding us that it is the Lord that works in us and through us ...

Loella closed her eyes and raised her hands and began to lift her rich, mezzo voice in song. She rocked a little in her chair.

"The King of love my shepherd is,
Whose goodness faileth never;
I nothing lack if I am his,
And he is mine forever."

He waited two beats and picked up the second verse, not caring if they heard him all the way to the monument.

"Where streams of living water flow,
My ransomed soul he leadeth,
And where the verdant pastures grow,
With food celestial feedeth."

Two nurses stuck their heads in the door, grinning, as he joined his voice with Louella's on the third verse.

"Perverse and foolish oft I strayed,
But yet in love he sought me,
And on his shoulder gently laid,
And home, rejoicing, brought me."

They were silent for a moment. "Now," said Louella, "that feels better, don't it?"

Yes, it does, Louella. Thank you! And Thank You, Lord, for the way You seek and draw me to You, for my dear husband, children and friends who lovingly remind me not to push myself out of God's will and into stress, and for the gentle ways You speak to me through things like a few lines in a book.

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. - Matthew 11:28-30

Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands. - Proverbs 14:1

And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. - Philippians 4:7

When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek. - Psalms 27:8

A man's heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps. - Proverbs 16:9

June 22, 1999
1999 by Kathy Ridpath
Please ask for permission to reprint this article, ridpath@chfweb.com. Thank you!

The following books are available through Our Favorite Books Bookstore. All proceeds from Our Favorite Books Bookstore in association with Amazon.com go toward supporting the chfweb.com website. Thanks for your support!

A New Song
by Jan Karon
I think this was my favorite of all the Mitford books. The title comes from Isaiah 42:10 Sing unto the Lord a new song, and His praise from the end of the earth, ye that go down to the sea, and all that is therein, the isles and the inhabitants thereof. We live in North Carolina and love visiting the barrier islands where much of this book takes place. It is a beautiful area. Jan Karon ends this final book of the series with a beautiful evangelical sermon and altar call delivered by the main character, Father Tim, an Episcopal priest. As you may have guessed, I recommend this book!! --Kathy Ridpath
Hardcover: *Order Now!*

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Quotes to Ponder


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"And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord;
and great shall be the peace of thy children."

Isaiah 54:13

Kathy Ridpath: ridpath@chfweb.com
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