Rocking Chair Chats

What is a Rocking Chair Chat?

A rocking chair is a part of many of my interiors. A rocking chair sits in my counseling office, another in my private “quiet place” room. A rocking swing hangs in my backyard and yet another rocking chair sits in my artists studio.

A rocking chair symbolizes comfort and safety. I have precious memories of rocking my newborn in the middle of the night as we huddled close to the wood stove in the kitchen. That rocking chair provided hours of sweet motherhood time for my infant child and again a generation later for my grandchild. I have had numerous rocking chair prayers as I cried out to God in the most fearful times in my life. And I have relaxed in my rocking chair as I muse about future hopes and dreams. I have noticed through the years that the rocking chair in my counseling room provides a comforting place to let the life stories flow and seek God’s direction in life. Rocking Chairs are a place for real life, gut level, and for pouring out your heart kind of chats. The great things is that God always listens to rocking chair chats.

Some years ago during an intense “black storm” of life, I lost interest in writing. Up until that time, I had logged in many hours of composing word pictures for various groups of readers. I even had a monthly art column in the local newspaper. Early on in the “storm,” someone told me “someday you will need to write about this. It will help other people”. Although I agreed at the time, the weeks that turned into months and months that turned into years melted into simply a time of survival and healing. Yet in those dark days, I had to admit that other Christians from the pages of history who wrote of their great trials and God’s faithfulness gave great comfort to my soul. I had to acknowledge that although my desire to write had flown away with the tragedies that someday God might bring me to a place where writing may again be a part of my life. And just perhaps, like I was comforted by believing writers of the past as they fought fierce spiritual battles, just maybe….my journey through the darkness while holding Christ’s hand just might help somebody else.

“He is the Father of all compassion, the God of all comfort. He consoles us as we endure the pain and hardship of life so that we may draw from His comfort and share it with others in their own struggles.” II Corinthians 1:3b-4 (The Voice Bible)

Welcome to Rocking Chair Chats.

Waiting…A Tool for Making “Gold”

A great challenge in our culture is to wait.  It goes against our grain.  We live in a time and place where so many of our discomforts can be swiftly eased.  Technology has made our time of waiting in communication nearly non-existent.  I can remember as a teenager when my older brother was in the Peace Corps in India and the long waiting for the telephone call where the operator was announcing a call from “Bombay, India.”  The family waited a long time in the middle of the night huddled in the kitchen around the corded phone attached to the wall for that distant voice of my brother to finally come across the line.  We thought it miraculous.  I never could have imaged telecommunications today. Fast forward to the year 2020.  I have a nephew that teaches at a University in India.  We can “chat” on facebook quickly and easily.  What a contrast!

The ability to have what we want quickly in so many areas makes the concept of waiting even harder.  As you and I minister to the people God puts across our path, it is evident that we as human beings in this culture struggle greatly with the concept of waiting in relationships.  That’s because relationships are often the epicenter of incredible pain.

The pain meter goes off of the scale when there is a severing of relationship because of death, divorce, or a breaking of bonds.  At our very core we can have this unshakable conviction this severance was just wrong.  In many cases, it is.  Life did not go as we thought it would or should, and we find ourselves scrambling for answers, for assurance and for security.  Our world has been shaken.

It is painful to wait – even if we are waiting upon God for a response to our broken heart.  We desperately want to stop the emotional bleeding; to make sense of the unbelievable; to trust that this chapter in life is not random and out of control.  It hurts.  Many of my deepest prayers in my darkest hours have been simply that…God it hurts!!!!  Can you relate?

God has given us a truly wonderful and magnificent gift in having other people in our lives.  I’m not suggesting we should cut ourselves off from friendship and fellowship when times get hard (we most definitely need other people).  However, there is such a magnetic attraction to try to fill the aching voids in our lives with another person (and quickly!).  We can easily jump “from the fire into the frying pan”.  At that point we are incredibly vulnerable.  Yet, our culture pushes us to deal with the pain by going to other people to fill our needs instead of God!  There are some tremendous life lessons we can learn only from a season alone with God.  It’s a conscience effort to choose to trust in Him instead of our emotions. This season alone with God can be a most profound and deeply spiritual experience. It can most certainly be a time of amazing growth. Please notice I did not say that it is easy.  What we do find, however, is that God is faithful; He is sovereign; and He is indeed good – deeply, tenderly and mercifully good!  Waiting on the Lord is countercultural, but it is Biblical.  Consider some words from James:

“For examples of patience in suffering, dear brothers and sisters, look at the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.  We give great honor to those who endure under suffering.  Job is an example of a man who endured patiently.  From his experience we see how the Lord’s plan finally ended in good, for He is full of tenderness and mercy.”  James 5:11 (NLT)

The Apostle Paul uses a word for a season in life in which we focus on God fully.  The word is “undistracted.”  Though death or the breaking of relational bonds may have removed that important person from what was once our “normal rhythm of life” the resulting sense of aloneness can be a powerful force to drive us closer to God.  Through the very tragedies that would seek to undo us, God is able to raise up a new strength within our hearts and minds.  When Jesus becomes that dear to us, no substitute will ever compete for first place in our hearts.  It is indeed a gift to have a stretch of time to entirely focus on God.  There can be a sweet acceptance to His promises to be our protector, provider and One that understands us as no other.  With Job, we will someday be able to say:

“But He knows the way I take; when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold.”  Job 23:10 (NIV)

The Apostle Peter reminds us:

“These trials are only to test your faith, to show that it is strong and pure.  It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold.” I Peter 1:7a.

Who would think that something as simple, yet as difficult as waiting would be a tool in the hands of our Maker for producing something more valuable than gold?

Introduce Yourself (Example Post)

This is an example post, originally published as part of Blogging University. Enroll in one of our ten programs, and start your blog right.

You’re going to publish a post today. Don’t worry about how your blog looks. Don’t worry if you haven’t given it a name yet, or you’re feeling overwhelmed. Just click the “New Post” button, and tell us why you’re here.

Why do this?

  • Because it gives new readers context. What are you about? Why should they read your blog?
  • Because it will help you focus you own ideas about your blog and what you’d like to do with it.

The post can be short or long, a personal intro to your life or a bloggy mission statement, a manifesto for the future or a simple outline of your the types of things you hope to publish.

To help you get started, here are a few questions:

  • Why are you blogging publicly, rather than keeping a personal journal?
  • What topics do you think you’ll write about?
  • Who would you love to connect with via your blog?
  • If you blog successfully throughout the next year, what would you hope to have accomplished?

You’re not locked into any of this; one of the wonderful things about blogs is how they constantly evolve as we learn, grow, and interact with one another — but it’s good to know where and why you started, and articulating your goals may just give you a few other post ideas.

Can’t think how to get started? Just write the first thing that pops into your head. Anne Lamott, author of a book on writing we love, says that you need to give yourself permission to write a “crappy first draft”. Anne makes a great point — just start writing, and worry about editing it later.

When you’re ready to publish, give your post three to five tags that describe your blog’s focus — writing, photography, fiction, parenting, food, cars, movies, sports, whatever. These tags will help others who care about your topics find you in the Reader. Make sure one of the tags is “zerotohero,” so other new bloggers can find you, too.