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Letters to the Lord: Wherewithal

A new word has crept into my vocabulary during these past few months: wherewithal. I mean, I knew the word before, but lately I’ve found myself using it on a regular basis, as in: “Lord, I just don’t have the wherewithal to…”

I suppose it’s the negative form of what I think life since Covid has been teaching me, something I learned decades ago from You, Lord, but have been forced to put into practice now. In fact the whole world has had to accept this: “Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

I haven’t had the wherewithal to write much lately, just barely keeping up with the necessary deadlines that go along with getting ready to release a new book. As my readers have perhaps noticed, I haven’t had the wherewithal to write a weekly Letters to the Lord post. I haven’t even had the wherewithal to ask the lovely writers who have contributed before to contribute again.

Life has been all about staying in the present, juggling lots of mind-numbing details about life in two countries and three houses, our home in Rochetaillee, our place in Flintstone, Georgia, and my childhood home, my parent’s home, in Atlanta, Georgia.

I am not a gal who is great with administrative details or many details at all. I am beyond grateful for my two brothers and their business acumen as we’ve walked forward in settling Daddy’s estate and trying to see the way forward for the next season.

But it has left me with very little wherewithal.

Webster’s defines it as “means, resources”, especially of money or time. “Wherewithal comes from where and withal (meaning “with”), and it has been used as a conjunction meaning ‘with or by means of which’ and as a pronoun meaning ‘that with or by which.’ These days, however, it is almost always used as a noun referring to the means or resources a person has at one’s disposal—especially financial resources.”

But I’m not talking about financial resources. I’m just talking about mental, physical, spiritual, and emotional resources. Some days, it just feels like I’ve run dry.

But Lord, it’s okay. Because You never, ever run dry. Isaiah 40 has always been one of my favorite chapters in Scripture, and these verses are my favorite in the chapter:

“Do you not know? Have you not heard?
The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth
Does not become weary or tired.
His understanding is inscrutable.
He gives strength to the weary,
And to him who lacks might He increases power.
30 Though youths grow weary and tired,
And vigorous young men stumble badly,
31 Yet those who wait for the Lord
Will gain new strength;
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary.”

Isaiah 40: 28-31

That is the beauty of the Gospel, isn’t it? Jesus in us gives us access to that supernatural power, His power, to keep going. Yes, sometimes we feel so high with joy and praise, it’s like flying. Sometimes we can run through marathon days without collapsing.

But so often, the Christian life is simply accessing His strength in our weakness, so we can put one foot in front of the other, walking without giving up.

And as I do this, my dear Lord gives me the wherewithal:

To see the beauty and smell the sweet fragrance of His creation.

To delight in the dimpled joy of a baby:

And the trickle of water over rocks:

In ten days, Paul and I will fly back to France. There is much to do before then, and though I may not feel like I have the wherewithal to get it all done, I take a deep breath today, this morning, breathing in His goodness and asking Him for the wherewithal to trust to give me the wherewithal for each day, one step at a time.

How about you?

***For the foreseeable future, Letters to the Lord will come out every other Tuesday.

ELIZABETH MUSSER writes ‘entertainment with a soul’ from her writing chalet—tool shed—outside Lyon, France. Find more about Elizabeth’s novels at www.elizabethmusser.com and on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and her blog, Letters to the Lord.

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Letters to the Lord: A Full Quiver

We had a mini-Musser reunion this past weekend in Cincinnati. Andrew and Lacy drove up with their five little ones and joined Andrew’s two older cousins with their wives, each with their own five little ones. Yes, fifteen great-grandkids were all together for the day, the oldest being our grandson Jesse at 9 and the youngest being our granddaughter, Cori, at three months.

It was a time of happy bedlam, with much laughter and very few tears, as these little cousins played together. I love Psalm 127: 3-5 that says

“Children are a heritage from the Lord,
    offspring a reward from him.
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
    are children born in one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
    whose quiver is full of them.”

There are quite a few full quivers in the Musser family and for me, it was such a delight to be part of the fun. These three young couples are all raising their kids to love the Lord, and it is an inspiration. We were so inspired that Paul and I offered for the couples to escape together for a little while, and we watched the fifteen little ones.

It may sound heroic (or crazy) on our part, but the truth is, Toy Story did a wonderful job of babysitting and we just patrolled the troops, pausing the movie every once in a while to do a count-off from oldest to youngest, just to make sure none of the toddlers had toddled away.

We also got to spend time with Paul’s older brother, H.A. (and the father of the two older cousins) and his wife, Rhonda, although we could only meet outside because H.A. had tested positive for Covid.

Yes, Covid continues to remind us that our best plans are only that: plans. Every morning I wake up with the thought that “each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6: 34) I’m thankful that way back almost 40 years ago during training for the mission field, one of the most important lessons I learned was to be flexible. Life is very unpredictable.

Traveling from Cincinnati to Louisville, we had planned to spend a few days with Paul’s mother, Mamaw, the beloved matriarch of the Musser clan, and great-grandmother to those 15 little ones (and ten others who weren’t present!). But again, Covid struck. Sunday morning, we learned we’d been exposed to Covid from another source. Mamaw is scheduled for heart surgery in two weeks and we didn’t want to take any chances of exposing her to Covid. So we only were able to have lunch with her and sit outside in her garden with Andrew and tribe.

Still, there was great joy in being together even for a few hours. I marvel at the way the Musser family is a microcosm of God’s family, each member, from youngest to oldest, sharing love, the older ones mentoring the younger ones so that we can all grow up to maturity in Christ.

One of my favorite parts of ministry is watching the younger generations catch on to the wonder of the Lord. Paul and I have always loved mentoring younger believers. It doesn’t happen overnight, does it? Occasionally we get the view of the body of Christ all together, in harmony, praising the Lord. More often, we are just an eclectic group, each with our own personalities, trying to get along with each other and glorify the Lord, in spite of all the things life throws our way.

It can feel a little like happy bedlam. And a lot like a blessing from the Lord.

ELIZABETH MUSSER writes ‘entertainment with a soul’ from her writing chalet—tool shed—outside Lyon, France. Find more about Elizabeth’s novels at www.elizabethmusser.com and on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and her blog, Letters to the Lord.

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Letters to the Lord: Signing My Life Away

One of the great joys for an author, at least for this author, is meeting my readers in person. I have had the privilege over the past twenty-five years of signing books in bookstores across the Southeast and many other states as well in France, Germany, The Netherlands, and Norway. I’ve also been in churches , conferences, the den of a book club gathering, in restaurants and auditoriums. Sometimes a few people show up, other times a few hundred.

For me, every time I sign my name in a novel I’ve written, it feels like a hug from the Lord. He answered my childhood prayers that spanned over decades and that little girl’s dream came true! I get to do what I was created to do. Write. Of course, the whispered ‘Thanks, your story touched my heart’ is an extra blessing.

Because of the pandemic, I’ve only attended one signing in the past two years. But this week, I get to be part of two of them and I am thrilled.

The first is in Chattanooga this Thursday, April 21 and the second in Atlanta on Saturday, April 24. And at both I’ll be joined by my dear and oh-so-talented friend, artist Jill Steenhuis.

I say this often, but readers taking the time to come to a signing or write a letter of thanks and encouragement are what makes a writer’s life oh-so-rich. It’s often the way the Lord gives me His gentle nudge to keep doing what He’s called me to do, even when life feels hard and inspiration is lacking.

I get to meet you!

And even if you can’t attend a signing, I’d love for you to participate in an Easter Giveaway in which I’m taking part. You can find all details here and below is a graphic with the novels in the giveaway.

I hope and pray that your Easter celebration was joyous and that you are basking in the glow of the Resurrected Christ who loves you so. Now I must go and get ready to ‘sign my life away!’

ELIZABETH MUSSER writes ‘entertainment with a soul’ from her writing chalet—tool shed—outside Lyon, France. Find more about Elizabeth’s novels at www.elizabethmusser.com and on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and her blog, Letters to the Lord.

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Letters to the Lord: A Sonnet for the In-Between

The sky was blue before and now it’s gray

And rain has wet the grass, seeped through the soil

And hope is held in hiatus this day

As, numb, we contemplate our Savior’s toil.

I wonder, were the soldiers not afraid

When Peter took a sword and sliced an ear

And Jesus, with a stroke that stilled the blade,

Reached out and touched the wound and made it hear?

Did they not know way down in wounded hearts

That This was He whose Power came to save?

His Innocence was where the Victory starts:

A thorny Crown, a bloody Cross, a Grave?

We wait to see if, as we watch and weep,

The Promised Power His Promises will keep.

ELIZABETH MUSSER writes ‘entertainment with a soul’ from her writing chalet—tool shed—outside Lyon, France. Find more about Elizabeth’s novels at www.elizabethmusser.com and on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and her blog, Letters to the Lord.

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Letters to the Lord: The Joy of Twosday

Oh, dear Lord, thank you so much for Twosday! I’d never heard of that term until my daughter-in-love Lacy invited us to Lena’s birthday party. I misunderstood at first, thinking that since it was called a Twosday party it would be on a Tuesday. But of course, the pun was only because Lena was turning two.

And so we celebrated all the wonder of that milestone with Andrew and Lacy, Lacy’s sister, the other four grands, and our ‘outlaws’ as I call them, Lacy’s parents.

It was a simple party, filled with the joyful chaos of a family finding its way through a house under construction (the renovation was supposed to be finished months ago, but You know the drama of that story, Lord) and Lacy’s courageous rehabilitation after she suffered a pelvic misalignment during her labor with baby Cori, and all of ‘life’ with five children.

And I watched in the wonder of it all, Lord, my heart filled to bursting with the way You allow joy and grief to coincide, how the veil of mourning can be pulled aside in my life to reveal unbridled giddiness at the celebration of a toddler.

And oh, how Lena celebrated, Lord! She received a refurbished doll house with living space on one side and a full kitchen on the other. And each of us had brought gifts to furnish the dollhouse, me unknowingly. I’d simply walked into an upscale kids store near my father’s house in the one hour I had free and delighted in ‘grief shopping’ for Lena.

And each time, Lena opened a wrapped gift, she would literally squeal with delight!

I had only recently been introduced to Jelly Cats, a brand of stuffed animals specifically sized for a toddler to cuddle. So when Lena opened the little lamb I’d purchased for her, we all giggled as she did just that. Cuddle the lamb like her mother cuddles baby Cori.

Later came the strawberry shortcake with its candle and again, Lena watched in wonder and awe.

And blew out the candle with a little encouragement and help from her daddy.

And she ate her cake with baby lamb in tow.

Oh, that I would squeal with delight this Easter, celebrating Your Resurrection, with You, my beloved Lamb of God, held tight against my chest, deep in my heart, and all around me.

It’s a dark week, Lord, for Your children as we remember Your passion. As we solemnly walk through Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. But we know that grief will be turned to rejoicing, tears to laughter, despair to hope.

Twosday for a toddler was for me a tiny glimpse of the Easter joy that is coming, both now and not quite yet.

And so we wait, dear Lord, with eyes toward the sky and faith, hope, and love warming our waiting hearts.

ELIZABETH MUSSER writes ‘entertainment with a soul’ from her writing chalet—tool shed—outside Lyon, France. Find more about Elizabeth’s novels at www.elizabethmusser.com and on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and her blog, Letters to the Lord.

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Letters to the Lord: Appraising My Life

Mr. Cardinal is still here, pecking at the window in Daddy’s den, reminding me of Your presence, Lord, in such a tangible way. Sometimes he even comes and sits on the outside windowsill and stares at me. And I speak to him in that voice I use for small children and animals. And I think he listens.

I’ve been in Atlanta for almost three weeks now. Andrew and Lacy and the five kiddos moved into our home in Flintstone (near Chattanooga) as they await the renovations on their home to be completed. I’m so thankful that we could offer them the house now that Lacy is able to manage the stairs. She has improved so much.

And it has been less stressful to be here for almost three weeks. Not to go back and forth every few days between Atlanta and Flintstone. But I’m still exhausted; I still feel so far behind in life. And the grief hangs heavy.

Today a man is coming to appraise many of the items in my father’s house. There are a lot of items in a home that was built in 1938 and has been added onto several times. My parents weren’t hoarders, but they did like to keep photos and letters and cards and lots of other memorabilia. Appraising it will take some time.

I pause to consider how You appraise my life, Lord. Because of Your sacrifice, Lord, I am worthy to be called Your much-loved daughter. So I am trying, trying, trying to sit with this and believe it today.

In spite of all that surrounds me.

Life is so ravaging. Ukraine is being ravaged by Putin, several dear friends are ravaged by cancer. Andrew and Lacy are dealing with countless headaches with their home renovations not to mention all the craziness of Lacy’s health and the five kiddos. Chris is stuck in Israel with Covid (update, he made it home safely), and some of my loved ones are dealing with unresolved conflict. The world and our lives are messy. And we grieve.

Oh, how I grieve. Great big sobs of expected and unexpected tears. Grief.

So please keep appraising my life through Your lens, Lord. And let me hear Your voice above the rumblings of my thoughts and the world’s cacophony.

Your voice is so sweet and clear and yet also so surprising. Like a gurgling brook.

Like the shock of yellow daffodils amidst the purple of creeping phlox.

For instance, today I read Psalm 110 and Hebrews 7, the next Old Testament and New Testament chapters in my oh-so-sporadic Bible reading these days. Those two chapters were not in any Bible reading plan because I wasn’t using one. But they were both about Melchizedek.

Really, Lord? Really? How random is that? I mean this guy, Melchizedek, doesn’t get a lot of written words dedicated to him in the Bible, but today, I ‘just happened’ to read two of those chapters where he appears.

And this brings fresh tears as I cry out to the God who knows my every breath, who orchestrates eternity and the veil to intrude in His loved ones lives in a way that prohibits mistaking anything for coincidence.

If Melchizedek, that high priest of peace, can show up twice for me today, then may I sit with Your peace that passes understanding, trusting that You will show us the next steps in this oh-so-hard season of life, one day at a time. As the psalmist writes: “Let the morning bring me word of Your unfailing love for I have put my trust in You. Show me the way I should go for to You I lift up my soul.”

May you find His peace today as you pour out your soul to Him.

ELIZABETH MUSSER writes ‘entertainment with a soul’ from her writing chalet—tool shed—outside Lyon, France. Find more about Elizabeth’s novels at www.elizabethmusser.com and on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and her blog, Letters to the Lord.

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Letters to the Lord: Daffodils

Ever since I memorized it in 7th grade, William Wordsworth’s poem about daffodils has delighted me. Often, I found myself quoting lines from it in March as my yard in France would burst with white and yellow beauty.

I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud

I wandered lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o’er vales and hills,

When all at once I saw a crowd,

A host, of golden daffodils;

Beside the lake, beneath the trees,

Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine

And twinkle on the milky way,

They stretched in never-ending line

Along the margin of a bay:

Ten thousand saw I at a glance,

Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they

Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:

A poet could not but be gay,

In such a jocund company:

I gazed—and gazed—but little thought

What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie

In vacant or in pensive mood,

They flash upon that inward eye

Which is the bliss of solitude;

And then my heart with pleasure fills,

And dances with the daffodils.

~William Wordsworth~

And how I loved photographing these beauties “tossing their heads in sprightly dance”, as Wordsworth so eloquently and accurately put it.

In Atlanta, daffodils make their appearance in February. I shared in my remembrance for my father that taking a walk around the block of my parents’ home with my father has always been a simple and profound joy to me.

This February, walking around the block was deeply bittersweet. Until…on one of my walks shortly after Daddy ‘graduated to heaven’, I noticed hundreds of daffodils blooming in the woods. And my heart did fill with pleasure just observing them.

A few days later, as Paul and I were again taking a walk around the block, we stopped to chat with the couple whose woods boast such splendor. They were friends of my dad, loved him, and were sorry that they would be out of town and unable to attend the memorial. When I commented on the joy their daffodils brought me in this otherwise difficult season, they invited me to drop by whenever I wanted and to pick as many daffodils as I wanted to freshen up my father’s house for the guests who would be coming after the service.

Since the memorial was two weeks after my father’s passing, the flowers we’d already received had wilted. I had hoped to get more fresh flowers for the house, and specifically white and yellow ones because these colors are also the colors of my father’s beloved alma mater, Georgia Tech. He supported this great institution with his heart and soul and finances for 60+ years.

(The Rambling Wreck from Georgia Tech sat outside the entrance to the church at my father’s memorial as testimony to his love of the school and the school’s appreciation for his devotion.)

So the day before the memorial, Paul and I took a trashcan (for lack of finding a bucket) and gathered daffodils.

In the simple pleasure of gathering daffodils, as with daily arrival of the red cardinal, the Lord reminded me again of His glorious presence in the midst of our dark valley and how all of nature groans with us and yet, at the same time, celebrates life and life everlasting.

Are you familiar with Wordsworth’s poem? Or is there another poem that brings you a particular joy in spring?

ELIZABETH MUSSER writes ‘entertainment with a soul’ from her writing chalet—tool shed—outside Lyon, France. Find more about Elizabeth’s novels at www.elizabethmusser.com and on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and her blog, Letters to the Lord.

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Letters to the Lord: Nurse Jane and Daddy

This is the remembrance I gave at my father’s memorial last Friday.

When I was very young, I loved hearing stories about a gentleman rabbit called Uncle Wiggily who had many animal friends and several animal enemies. But he had one friend who was with him in almost every episode, his housekeeper, Nurse Jane Fuzzy Wuzzy the Muskrat Lady.

To be honest, I don’t remember if my mom or my dad or our beloved housekeeper Husy read those stories to me. But this is what I know. My father started calling me Nurse Jane Fuzzy Wuzzy a long time ago. I don’t even remember why. Over the years and decades that infamous title got shortened to simply Nurse Jane. I was Nurse Jane to my Daddy, and I knew that was his highest term of endearment, even though I never had any aspiration to become a real nurse—or a muskrat, for that matter.

That was my father. He made everyone he knew feel special. I imagine many of you here today smile to think of how my father had a nickname or title he called you. Or just a look that said he thought you were tops.

Daddy was a caregiver. Oh, he loved life, he loved attention, he loved fine restaurants, and a good drink, and a fancy trip, and a good party. An over-the-top extrovert, Daddy kept up a social schedule that put the rest of the family’s combined schedules to shame. But all of these revolved around his love of people. He loved people and he believed in them.

And he believed in me, his only daughter. I was my daddy’s girl.

A child of the Depression who had seen his mother pinch pennies all her life, Daddy was determined to make a good living. He believed education was the best gift he could give his children, and he paid for a combined almost 40 years of Westminster, plus Rice, Vanderbilt, Princeton, University of Chicago, Georgia Tech, Covenant, Heritage, and he might even slip in a few coins to his former housemate who’s at Harvard.

And through my education and the security of Daddy’s financial provision for our family, he opened the world for me. Unfortunately, my father’s dream was for all of his family to be well educated and to stay close by. In Atlanta. So when I announced I was leaving for the mission field, flying to France, it was hard on him. But Daddy and Mom gave me a wonderful gift. They gave me their blessing to go. Daddy didn’t necessarily approve, and it was hard for him to let me ‘raise my support’ when he was beginning to be very successful as a stock broker.

But he did it. He and Mom let me fly. I will add that they made the best of it by coming to visit Paul, Andrew, Chris and me at least once a year, often taking us skiing in the French Alps or to a castle in the Beaujolais. And always to a very nice restaurant with at least a few Michelin stars.

Daddy’s wit and humor delighted all, but throughout my life, one of my favorite activities was taking a walk with him. We’ve walked all over the world, but I especially loved our walks around the block on Nancy Creek Road. We discussed life, love, faith, and adventures. We did not discuss Georgia Tech or the stock market, but somehow that was okay with Daddy.

And he was my biggest fan, always carrying a bookmark for my newest novel in his jacket pocket. I apologize to all of you who have been ambushed throughout the years by my father, sporting a smile and a bookmark.

And his faith was as warm and witty as everything else about him. Daddy won people’s hearts as a man of integrity who cared about his family, his friends, his church, his clients at Merrill Lynch, his college. Honestly, as a devout girl growing up in a house with Jesus and mint julips, I sometimes felt a bit confused by my father’s faith.

But you aren’t. You’re here to honor a man who honored God by living a full, robust life of loving others well.

I’m grateful to have finally been able to live up to my nickname of Nurse Jane as I’ve helped care for my father during the last leg of his journey on this side of the veil. As many of you witnessed, he kept his wit and optimism until the very end. He told Dock early on after the cancer diagnosis that he’d checked all the boxes, he’d had a great life, and he knew where he was going. He wasn’t afraid. He also wasn’t quite ready to leave, and I sure hope he can see the party going on for him today.

I miss you already so much, Daddy, but I’ll see you soon on the other side. Much love, your Nurse Jane.

ELIZABETH MUSSER writes ‘entertainment with a soul’ from her writing chalet—tool shed—outside Lyon, France. Find more about Elizabeth’s novels at www.elizabethmusser.com and on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and her blog, Letters to the Lord.

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Letters to the Lord: The Red Cardinal

Written in the middle of the night, February 11, 4:30 am.

So many sleepless nights, Lord. So hard and sweet to walk my Daddy to Heaven’s door. So many signs of Your Spirit right here with us.

It started with the red cardinal about a month ago. Or maybe longer. He just kept banging into the picture window in the den in my father’s home. Over and over and over again, throughout each day.

Here he is, in action:

As we were trying to figure out what his problem was, because it was definitely a male, red, red, red, my brother Glenn suggested that maybe he was seeing his reflection in the glass, and thinking it was a competitor, kept banging into his reflection. I deduced that if this was the case, and he hadn’t figured it out after days of head-crashes, then male cardinals are not very smart=).

But in reality, that cardinal is communicating something more mysterious and spiritual. Evidently throughout time, cardinals flying near the windows of the dying has been a ‘thing’. Some say it is a loved one coming back to call the lover home. Or Your Spirit hovering. Here are several interpretations from Google:

The red cardinal is a spiritual messenger from God.

Photo by Skyler Ewing on Pexels.com

The red cardinal is representative of one of departed loved ones attempting contact.

Photo by Chris F on Pexels.com

When a red cardinal hits a window, it is a bad sign representing death.

The red cardinal represents the blood of Christ.

If you are lucky enough to spot a cardinal, you should smile to yourself as cardinals represent deceased loved ones, who are watching over you.

Again seeing a cardinal at your window usually means that someone who has passed on wants you to know that they’re thinking of you and looking out for you.

And surely all of the above are true of the sweet red cardinal who has hit the window multiple times a day and continues to do so. I wonder if he will leave after my father’s memorial service on Friday, February 25th?

Lord, there is no denying he’s a messenger. Your Spirit, Mom coming to tell Daddy she’s waiting for him, a messenger of death? I see all of these and am comforted. Yes, perhaps a sign of death, but not a bad sign of death. To me, that cardinal is a way You are telling Your beloved children, us, who can sometimes be a bit dense, “I’m here and I see and I know and it is hard but it will be okay. I am with you. Always.”

And You keep telling us this, over and over again.

Throughout these past 6 months, ever since my father was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, we, his loved ones, have seen sign after sign of Your presence with us as we’ve walked through this dark valley. We are deeply grateful for the love expressed to us in hundreds of ways, through family, friends, my dad’s beloved cat, Maggie, and yes, even a red cardinal.

Photo by Skyler Ewing on Pexels.com

If you would like to read my sweet father’s obituary, you can find it here.

Psalm 23

A Psalm of David.

The Lord is my shepherd,
I will not be in need.
He lets me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters.
He restores my soul;
He guides me in the paths of righteousness
For the sake of His name.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You have anointed my head with oil;
My cup overflows.
Certainly goodness and faithfulness will follow me all the days of my life,
And my dwelling will be in the house of the Lord forever.

ELIZABETH MUSSER writes ‘entertainment with a soul’ from her writing chalet—tool shed—outside Lyon, France. Find more about Elizabeth’s novels at www.elizabethmusser.com and on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and her blog, Letters to the Lord.

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Letters to the Lord: King of the Mountain

I welcome back my dear friend, Julia Kramer, with a thought-provoking post.

KING OF THE MOUNTAIN

I think I’ve found my motto psalm for 2022!

Psalm 131 from the Message Bible:

God, I am not trying to rule the roost,

I don’t want to be the king of the mountain.

I haven´t meddled where I have no business

or fantasized grandiose plans.

I´ve kept my feet on the ground,

I´ve cultivated a quiet heart.

Like a baby content in its mother’s arms,

my soul is baby content.

Wait, Julia, for God. Wait with hope.

Hope now; hope always!

Brilliant, isn’t it? This ridiculous and funny view of our attempts to rule and dominate! It´s good to take it with humor. And our behavior often really is childish.

-To rule a roost or a chicken ladder! Picking my way up in the pecking order in the chicken coop, so that everyone dances to my tune, and I have the best place at the top.

-To be king of the mountain, or the person who determines how the others are allowed to get closer and who tries to observe if they are cheating or doing anything wrong.

-Meddling where I have no business. (No comment!)

-Fantasizing grandiose plans on how to become famous and successful.

-Is my head up in the clouds or do I keep my feet on the ground?

I don’t want to do any of that. I don’t want to be proud and bossy.

But that´s what I want to do:

-Cultivate a quiet heart.

I like this expression: to cultivate. According to the dictionary, it means to improve by labor, care or study. It definitely means work and discipline!

You can also cultivate plants by creating optimal growing conditions. And since my heart is like a garden that I am to cultivate so that God’s seed can grow well in it… I want to cultivate a quiet heart.

When is my heart quiet? When it is full and satisfied. (Although then it can also chuckle with joy!)

-The psalmist writes that his soul is as full and content as a baby in its mother’s arms. But that doesn’t mean work, you only need a mother! When I cultivate a quiet heart, I know what fills me up, or rather, who!

What I need and really want, I get from God. Not by taking care of it myself, not by fighting my way up. But by letting myself be taken up.

If childish, then right!

-Wait for God, my soul! He gives you what you need. He doesn’t forget you. He doesn’t overlook or overhear you. He loves you like a mother. He’s there.

Don’t despair if you can’t make it and your heart is restless. Don’t lose hope!

Wait with hope! Look forward to what he will give.

And it is so much more comfortable to be in his arms than on a chicken ladder or on a lonely mountain.

Hello, my name is Julia Kramer-Wiesgrill, and I am Austrian. I live in Hall in Tirol, in an ancient little town in the alps, but I was born near Vienna.
My husband and I came here to work at a small church and help in different tasks. We have three teenagers (15,17,19) and are very proud of them! I love reading and writing, going for a walk in the woods by my own, and I love water (creeks, lakes, the sea). I also love cats, Earl Grey tea and chocolate. I really like to learn and it´s the same with my spiritual journey, where I´m not even close to the finish line yet. God is so much bigger than I know and his love for me so much deeper and profound than I can imagine. He is the one who gave a new identity to me. I am his beloved child, no matter what! In knowing this I become free and courageous, because he is the one standing behind me, covering my back. 

Elizabeth encouraged me to follow my dream of writing and gave me some really helpful tips to actually get started some years ago! Now my first book (a children´s novel about friendship) will be published next year (in German)! I´m very excited about it! Elizabeth pushed me to start my own blog, which I did during the pandemic. You are welcome to visit my blog! https://juliakramer-english.jimdofree.com/

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Happy New Year! Bonne Année!

Dear Friends, Chers Amis,

I had planned to send this out earlier, but the month of January 2022 has been one of the hardest in our lives. My father, who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in July, 2021, took a turn for the worse a few weeks ago. At the same time, our 5th grandchild, Cori Lucille Musser, was born. She is perfect but Lacy, her mother, suffered a pelvic misalignment during delivery and is unable to walk. Paul and I have been going back and forth from our home near where Andrew and Lacy live to the Atlanta area (two hours south) to help care for my father in his last days. We value your prayers in both of these situations.

J’avais prévu de l’envoyer plus tôt, mais le mois de janvier 2022 a été l’un des plus difficiles de notre vie. Mon père, qui a reçu un diagnostic de cancer du pancréas en juillet 2021, a empiré il y a quelques semaines. Au même moment, notre 5ème petite-fille, Cori Lucille Musser, est née. Elle est parfaite mais Lacy, sa mère, a subi un désalignement pelvien lors de l’accouchement et est incapable de marcher depuis deux semaines. Paul et moi avons fait des allers-retours depuis notre maison près de l’endroit où vivent Andrew et Lacy jusqu’à la région d’Atlanta (à deux heures au sud) pour aider à prendre soin de mon père dans ses derniers jours. Nous apprécions vos prières dans ces deux situations.

2021 in review; un vol d’oiseau sur 2021:

Daddy and Maggie, January 2021; mon père et son chat, janvier 2021
February: Celebrating Elizabeth’s birthday with Andrew’s crew; février, nous célébrons l’anniversaire d’Elizabeth avec Andrew et famille
March: Lena turns one; mars: Lena a un an!
April: daffodils in Flintstone; avril: les jonquils chez nous en Georgie
April: Some of the family in Atlanta at Elizabeth’s father’s house for Easter;
avril: La famille à Atlanta chez le papa d’Elizabeth pour Pâques.
Finally a book signing at the Swan Coach House with dear friend and artist Jill Steenhuis;
enfin une dédicace de livre au Swan Coach House avec ma chère amie et artiste Jill Steenhuis;
May: An engagement party for Chris and Ashlee; mai: Les fiançailles pour Chris et Ashlee
June: Hilton Head Island with the whole Goldsmith Crew;
juin: Vacances sur l’île de Hilton Head en Caroline du Sud
Andrew announces that Lacy is expecting #5; Andrew nous annonce que Lacy attend leur 5eme enfant!
With Paul’s mom, our beloved ‘Mamaw’, his sister and niece in Kentucky;
avec la maman de Paul, notre chere ‘Mamaw’, sa soeur, et sa niece a Kentucky
Mamaw’s garden; le jardin de Mamaw
August 7: Chris and Ashlee’s wedding; le 7 août, 2021: mariage de Chris et Ashlee
With Paul’s precious mother; Avec la maman de Paul
The Musser family; La famille Musser
With Elizabeth’s father; avec le papa d’Elizabeth
The Goldsmith Family; la famille Goldsmith
August: Finally Home Sweet Home in Rochetaillée after a year in the States;
Août: enfin chez nous à après un an aux Etats-Unis
The new building for our church to the north of Lyon, France;
le nouveau bâtiment de notre église au nord de Lyon, France
September: A vacation in the Alps; septembre: des vacances dans les Alpes
Celebrating The Promised Land winning the Carol Award in Contemporary Fiction with crepes by the Saône River; nous célébrons un prix littéraire pour le roman d’Elizabeth avec des crêpes au bord de la Saône
October: we have the great joy to attend the first worship service with out brothers and sisters in Christ in the new building;
Nous avons la joie de de célébrer le premier culte avec nos frères et sœurs en Christ dans le nouveau bâtiment
November: Back in the States for a Conference with our Mission in Fresno, California;
novembre: de retour aux USA pour une conférence avec notre mission en Californie
The Pastoral Care Team for One Collective meet together for the first time in person in Washington State;
L’équipe pastorale pour notre mission se retrouve pour la première fois en personne en l’état de Washington
Thanksgiving in Atlanta at Mr. Goldsmith’s home. All the family together again;
Le jour de l’action de grâce à Atlanta chez le papa d’Elizabeth
With Mamaw in Kentucky; avec Mamaw a Kentucky
Mamaw creates a Christmas special for the residents of her retirement home;
Mamaw a créé une fête de noël pour les résidents de sa maison de retraite

December: An angel, a shepherd and a narrator at the grandkids’ Christmas play;
décembre: une ange, un berger, et le narrateur pour le sketch de noël à l’église
A meal together with all the Paul Musser family; toute la famille ensemble
Cori Lucille Musser is born, January 16, 2022 at 5:50 a.m.;
Cori Lucille Musser, née le 16 janvier, 2022
Jesus says, “I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Gospel of Matthew;
Jésus dit : “Je suis avec vous pour toujours, jusqu’à la fin des temps.” Evangile de Matthieu

With much love, Elizabeth and Paul

Avec toute notre affection, Elizabeth et Paul

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Letters to the Lord: My Father’s Journey

These last weeks have been tumultuous. We are in the final stages of my dad’s journey on earth. His graduation approaches soon. We continue to covet your prayers and you can find out more here.

At the same time, our son, Andrew, and his wife, Lacy, are on a journey of their own. On Sunday January 23, Lacy gave birth to beautiful and healthy Cori Lucille Musser, or ‘Cinco’ as they call her, #5 in their tribe of children. Lacy suffered a pelvic misalignment and has been bedridden and in great pain. She cannot walk. Please intercede for her healing and pray for Andrew and family.

Paul and I are going back and forth from Chattanooga area where we and Andrew’s family live and Atlanta to be with my father. We’re in Atlanta now. I’m beyond exhausted, but feel God’s loving presence around us all.

Thank you, merci, for your love and prayers.