Seen and Heard

Photo by  Patrick Fore  on  Unsplash

Photo by Patrick Fore on Unsplash

There was the sound of rushing feet in the hallway. A few minutes later, a messenger burst into the room.

“A message, Sir, from the Assyrians,” he panted slightly and handed the sealed letter to Hezekiah, King of Israel.

Hezekiah waited for the messenger to withdraw before opening the letter and reading it.

The words shook Hezekiah to the core. He quickly left for the temple of the Lord, letter in hand.

Once inside, Hezekiah spread out the letter before him, smoothing the wrinkled creases with shaking hands. The dreaded Assyrians were on their way. There was no earthly help that could save Israel now. The letter from the Assyrian king, Sennacherib, was meant to intimidate him, and that it did. But it did something else too.

It drove Hezekiah in desperation to the house of the Lord.

And just as he literally presented the physical letter of his enemy before the Lord, Hezekiah also presented his worries before the God of Israel. Hezekiah acknowledged the bleak reality before him, but reminds the Lord of his own character:

“Now, Lord our God, deliver us from his hand, so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you, Lord, are the only God,” pleads Hezekiah (Isaiah 37:20).

And the Lord responds to Hezekiah with a plan to strike down Sennacherib and defend Israel, “Because you have prayed to me” (verse 21).

Because you have prayed to me.

How many times do I not pray because I don’t think it will make a difference? I’m sure my prayers won’t move God to action. Instead of presenting my worries and concerns to God like Hezekiah did, I let them fester in my heart. But God, in his dealings with Hezekiah—not once but twice—seems to change his plans after Hezekiah prays to the Lord.

“I have heard your prayers,” God says in the very next chapter when Hezekiah pleads for his life in the face of illness. “I have seen your tears.”

God constantly reveals himself as a God who sees us. Hagar called him, El roi, Hebrew for God of seeing (Genesis 16:13). Or as David put it, a God who bottles our tears (Ps. 56:8). He sees us right where we are, is with us in our hardships, and hears our concerns.

So instead of being standoffish or thinking my prayers don't matter or won't change anything, today, I'm reminded to go to him. And by that I don’t mean to imply that my faithfulness in prayer will equal me getting answers the way I want. It won’t necessarily. Nor will my faithlessness suspend his faithfulness to me. It won’t.

But he does want to hear from me. To be in relationship with me. To like Hezekiah spread my worries before him, because he hears. He sees.

 

Lazy Day Duff

Danielle Ayers Jones Lazy Day Duff

Summer wouldn't be summer without making my grandmother's Lazy Day Duff.

I used to always make it with wine berries picked from the local fields but now they are not as accessible for me. It's also perfect to make with blueberries or blackberries. And it must be eaten with vanilla ice cream, although I guess whipped cream would also do.

The great thing about it is it’s SO easy and uses ingredients you should be able to easily find in your pantry.

Enjoy!

Lazy Day Duff

1 stick butter
1 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
3 tsp. baking powder
1/8 salt
2/3 cup milk
2 cups sweetened fruit or berries

Melt butter in a 8 in. baking pan. Stir together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add milk, stirring until just blended. Spoon over butter. Do not stir. Pour berries or fruit over batter. Bake at 375 for 35 minutes.

Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

Yes, it’s really that simple.

A Summer Evening in My Garden

The poetry of the earth is never dead.
— John Keats

I confess I don't like gardening as much as I like the result: beauty and flowers all around me. My mom likes the act of gardening, I believe, more than I do. I have, however, inherited her love of flowers and nature. 

I have an artistic love for beauty and this drives my desire to garden. The Secret Garden influenced a love for a sacred, silent spot that leaves me undisturbed by others and L. M. Montgomery's descriptions of nature in Anne of Green Gables and Emily of New Moon led me to look up and love old-fashioned flowers like Love-in-a-Mist and Bachelor Buttons.

After reading my friend Christie's garden tour post earlier this year I realized I'd not captured my garden at this house with my camera. With my iphone, yes, but not with my actual camera. And so I made a note to myself to do just that.

And so this is what I share with you today. A mid-summer evening in my garden. I hope you enjoy the tour.

What I'm Into Right Now (June 2017)

Summer is in full swing around here! The days have been pleasantly warm with not too much heat and humidity so often experienced here on the East Coast. We've been enjoying swimming lessons, playdates, and outdoor movies. Staying up late and lazy mornings are our summer vibe.

What i'm into right now by Danielle Ayers jones

Listening:
I listened to Clare Mackintosh's I Let You Go since my last post. Wow, what a ride--and the end! Totally implausible, but hey, the book was completely suspenseful and entertaining if you like a suspenseful crime thriller.

Otherwise, I'm just keeping up with my podcasts and totally excited for Constitutional to start up. I absolutely loved Presidential. In such a stressful election year it gave me such perspective and hope for the future. Also, it reminded me how far we've come as a nation and that there's certainly been more historically contentious campaigns than we just experienced, like this one. Basically, the podcast is a mini history of America through the lens of the American presidency. Super fascinating to this history buff! So I can't wait until Constitutional begins.

Reading:
I'm reading too many books right now! I finished up The Brontë Plot because I was looking for something fun and breezy, but it was a bit of a let down. I've moved onto the historical fiction tale of the Hidenburg in Flight of Dreams and the biography of Lucy Maud Montgomery: The Gift of Wings. I'm also reading Eighty Days, which is the story of Nellie Bly's race around the world but I'm seriously annoyed by the small font in this book, what was the designer/publisher thinking? Hopefully I can get used to it because I love Nellie Bly!

Watching:
A new season of Grantchester is back on Masterpiece, so you know where I am on Sunday nights! Anyone ever try the books this series is based on?

Eating:
We went to a friend's for dinner and she made these. My kids couldn't get enough of them. And these are kids who usually won't eat potatoes at all! I made this for dessert. Ohmygoodness, creamy summer minty chocolate! And my new summer pasta salad is definitely this tortellini yumminess.

What are you into right now?