Notes from Jan

Sometimes, The Impossible’s Possible

June 16, 2022

It could’ve been overlooked this morning. But it wasn’t. I paused and looked out my window at the sea. Then, tried to imagine the faith it took to step into something like the Red Sea. The Psalm read, “Your road led through the sea, your pathway through the mighty waters—a pathway no one knew was there! You led your people along that road like a flock of sheep, with Moses and Aaron as their shepherds.”(Psalm 77:19-20, NLT)

Last night our vestry met by Zoom. We did the business part but it’s those moments of sharing, and praying together that make impossibles possible. I sing it to myself daily, “God will make a way where there seems to be no way.” We all have Red Seas, something too impossible to imagine a way around, much less through.

Well, now what? I’m home from California. Time to sort mail, do laundry, and get groceries. I opened the refrigerator and it looked like a store model. A few suggestions for usage, but nothing edible. For sure I’m not buying kale. One day, Annie, the other grandmother, asked me to check her teeth for greenery. “I don’t want to appear to be the hanging gardens of Babylon, when I smile.” I love her!

Although my recovery time takes longer after coast to coast travel, I’m learning to extend a smidgeon of mercy to myself. But, not too much. Too many Norweigian genes to overdue on personal grace. However, grace takes me back to my Red Sea and yours.

The longer I live, the more I take courage from reviewing the map of my life. So many “ways where there seemed to be no way.” God’s GPS. God’s Personalized System. Sacred paths. Sometimes, God taps us to be the shepherd, called to stretch our faith, be first to dip our sandals into the sea. But most of the time, we’re the sheep. Quaking behind, bleating prayers, hanging onto words or ones we know can swim.

So, whether shepherd or sheep, we still need to trust and step into the sea. But, if you feel a tug, it’s probably me. Hanging onto your shirttail with one hand, quaking and praying for floaties my Grands used when they were little. In the other hand, clutching my GPS map with fingernail faith.

So, how’s your day going?

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  • Reply Karen Grant June 16, 2022 at 3:44 pm

    Love this new definition of GPS…you hit the nail on the head with this wonderful shared thought…thank you!

    • Reply Jan Carlberg June 18, 2022 at 2:40 pm

      You’re welcome, dear Karen. I don’t use the common GPS in my car, like most do. I’m still a map person…love the big picture. But I do check out directions on the computer sometimes to get an estimate on time. But God’s got you covered, Karen, for the time of your life with your holy GPS.

  • Reply Shirley Westrate June 16, 2022 at 6:21 pm

    My day is better after reading this, dear Jan.
    Thank you.

    • Reply Jan Carlberg June 18, 2022 at 2:41 pm

      Good to know you, dear Shirley, and that something from this blog bettered your day.

  • Reply Dan Russ June 16, 2022 at 11:57 pm

    Kathy and all often recall the painting we wish we had bought: What’s Around the bend? We have learned to trust that God knows, and our responsibility is to trust him. What an adventure of grace and truth!

    • Reply Jan Carlberg June 22, 2022 at 6:19 pm

      There’s always something around the bend. Sounds like a painting to ponder, Dan. I take encouragement from the last verse of the old hymn, “Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus.” It goes, “I’m so glad I LEARNED to trust him…” It’s a lifetime of learning and it doesn’t always feel “sweet” but it is best. Happy summering to you and Kathy.

  • Reply Dale June 17, 2022 at 7:17 am

    Hi Jan,

    Thanks for seeing what God wants us to see but is so easily missed. I think some times I see what I want to see which causes me to miss the “good” stuff. God has given you a wonderful heart and great eyes to go with it.

    Love and blessings, Dale

    • Reply Jan Carlberg June 22, 2022 at 6:22 pm

      Well, you can tell by my late response I’ve been happily involved with family and friends who came to celebrate Chad’s 50th birthday.
      Tomorrow Maggie turns 15. Hard to imagine both. Life’s made up of moments, easily missed while waiting for something big to happen. Happy Summering to you and Marty at Burt Lake. What a place to refresh and recharge body , mind and spirit!

  • Reply Toni Lovingood June 17, 2022 at 3:15 pm

    Thank you for pointing out “a pathway no one knew was there”. I would have missed that for certain. God is using you to point out wonderful lessons. You recall that I received your book “The Hungry Heart” last fall and I continue to enjoy it daily. Just this week on my birthday your question posed was “Are you exhausted from a battle that is not yours to fight?” I was truly feeling tired and your devotional was a precious reminder that the battle is not mine, but God’s. Your book and your blog have brightened so many days.


    • Reply Jan Carlberg June 22, 2022 at 6:25 pm

      Thanks, dear Toni. That’s encouraging. Ove the years, I keep discovering something new in old passages in the Bible. It’s a treasure trove of wisdom and encouragment.

  • Reply Marty Lefever June 17, 2022 at 8:13 pm

    My day is far better now because of you and the wisdom God gave you for us today!! Love you, dear friend…just arrived at Burt Lake with Lori’s oldest son, Jack, a senior at MSU and a joy and delight to us! As you are with your grands, we too are blessed indeed!

    • Reply Jan Carlberg June 22, 2022 at 6:30 pm

      Yes, we are blessed. Seeing MSU brings back so many wonderful memories of our years together at Michigan State University. There’s a speical bond from connecting as students and young families. And then we dared get our ears pierced together. How wild were we! Love to you and your precious family at picturesque Burt Lake.

  • Reply Wendy June 26, 2022 at 11:07 am

    I sing that often too “God will make a way where there seems to be no way” – and He does, over and over and over! This: “I don’t want to appear to be the hanging gardens of Babylon, when I smile.” was hysterical – I may borrow that line! haha! I definitely feel like a sheep more often than a shepherd – I have a friend who often prays “Lord give me wisdom, you know I’m just a dumb sheep!” 🙂 Thankful you’re still up to traveling to CA, and thankful you’re home safe and sound.

    • Reply Jan Carlberg June 27, 2022 at 12:10 pm

      Travel does me good, especially to see my “kids” and Grands and their friends. Happy to be part of the flock. Feel free to borrow the line…it came from the other grandmother, who could have her own podcast or TV show.

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