Saturday, April 30, 2011

Believing and Finding Contentment

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. 
Hebrews 11: 1 (NIV)   
Faith requires a leap, a jump...everything is not neatly figured out. If I had all the answers, faith would not be required. As I struggle to find the answers, I search my heart and the scriptures, hoping for confirmation, but when I think it is within my reach, it slips just beyond my grasp.
Change is always difficult, uncertainty, fear of the unknown...fear of what is out there once we let go and free fall into whatever comes next. All those years of helping others find their courage though times of change and here I am looking for change and can't seem to find that courage for myself. Recently I typed an email to a friend trying to express my feeling and thoughts of recent weather events.......

 

Rain, Rain, Go Away!!! All this water…..feels like we’ve been here before….like last year at this time. Such extreme weather, we even had an earthquake drill last Thursday…..they had a recording of an earthquake played through the phone system and when we heard it, we had to drop where we were and get under our desks and hold on until it ended….scary stuff. More and more I find reasons to want to escape the workplace madness and be home to take care of and keep my family safe.

The day the tornado came though our little community, I was at work under a tornado warning there. I was watching the storm on television that was projected on a large screen. I could see the storm as it came over my house and could not reach my family on the phone. At the time I was watching it, my family was trying to find safety in my small office/hallway as trees were being tossed down and pulled up by the roots. Thank God they were safe and our house was not damaged, but we lost 8 trees, a tractor shed and several fences. Some of our neighbors we not as lucky with damaged roofs and sidings. The Fire House and Community Center across the street suffered the most damage with part of the buildings blown out. Of course, this was nothing compared to our southern friends last weekend……

In one of my favorite books, "Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World", I read that there are times in our life when God writes the end to a chapter in our lives and asks us to say good-by to something or someone who has been important to us. It can be a friend, a spouse, a parent and even a job. Endings in a sense are inevitable and sometimes we are reluctant to let go.....it is hard to let go of things we feel we have control over. The question is asked, " Do you ever find yourself clinging to the pencil, refusing to let God write on the pages of your life? We know that the Lord is infinitely kind and patient in his dealings with us. He will show us how to relinquish our rights for his best". The writer suggests if we struggle in relinquishing control, we should ask God to make us willing, to recognize we have an adversary and to let go one piece at a time.
 
I pray that God will make me willing to surrender control of the things that are holding me back from turning the pages to the new chapter He is writing for my life. "Sometimes we cling to control because we fear changes that we are not ready to handle, but God, in his kindness, takes us at a pace we can handle. If we simply obey what he asks of us at the moment, He will lead us to the next step when we are ready".
Is my faith enough? God has written my life story, "His periods may not be my periods, His commas may not be my commas, His ways may not be my ways, but He knows the plans he has for me", my purpose at each stage in my life.....can I let go and have the faith, the trust, to let Him take me in the right direction?
Lord help me to be willing to understand in my heart that "God's plan is released when I believe and obey".
"Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World" by Joanna Weaver

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Hurry Up, Wait and Fast Forward

Happy New Year and Have a Blessed Easter!!!!Where has the time gone? The last 3 1/2 months have come and gone without stopping to take a breath...or maybe it is just me who has not stopped to breath....

As I write this post I am sitting in my little backyard garden where the buttercups and tulips have already bloomed and faded and the gladiolas have yet to bud......we are halfway through April 2011 and for the first time since Christmas, I can sit and fully enjoy my surroundings of nature. How many days have passed that I didn't see the backyard and only saw the stepping stones from my front door to the car or the from the car to my front door?



As I think about the all the happenings since
the start of the new year, 2011 brought with it
more than usual snowfall in both January and February, closing schools and causing days of hibernation or staying overnight close to work. The stress and tension of getting back and forth on my 82 mile a day commute blurred the days that turned into weeks just waiting for the next winter storm...



As the threat of snow passed, early spring brought with it new life.....new life in the awaking of spring flowers, the singing of birds....and the first cry of our new grandson Braydon. What a joy to see God's blessings in the birth of a newborn baby and see the happiness it brings to the mother holding it....it's a double blessing when the mother holding the newborn was once the newborn baby I held....How easy it is to forget the blessings when the gray, menacing clouds of life's storms loom before us, consuming us with stress, tension and depths of despair, but when we stop and look for the blessings of our heavenly father, we don't have to look any farther than feeling the heartbeat of a newborn baby and hear the first cries of life to know, He is still with us, showering us with blessings.

This time of year also brings with it the longing to run barefoot in the new spring grass, to pick daffodil fuzz balls to make wishes on, to dig in the cool dirt and create life in new flowers, coloring our world with freshness......not to mention sitting idle for hours and listening to the song of the morning birds, watching the first rays of the sunrise, spending that quiet time with our maker who makes all these wonderful things for our enjoyment.......but life gets in the way and this time is only available for brief periods in between the busyness that consumes our hours.

Often, the desire for the simple joys of life over whelms me.....duty calls, the clock ticks faster and faster, hours turn into days and days run together......the simple joys of that quiet morning, the chorus of those morning birds, that beautiful sunrise, the blooms of those early spring flowers, the brilliant blue spring skies are gone.....each day is lived only once, what we miss, we will never get back.......we just look ahead to try to capture the next one.

During a recent devotional reading, the subject was "Burnout or Balance" by Chris Adams. It went like this; "Take a deep breath. Have you had a busy day? Are you caught up in the pressure to constantly go at full speed"? I looked around me and wondered when Chris Adams had somehow managed to secretly follow me around or look over my shoulder and know the fast track that takes me in and out of most of my days.....here she was asking me " do you cram more into any given time frame than one can possibly accomplish"? Well, I could be guilty of that sometimes, but how else can it all get done? Then she rattled off some of the symptoms experienced with stress and burn-out and I could identify with some of them......exhaustion? yes....loss of motivation? yes....anxiety? yes....discouragement, negative thinking, anger? sometimes......

Chris reminded me of what David said when he felt overwhelmed with life, "But I trust in You, Lord; I say, 'Your are my God' My times are in your hands, deliver me from my enemies and from those who pursue me". Psalm 31:14. She assured me that the Lord never over-assigns us. We have enough time to do everything the Lord wants us to do. The key is to glorify Him as we prayerfully seek His purpose for our lives and pursue His plan for spending the time and the gifts He has given us.........

Mark 6:31 says "He said unto them, Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest"......My prayer is that I can follow Jesus' example and find that time to rest, that my days will become simple and slower paced so I will be able to bask in His delight......I will trust in Him to guide me, to be my GPS, for He knows the plans he has for me, the destination of my purpose......thank you Lord for this time to rest and renew my spirit.

"Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me". Psalms 51;10