to glorify God... one thought at a time

to glorify God... one thought at a time

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Spring is Coming

I woke up yesterday morning feeling exceptionally cold.  I am really confused this year,  I mean it’s mid April and there is still frost on the car windows and the temperature will not seem to move above forty degrees.  So I am wondering what happened to spring?  Did it forget to come?  Can we ever expect the temperatures to rise?  I am so ready for the warmer weather that I would like to pay a friendly (not so friendly) visit to Punxsutawney Phil to ask him why he seemed to think spring would be here a few weeks ago.

Habakkuk 3:17-19
Though the fig tree should not blossom,
    nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
    and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
    and there be no herd in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord;
    I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
 God, the Lord, is my strength;
    he makes my feet like the deer's;
    he makes me tread on my high places.
Reading these verses makes me realize a few things. One, that spring is coming and more importantly, that I need to be thankful even in the waiting.  Although the temps are low and the frost does not seem to go away, I do know that the next season is on its way.  Yes, even though Punxsutawney Phil is probably lying on a beach somewhere enjoying the tropics while we are scraping our windows every morning and seeing flurries almost every night.  I know that the spring did not forget to come.   How do I know?
The reason I am so sure is because throughout my life I have learned and know how the seasons work.  The older I get, my mind and body begin to prepare for the season change prior to the weather showing it.  This happens because after so many years of repetition, you sort of just feel it.   Sometimes, we are in the winter season of our lives, yet we know change is happening. Not because of anything we see, but we just know.  We know because our years of experience reveal the signs for the next season.  We know because of what we know and what we hear.
Last week, when I was on spring break, I would wake up and head out.  It felt like winter break, however, something was different.  I could hear the sound chirping of birds.  I could actually close my eyes and feel as if I were walking a trail in the park on a warm summer day.  Of course, that day dream is trampled by the feeling of a cold wind that sends shivers up my spine.  But the truth is that change is coming.  This one sign tells me that the warmth will come.  It tells me that though the trees have no leaves and the cars have frosty windows, I can rejoice in the Lord.  I can know the truth of what’s truly happening.  If I can just hang on for a little while longer, the seasons will change and the warmth will come.  It doesn’t make the cold any less blustery or the frost any easier to scrape.  It just gives me encouragement to just keep walking forward.      

Friday, February 10, 2017

The Peaceful Storm

It's been a whirlwind, a storm.  The wind has been whipping for months now, maybe years.  The sky is dark, clouds weigh down like an awning hanging on by one nail.  At any moment, it could fall on my entire family.

I almost feel like it's already fallen.  Pressed, I struggle to breathe.  Weighed down by the circumstances that I am surrounded by.  The thunder is so deafening, the lightening? Blinding.  This storm is so heavy, so out of control, I don't even think we will make it.

I run to the bottom level for safety.  I am told that if you go to the lowest level during the storm, you will find safety.  On this level of my being, Jesus is there.  He is waiting for me to nudge Him.  He knows my heart.  He knows my anxiety, my fear.  He knows it all!  Why is He in the safe level of my heart while I am up on the top, doing everything that I can to keep my family safe from the awning of life threatening to crush us all.  I am trying to run the ship, making sure everything is in order, yet with each attempt I make at trying to "make it work", God makes it that much harder to accomplish.  The wind is louder, the hail is harder, and I just can't make it work anymore.  I scream as loud as my soul will release "Wake up Lord!  Can't You see were dying here?"

There, I said it!  I yelled aloud with all of my energy.  I am just done!  I have walked this walk for years.  I have loved, yet I am so lonely.  I have served, yet I have been walked on over and over again.  I just don't know if I can do it anymore.  I am tired, worn, and just plain exhausted.  I have surrendered my circumstances, our plagues, and my life to Jesus, my Savior.  I have reached in my pockets and emptied everything, including the lint.  Giving all that I have to the One who is worthy.

Haven't I loved enough?  Am I not giving enough?  I am sitting here in the middle of all of my relationships, trying all that I can to make them work.  I am trying so hard to raise children that love the Lord.  I am trying to fix all of their hurts.  I am trying to make my husbands pain to go away, to make at least his day better than his pain.  I am trying to fill in the financial grave that we have dug with any dirt that I can find.  All of the sudden, the gaze between me and my Savior stops me in my tracks.

I cannot tell the difference between the wind and my words.  I cannot tell the difference between the waves and my actions.  I don't know if I am the storm or if I am looking at one.  My anxiety heightens, wait, I didn't think it could get any worse?  I may just explode.  Everywhere I look in my life, something is failing.  Jesus!  Can't You see I am dying here?????

"Peace.  Be still."  and the winds ceased, the waves did as well.  All I can feel is calm surrounding my anxious heart.  I am fearful of this overwhelming calm.  What is this emotion?  What is this feeling?  Peace?  I want to raise my hands and worship Him, yet I am still in the same place.  I haven't fixed anything yet.  Be still?  How do I do that?  How can I be still when I haven't done enough???  "Oh girl of little faith.  Why do you toil? Why do you try?"  "Do you not know that I am the Creator, not you?  Do you not understand that I have given my life so that you do not have to fix a thing?"

Peace, be still.  Peace, meaning the wind ceased.  Be still, stop striving.  Stop trying to make the storm stop.  Why do I climb into the throne of God?  What makes me think that I have any kind of control?  It is here that I question everything.  I have always wanted to serve God.  I have wanted to love others and be in ministry.  Why am I in this place, what are my motives.  Again, He speaks, "Peace girl....peace.  Be still, don't strive.  Don't search for ministry.  Don't fix my gift of your situation.  Maybe this situation is a springboard for the next season."

Standing in that safe place, believing Jesus with what He is asking me to lay down.  I ask Him if I have even heard Him at all.  I feel so small that my storm seems like a breeze, the waves feel like a spritz of water.

Does anything seem to be better, to be overcome?  No, but God is the writer, not me.  God is in the future and He will see it through to the end.  Does this mean it will turn out they way that I hope?  Not necessarily.  I can bet that Jesus' prayer in the garden, the night that He was arrested, was asking for the outcome to be "a more comfortable way" than what He knew was to come.  His surrender?  "Not my will, but yours Father."

Wow, I didn't think I could get any lower.  I am down at His feet, with my face on the floor.  I am face to face with my true image...concrete.  I am a hard hearted, miserable, and a sad excuse for a Christ follower.  But God loves a surrendered heart.  He gently takes my chin and nudges it up.  Jesus takes my hand and leads me up to the exposed level.  The boat is still in the water, rocking with leftover waves.  He asks me a question that I cannot shake, "Who is it that you say that I am?"

You are the Christ!  The Living God!  But as these words leave my brain, I realize the lack of due honor.  I realize my lack of faith.  If this Jesus is my Rock, my Redeemer.  If He is the Beginning and the End.  If He is the Christ and the Living God, then why is there anxiety?  Why do I ask if He is awake and if He even knows that I'm losing it.

Somehow, the anxiety is melting like butter.  Please Jesus help me to see You more.  Help me to hold Your hand Lord.  Help me to trust Your ways that make no sense to me at all.  Please Lord, don't let me go.  Please, Lord.  He looks at me and smiles.  In this instant, I know.  I know that I am going to be ok.  I know that my family will not be crushed.  I know that God is the writer, not me.  He will show me the way.  No matter how painful the steps, He will show me the way.  I just need to be still and worship and in doing so, receive this overwhelming peace that comes with surrender.