Monday, March 25, 2013

How My Giving Up Led to His Giving More

Something in me was eeking to get out on the page.  I could just feel it. There was something I wanted to say.

I sat down and started to write.

But, I got nowhere.  Sure, there was a phrase here or a thought there, but for the most part – there was nothing.

“Certainly there was something,” I strained intensely.

But, try as I hard as I could -- there was nothing.

I finally gave up.

I had emails that I wanted to respond to. My inbox was full of flagged items from days ago.

“Fine,” I fumed at myself (and semi-secretly at the Lord). “I’ll just forget writing and get something more productive done.”

It was then that I remembered an email, sent from a woman that I do not know.  Several days prior, she wrote to me, sharing a portion of her story, and thanking me for a post that I wrote, encouraging me to keep on writing, that it made a difference to her.

I responded back with words of care concerning her particular situation, and gratitude for her note, thanking her for her words of encouragement regarding my writing.  I shared with her how just that evening, I wanted to write something, but it just wouldn’t come, and how I was frustrated and doubting my ability. I thanked her for her kindness that helped me persevere. 

Within minutes, a note from her pinged in to my email box.

“Oh but Andrea … you did write something tonite!  Even if it was just to me … maybe that is all God wanted you to do.  Never the less, you blessed me again.”

God used my brief interaction with Trudy to remind me of something very important, that I tend to forget. 

I need to be more mindful of what God wants me to do, rather than mindful of what I want to do for God.

Maybe when I give up my way, He uses it to give more?

I mess it up, that’s for sure! I turn it upside down, inside out. I focus on what I can do for Him, and lose sight of what He may be asking me to do.

It applies to my writing and it applies to my life, my relationships, my thinking, my doing. 

I’m working on listening to the Lord more, giving up doing and thinking things my way, and trusting Him more.  

It's a tough battle for me. Good thing I have Jesus.

What about you?  Ever find that the thing the Lord is asking you to do is not what you planned on doing for Him? Have you ever given up your way to find that, in that, He does even more?

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Heaven -- Heavy on My Mind

The children and I climbed in to the car, and headed off to school.

The youngest one broke the silence with her sweet voice.

“I had a weird and interesting feeling this morning, Mom, ” she said.

I replied, “Hmmm.  What was that? Are you feeling okay?”

“Oh, I’m fine.  I just had this feeling like I wanted to be with God in heaven.”

A couple things crossed my mind, but I figured it was best to let her expound, rather than insert my own thoughts.

“What would you do if you were there right now?” I queried.

“Laugh with God, ”she giggled. “I’d crawl up in to God’s lap and have lots of snuggles.”

That started our conversation on heaven on the way to school today.   We talked about what it will look like and feel like, and who they looked forward to seeing the most when they get there.

Other than Jesus, I was surprised by what they all said -- “Parker.” 

What surprised me is that Parker isn’t even in heaven yet. He’s still here on earth.
Parker is my son and their older brother.  Born with a physical disability, cerebral palsy, Parker struggles to stand and walk. His legs are weak and tight.  A young man now, life has not always been easy for Parker. 

“Parker? Why Parker?”  I asked.

And one after the other, they each went on to explain.

“It’s just going to be very cool.  He’s going to have a new body and new legs. He’s going to be able to run and jump. He’s not going to struggle anymore. We can hardly wait to see him run free. And he'll be so excited and happy!”

And I agreed. It's going to be "very cool."

So, I’ve had heaven heavy on my mind today.  I’m picturing my Father and I, laughing, snuggled up, surrounded in great comfort. And I’m picturing Jesus. What a glorious sight it will be, and how my heart will sigh joy and rest.  And I’m picturing Parker, free from the struggle of the cerebral palsy. And I’m picturing me and you and my friends and family, free from disappointments and broken hearts and ailments and sorrow.

This life? It’s but a vapor. In the twinkling of an eye, it will all be different. No more tears. No more sorrow.  No more pain.  Just joy. And tons of it.

I don’t about you, but it helps me get through today and tomorrow and as many tomorrows as the Lord shall give. It helps me to love the Lord more, serve Him more selflessly, persevere though the pain, and love others as He has loved me.

What about you?  Ever have heaven heavy on your mind? Who are you most looking forward to seeing, and why? 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

A Resurrection Love Basket

My littlest one was home sick this week, so we took time to do lots of snuggling and to create.

It’s our yearly tradition to make a resurrection basket at Easter time.  Small potted plants placed in a basket are surrounded by symbols to remind us of Jesus and His love.  His sacrificial love.  His resurrection love.

A purple ribbon and a nail.

A stone. 

The resurrection basket sits on our counter in the kitchen. The flowers bloomed today. 

A cross.

A cloth and thorns.

Life and beauty. 

This basket and it's symbols have me thinking.

Do I live His sacrificial love? Do I live His resurrection love?

Do I lay down my wants and seek what God wants?

Do I bring life out of dark places with my words and actions?

Do I bring hope in to the lives of those who are near to completely hopeless?

Do I live less of me and more of Jesus?

Do I extend grace rather than hold it tight in my hard heart?

Do I lay down my life for someone else in need, when He calls?

Do I speak words of truth that spring living from the ground or do I condemn with my looks and with my words?

Do I love much or do I love little?

Do I let His light shine through me or do I board up the windows and hide in the darkness of my own fear and shame?

Do I seek His ways or do I go my own way?

I think I need to pray. I need help. Maybe you do, too.

Lord, help me to remember You every day.  Help to look at the life around me and think of the life that you gave me. Help me to be sensitive to your Spirit to live Your sacrificial love as I love You and love others for You.  Help me to live out Your resurrection love as I hope in You everyday and bring Your hope and life to the ones You love.  Remind me of what You’ve done for me, so that I can do it for others. Amen

Thursday, March 7, 2013

A Free Falling Faith Into My Father's Arms

I wasn’t planning on posting today.  I’m speaking tonite for a women’s group and am in full prep and prayer mode, but I love what came in an email to be today,  from a friend, and  just had to write about it.

One of my (many) issues is – trust.  I won’t get in to all the reasons why that may be so, but suffice it to say – I sometimes i struggle with trust, and sometimes even (deep breath) trusting God.

My friend wrote to me about something going on in her life, and then added these words.

“My greatest desire is to be totally dependent on God and to let my desire to have a plan and be in control not be a stumbling block for what God wants to do in my life. To be able to free fall into my Father's arms.”

… to be able to free fall into my Father’s arms …

I love it!  That’s my hearts desire, too … to be able to free fall into my Father’s arms.

I’ve never been to a ‘team building workshop,’ but I’ve heard of them.  Often times, they’ll build ‘team trust’ (I don’t know if they call it that, but it sounds good) by having a group of people stand behind one person, tell the one person to close their eyes and fall back freely, learning to trust that their team members will catch them.

Sounds scary to me.  I’m not so sure if I’d be the first to raise my hand to give it a whirl.  Truth is, I may be the first one to try and peek over my shoulder or stick a leg out when I’m at about a 30 degree slant, in order to catch myself, just in case. 

Either way, it’s a good picture for me to super-impose on my relationship with the Lord and my willingness to trust Him.  

Do I trust Him enough to lie back and let Him catch me? 

I posed that same question to my friend in a return email. 

She responded.

“I struggle with that free falling kind of trust. I would rather just "Martha it" myself, but I do believe that He would love for me to trust Him unhindered and uninhibited. I want to let go of my desire to control, let Him take the lead and trust like a little child.  He has given me every reason to do so.”

Just the what I needed to be reminded of today, my "free falling faith kind of friend."  I suppose Someone knew that.  

I’m heading off to teach tonite.  As usual, I’m nervous and feeling a bit vulnerable, but I’m going to show up with a ‘free falling kind of faith’ and trust the Lord to take the lead.  He has given me every reason to do so.
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