Friday, December 12, 2014

And Then...

 Don't you hate when you are going about your day all willy-nilly and then, BAM, you are at the hospital for a lengthy stay? My sweet little chunky baby failed his swallow test and may be getting a feeding tube so here we are waiting, praying for speedy test results, and seeking to have an abundance of grace for interacting with the many people that will be in and out of our lives during this stay. 

 I have had opportunities to talk about God's grace and I have had opportunities where it has been shown to me. Exhaustion is not something I do well with and so my emotions are in high gear. Yes, I did almost cry because of a bowel movement, or, better put, lack thereof, so I am teetering on the fringe of ridiculousness.Truly a Godly support system is awesome. 

 When you get to the fork in the road and cannot determine which way is best, your brothers and sisters can step in and intervene on your behalf and inject Godly wisdom into the situation. 

 When you hit the speed bump that causes life to slow to a crawl, your family in Christ can walk beside you and fill you with overflowing grace and Truth. 

 God has been so gracious to me in this area and walking in difficult times is a lot easier when you have someone continuing to keep you focused on Truth and encouraged in the Word. Paul does it all throughout his letters and he asks the churches to do it for him. 

 Clearly, we cannot be self-reliant. Honestly, we can't be "self" anything in Christ. You are either all in Christ, dead to self or not. Which is it?

 Day 3 of our hospital stay and quickly I am being physically worn. This is a very obvious sign that I need to be on guard for "flesh" flare-ups. Thinking that I can take everything on and forgetting God is a quick way to end up spiritually dry. It is imperative to be in the Word. One reason to be thankful for today's super technology is that you have access to God's Word, preaching, and worship music instantly at your fingertips but when you are in the middle of the storm and tumult, you need to have it in your heart and mind. 

 And then when your willy-nilly becomes turbulent and troublesome, you are better equipped for the ride no matter the outcome. So, maybe I will cry over digestion and maybe I won't but the key here is did I honor the Lord. Maybe we will be dealing with pneumonia, maybe we won't. Maybe we will end up with a more complicated surgery for a feeding tube, maybe we won't. Either way God is not in the business of handling our lives willy-nilly. There is order and purpose and plan and we can trust Him fully to carry our burdens. 

 So, I place my little Jelly Bean in His Hands and I remind myself that I am not made to bear the load AND THEN I rest. 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

It's All About the Sacrifice

 Woowee, it's a good thing no one has been around me lately. My attitude is atrocious and I am praying that the cause is my current sleep situation but still, there is no excuse. So I ask that if you are my sister in Christ, just pray for me when you think about it. Particularly in the area of faith and trusting God. Weakness has crept in and I struggle with watching my family members turning away from God. My mind has been bad the last two days. 

 On a side note, contemplation of the situation of this precious baby has made me realize something about love. Not the kind of wordly love that you can "fall into" like a mud puddle or "fall out of," like when you try to get out of a hammock. True love is one of those God-given abilities and it very much follows the characteristics of the love shown  by Jesus stepping down from heaven to live as a man and die on the cross. It is sacrifice and sometimes it is hard and sometimes it is painful but always it honors God and grows one in sanctification. 

 I would like to say that I have that. Boy, would I like to say that but truth is that I am still limping along in the sanctification department and am more self-focused than I dare admit here. Wait...I guess that was sort of an admission. Take for instance the lack of sleep issue or the fact that my baby girl has informed me that she will be moving out this summer before she starts college. There are feelings in there that do not honor God. That is not to say that God is not working in me. He clearly has done some work in me that has at times expressed true love. My prayer is that He makes me more pliable so greater work can be done. 

 This little baby is a good reminder that true love is more than words, more than material things, more than feelings. There are people in this little guy's life who say "I love you" but their actions say something different. There are people who give him things but it is not love. There are people who are full of emotions but it is not really about him. I sing "Jesus Loves Me" to him every night and pray that the truth of the song sticks in his soul because I know that even my best God-honoring intentions get tainted with sin at times. The best thing for him would be to know the love of the KING of Kings and LORD of Lords - not put his trust and devotion in a foster parent that is flawed and only on this earth for a temporary time. 

 With Christ, this little guy can offer whole-hearted forgiveness to those who have let him down. With Christ, he can live a life that blesses others and honors God. With Christ, he can stand before God as His child, forgiven and truly loved. 

 That is an acceptance and love that is far beyond any given by a person in this world. May each of you experience that acceptance and love this holiday by knowing Jesus. 

  

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Wizard of Argh

 Some things in life are instinctual - breathing, scratching an itch, protecting something you love. 

Some things are passed down - eye color, a pout-y bottom lip, the hand gestures when talking. 

Some things are powered only by an almighty God - sacrificial love, grace in the midst of adversity, and perseverance in faith. Of course, ultimately, all these things come from God. 

 My list of thankfulness grows each day and includes things from each area and for them, to God be the glory! 

 As I continue in this journey with this sweet little bundle of baby, I find myself having ups and downs. Days pass and it is hard when you cannot get out and do the things you need to do but you cope. Following a feeding schedule that leaves room for only small increments of sleep brings on weariness but you push on. Frustration with a system that really brings no answers gnaws at your exhausted patience but you keeping moving forward. And then one day you are too shut off, too tired, too frustrated...what then??? 

 But God! 

 But God so loved, is so long-suffering, so full of mercy and grace that He imparts, to those who believe, the best - His Son Jesus. For such a sinner that thumbed her nose and rebelled with an embarrassing zeal for self, He took on the just wrath that was deservedly mine. I cannot stop counting all the ways God has pulled me from the murky depths and still patiently loves and works in my mind that strays so easily, in my heart that still tries to move self into the number one position, in my mouth that spews cutting words, and in my actions that betray my love for Him. I am brought to my knees. Thank you Lord! 

 Too often as of late, I have heard, "Thank you for what you are doing. It is a great work." I cringe every time and my tongue gets tangled spitting out a response. My initial reaction always wants to say, "Ha! If you only knew my self-serving heart that is always seeking to protect me," but I lasso it in and try to point to the truth behind the good. Ignore the woman behind the curtain, she is much like the Wizard of Oz - a hyped-up sham.  Problem is that I do not have  a fancy system of smoke and mirrors for hiding myself. I still get caught in instances where I try to hide, get nervous and trip myself up so that I look like an utter buffoon, or I pull off something that is okay and my pride inflates only to be popped with the slightest source of feeling rejection. Argh! Why??? If I do anything "good" it is powered by God alone. For this I am grateful and I hope I can communicate that in every situation and Christ continues to expose the woman trying to hide behind the curtain. 

 One area God has been very gracious to me, despite my sinfulness, is with family - those born in physically and those born in spiritually. Like the Wizard of Oz, I really have nothing to offer except to point to what has been there all along - God. Let that be the desire of my heart each day especially with my family. 

 Now for a thankfulness that I can share more tangibly. Here is a link to a story about someone I love dearly that God has answered many prayers for: The Tank Chair

 Happy Thanksgiving to you all! And I pray that you seek God first.