Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Waiting on the Lord

Like many of you - although maybe for different reasons - I am in a season of waiting. And waiting. And waiting.

I'm not very good at waiting. I'm so impatient and just long for an answer. I sometimes don't even care so much what the answer is - just some kind of answer.

Today I was having an especially difficult time and "stumbled" upon the following video. Ha! God has a good time with me I think . . .

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Hiding Places

For various reasons, this week has been very difficult and full of different emotions. In search of some form of encouragement, I was looking through Psalms this morning and stumbled upon (um, not a coincidence) a favorite "Lord I am in distress" psalm of mine. But as I read those familiar words something struck me differently today . . .

Psalm 55:1-2, 6-8:
1 Listen to my prayer, O God,
do not ignore my plea;
2 hear me and answer me.
My thoughts trouble me and I am distraught

6 I said, "Oh, that I had the wings of a dove!
I would fly away and be at rest -
7 I would flee far away
and stay in the desert;
8 I would hurry to my place of shelter,
far from the tempest and storm.

The first time I read this psalm was in the midst of a very distressing time. I had actually formed the words, "I wish I could just fly away" in my head several times. The pain was so bad that I just wanted to escape, to find somewhere to hide for a while. So to find those words from the mouth of David (v. 6) was pretty comforting. Even the "man after God's own heart" craved a hiding place every now and then.

But then this is what struck me differently this morning: David says he would go far away and "stay in the desert".

Hmmm. The desert is not really high on my "Ideal Hiding Places" list. I'm thinking a nice Carribbean beach, a quiet forest, even a Starbucks would do. But not so much the desert. David was hurting so badly he seemed to actually prefer the desert to what he was going through at the time. Wow. That's some pretty deep hurt.

Well, it turns out the "man after God's own heart" really wasn't working in contradiction to his Creator in desiring a hiding place. He was just a bit off this time in the location.

Check out Psalm 57:1
Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me,
for in you my soul takes refuge.
I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings
until the disaster has passed.

Actually, that's David speaking again. Sounds like he found a better alternative to the desert. Hiding under the protection of God - "in the shadow of your wings" - until all's clear sounds a whole lot better than hanging out in a desert.

When I read Ps 57:1 I imagine a huge, white, feathery wing and little ol' me huddled as far back under as I can possibly get. Outside a storm is wailing but God's promised I can hunker down right where I am until the storm has passed. How peaceful. How reassuring.

The question I have for myself now is, Why in the world do I continue to cast myself off into the desert (denial, wallowing, etc.) in an attempt to hide when I could rest under the shadow of the Almighty???

Time to dust that sand off my toes I think.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Stop Paddling So Hard

My husband and I just returned from a trip to Florida where, amongst other more sane endeavors, I went kayaking for the very first time.

While my initial vision of rolling under rapids while my legs were trapped in a virtual tin can did not exactly materialize, I can't say that it was a walk in the park - or maybe stroll in a boat? - either.

We actually signed up for a tandem kayak (read: hubby does most of the work) but since they ran out I ended up all by my lonesome in a single. I was actually kind of excited to do it by myself. Thought it would be a great story to tell our daughter one day. You know . . .when Mom was younger I had to paddle upstream both ways to school or something like that.

But about 1/2 mile into the trip I realized I was getting very tired. My arms hurt. My back hurt. And no one was responsible for moving that stinkin' yellow kayak but ME. Sigh.

I was really digging into that water, determined to keep up with hubby and not drift towards the back of the group.

Then, the breakthrough.

My husband, in an act of mercy, noticed how hard I was paddling and offered me a tip in the sweetest most gentle way:
"You know, I've found that if I just stay consistent with my paddling and not try to paddle so hard that it's actually a lot easier."

Ah. Consistency. Smarter, not harder.

Whadya know - it actually worked. I mean, I still had blisters and couldn't raise my arms above my head for 2 days after that 5 mile jaunt, but I think they would have had to come back for me with a tow rope had it not been for hubby's wise words.

And, of course, my brain just can't leave this alone.

In my Christian walk I catch myself often trying to paddle so hard just to keep up - pray more, read more, listen more, do more, do more, do more - until I'm completely worn out. What if I stopped worrying about trying so hard? What if I just consistently stayed in God's word and connected to Him rather than sprint, rest, sprint, rest, etc.?

Jesus said,
"Remain in me and I will remain in you . . ." John 15:4a

Just remain. Be consistent.

And stop paddling so hard - you'll wear yourself out.
(Um, that last sentence was mostly for me to remember and to come back to over and over. Maybe I should get that tatooed somewhere . . .)

Thursday, April 3, 2008

I Want to Grow Up to Be Like My Daughter

Today I saw true Grace played out before my very eyes.

Our dog, G, is quite the chewer and, unfortunately, our daughter's toys and books are most often her favorite target. Whenever our daughter, E, discovers the tell-tale signs on one of her possessions she usually says, "G chew it," and then will go on and forget about it or go tell the dog "No! That's E's!"

Last night after E went to bed my husband and I noticed her favorite Mickey Mouse stuffed animal had undergone an Ear-ectomy thanks to the dog. Mickey just isn't the same without his ears! Hubby had brought Mickey home to E after a business trip and she has loved that Mouse ever since. I was dreading E's discovery of her earless friend.

This morning E picked Mickey up off the couch, stared at him quietly for a moment and then said, "G chew it. Fix it." I assured her that we would find a way to fix Mickey's ears. Hmmm. No tears. She then sauntered off towards the dog and I braced to hear a toddler's lecture to her dog consisting of a lot of "No!" Instead what I heard was, "Hug!" and then E ran off to her room.

Is there a clearer picture of Grace - unmerited favor - than giving a hug rather than a deserved lecture over a personal slight?

Oh . . .the things the Lord is teaching me through this little one!!

And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."
Matthew 18:3