Saturday, November 24, 2012

How to Avoid Crashing into the Wall of Weariness this Advent Season

How many days have I walked, no trudged through without realizing the sacredness of the moments? Without realizing the value of the service I render to God in serving my serving my church serving my community or my circle of many have you trudged through weary? I recently read an interview by Lanier Ivester on the book: REAL LOVE FOR REAL LIFE by ANDI ASHWORTH.

"When our imaginations are captured by the idea of creating good stories in the lives of the people we’ve been given to love, a world of possibility opens up. It must be said that a lot of caregiving work is tedious, repetitive, and wearying. Washing endless loads of laundry, a thousand trips to the grocery store, cleaning up after children, all the bits and pieces required to care for a spouse or friend who’s battling illness. But if we can keep in mind the bigger story we’re creating, it goes a long way in bringing meaning to the details." ~Andi Ashworth

After this holiday-­past of giving thanks, and on the cusp of the holiday-­next; the one where we celebrate our God emptying himself and coming for us in the form of a helpless babe. The God-­‐man born in a stable because there was no room in the inn...

I assume the David-­family reunion turned away a young cousin on the verge of giving birth because she was not married. Perhaps they didn’t want their party interrupted by a relative in need...Rejected by family, Joseph and Mary made their way to the barn. {and somehow I think I know that feeling...}

I pause for a re-­gathering of what is true. Pause before entering what tends to be 'the fray' of Christmas prep; the fray of the endless 'to-­‐do' list with more bullet points than any other season of the year. The baking and shopping, decorating, and mopping... and in this life we have been given, every moment is precious. And still every year it seems, I come face to face and often have a run-­in with that wall of weariness that threatens to undo me.

That moment I must stop, breathe deep, look up and God reminds me, it's not me but He who lives in me that carries out the work. Without Him I can do nothing, but through Him I can do all things. John 15:5 {Remind me to remember!} I've tried numerous times to do it without Him. Those are the times I crash. I feel anxious, frazzled and every little molehill becomes a looming mountain. And is that what Christmas is??

Every day with the things we face that seem beyond our ability to complete, we have grace; the undeserved presence of Immanuel, God-with-us who gives us strength.

Faith. Its the connection of my "I can't" to "but my God will". I cannot raise these children to be healthy, thoughtful, caring, kind, generous citizens that will bless the world in which they live. But with faith, God will enable me. Or the baking, shopping, wrapping and mopping...

Faith. I think it's like that plug on my coffee maker. When it is plugged into the outlet, I get coffee when I hit the "on" button. If I hit the button with the plug lying on the counter, I have water, ground coffee, and my Keurig, but nothing for that best part of waking up. {Really my Bible is the best part, but coffee is a close second!}

Grace is the electricity for the plug-­‐in on my coffee maker. {No electricity, no coffee}

Grace. The power of God to do the things we feelare incapable of doing. And when we realize; when we remember that day we understood that life isn't just a big "me-party"... The day we opened the stable of our heart to receive the babe, He came in to live inside (grace). And then when He came in, He transformed the stinky stable of our heart into His Holy temple... we remember we have the power of Heaven to live this wonderful life through us. And every moment is sacred; every act of service is an act of worship unto the Prince of Peace. 

May you remember that Prince of Peace lives in you as you make your way through this advent season, and keep your daily dates with Jesus (& enjoy a little java too)! 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

To Live in Peace

Oh, that the world would know the way to true peace.
That I would remember what I know to be true: 
Submitting to a Perfectly Just, Perfectly Wise
Perfectly Loving King.
The Giver of every good and perfect gift; it's God. 
And there is only One who is perfect in all His ways...

Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord,
    the people he chose for his inheritance.
Psalm 33:12

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

My Prayer For President Obama & For The USA

Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for your amazing love and mercy. Thank you that you establish our governing authorities for our good. To protect your people and to administer justice in the land. I thank you for our President. Thank you that in your great wisdom, you have chosen him to be our president. I pray he will acknowledge you in all his ways. I pray he will be surrounded with godly people full of your wisdom who will encourage him and counsel him to make wise decisions. I pray that in his decision-making, he will do justly, love mercy and walk humbly with You. I pray that your Spirit would go before him, that you would guide him, and teach him and protect him. May he desire to honor You above all things.

I pray that you would enable your people, those who call on your name to carry out your great commission. That nothing would hinder your word from going forth and setting captives free. I pray that the witness of your people would be unhindered. May we not get sidetracked by fear or by the pride of men. Enable us to obey you in all of your will. May we continue to serve you in humility and without fear. May Jesus be glorified in this land that you have generously blessed.

Forgive us Father, for polluting this land by shedding innocent blood through abortion. Surely we deserve bondage, but still we have liberty. How great is your mercy! May we honor your abundant and amazing mercy by turning from our wicked ways and preserving your gift of liberty. May Your truth reign. May your light shine once again for the innocent unborn babies.

Forgive us for wanting to make up our own rules, for desiring to re-define what you have clearly established from days of old. That You are the Bridegroom and your Church is Your Bride. That you established marriage between a man and a woman as a sacred-holy union to display your love and care for your people and your desire for our response to you in honor and respect. That to try to paint over that would pervert your plan. It would be like swishing a wet paintbrush over the Mona Lisa. Obscuring You. The Master Artist of the Universe…and Your magnificent love for your people. And the fact that you desire intimacy with us in a way that Your plan for marriage would display… with the ability to create life from the sacred union.

Forgive us for failing to teach our children that honoring you is more satisfying than seeking things for themselves. For failing to teach them that it is more blessed to give than receive. That true life is found in laying ours down to lift others up.

This land is full of your glory. From the Redwood forest to the Gulf-stream waters, From the mountains to the prairies to the oceans white with foam…you have blessed us. We don't deserve to take a breath much less marvel at the wonders of this land. Your love is unfailing. Oh God, creator of Heaven and Earth, open our eyes to see your goodness. Open our ears to hear you speak to us. You are glorious, You have created all good things that we enjoy with our liberty. Without you, there is only darkness. Continue to have mercy on us O Lord. Make your face to shine upon us and give us your peace.

Where there is fear, open our eyes and hearts to your peace.
Where there is poverty, open our hands to give of your goodness.
Where there is strife, open our hearts to offer forgiveness, kindness and grace.
Where there is oppression, ignite our hearts to act as your agents of deliverance.
Where there is sin, deliver us O Lord from leaning on our own understanding; from walking in our own way.
Where there is rebellion against your ways, help us to desire to honor you and give us a heart to turn from our way.
Where there are lies, bring conviction and a love of truth.
Where there is brokenness, bring redemption. For that is WHO you are. The great Redeemer-King.

May we, Your people honor you by honoring the one who is presiding over our land. May we please you in every way. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Don't Do It...Don't Compare...You Are Made To Shine

 Apple Pie or Peach Cobbler? Which one is better? What would you choose?

I think about God. And me. And you. How He made US and how often I have walked wounded because I have allowed myself to be on the losing end of comparison. The problem was really my issue of inferiority. Of believing I was less than (pick any person deemed greater than me by me). This temptation and struggle never goes away... when I see someome 'sparklier' than me. One who seems more star-like. If I compare myself to someone like Beth Moore who (yes, I sadly have), who, even though she is older than I, is more influential, cuter, thinner, bolder...I can feel quite the opposite of what I see her to be. (Translate: ugly, fat and wimpy~a sad deduction indeed!)

With my husband in construction, I have been in bathrooms on construction jobsites where there was no custodian. And because I had to go...bad enough to sit in the filth of the grease, grime (and I dare not think of what else) on the toilet, I esteemed very highly all janitors who keep potties clean for my hiney as much as I value the teaching of Beth Moore for my soul.

How would we compare a soul-nourisher, to a germ-remover? {I rest my case} How can we compare one of God's girls to another. Wouldn't our world be bland if we all had the same gifts, interests and all looked the same?

Often we feel like we are less-than because our job, or our life isn't as 'sparkly' as someone else's. Our problem is we look at the sparkle of the celebrity rather than the sparkle of the faithful. Not to pick on Beth Moore, she is both a celebrity and faithful. Which is worth celebrating for sure. Not many can manage that load well. God has enabled her and it is a beautiful thing. But imagine our world without mechanics who get greasy caring for our car. Or farmers who get stinky gathering our dairy. Or janitors who clean the inside of the potties. Or how about the manufacturers of jets, or the designers of tall buildings? Or...the changers of diapers. A very significant task indeed!

One is a peach. One is an apple. Can one compare fairly? Not. At. All. So next time you feel the inferiority lies imposing, weighing on you, look away, look up. Look around at the things that would fall apart if your hands didn't touch them. How many 'gardens' in your care would be weedy or drought-stricken if you didn't tend them? Remember that whatever is in our tiny lunch sack that we offer to Jesus gets multiplied. When he touches our small task- tended, it becomes nourishing life for those in our care. Those in our neighborhood. In our our home.

You. You are a love-gift. You are a blessing. Yes you. Marvel at the wonder that God made you to be you. Beautiful. And then thank Him that all the seemingly insignificant tasks really do have eternal significance when done with Him in mind. Celebrate the gift of being you. Comparison DIM-inishes your sparkle. So don't do it! Shine on Sister! 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Radical Waiting

I wrote a post on waiting recently...I think it is my most popular ever post. Probably because I have had to re-read it several times. 

Over summer while we were waiting on our buyers to give us their official purchase order on our farm, they kept waiting. After five months, they backed out and we returned their check. She said in her last email, 'wait, wait, wait.' (she really did say it three times)


We have the house on the market again, and have shown it five times in the last two weeks. We are waiting.

We have had two farmers want to purchase our farmland and the farm would remain on five acres. We have been in contact with both of them over price, and with our realtor to know if it might be a better route for us. And we are waiting.

I submitted a workshop proposal to teach at a conference back in April. First the announcements were going to be made in September, but they have been going through some revamping of their procedures and updating their website, so then it was going to be November 1st. It is 11:40 and I am still waiting.

Pictured here is my daughter and her little family. They are expecting baby #2. Last week there was a shifty day...but it proved to be a false start. We are waiting.

'Wiki answers' says the best answer to "How many times does the Bible say 'wait'?" is 106 times. I can take heart. It does help to remember that Noah waited. Abraham waited. Moses waited. Joshua waited. Joseph waited. Esther waited. Ruth waited.... It helps to be in good company. Plus I know God is working out some more 'kinks' in my character. And working in some good stuff like patience and trust...

I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;

    therefore I will wait for him.”

Lamentations 3:24

What are you waiting for?