Sunday, January 24, 2010

I'm Back!

Oh, I hope I'm back! I feel like I have slowly been digging my way out of a self-centered, self-protective hole for almost a year now. And today, at least, I have felt like my old self. For the first time in months, I felt the dark curtain that seemed to separate me from the rest of the world drop completely away. As I served at church this morning, I actually wanted to be helpful. I didn't feel like blaming everyone else for my mistakes (and I did make a few) and I didn't obsess over them.

My life has been such a roller coaster for several years. So many changes--huge changes... kids growing up, a 2,000 mile move from the city to the country, the loss of a child, the life-threatening struggle of my only remaining child, entering the time in a woman's life when hormones rage and moods swing like a giant pendulum, spending 5 years with an empty nest, then a year of waiting to fill that nest with a gorgeous little granddaughter, and finally, working to merge the schedule of a two-year old with the schedule of two older but wiser (and a little bit lazier) empty nesters. Oh, I'm tired just thinking about it!

Each one of those changes brings stress and has the potential to pull a person down. But God is good and patient. I have swung from faith filled days when my spirit soared as I worshiped to days so dark I wasn't even sure I wanted to follow God anymore and I could hardly pick myself up off the floor. But God never moved. He wasn't afraid of losing me. He knew I'd make it through with my faith not only in tact, but even deeper and stronger.

Will there be more challenges in my future? Uh, yeah! Will there be more changes and stress? Uh huh. Will there be more dark days? Probably. But now I know on a deeper level that even in the darkness, God is there. He doesn't get offended and storm off. He waits... And He sings... over me... that sends me to my knees.

It's good to be back.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

My Number One Goal in Life

Our absolute #1 goal in life is to know God... not to save the world or even to feed the hungry, but to know God. And it will take an entire lifetime to even scratch the surface of really knowing God. But nothing else matters.

I've been learning more and more that my prayers are not for getting what I want, or even what I think I need. The purpose of prayer is to get to know God.

Everything that happens to me is to help me to know God better. Whether it's good or bad, the purpose of every circumstance, every relationship, everything is to help me to know God better.

Oswald Chambers says, "Paul was not given a message or a doctrine or proclaim, he was brought into a vivid, personal, overmastering relationship to Jesus Christ." I don't think any single person did more to advance the gospel, and yet that was not his main purpose. His main purpose was to know Jesus. Wow.

But it's so much easier to "do stuff!" Getting to know God requires discipline... quiet... time... listening (rather than talking!) Hustling and bustling and "looking busy" are so much easier--and yet so much less productive. Ouch!

Like it or not, God does not have a facebook account... or a cell phone number. The only way to get to know him is to see him in our loved ones (even when they make us crazy,) to respond to our circumstances in ways that draw us closer to him, and to be brutally honest with ourselves about the time-wasters in our lives (i.e. facebook--ouch again!) and to jealously guard the times we spend in prayer and quiet time--listening for that still small voice.

Friday, January 22, 2010

It Really is All About God

I love personality tests like the Kiersy Temperament Sorter and Strengths Finder and even the silly quizzes we take on Facebook. I love learning about myself... finding out why I am the way I am and why I do the things I do. I even like to read my own blog. Yikes! I think I'm infatuated with me! I like to hear good things about myself. I like to be able to justify my shortcomings and focus on the positives.

That's all very helpful to a point, but we can get too wrapped up in them and become too dependant on them. Our view can be too narrowed by them. What if God is calling me to something outside my comfort zone? What if He's calling me to something I'm completely unqualified and ungifted for? Would He do that?

According to Oswald Chambers, yes. "The call of God is not the echo of my nature. My affinities and personal temperament are not considered. As long as I consider my personal temperament and think about what I am fitted for, I shall never hear the call of God. [ouch!] But when I am brought into relationship with God, I am in the condition Isaiah was in. Isaiah's soul was so attuned to God by the tremendous crisis he had gone through that he recorded the call of God to his amazed soul. The majority of us have no ear for anyhthing but ourselves, we cannot hear a thing God says. [ouch again!] To be brought into the zone of the call of God is to be profoundly altered."

What I'm learning from Oswald Chambers this year is that it really is all about God and not me. Wow, what a revelation!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Pray for the People of Haiti

I just read over my post from a few days ago. I'm still concerned for my little one, but oh, what about all those little ones in Haiti who are so very young and now have no parents. What about the parents who now have no children?

It's so easy to think that those people are so far away and of such a different culture than we are and forget to pray for them. We forget that they are real people just like we are. Their situation was desperate before the earthquake, but at least they had each other--they had their families. Now families have been separated. What little they had now lies in a pile of rubble--and some of their loved ones are under that pile of rubble. Some may not know where their family members are. They may not know whether they are dead or alive. They may be injured but unable to get the medical help they need to recover.

Oh, pray for the people of Haiti. No life is not fair and no one knows that better now than the people of Haiti.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Life is Not Fair!

It's January--time for my annual re-committment to health. I do this every year, but this year, I have a little more motivation. I realized this past weekend that if my husband and I don't live to be at least 76 years old, our little girl could lose both her parents before she's 30. I don't want to do that to her!

Neither of my parents came close to 76. My mother died at just 39, and my dad at 63. I was 19 when I lost my mom, and I was pretty oblivious to grief. By the time my dad died, I was 39. By then I had learned a little about taking time to grieve. But even at 39, I felt like an orphan. Even though my husband and I had been on our own for over 20 years, had lived in several states and overseas, and we had children of our own who were teenagers, it was a scary feeling to realize that I had no parents. My dad, my rock, the one I knew I could always run to was no longer here. I knew it was time for me to grow up.

My little girl will only be 30 when I'm 76. I don't want her to feel like I did when my dad died when she's that young. There are many things that are unfair about our situation, but right now, this is the one that bothers me the most. How can I prepare her for that? How can I prepare her for life without me?

I've got to pray. I've got to trust God to bring people into her life who will be there for her. I've got to know that He will be there for her. Just as he has been there for me, He will be there for her. He has been My Unswerving Hope, and I must find a way to share that with her. God, I'm counting on you to reveal yourself to my little one. As you have been my Hope, be hers as well. I trust you that, no matter what unfairness life hands this little girl, you will be there for her.

Struggling to believe in and trust My Unswerving Hope for 2010 and beyond!

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