Wednesday, May 30, 2012

What Does My Wordle Say About Me?

Wordle: My Unswerving Hope I just found the coolest website: I used it to create this image. All I had to do was enter the URL of "My Unswerving Hope" and, using the words I have written, it came up with the image above. I'm a little disturbed that the word anger came out so big, but yet I understand why. It's all very telling--I need to study it a little more! Thank you, Recovering Church Lady!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

You Can't Hold Up a Bus!

When I say, “You Can’t Hold Up A Bus,” I’m not talking about the kind of hold up where you would use a ski mask and a gun! I’m talking about literally picking up a bus. 

Stay with me here... I heard an interview once with an actress on a Superman movie. In one scene of the movie, this villainess was shown picking up a city bus. When the scene was being filmed, for a split second, she forgot that she wasn't actually holding up the bus--there was a crane doing that. She actually injured herself as she tried to support a city bus. Now that sounds crazy because we all know that none of us is strong enough to actually pick up a bus. 

But we essentially do the same thing when we try to control every circumstance of our lives and the lives of those around us. Lately, I’ve been exhausting myself trying to control the people around me. I’m not trying to control them in a bad way. I love these people and I want what’s best for them. I just want to make sure they don’t make wrong choices or put themselves in situations that might cause them pain. So I’ve been trying to head off any mistakes they might make—I’ve been watching them like a hawk, straining to discern every comment, every action. And I am exhausted! 

The truth is, the only person I’m responsible for is me. I want to be an encouragement and support to those I love, but when I start trying to “will” them into the “right” (according to me) decisions and behaviors, I may as well be trying to “hold up a bus.” 

God, grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change 
The Courage to change the things I can 
And the Wisdom to know the difference! 

 And that is my unswerving hope!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A Cruel Prayer?

“I do not pray that you may be delivered from your pains…” What? That sounds so cruel, Brother Lawrence. How can you not pray that someone who is suffering be delivered?

I am reading “The Practice of the Presence of God” by Brother Lawrence. He worked in the kitchen of a monastery and had very little education. But what he did have was a profound peace in the midst of poverty, a lowly position, and much hard work. This peace was so profound that visitors to the monastery sought him out to learn his secret. Hence this little book of his writings was assembled.

So this man of great peace wouldn’t pray for his friend to be delivered from his pains… what did he pray for? “…but I pray GOD earnestly that He would give you strength and patience to bear them as long as He pleases. Comfort yourself with Him who holds you fastened to the cross: He will loose you when He thinks fit.” He continues that “men of the world” who consider sickness and pain as just a part of living, and “not as a favour from GOD… find nothing in it but grief and distress. But those who consider sickness as coming from the hand of GOD, as the effects of His mercy, and the means which He employs for their salvation, commonly find in it great sweetness and sensible consolation… GOD is often (in some sense) nearer to us and more effectually present with us, in sickness than in health.”

That speaks to my soul. I have experienced that amazing sweetness of the nearness of God during times of unimaginable grief and pain. It’s hard to describe how you can hurt so badly and yet experience the presence of God so sweetly at the same time. God knows that the pain you are suffering through is unbearable. By the way, despite what many will tell you during times of grief and pain, God DOES give you more than you can bear! But He does not make you bear it alone. He uses it to help you see your utter dependence on Him.

So, if you’re a friend of mine, I’m sorry, but I won’t be praying for you to be instantly delivered from any pain and suffering. But I will be praying for God’s profound peace and the sweetness of His amazing presence to carry you through until He has accomplished all that He wants to accomplish in you. God wants so much more for you than your present comfort.

Brother Lawrence continues, “[God] often sends diseases of the body, to cure those of the soul. Comfort yourself with the sovereign Physician both of soul and body." And that is my Unswerving Hope.