"My story is important not because it is mine, God knows, but because if I tell it right, the chances are you will recognize that in many ways it is also yours. Maybe nothing is more important than that we keep track, you and I,of these stories of who we are and where we have come from and the people we have met along the way because it is precisely through these stories, in all their particularity,as I have long believed and often said, that God makes himself known to each of us most powerfully and personally." -Frederick Buechner

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Why do we think everyone elses story is more important than ours?

We are obsessed with stories. Whether we find it in a good book, an engaging conversation or a new movie, we are obsessed with stories. We are particularly taken with the epic.

Ever wonder why?

Why do we have favorite TV shows? Why do kids tell tales around the campfire? Why are Disney movies so much a part of our culture? Why did Harry Potter books fly off the shelves upon their release? (Save your judgment, please – it’s a fact.)

We were born with a craving for story. We were born to believe in the epic, the love story and knight in shining armor. The epic resonates in us because we were born for story and born into a story. We find ourselves in the epic because our lives are a story that unfolds moment by moment, day by day, page by page, just like a script.

Like characters in a movie, each of us is purposefully written into a script:
“You saw me before I was born.
  Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
  before a single day had passed.”
Psalm 139:16 (NLT)

When life gets confusing, remember there is a script.

When it doesn’t look like there is a rescue, remember there is a script.

When it looks like you’re losing the battle, remember there is a script.

When you’re trying to figure out your next step, remember there is a script.

In that story you are all you dare to believe you can become. In that script, you accomplish the impossible, slay the dragon and win the big game. That script is your story, God’s story. In that story is the power to change the world. You are not only written in the story, the story is written in you.

It’s all in the script and the author is available for conversation about it.  Thanks Scott Allen. You said it far better than I could. Why re-invent the wheel?   Here's the deal. Your story is significant. So is mine because, it's mine.  What I really want to know is why do we tend to think everyone else's story is more important or interesting then ours?

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Why write? Fully persuaded.

As I begin to write this post, I think what do I have to share that might be worth someone else reading? I just read a couple of great posts by people that I consider to be much better "writers" than me. But I learned from each of them. My friend Sara from http://walkslowlylivewildly.com/ shares snippets of daily life, reminding us that life is about family and friends, keep it simple. She has a gift of rejoicing in life, much like her mother who happens to be one of my great friends. Their family has encouraged our family for many years to enjoy one another often by spontaneously doing something, always accompanied by a lot of laughter and sometimes tears.

The other post I read this morning is from http://janellrardon.wordpress.com  Janelle is a friend of one of my best friends. We have talked over the phone and exchange e-mails is years past. I've never met her face-to-face but I like her. She is a wife and mom like me. She loves her family and she loves God. She loves to learn about God and encourages others to do so too. But, like me, she doesn't just want to learn about God. She wants to know Him and live day to day with Him. So she shares her life. If you check out her most recent post you will see that she recently has had some really serious situations going on in her family's life, brain surgery for her daughter. 

My recent situation, shoulder surgery for my husband pales in comparison, but it's "my" situation. The faith and trust factor is just as pertinent for me as it is for Janelle. The circumstances are just different.  My daughter and I have often remarked of ourselves that we seem to have more faith/trust in the "big" things than we do in the day to day. Well, I have a chance to take a step of faith in the day to day right now.  My husbands shoulder surgery went from the 80% prediction of no big deal to the 20% okay he has a rotator cuff tear and a bone spur. Both of which are now fixed, thank you Jesus (& Dr. G). Currently he's resting (thank you Jesus) in his recliner with a machine hooked up to him that provides compression to the area and icing automatically. Hmm, not what I expected as we now have months of recovery/rehab with some restrictions vs 3-4 weeks with no restrictions.  But you know what?  We prayed for God to protect and guide the surgeon. We prayed for complete healing and this is the outcome we received. So I'm believing that God is in control. This is what is needed.  I am "fully persuaded that God is able to do that which He promised." (Romans 4:21 NIV)  Am I disappointed? Yep, ask anybody who talked with me yesterday. Do I believe? Yep, ask me. I'll tell you.

So again, why am I writing? Because I believe that we all  have disappointments and joys and that we can still believe through them. Especially when we are willing to be honest about it. Learning and growing in each situation we experience. It's easier when you have someone to walk through it with you. You realize you are not alone. You are not stupid for experiencing disappointment, doubt, frustration. You are a child of God growing up.  So feel free to join me in learning through life. Because I am "fully persuaded that God is able to keep His promises."

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Fully Persuaded?

So we're working on trusting God with our relationships. That doesn't mean we get to "kick back" and just coast in our relationships. What it does mean is that we learn to love our family and friends. We choose to do or not do things because we love them.  Just like God did. "While we were yet sinners Christ died for our sins." Romans 5:8  We weren't perfect (and still aren't) but God gave the ultimate sacrifice. He sent His only son to earth to live and die for us. But then, He rose again so we can live with Him now and in eternity! If He can do all of that He can take care of me and my relationships!  That's what this is all about we have to be "convinced" that God can handle us, our life. Convinced, really convinced - to know that you know, that you know THEN you'll trust God with your relationships. (& life!)

Abraham was a perfect example. Check out his life. "Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, BEING FULLY PERSUADED THAT GOD HAD POWER TO DO WHAT HE PROMISED." Romans 4:20-21 NIV, emphasis mine.  Did you catch that? Fully persuaded, not thinking maybe, or sometimes or for someone else. Abraham was fully persuaded that God could fulfill His promises. (period)  I'm gaining on this one. How about you? And how does this effect your everyday life?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Relationship Anxiety

Okay, I'm going to say what I think many of us are thinking but don't want to admit. I've thought about posting this for a few days and chickened out for awhile. I think it's a fact that we struggle the most with those we love the most. Dumb, right? I think it's true.   To me it's pretty obvious, especially right now at Christmas time.

We get together with both sides of our family in a 36 hour period. We have fun eating, talking and playing games. Our families are pretty different and yet the same. We want to be together. We eat. We talk.  One side has alot more people, activity and noise. The other is quiet and can be almost dull. Both are full of love but their is always some tension too. Why?  After thinking and praying about this for a few days I believe it's because we want everyone to be happy and because we just keep thinking about ourselves.  In my case, it's both! (smile) I want everyone to be happy so I can be happy. See it's about me. I'm afraid of offending somebody and "losing" them.  Guess what? Even I know when I read that, that it will never work. Why? Well, #1 I'm not in charge. I can't control anyone except myself.  This year my son and daughter-in-law will join our family craziness for the first time. This year both Grandma's have health issues that change their normal position of being "in charge".  So then who takes that place and how will they do it? My mind has been going in circles for days regarding food, who likes what and who can eat what. Then there is what to do at the quieter house to engage everyone. As opposed to how to keep everyone happy at the busy-er house where we are crowded and there are lots of "bosses" in the mix.

I admit it this is NOT what relationships and holidays are supposed to be about. It's about love. Being loved so much that God sent His son to earth to live with us in this world. This crazy, try to keep everybody happy world.  The amazing thing is God knows everything. So He knows that we won't all accept His son and He did it anyway. He gave us His all and we choose whether to accept it or reject it.
Hmm, I think I get it. I love my family, all of them.  I'll give them my best because I love them. They then choose whether or not to accept it. It's their choice. I can't make it happen but I can choose to trust my God with them. I can trust that He will protect our relationships. Will you join me?

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." John 14:27

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Relationships are ours for the Making

My friend posted this on her family's blog this past week.

….until one morning in Bethlehem.
As a group of lowly shepherds, misplaced in the city, came bursting through the disrupted streets claiming something about angels and a baby and a….barn?  They must have had a rough night out on the fields!  Surely they had no idea what they were talking about!  And who is Mary?  Joseph?  These are nobodies!  Somebody please, send them back where they came from!  Enough of this nonsense!
And yet, something about the urgency of their message and the glow in their eyes may have caught my attention.  The spring in their step seemed a bit too giddy to have come from no where.  What would I have thought?  Would I have wondered enough to pursue my curiosity or simply rolled my eyes and gone on with my day to day tasks?  Could I have missed it?  Could I actually have slept through it?
I’d like to think not.  But the fact is, Jesus entered this world quietly.  Simply.  Ordinary.  In the most humble of places.  Dependent on the very people He had made. Only a few shepherds got to hear the mighty angelic proclamation of His arrival, and the rest of the world went on unaware.
Now, 2000 years later, we’re about to celebrate Christmas.  It’s one of the biggest holiday celebrations of the year.  Christmas itself is hard to miss—the lights, trees, decorations and ornaments, music, mall displays and Santa visits make it pretty clear that something is going on.  There is hardly a moment to spare in the hustle and bustle of the season with parties to attend, gifts to find, boxes to wrap, cookies to decorate, and families to please.  We are the epitome of Dr. Seuss’s little Who’s down in Whoville, all blissfully going about our duties…..
….while Jesus quietly waits for us to show up at the manger.
This Christmas, I want to show up at the manger! I want to adore Him from the core of my heart!  I want to still myself in the midst of the busy activity and be fascinated with the mystery of His birth….the simple, humble entrance of Yahweh God into this broken, fallen world.  He has come to fill me with HOPE and JOY everlasting!  I think I would prance all giddy and wide-eyed through the streets of Bethlehem for that!
Oh come let us adore Him!  Oh come let us adore Him! Oh come let us adore Him, Christ the LORD!
This is a song by Casting Crowns called “While You Were Sleeping”.  It’s one of my favorites and really inspired me to write this post.

Emily, like all of us have a choice. Christmas, the birth of Jesus can be an interruption, a hassle, a fairy tale. Or we can choose to look for Jesus who came quietly. He came for us, but He does not force Himself into our lives. He presents Himself and we can choose what kind of a relationship we want to have with Him. How great is that? We can choose to have a relationship with the God of the universe!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Created for Relationship

The French philosopher, Pascal once said that each person is created with a lifelong deep desire for something more, and that longing is filled only by knowing God.  Newsweek May 7, 2001 had an article entitled, "Your Brain on Religion". It stated that our brains are "hardwired" for God.  Now some people say they don't believe in God or at least doubt His existence. They say therefore they don't have or don't need a "relationship" with God because He doesn't exist.  I would challenge that. It's the Christmas season. Some people believe in Santa Claus, some doubt and some do not believe he exists at all. Their relationship or apparent lack thereof dictates alot of their actions and attitudes during December. Do they celebrate Christmas in any fashion? Do they buy gifts? If they do, how do they mark them, from themselves or from Santa? Do they watch the movies that involve Santa Claus and/or his elves?

In my opinion the same is true with God. If you choose to believe He does not exist that takes as much effort as believing He does. Do you avoid all church related activities, community service projects and holidays? Do you pick and choose a few that "do good" which over rules your disbelief in God? Do you just try to ignore all " religious" conversations?

I believe we were created for relationships with God, with others and with our self. Without any one of those we are unbalanced and often frustrated with life. Once I grasped that I need all three my life became more peace-filled.

It's the Christmas season there are lights and ornaments, Santa and mangers everywhere. Take some time this month to think about your relationship with God, with others, and with yourself. Does your life include all three? Should it?

Monday, December 6, 2010

My Plans...or Relationship?

"Men tend to multiply duties in their observance of religion. This practice enables them to give Me money, time and work without yielding up to Me what I desire the most-their hearts."  December 6, Jesus Calling 

Wow, that quote caught my attention this morning.  We've had a busy 3-4 weeks and things around the house had really gotten away from me. BUT, I had a plan!  Friday I was to finish a costume for a Christmas event on Saturday morning, then get the long overdue grocery shopping done, plus a couple of other errands, maybe even a bit of Christmas shopping. Event on Saturday morning, clean and put up Christmas decor on Saturday afternoon. Church Sunday morning, afternoon off and small group at our house (looking clean and lovely) Sunday evening.  Do I even need to tell you that Friday didn't work out anything like what I planned which made me crabby?  So then there was tension in the house. Well after and in between all activities this entire weekend I cleaned, took down fall decor and put up Christmas decor. As I worked feverishly, I nearly ignored my husband, did ignore two phone calls and didn't call my parents as is the normal Sunday afternoon routine.  But why? Because we were having small group at our house last night.  But even more than that, because it was MY plan. I wanted it.

Well the decorations are up and the lights are all lit. Admittedly, I love the lights. They are pretty and peaceful.  However, our whole focus of small group is relationships. Life is about relationships. Why do I get so caught up in doing things my way, in my time? It certainly doesn't build relationships. I hadn't even talked to my kids all week.  So for the rest of this Christmas season (it's a starting place) I'm going to intentionally choose to make relationships the #1 priority.  Do you have thoughts on how to keep this focus?  What do you do?