"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

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Glory of God in the Gift of Disability

The Glory of God in the Gift of Disability

If you have known me for very long you know that I have never felt that anyone should have to "re-invent the wheel." I believe that God designed us for relationships and that we are to learn from each other. Out of God's grace He has enabled me access to wonderful people and written or recorded words. It is my desire to share them to all those in my world.

The above attached link is one such thing I came across while actually researching something entirely different. We know several families with family members with physical or mental disabilities. We have learned much from all of them. Pastor John Piper spoke to this tough issue. Sometimes people struggle with understanding a God who loves us but doesn't "fix" everything the way we believe it ought to be "fixed." From the first day of our son-in-law's diagnosis of untreatable cancer we all knew our God could heal him. He (our son-in-law) was the first to say, "I will be healed either here on earth or in heaven". God was glorified in Mark's life and in his death as he died fully trusting that God's will was being done.

I've not read this couple's book therefore I can't endorse it personally but their video and this blog post spoke volumes.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

What do you see?

The question is "who do you see when you look into the mirror?" Someone whose nose is too big or small or whose hair is in a perpetual state of rebellion? That made me laugh out loud. I wonder if the author of the question has been following me around for life? If you've known me very long you know that my hair is plentiful and usually in a "state of rebellion". Actually I have never used those exact words but they are perfect!  That question follows on the heels of a conversation I had with a counselor friend on mine this weekend. Her question was "why does one, even small negative thing take all of our attention away from everything that is going right?"  She had been working with a couple for a long time. She stated the couple definitely love each other but just always thought things ought to be "better". There last visit with her revealed that things had gone well for two weeks but the night before coming to her there had been a "problem" and they just didn't know if they wanted to go on "living like this".  The problem was over the lawn mowing taking a little (less than 20 minutes) longer than anticipated and therefore their 5 year old (who is not in school yet) getting to bed a little later than normal. The counselor remarked that one incident washed away all of the good in the two weeks prior. How sad. Instead of focusing on the kindness of the husband to offer to put the child to bed after mowing the lawn so the wife could keep on doing something she enjoys, she only saw that it was not done exactly in her timing.

Sadly they are not alone. One crabby patient in my day can overshadow all the great people I met along the way. My "rebellious" hair can take over the fact that I have hair and lots of it. So often we miss life's beauty because we are preoccupied by it's flaws. Instead of enjoying the feel of the grass under our feet we complain that grows to fast or has a few dandelions. Our mighty, creator God looked at all He created and said it is good. (Genesis 1:31)

Let's ask God to renew our sense of wonder and gratefulness for all that He created today and see what happens. Pay attention. Expect God to show you. Share what you see.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Life Can Change in a Moment

First off let me apologize for the time passed since my last post. Blogger was "down" for several days last week and so when I was able (and inspired) last week, it was not available.

With that said it seems like the last few weeks have been packed with fun times with family and friends and lots of surprises. There are changes at work, possible changes in our mentoring ministry, a surgery of a friend, a life threatening health issue for my boss' wife and the list could go on. I bring that up because it has been a good reminder to me that life can "change" in a moment. Some of those changes are big and dramatic others are not but they still pose give opportunity for us to "react".

My husbands work this time of year is outdoor work and very dependent on the weather. He watches the forecast given by radio and TV weather people. He owns a "weather station" which gives him information from weather satellites and he watches nature.  Then he maps out his plans for each week. Even with all of that information he doesn't always get it "right".  Last Thursday it was supposed to rain.  He told his employee not to come to work. He planned to do paperwork that needed done after running a few errands for the business.  Well the errand running went well but as he came home to settle into his office the sun began to peek out. Sure enough the sky cleared and he could hardly stand it! He checked the forecast. The chance of rain for the rest of that day had diminished and was moved to the next day! (When his employee was supposed to come back and plan on a whole day of work) What to do?  The thing is the paperwork needed done and had a time limit. Most of what he wanted to work on outdoors required another person to help him.  Hmm, a dilemma.

That is so "normal" in my life. I make plans, carefully I might add. I work half-time outside of our home and ministry which is extra motivation to make good use of my time. However, no matter how carefully I've thought through the day, OFTEN my plans need to change due to circumstances beyond my control. How do I react?  Often with frustration or disappointment but I'm learning to not take it so seriously. I'm learning to remember that God has it all figured out. He created me and everything in my life. I'm learning to trust who He is more than what is going on around me. In four full years of my husbands business he has never not gotten all of his work done. It wasn't always when HE planned it to be done or in the way he thought. But it has always gotten done. (period) That's a life lesson right there.

Exodus 3:14, Psalm 20:7, Psalm 139:16 are just a few of the scriptures that come to mind showing me that He is God and He knows me.  I'd love to hear your experience. Do any verses come to mind that help you when life changes quickly?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

God's Will for Our Lives

Why would God have a will for our lives?  He doesn't need anything from us. He can do it all. But the fact is He created us for relationship, with Him first and then with others. The fact is He is revealed to others when we have a relationship with Him.  2 Corinthians 4:16-18 says," But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body."

That is God's will for our life. We are to live so that His all-surpassing power shines out of the cracks in us. If we put a fake-front over those cracks His light does not shine out.  At my brother-in-laws, mothers funeral a few years ago the pastor used a beat up, actually driven over, old gas can to represent her life. It was bent out of shape, peeling in paint and had cracks and holes.  He talked of Mary Ann telling how as cancer beat up her body she still had a shining spirit of love for others.  He then turned out the lights in the room and turned on the gas can.  Lights from within shone out of every crack and hole.  That light would not have shone out if their had been some sort of sleeve that looked much more "presentable."  God's will is we honestly live the life we have, with all the good, the bad, and the ugly. Not glorifying our mistakes, that's not the point. The point is whatever we "look" like if our goal is to live out God's will for our lives, is to let Him shine through us.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Praying for God's Will

It sounds so right to pray for the Lord to reveal His will for our lives.  Just saying that you are praying for God's will to be done and therefore are "waiting" until you "know" sounds very spiritual.  I believe that God has a plan for our lives and I do believe we are to look for it. However, I don't think it is God's plan that we spend all of our time "looking/waiting" and therefore "doing" nothing!  Sometimes I think we just keep praying because it's safe.  As long as we "don't know" no one will expect anything from us, right? Wrong. We have a God-given life to live. (John 10:10) God wants us to live our life with all of it's ups and downs, having peace that He is with us in all of life's circumstances.

Could it be that we are using our quest for God's will in our lives as a diversion from actually doing what we know we should or because we are just plain scared of what it might be?

Check out Galatians 5:16-26.  For now think on this:
"Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit." Galatians 5:25 NIV
"Let us keep in step..."  that implies walking, moving, following.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Focused and Accountable

No, I wasn't kidnapped, well not exactly anyway. I had a "significant" birthday this past weekend and my family really "did it up right." They kept me busy for 3 days straight.  What fun!  ANYWAY, that is why I haven't posted for a few days, but don't think we can stop learning! No, no, no! I've just had more time to think about this accountability thing and life.

Here's a great, challenging thought. When we are with other people we get distracted, lose focus. Our obsession with pleasing all of those around us can take over our thought processes. When that happens to me my mind starts spinning and often I start acting too quickly.  We need to stop and call out to Jesus.  This can be done in a moments time. Physically I just take a slow deep breath and silently (if others are immediately around me) say the name of Jesus or help me Jesus.  It's amazing how quickly He can settle me down. (think John 14: 26-27)

This is especially true around family members. We often let them "push our buttons" and react rather than act with love.  Who can help you learn to act rather than react? Who can help you be accountable? What's your plan to keep yourself focused and accountable?