Monday, June 17, 2019

Never Ending Love Story

If romance and sexual intrigue become a source of fulfillment in your life, will your focus be on you or others?

Would you be fulfilled in providing sexual intrigue even if you stopped experiencing the thrill?

Will you feel a void when romance eludes you day after day?

How sad when the source of one's fulfillment is anything other than eternal, never-changing, and absolute faithful Love Himself.

My Savior. My Jesus.

The Lover of my soul forever.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Settled

transition - the process or period of changing from one state or condition to another

It's been a good while since I've written here. A nudge from a dear friend today caused me to check the date on my last post. Time to get at it again, is basically what she said to me. We need friends in our lives, don't we? Good friends, at any rate.

So, what's with the random dictionary entry at the top?

My most recent post was October 2018. Eight months ago.

There's one question I hear routinely from folks these days, "Are you all settled now?"

Well, uh, yes. Well, sort of. Yes, it's certainly home. Uh, no - I mean - we don't have routines. We've not established tenure yet. Um, I think we are. Well, there are some bins I've not even opened yet. And undone things. But we're here.

So the answer should be, "I can't quite tell."

Here's why. We are still transitioning. The change of home was just part of it. The "I'm done with the daily rhythm of schooling" doesn't tell it all.

What looms large in my soul is the quest for a label for this season. I know what I'm transitioning from, but what am I transitioning into? Is it this busyness? Is this the next big thing? What is this busyness about? Is it adding up to a big chunk of Something with a familiar label?

Day by day, one step here and then another till I feel like I'm running. As soon as one idea comes and begins to have fruition another tide of vision rushes in and overtakes the last.

So are we still transitioning? Or is this the plan, the thing I am to be accomplishing? I don't see a blueprint before me. I don't see the whole picture. So I take a step, hoping it is in the right direction, wanting it to add up to something somewhere someday.

This isn't like motherhood, with a schedule to determine and fruit to monitor and success to measure.

That's because the move itself wasn't the culmination of transition. It was just one wave of the process. Is this still the process, or is this the thing, the fruition of that transition?

I'm rambling, dear reader. My thoughts, my sentences, seem as fragmented as my actions. Self-written, compelled, moved without my moving them. "Lord, is this You? I hope so, Lord! My time is running quickly and I want it to be all used for You."

Self discipline is not my forte. I am motivated by passion - readily motivated by passion. Motherhood was a passion with built in constraint. I liked that. I loved that. It suited me perfectly, or so it seemed.

But here I am, without a blueprint, full of vision and passion but without built-in constraint because I don't know the end goal. I don't know the thing. It doesn't have a label. I feel like I am pioneering without a clear picture, a bit of that unknown adventure that is exhilarating and unsettling in turn. In fact, so unknown I'm unsure as to whether we're still transitioning or if we've arrived.

So, are we all settled now?

Settled in Him. Absolutely, totally. And I'm wondering if that will be the answer from here on in.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Wives and Mothers and Time

You have 24 hours each day. We all do. For those who are Christians, there is a realization that all of those 24 hours belong to Him. But how He wants us spend those 24 hours is dependent upon commitment, responsibility, and promise.

If you are a wife or mother, many of those hours are, in large measure, spoken for. They are already spoken for because of relationship. We are our husband's teammate and helper. We are our children's nurturer and provider. Fulfillment of these things requires time, energy, and creative use of resources. So everyday a portion of time, energy, and creativity is already "given".

I recall an important lesson in my life. It was an especially busy season with many demands from relationships and community outside the home. I wanted to be willing to stretch myself and sacrifice more, to give of my time and energy until it hurt. But when was it too much? The clamor to do more, go more, and be more for so many others was deafening and confusing, overwhelming me night and day, day and night.

Until He spoke clearly to me. "You cannot sacrifice something that is not yours to give."

"What? I'm wondering about giving of my time and my energy, Lord. That's what I'm wondering about. I want to serve better and live sacrificially."

"I know. But you cannot sacrifice something that is not yours to give."

Gently He helped me see that my best time and energy had already been promised when I made a covenant to my husband and ensuing family. That time and energy was not mine to sacrifice to anyone or anything else. Any sacrifice was to come from the overflow, the extra, the remaining time and energy that I could freely call mine to use.

There is no certain clear formula given. What you have to give may change from day to day, season to season. Some days and weeks there is plenty of overflow. Some seasons there is little or none. That is how living by principle works - no hard and fast list of rules, only application of simple truth. Am I meeting his needs, serving his vision? Have the family needs been met, needs beyond food and clothing even? Have I read that story, helped establish routine chores, created order and peace? Is this home a refuge for them, a shelter?

It is a day by day sorting, a week by week "reality check", a willingness to take stock and determine when I need to say "no" and when I am free to say "yes". Always a plan for keeping the main thing the main thing.

It's a delicate balance, but one to work toward keeping; guard your time for them before you give your time to other.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

James, A Worthy Teacher

James tells us to consider trouble to be an opportunity for joy. Great joy, I might add.

I don't know about you, but if trouble really is an opportunity it's one I have often enough, even I might say, with great regularity. It seems a daily routine, these sundry assaults and aggravations; often times petty and often enough, they appear monumental.

I'm feeling the weight of trial and testing even now, in these early morning hours. My heart is heavily burdened and the day has barely begun.

And so as I read James' opening sentence, "This letter is from James, a slave of God and the Lord Jesus Christ," I am deeply moved. He has no identity crisis. It is clear to him. He is a slave. Servant. One who is "devoted to another to the disregard of one's own interest." (Strong's definition)

Then James, a man wholly devoted to God's service, with his very next breath as it were, exhorts me to find trouble to be an opportunity -- an opportunity, as I well know from many years of previous reading, to learn endurance which leads to perfection.

I can read no further. I am brought to my knees. The weight of this burden humbles me. And His promise humbles me further. He wants me to find great joy even here, in this moment. What a wonderful Father.

"Lord, right here in the midst of this struggle, let me be pressed and tried and proven. Let me find You here. Let me be quick to learn and not dull and slow of mind and spirit. Let me be molded readily and not resist Your Spirit, but yield to Your Holy work in my life. Let me wholly embrace with joy - no, with great joy - Your faithfulness to lead me in Your ways and teach me. As Your servant, let me be devoted to Your interests with no regard to my own. Make me, shape me, mold me. I am Yours. And so very gladly so."

We've been singing a song as of late. It is a powerful declaration from one who is in a difficult place. I love it because its truth is for everyone. James' exhortation to find opportunity is not wasted on one single person. We all have opportunity daily; we all experience trials, troubles, testings. But truly He is in that place with us. Therefore it becomes opportunity for joy. He is there, bringing purpose.

"...here in the middle is the place where You promise to be.
As I walk through the valley, let Your love rise above every fear.
Like the sun shaping the shadow, in my weakness Your glory appears.
Not for a minute was I forsaken. The Lord is in this place."        (taken from "Here Again" by Elevation Worship)

He is in this place at this moment, here with me this morning. In this moment of testing and trouble, He is here. It is His moment if I am His servant. James knew this truth. And James knew great joy in the midst of trouble.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Pleasing Him

We are social creatures. We have been created to function in relationship. And we crave such interaction, such closeness.

Sometimes that desire for closeness leads us into dangerous waters. We become people pleasers. Our words, actions, and even thoughts become subject to the goal of pleasing others. "Don't rock the boat!" "Oh, I don't know what they would think of this!"

Listen instead to these words from Paul to the church at Galatia after clearly denouncing those who were saying false things about God and His salvation message. He came down hard on such deception and he knew he was in danger of losing their affection.
"Obviously, I'm not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. 
If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ's servant." (my emphasis)
One thing was clear to Paul. He gave up the popularity contest when He began to follow Jesus. Oh, it's true that Christ is love and kindness and a bringer of peace. But He is so on His terms with His definitions. After all, He is God; He is Truth itself and Love itself. That domain belongs to Him alone.

Paul understood that Christ and His ways would not always be popular with the crowds. His daily poll rating would lag behind those with flashy smiles, smooth words, and wily promises.

He knew that if crowd pleasing is the end goal then don't choose to serve Christ.

Think about it.

Sometimes words of love must be tough words to say and to hear. And holiness will always be contrary to the latest self-indulgent trend. Let's face it: Dying to your own will and way isn't a popular message for people who are charmed by a jingle declaring that they can "Have it your way!" even at the nearest fast-food restaurant. If Burger King can serve up egotism for just a dollar, what's the matter with God?

So wake up this morning, give thanks to the God of all eternity for a new day, submit to Him your broken life in return for a power-filled life, and be a God-pleaser in thought, word, and deed.