...running the course God sets before us, no matter the cost, no matter the task, to the end, for His glory

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Too Many Hats?

Moms have always been known for their ability to wear a multitude of hats:
  • Counselor
  • Teacher
  • Cook
  • Medical Assistant
  • Taxi Driver
  • Laundress
  • Judge
  • Jury
  • Executioner
  • Finder of any and all lost items
  • Logistical planner
  • Inventory Manager
  • Boo-boo kisser
  • Last minute fixer of problems
  • Owner of biggest shoulder to cry on in the world
Really, that list only begins to scratch the surface.

More Analogies:

Lately, I have had more hats than possibly ever in my life. In fact, I can barely stick with the one analogy.

There is always the "spinning plate" analogy. Sometimes I feel just like the guy on stage, spinning plates, and I have reached my critical mass when there are too many plates and I simply can't keep them all spinning. Something is going to crash, and something is going to break. At. Any. Moment.

Or maybe I should go with the "too many irons in the fire" analogy which refers to a blacksmith, back in the day when there were blacksmiths, who had so many projects going on simultaneously that he would put so many irons in the fire that he couldn't keep up. I know just how that blacksmith feels.

But lately I felt more like this guy from one of my favorite children's books, "Caps for Sale." In the story the man with all the hats has them on his head to transport them from one town to another in order to sell them.

Okay, so my analogy breaks down here. I am not selling anything.

But I do feel like I have that many hats on my head, in the sense that each hat represents another job to do. One I can't ignore. One I really need to get around to. One that if I fail something bad might happen.

It is at moments like this, or seasons like this, or years like this, that I am tempted to reach down to my bootstraps and pull them up and make lists and work hard and get up early and go to bed late and get my flesh good and productive.

Or there is the other alternative of just rolling over and refusing to get out of bed in the morning. There is just so much to do that ignoring the whole thing seems, at the moment, the most logical option.

Either alternative though is allowing my flesh to control me instead of the Spirit.

What's a Girl To Do?

What do I do when I don't know which job to work on next and I am tempted to throw up me hands in despair?
          I remember Isaiah 30:21:  Whether your turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it."

What do I do when I am working and working away, and see no fruit, and begin to question the point of it all?
          I remember Psalm 126:5:  Those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shouting!

What do I do when I am so tired that the only productive thing I can think of to do is to sit down and cry?
          I remember Isaiah 40:31: those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength.

What do I do when I know that I cannot possibly do what is before me to do? No way! No how!
          I remember 2 Corinthians 12:9: But He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.

Maybe when I learn to wear just one hat I will
look as peaceful and serene as she does!
I got this from "Victorian Source:

Just One Hat

Thank you Lord. 
Though You give me lots of jobs to do, You only give me one hat.
Help me, please, remember that all I really need to wear is just that one hat.
The hat of the daughter of the King.
The hat of one dearly loved and protected.
The hat of one who is sustained and maintained by the God of the Universe.

Just one hat.


Friday, April 20, 2012

Sayin' Goodbye to the Forties!

There are my new birthday boots!
Taken with my new birthday iPad!
Making getting old isn't so bad after all.
My birthday was yesterday, April 19th, and I turned 49 years old. (do the math if you want to figure out the year!)

Famously, it is the date Captain Cook first spotted Australia and the day of the first shot of the American Revolution.

Infamously, it the date of the fall of the Branch Davidian compound in Waco and the Oklahoma City bombing. Lovely.

It is so odd to keep getting older according to the calendar and according to your body and according to your hair, but to really and truly not feel any older on the inside.

I am not one that resents getting older.
I don't feel the need to look like I am 20 for the rest of my life.
Every person on the planet has ten years to enjoy being in their 20's. That is it. And then you get ten years to be in your 30's. And then....I am sure you have figured out the math by now.

And I am now in the final year I am allotted of being in my 40's.
Like I said, I don't resent getting older, but there are some aspects I don't like. But, there are also facts about myself that I am finally comfortable with and finally accept. And there are some hard earned lessons that I wouldn't give up for all the firm skin and absence of gray hair you could give me.

Things I Don't Like:

  • the way my neck looks if my head is bent down. I hope the fashion of wearing scarves sticks around for several more decades.
  • the effect of gravity on my body. Enough said.
  • the fact that if I eat as much as I ate just a few short years ago, I will definitely NOT look like I did a few short years ago. There will most definitely be MORE of me to love!
  • the way aches and pains just sort of pop up out of nowhere. Areas hurt that I never even realized I had!

Things I Am Comfortable With (finally):

  • I don't sing well and will never perform a solo. But I absolutely love making a joyful noise to the Lord!
  • I am short.
  • I like to sleep.
  • I am sortof messy. I go from one project to another when not everything is put away from the previous project. But I get more done that way, so....
  • I am an idea person with lots of things I have thought of that I would like to do. For years I have felt like a failure that all the ideas were not getting done. Now I look at them as a multiple choice of possibilities.

Things I KNOW (in the deepest part of my "knower):

  • God is good, all the time.
  • God wastes nothing.
  • God has a plan and the hurts, the failures, and the derailments of life will not alter that plan.
  • I must never, EVER, compare myself or what I have or what I don't have to anyone and what I perceive to be what they have or don't have.
  • I am not good.
  • I am not good enough.
  • God never asked me to be.
  • My greatest joy, my greatest contentment, my greatest fulfillment, my greatest achievement is found in a deep, intimate, continual relationship with the King of my heart.
So hello forty-nine!  My last year of my forties. Let's make it a good one!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

I Don't Get It !

"I don't understand!"
"That's not fair!"
"Why me?"
"What do you mean?!?"
"I don't get it!"

Oh, so often, the above is my response when something happens that seems unfair and I just don't understand. Or when I view injustices. Or when I observe disparities.

Let's be honest.
So much of life is unfair. There are many inequalities.
There is always someone who has more. Or someone who looks better. Or someone who is more talented. Or someone who is...well, you get the picture.
I don't get it.

And then there is the bad stuff.

There is the person who drinks, smokes, lives immorally, and has great health and lives a long time.
And then there is another person who exercises, and juices, and avoids sugar, and gets a disease and dies young.

It is so unfair.
I don't get it.

We have a friend, a man in his 40's, with six young children, and a devoted wife, who suddenly began loosing weight and experiencing pain. After a few months of run arounds and doctor appointments he was diagnosed with a horrific cancer, with no medical recourse. He was simply sent home.

It is so unfair.
I don't get it.

Maybe thinking about my friend made the following passage jump out at me recently when I heard it:
Jesus answered and said to him, "What I do you do not realize now, but you shall understand hereafter."      ~John 13:5

Jesus here is referring to His act of washing His disciples feet. Here was the Lord, the Rabbi, the leader of this band.  And He acted as a Servant.

And it didn't make any sense.
The disciples didn't get it.

Why should He kneel?
They were supposed to kneel to Him.

Why should He serve?
They were supposed to serve Him.

So, of course, it didn't make any sense.
The disciples did not understand.
They didn't realize what He was doing.
It was confusing.
They didn't get it.

And as I thought of that picture, several things in my life that did not make sense suddenly rushed into focus.

It is a fact that Jesus does things in my life, and I don't realize WHAT He is doing, or WHY He is doing it, or HOW He will ever get it all worked out.

I don't get it.
It doesn't make sense.

But He gets it. It makes sense to Him. He knows WHAT, WHY, and HOW He is doing EVERYTHING He is doing.

He wastes nothing.
He messes up nothing.
He redeems everything.

Everything that happens in my life, or doesn't happen in my life, is an act of My Lord,
-washing my feet
-cleansing away the grime of the world
-conforming my heart unto His own.

How can He love me so much?
How can He take such care of me?
How can He orchestrate every detail of my life?
How can He humble Himself to wash away my filth?

It doesn't make sense.
I just don't get it.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He  cares for you.               ~II Peter 5:6,7

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Right Word at the Right Time


Sometimes having choices is good and sometimes having choices is difficult.

Have you found yourself, standing at the counter at the coffee shop, looking at all your options on the board, from size, to flavoring, to level of caffinitization (yes, I just made up that word), to amounts of sugar or fat, to how cold or hot, and just found yourself overwhelmed?  No?  Well, I have.

Right now, our family is facing some choices that are confusing. It seems to be a place God has purposefully put us rather often in the last year or so. He is our Rock, and He is stable, but all around us is changing and illusionary. It is a spot where I have learned, slowly.... steadily... and with more than one misstep, to rely on NOTHING.

Nothing, except God.

And yet.
Even with having learned that lesson over, and over, and over again, I found myself at the beginning of this week, facing choices and feeling, within those choices, un-rest. A lack of contentment. A feeling of dis-ease.

Every choice has risks and reward. Most of them could offer some financial relief, which would be welcome. All of them could evaporate like a vapor if God allows that.

I needed to hear from God.
And surprisingly, (ahem, yes the fact that I was surprised showed a lack of faith) He answered.

This was Just. The. Right. Word.
My soul waits in silence for God only; from Him is my salvation.  He only is my rock and my salvation. My stronghold; I shall not be greatly shaken. My soul waits in silence for God only, for my hope is from Him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I shall not be shaken. Trust in Him at all times, O people, pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us.                                                         ~Psalm 62:1,2,5,6,8

Not a mention of:

  • circumstances
  • money 
  • provision
  • happy relationships
  • working technology
  • reasonable schedule
  • settled issues
  • lack of conflict (in fact these verses are set right in the middle of descriptions of MAJOR conflict!)

None of it. None of that is the stuff that makes the Psalmist secure.
It is all God. He is what brings stability, contentment, rest, inner peace, safety, security.

Edinburgh Castle
Doesn't it look secure? But it could provide just a fraction of the
security and protection we have from our Stronghold!
Because He is:

  • my Hope
  • my Rock
  • my Salvation
  • my Stronghold
  • my Glory 
  • my Refuge

Psalm 62: the right Word for just the right moment.

Has He given you just the right Word for just the right moment lately? I would love to hear about it!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

After the Drought Comes the Flowers!

I live in South Texas. And I love it.

I like Mexican food and cowboy boots.
I think Salsa should be considered as it's own separate food group.
I love when someone says, "Howdy!" to me.
I think the skies in Texas have their own, beautiful shade of blue.

But there is something else about living in South Texas that I don't like as much.


Every few years, we seem to have a drought. Last year's was a doozy! It was like the faucet was turned completely off and not a drip or drop fell from the sky.

And, after a few months of no precipitation and record highs, the land looked dead. So dead, in fact, that it seemed like it could not possibly ever be beautiful again.

It really began to feel as if there was no way there would ever be life in the land again. Crops were dead. Grass was varying shades brown. Livestock was dying.

It was bad.

And so we prayed.
We cried out to God.
We petitioned the Creator of life.
We beseeched the Sustainer of all.
We appealed to the only One who was capable of bringing us relief.

And He, Who is faithful, supplied our needs.  After a year of almost no measurable rain, this is what our spring looks like:

There were rains all winter and now there are flowers. Everywhere. Blue. Purple. Lilac. Yellow. Orange. Red. Pink.

And that makes me think.  You know, while all around me was dead, dry, and desolate, somewhere, under the dust, lay the seeds of these very flowers. Dormant. Waiting. Hoping.

For the rain.

And when it came, the flowers bloomed. The fragrance wafted.  The colors splashed. The beauty abounded. What had once been dead, was now alive.

And how about you. Are you in a drought?
Do things seem desolate and does all hope seem gone?
Have you had a death of a dream or a hope?
Does it seem that all the "rain" in your life has stopped?

Then wait. And don't loose hope. Your dreams are not dead. They are just dormant.

Pray, cry out, petition, beseech and appeal to your Sustainer. Because the rains will come. He, Who is faithful, will send them.

So let us know, let us press on to know the Lord. His going forth is as certain as the dawn; and He will come to us like the rain, like the spring rain watering the earth."
Hosea 6:3