Friday, April 27, 2012

Timely words.

I tossed and turned all night, weighing a decision that I couldn't make.  Not that I couldn't make up my mind, but that it wasn't the right time to decide.

I laid a fleece (see the story of Gideon) before the Lord, and picked it back up again.

I want to make the right decision.  I want Your best.

I laid the fleece out again.

"Put it to rest"

But how?  Okay Father, I give it to You.  You know the end game - the future - aka, Your plan.  I know You want me to trust you with my future, and I do, but you also want me to be obedient, submissive - willing to accept whatever that may be.  How can I accept it if I don't know what it is?

Okay, so putting it to rest wasn't working out for me...

Eventually exhaustion won over the mental flip-flopping and I found myself asleep for awhile.

Until my alarm went off at 4:30.  I groaned.

Exactly why did I think getting up to make breakfast for Dad and the boys was a great idea at 8 o'clock last night?

I was already awake though, so I pushed off the bed, stumbled into the kitchen and stared at the coffee machine, willing it to start itself.   (It didn't work.)

30 minutes later the house was quiet and dark again, and my decision came back to wrestle with me some more.  With one side of my brain I was getting things together, lighting a candle, (just because I could) settling in with my coffee and blanket, snapping this picture and coming up with the caption.   The other side was jumping back and forth until finally I gave up.

Lord, how in the world am I supposed to know what to do!?  I threw the question up in the air before the two sides of my brain caught up to each other and I read what I was writing under the picture I had just taken.

"Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path"

So excuse me while I go light up this trail I'm traveling on.

Edit: I'm afraid of the dark.  Really.  The verse from Psalms 119 always reminds me of this memory that I have of walking down a trail when I was little and using my flashlight to penetrate the thick darkness ahead, all the while tripping and stumbling, because I wasn't watching my feet - until my older sister pointed out that I really only needed to see the path where me feet were landing... the rest wasn't important at the moment.  

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Life. It's good today.

I've had this song stuck in my head for 5 days now.   The message is great - the words, not so much.  I've had to catch myself several times to avoid singing it out loud, because it has words that are unbecoming for me to say.

I've got my toes in the water <something else> in the sand.  Not a worry in the world, a cold beer in my hand -  life is good today.... yeah, life is good today.
It started playing through my mind on Saturday.  I was on a surfboard, bobbing up and down in the line up, waiting for a set to come through.

Life is good today

"As if it isn't good any other day of the week?" I asked myself.

A morning fish fry on the beach with the family gathered around - goofing off, playing silly games, running races and making up competitions - followed by a afternoon surf session.  Not everyday events, but definitely nothing out of the ordinary.

"Okay so maybe 'today' is good" I concluded.  "But that doesn't mean that tomorrow's 'today' won't be great too!"

Cut to Sunday afternoon when I've finally gotten around to washing my car, inside and out.  The sun is shining down, drying the soap suds before I have a chance to rinse them off and as I'm standing there with my feet in a puddle of soapy water the song starts up again.

I've got my toes in the water, my <hmmm> in the sand...... Life is good today.

And again on Monday, laying in the grass with my little brother after working out with him.

And Tuesday evening, doing the dinner dishes with my family in the new kitchen.

In the song, the singer is on vacation in Mexico when he decides that life is good, but it's when he runs out of money and has to go back to work that he learns the good things in life aren't dependent on location or circumstance.  Life is what you make of it.

Today at work I was walking through the warehouse, listening to the birds singing and smelling the rain when I was reminded again.

Life is good today.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Worth the drive

The twelve of us huddled around a table in the lodge, the early morning light streaming through the windows. Other skiers and snowboarders strolled by, sending us curious glances and occasionally staring for longer than was polite.

6am is an early hour for a Sunday morning, but the coffee cups on the table made up for the early part, and the anticipated day on the slopes made up for the drive.

We took turns reading from John 15 around the circle.

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love."

"If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love."

"My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you."

(I already knew I wasn't gonna like this topic. Not that I have anything against it, but I've come to see more and more lately how bad I am at loving.)

We started to discuss what that looked like. What it means to love someone - and not just anyone, but to love the body of Christ.

Oh good. I'm in the clear with that one. I'm good at loving my friends. Or I thought, anyways. As we dug deeper into the Word, my conscience was pricking me harder and harder.

"Love is sacrifice."

"Love is wanting the best for someone even if its the hard thing."

"Love is intervention, sometimes."

"Love is desiring to grow spiritually- pursuing spiritual gifts - just for the benefit of the other members of the body."

They were all right, you know. I don't think we completely summed up what it is to actually love one another in our 20 minute Bible study, but I came away convicted and challenged and encouraged.

So it was worth it after all. The getting up early, the long drive - yep. It was worth it. Going all the way up the mountain and not snowboarding, because they wouldn't change our tickets after all - yep, totally worth it.

Oh, and then there's that last verse - the one that I've been mulling over for days now.

"Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends."

Thursday, April 5, 2012

If life had a "rewind" option...

Yesterday was a good day. The late afternoon sun streamed through the open windows while the family gathered in the kitchen to discuss the events of the work day behind us and the evening ahead of us.

I could get used to evenings like this I remember thinking to myself. My family does a lot. We go a lot of places, host a lot of people, do a lot of things - but that evening, it was just us for a little while. Different ones would be going out, and some others weren't home, making it not quite a family evening, just a quiet one. Nobody to cook for, nobody to entertain.

I wandered into the bedroom only to hear voices out the window. Peeking through the curtain I could see our new neighbor walking around the yard, giving her young nephew a tour.

We'd met her 4 days ago at church, and after spending the whole day with us, this was her third time back in just 4 days.

In my mind I played out scenarios where someone could take her aside and tell her that she was welcome to come to church on Sunday, but all the other days of the week she should give our family some space.

To be honest, those thoughts shocked me. Shocked and disgusted me. I wanted to take them back, but there they were, glaring at me, accusing me, revealing where my heart stood on the matter.

"You wanna meet my Pastor and his wife?" I heard her ask her nephew, a hint of pride in her voice.

His answer must have been affirmative, because soon I heard my parents greeting her from the kitchen, their welcome sincere.

Ashamed of my own heart, I drug my feet back into the kitchen in time to see her back, as she carried her nephew away.

"We're a novelty to her" I commented to my dad.


I ran out of words to explain it so my dad took it up.

"She likes it here. She get attention and she feels accepted."

If she only knew... you wanted to send her away. My conscience accused me.

Today I read in Colossians 3 the exhortation that says:

Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive... forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues, put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

I just hope I'll have another opportunity to show Christ's love to our new friend. And I hope I won't screw it up.