Uncategorized

Change is Strange

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.   He makes me lie down in green pastures,  He leads me beside quiet waters,  He refreshes my soul.   He guides me along the right paths for His name’s sake.”  Psalm 23:1-3

Like an unexpected bend in the river that redirects your path, the experience of letting go of our family home has inspired an odd mix of excitement and disorientation.   Recently, while sitting on the back deck watching the trees wave goodbye in the wind, I remembered.  Along with the dee, dee, dee, of the chickadee  I could hear the laughter after a belly flop off the diving board, the repeated thud of a basketball and the clinging of baseballs flying off a metal bat.  I also remembered how God kept me afloat over the years.  His grace has been sufficient for me to forgive, love, raise a family,  let go and even embrace change because I know this is not my real home.

Like water, change can easily overwhelm us unless we relax (The first step in learning how to swim).  Knowing that God is sovereign and holds me in His hand is enough to buoy me through any difficulty.  His mighty hand is under me now. Like a loving parent teaching a child to swim, He does not intend to let me drown.  He is faithful even when I am not.   Of course, relaxing in the water with your arms out and head back is not instinctive, especially if the water is choppy.  It takes faith to lean back and trust that you won’t sink!  Praise God we are not asked to splash around and strive in our own strength but to rest instead.  However, when we do choose to flail we will tire and drown in a sea of have-to’s and what-ifs.   Some may call it fear or lack of faith but I know it’s rebellion.

To this Jesus says,

“Take My yolk upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:29-30.  

But my heart responds,

“I don’t like the way it fits and I cannot steer with Your yolk upon me.  Can’t I just stand next to you without a yolk?”

Then, He lovingly reminds me of His faithfulness,

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;  in all your ways submit to Him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

Unfortunately, there have been times I’ve flailed through the current of change, resisting the bend in the river.  Over time I forced many things into place, drowning myself in expectation.    The truth is I was in rebellion, trying to do things my way and simply not trusting God with all the changes that were happening.  Fortunately, I am learning that only while I am at rest can I be buoyed by the very thing that threatens to drown me.  Now I want to encourage you to trust Him.  He is taking us someplace wonderful.   Our role is to float by faith into heaven on the current of His love.

 

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”  2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Commitment, Insecurity, Love, Obedience, Sanctification, Submission, Surrender, Trust, Uncategorized, Victory

Be Intentional

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  

Jeremiah 29:11

Intentional: done in a way that is planned or intended  (merriam-webster.com)

This word has been haunting me for the past several weeks and last night I woke up with the phrase “Be intentional” impressed on my heart.  Since I am an accomplished procrastinator and life floater I know this wasn’t from me.  Prior to its haunting, the word first came to me in May while attending Sean’s college graduation.  I was talking to another mom who shared how she purposed to have a conversation with her son.  In essence, she gave him permission to move on, letting go of the parent-child relationship and freeing him emotionally to leave and cleave.  I said, “You are so intentional in your parenting.”  to which she replied, “I try to be.”

The next morning at breakfast while talking about books, our son, Sean, said , “I like to finish stuff.”  He shared that whatever he starts, even if it’s not extremely enjoyable, he likes to see it to completion.  Between the two conversations I was convicted.  If I were to write a parenting book it could be titled Wing It or Raised by Grace.  (Maybe I will write the second one because it does sum up how my kids were raised!)  The opposite of intentional, my conversations with Sean and Ryan were usually spontaneous and even compulsive.  If you were to ask them (embarrassing) they would probably say I preached or lectured more than listened with intentionality.  And, as far as finishing stuff, let’s just say Sean didn’t get that trait from me.  It dawned on me that God is intentional. He planned everything from the beginning and is very intentional about following it all through to completion!  Thank God that He is not like me or many of us would be sitting on a shelf only half completed!

Unfortunately, not finishing projects is an old pattern in my life.  Usually, I feel like whatever I’m working on isn’t good enough to complete, and there is some merit to knowing when to cut your losses.  However, because I have allowed distraction to steal my minutes, most of the time my inability to complete something has more to do with not being intentional.  In reality, not planning and not being disciplined enough to eliminate distractions and set goals has been a safety net to avoid failure.  However, it also allows for the enemy to steal blessing and steal the joy that comes from doing things well for God’s glory.

For example,  while cleaning out some drawers recently I found photos and a blank photo album intended for Sean’s high school graduation memories.  The 2012 ribbon was still there, neatly rolled up with the extra pages I knew I would need to finish the project.  I had good intentions but I was not intentional.  Things happened, time went on and I put everything away in a drawer (probably because company was coming) and forgot to “finish stuff.”  I missed the blessing of being creative and Sean missed out on the joy of knowing I cared enough to intentionally create something meaningful for him.  And, of course, most importantly, it was a way to reflect God’s intentional love for His child.  I want to relinquish this pattern.  Perhaps it’s time to allow God to change me into something more Christlike; something less chaotic and more…finished.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms. For He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless in His presence.  In love.  He predestined us for adoption as His sons through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of His will…”  Ephesians 1:3-5