Saturday, June 27, 2009

Morning Renewal

My weekend starts early. Heat made this week swelter. I venture to my porch early to test the comfort level for my quiet time. Ah! A breeze whispers through leaves in the nearby field, birds chatter their good morning to the rising sun. Quiet, peaceful, refreshing.
The Lord's lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning. Great is thy faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:22-23.
In the midst of stress and uncertainty God comes and reminds me He is here.
Thank you Lord.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Have Fun Do Nothing

I find myself frustrated and jealous lately. Basically fighting off a severe case of the whines. It hits me every summer, but not usually until the end of July. I have bumped into so many people lately either in real life or virtual, i.e. facebook talking about the same summer theme. Have fun and do nothing. They are posting pictures of camping and vacations and all this totally cool stuff. OR they have told me summertime is when they just don't do much of anything. Really? I want in that club! I'm genuinely impressed they have the freedom of spirit to kick back. When I think summertime, I think more work.

I have to say I have not worked myself to death tonight but, I can't figure out how they do it. You know. Have fun and do nothing. Now I did recently invite some friends over for an impromptu evening and it was great. Loved it totally! But that is not the norm for me. I'm more like last night when I vacuumed at 11:00 p.m. so I would feel better when I went to bed.

Fill me in. Do I just let things go to have fun? Am I allowed to? I can't seem to do that. I want to have fun, and share time with friends and family. Really, I do. Really! But. . . I think it's a sickness. Maybe it's the HFDN aversion flu. I want the time I spend time with my family to be more than about work and goals and producing something. We forget how to even do it - Have fun and do nothing. I want to laugh more.

It even makes me feel guilty because as a Christian, I'm supposed to be joyful. Letting my light shine, letting people see there is a difference in me. Oh, boy.

I want to go somewhere totally inspiring, kick back, and laugh. Better yet, I want to learn how to find that inspiration every day, right here. That would really make a difference. So here goes:

I will laugh more.
I will find fun in the everyday.
I will take time to kick back and do nothing.

Ok, now that I've made all these altruistic declarations. Why don't I just admit the truth. What I really want is to go somewhere totally inspiring, have fun, do nothing and laugh.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

God Prepares

One of the elders in my church is a quiet and steady example of obedience to God and dedication to serving the church body. I've heard him joke about being a "rent a husband" and actually thought at the time I needed to rent him for my to do list. He is a faithful and humble servant who loves using his skills to help others. He truly enjoys doing for others.

Last fall he was doing for others when he fell from a ladder and broke his back. Although he miraculously was not paralyzed, that day his life was changed completely and permanently. Weeks and weeks in the hospital. Months of therapy. I don't know all the depths of his struggle. I can't speak for the anguish his family endured. Indeed, his wife, children and grandchildren have all experienced change because of his fall.

I know he talked to his family after he was home. He told them he had been praying and asked God to show him how he would handle it, if something really bad happened. Then came the fall, not immediately after, but nevertheless, after his time of praying. He said he didn't mind God answering his prayer. But he was so sorry because he didn't realize how much his prayer would cost the family.

I've thought about his story and laid it along side some really difficult things I've gone through. I compared my prayers then and can see how God prepared me through them.

Months before cataclysmic events, He started the process. First, quickening my heart to feel the need come back to him. So I made my way back to church even though I had to go alone. Then, as I kept opening myself, he used a radio program - I think it was Dobson - to give me an understanding of things happening to people in my life. It was hard to hear and I needed time to process what I was learning. It seemed just as I had come to terms with his first revelation, he hit me again. Same program, same basic message, Except God took it to the next step, a deeper level. Maybe God was very patient, but what I really think is that he started working in my heart early enough that I would be completely ready when the day came to face the situation head on. Prayer was a big part of the process.

It was preparation of the deepest parts of my soul. A divine mix of understanding, a realization of my weakness and desperate need for him, while at the same time giving me an uncommon strength. One not my own. I learned what happens when I stay close to him in prayer and live in his presence. God prepared me for the moment I had to ask a most difficult question by already giving me the answer. God spent months getting me ready for that moment and the life changing events that would come.

Back to my church elder. Did God allow the accident as a response to his prayer? Did God listen to his prayers and sit down in heaven one afternoon and think, Hmm, what an idea. I think I will see how he reacts if something really bad happens. I'll cook up the scheme to have him fall off a ladder. Or, were his prayers a part of the preparation to face the accident God knew was coming?

Some might disagree, but I believe God knows everything that lies ahead. He loves us so much that he gets us ready for what life might throw at us. I believe it because I have experienced it.

Yes, I've had friends who have have terrible unexpected accidents rip their lives apart. I wish I could ask them as they look back on it now, if they can see the hand of God preparing them? Another friend asked God to teach her something and went through an unbelievably hurtful experience directly related to her prayer.

Does thinking about the possibility of these kind of answers make us afraid to pray? Should we be fearful that something bad might really happen?

I say it again, God knows everything. Bad things happen in every life. None of us are immune to tragedy and heartbreak. So many of us are facing things like this right now. I am. Again. We are looking into a very scary future and wonder what will happen. Where can God be in all of this?

As I look at the big, scary tomorrow, I remember yesterday and how he worked so carefully and patiently in my life. Most of the preparation was on the inside. Today, I know prayer shapes my soul. God shapes my prayers. God prepares.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Quick Takes - Take 4

1. Sam, my newly acquired cat has been missing for nearly 24 hours now. Is it too soon an Ampurrrrr alert? I'm afraid he will not come back. Although he was obviously from someone home judging how tame he is, I want him to stay with us. I should feel bad I want to steal him for keeps.

2. I'm proud of my daughter. She really, really, I mean REALLY wanted to hang out with her favorite friends and eat her favorite food-Chinese (homemade no less), at one of her favorite places-Pastor Sam's house, but she did the right thing and went to her 4-H meeting instead. Way to go! I know that was a hard decision.

3. Do you ever wonder how God speaks? I do. I've been trying do decipher the meaning of a particular passage and how it relates to events in my life. Can it apply? God is talking about something completely different with people thousands of years ago and yet he is talking about the same things we face today. His truth ABSOLUTELY applies today! But I don't want to put my Linda spin on it. I want to get His message and I'm praying for understanding because I really don't want to get it wrong.

4. Shopping Caution!!!! Never, and I do mean NEVER, lean down to pick up something from the changing room floor and glance back into the mirror! My shock waves could have set off the security alarms. I may have had cottage cheese on the shopping list, but I didn't expect to find it on my backside in the ladies department!

5. The weather has been weird. Which is actually normal for our neck of the woods. We were terribly dry and missing every rain that came along, then had major storms, heavy rain and horrible hail four times in one week. Now it is staying cooler and wet when farmers want to get back out and replant crops destroyed by hail. Life on the plains isn't so plain after all. Reminds me of how big and awesomely powerful God is and how little I am.
6. My good friend is doing a great series of posts on connecting. You can read them at The Next Step. I've been thinking about how I can be better at making connections with people and I realize one stumbling block is that I'm not very good at small talk. I watch ladies around me happily chatting away about their favorite recipe, the goofy thing the kids did last night, any little thing and laughing and having fun together. Connecting. Not on a deep level, but it all starts there. The light, daily stuff that lets people get a glimpse of you and you get an idea of how they tick. I'm working on strategies to help me get better at this. Suggestions are welcome.

7. Back to #3. This situation is a biggy. The verse I'm going to apply today is: Cast all your cares on Him because He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7. Go ahead and borrow that verse for yourself if you are facing something big and scary. So many of us are. But God does care. He is there. He will see us through.
For more refreshing takes, visit Conversation Diary

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

New Guy in Town

We have a new guy at our house.
I have to say I like him already.
The trick will be to not get too attached,
while I'm trying to entice him to stick around.
He's very affectionate.
Good looking.
Has genuine, honest eyes.
He seems very well trained (as any male should be)
and quick to belly up to the bowl.
Isn't the way to a man's heart through his stomach?
He seems to like his freedom yet when he sees me, he comes running.
This one might be a keeper.