A day for Women

It’s Mother’s Day Eve and yes, I know that’s not really a day. Humor me. Sunflower

Since losing my own mom a little over a year and a half ago, Mother’s Day has become a real struggle for me. I don’t want to celebrate but as my husband so succinctly put it, “But your children do. They want to tell you they love you. Get over it.” But in reflecting on Mother’s Day and all of it’s prickly parts, I started to think about women who aren’t mothers in a biological sense. Below is my take on Mother’s Day which will now be – for me anyway – day for all women who pour into the lives of the people around them.

All my love Lady Warriors! You are phenomenal!
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A Mom’s take on Mother’s Day

You think it falls on one happy Sunday in May don’t you?

Let’s get real. It really starts the Thursday before when Dad says, “So what do you want to do for Mother’s Day?” And Mom starts making the plan for the family. What will we do for lunch? Do we have those groceries or do I need to pick them up at the store this weekend? A reservation for brunch at this point is out of the question because, well…we have 3 days and it’s been booked since March when the Moms who were on top of it planned for their own mothers.

And let’s talk about Sunday morning, shall we?

Dad thinks it’s a great idea to make breakfast in bed for Mom. With the kids. In the kitchen. With eggs. And bacon. And fresh orange juice.

We hear you. We try not to. We try to pretend we’re still asleep but we hear the mixer spewing flour and batter all over every surface. We hear the three bowls and two pans clattering. We can’t hear them but we know there are at minimum seventeen partially used, slightly crumpled paper towels scattered over every surface and some even make it to the floor. Oh, the floor. Flour, egg drippings, orange juice pulp. Yeah…the floor.

But if we can block the vision of the disaster dancing in our heads, we delight in our breakfast with our babies as they all pile into bed with us, slopping orange juice onto the comforter but giggling at syrup sticky mouths and four dusted noses.

Until we look at the clock. 7:45?!

Go! Go! Go! With the precision of Patton, we bound from our beds and shoo bodies to their rooms. Wash your face. Brush your teeth. No BEFORE you get dressed because we don’t want to get toothpaste on your pretty dress. Zip up your sister. What do you mean you can’t find your dress socks? You just had them last week and I know I folded them and sent them back with your laundry. Please go look again.

Dear? Were you going to shower? You know church starts at 9:00 right? And parking will be crowded so we need to leave a little early.

No, you can’t wear your long sleeve brocade Christmas dress for Mother’s day. Because it’s too hot. Please just put on the dress I laid out. Baby girl that’s the second pair of tights you have torn this morning! Son, this is not the time for video games. You don’t have any shoes on. Yes both of them. Of course you lost your second shoe. You BOTH lost a shoe? Ok, retrace your steps and look under your bed.

My hose have a run! And so does the second pair…Well it’s lotion, sandals, a speed paint on the toes. I’m just praying that everyone else is as winter pale as I am.

Hairbrush – who had the hairbrush last? No darling husband, at this point I really don’t care if you wear a tie or not. Yes, those shoes look lovely with those pants.

Let’s go people! We need to be out the door in five! I’m sorry…Has anyone seen the teenager since breakfast? What do you mean she’s in the shower?! We’ve gotta GO!!!

And then we get to church. We pause beside the car. Please tuck in your shirt – again. Where is your shoe? You had it when you got IN the car, right? Ok, everyone smile. All I really want for Mother’s Day is one picture where you are all looking at the camera and smiling at the same time. Boy, if you photobomb one more picture with your tongue hanging out, I will be one child less of a mother.

Well good morning Pastor Steve!!

Oh, Mother’s Day. The day when the matriarch is celebrated- much to her dismay. The day to honor the miracle of birth and the bodies that pulled it off. The day when we step back and look at the women who may not have blood descendants of their own but who love just as fiercely and have an even greater influence as a result of the fact that they choose to exert that influence.

It’s a day to pay homage to the women who fully grasp what it means to pray without ceasing. Who wear grooves in the floor walking a baby to sleep when they are an infant, soothing a fever when they are young, and pacing the floor listening for the car to return well after curfew.

Mother’s Day affords us the opportunity to honor every woman who walked beside another and said, “It’s just a phase. You can do this and you will both survive.” To recognize and celebrate the women who stepped into the lives of the motherless and adopted them as their own pouring out the same passionate devotion they would for one of their own.

So Moms and Women of Profound Influence, when you walk into the Kitchen of Despair today and as you referee another sibling spat; while you drag everyone through the evening routine and get ready to send them back to school and work tomorrow; as you carry your beloved ones before the Throne of Grace in thanksgiving and petition, remember this.

It doesn’t happen without you. And when you are gone from this earth, your shadow, your fingerprints, your voice will do so much more than remain – it will endure and persist and ring through every life you have crossed.

Here’s to you blessed among women.

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Lovable

I have a friend who has recently taught me a serious lesson that I think maybe we all could use – either as a refresher course or to finally let in to our hearts and souls and minds. See, this friend has taken to reminding me that she loves me – not in those words. In her own way she has let me know that she admires me (I think), respects me, and loves me as I am.

I will shamefully admit that I didn’t receive that well  at first. It felt awkward and uncomfortable because this particular friend has seen lots of my lumps. She has witnessed my less than stellar parenting (read – impatience), my less than positive attitude under stress (translation – critical and whiny face), and my not so pleasant demeanor towards the end of a long and busy week (aka tired and grumpy). I’m not sure but I think she intentionally reminds me in those moments that she still loves me.

heart-clip-art-60

Pardon the expression but…What the heck?!

 

When all I can see is how I am failing to live up to the holiness expectation I have in my head, this crazy woman reminds me that I am loved. When I know I am getting it ALL wrong, she reminds me that it doesn’t matter.

I am still loved. And – the part that is a REAL kicker – I am still lovable.

At the risk of being redundant…What the heck?!

John 13:34-35
34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.

Love one another even as I have loved you. And how did Christ love us?

 

Romans 5:6-8
For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

He loved us enough to die. He loved us when we were lumpy all over and completely as far from holy as we could get. And His love was so big that He was willing to die to show that love.

 

So here it is – a lesson in lovable.
#1. You are.
You are lovable. I am lovable. Even when we are getting it all wrong. Even when our best efforts fall short and our patience runs out and our lives are a train wreck of epic dimensions by our estimation. We are lovable.

So the next time someone says “I love you!” or tries to show you admiration or kindness or respect, it’s ok to accept it. Not in a vain, “Don’t I know it!” kind of way of course. No need to go purchase your light up “I’m lovable” pin. But know that it’s ok to be loved.

#2. Others are lovable. And you should tell them that.
It’s your job. More people will recognize that you are a disciple of Christ by your love than by your preaching. More people will know Jesus by the way you walk beside them and offer them a hand up than by how much you point out what they haven’t accomplished yet.

Yes, you could do that from a distance and by telepathy but some people could really use the words. Yes, it will be awkward.

But I think…just maybe…so was the cross.

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Rip Currents

*I’m not a scientist (as we have previously established) but I tried to pay attention in school. That said, take all scientific information noted here with the lens of grace and do additional research if the science is important to you.*

Recently there was a story in the news about two children who got caught in a rip current. A pretty common event around the beach but it made the news when the people who tried to rescue them got caught up too. All the affected swimmers were eventually saved when a group of 80 complete strangers linked arms and created a human chain from the shore to the swimmers and helped them to safety. The story took over news cycles for several days because of the bravery and kindness of strangers to rescue the boys and family in danger.

There are so many lessons in the story. Be aware of those in need. Don’t limit who you help. Sometimes it takes a village to save a few. But what about the lesson for the boys who initially got caught? I’m sure their family made it a point to educate the boys about how to handle a rip current if they were to ever get back in the water.

By my understanding, a rip current is created when water at the shore finds a channel to flow back out to sea. When the waves are washing in rapidly or are high, the amount of water flowing out creates a significant pull – current – that can “rip” loose floating debris or people out to the ocean. Human instinct says, “That current is too strong and it’s taking me where I don’t want to go, so I need to swim as hard as I can to get to safety.” Unfortunately, the current is stronger than the swimmer and they become exhausted  and may drown before they are rescued.

It’s not the current that takes them under. It’s their exhaustion from fighting something bigger than them.

Luke 23:44-47
44 It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness fell over the whole land until the ninth hour, 45 because the sun was obscured; and the veil of the temple was torn in two. 46 And Jesus, crying out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.” Having said this, He breathed His last. 

Good grief! Why would I pick the saddest piece of the Easter story right now?! Are we not all overwhelmed enough by the fear of rip currents?! That’s my point.

At the darkest hour. When things were as bad as they could get. With oppression, fear, anger, confusion, despair and exhaustion at their peak, Jesus let go. He released himself into God’s will.

You see, that’s how you deal with a rip current. When the current gets past the breakers and waves that are pushing to shore, it loses it’s power and releases into the open ocean. To save yourself from the rip, you have to let it take you out past the trouble and into the open calmer water. The funny thing is, if you swim down shore from the current and start in toward safety, the waves will carry you back in. The same waves that 10 yards earlier were creating the rush of water that threatened your life, now have the power to save you.

For two years, the breakers of life have been crashing and I kept feeling myself being pulled harder and harder away from shore. From who I knew myself to be in Christ and what I was called to do for the Kingdom. I was fighting with all I was to stay the person others expected me to be and handle my issues bravely the way I wanted to. In my power.
ocean

But suddenly I found myself broken, exhausted and drowning. No fight left and no sight line of the shore. At my darkest hour. When things were as bad as they could get. With oppression, fear, anger, confusion, despair and exhaustion at their peak, I was reminded that to be saved, I had to let go. I had to hand it over to God – all of it.

 

And now God is taking me out to sea. I don’t know how far the current will carry me but I know at the end, there is a peaceful place. And when it’s time, the waves will come again and push me back to shore. The same troubles that create the problem can, after God heals, bring us back to a new place in faith.

That’s another thing about rip currents. When you release and let yourself be drawn out to sea and washed back to shore, you don’t come back to where you washed out in the first place. You come back to a whole new place. Sometimes as a whole new person. Or like a person resurrected in Christ.

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(Re)Wired

“They’re just wired that way.”

That probably has to be my single least favorite phrase in the world. The way I understand that phrase is that people are programmed with a certain set of attitudes, behaviors, and habits that are just stuck there. No matter what they do, they will always speak, behave and see the world through that “wiring.” And not matter what, it can’t change.

“They’re just wired that way.”

It’s used as a reasoning – maybe even an excuse – for behavior that is less than kind, reasonable, flexible, or (heaven forbid!) that the person in question just doesn’t want to change. The modification would be too challenging or would require them to recognize an issue in their life. If they can claim it’s their default setting hardwired into their persona, they don’t have to change because it’s not possible.

“They’re just wired that way.”

Our house is over 30 years old. A few years ago we had a flood in our basement and had to tear out some walls. In the process, we came across a can of mushrooms that had been built into the wall during construction. 30 year old mushrooms. The clean up guy asked me if I wanted him to leave it so it could be built back in when we restored things.

Just because something is built into my house, doesn’t mean it needs to stay there.

electrical-outlets-factors-to-consider-when-selecting-electrical-outlets-HT-BG-EL-rotating-outlet

Our ceiling fan light went dead in our bedroom. We replaced the ceiling fan. When we recognize something broken, we repair or replace it.

An outlet caught fire. I didn’t just shut down that room and stop using the power there because the original socket went bad. I cut the bad wiring out and replaced the outlet.

Just because something is wired that way, doesn’t mean it can’t change.

2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

Romans 12:2
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

And finally,
Romans 6:2-7
May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin.

As Christians, we HAVE to be rewired! What is the point if we do not even try to allow God to rewire us from our previous self?

I am wired for anxiety. I worry about everything and try to plan for every possible outcome of every scenario. I keep too much food in my pantry. I have storm candles and lighters in every room all the time. I seldom let my car get below a quarter of a tank of gas and I consult and cross reference a different calendar for every corner of my life. I am a cat in a room full of rocking chairs 98% of the time. It’s how I’m wired. It makes me testy; keeps me from eating well; and drives my husband nuts.

Philippians 4:6
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

Recently I had a chat with God about the anxiety in my life. Obviously, my anxiety is in direct opposition of His plan for me. But it’s how I’m wired, right? Oh, well. That’s unfortunate for you God. It’s how I’m made so it can’t change. Or can it?

The Romans 6 verses popped up during our chat and God reminded me that I’m dead to that particular sin. Now I have to start living like it. Every day I have to surrender that anxiety to God and find my thanksgiving. God and I have to rewire my mind and heart to release anxiety. Anxiety doesn’t belong so it has to be removed and discarded like 30 year old mushrooms.

When I’m tired or stressed my temper becomes very short.

Ephesians 4:31-32
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.

Aww, man! Another broken part that needs to be replaced! Now I have to let God rewire the anger to be forgiveness and tenderness. Like a broken ceiling fan.

Rewiring isn’t easy. When I was replacing the outlet, I came across a particular wire that I just couldn’t get stripped properly. The first time, I cut right through the wire because I clamped the pliers down too tightly and cut through the whole thing instead of just the covering. The second time, I didn’t cut through the insulation at all and just kept spinning my wheels. The third time I got the insulation off the wire but I took so much of it off, that I had too much bare wire to safely repair the outlet.

That’s why I’m not a professional electrician. But I know a Guy. And all I need to do is call on Him and He can rewire the problem areas in my life. If I decided to offer my two cents, it’s going to take more than one try. If I surrender, He can get it right.

Someday, I’ll be able to say, “That’s just the way I’m RE-wired.”

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Moving Advent

My friend Christian and his family are lighting the next Advent candle this week at church and as a result he went on a quest of sorts to uncover what Advent is and means. We have these discussions from time to time over coffee and projects and while we didn’t really sit down and talk this one out, he made me think. After almost a week, I think I’ve finally landed. Advent = Adventure. But not a machete wielding, wildlife surviving, pith helmet required adventure. This is a much quieter, spiraling, seeking adventure.

A few years ago I saw an Advent spiral in Ann Voskamp’s shop that has seared itself in my mind and heart. The circular draw of the spiral speaks movement to me. Many refer to the season of Advent as a season of waiting but I think for me, it means moving. God moved closer to us by coming to earth in the infant Jesus. Just the same we can move closer to Him with our heart approach and adoption of what the four candles represent.

The first candle is Hope. I think we can all agree that this is a good place to start. Christian or not, we all hope for something better, more meaningful, different, more fun or (insert your own thought here) for our lives. We want a better job; a more peaceful family; a crisis averted; a loss recovered. We want those things and we hope they will happen for us. We believe they can happen for us. And we wait for that hope to be realized. And that’s when we move forward.

Love comes next and let’s face it, that is one of the things we hope for, right? We hope our love is the real deal when we are in a relationship. We know our love is the real deal when we are parents. We pray that our children will find true love when they are adults.  But love when we find it, becomes all our hopes realized and in living color. When we find that better job that we were hoping for, we quickly “love” what we do. It’s so much easier to love our families when they are peaceful and we appreciate those we love when the crisis is passed and the lost is found. And then we move forward.

It’s not hard to see how Hope realized by Love gives way to Joy. I mean, we got what we wanted right? We have what our hearts were longing for so of course we are going to be full of Joy! It never fails to amuse me that the joy candle is usually pink while all the others are purple or blue. Seeking, finding and then celebrating. And that is as it should be so we move forward.

And we find ourselves at Peace. We have hoped for something. It has been given to us and we celebrated. Now we rest and we are at peace with our lives and sit in the calm and stillness of the moment not craving any longer and not chasing after anything. We are still and quiet. Funny that this is the candle that is closest to the end. In our culture this candle is usually lit when families are at their most frenzied pace and moms are the most stressed and kids are wired because school is about to be out and all the magic of Christmas is about to explode. But we light the peace candle and are supposed to be in our quietest and most still moment.

Why? Because we have one candle left. The Christ candle. If I had my way the Christ candle would not be just one candle and it wouldn’t be in the center of the wreath. It would be four candles and they would alternate with the other four in one continuous circle.

We Hope for a more meaningful existence because we know that what is here on earth is just not enough. Something in our core craves a connection, a belonging, an unconditional acceptance that has no strings or expectations or requirements. It is to be able to be as we are and still a treasure to Someone. So God sends Jesus.

And in His arrival we realized that He is destined to be our ultimate penance, sacrifice, debt payment and that He is doing it willingly out of pure, true and unconditional Love.

We look at Jesus and we see the gift of our Easter redemption and the gate of forgiveness swings wide open. We have access to be as we are and know that we are a treasure to Someone. And our hearts and minds and bodies flush with Joy.

So we bow down – no, fall down – face first at the feet of Jesus in overwhelming gratitude but our words cannot even begin to explain our hearts. The groanings of our spirit try to express to God how profoundly we love the gift He has given but we are rendered speechless and still. So we lay in complete Peace.Image result for advent wreath

In the straw. In a cave. While shepherds heed angels and kings cross mountains.

Then we rise and we move forward. We find another Hopeful soul seeking Love. And we share in their Joy and smile at their Peace.

Because there, in the center of it all, is Jesus.

Hope promised: Isaiah 9:6
Love presented: Luke 2:12
Joy proclaimed: Luke 2: 17, 18 & 20
Peace possessed: Luke 2:19

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Meniscus

I am a language person so in school I took just enough science classes to cover my requirements. I also paid just enough attention to keep my GPA where I wanted it. That said, the following blog post has been reviewed for glaring errors by my long suffering science teacher friend Mr. Blizzard. He tells me that this is more chemistry and physics than earth science which makes me even more nervous than before. I passed chem by the skin of my teeth and didn’t even attempt physics so forgive me if this is an extreme over-simplification.

meniscusScientifically speaking a meniscus is the “bubble” formed when a container is full but hasn’t spilled over just yet. I tried to recreate one yesterday afternoon in my kitchen. If you look at the left side of the glass you can see a slight curve where the water is actually over the top of the glass but not spilling. Keep that surface tension in your mind as we proceed.

But then I added one more drop of water from a straw. untitled

Can you see the ribbon of water running down the outside of the glass?

From my very limited understanding, the water molecules in the bubble are in a state of cohesion. They are trying to hang on to one another and the rim of the glass through polar attraction. It has to do with electrons and polarity and a lot of molecular science stuff that (as previously mentioned) I don’t fully comprehend. Let’s simplify it to this point. That polarity thing creates the surface tension that keeps them together and helps them reach higher than they probably should. But one more drop adds too much mass for their polarity and they have to let go and release the extra pressure.

Yesterday was an emotionally bad day. There were several factors that fed into my mental state and for a few days I have felt like the meniscus. I was holding it together – stretched, but holding.

I was also terrified. I could feel the surface tension of my emotions and spirit and I knew one more drop of anything was going to push me over the top. My only prayer was that when that drop hit, I would be in the comfort of my own bed within arms reach of my box of tissues and I would have no obligations looming.  I was not. I was in a staff meeting and I can’t even pinpoint what the drop was. All I know is one minute I was standing in the back of the room and the next I was sobbing, hyperventilating and melting in the bathroom. Not some small ribbon of tears but a tsunami that left me confused, exhausted, drained and, if I’m being raw, more than a little embarrassed.

A dear, darling and genuine friend came to my rescue and in that moment instead of giving me platitudes and “it will be ok” she said, “I have no idea how badly you hurt right now but let me stand here and hold you up.” And she cried with me.

I’ve always thought I understood the following verses but I think that was limited to my head and my academic understanding. Today my heart heard them for the first time.

Psalm 34:15-19
15 The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous
And His ears are open to their cry.
16 The face of the Lord is against evildoers,
To cut off the memory of them from the earth.
17 The righteous cry, and the Lord hears
And delivers them out of all their troubles.
18 The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
And saves those who are crushed in spirit.
19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
But the Lord delivers him out of them all.

The Lord sees and hears his children cry out. As badly as I wanted to be holed up in my bed by myself when the tension broke, I needed someone to see me. I needed someone to see the hurt and help me see it too. “The righteous cry and the Lord hears.”I needed someone to hear my sobs. If a person cries in their pillow and no one is there to hear it, are they really feeling that way?  “The Lord is NEAR to the brokenhearted.” He holds them up when their legs are giving out and it feels impossible to breathe so they tango with hyperventilation.

“And saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

My breath was sucked out of my lungs. He doesn’t save them from BEING crushed in spirit. He saves the crushed spirits.

Everything with Momma happened so fast that I don’t think I ever registered all my feelings. I never registered the cancer and the fear that that diagnosis struck in my core. I never registered the phrase “there is nothing we can do” and the hopelessness that dropped the bottom out. I never absorbed the emptiness of her death until I tried to pick up the phone for the third time this week to call her and tell her a story about one of the kids and realized that she wasn’t going to pick up.

The meniscus grew and grew with all those emotions and suddenly without warning or reason there was one more drop. The tension broke and my spirit disintegrated like a saltine in the hand of a toddler. But here I sit, ten hours later and there is a spark of hope licking up oxygen.

Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
But the Lord delivers him out of them all.

If you are stretching like a meniscus…

If your surface tension is just about maxed out…

If the tissues are just out of arms’ reach…

The Lord will deliver you.

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The Path.

I don’t recommend walking alone. I mean sometimes going for a solo walk is an absolutely necessity but there are other times when directionally challenged individuals should not be released into the wild. Even if they have a map.

Case in point…

I went out on our local Greenway this morning after delivering children to buses and schools. Normally I would be just fine on the Greenway because my son would be with me and we would be on bikes and would be staying on the main nice wide paved path that we travel regularly. However, the lack of male child and being on foot instead of wheels inspired me to take a risk and explore “pedestrian only” paths I hadn’t been on before.

Detour #1. I took a branch of the trail that put me out beside a very busy, but still sidewalk lined main thoroughfare a fair distance from my starting point. I knew exactly where I was and how to get back to the path but the walk to the reentry point was long. The trip from reentry back to my car would have been even longer. So I turned around and doubled back.

Detour #2. My second attempt at branching out lead me straight to a dead end. I could see on my GPS that the trail ended but I dismissed the map. Surely the trail didn’t end that abruptly! They just hadn’t updated the map to reflect the trail that just HAD to be there. I got to the end of the trail and I could see where I wanted to be but wouldn’t you know it? The map was right. There was no trail connecting me to my destination. So I turned around and doubled back.

Some people just don’t learn. I was almost back to my original starting point and car when my curiosity got the better of me. Someone had told me that there was a great hiking trail around the mountain bike path right at the entrance to the Greenway park so I thought I would “find” it. I saw an entrance to the bike trail and took it. I could see from the park map posted that the walking trail should be right beside me but I didn’t slow down to determine which trail matched the walking trail I wanted. I just marched forward.

See that sign on the left? It was followed quickly by the sign on the right. Now a sane person who had already failed that this “off the beaten path” exercise would have retreated immediately right? For starters, I was a pedestrian using a mountain bike trail. Not just a mountain bike trail but one that was open this particular day which greatly increased my chances of getting run over. And the most difficult trail available. But you know that first sign just egged me on. “Be prepared to finish. There are no bailout points.”

James 1: 2-9
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials,knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.  But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

As I was wandering around in circles on the most difficult path never made for feet, I thought about grief. I don’t have a clue how to grieve. There isn’t a checklist for this. There isn’t a map to tell me what is coming up or if the trail is going to lead me back to the beginning or if it’s headed to a dead end. But I know that I can’t avoid this path. I know that it is going to be a long process. Longer than I want it to be I’m sure. There are going to be times when I think I can see the end but there is no way to get there from where I am. I will have to backtrack and face emotions and thoughts and memories.And heaven knows there are no bail out points on this process.

I am encouraged by James in this. I don’t know the answers to this current trial. I know that it will eventually build me up and help me help others. That much is absolutely certain to me. Verse 5 gives me hopeful assurance that God will provide me with the guidance I need – the GPS so to speak. I laugh at myself when I get to verses 6-8. It was almost as if God walked beside me as I ignored the map with the clearly defined dead end.

I’m sure there are others who are finding themselves off the beaten path and facing a struggle they have never seen before. I encourage you to take the long walk. Work the whole process and look to God for your guidance and direction. Don’t ignore the clear indicators along the way and please, don’t bail out. Work it all the way through so that you can live in the promise and rest of verse 4.

And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

 

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