Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Writing Down Grateful

There isn’t a lot of time in my life to read books. There was one book recommended, however, that I decided to buy. Probably the best book I have ever purchased.
It is called One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. I highly recommend it. I went out and bought me, my girls, and our Monday night ladies group a small notebook to start our journey of thanksgiving.
Today I was jotting down a couple of things I am thankful for:
* Sweet messages on email and facebook, and
* Michael’s raising.
The first one is pretty self explanatory. The second I would like to explain.
Michael’s dad was a preacher all the kids’ lives. They were raised in church and saw the good, the bad, and the ugly. Probably one of the greatest things the kids learned growing up was grace.
No matter what was dished out, they took with grace. This family committed their lives to ministry. Lowell and Margaret worked hard to love on people. Still do
They are a giving, praying family.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Things We Really Need

So after a very frustrating “I wish I could bite somebody” day yesterday, (see previous post) the ladies studied in Nehemiah last night. Whoa.

I was being a baby. An untrusting baby.

When Nehemiah had every reason to be discouraged because of the enemy, he prayed. Yep. Easy answer – pray to the One Who can handle the battle.

See, I run to Him when someone’s life is in danger, whether because of illness or defeat, but when people are not being nice to each other I just, well, I don’t handle it well.

That’s where yesterday’s post came from. People weren’t playing nice.

Nehemiah recognized who the enemy was and put them in the hand of God. But here’s the best part: the work continued. He didn’t go crawl under a rock in self pity, he handed it off.

He realized the importance of the work and didn’t let anything get in the way of that work. A couple of times he called out to the Lord to “strengthen my hands”. One of my favorite prayers.

I just forgot it yesterday.

Just being in the Word last night changed my whole outlook. When I was trying to study yesterday afternoon, I had several phone calls so I was having a hard time concentrating. Then, of all things, a greyhound bus broke down in front of the church and they all came in for coffee and soft drinks. A talkative bunch.

So I really didn’t dive in to the scripture until it was time to teach. But, oh, when I did, I felt my jaw loosen a little. I felt the urge to bite go away.
I felt the weight lifted from my chest. 
 The weight I had allowed the enemy to place there because I wasn’t handling people words well.

Once again, my Jesus, my Word, calmed my heart.

After we got done, I walked in to sit at my desk and started to undo the last post. I knew I wasn’t supposed to. You can think bad of me if you want, that is how I honestly felt.

I don’t feel that way any more.

I know what I really need.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Things We Sometimes Need

To bite somebody.

I think I would feel a whole lot better right now if I could just clamp down good and not let go for a minute.

I have no one in particular in mind and I don't want to hurt anyone. Just people in general are getting to me. Okay, not people really: just people things, people words.

I will leave all skin intact. Well, maybe not.

That's how bad I need to bite somebody.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Climb On

This morning the girls and I went to the Y for the first time in about three weeks. Before that we were doing great, going every day. Today it hurt. And it felt good.

I went to the walking track and started my mile. Thought I’d start out easy since I had been out for awhile. I checked to see if it was a clockwise or a counter clockwise day and began to walk. 
I walked. I prayed. I cried.

Last weekend we were in the mountains, the Word washing over us. It is so sweet to have time of just the Word, worship, and sweet fellowship. Then we all go home or back to school and do life again. Do life with some people who don’t really care if they are walking with the Lord. Do life with some people who do care, but are walking through other difficult situations.

I walked and prayed and cried over my own children and decisions that need to be made and wanting a greater holiness for them.

I walked and prayed and cried over believers who weren’t sure if they wanted to live until next week. Life seems to be more than they can handle. It’s our job to convince them it isn’t.

I walked and prayed and cried over church family who are upset over decisions made that really have no spiritual significance at all.
Over young ladies who have decided the affections of other men are more important than their marriages and precious kids. And their Savior.

Oh God, please no.

The more I walked, the heavier my heart. I told God I wanted to be back in the mountains singing songs to Him; taking in the Bread of Heaven. I told Him I needed to be carried by Him.

He reminded me of a day 20 years ago. It was the weekend before Steve died. He had been sleeping in a recliner downstairs because it wasn’t as painful as on the bed. He stayed downstairs through the weekend, but on Sunday he decided he wanted to go upstairs to the bed.
There wasn’t anyone home but me, so we were trying to decide how to get him up the stairs, because he was too weak to climb them himself. I got down on all fours and he laid across my back and I slowly crept up the stairs. It was extremely painful for him so I had to go easy.
It took me awhile, but I finally got him to the top of the stairs and into the bed. I tried to make light of the situation so we wouldn’t be swallowed up in the sadness of it.

Because I wasn’t just carrying the weight of his body. I felt like I was carrying the weight of his pain, of his fear, of his humility, and of his surrender to the battle of that disease.

Why, Father, would You have me remember that day? Before the question was completely out of my mouth and to His ears, I knew exactly why.

“Climb on.” 

I heard it right in my heart. He wants to carry me, my fear, my disappointment, my heartache, my tiredness. He wants me back on the mountain, full of praise, right here in north Texas.
So I will keep walking, keep praying, and probably keep crying. But I will also keep singing one of the songs learned on the mountain:

In the chaos, in confusion
I know You're sovereign still
In the moment of my weakness
You give me grace to do Your will.

That is where the peace comes from. Trusting that there is victory in all the mess.

So even though the reality of life’s issues hurts, the reality of the faithfulness of my Father feels really good.