Sunday, September 29, 2013

Humble Lessons

Over the last week, I have started 3 different posts.
 I have stared at the screen, piecing my thoughts together, only to have them fall apart or be interrupted.
  Writing is one of my passions, and yet, as life has been quite full lately, I have struggled to pursue it and make it happen. Not for lack of want, but for lack of time and putting my priorities in order. Even today, as I sit here, I am at a loss for how to put my words together of what is in my heart and what I want to say.

 And so, I will just share a bit of my heart and what I am learning. Perhaps next time there will be something more profound to share.

~John 15:5-"Apart from Me you can do nothing." Jesus said that. I am learning that.
         Anytime recently I have even attempted to do something on my own strength, plan , or energy, it falls apart somehow or does not come together in a neat, tidy bow.  I am in the midst of the heat of my "ahem..." God's 5K memory of my mom. Times I have attempted to do something with it on my own idea or accord, I become frustrated. I have seen this. Yet when I stop and give it to Him and put Him in the middle, I see an answer. Sometimes, that answer is "no" other times, it comes together beautifully. Regardless of the answer, I see Him in the midst of it.  And it truly is HIS 5K, not mine. At times, I have to be humbly reminded of this.

 ~Each time he said, "My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness." So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.  (2 Cor. 12:9) 
Boasting about my weakness is a struggle for me, I will not even pretend it is not. I don't like my weakness... seriously, who does?? But my weakness comes in the form of anxiety. It isn't easily seen; I hide it well. The weakness of anxiety has made huge strides towards disappearing all together from my life, and I have been working to be totally off the medicine I've had to take for it. Yet just when I think it may be totally gone, there may be a small flare up of it. (Perhaps because of a large event pending and when I try to take control of it, God reminds me of my weakness so that I utterly depend on Him through it all. )  I cannot overcome the anxiety on my own. It will have to be a God oriented healing. Anxiety is often misunderstood by our culture, and deserves blogs all of its own. The point is, I wrestle with the beast of it. Anxiety is my weakness. My reminder that His power works through that. One day I may say I don't have it at all, I believe. But for now, I am reminded that He is all I need. I cannot do anything on my own strength. And I will BOAST in that fact.  Yes, I have anxiety more often than I'd care to admit. BUT guess what?? HE is stronger than it! And because of that I shout with joy at His strength! No matter what.....

    And those are just 2 lessons to recap what's been in my heart the last week as I have been daily working on His 5K coming in just 2 weeks. 
 I am a work in progress, a pot being molded by Him. Sometimes He has to smash me and start all over again, but that is what is so beautiful about His workmanship... and His mercies being new every day.... One day at a time. I will keep running the race for Him as I press on toward the ultimate goal: Life with Him day at a time. 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Open Eyes

"God is at work all around you"
 That is the statement that has stuck out to me today. And as I have been dwelling on that, my eyes are more open in so many aspects as to how that is true.

 He is in the brand new friendship He's given me in an already dear friend.
   He is in the kind words of customers .
    He is in the crisp, cool morning runs.
      He is in the warm cups of coffee I get to make over and over all day.
         He is in my husband's hugs and my children's laughter.
            He is in every single registration that files in for the 5K in memory of mom.
       He is even in my tears and my hurts.

I only need to open my eyes.

It's so easy to become consumed with daily details, bad news, ugly comments, disappointing people and frustrating circumstances.
  Yet I will be the first to say that lately, I have seen God with totally new eyes. I just had to ask. And OPEN them (both heart and eyes) see what He is doing.

  When this happens, the above details become  :
      Daily blessings,
          growth opportunities
             moments to extend grace
                chances to see people in His eyes
                     and times to deepen my prayers and walk with Him....

And He is faithful . He is ALWAYS working in and around me. I just have to have open eyes.


Sunday, September 15, 2013

His Plans, My Hands

The 5K that takes place in memory of my mom is less than a month away, and I have been in full force planning mode the last weeks. The next few weeks will be just as much full with things like last minute emails, registrations still coming in, tshirts to come in, and goodie bags to be assembled.  These are the very exciting, yet very exhausting, days of the event coming to unfold.

  In these last few weeks, I have been asked :  
   "How's it going?"
    "Are you ready?

     "Are you excited?"
        "How's your family doing?" (Those closest to me can well understand that at times planning an event as large as a 5K can take a toll on family time)

 My answer was sounding like this:
  "It's good, but not where I want it."
     "I'm getting there."
  "I'm as ready as I can be at this point."
    "Family.....tough question. Trying to balance all that a bit better this year...."

It has been a year of learning with this event, but I won't cover those things until after the event takes place. What I really want to share today is this:

This event, done in memory of my mom, is to help fuel funds into a scholarship for students studying in the nursing field. These students study under a blanket of God's word and truths, and one day, they will be able to carry His light into a world where I cannot be.
   It's HIS event....I am just lucky enough to be HIS hands for it all to unfold.

He gave me a dream with this, but sometimes I have to remember it's not all about my goals. I'm a goal setter...and that is not a bad thing by any means. I believe you have to set goals to reach higher. However, I have remembered this week, as I have been piecing together more and more details and praying more and more over the event, that it's not about my goals.
 I just get to be His hands.
       The cool thing that's struck me is that that applies to all my life:
  I'm His hands in the coffee shop every day.
     I'm His hands when I vacuum and do dishes.
          I'm His hands when I wipe Elizabeth's tears or wipe Joseph's scraped knee.
I get to be His hands in all I do.
 His plans....My hands.

Sure, I take time to remember mom and how much she gave to everyone around her through the 5K.
   Yes, I am so excited to be able to be a director of an event, which is running, about which I am openly passionate.
        Yes, I get to see students blessed in the process, and we aim to see even more blessed in higher ways.

BUT..... even more importantly,
  I get to do something He has planted in my heart.  I get to be His hands; a small piece of His work unfolding. And that is beautiful.
 So, if you ask me how it's going, I will probably say...
    It's right where He wants it for now.  I am excited to see what He is doing and watch it unfold. I am just the hands that get to do it !

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Take Time

Just a thought I've had lately:
  What if we all...

Took the time to....

  Write a note of encouragement? Just a few small words.....

     Smile at the person behind us or the cashier in front of us, instead of being so busy with our phones?

  Pray for our co worker?

            Help the elderly with something as simple as reaching something high on a grocery shelf?

 Buy coffee for the obviously weary mom behind us?

       Ask someone how their day is? And REALLY listen to the answer.

   Hug a friend?

           Give change to a person fumbling to find it for themselves?

Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, when you did it (fed, gave water to, visited, or clothed....) to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me."  (Matthew 25:34-46)

  "For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many." Matthew 20:28

  What if we choose today, and one day at a time, to serve and not demand (or even think) that we should be the ones served. What if we choose to mirror Jesus' example?
  Imagine how different life would look. And honestly, you may very well end up being blessed far more than if you were the one being served.
    What if we took the time to serve?
       Starting today...
          One day at a time.......

Friday, September 6, 2013

Learning to Ride a Bike

I was about 7 years old, and a lady from the bookstore offered my mom a brand new bike for me. It was shiny red, with a royal blue seat and black handle bars. I'll never forget the day she pulled into our driveway and unloaded that bike for me. My eyes sparkled with delight over this gift; it was a big deal to get something new, and not to have a hand me down.
   The catch was: I didn't yet know how to ride a bike.
 It wasn't until probably a year later I really learned to do it. I wanted so badly to learn, for my daddy to teach me to ride. When the day arrived that he took me out to teach me, I was so excited.......
   I got on the bike excitedly, but scared.
     He held on to the back seat, and rolled me down our slightly inclined drive( which then turned to gravel).   And I pedaled. He held on and it was a success! I was riding! The problem is....he had to let go, so I could really learn to do it alone.
     I crashed, Head first into the huge tree in the yard.

I don't remember if I cried or got scraped up, but I clearly remember hitting the tree. Then I remember getting back on and my daddy once again helping me conquer this task.  He continued to let go and I pedaled farther.  Then I realized i could do it! I was riding a bike! Thanks to Mrs. Day for a brand new bike, and my daddy for teaching me.

I was recounting this story to my kids this past week, and in so doing was reminded that life is often like learning to ride that bike.

 New opportunities get handed to us, and we have to learn how to handle them.

We have to choose whether to quit or keep going when it gets hard or when we fall down.

We have to choose whether or not to keep trusting the One guiding us, even when it gets bumpy.

 When a smooth incline turns to gravel, will we keep going or will we halt to a stop?

When a giant tree knocks us down or blocks our path, how will we conquer that obstacle?

   The more we pedal, the farther we can go.

I didn't know it then, but learning to ride that bike many years ago taught me life lessons I will recall forever, just as much as it gave me a precious memory.  One thing that struck me as I thought on that was this:
   My dad HAD to let go of my bike seat, or I never would have learned. What a painting of a picture of my heavenly Father as well. He allows me to "keep riding" my own way sometimes. But He is there all the time to pick me up when I call on Him. And in those moments of "hitting a tree" because I get stubborn or scared, I learn. I have learned the hard way by hitting large trees and creating many scrapes and scars on my own heart. But God has been there to pick me up every time, just like my own dad was back then.
   Isaiah 41:10 " Don't be afraid, for I am with you. Don't be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand."

 Perhaps you can recall learning to ride a bike as well, metaphorically or not.  Does that verse mirror your story at all?

While God lets us choose our own ways at times, He is always there to hold us up with His hands. He never really lets go.
 One day at a time.....keep pedaling forward.