Monday, January 31, 2011

Taxes and Time with the Father

My apologies for not posting this past week. I am still playing the game of catch-up after being down with yet another sinus infection and am also paying for not keeping better records for taxes in 2010. Ugh! Every year I vow to do better at that, and somewhere around April or May, I forget all about tax records and then sprint in January to make up for it. It's finally done and I have vowed once again not to let it happen again! Ten minutes each month can save me a ton of time in January. (Ask me in May how I'm doing.)

This reminds me of how I am in my Christian walk at times. I vow to read my bible and pray more. And I do well for a while but somewhere along the way I settle back into my rut only to regret it later. It's just like my record keeping, daily commitment can save me heartache later.

I forget the headache from January when I’m enjoying the sunshine in June. Just like I forget the importance of being organized and keeping good records, I forget the benefits of God. I forget that the only way to fullness is through Him. I feel the heartaches and emptiness when I have neglected to spend time with the Father in previous months.

It’s good to be organized but really, in view of eternity, it doesn’t matter if I am prepared in January or not; what does matter is if I have been walking with God daily. I will “rise before dawn and cry for help”.

I’d love to hear about your time with God, the blessings and struggles of staying consistent in daily time with your Father.

John 10:10
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy;
I have come that they may have life,
and have it to the full.

Psalm 109:1-5
1Praise the LORD, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name. 
Praise the LORD, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits— 
who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases, 
who redeems your life
from the pit and crowns you
with love and compassion, 
who satisfies your desires
with good things so that your youth
is renewed like the eagle’s.

Psalm 119:147
I rise before dawn and cry for help;
I have put my hope in your word.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Precious One

I enjoyed tucking my daughter in tonight, we talked and even giggled when I broke out spontaneously in a ridiculous rendition of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.

“Mom, rub my face like you used to” she requested. She shut her eyes as my fingers danced lightly around her face, something she used to like when she was a little girl.

She drifted off to sleep and my thoughts drifted to praying for her. “Father, keep her from evil and keep evil from her… "She is Yours, help her to know that and live it and find satisfaction in nothing and no one else…."

I was struck by the truth that her life and soul mean infinitely more to me than anything this life can offer.

As I prayed, God re-ordered some things in my life and refocused my heart. I have been anxious to repaint my living room a fresh new color. Yet compared to the vital task of raising this young woman, building a God-world view in her life, my living room and so many other desires took a back seat and seemed so unimportant.

“Oh, Lord, give me wisdom as a mom, give me Your love to love with and Your eyes to see with. Keep my priorities in line with Your will. Thank you for blessing me with this angel. May she always seek to live for You.”

Monday, January 10, 2011

A Little Car and Learning to Trust

The telephone woke us. It was 1:15 a.m. Our oldest son was on the other end. “We need you to come pick us up. We hit ice and wrecked your truck. It’s not drivable.”

My heart stopped. Relieved he and his wife were ok, I sent up a prayer of thanks. I jumped out of bed and gathered flashlights as my husband donned his coveralls, Carhart, hat and gloves.

It was 31 degrees, a warm night for January in South Dakota. I sent up another prayer of thanks. Then I settled into my routine of pacing and praying. It’s what I do when I’m concerned and can’t do anything to help a situation.

The phone rang again. It was my daughter-in-law. “I just need someone to talk to while Jeff is outside checking on the truck. I’ve never been in a wreck before. It is good we were on the bridge when we spun, otherwise we would have probably rolled.”

I was so glad to hear her voice. So glad she was ok. She told me about what happened, then went on to tell me about her day. It had been her special day. Her Christmas present from her husband. Money and a shopping day to buy things to decorate their home. She said the laundry detergent had broken open, but it appeared everything else was ok.

As I hung up the phone, my mind was racing. There was no sense in trying to sleep for sleep would not come until they were all safely at home. So I sat down to write. One issue in particular dominated my thoughts.

My Husband had bought an old little car in November. I had been unhappy (we’re talking close to a temper tantrum) when he had spent $600 on it. “We don’t need another vehicle… We shouldn’t spend the money…”

It was a 1990 Ford Escort station wagon and it had been used, I mean really used, but with only 87,000 miles it would last a long time as a hunting/fishing vehicle for him and would be easy on the wallet getting over 30mph. Especially compared to his Expedition which gets nothing even close to that gas mileage. And he liked it. It was like a new toy.

Now, with the Expedition wrecked (liability insurance only), I was feeling foolish to have opposed the purchase of that little car. I was actually thankful for it. It would be good to still have two cars. And truth be told, I liked how it drove.

Could it be that God allowed my husband the wisdom (and the money- we don’t typically have $600 sitting around) to purchase that car at the right time so we would have it now? Could it be that He really wants me to trust my husband?

I always thought I did trust my husband, but so many times I see my view point as the “right” one. So many times I want to put my two-cents in. So many times I forget to sit back, let him be in charge, and leave the little details I’m concerned with up to God.

I really do have a wise husband. He is incredibly smart and a very capable, strong man. When I list all his good qualities, I wonder why there are times I am worried about anything at all. I am married to one awesome guy!

Yes, God’s ways are best. And once again, I took the long route to learning that. I’m so glad God and my husband both have patience with me! Time for another prayer of thanks.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Busy But Bored

Bored. To my mom it is a four-letter word. In our home growing up, a chore was promptly assigned to whoever dared to use the "B" word. "There is never an excuse to be bored. There are so many ways to entertain yourself. If you're bored, you need something to do. Now go clean the toilets." This is just one of the many valuable lessons mom taught me. Thanks, mom.

Even though I have been trained to not use such language, the "B" word has come to mind quite often lately.  I'm bored. Bored physically. Bored mentally. Bored spiritually. (I seriously hope my mom isn't reading this or I might be cleaning until Ground Hog Day!)

My days are busy, busy, busy, filled with three part time jobs, being a wife, mom and pastor's wife; so having nothing to do is not the problem. Most weeks I need an extra day or two just to make it to the end of my to-do list. Busy but bored. I used to sense God's call on my life; dream of the things He would do through me with eager anticipation. It's not that I don't feel His call anymore - I know it's still there. I know He hasn't canceled the work He has for me to do.

But it seems this calling has gotten masked by the mundane. Usurped by the urgent. This is where the boredom comes in; I was created for more. Created to do more. More than the everyday necessities. I was made to last eternally, not just to the end of the day. So, shouldn't my goals be of eternal magnitude as well? Yet too often my daily goals don't amount to much more than remembering to get milk and make a dentist appointment.

When exactly did I allow this to happen? How did I allow this to happen? It wasn't in a moment, but in a lot of moments together. Choosing the here and now over the eternal.  It seems the right decision at the moment. We all need clean socks and the house needs to be stocked with toilet paper, right? But allowing these little tasks to overrun my moments turns into days and weeks and months.  Soon, I'm lost in the immediate and busy, busy but bored.

I want to run at a faster pace. I want to do serve, accomplish, progress and converse spiritually. More. I want more. I want deeper. To serve my Lord more and deeper. I want to grow more and deeper.

My life is in coast mode and it's time to press the accelerator. At least that's my plan. I have been revving my engine for some time now, inching forward, waiting for God's green light. In my impatience, all I see is red and at times yellow. "Stop...wait for My leading...Slow down...Listen..."  If I keep so busy etertaining mysself with temporary tasks I won't even hear the beckoning to sit at His feet while I wait and use the time He is giving me.
 The new year holds promising potential. An opportunity to stop and reflect, to live more purposefully than the year before.  But all the reflecting is nothing without the doing. So today I am going to enjoy the red light, grab a cup of coffee and sit at His feet.  My Bible is open to Psalm 119 and I will allow my soul to be fed and listen- even if there is laundry to do, beds to change, floors to sweep and toilets to clean. They can wait. I'm busy. Busy and not bored.