Mondays for me bring all sorts of anxiety. I guess its being out of routine. Somehow staring at the day and week's to do list always sends pits through my stomach. (Stops momentarily to read my earlier post on worrying).
Anyway, I awoke yesterday morning to Mercy Me's song "Bring the Rain." A song whose words are so powerful, telling "if that's what it takes for us to praise you, Jesus Bring the Rain." Praising God in our trials? Seems like an amazing feat. Most of the time I want to hang my head in the corner and pretend its not happening. After I've failed at "fixing things myself," I shamefully cry to God for help. Yes, he's seen me through many trials, and delivered me from even my own not so Mrs. Fixit self. See...God does perform miracles.
So yesterday as I drove, I talked with God about this song. Angie Smith has a beautiful blog called "Bring the Rain" that tells of their joy during the birth and death of their daughter Audrey. I thought about my friend Joe knowing that when God brings him through his present struggles, he will have an amazing testimony to share.
"But God, I would rather praise you during my little struggles...I don't want you to "bring the rain" just so I can praise you," my heart pleaded.
I laid my head down last night still thinking of the lesson God was trying to share. So...its 5:15 on Tuesday morning, and while I am folding laundry, packing Troy's suitcase to send him off for the week, running the list of what errands I had to do before leaving town today myself, checking the schedule for practices, meetings, etc...God lays it out for me.
Whether our "rain" is a gentle mist or a pouring flood, its about the peace of knowing that whatever trials I may face, he is there. Its about the joy of knowing suffering is only temporary, and we have a heavenly home waiting for us. Its also about attitude. If we can face our trials head on when God brings the rain, what an example we set for others. Its about remembering nothing is too big, or too little for God.
So this morning, I wish you joy and peace and a sunny day. But just in case you have a little rain, don't forget your praise.
Bring the Rain by Mercy Me
I can count a million times
People asking me how I
Can praise You with all that
I've gone through
The question just amazes me
Can circumstances possibly
Change who I forever am in You
Maybe since my life was changed
Long before these rainy days
It's never really ever crossed my mind
To turn my back on you, oh Lord
My only shelter from the storm
But instead I draw closer through these times
So I pray
Bring me joy, bring me peace
Bring the chance to be free
Bring me anything that brings
You glory And I know there'll
be days When this life brings me pain
But if that's what it takes to
praise You Jesus, bring the rain
I am yours regardless of the clouds that may
loom above because you are much greater than
my pain you who made a way for me suffering
your destiny so tell me whats a little rain
Holy, holy, holy
Holy, holy, holy
is the lord God almighty
is the lord God almighty
I'm forever singing
[2nd Chorus 2x]
Holy holy holy
you are holy
you are holy
[2nd Chorus 2x]
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Jeremiah 29:11-13 (The Message)10-11This is God's Word on the subject: "As soon as Babylon's seventy years are up and not a day before, I'll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I'm doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. 12"When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I'll listen. 13-14"When you come looking for me, you'll find me. "Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I'll make sure you won't be disappointed." God's Decree. "I'll turn things around for you. I'll bring you back from all the countries into which I drove you"—God's Decree—"bring you home to the place from which I sent you off into exile. You can count on it.
Friday on what I though was a normal work related visit, I stopped by a place of business to announce the start of our new Relay season and to say hello. Standing in the parking lot was the person with whom I intended to meet, pale, thin, disheveled. I knew this person had received news several months ago of a cancer reoccurence, but I happened along at his "last straw" moment...the past few months had dealt cancer...no insurance and therefore huge medical bills and finally being "cut off" from treatment, family issues, and the loss of his job this week. A few months ago energetic and positive, a motivator...my friend was beaten down, ready to throw up his hands and end it all.
After losing a close friend to suicide and being clueless about what was going on, the impact of such a decision hit me squarely in the chest as I stood there. He and I talked for a few minutes, me doing the best I could to be an encourager. Thankfully, his dad came a few minutes later. Another coworker thought enough of me to call later and to let me know his father took him for treatment.
Please pray for my friend. I know God will not put more on us than we can bear. Joe is certainly carrying a load right now. Please pray for me now. I had not planned on my schedule that day to make that visit, and I believe I was placed there for a reason. As I continue to minister to this dear person, I pray God uses me as he intended.
As you can tell from my blog name, Jeremiah 29:11-13 has been a passage I have prayed many times. This morning, I chose to see what it says in The Message...and I love the very definite way God says that when we get serious about finding him AND WANT IT MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE, he will make sure we are not disappointed. You can count on it.
I believe God has a plan for each of our lives, Joe's too...and that he will show him that plan. May we all seek God with our whole heart, wanting him more than anything, and can see the plan he has for us.
Monday, January 11, 2010
The Cure for AnxietyHolman Christian Standard Bible
25 "This is why I tell you: Don't worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Isn't life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the sky: they don't sow or reap or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren't you worth more than they? 27 Can any of you add a single cubit to his height by worrying? 28 And why do you worry about clothes? Learn how the wildflowers of the field grow: they don't labor or spin thread. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was adorned like one of these! 30 If that's how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and thrown into the furnace tomorrow, won't He do much more for you—you of little faith? 31 So don't worry, saying, 'What will we eat?' or 'What will we drink?' or 'What will we wear?' 32 For the idolaters eagerly seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. 34 Therefore don't worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
I realized yesterday it had been almost three months since I posted. Wow. Time certainly flies. We've had two birthdays and Christmas in our household since October 1. Taylor turned 11 October 16. I've seen the shift from toys to boys and clothes, yet another reminder she is growing up on me. Noah turned 7 this year. He is becoming a young man with interests of his own. He's gotten into hunting and fishing and remains a child who will spend most of his time outdoors if the weather permits. Even with it 10-15 degrees last week he had to be outside at least some. Makes me glad to have 2.5 acres and a neighborhood with other boys!
2009 was a blessed year for our family. Troy and I continue to be blessed with careers we enjoy, health and more than we deserve. Our family grew with the addition of a brother-in-law (Andrew), two nieces and two nephews. Its been a treat to have "cousins" for our children. And yes, I love hearing "Aunt Jenn." We lost an important family member. My last living grandparent, Paw Paw Taylor went to be with Jesus back in February. I miss him greatly, but I'm glad he is healthy and once again with Maw Maw.
I had a fantastic opportunity to be home for a little over two weeks at Christmas. Aside from the celebrations, I set out to tackle a project I have been meaning to do for quite some time. I cataloged more than 15 years of photos dating back to my high school days. As I poured through the photos, it reminded me of just how full of a life I have been given. Even when we thought we had nothing, I was blessed with loving family and a roof over my head. Times when the kids were small and we were rubbing pennies together to get by...times when I felt completely overwhelmed wondering how to take care of things, were documented with precious smiles and silly moments from my babies.
It was also a wake up call. Worry and the pressure to get things done often takes space in our lives when we should enjoy the blessings we are given. God reminds us in Matthew 6 that we shouldn't worry about tomorrow, we shouldn't worry about what we are going to wear, or what we will have to eat tomorrow...He will provide. That's a tough lesson for a worry wart like me! So whether 2010 brings a storehouse of success or many trials, most likely something in between, our God is in control, and HE will provide.