Saturday, July 27, 2013

Holding too tight to the Knob

I had an opportunity one day this week to be up early and take a road trip.  Road trips were a part of my life for five years.  The one part of travel I enjoyed was the quiet time.  It's been much harder to accomplish that being at home, and I really appreciated the opportunity to have that time this week.

This was a special road trip, a four hour, round trip journey to take the entrance test for graduate school.  Its a dream I have been talking about for almost 10 years, or more.

I topped a hill, catching a glimpse of the sun beginning to rise.  Literally the clouds were painted a beautiful pink before my eyes.  God's awesome, beautiful artistry in the making.  He painted the clouds and simultaneously spoke to my heart.

God has opened many doors in my life.  In that moment, I understood the power of the doors he has closed.  If it had not been for a series of closed doors...and one through which he had to push me kicking and screaming, I would not be where I am today.

Isaiah 48:17-18

17 This is what the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel says: I am Yahweh your God,
who teaches you for your benefit,
who leads you in the way you should go.
18 If only you had paid attention to My commands.
Then your peace would have been like a river.

and your righteousness like the waves of the sea.

This morning in my quiet time, God led me to Isaiah 48.  As I read the words, the conversation we had Wednesday about closed doors came rushing back.  I spent lots of time pursuing opportunities that made perfect sense to me and the world, and ignoring the call of God on my heart.  For more than two years, he called me to let go of something I cherished in order to pursue his desire for my life. I wrestled and struggled.  I lost plenty of sleep and woke many nights gasping for air in panic.  When he finally pushed hard enough to make me let go, I found the peace found here in Isaiah.  The peace he promises when we let Him lead our lives.  Why do we struggle so hard sometimes?

Doors sometimes keep us from traveling down the wrong path.  Doors sometimes keep us in the hallway long enough to find the right one.  Doors sometimes start as an open door we get pushed through and slammed in our face.  Doors sometimes are the start of a new adventure.

Its not always easy to understand why a door closes, or why we can't seem to open one.  But it is truly amazing when we have the hindsight to see what a closed door meant at the time.

There will always be doors in our lives.   Those doors don't have to be battles of the soul.  Let go, listen to God, and find peace with those door knobs.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Learning Lessons

Last night, I was sitting in the kitchen, five feet from the item I needed.  I was giving my son directions on where to retrieve an item and instructions to bring it to me.  After the third try...he finally got it.  The past week has been full of those moments, a hard lesson for the type A who would rather just do it herself and be done with it. 
My family has been incredible taking care of me while I TRY to keep my foot non weight bearing to heal.  Its the hardest thing to sit back and let someone else do.  Its really, really hard for me.  I've not been the best patient. 
This morning I was thinking back to those frequent episodes during the week at the take a deep breath and sigh moments when you tell someone something, and it takes three more sets of instructions to get the job done.
A lump appeared in my throat...God must do this with me every day. Can you imagine the patience it must take to turn over work to us that he is more than capable of doing in much less time?  Then he sits back patiently and gives multiple instructions, answers to our "why" questions, and fields our excuses.  Every day, again and again. 

I remember trying to teach my children how to ride a bike.  Again and again I give them directions on how to ride.  Then I would grab the handlebars and we would run down the driveway.  I thought my legs would wear out at times trying to get them to learn.  There were many spills along the way, and many times I heard "Let go, I can do it myself."  Eventually I let go, and they would pedal away.  Success!  I remember that great feeling of pride when they were able to take off on their own and no longer needed me to run along side.

So that's what it's all about:  being able to teach us how to handle things while holding us up until we get the lesson learned.  Then stepping back in pride as we race away.  How amazing!  Can you imagine the smile when we actually get it and God can let go of us?
I'm so thankful God doesn't give up on this hard-headed girl and gives her a multitude of chances.  Although, I would trade these crutches for a bicycle in a heartbeat.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

For Such A Time As This

Esther 4:14

For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish.  And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?

On my porch, nestled in my geranium, a mother bird is raising her babies.  It’s been exciting to watch her feed and care for them.  She brings them food, and she is quick to guard them against anything she feels is a threat, including my curious kitty.  That mother bird will soon teach her little ones to fly and prepare them to go off into the great big world. 

I’ve seen mama birds do this before;  she pushes the little ones out of the nest to get them started.  Each time I wonder how she can do that and not worry about her little one getting hurt?

I feel a bit like that mother bird lately.  My oldest child starts high school this year.  While I am so proud of the independent, confident young lady she has become, its not easy to watch her spread her wings and learn to fly.  I haven’t had to even think about pushing her along, she’s beating me to independence long before I am ready for her to be. 

“For such a time as this.”  The words rang through my head, and I searched back for the place from which they came.  The story of Esther.

Esther was a woman called by God to save her family.  There was an extreme sense of urgency with her calling.  She had a job to do, and she had to do it right then.  Twenty-four hours to change the fate of her family.

The sense of urgency, the realization that as a parent, there is so much we need to pour into our children to prepare them for the world ahead has really been weighing on me lately and is almost overwhelming at times.  Our babies are facing the challenges of the world we faced so much younger, and they are facing new ones we never dreamed about. 

What a great reminder today from Esther for parents.  First, we must prepare for the job and be ready in an instant when a situation arises.  We must also be in prayer for guidance and study to know God’s plan for raising our children.  Then also the urgency we must have, not letting a day go by without teachable moments-both in conversations with our children and as examples for them.

For such a time as this…to enjoy the amazing children with which we have been give to tend to their care.  Being able to watch our children grow and take on new roles.  The opportunity to see them mature as individuals, gaining self confidence and learning to make their own decision.  The pride of seeing accomplishments and the joy of seeing them make good choices.  What a God given blessing I would not trade for the world! 

Heavenly Father, I pray today you will help me to remember each and every day that as a mother, it is my time to pour into my children.    I pray you will lead and guide me, give me the knowledge to pour into them what they will need to face the world in the coming years.  Above all, I pray you will give my children the ability to stand tall and face situations they encounter with the courage of knowing they are your children, and you have promised their protection and prosperity.