Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Jesus in My Friends

A week ago today, i received a reality check in the form of divorce papers, delivered by a complete stranger as a surprise to me in front of my children. Somehow, i managed to keep this secret from them and continue our schooling... that day and all of the days since.

In the past week, i have experienced shock, anger, and fear, and not always just one of them at a time. Looking back on the past several days, i have to acknowledge the presence of God in my life. When i was in shock, the Holy Spirit moved my feet to "just do the next right thing." When anger rose up to choke me, the calming words of a friend brought me back to acceptance. Any time fear haunted me, God calmed my soul and whispered His words of truth to my heart.

There is no explanation for the peace that comes in the midst of trials. It really is a peace that passes all understanding. But there is also no substitute for godly friends in your life. When you are facing an uncertain future, a difficult time, or a terrible loss, it is the Holy Spirit within each of your earthly friends that will encourage you, even as the Holy Spirit within you shores up your defenses and strengthens you for the road you're on.

Take the time to connect with a friend today. You really never know when you will need them or they will need you, and it is the time and energy spent building those relationships that has the greatest returns - as we bear one another's burdens, in Christ, for Christ, until the day comes when all hardship will come to an end and we will have joy everlasting.

"It Is Well With My Soul"

Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Depths

Lately, life has been hard. I'm not going to lie about that. But God keeps showing me that it is within the depths of the deepest oceans of our lives that He lives - to strengthen us, to accompany us, to challenge us, and to grow us. I've listened a lot to the song, "Oceans," by Hillsong United, and it is my mantra these days: He has never failed, and He's not going to start now; my fears may give me pause, but my faith is greater than my fears; i am God's and anything He calls me to will build my faith because i will not go alone.

If you haven't heard this song, have a listen. But don't pray this prayer unless you really want to walk upon the waters of the ocean's depths... because it is in the depths that we find the strength of God and the test of our own faith, but that is best learned through trials of this life.

Oceans (Where Feet May Fail) by Hillsong United.

This morning, church was hard. It's complicated, but just when i felt beaten down and disconnected from my church family, God had the worship team sing "Oceans," which is not a common worship song at our church. I felt God reaching down to hug me, and i spent the rest of worship smiling so big i almost felt foolish! :)

Does music reach you that way? Does it touch your heart in ways the spoken words cannot? God has always ministered to me through music. There's another song that has touched me this week. It's called "Hope in Front of Me," and it is by Danny Gokey. Click here for a YouTube link to that one.

And this one: "Greater" by Mercy Me.

Above all, i'm resting on God's promises that He is working all things together for my good, even if it doesn't feel good today, because i have faith in a hope and a future, and because my hope is not in the things of this world, but in Christ Jesus, who has overcome the world so that when my time here is up, i get to spend eternity with my Father in Heaven.

Keeping my eye on the prize . . . .

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Out With the Old, In With the New?

Somewhere along the way, my generation lost respect for older people. Maybe we never had it. We were a spoiled generation, full of our own worth and so many complaints of the injustices of our "station" (as the youth of the day). We spent our youth scoffing at the wisdom of those who raised us, fighting against the restrictions of what was simply good sense, and creating our own reality as victims of our circumstances and our determination to overcome them.

How arrogant! And now, we aren't youth anymore. And we still don't value older people. We don't include them in our lives, we tolerate them. We don't ask about their experiences, we roll our eyes when they tell "another of their stories." We don't sit at their feet and soak in their wisdom, we turn away with confidence that we have this whole thing figured out.

Is this normal? Is this just us, or does every generation go through this? Will we come back around to understanding the value of those who've gone before us on the journey?

Because if we don't, i shudder to think how our children will ever mature well! We are like spoiled teenagers playing at adulthood. Here we are, parents, responsible for the future adults our children will be, but so sure that we have this whole thing figured out that we shut down anyone who attempts to speak words into our lives that are different from our beliefs. We've nothing to glean from one another because we know it all already.

I get it that each generation has new information. And we are responsible for that information once we have it. But along the way, i have needed, no, craved, the precious wisdom of someone past my stage of life. Someone to tell me what i might not be seeing, what i might be doing wrong, how i could improve, what they learned... because once upon a time, those older people walked in shoes that looked a lot like mine. And they fought many of the same battles. Why, then, should i reinvent the wheel? How arrogant i would be if i was unwilling to learn from others and from history!

{sigh} Maybe i'm tired. Maybe it's years of living apart from family and wondering if every visit will be the last time i see my grandparents. Maybe it's age. Whatever it is, it makes me sad that we treat our wise older relatives and friends like we can totally live without them. Well, maybe we can live without them. But can we thrive?