Saturday, January 25, 2014

Five Minute Friday - Visit
On Fridays we write together. On one shared prompt.
And we take comfort in each others’ words. Familiar and different at the same time.
If this is your first time – click here for how to join us. You’re so very welcome.

     God calls us to fellowship together.  As with all God asks or commands, there is good reason for it.  When we visit, when we come together and enjoy each other, we are refreshed.  We are able to share that which causes us joy and pain, and allow someone else to share in it.  It reminds us that we are not alone.  That there are others who have the same feelings, the same highs and lows.  We celebrate together, which multiplies the joy.  We suffer together, which eases the pain.  We talk, we laugh, we cry, we connect.  If we allow ourselves to truly enjoy the people with whom we visit, and allow our hearts and minds to be open, we will receive a blessing.  


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

A New Adventure

     Adventure is a super positive word by my definition.  To me it means that unknown and unique experiences are ahead, and that's exciting.  While not all adventures have positive circumstances or end up with positive outcomes, every adventure leaves behind memories, lessons learned, and new paths that can be followed.  So, I like adventure.  But, I also like to be prepared.  Just ask my poor husband who has to pack the car before our adventures!  I want to know that I have the necessary items to meet any challenges we may face, tools to help navigate our way, and nourishment to give us strength to complete our jouney. 
     This week, I started a new adventure!  One I have long wanted to take, one I have prayed for, hoped for, and worked towards.  I am now a fourth grade teacher.  I am overwhelmed with gratefulness for this opportunity.  I'm also just a wee bit nervous.  Okay, sometimes, I'm scared out of my mind!  I've got the tools I need to make this a fantastic adventure.  I've got kind, smart, and helpful co-workers to help me navigate my way.  I've got precious, loving friends and family who provide nourishment with their encouragement and support.  But when I woke up Monday morning, so excited that I couldn't sleep, I wanted something more to help sustain me.  I needed the peace that only God can give. 
     Naturally, I checked my e-mail first.  How checking my e-mail was going to give me peace, I have no idea.  But, I was immediately drawn to my daily e-mail message that provides a Scripture verse for every day.  I eagerly clicked on that link, hoping for a sweet reminder of how much God loves me.  Or, a promise from Scripture about how He is always for me and with me.  The verse: 1 Peter 1:13, "So think clearly and exercise self-control." (New Living Translation)  Seriously?  Not one mention of love, joy, hope, grace, or peace.  (Unitl you read the next sentence - but I didn't at the time.)  Really?  Nothing about how God will be with me, protect me, or strengthen me.  No, just a command.  "Think clearly and exercise self-control." Where's the blessing in that?  How does this help nourish me?  I sat back in my chair, rather disgusted. 
     Hear me out.  I just couldn't believe that God had not provided me with what I wanted. I realize that it is an automatically generated e-mail sent to thousands of people a day, and not meant just for me.  But God so often uses those verses to minister right to my heart and soul.  I had been convinced that when I opened the e-mail the nourishment I needed would be staring back at me.  So I stopped and pondered.  Was it possible that there was indeed a blessing in those words.  To my surprise, there was.  As I 'thought clearly', I became aware that when I choose to think clearly I have a much greater capacity to make good choices, use the talents I have been given, and perform the tasks set before me.  When I choose to think clearly, I can identify and find the extra tools that I need face any challenges that may arise.  When I choose to think clearly I can navigate my way so much easier.  That indeed gives me strength and gives me confidence.  That allows us to be at our best. 
     An extension of clear thinking is self-control.  When I choose to exercise self-control, I avoid situations that drain my strength.  When I choose to exercise self-control, I say and do only the things I know are helpful for me and those around me.  When I choose to be self-controlled, I don't allow my emotions to interfere with my actions.  And again, that allows me to at my best.
     What a blessing.  What a great reminder.  One last series of sweet thoughts came to my mind as I began to return to my all important e-mails.  When I think clearly, I remember that God is always with us.  I remember that God is for us, not against us.  And I remember just how much He loves us.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

New Day

     Ah, the blessing of a new day.  The hope that today might just be better than yesterday, or in some cases, just as wonderful as yesterday.  The hope that what lies ahead may be joy.  The hope that whatever lies ahead I will handle it properly, with the grace that God affords me. 
"Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning." Lamentations 3:23 NLT
How grateful I am for that promise.  Some versions say, "...for His compassions never fail.  They are new every morning."  He promises mercy and compassion, in full portions, every day.  That fills my soul with joy.  He knows me, He gets me.  He understands just what I need, what you need, and He provides it.  And lest we think it's not enough, He gives us more each morning. 
     We have just started a new year.  A time that most see as a fresh start, a clean slate, a time for new beginnings.  Folks, I can't wait a whole year.  I need a need another chance, day by day.  Sometimes hour by hour.  And God gives us that.  No, we can not erase all that has happened in the past.  We can not rid our hearts completely of it's hurts.  We can not wipe away all the words said to us, and by us.  But we can try again.  We can press on and do so in a healthier, more compassionate way.   I choose today, to grasp His mercies, to cling to them and allow them to fill me with hope. 

Friday, January 3, 2014

Five Minute Friday - Fight

     Really, we are going to keep doing this?  Are we are going to keep rehashing that which we clearly see from different perspectives.  Are we going to continue to attack each other because we have different opinions.  I understand that we can't sweep our fight under the rug as if it never happened.  I realize that our relationship has been changed by this repeated exchange of angry words.  But maybe, could we possibly try our best to put it on the shelf and leave it alone.  Let it be.  And then, could we start the process of working towards healing our relationship?  Could we acknowledge that all were hurt, that things were said that wounded our very souls, but that because we love each other, we are willing to heal.  Willing to at least attempt to find common ground.  And then, most importantly, could we work together to find a way to communicate that does not involve fighting.  Could we give this fight to God and let Him heal us?  Could we trust that He is bigger than a fight?  Here's me saying, "I'm done fighting."  I don't want to hurt you.  I never did.  I don't want to fight.  I'm done.