Saturday, November 27, 2010

How Could He Know?

This post is also published at the Christian Women's Resource Network Blog.

Life has been pretty stressful lately. We have two folks in our household with cancer, one boy who had surgery for a broken arm, we've been quarantined because at least two of us have had whooping cough, and my 18 year-old daughter decided to move out and get an apartment on her own. Add to that typical family and holiday issues, and some days it gets kind of tough to get out of bed!

Last night I finally turned off the lights after two busy days of hosting Thanksgiving and our family tradition of 'Cookie Day' (a pretty wild festival of sugar, chocolate chips, and Chinese food). My body was exhausted but my brain just wouldn't stop. I nit-picked everything that had gone wrong, thought of all the things I needed to do, and found myself worrying about the week to come. I finally gave up and got out of bed.

I realized I hadn't read my daily Bible text for two days (I'm using The One Year Chronological Bible, New Living Translation version to read through the Bible on a yearly basis). I opened up the Book and read Romans 5:1 - 10:21.

How did God know that I would need these exact words on this exact day? The text starts out with "...we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us...We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance....For we know how dearly God loves us." Later it talks about how "the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don't know what God wants us to pray for. but the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words." And further still, it reminded me that nothing can ever separate me from Christ's love, "neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow -- not even the powers of hell can separate us from God's love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below -- indeed nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord."

In the quiet of a dark household, I was filled with the love and peace of God. Right now it's easy to feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of things that are hitting our family at once. People tell me that God won't give me more than I can handle. I no longer believe that. God will give me so much more than I can handle for the sole purpose of reminding me that I have to rely on him. Until I learn that lesson I will continue to feel overwhelmed.

Yesterday is over. Tomorrow will come, but I know I won't face it alone. And for that I am eternally grateful.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Seeking Attention

This blog is also posted at the Christian Women's Resource Network

I am such a hypocrite. The other day I felt a need to step out of my comfort zone and obey a prompting from God. It was a pretty public place and I did something that was apparently helpful for another person while everyone else was trying hard to ignore the situation. It was good that I was obedient; it would have been really easy to push that little nudge aside and ignore it.

But it didn't end there. All day long I patted myself on the back for stepping out and obeying. Wasn't it good of me to do that? I so wanted to tell people about the situation -- it was an unusual situation, after all. And I was a really obedient, good Christian to do what I did. Good for me, huh? I was proud that I actually obeyed and didn't chicken out, and I wanted to tell someone about it.

But Jesus himself tells us to "Watch out! Don't do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven. When you give to someone in need, don't do as the hypocrites do -- blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I tell you the truth, they have received all the reward they will ever get." (Matthew 6:1,2)

Why is it so important to have worldly feedback on my deeds? Why should I care? I'm sure I bit my tongue at least four times to prevent myself from telling others about that day (and in all honesty, this blog probably counts as blurting it out anyway). What good is a pat on the back from my friends and family, when what I really need is to be so obedient that it isn't a big deal when I do what my Father tells me to do?

I want to do my earthly job so naturally that I would think no more of an act of obedience to God that I do putting on my socks each morning. And what would be so special about sharing THAT?

God, please forgive my pride and the times when I am not obedient to your calling. Help me seek your reward only, not earthly reward. Let me see the world as you do, listen for your gentle nudge, and take action immediately when there is a need -- without seeing it as anything unusual or special. Help me focus on you and you alone as I go through each day. In Jesus precious name I pray, Amen.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

It's all under control

Doug asked me last night why I haven't been writing lately, and I burst into tears. Wow -- that was really unexpected! I haven't been writing because I really believe it's not worth putting the things I feel like writing these days in print. Our lives have been a blur of doctors visits, lab tests, and long conversations that tend to center around doctors visits and lab tests. Not very exciting reading OR writing.

And most likely the things I would write about would be either pretty personal feelings dealing with the impact of cancer in our lives or things that seem pretty selfish about me not finding time to do the things I think I need or want to do. When I'm tired and stressed it's hard sometimes to put life into the proper perspective.

So instead I've been bottling everything up, letting it carbonate. I guess it just blew out last night. Not good! But normal. I had a clue on Monday when I got a chair massage. The masseuse told me to relax my arm and let it hang straight down...then she burst out laughing and told me to look over at my arm. I was holding it almost straight out! She said I had some relaxation issues. I guess so.

I've promised Doug I'll find an outlet for the stress. I wish I could run, but I have bad knees, and I haven't felt very creative lately, but I think I'm going to have to.

So I'll work on getting back to my quilting, work on some blogs that aren't whiny (if they seem to head that direction or if I need to rant and rave, I've created a super secret blog that no one knows about so you don't have to read it!), and see what I can do to de-stress better.

In the meantime, I'd appreciate it if no one else in our house gets sick, moves out, or does anything else that adds to the stress level!