Not what I wanted to hear…

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I’ve never made one before,
but I had extra time on my hands
and yarn.

The time came from an appointment.

It caught me by surprise.

I didn’t want to hear,

“How about you take the rest of the week off. Tomorrow is Thursday. Have a nice long weekend and rest up.”

My doctor was looking at me with a frown.

Of course he was right.

I needed to take some time to rest.

I took the next day off.

Then I had to take the following week off.

Too ill to get out of bed means too ill to work.

But the rest and “do nothing” paid off and I felt better.

I even went back to work this week.

“I’m not 100%, but I’m getting slowly better.”

My response to inquiries.

So when I went in for my follow-up appointment for bronchial pneumonia yesterday I had an expectation.

Unfortunately,
my cough
wasn’t what they wanted to hear.

“We are going to run more tests…”

That wasn’t what I wanted to hear.

So instead of taking myself home,
I went to the lab.

“The doctor doesn’t
have any other openings,
it has to be a morning appointment.”

Which means missing work again.

Also,
what I didn’t want to hear.

As I drove home I realized my news to more tests wouldn’t be welcome news to my kids.

With this reflection,

I began
to
sing.

Praise the Lord!
For He is GOOD!

No matter what things,
I don’t want to hear
He is near.

I have no idea what today holds.

I have no power,
even over my own body,
save to choose to follow Jesus
no matter what.

I have nothing
to be upset over,
Jesus will teach me through this.

Don’t misunderstand.

I’m not excited about any of this.

I’m not feeling good and I want to.

But

I’m not going to be alone.

Whatever tomorrow brings,
He’s walking with me.

Whether I’m sick or healthy
I belong to Him.

And I can praise and thank Him
for all these things.

Because the longer I live the more I realize my life isn’t valuable for what I do.

My life is valuable because of Who He is.

He values me.

And His value isn’t based on my activities or experiences.

It’s based on His love.

And I’m fuller,
more alive,
when I focus on Him
and our relationship.

To hear His voice in the Word.

To feel the peace of thankfulness enfold me.

To know that He has never left me,
ever.

That is what I want to hear
and it washes the things I do not want
until even the worst of all is pure.

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Psalms

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Proverbs speaks wisdom for life.

And I always think of Solomon when looking at a lily.

Probably because of Jesus.

He said, “So why do you worry about clothing?  Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” Matt. 6:28-29 NKJV

Throughout my adulthood I’ve looked to Proverbs for nuggets of truth I could apply to my thoughts.

Over the last several weeks I’ve been struggling.

My health has been and remains poor.

Our family has gone through major upheaval.

And our future is uncertain.

In these days I’ve been reading Psalms.

Psalm 23 has been my life chapter for many years now.

I have gained such comfort from copying it down over and over.

My prayer journal is riddled with verses from the psalms.

“Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, Whose hope is in the LORD his God.” Ps. 146:5 NKJV

“The LORD opens the eyes of the blind; The LORD raises those who are bowed down;” Ps. 146:8 NKJV

As I have walked these days of struggle I’ve experienced the Lord in new ways.

He has challenged me to be more honest and less guarded with my family.

He has reprimanded me when my attitude and actions have been dishonorable.

He has comforted and encouraged me far beyond anything I have ever experienced.

Jesus, Himself has touched my soul in a whole new way.

And I have struggled.

I’ve struggled with fear.

I’ve struggled with anger.

I’ve struggled with loneliness.

While struggling in each of these ways,
I can testify to God’s faithful love.

He’s never been harsh.

He’s never been exacting.

He’s never even left me to my own self-pity.

And He’s holding me in His hand.

And that’s not all.

My children have grown closer to each other and to us.

My husband and I have found and even greater depth in our relationship.

Even in the days I’m too ill to rise I have joy in prayer.

Even in nights when I’m awake more times than I choose to count I have thanksgiving.

Even in the humility of missing my daughter’s volleyball games or in instructions on how to cook certain meals, I can rejoice in the character building in our children.

I didn’t know my daughter knew how to make homemade hash browns or our son knew how to take veggies and meat and make stir-fry.

So as I pray for today, I’m looking at the Psalms.

What balm for the soul are hidden in these words:

“The LORD is righteous in all His ways, Gracious in all His works. The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth.” Psalm 145:17-18 NKJV

Pretend

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There are times when I’d like to pretend.

Like, this picture.

I could pretend this was my room instead of the hotel room it actually is.

But recently the Lord has brought to my attention that the kind of “pretending ” I’m talking about is something else.

It’s a lie.

And as I dug deeper with the Lord I realized I’m a liar.

No, I don’t try to be.

No, I don’t want to be.

But telling the truth in every circumstance is costly, to me.

It means I have to admit when I am hurt or angry.

It means I have to deal with the uncomfortable things.

It means telling people what they do not want to hear.

And even deeper…

It means being honest with myself about the daily struggle to fight selfishness, greed, desire, pride, hurt, fear, worry, and any other unattractive emotion.

So, I have not always chosen to be honest.

There have been times I’ve taken the easy road and told a lie with my actions or words to try to cover it up. To try and pretend it wasn’t there.

I actually did it this morning.

At very early A.M. my hubby said, “Please don’t be mad at me for yesterday. ”

My cheerful response was, “Oh, I’m not mad, we just couldn’t communicate last night. ”

Out the door he went and I laid in bed, conviction heavy on my heart.

I had not thought about it, I’d just responded.

I wanted to say, it’s mostly true.

But any part of a lie is a lie.

I was mad.

I’d tried to pretend, but God wasn’t fooled.

So after a bit of prayer, I texted my hubby.

“I lied. I am mad. However, I’m praying about it and would like to chat if you have time so we can work it out.”

Thankfully he hadn’t left yet and we were able to work out the misunderstanding.

Of course it started with me being honest.

I wish I’d been honest at the beginning.

I’m so thankful the Lord didn’t allow me to leave it as I’d begun.

I’m also thankful for how He has continued to work in my heart and my life.

He hasn’t given up on me and I’m so thankful.

Dear Jesus,

Please continue to guard my heart and my mouth that I might not sin against You or those around me. Heal me from the chains of poor behavior and lies of the enemy. Please fill my mind and heart with Your truth and Your light and Your Word. I love the fact that You never lie. You can not ever be false or fake. Thank You for Your mercy and unfailing love toward this sinner and all Your creation. Praise and glory are due Your name! Blessed is the name of the Lord!

“I don’t want to!”

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No, it’s not the cat.

Nope, it’s not the kids.

Nor is it any of the students.

It’s me.

All I could think as I watched my calendar getting closer to my appointment was:

“I don’t want to!”

Silly, I know.

I’m an adult.

Yet, I really really do not like going to the doctor’s.

The crazy thing is not that many years ago the exact same doctor saved my life by performing surgery on me.

However, all I could seem to do when faced with an upcoming visit was whine to the Lord about how much I didn’t want to go.

I have felt like a
giant,
sniveling,
spoiled…you get the idea.

Crazy.

All my attitudes and complaining and dragging my feet were pointless.

I had a great visit.

My doctor has always been great.

This was no exception.

I left with a smile and skipped down the stairs.

About the time I got to the car I realized I had worried and agitated myself for no reason,
NONE,
whatever.

Well, as I’m always saying to the kids:
“If it’s a mistake you learn from,
it’s a mistake worth making.”

Prayerfully I won’t allow my attitude to degrade the next time I have a visit on the calendar.

Better yet.

Prayerfully I won’t allow fear and worry to creep into my mind when expecting an event, no matter what it is.

“Dear Jesus,

Thank You for my doctor, his staff, and all the people in the medical field who work to keep others healthy. Thank You for all the wonderful ways You created these bodies and all the amazing things they can do. Please forgive me for my sour attitude. Please help me to learn from today’s experience. Please be patient with this stubborn stiff-necked child who has the arrogance to tell You what I do and do not want. Please give me a humble heart, one full of trust.”

School time!

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Our Anne has joined volleyball!

And today is both our first home game as well as the first day of school.

Yes, I’m still homeschooling the kids, but the girls take one class and of course I’m still a teacher’s aid.

It’s another year to learn, to try, to make mistakes and hopefully learn from them.

It’s another chance to grow.

Sometimes I’ve felt overwhelmed.

The summer held many lessons for me.

It held blessings.

What it hasn’t held is my ideal!

Nothing I expected to get done has occurred.

Yet, the daily requirements are still being accomplished.

The kids are jumping back into their routine.

Our lives have begun another page.

Throughout these things I can choose to be calm and rest in God’s sovereignty or I can struggle in my own efforts and abilities.

Frankly, it’s easier to struggle.

Making my own choices and decisions and opinions comes without any thought.

Placing my day, moment by moment requires constant contact with Jesus.

No wonder the Bible tells us to pray without ceasing.

As I step into my day I’ll be praying.

“LORD,

Please walk with me so closely that I can hear Your voice guiding my steps. Help me to love those around me. Please teach me to be discerning, thoughtful, and kind. Give me the understanding to let go of things which are not Your will.”

People we love

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These are just a tiny slice of the many many many people who are dear to our hearts.

Our family has been so blessed to be a part of the lives of so many others.

Whether it’s friends from over seas or the girls on the team or the people at church or the friends and family we are privileged to have…

Each one is a gift from God.

Each person is priceless.

I’m amazed at how God has woven our lives in a fabric with others.

The beautiful picture of friendships and life shared together is vastly more spectacular than anything man made.

The longer I live the more important people are in my life.

Yes, I like beautiful things.

But their value pales in contrast with beautiful relationships.

Yet, as anyone can tell you relationships are difficult.

They take time, effort, love, compassion, and much more.

The rewards are beyond the value of gold or jewels.

“Dear Papa,

Thank You for all the relationships in our lives. Thank You for the amazing people You have blessed us with. Please help us to be people who put the proper priority on relationships. Help us to understand appropriate boundaries so we have healthy lasting relationships. Teach us through Your Word just how valuable people are so we never forget what the true treasures in life are. Thank You.”

Another new

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You’ve probably figured out by now that I never get tired of taking pictures of flowers.

Part of that lies in the fact that they are new.

I know I have sunflower pictures, but I don’t have a picture of this sunflower,  it’s new!

I wish I could say I have the same exuberance over every new in my life.

Unfortunately, my common emotion is fear.

I know there is a terrible flaw in me when I look at life’s changes and I come up grasping the old things.

The flaw lies in my heart.

I am afraid of the new because I don’t know what to expect.

I don’t know how to plan.

I don’t have any idea what my needs will be so I can’t prepare.

These are the old, ugly, finger prints of leaning on my own strength, of doing things in my own will.

As I’ve been being renewed by Jesus, He’s been showing me the blessings of letting that go.

In the past I tried to control my life, schedule, family in an effort to make it all work!

How futile.

I’m not God.

I can’t make anything work.

It’s like ants who have lost their scent line and are simply running around desperate to find it again.

As the Lord has been patiently teaching me to rest in His ways and to let go of all my ideals, opinions,  and preferences I’ve learned that new is healthy.

I’m not completely out of the habits of fear and clinging to the old, but I’m learning to see it coming so I can place it back in the hands of Jesus.

“Dear Jesus,

Thank You for all You have done. You have answered so many of my prayers. I could fill up many many books telling of Your greatness and Your faithfulness. Please continue to uphold me and my family as we seek to honor You with our actions, attitude,  and words. Help us to continue to live new each day for You without our own ideas and desires clouding the path. Hold us, for we are quick to return to the old ways. Thank You, for You alone are our strength and in You we are new!”