Monthly Archives: May 2013

Motherhood Comes In Many Forms

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I’ve been traveling overseas for two weeks and I’m in places that don’t allow use of WordPress.  Yes, there are places in the world that restrict use of any social media tools for fear of what the rest of the world might find out about them I’m guessing.   That’s an entirely different blog entry for another time.   My intention was to publish this entry on  Mother’s Day.  Unfortunately, it couldn’t happen, but the message remains the same no matter what day of the year it is.

knitting_649Psalm 139:13-16

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.

As I’ve mentioned in other writings, it’s quite amazing to me how many times the words of God’s unfailing love are mentioned in the Psalms.  Unfailing is some seriously deep love. God surrounds His children with love from the moment He knits them together.

They are so precious that He laces them carefully into a protected cocoon safe and harbored from storms until it is time for them to venture out into the world.  The cocoon is the divine creation within a woman that nestles and tenderly holds a baby while God’s plan for development unfolds.

Through a mom, God’s creation is surrounded in warmth and tightly woven in love.  The gentle form is able to move around and try things out, but is continuously embraced with protection.  Through God’s provision mothers offer sustenance and nutrients that help His  masterpieces to grow in ways we can’t really understand.

God must have an amazing trust in mothers that He would give his children to be carried inside of them for any length of time…any length of time. God proves His unfailing love time and time again.  Sometimes women might forget to acknowledge how important our role is in fulfilling His plans.

God occasionally places His precious bundles into mothering hands outside of the womb.  Sometimes God creates motherhood through less traditional means.  Of course, when He goes this route it is equally as important to bring His plans to light and these women are trusted in similar fashion. These mothers are just as precious to Him.  They also provide warmth, nurture, safety and love.  They are the knitting around His precious children on this earth.  They have impact beyond what we can imagine.

Somehow we are all mothers.  Not always in the traditional sense, but in a way that makes sense to God so His plans are carried out. He loves all of His children and all of his mothers the same so Happy Mothers Day to ALL women because in some way God allows you the gift of caring for His precious hand-formed creations and loves you deeply for it.

Endurance Training

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Endurance Training

From the book of James:

 

Consider yourselves fortunate when all kinds of trials come your way, for you know when your faith succeeds in facing such trials, the result is the ability to endure. 

 

But be sure your endurance carries you all the way, without failing, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. 

 

But if any of you lacks wisdom, he should pray to God, who will give it to him; for God gives generously and graciously to all. 

 

But you must believe when you pray, and not doubt at all. 

 

For whoever doubts is like a wave in the sea that is driven and blown about by the wind. Any such person must not think that he will receive anything from the Lord, for he is unsure and undecided in every step he takes.

 

Wow.  I am completely struck by these powerful words.

As I rewrote this passage I broke it apart to help reflect on each segment with emphasis.  I’ve re-read it more than a dozen times now.  The impact of understanding these words is possibly beyond my comprehension.  There is a lot going on in this message.

 

James is not the only reference in the Bible that talks about the benefit of trials and the resulting endurance that is advantageous.  The idea of going through trials and having to endure sounds a bit negative.  How can tough times be good for me?

 

As scary as it may sound, the way the verse is written implies to me trials will come from any number of directions…and we are fortunate to have that. Not sure I’m buying it yet.   However the statement isn’t complete at being fortunate when trials come your way.  It flows into the idea of having to have faith and it is with that faith that you can face your trials resulting in greater endurance.

 

Why do we need that greater endurance?  Perhaps God is being compassionate because He knows that trials are inevitable in our sinful world.  He is providing us the directions for dealing with them.  As more trials come along and we trust in the Lord, the more it takes to get us agitated about them.

 

When I was in college we had to take a swimming test or class to graduate.  I know it sounds bizarre, but it was true.  Most people took the test.  I decided to take the class.  I wasn’t a great swimmer and I wanted the exercise so it was a great way to improve and try to keep in shape.  From the beginning we had to do laps.  I won’t even tell you how few laps I was actually able to accomplish at the start.  Let’s just say I was in the bottom of the pack.  However, the more I did it, the greater my endurance became and the more laps I was able to swim. I kept improving and quickly.  With that, I totally get the idea of endurance and to be good at it you have to practice over and over and over again.

 

So now I’m getting that I must have trials to enact my faith to build my endurance to have greater faith so I can get through more trials.  I’d really prefer the no trials route, but our imperfect world will not allow for that.

 

Trials are going to happen.  Endurance will be built and in doing so you will be perfect, complete and lacking nothing.  God will give you what you need.  He is generous.  The important thing is to believe with all your heart that God will provide for you.  You mustn’t have a doubt about that.   Without faith in His ability things will be rocky.  If endurance is hard He says pray to me.  I will give you the wisdom you need.  However, you MUST believe I can do it.

 

I look back at key times in my life where I faced enormous trials, but I didn’t believe.  I didn’t face the challenge head on.  The result was that I didn’t feel I could endure. I stumbled and faltered.  I went through tremendous pain…until I finally gave in and said to God- you win.  It’s in your hands.    When I got that far…surprise…the waves were calmed.  God makes sure I have at least everything I need.  It may not be everything I want….thank you for that, God.

 

It is at these times that I find a peace that passes all human understanding.  I free]myself from the chains of doubt.  I can make sound decisions and logical choices.  I use the skills that God created in me to move closer to His purposes.

 

Don’t be surprised by your trials .  But you are not alone by any means.  A power much greater than anyone or anything around you is in force.  Follow Him.  Pray.  Push through and endure all the way to the end.  Do not doubt in Him. In this way you will  be perfect and complete- lacking nothing.  Bring it on!

 

 

Tears in a bottle

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Tonight the tears have been streaming down my face a little.  Nothing with great hysteria; just a steady run of water plunging down the slope of my facial contours that have sharpened with age.   I’m going through a mini- phase of self pity wondering why my family and I ended up moving several states away from the place we called home for 20 years or so.  Mostly I manage because my new job has kept me busy.  However, tonight the heart strings were pulled.  There isn’t a specific reason.  Maybe it’s just time to release a little of the toxins I’ve built up in my body with stress and pressure of my life changes.

I’m also preparing for an extensive trip for work which will take me out of the country for a few weeks. I suppose I’m inventorying everything I have to do and prepare for and with this kind of trip I always pray a little harder that guardian angels will be watching over my family and me.  I will be so far away that II won’t be in a position to take immediate action of any sort if any emergency arises. 

I’ve always been one to shed tears in an emotional response to just about anything.  It can be happy or sad.  It can be fear or pain.  I admit it.  I am a cryer.  If you don’t cry, you can’t appreciate how good it feels once you’ve stopped crying.  The chemicals in your body just go crazy for a little bit and when you finally relax there is this wonderful moment of peace that something awful has passed and there is now light shining in the darkness.

By coincidence, this morning the Psalm I read was 56: 8-13.  Maybe I talked myself into having some emotional stress due to the message I read earlier today.  It says God keeps track of all our sorrows.  He collects our tears in His bottle. He has recorded each one in His book.  God is on our side.  He has rescued us.  He keeps our feet from slipping.  I can walk in His life-giving light.

I don’t think a bottle is quite enough for the tears I’ve shed in my lifetime.  When I was little my dad could simply say my name and the tears would come running.  I couldn’t control it though parents always think you can.  I would have so much anxiety built up in me that by the time the last syllable of my name was released the tear bottle was half full!  It was a release– a way to let the pressure ooze out of my body.  

Crying makes many uncomfortable but to me it is a testament to honesty.  People can hide all sorts of emotions, but once they cry it’s real and pure.

There are several things that make Psalm 56 cool to me.  The Psalm is based on a time when David was in hiding and running away to keep from being killed.  It shows me a side of humankind that we all share- fear, anxiety, being on the edge, vulnerable and uncomfortable, seeking but not finding respite from life’s realities.  Yet long term David made it through this situation and there was much good in store for him.  

The idea that God recognizes our feelings and accounts for them is like having a cozy blanket wrapped around your body on a cold night.  Throughout the Bible we are told of situations where God keeps track of us- He knew us before we were formed and he won’t leave us nor forsake us.  Even the worst of the worst has the opportunity to be with Him in paradise.  

Jesus cried.  David cried.  I cried.  Het gets it.  He feels it.  He knows it.  He can relate to us.  Psalm 56 speaks in a tone that suggests God is still keeping track of us.  He is watching out for us.  

I’ll never understand why God lets bad things happen.  I have to just remind myself that I am not in this world for my own purposes.  To admit that, you will be in the minority, but it seems to me to be a very healthy approach to understanding that God’s purposes supercede whatever we have on the calendar.  

I’ve kind of wandered a bit today, but the tears have dried up..  I guess all in all the reality of God loving me, yes even tearful me, has been reinforced.  He’s keeping track of us so what we do in our lives each day makes a difference. Most importantly He is preparing for us to be with Him.  He is recording parts of our lives in His book. He is helping me to recognize and admit it’s not about me.  

Some of us need big bottles and some of us need smaller sizes.  The good news is that God’s bottle supply is never ending.