Thursday, October 30, 2014

God's handiwork

Earlier this week, I gotphone call from  an excited  Emma. As soon as I answered the phone, in good form and obviously well-coached by mommy, she blurted out, "Grandma, I love you and I miss you. And guess what?  Ezra can crawl!"

Well, Ezra can crawl, and stand by himself, and is very close to walking.  That's a lot for someone just shy of 7 months old!  And that got me to pondering the passage of this thing called time.

My perspective has certainly changed as I have aged, and gotten old and tired.  The days, nay moths and whole years, seem to fly by.  Watching my grandchildren is almost like watching one of those time lapse films.  They grow up right before me, and leave me in wonder and awe at God's handiwork.

And I guess this would be no real grandparent post without a few photos of that handiwork...

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Thursday thought: on being overwhelmed

There are times in life when the clouds roll over us unexpectedly.  We are skipping along fine when, suddenly, we find ourselves on the ground with the wind knocked out of us. I assume this is common to the human condition and I am not alone in this feeling.  This morning I found myself contemplating the things I have learned after years of having those overwhelmed moments.  And I see some patterns there.

First, the sheer emotion of that moment is so weighty.  I would think I would have gotten used to that feeling by now.  But no.  It still drops me to my knees.  And that is probably a good thing, since on my knees is exactly where I belong before God.  

Second, during those times I seem to have two choices: to wallow in the mire of the situation, or to stand on God's promises.  I seem to naturally gravitate to the mire.  Once you have it smeared all around you, it acts as a sort of insulation.  But eventually, you get itchy under there, and need a bath and some fresh air.  In times of great trial, the promises of God become not platitudes, but things of substance-- places to stand on sure footing while the rest of the ground sinks away.  As a matter of fact, it becomes the only solid ground we have at all.  So there is really not much of a choice.

Third, I look back and see every time I was overwhelmed that God brought me to a new place of understanding, a new place of growth, a new place of closeness with Him or others through the pain of it.  That's all well and good afterwards, to revel in that 20/20 hindsight.  The challenge, it seems to me, is remembering that in the current season, when we again land on our back and the breath is knocked out of us, it is for a reason and it will be good.

So I turn quicker these days to God's word when I am overwhelmed, and quicker to beg Him to fulfill His promises now that I have itched in the muck so many times. I beg Him to be sufficient for me as He promised, to work everything for my good and His glory as He promised, to be my God and make me His child as He promised.  He has never disappointed me in those prayers.  May He prove Himself faithful to you, also, Gentle Reader.

And a P.S.  I am not currently overwhelmed.  Many of you dear and caring readers will send me e-mails asking if everything is OK.  The answer is yes.  I am only contemplating being overwhelmed currently, not BEING overwhelmed.  But don't worry.  I am sure I will be there again soon enough...

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Thoughts on context

We all know the truth that context makes a difference.  What is objectionable and unseemly in one circumstance is often appropriate in another. Judging our own context is sometimes trickier.

I wonder if I do you a disservice, Gentle Reader, when I share my blog posts without any context.  I would guess that the twenty or so of you who follow this blog regularly (bless your hearts!) know quite a bit of my context: my life situation, my struggles, etc.  But few of you are privy to the particular context of particular posts.

I wonder if, when I post a particularly spiritual or theological post, for instance, you might be thinking about me as some wise old woman spouting  knowledge from the depths of my wisdom and sharing with those behind me on the spiritual journey.  It is true that I am old, but as for the rest, let me set the record straight.  Let me give you a little of my context.

I always assume that my readers (and everyone else for that matter) are pretty much like me-- they have similar hopes and fears, even if the details are different.  I assume that we all struggle to hold on to hope in the midst of this broken world and our battered lives.  I need the truth of the gospel (the really good news) preached to me day-by-day, hour-by-hour, minute-by-minute, or I would sink. Therefore, I preach to myself.  I read God's word, I struggle in prayer, and I process here.  I publish it because writing for you, both my imaginary and real Gentle Readers, causes me to think more carefully about my wording and content, and distill the ravings of my very verbose inclinations to something brief and hopefully meaningful.  In short, it helps me to focus.  Or at least I hope it does.

But here is the point: I do not write these things because I have figured it out and this is how I live.  I write these things because I want to live this way. Without such hope I would be lost.  I wish I were, as a dear friend has said, "a compliant recipient of the Lord's refining fires," but the reality is I fight and kick, grieve and despair, and would be lost but for God's grace. I write what I need, assuming you need it, too.

So there is my context. Thank you for wandering this road with me, Gentle Reader.  But please remember we are both pilgrims seeking the face of God in our joy and in our pain.