Thursday, June 24, 2010

Puzzle Pieces

What About Me?

Lately, I've picked up an old favorite devotional: My Utmost for His Highest, by Oswald Chambers. This was a kind of staple in my spiritual upbringing, along with the daily Psalms and Proverbs ritual. There were times when I would dread the readings in these books, fearing that my conscience would consume me from the inside out, wanting me to let go of the sin that had taken hold of my life.

But through that part of my history, it has stuck with me. Today, I look forward to those nuggets when I find the time to read. Oswald's book is very deep, despite being just one page per day. I especially liked the reading on June 21st: which also happens to be my mom's anniversary day. Here's what really impacted me:

"...the continual grubbing on the inside, to see whether we are what we ought to be generates a self-centered, morbid type of Christianity, not the robust, simple life of the child of God. Until we get into a right relationship to God, it is a case of hanging on by the skin of our teeth, and we say--What a wonderful victory I have got! There is nothing indicative of the miracle of Redemption in that. Launch out into reckless belief that the Redemption is complete, and then bother no more about yourself, but begin to do as Jesus Christ said--pray for the friend who comes to you at midnight, pray for the saints, pray for all men. Pray on the realization that you are only perfect in Christ Jesus, not on this plea--"O Lord, I have done my best, please hear me" ...
...How long is it going to take God to free us from the morbid habit of thinking about ourselves? We must get sick unto death of ourselves, until there is no longer any surprise at anything God can tell us about ourselves. We cannot touch the depths of meanness in ourselves. There is only one place where we are right, and that is in Christ Jesus. When we are there, then we have to pour out for all we are worth in this ministry of the interior. " (My Utmost for His Highest, O.Chambers pp. 173)

Wow. Those are powerful words! To have that kind of spiritual maturity is incredible. I think we all go through times of 'poor me', in our lives, and then we move on from there to what is next. God will use whatever circumstances are required to bring us to that wholeness---and apart from the perfect sacrifice, we will never be complete.

The Anniversary

Monday was a good day for me. I didn't cry, not that I should have or wouldn't let it out...I just didn't. My wave of grief had already washed away, into the ocean of emotions. Don't know when the next tide will come in, but it's ok. God knows, and He will provide the necessary means to get through it. It was good be with family on that day, and in the days leading up to it. I felt much peace in their company. And like the old saying goes, 'all good things must come to an end'. So we said our good-byes and carried on with our day. But if nothing ends, then there isn't anything to look forward to, right? We are looking forward to more time together. I feel very blessed to have a supportive family network. Thank you, to all of you, for the role that you play in mine and my family's life. You are like the precious stones that wash up on the shoreline, amongst all the other stuff that life brings in. It's good to have those gems in our lives, isn't it?

Nothing Ever Occurs to God

Ever have one of those surprise moments, you know, something outta left field--didn't see it coming kinda thing? Yeah, that happened to me last night. I was going over a design with a client when the subject of 'where did you grow up?' surfaced. I reluctantly mentioned the name of the town, and then their eyes lit up: 'hey, we know someone from there and will be seeing them tomorrow!' Yep, you guessed it: I also knew the same person. The next thing I knew, there was a fancy, wide-screen phone laying on the kitchen table and I found myself talking to someone from the past, via speaker phone! The room was all ears, as you can imagine.

I hadn't talked to or seen her for at least 19 years. She was one of several friends that I used to run around with. You could say that both of us are different people today then we were, back then. Probably a good thing, too! I was happy to hear that she has a nice family and that she loves the Lord. So while I've often prayed for old friends from this town, here is one of them, being a light in the darkness. I hope that I can be an encouragement to her, should we remain connected. None of this is a surprise to God. Just another piece of the puzzle, put in place. I drove home, shaking my head, saying "Ok God, you do have a sense of're up to something!"

Watch 'em Grow!

How delightful it is to watch our kids, playing and being so innocent. They are happy, most of the time, and have no cares in the world. They know they are loved and trust that their parents will meet their needs....I said needs, not wants(ok maybe sometimes, wants)! We sit there, beaming from within because we are so proud of them and love them so much. We humbly ask for wisdom, quite often, in raising them up and in making decisions for on their behalf. What an awesome responsibility it is, to be a parent. But having our kids be happy, for the most part, makes it a joy.

I often think that God feels the same way about all of us. I know that I am happier and more peaceful when I trust Him with life stuff. Like a friend reminded me, God is in the 'Restoration business'. He wants to make all things new. He knows what we desire and is delighted when we want the same things He does. So while the reading that I mentioned points to the Redemption, already said and done, God continues to work Restoration--because of the Cross--in us. It requires total surrender and getting out of our own way. And we get our whole lifetime to figure out how to do this! Every day is an opportunity for growth, in some capacity. Sometimes it rains a lot, sometimes its very dry, sometimes its some of both. But, through it all, we will grow.