Thursday, January 29, 2015

When I was so excited about a new challenge...

As summer ended and mid-August arrived, I returned to my academic year job at a local college, I was excited. The new semester had the potential to be the best one yet. 

The least favorite part of my job was being given to someone another building. YES!
I would have new responsibilities. As the Administrative Assistant for two academic programs and another administrative office, my workload would change. I did not know what program I would be given and therefore, I did not know for whom I would work.

But something different would be a welcome change.

With a new program would come new challenges.

New responsibilities.

I would continue with some of the "old" but would add some "new" and I was excited about that.

The first few weeks of the semester I waited anxiously for the news of what that program would be. My boss would keep me informed and every week she would say, "I have no idea. It might be this or that, but I can't get anyone to tell me anything."

And I would wait. I don't wait well. 

But sometimes...most times...I have to wait anyway.

On August 22, 2014 I wrote in my journal "Sarah Young in Jesus Calling - Trust Me, and don't be afraid. I want you to view trials as exercises designed to develop your trust muscles.  You live in the midst of fierce spiritual battles, and fear is one of Satan's favorite weapons."

FEAR - Satan's favorite weapon

Submit yourselves, then, to God. 
Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
James 4:7 

Fear was of Satan. What did I have to be afraid of?

I was not afraid. Or so I told myself.

But my trust muscles were about to get a work out.

One like I had not seen in many years.

I might be more afraid that I realized.

I would have to learn to submit to God and to let go.

Friends, this is part one of a series I am starting 
on some things that happened in my life recently.
Things that I wasn't expecting.
Things that changed the way I look at some aspects of life.
I don't know how long it will take me to write this out,
but I hope you find one nugget of wisdom or inspiration
as I share this part of my story. 

Are you a fearful person? Are you afraid of change?


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Is there peace in death? Comfort in dying?

He hung up the phone, walked into the kitchen where I was making a pot of chicken soup, looked me in the eye and said, "I have to go to Virginia this weekend."

He had just been talking with his dad and his mother isn't doing well. The fluid is building up around her heart. Her legs are swollen. She can no longer walk, even with her walker. She is sleeping a lot.

It is too soon. For me. Too close to the one year anniversary of my own dad's death.

Too many similarities. Too many reminders.

All of our days are numbered, but she probably has fewer than most of us.   

Since we moved out east 7 years ago, John has made an effort to get down to see his parents every 6 weeks or so. It is a short drive of 5 hours and much closer than he had been since he left home at 18 and traveled west 400+ miles to attend college. Back in the day where there were no cell phones. No e-mail. No instant communication. Maybe he called home on Sunday evenings, maybe he didn't. I don't know. 

After college he took a job even further west. 

When we got married, we tried to get back to his hometown a couple of times a year. We saw his family in July when we all met for a vacation. Moving east has allowed him more visit with his family.

I feel that the end of her days is nearing.  While those left behind may be sad, I know she will find peace.

And rest.

And comfort.

She will no longer be dependent on others.  She will walk without aid.

She will be at peace.

And those left behind will learn to live life without her.

The righteous perish,
    and no one takes it to heart;
the devout are taken away,
    and no one understands
that the righteous are taken away
    to be spared from evil.
Those who walk uprightly
    enter into peace;
    they find rest as they lie in death
Isaiah 57:1-2 
(emphasis mine)

My mother-in-law is a righteous women. She knows the Lord and is a prayer warrior. And one day, probably sooner than I would like, she will walk the streets of gold and say hello to my daughter and my dad.

Max Lucado writes in  
A Gentle Thunder Hearing God Through The Storm 
"Could death be God's grace? 
Could the funeral wreath be God's safety ring? 
As horrible as the grave may be, 
could it be God's protection from the future?" 

To those left behind the grave doesn't 
seem like a safety ring.
But I find comfort in that thought.  
Do you?

  A Gentle Thunder affiliate link included in today's post

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Obedience + Waiting = Peace...not a bad equation

I have been praying about my writing.  About what I should do with this space. I have been so empty for what seems like forever and even though I have wanted to quit and walk away, I could not get a clear sense that leaving...walking away was the right answer.

So, I sat and waited.

I did not close the blog.

I did not walk away.

I continued to pray and seek an answer. 

I have the in(Courage) perpetual calendar on the desk in my office.  This morning Holley Gerth's words spoke to me. 
"...part of faith is also about believing that our obedience 
makes a difference - when we can't see the results." 

Then I read Jesus Calling, January 14 - today - and Sarah Young writes "Let Me bless you with My grace and Peace. Open your heart and mind to receive all that I have for you. Do not be ashamed of your emptiness.  Instead, view it as the optimal condition for being filled with My Peace."

Maybe...just maybe my obedience is in accepting my emptiness today...right now.  Maybe the obedience of not quitting is the only answer I get right now.
For some reason, I find peace in that thought.

So, quietly, in my little corner of the internet I share with whomever is reading this that I am waiting.  I am empty of words, but I am at peace.

And that, my friend, is a gift.

Are you waiting on something?
Are you hoping and looking for results that just do not
seem to be there?
Can I pray for you today? If so, please share in the comments.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Where do the steps lead?

See the steps in this photograph?  I took this picture from the car while sitting at a stoplight in Pittsburgh more than a year ago.  I don't know if the steps lead to another sidewalk or directly to a house.

To find out exactly where they go I would have had to get out of the car and walk up the steps.

I would have had to put one foot in front of the other and take one step at a time.

I would have had to venture into the unknown because I don't know exactly what is at the top of the steps.

Unlike these steps that lead directly to the door.  Without question, if I were to walk up these steps I would reach the door at the end.

 Life's journey is not always down a clear path.  There are bumps and turns and I don't see the way as clearly as I would like to sometimes.  But I must continue walking down the road.  

I can't just stop and sit. Waiting until I can see the end result.

As I enter this new year I recognize that I am on a journey.  And this journey may lead me into places that I don't really want to go, but it may also lead me to places that I am excited to visit.

I am reminded of the wise men who journeyed to see Jesus.  They were told to follow the star and they did. It wasn't a short trip. Yet, they continued on. 

Last Sunday, we celebrated The Epiphany.  The priest said the wise men were on "a journey of hope."  

That is how I want to view my one of hope.

So, I enter the new year focusing on the hope.  

The hope I have in Jesus.

The hope I have in being his child.

The hope that will sustain me as I travel an unknown path.

Where is your hope?


Monday, December 8, 2014

When doing something nice took way tooo long!

I was reading Michelle DeRusha's post this morning and it brought back memories of last year.  I decided to share this post again....


Did you read this post by Michelle where she talked about doing small things with great love during Advent?  I loved the post and decided to give it a whirl.

Monday morning dawned and I already wrote about God using my coffee pot to teach me a lesson.  In lieu of that fact, I decided I would drive through Dunkin' Donuts on my way to work (actually it is not exactly on the way) and get a coffee and pay for the person behind me.  Maybe not exactly what Michelle was talking about, but it was working for me.

I ordered my coffee, drove to the window and told the girl I wanted to pay for the order behind me.

"Who is it?" she asked.

"I have no idea.  I just want to pay for the order."  I said.

"Oh.  A random act.  Ok.  He isn't finished ordering."  she said.

I waited.

"Is he finished yet?" I said.

"No." she replied.

"How much is it?" I asked.

"$13.00.  Wait.  He isn't finished."

This conversation went on like this for almost 2 minutes!  The girl at the window told me twice, you don't have to do this, to which I replied, "no, it's fine."

However, when the order was over $20.00 and the person STILL. WAS. NOT. FINISHED.  I gave the girl $5.00 and told her to put it towards the order and tell the person to have a nice day.

I needed to get to work!

As I drove away, I see the person finally pulling away from where he was placing his order.  In a HUMMER!

Seriously!  I thought that was so funny. 

On Sunday, my  #SmallThingsGreatLove act was holding my tongue during a conversation.  It took some serious prayer beforehand, but it worked out beautifully. 

On a different note, I got the nicest e-mail from Barbie recently. She asked if I was willing to be her Inspired Blogger for December.  I was truly honored.  If you click on the that link, you might learn a thing or two about me that you didn't know.

That being said, I totally understand if you don't care.  But, I do encourage you to check out Barbie's blog, My Freshly Brewed Life.  She shares some about her family Christmas traditions here and has some good cookie recipes too. 

I'm linking with Jennifer today for Tell His Story.