Saturday, September 30, 2017

"...so"

"Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. (This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.) So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one You love is sick.”
When He heard this, Jesus said, 'This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.' Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when He heard that Lazarus was sick, He stayed where He was two more days, and then He said to His disciples, 'Let us go back to Judea.'" (Matthew 11: 1-7)


When Jesus heard that Lazarus was dying, according to our logic He should have immediately gone to heal him. After all, Jesus loved Lazarus, Mary, & Martha. If you love somebody, you want what's best for them.

And of course, obviously what was best for Lazarus was to be healed...right? Or at least, that's what we in our limited human understanding think has to be true.

I don't know about you, but I have to admit that most of the time when I pray, I have the answer in mind. You see, I tend to think that my idea of how life is supposed to play out is pretty darn good. Honestly, a lot of my prayers probably have a bit of "If you could just do what I'm wanting we'll be good, thank-you-very-much."

Besides, like Lazarus, I'm one Jesus loves. Given that, He should hurry to pull me out of whatever mess I'm in.

Or, maybe not.

Read this passage again, especially the last two sentences: "Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when He heard that Lazarus was sick, He stayed where He was two more days, and then He said to His disciples, 'Let us go back to Judea.'" There in the middle is something I hadn't noticed before, a tiny little word: So.

I don't remember what blog I was reading that pointed that word out to me, but the message stuck with me. Jesus loves me and wants what's best for me in all circumstances. The problem is, in my short-sightedness I can't see what He sees. He sees the darkness I'm in, how I'm wandering around groping to find my way out, how I'm letting myself sink down in despair.

But He also sees something else. He sees what will happen when I'm on the other side of the darkness, when I step out of the shadows into His Light. He sees how, whatever the circumstances, this will work for God's glory...sometimes despite me, if I'm honest.

Sometimes we are in the middle of the dark, feeling like life is closing in on us and that surely the pressure is too much. We cry out for Jesus to just come to us--
because we know that
in Him is rest
in Him is peace
In Him is healing.

Jesus hears. He loves...and so, sometimes, He waits.

Because sometimes the darkness is needed
                            in order to truly appreciate the beauty of the light.
Because sometimes the pressure is needed
                            in order to create diamonds.
Because sometimes the pain is needed
                            in order to produce strength.

So hold on. If you're crying out for Jesus to just come, because you know He can speak and calm the storms--or whisper and calm your heart--know that sometimes, He waits.

Because even in the hard times, He can be glorified. If we just wait.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

an unplanned post...

This wasn't the blog post I meant to write. Actually, when I started writing it, I had no intention of sharing it with anyone. A while back, after I read The Help, I started writing my prayers. You see, my mind races like crazy all the time, and I've never developed the discipline I need to be able to focus on a prayer I'm saying in my head. So instead, my answer to that is to grab a notebook and a pen.

I don't know if I've ever mentioned it, but I'm more than just a tad bit addicted to notebooks. I have to look at them any time I go to a store with a stationery section. In this case, the notebook I was writing in was one I snagged from Nathan (he had only written on the first page...).

In any case, the post I wanted to write was called "...on being a lady," and is one that I've had written out on paper for a long time. In fact, I even typed that title in when I first opened this page to write...

But as is often the case in my life, it seems God had other plans. I kept getting the nagging feeling that I needed to pull out my prayer and share it here, with you. I have to tell you, it's not one I'm really all that comfortable putting out there (you can probably tell by how much I'm procrastinating). But if I feel like it's what I'm supposed to do, hopefully there's a reason & hopefully it will help somebody else.

So, here goes...

****
Dear God,

I'm afraid this is going to be pretty blunt, because I'm not in a very good place right now. I've always heard that bad things come in 3s, but lately it's felt like we've had bad things happening in 3 sets of 3s.

I know I'm still living a very blessed life--really, I do. I understand that I have so much to be thankful for...

But God, life is hard right now & I'm just staying on the edge of a breakdown all the time. I don't understand why so many things just keep getting piled up on top of each other.

First, let me thank You. Despite all the mess and all the chaos and all the stress, I know that You are ultimately in control. Sometimes I lose sight of that. Sometimes the storms distract me and I start focusing on them instead of seeing You. God, please help me to focus on You. Help me to remember that You say, "At the time that I choose, I will judge & do so fairly. When the earth and everyone living upon it spin into chaos, I am the One who stabilizes and supports it." (Psalm 75:2&3)

God, I know that my thoughts can't even begin to compare to Yours. I know that You, in Your ultimate wisdom, know just why everything in my life has been happening, and You know how everything is going to turn out. God, please help me to see all of this for what it is--temporary. Help me to live a life that is worthy of the gospel of Christ. In the middle of the chaos and stress, help me not to mar Your name.

I told You, though, that this would be blunt and honest, so here goes. I know the Sunday School answers. I know all the words I should be saying, how I should be acting, and what I should be doing. The problem is, right now I don't want to do any of those things. Right now I just want to ask, "Why does this keep happening? Why are all the little things just piling up like this?" I want to cry out, "Abba, why have You turned away? Why aren't You just fixing all the bad stuff?"

Like the insecure child I am, I want to know what it is that I keep doing wrong that keeps causing all these things. What am I supposed to be learning that I'm not getting? What am I supposed to be doing to fix it? Why does it feel like my world is falling apart?

But that's part of my problem, isn't it? I saw a quote one time that said, "If you think you've blown God's plan for your life, rest in this: you, my beautiful friend, are not that powerful." (Lisa Bever) When I start asking what it is I'm doing wrong, what I'm supposed to do to fix everything, maybe that's me trying to take control of Your plans for my life.

God--Abba, please...I don't even know how to pray anymore. I don't know what to ask You or what to say. I'm at the point where my words are just jumbled in my head...but more so in my heart. So Father, please hear the cries I can't utter. Please hear the words I can't form. Please take my insecurities and turn them around so that I remember that I am secure in You, no matter how much my world is shaking.

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