Saturday, July 27, 2013

Giddy!

My boys will be at camp next week. That alone should make me giddy. While I am excited for them
and for Chris and I, that's not what's making me giddy. Nope. It's the gift Chris and I will have for them when they get home.
Last summer, we bought the boys new bikes. Their old ones were just about done ready to be put out to pasture. Poor guys only got to ride them for about two months before the tires flattened. We wanted to get the good tubes that wouldn't puncture in a matter of minutes, so we held off fixing them...and continued to hold off....

Until this week.

Gage and I had gone to Walmart to pick up some things, and he asked me when they were going to get their bikes fixed.  I really wanted to tell him that Chris and I had plans to fix them while they were at camp, but I held my tongue. Instead, I said, "Now's not the time. Be patient." His little face deflated like a popped balloon.

 Which got me thinking....

How many times have we asked God for something and have Him tell us, "Now's not the time. Be patient." But oh, how we want what we've asked for. Believe me. I'm in that spot right now. I want some answers to some intense questions, but God says, "Wait." And like Gage, my face drops and falls like that deflated balloon.

But I can't see what God does, like Gage doesn't see what I see.

I see Saturday, when the boys get home, and Chris and I suggest they go for a bike ride. I see the perfect timing for the boys to get their, "perfect gift" that they've been waiting and waiting for.

Gage sees the thing he wants and that he doesn't get to have it now.

I've done that, haven't you? We ask God for something, He tells us wait, and we get bummed that we don't have it right now. But God's plans are better than ours. He sees the bigger picture, I only see a snapshot.

James 1:17 "Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow."

God has perfect gifts in store for me. Not when I want it, but when He's ready to give it. And I can just picture God, giddy with what's to come. Like how I feel about the boys' bikes. I'm giddy and can hardly wait to give them their bikes all fixed.  If I were to give them their bikes today or yesterday, they wouldn't have had time to enjoy them before going off to camp.

If God gave us what we longed for now, would we really enjoy and appreciate it? We might think so, but God knows our hearts better than we do.

So what about you? What are you waiting for that is just going to make God giddy when He gives it to you?

Saturday, July 20, 2013

A Clean Slate....Or Is It?

Recently, I held up a white board to the Lord, and said, "God, here's a clean slate for You to write
Your story through me." Whatever He wanted me to do, live, serve, be, I was all for. Excited, too, because I'd never done that before. Normally, I say to God, "I don't want to do this or that or live here or there." And what happens? God makes me do those things I said I didn't want to do. And I'm ok with that because His ways are far better than mine. Though, I normally wind up kicking and screaming along the way.
 But then it happened. I finally gave it all to the Lord and decided to trust him no matter what.
Back to the clean slate. I held it up and gave it to Him. Over the last week or so, I've noticed something: I've taken it back and began to write my own things on it. "God, I'll live in this area as long as there are no tornados, floods, earthquakes." (Not that I'm moving, just as an example). But see, I didn't write it in the middle. No, that would be too obvious and take up too much room. I wrote it along the side of the board. Doesn't take up too much space and still allows God to write His story.
I held it up once more, proud as can be. But again, as time went on, I realized I had a few more provisions for the Lord. "God, I'll do this as long as it is safe and not dangerous in any way, shape, or form." I continued to write along the side of the board, so God could still write His story.
Back and forth this went until I had written so much that the Lord had no room to write what He wanted for my life. I was so proud of myself at first. Thinking I was finally letting God have all of my life and I'd go along for the ride. When I saw all the writing and scribbles, I realized I'd asked God to guide me, to lead me, to help me follow His direction for my life. But like the back seat driver I am, I told Him where to go,what to do, and how to do it.
He doesn't work that way, does He? Well, maybe in your life He does, my not mine! So, I took that whiteboard or slate, and I erased all the things I'd written, my time table for things to happen, my desires, my wants, my fears. Instead, I offered up to Him a clean slate, one that is fresh and new so that Jesus can write His story on my life. I can't wait to see what He writes down. I'm nervous, excited, and looking forward to the great adventure He has planned for me!
What about you? Have you written your story or are you allowing God to do it? What's been your biggest challenge?

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Are You on an Adventure?

My in-laws are in town. My father-in-law had never seen The Hobbit (which I love), so one night, we put it on. I absolutely love this movie. I couuld watch it again and again and not get bored. Unfortunately, since I was up early that morning, I fell asleep. But not before a part in the movie that really got me thinking.
Bilbo wakes up to find the his guests gone. On a quick side note, how that many men can be that quiet in the morning is beyond me. But that's beside the point. His house is left empty, not a single one is there. He wanders around a minute or so and then decides he wants to go with them.
The next scene you see him running through the Shire with a paper in his hand. Other hobbits give him a weird look and one finally asks, "Where are you going?" To which Bilbo replies, "I'm going on an adventure."
An adventure. I often think I want to go on an adventure. Try something new. See something different. Be different when I return. Then it hit me: I am on an adventure. This life, this world we live in, is truly that. An adventure. Adventures don't always go as planned.
There are troubles along the way. One of Bilbo's first problems is when he has to face the trolls. Three dim-witted villians who try to eat him and his company. What does Bilbo do? He stalls for enough time for the sun to rise. Gadalf getting there was beyond what he expected, but a huge blessing. And that's what we do. We stall and wait for the Son to rise.  On this adventure of life, don't we often wait for Jesus to show up? We think all is lost, but that's not the case. Jesus comes to our rescue in His timing, His way. Adventure is relying on something or Someone when everything else is out of control.
Adventures rarely go smoothly. I may have a plan for my adventure, a road I want to travel. But then, that road becomes closed due to mishaps along the way, or in Bilbo's case, Orcs. In my life, I've had to change course, go a different way because something or someone stopped me from reaching my destination. And that's ok. Changing course in this adventure we call life is a must.
And, like Bilbo, we face giants. He faced rock giants that battled each other. We face giants that we must battle in our life. Those giants can shake us to the core and make us doubt the path we're on. Bilbo ended up hanging  on the side of a cliff, thinking his life was over. Giants will do that to us, won't they? Leave us with no hope of surviving our adventure. But then, we have friends and family come along, lift us up, and surround us with love and compassion and joy that we made it out alive.
Remember when Bilbo's talking to all the dwarves about why he didn't quit when he had the chance? He said it was because he had a home to go to, and he wanted to help them get back to their rightful home. That's what we should be doing. We have a home and ought to help others find their way there, too.
One more analogy to The Hobbit. Remember how it ended? It left us wanting more. The movie wasn't over because the other two hadn't been finished yet. Our life, our adventure, isn't over. We must continue to walk the road set before us until the day we go Home to be with Jesus. Then our adventure is done. Our story isn't finished.
Whether we are missionaries, co-workers, friends, family, no matter what our jobs are or who we have gathered around us, enjoy this adventure. We will have bumps and bruises along the way. We may face our Goblin King with a dragon on the horizon. But, surround yourself with people who will speak the truth in love and shower you with encouragement. Because this life is just one big adventure. Enjoy it, Embrace it, the good and the bad. And long for the day when it's over and we can say we endured until the end.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

A Simple Trade

My family and I had a yard sale today. I told the boys that if they went through their room and got rid of stuff, they could keep the money. Amazing how much they got rid of. Sadly, the day didn't produce much on the financial end, but it did on the spiritual end, for me anyway.
Chris' mom was going to get rid of the bed in their extra room. I told her we'd take it off her hands if she so desired. This morning, she and her husband decided to bring by the bed. Mom saw that I was getting rid of a chair that I'd gotten at a previous yard sale a year ago and asked if we could trade the chair for the bed.
Um, considering the fact that I was selling the chair for a dollar or two, and she had a bed, box spring, head board, and bed frame she'd been willing to give me, I heartily said yes!
Which got me to pondering. For her, it was a simple trade. For me, I definitely got the better end of the bargain. Again, that got me thinking.
I got the better end of the bargain when it comes to Christ. I really did. See, for him, it was a simple trade, my life for His. But boy, oh boy, did He get the short end of the stick. I am full of faults, failures, sins, disappointments. I'm not perfect. But He traded His life for mine. Simply amazing.
Chris' mom may not think I got the better bargain. The chair works great in her house. The colors match her theme and now she has a place to sit when she has a house full of people.
And Jesus looks at it that way, too. I see my imperfections. He sees my beauty. I see my failures. He sees my successes. I see my disappointments. He sees my learning experiences. Jesus looks at me and sees white, though my sins are like scarlet. He washes me white as snow.
I'm completely amazed at the goodness of my Savior. I stand in awe as He looks at me and literally sings over me. A simple trade for Jesus. But not so for me. I still got the better end of the bargain, and for that, I am forever grateful!
What about you? What is something someone traded with you that you feel you received the better deal?

Friday, July 5, 2013

What's A Girl To Do?

I'm overweight. It's sad but true. About thirty pounds, actually, As long as I can remember, I've
struggled with my weight. Ups and downs have been a constant in my life. It's tough. I have three sisters who are "tall drinks of water" as I've heard it said. And one sister who is shorter than I am but beautiful. And then there's me.
I don't say that to get attention. This is just the way I've always viewed myself. Not beautiful. Nothing to draw people's attention to me. Then add the weight issue. Ugh. It's tough. I've compared myself to my sisters for years on end and many other women I know. I always come up short.
Five years ago, Chris and I decided to do Weight Watchers (with a push from my sister). We did awesome. Lost 40 pounds each. I'd never felt so good, but that was short lived. I let my desire for food and what I wanted to eat get the best of me. And I gradually saw the weight return.
Now, as I write this, I'm the heaviest I've been since moving to Colorado. I don't like my body and am constantly complaining about it. But to do something? Well, that would require too much work. Even though I know gluttony is a sin and eating too much isn't good for me physically, mentally, or spiritually, I didn't change anything.
That's about to change. I'm at the point where eating healthy and enjoying it is a must. Not just for me, but for my family, too. I know at least one of my boys is going to struggle with his weight for the rest of his life, so I need to teach him now how to make healthy choices, to exercise.
Today, I've started reading, "Made to Crave", counted my points I had for breakfast, and walked two miles. I have a pedometer to count  my steps, and I realize I don't move nearly as much as I thought I did. I'm excited to get back on track, to fit into my jeans before Fall hits. I need to do this. I desire to do this.
So, for those of you who want to, keep me accountable, ok? The Bible tells me, "A desire accomplished is sweet to the soul." My desire isn't just to lose weight but to make a life style change by eating smaller portions, healthier choices, and exercising. And then, I'll accomplish my desire. Thanks for listening to my ramblings today. And let the journey begin!