don’t wait

It’s 5 o’clock somewhere

just read that sentence and you can hear the song in your head.  Or if you can’t, click on the video.  Enjoy.  I’ll wait.

 

A concept that resonates with just about everyone.  We all get it.

Somewhere in the world, it just turned 5 o’clock, so its okay to let loose, party and perhaps consume an adult beverage or three.

Fun idea,  and not too difficult to understand.

Now I want you to consider applying this concept to a Bible verse.

yes, a Bible verse.

Lamentations 3: 22 & 23 (ESV)  to be exact

The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases,
His mercies never come to an end
They are new every morning
Great is your faithfulness

 

How many times have we heard people say “His mercies are new every morning” and mentally applied it like this:

“wow, I really messed up today, but tomorrow I can start fresh”

“ugh it’s only 9:47 a.m. !  Today has started off horrible!  So glad tomorrow will be better”

Why wait?

The earth is round.

You are on the earth.

the sun is coming up SOMEWHERE

so

DON’T WAIT

Claim it right now.  His Mercies are new right now.

You don’t have to wait till tomorrow for the Faithfulness and Mercy of our Living God.

This is one thing it is okay to be impatient for.

 

 

 

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plan interrupted

plan interrupted

When I was 15 I had a plan.

  1. Graduate college
  2. Find a man
  3. Get married
  4. Adopt a dog
  5. Be adopted by a cat
  6. Have kids
  7. Live happily ever after

My life soooooo didn’t go according to plan.

I didn’t graduate college till I was almost 30.   I had two failed marriages.  The dogs and cat didn’t come till after I turned 30. And children of my own body will never happen.  Some of the reasons my life didn’t go according to plan are my fault, some were things that were never in my control to begin with.

Like many couples, we struggled for years to have children.  Eventually we made the life altering decision to open our hearts to adoption.  (Let me just say here that this was not a decision we made lightly, nor was it an attempt to replace childbearing.  Adoption is an entirely different emotional adjustment and needs to be approached with prayer and care)

That said, we went through the process and were eventually selected by a young couple to raise their baby that was due in approximately 5 more moths.  We really bonded with them.  They said it was very important to them for their child to be raised in a Christian home.   They let us pray with them.

Just a month later we got a call from another agent.  An Emergency Situation – a baby had been born in a local hospital and the mother had just walked out.  Classic abandonment.  Did we want the baby?  Martin and I looked at each other…we were tempted.  Oh so tempted.  We could honor our agreement with the first couple and wait for their baby, or go right now and come home with a baby today.  Oh we were tempted.  That’s when grief unresolved rears its ugly head.  My arms ached to hold a baby, any baby. But we prayed, and felt a sense of peace about honoring our agreement with the first couple.  We felt good about that decision.

Then it happened again, the very next week. Similar situation.  This time it was twins.  Oh my word!  But again we decided to wait and go with the couple we had already committed to.

We were now just a month or two away from her due date.  It looked like our happily ever after was just around the corner.

But …(why is there always a but?)

A week later this couple, that had been so open and sweet turned out to be dishonest.  They chose to disappear with a large chunk of money and a huge piece of our hearts.

We were devastated.

We were in shock.

Why had God allowed us to connect so well with this couple? Why did He allow them to defraud us? Why had He given us such peace about continuing with a couple that HE knew was going to wrong us?  A couple that he knew was lying to us and their own extended family?

Some good things came out of the situation.

We watched our agent display integrity and compassion.

We were able to be a witness to the couple through our opportunity to show them mercy and not press charges. As well as the various kindnesses along the way.

Maybe God’s purpose was the timing?  For those of you who have met Ginny,  you know the story turns out well.  But did you know that she is a miracle of timing?

The very same weekend that we had been invited out to meet our first couple.  The very same weekend that we were supposed to go to an ultrasound appointment with them

Is the same weekend, even the same HOUR that Ginny’s birth parents  were having an ultrasound that showed them Ginny.  That was when they were making their decision that would lead to us adopting Ginny.

We didn’t know it at the time of course.  All we knew was that we had been hurt by one couple and we didn’t know what to do next.  Weeks later when I eventually saw the ultrasound for Ginny, the time and date stamp just leaped right off the page at me.  I got chills.

Was that the purpose of the whole mess with the first couple?  Was God just trying to keep us on hold with them so that we wouldn’t jump at those two abandonment situations?  Was he trying to make sure we would be ready and waiting when Ginny’s birth parents were ready to make their decision?

Maybe.  It is certainly one pattern that I can see. But was that God’s purpose?

I don’t know.

I may never know.

But here is the key to the whole thing

I don’t need to know.

It is enough for me to know that God is good.  I can trust that God did have a purpose in everything that lead us to Ginny.  NOT because I finally have my fairy tale, but because all things are in God’s control and he works all things together for HIS GLORY

HE interrupted my plans (multiple times, but who’s counting?) so that He could give me something far greater than anything that was on my pristine plan.

Yes Ginny is nearly eight now, but I still marvel at how beautifully God orchestrated events so that Ginny would be part of our family and we would be forever part of hers.

 

 

are we a team?

before yesterday I would have said that Martin and I make a great parenting team. (not that we are great parents, we won’t know that result for years to come)

but yesterday I found out that we have left a word out of that assessment, and it makes a significant difference…

TAG

We are great TAG – Team parents.

We have perfected the art of passing Ginny back and forth between us like a finely honed machine of efficiency.  While one is being an independent adult, the other is being a parent.  What we seem to have lost recently is the art, and make no mistake it IS an ART, of working together as a GROUP.  With both of us being parents TOGETHER.

Just as an example, yesterday Martin did something that he would never have done had he been alone with Ginny.  Becasue I was there, he abandoned our mutual pile of personal belongings and went off to some other portion of the venue to a change machine to get chage for Ginny to play a game. 

How is this wrong?

it isn’t…..in and of itself.

He had Ginny with him.  She was safe.

I however was fuming.

I had no idea where they were.

I could not go looking for them because I was now in charge ( by default) of a whole pile of stuff that couldn’t be left alone in a public venue.

I knew they had the ultimate goal of going to play some game that Ginny had wanted to show me.  But becasue they didn’t tell me about the need for change I thought they had headed off to the game and must be waiting for me. So I figured out a way to drape all the stuff all over my hands, elbows and shoulders and lumbered through the venue looking for them….and fuming.

I nearly imploded when I finally found them. 

It is such a simple thing, and yet two people who actually love each other have, temporarily, gotten out of the habit of working together as an actual team.

Thank goodness Martin had the sense and the maturity to text me an apology before I went too far off the deep end.  He gave me a way back and I took it gratefuly.

Why am I telling you this?  to air our dirty laundry?  no.  Becasue I just wanted to take a minute to remind myself and everyone who still reads my blog that you have to practice the skills involved in real teamwork. 

We got better at it as the day progressed.

By the end of the day we were back to working as a group.  We even managed to have our heads on straight enough to take advantage of a trio of police personel who sat down at an adjacent table during our lunch.  We showed Ginny the badges and how to recognize, and hopefully trust, a real cop.  By the way, I am so thankful that they were a very mixed bunch.  One black, two white and one female.  Gotta love it when your girl child gets to see the full range of human skin colors and sexes treated as equals.  Martin even let us pick up their tab annoymously.  Which was a really great thing for Ginny to see happen.

I guess my secondary point is that marriage is chock full of moments like that.  I over reacted to a realtively minor situation and my husband offered me a way back. 

No matter what has happened…..take that offer folks.  Or be the one big enough to make the offer.  But whatever you do, don’t be small enough to cling to a hatchet that someone else is trying to get you to put down. 

Relationships are precious.  Join something bigger than just you.  Dont’ just play TAG, be on a TEAM and be proud of it.

I can’t handle this!

“my life is rough right now, but I take comfort in knowing that God won’t give me more than I can handle”

I’ve seen this concept popping up a lot recently in statuses on facebook, twitter, google+ and it keeps cropping up in conversations as well.

Frankly it makes me want to scream.

NO!

I don’t care if Mother Teresa of Calcutta said it, it is NOT BIBLICAL.

God promised to give us MORE than we, as frail, fallible, fickle human beings could possibly handle.

Why?

So that HE could step in and show off HIS DIVINITY.

His POWER in our weakness

His HEALING in our extremity

His MERCY in spite of our biggest messes

You will ALWAYS be struggling against an overwhelming flood of something in your life.  But  you can trust that God is Good (I John 1:5) and that your purpose in this life is not to show off your own ability to get through the struggles but to point to your savior and say HE is the reason I got through it.

God wants to give you more than you can take so that everyone around you will see you weather the storm…and then they will ask HOW.  How did you get through that?  and you can quietly point them to your Lord.

with fear and trembling

I am posting this with fear and trembling.  I know it will be misunderstood.  I know people are going to say all kinds of ugly things to me about this.  But I just feel that now is the time and I need to post it. 

 

Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient,
to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one,
to be peaceable and considerate and to show true humility toward all men.
Titus 3:1&2

Something about the structure of this verse really speaks to me.

If you look closely at it there is a progression from simple (and possibly teeth gritting) obedience all the way to a change of heart and mind.

First things first – nowhere does this verse say “only obey laws and rulers if you agree with them”

Now I know that is not going to make me very popular.  But in the wholehearted enthusiasm that Americans tend to have for the campaign season and the creation and destruction of laws and candidates we tend to lose sight of something very important. 

Once the votes are counted, it is time to set aside the differences and work together.

This is not just a civic (and civil) duty…..it is an instruction from GOD himself.

And lest you think that God might not approve of THAT PARTICULAR candidate having won and that gives you a hall-pass so you don’t have to obey…think again. 

God changes times and seasons; he deposes kings and raises up others. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning.
Daniel 2:21

So, no matter who wins.  No matter what the temporal laws are, God is the one who put them there.  Yes, we can fight against injustice, but stay within legal boundaries.  Bad laws and poor rulers do not excuse the sin of disobedience. ever.

Ahem.

Back to what I was saying….the structure of this verse moves from teeth gritting obedience, to a change of heart.

Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities,

Subject.  This indicates an understanding that we are indeed supposed to obey.  We must think of ourselves not as being above human laws and regulations, but as being subject to the law, just like everyone else.

to be obedient,

here again, obedient.  People who are obedient are not conforming under threat, they obey because they choose to obey.  In order to be called “obedient” you need to display a pattern of regularly obeying.  Sounds obvious, but we tend to want to be called obedient based on a single instance instead of a long term pattern.

to be ready to do whatever is good,

For me this line indicates a mindset that has moved beyond naming names and caring which “party” or stance a particular ruler belongs to or espouses.  Understanding that all good deeds are done for God, no matter who is the earthly leader. So get out there, and do good. 

to slander no one,

if it isn’t campaign season…keep your lips closed firmly over all forms of mud slinging and other hurtful words.  They do no-one any good, and they harm both yourself and your listeners.

to be peaceable and considerate and to show true humility toward all men.

I can’t think of a much greater compliment than to have someone say “I really like being around her, she is just so filled with a sense of calm….peaceful.  You can tell she trusts God”  How many of us can honestly say we have a sense of peace about anything political?

Try this

Trust God.

He is in charge.  He is the one who determines the outcome.  He has a plan.  And He doesn’t make mistakes.  If you disagree with God on who He has allowed to rule in any given span of time, take it up with Him while you continue to obey.

oh and you might try Praying.   Pray for the God who created us all to flood the minds and hearts of the people in power so that no matter who they are, they end up doing what God wanted them to do in the first place.

very slightly sick

okay, moms of this world, back me up. 

By a show of hands, who here actually enjoys it when their child is just slightly sick ?

I’m not talking about barfing, or anything disgusting.  I’m referring to those times when your child is just not feeling quite right. They need rest, fluids and quiet.  But mostly they need to snuggle in your arms all day.

Maybe it is wrong of me, but I love that. 

Or when Ginny falls and gets a scraped knee.  Or stubs her toe.  She needs comfort, she needs me.  Does it matter to me that just half a minute before the fall I was telling her “don’t do that honey, you are going to get hurt !”  ???  Nope.  Has no bearing on that moment when I get to hold her close and lavish love on her. 

While I am sorry that she is hurt,
secretly, in my heart of hearts
I am rejoicing that she turns to me and wants to be held. 

Ginny is at an age where she is trying to accomplish tasks that are beyond her.  She grabs some tasks out of my hands that weren’t meant for her to even attempt yet.  Some are things she will learn to do eventually, others are things she shouldn’t even try.  Often she won’t let me help her….until she has achieved a high level of frustration.  I don’t want her to be frustrated, but I do have to watch her till she gets to the point of turning to me and saying “help me please?”

I don’t like seeing her frustration,
but I love it that she knows that she can bring her frustrations to me
…… and that I can still fix them. 

Sometimes she is just exhausted.  Ginny is still young enough that when she is worn out she prefers to be held.  I know when she is older she will just lie down and go to sleep on her own.  But for now, when she is plain ole worn out, she would rather be held.  And it feels fabulous to be the one to get to hold her.

she was so tired she fell asleep while we were drying her off from her bath

My heart rejoices that this beloved child needs me…
is it just possible that God feels about us the same way that I feel about holding Ginny ?   

The Bible certainly says so

“the LORD your God is with you,
He is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing”
Zephaniah 3:7

Why do I waste energy in self condemnation?  When my mind has been a little bit sickened for a while, and I need to be renewed, why do I fight against God?  Why do I try to raise my own mood?  Or strengthen my will on my own?  Why don’t I accept that He WANTS to comfort me? 

How often do I fall?  Everyday.  And what do I do?  I feel ashamed of falling.  I caused the hurt that is happening to me through my own stubborn actions or impetuous mouth.  So I mentally run away from God.  I say to myself “God must be so disappointed in me.  I messed up again!” 

How often do I run myself ragged trying to do or be too much to too many people?  I refuse to stop and take time to just rest in the LORD. 

Often I try to do things that are beyond my strength.  I fight and fight to accomplish things that God wanted to do in His strength, in His timing.  Why does it take me so long to hand things over to God?  He has been standing right there, waiting to happily take over the tasks that He meant for Himself, knowing that they weren’t intended for me to DO.  He meant all along for me to hand it to Him and give Him the glory.

When will I get it through my thick skull that God feels the same way about me that I feel about a slightly fevered toddler…..

I’m sorry you are hurting honey, but oh how I LOVE holding you.

wanting the microphone

I’ve been wishing for a chance to speak publicly about some recent events in my life, and at the same time I’ve been ashamed of that desire.  Part of my southern upbringing is to suppress all hankering for publicity.  So every time I caught myself wanting to speak up about some recent blessings I would firmly squash the desire by telling myself that it was rude to brag.  But what I was failing to comprehend was that the publicity I wanted was not for myself.  I don’t want to brag on my own accomplishments. 

I earnestly yearn to brag on my God. 

The God who brought my family through the struggles of infertility. The God who abundantly blessed us during both my husband’s layoff and my recent job loss.  The God who has showered me in loving mercies during a time that most would see as a severe trial.  Sure, I do have a public forum.  I write a blog, but most of the folks in my church don’t read blogs and I find myself wanting  my congregation, my home church to hear about my God and the wonderful things He has done for me.

Even the psalmist had this same longing.  Look at Psalm 116:17 – 19

To You I shall offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving
and call upon the name of the LORD
I shall pay my vows to the LORD
Oh may it be in the presence of all His people
In the courts of the LORD’s house
In the midst of you, O Jerusalem
Praise the LORD!

So, in an effort to break out of my overly-southern, rigidly-polite heritage and offer public praise to my Lord, I now submit a sacrifice of praise in the form of a psalm.   I’m not a poet, so forgive me if this is a little rough.  It is from the heart and that is all I was trying to accomplish.

When I cast myself down and wept
Lain down on a bed of sorrow
You comforted my heart
Your peace, O LORD flooded my mind

When I wandered in darkness,
angry and filled with bitterness
You sent words of comfort
you gave a song to my throat
and fierce joy to my limbs

My God will fight my battles
You allowed earthly powers to triumph over me for a day
but granted me the grace to look
mine enemy in the face and
bless Your name

My oppressor has acknowledged
You O my God.
The power of Your hand has been visible
even unto him who has struck me down
You caused him to weep
in bitterness and to bless your name
You have allowed my oppressor to see
Your favor for me.
He has witnessed the outpouring of
Your blessings on my house and my lands

O LORD my God
May Your name be praised
May my speech and the labor of my hands
Be nothing more than a window to You
Protect me LORD from everything
except Your Glory.

May I never cease to sing Your Praise.

Try writing your own psalm to God during this Lent season and see what happens.