Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Rumpled in Spirit...

I woke up this morning well in body, but considerably rumpled in spirit... (Thanks to Anne of Green Gables for this picturesque and fitting description.)  This progressed throughout the morning so I headed for the piano.  Playing and singing always seem to help. I flipped through my song book at random and this is the first song I played...
I trust in God wherever I may be,
Upon the land or on the rolling sea,
For, come what may, from day to day,
My heav'nly Father watches over me.

I trust in God, I know He cares for me,
On mountain bleak or on the stormy sea;
Tho' billows roll, He keeps my soul,
My heavn'ly Father watches over me.

He makes the rose an object of His care,
He guides the eagle thru the pathless air,
And surely He remembers me,
My heav'nly Father watches over me.


 I trust in God, for in the the lion's den,
On battlefield, or in the prison pen,
Thru praise or blame, thru flood or flame,
My heav'nly Father watches over me.


The valley may be dark, the shadows deep
But O, The Shepherd guards His lonely sheep;
And thru the gloom, He'll lead me home
My heav'nly Father watches over me.


Words by W.C. Martin

 The second?

In the secret of His presence how my soul delights to hide!
Oh, how precious are the lessons which I learn at Jesus’ side!
Earthly cares can never vex me, neither trials lay me low;
For when Satan comes to tempt me, to the secret place I go,
To the secret place I go.

 When my soul is faint and thirsty, ’neath the shadow of His wing
There is cool and pleasant shelter, and a fresh and crystal spring;
And my Savior rests beside me, as we hold communion sweet:
If I tried, I could not utter what He says when thus we meet,
What He says when thus we meet.

Only this I know: I tell Him all my doubts, my griefs and fears;
Oh, how patiently He listens! and my drooping soul He cheers:
Do you think He ne’er reproves me? What a false Friend He would be,
If He never, never told me of the sins which He must see,
Of the sins which He must see.

Would you like to know the sweetness of the secret of the Lord?
Go and hide beneath His shadow: this shall then be your reward;
And whene’er you leave the silence of that happy meeting place,
You must mind and bear the image of the Master in your face,
Of the Master in your face.

Much better! I think I am now ready to face my day.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Bulls, Chicks and Mud: A saga in country living

I was scrolling through some of my old Facebook notes, and stumbled across this one.  I thought that I would "repost" for your amusement.

Bulls, chicks, and mud... a saga in country living-

by Amy Christine Bixby (Notes) on Monday, September 15, 2008 at 9:02am
For those who can't access our family blog, here is your chuckle for the day!  (I was farm sitting for a friend.)

This morning, I went out to feed the animals.  I got down there and found 20 odd chicks running loose.  It was raining and muddy, and I started chasing chicks and throwing them into the coop (through the torn screen.)  I found myself wondering what tore the screen, how many chicks were missing etc.  As I was chasing the chicks, Samson (the bull) decided that he was tired of being ignored, and it was time for some serious petting.  One problem...  Samson is no longer a baby, he just thinks that he is.

So, there I am running around the shed catching chicks and throwing them back into the coop and suddenly I discover that I am being chased by a bull.  It worked fine as long as I kept moving.  Until...  Suddenly, while walking between the coop and the fence, where it is EXTREMELY muddy, Samson decides to butt my... er.... ummm.... backside.  Grabbing the fence, I manage to stay semi-upright.  Phew!  disaster averted!  Two steps and two head butts later, I discover that there is a piece of plywood under several inches of slick mud.  Disaster had only been postponed.  I am SOOOOO glad that no one was around with a camera.

So the chase resumes.  Now, I am running around and around the shed, catching chicks and being "butted" (quite literally) all the way around, only this time, I am covered in mud! 

I FINALLY catch all but two chicks, who must have eaten their wheaties that morning, because their strength and endurance defied all efforts to coax, cajol, threaten, or frighten them into subjection. (The threat of a soup pot did nothing to encourage their cooperation.  I should have known better.)

After giving up on those two, I start an unsuccessful search for a  staple gun, and finally decide to gather some nails and a hammer.  Seeing no evidence of a step ladder, I climb up on a bucket...  Oops!!!  How could I forget about Samson?  Next thing I know, I find myself flat on my back... in the mud... again!!!

Time to resume the game of "tag" with the bull, but this time I outwit him by running into the shed, and quickly squeezing out while he's trying to turn around.  With Samson locked up, I safely (Is teetering precariously on a bucket considered "safely?") finish my repair job on the chicken coop, leaving the 2 errant chicks to their own devices.

The screen is fixed, goats, chickens and bull are fed and watered, and the eggs have been gathered and cleaned.  I really need to get back down to the pile of muddy clothes in the basement, but first?  I think I'll go swimming.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

My Choice...

This has long been a favorite of mine.  Every so often I post it on Facebook as a reminder to myself.  It kind of fits in with what I have been thinking on lately... so I think I'll post it here.... for my own benefit.  Hope you all enjoy it as much as I have.  It never ceases to be a blessing and challenge to me.

The Choice
by Max Lucado

IT'S QUIET. It's early. My coffee is hot. The sky is still black. The world is still asleep. The day is coming.

In a few moments the day will arrive. It will roar down the track with the rising of the sun. The stillness of the dawn will be exchanged for the noise of the day. The calm of solitude will be replaced by the pounding pace of the human race. The refuge of the early morning will be invaded by decisions to be made and deadlines to be met.

For the next twelve hours I will be exposed to the day's demands. It is now that I must make a choice. Because of Calvary, I'm free to choose. And so I choose.

I choose love . . .

No occasion justifies hatred; no injustice warrants bitterness. I choose love. Today I will love God and what God loves.

I choose joy . . .

I will invite my God to be the God of circumstance. I will refuse the temptation to be cynical . . . the tool of the lazy thinker. I will refuse to see people as anything less than human beings, created by God. I will refuse to see any problem as anything less than an opportunity to see God.

I choose peace . . .

I will live forgiven. I will forgive so that I may live.

I choose patience . . .

I will overlook the inconveniences of the world. Instead of cursing the one who takes my place, I'll invite him to do so. Rather than complain that the wait is too long, I will thank God for a moment to pray. Instead of clinching my fist at new assignments, I will face them with joy and courage.

I choose kindness . . .

I will be kind to the poor, for they are alone. Kind to the rich, for they are afraid. And kind to the unkind, for such is how God has treated me.

I choose goodness . . .

I will go without a dollar before I take a dishonest one. I will be overlooked before I will boast. I will confess before I will accuse. I choose goodness.

I choose faithfulness . . .

Today I will keep my promises. My debtors will not regret their trust. My associates will not question my word. My wife will not question my love. And my children will never fear that their father will not come home.

I choose gentleness . . .

Nothing is won by force. I choose to be gentle. If I raise my voice may it be only in praise. If I clench my fist, may it be only in prayer. If I make a demand, may it be only of myself.

I choose self-control . . .

I am a spiritual being. After this body is dead, my spirit will soar. I refuse to let what will rot, rule the eternal. I choose self-control. I will be drunk only by joy. I will be impassioned only by my faith. I will be influenced only by God. I will be taught only by Christ. I choose self-control.

Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. To these I commit my day. If I succeed, I will give thanks. If I fail, I will seek his grace. And then, when this day is done, I will place my head on my pillow and rest.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

My Personal Manifesto

If conflict arises between me and another I will follow these steps:

1). I will search my heart to see if the fault lies with me and if it does I will acknowledge my failure and apologize (Matthew 5:23-24)

2). If the fault does not lie with me I will no longer take ownership of the behavior of others. Their decisions/actions are not because I am a bad person, or because I deserve it. I will place ownership for that behavior back where it belongs.

3). While not taking responsibility for the behavior of others, I will continue to strive to live peaceably with all men (Romans 12:18) to be kind, tender hearted and forgiving (Ephesians 4:32) I will make every attempt to "Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard others as more important than myself" (Philippians 23)

4). I will not allow others to rob me of my joy, but instead remember that my strength comes from HIM "The joy of the Lord is my strength" (Nehemiah 8:10) "Then you will find your joy in the LORD" (Isaiah 58:14) "The humble will be filled with fresh joy from the LORD. The poor will rejoice in the Holy One of Israel." (Isaiah 29:19)

It has taken me 37 years to stop believing that the blame for any conflict must be mine. I pray that with these added years, I will have the wisdom and humility to accept when the blame IS mine, and the fortitude to give it back when it is not.

Growing Pains...

The one thing that I have promised on this blog is transparency.  I am FAR FAR from perfect.  I am human.  I struggle.  My hope in being willing to share MY struggles is that someone, somewhere will benefit from the lessons that I have a tendency to learn the hard way.  I am learning that "growing in Christ" and just plain growing up is NOT an easy thing.  (I have NO IDEA why I though it it would be.)

I have protested often that my inability to hold a grudge, easy going temperament, and "quick to forgive" attitude were NOT because I was a spiritual giant, but rather just a personality thing.  (And to be honest there WAS still some pride in the fact that I wasn't a "grudge holder.")   Recently, I have learned that it wasn't simply a personality thing.  I discovered that the reason I found it easy to forgive was because of my own warped view of myself.  When someone's behavior toward me was unkind or inappropriate, my immediate assumption was that it was "my fault" or I somehow deserved it.  I always found a way to excuse and take responsibility for the bad behavior of others by finding a way that it had to be my fault.

Recently, I have learned a lot about "boundaries" "guilt" and accepting responsibility that is not mine.  I have suddenly found that one of the results of refusing to take responsibility for the actions and decisions of others is that it is much more difficult to live my life by the pattern set before me in Ephesians 4:32.  "Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you."

I suppose that this is just one more area where I shall have to learn to depend, not on myself, but on Christ who has promised:

1)  To perfect His good work in me (Phil 1:6)  
2) That I can do all things through HIM (Phil 4:13) 
3)  That His grace is sufficient, because His strength is made perfect in my weakness.  (2 Cor. 12:9)

Are You "Plugged In?"

I came home in the middle of the night, with my brain in a fog. I had attended the delivery of a beautiful baby girl, and now had just a few short hours to sleep before the responsibilities of a full and busy Monday were to begin. Walking in the door, I placed my iPad on the counter next to the charger, and headed over to let my dog out of his crate. After an exuberant greeting on his part, we headed outside for our walk.

When we came back in I hung my keys on their hook and glanced over at the iPad... Sure enough there it was on the counter with the cord extended from the socket to the iPad. We were good to go! I set the alarm and headed to bed.

It was a very short night for me, so I slept in as long as I was able then rushed through my morning routine to get out the door. Today I am in our satellite office, so the only access I have to all of my patient charts is via the iPad. As I grabbed it on my way out the door, my heart hit the floor. The cord, while it appeared from a distance to be plugged in, was just lying under the edge of the iPad. It wasn’t plugged in at all.

As I began my morning commute, I started thinking about what had just happened… and about my morning. My iPad which was supposed to “be there” for me, had failed. Why? Because I had failed to ensure that it was “plugged in” to its source of power.

What about me? Was I ready to serve today? In my tiredness and hurry I had neglected to start my day by turning to MY source of power. My job is not merely my job, it is my ministry. When I go about my day to day life, I am a representative of the KING! I am His ambassador. How do I find the strength and love to serve others? How do I find the patience, joy and peace to accurately represent my God and to show HIS unconditional love through my life? I do so by spending time in the Word, by getting “plugged in” to my source of strength or “power.”

I spent a good part of my commute meditating on the Word, and drawing from HIS power, begging God to give me strength to serve Him faithfully. At the end of my day, as I sat on the couch, catching up with some friends, and reviewing the events of the day, a message popped on my computer. I had been “tagged” on Facebook. Being the curious creature that I am, I meandered over to check it out. This is what I read. (With some personal stuff removed) “Had a good baby appointment today… My midwife always takes the time to answer my questions and concerns. She gives good, productive and meaningful insight. I can tell you, it’s drawn me closer to Him.”

That last sentence meant the WORLD to me. THAT is what my life, my job, my ‘ministry’ are all about. In MY weakness (and tiredness), HE was strong!

What about you? Are you “plugged in” to the ONE true source of strength? Have you met Him? It isn’t enough to be “near” Him… attending church without seeking a daily, intimate walk with Him is similar to the condition of my iPad this morning. It was close to the source of power. It even appeared to be “plugged in, but upon close observation, it was not connected to a power source.

“The LORD is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.” Psalm 28:7

“For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Thoughts on the "waiting" mentality

Over the last week, multiple friends have sent me this link, and asked my opinion:

I have read it several times, but have not responded, as I wanted some time to put my thoughts in order.

My first impression: She nailed it!!! The author of this blog said, so much more beautifully than I ever could, exactly what I have been trying to say.

Since I embarked on this journey of coming to know my God, and to understand who I am IN HIM, I have learned so many truths. The blogger's remark, "I just didn’t want to wait anymore – didn’t want to live like I was waiting on anyone to get here." is an accurate reflection of my heart over the last few years. It was this desperation to stop waiting and start living that caused me to embark on this journey in the first place. As I have focused on God, and all that He is to me, the "waiting mentality" just slipped away. I have found myself LIVING, and reveling in Him. I learned that it doesn't matter what a "couple's world" thinks of me as a single. I learned that it didn't matter what my family thought of me. I learned something that I knew in my head, but didn't truly believe in my heart... I learned that indeed, "I already have Him … and He is everything!!!"

During this journey, for the first time, I came to understand that singleness is NOT a punishment of God. It is not given to me because I fall short, because I don't love HIM as I should, or I haven't learned to delight myself in Him. My singleness at this time is His loving gift to me. God is teaching me that HE loves me.

OK ladies, here's where the rubber meets the road. I am pretty sure that I'm not the only one who had thoughts like this... "Well, OF COURSE God loves me. He is love. That's who God is. Good grief! God loved Hitler, right? I mean... wouldn't we say that? He hated Hitler's actions, but is it not safe to say He loved Hitler? So.... God loves me. Big deal." I had this deep down feeling that my singleness meant that I was unlovely and unlovable. I truly believed that noone could love me, not my family, not my friends, and that even God only loved me because that is who He is.

I have finally come to believe in my heart that God loves ME. He has chosen to love me. I cannot tell you what a wonderful thing it was to come to truly understand and believe this. I am loved with an everlasting love. I REVEL in my newly understood standing in Him. HE LOVES ME!!! Do you believe that He loves you? Do you TRULY believe? When you do, you will come to see that His love is enough.