The Closing of one year and the Opening of Another

Two years ago. about this time, I was beginning to consider another year with One Word. That word that shapes one’s perspective for the year. I started doing this about 5-6 years ago.

It seemed like a good idea at the time… I picked out a word that I was comfortable with and knew I had to work on its presence in my life for a year. You know, anyone can do that for a year…

That was when “I” picked out the word.

Two years ago, God took that task on for me. He very strongly impressed on me that surrender was to be my One Word.  And, it was.

I’ve learned a lot about myself and that word and how it’s supposed to work in my life since then. And I’ve discovered that surrender, no matter which way you look at it, is what He desires from us all. Not just in the big things. But in all things.

That’s a hard place to be. Surrender. I’m definitely not comfortable with that word or how it fits into my life. But as I’ve lived the past two years with this word, it has popped up in conversations, in something I’ve read,  as something I’ve heard on the radio or tv and around almost every corner of my life. It is ever present in my thoughts.

Hear me: I don’t want to surrender. To wave a white flag. To give up. Because to give up, wave the white flag and to admit to God or the world that I just don’t have it anymore is admitting I never did “have it”. That’s hard for me to do willingly.

Sometimes the horse has to get mighty thirsty before it’s willing to take a drink from strange waters. Well, this horse anyway.

God can do some pretty amazing things when we let Him; when we admit that we aren’t in control of the situation, our lives, our families’ lives, our work life. Those amazing things look different in every life.

Whatever that is to you, I’d like to ask you to stop and take a look at life and consider whether surrender might be something that He is asking of you.

I don’t have any over the top stories other than the way He keeps bringing it up in my life. But that’s enough for me. No shockers here, no sudden winds of change. Just me being obedient in surrender. Day by day.

Some days are difficult. My human nature is to grab hold of something  and to not let go. {confessions of a packrat}. But here I am, still learning Who He is and who I am and what He wants me to let go of so that He can accomplish His purpose in my life.

“for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” Philippians 2:13

Any thoughts on One Word? Any stories? I’d love to hear yours!

The Blame Game: Are you trapped in the maze?

 

Fall is here. Ok, autumn, really. But someone forgot to tell Texas that the temps can cool down now- the calendar says it’s October, not late August. We are still experiencing mid to high 90s in the day(high 30s for you centigrade folks). Some days we get teased with lower temperatures and then it’s right back to the dog days of summer.  Ah, but enough about the weather.

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I want to talk about the “coulda-woulda-shoulda” Maze – aka – the Blame Game. I find myself trapped in this game almost every day.  The phrases roll through my mind like wildfires through a forest on a hot, dry day in summer: look what you did with the time today; you could have helped someone;  you should have done that; you should find someplace to volunteer; God would want you to do this; if you could do anything you should be spending your time intentionally on a mission project instead of spending money on a vacation; there’s a Sunday school class out there with your name on it, you could teach it if you would.

And so it goes. Endlessly. Trapped in the Maze.

I waste time. We all do. Do you beat yourself up over it? I do.

I go from watching Netflix to Amazon to Apple tv.

I go to the grocery store for just that one thing and end up strolling the aisles for an hour and a half. {I know. How could anyone do that willingly?

Or I read through FB, email, blogs, other social media or shop the internet.  I could go on. I’m sure you have your own list.

What I could do, or would do, or should do I daydream about frequently. Those daydreams become grandiose at times.  Great things I could do, would do or should do for God.  Back in reality, I blame myself for not doing those grander things;  for not doing something more.

But-what God wants me to do has nothing to do with any of that.

His plan and purpose for me is fulfilled in how He designed me and where He has placed me.

I’m right where He wants me to be.

Here.

Not there.

Not off somewhere loving on orphans for a few days and then back home- broken hearted and wrecked (as some say), writing about them in the hopes that others will contribute to their welfare because they are touched by the words I write or the 4×6 glossy prints I post. 

Don’t get me wrong. I wish I could be Jesus’ hands and feet to the great big world out there. I am forever amazed and impressed by fellow bloggers that can and do travel and help in the way that they are gifted and purposed by Him. I love reading your stories and seeing the pictures, I pray for you and for the people you reach out to, I ask for blessings in the middle of the barefoot poverty that is the mission field.

But I know in my heart of hearts – down deep – there, where my spirit and His commune together that His purpose for me is here. That I’m right where He wants me.

Preparing the next generation to listen for His voice and recognize when He is speaking to them. I do that by loving on those littles; reading to them; singing –sometimes off-key, and pointing them to Jesus. 

I talk with friends and family. I pray for them. I help where I can. I am just being me. I’m the me that He made me to be.

No, I’m not a missionary anywhere but here. He has brought me to where I can help the way He wants me to help. I’m ok with that when I stop daydreaming and really think about it. 

And, those of you who can and do go to where He sends you? I will be here; praying for you and cheering you on. Knowing that you are just who and where He designed you to be.

He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, and to love kindness and mercy, and to humble yourself and walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8 AMP

 

All His. Wild obedience played out in {my}life.

 Putting the pieces together slowly.

Last weekend I spent time with some amazing women of God at a conference called “Declare”. These women write, like me of their experiences and their faith. They survive, like me, all of the turmoil the days bring with family and friends and the world around them. The theme for the weekend was “Wild Obedience”.

We spoke of what we heard in our hearts when we listened to God. We sang of His Blessings, His Love, His Provision.  We prayed for His Guidance, His Mercy, His Protection.  We talked, we listened, we learned.

Then we saw what “Wild Obedience” looks like in the life of others through the words they gave out. Saying yes to going where they’ve never been before. Saying yes to a big idea God placed on their hearts. Saying yes when God says I want you here and oh, btw, it’s dangerous and I want you to bring your family. And, even saying yes when He says “I want you right where you are and to speak the words I give you.”  

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Now I am home, the dishes left from the weekend have been washed, the groceries have been bought, the doctor visits accomplished and the mail has been read.

In the mail, was a bulletin from a former church in another town.  An article written in it by one of the pastors on staff contained an incredible little nugget- He started off talking about a girl who shared what she brought along on a church camping trip.  It was, in the scheme of things, insignificant. Yet, so timely. You see, here in Texas in the summer, it hardly ever rains. There may not be a cloud in the sky for weeks or months around here. 

There they were, at camp, prepared for anything but rain. 

It rained. 

Four days straight.

 When they packed up supplies at the church to take to camp, she had thrown a full garbage bag along with other supplies in the back of the truck thinking it was part of what should be taken along. She discovered after they unpacked at camp she had picked up a bag full of old tarps from the storage room. She brought them out when the rain started and passed them around and they proceeded to make ponchos out of the tarps. Camp was a success instead of a miserable failure. 

He continued on, connecting her with the story of the loaves and fishes lunch of a little boy one day on the shore of Gallilee.

  Like the girl at camp, who gave what she brought, the boy who gave his lunch to Jesus to feed the thousands gave what he had. This little man didn’t hold on to it for himself. He didn’t hide it or run away with it or try to eat it all up quick. He handed it to Jesus to do what He would with it.  His little lunch in his own hands was insignificant in the eyes of those around him. Yet, in Jesus’ hands…. 

As I read that article I was immediately taken back to the weekend.

“Wild Obedience” demonstrated right there on the page!

This what it is.

Offering back to Him the very things He has given us for Him to do with as He wills.

Our words. 

Our blogs. 

Our families. 

Our lives.

Oh, what He can do with those little broken words and fractured sentences, those dishpan hands, those carpooled-out brains, those feet with broken toes and blistered heels, those graying hairs and finely chiseled wrinkles, those lonely hearts and tired souls when we give them all to Him! 

I’m in. Are you?

 May he turn our hearts to him, to walk in obedience to him…1 Kings 8:58a

linking up with other voices from Declare: HERE