Tag: life

A “Wake-Up Call”

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I have received a “wake up call,” have you?

In a hotel, it’s literally a phone call made to your room to wake you up for whatever you have to do for the day. It’s a call that you preschedule according to your own needs of the day.

When it comes, you simply answer it and it’s over. Unless you arrange it, they do not call again, and would never come to the room and insist you get out of bed and begin your day’s business or requirements. It is a courtesy.

Your choices are to stay in bed and sleep some more, or to get up and begin your day. Your choice.

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Sometimes a wake up call is created by circumstances. It could be an opportunity you thought you had that passes you by. In business. Or in a relationship. Maybe a person moves out of your life who you thought you would have lots of time with.  Or a health issue.

Some wake up calls are humorous. Like your first gray hair. Or your first wrinkle. Or your child starts kindergarten. Or college.

However, a wake up call from God is different.

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You do not prearrange it. It comes when it comes – often when you least expect it.

Things may have been going along smoothly, when something happens that makes you acutely aware that your time and energy are not unlimited.

God will never insist that you get up.  A wake up call from God is a blessing.  Dealing with the call is still your choice. Go back to sleep, or get up and go.  If you choose to get up and go, here are three suggestions:

1 – Thank God for the opportunity to be woken up and for the assurance that all your days are in His hands

Without the call you could have wasted much time and energy doing things that don’t really matter. Ask God to help you “fix your eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:18

And be reassured that “all the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be.” Psalm 139:16  That is a promise.

 

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2 – Spend time in prayer

Ask God to show you where you are wasting time and energy: in activities and in relationships. Ask Him to clarify and adjust your perceptions and priorities

Make a list, and be willing to give up those things that are not beneficial. And spend your time and energy on those things that He shows you are important.

 

3 – Ask God to grow your faith to meet whatever challenges this wake up call has raised. And to give you the encouragement you need to persevere

Paul made this statement about his circumstances and the difficulties he had been through: “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”  2 Corinthians 4:8-9 It seems this is true for me and most other believers as well.

I am encouraged to know that God is “able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine according to His power” Ephesians 3:20 And that He is sovereign over the broad strokes and the details of my life. I believe that He will not let one thing be wasted if we ask for Him to be at work in us. And that whatever we experience, “our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” 2 Corinthians 4:17

My wake up call last week was a diagnosis of a very treatable form of breast cancer.  I am very grateful for this reminder to be busy about the things that are eternal and that God would have me do.  And for the assurance that nothing can take away a single minute of life God has ordained for me.

I have been very encouraged in this challenge through prayer and scripture.  If you could use some encouragement, here are two places I go every day:

31 Days of Praise by Ruth Myers free download website

my Daily Bible Prayer blog

I pray for each of us: Father, when we are hard-pressed, make us stronger. When perplexed, light our way with Your truth. When we are persecuted or struck down, raise us up in Your strength.

Do not let us be overwhelmed or discouraged by what is temporary. But renew us day by day as we come to You in prayer.

Thank You for Your grace and help. Thank You that You will never leave us. That You will always love us. And that we will always be Yours. Amen

 

 

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God’s plan is Light

A poem I wrote many years ago speaks to the truth that our lives do not follow the pattern or plan we lay out according to our own desires and wishes. That’s OK when we are Believers because we trust the One who knows more than we do with the ultimate outcome.

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Part of God’s purpose for His people is that we share the Holy Spirit – the light He has placed in us. As containers of that light it can only get out when there is an opening or hole. Sometimes openings or holes are made when our lives are filled to overflowing and we literally burst with joy!

Other times, God allows pain and suffering to cause splits in us and where the sorrow spills out, the hole that’s left allows His Light to shine through.

Some people seem to spill light from places were joy has been. And some seem to have mostly holes that have been formed by pain. I believe God is with us in both times. He rejoices with us when we are filled with joy. And He cries with us when we suffer.

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It breaks His heart that some choose to do evil in this world and cause others pain. But good can come from it when we minister to people who have similar pain in their lives. We can seek the light from those with similar pain, and we can be the light for others.

As Believers, we are also assured that whatever we endure in this life will be laid down at His throne. Whatever we surrender in the future will glorify Him and we will receive an eternity so glorious we cannot even grasp it in our earthly understanding.

I pray you will be encouraged in the remembrance of your sorrows and your joys; and be empowered to move forward and let His Light shine through you.

My Life poem

My life is borrowed, ‘tis not mine

I cannot hold it selfishly

But give it to the One above

Who gave His all, His life, His love

That I might one day see

I see with light that is not mine

I cannot make one star shine bright

Yet through the holes God makes in me

His Spirit shines, so I can be

A lantern, glowing Holy light

This light alone will light my path

It is a course I do not choose

My way, my will I give to Him

Who walked this earth and knew no sin

With Him I cannot lose

And so, my life, my light, my path

Are not for me, but God alone

No pain or sorrow come to me

That I am not assured will be

Exchanged for glory – at His throne

 

Is it Fall already?!

20180802_145757.jpegToday, walking out to my car, something yellow on the ground caught my eye. When I bent over to pick it up, I couldn‘t believe it! This couldn’t be a fall leaf. It’s still August! The kids aren’t even back in school yet. We are still in the process of figuring out who needs new notebooks, calculators, mechanical pencils and underwear!

Surely this was out of place – a joke someone was playing on me? So I looked up in the tree, and unbelievably, there were others just like it! – still green in the middle, but mixed with yellowing, and downright brown on the ends. I felt queasy, disoriented, like someone had put my life on fast-forward without my knowledge. I wanted that time back. This felt all wrong.

Why did this little occurrence upset me so?

The seasons change, I know that. It happens every year. And they always occur in the same order, so it’s not like it was totally unexpected. Yes, the days have been getting somewhat shorter, and the nights have been a little cooler to relieve the high temperatures of the day, but the leaves turning already?!

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There’s something to look forward in winter: Christmas break, hot chocolate, snowmen, the chance for a snow day at school, or a lazy, snowy winter day to curl up by a fire.

 

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And when that gets old, we can’t wait for exciting spring! A time when the earth reawakens: Easter, flowers, baby animals, light, hope. Spring is my favorite season: warm sunshiny days with cold nights to snuggle, the whole earth bursting forth with new life.

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And who among us hasn’t dreamed of and waited with excitement for summer? School is out, swimming pools, hot dogs on the grill, no homework, and long, lazy days of watching the clouds in the sky…

 

So how does fall fit in here? I think of songs we usually hear around this season:

Will I See You In September – a worry that fall will bring the end of a love relationship – not a great ode to fall

Wake Up Maggie – about a guy who realizes in the fall he’s been led on and dropped by a girl.

When I was 17 – is about the years of life, but when he gets to the autumn of his years, the days grow short and he thinks of his life as vintage wine from fine old kegs, as he says “from the brim to the dregs it pours sweet and clear…”

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The problem is that this year I’m feeling a bit like I am in the autumn of my years too. The days growing shorter reminds me of so many things I might have done with my life – which I haven’t done. I’m truly feeling there are more days behind me than in front of me.

And it makes me feel a sense of urgency about things yet to accomplish, and a sense of loss about things left undone.

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I don’t see my life as vintage wine. Or in fine old kegs. And dregs definitely do not sound good.

You could say my teens and twenties were “spring-like.” There was lot a lot of growth – things to learn and begin – lots of enthusiasm and energy.

And in my thirties and forties, there was sure a lot of busy-ness – a lot to show for all my efforts: the children growing up, involvement in church, school and community, teaching classes. So much was going on. That’s typical of summer – everything blooming and growing, looking busy.

But fall? That’s a time for the leaves to turn and wither, and blow off the trees, leaving a barren look. It’s a time of coolness turning to coldness, and a gradual darkening of the days. And I don’t think I’m ready to let go of my “leaves “– all that I’ve grown, produced – my children, my projects, my job.

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Fall is a time to gather in the harvest: freeze it, pickle it, jar it, can it up for others to enjoy throughout the next year. Is it really time to gather in my life? Is it time to “store up” all I’ve done? I can’t imagine my life in row after row of bright, pretty jars on shelves.

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And yes, the leaves are beautiful in the fall. The colors are vivid and add to the panoramic grandeur of the view. And yes, you can collect the leaves, make arrangements, even press them between sheets of waxed paper to preserve their glory. But it’s a past glory.

 

Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, “To everything, there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.” King Solomon examined everything – nature, man, wisdom, foolishness, wine, women and song. And he concluded his writings with “This applies to every person: Fear God and obey Him.”

If I can say I’ve done that, then it’s all I need to do. Regardless of the season. It’s not about how showy my spring and summer were. It’s not who has more cans on the shelf.

We sang a song Sunday that gives me hope and focus. “You [God] make everything glorious. You make everything glorious and I am yours – what does that make me!” In every season of life, I am glorious! I accept that, and trust the Father is with me always. He will guide me into and through all His seasons.  And I will do all I can to honor and obey Him.

click to hear:  See you in SeptemberWhen I was 17; You make everything glorious

 

If a Rose needs support – do I?

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I bought a trellis for my rose bush this weekend.

It’s for its own good.

It gives stability for the plant’s long, gangly branches that hang down to the ground. And it provides a framework to display its beauty.

But does the rose understand what I’m doing for it?

Does it resent being tied to a frame – limiting its growth to one direction or one plane? Is it grateful for the support? The stability it offers? Will it feel different from the other plants that don’t get that kind of support?

 

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This project caused me to think about my life and how I am like a rose bush

I want to have the freedom to go in any direction I choose or feel led. But do I need a trellis?  And would that look like for me?

 

 

book-1936547_640For me, the Bible gives me guidance, structure, some might say wisdom. But do I see it as wisdom and embrace it willingly? Always? Or sometimes, do I see it as restriction, leading me in a limited path that seemingly restricts my freedom?

 

I would love to say I embrace it all the time. But I have fought it, tried to get around it, occasionally wondered what my life would be had I taken a different path.

I hope, with the support of the trellis, my rose bush will stand tall, displaying its beauty and fragrance for all to enjoy.

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And I hope my life will be the same. That God will be my gardener. And that I will embrace His Word to direct, guide, encourage, support and strengthen me whenever and however I need it. So that I will stand tall, displaying His honor and His grace for all to see.

 

My Dad

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God is speaking to me through my circumstances recently.  Last Tuesday my father
passed away and today is his memorial service.

Even when it’s expected, you’re never really prepared to lose a parent.

 

 

0049Your Mother and Father are the very first relationships you have.

Theirs is the longest and most intimate. They are the first people who love you and care
for you, who teach you not only things about how the world works, but also how to relate to the world and the people in it.

 

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They teach you how to succeed, and rejoice with you when it happens, sharing your successes with others.

And they teach you about failure, and how to deal with it, learn
from it, and move on.

 

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Although it seems logical that the natural order of things is that parents go before their children, isn’t it also logical that we would grieve the most for the longest, most intimate relationships we have.

My dad was a Texan, an officer, a husband, father and grandfather. He loved God, his
country and his family.

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He was a man of honesty, integrity, dedication, humility, compassion and generosity.  I thank the Lord that he lived long enough to be not only my father, protector and hero, but also my friend.

 

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Over the last 15 years we became very close having discussions about life and death, scripture, church sermons and Sunday school lessons. Together we cared for and were present with my mother when she died. His love, devotion and tireless care for her inspired me.

I will miss him terribly.  But I know he is with his Savior and Lord and at peace.  And I know I will see him again one day.

God has reminded me that He is the Father who blessed me with a kind and loving earthly father.  And I can still trust Him to provide everything I need.

Even though I am grieving, I am thankful for having my dad as long as I did.  Thankful for all he taught me.  And thankful that I can move forward, trusting my heavenly Father to help me through this sense of loss, and rely on Him to meet my needs.