Wednesday, October 13, 2021

4 words

If anyone had to sum up my life in 4 words, they’d either choose the phrase, “She loved the Lord, or “She was a planner.” And while both of those choices would be true, my flesh woman would definitely meet the latter description better than the first.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a planner. Maybe it’s a typical Type A personality trait, but it works for me. I like knowing the plan ahead of time and often, when we’re going on a trip, I spend days making out a detailed itinerary and menu. That way, things usually run smoothly but I’m also okay with spontaneity and find it fun to travel off the beaten path now and then. I’ve found that’s where the best photo ops tend to be and where some of the most precious God moments occur.

Though I find comfort and security in having a well laid plan, I’ve found, over my almost 64 years of life, that no matter how much I try, I don’t always have the whole picture. Sure, I can plan to my heart’s content, but things can always go wrong. Like the time I was spelunking and my headlamp went out leaving me stranded completely in a dark eerily damp cave. That was an quite the experience and one I won’t ever forget. During that time, God taught me a huge lesson in faith.

There’s an old saying, “Man plans, and God laughs.” I imagine He’s gotten a lot of guffaws as He’s observed me making and trying to keep all of my detailed plans. But in life, God doesn’t always give us the entire plan. Usually, He provides one small step at a time.

In the Bible, we find evidence of that many times as He taught people to life by faith. Just look at the prophet Samuel.  “The Lord said, ‘Take a heifer with you and say, “I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.”  Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what to do.’ ”  (1 Samuel 16:2,3)

He told the Samuel to go to Bethlehem and do all the things necessary to prepare a sacrifice with Jesse and his sons. That was all. He gave them one thing to do, one step. Then He said, “I’ll show you what to do.” He didn’t give them steps one, two, three, etc. He only gave Samuel one step.  

God takes great delight in the obedience of His children. He expects us to trust Him enough to do exactly what the Holy Spirit guides us to do and to do it at the very moment He prompts us to do it. We are to act without question. Now, that’s not easy for someone like me who likes to know the entire plan, but I’m thankful He’s patient with me as I continue to learn this valuable lesson.

Only Jesus knew the Father’s plans from beginning to end. God understands our human frailty and that’s why I think He only gives us one thing to do at a time then tells us to wait for further instruction. As we are obedient, He’ll provide the next step. If it didn’t work that way, we’d surely make a big mess of things by doing them in our limited knowledge and in our haphazard way.

The Bible tells us that God’s ways are not our ways and that He knows the plans He has for us – plans to prosper us and not to harm us, plans to give us a future and a hope. He is trustworthy and true.

If I had to compare Him to a battery, I’d have to rename a popular one. I’d have to call Him the EVERLASTING battery, because Everlast or Duracell wouldn’t hold a candle to His amazing, unending power to lead, guide, and direct us through these difficult, dark, uncertain days of life. Aren’t you glad He only entrusts us with one step at a time? Our Heavenly Father always knows best and I’m so glad He loves us enough to know exactly how much we can handle at any given time. 


I love this quote by Corrie Ten Boom, “In darkness God's truth shines most clear.” What a profound truth to cling to in today's evil world!

 

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Incoming!

 When I was a kid, I remember listening to my Daddy occasionally talk about being in the service. Those occasions were very rare so whenever he'd talk, I'd really listen. Once he told about being outside a bunker in Japan. He said planes were flying overhead and he heard a guy yell, "Incoming!" They knew that meant it was imperative to take cover and they did, but some of the soldiers weren't fast enough. They lost their lives in a split second. 

That one word was a very serious warning and one I never forgot. I think my eyes bugged out of my head when he first said it although he didn't say it in a frightening way. I imagined the sounds of aircraft overhead as the warning went out. And imagined how I'd have felt if I'd been right there with him. I'd have been petrified, probably unable to move. No wonder so many soldiers came back from war with post traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD). And when they were freshly home, it didn't take much to set them off- a movement, a noise, the slightest sound.  But soldiers aren't the only ones with PTSD.There are a lot of cancer survivors and people who've experience traumatic events that feel that way, too. Sometimes, when my youngest daughter calls her ringtone literally scares me to death. It's a loud and bothersome tone that quakes me to my core. I keep meaning to change it and keep forgetting, but it really causes me to feel anxious. Some days are worse than others but on the bad days, they go from bad to worse. 

This morning started out that way for me. After waking at 5 a.m., I rubbed the sleep from my eyes, wandered to the kitchen turned on the coffee maker and waited for my cappuccino to brew. While that was going, I pulled an egg white delight from the freezer. I wasn't in the mood to cook and that frozen sandwich was not only going to be a quick fix, but a tasty one at that. While I enjoyed breakfast, I glanced through emails and made a "to do" list. No big deal, right? But before I put my pen down, my phone began to send one notification after another. Emails, news apps, and texts started alerting me to the fact that something or someone needed my attention. It was not what I expected and immediately, I began to feel anxious. After several more texts came in, I decided enough was enough. I was not going to let that phone order my day. I stood and with feet planted firmly refused to go over and see who had texted. Instead, I yelled across the room to Siri asking her to read my text messages. After hearing that none of them were important, I decided I was going to do something to exert a little control over my day.  I flipped my phone to silent and walked away. 

Those constant pinging, dinging, and chiming noises irritate and antagonize me. I get so tired of all the stuff I am supposed to pay attention to. I've done my best to distance myself from social media. In the past, I'd spend hours trying to keep up with everyone's news but that became exhausting. Now I only check it once in the morning, once at midday and then after dinner.

Maybe it's just a "me" problem. Maybe I'm just getting too old to multi-task well any longer or maybe I just don't care. It might even be a little of both! In any event, I think it's important to do something when we realize our things are causing undue stress. 

There's a great feature on your phone and if you haven't found it yet, you need to employ it - the DO NOT DISTURB feature. You can set time limits for your benefit and you can set auto responses so your loved ones don't think you've been kidnapped or kicked the bucket. I have an iPhone and it's become one of my most used features. I don't know if Androids have it but if not, I'm sure they have something similar. 

Take back control of your life and remember, you have the power to squelch the noises. If incoming alerts freak you out, take shelter and protect your sanity. It's not worth it to allow those things to continue to bombard your life!


Grief is like the ocean

 A few days ago, a dear friend of mine asked me to meet her at the cemetery. She was going to view her dearly departed husband's headsto...