Thursday, January 30, 2014

He Makes me to Lie Down in Green Pastures

I think the operative word in this phrase is "Make".

I seem to have a hard time with the lying down part.  I see green pastures and I say, "run!" Nothing about things going smoothly, sunshine, and food says, "Lie down and rest" to me.

I find myself forced to lie down ALL. THE. TIME. right now.  Thanks to this foot of mine.  It's supposed to be restful so I can recover from injury.  And things around me are going smoothly, probably because there would be no way to rest if it wasn't.

Yet I'm so ambitious.  I see smooth sailing and thing that it's time to conquer all those things I didn't do while it was rough and things were going hard.  "Quick!" "Get it done!" "Hurry, while the time is good!" But it's time to rest.

He's making me lie down in the green pastures- like the child that desperately needs a nap in the middle of the most beautiful day.

So, I'm down. Where I'm doing mostly nothing. As it should be for now.

There will be plenty of time to get up and go and always there will be plenty to fill the time.  But for now, He's MAKING me lie down.  So, that's where I am.

Monday, January 13, 2014

There are Good Days, and then there are Good Days

Today I had to take a unexpected trip into the doctor for my cast to be looked at.  Something about the fact that I could move my toes sent the doctor scurrying to stop it. Cut, x-ray, dress, wrap, and recast. 

...4 hours later (Yay, for those moments when they can work you in between appointments) I had my new boot.

Today I had a choice.  I had a full day planned out.  It didn't start like I had planned and it just kept getting messier and messier.  I could have groaned about each little thing- began the day with a really sad phone call from a friend. (That I did groan over, but I determined to try and continue on my day.) But it was a rough start.

Next, I sat downstairs waiting for a phone call while I attempted to start school on time.  If any of you have started up school after vacation you know that the first day back into a routine can be hitchy at best.  Today was no different.  We had some interruptions, some difficulty finding things, and some tricky assignments, but we pressed on, cheerfully.  For all of about 30 minutes.

The doctor called back and indicated I needed to come in.  Ok.  And then began the 4 hours. It would have been easy to look at this day as a wash, to see the lack of schooling, the endless hours "wasted" at the doc's office, and only little glitches in between.  I could have made that choice. I often do.

But today, I made the choice to be cheerful about it and look for ways to enjoy where I was at the moment.  So...

When school wasn't going...I just stuck with what we were doing- reading aloud.  We read and the kids colored some cards.  They learned some history and we were able to send some notes that communicated love to my friend.  Not the "normal" school, but worthy.

When we got to the doctor and discovered that it would be an hour and a half before the dr. could even see me, we (Brandon, Justin, and I) took the rare opportunity to have lunch together at the cafeteria.  We had a delightful lunch, enjoying our little son between us and each other.

When I got back to the crowded casting area and had to wait for over an hour, I could have been irritated, but instead I had the opportunity to be a bright spot in the lives of the nurses.  I was happy, smiled, joked, and tried to be accommodating. Around the corner, behind the next curtain, was a girl who was just a mess.  I won't get into everything that she had going on, but there was a clear combination of things that had happened (accident) and things she had done to herself (drug type issues) that  came together to make her one miserable, in pain human being.  She was angry, lashing out, and there really was quite a difficulty in knowing where to start with her problems because one just rolled on top of another. 

We both had to sit there for a long time.  Not really in each others' presence, but near.  I could have become frustrated with her there, but I took the chance to pray.  It made me wonder how often God makes us wait in a place, hoping that we will notice someone besides ourselves that needs help and either help them, or pray or both.  I'm afraid that most of the time I'm too busy feeling irritated that my plans are being changed without my consent that I don't pay the least attention to others or their needs. Oh that I would remember today and how energizing it was to me and to the other staff, and I think some of my comments seemed to help the girl be more peaceful.

I don't know why she stuck with me so.  Perhaps because I heard that she was the same age as me, perhaps because behind her rotten miserable attitude I saw a mirror of myself and how I respond to others sometimes, or perhaps just because she was so obviously sad and I had no idea how to help her, but wanted to.  Whatever it was, she did stick; both as a check to myself to be kind even in difficulty and to pray for others around me.

It wasn't the day that I planned, but it was a good one- worth the changes and switches and the waits.  That's what I choose today.  And, by God's grace, I purpose to choose it tomorrow.

 "This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it." Psalm 118:24

Friday, January 10, 2014

When I can't Seem to Do what I want to Do

I've been hanging on to something a friend of mine told me recently:

"God fills your sails with his strength and energy. When the time is right and you can do things that seemed totally impossible before."
And um...when the timing isn't right trying to do the impossible just ends up looking ridiculous and is also draining and exhausting.

Isaiah 40:31- They that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength...

It's not, "get a vision from the Lord and then in my own strength tackle it."
It's not, "Wait for just the right moment and then YOU can do it."

It's also not, "Try harder and you will get there."

I love this vision of seeing a boat ready to sail and me blowing for all I'm worth on the sails to get it to where it needs to go.  Seems pretty ridiculous. What does a true sailor do, but wait for then wind? When it comes, then does he spend his energy blowing to help out? Of course not, he stands ready to direct the boat where it must go thanks to the power of the wind.  When the wind dies down.  He eats and plays cards and waits.  Of course he makes sure that everything is just right and ready should the wind whip up, but he just waits for the strength to come.

Then, he just holds on for the ride and does his best to steer in the right direction.

They that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength. 
Seems like my time to wait for a while.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Change Already!

WARNING!!! This post might be a little fuzzy as my brain is still on some heavy pain killers due to surgery, but I wanted to post about something about my foot since that’s what’s on my mind these days.   

In order to do that, let me back up a bit and say a little something about the history of my foot.

In short: It hurts.
Actually, it’s been hurting for about 3 years now.  One of the bones was slightly twisted thanks to all these babies and some poorly supportive shoes, and it made it uncomfortable to walk normally.  For a variety of reasons I have been both eager to have it fixed and also unable to move forward with the surgery.  Recently, that all changed. 

Surgery got planned, I got excited.  Yay! I’m finally going to have this problem fixed.  No more painful foot!  And I won’t limp anymore, and I will be able to exercise again, and….on an on with all the visions of the new and improved foot.

Enter surgery day: Go into surgery, get foot repaired. Wake up.  First Reaction: “Wait! I changed my mind! I don’t want to have this done! It hurts! A whole bunch- like, WAY more than I thought it would!”  “Maybe I’ll just stick with the problem I had. It wasn’t so bad…”

Now fortunately for me, with this issue it’s just “tough noogies”!  There’s no real going back.  I suppose the doctor could put things back in the broken state, but that wouldn’t make the pain go away at this point.  My only choice is to move forward through the pain to recovery and the opportunity that things will be better than before. I’m sort of forced to improve here.

That’s not the way a lot of life is however, and that’s what I’ve been thinking about.  How often do I say, “I want to lose weight,” but then when I actually have to avoid my late-night crackers and cheese, I change my tune.  The pain of change is uncomfortable.  If I want to have something different in my life it comes with setting down what is comfortable and normal and taking up something different, weird, or uncomfortable and dealing with it until it’s familiar.

I do this with food, with schedules, with my responses to my children…lots of things.  I want to get better.  REALLY!  But change makes me feel vulnerable, naked, like I’m floundering, unsure, and quite often involves pain.  Am I willing to go through that to get what I want?  It’s really the only way.

"By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going."
ESV, Hebrews 11:8

God had some big things in store for Abraham, but he had to chose to go without knowing completely what was going on.  That must have been naturally unsettling. Yet, the end result was so much blessing that Abraham would have chosen to follow if he had known.  Of course this doesn’t take into account that Abraham was willing to obey God even if it didn’t turn out wonderful, but that’s another story.  The point is, relocating his entire family without clear direction was harder than staying where he was.  But he did it anyway.

With my foot, I don’t really have a choice right now, the deal has been struck and there is no going back.  But I go back all the time on other things like over eating and yelling…I want to say yes to the pain on those things too.

How about you? Any areas that jump out at you to say yes to the pain of change?