- Spring Cleaning. Do you ever feel like God is spring cleaning your life and the lives of others? The times are tough. The world is being shaken. I've had calls and emails this week from friends who have lost loved ones, gone to visit relatives in the midst of deep illness or surgery, lost their jobs, their homes, or have deep family problems. A church that we love is undergoing some difficult changes and losses. Many friends are ridden with trials and burdens. Personal struggles include health issues, job or car loss and grief from lost family members. There are so many things that could dishearten you and me if we let them. Our Father warns us that in the last days, perilous times shall come.... I'm reminded of the Apostle Paul who said in 2 Corinthians 4:8-9, "We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair. Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed" (King James Version). He said, also in Romans 8:18, "For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us." Take heart, friends, in these troubled times, glory is coming. The deeper the suffering, the greater the glory. Glory is an intimidating word. We instinctively say, "All glory to God." Of course it is rightly so. However, when we read about this glory that shall be revealed in us, it is not the kind of glory that is vain and brings attention to us, but rather, it is a beauty, and inner glow of joy for the knowledge of a work in progress toward maturity that the Father accomplishes in us.
HOLD ON. The Glory is coming!
- Pivotal Points. I chuckled today as I discovered that my brother posted the word "pivotal" about five times this week on his Facebook page. Though I grinned at him I also admired the overuse because I know it comes from a heart that is basking in the wonder of God's glory being revealed in him. As many difficulties as I've been aware this week, I've also seen these pivotal points of which my brother spoke. Several friends and I have felt like our lives are on the verge of change--BIG CHANGE- and God is in the middle of it. A friend of mine is moving into the calling that God has for him to be a university professor. I foresee him becoming published in a large way while he is there. Another friend is getting so many offers for publishing his book that he is having to pray about which choice to take. As for me, I have been led to some new connections that may turn into an answer to prayer for co-authorship or collaboration on a writing project that I have been mulling over for months. A relative of mine is in the process of having a dream come true. I can't share the details on any of these situations but suffice it to say, "God is BIG and He is up to something GREAT!"
Do you ever feel awareness that God is up to something in your life or that of others and yet, you only have a sneak peek of what He is about to do? I love living on the edge with God!
- Teaching Babies to Float. While I was at the YMCA Pool with my family today, I watched a life guard teaching a young baby to "swim". It was fascinating. I wished that these techniques had been around when my oldest son was a baby. I would have worried less about him. Anyway, I noticed the baby cried, screamed, kicked and was angry at the life guard for making her stay in the water which was cold and scary. There were many unknowns and the lifeguard did not reach out and grab the squawker right away but waited to see if the she would turn on her back and float. When she didn't, the teacher flipped the baby over and "taught" the her that she was okay as long as she floated on her back. It took several tries. I can't explain the whole technique (help me if you can) but it reminded me of a spiritual truth. Many of us are struggling right now to keep our heads above water. We are struggling with trials and pain and spirituality. We are trying to make it all better. We cry out to God expecting Him to reach out and scoop us up out of trouble. But we feel is is not listening. We get angry. We scream and demand our way. Maybe we even swallow a little water and feel like we are choking. Why won't the Teacher rescue us? Maybe He is trying to see if we will float on our backs and trust in His grace a little. We're always trying to work a solution or find a method of rescue. Maybe He is desirous that we learn that with His Grace we can make it. Just a thought.
- Friends. I'm just so glad we have them. We can pray for each other, give each other an encouraging word, share our resources with one another and lift each other up through humor or care. Isn't it great? One of my best friends, Lyssie called yesterday and we caught up on months worth of news about each other. We used to live practically next door, worked together and labored in youth ministry together. We almost lived in the same house we were together so much. We had a standing rule that if it was too late after hanging out, one of us stayed the night at the other's home so as not to drive when it was late. Funny thing is we lived so close that the only issue with distance late at night was worrying about driving into the lake because we fell asleep at the wheel. The couch or floor was just fine compared to that. I think we just felt like family and didn't want to part but our husbands put up with it OK. Now I have children and can't do that. We live in another town. But I still love her and miss her. We've loved like friends and fought like sisters. Each supported the other in deep suffering. There is a bond like Jonathan and David. I'm thankful for her friendship though we rarely get together anymore because of busy lives.
- A while ago another friend of mine blessed us with tons of produce, including gobs of turnips. Raw veggies are my mainstay and I love turnips-they're one of my favorites. God knew what I needed and He used a friend to supply it. This week, she is without a washer and dryer. I own one so she is coming over to do laundry and I am to be blessed with the pleasure of her company.(She's a writer too so that is a plus.) I love how that works.
- Another friend who has two boys that mine like to play with dropped in unexpectedly when I needed a break from the busyness of the day. We sat and chatted for a few minutes like we usually don't get to do. Then we drove over to the Y together to pick our boys up from P.E. class.
- There are times that I love this kind of togetherness that friends share. I miss one friend dearly right now as she is away caring for family out of state. When she comes back, I'm going to hug her so hard she is going to wonder if it is really me (I'm not a hugger.) She and I have been becoming close over the last few months. She also has two boys that my boys love. For so many years, I was too busy or too boonies to have friends and now I am blessed with many. I'm so thankful for friends. I hope that I'm being a good friend too and not just getting good friends.
On that last note, I shall leave you with some positive thoughts and questions.
What pivotal points are you in right now in life? Do you have something big you wish for God to do in your life but don't know what He is up to? Do you believe He can?
What situation in your life likens you to a baby learning to swim? Are you able to trust His grace and float knowing God is in control and will work it out for your good?
Last, but not least, what aspect of friendship do you appreciate the most? In what ways can you be a better friend to your friends?