Monday, August 31, 2020
Wednesday, August 26, 2020
Make a Choice
I have been thinking on things. I mean, what else needs to be done when you are in transition? You adapt to your most current situation understanding that you are changing and your perspective and attitudes need to change with it. However, there needs to be a delving of deeper concepts. I think of a cavern or a cave. There I am standing at the opening of a stone structure. I'm not sure what I will find when I get into the lower levels but I think it is clear that we need to confront what we leave in the dark and why.
I have been marinating on Jeremiah 17. These are the passages that I have to write about:
"This is what the Lord says
'Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who draws strength from mere flesh and whose heart turns away from the Lord. That person will be like a bush in the wastelands;; they will not see prosperity when it comes. They will dwell in the parched places of the desert, in a salt land where no one lives.
'But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him, they will be like a tree planted by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.
The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cue. Who can understand it?
'I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.'" Jeremiah 17:5-11 NIV
There is clearly a choice to be had. Trust in man (which includes yourself) or trust in God. There are consequences for each choice. What I am noticing is that God differentiates for each of his followers. God modifies the plan for each of us because He knows what is in our hearts more than what we think about the cavernous region of our own psyche. God knows because He created the path. Like a composer knows all of the nuances of the song that they have created, God knows the heart that we have. He may be the only one Who can tell me about my own heart. That being said, my prayer has been for God's will to be done in my our lives, not just my life but in the lives of my children. God is awesome that way. I'm not quite done marinating on Jeremiah 17 but I think that no matter what, I'm putting my money and my heart on on God. I like the outcomes. Praise the Lord!!!
Sunday, August 23, 2020
The Middle of a Story
Many of you would expect me to write about the many things happening. And let us not make any mistakes, there are a lot of things happening. I'm not quite sure how to talk about it all. Here's what you really do need to know. I'm praying about it. I'm talking to God about it all. I'm listening and reading and waiting. God's will is going to happen and this is what I am praying for, His will to be done.
I can see that I will have plenty to talk about in the future. I know I am being vague. I have stories that are developing that I will write about. I'm not trying to evade anything. I'm willing to answer questions. I just don't really know how to say things sometimes. Some of you are reading this and are asking, "Elle, what is going on?" I'm good. I'm fine. I'm in transition. Some of you are reading this and understand what is happening. Be in prayer, Friends. I suspect that I am in the middle of a story, one of those wonderful, crazy, God stories that happens. How could I write a story or post about a story I'm in the middle of? Let me just tell you that I am closer to God not farther. Let me just tell you that I'm trusting and hoping when it is easy to be uncertain and scared. I am trusting God to be content because I have God with me always. And God's will, Friends, God's will will be done. Praise the Lord!
Tuesday, August 18, 2020
Humanity and Defenses
I have been thinking about kindness. It's easy to become selfish when you are in a struggle. In fact, it is in our human nature to develop a defense mechanism. It isn't right, however, it is understandable to do this. When we become vulnerable, we go into defense mode and then... Human nature with its complexity and nuances emerges and takes over in a situation. Kindness, in part, has to do with repressing the human nature and understanding how people react with human nature to a situation. I'm wondering how this affects relationships and the world we live in.
I hate to talk about this but I will for the sake of the point. My son just recently started high school. He was in an orientation class and many of the students were making bad choices, horrible choices in fact. I came in. He did not participate verbally to contribute the bad situation, however, I learned later that he did participate in aggravating the situation through chat. The data had been recorded. He did not make a bad situation better. When he was confronted, his humanity came out. He was defensive on all fronts. His argument started like this: "Yes, I didn't make the best choices BUT..." That "but" negates the first premise. I understand it as attempting to be the exception and not the rule. Regardless of how he followed through on the argument, he is not accepting his role in the matter. This is humanity.
I do the same things!!! Maybe he learned it from me. I was disappointed in my son's stance but I understood and he was sorry for his part in the matter but he kept on saying things like, "Did everyone else get a consequence or am I the only one?" This is a refusal to take ownership. "At least I didn't talk and yell like the others." This is comparison. My son is 14 years old. I have 4 years yet to work on his character with God's help. You see, God teaches kindness.
If I were the daughter or the wife of a rich man, I could afford to be generous with money because we have enough and money is not an idol that I have to save up and serve (There are some rich people that have more than enough but could never afford to be generous because money is their god.). Well, I can afford to love because I am the daughter of the God Who is Love so I don't have to worry about running out. Because of this, I can afford to be kind. My defenses lies with the God who fights my battles and the more that I trust Him, the more I can reflect Him because He provides for me.
My humanity still gets in the way but I can see how my humanity is rooted in sin. The conflict in this world is between choosing who we are over God and how He made us to be without the curse of sin upon us. We chose this curse for ourselves and now we get to live with the consequences. As stubborn children, we pretend that this choice was the right choice. At this point in time, I will respectfully disagree. God is good, Friends. Believe in His goodness. Praise the Lord!
Sunday, August 16, 2020
Monday, August 10, 2020
It has not been a perfect day but I got the advice today to listen for God. Okay. I am numb right now. You see, Friends. I learned that this lovely boy that went to the school I work in, passed away not too long ago. I heard whispers about his death and causes. It wasn't Covid-19. Does it matter? This lovely boy is gone. I remembered how he would come in with his work clothes. He had a sly smile. I would see him in Mr. Clark's room where we would all struggle with math, myself included. It is sad and I am sad. May God bless his family.
And then I heard of the death of this sweet smiling girl I once knew. Her name I couldn't immediately place with the face but I knew the name. I looked her up. She was 22 years old. I was 22 years old when I met my husband. She was a baby. In her pictures, she was so pretty, alive the way only 22 year olds are alive. She would come up to me, back when that was allowed, and she would hug me. She was sweet and stubborn. Is she really gone?
These are unfortunately not the only students I have lost. They pain me, these deaths. I am thinking back. I can see their faces in my head as I remember them. Some of them have been gone years. I have seen the destruction these deaths create. Now we have another killer in our midst. Will I lose co-workers? Are there more to be lost? Death will come regardless. It leaves you with a chill in your bones. Unlike Dementors, there is no chocolate that will help you feel better. Only God can give back hope.
My son saw the expression on my face. It was not the easiest day today. Learning how to do my job in this new environment is uncomfortable. I went to my son's school because his father is still listed as his primary contact. It still stings telling the lady with the brilliant purple hair that David's father is deceased. "Oh." she said, quietly. Death requires reverence. I sat there remembering these babies that were gone without having lived and my dear boy took the dishes away from in front of me. He asked quiet considerate questions about these students and then brought me a plum. He is consoling me.
The other day I was in my room and I remembered the chorus of an old song.
Because He lives, I can face tomorrow. Because He lives, all fear is gone. Because I know, He holds the future. And life is worth the living, just because He lives.
I would say that God knew I would need to remember remembering about this song. I would need the words and sing it to myself to remind me that in the midst of despair, God grants us hope.
"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope."
When I run out of hope, I go to God and get more. But today I will allow myself to be empty. Today I will remember and process. Today I will grieve. I will hold my own biological babies a little tighter tonight and I will pray over them. I thank God for them, such treasures. May they never let go of Jesus. Death reminds you to live. Live, Friends. Live.
Friday, August 7, 2020
Man, ever have a bad mood? I know this one lady that was in a bad mood for decades. How do you do that? Is it even necessary to be in a bad mood that long? I was in a bad mood. It happens from time to time. I didn't stay in a bad mood. I went to see my Bible Study Sisters and all of a sudden, bad mood gone. They were a balm to my soul. They reminded me of my mission here on earth through love and care. We talked about what bothered us. We laughed. We were thankful about what God had given to us through our summer study of Nehemiah. I got home and took a selfie and posted it. Yes, there were bad moments throughout the day but some bad moments do not make for a bad day. I looked at my selfie picture from last night and told myself that today would be better, and it was.
So... why a bad mood? I thought about it. I go for a walk and I tend to feel better. I am one with nature and I feel better. I hang out with my children and I feel better... sometimes. Damages are what creates bad moods. Injustices can create bad moods. Misunderstandings create bad moods. Miscommunications, psychoses, manipulations, evil, the devil, the world can create a bad mood. Here is what I am learning, I don't have to stay in a bad mood.
I am developing strategies to get out of a bad mood. Step 1. Stop what I am doing. Step 2. Remember Jesus' master plan. 3. It isn't about me. 4. What will help and not harm? 5. Am I being a light in a dark place? 6. Still need help? 7. Pray. 8. Pray. 9. Read the Bible. 10. Pray. Then there are some other things that help. Paint my nails. Put on perfume. Pet my dog/cats. Laugh with my kids. Life is short friends, so short. I would rather spend my time in a good mood than in a bad mood.
We are in a pandemic. It is not a nice time but we need to let the joy of the Lord be our strength (Nehemiah 8:10). Feel free to remind me of this when you see me pouting. Praise the Lord!