Precious Pain

Perspective is everything. I see that more and more. I came across Psalm 90:15 this morning which says, “make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us, for as many years as we have seen trouble.” What? Moses is believed to have written this. Think about what he saw. We immediately think of all the miracles but think about the frightening circumstances he often found himself in…going up against those who raised him, his hiding in the desert when he killed a man, then leading God’s chosen the long way to their promise of the Promised land. In all the hardships and heartaches, his faith never waivered. Through it all, he saw God, listened to Him and chose to walk on, believing what he heard God say.

Remember he was a man, a flesh and blood person just like you and I. He wasn’t a made up super hero.

As he reached the end of his journey (it’s also worth noting he only saw the promise from the outside!) he asked God for the blessing of making them glad for as many days as they had been afflicted. He didn’t review all the pain,  fear and hurt. He knew the pain was going to be worth it. We should too.

Had you not been through what you have, there’s no doubt you wouldn’t know what you know about your Heavenly Father. Doesn’t that make it all worth it? I think so!

Thank God this life isn’t the end of our story. Our eternity with Him will be beyond what our minds can comprehend. Yes Lord, give us the perspective that our pain here is precious and opens avenues through which we come ever closer to You, Your love and Your provision for us.

Keep Looking and Keep Believing.

Anyone who knows me knows how much hummingbirds mean to me. I think of them as tiny angels and maybe a hint of the Glory of God. How creative He is to make this magnificent tiny birds! He must have known the effect they would have on us. Who doesn’t enjoy watching them?

I look forward every year to seeing them. I have feeders right outside my office window so I can see them all the time. A friend of mine who’s visiting the beach in S. Alabama sent me a text yesterday telling me they had seen one and thought of me. In both of my books, I’ve written stories about them to share what God’s taught me. So with that prompt, I mixed up some nectar and put my feeders out expectantly waiting to see them. No hummers.

This morning to my delight, they came to feed. I was delighted to see them and have been mezmerized by them most of the morning.

It occurred to me the act of believing they would come encouraged me to fill up the feeders and put them out. Even though they didn’t appear the day I put them out, I didn’t fail to keep looking. I believed I would soon see them as friends living close by had already been blessed by their presence. All the encouragement I needed to believe was there; it was my choice to act on what I believed!  I could have chosen not to fill the feeders. I could have chosen not to believe they would come. After all, just because they were all around me didn’t necessarily mean they would come to my house. Knowing that, I still decided to believe.

Friends, that’s such a great analogy of our faith-walk. We must decide to act like we believe God will “show up” in our lives. Actually He’s in our lives continually we just have to choose to be focused enough on Him to see evidence of His presence.  If you’re troubled by something, have a need, etc., believe you’ll see Him in action. Put out “feeders” (pray, look) and believe. Keep believing. He may not come when you think He should. He may not manifest Himself in the manner you’re expecting but He will see to you. He promised (Philippians 4:19).

Keep looking and keep believing.  And WHEN (not if) you see Him and His handiwork in your life be sure to thank Him. Enjoy Him and all the blessings and promises that are yours from Him. And, enjoy the hummingbirds!

In The Now

It’s been 37 years since I graduated from high school. I’ve taken courses since then and finished many Bible studies.  I was blessed to get a job about 25 years ago in Medical Transcription through which I was trained on the job. Now because of all the changes related to health care, we’re being required to be registered and certified. While studying with a friend close to my age who has been in this profession about as long as I have, she finds herself in the same predicament. To say I’m intimidated is an understatement! We’re not only finding that we were taught wrong, we’re seeing we have to unlearn years and years of the way we’ve done things and learn…and put into practice the “new” way (for us), bringing ourselves up to the standard while preparing for the tests.

Who would have thought at this age I’d find myself in this position, finding out the way I’ve always done things isn’t necessarily wrong, it’s just not the standard. I’m not “up to code”! It’s daunting. What’s even funnier is that I’m considered one of the best Transcriptionists in our area…but that’s because no one knows the standards! As long as there are no big mistakes and you produce that becomes enough. That’s not a bad thing, it’s just that it could be better!

While feeling old, not so smart and extremely intimidated and threatened because I honestly don’t know how I can possibly find time to re-educate and retain what I learn, study, test, etc…on top of everything else in my life. I talked to God about it and went to bed last night with my mind reeling.

I picked up a book I’m reading (LOADED WITH BENEFITS) this morning that I’m using for a devotional and it was as if the Lord jumped off the page and put Himself smack-dab in the midst of my present concerns. Isaiah 46:4~ “Even to your old age I am the same; and even to your graying years I shall bear you. I have done it and I shall carry you, and I shall bear you and I shall deliver you.”~

How absolutely perfect. I’m tearing up as I write this. I asked Him to forgive me because in the moment of all these changes and my fears, I forgot what…WHO…will get me through. I’m almost 55. I’ve never been in a place like this so these aren’t my usual fears and doubts. This is a whole new place and God knew that…even before I had figured that out!

He ministered to me through this book at this time without my begging and pleading. He knew exactly what I would need in this season of my life and He provided. I’m telling you this to say He is relevant. He is timely. He is the answer.

Our ultimate resource is God Himself. He will show us He’s with us and give us exactly what we need. Pick Him up. Seek Him and let Him blow your mind with how perfectly on time He is. There simply is no comfort and reassurance like our God. I’m relishing in that truth this morning and this ole gal is grateful!

Self-Perspective

One of my gifts is encouragement. God has blessed me to see the good in everything and everyone. If you need a positive word, I’m your girl…about you. For some reason I just can’t seem to find much positive in myself. What is that?! I’ve talked to complete strangers, people in jail, people who’ve committed bad offenses and had no trouble finding kind and soothing words for them. When I mess up or present myself as less than perfect I have no mercy for me.

The Bible says to “love your neighbor as yourself”. What if you don’t love you? I’ve asked that question for years and have never gotten an answer. How can you love others if you don’t love yourself. Here’s how I process all that.

I give to others what I’d like to have.  Kindness, consideration, respect as a person. I’ve given coats, money, and myself because if I were in the situations I’ve witnessed I hope someone would do the same for me. I really try to treat others as I would like to be treated. I’ve put myself behind those I love in order to see to their needs just because it was the right thing to do. Sometimes I found myself used, lied to and manipulated and my feelings were hurt afterward but at the end of it, I had peace and can say I would do it again.

Love is rewarding and after all isn’t that the point? My perspective is that when you give your best to someone who’s hurting or needing you’re giving the best of yourself which is ultimate love. Our society says to do what we do for ourselves; Christianity says to do what we do for others. Polar opposites. Which is more rewarding and allows us to live with our choices more peacefully?

So wait. Maybe I’m not so bad to myself. Maybe I bless myself more than I think I do because lifting others up, making their day brighter and seeing them smile on their difficult journey is fulfilling and rewarding. Hmmm. Maybe I’m not as messed up as I sometimes think I am!

I Can Be Wrong!

I had a song on my mind I wanted to hear and being sure of who sings it, I pulled out all my CDs of this artist and began searching for it. Not there. I was sure I had it so I looked through my CDs again, went through my Ipod and MP3 player and still couldn’t find the song by the artist I was sure performed it. While listening to my Ipod though, I found the song and low and behold it was by another artist! I was wrong! I spent at least an hour looking where I never would have found the song.

Oh my that spoke volumes to me. We spend a lot of time looking, pursuing things through which we’re sure we’ll find what we’re looking for. Sometimes we find the perfect answer or the perfect thing only to find it didn’t do for us what we were sure it would. You know, I’m sure you’ve done it too: the perfect person, perfect house, perfect job…and after we’ve found it we pursue something else.

I sometimes long for the time I’ve wasted in empty pursuits back. I want a do-over, or at least a chance to refocus and do things better; I want a better pursuit!

I just can’t trust myself and what I think…a lot. Often I find I’m wrong. For weeks now Proverbs 3:5-6 has come to me through messages from friends, sermons, emails, devotionals, you name it.  I’m sure my Daddy-God is trying to tell me not to rely on/bank on/depend on my own understanding of things and I’m seeing He’s so right. If I think on then act on what I perceive without prayerfully talking to Him for guidance my goodness, I’d be in some serious mess.

I’m learning now more than ever through this healing/restoration process to listen to Him more and me less. My feelings and emotions can’t be allowed to rule me. I must let Him rule me. That’s what His being “Lord of my life”, I’m learning, is really all about.