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Archive for May, 2009

We are gathered around the table–five women whose lives have been upended in some measure by the closure of the university.  Four are faculty wives; three of us are stay-at-home moms.  One lady is a faculty member.  The reports vary:  jobs are in hand for two families;  three job contacts in one day for another (we say YAY!); and a couple more are acting and waiting…a job in itself.  We are here to share life and to talk to God about it around this table.  We’ve been doing so for the past several months.

Our hostess opens her Bible, and our hearts, scattered here and there by our various specific circumstances yet bound together by our common one, are washed over and settled down with the flood of these truths from God’s mouth:

I know what I’m doing.  I have it all planned out–plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.  When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I’ll listen.  When you come looking for me, you’ll find me.  Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed. (Jeremiah 29:11-13)

As we pray, it occurs to me that, even though those verses were originally given to a group of people who had been exiled from their home land, they were not words for only then–or for only now.  God never changes, and He desires our hearts toward Him and our trust in Him to be always steadfast–regardless of the circumstances.

Anchoring–those truths are anchoring.  A shower song this morning starts “Will your anchor hold in the storms of life?”  I didn’t know this, but an anchor doesn’t always do its job just by virtue of its weight.  It keeps the vessel in place by that means OR “by its flukes, which grip the bottom”, according to Webster.  Looking up “fluke”, I find that it is “the triangular blade at the end of an arm of an anchor, designed to catch in the ground.” (Triangular–good for my analogy…)

Truth digs in and hangs on.  What truth is anchoring you today?

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Scenario #1:  It’s a busy, busy morning–life is already running faster than my normal comfort zone (slow).  In the midst of it, the doorbell rings.  I check before opening to see who it is.  It isn’t anyone I know, but he seems to have an ID badge around his neck–looks safe enough–so I open the door.  However, I’m hoping that he won’t be selling any product or service I need–it will be easier to say “no thanks” and send him on his way so I can get back to my business (busyness).

Scenario #2:  It’s a busy, busy day–our friends from far away are in town, we haven’t seen them in a long time, and they are coming to dinner.  But, it’s been a busy, busy week as well, so the house has not had too much attention and there is lots of catch-up to do to be presentable and comfortable before friends arrive.  In the midst of the flurry which has spilled over into the afternoon, the doorbell rings.  Our friends have arrived early, because a plan fell through leaving them with gap time between that and our plans for dinner.  Apologetically I open the door and we exchange hugs and greetings, even though the vacuum is in the middle of the living room and all the rugs, etc. from the kitchen are dumped in the dining room, not yet having been put back since I mopped the floor an hour ago.  I’m glad to see them, but stress has been added to the welcome–I wasn’t quite ready.

Scenario #3:  It’s a busy, busy day–our friends from far away are in town, we haven’t seen them in a long time, and they are coming to dinner.  It’s been a busy, busy week as well, but I made a list on Monday and have kept it before me, focusing on being prepared for the visit.  I’ve been in the expectation mode, with everything geared toward readiness for that relational time.  When the door bell rings, good smells are coming from the kitchen, and, for once, the entire house doesn’t smell like a just-cleaned bathroom, since I have been giving a little attention each day during the week to this visit and company prep didn’t pile up all at the last minute.

Now when Jesus returned, a crowd welcomed him, for they were all expecting him….” (Luke 8:40)  This jumped out at me this morning.  There was a connection between expectation and welcome.  And it made me think about my own response to Jesus.

Sometimes I haven’t been focusing on my relationship with Him.  Busyness has crept into the quiet times where I meet Him to listen to His words to my heart as I read the Bible.  I haven’t had a quiet enough heart or slowed down enough to truly hear His voice to me when I pray.  When he finally gets my attention, it can almost feel like the intrusion of Scenario #1.

There are other times that I am on track and sit down for some quiet time with Jesus.  But life has piled up because I’ve not been very disciplined during that week.  Or because I’ve overcommitted myself.  Then the set-aside time for Bible reading and prayer feel more like duty than relationship and I come to the end of a day realizing that I was too distracted and scattered throughout it to even consciously consider Jesus as a stepped through the day.  I replaced the peace and awareness of His presence with the stress of acting like I was walking alone.  I never really got around to looking Up because I was so focused on looking around at what seemed really, really important.

Then, there are the times that I wish would be the every day mode:  focused, keeping the main things–the Main Thing–main, moving through the hours with a consciousness of the One who has said “Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you.”  Moment by moment expectation–the kind that keeps you looking out the window when you’re waiting for your first love to appear for a date.  Even though you may have spent the day at school or at work and may have been doing tasks as mundane as sharpening a pencil or cleaning a toilet, there has been that awareness just beneath the surface, for you are going to see HIM face to face soon.

Focusing…enfolding…embracing…keeping my eyes fixed…giving attention…giving welcome because I am expecting Him…

O come to my heart, Lord Jesus; there is room in my heart for Thee.

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On a day when a number of Facebook posts from my friends reflect something about the emotions and activities surrounding  “Heritage Weekend” at TUFW–a couple of days of gathering set aside for a “last hurrah” on campus before its closing at the end of the month, and a celebration of God’s work and His goodness over the years in that place–snippets from this hymn have been floating around in my brain.  When I looked it up to fill in the parts between the floating snippets, I realized it may not be so directly related to the ending of something significant.  Yet, when change comes, and uncertainty or sadness or (for some) anger or bitterness at what cannot be any more sweeps over our hearts, that IS a good time–the best time, the needful time–to once again reckon with truth that is the warp and woof of the fabric of our relationship with the One who loves us best and to whom no change is ever, ever, ever a surprise.

There’s a wideness in God’s mercy like the wideness of the sea;
There’s a kindness in His justice which is more than liberty.

There is welcome for the sinner and more graces for the good:
There is mercy with the Savior; There is healing in His blood.

For the love of God is broader than the measure of man’s mind;
And the heart of the Eternal is most wonderfully kind.

If our love were but more simple we should take Him at His word;
And our lives would be all sunshine in the sweetness of our Lord.

Frederick W. Faber, 1862


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When I am seated doing pulls and pushes on the Cardio-Glide apparatus that Gabe happily dragged home from an apartment cleanout in his former job working for a property manager a few years back, I face the basement board game shelf.  Recently, I noticed the interesting names of the games collected there:

  • Boggle
  • Aggravation
  • Risk
  • Trouble
  • Jeopardy
  • Outburst
  • Snail’s Pace Race
  • Trivial Pursuit

Prompted by that visual display, for today’s post, I offer a few random thoughts which seem to parallel the “sometimes” of life:

  • In Boggle, the game is different every time you play it–how you shake the cube with the individual letters in it will determine the words that can be made.  And, the longer you look for letter combinations that make words, the more you see.  But time eventually runs out.
  • The thing that makes Aggravation so aggravating is the very thing that keeps you in the game.  Sometimes you get knocked back to square one (or home base) and have to start over. Sometimes you don’t get the exact number of moves that let you get your marbles home free and clear  And sometimes, your move, dictated not by choice but by the roll of the dice, negatively impacts someone else’s game play.  It’s a challenging game for keeping your cool to the end.
  • Trouble is Aggravation in a different form.
  • Jeopardy gives you the answers, but you only win if you ask the right questions
  • In Snail’s Pace Race, the colored wooden snails are the winners, not the players moving them.
  • Trivial Pursuit is lots of fun when you play with the right people, but can be a drag if you are playing in the wrong categories.

So, have at it, all the philosophers among you…What lessons for the game of life do these game names make YOU think about?

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