Out of [My] Control

I really think I’m in control.  I choose, I do, I make it happen.

Hogwash!

I do make the coffee, sure, but I can’t make breath fill my lungs.  I sit in my chair and watch the sun rise, but if it didn’t show up one day there wouldn’t be a single thing I could do about it.

IMG_0992

Even this mama who had that awful, awful knock on the door that should have settled this question forever is lulled back into embracing the myth that I am in control.

For some odd reason that brings me comfort.

Odd because I fully realize how absolutely terrible it would be if I WAS in control of everything.  I can’t find my glasses on top of my head-how in the world would I keep the earth spinning?

If it was up to me, things would be a mess.

Thankfully it is NOT up to me.  I am NOT in control.

But I know the One Who is.

God-is-our-refuge-and-strength-an-ever-present-help-in-trouble.-Psalm-46-1So many days I live like if I hold on tight enough, I won’t lose anything else.  But that’s just not true-it’s still all up for grabs-I don’t have the strength or power to stop loss.

When I let go of my futile attempt to be in control, to maintain the illusion of control and to feed my need for control, I can receive the peace God is offering me through Jesus Christ.

Closed hands can’t receive anything.

If I am going to live at all,

I  have got to live with open hands,

not clinched fists.

open hands on floor

Desperate for Peace: His Name is Peace

Jehovah shalom

Are you as desperate as I am for peace?

Do you long for even ten minutes where you don’t feel anxious, or out of control, or incompetent or “less-than”?

There was a time in my life when I thought that I could handle anything tossed my way.  

I had no reason to suspect my energy, my strength or my mental capacity to handle change would be exhausted.  So far, I’d managed to do all that was required of me, had managed to cope with every challenging situation, had overcome the hurdles, continued the race and not given up.

That’s not me anymore.

I’m not defeatedyet-but I recognize defeat is a possibility.

I cannot bring peace to my own heart in my own strength. 

But I know Who can:  His Name is Peace

 

 

 

 

Speak Your Peace-You May Not Get Another Chance

Just a couple of days before Dominic left us, I and another one of my kids had a fuss.

He was frustrated and stressed and I was vulnerable and stressed and a few stray words ended up hurting my feelings.

I said, “I can’t talk anymore now”,  and hung up the phone in tears.

He was sorry and I was sorry and we immediately exchanged texts and let the feelings cool so we could resume our conversation the next day.

He sent me flowers.

flower-arrangement

They were still beautiful when he came home to bury his brother.

Our family observes a rule:  Don’t part in the heat of anger.

We may not be over our pain and the reason for the dispute may be legitimate, but NOTHING trumps relationship.

I am so very thankful for that rule.  Because one burden I don’t have to carry is that I might have left Dominic wondering if everything was OK between us.

It was.

So I say to you:

  • Speak your peace.
  • Say you’re sorry.
  • Move TOWARD the people you love and not away from them.

I pray every time I hear a siren that the person they are going to rescue will be alright.  I pray that the family that loves that person will get another chance.  I pray that the call that’s made is, “Come to the hospital to see me” and not “Come to the morgue”.

But you never know-you have NO guarantee that the last time you see or speak to someone you care about won’t be the LAST time.

And then you cannot undo the horror of regret that they might have left this world wondering if you loved them.

“I love you.”

“I’m sorry.”

“I don’t want to stay angry with you.  Please forgive me.”

Say it loud, say it often, say it NOW.

 

 

 

Homesick

desire-for-another-world-c-s-lewis

Forty years!  

Forty years Israel wandered in the desert, unable to claim the promise given them through Moses.

Forty years forbidden to set foot across the Jordan and partake of the bounty that lay on the other side.

Forty years of death as the rebellious ones were laid to rest because of their rebellion.

I bet they got tired of traveling.  I bet they were weary of moving on.  I bet they wondered (even though they had sure knowledge) just when this would be over.

And all that time, even in the midst of their heartsick longing to go back, have a do-over, make it right and the heavy weight of knowing, knowing, knowing there would be no going back, the LORD was in their midst-a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night-He was there.

I understand completely.  

Sundown yesterday began the  Feast of Tabernacles for Jews around the world.  It’s a seven day period to celebrate God’s faithfulness in the wilderness and to remember that this world is not our home.

Feast of Tabernacles Transp.png

I think it is a beautiful tradition and a wonderful way to speak truth to our hearts.

Because it’s easy to forget.  

Unless something happens that sharpens the homesick longing that lies latent in all our hearts, it’s easy to get comfortable here. Life seems pretty good-we gather our people and our stuff around us and think, “I could stay here forever.”

But no one stays here forever. 

This world is not my home.  

It never has been.

And I am tired of traveling.  I am tired of moving on.  I wonder just when this is going to be over.

But even here, God is in the midst of it.  

Emmanuel-God With Us-is near.

Jehovah-Shalom-The LORD My Peace-is speaking peace that passes understanding to my weary spirit.

I was created for a place where love and light reign and sickness and death cannot enter.

I feel it every day.  

“I began to try to define the pain I felt. Yes, it was sorrow, but it was something more, something infinitely deeper. I felt it all the time, even when I was happy. It wasn’t just sorrow. It was a longing; a pining for a better place and time … no, not just a better place and time, a perfect place and time; a different reality. It felt like longing for home, but not for a home I had ever been to. I began to see that it was something like homesickness …. Perhaps Christians are the most consistently homesick people in the world because they know this world (as it is) isn’t their true home. Yes, I was home, but I was still homesick.”
~Elyse Fitzpatrick, Home

 

Prayers I Still Pray

Prayer has been difficult for me since burying a child-I’ve written about that struggle in a previous post.

I have yet to find a comprehensible way to think about both the sovereignty of God and His goodness, free will and predestination.

So I find myself incapable of praying for things like safety for my children, freedom from disease or specific outcomes in difficult circumstances.

Instead I pray the prayers of Paul, straight from Scripture-prayers that focus on expanding a person’s understanding of Who God is, how much he or she is loved by God and the development of godly fruit in his or her life.

THESE are prayers I can still pray, I hope they are helpful for others in similar circumstances.

Ephesians 1:17-23

Glorious Father, I thank you for_______, and I bless them. I ask You to give _____the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that ______may know You better.  Enlighten the eyes of ______’s heart, so that they may know

  • the hope to which You have called them,
  • the riches of Your glorious inheritance in the saints,
  • And Your incomparably great power for them because they believe, the power of the resurrection and the ascension which seated Jesus at Your right hand where He is above all rule and authority, and power and dominion in this world, and all things are under His feet.

Fill ____with all the fullness of Jesus in every way today.

ephesians 1_17

Ephesians 3:15-20

I call You Father, and I pray

  • that from Your glorious riches You will strengthen______with power through Your Spirit in their inner being,
  • that Christ may dwell in ______’s heart through faith,
  • that ____will be rooted and established in love,
  • that____may have power, with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,
  • that ____will know this love that surpasses knowledge,
  • that___will be filled to the measure of the fullness of God.

I give You all the glory, for You are able to do immeasurably more than all I ask or imagine, according to Your power that is working within us.

ephesian320

 

 

June Challenge: Haiku

Day Seventeen of Kathleen Duncan’s  June 1-30 challenge.

The prompt: Write a Haiku (Seventeen Syllables)

It was an interesting challenge to distill a message to just 17 syllables.

I have long believed that each life is also a song.

This is mine:

 

sings with song

 

 

I am a song bird.

I sing love, grace, mercy, peace-

I learned the hard way.

 

 

 

 

The Sound of Silence

Busy, busy, busy and noisy, noisy, noisy.

Every day is full of activity and every minute full of sounds-television, radio, Itunes or Pandora.

holy-solitude

 

 

I am, at the same time, hyper-connected and dis-connected. My mind is often full but my heart can feel empty. 

 

 

If I can move fast enough or create sufficient distraction, then maybe I can ignore the harder questions, the deeper thoughts, the uncomfortable feelings that I would rather not explore.

Being in one’s own company alone with God is challenging.  Without the noise of outside distraction I am forced to face my fears and hidden darkness.  And in the quiet I find that the easy answers leave me empty and unsatisfied.  I must listen carefully for the still, small Voice that whispers comfort.

If I want to hear from God I need to embrace solitude and make space to hear.

 

 

His Name is Peace

It never gets old.

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I am always amazed to see my frightened flock bound toward me, faces raised in confidence that whatever is pursuing them is no match for their shepherd.

The loud noise may continue, the dogs may still be nipping at their heels, but in my presence is peace.

 

So often we think of peace as a cessation of hostility, but the biblical concept of shalom is so much more.

The Hebrew meaning of the word includes

  • completeness
  • wholeness
  • health
  • peace
  • welfare
  • safety
  • soundness
  • tranquility
  • prosperity
  • perfectness
  • fullness
  • rest
  • harmony
  • as well as the absence of agitation or discord.

It is more like the satisfied sleepy smile of an infant, safe in his mother’s arms and full of wholesome milk from her breast.

There is no thought for what might be next,

no fear that the safety he is experiencing right now may be taken away,

no worry that the bountiful supply of care will be depleted.

“He maketh me to lie down in green pastures.” Psalm 23:2

Jehovah-Shalom-the LORD my Peace. 

Peace is not a place or a promise-peace is a Person.

Even as I walk this hard path of grieving my son, I am strangely, inexplicably at peace in the core of my being.

And God’s peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvationt through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4: AMPC

Fear reigns in the hearts of many-even those who believe in Jesus.

And if I trust in the government, or the police, or myself to keep me safe, I have every reason to be fearful.

But when I rest completely in Jehovah-Shalom, the LORD Who is Himself my Peace, I can be assured that I am safe.

Not safe from all harm, but safe in His love and care.

 

 

 

 

 

Anticipation

All around the world children climb in bed tonight, barely able to close their eyes because they can hardly wait for the celebration tomorrow.

Anticipation is a powerful motivator.

Looking forward to a reward, children may find that they really CAN behave.  Thinking ahead to family flooding in, parents might realize that those piles of clutter that have been too big to tackle are easy to get rid of.

Presents, food and family fellowship will bring in the new day.

Anticipation fuels expectations and all too often our perfectly imagined Christmas morning doesn’t quite measure up.

Inevitably someone will be disappointed because what they thought they were getting for Christmas isn’t under the tree.  Eventually a cross word disrupts the harmony and hurt feelings reign.

People disappoint us.  Life rarely turns out the way we think it should or hope it will.

But there is One in Whom I can place my trust.  One Whose name is Faithful and True.

He came as a Babe but reigns as a King.

My heart longs for the day when wrong is made right and my faith made sight.

On that Day, I will take hold of my heart’s hope and I will not be disappointed.

Until then I will rest in the real promise of Christmas:

At once the angel was joined by a huge angelic choir singing God’s praises: Glory to God in the heavenly heights, Peace to all men and women on earth who please him.

Luke 2:14 MSG