The End of Ruminating

Ecclesiastes 3: 1, 3b

“There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:

…a time to tear down and a time to build…”

As I have settled into life after my trip to Peru, I have been struck with the choices I have set before me. The people I saw day to day in the brickyard did not have these same choices.  Their choices were limited by their place of birth and the work they did.  They had chances to make life better but they were not as many as the choices I have before me.  Sometimes the choices can be overwhelming.  I definitely can attest to that in my life.  But even in the overwhelming, choices have to be made… will they be for the good and Godly or against what I hold dear and know to believe in my heart, mind, soul and spirit.

Ecclesiastes 3 lists the different parts of life and how there is a time for everything we do.  As I read through the list, it seems like some of them should be unnecessary and even harmful but yet, there there are in the list.  The list in this passage shows a certain rhythm to life, no matter how odd, and a certain balance and timing to life must be struck.  God, as the Keeper of all things, holds the key to how life with Him should look.  The people of Peru read this same Scripture, most likely in another language, and what do they think?  Do they wonder when there is a true time to build?   Do they know more tearing down than building?  They make bricks to build with but do they get the true joy of being part of the process of building.  I don’t know entirely.  I hope and I pray they do, but I am not sure.

And as I bring this Scripture closer to home, I know that there has not always been balance and rhythm in my life even though I have a multitude of ways to choose.  My soul has not always known the building up process but sometimes only the tearing down.  I can’t even blame other people for this entirely.  I learned the process well of analyzing and dissecting and tearing things apart.  The problem is that I never really learned the formula to build.  Or let me say that differently, I tended to leave the building on the back burner because it was too hard or I didn’t feel adequate or I didn’t have the tools.  My training in psychology taught me how to diagnose the problem but the problem with psychology is that it didn’t truly have the resources available to teach a person to truly build up the way a person needs to be built up… the process of being known for everything, good and bad, but still loved intimately and forgiven grandly by the Creator and Savior Himself, God Himself, Jesus Christ.

So as I looked at that void in my life, not truly understanding how to build, I knew there was a couple things I had to leave behind.  I have to leave behind my need to understand in order to go forward in the future.  I have to learn not to lean on my own understanding so much so I can trust the Lord to build what He needs in my life and what I so desperately long for… peace, love, joy, His kingdom alive in my heart, family and community.

This takes me to this point.  The end of this blog.  I looked back on so many of my writings that express so much of my heart.  Some good, some not so good but they expressed all of me… except the part where I need to be now.  I need to be at a place of building and not looking back.  To do that, I end this blog to symbolize that.  I might start another blog someday, even tomorrow, but for now, this is my last entry here.  Tomorrow, I seek to find the hope of building, brick on brick, the future for myself and my family that the Lord wills and desires and the legacy He seeks to build through me and my husband.  I am excited and clueless and trusting all at the same time.  I have materials to build in my hands.  Now, I just have to learn more of how to build and how to trust the Lord more to build what He wants.  This is the end of Ruminating but the beginning of a new thing.  There is a time for everything, and the time to build is now.  Thank you to each of you who read my blogs.  I love you dearly and pray blessings for you!

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“POWERFUL WEAKNESS” – July 9

A DEVOTED LIFE

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.”  2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Bicyclists on Flagstaff Mountain
Bicyclists on Flagstaff Mountain (Photo credit: Let Ideas Compete)

“One more hill to go,” was the mantra that reverberated through my mind on the descent.  We were on the tail-end of a 30 mile, “out-n-back,” ride composed of a series of rather steep, rolling hills.  I have been making this ride all season in training for the “Four Summit Challenge” at the end of this month.

I swept up the base of this remaining obstacle as gravity turned from a…

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Time to Soar

“but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”  Isaiah 40:31

The week before our team went to Peru, my pastor spoke on “Hello, My Name is… Confident.”  Honestly, I have never felt blessed with an over abundance so I listened carefully because this is something the Lord is working through me.  He talked about several verses and then when he came to the verse above he talked about previous trips to Peru and that when the teams would get down there, they would soar.  I thought to myself, “YES!  This is just what I need!  I need to soar!”

As the day came to get on the plane, I didn’t feel like I was soaring.  I felt like I was in a battle to get on the plane in every possible way.  It didn’t mean there weren’t good things but the battle felt thick within me.  When I got on the plane, same thing.  As the week progressed the battle seemed to intensify even though the Lord was faithful as we tried to faithfully serve as well.  There were SO many good things but I have to admit that I kept waiting… waiting… waiting… for that soaring feeling… and it never came. 

I don’t think I was disappointed but maybe just more like I wondered if there was something in me that wasn’t made for soaring or at least not at the heights of others.  It is easy for me to compare myself to others so I had to check my mind at every point and angle to make sure it aligned with the Lord. 

The question of soaring still lingered in my mind as I talked to one of team mates after the trip.  We shared our experiences and some things we were working through after the trip.  I shared with her about soaring and as she soared more about how she saw the team fitting together and how God had used our strengths and weakness to make a team for Him, I realized my view of soaring was definitely off kilter during the trip. 

You see, I wanted to soar… but I wanted to soar by myself.  That might sound selfish or isolationist but I tend to be a loner so I look at life often through those lenses.  I was expecting the experience to be a personal high but it wasn’t meant to be merely personal.  It was meant to be as a part of group, a team, a body of believers working together for Him.  So together, we soared, I realized.  When one faltered, the other was there to pick the other up.  When one excelled, the other was there to back them up.  It wasn’t perfect but it was soaring, a time to see not just one “eagle”, one “rock star” but it was time for us to come together as one and soar for God.

That was an “aha” moment for me last night.  And today, as I faced some struggles of motherhood, I realized I needed to soar again.  And once again, I realized that I couldn’t do it alone.  In order to soar, I need others to come alongside and help me as I help them.  Oh, I admit, I hate that feeling.  I would like to do life on my own so often.  But that is not how God made me, made life.  He made life to be shared and in order to soar, you need others.  That is what is resonating in my heart today.  Does that resonate with anyone else?  All I know is I want to soar, not wade in the pit.  I want to be where the eagles are.

The Beauty of Simplicity: Lessons Learned in Peru

As I sit here and take care of my children today, I am struck by the fact that I was in Peru last week.  In some sense, I am more amazed right now by what took place in my heart by changing my location.  My eyes were opened but not just my physical eyes but the eyes of my heart, as the Word of God says.  Some of the most powerful lessons I learned took place in the simple.  They were in being thoroughly enamored with the Quechuan women and being able to touch the creases of their beautiful face.  By the world’s standards, they would not be seen as beautiful.  They were not air brushed or ready for a glossy magazine cover, but they will be emblazoned in my mind as one of the true beauties on this earth.

I learned the truth of children worshiping God as a simple beauty.  Days before I went to Peru I attended a concert of one of the most well known worship groups on earth.  They were awesome.  They were amazing…. They didn’t hold a candle to a child’s heart worshiping God.  When a heart is truly for God, there are no lazers, no smoke and lights, no skill in instruments which can compare to the simplicity and beauty of a heart lit on fire for God.

I learned the beauty of friendship.  For some time, maybe my whole life, I have wrestled with friendship, with connecting to people.  But when you are accepted and held in the arms of a child who has never met you.  When you are accepted by a  group of people who see your flaws, the beauty of it is amazing.  I made unexpected friends, a beauty I was not looking for but they were true gifts from God.  I thank God for bestowing those gifts into my hands and into my heart.

While I could go on and probably will in future posts, one of the most beautiful lessons I learned was merely to trust God.  Before the time I stepped foot on the plane, I said a hundred times, “I should not be going on this trip.”  It was not for want to go.  I wanted to go but there were so many things in my life that seemed to point differently.  As my husband and friends encouraged and supported me, I took the step of faith.  But it did not necessarily get easier.  In some ways, it got harder.  On the plane I had to fight off panic attacks.  I only made it through when I fixed my eyes and heart on Jesus.  Each step of the way, God proved faithful as I depended on Him.  He was so good and faithful and those lessons remain in my heart as I return to the States.  I want those lessons to remain sealed in my heart for eternity.  I want to learn them better and teach them to my children.  And one day, I want to share with them in reality the beautiful creases of the Quechuan woman, the beauty of worship from children of another culture and the truth of merely trusting in Him for your everything.  Such beautiful lessons.  What a beautiful country.  What a wonderful God.

Preparing for Peru

 

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Peru is a great adventure for me… almost so, that it is hard to wrap my head around.  Tonight, what I am wrapping my head around is learning how to make some balloon animals since I will be doing some clowning around in Peru to make some kids smile for Jesus.  Above is very first doggie balloon animal which has already been popped from too much love from my 3 year old son :).

Putting My Eggs in One Basket

There is a popular idiom that has been around for a long time…. “don’t put your eggs in one basket.”  It means invest in different things.  Don’t rely on one resource or invest your money in just one company or else you mind find your money being lost.

Good worldly wisdom in many cases.

But I have a couple cases where I can going to put every single egg I have and put it in one place. 

I am married.  I am going to invest in one man and no other.

I am a mother.  I am going to invest in my children like none other.

I belong to Jesus.  As far as I am concerned, He is the basket… sounds odd… but I am going to place everything that I am in Him.  He gets everything I am.  No one else.  That’s what I am working at.  That’s what I am about.

As The World Turns

Many people know the daytime soap opera, As The World Turns.  Take any of the soaps on the air today and you will get one thing… Drama with a capital D.  It’s not real.  It’s obviously not supposed to be when you get a man who has been dead for years being cloned and his evil twin taking over the family fortune.  The plot thickens and the drama pulls you in…. or that is what the producers of the soaps hope…

At our church we have a thing called the Sonshine Jar.  It is a way for children to use change to make a difference in missions across the world.  The start of the time involves a graphic of the world turning.  I honestly have seen this many times.  But this Sunday, I wanted to see it with new eyes.  I looked at the world as it turned.  I looked at the different countries.  I wanted to come up with something profound that I could look for and sense God speaking to me.  And you know what I got… “As the World Turns.”  I had to smile as the title of the soap opera popped into my mind.  It wasn’t profound or even spiritual, but it spoke to me in another way.

Often we add drama to our lives because… well, I don’t know why.  It might be because we want to see someone else’s drama which is not real, staged on TV.  We want to extricate ourselves from our own drama which life often brings.  We… well, you fill in the blank.  We do things for all sorts of reasons, not always for the right ones.  So, as I watched the graphic of the world turning, I realized that as I was watching this graphic, our world was indeed turning.  It was held on its axis by our Creator and no other reason.  As it turned, there was drama unfolding in households, communties, cities, countries across our world.  There was no need to add drama to my life because I really only had to look into the newspaper or cross my street to find it.

There was real life drama unfolding every day, as my world turned.  The question in my mind was would I care?  Would I seek to enter into the story, the drama, that happened every day.  I can’t always say yes to that one.  I often seek to hide, to duck my head into the sand.  But regardless of what I decide, the world keeps turning, people’s lives keep on hurting, real life dramas keep happening.

The world turns.  Will I let it turn mine?

The Hole in the Middle

Today was a bittersweet day but the sweet was a good chunk of it.

Today, we enjoyed time as a family at a local indoor water park.  My 2 older daughters had a blast.  They are at the age now where they are starting to run off by themselves and venture into slides and fun that they never had before.  It’s fun to watch them grow up in that regard.

My 2 younger ones still need our help but it was fun to see them come to life as they discovered they could do on their own.

One of those things that my 2 year old son discovered were holes.  It was something that drew my attention as we were sitting and eating our lunch.  In the middle of our table was a hole and my son was having a good time putting his hand through it.  Now, to a 2 year old, there was no explanation needed for this hole.  It was obviously meant for his hand to go through.  🙂  But as I sat there and looked at him playing I started to think about that hole and others.

That hole was made originally for a patio umbrella to go through but since they were inside, there was really no need for protection for the sun so the design for the hole was not needed… thus, my son’s hand being able to go through the hole.

I even went so far to think, if our earth continues for thousands of more years and our culture falls the way of others which has gotten buried beneath rock through natural disaster, and then what would happen if a future archaeologist digs up that building and finds that same table intact.  When the archaeologist looks at the hole, what will they think the function of the hole was?  Will they understand it was for a patio umbrella or will they come up with another hypothesis?

This might be a silly way to think but it made me think of one more hole… the hole in the heart.

You see, I believe in the Word of God, the Bible, that tells the story of man’s fall and God’s story to redeem man from sin, back into the life He always had for him.  I believe God made man good, very good.  He made man in His image and only He can truly complete man.  With sin, man was separated from God in every way imaginable.  If you could go so far with me, man suddenly developed a hole in his heart.

Now, as we sense the hole in the heart, even though we can’t see it with our physical eyes, there are so many ways to possibly explain it or try to cover or fill it up.  If we don’t go to the Bible for the explanation, we can still come up with many ways to explain it and try to solve it.  But if it is not the right explanation, are we really doing right to fill the hole or play with the hole like my 2 year old son played with the hole in the table.

As I see it, there is only one explanation to the hole in the heart and that explanation comes from the Creator of the heart.  Sin might have made the hole but the Redeemer fills the hole in and makes everything new.

If you have a hole in your heart, only He, only Christ can make it whole, through and through.  Come to Him and He will be faithful to do exactly what your heart needs, something only He can fill and complete.

Growing UP

I remember when I was young, really young, I had so many dreams and my faith felt so big.

But lately as I have been living in the middle of adulthood, I admit that often I am more confused than feeling the bigness of my faith.  Playing the adult doesn’t make sense to me and how to live it out in the midst of so many confusing situations in life.  I feel ill prepared often as I seek to faithfully guide my 4 children along with my husband.

I look back at segments of my life and I see more now how I got twisted and turned around, how I wound up at this point where life feels confusing at times.

I felt that way on our drive this morning.  We were going together as a family to a very neat place to spend time together, and I sat and cried as I remembered pieces of my life that I wish could be played over if I could.

And then this song came on.

And I cried more.  It was exactly the song I needed to hear at that moment.  I can’t say that as dramatically about every song, but this was one that I had played on the radio many times, and I had never really heard the lyrics… until today.

The fact is, I will mess up.  I will not have all the answers.  I will get off track.

But…

there is one that is perfect.  One that has all the answers.  One that guides me back on track as I trust Him.

And for that moment, despite the feelings, the truth of His redemption trumped the feelings and even the facts.  The truth is… He can every thing new.  He make the bitter into sweet.  He can make my dreams come alive once again.

 

Write To Remember

Most of the time, I write to process events, life, trials in light of my faith.  Today I just write to remember.  I don’t know how to process this right now.   One of my friends who is a youth director just experienced a heart wrenching event with a girl from her youth group who chose to have an abortion.  The details to me are horrific.  The girl was 15.  She went to a clinic.  A judge gave his consent.  The parents never knew.  She took a pill.  She started bleeding 2 days later.  What she thought would solve everything has only magnified the problems in her life.

I prayed for the girl.  That’s all I could do at the time.  I talked with my friend.  And now… now, I am left with this feeling that I don’t want to put at the back of the closet of my mind.  What can be done with a system that is broken?  A system devoid of God for the most part.  The nurses in the hospital knew exactly what had happened.  They were not surprised.  But I am in shock.  Probably because of my naivety.  Probably because my indifference to the real problems of this society, this world.  But now that I have awakened to this, I could quietly push it to the back of my mind but I can’t.  I know I am just one person but I am one who wants to do something.  So today, I write to remember this baby that was died today.  I write to remember that in the midst of life’s muck and mire, there is a God who sees, who cares and doesn’t me to sit with my hands tied behind my back but wants me to use my hands to make a difference… I don’t know what right now.

But I know I’m different tonight.   May God use that difference to make a difference through me.

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