Sep 22, 2008

When Good Isn't Good Enough

A couple of weeks ago I interviewed for a wonderful job with a ministry that provides physical and spiritual aid to the hurting and needing in Africa and India. After I answered questions about my qualifications and time availability, I listened as the founders of this ministry detailed what occurs in their projects. Girls and boys homes. Schools. Medical help. Christ-centered love. It was all so exciting and I quickly found myself daydreaming about writing newsletters for these servants and someday traveling to Africa to see their work in progress. At the end of our time, I expressed my excitement about the position but told them that I would have to go home and pray over the weekend to make sure God was giving me the o.k. to take the position. I assured them that I would probably be starting on Tuesday. That's what I get for speaking before praying.

I went home and did some research on the ministry, which only fueled my desire to take the position. Then I prayed, asking God to be clear on His direction, beseeching Him, really, to not let me stray from His path for me. You see, as much as I wanted to accept that job, there was something that wasn't sitting well in me. Something just didn't feel right. I began to suspect that this dis-ease was God saying no.

"But this job is perfect, God! The hours are outstanding. The money is great. . .it would allow us to finally catch up on bills. Their work is right up my alley, Lord! Why not?"

I never really got a direct answer to that question. But what I feel God did say is, "It's good. But it's not my best for you."


I was not happy; I'm not gonna lie. I wanted this job and I wasn't excited about laying it on the altar of obedience. But I had to ask myself whether I was going to serve myself or serve God.

"Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father and I too will love him and show myself to him." John 14:21

How many times have we heard that actions speak louder than words? I have had numerous people tell me that they love me, but their actions have betrayed their claims. So, here I was. . .where the rubber meets the road. I proclaim loudly and often that I love Jesus, but was I willing to put my money where my mouth was? Was I willing to sacrifice what I wanted to do what He wanted?

As difficult as it was, I made the phone call to turn down the perfect job. I wish I could say that I was happy to do it and that I had such peace afterward, but truthfully, I was bitter about it for a few days. Then I got over myself.

God said that He had something better for me. His best, in fact. I have no idea what that is and I'm still waiting on it, but I must trust what He says is true: that He will show Himself to me. He will guide me in the way to go. And as hard as it is for me to imagine, where he leads me will be leaps and bounds above the opportunity I passed up.

Gals, let's trust God no matter what He asks us to do knowing that in our obedience we are expressing our love to Him. What a small price to pay for what He did for us. He sacrificed His life for us; let's return the favor. Remarkably, when we do so, we are repaid with His love and intimate revelation. I'm thinkin' we're getting the good end of the deal. I'll take that deal any day!

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Sep 7, 2008

Snuggle Up

Why is it a child can excuse himself from doing anything because he is "SOOO tired", but as soon as the bedtime routine begins, said child can transform into a human pinball? BING! BING! BING!

Every night as bedtime approaches, we follow pretty much the same schedule with Cooper in an attempt to get him geared down.

1. Shower
2. Brush Teeth
3. Read Books
4. Pray
5. "Jesus Loves Me"
6. Sleep

And, I swear, that child can be dragging himself into the bathroom claiming exhaustion, but as soon as the first drop of water hits the porcelain, he's a brand new man. Eyes aglow, appendages flailing and lips flapping. "I LOVE SHOWERS!!!!" Hmm. . .maybe the shower is counterproductive.

So I opted out of step 1 tonight trying to avoid the Tasmanian Devil Syndrome, but my strategy was to no avail. As Cooper shed his daily attire to change into his pjs, he discarded his fatigue with it. He was soon jumping on the bed half naked yelling something about lions and wrestling. Homeboy was on fire, though I did get him to listen somewhat quietly to his bedtime story about treasure hunting in some dead guy's tomb. Spiritual, I know.

After singing "Jesus Loves Me", which elicited a yawn, I left the room feeling confident that sleep would be arriving promptly. However, Cooper had different plans. . .doesn't he always?

8:30: Mom leaves room
8:32: Child comes out to go "peeps" (that's pee-pee for all you non-hip gals)
8:33: "Mommy, I just came out to pee and now I need to tell you I'm scared"
8:34: Mom prays for "scared" child and leaves room for the 2nd time
8:38: Mom commands child to stop talking to himself and go to sleep
8:45: Child yells a question from his room which becomes a 5-minute conversation
9:00: Child asks mommy to come lay with him because he "just wants to be with her"

You know, what are you going to do at this point, turn that down? So, I trekked into his room and reclined with my sweet angel. As I did he made sure to inform me that he would be having NO covers. He then tossed and turned for a couple of minutes, but then he rolled over and looked at me. He didn't say a word but he let me cover him up and he snuggled in and fell asleep in less than a minute. It seemed that all he needed for that restless half hour was my presence.

As I left his room (for the 3rd time), I thought how I am so much like him. I'm always having to get out of bed to go peeps. No, but really, I do find myself restless sometimes. I am tossing and turning and running and yelling trying to find some way to express my disquiet. I so easily forget that the peace and soul rest that I need is found in cuddling up to the Father and reclining in His arms.

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. . .He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart." Psalm 91:1,4

We live in a broken world overrun with sin and depravity. If we look around long enough we can worry ourselves to death. Just going through our day with all its pressures, conflicts, and struggles can get us worried about how we're ever going to make it. But, sister, God has gathered us up and covered us with his feathers. Like a mother hen, He has sheltered us from the outside elements. As much as we feel assaulted and overwhelmed, could you imagine what our lives would be like if we were not being protected by our all-powerful God? He is protecting you from anything that you cannot handle, that is not for your good, and that would not glorify Him.

Whatever you are presently being called to endure, find rest in the covering of the Father's mighty wings. Stop running. Stop trying to figure it out. Stop complaining. Stop doubting.

Just Stop.

He knows what He's doing. Trust Him; He's got you!

Now that you're still...(deep breath) you feel that? It's like the coziest down comforter, isn't it? Let the Father remind you that you are covered and that His presence is near. Now, rest, sister. Rest.

Father, thank you that you are safe and and that we are protected by you. Help us to remember in our daily struggles, no matter how big or small, that simple but peaceful truth. You have us covered. You care. You are for us. You will never leave us and you are ever for our good. We love you and are choosing to trust you today no matter what is going on around us. Amen.

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Sep 1, 2008

Who's Plan, Anyway?

Howdy, girls! Happy Labor Day! Well, since Lou is home today, I took advantage of the extra set of hands and sent him out of the house with Cooper to give myself some time alone. In the quiet. With no one talking. Just me and my computer and Bible. In the quiet (oh, did I say that already?). And let me tell you, I love the stillness. No Transformer laser gun blasts, or "Mommy, can you get me that" or yelling from across the house. What's up with this, anyway? Why can't we just get our butts off the couch and walk the 10 feet to the other person? I mean, from one end of our house to the other is seriously no more than 15 steps. I know; I just did it. Anyway, I love my boys desperately, but sometimes I just need a little peace and quiet.

So, as I was relishing the sound of nothing, I thought this would be a perfect time for me to sit down and write you girls a little devo., but as I knelt to ask God what He wanted me to say, I felt Him telling me to get out to that pool and live it up with Lou and Coop. He also reminded me of something that I read this morning in He Speaks to Me by Priscilla Shirer:

"Ignoring what seems like an interruption ignores God's attempt to move me away from my plan for my day to His plan for my day...Sister, to continue with your plans without regarding life's interruptions is to ignore God's leading and voice."

I can look at this fun escape to the pool as an interruption to what I need to get done, or I can peer closer and see it for what it really is, God instructing me on His plan for my day. I simply must obey and leave the rest in His hands. And girls, I encourage you to do the same. When the next interruption comes like a wrecking ball to your plans, embrace it. Know that it is God guiding you along the path He has for you. Wouldn't you rather that path anyway, seeing that He's all-knowing and all?

So, I'm off. I'm thinking a cannonball sound like fun. Love you, girls!

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