Friday, August 31, 2012

Out of control

     I finally got my hands on the book Unglued that I mentioned in my previous post.  I haven't even finished the second chapter and I'm already feeling inspired enough to write again.  Sweet.  Inspiration feels so good these days, and having the energy to follow through with the inspiration - even better!  Anyway, back to Lysa TerKeurst (the author of Unglued).  So she had another one liner that really stuck out to me... "I can face things that are out of my control and not act out of control."  She proceeded to tell of a time when her computer broke down mid project and she totally lost it (or should I say became unglued).  She ended up having to get a new computer, but luckily the tech-support guy was able to make a copy of her hard drive - so she still had access to pertinent files.  A few months later, her new laptop was stolen.  She held it together a little better this time, even though she thought she'd truly lost everything.  Eventually she remembered that she had backed up her entire hard drive because of what happened with her last computer...and she wouldn't have done so if it wouldn't have broken down.  She would have truly lost everything. It was another one of those blessings in disguise types of situations.  Though at the time it felt like nothing good could possibly come from it, something did.  Using that example, and others, she encouraged the readers by reminding us that if we trust that God is at work even when we can't see it or feel it, it is much easier to "face things that are out of...control and not act out of control."
     I'm sure I could think of a million personal examples of ways that God has been working and/or blessing when it feeels like the opposite - but I guess I'll go with the most recent one.  This afternoon the kids and I picked up lunch, picked up daddy and headed down by the water to eat (we actually stay in the car and enjoy the view).  Well Avonlea, who is the happiest baby in the entire world, wasn't acting herself.  She fussed on and off and most of the time, so we cut the trip short.  We headed back to the sign shop/bean bag shop (our sole source of income).  The moment we pulled up, a big white truck pulled up next to us.  Some enthusiastic customers jumped out and headed straight for the store.  We weren't even fully parked yet, so they didn't know we were there.  They saw the sign that said "be back soon" and looked incredibly disappointed.  Well, of course we quickly greeted them (once the vehicle came to a complete stop) and let them know we were back.  They were thrilled and proceeded to buy one of our biggest bean bags.  
     I really look forward to our Friday lunch dates, so it would have been easy to get really frustrated at it being cut short, but I dealt with it better than usual - and surprise, surprise God was indeed pouring out blessing behind the scenes.  I'm hoping that it is going to get easier and easier to "face things that are out of my control and not act out of control" as I learn to fully trust God is truly active in EVERY situation.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Imperfect progress

     More than a year ago my mother and I started a project.  Puzzles.  My kids love puzzles.  There were pieces everywhere - and broken boxes - and missing boxes (not to mention missing pieces).  I had the bright idea of getting rid of all the boxes, numbering the puzzles (so when I find a random piece I know where to put it) and hanging them, in order of course, in perfectly crafted plastic bags.  So we started.  We numbered the puzzles...well at least half of them - and then decided to go shopping for the perfect bags and/or rack to hang them on.  We couldn't find either.  So there I was with a whole bunch of puzzles out of their boxes and shoved into zip lock bags (and not even the kind with those cool slider things).  Well, there wasn't time to finish the project - so all the bags got shoved into a box and plopped in the basement.  I kept thinking I'd either find the perfect bags or at least borrow my husbands gromitt machine and make the perfect bags.  Well it never happened.  Occasionally the boys would pull out the box and try to find a favorite puzzle, but they'd usually give up.  A few days ago I went downstairs to find almost every puzzle all put together.  Our 4 year old had spent his rest time hard at work.  I was amazed that he could do so many puzzles in such a short amount of time.  After thanking God for the genius He has blessed us with :), I thought to myself - thats it, I've got to get these things organized.  So I grabbed a screwdriver, poked a hole in the zip lock bags and shoved child sized hangers through the holes.  I was supposed to be working on the mountain sized pile of laundry behind me, but once I started on the project - I couldn't stop.  I hung the puzzles in their highly imperfect zip lock bags on a rack above my head.  I knew the kids couldn't reach them, but at least they were organized...and, they could ask for one if they wanted to.  Today I was changing Avonlea's diaper and remembered that my mom and I had bought a few shower curtain rods thinking we could place them in the boys closet between their bookshelf and the wall - and hang the perfect puzzle bags on them.  Well, all of the puzzles were labeled and hanging in their bags downstairs...it wouldn't take long to move them to a new location.  So Blake (our 4 year old) and I spent our morning transporting and organizing the puzzles.  Cole (our 2 year old) was entertaining Avonlea (our 1 year old), so it worked out perfectly.  When we finished the project we spent over an hour putting together different puzzles - even Avonlea joined in on the fun.
     About an hour later, while I was in my prayer closet (the shower), I thought about the phrase that has been running through my mind over the past few days - "imperfect progress".  I stole the phrase from a book I haven't even read yet, Unglued - but have heard lots about on KLOVE (a Christian radio station).  I'm planning on reading it as soon as I can get my hands on it.  The little I heard about "imperfect progress" has been so encouraging - it has something to do with moving forward, little by little, even though we are far from perfect.
     The now complete (though far from perfect) puzzle closet is a perfect (no pun intended) picture of the idea of imperfect progress.  When we first started the project, things looked great - the idea to move forward seemed brilliant.  But, when we couldn't find the perfect bags or the perfect place to hang them, moving forward seemed pointless.  So the poor puzzles ended up shoved into the deep dungeon of our basement.  I thought the idea was forever lost.  Even though I couldn't see it at the time, however, they were still in "imperfect progress".  Eventually I dusted them off and moved forward.  And today, I am genuinely happy with our puzzle closet (though I wouldn't be surprised if I eventually do borrow that gromitt machine and make it even better.)
     Well, you can probably guess where I am going with this.  If you ever feel like you've messed up too many times to move forward, or your too far from perfect to even bother trying - don't give up.  Take little steps - progress is still progress, even if it is imperfect.  And if you happen to be in the dark dungeons (of which I am only recently stepping out from) - more than likely there is a whole bunch of "imperfect progress" going on...it's just a little too dark for you to see it.

"The light shines in the darkness and the darkness can never extinguish it".  John 1:5

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

1649 - 1666

1649. Avonlea's delight as she puts things in and takes things out of small boxes, cups etc...
1650. A receptive heart
1651. Blake looking for ways to help his mommy, daddy and siblings on a regular basis
1652. Losing the letter "E" of a vowel game - and then, finding it after praying I would
1653. Helping a friend create an inviting and comfy place to chat with friends
1654. Enjoying time with friends
1655. A curious little mouse
1656. Dishwasher soap - you don't realize how much you appreciate it until you run out :)
1657. Thankful list reminders on pre-scribbled paper
1658. Watching Avonlea interact happily and bring joy to her Drs and therapists
1659. Begging God for contentment and joy, feeling so far from it - and Him pouring out more and more blessing - until I couldn't help but smile
1660. A friend who prayed for me as soon as I asked her to
1661. Watching God answer her prayers
1662. Being used despite myself
1663. An unexpected break and evening with a friend who reaches out to me, even when I don't make it easy to do so.
1664. A steam engine filled with curious and excited little boys (and a little princess)
1665. Seeing a friend I haven't seen in years twice in weeks time
1666. God's relentless pursuit of my heart


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Walls

Wow, it has been a while since I've blogged (other than my gifts list)- and, to be honest I wasn't sure if I'd blog again.  I've been putting up walls in so many areas of my life.  Letting hurts control me...not wanting to let anyone in to this broken soul of mine.  But, tonight I realized that the walls aren't protecting me - their just hurting me...and probably, hurting others.  So here I am.  I'm ready to stop protecting myself and start being myself again.  The thickest wall I've built has been between God and I - but luckily he sees right through the bricks I lay.  He loves me - bricks and all.  He is longing for me to accept His love.  He isn't witholding His love until I  read 15 chapters of scripture a day or spend hours in an uninterrupted prayer closet (though I'm sure He longs for me to long for Him).  He just keeps loving me, and keeps pouring out blessing after blessing.  His unconditional love is something that I will spend my lifetime trying to grasp - at times fully accepting it, at times running from it, and probably at times just ignoring it.  But, He and His love are forever constant.It's funny - I've read 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 countless times, and I've never read it with His love towards me in mind.  But this evening it is those very verses that He is whispering to my soul - and perhaps He's longing to whisper them to your soul as well?

"4 Love is patientlove is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.