Friday, April 10, 2009

Joy Comes In the Morning. Alleluia!

(An excerpt from my devotional journal) Why I Celebrate Easter

1 Corinthians: 5 " that your faith might not rest on man's wisdom, but on God's power."

Thought: God, I remember how I struggled with the former things I had learned about you, and my pursuit of you through good works. It all seemed right, that I must earn my way to heaven. It was logical since my knowledge of you was to do the work; earn the reward, or, fail. It depended on me and how I lived my life. I was to work hard to get the prize. It went against the gift of grace, that a 'mighty and powerful God' was offering me eternity with him, just as I was. Bringing nothing from my past as a payment.

I clung to the wisdom of the world....and my life, with fierceness, not willing to unclench even one finger for fear that all I believed in would dissolve. My life was live by a ridged set of rules, imposed by well intentioned people who loved me and thought these rules would help me secure the 'good life'.

But, as I've discovered, law without redemption and grace, holds no power. Only pain and loss. It doesn't produce fruit and joy, only guilt and anger. It leaves no room for peace, but stirs resentment and judgement.

How are we to live like this? How are we to have any hope of others desiring to know our God?

For behind a heart of man made, ever changing rules, lies a continual sense of restlessness and longing, void of all that we hope for in this life and the next.

A mighty, loving, forgiving and understanding Creator loves us for who we are and longs to be our Father. He has made a way through his beloved son, Jesus. A gift to me and all who will accept that gift.

Only you, Lord, have been able to give this to me. No wonder this Easter morning I can proclaim, Alleluia! Alleluia!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Lessons of a life

It is 1:30am on January 19, 2009...two years ago today life changed forever. Jim's accident occurred between 8am and 10am on that day.

I was thinking about this all day yesterday. I was oblivious to what was to come just 24 hours later and how it would impact our lives from that point on. What would I do different if I could turn back the clock? How would I have lived that day before and what would I have said to Jim differently?

On that day I attended my step-dad's funeral. He had passed away 3 days previously after a long illness. Iwas extremely tired from months at the nursing home and hospital and trying to be a help to my Mom. Jim went with me to the funeral but did not go to the dinner afterwards. I remember he was not feeling well and had been quiet all day. We hadn't talked much in the past month due to me being at the hospital most nights and working all day. He had not worked in awhile and was constantly nursing back pain. Emotions between us were unspoken and unresolved. For all the reasons that seemed reasonable at the time, we had put our own lives on hold and pushed issues to the background of our daily schedules. I remember going to bed very weary, knowing I had to get up and go to work, then deal with my mom's grief and future plans.

I also remember asking God to change my life. And so he did.

Now, I am not proposing that God caused Jim's accident...I've never once thought that. But, looking back two years later and all that has transpired since...I do believe He had a plan. I do believe He loves me intimately and cares about everything in my life. I do believe He listens. He knows me and my every thought, and my every need.

Over the past two years I have learned patience, as I never knew patience before. I have learned independence and total reliance can reside side by side. I have learned to humble myself in ways I never imagined and trust God to lift me up. I have learned how to live with myself...and Jim without understandable verbal communication, but still find ways to talk. I have learned to be alone and realize God will never leave me alone. I have learned you can fully love for the sake of another because God is my true source of love...

Mostly, I have learned, not to take for granted one minute of the time we are given, for each breath is a gift, each word resonates long after it is spoken. On my own, I do not have the strength to meet these challenges, and God does not give me the strength one minute before I need it, nor one minute after I need it, but at just the right time.

I am not celebrating this two year anniversary of Jim's accident, but I am celebrating all the victories we have survived through God Almighty's provision, and the many blessings we have encountered because of it.

So, what would I change from what I have learned? I'd like to think I'd reprioritize my thinking and see what God would have me do in his strength instead of trying to do everything in my own. I would let some things go that no longer seem so important. I would laugh more. I would enjoy whatever moment of joy I was given and give back doublefold. I would take time to sit...and just be. I would realize I cannot solve the worlds problems, nor does God expect me to..but only those he gives me the strength and wisdom for that day. I would learn that I cannot change the past, nor control the future, but I can live, love and give today. I am working on it.