Monday, August 25, 2014

The Waiting Game


I waited, and waited and waited.  I had a plan, and it wasn't being fulfilled (I know many of you are surprised at that)!!  It was Saturday morning and I had a full day of activities to attend to.  The first one being, I was going to be at the grocery store at 7AM.  Now, that's not abnormal for me, but of course, I am still in the "broken ankle" boot.  I had it all planned, though.  I am cleared to drive small distances, so the grocery store fits into that distance.  I would leave home at 6:50, be at the store at 7AM, do my shopping and be home by 8:15, put away groceries, and be ready to leave for the next errand at 8:30.

That was until my husband woke up with me and said he would take me to the grocery store.  The more I insisted that he didn't need to come, the more he insisted that he did.  I wasn't going to win this one.  Okay, how many of you ladies are very envious of me - having a husband who is willing to go to the store with me??  Of course, he needed to shower first, get ready, etc.  Yep, you guessed it, at 6:50AM I am waiting near the door, list in hand, ready to go.  6:50 passed.  So did 6:55, 6:58 and the bewitching hour - 7AM!!  Now I'm REALLY ready to lose my patience (okay, maybe that was lost when he shared he was coming with me).  I kept trying to put all of this into perspective, but my lack of patience was getting the best of me.  At 7:05, he arrives, ready to go. 

In the car, I looked out the window - AND PRAYED.  The car ride was quiet as I reached out to God, asking for a new batch of patience that day.  Of all the things for me to get upset about - REALLY?  Yes, my schedule was off.  Yes, I might be a bit late to the next appointment.  Yet, I had a wonderful husband sitting next to me in the car, going shopping with me on the only day he could sleep in.

I began to realize the things I get frustrated about - lose my patience over.  I seem to be better with "the big things" and sometimes let the little ones be the catalyst for me losing my patience.  My thoughts drove me to Jesus.  Now THERE'S a man who has patience to be modeled after.  He has such patience for me.  With all that I've done (and continue to do) wrong.  With my poor actions, improper words, and yes, at times, lack of faith - He still continues to have patience with me.  He is there for me, patiently waiting, until I recognize and repent my sins.  He is there for me, patiently waiting, until I turn back to Him for guidance and counsel.  He is there for me, patiently waiting, to love me and bless me abundantly no matter how many times He could have turn His back on me.  He is there for me, patiently waiting.  The more I thought of Jesus' patience, the more my heart melted and my impatient behavior faded away.  I had the gift my Jesus gave to me, my precious husband, sitting right next to me - even if we left 15 minutes later than I wanted.  Jesus' patience is a model for how I should act - EVERY TIME.

We completed the shopping quickly (probably quicker than if I were to have done it by myself) and we certainly had plenty of time to leave by 8:30 for the next errand.  Throughout the day, I found myself to have more patience - not getting thrown off by the little things.  Bottom line, my Simple Faith kicked in Saturday morning, and brought a more peaceful day for all.  A big thank you to my husband - I do appreciate everything you do for me.

An even bigger thank you to my Jesus.  Please pray with me:  Jesus, your model of patience is all around me.  You are patient with my behavior, my words, my actions.  You are patient with my praise to you (or lack thereof sometimes).  You are patient, most of all, because I know you love me.  Help me, Jesus, to continue to be patient in all I do.  Show me, guide me, to not only be patient, but show my patience to others.  I love you, Jesus, and may waiting always show me grace.

"But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life."  (NIV)  1 Timothy 1:16


Monday, August 18, 2014

Clouds of Love


There is something about a cloudy day.  Many people say they enjoy the sunny days.  Yes, I do too, but when there is a cloudy day, something comes over me.  A sense of reflection, of peace, maybe some melancholy.  Either way, I do love my cloudy days.  Looking at the clouds up in the sky is such a great reminder of God's power.  His creation of clouds helps me to see His incredible power and strength.  The clouds can bring devastation with torrential rains and heavy flooding.  Clouds can bring much needed relief to parch-stricken land.  Clouds can bring comfort on a hot day.  As always, God's creation can share much for us.

As I focused on the beautiful clouds, I couldn't help but be taken in by their beauty and strength.  When a weather person predicts a "partly cloudy" day, I get excited for I know that I will get to view God's hand at work.  It made me think of the "partly cloudy" days in my life.  Some days, when the sun may not shine all the way - I realize I probably have more of those type of days than once thought.  Maybe the day was going great - lots of positive things going on, and then a cloud of "discomfort" comes along to cast a shadow on the day.  Maybe my thoughts were nice thoughts, and a cloud of improper or not pure thoughts came into my head, bringing a cloud of sin.  Yes, many times when we think of clouds, we think of storms or impending floods in our lives.

Yet, it is always important to think of the good things that clouds can bring.  When my life seems "parched" with not much goodness, a cloud of blessings can rain over me.  Those are joyous days!  When I can't see the joy or happiness this world can bring, God is always there to bring clouds full of laughter and smiles to rain down on me.  Clouds are filled with God's love.  Even the clouds that brought the great flood of Noah's time were filled with God's love.  Yes, they brought destruction for those that didn't focus on God's greatness, but it also brought a way for us to strengthen our faith in God - knowing that He will bring goodness for those who obey him.

Job is a great example of God's love in clouds.  Job, a man who seemed to have it all, lost everything in what seemed like a blink of an eye.  Yet, God's love rained down on him as Job showed his dedication and faithfulness to God.  God will deliver the clouds of love.  God will share with us all we need, even on the "partly cloudy" days.  In fact, it is on those days that we can feel His love, and see it around us.

So the next time that the weather person calls for a partly cloudy day, see it as a chance to look up in the sky and see God's wonder - and look forward to feeling God's love.  I pray that as you read this, God rains His love on you in buckets!  May the week ahead bring all of you joy and happiness.  

In our Father's name - peace!

"He brings the clouds to punish people, or to water his earth and show his love."  (NIV)  Job 3:13

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Attitude during Adversity

                                             

So the story goes, that when you least expect it, adversity strikes.  This week, I thought a lot about adversity.  I spoke with many regarding the adversity that they were facing in their lives.  One is battling cancer and began the journey to healing with the first step, surgery.  Another shared the possible prognosis of cancer.  Another is dealing with a parent whose health is failing.  Still another is considering career moves due to possible company difficulties.  I also heard of friends who were dealing with personal health issues.  Listening to adversity is not just part of my job, I consider it to be part of my heavenly calling.

When people share so much about what they are going through, I keep thinking that I may not be able to do much - I'm only listening.  Then I thought about others who have had the patience to listen to me during adversity, family and friends who gave of their time to listen to tough times I was going through. They brought me much during those times - they brought comfort with their words (or just by "being" there); they brought companionship; they brought empathy; they brought a smile when I needed one.  Sometimes, they even had the courage to say "enough is enough - start moving".  These saints that Jesus sent to me just when I needed them provided me much when adversity came knocking.  Jesus knew what I needed (doesn't He always?), and He sent someone to be with me.

Have you been there for someone who is going through adversity?  I am sure you have.  It is important to be there - to be "the Jesus" they need at that moment.  We all need someone here on Earth to guide us through tough times.  Think about what you can do the next time someone is going through difficulties - listening is such a big part of what Jesus provides to us.  I know He is the first one I go to when the times get tough.  I start talking to Him - and I KNOW He is listening.  How?  Because He always sends someone FOR me - to listen, to comfort. Our lives can be hectic - endless meetings at work, endless priorities at home.  Sometimes it can seem like we don't have any time for others who may need us.  Be there for someone who needs you.  I guarantee you that Jesus will "pay you back" tenfold.  He always does.

As I reviewed those conversations I had this past week, I remembered how I ended all of them, "I'll pray for you."  I know that when someone shares those words with me, a sense of relief comes over me.  I hope that the same happened for those I spoke with.  Prayer is Powerful - especially during times of adversity.  Sometimes, when we are facing challenges, we just can't seem to find the power to pray anymore.  That's when those that hear our adversity can take over - and pray for us.  That is even more powerful than a listening ear.  Jesus is waiting to hear our words, our cries, for help.  

The power of prayer can bring so much to all of us.  Being there for each other, through prayer, gives us an attitude of blessings.  This past week, I experienced my own adversity.  Okay, are you sitting down?  I fractured my OTHER ankle.  Yep, after finally fully recovering from the severe break I had in my left ankle, I fractured my right one (misstepping a stair).  As we race off to the emergency room, the prayers started.  I kept praying and praying (and I know my husband was as well), that we wouldn't have to endure what we did the last time - surgery, weeks off of my feet, carrying up and down the stairs, work from home, etc.  God Answers Prayers.  Yes, it was fractured, but no surgery, a boot that I can walk in, ability to get to work, some time to keep it up, no difficult weather to manage through - lots of blessings.  My attitude to this adversity is knowing that I was given many blessings by God - my attitude in this adversity has been one of prayer and thanksgiving.

Let us be the blessing for others who are handling adversity.  Let us listen, let us provide words of encouragement, let us do what we can do best - PRAY!!  Jesus is waiting for our prayers.  There is no greater gift we can give to those that are suffering.  A prayerful attitude during adversity is POWERFUL.

"A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity."  (NIV)  Proverbs 17:17

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Change and Same

  

Yep, you got it, I found it time for a change.  I met the wishes of my children for a couple of years and tried to grow out my hair.  I have always donned short hair with many layers, so to grow it out to one length was a real accomplishment!  Yet, as I kept trying to make my straight hair full of volume (let's face it, I am a child of the '80s in New Jersey), I was never satisfied.  So I went back to my comfort level, short hair.  What a freeing experience to go back and feel comfortable.  

Meanwhile, at work, we are continuing to move forward with change.  Funny how about 20 years and insight to new technologies can make a real difference in the workplace.  What was once comfortable and stagnant is now in constant motion.  At every turn, in every industry, change is rising.  Yes, it is always nice to be working towards something new, something different.  

It is great to continuously improve in any aspect of our lives - at work or at home.  Yet, I know that there are times when I find change difficult to manage.  I like comfortable.  I realize as I get older, that comfortable becomes more important to me.  I like my "comfy" clothes, I like my "comfy" blanket, I like my "comfy" food - I think you get the hint.  Still, change is important as we move through life.  If we shouldered all of our days in the "comfy" column, how would we grow?  How would we improve?  

As always, I find myself in conflict.  I fully believe that changing, for the better, is a goal I need to pursue.  There are many areas where this can take place.  I can change and learn more professionally. I can change and become healthier (yea, that goal in the beginning of the year is slow in coming).  I can change in many ways.  I don't know about you, but I find change to be a bit scary.  Changing processes and procedures at work can be tough to sustain - I do enjoy going back to my comfortable way of doing things.  Change at home can be tough - kids leaving for school, pursuing their dreams, produces a home that is much quieter than it used to be.  Change with me personally has always been difficult (as evidenced by my lack of a healthier lifestyle).  Change is hard, but necessary, if we are to grow.

There is good news, though, in the midst of change and the discomfort it can provide.  We have a constant in our lives that NEVER changes, that NEVER goes out of style (like my '80s hair), that NEVER leaves us on our own.  That constant is Jesus.  He is always there for us, the way He was when He entered our lives, the way He is in every conversation we have with Him, the way He will be when we meet Him in paradise.  I find that part of our Savior to be a huge comfort in the midst of change.  He never stops loving us unconditionally.  He never takes away our heavenly home, no matter how much we might not deserve that.  He is ALWAYS there - NEVER changing.  That's better than my "comfy" clothes and blanket all wrapped up into one.  I need Jesus' constant amidst all the change.  

Are you longing for comfort amongst the change of every-day life?  Look no further than the arms of our Lord - He is waiting for you to sit with Him, have a cup of coffee with Him, and talk with Him.  So let's make a commitment to each other - when the days of change get to us (and they do), let's go seek Jesus' face.  Open up the Bible to hear His words of comfort.  He is waiting for us!

"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever."  (NIV)  Hebrews 13:8

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Thank you for visiting my blog. I hope we can share how God's grace has been life changing and that SIMPLE FAITH, getting back to a life that is rooted in the basics, can truly set us free to achieve so much in our lives.