Isaiah 40:11 (NASB) – Like a shepherd He will tend His flock, In His arm He will gather the lambs, And carry them in His bosom; He will gently lead the nursing ewes.
How hard is it to trust God? Not just when things get out of hand, but in the daily troubles of life? Today I’m focusing on God’s depth and breadth of love for me. I think that will help with the trust thing. Just like when my children were newly born, they could do nothing on their own. Nothing. But they inherently trusted me to care for them. There was no question that I would do anything in my power to protect and nurture their lives, because of my deep and unwavering love for them. God views me just like that. I’m His child. His precious creation. He loves me (as hard as it is to imagine) far and away more than I adore my kids. So, how much more, with all the power He has, will He care for and protect me? Intellectually, I know this doesn’t mean my life will be free of hurt or sorrow. In the moments of pain in life, I quickly forget to trust God completely. Because during those times, I don’t feel like He loves me. Perhaps if I make a habit of saying “I trust you Lord” during the ho-hum times, when I think I could handle it on my own, the pattern of consistent trust will become so intrenched in my relationship with Him, that nothing will shake it. When I view life’s circumstances thru the filter of Christ’s love for me, my heart is at peace. I can completely trust Him and rest in His love just like a newborn in her mother’s arms.
John 16:21 – A woman, when she is in labor, has sorrow because her hour has come; but as soon as she has given birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world.
I started my devotional today reading a couple verses from John 16. Not the verse quoted above, but a passage about having peace in the midst of trials. Being of “good cheer” because the Lord is with us. (John 16:33) I’ve found the past few days in beginning a pattern of daily devotions that a couple paragraphs and a scripture or two don’t really satisfy me. I keep looking for context in whatever few verses go along with the day’s reading. Today, I flipped back a couple pages and read starting at the beginning of the chapter. Actually, I pulled up the chapter on Bible Gateway so I could read a couple translations at once. I love that site. Anyway, verse 21 practically jumped out of my computer at me. I have never read a verse that so accurately describes the feeling of wonder and joy after my children were born. I had no idea there even WAS such a verse! I went back to mark the verse in my own Bible, and found that it was already marked. Sort of. An area I’d underlined on the opposing page had bled thru so it looks like the part about labor is already marked. God is so cool. I’ve been wrestling with possibly having another child lately, and for mostly selfish reasons am heavily leaning towards a “no way” answer. But told my husband I’d consider it if he would consider being done. We’re in the “pray-and-seek-God” time of making this decision. I’m so thankful that God knows where I am, and is reminding me of the joys associated with children. Family members, calm down. This does not mean I’ve decided to get pregnant. Just that I’m allowing God to speak to me on the subject.
New Year’s Resolutions. Ahhh. The chance to make a bunch of promises to yourself that (generally) get forgotten once the calendar says February. The world as a whole resolves to be richer, nicer, skinnier, smoke/drink/drug less, and on and on. Then somehow, we always end up right back where we started. Or worse. I’m sure just about everyone with a blog is talking about the close of the old year and the fresh start of a 2010. Oh, and this year we get the new decade too. Lucky us.
Some of the most often used resolutions in the United States are:
- Improve health: lose weight, exercise more, eat better, drink less alcohol, quit smoking
- Improve finances: get out of debt, save money
- Improve career: get a better job
- Improve education: improve grades, get a better education, learn something new (such as a foreign language or music)
- Improve self: become more organized, reduce stress, be less grumpy, manage time, be more independent Continue reading
John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you: not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. ” What a wonderful promise. How rarely I actually have peace in my heart. This year especially, I have struggled to have any at all. My mind just keeps rehashing all that is wrong, so how can I have peace? The world would have us think we have to be happy to have harmony and well-being. Everything needs to be just so in order for our hearts to have rest. But this passage reminded me that God’s peace isn’t like that. Despite what rages in our lives, regardless of circumstances, we can have peace . God’s promise of peace isn’t contingent on anything we do – it doesn’t hinge on the people in our lives being nice to us, or illness being kept at bay. It is there. Always. In the midst of trial, when we’re anguishing over difficult decisions, God’s overwhelming peace can bring wholeness and rest to our lives.
As part of my time with the Lord, I’m reading a devotional my mom got me for Christmas called “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young. It has a paragraph or so on each page and several scripture verses for each day of the year. What touched my heart today was 2 Corinthians 5:17″ Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new”. I’ve heard/read this passage many times – but today it really struck me as I considered the close of 2009 and fresh start of 2010 just a couple days away. The Message says “Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons!” How exciting! I have a lot of “old” from this year, and each year up to now that I would certainly like to allow to pass away. Often I forget that I’m a new creation, I get bogged down with all the ugly in life. This verse reminded me that I’m not just Tonya. I’m united with a Savior who has given me the opportunity for a fresh start. Hooray! I’m just bursting with anticipation for 2010 – I know God has great things in store for my life as I draw closer to Him and intentionally build my life intertwined with His presence.
Back in September, I decided to become a runner. I’ve always watched the skinny girls at the Y running on the treadmill and wanted to join them, but never had the guts. Mostly, I was sure I would be “that person” who biffed it big time while attempting to pick up speed. I had horrible visions of myself flying thru the air after bouncing off the moving belt. Ultimately however, I decided that the plateau I’d reached in my weight loss wasn’t going to budge unless I got on the machine and attempted running. Not walking fast, not climbing up with the ramp hiked up at an obscene angle – actual running.
So, I began. But, being the person I am, I couldn’t just try to run. No, I had to set a goal. What did I choose? A half marathon. Simple enough right? But, to add additional motivation – I actually signed up for one…scheduled at the end of November. I thought surely 12 weeks was plenty of time to transition from 60 minutes of cardio daily to running 13 miles in one shot. No problem. Continue reading
Buuzzzz! Buuzzzzz! Buuzzzzz! At 4 o’clock this morning, I was awakened from my dreams to the sound of my alarm. It took me a few minutes to recall why on earth I was waking up at such an ungodly hour. As I blinked bleary eyed at the green numbers switching to 4:01 I remembered – my dad was having heart surgery this morning. I am not a morning person. I’m quite thankful that both my kids sleep in each day until after 8 and that, as a stay-at-home-mom, that means I get to as well. Even when I have somewhere to be in the morning, I rarely am awake before 7:30 because I refuse to schedule doctor appointments (and such) before 10 o’clock. The few reasons I am happy and willing to wake up before the sun are: Christmas, an early flight to Disneyland or a morning hot-air balloon ride. Driving an hour to sit at a hospital worrying about my dad certainly does not top my list of fun things to do in the wee hours of the day.
At five on the dot, two of my sisters (Amy and Lizzy) arrived to ride down to the premier hospital in the area with me. We stopped to pick up our Nanny (not a baby-sitter, our 82 year old grandmother) on the way. As I pulled into her driveway and dashed up the stairs in the misty rain, the oddest thing happened. Her door didn’t open when I turned the knob. Strange. So, I turned it the other way, thinking I’d forgotten which way it opened. Still not budging. Please understand, this was the first time in my entire life my Nanny’s door had been locked. Seriously. I have no memories of anything other than knocking lightly on Nanny’s door and then going right in. Since she is now mostly deaf, I was pondering how hard/long to stand there pounding on the door when I heard the phone ringing in the house. One of my sisters was calling to let Nanny know we’d arrived – smarty pants. It hit me just then WHY the door was locked. My Poppa (Nanny’s husband of over 50 years and my beloved grandfather) has been in and out of hospitals and rehab centers since last December and hasn’t lived at the house with Nanny for many months. It made me sad to think of my sweet English grandmother living alone and being concerned enough for her safety that after 40+ years in the same house – she’s finally locking her doors against the evil of the outside world. Continue reading
Every time I take one of my kids in for their needed vaccinations I think of how quickly I revert to childlike behavior with God. Yesterday, as my son looked at me, pain in his eyes and sobs welling up in his little throat, I realized I mirror his reaction when dealing with hard things in life.
I whine and complain. Cry and carry on asking God “why?”. In my finite mind, it seems so without reason, unfair and unnecessary. In hindsight, the needle pricks of life really aren’t such a big deal. But in that moment of pain, it’s all consuming. When getting shots my kids don’t remember that every day I clothe and feed them – lavishing them with hugs, kisses and care. Just as I rapidly forget all the wonderful things God has done for me, focusing instead only on the apparent lack of concern He’s demonstrating just then. I’m sure my thoughts echo my children’s “If you really loved me, you wouldn’t be doing this.” Continue reading