Sunday, March 28, 2010

Abiding Fully

The Holy Spirit abides inside every believer. We have full access to Him. Yet not every one of us gives Him full access and control. Day by day, our journey is about turning more and more over to His control -- abiding also in Him -- so that He can work in us and through us to bring about His glory.

Life is made up of individual challenges and decisions and influences. It can be overwhelming at times. But increasingly, as we are able to surrender more of our lives to Him, He makes those pieces fall into place. He alone is the One who knows How to complete the puzzle!

I thought of many varied conversations, perplexities and disciplines that are shaping my life right now. And every once in awhile, I get just a "glimpse" of the big picture. It's as if I see the scenery on the front of the puzzle box -- for just a moment -- and I know what I need to do to work toward completion for that beautiful view.

God is fully alive in us, and He has every means of working in our lives. But sometimes I stifle Him by wanting to retain too much control. Sometimes I settle for "good" when I could have had "great" or "glorious."

I realize, once again, that I can't hurry God. I can't say, "Answer faster." His ways are high above our ways, His thoughts high above our thoughts. (Is. 55:8-9 NIV) It would be like force-fitting the pieces of the puzzle into place to complete it hastily instead of enduring the wait, being patient for the right fit.

Lord, I do not want a "quick" answer -- I want Your answer! Once more I surrender, as best I know how, to let You reign over every area of my life. God, I trust You to be the One who puts each piece into place for Your glory!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

New Growth

The snow is gone and the daffodils are pushing up through the monochromatic brown landscape. How exciting to think of green again!

My plants in the sunroom know it is spring, too. I found a surprise at the top of my schefflera (pictured).

Last week my husband and I were blessed to have some time away to hike and explore the brown landscape of last year's foliage. Our time was balanced with reading, writing and reflecting. A retreat, of sorts. A time for new growth.

I thoroughly enjoyed taking time to re-read my journals from a few years ago, refreshing my memory on the way God has answered prayers, cultivating and shaping new growth in me. It's amazing to look back and see His "footprints in the sand" as He guided me through all the challenges that later have become the sprouts of new life.

"No branch can bear fruit by itself, it must remain in the Vine." (John 15:4 NIV) So, once again, it's all about abiding. Sticking close to our nourishment.

My writing time on our "retreat" last week was for the purpose of distilling the best of my journaling stories into a presentation. It was last year at the Women's Breakaway in Chilton that I felt the Holy Spirit nudge me. It was as if He said, "YOU can share your passion for journaling with these women!"

So I submitted my name as a speaker. (Is that a glimpse of new foliage?)

Over the past several months, the thrill inside me has grown as I've gathered ideas to share at the Women's Breakaway on April 17, 2010. I've named it, "A Diary of Our Love Story... Journal Your Prayers and Watch God at Work." I'll share several reasons and examples of why journaling is worth the effort. I am just so excited for others to experience the joy I feel in this process!

Can I ask you -- my dear blog-reading friends -- to pray for me? Please pray that I am able to deliver this in a way that inspires hope and the opportunity for growth in the women who attend this workshop. And to God be the Glory!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Raise Your Hands

Are you fighting battles you still haven't won?

Maybe you are fighting to keep the faith on a still-unanswered prayer? A lost loved one? A rejection? A fear? An addiction? What can we do when we feel so alone and nothing seems to be working?

A few years ago, I was in this kind of spot, crying out to God as a mother. As I prayed, I was reminded of a story in Exodus 17. When the Amalekites attacked the Israelites at Rephidim, Joshua gathered some men to go and fight them. They were a tough enemy and it took a lot of determination and persistence. It required sticking to the strategy and trusting God.

Moses went up the hill and raised his hands to God. As long as his hands were raised, the Israelites were winning the battle. But as soon as he grew weary and let his arms down, the enemy advanced. So Aaron and Hur came to Moses, one on each side, and helped him hold his hands up until the enemy was defeated.

So, back to our own struggles. Let's raise our hands in prayer, surrendering our huge battles to the Lord. And when we are overwhelmed or too weary to do it alone, we need to reach out and ask our friends to help us keep our hands raised.

Praying for one another is powerful. Whose hands will you help hold up today?

Oh God, give us strength to hold tight to You. And one day we will say, "He has delivered me from all my troubles, and my eyes have looked in triumph on my foes." (Ps. 54:7 NIV)

(Write your prayer request in the comment section and we can help you pray.)

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Magnificent Moment of Worship

Yesterday morning as I drove to work, I was again reflecting on how happy I am to have a job. (Yes, I am so thankful I survived the cut!!)

We had been studying how the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil, but that godliness with contentment is great gain. We need to put our hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. (1 Tim. 6:10, 6, 17)

I thought of how I shouldn't worry about money so much -- how God has always provided what I've needed. He even moved me from a good stable job to an even better job (see Where He Leads), when I would have never even looked for another job! It is so wonderful because I can still see the paper mill from the windows of my new workplace. Each day as I drive into work, I see the smokestack of the mill and remember all the good years I had there. I realized it is a visible "stone of remembrance" of what God has done for me.

Also, yesterday morning it was extremely foggy driving across the bridge, but when I got up the hill, the sun was radiantly shining. The moisture on every feathery twig and wisp of weed or blade of grass was covered in a frosty shining crystal lit up against a cerulean blue sky. It was a truly awesome sight to behold!

I felt a sense of great wonder at all God has done. It was a magnificent moment of worship and communion with God. This is what "abiding" is all about!

"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in Me." (John 14:1)

Oh God, You are truly Awesome! We worship You!