Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Unplug to Recharge

Serenity at St. Mary Lake in Glacier National Park
In today’s electronic age, it seems counter-productive to “unplug to recharge,” but I have found that “unplugging” is absolutely the best way to re-energize me!

Oh, yes, I get energy from people and I love to be social. The encouragement and support of friends  gives me great boosts of borrowed energy. During the stress and emotion of this past couple weeks, in fact, this has really lifted me. But to keep going and find peace and strength, I need to preserve enough time to “find the quiet.”

I find the quiet by reading the Word, soaking in its wisdom and journaling what I’m learning. I can also find it by taking a walk or a ride by myself. Sometimes I find it waiting in line or taking a few minutes to kick back and listen carefully to the One I need most to connect with. I wonder why I even let other things steal my quiet when my greatest need is to be with the Source of all power and true refreshing.

Amid multiple priorities and lots of people I’d like to spend time with, I’m always working at carefully protecting that quiet space. No matter what is happening – the more that is going on, the more I need it! Even in tiny and consistent increments, unplugging from the things of the world and going in to His presence does everything to recharge me. It is this “abiding on the Vine” that washes and revives me, nourishes and strengthens me, gives me direction and vision.

Upon returning from the quiet, I find I have much more to offer – serenity, wisdom, compassion, perspective, balance and creativity…things I would rather not live without!

How do you refresh and recharge? Where and when do you “find your quiet”?

Dear God, Grant me the serenity in pockets of quiet, the courage to fiercely guard that time and the wisdom to know when I need it!

"Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know." (Jer. 33:3 NIV)

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Testing My Roots

Just after my last post about growing "tenacious" roots, I have the opportunity, once again, to test those roots! Just how strong are they?

I had to bring Ted to the emergency room the very next day. He went through all kinds of medical testing throughout the day to determine the cause of his confusion and slurred speech. 

Long story short, his lymph nodes appear to be doing something new. Again, they wonder if his cancer is morphing. He had surgery this a.m. to give the doctors a lymph node to analyze and see what to do next. Ted's condition is stabilizing, yet there are numerous unknowns. All this will take time -- results don't often happen overnight -- so we need to be still and hold fast to those tenacious roots.

Long periods of waiting in the emergency room on Sunday made my mind return to the most traumatic times of last summer. Instead, I calmed myself and chose to concentrate on the peace beyond belief and the blanket of God's love surrounding me. I know that God is in control and good comes from His hand.

In his book Knowing God, J.I. Packer noted,
"As Christians grow stronger and are able to bear more, he [God] exercises them by the pressure of opposed and discouraging influences as they are able to bear -- not more (see the promise, 1 Cor. 10:13), but equally not less (see the admonition, Acts 14:22). Thus he builds our character, strengthens our faith, and prepares us to help others."
He gives us what we can bear -- not too much, not too little. He knows what we need and He is here with us through it all. I take comfort that the God of the universe -- who hung the stars, who created the glaciers that carved the magnificent mountains, who numbered the thicky curly hairs on Ted's head -- knows all that is going on inside of Ted's body, too. We can rest in His loving kindness.

Master of the universe, Creator, King and Lord, we feel safe with you. We trust you each step of the way.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Are You Growing Tenacious Roots?

Tenacious roots.
How can I ever forget what a miracle it was that Ted survived the wild roller coaster ride of medical issues last summer! Our church, friends and doctors are always amazed to see him looking so healthy and doing almost everything he did before the illness and surgeries. (Even his hair has grown back thicker and curlier than ever -- a visual reminder to all of what God has done.)

Remembering the toughest struggles, we had no other comfort than to send down tenacious roots, putting our total trust in God. We recall the unbelievable feeling of being wrapped in God's love, and fully relying on His loving guidance that made the next step possible. We were truly abiding in Him.

Ted and I would never want to repeat those events, but we also never want to forget them. We were lifted by the power of prayer in a rich and loving community of friends (thank you!) and the awesome way God worked as we held tightly to Him. Our perspective is so much richer, and we could not have gotten here another way. We want to steward this experience and never miss an opportunity to share that it is very possible to have God's perfect peace even when your world is spinning out of control around you.

Now whenever I struggle (usually with lesser things), I practice drawing on that same powerful strength, remembering that God is loving and strengthening me as powerfully as last summer.
I'll be sharing my journey of faith at the Women's Breakaway on April 14 in a breakout session called "Sending Down Deeper Roots." Please pray for me to let His words flow through me to minister to others who are hurting. 

Dear God, our Rock and Refuge in ALL of life, thank you for your faithfulness and truly amazing love. By the experience you gave us, help us help others to grow tenacious roots.

It was majestic in beauty, 
with its spreading boughs, 
for its roots went down 
to abundant waters. 
(Ezek. 31:7 NIV)