Hope and Small Spaces

It has to do with thermostats and temperature. Outside is cold and snowing. The storm is less than expected but still we are in. I am in front of a blazing fire with my books and hot soup. These are the moments I yearn for when I’m hustling around day to day. When I have no time, I crave these times. I look around and appreciate. My kids are here. They came to help clear the snow. My husband is here working in the basement. Conversation is of weather and depths and travel bans. I found the book I’ve been searching for. I made waffles this morning as though it is Christmas wondering why they are a ‘reserved’ food group. It takes a storm, an emergency, a threat of danger. I go to the kitchen. As I step outside of the room I notice the temperature change. The fire has pulled out all the heat from the rest of the house. Now only one room is warm enough for me. So we keep feeding the fire. In the midst of the storm God takes the natural comforts and bids us into a small space where He is. If I will draw near I will find Him. And when I find Him, I will want to stay. He is in the expanse but I don’t always experience Him while things are even tempered. I don’t realize how much my soul and heart and mind need His warmth and attention. I can’t stay by the fire all the time wrapped in a blanket. God bids me to live in this world in every temperature. But I can draw near to Him in the midst. He is with me wherever I am. He can keep my heart warm with His presence even when all around me is uncomfortable. Col 1:23 …continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven,…”

What did I learn in 2014

I’ve never thought of listing what I actually learned throughout a year. I’ve considered what I hated and loved, what blessed me, what infuriated me, what I wanted to remember and forget. I guess with all of those things there are lessons to be learned. The most prevalent thing I learned would be

1. I don’t know myself at all. I’ve been hiding behind who I thought I was, who I was taught I was and who I thought I wanted to be but never could be. The covers are being removed and I am finding freedom in discovering who I was really created to be.

2. Hope is not something I choose to have, it is something I have that I choose to walk in. I have every gift of God. Hope is the one He has shown me and enabled me to write about this year. As I have written and read it back to myself, I discovered that it has always been there, since the beginning of me. Kind of like Dorothy and the red shoes.

3. Friends separate for various reasons. It doesn’t mean the friendship ends. I’ve always strove to keep things going. I always felt like I was responsible for my relationships. Although there is responsibility, it is not all my own. Life happens, Time goes by and all of a sudden you realized you haven’t held up your part of the friendship by keeping contact. This year I kept failing as a friend (or so I thought). I have found myself reconnected to a few in the past year. Separation is a time of growth, not a time to compare and accuse and criticize myself. Friendship grows when it has time to breathe.

4.God is available any time I sit and listen and give Him space. Imagine talking to a friend on the phone and asking a question and then hanging up on them because you don’t have time to listen. Often that is what my prayer life is. This past year I learned to listen and to wait. Writing helped me to do that. I don’t want to write what comes from my own ideas. I want God to inspire me with ideas and build upon them. That took some listening. That took a lot of words that went in the trash. That took a lot of surrender in the quiet.

HOPE AND ADDICTIONS

There’s the kid who shoots the guy in the leg cause the drugs didn’t get delivered and the guy dies. This kid’s going to jail. There’s the 40 bags of heroin found in a police raid. Someone’s going to jail. Two high school girls have a fight. One is going to the hospital. If she dies someone is going to jail. There are programs to feed people next week cause we are all thankful and no one better go without food on Thanksgiving Day. These are a few things in the local paper today. And what will I pay attention to? I’m 13 again, or thereabouts climbing into the cart with my brother. My first roller coaster ride that I have been badgered into all summer. I finally succumb to the pressure. I feel myself ascending the 100 ft. Climb. I am wishing I am on the ground watching. I feel the rumbling of the wheels against the rickety metal rollers. My brother is enjoying my fear. As we reach the top my grip gets tighter as does my stomach and then…a rush and a descent almost perpendicular to the ground has me stunned. Not a word, not a scream, not a sound comes from me. I hear the screams around me but none are coming from me. For the next 45 seconds we are propelled down and up, around corners and finally come to an abrupt stop. I stagger to the nearest trash barrel, but I don’t heave. I wait for my equilibrium to stabilize. I walk away swearing I will never do it again. I did, in fact, many years later, go on another one. I liked it just as much as the first time. There are other things that have made me spin out of control and some have become addictions in my life. As I think of the word, I think, one more. One more taste, one more drug, one more drink; one more thought, one more word, one more time and then I’ll stop. Some things have stopped, but how many others have not. We don’t count them as destructive but they are to your soul, to your mind and to others. And if you are a Christian, to your relationship with God and to your testimony. It isn’t about the thrill. It is about discontentment with who you think you are or who people say you are. One bite of the forbidden fruit told Adam and Eve the truth that they were naked while telling them the lie that said they should be ashamed and so they hid. All God wants is fellowship and harmony. Things can make us spin out of control and derail our lives and the lives of others. But there is still hope. Christ came to redeem all men. He can save and when He saves He does it to the uttermost. I may lose some time on this earth spinning my wheels, but God can redeem the time that I lost. I need to look at what my addictions are and give them to God. He is my comfort. Godliness with contentment is great gain 1 Tim 6:6. Sustain me according to your word that I may live. Do not let me be ashamed of my hope. PSA 119:116..

WHAT FLOWS FROM ME?

“Walking and talking” for dummies. I think that title should be added to the many “dummies” books out there. Not at all cynical or satirical; just reality. Many don’t have a clue. Instruction is needed and I’m right up there with them. What flows out of me. You mean besides blunders? I’ve been searching all my life for my “purpose”. What I realize is that purpose is not always in the form of doing. We are meant to do different things at different times. We are meant to be who God has made us to be. Doing is supposed to lead to being. It doesn’t matter what I am doing. Am I learning to be who I am created and redeemed to be? Oh how I would love to name one thing and stay there. Recently I write. Does that make me a writer? Some say yes. But if I say yes, then I feel I am always obligated to know what to write. That is very frustrating to me. I admire people who flow at things. I know many who do. I am more like a faucet that turns on and off. When I am being who I am supposed to be then I flow. Sometimes I overflow.

HOPE AND CIRCUMSTANCE

My 31 day challenge is over. It was refreshing! In fact, the one day I did not finish writing about I will very shortly.

But now I am left with this blog. I should put it to use. I write about hope, have been for about a year now. Most don’t see it. Don’t know who will see this blog, but here I will put some things that I write. Maybe it will bless some.

How much news will I hear today? How many prayer requests, how many tears, how many testimonies of great joy, how many stressful situations will I encounter? How many regrets will be told me, how many secrets will I be asked to keep? People everywhere are looking for someone to tell, someone to spill over to, someone to trust. What will we say to them? I want to live in hope today. I don’t always know how. Sometimes I am that person who just needs someone to give me the listening ear. I don’t want to be governed by my circumstances. They may not change. They may get worse. They may even get better. Though this world be marred by the fall of man, though it be darkened by shadows of death, though it be stained with the blood of war and disease, there is still hope. Unspoken prayer requests far outweigh the spoken ones. God hears them. He may hear them louder than He hears my voice. I cry louder in silence. My spoken words cannot always articulate what my heart desires. And God answers my heart’s cries in His time and way. His way is perfect and there is hope in every step of the answer. Ps 62:5 My soul, wait in silence for God only, for my hope is from Him.

DAY 31: SELAH, PAUSE AND REFLECT

October, a full month for sure. Did I acomplish what I set out to do? Most of it I did! What did I profit by taking this challenge? I discovered having structure doesn’t require as much effort as I tell myself. I think of how I felt after each task. A little like doing your homework only more so because you know it wasn’t mandated. Like auditing and doing the work because you want to. The biggest blessing didn’t come from the houseold stuff, although they brought a sigh of relief. Doing the personal stuff, the people stuff, that’s what was cool. Talking with all four siblings in one month and getting to spend time with one just brought it all home for me inside. Taking time I normally wouldn’t take to help someone or to ask for help was huge. Not that I don’t help but I can be selfish with my time. I always found I had time for my stuff. Another thing about this challenge was the writing part. Some of it was short amd to the point while others were more thought out. The best thing was the fact that I did it every day. I am new at this writing endeavor! Not like Bonita! All in all it was beneficial, fun and inspiring.

DAY 30: PLAN AHEAD

All the prompts for this month have been daily except for the first and this one. They both have to do with planning ahead. So the momentum continues and the challenge continues. So for November….
First up is Jared’s birthday–that will be me in the kitchen.
Then fall cleanup.
Thanksgiving
Some early planning for Christmas stockings. This year we have an addition, Jenifer
Figure out an exercise plan since jogging is on hold for the winter
Lunch or dinner with Michelene.
Find a song to sing for Christmas