The Crescendo of Time

I spend a lot of my time thinking about me. I imagine most people do: What will I do today? What will I eat? How will this life event affect me? How can I make the best possible outcome for me?

Even my pondering on God goes back to me: Does God hear me? Does God see what’s going on around me? What does God want me to do? Where does God want me to go?

Both of these scenarios are probably fairly normal for the human mind. I imagine God isn’t surprised by my self-centeredness. He knows me – thoughts, worries, ponderings, and all. In His eyes, I have vision like a new born baby. I can only see a few inches in front of me, which is why it is so good He holds me close. Because if left further out, I wouldn’t be able to recognize the smallest iota of Him and would feel so alone.

This morning I have been contemplating how human life, not just yours and mine, but all of it from the dawn of time until the day time is no more, is like a song. A song of worship to the one who created it. It starts in a tiny point when creation began and slowly increases in its intensity through the ages. The musical term for that is a Crescendo. Our lives are one small note played in the symphony orchestra of time. Our note we play is combined with the billions, maybe trillions, or beyond of other notes played on the sheet music of history. I have one chance to play my tiny part in this song of worship. One short dot in time to make my sound to bring glory to the One who created the Song. The question I’ve been thinking about is how will my tiny sound be? Will it be a sound played with all fervor to add to the crescendo of glory and worship? Or will it be a confused sound, fizzling out not playing it’s part in the song?

I get caught up, at times, looking for the next best thing to give myself to and I quickly forget that all I really need to do is concentrate on my note I play in the crescendo, and that I play it well. My days should be filled with sounding off His glory in what I do, what I say, and how I act. Recognizing the small things that are around me to do: laundry, cooking meals, loving my husband, my kids, my friends, and my neighbors well are what makes my sound stay on key for my part in the Crescendo. Enjoying the small things He has blessed me with are part of the sound of His note He has given me to make. For me my note I play seems like an eternity because I am too small to see the entirety of the piece written and orchestrated by God my Great Composer and Conductor. But in the scheme of things my part is one little millisecond of a note. A millisecond I want to play well and give honor with to the One who allowed me to be a part of His Crescendo because He loves me and wants to hear my part in the song He has written of His Greatness and His Glory.

Never Forget- A Time Such as This (repost from 9/11/2013)

Never Forget… 12 years ago I turned on the TV to see what the Allergy Counts for the day would be and realized The Most Horrible Event of my lifetime had happened. I can remember going about my day stunned by how things were unfolding and wondering what kind of world I was raising my children in (ages 6,3, and 1) with such evil and heartache unimaginable. That night Rich and I stood on our back deck talking about such things. I remember finding comfort in the words of Esther 4:14 ” And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” My kids and my family were placed here in this time in history for “such a time as this”. Those words ring true today. I have to admit that it has been very difficult for me to read the news lately. The condition I see our nation in and the decisions being made in the leadership of it are at times frightening, but my hope is not in who is president and in congress or in what events may be happening around me. My hope is in God. When 9/11 happened for a short time there was a heightened spiritual awareness that occurred and people were turning to God in prayer more than ever. Our leaders held public prayer asking God for help. My prayer today as I reflect on 9/11 is that God would once again have mercy on our Nation and bring revival to His Church so that the Light of His Hope would spread into a world in such darkness and without hope… Never Forget what happened and Never Forget Who we turned to that day.

Boxed Curriculum, Busy Work, and Being

20 years ago when my oldest was kindergarten age we started to homeschool. I wanted the best for my son so I went to an Abeka meeting at a local hotel and purchased the entire kit for kindergarten. Teachers manuals, flashcards, and all. When my boxes arrived I worked hard setting up the school room. I got a little wooden school desk for him at a yard sale. I hung up posters. Made folders up. Got my lesson plans ready. I was on top of it. Then the first day began.

Through out his preschool days he had already learned a lot. Mainly by us taking construction paper and doing little made up projects that I thought up on how to learn letter sounds and recognize numbers. Nothing formal, just us playing and learning together in a fun atmosphere, but in my mind, in order to do things right, I needed to become more disciplined and do everything by the books, literally…

That’s when the trouble began… My sweet 5 year old son struggled with the concept of sitting still and doing page after page after page of workbook work. There were no fun projects. It was just him at a desk with a pencil.

In order to get through a day, we would do 15 minutes on 15 minutes off. I would make him plow through every page. Even if he understood the concept. It was miserable for him. It was miserable for me. After several weeks of this, I started talking to a seasoned homeschool mom. She encouraged me to return to what worked: A little less busywork, a little more creativity and fun. Now 19 years later, with 3 kids graduated from our homeschool and either graduated college or in college, I’m on my final kid, a sophomore. He’s benefited from all the experiments I tried on his older brother, who I’ve jokingly referred to as “the guinea pig”. I’d like to think his learning through the years has been a combination of the best, creative fun learning experiences through the years.

This morning as I read my Bible I came across the story of Mary and Martha. I was contemplating my own life. How I’ve set up a lot of religious “busywork” trying to create “the best” Christian life I can. Running Bible studies, heading up ministries, going to leader meetings, etc. But somewhere along the line the “busywork” has stolen the joy of a creative, living, breathing relationship that I’m meant to have with Jesus. I’ve reduced myself to a lifestyle that mirrors the kindergarten year of my oldest son. “Sit here for 15 min. Do this work. 15 minute break. Repeat.” All of this to try to make something special out of my life for the Master.

I’ve been a lot like Martha, wanting to have things perfect. Having thrown several dinner parties in my home, I can imagine her thought process. Everything must be in place, sparkling, and the food needs to be excellent as well. Jesus pointed out that that was not his expectations. Mary’s approach was what touched His heart. She wanted to be with Him. Soak Him and every word He said in. Enjoy the moment with Him because the moment was all she had and soon it would be gone.

Lately, I’ve woke up in a new position. A lot of the things I was striving to do ministry wise have suddenly ended. All the busywork has stopped. I’ve awaken to a new possibility of letting the Martha in me go and embracing the Mary. In a homeschool mom’s terms: I’ve come to a place where I can let go of the boxed curriculum’s rigidity and embrace life giving and freeing lifestyle learning.

God give me the grace to open my eyes and enjoy the things I already have. Let the striving for more cease as I learn once again to sit still at your feet and soak who you are in. Let You be enough. Not what I think I can build to enhance the perfection that You already are. Let me be like Mary and sit at your feet, enjoying You and all that You have given me to enjoy.

Weed or Good Seed And the Harvest to Come

After a 3 year hiatus, we planted a garden this year. Rich and I are amateur gardeners. We’ve played around with it off and on since we’ve moved into our current house. Each year we flub up something and talk about how we “should have” done this or that. Making mental notes on how to improve the next year.

Most of the time we hit July and our garden needs a desperate intervention, i.e. push mowing, then tilling (maybe), etc. And we somehow get some veggies out of it. This year is the first time we’ve actually been on top of it. Things are looking pretty good. Probably the biggest mistake we did this year lays at my feet. Too big of gaps between rows and then not marking what I planted in a few rows. So we had a couple of rows that we weren’t sure if we were getting weeds or carrots and beets. And I really couldn’t remember if I bought any other seed that I threw in it. I guess that comes from my classic inattention to detail and Rich’s obsession with it. (It’s a good thing opposites attract.). I think we finally have it figured out what’s in the two rows. It’s just taken some time between sowing the good seed in the ground and watching the plants come up. Maybe even a little of learning to discern what a beet plant looks like (since I’ve never planted them before in my life) and what a weed is.

Every day we’ve been home this past month has been characterized by our signature stroll through the garden and around the yard looking at our plants. Rich and I get a cup of coffee and walk around looking at the state of things and discuss our mystery rows. It hit me a couple of days ago that things are looking pretty good, and our daily attention and maintenance is finally paying off.

In years past, I’ve thought about how God has a thing for Gardens. A Garden was the home he had for Adam and Eve. A Garden was where Jesus went to pray, and garden illustrations i.e. parables are frequent in the Bible. So after hooking up the water sprinkler for the morning watering I looked at our mystery rows and began to think about one of those verses in particular. “And don’t allow yourselves to be weary or disheartened in planting good seeds, for the season of reaping the wonderful harvest you’ve planted is coming!”

Galatians 6:9 TPT

Rich and I were a little disheartened a couple of weeks ago while trying to till the garden. Is that a carrot or a weed? It may have been a rough month trying to figure out which was the fruit of good seed and which was a choking weed but I think I’ve finally got it figured out. Thank God for iPhones and Google.

So in traditional Garden/ spiritual parallel form, it came to me. I’ve walked with the Lord since I was a teenager. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to sow Good seeds into my life and the lives of those around me. But somehow in the ins and outs of life I’ve sat back and looked at what’s coming up in the garden of my life and wondered. “Is that a weed or a plant from good seed?” It all looks a lot alike and I’m getting tired of trying to figure it out. In fact right now it looks like all I’m getting in my life is a bunch of weeds where I had tried to plant good things. (That’s a huge bummer). My daily walk about the garden of my life has been discouraging to say the least. But God!!

His promise to me is that the good seed I’ve planted is going to reap a good harvest. And I can trust Him to help me sort out the weeds in my life so the good stuff will flourish. The biggest thing is that I don’t get discouraged in planting the good seeds in my life. That I simply don’t give up! It may take some time. It may involve sweat and tears. It may be harder than I anticipated when I started. But His goodness is there causing the seeds to grow.

It won’t be long I’ll be kicking back with a fresh watermelon and sliced tomatoes from my garden, not the produce aisle at the store, and in God’s timing I’ll be surrounded by the good fruit of what I have sown in my life, my family’s life, and my friends. It’s just the way God works. What He promises He does! Guaranteed!

From Toddler to Great Aunt and Beyond!! Faithfulness

img_7418I remember my first encounters with my great aunts when I was a kid. The main impression left on me was, “Wow! That lady is old!” I was probably 4 or 5 at the time. I looked up at my Great Uncle Raymond’s Wife. She seemed nice enough, but “how old is she?” was what ran through my mind. It’s easy to process a grandma and think of her as being old. That’s the way it should be. Grandma’s are meant to be old, soft, sweet, and the presenter of all kinds of goodies. But great aunts, they are hard to categorize in a young girls thoughts.

Last night we had the big celebration of Christmas for my husbands side. Somewhere near 40 people in our house, and once again toddlers, babies, and little ones were running through my house.  Every once and awhile one of these little ones would come in a face to face confrontation with me. I wondered to myself if their thoughts would mirror mine of decades ago.

I’ve tried hard not to look so old. “Rockstar” skinny jeans, T-shirt, tennis shoes, and dyed hair are weapons of my battle, but I’m pretty sure they are all masking the inevitable. “She is OLD”. That’s ok. Life is all about seasons, and I’m pretty happy about the season I’m in. No more diapers, toddler fits, and chasing little ones around a house that obviously isn’t child proof. But I also am getting glimpses of the other side of the hill. Sometimes it’s comforting and sometimes not so much. I’m where my parents were when I was newly married. Balancing out teenagers, aging parents, changing hormones, and my little eaglets flying the nest. Life can be full of joy one moment and anxiety the next.

We are on the doorstep of a new year. It’s a matter of hours before 2018 will be in the books and 2019 will begin to be written. “Where does this leave me and where will it lead me?” Are what I’ve been thinking about this morning.

“For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.” Psalm‬ ‭100:5‬ ‭NIV‬‬

God is faithful. He was faithful to me in 2018 and will continue to be in 2019. His faithfulness continues throughout the generations. From the wide eyes of the toddler I was playing peekaboo with last night, to the teen who is in a constant battle with boredom and puppy love, to the young mother (my nieces) who probably left my house last night glad that they could strap their little ones in a car seat for a few minutes and “take a breather”, to my brothers- in-law and sisters-in-law who are battling new aches from places they didn’t know existed revealed to them in their mid life, to my mother-in-law and parents who have seen a lot and sit upon a mountain of experience and wisdom from the years, God is faithful through the generations. That is Rock I can sink my anchor in. No matter the season of life or the path my year may take, I can be assured He is with me and in Him I can truly have not only a Happy New Year, but a Blessed one as well!

Happy New Year! God’s Blessings on you!

Seasons Change But There is a Constant

When the kids were little holiday planning was a little more tidy. Rich worked shift work so we picked a day when Rich was off and we knew we would have the whole day to play with the kids and enjoy them enjoying their new toys. It might be December 22nd when Santa would come to our house or maybe even the 19th depending on our schedule. Much to the dismay of my nephew who always got his toys on the 25th and couldn’t understand why my kids got them early. “Santa likes us better I guess.” Was my answer to that question one year as the cute little red head stood there with his mouth agape. Probably not the nicest thing to say, but it gave me a good laugh.

This year two of my four are married so we pick our time for different reasons as they have so many places they need to show up at and enjoy time with all the family God has blessed them with. I get it. I was a newlywed once too.

Things change. Some changes are welcomed and anticipated. Excitement and joy surrounds them. Others are forced on us like a tight pair of jeans after a Christmas Feast. They will go on one way or another and it will be uncomfortable until we adjust to them or lose some weight.

Maybe it’s just the time of my life, middle aged, though I choke at the thought of saying it. (I still feel like I’m in my 20’s in my heart) But everything is changing. I’ve enjoyed some of it, no more toddlers to chase and diapers to change. But some of it, not so much. It’s those changes that leaves me searching for a constant that doesn’t change. Something I can hook my anchor into and make sure I don’t drift too far away from the comfortable life I had built before the changes arrived.

Emmanuel , God with Us, you hear that a lot this time of year. It’s the very thing the Angel told Joseph when his comfortably planned life was fixing to be interrupted by the change of becoming the stand in Father for God’s Son. (Talk about pressure to perform). Matthew 1:22-23

But that very statement really is an anchor in a life shifted and altered by currents beyond our control. The birth of the baby Jesus we celebrate this time of year introduces us to something that is unchanging which is Him. Hebrews 13:8 says “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever”. He is with us now as He was with us then on a dark night in Bethlehem so many years ago. He doesn’t leave us or forsake us when things get rearranged in our lives and what we had going looks nothing like the life we are going into. God with Us! What a comfort! What a joy! What a gift given so freely to us and celebrated this season no matter how different it may look from the last.