Sunday, July 18, 2010
The title of this painting is Reflections by Morgan Wiestling
In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise. Ephesians 1:13
Pastor Billy Osigian taught on this scripture once. He declared that the Holy Spirit is my engagement ring from God. He is my Holy promise that God has chosen me and will come back for me. Oh friends, how I take such comfort in that thought.
I have not written in a while. Much has been going on all around us. Much of it is confusing and painful and yet that Diamond of Promise sparkles and shines through it all. What would we ever do apart from the LORD? How on earth would we ever cope? Before I knew Him I used prescription drugs, alcohol and various other false hopes to get me through to the next crisis. Praise JESUS that is over for me!
My mother has the habit of telling me to "lower my expectations". You know this goes against everything the world teaches, so it must be right, huh? I'm smiling widely as I type that. Yes, do lower your expectations. It is essential to your happy survival here on earth. At least lower your expectations regarding things of the earth. I would NEVER (and I'm sure my mother would agree) ask you to lower your expectations of things to come after we shed this tent and move into our HOME. But, while we're here...expect trials and tribulations. Expect that people will only be able to do what they and their circumstances can do and no more. Do not hold them accountable to be what you expect when they end up being only what they are. I wish I could remember this every day. I wish I could stop expecting God to work out my plans. I wish I could just keep on rolling with His plans and maintain a cheerful attitude. Isn't that what we're supposed to do? I'm stinking at this lately, folks. Really.
I'm not one for old sayings but this one I am feeling to be true lately..."You wanna make God laugh? Then just tell Him your plans."
Rod got some good paying work that's temporary but out of town. He had to travel a good distance to do this labor-intensive but financially rewarding job. I was sickened at first that he would have to go. I think he was, too. We have been like peanut butter and jelly for so long. We have taken it for granted, too. He has been out of work since April 20th and for most of those weeks he has been here at home with me all day looking for jobs to apply for on the internet. Honestly, I have been grumbling about having him "underfoot" all day. As though this isn't HIS home and I only share it with him. (I told you my attitude is stinkin'.)
One day before Rod got this out of town job offer the second time I woke up and he was already in the kitchen doing his early morning Bible study. I rolled out of bed with the same crappy attitude I had the day before...a grumbling in my spirit at God for allowing this seemingly never-ending unemployment. I felt the LORD say to me, "These are the best days of your life and you're complaining. What's wrong with you, Child? Haven't I been taking good care of you? Don't you have plenty to eat and a beautiful home with central air on these hot and humid days? Aren't all your bills paid in full in spite of the current unemployment? What have you really got to complain about? Didn't you tell Me you love spending time with your family more than any other activity in the world? You've been on a two month at home vacation with your family and I have been footing the bill. So, why the long face?"
I suddenly remembered my parents taking my brother and stepsister and me to Walt Disney World. My sister lived most of the year with her mother and she lacked for no material thing in an effort to make up for her father living with us instead of her. This child was spoiled rotten to say the very least. My brother and I were always in awe of her because she never seemed to get in trouble for her antics. But on this day, at the Magic Kingdom as we were getting ready to go in our five star hotel room at The Polynesian, Julie had a temper tantrum because after four changes of clothes, she couldn't find anything she wanted to wear. We were all waiting and excited to finally be there. My sister, at probably twelve years of age, pitched a fit and thrashed herself around because of her wardrobe. (Her big yellow suitcase bulged with outfits galore. I was certain she had more things packed in that Samsonite than I had in my entire closet at home). David and I stood by wide-eyed waiting and watching to see what would come of this behavior. We both knew that if either of us ever dared to act this way, Dad's belt was the answer. And then, quick as a wink, Dad moved like a stealthy lion and snatched his daughter up, peeled off her cute shorts and paddled her bare bottom right in front of all of us. David and I were stunned (and delighted, I have to be honest.)
On this morning, rolling out of bed, God reminded me of how foolish it is to have a fit at Disney World. I asked him to forgive me. I asked Rod, too. I had developed the old dead girl's attitude of disrespect in my heart towards him. "You're not working, so why should I respect you." Yeah, that's not in the Bible. I am just to respect my husband because he IS my husband. (I got the better part of the deal, you can ask anyone who knows me.) So, there's my reflection on that.
It's been another month now. Rod is still earning good money. He's gone for a little while and then he'll be back. He came rushing home when a call came through to interview for a really great job here locally. He consulted his Bible and felt certain the LORD was telling him to return to his job away from home. So, the next morning he packed right back up and left. A few days later we got that fun letter in the mailbox, "Thanks for interviewing but we hired someone else." Lower your expectations. Lower your expectations. Lower your expectations. Every job (except the one he is working on right now) has completely fallen through.
Rod was telling his friend at church that "every door I try gets closed right in my face". Gracie was sitting in his lap listening to her Daddy speak. She chimed right in, "Then try the windows, Daddy." Out of the mouth of babes. It has come to our focused attention that ministry is happening right where he is now. We see the eternal purpose for the plan God is executing. I have to adjust my attitude and see the Big Picture (at least the view that God allows me to peek through). I must remain flexible. Pastor Chuck Smith of Calvary Chapel says, "Blessed are the flexible for they will not break." Yes.
And there are other things brewing here that are troubling. Health issues that have surfaced within are a matter of concern. Mr. Fear is here with all of his ammunition. He is so busy and man, he never takes a break. But, God...in all of His infinite wisdom had me tape a beautiful calligraphy copy of Psalm 103 to the inside of my kitchen cabinet. His words soothe me in every way imaginable and I see Mr. Fear packing up in retreat. (Praise Jesus.)
Reflect on this. I am not the only one in trouble or tribulation here. You are, too...in ways you won't talk to anyone about. But, He knows and He cares and He is working out His plan beautifully. This is an anonymous poem from the front of one of my very favorite books of all time: Tramp for the LORD by Corrie Ten Boom:
My life is but a weaving between my God and me,
I do not choose the colors, He worketh steadily,
Oftimes He weaveth sorrow, and I in foolish pride,
Forget He sees the upper, and I the underside.
Not till the loom is silent, and shuttles cease to fly,
Will God unroll the canvas and explain the reason why.
The dark threads are as needful in the skillful Weaver's hand,
As threads of gold and silver in the pattern He has planned.
My precious Miss Ten Boom continues..."Although the threads of my life have often seemed knotted, I know, by faith, that on the other side of the embroidery there is a crown. As I have walked the world -- a tramp for the Lord -- I have learned a few lessons in God's great classroom. Even as I share these things with those of you who read this book, I pray the Holy Spirit will reveal something of the divine pattern in God's plan for you also."
Thank You, Corrie. And moreover, Thank You, Lord. Thank You for Your plans and not for mine. Amen.