(Photo credit: Amy Green, Photography to Remember)
Its been a long time since I blogged – it looks like with me pregnancy and blogging just don’t go well together. Or maybe just real life gets in the way sometimes.
Our little boy Liam is now four months old – such a chilled and cute little guy – but today was his first day at Daycare. Cue a sleepless night for me. When I did get some sleep I was haunted by dreams of breast pumps and split milk. Whoever said don’t cry over spilt milk was not expressing breast milk!! My anxieties of making sure baby is has enough milk, having no clue as how much milk he will need obviously poured over into my dreams.
My mind turned to a Psalm that was shared in church yesterday:
Psalm 56.8 Record my lament; list my tears on your scroll– are they not in your record?
Or as the ESV says: Psalm 56.8 You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book?
Psalm 77 1-3 I cried out to God for help; I cried out to God to hear me. 2 When I was in distress, I sought the Lord; at night I stretched out untiring hands and my soul refused to be comforted. 3 I remembered you, O God, and I groaned; I mused, and my spirit grew faint. “Selah”
It amazes me how many of the Psalms were written on a sleepless night! Today has been better than I thought it would be.
I am thankful that the God who created all things is concerned and cares when I toss and turn in my bed. My tears and anxieties are not trivialized and minimized. I am thankful that when I am afraid there is One bigger than me that I can turn to:
Psalm 56. 3 When I am afraid, I will trust in you.
Help me to trust you Lord.
PS. I have been blown away by the amount of messages I have had today of people asking how I am and saying they are praying for me. God’s care through His people all over the world is just amazing.
Do you every feel like that those jugglers who are running around manic on stage trying to keep dozens of spinning plates going that are precariously balanced on ridiculously thin and bendy sticks? There are usually a few moments in a frazzled week when I feel like that. Trying to keep everything going, trying to not let anything fall and smash. Big a good employee, be a good mum, be a good wife, be a good follower of Jesus. So many things to keep in the air, fragile precariously balanced things.
I have got to thinking lately what would happen if I stopped spinning the plates, what if I just let them fall? I don’t like drama in my life, I don’t like the idea of failing at anything at all. But sometimes you get tired spinning and running around keeping it all in the air. So what would happen if I just stopped? Some plates may fall, some plates may smash.
deep breath …
the world would not fall …
the world would not end.
Shock, horror I do not make the world go around and keep everything in balance and it is not my job to do so.
Colossians 1:15-17 He (Jesus) is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
Next week I plan to keep spinning what is within my ability and leave the rest. Life may get messy, but it certainly won’t be the end of the world. I will let the One who knows how to spin planets keep everything in motion.
Lord, help me to trust you with my spinning plates. And if they fall help me to still trust you as you are the Master of all.
I’m a bit of a scaredy cat really. You’ll not find me bungee jumping or even jumping from the highest diving board. I will do everything possible to avoid taking part in a ‘Trust Fall’. But I think my issue is not heights, my issue is control and trust. I like to be safe and in control. Unfortunately no matter how much I try I do not have the ability nor the power to control the world around me and that leads to panic and fear. As I look back over the past year there have been many ups and downs, all beyond my control. Sometimes it feels like you are on a rollercoaster – on a roller coaster you don’t get a steering wheel nor set of brakes – you just have to go with the ride. Understandably given my control issues I’m not that keen on Roller Coasters either!
In this past year no matter how I have tried to fix broken situations, to make things better, it has been beyond my control and at the end of it all, frustrating. It is funny during the year some things came right in ways that were totally beyond my control that I had worn myself out worrying about for years also. So as I look towards 2012 I do so with excitement at the new journey of parenthood, but also with a bit of trepidation – what will the year hold?
I have decided that my word for this year should be TRUST. I have chosen the word trust because it seems to me to be the opposite of controlling everything myself. Giving over everything to God is a scary business, except I know the One who is in control is totally Trustworthy:
Psalms 20:7-8 Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God. 8 They are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise up and stand firm.
It’s funny – after thinking about Trust over the weekend this morning’s sermons was on the same topic! (I’ll put a link to the sermon once it is uploaded onto the church website).
So this year I choose to TRUST:
T – Seek God for the Truth of who I am and who He is
R – Rest in the knowledge that He is in control so I don’t have to be
U- Understand that God knows what is going on even when I don’t
S – Submit to God’s authority over my life and will
T – realise that I am on Team Jesus so even if my circumstances look bad I’m on the winning side.
Lord, I commit 2012 to you not knowing what lies ahead but with enormous gratitude that You are in control.
There is an office tray in the reception of the church that makes me smile – in the tray is an ever expanding collection of lost glasses. We have toyed with putting a notice in the bulletin but figured that those who lost their glasses would not be able to read it. Perhaps we must put in a notice asking people to tell the person sitting beside them that if they lost their glasses they should go to the reception?
But these glasses make me smile for another reason. As most of you know by now my brain tends to think up some strange thoughts. I have been pondering the spectacular pile of spectacles and wondered if perhaps there has been a mini healing wave in the church with people having sight restored and in a very dignified manner causally discarding their glasses as they are no longer needed. My favourite theory though is that these glasses are actually an offering to God, a symbol of leaving their future in God’s hands. The glasses represent a clear sight of what is coming next and an independence from God. In my imagination I like to think of these glasses offered up as a sacrifice to God with hearts saying ‘I trust you to lead me God’.
God has never told us the detail of his future plans for our lives. I love that the Psalmist says:
Psalms 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.
The problem is that we doesn’t want a lamp for our feet we want a great big searchlight for the way ahead. I don’t know what the future holds for us and it is stressing my hubby out so much because he can’t see the way forward. But none of us knows or has any guarantees of how things will work out. All we know is that the one with the lamp is trustworthy and has good plans.
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
So without knowing the big picture or what lies ahead in the dark I choose to trust. Perhaps I too must leave my glasses behind next week in church as an offering to my heavenly father that I trust his leading and depend on him. (Maybe I must leave my wallet also but that is another post!) Now I just have to convince hubby that he needs to get glasses and then convince them to leave them behind some Sunday!
As the days of 2010 run out I have reflected a bit on the year and all that happened. I must be getting old as I really can’t remember what happened in what year – they have all started to blur at the edges – was it this year or last that Michael Jackson died? I do remember though that this has been a really tough year – not just for Ramos & I but for many people. Like many we have struggled financially and in business. Like many we have friends and family that didn’t survive the year and that we had to say goodbye to. All round 2010 was not a vintage year for us. Actually my first thought about the year is it was the year that made me tired! So as we edge closer to 2011 – who would have thought we would have made it this far and not been living in space ships eating tablets for food – I wonder with more fear than excitement what lies ahead.
We have somethings to be hopeful for – we are house hunting and I’m planning to register for my PhD – but we still have a lot of uncertainty. It would be lovely if the clock will strike midnight and all the troubles of 2010 would disappear – but we don’t live in a fairy tale. We have no guarantees for 2011, no voucher to redeem a better year, nor a magic charm to protect us from heartache. All we have that we can rely and depend on for next year is the same God whom we relied and depended on this year. Through all the hard times He was there – He was in control even though we don’t understand why He allowed some things to happen. In the midst of the chaos – the pick-n-mix of good and bad – His hand was on my life, sustaining me and bringing me through. So what do I hold onto for 2011?
Isaiah 46:9-10 Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. 10I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.
Sometimes these words are a comfort and at other times they feel like a threat. But the one consistency we have in our lives is God and His purposes – we can fight against Him all we like or try to persuade Him that our purposes is also lovely – but we can be assured that His Will will be done. The goodness of this promise is that God is trustworthy and loves us so his purposes, although they may not be what our hearts would choose, are for our best.
Jeremiah 29:11-13 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart
So I will trust God for 2011 and what lies ahead – it is beyond my control, but I know that the One who controls all things loves me and has good plans for me.
Did you ever have something that wanted so badly that you were obsessed by it? When I was about 6 years old I longed with all my heart for a Glo-Worm – this fantastic green worm whose face would light up when you squeezed its tummy. I remember standing at the end of my parent’s bed at an unearthly house one Christmas showing off this fantastic gift. But once my Glo-Worm arrived my love infatuation with him waned quickly. You see when I slept with my beloved Glo-Worm I would roll over in the bed and press on his tummy without realising, his face would light up in a big glowing smile and I would wake up terrified and crying. I liked my Glo-Worm better when they took his batteries out.
Sometimes we think we want something and set our hearts on it, not realising that it is either not the best thing for us or it might even be dangerous. When my parents gave me the beloved Glo-Worm they were giving me gift out of love – they did not give it with the intention of bringing me harm or giving the whole house sleepless nights. My Glo-Worm was not the best thing for me, even though it seemed like lovely gift.
God, our heavenly father is the giver of good gifts:
James 1:17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
In fact Jesus tells us to ask him for what we want, knowing that he will never give us something harmful:
Luke 11:9-13 “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 10For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. 11“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? 12Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
If only we could let God choose what we long for – He wants to give us good things. We need to learn to realign our hearts towards Him and to trust Him with our desires and longings enough that when he says no we understand.
Psalms 42:1-2 As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. 2My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?
Lord teach me to long after you alone and let my heart beat in synch with yours.
I’m having a problem today letting go. You see I got the most beautiful flowers for my birthday but now they are past their best. 17 days of pleasure and joy, but now the flowers are less vibrant and a bit worst for wear and frankly even a bit smelly! But if I throw them out my office will look empty and it is another year until my birthday comes around again. I suppose if I had been clever I could have hung them upside down and dried them out so I could enjoy them for years to come. But they looked so pretty in their vase that I wanted to keep them near my desk as I work.
How often in life do we hang onto things from the past – good and wonderful things – blessings from God. God’s word tells us that his blessings are abundant and his mercy is new every day:
Lamentations 3:22-24 Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. 23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. 24 I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”
Often we fear letting go of what we have as we are unsure when we will be blessed again. Jesus recognises both our fear and our need:
Matthew 6:31-34 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
It is funny- it was only on Wednesday night at cell when studying consumerism that I notice verse 32
For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.
God acknowledges both of fear of not having but also the needs that we have – he is not unware of what we need daily to get by and also of the pleasure we need in out lives. Lord let me not hold onto yesterday’s blessings for you are my heavenly father and will give me what I need for today. Help me to enjoy and remember what you have given me, to trust you with today and let you deal with tomorrow.