Archives for June 2012

Conversations about Work

Written By Amy

                           “May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands for us–yes, establish the work of our hands.”  Psalm 90:17

As we know, life has seasons.  For many years, my husband, Jonathan, and I were in a season of raising young children.  So much of our daily thought and energy revolved around their needs.  Our kids are older now, and more independent, and while I would put one label of “Soccer Mom and Dad” on Jon and myself, a more deeply threaded season of “work” seems to permeate our thoughts and energy right now. I have mentioned before in this blog the instability of my husband’s airline career, and that I began working a couple of jobs about a year and a half ago to help supplement income.  Since then Jonathan has started another side business, venturing into the healthy vending world, and the past six months have been filled with perseverance, hard work and commitment on his part to walk the path of starting a new business.  My working world has evolved in several areas…working as a mom and spouse to care for my family, an Orthopedic office job (which I love and was truly God’s blessing and perfect timing in my life), tutoring (also love!), and another business venture I am pursuing.  My plate is full. 

My tendency is to run through life, giving God a quick wave as I rush into the next thing.   Of course I pray and ask God for his will, but I am a hard charger into whatever is before me and I often don’t wait for his clear answer.  As of late, I am challenging myself with the question, “Do I really want to know the answer if it looks different from my own ideas?”  I have been truly praying, “God, is this work I am doing in your favor?  Is the path I am on in life in your plan for me?”    While I believe that right now I am fulfilling God’s plan in the areas of work in my life,  I have committed to listening for a different answer if there is one.

 The verse above speaks loudly to me.  The Lord’s favor is a priceless treasure, and if you look closely at the verse it says “establish the work of our hands for us…”  It does not say we should establish our work and then ask for God’s favor.  He will bring us work opportunities, ideas, visions…and if we pursue them in his name we will hear his encouragement and feel peace.  It is when there is no peace, unrest, or discontent with our work or our choices that we need to bend our ear to God’s soft voice, and listen.

Whatever it is that you do, whether it be changing diapers and having a continual shoulder full of spit-up, or schooling your children, or providing for your family with a career or side-job, pray that it is in the Lord’s favor, and ask God to establish the work of your hands for you, that it may be the very best plan He has for your life.

GREAT SUMMER READ

Written By Jen

I am rereading Drawing Near To The Heart of God by Cynthia Heald this summer as my daily devotional reading.  This book is light and lovely.  Each chapter is encouraging and  I will read and reread this book throughout my lifetime.  This book is in my top 5 list for gifts for a friend.   My copy is already looking tattered.   This would be an excellent book to read with a mentor or a mentee or even as a Bible Study book.  I highly recommend you buy it, read it on your own or with a friend.  It’s good for your soul.  Here is a little introduction:

“The impulse to pursue God originates with God, but the out working of that impulse is our following hard after Him.  All the time we are pursuing Him we are already in His hand.” -A.W. Tozer

“With so many “pulls” on our time and identity it cam be difficult to discern which road to travel each day.  But choose we must, for each day takes us towards some destination.  In the following chapters, we will explore what is needed — and the riches that await us — when we choose to follow hard afer God’s heart.” … “The word journey originally meant a march of just one day.  A journeyman meant a worker by the day; a journal, a daily record.  Once we understand that the journey begins with our commitment to travel toward the heart of God, we can be free of the fear of being unprepared.  Each da becomes precious because each day is part to of the process that takes us nearer to the heart of God.”

“My journey to the heart of God does not begin tomorrow: the choices I make today determine whether I move toward Him or towards elf and the world.”

All experts from Cynthia Heald’s, Drawing Near to the Heart of God (Colorado Springs: Nav Press 2012) 17-20.

Healing

Written By Amy

Healing is an amazing process.  I work for an orthopedic surgeon, and it continues to awe me how a patient will initially walk (roll or crutch) throught the front door of our office in pain and distress, but each week they return there has been healing and mending done by time and our miraculous cellular structure geared to return to health.   The wounds close, the wheelchair becomes crutches, the crutches become steady legs.  The pain and the wounds are fixed by surgery and/or pain medication.  It’s not an easy process, healing, but there are some clear-cut ways to go about it.

It doesn’t seem that straightforward with emotional pain.   

Recently I experienced a painful situation borne out of trying to do the right thing as a mother, and a circumstance resulting in a strained relationship with a friend.  Its messy.  I am at fault for some of it.  I’m not sure it’s completely fixable.  I believe I did the right thing for my child, but don’t ever wish to be at odds with my friends.  Choosing just to sit and process the unfixable situation, it’s uncomfortable.   Every fiber in me wanted to either go back in the future and do it over differently, or have complete resolution right that minute.  I don’t like conflict, and when I can’t “control” the healing, I am just left with a heavy heart. 

 Emotional pain comes out of nowhere…an overreaction that hurts someone, an argument, a misunderstanding with a friend that creates a rift, a conflict at work or with a complete stranger.  Or just being misunderstood.  Loss.  Change.  Failure. Regret.

We  do have ways of fixing it….with numbing things like food, or spending, or alcohol or even drug abuse.  We try to be strong and bury our feelings, stuff them, which always results in them rising to the surface, like a bruise after a kick in the shin.  Our whole being is created to move toward peace.  As our bodies instantly begin to heal when wounded,  so do our souls as they strive to knit themselves together as rapidly as possible…by whatever means.

What other choice do I have when I’m in emotional pain?  All I have is the healing power of God.  Someone once shared with me that they visualize laying all of their problems on the altar of God.  They picture God, seated on his heavenly throne, accepting these cares and taking them from us, so that we may know they are now in able hands…that our hearts are in able hands.

I can receive strength from the bible:

“I lift up  my eyes to the hills-where does my help come from?

My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth”.  Psalm 121:2

 

 “I am in pain and distress; may your salvation, O God, protect me.” Psalm 69:29

 

“But as for me, it is good to be near God.  I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge”.  Psalm 74:28

Is it possible to release the pain to God?  We can definitely try.  We can pray and ask Him to take our hearts, heal them, give us perspective and strength.  He is the only one with the power to do that.

May God bless you and your heart today, and if you know someone who is hurting, maybe pass this along.

 

 

 

Summer Fun

Written By Jen

Hey friends!  Well the slow speed of summer is finally here and I remember why I long for it all spring.  There are no alarm clocks rushing us out of bed.  There are no monotonous lunches to be made.  There is no homework.  Our bedtime has relaxed, so an extra conversation, a longer walk, or an extra inning doesn’t seem to add degrees of stress with each minute that passes.  Chats poolside with friends has begun.  Sprinklers and popsicle are already a big hit.  Ah, yes, summer is here, at last.  For now, these cool nights still chill our house for a good night rest.

Expectations.  I set a few expectations for our family before we even set foot into summer.  I think this has already helped SOOOOO much.  We are all clear on what the ground rules are.  Though summer is still young I have addressed some of my major summer stressors here.  I am sure the triggers are different for everyone, but these are mine and this is our list.

1.  Any attitude with parents or siblings for any reason, will get an initial warning (the first offense in the day) and the next time a guaranteed 20 minutes in ones room.  (This just allows that person time to chill, reflect and reset.)

2. Monday – Friday you will be presented with an “I did it list”  that you can check off.  You will be expected to have this done before we do anything “fun” for the day.  I change this list up  a bit, but it always includes:

20 minutes reading

10 minutes writing (I usually give an assignment here like; write Grandma a Birthday Card, or a writing prompt)

4 worksheets

make bed

clean room

EXTRA

type story on computer, empty dishwasher, put laundry away, hug your mom…  (I make their list the night before as I think about what we need to get done for me to feel, free to have some fun.  They use their brain a little which helps alleviate the boredom factor.  This also gets them helping with daily household chores.  I through some incentives in there for the scholastic work.)

3.  I assigned a color of glass to each of my kids and that is their water-glass all day long.  The same color all summer.  (Just a little simplification.  We all know whose is whose and there are less dishes to do.)

4. I bought an over the door rack specifically for towels.  This way we each have one pool/sprinkler towel per week.  When not in use it stays on the rack.  (This is so I don’t feel like I am doing endless loads of towels all summer long.  To me this is just wisdom with a plan.)

5.  Just a general expectation that when we are done with one thing we will pick it up before moving on to the next.  This includes toys, busing dishes, dirty clothes…

So far, so good.  Setting expectations or ground rules helps get a fair playing ground for summer.  They are not at the whim of my mood for the day or the moment.  We all have a fair place to start.

 

Our family has been talking about trying to do things that are fun and free or close to free.  Of course the local library, pools and parks and the obvious attractions, but here are a few more we found.

SUMMER MOVIE EXPRESS!  Moviegoers of all ages can climb aboard the Summer Movie Express to enjoy a great selection of films. During this 9-week festival, participating Regal Cinemas, United Artists and Edwards Theatres will offer selected G or PG rated movies for only a dollar on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings at 10:00. A portion of proceeds from the Summer Movie Express will be donated to the Will Rogers Institute.  Click here to see if there is a participating theater near you!

We found a kids bowl free program.  Check here to see if there is one near you.  I had friends do it last year and they enjoyed it.

 

Bowling, movies, books, pools and parks all scream summer fun.  Here is to long summer nights, hot days, cool dips, shade trees, great books and mostly enjoying all the moments and conversations that summer ushers into our lives.   As we play this summer, shoulder to shoulder with people we love, consider, in our conversations and in our actions what we let in.  Would you filtering your summer through this?

“Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.” Philippians 4:8-9 The Message

Wishing you a great summer!

When No One Understands

Come to me for understanding, since I know you far better than you know yourself.  I comprehend you in all your complexity, no detail of your life is hidden from Me.  I view you through eyes of grace…

When no one seems to understand you, simply draw closer to me.  Rejoice in the One who understands you completely and loves you perfectly.  As I fill you with My Love, you become a reservoir of love, overflowing into the lives of other people.

Jesus Calling, p.80

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