Some thoughts ...Hello there! It's been a while since I've been able to post anything. My year has been a whirlwind so far. Plus I am having some issues with my domain name at the moment due to a change over in the hosting company so for now I will just have a blog spot address and that's ok. Hopefully you will still be able to read this, because I would like to start writing again.
This year (so far) can be summed up as one very long season of patience building. My biggest prayer for the year was finally answered in July. I was finally able to buy a home of my very own. I've been looking for a while, and I was finally able to get the house I wanted. It's a cute cottage-y fixer-upper. It's actually not even a cottage, but there's something about it that has a coziness that reminds me of a cottage. So that's probably what I'll refer to it as from here on. It's a peaceful place, and that is my favorite feature. However, in spite of all of it's cozy cute potential, it's still a complicated mess; and I've still not been able to move in. (Enter more stress, prayer, and proactive waiting.)
Crazy, huh? You'd think that when God answers your prayers that everything would instantly be o.k. That it would all work, but it's not always like that. You see we don't get to choose how God helps us, who He sends to help us, or even how long we have to hold tight until everything is good again. It's during the in-between time that you really have to lean hard upon Him. Ironically, it's been the in-between time that has taught me the most about God, about myself, and about what my relationship with God really looks like.
This year has been tough. I'm learning all about my weaknesses, yet I'm also learning that I am much stronger that I realized. It's not a strength that I've always had though. It's strength that has been born of years of God using the in-between times just like this one. As I step back and look at myself in this new season I see a different person. I see shadows of who I was, but I also see more of who I think I was meant to be. It's certainly not been comfortable, but I'm learning to embrace these seasons and to appreciate how God uses them to bring about good in me. It's seasons like this, that I realize that everything I do needs to flow from my relationship with Jesus. My relationship with Him brings me strength; and from my relationship with Him, I find that everything else I need falls into place.
Last week I was reading some things that Laura Story had written in her blog about abiding. Here's a excerpt, but you really should read the entire blog post:
"As I was reflecting on this passage that I’ve read a thousand times, I asked God for a fresh understanding of what it meant to abide. I spend so much of my life working and worrying, striving and stressing, and very little time being still and listening. So as I attempted to practice this somewhat elusive abiding that scripture speaks of, I let these words seep deep into my restless soul. “I am the vine and you are the branches,” Jesus spoke (and John writes). “Whoever abides in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” A few things I instantly noticed. First of all, Jesus isn’t against doing. He calls us to do a great many things, yet the source of our strength for the doing must come from abiding. As counter intuitive as it seems, our very first step in doing anything must not be a step at all: it must be abiding. Secondly, I took a moment to gaze out my living room window and noticed something about the trees. None of the branches seemed to be struggling to connect with their trunks, or vines, if you will. It is the most natural thing in the world for these branches to stay attached to their source of life and strength and nourishment. These branches acknowledge the blatantly obvious: to be severed from their roots would mean all growth would cease." - Laura StoryAbiding has always been the tricky part for me too. I struggle with having a bit of both Mary and Martha in me (Luke 10:38-42); I long for the presence of Jesus, yet I struggle with a need to be doing something all the time. My desire gets misplaced, and what was once good intentions can somehow cause me to take my focus off of what's most important - Jesus. His presence is always going to need to be my first choice. Everything I am needs to flow from my relationship with Him. When I am truly honest with myself, all of the struggling and frustration usually stems from those moments when I've let a distance come between us. The good that I want to do means nothing if I neglect the one(s) that I am doing the good for. Isn't this true in all relationships? How many times have I intended to do something for my family that I know they would enjoy, but in the process it has some how become more about what I'm doing and less about them? Then before I know it, all of those well-intended things would end in an argument or frustration all because I lost my focus.
Abiding should be the most natural thing in the world. My relationship with God should flow naturally, easily - like a stream through the forest or blood through my veins; and so mingling that you cannot tell where He begins and I end. When we look at branches, we hardly notice the branches. Instead, we see the tree. It's one body with a united purpose. Sin messed that up, and it's a shame that such a beautiful picture was marred and divided. Yet, how much more beautiful does that make grace? My sin is a tragedy, yet it makes the love and forgiveness that I received from Jesus through His death and resurrection so much more precious. His love means more. His presence means more, and I need to abide all the more. It may not be as natural as it could have been if sin had never entered the world...or even as easy, but I certainly need Him.