Posted in Family, fear, Grace, gratitude, life, loving others, prayer, priorities, Scripture, thankful, wisdom

Robbed by Mr. Urgency

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”  John 3:16

I was robbed.  This is one of those stories I really don’t want to write but I believe at the same time it’s gonna help someone…besides me.  I have been writing stories five days a week now since March.  It has been an incredible journey.  I’ve said this before, but it all started on a whim.  The COVID hot mess was just gaining steam and I felt led to write a story to encourage some folks.  I am not a Facebook person but that was the only avenue I had.  So, I wrote it and posted it on my page.  Amazingly, more than several dozen people read it and most wrote a comment. Those comments were what stirred me on to keep writing.  I decided to answer every comment.

Like utility poles whisking by on a fast moving train, the days went by.  I would write, many of you would write and I would read and write back.  It was so encouraging. It was like a drink of spring water on a hot day.  And then it happened.  In the rush to write, I forgot to take the time to read.  I got busier, and busier and it seemed all I had time to do was write and then write some more.  I would occasionally grab a comment here or there but that was about all I could manage. I had run smack-dab into Mr. Urgent. Judy would help out and read a couple to me, but the bottom line is I let the urgency of the moment rob me of that drink of cold water.  I felt like I had failed you…but just as importantly, I had failed myself.  You see, I was needing what you were saying…desperately.

A week or so ago I determined to go back a week to read what you all had said.  I was gonna do better.  So, I did.  I read, I wrote, and I was encouraged.  But then, thanks to Mr. Urgent I found myself so far behind that I said, “There’s no use trying.”  The good news, and boy do I need some, the good news, is that those precious jewels are safely stored on Facebook and soon I will journey back and read your notes of encouragement and I will be refreshed.  I will smile and I will remember why I do what I do.

As I am writing this, I realize that for me, and perhaps many of you, this isn’t the only time this has happened.  There is something else that Mr. Urgent can keep us from reading, something else that is of even greater importance—God’s Word.  I don’t know your background, but even if it doesn’t include a lot of God, this Book is nothing short of incredible.  Written over several millennia by about 40 authors, this Book is God’s love letter to us.  It is as multifaceted as the most brilliant diamond.  It is amazing.

What I find so impressive is that when you open it at the front and till you close it at the back, it has one theme—that God so loved this broken and imperfect world that He gave His only Son that anybody—let that soak in—anybody that believes in Him can have eternal life.  It really is amazing and it really is true.  As you journey through it you find stories of imperfect people loved and rescued by this infinitely powerful God.  And honestly, the story doesn’t always end like we would want.  But it always ends with one undeniable truth:  God is good, God is faithful, and God can be trusted.

Thank you for reading and writing those encouraging comments.  I may be slow getting there but I hope none of them will be wasted.  And also, watch out for Mr. Urgent. His “tyranny of the urgent” can and will keep you from what really matters. Whether it is time with family or time in God’s Word, he will rob you and leave you beside the road of life wondering what happened.  Be sure and take time, make time to read His amazing story.  Been awhile since you’ve read? Start with the stories about Jesus found in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.  I am sure you will be impressed and intrigued.  And shortly, you will discover that this God is the God you can trust—you can lean into—you can rest in.  And yes, you will soon discover that no matter what…He’s got this.

Posted in fear, Grace, gratitude, life, Scripture, thankful, wisdom

Do You Have A Pencil?

God, who began the good work within you, will continue His work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” Philippians 1:6

“Do you have a pencil?” he asked.  Realizing there were plenty of kinds of pencils he added, “You know, the old-fashioned kind?”  I’m not sure what he needed it for but I rummaged through my desk drawer and found one.  I think he needed one with lead on one end and an eraser on the other.  The kind where you use one end to write a story or make a mark and the other you use to remove our “oops.” Today we are more likely to use the delete key on a keyboard. Erasers were my friends. Delete keys are my new friend. It makes my oops disappear.  I have a lot of oops.

My delete key changes things.  I mentioned recently that I did something that I had done only once before.  I opened the church calendar on my computer and started deleting things.  Evening service.  Delete. Youth Impact. Delete. KLICK and Women’s Bible Study.  Delete. Wednesday services. Delete. Choir Practice. Delete. Delete, delete, delete.  When I was done the calendar looked, well, mostly empty.  Mostly empty.

Then it hit me. Like an artist I was staring at a blank canvas and I realized what had been planned was gone.  The space that was cleared left plenty of room–room for God to write a new story. A different story. A better story. Several weeks ago, I began writing. With more white on the page there was more time to write.  Without God orchestrating the delete button, the stories would still be in my head and heart but not on the page. The thing I resisted led to the freedom to do it.

I wonder what would happen if we started concentrating on the ways God can use this hot mess we are in to rewrite stories?  What if we started to freely, to openly, invite Him to use the delete button and rewrite the stories of our lives?  I wonder what opportunities, what adventures would suddenly fill our pages.  A walk to the park becomes a safari. Homemade pizza night becomes an edible art gallery. The dining room table is cleared and we drag out the family games that have stayed in the closet too long.

Then there are cards to write, and calls to make, and stories to share.  Imagine the kids’ faces as they hear again how you met each other or how you met Jesus. Imagine sharing how things are really, really hard right now but how you are trusting God to help.  Imagine faith leaping off the page of the Bible and right onto the pages of your life. Then, imagine them saying, “Mom, Dad this bad time has been the best time because we got to be together.” Just imagine.

Yes, these are really challenging times.  Financially. Emotionally. Spiritually.  Yes–but what if God is writing a new story that in the end is the stuff of legends?  What if in a few years these days are some of the best memories?  And it was all possible because we said, “Ok God–go ahead and use the delete key.  I’m trusting that Your story is better than my story. I’m trusting You.” You see, God’s best use of the delete key is when He applies His grace to our sins, our mistakes, our misguided decisions, our oops.  New pasts and new futures are His specialty and they are often written in crazy days like these.  So, go ahead, press that delete key. Rest in Him.  He’s got this.