Saturday, May 14, 2005

Wake Up!!

Several of the last few nights have found me up pacing the floor because of Restless Leg Syndrome. I suffer from it to quite a severe degree--to the point of wearing holes in the sheets on our bed. I take medication to control it, but it doesn't always work. One night I was up until 4 a.m. and another up until 2 a.m. Unfortunately, I still wake up about the same time--between 6:30 and 7:00. So the sleep hours during the last several days have really been on the short side!

Today, I had to drive about an hour and a half to do a Southern Living At Home party. The drive there wasn't too bad. I was going over how I was going to set up my display, and mentally rehearsing the things I wanted to say.

However, the trip home was quite a challenge. I had something cold to drink and I had my pumpkin seeds--my usual arsenal of things to keep me awake while I drive. I even had the radio on listening to a public radio program which was rather entertaining. But, still, I was really struggling to stay awake. All of a sudden, I heard the rumble strips under the tires of the van. I had nodded off to sleep! Scary!! What if I had veered the other way instead of off to the shoulder?!? I know God must have had His hand on the steering wheel!

I found a place to pull off and walked around for a bit, before continuing on home. Oh, My! That was NOT a fun experience.

As I continued on home, I was thinking about how the church seems to be in a similar situation. We are content to do the same old "two songs and a prayer" and heaven forbid if someone tries to do something a little new. So we sit in same old pews, sing the same old songs, at the same old slow pace, with the same people playing the same roles, blah, blah, blah, blah....and because of complacency and following the same old traditions that have become sacred cows, we grow sleepy and nod off. (Now for me, unfortunately, this is true not only figuratively, but in reality as well. The RLS cycle keeps me from getting enough sleep, makes me really drowsy during the day, and the more tired I am the worse the RLS gets, and I lose even more sleep and so on...)

It is the newer roads that have the rumble strips. Some smart person decided that was a great way to wake some one up who had nodded off and veered off the road. For people like me, they need to go back and install them on all the old roads as well.

I believe the church needs rumble strips. We seem to have gotten so comfortable in our car (or in our box) that we are in danger of falling asleep. We want things to be just like they always have been. Sort of the "If it works, don't fix it" mentality. Unfortunately, "it" doesn't seem to be working any more. I fear that we are veering off and in danger of a head on collision. If the church is not growing, it is dying. We need to wake up, kill some sacred cows, and let the church continue to grow into the embodiment of Christ that it was designed to be.

Thank you, Father, for rumble strips. Please continue to guide me. Wake me up! Make me more like Christ!

Friday, May 13, 2005

Addy and the Flowers

Recently, my almost 3-year old granddaughter, Addy, was helping me plant flowers in my garden. What fun we had! I dug the hole, loosened the dirt in the bottom, and then she added compost to the hole. I mixed it and the loose dirt with the shovel and she helped with her hand shovel. Then she poured in some root starter solution and I put the plant in and and replaced the dirt around the plant. Then Addy would take her little plastic watering can and water the newly planted flower.

We repeated this process many times. After we had planted several flowers, I was watching her water with her little watering can. Then she stepped back and just stood there looking at the plant.

Nana: "What are you doing Addy?"
Addy: "Watching the flower grow!"
Nana: (smiling) "Oh!"
Addy: "Isn't it pretty?"

This scenario and conversation has really stuck with me for the last couple of weeks. I've been planting more flowers on my own and thinking about how Addy would "watch them grow". I know my Heavenly Father stands back and watches me "grow". I'm sure at times, the watching isn't all that interesting and surely must be imperceptable.

Things I've learned from Addy and the flowers:

* Look at things from a child's perspective--"I'm watching it grow."
* Appreciate things as they are--"Isn't it pretty?"
* Some things (and people) are worth of being watched even if it looks like nothing is happening.
* God watches us patiently.

"Let the children come to me. Don't stop them! For the kingdom belongs to those who are like these children." Mark 10:14b

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Just a Simple God Song

Daniel is our 4 year old grandson. I got to sit in on his Bible class tonight since I didn't have any babies in my nursery class. His mom teaches his class this quarter. She began by asking if the kids wanted to sing. The reply was a resounding "YEEESSSSSS!" Donna asked them what they wanted to sing. Logan, the only other child there tonight, replied with the usual "Jesus Loves Me". That's what I expect from most children their age. And we sang it and I love hearing those sweet little voices sing about Jesus.

But then, Donna asked Daniel what song he wanted to sing. "God is Good" was his reply. And Donna said, "I could have guessed." So this was not an unusual request on his part. But it surprised me. It's not a song we often sing at church. His grandpa and I sang it to each other at our wedding 9 years ago, but that was before he was born. So, I'm not sure where he's heard it often enough for it to be his favorite song. We sang:

God is so good.
God is so good.
God is so good, He's so good to me.

He answers prayers.
He answers prayers.
He answers prayers, He's so good to me.

I love Him so.
I love Him so.
I love Him so, He's so good to me.

Just a simple song. Simple enough for a child to love it. But powerful enough for those of us who've been around a little longer to love it as well.

So simple. God is good. All the time. Not just years ago. Not just yesterday. Not just tomorrow. All the time. Always. Everyday. In every way. There is no shadow or turning. He doesn't change or vary. He is good! His mercies are new every morning!! He's so good to me.

He answers prayers. Always. Not always how we want. But He always listens and He always responds. And He does what it best for us. He's so good to me.

I love Him so. He's always good. He answers prayers. He gave himself to die for me. I love Him so. He's so good to me!!

I love it that Daniel loves this song. I'm sure he doesn't realize all the things I do about this song, but that will come in time. And when trouble comes his way, as it surely does to all of us, I hope that little song continues to play in his mind....God is so good....

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Fishing & Faith

Our friend, Ray, that we go fishing with is an early riser. He likes to be out on the water by 6:15 casting his net for bait. I love fishing. So it's not hard to get out of bed to go. Except....when we've gotten our bait and boated over to our favorite fishing spot, baited the hooks, tossed them in and.......nothing happens. Ray's wife, Nancy, says that the fish don't wake up until 8:30. It's truly amazing how many mornings that was true!! We never went a day without catching fish, but most days it was after 8:30!

As I sat there, watching the end of my fishing pole--willing it to move, it was easy to think--"Hey, I could have slept another 2 hours!" Now I am a pretty patient fisherperson. My husband on the other hand....if he hasn't had a bite in 5 minutes, he's ready to go do something else. That is especially true at home on our pond. There is too much work calling his name for him to just sit and wait for a fish to bite. Out on the boat, far away from home, he is much better. But he still takes a book to read!!

As I sat out on that boat waiting for that 30" striper to wake up, I began to think about faith. We have our fishing poles of faith cast out into God's great ocean and we sit watching our poles. We want God to give a mighty tug and let us know He is there. We want the end of that pole to bend, and the line begin to scream off the reel. But, it isn't "8:30" yet. We have to sit and be patient. And continue to be watchful.

I admit, sometimes out on the boat with the gentle rocking motion and the wind in my face, I would begin to nod off. When I began to do that, I would take the fishing pole out of the holder and lock my hands around it so that I wouldn't miss that tug. I sure didn't want to miss that fish!! And all it took was one little bump and I would be WIDE AWAKE!!! It might be several minutes before another bump came along, but, oh, how thrilling that was!! And then once a fish took that line--Wow!--I was up out of my seat in a flash, tugging and reeling and squealing with delight!! Now it wasn't just me that was excited, everyone in the boat became more animated and watchful. And once we started catching those 22'-24' fish, don't you know we were all really excited.

We may wait for a long time for a little tug on our pole that lets us know our faith in God does not go unanswered. But once it comes, oh, aren't we pleased and excited and willing to wait for the next tug. And if a really big TUG comes, our joy can not be contained! We might even cause other people to become excited.

But you know who I'm really impressed with. The person who just keeps his pole in God's great ocean--never getting even a little bump. And yet, stays. Keeps that pole in the water. Trusting. Surely, surely, God is a great rewarder of those who patiently continue to wait.

"Be still, and know that I am God."

Father, help me to be patient. Help me to be watchful and very aware of even the tiny "bumps" that let me know you are there. But even when there are no "bumps", Father, help me to continue to trust, to have faith. And help me, Father, to continually bring to mind the "whales" that have tugged on my line--that prove to me You are who you say You are.

"Now may the God of Peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again. God will make this happen, for he who calls you [and tugs on your line] is FAITHFUL. I Thes. 5:23-24

Turkey Moments

The fishing trip was a GREAT success. We dressed out over 100 fish. We caught mostly stripers (some up to 24") and a few catfish and sandbass. The lake was beautiful. It was really nice to get away from all the regular everyday stuff and be with good friends and enjoy this wonderful world God has made for us.

We got home about 5:30 p.m. yesterday. One of the things I did last night was to go through and read the regular blogs that I always read. It was fun to read them and catch up!

This morning, very early, before I went to work, I looked out our back door and saw a Tom turkey and three hen turkeys. It was such fun to watch them saunter along looking for bugs to eat. The Tom was huge. I grabbed my binoculars to get a better look. (I keep them on top of the fridge next to the back door for just such opportunities.) I was hoping to get a good look at him before he went behind the shed. He turned toward me for just a brief moment, and I got to see his beard--it was so long it nearly hung to the ground! I was excited to get such a good glimpse of him. And then! He turned around with his back to me, and just before he went behind the shed, he fanned out his feathers! Wow! I was so excited I could hardly contain myself!! It was tempting to go wake up my husband, but since he had done all the driving the day before, I refrained.

I ran to the front room to see if I could see the turkeys coming around the other side of the shed. Sure enough, there they were. I watched until they went out of sight behind some brush. It was worth giving up a few minutes of my morning and having to hurry through what was already a quick breakfast, to see those turkeys strutting through our yard.

I 'm sure God watches us like that. He watches us going about our own daily routines, and He is fascinated. We don't even realize that He's watching. And once in a while, we do something really good, and we "fan out our feathers" for Him--still not knowing He is watching. But He is so thrilled! I'm sure he must be calling all the angels over--"Look! See what she's doing! I made her, she belongs to me!"

I pray that each day, I do more and more things that please my Father.