Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Thank goodness for wake-up calls

And I’m not talking about the hotel ones, either, though they have certainly come thru for me on more than one occasion. I mean the life wake-up calls that God hands you.

A friend’s mom, who is a sprite 84, recently had a stroke. The Great Physician took it upon Himself to assist in a recovery that the regular ol’ human physicians have labeled “miraculous.”

Within just a couple of days Mom had recovered her speech, the use of her left side and was getting herself in and out of bed without help. I would have loved to see the look on the nurse’s face when she entered the room expecting to see an elderly, bed-ridden, stroke victim, and instead saw a patient who had gotten herself “up and at ‘em” calmly waiting in a chair, eager to start her day of therapy!

My friend, thankfully, has a strong relationship with her mom and both are women after God’s own heart (go read I Samuel 13, especially verse 14 if you’re not sure what that whole heart thing is about, or Elizabeth George’s book). But it was a wake-up call for my friend nonetheless. Mom isn’t going to be there forever. Now, she’s so healthy she may be with us on this earth for another decade. And my friend has the joy and confidence of knowing she will spend eternity with her mom someday. But still – aren’t there things in this life that you want to say, or want to do, now?

My dad was diagnosed with leukemia (specifically CLL) over a decade ago. As the youngest of four, and definitely Daddy’s little girl, this was devastating to me. But the good that has come out of it is I’m not afraid to ask my dad questions, because I never know when I’ll get another chance, which have led to wonderful, thoughtful conversations. And I end every phone call with “love you Daddy!” – it’s as much for me as for him. Because when he’s called Home to Heaven, I’ll know that HE knew how much I valued and appreciated him. I don’t want any regrets in that area.

Have you had a wake-up call recently? Is there something you’ve been putting off, that you should deal with? Do you need to make a call and tell someone you love them, or offer forgiveness and start some healing? Or do you just need to jump online and book that 10-day Alaskan cruise you’ve always said you would go on “someday”? Do yourself a favor – give yourself a wake-up call today.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


It’s the worst chore ever. When I was single and living in an apartment, I thought it was dusting, but once I got married and moved to a house in the suburbs, where you have to have things like “landscaping” (but no budget for a full-time gardener – drat!), I have discovered the single worst chore in the world is weeding. I truly, truly hate it. I want to move into the city, where land is covered in concrete and glass just so I never have to pull or spray another weed again. I am not kidding.

I think I loathe it because it takes so much time and work. Now, before all the gardeners jump on me, I am fully aware that if I would just expend a little bit of effort every week, instead of saving it all up and weeding once a… quarter?... I could save myself tons of grief.

Funny how weeds are almost exactly like sin, hey?

If I would just recognize sin in my life right away, when it’s small and easy to uproot and remove, how much agony would I save myself? Instead, noooooo, I let the sin get all big and dug in and rooted and then it’s work to remove it from my life. Sometimes there is stuff that sprouts up that I don’t even recognize as a weed, er, sin. But if it chokes life out of my spiritual garden it’s a sin that needs to be removed in order for God to flourish.

Maybe I need to start on a weekly weeding program that I also use as a time to inspect my spiritual garden. Anyone else do this? (I promise, you don’t have to continue the garden metaphor) What do you do to stay on top of the sin in your life? Do you have a regular time of confession and prayer with God? Or is it more of a when-you-notice-it sort of thing?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Figuring it out. Or not.

What do I need to leave behind so that I can go and fulfill God’s call on my life (ala Peter, Andrew and Elisha)? This was a question at the end of one of the day’s of a thirty day Bible study I am doing. And what a great question. But since I can’t even seem to figure out God’s call on my life, I have no idea what I need to abandon to fulfill it.

Does it ever seem like everyone has a purpose but you? I return again and again to Jeremiah 1:5. And I Peter 4:10. I’ve read 48 Days to the Work You Love and The Purpose Driven Life. And I emerge from them feeling… directionless and purposeless. Not really what the authors were going for, I don’t think.

Why is it so easy for me to believe that God has a purpose for every life but mine? I truly believe in those passages of Scripture – for everyone except me that is. I get so stuck when the discussion turns to purpose and talents. Where I am normally chatty, suddenly my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth. Whether it’s fear, or self-doubt or having beat myself up for so long for being prideful that I now have nothing to be proud of, I don’t know.

All I know is that while I read God’s Word about using my gifts for Him, I acknowledge them with my head but I don’t believe them in my heart. Or, even more accurately, I believe the words for everyone except me. I know the danger of such sad, discouraging, negative self-talk. I try to obey II Corinthians 10:5b and “take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ.” But I’d still really like to know what I am good at.

I always feel like I look around and see someone else already doing things I could potentially be interested in, and doing it so much better than I could, that I feel like I have nothing further to contribute. So is that fear, self-doubt or both? And aside from taking a bunch of multiple-choice quizzes, how do I learn what talents I have? And what God wants from me? Does anyone else ever struggle with this??