Monday, May 30, 2011

An Evening With Dean Martin

The Lord has blessed me with a lot of free time this summer to just do nothing. With absolutely nothing to do this evening, I turned on Pandora on my laptop to my Dean Martin station and began to write a letter my good friend, Callie (we decided to become old-fashion pen pals this summer! Haha!).  Listening to Dean Martin and others like him, I thought about how music was so different back then. So many of the songs possess this breezy quality that one doesn’t often find in music today, and the songs are absolutely captivating. The music possesses this effortless elegance much like Audrey Hepburn does in almost all of her roles (so jealous), and I love it. As I was writing my letter I had this sudden urge to read my bible. I’m sad to admit that I very rarely read my bible just because I feel like it. I usually only read it when I do my quiet times. Anyway, I love when I am reading God’s word and he reveals something to me that I never thought about before…
“For great is your love, higher than the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies.” –Psalm 108:4
I have heard and read this verse and verses like it many, many times before, but for whatever the reason it really impacted me today. His love is, “higher than the heavens.” How high are the heavens anyway? I have no idea, but it is higher than I could ever imagine. This is how much God loves me; more than I could ever imagine. Wow! I do not know why he chooses to love someone like me, but he does. And like the music I am listening to, his love for me absolutely captivates me.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Not Perfection, but Progess

I had originally had this wonderful vision of blogging everyday this summer. Fail. A lady whom I greatly respect often told me that living for the Lord is, “not perfection, but progress.” This applies to so many areas of life outside of walking with the Lord (and it obviously applies to my goal of daily blogging).  For some reason, I am very patient people around me (with the exception of my family… Sorry Mom.), but highly impatient with myself. For example, I never really liked coloring as kid. Taking the time to slowly color perfectly inside the lines to create a picture was just boring for me and not worth the time and effort. In class, I would usually just scribble when we had to color an assignment. Once in 2nd or 3rd grade I actually took the time to really color a picture and my mom was so proud she framed it (at the time she thought it might be the only decent piece of “artwork” I would ever do).  My problem is that I expect perfection in myself right away. If I try to learn something and it does not come easily for me, I often just give up. Sometimes when I am reading a book I will skip to the end just to see what happens and then go back and read the rest. I do not know how to “enjoy the journey” in doing things. I have yet to learn how to appreciate progress and I think this is what God wants to begin teaching me during this summer. He wants me to learn how to appreciate the progress of things in my life. I have been reading a book a close friend recommended to me by Elisabeth Elliot called Passion and Purity. In it Elliot talks a lot about dealing with uncertainty before marrying the man who would become her husband. She gives an example of a conversation she had with the Lord at one point, “When will we find it? we ask. Trust Me. How will we find it? we ask. Trust Me.”  I struggle all the time with trusting God to handle situations in my life: school, work, future, etc… Often, I want so desperately to know the ”end of the story“ in different areas of my life and God’s answer is Trust Me. Learn to appreciate the progress.

Friday, May 20, 2011

A Trip to the Mailbox

I said I wanted to talk about old people yesterday, but would save that topic for another day… Well guess what? Today is that day. There is this elderly couple who lives in a house that I pass everyday on my way home from work. Some days if I happen to drive by at just the right time I see this husband leading his little wife toward the mailbox (I assume to check the mail).  I have gotten to witness this scene several times over the past couple years and I watched it again this past Tuesday. It is such a sweet picture that I can hardly stand it and I almost cry every time I see that couple. The wife appears to have a difficult time walking and it is obvious that the short trek to the mailbox is not an easy one. It is obvious that the husband could easily walk to the mailbox and back to the house in thirty seconds flat. But he doesn’t. Instead he slowly walks beside his wife, leading and supporting her. He is perfectly content to go at her pace. I cannot help but think that the wife would never be able to make it to the mailbox without her husband beside her. I also get the feeling that the husband enjoys and looks forward to daily taking that short walk with his wife. If he didn’t want to he could just go get the mail on his own. Likewise, the wife could tell her husband that she doesn’t want to walk out to get the mail with him. It is both their own choice.
When I was home working over spring break I was thinking (and possibly tearing up) about this couple as I was driving home one afternoon. Then all of the sudden I heard God say, “This is what I do for you.” I was completely speechless. Over the past couple years I had been given a real life picture of what it looks like when God leads in my life. I am that wife who could never make it to the mailbox on her own. God is like the husband; patiently leading me, walking at my pace, and enjoying the time spent with me. God wants to be with me and meet me where I am. He wants to lead me and he chose me, but like the wife I have to make the decision to let him lead me.
I love how God will reveal himself to me and show his love for me through little moments like this.
“The LORD your God is with you, the mighty warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” –Zephaniah 3:17

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Struck in a Storm

I had every intention of writing about old people today until about 8:30 this evening, but I guess God had other plans. That topic will have to wait for another day. Today I feel the need to talk about storms (which is funny since the idea for this blog came from a weather forecast). I hated storms when I was little. They scared me to death. If I saw even the smallest speck of green on the little map of Oklahoma on the TV screen I went into a panic, and would be convinced that a tornado was coming to blow me away. I thought I had a “sixth sense” for severe weather. I could just feel it in the air (apparently this is called humidity and many people possess this power of keen weather observation). To put it simply, I had an unreasonable fear of severe weather. Although I still feel a little twinge of anxiety when I hear there is a tornado watch, I really am no longer bothered by storms.
This evening I went to dinner and a movie with some of my dear sisters from my sorority at Oklahoma State University. We walked out of the movie only to be greeted by rain and some pretty ominous lightning. Getting in my car, I realized that I was about to drive straight toward all that lightning and I was about 40 minutes away from my house. It had been quite some time since I had to drive in a storm and I wasn’t in the mood to revisit that experience tonight. I felt that little twinge of fear. Driving towards the lightning, it seemed to only to become more frequent. I had set my iPod to shuffle and the song that came on was “You Hold Me Now” by Hillsong. Here is just a little bit of the song:
“On that day when I see
All that You have for me
When I see You face to face
There surrounded by Your grace

All my fear is swept away
In the light of your embrace
When Your love is all I need
And forever I am free

Where the streets are made of gold
In Your presence healed and whole
Let the songs of heaven rise to you alone

No weeping, no hurt or pain
No suffering You hold me now
You hold me now
No darkness no sick or lame
No hiding You hold me now,
You hold me now”

As l listened to that song I was reminded of how in the midst of the “storms” of our lives, God is always there to hold us and lead us. Sometimes in life we sit obliviously in the movie theater only to walk out and be surprised by one of life’s storms. We never see the storm coming. Sometimes we have to knowingly drive straight into the storm, because we have no other options. Regardless of where we are at in life, Christ is there to hold us in that moment. This is so comforting to me.

“Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation, he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.” –Psalm 62: 1-2

Driving in this literal storm, I felt a peace surround me. The lightning continued and I was struck (get it?) by the beauty and magnificence of it. God created that lightning and he was in control of it. No matter what I go through in life, God reminded me through this storm that he holds me and he is control of the situation. He is my “abundant sunshine” through it all.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Abundant Sunshine

During my freshman year of college one of the first things I would do when I woke up every morning was check the weather forecast on my iPod. Living in Oklahoma, the one thing you can always predict is that the weather will be unpredictable. On morning during the spring semester I was checking the weather and all the forecast said was, “Abundant Sunshine.” Is there a more lovely way to describe a sunny day than to say, “Abundant Sunshine?” I do not think so. The more I thought about this description of the weather, the more it made me think of Christ in our lives. I was reading today in Matthew 4 during my quiet time. It talked about Jesus going to live in Capernaum fulfilling Isaiah 9:1-2.  In verse 2 of Isaiah 9 it says, “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.” Christ is abundant sunshine in our lives, and when we pay even the small amount of attention to what is going on around us we can see little evidences of this sunshine everywhere. This is my goal. Daily God blesses me with more than I could ever realize or deserve. I spend so much time focusing on things that do not even matter and I miss out on Christ’s “abundant sunshine” in my life.
“Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” –Psalm 73:25-26
 I want to take the time to recognize these daily blessings in my life. I do not want to miss out on the “abundant sunshine” around me, and I want to share this sunshine with others. Being a public relations major (excuse me, strategic communications); I was told it is good for pr majors to maintain a blog. So although I do not like murder (or blood for that matter) I decided I would “kill two birds with one stone” and start a blog documenting just some of God’s many daily blessings in my life. It is highly probable that very few people, if anyone, will read what I write. That is totally okay. But even if just one person reads my little blog, I hope it serves to bless their heart and shed some of Christ’s “abundant sunshine” in their life.