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Braking Points

Pausing in the midst of Life to ponder, pray and find footing to continue.

Month

February 2018

CHANGE IN THE HANDS OF GOD

3854CF61-AD49-46BA-9DFF-3BA38C3D12E3A few years after my ‘be still and know’ moment, I began to struggle with the multitude of changes occurring in my life. Now let me let you know I have always been a dreamer so seeking new beginnings, new adventures whether actually or simply in my head provides impetus for trying new things.

HOWEVER,

I hate being blindsided and forced to CHANGE. Perhaps, God knew that about me—OK, so God knew that about me. The physician I worked for in Bartlesville, OK gathered us all one afternoon to inform us that at the end of the month, he was closing his practice, heading to Indianapolis to do a fellowship in plastic surgery, and WELL! There we all were, open mouthed and taking deep breaths to keep from screaming…OK, I can only speak for myself, I was close to screaming.

Change that happens because I choose to change and Change that happens suddenly, capriciously may be related but they are not congenial.

I had come a ways in my journey with God so after a prayerful rant on the way home from work that day, I took a breath and listened. Nope! Nada! Not a word! Tears flowed. Panic threatened. The landscape stretched out around me, flat beauty alive with May wildflowers, as a new vision filled my head. Dr. Craig hadn’t done this to me, to us. God had. Left to my own ways, all my dreams and aspirations would have stayed in my head as I settled into a comfortable job, with comfortable people, enough challenge to keep me dreaming, and no reason to fly.

S0 GOD like the eagle removed my nest. . .and I was reminded HE was holding me, my hopes, dreams, and all those I loved.

Change comes! Some of the changes associated with growing older challenge me greatly, but WHAT I DO with change, how I respond is MY choice. AS long as I realize that as I step into the precipice of the unknown, God will either ‘catch me or teach me to fly’.

“When the night is holding on to me, God is holding on.” King of My Heart, John Mark and Sarah McMillan

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The Hour I First Believed…

I have spent way too much time in my life chasing after people who caught my attention and seemed to have everything I did not have. It wasn’t so much that I wanted what they had as that I wanted to be included in their circle of friends, to be included so that others would view me as having value based on my proximity to them. It wasn’t that I had NO friends, but it seemed that I always fell short of the golden glow of popularity. It wasn’t that I had NO successes in school or life, but let’s just say I wasn’t Valedictorian or Homecoming Queen or Star Basketball Player…and somehow that seemed to be very important at the time. Of course, I blamed it on the fact that I was ugly, short, poorer than a church mouse, and believe it or not, that I did not have a boyfriend. I decided to change that status when I got to college and I did. Found my man and low and behold after 50 plus years still have him.

Unfortunately, I still found my self circling the ‘golden’ people working to fit in, wanting to get close enough to feel valuable, funny, and accepted. Sometime in my early thirties someone made the statement that ‘the person who loved the least in a relationship, had the most power’ so I adopted that attitude. I realized the formula worked fairly well but I did not like the effect it had on me. At the time my life was pretty much in turmoil in just about every area except education….I was acing that track…I was number one in my field of study at the University of Tulsa and I was owning it. I was also failing in my marriage, failing as a mother, and in general a pretty pitiful person. I hit a wall after I got my master’s degree, even though I got a really good job.

I met a woman at work who rubbed me the wrong way. She was always talking about her faith and God. Now don’t get me wrong I was attending church at the time. Why! I was even active in my church, but hey! She just rubbed me wrong. I suspect I do that to people now. I am ashamed to say, I even mocked her behind her back, rolled my eyes and even baited her. All the while my LIFE was in shreds. I was hurting others, people I loved, and they were hurting me as well. I found my self one step away from annihilation. Then Dorothy’s grandson David was hit by a car and left brain dead on the same day that his Uncle David had died in a car accident 16 years before. In the midst of my personal turmoil I witnessed how she responded and handled this horrific event and relived as her grandson died the loss of her own son. I watched as she and her husband comforted their son and daughter in law. What she had, I wanted but I had NO IDEA how to get it. I MEAN HEY! DID I MENTION I WENT TO CHURCH!

One night driving home from work, 50 miles on a two lane road, I sobbed so hard I had to pull over to the side of the road. I could not see. I prayed…not the first prayer of my life, but the prayer that saved my life. “God, if you are real as Dorothy believes, show me how to get through this time no matter what happens to my marriage or to me. Forgive me. Show me!” I did not even say Amen. As I sat there my tears slowed. I felt a peace within unlike any I had felt for a very long time. And as clear as a real voice in my head, I heard, Be Still and Know that I am God!

Spoiler alert: I did not immediately become BETTER, still letting God work that out in me.

What I did become WAS HIS! That is when I knew that the saying I had been relying on in all my relationships that the one who loved least had the most power was WRONG! Oh, it works if you want manipulate people, but NO ONE CAN OUT LOVE GOD AND HE IS ALL POWERFUL. So my goal is to become MORE LOVING of others and MORE LOVING to others…some days are better than others.

As the first few months of my new faith took hold, I sought out Dorothy and we became the best of friends. As I applied all I was learning to changing me, as I let God lead, as I opened the Bible and studied, I found myself hungry to know more. And low and behold, events occurred that changed my closest relationships and changes began to happen that I had only dreamed were possible. None of that came without some pain and suffering, but it allowed me to love my husband through a very difficult hurtful time in his life. Without God I could not have done that, but God gave me a new appreciation and love for the man I had married. He helped me to be a better mother, still screaming at the top of my lungs at times, but still better…and they all made it to adulthood.

I am sharing this because my granddaughter opened up and shared and I felt it was time for me to share this story. Perhaps that is what Lent is about, looking deeply at our journeys of faith or for some lack thereof and telling God how we feel. He knows anyway. Perhaps Lent helps us focus on what Love really is and HOW POWERFUL AND BLESSED THOSE WHO LOVE REALLY ARE…Whether they are in the Popular circle or Not.

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Watching and Waiting–Ash Wednesday

A watched pot never boils, but as I unintentionally proved just yesterday an unwatched pot boils dry and scorches the beans.  Charred remains, ashes imbedded in the bottom of the pan, evidence of my inattentiveness.  There is definitely a correlation to the ashes crossed on the forehead, a tangible mark reminding we Christians why we take 40 days before Holy Week to meditate on the sacrifice.  Even I, who does not have ashes crossed on my forehead, knows the significance.  Jesus asked his disciples in the garden, ‘can you not watch with me one hour?’    Watching and Waiting link arms as this season of Lent begins. 

SO . . .

How can I overcome my tendency to try to rush life along?  When does ‘watching’ become hovering, which is only one small step from–you got it–meddling.

How can I wait with expectation, with excitement, with hope, with gratitude, without       Considering the darkness in this world.  Waiting and watching this Lenten Season  involves active participation in carrying the light until the Morning Light!

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Wait, Wait, Wait–One of My Least Favorite Things to Do! Preparing for Lent, 2018

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I am pretty darn sure that the purpose of waiting extends beyond simply getting on my last nerve.  Indeed some waiting periods involve little more than tapping my foot or glancing at my watch every few seconds while sending a slit eyed look at the closed door in say the doctor’s office.  Having experienced some gall bladder issues lately, some waiting involves letting the pain subside or the nausea to pass.  Some waiting involves getting through cancer treatment and then holding one’s breath until the tests reveal whether or not you have beaten the beast.  Some waiting periods anticipate good things, the birth of a child, Christmas, family visits, vacation trips, the return of a loved one from deployment overseas.  Whatever the anticipated event or the delay, waiting demands to be reckoned with!

This Lenten Season I want to consider the wait.  I invite you to join me. Why? Because God seems to have a purpose for waiting.  Plus it appears he likes the number 40, because he kept the Israelites in the wilderness with Moses for 40 years and Jesus in the desert for 40 days.  So Lent’s 40 days stretching from Ash Wednesday  to Palm Sunday give time to pause and reflect on how the sacrifice of waiting can build character and teach me how to utilize if not embrace THE WAIT!  Perhaps together we can even find the miracles within the time in the Waiting Room.  For as Isaiah wrote:

“He gives strength to those who are tired; to the ones who lack power, he gives renewed energy. Even youths get tired and weary; even strong young men clumsily stumble. But those who wait [hope, trust] for the LORD’s help find renewed strength; they rise up as if they had eagles’ wings, they run without growing weary, they walk without getting tired.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭40:29-31‬ ‭NET‬‬

Surely WAITING has a PURPOSE in God’s economy…just saying.

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