Thursday, March 25, 2010

God Rocks (part two)

Alrighty…if you haven’t read part one already, you’d better do that first. Click here to read now. If you’ve already read it, let’s pick up where we left off…

We've moved on from the annoying sand, troublesome rocks, and bothersome stones. Now we’re going to talk about the big rocks in life. My back aches just a bit remembering speaking to the moms & more mommies.

[Note: The following is pretty much word for word what I said. It’s also the part where I was carrying around a HUGE honking rock while I was speaking. Heavy!!]

Let’s say, I just got handed a big rock. A really big rock. I’m not sure what to do with it. It’s a part of my life now. I need to keep it with me. I’m not allowed to put it down.

I’d like not going to think about the rock. How can I get it out of sight? It’s too big for my pocket. It’s too big for my purse. If I put it in a backpack, I’d eventually need to make a chiropractor trip.

It’s kind of distracting trying to live life with this rock in my hands. It’s hard to pour a bowl of cereal. Or vacuum. Or drive a car. I’m not sure what to do.

All I can think about is the rock. It’s heavy. It’s pointy and hurting my hands. I wish I could get rid of it. Ah yes, life would be so much better without the rock. I’m going to solve the problem myself. I’m going to have a friend help me hold my rock. (Good sport Janet comes up to help me hold the rock.)

This is good. It’s a little lighter. But, that friend has her own quarry to tend to. And I’m left with a rock that seems heavier than it was before. (Janet is relieved to go sit back down.)

Finally I asked what I should do with my huge rock. I got an excellent Sunday School answer from the girls. Give it to Jesus! Fabulous. My problem was solved. I laid it at the cross. Totally gave it up. Sigh of relief. Cool beans. I could fly away, free as a bird and finally sleep well.

But, is that the way it works? When morning comes…wait…the rock is still there. I don’t remember taking it back from Jesus. Why do I have it? Because my physical situation has not changed. I still have to live daily with everything the rock has to offer. Am I not doing it right?

[This is the point that I finally set the rock down. That was about five minutes of  holding a rough and extremely heavy lava rock. I HAD to set it down. I weighed it when I got home. 40.6 pounds. Am I a stupid dedicated teacher, or what? Somewhat winded, I continued.]

So, what do we do when we have a problem as big as that rock? Or bigger? How do we practically lay the issue down at the cross and let Jesus deal with it. The circumstance probably won’t change overnight. If it’s God’s Will, he could “zap” take it away right then. Sometimes He does. Most times He doesn’t. I don’t have any actual percentages on that…I’m just going by what I’ve observed over the years.

God didn’t create us to be His master and for Him to instantly fix all our problems with a rub of the magic lamp. We aren’t supposed to say, “Lord take it away!” and expect “poof” for it to be gone.

Isn’t that how we pray? Lord, take away my pain. Lord, change my husband’s heart. Lord, heal my sick child. Lord, I’m not ready for them to go yet.

This is what God says…
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-8

Present your requests to God. He is saying, “Tell me what you want.” Well, I’m going to tell Him. From my perspective this is what I want. This is the best choice.

But, we also have this…
This, then, is how you should pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Matthew 6:9-10

Your will be done. So maybe praying what we want isn’t the best plan. That’s our will. That may or may not be God’s plan. We don’t have all the info.

So, it’s all about His will. But, it’s also about our good. Nothing is wasted.

Oh, and don’t we all love this one??
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

Now, look what we see when we go a few verses back...
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will. Romans 8:26-27

See, we’re outnumbered. Three to one. Jesus asks us to pray thy will be done. The Spirit intercedes in accordance with God’s will. And God’s gonna do what God’s gonna do.

So here we are. Most likely still stuck in our situation. Our prayers may not be getting answered as we would like. How do we get out from under it?

We’re going to stand on THE ROCK.

Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. Matthew 7:24-35

The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge.
He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
 Psalm 18:2

Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD,
is the Rock eternal. Isaiah 26:4

I’m reminded of a cartoon I saw years ago. (I scoured the web trying to find it, to no avail.) It was a picture of a rowboat quickly on its way towards a waterfall. “Should we paddle or pray?” The answer is “YES!!” Both. Absolutely.

I think we should first pray and then move as God directs. In my experience, the more you ask for God’s will to be done, the more he reveals what you should do. And the more okay you are with what He is working on. It’s all about Trust. He won’t show you the whole journey, but He will direct your next step.

So pray. Ask for what you think you want. Do it humbly. Without pretense. Without ulterior motives. Talk to God. Tell Him how you feel. What you think about the situation. Tell Him you are ticked at Him for allowing it into your life. He can handle it. Then tell him you have no idea what’s best for you and ask Him to show you the next step.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9

This is my verse for right now. God is with me. Therefore, I will not be terrified. I will not be discouraged. I will be strong. I will be courageous.

Trust in your BIG GOD. He has stuff in store for you that you can’t even dream of.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21

Thursday, March 18, 2010

God Rocks (part one)

Brenda was out of town this week, so I had the wonderful blessing of speaking to the mommies in Moms & More. My blog mission originally was to take eight pages of speaking notes and condense them into something blog worthy. Somewhere about halfway through, I decided it needed to be split into two parts. Also, it’s quite a challenge to put down in written words what I try to communicate in person because I’m such a big fan of visual aids. (Yep. I’m a total visual learner and therefore a total visual teacher.) I’ll try to get some pictures in here so all you readers can have as close to the on site experience as possible. Here we go with part one....

Do you like the beach? Well, duh, is there anyone who doesn’t like the beach? It’s a pretty universal good thing. You get to feel warm sand between your toes, and enjoy a soft breeze as you let the sun bake you. Imagine the gorgeous sunset. Are you getting that beautiful, relaxing mental picture?

But, here’s the thing. You know how a lot of that sand comes home with you? Ugh. The wonderful, warm sand that you wiggled your toes in won’t come out. It’s starting to scratch. Does anyone enjoy it when the sand somehow gets in your swimming suit and wedges in your butt crack? And then when you have to go to the bathroom, the toilet paper becomes sand paper? The beach has turned on you.

I’m wondering if you thought that motherhood was going to be a day at the beach. Maybe you thought you’d have two kids…one boy, one girl. You figured it would be fun. You’d do all this great stuff together. You know, quality family time. And you thought if you were firm and consistent, the children would be wonderful, well behaved little darlings.

That was your plan. Maybe that’s your life. I’d be very surprised though. Not many of us can make it from infancy to independence without a good amount of frustration along the way. So, how is your day at the beach coming along?

I’ve found that the sandy bothersome things of motherhood can become incredibly irritating after a while. It’s the little stuff that can drive you bonkers. I've heard it said that raising children is like being pecked to death by chickens...

- Another diaper.
- Another feeding.
-Another no sleeping nap.
-Another tantrum.
-Mom, can you explain this homework to me…?
-Mom, I need seven dollars for the field trip…and the form filled out….
-Mom, will you pick up red pens at the store for tomorrow…?
-Mom, can I have Susie sleep over…?
-Mom, have you seen my shoes…?
-(& my all time fave) Mom, I’m bored!

You’re trying to do your best at the mom thing and you’re still trying to juggle everything else. We do have a life outside of our children, don’t we? I know sometimes it doesn’t seem like it. But, Mommy just isn’t the only job we have. Some of you work outside the home full time or part time. Most of us have the not-so-small WIFE job. And of course, there is the runner of the home. This often includes, chef, taxi driver, teacher, accountant, maid….etc. (you get the picture.)When there is one little thing on top of another little thing, life can get overwhelming. One grain of sand is irritating if it gets in your eye. But, if you’re out in a sandstorm (Which, generally, I don’t think we worry too much about in central Illinois.) It’s going to hurt. And become frustrating. Can you imagine juggling sand?

Think about that beach again. Did you ever stand at the water’s edge and let the waves keep washing sand over your feet? When they get buried deep enough, it’s hard to move. Sometimes it’s just too much. Maybe you’ve let someone bury you in the sand. It gets heavy after a while. (Pssst...that's my Joshie on the left goofing around after a good sand burial. And that's my Alex on the right letting his mother take crazy pictures.)

Maybe your problems are bigger than sand. You’re stuck in gravel. I’ve been spinning my wheels in gravel before. For me these are the times of never ending sickness in our house. Another case of strep. An ear infection. Middle of the night vomiting. My kids pass this stuff back and forth all winter long. Sometimes they even share with me.

Or maybe you’re standing on sharp rocks. Someone in your house needs surgery. Your finances aren’t what you’d like them to be. There may be tension and stress in your home. Those rocks are definitely bigger than sand and gravel.

I actually hesitated to even give examples for these. Everyone has their own problems and everyone is equipped differently to deal with them. We each have our own unique personalities and coping mechanisms. We’re different. I wouldn’t want to judge a person by the size that I think their rocks are.

A friend posted the following story on Facebook recently. Since I was stirring around ideas about being buried under burdens, I read it at just the right time! Just imagine sand and gravel and rocks in place of the dirt in this tall tale.

The Donkey and the Well

One day a farmer's donkey fell down into a well.

The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally, he decided the animal was old, and the well needed to be covered up anyway; it just wasn't worth it to retrieve the donkey.

He invited all his neighbors to come over and help him. They all grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well. At first, the donkey realized what was happening and cried horribly.

Then, to everyone's amazement he quieted down. A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally looked down the well. He was astonished at what he saw. With each shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing. He would shake it off and take a step up.

As the farmer's neighbors continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up. Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and happily trotted off!


Life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt. The trick to getting out of the well is to shake it off and take a step up.

Each of our troubles is a stepping-stone.

We can get out of the deepest wells just by not stopping, never giving up!

Shake it off and take a step up.

The Lord showed me these fabulous verses.
Let Him lift you up today.
(And...stay tuned for part two!)

I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. Psalm 40:1-2