Thursday, January 29, 2015

Fix My Eyes

I have been out of balance this week.  Extra tired.  Cobwebs in the brain.  All week I have felt like I just can't quite get my act together.  I can't seem to get everything accomplished that I normally do.  I don't know if anyone else has noticed, but I can tell.

Actually, I am quite certain that my husband has noticed that the dishes are piling up in both sides of the sink and on the counter.  But he has been gracious enough not to comment.

And my son has definitely noticed that I was slow getting the laundry sorted out to be out away.  Every morning, I have heard, "Mama, I don't have any pants in my drawer.  Can you find me some?"

During a lesson yesterday with just two students, I could not keep track of whose turn it was.  We were playing a simple game to practice sight words, and I messed up the order a handful of times.  With only two students, and I couldn't keep track.  

Okay, okay, okay.  There have been moments that are definitely noticeable to people other than myself.  I am not as "together" as I would like to be, or I am not as "together" as I would like other people to think I am.  Sometimes my friend Ashley Herrin says to me, "You can't be perfect all the time."  Very true words that remind me I am being too hard on myself and that I need to lighten up.  (And she always says them with a smile and a hug so I feel loved and encouraged.)

I was struggling with all this through the week.  I couldn't really figure out how this week was any different than other, and why I was seemingly in a fog.

On top of this muddled, muddy mind, we received a phone call this week that threw us for a real loop.  It was very concerning, and just downright bizarre.  I couldn't stop thinking about it, but I couldn't make any sense of it either.  I hung up the phone and had a thousand more questions than I had answers.  I tried to pray about the situation, but I didn't even know what to pray.  Thankful for the Holy Spirit that intercedes on our behalf when we don't know what to say.

As I pulled into work on Friday, the last song on the radio was Fix My Eyes by For King and Country.  (Click on the link to watch it.)  I closed my eyes and just absorbed the words for a minute.  Fix my eyes on You.  That's when I figured it out.  I had taken my eyes off the One thing that matters most.  It was subtle, and I hadn't even noticed that it was happening.  I had lost my focus this week.

I suddenly felt much better.  My head was clearer, and I relaxed.  I don't have to know all the answers.  I don't have to know all the questions.  God knows.  He has a perfect plan, and He will take care of it.  All of it.  In ways far better than I could understand or plan for.

So, let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.  (Hebrew 12:2). Oh, I just love those words.  The author of my faith.  Jesus is writing my story, and He is not finished yet.  He is the perfecter of my faith, and He won't be finished writing until I am made perfect in His presence when I join Him in Heaven one day.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Wake Up!

This morning I woke up alert and ready to start my day.  No grogginess, no gritty sand feeling in my eyes. No difficult transition from sleep to awake.  One moment I was asleep, and the next moment I nearly jumped out of bed.

This morning I woke up hungry.  Hungry for the Word of God in my life.  Hungry to spend time with Him and see what He has to teach me today.  Hungry for his presence.

I am not, by nature, a morning person.  I don't go bounding out of bed the second the alarm goes off.  It usually takes me a while for my brain to catch up to the fact that my body is no longer sleeping.  It is a common occurrence for me to sit straight up in bed when the alarm goes off.  I usually sit there for a moment or two, trying to find the motivation to get the rest of the way up.  In fact, I have been told that I am not altogether pleasant, and it is a good thing that I get up an hour and a half before the rest of my household.  

As I drifted off to sleep last night, I prayed one of my favorite prayers.  "Dear God, would you please wake me in the morning before everyone else gets up? Would you wake me when the house is still quiet so we can hang out together for a while?"  Yes, those are my words.  I asked God if I can hang out with Him.  Hanging out implies a closeness, a familiarity.  When I hang out with friends, it doesn't really matter what we DO; what matters is the quality time together.  I don't have to come looking like I have it all together.  I just come as I am, flaws and all.  And we talk, and we laugh, and we enjoy being together.

That is how I approached God's throne this morning.  I just wanted to hang out with Him, my Savior, my friend.  I came without any pretenses about who I am.  I just wanted to spend time with Him.  Quality time where we enjoy being together.

I believe that this kind of request is honoring to God.  He wants to spend time with us too.  He wants us to spend time with Him.  He has so much to say if we can just carve the space in our day to clear the distractions and just read, pray, and listen.

And God is faithful.  Every single time I have asked God if we could hang out,  He has answered that prayer.  He wakes me up without an alarm clock.  I am just instantly awake.  There is an energy within me that can only come from one source.  I couldn't go back to sleep, even if I wanted to.

He doesn't wake me up at the same time each time.  And it is never the same time that I normally get up through the week when I do use an alarm clock.  I am always amazed at His timing.  I get up.  I spend my time with Him.  And as I feel like our time is wrapping up, I start thinking about other things I could do while it is quiet in the house.  And then I hear little feet padding down the hallway.  God planned this out to the very minute that one or both of my children would wake up.  I love that about Hm; I find it both amazing and amusing.

So this morning, on my day off, I am up early.  VERY VERY EARLY.  God woke me up so we could hang out today.  And it has been great.  No matter what happens the rest of the day, I have spent time with the One who made me.  I have made that relationship a priority today.

I challenge you to try asking God to wake you up sometime just to spend time together.  I think you will be pleased with the results!

Saturday, January 10, 2015


Over the last few days, I have seen several people post their word to focus on in 2015.  I liked this idea and wanted to participate.  I didn't want to be influenced by anyone else's word so I have intentionally avoided reading anything that made a reference to #oneword.  (But I will go back to read them...I promise.)

So what is my word?  I tried several things out in my head, but none seemed quite right.

Smile:  I used to describe myself as someone who smiled a lot, but I don't know that it is still a fitting description.  Stress, chaotic schedules, worry...these things steal my smile every day.  I would like to find it back someday.

Patience:  This seems to be lost in the same place as my smile.  If I could be patient with others (especially the ones I live with), maybe that would make it easier to smile throughout the day.

Gentleness:  Maybe this is my word.  A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. (Proverbs 15:1)

Peace? Joy? Trust?   No, no, and no.  These are all good things, but it just doesn't feel right.

Pray:  Well, if I could pray without ceasing like Paul tells us in First Thessalonians and make my requests with praise and thanksgiving like he says in Philippians, I am sure that would solve a whole host of other problems.  

Oh, man.  I just don't know.  Maybe my word should be Indecision?  Or Procrastination?  Wait, I am already quite skilled in those areas.  This is supposed to be an area to improve.

I spent three days mulling this over and wrestling it out in my mind.  I was still trying to settle on something when I went to bed two nights ago.  At the precise moment when I was the perfect combination of cozy warm, comfortable, and drowsy, I remembered that one of the pillows that my husband uses was on the couch.  Because I had used it last.

Now, this was a tough moment for me.  It would have been so easy to just close my eyes and drift off. He would never even know.  He was still watching TV downstairs.  What's the big deal, right?  It is just a pillow, and it would only be for one night.  And did I mention how very comfortable I was?  But it is his pillow, and I knew he would be searching for it.  I also knew I would never get back to that exact position in bed again.

Now, that's when I remembered the verse from James that says if you know something is right, and you don't do it, that is a sin.  Ouch!  So if I just fall asleep right this moment, it is a sin.  I know it is the right thing to do to get up and get the pillow.  Now I can't keep laying there, no matter how comfortable I am.  Double ouch!

After I got the silly pillow, I smiled.  My word is NOW.   It feels good to do the right thing at the right time. In the grand scheme of life, there are much bigger things than whether I got the pillow or not.  I know that.   But in that particular moment, the right thing was for me to get out of bed and return the pillow to where it should be.  Putting my husband's needs before my own-that is definitely the right thing.

When I hear the whispering of the Holy Spirit leading me to act,  I want to learn how to act NOW.  When I wait,  I lose my conviction.  I forget why I thought it was important.  I talk myself out of it.  I make excuses. I get too busy.  How many opportunities have I missed to do the LORD'S work just because I did not follow through right then?

So NOW encompasses a need to act.  It encompasses trust and obedience.  Do it now.

But there is more meaning to this word for me.

NOW, as a noun, is also fitting for me.  I see this as a call to be fully present in the moment.  Wherever I am, whatever I am doing, be fully present in that moment.  If I could learn to turn my worries and anxieties over to God, I would be more mentally available to relax and enjoy the moment in front of me. If I could learn to focus on the one thing in front of me instead of the hundred other things I need to do, I would be more fully present in the NOW.

I know if I am obedient to His calling NOW and if I focus on each moment as a gift for right NOW, then I am likely to be more trusting, more gentle, smile more.  This one word, NOW, perfectly sums up all the other things I was trying to make my #oneword be.

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

P.S.  The irony is not lost on me that it took three days to come up with the word NOW, and four more for me to get the post written!