Psalm 46:10

Be Still

Psalm 46:10

“Be still and know that I am God…….”

Earlier this year my church offered a 21-day fasting and prayer challenge.  The goal:  to give up something hindering my time, in relationship to God.  Oh, that shouldn’t be too hard, it’s like Lent, only early, right?

Our church congregation had just completed a “read through the Bible in two years” program and I was looking for a way to maintain my focus in God’s word.  I’m handed the perfect solution.  I would give up my nightly/before bed novel reading, replacing it with reading the Bible and praying for others.  I admire Christians with their devout prayer habits, so this could be my launch to a deeper relationship with God through prayer.

I prayerfully considered what God was calling me to read…..Esther…..Galatians…..Acts…..

I settled on the exploits of Esther and her cousin Mordecai.  While contemplating Esther’s rise to the throne….um…I need to call my mom and….um….put deodorant on the grocery list……um……remember to take paper towels to work tomorrow…..WHAT?   No, no that’s not what I’m supposed to be doing.  Let me start again.  After Esther becomes queen, her cousin Mordecai refuses to bow to a high official of the King…..um when I wash my new pants next I have to remember not to dry them…..um….my car needs an oil change…..and….um….don’t forget to make a dinner reservation for ….. WHAT?  Here I go again,….what in the heck am I doing?  God, I’m so sorry, why can’t I stay on track with my prayer and reading?

I decided I must be too tired to complete my reading and prayer, so I turned off the light, said my personal prayers and slept.

The next night, I settled in for further reading in Esther.  The reading went well, much better than the night before, so I closed my Bible and began specific prayers for others.  Father, I lift up to you my mother, who’s suffering from bronchitis, please provide the healing she needs…..oh healing….um….I need to put triple antibiotic ointment on my grocery list….um….oh my goodness, here I go again!!  I tried again several times, with the same result.

I decided I must be too tired to completed my prayers, so I turned off the light, said my personal prayers and slept.

This continued off and on, mostly on, for the full 21 days.  Concerned with my lack of focus, I reached out to my pastor, who assured me I was in good company, that it’s better to talk (pray) with God than not, and that who better could you sleep with every night?  I wasn’t a matter of my not being prayerful enough, only that I was trying to force the timing.  My being still, came after the lights were out and not when I was making time for it.  God always has a plan…………..

Respect

“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love”

EPH 4:2

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Life can be so difficult sometimes and I’m reminded that we all need to respect one another, for our similarities, differences, struggles and triumphs.

I’m currently in a difficult season with an Alzheimer’s Disease diagnosis for an aging parent.  As the short term memory slips away and simple daily tasks become cumbersome; an inability to reason and problem solve; and the long-term memory reminding him that he still “has it all going on” I’m faced with the need for patience and ongoing respect. Being a medical professional I’ve worked with clients and families going through the same situation, however, I  have a newfound respect for all of them, as I find myself actually “living” it now, as they have done.

This is a man who’s provided for his family, been reliable, supportive and loving.  He’s now faced with the need for 24-hour caregivers, money management tasks being performed by someone other than himself and being reminded that he isn’t making good decisions.  So hard to take and just as hard to have to explain.

I must remember to respect who he was and who he is today, while providing for his needs that he is no longer able to manage himself, all while remaining patient, even if I’m hearing the same story for the 100th time.  I want to allow him as much freedom and independence as possible, for as long as possible, while managing to maintain a safe environment for him as well.

 

Prayer guides me, communication with family confirms me, and knowing God holds me in his precious hands to provide me (and dad) the hedge of protection we need, sustains me.  

God, thank you for your ongoing guidance, every day.

Ahhhhhhhhh Vacation

“I will search for the lost and bring back the strays……..”   EZE 34:16

Ah, the excitement of readying ourselves for vacation. The packing and list making (of items not to be forgotten), locating sunscreen, swimsuits and water shoes not seen for a couple of seasons; purchasing with anticipation, the new items we didn’t think we could travel without and overpacking layers of clothing possibly needed for the changing weather. Little did I know, the weather in the Hawaiian Islands is as steady and consistent as it comes. Unencumbered blue sky (not a cloud to be seen for miles), easy breezes and temperatures 72-80 degrees EVERY SINGLE DAY! Ahhhhhhhhh vacation.

What I didn’t remember was the anxiety of not knowing the roads, landscape and directions for traveling from one location to another. Thank heavens for the GPS app on our phones.  With a few clicks of the buttons, suddenly we have the map and step by step directions to whatever location we want, simple, right? Not so fast, seasoned traveler, we have surprises in store for your adventure!!

My husband decided he didn’t wish to return to “real life” and was going to take up residence on the big island of Hawaii, so he set forth looking for real estate. After a walk by of a realty office and a quick glance at the advertised property, he settled on the purchase of a small coffee, macadamia nut, avocado farm. No worries that we know nothing of farming…..anything at all, in fact, we have been known to botch the growth of tomatoes.  Nevertheless, we plugged the address into the GPS and set out to view the farm. After several turn arounds, choice words and a discussion about giving up the hunt, we located the property, literally on the side of a mountain, with a steep single lane driveway at a nearly 90-degree angle and precarious, loose stones and gravel.

During the hunt, the GPS kept “recalculating” as we completed one turn around after another.  I was struck by how often I “recalculate” my journey with God. How at times I find myself on the wrong road and need to turn around or select a different path. Although I may stumble or slip on the loose stones, or find I need to “recalculate”, I know He holds me solidly in His hands.

 

So, we passed on the farm and returned to “real life”, rejuvenated in the security of God and His GPS that awaits us, wherever we may be.