September 27, 2011

The Hardest Time to Worship

I’ve been following the life of David the king in the book of 2 Samuel this week. My, there’s so much to learn from this man! We read that he was a man of integrity and honor, a worshiper and lover of God in the most extravagant way, a man aware of his weaknesses and God’s strength.

But look at him on possibly his WORST day.

After conspiring to commit murder and then taking the dead man’s wife for himself, the prophet Nathan confronted him with strong words from the Lord. Through him God said David and his family would suffer calamity and disgrace, and the child born to him would die.

What was David’s response? “I have sinned against the Lord.” He repented and begged God for the life of his son. He fasted, wept, laid on the ground at night and refused to get up or eat. Later he explained he had thought God might “be gracious …and let the child live.”

But on the seventh day the child died. What was David’s response to this?

“Then David got up from the ground. After he had washed, put on lotions and changed his clothes, he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped. Then he went to his own house and at his request they served him food, and he ate.” (2 Samuel 12:18 & 20)

His response was worship. He accepted God’s judgment and worshiped. Wow! Easy times or hard, I want to follow David there.

September 21, 2011

A Visit with Miss McClellan

Haven’t we all had a favorite teacher that taught more than just academics? My 6th grade teacher (1967-68) was a single lady that I presumed poured so much effort into us because she didn’t have someone at home to take care of. Always the encourager, she motivated us to sing with gusto the folk songs in our well-worn songbooks. She was able to convince even some of the boys to join in after-school knitting lessons. And she was ready with a quip for every occasion.

One of her sayings I didn’t particularly like was “life isn’t always fair.” It provoked me at that age when I knew that the good guys always won in the end. Didn’t they? The potential answer made me entirely uncomfortable with the thought of growing up in a world where justice didn’t rule. And when I protested, it was “life isn’t a bowl full of cherries.” I remember thinking that one sure didn’t make sense. Cherries are small and red. Life isn’t small and red, and it is definitely not in a bowl!

Of course, I learned the wisdom of her words with time, and as an adult I searched for her. I thought I’d like to thank her and show her what I had become, but I couldn’t find her. I approached an address of a McClellan that I found in the phone book one summer, but I “chickened out” as I drew close. After all, what would I say? So I went home to raise my children.

Then in my 50s I sadly discovered her obituary on the internet and discovered she had lived just 15 miles away from me. That was when I learned she was survived by some sisters, one who was still in the area. Well, I reasoned, I can still honor my teacher somehow.

I visited the younger Miss McClellan today. I sat on her chair and admired her family pictures and her paintings and heard stories of her sister and reminisced with her about her travels and her own teaching career, just as though she were my own great aunt or my mother’s friend. And I am soooo glad I didn’t wait another day to contact her!

September 18, 2011

There's Nothing Like It

This is one way I slow down and quiet my mind: I find a bit of paper and a pen, make myself comfortable in an empty room with my feet up. I notice after a while I actually breathe more deeply, but it takes time to get there.

Then I open the book. I poke around until something starts speaking to my heart. And because of the value I place on that voice I start writing it, slowly and word-for-word. I don't want to miss a bit of it, and writing helps me listen and listening helps me learn and learning feeds my soul and a satisfied soul restores peace. I'd call that a great return for my investment!

September 14, 2011

How to Be a Foster Parent

I started a list last month. This is how far I got.

How to be a foster parent

1. Carefully outline your hopes and expectations.
2. Be ready to take all your hopes and expectations and throw them out the window.

. . . . . . . . . . . .

She came to us the first time 8 years ago. She left twice. Long ago we offered to adopt her, to do anything to give her the stable family life she needed. Now she's back. And again our goal is to love and prepare her for the next time she leaves. How crazy is that? And what kind of goal is that, anyway?

Well, it's exactly the best thing to do, that's all. Sometimes you just know what your job description is, and this is one of those times for me. It's not my job to fulfill my hopes and dreams for her, or even to help her fulfill hers. It IS my job, however, to love her, pray for her, teach her, hold her, release her, walk with her, and then let her walk away.

Like I said in my marriage vows 33 years ago, "I can do this with God's help."