Tuesday, February 21, 2012
The girls are now wearing white socks and the boys black.
But those are not the changes I am talking about. :-)
They are life changes for our family of eight.
Some are living as if nothing will be different and carry about with their daily activities hardly affected at all.
Some are chatty, wanting to explore all of the possibilities in our future while they are doing the dishes with you, preparing dinner or just about anywhere.
Some are a little nervous and will divulge worries that would make you laugh, but are Oh so real to their little heart.
And some spend most of their time and energy hiding.
And we are not talking about the wee ones in that last group.
We are talking about me.
Do you remember how you would try to find the best hiding place in your yard when all the neighborhood kids would come for Hide and Seek?
Mine was in a bush in our front yard and I was so little and wirery that I would go unnoticed forever if I so chose.
And it wasn’t just a game to me sometimes.
I loved hiding.
In a bush, in a tree that exposed the whole woods by my house when up high enough to scare my mother half to death, or in my closet behind the dresses you are too old and too embarrassed to wear anymore.
It was a cave, a tree house, and sometimes a high rise apartment where I would rent out the nicest branches to my neighbors and younger brother.
But no matter where it was it was always the same.
It was safe and it was quiet.
No t.v. running, no sisters chatting with friends over, no phones to answer and lovely enough no homework either.
I could just think, imagine and sigh big and loud and let out all the day. In my tree I could let my limbs dangle over branches and watch the clouds go by.
I have this thing for escaping.
I must have a little too much “flight” and not enough “fight,” though take my last piece of ginger candy and I will make up for my lack of “fight” right quick.
When the news came I went to God and said, “What now?”
And He, knowing me, sent me to Isaiah.
And there I have hid ever since.
And like Elijah He has fed me with gems like chapter 26:3
“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.”
But especially with verse 20 of that same chapter:
“Come, my people, enter into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast.”
I have, um, accepted that offer.
And today as I peeked my head out of the cave, He met with me yet again and soothed a weary soul.
He led me to I Kings 19.
Elijah had just come through a great act of obedience. One that many might not have thought was “God’s will.” He might have been discouraged to go out on a limb like he did. He surely was afraid, but he obeyed.
I read and smile and nod as if I am there, and my story is patterning his.
Elijah then runs and hides. He is just.done.
He obeyed, but now he just wishes that the Lord would just come and take him right on to heaven. After all, he pleads, I am no better than my fathers. Than those who have stood in the gap before me.
He is exhausted mentally and emotionally and physically. He wants to do what is right, but he is plum worn out.
And an angel touches him and has provided food and drink for him. He wakes, eats, and sleeps again only to be woke again to eat and drink . The angel explains why he has touched him again:
“the journey is too great for thee.”
Lord, the man has obeyed. He is tired, and now he must journey? A journey that is too great for him?
It is here that my heart leaps into action and says, “ALRIGHTY….STOP THE PRESSES. No more. Eyes squinted shut, brow crinkled and fists closed tight….. NO MORE. I am now refusing to find any more parallels in this story. Why did you lead me here Lord????
And only by God’s grace he went in the strength of that meat for 40 days and nights.
And at this moment the Holy Spirit is saying, “Have I not sustained you too?” and I nod knowing How sweet He has been to meet me in my every fear.
And as Elijah lodges in a cave at Mount Horeb I am stunned. This man of God hides too.
And The LORD came to him. He met him there in the cave and asked him why he was there.
And He meets me in my cave and asks me why I am there.
And in my minds eye I can see Elijah sitting with his head on one of his hands and Elijah telling him that he feels alone. Like he is the last one to love the Lord enough to step out and obey no matter how hard or crazy the circumstance.
I smile a weak smile. One that says to the LORD, “Yeah, what he said.”
And the LORD listened. He listened to him, just as he listens to me and my heart’s cry.
And I am holding my Bible like a novel I cannot put down and I follow Elijah as he stands upon the Mount as the LORD directs him. And the Lord opens up my spiritual eyes and I am soaking in every single thing He gives me.
“And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD;
but the LORD was not in the wind:
and after the wind an earthquake;
but the LORD was not in the earthquake:
And after the earthquake a fire;
but the LORD was not in the fire;
My eyes begin to well up…
and after the fire a still small voice.”
And when Elijah heard the LORD’s voice he went to hear it. It says that he is again standing in the opening of the cave and the Lord asks him again after this miraculous display of power what he is doing in the cave. Now at the beginning of this act the LORD asks him to “stand upon the mount before the LORD” himself. Now I am not trying to add something that is not there, but it seems to me that Elijah was standing out in the open and then opted for the cave option. :-) And I am there with him!
I smile through tears.
And Elijah still gives him the same speel he did before. He is lonely in this obedience. He loves God, but he is weary.
And the most wonderful thing does NOT happen.
There is no chastening.
There, between the verses, you cannot find a “didn’t you see what I just did?” or a “Come on! Snap out of this! I am in control.”
My heart skips and my smile widens.
God didn’t chide Elijah for feeling alone. For feeling weak. For even wishing he would just go to heaven to be with the one he loves more than life.
He just calmly, lovingly spreads a beautiful plan before him. He tells him what he wants him to do, and what those whom he anoints will do for God and then he adds the final touch.
He tells him that there are still 7,000 people who are still obeying in difficult times.
They are also faithful.
And his plan for us in Humphrey is in the hard spots.
No, no crazy woman is out for my life.
But there are those who may not understand this obedience. Those I love. Even me. And I often feel that the journey is indeed too great, and the need to retreat to my cave.
And today the Lord reminded me yet again that He will meet me in the cave and listen and encourage.
I smile today as my oldest daughter practices for her piano lesson. She has been desperately trying to learn some hymns that I love, hymns by Charles Weigle that just so speak to my heart. She plays and I hum busy in the kitchen.
And it hits me.
She is playing “I Have Found a Hiding Place.”
Though I hide, he will SEEK.
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
The fire rages here in Humphrey and my mind races.
We have hands-down had the worst, WORST illness-laden Winter in the history of the Joel Royalty family.
Two bouts with stomach flu,
Too many colds to count,
And recount per child.
And even one stint with the Caribbean carpet cleaners.
(That was after the second wave of “I’m-not-gonna-make-it-downstairs stomach virus.”)
And if you know me, I have NEVER had someone come clean my carpet so you have to imagine just how bad it was here.
Ok stop imagining, it is making me feel sick again….
And you know that the devil sets up his mine fields when your back is turned to spray yet another light switch with some horribly foul smelling toxic germ fighting can of something or other.
He works on your mind telling you that you, all eight of you, have some VERY RARE disease that in its LAST STAGES eats your stomach for breakfast.
Even though everyone you know has the same thing.
And in one of these occasions while I was spraying and my mind was wondering, the Lord placed His arm on my shoulder and whispered,
“Some trust in chariots and some in horses……”
“And some in germicides.” I added.
“But we will remember the name of the Lord our God.”
Alright Lord. I get it. You give life, you sustain life, you control everything.
I made peace with the germs.
Which to this post are still enjoying our home and noses and throats.
It’s all good.
And tonight my heart is racing.
You know how you get caught up in yourself, your own stresses?
Last night Joel was trying to show me “Orion’s Belt” pointing over our driveway and all I could think about was me.
I was in a “Who cares about his three -star belt, I want help with the dishes!”
He showed me and I smiled and nodded.
And then today some silly pain in my back has had me all up in arms.
How quickly I vacillate from faith to fear.
And tonight while I was worrying about little ol’ me, news came of our dear friend’s sister.
She was disabled mentally when she was very young.
She lives in a group home.
And for 6 months now has been picked up everyday by a sweet bus driver and taken to a life skills center.
A bus driver who would carefully take off her hat and reposition her arm so as not to bump it getting her in and out of the bus.
She could not respond, only moan here and there.
And he cared for her.
And we didn’t know until tonight that out of nine busses in the area,
She rides my husband’s bus.
And she is the sister of a friend that means the world to me.
God put her on my husband’s bus because He wanted her to have my husband’s loving care.
And when we all in talking tonight found that out, put two and two together…
We didn’t just cry.
Because God is that good.
So lovingly personal.
This sister has been struggling.
In and out of the hospital.
And tomorrow her parents must decide whether it is best for her to struggle or to begin the process of sending her to heaven.
Now let it be known that this is out of my friends hands. It is only in her power to pray and to give her parents sound Biblical advice.
I believe that life comes from God at conception and He carries each of us home.
In HIS time.
My sweet dear friend believes this too.
We left her house after praying sincerely for her and for her parents, and her sister.
And while in my nightly routine of preparing for bed I found my sore spot again and the Spirit moves and says,
“Again with your small pain?”
“And someone close by may not even comprehend that their choice to live, to breathe, to hear, to see, may be gone tomorrow?”
The pain in my back moved to a severe ache in my heart.
Tonight friends, my heart aches with my own selfish pride.
It is good, as Ecclesiastes tells us, to go into the house of mourning.
To mourn for your own spiritual condition.
It doesn’t matter that my life has been turned upside down in more ways than I can share.
It does not matter that I feel spent emotionally and physically.
It does not matter.
What matters is what I am doing with Christ in all of this.
What matters is what He is doing in me in all of this.
I am His child. Redeemed. Loved. My future is settled at the right hand of God the Father, Creator and Sustainer of ALL LIFE.
Why do I fear?
He has given me all things in Christ. He has even given me the “want” to please Him.
Why don’t I access that more?
A learning night for me friends.
Life is not about me.
It is about Him in me.
And He only doeth “Wonderous things”
How much I miss…..