a collection of steps

Archive for the ‘change’ Category

Single.

In change, focus, God, purpose, single on September 19, 2009 at 2:13 am

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How single, God, are You – how whole!

One Source are You, on Way, one Goal.

I tend to splinter all apart

With fractured mind, divided heart;

Oh, integrate my wand’ring maze

To one highway of love and praise.

O single, mast’ring Life of peace

At Whose command the ragings cease,

Keep calling to me “Peace be still,”

To redirect my scattered will.

Keep gath’ring back my heart to You.

Keep cent’ring all I am and do.

O focused Spot of holy ground,

Silence which is the Source of sound,

I drop the clutter from my soul,

Reorganized by Your control;

Then single, whole, before Your throne,

I give myself to You alone.

~Anonymous

It was 1995 and I had just signed another set of divorce papers. I was shattered, fractured, divided and torn. Still, I was searching, trying to figure out what went wrong and what purpose I served here on earth.

Then I found this poem.

It took a few years, but I found my focus, my purpose, and it’s all in God.

9/11

In change, choices, healing, memorial, plots, prayer on September 11, 2009 at 1:56 pm

They went to work.

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That’s all.

They boarded a plane.

That’s all.

One plot.

That’s all.

They’re gone.

But that’s not all.

We will never forget.

Help

In change, choices, God, help, jobs, prayer, weight-loss on September 1, 2009 at 10:12 am

If I didn’t have to have food or money, I could really enjoy life.

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In fact, much of my life has been spent resenting the fact that I am so dependent on these two elusive slave masters.

Diets and jobs and bank accounts and bills, chocolate and carbs and house repairs and taxes – what gravity! I loathe the pull it has on me; the prison bars that skew my view of life. What if it could all be wiped away?  What glory!  What rapture!  Put me in a library and throw away the key.

Such loathing extended toward those who control these monsters. The skinny, healthy ones; the owners of manicured lawns and custom drapes and three car garages.  Their secrets have eluded me all these years.

Yeah, I know their secrets now: eat right, exercise, save.  I also know now that my fight isn’t against food or money, but against my own lack of control.  It took me a lifetime to realize I need help outside of myself; that I cannot deliver myself from evil.

HELP!  That’s the place I need to be, crying out to God.  Not just when I’m desperate, but every single minute of every single day.

In this midlife crisis of  economic challenges and an aching, aging body, I need Him now more than ever. 

Where does my help come from?

I look to the hills, says the Psalmist, I look to the One who made heaven and earth. Does He not own the cattle on a thousand hills?  Does he not give me my daily bread?

He will not allow my foot to be moved; He who keeps me will not slumber…nor sleep. The Lord is my keeper; the Lord is my shade…He will preserve me from all evil; He will preserve my soul…my going in and my going out…forevermore.

Psalm 121 was a reference made in this past Sunday’s sermon, it’s point being that we are to focus on trusting God.  Not on my resume, not on my expectations, my logic, on other people or on my circumstances, not on my personal strength.

Lord, thank you for showing me how helpless I am. I need You.  Help me!

Dull Hearts

In books, change, choices, Christ, God, healing, Jesus, prayer on July 31, 2009 at 10:19 am

Last night I was talking with a friend on the phone apologizing for not being available to her these past two months. “It’s like I’ve been in a coma,” I explained.

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I realize my choice of words was exaggerated, as I’ve never been in a coma, but she got the point.  She knew that in June my husband and I uprooted our lives and moved north to live closer to our kids and new grandson.  Thank God for good friends with lots of patience!

But, this morning as I was musing on that conversation, I admitted to myself that I’ve been in a ‘coma’ longer than these past two months.  I didn’t realize my condition until I arrived at Chapter 13 in the book I’m reading:  Matthew 13:13-17 in my Bible.  Jesus was teaching his disciples and those who had come out to hear him speak using parables, short stories packed with dynamite.

After a few stories, the disciples pulled him aside and asked, “Why do you speak to them in parables?”  Jesus pulled a quote from the ancient prophet Isaiah to answer their question.  It was here that I realized the state of my own heart:

“…the hearts of this people have grown dull.  Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so I should heal them.”

Ouch.  You mean I can close my eyes and ears to God’s Word?  And, if I do, my heart will grow dull?  It is this word ‘dull’ that caught my attention.  I’ve been so focused on my earthly state of affairs that I allowed my heart to grow dull.

If a dull heart comes from ears and eyes that are closed, then it only stands to reason that my own will closed them.  My will.  What was that one part of the Lord’s Prayer? 

Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Yes, that’s it.  That’s the prayer I repeat when I hear it in church.  Good Christians know that by heart.  The question is, do they mean it by heart?

Lord, I choose to open my eyes and ears so that when I read or repeat Your Word, when I raise my hands in worship or take notes on a sermon at church, my heart will be sharp and not dull.  I want to understand with my heart and turn so that You will heal me.  Thank you for your patience with me and for friends and family who love me in spite of my dull heart.

Rubbish

In change, exhaustion, Jesus, moving, stress on July 27, 2009 at 8:57 am

I got to church at the last worship song and joined the throng still in the throne room.  I was exhausted, smelly and very late, but I just had to be there.

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The previous four days took us three hours away to clean, purge and pack up our house to make what we thought would be our final move.  Our venture ended late Saturday night and when we dropped in bed we weren’t sure if we’d make it to church.  We got up late and I hadn’t showered, but I just had to get there.

Settling in my seat, I hushed my mind and calmed my heart in preparation to receive God’s word from the pulpit when a song lyric caught my ear during the offertory.

Take everything I have until all I have is You, You Lord Jesus.

I chuckled to myself. Yes, please take it all! I had no desire to see another thing, another box, another piece of furniture for the rest of my life.  I never want to own a house again, I thought, I never want to see another basement!

All I want is You, Lord, I prayed in my aching heart as the soloist sang. Take everything.

My mind went back to Friday at the landfill where things from the last 15 years of my life has by now been shredded under the compactor’s teeth and thrust into the earth. Why did I save it all?  Why did I hold on to it for so long only to watch it be tossed out of the back of a truck?  I was so humbled and engulfed with shame as we bumped along the dusty road away from the most putrid smell I have ever experienced.

It’s all rubbish!  Now I understood what the Apostle Paul meant when he said that all he was – all he is and has is just garbage compared to Christ.

Take everything I have, Lord, until all I have is You.