Archive for January 2014

One step Closer   Leave a comment

One step closer to ….what?

I hope, to leaving bitterness behind.

I found out mid-November that something I had enjoyed and counted on would no longer be happening.  I was relatively upset.  I’d invested in it, enjoyed the time doing it and the interactions with the people involved, and I just felt sad that it would shortly be ending.

My usual self-defense mode seems to be to go straight on to anger and bitterness, or alternatively, to start worrying about what will replace something I’m losing or what will happen next.

So for a few hours that afternoon, I was both sad and upset.

However, something strange happened with this situation. Either someone was praying for me, which could be, but it would have to be a generic prayer, because at that point, almost nobody knew about the situation or how strongly I felt about it.  Or Someone directly intervened and removed my usual obsessive negativity over the loss of something cherished.

I’ll take either one.

But what I hope is that it lasts into the future.  I hope, I hope, I pray, that this is the beginning of me graciously letting go of people and things and situations.

I’ve been so horribly bad about that, so inclined to stew, to get angry.

Now, two months have passed, and I’m still okay.  I remain amazed.  And grateful that I’m not stuck wasting time on what isn’t any more.

I’m at an OK place being in-between.

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Posted January 24, 2014 by swanatbagend in transitions

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An Unexpected Conclusion   Leave a comment

The sermon today was on Jesus washing the disciples’ feet.  You could easily see that this could be a sermon on humility and servanthood since those things are in the text.  We were reminded that Jesus’ behavior was completely socially bizarre and that the feet in that day and age would have been completely disgusting.

The rest of what our pastor shared today was not what I expected.

First, our usual motives for serving are guilt, approval and recognition.  Then when we don’t get enough of that (because we never do) we get bitter and tired of serving.

So what is the motive here, what is Jesus doing?  He washes the feet to act out a parable of what he is preparing to do for everyone on the cross.  Jesus does something completely unexpected, interrupting the disciples bickering about who’s the greatest.  He takes off his shirt, pours the water, and starts cleaning their feet.

Not like this is the only time Jesus has served.  He does it every day.  Amazing how someone who is Master and Lord serves, all the time, a balance of power and its use that I can’t fathom.

So…what I heard is that in the church we tend to get the message of it’s about you, how are you serving, how are you supposed to serve?  But I need to shift back to reality and see that first I must allow Jesus to serve me, before I have the power/motivation/desire/will to serve others.  This is what he does for me.  So why do I forget and go barging off into oblivion without being served first?  And then get aggravated because I’ve over committed or am not getting the feedback I wanted?

Yes, we are servants, but who is the source?

I want to remember.

I also loved what Lisle said earlier, that humility is not how you think of yourself, but how you relate to those around you and how you treat them.

Good stuff, you could never be humble.  Anyone who works to be humble is probably thinking often of how well she is doing being  humble, whoops!

So when it was time for the application and conclusion this is what I don’t remember ever hearing before to conclude a sermon about serving:

“You are doing enough.”

Four little words.

Could this be possible?

“Be who you are, where you are.”

We are led to do what God wants us to do, starting this day, where we are.  We don’t have to scratch around to do “enough” to show our gratitude.  Not possible. Rather we have been given the power to do whatever we do because of what Jesus does for us.

Posted January 12, 2014 by swanatbagend in servanthood

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Too (Good) Busy to Blog   Leave a comment

It’s been a couple of weeks since I wrote anything.  I was on a roll there and didn’t expect to slow down, but the past two weeks have sped by.

Why is it that I thought there wouldn’t be much going on during our Christmas vacation?  Because there really wasn’t anything major.  We stopped regular appointments and activities and just focused on spending time with family.  And that is what we did!  It was a wonderful two weeks with Zach home from the 22nd to today.  Now that my parents live only 35 minutes away we enjoyed their company four different times during the two weeks, including an overnight at our house for Christmas Eve.

Then we took a road trip Christmas Day to see the other side of the family and had 24 hours with them, followed by Grandma and Greg’s oldest brother returning with us for a couple more days of visiting.

Then there was the hike at the new trail system in our area with giant sycamore trees by the river, and the Hobbit movie.  We spent an afternoon with friends from our former homeschool co-op.

It really didn’t leave much time for anything but preparing food, eating, cleaning up, visiting and thoroughly enjoying ourselves.

Hence no blog entries whatsoever.

I hadn’t planned on that.  I thought I would be scrapbooking, reading, blogging and making candles, in addition to the Christmas festivities, but maybe that wasn’t realistic.  It was more important to just live and enjoy, and that’s what I did.

I do think having Zach home for two weeks, that I thought in advance was a long period of time, also made it go by even faster, as much as I tried to slow it down with my mind powers.

It never works.

And now I’m trying to adjust.  Tomorrow we start back to school, Zach at college and the youngers at home.  This is my first post-Christmas, back to school, where one is gone again.  Not crazy about that experience at this point.  Hoping it will get better.

Posted January 5, 2014 by swanatbagend in transitions

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