Thursday, February 14, 2013

It's Valentines Day

It’s Valentine’s Day and I am a little surprised how close to the surface the tears have been today.  I was not expecting to be particularly sad today but somehow this day and maybe this week have been harder than normal.  I watched a short video on Vimeo ( featuring Skip Ryan and his wife a couple of days ago and could so identify with many of the things that they voiced about our identity in Christ. 
I had been thinking about some of these ideas already and where I am in my life at this point.  It seems as if there has been a good amount of loss- loss of Mark, of course, but also, loss of big pieces of my identity- Young life leader, Vail employee, etc.  I am not a quitter and all of these things have been a part of my life for quite some time – marriage, 36 years; Young Life, 40+ years; Vail, 12 of the 14 years that I have lived in Colorado. 

I have been thinking about how much of my identity has been wrapped up in each of these parts of my life, how much effort into making myself into a certain person that others will admire. Who am I really when all of this is gone?  When I am no longer the cool leader who hangs out with high school kids, or works for Vail and snowboards?  And who am I really apart from Mark?  Skip Ryan’s video hit close to home because I believe that God has removed Young Life and my Vail job from me, those things that aren't bad in and of themselves, but maybe have kept me from finding my identity in Him alone.  Because when it is all said and done, now and when I stand before my Father in Heaven, it is my identity in Christ that will make the difference and not what others think of me.  Who I am in Him – beloved adopted child of God, heir with Christ, follower, friend – will be the deciding factor of how I live for Him here and where I spend eternity. I know I belong to Him and will spend eternity with Him.  But in the end it is just me and God, that’s it, just me and God. How He knows me is vastly more important than  how I have seen my self in the eyes of everyone else.  

My desire is to truly know Him and be found in Him and to find my identity in Him and in nothing or no one else - to truly understand how very much He loves me and wants the best for me and will let nothing get in the way of His glory and my good, even when it may not look that good to me…

So, here I stand, without a husband, ministry, job, looking for what God is going to show me about who I am in Him.  It is not without a little fear that I ask Him to make me like Him and direct my steps in what He has for me next.   I may not know where He will lead but I am thankful that I do know Him- faithful, loving, just, merciful, long-suffering, powerful, and gracious Father. 

Isaiah 41:10  -  Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed , for I am your God; I will strengthen  you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Romans 8:32 – He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things?

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Once Upon A Time

I was sick a week or so ago and since I did not feel like doing anything I ended up watching 22 episodes of the TV show from last year, Once Upon A Time!  I obviously enjoyed it since I watched them all.  As I watched there was a moment in one episode (I have been trying to find it again, but after 2 solid days and 22 episodes it's all a little fuzzy!)  Henry, the little boy who believes that the people in his town of Storybrooke are fairy tale characters but don't remember who they are because of a curse, is asked by an adult why he believes this is true.  Henry answers with something like this - " Because I know that there has to be more than this."

As I thought about Henry's statement, it reminded me of a book that I have been reading lately called, Forever: Why We Can't Live Without It.  I would like to share some thoughts from that book that I have found to be helpful.  Paul David Tripp says that we are all hardwired for eternity.  It's that yearning that we all have that we can't really explain but we long for something more.   Although we may have eternity inside of us, because God put it there (‎Ec 3:11-He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart), we live as if we have, as he calls it, "eternity amnesia".

 He gives several consequences of this amnesia.  One of those consequences is that we don't have realistic expectations of what this world should be. We act as if this is all there is instead of the preparation for where we are going. How easy it is to get so wrapped up in our lives and our schedules and our plans that we forget to even think about God's plan and the future that He has mapped out for us.

Another consequence is that we become too self centered.  We don't look at the big picture- eternity, and Who is really in charge and Who is really the center of everything.  And it is not us! Another result affects our relationships because we want other people to be more and give us more than they can give and we end up very discouraged and disappointed.  No one can be or do what only God can do and be. Don't we want people to act like God and supply all we need and want?  We desire these wonderful and fulfilling relationships and we expect others to be all we need and they just can't do it.

We so want to have the peace that only God can give and that we will only have perfectly in eternity that we either try to control our lives or we live in fear.  The longings that we have don't mean that we are missing out on life (which we tend to think) but that we were meant for a different life somewhere else.

All our unrealistic expectations can also lead us to question God's character- is He really good?  If we don't understand that He has a perfect plan and that we don't know what that is we will surely be disappointed in this life full of suffering and trial and when we continue to be disappointed we will end up with little motivation and little hope.

And last of all, if we don't keep our eyes on eternity, then we will live life as if there are no consequences.  I have seen that lately in my own life.  I realized that in a lot of areas of my life I don't think that I will suffer the consequences of my actions, whatever they may be.  For example, I got botox shots in my hands because I was tired of them sweating all the time.  The doctor told me that it might make the muscles in my hands relax and I could have trouble holding things or picking up things.  Did I believe that it would happen to me? Absolutely not!  Did it?  Absolutely it did and is still not back to normal. ( I am not sure that the side effects are worth the dry hands!)  It happens all the time different areas in our life - I eat too much thinking that I won't gain weight, I drive too fast  :) thinking that I won't get a ticket...  We all have areas in our lives that we live as if we can do whatever we want and nothing will happen to us.

As I have continued to read this book, I am praying that God will help me to remember the big picture.  This is not all there is, He has a plan, and it is not necessarily my plan, but it is good and only He can satisfy my deepest longings now and in eternity.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

A New Chapter

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord.  Plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Jeremiah 29:11

Change is actually not one of my favorite things but once again life is taking another turn.  As the summer comes to an end so does my time with Young Life for now and my time with this amazing group of girls that God has blessed me with for the last four years.  It hasn’t really hit me yet what life will be like without Young Life club on Monday nights, campaigners on Wednesdays, Grilled cheese on Thursdays, football, volleyball, basketball, leadership time and camps.  My life for the last 40+ years has centered on the school calendar and all that entails.  But, the Lord has definitely said that it is time for a break and right now there is peace in that decision. 

What that will look like is a whole other story!  I am just waiting and resting in the knowledge of His perfect love and plan for me.  In some ways it is exciting because the possibilities are numerous but in other ways it is certainly scary not to know what is ahead.

These precious young women and I have been saying good bye now for several months as we have prepared for their leaving for college.  The summer is always tricky in planning for campaigners but this summer we have been able to meet on a regular basis.  They have been coming by the house the last few days to say our last good- byes and to get in a few more hugs and tears.  We all decided to write letters to each other and those have been completed and they are dropping those off as well.  It has been a humbling experience to see what God has done in their lives over the last four years and to have had the privilege of being a part of His plan for each of them.  There are no words, actually, to describe how God has worked in this group and drawn us all together in a body of believers that has loved, forgiven, shown grace and encouraged one another.  I will be eternally grateful for my time with them.

I am hoping to use this blog as a way to connect with them as they are away and a way to begin writing again about what the Lord is doing in my life and what He is showing me about Himself.  I have missed the caring bridge page and hope that I can use this page to encourage these friends and whoever else happens on this journal. 

I will close with a quote from Winnie the Pooh that Lauren included in her letter to me.  Thanks,  Lauren.

How Lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”