Saturday, October 14, 2017

Misplaced Anger

I love my hummingbirds and make sure their feeders are kept full of sweet nectar. 
But I often feel hurt, because they don't seem to appreciate me at all even though I am providing them with a constant reliable source of food - as much as they can drink !!  
Again, today I took the feeder down to refill it and I could hear one of the hummingbirds clicking behind me, scolding , angry that the feeder was GONE !!  It was less than a minute before it was once again hanging in its place and he was again at the 'flower' enjoying its sweetness. 
I thought .. "Silly bird, why can't you trust me? 
Why can't you recognize that I am the one taking care of you. " 

But then, I wondered ... "God is that what your children are like too?  Do we hurt your feelings too because we do not trust you?"
As long as we are enjoying the fullness of life and  eat of its sweetness, all's right with our world and we are happy and thankful. Our praise to God flows easily from our lips.
But then come the times where suddenly the sweetness is gone and a vacuum gapes in dark caverns where before we enjoyed life. The things we took for granted are suddenly gone, and we don't know where we will find another fountain to drink from. The unthinkable happens -  that unexpected curve in the road, that experience that cuts to the quick, that shock that leaves us adrift.
And then, though God speaks softly to us,  we ignore His voice and blame Him instead.
We cry out ,
 "How could you let this happen to me? 
 How could you let me suffer?  
Why did you not prevent this disaster, this tragedy, this difficulty, this pain?" 

Just like my hummingbird, we never consider that maybe God is 'refilling' our bottle.  Maybe the 'break' in our life is needful for the 'best' that God has planned for us. Maybe God is wanting us to refocus  on Him, because He notices that we are being distracted by things that would take us from Him.
Just as I was perfectly aware of what my hummingbird needed and was providing it, so also God is perfectly aware of what I need and is in process of providing it.

Could I not be a little more trusting and patient, knowing that He does all things well? Knowing that His eye is always upon me, even when I don't 'feel' it.  Knowing that His thoughts are always for my good?"

"Knowing this, that the trying of your faith works patience ...  but let patience have her perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, wanting nothing."  James 1:3-4 

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder

I can easily guess your response looking at my above photo .. "what in the world is that!!"

But if anyone dares to describe the little ornaments as ugly or worthless or anything 'less-than', my emotions will rise in defense,  resenting any criticism.

Why ?   Because to me the above little ornaments are beautiful with treasured value.
When my two  granddaughters were  toddlers, both under 3,  my daughter asked them if they wanted to make  something for me for my birthday.  Oh yes, they did.
She gave them a box of paint and brushes and  two little figurines to paint.
My daughter told me they sat for over an hour painstakingly, patiently painting brush stroke after brushstroke, intent on making their work perfect for their Nanna.  I will never forget the eager little faces when they so proudly gave me their gifts.
My heart melted - how I still treasure the little ornaments, and in 'my eyes'  the beauty is unsurpassed!

Often when I look at the little figurines, I wonder if God doesn't feel the same as I do.
When He looks at you and me, does He see us as worthless?  Does He see the flawed, imperfect brush strokes with which we have painted our lives?
Does He look at the 'gifts' of service we give Him and see them as so much 'less' than what He could so easily do better without us?
Or, do His emotions quickly rise up against anyone who would speak against us?   Does He see us as beautiful beyond description and are our humble offerings to Him precious because we are clothed with our faith/trust in Him?  Does He value what we offer Him as 'beautiful' , even when in human eyes it looks worthless, just because we are so loved and treasured in His sight?

" ....  the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes" I Peter 1:7

 "Rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God."  I Peter 3:4

"So shall the King greatly desire your beauty, for He is the Lord, worship him !" Psalm 45:11

The ultimate, unfathomable truth is expressed by Jesus Himself -- that the Father loves you and me as much as He loves Jesus !
John 17:20,23

Next time you look into the mirror,  or look into your heart, and feel despondent or discouraged at the 'little' you have offered to God, remind yourself of how God sees you and how He values what you give Him in response to His love for you.
If God delights in you and values your 'gifts' to Him,  does it matter so much what others think?

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

What's Wrong With This Picture

We recently stopped for lunch at a very popular Bistro called Bliss in Peachland.  They  have excellent  "made from scratch" soup, bread, desserts so I  recommend them as a good place to have lunch in you are in the area.

I ordered a bowl of soup - gluten free -  and a cup of coffee.  When my husband, with a smirk on his face, carried the tray with our order to our table and placed my soup and coffee in front of me,  I had to burst out laughing !
Something was wrong with the picture!!
The cup and the bowel were just NOT in proper balance regarding relative size!

I thought about this.  I thought about how we all adhere to a certain standard.  We expect things to be in balance. We are far more reluctant to move from what has been established as the rightful  'norm' than we would think.  We don't really think about it, until something jars our senses and alerts us to note that something is out of balance.

Regarding the size imbalance of my soup bowl and coffee cup, it was something that tickled my sense of humor, but it did no harm - it caused no inconvenience.

But sometimes things out of balance do hurt.
When  monthly expenses exceed  income.
When time runs out before I can meet a deadline or keep an appointment.
When there are more people than food to feed them.
When my fatigue is greater than strength needed to complete a task.
When I have miles to go and no gas in the tank.

But then my thoughts lifted to a higher realm.
Does God look down on me and see an imbalance in the cup and bowl of my life?

Does my bowl of God-time look much smaller than my cup of me-time?
Does my bowl of faith shrink in size when compared to my cup of anxious worry?
Is my bowl of forgiveness much smaller than my cup of harbored grudges?
Is my bowl of unselfishness out sized by my cup of selfish me-focus?
Is my bowl of love overshadowed by my cup of fear?
Is my bowl of generosity much smaller than my cup of greed?
Is my bowl of trust in God's truth insignificant in relation to the size of my cup filled with the world's  standards of right and wrong?

my prayer - "Dear Father, forgive me for where I have allowed  my cup and bowl to be out of balance, where I am more filled up with myself than with you.  Forgive me where I have not been careful to make the things of the Kingdom bigger than the things of this world.  Jar my senses, Lord .. show me the imbalances in my life and teach me to be pleasing in  your sight. I turn my eyes up to you, desiring that as I look I will reflect your love in my life. In Jesus' precious name, amen."

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Something Good in Something Bad

I have rheumatoid arthritis ... the crippling kind. I was diagnosed about twenty years ago. It changed my life as I had  known it.  I had been very active, healthy and always able to add one more thing to an already busy day.  But then suddenly, my body rebelled, painful swollen joints refusing to allow movement and actions I had taken for granted.
But, over the years, my rheumatologist prescribed the drugs that controlled the pain and limited the crippling that used to be unavoidable.  I began to find a more tolerable level of function, although I had to give up many things I had enjoyed doing ... like hiking ... tennis ...sewing ... knitting. I had to find new ways to do common every day tasks.

The synovium is the primary site of the inflammatory process, which if untreated leads to irreversible damage to the adjacent cartilage and bone. My right wrist responded less than my other joints to treatment, and now the synovium layer has thickened and affected the wrist joint to the point that I have virtually no movement left in it. 

A bad thing?  yes.. of course ..  God created our flexible wrists because they make many things easier to do.  
But ... for me, it has been a blessing in disguise.  With the wrist no longer being able to move I am spared the jarring pain that resulted from any hand movement. 
And ...  then I discovered that with my wrist fused I was able to quite comfortably knit. The weight of holding the needles no longer aggravated the pain in my wrists , so to my delight I was able to once again indulge in something I enjoy.   The above photo is a baby blanket  I recently made for a friend's first grandchild. 

Bad things do happen ...  trials, troubles, pain , suffering are all the 'norm' in our earthly life. But, God in His loving kindness can take the 'bad' things and bring something good out of them. 

It is not natural for us to look for the good in something bad, but when we trust in God's love for His children and His promise to 'work all things together for good' , we can develop the good habit of looking for His fingerprint in the midst of something we would so gladly eliminate from our life.   
The apostle Paul repeatedly begged God to remove from him the disability that plagued him and God said 'no'.   Why? Because without it Paul would not have fulfilled the calling God put upon him. Pride would have been his downfall. 
 And in the acceptance of his 'thorn',  he  experienced how God's strength was perfected in his weakness and he learned to live in the all-sufficiency of God, leaning on Him instead of trusting in his own strength and ability. 
Had God said 'yes' to Paul's plea, would we today be missing much of the New Testament in our bibles?   

What God allows to come into our life, He also provides the grace we need to rise above it, and we need never face it alone.  He is there with us, comforting us in it, and taking us through it.