Thursday, April 15, 2010

Hearing from God in Unexpected Places...

I love walking away from a situation - especially a regular task - with a changed heart. Today, for instance, I got a little lesson from God at the gas pump...

Upon leaving the house this morning there were two things I needed to fill: 1) my coffee mug (thank you, Starbucks, for the free coffee on tax day), and 2) my gas tank. Even though I was practically driving on fumes, I went to Starbucks first. Priorities. :) Then, in a rush, I pulled into the gas station. I jumped out of the car, inserted the necessary cards, shoved the nozzle into my car and let the pump do its work. Well, it just so turns out that the gas tank in my car wasn't the only tank on empty this morning, because this particular pump struggled to get the gas into my car. I leaned against my car - with my coffee in hand - and watched cent-by-cent as the pump dripped gasoline into my tank.

It didn't take long for me to grow impatient - I could literally count the cents faster than it was pumping. I stood there frustrated as other people came and went filling up their own cars while I stood outside of mine counting each dollar that passed. To add to my frustration, the wind picked up and I stood helpless as my freshly groomed hair tangled into a nest of knots.

As I stood there wondering why the pump I chose to use was taking so long (12 minutes to be exact), I felt a nudge on my heart. "Honey, calm down." I had to laugh...and I did...out loud. Ignoring the glances from the other patrons, I now stood next to my car smiling and laughing as God turned this frustrating situation into another teachable moment. He reminded me that I need to let go of my own agendas. I can get so wrapped up in the things that I need to get done or want to do or think I deserve that I often forget to just sit back and take in what's around me. I sometimes get myself so worked up over waiting that I forget to enjoy the process itself. God reminded me that his timing is always perfect - something you think I would have grasped by now. He reminded me to him. He reminded me to trust...him. He reminded me that no matter how hard I try to fulfill my agenda or get my "task sheet" done or make things happen HE has the ultimate say in it all and can disrupt ANY plans or agendas I may carry.

So, thank you, God, for speaking to me through a slow gas pump and continuing to shape my life around you.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

For the Love of Sneezing

I spent the day yesterday sneezing. Most of the time I love to lie. There is so much energy and power pent up in my nose that when the sneeze comes forth...ahhh (*sigh of relief*)... And, for me, the bigger and longer the wind-up for the sneeze the better. It’s just such a great release - I absolutely love it. But, when I spend most of my day sneezing, my joy in it diminishes.

I lost track of the number of times I sneezed yesterday; it just seemed to never stop. I don’t have allergies, so with this continual convulsion of my body, I knew something else was swelling within me and that I would soon be popping cold and sinus pills and going through a box of tissues a day. Joy. So, clearly, I was thrilled last night when my head slammed into the wall of congestion and headache. Figuratively, of course.

Don't worry, there is a redeeming factor in this story, and it can best be explained in simply writing out the conversation that occurred in my head last night as I laid in bed fighting for air:

“Of course, this would be the one time a year I get sick. Travis goes on vacation and trusts me to cover teaching the junior high students the next two Sundays and the Wednesday in between. Why, Lord, would you choose this week to give me a cold?”
“Because Travis is out of town and you will be teaching the junior high students the next two Sundays and the Wednesday in between.”
“Oooohhh...that makes sense. Wow, thank you, LORD, for this cold!” And, with this I rolled over with laughter that I’m surprised didn’t wake my husband.

You see, it’s not that I don’t rely on God for strength, but sometimes I rely on my own strength too much. I completely believe that God has allowed this cold to come upon me at exactly this time because He wanted to remind me of my weakness. He wanted to remind me that I can’t do this on my own, that I am fully and utterly dependent on Him. He wanted to remind me that I NEED Him, that I cannot do ministry without Him, and that He can work powerfully through my time of weakness.

In this time I think about the Apostle Paul. When he had a thorn in his flesh he said this:

“Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:8-10

I can honestly say that I am actually happy to have this cold right now. I feel like God is speaking directly to my heart through it, and I find such joy in that.