Monday, September 26, 2011

Out of Alignment

The phone rang at 7:45 on Friday morning. I heard my son Jordan on the other end.

Mom, Paige and I are fine but we need you to bring us your car. The tire on my truck is shot.”

Fifteen minutes later I was standing on the side of the highway, sipping my coffee and hoping that none of the drivers whooshing by noticed my morning hair. I watched Greg jack up the truck and remove the offending tire with manly finesse.

Sure enough, the inside tread of the tire was coming apart . A few more miles and the tire would have blown out completely. Fortunately, Jordan noticed something was wrong and pulled off the highway before it ended badly.

The interesting thing about the tire was the middle tread was still fine. In fact, it could have gone several hundred miles before it needed to be replaced. But this issue happened because the truck was out of alignment. The constant tug of war was causing uneven wear and now was a problem that couldn't be ignored.

I don't know about you, but I find that same problem in my own life. I play tug of war far too often. Right vs wrong. Need vs want. God's way vs my way. I pull and struggle and before I know it, I am out of alignment. By the time I notice something is wrong the damage has already been done.

Let's face it, while we are on this earth we will have to be aware of our alignment. The world constantly tries to pull us away from the blessings God has for us. But there's good news! God allows us to be in alignment with Him. When we keep Him as our focus, God navigates us through the bumps and potholes of this world and shows us the road He wants us to take. It's only when we decide to be in control or let our gaze wander off to something else that we begin to drift. We don't have to live in a constant tug of war! His way is what is best for us. No matter how hard we've pulled, He can always bring us back into alignment...

Be blessed,

Jennifer

Show me your ways, LORD, teach me your paths.” Psalm 25:4


Monday, September 19, 2011

Just three chords

Did you know that every song is basically made up of three chords? I'd heard that before but now I'm sure of it. My son's girlfriend gave him a bass guitar and he spent a good part of our Sunday afternoon rocking out to a few of his favorite tunes, all comprising of the same three chords. Over and over again.

Hearing the repeating pattern as the backdrop for my day got me to thinking. Don't we only have three basic chords as well? Okay, I know we don't live in 'chords' but we certainly live in patterns. Some patterns keep us busy: wash, rinse, repeat. Other patterns are destructive: lie, cheat, steal. And then there's the pattern God wants us to follow: listen, trust, obey.

Listen. Although the days of Moses' burning bush are gone, God has not stopped speaking to us. We may not hear a booming voice from above declaring “I AM GOD!” but we can certainly still hear Him. Before Jesus ascended into heaven He promised the wise counsel of the Holy Spirit. Pillars of fire were replaced with a still, small voice that speaks truth to us moment by moment. In my opinion, going from maybe seeing God perform a miracle one or twice in your lifetime to the miracle of having the Holy Spirit living within you is definitely an upgrade!

Trust. Now that we have the benefit of hearing the Holy Spirit's promptings, we have to actually believe what it says. Few things mourn the heart of God more than a believer who just won't believe. We all fall into the trap of disbelief at one time or another but some people never find our way out. They know God is present in their life but just can't trust that He'll is willing or able to change their circumstance. Has that ever been you? Is that you now? We have to trust that God is bigger than our current reality.

Obey. We can say we trust God all day long, but our actions speak louder than our words. If we have listened to His promptings and trusted Him to carry us through whatever He's called us to do but then failed to obey Him, we've lied to ourselves. Either we didn't take time to hear Him clearly or (more likely) we don't believe He will do what He says He will do. God has no option but to see that as an act of defiance. We heard Him. We said we believed. We didn't do it... now we can expect some consequences.

All three chords are necessary to play the song just as all three steps are necessary for a life that honors God. We can't pick and choose which ones we like best and put them in whatever order we like. God is creating a symphony, our three chords matter! The more we practice listen, trust and obey the easier they will come to us. Yes, we'll make mistakes but as long as we fall right back into the rhythm God created, we'll make a beautiful sound...

Be blessed,

Jennifer

The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.” Psalm 28:7

Monday, September 12, 2011

An Unobstructed View

Bob and weave. Duck and stretch. Watching the game required constant movement so I could get a clear view through the railing. This was going to be a long day.

I waddled my gimpy self to my daughter, Paige's, volleyball tournament this weekend. My knee is still in the post surgery healing stages so climbing bleachers was not an option. So Greg and I and a few close friends took the urine scented elevator up to the balcony area.

Initially I was thrilled. I was above the bleachers, had a good view of the court and could sit in a chair with back support all day. What more could a girl want? That is, until I sat down and noticed the balcony was surrounded by a cage of railings.

This cage wasn't protecting me from anything coming in, it was designed to keep me from going out. Every so often I would miss a play because the railing was in the way. Or I would question a call because I couldn't clearly see the foul line. Even with constant adjustments and movements, I wasn't seeing the full picture. While I was thankful to have a place to sit and watch the game, I longed for an unobstructed view.

So often in my life I've settled for the obstructed view. I allow sin, fear or even my own pride to keep me from seeing the full picture. Instead of removing the obstacle in my way, I adapt to it. Bobbing and weaving to look beyond the thing right in front of my face, pretending it's not there. Can you relate?

The interesting thing about my view at the game was the railing didn't go up very high. If I stood up I could see everything. No railing. No bobbing. No weaving. Just clarity. I would stand for a few minutes until my leg felt a little sore and then once again take my seat. Each time I stood up I was able to stand for a little longer than the time before. My longing for the unobstructed view became the strength I needed to stand.

What's blocking your view? Are you afraid if you stand up you'll get knocked down again? Are you afraid to bring attention to yourself or be embarrassed? Perhaps you're so busy bobbing and weaving that you haven't even noticed the railing you're looking through. You're so used to it, it's become your reality. The cage is designed to keep you in but all you have to do is simply stand up. Decide you want the unobstructed view and go for it! You'll be amazed by the things you haven't been seeing...

Be blessed,

Jennifer

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10


Monday, September 5, 2011

This too shall pass...

The land is scorched from 100+ degree temperatures. The oppressive heat and lack of rain has taken its toll sparking wildfires and bad tempers. As the mercury rises, the pressure builds.

Then one day, quite unexpectedly, the heat bubble breaks. The sweltering heat is ushered out by a cool breeze. Instead of breaking a sweat as you get the morning paper, you stop and take in a deep refreshing breath. The heat of summer has finally subsided.

Meanwhile your body is tense with frustration and worry. This issue has weighed heavily on your heart and mind for what feels like forever. What more can you do? How will this end? Your mind is filled with unanswered questions and the pressure builds.

Then one day, quite unexpectedly, you see God's hands move. He gives you exactly what you need even though you weren't aware you needed it. He replaces fear with peace. He tears down walls and frees you from your captivity. The storm has finally subsided.

I don't know about you, but I've been feeling oppressed lately. Fighting my way back after surgery has kicked up a storm of fear and frustration. Just when I think I want to quit, God sends a fresh breeze to restore my soul. When I begin feeling parched, He pours out His living water. My fear and frustration subsides.

Whether you're caught in a storm or just feeling weathered and parched, this too shall pass. Where you are is not where you have to stay. Trust God to reach into the middle of your situation and, quite unexpectedly, it just may subside...

Be blessed,

Jennifer

"For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning." Psalm 30:5