Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Elephant in the Room

My husband, Greg, is still in India. I shared a few weeks ago that I had the opportunity to go, but God’s answer was “not now.” Thankfully He is sovereign and with all that has happened over the last week or so, I wouldn’t have wanted to miss a thing.

Meanwhile, Greg is adjusting once again to culture shock and an inverted body clock (India is almost half a day ahead of us). While touring a local temple, the group Greg was with came to a courtyard with a surprise feature—an elephant. It was unusual to find such a huge animal inside the walls of a temple, but when offered a ride, the group obliged. Can you guess which one is my husband?

At the end of the traditional ride in the basket, the driver allowed Greg to climb over and sit on the back of the elephant’s head. This is the driver’s seat. Now, he alone could control where that elephant would go. By strategically pulling the elephant’s ears or tapping the top of his head, Greg was in charge of the ginormous beast.

This got me thinking, is it really that easy to control the elephant in the room? I have several things in my life that I’d rather ignore than deal with. Do you? Personal disciplines, tough decisions that need to be made, and difficult conversations that are far overdue are easy to walk around and put off until later. But they become the elephant in the room. And we end up adjusting our lifestyle because they are there.

If you can control a real elephant by tugs and taps on the head, couldn’t you also control the elephant in the room? You can, but only from the driver’s seat:

•    Behavior issues with your kids? Research to find a solution that will work for them and stick with it!
•    Need to have a tough talk with a friend? Pray over the situation and being in godly counsel if necessary.
•    Trying to make changes in your life? Find a friend who will keep you accountable.

With God’s help, we can all climb over the basket and move into the driver’s seat. Until we do, we just keep walking around the elephant in the room, hoping it will go away. But it won’t move until we do. Are you ready to drive?

Be blessed,
Jennifer

“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

If a Sparrow (or a Hummingbird) Falls to the Ground...

 Please enjoy a message from my fellow writing friend, Julie Garmon and her “Southern Stories of Grit and Grace." You can find more of her stories of God in the everyday at www.juliegarmon.com. Enjoy!


As a writer, sometimes the harder I work, the more a story eludes me.

One August day last year, near 100 degrees, my writing wasn’t coming together. I’d worked on the same article for days.  At 4:30 that afternoon, I did something very un-Julie-ish. I took a break and went to the pool at the local YMCA. I plopped in a lounge chair, but my brain kept working.

My cell rang. “You won’t believe what I’m doing,” my husband said “This poor hummingbird got stuck in the shop. She’d been flying around the ceiling, wearing herself out. Probably dehydrated. I stretched out my hand and she landed on it.”

“You’re kidding.”

"Nope. I asked one of the guys to make her some sugar water."

Bless my husband’s sweet heart.

“She sat in my hand and drank from the lid of a bottled water. I took her outside and she flew away.”


If my husband, the mechanic, cares about a worn-out hummingbird…

I sensed God saying, Julie, you’re just like that hummingbird. Relax. Take a break. I’m here.

I swam in the pool for a while. Then I closed my eyes and rested in the sun. I didn’t work anymore that day. A couple of days later, the missing piece of my story came to me.

Anybody tired and ready to give up? Rest is a gift, even a form of trust.

Love,
Julie

“But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it.” Matthew 10:29 (NLT)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Hurry up and wait


“Honey, pack your bags. We’re going to India.”

The hustle and bustle of the busy morning came to a grinding halt. India? Did I want to go to India?
I was neck deep in plans and none of them had included going to India: helping my newly graduated son prepare for a week in Barcelona with his grandparents; packing for a weekend trip out of town for my nephew’s wedding; working on final details for my book release in July… nope, no plans for India here.

The more I let the idea marinate, the more I began to love it. I began taking time to research the country and learn more about their culture. I discovered beautiful parks and waterfalls nearby that seemed to beckon. My husband, Greg, and I even planned a train ride to visit the Taj Mahal. I was certainly warming up to the idea of spending a week in India.

We were thrown into the whirlwind of making plans, finding passports, applying for visas, figuring out finances—there were so many moving parts and they all needed to move in sync for the trip to happen.

“Honey, there’s a wrinkle in our plans. They now need me for two weeks, not just one. And I have to leave at the end of the week.”

Now this was a game changer. We played around with several scenarios to shorten my trip but extend his. But by the end of the day we were face to face with a harsh reality—I wouldn’t be able to go.

Has that ever happened to you? Have you ever had to hurry up and then wait? Like a stirred up ant pile, something unexpected will cause a great deal of commotion and excitement only to have to go back to business as usual.

My heart was heavy from the adventure I wouldn’t be able to take with Greg, the sights we wouldn’t be able to see together. But I also had an unexpected peace.  God was saying “not now.” If I was supposed to go to India, the details would have worked out. It doesn’t mean I will never go, it only means that this wasn’t my time. I just have to trust Him.

So, tomorrow night I’ll be dropping Greg off at the airport and praying him safely to India. I will keep the home fires burning and wait with expectancy on what God has planned for me right now. I may not be going to a land far away, but I will certainly be on an adventure…

Be blessed,
Jennifer

“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and He will establish your plans.” Proverbs 16:3


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

YOLO


I’m not nearly cool enough to keep up with the kids’ slang these days, but I have learned a new saying:
YOLOYou Only Live Once
While this has become the mantra of risk taking, rule breaking adolescents throughout the nation, I think there’s a nugget here for you and me. Let’s look at it from a few different angles…
The basic premise is entirely true. God has preordained the number of our days on earth. Once those days are gone, there is no “do over” or turning back the clock. Each day is finite and has an expiration limit. So are we treating our days like a precious commodity?
I don’t consider myself a big risk taker. I’m not always looking to climb every mountain and swim every stream. There are things I enjoy that may not be everyone’s cup of tea… like scrapbooking, musicals and watching old black and white movies.  I try to be content in my circumstances and cast out any constant longing for more. But sometimes I wonder, do I play it too safe?
When we let God direct our actions, He’s gonna take us right out to the edge. Lately, I’ve taken bigger risks in the pursuit of God’s plan for my life than ever before. My days have been filled with book edits, publisher meetings, video shoots, photo shoots, marketing strategies… none of which I’m comfortable with! God has been expanding my borders and growing me through experiences I would never have sought out on my own. The thrill of seeing God work is intoxicating, why have I been running from it?
Who’s to say if we should play it safe or take more chances? Um, God will. God knows you and I intimately, better than we even know ourselves. He knows where we need to stretch and grow and where we need to find contentment and rest. His plans for our lives determine our risk factors. But are we letting Him choose? Are we taking chances for Him or just playing it safe? If He’s asking you to do something that feels scary, trust me, He’s in it! There’s glory to be found there! Take that step and just do the thing! Or if you think you hear Him telling you to let go of something you’ve been doing, let it go. That only means He has a better use of your time and that is always the better option.
I’ll leave you with the wise words from Ms. Frizzle on the Magic School Bus. “Take chances. Make mistakes. Get messy!” YOLO!
Blessings,       
Jennifer
“The LORD has done it this very day; let us rejoice today and be glad.” Psalm 118:24