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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Refocus When You're Fractured: A Poem to Pray

Last week I spilled my guts about how frenzied I felt. Then I shared the three steps I take to get refocused. Often when I find myself in that scattered state of mind I pray this poem by Anne Ortlund. It's one of my favorites.

How single, God, are You – how whole!
One Source You are, one Way, one Goal.
I tend to splinter all apart
With fractured mind, divided heart;
Oh, integrate my wandering maze
To one highway of love and praise.

O single mast’ring Life of peace
At Whose command the ragings cease,
Keep calling to me, “Peace be still,”
To redirect my scattered will
Keep gath’ring back my heart to You.
Keep cent’ring all I am and do.

O focused Spot of holy ground,
Silence which is the Source of sound,
I drop the clutter from my soul,
Reorganized by Your control;
Then single, whole before Your throne,
I give myself to You alone. 



Father, please, use Anne's words to encourage and refocus my sister who feel scattered and over committed today. Thank You for how You used this poem to grow me and remind me You are the One Thing I have need of. Amen

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Three Steps to Untangling Life's Busyness


Tangled, that's how I feel these days. My husband and I moved into this house two years ago but until last December we had no assurance we were staying. In December Grace Baptist Church called Bill (my husband) as their permanent pastor. Previously he served as interim. Now I know we're staying. So I finished most of the unpacking and setting up house. I'd say I'm about eighty percent there. Then I dove into ministry including; chairing the Women's ministry, overseeing women's Bible studies and yes, blogging and trying to write a book. The unfinished twenty percent haunts me, as does the tension between church and writing ministry.  Oh, and did I mention I also work retail two days a week? So the homemaking remains unfinished as I weave the other threads that make up my life. Then I hit a snag; the tangled threads lie in a clump. The weaving slows. Nothing looks right. I drop stitches and knots seem to stop any real progress. I find being tangled is a lot like catching on fire if I don't stop, drop and roll I'll get burned.

1. STOP "Be still and know that I AM God." Psalm 46:10

I've been tangled before. I know God allows busy seasons for a time, not forever. I just need to take a  day alone with God. I'm pretty sure all my to do's are things He wants me to do but I need to focus on Him and let Him untangle all the threads He's put on the loom. Our lives are a tapestry. God the Master Weaver works with us as His apprentices. We apprentices get things tangled at times. We break threads we shouldn't and skip stitches but He always leans in to correct and redirect our flawed work. We just need to stop and listen to Him.

2. DROP "Bear one another's burdens..." Galatians 6:2

I have to drop my burden, unload it. If I don't no one will help me carry it. I need to be humble and ask for help or at least share my situation and ask for prayer.

I know I am not alone in feeling tangled. Some of you have more on your plate than me. For example, before Nancy (my good friend and writing accountability partner) left for a family reunion, she shared the her knots of busyness, "I have company coming this weekend. Then Judd and I leave the next morning. I have to wash the bedding before we leave because we have guest staying here while we're gone." She's blogging and writing a book too. She also leads a book club and she's an elder's wife.

Nancy could have cancelled our Friday morning meeting but she wove me in. Her transparency gave me an opportunity to help. I had an extra set of brand new sheets to give her so she didn't need to do laundry before leaving.

Nancy was relieved and I was happy for the empty space in the closet. We each felt a tad less tangled. As a pack rat, my life gets tangled in stuff at times but God, Who wove me that way, uses the stuff He stores in my house to bless those in need. 

This explains why I'm telling you I'm feeling tangled. I know an all knowing God has a child out there that has something I need, something to help me untie the knots. Maybe it's a moment to pray for me or a great time management insight.

3. ROLL "And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart." Galatians 6:9

Once I've spent a day with God and shared my burden it's time to get back to work.The piles of laundry still resemble a mountain range and the to dos on my list are more than I can get done but at least now I'm not doing it alone. God works in and through me to do His good pleasure.

I know if I could do everything I'd take credit for it. God likes to put us in places of dependency because that's where we belong. Then, as sections of the tapestry become complete, He gets the glory. His strength is perfected in our weakness. He also wants us to remember He must be our focus. He is the one thing we have need of. As an unskilled weaver, I'd be happy with a monochromatic piece but God plans my life to be His master piece. So I need to learn to handle lots of threads.

Any chance you're feeling tangled too? Maybe you need to stop, take a day alone with God. Then drop, unload your burden on a listening ear. Now roll, get back at it!

Better yet maybe you’re the sister with the supply I need. Thanks!

Father, please, help us rest in You in spite of the busyness You may choose for us. You long to carry us through. Please, keep us from the folly of trying to get by on our own strength. We desperately need You and Your body. Amen

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Eight Great Reasons to Unplug!

In the midst of your summer hubbub you may not have noticed I failed to post last Tuesday. I neglected email and I chose not to peruse Facebook . I intentionally unplugged for 10 days. This media fast freed me to be with my family, a rare privilege. So here are my eight great reasons to unplug:

1. My GRANDSON! He came just in time to celebrate his second birthday! He is all boy. He loves riding the lawn tractor and Grandpa's "Bacuda!" ('69 Barracuda)



2. My GRAND daughter who reigns as the family princess. She just turned four.
3. Their mommy, my oldest daughter Rachel.

4. My son-in-law, Niall, father of my fabulous grand babies and husband to Rachel, who managed to avoid the camera. Fortunately, this chimp stood in for him. (I love taking kids to the zoo!)

5. My youngest daughter. I call her the Mamma Bear of Washington. She's a state trooper who delights in protecting the innocent and busting bad guys.



















6. & 7. The middles! My middle daughter Jenni married a middle man (second of three brothers), Jared. They put up balloons for the birthday boy.




















and last but not least #8.
the baby bump known as GRAND daughter #2 or O'Neill #3. She makes her debut in early October or late September!!


I hope you have some peeps worth unplugging for this summer. Enjoy being with the real people. Make some memories. Give lots of hugs and kisses. Plugging into the family and friends who are present keeps the summer sunshine glowing all year!!