January 27, 2015

Open for 2015 {Week 3}

How are you today?  I think it would be so fun to sit down with you, dear reader, and catch up with you if I know you well already or get to know you if we are not well acquainted.  When I write I imagine I am talking these words, conversing with whomever will read.  I am thankful for words and messages to share with one another and the way God uses people in our lives to build us up with spoken or written truth.

This week I noticed the OPEN sign on the wall in my kitchen many times.  There she hangs to remind me to remain OPEN to the Lord and to whatever life brings.  I had planned many weeks in advance to have ladies over this past Saturday to start a book discussion of Own Your Life, by Sally Clarkson.  I was so excited to begin our journey through the book together.  After scheduling that on the evening of a day our oldest already had a swim meet, my sister-in-law invited us to my nephew's birthday party.  It would be held in the window between the swim meet and our book club kick-off and they live forty-five minutes away.  Of course, right?

We step out in faith and inevitably encounter some challenges!

In my stubbornly determined way, I refused to make any changes, we could just charge through the day and make it all happen.  Then, Thursday of last week, my husband, through circumstances beyond his control, learned he would not be available for our busy January 24.

Deep breath.

Then the questions:  Should I have his parents come and baby sit during the meet?  Should we skip the party in the middle?  Should I cancel our ladies gathering?

No.  The answer was no on all fronts.  We could have a great day together.  We would be tired by the end, but each event was a wonderful thing and the house would stay as orderly as it was because we wouldn't be home all day!  Perfect!!

The main reason I knew we should plow through was because I knew the Lord would give me strength and be gracious to us.  He called on me to start a book group and He would be faithful.  I was holding Him to it!

And He was.
  • The younger two were great at the swim meet, in fact the littlest was unusually calm and delightful in the unstructured environment, only melting down a little toward the end because she was tired.  And the middlest found other waiting-around siblings to play with, in addition to having some electronic entertainment, and the hours flew by.  I was amazed, and thankful.
  • Getting to hang out with extended family at the birthday party was delightful.  I am always glad to see those people who are part of who I am and who I love so much.
  • And finally, to hear many women at our evening gathering share about how long they have been wanting to be part of a ladies Bible study!  Well, I was deeply humbled and blessed by God being with those women.

So, OPEN in the face of circumstances beyond our control.  I usually complain about these things or try to finagle my way out of them.  Really, I do; I am a whiny wimp.  But Sally's book and God's Word  remind me that I have a choice about how I respond to my circumstances ... and I might actually get to see God do some things if stop thinking about myself all the time!

Time to take action:  Are  you in the midst of circumstances beyond your control that make you want to, say, kick, scream, cry, complain, curse, etc.?  Maybe you have a day coming up that you are dreading or are in the middle of an on-going trial.  How can you OPEN up to God?
  • Ask the Lord to help you to taste and see that He is good right where you are.
  • Confess to Him your sinful tendencies to fear, doubt, complain, or try to escape.
  • Rejoice that God will be your stronghold and helper in the midst OF EVERYTHING.  He is always near.  In fact, try to spend more time rejoicing than you do asking and confessing!
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding,will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:4-7

Do you have any testimony of God working in your life in the midst of trying circumstances?  I would love to hear your stories!  If only we could meet over a cup of coffee this morning.  I guess the comment section will have to do.

Till Thursday, walk in His way!

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