Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Intentional in the Unexpected

In January 2012, I chose "intentional" as my word to focus on this year.  I knew being intentional would be important as I transitioned to a mother of two from a mother of one in July.  I also wanted to be intentional about finding healthy dinner recipes to support My Hero as he overcame his high cholesterol.  I planned to learn more about photography, create weekly learning experiences for my daughter, and schedule monthly date nights.  I have been intentional in all of these areas throughout the year and I have grown and learned so much.  Yet, I was not prepared for the change in my husband's job and how that forced me to learn how to be even more intentional with our finances.  I wasn't anticipating a friend going through a very difficult time and again, learning how to be intentional with my love and support for her.  At the beginning of the year I never imagined my sister and brother-in-law would be moving halfway around the globe for two years and that our communication would have to become intentional rather than just as natural as breathing.  It never once crossed my mind that I'd have to be intentional about gently and boldly leading my daughter to heal and trust dogs again after an incident that could potentially scar her emotionally and physically for the rest of her life.

I wasn't prepared, but God was preparing me.  These verses have been a comfort to me this week....

"In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps." -Proverbs 16:9

"Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails." -Proverbs 19:21

Despite the unexpected pain (and opportunities for growth) I am experiencing, God was not surprised.  Not only was he not surprised, He was preparing me (without me even knowing it) for the struggles ahead.  He taught me to be intentional in areas I hadn't expected.  God's purposes always prevail and His plans are good and perfect.  Jeremiah 29:11 describes His plans as ones that will "prosper you and not harm you.....give you hope and a future."  I've struggled with that a good deal this can His plan be prosperous, perfect, and full of hope when so much hurt and pain are involved?  In those moments, I have leaned into the truths from the Bible presented in One Thousand Gifts, and I have continued to count my gifts, even especially amidst the confusion and pain.  The hard eucharisteo.  And I remember that God sees the big picture.  I only see a few small pieces of the puzzle.  But now I'm seeing how a few of those pieces fit together snuggly, securely, and perfectly.

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord.  "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.   ...You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.  Instead of the thornbush will grow the pine tree, and instead of briers the myrtle will grow.  This will be for the Lord's renown..."  -Isaiah 55:8-9, 12-13

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Letting go....and letting God

Letting go of my plans.....letting God reveal His perfect plan (much different than what I had envisioned), trusting His ways, and following step by step after Him.

Letting go of a sparkling, clean house.....letting God create beauty from the mess for the clutter is made from two creative, happy children.

Letting go of the desire to look like someone else.....letting God wrap His arms around me and whisper in my ear, "I made you perfectly the way you are.  You are the works of My hands and I am pleased with what I have made.  Love Me by embracing all that you are because of My creativity and grace."

Letting go of the fact that, as a Mama of two, it just isn't possible for me to always have quiet, uninterrupted time first thing in the morning anymore.....letting God teach me how to seek after Him each and every moment of the day, starting with a prayer of praise and dependence before I step out of bed.

Letting go of feeling joyful based purely upon emotions.....letting God, because of His gift of Jesus and his covenant promises, become my unending, never-faltering source of joy.

Letting go of measuring my success as a mother based upon the obedience of my children.....letting God lead and teach my mothering to place the highest value on the condition of my children's hearts.

Letting go of feeling entitled to financial abundance.....letting God gently remind me of my sin and that I only deserve death.  However, in His grace, He freely gives so much to me and monetary gains are not that important in light of eternity.  But oh, how blessed we are!

Letting go of feeling productive simply because I checked off a long list on my to-do list.....letting God remind me that my greatest accomplishments in a 24-hour period are spending time with Him, investing in my marriage, loving and spending time with my two blessings, and serving my friends and the community.

Letting go of me.....letting God be my everything.