BIG THINGS, small things

Just this morning, I told my daughter to put on her socks and shoes because we needed to head out the door. She said, “Okay” and ran out, only to come back barefoot a few minutes later to say, “Mom, I helped tidy up the living room, and I wanted to bring you your slippers.” She wanted to please me by doing a good things, but that was not what I asked her to do. She knew what I had wanted but chose to disobey to do something she thought I would like better.

Sometimes God asks us to do BIG THINGS
and sometimes He asks us to do small things
Which is which? 
And, does it matter?

“Build an ark”
300 x 50 cubits
75 x 450 feet

Almost 1/2 the width of a football field
(which is 160 feet wide)
and
1 1/2 the length of a football field
(not including the end zones).

The ark was 45 feet high.
That’s taller than the average telephone pole.

That’s a BIG job…
physically in size
and physically demanding,
and life altering!

The boys have been studying genetics in Science and ratios in Math. Since both subjects mentioned Noah’s Ark and we have plenty of space around our house, we decided to measure the length and width of the ark and drive stakes to mark where the four corners would be.

(If you look closely, you’ll see the boys standing at the two far corners past the telephone poles.)

Few people will have a BIGGER or more important job to do than Noah, but if I judge the importance of a person by the visible size of their accomplishments then I am using a superficial, worldly, and faulty standard of measurement.

Who wants to do something significant?
Who wants to be great?
Who wants to be important, successful?

The most unlikely folk argued about such things at the most inappropriate times. Why? They were confused about what was really important and were oblivious to what was really going on. And what did Jesus say to them?

  • “the least among you is the one who is great”
  • “whoever humbles himself… is the greatest”
  • “whoever would be great … must be a servant”

He was born in a barn, lived with the poor, dressed in common clothes. He “made Himself nothing, taking the form of a servant”. He washed their feet. He was God, but He was humble, lowly. And, HE was the greatest of all.

How does Jesus measure greatness? And who did He commend? “… there is no one greater than John the Baptist. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” Odd, poor, plain (if not ugly in his wild-man-camel-hair get up), no one would call John-the-wilderness-dweller “great” then or now by the world’s standards of “greatness”.

Q: So, what are the BIG things?
A: What God tells me to do.

Q: What has He told me to do?
A: LOVE GOD
Love Others
Love my husband
Love my kids
Be a servant

As a younger woman, I am specifically told that for now, my “BIG-thing” is my husband, my kids, and my home (see Titus 2). The season for this “important project” will soon be over. I would be a fool if I missed my “Magnum Opus” because I was busy with some insignificant BIG-thing that I had idolized.

I once heard a pastor say, speaking of doing things for God that He never asked us to do, “It’s like baking apple pies for God all your life only to get to the end of your life and find out that God didn’t like apple pie.”

Little things are the BIG-things.

  • The widows mite, 
  • the tax collector’s prayer, 
  • the boy’s fish and bread, 
  • Mary’s choice to sit at Jesus feet, 
  • the one leper that returned to say “thank you”, 
  • the few words of the Canaanite woman with great faith, 
  • the perfume poured out on Jesus feet, 
  • faith the size of a mustard seed …

God not only sees the little things,
but He calls them the BIG things!

What little thing has He asked you to do?
Drive that stake in the ground, and get started today.

Everyday a Holy-day

“God can talk to you
any where,
any time.”

Yup, I know,
but I’m still disappointed.

For years I’ve marked off a special day on the calendar…

one day — the entire day
to be alone with the Lord
to listen, pray, read, think, and enjoy His company…

cleared schedule — free to be Spirit led
no agenda except to give God my full attention
no responsibilities, no children,…

Something has come up and my plan to have no plans has been thwarted.

“no agenda” … “my plan”

God, what are Your plans?

My husband is offering to let me go away for an entire weekend another time, but as wonderful as that sounds, I still feel disappointed.

“God can’t talk to you in 5 or 6 hours?”
and
“You mean, He just can’t talk to you when the kids are around?”
He looks into my eyes, playfully smiles, and kisses me.

His questions make me feel foolish, but he is right. God doesn’t really need 24 hours. The issue isn’t God’s ability to speak; rather, it is my ability to listen.

My holy-day traditions have included a prayer day once every month and a special “Yamim Noraim” once a year, a day of awe and Sabbath, to worship and rest, to pray and seek the face of God.

On monthly prayer days, I simplify my schedule but keep my basic routine. I still cook, be it a crockpot-menu or frozen pizzas. I don’t (usually) cancel school, but the kids do more independent work. If it is a Sunday, I still go to church. I try not to schedule appointments these days, but it is not a big deal if something comes up. I spend as much time alone praying and listening to the Lord as I possibly can.

But, my “High-holy-day” is different. It has been marked on the calendar for years and NOTHING is scheduled on this day. My husband and the kids are either shipped off or I leave. I want to start the day alone with God and end the day alone with God, spending every moment in between alone with Him, too. It isn’t unusual for me to have not spoken a word till mid day when I choose to read a passage, pray, or sing aloud. That sacred silence is so precious to me.

I am reluctant to give away one moment of that day because I know from experience that He meets me so uniquely. I get more insight on that one day than I can even begin to explain here. For years afterward, I have look backed to those holy-days and said, “I first prayed about … on that day.” or “He prepared me for this.” or “I didn’t know it at the time, but that was the day when all this began.” or “Ever since that day, I have…”

So here I am…
what do I do this year?

The question that keeps on coming to mind is,
“What makes a day holy?”

“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.” NIV
… to keep it holy.” ESV, NAS
… by observing it as a holy day.” GWT
… let it be a holy day.” BBE
… to hallow it.” DBT
… to sanctify it.” YLT
“Remember to dedicate the Sabbath day.” HCSB
(…to set it apart from the other days as a holy day” – ME)

Holy – dedicated, consecrated, sanctified, set apart to God.

Every day is “holy”.
EVERY DAY
I and the day
should be dedicated to God,
set apart for His will, His pleasure, His desire.

Intentionally beginning the morning saying,
“LORD, what do You want to do today?”

But, some days are extra special, even to God.

I’m rambling…
But, there it is.

Lord, You’ve brought me to this end:
“What do YOU want to do on ‘our’ special day?”

My perspective is changed.
I am ready to be surprised by the LORD. I wonder what He has planned.

A Chance to be Blind

Laying still for hours in the dark, I was amazed at all I heard:
the sound of the refrigerator running,
the wind outside my window,
the ticking of a clock,…

In the background all the time, I haven’t noticed them until recently when I had an issue with one of my eyes that caused it to be extremely light sensitive. Keeping my eyes closed didn’t seem to be enough; so I spent the entire day wearing my sleep mask until the sensitivity passed.

Moving about the house blindfolded was surprisingly easily, but I gained a new appreciation for the familiar layout of the furniture with an uncluttered path, the orderly way items had been put back in their place, and the blessing of helpful children.

Because opening and closing my eyes to blink felt like rubbing sandpaper over my eye, I brushed my teeth, showered, put on lotion, made my bed, ate my meals, did everything with my eyes closed. Every task, putting the cap on the toothpaste, shaving my legs, putting the lotion away, was a lesson in thankfulness.

The only frustrating part for me was the evening when my husband drove me up to the city to see the doctor. The familiar trip that usually takes about half an hour seemed to go on and on. Feeling certain several times that we must be almost there, I couldn’t resist a quick squinted peek only to find that we had so far to go.

Later that night as I lie in bed, I tried to picture various things: fall leaves, the ocean, the sunset from my deck, my dog…

I began to think about what all I would miss if I was blind, and without a moment of pondering, I knew above all else I would miss seeing my husband’s face, his gorgeous eyes, his perfect smile, the grey at his temples…

And for a panicked moment, I couldn’t get a clear mental picture in my mind. I have his face memorized, but at that instant it was all blurry pieces: eyes, teeth, chin…

I wondered, is this what is like for the widow who desperately holds on to photographs of her husband’s countenance?

“Photographs” … the thought brought relief.  I could recall photographs, specific captured moments.

…one at our wedding as he pulled off my garter, the picture in my last blog post with our daughter in Guatemala, our engagement portrait,… I had studied these pictures, and I could see his face.

Today I took a walk through the woods. I especially took in my favorite sounds of crunching leaves and wind blown branches, but I paused and closed my eyes to tune into the birds, the chipmunks, my children laughing and our dog barking in the field in the distance,…

What a blessing to be able to open my eyes and see the colors, more browns than before as the autumn leaves have almost all fallen, but even the shades of brown bless me today!

If you were able to read this blog, take a minute…
STOP
and thank the Lord for your sight
and don’t stop there.

Prepare your heart for Thanksgiving by giving thanks.
We are so blessed in countless ways…
“1,000 gifts” ???
Ooooooh, so much more!

Thank you, dear God, for my senses, my family, my heart that beats steady.
Thank you, God, for life, love, and most of all YOU!

Something Happy

“Mama, let’s talk about something happy. Let’s talk about adoption.”

So, I tell her story again.

… how we waited and searched and traveled so far to find her…

In school today she heard the story of Abraham and Isaac.

“My mama would never sacrifice me because I am so special
She wanted me so much she went to Guatemala to get me.”

Dear Abraham and Sarah, I know how you felt.

I told her that Isaac was extra special. Isaac’s mommy and daddy couldn’t have a baby either. They wanted Isaac sooooo much, too, and they had to wait even longer.

Then she told me “my story”.

“When I was an orphan, I wanted a mama just like you sooooo bad. And, I waited patiently for 35 years…”

precious girl.

You could never know how deeply I loved you before I even held you, how my arms ached for you, how I prayed for you.

The first time I held you, and you lifted that tiny hand to touch my face… there are no words.

I’m so glad we found each other.

Oh, God, this is the heart of adoption. A choice to love… made and decided forever. This is your heart, to care for the orphan. You place the lonely in families. (Ps. 68:6) And, you fill empty arms.

Thank You, for letting me know the Spirit of Adoption, for bringing me in, choosing me. I can’t help but wonder… Do you long for the day when You will hold me as much as I did for my baby girl?

“Precious in the eyes of the Lord is the death of His saints.” (Ps. 116:15)

Can you wait to bring Your children home?

Who but Your children can say, “Father, let’s talk about something happy. Let’s talk about adoption, and the day you’ll bring me home.”?

My simple, complicated Life

Ebb and flow… again, the overlapping seasons of my life are changing.

Wave after wave, life lessons roll in, washing away the footprints of the yesterday me and smoothing over my rough edges.

I stand again on the trackless beach of this new day sensing another turn of the tide.

The wild ocean, so mighty and vast, soothes me with its constant lulling rhythm. Night and day the currents sweep through the deep.   Keeping perfect time, the earth, moon, and sun dance turning, spinning, rising, setting, until the waters, dizzy with the sway, crash into the continents.

Ah, Life, fragile mystery, powerful as the unseen breath that winds the hurricane, what storms are sure to blow? The seas of life are anything but predictable. All that is certain is change and the Mighty One that sustains you.

Sand and sea, sun and sky, life is a beach. How simple!

Oh, Life, how I complicate you! Oh, busy, restless Life, tossed with thought and activity!

Lord, You speak to me:

“Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands…” 1 Thessalonians 4:11

A quiet, peaceful life… this is my ambition.

Not boring;
Just simple.

Less cluttered, less chaotic, less frantic, less busy…
More deliberate, more meaningful, more beautiful…

Intentionally Less so that which remains is More.

God, I need You to bring order to my life “on earth as it is in heaven”. You are not the author of confusion but of peace. Dear God of Order, write my life with Your holy inspiration.