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Monday, November 25, 2013

Thankful

Show of hands (or paws) - who has the life they always thought they'd have?
Have all your dreams come true?  If so, good for you (maybe).

Recently I was with a group that talked about the devastating experiences they had in their lives.  While they were not happy about what happened that derailed them from "their plan", they appreciated what God had done in their lives, despite the pain, the doubt, the anger, the bitterness.  Restoration can be a wondrous thing.

Little Oliver Twist, the kitten in the plantar in the picture, was dumped off at my house about a year ago.  While I doubt a six week old kitten has expectations of what its life may be like, being abandoned and cold wouldn't be the preference for any.  However, Oliver ("Ollie") is now in a home where he is deeply loved.  And it hasn't been just a happy tail/tale for him either.  His owner had lost a spouse months before Ollie needed a home.  Guess who is happy to have a loving, purring kitten by her side?

It makes no logical sense to be grateful for the thorns of life, but redemption for our pain is possible.  It may be a bumpy ride to get through the emotions, to learn to trust an invisible God, but it's so worth it to find out an invisible concept is the Real Presence.

What are you grateful for in your life?  Have things gone wrong for you lately?  Sometimes it is hard to be thankful and God understands that.  Refocusing our perspective is step one.  It is why Jesus said, "Come to me" - indeed, He knows our thorns intimately.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Winning Them Over

Remember the little dog I told you about last week that shunned all my friendliness?  It only took eight days, but he finally wags his tail at me.  How did it happen?  Walks.  Nice long walks with the other dogs. 
He trusted them, he trusted me. 

Isn't that the way with people who've had terrible experiences with God's people?  If a person constantly feels judged and unloved, then they stay away.  The other extreme of feeling smothered with false love drives people away as well.  But when a person encounters a person who loves the way God loves, suddenly they are interested.

When I sat down in the kennel run with this dog, he avoided me and shook.  My presence brought him no comfort, just more stress.  Until he learned to enjoy the other dogs, he couldn't enjoy me.  But now he wags his tail and comes willingly to me.

Sometimes I want to stay far from God's people.  But then I remember I'm just like them - broken and imperfect.  Most of all, God is perfection and despite all the "false advertising" we, His people, often do, God's love is compelling.

Be loved and express love today.  Not necessarily in a mushy, stupid way, but in that way that is genuine and patient.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Rescue Me

First, since it's Veterans Day, thank you to all who have put their life on the line to protect our country.  Not enough can be said or done to acknowledge the sacrifice and risk men and women of many generations have made.

While I like to think that every dog warms to me the way I warm to them, the reality is some dogs want nothing to do with me.  They don't know me and they are not interested in knowing me.  As an introvert, I get that.  I'm not eager to race out and meet new people.

This is Darcy (hi Darcy!).  It took a while for Darcy to decide I was okay.

However, over the course of the time I care for that dog, eventually they decide I'm not all bad after all.  Recently a dog has been coming for days only.  He's not warmed to me one bit.  He politely tolerates me, but each day when his owner returns, his tail wags in happy relief.

After wondering what it would take to win this pup over, I realized that every day he is rescued.  He doesn't have to tough things out.  He doesn't have to rely on me.  No trust is built between us.

Aren't we the same way?  We want to be rescued from pain, instead of considering the valuable lessons we may learn from enduring it.  We want to rescue others so they will be spared pain.  Sometimes that's a very good thing, but sometimes a person must endure the full consequence of their decisions.

God is not inactive in our life.  While He desires us to turn to him in our pain, that doesn't mean He will rescue us from enduring it.  When we go through tough times with God, we learn to trust Him.  Then the next time, we see that God is indeed good and loving.  We can see that God is really not so bad after all.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Too Busy

For years I've proudly responded to the question, "Are you keeping busy?" with "I try not to be busy."  Yes, I said it with much self-righteousness as I observed people sucked into the "busy" lifestyle and boasting about it.

But now, I find that I am the one too busy - sucked in by my to do list.  I know I need to stop and smell the roses, but.....
Enough.  It's time to carve out some time to focus on how to manage my time, and not let it mange me anymore.  Having dealt with exhaustion before, I know the signs and with a cold trying to take me down, I know I'm close.

Jesus said his burden is easy and yoke is light.  I think I'm going to have to spend some time asking him to take these burdens.  He said he would.  How about I act like I believe him?

How about you?  How do you manage your time?  What is the biggest thing that takes your time that you could eliminate?