Sunday, July 19, 2015

The Totally Disappointing Summer

If you live in the Midwest, specifically, northwest Ohio, your summer has been filled with rain.  And it hasn't been a little bit, it's been three inches in an hour rain.  When it's not raining, it's intolerable to be outside due to mosquito.  But just when it seemed like our attitudes couldn't sour more, we got the heat of summer.  To the tune of one hundred degree heat index.  With thunderstorms.

When  you live in a part of the country known for its brutal winters, you need every bit of beautiful summer you can get!  Honestly, who else has cabin fever in July!  Since the kennel has closed for the summer so that it could be enjoyed, I'm fighting abject misery, and yes, bitterness.

But at least someone is enjoying the summer:
Perhaps I need to take a lesson from Matilda, whose enthusiasm is never affected by the weather.  Freezing cold wind chills?  No problem - we can still play ball!  Rain?  What rain?  Let's play!
However, I've never been able to cheer myself up by spouting cheery slogans a la Hallmark card.  Cold, hard reality is my default mode.  But that doesn't mean I have to stay there.  Because there is a truth that is greater than my attitude.  "The joy of the Lord is my strength."  In other words, being joyful can not be manufactured by a simple "turn that frown upside down."  If it does for you, well, you are a fortunate (though I doubt  your sanity)!

About two weeks ago, the weather truly busted my spirit and I pretty much had a full on meltdown.  Since then, I've adjusted as we do in winter.  Perhaps it takes some additional creativity and changing of expectations.  That can be done. 

We can't control the weather, but we can control our reaction to it.  We can control our expectations.  We can look beyond what is trying our patience and remember that nothing surprises the Lord of Creation.  We may not be pleased with what we've got, but life is more than a season.  Today perhaps you are like me and need to express to God some serious disappointments.  Life may not be going the way you want it.  There is still forgiveness and most of all amazing restoration.  Run to Him.  There is solace there, no matter if the sun shines or the heavens open.

Friday, July 10, 2015

The Power of Pining

Last Friday I went out of town for many hours and Tilly stayed at a friend's house.  A few hours after I'd left her, I got a text with this picture:
The text read:  She only looks out the window, waiting for you, 65% of the time.  As you can see (maybe) is she chose to be away from the group, where she would have been warmly welcomed.  Instead, she chose to spend her time pining.

Wishing for things to be different than they are is a useless place to be. Sure, we can look backwards fondly, or even sadly.  We can look forward, hoping for changes and making plans for them.  But pining in itself has no reward except a feeling of emptiness.

When people say that God is always with them, that doesn't always mean a lot, especially when you don't know Jesus.  Jesus spent time with people who nursed deep wounds.  While he performed many miracles, people still experienced heartbreak.  But the solace He alone gives is not just for a hope of eternal peace and understanding.  Knowing Jesus now lets us experience the actual comfort of God.  Asking for His power gives us the ability to overcome and live above our personal tragedies. 

In ways I still can't understand, our pain itself can be redeemed for the glory of God.  I don't know if you've experienced that radical grace, but I have.  I look back at the disappointments and trials and can see how God was with me when others were not.  Through the changes God has made in me, I can relate to the pain others have, even if it is not the same pain. That crushing blow of tragic news feels like a punch in the gut of everyone.  And there's hope that is deep and reliable.  The best part is that God can be with us always, no matter where we are.

While I can't always be with Tilly - even though she wishes I would be - I'm glad that the presence of Lord is always with me.  I'd be lost without Him.