We are celebrating this weekend. My husband and I have our anniversary on March 30th and this year it is the day before Easter. We met on the day before Easter 12 years ago and we got married a year later on the day before Easter..that year the date was March 30th. We actually picked our wedding date because we wanted it to be on the day before Easter. I love this time of year and I feel like we must be deeply connected to it. Even our last name, Feaster, has Easter in it:) God does have a great sense of humor!
We will celebrate our marriage tomorrow and then on Sunday we will celebrate the event that enables us to have this wonderful life that God has given us. We have so much to be grateful for. My life was in shambles 14 years ago and now it is overflowing with blessings that I could never have anticipated. This great God has given me abundant life, not a perfect life, but one overflowing … filled with new things that He is doing in me and around me. He is my source and my companion, my comforter and my friend.
Take time to appreciate God and His good gifts this Easter. Remember His goodness and His faithfulness. Easter is just the beginning of a brand new season.. embrace it . Watch for what God is doing and join in.. you will not be disappointed!
“Look, I am about to do something new; even now it is coming. Do you not see it? Indeed, I will make a way in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:19
Have you ever just fallen apart? For no reason? It happened to me today. Suddenly I found myself upset and on the verge of tears without knowing why. Emotions that I had been keeping in check..came to the surface and there was nothing I could do. I just had to go with it..trusting that there would be understanding coming from those around me.. there was. The source of the emotions is the grief that I feel every time I see my mom. She is very elderly and helpless now..my dad is gone and she lives in a board and care. They do a great job and she does not complain about the care..but it is a far cry from the life she once shared with my father.
Sometimes I think her aging is harder on me than her. She seems to accept her situation and shows courage. It makes me wonder if I could do as well as she is doing. So here I am comparing myself with her and coming up short. We are so different and yet maybe in some ways so much the same. I survived many things that were incredibly difficult.. without complaining or giving in to self-pity. So here I am in my sixties just beginning to realize that my mother and I are not so different after all.
My challenging season came early in life..hers is at the end. Just as I grew into who I am by going through the trials and struggles.. she is growing..finding herself.. learning to survive in the hard times. We all have these opportunities in life. Some of us have childhood trials that are unbearable. Others survive terrible marriages or overcome addiction. We all face loss..of our loved ones..our dreams..eventually life here on earth. No one gets out of here without enduring pain and suffering.
As I watch my mom in her trial..God meets me bringing reassurance that He is with her. He comforts me as I wait for the inevitable phone call. He is teaching me about her and about myself in this very important season. It is His perfect plan unfolding..day by day.
“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. “
How much do they matter? They make all the difference. How do you feel when someone knows about something that really matters to you..without you telling them? Personally I absolutely love it. God is so good at that very thing. Lately I have been noticing the way I will have a small desire and the next thing I know..I realize that God does something to show me that He knew all about it.
We were going out for dessert in nearby town..one that we rarely visit. As we were driving I thought of an old friend.. he pastors a church in that town. I thought..wouldn’t it be great to see him. It was a quick thought and I didn’t dwell on it..I wasn’t even sure where he lived. We met our friends in a wonderful frozen yogurt shop..as we were enjoying our yogurt..my husband said..”look who’s coming in the door.” I turned around and there was our old friend with his two beautiful children. No Way! It was God.
This morning my daughter called to tell me about a kitten she was considering adopting. I was surprised because for weeks I have been thinking about the fact that our family is catless and feeling very sad about it. I kept bringing it up to my husband and wondering why I had such a feeling that something was missing. Suddenly we were in the car.. in the holiday traffic..driving to see the most darling little Siamese kitty. He is spending his first night with my daughter’s family … my new grandcat..only 5 minutes away. God knew.
So when something small comes through your mind..a small desire or want..don’t be surprised if God shows up and surprises you with the very thing you were longing for. He wants us to know that He is aware of all of those things that we hold in our hearts..every little detail..every potential opportunity to show us that He is with us..that He loves us..that we are not forgotten.
“The Lord is my shepherd.. I have all that I need… Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life.”
Funny how we wish our circumstances would change. Aren’t there things in your life that you wish were different? Of course there are..we all have them. Everyone has unfulfilled desires and longings. We all wait..sometimes for years.. for things that have not happened. We wonder why..we question our own hearts. We grow tired..angry..sad..depressed. We can’t find God. Is He gone? What’s going on?
We need to look inside and ask the right questions. What are you after God? Is there something that you are trying to show me? Have I missed something important? There may be times when you hear nothing and all you can do is wait. Or..He may speak into your life. It could happen in many ways. Through the voice of a friend, spouse, or stranger. His voice may leap off the pages of a book. He may speak directly to you through a movie or TV show. God is always speaking..always revealing..always interested in reaching us.
So why is it so hard sometimes? I don’t have the answer to that. Sometimes the voices in the world drown out His voice..often our own inner voices make it hard to hear Him. The enemy may be accusing us..distracting us from the voice of our God. All we can do is cry out..asking for insight. He will not leave us without help..He will come to our rescue..He may not change our circumstances but He can change us. He wants to meet us in our pain and bring relief to our weary hearts and minds.
Trust Him..He is with you!
“Let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting Him.”
Since we are in time and He isn’t..there is a bit of a conflict. We have trouble waiting when in reality time is not important to Him. Try wrapping your mind around that for a minute. Our culture tells us that every minute counts..don’t waste any time..get moving..go faster and faster..time is of the essence. God sees things completely differently..in fact He says the opposite to us. Slow down..take your time..wait..don’t be in a hurry..never panic and remember to stay calm. His ways are mysterious and counter intuitive to us.
I was recently thinking about a desire that I have had for years..something that I longed for..I wondered if God wanted to give it to me. After all I am a grandmother and time is running out. I can hear the Lord laughing as I write this..time never runs out for Him. In this present season He is giving me that desire and I am having a difficult time believing that it is time. How strange is that? Here I am waiting..praying..longing and suddenly it seems to be here and I am struggling to receive it. What is God up to? It seems that He wants to teach me something very important.
The first message in all this is a reminder that He never forgets us..or our desires. The second one for me is realizing that what I thought I wanted actually scared me a little.. I was so used to the way things were.. I was going to need to leave my comfort zone. God knew that I would need to get to the place where I could receive what He had for me..He waits until we are ready so it is a gift..He wants to see delight in us..He waits to surprise us and watch us the way a Grandma watches her grandkids on Christmas..seeing their surprised faces as they get that unexpected gift..what a moment!
Isn’t it amazing to realize that we have a God who loves us enough to wait for just the right moment. He is not punishing us..He is not cruel or harsh..He loves us more than we will ever be able to imagine with our finite minds. He is for us..with us..under us and over us.
“Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.”
I have been experiencing many of these in the last year or so. Here’s what it looks like. I have a deep longing to move forward..to do something new..to follow God in a greater way. The next thing I know I get a glimpse of what this might look like and I begin walking toward what looks like a new destination. On the way to that place I start to realize that something is wrong. My passion and vision begin to fade and I know that it is another false start..I stop and wonder why it keeps happening.
Yesterday God began to shine His light into this process. He showed me that all my intentions were good..that the ideas were good and that my desire was good. So what was going wrong? Have you figured it out yet? Suddenly I knew what I was doing..trying to find my own way..directing my own steps..relying on my ideas and plans. He intervened to remind me that this is not the abundant life. My plans are not bad..they are not sinful..they are not evil..they are not the same as His. Don’t miss that last sentence. We can settle for something good when God has something absolutely better for us if we wait.
All of these reminders add up to one thing. We live in His kingdom by waiting on Him..living fully in the present and trusting Him to unfold His perfect plan for us. It sounds simple but it is truly challenging..especially in a world that continually reinforces the idea that we are masters of our own destiny. I want the absolute best that God has to offer and if that means waiting and waiting and waiting than so be it. His ways are deeper and richer than anything I could ever dream up in my most creative moments. After all He is the one who set the heavens in place and He is the one who created us in His image. He is our rescuer and our deliver..His grace is beyond measure.
“God has made everthing beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so , people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.”
Every single day we make many of these. In our culture we are continually bombarded with them. Just visit the local grocery store and try to choose a box of cereal or a package of cookies. So many choices..maybe too many. So which choices really matter? Not the ones I mentioned..nothing really hangs in the balance when you choose your favorite chocolate chip cookies. Other choices are much more important.
As we follow God we make the choice of how far to go with Him. He may be coaxing us out of our comfort zone..asking us to move into unknown territory. We can choose to resist His promptings. Our fears often direct our steps..I’ll do the thing I know I can do. I’ll take the road I that feels familiar. I’ll do what everyone else says I should do. I’ll play it safe because it’s easier. God waits. He waits until we are ready..to hear His voice..to step out..to move forward. He is patient and not demanding. In fact if you choose the way that is the most comfortable He is not going to be angry with you. He leaves it up to you.
I realized again recently that there is always a temptation to return to what is known. Do you really want me to venture out into unknown territory again? Can’t I just play it safe and do what is comfortable and easy? God says ” Yes you can..but you will miss out on the best thing because you are choosing what seems good in your own eyes.” Wow! ..the best thing..I don’t want to miss out on that. So..face the fear and the unbelief and take the path that He carving out for you. He will take you by the hand..step by step..and lead you to new experiences that you never imagined possible.
His ways are not ours and His thoughts are not even close to our own. We cannot figure out the mind of God but we can be sure that He only has great things for us as we follow Him. There are risks and challenges on this road..but He is our safe place. He is with us!
“Put your hope in the Lord. Travel steadily along His path. He will honor you by giving you the land…the Lord rescues the godly…and they find shelter in Him.”