Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Value in the Struggle

It is the last day of 2013.  I'm keenly aware that I just posted yesterday, but I don't want this year to end or next year to begin without making this message pivotal today and always:  There is Value in the Struggle.

This lesson in living is the content of a blog post written by our dear & beloved friend, surrogate son & Pastor in Arizona, Greg Rohlinger.  He's endured a 3 year free-fall into a disease known as Multiple System Atrophy (MSA in short).  It behaves much like M.S., Lou Gehrig's & Parkinson's all rolled into one.  It is fatal, but not until it has robbed you of every stitch of independence & dignity synonymous with it's characteristics.  

No one with MSA has lived beyond nine years.  Most succumb within 2-5 years.  Greg's now 3 years into it.  Worse, he has the most aggressive form of the disease.  That said, he expects a miraculous healing, all the while looking for the goodness & grace to be found while enduring.   

So I say to myself this morning:  Listen up, Kathleen.  This is what it looks like to see God's hand in everything, even everything that remains when all seems lost.



Greg speaks:


Last night when I went to bed I was cold. Lori put a couple blankets over me to help warm me up.  She even tucked the blankets in over my shoulders to ensure that I’d stay warm over night. It worked well, and I quickly fell asleep.

This morning I woke up before sunrise, I’m guessing around 6:15. When I first woke up, I realized that I couldn’t move at all; nothing worked.  I tried moving my arms, my legs, even my eyelids … no luck. 

As I lay there, I began to wonder, “Is today the day the doctors have been warning me that would, at some point in this process, be the one on which I lose the ability to control my movements?  Could this really be the day?"

I took a moment to thank God for waking me up today, and then made the determination that if I had anything to do with it, today would not be the day. 

I quoted some off my favorite Scriptures, reminding myself that “I can do all things through Christ who gives me the strength I need.” Then I went to work.

I focused and tried to move my arms; but the blankets were too heavy and too tight for me to move them. I focused and tried my hardest until finally my eyelids began to open just enough to allow me to survey the room. Although blurry, I could tell it was still dark.

I continued to push with all my strength, trying to move my arms. I grabbed at a wrinkle, and tried to move the blankets off of me.  Slowly, inch by inch I was able to nudge it off of my shoulders. Straining with everything I had to break out from the weight of the blankets enveloping me, I realized I am living out the illustration I’ve used in my message “Value in the Struggle”:  I am the butterfly in the cocoon.

It’s a familiar story to all of us; the caterpillar finds a branch or leaf, spins himself into a cocoon, and then goes through a metamorphosis. Over a period of time the caterpillar becomes a butterfly. When the transformation is complete, the butterfly begins the hard process of breaking out of the cocoon.  He struggles and pushes and slowly breaks through the cocoon, frees himself of its constraints and is able to fly away.

If you want to short-circuit what God is doing in the life of a butterfly, help him out of his cocoon. The problem is, if you make it easier for the butterfly by peeling away the cocoon, it will come out of the cocoon with underdeveloped wings, unable to fly.  It is in the process of struggling to break out of the cocoon, pushing and straining against its constraints that the bolo begins to flow into the wings and the wings develop their strength.  When the butterfly finally breaks out of the cocoon, it’s ready to fly. 

There is value to the struggle; God designed it that way!

As I struggled to break free from the constraint of the blankets, I had to laugh at the irony of my situation. I determined I was going to do this. I wasn’t going to call out & wake up Lori to help me. I was going to win this battle. I fought with all my strength, at points resting, sometimes falling back asleep. I watched the sunrise through the blinds. I continued to fight, resisting the feeling that I wasn’t going to be able to make it.  I asked God to help me; to give me the strength to do this. After more than 2 hours, I finally broke out, moving the blankets enough to lift my arms and move them freely.

It felt like a major victory to get my arms out from underneath the blankets. I laid in bed and quietly celebrated that today was indeed, not the day I would stop moving. 

I did wake up Lori, asking her to give me my morning meds. I continued my struggle and by 10:00 a.m. I was able to move my legs. With each small victory I was reminded “there is value in the struggle”. It was a great feeling when I finally rose out of bed and grabbed my walker to make my way out to the kitchen.

I don’t know what you’re struggling with today: maybe it’s the struggle to save your broken marriage, maybe it’s the financial struggle to make ends meet, maybe it’s the struggle to find significance in your life. I don’t know what your struggle is, but I do know that there is value in your struggle. God has designed it that way. The great news is you don’t’ have to do this alone. Ask God to help you. He has promised He will never leave nor forsake you. Keep fighting, keep struggling…you may not understand why you’re going through this, or how you’re going to make it, but God is going to use this to develop you, to make you more like Jesus. 

From one butterfly to another, there is value in your struggle!







The Rohlinger Family, July 4, 2013
L-R, Brittany (family friend), Greg (standing), Lori,
Zachary, Jake & Brooke (riding Greg's scooter), and Josh

Monday, December 30, 2013

Remains of the Year


For the past four years I have benefited greatly from the teaching of Pastor Art ~ an animated & godly man given to solid Bible exposition, humor & practical applications.  Recently he spoke of vicissitudes; those unbidden & unwelcome circumstances that often impact a life; those circumstances that sometimes leave us feeling all is lost.  His primary point:  Don't focus on what is lost (or gained), but on what remains.  

The message has returned to my thoughts repeatedly.  I hold it up to the light as if to see it better, or to see through it.  It contains more facets than an emerald-cut diamond.  Wisdom always does.  


It's not such a new or novel concept ... this business of where we train our focus.  But it's certainly one that percolates on the proverbial back burner, often unless or until something, or everything falls apart.  We know it by it's many similes, like looking at a half full versus a half empty glass ~ which, as you probably know, takes much practice.  Paul describes it this way:


I am not saying this because I am in need, 
for I have learned to be content 
whatever the circumstances. 
I know what it is to be in need, 
and I know what it is to have plenty. 
I have learned the secret of being content 
in any and every situation, 
whether well fed or hungry, 
whether living in plenty or in want.
I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.
Philippians 4:11-13 

From where I sit today, I can see 2014 in full view.  I've no choice but to head in its direction, but I do have a choice about whether what remains of 2013 is enough for the journey.  It's not so much about what I've gained, or want to gain.  Instead of carving new resolutions, I find myself taking stock of all that is ~ not what could be, as is so often my inclination.  

The remains of the year ~ a year of highs & lows, joys & sorrows, frightful possibilities & precious realities, dashed dreams & new adventures, a continued loss of youth & the garnering of age's wisdom ~ are worth treasuring.  I am mindful of & grateful for the the entire lot.  


No matter where I go or what I do ~ be it today or in 2014 ~ He is ALWAYS already there.  What more could I possibly need?


Let not the wise boast of their wisdom
or the strong boast of their strength
or the rich boast of their riches,
but let the one who boasts boast about this:
that they have the understanding to know Me,
that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness,
justice and righteousness on earth ~ 
for in these I delight.
Jeremiah 9:23-24  



Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Avoiding Life's Malotia



I have no idea what was his real name.  If ever I knew it, I have long since forgotten it since we only lived in proximity for about nine months.  But I do recall that he liked to be called Wolfman.  He had an affinity for the plight of wolves in the wild.  

Mostly I recall his unique affinity for jargon, Word Junkie that I am!

Why this has come to mind today I cannot say.  Perhaps it's because I'm doing my level best to focus on key priorities instead of laboring over the trivial.  It's a delicate balance, this merging of the Mary & Martha in me.  Wolfman's perspective helps a great deal.

One day, while visiting across the lane with him, he shared a story about his days managing a labor force.  The details are lost to me now, but I still laugh ~ often aloud ~ when I hear the word minutiae (pronounced minoosha).  Think "trivial". Wolfman used the word malotia in its stead.  What's more, he used it every time he spoke, and in every application conceivable.  Never mind it has no  Merriam Webster endorsement.    

"It bothered me no end when people would get caught up 
in the malotia instead of the things that really mattered!"

"I need to take care of a lot of malotia before 
getting my taxes done."

Get the drift?

Are you laughing yet?

I never felt lead to correct Wolfman.  It was just far too much fun anticipating how he'd use malotia the next time.  Besides, I would never have had today's lividity levity had I done so.  I would also not have discovered a new take on Martha's obsession with malotia.




Friday, November 15, 2013

Faith, Family & Friends


'Tis the season to be jolly ...

Isn't it interesting how we get swept up in the spirit of Christmas?  For some the sweeping comes earlier than later; some, like me, who love to deck the halls long before Thanksgiving; and leaving them decked well after the new year.   

Why is that?  

I haven't a clue!

But this I do know:  Whatever  I'm swept up in, it's mysteriously linked to faith, family & friends.  I needn't figure it out beyond that!

Speaking of family, I can tell you that our beloved Molly continues the rugged ordeal associated with battling Ovarian Cancer.  Today is the 4th week in her Chemotherapy juggernaut, which means she's got roughly 14 weeks to go.  She has good and not-so-good days ~ days of energy & humor, days of nausea & bone-chilling weariness.  She's begun losing her long locks in clumps, and has now trimmed them in readiness for the baldness to come.  Above all, she's strong & courageous.  

Also about family ... I have a recently-discovered cousin, Linda, that I've enjoyed getting to know.  She lives in Michigan, so I've not yet had the pleasure of a person-to-person visit, but that'll come, I'm sure.  Her mother & my father derive common DNA from the ever-industrious Annie McFadden-Wells.  Recently she has joined us here in cyberspace & begun to pen posts.  I can assure you she's got a knack for it.  Why not drop by & welcome her at her cyber-home,  Gather Around the Fireplace  ?

Random thought:  Who among you hails from Mountain View, California?  I am blessed to see how often you visit, and how many of my 6+ years of posts you've taken in.  I'm equally stymied by the visitor from the Russian Federation, Mumbai & Lithuania.  Cyberspace is, indeed, a small world.

As the year winds to a close, we ready for the new chapter in our lives:  another move (so what's new?) !  We've not yet got an exact date for the shuffle, but we're hoping it'll be January-ish.  Because of that, I've decided NOT to deck my halls this season.  I'll be packing them instead.  

OK ... so I owe ALL of you a long-overdue visit.  I hope to make the rounds next week, and look forward to hearing all about your escapades.


This is the day
the Lord has made;
Let us rejoice and be glad in it."
~ Psalm 118:24

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Bothering With a Blog




What's a Blog?

Back in the early part of 2007 I worked alongside a tech-savvy website geek named Michael.  Until he mentioned it, I'd never heard of blogging (short for keeping a World-Wide-Web Log).  His passion for it could hardly be contained.  

Initially I found Michael's proclivities for the virtual world a bit on the kookie, weird, bazaar, whacky, somewhat questionable side of the equation.  Afterall, who in their right mind would collect & harbor their thoughts in some sort of virtual world?  Why would they even want to?

By August of that year, Michael convinced me I ought to give it a try.  He offered some suggestions, answered a few of my sarcastic, skeptical, curious questions, and stood in the wings as I reluctantly took my first baby steps in the realm we all now know to be the Blogosphere.  Back then, it might as well have been The Twilight Zone.

I was stealthily clandestine about my initial efforts, suffering from apoplexy over the very thought that someone ~ anyone ~ might actually find my Blog & read it.  Perish the thought!  But it didn't deter me, so in August of that year I went live.

The rest is history.

Today ~ some 6+ years, 884 posts & 27,036 visitors hence ~ I can honestly say all the clamor about blogging was in vain.  I'm glad I turned a deaf ear to the naysayers (It's dangerous. People will stalk you and show up at your house with an ax. Your identity will be stolen. You'll get all sorts of hate-comments.  And the like ... ).  

In those same 6+ years I've encountered two or three visitors whose comments I deleted (with nary a moment's angst or hesitation).  I've encountered hundreds more that have blessed me in ways I never thought possible.  Some say it's been mutual.  Blessings do have a way of flowing in both directions, don't they?  I've made myriad friends, some for life.  My world ~ both the real one & the virtual one ~ would lack luster were it not for Elaine, Sonja, Debbie, Judy, Beth, Mary, Luther, Sharon, Noreen, Rebecca, Renee, and others whose lives have forever been hitched to my wagon.

Don't get me wrong:  there's a lot about blogging that drives me batty, to distraction.  Whenever I feel fueled by expectation I know I need a break, or a return to my moorings.  I've taken LOTS of breaks.

So, what's a Blog?  Well, the answer to that question is as different as we are.  For me, it has been and will forever be a place to chronicle the events & heart ponderings of my life ~ and this for my children & grandchildren.  The fact that I've amassed so many BBFFs (aka = Blogging Best Friends Forever) is a huge, unanticipated by-product & bonus blessing. 

Thank you, Michael.

Thank you, all my visiting friends.


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Love of Labyrinths





  • Crossword puzzles  
  • Hide-n-Seek  
  • Checkers  
  • Corn mazes 
  • Word finds 
  • Jigsaw puzzles  
  • Whodunits
  • Balancing my checkbook  

This is the stuff of my imagination; that which I gravitate towards. (OK ... so I lied about the checkbook) 

I love a good mystery; I love a challenge; I love finding solutions; I love outcomes (the good sort, anyway).  Where some minds see a dead end, I see no such thing.

In no small way this seemingly playful stuff rendered me well-suited to the business realm that was home to my imagination for well over 30 years.  I navigated many a labyrinth, though not always well.  Sometimes I'd be stymied & stupored (I know, not a real word) & stopped, but that inborn love of solutions served me often, and well.  It still does.   

I marvel at the intricacies of the human brain and its wiring; and how unique that wiring is to each & every one of us ~ a sort of intellectual labyrinth.  We can be so much alike while being incredibly different simultaneously.  Who but a Master Labyrinth Maker could conceive of such a thing?   

There are so many "Why?"s and "How?"s and "What?"s in my life at present.  Yet I am content to ponder, regroup, remain still and/or move forward with sure-footed resolve.  God is well able to open closed passageways, or inspire my feet to take another course. 

His is not a love of labyrinths, but a Labyrinth of Love!

.".. what if your stereotype of theology really isn’t theology. After all, at its simplest, to do theology is to know more and more about God. That doesn’t sound boring or dangerous at all. Theology is the great social network of knowing God. As God, by his Spirit, applies his words from all over the Bible to our soul, imagination, and worldview, we meet him, not just abstract ideas."  

~ Marshall Segal of John Piper Ministries 

All of life is a labyrinth. 


Now to him who is able to establish you in 
accordance with my gospel, the message I proclaim 
about Jesus Christ, in keeping with the revelation 
of the mystery hidden for long ages past, 
but now revealed and made known through 
the prophetic writings by the command 
of the eternal God, so that all the Gentiles 
might come to the obedience that comes from faith
  to the only wise God be glory forever through 
Jesus Christ! 
Amen. 
~ Romans 16:25-27


... God gave me to present to you the word 
of God in its fullness — the mystery that has been 
kept hidden for ages and generations, 
but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people. 
To them God has chosen to make known among 
the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, 
which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 
~ Colossians 1:25-27


... without controversy great is 
the mystery of godliness:  
God was manifested in the flesh,
Justified in the Spirit,
Seen by angels,
Preached among the Gentiles,
Believed on in the world,
Received up in glory. 
~ Timothy 3:16


We do, however, speak a message of wisdom 
among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age 
or of the rulers of this age, who are
coming to nothing. 
No, we declare God’s wisdom, 
a mystery that has been hidden 
and that God destined for our glory 
before time began. 
~ 1 Corinthians 2:6-7

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

U-Turns

First, an update on Molly.

She was discharged from the hospital last Friday.  I doubt I've ever seen anyone so eager to get home, or more joyful once nestled there.  There was a good deal of Happy Dancin' going on, including some of you who will remain nameless ~ like Sonja Goodson.  

But that all changed over the weekend when a fever & chest pain came to call.  Yesterday Molly was re-admitted to the hospital while the doctors figure out what's happening in her body.  Most likely it's a resurgence of pneumonia ~ an illness she battled earlier this year, long before her cancer diagnosis.  The removal of a portion of her diaphragm during her recent surgery has made it difficult to get a deep breath and is, no doubt, contributing in a not-so-positive way. 

We'll know more in the hours to come, so once again I've put out the APB for prayer. 

Second, a bit of wisdom.

It was not long ago that Elaine Olsen paid me a phone visit.  We've chatted a number of times since our first having met each other back in the initial days of our blogging, 2007.  Many of you know her, as well as her own courageous battle with breast cancer just three years ago.  Some of you have gathered peace for your own journey because of her pen.  She's a fabulous wordsmith, speaker, blogger, pastor's wife, homeschool teacher, author & friend.  I can hear any number of you shouting "Amen!" to that.  Elaine's skilled at making lemonade out of lemons. 

Something Elaine shared with me during the referenced phone chat struck deep & tenderly.  She called primarily to offer support & encouragement because of Molly's cancer diagnosis, but a portion of that conversation has lingered long in my heart.  

This is what Elaine told me (paraphrased) ...

"When I was enduring Chemotherapy, my mother was there each and every time.  She was so strong and such a comfort.  It was her finest hour.  Because of that, I feel compelled to tell parents of grown children never to conclude they are no longer needed as parents in their children's lives.  Nothing could be further from the truth."

Her finest hour.  Your finest hour.  My finest hour.

What a ministry.



Friday, September 27, 2013

The Land of the Living

Update 

Yesterday's ordeal has ended with the completion of 8 hours of surgery.  Our beautiful daughter begins the recovery part of her battle.  Goliath lays mortally wounded at her feet.  

"The odds are now in Molly's favor." 

~ Dr. Saffari, Oncologist 

The rest of us stand back in humble, grateful awe to have witnessed the goodness of the Lord in the Land of the Living

It is good to be on top of the world ~
and to know a hope-filled future
awaits yet another climb.

~ Molly's Mother





It is God who arms me with strength
and keeps my way secure.  
He makes my feet like the feet of a deer;
he causes me to stand on the heights.
He trains my hands for battle;
    my arms can bend a bow of bronze.

~ 2 Samuel 22:33-35



Thank you for your prayers.  

Thank you for your encouraging words, 
emails, texts & blessings.


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Goliath Comes to Call


 
On several occasions in recent days I've come here.  With fingers on the keyboard, heart astir & thoughts jumbled, I have hoped something ~ anything ~ would magically materialize.  No such magic.  So I've decided to navigate my way through this anyway, along with the jumbles & astirs.  And tears.  And prayers.

If my daughter can stand up to the Goliath of Ovarian Cancer, I can surely write something about it.  Or rather, about her.  She is the heroine of this story; the beauty facing down the beast.

I've decided not to chronicle Molly's journey here or write copious explanations about this particular form of cancer and its treatment.   Mostly I want to convey that it's a Stage 3 Goliath, one that requires she undergo major surgery, followed by an extensive recuperation process first in the hospital, then at home.  She then faces rounds of Chemo.

Anyone even remotely familiar with cancer knows all about the ugly stuff.  So let's consider the Beauty instead:  

Molly Diane  

 

Born December 12, 1970
She is our only & much-loved daughter. 



 No matter what she undertook, then as now, 
there was bound to be squeals of delight & laughter. 

It was at about this time that her Daddy began
calling her Tootie Bug.  It stuck.



Fearless, agile & athletic,
she was forever taking on some new
challenge or adventure.   


Though the middle child, she was never
a wedge-child.  Her larger-
than-life personality didn't permit it.
Anyone that knows her, loves her.



She grew more beautiful 
with each passing year.  



Whether baseball, skiing, soccer or volleyball,
she loved the outdoors & sports, & she loved to win.


  

I remember this day as though it were
last week.  There's very little that's 
daunted this one.



This is one of my all-time favorite photos, taken the 
day of her baby brother's (Kelly) wedding.



Molly's greatest joy has been in being
mother to Rylie.  We should have known
how close they'd be these nearly 17 years:
Rylie was born on December 12 
~ her mother's birthday!



Terry & I can think of few things in life we 
treasure as much as Molly & Rylie.  Their
frequent visits when we lived in Arizona
are among our best memories. 



Molly was a single mother for many, many years.
Then came Tom ... The love of her life!



With Tom came Megan & Ava.
Rylie now has sisters (and they
love each other dearly), and his
girls love Molly, who they affectionately 
call "Mummie".
    

And just last December they married.
The date:  December 12


There is neither time nor space to take you through 
the lot of the life that is uniquely Molly's.  
Tomorrow that life will be in the hands of skilled surgeons.  


I would greatly appreciate your keeping 
Molly, Tom, Rylie, Megan & Ava,
in your prayers.  
They have an anniversary 
to celebrate on December 12, 2013.

Goliath is not welcome.




Lullaby ~ Goodnight My Angel 

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Dialing In

 
You can't depend on your eyes when your
imagination is out of focus.
~ Mark Twain
 
 
Focus.  It doesn't seem like much unless you don't have it.  I know. 

I bought my first pair of in earnest spectacles this year.  It entailed dilation & numbing of my eyeballs, followed by a block of torturous time responding to whatever the Opthamologist dialed in.  Next came an exercise in finding as many scurrying pin-pricks of light as could be found in the confines of an itty-bitty screen.  Instead of $12 reading glasses, I am now the proud owner of $149 Bifocals. 

Focus comes with a price.

Sometimes I get lazy & leave the new contraptions where I last laid them.  Funny thing ... I'm often searching for pair of glasses to find my glasses.    

It's hazardous-going without focus.

I've been known to attempt herculean deciphering feats with my glasses.  This gets me into a bit of trouble at times; times when I'm required to read labels at the grocery store, or when I'm adding a new ingredient to some recipe.  "1/4 tsp" invariable looks like "3/4 tbsp.".  Not bad unless we're talking salt, or cayenne pepper.  Moreover, it's never good to work on one's guilt when it ought to be a quilt.  Huge mistake!

The propensity for error increases when focus is difficult or lacking altogether.

Recently there's been a volley of new challenges in our lives.  Some are wonderful & inspiring, the sort that attend a much-anticipated new adventure.  Others not so much.  These come in the form of quandaries, worries, heartaches, & the like.  Yet it is these ~ both the wonderful and the not-so-wonderful ~  that remind me of how vital is focus. 

With flawed focus, a lot of good stuff is overlooked.

Recently, as if flowing from the heavenly dimension right into my own, came the thought:  Focus on the "cans" and not on the "can'ts".  

I realize such a thought is hardly earth-shattering, nor will it gain me recognition among the great thinkers or wits.  But it packed a powerful punch worth pondering none-the-less.

That which garners my focus often determines the quality, or lack thereof, of my life.

Focus.  It can be a recipe for success, or peace, or praise.  Or it can be a recipe for angst, or anger, or worry ... if not a whole lot more that stifles my peace.  The difference is, most often, whether I wear my prescription lenses or not. 
   

Focus on the cans and not on the can'ts.
 
 
We demolish arguments and every pretension
that sets itself up against the knowledge of God,
and we take captive every thought
to make it obedient to Christ.
~ 2 Corinthians 10:5


" ... whatever is true, whatever is noble,
whatever is right, whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable ~
if anything is excellent or praiseworthy ~
think about such things."
~ Philippians 4:8




 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Fearsome Fearfulness

"The angel of the Lord encamps around
those who fear Him, and He delivers them." 
~ Psalm 24:7

Wedged in among the day's news features was a story that immediately begged my attention.  In the Pacific Northwest, tales of bears and wolves are anything but novel.  Some are delivered in the form of human interest ~ the funny, or clever, or near-harrowing renderings of this encounter or that.  Others, like this one, remind us that nature often bears its fangs.

Before delving into the details, I studied the photo.  Surely the death of 176 bleating sheep came about by way of something utterly sinister or fierce?   Surely some plague set upon them?   Surely these particular sheep were somehow inferior to all other sheep in terms of their health or stamina? 

In truth, all but three of these 176 died of fear ~ fear engendered by two lone wolves.    

Fear.  It's a reaction with a price far higher than, perhaps, we can know or calculate.   What's more, it's a condition that extends well beyond the fearing one to others in proximity.   

There's a point, a pondering, a parable in all of this.  



"A southeastern Idaho ranch lost 176 sheep
as the animals ran in fear from two wolves
that chased through the herd of about
2,400 animals ... ". 
 
 
Sheep and sheep-life are common themes for the believer.  God's word is chocked full of them.  We are given to understand the concepts of the shepherd, sheepfold, bellwether, crooks/staffs, hireling, pastures, wandering, and the like.  We get that goats might graze alongside.  

Yet for all we get, there remains those stealthy things that stampede the heart & the thought-life.  Thus, in this story I am reminded again that fear may well be the worst of the undoings of sheep, not to mention the believer ~ a close kin in God's spiritual ecology.
 
Who or what is chasing, or threatening in my life?   And what is my inclination in the handling of it?
 
"This is my command—
be strong and courageous!
Do not be afraid or discouraged.
For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."
~ Joshua 1:9
 
"The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want...
Even though I walk through the valley of the
shadow of death, I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me." 
~ Psalm 23:1, 6
 
“Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the
midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents
and innocent as doves." 
~ Matthew 10:16
 
"I am the good shepherd.
The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep."  
~ John 10:11
 
"I am leaving you with a gift—
peace of mind and heart.
And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give.
So don’t be troubled or afraid."
~ John 14:27

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Beyond One's Means

I've done it.  Perhaps you have too?  Spending beyond one's means.   



It's not something I do anymore, the over-spending thing, having learned some difficult (even painful) lessons that make it fairly easy to count the cost before pulling out the wallet or credit card.   

Yet there are other ways to spend futilely beyond one's means with nary a dollar involved.  It all boils down to the choices I make about ...
 
  • Commitments
  • Food
  • Thought-life
  • Friendships
  • Work ethic
  • Clock & calendar options
  • Service
  • Prayer-life
  • Causes of disquietude

This is, by no means an exhaustive list.

Why on God's green earth I'm settled into this particular ravine is beyond me.  But here I am, and here I will remain until I've drawn the last draught of wisdom from His well.   

You see, someone asked me this morning:  "What aggravates you about other people; and how do you handle it?" 

My response was immediate:  "People who spend or live beyond their means and expect (directly or manipulatively) me or someone else to fund them when they get into trouble because of it."

Pretty reasonable, I'd say.

Unless ... until ... I conduct the personal inventory that clearly defines my own folly in this regard.

Ravines need not be Box Canyons unless I make them so. 
 
Above I asked why I'm settled here this morning.  No sooner had I formed that thought than I read today's devotional from My Utmost for His Highest (Oswald Chambers).  Accounting, it seems, is an acquired taste.

Am I fully prepared to allow God to grip me by His power
and do a work in me that is truly worthy of Himself?
Sanctification is not my idea of what I want God to do for me—
sanctification is God’s idea of what He wants to do for me.
But He has to get me into the state of mind and spirit where
I will allow Him to sanctify me completely, whatever the cost ...
 
 
So, now that I've got all that in a nutshell, why not add an equally compelling quandary?  What happens when I live beneath my means?  Methinks it's the greater question, and one worthy of it's own post, another day.