We are of Value to God

I know it’s a cliche, but one of the best parts of being a teacher is having eight weeks of vacation during the summer. I value this time as a period of rest, getting household cleaning projects done, and time with family and friends.

My daughter, Erin, works for the United States Postal Service as a supervisor in a plant that sorts mail. Because her children are teenagers—Zach is almost 15 and Katie is 13—she works the graveyard shift. She gets home just in time to get them to school, sleeps while they’re at school, and gets up a few short hours later to pick them up and spend the afternoon helping with homework, spending time with them, and eating dinner together. That means I don’t see her very often during the school year, because our days off don’t coincide.

I love the days in the summer when I can make the 2 hour drive to her home and enjoy time visiting. Last week, we went to see Finding Dory (which I highly recommend, no matter what the age). Next week, we’re going to the beach and then I’ll bring Katie home with me. My other granddaughter, Robyn, will join us. I look forward to a week of giggles, art projects, baking cookies, silliness, and hugs. Just the thought of being with these people I love puts a song in my heart.

Spending time. No agenda. Listening. Being together. I value this more than words can say.

I am of value to God

God values me like this. He wants nothing more than me. My attention. No agenda. Listening; He listens to me and I listen to Him.

It’s another thing I love about summer. I have time to linger over His Word. To gaze out the window at His creation—and sit outside on the patio when it’s not 100º—meditating on what He reveals to me. Or being amazed at His gifts (thank you, Ann Voskamp). I’ve spent hours watching the birds take baths in the sprinklers this summer, fluffing their feathers to dry. Admired the smell of jasmine and basil, the magenta bougainvillea and red roses, the sounds of birds chirping and tweeting.

I sit amazed. I am of great value to God. Just the way I am. He loves me. He wants to spend time with me and is always there, waiting. Ready to welcome me into His presence.

And that is the greatest gift of all.

Value

Victory Requires Trust

I shut the car door, buckled my seat belt, and plugged in the address of my doctor’s office in my GPS app. I knew the office was about an hour and a half away, and I’d allowed two hours. I should arrive at 2:30, a little early, but better early than late. To my dismay, the estimated time of arrival was 3:23, which meant I’d be late for my 3:00 appointment.

Surely I can make up that 23 minutes, I convinced myself. It’s only 1:00; there can’t be that much traffic yet.

Although the app was taking me on a route I didn’t usually use, I knew it would get me where I was going with less traffic. It was a prettier route too. Slowly, I shaved off bits of the time. 3:20; 3:18. I smiled with satisfaction.

Until the voice said, exit on Mountain/Seco and turn left.

Get off the freeway here? I couldn’t imagine why that would be a good idea. I was only half way to where I needed to be. Why would I get off the freeway now? I’m not doing that, I decided.

But suddenly, there was a line of red on the screen and traffic slowed to a crawl. I had to decide. Trust the app or stay on the road I knew.

You used the app to help you. Follow what it says, I decided. Now I was in a completely unknown neighborhood.

“We’ve found a faster route,” the app announced. Turn left in 3.5 miles.

Blindly I turned when instructed. 3:12 appeared as my ETA. Still 12 minutes late, but sooner than the original 3:23.

Over and over the app took me on streets I didn’t know. Even after I passed the accident on the freeway and got back on to a clear road, I got directions that didn’t make sense to me. But my first success convinced me to keep trusting the app.

And the time kept melting off the ETA: 2:57 it said. Sure enough, I pulled into the parking lot at 2:57.

I walked into the doctor’s office at 3:00. Glad I’d made the decision to trust the app and travel on roads unknown. A route that seemed wrong to me turned out to be the fastest and best way to get me where I needed to be. Right on time.

Victory Requires Trust

It was a small victory, getting to the doctor’s office on time. But it reminded me of how much I want to be victorious in every area of my life. I know where I want to go, and I think I know the best way to get there. But God often takes me in directions I never expect. Places I never wanted to go.

And each and every time, I have a choice to make. Do I plunge into the unknown, take the route I hear Him calling me to take? Or do I stick with what I think makes sense to me?

It’s when I choose to listen to God, follow His voice, that I truly have victory in my life. The lessons I learn–in patience, compassion, kindness, love–are the ones that transform me into a woman who trusts God and glorifies Him. Although I may not understand what His plan is, when I trust Him, I get to my destination, right on time.

Victory

Enter His Gates with Praise

 

I have a choice to make every day. Will I focus on what is in front of me, or will I look beyond? Will I get mired in the mud and muck of my current situation, or remember what is coming? What is promised to me? Will I enter His gates with praise and thanksgiving or with complaining and irritation?

My friend, Jule, recommended the Gods and Kings series by Lynn Austin, and I’m loving it. As I read yesterday, part of Psalm 103 was part of the story. And I was struck by the truth of the words:

Psalm 103:1-5

1Praise the Lord, my soul;
    all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
    and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
    and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Why I Can Enter His Gates with Thanksgiving…Every Day

I am forgiven. Completely. Always. I praise Him for forgiveness. My holy God, loves me so much, He forgives. And forgives. And forgives. When it seems life is hard, when I don’t understand what is going on, when all I see is dark, He are there. He is light and goodness. He has redeemed my life from the pit and crowned me with love and compassion.

When I look up, out of the pit, away from my circumstances, I am renewed like the eagles. I can soar, singing a song of praise to You.

Psalm 100:4-5

4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving
    and his courts with praise;
    give thanks to him and praise his name.

5 For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
    his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Enter His Courts with Praise

Exuberant Praise: Shout to the Lord

Shout to the LORD all the earth; break out in praise and sing for joy. Psalm 98:4 (ESV)

Van and I are in a Rooted group at our church. In the introduction of the book, it states, “Rooted is a catalyst for change…By rooting ourselves in God’s Word and His truths, we have a firm foundation on which we love the world,”(Rooted. Mariners Church. 2015.).

Last night’s topic was money. Not my favorite. But I found myself sharing times God has been faithful to us. Given us grace and mercy. Shown His love and care in tangible ways.

When we found our first apartment that was perfect in every way, except the rent was $25.00 a month more than we could afford. We had turned around to walk out the door, not knowing what we’d do, because in the area we had mapped out as meeting our needs, his was the last building. “Do you have any experience with being a manager?” he asked.

I can’t imagine he would think we could have experience managing an apartment building. We were 21. But Van had helped his mom manage her apartment building. And that was enough.

Mr. Hogue paid us $25.00 a month to manage the six units in that building. The exact amount we needed.

And it came with a refrigerator, so we didn’t have to buy one.

God worked to show His love and care. Just when we thought there was nothing, God provided exactly what we needed.

As I told my story last night, others shared ways God had provided for them. Every person at our table had something to share about how God met their needs.

When we share how God works, how He is faithful, we encourage ourselves and others. Remembering God’s faithfulness gives me the strength I need to take the next step when I don’t know what to do.

I do know I can trust God.

While I wait, I give exuberant praise. Telling myself and others about God’s faithfulness. Shout to the Lord, all the earth; break out in praise and sing for joy.

Praise