Steady, Only One Thing Is Needed

Why do I think life will go forward slow and steady? A straight road? I should know by now, it’s more like a roller coaster. Full of twists and turns. Sometimes laughing with delight, but other times forcing me to hold on and scream.

My Steady Life

For twenty-seven years, Van and I lived in the same house. We relocated just twenty miles away a few years ago, but stayed within range of our family, friends, and church home. This month we both retired and as soon as the brand new house we bought in Prescott Valley, Arizona is finished, we’ll leave California.

Thanks to my sister and brother-in-love, finding a home in Arizona was easy. And our house sold in only a week. Thrilled and excited, we started moving forward. Picking out carpet, tile, counter tops, doors, faucets. The list of choices seemed unending, but we agreed on everything. Moving seemed like an adventure. Easy and fun.

Changing Steady for a Roller Coaster Ride

But suddenly, this week, it feels like moving is a roller coaster ride. Calls and texts from our realtor, inspectors, the design center of our new home. Questions. Decisions. Changes.

Some of them challenges. Unexpected delays. Extra money we didn’t plan on.

I can feel the tension mounting. Uncertainty. Discomfort. Unknown. What to do? It never seems like I have enough time to think things through. Weigh my options. There is a timeline for every change in order for things to happen so we move on time.

One of the things I look forward to most is my laundry room. I won’t have to go into the garage when it’s 105° or 50°. Dust from the wind or when Van mows the lawn won’t be an issue. So when Van told me he needed the closet in my laundry room for his safe, I wanted to cry. Instead, I said I understood, and walked away to do something else.

Fret. Argue in my head. Complain. Tell myself all the reasons it wasn’t fair. That closet, I told myself, belonged to me. My plan includes a place for everything and everything in its place. According to my plan and my desires.

Steady, Only One Thing is Needed

In the midst of my self-imposed angst, I could almost here Jesus, “Debbie, Debbie. You are worried and upset about many things. But only one thing is needed.” I stopped a moment, got off of my roller coaster, and reread Luke 10:38-42. Mary ignored all the hustle and bustle involved in getting ready for company. While Martha fussed, trying to make life perfect, Mary sat at Jesus’ feet. Listening. Paying attention. Being filled with peace and joy.

I needed that reminder. My home doesn’t belong to me. It is a gift from God. To be used for His glory. His purposes.

Peace and joy come not from what I deem perfect, but from sitting at His feet. Putting Him first. Steady means I acknowledge God. I trust Him in every twist and turn. Proverbs 3:5-6 tells me how to steady the roller coaster ride. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.”

Steady

What roller coaster are you riding on? Trust in the Lord. He will help steady your ride.

Linking with

Five Minute Friday

Dance with Jesus

Fresh Market Friday

Absolutely, Positively, Definitely Sure

Absolutely. Positively. Definitely. 100% sure.

I used to think I knew without doubt how to be a wife. A mother. A woman of God. But the older I get the less I know.

Well, not really. But what I was absolutely, positively, definitely sure of in my twenties and thirties, even my forties and fifties, no longer seems quite so crystal clear in my sixties.

I struggle with that a little. Sometimes a lot. Crystal clear seems easier than murky and unsure. I feel comfortable when I can see where I want to go and the best way to get there.

Oops. I feel comfortable when I can see where I want to go and what I think is the best way to get there.

Those words-I want and I think is the best way-define a way of thinking that puts me in the driver’s seat. My plan. My way. Left to my own devices, I make a bee-line to my own goal like a kid doing a cannonball in a pool of people. I only see myself and my own agenda. Anyone-their plans, feelings, and needs-get lost when I close my eyes and jump without thinking.

God tries to teach me over and over again I need His plan and His way. And that means trusting Him even when that plan isn’t crystal clear to me.

I Am Absolutely, Positively, 100% Sure of God’s Plan

I can say with confidence God’s plan is

The only thing I need to be sure of is who holds me in the shelter of His wings. Who knows me better than I know myself. Loves me unconditionally. All. The. Time.

I know exactly where I’m going and how I’ll get there. Through the love and grace of God. That is crystal clear.

Time for #fiveminutefriday with Kate Motaung

 

 

Safe

Get home! I raced down the hall toward the parking lot. My heels clattered down the quiet walkway. No middle schoolers flooded the hall; school ended an hour ago. I stayed for a meeting, but I needed to be home for an appointment and to get dinner for Van before he left for BSF. My brain said, hurry! Get home!

Keys in hand, I couldn’t help but admire the beautiful blue sky, dotted with fluffy, white clouds. An unusually rainy winter for southern California meant a soggy, gray day, but now a stiff breeze moved the clouds across the sky.

I opened the car door, took one more grateful look, and stopped. Froze really. In the hedge just a few inches from the hood of my car rested a bird. His feathers ruffled in the light wind, but except for turning his head, the bird didn’t move.

Holding my breath, I held onto the car door, reached into my purse, and groped until my fingers closed on my phone. Please, don’t move, I begged.

Amazingly, he didn’t. I zoomed in. Click.Safe_1

He still didn’t move. In fact, he seemed content to stay perched on the hedge, watching the world go by. Thank You, God, I whispered.

I stood there several minutes. Enraptured. Flooded with gratitude that this lovely gift stayed. Another bird joined him for a brief second, but even after the second bird took off, he continued to take in his surroundings, content to stay in his spot.

Safe_2

I don’t know what made that bird feel safe enough to stay on the hedge. Why didn’t he take flight when I came racing to my car? No matter the reason, I still feel joy deep in my heart when I look at my pictures (and I’m especially thankful for the “live” feature on my phone so I can see the wind ruffling his feathers, his head slowly moving as he observed his world).

But I know what makes me feel safe. Safe enough to stay and observe my world.

Jesus.

No matter what ruffles my feathers. Whether I’m alone or have others near. In blue skies and storms. I am always safe because of Jesus. Like my bird friend, I can watch the world, decide when to go and when to stay. Enjoy the gentle breeze. Because I am never alone, but always in the Presence of my Savior and my King.

It’s been a long time since I participated in a Five Minute Friday hosted by Kate Montaung. Every Friday, she offers a prompt and invites writers to take 5 minutes to write whatever comes to mind. Click on the link and be inspired by what others have to say about this week’s word: SAFE

First in Everything

First, it’s been a long time since I participated in Five-Minute Friday. I didn’t have much to say. Too busy wallowing in my circumstances.

I spent the two week Christmas vacation I am privileged to have since I am a teacher, to review and reflect on where I was and where I wanted to be.

The first thing I realized was the chasm between the two. The reason?

Putting circumstances and self first. Not where they belong.

Jesus belongs first.

First in my heart. First in my mind. If He’s first, the circumstances remain, but suddenly they look different.

Because when Jesus is first, so is hope. Joy. Peace.

Putting Jesus first means:

  • More time in prayer and less time complaining.
  • More time giving thanks in all circumstances instead of seeing difficulty.
  • More drinking from living water instead of stagnant pools of selfishness.
  • More contentment rather than irritation and annoyance.

The very first month of 2016 can set the tone for the rest of the year. When the going gets tough, I can look back at my journal and remember the truth of who I want to put first in my life. Putting Jesus first puts everything else back in perspective. Put Jesus First

First in everything.

Jesus.

Linking with Five Minute Friday

Free to Love and Serve

“Go home,” Mom says every time she sees me. “You shouldn’t waste your time sitting here. I’m fine.”

Me too, Mom. I’m fine sitting here. It is my joy to be here with her.

During the summer, I’m free from the responsibilities of work. There is some truth in that tee shirt and bumper-sticker quote,”Three reasons I love teaching: June, July, and August.”

For two and a half more weeks, I’m free. No lesson plans. No grading papers. No seven hours trying to get seventh graders to read and write and not throw things.

Free to spend my time serving Mom.

There’s so little I can do: hold the cup of water with the straw so she can have a drink of water. Put chapstick on. Get the nurse when the IV machine beeps-again. Or her water pitcher is empty. Wipe her face and hands with a damp towel.

Free to sit and pray while she sleeps.

Free to choose spending time with Mom who taught me the importance of kindness to others.

Free to let Mom know I learned all the things she quietly modeled throughout my life.

Free to enjoy these quiet days with someone I love.

Free to remember God loves her more than I do and actively trust Him to guide and protect.

Free to seek God’s help as I stay with this woman God blessed me with. Mom, who freely gives of herself daily.

Thank You, God, for Mom. Hold her close. Heal her. Ease her pain. Free her from worry and fear.

Thank You for giving me these free days to spend with her. They are a gift.

Linking with:

Five Minute Friday; Still Saturday; The Weekend Brew; Faith-Filled Friday