Speak, Lord, Your Servant is Listening

Speak Lord, Your Servant Is Listening in a New Season

It’s a new season for me. A new chapter, retirement. Next week, I move to a new city and state. I’ll be part of a new community and a new church. As I prepare to move, I pray, Speak Lord, Your servant is listening.

It’s easy for my task-oriented mind to make lists of all the things I think I want to do and try. My mind runs in a hundred different directions, contemplating possibilities.

But I hear God telling me, “Wait. Slow down! Don’t be in such a hurry to plunge in.” I remember my verse for this season,

In his mind a man plans his course, but the Lord directs his steps (Proverbs 16:9).

Speak Lord, Your Servant Is Listening about How and Where to Serve

What if, instead of the familiar-working with kids, GriefShare, visiting the sick in their homes and the hospital-God has something new for me? Speak Lord, your servant is listening. Whether You want me to serve in the familiar or something brand new, speak, Lord; I want to hear You.

Maybe that’s why I’m so excited about my front porch and the Turquoise Table. I’ve never been one to reach out to my neighbors. Talking to strangers is not part of my comfort zone. But already, I crossed the street when I saw my new neighbor outside on my last visit. Introduced myself. Listened to him talk about his family and church.

One thing I know-I want to listen to God. Walk in the light He sheds on my path. First, I think, I need to simply be there. Listen to others. Build relationships. Not do, just be. Who is this retired Debbie? How will I be different? The same?

Speak Lord, Your Servant is Listening about Walking with Her Husband

My life with Van will be different too. We’ll have more time at home together than we’ve ever had in our 40 years of marriage. We’ve never been this just us. Erin and the kids will be further away. Except for Judy and David, my sister and brother-in-love, we don’t have community. It’s a new beginning. A blank page.

I don’t want to run off without Van. Or he without me. I don’t expect to do everything together, but I want us. Praying. Planning. Exploring. Deciding. As a team. Together saying, Speak, Lord, your servants are listening. 

Linking with Five Minute Friday, Grace and Truth, Faith of Fire, Dance with Jesus, Fresh Market Friday, Counting My Blessings

 

The Importance of a Clean Heart

Clean Amongst the Chaos of Moving

I dusted and vacuumed today. Big deal, you may think. Except, we’re in the midst of packing everything we plan to move to Arizona. Piles of stuff waiting to be boxed up sit all over the house. Only nail holes remain where pictures once decorated the walls. Tiny pieces of paper, torn to wrap china and crystal, dot the floor. Things we don’t want wait in different piles, until either Van or I make a run to Goodwill. And everywhere I look, I see the dust and grime of life coating tables, chairs, and floor. Oh, how I long for a clean house!

Clean     Clean

I toy with the idea of waiting until all the boxes are packed and nothing is left to do but clean, but I find it hard to sit still and relax. Just a little order along with the chaos is all I need. Maybe it’s my need for control, but I always function better when things are neat and tidy, even if it’s mostly on the surface. So today, I take a little time to run a dust cloth over the table tops, vacuum high traffic areas, make sure the sink sparkles. As Mom would have said, the house got a lick and a promise.

Clean

Create in Me a Clean Heart, O God

Believe me, I’m a much more pleasant person to be around when things look straightened up. So I sigh with satisfaction, able to relax a little better despite the clutter that is a necessary part of moving.

God calls me to keep order in my relationship with Him, too. When sin clutters my heart, I put distance between myself and God. Nothing goes well. My stomach churns and my mind goes in circles, searching for peace that refuses to come.

King David said when he kept his sin close and refused to admit it to himself or God, his bones wasted away and his strength was sapped. But as soon as he admitted his sin to God, he received forgiveness. (Psalm 32). The sin he chose, that he pretended offered happiness, instead robbed him of joy and peace.

But I can’t give my relationship with God a lick and a promise. To be at peace, I must do a thorough cleaning. God wants my whole heart.

My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.

Psalm 51:17

The Benefits of a Clean Heart

God calls me to draw near with a sincere heart. When I do, I receive the full assurance that faith brings, having my heart sprinkled to cleanse me from a guilty conscience (Hebrews 10:22).

Oh, yes, the benefits of a clean heart far outweigh any clutter of sin, no matter how I may try to convince myself the dirt can wait; I’ll get to it soon. Once I truly surrender to God, I can rejoice and sing. The Lord’s unfailing love surrounds me (Psalm 32:10-11).

Linking this week with God-sized Dreams Moments of Hope Glimpses of Beauty, Monday Musings, Inspire Me Monday, Ra Ra Linkup, Trekking Thru, Tell His Story, Writer Wednesday, Woman to Woman, Porch Stories, Coffee for Your Heart, Chasing Community, Heart Encouragement, Tune-in Thursday, Salt and Light

My Special God Place

My Favorite Place

If you ask me what my favorite place is, I’ll answer the beach. San Clemente to be exact. There are few places that fill me with as much joy. The sight of the many blues and greens and grays the water holds. Palm trees reaching up into a sky so blue it takes my breath away. Pelicans soaring and diving. Kids shrieking and laughing as the water laps at their toes. The water lapping and crashing on the shore. Seagulls crying “Mine! Mine! Mine!” I spend part of the day sitting in my chair, breathing in the sights and smells, reading, staring at the beauty everywhere and thinking my own thoughts. Then I wander, sticking my toes in the water and feeling the champagne like bubbly foam. Finally I gather my things and go to the restaurant on the pier to watch the sun sparkle on the water, leaving a trail of light as the sun goes down, turning the sky brilliant shades of pink and orange.

Place

Place

Place

At this special place, I feel close to God. I see Him everywhere in His creation. He fills my heart to overflowing with praise and thanksgiving. When I feel downhearted, I head to the beach. Somehow, in the depths of sorrow or anxiety, I focus better on the truth of who God is. I listen more closely when I meet God at the beach.

Finding a New Place

Soon I’ll leave the beach behind. No ocean in Arizona. Lakes, yes. They hold their own beauty. But it won’t be the same. And that’s OK. God doesn’t call me to one place.

That’s one of the beauties and mysteries of God; unlike me, He isn’t limited to time or place. Wherever I go, He’s there. Even when I get stuck in traffic, God is there. Reachable. Listening.

I don’t have to be at the beach. Standing at the kitchen sink. In front of my computer. Sitting on my front porch. On the shore of the ocean or in a kayak on the lake, God is with me.

I look forward to exploring my new community. I know without a doubt someplace will become my special God place.

Where is your special God place? I’d love to have you share with me in the comments.

Linking with Five Minute Friday, Grace and Truth, Faith of Fire, Dance with Jesus, Fresh Market Friday, Counting My Blessings

Do I Depend on God as Much as My iPhone?

Realizing How Much I Depend on My Phone

I lost my iPhone yesterday afternoon. Ouch. I left it in the restroom at Von’s. It took less than ten minutes for me to realize I didn’t have it, emptying my purse three times and patting my pockets over and over. As soon as I knew it was definitely gone, I raced back, muttering reassurances. It’s Ok, I told myself. A locked bathroom, needing the florist to use a code to open the door; it’ll be there.

But it wasn’t. “A lot of people were in there,” the florist told me. “Try the front desk.”

No phone turned in.

Even though I knew I used it in Von’s, after all, I used the Von’s app to check off my list while I shopped, I trotted down to Office Depot. Just in case.

No phone there either.

Suddenly I realized just how much I depend on my phone. My whole life is on there. Precious photos of family, contacts, calendar, email, my joy/gratitude journal, and on and on. I’m sure you know. Obviously, I couldn’t live without my phone.

Next stop, Verizon. I hoped maybe they could ping it, help me find it. Of course not. That only works on TV. “Nobody turns in iPhones,” Maria, my customer service rep said. “They’re too valuable.”

And so, I take a deep breath, and do the only thing I can. Buy a new phone. It takes a long time to set up a new phone and without it, I felt helpless. I couldn’t even call Van to tell him I’d be late.

Without my phone, I felt incomplete, inefficient, a little lost. I needed it to do daily business successfully. As I sat and waited for my new phone to be get ready, I couldn’t help but wonder, Do I depend on God as much as I do my phone? 

Depend on God

I can lose my phone, but I never have to be without God; He is always present and longs to be with me. But I can ignore Him. Turn Him to silent. I must choose to draw near to God. Before I do anything else, I need to set the tone of the day by spending time in His Word and talking to Him in prayer. I can’t leave Him at home, sitting on my desk, waiting for my return. He goes wherever I go, as long as I keep my eyes fixed on Him. Depend on Him.

 

There was nothing I could do to speed up the process of setting up my phone.  All I could do was wait for it to finish loading. Impatience added angst. Without my phone, I couldn’t do anything except wait. I didn’t want to, but I had no choice. I can’t hurry God, either. His timing is perfect, and I can’t rush Him. The only way to true peace is to completely depend on His perfect timing.

Linking today with Writer Wednesday, Woman to Woman, Porch Stories, Coffee for Your Heart, Chasing Community, Heart Encouragement, Tune-in Thursday, Salt and Light  Faith on Fire, Fresh Market Friday, Dance with Jesus

Collect Your Treasures in Heaven

Why Did I Collect That?

Van and I move from California to Arizona in six weeks. Every day, my sister-in-love, Judy, sends pictures of our new home. Yesterday, the drywall and stucco made the concrete, wires, and wood look like a real house. As I begin to fill boxes I wonder, how did I collect so much stuff? Stuff I don’t use, no longer want. I fill as many trashcans and bags for the Goodwill as boxes. And the only room I’ve touched is my office. Oh dear.

Our new home, slightly smaller than our current one, requires me to share my office with guests when they come to stay. That means really evaluating what I want to keep and what I can give or throw away. Why does it look like I collect office supplies? How many pens, highlighters, and post-it notes do I really need?

Sharing my space means sometimes I won’t have an office to myself at all. So I created a “portable office.” In a large basket, I placed my journal, favorite pens, lap top, Bible, and my current renew book, The Turquoise Table, where I focus on creating community in my new home by expecting God on my front porch.

Collect

Collect Treasures in Heaven

As I remember my 3 Rs of Retirement and sort through all I collected over the years, I remember God’s perspective on what I really need to collect.

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Matthew 6:19-21

My portable desk contains what I need to rest and renew with God. Tools I need to deepen my relationship with Him. God, and my eternal home in heaven, are my true treasures. I don’t need to collect anything on earth.

Linking today with  Fresh Market FridayCounting My BlessingsFive Minute Friday, Grace and Truth, Faith on Fire, Dance with Jesus.