Friday, December 08, 2006

Christmas Rant, or Lamentation?

Who wants to read a deluge of disappointment at this time of year, or are you up for a Christmas rant perhaps. I prefer to call it a lamentation? Lamentation -- one of the many concepts I’m learning about in what appears to be a stream of broken dreams lately. Should I give a Reader warning that only if you're hurting should you read this. But then, who in this life remains in a state of joy unfiltered by challenges, shocks, disappointments, bad news. No one.

As a Christian it goes against the grain to say that I'm discouraged, sounds too much like complaining. But then . . . look at the Psalms – how many of them start out with an honest verbalization of what's really going on.

During my prayer time with my Heavenly Father, I have two lists; one for blessings and the other for what appears to NOT be a blessing. The blessings list is long; in it is living in a peaceful place, the best of foods, a warm home, a good job, reasonable health, a loving husband and on and on and on. I have a great deal to be grateful for. But I admit, during my prayer time I gloss over this list far too quickly instead of savoring the character of my loving Father, who was and is, so 'there for me'.

I’m human. To be honest with myself and with God I have the other list:

Loved ones who struggle with serious illness. Another loved one who drowns in depression, self hatred. Another loved ones whose immature choices bring heartach to themselves as well as the rest of the family, another who is so ready to have a baby and yet can't . . . not to mention the delay upon delay of what I felt the Lord leading me into and yet my own personal Jericho victory seems so far away.

Forgive me if this Christmas I struggle for lack of vision or hope. But herein lies the Blessing. All of this forces me to look at myself – do I love the Lord or simply what the Lord gives me? Do I do what He says, and be thankful that my name is written in the Lamb’s book of life? Am I thinking of others and not myself or those I love only. Am I grateful that He set aside His glory to become a flesh and blood babe born in a stable, so He could grow up and die for me?

Sometimes my self pity shames me, but perhaps like the psalmist, getting it out in my poorly written lamentation will help put things into perspective. Because I have come to the conclusion that the book of Job is so important. In it Job says: The Lord gives and the Lord takes away – BLESSED BE THE NAME OF THE LORD. Because of this I now have a smile on my face FOR HIM
. . . sure its a wan smile with a few tears leaking out, but the Lord smiles back. He and I are in this together. Merry Christmas Jesus. You are everything.

Have a joyous Christmas everyone.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Nanny's Letter

I know I'm supposed to pray and leave my worries about my children to my Heavenly Father. After all, according to His word, He loves them even more than I do. But do I really believe that?

Lately I've been struggling with whether or not I trust God for good things, or should I just continue to expect those trials in life that shape one's character, and the character of one's children. Because no doubt about it, life can be hard, and we know that God's love can sometimes come wrapped in 'difficult' paper.

I was praying for my daughter last week, feeling pretty desperate that maybe God wasn't hearing my prayers for her. I was praying she'd find the same kind of joy in life as I have found.

As I cleaned our den I found a box left unpacked from when we moved into this house three years ago. I couldn't resist it, and set aside the dusting, switched off the vacuum cleaner, to go through old photographs, old degree dipolomas, and came across a faded blue airmail letter that I'd recieved over 26 years ago. It was from my grandmother upon my engagement.

In it she wrote how thankful she was to the Lord that I had found a good partner in life, that her prayers for me were answered, that I was living the joyful things that God had planned for me.

Nanny's been gone now for 22 years. How I wish she were around at times to talk about the worries I have over my kids. But the Lord allowed her voice to speak to me again over the span of time in the form of that old letter. But behind my grandmother's writing was the Lord's voice.

It was He who helped me find that old letter on that very day to remind me that He does care about the things in life we desire. I am reminded that He doesn't have just all the hard character building stuff for my life or for my kids, that there are the fireworks of joy for us too.

I have to trust, really trust Him, and to keep my eyes peeled for what He has around the corner for my children . . . just out of sight.