Posted in attitude, Joy, Mommy, Seasons, transition, Uncategorized

Seasons

Ecclesiastes 3 (NRSV)

Everything Has Its Time

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to throw away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

The God-Given Task

What gain have the workers from their toil? 10 I have seen the business that God has given to everyone to be busy with. 11 He has made everything suitable for its time; moreover he has put a sense of past and future into their minds, yet they cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. 12 I know that there is nothing better for them than to be happy and enjoy themselves as long as they live;13 moreover, it is God’s gift that all should eat and drink and take pleasure in all their toil. 14 I know that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it; God has done this, so that all should stand in awe before him. 15 That which is, already has been; that which is to be, already is; and God seeks out what has gone by.

 

This time of year has always held a mixture of excitement and nerves.  As a kid I loved getting new school clothes and the neat nick in me loved the clean notebooks and the perfectly sharpened pencils with the new erasers.  I still like that part of it.  Buying new school clothes or uniforms and checking off everything on my kids’school supply lists, gives me a sense of satisfaction as if I’ve accomplished something.  Add to it the list of things that you have to complete when you’ve not only moved schools and communities, but states, and even my peppy cheerleader organizational mode gets tired and discouraged.  Ever notice how a bad attitude is contagious?  It really IS.  (Christian music is what keeps me positive. Without it?  Yikes!)  When you’ve had to go to the DMV over 5 times to get your license and license plates, all arrows are pointing to God teaching you patience, perseverance and endurance.  It’s a constant test.  The corollary is true too.  As hard as it sometimes is to choose joy instead of frustration, it’s well worth it in our workplaces, with our friends, and DEFINITELY with our families.   So after the fourth time at the DMV, I stopped by a craft store and bought this picture, as a reminder to choose joy.choose joy

Today after Point Hope’s prayer time, where we intentionally pray for the prayer request cards lifted on Sunday and anything a person has asked us to pray for, this Mandisa song came on the radio as I was listening in my office.  It’s called “He is With You” and below are the video and the lyrics.

 

There’s a time to live
And a time to die
There’s a time to laugh
And a time to cry
There’s a time for war
And a time for peace
There’s a hand to hold
In the worst of these

He is with you when your faith is dead
And you can’t even get out of bed
Or your husband doesn’t kiss you anymore
He is with you when your baby’s gone
And your house is still, and your heart’s a stone
Cryin’ God, what’d You do that for
He is with you

There’s a time for yes
And a time for no
There’s a time to be angry
And a time to let it go
There is a time to run
And a time to face it
There is love to see you
Through all of this

He is with you in the conference room
When the world is coming down on you
And your wife and kids don’t know you anymore
He is with you in the ICU
When the doctors don’t know what to do
And it scares you to the core
He is with you

We may weep for a time
But joy will come in the morning
The morning light

He is with you when your kids are grown
When there’s too much space and you feel alone
And you’re worried if you got it right or wrong
Yes He is with you when you’ve given up
On ever finding your true love
Someone who feels like home
He is with you

When nothing else is left
And you take your final breath
He is with you

It was a perfect song for me to listen to right then.  There’s a time and a season for everything and God is with us through it all.  We choose every day and all throughout the day whether to grasp hold of the negative or we choose to give it to God and choose joy because we trust and believe God can make a way when there doesn’t seem to be one.

Even when this tired Mommy Pastor is worried about “Meet the Teacher” on Thursday afternoon, and the first day of school on Monday; I have to trust and pray that Enoch and Evy will have excellent teachers and will make new friends and we will find our new rhythm and places that we like.  Enoch said tonight, “We need to find a good doughnut shop and a good comic store.”  And we do.  But we also need to be gentle with our selves, as we grieve past things and embrace the new.  God is ever in the midst.  As Birdee Pruitt says at the end of Hope Floats, “That’s what momma always says. She says that beginnings are scary, endings are usually sad, but it’s the middle that counts the most. Try to remember that when you find yourself at a new beginning. Just give hope a chance to float up. And it will, too…”

As we begin this school year, with all of it’s crazy hecticness, I give thanks to God for always being in the mix, guiding and leading us on this adventure, helping us to trust and lean into grace, God’s abundant grace.  If you’re feeling anxious about anything, then I leave you with these verses to carry in your heart.

Philippians 4:6-7 (NRSV)

Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

1 Peter 5:7 (NRSV)

Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you.

We all, at any season of life, need to worry less and pray more.  Amen?  Amen.

 

 

Posted in Campus Ministry, God's Providence, Identity, Music, Scripture, Sermons

Overcomer

My mom sent me a song in an email.  It’s meant to be encouraging.  It’s meant to speak truth to my life.  It’s meant to remind me that God’s with me.  

But I deleted it.

This was a particularly low point in chemo (I had brain surgery in May of this past year and they completely got all the tumor, but because it had changed to a grade III which is cancerous and my type of a tumor – an oligodendroglioma – is in the cells, the doctors thought that I should have radiation for 30 days as well as chemo for 6 months.  The surgery also affected my speech and right arm since it had invaded the motor cortex.)

But you know how God keeps popping up, two weeks ago, my friend Corrie posted the video.  I hesitated opening the link because I didn’t want to acknowledge that it could be about me.  You see the song was Mandisa’s “Overcomer.”    

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z29olPjFbqg  (Mandisa’s Overcomer Lyric video)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8VoUYtx0kw (Mandisa’s Overcomer Actual video)

I felt God working on my heart so I finally listened to the song.  And I’m glad I did.

My communication skills are something I’ve taken for granted.  I heavily rely on written and verbal communication.  I didn’t realize how much it was my “go to” thing.  Until I lost my ability to communicate.  These gifts were a part of my identity.  They made me who I am.  I’ve struggled to find my new normal and I have often found it frustrating.  But God has been faithful in the midst.  Giving me the verses of scripture that I need for me to keep moving forward.   

“Be strong and bold; have no fear or dread of them, because it is the Lord your God who goes with you; he will not fail you or forsake you.” – Deuteronomy 31:6

“Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for him.” – Psalm 37:7

“The battle is not for you to fight; take your position, stand still, and see the victory on your behalf…Do not fear or be dismayed…the Lord will be with you.” – 2 Chronicles 20:17

“Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.” – James 4:8

“From now on I will tell you of new things, of hidden things unknown to you.  They are created now, and not long ago.” – Isaiah 48:6-7

The Lord said to Moses, “I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” – Exodus 9:16

The Lord said, “See, I have refined you, but not like silver; I have tested you in the furnace of adversity.” – Isaiah 48:10

The Lord said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9

Last week as I drove back from Evensong, I was sharing with a friend, that I felt like there were moments during Communion as I said the Communion liturgy where it naturally flowed.  It was the first time post-surgery, I had ever felt that way.  That’s when “Overcomer” came on the radio.  I had never heard it on the radio before.  I guess it’s not in the regular rotation on the JOY FM or 106.9 The Pulse.  I just had to stop the car and acknowledge this as a God moment as tears began to fall.

On August 20th my mom sent me another email that had a new video with Laura Story, who she knows I really like and yet again, I haven’t opened the email until this afternoon.  Call me a slacker.  Call me an avoider.  Call me a procrastinator.

Here’s the video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VRUU8UBXCk – Laura Story’s “I Can Just Be Me”

We need a healer, comfort, peace…  What makes you, YOU?  You’re enough.  You’re more than enough.  Laura Story says about the song, “How freeing it is to just sit back and allow God to be the one that writes the story. Allow God to be the healer in the relationship.”  God loves you for you.  You were known in secret in your mother’s womb.  God knows when we sit and when we rise.  What makes you think that God doesn’t know what’s on our hearts – our worries, our fears, our hurts, our struggles?   So why are we surprised when God shows up and provides what we need?  God is faithful when we least expect it.  Even when we don’t want to hear it.  Even when we’re kicking and screaming.  Even when we ignore Mom’s emails.