Saturday, February 6, 2016

The instruction book said what?

 They say it takes a month to start a new habit or to break an old one. So for a month as soon as I woke in the morning rather than going to my default activity, (getting on the computer~specifically facebook) I went to our sun room for some quiet God time. What better time for me to be still & ready to listen then before it got light out! Before even the birds started chirping let alone the rest of the world. And it felt good, accomplished if you will, that I still had some control over something and that was how to spend my time.  I really wanted to be open to the new ways of resolving or living through my grief.
  As I got into week three of my personal prayer study things really started to take shape. Every day I felt encouraged & I anticipated what would be revealed to me.
 Scriptures that I long knew took on deeper meanings for me. For instance Hebrews 14:15 “Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God that is the fruit of the lips that acknowledge his name”
   Continually lends itself to consider the all encompassing of words like everything & anything that were in the scripture the day before (Philippians 4:5-7)  And sacrifice tells me it may not always be easy to give that praise yet that’s what we are told to do.
  It occurs to me, in the simplest of terms, that we are commanded to always be watchful for the positive! Some silver lining in an otherwise dark cloud on which to be able to praise God! I’m thinking we sure don’t do this enough in our day to day!
  While reading Psalm 62 it hit me. Another command, “Trust in him at all times, pour out your heart. God is a refuge for us”. Then things snowballed from there...A sermon at church talking about trust while reading 1 John...A memorial service specifically pointing out anxiety/worry & the need to fight it with trust!
 At one point I didn’t see the difference between my word of focus in last year’s BELIEVE (and I always added 'live like you mean it') and trust. I actually have a stamp that I’ve been using with the words Hope, Believe & Trust. I remember thinking to myself that these words were synonymous & redundant. But now I am seeing & understanding that TRUST refines my is richer & deeper & more clarifying of what I believe!    

  As I read Psalm 37:7,8 “Be still before the Lord & wait patiently for him”,  I wrote in my journal that I was struck that is so closely duplicated Proverbs 3:5,6...BUT I realized in rereading that I really meant Psalm 46:10 that says, ‘Be still & know that I am God” for that is what I have felt for months. I just needed to be still, be patient, surrender it all and just listen to God.
  When I realized my mistake I had to chuckle as I recited the right words from Proverbs. ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean upon your own understanding. In all your ways take notice of him and he will make your paths straight’
   I was telling my dad all that I was learning as we went on our morning walk. How, from so many different sources were these common threads.   The need to rest, to surrender our struggles & anxieties, to hold onto the Serenity prayer : (which by the way was a favorite of my mom)

God grant me the serenity
To accept the things
I cannot change,
Courage to change
the things I can,
And wisdom
to know the difference,

 and the need to recognize the value of silence. The physical value of meditative silence-lowering blood pressure, slowing the heart, even facilitating some kinds of healing.  To not be afraid to be still and trust. To savor the refreshment of silence.
  I mentioned that trust, just like prayer, be still, listen, surrender were action verbs NOT just a word of focus as in years past. I even made the comment that I won’t have to worry about finding reminder momentos with trust on it because that would just be too weird. Why would there be any such thing, it would be an odd word I thought for anyone to display.  

  Then we walked into the local pharmacy.  While dad got his prescription filled I perused a very sparcely filled display of charms...After most of the other more popular charms of Hope, Peace, Joy were taken what was the one charm that was left?  You guessed it!!!!

When I got home after buying the trust charm, in my yard were two small downy feathers that have come to represent something very special to our family. (that I have yet to write about but will in time) I had not found a feather since Thanksgiving.   A real feeling of peace came over me and it just felt like some how, some way my mom was telling me ‘yes, this truly is a can trust all God’s promises you know in your heart because they are indeed true. And trust that it’s ok to rest (mentally, physically, emotionally & spiritually) after the draining and tumultuous four years that we’ve had.’

As I was working on this writing, my ears perked up when I heard the words to a song by Casting Crowns, called Just Be Held.

And when you’re tired of fighting
chained by your control
There’s a freedom in surrender
Lay it down & let it go
Come to me, find your rest
In the arms of the God
who won’t let go.

After hearing that I just needed to take a break from my writing and let the words of the song soak in....I picked up the book I’ve been reading and chuckled when I got to the last line of the first page.

 Shortly thereafter I picked up my stack of junk mail and opened a catalog.
  OK, I might be a slow learner, but I’m getting it!!! 

I have never seen anything like this~have you? Notice the scripture as well. Proverbs 3:5,6

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